Drumbeat: January 16, 2012

Why oil prices will stay high

I saw some striking numbers this week: Look at the "break-even" costs for the world's top oil producers. That is the minimum price at which these countries need to sell oil so that they can balance their budgets.

Russia now needs oil at $110 a barrel to manage its finances. For Iraq, the number is $100. Even Saudi Arabia now needs oil to trade around $80 a barrel just to balance its budgets. The numbers are also high for Algeria, Qatar, and Oman. Only a decade ago Saudi Arabia was able to balance its budget with oil prices averaging around $25 a barrel.

So now it is in these countries' interest to keep oil prices high, which they do by curtailing supply in one way or the other. This is perhaps the most lasting impact of the year of global protest: High oil prices.

Oil Climbs From Four-Week Low as Iran Warns of Hormuz Supply Disruption

Oil climbed from the lowest price in almost four weeks as Iran said that a disruption to crude supplies through the Strait of Hormuz would cause a shock to markets that “no country” could manage.

Futures rose as much as 0.9 percent after sliding 2.8 percent last week. Iran has threatened to shut the strait, a transit route for about a fifth of global oil trade, in response to international sanctions on its exports. Any disruption will harm the world’s crude markets, Iran’s governor to OPEC said, according to the state-run Mehr news agency. Nigerian labor unions suspended protests after saying they would consider shutting down oil output in opposition to higher fuel prices.

OPEC sees downside risk to oil demand from euro crisis

LONDON (Reuters) - A worsening of the euro zone debt crisis would further reduce the region's oil demand and could impact consumption in emerging economies that are driving the increase in global fuel use, OPEC said on Monday.

In a monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) trimmed its forecasts for world oil demand growth in 2012 by 10,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.06 million bpd.

Saudi Arabia wants oil around $100/bbl - oil min

(Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, said on Monday it favours an oil price of $100 per barrel, identifying an ideal oil price for the first time in more than three years.

In an interview with CNN the Kingdom's oil minister also said the country could raise production quickly if necessary.

"Our wish and hope is we can stabilise this oil price and keep it at a level around $100," Dow Jones Newswires quoted Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi as telling CNN in an interview.

The Saudi oil chief said Riyadh could increase production by about 2 million barrels per day (bpd) "almost immediately".

OPEC oil production rises to 3-year high

Vienna - The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in December raised its total oil output to the highest level since October 2008, as Libya revamped its production, the group said Monday.

OPEC countries produced 30.82 million barrels per day (bpd) in December, 171,000 bpd more than in the previous month, the Vienna-based group said in its monthly market report.

Triple digit oil prices to hamper growth

The global economy depends on oil as the human body on blood. It is because oil is the major source of energy to drive the wheels of production across the globe. Interestingly, it is the converging point of economics and politics. That is why it is sold in a world market in which every barrel, regardless of its source, competes with every other barrel. The United States, with about 5 per cent of the world’s population, is responsible for 25% of the world’s oil consumption. Every US President since Richard Nixon has openly expressed his fears about dwindling oil reserves predicting problems. Saudi Arabia, termed the world’s oil superpower, possesses both the world’s largest known oil reserves, which are 25 per cent of the world’s proven reserves, and produces the largest amount of the world’s oil. It ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC; its decisions to raise or cut production almost immediately impact world oil prices. The country is capable of producing up to 12 million barrels of oil a day.

Volatile gas prices predicted for 2012

CHICAGO — Volatile gasoline fuel prices are the order of the day. With the U.S. average price of gas at the highest level ever recorded at this time of year, GasBuddy.com on Thursday, Jan. 12 released its 2012 projections and analytics for the U.S. and major metro markets.

Norway sees oil output down, gas up

STAVANGER, Norway (Reuters) - Norway's oil production will decline despite major discoveries made last year, while gas production will continue to rise, Norwegian authorities said on Monday.

The oil prospects of Norway, the world's eighth-largest oil exporter and the second-largest for gas, have brightened up over the past year as a giant oil find was made in the North Sea and three major ones were made in the Norwegian Arctic.

Norway to narrow estimate for giant N.Sea oil find by end 2012

The uncertainty around the size of a giant North Sea oil find is high and it will take until the end of 2012 for estimates to be narrowed down, the head of the country's oil directorate said on Monday.

Nigerian Unions Suspend Strike After Jonathan Agrees to Cut Gasoline Price

Nigerian labor unions suspended strikes and protests in Africa’s top crude producer after President Goodluck Jonathan limited gasoline-price increases.

Chevron: Offshore rig near Nigeria’s oil-rich delta catches fire; search for workers ongoing

LAGOS, Nigeria — Chevron Corp. says an offshore rig being run for its subsidiary near Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta has caught fire and officials are still trying to account for all the workers there.

Chevron spokesman Scott Walker said the fire started early Monday morning. He said the rig was just off the coast of the country’s Niger Delta.

China turns to Middle East for oil (video)

China's premier, Wen Jiabao, has begun a three-country tour of the oil-rich Gulf nations.

The industrial giant's own oil fields do not produce enough crude to keep its economy at full steam - so Beijing has to import half of all its supplies.

Iran warns of consequences if Arabs back oil sanctions

(Reuters) - Iran warned Gulf Arab neighbours on Sunday they would suffer consequences if they raised oil output to replace Iranian crude facing an international ban.

In signs of Tehran's deepening isolation over its refusal to halt nuclear activity that could yield atomic bombs, China's premier was in Saudi Arabia probing for greater access to its huge oil and gas reserves and Britain voiced confidence a once hesitant European Union would soon ban oil imports from Iran.

Defiant Iran says Asia oil customers stay loyal

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran said on Monday it was business as usual with Asia's leading oil buying countries, despite growing pressure on its customers in the East from a tightening mesh of sanctions hampering its crude exports.

Asian leaders are touring the Middle East to secure supplies, as tension over Iran's nuclear work builds, while European buyers may rely more heavily on Arab oil producers should an EU ban come into effect.

U.S. Coordinating Iran Policy With Israel More Closely Amid Rising Tension

U.S. coordination with Israel on Iran policy is intensifying as the Obama administration’s top military adviser prepares for his first trip to Tel Aviv since taking office in September.

President Barack Obama spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone on Jan. 12 about Iran and reaffirmed the “unshakable” U.S. commitment to Israel’s security, according to a White House statement.

Indian delegation to visit Iran to resolve oil payment issue

NEW DELHI: A high-level Indian delegation comprising officials of the Finance Ministry, RBI and the Oil Ministry will be visiting Tehran shortly to work out an alternative mode of payment for oil in wake of fresh sanctions imposed by the US on Iran.

Turkey to enter arbitration on Iran gas prices

(Reuters) - Turkey expects to enter arbitration over the price paid for gas imports from neighboring Iran, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Monday, after Tehran rejected Ankara's complaint that the price is too high.

Iran sits on the world's second-largest natural gas reserves and is Turkey's second-biggest supplier of gas after Russia, sending 10 billion cubic metres of gas each year.

Iranian oil embargo

As efforts continue to impose sanctions on Iran , I thought it would be helpful to discuss the possible implications of these developments for oil-consuming countries.

The most likely outcome of an embargo on oil purchased from Iran is that the countries participating in the embargo buy less oil from Iran while other countries not participating in the embargo by more oil from Iran. While this would produce some dislocations, if total world oil production doesn't change, it would have little effect on either Iran or oil-consuming countries, and would basically be a symbolic gesture.

Not that again

Dear oil has, in recent years, given a big boost to domestic fossil-fuel production in America, which is increasingly providing a meaningful if modest contribution to GDP and employment growth. Good as that is for the American economic outlook, there isn't remotely enough domestic supply to offset serious production losses elsewhere. To really insulate itself from these kinds of geopolitical hazards, America needs to dramatically improve its ability to substitute away from oil consumption. Progress is being made there, but not enough and not sufficiently quickly.

Iraq signs $235 mln power deal with Turkey's Enka

(Reuters) - Iraq signed a $235 million electricity deal with a subsidiary of Turkey's Enka Isaat to install a 500-megawatt plant in southern Iraq to help boost generation in the power-starved nation, the minister of electricity said on Monday.

Car bomb kills 8 in northern Iraq

BAGHDAD (AP) – A car bomb killed at least eight people outside the northern city of Mosul on Monday, Iraq officials said, in the latest in a series of attacks to target the country's Shiites since the U.S. withdrawal last month.

Al-Qaeda fighters capture Yemen town

SANAA, Yemen (AP) – Al-Qaeda militants seized full control of a town south of the Yemeni capital on Monday, overrunning army positions, storming the local prison and freeing at least 150 inmates, security officials said.

The capture of Radda in Bayda province, some 100 miles south of Sanaa, underscores the growing strength of al-Qaeda in Yemen as it continues to take advantage of the weakness of a central government struggling to contain nearly a year of massive anti-government protests.

Russia's Rosneft considers loan -bankers

(Reuters) - Russia's top crude producer Rosneft is looking to tap the international lending market for a sizeable syndicated loan only six weeks after agreeing an increased $2 billion loan, bankers close to the borrower said.

Rosneft is considering its options to prevent a liquidity squeeze if Europe's unpredictable economic outlook worsens, the bankers added.

China targets green energy sales

Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, flies into Abu Dhabi for the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) today.

Having emerged as the factory of the world, China is now throwing considerable resources behind clean forms of power.

Salmond leaps at chance to warm Scottish green energy with Masdar

Millions of dirhams are expected to be invested in renewable energy projects in Scotland after the signing this week of an agreement between Masdar and the Scottish government.

The agreement will mark the start of a research partnership between Abu Dhabi's Masdar Institute and the Energy Technology Partnership (ETP) - an umbrella organisation of 12 Scottish universities cooperating on renewables. It is also expected to lead to direct investment flowing from the emirate to Scotland.

US Navy tests genetically modified algal fuel

The US Navy and the shipping company Maersk have successfully tested a form of algae-based biofuel, it has been announced.

Maersk tested 30 tonnes of oil from genetically modified algae in collaboration with the US Navy last week.

Petrol taxes won't hurt the poor

Higher petrol taxes don't hurt the poor but the use of fossil fuels should be made a crime against humanity as the world has only 50 years in which to mitigate the effects of climate change, says Thomas Sterner, a professor of environmental economics at Sweden's Gothenburg University.

Climate change skepticism seeps into science classrooms

Reporting from Washington— A flash point has emerged in American science education that echoes the battle over evolution, as scientists and educators report mounting resistance to the study of man-made climate change in middle and high schools.

Although scientific evidence increasingly shows that fossil fuel consumption has caused the climate to change rapidly, the issue has grown so politicized that skepticism of the broad scientific consensus has seeped into classrooms.

Professor is happy with his message of doom

He is one of the most vilified men in the highly vilified field of climate science, yet Professor Michael Mann is jolly. Despite being the focus of a brutal campaign orchestrated by the fossil-fuel industry and the US Republican Party, Mann's cheery stoicism is positively infectious.

"I've been the focus for attack by those who deny the reality of climate change for so long that it almost seems like forever," the professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University says. "I'm a reluctant public figure, but have embraced the opportunity to communicate the science."

How Will Global Warming Negatively Affect Water Supplies In The U.S.?

According to Tetra Tech’s analysis, parts of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas will be hardest hit by warming-related water shortages. The agriculturally focused Great Plains and arid Southwest are at highest risk of increasing water demand outstripping fast dwindling supplies.

Once Hidden by Forest, Carvings in Land Attest to Amazon’s Lost World

Huge geometric shapes in Brazil suggest that contrary to conventional understanding, parts of the rain forest may have been home to large populations.

Lundin Petroleum Completes Avaldsnes Appraisal Well 16/5-2S, Offshore Norway

Well 16/5-2S encountered a 15 metres Jurassic sequence of which the upper 8 metres has excellent reservoir quality. Top reservoir was found deeper than expected, and below the oil water contact. Good hydrocarbon shows were observed below the oil water contact but were currently evaluated as not producible hydrocarbons.



"...and below the oil water contact". For folks who don't appreciate this distinction: If a discovery well penetrates an oil reservoir at the top of a structural closure it may find the rock filled with oil to its base...let's say X' of net oil pay. From the top of the structure to the max fill point might be 10X'. The proven X' of pay might represent a proven reserve of Y million bbls of oil...or more. But until the limit of the reservoir (the water level) is determined there may be a potential of 10Y million of bbls. The appraisal well was hoping to find the reservoir full of oil or at least the oil/water level so they could tie down the reserve potential. Now they have the reservoir extent bracketed between the LKO (lowest known oil and HKW (highest known water).

It's critical to tie down recovery as closely as possible with offshore fields. Not only is it important to make sure there's enough oil to justify development but also to size the platform/production equipment properly. They may decide to drill another appraisal well to estimate the reserve base more clearly. It's good to keep in mind that when a company makes a discovery and says there's a potential of X million bbls what they are really saying is that they found some oil but don't have enough info to say they've proven up specific a amount of reserves. If they had the proof they would be saying "proven" and not "potential".

Top reservoir was found deeper than expected,

Sounds like a 3D seismic bust to me. The location of this well doesn't appear to change the resource estimate all that much, probably still within the range of the previous estimates.


From Euan Mearnes' presentation.

Note the reports that the Saudis now want $100 oil is a significant increase from their previous target about the price they 'want' of about $75 to $80.

It appears that when they say 'price', it means the average of the WTI price and Brent price. Although not specifically stated here, it is assumed that is the minimum price they want to accept.

JANUARY 16, 2012, 7:58 A.M. ET
2nd UPDATE: Saudi's Naimi Wants Oil Stabilized At $100/Bbl

RIYADH (Dow Jones)--Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Ali Naimi said Monday that the world's top oil exporter wants prices to stabilize at around $100 a barrel, marking a dramatic step up from his earlier statements that $70-$80 a barrel was a good price range.

"Our wish and hope is we can stabilize this oil price and keep it at a level around $100," Naimi told CNN, according to a transcript of an interview.

Naimi said the $100 price he was referring to was an average of the U.S.'s WTI and the U.K.'s Brent and OPEC crudes--an average currently standing at $107 a barrel.


Naimi also downplayed just how fast they could 'ramp up' production, and clarified that the goal of KSA was not to offset the loss of Iranian oil in an emergency, but to provide additional oil only when requested by customers.

It will be quite 'interesting' to see if they could actually sustain an output rise of 2 million bpd more than present levels, as claimed.

It appears that when they say 'price', it means the average of the WTI price and Brent price.

Actually what they mean is the OPEC Basket Price which follows the Brent price pretty close.

At the bottom of of this graph is a little slide which you can slide back with your mouse pointer. It gives you the OPEC Basket Price all the way back to January of 2003. The lowest price I could find wa $23.27 a barrel on April 29, 2003. The highest price was $140.73 on July 3, 2008.

Ron P.

How long ago was it that KSA was 'pledging' to keep oil prices at $20 - $30 per barrel?? ... then$40? ...then $70? ... Seems like ancient history.

Among other things, the oil price that kicks the world into a global recession, or that causes the world to look very hard into alternatives, is much higher than the Saudis thought back then.

Add in a population growing at >400,000 per year, heavily weighted toward young people, an unemployment rate around 40% for young workers (these days revolutions are almost strictly the province of unemployed young males), and they have a growing problem with buying domestic tranquility.

It is unsurprising that the Saudis are looking at alternate energy sources such as nuclear electricity; they are going to need to sell as much of the oil they pump as they can.

From a westexas thread a couple of weeks ago:

Production - Consumption = Net Exports ... gross sales (million US dollars, daily)

2005: 11.1 - 2.0 = 9.1 & $55 ....... 9.1 x 55 = 500.55
2006: 10.9 - 2.1 = 8.8 & $65 ...... 8.8 x 65 = 572.00
2007: 10.5 - 2.2 = 8.3 & $72 ...... 8.3 x 72 = 597.60
2008: 10.8 - 2.4 = 8.4 & $97 ...... 8.4 x 97 = 814.80
2009: 9.9 - 2.6 = 7.3 & $62 ........ 7.3 x 62 = 452.60
2010: 10.0 - 2.8 = 7.2 & $80 ...... 7.2 x 80 = 576.00

2011: 10.5 - 3.0 = 7.5 & $111....... 7.5 x 111 = 832.00* (million $/day avg.)

Looks to me like the Saudis found a sweet spot in 2011.

Note that 2009 is the only year when estimated cash flows from export sales did not exceed the 2005 level, at least in nominal terms, despite the fact that actual and estimated (2011) net export volumes have all been below the 2005 rate.

I have suggested that we will see Phase One and Phase Two net export declines. Saudi Arabia would currently be in Phase One. In a Phase Two decline, generally rising oil prices can no longer offset generally declining net export volumes.

Great observation! I've never considered-cash flow from export sales-as a metric before, but can't believe I haven't. Of course you'd want to adjust it for estimated inflation, but that could be a useful metric not just for looking at supply and exporter break even points, but also for the global economies ability to shoulder higher prices.

Could be a better recession indicator than just oil price. Also, could be an alarm for the PO decline/recession/demand destruction/worse PO decline feedback loop that has been mentioned as a possibility.

Sorry if that was all obvious--had a self mini revelation:)

The Phase One/Phase Two model also illustrates the problems inherent in trying to reduce domestic oil consumption in exporting countries, given generally rising oil prices.

Given an ongoing production decline in an oil exporting country, unless they cut their consumption at the same rate as the rate of decline in production, or at a rate faster than the rate of decline in production, the net export decline rate will exceed the rate of decline in production, and the net export decline rate will accelerate with time.

So, despite generally rising oil prices, oil consumption in the exporting countries and in many developing countries, e.g., China & India, has been increasing, resulting in a 13% decline, from 2005 to 2010, in the volume of (net) exported oil available to importers other than China & India.

Normalized oil consumption, 2002 to 2010, for China, India, Top 33 net oil exporters & US:

Note that annual crude oil prices doubled two times from 2002 to 2011, rising from $25 to $111:

One wonders what effect an extended crash in oil prices (as Chris Cook predicts) would have for KSA and the region overall. A return to 2005 prices at 2011 export levels would certainly have political and social (if not security) implications.

Cook: "History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme, and my forecast is that the crude oil price will fall dramatically during the first half of 2012, possibly as low as $45 to $55 per barrel."

An overnight loss of ~50% of the region's oil revenues could turn dicey. Maybe we can't afford cheap oil for long.

Are net exports valid from the perspective of the end user? I understand their use as a metric on the production side but as a world wide analysis tool I think maybe it doesn't explain the whole picture. Maybe net exports for producers vs net floating/fixed production instead of net exports for oil importing nations as importers also compete with the domestic markets of those producers which have a floating price.

In any case, the aggregate increase in consumption by the top 33 net oil exporters from 2002 to 2010 was 4.0 mbpd (from 15.2 mbpd in 2002 to 19.2 mbpd in 2010). (Primarily BP data base, with minor EIA input, total petroleum liquids)

Maybe the analysis is a little more complicated than the net export vs net import model? For instance whilst Nigeria is a net exporter of oil they're a net importer of refine products because they lack their own domestic refining capability?

Maybe it could be possible to define imports by allocation instead? For instance if a country produces less oil than they consume then you could assume oil production is pre-allocated domestically. On the other hand you might be able to separate oil exporters into two categories of production with government oil being considered prioritised for domestic consumption first vs countries which have private oil consumption where the whole oil market carries the world floating price and the oil production can be considered net imports even if the country itself is a net exporter, does that make sense? I.E. They effectively pay the world price so for practical purposes they are an importer.

Let's assume two countries: Production Land (P) and Refinery Land (R). For the purposes of this discussion, we will ignore refinery gains.

P has two mbpd of crude oil production, but no refining capacity.

R has no production, but two mbpd of refining capacity.

Each country consumes one mbpd of refined product.

P produces two mbpd and ships two mbpd to R.

R refines two mbpd, consumes one mbpd, and ships one mbpd to P, which P consumes.

Let's calculate net exports two different ways:

Production Less Consumption:

P: 2.0 - 1.0 = +1.0 (net exports)

R: 0 -1.0 = -1.0 (net imports)

Gross Exports less Gross Imports:

P: 2.0 - 1.0 = +1.0 (Net Exports)

R: 1.0 - 2.0 = -1.0 (Net Imports)

I understand the formula but I wanted to propose something else entirely.

New Zealand is for instance the Saudi of butter exports as 44% of net global exports are New Zealand butter. Lets assume for a second that butter is equivalent to oil in the world market as an energy source. As the butter price paid in New Zealand and around the world is the same because there is no subsidy or export control then as the world price increases the consumption of butter would be expected to decline here even though we receive more in export receipts for our production which ought to increase our income even as the price of our butter rises. We are an export land yes but for all intents and purposes we 'import' our own butter from the overall production and with rising prices we would export a larger proportion of butter even though we're a major producer. This is the equivalent of how big public oil companies work, they ain't your momma like Rockman said and therefore will try to find the best price for their oil possible. The same effectively applies to a lot of our produce in which we follow the export-land model of resource production.

The second group is foreign owned local production. China might come and buy up a bunch of land in New Zealand to produce butter for their home market. The price is still set by world markets because doing otherwise would cheat the government out of tax revenues locally, however the production is all earmarked for China. This assures continuity of supply for the Chinese government but it doesn't assure continuity of price. This production is fixed in destination effectively but floating in price. They can choose however to subsidize prices back home using the profits of the producing farms to lower domestic prices. If prices rise to stratospheric levels then effectively they can have cheap butter so long as the fundamentals of production for their investment farms are still good and the input costs haven't risen too much. There is after-all a limit as to how cheap they can make their butter because they cannot go lower than: Subsidised Price = World price - cost of production - taxes/royalties.

The European Union is like the Govt oil Co equivalent for butter production. They subsidize butter production by making it cheaper for consumers however the price is semi fixed by the input of the subsidies. Because of the vested government interest in the production of butter they can and will use export controls to ensure that the price of butter remains at an acceptable level for local consumers. In this market the consumption of butter will not be as adversely affected by rising world prices as the locals are buffered from international markets, any surplus after the fact is exported. This is the equivalent of the KSA style oil production with places like ARAMCO producing oil for the benefit of the government and people rather than purely for individual private profit.

The export land model completely explains European Union/Saudi style production but it doesn't explain countries like New Zealand with a different pricing and ownership structure. So in a nutshell I believe that world oil production falls into three categories, fixed, semi fixed and free market. Chindia investment causes oil to be semi-fixed whilst government local investment makes the production fixed and big oil company production is free market.

If recent history is any guide, when some rice exporting countries in 2008 had a choice between meeting internal demand first or receiving record high prices for their rice exports, they chose to restrain or even ban exports. Russia last year banned gasoline exports temporarily when faced with a shortage.


My point being is that when faced with a shortage, governments make act to impose restrictions based upon the self interest of citizens - regardless of whether those producing assets are owned internally or not.

My point being is that when faced with a shortage, governments make act to impose restrictions based upon the self interest of citizens

I don't doubt that thats usually the case -for a counterexample the Irish potatoe famine, food was exported while the people starved....
The dynamic for a slow predictable shortage, such as caused by oil depletion, might differ from that of a short term crisis however. For the slow unfolding event, efforts to fuelswitch and/or increase domestic efficiency would make eminent sense.

The Irish potato famine is not a good counterexample. The decision to export potatoes was made by England who had no interest in the welfare of the Irish people and the English parliament was not worried about Irish votes or Irish riots.

The situation is of course quite complicated. You can't always get predictable results given the wide range of factors involved. In any case there is a significant difference between a shortage and a high price and like enemy of state said a slowly unfolding crisis evokes a different response to a quickly evolving crisis even if the fundamentals are identical. The difference between the two is the human factor involved in the various decisions made, even the timing of elections can make marked differences in how governments react to world events. Going back to my original point I believe that net global exports vs imports even accounting for 'Chindia' may be a little too simplistic to tell us what is really going on in the oil market.

Add in a population growing at >400,000 per year, heavily weighted toward young people, an unemployment rate around 40% for young workers (these days revolutions are almost strictly the province of unemployed young males), and they have a growing problem with buying domestic tranquility.

There will eventually be an collapse in Saudi Arabia. It is a desert country that has had an huge population growth fueled by oil money. What happens when that oil money stops? But the good thing is that it should be a relatively slow collapse. Reduced oil production will be tempered by higher oil prices. I guess that is what is happening right now in that there is reduced oil production growth but increasing prices has more than made up for that.

I keep seeing predictions here about an impending collapse in population in this country or that country. Fact is, virtually all countries that have experienced significant declines even in the *rate of increase* in population have all been industrialized and mature Western democracies where women have relatively unfettered access to education, birth control, and political power. No matter what has happened, global population growth --especially in the poorest third world nations-- has continued unabated, and if anything is accelerating.

Allow me to make a prediction of my own: I predict that nothing, not Peak Oil, not high fuel prices, not global warming, not avian flu, not a monocrop virus, not falling water tables, not deforestation, not anthropogenic mass extinction, nothing will stand in the way of humanity's all consuming urge to reproduce or its ongoing capacity for self delusuion and willful ignorance. Not even $500pb oil. Especially in a country as backward, repressive, and fundamentalist as the KSA. The imams would sooner condone *gasp* allowing women to vote or drive than encouraging smaller families. It goes against their very cultural (and physical) DNA.

Political leaders even in the West have zero desire to confront the 800lb gorilla in the room thanks to the inevitable hystrionic cries of "eugenics" and blowback from pro-growth corporatists and right-wing zealots. So called "leaders" in third world countries (primarily mafia thugs or lunatic religious fanatics) believe (rightly) that they personally have much to lose by even addressing the issue, much less doing anything about it --a la Cassandra or an Ibsen play protagonist.

In short, population growth will continue unabated until it physically can't. When that moment might be is anyone's guess, but even the most optimistic (revised) Limits to Growth models have it continuing for at least another 30 years, while other models have it continuing for another century or more. To paraphrase Keynes, "humanity can stay irrational longer than you or I can stay alive."

"humanity can stay irrational longer than you or I can stay alive."

Humanity always has been and always will be (as long as it is "humanity"), irrational.

When "we" (but then again we will then no longer be "we") become rational, we will be Vulcans, not humans.

Does that simple logic not make itself self-apparent to you Captain*?

**Captain is Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship USS Enterprise
*** Live long and prosper

Fact is, virtually all countries that have experienced significant declines even in the *rate of increase* in population have all been industrialized and mature Western democracies where women have relatively unfettered access to education, birth control, and political power. No matter what has happened, global population growth --especially in the poorest third world nations-- has continued unabated, and if anything is accelerating.

This is simply not true. The rate of increase has declined all over the world, including in developing nations.


They did not pledge anything. What they said is "Our wish and hope is..." A far cry from pledging to keep prices there.

And, as far as I can see, they have little hope, so it is just a wish.

I wish there was no global warming, and that there was so much oil that we could continue our way of life forever, just as it is or better!

I wish that Venus was a water world, rich in resources and viable for human habitation.

I wish we could go faster than light to other star systems.

Somehow, none of those things seems likely either.

Best hopes for fulfilled wishes.


It will be quite 'interesting' to see if they could actually sustain an output rise of 2 million bpd more than present levels, as claimed.

As reported recently by Reuters, the answer is "not unless you like your crude heavy and sour":

Saudi oil output nearing capacity limit

Long-standing oil policy by Riyadh, the heavyweight in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), sets aside some 1.5 million bpd as protective spare capacity.

But industry sources said pumping anywhere near the declared production capacity might involve extracting heavy crudes the market might not want. It would also be difficult to sustain higher rates for lengthy periods.

For some perspective it's worth remembering a report by Deffeyes a few years ago:

Join us as we watch the crisis unfolding - February 11, 2006

On March 6, 2003 Saudi Aramco and the government of Saudi Arabia announced by way of the Dow Jones newswire that they were maxed out at 9.2 barrels per day. In retrospect, that statement seems to be accurate.

Sure, it could be argued that Saudi production has been marginally closer to 10 mbpd, but how much of that is actually being exported?


Indeed, the 'excess capacity' of the Saudis may be just sour, heavy crude. Also some of that may contain vanadium and other metals/minerals which are not only difficult to remove (if at all), but for which there is no refining capacity available. I believe the heavy/sour problem is a major, if not the most important, reason why the Saudis want to increase their refinery capacity.

Also note that OPEC members as a group are exporting about 400,000 bpd less than about February 1, 2011 - while Libya's exports are down 600,000 bpd. Or in other words, OPEC has only made up about 200,000 bpd in exports in one year while IEA inventories have been falling. That's not even a 1% increase in OPEC exports ex-Libya.

In sum, we should not expect or even hope that the Saudis or OPEC as a group will do much to help out should Iranian oil exports fall through sanctions - as is likely.

IEA prepared to respond to any significant oil supply disruption

Dubai (Platts)--16Jan2012/1116 am EST/1616 GMT

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, has more than 2 million b/d of spare capacity that it could bring on within 90 days in the event of an emergency. The kingdom holds the largest proportion of the world's available spare oil output capacity.

Van der Hoeven said the IEA was expected to release figures for spare production capacity in its forthcoming monthly Oil Market Report covering the fourth quarter of 2011 but she admitted that commercial stocks had fallen since mid-2010 while oil demand was rising, particularly in the developing economies.

"Spare capacity is still there. I also heard minister [Ali] Al Naimi from Saudi said two days ago that Saudi Arabia will always meet demand. I know they have invested in spare capacity. But its also true that stocks have tightened over the last 18 months," she said.



What truly shocks me are the analysts who suggest the price of oil should be substantially lower due to all the new supply coming online. It's been 6 months since the the drawdown of 30 million barrels of oil from the SPR and yet nobody mentions that in their calculations. It absolutely consumes my thought process. Every time I see an inventory number from the EIA I immediately deduct 30 million barrels so I'm comparing apples to apples.

From the wealth of information available on TOD we know:

Inventories are down 30 million barrels
OPEC exports are down 400,000 bpd

Any ideas how we can add the 30 million barrels back? I just don't see it happening.

Curiously, last year's drawdown was the biggest ever from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

In recent years, the SPR has been re-filled slowly by accepting oil as payment-in-kind for royalties on Gulf of Mexico production, reaching its peak in December 2009. However I am not aware of any present plans to refill the SPR.

Details of last summer's release: http://www.spr.doe.gov/dir/dir.html

Past Sales [click on link for more details]

2011 IEA Coordinated Release - 30,640,000 barrels
2005 Hurricane Katrina Sale - 11 million barrels
1996-97 total non-emergency sales - 28 million barrels
1990/91 Desert Shield/Storm Sale - 21 million barrels
(4 million in August 1990 test sale; 17 million in January 1991 Presidentially-ordered drawdown)
1985 - Test Sale - 1.0 million barrels


SPR is out of the news... never to be mentioned again.

Libya is out of the news.
Fukushima is out of the news.

Absolutely breathless, blow-by-blow coverage of the Golden Globe awards.

..the answer is "not unless you like your crude heavy and sour":

Where does that idea come from ? Rueters said:

But industry sources said pumping anywhere near the declared production capacity might involve extracting heavy crudes the market might not want.

What heavy and sour crude are they/you talking about ?

Manifa expansion, scheduled to start in a year or so, is not that heavy, 24 to 28 deg API. Sour yes, but not particularly heavy. By contrast, Prudhoe Bay averages 24 deg API.

Qatif is truely heavy oil. That project is scheduled for pilot testing start-up next year, with full scale to start in about 2017, if at all. SA shares that one with Kuwait.

By BP data, the average gravity of all of SA's crude,condensate and ngl production for 2010 was 44 deg API. What is produced in SA definately isn't heavy(on average).

This reference explains SA's crude oil composition in a general way:

Al Ghawar field produces crude ranging from API gravity 33 degrees to 40 degrees, which is considered light crude oil in the kingdom but is generally heavier than most international light crude oils. As Saffaniyah produces heavy crude oil with API gravity ranging from 27 degrees to 32 degrees.

The historical production pattern until the early 1980s contained greater proportions of light and very light crude oils. By the mid-1980s, government policy sought to adjust output between heavy and light crude oils to reflect actual users of each, so that the kingdom would not exhaust its supply of light crude oils. Estimates for 1991 showed that this balance was not achieved, however; Extra Light (from Al Barri field) and Arab Light (crudes from Abqaiq, Al Ghawar, Abu Hadriyah, Al Qatif, and others) recorded production levels close to 70 percent of total output of 8.2 million bpd, whereas Arab Medium (from Az Zuluf, Al Marjan, Al Kharsaniyah, and other fields) and Arab Heavy (from As Saffaniyah, Manifah, and other fields) production levels approached 11 percent and 19 percent, respectively. In the early 1990s, the consensus was that after capacity was expanded, the split between light and heavy grades would shift to 10 percent more heavy crude oils, despite recent discoveries of very light grades south of Riyadh. During the 1980s, technological developments in refining narrowed the differentials between light and heavy crudes. Therefore, the traditional price disadvantage that the Saudis faced was steadily being erased because of the more sophisticated refineries being brought on line.


"Arabian heavy" is lighter than other people's heavy, which generally must have an API gravity below 20 or 22 to be considered heavy. It would be considered a medium oil by North American standards.

However it is certainly much heavier than WTI at 40°API or Brent at 38°API.

-->>the average gravity of all of SA's crude,condensate and ngl production for 2010 was 44 deg API.<<--

Averages don't count in refining. If you blend heavy oil, condensate, and NGL, you can come up with an oil that meets gravity specs but is absolutely useless for producing diesel fuel because the middle fractions are missing. That is more or less what KSA was trying to do to replace the Libyan light that was cut off.

The European refineries that depended on Libyan oil really didn't like the Saudi blend because the diesel cut was half of what they could get out of Libyan oil. This is the problem with the new oil KSA is trying to put on the market - it is not a replacement for the high quality Arabian Light oil that used to make up almost all of their sales. It requires more sophisticated and therefore more expensive refineries to process it.

The sulfur content of crude oil is a problem, too, because of the laws requiring ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. The refineries must be modified to take the higher levels of sulfur out of the oil.

Other producing countries have similar problems to KSA - their new oil is lower quality than their older oil and requires much more sophisticated refineries to process.

I appreciate your many comments about the properties and processing of oil, many of which we would not find explained elsewhere so succinctly as here.

Petrol taxes won't hurt the poor:

Higher petrol taxes don't hurt the poor but the use of fossil fuels should be made a crime against humanity as the world has only 50 years in which to mitigate the effects of climate change

"Apart from the US, in most countries the poor cannot afford to own their own vehicles. So they are either heavily dependent on public transport or they walk. However fuel prices make up a very small portion of their financial burden compared to the rich," he said.

Yes that non-existent public transport runs on fairy dust don'tcha know... and of course the fact that this doesn't apply in America (the worlds largest user of oil by a large margin) doesn't seem to bother the good Professor.

I would also ask the professor what percentage of "spare capital" that fuel increase takes away for rich vs poor?

Common sense does imply that damage to world ecosystems and economic productivity as a result of climate change impacts over thousands of years should be orders of magnitude more important than a minor short term cost increment in fuel tax.

As the professor says, the vast majority of the world's poor do not own vehicles, and travel by foot, bicycle, or transit. And most poor people in the world (US excepted) do have access to transit, and fuel costs per person are a much smaller percentage of total travel costs for a passenger on a 120 person bus than for a more wealthy individual alone in an SUV. Which is why transit, even in poor countries, is often able to outbid self-indulgent individual drivers in wealthy countries for petroleum products.

And, of course, higher taxes on fuel would both incentivise additional transit services, and likely provide the funding for those services, even in the US. The car-dependent middle and upper classes use the purported (and easily avoided) impacts of fuel taxes on the poor as a transparently false argument to protect their own privilege and unsustainable consumption.

But the delaying tactics will clearly fail, and fuel taxes will inevitably rise, to fund road maintenance, transit, and to discourage carbon emissions. I expect a lot of squawking in the process.

As the professor says, the vast majority of the world's poor do not own vehicles, and travel by foot, bicycle, or transit.

Maybe, but if the world's poor are really so splendidly immune to the cost of fuel (which of course includes taxes) as you and the professor seem to think, then I have to wonder why in the world there has been such a giant, riotous fuss about the price of gasoline (AKA petrol) in Nigeria, where the government has now, once again, caved in with generous outright subsidies.

Sure Nigeria can subsidize gasoline for a little while, until their wells are depleted. But the obvious consequence of the fuel subsidy is that Nigeria will delay investment in fuel-efficient transit, and squander irreplaceable oil faster, while emitting more carbon.

If fuel-tax opponents were really concerned about the poor, offsetting fuel tax refunds to low income people could eliminate any net financial impact to poor people. Fuel taxes are the obvious way to speed the transition away from fossil fuels, but car drivers have enough political power to slow their implementation in the US. Places where gas taxes remain low and/or gas subsidies remain high will just delay the inevitable transition for a little while, ensuring that more unsustainable infrastructure and urban design gets implemented.

I fully expect the US to bleed itself dry, importing oil and exporting dollars, trying to keep the Happy Motoring dream alive, becoming impoverished in the real world, while consumers are lost in the marketing-driven fantasy of SUVs splashing through pristine streams in a leafy wilderness. The most likely scenario is that taxes stay low until the whole system implodes.

Supposing, for the sake of argument, that all that is essentially true, it's all the same quite beside the point, which remains: if the great majority of Nigerians are immune to the cost of petrol, why are they bothering to kick up such a fuss in a country not known for benign tolerance of demonstrations and such? There are apparently only 31 vehicles per 1000 people (probably not including motorbikes, but relatively speaking those don't use much fuel.) If, nonetheless, they are raising so much riotous fuss that the government has caved in, rather than do what one piously pronounces from on high that it ought to do, one might well reflect on why that is. Surely we must be overlooking something, and I suspect that whatever it is, it may well play out even more strongly in rich countries where most people can and do personally purchase petrol on a routine basis. And probably pious preaching will persuade hardly anyone to set it aside. (And that's not to say that I have any idea what might.)

Oh, and since expensive - relative to incomes even when subsidized - petrol in Nigeria surely pushes many people onto motorbikes in lieu of cars, I wonder whether high fuel taxes here might do likewise. Despite the danger, many people might strongly prefer a motorbike to spending endless hours (and giving up most of life other than work and grocery shopping in order to make those hours available) waiting for tardy, unreliable buses that often don't even show up. Actually, I was forgetting, make that more than just "might" - quite a few students ride motorbikes here in the Berkeley of the Midwest.

Is it possible that Nigerians use petrol not only for motorbikes but for domestic purposes (cooking, hot water, etc.)? Sounds improbable, but does anyone really know? My father worked for Socony Vacuum in Nigeria in the mid 1940s, but we left there when I was 4, so I don't remember much of anything at all.

I'd think they might use LP gas cylinders for cooking as in other poor countries, but maybe someone here actually knows.

I would guess they use it for generators.

Along with fuel hikes, I thought I read that food prices have skyrocketed? That could add up to some unrest.

I think whats missing is trust in government fairness. The poor think (I'll assume correctly) that the only break they ever got from their government is subsidized fuel. So eliminate the subsidies, and not replace the spending with something else that benefits the poor, and they are left high and dry. The economically efficient thing to do would be to eliminate the subsidies, but offset that by helping the poor in some other way. But, obviously the poor have some cause to believe the government is simply out to screw them.

Well, it's often nearly impossible to bother a good Professor in the manner you have in mind. But that doesn't stop professorial bloviations preached from the splendid isolation of the ivory tower from being good for a bit of bemusement:

...use of fossil fuels should be made a crime against humanity as the world has only 50 years in which to mitigate the effects of climate change...

...Sterner who presented a workshop at the University of Cape Town this week...

[Emphases added.] Now, if the good Professor is so exercised about fossil fuels that he desires to criminalize their use comparably to genocide - "a crime against humanity" - then what the [expletive deleted] was he doing in Cape Town instead of Sweden? It is the 21st century after all, not the 18th - there was absolutely no need to transport all that protoplasm, plus the elaborate shipping containers, to Capetown and back again, at vast expense in criminal fossil fuel, merely in order that the listeners could become aware of the speakers' words. The internet or even the telephone or the printing press would have done, and at orders of magnitude less of that sort of expense. Or maybe the Professor went by unicorn - I wonder which species is capable of carrying a Professor such a vast distance?

Seriously, I think Lou Grinzo nailed it in a parenthetical note the other day:

Note to my fellow enviros: Ever wonder why so many people hate us? It’s because so many of us are constantly telling everyone else where to live, how to drive, how many kids to have, how many sheets of toilet paper to use, how to wrap Christmas presents, etc.

Possibly the good Professor would do well to meditate upon whether he desires to tilt constructively/usefully at his chosen windmills - or whether he's merely out to treat the world-at-large as a giant graduate seminar, tossing off potty propositions in order to rile people for the express purpose of, in the academic jargon, "stimulating discussion". If it's the latter, then, well, it's not as though there's any shortage of idle discussion. Indeed, the Professor could have collected countless balloon-loads of hot air in Brussels, and a trip there would have been far shorter and less immoral.

Its Catch-22 isn't it:

Go out and tell the world of your discoveries and be classifed as a hypocrite for living in the modern world or stay in your hovel and never be heard.

Well, yes, I suppose so. But there it is. We are plagued by an army of folks bloviating about how bad it is and how scared they are, but they don't even for a split second act as if anything whatsoever is bad or scary.

Oh, and BTW, it's not as if a presumably tenured Professor in Gothenburg, in rich Sweden, would be confined (even metaphorically) to a "hovel" or go unheard, even if his travel budget were cut quite radically. After all it's quite customary for Deutsche Welle, or the BBC, or NPR, or CNN, or any other major media outlet, to conduct interviews by split-screen video hookup or even by telephone. They need not waste as much money as they used to, flying people hither and yon for no reason, and sometimes they don't. It is the 21st century after all. And any of those media hookups would garner the Professor an immensely larger audience than he could ever have preaching in person to the choir in Cape Town - who were undoubtedly, in the bog-standard manner seen at "conferences", ignoring the incomprehensible mumbling at the microphone completely, and instead snoozing, or at best fiddling interminably with their smart phones.

So you go from the example of ONE person to a claim about an "army" of bloviators, who somehow you know for sure all, to a person "don't even for a split second act as if anything is bad or scary."

I don't know where you live, but most active environmentalists I know work very hard to lower their carbon footprint, including biking through very cold, icy and snowy winters here in Minneapolis.

You obviously have a large prejudice against anyone who says anything sensible about the environment.

So what is your position on the environment?

Do you think we should just crap all over our kids?

If so, then we can't really take anything you say very seriously.

If so, why don't you tell us about your own footprint.

I don't know about this particular professor, but it is possible to offset one's carbon (however imperfect the carbon accounting may be). I'd give decent odds that the prof has done that. That beats my record -I use PV for only about 75% of home use, still drive, use natural gas heat, buy industrially made products etc. etc. (and I'm not offsetting). But yet my footprint is probably lower than 95% of my contrymen. If only people who are purer than pure are allowed to determine what we need to do, we'll never get anything done.

And some time in the future, the suffering humans that remain, will consider that those in our generation who burned FFs committed a crime against their humanity.

I once won a prize for having the biggest carbon footprint:

I agree with your critique that such extravagant use of fossil fuels in the name of "Saving the Planet" looks rather bad. However, as always, if you don't show up on the battle field, you lose the battle. It is a sad state of affairs that the discussion regarding climate change and resource depletion has moved into the political arena and we all know how those games are conducted. To sit back and pontificate over the internet (as we do regularly around here) is not going to convince the great mass of voters out there on the freeway to follow our recommendations. Given the continual pervasive media hype to consume, how should the concerned individual (or group) respond, start a sit-in on every Main Street of every large city on Eaarth? Who would (did) listen while running around their daily routines, trying to find enough food to eat and money to pay the rent and utilities, etc? Even the teachers in the public schools are being snared by denialist propaganda.

I'm afraid that there's little hope for rational thinking, when the vast majority sees the world thru eyes which have been trained since they were children to accept a mythical world view. The only course seems to be to sit back and await a time when those mythical world views fail and then offer an alternative. I can only hope that there will be enough time to implement such alternatives before the inevitable collapse of the old world view crushes everything under the rubble...

E. Swanson

"The only course seems to be to sit back and await a time when those mythical world views fail and then offer an alternative."

Good point. But those alternative views have to be out there in the stew of perspectives that people have at least heard about to have a chance that people will turn to them when things fall apart. We all have to do what we can to present alternative reality-based approaches in whatever fora we have access to.

I have little hope, though, that we will avoid truly calamitous outcomes at this point. I think gaining some realization of what is actually happening is about the only even potentially positive outcome at this point.

I guess you could argues that the fossil fuels would have been burnt regardless. There has been a lot said that consuming in order to be green doesn't make sense, however on the flipside of that argument if you assume that fossil fuels will be burnt by someone else regardless then purchasing 'greener' alternatives may still be better than non-consumption by virtue of the fact that you're directing resources which would have been spent regardless towards a more productive end use. I guess as long as what you're doing is above average 'green' you're moving the mean/median in the right direction.

The fact of the day is however that any action which benefits an individual in the longer term such as efficiency, solar power and reduced consumption etc is likely to benefit the wider society. I don't believe there is an overall distinction between doing what is good for yourself and what is good for society so long as you're acting in a rational manner. There are exceptions however to this rule but overall I believe if you're doing good for yourself then by extension most of the time what you're doing is good for people around you.

The only thing which really skews your world footprint in an irreversible way is reproduction. If you live a lavash lifestyle but have no children your overall footprint has to be significantly lower than someone who lives virtuously but reproduces because you're not only responsible for what you consume but for the resources consumed by the children you bring into the world as well. The best way to live within your footprint is to simply not have children no matter what other things you happen to be doing or not doing at the time.

I guess as long as what you're doing is above average 'green' you're moving the mean/median in the right direction.

The way I see things, we need to get to zero carbon in 50years, by reducing consumption by 2% per year (or some other rampdown strategy). One may not be able to go straight to zero. But being well ahead of the curve, thats a goal that seems worthy to me. I figure I'm a couple of decades ahead of the recommeneded curve.

I agree. Even important voices like Kunstler and Stoneleigh, and many more, are hypocritical in this regard.

Dear Kunstler: How about staying in your town in New York and actually work on building your so called "world made by hand" instead of traveling the country telling everybody how ugly it is?

Dear Stoneleigh: How about staying on your land in Ontario, and once in a while doing a video lecture, instead of traveling all over the place telling people over and over again about this scary ghost of deflation, even though this phantom never actually appears?

Dear Oilman Sachs, why are you telling people who are trying to spread the word about peak oil to just shut up? I think these people are doing a fantastic job. From day one, on this list, I have seen people attack Kunstler, Greer, Foss, Campbell, Heinberg, Orlov, Martenson, Duncan, Deffeyes and every other person who writes about peak oil. If M. King Hubbert were still alive I have no doubt they would attack him also. They call them every name in the book and try to tell them to just shut up.

Well you could expect this from the cornucopians, the deniers. But to get these attacks from people who claim to believe peak oil is here, or at least very near, is unbelievable.

Well hell, I guess it is a free country and we do have freedom of speech. But these folks who write books and blog about peak oil are definitely not the ones I would call hypocrites.

Ron P.


Similar counter-productive attacks by insiders again environmental writers/speakers/researchers (e.g., Hansen, McKibben Rees, Meadows).

Bumper sticker: Support free speech. It lets us know who the idiots are.


I have absolutely no problem with people jetting about giving talks on environmentalism. That flight would have gone anyway whether the professor was on it.

What i DO have a problem with is people talking about raising taxes that the poor can't afford so that sometime later on they MIGHT get a better transport system. Also talking about how it's up to 3rd world countries to cut their poor's oil use when 1st world countries use far more per capita and use it wastefully.

When the professor lives like one of these people and sees how they use said oil compared to the rest of the world, instead of looking at pretty graphs, I will then start taking him more seriously.

[They can walk, says the professor while flying across europe, so what's the problem? Ten miles there, ten back, i can do ten miles in 15 minutes on the train.]

Your comment illustrates what appears to be a common misconception. You wrote:

That flight would have gone anyway whether the professor was on it.

The amount of fuel consumed is directly related to the total weight of the aircraft, passengers, luggage and fuel carried during the flight. Adding a few hundred pounds more mass for each person and their baggage increases the fuel used during the flight, which in turn increases the amount of fuel loaded on the ground. The situation is not like that of an automobile, where the added weight has little effect on fuel consumption at highway speeds...

E. Swanson

Really now? Think it would use less fossil fuel if they drove a four thousand pound car across the country instead?

Of course I understand that your gripe, and the gripe of all others about people who travel around the country talking about peak oil and global warming is not their mode of travel but the fact that they travel at all. They should stay home and do everything by video over the internet? As if that would be equally as effective. I doubt that seriously.

I, for one, have better things to do than attack those who are trying to deliver the message about resource depletion and climate change, regardless of the medium which they choose to employ in doing this.

But some people simply take great pleasure in throwing stones at the messenger even though the message is one that they probably would agree with. I think some people find great pleasure in criticizing people like Kunstler, Foss, Martenson and all the others who are on the stump spreading the message about peak oil and climate change. After all they need to be brought down to our size, or so some people think.

I apologize if this is harsh but that is exactly how I feel about it. These people are doing what most of us would like to do ourselves but lack resources, training or talent to do so. So we lash out at them for what they can do and what we want to do but cannot.

Ron P.

It is essentially using an argument based upon purity. If the messenger is not totall pure, then you can dismiss him as a hypocrit, and ignore his message. I see trolls divert environmental discussion this way all the time,
(I don't see you living in a cave, therefore you don't practice what you preach and your message can be invalidated because of that). Given that living beings are in fact fallible, this method of hijacking a discussion can almost always be tried.

He, he, he. Thanks Enemy for that reply. I never thought of it like that but you are exactly correct.

Ron P.


His message was the problem, not his flight.

I would like to see the stats on that. I would have thought one extra person would be negligible (not zero obviously)... but i am always happy to be corrected.

More importantly the number of flights that are scheduled depends upon the demand. If flights are overbooked, then the airline will investigate adding another one. If there are not enough passengers to make them profitable, the airline will investigate cutting back on the flight schedule. Obviously there is only a small change that one passemger choosing to(or not to) fly being the straw that changes the future schedule is small, but statistically it is important.

"That flight would have gone anyway whether the professor was on it."

That's an attractive rationalization since in the most literal-minded sense conceivable, it's almost true. But in any reasonable sense, it's absolutely false, even neglecting the weight of the extra passenger and luggage. The airlines have become very good at "load management", so good indeed as to make flying generally a miserable experience. If the number of passengers diminishes, so does the number of flights, and quickly. Except for some ridiculous subsidized flights to nowhere, the days when there was a plane every so many hours whether it was needed or not have been gone for a very long time.

Nonetheless, my original quarrel was not with flying per se, but with condemning people in the harshest and most judgmental available terms - "crimes against humanity" - while living extraordinarily high off the very same hog oneself. Note that it has become fairly clear from the comments that even environmentalists who are more circumspect about judgmentalism - and who probably attain a much more favorable speeches-per-gallon ratio - can at least see the issue.

It isn't that simple because a break even or profitable flight may not be full capacity.


See table 8-3 at the top for an example of fuel consumption per passenger. There is a point of diminishing returns but as routes are planned well in advance any additional travelers aren't likely to increase the short term number of flights. In the longer term an increase in air travel would also cause a shift towards newer aircraft as profitable airlines are able to do significantly more Capex than unprofitable airlines and can therefore retire relatively inefficient older planes for newer models. The 787 for instance is 20% more fuel efficient than the 767 due to using a composite design.

I'm not telling them to shut up. I'm wondering aloud whether they will stay at home. There's a difference.

Kunstler and Stoneleigh can still do what they do without touring the country by car and airplane. Well it is what it is. Perhaps I'm a fool for expecting those who preach localism to lead by example.

Some, like Orlov and Greer seem to be walking the walk a bit more. But I do appreciate all of them.

If everyone who advocates localism stayed at home then and did not spread the word then no one would ever no about it. These people are spreading the word about peak oil. Give them a break and stop criticizing them at every opportunity. No one is perfect. These people are on our side. Stop bad mouthing them as if they were ignorant cornucopians... or worse.

Ron P.

"Our" side...
There is no "side", we are all on the same boat.

And criticism is no "bad mouthing". Considering the seriousness and the importance of the message they carry, yes, they should at least be consistent with the content of what they say. Some are. But those who aren't are doing harm to the credibility of the whole message.
I remember shaking my head in disbelief when reading Lovelock on overpopulation when he himself has four children and a legion of grandchildren. I mean, how can people at large take your message seriously afterwards?
Walking the talk is crucial, IMHO. What is at stake is the coherence of the entire peak oil yarn.

I'm 40 some odd years old and I don't have any kids....


Unless you adopt or teach instead of having your own that means that you are leaving the future entirely to the people who don't care as much about overpopulation as you do.

Nice Catch-22 there, eh?

Exactly. If everyone who advocates localism (and net energy analysis) stays at home, then change will not happen.

The story below gets at the need to work, simultaneously, at many levels (emphasis added):

Contrary to what its name might imply, localization is not just about "the local." It's a process of social change. It’s about organizing at the local, regional, national, and even international levels. Minnesota farmer Jack Hedin discovered the national dimension of localization when he tried to convert corn acreage to fruit and vegetables for sale at natural food stores and a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program.

The U.S. Agriculture Department’s commodity farm program supports, with tax dollars and special rules, the production of corn, soybeans, rice, wheat, and cotton. A farmer under that program who attempts to plant fruits and vegetables has to give up the subsidy. But, in what seems draconian, the farmer is also “penalized the market value of the illicit crop,” writes Hedin. The penalties only apply to fruits and vegetables, not to commodity crops and, amazingly, not if the farmer plants nothing at all. For Hedin, a small grower, the penalty one year was $8,771. To label locally grown and sold fruits and vegetables “illicit” is perplexing, to say the least.

But Hedin did some research and feels he has an explanation. “National fruit and vegetable growers based in California, Florida and Texas fear competition from regional producers like myself. Through their control of Congressional delegations from those states, they have been able to virtually monopolize the country’s fresh produce markets,” he writes.

Hedin and small growers across the country will probably agree that it is not enough to form CSAs and support farmers’ markets. Localizers will have to trek to Washington, D.C., to straighten out such anti-localization policies.

Source: Jack Hedin, “My Forbidden Fruits (and Vegetables),” New York Times, March 1, 2008.

Most of those treks will consume ff. IMO that's an investment worth making.


And most likely the trekkers will be focused on the legal changes they're lobbying for, rather than on pronouncing that other people should be executed for consuming FF even while they guzzle it themselves. So no big problem.

Visibly leading by example is important. And hard to do; we all need to keep working at it since we are being watched.

Yet doesn’t hypocrisy seem one-sided at times.

A technocopian who vacations in Amish country for the peace and quiet, enjoys heirloom tomatoes for the flavor, or appreciates hand-made items is almost never called out as a fraud. They are allowed to explore freely; their choices are a matter of personal preference.

But an environmentalist using a modern gadget or taking advantage of a convenience, seems to at once lose all credibility no matter the progress they may be making if we were to look across all their behaviors. It seems every single one of their choices must fit a perfection conjured by others.


Too true. But inevitable, since environmentalists are still a minority in the big picture.

"It seems every single one of their choices must fit a perfection conjured by others."


Some of these issues really need to be lobbied, and shared face to face, by many people, over and over. That travel is NOT the same thing as the majority of a population Commuting long distances, and I think people are smart enough to acknowledge the difference.

It takes money to make money, water to prime a dry pump.. it's going to take energy to CUT DOWN on our energy consumption, and part of that allocation of energy is in moving the message out there.

Visibly leading by example is important. And hard to do; we all need to keep working at it since we are being watched.

I read an interview with Ed Begley Junior a while ago. He was talking about the disconnect between using air travel to spread the message as compared to staying home. He was trying to avoid flying, but had been talking to David Suzuki about the issue (whom I have read has at various times tried to cut back on his own air travel) who said that he should fly to speaking engagements, because Ed Begley staying at home would be a net loss to the environmental movement.

Just thought it was important to remember that these guys agonize over the issue and are aware of the optics.


I read TAE regularly, and except when they try to predict exact dates, I think they have been calling the financial crisis play by play. If you understand their definition of deflation, that is exactly what is happening. Every loan that is written down or not paid back results in deflation. The massive numbers and amounts of loans defaulting are removing credit from the system. I am not near as articulate as TAE is on the subject, but I get it.

There is massive deflation in the system which is countering the monetary inflation by TPTB, otherwise those trillions printed in the aftermath of 2008 would have shown up somewhere. Inflation has been high but nowhere near what is known as hyperinflation.

""Even important voices like Kunstler""

Haaaaaaa! That's a good laugh. Kunstler is a Capitalist, with a BIG C, feeding off the mood of a small portion of the people in the U.S. He spouts Pablum to those looking for Doom and Gloom.

Important? Not so much....

Choose Wisely.
The Martian

As an environmentalist who actually tries fairly hard to live on one earth (www.myfootprint.org), I can tell you from experience that you have two choices:

1) Either try as hard as you can to live frugally and be prepared to be called "Holier than thou" (or worse, and often times by Christians who presumably think that they are destined to high holy heaven for eternity while your eco-atheist @ss is going to be roasting in hot hell for an equally long forever)

2) Or decide that one of the few valid uses of what little ff that we should still be using is to travel around and spread the word, in which case, you will, as here be called a hypocrite (usually by people who have never held a moral position in their lives so have never had to worry about their actions diverging from their values)

And of course the two are not mutually exclusive. Sometime both epithets are applied (and again, often much worse) by the same people at the same time.

People who hate environmentalists do so because,

a) they are totally clueless about the current multiple ecological disasters falling around our heads as we speak

b) they don't want to hear that they may have a moral obligation not to live quite as high on the hog as they would like and are perfectly willing to kill (or lambaste) the messenger

c) don't want their cozy technocopian world view threatened by reality

Or all of these combined plus more.

As long as you are expressing hard truths that people don't want to hear, many will hate you no matter what lifestyle you choose to lead.

So PaulS, how often do you travel? How do you score on www.myfootprint.org?

I suspect you are throwing stones in a very brittle glass house.

I appreciated PaulS's comments. I don't actually know what he thinks of course, but I didn't get the impression he "hates" environmentalists.

The fact that I have come to expect anger and bullying behavior from people who call themselves environmentalists is one of the main reasons why I like to see comments by people who dissent when they are "supposed to" just swallow anything and everything placed under the environmentalist label.

I have no problem with people traveling. In fact probably the ONLY time I have a problem with it is if someone travels to tell me not to travel. Rationalizations aside that is the textbook definition of hypocrisy in my book.

people who have never held a moral position in their lives...

--use of fossil fuels should be made a crime against humanity

Do you honestly believe that there is only one true morality and this one true morality should be the new criminal code to enforced with state violence?

I scored 1.65 earths on your scale. What is the cutoff point for being guilty of FF Genocide?
I don't think it really captured the way I live my life though--trying to make my 2 semi-rural acres as self sufficient as possible, haven't owned a car for 12 years (once commuted 60mi a day by bike lol) though now I have a 1989 toyota pickup that gets 1000-2000 miles a year (would love one of those old toyota diesels!), wood heat from locals, most food that I don't grow (other than beans and rice) from nearby farms, beef from hunting or grazed local on land too crappy for crops, adding more insulation and better appliances one room at a time, maybe one day will have solar if I the economics get better, and don't want kids. Then again I like to carpool to the ski hill as often as possible, go upriver with friends in their jet-boats to bass fish, like incandescent bulbs, use way too many paper towels and don't like to recycle bottles and cans.

Overall, I can't say it seems like an unreasonable estimate, but honestly have no idea. I don't do any of the things I do chose to do because I think they are morally superior and I honestly can't stand being associated with those who claim they are. I personally have more issue with people who claim to have special access to the word of God than those who drive Hummers. AND on a practical note, it just might win more converts (if that sort of thing interests you) not by telling people to repent and find Enviro-God, but by telling people that maybe, just maybe, they'll find a simpler, happier, less stressful life that agrees with them.

If the given is burning FF's = genocide, than I would have to say that having kids = genocide. Things are starting to get fuzzy. Where does the totalitarian impulse stop? Or do the hypothesized ends justify criminalizing anything?

PS is calling someone who is struggling to tell important truths to a world who doesn't want to listen a hypocrite.

I am challenging Paul to let us know how he avoids the same hypocrisy that he is accusing the person he is attacking of.

If you consider that bullying, you need to read some of the attack emails that the above mentioned scientists are receiving, threatening their bodies, their wives, their children...with all manner of crude violence.

If you find that non-offensive but are moved to speak out against my mild suggestions, perhaps you need to reassess your own priorities.

Yes, mostly I try to move people toward living as simply as you seem to be doing by pointing out that it has many financial and emotional advantages. But pardon me if I don't go out of my way to lie to their faces about the actual horrific state of the country and world.

Probably most prefer lies; I just can't bring myself to serve them up.

I avoid the hypocrisy by not making blanket pronouncements that FF use should be punished by the same level of state violence as genocide. If the good Professor claims the right to travel hither and yon as if he were a dust mote in ceaseless Brownian motion, a behavior that is fairly common among Professors - without, as he himself suggests, being executed ("crimes against humanity", think Nuremberg) - then, since I don't see him as a being vastly superior to everyone else, I figure others have much the same right.

Oh, and I continue to insist that in the 21st century, it is not anything like as necessary as it once was to transport a large quantity of protoplasm to one place merely in order that a small group of listeners (most of whom probably didn't need persuading anyhow) may  hear  sleep through the words of a speaker. Nor is there any need for that place to be one of the remotest spots on the planet save for Antarctica.

Oh, and on top of all that, now that the Gutenberg Method has been invented, as of only a mere 570 years ago, the whole idea of traveling a long distance just to hear a lecture has become a bit silly anyhow.

I would guess that PaulS avoids hypocrisy, at least in part by not dividing the world into murders and saviors, then sticking himself into the saviors camp while not differentiating himself from the other side by any measurable standard.

Of course this issue is complex, and people do need to burn fossil fuels to try to get the world to reduce their use.

But the criticism is real and important. I've lived in two developing countries for most of the last decade and can't tell you how many people will fly in from rich countries to lecture people who use much less energy about how evil they are for wanting a lifestyle with just some of the benefits the lecturer takes for granted when lavished upon his or herself.

If real environmentalists don't themselves criticize the globe traveling self promoters among them, they will get tarred with the same brush.

Also, understand that lecturing people about how bad they are for not meeting a standard you don't yourself adhere to is hardy heroic or productive. In fact, it shuts them off to more rational arguments that could make a difference.

For the record, I am a lonely voice in academia against all of our zooming around to conferences, etc, all the time and flying students and profs to have overseas experiences, in most cases. This position does not make me very popular.

But if you're against travel, the first thing to do is to stop doing so yourself. If you haven't done that, but you are accusing others of hypocrisy for doing so, I still don't see how you avoid the very hypocrisy you are accusing others of.

The best reason for those in developed countries to travel to less developed ones is to learn from them how to live much lower impact life styles. But, as you say, that is not the main reason this is done.

There is absolutely nothing unreasonable about expecting people to practice what they preach, particularly when they invoke a moralistic tone in their proclamations. A professor who flies half way around the world to deliver a speech condemning the use of fossil fuel is every bit as big a hypocrite as an adulterous preacher condemning the sinners in his flock, or an anti-gay congressman cruising the men’s bathroom at the airport.

Nobody is saying the guy has to live in a cave, but flying 10,000 miles to deliver a speech that could have been delivered via video is 100% unnecessary to get his message out. Don’t make the mistake of giving this guy or any other enviro-hypocrite a pass just because you happen to agree with some part of their message.

And to the poster above who questions why technocopians aren’t accused of hypocrisy for enjoying organic tomatoes: They’re only hypocrites if they previously lectured others against doing the same thing.

"Enviro-hypocrite" ..

I happen to agree with a lot of environmental ideals, but I still own a car. I drive to Permaculture and Peak Oil meetings. Why don't we do conference calls? Because there's a lot more to human conversation than just the Words. It's important to be face to face with people, make real connections, eat a meal together.

We expend energy in every aspect of our lives.. the question is 'Was it a helpful and productive expenditure or not?'

I really don't agree that every speech can be simply video'd out. Many could, but this whole argument, like 'Al Gore's House' is mostly a distraction. It's more of the 'Welfare Mom's with Caddy's' nonsense. The Greens and anybody who is Preaching that we can do better, and be more responsible in the world, they will get harpooned by this sort of complaint no matter HOW sparkly clean they keep their noses.

Modern Consumption-culture does NOT want to hear 'you can't', 'you shouldn't' .. we are festering under this illusion that we should be free to do anything we want, whenever, wherever, and anyone trying to rein that in is asking for it.

Greens are the modern Prohibitionists, and as such are simply Easy Targets for anyone still enjoying any part of the party. ..But that doesn't make them wrong.

Greens are the modern Prohibitionists

Oh, dear. Put that up in lights and frame it. Hang a copy in the series of rotating quotes at the upper right corner of the page. Then observe the endless parade of self-appointed nags strutting across the world stage, piously bossing other people around, and even obstructing traffic now and then, just like the old-time Prohibitionists. (Never mind tippling very generously indeed, just like so many of the old-time Prohibitionists.) Then ask how well that all worked out for the old-time Prohibitionists.

Then ask the $64 question: Why Should It Work Out Any Differently This Time?

What was that bit about insanity consisting of repeating the same behavior while demanding different results?

Why don't we do conference calls? Because there's a lot more to human conversation than just the Words. It's important to be face to face with people, make real connections, eat a meal together.

We expend energy in every aspect of our lives.. the question is 'Was it a helpful and productive expenditure or not?'

No argument from me, but all the other people in the world who fly around for business meetings, trips to Disneyland with their families, and most other long-distance encounters also value face time, hand shakes and shared meals. Those things are just as important, productive and helpful to them as your permaculture meetings are to you, and the good professor’s conferences in exotic locations are to him.

I really don't agree that every speech can be simply video'd out.

Sure it can, especially the ones that are pointing the finger of condemnation at others for doing the same thing.

Many could, but this whole argument, like 'Al Gore's House' is mostly a distraction. It's more of the 'Welfare Mom's with Caddy's' nonsense.

No it’s not, it’s called practicing what you preach and it’s not a difficult concept.

The Greens and anybody who is Preaching that we can do better, and be more responsible in the world, they will get harpooned by this sort of complaint no matter HOW sparkly clean they keep their noses.

No, they’ll get harpooned when they preach one thing for others, and apply a less restrictive standard to themselves.

Greens are the modern Prohibitionists, and as such are simply Easy Targets for anyone still enjoying any part of the party

All the more reason to live in accordance with the admonitions they preach to others.

Look, a person who places himself in a prominent position of a movement that condemns X (whatever X happens to be) has to expect close scrutiny from others when it comes to his own involvement in X. It doesn’t matter if the movement is related to environmentalism or any other cause. Get your own house in order before you step up to the podium to lecture others. The bigger the sacrifice that’s being advocated, the more important it is to lead by example. Double standards just don’t cut it. Sorry, but the good professor gets no pass.

I wonder if anyone here has the slightest idea how much power this internet draws? As they slowly yap away on 300-Watt tower computers doing 3-gigaflops while staring into 22" monitors? When server-farms are proposed, the power company has to get involved in finding or creating distribution capacity to the planned installations.

Google alone is pushing towards 500 megawatts continuous:


The model Google is advocating i.e. server farms with virtual desktops and cloud is far more power efficient than individual PC's put together.

Agree 100%. So if there are any hard core activists claiming that consumption of 300 Watts is a crime against humanity, they should all get off the internet at once!

Sounds like a strawman argument. Who is claiming that consumption of 300 Watts is a crime against humanity?

Hopefully nobody, hence my sarcastic post. I guess sarcasm doesn’t work with everybody.



There's a name for genuine environmentalism. It's called being poor. It's called being working class. It's called being stuck in a dead end job in a dead end town.

Those are the true environmentalists.

I'm not a genius, but my mother didn't raise a fool. I'm not impressed by upper middle class lifestyle choices, I'm just not.

Now, mind you, there are those who are passionate about population control, and practice it in their life, and I would say they are genuine environmentalists as well.

Which admittedly is a bit of a conundrum. Working class people tend to breed, but upper class people tend to consume. Both aren't good for the environment.

Show me the poor person who has no or few children, and there's the environmentalist.

I agree. And having just lost my job, I will be enjoying the pleasures and virtues of poverty quite soon '-)

There are many ways of measuring ecological footprint, but the simplest is just looking at income.

Now I think it is possible to spend much of your income on truly environmental goals--starting community gardens, insulating houses, getting at least some at least marginally sane people into elected office...

But mostly, people with money don't spend it on those things.

(By the way, did you have particular person's middle class lifestyle in mind?)

(And do keep in mind that PaulS and his ilk wouldn't even bother chastising the poor for anything that they did that seemed non-environmental since they wouldn't take them seriously enough to bother. The poor are literally below contempt for most such hyper-capitalists.)

the simplest is just looking at income.

I don't think so. Take two hypothetical people with the same income. One has bought solar panels, drives not very much, and when he does it is a small high milage vehicle. Person two, instead of spending on PV, bought an F-350 to haul his speedboat to the lake. The footprints are barely even comparable. Perhaps person one is experimenting with biochar, while person two has clearcut ten acres of forest to improve his view. One can use one's resources in different ways. Having access to resoyrces isn't the problem, its how we use them that matters.

Good points. That's why I said 'simplest,' not 'most accurate.'

Of course, once he has his PV in, he has to buy a bunch of things to run on that PV, perhaps including a TV (often one of the first things bought when new electricity comes in to an area).

That TV will bring him many advertisements, some of which will persuade him to buy yet more useless junk...

The powers working to get people with money to spend it on worthless crap are awesome--even if one resists it, others in the family will harass them to buy junk...

Some may be able to resist all such pressures, but most will eventually succumb.

So income may not be perfectly accurate in each case, but over all it is simple rule of thumb that works in most cases.

Here lies the heart of the problem: we've never learned how to be rich. And now we have to learn how to be poor again.


Well said!

Written by dohboi:

My footprint is estimated as 2.62 Earths with most of that being my food footprint.

I am unsure how they could estimate a person's food footprint without asking for gender and weight. There may be too large of a gap between vegetarian and omnivore.

Good points. There are lots of important questions not asked here, like how many kids do you have, how old were you when you had them, how did you raise them, what kinds of activism do take part in...

It's a simple, five minute quiz just to get a general idea. There are much more rigorous programs if you are interested.

There is a large and growing body of work that mostly supports the large impact of meat eating, especially eating of industrial meet. Probably if you eat only chickens you raise yourselves that mostly eat table scraps and bugs, or if you eat venison you shoot yourself, or even grass fed organic beef, the impact is much lower, though.

I'm curious as to why you think that gender is important here. Care to elaborate?

Even ones weight can have a very different impact if you're fat from eating lots of whole grains and beans or from eating industrial meat and dairy (and twinkies!).

I included gender because I was thinking about the USDA dietary recommendations being different for men and women which might create a different impact. A woman would have a different dietary consumption when she is pregnant.

For an estimate weight might be sufficient without gender.

Weight and activity level would probably get you a rough estimate.

Although a better way would be to ask the person if they know how many calories they eat. Sometimes different metabolisms can cause large differences en caloric consumption even with the same height, weight, and activity level.

The continued burning of fossil fuels is, at this point, a crime against the future of humanity by any reasonable criteria; as a philosophical point that's not even really factually controversial. The only difficulty in calling it a "crime" might be that most perpetrators can convincingly fake insanity when it comes to valuing the future, and will remain unpunished despite harm to the victims.

However, even though I find Al Gore annoying for other reasons, I have little patience for those who think he and others should boycott airplanes. The only relevant consideration is how fast fossil carbon is coming out of the ground, and how much eventually does. Unless one wants to take the position that Al Gore (or any other activists) flying around is increasing the flow rate of oil extraction or causing coal to be mined faster, it's hard to seriously claim that they are making the situation worse.

Of course some self-identified "greens" have pushed this meme - of a sort of individual carbon karma - so it's unsurprising it has been picked up.

What we're doing is not exactly genocide, although the human deaths in the coming century will make all past genocides look like rounding errors. We're taking out entire species, some of them self-aware; as well as drastically reducing the number of human lives the earth can support in the future. Genocide is a wholly insufficient comparison.

While we're being "good germans", lets not make fun of the Schindler's among us who are making token efforts to be less culpable.

Nicely put.

Of course, if Gore was living some kind of spartan life, they would be howling in derision about that instead.

It's what we monkeys do.

Grapes and perceived fairness.

The future doesn't really enter into it.

It's what we monkeys do.

Yes, it is...


Good teeth.

Genocide... or geocide?

The crime which has no punishment, since it takes out the judge and jury, and burns down the whole courtroom. And we all are guilty.

A higher price for transportation fuel would ripple through the economy affecting everything that needs to be transported, such as a higher price for food. The poor would be adversely affected disproportionately to the rich. The professor is thinking only in terms of personal transportation. Even if a tax is placed only on petrol (gasoline) and not diesel, there are many small business that use gasoline powered vehicles (plumber, pizza delivery....) If it is large enough, a gasoline tax would cause an increase in demand for diesel thus raising its price too.

And if the tax receipts were spent the economy would be stimulated by that. This argument always presupposes that all taxes and fees simply vanish into a black-hole. There are of course revenue neutral ways to do this (although in the current environment with high deficits we would probably want to use the revunes to cut deficits). And if the tax was revenue neutral, but the spending was concentrated on the poor, they would in fact benefit from it.

Dr. Michael Mann has been the target of so many attacks one loses count. Partly this is because (both) sides are trying to hype the importance of his research which then attracts the attacks. It's unfortunate to see that even in a neutral story about these attacks the media are happy to hype the controversy. I'm not aware that Dr. Mann preaches doom, nor does his research on the past temperature forcast doom, afterall his work are reconstructions of the past, not predictions of the future. There is no mention of predictions about the future in the article yet the title of the article is "Professor is happy with his message of doom".

This is the world of the fast media that needs constant 'stories', yet another 60 seconds of hype and page views. Maybe it's well intended, but it's not helping Mann to show the world the results of his research or convince people of the reality of AGW.

Alan might have ended this with:

-- Best hopes for accurate reporting!

Good points. I am starting to notice that anyone who is saying anything, however fact based, that suggests, however faintly, that there may be a problem with technocopian visions of the future is labled a doomer, or Dr. Doom if they have the requisite degree (a moniker I seem to have earned myself). But are pundits ever publicly ridiculed for spreading wildly unrealistic or blatantly non-factual information that paints rosy pictures not connected with anything we know about real limits? Is anyone ever called Pundit Pollyanna, or Professor Pangloss?

Meanwhile, unfortunately, Mann is not, of course, the only one being targeted with hate mail and smears for telling truths.


"MIT Climate Scientist’s Wife Threatened in a “Frenzy of Hate” and Cyberbullying Fomented by Deniers"

Your link offers another link to a discussion of the efforts of Patrick Michaels to distort data from various scientific reports. Just another example of the efforts by the denialist camp to "win" their side's "battle":

Patrick Michaels: Serial Deleter of Inconvenient Data

E. Swanson

"MIT Climate Scientist’s Wife Threatened in a “Frenzy of Hate” and Cyberbullying Fomented by Deniers"

It's really important to the evangelicals. Right up there with evolution:

"Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change. Tennessee and Oklahoma also have introduced legislation to give climate change skeptics a place in the classroom."

...just like creationism in the classroom.


Another US climate scientist being harassed: Catharine Hayhoe.

And Australian climate scientists receive death threats.

All part of the FUD campaign. These tactics successfully helped prevent anti-smoking laws, so they are employed to prevent anti-fossil fuel use laws.

I am starting to notice that anyone who is saying anything, however fact based, that suggests, however faintly, that there may be a problem with technocopian visions of the future is labled a doomer, or Dr. Doom if they have the requisite degree (a moniker I seem to have earned myself).

Even better, I have also acquired this nickname--not because of anything I've said in particular, but merely because I am academically descended from a widely renowned "Dr. Doom" type. :)

Good catch! "Urgency" would be a better word than "Doom."

clearly Mann says we have to get moving on this:


The "Doom" is implied if we don't, of course. But he seems optimistic enough that it is not too late to get serious.

I don't understand getting all bent out of shape for or against the issue of climate change because it's akin to knocking your head against a wall.. In my limited experience, most people neither know nor care one way or another. How's this for an answer to a comment that the earth is getting warmer due to the continued use of fossil fuels: "Good, I hate the cold". For the average person, their eyes glaze over when you discuss the subject.

Now peak oil is another subject. People are a little more receptive because of the price of gas or diesel. And, the people in the North East who heat their homes with oil, they are beginning to get it. However, they see the solution as drill, drill, drill. As such, we will continue to use fossil fuels until they run out because there is no realistic alternative, and climate change be damned.

Continue the good fight, but I'm afraid nobody is listening, and they won't be until they begin to directly suffer from it's consequences. That may not be for a decade or more.

"Good, I hate the cold"

You really have no f'n clue, do you?

Birol claims we are heading for at least five degrees C warming by the end of the century.

He is probably leaving out the likelihood that when global dimming goes away, as it must, you can add another five degrees to that. And carbon feed backs from permafrost and other terrestrial and seabed soils will probably mean another five degrees.

That puts most of the places where most people in the world live in zones that are literally unlivable and makes most agriculture impossible (google "wet bulb temperature". Extreme flooding, drought, heatwaves, super storms, widespread crop failure, record wildfires, spread of disease and pests, accelerating sea level rise, massive extinctions...become the norm, as they are already starting to be.

The Pakistan floods the last two years, the Thai floods of the last few months, Russia heatwaves and crop loss and massive wild fires, East African drought and famine, Texas/North Mexico mega drought...the people in these areas are not wishing for warmer weather. They want a planet back that does not lead to permanent changes in the direction of un-livability.

And those changes are coming to much of the rest of the world much sooner than most want to consider.

Read Lynas's "Six Degrees" for a further clue.

"In my limited experience, most people neither know nor care one way or another."

I don't know ... polling tells another story: http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/12/09/386195/poll-global-warming-wors...

Public understanding that global warming is happening stayed at 63 percent, while belief that it is caused mostly by human activities increased three points since May 2011, to 50 percent.

A majority of Americans (57%) now disagree with the statement, “With the economy in such bad shape, the US can’t afford to reduce global warming” – an 8 point increase in disagreement since May 2011.

65 percent said that global warming is affecting weather in the United States.

58 percent of Americans said that the record heat waves last summer strengthened their belief that global warming is occurring, up 4 points since May 2011.

38 percent of Americans said they have personally experienced the effects of global warming, up 4 points since May of 2011.

Americans trust “climate scientists” (74%) as a source of information about global warming more than any other group, including “other kinds of scientists” (65%) and the mainstream media (38%)

And better leadership will lead more to demand action.

This looks good...but rest assured that any move by government to lead the people to even slowly amend their energy use would meet a withering fusillade of fire from Fox News, WSJ, et al, and likely from CNN and NPR as well (in the name of 'presenting both sides' and 'being balanced')...funded by the deep-pocketed folks in whose interest it is to maintain BAU.

Before you know it, 75% of Americans would claim that Global Warming is a plot to be controlled by the likes of Al Gore and George Soros in order to milk us for their own enrichment...

Joe's "limited experience" might not be limited to the US. The important question isn't whether Americans would side with scientists on a questionnaire, it's if humanity "cares enough" for dramatic, collective action. The simple and correct answer is "no" (both for humanity at large, and US citizens specifically).

I think I understand why people get bent out of shape over climate change, but you're right that the vast majority of people on the planet don't know of the problem and if they do, they don't care. And "Good, I hate the cold" is as good a motto for them as any, even if it drives dohboi into a rage. At the end of the day, a co-worker and I follow an Onion article's recommendation. We sit meditatively in our cars for fifteen seconds, contemplating the global strife and local asthma attacks we are perpetuating. Then, we start our cars and begin commuting home.

People are in different stages of the Kübler-Ross model. Denial takes a lot of energy, and many would like to surrender that position, except for the fear that they'd actually have to do something. Then you have the Angry people, like dohboi - and I think we've all been there (at least in this forum). Some Bargainers think partying for a couple more generations is worth the worst of the climate demise they won't have to personally face. The next stage is Depression, and I'd guess that searching through the posts here would yield thousands in that category. Acceptance is where I'm trying to get.

I'm trying to just accept it, because in general, people are simply not suited to this sort of problem. It unfolds too slowly. It is too all-encompassing. This is kind of macabre, but perhaps staying the course is our best plan. Perhaps civilization will collapse before the climate spirals out of control. At any rate, I agree with you joebbryner, that all the angst is akin to knocking your head against a wall.

May we instead enjoy the serenity of accepting things we cannot change. (And I'd be up for a discussion with anyone who feels my position is mistaken.)

"We sit meditatively in our cars for fifteen seconds, contemplating the global strife and local asthma attacks we are perpetuating."

Do that for a bit longer in a closed garage and you could have some first hand experience of that 'strife.'

I prefer to:

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Maybe in a couple of years James Hansen and Jared Diamond will collaborate on a paper announcing that it's too late, so we can get past the unproductive outbursts and enjoy the "economic opportunities" (as another co-worker puts it) that come with a warming climate ... like insurance adjusters, for example. :)

Personally and to be blunt, I think Mr. Hughes is full of sh*t regarding climate change.
I haven't looked in detail to all the sheets but e.g. sheet 37 and 38 are utter rubbish. The numbers are way off and the choices in the definition of a 'unit of energy' is making the comparison apples to oranges.

Sheet 91 states: "The world hasn't warmed" and that is total utter bull**** which he 'proves' in the following sheets by misinterpreting, suggesting, accusing and cherry-picking. Too much to debunk here. The almost complete absence for the source of the information/statement/graph is a very good indicator that the presentation is fishy.

If you're genuinely interested in climate change then please try to check his claims against the various peer-reviewed literature and independent lines of evidence, a very clear picture will emerge and it's not reflecting pretty on Mr. Hughes.

If he has a particular argument that appeals you then perhaps I can help you understand what the science really says about the subject. Please leave a comment.

I posted the following on The Oil Drum on this thread there. A mod said I should cut and paste it here:

Does anyone know whether or not there are similar sites to this one, where the supply of opium poppies (to make heroin) are discussed?

Drug supply is an important topic, and petroleum is the most prominent (it is even the drug of choice for evangelicals), however, there should be some honorable mention at least for heroin, opium, hash, and marijuana shouldn't there?

How's this for a list of important addictive drugs (in order of volume of use & abuse)

Corn (Alcohol (ethanol), High Fructose Corn Syrup, dried distillers grains, etc)

Average corn yields per acre are on a trend of a couple percent upward every year, as hybrid seed breeders and farmers get better at growing it. The big unknowns right now with corn are what is the world demand, how is climate change going to impact corn producing areas, and how fast glyphosate (roudup) resistant weeds spread through the corn belt. I'm not particularly concerned about the weeds, as I can manage tillage, with other chemicals if needed, and if the price is high enough, just import some out-of-work city folks.

Corn price could very well stay the same even if it costs us 3 times as much to hire people to walk the fields, because this will burst the farmland valuation bubble. I can also get a decent amount of weeding done for what Monsanto charges me for seed for glyphosate resistant corn seed, so if it quits working, I pay less for seed and more somewhere else.

Ah, this axe needs some fresh grinding!

People still think marijuana is addictive? Doesn't even register next to, say, cigarettes, or Adderal for that matter. However, since we know the difference between hemp and marijuana, and we know that demand will not be stopped by 30 years of drug wars, and we know our neighbors to the south are flirting with a failed state because of the black-market trade, and we know that taxing and regulating could bring in America's #1 cash crop revenue, I guess the "harmful drug" path is kind of the only path left if you can't stand the thought of legalization. Not too many straws left at which to grasp though.

Reefer Madness!



Reefer Madness (originally released as Tell Your Children and sometimes titled as The Burning Question, Dope Addict, Doped Youth and Love Madness) is a well-known 1936 American propaganda exploitation film revolving around the melodramatic events that ensue when high school students are lured by pushers to try "marijuana" — from a hit and run accident, to manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape, and descent into madness.

Originally financed by a church group under the title Tell Your Children, the film was intended to be shown to parents as a morality tale attempting to teach them about the dangers of cannabis use.[1]

Any guesses on how much money and lives the U.S. has squandered over the years on the war against MJ?

How much tax revenue was avoided?

I imagine there is zero disparity in MJ arrests between middle-class and wealthier white folks vs. lower social-economic classes, and also vs. non-white folks.

Nice tool to crate an apartheid class via arrest records and nice tool to feed the American prison industries.

Good thing we have and will continue to criminalize MJ, since it kills many more folks than alcohol and tobacco consumption combined!

I imagine there is zero disparity in MJ arrests between middle-class and wealthier white folks vs. lower social-economic classes, and also vs. non-white folks.

But if you point this out in your public policy speechs you'll get called a racist.
*koff* Ron Paul *koff*

Stephen Colbert

"There’s always room for one more in the clown car."

Shouldn't coal be on that list?

Shouldn't coal be on that list?

Probably, along with fructose syrup, then alcohol and cigarettes. I would be surprised if Marijuana made the top 20 when looked at realistically.

There are public drug discussion sites - erowind or some such comes to mind.

Got sucked in there for 1/2 a day when I was looking to ID a plant (wild lettuce) and it was a top hit because it seems it has drug properties.

If we're talking about drug supply, actually, opium poppies used to be a normal part of home gardens precisely for that reason. Also, seeds are trivially easy to get - poppies are popular flowers, and various varieties of opium poppy are grown as ornamentals all over.

Michael Pollan wrote an article long ago about opium poppies:


Any serious doomer should be growing these, because if you really believe that modern medicine is in danger, you're gonna need real, serious painkillers. Nature still provides the best around!

Cannabis should be considered in a different light. It's a useful drug, but also provides useful fiber. Either two types of plants need to be used (one for fiber/seeds, one for drugs) or you need one variety that can do both decently. The problem is that you can't grow it legally, unlike the quasi-legal nature of poppies. That, however, may change rather soon, depending on the outcome of various efforts in the 2012 election season and how they affect policies thereafter. In any case, I think knowing somebody who grows is better than growing at this point, from the doomer perspective. Being in prison or jail is the worst place to be when TSHTF.

Cannabis should be considered in a different light. It's a useful drug, but also provides useful fiber. Either two types of plants need to be used (one for fiber/seeds, one for drugs) or you need one variety that can do both decently. The problem is that you can't grow it legally,

Sure you can grow it - just not in the US.

Industrial Hemp Production in Canada"

You have to get a licence from the Cdn gov to grow it, but then you are off to the races. in 2010 there were 27,000 acres planted to hemp.
And since the US is to silly to grow this useful crop;

In 2009, exports of hemp seed and hemp products were valued at more than $8 million, with most exports going to the U.S.

I put hemp seed hearts (remains after oil processing) in my oatmeal for breakfast - very good and keeps you going all morning.

lots of info at www.hemphearts.com

Maybe China should look into a barter agreement with Saudi Arabia. Trade some of their newly cheap solar PV panels for crude oil......

Or maybe they would prefer to spend some of their American dollar reserves, while they are still worth something.

Trade some of their newly cheap solar PV panels for crude oil......

Me thinks they are beginning to do just that. And it helps them buy (future) oil in two ways, (1) if provides foreign exchange, and (2) The Saudis, won't need to burn as much oil for electricity, i.e. I should help to stave off the ELM.

I read the Zakaria piece on CNN.com. Not a word in it about the increasing difficulty of oil production. Not a word! What is it they say in AA, something about the elephant, or the eight hundred pound gorilla in the middle of the living room. Astounding, the power of the myth of progress. It is worth wondering, will the majority of Americans go to their grave still believing it?


Zakaria is usually fairly astute regarding other matters. One wonders if he has 'marching orders' to avoid the subject of peak oil and resources, or if he really has such a huge blind spot. Maybe he just failed math and physics :-/

Americans in general, including plenty of experts, seem to have lots of blind spots. I commented last week on the Maine State Economist being completely clueless about the $8 Billion per year that the people of Maine (population 1.3 million) spend on their automobile based transportation system.

It wouldn't be so bad if most of the automobiles and their fuels were produced here in the state, but roughly $6.5 Billion of that total leaves the state every year, and the state economist seems completely unaware of this problem.

You would have to assume Zakaria is talking short term. For this year and next, oil production is likely to be adequate, barring major political problems.

I agree that Zakaria writes very well - but he has always struck me as a bit too glib with his opinions and this article makes it clear that he is not bothering with facts.

A few mouse clicks on the EIA or IEA sites could have told him that demand for liquid fuels was up in 2011 vs 2010 and is projected higher in 2012. Yet he rather glibly states that "People drive less in the winter. The American economy is slow. The Euro Zone has stalled. China and India are slowing down. So demand for oil worldwide is low."

Not true. The oil price is high because of the ongoing imbalance between global supply and demand. He talks about supply and demand as if he understands them but has not bothered to look at either. Instead he turns his attention to traders.

Too glib.

The oil price is high because of the ongoing imbalance between global supply and demand.

Ummmm…. Not Exactly. I’m not an economics professor, but as I recall from Econ101, in a sufficiently liquid market, supply and demand are always balanced at the point where the supply and demand curves cross, and this is what determines price.

Actually I think that was what Texas Engineer was trying to say but just said it wrong. The price of oil is high because the price of oil must rise, or fall, until supply meets demand. So it would be correct to say that the price of oil is high because of supply and demand. That was his point and I think we all understood that.

Zakaria was saying that the demand for oil was low. If that were true then the world oil price would not be $110 a barrel as it is today.

Ron P.

I think people have a tendency to look at issues through a prism of what they believe. Many people want to believe that high oil prices are because of evil companies want more money. Maybe oil prices are exactly where they should be, or maybe even lower than they should be if you include inflation.

We can't quantify PO strictly using a dollar price when the dollar is being debased. Let's say the Fed decided to do what Volker did in the 1980's, the dollar gained strenth and in nominal terms oil prices went down, that in itself doesn't mean PO is not real.

These issues are more complex than strictly looking at todays price. If currencies that we use to buy oil were stable, then we could look at the other reasons.

One wonders if he has 'marching orders' to avoid the subject of peak oil and resources

For Zakaria not to know about peak oil would require a set of unusual coincidental mishaps belying statistical probability. Sponsors want to put the blinders on the people, so we can continue BAU as long as possible.

Zakaria is a policy wonk. He views everything in terms of politics & policy. So he sees the need to cover their budgets as a reason for oil exporters to keep prices high. And that is true. But he is completely oblivious to the rest of the oil issue. But that doesn't mean what he is saying is wrong.

I'd say that part of the reason why Iran is doing so much saber-rattling right now is that it is quite profitable for them to do so. If they can keep the oil market-makers shaking in fear about a conflict, that nets them an extra $20 for every barrel they sell. So they have a HUGE reason to keep up all the war & conflict talk . . . as long as no conflict actually happens. And no conflict will happen.


I'm sure Iran's saber-rattling has nothing to do with our oil sanctions, continuous threats and the elimination of the scientists by either us or our friends..., (Israel).....

Once he moved to his current (TV) digs, I was too disgusted by the adds from hid big oil sponsors. IMO he went from decent guy to corporate wh#@$ practically overnight. Who was it (Upton Sinclair?) who said "it is hard for a man to understand something when his paycheck depends upon him not understanding".

The TOD theme in http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NA14Ak04.html

It is also plausible that Saudi Arabia does not relish the opportunity to prove that it really does have the excess capacity to replace Iranian energy shipments to China, Japan, and South Korea.

Peak Metals?

When I joined in 2000, we were a very conventional driller, and 80 per cent of our drills weren’t at work because of the downturn. But I kept getting these capital-spending requests from our managers in different places, saying ‘If I could get this machine which nobody else has, I could get this drilling job.”

So we asked why this was happening. The fact was that most near-surface mines were developed in the 1980s when they introduced aerial-survey technology. But as those mines get old, people have to look at harder-to-access areas.

That solved our differentiation problem. We coined this term ‘specialized drilling.’ It’s a bunch of things, such as high altitude drilling in the Andes, Arctic drilling in Canada, deep-hole drilling anywhere. We pick these areas with barriers to entry so we don’t have to compete against the moms and pops. That became our story.

A related anecdote, a buddy of mine who does tech stuff for mineral exploration told me that a mining guy had said to him that one of their biggest challenges is tires! The open pits are deeper and the tires wear out faster.

There was a tire shortage in the year 2000. Back in April, Caterpillar were predicting another one. "Serious" tire shortage looming: Caterpillar

Peak metals? Peak everything! All non-renewable resources (and even renewable if you over use them) follow a peak and decline curve just like oil. Check out the book "The End of Growth" by Heinberg. The author presents a good picture of where we are now and where we will be going IF we continue on our present course. However, I think his one big mistake is that peak oil is going to slow down the use of all non-energy resources (unless those resources become useful in alternative energy), so pay more attention to his predictions on the use of oil, coal, uranium and so forth.

The Expert's Report that Damns the Northern Gateway Pipeline

Hughes' damning report also posits a simple question that Canada's media routinely neglects: why does the Canadian government support a proposal to export oil to China when nearly half the country (Quebec and Atlantic Canada) is nearly 100 per cent dependent on declining or volatile reserves from the North Sea and the Middle East?

Here's the report (pdf)

The Northern Gateway Pipeline
An Affront to the Public Interest and Long Term Energy Security of Canadians
J. David Hughes

As well, some pretty stunning satellite shots and useful graphs.

A slide presentation by geologist David Hughes includes charts showing the wide discrepancy between commonly accepted growth scenarios for the Alberta oil sands, and significantly higher projections put forth by Enbridge and other proponents of fast build-out of oil sands infrastructure. The slides also include satellite views of the oil sands showing growth over nearly three decades.

Dave Hughes' report should be headline news in Canada, where although many of us don't buy Harper's "energy superpower" nonsense, most people probably believed that the oil sands are of such magnitude that the last thing that Canadians would have to worry about is our oil supply.

But as Hughes reminds us, not all oil sands are created equal, at least not when it comes to net energy.
The most striking of his many excellent points is his warning that if oil sands production is ramped up to the level envisioned by the Gateway advocates, we will rip through most of the mineable oil sands within two decades, leaving future generations only the in-situ bitumen (which will be more energy-intensive and more expensive).

This is a shocking prospect: twenty years is peanuts, especially in a nation which thought it had at least a century of secure, affordable oil.

Hughes' meticulous analysis should not only be sufficient to stop the Gateway proposal, it should also jolt Canadians into realizing that they urgently need an energy security strategy which puts the long-term needs of Canadians first.

Hats off to Andrew Nikiforuk who provided an insightful summary of Hughes' key points at The Tyee (reprinted on Friday at Energy Bulletin).

This report and slide set are indeed eye-opening.

I recall RMG stating several days ago that the Canadian tar sands resources could be produced at the current rate for ~ 400 years, and then he said that given an increase in production, perhaps that might be lowered to some 200 years.

Subsequent to that, RMG additionally stated, in the conversation about opening up the Canadian arctic for resource exploitation, that another deposit of tar sands is located in one of the northern islands which has reserved equal to all the deposits in Alberta.

What I do not know is whether RMG was counting these northern island deposits along with the Alberta deposits when hmade his 400/200-tear production estimates.

Certainly these disparate estimates invite a robust debate in Canada and hopefully would lead to a cogent Canadian national energy policy which looks out at least 100 years...

And then, when that dust settles, the debate can ramp up on the URR and EROEI in the Orinoco in Vz.

Canada's only energy policy, at least as regards the oil sands, is to extract it and sell it as fast as possible, because we need the taxes to pay for health care. If that weren't the case, we would be arguing for pipelines to ship the oil east, not west, and for construction of refineries to handle it.

Also, as a market democracy, we are unlikely to ever have a cogent national policy on anything important whose timeline extends past the next quarterly report or, at best, the next election cycle. Our politics may sound less insane than the US, but they're hardly more constructive.

...we would be arguing for pipelines to ship the oil east, not west

Green groups seek wider review of Enbridge project

Five environmental groups are asking Canada's energy regulator to deny Enbridge Inc's request to reverse the flow in part of an oil pipeline, arguing that the company is trying to avoid a larger review for a bigger long-term project.

The Canadian and U.S. green groups said they believe Enbridge is looking to gradually advance its Trailbreaker project, which it proposed in 2008, by first asking the National Energy Board to reverse to flow of Line 9. The pipeline extends to Sarnia, Ontario, from Montreal.

The letter is signed by Environmental Defense, Pembina Institute, Equiterre, Vermont Natural Resources Council and Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Under Enbridge's Trailbreaker project, heavy crude from Western Canada would have been shipped on Line 9 and a reversed Portland-Montreal pipeline. At Portland, Maine, the crude would have been loaded onto tankers and shipped to U.S. refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.

However, an Enbridge executive said in July that new plans call for shipping light oil from Western Canada to Eastern Canadian refineries, which currently buy much higher-priced imported oil.

Oil companies actually want to ship Western Canadian oil to Eastern Canada. Enbridge has applied to reverse the Sarnia, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec to Portland Maine pipeline to take oil sands bitumen from Western Canada to Quebec and the East Coast, but so-called "green" groups have opposed it and managed to kill the project.

Now Enbridge wants to move light oil (of which Western Canada still has a little left) to Eastern Canada (where the refineries are capable of processing it), but the "green" groups still oppose it because it might conceivably be used to sell dirty, evil, and demonic oil sands production in future.

They are unclear on the whole concept of energy security. They just oppose anything that an oil company might want to do, even if it would improve Canadian energy security.


Maybe as Peter Lougheed suggests (a former Premier of Alberta who was amongst those who got the tar sands up and running) Alberta should refine and process it's bitumen in province, benefit from the increased revenue of the value added products and export those products via pipeline. Environmentalists (which we all are at some point) would have less to be concerned about if it was gas or diesel in the pipeline rather than dilbit.

I think you are being a bit disingenuous with your "environmentalists complain about everything" argument. There is little to like about mining the tar sands, but there is nothing to like about the track record of shipping via pipeline "diluted sour heavy bitumen". (Alberta Fills Pipes with Corrosive Denial)


The bulk of the demand at this point in time is for crude bitumen than synthetic sweet light crude oil. There are a large number of refineries in the US that can handle heavy oil, and it is cheaper to produce than syncrude. At this time the proportion of oil sands production that is upgraded to syncrude before shipping is about 60%, but that proportion is falling because companies prefer to sell and buy bitumen.

I don't think gasoline or diesel fuel are much more environmentally friendly than crude bitumen or crude oil. People who think so are naive. As I like to tell people, refineries don't take toxic chemicals out of the oil when they refine it into fuel, they put toxic chemicals into it.

Bitumen will not flow through pipelines unless it is heated or diluted with lighter liquids, but I don't think it is unusually corrosive to the pipe. Any sour crude is going to be somewhat corrosive. The pipeline just has to be designed to handled the particular type of crude oil it carries.

Just a quick question Rocky: The term sour/sweet crude is usually referring to the sulfur content of the oil right? Is there anything else in the oil which could make it 'sour' aside from the sulfur content? As I understand it the sweet crude is better for making petroleum whereas sour oil tends to be made into diesel and heating oil fractions, right?

Yes, the term "sour" refers to the sulfur content of the oil. I don't think anything else is relevant. Historically, diesel fuel contained a lot of sulfur, so sour crudes preferentially went into diesel production.

These days governments require ultra-low sulfur diesel, so I think refiners would want as little sulfur in their feedstock as possible. Usually, they get stuck with more sulfur than they would like to see.

Shockingly there is more to the story then Canada's energy security and, oh horror, there are people who have don't have energy security based upon tar sands as their highest priority.

Well, at this point in time, Canada's conventional oil reserves are nearly exhausted, and over half of Canadian oil production is from the oil sands. The proportion is rising rapidly as conventional supplies run out. I don't think ignoring the oil sands is an option for Canadians.

The alternative is for Canadians to walk to work, or take the electrically-powered transit systems that run near everybody. I used to walk to work or take the conveniently available wind-powered trains for years, and it worked for me.

You do have an electric rapid transit system, electric streetcar, or electric trolley bus stopping near your house, don't you?

I have a perfectly good bicycle and raincoat that I use to commute and visit friends almost every day. A bit of frost wakes me up in the morning and snow is fun. No need for a weekly workout in the costly gym, defrosting windows in the morning and frustrating queueing in traffic to boot. Electric train network is a 10 minute cycle trip away and we have an trolley system in town (electric busses with overhead wiring).

Works like a treat! And you?

Well, since I retired to a small mountain town (Canmore), I don't walk to work any more, nor do I have an electric train 10 minutes walk away, which I used to have in the big city (Calgary). Here I can walk downtown in about 20 minutes, or bicycle there in 10, though.

I have to carry bear spray if I walk through the woods, though, because you never know if there might be a disgruntled grizzly in the way. They do wander through my back yard from time to time.

The concern about oil sands development is just for the benefit of other people. I could get along well enough without petroleum, but a lot of people couldn't.

Hughes' report is an example of cherry-picking statistics. For oil sands reserves, he uses the number 26 billion barrels currently under "active development". Well, the oil sands under "active development" includes only the leases that currently have a mine or oil wells on them. There are only three mines currently in operation, and only a fraction of the drillable leases have any kind of in-situ project on them.

Oil companies can always open new mines and drill new wells on new leases. Exploitation of the oil sands is only really getting started - a scary concept if you look at the size of those oil sands mines.

According to the Canadian National Energy Board document Canada's Energy Future: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2035

Crude Oil and Bitumen Resources

Canada has abundant resources of crude oil, with an estimated remaining ultimate potential of 54.5 billion cubic metres (343 billion barrels). Of this, oil sands bitumen accounts for 90 per cent and conventional crude oil makes up 10 per cent. Alberta currently accounts for all of the bitumen resources.

Resources become reserves only after it is proven that economic recovery can be achieved. Canada has remaining oil reserves of 27.5 billion cubic metres (173 billion barrels), with 98 per cent of this attributed to oil sands bitumen, and the remaining to conventional oil sources.

There is considerable potential to add to Canada’s oil reserves. The Grosmont Carbonate formation accounts for 21 per cent of the oil sands resources in Alberta, but has not yet been assigned any reserves. New extraction technologies are being piloted and the establishment of economic recovery in this area would boost oil sands reserves. Similarly, oil sands reserves could be recognized for Saskatchewan in the future.

And the "ultimate potential" does not contain the oil sands deposits on Melville Island. Nobody really knows how big they are, nor do they care enough to drill any delineation wells.

If you take the NEB's 343 billion barrels of "ultimate potential", i.e. known and technically recoverable resources, and divide it by 6.0 million bpd (forecast production in 2035), you get 157 years supply of oil resources.

If you take the NEB's 343 billion barrels of "ultimate potential", i.e. known and technically recoverable resources, and divide it by 6.0 million bpd (forecast production in 2035), you get 157 years supply of oil resources.

Since it takes ~0.5 to ~1 mmcf to produce a barrel of product from the tar sands it always mystifies me that folks can say that their is "157 years supply of oil resources". Conventional gas from the WCSB is in decline, shale gas reserves as we well know here at TOD likely will supply much less gas than the hype says and every cold climate city in North America is dependent on gas for heating (and cooling).

Gas supply will be among the things that constrain the upper limit on tar sands production. The question is how much is economically recoverable, and that will depend on gas supplies and the competition for those supplies?

A new estimate by Ziff Energy Group, a Calgary-based energy advisory, predicts that oil sands gas consumption will rise to three billion cubic feet (bcf) a day, up from 1.1 bcf today.(link)

The NEB document also forecasts the supply of natural gas in Canada to 2035. It's interesting reading, particularly the part about shale gas.

Why do you assume natural gas is necessary, rather than merely cheap and convenient?

Rick - "...they urgently need an energy security strategy which puts the long-term needs of Canadians first."

Sounds like Canada is the same HYCAEIT club (have your cake and eat it too). The same logical proposition can be made for every oil consuming economy whether exporters or not. But back to the same basic question: whose needs take the priority? Should the Texas Rail Road Commission cut the allowable from 100% to 50% at the next monthly meeting. They still have the authority to reduce the production from Texas oil wells to any level they chose. That would certainly benefit future generations. Of course that would mean $billions of lost revenue for the state, private land owners and operating companies. Saudi could make the same decision. Of course they would have to decide who contiues to get govt support (for such matters as food, etc). Alberta could do likewise. But then they would have to decide which citizens lose benefits, like universal health care, from the govt.

Of course in the end it will boil down to balance: how much will each society be wiling to sacrifice today for the benefit of the unborn. Given the living voting public greatly outnumbers the yet born voting public I don't really see much of a contest. In many ways the same problem with the logical approach of raising motor fuel taxes in the US. They should have gradually been increased starting decades ago. I suspect you'll see as many Canadian politicians voting to cut export Canadian revenue as US politicians voting to increase the cost of driving.

Was Canadian National Heath care in jeopardy of disappearing just prior to the takeoff in tar sands development and revenues? How long has Canad had its National Health Care System? Was it contingent on oil revenues (starting with the conventional crude) from its inception?

Alberta could do likewise. But then they would have to decide which citizens lose benefits, like universal health care, from the govt.

H - and there's THE question, eh? I have no idea how the Canadians have been treating this revenue source. I'll assume it's been done somewhere between the US policy (spend every penny making current voters as happy as possible) and the Norwigian policy (a sovereign fund set aside for future generations.) Perhaps Rocky can shed some light. I'd like to think Cnadian politicians are at least a notch or two above ours.

The Canadian government, unlike the American government, has been using its resource revenues to pay down the national debt. The Canadian government budget is slightly in deficit at the moment, but that's just temporary as a result of anti-recession measures.

Once the recession threat is over the budget will be back in the black again. However, Canada is not building up a giant pension fund like the Norwegian government. It's just a fairly modest pension for everybody.

My view after following this discussion board for the last few years is that the so-called recession is actually the "new normal". We are not going to return to the high growth rate we had before 2008 and the Federal government will have to either raise taxes and/or make significant spending cuts to balance the budget.

Capitalism in crisis: Perilous path to prosperity

“What we went through in last 20 years in Japan and what the US and the UK are now going through is that, even with zero interest rates, people don’t want to borrow,” he says. “They just pay down debt.” If he is right, then western economies are now likely to go through a prolonged period of Japanese-style slow growth. It may not be much consolation, but Japan at least will be able to say: “We told you so.”

Though the article goes on to defend western-style capitalism as the best of the worst economic systems.

The Canadian Medicare system became universal in 1966, but its roots date back to 1946 when Saskatchewan introduced the first provincial health care program. It is probably the most popular government program in the country.

It is not contingent on oil revenues, but oil revenues certainly help pay for it. It is worthwhile noting in this context that the Canadian federal government probably makes more money in taxes from the oil sands than the Alberta government does.

Canadian Medicare is a very expensive system, but not nearly as expensive as the American health care system, which is by far the most expensive in the world. The main difference is that the costs of the American system fall on individuals and private industry, and nobody is controlling costs.

Isn't that really a provincial health care system in most respects? As I recall, the nasty health-care political ads I saw on the Edmonton subway, oh, a good 20 years ago, seemed to be couched in provincial-government terms, not national.

In the Canadian constitution, health care is a provincial responsibility. However, the federal government provides a great deal of the funding and enforces certain rules on the provinces, including standards of care and universality.

The provincial governments could ignore the federal rules, but then the federal government could cut off their funding. Thus, the provinces usually follow the federal rules.

Health care costs have been going up well beyond the inflation rate and it is getting much more difficult for the provinces to continue funding it. A number of factors, including an ageing population, will continue to drive up costs. Politicians have been aware that this problem was coming, but no one wants to become known as the politician who introduced a two-tier health care system. The vast majority of Canadians are quite adamant that they do not want a two-tier system, but most people don't realize that maintaining the current system would require an endless series of tax increases.

"whose needs take the priority?"

Great question, one for which there is no easy answer.
Most of us would do just about anything for our kids & grandkids, including some degree of self-denial.

Kunstler regularly questions the ability of our democratic institutions to survive the challenges of resource scarcity, and he is correct.
As a precursor to that, we should question whether the combination of free-market capitalism and short-term democratic political structures (eg. 4 year terms) are capable of implementing conservation measures which appear to be the only means of saving something for future generations.
I agree with your point about motor fuel taxes: as Simmons was fond of reminding us, oil is far too cheap given what it does for us.

In any event, there is a great difference between true needs and the resource-sucking excesses of most North Americans, myself included (despite my reasonable efforts).
My point here is that we lack an effective/coordinated means of conservation: your noble sacrifices would simply prolong my selfish ability to "live it up."

Personally, I think we need more public control over natural resources, but I guess that makes me a socialist (though I see no shame in that).

Rick - "I think we need more public control over natural resources". And there's the hump that will be very difficult to get over. Any effort for public control of resources (or anything else for that matter) automatically means suspending someone's private rights. That's already done today in a variety of necessary ways. As I mentioned the Texas Rail Road Commission still has legal authority to determine how much oil is produced from every well in Texas. Back in the 50's the TRRC essentially had the same power to moderate oil prices as OPEC tried to impose: oil price gets too low...set the monthly "allowable" to 50% of a well's productive capacity. This would have a huge negative impact on the companies, the private mineral owners and tax revenue of the state and counties: $billions in reduced income. The TRRC still has this authority but the allowable has been set at 100% since the early 70's. It would be interesting to see what legal challenges are brought to bear if the TRRC decide to reduce the allowable. I'm sure the feds would jump in with both feet.

OTOH what if the feds decided they wanted to preserve public resources for future generations? Easily done: just stop issuing drilling permits. The govt has no obligation to issue another drill permit in the GOM. They might have to refund some lease bonus money but that would be minimal compared to the loss of income if they stopped giving permits. Last time I saw the number the US govt received over $10 billion per year just from offshore royalties. And that doesn't include the many $billions of economic activity generated by the process. Stop DW GOM drilling today and it won't take more than 5 years or so for the loss on income would become significant.

Any effort to preserve resources for future generations will require every person in the country to give up some financial benefit...direct and indirect. So now it's up to our politicians, during this time of massive deficits, high unemployment, high oil/gasoline prices and ever increasing borrowing from foreign sources, to convince the American people to make a sacrifice. And make that pitch in such a manner that doesn't get them kicked out of office.

You a betting man, Rick? BTW: In Texas that would make you a "damn commie". LOL

"Any effort to preserve resources for future generations will require every person in the country to give up some financial benefit...direct and indirect. So now it's up to our politicians, during this time of massive deficits, high unemployment, high oil/gasoline prices and ever increasing borrowing from foreign sources, to convince the American people to make a sacrifice.
And make that pitch in such a manner that doesn't get them kicked out of office."

Again, you are correct: with our present political systems and especially in the current cultural climate, the shift seems nearly impossible, and I would (if I were a betting man, which I'm not) bet the same as you.

That said, the current mind-set ("consume as if there's no tomorrow," as Heinberg would say) is relatively new. I'm sure that my grandparents (born around 1880) and yours would argue the reverse: we need to resist the deceptive 'easy way out,' forego immediate consumption, and prudently save for those inevitable rainy days.

Hughes appears to be out of the loop at the National Energy Board since his retirement. At about the same time his paper was released, the NEB released its forecast document, Canada's Energy Future: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2035

It basically reinforces Enbridge's supply projections, and shows oil sands production more than tripling from 2010 to 2035, from 1.5 million bpd to around 5 million bpd. This is an awful lot of oil, and the NEB seems to believe that it will overload the American market for Canadian oil.

At the same time, the NEB believes that Canadian energy demand growth will slow, and electricity and natural gas will be substituted for oil, so almost all of the increase in oil production will go to export.

Energy supply grows to record levels

The emergence of unconventional production as the dominant source of supply
growth over the projection period drives this result (Figure ES.2). Based in input assumptions, oil sands production is expected to triple by 2035, increasing its share to 86 per cent of Canada’s total oil supply, up from 54 per cent currently.

Conventional oil production continues its historical decline over the projection period. However, an increase in oil-directed drilling and the application of multi-stage hydraulic fracturing in tight oil plays results in growing production in the near term.

East coast offshore oil production maintains near current levels until 2025, as new production facilities are built. By 2025, production begins a steady decline until the end of the projection period.

The NEB document doesn't show much concern about security of Eastern Canadian supply. This is probably because, first, the pipelines which currently bring imported oil into Eastern Canada can be reversed to take Western Canadian oil to the East Coast, and second, the NEB expects East Coast offshore oil production to remain high for quite some time.

Hughes covers your concern in the addendum at the end of his report.

The National Energy Board released its “Canada’s Energy Future: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2035” report on November 22, 2011, the day this report was finalized. It represents no substantive addition to what is presented here. The NEB forecasts uncontrolled growth in the oil sands, projecting a tripling by 2035, and offers no alternative such as the “in construction” scenario in the CAPP forecast used here. In terms of domestic Canadian demand, the “conservative scenario” used herein for domestic growth in oil consumption in figures 8 and 12 is essentially identical to the new NEB reference case projection. In terms of oil sands production, the NEB forecast is essentially the same as the CAPP “growth” forecast and the Enbridge “extended forecast” used herein.

But during the document he whined and complained that Enbridge's production forecasts were completely ridiculous and not backed up by any official data.

The fact that the Northern Gateway Pipeline is predicated on unreasonable rates of expansion of oil sands production. These include the optimistic “growth” scenario of CAPP, which would see oil sands supply increase by 152% over 2010 levels by 2025, requiring the development of speculative, unannounced, new projects in addition to the projects currently under construction. In addition, Enbridge has included an “extended forecast” in its National Energy Board application, which it falsely attributes to CAPP, that would see oil sands supply grow by 217% over 2010 levels by 2035.

And then the NEB introduced its official production forecasts to 2035, which were more or less the same as the Enbridge ones. I think he kind of got blindsided by that.

Dave Hughes "whined and complained....?"

Dave Hughes is a meticulous researcher, a very careful writer and a veteran government analyst/specialist who has the public interest at heart.
How about dropping your tone and simply say, "he pointed out," which he did. Hughes often disagrees with the industry perspective, but he does so respectfully.

As for accusing him of cherry-picking, his central point was pretty fundamental: companies go after the most accessible, most profitable reserves first. If the production surge which industry desires were to actually transpire, most of the best/mine-able bitumen would be consumed within a few decades, which is hardly in our nation's best interest.

If you have solid grounds to discount Dave's research, let's hear them.

I'm pointing out that he disagreed with the reserve estimates and production forecasts that the National Energy Board developed, and that the NEB estimates and forecasts were very well founded on the facts.

Hughes' objections, on the other hand, seemed to be largely political. A title like, "The Northern Gateway Pipeline - An Affront to the Public Interest and Long Term Energy Security of Canadians", is hardly apolitical in nature. It strikes me as the work of an ex-bureaucrat with a few axes to grind.

I'm sorry, but I calls them the way I sees them.

"an ex-bureaucrat with a few axes to grind"?

You make Hughes sound like little more than a disgruntled pencil-pusher who is suddenly speaking out.
In fact, Dave is a geoscientist with academic credentials, training and 32 years of experience with the Geological Survey of Canada. His call for prudence and a long-term view re. energy is nothing new: Hughes gave over 100 lectures in many countries examining data & trends on energy supply, net energy, etc while he was a government scientist.

"Hughes' objections... seemed to be largely political"?

Sure, if you consider looking out for the broader public interest and the energy security of his grandkids to be political.
Hughes is meticulous in backing up his assertions with references: his objections are based primarily on that data.

As for the title, it is rather "political," I agree. But it's also a concise summary of his conclusions: such an unbridled expansion of oil sands production (even if it's feasible, which is another question) is not in the interest of Canadians for many reasons, not the least of which is our own long-term supply of bitumen and natural gas.
These are 'political' conclusions, but the study itself is focused on data, trends and facts (insofar as "facts" can be determined when we are dealing with estimates & forecasts), and is certainly not "largely political."

I don't know about the details, I just got the feeling that he had a few disagreements with his colleagues in the Canadian government bureaucracy prior to his retirement.

However, I did note that there is very little geology in his paper that was cited here, it was all economics and politics, and he disagreed with both the economics of the oil industry and the politics of the Canadian government.

He is working with third-hand information when he cites the BP Statistical Review. There is no proprietary information in the Review, it's all from published sources, and BP might have its own bureaucratic mindset in interpreting it, considering that it missed the boat on oil sands development. It put its money on deepwater GOM development, and that may not have been such a good bet considering the Macondo blowout and the production problems with Thunderhorse.

Enbridge, on the other hand, must have had proprietary information from its customers when it prepared its production estimates to 2035, although it probably couldn't cite sources, hence the attribution to CAPP that got Hughes upset. The NEB is probably working from the same proprietary information and hence came to the same conclusions.

In reality, the long term supply of bitumen is not a problem since there are vast amounts of it in Canada, including deposits that are not mentioned in the official documents yet.

However, there is a strategic distribution problem, and I think the real problem is how to supply oil sands production to refineries and customers in Eastern Canada. They are highly dependent on the international oil market, and supplies there are far from secure. The smart thing to do would be to build a bitumen pipeline to the East Coast, but that is not strategic to the Western provinces, and I don't think the Eastern provinces are aware there could be a problem. The federal government is just following the votes.

Shooting the messenger!

I can think of another geologist/geoscientist calling for the prudent development of his countries petroleum resources. I wonder what axe he is grinding?

These are not purely technical topics for debate among petroleum professionals. The marketing of the shale gas phenomenon has been so effective that important policy and strategic decisions are being made based on as yet unproven assumptions about the abundance and low cost of these plays. The “Pickens Plan” seeks to get congressional approval for natural gas subsidies that might eventually lead to conversion of large parts of our vehicle fleet to run on natural gas. Similarly, companies have gotten permits from the government to transform liquefied natural gas import terminals into export facilities that would commit the U.S. to decades of large, fixed export volumes. This might commit the U.S. to decades of natural gas exports at fixed prices in the face of scarcity and increasing prices in the domestic market. If reserves are less and cost is more than many assume, these could be disastrous decisions.

It strikes me as the work of an ex-bureaucrat with a few axes to grind.

There will be, and are, no lack of bureaucrats (ex or otherwise) who have an axe to grind with the present Canadian government.

When your academic opinion differs and you are not allowed to express it you begin to question the intentions of those in power!

Canadian government scientists muzzled
Fisheries scientist muzzled
Climate Change scientists muzzled

It's Orwellian

They also give a glimpse of how Canadians are being cut off from scientists whose work is financed by taxpayers, critics say, and is often of significant public interest -- be it about fish stocks, genetically modified crops or mercury pollution in the Athabasca River.

"It's Orwellian," says Andrew Weaver, a climatologist at the University of Victoria. The public, he says, has a right to know what federal scientists are discovering and learning.

Not so long ago (less than 2 years) the NEB did not have any policy regarding peak oil or the likelihood of Canada having an oil-energy problem.(I asked them, but I cannot remember my exact wording or their exact reply and I am writing this in an Ottawa hotel room and do not have access to my notes. However, I was a bit shocked at the rather cavalier NEB response.) Even if Canada may not have reached peak oil at that time, it still would seem prudent for NEB to have some kind of policy as Canada would/will be affected by global peak oil. I do not know if they still have this attitude as I have not asked them recently.


My experience fits with yours.
I made numerous phone & written enquiries to the NEB in 2007 and 2008 re PO and got nowhere. The people I spoke with seemed quite unfamiliar with the Hirsch Report or the military literature, and seemed quite baffled that a Canadian would be concerned about oil supply given the magnitude of the oil sands.

"Cavalier" is an excellent description of the attitude I encountered, though such an attitude is inconsistent with NEB's mandate.
Perhaps that explains the synchrony of optimistic NEB projections with those of industry, as noted by RMG.

The problem is the NEB's mandate doesn't extend to strategic planning of energy.

National Energy Board: Our responsibilities - The Export and Import of Energy


The Board authorizes oil exports by issuing short-term orders for periods less than one year for light crude oil and less than two years for heavy crude oil. These exports occur under short-term orders due to characteristics of the oil market. The Board does not regulate oil imports.

Canada produces enough oil to meet its own needs and has been a net exporter of oil for some time; however, oil is imported to supply both the Atlantic Provinces and Quebec. Most Canadian oil exports are to the American Midwest and Montana markets. Smaller volumes are shipped to the U.S. West and Gulf coasts.

The Board monitors the supply and demand of oil, as it does with natural gas, to ensure quantities exported do not exceed the surplus remaining after Canadian requirements have been met.

The strategic planning of energy in Canada is done by the provincial governments, who have constitutional jurisdiction over natural resources, but they are focused on their own agendas. I think the oil-producing Western Provinces are generally aware of the issues around Peak Oil and are getting ready for it, but I'm afraid the oil-importing Eastern Provinces are quite unaware of what is coming at them.

"...first, the pipelines which currently bring imported oil into Eastern Canada can be reversed to take Western Canadian oil to the East Coast, and second, the NEB expects East Coast offshore oil production to remain high for quite some time."


There are a lot of question marks around your statement.

1) Eastern NA can't process "diluted sour heavy bitumen"

From this Jack Mintz opinion East Coast pipeline dreams
(Jack M. Mintz is the Palmer chair of public policy, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary)

A further challenge is that the Line 9 and Portland-Montreal pipeline has low capacity from the West (150 barrels per day) and exports from Portland require the use of U.S. government designated Jones Act shipping thereafter. Another proposal would be to convert the TransCanada gas pipeline, which has 600 thousand barrel per day capacity, to oil. But this is old pipe. It would likely be more economic to build new pipe to the Atlantic basin.


As well, incremental crude from Western Canada is largely heavy sour diluted bitumen. Other than the Irving refinery in the Atlantic, this type of crude cannot be processed in eastern North America. Without customers, a pipeline cannot be filled.

2) Little Newfoundland oil ends up as refined product in Eastern Canada!

How Oil Makes Canada Four (or Five) Different Countries

Just under half of Newfoundland’s (roughly) 300,000-barrel-a-day offshore oil production is processed at Newfoundland’s sole refinery at Come By Chance. The rest is shipped directly by tanker to refineries in the U.S.


But here’s the really incredible part: A condition of sale was that Newfoundland Processing and any subsequent owners were forbidden FOREVER from selling oil products from the Come By Chance refinery to ANY Canadian market apart from Newfoundland & Labrador.

As a result, to this day, about 10% of the oil refined at Come By Chance supplies the Newfoundland & Labrador domestic market, while the other 90% is shipped directly to the U.S. Not a drop goes to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I., Quebec or Ontario.

Incredible, eh?

1) Eastern NA can't process "diluted sour heavy bitumen"

The Irving Refinery in New Brunswick could. There's just no way to get the oil there (other than by shipping it from the West Coast through the Panama Canal - which actually has been done in the past).

McKenna says Irving could refine western crude

Build pipeline to Saint John

Alberta oil companies should look east to refine their petroleum, former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna says.

In a recent op-ed piece in the Financial Post, McKenna suggests a pipeline to Saint John could process Alberta oil at the Irving Refinery — given difficulties with the Keystone XL pipeline out west. In the article, McKenna said Canada should avoid putting "all of our oil into one basket."

With the extension to the American Keystone pipeline extension up in the air and delays to the Alberta-B.C. Northern Gateway project, McKenna said it's time to consider a pipeline out east.

Additions to Irving's refinery plant could handle the crude from Alberta's oil sands, said McKenna, who is deputy chairman of the TD Bank Group and member of the board of directors of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

"A new line could be built from Montreal to Saint John. One East Coast refinery, the Irving Refinery of Saint John, is the largest refinery in Canada and the largest refinery on the East Coast. It is capable of using heavy oil at the present time and with the addition of a coker could process raw bitumen into synthetic crude oil." he wrote in the Financial Post.

Carolyn Van der Veen, director of public affairs for Irving Oil, said it could possibly be done. "We've processed Canadian crude in the past and may do so in the future if logistics are viable,” she said.

2) Little Newfoundland oil ends up as refined product in Eastern Canada!

The Come-by-Chance refinery in Newfoundland is a particularly perverse case, because initially it couldn't even process Newfoundland offshore oil. Unsurprisingly, it went bankrupt not long after it opened. It has since been modified so it can handle Newfoundland oil, but mostly relies on imports. It is now owned by Korean National Oil Company.

I hadn't heard that there was a caveat on the sale preventing them from selling products to the rest of Canada, but the previous owner was Petro-Canada and maybe they didn't want the competition.

All of the Canadian Atlantic Coast refineries import most of their oil, and export some or most of their refined products to the US. This is probably not a good economic model for the post-peak-oil era, hence Frank McKenna's comments above.

How the Happer administration is trying to influence the population trough fake grass-roots organisations and media campaigns.

How Enbridge Sawed Off Good Relations with BC First Nations

Killing Haisla's sacred trees just one way firm has undercut dealings with aboriginals on Pacific Gateway route.

More than five years ago, in a patch of coastal rainforest not far from the mouth of the Kitimat River, what was supposed to have been a quiet land survey turned into a public relations nightmare.

Interesting article. Thanks. BTW, it's good practice to test your links ;-)

Thanks Ghung! I'll be a little more diligent in the future.

How dumb could these people be? There's really not much else to say. The surveying is questionably trespassing already (I may let you cross or visit my land, but a survey is an act that I would not allow without very good reason, as that implies a level of ownership), but then they cut down trees there? Is there any land, anywhere, where you can just do that without permission? If you did this on the private land of many people in the US, you'd risk getting shot!

This is the definition of "acting entitled". I don't think I want them in charge of a pipeline.

Actually, it's not trespassing. The Indians don't own the land, the BC government does.

Unfortunately the BC government refused to sign any treaties with the Indians over the last 100 years, so there is something of a title defect in the ownership of most of the land in BC. It's unclear what exactly the Indians do and do not own because they never signed away their rights to anything.

The quibbling over the trees is more a bargaining position than anything else. The Indians are trying to claim that they, and not the BC government, own the forests. The BC government begs to differ.

From the standpoint of the pipeline, it doesn't matter because it is under federal jurisdiction and the federal government can permit the trees to be cut down regardless of who owns them - the BC government or the Indians. The only question is where to send the compensation check.

Ah, so basically the company hoped to ignore the Indians but got found out? Still sounds pretty hamfisted. They better have a lot of allies in the the federal and BC government if they hope to just push through... But something about having a vulnerable pipeline going through the land that the Indians are living on (whether they have title or not) sure suggests to me that it would be better to play nice, which they failed to do, apparently several times along the way.

I guess the best way to put it is "legally right, but stupid"? At least that's what it sounds like. Perhaps Enbridge is just operating in the past, when projects like this didn't face the level of scrutiny they do today.

Well, no, Enbridge contracted the surveying to a British-based company, AMEC, which probably wasn't aware of the issues involving First Nations in Coastal BC. They also contracted an Aboriginal consulting company to establish relations with the natives:

Wynterose Consulting Group

Wynterose Consulting Group Ltd. is a wholly Aboriginal owned and operated consulting firm committed to assisting the oil and gas industry, government and tribal organizations to meet their consultation and engagement goals and objectives while remaining sensitive to Aboriginal culture, values and beliefs. With its inception in 2001, Wynterose has grown to become the largest Aboriginal consulting firm in Canada and has earned a reputation as leaders in bridging the gap between government, industry and Aboriginal communities.

However, there are Indians and there are Indians. The consulting group are Plains Indians, and the Kitimat Indians are a much different BC Coastal tribe.

Received in an e-mail from a friend...

"If you don't mind, I have a question for you. For the past year or so I've been reading everything from John Michael Greer to Heinberg's "The End of Growth" to Chris Martenson to Gail the Actuary to Joe Romm among others. The conclusions of all this just confirm what I've been learning less actively for at least two decades. The difference is that now I can't deny what seems inevitable. And worse, the those inevitabilities are frighteningly close in time
"I have a longtime partner and I am stumped at how to open a serious discussion about these things (PO) with her. I've put it off this long, but I feel that we are (as a people and me personally) are at a point where unconventional decisions need to be made i.e. relocating, career changes, etc. How do you talk to someone who you care about about these issues and what they likely mean for us w/o terrifying them?"

I know it's an issue which gets discussed here from time to time. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Not easy in many cases.

I have been building this topic up with my wife and sibs very gradually.. and I feel like a total wimp for my reticence, but I can't afford to have them slam the doors in my face, either..

My wife does see the ecological disasters at hand, and many faces of the political and economic conditions worsening, but while she knows that I am ready to blame liquid fuels on this predicament, we're still a couple steps away from her being able to look at it long and hard enough to face the possibility that she's 'seeing the iceberg'.. If I suggest that any retirement savings that are exposed to the stock market are possibly highly vulnerable (say 401k plans, particularly, for many of our friends/family), she jumps right back to 'don't be jumpy, invest long term and wait for the recovery..'

The idea that we may not GET a recovery is pretty much too tough to take in..

Written by jokuhi:
The idea that we may not GET a recovery is pretty much too tough to take in..

Try persuading her with economic arguments.

1. babyboomers retiring decreases consumer spending, puts a strain in Wall Street to pay back their investments and puts a strain on the work force to pay for their retirement.

2. the high price of crude oil drags down the economy.

3. the production of ethanol from corn drives the price of food up.

4. Government policies continue to export jobs to China and other countries using free trade agreements.

How does she think the U.S. economy will recover in less than 2 decades under these conditions?

Short Answer.. We need the eggs.

My wife flew across the country to an environment/sustainability conference in Vancouver recently.

She was excited to tell me that the hotel accomodation for the conference was chosen because it was 'sustainable' as it was a short public transit ride to the convention centre.

I asked her if she would be flying a sustainable jet plane to the conference.

That certainly got her to thinking!

well, one thought...

Humans are a silly bunch, and our current societies in particular. It "feels wrong" to most people to act concerned about stuff that most others aren't acting concerned about.


The bystander effect, also known as bystander apathy, is that larger groups are less likely to act in emergencies - not just individually, but collectively. Put an experimental subject alone in a room and let smoke start coming up from under the door. 75% of the subjects will leave to report it. Now put three subjects in the room - real subjects, none of whom know what's going on. On only 38% of the occasions will anyone report the smoke. Put the subject with two confederates who ignore the smoke, and they'll only report it 10% on the time - even staying in the room until it becomes hazy. (Latane and Darley 1969.)

Not an exact fit for longer-term concerns we're talking about but I think part of the mechanism is similar, because "normal" members of society don't like to feel they're doing something different from those around them; which adds to the general default heuristic of simply not thinking about negative things.

However, there is a way that's "acceptable" to think about negative outcomes: insurance. Most of my neighbors have hurricane insurance (as do I) despite the annual odds of a hurricane destroying one's home to be pretty low here. It's a probability versus severity thing. The money out-of-pocket for the insurance is quite real. (and I think many people here may still buy it from the state hurricane fund, which has been looted). A probabilistic worldview is something that many folks in the mainstream dabble with... lottery tickets, trips to Vegas, various sorts of life insurance. Perhaps try framing it in those terms initially, and then they may be a bit more prepared when you note "and by the way, the hurricane is two days out, heading this way, and is history's first category 7".

ymmv... good luck.

Reminds me of a time, couple years back, when nobody in the movie theatre moved for a few minutes when the alarms went off due to a tornado warning. I was in the middle of the row and was dumbfounded that I had to squeeze past everybody who remained in their seats.

You should have yelled "fire"!

(Or better yet, free popcorn in the lobby, next 5 minutes only)

Perfect example.

When I was a young kid my worldview was a quasi-solipsism, since the herds around me seemed not to think much; just golems to pad out the world as it was supposed to appear.

I wonder what it's like to be one of them. Mostly fun in good times, I imagine.

I don't see much mystery there. Have her read The Party's Over and Crosby's Children of the Sun, then ask her how she sees a way out. The reality is terrifying. No way around it. Have respect for your comrades. People aren't as dumb and corrupt as we assume. It's a rare person who won't at least engage the issues.

I agree that most will engage, and that people aren't dumb. As a long time browser of this site (but very infrequent contributor) my own problem is not in assessing the probability of an energy-constrained, which I believe to be high, or the risks associated with that, which I also perceive to be quite threatening to most of our current ways of living ... my problem is what exactly do I do about it? Given that I currently reside in an apartment in the centre of a large city, and have a well-paying job with excellent benefits that is not at all transferable to another location ... I'm honestly perplexed about what to do about the situation, even though by my own reckoning I am quite vulnerable in my current lifestyle if things go south. I'm not looking for advice, just indicating that knowledge of a problem doesn't necessarily mean that the resulting action or timing of any solution is really clear.

I think the timing is important. If I had, for instance, made dramatic changes in my life three years ago in order to cope with an energy constrained future, and these changes involved leaving my current employ, I'd be much worse off today than I am by any meaningful measure.

I've done what I can: purchased land in an rural area in which I have social connections, and some other stuff, but the timing of the changes to my life that I believe may be necessary is hard to know. I keep trying to educate myself, but I'd love to also be acquiring tools, learning how to use them, building a place, but so long as I am where I am, my actions are somewhat constrained.

I have started to realize that people don't have "truth" detectors. They just have consistancy detectors. If something is too inconsistant with how they see the world, they reject it as false.

So I think to reach people you need to work like the clutch of a car. You have to match speeds with them. Match that world view. And then slowly move that world view towards the one you find "true". Try too much, too fast, and you just get rejection. Like grinding gears.

Try books like "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" which is about Barbara Kingsolver trying to live local after learning about peak oil. It is a fun, yet life altering book. Or try the Voluntary Simplicity movement. Or watch No Impact Man. His family goes on a wild reduction in eco-footprint without mentioning peak oil. Most of the Transition Town stuff is actually pretty fun.

They just have consistency detectors.


That's the way I too model other people.

They (we, each) have a consistency detector that asks whether new information is in harmony or not with current internal models of how the world works.

If not, reject the new information as being un-trustworthy or an aberration.
If yes, accept the new data as part of, and in-synch with the confirmation-bias mechanism.

We seek to keep alive our existing world models just as we seek to keep alive the other parts of our bodies.

One more part that I add to the "consistency detector" is the excuse-maker (a.k.a. the "rationalizer").
In fact, many of our internal beliefs are not consistent.
They often contradict each other. (Example: flying to the renewable sustainable energies conference.)
For this, we need the "excuse maker" part of our inner mind works. It helps to keep the otherwise incongruent pieces together.

The human brain is a wondrous yet fickle thing. Yes, I agree there is a "consistency detector". Yet its purpose is not to detect the status quo but to note "error signals" where perceptions violate the internal understanding and prediction loop. Or so it seems to me, with my controls engineering bias.

There appears to be both a low and slow updating algorithm to refine the prediction loop over time, but also a clipping algorithm that eliminates outliers blithely. Sleep plays some role in these as well, to somehow re-knit an ever-shifting understanding together. The waking part seems pretty automatic to me -- we react more out of what we "know" than what our senses are telling us at the moment.

I believe that to penetrate the shell of preconceptions take time, repetition, and for most a gentle guidance from "where they are" to "where they need to be", else the rejection filter fires off and says "crazy talk here!". Otherwise, the only thing that will break a preconception is if it slams into a much stronger reality, and by then it may be too late.

All of this works great in a world that changes slowly, with few major upsets, and a low ratio of idiots and charlatans providing input. Not so well in a chaotic existence of carefully woven lies and brutally abrupt realities in a sea of professional marketing.

Of course some people have tighter filters and more ingrained thinking than others. Some will accept almost anything that's new and shiny, and that's not good either. 'Tis a wise (and rare) man who can read and seek wise counsel to change his thinking on his own.

Or so it seems to me, with my controls engineering bias.

Yes. Something similar to a Kalman Filter.

Model validation is a function of error between predictions and observations.

When there is a major inconsistency, the model has to be changed (updated).

Learning how people deal with new data (i.e.the consistency detector) is one of the most important aspects of wisdom. Maybe more important is recognizing it in ourselves, and actively trying to modify how we react to information that is outside our built up models of how things work. This includes avoiding the temptation to label things so as to make dismissing them easier (i.e. "conspiracy theory"). One ends up with a big mental file of things that are in the plausible-but-unconfirmed category, which becomes a bit of a burden to carry around.

Well yes. At the same time we are being bombarded with preposterous data. Dismissing the complete garbage is important, else we would spend all our time chasing ghosts. Thats what makes this wisdom thing hard, you can't just internalize, accept all inconsistent data as important, you got to pare down the list. And that requires fallible judgement.

But of course! Nothing wrong with that at all. There are no absolutes and only way to avoid having to judge what is right and real is to defer to others. Judgement is the measure of our wisdom, and that is the part that those obsessed with process and procedure miss.

Yes. Don't try to change the worldview first, change minor aspects first and the worldview will follow. There are good micro reasons to do most individual things dictated by the macro worldview of peak oil. Want to weatherize the house or get a more fuel-efficient car? Look at the after-tax rate of return (including hedging against future fuel costs) compared to savings. Want to bike instead of drive, talk about weight, diabetes, cardio health, and the mental health benefits of exercise. Want to start a vegetable garden? Talk about taste, aesthetics, hobby, etc. Want to cache food and water and other essentials? Talk about earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, floods, fires, and what have you. Want to learn how to do practical things for yourself? Make it a hobby, or blame it on needing to teach your kids, if any.

Hey Wharf Rat,

How do you talk to someone who you care about about these issues and what they likely mean for us w/o terrifying them?"

I ended a five year relationship and lost a friend not long ago because I tried to do exactly that.
You are pretty much damned if you do and damned if you don't!

I'm trying to proceed with a bit more caution with a new friend. At least her father was a scientist and taught her to think critically. I'm 58 and she is 54, highly intelligent and is a university graduate but has been unemployed and trying to find a job for well over a year in the industry of her choice. She has certainly been a victim of the economic downturn and age discrimination. After trying to make it in South Florida she finally decided to throw in the towel and is going back to Seattle, she left this morning on a 3800 mile drive home. What I succeeded in doing was have her promise me that she would contact http://www.salishseatrading.com/ Since she hails from Ballard and is a long time sailor who has cruised the world on sailboats. I convinced her that she would really like to meet these people... She already is concerned about the environment and eating healthy, etc! So that was my bait. I didn't openly push an agenda.

What I'm hoping is that when she does meet these people, they will convince her for me of the reality of the consequences of peak oil and perhaps she will make some new friends who can appreciate her skills. Perhaps it's a bit of a cowards way out but given what she has already been through she may be more open to change and may be more willing to listen to other sailors who are part of her community who are already trying to do things differently.

Hopefully I will have found a way to make her aware without personally being the bearer of bad news and coming across as a doomer. It's a long shot but maybe we will find a way to remain friends and meet again in the not too distant future. I can dream can't I?!


Ouch. Fred, thanks for sharing. Having a friend leave like that has to be painful. I hope you two stay in touch and meet again...

I hope you two stay in touch and meet again...

Tks, JN2, we are both working on it! Though riding my bicycle from Fort Lauderdale to Seattle ain't going to be easy >;^)

Though I may look into buying a sailboat...

Hi Fred,
That's very kind of you to refer your friend to us! We look forward to meeting her--and hopefully she'll arrive well after our current snowstorm melts.

Sail transport is becoming more and more "normed" here. At the last CSA delivery, we had Mayor McGinn bike down to buy a veggie box from us for his family's Thanksgiving table, Ballard's Salish Sea Trading Co-op ends season with purchase from Mayor Mike McGinn:

"In the face of increasing energy prices, our co-op is revitalizing sail and working in partnership with others to Buy Local and relocalize our economies."

Let me know if you'd like to be added to our newsletter, or add your friend.

Hi Sustainable Ballard,

Thanks for your kind words and your support! My friend should be back in Seattle around the end of January. I have emailed her the links to your site. I will be in touch with her during her trip. She is stopping along the way to visit friends and relatives.

Yes, please add me to your newsletter mailing list, my email address is in my profile!


Imho, people who have had easy lives are a dead loss in this regard. If somebody has had no experience of discontinuity or disaster (major illness, family breakup, poverty, natural disaster, war..) then they are incapable of usefully assessing the risks of PO & climate change.

This discontinuity-experience is much more important than political beliefs or technical education in terms of 'getting it' and these days i simply don't bother with those who lack it.


Those for whom "the game" is working quite nicely see no reason to change BAU.

Those for whom "the game" - or indeed any game - is working not so nicely may also see little need to change it. For example, they might aspire to be winners in the future - consider the notion that there are two main classes, the rich and those who would be rich.

Even if they have lost any such aspiration, they might figure that the other games that are actually available would work out even worse. This will be a barrier to, say, various sorts of (quasi-) Marxist aspirations, until the generations who experienced life "behind the iron curtain" and can report its utter failure at first hand have died off.

Or they might figure that yet other games concocted by starry-eyed idealists, vaguely specified and untested in the real world, might also work out quite badly. Few people would want to step off blindly into the random or speculative unknown when it comes down to basic economic survival. Far fewer would want to do so once they have become responsible for children.

IOW implementing "change" requires (at least if the "change" is to last) persuading large numbers of people that said change would actually be for the better, for some value of "better" concrete enough to understand and connect to (wobbly mumbo-jumbo from some graduate humanities seminar probably won't make the cut.) "Change" of any kind normally incurs visible up-front costs, so they must also be persuaded that it's worth fronting those costs. Oh, and a good many activists really need to take notice that mere ritual condemnation of Fox News will often not suffice. But be that all as it may, it doesn't seem that very much persuasion has taken place thus far, beyond the confines of a rather modestly-sized echo-chamber.

PaulS, the privelidged never understand what the less privelidged are complaining about (paraphrasing Ben Okri), because they have no equivalent experiences. Your daily recital of uber-capitalist mantra's shows nothing except, perhaps, the narrowness of your experience.

In defense of PaulS:

Liam, I think you are misunderstanding the message & unfairly attacking another messenger.
IMHO, PaulS is not saying he does not feel (has no empathy) for the underclass.
Instead he is saying that the message about a need for change away from BAU is a hard sell for the reasons he lists.

Hey WR.

I had great difficulty with this too with my wife. She has commented that I seemed to her to be like the character played by Richard Dreyfuss from the movie 'Close Encounters' who seemingly goes crazy in his behaviour. (Over the last few years I have been building vege garden beds, chicken coops, have created significant reserves of various items etc etc)

There was tension in our relationship. I seriously wondered if our relationship would survive (we have 2 young boys and so this was not something I would casually consider).

In the end I asked her to sit with me and we watched Martenson's Crash Course together. She seemed to turn the corner at this point.

We are still worlds apart in our understanding of the subject of PO/energy/finance, and it is a gulf that will never fully be bridged, but she understands now that what I am doing is reasonable and not some kind of mid-life crisis.

I don't know if I fully subscribe to the '7 stages of grief' model, but over the years of reading about all of this stuff and hearing/reading peoples' experiences, it does seem to have truth to it. I certainly seem to nowadays be at the stage of 'acceptance'. I have a pretty good idea of possible outcomes but I am no longer scared. I am not sure what 'stage' she is at, but it is one of the early experiences that most people have on this subject where they just get upset and think 'everybody is gonna die and it will be like Mad Max. fullstop'.

We now have 'small conversations' every so often. And she is even supportive of what I am doing. I expect that this will increase over the next few years.

I hope this is helpful to you/your friend.

Climate change joins evolution as another topic in science classes where differing views and beliefs are causing educators, school districts and states to take sides.

Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change. Tennessee and Oklahoma also have introduced legislation to give climate change skeptics a place in the classroom.

"Any time we have a meeting of 100 teachers, if you ask whether they're running into pushback on teaching climate change, 50 will raise their hands," said Frank Niepold, climate education coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who meets with hundreds of teachers annually. "We ask questions about how sizable it is, and they tell us it is [sizable] and pretty persistent, from many places: your administration, parents, students, even your own family."

The story at The Los Angeles Times:

Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change. Tennessee and Oklahoma also have introduced legislation to give climate change skeptics a place in the classroom.

I would like to propose they also pass legislation requiring those same educators to teach denial of the theory of gravity, whether they believe in it or not, they should be asked to step off tall buildings to test the gravity skeptics, position...

Might be fun to watch >;^)

They're already doing just such an experiment with climate change, and the analogy is just about perfect. They just haven't realized they're falling. The problem is that it may be a while before they hit the ground, or rather it may be their kids who hit the ground - but the signs are certainly there if they'd look up from their smart phones and observe the windows whipping by.

The climate will change and evolution will happen even without their agreement. They don't get to decide. The reality is that climate change is driven by the existence of 7B people, and that in turn is driven by the use of fossil fuels. Maybe in a perfect world, or even a much better one, we could at least reduce our carbon emissions proactively, but there's no sign of this at all. Reducing our carbon emissions will require reducing us. That sounds bad, so how about we reduce those other guys?

It will be reduced when the available fossil fuel carbon is reduced. That's not to say using fossil fuel is OK, it's not - just focus on what you do and don't worry about what they teach. Chances are you'll have plenty of opportunities to teach the reality.

Tend to agree Fred.
Educate the educators?
Might be an idea to begin with the basic practice of studying evidence?
Study is open-ended and does not require 'belief' either way.
But simple cause and effect demonstrations, as you suggest, can be starters for covering the concept of gathering 'evidence'!
Study climate science; how evidence is collected. Study the physics. Measurement of CO2. Study the testing of conjecture.
Same for 'evolution'. Get the evidence for geological time and get a feel for the planet.
This might trump the kids being told it is all a matter of opinion (and free-market choice?).

Gosh, Phil, study the evidence? These denier parents don't want no evidence.

They don't want to pay for it.

They don't want the questions that the evidence brings up.

They don't want any competition for their childrens' opinions.

They don't want to challenge their childrens' faith and beliefs.

They don't want the competition for their childrens' world view.

It all undermines their God given authority over their childrens' 'education'. How dare they!

They don't need no inconvenient truths. They have their own truths.

They don't need no inconvenient truths. They have their own truths.

That sums it up. The best (panglossian) life comes and only comes from taking what we say from an ancient text lierally. Anything else is a threat to that ancient optimal way of life. And anything which helps our political enemies is a threat. I suspect the later dominates the thinking behind this. Depending upon what is taught/learned the student may grow up more liberal/conservative, and we want to tilt the playing field as much as possible.

Wikipedia, Reddit plan blackout in SOPA protest

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- A handful of large websites will go dark on Wednesday to protest an anti-piracy bill that critics say will wreck the Internet as we know it.

Wikipedia, user-submitted news site Reddit, the blog Boing Boing and the Cheezburger network of comedy sites all plan to participate in the blackout. The protest is their response to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill, a piece of proposed legislation that is working its way through Congress.

Introduced in the House of Representatives in late October, the bill aims to crack down on copyright infringement by restricting access to sites that fuel it. Its targets include "rogue" overseas sites like torrent hub The Pirate Bay, which essentially operates as a trading ground for illegal downloads of movies and other digital content.

A similar bill called the Protect IP Act was approved by a Senate committee in May and is now pending before the full Senate.

This is how it starts....

Snort, let me know when Facebook and Google goes down for a day.

The best thing to do is to not buy anything from companies supporting SOPA... and make it known that this is what you're doing.

The DHS monitoring of blogs and websites has already begun ...

EPIC v. Department of Homeland Security: Media Monitoring

... EPIC FOIA request and lawsuit forced disclosure of the following records concerning the DHS's media monitoring program:

January 2012 Disclosure - 285 pages (including contracts, price estimates, Privacy Impact Assessment, and communications concerning DHS Media Monitoring program)... the DHS has stated that it will routinely monitor the public postings of users on Twitter and Facebook. The agency plans to create fictitious user accounts and scan posts of users for key terms and disseminate information to "federal, state, local, and foreign government and private sector partners. User data will be stored for five years and shared with other government agencies. The legal authority for the DHS program remains unclear.

- The records reveal that the DHS is paying General Dynamics to monitor the news. The agency instructed the company to monitor for "[media] reports that reflect adversely on the U.S. Government, DHS, or prevent, protect, respond government activities."

- The DHS is attempting to "capture public reaction to major government proposals."

- One of the example social network monitoring summaries is titled "Residents Voice Opposition Over Possible Plan to Bring Guantanamo Detainees to Local Prison-Standish MI." The report summarizes dissent on blogs and social networking cites, quoting commenters.

- The DHS instructed the company to "Monitor public social communications on the Internet." The records list the websites that will be monitored, including the comments sections of [The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, the Drudge Report, Wired, and ABC News.]"

- The DHS instructed the social media monitoring company to generate "reports on DHS, Components, and other Federal Agencies: positive and negative reports on FEMA, CIA, CBP, ICE, etc. as well as organizations outside the DHS."

the Stasi couldn't hold a candle to DHS

Project to pour water into volcano to make power

(AP) -- Geothermal energy developers plan to pump 24 million gallons of water into the side of a dormant volcano in Central Oregon this summer to demonstrate new technology they hope will give a boost to a green energy sector that has yet to live up to its promise.

Fears persist that cracking rock deep underground through hydroshearing can also lead to damaging quakes. EGS has other problems. It is hard to create a reservoir big enough to run a commercial power plant.

A new international protocol is coming out at the end of this month that urges EGS developers to keep projects out of urban areas, the so-called "sanity test," said Ernie Majer, a seismologist with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It also urges developers to be upfront with local residents so they know exactly what is going on.

Frac'ing for geothermal.

Look at the "break-even" costs for the world's top oil producers. That is the minimum price at which these countries need to sell oil so that they can balance their budgets.

While our main focus here is about the geological constraints of global oil production, this article reminds us that in the increasingly unstable political world in which we all live it is social effects rather than geological facts that can spell the end of oil for many of us.

When Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq et al start defining minimum oil prices required to sustain social order in their countries then we only have to think how oil production from a nation collapses as civil unrest arises to realise how fragile our oil supplies are.

If these nations do not get the price they need to sustain civil order, then the natives will get restless; they already are. The fastest way for the revolutionaries to get some traction is to chuck a few RPGs into the refineries control rooms, or tie some IEDs onto some pipes, light the blue touch paper and retire. Trivial, but it would only take a hundred focussed men to drop Saudi exports to zero in a single night.

But each month these break-even figures keep going up, the worlds ability to pay goes down, and for counties like Saudi Arabia that has recently made a commitment to abandon all internal food production and import everything its people eats, a crossing of these price expectations with reality of what users can pay can have dire consequences both internally and internationally.

Its a very fine line we are walking.

That is the minimum price at which these countries need to sell oil so that they can balance their budgets.

I like how things change over time. It started out with oil being sold based on supply & demand, but now the world is hooked, world oil production has peaked, OPEC is apparently able to establish price based on their internal budgetary needs. Well, what if they want to give every citizen free housing and a Porsche, and their budgetary needs rise to $150 a barrel? What if they choose to send a man to Mars and they need $200 a barrel? I just think this idea we need to buy a commodity priced via a country's budgetary needs is a very strange way to view it.

Quick book update: I uploaded the final chapter last night, and begin the process of edits today. I replaced the biomass chapter with one on oil-free transportation. At this point, I am reviewing all comments from the thread where I asked for comments. If there are any final thoughts, please let me have them now as I now have 2 weeks in which to make edits.

For anyone who missed it, here was the post where I asked for comments: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8782

Query: What were your conclusions about the post-peak world order?

The other day I said that we could expect to see a sizeable price cut on these LED lamps come spring... looks like spring came early this year...

Finally, an LED 60-watt lightbulb takes a major price dive

At $15 each, the cost of a Philips LED bulb to replace an ordinary 60-watter is relatively high, compared to an incandescent. But for anyone who’s waiting for the price to come down, the time to buy and try is now. Last year the same A19 bulb cost $40. Then it decreased to $25 last fall. Now the bulb is on sale at Home Depot for $15 through March. The 12.5 watt LED bulb (a 60 watt incandescent equivalent) has received, er, glowing reviews online and from Consumer Reports. It’s dimmable, has a six year warranty, contains no mercury, and has the soft warm glow of an incandescent. It’s expected to last 22 years (assuming 3 hours usage each day) and use 80 percent less energy than an incandescent. I’ve used one for over a year without any issues.

See: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/blogs/137413348.html

This is a great lamp and an amazing value at just $15.00.


Thank you for the tip, I will buy one and check it out.

When it says 'not for use in enclosed fixtures', does that mean fully enclosed (with a glass plate or globe), or does that also mean not for use in track or recessed lighting fixtures?

The dilemma feature is nice...my Wife has been threatening to replace some ceiling fab CFLs with incandescent because she wants to be able to dim them.

Will any dimmer switch work on these?

Most welcome, H. I wouldn't recommend their use within a fully enclosed fixtures such as a globe or jelly jar due to heat build-up. The ideal application would be a floor or table lamp with an open shade (for recessed fixtures and track heads you'd want to use a reflector or PAR lamp to minimize light loss within the housing).

I use this A19 in table lamps fitted with large open fabric shades and their heat sinks run so hot that you'll burn your fingers if you touch them.

With respect to dimming, Philips LED lamps are compatible with most reverse-phase or trailing-edge dimmers, but not forward-phase/leading-edge. Translation: a simple rotary or mechanical slider and you'll likely be fine... the more sophisticated electronic dimmers, best to check in advance.



Once again, thank you for your pro advice.

When/if the local Home Depot makes the price ~ $15, I will try one out, and post my thoughts after a fashion.

I currently have ~ 90% of my house lighting as CFLs, and I have been happy with them for the past 2 and a half years...I will go with LEDs first to provide dimming where requested, then to replace the little two-pin halogen 'hanging fixtures' in my kitchen...


A word of caution with regards to the Philips LED MR16s, H; as mentioned recently, these lamps are equipped with an internal cooling fan that generates a high pitched whine and I can't recommend it for this reason. It's a shame because its performance in all other respects is quite good.

I'll try to confirm this new lower pricing through my Philips contacts and report back.


I have a couple of these now, found on closeout and thought I'd test them.

I'm also concerned about the fan's lifespan and getting clogged with dust. Need to figure out a 'non-enclosed enclosure' for keeping them clean!

I'm actually still having a lot more fun with the Peel-Stick Strips, and just got a CRAZY cheap deal (and will probably rue the day..) for a 25' spool of it for $11 US.

The color ranges are a little more pedestrian, but with Warm White, Neutral (about 4000k) and Daylight Options, I have enough to play with!


These can be snipped into 2" sections with 3 surface LEDs on them, so they can light a little or a lot.. and all with broad, soft light, a nice complement to the LED spots that most of the stores sell now.

I don't have any experience with strips made with the 2026 LED's. How do they compare to 3228's brightness wise?

I know from experience that 5050's are 3 times as bright as 3228's.

These peel and stick strips have many options:

Brightness: 3228 are the most common, 5050's are 3 times as bright.

Number of LED's per inch: You can get strips of 300 in either 5M or 10M.

Color: Warm White, Cool White, Red, Green, Blue, Amber Etc. Or equipped with RGB led's along with the appropriate controller for color changing effects.

Regular or Waterproof: I do have some nonwaterproof ones deployed under an awning, of which a few have failed. The waterproof ones under the same awning are doing fine.

Also you have to keep in mind what else is on the circuit. The strips under the awning were on the same circuit as the 12V demand water-pump. Made for an annoying change of brightness every time the pump ran. Had to install a dc-dc converter to solve the problem.

You're right, these strips are all over the place, all sorts of options.. I'm very eager to play with the RGB ones, as the LED coloring that I see all around me now is starting to burn my eyes a bit.. everybody is doing it all at full-saturation. It's sort of glorious that we CAN now, but ultimately it's 'short-sighted', if you will. As with 3d films, it's time for more interesting Artists to explore these grounds and make them really play their riches to best effect. The epitome' of 3d, is not, after all, just to throw junk right at our faces..

I'm afraid I haven't investigated which chips I'm getting on which strips.. though it does sound like it could make a good Dr. Suess book!

I am inclined against the brightest options in many cases, as I would tend to expect the 'Blade Runner Maxim' to come into effect..** so I try to keep the heat and the pressure a good bit under the max for the hedge of a 'long, pleasant life'.. even if every now and then, you need to get in a good Sprint (or 'equalizing charge', as our off-grid contingent might call it)

But I'm also eager to pull a few of these SMT chips off, and work with them in other ways.


"Remember, the candle that burns twice as brightly burns half as long, and you have burned so very brightly, Roy." - Tyrell

I saw a comparison out there, try some googles for it and you should find a table.


Need to add Sticky-Back to the list of options. I just received a roll that has no sticky on the backside. Need to read more carefully before ordering next time.

I've been really happy with the Philips LED bulbs that I bought.

Hmm, $24.97 locally at the moment.

Anyone find a cheaper price at their HD? I entered a few ZIPs that claimed lower a few days ago and got the same $25.

I noticed that as well... I'm guessing that HD hasn't gotten around to updating their website as yet.


To be honest I've been waiting for a very very long time for LED lighting to make the mainstream. It seems to have all the upside from CFL but without the downsides of the flickering. The most interesting application IMO is in new houses where the lighting is incorporated into strips and you can have uplights as well as downlights for a very low operating cost per lumen. I don't think it'll necessarily reduce the lighting cost by a huge distance over conventional incandescents, however I think it'll go a long way to improving the quality of night-time light in a lot of homes.

I clicked through to Home Depot from the link on that blog and got $24.95. Maybe it was a one-day sale, or you have to have just the right browser cookies?

I have three of the 40watt equivalent EcoSmart A19s, that they were selling for $9.97. Good to see that for similar cost per lumen that you can get a brighter bulb. It looks like LEDs have reached the quailty/price points that make them interesting.

This past Friday I attended a presentation by a major manufacturer of outdoor lighting fixtures (wall packs, parking garage canopies, pole mounts, etc.) and was blown away by what I saw. A year ago I couldn't justify the LED price premium vis-à-vis pulse start metal halide... not a problem today. Once I can start sourcing this hardware at 347-volts we're sitting pretty.


It is nice that there is a cheaper LED bulb. But I hope LEDs can do more to change lighting than just different bulbs. I hope LEDs change lighting to a larger degree. For example, you don't need 12 gauge copper wiring with LEDs. So perhaps they can make wiring more efficient if you can eliminate such heavy, expensive, and difficult to deploy wiring.

And you don't want a single point source for light with LEDs, you want them spread out in lines or arrays.

Good point, but in residential construction lighting and plugs typically share the same circuit so we would need to segregate these loads for this to work.

I've toyed with the idea of installing permanent LED fixtures in our home but for now I'm sticking with screw-ins because the technology is evolving rapidly and I don't want to lock myself into something that could very well prove obsolete in a few years.


I agree. I tend to make even built-in components in my home and apartments modularized to some degree, so I have fairly easy reversability.

I have got some OSRAM MR16 LED's as Spot Sources in the Kitchen, giving various countertops a nice sharp bit of worklight at them, at a higher Color temp, and my wife's tired eyes have been appreciating that, while the undercounter Fluoro's are about to be converted to the LED strips I mentioned above.. a nice 32k soft wash for those workspaces. (And ALL these low-volt lights are on a parallel Solar Power Line I'm putting together, so I have some of my most-used lighting running from renewables, and is available in an outage as well.)

I appreciate Spec's call for more softlight, but as a lighting guy, I am in a constant push and pull to balance the two source types with each other. The soft-wash is soothing and comfortable, but muddies everything out, contrast-wise. The Hard Sources give us more emphasis on what we choose, and better sense of contours and depth with the harder shadows that it forms. This isn't merely an aesthetic issue, but very practical when one starts to look at how to best apply a certain amount of power to get the best viewability and least eye-strain. Those are key for older eyes, but are also, in fact, tied very directly to what we perceive as 'Attractive' lighting at any age.

Form does have its roots in function, I have to say.

Whats the voltage (DC?) on these strips, Bob. Looks interesting.

Straight 12vdc. Polarized, in this case. (might sound redundant, but many low-volt LED lamps now have internal regulators and can take AC or DC, polarity-nondependant)

I have a couple lengths of them, 6 leds total, in a piece of white PEX pipe as the new Dome Lighting for my Subaru, costing the battery a mere 50ma (or .6 watts at 12v), if the ratings are to be believed, with quite Ample brightness. These will make great Nightlights, Counter Lights, ToolBox lights, Closets, etc.. They seem as happy with my 14.4 volt Makita Batteries (that get up to 15.?v on full chg) as they do with the 12v Solar Lead Acid batts, the Car Power; which is erratic with the interruptions of starters and alternator activity, and Wall-wart Adapters.

So I see them as being very stable and versatile so far.. they don't get much more than 'a bit warm', and have NO driver circuitry to worry about.. just Current Limit Resistors on the strips with the LEDS.

Don't forget this format for MR-16 replacement, as well. Their prices have been dropping, and I find them to be a very unobjectionable 'warm white' source, with a broad output. They CAN be targeted into a Para- reflector to have more of their output beamed in a preferred direction, if desired.
http://www.amazon.com/1-5W-MR11-GU4-0-Accent-Lamp/dp/B005WDERF4/ref=sr_1... That one linked is now only $3.00 ! I've usually gotten similar items for $10-15 each, and have found them durable and reliable. So I can't vouch for this supplier, but haven't seen any duds yet. Mine are actually open circuit boards, which might be better, as they won't hold in their heat on the back of the PCB.. but either way, these are moving ahead as well.

(Paul, not trying to upstage your suggestions.. I like to mix a healthy smattering of my 'slumming' options in with 'Paying for the Good Stuff' that your trade allows you to explore. Kinda like 'Mostly Rice and Beans, with an occasional little bit of fresh Scallops to top it all off!' -bob )

Wow! Thanks, worth a try. I'm interested in them for under-cabinet lighting and night/safety lights, all on a timer or photocell.

Well worth trying.

They do seem 'competitive' with the Fluoros that they are replacing.. but don't expect them to blow them away. Two widths of them would likely be brighter than an equiv amount of Fluoro.. one length to me seems slightly dimmer, but a bit nicer in quality, and ultimately better in power consumption by maybe 1/2 or more, and much better in space consumed and in mounting and application options.. etc.. (EDIT: in fact, the efficiency gains will cover a wide swath of results, as these smaller sources vary widely in their consumption with lamp age and various inefficiencies in the way they have been set up to start with. I will be putting in about 6 or 8 watts of these strips to replace a stretch that is now driving 5 "8-watt" Fluoro Under Cabinets, but which on my meter are drawing up to 10 watts each on avg.. so its a better than 5 or 6 to 1 improvement, usually what LED has been offering over the Incandescents that it replaces, not the Fluoros)

I'm still looking for fun ways to mount them into small channels, possibly hardwood rails cut on the tablesaw with silver or white 45 degree reflective walls to nudge the light from it's 180 degree spread to more of a brighter 100 degree directionality.

You might like or dislike the shadows created by them, as they are a long row of point sources, so you quickly notice an almost subtle 'many-striped' shadow under anything on the counter. Either a complicated custom reflector/concentrator that effectively spreads out these point sources, or a simpler diffusion layer in front of the strip will go far in eliminating that optical artifact, if it disturbs.

Here at the museum, the LED strips are used to make beautiful display cases, wood-framed with glass sides and tops, where the light comes from hidden sources in the top framing. These are the half-inch-wide, or less, tapes with Surface Mount LEDs.

Bob, I'm always amazed by your ingenuity and creativity and, in particular, your ability to come up with simple solutions that do their job well. I have T4 fluorescent under cabinet lighting in our kitchen and, unfortunately, the reflections off the counter top are annoying. I'm thinking of replacing these fixtures with something physically and, hopefully, visually more discrete. Our lighting supplier has recommend products from this source: http://www.rabdesign.ca/productdetails/under-cabinet.html and I'm going to swing by there later today to borrow a sample to try out.

I also agree about the need for good contrast; the interplay of light and shadows is really important. I look at the set lighting of some of the great black and white films from the '30's and '40's and it's so very good (Now Voyager comes to mind). Those lighting directors really knew their stuff.


Thanks Paul,
(Inventive, yes.. but I also honor my wife for a degree of patience and tolerance for the less beautiful experiments..)

Yes, in black and white, they really relied on Hard Light to create visual space and get shadow definition on objects. It was much more subtle an art than all the muddy soft washes of light we can play with now.

The reflections off these LED strips are kind of, 'Marquis-like', speaking of the movies.. maybe another issue of taste to consider.. ahh, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it!


PS, When we are shooting a shiny metallic object, like a Company Masthead in a Lobby, etc, and need to USE the reflection to see the Form, there are some really fun ways to design the light source so the reflection it casts is pleasing or interesting as well. For example, you could bounce LED or Fluoro Light across the underside of the cabinet, and surface that underside with one of those 'Art Papers' like Ricepaper/Batik/Tie-dye that you can get at Art Stores, or even Light up Appropriately Colored Prints (Sky/Clouds, Monet, Ansel Adams, MC Escher?) that will cast a surprising or pleasing reflection on the odd Plate or Saucepan. Creating A Stained/Glass Color Image would also be fun to try, and you can balance the colors involved to get the mixed output color you desire. - rrf

Hi Bob,

I picked up the sample fixture that I had mentioned earlier and the first thing that hits you is that it's really thin (thinner than the thumb drive that you see in this photograph). The second thing you notice after plugging it in is that it's surprisingly bright.

I'm pleased to confirm that it helps to correct the reflection issue with our polished counter tops. Although there's a bit of a marquee effect in that you can make out the individual LEDs, it's not so in-your-face as with the linear fluorescents. Light levels will come in a bit lower, but I expect that we can replace these 25-watt T4s with either a 3 or 5-watt LED strip on a one-for-one basis (less light, but also far less glare).


That looks like the LEDs are tilted. Does it make a difference to reflections depending on which side is towards you?


That's probably due to the angle of the camera. I had thought about tilting the strip slightly so that its output is directed towards the back splash but the cut-off is so sharp that it leaves the front half of the counter top in total darkness. To ensure proper forward-aft coverage, the strips will have to be tucked tight against the valance with the light directed straight down.

I really can't get over how bright this thing is at only 3-watts. It's pretty amazing.


I pulled some extra wire in my house for future DC circuits, mainly for lighting and small electronics. It made the inspectors crazy until I designated (marked) them low voltage only. The plan is to run essential lighting directly from the solar batteries, bypassing the inverters/AC. While LEDs designed for RVs (12 VDC) are available, they're still quite expensive. I'm hoping to find DC direct LEDs in the 24 VDC nominal range that are suitable and affordable.

As for running smaller wire, it's hard to find cheaper copper wire than regular 14 gauge romex, which most of my lighting circuits are. It seems to me that anything smaller will result in line losses that may offset any efficiency gains.

I've always preferred segregation, I guess part of that is being from the UK where it is a norm but. At least lights and power don't go off together if you plug too much in for power. One advantage is you can use the lights to work on the power and plug a lamp in to work on the lights :)


"For example, you don't need 12 gauge copper wiring with LEDs."

Most general wiring in most houses, around here at least, is 14 gauge. The kitchens are required to be 12 gauge though.

In this house, all the lights are on 1 14 gauge circuit which has never been a problem even with all incandescent lighting. 12 amps is 24 60 W bulbs, after all.

By the way, having ALL the lights in the house on the same circuit is a bad idea ;-)

The next step down from 14 is of course 16 on a 10 amp breaker, but I'm not sure if current Code allows it.

#14AWG -- UGGH! Use #12CU minimum for power, even for 15A circuits (of course you should use 20A minimum circuits in houses anyway, but that's another story). Reduced loads just mean you can use fewer circuits. #14 should be reserved for control wire. Lo-bidda contractors use #14 because it's cheaper initially, but it'll cost you in the long run in flexibility (when you want to add a recep or light without adding a circuit), voltage, and losses.

It may be great on paper but the light is awful. I tried one in a room for a few weeks and gave up, going back to a dimmable 2700K CFL which is itself not that great (I prefer 3000-3500K) but much closer to an incandescent. And I can tell the difference easily because the next room has the same light fixture with an incandescent in it and the same floor. Standing in the corridor and looking into both rooms, the problem of the philips is quite obvious. The color is just wrong, even for a 2700K lamp.

It does emit of a lot of light though and dims well so there's hope for a good 60W replacement at some point. But honestly, this isn't it for me. I wonder why they went with blue LEDs and a yellow cover... I have two other LED lamps in the house (one GU10 and one reading lamp) which put out good light without such trickery.

Interesting. My experience is very different from your own. I've tried numerous CFLs over the years through my work in the lighting field (from Philips, Osram Sylvania, GE, TCP, etc.) and found the quality of light provided to be less than satisfactory. This Philips A19 is the first and so far only LED lamp that I can't distinguish from a standard soft-white incandescent when used inside a table lamp (if you were to put two identical table lamps side-by-side, one fitted with a soft-white incandescent and the other a CFL, I could correctly identify the one with the CFL every time; with this Philips lamp, that's not possible).

This lamp utilizes a remote phosphor coating that's applied to the back of the plastic diffuser and this allows the light to be broadcast uniformly in all directions, just like a regular household incandescent; it also helps to lower manufacturing costs, improves colour stability and longevity, and minimizes lumen depreciation over the life of the lamp. Nice bit of trickery, eh?


Well I must have gotten one with defective plastic diffusers or there is a different variant being sold here in Quebec because I can assure you the difference with a conventional 60W is impossible to miss. I tried really hard but just couldn't put up with it, it was worse than the worst 2700K CFLs I've seen. I was surprised considering all the positive feedback I had read online (including yours here) before buying the thing. It's currently in a drawer and will probably end up being used in a stairway or some other place I don't have to look at it for too long at a time.

And yeah, I imagine it is a good trick... when it works :)

I'd take it back and exchange it and if the replacement is no more pleasing to the eye then you'll have your answer. Alternatively, contact Philips Lighting's customer support centre at 1.800.555.0050 (M-F, 8h30 – 17h00 EST). It's possible that the lamp is defective in which case Philips will gladly replace it at no charge.


I'll check but I think it's been too long for an exchange. Besides, more likely than not there would be a whole batch of defective ones in the store. That's what happened to me a year ago with A shaped halogens anyway (yeah, bad luck with light bulbs!). One quick question: you mention it uses a phosphor, does that mean it keeps glowing faintly after you turn it off like a CFL? If so, I'll check mine and it might answer the question about it being defective.

I haven't noticed any afterglow with this particular lamp as I have with other LEDs (that's not to say that it isn't there, just that I can't make it out).

You can learn more about the internal construction of this lamp at: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?308557-Philips-12w-Te...

Let me add that I'm genuinely sorry to hear that your experience with this lamp has been disappointing. I would encourage you to call Philips at the toll-free number provided above and to talk to one of their customer care representatives (they'll most likely send you a replacement at no charge). Just as a sidebar, our Philips rep is in and out of various Home Depots all the time and if he sees someone looking at one of these lamps he'll strike up a conversation with this individual and pay for it with his corporate card. I'm told that this sort of thing is actively encouraged by the company because it generates such good will (you can imagine how many times a story like this is recounted to friends, neighbours and colleagues).

We've had past dealings with another of the "big three" lighting manufacturers (with purchases well into the seven figures) and I can honestly say that Philips puts them to shame. Whenever I have a question or encounter a problem they respond immediately, and if I need to present a proof-of-concept or demonstrate one of their products I'm told, "Whatever you need, it's yours". I really can't say enough good things about this company.


Thanks for your comments. I'll retrieve the lamp from its drawer, give it some more testing to qualify what exactly is wrong and give that number a try.

I did buy a few chandelier base 2700K LEDs, and they are irratatingly pink. All the standard screw socket LEDs I've bought (not three different A-19s) @3000K have been excellent (I have 19 in total).

No kidding. I have thirty or more of these BA11 lamps in our home and sometimes I feel like I've stumbled into Barbara Cartland's boudoir. There seems to be considerable variation from one batch to the next... some are undeniably pinkish whilst others are perfectly fine.

I have three of these lamps in our front hall fixture and two more in the table lamp:


There's twelve more in our dinning room chandelier and another two in the buffet lamps:


Unmanly or not, at just 3-watts each I'm willing to suck it up.


Sounds like you might have to do some matching in the fixtures if there are several in there.


The worst offenders got shuffled to the outdoor carriage and post lights where they replaced 25-watt Halogenás and three more were relegated to an upper hallway fixture that doesn't get a lot of use. I'm sure I'm making this sound worse than it is. And this could be my imagination but I think they've become somewhat less pinkish over time. [Perhaps EoS can confirm this.]


I believe the bulbs are based on Philips' L-prize design.

A glimpse of what's to come appeared this past August, when an LED lightbulb from Philips Lighting North America won the U.S. Department of Energy's $10 million Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize, better known as the L Prize.

"Our L Prize bulb is essentially the Ferrari of lighting," boasts Todd Manegold, director of LED lamps marketing at Philips. "It does everything that any lightbulb could ever or should ever want to do."

In the beginning—perhaps in the first half of this year—the bulb will sell at a Ferrari price, perhaps $50 apiece. But the pressure to cut that premium will grow as early ­adopters buy up other brands of LED bulbs that trade efficiency for lower prices. And indeed, those prices are falling fast.
graphic link to special report

Philips had to design the bulb to hit a slew of engineering targets set by the DOE. First, the bulb had to put out at least 900 lumens—as much light as a 60-W incandescent bulb, the most common kind in the United States. Then it had to last for 25 000 hours, which is roughly 25 times as long as a standard incandescent. And it had to draw less than 10 W.


Canada not 'giant national park' for U.S.
Harper says Pipeline debate should be left to Canadians

The environmental review process is for Canadians, and not to be used by Americans who want Canada to be "one giant national park" for North America, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says.

In an exclusive interview Monday with CBC chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge, Harper said it's valid to have a discussion over how to strike a balance between jobs and environmental protection, but it's one that should be left to Canadians.

"It's one thing in terms of whether Canadians, you know, want jobs, to what degree Canadians want environmental protection. These are all valid questions," Harper said.

"But just because certain people in the United States would like to see Canada be one giant national park for the northern half of North America, I don't think that's part of what our review process is all about."


This advice would carry more weight if they extended the same courtesy to their US neighbours. What a bunch of hypocrites.


Lobby groups tied to the Happer administration like EthicalOil.org refuse to disclose their donor list. Many of the companies involved in the tar sands industry are foreign owned and/or controlled. And Happer only complains about foreign influence on environmental groups?

Is it me or does this complaint from Happer sound a little bit hypocritical?

Azerbaijan’s 2011 Oil Output Declines 11% to 45.4 Million Tons

Oil production declined to 45.4 million metric tons, or about 911,000 barrels a day, from 50.8 million tons the previous year, the State Statistics Committee said today in an e-mailed statement. Gas production fell 2.4 percent to 25.7 billion cubic meters, according to the statement.

The EIA has Azerbaijan averaging 994,000 barrels per day through the first 9 months of 2011 and JODI has them averaging 945,000 bp/d through the first 10 months. However the difference could be condensate. The article did not say if the totals included condensate or not.

JODI data has Azerbaijan producing only 863,000 bp/d in October. The November JODI data is due out tomorrow.

Ron P.

Oil prices will stay high because the cost of producing oil is high and increasing. The cost of production can be extrapolated directly from the ERoEI function. That cost is the function EP/BTU/$. Where EP is the Gross potential Energy (EG) (140,000 BTU/gal) less the Net Energy (EN) of a unit of oil. EP is the energy needed at the well head to produce a gallon of oil.
BTU/$ is the function you get when you plot the EIA's Total World Energy Production divided by the World Banks World GDP against time in years (r = 0.977).

EP (BTU/gal) = EG*(1.8*10^4*t^-1.6)^-1
BTU/$ = 3.0*10^13*t^-4.72

$/gal = EP/BTU/$
$/barrel = $/gal * 42

t = time in years: 1900 is year zero (0); thus 2010 is year 110.
$Actual/b comes from the EIA "First Purchase Price"; which is essentially WTI

example: 2010 average world production cost equaled $86.82 per barrel

If you plot ln($projected/b) vs ln($actual/b) you get a fairly nice straight line with a correlation coefficient of about 0.953. I don't have the time to put up nice pretty graphs for you, but you can do this on almost any spread sheet and plot it out with any graphics program.

If you play with the numbers you'll see that the oil companies have not been making a lot of money pumping oil for quit a few years. The majors made it in refining and distribution and the little guys struggled. Peak is turning this around, and in the future the money is going to be in pumping oil; the spread between production costs and price is growing for the producers and shrinking for the rest of the industry. For the next decade the producers are going to be in the cat bird seat.

Gas Bears Up Bets on ’Catastrophic’ Surplus

Supplies may reach a seasonal record of 2.4 trillion cubic feet in March, which is when heating demand usually ends and producers begin piping more gas into storage, Cooper said. Unless production falls or cold weather bolsters demand, prices will drop to $2.40 per million Btu, and perhaps below $2, as gas overflows storage caverns and clogs pipelines, he said.
“This is a situation that has never been seen before,” Cooper said. “If we hit 2.4 trillion, you’re looking at storage capacity constraints by July or August where you literally have system problems because the system is so full.”

I predict more coal being displaced by gas will alleviate this problem appreciably. Delivered coal prices are significantly stickier than gas and have crept up during the past 12 years while gas has been higher than it was before that.

New model finds climate change could expose North America, East Asia and the Caribbean to costly hurricane damage

If you’re planning to build that dream beach house along the East Coast of the United States, or would like to relocate to the Caribbean, a new study by economists and climate scientists suggests you may want to reconsider.

... the team found that annual hurricane damage could quadruple to $109 billion by 2100. According to the researchers’ model, proliferating greenhouse gases would likely increase the incidence of severe tropical cyclones and hurricanes, which would increase storm-related damage.

Furthermore, the researchers found that the distribution of damage is not even across the world. Their model indicates that climate change would cause the most hurricane-related damage in North America, followed by East Asia, Central America and the Caribbean.

The 1.5 meter sea level rize (minimum!) in the century probably add some to this too...

Yearly production loss of mollusks due to ocean acidification could be over 100 billion USD globally

Abstract: "Ocean acidification is increasingly recognized as a major global problem. Yet economic assessments of its effects are currently almost absent. Unlike most other marine organisms, mollusks, which have significant commercial value worldwide, have relatively solid scientific evidence of biological impact of acidification and allow us to make such an economic evaluation. By performing a partial-equilibrium analysis, we estimate global and regional economic costs of production loss of mollusks due to ocean acidification. Our results show that the costs for the world as a whole could be over 100 billion USD with an assumption of increasing demand of mollusks with expected income growths combined with a business-as-usual emission trend towards the year 2100. The major determinants of cost levels are the impacts on the Chinese production, which is dominant in the world, and the expected demand increase of mollusks in today’s developing countries, which include China, in accordance with their future income rise. Our results have direct implications for climate policy. Because the ocean acidifies faster than the atmosphere warms, the acidification effects on mollusks would raise the social cost of carbon more strongly than the estimated damage adds to the damage costs of climate change."

"...Because the ocean acidifies faster than the atmosphere warms, the acidification effects on mollusks would raise the social cost of carbon more strongly than the estimated damage adds to the damage costs of climate change."


Heh, yes, that's how inconvenient truths are shrugged-off. More nonsense for the guilty.

Hoarding Is Seen as Cause of Fuel Shortage in Egypt

CAIRO — A sudden shortage of gasoline gripped Egypt over the weekend, raising new concerns about its teetering economy and its political stability.

The state news media said the empty pumps and long lines were caused by hoarding, prompted by what were called false rumors of an impending increase in gasoline prices, which the government sets at artificially low levels through enormous subsidies.

The shortage comes at a time when the government is running out of money that it might use to increase fuel supplies, if only to dispel such panic.

... many economists have argued for years that Egypt’s heavy subsidies of energy for consumers were increasingly untenable, even before the current economic crisis began. Egypt spends as much as 10 percent of its gross domestic product subsidizing energy costs, even though the benefits flow disproportionately to affluent consumers who drive big cars and live in large villas.

also Fuel shortage in Egypt leads to rising tensions

and Rumors over gasoline shortages spotlight Egypt’s problem with credibility after Mubarak

The green deal will be the biggest home energy programme of modern times

In a world of increasing prices, market volatility and reliance on imports, we simply cannot afford to be wasteful with energy. Our homes are among the most inefficient in Europe and up to 4.1m households live in fuel poverty in England alone.

The time has come for a radical new approach to home energy improvement, moving away from pepper potting individual measures to whole house or property solutions.

I just looked at this. Oh great we get cheap "loans" for something that will hopefully start paying back before the loan amount is paid off. Why thats Just what people in poverty want!!!

The whole point of the green deal is to create a market where there's lots more competition than there is at present helping to bring down prices

So not saving the planet then?!?

And so Climate Change just becomes another excuse to chant "growth growth growth" and try to kickstart the economy down the road.

IEA to train officials from around the world on key energy topics

The IEA's Energy Training Week, which will take place from 2 to 6 April 2012 at the IEA’s headquarters in Paris, will focus on the latest trends and developments in a range of energy sectors, including oil, gas and renewables.

Examples of courses include:

•Energy Markets and Security : A range of important issues regarding oil and gas market trends and prices, supply disruption and response, and market regulation will be explored. Particular attention will be given to natural gas as a fuel which contributes to the security and flexibility of national and international energy systems. The course has a very strong practical experience approach, and includes a simulation exercise of an oil supply disruption and a site visit to oil and gas facilities

•Energy Efficiency Policy and Measures: The programme will cover energy efficiency best practice and interventions and discuss some options for specific sectors, including buildings, industry and transport. A range of case studies from around the world will be presented, and the course also offers concrete policy development tools, group problem-solving exercises and site visits

Our cars are getting older, too: Average age now 10.8 years

The average age of a car or truck in the U.S. hit a record 10.8 years as of July 1, 2011, as job security and other economic worries kept many people from making big-ticket purchases such as a new car.

... the number of vehicles in the U.S. has been falling since 2008, but that trend reversed itself last year. In 2010, there were 240 million cars and trucks registered in the U.S. That grew slightly to 240.5 million last year, the company said.

Government estimates show Americans spent roughly $40 billion more on new cars and trucks in 2011 than in 2009. Based on annualized figures from the first quarter of 2011, new-car spending totaled $206 billion, or 1.3% of the gross domestic product, Commerce Department data shows. That compares with $166 billion in 2009, about 1.2% of the country's economy.

EU in suicide pact wherein money and oil are drained like blood in Medieval medicine:

Stiglitz says European austerity plans are a 'suicide pact'

Iran: Oil embargo means 'economic suicide' for EU

Despite many media reports as of late indicating that China's oil imports from the Mideast may be falling, these being mostly based on projecting a minor fall in China's oil imports in December into the future, recent shipping reports indicate that - if anything - China's oil imports in general are increasing.

In addition, China appears to be obtaining Mideast oil that might have otherwise been heading 'West' - that is to Europe and the US.

If this continues, Europe may indeed have much to worry about from the economic effects of an oil embargo.

Oil-Tanker Glut Shrinks on Chinese Demand
By Rob Sheridan - Jan 17, 2012 8:41 AM ET

A glut of supertankers competing to load cargoes of Persian Gulf oil shrank to a 14-month low on Chinese crude purchases and persistent tensions over a possible closing of the Strait of Hormuz.

Demand for crude before China’s weeklong Lunar New Year holidays starting Jan. 23 may be helping to lift charter rates, Jens Martin Jensen, Singapore-based chief executive officer of oil-tanker company Frontline Ltd. (FRO)’s management unit, said by e- mail today. Iran’s threat to block the strait may spur traders to stockpile crude, said Sverre Bjorn Svenning, an analyst at Fearnley Consultants AS.


In Italy, the captain jumps off the ship first. The same thing will happen when entire countries and then continents collapse.

Oh, I'm sure he was just headed ashore to pickup takeout for everyone as a special "I'm sorry..."

Yeah, and don't forget the pot stickers this time.

That was indeed disgusting to read about. He should be charged with 'manslaughter'. Whatever happened to 'the captain is the last one to get off the ship'

In addition to manslaughter, he is charged with "abandoning ship", which under Italian law is a more serious charge than manslaughter. The Italian legal code requires the captain to be the last one off the ship. He's looking at 12 years in prison for leaving prematurely.

wi - There must be some rule book out there for chicken sh*t captains. About 10 years ago a cruise ship began sinking off the coast of S Africa. The captain and officers were the first to abandon ship. Said they had to get to shore to coordinate the rescue. In fact it was one of the ship's entertainers (a comedian?) that took over. Ship was listing so much he couldn't launch the remaining lifeboats so he organized recovery via chopers. If I recall correctly no lives were lost. The captain must have done a heck of a good job coordinating...from the beach.

I've seen some hairy situations on drill rigs. Not once did a hand in charge abandon his post. Last time incident I know of the company man ordered everyone to abandon ship stations while he ran to the BOP to function it manually. His body was never found.

ROCK, the world is a small place. We discussed that very indident just 2 days ago at work. The entertainer was a guitarist. I remember him qouting himself in an interview what he said on the radio to the rescue workers: "I don't know, I am not the captain, I am a guitarist". "You're a guitarist? Where is the captain?" "They left the boat".

So... Colbert might be the best, the most reliable choice?


"Americans for a better tomorrow tomorrow". Great. Gotta love em.