Drumbeat: February 13, 2012

In the Pipeline: Peak oil unable to avert energy crunch

A report issued in February 2010 by the US Joint Forces Command stated that "by 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day."

It goes on to say that a severe energy crunch is inevitable and "one should not forget that the Great Depression spawned a number of totalitarian regimes that sought economic prosperity for their nations by ruthless conquest." One hopes that this is not the US agenda - or is it?

Oil Rises as Iran Supply Threat Grows, Greece Passes Austerity Measures

Oil recovered from a three-day low in New York as concern grew that a ban on Iranian crude may cut supplies while the Greek parliament’s approval of austerity measures boosted hope for a solution to Europe’s debt crisis.

Futures climbed as much as 1.3 percent as the euro headed toward a two-month high after 199 lawmakers supported the bill in a roll-call vote shown live on state-run Vouli TV, against 74 who opposed it. The measures were needed for a 130 billion-euro ($172 billion) aid package, Greece’s second since May 2010. Oil may extend gains after companies controlling more than 100 supertankers said they would stop loading cargoes from Iran, tightening sanctions on OPEC’s second-biggest producer.

Price of gas up nearly 12 cents in last 3 weeks

The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States rose nearly 12 cents in the past three weeks to about $3.51, due in part to higher prices for North Sea crude oil, according to the nationwide Lundberg Survey.

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline rose 11.57 cents to $3.5101 as of February 10, the survey of about 2,500 gasoline stations in the continental United States found.

Italy sees gas shortfall from Russia Monday-Snam data

(Reuters) - Italy, a major consumer of Russian gas in Europe, expects to inject 92.5 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas from Russia into the national network on Monday compared to the 108.0 mcm requested, data from gas transport network Snam showed.

Iraq Opens Offshore Oil Facility to Boost Export Capacity in Persian Gulf

Iraq, seeking to maximize crude oil exports, opened the first of four planned offshore mooring facilities in the Persian Gulf and intends by March to add 200,000 barrels a day to its capacity for loading tankers there.

The new single-point mooring unit, extending into the sea from the southern oil terminal of Fao, has a potential export capacity of 850,000 barrels a day, Falah al-Amri, chairman of the State Oil Marketing Organization, said in an interview.

Iran Sanctions Tighten as Shippers Stop Loading

Sanctions on Iran are tightening after Overseas Shipholding Group, Frontline Ltd. and owners controlling more than 100 supertankers said they would stop loading cargoes from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ second-largest producer.

Kenya Power to Raise Electricity Costs, Business Daily Reports

Kenya Power Ltd. will raise electricity tariffs from this month after it increased use of diesel-generated plants amid a decline in water levels at hydropower dams, Business Daily reported.

Iran Won’t Yield to Pressure, Foreign Minister Says; Nuclear News Awaited

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said the country will never cede to international pressure, the same day President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised to announce a milestone in the country’s nuclear field.

“This nation will never ever yield to pressure from outside,” Salehi told reporters in Tehran yesterday. “When you can’t differentiate between people and the government, what does pressure mean?”

Ahmadinejad’s ‘Major’ Nuclear Progress Comment Follows Rhetorical Pattern

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s announcement that he will soon unveil a “major” nuclear development may be part of a strategy he’s employed since 2006 of promising breakthroughs and delivering incremental gains.

India IOC may renew Iran crude oil deal in FY1

(Reuters) - State-run Indian Oil Corp Ltd, the country's largest oil refining and marketing company, may renew an annual deal with Iran to buy 1.5 million tonnes of crude oil for the fiscal year starting April 2013, its chairman said.

Russia says it's open to an agreement on Syria; Homs under attack again

(CNN) -- As Arab League officials try to quash the massacre in Syria, U.N. diplomats are expected to consider a draft resolution Monday that would "strongly condemn" human rights violations by Syrian authorities.

Meanwhile, Russia said it's open to supporting an international agreement on Syria -- though it needs to hear more about a proposal by the Arab League.

But for every moment of chatter, reports of bloodshed intensify.

South Sudan pins hopes for growth on pipeline

The economy of South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, which draws 99 per cent of its income from oil, is set to grow as plans for a pipeline bypassing the north progress.

Sinopec says to boost oil capacity in Xinjiang

(Reuters) - China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) plans to invest 53 billion yuan ($8.41 billion) by 2015 to boost refinery capacity and build up oil and gas production in northwestern Xinjiang region, company officials said on Monday.

The top Asian refiner planned to double the capacity of its Tahe refinery in Kuqa county to 10 million tonnes per year, or 200,000 barrels per day (bpd), by 2015, a company official said.

Chesapeake sets new asset, debt sales

(Reuters) - Chesapeake Energy Corp said it would try to raise $10 billion to $12 billion from asset sales and issue another $1 billion in debt to cover spending this year amid the weakest natural gas prices in a decade.

Kuwait c.bank governor resigns over rising spending

Last year's uprisings in the Arab World emboldened workers in Kuwait to stage a string of strikes which added to upward pressure on wages of state employees. A strike at the national airline ended with a 30-percent wage hike, local media reported; oil sector workers received a wage rise after a strike threat.

Some top Kuwaiti economic policymakers, including Sheikh Salem and the finance minister, publicly urged the government to restrain spending and reduce waste in the budget last year. The finance minister said public sector wages had risen to about 85 percent of the country's oil revenues, which he called "a real danger".

Criticism of Chevron Grows Over Use of "Secret" Panel to Evade $18 Billion Ecuador Judgment, says Amazon Defense Coalition

NEW YORK /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Andean Commission of Jurists and five prestigious international law experts from around the world have joined a growing chorus of criticism targeting Chevron's attempt to use a secret investor arbitration as part of its campaign to evade an $18 billion environmental judgment in Ecuador, according to letters released today.

China May Hold Shale-Gas Auction as Early as End of February

China, estimated to hold more gas trapped in shale than the U.S., may hold its second auction of exploration areas as early as this month, according to an official at the Ministry of Land and Resources.

Pennsylvania impact fee for gas drillers comes with a catch

When legislators agreed last week to charge impact fees for the natural gas industry, generating millions of dollars, the money came with a catch.

The measure also imposed statewide zoning and land-use rules for pipelines and wells - summarily killing off dozens of local land-use ordinances in the process.

Shale gas threatens nuclear power renaissance

The failure of Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant to withstand an earthquake and tsunami last March sparked fears that popular concerns and higher insurance and construction costs could stifle a nuclear renaissance. But nearly a year later, the biggest hurdle is freshly opened shale gas resources that are pushing the price of conventional energy to record lows.

Nuclear plant work in progress with 2017 target

In Abu Dhabi's remote coastal outpost of Baraka, 4,000 people are at work on the infrastructure needed to bring nuclear power to the Arab world for the first time.

Our judgement was distorted by Chernobyl tales

Even if you are sceptical about global warming, the case for reducing our dependence on carbon as an energy source is overwhelming.

In the first instance carbon fuels are non-renewable. They will run out. There will come a time when the oil, gas and coal will be gone. Many argue that we are already at or near "peak oil", when the maximum rate of petroleum extraction is reached, and production begins to decline.

Tepco Says Fukushima Reactor Temperature Breaches Safety Limit

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) said the temperature in one of the damaged reactors at its Fukushima nuclear station rose to levels above safety limits even as it injected increased amounts of cooling water.

Japanese Power Utilities Import 39% More Liquefied Natural Gas in January

Japan’s 10 regional power utilities increased their imports of liquefied natural gas by 39 percent in January, when most of the country’s nuclear reactors remained idled over safety concerns.

Tokyo Elec cuts oil use outlook as power demand falls

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co on Monday further trimmed its outlook for the amount of oil it will use this financial year due to lower power demand following the earthquake in March 2011.

Tokyo Electric, known as Tepco, projected oil consumption of 7.56 million kilolitres (130,000 barrels per day) for the year ending March 31, up from 4.75 million kl a year earlier, but down from its January outlook of 8.09 million kl.

Tepco Widens Full-Year Loss Forecast as Fukushima Costs Mount

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), which received an $8.9 billion lifeline from the Japanese government, widened its full-year loss forecast as compensation and clean-up costs rose after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Japan promotes solar power, wind energy and geothermal energy after Fukushima

In the long process of rebuilding after the triple disasters, the country should focus on renewable energy, like wind power, solar energy (photovoltaic and concentrating solar therma power) and geothermal energy.

Don't overlook Aussie Gas Stocks

The cries that the world is running out of oil have been around a long time. Although it is inevitable that petroleum is a finite resource which one day will be exhausted, the question is when. The factor ignored by many Peak Oil Predictors is technology.

Concern about Peak Oil reached a crescendo during the Oil Crisis of the 1970’s. At that time, had any futurist predicted we would soon be drilling for oil over a mile below the surface of the ocean, he or she would undoubtedly been carted away for a psychiatric evaluation.

Peak oil moves to the mainstream

Something quite momentous happened on 26 January 2012. While most Australians were distracted with celebrating their national day, the world's leading scientific journal, Nature, published its first serious commentary on peak oil. That's right, peak oil took its final step from "extremist fringe conspiracy theory" to general acceptance by the world's scientific community. The authors of the Nature article were David King, a former chief scientific advisor to the UK government and James Murray, founding director of the University of Washington's Program on Climate Change.

Next GFC a perfect storm: expert

Australia is about to be hit hard by a second global economic crisis and unlike the last time, recovery will be far from short and sweet, a global finance expert says.

Canadian finance and energy analyst Nicole Foss said a combination of energy shortages, climate change, population growth, food insecurity and political unrest were brewing a ''perfect storm'' that would ruin society as we know it.

Europe's Energy Suicide Pact

US media is warning gasoline consumers they are threatened with a possible mega price hike. If the long drawn out Iran crisis moved to war action like closing the Hormuz Straits this could spike barrel prices to $200, nearly doubling average US forecourt gasoline prices to $6 a gallon.

Today in Europe, with the Straits of Hormuz wide open, European gasoline buyers pay an average of around $2.15 or 1.60 euro per litre. This is $8.05 for one US gallon and $335 per barrel.

Isle of Man 'lacks cohesive strategy' on renewable energy

An environmental action group has warned that "time is running out" for the Isle of Man government, in the race to reduce gas and oil dependency.

Tynwald has pledged to have 15% of the island's electricity generated from renewable sources by 2015.

Friends of the Earth Isle of Man said the island "lacks a cohesive strategy" despite its parliamentary commitments.

Green Energy Profit Crash Deters New CEOs

Renewable energy companies are losing their allure with top executives after profits and stock prices collapsed across the industry, making it more difficult for boards to replace underperforming managers.

The World's First Plantagon Greenhouse for Urban Agriculture Breaks Ground in Sweden

The first Plantagon Greenhouse breaks ground. A new type of greenhouse for vertical farming, an international Centre of Excellence for Urban Agriculture, a demo-plant for Swedish clean-tech and a climate-smart way to use excess heating and CO2 from industries. The potential is tremendous and ambitions high for the new greenhouse being built in Linköping, Sweden, near the regional energy company, Tekniska Verken. Not least, it will be a new landmark for the people in Linköping to enjoy.

Pro-oil lobby retreat urges feds to deliver climate-change solutions

OTTAWA — A taxpayer-funded pro-oil lobbying retreat, involving Canada’s European diplomats and industry, has urged the federal government to deliver real climate change solutions to restore the country’s sagging environmental reputation.

Satellites for Climate Checks Get Boost After Durban Talks

Brazilian deforestation and melting polar ice caps are feeding a boom in demand in the $2.1 billion market for satellite data, images and services used to monitor the planet.

EU Will Keep Airline-Emissions Levies

The European Union will press ahead with emissions levies for international airlines, putting the bloc on course for a trade spat with countries including China, India and the U.S.

“The EU will not suspend the legislation,” Siim Kallas, the European Commission’s vice president for transport, said today in Singapore at an airline conference. “It’s a very high- profile environmental issue.”

With climate change, today's '100-year floods' may happen every three to 20 years: research

Last August, Hurricane Irene spun through the Caribbean and parts of the eastern United States, leaving widespread wreckage in its wake. The Category 3 storm whipped up water levels, generating storm surges that swept over seawalls and flooded seaside and inland communities. Many hurricane analysts suggested, based on the wide extent of flooding, that Irene was a “100-year event”: a storm that only comes around once in a century.

However, researchers from MIT and Princeton University have found that with climate change, such storms could make landfall far more frequently, causing powerful, devastating storm surges every three to 20 years. The group simulated tens of thousands of storms under different climate conditions, finding that today’s “500-year floods” could, with climate change, occur once every 25 to 240 years. The researchers published their results in the current issue of Nature Climate Change.

Link up top: In the Pipeline: Peak oil unable to avert energy crunch

There are even harsher suggestions as geologist Dale Allen Pfeiffer contends that current population levels are unsustainable and that to achieve a sustainable economy and avert disaster, the US population would have to be reduced by at least one third, and the world population by two thirds.

That bit of prognostication can be found here: Eating Fossil Fuels or if you want the whole book:
Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in Agriculture [Paperback]

According to Daniel Yergin, author of the Prize, technological advances and new discoveries have allowed oil reserves worldwide to keep growing. This may be so, but reserves are not production. Production is real and reserves are just a number announced by a government or a company.

This is the second article by this author in the Gulf News this month. I think this is important. As another article linked up top states, Peak Oil Moves to the Mainstream

Ron P.

As another article linked up top states, Peak Oil Moves to the Mainstream

...and reading the comments, it's clear that denial is perhaps as strong in Oz as it is in the US; all of the same rationalizations, substitution arguments, and cases of shooting the messengers. So it goes...

Here is my favorite peak oil hits the mainstream article -- not because of the content but because it was in the most circulated American medical journal. 2007.

Peak Petroleum and Public Health

If you don't have JAMA access, Energy Bulletin posted the article.

I noticed Stoneleigh got some good press in "Next GFC a perfect storm: expert". I would be interested to hear, though, how she accounts for her mispredictions. Timing is everything, and even I, a non-expert, can predict that there is another perfect storm coming. But when is another matter.

Unlike the 2008 recession, before which plenty of cracks in the facade were evident in 2007, no similar cracks are visible now. How is it possible that we'll have a major crisis this year in that case?

No "similar cracks" visible now? Perhaps that's because the problems which caused the mess starting in 2008 are yet to be resolved. Watch the Birdie!!!


I should have been more clear. There are plenty of cracks evident. But unlike 2008, governments and central banks have realized that they can pour tons of money in the cracks to prevent sharp crises from occurring.

That is, Stoneleigh's predictions seem to rely upon those in power doing nothing (either proactively or reactively or both) to stop a financial crisis from happening. While that might have been true a few years ago, they may have learned their lesson.

Pouring tons of "money" (aka, Dollars or Euros), into the world's economies is what caused the problems in the first place. Remember that what started this mess was a massive infusion of debt in the form of loans for real estate and consumer purchases, debt which could not be repaid because the borrowers didn't have enough income to cover the monthly payments. Many of those real estate loans were for mortgages which offered absurd terms, for example, no interest for some period or variable rates, which later were adjusted beyond the borrowers' income level. Simply throwing more fiat money into the hands of the bankers, while increasing reserve requirements, won't result in more loans to consumers to pay for new real estate borrowings, especially when there's a large fraction of the public that owes more on their houses than they are now worth. The previous game of "upward mobility" by flipping real estate no longer works when the present owners start taking losses on their houses.

I agree with Ghung's comment that the ability of the bankers to keep the game going has exceeded previous estimates of the date for the end of the game. Trouble is, as the bankers keep the game running ever longer, the resulting crunch could be much louder. Maybe we're all Greeks (and Spaniards, Italians, Egyptians, etc) now. Time will tell...

E. Swanson

Oh, don't get me wrong, I don't think what they're doing to stem the debt tide is a good idea. But it's "working" for some definition of working in that it's preventing outright crises. Far too many people and institutions have their fates tied up in the current system and seem to be willing to believe ridiculous things in order to prevent another crisis. It's what Japan did that caused a long-term slow multi-decade decline rather than a sharp crash.

But that's a very different thing from what Stoneleigh and others have been forecasting: she has said and is still saying we'll see a resumption of the 2008 crisis and it'll be just as bad or worse.

Maybe we're all Greeks (and Spaniards, Italians, Egyptians, etc) now. Time will tell...

Not yet. While the US of A have many more are disposed, many of the concerned about the situation are concerned because they see what's happening to their fellow man and not because they are hungry.

Once the former middle class are hungry, then you MIGHT see more 'being Greek'...assuming the remote fire drone capacity is not deployed yet. Remote crowd control is not something we've seen the response to.

BR, I think many people did not anticipate some of the unusual contortions we would go through to keep BAU going as long as possible.

Suspending accounting rules, "Hide-a-default" to avoid CDS, no-laws-were-broken Stonewalling for financial crimes, Mass Fraudclosure Settlements that leave crimes unpunished and unpaid, the Federal Reserve buying toxic asset from banks all over the world... extreme desperation and extreme measures have bought a little more time.

The Great Wave is breaking in Europe and starting to hit the shores of Asia now (see news on japan and china).

Maybe the USA will be "insulated" from what is happening (while we read sanitized versions of Time magazine...).

As the article up top says:

... a severe energy crunch is inevitable and "one should not forget that the Great Depression spawned a number of totalitarian regimes that sought economic prosperity for their nations by ruthless conquest.

One hopes that this is not the US agenda - or is it?

Stoneleigh seems to suffer from some sort of blogger brain-block, seemingly common to all these types. As I continue to point out here, it's like these bloggers somehow think that politicians and bankers will be constrained by, or follow the existing rule of law. How many times over the past 3 years on Denninger have I read "So it begins" or some other prognastication that the game is finally over, only for some crazy can-kicking scheme to be implemented and BAU to continue.

Stoneleigh...if you read TOD here is some advice for you. Politicians and bankers were caught off guard in 2008, that won't be the case again. They're going to use every possible accounting gimmick or trick in the book to avoid the moment of reckoning. Whether it's taxpayer bailouts, balance-shifting accounting schemes, printing, 1000:1 leverage, 100%-central bank financing, etc.

If Stoneleigh, or others, want to try and make these predictions, I suggest starting with trying to figure out at what point the federal reserve has to begin buying up so much debt at zero or negative interest rates that it becomes mathematically impossible to bail anybody out or print any money and the central bank just implodes. When you think you think you've figured that out, come up with some other crazy bailout idea that sounds like it was thought of by a 7-year old, and rethink everything again.

Correct! They recently changed the rules so that a default is not a default unless International Swaps and Derivatives Association declares it as such! So now a committee of people in ISDA have the power to declare whether a default has occurred. So Greece could default tomorrow and it will not trigger a Credit Default Swap (CDS) because the ISDA will not declare it as a default to protect the big banks!

We no longer have laws; they are making it up as they go along. They (government, central banks, big banks) will continue to print money and rewrite laws on the fly so that no matter what happens they cannot lose.

Those who stay in cash will be poverty stricken 10 years from now. This crisis will not end until enough money has been printed to bail out the financial institutions. They will destroy the US $ to protect the banks. My guess is that things will finally come to a head around 2015.

Yes I agree. Cash is meant to be spent, not hoarded, in this environment. The supply of cash, or its digital equivalent, is infinite.

This somehow is a stumbling block for the debt deflationists, though I don't understand why.

You basically want to get cash, make preparations, put the rest in metals, repeat and rinse, and keep doing that for as long as you need to.

Obtaining and storing as many hard goods and non perishables as one can is a good idea IMO, because it builds resiliency against the inevitable currency reset.

Gold is in a speculation bubble and will be worthless at some point in the future. Gold is NOT a safe haven. I may be the only one who preach this message but I talked about a comming gold price spike followed by price collapse before gold prices begun to climb (long before I become a TOD regular). It is still climbing and will for a while. But if you own gold, monitor prices, and sell when they get to high. Whose who sit on the gold will be sorry when the bottom falls out of the price.

Stocks and bonds can literally lose all of their value.

Gold will always have some value as a shiny rock if nothing else.

That is what is meant by a "safe haven" in this case. Not that it will continue to gain, or even that it will hold it's current value, but that it will always be worth *something*.

Of course, that's only if you somehow have physical control of the gold in question. Gold certificates can and have gone 100% bust in the past when the backing entity refuses to back them anymore.

The gold bubble was in the 1980's right after it became legal for Americans to own.

How many things have ever had 2 bubbles?

You're from Florida, right?

Florida real estate bubbles seem to happen every 3 weeks.

Without commenting on future prices, I will note that the above chart does not include 2010 and 2011 prices and that gold production has been increasing for three straight years, breaking the previous 'peak' set in 2001. A (hopefully humbling) example of time-dependent URR.


Are diamonds or fine art, sometimes going for millions, in a speculative bubble?

At what point do you admit that rare physical things in this world are valuable? At what point do you admit that digits on a screen are worthless?

Gold is physical, relatively rare (though not as rare as many collectibles), and has been used as money for millenia. I don't see any evidence of a bubble yet.

If there's any bubble out there yet to pop, it's in bonds. It's in the 30+ year debt bubble that has made princes out of some and will make paupers out of most.

Once again you have hit the nail on the head. I laugh when people call gold a bubble. All bubbles end in a speculative blow off top. We will call gold a bubble if it doubles or triples in a few weeks or months. In the previous gold bull market, it doubled in the last 6 weeks.

Incidentally if we divide the total external debt of the US and divide that by the size of the gold reserves, the price of gold ought to be $12,000/oz.

Crisis of the Third Century

"The measure of wealth at this time began to have less to do with wielding urban civil authority and more to do with controlling large agricultural estates in rural regions, since this guaranteed access to the only economic resource of real value—agricultural land and the crops it produced."

Those who stay in cash will be poverty stricken 10 years from now.

Are you sure about that? Those who were in cash/bonds/fixed interest did far better in 2008 than those in local shares, international shares, and property. So where to store your wealth? You can only put so much into your principal home (plus a farmlet or beach-house for retirement days), and of course there is gold and commodities - but many superannuation and pension investments avoid those classes. And commodities (food, fibre, minerals) are a very mixed (and unpredictable) bag anyway.

Mind you, Australian financial institutions are still paying up to 6% interest on cash deposits, keeping your nose above inflationary pressure.

Australia is a commodity exporting nation and therefore doing well (just like Canada, Norway, and the middle-eastern oil exporters). My comment was mostly directed at US residents. I expect the US $ to collapse by 2015.

In three years?

I'll take the other side of that bet.

By 2015, I expect the US $ to be significantly below where it is today. Look at the horrendous crisis in Europe. People are wondering if the Euro will survive as a currency. In spite of that the US $ has only managed a feeble rally. The Euro refuses to fall much below $1.30. This is very bad for the US $.

My advice for long term investment is land. But make sure it is climate change safe. Sea level rise is 1.5 meter this century at minimum, so avoid bech front property on sandy beaches. For farm lands, check out the maps and see if they will be drought stricken. And so on. The 3 first rules ofland investment is as usual "Location, location, and location".

Yes. Agricultural land.

For the long term, global warming predictions seem to move where that land will be.

And also make sure it isn't too close to any aging nuclear power reactors!

Actually, you can reach a level of "fatigue" where you just don't want to prepare at all. That is now what has happened to me. So I am not! Thus I await my fate, good or bad, without any preparations for peak oil. Try it, it's like bungee jumping I suppose, or maybe just like life. One day I will look back on my life if I am still alive, and rejoice that I could make it through...Unless things go the other way and I starve to death in a miserable huddled mass of bones in the gutter. I find myself freed from worry, having utterly failed (though I did try) to prepare for peak oil in every way. There is nothing I can do....My hands are tied by finances and circumstances way beyond my control. Strangely, it's liberating. You need not much to get through life.

I am very close to your possition. I don't do much realy. But I have done two things: I payed off my loans (wich saved me cash in terms of intrest) and moved back home to where I know much more people == a social network.

Besides that, I buy the occational usefull gadget that can be God To Have. I tend to not worry. I had my Peak Oil Depression.

I can relate to that. I have put so much time into studying what is happening and trying to understand. I can look at the events that are occurring and have what I believe is a decent grasp of what the forces are that are driving those events. I try to make real changes in my own life. But the limitations are profound, and there is such a gap between what I'd like to be doing in the face of that knowledge and the reality of what I've been able to achieve. So my expectations have been changing along with my perception of the times scales at work here (to relate it to other discussion in this DB).

I will keep trying to understand, and I will make such changes as I can, but these "events" will likely far out last me. I cannot be "prepared" for something that lasts longer than me, I can only live my life as best I can within the limitations I have to work with. It isn't about me anyway - I am temporary - it is about what I can do to at least leave a smaller footprint, and perhaps leave something positive for future generations.

Best advice for doom predictors everywhere! LOL

it's like these bloggers somehow think that politicians and bankers will be constrained by, or follow the existing rule of law.

The "rule of law" is only an option if one chooses to claim the rule of law.

United States v. Johnson, 76 F. Supp. 538, 539 (D. Pa. 1947), Federal District Court Judge James Alger Fee ruled that,

"The privilege against self-incrimination is neither accorded to the passive resistant, nor to the person who is ignorant of his rights, nor to one indifferent thereto. It is a FIGHTING clause. It's benefits can be retained only by sustained COMBAT. It cannot be claimed by attorney or solicitor. It is valid only when insisted upon by a BELLIGERENT claimant in person."

And when some authority figure makes a claim remember:


Rule: The federal government holds no liability for ignorance of its agents nor its agents’ customers regarding the binding terms

And as the dissenting opinion in Crop VS Merrill:

Rock Island, Arkansas & Louisiana R. Co. v. United States, 254 U.S. 141, 143 , 56, that 'Men must turn square corners when they deal with the Government,' - It is very well to say that those who deal with the Government should turn square corners. But [332 U.S. 380 , 388] there is no reason why the square corners should constitute a one-way street.

So you have a situation where "The country under the rule of law" citizens are to 'act correctly' with the Government yet the government is not under any liability to inform the citizen of the correct actions *NOR* are they under any obligation to 'act correctly' in treating the citizen. And the remedy for the citizen? To invoke 'fighting' actions in court and actively demand rights.

Yeah, I don't fault Stoneleigh and others who actually deal in realities, for underestimating how long 'extend and pretend', 'the shell games' and 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' schemes can go on. What still remains is that there are far too many claims on far too few assets. Now that the feast is over, it's only left to be decided who gets stuck with the check, who goes hungry.

I don't fault her either - I have found her talks and writings informative.

It's more that she conveys an overwhelming certainty about her predictions that I don't feel are warranted, especially given that she's now wrong about some of them. For example, we are already out of the absolute 6 month - 2 year window she said would mark the next major downturn and resumption of the financial crisis.

BR -

Having read TAE for quite awhile now and attending one of Nicole's presentations my take away regarding her predictions and the point that resonates strongest for me is her adamant plea to people who are taking this stuff seriously or for those who the lightbulb just clicked on for: (to paraphrase her) "better to be two years early rather than 5 minutes too late..."

I think she strongly stresses how this is a house of cards built upon a foundation of just about nothing and when things take a turn for the worse it will be cascading failures like we've not encountered before. By its very nature that kind of "turn on a dime" shift in sentiment cannot be predicted as far as timing... hence, you had better err on the side of caution...

I get the feeling from having read the comments over the years at TAE that those most critical about the "timing" aspect are really just thinly veiled attempts to profit from what is / is about to occur. TAE have stated multiple times there that they are not giving investment / timing the market advice. All financial prospects are bad and going to get much worse for the vast majority of us - they are trying to give advice as to how you can get out with some of what you have and how you can make it work for you in terms of real "wealth" (community, tools, preparedness) rather than some blips in an account that might vanish overnight to MF Global etc.

I attended one of her talks last year, and it was good. But here's the question: what if you're 5 years too early rather than 5 minutes too late? 10 years too early? At what point does being way off in timing have significant impacts on one's planning? I'm not sure there's a sharp cutoff, but it's clear being way too early does you no good: it's an added source of unnecessary worry and anxiety and interferes with life as business-as-usual continues unabated. (In this context I consider business-as-usual as the slow decline in net exports while all liquids production stays flat, the consequence of which is more frequent recessions that aren't that deep followed by partial recoveries - a slow decline.)

Bob Prechter is a good example of this: people who took his advice on the stock market were fearing a a market crash that never materialized for a couple of decades.

I agree with you, BR.
I have some problems with TAE, not so much with Stoneleigh, really, but with her partner. While it' true that they have given the caveat that TAE editorials should not be used as investment advice, the fact remains that much of their commentary is going to be taken exactly that very way. Because of this, they have contributed to people losing money they didn't have to loose.
They don't offer investment advice, but then "advised" people to bail out of the market in March of 2009, at the nadir of the crash. The simple truth is that anyone who listened to the much defamed Larry Kudlow would have come out much better.
TAE has also been consistent in warning people away from gold ownership (at the same time they tout the virtues of owning "hard" assets). This has resulted in people shying away from the one true bull market of the past ten years.
They have been less than helpful in some respects and they don't seem to be very interested in owning this. They need to take some ownership of their own blind spots.

I do read TAE. I read it because it provides useful perspective and I heartily thank them for their efforts. But they ain't perfect. And Ilargi's zealotry could be reigned in and this would be for the better, IMO.

Well I think those are fair points BR... I think you may be trying to work this through by talking (writing) it out but there really may not be a good answer to the question(s). I think Stoneleigh has made that point before too - everybody has a different tolerance for risk... some who are too conservative get burnt on the front end and some who think they can time it to the minute go down with the wreckage... I think her big point is that if you want to have anything at all left after this shakes out (which in her opinion has the potential to happen VERY rapidly) you really need to evaluate your comfort with the risk level and act accordingly. Just don't in any way expect that you are going to be able salvage anything once the first significant cracks start to appear to us OUTSIDERS (significant and outsiders being the operative words, of course - we aren't privy to the same information and have no way of evaluating the significance of much of what we do get after passing thru the various "filtering" mechanism and our being subject to information overload...)

One's life choices depend upon some scenario or expectation of the future. If the future turns out to be really bad and your expectation of such leads you to want to prepare, your must be aware that preparation requires considerable time to implement. If your planning includes a move to an area which you think to offer some level of security beyond that which you expect at your present location, you must begin your move many years before the crunch hits. You might need to set up some level of life support, such as a farm or a house in the country, as well as learn to live a lifestyle that is considerably different from that in a city. If you think of building a structure, especially a nontraditional one, your problems will be even greater, as the building industry is very conservative and locked into building patterns dictated by history and building codes. I found that to be true when I made my move in 1998 and am still working on my house in the mountains.

The other issue which you may not have considered is that there's a deep cultural divide between folks in the city and your usual country boy/lady. If you want to be accepted in a new area, you will need to live there for a number of years. Even then, you still might not "fit in" with the locals, who are typically wary of outsiders. In sum, if you wait until the problem becomes fairly obvious or worse, until it's time to grab your "bug out bag" and head for the hills, you will become just another one of the masses of escapees flooding into an area already severely stressed as all the support systems begin to fail in your chosen survival location. Without the stability provided by the umbrella of a functioning government security system, you will likely find that lead is more valuable than gold or the digital dollars appearing on your bank statement...

E. Swanson

"If you want to be accepted in a new area, you will need to live there for a number of years. Even then, you still might not "fit in"..." Fitting in will be the least of the newcomers problems - they won't have skill-sets worth beans for country living.

Non-country people have no conception of the variety of skill-sets needed to "survive" in the boondocks. Looking at myself and my neighbors: All of us can, and have, built a house(s). We can all, and have, overhauled engines. All of us can weld. All of us are competent timber fellers. All of us grow food crops and on and on. These skills are not learned in a couple of days or at a seminar or reading a book. It takes years and years to become competent.

I've lived in the boondocks for about 40 years and watched people come and go - mostly go once reality sets in. They cannot adapt to being responsible for their own survival.

My guess is that even if they started with Ghung's or my place that the majority still wouldn't make it.


Yeah, Todd, my place doesn't have an owner's manual, but it does have a few quirks. Urban/suburban BAU thinking need not apply. I suppose I could put up a bunch of signs and post-it notes, or make some instruction videos and smart phone apps :-0

Survival - is there an app for that?

Yes - the Lindsay's Technical Books, Journey to Forever and say Soil and Health

It just takes a willingness to read. (then practice what is read)

(And Todd - given your pile of brush have you considered http://www.bioenergylists.org/geoavanstove and the metal version
http://e-avanstove.blogspot.com/ The brick version is supposed to have a $2 cost per the pdf I've been reading.)


What you say is true, but one of the skills (and you can just say "skills" instead of "a variety of skill-sets" - sounds like you just came from some workshop or seminar :-) is "living there for a number of years". For a start, how else does one learn any skills?

I've lived "in the country" for a long time, and I, too, have seen the sports come and go. A select few come and stay. It seems more a matter of attitude/aptitude than skills, given the luxury of time to learn - the skills will come. As long as things aren't too frantic, a lot of us "country folk" are happy to teach and otherwise help newbies along. So long as they have the appropriate attitude. And I've never found it all that difficult to tell.

But you don't sure don't want to pull into my "neighborhood" (hah!) after TSHTF and expect tutelage in Country Living 101. Though you'd probably get some if you exhibited the right attitude.


Sorry but I'll stick with skill-sets.

Let's take timber falling since it takes a number of skills: Most people think of cutting a notch followed by a back cut and the tree falls over. But, the face and back cuts can be angled to direct the tree where it doesn't want to go by changing the angle of the hinge. Or, it can be wedged over and, for major trees, a notch can be cut in the back cut to insert a hydraulic jack that forces the tree to go where you want. And, if it's a leaner should the butt be chained so it can't barber chair? Most people who "chop down" a tree don't know any of this stuff.

The faller also has to know how to prepare a safe working area so they aren't hit by a widow-maker or have the tree hang up in another tree's branches. And, they need to know where to go as the tree starts going over. Finally, the faller needs to know when they are beyond their skills and should not fall the tree.

I face that problem right now: I have a doug fir that needs to come down. It's about 80' high and 4' at the butt. However, my big saw is only 32". I "know" how to fell a tree bigger than my saw (the biggest I've done being about 40") but I've never done nor watched anyone do it where the diameter is over a foot bigger than the bar. I'll probably hire it out and learn another skill in the process. But, boy, I really want to try it!

However, there's more than that for a faller. He has to know how to sharpen his/her saw (my wife had her own small chainsaw a long time ago), file down the depth guides if necessary, clean the air filter, when to change the spark plug, pull off the bar and flip it for even wear, lubricate the nose and set the carb if necessary. As an aside, I've known city people who didn't even know their saw was dull even though all it made was sawdust rather than chips.

Now, I see these all as a package deal yet they are all different skills...a SET of skills...QED - skill-set. Living in the boondocks requires a variety of them.


He has to know how to sharpen his/her saw (my wife had her own small chainsaw a long time ago), file down the depth guides if necessary, clean the air filter, when to change the spark plug, pull off the bar and flip it for even wear, lubricate the nose and set the carb if necessary.

Chainsaw?! what's that?


The chainsaw, for its size & cost is probably the most destructive thing to the planet as anything ever created.

The lawn-mower might run a close second.

Nonsense. I think the chainsaw is the greatest invention ever made. It just depends who you are and how you live.

Suburban expectations and over consumption is a killer as well as sedentary lifestyles. My saws are invaluable as I heat with wood. I also manage our woodlot so it can provide us with heat for as long as we live. I can do it with hand saws and a wheel barrow, but would rather not. I use about 3 gallons of gas per year to do this, and maybe 5 gallons to haul the wood to the house. I live in a cold climate and it rains a lot so passive solar doesn't cut it.

As for the scary trees, I trade labour/favours with working fallers who are pleased to come and show their expertise. I will build stuff in return or smoke them some fish. A case of beer is always welcome.


It can get a little tiresome when you Davy Crockett Survivalist types constantly disparage suburban dwellers. Being able to chop down a tree is no greater skill than - say - negotiating the I-15 in Salt Lake City is rush hour, while texting. Just a different survival skill set, that's all.

And why do you all need to chop trees down anyway - they fall down of their own accord eventually.

In Japan, it was traditional to burn only the wood that grew in the past year or two. Basically, brush and branches were harvested, not whole trees. That's why almost 80% of their land is still forested.

They also have very high rainfall, so truly sustainable living would be more difficult elsewhere.

With a few exceptions, we haven't used live trees for fuel in years. Plenty of deadfall and standing dead wood available here, a surplus in fact. It all depends on location. Folks offer me free wood every year, though I may refuse it if it's near a structure (or I don't trust them), as the insurance/liability thing can get dicey if things don't go as planned.

Some folks are just looking to avoid paying an insured tree service to take down trees they don't want. I'll offer to haul off the wood once it's on the ground, but some folks think their wood is gold and want a big cleanup done. I explain nicely that "there's wood everywhere", without all of the hassles. One guy wanted me to pay half the cost of having the tree service put the trees on the ground, until I explained that I could have about the same amount of good seasoned wood delivered for the same cost. Some tree services charge a lot to haul off the wood, then resell it to wood lots.

After a storm, I can usually pick up enough blow-down from our roads for a few days of heating. While I expect that wood as fuel will become more valuable in the future, most of the newer suburban-style homes around here have no provision for wood heat; retrofitting will be expensive, and these people don't want the hassle or the "dirt and smoke" involved. They'll hang on to their gas logs and heat pumps as long as they can, which is probably a good thing, as some of them invariably end up burning their house down.

I tend to agree with this, and I'm not a suburban dweller by any means. Cutting down a tree isn't technically difficult. Give me half a day with someone who knows what they're doing and I'll be plenty expert enough to muddle through whatever tree-felling I need to do. I prefer to use a large bow-saw myself.

I know a few experienced tree fellers who would be glad to show you their scars. It's one of those things that, when it goes bad, it can go very bad.

Cutting down trees is easy (but not as easy as you think). Cutting down trees without killing yourself or other people is the hard part. Logging is one of the most dangerous occupations people indulge in. From West Virginia (which also does a lot of coal mining, another dangerous occupation):

Logging is state's most dangerous job

By any measure, logging is the most dangerous occupation in the state:

- Nationally, the reported fatality incidence rate is more than 8 times that for mining, and 53 times that for manufacturing. In West Virginia, the fatality rate for loggers is 14 times higher than for mining. More than 7 out of every 1,000 loggers in the state will die on the job each year.

- Every year, one workers' compensation claim is filed for every four West Virginia loggers. In the 1993-94 financial year, nearly 300 loggers were injured on the job. This claims rate is the worst of any industry. It is ahead of that for explosives making and building demolition. It is twice the rate for underground coal mining.

- When loggers are injured, their reported injuries are more severe than injuries in other industries. Nationally, three-quarters of those injured missed more than one day of work. The average lost time case results in 23 days away from work.



I've heard the same type of comments about fishing. My God, this culture...give someone a little information and they are experts. As one ages you learn, if learning is your mindset, that every trade has a level of expertise. Take drywalling. I am a carpenter...I can drywall, but lets not fool ourselves, when you see an expert it is quick to see just who is the master by the speed and quality of the work.

That attitude towards falling, as 1/2 a day makes one good enough, is unbelieveable in its arrogance. I live on the coast. A small tree is 1' in diameter. 6"tops are junk. You don't cut these trees with a bow saw, you might try for a day and then the laughter of your neighbours would drive you home.

I used to fly for a living...10,000 plus hours of accident free bush flying. I have friends with 30,000 hours. I cannot count the number of times a repeat customer has told me (or them) how they could probably do it as they had ridden around so much. I would just smile and nod and agree, because I made it look easy. Flying isn't technically difficult, either, but it is a rare person who can actually do it for a living. Painting isn't hard, either, after all, we all have a colour wheel and a good functioning arm. Or surgery, all you have to do is get out the diagram of what's what and where to snip. (sarc off)

Come on. Give people their due. we are all doing the best we can...walking the path we think is right...me, you, Todd, whoever. Some of us made decision to live in the boonies. It isn't for everyone, the same as everywhere else. In the city I am a rube, too many rough edges...and that's fine. I won't drive an interstate because I hate it. People like me walk into the wrong neighborhood and are victims. So what?

As to what Todd and others say about the rural, look at Athens...remember Detroit '68, or the Rodney King explosion. Where do you want to be on the downside, because it is inevitable in one form or another. That is all these posts were about. I am not a doomer, however, I have a plan that incorporates what I believe and what is possible. I/we (wife and I), might be wrong about our decisions. But it has been fun to do and we are better off for the focus.


Well said. I'm a generalist and I'm fairly proficient in many areas, and even that level of skill took some work. But when I see a real expert there's often no comparison - I'm skilled and experienced just enough to be able to see what I cannot do.

There's a difference between being able to manage some trees on your property and being a full-time lumberman who does nothing but cut down trees. The situation I am talking about is being able to adapt to a rural life out of necessity, not working as a logging company hand. Sorry but cutting down trees on a personal scale isn't a big problem to get around. Fact is, in the Mid-Atlantic, most trees left nowadays just aren't very big. The old growth stuff was almost all logged and almost any modern tree can be cut down by hand if it's really needed to be removed.

Just wanted to note that the three occupations mentioned: Flying, commercial fishing, and commercial forestry are consistently the 3 most dangerous jobs in the U.S (by fatality rate). The rest of the top ten are significantly safer.


The fatalities in these three professions are dominated by single modes (airplane crashes, drowning, and struck by falling object).

My God, this culture...give someone a little information and they are experts. As one ages you learn, if learning is your mindset, that every trade has a level of expertise.

Sure - but the same issue arises here as the previous comments regarding the lumber industry and the fishing industry ... we are not talking about working in those environments, where being on time and on budget with the minimum amount of disruption are critical. We're talking about chopping down the odd tree (or indeed catching the odd fish, or putting up a drywall in your own place when you have to).

There is no doubt IMO, that 80% of any trade (including rocket science and brain surgery, I expect) can be learnt pretty quickly (a few days or a few weeks), and in an environment of economic collapse, in almost all cases 80% will be good enough to meet most demands. Those who demand 100% are up themselves.

I am sceptical indeed about the hallowed skills that tradesmen accrue to themselves - like lawyers and accounts - most of it is arcane BS to keep the punters outside, and paying through the nose for "experts" to provide things you can basically do yourself. Shooting and cleaning a game-bird - how hard is that, ffs? I used to chop the heads of chooks when I was 10 years old, and then clean and pluck them - no big deal.

I did it as a teenager without having had any instructions. Might not have been as safe as I should have, but didn't have any accidents.

Cargill - I suspect you're just teasing a bit: "Being able to chop down a tree is no greater skill..." I grew up a city boy in the French Quarter in New Orleans. When I moved to the country in Texas 30 years ago I learned how to use a CS, a wedge, a schlagel (sp?)and a splitting mall. I mean I eventually learned. And hard earned lessons they were. I also learned how to hunt, trap, clean and cook wild game. All skills which can be learned...in time. Not something you become proficient at in a few weeks or even months.

BTW: fell a tree is the relatively easy part. Sectioning and splitting...now you're talking an important skill. especially if you don't want to burn up more energy than you'll be getting from the wood. LOL. Also BTW: by the time a tree falls on its own it's probably rotten and of little heating value.


"fell a tree is the relatively easy part..."

I met one of the guys at the American Geographical Society giving a talk about going to the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean in a Bathysphere. His line was..

"Getting to the bottom of the Ocean is easy. Lots of guys have done it. The real trick is getting back up to the surface."

It's not surprising, I guess, to see the city-mice and the country-mice sniping at each other, but it does get tiring. Everyone has their strengths.

joker - "...but it does get tiring'. Sometimes if folks take it too serious. But all my life I've been corrected time after time that doing X isn't as easy as I assumed. As someone once said: "There is no job easier than one someone else has to do."

But I do wonder how many folks have an incorrect vision of how easy it will be to make do when TSHTF. I know folks in Houston who think they'll get around on public transport fairly well if it comes to that. But they don't have a clue how truly inadequate the service is for most folks who cruise aound town in their private vehicles. When the find out it takes 2-3 hours to make a trip that would only take 30 minutes by car they'll demand to know why no one warned them.

But they don't have a clue how truly inadequate the service is ...

Yes. Pokey and unreliable almost anywhere, north of $80K total comp for drivers who can't or won't even tell time. Your time-penalty estimate seems about right, although the penalty may be lower (as a ratio anyway) in big-city downtowns where nothing at all can move with any alacrity. Still, even within New York City, 40 minutes by company van (or car, except there's no place to park) vs. 90-100 minutes by transit (more at odd hours), for a 12-mile trip I was familiar with at one time.

...they'll demand to know why no one warned them.

Yes again. And this, indirectly, is why I so often wonder at comments here and elsewhere by folks who seem to think that people are going to make such an absurdly time-consuming change preemptively and voluntarily. Fat chance - maybe a handful of starry-eyed idealists, but really, almost no one is weighed down by such a vast quantity of time that they can imagine no better use for.

Paul - Houston may be close to the worse case scenario in this regard. Long ago I considered taking the bus to work on the west side of Houston. But no direct service to the west side even today. I would have to take the commuter bus ($9 round trip) to d/t Houston first. A "fast" trip since it runs the HOV lane...only 40 minutes. And then transfer to several buses to get to the office on the west side. Best guess for the trip time 2.5-3 hours to cover about 40 miles. By car: 35 minutes and 20 miles. So a one hour r/t commute vs. up to 6 hours.

Even a short 6 or 7 miles inner city trip can take over an hour by bus...and 10 minutes by car. Trains? Yep...if you get caght by one of the local freights add another 20 minutes to the trip. there's a reason d/t condo construction boomed the last 10 years: folks swapped 3,500 sq ft homes in the burgs for 900 sq ft condos/toen homes in the city. Both cost around the same: $350,000.

not to mention crime goes up, guns come out, and suddenly everyone who could previously pass through life behind the protective glass of a private automobile will be out there in it, freaking the f out, and trying to drag home enough to eat. then i guess we'll see what kind of national character all this privilege has bought us over the years.

Yes, it's hard work even with a chainsaw. The chainsaw is probably one of the most effective and useful things one can do with a small amount of fuel, so I think they will be used for a long time yet. I would be willing to pay a lot of money to get the fuel I need to gather my firewood. I'd like to use hand tools, but people who gathered firewood that way did not usually work alone, nor did they do it while maintaining a job that required them to be gone a big portion of the daylight hours. With our fossil fuel energy slave supported isolated living arrangements the speed advantage of a chainsaw is essential. But I am gathering hand saws while I can - I already split by hand.

As for deforestation - yes, we cannot all heat with wood, but then we cannot all do anything without dire consequences because there are too many of us. I only cut dead trees or stuff that has become a problem for some reason. But falling dead or dying trees is MUCH more dangerous. Fortunately a lot of it comes down on its own. And there are a lot of dead trees, as the ashes are all dying from Emerald Ash Borer and Ash Yellows, and other species I notice are stressed. Soon the Sudden Oak Death will be here too. Invasive stuff will come in as the climate changes. The woods will look much different even without people cutting trees down.

Being able to chop down a tree is no greater skill than - say - negotiating the I-15 in Salt Lake City is rush hour, while texting.

Only one of them is legal however.

Indeed - chopping down trees (even on freehold land) has been prohibited in lots of jurisdictions for the last few decades.

Whatever, Todd.

"Skill-sets" just smacks of 90's business seminar-speak to me. It matters not - just a matter of style.

And yes, as a forester and a logger, and someone who has managed his own woodlot for years, many of them using a horse, believe me I am well acquainted with the skills...set involved at every stage of the game.

These skills are learnable. It takes time. So do the social skills of living in the country. Very different from city/suburban life. That's why, if someone really thinks they're gonna make a break to the country, they ought to start as soon as possible. Like, yesterday.

The good ones are very aware of what they don't know, and are eager to remedy that condition. I believe that more people are capable of learning the physical skills than the social ones.

The Greater Depression version of collapse will give people both opportunity and incentive to learn those skills. There's already been in a jump in cooking and gardening. By my own experience, there's a lot more people cutting their own wood, too, just because of higher energy prices. They don't have to, but they want to - to save money. My guess is sewing will be next, if only to maintain garments for longer use.

By my own experience, there's a lot more people cutting their own wood, too, just because of higher energy prices.

I know, I know. This is what our wooded hills will look like a few years after the collapse. It makes me want to cry everytime I think about it. This is Haiti now and what the whole world world will look like in perhaps 50 years or so. The tragedy of overshoot is not just a human tragedy, it is a tragedy for all life on earth.


Ron P.

I thought that photo was from Afghanistan!

At least, unlike some coal companies, they left the mountaintop in place, though no doubt erosion will get to work on that...

It is amazing to use Google Earth to look at Haiti and Dominican. In some places, the border is clearly visible with grey on the left, and green on the right...

I thought that photo was from Afghanistan!

I thought it was a painting.

And I agree. This is the inevitable outcome of peak fossils. If we keep burning, climate change will kill the forests, if we stop, we will kill the forests.

It looks a lot better then Oregon. In Oregon they completely trash the land pulling out the trees, no grass, nothing but a moonscape is left. They just leave little strips of trees next to the major highways to make it seem like there is still a lot of forest left.


And I keep posting links to TLUD stoves as a way to use small bits of complex carbs as fuel.

I hadn't noticed your TLUD (Top Lit UpDraft) links, you mean stuff like these;


There have been a lot of "aid projects" over the years, each reinventing the wheel on small wood stoves. These things are great, foolproof, clean burning, cheap, and can be made in any 3rd world country. I am continually amazed that they haven;t caught on, and that "aid" projects are still being done with them.

Tis OK if they are un-noticed - those who apply a filter to my posts are those who apply a filter.

Nothing I can do if the masses opt to throw out a message because of the messenger.

http://www.gtz.de/de/dokumente/giz2011-en-micro-gasification.pdf is a fine collection of the options.

No filtering here - not consciously, anyway.

Great report at that link, thanks very much.

I started experimenting with biochar making last fall - the "5G toucan " and will be adding that to all my compost from here on. Wanted to use the 5G for a barbecue heat source, but puts out too much heat!

Made a 1G for that and works a treat. Might make a tall version of the 1G, to give a longer burn time, and use for roasting/smoking.

for a different sort of wood/charcoal BBQ, and very cute one at that, check out this one made from recycled propane cylinders;


Really nice article. Thanks for the link. Bookmarked.

I think it has to compete with the three-rock fire. These stoves are metal. The really nice one, with a separate gasifier, costs $700... but it's really nice! Some are pots and cans. The ones without the draw of a chimney use electric fans.

The hardest problems to solve are the simple ones. Adding the clean-burning "wood" (cellulose) stove to the human's bag-o-tricks would be quite the accomplishment. Something that can be made with rock, dirt, water, hide, and bone... and without a huge investment. Portable or abandonable would be very nice! I've seen fired-clay ones. The silliest one I've seen was made by Volvo or Saab. It looked like an Auxiliary Power Unit with lots of wires in a tube-frame.

The three-rock fire is hard to beat. However, it kills 1,000,000 children a year by particulate induced pneumonias. The fires are burned indoors, in thatched huts. The smoke kills the parasitic beetles that live in the thatched roofs. It is a complicated problem.

"Rocket" stove... just an incremantally better stove than 3-rocks:

Three Rock Fire:

Something that can be made with rock, dirt, water, hide, and bone... and without a huge investment.

As I posted elsewhere in this Drumbeat:


Note the made from brick version at the bottom.

I flew over hills in South America. Hill after hill like that with the older ones bare earth where the land was giving way and being washed into the towns below as mud flows.


10% of world energy consumption is already traditional subsistence fuels.

if only to maintain garments for longer use

The easiest way to lengthen clothes useful life (cotton fabrics) is to use a solar clothes dryer.

Lint is clothes dissolving. Slightly damp cotton is flexible, resilient and quite resistant to breaking. Artificially dried and heated cotton becomes brittle. Thus dryer lint.

My observation is that clothes (other than socks) last twice as long is line dried.

Best Hopes for Longer Lived Clothes,


My experience is the opposite, though that might be because the sun is a lot stronger in the tropics.

Dry in the shade! You don't need sun, just dry air and a breeze.


But how to get dry air, in the tropics?

My dad has been known to dry clothes indoors, by turning an electric fan on them.

In the summer, New Orleans has tropical humidity. Still, most days, clothes get "dry enough" outside. And on rainy days, the a/c reduces humidity (increased energy use) enough to dry them inside.

One key is never getting cotton extremely dry. It becomes brittle then.


You can't get it any dryer than the air. Even if you did it would be just as damp again in a few minutes. Sometimes I have to leave stuff up to the next day but usually the trick is to hit the times when the hummidity is lowest. In summer, the mornings are usually lower humidity then it builds up until the storms late afternoon/evening, the morning is the time to do the drying in the shade. How damp do cloths get when you ear them? I weighed a T-shirt after cycling it was 100g heavier than a dry one, 1/10 litre of sweat!


I've been looking towards re-routing the output of my solar-hot-air panels into Cedar Closets, so you can hang up your wet clothes and they get dried right in their closets, (moisture/heat vented either out or in, as you prefer) keeping them out of the sun, the worst of the traffic and furnace precipitates, and the Seagull and Squirrel poop! AND, they're already put away! One less step in the laundry run..

As ever.. heavier on investment, but solid on steady returns, in several areas.

This would be the down side to apartment living.

Lower baseline energy footprint due to shared services with my neighbors, but I don't *get* to do neat projects like this.

When I rented, I was at least happy to know that the building services were shared, offering efficiencies not seen in private houses..

Now as a landlord, I look forward to doing such things for the buildings as a whole.. I've even considered turning the tumbling dryer in my 3-unit into a 'Solar Hot Air Fed' tumbler.. It would dry a bit slower, probably, and have to be timed to run loads on sunny days.. but would be one unit available to all the tenants. (I provide Laundry in my building. Good incentive to get that dryer off the mains!) ..

The closet idea is fun, and 'could' be applied to a closet in each apartment, I suppose. (Where tenants might have the option of feeding it with a space heater when necessary..) It leaves me wondering if it would need some kind of agitating Hanging Rods so the clothes didn't dry too stiff..? Just Spitballing.. my love-hate relationship with complexity. "It's Complicated.."

We used to have an "airing cupboard" in our house in England. Simply, this is an empty space near the water heater, for the purposes of drying clothes.

Of course a bit of classic ECCLESIASTES comes appropriately to mind..

'There's nothing new under the Sun.'

Heh...otoh, the house also had a chute into the cellar for coal delivery. Don't think I'd want that back.

I lived in a house years ago with a gas furnace situated in a closet that had enough space to safely dry a few articles of clothing on cold, rainy days.

On a trip to Jamaica, I recall having to air laundry on a line all day, then take everything down and carefully fold it into baskets, and then put them up to finish drying all day) on day 2 . . .

All that fluff and lint that has to be cleaned from the catcher screen? That's your clothing being abraded away. Air dried clothing lasts much longer, minus being cooked in direct sun, that is.

I actually don't find a lot of lint from cotton. Washers and dryers are much more gentle than they used to be.

I always clean the lint screen before and after each load, and there's just not that much lint. The first time you wash new cotton sheets you might get some lint, but after that, hardly anything. IME, synthetics produce a lot more lint than cotton. Especially things like fleece sweatshirts.

Plastic fibers are showing up in sea water:

"A polyester garment can shed >1900 plastic microfibers per wash"
"the worst offenders were the fleeces."

"Polyester fleece has been touted as a good environmental choice because it can be manufactured out of recycled plastic bottles, but these new findings on microplastics put a whole new slant on the sustainability of any polyester fabrics."

Accumulation of microplastic on shorelines woldwide: sources and sinks.


Greening Laundry Day: Avoid Polyester Fabrics

Yeah.. this news has been a big chunk to swallow.

I've been in fleece for years, but have started to force myself to disconnect, and get back into wearing the fine wool sweaters and other natural fibres that I used to wear. (Wearing one of the 'Mom' sweaters today.. may it last a long time!)

I'm wondering if, to keep the teeny fibres from ALL getting into the sea, we'll have to melt down all our PolarTek Fleeces and turn them back into bottles..?? Ultimately bury them with the Fuel Rods..

It's a mental trap. So is it better to use cotton and wool? And what are the environmental costs of raising sheep and cotton? I think it's just an illustration of the fact that there are so many of us we cannot even wash our clothes without a big negative impact on our environment. That, and the complexity of everything we do is so high it verges on impossible to determine which approach has the least impact, at least for the individual. So we could rely on experts, but there is usually enough money at stake that you can bet the answers you got that way would be manipulated for personal gain. What a mess.

I heard another one of those "GEEZ WIZ" numbers today: to bring the world's population up to the standard of Appalachian poverty, something like $14,000/year for a family of four, would take several earths worth of resources.

Australia has a deep cultural commitment to drying clothes on a line in the sun (a good climate for it of course - with all lines in the direct sun), and people who live in apartments with only tumble driers are sort of pitied a bit. We are also appalled by (mostly American) reports of neighbourhoods that have a ban on clothes lines in the back yard, or elsewhere. That's what the sun is for!

"Dry clothes" is all relative - as others have mentioned. After ten years of living in tropical Darwin, where the climate ranges from hot and extremely humid to hot and slightly less humid, we moved to Perth - a very dry desert heat indeed. Once in Perth, all our clothes suddenly felt drenched - even though for years we had considered that "dry" - and it was fun to watch them gradually dry out and get lighter.

This is the good thing about it going so much more slowly than so many others have predicted. Two years ago I bought 50 railroad ties and cut them up (with a bow-saw, oh my!) to create 4 terraced raised beds 4ft tall, as my property is just one big slope with no level areas and I've had to integrate it into the hillside, much more convenient and looks nicer that way too. I've become an avid gardener since then. Not enough to feed myself by any means (I eat 13 times a day), but even this past weekend I was harvesting carrots, lettuce, arugula, parsley, and cilantro with how mild the winter has been this year in the DC area. I didn't even plant my carrots from seed until November and they're already 3" long without any covering or mulching whatsoever.

Last summer I had so many beans and peas that my neighbors and I were doing food swaps. My wife and I also managed to do our first ever canning with veggies this past fall, it was quite easy and I'm still enjoying pickles even now.

I'm planning on ordering another 20-40 RR ties in the next week or two to build 2-3 more beds. The biggest learning experience I took away from doing it the first time was that I did all the work in March before the leaves had come out...and miscalculated the shadow cast by my house in the summer, so my existing beds get too much shade to grow the most sun-loving crops. Nonetheless, the world hasn't ended yet and this year promises to be even more productive than last year!

Yours is the best reason, not doomer prep, but personal satisfaction. The change will last longer.

"Whatever, Todd." I'm not into snark these days. Good luck.

There was completely and utterly no snark intended, and I don't see where you found it. Please remove chip from shoulder. I was simply trying to develop these ideas regarding people wanting to make a break to the country. Kindly get over yourself. Jeez, you are one touchy son of a gun.

Good luck to you. Even though you are clearly the biggest and baddest and only-est mountain man around here with a valid opinion, you're still gonna need it. Now THAT was snark, my friend.

If Peak Oil means we all go back to chopping wood, the world is done for. The forests will last about 45 seconds.

It wouldn't be quite that bad I don't think, but until the coal deliveries resumed there'd not be much an option for most people - many of whom would be unable to do a damned thing about it.

First to go would be the sick, then the old, the infirm, the weak ... and as each unfortunate group died off there'd be more trees left for the rest.

Also, let's not forget all those 2x4s holding up all the foreclosed homes ...

McMansions, the new fuel.


NOAM, have you ever burned a piece of car interior? Oh, man. It's an aggressive fire with billowing black smoke. The black smoke means the open-air can't get enough oxygen to it. Smoke is unburnt fuel. Some of it is toxic. These things are rolling funeral pyres. But, they contain a huge amount of energy... just like all the furnishings and carpets of a McMansion. Forced-air?

This means you need a way to force air into the fire. Some sort of a fan arrangement. Add a boiler and a steam turbine to it, you get electricity to run the fan, and surplus for your own operations.

I once, before I knew anything about oil, put a plastic cookie yar on the glow bed of a dieing fire. The flames was high, very bright and lasted a long while. I was impressed by the energy content of that fuel, compared with anything made from wood.

That's where I came across the idea of using HDPE for fuel. I would toss various trash into my wood-stove (not a good thing to do). Some plastics were awful... a real mistake. But HDPE milk-jugs burned clean, hot, and smelled like burning candles. There is an amazing amount of energy in a milk-jug.

If you are going to burn plastics, HDPE is a good choice because the combustion products are not much different than burning fuel oil. The only dangerous one is carbon monoxide, which is a hazard with any fuel containing carbon.

Don't, whatever you do, burn polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It produces some very nasty chemicals including dioxins. It also produces hydrogen chloride gas which will corrode away your stove. This is a problem in municipal waste incinerators - PVC fumes eating holes in them.

Thanks for the tip!

Some plastics, including those containing nitrogen, release cyanide when burned. ABS and polyurethane are examples.

The trick only works with HDPE or the polyethylenes. They can be decomposed into liquid fuels.

Really nice little book:
"Simple Methods for Identification of plastics"

The carpet recyclers had an interesting gadget. They held it to the carpet roll and it told them its opinion as to what it was and made a mark.

Plenty of wood fittings, doors, floors, joists, framing etc ;)


Can I just point out that throughout history, and across all geographic locales, the subsistence farmer has always been at the bottom of the pile.

Do you think TEOTWAWKI is going to be any different?

If you do, have a think about the ways you could be wrong.

Subsistence farmers at the bottom of someone else's perceived pile? What's so bad about being at "the bottom of the pile"? Greer considers it an advantage; part of his voluntary poverty plan. You aren't perceived as having much worth taking, but committed enough to defend what you have, you are already subsisting/persisting so there's little adjustment required, your most valuable connections are generally social (I've known some astoundingly loyal, happy and helpful folks at the bottom), the view doesn't change much; keeps one focused on what's important, and what little pride they allow themselves is genuine. Those who you view as occupying the "bottom" may well find themselves as "king of the hill" as they watch status and hubris fail those around them.

It reminds me of the PBS show "Mountain Talk" about life in the southern Appalachians before TVA and the Feds came in and changed things. One old woman was talking about how deep and rich and difficult their lives were. "We didn't know we was poor until the Government came in and told us we were".

I loved whatever country life I experienced as a child. Although strictly speaking it was a sparsely populated town not a village. Would I enjoy going back to that life, maybe. I have come to realize that cities offer things which villages don't and I am not talking about the conveniences of modern life. In a village (which is not going through a crisis) there is very little time that people can spare for leisure which means less time for intellectual pursuits and reduced exposure to external ideas, also there is a huge pressure to conform to societal norms which gives rise to dogma and religious extremism.
I enjoy the privacy and independence that city life gives me. Parting with it is going to be loaded choice for me.

Considering all this, is it a surprise to know that great civilizations grew up around cities, not villages. No. Well designed cities also happen to have a lower ecological footprint per capita. IMO if civilization is to truly progress, going back to the villages is not going to be a solution as some commentators claim.

"Considering all this, is it a surprise to know that great civilizations grew up around cities, not villages."

Well, the definition of a 'city' may have changed a bit. Most of the Greek city-states had fewer than 50,000 people in them, and those were divided into smaller 'demes' or 'demoi', essentially towns of about 500 each.

These were the birth places of Western Civilization.

And there is much discussion about how sustainable a city can be. Derrick Jensen, among others, claims that the very definition of city is an area with a population so high that it unsustainable within its own boundaries. Nearly all cities above one million before 1800 were the centers of empires.

I say this as a happy inhabitant of cities myself. You can live with very little driving, etc, but many in the most dense cities such as Manhattan live very high impact lives because they are well enough off to consume mass quantities in various ways, even though they don't own their own car...

It is a love-hate relationship with the cities. People have been writing about this since cities appeared. I love the city, but it is too much. I love the beautiful far-away outdoors, buy it is too hard when I'm old, and too lonely. The village is nice, but there is no privacy... and other people's tragedies, like alcoholism or meth, touch your life. So, I travel.

Your list is of a generalist. (And one can weld, but without $400 for the blue nosed wrench, you ain't gonna get far)

Most of the people who have made a pile of money "in the city" have done this by being specialists.

All of this has been a good discussion BR - thanks for bringing it up.

Just my two cents - I read Stoneleigh (and her partner) as well as Kunstler, Greer, Heinberg, and yes even Yergin. But I do not read them to get their exact predictions of when the economy will crash or the precise moment of the oil peak. None of them know that - they are all trying to describe their views of the future.

I enjoyed watching a Colin Campbell interview once and the interviewer asked him if his predictions of the oil peak have been correct. Without batting an eye he said something like "all of my exact predictions will be wrong". And he said it in a way that it was clear that he thought that was obvious.

That is the nature of trying to figure out the future of the world. Civilization is an extremely complex multi-dimensional adaptive feedback and feedforward system. Most humans can only handle a few variables at a time.

But I learn a lot by reading and listening to Stoneleigh. And she has convinced me that "extend and pretend" will fail in the near future. I am just not sure when "near" is.

Definitely. I guess I prefer those---like Campbell does like you point out---who admit uncertainty about their forecasts, that are willing to go back to previous forecasts and understand why they were right or wrong, and how that informs future forecasts.

Without doing that, the Automatic Earth is just a perma-bear doomer site that never says anything new. I used to get a lot out of reading it, but I haven't seen much new from them in a long time. Stoneleigh's writing partner is far worse in that regard in that I don't think I've ever heard him acknowledge the possibility of economic recovery or a market rally, even for a short amount of time.

Taking a step back, news or information is just that only when it conveys something unexpected. If it was expected, there was no reason to read it. Sites with high information content are ones where they're quick on their feet re-evaluating the situation as it progresses. Sites with low information content are ones by perma-bulls and perma-bears---you know what they're going to say before you read it.

Just replying to you - not TO YOU - because you mention Greer so it provides an excuse ;-).

I have not kept up with him as much as I would like, but coincidentally there was a post on ZeroHedge today that triggered one of those - aha moments - Greer and more to the point his writings on catabolic collapse.

The link is to a Jan 2011 posting of his - a whole year ago. A long time - nope. A link to his original paper is included there as well.

The Onset of Catabolic Collapse

As it is said "timing is everything" and "the market can remain irrational a lot longer than anyone can remain solvent". I think it was Jamie Dimon who said in paraphrase to expect financial crisis about every seven years and it may have been Denninger (not sure) who suggested the time between major crisis seems to be shrinking. Some who venture out on this forecasting cliff think maybe 2012-2013. I frankly dunno, but I'd suggest for all the "feel good economy" there seems to be - to some - there is also much turmoil under the covers. Forget the TV (ugh) show last night - maybe 60 Minutes - where several world ratings for such things as child poverty and wealth inequality place the USA pretty far down the list. But I digress...

My point - and I am as guilty of it as any - is that I often think of timing in terms of (my) lifetime when in fact somethings take much longer to evolve.

From the link above:

That being the case, the question is simply when to place the first wave of catabolism in America – the point at which crises bring a temporary end to business as usual, access to real wealth becomes a much more challenging thing for a large fraction of the population, and significant amounts of the national infrastructure are abandoned or stripped for salvage. It’s not a difficult question to answer, either.

The date in question is 1974.

That was the year when the industrial heartland of the United States, a band of factories that reached from Pennsylvania and upstate New York straight across to Indiana and Michigan, began its abrupt transformation into the Rust Belt.

1974 - and we're still here today though I think closer to a major sea change than we are from our supposed hey days.



The catabolic collapse model is a very good hypothesis.

We have been churning through resources, and destroying our governing and monetary systems here at the top, trying to sustain the impossible. So Ugo Bardi's "Seneca Cliff" Model might be a better model.

Or...maybe we're already 40 years into that sea change. Only most people haven't noticed.

"Or...maybe we're already 40 years into that sea change. Only most people haven't noticed."

Good point. How long until people noticed the Renaissance?

The Dark ages officially started with the Fall of Rome, but when did the the people in Londinium start to notice that the trade ships from Rome were getting scarce?

BAU seldom makes step-changes. When it does (The Black Death, fall of the Bastille) then it tends to be famous.

Greer uses the example of the French Revolution.

One of the lessons of history is that change, no matter how drastic it appears on the pages of history books, is rarely anything like so sudden for those who live through it. Read an account of the French Revolution, for example, and events seem to follow one another like bangs from a string of firecrackers from the final crisis of the Ancien Régime straight through to the fall of Napoleon. For the man or woman in the French street, though, these happenings were scattered threads in a fabric of months and years woven from the plainer cordage of ordinary life.

Partly this is a function of the way historical narrative compresses time. It bears remembering that a teenage Parisienne who sat daydreaming of her upcoming wedding on the day that Louis XVI summoned the États-General in 1788 would most likely have been a grandmother on the day the Allied armies marched into Paris after the battle of Waterloo in 1815. Equally, though, it’s rare for historical events to have the same apparent importance at the time that they are assigned in the historian’s hindsight, not least because the everyday process of making a living and moving through the stages of human existence plays a larger role in most lives than the occasional tumults that make the history books.

I think it's less and less likely we'll have a big stair step down. That is, events are unfolding even more slowly than Greer thought they might. The stair steps down are local events, and are often followed by stair steps up, so the general trend is not obvious.

I think it's less and less likely we'll have a big stair step down. That is, events are unfolding even more slowly than Greer thought they might. The stair steps down are local events, and are often followed by stair steps up, so the general trend is not obvious.

This is something that the community as a whole would do well to discuss openly and clearly. Greer was among those who argued that things will unfold very slowly (relative to others who expected fast collapse). But if even he thought things would go faster than they are / will, then we're in need of some serious re-evaluation of the trajectory of decline.

It might be worth having a thread on exactly that question: in light of the slow decline we've seen so far and seems likely going forward, how does that change our forecasts of what might happen and how fast?

Well, that dialog is happening really - including here. I've come to understand for a while now that this is going to be a long, slow, grinding process, but I would not write off the possibility of some bigger steps down. Bigger events, or perhaps a confluence of several, do happen sometimes. The creation of the rust belt is an example. The effects from them may be somewhat reversed after a bit, but they'll still leave an impression. Sometimes events in the big picture move just a little bit slower than they do in our personal lives, and so they don't really seem that fast - but look back 12 years and see the pace of change. A person from 12 years ago transported to today would likely be in shock.

It's also important to remember that things will not happen evenly in time or place or among demographic groups. If I lose my job and home that's big step down for me, but you may not notice.

Absent in the past, but available today are technological accelerants like nuclear weapons, monocrops, bioweapons, and global warming, dependence on non-renewable energy, tenuous distribution channels for energy and resources and so on. In addition we have businesses that rely upon economies of scale being put to death by customer abandonment. As gold was made illegal to own during the last depression, perhaps PV and home gardens will be made illegal, just to make sure the local utility and mega-food producers stay in business. If enough people do escape the system, by choice and by poverty, then the infrastructure will not be supported, or will be supported for a while as the bond holders lose. Unfortunately, even if economies of scale businesses survive by shafting their creditors, they will be unable to maintain infrastructure by issuing more debt in the future and will perish anyway.

A human can die slowly with a chronic disease or they can go fast with a heart attack, or both. But technological civilization exists more like a fungus on the landscape and can survive more loss than a highly integrated organism. Perhaps we could lose 99% of our population and infrastructure (mycelium) and those doomer spores would hatch from their doomsteads and start the growth process all over again, although on a greatly depleted petri dish.

Yeah, Dopa, I think many folks over-estimate the resilience of the interconnected systems we've become so reliant upon, and discount the fragility factor. We've had these discussions many times, about hyper-complexity, specialized systems and cascade effects that can occur when just a few of these systems fail. Highly centralized systems are more prone to catastrophic failure, especially when they've been over-optimized and pushed to (often beyond) their limits.

Witness the desperation with which the Euro-zone, et al, are addressing the Greek situation; a relatively small/minor economy who's debt is tiny when compared to the overall debt of developed nations. Few folks understand the overshoot of claims against resources; financial, planetary, infrastructural, social,, and even less understood is the level of connectedness and the inter-reliance that these systems have, and require to function. What happens when firewalls fail?

So, IMO, it's this house-of-cards condition we find ourselves in, versus our ability to adapt to change (or muddle through) and inertia which will likely prove to be counter-productive. Can humans adapt and cooperate well enough to keep their fingers in the dike of catabolic collapse? Or will new cracks, some unseen, begin to form, eventually converging to overwhelm the system; catastrophic breakdown? I'll give 50/50 odds at this point. Meantime, I'm seeking higher ground, if only to enjoy the view for a time.

My pharmacy keeps a one-day, maybe, supply on the shelves. Just-In-Time logistics makes for a very brittle system.

Absent in the past, but available today are technological accelerants like nuclear weapons, monocrops, bioweapons, and global warming, dependence on non-renewable energy, tenuous distribution channels for energy and resources and so on.

Back before the harness of Fossil Fuels the range of ranged weapons was limited. So one used to be able to 'relocate' out of a range of fire if one wanted. Cannons made the old fortifications model not useful. And the introduction of better steels and a bit more tech WRT rifling and better gunpowder ment it took more effort to be out of range.

Being downrange isn't helpful.

Today with .50 cal and scopes, one can reach out and touch a man from over a mile away. One can't hide behind a cinder brick wall if one is downrange of .50 cal rounds. Reaper drones extend that 'reach out and touch' someone ability. While the original list is mass effect, the micro effect technology is just as deadly.

As gold was made illegal to own during the last depression.

Urban myth.

Executive Order 6102

is an Executive Order signed on April 5, 1933, by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt "forbidding the Hoarding of Gold Coin, Gold Bullion, and Gold Certificates within the continental United States". The order criminalized the possession of monetary gold by any individual, partnership, association or corporation.

Defiantly not a myth. The vast majority of people complied and turned in their gold. Even though they didn't actually confiscate any, and no one was ever prosecuted for owning gold.

Maybe technically it wasn't illegal. It was however impossible for Me to purchase gold bullion before 1975.

You seem to keep insisting that we challenge any of the predictions that say 'Something could happen fast.'

Guess what? Things can go either way. Consider taking any and all forecasts with the appropriate grain of salt, and realize that many are trying to be 'more ready' for the quicker, worst-case contingencies, since those would be the hardest hits, while the 'maybe it won't be so hard' predictions don't really have any more actual Predictive Weight, but they do have less imminent pressure.

I think it's prudent to keep both options in mind, without preference or prejudice.

I think it might make sense to give more weight to one option over another, based on how things have unfolded in the past, and how they are unfolding now.

Greer pointed out that in past collapses, it wasn't sudden. They happened over generations.

The argument was then raised that this time it's different: our civilization is far more fragile than Easter Island or the Roman Empire.

But so far, it isn't different this time. We've seen $100 oil, which some predicted would mean we'd all be living in caves scrounging for mushrooms. We've seen a global financial crisis, complete with warnings about "tanks in the streets." No collapse, no hyperinflation. The 2010 Super Bowl went as scheduled, as did 2011's and 2012's.

Does it mean overnight collapse is impossible? No, but I do think it means it is less and less likely. Our society is not as fragile as some feared. It doesn't mean BAU will continue forever, but it does suggest that no, this time things are not different.


"Does it mean overnight collapse is impossible? No, but I do think it means it is less and less likely."

It makes me think just the opposite. Overnight collapse becomes more and more likely the longer collapse is delayed. While we barely manage to run in place for a little while longer, all of our dilemmas just get deeper by the day. Creative finance and fracking can only work for so much longer. Eventually debt and depletion will overwhelm us. We are not seeing a slow collapse beginning to unfold. This is simply the prelude to collapse.

I thought that too for awhile. But given history - the best predictions are made by looking at what happened before - I have to wonder if that's simply wrong.

How long does BAU have to continue before you change your mind? If in 5 or 15 or 50 years, we're still in this "prelude to collapse," would that change your mind about the speed of it?


"If in 5 or 15 or 50 years, we're still in this "prelude to collapse," would that change your mind about the speed of it?"

No. A rapid collapse is the ultimate outcome whether it begins now or in 5 years. I think 15 or 50 is highly unrealistic. The only thing that can realistically slow things down is a really severe recession and that would eventually lead to a fast collapse anyway. The area under Duncan's curve will be the same in any case. The longer it takes to begin, the worse collapse will be.

I have a compromise: What about a gradual decline, with minor sudden collpses sprinkled on top? A war, a famine, a large corportion or bank goes bust, some infrastructure fails with lots of dead victims, a small nation get the message they will get no more oil, some harvest failures, weather disasters, a village in Bangladesh gets sweeped away an no one ever sees them again, etc.

All while people slowly lose jobs, those who have them will get poorer anyway, the list of very rich people shortens, air travel lose numbers every year etc.

Sounds like what Greer referred to as "stair steps down."

But one thing I think people miss is that's not necessarily one way. A stair step down might be followed by a stair step up. Many of the rust belt cities have reinvented themselves - Pittsburgh, for example, which is vibrant and beautiful now. New Orleans recovered from Katrina. Many (though not all) markets are rebounding from the housing collapse.

I appreciate that, and it's why I don't personally make the darkest kinds of claims, and do put some feedback to those who tend to be the most obstinate in their projections.. but I'm also not really convinced that it's not really different. There are factors of scale, and of dependence on distant essential supplies, on seemingly arbitrary economic factors, on technology. (The idea that so many systems and exchanges are now hanging on Windows Computers and Internet/Phone Connections.. "Who printed out the phone numbers this month? Anyone? Do we still have a local map around here?" -brittle!)

I do think the interconnections of people make things more resilient as well.. and I don't feel that I need to advocate for some kind of 'collapse' that is immediate and universal. Sudden bits of it can be happening all over the place, but leaving neighbors unaffected. I just think a lot of this has 'Disaster waiting to happen' written all over it, as with my comments on Fission earlier today. But like with a slo-mo train wreck.. you can have one piece of steel that's crumpled completely, surrounded by four others that are unmarred.

Anyway.. moderation in all things.. especially blogging!

Happy Val-day, Leanan, while I'm thinking of it!~

Athens are Cairo are burning. There are tanks in Syrian streets. There's nothing catabolic about it. These societies are not 5% poorer this year with prospects of being 5% poorer next year. These societies have hit hard stops. Insufficient wheat and petroleum = less people.


You are right. The Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street thing are great examples illustrating the fact that the system cannot possibly shrink evenly and gradually. There are too many ways for a cascading collapse to get started and, over time, less and less ability to keep the wheels on. For example, I do not think that the financial system can remain stable enough for much longer to finance a smooth and stable decline of oil production.

I think that others have suggested, and I agree, that the fast collapse vs. slow collapse debate would be a very exciting and useful thing to do here on the oil drum. There is a little too much polite agreeing to disagree on this specific topic. I believe that we may be running out of time sufficiently settle this most important of topics once and for all, before the FAST collapse begins and the internet goes off.

But that's not really unexpected in those countries. Look back at the news, and protests were common in Greece even before peak oil. It's what they do. Tanks on Syrian streets are also not surprising.

If you said in 2000 that peak oil was coming and it would mean protests in Greece and tanks on the streets in Syria, people would have yawned. Mad Max, it's not.

Gosh Leanan, I guess it depends on your time frame and point of view, but overall Greek unemployment has risen over 250% in 3 1/2 years, even more for their youth, and it's certain to get worse. Since many of these folks were only marginally employed, relying on government subsidies, they didn't have much wiggle room to begin with. Now that these subsidies are being curtailed, it may seem like catastrophic collapse to many there. But that's just Greece...

"Tanks on the streets in Syria" is minimizing things as well, IMO. Try "leveling their own cities and massacring thousands of their own citizens, women and children included" on for size. But that's just Syria....

The situation in nuclear Pakistan has deteriorated dramatically over the last decade. Iraq is far from stable, as is Egypt. Iran... Yemen... Bahrain...

As Greenish alluded to, the tender is very dry in many parts of the forest. "Mad Max, it's not", but the potential is significant. Virtually all of these examples represent long festering predicaments without solutions; tensions and imbalances that must resolve themselves, likely in chaotic fashion. This is global, and unprecedented in many ways. Comparisons to history have limited usefulness, IMO. The Romans didn't have high-speed, instantaneous networking; Napoleonic era societies weren't utterly reliant on oil; Hitler didn't have nukes.

My point is that things like that are not unprecedented. They aren't even clearly connected to peak oil.

The housing bubble was going to burst, with or without peak oil. Maybe its creation was related to peak oil, but I don't think that's clear. It was very similar to what happened with the Great Depression, and peak oil certainly wasn't an issue then.

It might be that high energy prices will mean economies can't recover like they might have before...but at this point, it's just speculation.

Yes, there are troubled areas around the world, but there always have been.

All good points. The western economies have certainly proved more resilient to high oil prices than expected however we cannot overlook the explosion of debt that is occurring before our eyes. Furthermore what we have now is only the plateau of world crude oil production. The true acid test in my opinion of whether there will be a slow or fast collapse will come when global crude oil begins its decline in earnest. When that happens not only will there be a overall decline in production but the the decline of global net oil exports will increase considerably. This will undoubtedly create a surge in world oil prices and not only that but such shortages will bring about the perception of shortage. It is normal human psychology - when a resource becomes scarce - to begin hoarding. Such behaviour can only serve to exacerbate existing problems (which will arise).

Now consider that when this point is reached the western countries will be burdened by unprecedented amounts of debt. How will these economies be able to withstand these inevitable shocks? That is the big question. I would generally agree with you, for now at least. So long as world global crude oil production remains static then most economies will muddle along and most of the deterioration will be felt by peripheral participants to the world economy namely countries such as Greece etc and the youth and older members of society. As this deterioration progresses however we will see more and more core functions beginning to act in a more dysfunctional manner (read larger economies or less marginal sectors of the workforce). Once a certain point is reached the economy is likely to experience some sort of tipping point were conditions deteriorate quite rapidly. I doubt this would result in a total system collapse but it will be one that is acknowledged and people will realise the old BAU will not be possible. At which point we may see a BAU-light world but that would only last for a few more years as we muddle along yet again before another collapse occurs.

In short, what I am suggesting is a intermediate scenario of slow downturns followed by massive, and most important, noticeable step downs. The so called stair-case model of collapse.

The idea that we can cause extinction (a final form of collapse) in tens of thousands of species, wipe out the fish stock in the oceans, cause collapse in amphibian species, nearly wipe out our nearest primate relatives and seriously damage cetacean populations while putting our own collapse beyond the horizon, is somehow disingenuous. To imagine that the collapse of Rome is a sufficient model for our current predicament is foolhardy. We are on a linear path of destruction that started long before Rome was established and will reach its culmination soon.

The imbalances caused by technology and tool use, prying ever greater amounts of energy and resources from living and non-living gradients will soon decline. Technology will fail at facilitating greater growth and consumption. We seem to strive for a radioactive, Venusian hell that not even resilient cockroaches could survive. Our overwhelming confidence correlates well with the gaps in our cognition. Maybe, at this point, it is justified in concluding that we are basically insane or in my most generous evaluation, unconscious.

I think it's less and less likely we'll have a big stair step down. That is, events are unfolding even more slowly than Greer thought they might. The stair steps down are local events, and are often followed by stair steps up, so the general trend is not obvious.

I think that once human minds allow themselves to contemplate the possibility of "collapse", the potential severity of such outcomes causes those scenarios to acquire more subjective immediacy than is warranted. (I mean immediacy of the collapse happening; obviously beginning to plan and act immediately for an eventual crash is a good idea). I can recall otherwise intelligent people telling me that within 50 years society would be out of aluminum and having to use rocks and sticks, to which I noted that my aluminum roof would still be under warranty most of that time.

On the other hand, there are a number of ways in which abrupt large stairsteps down might occur. The fact that its a little hard to hold both possibilities in one's mind simultaneously doesn't make it less true. Our global society currently has so much connectivity that cascading collapses are quite possible. It's like those forests which have had fire unnaturally suppressed, and now are loaded with brush and dense overgrowth. Any given acre may have a fairly low chance of burning in a given year, but super-fires can happen and be triggered by very small causes. I'd say this is pretty analogous to the pre-WWI alliances, or the fact that all the world's economies, food flows, energy flows etc are now one big system.

For instance, at 61 years old I may gradually get more decrepit and die at 90. Or I may have clot, arrhythmia, infection, aneurism, may choke on food, may get killed by a truck, may drown, etc, which takes me out or screws me up drastically within a week. Speaking now, there is no correct answer, because these outcomes all tend to propagate from tiny, even microscopic events or inherently unpredictable chains of happenstance. Our existence is probabilistic in terms of these unknowns, and even probabilistic at the base quantum level where unknowns don't come into play. There are various abrupt "phase shifts" possible, for a human body, for an ecosystem, for human society.

I suppose the art and craft is trying to model the probabilities, imperfectly, before the fact. That's arguably best expressed by assigning probabilities, assessing volatility and connectivity, etc.

I like Greer and Leanan's input because it counterbalances those who are sure that things will go all apocalyptic in the near term.... even though they might.

Myself, I'm fine to remain agnostic on the short-term human prospects and to focus on the larger impacts on the earth's life systems over thousands to millions of years. The CO2 experiment is a very bad idea for humans and extant large species, this is reasonably knowable. Any species, genus, etc which is extinguished during the human overshoot crisis is gone as an evolutionary lineage, and that's a truth. That overshoot crisis will probably occur in the next 50-200 years because the low-eroei energy & resources and the complexity which underlie our population overshoot will not be around. Those intermediate and longer-term likelihoods are probably where we should focus, because as predicaments they are less subject to stochastic noise and path dependency.

just my morning 2 cents worth...

Great points.

And if you read Tainter's twist on "collapse" in his "Collapse of Complex Societies" - he defines it as a gradual reduction in complexity rather than some kind of transition to "Mad Max". So even the word collapse means different things to different folks.

And just because it collapses here does not mean it collapses there. A lot of high-tech places could just withdraw unto themselves. A lot of low-tech places never noticed all the noise of the rest of the world anyway.

For instance, at 61 years old I may gradually get more decrepit and die at 90. Or I may have clot, arrhythmia, infection, aneurism, may choke on food, may get killed by a truck, may drown, etc, which takes me out or screws me up drastically within a week.

That's actually how I think about it, too. Like one of those tables that show expected lifespan. Your expected lifespan actually increases as you get older; if you're 30, you're not going to die of SIDS.

Similarly, we know $100 oil doesn't lead to Mad Max. There may be other things that do, but as we pass more and more danger points without things "going nonlinear," as Stuart put it, the more likely it seems that decrepitude rather than aneurism is our fate.

Frogs in pots need thermometers.

Trouble is the frogs are looking at their thermometers and saying 'nah, it'll go back down in a minute'.


It's just a natural cycle :-(

Those frog-scientists that claim it potwise warming, are frauds!

The 70's...

When industry started leaving. When women entered the workforce in a big way. When computerization started to displace clerks and others. When jobs and wages declined, and worker's rights declined: to keep up the lifestyle; people started working longer hours... both parents started working... family budgets went into debt on credit cards...

The 100+ year trend of increasing real wages came to an end.

Kali,The 70's is when a house became an investment instead of a place to live.The idea was sold to the boomers and bigger was alway better along with a bigger payment.IMO if a house was an investment almost every house that was ever built would still be standing and well maintained.I've made a living on those love shacks and I can still ruffle feathers when someone says they own their house and I say then it's paid off and 99% of the time they say no then all you own is a payment.With boomers hitting 65 at the rate of 10k per day for the next 18 yrs the housing stock will need to change.New book "Going Solo" Mostly covers cities in 1950 22% were single today 50%.

The county owns your house. They take (around here) 2 % every year. Try not paying your taxes and the county will let someone else take over the 2 % per year tax(tax sale).

The unemployment rate in Greece is 21 percent but 48 percent for those between 16 and 24, twice the rate of 2008 before the debt crisis hit. Is this what we have to look forward to in the US? Our debt crisis is also soaring and the only thing anyone is doing about it is printing more money.

Ron P.

Original article:

Greece passes new austerity deal amid rioting

A future headline?

US passes new austerity deal amid rioting

Washington, D.C — US lawmakers on Monday approved harsh new austerity measures demanded by bailout creditors to save the debt-crippled nation from bankruptcy, after riots in Washington and other cities left stores looted and burned and more than 120 people hurt.

The historic vote paves the way for foreign lenders and the International Monetary Fund to release $1,700 billion in new rescue loans, without which the US would default on its mountain of debt next month, a scenario that would further roil global markets.

Of course, there is always the "lender" of last resort, the Federal Reserve.

It does seem we have two advantages over European countries: we produce way more in the way of liquid fuels (though not enough for our demand) and we control our own currency and central bank. That plus we're seen as the best house on a bad block.

With Dollar Hegemony under attack, in a few years the dollar will be out-of-control, and the Fed alone cannot buy all US debt instruments known as T-bills. Perhaps you missed the Fed's annoncement they are going to devalue the dollar by 1/3 over the next 20 years, although I think it will take much less time as the Fed will be "helped" as the dollar's role as reserve currency ends.

What if Greece had to get a new currency:


Why can't the US just sell some of its islands?

Matt, you must be careful. Some people may think you are serious. Geeze, that would be embarrassing.

Ron P.

Heck, why stop at some of its islands? The drug lords in Mexico might be in the market for the entire Southwest...Then there's Alaska, which I'm sure Putin would be willing to pick up. >;^)

I've seen a handful of odd references to an (apparently) underground political movement in the northern Mexican states: otherwise conservative businessmen considering that perhaps the time has arrived to declare their independence from Mexico City and beg the US (1) for some sort of territorial status and (2) to send in the troops to reestablish order. Some of the statistics from Cuidad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, are terrifying; you wonder if the US Army could pacify it.

I could sort of believe in the movement. At least, it seems right now to be more feasible than the Aztlán fantasy of seizing the relatively rich US Southwest and attaching it to a Mexico that seems to be sliding downhill. Of course, there are lots of variations on "Aztlán": the SW US attached to Mexico; the SW US as a country independent from both the US and Mexico; an independent country made up of the border states from both the US and Mexico.

The US army couldn't pacify it. Their attitude would drive an increasing stream of civilians to join the cartels to fight them.


The US army couldn't pacify it.

Pacification is possible. I'm guessing few want to pay such a price.

I don't agree with such a level of action,

We call them drug gangs to make them seem less important. Call them local warlords, as that is what they are, and drugs just happen to be a way to finance their operations. National borders are not important to them and as the economy crumbles and climate change crushes the US southwest, those warlords will be expanding northwards. The large metropolitan areas in the US SW have huge populations and are not sustainable. The investments people have made there will become worthless with large destitute populations trying to get out, and finding the rest of the country uninterested in taking them on. That leaves a desperate situation ripe for exploitation by just such groups. I expect the SW to be the first area to be effectively lost to the US and to become a power base for such warlords. I wonder how far that will go?

Thank god were saving our kids from pot so we can offer them, pure, to alcohol.

I had read a tongue in cheek article sometime last year that suggested a different way for Greece to get out of debt - give an island to each of the other Euro countries that it owed money to!

Of course, it doesn't actually owe the countries, it owes bondholders..

But what has been suppressed in all of this is the option for Greece to simply not pay the bondholders back - a real default.
- the bondholders lose their money - no one said it was risk free
- no one will lend to the Greek gov again (except maybe their own citizens), so they can;t really get into such a debt mess again

I am amazed at the hysterical reaction to the possibility of a Greek default, i think it;'s the best way for everyone (except the bondholders).

Well, they used to describe the epitomy of luxurious wealth as being the owner of a Greek Island. Maybe they can get bondholders to make the switch.

- no one will lend to the Greek gov again (except maybe their own citizens), so they can't really get into such a debt mess again

Therein lies the rub, or at least a very big problem. If that gov can no longer borrow very much, then the pols can no longer buy as many votes by promising something for nothing, and they might be turned out of office. For most pols, losing office and thereby being unable to play messiah would be a fate worse than death.

That is usually true, but right now, I think if the Greek Opposition party, whoever they are, simply adopted a "Greece first" platform, saying no to the bailout, and yes for Greece having control of Greece, they would get a lot of support.

Greece is being pushed by banks and politicians of other countries, and will be debt slaves for decades, and the people know it.

I think the Greek people would rather have austerity from not being able to borrow, than from this forced "bailout".

But their government is answering to Europe, not to them.

Democracy failing in the place that invented it...

According to Wikipedia there is no official opposition party in Greece right now...all the parties in parliament technicallly support that Papademos guy.

Also, it seems that there are some conflicts within the protestors on the streets.

I would bet that Greece won't be rescued by some groundswell of citizens demanding a default on the loans.

If they can't borrow then they get a lot more austerity immediately. Even with the so-called austerity they're still spending a lot more than they tax.

For Greece a tear, for Brussels a blush

Very quickly: some of you will have seen that Greece’s tax revenue from VAT collapsed by 18.7pc in January from a year earlier.

Nobody can seriously blame tax evasion for this. It has happened because 60,000 small firms and family businesses have gone bankrupt since the summer.

The VAT rate for food and drink rose from 13pc to 23pc in September to comply with EU-IMF Troika demands. The revenue effect has been overwhelmed by the contraction of the economy.

Overall tax receipts fell 7pc year-on-year.

It's a vicious downward spiral. The more austerity the bigger the sinkhole.

They can't spend or save themself out of this situation. Wich is the same as everywhere else in the world, the rest of us just have not noticed yet.

"I am amazed at the hysterical reaction to the possibility of a Greek default"

Fear. Fear and control. The hysteria is presented daily in the corporate/banker media while other stories remain veiled. "Acquiesce to austerity... or it will go bad for you, too!"

Just like the sudden politically motivated media panic over U.S. debt, when that debt is actually a product that we calmly sell. The only real panic was among the buyers of our debt when we appeared to offer the possibility of deciding not to pay out on it as part of even further political grandstanding.

They want your land, your worth, and your pension:

George Carlin: "The American Dream"

Mark Fiore: "Pretty Please"

"Cut and Run"

As Steve from Virginia points out, either way the Greeks lose access to oil, as they won't be able to pay for it in Euros or Drachmas. They get to run on ahead into the post petroleum future.

Who gets their allotment? China?

Or exporters domsitic users. Or that production just shrink away.


The last batch of Greek rescue aid didn't help much, largely because the recession in Greece has gone on with 20%+ u/e rates. Now, as a condition to "helping" out some more, the IMF and Eurozone insists that Greece cut another 150,000 jobs and reduce pay by 20%. Their problem is that the cannot print more money.

Also, it is sort of like telling them they need to run a 4-minute mile. But wait! First you need to cut off your feet. Otherwise we shoot you - today.

Lenders have been asked to take a 50% haircut on existing loans (they turn in 203B Euro in bonds and get back 100B Euro at lower rates with longer maturities. (Wish my lender let me do that.) Nor does anyone believe that ALL lenders will agree. And, even if they did, no one truly believes that Greece is out of the woods, or can get anywhere near the edge of those particular woods.

Often I see stated some variant of, 'investors fear that a 2008 type panic may ensue.'

What we are seeing is the natural result of 100+ years of fractional banking, where money is created by use of debt that automatically cancels most of the created money, thereby creating "wealth" for the banks and destroying everything else. Only a constant increase in population and 'growth' in the economies of the world can enable this system to survive. And with oil, gas, coal, copper, iron, water, soil and most other resources peaking or nearing peak, the economy simply can no longer grow. Inherent in that premise is the concomitant that economies must contract, as must population.

An earlier comment noted that TAE should not give investment advice, or be interpreted as so doing. Nor should TOD, I would say. What we should be doing instead is giving advice on what to prepare for, with no prediction, and how to prepare for the worst possible results. My person suggestion is to learn an essential craft for producing necessary items locally and sustainably, should the JIT supply systems fail. Not to predict that they will fail; just to say that if they do, here's something you can do to sustain yourself and your family.

Oh, and for old farts like me, teach that trade/craft to your kids and grandkids. That way you can have some hope that they will not be eliminated in the die off. Sort of a 'makle the best' of lemons stance. It will be up to them to listen and heed our advice.


What we are seeing is the natural result of 100+ years of fractional banking, where money is created by use of debt that automatically cancels most of the created money, thereby creating "wealth" for the banks and destroying everything else. Only a constant increase in population and 'growth' in the economies of the world can enable this system to survive. And with oil, gas, coal, copper, iron, water, soil and most other resources peaking or nearing peak, the economy simply can no longer grow. Inherent in that premise is the concomitant that economies must contract, as must population.

Craig -

I really appreciate that paragraph as a nice succinct lead-in to bigger discussions as more and more people inevitably become curious about just what the heck is going on out there. Just one thing I'm not clear on: "...debt automatically cancels most of the created money, thereby creating "wealth" for the banks and destroying everything else."

Not sure exactly what you mean by that - could you explain a bit further - in particular what is it that cancels most of the created money ? I'd really like to be able to completely understand this and have a way to convey it in sort of a summary fashion like you have here but I might need a different explanation for that part of it so I can present it as an analogy or something like that...

Thanks !


Sure. By extracting interest as a cost of creating money, the fractional reserve system sucks that "interest" out of the economy and into the hands of the money elites. They reinvest in additional loans at interest, creating no jobs and hence no real wealth, while continuing to suck the life out of the economy.

MSN and the sheeple think it is just 'inflation.' My view is that this is what is responsible for the huge disparity between the top and bottom of the income spectrum. Please note. There is no investment that creates jobs in any of this activity. The Fed was, IMO, set up to facilitate this, and has purchased the acquiescence of both Republicans and Democrats since its inception.

In other words, by adding money without contributing any labor (which is what actually gives value to anything), banks transfer a portion of real wealth without contributing anything of value. A governmental unit could add money porportionate to labor and population without distorting anything (new chips for new players and all that). Banks do it to strip wealth from producers. Why do you think the "stimulus" had so little traction? The money went in the wrong direction, and would not have been needed if the banks had invested in other than loans to the insolvent.


Excellent - that helps alot... I just needed a bit of help connecting the dots there, I guess !

So in the context of what we are currently seeing with Greece (all of Europe / the IMF / ECB) - is that generally the same process you describe (the extraction of real wealth) but just a hyperactive version of it ?

Is it possible to even describe what is actually occurring with that situation or are there just too many players and parameters. I feel like any article that is out there about it focuses on some particular aspect or the latest developments but has never really put the entire big picture together in an understandable way.

Maybe other TOD contributors care to comment as well - is there a good source floating around out there for a synopsis of what the banks are doing to the likes of Greece ? Maybe it's a requirement but so much of what I've seen out there is quite heavy on the lingo of the financial world but makes it really difficult (at least for me and I suspect many others) to really know what is going on...


You are correct that what is happening in Europe is a hyperactive version of money creation. Here is an excerpt from a summary of mine posted late last year, before Zero Hedge and others happened to write similar articles shortly thereafter:

The Trillion Euro Gamble

That’s one trillion, with a ‘T’. Yes, despite repeated denials by the ECB that they won’t ‘print money’ to resolve the region’s debt problems, they have in fact ‘printed’ up close to 1 trillion new euros since the end of June. Adding up the net effect of a complicated series of financial transactions the last few days, the ECB lent out about 340 billion in new euros.

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

If you think the Trillion Euro comment was an over-statement, just wait to the end of the month where the ECB plans to conduct a new money market operation that will probably have the effect of creating hundreds of billions more euros.

Keep in mind that as of right now, the Federal Reserve has also lent about $100 billion US to the ECB to also help them with their banking system. Yes, those dollars were created out of thin air, and not even for the direct benefit of the US banks - but to be re-lent by the ECB to Euro banks.

Yet to come is the possible issuance of new SDRs by the IMF. The IMF has mostly been on the sidelines for the last two years and is about to return.

In sum, don't think anyone can say with certainty they know exactly what is going on, but it seems that if anything, we are going to get more money and more intervention by central banks and world organizations than ever before.

So the transfer of wealth is now accelerating, a problem that is compounded by increasing energy prices.

FEBRUARY 13, 2012, 11:20 P.M. ET

Bank of Japan Surprises With Policy Easing

TOKYO—The Bank of Japan decided to expand its asset-purchase program again by ¥10 trillion ($129 billion) and changed the wording of its price target following political pressure to strengthen its commitment to ending deflation.


There does seem to be a very coordinated effort by Central Banks all of a sudden. Last night with Japan was just another offensive in the war on debt. It's going to be entertaining to watch as these new offensives will probably get more frequent and more brazen.

So the transfer of wealth is now accelerating, a problem that is compounded by increasing energy prices.

Yes, Charles. And the house of cards gets higher and ever higher. As the cards begin to slip, the BAU answer is to add more cards TO THE TOP. With the thinking, apparently, that if you add cards fast enough, you can beat gravity to the punch.

Still, most people do not realize the connection between wealth disparities and the activities of the Fed, and the Euronations in creating more phantom money. The coming realization will be shock to some; even now it is beginning to unite a few Libertarians and Progressives as each group encounterss its own epiphany in its own way.

Of course all know that hyper inflation will ruin any economy, as will deflation. The question is whether it is even possible to have a stable monetary base during the coming years as we attempt to find equilibrium and sustainability. We can hope, can't we?


I can see plenty of plausible ways things can run south this year. First we have the Syrian revolt, which is getting uglier by the day. Unlike Libya, which was mainly dictator versus the people, this one divides along multiple faultlines. The first is religious, Shia versus Sunni. The ruling party is Shia (roughly 10%) of the population, and the peons are mostly Sunni. So whomever comes out on top, the other group has reason to fear. And these groupings create partisans, the arabs, who are primarily Sunni, are pro-revolt. So this pits Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, some the Gult states, and North Africa, against Iran, Iraq, Hezbolla, and the Sunni part of Lebanon. We've already had gunfire in Lebanon between pro-and anti factions. Both religious and clinet-state relations are involved here. Then the Russians are digging in their heels in an attempt to retain a valuable clinet state (the Assad government), and most of the rest of the world is upset by the killings and taking the other side. So great instability here.
Then we have the foolish Iran crisis, which could blow up anytime.
Then we have the long growing supply-damand imbalance in the oil markets. Rightwing extremism in the US, which might be able to exploit a second economic crash to come to power. Add in the Euro mess, and climate chaos, and well, there are a lot of risk factors that are growing worse.

Syria 2012 = Serbia 1914??

It's sure starting to look like that.

Imagine what the reaction would be if Assad was assasinated, by some Jewish extremist..

I don't think its quite that bad. I don't see anyone invading Syria (to clean out a longstanding problem), as the Austrians tried in 1914, and then everyone else piling in because of various (If you get into hostilities I'll come in on your side) treaties, as well as foolishly thinking -"my big chance to seize more territory...".
But it certainly could increase the instabilities within the middle east.

ANALYSIS | Brian Stewart: The powder keg that is Syria

Vital interests

What this means is that every single intelligence service of every government and armed faction in the region is already contemplating the chaos and looking to pinpoint potential allies to become its paid "proxies" on the ground.

Some will act out of power ambition and others to protect vital interests. Some will simply get involved because they fear their own populations won't tolerate inaction if battle is joined.

One can actually count close to 20 nations or big movements that will want to have a direct role in shaping Syria's post-al-Assad future. The list is likely longer.

Any conflict would involve Sunnis, Alawites, Christians, Druze, Kurds as well as the military arms of Hezbollah, Hamas and other pro-Palestinian organizations. As for nations, look to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq and Iran to want to be involved.

One may also expect the U.S. and Russia to get into the fight in some shadowy fashion.

Now AlQaeda has said they support the rebels. That means it would be politically impossible for an American politician to support the rebels. That probably means we will do nothing.

Israel has expressed no love for the al-Assad regime either.

Interesting world in which we live when Israel and Al Quaeda are on the same side. Syria is not their only mutual interest. They both hate Iran, too.

Of all Israels neighbours, Syria is the one with wich Israel have had the most frosty relations. Here is something few people know; Israel have a 20 year standing offer to Syria, the Golan Heights for peace and recognition. Offer not taken. These are two nations who don't like another. At all.

Offer not taken

Are either sides offers worth anything - can they be trusted?

Possible treachery of Syria:

They take the Golan heights, install their army, then withdraw their peace and recognition of Israel, who will now have to launch a war to get the mountains back. Interesting gamble, but Syrias army was built by the Soviet Union (=old) so I doubt they would dare this move, without support fromother arab nations. Wich I don't think they will get at this point. Nobody wants to be the one who started the war.

Possible treachery of Israel:

After the deal is set, they retake the Golan Heights. And lose PR for a whole century. This they can not afford.

In conclusion I don't think this deal would break once it was sealed. Also, for that very reason it will not be sealed.

Note that I am speculationg here.

"I don't think its quite that bad."

That is what they said in 1914 too. And when war did break out, it was supposed to be over by Christmas of 1914. Not 1918.

And what was the reaction when the soldiers got together on the battlefield one Christmas?

The officers will put a stop to the fraternization, just as they did during WW1. They wouldn't want to lose control over their minions.

I can't really do much to defend anyone's predictions to your satisfaction, as I can't MAKE perfect ones myself. Nor can anyone of course.

I would just suggest looking at the Cracks, not in a Facade, but the Cracks in the Dam that we all live beneath. I think that is what this whole conversation is about, and why Kunstler ends up making the calls he can with it, or Nicole does her best, or Heinberg, etc. And even Yergin, from his POV.

So what if they're wrong? We're all wrong.. the question is, 'Do we live under a cracked dam, and what should we be doing about it?' Noone knows just if, how or when it will let go.

As the Lord said to Noah, sometime in the mid 1970s.. "How long can you tread water? Haw, haw..!"

I'm not sure what you mean about 'No Cracks' being visible now. Maybe you don't connect the Euro Debt situation to energy, or the Arab uprisings.. but even if they aren't really part of PO, why do we get to expect there to be good warning cracks out there for us to gauge it by? .. Things CAN go POOF without warning..

Um... I just recently lost my job. In early January the production manager told us we had to take a late vaccation this year since we have so much work to do. Now, 3 workers are off the company. I am one of them. Project cancelations and delay is the source of this. I see signs other places too. Both ordinary consumers as well as companys are buying less compared to just recent predictions. There is glue in the cog-works. This machine is losing speed.

And at the same time, none of the fundamental problems behind the 2008 crisis have been solved.

Jedi,I am in the same boat(though don't have a job to loose).Working as an independent SOS courier the calls are much less this year than the previous years .The first two weeks of Jan are always slow but the rest of the period has not been exciting .Not loosing money but no home runs.

Um... I just recently lost my job.

Sorry to hear that, Jedi, sounds rough.

Keep pluggin'.

Interesting. "Plugg" is swedish slang for school, or doing studies. Depending of the gramatical context.

This is a "plugghäst", or "study horse".


Used in the old days, and the root of the word. "Plugghäst" now refer to kids in school who do homework all day and have top grades in everything.


1627, originally a seamen's term, probably from Dutch plug, from Middle Dutch plugge "bung, stopper," related to Norwegian plugg, Danish pløg, Middle Low German pluck, German pflock, ultimate origin uncertain.

One time (because I had a new electronic dictionary and apparently had too much free time) I traced the origin of all the English sailing terms I knew. About 150 of them originally came from Old Norse. Many of them entered into English by way of Dutch or Anglo-Saxon.

I doubt I know 150 nautical terms.

I have the Canadian Yachting Association Advanced Coastal Cruising Certificate, plus about 30 years experience in sailing off the West Coast of Canada, and for years I used to skipper sailboats full of school students on week-long sailing courses, so I know a lot of nautical terms.

Wow, never expected the new Frontline company to order new VLCCs. FRO stock dropped about 5% on the news - buying fuel-sipping tankers kind-of makes sense from a peak oil perspective.

Fredriksen defies market glut with tankers strategy

"We're looking to build new VLCCs (very large crude carriers)," Fredriksen told the Financial Times.

"At today's bunker prices, we'll save $10,000 a day. We've been offered newbuildings down to $85 million, so the risk is at least at less cost."

Crude Oil-Tanker Glut Stays at Four-Week High, Survey Shows

There are 10 percent more very large crude carriers available for hire over the next 30 days than there are likely cargoes, according to a Bloomberg survey of seven shipbrokers and owners today. The glut was the biggest since Jan. 10 as of last week.

The VLCC surplus reached a 14-month low of 5 percent on Jan. 17, helped by stronger crude demand before China’s New Year. VLCCs on the benchmark Saudi Arabia-to-Japan voyage are earning $9,765 daily, according to the London-based Baltic Exchange today. That’s down 70 percent from Jan. 20

Hans Noeldner tells me about a free World Oil Supply debate, in Madison, Wisconsin

World Oil Supply: Looming Crisis or New Abundance?
A Debate, Free and Open to the Public


Tuesday, February 14, 2102
5:30 PM – Refreshments
6:00 PM – Debate
7:30 PM – Audience Reception
Varsity Hall II, Union South
1308 West Dayton Street, Madison, WI

John Hofmeister, Founder, Citizens for Affordable Energy
Former president, Shell Oil North American
US National Energy Security Council
Author, Why We Hate the Oil Companies

Dr. Tadeusz Patzek, Chair, Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering Dept.
University of Texas – Austin
Board, Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO)
Co-author, Drilling Down: The Gulf Oil Debacle and Our Energy Dilemma

Moderator: Professor Alan Carroll
UW Madison Geosciences Department
Former Senior Research Geologist, Exxon Production Research

There are also associated radio interviews of Hofmeister and Patzek:

(1) Monday, Feb 13, 7:00 PM, WSUM student radio at UW Madison

(2) Tuesday Feb 14, 7:00 – 8:00 AM, Wisconsin Public Radio, “The Joy Cardin Show”

(3) Tuesday Feb 14, 10:00 – 11:00 AM, WIBA 1310, “Outside the Box” with Mitch Henck
This is the second largest radio station in the state

Given Mr. Hofmeister's recent comments, this seems to be shaping up to be more of a "Shades of gray" debate than we would seen about four years ago.

I think that Peak Oilers need to be thinking of an "Enemy of my enemy is my friend" approach.

My definition of the enemy: (1) A massive ongoing disinformation campaign, which is apparently designed to convince consumers that we won’t have supply problems for decades to come, leading to (2) Denial on a global scale about what is actually going on in global oil markets, leading to (3) A lack of preparedness for Peak Oil/Peak Exports.

An excerpt from Mr. Hofmeister’s recent comments*:

Developing countries, especially China and India, have this insatiable need for more oil, and that has not been taken into account as we've thought about public policy in this country. So while we may be producing a bit more oil in this country, and while demand is down a bit, on a global basis I'm afraid we face a continuing onslaught of prices creeping ever higher.

I think that this is a prime example of the “Enemy of my enemy is my friend” (EOME) approach. We can focus on Mr. Hofmeister’s earlier, and quite critical comments about Peak Oilers, or we can focus on the fact that his recent comments are quite consistent with the net export data presented at the recent ASPO-USA conference.

* http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000072422

Thanks, Gail!

Hopefully someone will call Hofmeister and his Citizens for Affordable Energy on their "Perspective":

The Four Mores: Make Energy Affordable & Sustainable

More Energy from All Sources
More Technology for Efficiency
More Environmental Protection
More Infrastructure

Those who insist that "ever more of everything" is possible must have slept through math and physics classes. Just sayin'...

Jim Kunstler has taken me to task for saying semi-positive things about Hofmeister. Let's just say that Jim is not impressed with Mr. Hofmeister.

I've seen Mr. Hofmeister a few times on TV.

He's not obligated to endorse Peak Oil, but I'm dismayed he feeds the notion business more or less can continue as usual. Given the looming (on-going?) crisis, it's like telling a motorist there is a Gas Station just around the corner when in fact there is a cliff with a mile long drop.

When Hofmeister was about to retire from Shell USA, he made a multi-city tour (30 cities ?). One stop was in New Orleans.

I learned from Shell employees that there was limited respect for him. He came up through Human Resources, and had several non-oil corporate assignments on the way up. No real "upstream" oil exposure till he became President of Shell USA.

In Q&A, I asked about the solution under our feet. He initially assumed I was talking about oil & gas, but the Riverfront Streetcar Line ran directly underneath the WTC room he was speaking in.

We had some back & forth (Americans will NOT give up their cars - To which I responded that sooner or later, many will have to).

Later, in private conservation with a group he described the horrors of bicycling to work in the Netherlands (when he was assigned to corporate HQ of Royal Butch Shell) - especially in the cold rain. A fate worse than death - which will fortunately NEVER happen in Houston !

The Netherlands has an enlightened approach towards its own Natural Gas production, as I understand it. They have tried to maintain production at a level that is sustainable over the long-term rather than maximize production as early as possible. Maybe it's this that has colored Mr. Hofmeister's experience.

Meh. Bike schmike. If you're a truly patriotic (but urban) American, what you really want to do is to take your nice comfy car right up to the 45th floor with you, LOL...

Matt Mushalik in Australia has an interesting report about the future of Algerian oil supply:

Crude Oil Peak in Algeria

Three Major Journals Publish Articles On Limited World Oil Supply By Gail Tverberg

In the past month, three major peer-reviewed journals have published articles relating to limited world oil supply:

1. In Science, Technology is Turning U. S. Oil Around But Not the World’s, by Richard A. Kerr;

2. In Nature, Climate Policy: Oil’s Tipping Point has Passed, by James Murray and David King (behind a pay wall.)

3. In Energy, Oil Supply Limits and the Continuing Financial Crisis, by Gail Tverberg.

The fact that these articles have been published is significant, because articles in the mainstream press, such as Bloomberg’s recent article, Peak Oil Scare Fades as Shale Deepwater Wells Gush Crude, seem to suggest that our oil problems are past. While the US oil supply situation may be a little better, the world supply situation is still very bad, and oil prices are still very high around the world.

Is it really true? Is Peak Oil finally moving into the mainstream? Is the tricle of articles coming in a harbinger of a flood of such articles soon to come? Perhaps... perhaps.

Ron P.

Yes It is true. I am not sure if it is a harbinger, but multiple journals are willing to start talking about the issue.

By the way, I have a number of other posts up on Our Finite World. One that has been popular is

More Reasons Why We are Reaching Limits to Growth

Excellent article Gail.

Figure 1 has several Seneca Cliffs (e.g food per capita).

I might mention too that I am getting more inquiries from "Mainstream" sites to repost my articles. Business Insider wants more of my articles. Forexpros.com often features my articles on the front page. Financial Sense considers me one of their regular contributors. I see my article, Three Major Journals Publish Articles on Limited World Oil Supply is up on the front page of Financial Sense, along with my photo.

Gosh, Gail, when can we order the bestseller? ;-)

I started one version of a book, and those of us involved decided the direction was not right. There has been discussion about restarting in a different direction--perhaps more along the lines of my presentation at the University of New Mexico last week, available for download at this site.

Journals publishing the story is step 1. Next comes a storm of rebuttals by the MSM. Then reality hits and then we switch to Panic mode. It's like seeing Climate Change replayed in Media.

If this is true then I'm going to have to rethink my entire position on peak oil. If it becomes accepted MSM position that peak oil doom is near then most likely it'll turn out to be nothing at all. I suspect we have a ways to go before that position is widely adopted though.

Those Science and Nature articles are not peer reviewed, not serious science, but are opinion and news pieces that those journals carry in their front matter. Richard Kerr for instance is a staff writer for Science.

From the Irish 'Sunday Independent' article..

"What about the general population in Belarus and the Ukraine, and beyond? Figures from the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation are very reassuring.

In the first instance there was no increase in birth defects, even in the affected regions. None. Zero. Sadly, approximately two per cent of all newborns worldwide suffer from congenital malformations. This figure did not go up after Chernobyl. The children whose deformities were highlighted by the charities did not develop them as a result of radiation."


Who do you listen to, when all the players are throwing extremes at you?

My sister-in-law is Ukrainian, and I've emailed her, just to see what she's heard.. but I know the public info channels in the USSR were highly controlled. The World Health Org was contractually prevented from speaking to the issue of ionizing radiation's healt-effects without approval from the IEEA first.

Higher birth-defect rate seen in Chernobyl area

(Reuters Health) - Rates of certain birth defects appear higher than normal in one of the Ukraine regions most affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, according to a new study.

The findings, reported in the journal Pediatrics, stand in contrast to a 2005 U.N. report stating that there is no evidence of an increased risk of birth defects or other reproductive effects in areas contaminated by radiation from the Chernobyl accident.

The results point to a need for continuing research into birth defects in regions affected by chronic low-dose radiation from Chernobyl, according to researcher Dr. Wladimir Wertelecki of the University of Southern Alabama in Mobile.

"There has been a tendency to imply that the question is closed as far as the prenatal effects (of Chernobyl)," Wertelecki said in an interview.

The 2005 position statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency and other U.N. bodies may have had a "chilling effect" on research into congenital defects in Chernobyl-affected areas, Wertelecki notes in his report.

The current findings, he said, "suggest that we should re-evaluate that position."

To be honest, I don't get the arguments much. While a few nuts argue that people should go and move back into the Chernobyl exclusion zones, for the most part the acknowledged reality is that many areas are dangerous, can't be farmed, and are unsafe even to live in. It's also quite clear that using current technology (not the vaporware "3rd gen" reactors), accidents of similar severity are possible, and logically the more reactors their are the more likely accidents are to happen. That is to say, nuclear power is dirty. Also, uranium is finite - while people talk about breeders and thorium, the fact is those reactors have been a mess, as seen by the Monju reactor in Japan. Even if we got 200 years out of it (unlikely enough), we would just be repeating the fossil fuel era with more damage on top.

Arguing that nuclear is "clean" is like arguing that cigarettes don't cause cancer, or fossil fuels don't create pollution and destruction. It's silly and stupid. Only 1 in 17 smokers gets cancer, does that mean we should all light up? We've also supposedly got lots of coal, should we be burning that first?

But just like arguing against cigarettes and fossil fuels, I expect people to go and do it anyway. Just stop pretending it's safe, we know it's a lie.

Nuclear has the advantage of cleanliness over fossil fuels that normal operation doesn't corrupt the environment.

There is some pretty nasty stuff inside those containments, but in 50 years of nuclear power operation we have had 3 major accidents that combined have done less damage than a typical year of fossil fuel use.

Trying to argue that a record like that isn't clean is a reach, and only works if nobody is willing to ask for proof.

But those 50 years, they coincide with the World's greatest use of Oil as a Global Lubricant, Gap-filler, Strong-Hand, and Breadwinner. It has been a period of remarkable Peace in the lands that had most of these Reactors, and they have all had access to Technology, Money, and Military Control.

They are also the years when the reactors were all at their youngest, when the spent-fuel storage was at its smallest and the fuel pools were still within spec, when there was an abundance of R&D funding to cover more gaps, when the climate was stable, when there was more popular support for the image of Shining, Silver Cities, dreamy images which Fission fit well into, in theory.

Many of those factors have kept Nuclear Power in a very stable, controlled environment.

I think it's becoming clear that these constants are all facing imminent and considerable change, and I have no confidence that American or French Exceptionalism will prove itself better than Japanese or Russian Exceptionalism when these pressures have gotten out of the insulated mode they held through the cold war period.

It's a Thorobred, and magnificent in the right hands.. but will quickly fall apart in the rough and tumble. It's too Fragile.

Valid points, yet I would argue that the energy provided by nuclear power has helped maintain that peaceful, stable environment by reducing the demand on other resources that aren't as readily available.

One of the big problems with arguing that the failures of TMI, Chernobyl, and Fukushima indicate a fundamental failing of the nuclear power industry that can't or won't be corrected is that it's an argument that is too frequently used to say that we shouldn't even try.

We did learn from TMI. Chernobyl and Fukushima are cases where for one reason or another lessons that had already been learned hadn't been applied, and even then we have still learned more from them.

The new lessons are being applied to new reactor designs, but the catch there is that until we actually build the new reactors we are stuck with older designs where not all of the necessary changes for optimal safety can be applied.

And all the while we are burning valuable fossil hydrocarbons for energy in horribly inefficient manners, literally and directly killing people in their harvesting and transport, and continuing to dump CO2 and other greenhouse gasses into the air at an alarming rate.

For safety and health, I would rather live at the fence of our nearby nuclear plant than within a mile of the local refinery. There is a horrible stench from the refinery that makes me close up my car every time I have to pass near it, that can't be healthy to be exposed to on a regular basis.

Perhaps future designs will learn from those mistakes but at the same time you want to vastly increase the number of reactors. The net effect would be more and more frequent meltdowns and radiation leaks. Wind, solar, hydro are better options for the future.

In learning from our mistakes we are lowering the already low chances of those sorts of incidents occuring.

We also know more about proper site placement and how to ensure that when serious incidents do eventually happen again that their impact on the surrounding area is minimised.

The classic renewables you mention definitely have their place, but where they don't cover the need for continuous power we have to have something else and nuclear is the best "something else" we have right now.

If something better comes along, I'll be sure to switch to advocating that.

The risk of meltdown is hardly "low" and there are smaller accidents all the time, I'd bet you can't find a large reactor that hasn't leaked at one time or another unless it's only a couple of years old or they are lying about it. Even when it works, the construction cost is just too high. Solar thermal can store energy very easily, so can hydro - intermittentcy isn't unsolvable, but there is no way to clean up 50 square miles of contaminated land around each meltdown.

Living within 5km of a nuclear plant doubles a child's chance of leukemia

Nuclear has been tried and it has been proven to not be cost effective or safe. It's a failure.

Producing Terawatts of electricity with less of an environmental and human cost than the fossil fuels it replaces is a failure?

I'd like to know your idea of what a success is.

the already low chances of those sorts of incidents occuring.

435 reactors in operation. 6 have failed publically in a big way. Many times a year reactors have 'unplanned' "incidents".

435/6 means less than 1 in 100 is a "low chance"?

What 6 are these?

That would be Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and units 1,2,3,4 at Fukushima.

I would also rate the Hanford site an honorable mention, as while it was not a reactor failure, it was certainly a failure of managing a nuclear facility, leading to massive and long lasting ground and water contamination.

So then the correct number is 3 not 6. Since 4 of those are at one site and all experienced the same problem I would count them as one instance. This is spread out over... 55-60 years. The 435 number (source?) is the number of reactor sites I'm guessing. The number of reactors at each site would vary (somewhere from 4 to 8). I don't think you can do a probability analysis saying 435/6 is the likelihood. That is overly simplified and meaningless. There is no accounting for reactors that shutdown already also. To get an idea of the probability I would do an assessment of total operating hours over those 55 to 60 years. I would also note that older reactors would be more likely to fail so that would need to be factored in. Also, you cannot discount operating experience and lessons learned from previous accidents. Plants have obviously incorporated lessons from 3 mile island and Chernobyl and are in the process of incorporating ones from Fukashima. Then I would express the probability of failure expressed in hours of operation. That would carry some meaning for me.

You should be counting the amount of fuel in jeopardy.

If we had really been taking in the lessons given at previous plants, Fuku would not have happened. The US Still has some 20 or more GE BWR's of the same type that they had at Fukushima, and spent fuels at many sites are growing far past their pools' design specs.

What we're not learning from Chernobyl, Fuku, and TMI, is that we don't have the power to keep this under control when it goes bad.. and so we have aging reactors and their spent fuel all over the most densely populated areas of the western world. These old reactors keep getting their licenses extended with known and unknown amounts of Influence being exerted on the 'regulatory bodies' ..

Actually each of those accidents were caused by different factors. Chernobyl was complete incompetence in operator error. They shut down critical safety systems and performed testing. Find me a reactor that you can do that in now.

TMI is another case of operator error and actually, had operators not taken any action at all, safety systems would have handled everything. Do you really think the entire industry is so incompetent as to not incorporate any lessons from that? There is a global communication among nuclear facilities sharing every piece of information about any minor event that could lead to a larger accident. Check out WANO. Everyone is constantly learning and taking steps to avoid making the mistakes of the past.

Comparing Chernobyl and TMI to Fukashima is not a fair comparison. Fukashima was struct with a double disaster and had a major design flaw in the location of their diesel generators. There are analyses going on through out the industry to cover "beyond design basis" disasters to ensure their safety.

As for extending licenses for aging reactors. What choice is there? The anti nuclear lobby has made it so difficult to build any newer, better designed and safer reactors, that in order to maintain electrical supply there is no choice but to extend the life of aging reactors, ironically making themselves less safe. You cannot go halfway with nuclear, we have embraced the technology in the past so we are stuck with the technology now. It's better to invest and perfect it than to let it decay into something that is all but guranteed to fail.

All the clues to its weakness are in your own post.

The fact they were hit by different disasters and are both (Japan & Russia) still essentially uncontrollable.. all you can now hope to do is Encase the damn things, is exactly what I mean by the statement that we DON'T have the ability to control it when it DOES Fail, and they ARE all aging and decaying. EVERYTHING Ages and Decays, and the presence of Heat, Pressure and Fission products can hardly be described as some kind of Antiseptic that protects equipment from decay, right?

'You can't go halfway..' - Yes, that sure seems to be true, so the question then becomes, "Do I stay or do I go?" .. I say, start the landing cycle, and handle the remains as well as we know how, but DON'T Create more of it, it WILL bite us in the backs, as it has already started to do in this age of plenty. What happens in an age of War, or of Poverty, or of Climate Upheavals? and it looks possible that we will take a Hat Trick and win all THREE prizes.

"It's better to invest and perfect it .. " .. and sorry, but there is the madness. 'Next time it will be different,' says John Hammond, 'Next time we will have CONTROL.'

"..And now chaos theory proves that unpredictability is built into our daily lives. It is as mundane as the rainstorm we cannot predict. And so, the grand vision of science, hundreds of years old - the dream of total control - has died, in our century. And with it, much of the justification, the rationale for science to do what it does. And for us to listen to it. Science has always said that it may not know everything now, but it will know, eventually. But now we see that isn't true. It is an idle boast. As Foolish, and as misguided, as the child who jumps off a building because he believes he can fly. ..

.. as it gains in power, it proves itself incapable of handling the power."

Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park - CRICHTON

or.. Read Edgar Allen Poe's "The Birthmark" .. to see how writers a century ago felt some scientists and engineers would sacrifice anything and everything in their belief that they could find Perfection. It's alchemy.. fool's gold. Arrogant, if benevolent, madness.

Everyone is constantly learning and taking steps to avoid making the mistakes of the past.

Hardly. You portray an industry in it's idealized form - not the real world, down and dirty that actually operates reactors. Do you REALLY think TEPCO "was constantly learning and taking steps to avoid making the mistakes of the past".

Complacency and getting ever longer life extensions was TEPCO.

An interesting note about human analysis. After Fukushima, the NRC ordered a review of earthquake risk vs. design for every US reactor site. Of all US sites, the lowest revised seismic risk plant was North Anna.

About one month after the report was released, an earthquake twice the design strength shut down North Anna.

So much for Nature vs. regulation and design.

We should only build nukes where we are willing to write-off the surrounding countryside for several generations. South Georgia works for me :-(

Yes, GHG and mercury emissions from coal are worse than nuclear. But this makes the push for MASSIVE conservation and renewables + pumped storage + HV DC transmission all the more critical.

Nukes consume capital is massive chunks - capital that should first be focused on MUCH better options. After we have done all we can there, perhaps more new nukes circa 2035.

We should only build nukes where we are willing to write-off the surrounding countryside for several generations

I was going to ask if you had changed your position from 2 years ago on fission but I guess not.

perhaps more new nukes circa 2035.

Or is perhaps more hedging then you would have gave in the past?

I am still wrestling with what Fukishima could have been (wind blowing south instead of to the east) - and the implications of the North Anna earthquake,

Coal, and related Climate Chaos, are still worse than nukes. Significantly.

But everything else is better than nukes and coal.

However, "everything else" cannot completely eliminate coal IMO.

The "least bad" grid is with per capita demand 1/3rd today, a majority of power from renewables, and majority of the rest from combined cycle NG - and some nukes.

A complex issue with terrible trade-offs. I do know that we should not be building LOTS of new nukes today.

Should we be building 3 to 5 new nukes today to just keep the experience level from dying out - to keep our options open. Probably.


Should we be building 3 to 5 new nukes today to just keep the experience level from dying out - to keep our options open. Probably.

Even in a Ron Paul "bring the troops home" uber-pullback on the military - the military will still be building nuke reactors as power sources. So the skill set will be there - just far smaller than in a 'nukes for everyone' vision.

implications of the North Anna earthquake

1) Thanks for responding to my query
2) Thanks for mentioning that little tidbit of data.

Coal, and related Climate Chaos, are still worse than nukes. Significantly.

I'm guessing we'll see chaos of the kinetic kind and involving fission reactors before climate chaos really bites. What would be the effect on the Persian Gulf aquatic food supply if a couple of ship reactors go uncontrolled - how many new people would starve?

Military reactors are technically quite different from civilian reactors. Some bits and pieces are common, but much is not.

Keeping one aircraft carrier under construction at all times (US Navy procurement for many decades) and some submarines (also at least one at all times) does little to preserve the capacity to build, say, two AP-1000s in Idaho.

Many decades ago, there was talk of building nukes inside mountains (a super containment vessel). I can see some possible failure modes there, but this option should be looked at seriously.

And some sunken nuclear a/c carriers in the Persian Gulf would not starve very many. Climate Chaos will kill billions.


So then the correct number is 3 not 6.

I stated the number of reactors generating commercial fission power at 435. 6 of which have had large public failures.

At the point where you claim 6 is 3 - why should you be considered a credible source?

The rest of your post is a call for normalisation of data. This part is telling however:

I would also note that older reactors would be more likely to fail so that would need to be factored in.

Considering the reactors are under Government Regulation and the inspection and licensing extension process is done with the idea that because of the inspection they are not going to fail do to age - are you asking for the data normalisation because you don't believe in the Government Regulation process? Do you have a belief that the Corporations operating the reactors would cut corners, request extension of fission reactors into unsafe operation for the sake of profit, or some other reason as to why its OK to operate reactors more likely to fail?

Well ya... 6 is 3. We are talking about major nuclear accidents. Saying Fukashima is 4 separate accidents is ridiculous and serves only to inflate your accident rate for the sake of proving a point. Also, debating over your interpretation of numbers is not related in any way to credibility. It is possible to form an opinion that nuclear is a viable and safe source of relatively clean energy without an agenda.

I am uncertain of the government licensing programs in all countries worldwide so I can't comment on their diligence. My point in accounting for older reactors is that if I were to calculate a failure probability, it would decrease for newer models. What you call data normalization, I call a meaningful statistic. Stating 435/6 and stating all reactors everywhere have that probability of failure does not make any sense. You aren't measuring anything. Operating hours provides a meaningful statistic because it accounts for improving performance over time. i.e the industry has gone since 1986 without an operator cause meltdown. Fukashima was a design flaw exposed by a double disaster. Actually it would be more meaningful to try and probabilize that a reactor would meltdown from operator error vs external factors. Perhaps, since you like to look up numbers of reactors, you could come up with some sort of estimate of total operating hours of nuclear reactors over history (research + commercial).

Saying Fukashima is 4 separate accidents is ridiculous

Did I say that?

I said FAILED reactors.

If you want to change up the argument - great. Instead of an incredible-way-to-fail rate of 1 in 100 it becomes 1 in 150.

So 1 in 150 is an acceptable failure rate? If so, how many of these fission plants do you envision world wide? What countries get them? Does Iran get to have fission reactors as their oil goes on the downslope?

As for the rest of your 'concern' about getting 'normalised' data about reactors - you are the one who wants the data, why should *I* be the one to get the data to you in a form you claim to care about?

This is a disaster that you missed, probable never even heard of it, the filters that were used which probable save Britain from a worse catastrophe were made by Doulton's porcelain in there industrial porcelain division not far from where I lived at the time.


There were also rumours of a Russian atomic storage site that went Critical in the Urals,decades ago and contaminated several thousand kilometres of land.I have never been able to substantiate it, but it doesn't stretch the bounds of possibility.What scares me most is not the number of atomic disasters but how near we have come to having them turn from a disaster into a catastrophe. The main problem of Chernobyl was not the fact that the pile was open too the air that was bad enough, it was the fact that the core was melting through the floor of the containment building. The Russians imported thousand of miners who worked in shifts tunnelling under the reactor, they were working only feet from the reactor to put a concrete core under. Thank God, who ever he may be, that they succeeded, because if that molten core had reached the ground water, I hate to think what would have happened and don't forget that that containment building they built for I don't know how many hundreds of millions of pounds is coming to the end of it's useful life and will have too be renewed, for according too the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, an estimated price of over one and half billion Euro s.It is not the number of nuclear disaster that happen its how bad they are and luckily for us we have missed that bullet,but it wont always be so. Japan still seems to me to be on the cusp of being between a disaster and a catastrophe, lets hope our luck holds.

What scares me most is not the number of atomic disasters but how near we have come to having them turn from a disaster into a catastrophe.

And "we" could spend pages arguing over what was a near miss, a hit, or an even worse strike.

The present failure rate is not "low" as claimed by a known pro-fission advocate - unless 1 in 150 is "low". If Fission is going to be the future - how do Nation States like Iran get to operate civilian fission? What about Zimbabwe or The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? Will they get to operate a fission plant or 2? How about North Korea?

If fission is 'the solution' for Mankind - does all of Mankind get it? Or only what some think are the 'right kind' of 'mankind'?

The filters were considered overkill and made fun of:

"Filters were added late into construction at the insistence of Sir John Cockcroft and these were housed in galleries at the very top of the discharge stacks. They were deemed unnecessary, a waste of money and time and presented something of an engineering headache, being added very late in construction in large concrete houses at the top of the 400-ft (120 m) chimneys. Due to this, they were known as "Cockcroft's Folly" by workers and engineers."

The Urals accident was verified by America, even while it was being denied by America. A strange game.

There was even a melt-down right here in the Valley on the other side of the Santa Monica Mountains from Los Angeles, California. Also covered-up.

The 435 number (source?) is the number of reactor sites I'm guessing. The number of reactors at each site would vary (somewhere from 4 to 8).

Since you have demanded a source for the 435, why don't you stop guessing about the 4-8, and back that up? BY your reasoning, there would be between 1700 and 3400 reactors worldwide.

The 436 number comes from the IAEA, though it is a bit of a moving number, from their 2010 annual report;

At the end of the year there were 441 reactors in operation and 66 under construction .1

The 441 doesn;t include TMI or Chernobyl, as they are no longer operating. So adding them into the count, we have 443, and 6 units have had catastrophic failures, or one in 75.

A reactor is just that, a single reactor. A complex of four of them counts as four reactors. They don't give the number of "complexes, but let's assume it is three units per complex, for 147 complexes, and add in 2 more for Ch and TMI

So, out out 149 "complexes", three have had catastrophic failures, or one in 50!

Either way you slice it, that is not a great probability.

If airplanes had that record, no one would fly in them.

1 in 75, 1 in 100 (rounding) or 1 in 150 (again rounding) have failed. Are any of these ratios acceptable? Or a "low chance"?

The original claim was "the already low chances of those sorts of incidents occuring." I keep hearing from pro-fission people these "low chance" claims and yet for every 75 or 100 or 150 locations/plants there is a failure BIG enough to be a public event.

This interchange demonstrates how out of touch the pro-nuclear position is with reality - a willingness to say 6 is 3, claiming to not understand simple phrases et la.

Sometime pro-fission people, once exposed to the actual way fission is implemented have a change of thinking.

"In May 1983, my father-in-low... told me that, at the time of the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor accident, a full report was commissioned by President Jimmy Carter. [Rickover] said that the report, if published in its entirety, would have destroyed the civilian nuclear power industry because the accident at Three Mile Island was infinitely more dangerous than was ever made public. He told me that he had used his enormous personal influence... to persuade [Carter] to publish the report only in a highly 'diluted' form. The President himself had originally wished the full report to be made public. In November 1985, my father-in-law told me that he had come to deeply regret his action... to suppress the most alarming aspects of that report."

It took that pro-fission man 2 years to have his change of heart.

(Notice how in the days after Fukushima documents were released to the public stating how a government was going to work with industry to minimise the stated problems in Fukushima for fear the coverage would impact the civilian nuclear power industry.)

Hanford is its own special kind of snowflake.

Less than 50 feet from ground water is a radioactive source in the soil that is fatal in under 10 minutes.

Then you have sites like Sheffield in England. And all of the less documented military reactor failures and contamination.

But as the pro-nukers are pitching nukes as a solution to civilian power - I opted to restrict my comment to just that. And yet - people are willing to argue that 6 reactors are 3 in a desperate attempt to show that a less than 1 in 100 failure rate is somehow improved with a failure rate of 1 in 150.

Who's next going to step forward and claim 1 in 150 is an "already low chance"

What does this mean, soil is fatal in under 10 minutes? If I drink the water I would die in 10 minutes? Or if I stood in it? Or near it? By the way, can you please source these claims. And no, wikipedia is not a credible source.

Are you ever uninformed of what you are supporting.

Less than 50 feet from ground water is a radioactive source in the soil that is fatal in under 10 minutes.

What does this mean, soil is fatal in under 10 minutes?

Exactly what it said. I do not understand why you are having a problem reading what I say. But I did make a mistake - it is 54 feet from ground water: Mea culpa.

By the way, can you please source these claims.


Authoritative enough for you?

Then you have sites like Sheffield in England.

You mean Sellafield perhaps?

Sheffield was blown up by a nuclear bomb in the excellent BBC Drama "Threads" though.

And HMS Sheffield was sunk by the Argentinian's with nuclear weapons on board (allegedly...)

But the nuclear site is at Sellafield (formerly Windscale).

But the nuclear site is at Sellafield (formerly Windscale).

That's the one I was mispell'n. I didn't remember it was called Windscale - I was thinking "Now I gotta find out about a 2nd problem child in England?"

the need for continuous power


A "need"?

Humanity existed for generations without 'continuous power'.

Need is a perception.

What does need continuous power, for continuous pumping, is nuclear power. Stop circulating water and they fail catastrophically.

Stop circulating water and they fail catastrophically.

Well yes on some designs, however for LFTR plants the NORMAL way to shut down is to turn off all of the power, hence a Station Blackout is not a problem. In fact none of the failure modes of TMI, Chernobyl, or Fukushima are possible in a LFTR design.

that normal operation doesn't corrupt the environment.

Part of the NORMAL operation is failure modes.

And the failure modes of fission are well documented.

less damage than a typical year of fossil fuel use

Got proof? Then show it.

only works if nobody is willing to ask for proof.

And now you are being called out to prove your claim.

"but I know the public info channels in the USSR were highly controlled"

During the Mideast war of Bush Sr. V.S. Iraq over Kuwait, the oil fields were set on fire. The U.S. scientists and others with access to satellite imagery were silenced. We were to see and hear nothing of the extent and portent of the smoke. In America, our current wars are being presented to the people as being totally bloodless.

Quite true. The international media were bottled up by the U.S. Military in Bahrain, and kept from access. My group bent some rules severely to get them on helicopters and past mine fields to actually get the footage and air it, which is why nearly every news story from the first couple months has one or more of our team members in it. Always tricky thwarting the big powers in a war situation, but it can be done....

Drilling deeper on talk of U.S. energy independence
The idea of a 100-year natural-gas supply depends heavily on sources that may not be recoverable at any price — or may not actually exist.


The new frontier for fossil fuels depends on technology such as deep-water drilling, tar-sands production and horizontal fracturing (fracking) into shale formations. These are only made economical because a higher-cost energy future is here, now.

The "happy-motoring era," as urbanist Jim Kunstler calls it, is fading. While a reset may be postponed, we will eventually have to make it.


A new breed of Brazilian oilmen
With multinational oil companies drilling off the coast of Brazil, it made sense for Márcio Mello to make his mark in the Amazon jungle


Magda Chambriard, director of the National Petroleum Agency, regulator of Brazil's oil industry, called the crude produced in the jungle "the best oil we have in Brazil" because it requires far less refining than the heavy oil pumped offshore.

Jean-Paul Prates, director of the Center for Strategies in Natural Resources and Energy in Natal, in northeastern Brazil, said geologists have known for years that the Amazon has "excellent potential" for oil and natural-gas production. Petrobráas pumps more than 100,000 barrels a day there.


Noticed this tasty little tidbit...might not be anything:

An official with the National Iranian Oil Company has said that the country’s oil output would rise by one million barrels per day by 2015.

Mehr news agency quoted Mohammad-Ali Emadi as saying that Iran’s crude oil reserves will end by the next 50 years, adding that the oil deposits are recoverable by 29 percent on the average.

Oil minister Rostam Qasemi has announced the country’s recoverable oil reserves stands at 154.8 billion barrels

Let me get this straight... 155 billion worth of reserves, but only 29% of that (43.5 billion) will ever be pumped, according to this? 43.5 billion over 50 years is about 2.4 million barrels/day...


I know China wants to limit crude imports from Iran, but for how long? Sure looks like they need a lot of oil:

The world’s largest energy-consuming nation finished filling the first phase of its emergency stockpile of 16.4 million cubic meters, or 103.2 million barrels, of oil in 2009 at a cost of $58 a barrel.

The second phase, which started with the Dushanzi facility in the western province of Xinjiang in late 2009, is scheduled to be completed by early 2013.

China is seeking to store emergency crude reserves equivalent to 100 days of net imports before 2020 in three phases, according to a plan approved by the State Council, the nation’s Cabinet. That’s 505 million barrels, based on Bloomberg calculations from 2011 overseas purchases. The U.S. held 696 million of national reserves as of November, according to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration.

So they need another 400 million barrels in the next 8 years ON TOP of what they already burn daily (which continues to increase)...Going to put a little pressure on oil prices, me would think. Obviously they can afford this oil pretty easily with all their USD petrol funny money.


Re: Tokyo Elec cuts oil use outlook as power demand falls

This quote in particular peaks my curiosity:

Due to the weak economy and power saving to cope with a substantial loss in nuclear capacity, power demand in Japan dropped for the 11th straight month in January. Tepco expects appetite for power it produces to fall 9.8 percent in 2011/12 from a year earlier.

I wonder how much of this drop can be rightfully attributed to the downturn in the economy and how much is the result of demand destruction. Although this has to be the least of their worries at the moment, eleven straight months of falling demand must be raising a few eyebrows at the boardroom table.

The time required to implement various energy efficiency upgrades (in particular, the more costly ones) can often span several years, so the full impact of these capital investments may not be felt for sometime to come. In addition, many of the behavioral-related responses to the ensuing power crisis such as adjusting thermostats, turning off unnecessary lights, fine-tuning work practices and so on could prove long lasting, certainly the ones that impose relatively little or no real hardship. It will be interesting to see how this side plays out.

Addendum: Here's what TEPCO has to say:

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. has lowered by 7.0 percent its power demand projection for fiscal 2020 from the level estimated before the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear disaster, reflecting widespread energy-saving efforts and increased competition with its rivals, internal company documents showed Wednesday.

The utility known as TEPCO, which operates the disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, projected its electric power sales will reach 300.3 billion kiloWatt hours in fiscal 2020, down 22.7 billion kWh from the earlier forecast, according to the papers made available to Kyodo News.


Of the decline, 3.3 billion kWh is attributed to an economic downturn in Japan following the March disaster and to declines in populations, and 2.6 billion kWh to the loss of clients to other power producers and suppliers due to the expected acceleration in competition from fiscal 2015.


TEPCO also forecast that 6.6 billion kWh in power sales will be lost to increased in-house power generation by companies and a rise in solar power generation at households.

The utility also estimated that the spread of light-emitting diodes and a slowdown in the rate of households that look solely to electricity to supply their energy needs will deprive the company of chance to sell 5.6 billion kWh and 4.6 billion kWh, respectively.

See: http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120202p2g00m0dm022000c.html

I wouldn't be surprised if the erosion in demand proves to be greater than what's anticipated here.


Doesn't demand destruction tend to cause a downturn in the economy? With uncertain electrical supply moving forward, businesses are moving elsewhere. Jobs are going too.

Hard for me to say, but I would expect businesses that use energy more efficiently or that can lower production costs by way of on-site generation, say, stand to benefit from their enhanced competitiveness vis-à-vis their peers. Many, but not all, conservation measures can be implemented at little or no cost and most generate strong net positive cash flow. And sometimes the greatest benefits are derived in unexpected ways; for example, upgrading older, inefficient lighting systems in a manufacturing facility can often result in increased worker productivity, greater employee satisfaction and, potentially, fewer product defects.


Demand destruction does not have to result in a downturn. As HereinHalifax points out, efficiency improvements can actually improve output at lower energy. While he's into lights, I see quite a lot of that in motors, where variable frequency drives and a new motor can reduce power consumption 10% or so pretty easily, while improving process control. And reducing maintenance costs too, as often you can get use the VFD in the control loop to get rid of a control valve or damper.

Ethanol Mandate Not the Best Option

Soren Anderson studied the demand for ethanol, or E85, in the United States. He found that when ethanol prices rose 10 cents per gallon, demand for ethanol fell only 12 percent to 16 percent on average

Ethanol is more expensive to make than gasoline and must be sold at a loss or subsidized unless consumers are willing to make up the difference ...

... “If our goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this is quite a costly way to go about doing it,” Anderson said. “There are lots of other things we could do before switching over to ethanol.”

“You really want to give people the right incentives,” Anderson said. “If we taxed fuels at a higher rate based on the amount of pollution they caused, people would tend to choose cleaner fuels – but also use less fuel overall.”

Ethanol production started the trend down on January 1st, meanwhile, ethanol stocks have soared due to low gasoline demand. Also, the producer profit margin as been negative since January 1st. Sounds like a recipe for a collapse in ethanol to me. I think the blender credit may have been more important than I would have guessed.

Is E85 on the Rocks?

On January 1, the petroleum-retailing industry awoke to a nation without a Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC). The tax credit, which provided 45 cents to blenders and fuel marketers for each gallon of pure ethanol blended into gasoline, was arguably the greatest driving force behind the spread of E85 in recent years.

Without it, the future of E85 as a motor fuel is in question, and at least one supporter of the fuel says the number of E85 pumps will be halved by end of this year.

Ethanol free gasoline.
VP provides many different fuel blends for high performance and racing applications. I've used their products in high compression engines to prevent engine knock, or pre-ignition.
They have a line of ethanol-free gas for use in small engines, haven't tried it yet and the pricing is stupid expensive, but I'm going to give it a look.

Tom. Boy are you right about that fuel being expensive, over $29 a gallon!

Vintage ketch sets sail to launch slow cargo movement

Over the next five months, Irene and its crew will carry organic beer from Devon to France, olive oil from Spain to Brazil and then – all being well – bring cocoa, coffee, Amazonian "superfoods" and rum from South America and the Caribbean back to the UK.

Admittedly, the ship's diesel engine will be fired up to allow it to chug in and out of harbours but, apart from that, it will use just the power of the trade winds to cross the Atlantic.

A Tale of Two Repressions: Bahrain and Syria

Russia’s continued support of Bashar Al-Assad has provoked a chorus of outrage from across the political spectrum – Democrats, Republicans, progressives, conservatives, almost everyone has been falling over themselves to denounce Russian perfidy in ever more hysterical terms.

But what seems quite noteworthy is that many of the people who are now loudly demanding that the United States “do something” in Syria, and who are using Russia’s support for Syria as proof that the Russians are little better than barbarians, were almost entirely silent in the case of a brutal and lethal crackdown on a popular protest movement in another Middle Eastern country: Bahrain.

In symmetry that seems almost too perfect, much as Syria is a significant consumer of Russian weapons and hosts a Russian naval base, Bahrain is a significant consumer of American weapons and hosts an American naval base.

Yup. It is just gang warfare. Norte vs Sur. 14 vs 13. Red vs Blue. You are either with us or against us.

Middle East politics has polarized, red vs. blue, Judea vs. Samaria (to use Likud language), BRIC interests vs. OECD interests, Shiite Iran vs. Sunni Saudi Arabia, Anglo-American hegemony vs. some other scheme of power brokerage.

The United Nations has equally polarized in a way not seen since before the fall of the Berlin wall.

Nature abhors a vacuum and the Arab uprisings of 2011 left one gaping vacuum of legitimacy. The map of the Middle East is an artificial creation. There's a lot of people out there who would like to see it redrawn - to their favour, of course. Every eye is on the spoils.

As dohboi mentioned above, Syria 2012 = Serbia 1914? That's an astute observation. Add to the mix, Israel's sabre-rattlings today. We may not have to wait til Syria's descent to civil war cascades into a regional conflict. Netanyahu is on his soapbox singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran" to the tune of the Beach Boys' Barbara Ann.

Ideology (Iran's hard right, Israel's hard right, Syria's hard left, etc.) is blinding and binding the players to the stakes. Once a hot war starts, it will be very difficult to cool.

Time to re-read 1984 if you haven't in a while (or at least the last 1/3 or so). Orwell's prescience of the world to come was incredible.

So many necks, so many jackboots for the necks - so little time.

Sure there's hypocricy involved. But there is also sense of scale. Bahrain has killed a few, and arrested a few (including the obligatory torture), but they aren't shelling entire neighborhoods (at least not yet). As the say about news coverage "if it bleeds, it leads". I'd modify that to, "if this one bleeds a great deal, and that one not so much, the first one will hog all the attention, giving a free pass to situation number two".

But there is also sense of scale.

Last spring, when Saudi Arabian forces entered Bahrain, there was little hue and cry from western capitals. At that point, Bahrain was the hot spot. Syria less so.

The difference is about preference as much as scale. Bahrain is primarily a Shiite population governed by a Sunni regime. Syria is primarily a Sunni population governed by a Shiite regime.

Loss of Bahrain to a civil uprising would be a hard blow for Saudi Arabia to stomach. Loss of Syria to a civil uprising would be a hard blow for Iran to stomach. Who you favour will likely spark the visceral response.

For the misery experienced, I wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of either Bahrain's or Syria's crackdown.

That said, scale wise, Bahrain is the size of a mouse (1,234,000) compared to the elephant Syria (22,700,000). Syria, demographically and politically, looms larger in the equation. More at stake.

Syria is a far more dangerous hotspot.

Yes, it deserves the attention it is receiving.

I'm probably getting boring, but 50,000 have died recently in Mexico supporting the street value of drugs. Without their brave sacrifice, and the supporting laws of the United States of America, many valued officials and the entire Industrial Prison Complex would be denied their flows of cash.

So what if it is ten times the dead people compared to Syria. 48 a day. Every day. Just like Bahrain, the money is on the right side.

Largest U.S. Private-Prison Deal Defeated in Florida’s Senate

The Florida Senate today defeated a plan to move 14,500 inmates into private lockups, the second consecutive year that Republican leaders who support the measure came up short.

The two largest prison contractors in the U.S., Nashville, Tennessee-based Corrections Corp. of America Inc. and Boca Raton, Florida-based Geo Group Inc., both expressed interest in bidding. The plan would have offered a contract as long as five years to run 27 prisons and work camps that Florida spends $268 million per year operating and maintaining. The companies operate six of the state’s seven privately run prisons.

Since 2005, the number of state prisoners in private lockups nationwide increased 16.7 percent, while the total prison population increased 4.1 percent, according to U.S. Justice Department data

“Chesapeake Energy Corp said it would sell off $10 billion to $12 billion in assets and issue another $1 billion in debt”. Let’s follow the logic here. For some time the Chesapeake CEO (as well as other well intentioned cornucopians) couldn’t say enough about the great economic value of the shale gas plays. Even after prices collapsed in ’08 and destroyed many tens of $billions in stock value of those players. The Barnett/Haynesville is still profitable…so they said. Of course, adding more NG to the system would never reduce the price of NG. Interesting explorations model: increasing the supply of a commodity via an expensive technology will produce nice profits.

But now, thanks to low NG prices, there is insufficient revenue to drill the really profitable oil-rich fractured shales. So profitable, in fact, the energy lending institutions, who have all the data about these new plays, are tossing capex at the players like crazy. Hmm… wait a sec. CHK is going to raise $11 – 13 billion to drill those wonderfull shale plays but can only borrow less than 10% from the bankers…bankers who employee many experienced engineers/geologists who understand these plays quit well. The balance they’ll raise by selling NG reserves which currently are selling at an insufficient price to support operations? Buyers must be ready to pay a real premium for those proved reserves. NOT. This is a fire sale. What NG assets they do sell will be done so at a huge discount. And probably bought by other public companies that need to replace their declining reserve base. Back after the ’08 bust ExxonMobil didn’t buy XOT for the shale leases…they bought their cash flow/reserve base at a big discount. Hold that thought for later.

Consider what Chesapeake is actually saying: they have a very profitable future developing the oil rich shale plays. Unfortunately the bank engineers who have all the play data don’t see sufficient profit to loan much capex. So CHK will sell a large piece of their NG reserve base to fund new development drilling. But, at the same time, they are also selling off large portions of those “highly profitable” oil-rich shale plays. Recently sold over $2 billion of Utica leases to a Chinese company…gave up 25% of this “highly profitable” oil-rich play. Also sold off a large portion of its “highly profitable” Eagle Ford play to another Chinese company. Because 1) petroleum expert bankers won’t lend the money, 2) current revenue from their NG AND OIL RICH PLAYS is providing insufficient operating capital (with the oil selling at $100/bbl or so), and 3) the sale of the NG assets that yield such little revenue since they are being sold in one of the most distress NG market in years.

So follow the logic: they are selling assets: some (NG) at huge discounts, as well as selling off large portions of their highest potential assets (the oil-rich shales) so they can drill their oil-rich shale plays to generate more profit. Remember the point I keep harping on: the pubcos have to keep Wall Street happy by showing y-o-y reserve growth. WS has dropped the value of CHK stock significantly since its post ’08 recovery. Perhaps WS finally began paying attention to profit more than posted reserve numbers. Selling reserve assets, for whatever reason, requires even more new reserves from drilling to keep the asset base static let alone increasing.

“Last week, Chesapeake said it had cut its gas output by 500 million cubic feet per day and was considering pulling production down by double that amount, a move that could help reduce spending.” I can only hope this is a typo. The cost to produce NG, especially from these pressure depletion drive shale plays, is low…much lower than the current low NG prices. These assets may not be delivering the ROR that had been projected, but they are still producing a nice positive cash flow. A nice positive cash flow that will be acquired at bargain prices by the stronger companies. This is how busts have always manifested themselves: the struggling companies begin to self liquidate themselves in an effort to continue ops until they are completely absorbed by the strong. Study the history of ExxonMobil growth since the beginning. Some of their biggest growth spurts came not during good times for the oil patch but during the busts. XOM haters prepare yourselves: IMHO they will likely emerge stronger than ever after the wounded are finished off and devoured. Always been this way in the oil patch…always will be.

The sale of assets was a news story in several publications today. Share price of Chesapeake is down 28% this year and now at $23. Looks like a company trying to head off bancruptcy. Sell the best assets at firesale price, then use cash to keep less productive part of business going = insolvency.

China buying a portion of these shale leases means that this gas may never reach US consumers. Chinese company can send the gas to a polymer plant or fertlilizer plant to be converted to energy intensive compound, then shipped back to China in otherwise empty container. Smart people those Chinese!

mb - I've never predicted the complete death of CHK but now I wonder if I've been a tad optimistic. It does seem like desperate measures especially selling NG assets in such a depressed market. Regardless of what it had cost CHK to drill those dry NG wells, they are still generating a nice positive cash flow. But apparently not enough.

The Chinese don't have to make it that complicated especially when the LNG export facility in Oregon is built. All they need do is a "paper swap" with their domestic NG production: Company A owns NG that will go through the LNG plant to Asia and Chinese Company B owns NG coming out of the Eagle Ford. They simply swap title to their respective NG reserves: Company A sells the formerly Chinese NG to US consumers and Company B ships the LNG to China. Such swaps are being done today, and have been done for decades, typically to save transport costs. Doesn't even need to be that complicated: Chinese companies sell production locally and use the revenue to buy reserves overseas. The ultimate value is when there is a limited/no supply of oil/NG on the market. Then he that owns production gets their share first...everyone else gets to split what's left.

CHK bankruptcy is is hardly likely. Their market cap represents less than 25 percent of the market value of their assets. Liquidation would be highly rewarding to shareholders.

joe - Sorry if I confused you. Rarely do oil companies, especially the size of CHK, go bankrupt. They "die" when control of their stock is bought by a stronger company, such as when ExxonMobil bought control of XTO stock. When the shareholders see a poor future for a company they are ready to entertain any reasonable offer.

You ever wonder how Exxon became ExxonMobil. Mobil Oil didn't go bankrupt either. But it died none the less. I started working in the oil patch 36 years ago for Mobil Oil. I watched them drive the company into an early grave by making a series of poor strategic decisions. Is CHK is in the process of doing the same? Only time will tell. BTW: when Anadarko "merged" with Tenneco years ago guess what the name of the new company was: Anadarko...the Tenneco is silent.

That's a cold bit of humor in the oil path applied to any number of such absorptions of the weak by the strong. Like I said earlier, this a very familiar pattern in the oil patch that's been proven many times over the last 80 years.

Bancruptcy has nothing to do with market cap or asset to equity ratio. It has everything to do with cash flow, and ability to repay loans from that cash flow. In the case of Chesapeake, they are having trouble borrowing money to develop their shale gas leases. Without those leases being developed to generate cash flow they cannot operate and selling assets is the only option. Selling the most valuable assets at "less than market value" is no way to remain a viable corporation.

Rockman is correct, they will probably disappear as an operating entity when a larger energy company scrapes them off the trading floor, perhaps at half or quarter of current share price.

Disagree, extremely valuable oil and gas assets will go for market prices. Competition for valuable assets would be intense. Nobody is going to let a XOM or a CVX, ect., walk off with those assets for 25 or 50 cents on the dollar. If CHK has to liquidate, it will be great for the shareholders.

Flawed views on peak oil rear their ugly heads again

The debate over peak oil is stalked by zombie ideas that live on, no matter how many times they are stamped upon. The latest significant article warning of declining oil supplies manages to revive not just one but at least six of these false concepts.

This has to be the dumbest peak oil denying article I have read in awhile.

The idea that oil production has not risen above 74 million barrels per day (bpd) since 2005 relies on a very narrow definition of "crude oil". In reality, oil demand is now met from a range of sources, including biofuels and petroleum extracted from natural gas.

To the motorist, the end product is indistinguishable.

Well the 74 million barrels per day does include oil from natural gas, it's called "condensate". But it does not include bottled gas like propane or butane. But biofuels will not save us but their cultivation takes food from the poor, rain forest from the wild and contributes to the rape of the earth.

As far as NGLs go the end product is very distinguishable. Propane has just not caught on as a transportation fuel and I doubt that it will. Biodiesel has caught on somewhat, to the dismay of all who would like to see wild things remain for a while longer. Palm oil plantations will soon take the last habitat of the Orangutan and the animal, along with many other animals, will go extinct.

Sometimes these cornucopians just make me sick.

Ron P.

This has to be the dumbest peak oil denying article I have read in awhile.

The editor who recruited me to write my book was involved in this guy's book The Myth of the Oil Crisis. My editor said that it did very well. I took one look at it, and said "Just so you know, I will be debunking a lot of his book." :)

Robin Mills and Peter Huber literally argued that our total energy consumption, from all sources, will increase forever.

There seem to be two different Mills. Huber's book was with Mark Mills??

My mistake. You are correct. A link to the Huber & Mills book:


Hard to keep all these cornucopians straight.

Robert, when is your book coming out?

March 15th


Best Hopes for Good Sales :-)


He got at least one sale here!

Best hopes for wide readership.


Am I right to suspect that your editor doesn't give a damn, so long as both that book and yours sell?

No, I think he just didn't know how to evaluate that book. Mine will be more reality-based. :)

One of the consequences of Peak Oil is that we will look for alternatives. The fact that other liquid fuels are increasing relative to (static) crude oil shows that we are looking for all the alternatives to oil - regardless of their environmental consequences.

How much longer this can go on - the alternatives, - is a whole different question, but crude oil is undeniably on a plateau, if not peaked in 2005,

after all, we are talking about peak oil, not peak liquid fuels - though that peak may not be too far off either....

"The debate over peak oil is stalked by zombie ideas that live on, no matter how many times they are stamped upon."

yes, it is amazing how resilient reality is. but i'm sure that if enough people stamp hard enough, they'll win the fight.

but yeah, clearly the only thing that matters is the end product for the motorist.

Shirley (surely) you're not saying the average motorist has a head full of fumes,,,

"The debate over peak oil is stalked by zombie ideas that live on, no matter how many times they are stamped upon."

They key to zombies is the double-tap. Stamping does not work, no matter how good your cardio.

"Tepco Says Fukushima Reactor Temperature Breaches Safety Limit"
"With climate change, today's '100-year floods' may happen every three to 20 years: research"

The Jonestown and Stockholm Syndrome memes are not going away, rather those infections are merging and surging because of weak analysis of the real nature of global energy czardom.

Japanese news sources Yomiuri and Jiji note that the thermometer in reactor 2 has since climbed to 272.8 degrees Celsius, and then hit the upper limit of the thermometer at 400 degrees Celsius (752 degrees Fahrenheit).

TEPCO decided to run a "resistance test" on the thermometer which appeared to break it completely. So they can now discount that reading. When asked by a journalist if they would test the 2 sensors showing lower values to check if they were faulty, TEPCO replied no.

The TEPCO employee who tweets from Fukushima says he thinks the initial temperature rise was probably accurate based on the instrument behaviour. However as he's anonymous there's no way to know how much weight to give that. TEPCO continues to pump in water at increased rates and has now added over a tonne of Boric acid.

Thank you for the followup.

Fellow TOD-sters,


I ran across this site when conducting a little bit O' Interwebs research on night-time lighting and particularly blue lighting's effect on human sleep quality...


I downloaded and ran the program and am using it as I type...my first impression is that it does, for me, lessen my eye strain/fatigue when using the computer at night...it really gives the TOD site a nice orange-y glow, easier on the orbs...

I played with the demo and saw the difference between the computer screen daytime and nighttime settings...

Any experts on TOD care to comment on the science/validity of viewing a lower color temperature screen presentation at night having any benefits for better quality sleep/making it easier to fall asleep?


Paul...our resident lighting pro from Dover (or Halifax, in this case)?

Also brain stimulation, you need to wind down before trying to sleep. Doesn't matter whether it is on line, TV, driving etc you need about an hour of calm before the mind is ready to accept sleep so I will add no more and go to commune with the fur heads as I wind myself to sleep. Buenos noches.


I'm afraid I'm completely out of my league on this one, H. But I think everyone would agree that higher colour temperature light sources (5000K and above) help boost our energy levels -- what I might characterize as "Make way, coming through, got important things to do, don't have time for idle chit-chat, busy, busy, busy..." -- whereas warmer colour temperatures (e.g., 2700K) tell us to slow down, take it easy, relax and call it a day. Daylight = work; camp fire = rest.


NAOM and Paul from Halifax, sound advice...time for my dog and me to check into slumberland...

Relief, thank you. Staring at light boxes at night does affect my sleep patterns and I feel more relaxed almost instantly with the screen adjustment.


H, Good find!

Have installed F.lux and now my mac looks all warm and fuzzy!

I remember reading a couple of years ago about the blue LED's that have appeared on everything, and how they disrupt sleep. I was given a blue LED alarm clock as a gift a few years back, and it made my sleep worse. Part of the problem is just how *intense* that blue light is - se the chart below. After reading that article I ditched it for a red one - much better.

There is a good article here about the blue LED and why it has become a problem, even references some work from the MIC, and why sharpshooters wear yellow glasses!


An interesting write up here about a trial done in a seniors home in NY. By giving these people (who were indoors the whole day) exposure to said blue LED light - in the afternoon- they actually slept better at night.


The key thing seems to be we need blue light in the day - and we need to be free of it at night. You can imagine how many indoor workers have a lack of blue light in the day, and then sit in front of their bluish laptops at night and have trouble sleeping.

Not surprisingly, this is also a problem for shift workers too.
I expect the Navy would have some guidelines/standards on this for their submariners - maybe Ghung might know?

The blue light problem is also linked to bipolar disorder, because it disrupts the circadian rythms - a really good write up, and lots of good links, is here;

As an example of what blue light does to melatonin (the sleep hormone) levels, check out these charts from that last link;

So, just like the F.lux program, the thing with your house seems to be to only run "warm" lights at night - avoid the the blue at all costs.

...Except if you are driving at night, then it's the other way around, and those bluish headlights are helping to keep you alert!

Now this warm TOD screen is making me sleepy...

All makes good sense to me.

I love the access to the full spectrum that these R, G and B leds provide, but the intensity of the pure blues has really messed up the Pallette of people's Christmas decorations, it seems to me. The blue is SO powerful, it should be used more sparingly, and it would be more beautiful (in many cases, anyway)..

I remember how distressed I was when they added the Blue M&M's.. I thought it really messed up the Visual Character of them..


I wasn't going to mention this because I have no first-hand experience working with this product, but what they hey...

See: http://www.lighting.philips.com/main/lightcommunity/trends/dynamic_light...

See also: http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=philips%20activiva%20&source=web&c... (PDF format)


Thanks a ton. This is going to go viral in a few days. Trust me.


Better lucky than good...something in the back of my mind prompted me to look on the internet for the effects of different frequencies and amplitudes of lighting on alertness/restfulness...and I ran into f.lux.

Truly makes night-time computer screen viewing much easier on my eyes!

Hats off to the folks who wrote this program and published it on the web for free...maybe I should go back to their site and see if they take PayPal donations...

I remember TV ads some time ago for a type of glasses called 'Blue Blockers'...I also remember a bud ~8 years ago who worked at the Air Force Test and Evaluation Center with me who swore by his orange/yellow-tinted 'computer glasses'.

A real lesson in learning how the human body works...and working with it instead of against it!

P.S. As I write this, I realized that my Eclipse back-lighted keyboard has ~ 5 different colors to choose from...I have been running it with the bright blue setting since I purchased it a year or so ago...I just now changed it to the red back-lighting...complements the f.lux program well as I type in my dark loft!

There is no mention of license or source code that I could find on the site, also the instructions for Linux have gone so I won't be trying it. I have tried changing my monitor colour and I will see how that goes. Re frequencies, ISTR that using the brain alpha frequency to modulate the light can help with sleep.


Kjell Alekletts book "Peeking at peak oil" is released, according to his blog, at the Springer publishers web site. See here: http://www.springer.com/environment/environmental+management/book/978-1-...

I will off course try to get a copy of the swedish original. I do not know much swedish oli terminology, need to catch up. Plus I always try to read book in their original language if I can.

amazon.com sells it too.

IEA downgrades Saudi’s output capacity

The latest monthly report of the International Energy Agency contained the usual update on oil supply and demand numbers, but it also revealed a striking fact: the maximum production capacity of Saudi Arabia is lower than we thought.

In its February report released last week, the Paris-based watchdog reduced its estimate of the kingdom’s maximum output to 11.88m barrels a day, a notch below the previous assumption of 12m b/d, which the IEA used in its January report.

Not much but it's a start. That is about 66,000 barrels per day less than what Saudi says they can produce.

Note: The link brings up a request to register but the article is accessible via google.

Ron P.

It makes you wonder how they came up with such a precise number (11.88 mmbpd) when the last estimate was a rough estimate (12 mmbpd). In other words, how do they generate these numbers?

It would be nice if they would at least pay some attention to net exports.

From the point of view of an oil importing consumer, what matters is a doubling in global crude oil prices in six years, as we have seen a multibillion barrel cumulative shortfall (about 2.5 GB) between what Sauidi Arabia would have (net) exported at their 2005 rate, versus what they actually (net) exported. If Saudi Arabia had simply maintained their 2005 net export rate of 9.1 mbpd, there would have been another 1.1 mbpd of total petroleum liquids in global export markets over the past six years, which is roughly equivalent to Canada's 2010 net oil exports (BP).

Saudi net oil exports versus annual Brent crude oil prices:


Gunfights in Saudi Oil Province Show Spread of Iran Tensions

Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Armored anti-riot vehicles cluster outside the police station in Awwamiya in Saudi Arabia's oil- producing eastern region, where unrest is turning violent . . .

"This is another one of those possible flashpoints in the region that could become a much bigger fire if it is not contained early on," Paul Sullivan, a political scientist specializing in Middle East security at Georgetown University in Washington, said in an e-mail . . .

"To ask if Iran has an interest in destabilizing Saudi Arabia, yes they do," said Khalid al-Dakhil, a political science professor at King Saud University in Riyadh, in a phone interview. "It is a card they can use to pressure the Saudis."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/02/14/bloomberg_ar...

Thanks Ron, interesting article!

That is about 66,000 barrels per day less than what Saudi says they can produce.

How did you come up with that number?

Sorry Pollux, but the number is actually 620,000 barrels per day less than Saudi says they can produce. I realized my error and went back to change it but the post already had a reply, preventing me from correcting my error. But the number came from the very next line in the article which I did not copy and paste. But here it is:

Saudi Aramco, the country’s oil company, puts its maximum output at 12.5m b/d.

So 12.5 mb/d less 11.88 mb/d gives us 620,000 bp/d. Sorry about the error but I was in a hurry to take my dog to the vet for her appointment and just had a brain freeze.

Ron P.

but the post already had a reply, preventing me from correcting my error

So thats how it works!

EIA's estimate of oil that can be brought on in less than 30 days is 80,000 more than Al-Naimi states.

Because the IEA bases its estimates on maximum output on a narrow definition of “capacity levels [that] can be reached within 30 days and sustained for 90 days” it does not count those 700,000 b/d.

I assume both the EIA and AL-Naimi are talking about crude + condensate.

Say no to coal

Moreover, the price of LNG has declined substantially over the last four years. It is now US$2.50/BTU, coming down from US$14/BTU in 2008, more than an 80 per cent decline. With the avalanche of supply coming on board over the next five years, the price of LNG will most likely be trading below US$3/BTU for a long time to come, making it most attractive. The pricing delta is overwhelming in LNG's favour.

At the bottom of the article it states that, the author is a "fund manager". Just for fun I think I'll post a comment outlining that the current low price is discouraging investment in production and that new drilling is being scaled back as we speak, jeopardizing any hopes of an "avalanche of supply coming on board over the next five years". Yesterday's headline in the same paper was:

Energy worries

There are fresh fears in the local energy sector that the planned introduction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) could be further delayed.

But new Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell is expressing confidence that plans to have LNG-powered plants operating in Jamaica by 2014 are still possible.

The planned introduction of the LNG project is already two years behind the initial schedule and Paulwell has announced that a two-month extension of the deadline for infrastructure bids for the proposed project has been granted..

In the meantime the party must continue. One of the new administration's election campaign promises is that it would institute a "Jamaica Emergency Employment Program" or JEEP for short but as the following article highlights, the state's coffers are in no state to embark on such a program.

Jump-start for JEEP

But even as he indicated that the Government has found the money to spend on the JEEP, Phillips repeated his warning of pending sharp cuts in the Government's spending plan for the year.

J$10-billion fiscal gap

He charged that the fiscal programme the Portia Simpson Miller administration inherited from the previous government went disastrously off track in the second quarter of the fiscal year.

"As a consequence, there is now a fiscal gap of some J$10 billion for the current fiscal year and the Cabinet has agreed to measures and adjustments which will be reflected in the supplementary Budget that I will be tabling in Parliament later this month.

According to Phillips, the majority of the expenditure cuts will take place on the capital side of the Budget, but Jamaicans will have to wait until the Supplementary Estimates is tabled to find out exactly which programmes will be cut."

Minister of Finance (Treasury Secretary to all you US readers) Peter Phillips is of to Washington to renegotiate an agreement with the IMF for budgetary support for the island. Since the IMF has a history of not being very supportive of increasing expenditure on social programs or the recurrent side of the budget at the expense of capital expenditure, methinks the JEEP needs some fuel and a battery if it is to ever get it's motor started.

Alan from the islands

Moreover, the price of LNG has declined substantially over the last four years. It is now US$2.50/BTU, coming down from US$14/BTU in 2008, more than an 80 per cent decline. With the avalanche of supply coming on board over the next five years, the price of LNG will most likely be trading below US$3/BTU for a long time to come, making it most attractive. The pricing delta is overwhelming in LNG's favour.

Nope. The price of spot LNG is currently between about $10 and $15 per milion BTU (depending on region) not $2.50 per BTU. The author has his units wrong by a factor of a million and worse doesn't understand that Henry Hub US pipeline wholesale prices are not world LNG prices. The author is completely mistaken if he thinks Jamaica can import LNG at $2.50 per million BTU.

I wrote a comment citing Jonathan Callahan's Gas boom goes bust article, mentioning that it was posted at to theoildrum dot com and it did not get posted so, I wrote another one quoting an article I found on the web titled "Gas boom goes bust" and somehow that got approved. I don't think that this newspaper likes driving traffic to fringe sites like TOD. Anyhow, that should have set the record straight about the factor of a million thing. Apart from that his figures seem to agree with the introduction to Jonathan's article.

A lot of the debate going on around here stems from the genesis of the LNG idea. Trinidad produces natural gas and it would appear to be using it's own gas to produce electricity at very favorable rates to it's own industries (US 3-5 cents per kWh). A former prime minister of Trinidad apparently struck up a deal with his counterpart in Jamaica to supply Jamaica with LNG at below market rates without consulting the private interests that actually produce the gas. Jamaica then started making plans to build infrastructure to import LNG and re-gasify it on the basis of a deal that had not been finalized. At the moment, the situation seems to be,according to "energy worries" article I linked to in my OP that, "In addition, there was no word from Paulwell about the source of the LNG which industry experts say will be a major problem for Jamaica."

It's a mess but I think they should get on with the LNG project as opposed to their preferred alternative which is coal. If the LNG thing doesn't work out, the proposed floating LNG storage facility can probably be towed off to somewhere else and the gas turbines sold and shipped out. At least the current buyers market for natural gas might present some options for sources other than Trinidad. In addition I believe that in tropical climates it should be possible to make economic use of the cooling effect of re-gasifying natural gas if only to pre-cool the intake air for gas turbines or simply to make ice. This would help to offset the additional cost of liquefying the natural gas.

If coal doesn't work out, I wouldn't want to be the sucker left owning a slightly used coal fired electricity generating plant for which the fuel is too expensive considering the market for electricity in Jamaica. I have been at pains to point out, at every chance I get that, in the run up to the beginning of the recession, the percentage increase in the price of coal was significantly more than the increases for oil or NG. I personally think Jamaica should be going solar (PV, thermal, whatever) with the enthusiasm of Germany, if not the resources but, the powers that be think it's too expensive.

Alan from the islands

At a Caribbean Conference a few months ago here in New Orleans, the President of the company making LNG in Louisiana for export was pitching to several Caribbean nations. Closer than their first customer, Spain.

With exports not due to begin from Louisiana in production quantity until about 2016 it will be interesting to see what the Henry Hub price is by then. Of course the cost of shipping to Jamaica should always be lower than shipping half way around the world though. Although if LNG supply is tight by then Asian bidders in particular might be willing to pay whatever it takes to grab the gas.

Apart from that his figures seem to agree with the introduction to Jonathan's article.

Jonathan's figures are for wholesale pipeline natural gas in the United States. That price has completely disconnected from world gas prices and isn't even in the same ballpark when it comes to LNG prices. It likely costs somewhere about $2.50 per million BTU today just to liquify the natural gas never mind transport it by tanker and then the receiving facilities at the other end. An EIA report suggested that the total cost of LNG shipped gas (including liquefaction, shipping and regasification) was roughly 5 times the cost of getting the gas out of the ground.

Japan is currently paying $15 per million BTU for LNG. No deal is going to be made with Jamaica by anybody in their right mind to supply Jamaica with LNG at $2.50 per million BTU.

Current wholesale UK pipeline gas for comparison is $9 per million BTU (and it briefly spiked to $15 during the cold snap when Gazprom reduced flow to Europe). Forget $2.50 Henry Hub price unless you plan on building a pipeline from the US to Jamaica. And by the time you build it Henry Hub will probably be back in synch with world prices :-(

All that said it probably does make sense for Jamaica to build the import terminal at whatever the best price it can get the LNG for.

I have wondered about a land/sea natural gas pipeline.

Down to Miami and then to Key West. 90 miles undersea to Cuba. across Cuba (post-Castro of course) selling gas as it goes to Hispaniola (map shows roughly 70 miles undersea), and Jamaica (linked either to Cuba or Hispaniola). Hispaniola to Puerto Rico.

All well within the current state of technology (unless there are some deep undersea tranches I did not investigate).

Would the savings on LNG pay for the pipeline ? I doubt it. And Henry Hub NG prices will NOT stay at bargain levels forever.


Back before the shale gas "boom" Russia seriously proposed constructing a pipeline across the Bering Straits to supply the US with natural gas. If it existed today then it would be flowing at full speed in the opposite direction. A high capacity pipeline linking the US to European markets (via Gazprom's network which might be a problem of course) - if the shale gas "evangelists" truly believe in 100 years plus supply I am surprised they are not advocating the US building such a pipeline right now. Put in gas at $2.50 at one end and sell it for above $10 at the other end. Where do I sign up? :-)

Russia Plans World's Longest Tunnel, a Link to Alaska

April 18 2007 (Bloomberg) -- Russia plans to build the world's
longest tunnel, a transport and pipeline link under the Bering
Strait to Alaska, as part of a $65 billion project to supply the
U.S. with oil, natural gas and electricity from Siberia.

The project, which Russia is coordinating with the U.S. and
Canada, would take 10 to 15 years to complete, Viktor Razbegin,
deputy head of industrial research at the Russian Economy
Ministry, told reporters in Moscow today. State organizations
and private companies in partnership would build and control the
route, known as TKM-World Link, he said.

All that said it probably does make sense for Jamaica to build the import terminal at whatever the best price it can get the LNG for.

That is my gut feeling, if only to present the island with an another alternative to petroleum as fuel.

There is some gas being used by industrial, commercial, institutional and residential customers that is delivered by tanker truck, except for residential customers that receive it in 100lb. or 30lb. cylinders. Commercial and institutional users mainly use it for cooking, as do residential users while, I suspect it is used as boiler fuel by industrial and some commercial and institutional users. I don't know what type of gas it is or where it comes from but, it is certainly not being used on the scale that it would be to generate electricity by the utility.

I must apologize for not fully acknowledging that the author plays fast and loose with his "facts" and terms, as can be seen from:

Proposing a coal plant in Jamaica in this era is like running up the down escalator. Everyone is going in the opposite direction. Globally, no new coal plant has been built since 2008.

which is patently false. In the original quote he distinctly states "the price of LNG has declined substantially" and then proceeds, as you rightly point out, to quote wholesale pipeline gas prices, Can't say it is very reassuring to have such a loose canon on my side of the argument.

Alan from the islands

-->> Globally, no new coal plant has been built since 2008. <<--

He must be ignoring China, which has been building approximately 2 new coal-burning power plants per week in recent years, and has built hundreds of them since 2008. The United States has built quite a few, too, although not hundreds of them.

Statements like that don't give one the impression he has a good grasp of global realities.

islandboy - And to add one more hightlight to that strange statement: as mentioned before they are building a coal-fired plant on top of a NG field I'm developing in Texas. The site is also just a few miles from the S. Texas Nuclear Plant that supplies a big chunk of e- to Houston. The plant was given its final Clean Air permit from the current administration earlier this year. They'll shipping coal from Illiois to burn in the plant. Good the have friends from the Land of Lincoln, I suppose.

BTW: you might drop a line to that fellow and tell him there's a lot of NG in N Dakota he can get for free. They're just flaring it now. All he need do is bottle it up and ship it to the islands.

Small towns go dark with post office closings

Postal officials were blunt in December when they stood before 120 residents in Dedham, Iowa, to tell them why their town's post office has to close. The Internet, officials said, was killing the U.S. Postal Service.

"Well, I have no Internet," resident Judy Ankenbauer said at the meeting. Like many of Dedham's 280 residents, Ankenbauer said she still relies on the post office to buy stamps and send letters and packages.

Dedham is hardly alone in its dependence on the Postal Service. Some of America's poorest communities - many of them with spotty broadband Internet coverage - stand to suffer most if the struggling agency moves ahead with plans to shutter thousands of post offices later this year, a Reuters analysis found. Nearly 80 percent of the 3,830 post offices under consideration are in sparsely populated rural areas where poverty rates are higher than the national average, demographic data analyzed by Reuters shows.

Moreover, about one-third of the offices slated for closure fall in areas with limited or no wired broadband Internet, Reuters found.

The town where I was born had its post office closed. It merged with the post office at a neighboring community, then that one closed too. Now the post office for the community is in the next county.

How do you send a document or package by the internet?


Well.. today's 'Chain Letter' or 'Fanzine' sent around by TODsters would have tossed a few hundred stamps into the till, if such a thing had ever been possible by snail-post.

I think the loss of both regular first-class mail, bill-paying and Greeting Cards, as well as the info that can be emailed as large data-files of Music, Video, Spreadsheets, Scripts, Blueprints, Photos.. etc.,etc.,etc... amounts to a killer amount of lost First-class postage for the service.

Have we always assumed the postal service must be run as a business and show a profit - and in all areas too? Or was it an essential service provided because it was deemed a net benefit to the society? Does it make sense to have the postal service competing against private corporations?

Just asking. Maybe there are some problems with our assumptions.

I forget the exact story, but as I heard it, the US Post Office was required to put away an inordinate percentage of cash by Congress towards (pensions??), and has only because of that really gone deeply red. The 'privatize it' screams were part of the banshee cry of those who gave it the initial push.

Just the same, the PO has seen a great drop off in usage, and they do have to restructure somehow, in addition to keeping the self-described Libertarians at bay.

For now, junk mail is helping to keep the doors oiled.

It was a "poison pill" put through by the republicans. The post office is required to pay 70 years worth of all future retirement for all future employees into an account. The idea is to kill the post office so its function can be privatized by UPS, FEDEX, etc: corporations. They want your schools, too. They're getting the prison industry privatized. They want your retirement money, as well.

True but they stuck with the old business model rather than adapting to the 'what really needs to be posted' model. They did not adapt, bye bye dino. Maybe it wouldn't have worked but sticking with the same ol' same ol', yer know, just like fossil fuel ;)


Brent above €90 (118.25/1.3135 > 90). €2.88 from ATH*.

* http://www.zerohedge.com/article/brent-near-all-time-high-when-priced-euros

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

Iran Sanctions

... As 2012 begins, Iran sees newly-imposed multilateral sanctions against its oil exports as a severe threat - to the point where Iran is threatening to risk armed conflict. The energy sector provides nearly 70% of Iran’s government revenues. Iran’s alarm stems from the potential loss of oil sales as a result of:

- A decision by the European Union on January 23, 2012, to wind down purchases of Iranian crude oil by July 1, 2012. EU countries buy about 20% of Iran’s oil exports. This action took into consideration an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s possible efforts to design a nuclear explosive device, and diplomatic and financial rifts with Britain, which caused the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran on November 30, 2011.
- Decisions by other Iranian oil purchasers, particularly Japan and South Korea, to reduce purchases of Iranian oil. Those decisions are intended to comply with a provision of the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 112-81, signed December 31, 2011) that prevents the opening of U.S. accounts by foreign banks that conduct transactions with Iran’s Central Bank—unless the parent country reduces substantially its purchases of Iranian oil.
- The willingness of other oil producers with spare capacity, particularly Saudi Arabia, a strategic rival, to sell additional oil to countries cutting Iranian oil buys.
- This confluence of policies has already begun to reduce Iran’s oil sales and might reduce them by as much as 40% (1 million barrels per day reduction out of 2.5 million barrels per day of sales). Iran is widely assessed as unable to economically sustain that level of lost oil sales

The pullout from Iran by major international firms have slowed Iran’s efforts to modernize its energy sector and other sectors, rendering Iran unable to increase its oil production above 4.1 million barrels per day. Production is projected to fall to about 3.3 mbd by 2015. That estimate is somewhat less than the 25% decline over the next five years (by 2016) that the GAO August 3, 2011, report, quoting Oil and Gas Journal, estimates is possible.

Iranian leaders have admitted that Iran is virtually cut off from the international banking system and is increasingly trading through barter arrangements rather than hard currency exchange.

... The U.S. trade ban does not bar subsidiaries of U.S. firms from dealing with Iran, as long as the subsidiary has no operational relationship to the parent company. For legal and policy purposes, foreign subsidiaries are considered foreign persons, not U.S. persons, and are subject to the laws of the country in which the subsidiaries are incorporated.

pg 49-53 - Iran Megaproject List

The Global Economic Crisis: Can Canada escape a lost decade?

On January 26, 2012, in Ottawa, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives organized an event titled "The Global Economic Crisis: Can Canada escape a lost decade?" The first session examined perspectives on the crisis and the way forward, and featured Yanis Varoufakis (Department of Economic Sciences, University of Athens) and Stephany Griffith-Jones (Initiative for Policy Dialogue, Columbia University).

Yanis Yaroufakis stresses the point that the economic success of Canada and Australia in navigating the post-2008 economic crisis was that both countries' economies were able to profit from global imbalances - an imploding metropolis, Chinese/Indian expansion, and an emerging world rearrangement - that in the long term will not be sustainable. He cautions against Canada following the UK example of fiscal consolidation combined with austerity.

He reminds listeners, this is not the 1990s. Loose monetary policy and austerity probably will not work in a global retraction and will become themselves, self-defeating.

Stephany Griffith-Jones says the reason why the invisible hand doesn't work is b/c it is not there. She identifies the cause of the crisis as unregulated and unfettered financial markets subject to boom/bust and bubble/burst cycles. Countries where sound financial regulation was maintained fared better than economies that placed blind faith in markets.

Both economists warn against complacency, but Griffith-Jones particularly calls on policy makers to keep thinking about the question, what is the financial sector for? The financial sector is there to serve the needs of the broader economy and to manage and mitigate risk. Liberalization, rather than improving efficiency, has led instead to the financial sector not doing what it was designed to do.

Resource constraints are not mentioned, which I think are the unknowns thrown into any calculations by forward looking neo-liberal or neo-Keynesian equations. Interesting discussion all the same.

This is something I may have mentioned before, but most people have not thought of because it's rather counter-intuitive: Oil sands producers in Canada are selling electricity into the grid rather than buying electricity from the grid. This is a profitable sideline for them as well as reducing their net energy costs and overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Oil and gas producers generating profits on sale of surplus electricity to consumers

In Alberta's oilsands, companies that heat the thick resource to help pull it out of the ground increasingly look to generating power on-site power as a way to produce the electricity to run operations and generate the steam needed to heat bitumen.

Any surplus electricity can, and most often is, sold into Alberta's competitive power market, adding to the company's bottom line.

"You do get an operating benefit and you do get a provincial reduction in greenhouse gas intensity on the grid," said Brad Bellows, spokesman for MEG Energy.

The majority of Alberta's electricity is generated from coal-fired plants, while the steam and electricity that is produced at an oilsands plant is generated from cleaner burning natural gas.

These days industry-related power supplies slightly more than 15 per cent of the electricity in Alberta.

Suncor Energy Ltd. and Syncrude Canada, the world's largest bitumen producers, contribute almost 1,000 MW to Alberta's power grid each hour. Petrochemical operations can add another 520 MW in a province where electricity demand regularly exceeds local supply.

California oil producers using steam injection do the same thing (cogen). So do many of our refineries and mineral processing plants. PURPA was a good thing.

For those who don't know:

Power plants that operate using steam cycle or use gas turbines to generate electricity have a lot of waste heat. For steam cycle plants (use fossil fuel to turn water to steam, run it through a turbine, then condense it back to water), the waste heat is about 60%. If ample water is available the wet steam can be used to heat something else like tar sands. Or in the case of gas turbine the exhaust gas from the turbines also contains about 60% of the energy from the nat. gas and is waste heat unless used for making steam to heat tar sands.

So the primary purpose of the burning of natural gas in the tar sands production is to make steam for bitumen extraction, secondary use is to produce electricity for their operations. So the fact that the tar sands operations sells electricity to other users does not make it more green.

If the nat. gas used in tar sands were instead used in running combined cycle power plant (62% efficiency), then more electricity would be produced for a given CO2 output. But we need oil so the tar sands will be processed into fuel regardless of the GHG emmisions

If they bought their electricity from a standalone combined-cycle gas plant and used simple boilers to make steam for the oil recovery, the total GHG emissions would be higher per barrel of oil, and so would the water consumption.

The oil sands cogeneration plants are backing coal-burning power plants out of the Alberta electricity market. As more cogen plants go on line, they are replacing coal burning units which generate twice as much CO2 per unit of electricity, so the net result is a decline in CO2 emissions.

National Energy Board - Coal-Fired Power Generation - An Overview

The greatest concerns about burning coal to produce electricity are environmental. Even with access to new technology and low sulphur coal, a coal fired power plant produces about twice the amount of green house gas (GHG) emissions as a modern gas-fired generation plant.

Alberta is currently the most active province in the development of new coal-fired generation. One new plant is already in operation, Genessee 3, and another, Keephills 3, has an in service date of early 2011. Capacity increases are also being planned at a number of existing plants.

The province plans to retire over the next 15 years a number of older coal plants whose current generation capacity amounts to 2 500 MW. It's expected that these units will be replaced by a combination of coal (mainly IGCC) and oil sands cogeneration plants, which will likely be powered by natural gas or bitumen.

And the tar sands producers are able to sell that electricity onto the grid because...

Does Keith Wilson Look Like a Revolutionary to You?

In Alberta he does, taking down government by exposing a $16 billion scandal one power point at a time.

"There is inadequate attention to the costs of inefficient overbuilding and the consequence of higher than necessary electricity costs for Alberta consumers." The Utility Consumer's Advocate came to the same conclusion.

Second, the Industrial Power Consumers Association of Alberta, which represents 20 industries that consume 30 per cent of the province's power, has repeatedly warned the government that its $16-billion plan to expand transmission lines is unnecessary, uneconomic and unrealistic. It could also drive business out of the province.

"We simply cannot afford this transmission development plan and it is unnecessary... Alberta competitiveness is at risk,” says a damning Oct. 26, 2010 briefing to the Stelmach government.

Moreover IPCAA has described the government statements that there is "substantial risk of brownouts due to lack of transmission" as completely "inaccurate."

Third, in almost every jurisdiction around the world a utility commission transparently uses a public process to determine the need and cost of transmission lines.

But not in Alberta. "The bills centralize decision making and authority in cabinet in Edmonton. It's scary to think that 13 politicans have absolute power over your land, home and business. " (At this point the audience notably gasps and groans.)

Fourth, Wilson (and Anglin too) also makes it clear that the only beneficiaries of the Soviet-like bills as well the uneconomic transmission expansion remain Atco, AltaLink (a Calgary-based firm) and AltaLink's major owner, the Montreal engineering firm SNC Lavalin.

Under Alberta's dysfunctional electrical deregulation policy, Alberta taxpayers must pay for new lines, but AltaLink gets to own them. The company is also guaranteed a nine per cent rate of return.

How Alberta's $16-billion Electricity Scandal Plugs into the Oil Sands

Over the last six years the 55-year-old father of two has arguably become the most persistent and informed critic of the government's controversial plans to build $16.5 billion worth of transmission lines and all largely for U.S. export.

"It's all driven by the oil sands and the failure of electricity deregulation," adds Anglin. "I don't think Alberta's politicians are bad or evil but they are incompetent and dumber than your average monkey. I can't tell you how many times I've caught them lying."

I don't think anything in those articles is particularly accurate. The author (Nikiforuk) is very politically oriented and doesn't really know what he is talking about from a technical standpoint. A friend of mine was doing consulting work on the Alberta electric grid in the last few years and told me that it was becoming unstable due to lack of transmission lines. The lines were actually running hot because they were carrying more power than they were designed for.

Alberta is growing faster than any other Canadian province, and Calgary and Edmonton are a couple of the fastest-growing major cities in North America (they may be THE fastest after the US economy crashed in 2008), and the electricity grid hasn't been keeping up. The potential for new generation is in the far north (oil sands cogen) and in the far south (wind power) and most of the people are in the center, on the Calgary/Edmonton corridor. They need new transmission lines to tie it all together and balance the loads. The NIMBYs have been preventing them from being built, as usual.

One of the things about electricity deregulation is that government has to ensure that there is adequate supply. Otherwise, the supply/demand imbalances can drive prices to astronomical levels, as California found out a few years ago. Although I don't think Alberta's management of deregulation has been very good, it hasn't been nearly as bad as in California. It hasn't been as bad as Ontario, either.


Perhaps the tar sands developers, as well as Atco, AltaLink and SNC Lavalin have socialized costs and will capitalize the benefits?.

Which is what Nikiforuk was reporting.


Kinda off topic, but at least related to the general inability to continue supply our society with real food as the wheels fall off: USDA Certified Organic’s Dirty Little Secret: Neotame

Here's another gift from Monsanto ...

Monsanto found guilty of chemical poisoning in France

A French court has declared the US biotech giant Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning of a French farmer, a judgment that could lend weight to other health claims against pesticides.

In the first such case heard in court in France, the grain grower Paul Francois, 47, said he suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto's Lasso weedkiller in 2004.

France, the EU's largest agricultural producer, is now targeting a 50% reduction in pesticide use between 2008 and 2018, with initial results showing a 4% cut in farm and non-farm use in 2008-2010

Another reason to know your grower.

And really knowing them is hard. So many growers seem to have their own little shenanigan, which they think is ok, natural, organic. But won't say it out loud. Which at least made the national standard a worthwhile goal. You could buy something and be assured of a constant set of guidelines in production.

The inevitable exceptions and modifications by large corporate producers are killing the idea. MikeB, while being employed at an organic farm, used to rave against both the standard and it's efficacy here, but he missed the point that standards brought a needed level of confidence to the purchaser.

The takeaway here is that on a national level the corruption is almost total. You simply cannot rely on any of our systems to look out for your interests, they have all been co-opted. That knowledge is percolating through the society, and eventually it will bubble up again after it festers for a while and becomes an ingrained reaction. The food is not safe, your money is not safe, your health is not safe, the prisons are privatized for profit, mercenaries are displacing the regular army, it's endless. It's not like anyone even bothers to hide it anymore. What happens to a society where no one trusts anything the government does or says?

Bulgaria becomes second state to impose ban on shale-gas exploration

... "To begin with everyone was really enthusiastic," says Hussein. "We thought we'd get rich overnight. But when I realised the hazards this technology entails I was very concerned. I've worked hard for the past 10 years to build up the farm. If they start drilling for shale gas I'll lose everything."

... "We were promised lots of jobs and other miracles," says Vessko Dimov, a dental surgeon from Novi Pazar who launched the anti-fracking protest movement. "But when we woke up to the hazards involved we decided to oppose the project."

In Dubai, they spend a fortune to make the desert inhabitable, whereas here in Europe we have everything we need. We don't want to turn it into a desert."

Ice data at your fingertips

Discover ESA’s ice mission, track it in real time and obtain the latest measurements with the new CryoSat application. CryoSat is measuring the thickness of polar sea ice and monitoring changes in the ice sheets that blanket Greenland and Antarctica.

The CryoSat iPhone and iPad application – or CryoSatApp – is now available at Apple's App Store.

A look back suggests a sobering future of wildfire dangers in U.S. west

The American West has seen a recent increase in large wildfires due to droughts, the build-up of combustible fuel, or biomass, in forests, a spread of fire-prone species and increased tree mortality from insects and heat.

In a paper appearing online Feb. 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a 12-member research team warns that these conditions may be "a perfect storm" for more fires

Quite respectable scientists in Australia are suggesting that seriously large herbivores (like elephants) be introduced into the Australian bush to cut back the huge and uneaten under-growth, to reduce fire fuel. Could work in the US as well.

Australia already has large herds of wild camels. Why are they not up to the job ?


Camels seem to prefer arid zones, and don't eat temperate zone eucalyptus - that flammable fuel is mostly in the southeast crescent where the winter rainfall is somewhat higher, and the fir risk is highest

Giraffes and rhinos would be nice too!

Sudan seizes 2.4 mln bbls of South's oil -S.Sudan

... South Sudan claims Khartoum has "illegally loaded" more than 6 million barrels of its oil since late last year.

This included 1.2 million barrels taken in December, four shipments totaling roughly 2.5 million barrels in January and another 2.4 million barrels reported this month, according to figures provided to Reuters by South Sudan's negotiating team in Addis Ababa.

Restoring Oil Flow Requires Huge Investment, consultant says

JUNEAU -- Gov. Sean Parnell's goal of once again seeing a million barrels of oil course through the trans-Alaska pipeline each day would require an investment of $7.5 billion a year, the Legislature's oil and gas consultant Pedro van Meurs told two state Senate committees Monday. And that's unlikely to happen, he acknowledged after his presentation to the Finance and Resource committees.

... Wagoner, who co-chairs the Resources Committee, wants to craft a tax bill that would at least encourage North Slope oil production to stabilize at the current level of 600,000 barrels a day, which is down from a peak of 2 million barrels a day. He wanted to know from van Meurs who needed to invest those billions to reach the governor's goal.

"Industry," van Meurs said.

But oil companies would only pour that kind of money into their North Slope leases if the state cut taxes much more dramatically than anyone is talking about.

"Then it's not their money," he said. It would, in effect, be the state's. And Alaskans would resist giving billions to the oil industry, van Meurs said.

related Van Meurs Presentation for Alaska Legislature: Policy Options for Alaska

Quantum introduces new natural gas storage system

Irvine-based Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide has launched a new composite compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel system tank, aimed at the growing commercial service natural gas truck fleets, such as refuse and garbage trucks. .. the new 400 Series CNG storage tank is the lightest in the industry, while packing a diesel gallon equivalency rating of 26 gallons.

The tanks are easy to install and service, both for refuse trucks and other commercial fleet trucks. Quantum reports that there are an estimated 140,000 refuse trucks operating in the U.S. today, an increase of 1,300 percent since the 1990s.

This is good news.

As CNG components becomes cheaper, more standardised and more available, more vehicles will use them.

A related article talks about their tank for hwy trucks. It is 531L volume (140gal) and holds 41 Diesel Gallon Equivalent, a volume ratio of 3.5:1

Two of those tanks, on a truck that gets 5mpg, will take it 400miles between fill ups - that's not too bad.

These systems would also be good for reefer (refridgerated) trailers too, as their diesel units run 24/7, and there is plenty of space under the trailer for long, thin CNG tanks.

NG is now so cheap that the trucking industry simply has to look at it - we can be sure Freightliner and co are quietly doing their homework.

I wonder how long before the railroads do the same?


A brochure on their composite CNG tanks, manufactured in Lake Forest, CA.

The sentence which states that there has been 1300% growth in the number of refuse trucks operating in the U.S. since the 90's is wrong. It appears the growth number is for natural gas fueled refuse trucks, but the 140,000 total number is for all refuse collection trucks (not including transfer trucks and dedicated recycling trucks, of which there are another 40,000 or so). There are between 5000 and 6000 natural gas fueled refuse trucks in the U.S. today.

In addition to being good candidates for CNG, ALL of those trucks should have hybrid - regenerative braking systems on them. Refuse trucks are the most stop start vehicle ever deployed, there is no better candidate for it.

They are starting to equip them with hydraulic hybrid systems now;


Combine this with NG and you not only have a large reduction in fuel use, but also of NOx, SOx and (especially) particulate emissions - no longer any need for picking up the garbage to be a dirty business!

Yes. Average diesel refuse truck gets 2.8mpg average bcause of all the start-stop.

Yes, and at half the weight and a fraction of the average speed of hwy truck - so negligible air resistance - but use twice as much fuel.

And you are quoting the average, which includes the ones that pick up the big dumpsters - the ones on suburban household pickup duty are even worse.

Refuse trucks are also the major load factor on suburban household streets - the cumulative axle loadings eclipse all the cars that will ever drive on them (the road deflection/damage goes up as the 4th power of axle load)

Certainly SOx, particulates and volatiles would reduce with methane, but reduction in NOx? Per unit fuel, NOx is typically dependent almost entirely on atmospheric combustion temperature, not the fuel type.

manufactured in Lake Forest, CA.

You mean El Toro of course----
Lake Forest was a marketing ploy by some corporate hacks.

Petrobras cuts goal for 2012 Brazil oil output

RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Petrobras , Brazil's state-controlled oil company, cut its 2012 target for additional oil output by 30 percent on Tuesday, citing delays in building a ship.

The company said it would add 336,000 barrels of new oil output a day in Brazil this year, down from its previous estimate of 480,000.

The article attributes 125% of the reduced production estimate to delay into 2013 of a single FPSO project which had been slated for 4Q 2012, and 45% of the remaining increase to a similar single FPSO project which is still expected to begin producing this year.

Liquid Batteries could Level the Load

... The inspiration for the concept came from Sadoway’s earlier work on the electrochemistry of aluminum smelting, which is conducted in electrochemical cells that operate at similarly high temperatures. Many decades of operation have proved that such systems can operate reliably over long periods of time at an industrial scale, producing metal at very low cost. In effect, he says, what he figured out was “a way to run the smelter in reverse.”

Romania Struggles to Meet Power Demand

Romania is halting electricity exports and limiting supplies to industrial consumers in a bid to meet rising household demand due to freezing temperatures, according to the government.

The decision was justified in case energy resources continue to fall if weather deteriorated throughout February.

The system is already facing a "substantial" electricity deficit as a drought late last year halved production in hydro power plants.

Bill Moyers: Money Throws Democracy Overboard

The obstacles facing the millennial generation didn’t just happen. Take an economy skewed to the top, low wages and missing jobs, predatory interest rates on college loans: these are politically engineered consequences of government of, by, and for the one percent. So, too, is our tax code the product of money and politics, influence and favoritism, lobbyists and the laws they draft for rented politicians to enact.

... The French writer and economist Frederic Bastiat said it plainly: "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."

Nice one, Bastiat. That should be a topquote!

Check out Facebook Apple_iJustice and Yahoo Groups Apple_iJustice fighting for a $2 per hour min wage for vendor employees.

Tumbril is an interesting old word.

Army Officer's Leaked Report Rips Afghan War Success Story

WASHINGTON, Feb 11, 2012 (IPS) - An analysis by Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, which the U.S. Army has not approved for public release but has leaked to Rolling Stone magazine, provides the most authoritative refutation thus far of the official military narrative of success in the Afghanistan War since the troop surge began in early 2010.

In the 84-page unclassified report, Davis, who returned last fall after his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, attacks the credibility of claims by senior military leaders that the U.S.-NATO war strategy has succeeded in weakening the Taliban insurgent forces and in building Afghan security forces capable of taking primary responsibility for security in the future.

"If the public had access to the classified reports," Davis writes, "they would see the dramatic gulf between what is often said in public by our senior leaders and what is true behind the scenes."

Report: U.S. Army Whistleblower Report: Senior Military Leaders’ Loss of Integrity Wounds Afghan War Effort

During WWI at the west front, some bored allied soldiers opened fire at some birds. The other soldiers thought the germans attacked, and everyone begun shooting from the trenches. Now the germans believed they were under attack by the french, and opened fire with the artillery. Soon the french soldiers where covering their heads with their backpacks at the bottom of the trenches. After the fire storm was over, 8 soldiers were dead but the front was maintained.

The day after the local news paper announced that a powerful german attack was successfully defeated.

Post Peak-Oil Preview

The Way Greeks Live Now

... By many indicators, Greece is devolving into something unprecedented in modern Western experience. A quarter of all Greek companies have gone out of business since 2009, and half of all small businesses in the country say they are unable to meet payroll. The suicide rate increased by 40 percent in the first half of 2011. A barter economy has sprung up, as people try to work around a broken financial system. Nearly half the population under 25 is unemployed.

Greek bankers told me that people had taken about one-third of their money out of their accounts; many, it seems, were keeping what savings they had under their beds or buried in their backyards.

>... he noted little things, like the leaflets on car windshields advertising moving companies: literal signs of the way the economic crisis was affecting Athens, as people angled for escape routes, either abroad or to the countryside.

I can't help thinking that Greece should just do what Argentina did: default.

Greece will default, that doesn't seem in question now.

In extracting a pound of flesh for the bankers beforehand, however, the Eurozone is likely mortally wounded.

I expect very radical politics will emerge in Greece in the not too distant future. Probably in Spain and Italy, too. You can only push people so far.

I wonder if it will be as bad as everyone fears.

Everyone said it would be a fate worse than death for Argentina to default. No one would lend them money or invest there. Everyone was pulling their money out or sending it out.

But the worst didn't happen. Default turned out to be the right thing to do. It wasn't the end of the world, for Argentina or the IMF.

If Greece could default right now, it would. The Eurocrats are holding the Greek politicians' feet to the fire, draining the economy of every drop of financial life to satisfy markets.

Greece should have defaulted months ago. Everybody knows that, including the Greeks.

The financial services sector, like a thirsty vampire, won't let go of the corpse.

What's more, there is a serious democratic deficit within the Eurozone that is being played out. Dismissing dissent, while imposing increasing hardship, is a recipe for revolution. It is not the stuff of stable societies.

The Eurozone is imploding. In doing so, it is raising the old nationalist animosities to heights not seen since World War II.

That's how it went with Argentina, too. They struggled under the debt for far longer than they probably should have, and suffered greatly for it.

Sad how the story repeats itself.

I wonder if Greece might actually do fairly well in the long run.

Stoneleigh once said that it was better to be the first over the cliff. She was talking about individuals more than countries, but it might apply to Greece as well. The article was actually fairly hopeful; the excerpt Seraph quoted is not really representative. If BAU continues, the success stories in that article will do well, selling products to the rest of the world. As Argentina discovered, there are advantages to a weak currency.

If things go nonlinear...80% of Greeks own homes, mostly little family farms in the country. That is why they are "escaping" to the countryside. Basically, they're going back home. The "problem" of a shrinking population and no babies the article mentions is a solution, not a problem, if it's overshoot you're worried about.

I wonder if Greece might actually do fairly well in the long run.

I hope so, for their sake.

I wonder what the Euro-meisters think of that? The prospect of Greece defaulting, then leaving the Euro, and then recovering and (gasp!) doing well would expose them as the fools they are.

Like any corporate bankruptcy, it would get them focused on what is really important, to them. Currently they are being focused on what is really important to the euro bankers.

That is why there is this drumbeat of fear in the corporate/banker controlled "news" everyday, day and night. "You can't possibly live without us! The Greeks will die horribly if they fail to serve us!"

Swift Increase in Northeast US Gasoline Prices Pushes Overall US Demand Back Down to Lows

Per today’s MasterCard Spending Plus report on US retail gasoline sales, an incipient increase in US gasoline demand during the last three weeks of January has now all but disappeared under the weight of increasing retail gasoline prices. In the heavily populated Northeast US, especially throughout the Washington DC to Boston megalopolis, retail gasoline prices rose about 20 cents/gallon, or about 6% in just the last three weeks.

Gasoline output in the Northeast has been severely cutback by regional refinery shutdowns and slowdowns, a problem made worse by a slowdown in imports following the abrupt closure of after three Petroplus refineries in Europe, while at the same time a huge Caribbean refiner also begins to wind down.

However in the downhill race between falling supplies and falling demand, it is not yet clear if the significant year over year 5% fall in gasoline demand is enough to allow the US to smoothly sail through another 'summer driving season' without any supply interruptions. With Spring time around the corner, many Northeast states must soon sell a blend of gasoline with a lower vapor pressure (RVP) for which supplies may be limited. [Summer-blend gasoline has a lower Reid vapor pressure, meaning it creates less vapor than winter-blend gasoline and is less likely to contribute to smog formation in higher temperatures.] If faced with a shortage of low vapor pressure gasoline, individual States can and likely will request exemptions from the Environmental Protection Agency to use what gasoline is available - which will probably be a 'winter blend'.

US gasoline demand falls as prices rise - MasterCard

Oil and Gasoline Stockpiles Advanced Last Week, API Reports

Potential Supply and Cost Impacts of Lower Sulfur, Lower RVP Gasoline

The omens are not good. I think gasoline consumers in the Northeast US should prepare themselves for sky-high gasoline prices this summer. The shutdowns of money-losing refineries in the Northeast US, Europe, and the Caribbean will ensure that prices will rise until at least some of the refineries are making money.

Most likely it will impact heating oil costs in the Northeast next winter, too.

However, the higher prices will reduce demand, which means that more refineries will start losing money, which means that eventually they will shut down, too. It begins to turn into a death spiral for the refining industry. Drivers are not going to do particularly well, either, as they can afford less and less gasoline.

This is what the beginning of the end looks like. Welcome to Peak Oil.

I like this graph produced by Zerohedge

What's with these display settings? I can barely see the words and my computer's on the 800 x 600 pixels setting.

Anyone else think we are not far from another step-down in the economy?


The recent gyrations in global stock markets are just the beginning, says U.S.-based economist and author Harry Dent, who believes the Dow will fall below 10,000 in the near term before crashing to around 3,000 in 2013.

"I think the stock crash started in late April. This is just the first wave down...I think the crash really starts some time in early 2012," said the Founder and CEO of economic research company HS Dent and author of upcoming book "The Great Crash Ahead".

I'm honestly not sure. I said that two years ago that I wasn't sure which direction the economy was going, and I'm still not sure. The signals are conflicting, and have been for awhile now.

Harry Dent published a book in 1999 in which he predicted that the Dow Jones will go to 36,000. If he is predicting a crash, I am buying stocks :-)

There was a commercial on the NBC Nightly News sponsored by the "Oil and Gas Producers Assn(?)" claiming they will create ONE MILLION jobs, etc., by producing more oil and gas.
I'm making dinner, didn't catch the entire advert....

Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory



Mike Daisey performs an excerpt that was adapted for radio from his one-man show "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs." A lifelong Apple superfan, Daisey sees some photos online from the inside of a factory that makes iPhones, starts to wonder about the people working there, and flies to China to meet them. His show restarts a run at New York's Public Theater later this month. (39 minutes)


What should we make of what Mike Daisey saw in China? Our staff did weeks of fact checking to corroborate Daisey's findings. Ira talks with Ian Spaulding, founder and managing director of INFACT Global Partners, which goes into Chinese factories and helps them meet social responsibility standards set by Western companies (Apple's Supplier Responsibility page is here), and with Nicholas Kristof, columnist for The New York Times who has reported in Asian factories. In the podcast and streaming versions of the program he also speaks with Debby Chan Sze Wan, a project manager at the advocacy group SACOM, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, based in Hong Kong. They've put out three reports investigating conditions at Foxconn (October 2010, May 2011, Sept 2011). Each report surveyed over 100 Foxconn workers, and they even had a researcher go undercover and take a job at the Shenzhen plant. (15 minutes)

Mike Daisy asks a provocative question: do you know where your crap comes from? On the two hundredth anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth, quite a revealing portrayal of our contemporary economic order and what life is like at the heart of the "special economic zone", the city of Shenzhen.

The question of nuclear power plant safety is always contentions...here is an article from today:


Makes me wonder about how many incidents and 'near misses' many folks don't know about.

Fission Stories series:


We should be very analytical and suitably cautious about employing our nuclear rector fleet, and make well-informed choices if we think we need to build new nuclear power plants.

Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents

Most of the nuclear deaths are medical related.

So far.

I hope that St Lucie, Crystal River, and Turkey Point are well-run plants with robust emergency procedure plans.


BTW, I one rode a 'slide for life' wire down into the outflow pond from one Turkey Point's cooling systems.

Man was that water salty!

USAF water survival training, circa 1988 IIRC. Para-sailed in Biscayne Bay, as well..cut loose and floated down to inflate my one-man survival raft, play with signaling mirrors and flares, etc. Had a day off before class started and snorkeled/skin dove off the cost over a reef off of Key Largo...good times...