Drumbeat: January 27, 2012

Everything You Know About Peak Oil Is Wrong

We’ve been warned before. Four decades ago this year, five scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published an influential set of predictions regarding the sustainability of human progress. Titled Limits to Growth, their report suggested the world was heading toward economic collapse as it exhausted the natural resources, such as oil and copper, required for economic production. The report forecast that the world would run out of new gold in 2001 and petroleum by 2022, at the latest.

Over the intervening years, the threat of “peak oil” has stayed with us—the date when global petroleum production was to reach its supposed maximum, afterward and evermore to decline as dwindling reserves were tapped out. And the exhaustion of the world’s oil reserves was just the start. A host of other critical natural resources, from phosphorus to uranium, have been declared peaking or already peaked.

Forty years later, however, rereading Limits to Growth invokes a growing sense of irony. Far from being depleted, worldwide reserves of minerals continue to climb. New technologies suggest the dawn of U.S. energy independence. The biggest concern isn’t that the planet is running out of resources—it’s having too many for the planet’s own good.

Oil supply limits and the continuing financial crisis

Since 2005, (1) world oil supply has not increased, and (2) the world has undergone its most severe economic crisis since the Depression. In this paper, logical arguments and direct evidence are presented suggesting that a reduction in oil supply can be expected to reduce the ability of economies to use debt for leverage. The expected impact of reduced oil supply combined with this reduced leverage is similar to the actual impact of the 2008–2009 recession in OECD countries. If world oil supply should continue to remain generally flat, there appears to be a significant possibility that oil consumption in OECD countries will continue to decline, as emerging markets consume a greater share of the total oil that is available. If this should happen, based on these findings we can expect a continuing financial crisis similar to the 2008–2009 recession including significant debt defaults. The financial crisis may eventually worsen, to resemble a collapse situation as described by Joseph Tainter in The Collapse of Complex Societies (1990) or an adverse decline situation similar to adverse scenarios foreseen by Donella Meadows in Limits to Growth (1972).
This and other related articles from the 7th Biennial International Workshop “Advances in Energy Studies” are free, at least for now. Usually ScienceDirect charges a fee, but this publication is apparently a "sample issue."

Oil Heads for First Weekly Gain in Three; Total Sees $100 Brent Support

Oil headed for its first weekly gain in three, trading near a one-week high in New York amid signs of economic recovery in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude consumer.

Futures gained as much as 0.8 percent, advancing for a third day. The U.S. Commerce Department may say today that economic growth accelerated in the fourth quarter. Durable goods orders rose more than forecast in December, according to data published yesterday, and a report this week showed gasoline demand grew the most in more than two months. Total SA Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie said it would take a “real recession” to send Brent crude below $100 a barrel.

Russia sets new gas pumping record to cover European demand

Moscow (dpa) - Russia has set a new record on volumes of fuel drawn from underground reservoirs in the face of increasing winter demand by domestic and particularly European customers, Russian government energy data made public on Friday showed.

Draws on underground natural gas reserves inside Russia totalled 565 billion cubic metres on Wednesday - topping a previous 553 billion cubic metres single day record set in January 2011, a report published by the Russian government energy monitoring agency TsDU TEK said.

Workers at Pa. refinery get layoff notices

TRAINER, Pa. (AP) — The first of hundreds of employees have been laid off from a Philadelphia-area oil refinery that hasn't found a buyer after four months on the market.

ConocoPhillips laid off two shifts of workers at its Trainer, Delaware County on Thursday. The remainder of the 385-employee workforce is expected to be laid off Friday.

Chevron profit falls as refineries, output suffer

(Reuters) - Chevron Corp reported lower quarterly earnings on Friday as rising spending on oil and gas projects and losses at its refinery business offset gains from higher crude oil prices.

Oil and gas output at the No. 2 U.S. oil company also declined to 2.64 million barrels per day (BPD) from 2.79 million BPD a year-ago.

Colombia to Get $10 Billion in Mining, Energy Investments, Cardenas Says

Colombia, South America’s third- largest oil producer, expects about $10 billion in international investment in crude, mining and energy projects this year, Mines Minister Mauricio Cardenas said.

Pertamina green lights $2bn gas spend

PT Pertamina is to splash out almost $2 billion over the next three years as it wins approval for ambitious plans to revamp gas infrastructure in Indonesia.

Myanmar has no plans to boost gas exports beyond 2013

(Reuters) - Myanmar will keep natural gas from new projects beyond 2013 for domestic consumption, a shift of policy aimed at powering its development, the country's energy minister said on Friday.

Oil industry sees China winning, West losing from Iran sanctions

(Reuters) - As the European Union prepares to ban Iranian oil and the United States turns the screw on payments, oil executives and policymakers say China and Russia stand to gain the most and Western oil firms and consumers may emerge the biggest losers.

Iran could ban EU oil exports next week -lawmakers

TEHRAN (Reuters) - A law to be debated in Iran's parliament on Sunday may halt oil exports to the European Union as early as next week, foiling an EU plan to phase in an oil embargo gradually to help its struggling economies adapt, lawmakers said on Friday.

"On Sunday, parliament will have to approve a 'double emergency' bill calling for a halt in the export of Iranian oil to Europe starting next week," Hossein Ibrahimi, vice-chairman of parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

Oil Markets Seen Withstanding Iran Attack Shock in Global Investor Survey

More than 70 percent of investors said an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would create only a short-term disruption in oil markets, according to a quarterly Bloomberg Global Poll.

Only about a third of the 1,209 global investors, traders and analysts surveyed Jan. 23-24 said an attack could trigger an oil shock leading to a global recession.

Israel’s Bombing Threat Helped Spur Iran Sanctions, How Will it Affect Iran Diplomacy?

Reiterating the threat of military action is a well-established Israeli tactic: Netanyahu argues publicly that Iran will only concede if it faces a real and imminent danger of military action. “This threat is crucial for scaring the Iranians and for goading on the Americans and the Europeans [into putting more pressure on Tehran],” wrote Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit last summer, castigating Israel’s recently retired Mossad chief Meir Dagan for pooh-poohing the idea of an Israeli strike on Iran. “It is also crucial for spurring on the Chinese and the Russians. Israel must not behave like an insane country. Rather, it must create the fear that if it is pushed into a corner it will behave insanely.”

Iran’s threat to fast-growing Qatar

Qatar is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) rocketed up by 28% in 2011. But growing tensions in Iran and the potential closure of the Strait of Hormuz could endanger one the of nation’s main money makers – gas exports.

Oman may help Sri Lanka if Iran oil sanctions bite

(Reuters) - Oman may sell oil to Sri Lanka in the event of a crisis, which the island nation is racing to avert with U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude threatening its primary refining supply, Sri Lankan officials told Reuters on Friday.

Tensions flare over Falkland Islands

Buenos Aires (CNN) -- It's been nearly 30 years since British and Argentinian troops fought over the Falkland Islands, but politicians from both countries are ratcheting up their rhetoric over the British-controlled territory.

..."They are preying on our natural resources, our oil, our fish," Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said Wednesday.

Activists report 'terrifying massacre' in Syria

BEIRUT (AP) – A "terrifying massacre" in the restive Syrian city of Homs has killed more than 30 people, including small children, in a barrage of mortar fire and attacks by armed forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, activists said Friday.

Officials: Car bomb targets funeral in Baghdad, killing dozens

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- A suicide car bomber targeted a Shiite funeral procession in the Iraqi capital Friday, killing 31 people and wounding 60 others, two police officials said.

Saudi warns of possible Mideast nuclear arms race

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — An influential member of the Saudi royal family is warning if the Middle East does not become a nuclear weapon-free zone, a nuclear arms race is inevitable and could possibly include Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even Turkey.

Spike in deaths blamed on 2003 NYC power outage

The biggest electricity blackout to occur in the United States resulted in 90 additional deaths in New York City, caused both by accidents and disease-related problems, according to a new analysis of data from the summer of 2003.

"Our results from this study indicate that power outages can immediately and severely harm human health," said Brooke Anderson, the lead author of the study and a researcher at Johns Hopkins University.

BP Can’t Collect Part of Gulf Spill Costs From Transocean

BP Plc (BP) can’t collect from Transocean Ltd. (RIGN) part of the $40 billion in cleanup costs and economic losses caused by the 2010 oil well blowout and Gulf of Mexico spill, a judge ruled. Transocean shares rose on the news.

BP must indemnify Transocean for pollution-related economic damage claims under its drilling contract, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans ruled yesterday. London-based BP (BP/) sued Transocean in April to recover a share of its damages and costs from the spill.

No Energy Industry Backing For The Word ‘Fracking’

NEW YORK (AP) - A different kind of F-word is stirring a linguistic and political debate as controversial as what it defines.

The word is “fracking” — as in hydraulic fracturing, a technique long used by the oil and gas industry to free oil and gas from rock.

It’s not in the dictionary, the industry hates it, and President Barack Obama didn’t use it in his State of the Union speech — even as he praised federal subsidies for it.

EU law enough for now to regulate shale gas - study

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU law is enough for now to regulate shale gas exploration, although changes might be needed to protect the environment once Europe enters the development phase, a study commissioned by the EU found.

Shale gas exploitation in the United States has transformed the global supply-demand balance.

In Europe, however, development is less advanced and EU member states Bulgaria and France have banned shale gas activity because of environmental concerns.

Japan Post-Fukushima Reactor Checks ‘Insufficient,’ Advisers Say

Japan’s safety review of nuclear reactors after the Fukushima disaster is based on faulty criteria and many people involved have conflicts of interest, two government advisers on the checks said.

“The whole process being undertaken is exactly the same as that used previous to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi accident, even though the accident showed all these guidelines and categories to be insufficient,” Hiromitsu Ino, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo, said at a briefing in Tokyo today.

Japan's 'Nuclear Alley' conflicted over reactors

OHI, Japan (AP) — International inspectors are visiting a rugged Japanese bay region so thick with reactors it is dubbed "Nuclear Alley," where residents remain deeply conflicted as Japan moves to restart plants idled after the Fukushima disaster.

Fukushima's animals abandoned and left to die

Inside Fukushima Exclusion Zone, Japan (CNN) -- When you stand in the center of Japan's exclusion zone, there is absolute silence. The exclusion zone is the 20-kilometer (12-mile) radius around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, an area of high radiation contamination.

On March 12, the day after the quake and tsunami hit, 78,000 people were evacuated out of this area, believing they would return within a few days. As such, thousands of people left with their dogs tied up in the backyard, cats in their houses and livestock penned in barns.

Revamped Search Urged for a Nuclear Waste Site

WASHINGTON — A commission appointed to find alternatives to a failed plan to store nuclear waste in the Nevada desert declared on Thursday that the United States would have to develop a “consent-based approach” for choosing a site because leaving the decision to Congress had failed.

By securing local consent, the panel said, the government might avoid the kind of conflicts that led to the cancellation of plans to create a repository at Yucca Mountain, a site 100 miles from Las Vegas, in 2010. It noted that local willingness had been crucial to decision-making on sites for nuclear waste depots in Finland, France, Spain and Sweden.

Is Spent Nuclear Fuel Really Waste?

Among advocates of nuclear power, considerable disagreement exists about whether the spent fuel can be considered waste, given that it contains unused uranium as well as plutonium, which is created in nuclear reactors and can be used as fuel.

President Obama's energy plan panned by both sides

As his re-election bid nears, President Obama is pitching a made-in-America energy agenda that calls for more offshore oil drilling, natural gas development and clean-energy investments.

But he's not winning kudos from either the oil industry or environmental groups.

API scoffs at Obama's lease sale

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The American Petroleum Institute welcomed plans for a lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico but also said U.S. energy ambitions are lackluster.

Tech bet sours for Elkhart, Ind., as electric carmaker Think, battery firm Ener1 fall into bankruptcy

Indiana's foray into electric vehicles is a cautionary tale for states in hot pursuit of high-tech manufacturing jobs. Think's story illustrates how politicians so badly wanted to stimulate job growth that they showered it and the battery supplier with tax breaks and incentives while at the same time failing to determine whether there was a market for the car: a plastic two-seater with a top speed of about 65 miles an hour and a price tag approaching $42,000.

"Where's the value?" Gregg Fore, an Elkhart recreational vehicle industry executive, said of Think. "I could buy a golf cart for five grand if that's what I wanted to drive.''

Renewables From Vestas to Suntech Plan Profit Without Subsidy

Renewable energy companies are approaching the point where they can generate electricity at a price competitive with fossil-fuels without subsidies, the biggest wind and solar manufacturers said.

Waning Support for Wind and Solar

Assisted by technological innovation and years of subsidies, the cost of wind and solar power has fallen sharply — so much so that the two industries say that they can sometimes deliver cleaner electricity at prices competitive with power made from fossil fuels.

At the same time, wind and solar companies are telling Congress that they cannot be truly competitive and keep creating jobs without a few more years of government support.

German Solar Rush Is Predicted by Breil as Lawmakers Put Off Subsidy Cuts

Germany may see a rush of solar panel installations in the coming weeks after lawmakers from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition failed to agree on an overhaul of the country’s clean-energy subsidy system.

Apple, Electronics and Environmental Ills

Environmental groups say that while multinational corporations like Apple are trying to improve conditions, thousands -- or perhaps tens of thousands -- of smaller companies are cutting corners and dumping hazardous chemicals in rural areas and even near densely populated areas.

Contest Time! The Crisis of Civilization Remix Challenge

If you’ve seen it, you’ll probably have guessed that here at The Crisis of Civilization we love Remix films – and we want you to have a go too. We would like to invite you to create your own Crisis of Civilization-style sequences, using unused interview audio of Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed with images put over the top and music laid underneath.

Southern plants find fertile ground farther north

Southern magnolias, lovers of sultry weather, braving the chillier Northeast?

Camellias, a New Orleans trademark, staking out in North Carolina and higher latitudes?

It's true, gardening experts say, and expect similar oddities to represent the new norm.

Regional Cap-and-Trade Effort Seeks Greater Impact by Cutting Carbon Allowances

Adjusting to shifts in the economy, states in the cap-and-trade system known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have slashed the number of allowances that electric power companies can buy to offset their emissions.

Al Gore: Living on Thin Ice

Last September, millions of you joined us for 24 Hours of Reality, when we connected the dots between the extreme weather events happening all over the world and the reality of the climate crisis. Together, we saw that we don't need to travel far to see the impacts of climate change. Most of us are already feeling those impacts close to home.

Yet the climate crisis is also causing momentous changes in remote regions far from major population centers, in places like Antarctica, Greenland and the North Polar Ice Cap. Some of the most dangerous changes in our climate system are the ones that often receive the least attention.

"Monster" rules Nepal village on climate frontline

There are more than 3,200 glaciers in Nepal, and 14 of them are at risk of bursting the dams which control the melting water that flows from them, officials say.

"The melting of glaciers that forms lakes can only be attributed to climate change," said Arun Bhakta Shrestha, climate change specialist at the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), which studies climate change in the Hindu Kush Himalayas.

Singapore raises sea defences against tide of climate change

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A 15-km (10 mile) stretch of crisp white beach is one of the key battlegrounds in Singapore's campaign to defend its hard-won territory against rising sea levels linked to climate change.

Stone breakwaters are being enlarged on the low-lying island state's man-made east coast and their heights raised. Barges carrying imported sand top up the beach, which is regularly breached by high tides.

Stuart Staniford: Historical Note on Drought in Climate Models

This morning, I stumbled on a 1999 paper "DETECTABILITY OF SUMMER DRYNESS CAUSED BY GREENHOUSE WARMING" by Wetherald and Manabe. The paper discusses a single climate model (obviously a by-now very outdated one) which generates very serious drought across much of the world in the second half of the twenty-first century. The map above gives the general idea.

It seems like about every day now there is at least one article in the vein of "Everything You Know About Peak Oil Is Wrong" up top.

What people can't seem to get is that increasing "reserves" of fossil fuels and other minerals are a sign of depletion and approaching limits to growth, NOT the other way around. Reserves are a reflection of what can be profitably extracted at a given resource price. As the price increases, it is a sign that those resources are LESS available, not more. It means fewer and fewer people will be able to afford them, and more and more people are being effectively priced out of the market and, in the case of essential resources, being priced out of survival.

If you want to know whether we've passed a resource peak, you have to look at production data. Reserve claims are effectively useless for predicting a peak.

And of course the upshot is that these kinds of claims create the impression among the general public that everything is fine and there is no need to worry; plenty of resources abound for 9 billion humans this century and probably a lot more for a lot longer, and leads us to ignore the warning signs we can already see around us: the already destabilizing climate, the need for intensive fracking to extract oil and gas from short-lived wells, the depletion of fisheries worldwide, and on and on...

Regarding Everything You Know About Peak Oil Is Wrong, I suggest that it should be retitled "Everything In This Article Is Wrong". Case in point, this:

As much as two-thirds of global economic activity consists of outputs that don’t pollute or even weigh anything at all—things such as entertainment, education, finance, and health care.

What does the author suggest these industries run on? What do the folks who make their livings in these industries live on? Fairy dust? In fact, these industries are great examples of resource sinks; black holes of consumption. I'm not suggesting that they don't have a purpose, but it is ludicrous to suggest that they are somehow neutral in their resource use. More Kool-Aid for the masses, and why we're doomed, IMO.

In fact, these industries are great examples of resource sinks; black holes of consumption. I'm not suggesting that they don't have a purpose, but it is ludicrous to suggest that they are somehow neutral in their resource use. More Kool-Aid for the masses, and why we're doomed, IMO.

And in fact, it is precisely in these areas where cutbacks will have to occur, and already are occurring, as an increasing share of the economy is devoted to maintaining resource production and other bare essentials. Witness the current call to rescue the economy by creating "energy jobs." The author has a highly flawed understanding of the role of energy in the economy, viewing it as just one of any number of essentially equal activities. I guess oil and gas are produced just to keep people busy or for their own sake, just because drilling is fun! As opposed to precisely because they allow everything else to function. Someone should ask how they plan to run the school buses and the generators at the hospital.

Particularly amusing, or agitating depending how you see things, is the claim that health care causes no pollution; I guess the author is not aware of the impacts of disposed pharmaceuticals on water quality and human and ecological health...

... not to mention the massive amounts of plastics and other "disposables" used in health care, much of it non-recylable. I wonder what the 'cradle-to-grave' embedded energy of one syringe is.

I wonder what the 'cradle-to-grave' embedded energy of one syringe is.

Less than the cradle-to-grave energy cost of initial fabrication and repeated sterilization of glass/metal reusable syringes? And just speaking personally, I really really really want a new needle every time.

Which has nothing to do with my statement that "it is ludicrous to suggest that they are somehow neutral in their resource use..." as was suggested in the article.

Yes everything in that article is wrong, especially this:

Titled Limits to Growth, their report suggested the world was heading toward economic collapse as it exhausted the natural resources, such as oil and copper, required for economic production. The report forecast that the world would run out of new gold in 2001 and petroleum by 2022, at the latest.

There is nothing even resembling such a prediction about petroleum in Limits to Growth. In fact there is no predictions anywhere in the book that predicts a definite year that we will run out of any given natural resource.

My copy of the book is in Pensacola and I am in Alabama at the present so I can't look it up but I know the word "petroleum" is mentioned in the book only once and only on a chart with the US Bureau of Mines estimating how much had been discovered up until that date. But the text stated that these estimates were probably far below what was actually there.

They probably extrapolated what the Bureau of Mines, (now called the USGS), said had been discovered as of 1972, and what we were using at that time and came up with 2022. But nothing in the book even hinted at such a calculation.

Ron P.

You are correct Ron. This guy has not read the book. It did not model oil, only a generic variable called resources. And it did not show resources running out at this time, only continuing to decline.

And if I remember the charts from the simulations properly, we are only now reaching the "interesting" point where global industrial production was projected to peak and begin its decline.

I think that even the model run having the most aggressive "business as usual" assumptions had overshoot and decline beginning in about 2015 at the earliest (likewise from memory).

Industrial decline begins in this decade. Population decline in 30's.

And food per capita (not in that graph but I believe it was plotted in some places in the book) looks like it has already begun declining.

It also made no "predictions", but rather offered a number of scenarios based on a variety of actions (including none).

Exactly. In the book, and in writing and interviews later, they took great pains to say they were not making predictions. They were trying to understand how the elements interacted and the range of possible outcomes.

But then, you have to actually have read the entire book to understand that.

The USGS was established in 1879 (and some of their people were predicting peak oil in the US back in 1919). Bureau of Mines was founded in 1910. USBM was closed down in the Clinton era, and its activities passed around to various agencies, including the USGS.

What does the author suggest these industries run on?

This, to my mind, is the root of the whole problem as to why people do not understand that their entire lifestyle is underpinned by cheap "energy slaves".
The less affordable energy we have available to enable the vast number of specialisations in human endeavor the narrower those specialisations will become. And I think your conclusion is correct.
I think Chris Martenson covers it well here...this is what I try to get people to watch first anyhow....


The less affordable energy we have available to enable the vast number of specialisations in human endeavor the narrower those specialisations will become.

Exactly! When the 08 recession hit what was less necessary was scaled back and with it those jobs. One can only imagine how small a list of necessary jobs could get, with food as the most primary need. A person can sleep in a car, but they have to have food.

My thought on the increasing ranks of food stamp recipients is that trend will continue. When it reaches some threshold whereby the conservatives agree to greatly scale it back, then trouble will brew, maybe into riots. Riots broke out in Mexico I think it was in 09, over the increasing cost of tortillas. The govt. stepped in and the price returned to its original price. People in Nigeria have recently been rioting due to unsubsidized fuel at the pumps. The people there never enjoyed the spoils of oil wealth, except indirectly with subsidized low fuel costs. Once those were gone they got very angry very fast. The world is currently doing a balancing act to maintain BAU. The pressure will mount and we will see some pretty harsh things happen. Stay well my friends!

It seems like about every day now there is at least one article in the vein of "Everything You Know About Peak Oil Is Wrong" up top.

Methinks that's Leanan just tossing out a bucket of fish heads to chum the waters a bit >;^)

I almost rose to the bait but decided to pass this time, I guess I'm just not that hungry anymore...

So right, oh wise one. Preaching to the choir may be just another resource sink, though it's good practice for the real world ;-)

'Tis useful to understand what contrary conversations are going on beyond the little garden of TOD.

I for one am glad to see such posted.

And yet;

I searched out and started reading the Oil Drum after reading a report from a non-doomer source that claimed the US was going to run out of natural gas by 2014, and that is why new LNG terminals were going to get built somewhere. The only question was where to build them, not if we needed them.

Then they found shale gas, and we are good for a century. Or at least we are certainly not running out in 2014 anymore.

I couldn't be bothered at first to post a reply on this article

I knew this would be a great troll article on this site! appears I was right.

It is heartening that the comments section on that site is putting this guy right - more we do this the more the public will cotton onto these silly articles and the less they will be printed

keep tearing them down guys!

I noted that the NAF was involved - good acronym - NAF in British English means bad or useless

about sums these guys right

Now where's me pop corn - things are getting interesting......

( wtg for westtexas to reply :-) )


It's good to see the tactics these people use. I just finished reading an 8 page rant in a turf magazine about the glories of DDT. The word egg or eggshell didn't appear a single time.

q - Tough choices, eh? I read a WHO report sometime ago where they attibuted around 20 million deaths over the last few decades due to malaria they felt might have been prevented with the application of DDT. Growing up in S La. I would truly hate to see the brown pelican disappear. So the loss of some bird life/species or millions of dead babies over the next few decades? I do hear they think they may have finally come up with a vaccine for malaria.

I've mentioned before my tour of duty in Equatorial Guinea. The first president-for-life had eradicated malaria from this island nation. No idea what that might have done to the bird population. Unfortunately after his nephew had him killed and became the new president-for-life he stopped the spraying program. He figured it would be easier to control the population if he let malaria lose again. He was correct, of course. I saw more than one body laying in the gutter from my bus on the way to the base camp. Malaria? Who knows? Death seemed to come easy in EG.

A few years ago, there was an excellent article in National Geographic re: Malaria. It had a debatable statement within; that (quoting from memory) "one out of every two people who have ever lived, died of Malaria". I took this to mean both directly, as a consequence of prior infection, or perhaps indirectly.

Regarding DDT, it is to date the only agent that can be used to successfully reduce Malaria carrying Mosquito populations due to its extreme effectiveness in water. From what I've gathered, DDT if used in sparing amounts - enough to eliminate Mosquito populations - is an amount small enough to have little or no effect on other higher forms of wildlife besides the water insects directly affected. The problem is that people generally are unable to be trusted to apply DDT in a responsible manner. Sound familiar?

Where DDT became controversial in Rachel Carson's day, is the chemical companies were promoting it for agricultural usage. Rc argued the case against that on two major grounds, impact on wildlife was one, but the development of insect resistance was the other. Just like antibiotics, if it isn't used carefully the target organisms will develop resistance, and the compunf becomes ineffective. But, there was much more money to be made, selling in to farmers, so what if after ten of twent years the bugs become resistant, by then the execs will have retired with a big nestegg.

"by then the execs will have retired with a big *nestegg*"

So to speak ;)

He figured it would be easier to control the population if he let malaria lose again. He was correct, of course.

I'm curious, Rockman. Did he actually come out and say that? Or did he go, "oh dear, look at that a pandemic" while the buggie did what he wanted done?

V - Naturally he wouldn't make the statement publicly...he's just as smart as our politicians in that sense. But stopping the spraying program was just one subtle indication. After a failed coup about 10 years ago he had the commercial fishing fleet scuttled so it couldn't be used in another attempt. This is one factor is why a country in the tropical Atlantic ocean is protein starved. Other more publisized actions tell you more about his leader. For instance a while ago he amended EG's constitution to allow him the execute anyone on his orders without a trial. He did state that rational publicly: since he was in direct communication with God he could do as he wished...God said it was OK.

Very difficult to find much published about the details of life in EG. A few years ago a foreign journalist went to EG as a "tourist". Tried to dig up facts but it was very difficult. Did I mention the penalty for an EG citizen caught discussing politics with a foreigner is death? The caught the journalist, roughed him up and put him on the next plane out. Most of the info I picked up was from other expats working in the ExxonMobil base camp. If you search EG and Amnesty International you can find a bit more info to give you a flavor but still not much out there. Just one of the advantages of being able to kill anyone who says something not nice about you.

-> amended EG's constitution to allow him the execute anyone on his orders without a trial
-> he was in direct communication with God he could do as he wished...God said it was OK.
+ proven leadership experience...
Perfect. Why in the world isn't this guy in the running here?

Met a guy on the shuttle bus to Whidbey Island (from SeaTac) yesterday, who was on his way back from 5 weeks of 12 on, 12 off working on a ship doing seismic surveys in Equatorial Guinea. His Scandanavian charter flight out of Malabo to Amsterdam was delayed 2 hrs by airport personnel watching the national team win their match against Senegal in the African Cup.

Nice to see they have their priorities right. Football is very important in a continent that has many depressing problems.

Rockman, there used to be malaria in South Louisiana. There is none today, and there are still pelicans, despite not using DDT to prevent it. I do believe DDT was used for a while in the South against mosquitos and malaria, but as part of a comprehensive plan, and after DDT stopped being used malaria did not return.

Incidentally, I believe the US eliminated malaria in Cuba after taking it over after the Spanish-American war, before DDT was available. So it can be done.

DDT is just a useful chemical poison. Used wisely as part of a clear plan, it can help to eliminate malaria without destroying other wildlife. But just spraying and praying is not a long term way to push back malaria, and really screws everything up.

DDT was a big part of malaria eradication in the US.

The National Malaria Eradication Program was a cooperative undertaking by state and local health agencies of 13 southeastern states and the Communicable Disease Center of the U. S. Public Health Service, originally proposed by Dr. L. L. Williams. The program commenced operations on July 1, 1947. It consisted primarily of DDT application to the interior surfaces of rural homes or entire premises in counties where malaria was reported to have been prevalent in recent years. By the end of 1949, more than 4,650,000 house spray applications had been made. It also included drainage, removal of mosquito breeding sites, and spraying (occasionally from aircrafts) of insecticides. Total elimination of transmission was slowly achieved. In 1949, the country was declared free of malaria as a significant public health problem. By 1951, CDC gradually withdrew from active participation in the operational phases of the program and shifted its interest to surveillance, and in 1952, CDC participation in operations ceased altogether.

Malaria was not eradicated in Cuba until the 1960s, so I would guess DDT played a big role there, too.

The author left out of the article the idea that house prices will go up forever and that housing was never in a boom!

If we are in such an oil glut, the why am I expecting to pay $4/gallon at the pump this summer?

That all depends on your point of view:

There is a severe shortage of Oil priced at $10 bbl, The market can't supply enough to meet demand.
There is a glut of Oil prices at $300/bbl. The market can't find enough buyers!

FWIW: Expect oil prices to swing between extremes. As Oil prices drive higher it causes demand destruction and the global economy to contract. This causes prices to suddenly fall and undershoot. Then prices recover and slowly build up to the point of another demand destruction and the cycle repeats. We might see $30/bbl again if the economy collapses back. I am not sure that the price will swing back up to $150 before the prices collapses again. When oil soared to $150, the economy was better shape. and people had access to more credit or cash to permit prices to rise higher. Also India and China imposed price controls forcing there oil companies to absorb the costs. It seems unlikely it will happen again or at least to the extreme.

My best guess is that the world can tolerate sustained oil prices from $90 to $95 over an extended period. Any higher and the economy will contract. Any lower the economy will grow.

My feeling toward the future is that we are heading for a global nuclear war. The world is destabilizing due to shortages (food, water and energy) and debt saturation. Not a nation on earth isn't tainted with shortages and money problems. Riots, protests and revolutions are everywhere. It as if all of civilization is growing angry by the day. There is no peace, and without peace there can only be war.

There's an awful lot of doomer-porn in there, TechGuy. Have you been to Norway, or Switzerland, or Canada, or Australia, or New Zealand ... and probably lots of other countries too - they (we) are not mired in unpayable debt, nor are they (we) facing imminent and unrecoverable resource depletion. Get a grip - the US problem is not universal.

My feeling toward the future is that we are heading for a global nuclear war.

And that is simply ridiculous ... it may happen of course, but not in our lifetime - so please do your homework and get your grades.

My feeling toward the future is that we are heading for a global nuclear war.
And that is simply ridiculous ... it may happen of course, but not in our lifetime - so please do your homework and get your grades.

Claims exist that small nuclear weapons have been used. (Veterans Today as I remember)

Arguments have been made that the use of DU in Iraq/Afghanistan is not only global war but 'nuclear'.

But, in your world, what makes a "war" "global"? And what makes it "nuclear"?

Oh please. Don't be ridiculous and patronising - I live in the real, normal, rational, sensible world - cute but tired phrases like "in your world" just don't cut it ... and are simply pointless.

There has been no global nuclear war - only the obscenity of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki - and as pointless as the Yankee wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cargill, the countries you mention have a combined population of around 80 million people, and all of them (except Switzerland) are rich in natural resources. So great, just 1.1 % of this planet's population live in countries that are in good shape !

Canada has a serious housing bubble, esp. in the high population areas of Vancouver and Toronto. It also imminent debt problems, esp. in the province of Ontario.

Norway holds debt. When the Euro fails, Norway will be holding the bag. For a country that is alledy content why are its citizens committing bombing attacks (FYI: Norway has had previous bombings before the July 2011 attack)? Canada has a real estate Bubble ready to pop and has high unemployment in the East. Canada asset bubble is at least on par with the US if not worse. It now costs about $17 to buy a hamburger in Switzerland. Except for the rich banking class in CH, there are not a lot of happy swiss campers. CH is just shy of a Police State. CH is also a tiny country. Austria has a very high debt problem. The only thing supporting the AUS is unsustainable exports to China and India. New Zealand also has a debt problem, is dependant on imports for energy and manufactured goods and is isolated. You also cherry picked the countries with the smallest populations, while ignoring the elephants (US, China, India-Pakastan, ME, Africa and Latin America). You should have including in Antarctica and Greenland. Those two land masses don't have any debt or over-population issues either.

War won't start in the countries you mention but war will definitely be felt everywhere. The Middle East is a powder keg with a smoldering fuse. When it explodes, the war will quickly spread as the global economy (especially food production and distribution) is dependent on Middle East Oil. "Not in our lifetime"?, we will be extremely lucky if it does happen in the next ten years. Iran-vs-Isreal, Shiites vs Sunni, Arab spring in the majority of ME nations. An Unstable Pakastan gov't that has nuclear weapons and could be overthown or plunged into civil war at anytime. Pakastan vs India. Food and water shortages in the ME and most of Asia. What could possible go right to prevent war from happening?

I think you need to do your homework. There are no Unicorns that fart rainbows and poop skittles.

Meh. Whatever ... it's still mostly doomer porn. Lots of the world would laugh hysterically - at what worries and concerns the poor little rich kids who post here.

I'm 59 years old and the Middle East has been called a "powder keg" for as long as I can remember. It is only obsessed over because of the oil, and the oil is only important because too many Seppos are obsessed by huge cars. It's all your fault.

And LOL! You're not the first to confuse Austria with Australia! And neither Australia or NZ has a particular debt problem they can't manage. You really do need to calm down - housing bubbles bursting, and even debt defaults, generally don't lead to thermonuclear global warfare.

You are mistaken about AUS and NZ. AUS has a huge Real estate bubble, and has the highest personal debt to income ratio in the industrial world. NZ has a debt to GDP ratio of 132%.

"housing bubbles bursting, and even debt defaults, generally don't lead to thermonuclear global warfare"

I beg to differ. Both WW1 and WW2 where triggered by debt defaults. WW1 was the end of the first period of globalization, WW2 happened because Europe turned to fascism because austerity triggered after the end of WW1. Its not just a monetary problem. Its a monetary and resources problem at the same time.

"Middle East has been called a "powder keg" for as long as I can remember."

The world wasn't as dependant on ME energy back then. China and India weren't stumbling over each other to get there fair share of Oil. The Average age of most ME counties is now below 20. meaning there has been a recent population explosion in the ME. 30/20/10 years ago, there wasn't broad Arab spring sweeping in violence with the populations trying to over thrown their own gov'ts. People in the middle east have no money, not enough food or water and they are utterly ticked off.

Norway is not within the Eurozone and retains its Kroner. Yes, homework does need to be done by someone.


Increasing reserves of fossil fuels are NOT a sign of depletion. Sorry. But, the eventual consumption of these increasing reserves is. Oil depletion, after all, began when the very first barrel was consumed.

An increase in price could just as easily come from increased demand, as a decrease in available oil for consumption.

If fewer and fewer people can afford the higher prices, then obviously an eventual decrease in demand would result, which means lesser consumption, which then means relatively more oil available, for those who can afford it.

Your use of the term "resources" is very confusing in the context of your post. I honestly have no idea if you know what you are actually talking about, so I also wonder if anyone else does? Just sayin'. But,I do think you need to clarify your thoughts better, if you expect others to understand you.

Does your look at production data indicate to you, that "we've passed a resource peak?"

Hubbert used reserve claims to predict a peak. Are you claiming his work for, say, the US peak was therefore invalid? Or just lucky, as some speculate?

The"general public" was given the impression back in the 70's that we were running out of oil. Should we have believed that particular claim, in light of what actually happened?

The basic concept of the article seems to contain within it quite reasonable question, and dismissing it out of hand is unwarranted.


Good points. I completely agree, although I wasn't very impressed by the article, itself. Dismissing it out of hand is also known as denial, and indicates a very closed, fear based mind. In such a state of mind real communication is not possible.

"Dismissing it out of hand is also known as denial, and indicates a very closed, fear based mind."

We generally dismiss claims in these articles one at a time until it becomes clear that the purpose of the author is spin and hyperbole rather than to inform the reader as to the realities of the subject. Stick around longer than six weeks and you may figure that out. Folks here have been countering this Faux-Newsish manufactured consent for years; very little denial and fear based posting goes unchallenged. From the article:

Far from being depleted, worldwide reserves of minerals continue to climb. New technologies suggest the dawn of U.S. energy independence. The biggest concern isn’t that the planet is running out of resources...

This is simply false in any reality based sense, worthy only of being "dismissed out of hand". "Reserves" is meaningless in any useful economic context. I'm sure that this is why the author didn't say "economically recoverable reserves useful to promote continued growth".

"A lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies." Tennyson

Stick around longer than six weeks and you may figure that out. Folks here have been countering this Faux-Newsish manufactured consent for years; very little denial and fear based posting goes unchallenged.

Time spent hanging out on particular blogs is hardly a determining factor of much of anything. And while you might consider what happens around here as "countering", may I volunteer that encouraging yet more silliness hardly qualifies.


You totally lost me, Bruce. Restate please? (...and pardon me if I seem dense :-0 )


Who equates posts, duration or participation at a website with actual knowledge?

Gosh, Bruce, I don't know. I certainly don't, though I've learned a lot here, especially how to spot those who aren't interested in productive discussions of serious issues. Since this one seems to be devolving to the level of lesser websites, I'll wish you a good night :-)

Dismissing it out of hand is also known as denial, and indicates a very closed, fear based mind.

I guess I must be in deep denial and have a closed and very fear based mind because I dismiss Astrology out of hand even though I never even studied to become an astrologer...

Though you may be right in that it is probably impossible for me to truly communicate with someone who believes in horoscopes, and uses them as a guide for their lives!

Once you have actually put in the tens of thousands of hours necessary to understand reality it is not all that difficult or unreasonable to dismiss out of hand, blatant lies, profound ignorance or a deliberate agenda.

always thought horoscopes were a collection of guides to life that are told through a metaphor - the connection between astrological bodies and destiny isn't literal, it just makes teh story interesting - like religion, a grand metaphor gone to seed in a literal age - but i guess scientific realism allows no compromise with fiction either. ah but i'm just kicking the can, i get your point.

I agree, the article itself wasn't much to speak of (way too vague, not enough opposing commentary, lack of background on topic, to much a mirror image of peak oil sites), but the idea it raises is completely valid. I realize that the idea they refer won't be given a fair shake in certain quarters, but that is more a function of the quarters than the idea.

The"general public" was given the impression back in the 70's that we were running out of oil.

No we were not. The "general public" knew exactly what was happening back in the 70s. How could we not know since it was on the TV every night and on the pages of every newspaper and magazine. We saw pictures of OPEC meetings with gun waving OPEC executives cheering outside the meeting buildings. That was the OPEC oil embargo of 73 and 74. Then the really big squeeze came in 79 and lasted about four years. That was the Iran-Iraqi war, the Iranian Revolution and the ensuing "Tanker Wars" that caused the crisis. OPEC oil production plunged to less than half its previous output. That was also on the telly every night.

Sure there were a few people who said oil reserves were a problem but they were a small minority of the general public.

The basic concept of the article seems to contain within it quite reasonable question, and dismissing it out of hand is unwarranted.

The basic concept of the article is that the book "Limits to Growth" is all nonsense and that "We’re awash in more than oil." And "Managing this planetary cornucopia will, however, present significant challenges. How about that? We are awash in oil and have a planetary cornucopia of everything we need. Only managing all this oil and this cornucopia of other resources presents any kind of problem.

The article is total nonsense and should be dismissed out of hand.

Ron P.

Sure, the general public knew, because the President was telling them.

"The oil and natural gas we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are running out. In spite of increased effort, domestic production has been dropping steadily at about six percent a year. Imports have doubled in the last five years. Our nation's independence of economic and political action is becoming increasingly constrained. Unless profound changes are made to lower oil consumption, we now believe that early in the 1980s the world will be demanding more oil that it can produce."

Imagine that....the world demanding more oil than it can produce....sound familiar? I wonder why Jimmy wasn't just blaming OPEC, if that is the new revisionist version of that debacle?

Just because the cause wasn't actual "running out" (Jimmy's words in the same speech, not mine), doesn't make the hysteria over running out (or peak), any less.

Anyone remember the gasoline scare of 1916? THAT was a doozy!

Here is the entire speech: Jimmy Carter delivered this televised speech on April 18, 1977, PBS.

Consequently the U.S. nearly eliminated its use of fuel oil to produce electricity, the whole world got more fuel efficient vehicles and Alaskan crude oil began flowing. The world reduced its consumption creating a glut of crude oil reducing the price. After former president Reagan came to power, he basked in low prices and a supply glut while increasing federal debt and making the U.S. more dependent on foreign oil. His successful policies caused the failure of their ultimate goal because someone forgot to factor in the answer to Bob Shaw's question.

One begins running out of the finite resources as soon as one consumes them faster than nature concentrates them. The context suggests that Carter was referring to U.S. domestic production of crude oil and natural gas. Since the U.S. crude oil production curve definitely has a downward trend for the last 40 years, he was correct about that. The U.S. slowly increased its imports of NG over that time according to the Energy Export Databrowser. I think it a good idea that the U.S. limited its consumption of NG to avoid a nasty dependance on foreign supplies. Again he was correct. Now a recent boom and bubble in U.S. natural gas production seems to have you merrily dancing around a Maypole celebrating an unlimited supply and rate of production of cheap domestic fossil fuels.

Bob Shaw's question from Phoenix, Arizona: Are humans smarter than yeast?

Here is the entire speech: Jimmy Carter delivered this televised speech on April 18, 1977, PBS.
Consequently the U.S. nearly eliminated its use of fuel oil to produce electricity, the whole world got more fuel efficient vehicles and Alaskan crude oil began flowing.

Consequently? What did Carter (elected '76) have to do with any of those things? US CAFE standards law was passed prior to Carter in '75, and it bumped up only a couple mpg during his term. Prudhoe Bay was discovered in '68, and the Trans Alaska began in '74.

Hubbert used reserve claims to predict a peak. Are you claiming his work for, say, the US peak was therefore invalid? Or just lucky, as some speculate?

Not at all. Perhaps I didn't phrase the argument as effectively as I could have; it's not that reserves per se are useless for estimating a peak, it's that the author of the original piece does not understand that reserves are related to price, and price in turn is an important factor in determining how much of the resource will actually be extracted and consumed. When the price of a resource (any resource) goes up, it means fewer people are able to afford the it, and demand is effectively reduced. This is more or less what has happened in the U.S. over the last several years as domestic consumption has actually declined; wages simply have not kept up with the rising price, and we are consuming less oil.

But the appoint appears to be a rather semantic one. The real point here is much simpler than you are making it appear, which is that the author claims the premise of peak oil is false because reserves have increased, when in fact the opposite us true because of the relationship between price and reserves. The author creates the impression that increasing reserves are a sign of greater availability, but in fact the rising cost of production is making those resources less available. In other words it is not the discovery of new resources or new technology that is causing the number to rise, but the rising price, which justifies rising costs of extraction. Hubbert understood this relationship and foresaw that eventually the price would rise to the point that demand would be destroyed. This article's author does not demonstrate knowledge of this fact, so I am responding to his conception of reserves, not Hubbert's.

But the appoint appears to be a rather semantic one. The real point here is much simpler than you are making it appear, which is that the author claims the premise of peak oil is false because reserves have increased, when in fact the opposite us true because of the relationship between price and reserves.

You appear to be implying that reserves have decreased? Which certainly isn't what has happened, if you compare world reserves some number of years ago with reserves today. The total resource base is what has not changed, and higher prices have allowed more of that to be converted into reserves, which strikes me as more related to your point? Or perhaps the point of the author of the article?

Can you please reference the article where Hubbert discusses how supply/demand or price would destroy demand? I am not familiar with his statement on that issue, beyond him noting in his later years that artificial issues could delay the onset to peak supply.

"Everything You Know About Peak Oil Is Wrong" also got linked at Peak Oil News, so I'm guessing most if not all of the comments on it are not from business week readers. All the same, at the risk of sounding nihilistic, I felt compelled to post this in the comments there:

Perhaps we should encourage this kind of rhetoric. If we learned anything from The Limits to Growth it is that trying to convince people NOT to waste resources and foul the planet is truly hopeless. A lost cause if there ever was one.

As I see it, The more people who are as delusional as Kenny, the more people who are as completely in utter denial of resource constraints and the true energy and environmental costs of exponential growth, the more people who are as numerically illiterate as the author of this article and the editors who published it, then the more likely it is that industrial civilization will crash full speed into the hard biophysical limits of this tiny blue speck of a planet.

If the rest of the biosphere is to have any hope of survival, then we desperately need Kenny and others to preach this message of "don't worry, plenty of everything" which is guaranteed to bring on the collapse as quickly as possible, just as predicted 40 years ago.

Shout it from the rooftops! Consume like there is no tomorrow! Literally!


Thanks Leanan.
You know how to rally the troops.

"As the price increases, it is a sign that those resources are LESS available, not more. It means fewer and fewer people will be able to afford them, and more and more people are being effectively priced out of the market"

Although I do not dispute your general thought, it is partially, and sometimes fully offset by more efficient use of the resources, as engineers and scientists find ways to achieve the same results with less material, or at least lower amounts of expensive materials.

the same results with less material, or at least lower amounts of expensive materials.

For sure. However that usually requires engineering a new version of the product, and retooling the assembly lines. That usually takes a few years. Most likely the new product is more expensive, and possibly lower performance than the original.
We, may be about to see what the reverse does in PV. Polysilicon is getting cheap, and expected to drop perhaps anothe $20/kilogram. What does this do to high tech plans to make panels with much thinner silicon? What does it do to the competing thin film technologies, as cSi can also be produced cheaply, simply because the feedstock is now cheap?

With regards to wind, there's a race to bring additional wind generating capacity on-line in this province.

N.S. companies compete to build wind farms

Companies are fighting for the right to supply green energy to Nova Scotians with competing plans to build wind farms.

It's all part of the province's goal of having 25 per cent of the province's electricity generated through renewable forms of energy by 2015.


Shear Wind Inc. has submitted a plan to the provincial Environment Department for the proposed second phase of its Glen Dhu project at Barneys River.

The Bedford company wants to add an additional 26 to 34 wind turbines to that site. The expansion has not yet been approved by the province.

The details of a large wind farm in Lunenburg County were also announced Thursday, with three of the province's biggest companies teaming up for the South Canoe Wind Project: Minas Basin Pulp and Power, Oxford Frozen Foods and Nova Scotia Power.

John Woods, the vice-president of energy development for Minas Basin Pulp and Power, said in a phone interview from Hantsport that the project will consist of 33 to 50 turbines.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2012/01/26/ns-green-ener...

With a renewable energy target of 25 per cent by 2015 and 40 per cent by 2020, the bar has been set high.


I love Nova Scotia. I used to spend alot of time in Parrsboro {I had to check the spelling hahaha} looking for amethyst and stilbite and have fond memories of hunting caypso calopogon and arethusa at Kejimkujic {spelling on that one too. It's been a looong time..}. I also love wind mills, gristmills, covered bridges and love to fly kites, but those wind "farms" you refer to are made up of 90 meter tall conctrete, steel and compostie structures, each one with a heated building and there is a large service road to each one. That is in no way "renewable" and only marginally sustainable.

And upon researching this, I found a number of articles that dont really jibe with what you say, that "there's a race to bring additional wind generating capacity on-line in this province."

Nova Scotia wind farm parts plant to lay off 32

TRENTON — A shortage of contracts has resulted in the layoff of 32 workers at a Trenton wind farm parts manufacturer.


Overcapacity Hits Wind Turbine Market

The world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer is laying off employees due to over capacity in the market from competition from Chinese suppliers and lower demand


DSTN wraps up big contract

DSTN shipped the final tower section for Sprott Power’s $61-million project in Amherst on Friday.

Premier Darrell Dexter and DSTN chief executive officer Nam-Ki Lee were among those in the town Tuesday to mark the milestone.

DSTN spokesman Brad Murray said nine of the project’s 15 turbines are now installed.

“The weather has been very good to them, so they’re hoping maybe tomorrow ..... to install another complete turbine,” Murray said Tuesday in an interview.

Wind farm divides Pugwash

Dozens of placard-waving protesters marched through downtown Pugwash on Monday to demand a proposed wind farm outside this Cumberland County village be stopped in its tracks.


So, what really is going on up there???

I'm not sure what's happening at DSTN. I assume that their business forecasts were overly optimistic and that there's insufficient demand in-province to carry their operations (something similar to what's happening with Ontario's renewable energy sector?). Idle speculation on my part, but I wonder with generous provincial assistance in the balance whether these sales targets came in a little higher than they would otherwise. Possible?

Industrial wind farms are by no means universally welcome, and their siting as you can appreciate can be controversial and divisive, but I think most Nova Scotians agree that we have to wean ourselves off coal and oil (in 2006, 80 per cent of our electricity was generated through the burning of coal with much of the remainder being petcoke). Perhaps one of the most widely held concerns with respect to our renewable energy build-out is its impact on rates, but as mentioned in yesterday's Drumbeat wind costs are now more or less on par with that of coal, and rising fossil fuels costs are, in fact, the primary driver behind our higher rates.

So I don't wish to mislead you; the transition will be difficult, costly and mistakes will be made along the way but, on balance, I believe we're moving in the right direction.


I think most Nova Scotians agree that we have to wean ourselves off coal and oil (in 2006, 80 per cent of our electricity was generated through the burning of coal with much of the remainder being petcoke)

Right, you all burned through your once abundant coal supplies, and I do believe much of it was anthracite, the "good stuff". Its really too bad we couldn't go back a husband those resources, eh? Now you are importing coal mined elsewhere.


Fifty per cent of North America's electrical power is produced by coal. In Nova Scotia it's about 57 per cent. Until 1999, Nova Scotia Power used coal mined in the province and built its plants to burn that local resource. Today, government-run coal mining operations in the province are closed and Nova Scotia Power sources most of its coal from international markets.


"Take away the steel industry from Nova Scotia and what other manufacturing activity has the province to show as a reflex of the production of 7,000,000 tons of coal annually. The coal mined in Nova Scotia, has for generations, gone to provide the driving power for the industries of Quebec and Ontario. For almost a century, Nova Scotia has been exporting the raw material that lies at the base of all modern industry.


At the risk of sounding flippant, I'm not overly concerned that we've exhausted most of our in-province resources or that we now import much of what we use today for outside suppliers. I just want us to stop burning it, the sooner the better. Frankly, I'd be a lot more worried if we were sitting on huge quantities of the stuff because then there's a good chance this would prolong our dependency upon this fuel for that many more years to come.


Your local coal resources are essentially gone.

I'm looking for data showing Nova Scotia coal imports for last few decades, I bet it'll be interesting. I think I saw something regarding low sulfur coal imports...

As far as local highly energetic resources, I suppose if you had to, you could extend some of the coal seams, I think a couple mines extended a bit offshore even? There is also offshore gas and crude production. You'll need that for the haul roads.

I think most of the tower, turbine and nacelle fabrication and manufacture used to or still does occur in or near Toronto.... close to midwest coal, and large bodies of navigable water. I think there's a large nuke and hydro input there too, because of depleting quality coal supplies in the mid west and rocky mt. regions. Otherwise much of the energy costs are offshore to China, where the manufacturing process takes place and availability of cheap fuel makes it possible to ship big stuff long ways.

Your local coal resources are essentially gone.

Then all I can say is hallelujah !


Ya but.... now your even more reliant on Germany, Norway, China and BC, AB, Sask, etc. I bet your coal import curve is increasing, too though I dont know, I cant seem to find the data yet... which wouldn't support the claim that increased use of windmills reduces you reliance on coal, let's say, or better, crude oil and condensates.

From Wiki where else:

Canada has the tenth largest coal reserves in the world, an enormous amount considering the sparse population of the country. However, the vast majority of those reserves are located hundreds or thousands of kilometres from the country's industrial centers and seaports, and the effect of high transportation costs is that they remain largely unexploited. As with other natural resources, regulation of coal production is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the provincial governments, and it only enters federal jurisdiction when it is imported or exported from Canada.

Over 90% of Canada's coal reserves, and 99% of its production, are located in the three Western provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. Of these, Alberta alone has 70% of Canada's coal reserves, and 48% of the Texas-sized province is underlaid by coal deposits. British Columbia has one of the thickest coal deposits in the world, the Hat Creek deposit, which is 550 metres (1800 ft) thick. There are also smaller, but substantial, coal deposits in the Yukon and Northwest Territories and the Arctic Islands, which are even further from markets. The Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have coal deposits that were historically a very important source of energy, and Nova Scotia was once the largest coal producer in Canada, but these deposits are much smaller and much more expensive to produce than the Western coal, so coal production in the Atlantic provinces has virtually ceased. Nova Scotia now imports all the coal for its steel mills and power plants from other countries like Colombia. At the same time, the Western provinces export their coal to 20 different countries, particularly Japan, Korea, and China, in addition to using it in their own thermal power plants. Elk Valley Coal mine is the second biggest coal mine in the world.

The region between New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, a distance of thousands of kilometres which includes the major industrial centers of Ontario and Quebec, is largely devoid of coal. As a result, these provinces import almost all of the coal for their steel mills and thermal power plants from the United States. Unfortunately coal from the Eastern United States is high in sulfur content, and this has contributed to a serious air quality problem, particularly in heavily populated Southwestern Ontario.[7]


Then all I can say is hallelujah !

What your doing there is transferring the costs elsewhere, that would be cost of depleting the resource, and of course potentially degrading the environment, usually pretty badly.

OK, we're rapidly adding more wind to our system, we'll soon be importing hydro-electricity from Newfoundland and Labrador (fingers crossed), we're currently exploring how we can tap our enormous tidal power resources (we already have one tidal station in operation) and we're aggressively pursuing DSM which NSP expects will trim provincial demand in 2020 by over 500 MW. So what exactly are we doing wrong?


I dont know but that kinda looks like panic to me....

You're obviously free to draw your own conclusions, but that's not a viewpoint I share.


Canada has a goal to reduce it's coal use overall, and that is good, but so far it's been pretty insignificant based on this data:


And thats because outside other fossil fuels and "nuclear energy", there are no other sources that are any where near as energetic. Wind and solar power are extremely diffuse sources of energy, and are low, intermittent output when compared to fossil fuels. Hydro power is merely a diffuse, low output source. Thats the way it is.

I am looking for some data showing Nova Scotia coal inports, and use for the last decade or so.....

This data shows your natural gas consumption increasing:


not quite offsetting a relatively small decline in the use of refined petroleum products. "Renewables" barely change, mostly because in order to match your demand you are going to have to deploy tens of thousands or more of those windmills to make a dent, hundreds will not do.

Admittedly, I'm more attune to what's happening locally, but if memory serves me, back in my days with the Ontario Ministry of Energy some thirty-six per cent of Ontario's electricity was coal-fired and today I understand that share has fallen to less than 3 per cent. And by 2014, it should be gone altogether.

It's true that NSP is burning more Sable Island gas whereas in previous years it was mostly resold to New England -- low prices seem to have put a stop to that, at least for now. Natural gas is a bridge fuel that will help us get from "A" to "B"; I don't think anyone considers it to be a long-term solution.

With respect to our wind resources, ten years ago we had no wind generation whatsoever and by March of this year we'll have over 300 MW of installed capacity. According to the NS Department of Energy, wind currently supplies "about 14% of the province's electricity requirements at our winter peaks, the highest capacity to peak load ratio in Canada.". [NSP is a winter peaking utility.]

Source: http://www.gov.ns.ca/energy/renewables/current-activity/wind.asp

We'll just begun this process; change of this kind doesn't happen overnight.


Any reduction in coal inputs will necessarily have to be matched by an increase in liquid petroleum products and natural gas in order to match consumption in one way or another. Wind power accounts for an absolutely tiny, vanishingly small portion of the overall energy mix {see above links} and really, unfortunately, because of the qualities of fossil fuels, ie highly energetic and concentrated, easily transportable, is the literal drop in the ocean. I would like to see a lot less fossil fuel use, but increasing wind energy wont do it. It doesn't address the real problem. I think only a pretty drastic change in lifestyle will do it, and it has to occur en mass, kind of like the sudden change in direction of an entire flock of birds in flight.

Any reduction in coal inputs will have to be matched by an increase in petroleum products and natural gas in order to match consumption.

Can you provide us with any evidence to support this claim as it pertains to our province?


Ya, I was looking for something and I did find this as per above:

The following chart is NRCan's historical (1990 and 1995) and projected (2000, 2005, and 2010) primary energy demand for Nova Scotia [4] (RPP is the abbreviation for Refined Petroleum Products):


Forgive me for asking, but we were discussing primary energy demand as it relates to the supply of electricity, were we not?


Electricity is only a fraction of your energy needs. You will not power your fleet of autos trucks and planes on electricity, and if you try you will deplete your coal and gas resources that much faster.

And this chart shows that the lions share of electricity at least in Canada overall is generated by coal, with really little change at least until 2007:




See this "biomass and other input, it's the tiny green line in there. It's insignificant.


No way is that thin little green line gonna replace the purple, mauve and grey any time soon unless the demand, represented by the right hand side, is greatly reduced. look at where it goes mostly to "industrial uses" and a tiny portion of that goes to residential. Absolutely zero to transportation related energy demands. It's nice that they included what really are thermodynamic losses at the far right of the flow chart as further forensic evidence of tremendous inefficiencies mostly in transportation and industry, and due to losses in electrical transmission. So if you want to look for a way to reduce demand to match dwindling input, transportation and "industry" demands are where I would look, not necessarily at windmill inputs.

Then to clarify, my post pertains to the generation of electricity in this province; there was never any intent on my part to expand this discussion to encompass all forms of energy use.


there was never any intent on my part to expand this discussion to encompass all forms of energy use

Oh, but there was on mine, and the wind power contribution {electricity in this case} might just be a waste of your time and precious resources. Your "wind power" is 100 percent dependent on fossil fuel inputs to be created and "sustained" for any length of time.

Which is different than mechanical power. Because of its highly diffuse, intermittent nature, Wind power has been historically harnessed for it's relatively lowgrade mechanical output, ie raising water from a well, not electrical generation. Of course, in Nova Scotia you must be acutely aware that the most well known mechanical use of wind is for transportation eh?

Then by all means please feel free to do so. I'll leave you to it.


Hah! Akido in action. Kudos to you HereinHalifax, way to keep your cool.

Thanks, brizzadizza. I'm afraid I haven't mastered Aikido, but I do try to maintain a Buddhist-like calm at all times, and I'm also reluctant to give anyone the satisfaction of knowing they've gotten under my skin. Whereas I fail miserably at the former, I can generally count on the latter.


And this chart shows that the lions share of electricity at least in Canada overall is generated by coal, with really little change at least until 2007

You're misreading the chart. What it shows is that most of the coal consumption in Canada is for electricity.

In fact, Canada's electricity production is about 60% hydroelectric, 15% nuclear, 16% coal, 7% natural gas, 1% fuel oil, and 1% "other", including wind. See Electricity sector in Canada

So where does wind show up on that. I think thats the point.

Most of the growth in wind has occurred since the end of that graph. As of the end of 2011 wind is probably about 2% of generation nationally in Canada and about 6% in Nova Scotia.

So where does wind show up on that. I think thats the point. The little green line down there at the very bottom. How many orders of magnitude difference is that? Not much change, not nearly enough, obviously and if there was it would come at a great expense to the other colored lines above it, ie draw down other more readily available sources of energy due to increases in complexity, inefficiency and an over all inability to power down.

First, as I pointed out, this graph ends 4 years ago, and wind has increased by a factor of about 4X from the end of that graph. Second, hydro is growing in Canada, and still represents the majority of Canadian electricity production.

Your "wind production" of electricity is one hundred percent dependent on the ready availability of cheap petroleum and its products. It adds extremely little even in light of the "4x increase" to the overall energy mix and ironically could be causing increased depletion of crucial wind infrastructure dependent petroleum and products. Refer to the energy flow chart above. Wind contribution is lumped with "renewable" and represents a tiny portion of the overall mix. In Nova Scotia, You would have to build and deploy tens of thousands if not more of those wind mills to offset other input declines, lets say in refined petroleum products.

So you've gone from asserting that 'coal provides most of Canada's electricity' and hydro is a 'low output' energy source, to arguing that it doesn't matter that Nova Scotia has increased electricity provided by wind/tidal from 1% to roughly 6% wind in 4 years because wind production doesn't count (without explicitly making a net energy argument) and that 10's of thousands of wind turbines would have to be built in Nova Scotia. As Paul pointed out, the goal is to provide 40% of electricity from renewables by 2020 (they are currently at 17% according to the power company). If this was all to be wind, that'd imply building about 750 1500kw turbines over 8-9 years. As he also pointed out, the province has plans to use renewables other than wind (hydro and tidal and biomass). And, given his job, I think it's fair to say they also intend to reduce consumption.

No, thats not what I wrote and you didn't comprehend the text. I am starting to loose track of all these threads and you are obfuscating and I have other things to do so while you are enjoying your water and wind don't forget the grease :



Sure. Dealing with your obfuscation is a waste of my time. P.S. I'm not Canadian.

I feel like Im fighting off the "matrix" here Hahahaha

This is from 2008, its the best I can do:


I didn't see the thin line heading off to industrial power uses. Hydro: 1.2 quads, and coal 1.16 quads, go to total electricity generation which is only a third of the total demand for energy in Canada, which is satisfied by petroleum, and petroleum by products which is my point: Wind water and sun wont do it youve gotta reduce demand. Especially for transportation. Wind and Hydro do not even address the problem.

Hey friend, the bar's now open. Come join me for a drink, it's on me.


Absolutely my friend Cheers

Definitely. Here's mud in your eye. P.S. I'm a couple thousand miles from my usual haunts and just a short ferry ride from Sidney, BC today. My niece is getting married tomorrow on Orcas Island in Washington State.

Don't know if you've seen it, but on the Nova Scotia power company blog they mentioned that wind generation hit 20% of total electricity demand at one point back in April 2011.

Here's wishing this young couple much happiness and good health in their new life together !

I recall reading about this and there's also mention of it at: http://www.nspower.ca/en/home/aboutnspi/mediacentre/NewsRelease/2011/win...

I expect we'll soon cross the 30 per cent threshold. Last year, there were a total of twenty-three hours when provincial demand dipped below 800 MW and two hundred and fifty-four hours when it registered below 900 MW. Now, with the loss of the NewPage mill, NSP's single largest customer at approximately 200 MW, we can expect these hour counts to climb higher. And, of course, come March, NSP will have 317 MW of wind capacity on tap with more to follow. With this in mind, even 40 per cent can't be all that far off.

BTW, if you're curious to see what happens to your load when you lose your single largest customer, take a boo at the turquoise line in the chart shown below. October was the first full month following the mill's official closure, but the plant is still being maintained at "hot idle" so the full impact has yet to be felt.

Kinda thinking it won't be so hard to hit that 40 per cent renewable energy target after all.


Reportedly Canadian wind capacity reached a peak power output of href=http://theenergycollective.com/nathanaelbaker/71773/canada-doubles-its-wind-capacity-2011>5400MW in 2011. Assuming the typical 35% capacity factor for onshore wind, that would yield ~16.5 TWh per year, about 2 ticks on that chart, or about 20% of the nuclear production in 2007(orange line).

I think your link got snafued by the trailing period, Falstaff.

Reference: http://theenergycollective.com/nathanaelbaker/71773/canada-doubles-its-w...


What you posted above shows electrical generation by source in Canada:


"Electrical power" supplies only one quarter or so of the overall energy demand in Canada {2008}:


Most of which {electrical generation} is from coal, a good deal of which your now importing, apparently from columbia? And the US.

Wow, you really still haven't noticed that only 15% of Canadian electricity is from coal and that Canada is a large net EXPORTER of coal? I guess we could put the hydro input in your diagram on a "coal-equivalent" basis so that you understand the difference in quality between a mechanical energy source and a thermal source used to produce mechanical energy via heat engine. You'd have to burn 500% as much coal for electricity generation in Canada to displace hydro using coal.

I was pointing out that you are misinterpreting the graphs. Canada is not a large consumer of coal and the proportion is expected to decrease. It is not particularly important except for electricity production in those few provinces which do not have major hydroelectric resources and/or are having problems with their nuclear reactors.

Ontario was importing large amounts of coal from the US, basically because its nuclear reactors turned out to be less reliable than expected, and they fell back on imported coal as a stopgap while they repaired them. They claim they are going to stop using coal, but we'll see.

The Western Provinces have huge coal reserves, and as a consequence Canada is a net exporter of coal, mainly to Japan, China, and Korea. Wind is not a major energy source, but hydroelectric is much more useful, and most provinces have major hydro resources.

Of course the transportation sector is a large consumer of petroleum, but other sectors are not. Industry and home heating are major consumers of natural gas, of which Canada has a lot. Increasingly natural gas is displacing coal for electricity generation, because those provinces which have large amounts of coal also have large amounts of natural gas.

You should look at this:


and this is turning into dueling charts. Your not understanding my point which is wind power is a drop in the bucket and always will be. It is not "renewable", nor is it "sustainable" with out significant petroleum inputs. Coal is only about a quarter oh just lookatitwillya?. Your not reading my posts.

To oversimplify slightly: Run the hydro input to the electricity box, past the box directly to the electricity output. Now compare the width of the uranium, coal, natural gas, and petroleum inputs to the width of the losses. Then look at the width of the remaining output from the box. Hydro doesn't have thermal losses.

Hydro doesn't have thermal losses.

Sure it does. Whether thermal losses are consequential to desired output I seriously doubt it, but Im sure theres some data somewhere. It's generally the grease in the turbines that gets hot and eventually breaks down. Then you have to replace the grease. You dont get that from a windmill.

As I said, I was oversimplifying slightly, since hydro losses are minimal. Friction is mechanical loss, not thermal loss in the parlance i was using. Hydro turbines also generate 'windage.' All loss is thermal if you want to define it that way.

My point, which you continue to ignore, is that fossil fuels used for electricity generation must pass thru a heat engine to create mechanical energy, whereas hydro and wind start as mechanical energy. Hydro and wind are roughly 3 times as useful per input energy as fossil fuels in creating Canadian electricity.

Again, coal consumption in power plants would need to increase to ~5X the present value to replace Canadian hydro.

Friction translates into heat and noise, both energy.

Because fossil fuels are orders of magnitude more potent than wind and hydro combined they'll never compete with fossil fuels for the level of demand that currently exists, not even close. Coal is your canard.

Columbia is in Canada so how are they importing? Or did you mean Colombia which is in South America?




No IMPORTING COAL form Columbia SA, and I am going as fast as I can to keep up wit allya. theres alot to think about for ya as you wonder why your world is falling apart around you this weekend.

Here from your linkypoo:

While Canada is an exporter of coal, it also imports coal into central and eastern Canada. This is mainly due to geography since it is cheaper to obtain coal from the east and central regions of the United States than from the western provinces. Canada imported 19 million tonnes of coal in 2007, of which about 80 per cent was thermal coal for electricity generation in Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The largest imports were from the United States, with smaller volumes from Colombia, Venezuela and Russia.

And now this drumbeat will fall apart into a cacaphony of misunderstanding, misreading, mistakes and misfires.

Best o luck to ya. Hava good weekend...


Any reduction in coal inputs will necessarily have to be matched by an increase in liquid petroleum products and natural gas in order to match consumption in one way or another

Not at all. I did not believe the Stoneleigh POV that high prices would collapse demand - yet there it is.

Coal reduction combined with conservation (willing or unwilling) does not imply increases in other sources of fossil fuels.

As of 2007 only 15.3% of Canadian electicity generation was from coal (2009 coal consumption for electricity was lower than any year since 1997). That was 0% in Quebec, and 65% in Alberta for 2007. Hydro was 59% of national electricity production, nuclear was 14.3%. Nova Scotia represented only 2% of national production, and coal represented 55% of that, of which 85% was imported. Total national electricity production outside of Alberta (10.9%) and Saskatchewan (3.3%) was only 7.2% coal.

Yes, thats right Canada has been reducing its coal consumption slightly.

But that is occuring at the expense of an increase in gas consumption, not increase in windmills.

See above links.

what the html for img?

Find it here



The problem is - as always - that the brute force of the development companies and their business plans / bottom lines totally over-ride the human element of the context (indeed they are encouraged-required to).

In this respect, wind farm developers (and probably tidal-power macho honchos) are no better than the Wal-Mart team building a huge mega-store, where a smaller one would have suited the community within which it is located.

So I despair when I see huge (and indeed quite ugly) industrial wind farms across the landscape in rural and semi-rural Australia - they are just enormous entities, and while the energy they produce might be "sustainable" (although I would like to see the objective analysis on the entire cost of production - including the roads and much else), they are serious blots on the landscape.

Isn't it possible to get outside (above) the Wal-Mart build model - and actually say that manageable human scale on the landscape is at least as important as economies of scale? We're not THAT desperate.

40% renewable electricity generation by 2020 is not that high!

Here in Old Scotia (Scotland) the aspiration is 100% by 2020.

We were at 31% in 2011 apparently.


What on earth do you mean by "renewable electricity generation"?

Here, these guys call it, "clean non-fossil fuel sources",


though the "clean" part is debateable considering the manufacturing process has to include lots of natural gas and other petroleum products:

The plant is now capable of producing two, 300-foot tall steel and carbon fiber wind towers every day.

And of course, you are not going to manufacture three hundred foot steel and carbon fiber towers using wind power.

More to another point here: this is an example of "retasking", or recyling or "capturing waste that would otherwise be landfilled", and most importantly it is an example of "powering down":

Burns helped Gamesa reuse the Brownfield site through innovative methods of renovating and reactivating a 250,000 square foot steel plant into a state-of-the art wind turbine manufacturing facility. The plant is now capable of producing two, 300-foot tall steel and carbon fiber wind towers every day. Working closely with state and local economic development and regulatory agencies, the site was ready for initial production within six months. Renovating an existing building in a timely manner was critical to meeting the market window for Gamesa products. Recycling a Brownfield also saved thousands of tons of waste from landfills in comparison to constructing a new building. The project contributes many social, economic and environmental benefits. The Gamesa plant is now manufacturing two wind turbines per day. One year's production output from the plant has the potential energy generating capacity of 700 megawatts of clean, non-fossil fuel electricity, which is enough to power nearly 200,000 homes for a year. More than 300 new skilled labor manufacturing jobs, in addition to hundreds of construction jobs, stimulate the local economy. By reusing an existing building, thousands of tons of valuable building components were reused, providing a significant savings of natural resources and energy that would be used to make them into building materials.

This demonstrates that what we are really doing is reinvesting table scraps from the 20th century, which is good and necessary, but it is part of what will become increasingly apparent as a "salvage society", where we begin to transition from high density, high quality, easily transportable sources of energy like liquid petroleum, to more diffuse, less dense, lower quality sources like the wind, which like it or not, is entirely dependent on petroleum inputs, both physical and energetic.

you are not going to manufacture three hundred foot steel and carbon fiber towers using wind power.

Actually, there is a really good sci fi mystery short story involving a team of exoterrestrial paleoengineers and a culture who tried just that, it's called "The Subways of Tazoo" by Colin Kapp. A good, fun mystery dealing with resource depletion, climate change, increasing complexity and collapse.

Maybe you should look at the charts provided in Ali's link..

http://www.scottishrenewables.com/ , it shows Wind and Hydro Capacity to be on the order of 30 times over that available from waste.

Wind and Hydro equipment can surely be manufactured with the energy from Wind and Hydro equipment.. so this current dependency on our remaining Petroleum 'table scraps' does not make them permanently FF-based. I think that argument is heavily overplayed.

In the meantime, many industrial Table Scraps can very well be reinvested into Renewable Energy equipment that will serve and return their invested power in ways that very few of them do today.. so it is hardly a dawdling at the fringes of BAU to push what we have in that direction. Those longest-lived tools with the better EROEI will be soon giving some of their power to start assembling their replacements.

DeckChairs might harken back to more frivolous days and assumptions.. but there's a good chance a bundle of them WILL float. Don't just throw them away because they smell like Cognac and Perfume.

Wind and Hydro equipment can surely be manufactured with the energy from Wind and Hydro equipment.

No way. Try steel manufacturing. Then you gotta move the stuff and its huge.

I think some one needs to draw a box. The box represents energy required to manufacture, lets say, steel. Or glass. The amount of energy input from wind, or solar or even hydro will be contained in a tiny little portion, maybe a bit bigger for hydro. The box will be filled with the demand for petroleum BTUs.

Now, you could add nuke to your list of energy sources but that really puts you in a bind in several ways, not least of which is long lived accumulating lethal waste products that take energy to store and keep stable ie non critial for large periods of time.. The reason it puts you in such a bind is, here you have your longest lived source of energy, apparently one of your criteria for "renewable" is long lived and the whole process depends of fission, and decay, which can involve tens of millions of years, which proves that long lived does not equate to "renewable" at all otherwise your nuclear reactors would never work.

Jeez, what a killjoy!
Too bad you're right.
Thanks anyway.

Try steel manufacturing. Then you gotta move the stuff and its huge... I think some one needs to draw a box. The box represents energy required to manufacture, lets say, steel... The amount of energy input from wind, or solar or even hydro will be contained in a tiny little portion, maybe a bit bigger for hydro. The box will be filled with the demand for petroleum BTUs.

Other than transportation, I think you've overstated the demand for petroleum. Most of the biggest excavators are electric; the mines have their own substations and can put enormous demands on the grid (eg, see the myths about the excavators in the Peak Downs mine in Australia causing blackouts). The bulk of transportation is by rail and ship; slow-moving bulk freighters are incredibly efficient per ton-mile, and rail can be electrified. The preferred fuel for reducing iron ore to pig iron is coke derived from coal. At the steel mill proper, the furnaces are electric (arc or induction). Essentially all of the motive power for the big cranes, for tipping buckets, running conveyors, etc, is electric.

The Canadian government benchmarked their steel industry's energy consumption. For an integrated plant -- iron ore in one end and rolled steel out the other -- the breakdown on energy use looks like this:

Coke            44.82%
Natural gas     19.10%
Coke oven gas   13.01%
Electricity     12.21%
Oil              4.02%
Coal             3.69%
Oxygen           2.87%
Other            0.28%

There's a good chance that much of the "oil" is actually petroleum coke, the pure-carbon crud left at the end of refining. For a plant that uses scrap steel as the input, skipping the coal/coke intense step to produce iron from ore, electric furnaces dominate the energy use:

Electricity     67.41%
Natural gas     27.33%
Coke             2.61%
Oxygen           1.52%
Coal             0.67%
Other            0.46%

The only way petroleum becomes a large part of the total is if you assume that the energy embodied in steel (at least at the point where it leaves the mill) is almost completely dominated by transportation.

Why don't you look at the output of Niagara or Hydro Quebec?

I would tend to guess that your discussion points are what's dependent upon Fossil Fuels..

Done and Out.

Maybe so, but we started from a position of near zero so it's been a long and tough slog. For example, Nova Scotia Power expects to pay $1.8 billion to build an undersea cable linking us to Newfoundland and Labrador's Lower Churchill Falls project, although I wouldn't be surprised if the final price tag comes in a little higher. That's expected to supply us with about 10 per cent of our needs.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2012/01/26/ns-emera-musk...

I'd love to see us at 60, 80 or even 100 per cent renewable, but for now I'll settle for 40.


You know what Id like to see? A proper energy accounting for the manufacture, transportation, installation, maintenance and repair of that undersea cable, instead of "Nova Scotia Power expects to pay $1.8 billion to build an undersea cable " because the monetary accounting is no good.

I wouldn't be surprised if the final price tag comes in a little higher. That's expected to supply us with about 10 per cent of our needs.

You get your money and your energy all fouled up.

So any guesses on your part? And forgive me for asking, but how is it that I'm fouling money and energy?


You are talking about a "price tag" {1.8 billion} in terms of money when you need to use an energy unit for that kind of accounting.


find a "conversion factor" between money and energy. There is an obvious example.

I'm primarily interested in what this development will cost us in monetary terms, not energy return on energy invested. I'm happy to leave that sort of analysis to someone more qualified.


If you havn't read Howard Odum's book on eMergy you may wish to.

Yet another example of why we, in the USA, are screwed:

Judge in Georgia orders Obama to appear in court for 'birther' suit

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A Georgia judge has ordered President Obama to appear in court in Atlanta on Thursday for a hearing on a complaint that says Obama isn't a natural-born citizen and can't be president.

Orly Taitz, the California attorney who brought the legal challenge to Obama's name on the March Georgia presidential-primary ballot, says this is what she has been working for over the last three years.

"This will be 100 times bigger than Watergate," she said Saturday morning, referring to the scandal that brought down President Nixon in 1974.

"There are high-ranking judges and federal officials who are involved in this cover up. The ramifications of this trial will be enormous."...

...A Georgia resident made the complaint, which is intended to keep Obama's name off the state's ballot in the March presidential primary.

Rather than solving our many critical problems we expend precious time and resources on so many trivial and meaningless endeavours, fiddling as Rome burns.

I'm so glad I escaped Georgia; such a constant embarrassment.

Orly Tait is a nut case.

Perhaps as soon as this case is dismissed, the DOJ should work on having this judge debarred for incompetence and abuse and office...after lengthy judicial review boards, with all due process.

And perhaps the citizen in GA should be sued for libel and for bringing a frivolous lawsuit and charged for the state of GA's time spent, and a punitive damage as well.

Here it goes, I am saying it...there are a shocking number of bigots in the U.S.

the DOJ should work on having this judge debarred for incompetence and abuse and office.

Why involve the DOJ when you, the citizen, has the power?

Take the bar conduct manual, compare the actions in court/filed in paperwork and if there is misconduct - file a bar grievance. http://bargrievance.net/

To understand the effects - http://www.ruleoflawradio.com/ and the network at http://www.logosradionetwork.com/
(and if you dig 'round the archives you can listen to a TOD regular poster talk for an hour on the Oklahoma centric show)

And it is up to the magistrate or judge to decide that a case is friv and vex ... can't sue the good citizens of Georgia for that! But meanwhile, some people very close to me in MD (they are, not me) are totally convinced that President Obama was not born in the USA ... they aren't particularly partisan (well they re, but in this context I will pretend they're not) - it is the affront to the Constitution that irks them, they say. BS I say in response.

They should get out more - they have far too much time on their hands.

it is the affront to the Constitution that irks them


Executive orders, "kinetic actions" in other lands without a formal Deceleration of War, the non-use of gold/silver for debts public/private are just a few items....they railing against them also?

I'm all for support of the laws - but lets see 'em all enforced. And enforced for the prince as well as the pauper.

I'm so glad I escaped Georgia; such a constant embarrassment.

My favourite piece of Georgia trivia: in August 1980, the sheriff in Macon, GA apparently angered by editorials in the Macon Telegraph seized a newspaper vending machine in front of the local court house claiming that "old people might stumble over it" and that "it could lead to flea markets and watermelon sales".


Should it not be the 'electoral college' that has to appear? I have to assume someone saw his birth certificate to prove that he qualified.

I would have thought the case would have to be filed against the Georgia Democratic Party; the parties are usually the ones that control who appears on the primary ballots (except in states where candidates may self-nominate in some fashion such as signature collection). Or against the Georgia Secretary of State, their top election official, who would presumably be responsible overall for ballot accuracy.

In any event, the case law on state court demands that the President appear is well-settled: he/she doesn't have to respond. And as the article notes, Orly Tait was recently involved in a case making a similar claim in a federal court in Georgia, where the judge denied the "birther" claim and fined her $20K for filing a frivolous suit.

Well, I certainly wouldn't want this kind of nonsense to distract our President from the important work he is doing. /sarc

I doesn't matter, it's but theater. The pigs fight for a place at the trough using whatever tactics they can. So what? Best to stand back and try not to get any on ya.

A Russian friend asked yesterday "Aren't you embarrassed by the candidates in the debates?".

Don't have to be a Pinko Commie Russki to ask that question, comrade ... you have 315 million citizens (with probably 250 million who are of age and eligible to be President), and the GOP throws up the Addams Family ... what is wrong with you guys?

The reason its the Addams Family, is that the base only wants monsters. I guess its years of listening to Rush and company. They had one decent sounding candidate Huntsman, but he never got over 1-2%, and dropped out.

He is also the only one that doesn't look immediately, obviously, really creepy. It is most illustrative to go to Google image search and bring up a whole page of face-shots of each candidate by typing in their name.

Huntsman is a sober, responsible man who appears to believe that serving his country is more important than personal power.

No surprise that he couldn't get any traction in a presidential race, and that is part of our current problems.

The lead article, "Everything You Know About Peak Oil Is Wrong", may have set a new record for idiocy in journalistic integrity.

On the other hand - it is encouraging that the Bloomberg readers are lambasting the article in the comments section.

More likely oil drum readers that have clicked through. Unfortunately, most bloomberg readers are going to take the article at face value.

Most Bloomberg readers as well as and other members of the general public, still actually believe that growth is a good thing and that it is actually possible to keep on growing... 'GROWTH' is the goal!


Economy grew modest 2.8 pct. in Q4, best in 2011

The real question is, are those numbers a true reflection of reality and if they are, how much did the economy actually contract before that?!

From the same article:

The Fed sees unemployment falling as low as 8.2 percent this year.

Yeah, I believe that too!

Just some fun with numbers

- [U.S.] Economy grew modest 2.8 pct. in Q4, best in 2011

- U.S. Population grew 1.1 pct in 2011
- U.S. Inflation grew 1.4 pct in 2011 (This is official non-energy, non-food # not shadowfacts #)

- Therefore economy would have to grow 2.5 pct just to break even. At best the economy is growing 0.3 pct and in reality it's probably -0.5 pct.

It's actually worse than that since the 2.8% is an annualized rate. Q1 = 0.4%, Q2 = 1.3%, Q3 = 1.8%, Q4 = 2.8. Avg for 2011 ~ 1.6%. Factor in real inflation, etc. and the contraction becomes quite evident. (shhh! don't tell the sheeple...)

See. There is some utility to innumeracy in the U.S. population after all.

The GDP growth numbers you quote are 'real' growth, meaning inflastion has already been taken into account. Of course, per-capita growth numbers ARE worse given the growing population. Further, given that productivity growth is growing faster than GDP, employment demand per capita is worse than GDP per capita.

The inflation data is and has been understated for years. The GDP numbers are politically used and abused. Gold is a counter weight to fiat currency and data. Inflation in food, health care, and energy are never counted. Crony currency,crony capitalism, distortoted Government numbers, and a National debt of $15.3 trillion go hand in hand.

The CPI-U includes inflation in food and energy and presumably health care, although likely lowballed.

GDP is adjusted for inflation using the GDP deflator, which includes all economic activity. The CPI measures consumer prices (a subset of the economy). People are often confused by reporting of 'core' CPI numbers which exclude volatile food and energy costs, into thinking that the CPI doesn't include those items, or that the govt uses the core measure to adjust stats. They're confused. 'Core' CPI is simply a crude filtering of the data which typically better reveals inflation trends. Healthcare is more complicated. Because most healthcare is purchased by govt or employers, most healthcare costs are not in the CPI basket of goods. Only out of pocket expenses and employee premium contributions are included. This means that the CPI should not be used, as is commonly done, to adjust total compensation, only wages. A big part of the 'real growth' in benefits often reported is due to this mis-adjustment.

After the energy crisis debacles of the 70's, can you blame them?

The more introspective of TODders may wish to grab a mirror, pull up thine shirt and navel gaze while pondering the question:

"Are the publicly stated reasons for Iran sanctions "the real reason" or could other factors be valid reasons?"

I've stated (does it count as publicly), that the reasons are regime change, and political grandstanding. I stand by those as the "real" reasons.

RE Everything you know about peak oil is wrong

Charles Kenny, an economist on leave from the World Bank, to spread propaganda to maintain the status quo. Sad thing is, this article will be consumed by probably ten or a hundred times as many people as read this site, and not nearly so critically. Good news is, most of the comments on Bloomberg are calling out the dude as a liar. He looks like a typical economist actually, as in, not really present. It's hard to be grounded in the Earth when you fill your head with the fake science of modern economics. The amazing thing is, if the dude actually knew anything about Peak Oil, he would know that anyone who knows anything about Peak Resources, knows that his article is total BS. But then, if you are an economist with the World Bank, reality is relative. Larry Summers would fit right in.


Supermaterial goes superpermeable

Graphene is one of the wonders of the science world, with the potential to create foldaway mobile phones, wallpaper-thin lighting panels and the next generation of aircraft. The new finding at The University of Manchester gives graphene’s potential a most surprising dimension – graphene can also be used for distilling alcohol.

In a report published in Science, a team led by Professor Sir Andre Geim shows that graphene-based membranes are impermeable to all gases and liquids (vacuum-tight). However, water evaporates through them as quickly as if the membranes were not there at all.

I know there are a number of readers here who understand the processes used in the petroleum and chemical industries quite well. Does a membrane that selectively passes only water vapor combine well with modern large-scale vacuum distilling? Is there potential to make processes for producing liquid-fuel alternatives like bioethanol and biobutanol more efficient?

Very interesting stuff, but if you introduce graphene into your industrial process it will pretty much eat up all your energy net gains and then some because of the very nature of the manufacturing and stabilization processes {extremely energy intensive}, so it really wont do you much good if your aim is to produce or even capture energy.

That said here is some PV fantasizing involvong graphene:

It may eventually be possible to run printing presses laying extensive areas covered with inexpensive solar cells, much like newspaper presses print newspapers (roll-to-roll)[172][173]


Printing presses, huh?

Printing presses, huh?

Not entire single sheets of graphene, but transparent conducting film to simplify secure packaging produced using roll-to-roll at 60 meter/minute already in field testing

Roll-to-roll processing producing graphene sheets successfully used in a touch panel

Alternate production technology for sizable single sheets of graphene

Some researchers at the University of Colorado - Boulder seem to think that gas separation membranes might be relatively straightforward

Ya but the point is is that these processes are so energy intensive that they in fact represent energy sinks. Not only that but the increasingly complex technology requires an increasing amount of energy just to maintain a certain stability or robustness in the system. The increasing complexity at some point passes a point of diminishing returns where the energetic horizon ie more energy out than in, the energetic horizon that you are chasing forever gets further away no matter what you try or how hard you try it.

The increasing complexity at some point passes a point of diminishing returns where the energetic horizon ie more energy out than in, the energetic horizon that you are chasing forever gets further away no matter what you try or how hard you try it.

Ya, it reminds me of my wife. From time to time, she decides we don’t have enough room in the house, so she rearranges the furniture. It looks different, and she thinks it gives us more room. Only thing is, the room size is the same, the furniture is the same.

Just so, with energy, we are living on a finite planet. Only a given amount of energy falls on the earth (plus some more generated by decay of radioactive elements within). Most is promptly radiated off into space. Some is stored, over time, by the process of photosynthesis and carbon fixation (into peat, coal, oil and gas – plus a bit tied up in manure and green things).

We are limited in energy use to the amount that falls on the planet, generating wind, evaporating water, and so forth, plus some tidal energy as the moon slows earth’s speed of rotation. And, we have a bit of that stored energy. What we are trying to do is to move the energy furniture to make more energy, and we wind up with less and less available.

Economists actually believe that if there is demand for it, supply will follow. Strange, isn’t it? However, we know that our energy budget is limited. Now, since there is only a given amount of energy, it follows that the only way to increase energy available per person (“E/P”) is to reduce the per person (/P) part. And, of course, we are doing the absolute opposite of that.
Once all the stored energy that can be affordably extracted is gone, maybe in our lifetime, the available energy per person goes down. We see that the E of “E/P” is diminishing, while the P is increasing today. And, rather than doing anything positive to reduce /P, we insanely try to increase E/.

Consider that it takes a given amount of energy to sustain one person. When that available energy per person drops below amount needed to sustain, numbers drop faster. Nature will establish an equilibrium, and we won’t have to do a thing. E/P will come into a sustainable balance, no matter how unpleasant it is, no matter how hard we believe our magic stories, and no matter how loud the cries from economists grow. Reality will prevail.


That's well put, nice analogy. Hahaha. Thank you.

Hi zaphod,

re: "she thinks it gives us more room."

Perhaps it gives you more useful, liveable space?

Definitely a possibility. Shove it all against the wall and you have a dance floor. :)

It depends how much the membrane costs and how much you need of it. Its no use unless water moves through it fast. Usually it works out that the membrane is costly and you need too much of it to make it competitive with distillation at any decent scale.

If you seal water in a thin, flat bag made of a semipermeable membrane and then lay it on a table in dry air, an interesting demonstration is made. If you place your palm above the bag, you can feel a warm draft coming up off of it. This is evaporation: the hotter molecules are the ones most likely to jump out of the system. The bag of water grows cold: the colder molecules are selectively left behind. If you draw a line on the bag with a marker, the line weeps liquid water. This is called "wet-out": the pores have been held open by the non-polar ink system. The membrane might "wet-out" when exposed to the liquid-fuel system. Don't know.

The interesting line in one article "water (vapor) passes through it (graphene) as though it wasn't there".

Leanan noted my article in Energy, Oil Supply Limits and the Continuing Financial Crisis, above. A direct link to the article, which is free for now, can be found here.

My paper, and the other papers listed in the special edition, relate to talks given at a conference in Barcelona in October 2010.

Congratulations on getting your paper published, Gail!

Re: Russia sets new gas pumping record to cover European demand

Draws on underground natural gas reserves inside Russia totalled 565 billion cubic metres on Wednesday - topping a previous 553 billion cubic metres single day record set in January 2011, a report published by the Russian government energy monitoring agency TsDU TEK said.

Amazing. Russia withdrew from storage almost the equivalent of its entire annual natural gas output in a single day! I suspect they mean million cubic metres.

I hadn't realised they had started publishing any storage data again. Back in the days of the big Ukraine cut-off no information on storage levels/withdrawals/injections was available (Simmons claimed it was near empty and the real reason for the crisis) with one Russian official even saying that such information was secret.

While hesitating to restart the contentious debate earlier this week about nuclear power, my primary objection has been our failure to deal with the waste issue. The NY Times article, above, helps put this failure into perspective:

On Thursday, the special commission on nuclear waste released its final report. It was not encouraging to advocates of reprocessing.

The report did not rule out reprocessing or a new class of reactors. But it said that “no currently available or reasonably foreseeable reactor and fuel cycle technology developments — including advances in reprocessing and recycling technologies — have the potential to fundamentally alter the waste management challenge this nation confronts over at least the next several decades.’’...

...But Arjun Makhijani, a nuclear physicist who is a frequent critic of the Energy Department’s work, said he was encouraged that the report recognized that any form of recycling would result in the separation of plutonium, a potential bomb fuel, and thus could allow the spread of nuclear weapons.

The reactors that would break up the most troublesome materials, called “fast” reactors because the neutrons that sustain the chain reactions move faster than the neutrons in today’s conventional reactors, have already absorbed $100 billion globally in research and development, he said, yet they are still nowhere near practical.

[emphasis mine]

...so I ask those who continue to advocate for these solutions where's the beef?? $100 billion here, $14+ billion there (Yucca Mtn.) and we're still producing 12,000 tons of the stuff annually for our heirs to deal with, still just holding it in pools of water and canisters all over the planet. For these same folks to hold up 'squandered monies' on renewables development and promotion (i.e. Solyndra) as "wasted funds" is absurd in this context. At least these industries have something to show for their efforts and resources.

Future generations will truly despise us for our shortsighted hypocrisy only if they have the capacity to understand the nature of our crimes; something I doubt. I guess that's something...

Note that he says they are impractical without saying exactly why.

That is a classic unchallengable position.

Not that I think that fast breeders are necessarily a good idea, they might not be, but seeing them dismissed with a handwave like this makes me think that there might be more there than I thought.

"Note that he says they are impractical without saying exactly why."

$100 billion and no viable results? Perhaps we differ regarding the definition of "practical". Your "classic unchallengable position" is totally challengable if you can show me the working results.

What are viable results?

I thought that fast breeders were a dead letter 20 years ago. Not because they didn't work, but because they produced weapons-grade fissibles to easily.

If someone feels the need to challenge them as impractical and not viable now, I have to wonder what has changed.

I always thought it was because they didn't work. At least not for very long, or very reliably. The Brits, the French and the Japanese gave up on the ones they built, right?; because they couldn't reliably run them. I thought that only the Russians haven't completely given up on them.

If either of our reasons is the primary one, and given the difficulty in funding *any* fission-power generation technology, why would anyone feel the need to re-discredit them now?

I mean, some nuclear advocates do go overboard and suggest we try every tech that has ever been imagined because "it'll work for sure this time", but do real people with the kind of money to actually back such projects take them seriously?

Good question.
But that's Wall Street's job, right? To sell the hype.
A sucker is born every minute.
Isn't that how the shale gas plays are being financed right now? With ever optimistic and gullible investor's dollars?

It's merely part the findings of the Blue Ribbon Commission regarding the status of dealing with nuclear waste. The report wouldn't be complete without reporting the status of various schemes to deal with it. Saying that very little progress has been made is accurate, despite billions of dollars of investments. My point was that very little progress has been made in the last 60 years, while the waste continues to accumulate. Any evidence to the contrary will be most welcome. I hold fast breeder reprocessing promises with the same well-earned skepticism as I do cold fusion, abiotic oil and large scale carbon sequestration; all very poor excuses to promote/continue BAU. It's especially frustrating for those who've managed to reduce their contributions to these problems quite significantly, often at significant personal cost. We're just not sure what the rest of you are thinking... It all seems quite insane.

See EBR II, which turned into the Integral Fast Reactor.



If there is a problem, it is that they may only work at small scales, not at the gigawatt class the power industry wants.

The fuel cycle is not suitable for weapons development, see the lower half of the second article.

Note that he says they are impractical without saying exactly why.

And yet, no actual critique of why the 'authority' who's being cited is incorrect.

But Arjun Makhijani, a nuclear physicist said have already absorbed $100 billion globally in research and development, he said, yet they are still nowhere near practical.

This is a classic 'appeal to authority'. But is the statement true - that 100 billion has been spent and there is no practical answer?

"Note that he says [breeder reactors] are impractical without saying exactly why."

Because the reason is that fresh enriched uranium is so damn cheap! (About 0.5¢/kW-h) But that doesn't help the general anti-nuke argument he wants to make.

yes I understand but and its a big but

the Chinese aren't listening

nuclear , coal , global warming , lost jobs to my kids

they are not listening

nuclear will be a part of Earths human legacy

the Earth wont mind , not a bit

George Carlin , the Earth ain't screwed - we are

( and Brazil and India are building)

get them to listen , please


Many people have held up the French nuclear energy system as an example of successfully reprocessing nuclear fuel as an answer to how to handle the waste. Here is an overview of the system that paints a different picture.


Too expensive and makes a similar-sized mess:

"The reprocessing-plutonium use strategy failed, however, as an adequate framework for spent fuel management in France. Large stocks of both spent fuel and of separated plutonium have been the result. ...

A major argument made for reprocessing is that it would dramatically reduce the volume of radioactive waste. ...the underground volume required for spent MOX fuel and vitrified waste can be smaller or larger than that required for direct disposal of spent LWR fuel. ...

An overall cost-benefit analysis of spent fuel reprocessing in France would find that the economic, environmental, health, safety and security costs clearly outweigh the benefit of minor savings of natural uranium."

Just the scale of the numbers involved is breathtaking:

- 41,500 tons of uranium fuel reprocessed produces about 39,700 tons of reprocessed uranium and 420 tons of plutonium,
- The production of 800 tons of reprocessed uranium fuel requires about 6,400 tons of reprocessed uranium, and produces in turn, when reprocessed, 760 tons of uranium and less than 10 tons of plutonium,
- The production of 2,700 tons of MOX fuel requires up to 230 tons of plutonium (at 8.65%), and its reprocessing produces in turn 2,400 tons of uranium and 110 to 130 tons of plutonium.

In total, therefore, about 30,000 tons of reprocessed uranium and between 200 and 300 tons of plutonium would remain unused at the end of the scenario but were not accounted for in the dimensioning of the repository.


It takes about ten to forty pounds of plutonium to make a bomb, depending on the quality. ("Hey! This plutonium's been stepped on!") I remember when they found sixty pounds of plutonium dust in the duct-work at Rocky Flats.


What's the procedure when the back-pressure across the HEPA filters gets too high? Poke holes through it with a broomstick.

Safety limit: 0.0000005 gram:

Could anyone point me to the Australian website that has a number of interesting comparisons with regards to the costs / resources required to achieve a certain power level with nuclear versus various renewable alternatives?

I believe there was a TOD link to it in the past year.


You are probably thinking of Barry Brook's BraveNewClimate and in particular the section on "Renewable Limits".

(Brook is not very popular among the TOD commentariat, as he (1) thinks Peak Oil is bunk (and this is a PO site), (2) sees nuclear as the no-brainer solution to climate change, and (3) doesn't seem to think there are any limits to growth. But I do think his stuff on renewables is worth reading.)

Thanks. Yes the section on "Renewable Limits" is what I was thinking of. The comparisons between the resources (steel, concrete) and costs that compare nuclear and various renewables are useful.

It complements books like David MacKay's "Sustainable Energy - Without the hot air" that take a slightly higher-level view of what might be alternatives to fossil fuels.

Tech bet sours for Elkhart, Ind., as electric carmaker Think, battery firm Ener1 fall into bankruptcy

Ugh. Ener1 may be touted as the 'next Solyndra'. :-/ Maybe it won't be too bad, they only received a $118.5 million Department of Energy grant.

The whole grant/loan system needs to have the plug pulled. Instead the government needs to put out bids to directly install solar onto buildings like local fire departments, police, military ect...

The reason the U.S. efforts are dying is because China, the Chinese government, is pouring rivers of cash into theirs.

Another Solar Flare occurring now. This time X class and seems to have peaked at X1.7. Forecast probability of X class today was 1%. Region is rotating behind the sun so unlikely any associated CME has earth directed component.

Been a busy few days from that part of the sun.


NOAA NWS Space Weather Prediction Center
Region 1402 is Alive!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Another huge X-ray event is in progress. R3 Radio Blackouts are in effect as an X1.7 event is current in progress. A warning has been issued for a S1-solar radiation storm for the next 24 hours. This Region has already produced protons, CME's and big Flares.

Attached is product that shows the energy absorption of the X-ray event, as well as energetic particles. This is a SWPC product (Global D-Region)that helps users visualize the impact of Radio Blackouts and Solar Radiation storms.

It's spreading ...

Farmers' Concerns Over New Livestock Illness

Farmers say they are "very concerned" about a new animal illness which can cause birth defects in livestock.

The Schmallenberg virus (SBV), which emerged in the Netherlands and Germany last year, was confirmed in the UK for the first time on Monday

see also New Animal Virus Takes Northern Europe by Surprise

Accumulating 'microplastic' threat to shores

Microscopic plastic debris from washing clothes is accumulating in the marine environment and could be entering the food chain, a study has warned.

Researchers traced the "microplastic" back to synthetic clothes, which released up to 1,900 tiny fibres per garment every time they were washed.

... "We found that there was no sample from around the world that did not contain pieces of microplastic."

And the little bits of plastic absorb PCB at a far greater rate than fat. Then little sea critters eat the small plastic thinking its food and get PCB's. Then the bigger sea critters eat the small and PCB moves up the chain.

Here's the paper (google is amazing):

It sounds like we should be adding filtration to washing machines, and adding a filter cleaning/changing step to the wash process. The level of filtration required sounds difficult to keep from clogging in the application. Also, we should be increasing filtration requirements of wastewater plants. The paper specifically mentions that much lower concentrations were found downstream of a WWTP with ultrafiltration than those without. Or we could just go back to cotton!

A simple sand filter should do the job.

Cheap and if you can dig a hole in your backyard, you should be able to just bury it as it's not classified as toxic....yet.


We know China has been growing like crazy for sometime. But HuffPo (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/25/industries-us-has-lost-china-24...) put out a list of industries that China has jumped ahead of the US. In some cases way ahead.

China production: $348 billion in 2009
U.S. production: $142 billion in 2009

China production: 3.24 billion short tons produced in 2010
U.S. production: 985 million tons produced in 2010

China production: 443.8 million hectoliters in 2010
U.S. production: 227.8 million hectoliters in 2010

China production: 18.3 million autos in 2010
U.S. production: 7.8 million autos in 2010

China production: 3 million metric tons in 2010
U.S. production: 0.33 million metric tons in 2010

China production: $73 billion raised in 2011
U.S. production: $30.7 billion raised in 2011

China production: 7.3 million metric tons in 2011
U.S. production: 3.4 million metric tons in 2011

China production: 627 million metric tons in 2010
U.S. production: 80 million metric tons in 2010

China Production: 15.98 million*
U.S. Production: 4.42 million*

(* estimated, birthrate x population, CIA Factbook)

For Newt, ‘World War III’ Is Just the Beginning

Newt Gingrich doesn’t just want to lay waste to his political enemies and a large part of the news media. The former House speaker and presidential hopeful wants to bomb a significant part of the planet, too.

Gingrich is on the record favoring American military intervention from North Korea to Lebanon. He recently threatened cyberwar with China and Russia. And on Monday, he called for an all-out assault to topple the Castro regime in Cuba. With such a wide range of targets, no wonder Gingrich has consistently said that the U.S. is in the middle of “World War III.” His plans for overthrowing the Iranian government? Just the beginning. ...

In a follow-up interview with Sean Hannity, Gingrich went further, suggesting that the U.S. needed a more aggressive military posture. “Being Americans, we prosecute wars to win them, not to have ‘reasonable response,’ not to have ‘appropriate levels of retaliation,’” he said. ...

To some degree, Gingrich considered the rhetoric of world war to be a marketing tool. “The minute you use the language” of an epic global conflict, public opinion on the wars would change, he argued to the Seattle Times, leading Americans to think, “‘OK, if we’re in the third world war, which side do you think should win?’

Reminds me of either the Secretary of the Interior in the 1990 HBO film By Dawn's Early Light video or a soul-less manipulator like Goebbels.

Iran hits back at EU with own oil embargo threat

Fighting sanctions with sanctions in a trial of strength with the West over its nuclear ambitions, Iran warned on Friday it may halt oil exports to Europe next week in a move calculated to hurt ailing European economies.

EDIT: Sorry - I didn't realize I hit reply to thread - thought I was starting a new one. After 6 years you'd think I'd know how this works by now.

The usual Reuters propaganda piece. Here's a far more insightful and informative item. And as a bonus, here's another.

I've been reading Pepe Escobar's analysis of the situation and think he seems to have a good understanding and makes a good case that Iran is not really very isolated. However, I wasn't sure what part of the Reuters piece you were objecting to - I assume the parts where they tried to gloss over Europe's potential vulnerability? If so I agree. As we discussed the other day, this did seem like the really obvious move. Could it really have been a surprise? If so, you gotta wonder how you do something so dumb.

Mostly it's the BS about Iran's nuclear program, specifically this lie: "U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency said in a November 2011 report that Iran had engaged in activities consistent with weapons development." But the real hidden issue is Dollar Hegemony and its PetroDollar subsidiary, which no member of the Propaganda System has mentioned. It is covering that aspect and overall US Imperial strategy where Escobar and Bhadrakumar fill the void. Consider the implications of Escobar's conclusion from today's article: "Asia wants a new international system - and it's working for it. Inevitable long-term consequences; the US dollar - and, crucially, the petrodollar - slowly drifting into irrelevance. "Too Big to Fail" may turn out to be not a categorical imperative, but an epitaph." Not mentioned is the Eurozone's wreckage and EU's dismemberment, which are likely to be the first victims of blowback from the US Empire's ploy.

OK - I tend to ignore the standard propaganda, it's just boilerplate. The timing of when exactly the empire loses its grip is unknown, but a big part will be losing the ability to manipulate and control based on currency.

The use of a single "reserve" currency for international trade provides a subsidy and power to that nation available to no other nation--that's why UK's Pound still remains strong, although not nearly as it was at the peak of its power. Losing that subsidy greatly dislocates the domestic economy as the UK experienced after WW2: Dollarized assets will lose their value while imports become more expensive and domestic interest rates will climb making what is now a severe recession into a deep depression--over time, not tomorrow.

For years there's been speculation on what China would do with its massive dollar holdings so that it gains some sort of return. US imperial bahavior seems to have provided the motivation to do something much sooner rather than later. By 2020, I expect China to have very few dollars in its central bank with its state corporations having acquired vast amounts of initially dollarized assets.

As I recall reading - China has been reducing its Dollar holdings and the US Treasury has been buying the bonds to keep the 'money production' happening.

So China has been reducing its holdings.

The Fed is the actor buying the bonds the treasury issues, which is part of the euphemism known as quanitative easing, historically called currency debasing, and provides us with the reason behind the Fed's statement that it will not raise interest rates until 2014. As Escobar notes, the Asian currency/banking bloc doesn't include any Western banks or the IMF, although it now seems likely that DS Kahn was zapped by the sex scandal because he favored dumping the dollar as the primary "reserve" and trade currency. Chavez's Bank of the South creation and the likelihood of a universal Latin American currency and energy grid represent another assault on Dollar Hegemony and its PetroDollar. A strong gale of countervaling forces is afoot that is quite likely to drive the US Empire onto the rocks of its own creation.

What happens with trade partners decide "your money is no good here"?

That happened a little during the recent financial crisis. Some countries started trading goods - oil for food, if you will.

I think the US would be in pretty good shape if that happened, because we still have food to trade. Most of the oil exporting countries are dependent on food imports. And we can't grow food without oil. There will be incentive on both sides to keep trading.

What happens with trade partners decide "your money is no good here"?

That's why countries amass reserves of foreign currency, especially if their currency isn't readily "convertible." It's also why countries once allowed their gold to be held in a trading partner's bank; but with asset freezing becoming an economic weapon, this isn't being done as much anymore--witness Venezuela repatriating its gold held elsewhere and Escobar's explanation of how Iran can use the yuan it accumulates to circumvent banking sanctions with the opening of the yuan window in London.

...gotta wonder how you do something so dumb.

Twilight, it's mind boggling. It's almost as though the EU diplomatic corps in Brussels thought the Iranians would cooperate with a July start date. Or that the powers in Tehran would fail to notice that Club Med refineries are calibrated for a specific quality of crude. Specifically, THEIR crude!!!

And the Obama administration hasn't quite thought this through either.

Put pressure on Europe to act.

At the start of an election year.

For what?

Chaos in Europe? A spike in oil prices?

You can't make this stuff up.

Dumb and dumber.

This is just one more example of the Europeans kicking the can down the road, the same strategy that is being used in a lot of economic matters.

Setting a July 1 date is reasonable if you don't believe that you will actually have to implement the sanctions then. Meanwhile, it keeps the possibility of talks opens, helps curb the appetite in Israel for an attack, and placates the US and UK at least temporarily.

The Iranian response was probably not well anticipates, but still, it doesn't obviate the strategy, which is to get the talking shop back in session and to delay things past at least the French election. Besides, Greece may or may not matter by July 1.

Merrill, from the perspective of trying to keep talks open, kicking the can could be a useful strategy - but only if it works.

Moreover, not much point in threatening sanctions if you're not willing to risk using the stick. Or see it backfire.

High level games of chicken are never wise when the clunker you're driving is already falling apart.

Then again, perhaps the age old maxim at work: "he hath no power like he that hath nothing to lose." Maybe Europe has nothing to lose but buy time and see what the future offers.

"Talks" are meaningless as the US Empire continues to move the goal posts as its primary goal regarding Iran is Regime Change, and the US Empire will veto any UNSC resolution aimed at ending the contrived "nuclear standoff," regardless the evidence of Iranian innocence of guarantees of transparency. Recall that Regime Change has been a continuous US Imperial policy toward Iran well before 1953, with a hiatus from 1954-1979. It is fair to compare US Iranian policy with that toward Cuba, which makes it natural for an allied Iran and Cuba. As with Cuba, the vast majority of the planet's nations are against the US Empire's Iranian policy, but that info is never allowed to be known by US/EU/UK citizens. There are several Winston Smiths, but they are no match for the US/EU/UK Propaganda Systems when it comes to informing the Proles. It must always be recalled when the satrap Shah was in power there was no problem with his regime's pursuit of nuclear power, but that changed immediately upon the rise of the Islamic Republic, and contemporary references to a Muslim Nuke were aimed at Iran prior to Pakistan's getting the bomb.

As with Cuba, the vast majority of the planet's nations are against the US Empire's Iranian policy, but that info is never allowed to be known by US/EU/UK citizens.

I think pro-militarism types, do like the American public to feel like they are embattled. They will never question the anti(Cuban,Iran) stance, but to the xtent they pick up on furriners not wanting to play ball, it just reinforces the desire to be a bad enough bully to boss the whole rest of the world around. So the budget for big sticks, is actually related to these foolish stands.

The quote “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.” is attributed to the British Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston.

The United States appears, however, to have several permanent enemies, whether that is in our interests or not.

Some nation have puppet masters and do not rule themselves.

Yes. To permanent enemies. Once a nation has been painted with the evil-enemy brush, a sort of political inertia sets in, and the political risks of being seen not to support ever tougher policies outruns the potential gain from relaxing relations. It seems anyone who doesn't obviously pump up the hatred, is a Cheese Eating Rurrender Monkey. And we just hate them CESMs.
I don't think this is driven by the top, as a deliberate policy choice (though it helps the military industrial complex), but is a result of how disfunctional our political policy debates have become. When its all juvenile name calling, the worst instincts come to the fore.

Interesting article.

The Iranian response was probably not well anticipates,

It was the 1st response I would have done. You go soft. If the other guy thinks "this is leverage" - you remove the leverage point.

If you are being harassed over X, remove X and therefore the control over X. what power does the harasser have? Once that power is removed you can decide to walk away or attack from your source of strength.

How can any country with the liquid gold be "isolated?" They've got the good stuff! And people are willing to pay a premium for it!

That's why the U.S. has been in the Middle East for ages. For the liquid gold. As cynical as it is, at least it's realistic.

The big lie of modernization is that technology runs by itself. It doesn't. Everybody here knows it's the fossil fuels. It's like trying to say you can have a world class athlete or renowned scientist go without food, and still do what it is they do.

Europe and Japan will find this out the hard way. It's a shame, because they have some really good people, people who have renounced perpetual war. But they are going to find out what it is to go without fuel. They will find out what it is to starve a modern economy.

Maybe they'll muddle through. Maybe there's enough know how to do it. But so far, I'm not seeing it.

Newt is so awesome . . . he can fight wars all over the planet while simultaneously establishing a permanent moon base in just 8 years.

After he sets off WW3, we will need to live on the moon for a few centuries until things cool off.

Hi Seraph

re: Gringich.

Something really struck me about his voice. Take out the content - ("Please!" to mirror the old joke) - and, his tone has quite...I hate to say this...but it has a certain appealing sort of confidence to it, one that I'm afraid many people will/do/might respond positively to.

Have you noticed this? Or, perhaps it's only something the insecure among us would pick up on. :) (speaking only for myself.)

I certainly agree.

This whole game with the REPUB contest is about 'body language' and easy palliatives.. moreso it seems, than ever.

Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler, "Everything is Presentation.."

The 'projectile has been flung', I don't know what imaginable forces could turn it all from its course at this point.. I think it's mainly our job to see if we can't avoid the impact and the shrapnel now.

Wincing and Flinching, as I try to remain courageous..

Fully confident. No equivocation. Derisive of any alternatives to such obvious truth.
One can say anything in that voice... lulling the children into unguarded, sleepy acceptance. Daddy knows all. Daddy is strong! We are strong with daddy.
Rush Limbaugh does the same thing. The "progressive" voices on the radio may giggle a lot, be chiding, have shrill emotion, be allowing of ranges of possibility. They don't take you into the realm of "We are strong with daddy".

I have a very sweet and loving problem dog. If someone is weak, and she loves them, she owns them: Tears their flesh, humps their leg, eats their dinner right off the plate on the table. I can control her for me, and, for a while, for them... but she must hear from them directly after a time. I tell people "You've got to use the "command voice""... and they look at me like I'm some pompous fool. Soon, though, they really need some control over the beast, and I show them. Said properly, "No, off" works, even quietly. Said with any weakness, she ignores the words.

We all speak in cartoon-character voices; How the epiglottis is held, the frequency, periodicity, and flow of vocal pitch, timing... articulated mostly in the front, in the back, with what effort... these all make a national or dialectic character of the voice. When your face smiles, the "voice-box" smiles too. The listener follows all of this with great effect.

Stay away from The Newt , an extremely dangerous prez_wannabe_sprout!

Latest from Jean Laherrere:

Algeria crude oil peak

Earlier post:

Nigeria: oil producers try to reduce subsidies

Military, LAPD To Conduct More Dramatic Helicopter Maneuvers Over Downtown LA

Military helicopters will be flying high and dipping low above the skies of Los Angeles Thursday as part of a special operations training program.

The Blackhawk hovered over the U.S. Bank building before it made a practice drop-off at a nearby park. At one point, our cameras captured a soldier sitting with his legs dangling outside a chopper.

The LAPD says the purpose of the training is, in part, to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments.

Just wondering why, after flying 10 years over the 'urban environments' of downtown Baghdad, Blackhawk and OH-6 helicopter pilots need more training.?

and on a similar note ...

Believing the impossible and conspiracy theories

... It is no surprise that fear, mistrust, and even paranoia can lead to muddled thinking; when distrust is engaged, careful reasoning can coast on by.


Four interstate natural gas pipeline projects in the Northeast U.S. began commercial service in 2011, adding nearly 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of capacity (see map) and over 181 miles of new pipe. Average daily natural gas demand last winter (November 2010 - March 2011) in the Northeast was about 16 billion cubic feet per day.

Leaked data: Palm biodiesel as dirty as fuel from tar sands

There are good biofuels and bad biofuels: the trick is telling one from the other. That's particularly difficult when trying to take account of the natural forests and wetlands that can destroyed in the drive to grow some biofuel crops. But we're getting closer, it seems, and palm oil and soy beans now appear utterly unsupportable as a source of biodiesel.

The new data comes from a leak obtained by EurActiv from the European Commission. The EC is considering what level of carbon emissions each type of biofuel causes once burned, after everything - including "indirect land-use change" - is taken into account.

Iraq bomb attacks kill at least 17

A murder every half hour in Mexico's drug war
12,903 killings between January and September of 2011

So, that would be 48 killings in the same time period.

News? Policy? Intention?

China denies nuclear accident

A report from Japan's Atomic Energy Agency said the China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) stopped generating electricity in October following an accident. With Japan already reeling from the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant in March last year, the incident sparked alarm there and in South Korea over the prospect of radiation leaking from the CEFR. Those fears were intensified by Beijing's failure to report the accident or release details of what happened, according to a Tokyo newspaper which cited the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency's investigation.

China has never experienced a major nuclear accident, although there have been small leaks of radiation from some of its nuclear power stations. The last occurred in May 2010 in Shenzhen in southern China's Guangdong Province at the Daya Bay plant, the oldest of China's 13 operational nuclear reactors. Managers at the plant failed to inform the public of the leak until three weeks later.

Thank you fr posting this.

Managers at the plant failed to inform the public of the leak until three weeks later.

If France can't be open about the safetyrecord of it's nuclear fleet, the Russians notified noone until Finland measured increased levels of radiation after Chernobyl, the failure to report the near catastrophical outcome of a blackout at the Petten nuclear site in Holland, TEPCO's continuous underestimating the seriousness of the Fukushima situation, the response to the near vessel breach at US David-Besse plant etc. etc. then I certainly won't expect China to report honestly about any problems with their nuclear fleet.

This industry is so plagued with bad management, safety violations, subsequent coverup's and lack of transparency that it constantly shatters the perfect image which it so badly needs for a new nuclear renaissance.

Nation Recognizes Nuclear Test Downwinders.

The first nuclear weapons test at the Nevada Proving Ground took place on January 27, 1951 about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. This 1954 news report shows the magnitude of one test. About 140 bombs later, the testing went underground.

Still, in 1997 the National Cancer Institute found that much of the nation was blanketed with fallout from the atmospheric tests performed in Nevada from 1951 to 1962. Most of it was concentrated in Nevada, Utah and Arizona, within 300 miles of the proving ground.

Researchers have testified to the link between radiation exposure and cancer. And your dose depends on where you lived and whether you were immediately downwind from the mushroom cloud.

Also, children who drank lots of milk in the 1950s are more at risk. Mary Dickson believes she was one of those children. She is a thyroid-cancer survivor who lived near Salt Lake City during the time of the tests. "My sister and I counted at least 45 people in a five-block area who had gotten various types of cancers," Dickson said.

In 1990 Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. Since then, about 16,000 people have made proven claims for compensation. All told, the federal government has paid out almost $800 million over the last two decades.

And that doesn’t include other payments to the thousands of workers involved in the nuclear tests and in uranium mining.

What took you so long?

What's your problem? What are you doing here?

Have you watched people dying from these illnesses? You demand the evidence and the body count, and when some of it comes along, you glibly come back with this stuff, like we're betting on a Ping-pong game.

All the pictures of deformed kids in Ukraine.. boy, that's some great makeup fx, huh? Nothing personal, is it? It's just a friendly conversation..

This information has been around for a long time. Anti-nuclear advocates make a big deal about how dangerous nuclear power is but when asked for evidence of how dangerous it is come back with stressed out bunnies, very low incidence injuries, and "what ifs" against the very concrete and continuing body count of fossil fuels.

This is actually a pointer to something real, even if it is about stuff we realised was bad and stopped doing 50 years ago.

Yes, I know it makes me look morbid, but a risk is a risk no matter the source and ranking a lesser risk as greater because of the source is irrational.

Interesting, fallout concentrations varied across the U.S. from shot to shot...here is a group of fallout graphs from the USG from a few above-ground tests (AGTs):


and here:


Hmmm...I was born in SW PA, south of Pittsburgh...looks like there were some warm spots there from the AGTs.


I found the guy with the 3 wheeler today. Pleased as punch with it he is too, very enthusiastic. It is a Kawasaki TVS King. Motorcycle front end for the driver, two basic seats behind between the rear two wheels and cargo space behind. Plenty of space, carries up to 380kg of cargo and a claimed 35km/l fuel consumption. He is using his to sell newspapers out of.


I also checked on our cycle loan scheme. It is down on the main Malecon and you just leave your ID and use a tandem, no solos, for 30 minutes. You can also take out a 1 person kayak for 45 minutes (sorely tempted when the water warms up) or a plastic kiddie cart. I saw several tandems being used, one kayak and some kiddie carts. Mind you, cycling through tourists is no joke, they walk like crabs and never look the same way as they are walking or stay on the same course for more than a couple of seconds.


We call it the auto-rickshaw. Three people sit in the back and many a times when there are no cops to oversee two in the front(on either side)excluding the driver.
It's horrible on the turns and over turns easily. Drive carefully.

It's horrible on the turns and over turns easily. Drive carefully.

The easy and obvious solution to this problem is two wheels in front for power and one wheel in the back for steering. Make it a little more aerodynamic and I'll buy it!

Dymaxion car

Three-wheel vehicles are intrinsically unstable on corners, and the Dymaxion car was no exception:

Treats for Gear Heads

One car survived a spectacular crash in which its driver died, only to be destroyed by fire when the gasoline tank cap was accidentally left off. Another enjoyed a brief burst of glory when it ferried H.G. Wells around Manhattan before it crashed too. It was left to rot in Arizona until being rescued, and restored by local engineering students. A third car was driven around the United States to promote the Allied cause during World War II, then sold for scrap by a Kansas junkyard.

Those accident-prone vehicles were the three Dymaxion Cars, which were designed and manufactured in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in the 1930s by R. Buckminster Fuller, or “Bucky” as he preferred to be called.

"Bucky" billed himself as a "a maverick thinker, a gentle revolutionist, a loveable genius, an anti-academician, doctor of science, doctor of arts, doctor of design", but he was a lousy car designer.

For good stability you need four wheels, as a little pencil and paper doodling with basic physics will show you.

For a really brilliant, innovative, and practical design, you should look to the British Mini designed by Sir Alec Issigonis. Those little buzz-bombs were extremely stable on corners, as anyone who watched Mini Coopers being raced could testify, and they got much better fuel economy than Bucky's bizarre design.

For good stability you need four wheels, as a little pencil and paper doodling with basic physics will show you.

Absolute hogwash! Perhaps you need to re-examine your basic physics and re-do your pencil and paper doodling, eh?
Actually three wheeled vehicles are NOT inherently unstable if properly designed! Not to mention there are plenty of four wheeled vehicles that are unstable due to poor design.


Many of the vehicles that participate in solar car racing have three wheels, arranged with two in front and one at the rear. There were some incidents in Sunrayce ’95 involving such vehicles, but also many of the top finishing cars were three wheelers. This suggests that there are probably some “do’s and don’ts” regarding the design of these cars. This paper will discuss the dynamics of three wheeled vehicles, and show how improved stability can be designed in.
A crucial vehicle property is the location of the vehicle center of gravity (CG). If it is located properly, the vehicle will be “stable” in terms of:
Resistance to “losing the rear end” in turns and crosswinds.
Ability to travel at high speed without continual steering corrections to counteract weaving.
Resistance to tipping over in turns and in encountering changes in road surfaces if sliding.
Resistance to swapping ends in hard braking due to weight transfer from the rear to front.

If the CG is in the “wrong place”, the vehicle may exhibit all these unstable behaviors.
During Sunrayce ’95, I asked many advisors and students if they knew where the CG was on their cars. Very few knew. This is most disturbing. The location of the CG should be a design specification. Components should be arranged to achieve a specified location of the CG. It appears that few teams approach it this way. Rather, I suspect that components are arranged through an ad hoc process of fitting things where it is convenient or accessible or to solve some interference problem arising from previous ad hoc choices. Now that Sunraycers are capable of traveling at posted speed limits on sunny days, it is crucial that faculty and student designers understand how the location of the CG can influence vehicle stability.
This paper illustrates how stability can be designed into three wheeled vehicles through thoughtful choice of the CG location, both longitudinally and in height, the front track and the wheelbase. The approach employs the simplest models of vehicle dynamics and utilizes undergraduate level physics and mathematics. The simple models are not the complete story of vehicle response, but do capture the main factors of vehicle behavior. Specifically, there are no suspension systems in the models. Suspension will generally soften and delay the responses, but the tendency toward stable or unstable behavior will still be present.
The outcome will be the ability to state desirable vehicle responses in terms of yaw, tipping and braking weight transfer.

BTW, despite the accidents and your claim regarding the Dymaxion car, it was very well designed with regards its CG!
Not to mention that triangles are much simpler and inherently more stable structurally than say parallelograms...

Edit and necessary disclaimer: Spherical trigonometry and tensegrity structures have been a long time hobby of mine.
If I were to design the ultimate three wheeled vehicle it would be based on an elongated and flattened truncated tetrahedron.

Fred, gotta go with Rocky on this one. Three wheeled ATVs were so unstable they had to stop making them.

Information on Honda Three Wheeler ATVs

Because only one wheel was connected to the handle bars ,the vehicle was highly unstable when steering at high speeds.

Outlawed by Congress

Outlawed in 1988, Congress banned future sales of three-wheeled ATVs but did not take action to recall the vehicles already sold. The government felt that three-wheeled ATVs were highly dangerous since they accounted for over 7,000 off-road accidents each month.

Of course improvements in design can make three wheeled vehicles safer, but they can never be as safe as four wheeled vehicles.

Ron P.

I had the disconcerting experience of rolling one of those Honda Three Wheel ATV's, and I am not what you would call an aggressive driver. Fortunately, I wasn't going very fast and my reflexes back then were very good, so I rolled out of the way before the thing could land on top of me. I can see why they banned them.

The Quads are far more stable, although more expensive to build. It's a trade-off: cost versus safety, which is usually the case with vehicles.

Bikers have long been aware of the dangers of trikes with the single wheel in front like the Honda ATVs. Braking hard in a turn is especially exciting. Having two wheels in front changes the stability a lot. These Can-Am Spyders are getting great reviews: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKXUwJfpewg , and they're developing an EV/hybrid version. As Fred said, design is everything.

The key point here is that the single front wheel layout is a major problem by itself. The 3 wheel vehicles built by Morgan in the ( UK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgan_Motor_Company ) seem to have been fairly successful in their day: these had a pair of steerable front wheels and a single wheel at the rear. The ATVs probably also had a high center of gravity relative to the separation of the rear wheels.

I can't really comment much on the Dymaxion vehicle, but would note that the improvised front wheel drive system where the front wheels were mounted on a rear axle assembly from a standard production vehicle would have been far from ideal. The use of the rear wheel to steer would have challenged drivers used to conventional vehicles and the small turning radius that was possible would have made it easy to roll the vehicle at relatively low speeds. Also, a cursory examination of photographs suggests that the axle could have been wider. One could also note that some more developed contemporary vehicles were extremely dangerous, even by the standards of the time. The German army is supposed to have issued orders forbidding its officers from driving Tatras as a result of numerous fatal accidents.

Yes, there are unstable four wheel vehicles - the American car industry built a lot of them. The original Chevrolet Corvair leaps to mind, and American SUV's were pretty bad before the safety authorities cracked down on them - 60% of the fatalities in them occurred in rollovers.

However, if you think that the Bucky Dymaxion was stable, you are really naive about car design. The three wheels were just the start of its problems, the whole thing was a death trap. It's no wonder they crashed two of the three they built.

Yes, you can build a relatively safe three-wheeler if you pay a lot of attention to center of gravity, balance, and roll stability, but it's simpler to add a fourth wheel. A three-wheeler will never achieve the roll resistance of a four-wheeler if the same amount of attention is paid for the handling of the vehicle.

Three-wheelers are used a lot in third world countries because they are cheaper than four-wheelers and human life is worth a lot less there. Solar cars are basically toys and fortunately don't go very fast, because otherwise there would be a lot of nasty crashes.

There are three-wheel motorcycles because motorcyclist have a death wish anyway. When my wife worked in the hospital ER they used to refer to motorcyclists as "donors", and when May came around and the weather got good, they used to put the transplant teams on alert since it was the start of the organ transplant season. Those young guys who crashed their bikes still had a lot of high-quality parts left in working order.

Jeez Rocky and Ron, did either of you even bother to look at the pdf I linked to?! It is really basic physics and you are all wrong by insisting that a three wheeled vehicle is inherently unstable! Certainly a poorly designed one is. And no I am not naive. Please do read the paper I linked to and then come back and show me what you think makes a properly designed three wheeler unstable...

It's a habit for some to regurgitate not well-understood arguments even in the face of evidence of the contrary. It happens in all sorts of fields. Paul Krugman had a good commentary on that a week ago.

It's a habit for some to regurgitate not well-understood arguments even in the face of evidence of the contrary.

Yes, that is true but I hold long time readers of TOD to a higher standard. Facts are facts! Especially when Rocky suggested that it was all basic physics and simple calculations. Well the PDF I linked to is exactly that and it proves him unequivocally wrong!

I did look at the pdf that FMagyar posted. It was interesting but didn't convince me that three wheel vehicles are very stable. Did anybody actually go through the calculations?

Let's take a run through the calculations for 4 and 3 wheel vehicles using a vehicle somewhat resembling the old Mini Cooper (not the new BMW one). This vehicle has a wheelbase of about 2000 mm and a width of about 1400 mm. I don't know what the height of the center of gravity was in the Mini, but lets assume half the width of the car or 700 mm for argument's sake.

Four-Wheel Mini Cooper

The cornering threshold Fc = TR/2HG; where TR is the track width and HG is the height of the center of gravity.

Fc = 1400 / (2*700) = 1 G; so the vehicle will roll over in a > 1 G turn.

This is consistent with what I have seen Mini-Coopers do on the racetrack. The cutesy little 10-inch tires don't have 1 G of grip, so it can skid down the road absolutely sideways, and it won't roll over unless it hits something.

Three-Wheel Mini "Tripper"

Fc = TR (WB-LG) / 2 (WB) (HG); where WB is the wheelbase and LG is the distance of the center of gravity behind the front wheel axle.

Case 1: CG midway between front and back wheels

Fc = 1400*(2000-1000) / 2*2000*700 = 0.5 G; The vehicle will roll over in a > 0.5 G turn.

Don't get this thing into a sideways skid because the tires have more than 0.5 G of grip and it will roll over.

Case 2: CG 700 mm behind front wheels and 1300 mm ahead of back wheel

Fc = 1400*(2000-700) / 2*2000*700 = 0.65 G; The vehicle will roll over in a > 0.65 G turn.

This is the Morgan front-wheel drive layout. It's better, but it's in SUV territory for stability. If you get into a sideways skid, it may or may not roll. A lot of fatalities will occur in rollovers.

It is also going to be very sensitive to weight distribution, so it's basically a two passenger car. You should not carry rear-seat passengers or a big load of baggage because it will destabilize the vehicle's handling by moving the CG backward. By contrast a four-wheel vehicle is stable regardless of load as long as you keep the CG low - the main constraint is blowing out the rear tires or breaking the rear axle by overloading it.

Now, you can improve the stability of the three-wheeler by lowering the CG, but you can also do the same to the four-wheeler, increasing its stability even more and creating a tight-cornering sports/racing car.

I did look at the pdf that FMagyar posted. It was interesting but didn't convince me that three wheel vehicles are very stable. Did anybody actually go through the calculations?

What I've been saying is that a properly designed three wheeler is not inherently unstable!
I'm in the process of looking into the calculations in more detail and am quite convinced that based on simple math and basic physics it is quite possible to design a stable three wheeler! Even one that is just as stable as any four wheel vehicle.

Here's another link: http://www.rqriley.com/3-wheel.htm

Rollover Stability of Conventional Non-Tilting Three-Wheeler

A conventional, non-tilting three wheel car can equal the rollover resistance of a four wheel car, provided the location of the center-of-gravity (cg) is low and near the side-by-side wheels. Like a four wheel vehicle, a three-wheeler's margin of safety against rollover is determined by its L/H ratio, or the half-tread (L) in relation to the cg height (H). Unlike a four-wheeler, however, a three-wheeler's half-tread is determined by the relationship between the actual tread (distance between the side-by-side wheels) and the longitudinal location of the cg, which translates into an "effective" half-tread. The effective half-tread can be increased by placing the side-by-side wheels farther apart, by locating the cg closer to the side-by-side wheels, and to a lesser degree by increasing the wheelbase. Rollover resistance increases when the effective half-tread is increased and when the cg lowered, both of which increase the L/H ratio.
A simple way to model a three-wheeler's margin of safety against rollover is to construct a base cone using the cg height, its location along the wheelbase, and the effective half-tread of the vehicle. Maximum lateral g-loads are determined by the tire's friction coefficient. Projecting the maximum turn-force resultant toward the ground forms the base of the cone. A one-g load acting across the vehicle's cg, for example, would result in a 45 degree projection toward the ground plane. If the base of the cone falls outside the effective half-tread, the vehicle will overturn before it skids. If it falls inside the effective half-tread, the vehicle will skid before it overturns. To see a drawing showing a base-cone illustration of single front wheel (1F2R) and single rear wheel (2F1R) vehicles, click on: Single Front & Single Rear Wheel Comparison (23k).
The single front wheel layout naturally oversteers and the single rear wheel layout naturally understeers. Because some degree of understeer is preferred in consumer vehicles, the single rear wheel layout has the advantage in this department. Another consideration is the effect of braking and accelerating turns. A braking turn tends to destabilize a single front wheel vehicle, whereas an accelerating turn tends to destabilize a single rear wheel vehicle. Because braking forces can reach greater magnitudes than acceleration forces (maximum braking force is determined by the adhesion limit of all three wheels, rather than two or one wheel in the case of acceleration), the single rear wheel design has the advantage on this count as well. Consequently, the single rear wheel layout is usually considered the superior platform for a high-performance consumer automobile. But much depends on the details of the design.

What you posted more or less says the same as the previous one you posted, except with less detail and less math.

What I am saying is that, all things being equal, a four-wheel vehicle will be more stable than a three wheel vehicle. That was why I ran through the calculations for a 3-wheel Mini Cooper. All things being equal, the 3-wheel Mini Cooper had 2/3 of the stability of the 4-wheel Mini Cooper, but with less passenger and load-carrying capacity. Of course you could lower the CG to make the 3-wheeler as stable as the 4-wheeler, but then you would have something more resembling a 3-wheel Lotus, which kind of ruins the whole efficiency concept of the Mini.

As a best case you could make the stability of a 3-wheel car equal to that of a 4-wheel car, but then the CG would be right over the front wheels and the car would fall forward onto its nose if you stepped on the brakes.

The article you just posted notes that you could make a 3-wheeler more stable than a 4-wheeler by using the Tilting Three-Wheeler (TTW) concept, but then you have to put the wheel tilting mechanism in place. It would be cheaper to add a fourth wheel. The main reason 3-wheelers have been built in many countries is laws which permit them to be regulated and taxed as motorcycles instead of cars.

But now that this is getting boring, let's go back to Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car and run it through the stability calculations to see why most of them crashed.

Cornering limit: Fc = TR(WB-LG) / 2(WB)(HG); assuming
TR (Track width) = 1.8 metres
WB (Wheel base) = 3.0 metres
LG (Length of CG behind front wheels) = 2.0 metres
HG (Height of CG) = 1.0 metre
I'm just assuming this looking at pictures of the vehicle. It was very long (6.1 metres), narrow, high, and had a rear-mounted Ford V8 engine which would have given it a rear weight bias. All of these are bad, bad, bad in a 3-wheel vehicle.

Fc = 1.8*(3.0-2.0) / 2*3.0*(1.0) = 0.3 G.

Which is just abysmal! It's half as stable as the worst SUV's. It would have taken only a quarter to a third G of cornering force to put the thing onto its roof. No wonder most of the examples built had rollover accidents!

Rocky, you are still missing my main point which is that there is nothing about a well designed, preferably from the ground up, three wheeler that would make it inherently less stable than a four wheel vehicle. Note: I never said that you could take an existing four wheel vehicle such as the Mini and make it into a three wheeler and expect it to have the same handling characteristics. I won't argue with the math. Just that it wasn't what I said!

As for the Dymaxion car, I haven't run the numbers yet but here is a link to the actual patent:
Having read many books by Fuller I have grown accustomed to having to read what he says many times before It becomes clear what he is saying.

You are probably correct in that it wasn't an optimally designed three wheeler given the state of knowledge at the time. I'm sure a much more stable and energy efficient vehicle could be designed today, even by Buckminster Fuller himself... but that doesn't in any way negate the fact that a three wheeled vehicle can be made perfectly safe!

Edit: The patent includes this information about the CG of the Dymaxion Car.

While rear-steering greatly improves maneuverability as compared to conventional cars, and particularly with the traction wheels in the position described, it is apt to give rise to a tendency to skid when braking or rounding corners. This however is eliminated according to this in- vention by the distribution of the weight and the location of the center of gravity of the vehicle. It is found that such center should be forward of the mid-point of the wheel base and must not in fact be located further aft from the forward wheel axis than a distance equal to about 40% of the wheel base length. The importance of the pronounced forward body overhang will now be ap- parent, since even with the engine in the rear it brings the center of gravity to the position of maximum safety against skidding. In the car taken for illustration, the cen- ter of gravity is about 20% aft of the front axle, some 75% of the total weight being on the two forward wheels, and this location of the gravity center is preferred. The normal loading of the vehicle will not appreciably shift it. Also specially contributing to the maneuverability and ease of handling generally is the fact that the traction center as well as the gravity center are both located in the same general position, forward of the center point of the wheel base and that this position also substantially coin- cides with what may be called the streamline center of the body which may be taken as its center of volume or the center of area of its axial section. This center is indi- cated roughly in Fig. 3 by the small circle 58; the gravity center is lower down and the traction center of course coincides with the axis of the front wheels. The con- sequences of the grouping of these important centers in the same general forward location are reflected in the structural economy of the vehicle and become obvious on comparison with the action of conventional cars and es- pecially those which have their fraction center rearward of the mid-point of the wheel base.

And my point was that a 3-wheel car is intrinsically less stable that a 4-wheel car. It's a matter of geometry. Take a rectangular prism and a triangular prism and of the same length, width, and breadth and set them on their ends. Try to push them over. You will find it takes less force to push the triangular prism over.

You seem to think there are some advantages to 3-wheel cars. I think it's just a bad idea whose time has passed.

As for the Dymaxion, if the design followed the patent, then the CG would have been better placed to improve its roll stability. It might be as good as 0.5 G - however that's still not very good.

People have pointed out that the blueprints for the cars did not match the patents, and the cars as built did not match the blueprints. I don't see how they could have got the CG far enough forward with a Ford V8 engine in the rear of the car. It's likely that the car wasn't as stable as it was supposed to be.

And my point was that a 3-wheel car is intrinsically less stable that a 4-wheel car. It's a matter of geometry.

OH, boy, LOL! OK, let's just agree to disagree on this one. BTW Geometry, specifically structures built out of triangles, has been a long time hobby of mine! My point was that a three wheeled car can be made stable enough to be safe and useful. It can also be made more stable than a poorly designed four wheel vehicle. As for the Dymaxion, I think after studying it a bit I'll have to agree with you, it was probably less stable than advertised but that has nothing to do with the INHERENT stability of a triangular wheel base, which can be just as stable as a four wheeled base if properly designed. The only caveat is, that the Dymaxion was a work in progress.


Re: Triangles.

Part of R. Buckminster Fuller's genius was in realizing that the basic structural unit of the universe is the triangle. He says, "the triangle is the only structure."5 Notice the word only. Also in the posthumously published book he says, "The triangle is the only flex-cornered polygon that holds its shape: ergo, it alone accounts for all structural shaping in the Universe."(6)

He suggests demonstrating this by making a necklace.(7) Take three straws and run a string through them and tie it off to form a triangle. Now do the same with four straws to form a square. The triangle is stable. The square collapses.

sci-triangle.jpg (28626 bytes)

A pentagon and hexagon also collapse. Only a triangle, of all polygons, is stable. And only structures made from triangles are inherently stable. (Even in Fuller's tensional integrity, or tensegrity, structures, in which the triangulation is not always so apparent, the stability results from tensional triangles.) A string necklace can also make polyhedrons. A tetrahedron, composed of four triangular faces, is a stable structure. A cube collapses.

OK! I'm done with this topic >;^}

Big Wheels. Best little-kid vehicle ever invented.


Elongated and flattened truncated tetrahedron?

Elongated and flattened truncated tetrahedron?


Here's a quick and rough illustration I just did, it might help a bit in visualizing what I mean. It really needs to be done in 3D.


Prosperous zones and dead zones in America.
The story is from AlterNet via Salon.
Historic sources of income and growth in industries like cotton, timber, fishing and manufacturing have left areas of the nation in decline while increased demand for corn, soy, and oil and gas have provided jobs and steady growth in other areas.
Will this lead to a rise in power and the importance of the "Red States" of Americas heartland?


Peak Schmeak

Couldn't resist the temptation.

When you mention Peak Oil, people mock and scoff at such a ridiculous notion. The world will never run out of oil, so they think.

Natural gas used to make electricity is a complete waste of the energy source. Worse than flaring. Natural Gas fired power plants should be illegal. Calpine got it all wrong. They hated those high NG prices.

Methane to anhydrous ammonia is a better use of the resource. Makes planting your crop a breeze. Nitrogen in your soil makes those green shoots green, not yellow green. Farmers would worry if they didn't have anhydrous. Preferably, for free, but that means somebody's arm and leg, so paying for it makes sense. Easier than trying to make it yourself. Three dollars for NG is a steal.

Oil at 100 and gold at 1730, an ounce buys 17 barrels of oil. 700 gallons of oil for a tiny ounce of gold is a bargain. Gold has some bargaining power, so you might get 20.

Has Petroleum Production Peaked, Ending the Era of Easy Oil?

To support our modern lifestyles—from cars to plastics—the world has used more than one trillion barrels of oil to date. Another trillion lie underground, waiting to be tapped. But given the locations of the remaining oil, getting the next trillion is likely to cost a lot more than the previous trillion. The "supply of cheap oil has plateaued," argues chemist David King, director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford and former chief scientific adviser to the U.K. government. "The global economy is severely knocked by oil prices of $100 per barrel or more, creating economic downturn and preventing economic recovery."

Nor do King and his co-author, oceanographer James Murray of the University of Washington in Seattle, hold out much hope for future discoveries. "The geologists know where the source rocks are and where the trap structures are," Murray notes. "If there was a prospect for a new giant oil field, I think it would have been found."

Perhaps it is better to talk in terms about the end of cheap oil and cheap transportation fuels.

Hi ward

re: "Couldn't resist the temptation."

Me, neither. So...

"When you mention Peak Oil, people mock and scoff at such a ridiculous notion."

Nope. Not lately...I've got the two-minute talk down to an art form. This means...People get it.

Then they never speak to me again. (Even if I ask them: "Are you sure you want to hear this?")

Actually, I take that back. One or two have become friends. They just never speak to me about "peak" again.

Natural gas used to make electricity is a complete waste of the energy source. Worse than flaring.

Any potentially productive use of NG is not "worse than flaring."

Iran Oil Export Curbs Extend to 95% of Tankers in Europe’s Insurance Rules

European Union sanctions on Iranian oil will extend to about 95 percent of tankers because they are insured under rules governed by European law.

The International Group of P&I Clubs insures all but 5 percent of the global tanker fleet and its 13 member clubs follow European rules to participate in the claim-sharing pool, said Andrew Bardot, the London-based secretary and executive officer. Carrying Iranian oil would invalidate the ships’ cover against risks including spills and collisions, he said.

“Any EU-regulated insurer will not be able to provide insurance to cover any ship engaged in the carriage of Iranian oil and petrochemicals to the EU and elsewhere,” Bardot said by phone yesterday. “We have already notified ship owners of the effect on their trading activities and our ability to cover.”

While the embargo on Iranian oil only covers the EU’s 27 member states, the extent of the region’s role in insuring ships will curb trade globally. Iran is the second-biggest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and sends oil to China, Europe, Japan, India and South Korea. EU foreign ministers agreed to the ban on Jan. 23, seeking to increase pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, which the nation says is for civilian and medical purposes.

Of course, tanker traffic would also stop if Iran says it has mined the Straits (whether or not they actually have), since insurance will be pulled then as well.

You knew this was going to happen sooner or later...

Condo owner must pay for meter or unplug electric car
Ottawa man offered to pay for all the added hydro costs caused by electric vehicle

An Ottawa man is fighting the board of the condominium complex where he lives because it does not want him charging his electric car on other residents' dimes.

The board's president has told condo owner Mike Nemat that an outlet he has used to charge his car will be disconnected.

At a condo, all tenants share the electricity bill, but Nemat argues his Chevy Volt costs only about a dollar per night to recharge.

The board said it should not pay for fuel for electric cars because it does not pay to put fuel in other cars. But Nemat said he offered to pay for all the hydro costs caused when his vehicle is plugged into the outlet.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/01/27/ottawa-condo-electric...

For perhaps a couple hundred bucks an electrician could install an old utility meter at the outlet. The condo manager could read it periodically and at that point the tenant could square up. The board are being idiots.


Well they do have a point that just because "fueling" with electricity is relatively cheap doesn't mean you can do it at other people's expense. The guy doesn't help his case with incorrect statements like the claim it uses the same amount of electricity as a microwave oven.

OTOH, they could certainly have settled the problem with a reasonable flat fee without a costly meter. Something around 30-60$ a month perhaps. You can only pull so much power through a 15A circuit after all.

I agree, the comparison to a microwave oven was way off but, in fact, the tenant did say that he's willing to pay the condominium corporation an amount well in excess of what he could possibly use based on the current carrying capacity of this 15-amp circuit. To me, that seems fair.


If it's only a 15 amp circuit he can use a $30 kill-a-watt meter, and if it was my car I would want to meter its usage,, just because. Paul's suggestion about installing an old meter seems like the ticket. Avoids assumptions and insinuations.

Tenants all sharing the electric bill is a poor set up in any case. Gives no one the incentive to reduce usage through efficiency.

On a related note, I once lived in an apt. bldg. in VT, whilst doing DSM work for an electric co-op. The owner had some new lighting installed in the common entrance. My usage (or bill) took a jump up. I was new to the apt., and the jump was minor enough, going into winter, that I'm sure most folks wouldn't have noticed or assumed it was just a seasonal thing. But, given my occupation, I knew otherwise. Ultimately found where they'd wired those lights into my meter (which was inside an owner-access only locked door -long story). Could've been an honest error, but I think he thought he'd just get away with it.

Tenants all sharing the electric bill is a poor set up in any case. Gives no one the incentive to reduce usage through efficiency.

I would guess it's only electricity in the common areas that is shared. I've lived in condos a lot, and in my experience, you have separate utility bills for each unit.

But the cost of electricity for the common areas is shared: the hallways, pool, recreation areas, elevators, laundry room, parking lot, etc.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case here in Canada. According to the link below, some 90 per cent of the condominiums in metro Toronto were bulk metered at the time of printing (September, 2006). I remember discussing this issue with a friend of mine who was the president of his condominium corporation. He said that even though their energy consumption was unquestionably higher due to bulk metering, the commercial rate that they were paying at that time was substantially lower, so they considered it a wash or even a net benefit.

Source: http://www.carmaindustries.com/news/TorontoStar-060909.pdf


Pools, and laundry are actually big domestic uses. So the percentage that isn't being individually metered is pretty high.

The best part of the article: "Condo rules state Nemat could plug in a block heater for a conventional car, which requires similar power, at no cost."

Given that this isn't metered, odds are good that most residents don't even have timers on their block heaters and leave them plugged in whenever the car isn't in use during the winter. The board are apparently morons.

I read somewhere that the system does have temperature control, and only the plugs in Visitor Parking are on 24/7 - hence to recharge he has to park in a spot he is not allowed to, probably another source of conflict with the condo board.

I used to have block heaters, -although depending upon the temp I would plug them in 2hours to a half hour before starting. But don't they only draw a couple hundred watts?

Ahh, the joy of not owning your own means of production and renting/sharecropping from others.

Another word that wasn't in the malaria article is resistance. The mosquito which carries malaria had developed resistance such that DDT was no longer effective prior to its being banned. African countries continued to use if even though they knew it was no longer effective because it was all they had until they switched to malathion.