Drumbeat: February 15, 2012

Hard times see motorists to leave keys at home with car usage falling as cost cutting commuters seek cheaper alternatives

CAR use in Wales has decreased dramatically since the start of the economic crisis in 2007, latest figures show.

The data suggests that rising fuel costs are driving motorists away from using their car and instead looking to cheaper alternatives – with cars travelling 517 fewer miles each year than before the downturn began.

Car use was increasing year on year up to 2007 but has been falling ever since. In 2007 motorists drove 13.9bn miles on Welsh roads, by 2010 this had fallen to 13.3bn, according to figures from the Department for Transport.

The figures are similar to the pattern across Britain, which has seen car use fall by 3% while cycling is up by 15%.

Oil Rises to One-Month High as Iran Cuts Exports, China Pledges Debt Help

Oil rose to its highest in a month as Iran said it had cut oil exports to six European countries and after China pledged to help resolve Europe’s debt crisis.

Crude futures in New York increased as much as 1.8 percent. Iran summoned the ambassadors of Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Portugal and the Netherlands to protest against the EU sanctions on the country’s nuclear program, state-run Fars news agency reported. China will invest in Europe’s bailout funds, the nation’s Central Bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said in Beijing. EU finance ministers will today prod Greece to deliver budget cuts in exchange for a second aid package.

South Korea’s January Liquefied Gas Imports Decline 41% as Prices Increase

South Korean liquefied natural gas imports fell 41 percent from a year earlier in January, while the average price paid climbed 31 percent.

The North Asian nation, the world’s second-biggest buyer of LNG, bought 2.89 million metric tons of the power-station fuel last month, compared with 4.93 million tons a year earlier, data on the Korea Customs Service’s website showed today. Imports totaled 4.77 million tons in December.

Flawed Oil Forecasts Hide Continued Upward Pressure On Prices

When it comes to the future of oil, there is much speculation, but little hard analysis. You have the official line from the IEA that has oil prices stopping their abrupt rise and creeping up at a comfortable pace for the next 25 years. You have peak oilers shouting that we've run out of oil and the end is near.

Rather than burden you with one more theory and price target, I intend to look deeper at models and forecasts that already exist. My hope is that you will have a better sense what is logical, what is wild speculation, and what you should expect for oil prices in the coming years.

Mr. Darcy’s earth shattering results

A flashback to history provides the background we need to understand why there is a technological revolution happening in the oil and gas industry and why peak oil theorists may need to go back to math class.

How much oil is left? Who cares?

There’s abundance all right … an abundance of misunderstanding of what peak oil actually means. And what it means is this: oil isn’t going to run out anytime soon — but production will eventually be headed toward a downward slope. M. King Hubbert’s description of oil’s decline doesn’t address reserves. What it does say is that, for every natural resource (in this case, oil), production begins slowly and eventually rises steeply, then reaches a peak before sliding down an equally steep slope on the other side.

Breaking Past the Clichés on Energy Security

Everything you think you know about energy security and energy independence is wrong. All too often you hear that fossil fuels will soon reach their peak, that our consumption of oil causes global insecurity vis-à-vis rogue states and terrorist organizations, and that the United States would benefit tremendously from becoming completely energy independent. Under closer scrutiny, however, the alarmist scenarios, political correctness, and chic notions of sustainability that dominate today’s energy discourse simply do not stand up to actual realities.

The End of an Energy Era

I’ve uncovered my fair share of profitable stories in the past — from the beginning of the last decade’s gold and silver rush to a temporary boom in the uranium market. And now I’m seeing the puzzle pieces start to fall into place for what should be the next big thing.

In fact, that is what has me convinced that we are on the verge of one of the most important resource revolutions in history.

100 Years of Natural Gas

The new EIA report did cut shale gas resource estimates, but as that report explains it did so chiefly based on estimates derived from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) modeling of technically recoverable gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale deposits that stretch through the northeastern Appalachian mountains. Keep in mind that back in 2002, the USGS estimated that the Marcellus Shale would yield only 2 Tcf of natural gas. The new median Marcellus shale gas estimate is now 84 Tcf. However, other knowledgeable experts think that estimate is way too conservative. Given the history of steadily increasing reserve and resource estimates of domestic supplies of natural gas, this is very likely to be the case.

Four Scenarios For The Future Of Energy

We are reaching an historical inflection point, where our current decisions about energy use and carbon will have major effects on how we live in coming decades. Here are four possible scenarios for what things will be like in 2025.

YPF Said to Lose Shale Oil Partners as Argentine Government Cracks Down

YPF SA, Argentina’s largest energy company, lost eight potential investors in South America’s biggest shale deposits after government measures made oil investments less attractive, according to a person familiar with the talks.

Eni Reports a Second ‘Giant’ Natural-Gas Discovery Off Coast of Mozambique

Eni SpA, Italy’s largest oil company, reported a second “giant” natural-gas discovery off Mozambique, near the Mamba South find that it made last year.

The new discovery adds 212.5 billion cubic meters of gas in place, bringing total resources in the Mamba complex to 850 billion cubic meters (30 trillion cubic feet), Eni said today in a statement. That’s more than three times the U.K.’s remaining gas reserves.

Italy's Eni Sees 2012 Output Rising on Libya

Italian oil and gas group Eni expects its output this year to improve thanks mainly to the gradual recovery of production in Libya which is expected to return to pre-conflict levels in the second half of the year.

Gazprom to Invest 300 Mln Euros in European Storage

Russian energy giant Gazprom intends to invest 200-300 million euros to double its underground gas storage facilities in Europe to ensure uninterrupted gas supplies, Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said on Wednesday.

“We cannot guarantee that the situation (with cold winter) will not be repeated next winter or will not recur in the next five consecutive years, for example. That is why, we have given a green light to the program of doubling our gas reservoir capacities in Europe,” Medvedev said in an in interview with RT television.

IEA frets over Sudanese oil dispute

VIENNA (UPI) -- The International Energy Agency said revenue disputes between Sudan and South Sudan means overall production estimates are down 25 percent.

South Sudan gained control of most of the oil reserves when Sudan was split into two countries last summer, though landlocked South Sudan depends on Sudan for access to export facilities.

As violence continues, Syria to hold referendum

BEIRUT (AP) – As the Syrian military besieged rebellious areas Wednesday, President Bashar Assad ordered a referendum for later this month on a new constitution that would open the way to political parties other than his ruling Baath Party.

Opposition: Syrian war planes blow up oil pipeline in Homs

Homs, Syria (CNN) -- A massive plume of thick, black smoke billowed from the Syrian city of Homs Wednesday, punctuating the chaos that has plagued the opposition stronghold for months.

According to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an opposition activist group, government war planes flew over Homs and blew up an oil pipeline.

First Iranian-made fuel rods loaded in Tehran reactor

Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- Iran vaunted its mastery of the nuclear fuel cycle Wednesday as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, clad in a white lab coat, was on hand to load domestically made fuel rods into the core of a Tehran reactor.

State-run Press TV broadcast live images of the event, hailed by the Iranians as a major scientific advancement for the Islamic republic.

Report: Iran says has started using new advanced centrifuges at Natanz uranium enrichment site

TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian news agency says that the country has started using new advanced centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment site.

The semiofficial Fars agency reported Wednesday that a “new generation of Iranian centrifuges” had been installed and operated at the Natanz site in the center of the country.

Iran 'halts oil exports to six EU states'

Iran has stopped crude oil exports to six European states in retaliation for the sanctions imposed by the European Union last month, state media report.

English-language Press TV said those affected were the Netherlands, Greece, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy.

Greece's top refiner says has alternatives to Iranian oil
(Reuters) - Top Greek refiner Hellenic Petroleum said on Wednesday it had not been informed of a cut in Iranian oil exports to Greece but that it was confident of finding alternative sources of fuel if needed.

Iran oil ministry denies state media reports on EU oil stop

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's Oil Ministry denied state media reports on the Islamic state stopping its crude exports to six European countries on Wednesday.

U.S. Navy: Iran prepares suicide bomb boats in Gulf

MANAMA (Reuters) - Iran has built up its naval forces in the Gulf and prepared boats that could be used in suicide attacks, but the U.S. Navy can prevent it from blocking the Strait of Hormuz, the commander of U.S. naval forces in the region said on Sunday.

Iran has made a series of threats in recent weeks to disrupt shipping in the Gulf or strike U.S. forces in retaliation if its oil trade is shut down by sanctions, or if its disputed nuclear program comes under attack.

How the Iran Nuclear Standoff Looks From Russia

When Russians look at Iran, they see a country that has been their neighbor and rival forever. As the Russian empire advanced, it wrestled the North and South Caucasus from the Shah. Peter the Great annexed, briefly, Iran’s entire Caspian Sea coastline and put his forces just north of Tehran.

US, Europe consider crippling worldwide bank penalty against Iran, though costs could be high

WASHINGTON — The United States and Europe are weighing unprecedented punishment against Iran that could cripple the country’s financial lifeline but result in higher oil prices for the U.S. and its allies. Underscoring the potential costs, Iran on Wednesday cut oil exports to six European countries.

Overseas Shipholding Awaits U.S. Loan Decision as Tankers End Iran Visits

The U.S. Maritime Administration has a Feb. 18 deadline to decide on a $241.8 million loan guarantee application from the New York-based owner of a supertanker that called at Iran’s biggest crude-export terminal last month.

India's crude imports from Iran to dip in 2011/12-source

(Reuters) - India is likely to import less oil from Iran this fiscal year ending in March, compared with 2010/11, a government source said on Wednesday, as pressure mounts on Asian buyers to reduce crude imports from sanction-hit Islamic Republic.

Bangkok blasts wound Iranian attacker, 4 others

BANGKOK (AP) — An Iranian man carrying grenades blew off his own legs and wounded four civilians Tuesday after an earlier blast shook his house in Bangkok, Thai authorities said. The explosions came a day after an Israeli diplomatic car was bombed in India — an attack Israel blamed on Iran.

Vancouver Could Take Larger Tankers, More Kinder Morgan Oil, Port CEO Says

Vancouver would be able to handle larger tankers that could receive crude oil from an expanded Kinder Morgan Inc. pipeline, allowing Canada to boost energy shipments to Asia, the head of the city’s port authority said.

Repsol shares in $3 bln deal for Algeria gas field

MADRID (Reuters) - Algeria has awarded a $3 billion concession to develop its gas fields, Spanish oil and gas company Repsol said on Tuesday, adding it had a 29.25 percent stake in the project.

Obama wants cheaper pennies and nickels

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The U.S. Mint is facing a problem -- especially during these penny-pinching times. It turns out it costs more to make pennies and nickels than the coins are worth.

And because of that, the Obama administration this week asked Congress for permission to change the mix of metal that goes to make pennies and nickels, an expensive recipe that has remained unchanged for more than 30 years.

America's Decline in the Chinese Century - Red Alert Book Review

Every one talks about "peak oil," the author points out, but few discuss "peak coal." China, which wasn't on the radar in solar panel manufacturing or the desalination of seawater a decade ago, will soon become the world leader in both.

At the China Summit, Dr. Leeb said, "China will spend $5-6 trillion on renewable energy over the next eight years. When a country is growing rapidly it can mask past sins" -- a reference to the pollution caused by the recycling of e-waste. China appears willing to sacrifice towns and people for the long-term strength of the nation.

Oil industry’s rush to drill deep sea blind to dire problems

Oil industry’s rush to drill deep sea blind to dire problems

The oil industry in NZ seems oblivious to great dangers and wants the EEZ Bill to be rushed through so they can speedily proceed with ocean drilling projects. Kay Weir, editor of Pacific Ecologist, explains why this is a big mistake.

Offshore Drilling, Renewable Energy Stressed in Interior Request

The Interior Department would see only a 1 percent increase in overall funding next year under President Obama's 2013 budget proposal, but a significant boost is proposed for oversight and development of offshore oil and gas resources in keeping with the White House's recent push to expand domestic energy production.

Obama’s Wish List for Energy

The proposed $27.2 billion budget request for the Department of Energy is mostly about nuclear weapons, including nonproliferation and cleanup efforts.

Japan official faults nuke design, defends secrecy

TOKYO (AP) — The government official who outlined Japan's worst-case scenario for the unfolding nuclear disaster last March defended how his study, warning that millions of people might have to flee, was kept secret.

Authorities would have had as much as a week or two to expand the evacuation zone if the worst-case scenario had started to unfold, said Shunsuke Kondo, who heads the Japan Atomic Energy Commission that helps set government nuclear policy.

But he also acknowledged Tuesday that the design for the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant had been faulty and he had not expected the "Chernobyl-style disaster" that occurred.

A year on, only brief home visits for Japan nuclear evacuees

OKUMA, Japan (Reuters) - Back home for just three hours, a tearful Miyoko Takeda sorted through her belongings. She left behind the kimonos she once wore as a traditional dancer, fearful they might be contaminated by radiation.

Nearly a year has passed since a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan, Okuma town, but the site of the reactors at the centre of the Fukushima nuclear crisis remains off limits for residents, save for short trips to hastily abandoned homes.

Fukushima: the social impact of a nuclear disaster

The earthquake and nuclear meltdown in Japan last year compounded pre-existing issues like falling birth rates, fragmented families and shrinking communities. What does the future hold?

New study links childhood leukaemia to nuclear power plant radiation

The UK government's scientific advisory group found no link between childhood leukaemia and proximity to nuclear power plants, but German and French research has found an alarming doubling of risk.

Japan firms plan wind farm near Fukushima: report

A group of Japanese firms led by trading house Marubeni Corp. plans to build a large floating experimental wind farm off the coast of Fukushima prefecture, which was hit by a nuclear disaster last year, a report said Tuesday.

More new homes conserve energy

In downtown Frederick, Md., blocks from a Starbucks and Barnes & Noble, four new duplexes nearing completion were sold with complimentary iPads to monitor energy use.

For nearly the same price as other new homes, they have solar panels, geothermal wells and ultra-efficient, factory-made exterior walls. They're designed to generate as much power as they use, along with thousands of dollars in renewable energy tax credits.

More Southern forests at risk from biomass plants, report indicates

A new report says Southern forests are at risk from biomass plants that burn wood to make energy.

The report, released Tuesday by two environmental groups, says the expanding biomass industry will look at cutting trees to fuel the power plants, a departure from the current practice of using waste wood from sawmills and other sources.

Maersk Leads Shipping Industry in Developing Fuels to Cut Emissions

A.P. Moeller Maersk A/S, the world’s biggest container ship owner, is leading its industry in developing biofuels made from organic waste that could cut its carbon emissions and reduce a $6 billion-a-year fuel bill.

E-Cat 'Cold Fusion' Machine: Claims of Fraud Heating Up

The E-Cat has gone further into mainstream acceptance than any attempted cold fusion machine before it. Though Rossi doesn't let anyone look under the E-Cat's hood, claiming the technology isn't patent-protected, he invites scientists and investors to staged demonstrations. After a demo last April, for example, a pair of Swedish physicists vouched for Rossi's work, reporting that the E-Cat produced too much excess heat to have been originating from a chemical process, and that "the only alternative explanation is that there is some kind of a nuclear process that gives rise to the measured energy production." According to their report, 400 watts was put into the machine, and this appeared to catalyze a mysterious reaction, and in the process, generate 12,400 watts of energy that slowly poured out of the machine over the next two hours.

And therein lies the alleged scam.

Electric isn't the only 'green car' solution

With all the attention on EVs, we can forget that plug-in cars probably aren't the only answer for cleaner driving.

Making the Wrong Case for Renewable Energy

What problems can the U.S. solve with renewable energy?

Four years ago, both presidential candidates acknowledged the threat of climate change and endorsed vigorous policies to move away from fossil fuels. The U.S. seemed on the verge of committing to greenhouse-gas reductions and developing alternative-energy technologies. Since then, most Republican leaders have become skeptical about global warming and now oppose any major policy response.

David Suzuki: Solutions to Canada’s environmental future are rational, not radical

We’re not about to quit oil cold turkey. Does that mean we should continue with business as usual?

What do new findings on ice melt and sea level rise mean?

A new study on how quickly Earth’s glaciers and ice caps are melting - a crucial piece of the sea level rise puzzle - has received quite a bit of press attention during the past week, some of it rather misleading. While the paper (technically a letter) published in the journal Nature, concluded that glaciers and ice caps worldwide lost about 4.3 trillion tons of mass between 2003-2010 - enough to cover the entire United States with water 1.5 feet deep, according to NASA - there were some regions where glaciers and ice caps did not lose as much ice as previously thought.

Naturally some media outlets and climate skeptics chose to focus on the exceptions to the rule, losing track of the main conclusions in the process.

Answering for Taking a Driller’s Cash

The recent disclosure of the Sierra Club’s secret acceptance of $26 million in donations from people associated with a natural gas company has revived an uncomfortable debate among environmental groups about corporate donations and transparency.

A look behind the curtain of the Heartland Institute’s climate change spin

The Heartland Institute — a self-described "think tank" that actually serves in part as a way for climate change denialism to get funded — has a potentially embarrassing situation on their hands. Someone going by the handle "Heartland Insider" has anonymously released quite a few of what are claimed to be internal documents from Heartland, revealing the Institute’s strategies, funds, and much more.

Heartland Institute Exposed: Internal Documents Unmask Heart of Climate Denial Machine

Internal Heartland Institute strategy and funding documents obtained by DeSmogBlog expose the heart of the climate denial machine -- its current plans, many of its funders, and details that confirm what DeSmogBlog and others have reported for years. The heart of the climate denial machine relies on huge corporate and foundation funding from U.S. businesses including Microsoft, Koch Industries, Altria (parent company of Philip Morris), RJR Tobacco and more.

The most outrageous and unbelievable thing I have ever heard a presidential candidate say.

Santorum and Gingrich dismiss climate change, vow to dismantle the EPA

GOLDEN — A day before Colorado Republicans voice presidential preferences at the caucuses, Rick Santorum dismissed climate change as “a hoax” and advocated an energy plan heavy on fossil fuels.

But that was just the lead in to the story. It was what Santorum said in the video that just blew me away. Click on the above link, scroll down to the first video, the Santorum video, and in the first 50 seconds of that video you will hear Rick Santorum say this:

“We were put on this Earth as creatures of God to have dominion over the Earth, to use it wisely and steward it wisely, but for our benefit not for the Earth’s benefit. You may consider that an article of faith, I consider it an article of reason. We are the intelligent beings that know how to manage things and through the course of science and discovery if we can be better stewards of this environment, then we should not let the vagaries of nature destroy what we have helped create.

In other words don't let nature interfere with out destruction of the environment. And the harvesting of timber is far, far, more important than all the species that we are driving into extinction by our clearing of the forests.

“We have the Endangered Species Act, which has prevented us from timbering all sorts of acreage there,” he said. “It’s bankrupted the school district and the like because of the government’s inability to allow for us to care for our resources. A forest in my opinion is like a garden and you’ve got to care for it. If you don’t care for it, you leave it to nature and nature will do what it does: boom and bust.”

Ron P.

It's appalling.

The saddest part about it is the sheer volume of media time all this has received, in the "race for nominee". Umpteen debates, arguments, speechifying and the rest, just to keep these ideas in front of people.

If one tells a lie often enough, maybe it will become the truth ? One can only hope not.

Related to this is the article above on the Heartland Institute whistleblower, who released thousands of internal documents discussing the deliberate climate misinformation campaign. I wonder if it will get as much air time from propaganda media as "Climategate" ?

Right, and as the link up top just makes my point: More Southern forests at risk from biomass plants, report indicates

The report, released Tuesday by two environmental groups, says the expanding biomass industry will look at cutting trees to fuel the power plants, a departure from the current practice of using waste wood from sawmills and other sources.

We cut trees for timber, we have converted old growth forest to pine only forest for the paper industry and now the biomass industry going to cut wood for fuel. It's all over but the crying.

Ron P.

Burn trees in electric power plants? Duh! Easter Island on a grand scale!

When they run out of trees, check out your house! It is made of... wood, mostly.

Consider gangs of desparate people checking out your house. And your furniture.

When it gets really cold... times will become extremely difficult.

And, when the houses are gone?

Easter Planet.


Lots of asphalt and plastic left to burn.

Whee, whee, whee.


Maybe I should start working on a design for an asphalt stove. Maybe I can come up with a good asphalt cutter to go with it. Not sure what the right time to market it is though - if I wait until people want to use one then no one will be able to afford it. Still there has got to be some way to profit from desperation. Turning desperation and the destruction of public infrastructure into personal profit and fouling the air at the same time - it's nearly perfect!

Just leave one lane for my bicycle

The Romans built fantastic roads to march the legions from one end of the empire to the other. They built roadbeds several feet deep and poured lead between the stones to assure that the roads would last forever. When the legions stopped using the roads the "citizens" dug them up for the lead.....


This is just an anecdote which you might find amusing, Roman roads also make good floors. About 40 years ago a good friend of mine bought an old ruined house in the Forest of Bowland which is in the north of England.I was helping him to repair it. The house had been built in 1666, we found this no. chiselled into a couple of ton stone mantle over the fire place after we had pulled down an old rotten Victorian shelf.It was a very hot summer and as the moors dried out we could see very well the lines of a Roman road by the changing colour of the vegetation, it ran from under the house through the garden and up over the moor. I can assure you it made a dam good floor

Just make it able to accomodate multiple fuel sources. Nice efficeint wood burning design that comes with (or has an optional 10-50$) insert that allows the use of asphalt.

This is no joke. I saw such houses in Estonia when I traveled there in 1997. Houses without heat sources, so they mde fire with parts of the house. And then it got even colder. Those doors are there for a reason.

When I was a lad, one of the local buildings, derlilict for some years, was accidently set afire by "transients" who started fires on the wooden floor during the winter. I still remember the photos of fire and ice, with firefighting equipment (such of it that did not burn) encased in the frozen stuff.

Something to look forward to, I guess. Interesting times ahead, in a strictly Chinese manner of speaking.


"It's all over but the crying."

I've long been of the opinion that Peak Oil will not be the best thing that has happened to the environment, but the worst, as H. sap thrashes its way down the slope, consuming everything in its path.

Deforestation will be one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

I've said this for years... We'll burn everything... Especially up here in the north, where heating will become a huge issue, once NG becomes scarce (sooner or later it will) and prices skyrocket. People will clear cut city parks, local forests, etc... I believe in Britain before they started using coal, they mowed down most of their forests.

I recall reading that one of the main reasons that the British colonized America was the shortage of trees in Britain. They were especially lacking the tall, straight timber for making the masts used on their sailing ships. There was a pressing need for such masts to build their large navy, which was the foundation of the Empire. Oak was also a strategic material, as it was used as armor for those same ships. There was more to it than simply lacking wood for fuel, although that was a problem as well. In any event, the Crown and the mobility owned much of the forested lands and your average person might go to jail (or worse) if found cutting trees on those lands...

E. Swanson

tall, straight timber for making the masts

= "King Pines"

The colonists often brought logs with them when they came to the new world. A single log (to serve as the roof pole of the new house) was both necessary and a store of wealth.

That is, until they landed here, and saw nothing but trees.

I recall reading that one of the main reasons that the British colonized America was the shortage of trees in Britain.

John Perlin covers this in A Forest Journey --Civilizations have hit "Peak Wood" often. He also wrote A Golden Thread: 2500 Years of Solar Architecture and Technology, which we all have in our "naked hippy" collection.

I recall reading that one of the main reasons that the British colonized America was the shortage of trees in Britain. They were especially lacking the tall, straight timber for making the masts used on their sailing ships. There was a pressing need for such masts to build their large navy, which was the foundation of the Empire. Oak was also a strategic material, as it was used as armor for those same ships

Correct. The thing is, impact of resource constraints over history have been severely underestimated by even the most modern historians. I guess that's not a surprise given that most historians are by-products of the industrial age which taught man to disregard nature. It's only recently that historians and scientists have joined hands to examine the impact of climate, geography and environment on history. Jared Diamond is just one example of those new breed of historians.

Recent studies indicate that the movement of power from Babylonia to Greece and then to Rome may have more to do with the depletion of the most important resource of ancient world : wood than other psychological factors such as culture etc. If you trace the spread of forests and fertile soil through the years you will see centers of power moving along with it.

I think it was the liveoaks that were especially valued. The old growth trees have tougher denser wood than replanted trees. The later don't have the competition for light from other mature trees, they grow fast, but don't make as tough a wood product.
Some folks are "mining" oldgrowth logs that sank in lake Superior. These command a large premium over anything that can be harvested today.

".....once NG becomes scarce (sooner or later it will) and prices skyrocket."

I have news for you. Gas prices will skyrocket long before shortages cause people to burn wood. Rising world demand means that a portion of the abundant US shale gas reserves will be exported as liquified gas or products of nat. gas like plastic resins (polyethylene) and nitrogen based fertilizer (NH3). This will cause prices to rise as less gas is available for home heating market.

China has bought up 25% of the gas reserves Chesapeake recently sold. They did not do this without the expectation that prices would soon rise.

I too think we won't go down easy.

But Im not so sure if it will be any worse than what we are doing right now.
After all, our current system is pretty good at explotation of any given ressource at maximum speed.
It's very complex and very efficient as well.

Once there is a serious power down and the system collapses there will be very little organized effort at this scale for a while.

Sure, people will try. Cities will burn.
But it isnt really that easy to fell trees, especially in the winter. It doesn't get easier without the right tools, fuel, regular food supply and means of transportation.
Also, there will be a lot of injuries and a lack of medical supplies or experience too.

In short I don't buy it

This guy wouldn't las 5 minutes in Europe.

The truth: unfortunately, he's not in Europe.

Yes, instead he's gunning for the most powerful position in the world.

That article shows him for what he is. A ranting nutcase with a total disconnect from reality.

I doubt he knows the first thing about either "gardens" or "forests" and frankly I wouldn't let him near a pot-plant, never mind looking after the environment.

Richard, did you mean a 'potted plant' or did you mean Mary Jane?

Methinks Rick could use a good dose of weed to lighten up....

Funny, I never twigged the double meaning when i was writing it. Pot plant is the old english phrase for a house plant. It seems to have fallen into disuse for some reason :p

I'm afraid i'm far beyond the help of mere burning leaves to calm down, when discussing American politics.

Republicans generally seem to want to drive in the edge of the cliff in a H2 Hummer--as we increase our consumption of near infinite fossil fuels--while Democrats generally want to drive to the edge of the cliff in a plug-in hybrid--as we transition from near-infinite fossil fuels to cool new green sources of energy--but very few US politicians are questioning, in public at least, the viability of the US auto-centric, suburban way of life.

Denial on all fronts, both Republican and Democrat. They are just playing their respective voter groups.
The general public is still way behind on true information.
Most people are not aware of mass population die offs in the distant past.
It matters not what the cause, it will happen again.....It is the way the Earth operates.
Someday the Sun will burn out, then we will move to another planet? What is left of us?

I wonder how many of those Liberals who decry sweat shop working conditions are proud owners of Iphones , IPads etc. Scratch the surface of most of them and what you have beneath is just another person who would hate to make any personal sacrifice for principle. Not surprising that at the end of the day both Republicans and Democrats have essentially identical visions. IMO the only person in the race who understands clearly that no Republic has ever survived the debasement of its currency is Ron Paul.

But Ron Paul's views on currency are not exactly derived from looking objectively at the current situation. He was screaming about hyper-inflation 30+ years ago. Him being right is more of broken clock than a hard analysis of the current situation.

Paul's statements about inflation come from the Austrian playbook. Doom around the corner sells better than doom 50 or 100 years away.

Him being right is more of broken clock than a hard analysis of the current situation.

How can one analyse the present situation when the data you are given to look at is cooked? One can make nothing straight from crooked timbers.

I do not agree that there are //no// differences between the D and R choices for President this election.

Although President Obama and any of the R candidates would both support BAU with a considerable amount of policy overlap, it is specious to jump from acknowledging that reality to flat-out stating that there are //zero// differences, as some on this site have stated.

Although it may be a choice between woefully inadequate and dreadful, I will choice #1 thank you.

At least I won't have to put up with the guy at the bully pulpit prattling on about the Wall Street 'job creators' and about 'family values', punctuating every other sentence with some Biblical verse 'reference'. I would rather have a President who talks like a professor, rather than like a preacher, or a well-oiled corporate shill weather vane.

There is a choice, and no, neither of the two offered choices represent 'perfection' or 'ideal', but I perceive President Obama to be less harmful than any of the current R offerings.

There is a choice, and I will exercise my opportunity to register my choice...if the scoundrels monkey with the electronic voting machines, at least I exercised my conscious to choose the best option available.

Not exercising one's choice for the best option available is going to achieve the same effect as voting for for the lesser option...in my opinion.

It would be an interesting exercise for TOD to invite its readers on a special post to write down their manifestos on optimum policies that the next Congresses and Presidents should take to make things as good as they could be made. Of course the first thing we would learn from such an exercise is that there are considerably divergent ideas of what are considered 'good' outcomes.

I would hope that few would caucus with Sanatorium and parrot that we should go full on and do whatever we feel like since anything we do is pee-ordained and blessed by God, and because the apocalypse is coming anyway...

I WILL vote if for no other reason than to keep that philosophy out of the White House.

There are difference on a micro level, in the dems are better on workplace rights, women s rights and empowerment, and some environmental issues.
But on Macro issues, they are the same, supporting a economic and social system that is raping and plundering the planet, on a ever increasing level.
We need to stop this, or it is over for our species, and most of the others.

There are difference on a micro level(snip)But on Macro issues, they are the same

There are many other reasons to get the least damaging party- everything from nominations for the supreme court and senior bureaucrats, to not having someone who would respond ideologically to a disaster. Things that allow movement on the macro issues.

If you have the least damaging now, you might move the whole thing slightly to the left. And then slightly more in the next four years. I saw what the US was during the oughts, and I prefer now. Things have, indeed, moved to the left.

Just because you have not become a socialist wonderland ruled by science in the last three years is no reason to suggest that it couldn't be any worse under the Republicans. I believe that a Gingrich/Santorum administration would be a far greater environmental/societal danger than 4 more years of Obama.

History tells us that the US can move farther to the right: Slavery, segregation, the robber barons, etc. It could be worse.

I agree that it won't be enough. I am with the side that says we are headed for bad things and it can't be stopped; I don't think we can move fast enough to change before resource depletion and/or global warming gets us.

I could be wrong, however; we might have to deal with the politics of survival for 50 years.

And if that happens, and you don't exercise your franchise in a carefully considered fashion, you'll have missed an opportunity.


Being here, I would not say the country has moved leftward the past three years. Maybe in terms of visable foreign policy pronouncements, but internally, we are moving rightward, especially the teaparty dominated congress. Everything/anything adaptive towards limits to growth and environmental protection, is actively opposed. Unions are still being attacked and losing membership. Social safety nets are under attack, and weakening. Crazytalk about starting a war with Iran increases (even if the pres quietly tries to calm the waters). What we got with Obama, is mild rearguard action against the hardright push. What we would get with a repubican takeover would be all levels of government supporting the rightward push.

Obama, is, all things considered, a more right wing president than even Reagan or Bush I.

At least under them you had higher corporate taxes and more bank regulation. Recall that the turn rightward when it came to the banks started under Clinton, was accelerated under Bush II, and was all but complete under Obama.

The modus operandi of Obama is see no evil, hear no evil. Give as much money as you can to the banks, corporations, and military, and hope they give you some money as well. He's a complete nonentity, a ghost of a President who doesn't harbor or think of implementing a single good idea.

Just think of it for a second. The Republican party should have been completely discredited. Obama has single handedly given them a new lease on life at the worst possible time.

He may win the election, if only because the opposite side only offers snakes. But he's going to anger people in this country even more than Bush II, which will be quite an achievement.

Obama is a DLC puke. That doesn't put him to the right of Reagan. I would put him between Clinton (also a DLC puke but not quite as far right) and Bush I. The last arguably liberal President was LBJ.

Carter? Or he is even too right wing for you guys?

Well, he got the majority of the U.S. evangelical vote and swept all of the Confederacy except Virginia in '76. In office, he deregulated a number of major industries. He wasn't a liberal in office, he was a conservative Democrat like Clinton and Obama.

I believe that a Gingrich/Santorum administration would be a far greater environmental/societal danger than 4 more years of Obama.

The time to start preparing for such a day is now. The EPA was a reaction to the getting more and more successful 'protect the environment' amendment. If the EPA is going to go away, what's the backup plan for that day? Start THEN to make environment protection a 'Constitutional' protection?

Rather Hope for a Change that the new guy will honour his word - think about being that change and work towards the environment getting Constitutional protection.

But the Republican talk about shrinking government and closing down the EPA is not serious in any degree. Same with abortion. It's the mirror image of "change you can believe in." Once in office, all this stuff blows away in the first breeze. Gingrich might be serious, but he is unelectable. Even if he got in and tried what he says, it would provoke a huge backlash as it failed.

Personally, I say things have gotten rotten enough to make vocal (tell your friends) abstention the best possible voting strategy. Fie to this sham process and the corrupt babysitters it puts in office. D v. R = Coke v. Pepsi.

Political advertising, btw, is projected to leap by another 45% this time!


And the electronic voting machines certainly allow rigged elections. A lot of trouble was gone to to make the results unverifiable.

Don't vote? There is no quorum, no minimum, no "no-confidence" vote. In fact, the Supreme Court is of the opinion that voting is an option. These are my understandings.

A thought: On voting day, smash the machines. Demand real candidates and a real political system... Perhaps with a multiplicity of parties and proportional representation. Because the present system is a sham. Quit consuming at the usual unprecedented-in-human-history levels until it happens.

On the other-hand, cheese doodles are nice.

Here in the People's Paradise (aka Australia), we have compulsory voting, all voting by a paper ballot, a completely impartial Electoral Commission (I know because I worked for them), and a preferential voting system to ensure that the least bad candidate always wins. No wonder we're happy!

Thanks for the transcriptions, Ron. You went where I no longer dare go, and I can't watch these guys without experiencing waves of nausea; a very real physical reaction. Their disconnect from the real world is complete, as is that of much of the voting population who are reduced to deciding which unreality they will support. The discussion is so far from where we need to go, I simply can't fathom how folks can suggest that we'll just muddle through somehow. The overall trend is clear to me.

I think I just threw up a little. I can't even fathom what it must feel like to be so stupid and go about daily life. How does his thought process even function?

How does his thought process even function?

Obviously, Ty, the answer is, "Not."


That's why I never listen to or watch Obama. He elicits the same reaction in me.

Oh, but the EPA is no savior. They have their own political issues.
Saving the environment is a job for all people, and not some bureaucratic entangled, wasteful, gov't entity.

It is logical and necessary to have a governing body sort through the data environmental toxins and make judgements about which are most harmful, then enact and enforce rules to achieve some level of common good.

This cannot be done by the 'invisible hand' of the so-called 'free market'. Externalities are too easy to obfuscate and deny.

It is illogical to argue against something in the grounds that the something is not perfect.

The government is us. If you want a better EPA, hire politicians who support/champion having a better EPA.

Heisenberg, you are right on all counts. The choice is almost never between good and evil, the choice is almost always between the greater evil and the lesser evil. And in this case there is no doubt where the greater evil lies, it lies with those who would destroy the earth because they believe it was put here for the benefit of humans only. And those same people believe it is a sin against God to use contraceptives, that we should be fruitful and multiply until our numbers are so great that there is no room for any other wild species on earth.

I can't get started on this crap. It makes my blood boil. But there are people who don't believe that garbage and they are far and away the lesser evil.

Ron P.

And those same people believe it is a sin against God to use contraceptives,

Which,actually is in contrast to what he said in your quote uptop;

We are the intelligent beings that know how to manage things and through the course of science and discovery if we can be better stewards of this environment, then we should not let the vagaries of nature...

Using contraception control population is completely in line with that quote.

That sentence of his is reminiscent of a sixth grade English task - can you re-arrange these words so the sentence makes sense?


"if we can be better stewards of this environment, then we should not destroy what the vagaries of nature have helped to create"

I wonder, given that his religion tells him this is God's earth, who he thinks "nature" is - he seems to view as a miscreant to be corrected, rather than part of God's creation.

Selective application of his beliefs, I guess...

Ah, but the Church says contraception is evil. It causes young people to fornicate, which everyone knows they did not do outside of marriage before the evil contraceptives came on the scene.

Sort of like saying that we should abolish seat belts because they make people drive recklessly.

But then, see my comment on how his thought process works, supra.


Sort of like saying that we should abolish seat belts because they make people drive recklessly.

Craig, good analogy. It made me smile.

Seat belts do cause people to drive more recklessly. It is called risk compensation.


That is not the case for me, my wife, my son, my daughter, my Mother, my MIL, my two Sister-in-law, my son's girl friend, my daughter's boyfriend, my aunts and Uncles...

OK...maybe true for my Brother, nut he never grew up..and one of my Uncles.

Your statement seems to me to be a conjecture...how would one go about proving this assertion?

I could buy it during a span of years back when the transition occurred from cars not having seat belts (or having primitive seat belts) and also before seat belt laws were enforced to the period when most folks are well habituated to have cars with modern seat belts, and cops to ticket you if you are caught without.

But now-a-daze? I don't think so.

I suppose the same case could be made for the transition period of any new saftey technology, such as anti-lock brakes.

We have stats on annual automotive deaths per year...can derive the rate per x miles driven etc.

But I doubt we have credible stats on the squishy term 'more reckless driving'.


I suspect that risk compensation depends on the driver personality. Some people are just risk takers! Also risk taking
has been linked to Toxoplasmosis infection.

I know that I cycle more carefully when I am not wearing a cycle helmet, but I suspect that is a transitory effect. I am initially aware
that I am not wearing a helmet, but I quickly mentally adapt and probably revert to normal level of risk taking.

Wikipedia is always a good start if you want to learn more about something. Risk compensation is just plain common sense to me.

Here is an interesting past study. I've had motorists yell at me to wear a helmet. Most of the time I do on the roads but I always have had the suspicion that it is more dangerous in some ways.

Strange but True: Helmets Attract Cars to Cyclists

Her conclusion was "helmets are not designed for forces often encountered in collisions with motor vehicles" as well as that they "may encourage cyclists to take more risks or motorists to take less care when they encounter cyclists."

I think the driver reaction to helmets is a learned behaviour, in most cases automatic, subconscious.

Cyclists with helmets in my experience are on average either more experienced riders or are themselves risk averse, and so are less likely to behave in an unpredictable or dangerous way on the highway. Cyclists without helmets are considered less risk averse, and sometimes are much less careful of other road users when riding.

They are on average more likely to meander in the road or turn at junctions without checking behind. Drivers don't want to crash into cyclists, but every time one is encountered, they make a mental calculation of risk verses time and energy wasted.

It is relatively rare to find a dangerous cyclist who bothers to wear a helmet.

I ride 5 mph slower without a helmet to compensate. I bet if you took the average speed of a bicyclist without a helmet you would find them even slower than 5 mph on average -- I a 99.9% certain of that. The risk of serious injury is greatly diminished at slower speeds.

Also, the folks with helmets stay on the road in front of traffic while the bare-headed folks ride slowly on the sidewalk. The folks with helmets run red lights at 15 mph while the folks without run red lights at 5 mph, etc...

But on balance, they reduce injuries. The drivers do drive slightly more riskily, but not enough to totally negate the benefits. There is always a tradeoff, between agressivelness (which presumably gets you home sooner), and safety. If drivers tried to optimize a combination of safety and utility, when you make things safer, the optimum point moves towards more utility, using up some of the safety increase. Of course humans don't really use this sort of method to drive their behavior, but the principle that some of the increased safety can be spent to gain utility.

Same thing will happen with sex and contraceptives (as well as cures for STDs). We will do more of it, but not so much that the ill effects (unwanted pregnancies, and incurable STDs) is greater than before.

I am pretty sure seat belts increase the number of accidents and injuries. I would guess they reduce the number of fatalities.

In the case of seat belts, instead of a simple, straightforward reduction in deaths, the end result is actually a more complicated redistribution of risk and fatalities. For the sake of argument, offers Adams, imagine how it might affect the behavior of drivers if a sharp stake were mounted in the middle of the steering wheel? Or if the bumper were packed with explosives. Perverse, yes, but it certainly provides a vivid example of how a perception of risk could modify behavior.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1564465,00.html#ixzz1mZNN1jkl

I am pretty sure seat belts increase the number of accidents and injuries.

Total US Traffic accidents dropped from 6,471,000 in 1990 to 5,505,000 in 2010, despite an increase in population; the percentage reduction per capita is even greater. (http://www.bts.gov/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/...)

So for your assumption to be true, something else would have to be causing an even higher reduction and masking the damage that seat belts are doing.

I don't buy any of your argument.

I am alive due to a safety belt. But the driver (a 24 yo male) was "risk compensating" for all of us with his driving.

20 stitches in my head.

Then we should get rid of the brakes, while we're at it. They must make people drive too fast.

Sometimes I think the Catholic Hierarchy should just be put in a sanitarium, making moccasins and doilies, and reminiscing about their earlier days in the Hitler Youth.
But then, recognizing the virulence of the parasitical meme, I throw up my hands and try and have compassion for the hosts.

Sometimes I think the Catholic Hierarchy should just be put in a sanitarium

I basically can't stand Catholicism much either, or in fact any religions - Christian or otherwise - but the reality is that the Catholics have had a more realistic relationship with their parishioners for hundreds of years, than the Evangelical Mega-Church parking lot white-trash types will ever have.

Quite a few of my friends are regular Catholics, and we get on well, but I would rather walk over broken glass and eat dead rats than befriend an American Evangelical ... what an outstandingly crazy tribe they are!

I hold no stocks in the Catholic Church, but still want to throw this bit in: The current pope went only once to Hitler Jugend, and that was only once it was made mandatory for all boys to go, he then managed to make it so he didn't have to go there any more.

Lots of people try to play the "the pope was a nazi" card, but plain simply he wasn't, and it is unfair to say so. I hold a ton of critisism against the pope-church, but this is not one of them.

And the pope has sponsered encyclical. On global warming, he supports the scientists against the denialists. Now if we could get Santorum to read it! They do hire competent scientists and academicians in Rome, so at least they are well informed.

In the days before the rise of the Nazi Party, Lutheran services were regularly of two parts; readings from Luther's catechism and Luther's "On the Jews and their Lies" - basically the ravings of an anti-semite. The Nazi Party's popularity was enhanced by the German Lutherans with respect to their distrust of Jews, whereas the Catholics were far less supportive if not mostly opposed. Does this mean that had Luther not written the anti-semite material, the Nazi party would not have gained sufficient traction - perhaps.

Those readings, incidentally, they no longer occur for obvious reasons - and further (I was raised Lutheran), there is no mention of Luther's alternative work(s) in the Lutheran setting though every nuance of the catechism was studied - it wasn't until later I realized Luther wasn't the nice guy I was told he was.

Many environmental problems are of regional or national extent and solving those problems can only be addressed at that level. No individual is going to be willing to spend the time and money to solve such problems when many other people aren't similarly inclined. Air and water pollution are prime examples where national standards are the only logical solution. Building cars just for California's smog problem while accepting much lower standards in Iowa or Montana won't work, as people move around and take their cars with them. For example, seemingly small amounts of local emissions, such as agricultural burning, must be limited if the overall level of air pollution (and also lower GHG emissions) are to be achieved. The air breathed by the people in a city comes from outside and if it is "pre-polluted" by sources upwind, keeping the air clean in the city becomes much more difficult...

E. Swanson

In terms of the peak oil situation, EPA cannot save us. But headed by Obama, EPA has put in place higher fuel economy standards (greenhouse gas emission standards) for light duty vehicles (2011 to 2016) and heavy duty trucks. It is proposing a second round of fuel economy standards that, if finalized (as they are expected to be), will increase fuel economy of the light-duty fleet over the years of 2017 to 2025 (to over 50 miles per gallon in 2025).

Because we are on a peak oil plateau, these actions can only help to reduce the economic pain of peak oil, not prevent it.

CAFE is under NHTSA. Only GHG is under EPA. Eliminating EPA would not eliminate vehicle fuel economy standards, although I'm sure a Republican President would throw those out the window too, as Reagan did.

Santorum is a natural product of human evolution. How could he justify having seven children if he didn't think this way? Anyone concerned about overshoot and human impact on the planet has already weeded themselves out of the gene pool.

I expect humans to leave the planet radioactive and devoid of mammals. We are bringing back the dinosaurs.

Its appalling, but nothing new. A significant chunk of Evangelists have been saying this sort of thing for years. God made the earth for us to use up. And when its used up the good holy people are raptured away, and the unholy leftbehind get to suffer in the remaining wasteland.

I was just reading a blog by an ex-evangelical who quoted approvingly another blogger who claims that "the borders of evangelicalism are defined by the 'big four' issues: Abortion is murder, homosexuality is sin, evolution is nonsense, and environmentalism is a farce." I think you could probably add "peak oil is a farce" to that list.

Although he's a Catholic and not an evangelical, Rick Santorum seems to agree 100% with the evangelicals on the "big four" issues.

For a Roman Catholic, Rick Santorum comes across as a heretical idiot. Someone should send him back to catechism class.

At least he should be reminded of Thomas Aquinas' assertion that creation, all creation (not just humans), participates in the divine. I can picture St. Francis of Assisi spinning in his grave.

Or he should go back and re-examine the good old Augustinian premise that no matter how good and perfect our world, we human beings will find a way to mess it up.

I don't think Rick Santorum is abiding by any Catholic doctrine in claiming that man can use the earth for any purpose that suits him. As one who was schooled in Catholic institutions I have been taught that the earth is God's creation and man is to respect and protect that creation. On earth day our church has a serman that has speaks of preserving the environment.

Santorum must have been raised in the church of industrial growth, not the Catholic churches that I have been exposed to.

Yeah, I never understood this interpretation of the Bible. That humans have "dominion over the Earth" is just a recognition of fact - there's no animal that can oppose us in number, and we change the landscape to suit our purposes. The fact that we have that capability does not mean that God has entitled us to use that capability to trash the Earth. It's like the parent who turns his house over to his teenage kids for the weekend while he's out of town - he's entrusting the house to the kids, not saying they're allowed to burn it down. Same likewise with the Earth - we've been entrusted with it, but it's not ours to use up or destroy, but to preserve and protect as God's servants.

Ha ha, I'm an atheist, but sometimes I wish more religious people pay attention to their holy books - at least the parts I agree with 8^).

Boy, when God gets back to Earth, is she going to be pissed at Rick Santorum.

To be fair, there are some Christian groups concerned with "creation care". They come down on both sides of this issue. Other than contraception, I have few problems with the pronouncements of the current Pope.

Just to be clear, the christian evangelicals hate the catholic pope.

In fact, the way it works is, if you bring up any atrocity, horror, or silliness of the past, it is not done by the evangelical's particular sect, but by some other. These groups divide and differentiate themselves endlessly. Even their bible isn't their bible. The old testament is not theirs and can be dismissed because their messiah died and covered all of that for them.

Last time this was up for discussion, I claimed that the hebrew wording have the meaning of "stewardship". In other words, our role is that of management, and we should take care of and add value to the creation/nature.

This was met with fierce oposition; the fact that those are the words does not undo the fact that they mean the oposite. The Bible is inconclusive and we can not draw any conclutions from it.

Are the crowd here on this site now on this line again, or what is going on?


So you're saying that in the original hebrew, what was translated to "dominion" should have been more properly translated as "stewardship"?

It's a little more complicated than that. Genesis actually has two separate Creation stories, one in the first chapter and an entirely different one in the second chapter. The editor of Genesis weaved four different oral accounts into one whole, but the differences are still clear today.

The first chapter of Genesis was written by the priests. You can see the comprehensive scope, the careful attention to order and completeness. The Hebrew word translated "dominion" in Gen 1:28 was rahad, a word that did imply a type of dominion. Remember, though, that the Hebrew people lived in a hostile environment where nature seems always against it. The priests were in effect leading a pep rally for humans against the forces of nature.

The second Creation story begins in Genesis 2:4. This is an account told around the campfires by the common people. It has a story line, drama and dialogue, and it manages in a few paragraphs to touch on the central issues of human existence. That is why the story resonances with us so well. Here God creates man from dirt, from the same source as all other life. Man evolves the same as any other creature. However, God also gives the man, Adam, the responsibility to name all of the animals. In that society, to name a living creature was to accept responsibility for that living thing. We still do that today. Who names our children, our pets? We do! We accept responsibility for what we name.

The idea that we can exploit the earth and use scripture as justification is simply demonic. Looking at all Hebrew and Christian scripture together gives a clear call to stewardship, That is why my own denomination, the United Methodist Church, and other mainline denominations emphasize the need for us to take responsibility in being good stewards of God's creation and creatures.

I don't agree with the "two stories" story. The second chapter is written in a way that assumes you read the first chapter. Hence, it surely do look like it is just chapter two in a continous story. Also, they cover different subjects. Chapter two only covers the creation of man, while chap one covers the creation of the world. Now this is not a site to discuss religion, but I realy do not by the two-stories story.

But either case it does not matter, since the discussed passage is found only in chapter one, so that is the only chapter we need to study to get to that point.

But yes, all scripture taken together it do not look like the book gives us a green-card to level the planet. Wich is why we (as in European churches of all brands, including evangelicals) are very much pro-enviornment.

Why are ANY of you discussing the christian bible at all - a bunch of myths and childish fables - written to support a ridiculous superstition. You're all fruitcakes ... and this is a website about science, remember.

Can we ratchet down the name-calling?

Like it or not, religion is likely to play a big role in how we deal with the transition to the post-carbon age. I think it's necessary to discuss it from time to time. The historical basis of religion is on-topic, IMO. But please, folks - discuss it politely.

Sure - religion is a big issue in the US I expect - but those of us who think it is all apple sauce are surely allowed to say that it is, as often as we like, and as loudly as we like. Good grief.

Ummm....no. That would be boring.

Criticize the ideas if you must, but not the people who hold them. And everything in moderation.

The historical basis of religion is on-topic, IMO.

IMHO, the psychological basis under which human beings not only accept religion as a "truth" but crave it, is on topic.

The reason why is because it helps explain the mechanisms within the human brain that cause the "Main Stream" to reject and deny concepts such as Peak Oil, AGW, the unsustainability of the current economic system and so forth.

I do not seek to ridicule my fellow man (or woman) who clings to his/her religion, be it Evangelical or Born 2 and half times or whatever. After all, it's not as if they had choice and free will. Both of those, IMHO are myths and delusions themselves. When you are born, it is your parents and your village who program your many ways of thinking about the world; what kind of thinking is allowed (acceptable) and what kind is absolutely not acceptable.

In many cultures, thinking about the possible non-existence of God is absolutely unacceptable.

In many cultures, thinking about the possibility of dystopian outcomes (Peak Oil, population bomb, etc.) is similarly "unacceptable".

The linkage between the two is that there is social prime directive regarding not going to where no average man (or woman) has gone before.

It's a truism that the problem with even the nicest religion is that it trains people to believe without evidence.

Tradition and authority aren't evidence.

We TODders are no better than that.

We too rely on "authority"

How do we know that oil production is truly flat or down?

Because some government "authority" says so?

Because the "price" at the gasoline/diesel retail station keeps going up and up?

Because it affects, as Leanan points out, how people think and behaves. The thread begun with a certain politicians religious motives for a certain policy, and weare merely analysing the foundation for those motives.

I'm an atheist, and I find it fascinating. It is relevant because so many people purport to believe in it, so like it or not, it can shape thinking. learning about parts of it that support your own causes could provide you useful debate ammunition.

I also love Heinlien's Dune, but i believe not a word of it is true.

eos - I know what you mean. I'm an atheist who was raised Catholic (very Catholic...New Orleans). Like they say "Walk a mile in a man's shoes and you'll understand him better. And it's obviously important to understand your adversaries as well as possible. Same thing with red necks. Though Nawlins has always been a tad more liberal than the rest of the state we still had our share of racism. Having a bit of black in me (before they changed the archaic law the state would have classified me as "Negro") it was always enlightening to sit around and listen to the views of my fellow white trash who didn't know my mixture. Same thing true but to a lesser extent in the oil patch. Growing up in a mixed neighborhood we didn't have much tension between the races: we all knew we were pretty much at the bottom of the sh*t pile as thus no one tended to think themselves better than anyone else.

I know it's worn out but still true: "....but keep your enemies closer".

As I said before, I'm an atheist, but I'm interested in the explanations of the Bible passages involved - understanding that stuff makes explaining my positions on environment issues to my Christian friends that much easier. Thanks Jedi and Dark-Fired 'baccy for the [conflicting - go figure] explanations.

I've had those conversations. There is embraced a detailed construct. Communication can be in terms of that construct.
Star trek: Darmok - 10 minutes - Interesting

Ideas are held because of their importance in supporting that construct, not for their innate value in explaining observation. In science, reality is discovered for one's self. In dogma, reality is revealed by an authority. It will be explained, and one can inquire, why it is important to believe a thing, or why that belief is important. The defining list of evolution, environmentalism (global warming), etc., is quite true. Belief or tolerance in these things is foolish, pitiful, and damning.

Because it is a construct, and it is used as identity, it has no bearing on actual behavior. I've witnessed endangerment of others, theft from cripples, and the gamut of abuse with voluntary admission of even further abuse perpetrated by followers. When pointed out to them, the response has been "Well, God talks to me... I just don't listen well"... and all is forgiven thereby.

So, there is no inherent operational meaning.

I love music. Here are a song and a story one can share with believers. The song is of coming together... while so much of the social effect of these constructs is to divide:
Connie Dover: "Ubi Caritas"

The story is
Carl Theodor Dreyer: "The Passion of Joan of Arc"
Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqMBHWmTcC8&feature=fvsr - Better Audio?
The opening song is beautiful.

An aspect of this story appealing to believers is the level of suffering to be overcome: The challenge of belief or the embrace of belief in the face of pain. For example, this is a repetitious theme heard on the christian radio stations with the telling of horrific personal stories. The level of sadism in the Mel Gibson movie "The passion of the Christ" becomes comedic at points, like in Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange".

This is coupled with an innate fascination with authority.

Richard Einhorn comments on Digby's Hullabaloo as "Tristero." Very savvy guy.

Oh! Far out. I never would have found that on my own, or of even thought to look. Thank you!

Looking quickly through the site, I was reminded of last-night's after-thought: that I had forgotten to mention that they present themselves as being under attack.

"what they discovered was that the agenda of all fundamentalist movements in the world is virtually identical, regardless of religion or culture."

My daughter quips, "Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in his shoes. Because by then, he'll be a mile away. And you'll have his shoes."

I'm not sure that was the intended perspective, but I give her props for sound thinking.

Unless your daughter was posting on UseNet in the 1980's - the props you gave her have been done before.

Before you criticize someone, drive 500 miles in his Cadillac; with the radio blasting.

I loved the Dune series also; written, not by Heinlien, but by Frank Herbert. I also read all of Robert Heinlien's stories and most short stories as well.

Not sure where Herbert was coming from religiosly speaking. The Fremen seemt to be analogous to Muslims; some reference to surviving Judaism especially in the later books.

Heinlein was probably authentically athiest, most likely he would support Paul's candidacy since he was a strongly right wing Libertarian.

RH's contemporary, arguably the better writer, Isaac Isamov, was very left leaning, and ethnically Jewish. He did NOT believe there was a God, and told Barbara Walters that if he knew he was dying, he would write faster, and that his idea of heaven (did not believe there is one) would be a table with a typewriter and paper and a chair. Genuinely loved what he did! Wonderful gentleman in the flesh. I was privileged to meet and converse with him on one occassion.

I think AA would be accomodating to all; as would Herbert. Maybe RH would, but he would have been least likely to be open minded, IMO.

Again, these writers did not believe that ficition was fact. There are many who do, however, when it comes to books about their religion that their parents told them were true. After all, their parents would not lie to them. And, they did not, b/c their parents believed what they were saying was true.

So, to me at least, the way to view people who do believe is to feel sorry for them. Those who try to inflict their beliefs on me, I am not so easy on. Which is why I am hard on Rick Santorum, Newt, Mitt and the bunch. Reigion is not and should not be a part of any politics in the US of A. Of course, it is, and there is the rub. People can and have written volumes about it.

I rather like the interplay between men of good will who honestly seek to reconcile their wierd books with reality, and men of good will who have no such impediments. It is much more difficult to be rational when burdened with all of that junk. I wish them well.

Best hopes for secular discussions.


the way to view people who do believe is to feel sorry for them

Indeed. Which is exactly how the "believers" feel about the non-believers.

I'm an atheist from a very religious father. We went 'round and 'round for years until I realized it's a complete waste of time. I feel sorry for him living in a fantasy world. He's "just concerned about [my] Eternal Soul, that's all."

I don't cave in. I just keep quiet and wait for the conversation to turn to other subjects. I think the world would be a better place if everyone did this when confronted with someone from the Other side. I believe changing one's paradigm needs to come from within.


I was going to say same thing.

The commonality between atheist and believer is that each feels he/she is superior to the other.

I wondered how long it would take someone to notice the heresy of attributing Dune to Heinlein.

I think a lot of people noticed. They just figured 20 other people would jump on it, so didn't bother to say anything.

Yep. Holding my peace has never been a strength. I kept looking hoping someone was weaker than I, then promptly spoiled it by piling on.

It is a collection of myths, but that is not to say those myths are of no value. Many of those myths are very, very old, far older than Christianity, and were intended to illustrate certain truths about life, even if they are not themselves literally true. They were never intended to be interpreted literally, which is what Christianity eventually tried to do, and why it all seems like so much silly gibberish. I think that there is probably wisdom in the myths created thousands of years ago and passed down through those ages - they were intended to aid people in thinking about and understanding issues that have puzzled people for all that time. Unfortunately it's awful hard to make much out of the the mangled versions of the Christian church.

I recommend "The Pagan Christ" by Tom Harpur. Not quite as clearly presented as it might have been, but interesting and ultimately convincing anyway.

It pains me to see Christians trying to interpret the bible literally. When as a young teenager I questioned our Presbyterian minister about some of the contradictions in the bible he made it clear that the bible was not intended to be interpreted literally.

Of course it was supposed to be interpreted literally by those who wrote it, except for perhaps the Book of Revelations which was supposed to be a dream. Today's theologians cannot possibly interpret it literally else they would be drummed out of the church. But there is so much sillyness in the Bible that they theologians have to gerrymander their way around them. But give the original authors a break, they just didn't know any better. They thought the legend of Adam as well as the legend of Noah was actually true. So they wrote the legends down just as it was told to them.

They thought the legends were true and meant for the reader to interpret them literally.

Theologians do not just do this incidentally: (gerrymander) this is theology. Doing theology is like doing a jigsaw puzzle in which the verses of Scripture are the pieces: the finished picture is prescribed by each denomination, with a certain latitude allowed. What makes the game so pointless is that you do not have to use all the pieces, and that pieces which do not fit may be reshaped after pronouncing the words "this means."
- Walter Kaufmann: Critique of Religion and Philosophy.

Ron P.

It was not like it was some project where it is possible to interpret what was intended by its "authors". It's a collection of stories and myths that evolved over millennia, with stuff constantly added and removed to suit the interests of various groups and times. Not to mention translation issues. Many of the stories go back to Egyptian mythology, passed down through the Greeks and others. Eventually the church decided to treat the material literally, perhaps because there were not enough people sophisticated or educated enough to deal with it any other way and a bigger membership is useful to power, whereupon most meaning in the stories vanished.

Whatever the intentions of the original authors, throughout the middle ages it was considered 'torturing the text' to interpret the Bible literally. Most of the Old Testament, especially, was considered to be written as a prefiguring for the story of Christ and the Christian Church.

On myth: In a scientific age, we tend to assume that all earlier thought was a failed attempt to do science. But myths did much more than try to explain natural phenomena. They reflected societal structures, explored psychological desires, expressed humans' relationship to the universe... Reducing myth to failed attempts at science misses the boat in a number of ways.

All of us on TOD (I think) have utter faith in the constancy, the supremacy of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. We know it is fundamental for understanding how matter and energy interact or move. We can always rely in the Second Law, though we can rely on precious little else, some would say "cold comfort", but not TODers, we are virtually mesmerized by the Second Law, at least I am. If there is any supreme ruler (I don't mean a god, but analogous to a god) in the world of physics, maybe it's the Second Law....

So let's check out the Bible for some information on the Second Law! Yes, you would expect that earlier people, lacking a modern scientific vocabulary with words such as thermodynamics, energy, photosynthesis, etc., might still have a basic GRASP of what was going on.

In my opinion, the Adam and Eve story is explaining the Second Law, the implacability of it, the constancy of it. What is entropy but the new mortality of Adam and Eve? What is more cosmically impossible than an apple that stays on a tree forever? And it would take a human to recognize that impossibilty and encode this recognition of a cosmic reality for human beings, this awareness, in a story that maintains its power for millenia.

What is more regrettable and more difficult for humans than our ever-aging bodies and the world of change and flux that we can never seem to catch up with---our bodies find brief respite here, animated by the processes that allow life to exist, we battle entropy while we use its power for our own ends. We share everythig with the cosmos, we are open, material interfaces so things come and go through us, bonds are formed and broken. We live by this. It can't go one forever, like the poor apple, and we die and our material bodies become reunited with the lifeless material that flows through time and space without a thought, without a regret....

Cast out of Eden, indeed, yes, here we are, managing anyway. (So be happy while it lasts.)

We are such stuff as dreams are made on
And our little life is rounded with a sleep.

It's no use to malign myths, stories, fables, and such. Rather, the best approach is to look deeply into these stories and examine them for any interesting ideas they might be trying to convey.

Religion and Mythic Storytelling are, as I think you suggest, NOT concerned with scientific laws. They are about human experience, psychology, and our hearts. We can apply some science to these things.. but it's like the old line.. "A joke is like a frog, you can dissect either one to see how they work, but they usually die in the process." Religion, like the good fiction mentioned above, does what it can to look inside the heart without tearing the life out of it in the process..

But trying to look at religion by seeing what the extreme practitioners of it are doing is bound to end up in the kind of confusion and resentment that many of the above posts are showing.

We can't let them define our Country, Patriotism, our Democracy, Human Nature, .. anything else. It stands to reason that they can't be trusted in carrying the definition of religion, either.. just like Gluttons don't get to define nutrition.

Wikipedia has an interesting entry on the Genesis creation narratives. It breaks down Genesis I and II, estimates when they were written, and shows the significance of the word choices. The story is part of our cultural memory. Understanding its background clarifies things.

I doubt you'll get consensus on Anything from this crowd of Kit-Cats, Padawan.. unless it's something that's ripe for lots of chit-chat.

I've heard about that original translation as well, and don't doubt it's true. But History, as they say, is written (and translated) by the victorious, so it seems reasonable that the writings move disproportionately towards such proud and loud interpretations..

If the original biblical text is studied, one can also find ample evidence that ancient Judaism was a polytheistic religion (Thou shalt not have other gods before me!). Modern evangelicals bend the religion to fit their own religious obsessions. There is certainly nothing theologically consistent, intelligent or reasonable about the crap Santorum et. al. are preaching.

The Christian bible is a treasure trove of religious mythology and should be left at that. Making it a strict moral guide, dictating every aspect of our lives (Sharia?) is bound to lead to disaster.

This is a sort of schism that started in the mid 1800s that really hasn't played itself out yet.

It remains to be seen whether the human mind can accept its condition without resorting to the magical or mystical. It could be that we have yet to evolve out of it.

It remains to be seen whether the human mind can accept its condition without resorting to the magical or mystical. It could be that we have yet to evolve out of it.


As long as this is taken seriously, we are a doomed species.

I suspect Santorum is playing to the fundamentailsts for political gain. He may or may not have complete buyinto what he says. The human mind is quite capable of holding inconsistent views. We are mostly emotional (associative) thinkers. Whenever there is a conflict between the emotions (the gut), and logic, most humans go with the gut.

It is pretty typical . . . like all religious people, he follows some things and ignores others. Yeah Santorum is quite pious about a lot of stuff . . . but has he opposed the wars like his pope counseled? Is he against the death penalty? Has he been for unemployment and other programs that help the poor like his Catholic church has pushed for? Nope. He sure has the anti-gay stuff down though. He seems unusually obsessed about it.

Effectively calling ALL religious people hypocrites paints with a pretty broad brush. It's roughly the equivalent of calling all secular folks godless, amoral sociopaths.

Now as to Santorum, it hasn't escaped most people's notice that he has no trouble believing heterosexual coitus is only for reproduction. Most people get over that one around the time the point stops being theoretical.

One of the most hypocritical things about Santorum is that his own wife was forced to terminate a pregnancy to save her life.

How much investigation of that claim have you done? I can't stand the guy personally, or his religion, or his politics, but I'm not sure termination is the right word for what happened.

Effectively calling ALL religious people hypocrites paints with a pretty broad brush. It's roughly the equivalent of calling all secular folks godless, amoral sociopaths.

I don't think that's true at all. Rather, it's the equivalent of accusing all secular folk of breathing air.

We're all hypocrites to one extent or another. It's just more visible with religions like Christianity, where the manual is so large, with so many prohibitions, and written over such a long period of time by so many different people. Jesus never said boo about homosexuality, but did speak out against divorce. Why oppose gay marriage but allow divorce? Other rules from the Bible mostly ignored today: wearing fabric of mixed fibers, calling people other than god "father," men having long hair, charging interest on loans, women being forced to marry their rapists.

Of course people pick and choose what to believe; they have to. The only way a religion survives 2,000 years is if it's flexible. Because times change.

I fully expect that if Christianity survives peak oil, it will be much changed from the version most of us know. Perhaps it will be more like the original version, with rules against usury and rich people going to hell.

I don't expect Christianity to survive Peak Oil and Climte Change. The Bible have several prophecys that quite detailed points out a roadmap for the future history. Interestingly we see very much of this plying out right now. Global man made enviornmentl destruction, overpopulation followed by depopulation and a whole lot of others. Also Israel returned back into existence in 1948 (yes I know, self fullfilling profecy, but the timing is perfect) wich is necesarry for another set of profecies to play out. There are lots of this, and it is moving about right now. For example Isrel is supposed to lose all its allies, wich is happening right now.

Now the Bible says that these are things happening before the main event, wich is the return of Messiah, the second coming of Christ. My point is that if so many of the signs are fullfilling (even climate change are hinted on several loctions) and there are now returns of no Kings, there will be great lamentation. You have everything set for the party, but the main guest does not show up. This will be the greatest fiasco in history, and I don't know how Christianity will survive this.

If he on the other hand do show up, Christianity will be obselete, having served its purpose. Either case, I see no way christianity can exist at all 100 years from now.

To sum this up; in the end of this century, we will KNOW if christianity was true or false. That is the good thing with profecies; you can check them out if you just live long enough. I don't think most people ever thought about that these events will be the end-game to the worlds biggest religion,but it most likely is.

Your posts on religion are always quite entertaining Jedi, this one is no exception. But I will guarantee you religious superstition will survive as long as humans survive. What form it will take I would not venture to guess. But as things get worse and worse the more people will turn to the supernatural to save them. It is simply in our nature.

Ron P.

Religion is how folks coexist with their dreams. Anything beyond that is just codification and embellishment. We'll have religion as long as we have dreams. We need our stories...

Prophecies about a return of the messiah, will be self-fulfilling -at least for some. I doubt there will be agreement about which human is the real second coming -or if it happened at all. Things could easily split into group A proclaiming X as the new mesiah, and group B, "no you are following a false one, it is Y". Then they fight each other, and the winner writes the future religious text.

I think you are dead wrong on this.

Christianity was always about the end of the world being nigh. (I'm sure you've heard the scholarly arguments that "666" referred to Emperor Nero.) Two thousand years later, and they're still waiting. It hasn't been the end of Christianity; quite the opposite. The guest doesn't show up, but the party continues.

Joseph Campbell posited that religion went through a fundamental change when the stories were written down, eventually codifying them into 'books' (Torah, Bible, Quran, etc.). The ability of belief systems to adapt to social change became limited. IMO, this was the birth of "religion" as we know it; these stories and guides for living became defacto "laws".

This was the tragedy of The Book of Eli, IMO; despite whatever universal truths these document may contain, they aren't our books. We're locked into the world-views of another time..

Perhaps. I think people still do a good job of adapting old religions to social change. Whether ignoring the parts that are too inconvenient (even the most fundamentalist Christians no longer see usury as a sin) or finding ways around them (Islamic banking).

"(even the most fundamentalist Christians no longer see usury as a sin)"

The irony is inescapable... $15.3 trillion and counting :-/

Proverbs 20:10 Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.

Deuteronomy 23:19 Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

And while the above support you, the below is a reality and I'd wager a true weight and measure:

Ecclesiastes 10:19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.

Matthew 25:29, "For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."

...seems to apply these days.

The Lutherans, understand that passage to mean Faith, not items of the world.

But anyone can take any one or two verses out of context and make mole hills or pyramids out of them.

The main point is that, someone, will be president, he or she will have a set of rules they personally live by, and they might not share them with others. You might never know what those rules are, really, unless you get totally honest answers from that person. Presidents are good spies, they look one way on the outside but inside they stay hidden, and you never really get to know the real them ( at least most people don't) and when they are dead, all you have is the pile of papers that was them, but never really them.

Hopefully whomever is the next president, does not lead us over the cliff as fast as we are going now. Maybe a bit slower will mean I can build my parachute that much faster. Not so that I won't hit bottom with the rest of you all, but that I will get a better and longer view on the way down. I like a good dash and crash movie.

In the end we will all turn to the dust from which our bodies are made, even if some of us don't believe the same about whatever might or might not be rattling around in the space between the spaces of the electrons in our bodies. ( for those confused this means a soul or what not ).

I try to practice what I preach, I am frugal and I haven't passed my genes on to a child, I have been frugal and have given up what I thought I needed to, to help the place get better, than it would have been, if I kept spending or trashing or trashing things. I don't assume other christians are like me, but if they want to know what I think, I tell them, if they don't like it, so be it, if they like it, we talk more about it, or if you aren't anything like that, but still like my ideas, I can work with it or leave it, does not matter much to me, I can't convince anyone of anything, that is not my job. My job is the to be the Best Charles E. Owens Jr. that I can be and go on making the changes in my slice of the world as I see fit.

Goes back to gathering cattail down for padding in my shoes so when I land after this parachute ride, I don't hurt my feet too much.

BiowebScape Designs.

The Bible have several prophecys that quite detailed points out a roadmap for the future history. Interestingly we see very much of this plying out right now.

Biblical prophecies have been playing out in every age since they were written -- everyone thinks they're at the end of history. Actually, prophesies are usually contemporary events done up in apocalyptic language. The mischief comes when believers begin to try to hurry fulfillment of the prophesy along, as in building up Israel in the Middle East so the Second Coming will occur.

Actually, events seem to proceed on their own logic. People are pattern finders, and like to find hints of things to come. But it's all looking back -- prophesies that didn't pan out tend to be forgotten. You may note that most of the so-called prophesies supposedly realized in the life of Jesus of Nazareth aren't even prophesies -- they're various quotations from the Hebrew scriptures that have been woven into a biography for a guy who was being mythologized. We don't know much about his actual life.

You are of course entitled to your own opinion. I feel, on the contrary, any brush that broad is the equivalent of the kind of mindless bias I was evoking with respect to some religious folks' views of the irreligious.

Christendom is hardly a single religion with monolithic dogma. Roman Catholicism IS a single religion. Keeping kosher isn't a tenet, but RC doesn't allow a cafeteria plan, so Santorum is picking and choosing, while professing Catholicism, which is hypocrisy. Someone who professes a sect of Christianity is not a hypocrite if they believe and practice what they profess to the extent possible. Imperfection is not hypocrisy. Having been on both sides of the wall (like more than a few of us here), I know folks professing religion who are by no means hypocritical about their beliefs. That doesn't mean most aren't, but it does mean we should be careful about ascribing stereotypes to every member of a class.

I'm ascribing it to every member of humanity, and I stand by it.

If you want to find someone who doesn't hold some conflicting beliefs, then the only humans that probably qualify are braindead. However, I'd bet we have some whose contradictions aren't really known to themselves. I got belief A from a trusted source, and belief B from another trusted source, therefore both are correct. Now the mythical I here, didn't do a full blown logical analysis to discover that at least one has to be wrong. As far as he's concerned he is consistient, its just that his algorithm for checking consistiency is different than yours.

That's fine, but it does rather moot the original statement which was specific to the religious. If you want to say that everybody is a hypocrite because we are constitutionally incapable of complete consistency, that's entirely different than saying that ALL religious people are with the implication that some secular folks aren't. It's actually pretty similar to the widely accepted Christian belief that nobody's perfect. I prefer to use a different definition of hypocrisy, which no doubt you find hypocritical.

That's fine, but it does rather moot the original statement which was specific to the religious.

My objection wasn't to that statement. It was to your suggestion that hypocrisy is equivalent to being an immoral sociopath.

It's actually pretty similar to the widely accepted Christian belief that nobody's perfect.

Maybe, but that's not how I meant it. I don't think freedom from hypocrisy is necessarily something to aspire to.

My equivalency wasn't between hypocrisy and sociopathy, it was between stereotyping ALL religious people in a fashion common to the irreligious, and stereotyping ALL secular people in a fashion common to professors of faith.

On the desirability of hypocrisy:
Well, I'll just say that I'd never vote for an unhypocritical Catholic and leave it there.

"rules from the Bible mostly ignored today: wearing fabric of mixed fibers..."

Leviticus and Deuteronomy are Old Testament. Those are the sins that their messiah died "for"... to cover them. So, when dealing with an evangelical, old testament has no meaning. You'll just get that patient, pitying smile reserved for errant children.

But the biblical basis for considering homosexuality is a sin is also Old Testament, and that is not ignored. Heck, the Ten Commandments are in the Old Testament, and evangelicals still think they apply.

Not all of the modern canon's injunctions against homosexual conduct were written in Hebrew or dated BCE.
The Pauline epistles to the Romans/Hebrews are flipsides of the elaboration of most of the Christian basis for which parts of the Torah to consider informational rather than prescriptive. The various Gospel accounts of the 'Sermon on the Mount' and the Acts of Apostles chapters 10 and 15 contain some of the seeds of this, as well. Interpretations differ widely between sects, of course.
Large parts of Christendom also do still condemn divorce as adultery, though many permit it, as did and does the Halakhah.

Which 10 commandments is always an interesting question.

The focus of some of the Religious Right on homosexual conduct as isolated from parallel prohibitions against even more common human behaviors is an interesting reveal, of course.

Rhyme or reason...
It is all very selective.
Like poor Flanders laments to his God after his house is destroyed by wind: "I've done everything the Bible says - even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff!" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd5iDTQy1OM

But, that is the rebuff I get if I offer Leviticus. Shaving the beard, against the advice of 19:27, would certainly be a first step towards cross-dressing... But, just like in law, the written word does not matter so much as the legal opinion... Like John Yoo's opinion on torture. Every part of the bible has its evangelical interpretation that goes with it... a sort of epi-Bible... another layer.

Question: "Do Christians have to obey the Old Testament law?"
None of the Old Testament law is binding on us today. When Jesus died on the cross, He put an end to the Old Testament law (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15).

Ephesians 2:15: by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances

In place of the Old Testament law, we are under the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), which is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself”

Galatians 6:2: Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ

Is the Old Testament for Christians?
"It is indisputable that even evangelical Christians demonstrate a neglect of and ignorance towards the first three quarters of the Bible. Ironically, the evangelical view of Scripture itself can make the problem worse."

It is all very selective.

And that was my point. Written down or not, fundamentalist or not...people pick and choose what to believe. Society shapes religion more than religion shapes society.

"And that was my point."

And so it was... and so it was. I was responding to the old-testament arguments presented elsewhere and elsewhen at the point I saw the references re-referenced... without keeping track of the argument.

I'm obviously bothered by something, and it is this utterly liquid belief system that they wish to impose on, and through which they view, everybody else... even though it twists and squirms out of the way if you try to pin them down on it... it having no real foundation in the very book they throw down in-front of you: "Have you even read the Bible!?"

They can't keep their hands to themselves. Shifting beliefs are fine until they are enforced. The mechanism of this is an emergent proselytizing, self-perpetuating, hierarchical organization. Scientology is an excellent example of this: it is pure organization without the distraction of a detailed storyline.

"You must keep my decrees and my laws.... And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you." (Leviticus 18:26, 28)

...seems pretty straightforward to me. Prepare to be regurgitated.

"See my works, how fine they are. Now all that I have created, I have created for your benefit. Think upon this, and do not corrupt and destroy My world. For if you destroy it, there is no one to restore it after you."

Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:28 (God to Adam)

I always thought Shelley said it best :-


I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Thanks, Wharf Rat -- that's the best and most powerful quote I've seen.

It is often best not to stray into Bronze Age Fiction.
Ignorant, violent pastoralist's are not the best reference point.

Bronze Age man was at least a tad bit closer to nature than we highly industrialized and urbanized enlightened ones.

They knew what nature vomiting them out was all about.

The nations were angry,
and your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead,
and for rewarding your servants the prophets
and your people who revere your name,
both great and small—
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.

Reveltions 11:18

The earth will be completely laid waste
and totally plundered.

The LORD has spoken this word.

The earth dries up and withers,
the world languishes and withers,
the heavens languish with the earth.
The earth is defiled by its people;
they have disobeyed the laws,
violated the statutes
and broken the everlasting covenant.

Therefore a curse consumes the earth;
its people must bear their guilt.
Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up,
and very few are left.

Isiah 24:3-6

Gotta Love TOD!!!!! Some of the best people I have ever "met" post comments here; diverse, obtuse, sometimes funny, and frequently conveying facts nowhere else to be found on the web.

Even poetic!

Here reside our best hopes, eh?


How in such a short space of time has humanity gone from the love and nurture of this: http://peacefulrivers.homestead.com/ChiefSeattle.html to the cold deadness of Rick Santorum, it is as incredible as it is deeply saddening. "Dominion over nature", that is the schism in man's thinking that underlies everything we are about now. I was lucky to come across that beautiful speech and it put me in touch with first nations philosophy and my whole view of the world is different now. I think it comes down to, is nature, the planet a dead rock, or is everything sacred and alive? Has everyting, rock of soil, its own sacred space or can we drill it or dig it up and put it on the ferry or tanker to China?

If we only move to carbon free energy to stop climate change we will miss the point, nothing will have changed inside us, our attitude will still be the same. We could develop fusion tomorrow but we would still be drill baby drill inside and the incursion into the natural world would continue unabated, since as Rick says, its a bad job. But it is not Rick's fault, he does not know what he is saying or doing as he has no awareness.

A small quibble: Chief Seattle did not give this speech, that's a modern myth. It was actually written back in the 60's (or a decade before or after) by a film speechwriter. Check it out on the Internet.

I heard that that urban myth was just an urban myth.. but I couldn't find it on the Web to confirm it..

I think it's a great speech, and the Crying Indian was an effective ad.

Snopes.com says the speech was written by a screenwriter in 1971.

Love the sentiment though.

Well, they killed most of the Indians, put the rest in reservations, took their children and sent them to missionary schools... It doesn't take to long to kill a culture if you are that agressive about it. The ideas are hard to keep when you've killed the culture supporting them.

And we must not forget that the sins we have perpetrated don't start or end with fossil fuels, though we here on this site tend to focus on them. Dams on rivers (the Colorado doesn't even always reach the sea, same with the Rio Grande, etc), forests turned into farms (many of the midwestern states we associate with corn, like Indiana, once were mostly forest), etc. With 7 billion people it's hard to see how we could make it better, though.

New York times article on the Columbia River:


The NYTIMES article's actually about the Mexican Delta del Rio Colorado

Who you calling we?

Here are the decree accounting reports back to 1964.


1.5maf or more cross the border every year.


Click on the Delta del Rio Colorado button at CILA's site. The content is illuminating.

Also check the date on the last annual report posted for CILA.

Here's the treaty governing flow


Yes, the Colorado, which was what I meant. The NYTimes article specifices that Mexico gets 10% per treaty - that's the 1.5maf you reference. My point, which you probably aren't getting, is that to have a truly healthy river and delta system that supports the kind of life that existed there before the dams, well, you have to junk the dams and let the water stay in the river.

I say "we" because just like fossil fuels, WE as a society do this and perpetuate it. We benefit from it so we overlook it.

It's not the US or Mexico exactly (though both are the proximate causes), it's development itself that has destroyed those ecosystems. There are very few undammed major rivers in the world today, the Amazon and Brahmaputra being the major exceptions with most of the rest rivers in the far north that flow into the Arctic (which may be part of why the Arctic is still relatively fecund). When you take out 90%-100% of the water in a river, you're committing a crime against nature that will be paid in some way or other. In this case, it's paid by destroying the natural systems and reducing the once mind-boggling fertility of both the delta area and the Gulf of California.

You can justify it for the irrigation it provides if you want, but it does not change the fact that you've killed one thing to feed another.

I got your point initially--'we' destroyed the delta ecosystem by altering the Colorado. You missed mine. The delta is under Mexico's sovereignty, and theirs to protect. They (or at least this government) have no interest in doing so (which is why the page about the delta on the CILA site is blank and the last annual report was posted in 2006). They bartered less water on the Colorado, for more water on the Rio Grande, then turned around and took almost every drop out of the river a decade later. 1.5maf is only 10% when flow is average, the upper basin states see cuts before that is touched. Flow before the dams was variable, the dams allow 9maf annually to be delivered to the lower Colorado when flow is far lower than average.

Now, should we as humanity, want to preserve biodiversity across the globe, and not just protect our own parochial interests? Of course. Could we reduce water consumption in SoCal and AZ, and the Upper Colorado basin and use the water to maintain minimum flows to the delta (not zero human population flows, but enough to preserve what's left to preserve in a diminished state)? Yes. It wouldn't even cost very much in the grand scheme of things. It would require an international treaty and a compact between 7 states and the Feds, when California's already crying about not being able to take MORE than the existing compact entitles them to.

Yes, it sounds outrageous, but you fall into the trap. What Santorum says is not what will drive the damage we're doing to the environment. He does not have that much power. There are so much larger forces driving what's happening compared to the drivel mouthed by some pol. By paying so much attention to what these people say, regardless of how stupid it may be, we make it look like they are more important than they actually are. Does anyone really think the change from Obama to Santorum would be any more significant than the change from Bush to Obama was (i.e virtually undetectable)?

Twilight, give us a break. The president does have far more power than you seem to realize. Sometimes congress restricts what he can do but still there has been far more change with this president than you seem to realize.

Yes Santorum, especially if he had a majority in both houses could dismantle the EPA. He could completely eliminate the Endangered Species Act and a lot more.

Would you say that the change from Clinton to Bush made no difference? We went from a budget surplus to the greatest deficit in history. We would likely still had 9/11 but Gore would not been so stupid as to blame it on Iraq and use that and mythical "weapons of mass destruction" as an excuse to invade Iraq. Several thousand troops who died in Iraq would very likely be alive today if Gore had been elected. Tell me that is not different.

Presidents have a lot more power than you seem to realize and who is president makes a tremendous difference in the fortunes of the nation. Only the incurable cynic would say otherwise.

Ron P.

Would you say that the change from Clinton to Bush made no difference?

Yes, I would say that the change from Bush to Clinton to Bush to Obama made very little difference. The reasons for the deficit had little to do with the occupant of the White House. 9/11, whatever one thinks actually happened that day, effected only in detail what the US did since then, because that is not why were involved in the places we are. We would be active militarily in every place we are now, only with a different set of excuses, because we're an empire trying to maintain control of the resources we need to hold it together.

Protecting the environment (and protecting the citizens and the commons in various other ways) is something a wealthy nation does when times are good and there are surpluses. Those days are gone, and now you see all those protections going away. How's the EPA doing with mountaintop removal or fracking or a hundred other things? A moron like Santorum may accelerate it in detail, but that is not what is driving it - we, and our consumption of irreplaceable resources and refusal to face limits, is what is driving it.

Yes, I would say that the change from Bush to Clinton to Bush to Obama made very little difference.

That is sheer nonsense. And since you did not even mention the Iraqi war, the greatest difference that Bush II made that Gore would not have made, I must conclude that you choose to ignore questions that you find too difficult.

But it is useless to argue with someone who is so cynical that they see no difference between presidents. The office of the President of the United States of America is the most powerful office in the world. And it makes a tremendous difference who occupies that office.

Good bye. Ron P.

Ron P.

I will say, 'amen,' to that, Ron.

Without the Iraq War (Gulf War II, WW III, or Oil War-4, depending on how you look at it) we would have saved $1 Trillion. With a "T"!

I know what he was saying, though. It did seem like Obama caved in too soon on many initiatives, and did not lead during his first 2 years in office.

Still - given a choice of Santorum / Romney / Gingrich / Paul, and Obama, I will have to vote for Obama. Just wish he understood energy and resources a bit better, and was willing to make a fight over that.

OTOH, Jimmy Carter did, and look what happened to him, eh?


It did seem like Obama caved in too soon on many initiatives, and did not lead during his first 2 years in office.

This is nonsense and there's not a shred of evidence to support it. He has lead and he has not caved. He's doing exactly what he set out to do. This was his agenda! It's well past time to set aside the fairy tale.

I can only hope you are wrong about that. I do not for one minute believe that his intent was to continue the Bush tax cuts; nor to do a half-stimulus package. Or are you saying that he did not want the have Elizabeth Warren confirmed.

He never exerted the pressure he could (and should) have during his first two years, instead allowing a few 'blue dog' tails to wag the President. And, if you recall, those were the Dems who were not reelected in 2010.

The public were speaking volumes, and he was either not listening or being poorly advised. The people wanted the change he promised. Instead they got Geithner and Bernanke, and warmed over Clintonomics! Bad choices all. And if that was his "agenda", he did NOT communicate it to the electorate in 2008.

And, I was an Obama delegate in the Texas nominating conventions. Today I am a very disappointed Obama supporter, relunctantly because there is no other choice. Like the rest, I am still waiting for "Change we can believe in."


My folks worked hard for him too, like a lot of other good people. I believe he a very smart, shrewd and capable man. I just see no evidence he is what well intentioned people project onto him.

I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law .... anyone remember that 2007 comment?

And has he used signing statements?

That's the least of it.

A little tongue in cheek here:

The biggest problem of any...ANY of the GOP candidates getting in as President is the embarassment factor. How do you explain to a world constantly chastised that the US way is the 'right way', (the only way); everyone else is wrong, that we/you elected such losers. Sure, they may have some money, but they are beyond the pale. All of them make GW look pretty good if you actually listen to them. GW never pretended that he was anything but an insider...., he gave tremendously funny speeches which could be seen over and over again when your head needed shaking, and GW liked to speak 'good ole boy' dialect...you know the old "we're gonna smoke em out of their holes", "heh heh heh".

If this presidential race was in a novel, no one would believe it was possible. The rejection letters would start with, "do you really think this is even...."?

The funny thing about it all is the comparison to the ayatollahs of sand countries, and ilk. They are exactly the same minus the white bathrobe. Fundamentalism and dogma crosses all boundaries. Ignorance is ignorance, or as Forrest Gump liked to say, "stupid is as stupid does".

If it wasn't so hard to believe, it would be funny. It isn't funny though, it is scary.

Is there any choice but Obama? At least with Obama there is a chance for hope and change. It hasn't happened yet, but there is a chance.

I've been saying for a long time, the only real difference between the Taliban, and Christian fundamentalists, is the name of the prophet they invoke. But, I never get anywher with the argument, since to a proponent of one of those religions, there is a huge diference, one is promoting the true word of god, the other is channeling the devil. So the point goes completely over their heads.

The more important difference is what levers the unitary 'they' control. Thankfully the fundies still aren't unitary and don't control the country, the levers here are a lot bigger than those to which the Pashtun have access.

At least with Obama there is a chance for hope and change.

Obama pointed out the hope for change. So far, that change is still a hope.

Right. How Many Iraqi's were killed as a result of the sanctions under Clinton? How many sorties did our aircraft fly over Iraq during the Clinton administration to enforce the "no-fly" zone enacted after the Bush I's first Iraq war (another war fought based on made up pretenses - remember those Iraqis ripping babies out of incubators in Kuwait?). What would Gore have done? Who knows - if he wouldn't carry the water he wouldn't be there, and I seem to recall that he never served in spite of winning the election. Hmmmm..... Obama certainly had no worries about the use of force to project power - he's even gone into Pakistan just like he said he would. So it's been a smooth trajectory from Bush to Clinton to Bush to Obama, with a small hiccup to eliminate the off chance Gore wouldn't play along (unlikely though that was). And the things that have changed were driven not by Presidents but by the kinds of forces we talk about here every day.

Yes, the "office of the president" is now the most powerful part of the government, but the president himself is a figurehead and the government is losing power rather than gaining it. We've got all the features of a police state, and the ruling class certainly will try to hold it together by force if necessary, but the resource base to keep the thing propped up is failing. So however long this phase lasts, it is temporary, and there's not a damn thing even a president can do to prevent that. Efforts like environmental protection haven't got a prayer, as they will be undermined by both the populace trying to preserve their luxuries and the ruling class trying to steal everything that's not tied down.

I used to be a yellow dog Democrat and the things that Republicans like Santorum say are offensively ignorant. But if you look at what is done rather than at the rhetoric you can't help but be offended by all of it.

Right on! Bravo!
And thanks for the courage it took to hang in there.
I feel your rage.

This is pretty much what Bacevich concludes in the mostly well argued "Limits to Power."

But it is useless to argue with someone who is so cynical that they see no difference between presidents. The office of the President of the United States of America is the most powerful office in the world. And it makes a tremendous difference who occupies that office.

This might or might not be right ... a lot of us outside the USA find the US President hamstrung on every turn by (a) Congress, (b) the Supreme Court, (c) a massive federal bureaucracy, (d) the states, and (e) the Military Industrial Complex.

Some of us could conclude that the US President is just a fanciful figure-head without a lot of say. Are we all wrong?

You forgot perhaps the most important one:

f) Goldman Sachs/Wall Street (unless you include that in MIC?)

Yes, thx for that. In fact ABC&D matter hardly a whit compared to E/F. In double fact, I'm kind of astonished that so many on this highly intelligent board still think that politics matter. Dems v. Repubs doesn't matter. (Go ahead, Ron P - 'ours', not that Paul guy) jump all over that comment. But the real levers are pulled by the MIC, including the financial wing of it, as Dohboi pts. out. Who's face is on the current White House postcard makes little difference. Our system is so corrupt, and has been so co-opted, as to render our caring or participating in it meaningless. We will no more elect ourselves out of this mess than we will drill ourselves out of the predicament of PO, or loan ourselves out of the debt bubble. The only meaningful action at this point would be some sort of revolution. OWS was but a nod in the right direction. The Arab Spring is a bit more of what's needed. But how much better off are the Egyptians than a year ago? The reality of predicaments dictate events now. Net energy, food and water availability, population... These are not going to be addressed, let alone corrected, by our oh-so-quaint 'democratic process'. Do I have an alternative suggestion? Beyond hunker down, no. But political squabble at the level of whom to vote for is but pissing in the wind...

In double fact, I'm kind of astonished that so many on this highly intelligent board still think that politics matter. Dems v. Repubs doesn't matter.

Of course that is all true - there was that old Anarchist saying that if Parliaments could do anything they would make them illegal. And yes - I was including Wall Street (and transnational entities) in the MIC of course. My point was to outline the formal and constitutional limits to power that inhibit the POTUS, to challenge the commonly stated notion that the president is the "most powerful ..." etc.

And of course over two centuries, the Power Elite have taken total control - and passed a thousand laws and funded a million advertisements (and politicians) to legitimise their theft. In fact they even built it into the American Dream.

Completely agree, Cargill. Indeed my comment was meant to underscore your point as much as anything. T'was those above debating dem/rep merits that I was rolling my rhetorical eyes at. I'd say 'perhaps we can have a beer' if I'm ever down your way, but I've made my one lifetime trip to Oz... loved it!

One argument given is that the corporations are owned by the investors, which is then interpreted as the myriad "little people" with their pensions, etc. I found this interesting:

Exxon Mobil Corporation Common (XOM) Major Holders
Top Institutional Holders:
VANGUARD GROUP, INC. (THE) 199,636,019

Remarks by John C. Bogle
Founder and Former Chairman, The Vanguard Group
The Ownership of Corporate America — Rights and Responsibilities

"In essence, Berle and Means' thesis was based on the arrogation (to claim or seize) of the levers of power by managers that takes place when corporate ownership is diffused among legions of individual investors."

"Unlike the large but inchoate individual population of stockholders that Berle and Means described in 1932, a remarkably small group of institutional managers now dominate the ownership scene. The largest 300 managers hold $7.5 trillion of stocks, 56 percent of the U.S. stock market's total capitalization of $13.2 trillion. This ownership is highly concentrated: the largest 100 managers alone hold 52 percent of all shares, $6.8 trillion in U.S. equities. This relative handful of giant investors have the real —not merely the theoretical— power to exercise dominion over the corporations they own."

What the former chairman of Vanguard, major owner of Exxon/Mobile, seems to be saying is that the investment is distributed, but the power is concentrated.

I was talking to some Egyptian revolutionaries who came to my class yesterday (funny to use the term 'revolutionaries' here since that calls up images quite in contrast to the demure but articulate scarved young ladies who spoke with us), and when asked they said without hesitation that things are much worse now than before the revolution.

The military now 'disappears' people right and left, and brutally crushes street protests. It ignores the laws passed by the elected parliament, and passes its own laws without consulting the parliament. They are hopeful that the presidential election this summer will be a turning point, but I am doubtful. There are apparently now rumors that the whole revolution was orchestrated by the US, since the army is even more friendly to (because dependent on) the US than the old regime was.

Somewhat oddly, the army in general is still held in high regard. People seem to attribute the killings and manipulations to the corruption of a few high officials and the rogue acts of a few officers. Most people have relatives actively or formerly in the military, since one year of service is required by law. I think people can't bring themselves to fully believe what they are seeing. Kinda like here :-/

I asked them specifically about what even a fully successful revolution would do about the fact that they are now an oil-importing country without enough arable land to grow enough food to support it's population. They talked about NG and plans to reclaim the desert.

I didn't bother pointing out the limited value of these for establishing a sustainable future for their country, partly because I had no very good suggestion myself, and I see essentially zero probability that they will escape from ever more brutal military dictatorships.

The whole thing really broke my heart--such smart, articulate, active people trapped in a set of circumstances that even they could not, imo, even bring themselves to see the full consequences of.

But then lots of things break my heart these days.


The sadder thing is that main stream America believes there was a "spring"
and now "democracy" is in full bloom in Egypt

But it is useless to argue with someone who is so cynical that they see no difference between presidents.

Well - Michael Moore (an American writer and director that I am sure you would have quite a lot of resonance with) spent about three pages in one of his books (which one I can't recall) listing the actions of a certain recent US President - most of these actions were anti-worker, anti-environment, and horrendously pro-business. It wasn't a Bush - it was your Bill Clinton. The list was staggering ... and I would have to agree that the election of Bill Clinton moved the seismograph about 1% - if that.

We are the intelligent beings that know how to manage things and through the course of science and discovery if we can be better stewards of this environment, then we should not let the vagaries of nature destroy what we have helped create.

"the vagaries of nature..." Does that refer to the data from climate scientists? Those vagaries are going to raise one heck of a ruckus (like runaway GW and or extinction of most species) if we do not develop enough respect for nature to live sustainably.

I've heard this 'dominion' bit before. It is code for we will do whatever we want to the Earth, regardless of the damage it does or the insensitivity to wildlife, fauna and flora. Really sick, ill advised, self-involved, gibberish. If this country votes in Santorum, it will constitute an even sadder day than when trickle-down was conned upon the masses.

He's so James Watt!

His views on Women etc. aren't much better. Check out today's column by Mark Morford:

Finally, for a laugh, check out the GOP Candidates as the cast of Gilligan's Island. This is a good metaphor of where the ship of state is headed if any of these bozos get elected! See

Finally, for a laugh, check out the GOP Candidates as the cast of Gilligan's Island.

Yes - pretty funny - however I have always seen them more as the Addams Family.

So one of them is pretty and normal?

Can you ID that one?

Ron, I guess Mr. Santorum doesn't care what my church, the second largest Protestant denomination in the country, thinks: http://hopeandaction.org/main/issues/environmental-degradation/social-pr...

Does he realize that the Clean Water Act, the EPA, even Amtrak, came from that wild-eyed liberal Richard Nixon?

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to find out who stole the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ike, Everett Dirksen, and Howard Baker.

Yours is not exactly an unusual position in American Christendom. The contamination of the Religious Right has run both ways (dominionists have absorbed big business talking points).

But the sad part is, that we don't have to burn the planet down to live a warm comfortable life, we only think we do.

Sighs deeply.

The Republic-can-we-kill-the-planets-ians, are the least of our worries at times. We have a whole bunch of people who just want to crawl into caves and go back to eating rocks for dinner, it seems. We aren't as dumb as they all make us out to be.

I did a tongue in cheek running for president in 2008, on my blog, I called my party the "free Right Now" party, but while I think back to then, we have lost a lot of that freedom in the mean time.

I still Tell people I have a design Theory called Biowebscape, and I work on it at my house as much as I am able as I really don't own this land. It is owned by my parents, I just have access to it and parents that listen to my advice. But we never had to settle for the lifestyles we have today, we choose them for the most part, and got ourselves here.

Lots of people on TOD have made efforts to be different, Ghung is off Grid, and Todd has plans and others too many to name, as I only stop in from time to time to read, and rarely post. But To have read what Ron posted, made me mad.

The EPA, might be holding some things back that I might have done differently but I would never consider knocking it out of the picture. And As a Christian, I think these Poly-ticks don't know what they are talking about, reading what Santorum said, reads like a bad movie script, and false teaching all rolled into one hashed statement, ( was he smoking pot that day?).

Nothing is as easy as it seems on paper, but we can be doing so much better than we are, it is not even funny any more thinking about the wrong headed things people in general are doing and the way the world seems to be headed is, over a cliff, with fans on the sidelines cheering the Extreme sportiness of the actors and players in this big game of "Kill Ourselves off as fast as we can".

If we don't burn all the oil and coal and gas off, some other country will, China just making huge chunks of their landscape, into moonscape, is just as bad as our potential leaders wanting to axe the EPA.

Who will protect the current people from these fools?

Sorry for the rant, but It has been a day of me trying to explain simple facts to a lot of people thinking that just closing our borders would solve things, it won't. We for the most part all had a hand in getting us where we are today, from all the times we did not stand up and tell people that, this or that action would harm us in the end. Be it to much credit card debt, to millions of plastic bags floating in the oceans of trash piles in the cities or countryside.

I try to be as frugal as I can with the amount of city water I use, and don't spend a lot of money ( not that I have it to spend mind you ) on things that will end up in the trash. We recycle everything the city will take. My dad has reusable sacks he takes shopping, and the list goes on.

I hope someone better than eye-of-newt or Santorum ( whose makes me think of a crazy ward by other name) or anyone else that happens to think the way they do, gets elected. Even though whomever it is, will still have to deal with the future, going over the cliff with a smile on our face and waving to the crowds.

Biowebscape Designs.

"Making the Wrong Case for Renewable Energy"
"What do new findings on ice melt and sea level rise mean?"

Out with the old climate change denier propaganda engine, Marshall Institute, and in with the new climate change denier propaganda engine The Heartland Institute.

There is a major kerfuffle breaking (see www.climatecrocks.com or Climate Progress) that an insider at the Heartland Institute has apparently leaked a large volume of confidential documents revealing what most suspected about their funding and mandate, which have been largely hidden the since 2005 thereabouts.

That is in fact what he linked to. It's also posted up top.

Is IRAN cutting oil exports to Europe - Yes or No? There are conflicting reports out there.
Maybe it is just a threat to counter sanctions?
Assuming they do cut exports, which countries in Europe will be hit hardest? Italy?
This could further impact the European recession, and debt crisis?
Middle East oil dependence needs to cease!

The US and most oil importing OECD countries are proceeding quite nicely along a path toward "freedom" from their reliance on foreign sources of oil.

If we extrapolate China & India's 2005 to 2010 combined rate of increase in their net oil imports as a percentage of Global Net Exports (GNE), in about 20 years or so, 155 of the approximately 157 net oil importing countries in the world will be "free" of their dependence on foreign sources of oil.

But what about Italy, they have no oil of their own.

I don't think that it is literally true that China & India will consume 100% of GNE by 2030, but on the other hand the trend line is pretty clear. As they say, it's going to be "interesting."

Regarding the closest exporters to the US, the combined net oil exports from the seven major net oil exporters in the Americas and Caribbean--Venezuela, Mexico, Canada, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador and Trinidad & Tobago--fell from 6.0 mbpd in 2005 to 4.8 mbpd in 2010 (BP data). A one-fifth decline in only five years.

Caltex Australia this morning hinted broadly that they may close one or both of their oil refineries here - since it is "cheaper and more efficient" to simply import refined products from SE Asia (principally Singapore), blaming the high Aussie dollar (currently $US1.08). With only about eight refineries in the whole country, sounds like a terrific policy to free us from oil dependency inside a generation.

Oil is a fungible commodity. You cannot just cut oil to a given region of the world. If they continue to ship the same amount of oil, but only to Asia, it will make no difference, other oil will now just be rerouted to Europe.

Iranian Oil production has been declining for years. Things will not get any better any time soon because not only are their old fields in decline but their infrastructure is in bad need of repair and the embargo is not helping that at all.

Iranian crude only oil production in thousands of barrels per day. The Data is from OPEC's "secondary sources".


Ron P.

According to The Globe and Mail,

European sales account for about 18 per cent of Iran’s total crude exports and its main buyers include Greece, Italy and Spain.

Hitting the countries that already threaten the financial stability of the Eurozone would be quite a strong threat.

Kingfish, again, oil is a fungible commodity. It goes to the highest bidder. If those countries bid more than China, India or anyone else, they will get the oil. It may not be oil from Iran but it will be oil that would have went elsewhere.

Journalist should know this but unfortunately some are as ignorant about fundability as they are about peak oil.

Note: I would not argue that ALL oil is fungible, but all oil of similar grades is fungible. The oil from Iran could very easily be replaced with similar grades from other countries.

Ron P.


You are right that oil is fungible. In a sense, it doesn't matter if a supplier stops shipping oil to country x vs country y -- the reduction in overall supply will raise prices and hurt the weaker one either way.

However, I wonder just how fungible oil really is? And I mean that not only from the perspective of matching the right grade of oil to the refinery that can handle it. What percentage of world production is available on the spot market? I don't know the answer, but I expect it is some small fraction of total production, much of which is bound by either contractual obligations or a desire for mutual benefit with a specific supplier. Anyway, I don't know the answer to that. I expect that this cutback (if real) will require some serious scrambling by Iran's regular customers.

In my opinion, the European financial crisis is in full kick-the-can-down-the-road mode and the day of reckoning will be reached in the not-too-distant future. The impact of Iran's cutback (if it is real) only moves up the day of reckoning.

Kingfish, there is no such physical place as "The Spot Market". When a buyer or seller places an order, or contract, with each other or with a middle man, that is considered the spot market. That is how virtually all oil is traded between countries. So one could say that almost all oil is bought and sold on the spot market.

The OPEC Basket Price changes daily. Sure it takes time to deliver a tanker of oil and tankers are usually contracted to deliver oil from a given place to a given place. But new contracts are written every day.

If any European company got word today that a contract to deliver oil from Iran had been cancelled they could very easily contract with another country for the same amount of oil. It may cost more per barrel but that is the nature of the game. It would mean only a glitch of a few days in deliveries, not enough to drain any countries storage reserves.

Again, oil, of similar grades is fungible. If one contract gets cancelled all any country must do is make another contract with some other country. It is that simple. The price, of course, would likely be slightly higher. But it would also be higher for the country that got the Iranian oil from the previously contract that got cancelled.

Ron P.

I understand what you are saying -- since contracts are written every day, suppliers can be switched easily as long as the grade of oil is compatible. I was under the impression that longer term contractual relationships existed wherein a producer was obligated to deliver specified amounts of oil to the customer, as referenced in this article:

Iran’s Oil Ministry subsequently denied the Press TV report. Another Iranian media outlet, Fars News Agency, quoted an Oil Ministry source as saying that the exports to Europe have not been stopped yet but that Iran has given an ultimatum to those countries to continue their long-term contracts. Iran’s Arabic -language state television channel al-Alam said the ministry would provide more details Thursday.

I really don't know that much about how the oil markets work, but I thought that the existence of long term contracts would effectively make that oil unavailable to other customers, thus reducing the amount that can be contracted for on a short-term basis.

In any case, I don't think the markets are taking Iran's threat seriously. Despite the recent price spike, IMHO, if the traders really thought Iran was going to stop deliveries to Europe, we would see much higher prices than this.

Kingfish, it looks to me like Iran is saying: "If you don't continue your long term contracts, after July, to buy oil from us then we will stop delivering oil to you right now."

Iran’s move was aimed at preempting a European Union boycott of Iranian oil, which is scheduled to start in July.

Basically they are saying that these countries must promise not to stop taking deliveries in July then they will stop delivering oil to them now. They know full well that these countries would have made other contracts well before July so the only thing they can do is threaten to cut off their supply now.

Yes that would have some effect but not a lot. These countries would still continue to receive oil from all their other sources. And they should have enough storage to cover their shortfall until contracts with other countries could be arranged.

Ron P.

Also, since Iran would still sell their oil to someone, it's a bit of a zero-sum shell game, no? The net world production wouldn't change one bit. In the end, sounds like much ado about nothing. Yet, they are certainly getting the world's attention.

The real question is what happens to Iran's export volume. If they can find enough customers who can skirt the sanctions regime, maybe they can maintain the volume. Maybe China and India (and ??) can't take enough, and others can't launder enough money to pay for it. Meanwhile the Iranians will be exporting oil at a strong discount. Perhaps they will want to spread out the suffering, "if we're gonna be hurting, we will make the rest of the world suffer as well, we won't export as much as we used to". That might make economic sense, why sell at a discount, if you can idle some production and save the black gold for when it will fetch a high price. We will have to wait and see how it plays out.

Anyone remember back when Gore was campaigning to be President just prior to the winter before Bush was elected, that he had the SPR drawn from to help the North Easterners who were supposedly in a bind? It was stressed that it was NOT a political move, an attempt to garner votes, but some know better.

Anyway, Gore got it done - the SPR was drawn down by x million bbls, and onto the tankers the SPR oil went - but once seaborne, guess what happened to it all?

The oil mysteriously appeared mostly at England, and Italy if I recall correctly - the highest bidders at that time.

But Gore had scored his political victory, and the North Easterners were grateful to him for the oil they never received.

I don't disbelieve your account, but do you have a link for the SPR release? This would have been in 2000 sometime, right?

Petroleum exchanges and loans

Note: Loans are made on a case-by-case basis to alleviate supply disruptions. Once conditions return to normal, the loan is returned to the SPR with additional oil as interest.

April–May 1996 - 900,000 barrels (140,000 m3) lent to ARCO to alleviate pipeline blockage.
August 1998 - 11 million barrels (1,700,000 m3) lent to PEMEX in return for 8.5 million barrels (1,350,000 m3) of higher quality crude.
June 2000 - 1 million barrels (160,000 m3) lent to Citgo and Conoco in response to shipping channel blockage.
July–August 2000 - 2.8 million barrels (450,000 m3) to supply the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.
September–October 2000 - 30 million barrels (4,800,000 m3) in response to a concern over low distillate levels in the North-eastern U.S.

Senators Take Emergency Oil Reserve Hostage to Force Keystone Approval

This week, several senators took a different hostage: our emergency oil supply. On February 13, Senators David Vitter (R-LA), John Hoevan (R-ND), and Richard Lugar (R-IN) introduced the Strategic Petroleum Supplies Act, S. 2100 that would prevent President Obama from selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve unless Keystone is approved:

“the Administration shall not authorize a sale of petroleum products from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve… until the date on which all permits necessary … for the Keystone XL pipeline project application filed on September 19, 2008 (including amendments) have been issued.”

That's great, maybe it will be just what we need to focus the sheeple's thinking. One little crisis in the Persian Gulf region and these Senators might be impeached, charged with a treasonous act. Since the US is in an undeclared state of war with the various Islamic terrorist organizations, such a law might be seen as supporting the tactics of the enemy. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is intended for use during an emergency and any limit on such use would be counter to the President's authority under the Constitution to provide for the safety and security of the citizens of the United States. People have been hung for less (think, Civil War)...

E. Swanson

... such a law might be seen as supporting the tactics of the enemy.

Hey! Then those Senators would be Domestic Terrorists, and they could be 'disappeared' by the military, right?

This could turn out okay after all!


Couldn't the President just veto the Bill, and place the errant senators on detention for a week?

As it was, I read something about it in a respectable journal at the time and didn't think much of it for years, but it stuck with me the way I remember it now. So, googling around, I find some evidence, but no actual link except a Bush campaign poke which does suggest something happened ...

runup, September 22, 2000
Gore Urges Use of Oil Reserves to Ease Prices

September 23, 2000
Clinton to Tap Oil Reserve
Move will release 30 million barrels to cut winter fuel costs

and looking around, I found ...
''But Bush's campaign has released at least two press statements on the matter. One reads: "Gore oil ploy sends US oil to heat European homes."''

I wasn't aware that the SPR was in the VP's portfolio. Is it your contention that the releases made had no beneficial effect for the NorthEast?

Yes, and it was GW Bush's as well (see above).

That demonstrates a startling lack of understanding of markets.

Ouch! Such a serious forum, sometimes I forget ...

The article (pdf) pointed to by the link below offers a good analysis of the effects of SPR releases in global/market terms ... but let me include the relevant snippet (emphasis mine). It's arguable that the Northeast benefitted little if at all from the SPR release.

"In September of 2000, President Bill Clinton ordered the release of 30 million barrels of oil from the spr to offset a spike in heating oil prices in the northeast. The decision came one day after an appeal from Vice-President Al Gore, who was locked in a tight (and ultimately unsuccessful) presidential campaign. The political motivations for Clinton’s decision are worrisome, as is the minimal effect. At the time, refineries were operating at full capacity, so the excess crude did little to lower heating oil prices. There was simply a shortage of heating oil on the market, not crude. Even the White House admitted that only about 40 percent of the released oil would eventually be converted to heating oil."


On another token, to Obama's credit, Obama did not claim that the recent SPR release he orchestrated would help his friends in Chicago, but as with Gore's release, Obama's had little benefit except to make room for less desirable crude. If I recall, it was well demonstrated on TOD that Obama's version of the SPR release did virtually nothing at all for world prices - they dipped for a bit but that could have been circumstantial.

At the time PADD 1 was importing (internationally) about 3M barrels a day, half of which was refined products. You seriously claim injecting 30million barrels over a short time frame into the North Atlantic market had no effect? How about the 2M barrels of heating oil stocks directly established in New England by the first release?


Clearly you're the expert here. My original posting above was a figment of a memory alighted when considering the fungibility of oil. I referenced something that happened twelve years ago, the summary of which remained in my head. If I remember incorrectly, I apologize.

That said, I do agree that some of the oil injected over a short time would have had to have some impact on New England - and without researching the topic I'd be remiss to claim I'm the superior intellect on this topic. Can you tell us what happened?

The thing to remember is that we are talking about the Strategic Reserve. My understanding is that it should be held until an emergency for use by, say, first responders, peace keepers, and the like. Of course, that means it will be used to quell domestic disturbances, as they are euphamistically called, when oil products become unavailable for most, and there are serious disruptions in transportation.

Still, my reaction to each release has been, "the so called emergencies were insufficient to justify the release." No matter that they lowered cost of oil (Of course any sudden infusion of supply will drop price, at least for a moment. Who doubts that?) No matter that the impact was transient and minor (Who would really believe otherwise given the volumes of oil produced daily?). The reserve is NOT intended for the purposes for which it has been used, on the several occassions it has been tapped.

So, guys, quit picking nits. You're both right!

Again, my feeling about the politics and politicians of today, whether on energy and oil, AGW, economics, or whatever is, there is no significant difference in actual policy from either party. We are buying into the distractions. Our present POTUS is a good example. Elected on a platform of "Change we can believe in," his actual performance has been, at least from my POV, more of the same - warmed over Clintonomics, and more Golden Sacks. We are daily distracted by Greece, Iran, and the latest Hollywood star to die, or grotesque murder to be exploited by Nancy Grace! And birth control! How truly insane!

We are indeed sheeple, and our shepards are barking mad.


I read a newspaper account lauding the proposed 'compromise' payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance, and doc fix extension this morning. Punched in the gut again. The highest long-term unemployment pretty much ever, and we're cutting UI extended benefits, drug testing the unemployed, defunding parts of healthcare, and taking money from public employees. Insanity. Meanwhile Mitt Romney pays taxes at a lower rate than most anybody here.

I grant this is correct, but there will be an impulse-function impact on the markets to redistribute the supplies. It'll take some money to rework the paths and flows, but once it's all going somewhere things should readily settle down.

Unless the oil is blocked from ANY market, that is.

Based upon shipping reports over the last few weeks, direct oil shipments of very large tankers from Iran to Europe have been cut back severely, although not entirely.

However smaller, less obvious shipments, might still be made in smaller tankers.

Also it is possible that oil from Iran could be shipped from one location to, for example, to Egypt, and then re-shipped to Europe. In fact something like this happened last year when oil exports out of Libya were subject to sanctions.

Kingfish, again, oil is a fungible commodity. It goes to the highest bidder.

This is naive - oil is at a very theoretical technical level "fungible", but its distribution to markets, and the price paid at the farm gate, are highly political. It is in fact not very useful to talk about its fungibility, when so many other factors come into play.

Of all the reading I've done about oil production, I haven't seen anything that discusses the way oil deals are actually made. I'd really like to find something that explains that.

, but its distribution to markets, and the price paid at the farm gate, are highly political.

Politicians cannot possibly change the fact that oil is fungible. That is well beyond their powers.

It appears Cargill, that you don't understand what "fungible" really means. Politicians trying to manipulate the price of oil does not change the fact that oil is still fungible. The fact that the same grade of oil is the same all over the world is what makes it fungible, the shenanigans of politicians cannot possibly change that.

fun·gi·ble adjective
(especially of goods) being of such nature or kind as to be freely exchangeable or replaceable, in whole or in part, for another of like nature or kind.

That is all fungible means, nothing more. Politicians cannot possibly change the difference, or rather lack of difference in the same grade of oil.

Dogbert educates Dilbert on the word "fungible"

Ron P.

Edit: You should not start your argument by calling your opponent naive. That is insulting. Just say you think they are wrong. Keep it civil.

This is naive - oil is at a very theoretical technical level "fungible"

Speaking of naive - no, in reality oil is very fungible. Once oil gets loaded into a tanker and goes out into the open ocean, it turns into a giant shell game. Who knows where all those tankers are going and what they are delivering there? Only the captain and the buyers and sellers of the oil know for sure.

Certainly, a national oil company can insist that it be delivered only to a certain country, but if there is a big price differential, odds are the ownership of the oil will change in mid ocean and the tanker will go to a third country. Even if the tanker delivers it to the nominal buyer, if there's a big enough price difference the oil will change hands in port, another tanker will come in ostensibly to deliver a cargo but in reality empty, and it will leave ostensibly empty, but actually carrying a load to a third country.

Countries can hire people to watch the tankers load and unload, but people are watching for watchers, and countries usually have laws against spying. If there is something questionable going on, it can be unsafe to ask too many questions about it.

At the end of it all, the oil goes to the highest bidder. That's just the way it works.

Certainly, a national oil company can insist that it be delivered only to a certain country, but if there is a big price differential, odds are the ownership of the oil will change in mid ocean and the tanker will go to a third country.

I think you make my point for me ... oils ain't oils necessarily, and there are political and strategic issues involved. Why are there such large price differentials, even if sweet-sour and light-heavy characteristics are similar? And why the structural price differences between Brent and WTI (and also Tapis in Singapore)?

We've gone through the reasons for the big price differentials here many times before.

The reason for the big difference between WTI and Brent is that new Canadian oil sands production, plus new oil from North Dakota is flooding the US Midwestern refineries with surplus oil. At the same time, North Sea Brent production is declining and resulting in less supply for coastal refineries.

There is a chokepoint in the US pipeline system at Cushing which prevents Midwestern oil from getting to any coast, and therefore landlocked WTI sold at Cushing trades for less than any oil on the coast. Louisiana Sweet trades for just about the same price as Brent.

If they could physically put WTI on a tanker and ship it anywhere they wanted, it would command a better price, but they can't. It's not fungible if it can't get into the same market, but once it's there it becomes fungible.

Oil prices jump after Iran says is cutting cut flow to EU

On Wednesday Iran warned six European states, including the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal, that it is cutting oil exports unless long term deals are made and payments by EU states are guaranteed.

Press TV originally reported than exports were being cut immediately but updated the story to say that shipments had not yet been stopped.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending February 10, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.7 million barrels per day during the week ending February 10, 322 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 84.0 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging nearly 8.8 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging just under 4.4 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 8.8 million barrels per day last week, up by 343 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.7 million barrels per day, 168 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 548 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 132 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 0.2 million barrels from the previous week. At 339.1 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 0.4 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 2.9 million barrels last week and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 0.2 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 4.0 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 18.3 million barrels per day, down by 4.6 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged nearly 8.1 million barrels per day, down by 6.4 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged 3.7 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 2.6 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 2.1 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

A Tale of Three Cities: Chicago Wholesale Gasoline at Extreme Discount to NYC Level; while the price of gas in Los Angeles soars

In a rapid and dramatic flip-flop to the wholesale gasoline market conditions that existed through last summer, Chicago wholesale gasoline prices at times today was selling at an extreme 65 cents/gallon less than New York City prices. There are three main reasons for this widening difference: (1) the upper Midwest region within the last few months has seen some major refineries update their processing to handle lower grades of oil from the Canadian tar sands region and the US Bakken region (in northern mountain states) (2) the price of Canadian oil and especially Bakken oil is selling at a large discount to WTI (West Texas Intermediate) this week (3) the Midwest has extra supplies of winter grade gasoline, that may not be allowed in some states during Spring time.

Due to the difficulty of sending extra supplies in the Chicago to the Northeast (logistics), per the EIA weekly report, gasoline supplies in the Midwest still rose last week even as supplies in the Northeast fell. Northeast state governments are said to be actively involved in attempts to keep all refineries operational, even though some refiners still plan closures later this year.

Seeking to take advantage of the pricing differential between Chicago and New York, the Buckeye pipeline system, which mostly operates in the Midwest with over 6,000 miles of pipeline, recently bought a water terminal in Perth Amboy, NJ today. Perth Amboy can be considered a sub-part of New York Harbor and is one allowable delivery point for the actively traded gasoline futures contract. In addition, Buckeye will build a bi-directional six-mile line to connect the Perth Amboy terminal to its existing terminal in Linden, New Jersey.

It is believed that Buckeye expects water borne shipments of gasoline to the NYC harbor region to substantially increase because of Northeast refinery closures and operating reductions, although pipeline link-ups and port operations may not be fully functional until the end of 2013.

Linden is the location of a major refinery and it is also the terminus of the Colonial Pipeline. The largest cross-country pipeline by volume, the Colonial Pipeline, stretches from the Texas-Louisiana region up to New Jersey, and has branches through many other southeast and some northeast states. The Colonial Pipeline is shipping gasoline from the Gulf region at or near its capacity. It is expected that sometime about mid-year its capacity will increase about 100,000 bpd.

Still Midwest refiners are not slowing down operations and want to take advantage of the current low prices for Bakken and Canadian oil. With Spring time around the corner, many Northern and 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.] So “U.S. Midwest refiners are preparing for their lightest spring maintenance season in more than five years, allowing them to soak up a growing surplus of crude in a pivotal regional market that has roiled energy trade for a year” (quoted from article below).

Meanwhile on the West Coast, Los Angeles wholesale gasoline prices traded at a large premium to the benchmark NYC futures price. The EIA reported West Coast gasoline supplies fell, and there was some worry if there would be sufficient supplies during a refinery maintenance period.

Light refinery maintenance plan is next US Midwest surprise

US Cash Products-Chicago gasoline tumbles as supplies grow

Los Angeles Gasoline Rises to Four-Month High on Refinery Buying

CA and AK are declining, and the TransMountain is full. CA (and AZ, NV, and OR) could use a nice big West Coast pipeline to Kitimat.

Gail posted this the other day, it tells the story at a glance

Gas Price Map

Can you spot the oversupplied region?

Yessiree, I live in one of these areas...Albuquerque!

Lots of urban cowboyz and soccr mumz driving empty-bedded real big PUs and SUVs...but also a noticeable number of Priuses (prii?).

Counting NM, the 6 green states used just 4.1% of U.S. petroleum product consumption in 2009.

CA, WA, OR, NV, AZ used 15.2%, most of which was imported via tanker from a lot farther away than Kitimat (although some of it did come from Vancouver). Kitimat to Los Angeles is 3.5 days, as opposed to 10 days to Yokohama and 16 days to Xingang.

It's about twice as far from KSA to Long Beach as to Chinese and Japanese ports. Why would future Kitimat oil go to China when it could displace Middle Eastern oil going to the West Coast?

I'm sure the Kitimat oil will get sold to whoever wants it (the most). But presently, that does not include california;


It would be interesting to speculate about a pipeline from Alberta to California, and then put an HVDC in the same corridor.
Trans Canada was looking at the HVDC option a few years ago, but it never went anywhere...

If I understand correctly, this on hold pending litigation, further it's not a ban, just a carbon emission cap and trade scheme.

I think a better design of the cap and trade program for CA's low carbon fuel standard would be to set the carbon penalty for each (one for oil, one for ethanol, etc.) fungible commodity, equal at the marginal or average (whichever is higher, since the marginal production is not necessarily higher carbon) carbon emission level (within the physical market bounds since some energy markets have smaller than global bounds). Actual production path of a given barrel (or other unit) is irrelevant, given the reality of an interstate or international market for the good outside of the cap and trade scheme. This gets around the court objections to interference with interstate commerce. It also provides an incentive for targetting GHG emission reductions of the worst sources (outside state boundaries), or production shifts, instead of simple source shifting, since this reduces penalties for all use. If there is credit-trading, and credit allocation is intelligent, it can counter the free rider problem with this proposal. Implementation/enforcement is significantly easier than the current plan.

Leak exposes how Heartland Institute works to undermine climate science
Libertarian thinktank keeps prominent sceptics on its payroll and relies on millions in funding from carbon industry, papers suggest

• Bjorn Lomborg's climate sceptic thinktank to close
• Heartland Institute launches a 'closed' climate change wiki


Sorry, didn't see this was already up.

Explosion damages pipeline in Syrian city of Homs


Brent above €91 (119.05/1.3075 > 91). €1.88 from ATH*.
* http://www.zerohedge.com/article/brent-near-all-time-high-when-priced-euros

Minas Crude Oil Spot Price: $129.64

If oil prices keep going up, how far are we from another economic step-down?

How will this coming step-down be stopped from leading to collapse if there are no funds available for stimulus?

Hi, PE. Good question about next step down. How about combine with Greek austerity, combine with embargo as Iran, one of the largest exporters to Greece, shuts off the oil. Those new austerity meausres will all go out the window, and all of the 'savings' will pay for oil. As the Eurozone considers this, they will have to demand every further reductions in spending, on top of those just agreed to. When it is obvious that there is no way in hell that Greece can cut any more, they will default (they already have, to the extent of about 50% of current bond holder haircuts) on the rest of their debt, and the party can then get started.

Wheee, wheee wheee all the way home.


It's really interesting how the EU seems to have thrown 'all in' on Greece. Why they are willing to apparently risk so much on the future of the EU instead of simply ousting Greece and any other country failing to hold its own is unclear to me. Seems like an awfully big gamble.

I agree that the situation with high oil prices, Iran sanctions and effect on oil supply to Greece and other EU country's probably stopping, this situatin seems like a precursor for some very rough times. If things start going sour, those piggies like you say, are going to be squealing all the way home. And the contagion as they refer to it will be felt far and wide, including here in the US.

The way we see it in Europe, the colective "we" was born in Greece. There is an enormous amount of pride involved in this. Historicly humans have been willing to sacrifice unproportional amounts of resources on symbolic cases.

The rest of us Europeans (as in "not politicians") consider the nation a joke, and wonder why they were let into the EMU stage 3 agreement (the common currency) in the first place. I remember when I heard about it many ayears ago I had a strong gut feeling having Greece in the Euro would be a bad idea. Turned out right.

I think both sides agree the ultimate end is default. The question is when, and why keep pushing this along. Follow the money.

Greek democracy ended with the dissolution of it's referendum last fall, and the head of government was replaced with a bank lobbyist, termed a technocrat. It's a squeeze play now, as the assets of the land-airports, seaports, water and sewer systems, soon islands-are being siphoned off. It will all end with default or revolt, whichever comes first.

Greek democracy ended with the dissolution of it's referendum last fall, and the head of government was replaced with a bank lobbyist, termed a technocrat.

And if the EU has its way, no parliament will get in its way of plans for Greece.

Greece bailout: Eurozone calls for tighter oversight Eurozone finance ministers have demanded much greater oversight of Greece's economy in return for a 130bn-euro (£110bn; $170bn) bailout package.

For the Anglo-Saxon world, the sovereignty of parliament (whether in a Westminster or Congressional system) rests on its control of the budget. Take that away - and place the budget in the hands of outsiders - you have a representative system not worth a plug nickle.

So are these oversights to be written in stone past the elections in April? If so, the elections will be a fig-leaf to cover the indecency of technocratic rule.

It seems to me all of Europe is still run by undemocratic plutocrats and the financial aristocracy - all its parliaments are a nuisance to them. Oh well - I suppose it's a bit better than large-scale wars every generation or so. Thanks goodness I was born and bred in a colonial outpost.

Why they are willing to apparently risk so much on the future of the EU instead of simply ousting Greece and any other country failing to hold its own is unclear to me.

I think the precedent issue is really important to those types for whom a precedent is really important. Or something.

Perk Earl,

The step downs can be veiwed in another light, a positive one. Think about the USA as a big fat bear, going all winter on the stored fat of the things it ate right before going into the den to sleep it off, some of them had baby bears, others just were alone all winter. We are the roman empire. About the time of Ceaser (julius), or were about the time that JFK was alive, that metaphor speaks loudly today, when I thought of how big American Empire is.

We have spaceships (un-manned) on the outer reaches of our solar system, circling the Sun, On mars (still alive and going decent for their age). And We aren't North america only, Our food comes from the Southern reaches of the Other America (south).

We are stepping down off the throne of power, and handing in a slowly ( fast at times) step down process, the mantel of leadership to all the other nations of the world that want to be just like ( the American Dream ) Us.

While We here at TOD watch events both through eyes that see and eyes that tear up and are a bit bleary from all the crying of the lost things, we are seeing the steps down the latter that got us to the Top of the pile, in the back yard sand box, the king of the hill game of all the local kids. But Now it is the time to go to dinner, as Our parents have called us in to eat.

We aren't dead! We are just leaving the sand box to the night animals to play in, and in the morning we will all wonder at the creatures that came out to play while we slept in our beds.

In the above little paragraph the "we" is the whole human race.

Today is a new day, for me it is Saturday. Just another long bit of space, till I get new marching orders in my walk through life, as a BioWebScape designer. I did coin the word, literally in links to Me Charles E Owens Jr. But the concept is that while we are going to have american empire steps down, we aren't finished, we are just getting off the sand heap and going into the house for dinner and there is always a new day, after all spring is here. And we are losing weight and we are tighting our belt and making sure our pants don't fall down, as we are starting to lose the fat we have been living off of for most of the winter ( X number of years in the USA ).

I am not going to lie to you, it is scary at times that I have no clue which client is going to ask which question, Or which Artist friend is going to tell me, I really do have to pay them for the art work I asked for and Shook on it as contract. But I don't live on much.

I still only get less than 10K take out of the bank $'s a year living on Social Security Disability, I am still manic depressive, I am though a designer of an idea, that money is not the thing I have to be most worried about, after all for a time there, I lived off Of Nothing. But my fat and stored goods, over 2 years, on not one penny a day, unless I found it on the sidewalk. If I a fat happy American can live on almost nothing, then I can help you or others, see that these steps down aren't the train wrecks we thought they were back in whenever we discovered Peak Oil or those limits to growth. Which by the way for this planet is hitting a soft curve up and might not go back up the same way as we planned when we sent man to the moon, but can still go up, just in a smaller, more compact style.

Think reverse evolution here.

We have lived big houses, big this or that, but now, we have to live more like the rest of the world as they expand and grow, we have to contract and get better at the job we were given. Belt tighting is not a bad thing, it only looks that way when you are used to eating bacon three times a day.

What if you were more frugal and lived on using a gallon of water a day from your kitchen tap? What if you all you did was brush your hair and never washed it?

A lady last night at a Local Art Gallery opening commented on my healthy hair, long about 18 inches of ponytail, Slightly greying but still brown. I told her that I brush it 1 to 4 times a day and for the last 16 months I have not washed it. Only rain water has touched in, and this part I did tell her, Only when I was out in rain, not as a washing of it. She couldn't quite believe that, as she still talked about it's healthy appearence.

BioWebScape Designs, I don't just think them up, I try to live them. If I can then someone else can, If you can put a man on the moon, ( usa) can china? They plan on it. Don't know, Don't really care. We all are planning on living forever right? But seriously, not all the steps down will be painful, if we look at all that we have and think about all that we have to much of, and plan a bit more at living on less and helping others live on just a bit more than a tent in the homeless shelters at the Occupy Little Rock site.

BioWebScape Designs.

The chart in the ZeroHedge article only goes up to 4th April 2011.....

Peak oil Debate - Wisconsin Public Radio

For Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Tonight (Tuesday), several Madison energy groups are holding a debate on the issue of oil shortages in the next decade. After seven, Joy Cardin's guests discuss peak oil, how we can avoid oil shortages, and public responses to the challenge.

--John Hofmeister, founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy, and the former President of Shell Oil North America

--Tad Patzek, Chair of Petroleum Engineering at the University of Texas and a board member for the Association for the Study of Peak Oil

One hour interview from yesterday, prior to the debate an UW Madison, last night.

Hofmeister does his best to pander to the adult-sized children while Patzek tries to educate.

Thanks for posting this. Please post links to any of the other radio shows if you get them. Thanks! :-)

Yeah, I liked what Ted said. John seemed to often contradict himself and was pretty much party-line oil guy with a financial interest.

The video of the debate has been posted here:

World Oil Supply: Looming Crisis or New Abundance?

I watched. Holy smokes, John Hofmeister is quite the demagogue. All he does is blame politicians for everything. Hey John, politicians create laws & run the government . . . oil companies drill for oil. Occam's razor would say the problems are your fault. So you need to present a good case to support that thesis. And you failed miserably. The guy is filled with doom talk but provides concrete solutions other than drill baby drill and form a special energy commission. Really? A new bureaucracy will fix things? How about you suggest some concrete solutions first? He's useless.

"How about you suggest some concrete solutions first?"

Most of these guys share the same problem; these are predicaments without solutions. Their egos (and incomes) depend on them not recognizing this. Some of the posters here have been criticized for not being 'solutions oriented'. Could it be that they accept the fact that most of these issues aren't solvable? It's not something our species is good at.


There are plenty of solutions to the problem of supply not keeping up with expected demand.

Somebody's going to hate any given portion of those solutions with quite a bit of passion.

I came across a tidbit that puts a new spin on EU "intervention" in Greece:

5 ways to transform Greece's economy now


For several decades, the Greek economy has been rife with price controls that hammered consumers, and removed all incentive for the coddled industries to improve productivity. A notable example is pharmaceuticals. The government guaranteed pharmacies a 35% markup on all drugs. So a patented, $200 a month heart medicine got $70 tacked onto the retail price. "The incentive to over-prescribe was immense," says Xafa. "It explains why Greece has the highest level of pharmaceutical consumption per capita in the EU."

After all of the discussion about peak oil, debt, lack of natural resources, etc., could it be that the Greeks are just over-medicated? Last I was there, they seemed pretty laid back ;-)

The OECD data showing Greece to have very high pharmaceutical use (specifically antibiotics) is marked by the OECD Library as "Greek figures may include parallel exports."

New from IEA ...

IEA to prepare in-depth energy outlook of Iraq

“Iraq’s energy sector is both central to the reconstruction and development of the Iraqi economy and of huge importance to the global outlook,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “The focus on Iraq in this year’s World Energy Outlook will illuminate a central issue for the future of global energy, and we are very pleased to be working with the strong support of the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Dr. Al-Shahristani, and in cooperation with the Iraqi authorities.”

... According to the WEO-2011 central scenario, Iraq is set to provide the largest increase in global oil production between today and 2035, adding more than 5 million barrels per day of supply over this period. “Our aim, working with the Iraqi authorities, is to provide an in-depth outlook for the Iraqi energy sector and its role in satisfying the country’s needs and in meeting global energy demand,” commented IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol, who will lead the study.

also Oil production estimates for Sudan and South Sudan are cut amid revenue-sharing dispute

and IEA Chief Economist launches World Energy Outlook in Korea

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

Keeping America’s Pipelines Safe and Secure: Key Issues for Congress

Nearly half a million miles of pipeline transporting natural gas, oil, and other hazardous liquids crisscross the United States ... Recent pipeline accidents in Marshall, MI, San Bruno, CA, Allentown, PA, and Laurel, MT, have heightened congressional concern about pipeline risks and drawn criticism from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Role of Local Food Systems in U.S. Farm Policy

Sales of locally produced foods comprise a small but growing part of U.S. agricultural sales. USDA estimates that farm-level value of local food sales totaled about $4.8 billion in 2008, or about 1.6% of the U.S. market for agricultural products. An estimated total of 107,000 farms are engaged in local food systems, or about 5% of all U.S. farms.

The 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-246, Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008) contained a few program provisions that directly support local and regional food systems. ... many community and farm advocacy groups have been arguing that such food systems should play a larger policy role within the next farm bill, and that laws should be modified to reflect broader, more equitable policies across a range of production systems, including local food systems.

pg 32-34: Selected USDA Programs that Potentially Support Local and Regional Food Systems

Among the types of benefits cited by advocates of local food systems are increased and more stable farm incomes; increased jobs and wealth retention in local economies; improved access to fresh produce; enhanced accountability and choice; reduced vulnerability to contamination and food safety concerns, given the smaller distribution range of foods; diversified and sustainable production; and reduced energy use from reduced transportation (fewer “food miles”) and reduced contributions to climate change. Some of these claimed benefits have been disputed.

$4.8 billion is $16 a year for each American. Call me when it gets to $100 billion, still barely $6 per person each week.

BAE provides details of 'structural battery' technology

The new devices are, according to BAE, more than just traditional batteries in an different shaped case. Potentially the technology could be a substitute for existing carbon-composite structural materials.

In order to achieve this BAE said it had "merged battery chemistries into composite materials".

"You take the nickel base chemistries and there are ways you can integrate that into the carbon fibre," Mr Penney explained.

Mr. Darcy’s earth shattering results

Yes...the oil patch owes much to Mr. Darcy. So much so that we named the standard measure of permeability (how well a fluid flows through a rock) after him: the darcy...more typical the millidarcy...1/1000th of a darcy. A rock with several hundred millidarcies is a good rock. A 1,000 to 2,000 md is a great rock.

And with all due respect to Mr Darcy his empirical parameter has nothing to do with the boom in shale gas frac'ng. But the author's use of Mr. Darcy to make it sound like the oil patch has suddenly discovered the Holy Grail is understandable. Makes for good theater.

If you do chose to read the entire article he actually does point out that frac'ng technology took off in the 50's...over 60 years ago. There has certainly been improvements over time but the basic approach is unchanged since it became commonplace decades. The two big changes have been applying fracs to horizontal wells and doing multistage fracs. A multistage frac is what it sounds like: frac one section of a hz hole (using a frac design that hasn't changed much in 20+ years) and then doing it again in another 10 to 20 intervals. And the technology used to do the multistage has been around 20+ years also.

And the great "new" horizontal technology: I'll use the author's own words to define "new": "...it was the emergence of new guidance technologies and tools (and an oil crisis) that championed the process 40 years ago". So now we all know what "new" means: something developed 40 years ago.

And: "No retro futurist, except those driven by ingenuity, counted on a resurgence of modern day (frac'ng). Ingenuity had nothing to do with it. Frac'ng has been a common technique utilized since it was developed over half a century ago. This boom in hz drilling and frac'ng was brought on by two critical factors IMHO: higher oil/NG prices and the inability of public oil companies to find a sufficient number of conventional prospects to drill.

"Hydraulic fracturing is truly an earth-shattering advance". Yes it is...and was in the 50's when it was used to release billions of bbls of oil from fields in west Texas and elsewhere. And will continue, along with hz well bores, to release a lot more hydrocarbons. It's just not some new silver bullet that going to, by itself, impact PO significantly IMHO. Prices have that impact potential to expand the utilization. And also crush it as we're starting to see with some shale gas drillers who have begun cutting back on drilling many of the SG plays. We haven't suddenly lost the technology edge. What we lost was much of the financial incentive to drill due to NG prices under $3/mcf. If you're going to hold your breath waiting for these "new" technologies to make $2.60/mcf NG worth drilling I suggest you take a deep one.

Yeah, I kinda thought they should have named it "Mr. Darcy's Triple Bypass". And learning that the surgery happened decades ago doesn't make one as excited about the long term prospects.

Noted that Canadian$ is 1:1 with USD today. Having oil helps. Now is a good time for anexation?


But why would Canada want to annex the US?

Cheap labor, resource source, pollution & waste sink ... /sarc

But why would Canada want to annex the US?

Toronto needs somewhere to send its garbage?

But... they're already sending their garbage to the US for disposal under more lenient laws, So how would anything change?

I know! We wouldn't have to go through US security when we were going to vacation in Mexico. Now, THAT would be a major improvement.

Rather, the US ought to annex Canada - there was an analysis done on the logistics of this some decades ago I remember reading, but the bottom line was that the US would retire all the Canadians and the unemployed would then move into the vacated jobs and prosperity would return.

Canada couldn't afford to do the opposite.

At the rate we are going, it won't be too long before retiring all the still working USAers won't be too hard. There just won't that many of them.

The 'Great White North'-men's burden?

Craig, maybe we can start using Canadian pennies. The US pennies cost more to mint than they are worth.


I had a law partner once who hoarded pennies in the belief that they would be worth more as copper than as pennies.

He also ran for Governor of Illinois as a Libertarian!

Interesting guy; interesting party. Pretty much barking mad, but interesting in any case.


If my memory is correct, the founder was the one who did the leading work on what became NiMH batteries.

Uni-Solar, as the subsidiary was called, became so successful that it opened four Michigan plants, two in Auburn Hills and two in Greenville. But since 2009, the company has struggled amid increasing competition. It built a plant in Battle Creek but ultimately never utilized it. ECD has lost more than $765 million during the last two years.

I didn't know e-cat was going to be a topic - planed on posting this anyway

The topic, “Overview of Theoretical and Experimental Progress in Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR)” will be discussed March 22, 2012 in the CERN Council Chamber. Of note is the event will be viewable – live – on the CERN Webcast Service. Hopefully someone will save it to YouTube.

(A live show. Perhaps someone will make a keypost of the show for TOD.)

Extreme summer temperatures occur more frequently: study

LIVERMORE, Calif. -- Extreme summer temperatures are already occurring more frequently in the United States, and will become normal by mid-century if the world continues on a business as usual schedule of emitting greenhouse gases.

... the team evaluated model results for 2035-2064 (representing the middle of this century) and found that extreme summertime temperatures that were rare during 1950-1979 are projected to occur in most summers throughout the 48-state region in the mid-century period. For the mid-century, summertime mean temperatures that historically occurred only 5 percent of the time are projected to occur at least 70 percent to the time everywhere in the 48 state region.

"The South, Southwest and Northeast are projected to experience the largest increases in the frequency of unusually hot summers," Duffy said

Minnesota, here I come.


Sitting here amid the snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies, where it not infrequently snows in July, I'm having trouble becoming concerned about the heat problems of the US. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is.

The glaciers in the valleys behind my house are slowly disappearing, but they'll still be there long after I'm gone. They may vanish completely in the time of the distant descendants of my numerous grand-nieces and grand-nephews, as they did during the time of my paleolithic ancestors, but I doubt it will effect them any more than it did the first time.

If you are under 70 years old, you will probably live to see the feedback loops.


None of our species has ever experienced Co2 levels this high.
Nor any of our early ancestors.

sure one may be better off in the Canadian Rockies than say Miami, FL. But I'm not sure that should be less reason for concern. Some of the feedback models are downright frightening. And frankly, who the hell knows what could happen as we continue to emit more and more CO2 every year. It's too bad we don't have any way of being collectively rational when the risks seem so high. My 2 cents anyway.

He's smugly thinking, I live in a climate thats colder than I like, hurry up warming. Of course in most places the glaciers have already retreated further than any time in 5000 or more years. And thawing ground in steep terrain, means ground that has only been stable to mass wasting (landslides, mud flows), is going to be destabilized. The high mountains will be disproportionately affected.

At this point in time the local glaciers are retreating and uncovering forests that they buried at the end of the Holocene climatic optimum, about 5,000 years ago. This is a great opportunity for scientist because they can examine plants that have been buried in ice for 5,000 years.

Mind you, I've walked through the remains of forests that the glaciers buried a lot more recently than that, since the glacial advances of the Little Ice Age only ended a little over 100 years ago here. A glacial advance makes a real mess out of a forest because it's like a giant bulldozer driving over it and flatting all the trees. There are dead trees and glacial till all over the place, making it extremely difficult to walk anywhere.

In fact there was a minor advance in the 1940's and 50's (and some nasty cold spells in the 60's) that scared the wits out of people here because they thought it was the beginning of another Ice Age.

It's amazing how things change. When I was young, the press was full of doom and gloom because the climate was cooling, and now it's full of doom and gloom because it is getting warmer.

When I was young, half the trees on the farm I grew up on were dead because they had been killed by the mid-century cold event. They had started growing at the end of the Little Ice Age, just got sort of big after about 50 years, and *bang* the climate killed them. Dead trees everywhere. They froze to death.

From my perspective, global warming is much better than global cooling, but that's just a local preference, of course.

From your Wiki link:

NASA defines the term as a cold period between 1550 AD and 1850 AD and notes three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850, each separated by intervals of slight warming

Denialist claim that the Little Ice Age lasted much longer than the period considered by scientists. One recent commentary in FORBES claimed the timing was 1300 to 1900CE. This is clearly incorrect, as it lumps in short term cooling due to volcanic eruptions with the long periods of general cooling that happened during the period NASA uses. Even that period may be too long, as it includes the effects of the massive volcanic eruption at Tambora in 1815 which was preceded by 4 other large blasts, the result being The Year Without a Summer. I don't know when your trees died, but there were 2 large eruptions in 1902, one at Soufriere in the Caribbean Sea, and as another at Mount Pelée. A brief cold spell could have been the cause of the dieoff, but that's not the same as an overall cooling...

E. Swanson

The glacial record in the Canadian Rockies shows a generally colder period that ran from about 1300 to 1900, consistent with the "Little Ice Age" in Europe. It wasn't consistently cold, however, and who is to say some of it wasn't caused by volcanoes? In reality, we don't know what caused the Little Ice Age, we just know it was colder than the periods before or since.

Reconstruction of Little Ice Age Events in the Canadian Rocky Mountains

The well-developed moraines of the 'Little Ice Age' represent the most significant regional Holocene glacial event in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The application of dating techniques (documentary sources, dendrochronology, lichenometry and radiocarbon dating) appropriate to this timeframe are briefly reviewed and summary data from 33 glaciers are presented.

Three main periods of moraine development are recognised (i) 1500-1700 A.D., represented by small fragments of poorly dated moraines, (ii) early 1700's when about one-third of the glaciers show a maximum advance, (iii) mid- to late nineteenth century when major readvances built moraines close to or beyond (i) and (ii).

In addition to these periods, 14C dates from overridden trees indicate a 12th/13th century glacial advance to within 400 and 1400 m of the Little Ice Age Maximum positions at Robson and Kiwa (Premier Range) Glaciers respectively. Prior to this advance a period of warmer conditions is inferred between ca. 700-1100 A.D. from the presence of large, 14C-dated snags at tree-line near the Athabasca Glacier, including a 1000 14C yr-old larch (probably Larix lyallii) about 90 km northwest of its present limit. Tree-line may have readvanced at the Athabasca site between ca. 1300-1700 A.D. but receded again during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

As for the dead trees on our farm, they were killed by cold winters sometime around 1950. My parents would have known exactly when, but they're gone now. The winters then were colder than those from 1900 onward, and colder than those since.

The glaciers near here show a rapid retreat from 1900-1950 which was faster than anything since. The retreat slowed considerably from 1950 to 1980, and some glaciers even advanced during that time period. Now they're retreating again, most of them, but it varies from decade to decade.

With all due respect, that paper is now rather old, published in 1986. And, the author rightly points out that there are problems with the 14C dates, as seen in the graph of 14C years to calendar years, figure 3. The two "plateaus" in the graph may indicate periods when there was reduced THC sinking, which is the process which removes 14C from the surface and deposits it in the deep oceans out of the atmosphere. As a result, measured 14C dates might correspond to more than one calindar date, such as seen between 300 and 350 14C years BP in Figure 3. And, we know that 14C data is not much use within very recent times, as there has been very little decay of the 14C during those times, which amplifies the 14C measurement uncertainty. HERE's a graphic which demonstrates how the measurement uncertainty works. It would be interesting to see more modern work of the same sort, using the latest dating tools and conversion model.

Of course, glacier advance and retreat are influenced by other factors, such as precipitation amount. There was a period around 1200 CE when an extreme drought hit in central California, as evidenced by trees found in locations which are now under water. Changes in weather patterns may have resulted in increased precipitation at higher latitudes in Canada at the same time period. And, newer advances tend to wipe out older terminal moraines, as the author admits, which adds further confusion.

In sum, I think your reference isn't a good foundation to support your date claims...

E. Swanson

I picked a paper that was available free. There are, of course, more recent ones, notably by the same author, but you might have to pay money to download them. I don't think they say anything much different. It is true that C14 dates might have to be re-calibrated, but other researchers have done so using tree rings, since this is well within the range of living trees.

But basically, the period from 1300 to 1900, more or less, had a lot of unusually cold and snowy years, which caused a lot of glaciers to advance, which is why it is called "The Little Ice Age". You can argue about when it began, and even when it ended, but there's not much doubt it actually happened.

We here in the Canadian Rockies are less concerned that the glaciers will disappear, than that they come back and bury us under a mile of ice again.

The Columbia Icefield

In the past 12,000 years, periods of global warming (in addition to man's increased emissions of carbon dioxide) have greatly reduced the area and prominence of the ice, but the earth’s astronomical cycle is tending toward lower temperatures, and climatologists now predict that another glacial advance seems inevitable, in spite of the onset of the phenomena called global warming.

About 700 years ago, having shrunk to a fraction of its former size, the Athabasca Glacier began once again to expand. During the long, cold, snowy winters and brief, cool summers of a period climatologists call the Little Ice Age, it pushed forward down the present-day Sunwapta Valley, mowing down a forest of spruce and fir that had grown up during an earlier period of relative warmth. A remnant of the forest between the Athabasca and Dome glaciers still stands today. According to tests some of the gnarled Engelmann spruce trees between the two icefields are between 680 and 720 years old.

By 1840, the Athabasca Glacier stretched far down the Sunwapta River Valley Over near the V-shaped remnant forest, there are lateral moraines; sharp-edged ridges of till and fallen rock that have collected on the sides of the glaciers. The Athabasca Glacier’s lateral moraines now stand far above the ice surface, evidence of how much melting has occurred in recent decades. The recessional moraines serve as markers or signposts of the retreat of the glacier. Parks Canada has placed markers in areas around the present-day Columbia Icefield Centre which indicate the distance the glacier has retreated in the last decades.

The modern-day Athabasca Glacier once blocked early explorers from entering the Sunwapta Valley, forcing them to look for a route around what is now known as Mt. Wilcox, through Wilcox Pass, in order that they might reach the headwaters of the Athabasca River further north. Nowadays, the glacier is a popular tourist attraction. A good part of the glacier's popularity is due to its remarkable accessibility via the Icefield Parkway, which winds its way along the Continental Divide and passes the glacier. This is the only glacier in North America located just a short walk from a parking lot.

Please give it a rest. This isn't the place to rehash old arguments about the Little Ice Age, etc. If there are any new papers released with new information, those could be discussed. Stuff from the 1990s is ancient history in climate science, let alone the 1980s.

I'm sorry, I get sucked into these pointless climate change debates from time to time despite my intention to avoid them if I possibly can. It's like having an addiction to jellybeans that you can't quite control.

I'm kind of fond of talking about glaciers since I've spent a lot of time skiing on them.

You are correct, given that some 95% of researchers in the climate field agree that AGW is happening and is going to get worse. The point is, the issue has been politicized by a few people who have a financial interest in fossil fuels and who are able to spend large sums of money to spread disinformation and outright lies which have distorted the public's understanding. The only cure is to refute any such effort, intended or incidental. You work(ed) for the fossil fuel industry, right???

E. Swanson

Do you also feel this feeling when the winter is realy cold that summers are just an urban myth? If it is this cold, it can never get warm again? I live in south Sweden so we only have a few short weeks of cold snap in about january/february, but the feeling do come.

And yes, glaciers melt faster than you can belive. They grew in sweden as late as the 1990ies. They will dissapear faster than you think. 40 years left of them on Iceland, for example.

Yes, I know the feeling that winter will never end. It is quite common in Canada, which is why many Canadians take mid-winter vacations in Mexico and the Caribbean. A break from endless cold and gloomy weather makes winter seem much shorter.

Here, we can usually keep skiing until mid-May in the high mountains (and spring skiing is very pleasant, with warm weather and bright sunshine). June is extremely dismal because we can't ski any more and it rains endlessly - cold rain - which makes hiking no fun at all. We usually go away somewhere further south where the weather is nice.

In July, the weather turns bright and sunny and we come back to enjoy it. The bright, sunny, warm weather lasts until - the end of August, typically. That's our summer - July and August.

In September it gets cooler, but it is the low-rainfall month, so if we wear wool sweaters and put some logs on the campfire, it is not at all bad.

And then in October it all goes to h*ll. We can't hike, and we can't ski, so we go to Mexico where the hurricane season is just ending and the temperature has cooled to the point where it is bearable.

If we do a lot of travelling, the climate here is very bearable.

It's a bit better in Washington / North Idaho - summers start sooner and last longer. I agree, though, as an avid skier, late spring is such a waste ...

Last year, I was skiing at Silver Mt. (www.silvermt.com) in Kellogg Idaho on Memorial Day weekend - the snow was spring-firm with an inch of fresh and was fast. Silver Mt. will stay open Saturdays as long as people show up and there's snow long after most other non-destination resorts have shut down.

"The South, Southwest and Northeast are projected to experience the largest increases in the frequency of unusually hot summers,"

You noticed what's missing. The Northwest, where Spokane had two consecutive summers without breaking 100 F. On the brighter side, yesterday's snow melted in today's sunlight. It was a pretty day outside.

The Crystal Ball of Conservation

Humanity faces a breadth of environmental challenges that will continue to put pressure on policy makers, industry and civil society groups to develop solutions, and on researchers to provide evidence. What if we could look ahead to predict the emerging issues at an early stage, enabling knowledge to accumulate in advance of crucial decision making?

For the past four years, just such a ‘horizon-scanning’ process has been undertaken in Cambridge by a group of experts from academia, conservation organisations and government. The idea is to identify serious potential conservation issues and opportunities before they turn into major challenges.

For the horizon-scanning exercise to be really useful, the group must identify emerging issues that are not well known but could have substantial impacts on the conservation of biological diversity. The full list of 15 issues is as follows:

•Warming of the deep sea
•Mining in the deep ocean
•Methane venting from beneath the ocean floor
•Climate-driven colonisations in Antarctic waters
•Increases in pharmaceutical discharges as human populations age
•Sterile farming to increase food safety
•Transferring nitrogen-fixing ability to cereals
•Increased cultivation of perennial grains
•Rapid and low-cost genomic sequencing
•Electrochemical seawater desalinisation
•Rapid development and extensive application of graphene
•Nuclear batteries
•Effect of increased cement demand on karst forest and cave ecosystems
•In-stream hydrokinetic turbines
•Arctic tundra burning

Looks like some people are determined to start a war with Iran. They will keep strangling until Iran has no choice but to lash out:

I'm just re-watching the BBC's "Threads" from 1984 - World goes to nuclear war over Iran and oil fields. Google has it at http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-2023790698427111488

Thanks for posting this. I remember seeing it years ago but not since. Be interesting to re-watch it now.

Child malnutrition rampant in India

Nearly 60 million children in India [1/5 the population of the U.S.] are without regular access to food, according to a World Bank estimate - a problem that Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, has called the nation's greatest shame.

The situation in the state of Madhya Pradesh is particularly bad, with more than 78,000 children suffering from malnutrition. Al Jazeera visited one district in Madhya Pradesh with particularly high malnutrition deaths and found there were no doctors at the government run nutrition centre.

500m children 'at risk of effects of malnutrition'

Half a billion children could grow up physically and mentally stunted over the next 15 years because they do not have enough to eat, the charity Save the Children says in a new report

The Keystone debacle as seen through Canadian eyes

Alberta Finance Minister Ron Liepert has a message for U.S. politicians: We'll find a way to get our oil down south with or without Keystone. That, or it might just go to China.

FORTUNE -- The world has turned upside down. First, despite a decade-long exercise in hand-wringing about reducing American dependence on the oil of, shall we say, "unfriendly" governments, the U.S. just put the kibosh on a deal with Canada -- a deal that would have built a 1,661 mile, 36-inch pipeline to send oil from Alberta through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma to be refined in Port Arthur, Texas. Whatever you think about Canadians, they are not an unfriendly people. Called Keystone XL, the project was turned into a political football, and President Obama walked away from it for fear of enraging the environmental left.

And, on a related note:

Cenovus ships first crude oil to China

Oilsands producer Cenovus Energy Inc. — a backer of the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline to the West Coast — has sent its first shipment of crude oil to China.

In an interview with the Calgary Herald after releasing fourth quarter 2011 financial results, president and chief executive Brian Ferguson confirmed that the company had sent its first half-shipload of oil — about 250,000 barrels — to an unspecified Chinese customer.

“We actually just sold our first cargo last week,” he said.

“It’s very significant because what it allows us to do is establish a relationship with refineries in terms of how they value and price Cenovus crude. So it’s very significant strategically.”

Ferguson said last week’s shipment was made possible by Cenovus gaining 12,000 barrels per day of firm service on the TransMountain Pipeline that runs from Edmonton to the Westridge Marine Terminal in Vancouver.

Most of the oil shipped starting late last year has been bound for California customers and, although it’s less than 10 per cent of overall company oil output, it has helped the bottom line, Ferguson said, because it is fetching a premium over mid-continent oil by being priced in relation to Brent crude instead of West Texas Intermediate.

“It’s allowing us to get tidewater pricing off Brent so there’s a significant uplift per barrel in terms of price realization,” said Ferguson.

Current Prices:
North Sea Brent Blend: $119/bbl
West Texas Intermediate: $102/bbl
Cenovus/Western Canadian Select: $79/bbl

At $40/bbl difference I'm surprised this is all they are doing - they could probably afford to buy more of TM's capacity than that.

Given that China is so desperate for the stuff, you could probably just put it (bitumen) into shipping containers and send it there.

I'll bet CN Rail has got whoever builds rail tank cars running flat out...

There is a lot of competition for pipeline space on the TransMountain Pipeline these days. The price differentials have not escaped the notice of crude oil marketers.

This may may put Chevron's Burnaby (Vancouver) refinery out of business. They haven't had a lot of success outbidding other oil companies for pipeline space.

Expert says oil supply could be exported

A prominent Canadian economist is raising concerns about the future of Burnaby's Chevron refinery as oil companies try to meet rising demand for Canadian crude in Asia.

Chevron's North Burnaby refinery is one of two remaining in B.C., but it could be in peril if the company can't secure a steady supply of oil.

"It does appear that the Burnaby refinery is not getting adequate feedstock. That's because oil companies can get higher prices in Asian markets," said Robyn Allan, former CEO of the Insurance Corporation of B.C.

However, it appears that closing the refinery won't necessarily upset the people in Burnaby, which is growing quite fast regardless of what happens at the refinery.

Burnaby NewsLeader - Letters to the Editor - Shutting Chevron refinery could be good for Burnaby

It appears Chevron is having difficulty obtaining sufficient crude oil to feed its North Burnaby Refinery because more and more of the crude being shipped through the pipeline is being exported.

I don't think it would be a tragedy if, as a result, the refinery closed. Chevron is a good corporate citizen and has done a good job minimizing the environmental effects of its operation, however an oil refinery is an inherently hazardous activity.

In reality, BC could get all the refined products it needs from Alberta's much larger and more efficient refineries, which supply most of Western Canada, and of course have direct access to low cost oil.

I expect the people in burnaby (and a few others downwind) would be quite happy to see the refinery go.
But then, how would the refined products be shipped from AB - railcar?

Railcars do work very well for shipping refined products - Vancouver does, in fact, have two Class 1 railroads delivering goods to the port. Three, if you don't mind shipping through the US via Burlington Northern. I'm sure they'd be happy to ship the gasoline and diesel fuel, and probably already do so in large quantities.

Yes, I know the people in Burnaby wouldn't be upset to see the refinery go. It is not really a good idea to have an oil refinery in close proximity to urban populations, particularly in such a densely populated area such as Metro Vancouver.

I'd be more unhappy to see it closed if I hadn't seen a few large oil refineries go up in flames in major urban areas. It's just not a good situation, not good at all. It's best to put them far out in the grain fields where they can burn down in complete isolation.

The Senate included the pipeline in a proposal sent to the House. The Republicans in the House killed the bill.The Administrtion also had plans killed by the House. Now the Administrtion is taking its time studying the pipeline to send a message to Republicans that compromise is part of politics. Republican attempts to try a my way or no way backfired. The entire blame goes to the Repulican House.

An early step in getting a drunk's attention is grabbing the bottle off the table and smashing it on the floor.

The question is whether you can keep him away from that bottle? Or if his thuggish friends will beat you up for him?

This is far from over. The article you reference fits in nicely with a committee ruling from the Capitol yesterday in "The Hill." (link below) They are again going to try to force it by adding approval to either the transportation or the "tax extensions" bill -- you know, the tax extension that is actually a defunding of Social Security and Medicare. These guys never rest, and they NEVER stop lying.

Enraged environmentalist Bill McKibben gathered over 700,000 signatures in 24 hours that were passed on to legislators yesterday in opposition to quick approval (with a joke of an environmental study) of the Keystone Pipeline.

Do notice, Ghung, that the Fortune article calls Canadians "friendly" and the opposition is referred to as enraged environmentalists of the left. That's a nice touch. A commenter at "The Hill" says something about Boehner owning investments that will profit -- I cannot imagine how he could get away with that, but despite my skeptical nature I do still tend to be naive sometimes.


Do notice, Ghung, that the Fortune article calls Canadians "friendly"

Of course Canadians are friendly. Why wouldn't they be? Can you name one other country that has been invaded by the US, and continues to celebrate it as a positive event in their national history?

War of 1812 Celebrations

A bi-national opinion poll measuring attitudes of the War of 1812 shows that Canadians consider the war vital to identifying their nationhood but Americans are more likely to commemorate the 200-year anniversary.

According to the survey, the most important outcome of the war for Americans was creating the “Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem composed by Francis Scott Key during the Battle of Baltimore (1814). Meanwhile, for Canadians, the most important result was evading the threatened conquest by the U.S. which would have meant sharing politics, government, gun laws and citizenship with their neighbors to the south.

And of course Canada has lots of oil to sell to the US, but if Americans don't want it, I guess we'll have to sell it to China.


The State of Washington just completed a survey of transportation needs and desires. Posted the link to the report as general information, given TOD spends a lot of time debating the topic.

Iran will sell oil for other than dollars beginning March 20. Will there be a war against Iran before March 20?

The latest timing I read was April through June. The same article (was it Christian Science Monitor?) said the sanctions are Obama's attempt to head off an Israeli attack. I guess this time frame is long enough for Israel to say "they didn't work". I hope it is just a bluff.

So if they do bomb, there are three choices of routes, Turkey, Iraq, or Saudi Arabia. The first and last have the capabilty to shoot down at least some of the bombers, so acquiesence would be required. But if they give permission, they will be subject to retailiation, as well as being seen to be the bad guys by much of the Arab street. There is no way (IMO) that Shia Iraq would give the OK, but do they have the capabilty to deny an overflight? I suspect the window of opprtunity closes once they require sufficient air defence capability.

Iraqi airspace is 100% US controlled. That is not going to change, as long as Iraq has oil to burn.

Yes. So will the US shoot down Israeli bombers? A bombing would spoil the USAes day, not just the Iranians. They gotta get Obama to tell the airforce "let them pass".

Obviously, yours is a rhetorical question, but it brings up a good point that I never see brought up in these discussions- Iran's defensive capabilities in regards to an Israeli strike.
We all seem intoxicated with the myth of Israeli invincibility, but is it warranted?

Iran's nuclear sites are dispersed, hardened, and presumably secured. We can infer from their downing of the US drone that they have some sophisticated electronic and avionics capabilities, so presumably they will have some resilient radars and tracking to bring to bear.

If the US were to take on the project, wouldn't we be looking at a week or two of bombing and cruise missile attacks on those air defenses to 'soften up' the targets before we even attempted to take out the sites?

Israel has already damaged it's military credibility with the botched 2006 Lebanon invasion. If it were to fail to score a 'first round knock-out' with an unprovoked attack against a non-belligerent state, time would quickly work against it - Israeli interests worldwide would become targets. Could Likud risk an escalation if the first strike failed? Very risky.

It makes me think that all these predictions of an imminent Israeli strike are just hand-waving. The precedents invoked don't seem at all applicable to this situation.

Youtube link to University of Wisconsin Peak Oil (Hofmeister/Patzek) debate:


Thanks for the link WT

That was a most interesting debate. What struck me was that although both sides had very different views of how we need to respond to the current oil dilemma, both agreed that we are facing a pretty grim energy future in the next decade.

Hofmeister is far too glib for me - and seems surprisingly uninformed about things like the kerogen deposits of Colorado. But he is not a Yergin or a Lynch - he seems convinced that the crunch is on us right now. But he would never refer to it as peak oil - because he seems to view everything through a political lens. It is all a political failure.

I am curious about his education - is he an engineer? I hope not.

Tad did a nice job.

Another interesting thing about Hofmeister - he seemed to be channeling the Export Land Model in his references to China and india.

I believe that Hofmeister came from the HR department at Shell. It seems like he has a different message now than what he was saying in 2008. And I agree that he at least has some grasp of reality, unlike some residents of Fantasy Island.

Have you watched this debate? Hofmeister is a nasty fear-monger demagogue that seems to want control to fix things that all those stupid politicians screwed up. And when you hear the technical stuff he talks about, it is largely garbage. He touts oil shale as if it could be our great savior. He pimps fuel cell vehicles that are just not practical at all. He seems to think that since he was successful at being an executive during a fortunate part of oil's history that he knows how to fix everything. But he really doesn't. His message seems to be "drill, baby, drill . . . while we fiddle with a bunch of technology stuff that I think may work (but really won't)."

He keeps fear-mongering about gas lines. Gas lines existed due to Nixon price controls and rationing. That is not likely in today's Tea Party world. We will just have high prices that price people out of the market. He should at least be able to get something that simple correct.

I attended the debate. Mr. Hofmeister majored in political science.

Yeah, I would have been shocked if he had a science or engineering background. He really does not have a good grasp of basics like thermodynamics

Oil Rise Imperils Budding Recovery

Rising oil prices are emerging once again as a threat to the U.S. economic recovery just as it appears to be gaining momentum.

Oil prices have climbed sharply in recent weeks as mounting tension with Iran has raised the threat of a disruption in global supplies. On Wednesday, oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose $1.06 to $101.80 a barrel on reports that Iran had cut off sales to six European countries in response to the European Union's newly stepped-up sanctions. Iran's oil ministry later denied the report.

Pricier oil comes at a delicate time. The job market has begun showing signs of life, and other economic indicators are pointing toward stronger growth. But the recovery remains too halting to easily absorb the shock of sharply costlier oil.

See: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405297020479240457722493206034195...

As an aside, our local Wendy's closed last month which shocked the hell out of me. We also dined at a "popular" restaurant on Valentine's Day fully expecting a long wait but were seated immediately. I asked our waitress about this and she said that it had been quieter than expected but busier than the night before when she served just six tables over the span of five hours.


They still don;t seem to get it that there are several "oil prices", and the one more important for the economy is the Brent price...

Too bad about your Wendy's - no more baked potatoes and frosty's for you!
I have noticed my local McDonalds seems to be quite busy - sort of. It is full of seniors having coffee - and nothing else. Cheapest place to meet for a coffee.

A friend who works in a sandwich shop said business has been trending down for the last year - more people brown bagging, I guess.

Supposedly, they're moving to another yet undisclosed location in Bedford but I kinda have my doubts. Their current spot on the main drag a block away from two major malls* and across the street from two office towers is about as good as it gets for any fast food outlet.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/55958-wendy-s-relocate-bedford-res...

This place use to be busy all the time, but over the past six months or so you couldn't help but notice the steady drop in business (there might be one or two people ahead of you when you placed your order but more often than not you zipped right up to the counter).

No baked potatoes for me... I liked their salads which are way better than what you'll find anywhere else and, of course, their burgers and fries and, yes, their frosties too.


* One of these is the Bedford Place Mall and it's as dead as a door nail. I'm guessing a third of the stores are empty (e.g., Shoppers Drug Market and Winners are both gone).

Same here. The owner of the local deli always asks me when things will get better. I tell him the truth as I see it, that things will probably just keep getting worse. Oh well, even if he can't count on me for cheery prognostications he can at least count on me to come in every Wednesday for my large chili w/Kaiser roll.

I tried to run my car through the automatic car wash on Sunday and saw that it is "Closed", "For Rent". How the heck does a gas station/car wash go out of business? It's all cash sales. Maybe the owner simply retired (hope so).

Paul - Just no way for them to ever get it right, eh? Wow...oil up to $102!!! Did you see my note last week: sold my last load of Texas condensate for almost $109. I suspect my next load will go a bit higher. Good for me but not the economy. I'm also hearing some speculation that decreased diesel demand in the EU will cause less refinery runs there which will reduce the gasoline volume normally exported to the NE US. Potentially more bad news for consumers up there. You hear anything interesting along those lines?

Rock, I'm glad you are doing well out of this, and presumably so too are all the other small oil operations.

I don't follow the oil movements as closely as others here (and I am in BC, not the NE) but what you say about reduced gasoline imports to the NE makes sense. The folks there are literally "not" getting it from all directions!

Be interesting to see what happens to heating oil there next year...

"Oil Rise Imperils Budding Recovery"

Well, that sounds exactly like the sequence that many here have predicted--as soon as anything like a recovery gets going, it will be smacked down by higher oil prices.

But as we see by this coverage (and as many here also predicted), there will always be above-ground circumstances that will be blamed for any spike in oil prices, so the ability to deny PO will continue all the way down the descending side of Hubbert's Peak.

Rising oil prices are emerging once again as a threat to the U.S. economic recovery just as it appears to be gaining momentum.

It's very interesting right now the mixed signals out there regarding the direction of the economy. Oil and fuel prices are going up, but also is the Dow. There is great optimism the US economy will prosper even if the EU is in a slight recession. I think though your post sizes up the situation by way of that restaurant's lack of patrons. As oil prices rise, all other products dependent on cost of energy go up, discretionary spending such as on theatres and restaurants slows, the economy slips into recession and an onslought of layoffs occurs.

I am of the opinion this Summer will usher in a 2nd step down for the economy. How much depends on the flexibility of oil price to drop to reignite momentum. The problem though with the economy is, once momentum is lost like it was in 08/09, it is very slow to recover. It's taken all this time for momentum to come back from the Great Recession. Will it be possible to stop the descent of a step down in light of no political will for stimulus?

"Hard times see motorists to leave keys at home..."

The top article does not seem to have generated any comments yet. Is this now accepted news in general? Has there been an earlier article looking at the trends across a variety of countries? Certainly the gentle decline in driving has become noticeable in the UK over the last few years.

Sure, our very high fuel prices are one obvious reason, but other factors are the massive increase in car insurance, which has priced many young drivers out of the market. Excessive and fraudulent 'whiplash' claims are reported to be behind the dramatic rise in insurance, which now means that many young drivers would need to more in annual insurance than the value of their car!

A second factor is the impact of home working and on-line shopping, reducing the commute need. However, anyone traveling on London trains and the 'tube' (underground) would probably claim that the commute by public transport has grown in proportion to the decline in car use!

There is a big media drive on at the moment to dramatically improve options and safety for cycling in London and other UK cities.


There is a big media drive on at the moment to dramatically improve options and safety for cycling in London and other UK cities.

Reminds me of Napoleon comment about the Austrian Army

"They always come with too little too late"

A hundred years ago, William Howard Taft was so concerned about income inequality that he set up a commission to investigate it.

The commission’s answer, released in a 1916 report, speaks volumes about the persistent dilemma of inequality in the United States, and about the intellectual timidity of today’s political responses. “Have the workers received a fair share of the enormous increase in wealth which has taken place in this country…?” the report demanded. “The answer is emphatically—No!”

Their numbers bore this out. According to the commission, the “Rich”—or top 2 percent—owned 60 percent of the nation’s wealth. By contrast, the “Poor”—or bottom 60 percent—owned just 5 percent of the wealth.

Today, after a century of ups and down, we’ve landed back at those extremes, give or take a few percentage points. But what’s striking about the commission’s report, read from a 21st-century perspective, is how limited our own debate about inequality seems by comparison. For the commission, inequality was a fundamental problem that threatened the entire fabric of American democracy. Today, by contrast, we’re busy debating whether a multimillionaire like Mitt Romney ought to pay a few more percentage points in federal taxes.

Having read Greer's "The Nature of Empire" this morning, it occurs to me that empires are the logical progression of humans' (some humans') innate drive to build personal "empires". I'm not sure why... perhaps it's born of a biological need to propagate one's bloodline; a Darwinian thing,, and overcoming a fundamental sense of vulnerability to the natural world (brings to mind a James Clavell novel).

It's no wonder our species doesn't incorporate natural limits into its behavior very well; it runs counter to our original programming.

and overcoming a fundamental sense of vulnerability to the natural world

Doesn't surprise me. Our bodies evolved to protect us from the environment. There is immense evolutionary pressure to do so. When that didn't happen fast enough for us, we continued the process with clothes, houses, castes, empire, comfy chairs etc...

We seem to have got our bodies from the ape, but our brains from the hermit crab.

VERY interesting story of the flexibility of raccoons to continue moving from their origins in the tropics -- now causing big problems for urbanites in Chicago, NY and Chicago -- this is a Nature program from earlier this month about researchers studying urban raccoons in Toronto. 50 times more 'coons in the city than out in the nearby countryside -- question: are we infringing on habitat of raccoons or are THEY infringing on ours? How they adjust to the urban invironment is fascinating. Being omnivorous seems to be one of the key factors of species success, as it is with humans. A great Nature program to enjoy.


Just need some of those pythons from the everglades. Eventually they'll move North too, and raccoons will be gone.

Yeah - I saw that program. Fascinating ! Also, the way the mother raccoons train the babies in foraging techniques. And the sequences filming their territory.

I would have to say, we are creating an environment (probably mainly food availability) much more favorable to raccoons.

Has anyone read this book? Eaarth: The end of the world as we know it

That I finished his book—instead of throwing myself off a bridge in despair—still amazes me...

The key to McKibben’s vision rests in our ability to create decentralized systems (instead of Big Agriculture, Big Energy, etc.) and local, sustainable economies. Kicking the fossil fuel habit is a given. We won’t have a choice in the matter, anyway, because of peak oil. We can either come down off that high in a graceful, managed way or we can plummet. Mad Max, here we come.

McKibeen suggests that there is hope, but more people need to mobilize. It has to happen locally because politicians in Washington and around the world lack the necessary political courage to do what needs to be done. That seems to be another McKibben give: Washington’s spineless inaction in the face of monied special interests will only make our situation worse. “Eaarth represents the deepest of human failures,” he says.

The title of the book is actually: Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet [Paperback]

Ron P.

I read it a few months ago. McKibben's presentation is rather forceful, but his conclusions are not new to me, as I've been thinking similarly doomer thoughts for years. It's a good book for those who aren't already aware of the problems mankind has created for the Eaarth. His thinking counters that from the Heartland Institute, which has been on a rampage regarding climate change for more than a decade. HERE's a new commentary from NATURE about the Heartland Institute's efforts...

E. Swanson

I have read it and, while it is well written, there isn't much there that you don't already know -- climate change, resource depletion, population pressure -- and the obligatory "if we act now" stuff.

Right, if we act now we could probably fix everything. Unfortunately that is how most books on the environment or peak oil end. And it is all poppycock. There is no "we" to act. That is the human race has never acted in unison and never will. We are seven billion individuals and priest, preachers and politicians have tried for centuries to get them all to act in a certain way and all have failed.

WE won't do a damn thing. Why don't someone write a book and tell the truth.

Ron P.

Ron - Potential book title: "Yes we won't!". Or a campaign slogan if you can find a politician with enough guts to use it.

No, we won't do anything and, more to the point, even if we suddenly changed into a species with capacity to change our habits, it would be too late. Back in 1981 I was in a bar with Erik Eckholm who was just making a name for himself on environmental issues. At that time he said that if there weren't major changes in place by 2000, it was all over. Here we are in 2012 and it's full steam ahead. This train won't stop until it runs out of rail.

I haven't found a book yet that gives me what I consider to be a believable portrayal of life in the early to mid stages of the changes to come -- JHK's stuff being fun to read and close to the mark in some respects, but a bit much. "Julian Comstock" gives a convincing sense of the longer term possibilities. I'd like to see something set in the 2025 to 2035 period when the realization of the inevitable finally sinks in. You write it, I'll buy it.

that book was written a long time ago! But nobody takes it serious. It's a shame, because it not only tells us what will happen and why, but the only solution also.

(Jeremiah 10:23) I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step. . .

In order to understand what that book is telling us one has to forget what he ever heard about it and try to understand what it really is all about.

But TOD is hardly the forum to do that - as much as I like what I have learned from your comments and others commenting here sometimes.

Best hopes for being open minded


Interesting choice of translation.

Is Agriculture Sucking Fresh Water Dry? (seen at Energybulletin)

"The average American uses enough water each year to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and global agriculture consumes a whopping 92% of all fresh water used annually. Those are the conclusions of the most comprehensive analysis to date of global water use, which also finds that one-fifth of humankind’s water consumption flows across international borders as “virtual water”—the water needed to produce a commodity, such as meat or electronics, if the ultimate consumers were to make it themselves rather than outsource its growth or manufacture.

The new study “is the most comprehensive and finest-resolution analysis to date,” says Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project, which is based in Los Lunas, New Mexico. "

"Embodied water"... echoes of Heinlein.

Grain, apparently, uses up the greatest proportion of water :-

"The water needed to grow so-called cereal grains such as wheat, rice, and corn accounted for about 27% of global water consumption; meat and dairy products accounted for another 22% and 7%, respectively. “Grain is the currency by which we trade water,” Postel says. "

I wonder what the "Embodied Water" of grown-for-the-gastank fuel is ? (who says you can't run a car on water ?)

"I wonder what the "Embodied Water" of grown-for-the-gastank fuel is ?"

It certainly seems to be beyond most folks' grokability :-0

I'm surprised energy creation wasn't mentioned. Actually I thought that in developed countries that WAS the largest use of water. Maybe that was only pumped water and including the natural rainfall changes that ratio a lot.

Although withdrawals for thermoelectric generation are of similar scale to withdrawals for agriculture in the U.S. consumptive use is MUCH lower. Most energy sector water withdrawal is once-thru cooling and is returned to the source.

It's like whack-a-mole, this lumping grains together to make a point, but it makes your stat point your direction.

I have many problems with grain based ag, but the water use stat derives from rice, not grains together. Wheat, the desert rose especially, and barley, oats, rye are not irrigated to any large extent. I know there are exceptions, cash cropping, but not much overall. Corn, tho irrigated acreage is increasing, is still a non-irrigated grain save that grown for table ears. See my post below for somewhat dated figures for US ag, I doubt it changed much.

And to continue the point I've been harping for nearly 5 TOD yrs, the worst impacts of climate change to man will be felt as drought, and fire. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground, agrees and was highlighted in a recent top post.


Water is a 'National Security' Issue...

Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: James R. Clapper Director of National Intelligence Feb.2, 2012

During the next 10 years, water problems will contribute to instability in states important to US national security interests. Water shortages, poor water quality, and floods, by themselves, are unlikely to result in state failure. However, water problems combined with poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions contribute to social disruptions that can result in state failure.

Depletion of groundwater supplies in some agricultural areas — caused by poor management — will pose a risk to both national and global food markets.

Now and for the foreseeable future, water shortages and pollution probably will negatively affect the economic performance of important US trading partners. Economic output will suffer if countries do not have sufficient clean water supplies to generate electrical power or to maintain and expand manufacturing and resource extraction.

As water shortages become more acute beyond the next 10 years, water in shared basins will increasingly be used as leverage; the use of water as a weapon or to further terrorist objectives also will become more likely.


We judge Iran would likely choose missile delivery as its preferred method of delivering a nuclear weapon. Iran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East, and it is expanding the scale, reach, and sophistication of its ballistic missile forces, many of which are inherently capable of carrying a nuclear payload.

We judge Iran’s nuclear decision making is guided by a cost-benefit approach, which offers the international community opportunities to influence Tehran.

related http://www.dni.gov/testimonies/20120216_SASC%20Final%20Unclassified%20-%...

"missile delivery"

Cargo Container
Small plane

There was a fun story here in L.A. today. The president has been flying about with heavy helicopter escort. They went right overhead yesterday so low that stuff pinged off my car! Anyway.. a small airplane headed too close to the flight-path of this convoy. Two F-16s were scrambled and intercepted it. They escorted the little plane to an airfield landing. The fellow had 40 pounds of pot on board. Can you imagine what went through the smuggler's mind... when these two fighter jets show up out of nowhere!?

I don't think it was a case of what went through his mind but rather what went through elsewhere!


Although most U.S. corn is unirrigated, 25% of U.S. irrigated acres (54.9million) in 2008 were corn harvested for grain or silage.

Go read the comments on slashdot - they have 5 rated posts saying embodied water is BS. So not everyone is 'a believer' of such.

It seems to me that instead of lobbying for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, you should be lobbying for bulk export of water from Canada. It's going to be increasingly difficult to keep agriculture operating in the American SW with drought and depletion of groundwater supplies.

Of course if you did try to negotiate for water from Canada you'll run into one of those peculiarities of Canadians. We're happy to sell you non-renewable resources like oil and gas but are dead set against selling renewable resources such as water.

Yes, this hysterical fear of water exports has amazed me ever since I have been in Canada.
sell the non renewable one (oil) as fast as possible and don't sell the renewable one.

There is a lot of water flowing northwards - 5% of the annual flow of the Mackenzie river (9910cu.m/s) is equal to 100% of the average annual flow of the Colorado river (505cu.m/s).
It would also be enough to irrigate 7.7million acres.
Or provide the needs of a city of 100 million people

And there is no environmental impact from a "spill".

meanwhile, America mines its groundwater, making it a non renewable resource;


For farmers to adopt irrigation, 2 things must be met first. The crop must show a marked increase in yield over non irrigated land, and the commodity price must be sufficient to carry the irrigation expense.

Cheap food for mankind negates the latter. Low commodity prices means limited irrigation. Few realize how expensive irrigation is, it's much more than simple water availability anymore. No one will buy it if they can't improve their return. I know of many irrigators abandoning or forgoing their practice due to increasing electricity costs. Many of the raises are "shielded" from the public, in that utilities have been trying to hold residential prices constant while modestly increasing other rates. To many growers, it's not worth the electric bill, even with the rising crop price. The overall return becomes greater to switch to solely rainfed, whether that means changing crop or factoring in the different rainfed yields. Food and energy are so intertwined.

One factor that has been a conundrum throughout irrigation history is that as irrigation water efficiency improves, total water use rises. It's easy to see why, from my perspective. The purchase of the new system only pencils financially by expansion. So you hit the bank big time and buy up your neighbor, hoping prices hold. But like oil has shown us, commodity prices are a roller coaster. I think we've hit, or are very near, the endpoint of the conundrum. Rising energy prices will choke irrigation expansion beyond boutique pricing for the more well off.

Irrigation can also allow for more consistent quality, especially where the climate would normally be too dry to grow a crop. Obviously, irrigation eliminates the problem of a crop receiving too little rain, but what many people forget is that too much rain can be just as detrimental to the quality of the crop. That's why produce grown in the Central Valley in California will be of more consistent quality year to year than produce grown here in Ontario.

I didn;t say anything about how efficiently US farmers would use the water. If it's anything like the way Americans use oil, it won;t be very efficient...

But, actually, I don;t think that would be the case. Someone starting a new irrigation farm, knowing they would pay $200+ per ac/ft, would indeed be very efficient with their water. But if they know they have reliable water, then all sorts of things can be grown, especially perennial crops, as they know a drought will not take them out.

I do agree it is not (generally) worthwhile for commodity grain crops, but it certainly can be for specialised ones, alfalfa, dairying, vegetables, etc.
It is really up to how smart the farmer is, and whether they truly want to safeguard and improve their soil, or just mine it for nutrients.

I think part of it too will be that we will see rising food prices (a good thing in my opinion), and hopefully a return to things like grass fed beef. A rancher who can irrigate part of his farm is then at far less risk of the weather, and having to import grain

As with any irrigation scheme, it is the enormous capital costs that have to be factored into it that really make it expensive-a secure supply is not cheap - just like oil.

But at least it is renewable...

But at least it is renewable.

That, depends upon the details. Some aquifers are in unconsildated sediments, if you pump them out the voids are compressed out, and the aquifer's capcity has been permanently reduced. You could also pull in brackish water from deeper down. Or simply use it up faster than the recharge rate, which means that even though it might never run out totally, the sustainable rate of withdrawal may be lower than you currently enjoy.

What you say is all very true , and well established in hydrogeology (I am a former hydrogeologist).

But what I was talking about was diverting water from the northern flowing rivers of Canada. Their annual flows are massive, so to divert 5 or even 10%, I would say that will be renewable under almost any climate change scenario.

There may be other environmental issues of course, but I don't think this source of water is one of them.

Actually, American farmers are some of the most efficient irrigators on the earth, in terms of water delivered to the plant, the standard in irrigation water efficiency. The most inefficient varieties, like ditch and furrow, or unlined ditches, are much more common in the rest of the world. And that stands to reason, as above, it extremely expensive.

Irrigated alfalfa is one area where I have observed foregoing or abandonment of irrigation. And this is with "free" water, only cost is pumping it up from the aquifer.

I agree about the good thing with rising food prices, and return to grass fed. But a few caveats. The biggest problem facing grass fed beef now is marketing. Buyers at the feedlot are going to continue to discount grass fed over grain finished stock until a real premium is established. With ever increasing consolidation of butcher plants, this seems a long ways in the future, for all carcasses and yield are based on marbling. Going for custom slaughter and retail marketing is just too much, and remains a minor portion of meat supply.

In order for rising food prices to be a "good thing", IMO, it needs to actually shift the percentage of total income spent on food. This may be occurring, but general inflationary increases on food will not cause the shifts I believe you seek.

Doug, I am sure some American farmers are really efficient with their water, but there are plenty that are not, and a lot of those seem to be in California, who do things like this;

Even worse down in Imperial county, where the creeks flow red from the fertiliser runoff from growing lettuce etc...

Elsewhere, farmers growing irrigated alfalfa, corn and other lower value crops are almost certainly more efficient. I am sure that some amrginal areas for alfalfa and corn and others may go back to dryland, but then again, as corn prices rise, so do the alternative cattle feeds...

Grass fed beef will have to make its comeback based on product differentiation, just like the "dolphin safe"tuna and "fair trade" coffee has (for what those terms are worth). The idea is not to have feedlot buyers buying it at all, as then it is no longer grass fed. Grass fed beef has the same balance of Omega-3's as salmon, but put that animal on grain feed to "finish it off", and all the benefits dissappear within two months.

Research spanning three decades supports the argument that grass-fed beef (on a g/g fat basis), has a more desirable SFA lipid profile (more C18:0 cholesterol neutral SFA and less C14:0 & C16:0 cholesterol elevating SFAs) as compared to grain-fed beef. Grass-finished beef is also higher in total CLA (C18:2) isomers, TVA (C18:1 t11) and n-3 FAs on a g/g fat basis. This results in a better n-6:n-3 ratio that is preferred by the nutritional community. Grass-fed beef is also higher in precursors for Vitamin A and E and cancer fighting antioxidants such as GT and SOD activity as compared to grain-fed contemporaries.

[a href="http://www.nutritionj.com/content/9/1/10">source]

Of course, the wholesale buyers don't care about this, they are indeed more interested in the marbling, until people start rejecting grain fed in favour of grass fed, and that is starting, but slowly.

As for food, I think we will see two shifts - higher prices generally, and more cooking being done at home, instead of in cheap restaurants, or buying processed food..

Which will be very good for the health of those who do so...

I'm not talking some American farmers, I'm speaking of the total. I'm sure there still plenty of unlined ditches, of instances of field flooding, or just plain oops, which your photo may or may not depict. And depending on the soil, crop and situation, field flooding can be an efficient delivery system.

Another caveat is many growers must use surface water, and the associated suspended load will prohibit many delivery systems.

As a grass fed beef and lamb grower, I have a hard time sharing your optimism. Last fall I took a bunch(50) of grass fed lambs to the saleyard. I can't find buyers for all production. While top lamb prices that day went at $2.25 lb live, I got $1.40. And actually, I expected even further discounts. Just that the auction that day couldn't seem to get enough lamb.

D-F, I had forgotten you are a producer yourself. I feel for you if those are the prices you are getting - why the deep discount on your lamb? How much of a market for lamb is there where you are?

I do think for grass fed to be profitable, it has to be sold outside the commodity system - you will never be able to realise the value otherwise. But then you are left with the quandry of how/who to sell to?

These guys are my local grass fed producers, and they have been able to sidestep the saleyard system. through a specialty butcher - I'm guessing you don't have any such option?


Milk also exhibits (un)startling differences in nutritional quality (beyond protein, butterfat, and solids content) based on feed ration, etc. I used to drink raw milk out of the plate cooler, but I'm not doing that regularly anymore, anyplace big enough to survive in the West. I'd advocate de-commoditizing milk but I'd probably get shot by one of my dairy buddies (requiring digesters is heresy enough).

Climate Change may Increase Risk of Water Shortages in Hundreds of US Counties by 2050

More than 1 in 3 counties in the United States could face a "high" or "extreme" risk of water shortages due to climate change by the middle of the 21st century, according to a new study in ACS's Journal of Environmental Science & Technology. The new report concluded that 7 in 10 of the more than 3,100 U.S. counties could face "some" risk of shortages of fresh water for drinking, farming and other uses. It includes maps that identify the counties at risk of shortages.

Roy's team used the index to conclude that climate change could foster an "extreme" risk of water shortages that may develop in 412 counties in southern and southwestern states and in southern Great Plains states.


Research Finds Arsenic Supply at Highest Risk

In the paper, “Criticality of the Geological Copper Family,” published in Environmental Science & Technology, Graedel’s team applied its methodology to the elements of the geological copper family: copper, arsenic, selenium, silver, tellurium and gold. All six are technologically important. For example, copper is essential in transmitting electricity. Gold and silver play important roles in electronics. Selenium and tellurium are major constituents in thin-film solar cells. And arsenic in the form of gallium arsenide is an essential ingredient in high-speed computer chips.

To demonstrate the methodology, Graedel’s team created a fictional solar cell manufacturing firm. Arsenic was at the highest risk of supply disruption over the long-term of the six metals because there is scant interest in mining a poisonous material, with selenium and gold almost as high a risk. Gold occurs at such low concentrations in the ore that mining and processing has the potential to cause significant amounts of air and water pollution, so it has the most severe environmental implications ranking.

“Restrictions to the availability of any of these elements would constrain a number of technological sectors, so an assessment of their criticality is vital,” he said.

Soybean can grow in New York, thanks to climate change

"The climate in northern New York is no longer too cool to produce soybeans, so mid-season (Group I) varieties are adapted to most of northern New York, and early Group II varieties can mature if planted early near [Ontario] Lake," Cox said. "Although the 2011 growing season was challenging, the trials produced very good soybean yields -- 56 bushels per acre average yield for Group I varieties and 53 bushels per acre average yields for Group II.

"If global warming continues over the next several decades, northern New York may well prove to be the ideal location rather than a marginal region for soybean production," he added.

Good news ... Oilseed crop for the NorthEast

Soybean can grow in New York, thanks to climate change

Well, considering that soybeans have been grown in Canada for well over 100 years, are Ontario's largest field crop, and are grown in most of the other Canadian provinces as well, one would assume that it should be possible to grow them in New York State, too, global warming or not.

Study shows temperatures may change disease resistance in wheat

Wheat streak mosaic virus is the most prevalent disease in the southwestern wheat producing region of the U.S., Price said. Early diagnostics have shown that wheat curl mites have the potential to build high populations very quickly. When populations explode, wheat streak can spread to epidemic proportions in a short time, causing devastating losses throughout the wheat growing region.

While several varieties of wheat, such as Mace and Ron L, have resistance to the virus bred into them, there has been a problem with that genetic resistance breaking down in temperatures above 75 degrees, Rush said.

“That is terrible for those who plant in the Texas Panhandle for dual purpose,” he said. “The wheat is planted early when temperatures are very high and it’s too hot for genetic resistance to be effective.

Thermal Storage Gets More Solar On the Grid

New analysis at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has found that concentrating solar power (CSP), with its greater grid flexibility and ability to store energy for as long as 15 hours, can enhance total solar power generation and actually give photovoltaic (PV) systems a greater presence on the grid.

A CSP plant works by heating a heat transfer fluid that is used to boil water to make steam. But because of thermal inertia, by the time that fluid gets through the system's pipes to the power plant, perhaps 10 or 15 minutes have passed.

When a cloud passes over a PV panel, the drop in energy production is immediate. But because of the 10 or 15 minutes of thermal inertia, a cloud passing over a CSP tower doesn't cause this immediate drop. Nor is there the immediate surge when sunlight returns.

At a typical molten-salt CSP plant, the salts are stored in two tanks, one much hotter than the other.

In the case of a power tower CSP plant, in which the mirrors focus the sun's rays on one receiver atop a tower, the lower-temperature tank is at about 293°C, while the higher-temperature tank is at 565°C, Glatzmaier said.

The salt is pumped from the "cold" tank to the power tower, where it collects the solar energy that's focused on the receiver, raising its average temperature. The salts then descend into the "hot" tank, where they can maintain this very hot temperature for several days, though typically they are used within hours.

The salt in the hot tank is then sent to a heat exchanger that generates the steam needed to turn the turbines at a power plant. The turbines generate electricity that goes to homes and businesses.

As they exit the steam generator, the salts cool, and by the time they return to the cold tank, they measure at about 293°C.

Study: Enabling Greater Penetration of Solar Power via Use of CSP with Thermal Energy Storage

One additional advantage of solar thermal is that it's typically dispatchable as natural gas generation in an emergency (it can provide its own backup).

Low-Carbon Technologies 'No Quick-Fix', say Researchers

A drastic switch to low carbon-emitting technologies, such as wind and hydroelectric power, may not yield a reduction in global warming until the latter part of this century, research published today suggests.

The study, published today, Thursday 16 February, in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, claims that the rapid deployment of low-greenhouse-gas-emitting technologies (LGEs) will initially increase emissions as they will require a large amount of energy to construct and install.

These cumulative emissions will remain in the atmosphere for extended periods due to the long lifetime of CO2, meaning that global mean surface temperatures will increase to a level greater than if we continued to use conventional coal-fired plants.

Delaying the rollout of the technologies is not an option however; the risks of environmental harm will be much greater in the second half of the century and beyond if we continue to rely on coal-based technologies.

Study: Greenhouse gases, climate change and the transition from coal to low-carbon electricity

We're in overshoot in just about every way you can think of!

Dr Meadows [LTG] was right. Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.

Book examines state-owned oil firms, prices and pollution

To maintain power, oil-rich governments often lean on their national oil companies in ways that hurt the environment, damage their companies' efficiency and raise prices for the rest of the world, according to Stanford University researcher Mark Thurber.

Beyond just producing profits for their central governments, the national oil companies (known as NOCs) are often saddled with tasks such as heavily subsidizing domestic energy consumption and employing thousands of unneeded workers with good political connections.

Another adverse effect for the environment: State-owned companies contribute to fuel price volatility. The roller-coaster between high and low oil prices may discourage large investments in competing energy sources like biofuels.

State-owned oil companies increase price volatility and pollution, but rarely get used as geopolitical weapons

My beloved Chrysler Town & Country wagon had a 440 (V8 that is). I wonder if there'll be another "440" in my future.

Electric car owners face long charging times
Manitoba's plug-in outlet infrastructure criticized

Manitoba's clean hydro power and abundant block heater outlets are often promoted as ideal for new enviro-friendly electric vehicles, but some on the vanguard of that automotive revolution say the province's plugs are not nearly enough.

Keith Bilous bought a high-performance Tesla electric roadster last year, but found problems driving it around the province.

The issue? Slow charging times.

"It's ridiculously frustrating not being able to find any 220 or 440 volt plugs anywhere," Bilous told CBC News.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/02/15/mb-electric-car-plugi...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

'Range anxiety' could replace road rage

As electric vehicles take charge of Halifax Regional Municipality’s suburbs in the coming years, a condition called range anxiety will likely become prevalent among early adopters.

That was the take Jackie Clavel, marketing manager with Wilson Fuel Co. Ltd. in Halifax, offered Wednesday, after spending some time with one of the world’s most popular electric vehicles — the Nissan Leaf — as part of the ShareReady program, sponsored by the province and Nova Scotia Power.

“It’s easy to see this will be an accepted commuter vehicle, but even when you scoot around after work, you keep a very careful eye on that charge indicator,” Clavel said of her stint behind the wheel with one of eight electric vehicles put through the paces over the past three months by participating corporations and institutions.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/63246-range-anxiety-could-replace-...


Wilson eyes car charging sites

WILSON FUEL CO. LTD. is looking at the idea of setting up chargers for electric cars.

The company, which owns and operates 55 gas stations and supplies another 200 in the Atlantic provinces, is talking to Nova Scotia Power about the possibility.

“We’re just in the energy business,” Dave Collins, vice-president of Wilson Fuel, said Tuesday.

“I’ll sell you liquid fuel or I’ll sell you electrons. I don’t really care, because basically we’re in some convenient spots where that might make some sense.”


“What we’d be talking about is 440-volt DC fast charges, which is 30 minutes.”

He’s hoping the charging stations, which cost as much as $15,000 a pop, could be located at stations with nearby food outlets.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/60248-wilson-eyes-car-charging-sites

"A burger and fries, Diet Pepsi and a side order of 440 to go, please."


I hope they can get fast-charging to work well, but I'm skeptical about it due to the damage it can do to batteries. It can be done reasonably well with certain battery chemistry mixes but they tend to be very expensive. But I guess for occasional use it would be fine.

I think the range issue will largely be dealt two ways:
1) Deal with it. An affordable EV will have a short range. But that is fine since statistically, 90+% of people's daily driving can be be handled by a 100 mile range EV. Just get hybrid/gas car for times you will travel longer distances.
2) Plug-In hybrids like the Volt. If you really need to drive long distances on a regular basis then get a plug-in hybrid.

I think battery swapping systems on highways between cities would be a nice solution in the future, but that will require industry standards, a large EV market, etc. Hopefully that will happen in the future. Better Place is trying to do that now but I'm skeptical about getting 'locked in' into any one company like that.

That's a good point. I understand that you should avoid fully re-charging your vehicle at this higher voltage due to the added stress on the battery, and I suspect most drivers will, in fact, recharge at home and potentially top-up at work at either 120 or 240-volts, with these alternate charging stations being used only as necessarily, i.e., when your battery runs critically low and you run the real risk of running out of juice prior to getting to your destination.

These commercial charging stations are much like the rest stops along a limited access highway; you may not need to use one but it's comforting to know that they're there if you do.


E = Volts X Amps X Time

You cannot raise the volts or amps without limit. If you use a voltage other than what the battery wants then you must do conversions which lose energy. If the voltage gets too high you have safety and materials issues too. The current is subject to I^2 X R heating losses, so you don't want a big current. Therefore you are left with T, and since the energy to be transferred is non-trivial then so is T. And this is all with an ideal perfect battery. Add in a real battery with additional limitations of its own and T only gets bigger.

The issue is that with an EV you must transfer the energy into the mass that is to be its storage media, whereas with gasoline or diesel the material is already charged (and liquid at that) and you must simply move it.

This is why the EV cannot replace the gasoline automobile in anything like the way we use it. Doing a battery swap scheme does not get rid of the issue from a system perspective, as the charging must still be done, and if it's not done locally you've added a transportation energy requirement too.

Still doesn't work.

Obviously the AC feeds a DC power supply. The AC will go through a transformer and a rectifier, and then some controls to treat the battery reasonably. I'd expect the transformer to step the voltage down more at 440 than 220 (here it would be 480/240).

But the higher current the push into the battery, the greater the resistive loses, I would expect the faster charger would consume somewhat more net energy (as well as shortening bettery life).

Doing a battery swap scheme does not get rid of the issue from a system perspective, as the charging must still be done, and if it's not done locally you've added a transportation energy requirement too.

How does the battery swap not solve the issue? Most of the time, you just do normal charging at night. We humans will naturally give our cars at least 8 hours of charging time each day. Battery swapping is only done for longer-range trips . . . there is no 'transportation energy requirement' since you locate the swap stations in rest stops between cities. The time aspect is solved because you can have extra pre-charged batteries. And you can keep that supply up by recharging multiple exchanged batteries in parallel.

Look at a busy gas station sometime. All those cars flowing in and out again in a few minutes, fully recharged. Now, for each and every one add how many hours? If you cannot see how that changes the game I don't know how to lead you to it.

I think the idea is that you get cars that have one battery, and automate the swap process. In theory, that could make such swaps even faster than fill-ups. But I share your skepticism that we will ever get there.

There are also battery technologies that recharge by replacing liquid components.

How does the energy get into the liquid components?

Through an analog to the car's battery, but much bigger. The charging power and time... and, even place, variables are freed-up. The charged fluid can be transferred in a short time.

A plug-in hybrid doesn't have the large battery of a straight electric, thus it's range on electricity will be less than that of a pure electric. This would be exacerbated by the fact that the extra mass of the IC engine would cut the range.

There's a third option you did not mentioned and that is to use a trailer mounted small diesel IC powered generator in combination with an EV. That way, the occasional longer trips beyond the EV range could be powered by the motor on the trailer, but shorter trips could be handled without the need to haul the extra mass. The trailer could be designed to provide extra cargo space for carrying the stuff one might want during a trip or while on vacation. When not needed, the trailer would be unhooked and stored...

E. Swanson

There's two issues here. First, a 110V 15A circuit doesn't provide enough power to recharge a battery quickly. The second is that a block heater consumes a lot less power than an electric car recharger so you would normally have several block heater outlets connected to the same circuit. If more than one electric car happens to plug into the same circuit, or all the other outlets on the circuit are being used by people plugging in their block heaters the result is likely to be a popped circuit breaker. There is really no way around having to install additional infrastructure for charging electric cars.

My guess is that companies wishing to accommodate such drivers will offer designated parking stalls for electric vehicles, each fitted with its own 120-volt circuit. Over the course of a standard eight-hour workday that would allow EV owners to top up their battery and/or pre-heat their vehicle in preparation for the return trip home.

Block heaters at the higher end of the scale pull as many as 750 to 1,000-watts (and up to 1,500-watts in the case of the Dodge Sprinter), so a single 20-amp 120-Volt circuit probably serves just two stalls, most likely via a common receptacle. In such cases, a short-term solution might be to replace the original dual plug receptacle with a single plug outlet, leaving the adjoining stall without service; obviously, not an ideal scenario, but it would prevent overloading and the need to run additional wiring and the adjoining space could still be used by a vehicle without a block heater.


This article from 1901 is interesting: On the Variations of the Climate of the Geological and Historical Past and Their Causes from this summary.

Ekholm pointed out that over the course of a millennium the accumulation in the atmosphere of CO2 (carbonic acid) from the burning of pit coal will “undoubtedly cause a very obvious rise of the mean temperature of the Earth.” He also thought this effect could be accelerated by the “digging of deep fountains pouring out carbonic acid” or perhaps decreased “by protecting the weathering layers of silicates from the influence of the air and by ruling the growth of plants.” By such means Ekholm pointed to the grand possibility that it might someday be possible “to regulate the future climate of the Earth and consequently prevent the arrival of a new Ice Age.” In this scenario, climate warming by enhanced coal burning would be pitted against the natural changes in the Earth's orbital elements or the secular cooling of the sun. Ekholm concluded, “It is too early to judge of how far Man might be capable of thus regulating the future climate. But already the view of such a possibility seems to me so grand that I cannot help thinking that it will afford Mankind hitherto unforeseen means of evolution.”

Surprise, it didn't take a millenium -- just 100 years! Even so, this guy was on the right track in terms of global warming, even if his expectation that we could manage the situation is way off.

By such means Ekholm pointed to the grand possibility that it might someday be possible “to regulate the future climate of the Earth and consequently prevent the arrival of a new Ice Age.

The future is now.

No glacial inception is projected to occur at the currentatmospheric CO2 concentrations of 390 ppmv (ref. 1). Indeed, model experiments suggest that in the current orbital configuration—which is characterized by a weak minimum in summer insolation—glacial inception would require CO2 concentrations below preindustrial levels of 280 ppmv (refs 2, 3, 4). However, the precise CO2 threshold as well as the timing of the hypothetical next glaciation remain unclear. Past interglacials can be used to draw analogies with the present, provided their duration is known. Here we propose that the minimum age of a glacial inception is constrained by the onset of bipolar-seesaw climate variability, which requires ice-sheets large enough to produce iceberg discharges that disrupt the ocean circulation. We identify the bipolar seesaw in ice-core and North Atlantic marine records by the appearance of a distinct phasing of interhemispheric climate and hydrographic changes and ice-rafted debris. The glacial inception during Marine Isotope sub-Stage 19c, a close analogue for the present interglacial, occurred near the summer insolation minimum, suggesting that the interglacial was not prolonged by subdued radiative forcing. Assuming that ice growth mainly responds to insolation and CO2 forcing, this analogy suggests that the end of the current interglacial would occur within the next 1500 years, if atmospheric CO2 concentrations did not exceed 240±5 ppmv.

Determining the natural length of the current interglacial Tzedakis, 2012

Although he got silicate weathering backwards. In some sense we want to increase silicate weathering to increase CO2 absorption by this process. I think we are doing it, via deforestation leading to massively increase erosion. So maybe we are taking a process that will fix out mess in a million years and speeding it up to a 100,000 year timescale.

Elsewhere ...

Counterfeit drugs becoming big business worldwide

The discovery that a fake version of the widely used cancer medicine Avastin is circulating in the United States is raising new fears that the multibillion-dollar drug-counterfeiting trade is increasingly making inroads in the U.S.

The criminal practice has largely been relegated to poor countries with lax regulations. But with more medicines and drug ingredients for sale in the U.S. being manufactured overseas, American authorities are afraid more counterfeits will find their way into this country, putting patients' lives at risk.

also Common flame retardant linked to social, behavioral and learning deficits

putting patients' lives at risk.

Code for, putting pharm profits at risk.

Its really both. But its all driven by greed. Pharma companies charge an arm and a leg, customers try an end run by going to dodgy suppliers.

I don't disagree with your point about profits but counterfeit drugs can be very nasty concoctions indeed. I was shown an inside look at what was out there, items confiscated or sampled by a pharmaceutical company, and you really didn't want to be using them.


"Common flame retardant linked to..."

A friend of mine runs a bed-and-breakfast. People call and, in the conversation, casually ask how old the beds are. "Oh, they're quite old" she reassures them. The question goes to the point "are they filled with fire retardant".

Marine Protected Areas: Changing Climate Could Require Change of Plans

Marine protected areas (MPAs) may turn out to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a result of changing conditions, marine species have been on the move with observed shifts of as much as three kilometres per year over the past 50 years, and forecasts of shifts of as much as 300 kilometres in the coming 50 years.

Europe's big buyers cut ties with Iran oil

Iran's top oil buyers in Europe are making substantial cuts in supply months in advance of European Union sanctions, reducing flows to the continent in March by more than a third - or over 300,000 barrels daily, industry sources said on Thursday.

France's Total has already stopped buying the crude, which is subject to European Union sanctions from July 1 and market sources say Royal Dutch Shell has scaled back sharply.

Motor Oil Hellas of Greece was also thought to have cut out Iranian crude altogether and compatriot Hellenic Petroleum along with Spain's Cepsa and Repsol were curbing imports.

We're out of the loop ...

Nanosecond Trading Could Make Markets Go Haywire

The afternoon of May 6, 2010 was among the strangest in economic history. Starting at 2:42 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones stock index fell 600 points in just 6 minutes. Its nadir represented the deepest single-day decline in that market’s 114-year history. By 3:07 p.m., the index had rebounded. The “flash crash,” as it came to be known, was big, unexpected and scary — and a new study says flash events actually happen routinely, at speeds so fast they don’t register on regular market records, with potentially troubling consequences for market stability.

The analysis involved five years of stock market trading data gathered between 2006 and 2011 and sorted in fine-grained, millisecond-by-millisecond detail. Below the 950-millisecond level, where computerized trading occurs so quickly that human traders can’t even react, no fewer than 18,520 crashes and spikes occurred. The study’s authors call those events “financial black swans,” though they’re so common that the black swan label probably doesn’t fit anymore.

Moreover, those events fell into patterns that didn’t fit market patterns seen at other time scales. It’s as if computerized trading has created a new world, one where the usual rules don’t apply, populated by algorithms and only dimly understood by the people who made them. It’s now estimated that high-frequency computer trading accounts for 70 percent of all equity trades. ... With many algorithms converging on just a few different strategies, the high-frequency trading market could become vulnerable to systemwide herd behaviors.

“Economic theory has always lagged behind economic reality, but now the speed of technological change is widening that gap at an exponential rate. The scary result of this is that we now live in a world dominated by a global financial market of which we have virtually no sound theoretical understanding.”

Johnson and Tivnan also used another metaphor to describe the flash crashes and spikes: fractures. The events could be imagined as microfractures in the wing of an aircraft, accumulating unnoticeably until some critical, breakage-causing mass is reached. To that end, they found a correlation between rising frequencies of sub-950-ms flash events, market volatility after 2008, and the May 2010 flash crash.

The 10 stocks most prone to crash-and-spiking were all financial companies, with Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo topping the list.

Moreover, those events fell into patterns that didn’t fit market patterns seen at other time scales. It’s as if computerized trading has created a new world, one where the usual rules don’t apply, populated by algorithms and only dimly understood by the people who made them.

Quantum finance!

Someone who can find some basic rules and take advantage of them could make a great deal of money.

And when the make money, they'll keep it.

When they go haywire and lose a bunch of money, they'll push to reverse all those trades.

Advocates Petition to Expand Evac Zones Around Reactors

The petition calls for:

•The NRC to incorporate real-world lessons of the Fukushima nuclear disaster by expanding the existing emergency evacuation zones from 10 to 25 miles around nuclear reactors to 25 to 50 miles.
•Utilities would be responsible for identifying and publicizing potential evacuation routes.
•The NRC to require utilities and state and local governments to practice emergency drills in the case of a natural disaster that occurs concurrently to a nuclear meltdown.
•The NRC to expand the “ingestion pathway zone,” which monitors food, milk and water, from 50 miles to 100 miles around reactors.

Currently utilities do not have to prove the capability to conduct an evacuation during natural disasters, a press release from GRAMMES said.

A third of the U.S. population, or approximately 120 million people, live within a 50-mile radius of a nuclear reactor, the press release said. The “ingestion pathway” consists of an area about 50 miles in radius but at Fukushima, food and liquid was contaminated more than 100 miles from the site.

If you look at the US east coast and start drawing 50 and 100 mile circles around the NPPs it ainn't a pretty picture.

Europe Needs a "RESCUE" Revolution

Resolving the world’s major challenges whether climate change, environmental pollution, urbanisation, our ageing population or resource scarcity requires a sweeping shift in our approach to sustainability research and education, a group of leading scientists told European policy makers today during the launch of their report “Responses to Environmental and Societal Challenges for our Unstable Earth” (RESCUE).

The RESCUE Report [Responses to Environmental and Societal Challenges for our Unstable Earth] synthesizes contributions from about 100 experts in 30 countries on how to deal with the major challenges, arising from today’s ‘Anthropocene’ age where the impact of human activity at the very least equals the bio-geophysical forces shaping the planet. In the face of these “global changes,” the RESCUE report calls on science policy makers, research funders, the scientific community, industry and business leaders, civil society organisations and citizens to implement and use an ‘open knowledge system’ in order to make the transition towards sustainability. This means interdisciplinary research, a sharing of knowledge and changes to educational systems from pre-school through to university to emphasise the collaborative, trans-disciplinary and innovative nature of learning and problem solving.

The result would end the current compartmentalisation of research so that in exploring solutions, researchers would reframe global environmental change problems as fundamentally social and human or, for example, natural scientists would join forces with economists and philosophers to learn from the current economic crisis how to better address global change challenges.


Since when have 'economists and philosophers' been any use in solving the really big problems facing the world?

Oil company still trying to control Alaska well blowout, help on the way

A North Slope oil rig was evacuated Wednesday after a Repsol drilling contractor hit a pocket of gas that triggered a methane blowout. The venting gas sparked fears the rig could explode, but the rig was intact and Repsol was reported to be working toward control of the situation.

There were no reports of spilled oil. Repsol initially estimated that approximately 1,200 gallons of drilling mud had been released to the gravel drilling pad and surrounding snow-covered tundra. But as of Wednesday night, that estimate grew to 42,000 gallons of drilling mud, or about 1,000 barrels, according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

...Repsol contractor Nabors Drilling was sinking an exploratory well at the Qugruk 2 site located in the Colville River Delta. The drill penetrated a shallow gas pocket at about 2,600 beneath the tundra, resulting in a "gas kick" and causing the loss of drilling fluids as gas pressure forces drilling mud out of the well

also North Slope oil well suffers a blowout

S - Warning: nerdy detail alert. The well kicked them at 2,600'. The bore hole mud volume at that depth would only be around 10% of the 1,000 bbls of mud they blew out of the hole. I'm guessing all that extra mud was what they were pumping down to kill the well. I also don't care for their statement that "blow outs are very rare". Blow outs that cause a lot of pollution/burn are not that common. But the stage right before a "blow out" is called "taking a kick". Taking a kick includes a live stream of hydrocarbons coming up the well while drilling and often includes blowing some/all of the mud out of the hole. Taking a kick is not a rare event ...happens all the time. In the last year I've probably taken at least a dozen or two kicks on my wells alone. You have to give credit to our safety systems and rig hands for keeping the blow out/pollution count down. But as I made the point about the Macondo blow (the trial for which starts in a couple of weeks): wells kick and always will kick. Too long to explain but kicks are almost always the result of human error. And as long as we have humans involved we'll have kicks. How many turn into disasters will be a function of the safety systems. But they too are subject to human failure, as we saw in the BP accident IMHO.

As I said way back when there's only one way to completely eliminate the possibility of another Macondo: no more offshore drilling. And that's a decision made by the politicians/public. Drill or don't drill...their choice. But they also share some of the responsibility. Despite their reassurance, the govt knows the reality. Whether they explain that reality to the public is another matter.

Natural gas wells leakier than believed

Wells that pump natural gas from the ground in Colorado have leaked about twice as much gas into the atmosphere as previously thought, a new study finds.

Pétron and her colleagues monitored air quality near Denver using a 300-meter tower. NOAA maintains a network of such towers across the country. This one lies southwest of the Denver-Julesburg Basin, an area that feeds more than 20,000 natural gas wells.

When winds blew in from the basin, levels of methane detected by sensors on the tower spiked. ... These measurements suggested that about 4 percent of the methane in the gas wells was leaking.

Unusually powerful explosions in Siberia, Russia ...

As reported the Geophysical Service of Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences- two unusually powerful explosions occurred in the last few days in the south of Western Siberia, a few dozen kilometers from the town of Belovo, Kemerovo Region, Russia.

... Russian Academy of Sciences excluded the possibility of an earthquake, as an explosion occurred on the surface of the earth, the force was M3.6 on the Richter scale

probably related Belovo, Kemerovo Region, Russia: Production complex of commercial & mining explosives manufacturer - Nitro Sibir ZAO

Sibirit PSM-7500™ explosives are intended for open-pit mining application in all mining and geological conditions

Nitro Sibir Group of Companies is one of the largest producers of commercial explosives in Russia. By the results of 2010, the production volume surpasses 270 thousand tons of explosives.

Plugging the coordinates from the report into Google Maps (N 54.31, E 86.05) puts me in the middle of some large surface mining operations, between Bekovo and Guryevsk. Hopefully additional details will emerge in the coming days; if nothing else, a surface explosion that big will certainly show up on satellite images.

Nitro Sibir demo video (Russian)

Two explosions in the several-kiloton range the report suggests. Interesting.

Interesting. People who live there say that there were no shockwave, no glass was broken. It means the explosion was deep underground. Mining operators strongly deny any night-time explosive mining, and they do it on surface anyway. The only suspects left are military, who utilize old armament nearby. But then again, it doesn't make sense.

Colorado company proposes new 450-mile oil pipeline across North Dakota and into Minnesota

BISMARCK, N.D. — A Colorado company is seeking shipping commitments from oil producers to use a proposed pipeline that would move 150,000 barrels of crude daily from western North Dakota’s booming oil patch to a pipeline hub in northern Minnesota.

Durango-based Saddle Butte Pipeline LLC said oil shippers have until March 16 to solicit interest in the 450-mile pipeline from Alexander, in McKenzine County, to Clearbrook, Minn.

The route for the 16-inch diameter pipeline would run due east from western North Dakota to the pipeline hub in Clearbrook, Ward said.

Watched Earth 2100 again tonight. (It aired on H2, History International.) It's really not bad. Kind of surprising that ABC (the American ABC) produced this show. I thought it was a fairly decent guess at how the future might unfold. The collapse is perhaps faster than I expect, but it is supposed to be a worse case scenario. In particular, New York City at first being an eco-city haven, then turning into a place where the rich are fine in their guarded neighborhoods while the poor suffer, and finally being abandoned by everyone.

Of course, H2 aired a show about ancient aliens next. The goldbugs are right! Gold is universally valuable - and I do mean universal. Extraterrestrials build their spaceships out of it, you know.

right, if aliens can haul ass around the galaxy, they'd come to earth for gold. because earth has so much of it.

Not to mention if you have the energy and technology to actually travel the stars - why not pull the material you need by refining the rocky material in space?

It might be 'cheaper' to find someone who's gathered up small bits into larger bits/more refined product. And it's been done before - Europeans showing up to the new world and grabbing the refined gold/silver. Its being done now - photons were captured a long time ago and processed via heat and pressure into something that is exchanged at a far lesser 'cost' than if one were to process photons into a fixed/useable status.

Thus there are functional models for taking refined material from a system.

Enbridge shuts two pipelines after Michigan leak

It's expected the Line 5, which carries 491,000 barrels of per day between Superior, Wisc., and Sarnia, Ont., will be repaired and restarted later Thursday.

Line 1, a 237,000 barrel-per-day line from Edmonton to Superior, has also been shut down due to a backup of crude at Superior. It's expected to start up after Line 5 does.

Dilbit wearing down those old pipes?

Line 5 doesn't carry dilbit or heavy oil. It carries NGL's, condensate, light synthetics, and light crude oil.

More outrageous things said by candidates' sugar daddies:

Foster Friess is both a head-turner and head-scratcher. He’s the millionaire money-man largely financing GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s super PAC, the Red, White and Blue Fund. He’s also the guy who can’t resist offering a punchline with a straight face on national television about a serious women’s health and political issue.

In an interview today with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, he revealed a way of looking at birth control that is playing economical with reality.

“This contraceptive thing, my gosh it’s so inexpensive. Back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”

The article from which I pulled the block-quoted material:


The interview snippet on Youtube (you have to hear it to believe it):


Adrea Mitchell did an admirable job pushing in her mental reset circuit breaker after pappy funny-guy cracked wise...

That was an old joke when I was in school - sometime last century ;)

I guess, now, he's finding out people aren't thinking it's so funny.

Fracking does not contaminate groundwater, says scientist

The sight of homeowners setting their drinking water on fire is pretty dramatic.

But scientists say the controversial and fast-growing energy sector practice of "fracking" to get at natural gas pockets underground has been unfairly blamed for the contamination.

It is more likely the flammable water, reported by some people living near some U.S. fracking operations, is linked to ground spills and problems that are not unique to the process also known as hydraulic fracturing, says Chip Groat of the University of Texas.

He led a study, released here Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, that found "no direct connection" between groundwater contamination and fracking.

The Houston Chronicle had an article about this on their front page earlier today.

The study, released at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver, British Columbia, found that many problems ascribed to hydraulic fracturing are actually related to processes common to all oil and gas drilling operations, such as casing failures or poor cement jobs.

The researchers also concluded that many reports of contamination can be traced to above-ground spills or other mishandling of wastewater produced from shale gas drilling, rather than from hydraulic fracturing per se, said Charles “Chip” Groat, an Energy Institute associate director who led the project.

“These problems are not unique to hydraulic fracturing,” he said.

So, if I understand this...they're saying it's all oil-industry activity that contaminates groundwater, not just fracking? Somehow, I don't think that's going to win anyone over.

The Houston Chronicle you linked to has a more accurate report than the Vancouver papers.

As it says, the problems most likely result from casing failures or bad cement jobs, which can occur in any well and have nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing. The fracturing typically happens too deep to affect shallow water formations.

However, it also says,

Natural gas found in water wells within some shale gas areas (e.g., Marcellus) can be traced to natural sources and probably was present before the onset of shale gas operations.

Which is true. In many of these areas, the water is already contaminated with methane before any wells are drilled. The thing about areas with subsurface natural gas formations is that the gas often finds its way into the water formations on its own, without any gas wells being drilled. Producing well water too fast can be enough to suck methane out of shallow gas formations into the water formations above them.

One wonders if dropping water tables, drought, etc. may be exacerbating this problem. During our drought of a few years ago our well drillers were kept busy re-drilling and fracking water wells (two family members had this done). If there had been gas in the area, who knows...

Ghung - Frac'ng water wells? Never seen that done. Are the trying to make high rate producers or is the rock just that poor?

"Frac'ng water wells? Never seen that done."

Oh, yeah, it's big business in our area. My sister's well, about 750', was only producing about 2.5 gpm during the drought. She had it drilled to about 900' and fracked; upped her flow to about 8 gpm (according to the well service). Anything below 3 gpm is considered insufficient flow around here. She was running her well dry trying to keep her plants watered :-/

My other sister's well, about 1500 feet away, produces over 50 gpm at 375 feet. I was there when they punched through and her road looked like a trout stream. I suggested to my first sister that she tie into this well instead of fracking hers, but they couldn't work out their 'differences'. It would have been cheaper and they could have shared the maintenance costs, etc.. Re-drilling/fracking was just short of $10K, but her flowers are happy.

I guess drilling for water in our area isn't that different than drilling for hydro-carbons; often hit or miss, but most well drillers use dowsers instead of high-tech 3D seismic surveys. I'm just glad I have a great spring; wasn't hard to find...

A neat little video showing fractures producing water: http://www.ontariowaterwellfracturing.com/

More here: http://www.capitalwell.com/hydro-fracking.php


Ghung - Thanks for the details. We're just lucky down here in the Gulf Coast. Just a guess but my last water could flow at least a couple of hundred gpm on air lift. I've seen artesian wells in Miss. flow several hundred gpm with no pumping. But it was nasty water: very soft and lots of sulfur. "Rotten egg water" was the popular name.

Anyone named "Chip Groat" (even in Seppostan) - surely is someone I really should listen to. LOL.

Many years ago now, I was unbelievably thirsty early one morning in the small town in southwestern Minnesota, so, I went looking for water, I needed a drink of water. First day there and a job was waiting, so it was necessary for me to be where I was. Nothing was open and the only water source was from a fountain in the middle of the main street. After one drink, I couldn't take another, it tasted like natural gas; it was unpalatable, undrinkable water. I was forced to remain thirsty. Water every where, but not a drop to drink. Here in 2012, good drinking water is from a bottle, so you're drinking oil and energy, it just isn't in the water. Purdy good progress, but it costs dearly. That's the way it is. The dollar and a half for the bottle of water represents time and energy along with a waste stream.

PV solar powered fuel cell stations with wind power piggy backing for additional generation of electricity to charge the fuel cells sounds good.

Merck's Vioxx allegedly resulted in 64 thousand deaths.

Food safety issues and prescription drug usage are serious concerns.


Oil at a hundred will begin to take its toll.

Demand destruction in Europe has created demand destruction in the sales of autos. Makes manufacturing ICE autos a tough business, might as well go ev. Ban the ICE for personal transportation.