Drumbeat: February 20, 2012

Oil Profits Falling Fastest Since Lehman From Exxon to Chesapeake

Profits for the biggest U.S. energy producers including Exxon Mobil Corp. are poised to decline the most since the financial meltdown of 2008-09 as the drilling technique known as fracking collapses natural gas prices.

Exxon and Chesapeake Energy Corp., which today reports 2011 earnings, will see net income in 2012 slide 7 percent and 10 percent, respectively, according to the mean of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That would be the biggest drop since 2009 for the companies, the largest U.S. gas producers.

While higher global demand for transportation fuels drove up crude prices about 30 percent since 2009, the domestic gas glut is pinching earnings for producers even as it pushes the U.S. toward energy independence. Especially hurt are Chesapeake and ConocoPhillips, which amassed gas assets before the full impact of fracking on supply growth was apparent, said Michael McMahon, a managing director for energy investments at Pine Brook Partners LLC, a private equity firm in New York.

A Little Bit Louder Now, Chevron Starts To Shout About Davy Jones And The Ultra Deep

About a year ago, speaking at a popular oil and gas conference Chevron tipped its hat to McMoRan’s Jim Bob Moffett and his work in the Gulf of Mexico Shallow Water Ultra Deep (SWUD) play that has been ongoing for more than five years. That event was truly noteworthy because major oil companies rarely, if ever, acknowledge a little player like MMR as being out front and leading the wave on any important new geological play. Chevron has recently promoted the Shallow Water Gulf of Mexico to one of its top three areas of geologic focus around the world. And it is becoming more vocal about its involvement.

Blame Iran And China For Rising Gas Prices

Iran’s Oil Ministry on Sunday announced the suspension of crude oil sales to companies from the U.K and France as the Islamic state responds to a European Union embargo set to take effect July 1. France’s Total and Britain’s BP had already ceased purchasing Iranian oil prior to the announcement, so the impact on supply and demand may be tiny.

Combined with a surprise decision on Saturday by the People’s Bank of China to reduce banks’ reserve requirements for the second time since November, however, Iran’s action helped to boost West Texas Intermediate crude oil above $105 per barrel in electronic trading Monday.

Europe Must Choose Between an Iranian Oil Embargo and Default

Experts say that if Iran stops its oil deliveries to the European Union, the EU will need several weeks to find alternative suppliers. Britain and France, to which Iran stopped deliveries on Saturday, February 19, are unlikely to be hit hard, but Greece, which is tottering under the weight of its economic problems and is the largest importer of Iranian oil, will most likely have to declare a default.

Oil prices spike on Iran export halt. Is $4 gas next?

The price of unleaded gasoline in the U.S. will likely hit a nationwide average of $4 by this summer, said Dan Dicker, oil trader and author of "Oil's Endless Bid." The last time prices topped $4 was 2008 and Dicker said there's a one in three chance that gas could reach $5 a gallon.

If gas prices do head to those lofty levels, that could put a crimp in the economic recovery as consumers will likely cut down on spending if they have to pay more to fill up their cars.

Petrol-price pain on way as Iran racks up tensions

EXPERTS warned last night that fuel prices will get worse as the Iranian crisis deepened with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime threatening to expand its oil embargo to the whole of the European Union.

The threat saw the price of a barrel of crude oil climb to an eight-month high of $121 (£76), just days after diesel hit a record level in the UK of 143.05p.

Asia taking lion's share of Iranian oil exports

PARIS — Iran, which on Monday said it planned to halt oil sales to several more European Union states in addition to Britain and France, sends only around a fifth of its exports to the EU, with Asian countries taking the lion’s share, according to U.S. and international oil agencies.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) in Washington says that in 2010 four Asian states took around two-thirds of all the crude oil exported by the Islamic Republic, with China buying 20%, Japan 17%, India 16% and South Korea 9%.

Japan says no decision yet on Iran oil import cuts

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's trade and foreign ministers said on Tuesday they haven't reached an agreement yet on how much Tokyo will cut Iranian crude imports to win waivers from U.S. sanctions designed to starve Iran of oil revenue.

Japan is likely to reduce imports of crude oil from Iran by at least 11 percent per year, the Yomiuri newspaper said earlier on Tuesday, to win an exemption from sanctions that could shut Japanese banks out of the United States if they facilitate trade in Iranian crude.

Iran struggles to find new oil customers

Iran is struggling to find a buyer for nearly a quarter of its annual oil exports as looming Western sanctions targeting the country’s nuclear program start to bite the world’s third-biggest crude exporter.

Tehran is trying to sell an extra 500,000 barrels a day of oil, or nearly 23 per cent of what it exported last year, to Chinese and Indian refiners, according to two industry executives familiar with the talks.

Iran deploys warplanes, missiles in ‘exercise’ protecting nuclear sites

TEHRAN — Iran deployed warplanes and missiles Monday in an “exercise” to protect nuclear sites threatened by possible Israeli attacks and warned it could cut oil exports to more EU nations unless sanctions were lifted.

Faulty flange link eyed as possible cause of BP refinery fire in Wash; facility still offline

BLAINE, Wash. — A spokesman says a fire at BP’s Cherry Point refinery might have been caused by a leaky flange connection.

However, BP spokesman Scott Dean said Monday the information filed with the Coast Guard’s National Response Center is very preliminary and the cause remains under investigation.

Ecuador court snubs arbitration panel on Chevron

QUITO, Ecuador—An Ecuadorean appeals court has rejected an order by an international arbitration panel seeking to prevent Amazon rain forest residents from collecting an $18 billion damage award against Chevron Corp. for oil contamination.

FF calls for extensive review of fracking

FIANNA FÁIL energy spokesman Éamon Ó Cuív has called on Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte to initiate a far more extensive review of fracking than that already commissioned.

Canada revs up for fight over second tar sands oil pipeline

Reporting from Fort St. James, Canada — The prime minister is talking about being "held hostage" by U.S. interests. Radio ads blare, "Stand up to this foreign bully." A Twitter account tells of a "secret plan to target Canada: exposed!"

Could this be Canada? The cheerful northern neighbor: supplier of troops to unpleasant U.S.-led foreign conflicts, reliable trade partner, ally in holding terrorism back from North America's shores, not to mention the No. 1 supplier of America's oil?

U.S. and Mexico Agree on Gulf Oil and Gas Drilling

WASHINGTON — The United States and Mexico on Monday reached agreement on regulating oil and gas development along their maritime border in the Gulf of Mexico, ending years of negotiations and potentially opening more than a million acres to deepwater drilling.

TEPCO opens up Fukushima plant to media

TOKYO — Tokyo Electric Power Co on Monday opened up its stricken Fukushima plant to journalists for the second time, weeks ahead of the anniversary of the March 11 disasters, and insisted the crippled complex was in cold shutdown.

As part of TEPCO’s efforts to reassure the public, it allowed reporters to see the ongoing work to make safe the reactors that were hit by last year’s quake-tsunami.

KEPCO shuts down nuclear reactor

TOKYO — Kansai Electric Power Co (KEPCO) on Monday night completed the shutdown of No. 3 reactor at the Takahama nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture, a KEPCO spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The reactor was shut down completely just after midnight, leaving all 11 reactors around the country owned by KEPCO idle, she said.

Energy debates need imagination, public interest and honesty

We often focus on what it may take to create new energy paradigms so called renewable or nuclear futures but what about asking what it might take for us to simply keep the foundations of our current societies intact? Do we ever ask ourselves such questions? How we ensure the simple maintenance of our vast and complex society, our built infrastructure, our technology, our institutions of learning, production, government and trade and our way of life just never seems to enter our heads. Maybe its all just too, too complex to appreciate. In theory that is. Like most things, it is all likely to become much clearer in practice if things start to unravel a bit!

Motorists hit by record surge in gas prices

NEW YORK — Gasoline prices have never been higher this time of the year in the U.S.

At $3.53 a gallon, prices are already up 25 cents since Jan. 1. And experts say they could reach a record $4.25 a gallon by late April.

"You're going to see a lot more staycations this year," says Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research, referring to people staying at home on their vacations. "When the price gets anywhere near $4, you really see people react."

Concern high over global oil supplies

The risks to global oil supplies are greater than at any time in the past 30 years, according to a leading banker.

Tension in the Gulf, sanctions against Iran and disruptions to African exports have created a threat level last reached when tankers transiting the Gulf were attacked during theIran-Iraq war.

"Not since the late 1970s/early 1980s has there been such a serious threat to oil supply," said Soozhana Choi, an energy analyst at Deutsche Bank, adding that Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz were unsettling. Oil futures in London are expected to open near an eight-month high today, having closed at US$119 a barrel on Friday, while US crude oil ended the week at $103 a barrel.

Oil Rises to 9-Month High; Iran Says Halts Europe Exports

Oil rose to a nine-month high in New York after Iran said it halted some crude exports and investors bet that fuel demand will increase as Europe moves closer to bailing out Greece.

Futures climbed as much as 1.9 percent for a fourth day of gains, the longest rising streak since December. Iran will supply crude to “new customers” instead of companies in the U.K. and France, the oil ministry’s news website, Shana, said, citing Alireza Nikzad Rahbar, a spokesman. Prices also advanced as European finance ministers prepared to meet to discuss a 130 billion-euro ($172 billion) aid package for Greece, the country’s second rescue in less than two years.

Japan January Liquefied Natural Gas Imports Rise 28.2%; Oil Purchases Drop

Japan’s liquefied natural gas imports rose to a record in January after the Fukushima nuclear disaster led to the shutdown of most of the country’s atomic reactors, causing utilities to use more fossil fuels.

The nation’s LNG imports climbed 28.2 percent from a year earlier to 8.15 million metric tons, according to a preliminary report released today by the Ministry of Finance.

API: Taxing onshore oil, gas wrong policy

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- A proposal to raise royalty rates for onshore oil and natural gas in the United States sends the wrong message about domestic production, trade group API says.

U.S. President Barack Obama kept taxes on oil and natural gas production in his budget proposal that some analysts say could push the bill for developers to more than $27 billion during the next decade.

Russian Oil Boom Ending Signals Lower Energy Tax That Risks Unrest

Russia’s 12-year oil boom is nearing its peak, forcing the next president to decide whether to cut taxes and revive production or use the windfall from $100 oil to boost public spending and quell mounting unrest.

As Vladimir Putin campaigns for a second stint in the Kremlin, the nation’s existing fields are losing pressure and oil companies OAO Rosneft, OAO Lukoil and TNK-BP (BP/) say production taxes give little incentive to invest. Since Putin first became president in 2000, crude output has grown 57 percent to 10 million barrels a day, surpassing Saudi Arabia and flooding the state treasury.

Which Presidential Candidate Will Solve the Gas Problem?

According to an article in USA Today, as spring progresses into summer, gas prices will only go up. This will negatively impact the economy, slowing growth that is "only moderate" after a recession. Gas prices are a hot topic this election year. Newt Gingrich is saying we must make use of more of our own resources, a position that Rick Perry also took early in his campaign. Is it really that simple?

Iraq’s January oil exports slightly decline, but revenues up on higher oil prices

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s oil ministry says oil exports have declined slightly in January compared to the previous month.

Monday’s statement says last month oil exports averaged 2.107 million barrels per day, down from 2.145 million barrels per day in December.

Gazprom Says Fully Restored Gas Flows To Europe

MOSCOW – Russia has fully restored natural gas shipments to Europe, the country's state gas firm said Monday, after it had been unable to meet rising demand in recent weeks due to cold weather across the continent.

Gazprom downplays U.S. natural gas

MOSCOW (UPI) -- Rising expectations about U.S. natural gas exports doesn't mean it would be a major competitor to Russia's Gazprom, an executive said.

With Russia falling to the No. 2 position in terms of natural gas production, the U.S. Energy Information Administration last month said the United States would be a net exporter of liquefied natural gas by 2016. Initial sales would be around 1.1 billion cubic feet per day.

Poland, EU Discussing Shale Gas Incentives - Talisman CEO

LONDON – Poland is still in discussions with the European Union on developing a tax regime that incentivizes shale gas exploration in the eastern European country, Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM) Chief Executive John Manzoni said Monday.

Iran Stops Exporting Oil to U.K., French Buyers

Iran stopped sales of crude to French and British buyers to pre-empt a European Union ban on imports of its oil and as OPEC’s second-biggest producer negotiates contracts to supply China.

Iran “will give its crude oil to new customers instead of French and U.K. companies,” the Shana oil ministry news website reported, citing Alireza Nikzad Rahbar, a ministry spokesman.

Iran finds new oil customers

TEHRAN (UPI) -- An Iranian official said it was selling crude oil to new customers after opting to stop oil deliveries to British and French companies.

Iran says may extend oil cut to more EU countries

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian semiofficial news agency says Tehran is considering extending an oil embargo on France and Britain to other European countries.

IEA says EU could live with abrupt Iran oil halt

(Reuters) - The European Union could cope with an abrupt halt by Iran of its oil exports to the region as buyers of Iranian oil are already adjusting to the EU's forthcoming ban on Iranian shipments, an International Energy Agency official said on Monday.

Israeli Attack on Iran Would Be Destabilizing, Joint Chiefs’ Dempsey Says

An Israeli attack on Iran would be “destabilizing,” Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said.

“It’s not prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran,” Dempsey said today on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program. The U.S. government is confident the Israelis “understand our concerns,” he said.

Iran: More high oil prices ahead for EU

TEHRAN (UPI) -- Last week's spike in oil prices is what's in store for Europe if it follows through on moves to ban Iranian imports, a senior Tehran lawmaker says.

Expert: Attack on Iran may mean $200/barrel oil

(CBS News) An Israeli air strike on Iran, with the intent of knocking out that country's nuclear facilities, may only speed Tehran's race to build a bomb, a nuclear policy expert told CBS News.

China's Unipec to take less Iran oil in 2012

BEIJING (Reuters) - One of China's two major buyers of Iranian crude has reduced the amount it will take this year although by how much was unclear, trade sources said on Monday, after expectations that China would be the buyer of last resort for Iranian crude displaced by sanctions.

Sudan oil dispute keeps tanker from Japan port

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A ship carrying disputed Sudanese crude is awaiting permission to dock in Japan, unable to unload its cargo for the past week because of uncertainty surrounding the ownership of the oil, shipping sources and traders said on Monday.

Factbox: Key political risks to watch in Yemen

DUBAI (Reuters) - Political unrest and economic deterioration continued to plague Yemen ahead of the February 21 presidential election many hoped would give Yemen a chance to bring about reforms that could help the country recover from a year of protests.

China’s Zhai Urges End to Syria Violence After Damascus Talks With Assad

China’s vice foreign minister, Zhai Jun, urged Syria to end violence and restore stability after a meeting with President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria Presses Crackdown on Protestors After China Urges an End to Violence

Syrian security forces maintained their crackdown against opponents of President Bashar al-Assad’s rule after China urged an end to the violence.

Syrian Gunmen Kill Officials as U.K. Foreign Secretary Warns of Civil War

Opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s rule stepped up their deadly attacks against government officials as the violence of the past 11 months pushes the country toward civil war.

Syrian opposition sees radicals at work for regime

BEIRUT – The Free Syrian Army says terrorists are operating in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime as its military forces continue to bombard opposition cities despite United Nations condemnation.

Aref Hamoud, a colonel in the Free Syrian Army, said his units are encountering a growing number of radical elements in some parts of the country. He said the radicals are Syrians and not foreigners from al-Qaeda.

Syrian rebel: Uprising is an 'orphan revolution' without foreign support

(CNN) -- President Barack Obama's top military adviser says it is premature to aid in arming the Syrian opposition, reinforcing the belief of a rebel commander that the uprising is an "orphan revolution" without the international support prevalent in other Arab Spring revolts.

Aramco, Sumitomo May Delay Rabigh Chemical Expansion, HSBC Says

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Sumitomo Chemical Co. (4005) may postpone a $6 billion plan to expand their joint-venture petrochemical plant in the Red Sea town of Rabigh, HSBC Holdings Plc said.

Hindustan Petroleum to construct underground storage facilities

VISAKHAPATNAM: Public Sector Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) has taken up construction of underground storage facilities for keeping crude oil stocks which could be used to meet petroleum requirement during oil crisis, Union Minister S Jaipal Reddy said.

Director: Nabucco's obituary premature

VIENNA (UPI) -- Existing plans for the Nabucco natural gas pipeline for Europe make the best proposition to diversify the regional energy sector, an official said.

Europe is looking for ways to break the Russian grip on the natural gas sector by pursuing a series of pipelines for the so-called Southern Corridor. Of those, Nabucco is the most ambitious though its $10 billion price tag and lack of firm supplier commitments is causing critics to emerge.

Canada ‘threatens EU’ over oil sands move

Canada has threatened to take its oil sands spat with the EU to the World Trade Organisation ahead of a key vote in Brussels on the contentious issue later this week, a report has claimed.

Canada fighting for oil pipelines

OTTAWA (UPI) -- The Canadian government is working to establish a new consumer base for crude oil in light of U.S. opposition to a planned oil pipeline, a scholar said.

Head of Canadian navy says climate change boosts need for bigger presence in Arctic

CALGARY - The head of the Royal Canadian Navy says Canada needs to bolster its military presence in the Arctic to prepare for a boom in human and economic activity resulting largely from climate change.

Global warming is thought to be occurring faster in the North than anywhere else. The gradual disappearance of sea ice is opening up commercial shipping as well as previously inaccessible areas rich with oil, natural gas and mineral resources.

U.S. slowly opening arctic waters for oil

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Cautious exploration for oil and natural gas off the coast of Alaska will boost U.S. energy security, the U.S. Interior Department secretary said.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he saw "great promise" in the resource base in Alaska. In the arctic frontier, he said, cautious exploration would support the goal of increasing domestic oil and natural gas production.

North Slope Blowout on Land Clearly Shows We Are Not Ready to Deal with an Accident in the Arctic

"Yesterday, Spain's big oil company Repsol drilled into a methane pocket that resulted in an exploration drilling blowout on Alaska's Arctic shores. This is yet another wake-up call for the Obama Administration that oil and gas activities are risky business. We are incredibly lucky this is not an oil well blowout offshore in the Arctic Ocean; because the nation is not prepared to deal with an accident like that in offshore Arctic waters where the ability to respond is limited at best, and impossible at worst. As of right now 42,000 gallons of drilling lubricant or "mud" have spilled and an unknown amount of methane has escaped.

Agenda 21 provokes conspiracy fears in Chattanooga

The Chattanooga Tea Party has been talking for months about Agenda 21, an action plan adopted at a 1992 conference of the United Nations. The action plan calls for governments worldwide -- national, state and local -- to focus on sustainable development.

But tea party groups and others say there is more to the plan that intrudes on the private rights of individuals. They say the agenda proposes such things as trying to make people live closer to cities instead of giving them free choice, guiding such things as annexation to give cities more control of individuals and cities using code enforcement as a way to trump individual rights.

Stars & Cars: Adrian Grenier Awaits the Electric-Vehicle Revolution, Does Not Advocate Knee Driving

I’ve been waiting for the electric-vehicle revolution. I live in New York and I don’t need a car there. I need a car mostly when I’m in L.A., to go to auditions or meetings. And these new electric cars go 100 miles on a charge. You talk about the price of gas these days—not only the financial cost but the environmental implications of oil, and the political conflicts connected to oil scarcity. Advancing electric cars seems the way to go.

Pathways to a Lower Carbon & More Electrified Future - Unveiling the Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030

WATERLOO, ON /PRNewswire/ - Imagine a world with too much energy... clean energy. How different would our human civilization be with fewer energy limitations - less risk of climate change, no peak oil, and more renewable ways to provide power to an exploding global population?

But, this is not our present scenario. Today's energy needs are met largely by high-carbon sources and inefficient technologies. But, is there a better way? How could we use the latest scientific knowledge to best prepare ourselves for a lower carbon, more electrified future?

India May Levy 19% Import Tax on Power Gear Including From China

India’s cabinet is likely to approve a proposal to impose a 19 percent duty on imports of power generation equipment to help local manufacturers Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) and Larsen & Toubro Ltd. (LT) compete for orders with Chinese rivals, according to a government official.

Hydropower has big potential; many detractors

Hydroelectric power is climate friendly, but it remains a disputed energy source. It's not always the case that renewable energy has a positive impact on the environment, as some major dam projects have proven.

U.K. Wind Power Reached Record High of 3,428 Megawatts Feb. 17

U.K. wind generation set a record on the evening of Feb. 17, according to National Grid Plc data compiled by Bloomberg.

Wind generation peaked at 3,428 megawatts at 9:20 p.m. on that day, the data show.

U.K. Needs to Streamline Marine Energy Fund Process, Report Says

The U.K. needs to streamline its funding process for marine energy and provide clarity on support beyond 2017 so it doesn’t repeat the mistake that allowed it to lose its lead in wind power to Denmark in the 1980s, a government report said.

Energy poverty killing more people than malaria

A lack of clean energy for cooking is causing severe respiratory diseases that kill around two million people each year, says a scientist from the University of British Columbia.

"Energy poverty is one of the biggest human welfare issues of our day," says Hisham Zerriffi, who is presenting his research at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. "We're talking about more people who die each year from cooking than from malaria."

A Plan to Restrict Flight Paths, to Hush the Blender Over Long Island

Mary-Grace Tomecki, a Floral Park resident who lives near the train track route, said that during the summer helicopters passed overhead every five minutes and it sounded like “being in a blender.” She said it made it difficult to tend to the morning glories and tomatoes she grows.

“It would be an incredible improvement in quality of life,” Ms. Tomecki, an academic adviser at New York University, said of the ban. “It means actually being able to have a barbecue on Friday night and be able to talk.”

Textile Recycling Is Thriving in New York

Last May, the city formed a partnership with Housing Works, a group that helps homeless people who are H.I.V.-positive, to pick up donated clothing at apartment buildings in one of the first large-scale consumer textile recycling programs in the country. The goal is to capture most of the 200,000 tons of apparel and other textiles that New Yorkers throw away each year but that could be reused instead and thereby reduce the city’s garbage disposal costs.

Economic crisis slows U.S. population growth

The U.S. population is growing at the slowest rate since the Great Depression after two decades of robust increases.

Veteran climate researcher sees major threats

The world needs an immediate reduction in the burning of fossil fuel to head off potentially disastrous effects from global warming, a prominent American scientist warned Sunday in Vancouver.

James Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and an iconic figure among climate researchers, said "even the skeptical scientists now agree" that Earth is undergoing a warming trend.

Attacks paid for by big business are 'driving science into a dark era'

Most scientists, on achieving high office, keep their public remarks to the bland and reassuring. Last week Nina Fedoroff, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), broke ranks in a spectacular manner.

She confessed that she was now "scared to death" by the anti-science movement that was spreading, uncontrolled, across the US and the rest of the western world.

Preparing for the flood: Visualizations help communities plan for sea-level rise

The four alternate scenarios show Delta over the next century where the municipality adopts various strategies to prepare for sea-level rise including: raising the dikes ("Hold The Line," Fig. 3); building offshore barrier islands to absorb the impact of incoming storms ("Reinforce and Reclaim," Fig 4); moving parts of the community out of the floodplain and on to higher ground ("Managed Retreat," Fig. 5); and reducing vulnerability through design by raising homes, roads and critical infrastructure above the floodplain ("Build Up," Fig. 6).

The visualizations packages not only show what the region could look at the end of the century but also takes into account other important factors like the cost of each solution for the municipality, the cost to individual property owners, and the trade-offs between protecting roads, habitat, homes, waterfront views and agricultural production.

Rising tide of sea-level warnings drowned out by wave of shoreline development

The science that backs this advice gets drowned out when developers wave big money at county officials craving revenue. A classic "lose-lose" - for the environment and for taxpayers - results.

Link up top: Russian Oil Boom’s End Means Lower Tax That Risks Unrest

Russia’s 12-year oil boom is nearing its peak, forcing the next president to decide whether to cut taxes and revive production or use the windfall from $100 oil to boost public spending and quell mounting unrest…

“The cream has been skimmed off the top,” said Leonid Fedun, the billionaire deputy chief executive officer of Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil company. “Further steps require taxes based on different principles,” or production will start falling within three years, he said.

Due to very high oil prices the cream is being skimmed off the top of every giant oil field in the world. New MRC horizontal wells that skim the very top of reservoirs have halted the decline in giant fields from Saudi Arabia to Russia. Saudi, a decade ago, started using this practice to halt the 8 percent average decline in their old fields. Russia's old fields had a decline rate of 19 percent when they started skimming the cream off the top.

Some new fields in Eastern Siberia have added considerable production to Russia's total however, else their production would have already started their steep decline. However old fields in Western Siberia still produce some 60 to 70 percent of Russia's oil production.

It has been growing production in Russian production that has kept non-OPEC production almost flat for the last 8 years. If Russia had not been there then non-OPEC production would have fallen by almost one and one half million barrels per day since 2004. But counting Russian production, according to JODI, non-OPEC production was 40,803,000 barrels per day in 2004 and 40,804,000 barrels per day in 2011. (EIA data was used for nations not reporting to JODI.)

Ron P.


"Due to very high oil prices the cream is being skimmed off the top of every giant oil field in the world." So, is the inference that once the "cream" is gone, the decline rates will be even greater? What do you think the decline rates will be at that point?



Saudi said in 2006: Saudi Oil Field Depletion Rates (page 16 of this PDF file)

Without "maintain potential" drilling to make up for production, Saudi oil fields would have a naural decline rate of a hypothetical 8%. As Saudi Aramco has an extensive drilling program with a butget running in billions of dollars, this decline is mitigated to a number of close 2%.

Now if, by putting more straws in the brew pulling the oil out a lot faster, you can get the decline rate down form 8% to almost 2%, then sooner or later the rate must go to way above 8%. I have no idea what it would be then but I would expect it to be 12 to 20%.

All fields will not reach that point at the same time. Some are already there and some are a few years away. I think the Ghawar sections of Ain Dar and Shedgum are already there and perhaps Uthmaniyah. However new production from Khurais has managed to keep Saudi production up by bringing new production on line as the decline picks up in other areas. 1.2 mb/d can make up for a lot of decline and next year Manifa comes on line and will be up to .9 mb/d by 2015. I doubt however that that will make up for their decline rate at that point.

About Russia, everyone has been predicting that Russian production will soon hit the skids. But they have managed to keep production rising, but ever so slightly, the last few years. I think 2012 will be the year that all those prognostications come to fruition. I expect Russian production to start to slide by mid year.

Ron P.

This has been an informative and interesting string.

Let me see if I understand. By my thinking, if a field declining at 8% / yr has hz lines run in and reduces decline to 2%, that 6% extra is still going away. If 8%/ yr means the field is played out in 16 years (remember, the 8% applies to last remaining, so technically we never get to zero... we have a sort of reverse hockey stick curve) that means that 6% per year is taken off the back end and added to the front. So, in about 5 - 6 years, (at about 40% of time elapsed) we should see a sudden decline of epic proportions in S.A.

So, when were the hz lines added? And, is 12 % to 20% perhaps a bit light? I would say, maybe 50% +??


If 8%/ yr means the field is played out in 16 years...

Well actually after 16 years you would still have over one fourth of your oil left. And they said, in 2006 that they had gotten the decline rate close to 2 percent. We have no idea if that is true or not, and we have no idea what the decline rate was in 2007 or any year since. But I doubt that 2 percent is accurate.

However according to Oil Megaprojects Saudi started projects to bring 610 kb/d on line in 2008, 1430 kb/d in 2009 and 670 kb/d in 2010. Khurais was in that total and also Manifa, in two projects. That's 2710 kb/d that started coming on line in the last two years and all will be completely on line by 2015. That covers four years of declining at around 700 kb/d per year.

So when that new oil can no longer cover the decline that is when Saudi hits the wall. I expect that will hit even before Manifa comes completely on line in 2015. Manifa starts to ramp up next year. Remember the Oil Megaprojects listed on Wiki are the start of the project, not when the oil comes on line.

That is my best guess.

Ron P.

Don't have time to relocate sources, but as I recall in 2008 KSA was adding 500 straws to their existing fields. Would those have been the hz lines?


ps: After adding all those, their production did NOT increase!

What I have read on various sources, Saudi Aramco are going all in on all new oil development project. This includes water injection from the very start of a new field. Now they don't excatly send me the dailu update on my email,but I would not be a bit surprised if they do MCRs on all those new wells, or at least on a high proportion of them.

Saudi Arabia is now not adding much in the way of new production. I wrote about this in Saudi Arabia-Headed for a Downfall? on Our Finite World.

Brad - Without having a great detail of data it's difficult to predict what the decline rate post-hz development might be in a particular field. Even more difficult to estimate when that rate will begin to accelerate. It's much easier to characterize by looking at a single hz well. In a water drive reservoir there is a certain distance from the perforations in a well bore to the oil/water level. As oil is produced that level rises (though often not as evenly as depicted in reservoir engineering textbooks). When the water level rises close to the perf the "water cut" begins. It can increase rapidly in months or slowly over years. Just depends on the reservoir.

In our theoretical well there may have been a 200' thick oil column with the upper 30' perforated in our well. As the oil/water interface approaches the bottom perfs the water cut begins. Often an operator will reduce the well's production rate to slow the increase in water cut. This will often allow a better URR. But some operators can prefer cash flow over URR. With a hz well you can often place the entire well bore just within the first few feet of the top of the reservoir. I've drill laterals where I've kept the hole in the upper two foot. In our theoretical reservoir now the perfs in the hz well are 28' higher than the original completion. Additional the pressure draw down isn't as great: instead of the draw down being isolated around just a few feet of the vert well it may now be stretched across a couple of thousand feet of the hz well bore.

That's the good news about a hz well. Now the bad news: once the water reaches within a few feet of those thousands of feet of the hz well the water rushes into the entire length. In such a situation a well may experience 100% decline in a matter of just a few months...or even faster. Even reducing the hz well rate seldom does any good. But imagine a field with numerous hz wells drilled at different times in different areas of a field. Some may be drilled low on the structure and water out while hz wells high on the structure show no decline at the same time. To be able to characterize an entire field's decline rate post-hz drilling would be very difficult post-hz drilling would be very difficult if you had every bit of data. And typically for fields in the KSA we have almos2t no data. If most of the new hz wells are drilled near the top of the reservoir decline may be relatively slow...for a while. But if many are low on the structure decline may be relatively fast.

As they say: the devil is in the details. But instinctively you know that the situation will look relatively good...until it starts to look bad. And then likely get worse very fast. Though a different type of reservoir drive this is what happened to Mexico's Cantarell Field. Once the N2 cap expanded down to the hz wells injection had to be reduced. In this case the oil wells "gassed out' instead of watering out. But you see the results readily with the rapid decline they've experienced the last few years.

I keep wondering when Russian production will start to go into terminal decline. They have been doing an excellent job of increasing production rates in their very mature oil fields, but there are limits to how long they can keep this up. At some point reserve depletion will trump improved technology, and the natural decline rate of these old oil fields will take over.

Although a decline is inevitable, the real question is "how steep will the decline be?" Given the way the Russians have been increasing production at the expense of long-term recovery, I can't help thinking the decline, once it begins, will be very steep. Maybe even as steep as Mexico's decline when the Cantarell field hit the end of its rope.

For political reasons I am very worried about this. My country was in a semi-permanent war with Russia for 600 of the last 800 years. It is quite deeply settled in both swedish and russian culture not to trust the other one of us. I realy don't want these neighbours to become impoverised and desperate.

Although a decline is inevitable, the real question is "how steep will the decline be?" Given the way the Russians have been increasing production at the expense of long-term recovery, I can't help thinking the decline, once it begins, will be very steep. Maybe even as steep as Mexico's decline when the Cantarell field hit the end of its rope.

If the statements turn out to be correct, Cantarell production stabilizes at 400.000 bpd. or about 25% of highest production. As long as it lasts of course. Luckily, losing x %/yr from 400 kbd is a lot different than from 1.6 mbd.

After peak, there are no stable level.

ok, but Cantarell could supply between 300 and 400 kbd for many more years.
Generally speaking, after peak they can boost production from (onshore) fields with tertiary EOR to reach a much higher production for some time (sometimes 10 times a high), though much lower than peak production.

Production from Cantarell is not going to stabilize, it is going to follow a decline curve down - most likely an exponential decline curve. Production will never actually reach zero, but it will approach it asymptotically.

A new report on Canadian oil sands extraction from VICE news:

Toxic: Alberta

Posted for your critique. Thanks.

It's not exactly new, it's copyright 2007.

I can't actually view it because something in my computer has disabled it (probably the security system or maybe the spam blocker). However, I can offer the official response from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (which will probably annoy some people severely).

"Toxic Alberta" is Mean-Spirited & Agenda-Driven

It's old. It’s outdated. It’s full of errors. There’s seemingly no end to the nonsense foisted on an unsuspecting world in the guise of protecting the public good.

June 17, 2010 - The Canadian oil sands industry is constantly bombarded with mean-spirited, one-sided info-tainment cobbled together by agenda-driven environmentalists masquerading as journalists who present their “work” to the world as the truth.

On June 16, 2010, cnn.com chose to publicize this report (copyright 2007). In an introduction, cnn.com says “ … we believe this unique reporting approach is worthy of sharing with our cnn.com readers …. .”

“Toxic Alberta” is so far beneath a reasonable standard for fair-minded journalism that one has to wonder how it managed to slip under cnn.com’s radar.

It’s old. It’s outdated. It’s full of errors. It makes no effort to speak with the governments or companies it attacks. To call it misguided would be a compliment.

So, that's the view from the other side of the fence. It's probably just as well I can't view it, or otherwise I'd waste a lot of time picking factual errors out of it, which is something I do well since I used to do research work in the oil sands.

Fish RMG?

Deformed fish found in lake downstream from oilsands

I know it's a year and half old news, but nothing of substance has changed. Has it?

A great David Schindler quote.

"I am looking forward to someday seeing things done right so that I can relax and just do science. That's where the fun is, it isn't in hassling with politicians and that, which is to me rather like playing chess with a gorilla. The game is boring and you know you are going to win but you have got to be prepared to duck once in a while when they get angry and take a swing at you."


AWS - You have to understand that RMG is invested in tar sands so will never admit that there is anything wrong with them. In fact he has called it nothing more than a great big clean up program and will leave the world a better place when complete.

I know this has been posted here but...

"Canadian Government is 'Muzzling Its Scientists'"


I was being facetious when I said that producing the oil sands was just cleaning up a bigt oil spill. But in reality, it is a natural oil spill of monstrous proportions and the oil is not just sitting there, it is leaking into the rivers, and always has done so. The early explorers said there was so much oil leaking out of the riverbanks that they couldn't land their canoes in places.

The fish in the picture is not a statistically significant fish. Fish sometimes develop tumors, and the question is whether they are developing more tumors than usual and what they are caused by.

The water in the oil sands rivers is closely monitored by government agencies. The water quality is not great, but it isn't that good upstream of the oil sands either. There are pulp mills upstream of the oil sands, and unknown sources of heavy metals and arsenic somewhere in the riverbed - but they don't know where.

If you want some graphic pictures of fish tumors from a place where considerably more people live and fish than in Northern Alberta, see Gross Signs of Tumors in Great Lakes Fish: A Manual for Fish Biologists. I think we can take it as a given that the Great Lakes are more contaminated with industrial chemicals than Lake Athabasca.

RMG, how did that big natural oil spill get there? (and there are other such deposits, I've read.) I've looked for it and can only find the history of the use and mining and speculation of how much there is and stuff like that. What I am curious about is HOW and WHEN it got there. Maybe I don't know the right words for searching.


The river cuts down through the rock layers until it cuts through the oil bearing layers. The oil is then free to flow out.


Actually, there are no rock layers, it's all sand. The Alberta oil sands are actually an incomplete oil reservoir - one without a cap rock to seal in the oil. As a result, it is continually escaping to the surface, where it is biodegraded by bacteria. It has been doing this for millions of years, but there is so much oil seeping out - greater than the world's supply of conventional oil - that it will take millions more years for it all to escape.

You can see the same process, on a much, much smaller scale, in the famous La Brea Tar Pits in urban Los Angeles. The La Brea Tar Pits are a US National Natural Landmark.

The La Brea Tar Pits would leak into a river, too, if there was a river there to leak into.

The geological origin of extra heavy oil: Heavy Crude Oil (Wiki)

Most geologists agree that crude becomes "heavy" as a result of biodegradation, in which lighter ends are preferentially consumed by bacterial activity in the reservoir, leaving heavier hydrocarbons behind. This hypothesis leans heavily on the techniques of petroleum geochemistry. Poor geologic reservoir sealing exposes the hydrocarbon to surface contaminants, including organic life (such as bacteria) and contributes to this process.

As a result as the oil is consumed by bacteria, or becomes a gas and escapes, the heavier stuff is left including the contaminates.

Heavy crudes also carry contaminants. For example, Orinoco extra heavy oil contains 4.5% sulfur as well as vanadium and nickel.

Oil that is 0.5% or less sulfur is considered sweet, 1% or more of sulfur is considered sour. So with 4.5% sulfur would be extra sour as well as extra heavy, and don't even mention the vanadium and nickel.

Ron P.

National Energy Board - Canada's oil sands: a Supply and Market Outlook to 2015

The average composition of Alberta’s bitumen is 83.2 percent carbon, 10.4 percent hydrogen, 0.94 percent oxygen, 0.36 percent nitrogen and 4.8 percent sulphur, along with trace amounts of heavy metals such as vanadium, nickel and iron.

The sulfur content is rather high, but an oil refinery designed to handle the high density of the oil can probably handle the sulfur as well, because most heavy oils have a lot of sulfur in them. Vanadium and nickel are not a big problem with Canadian oil sands, unlike some of the Saudi Arabian heavy oils that the Saudis are having a lot of difficulty selling.

Oil that is 0.5% or less sulfur is considered sweet, 1% or more of sulfur is considered sour. So with 4.5% sulfur would be extra sour as well as extra heavy, and don't even mention the vanadium and nickel.

A mining operation with heavy oil as a by-product?

Rocky - I wasn't sure about your tar sands. So they may not be an uplifted/breached trap but a long term seep? If so have they ID'd the source rock? Maybe this is the Mother of All Holes and this is all that abiotic oil leaking out of the core?

Yes, Rockman, the Canadian oil sands are the Mother of all long term seeps.

The source rock is everywhere over a vast area of Alberta, which is the only way the sheer volume of oil in the oil sands could have been produced. As I say, there are about 12 different theories about where it came from, and some geologists believe at least 4 of them must be correct to account for the volume of oil.

One theory is that much of it originated from the huge coal beds that underlie most of Alberta. Coal is not generally considered a good source rock, but it can be a "poor to fair" source rock, and given the sheer quantity it could account for a lot of the oil.

Other than that, there are multiple layers of organic-rich marine shales more or less everywhere under Alberta, so a lot of the oil could come from them. Most of Alberta has been under shallow seas at one time or another, and they often went anaerobic. Its current high elevation results from being rammed by BC, which created the pressure cooker that turned it all into oil, albeit now of an extremely heavy, badly biodegraded nature.

The abiotic theory has been tested several times, and the investors lost a lot of money doing it. It has been conclusively established that there is no oil underneath the oil sands, although there is a lot of other interesting stuff - natural gas, salt, uranium, and other minerals, maybe even diamonds. Just no oil. The oil migrated in from elsewhere.

Lizzy - I don't know the specifics of the tar sands geologic history but the situation is not unique. Oil/NG require a certain depth of burial and temperature conditions for generation. Additionally there has to be trapping conditions for those ff to accumulate. But in some cases the region where an oil accumulation has occurred some thousands of feet below ground level becomes tectonically active and is pushed upwards. As this happens the rocks above the oil accumulation are eroded away. Eventually the oil reservoir breaches the surface and that oil is eroded into the environment. Many of the mountains tops in the Rockies consist of rocks deposited in shallow marine seas. Some of the rocks forming mountains in coastal CA were once under 2,000'+ of water.

Another common source is the oil/NG leaking directly to the surface as it's generated. There are literally tens of thousands of active oil/NG seeps around the globe. Many have been filmed at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Between breaching buried accumulations like the tar sands and direct migration to the surface some have guesstimated that as much as 95% of all hydrocarbons generated have reached the surface. In LA you can watch the oil leak out at the La Brea site from the side walk.

With respect to the Canadian tar sands you can spin it two ways. Producing the tar sands now is opening up the area to increased erosion. But at the same time a significant volume of oil is also being removed. So is the net more or less oil entering the environment? Also, as I understand it, only the areas with higher oil saturations are being mined and represent only a small percentage of the exposure. The other areas are still being naturally eroded and that oil continues to enter the environment. So one could consider the tar sand production to be an environmental clean up of a natural oil spill. But there are other potential negatives that could be considered. Even in a more conventional spill cleanup, like the BP spill in the GOM, there can be disputes over the process. The negatives of using dispersants to break the oil apart is still argued today.

So the question is simple: is it better to recover some of the Canadian oil and burn it in an effort to continue BAU or is it better to let all of it continue to leak into the environment? IMHO not a simple answer. Better for who: the people of Canada that benfit from the incomes/profits generated...the folks in the US that have a secure source of energy to drive the economy...the folks who will have to deal with the results of AGW? like many situations we face today the question of good vs. bad is a function of one's perspective.

Thanks, Rockman, that's a pretty good summary of the general process of creating oil sands.

The process is not unusual, and there are scores of countries around the world with oil sands deposits. The thing that is different about the Canadian oil sands (and the Venezuelan oil sands, which are even bigger) is that the process occurred on a vast scale, rather than the small scale that crated the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles (although I'd like to point out that there's no tar in the La Brea Tar Pits, it's actually natural bitumen).

The specifics of creating the Canadian oil sands are that it is a result of Plate Tectonics, the addition of the province of British Columbia to Canada, and the rise of the Rocky Mountains (remember I said this was LARGE scale, and the time scale was millions of years long).

Originally, British Columbia didn't exist, and Australia was attached to Alberta. Australia pulled away, and ended up where it is now. A series of island chains resembling Japan zoomed in from the Pacific and collided with North America, forming British Columbia. This collision (somewhat resembling a car crash) crumpled up the surface and created the Rocky Mountains, which were once twice as tall as they are now, a really serious continental fender-bender. It also created all the other mountains in BC but that's a different story.

Prior to being rammed by BC, Alberta had extensive subsurface marine shale formations a lot like the over-promoted "oil shales" of the US. I'll skip how those were formed, but suffice it to say, they don't contain oil they contain kerogen, an oil precursor.

Unlike the American Rockies, which were formed by upthrusting, making a horrible jumbled mess of the subsurface and forcing the oil shales to the surface, the Canadian Rockies were formed by overthrusting - the Rocky Mountains slide relatively gently over the Alberta plains and depressed the edge of the North American plate, tilting it. The oil shales were buried very deep (they're about 5 miles below my house in the Rockies) and sediment filled in the trough above them.

Burying the oil shales created a giant pressure cooker, and this cooked the kerogen to real oil (not hard to do in the lab). Since the rock formations had acquired a distinct tilt as a result of the overthrusting (25,000 feet deep under my house, 0 feet deep at Lake Athabasca) rather than rising vertically, the oil migrated up-dip for several hundred miles in a northeasterly direction to where the rock formations outcropped on the surface, and that's where the oil sands are now (the Athabasca Basin). Since there was no cap rock to stop them, the oil started leaking out, and in fact most of the oil has leaked out over the millions of years, but there's still 1.7 trillion barrels of it left.

This oil generation machine involved almost the whole province of Alberta, and since it is about the same size as Texas, the scale was vast and the amount of oil was huge, which accounts for the size of the oil sands. The Venezuelan oil sands were created by a similar process (Mountain building, plate tilting, and accumulation in sand deposits) and the scale was just as big.

This is the 5-minute version of "Oil Sands Creation 101". In reality there are about 12 different theories of how it happened, and some geologists believe that to account for the volume of oil, at least 4 of them must be true.

Mucho thanks Rocky. "My kindom for a seal!" Eh? LOL. Reading your description I thought of the great East Texas Oil Field and how all that oil would have migrated to the surface had it not been for the pinch out. Had the seal been there it sounds like Alberta might have had the largest conventional oil field in the world.

Mother Earth does like to toy with us, eh?

Australia was attached to Alberta. Australia pulled away, and ended up where it is now.

Are you sure about that? My understanding is that Australia was "always" part of Gondwana (joined primarily to Antarctica, but also southern Africa and South America, but not North America / Asia). It broke away from Antarctica some 50 million years ago, and has been drifting north ever since, and will collide with China or Japan eventually. Coincidentally, its drift closer to the equator has been in step with the cooling of the planet over this time-scale - so the climate has been quite stable, and the continent did not experience much glaciation at all.

According to my old Geography courses, and geologist friends who work in mining both on Vancouver Island and PNG, PNG and VI share the same ore deposits and source rock. Hard to imagine. BC is simply a build up of terranes, with the occasional sea deposits in the NE. The plateaus and valleys are simply periods of tectonic 'resting'.


Well, I've checked a couple of science books here - those types with the little maps of the tectonic plates going back to the Jurassic (175 mya) etc - and none shows any connection between Gondwana (including Meganesia - the collective term for Australia, PNG, and some smaller islands) and North America or Eurasia. But I'm no expert.

From Handbook of the Canadian Rockies by Ben Gadd.

Rodinia Rock
Purcell/Belt Supergroup

By about 1900 Ma, most of the world's continental landmasses had drifted together to form a supercontinent called Rodinia. Rodinia had a sag in it, filled with an inland sea rather like today's Black Sea or Caspian Sea. The region that would one day become the Rockies lay under this sea.

Uplifting plus tilting came at about 1250 Ma, bringing part of the region above sea level and allowing erosion to bevel off the beds at a gentle angle.

Half a billion years later, in the late Proterozoic, a good sized chunk of Rodinia separated from the supercontinent - rifted is the proper term - and drifted away. Much of the Purcell Supergroup may have gone with it. Where did it go? Brace yourself: the rifted off landmass is most of Australia!

Purcell rock that did not rift away can be seen in the Waterton/Glacier area.

See also Wikipedia Columbia (supercontinent)

Columbia, also known as Nuna and Hudsonland, was one of Earth's oldest supercontinents. It was first proposed by J.J.W. Rogers and M. Santosh (2002) and is thought to have existed approximately 1.8 to 1.5 billion years (Ga) ago in the Paleoproterozoic Era.

Size and location

Columbia is estimated to have been about 12,900 kilometres from North to South, and about 4,800 km across at its broadest part. The east coast of India was attached to western North America, with southern Australia against western Canada.

Yeah, okay ... I suppose it is possible that Australian rock was part of North American rock 1900 Mya - but that is not really the point is it?

I guess if you go back far enough, every piece of continent was somehow attached to every other piece of continent, so to to argue that "Australia was connected to Alberta" is in real danger of being on that vanishing horizon of meaninglessness.

What is more interesting (for this forum, I suggest), is what was happening in the Carboniferous (350-250 Mya), in the period when oil and coal were being formed. For all of reasonable history (not including deep time), the Australian continent has been a definite part of Gondwanaland and the South (and not Laurasia) - and that is what is most important.

I can go to a red rock escarpment in Central Australia (which I have many times, and gone up and touched it) - and it is at least 3,000 million years old - it is a wonderful thing to do - but it has nothing to do with oil and coal formation. In fact, one of the reasons the Australian continent is relatively poor in hydrocarbon deposits, is because the whole continent is so old.

But carry on.

Well the reason that it stuck in my mind is that I can go down to Waterton Park, in the Southern Canadian Rockies, and put my hand on the same red rock that is in Australia.

It is highly anomalous for the Rockies, which are for the most part gray limestone, so it does stand out. It is a very interesting area to hike in from a geological standpoint.

Unfortunately, the first oil well in Western Canada was drilled in Waterton Park, and that threw the geologists off so badly that for the next 50 years oil companies could have found more oil drilling completely at random than paying any attention to the geologists.

It was a highly anomalous case of inverted rock formations. It was a small oil field which had accumulated in old pre-Cambrian rock, such as you might find in Australia, which had been overthrust over much younger marine shales, which are the source of most of the oil in Alberta.

It was a case of the exception that proves the rule, but the geologists didn't know that.

Thanks for that - all very interesting. We were in Glacier NP only last October - I would have paid a little more attention had I known the rocks had come from down under! A beautiful park ... pity about the glaciers.

Living in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and having hiked extensively through them, I know a lot of things about them that most people don't. Having worked in the oil industry helps too, because geology is what looking for oil is all about.

Canada has its own Glacier Nation Park which, unlike the US Glacier National Park, still has about 400 glaciers left.

From above link on "Concern high over global oil supplies"

"Spare production capacity among Opec producers is sufficient to make up for significant interruptions, mainly through the ability of Saudi Arabia to increase production by another 2 million barrels a day."

What a relief. We don't have a thing to worry about. Head for the malls - and call your broker.

It is now pretty much common knowledge that all OPEC nations, except Saudi Arabia, is producing flat out. Many people still believe that Saudi can increase production. The OPEC Basket Price, as of last Friday, stood at $118.60 a barrel. But Saudi officials have stated that they want lower oil prices. From 29 May, 2011: Saudi prince calls for lower oil prices

In an interview broadcast Sunday on "CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS," the grandson of the founding king of modern Saudi Arabia said the oil price should be somewhere between $70 and $80 a barrel, rather than the current level of over $100 a barrel.

They fear a worldwide recession knocking prices down like what happened in 2008. But prices just keep rising. Saudi, in my opinion anyway, is now producing flat out.

Ron P.


I still thank the mass public fails to truly understand the reality of Saudi production. If indeed they are producing "flat out" then the world has at this moment hit the wall of reality. I don't think they get the "permanence" of our situation. The GOP candidates will swear they can fix our addiction to oil by producing more oil, but the numbers don't add up. I've been watching the talking heads on Fox Business this morning and they are all up in arms over the price of oil. So far not one person has said "we really need to reduce consumption in a big way right now.", instead it's "this will make reelection for Obama a tough sell."

The world is changing and no one gets it. Am I missing something here?


The world is changing and no one gets it.

That's pretty much the mantra around here.


"Am I missing something here?"

Sez Rat to Todd, about every 2 weeks.

This quote popped up in my WordaDay today - guess this went south along with the 99% -

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.

-John F. Kennedy, 35th US president (1917-1963)

The world is changing and no one gets it. Am I missing something here?

Well I don't know about you but most of the rest of the world is definitely missing something here. When OPEC says they have 1.2 trillion barrels of oil reserves the world believes them. They believe that OPEC can just ramp up production, within a month or so, to fill any shortfall. And if they actually had 1.2 trillion barrels of reserves then they could actually do that. But they don't and they can't.

OPEC Share of World Crude Oil Reserves

Ron P.

But haven't you seen the official reports? It would seem the OPEC nations have access to some top secret technology or perhaps abiotic oil because despite constant oil production their reserves always remain the same year-on-year. Now surely, if this was all false the non-OPEC countries would call them out on this massive lie. Or are you suggesting that all the governments are either lying or in denial?

I am being sarcastic, if I didn't laugh I would cry. I got to be this way because most likely I will have to live through decades of this mess.

With all due respect, what are you doing watching Fox Business?

By watching them, you are giving them the legitimacy they crave. If you turn it off, their ratings will go down, and then they'll go away.

Americans have this misplaced notion that they must participate in all things, that they must be connected at all times. That just because something is out there, that it must be good, and that it must demand our money and time and attention. This same attitude at the government level leads to the bailout mentality, that the money of taxpayers and their grandchildren must be confiscated to support corrupt, failing institutions.

You can turn it on every morning, every day, keep on hoping that they're going to change, that they will start reporting the truth. It's NEVER going to happen. Not now, not 1 year from now, not 10 years from now. Their business is in lies and propaganda.

Stop supporting them. Dinosaurs must go extinct if we are going to have a chance.

I think unless he is connected to the Nielson system (if thats the one they still use), his tuning in probably isn't accounted for. And someone has to pay attention to what the fools are saying. As the old (fishing) bumper sticker used to say "its a dirty job, but someone has to do it". I'm just glad I don't have to.

And, of course, when the worst of the S HTF, the blame game will begin in earnest. Faux News will be leading that charge, of course, as the propaganda arm - first of the Teapublican Party, and then of Wall Street Banksters. It is when we see a sudden, frenetic upsurge (as opposed to the constant carping we see today), that we will know to grab our knees, bend over and get ready!

Best hopes while watching Faux.


Oilman, Fox Business is the worst business channel ever! I watched today only because CNBC was showing reruns. My girlfriend and I yell from each others office making fun of them on the very rare occassion that we do watch. Speaking of Fox, I did see that Mellisa Francis (ex-CNBC) is now on Fox Business. Now I really really like Mellisa and she follows the oil markets closely, but I will not be able to keep up with her. Fox Business is like a train wreck... sometimes you just have to watch but its not something you can do everyday.

Thank you for your post!! I loved every word.


New book out today:

"The Fox Effect"

"The Fox Effect follows the career of Ailes... consultant for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush... president of Rupert Murdoch’s flagship conservative cable news network... political operative... extraordinary power and influence to spread a partisan political agenda that is at odds with long-established, widely held standards of fairness and objectivity in news reporting."

In the conversations leading to the creation of Fox News, the project was referred to as "GOP T.V.", "Grand Old Party Television".

When you are trying to hold a rational conversation with a heavy consumer of Fox product, there arises a great difficulty in agreeing on matters of simple fact.



By watching them, you are giving them the legitimacy they crave. If you turn it off, their ratings will go down, and then they'll go away.

Only if he has one of those meters on his telly. Does he? I don't know, but most people don't.

Oilman Sacks, with all due respect who made you the media police on the Oil Drum? Tolerence is not a strong suit these days,eh!

Fox business isn't very different in it's political make up than CNBC. As a matter of fact Rick Santelli(CNBC) is considered one of the leaders of the Tea Party. Kudlow is a neocon at times and Cramer (on the left) has been throwing democrats under the bus for the last couple of years. So which of the big three Business channels should we watch while we are goose stepping around a bonfire of right wing and libertarian leaning books?

Myself, I watch them all and I agree and disagree with many of them no matter what the political party they back.

Hey, lighten up Wildman. Oilman attacked the media, not the man. We all often do that. However you in turn attacked the man. Talk about tolerance???

Ron P.

Hi Tas, Rat, Lloyd, and Moderator and friends,

re: "Am I missing something here?"

Of course not.

OTOH, here's a missing piece or two that might help:

re: "the mass public fails to truly understand the reality of Saudi production."

My take is that "the mass" doesn't have to understand Saudi production. It would be helpful if they understood the limited nature of oil supplies (and everything else, pretty much, in the material sphere, anyway), i.e., so they can "get it" with a simple story of small planet, and 1) lots of humans 2) using up lots of resources and 3) " we really need to reduce consumption in a big way right now."

However, without a plan and/or vision of how less can be more come the day there's so much less than there's pretty much nothing, people don't really know what to do.

My second argument is along these lines: most people do just what's right in front of them. That's how we got in this jam, after all - get job, buy car, buy nice car, etc.
This means if there are workable options, people may well make use of them.

So, I'll take this opportunity to put in a plug for an immediate, objective scientific investigation by the National Academy of Sciences on global oil supply, i.e., it's decline, the impacts of this decline and policy options. Please see www.oildepletion.wordpress.com. (Constructive engagement most welcome.)

The idea is to make it easier for those who do get it, including the scientists who are afraid to speak up, to do so. Kind of like the IPCC is to GCC.

Aniya, of course people don't understand the that earth's resources are limited. The reason is that they are told, every day by the mass media that we have plenty of oil. But you are simply mistaken about Saudi because that is one of the main sources of the misunderstanding. First people were told that OPEC has enough oil to keep us going for three decades. Then they are told that Saudi has the most of that oil, that they can keep production increasing at will.

Were it not for the OPEC/Saudi lie the Peak Oil would in the headlines every day and peak oilers, in the media,would likely outnumber the deniers.

Your second argument: (I read your web page) We need The National Academy of Sciences to study peak oil and inform the world about peak oil. Well hell, I could not agree more. That would surely help a lot. But you contradict yourself Aniya. If The National Academy of Sciences studied the situation one of the very first things they would tell us is that those massive OPEC reserves are a myth. They would tell us that, on average, OPEC reserves to production run about the same as non-OPEC nations.

Don't get me wrong, OPEC lying about their massive reserves are only one part of the peak oil problem, but it is likely the biggest problem standing in the way of a widespread understanding of the problem.

Ron P.

Hi Ron,

Thanks for your reply.

Re: Your first point. I defer to you re: Saudi production and how much difference, if any, it would make were the public and the media to understand it.

My experience is anecdotal, such as the conversation - (I shared a while back on TOD) - with someone who, it turns out, listens to Rush Limbaugh and believes (apparently as a consequence) that there's plenty of oil in Alaska, but "the liberals won't let us have it." It's the fault of liberals and environmentalists - not anything related to Saudis, in other words.

So, I guess my anecdotal evidence is two-fold in where it leads me: 1) To the conclusion many/most people never think about oil at all; and 2) The small but significant number of scientists I've talked to - or, I should say "tried to talk to" - don't *want* to think about it; they don't want to look at evidence about Saudi oil or anything in any way related to peak oil. (I've shared previously that this shocks me. I mean if scientists don't want to look at data - what can you do?)

My conclusions are from my experience, which (as mentioned) is limited and I avoid MSM anyway, with the exception of a certain late-night talk radio show that has hosted Matt Savinar, Richard Heinberg, Catherine Austin Fitts and, then, also... many who “believe in” abiotic oil, and who hold equally "interesting" beliefs about energy. BTW, The other topics (not oil-related) include ones that would no doubt bring out the unprintable commentary here on TOD. :) In other words, Savinar and Heinberg get airtime, but so does everybody else. How does this impact the public?

At the same time, is it not the case that the WEO report pretty much exposed the Saudi lie? Or, am I mistaken about that as well?

Likewise, what about all the reports – such as the one Michael Lardelli refers to. There are actually several such reports around.
http://ianmcpherson.com/blog/audio/Australian_Govt_Oil_supply_trends.pdf And so forth? Does this report not state that Saudi is at a "plateau"?

re: Ron says: "We need The National Academy of Sciences to study peak oil and inform the world about peak oil. Well hell, I could not agree more."

Great. Then, Ron. Is there any chance you might advise, support, help with this? It is entirely doable, at least in theory. All it would take is "one courageous senator" and/or *any* State legislator and/or a few Congresspersons...to simply request the study, (and direct funding). Most of the work is out there, as we full well know. It would be a fairly straightforward matter for the Academies to look at the evidence.

And, yes, expose the "Saudi lie," as you put it.

I don't see a contradiction here, Ron. I defer to you about what people think or don't think. I've had my experience, and it's rather depressing, in a way. The conversations with scientists perhaps is the most. But I've had lots of conversations and my conclusion is that the emotional difficulty of the topic trumps everything. And I mean...everything. I've learned to ask and explain (about the emotional difficulty) before I speak.

I felt successful when a really (really) nice physicist said to me: "Yes, I'd like to hear about this. But not now." Meaning...not...now...and...not...in...the...foreseeable...future. I believe he understood what I was talking about, as by this time, I'd already answered most of his questions and it was only a matter of pointing him to references and data. As you say.

So, Ron...I'm saying...I'd welcome your assistance. And/or just call your Congressperson and encourage your friends to do the same.

Or, what do *you* think would be an effective approach?

Thanks Aniya for the post and thanks also for the great links, especially the PDF file. I had not seen this before. However it will take me some time to go over it. After all 474 pages are quite a lot.

But I did go over some of their charts on page XXiX. Interesting that they have total crude peaking this decade. (I don't separate "conventional, deep or heavy" as the chart does. To me it is all Crude + Condensate and that is all that matters as far as I am concerned. Also interesting that they have production in the Persian Gulf at a peak right now but have it on a bumpy plateau until about 2035. I don't think so.

About helping with a National Academy of Sciences project... I think you are joking. I have no pull with any of the senators, especially the ones from my state. They are both Republican, totally clueless as to the oil situation and any letter I wrote would just be thrown away after their "hired help" read the first few lines. And I am not known as any kind of expert on the situation so....

But thanks for the input, your post is quite interesting.

Ron P.

Hi Ron,

Thank you! I appreciate that you took the time to reply.

re: "About helping with a National Academy of Sciences project... I think you are joking."

Ron, I am not joking at all. I'm "dead"/lessen-suffering serious. I will take up your reasons one by one. I can empathize with them. However, this may be a very different project that what you might assume.

Approximately three - or has it already been four? - years ago, I had a series of talks with "close to" aids of my Congressperson. The final person said as follows: "The Congresswoman will do *nothing* on peak oil unless she hears from her constituents. In the last five years, we have heard from exactly two people. The (names local group who actually brushed me off WRT the NAS study) - and YOU!"

This was said in a somewhat belligerent tone of voice.

However, there is a very important point here. If say, 100 people in my district made a big fuss, this would get done. It's "just a study" Ron. All we want is the truth.

Likewise, if you, say - Ron and (can you get anyone to do with you?) - you can present signatures that you have gathered locally, and you can download ours for good measure.

re: "I have no pull with any of the senators, especially the ones from my state."

It doesn't matter how much pull you have. All that matters is the numbers. This is just a study. I'm not asking you to write a letter. I'm saying...we've tried to get the seed of a petition - it's just there. It's totally neutral. It has military document references, for Pete's sake. You can take it and run/walk/saunter down to your Congressperson's office with it.

It matters to do something. Is there a local office of your Congressperson? Request a meeting. Take the petition and five friends. For example.

re: "And I am not known as any kind of expert on the situation so...."

I'm not asking for your expertise, even though you (of course) have a considerable amount. What the pols care about is somebody showing up - their constituents.

The argument runs as follows: Look at who's talking here - the US military! The German Military (Brundeswher - sp.?) report. (Take it and wave it in front of their faces! "We're going to let Germany become prepared while the US goes under?") The Australian government. What is going on? What is everyone afraid of?

If this turns out to be true - where are you, Mr./Ms Congressperson. We want the National Academy of Sciences on this ASAP!

If it was an asteroid sighting...how would they respond?

re: Do you know *anyone* who would sign this? Along with you?

The Congresswoman will do *nothing* on peak oil unless she hears from [a sizable number of] her constituents. In the last five years, we have heard from exactly two people [and no others].


This is unfortunately how US politics works.
Each politician says, if it is not going to positively impact my re-electability, I am not going to waste time on it.

Heck, even ex-President Bill Clinton has publicly stated that he fully aware of the Peak Oil situation.
But then he went on to say. "It is not a voting issue" --meaning it is not going to affect the outcome of any election and therefore my party (Democrats) are not going to waste time and money on it.

(Besides, poor Jimmy Carter already tried and look where the "malaise" speech got him --read my lips, no more repeat of the bad news bearer strategy. From now on every politician is the clarion caller for the new morning in America, the new hopey changey, yes we can message.)

Hi step,

Thanks for your reply.

re: "This is unfortunately how US politics works."

We have - still - a representative democracy, for all its faults and corruption.

There is something I fail to understand. Why would anyone who knows as much as people on this forum, not simply pick up the phone or take other action to make their views and wishes known to their Congressperson? Specifically, here we have a vehicle for doing so - request a study to be done by the NAS, immediately.

How can an elected official instigate something for which there is *no* support? Granted, to me, this would the ethical thing to do, similar to finding out an asteroid was due to impact earth. Still, I can understand the argument that some interest on the part of the constituency is preferable.

To take the asteroid analogy further - how many amateur or professional astronomers would do nothing, in terms of action? I don't understand this. So, I'm left not understanding how come people who know about oil are choosing to "do nothing."

re: "Each politician says, if it is not going to positively impact my re-electability, I am not going to waste time on it."

Well, this is one interpretation - the one you suggest here.

Another is: the elected rep. is supposed to represent people's issues and concerns. If people are not concerned, why should the rep be?

I am astonished. If we (in the US) were in some dictatorship, would you, Ron and others be saying "Gee, if only we had a representative democracy! Then, we'd have a way to get some peak oil information and plans out in the public sphere."

re: Carter. 1) This looks to me to be a defeatist argument, the argument you present. I really do not understand it. What is the point of having any discussion at all about PO, if one assumes defeat - based on one's own lack of effort?

2)Perhaps Carter can sleep at night.

re: "the new hopey changey, yes we can message"

That's my message. My message is that there is something that can be done, other than sit back and wait for collapse. Yes we can. In the face of scientific evidence and dealing with facts - we can come up with better ways to deal.

I don't know which would be worse: OPEC oil reserve claims are false (PO is seriously going to put a halt to about everything), or: OPEC (and general cornucopian) oil reserve claims are true (and we will burn enough hydrocarbons to pretty much destroy the ecosphere).

Best hopes for Hobson's choice.


Hi Craig,

Thanks for your reply.

I'm a little confused about it, though. I guess you mean...we're stuck between PO and GCC?

As far as the way I see it (which is getting me not much of anywhere, but I'll share it anyway): It looks from my looking at it that we've got both PO and GCC, absent some extremely drastic/radical action in the near-term. Then, we also have the other symptoms of a species in overshoot: loss of biodiversity, etc. So, it's all rather bad news. Except for the fact that humans have also learned a lot about how do to things in a less damaging way,in fact, in a way that could, in theory anyway, get the pop/consumption down (way down) to eco-system-friendly levels...should humans somehow undertake that path.

i think running out of (or low on) oil is probably worse, as part of the response will be, when oil is say $150+, to start a massive program of coal to liquids plants (and some oil shale mining too).
If we try to replace oil at current levels with CtL, the CO2 emissions will double.

But, given all the other problems we'll face at that point, i don;t see CO2 emissions stopping anyone from doing anything - we will burn it all.

Without real leadership, will burn it all. Real leadership does not seem to be in the cards.

Well, we need a leader that is charismatic, intelligent, knowledgable, passionate, has the world's long-term interests at heart, and is bulletproof.

You are right, I don't think that's in the cards.

Hi Paul, Kaliman, 4,

Thanks you all.

I differ though. Please - could you please? - check out the proposal here: www.oildepletion.wordpress.com

We can be the leaders.

"Real leadership."

An individual is not "bullet-proof" as you say. However, a group is more so.

Leadership. What is it? You know - don't you Kaliman? - the news is bad - at first glance. This means no one who is a leader in the political/money sense will act on it.

However, the first glance is not the ultimate word. There is a lot that is doable.

We can do it.

Science is such a great legacy of humanity. Can't we make use of it now? I say "Yes."

It takes the onus off the politicians. It puts it in the hands of people who can be objective because the org is created that way.

But someone has to act.

It's not such a huge action.

It is an action, though.

Will you please help? Or...

tell me what is a better idea?

I haven't replied to your initial post directly because I can hear your earnest hope and drive. I responded to "We will burn it all" without checking the top of the thread. I'm sorry.

I looked at the site. "Our petition specifically asks for these specific and positive directions." does not have the impact it could because the specific demands have not been made with bullet-point clarity. This sentence could be the place for the rest of the document to condense: "Our petition gives your voice to the demand for..." and state your demands.

You could add the German military's study of the geopolitical effects of peak oil to your references section. These included famine and shifting political alliances.

At http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Understanding-Peak-Oil/ appears the line:
"For references and our contact information, please click on "letter."" ... But there is no button. Repeat the button from ... ... well, actually, I can't find any "letter" button anywhere. Perhaps it is next to the "any" key?... Must be me.

...But, these things I mention are all trivialities.

My understanding is that the National Scientists are there to be ignored, disparaged, and forced to alter their findings at political whim. I don't sense that coupling your cart to theirs will be of value. An opinion from them, however, might be used as an excuse to act by an otherwise informed and engaged leadership. I sense that this is your hope.

To step in front of the profit stream of a multiplicity of corporate and banking interests is to step in front of a train. A grass-roots revolution would be more equal to that task than any appeal to the corporate-owned leadership. Consumer demand is an example of a lever of appropriate power.

Hi Kalimanku

Thank you for your response.

I'll see what we can do to make the site more workable.

Would you like to help out at all? There is a lot that can be done to put the petition on other sites, etc. We can use help, if you'd like to help...please get in touch!

re: "My understanding is that the National Scientists are there to be ignored, disparaged, and forced to alter their findings at political whim."

Thank you for sharing your understanding. Could you possibly elaborate? Is this based on your personal experience? I don't know of examples of them altering their findings. However, perhaps I'm not well-informed. As far as I understand it, they are set up to be objective and to accept outside input, which members of ASPO, TOD, etc. could supply.

I do not know of a case of their altering the findings of an actual study. I do believe that their non-study narrative about energy is not what I would like to see - it seems biased. However, the work itself - I don't see bias. If you know of any case of it, could you please let me know?

re: "I don't sense that coupling your cart to theirs will be of value. An opinion from them, however, might be used as an excuse to act by an otherwise informed and engaged leadership. I sense that this is your hope."

Yes, the idea is that a finding by the NAS, particularly WRT impacts and policy options, could set the framework for emergency planning, which looks to me like what we need. Likewise, for someone to come out and explain the economy connection and what other ways of meeting basic needs might be "less bad" - given what it looks like is coming our way very soon.

re: "To step in front of the profit stream of a multiplicity of corporate and banking interests is to step in front of a train. A grass-roots revolution would be more equal to that task than any appeal to the corporate-owned leadership. Consumer demand is an example of a lever of appropriate power."

Kali, I don't understand what you're talking about here, in the sense of how it relates to the proposal for the Academies to undertake an immediate scientific investigation.

Could you please explain?

The NAS is not corporate-owned. The members represent people who are supposedly the most accomplished scientists in the US.


"Then, in one well-documented case, the Bush administration blatantly tampered with the integrity of scientific analysis... White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget demanded major amendments including: The removal of any reference to the NAS review—requested by the White House itself— ..."

"Amazingly, DOE has rejected the NAS's findings and proposes to retain its existing polygraph program without change!
In the next paragraph of its press release, DOE repeats its misrepresentation of the NAS report in order to support its decision to ignore its main conclusion..."

"I don't know of examples of them altering their findings."... Perhaps I am conflating/folding the net result back on to the NAS itself. There is a long history to confuse from:

A-to-Z Guide to Political Interference in Science:

"Kali, I don't understand what you're talking about here, in the sense of how it relates to the proposal for the Academies to undertake an immediate scientific investigation. Could you please explain?"

The three sentences do not relate. They propose an alternative effort based upon a different point of view.


More positively:

Here are some concerned citizens following the progress of a NAS report:
"The NAS report was commissioned by the Virginia Coal & Energy Subcommittee on Uranium Mining and is intended to inform the debate on whether or not to lift the ban on uranium mining in Virginia.
---It sounds like there is some respect for NAS among industry in that industry engages in strategic planning around reports:
"Yet, one industry executive is quoted telling investors: “In January of 2012, we will have a bill in the state legislature … we’re not sitting still while the NAS study is going on.”"

Here is a letter from the then president of NAS trying to arrange a meeting of, among others, journal editors:
This is a form of a route to action as perceived from within NAS. This is their form of the clarion call. Perhaps the form could reflected in a letter/meeting involving the primary voices of the peak oil community and the president or administration of the NAS directly. As a kid, I used to beg technical equipment from manufacturers. This is in the day when a small disk-drive was the size of a large desk drawer. I learned that having a secretary within the company take an interest in the quest was hugely powerful.

The foot-soldiers of an action such as yours are the young.

You could set up a non-profit, write grants, and get interns. That is part of how this museum I am in works. They have someone who writes grants all day, every day. There are new, fresh-faced and enthused interns busying abut among the experienced, grant and donation supported drivers of the place.

You could enthuse the newly politicized that have gathered to the occupy movement.

Hi Kaliman,

I appreciate your coming back with specifics. So, according to what you say here:

re: A says: "I don't know of examples of them altering their findings."

K says: "... Perhaps I am conflating/folding the net result back on to the NAS itself."

This appears to be the case. I'm glad you looked it up. I've had a couple of people hint - merely "hint" - that the NAS is corrupt, but when I ask for specifics, I haven't received them. So, I'm glad you were willing to follow through.

It looks like from what you say here, that the NAS is doing sound science, in an objective fashion.

re: "More positively:"

I'm glad you found this. Thanks!

re: "Perhaps the form could reflected in a letter/meeting involving the primary voices of the peak oil community and the president or administration of the NAS directly."

A few points:

1) As I understand it, the NAS *can* request that a study be done, however, push to shove, they still need some funding (usually), even though the amount for this particular study would be relative minor, as things go.

Funding usually comes from the requesting body, such as Congress and/or a State.

Unless it is a study, organized as a study and *not* "just a meeting" - we will not get the objective process, nor all the avenues and safeguards the NAS has in place for producing reliable conclusions. Please see Hirsch interview below for further reasons the goal has to be a study, not a meeting or workshop, although of course a meeting such as the one you describe is a great idea and a good place to start.

2) So, as far as I can tell, what we need is a study, that is, we need the NAS to set themselves up, look at the global supply data, look at impacts.

So, my point here is this: the *means* that is the funding to do the study has to come from Congress and/or from a State legislature anyway. Or, could be, I suppose from the DOE or somewhere, however, then you run into the problem you quoted with the DOE countering and dismissing/ignoring results.

Would you agree with me on this, so far? Then we get to:

3) What you say here: "involving the primary voices of the peak oil community"

Kaliman, this is one thing that confuses (if not utterly perplexes) me. If you look at the signatories to our petition so far, especially in the low numbers (early signers), you will see some familiar names from "the peak oil community". Check it out: www.oildepletionwordpress.com.

However, I've also gotten responses that either simply ignore my asking for, say, ASPO members to look at it, ignore and non-replies from Post Carbon - or people saying "Oh, we get a lot of requests for petitions."

This is different. Your idea is a great one. Now what?

I personally do not have direct contact with "primary voices" - except insofar as I've tried to keep sending my plaintively little emails. I have a small collection of replies, several brush-off/ignores and the signatures you see. The thing is: the signatories seem...not really willing to do anything else, or anything further.

Could you possibly help inspire them? Or, address this? Please?

4) See, this is one thing I don't understand. TOD certainly engages "primary voices" - and yet...and yet...?

What's not to like, in other words, about this idea? :) Seriously, I just don't hear. I don't get it. I'm asking for help, assistance, enlightenment on this.

5) I have frequently quoted here on this forum the public statements made by both Robert Hirsch and David Fridley (physicist). For the sake of brevity, I'll reference Hirsch.

Please see these two references. In the first one - and I recommend the all the interviews - Hirsch responds to the question about the NAS "workshop" (Again, please note - not a study):


HIRSCH: But in this particular case, with governments wanting to shush up any open discussion of peak oil, there was no follow-on.

Aniya says: Why? What next? What about Hirsch himself? What about any number of other concerned PO "primary" analysts?

Here, below: is where Hirsch says there's a general edict of silence on the entire topic within current and former administrations. This partly explains the DOE problem.

oil man: - What happened after you published your 2005 report on ‘peak oil’ for the US Department of Energy (DoE) ?
The people that I was dealing with said : « No more work on peak oil, no more talk about it. »

So, Kali: I'm sayin': to me this looks straightforward and entirely doable.

I believe your idea is a good one.

I ask for your help.

I imagine that the problem you are having in gaining interest and investment towards initiating a study to be made available to the United States government for their consideration in making a rational decision for the common good of the common people is one of running into a near-solid wall of indifference backed by a paralyzing cynicism and reflexive dismissal. (Somewhere, an English teacher is crying...) Kyoto got world-wide interest, investment, and participation with a notable exception being the United States of America. In the recent talks, the U.S. representatives only worked towards being disruptive. To make changes addressing peak oil requires even deeper insight and longer range planning than just making changes in burning the oil that is simply taken for granted.

I've watched the show long enough to just turn it off. Everything I've ever been told is a lie. The power of the nation was squandered in war and gambling for the benefit of the heartless. No, I would not believe that they are part of any solution.

The people themselves are another matter. High prices will rekindle interest, motivation, and experimentation. The right song, the right movie, the right response to some outrage perpetrated by the police... these are in history's lessons of change.

We both obviously have time on our hands.

I can be reached at g-mail denkou137.


You're making it sound as if you are the first to try.

You are not.

Congressman Roscoe Bartlett gives regular and public talks on the floor of the freakin' US House of Representatives about Peak Oil.

His last speech was just a month ago.
Here is a You-Tube video of an earlier speech: May 2011 Bartlett

Does anyone care?
Is Congressman Bartlett giving up? No.

But this is human nature.
Your average consumer simply doesn't give a darn until $5/gallon gasoline hits him/her right smack in the pocket book.

Come back to this site in the summer and see how many sleeping voters have suddenly --but only temporarily-- woken up.

Hi step,

Thanks again.

re: "You're making it sound as if you are the first to try."

How so? I certainly did not at all mean to imply this in any way!

I'm grateful to Congressman, admire him and everyone else who makes an effort. Besides which, this is not at all my original idea - a professor of public policy thought it would be a way to address the issue: it has a lot of advantages, which I've tried to go into.

re: Congressman Bartlett.

As far as I know, his efforts do not include this suggestion of directing the NAS.

I do believe he would sign on to it the idea, if he was not alone, however. That is, he does not oppose it, as far as I understand. He needs help.

re: "Your average consumer simply doesn't give a darn until $5/gallon gasoline hits him/her right smack in the pocket book."

1) The average gasoline price has little to do with the idea of directing the NAS to do the necessary work that will put this on a scientific basis, so there's some way to do something.

It is only necessary to get a study going. It's not necessary to have even a majority in favor - this can be simply requested by ANY STATE legislature, for example. Any State in the country could get this underway - so the truth can come out.

2) The consumer is not in a position to understand the impacts of peak oil on the economy, esp. under the scenario of continued price rise in oil, recession, price fall. etc.

The consumer is not in a position to ask the questions that can be answered with a "top-level" analysis of what practical measures we can take to alleviate the suffering of the collapse/Depression or whatever one wishes to call it, scenario.

In other words, why would high gasoline price do anything?

Dear Step,

Will you please help?

Or, tell me what is a better approach?

We need more people than simply the Congressman.

We need, for example...you?


Peak Oil is a mathematical certainty.
It does not need to be "proven" as a scientific theorem.
You have a finite resource that is being depleted at ever faster rates.
Mathematically speaking that Humpty Dumpty Egg has to crack sooner or later.
The only debate is as to exactly when.

Frankly, as a tax payer, I don't want the government wasting money doing yet another study merely for the sake of better predicting "when" PO will strike.
I'd rather the money be spent on a soft landing "wedge" rather than on another theoretical "study".

Hi step,

Thanks for your reply. The points you raise are important, and I'd like to respond to them one by one.

1. Re: STEP SAYS: Peak Oil is a mathematical certainty.
It does not need to be "proven" as a scientific theorem.

A REPLIES: I agree, given assumptions about production and consumption, PO certainly is fact.

I am *NOT* saying that this fact needs to be proven as a scientific theorem. If you read what the study is asking for, it is not asking for what you say here.

Could you please read the study request? (Please?) Then, if you find problems with it, could you let me know and please propose corrections or an alternative?

2. Re: STEP SAYS: You have a finite resource that is being depleted at ever faster rates.
Mathematically speaking that Humpty Dumpty Egg has to crack sooner or later.
The only debate is as to exactly when.

A REPLIES: Yes, given assumptions concerning current production and consumption, it is true that "Egg has to crack sooner or later."

3. Re: STEP SAYS: "The only debate is as to exactly when."

I differ with you on this.

First, the idea of the study - (could you please read the proposal) - is *NOT* to debate when. Personally, I see "when" as a lesser issue, actually, since answering that question via a window is good enough to see what the problem is.

Second, There is much to understand about PO, in particular, in terms of looking forward: there is much to do to understand how to make the crack, collapse or whatever one wishes to call it, more survivable, less bad, more towards something that can lead to what is technically and theoretically feasible: preserving aspects of industrial civilization, re-configuring means of meeting basic needs...lowering consumption and population, preserving human rights...more sustainable systems of agriculture, water and waste management, etc.

4. STEP SAYS: Frankly, as a tax payer, I don't want the government wasting money doing yet another study merely for the sake of better predicting "when" PO will strike.

A REPLIES: Exactly so. Step, this is not the point of the study request. Could you please read it and get back to me? Really. I'd appreciate your feedback.

5. STEP SAYS: I'd rather the money be spent on a soft landing "wedge" rather than on another theoretical "study".

A REPLIES: Exactly so. The "impacts" and "policy options" sections of the study address these very points - plus many that are not covered in the "wedge" concept, which, after all, focuses only on energy inputs and not on things like re-configuring systems (sustainable ag, for example) or on the intersection of oil and the economy, and how to address, say, massive unemployment.

Step, I'm happy you're willing to reply. Could you please give this some serious consideration?

given assumptions about production and consumption, PO certainly is fact.

The only "assumption" necessary for peak oil production to be a fact is that the supply is finite.

Everything else only impacts the timing.

Since the world itself is finite that assumption is well covered.

Hi r4ndom

I'm glad to hear from you.

re: R4 SAYS: "The only "assumption" necessary for peak oil production to be a fact is that the supply is finite."

A SAYS: I agree that the finite nature of the earth - and everything else - is certainly a fact and an important assumption.

Q: Is it the only assumption that is required? Hmnn....

I was merely trying to cover the logical bases when I included "production and consumption" as general categories for which assumptions are required.

For example, if 24 hours from now, the 7 billion humans dropped consumption by, say, 1/100th of current and maintained this level at a constant rate without rise...

Oh, I see what you mean. Then, one could still say "the peak of production was..."

Or, am I technically correct? Because one might conceive of a technically possible scenario, whereby production radically declined, oil was stored and not used and then one day suddenly used in a huge amount that tops the previous "peak" of *consumption*. Yes? No? (You tell me.) While not being the peak of production...(This all assumes that we're past peak in production). So, you're point is again correct.

Then, there's the issue of say, some unlikely scenario of a large find that temporarily bumps up production...Anyway...

The peak and related-to-peak issues such as ELM and/or Robert Rapier's version of economic peak ("peak lite") have very much to do with production/consumption patterns. Yes? No? The overall situation of depletion (with peak as a subset) has to do with the finite nature.

Hmnnn...Well, I think what I was trying to get at is this: besides attempting to cover the bases of logical possibilities, I was trying to say that there's a larger issue than the date that is facing humanity - that is the change in the ability to fuel overall economic and material growth via oil to having less ability to do so. Much less.

Well, r4: have I missed the logic-boat here? Goodness. I'd delete this and start over, since I'm thinking out loud. Except it's been a few days and not many people still talking about this.

OK. I see your point. Yes.

Is my point also valid? (Sincere Q).

On the issue of the discussion, namely the question of "What is important?" and "What should the Nation's scientific advisory org look at?" My point is that I personally hold the view that it's enough to know the facts about the different approaches to determining the peak reference frame (i.e. and not an exact date such as Thanksgiving, 2005), in order to quickly see the necessity of looking ASAP at the topics: "Impacts" and "Policy options."

IMVHO, we need emergency planning, risk management (a phrase I've seen used), a clearinghouse for "ways to cope" and some actual plans. I believe Alan of Big Easy asked for a list of suggestions. This might be a good thing to do as a TOD article.


My point of view: we have all of the tech, and all of the analysis we need: this is now a political struggle. Every president since Johnson has identified oil imports as a serious problem, and been thwarted by the oil and car industries.

The car industry has now mostly converted to a PO POV, but the oil industry is still fighting a death struggle, via tea party, Fox news, etc.

IMO, the NAS study would provide another voice of authority, and would be helpful as one more brick in the PR struggle for the proper public policy. But, it would just be one more brick, one more element of support for doing the right thing.

What I mean is that physically, if you have a finite resource, at some point you reach a state where no matter how hard you try, no matter how much will and energy you have, it becomes absolutely impossible to access the resource any faster and the production rate starts declining.

Think about an apple orchard. Early in the harvest season there are a few apples, then many more until the harvest reaches a creshendo and trails off to the last few apples that are left to drop and rot. Then you have winter and eat the apples you saved from the harvest and it all happens again the next year. Nobody would even think of looking for apples in mid-winter, because we all understand that once all the apples are picked that's it.

The same sort of thing is happening with oil, except the harvest season is two centuries long and we haven't been saving these apples for the coming winter.

We're just now starting to look at the decline of the harvest, still plenty of apples in the orchard, so nobody needs to worry, right?

I don't think they get the "permanence" of our situation.

When that reality sinks in, look for oil to break away from gold in the commodities market. That is when things will get interesting...

A Plan to Restrict Flight Paths, to Hush the Blender Over Long Island or:

"Looking Down on the Little People"...

Under the proposals, which are a response to years of noise complaints, helicopters bound for the Hamptons would be forced to skirt the shoreline. That would keep them away from favored routes over the North or South Shore, or down the center of the island along the railroad tracks.

Fliers like Mr. Lorber said the quality of the ride might suffer. And the changes would add about seven or eight minutes to the trip, increasing costs....

...Some fliers suggested that the restrictions could be dangerous. Lorenzo Borghese, a pilot of Italian royal descent who appeared in the ninth season of “The Bachelor” on ABC, recently hopped on a helicopter to the Hamptons to check out an $8.9 million estate he was interested in buying. He said that the skies were clogged enough already.

“Imagine taking a four-lane highway and making it smaller,” Mr. Borghese said. “It’s a horrible rule. The whole thing of the helicopters is to make things quicker.” ...

...“If this is going to be the model where the F.A.A. is going to be mandated and react to every noise complaint or somebody saying, ‘I don’t like helicopters,’ I don’t know where the end of this is,” Mr. Zuccaro said. “Where are we supposed to fly?”

Times are just freaking tough all over, ya know? This sort of explains why I was secretly praying that Irene would just smash the crap out of the Hamptons and suck it all into the North Atlantic. No joy this year,,, dang it!

Definitely not part of the 99%.
Time for Occupy the Hamptons

These Big Daddies can 'suck it up, buttercup'!

Look, now I have to dry my keyboard from all the crocodile tears I just shed for these folks!

Stirling Newberry says, Plague on both their houses:

This is a conflict between two of the most powerful lobbies in America: the ultra-rich lobby, working on creating a parallel world for themselves, and the suburban lobby, working on creating a parallel world. The argument is over how much oil that we don't have we should spend on propping up property values. . . . In a nutshell this is American politics: an upper class party against a middle class party on how much damage they can get to apply to their own credit.

“Imagine taking a four-lane highway and making it smaller,” Mr. Borghese said. “It’s a horrible rule. The whole thing of the helicopters is to make things quicker.” ...

Oh, heck, not only can I imagine it, I helped make it happen.

It's pretty easy. You take the four-lane road, narrow it to two lanes, make it weave from side-to-side, add bicycle lanes, funky light standards, park benches, flower beds, and potted plants, and reduce the speed limit to 40 km/h (25 mph) so cars don't run into the colorful but immovable concrete posts protecting the pedestrians.

It's a lot easier than trying to slow down helicopters, because local roads are under local control, and commuters trying to cut through don't get to vote on it. Your local government may vary.

It was kind of like the Hamptons but without all the rich people to annoy you. Well, probably some of the neighbors were as rich as people in the Hamptons, but they wouldn't admit it. They kept their helicopters parked elsewhere and rode bicycles around the neighborhood.

Sounds like parts of Manattan!



Any photos?

Photos of what? The road? I didn't take any pictures of the road.

I have an idea. Start up Google Earth, Fly to: "Mission Road, Calgary, Alberta", switch to Street View, and take a drive down the road. Follow it as it turns into 4th Street, as far as the Mission Bridge. After the bridge it becomes an urban four lane street, but that's because it has to handle commuter traffic to downtown.

On the other end it runs into Macleod Trail, which is a six-lane commercial strip road, but I had nothing to do with that. Note, however, the LRT station on the other side of MacLeod at 39th Avenue which I was a promoter of. If you drive down 39th Avenue in Street View you can watch an LRT train cross the street in front of you and pull into the station.

Mission Road was originally four lanes, but there was no point in that, so we narrowed it, reduced the speed limit, and put in the bike lanes, paths, and street furniture.

It's known as "traffic calming," at least here in the U.S. And it's all the rage.


Traffic calming is very popular here, too. The main difference is that the drivers aren't armed, so we don't have to worry about them shooting anybody during the calming process.

When you have a popular concept, you should take it and run with it if it works to your advantage, and that's what we did. I mean, why would interlopers from OTHER PLACES want to drive at a high rate of speed down OUR roads, endangering our children, dogs, cats, and squirrels?

If they wanted to go fast, they should take the convenient LRT trains from the platform we placed there for their benefit as well as ours. (on Google Earth, you can drive down Burnsland Road parallel to the tracks and watch the trains pass you. We reduced Burnsland to one-way leading to the LRT parking lot, but it provides a convenient view of the trains.)

If they didn't want to take the LRT, and wanted to drive down OUR streets at high speed, they could... Well I won't go into details because a lot of people are sensitive about language like that. However, they weren't armed so it was their problem, not ours.

IME, the most resistance to traffic calming comes from people who live on nearby streets. They worry that people will avoid the main drag they used to speed down, and speed down the sidestreets instead.

In Australia, a more intelligent form of "traffic calming" is practised, called Local Area Traffic Management , though it also has the less technical name of "neighbourhood traffic management"

-It is a practice employed to assist with the planning and management of traffic within a local area
– It involves the use if physical devices, streetscaping treatments and other measures to influence vehicle operation and reduce the impacts of vehicles on urban areas

The title says it all - *area* traffic management. Just doing a "traffic calming" exercise on a single road will often lead to people taking exactly the shortcuts you describe. The approach needs to be on an area/neighbourhood scale, with the whole idea being to minimise through traffic in the neighbourhood, and make what traffic there is, go slower. The most effective treatments are roundabouts and road closures. The most disliked treatments are speed humps.

LATM (amazing that the US hasn't adopted this term as it allows the use of yet another acronym) has been widely used in Australia for over three decades. When it was first brought in to neighbourhoods, drivers complained about it, but the people that lived there, and had their kids playing on the streets etc, loved it. It was also observed that property values seemed to rise in the areas with LATM.

It is basically a way to save the suburban streets from the cars that made them exist in the first place, and it works great, as long as you have some arterial roads for the through traffic to go along, or better yet, effective transit so they don;t have to drive in the first place.

Actually, people did try to speed down the side streets, but we put concrete barriers across them, and eventually replaced the barriers with landscaping, trees, park benches, boulders, etc. After a while you would never know there was once a through-street there. We created a situation where only a professionally-trained lab rat or one of the local residents could find their way through the maze.

A couple of times I met shortcutters trying to sneak the wrong way down a newly-narrowed one-lane, one-way street while I was driving my 4x4 truck. The good thing about the truck was, not only was it wide enough to block the street, but you could put the transfer case into compound-low 4wd and pull tree stumps with it, or back a car down a street out into a main thoroughfare regardless of what they did with their brakes. After a while people stopped trying to shortcut.

Some people might think there would be something illegal about this, but I talked about it with my buddies on the police force over a few beers, and they agreed it was legit. They didn't like speeders or scofflaws any more than I did.

I was watching an interview with a local fire department chief who really doesn't like streetscaping much, as it delays their run to emergencies. Speed bumps are really unpopular - I don't like them much, either, and many blocks who requested them be installed, are now requesting their removal.

We have a number of small traffic circles with signs designed to be run down by a fire truck, and then replaced afterwards.

if the traffic management is done properly, the fire truck should only be encountering this in the "last mile".

The argument is always the same - they are unpopular with drivers who don;t live on street X, who are in a hurry - but they are very popular with the people who live on street X, as it makes their street much more liveable. Who should have a greater say about what goes on in their street?

Speed bumps are the worst way to do LATM. Roundabouts and road closures are the best. As anyone who lives on a dead end street or cul-de-sac if they would like their street to become a through street?

The real issue is with through traffic going down residential streets - they are quite incompatible things. Properly done, LATM discourages/prevents the through traffic - that is what "roads" are for.

The question to pose to fire chiefs is, "How many people are killed by fires versus the number who are killed by speeding automobiles". The answer, unpopular though it may be from their perspective, is that far more people are run down by cars than burned up in fires. They are looking at public safety from the wrong perspective. They shouldn't be allowed to dictate how fast vehicles can go down streets.

Don't let the fire department design public streets.

However, there are speed humps (as distinct from speed bumps) which are designed to slow down automobiles but which fire engines can run through at full speed, and there are roundabouts designed so fire engines can go straight through but automobiles have to slow down and turn. There are also things like signs that say "One Way" ("Except FD") and "No Turn" ("Except FD"). These are probably the best solution for most places.

There is also my favorite, the Car Trap. They were designed to let the buses and fire engines through but stop cars, and they were very effective at it. The City used to put multiple signs on them saying, "STOP", "GO BACK!", "No Entry", "No Through Road", "Road Impassible to Cars", "Private Property", "No Trespassing", "Bridge Out", and drivers would STILL try to drive through them. And then they would try to sue the City when they destroyed their undercarriages. None of the lawsuits succeeded because, as the judges noted, they had been clearly warned and they knew what they were trying to do was illegal.

As much as I like the idea of traffic calming on residential streets, there is a downside. The ultimate traffic calming scheme consists of streets ending in cul-de-sacs. This has the effect of routing traffic down a few main thorofares and ends up contributing to the typical rush hour traffic jams. If traffic can spread out through a typical grid layout street system, traffic jams are largely mitigated.

Eugene OR, near where I live has the least traffic problems of any city of comparable size that I'm familiar with (at least in the part of town south of the river). There was some intelligent planning that includes one-way main streets with synchronized traffic lights. It is possible to drive the entire East/West length of the city and maybe hit one red light. Of course, this controls the traffic speed to about 30mph which is the posted limit.

Hopefully, the impetus to economize will lead to less car traffic, more bus and trolley traffic and induce what car traffic there is to slow down just to conserve fuel (whether electric or FF).

You have to realize that our objective was not to mitigate traffic jams, but to stop people from driving through our neighborhood. To that end, we did our best to force them on to the conveniently available electric light rail transit system on the other side of a major roadway. That's what the rail system was for, to carry commuters.

We originally had a grid system of streets with some bypass roads, and that resulted in too many shortcutting drivers, so we downsized the four-lane bypass roads to two, or even one lane, and turned the streets into a rat maze using barricades, and later, small parks. That effectively got rid of the shortcutters.

Of course, it also overloaded the major roadways nearby, but we didn't view that as a problem. The light rail system which they could take instead had far more passenger capacity than the roadway. If people didn't want to take the train, they could stay home or go somewhere else on their own side of the city. They certainly weren't going to drive through our neighborhood.

You have to realize that this is the pre-Peak-Oil solution to traffic problems. People will not be able to drive everywhere, so you should discourage them from doing so as soon as possible. We're now into the post-Peak-Oil era, so planners should get more serious about it. It's actually a bit late, but better late than never.

I live 100 miles north of Manhattan. The helicopters fly over low and loud.

That trip by Borghese was actually filmed on an episode of HGTV's "Selling New York". The houses Borghese was looking at were magnificent mansions that he would live in alone. In the end, he declined to purchase them due to their sheer size.


A peice describing 10 ways Iran is circumventing the sanctions.

Top 10- ways Iran is Defying

As food prices climb, consumers are cutting back (at least on the name brands)...

In its Thursday earnings report, Smucker SJM +2.05% said volumes fell 10% for its quarter ended Jan. 31 as shoppers bought less Crisco cooking oils, Folgers coffee and Jif peanut butter.

Smucker’s retail prices for its entire food portfolio were 16% higher than the same 2010 period as it sought to blunt surging prices for unroasted green coffee beans, peanuts, sugars and cooking oils.

The squirrels at the bird feeder are looking more delicious all the time :)


You can have the squirrel living in my roof for lunch any time you want, if you can catch him.

I was just thinking. We have a feral rabbit problem here (2000 rampant roaming rabbits), and the touchy-feely environmental types are spending large amounts of money neutering them at $100 per rabbit and moving them to an idyllic country retreat to live out the rest of their lives (which will probably be very short once the coyotes find out they're there.)

Instead, they should just put up a sign at the nearby city's Food Bank - "Organic Free Range Rabbit Stew - All You Can Eat - FREE!"

It's just a suggestion. Not one that would be PETA's first choice, but it would probably be popular with the urban homeless if you used the right spices and cooked them slowly after searing them to seal in the flavor. Add a few stewed vegetables and a lettuce salad that the rabbits otherwise would have eaten, and it would solve almost everybody's problems except PETA's.

Government food inspectors would probably throw you in jail if you tried to feed rabbit to poor people. Not enough steroids and antibiotics.

50 years ago in the UK you would have been thrown in jail for stealing the local landowner's lunch.

200 years ago you would have been transported to Australia.

these days you would just get sick from Mixi.

I'm not sure I would want to eat a rabbit that spends its time munching on professionally landscaped grass. It probably accumulates a nice range of herbicides.

No, these are truly organic free-range rabbits. No herbicides or pesticides in the gardens they eat, and no fences to inhibit their munching. People are so environmentally friendly here.

50 years ago if you wanted to shoot rabbits on a landowner's place around here, they'd probably have loaned you a gun. 200 years ago you'd have had to use a bow and arrow because there were no white men around.

There's no myxomatosis here, and even if there were, the native rabbits are resistant to it. These feral bunnies running around might get it because they are probably European rabbits that people have let go. They have to stay downtown because if they get out to where I live, the coyotes and owls pick them off.

You wouldn't want to introduce our native rabbits to Australia or even England, because not only are they resistant to myxomatosis, they are very, very fast - fast enough to outrun a coyote. You wouldn't want to introduce coyotes, either. They might thin out the rabbits, but the sheep wouldn't last very long if you did.

The quick and the dead, Darwinian evolution in tooth and paw.Anyway why do you need a gun, a few purse nets and a decent ferret. Fine sport for a Saturday morning and with the good chance of a fine Sunday dinner. Brings back memories of a long lost youth. Heart liver and kidneys chopped and mixed with some chopped onions and in the frying pan with a good dash of worcestershire sauce, served on a couple of slices of buttered toast delicious.Chop the rest into four pieces let marinate over night, next morning into a cast iron pot and in the oven on low for three too four hours, nothing nicer.

Juliet Eilperin writes for The Washington Post and has a lengthy article at WIRED about the struggles in the clean energy industry.
Why the Clean Tech Boom Went Bust.

There's No Tomorrow (2012) ... Great Video...Post Carbon Institute


Just watched that yesterday. Pretty doomy! There were a couple things in it that were iffy, but the broad outline is pretty clear.

I realize that I've become a doomer as I don't believe the show will go on forever, but what strikes me is the extent to which transportation is likely to become much more of an issue in a fairly short time frame (as in, 2 decades down the line the gasoline car society will almost certainly be dead). Electricity seems likely to hang out longer, but how transport will affect that is an important thing to keep in mind as well... With the fall of mass car transport things will get interesting. Then again, we've manage to avoid any panics, rationing or gas lines so far. Perhaps everyone will just get priced into poverty, and we won't even notice that the whole thing has fallen over except in retrospect.

The next decade is gonna be a doozy. I think the 2008 crash really was just a warm-up.

Yeah, the fact that the auto companies are not trying to fight the CAFE standard increases is quite telling. They know high oil prices are coming so they'll have to make high MPG vehicles if they want to survive. They need to be ready to switch production quickly and they know it. People will continue buying low MPG vehicles as long as gasoline is reasonably cheap. But if there is a sudden spike up in gas prices, I think people may finally realize that cheap oil is pretty much history and start buying the high MPG ones. Thus, all the car makers have at least some high MPG models.

It seems likely we're in for a repeat of what happened last time - price spike, people buy more efficient cars, price collapse, stock collapse... If we're really, really lucky then we get to repeat everyone pretending the last price spike never happened as they buy trucks again in 2 years!

While the automakers all have more efficient cars, if the economy is in the toilet then who will buy them? How many times can we cycle through this before we're just poor, and no amount of efficiency can help us? I really don't like the looks of this. If we have a stock collapse like followed the last price spike, we may end up in something that nobody can deny is a depression - perhaps as severe as the 30's depression. I think "happy motoring" is on borrowed time, and soon is going to be on life support.

Last time there were two of these severe price spikes close together (the 1970's oil crises), they were followed by a long term price decline and temporarily cheap and plentiful oil. It's hard to see similar salvation waiting in the wings this time around, especially with China and India in the game. Even if we all start driving Priuses (though I'll still be on my bike).

"Perhaps everyone will just get priced into poverty..."
"I think "happy motoring" is on borrowed time..."

Could be. Something's gotta change.

Given $35/gallon gas, what would people do? Just sit at home and wait to die? No... They will change to what works given what's available.

Indian bus:
Image: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ZbweAqMw4VY/TZxqfTOk6cI/AAAAAAAABZU/gK4eO6BIiF...

Electricity comes from a variety of sources, almost none of it from oil. Put the wires back up over the roads and run the area's trucks and buses?

Electric trolly trucks:
Image: http://hutnyak.com/Trolley/Photos/Italy/FILOCA3-640.JPG
Image: http://hutnyak.com/Trolley/Photos/Italy/FILOCA2-640.JPG


All sorts of stuff can be turned into liquid fuels... it can be nasty and inefficient, but if the population and their leaders are otherwise bankrupt of ideas, then anything organic (containing carbon) can be "burned".

There are many buffers from any sudden, total end just from the decline of the oil component of an economy. There are many economies around the world. For example, Canada may have to erect a real border.

Yeah but ... the Dow Jones is now only 10% below its record high in 2007-2008. So I guess the market is a lot smarter than all you doomers. Happy motoring!

How does the rosyness of the DOW's fat cheeks convince me that 'All is well'?

People will continue buying low MPG vehicles as long as gasoline is reasonably cheap. But if there is a sudden spike up in gas prices, I think people may finally realize that cheap oil is pretty much history and start buying the high MPG ones. Thus, all the car makers have at least some high MPG models.

My thought: As long as the engine bay is accommodating, the auto manufacturers do not need different bodies. Just keep the area under the hood large enough so that they can have either a small displacement, or larger motor, or hybrid system under the hood.

I believe it is what is done currently for most auto mfrs: engine and mgmt computer swaps. Models designated for "Eco", "Sport" or ST, GT, etc etc etc, usually just boil down to engine and suspension, and interior tweaks, but the body mostly stays unchanged.

For getting more radical in a choice, the Smart, to Scion iQ, as those auto bodies are pretty much commuter car only, though I guess a real wkend motorhead could add nitrous or turbocharging ;)

Actually, the Smart can be more than just a commuter car. I know a travelling sales rep in Alberta who drives one all over the province, summer and winter, and loves it. It is the 3cyl (turbocharged)diesel version [no longer sold here(-: ] and he routinely gets 70mpg.

You are correct in that one (well designed) car can have a lot of engine options -look at the Mini UK website for a good example.

But for an EV, you really need to re-design the vehicle. In fact, of the real goal is economy, you need to re-design it anyway, as the the chassis, brakes, etc can all be downsized when you are not aiming for racecar performance. The problem with the one body -many engine is that the body must be engineered for the highest performance version, which means it is far from optimised for the economy version.

There will always be cars designed specifically for performance, so lets have some that are designed, and optimised for economy. This is particularly true for EV's

I am in the JMG camp of catabolic collapse. There are unlikely to be any earth shattering events, even if they are they will only be remembered as such in retrospect. When I discuss these issues with friends (with great difficulty) they ask me what collapse ? I tell them look around you, think of the world twenty years back and think of it now. Do you see no difference ?

I tell them look around you, think of the world twenty years back and think of it now. Do you see no difference ?

When I ask that question, the answer I usually get is, "What do you mean?"...

Most people seem to be pretty much oblivious to the world around them and are rarely paying any attention to the incremental changes over a period of twenty years. It's only when they go to the supermarket or the gas station that they might grumble about high prices.

Most people seem to be pretty much oblivious to the world around them and are rarely paying any attention to the incremental changes over a period of twenty years. It's only when they go to the supermarket or the gas station that they might grumble about high prices.

..., and then blame everything on the current President....

I tell them look around you, think of the world twenty years back and think of it now. Do you see no difference?

This would be an interesting survey question. Presumably these are questions for people aged 40+, who have adult recollections from 20 years ago. If I were to guess, I would guess that most of the following would appear on the list from my region of the US.

  • Cell phones are ubiquitous; many young adults have never had landline service
  • Computers are faster, with bigger screens, LCD displays, enormous memory capacity, relatively much cheaper; laptops are common (almost exactly 20 years ago I nearly caused a riot on an airplane because I had a pitiful little laptop running Linux, and all the UNIX geeks wanted to know how to do it)
  • The Internet
  • 500 cable channels; steadily becoming less relevant due to the Internet
  • Air is significantly cleaner
  • Medical care has changed drastically: imaging is vastly improved, much more day surgery, drugs for a vast array of ailments and conditions
  • The problems with medical insurance, OTOH, have become an everyday topic of conversation
  • Traffic is somewhat worse, gas is somewhat more expensive, most people (but not all) have adjusted to both
  • Air travel is relatively cheaper, but service quality has degraded badly
  • Heating/cooling and electricity expenses have varied, but take much the same portion of the household budget (regionally, we have cheap local coal and surplus natural gas)
  • Water is more expensive; food is cheaper on average
  • Entry level jobs have become harder to find
  • A well-to-do retirement is no longer taken as a given

Awe the good 'ol days..........

Los Angeles at night...

The only way to tell that you are in the 21st century are the LED lights on the bikes.

... from a past avid reader of science fiction.

Los Angeles at night...

We once flew from Las Vegas to LAX quite late (about 11:00pm) to catch a flight home to Australia. As we flew lower and lower over LA, we could see all these freeways absolutely chock-a-block with traffic - the density of it was incredible.

I asked the American passenger next to me why all these people were out on the road at this time of night. Not only did she not have an answer, she actually (literally) didn't understand how such a question was possible, or why I was asking it. Tells you just about everything you need to know about American addiction to cars (and oil).

I have modified the list from the POV of someone who lives in the developing world(majority of world's population)

Air is significantly cleaner
For us it's the opposite. Air is significantly dirtier. Same goes for water, food (tastes bland) or anything else. Everything is contaminated and I am tired of eating out of tetra packs. To add to that, public land is disappearing, it's hard to even find a good quality playground in the city anymore.

Traffic is somewhat worse, gas is somewhat more expensive, most people (but not all) have adjusted to both
Traffic is significantly worse. I guess it's not a fair comparison given that we had very little traffic twenty years back, anyways gas is still very expensive for people here, though it's utility trumps the price.

Water is more expensive; food is cheaper on average
Water is inaccessible for most people. Water tables have gone down and now spew water contaminated with heavy metals and salt.

Heating/cooling and electricity expenses have varied, but take much the same portion of the household budget (regionally, we have cheap local coal and surplus natural gas)
Energy costs have gone up significantly but the problem has partly been mitigated by a rise in wages.

Entry level jobs have become harder to find
It's the opposite here. I got a job straight out of college, for my parents this would have been a dream come true.

A well-to-do retirement is no longer taken as a given
Our generation is yet to see a retirement but our parents can now look forward to a secure life given their kids jobs.

Overall I think the positives are rather short term and is mostly due to the wage arbitrage that people here enjoy over those in the west. If economy collapses, the positives will disappear as fast as they came but we would have degraded our environmental carrying capacity significantly and that will stay with us for quite some time.

"There were a couple things in it that were iffy, but the broad outline is pretty clear."

I liked the film but also found some iffy bits. I think it is easy to over state Jeavons, for example. I would be very interested in what people think are the strengths and weaknesses of this piece, as I am using it in a class I am teaching.

Yes a very good video, nicely put together.
Simple concepts, well illustrated and easy to follow.


'Santorum: Global warming is politics, not science'

Santorum told voters in eastern Ohio on Monday that science is on the side of those who want to aggressively produce more oil and natural gas in America. He said the notion of global warming is not climate science but "political science."

I wonder what he means by aggressively? Does that mean ignoring potential damage to aquifers? Does that mean drilling off of Florida in which an oil spill could lose billions in tourism from damage to Florida beaches?

Actually GW is a data based assessment from climatologists. Political science (theater) is something for the Santorum's of the world in which differences between candidates is evidently about casting their main opponent as being a false prophet.

Is this guy really the best the GOP can come up with for this election? Do we really have to go back to the dark ages of ignoring science and casting aspersions on scientists? As prez would he authorize the waterboarding of scientists at Gitmo?

"Is this guy really the best the GOP can come up with for this election?"

You're not the only one asking. Kunstler, this morning:

Is this finally its Whig Moment - the point where the Republican Party has offended history so gravely that it goes up in a vapor of its own absurdity? I hope so. The conservative impulse is hardly all bad. We need it in civilization. But it can't be vested in the sheer and constant repudiation of reality.

I especially enjoyed his comment about Romney's "struggles to extrude one whopper after another... " ;-)

Regarding Santorum's recent idiotic tack:


... [Santorum] says President Barack Obama is beholden to "radical environmentalists" and has "a world view that elevates the earth above man."
Santorum, who has emerged as the main challenger to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in the Republican race, sought over the weekend to explain his statement that Obama practices "a different theology" that is "not a theology based on the Bible."

Santorum said on the CBS "Face the Nation" program yesterday that he wasn't questioning Obama's Christian faith in claiming the president subscribes to a "phony theology," the phrase he used in a speech to Tea Party activists in Ohio.


"a world view that elevates the earth above man."... Uh, for those who haven't figured out this one very basic reality, it's the humans that need an intact planet, not the other way around. The planet doesn't care at all if humans survive, or ever existed at all. No planet=no human, so yes, the planet (with it's current conditions relatively intact) is indeed a prerequisite to man.

"Is this guy really the best the GOP can come up with for this election?"

Grover Norquist, the political career making/breaking lobbyist the Republicans pledge to, addressing CPAC a week ago, made this statement:

We are not auditioning for fearless leader.
We don’t need a President to tell us what direction to go […]
We just need a president to sign this stuff.
We don't need someone to think it up or design it.
We have a house and a senate.
The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate so focus on electing the most conservative Republican who can win in each House seat, and the most conservative Republican who can win in each Senate seat.
And then pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become President of the United States.

So, in this time of great need for rational, even leadership in matters of energy (war), economic stability (vying with energy and war as a driver of collapse), and the environment (destruction, population, and warming, making any future or recovery ever more difficult)... all that is sought is yet a better puppet.

This statement is not covered, at all, in the "news". I only heard about it today because I had the luck to find it. I spent a while trying to find a transcript. Even CPAC's site does not offer one. There is zero coverage of this statement by a key player, that the majority of the House have pledged to, on the corporate mainstream channels.


CPAC: Conservative Political Action Conference
CPAC is an annual political conference attended by conservative activists and elected officials from across the United States.


You can watch him say it here, at the 15 minute mark. http://vimeo.com/36951741

Kunstler is great at cutting through and clarifying situations. He has that unique way of creatively twisting verbiage about serious topics that get a humorous rise out of the reader. Speaking of HK, someone on this message board recommended Earth 2100, an ABC special we'd missed on its original airing. Got it through Netflix. HK has some very good quips interspersed. They use a lot of animated photos to convey horrific developments and do a good job of hitting the main areas of concern, such as peak oil, water scarcity, unemployment, plague, migration, sea level rise, etc. One thing they tend to avoid is how people are getting food while all these different crises are occurring. Just too hard a place to go I guess - food insecurity.

There was some mention of food issues in Earth 2100.

When Lucy moves to NYC, a bunch of desperate Texans try to hitch a ride by threatening her with a gun, but are dissuaded by the superior firepower of the convoy guards. Presumably, it was lack of food that made them so desperate.

Once she gets to NYC, part of the reason it's such a haven is that they have community gardens. (Dunno how many people you can feed that way, but there were guards controlling who came in and out of the city.)

Her daughter Molly moves to an organic farm, while Lucy and her husband stay in NYC. It was starvation that eventually caused the city to be abandoned. The lack of food makes people vulnerable to disease, and a pandemic decimates the city. With the world population a fraction of what it once was and the federal government no more, Lucy finally joins her daughter Molly on her farm in an agricultural community, where work is hard but there's food for the population that remains.

ABC Special .. EARTH 2100.. 1/9 on Youtube.

Van Jones pretty much sums growth up here, one of my favorite segments.

I was disappointed in the almost complete lack of discussion of the population problem. It should have been a major theme.

In the end piece, where talking heads are discussing what might be a positive outcome sequence of events, this lack of consideration of population pressure is especially glaring.

Otherwise, it seemed like a pretty realistic picture of a likely future.

They do make note when the population hits 8 billion and 9 billion, and that many folks are choosing to have fewer children. Perhaps the implication is that population will eventually be self-limiting reality limited, an assessment I'd consider accurate.

I wonder who was taking care of the nuclear power plants and oil refineries during this time. Nobody if the population is greatly reduced by disease. I doubt if they would be gardening anywhere near New York.

The decline took place over a century. Lucy was born in 2009, and was the oldest person in the world in 2100. In that scenario, it's reasonable to assume the nuclear power plants and oil refineries were shut down. The federal government didn't fail until the very end.

But shutting them down is not sufficient. There must be continuous circulation of cooling water for an extended period in spent fuel pools, then the material must be transferred to casks (that don't presently exist in sufficient quantity). If the cooling is interrupted before being put into casks, or it's just left lying around, then the end effect is the same - complete contamination of the region. Even if it is put into casks that would only delay the same inevitable result - but it would probably move it out past the 100 year timescale.

I dunno - is it likely this would all occur in a collapsing society? Even if it is a long term slow decline will we be able to achieve under those circumstances what we have not done today?

I do not believe we will ever remove that radioactive waste from many of those plants. It will stay in those plants until it escapes.

Storage of spent fuel rods at New England nuclear power plants...

In New England, the four operating nuclear power plants are storing at least 2,900 metric tons of spent fuel, according to current figures provided by two plants and 2002 data available for two others, which is the most recent available. The Indian Point Energy Center nearby in New York state is storing at least 903 metric tons of spent fuel.

New England’s plants have re-racked their spent-fuel storage pools many times over the past few decades. In many cases, the stored spent-fuel rods are now packed closer together than ever before - nearly as close as they were positioned inside the reactor.

The storage pool at Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Vernon, Vt., was originally licensed to hold 600 spent fuel assemblies. There are now 2,935 assemblies in the pool, or 932 metric tons of radioactive waste.

At Millstone, the pool at the Unit 3 reactor was originally licensed to hold 756 assemblies. It now holds 1,040 assemblies, or 449 metric tons of waste, and is licensed to handle up to 1,860 assemblies.

Millstone’s Unit 2 reactor was originally licensed to hold 677 spent fuel assemblies. It now holds 909 assemblies, or 304 metric tons, and is licensed to hold 1,346 assemblies. The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Generating Station currently holds 2,918 fuel assemblies. Its original license allowed 880 fuel assemblies, according to NRC documents. The license was later updated to allow for 3,859 assemblies.

The spent fuel pool at Seabrook Nuclear Power Station in New Hampshire, the newest of New England plants - Seabrook came online in 1990 - was originally licensed to handle 1,236 fuel assemblies and now has 936 assemblies in its pool. There are also 192 fuel assemblies in dry cask storage.

Again: "In many cases, the stored spent-fuel rods are now packed closer together than ever before - nearly as close as they were positioned inside the reactor"... meaning increased cooling required. These cooling tanks were originally designed to store and cool a set amount of spent fuel, but, since there is no plan B (ala Yucca Mtn.), they've been allowed to pack even more of this material into storage. Yet the courts have ruled that, in the case of Vermont Yankee, the State's right to close this facility down are trumped by the Federal Govt., the NRC, and the owners.

The pro-fission bloggers think it's great.

At what point do folks expect that it will be decided it's time to shut these aging plants down and ..... do whatever it is they're going to do with the mess left behind.

do whatever it is they're going to do with the mess left behind.

I think we're doing it.

I have come to the conclusion that this issue trumps almost all others - with the exceptions of drastic climate change and species extinction. Any plans we make or attempts to mitigate will be ruined when this stuff we have made is released. Look at the map of NPP locations on Mother Jones and understand the impact of the eventual inevitable uncontrolled release from every one. We can talk forever about renewable energy or localized organic food production, new economic systems, preserving knowledge for the future, better ways to live. All of it will come to naught in a wind of radioactive particles. The sooner ones in a big show like Fukushima, but even the simple decaying of an old cask will have the same effect.

Yes, and the Pro-Nuke nuts here keep saying "We could do this", "We can do that" and yet never admit that we haven't and won't. They push more of this crap and don't give a d**n about the inevitable consequences. These plants are more dependent than ever on a completely uninterrupted outside source of power when things go wrong at a time then it's going to be harder to provide just that! As far as I'm concerned, anyone who says the future requires Nuke Power is certifiably insane.

The comments on that blog you posted the link to are positively scary!

All of this is just another form of kicking the can down the road to the future, "I have to have all mine and more, NOW! I couldn't care less about my kids! Let them deal with this crap I created!"

Sooner or later, this stuff will be released in an uncontrolled fashion. I don't have any doubt about it.

As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, one of the Nuke Pushers will arise from below and say "But Coal is Worse!" Just wait, they won't be able to resist...

These plants are more dependent than ever on a completely uninterrupted outside source of power when things go wrong at a time then it's going to be harder to provide just that! As far as I'm concerned, anyone who says the future requires Nuke Power is certifiably insane.

Hear! Hear!

I highly recommend Into Eternity for a thoughtful and haunting look at the issue of N waste storage...

"I do not believe we will ever remove that radioactive waste from many of those plants."

Where would the money come from? It's not like an infrastructure program. At best, the investment is buried. There are wars to fight, mouths to feed, and favor to garner. There was a huge investment in making those fuel elements... just like in making all the stuff in the landfills.

Bits here and there leanan but overall a lack of overview on food. For example they touched on peak oil, but then never discussed its effect on food distribution. Where were they getting food on their long trek across the country? Sure, they get around to localized food as they get closer to 2100, but what about all those intervening years? I thought that part of the special failed to grasp the true horror people will face as we move into a future of uncertain energy supply, particularly as oil descends from peak. They never touch on that. Once oil supply descent ensues, how are huge plants making bread and processing milk stay in business? They did a good job of hitting the highlights, but a poor job of explaining or showing enough of how people will riot and fight over food in a resource constrained future.

I thought they did a pretty good job, all things considered. They skimmed over all issues, really, not just food; it was kind of necessary, given the format. They couldn't do anything in depth.

In the final segments they 'skimmed over' what I consider the greatest impediment to the progress they envision; the utter disconnect of a majority of humans from the natural world they are supposed to preserve. Climate change becomes an abstraction; mountaintop removal goes away with the flip of a switch; natural disasters take the form of disaster movies; wars morph into first-person-shooter video games. It's far to easy to discount these 'abstractions'. I'm not sure how we overcome this numbing effect when, IMO, folks need to feel these effects before they'll take or condone meaningful action. We'll insulate ourselves, divert attention and compensate for these realities until reality bashes our doors down. Too late, it'll be...

I see the scenario near the end of this show, when the lights go out in NYC, when folks become aware that their systems have crashed hard, occurring sooner than the movie envisions. JMHO..

Manhattan population 1.6 million, area 23 sq miles (14,720 acre). The weather is not great for farming. Say one acre per person to provide food for a year. So we can support 14,720 people out of 1,600,000 people or about 1%. Feel free to image whatever intensive farming you want maybe you can get to 4%.

It really doesn't make sense to try to 'ruralize' NYC to envision a way to see it as a durable location.

Cities are what they are for a reason that goes back long before we used oil. NY is a natural Harbor, at the mouth of the Hudson and the LI Sound/East River. It offers trading support to a great swath of existing and potential farmland and mfg zones in the region, so it's sustainability is not a function of it's arable potential.. and by the same token, the Sustainability of the Farmlands in the region will also be dependent upon having access to trading centers, both for buying and for selling, right?

Metro NY will probably have to change it's emphasis and demography radically as we come up to this new reality.. as it has done before. NY and cities like that are in Constant flux as the world changes.. I hope the farms and towns will be as ready to morph and experiment as the urban areas..

Well, ready or not, here it comes.

"a world view that elevates the earth above man."... Uh, for those who haven't figured out this one very basic reality, it's the humans that need an intact planet, not the other way around. The planet doesn't care at all if humans survive, or ever existed at all. No planet=no human, so yes, the planet (with it's current conditions relatively intact) is indeed a prerequisite to man.

Reply | Reply in new window | Start new

You're supposed to focus on God not the earth or our environment.........

God doesn't care about the planet....

If he did he would not have said

"be fruitful and multiply............."

I wonder if you meant to leave off that part where Santorum said that humans should be good stewards of the plant? We can debate what he said, but I don't think you need to distort Santorum in order to find ammunition, he's going to give the left all the ammo they need. Strongly religious people of many faiths aren't necessarily worried about the end of the world for human kind no matter how it ends, because they see something greater. Now Santorum's quote (below) in some respects would have been seen as radical environmentalism 100 years ago.

Santorum: “Well, I was talking about the radical environmentalists,” he told Schieffer. “That’s what I was talking about: Energy, this idea that man is here to serve the Earth, as opposed to husband its resources and be good stewards of the Earth. And I think that is a phony ideal. I don’t believe that that’s what we’re here to do – that man is here to use the resources and use them wisely, to care for the Earth, to be a steward of the Earth, but we’re not here to serve the Earth.

“The Earth is not the objective,” Santorum said. “Man is the objective. I think a lot of radical environmentalists have it upside-down.”

HERE's a YouTube video of a 5 minute segment out of Santorum's speech...

E. Swanson

Thanks for the link :-)

The really cool part of Santorum's sanctimonious blather is that, according to his "pro-science" world view, he gets to play the part of the "Husband" and Mother Nature is forced to be the dutiful and subservient "Wife"

Yeah, he apparently conflates science with technology, as in, the application of scientific understanding to make a buck, no matter what the consequences...

E. Swanson

to make a buck, no matter what the consequences...

Oh ye of little faith,
Don't you already know?

The Lord will provide (to them who wish hard enough), and

The Markets will provide (thanks to the wisdom of the intelligently designed, Invisible Hand)
... and as long as we get "Government" out of their way

/end sarcasm

What's most terrifying to me is the degree to which the oil interests have twisted the republican party's arm that they are now entirely bought in to an anti-science, anti-reality witch hunt.

They were already a good bit of the way, choosing fundamentalists, agains biology. And they had largely choosen to run against environmentalists. I doubt the R's get more than a few R votes, so once battle lines are drawn, positions tend to harden. I suspect this is one way that people get drawn into extreme partisanship, take a group whose views put it 60/40 towards one tribe. Then the tribe less favored , tries to marginalize that group with continuous ad-homienem attacks. Soon its members have no choice but to become 100-0 extreme members of other side.

And the very wealthy don't really care about an evangelical agenda becoming the law of the land. If a wealthy person needs something, like an abortion, they can get it easily, as well as other goods/services that are banned to the 99% by the zealots running the country.

When you are (or own) "the zealots running the country", you do whatever you want...

So true. Henry the 8th lived in a time where we would describe the religious institutions and traditions as zealotry, yet he could do pretty much as he pleased.

they are now entirely bought in to an anti-science, anti-reality witch hunt

We had a Dark Ages before, we can have something like it again.

I do not want such an era to again happen, but sometimes seems things are going in that direction.

That reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

"There was a time when religion ruled the world. It is known as the Dark Ages."
- Ruth Hurmence Green

Ron P.

Excellent quote!

Happy times are here again
Scientists drool while Jesus and Mohammed once again rule

(non-offensive? SouthPark image here)
((Query to TOD Moderator: are we allowed to post on TOD, links to images that supposedly depict an image of Mohammed?))

In mental hospital parlance, it is known as "nutting-up". America is nutting-up pretty quick.

Forget about working hard to become financially independent. Even if you can keep a job, the inflation rate will overwhelm your increases in pay, if you get any, until you are sunk. To get rich, you must financialize something. For instance, develop a cash flow and net profit doing anything, it doesn't really matter what you do, it can be a total waste, like manufacturing doggy sweaters in China. Once the income stream is established perform a NPV (net present value) analysis on your entity, pad the numbers and project continued growth for the next thirty years. Make sure your income stream is in a form that can be divested. Use as many people or slaves as needed at the lowest cost possible to get the income stream rolling – look to India or China if need be for slave-like wages and zero environmental laws.

When the income stream is at a maximum, go fishing for a cornucopian(s) with a strong optimism bias. You know, one of those people that believe things are going to go swimmingly from here on out. Have them give you a lump of cash today in exchange for the rosy forecast net profit of your company in the future. You know the future is going to be hell, but we live in a dog-eat-dog world and if they want to believe in fairy tales, then that's their fault.

You can also sell educations in this manner and become rich. Open an accredited and private institution or school. Promise students that by taking on debt and earning a degree, they will land a great job and become wealthy. Establish the cash flow. Once your cash flow and net profit is established, find a cornucopian to buy it or even take it public by selling stock to a cornucopian public. If you work for a publicly owned university, you have to try and take your profit in enormously inflated salaries as you can't sell a public university and pocket the proceeds.

I would recommend producing something for the military, they seem to have this amazing ability to get just as much money as they need and intend to stick around for at least another thirty years.

Whatever you do, don't tell anyone about peak oil, it's not good for valuations. When the bubbly optimism bias is finally crushed, it will probably be too late to make your fortune. Also discourage climate scientists, atheists, and zero growth advocates, they could put a real damper on the suckers that are going to take us out of the game and make our fortunes.


Dear Dopamine,

Please note We have warned you before about posting The Plan on public web sites. the barnyard are not to be involved. There can be no greater danger than allowing Them to know what is going on - to be true it would be difficult to get any of the "lowers" to understand considering the effectiveness of Our control over the Media outlets. but never the less please do not do it again or you will have to leave The Club - no We will not use the "lady Diana" method this time - we have more , shall we say, "interesting" methods to make you look foolish in front of the "lowers"

We will allow some mitigation in that you chose one of the less well known, fringe, web sites tp post on - probably less than a dozen people will read it yet alone understand it.

Your Obedient Servant,


/SARC off

PS: I think you post is as close to the real world reality of what is happening and what to do. Kudos.

Regarding Reuters saying China's Unipec to take less Iranian oil, someone is lying rather boldly as China Daily's PR states "The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has reached an agreement with the International United Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (UNIPEC) to increase oil exports to China to 500,000 barrels per day (bpd)." Quite a difference from Reuters's saying China's Unipec "has reduced the amount it will take this year although by how much was unclear." Given Reuters's role in the Propaganda System, I place more credibilty in the China Daily reportage.

Both are masters of word manipulation. Both can say China had planned to increase imports by 1,000,000 bpd but chose to reduce imports from Iran by 500,000 bpd to support the embargo. Both sides are happy. They both get what they want.

Icelandic Anger Brings Debt Forgiveness

Icelanders who pelted parliament with rocks in 2009 demanding their leaders and bankers answer for the country’s economic and financial collapse are reaping the benefits of their anger.

Since the end of 2008, the island’s banks have forgiven loans equivalent to 13 percent of gross domestic product, easing the debt burdens of more than a quarter of the population, according to a report published this month by the Icelandic Financial Services Association.

Iceland’s special prosecutor has said it may indict as many as 90 people, while more than 200, including the former chief executives at the three biggest banks, face criminal charges.

Larus Welding, the former CEO of Glitnir Bank hf, once Iceland’s second biggest, was indicted in December for granting illegal loans and is now waiting to stand trial. The former CEO of Landsbanki Islands hf, Sigurjon Arnason, has endured stints of solitary confinement as his criminal investigation continues.

That compares with the U.S., where no top bank executives have faced criminal prosecution for their roles in the subprime mortgage meltdown. The Securities and Exchange Commission said last year it had sanctioned 39 senior officers for conduct related to the housing market meltdown.

I don't suppose we, here in the US, can actually expect the Administration to bite the hands that feed it. That would be asking too much these days. It just seems that a few whipping posts or pillories erected on Wall Street would improve public morale a bit.

It was interesting watching the police fill the Homeland Security buses with economic protesters at three in the morning after the selected press had vacated here in Los Angeles. The media presented the image of a police worthy of awards and praise.

Reading the article it seems that about 300 are going to end up before the judge, considering the size of the Icelandic population that would be the equivalent of 280,000 for the good old USA. If it was for the UK an eighth of that. One can but dream.

Yes. One can just dream (sigh). If you add up all the crooked real estate agents, and loan officiers, as well as banksters, you could easily come up with that many. But, our police are busy chasing down people who might have a small amount of a controlled substance instead.

Well, Newt is at it again today, this time openly mocking "Limits to Growth" and the concept of peak oil, comparing it to an astronomer who is awakened at 2:00 in the morning by someone desperately needing to know whether the sun will burn out in 4 billion years or 5. Of course his audience in Oklahoma ate the whole thing right up. He also claimed the U.S. has "at least a 125-year supply" of gas and that this was not speculation but proven. As far as I know, even the oil and gas industry has not made this kind of claim.

I'm not sure whether to be heartened by the fact that these things are getting discussed directly in a presidential campaign or stunned at how profoundly fact-challenged the Republican candidates and their audiences are in general, but particularly on this issue.

I just know I wish so-called "fact checkers" in the Washington Post and elsewhere would focus their efforts on these sorts of claims instead of the useless garbage about who contradicted whom when about "Obamneycare" etc.

Newt has gone into full Cornucopian Demagogue mode lately. He has taken a page from the failed Bachmann Campaign and is promising $2.50/gallon gasoline.

Fortunately, no one is listening to him. We are too busy trying determine if birth control is a good thing or not. *rolleyes*

Amateur paleontologist that he is, emphasis on the "amateur" part.

I wonder if 400 ppm CO2 is possible if only we put our corporatist minds to it?

Burn here. Burn now. Burn all of the above.

Yes we can! (Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the climate change bomb)

Yee ha. Yee ha! --Slim Pickens

Another Strangelove pic here

Not sure which is worse, Newt's outrageous claims about LTG and peak oil or Santorum's impassioned defense of coal. Burn, baby, burn!

For what it's worth, Mittens believes the same thing too. Maybe they'll soon go the way of these guys: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whig_Party_(United_States)

I can dream, can't I?

400 ppm - no need to wonder. We can make it by 2015, if not before.


May 2011 (Scripps) CO2 Concentration: 394.16ppm

PPM increases about 2.10 a year, so high PPM in may of this year will be approx. 396.26 Based on that progression, 400 will be hit in May 2014.

I'm half way home and I'll live to see 450 ppm.

We're going to burn it all. Yes indeed.

Anyway, I love Dr. Strangelove, but I wonder why so many gravitate to the character played by Slim Pickens.

Peter Sellers' and George C. Scott's characters *are the ones still in charge* and we are riding that doomsday machine.

"... the Doomsday machine is terrifying and simple to understand... and completely credible and convincing."

"Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!"

Slim Pickens plays the earthy guy just doing his job, and doing it way better than is good for anyone.

He's probably the most sympathetic "bad guy" ever.

Plus, its been a slow newsweek, for anything not related to Whitney Houston.

And the constant drumbeat of war with Iran.

2.50 a gallon is a joke at these oil prices. Was in my shop with Die Hard on with endlessly smirking Bruce Willis. His face must be sore at the end of a long day's shoot. Such a corny, cliche filled movie I had to turn it off, but anyway, it was taking place in Chicago 1988, and a cop comes out of a quickie mart with junk food and in the background are gas station prices.

79.9 cents a gallon!!!

If we aren't at peak now, someone's got a scoop. 4.16 at our local station here in No. CA. 4.06 at cheaper stations.

79.9 cents a gallon!!!

It is neat how even fictional movies capture actual statistics like that.

For me, I remember a gasoline price in time this way: I bought my 1st new car, a 1992 Mustang GT, in 1993. Back then 91 octane unleaded, which I used, was right about US$1/gallon.

For twenty bucks back then I could fill up my tank, and have US$5 left over to get burger, fries, and a soda, and still have a little change left over.

Hey, when I was teen-Ager back around 1960, I was pumping gas at a service station for 25 cents a gallon!!

1958 - Illinois - 9.9 cents/gal!!! Lowest I ever saw.

Working on the road in 1969 - gas at about 39.9 c/gal.

When will the finally quit with the .9 cents per gal on the end?????


edit: Remember the 'gas wars?' Well, gas won!

The first time I saw 39.9, the reaction was one of horror "what a ripoff!".

For those who like to reminisce about gasoline prices in the US, the EIA is a fountain of information:


My last encounter with sub-$1.00 per gallon gasoline was in Tennessee in 1998. It wasn't that long ago. Will we see $16.00 per gallon in another fourteen years?

I am 34 years old. I remember from childhood gas prices of 3:50 kronor/liter. This week they breached 15 kr/l for the first time ever. Btw, that is rughly 7 dollars a gallon.

Half the population has below average intelligence.

No! Half the population has below median intelligence. :-)

Now, that's a tautology if there ever was one.

... but 91% believe they are in the upper half ;-)

... but 91% believe they are in the upper half ;-)

You can bet your life on it that the idiot who wrote this comedy sketch thinks he is, does a high stupidity quotient come as an optional extra when people get religion or is it automatically installed when they open the so called good book. Please have a good chuckle and then a good weep because you can bet your life it will be voting in the next election.



Yorkshire Miner

"Stupid is as stupid does." -- Forrest Gump

I am desperately hoping that the Republicans get voted in so it shows them up for the fools they are on energy policy. They get to inherit a train wreck that's already over the cliff.

It really does look like common sense is going to win out though and the dems should get another term as there simply isn't a strong enough opposition.

Environmental issues aside, I suppose with an accelerated program of petrol car conversions to LNG and and accelerated program of installing LNG in gas stations, it does make sense to persue more gas via fracking and other.

The other promising tech now available with prices falling fast is Micro combined heat and power. Installations used to be huge and generally for groups of houses. Now they are available at much lower cost as single installations. For anyone not knowing what i'm talking about MCHP is essentailly an elecrtical generator and boiler in one unit with the obvious advantage that there are no transmission losses (which by the way are MASSIVE +50% on the power lines). You generate electricity AND heat at home from natural gas.


You're mistaken about transmission and distribution losses. The U.S. average is 7-8%.

My sourse was confused! The savings in efficiency are actually because the heat in MCHP is used whereas in a normal power plant the heat is usually wasted hence the massive difference in efficiency.
From wikipedia:

In a traditional power plant delivering electricity to consumers, about 30% of the heat content of the primary heat energy source, such as biomass, coal, solar thermal, natural gas, petroleum or uranium, reaches the consumer, although the efficiency can be 20% for very old plants and 45% for newer gas plants. In contrast, a CHP system converts 15%–42% of the primary heat to electricity, and most of the remaining heat is captured for hot water or space heating. In total, as much as 90% of the heat from the primary energy source goes to useful purposes when heat production does not exceed the demand.


The end of the Peak Oil Theory

Offshore drilling has also grown by leaps and bounds...
Then there are Canadian oil sands,...
Today drilling and extraction of shale oil is burgeoning...

And the best on of all:

Alternatives make a peak irrelevant.

And the world oil price is about $120 a barrel today. Which has nothing to do with peak oil of course. Or does it?

I am at a loss to explain how these very stupid articles keep popping up on the web. This article was written by one Scott Phillips from Channel 9 somewhere in Australia. I guess folks down under are no more enlightened than folks on the top side of the world. ;-)

Ron P.

And just how much oil of the type used by most refiners as a percentage of Available Net Exports is available on an average day at the spot market for $120? We know the market is tight, but how tight.

Brent closed the day at $121.18 Energy and Oil Prices And the OPEC Basket Price closed last Friday at $118.60. I would say that $120 a barrel was pretty close. Yes the market is that tight.

Ron P.

Wow, just wow on "Alternatives make a peak irrelevant."

Phillips is specifically referring to natural gas as the alternative in the article... but it's clear that he must not understand that if we begin depending mainly on natural gas for our transportation fuel, we have, essentially by definition, passed peak oil already.

This demonstrates that the problem still lies with insufficient education about what peak oil is. Though, by all accounts it shouldn't. It is disheartening that after everything that's been published about peak oil, most still don't even understand the thesis, let alone believe it is a mathematical and physical reality.

There really is no hope except to hope that the upcoming crisis is a better teacher.

This demonstrates that the problem still lies with insufficient education about what peak oil is.

In Australia the problem is the mass media telling everyone there is no problem.
Our daily tabloids are dominated by Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd.

As the article about the attack against science discussed, at first the scientists thought they could fix things by better public education. But in a battle of education, versus well funded pressure groups, education loses out.

This article was written by one Scott Phillips from Channel 9 somewhere in Australia.

The original source was from The Motley Fool

via the Australian version

Yes most people down under are (unfortunately) as unenlightened as the rest of the world

long time lurker, first time poster--
perhaps the ghost buster era beams have been crossed, but for the first time in my memory, the topic of peak oil and eroei is genuinely being discussed on slashdot, a not obscure geek oriented web site- i submit for your viewing and enjoyment:


Looks like some fairly intelligent conversation taking place on slashdot - news for nerds, stuff that matters.

Thanks for sharing. And welcome aboard:-)

Intelligent conversation? On /.?

Maybe the world really is about to end.

What are the latest global peak production and post-peak production predictions saying? I haven't seen any updates to the ASPO "official" model in a few years. I remember Skrebowski has a prediction for the peak date, 2014, but not of the decline. Gail has posted a schematic prediction at her site which looks pretty ominous.

Any other good, well analyzed predictions / projections that are up to date (e.g. produced with data from the last year or so)?

The Chilangos are getting on their bikes:



Peak Oil is the pigment of the imaginations of a few brave souls who dare speak the truth about Peak Oil. They figure and cipher, draw charts, circles, arrows, graphs, what have you, to prove that the theory isn't all bunkum and bosh.

Math is boring and isn't that important, so Peak Oil is a myth.

Great new video by Richard Heinberg about the situation:



Engineers Take Aim at a Barrier in LED Technology

FREMONT, Calif. — In a brand-new factory here, Eric Kim, chief executive of Soraa Inc., cradles a palm-size light that he refers to as “LED 2.0.” The light has a circular snowflakelike cooling frame surrounding a lens that emits a bright white light.

But it also radiates a mystery — and a continuing controversy.

Over the past few years, energy-saving LED lights have popped up nearly every place where low power is required. They provide the backlighting for cellphones, smartphones and laptops as well as for headlamps for hikers, for instance.

But in the United States in particular, LED lights have not yet caught on for home lighting, still a bastion of the incandescent light bulb — which to this day is not much more efficient than when it was invented by Thomas Edison in 1879.

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/21/science/engineers-take-aim-at-efficien...

Bob, Paulo and I were discussing under cabinet LED lighting the other day and, as mentioned, I replaced the T4 fluorescent strips in our kitchen with LEDs.

This end counter is illuminated by a single 5-watt strip:

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/RAB00.jpg

This other counter is illuminated by a 5-watt and two 3-watt strips:

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/RAB01.jpg

Another 5-watt strip illuminates the sink and serves as a night light; outside of food preparation, we can comfortably do pretty much everything we need to do using this single 5-watt fixture.

Although the original fluorescent system was quite energy efficient, moving to LED cut this load by almost 75 per cent.


Hi Paul,
can you provide a link to the type of strips you are using to illuminate the counter tops? I would like to buy something similar here in Germany.


Hi Dave,

The strips in Canada are sold by RAB Design which I believe is a division of RC Lighting. They're available in 300, 500 and 1000 mm lengths, with a corresponding power draw of 3, 5 and 11-watts respectively. Multiple strips, to a maximum of 36-watts, can be snapped together with a connector or joined via a low-voltage cable (a connector and cable are included with each strip along with a set of retaining clips). You also have the choice of either warm white (3,000 K) or neutral (4,000 K).

See: http://www.rabdesign.ca/productdetails/under-cabinet.html

It's a great product and very easy to install.


Thanks for the link Paul.

I stopped in at Gullevin yesterday to buy and I had a heart attack at the price. Will try direct online purchase.

Admittedly, they're on the pricey side at $34.00 and $55.50 per 300 and 500 mm strip. I bit my lip as I pulled out my wallet, but I couldn't be happier with the overall results. The light over the kitchen sink operates, on average, eight hours a day and now I can get close to one month's worth of service from a single kWh... pretty hard to beat that !


That looks good, Paul.

Making some assumptions about the camera color balance, it looks like these are Cool-white in color?

I've just attached the 3rd counter light where a pair of 8w fluoros were, and took a Kill-a-watt reading, which is admittedly not highly accurate at these low wattages, and the original 43 or so watts is at 13 now. The 39 segments of this amazon 'bargain basement' peel/stick LED strip (containing 100 segments) was about $5 of the $12 I spent.. less than replacing just ONE of the Fluoro Tubes. http://www.amazon.com/HitLights-Flexible-Lighting-Strip-White/dp/B005GL5...

The Warm-white color is fine, but doesn't really compete perceptually with the Cool-white tubes, and so my wife has requested a few more segments over the Stove area (The stove is Gloss Black, and I haven't gotten into the oh-so-valid explanation that this adds to a perception that this area is 'dim', even if there is plenty of light on whatever you're working on..) .. So, I will be boosting the stove area with a stretch of these Neutral White (~4000k) Sections, that are a little more realistically priced at $1.75/segment for an order of 10+. http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/LS-12-NW/12VDC-LED-LIGHT...

I don't know where the balance payment comes with the super cheap ones.. if it's the labor and toxic emissions of how/where they were produced, or the actual lifespan and reliability that they end up giving me, but so far they've been fine. (2 months)

You're correct, Bob. I debated whether to go 3000 or 4000K and ultimately decided on the latter. The original fluorescents were 3200K and were OK, but I prefer something a little richer in the blues.

I plugged each of the old T4s into my power monitor and gave them 5 minutes to stabilize; the shorter lengths were either 13 or 14-watts and the longer ones varied from 17 to 19-watts. Amazingly, the replacements are just as bright (the fluorescents ranged anywhere from 240 to 620 lux at the counter top and the LEDs come in at between 230 to 560 lux).

Again, I couldn't be more pleased with their performance.


Here's an interesting twist. All that blue light you like might be bad for you, depending on the time of day of use.

Aging of Eyes Is Blamed for Range of Health Woes

I find the "Warm White" fluorescents to be pleasant in some locations.

E. Swanson

Perhaps I'm living proof of what you speak, because in my muddled mind I interpreted this the other way.

The aging eye filters out blue light, affecting circadian rhythm and health in older adults.


The gradual yellowing of the lens and the narrowing of the pupil that occur with age disturb the body’s circadian rhythm, contributing to a range of health problems, these studies suggest. As the eyes age, less and less sunlight gets through the lens to reach key cells in the retina that regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, its internal clock.

I'm now keeping light levels low at night in the hope that it might help promote better sleep hygiene, e.g., last night I went to bed at just after 04h00 and was back at my desk at 08h30. Four to five hours sleep is about the best I can expect most nights.


Paul, I'm not suggesting that you are in the same category as the people in this study I'm linking to, but maybe the technique employed will help;

Effects of blue light on the sleep quality of older adults

They did a study at a seniors home, where they shone bright blue LED lights, during the afternoon, to see what effect it had on their sleep patterns (the control was by doing a the same with red led's)

What they found was that those who had had lots of exposure to the bright blue LED's, during the day, slept better during the night, than those exposed to the red - which seemed to have no effect at all.

This, of course, mimics natural daylight, but you don;t get a lot of that playing cards in a seniors home...

My wife and I have a couple of high-intensity fluorescent SAD lights (designed to prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder). Unlike my wife, I don't particularly suffer from SAD, but I figure, a good reading light is a good reading light. It makes the pages a lot brighter and sharper through the reading glasses.

I've found that if I read by the SAD light until I'm tired, around 10:00, and then putter around locking the doors, flossing my teeth, taking my innumerable pills, that when my head hits the pillow I fall asleep immediately.

The only thing is, I can't sleep in until sunrise any more, no later than 5:30 or 6:00, but at least I wake up alert, enthusiastic, and ready to face the day, at least until it's time for my afternoon nap. I am getting older, after all.

Researchers Create Single-Atom Transistor:


"Intel will be rolling out processors built in 22nm this year. Transistors that reach an atom level are expected to be built in the 2020 time frame."

Built, as in not just a lab work-of-art... but not production. 2020 is supposed to be the 15nm level.

Peak computing.

Multiple cores still have a long way to run. Software will need to be restructured to take full advantage, but much of what is commonly used can be broken down into tasks that can operate in parallel. Count the number of processing cores you come in contact with every day: How many in your PC? In your next PC? 20 or so in your car. Probably more than one in your flat-screen TV, particularly if you count dedicated-purpose processors. In your cell phone.

Peak computing is sort of like "peak newspaper". You can only spend so much time per day reading. At some point, you're pretty much using as many processor cycles as your time allows, and the curve flattens drastically.

Dpends what you are doing. At work my appetite for cores grows at least 10% per month, with no limit likely. (At home I'm getting by with one.)

Point. When I did exploratory tech stuff, I experienced the same, simply because they never let me shut down experiments that worked well. Management was not pleased when I suggested that it had reached the point where I should have a shelf in the rack in my cubicle where I could add a blade from time to time.

The question in my mind, though, is how Moore's Law and Rock's Law interact. Rock's Law being the one that says the cost of a fab to produce the integrated circuits that conform to Moore's Law doubles every four years. Do we get to the point where the fab is so expensive and the demand for the smaller cores is small enough that taking the next step is a money loser? This is a serious question for anyone that talks about regionalization or localization; smaller regions have to settle for less expensive fabs, and that balancing point between Moore's and Rock's laws occurs at larger scale (eg, 130 nm, not 25 nm).

Here at home, I am pleased with the behavior that two cores seems to enable: in particular, multiple processes that require low-latency response (eg, the UI and live video) running simultaneously seem to run more smoothly, even when the system is heavily loaded.

I hadn't heard of Rock's law. Has it been holding recently? I do think we are partially overcoming by shrinking the number of fabs, and especially companies. We are close to the limit one super-fab and one supercompany. Actually it may not be the price of the fab itself, but the very specialized equipment, that it consumes. So you might have several physical fabs, all using the same equipment and producing the same producr, with only minor variations. Economy of scale, pushed to the limit. Also high cost of going to the next generation should greatly stretch out the time between advances.

At least in scientific and engineering endeavors the demand for more computing power is open ended. I test such software at work, trying to squeeze better quality out of a rapidly moving target, so the need more more testing capacity grows without limit as well.

This recent story suggests that Rock's Law is alive and well. Intel is selling the services of its new 22 nm fab line as a foundry for other firms' designs. That's a fairly clear sign that Intel doesn't anticipate selling enough of their own 22 nm parts to keep the line full, and they need to spread the capital costs farther. One of the quotes in the story is "It's becoming increasingly difficult for companies to own and operate their own facilities and to develop the latest and greatest process technologies." There's at least an implication in the story that one of the traditional foundry companies simply can't afford to build and operate a 22 nm fab.

OT, but I just heard on a French news channel, that numerous Greeks began cutting woods in the hills to heat their houses, since they can't afford any longer to pay energy bills. Remembered having read something similar from Darwinian in the last Drumbeat, and thought that this piece of news would interest some ppl in here.

Right Youbati, I have been talking about this for years. When things get tough and people get cold, or need fuel for cooking, they will start to cut the trees. We will strip the land of all standing wood and eat every wild thing we can catch.

Contrary to what a lot of people believe, the collapse will be the worst thing that could ever happen to the earth. Of course the earth will eventually recover but it will take millions of years.

Ron P.

I used to say that "PO is not the problem but the solution". But I am beginning to see the problem here. We go down if we keep on, we go down if we stop... Like a pair of trousers; one way in, two ways out, but with the same end result.

Yes, collapse will likely be devastating for ecosystems. Of course, BAU is also devastating for the same.

As for forests and GW, the two are intertwined. GW is devastating and will decimate most forests. As the forests go, by pretty much whatever means, they will add CO2 and methane to the atmosphere further exacerbating GW.

(For the record, I am proud to count my self as even more doomerish than Darwinian on this one count--I do not think that we can state with 100%-or even 90%--confidence that "the earth will eventually recover." As Lovelock has pointed out, the earth is no longer a young, spry thing, but an old lady. And we have inflicted multiple and grievous wounds. Even before the effects of GW got going, we were well into a human caused mass extinction event. With GW, we are adding another extinction event on top of that one. As we collapse, we will swarm over the planet like locusts, sweeping it further of anything that moves or photosynthesizes. Meanwhile, all nukes will go Fukushima or worse, decimating most life in the area...These are likely to push back recorded recovery times from earlier mass extinctions from millions to tens of millions of years up possibly to hundreds of billions of years. At this point you are bumping up against the time when the sun will become so bright that the earth will no longer be a place where life can thrive. And of course in the intervening time other sources of mass extinction are likely to arise. So it could well be that this is it, folks. Have a good day.)

you - In the short term we'll likely see many more such examples of such energy "solutions". But I suspect those will have a relatively small long term impact compared to the expansion of coal as an energy resource. Being abundant and relatively inexpensive, it will be the go-to solution for many: national govt's that want stable economies so they'll want the cheapest energy source; the public that will only elect politicians that promise them cheap energy; the coal companies that will want to make a living; the states/countries with coal resources that need that income; etc, etc.

The folks who would be net losers with coal expansion will be against it, of course. As they say: the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong. But that's how the smart money bets.

But I suspect those will have a relatively small long term impact compared to the expansion of coal as an energy resource.

Rockman, I am one of your greatest fans and you are one of only a few true oilmen on this site. And we are very lucky to have you guys as a resource to draw upon. But you seem to think there is some kind of competition as to what will destroy the world as we know it first. There is not. Every devastating thing adds up and will contribute to our demise.

Deforestation is already having a relatively large and long term impact on the earth. It is causing the expansion of deserts, massive extinction of species, contributes greatly to climate change and when the final chapter of the history of the earth is written, this will be perhaps the greatest tragedy.

Haiti is almost completely cleared of forest. Ethiopia was deforested for some of the same reasons as Haiti, they cut the trees to make charcoal. One can see the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic from space. Likewise the Mexico-Guatemala can be seen from space due to the total deforestation of the Mexico side.

Almost all of Africa will soon be deforested because of cutting for lumber and cutting for fuel. And now the forest of Greece are being cut. It will not end until, like on Easter Island, the last tree is cut. That is a devastatingly large and long term impact if one ever existed.

Of course the expansion of coal will also have a devastatingly large and long term impact on the earth. But there is no competition for what will have worst effect on the environment. One does not have to try to diminish bad affects of deforestation in order to amplify the bad affects of expanded coal use.

Ron P.

Ron - We'll just have to disagree, buddy. I truly do believe the effects of a significant increase in coal consumption will lead to AGW effects that have far greater impact on the world's population than deforestation. Again, a bit theoretical. But deforestation will probably not affect the folks in FL or Madagascar very much. Certainly not as much as a 20' rise in sea level. Eventually we might be able to plant some more trees. Putting the ocean genie back in the bottle could be a tad more difficult. And, if one subscribes that we're seeing violent/expensive weather patterns as a result of AGW today how does that balance against deforestation?

Odd that an increase in coal exports to those countries could lessen the amount of deforestation, eh? in either situation I see neither being abated to any significant degree as slide further down the PO path.

But deforestation will probably not affect the folks in FL or Madagascar very much.

Wow, what a straight line. If the sea level rose 20 feet it would still not take as much land from Madagascar as deforestation already has. And the land is not recoverable, in this millennium anyway, because with the forest cover removed all the topsoil has washed away.

Deforestation in Madagascar

Deforestation[1] with resulting desertification, water resource degradation and soil loss has affected approximately 94% of Madagascar's previously biologically productive lands. Since the arrival of humans 2000 years ago, Madagascar has lost more than 90% of its original forest.[2] 70% of the forest cover of Madagascar was destroyed between 1895 and 1925, while Madagascar was under French rule.


Or go here: Madagascar deforestation There are so many pictures of the devastating effects of deforestation on Madagascar it is hard to pick the worst one.

Madagascar is the only place on earth that lemurs live. There are about 50 species of lemurs there. They are being driven into extinction because of deforestation. So deforestation is having a dramatic effect on humans, lemurs and all other wildlife on Madagascar, a far greater effect than the rising sea level has, or likely will have.

A side note: There is a long story about the evolution of lemurs on Madagascar. Of the 50 some odd species many look almost exactly alike, (while many others look totally different), but cannot interbreed. That is because in times of past of intense global warming Madagascar was actually two islands, due to the high sea level. Some of the same species were separated for so long that they became two different species, due to genetic drift, and cannot interbreed.

Ron P.

This view of the Haitian/Dominican boarder shows what happens to forests when hard poverty sets in. Haiti on the left, of course.

Ron - you got me there. Geography was never my strong point. I should have said Guam. LOL. But you pic makes my point in reverse: the trees and the top soil are already gone. Sad to see for sure but it's done. You could have shown Bz forests clear cut abd replanted with cane to make biofuel. Your point would still be as valid.

But at the same time we won't have that problem in Texas: lots of mesquite to burn that regrows like weeds. LOL. But seriously, if numbers mean anything, how many will be neg affected by what deforestation may happen vs. all the other affects of AGW? I know you said it's not a numbers game. But it still seems like increased coal comsumption will have a greater LONG TERM neg affect than deforesta1tion on a lot more folks. Not for you and I, of course. We'll be turning into coal by that time.

Rockman, deforestation has been happening for well over a century but as of late it has been getting worse. I am not going to argue which is worse, C02 dumping into the atmosphere or deforestation, because this is not a contest. Both are terrible. But I think it really a bad practice to try to diminish the effects of one in an attempt to try to make the other sound so much worse.

Deforestation, or destruction of habitat, has caused an uncountable number of species to be driven into extinction. And by stripping the earth of trees, and therefore topsoil, will drive the carrying capacity of the earth down to less than half what it might support otherwise. And I mean the carrying capacity of all animals, not just humans.

To call that "a relatively small long term impact" is... words fail me.

Ron P.

I strongly belive CC will kill the forest unless we cut them down first. Also in Sweden we have problem with betles eating the inner bark of live spruce trees. Other parts of the world have drought issues. I expect to see the collapse of the Amazon rainforests due to prolonged drought seasons during my expected life time. So weather we cut them down or not, away they will go.

But, on the other hand; would we actually put and end to CO2 emissions, reforestation is the best way to clear the air of the GHG. And we need the trees standing to do that.

So we need to BOTH stop coal fiered energy production AND the deforestation. Solve that puzzle for me please.

Attempts at "significant" increases in coal consumption will probably run into transportation bottlenecks: much of the largest coal deposits are located far from population centers, or efficient/easy transportation. For example, 25% of US coal reserves are in Montana. Russia has very large reserves in Siberia. The US currently exports about 100M tons of coal per year (largely to Europe). To increase that requires building thousand-mile rail lines, large port facilities, bulk cargo carriers, port facilities and distribution networks at the receiving end. Consider the following map showing rail tonnage in the US by route:

The really big fat lines that start in NE Wyoming are, for practical purposes, all coal and suggest the scale of the problem. The Montana deposits are in SE Montana and would require extending the big lines that now end in Wyoming, as well as expanding the capacity to ports somewhere.

A tangential point that can be taken from the map is that the vast majority of coal mined in the west (principally Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah) is burned far to the east. In a big picture, for the US to reduce coal consumption to address AGW is largely a problem for that portion of the US east of the Great Plains. We've seen that with the EPA's new Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that hits coal-fired plants; none of the western coal-producing states are affected by that rule, in large part because they burn so little of their production locally.

But there is no competition for what will have worst effect on the environment. One does not have to try to diminish bad affects of deforestation in order to amplify the bad affects of expanded coal use.

Ron, I am one of your greatest fans and you are one of only a few true realists on this site. Thank you for tirelessly pointing out the fallacies of the extreme optimists and other techno-fantasists.

As you may already know, the danger to our forests is far more pervasive than outright deforestation. The blog at Wit's End is a good source of commentary on the planet-wide effects of tropospheric ozone. The author is routinely dismissed as a crank on other forums, but I find her arguments to be compelling as well as extremely detailed.

Wit's End

Dead Trees - Dying Forests

This is also very much in keeping with the class of problems that fall under the category of "by the time you notice it's a problem, it's already too late", something that is all too familiar to system thinkers.

Of course, as you rightly point out, it's best not to get too narrowly focused. Tropospheric ozone is just one of a whole class of pollutants that are more generally known as phytotoxins. This in addition to the stress of climate change which is rapidly outpacing the ability of forests to adapt, such as the plight of the Yellow Cedar in Alaska.

Yellow-Cedar Are Dying in Alaska: Scientists Now Know Why

This in no way detracts from your comment, I simply wanted to point out that the epidemic of outright deforestation is not the only thing killing the world's forests. Billions of people, most of whom have probably never held a chainsaw, are just as diligently doing their best to turn the entire Earth into a desert.

Best hopes for a poisoned, lifeless, and hot as hell planet.


Thanks so much for this, Jerry. I've been camping with my friends in the same place in New York for over 40 year. Last year, we saw this odd burned-leaf effect for the first time in multiple species in an area that has plenty of water. It's quite dramatic. Something obviously was really wrong, and we've wondered why no one seems to be noticing or saying anything about it. Brings me back to the speculation upthread: How is it that people are not reacting to the dramatic changes that have occurred in the last 40 years? Is the normalcy bias really that strong? Maybe so...

Well, I pointed to this greek bit, not really from a resources POV, but I was rather relating it to the immediate effects of the systemic economico-financial crisis. If people out of job can as fast as 6 months be left to chop down trees to heat themselves... I wonder, should the donwturn worsen here in Europe, if a large bunch of folks dropped out of labor could start to erase forests.

Of course, the extended availability and cheapness of coal would offset this situation, for the reasons you stated, Rockman, but what if 100% economical reasons drive people to cut woods, besides anything related to Peak Oil ? (and don't tell me that PO is one of the determinants of the current crisis, which I tend to agree with). In Greece, these people can simply no longer pay bills.

Considering the crisis a gigantic wealth transfer, schematically the race to the bottom leaves millions of empoverished that begin cutting down forests. Is that really a profit for the top 1% ?

I just realized in a blink that it could happen frighteningly fast. Resource depletion may well be something abstract to many people as for now, but if there is no wealth redistribution (you know, a leftist thing), we will see what depletion means in real time.

I did the math on the Greek bailout vs. the population - honestly, they should just pay everyone the money. If you just count the recently announced bailout and not the previous (failed) bailout, it's over 16,000 per person. So how much does every single Greek citizen owe? And will getting that money improve as many lives as just forgetting it?

Economics is officially a joke to me. They're pushing people into poverty while giving enough money to the banks to give every single person in the country a decent life for a year. I hope the Greeks vote in the Communists and kick the EU out.

The 1% has a much more pressing issue than the forests - eventually they may end up on the dock like the royalty of France and Russia. They are just as out of touch, and they will keep up their game until that happens.

They already did pay the people the money. That's why they borrowed it in the first place.

It will not end until, like on Easter Island, the last tree is cut.

Welcome to Easter Earth.

Maybe there will be some forested areas remaining in the wilds of Siberia? Or do you think we'll get to them also?


There are other thing killing trees - thanks to invasive pests there will soon be many major NA tree species that more or less cease to exist.

I wish I could quickly find the sediment evidence that shows Greece being deforested about 6 times, it looks like we're going for another round. All those stoney Greek islands probably used to look like the California redwoods 50,000 years ago!

So deforesting the earth to the level of modern Haiti, 1700 England, or1800's New England will be bad. But England, the US and even Greece eventually grew back. Oddly, Easter Island has not.

Burning all the coal to push up the global mean by 14 degrees (C) is likely to be a longer term problem.

Still, probably irrelevant on my time line.

And in the short-to-mid term, there are too much people on Earth to allow a deforested area to grow back, contrary to the beginning of the 20th century and before...

Perhaps, in the case of Easter Island, that the area was so small that it lost its full resilience capacity.

I think that sort of events will just amplify the migration flux from small and fast-stripped areas towards larger and more ecologically resilient zones.

Say what you will about John Hofmeister but he has OPEC pegged. He just said on CNBC that OPEC has no spare capacity. I will post the link to the video as soon as it pops up on the CNBC web site. It usually takes a couple of hours or so for it to appear.

Ron P.

At least Hofmeister is a Peak Oil critic who is capable of acknowledging reality, in contrast to some residents of Fantasy Island, such as Michael C. Lynch.

Hofmeister also described the rebound in US crude oil production as a "Trickle, when we need a flood," and he continues to (accurately) point out that increasing demand in developing countries, especially the Chindia region, is the primary driver in global oil markets.

Speaking of residents of Fantasy Island, Ed Wallace, who has a automotive talk show in the Dallas area, was on local TV last night (Fox), explaining that the North American Mid-continent price of oil is the "true" price of oil, since it is not influenced by the rampant speculation that we are seeing in global markets.

Concerning Ed Wallace's take, there is more speculation on the NYMEX, with WTI, than all other exchanges combined. That means that the North American Mid-continent price, the WTI price, is more influenced by speculators than anywhere else in the world.

As I have said before, those damn speculators are keeping the price down. ;-)

Ron P.

Let's see, the price of a barrel of oil from Canada, landlocked (for the time being) in the Mid-continent, represents the "true" price of oil, but the price of a barrel of oil in a tanker in the Gulf of Mexico, which can go to the high bidder worldwide, is not indicative the "true" price, because global prices are driven by speculation. I wondered how Mr. Wallace was able to maintain a straight face, while putting out nonsense like this.

To the average viewer, it sounds like logic*. And the conclusion is the want they want. Their "moral" cognition says "I deserve cheaper gas", therefore the cheaper price is the correct one. Any audience polling on who is more convincing?

* As long as they don't try to follow the details, which view want to or could do.

I think Hofmeister is learning. He spent a full day with Tad Patzek and listened carefully to what Patzek explained to him. Patzek did explain to him why more people are coming to understand the myth of OPEC spare capacity.

The fact that there is no spare capacity fits right in with Hofmeister's main narrative - which is that we need to free up American drilling from political limitations.

What Hofmeister did not learn (or did not want to learn) is that real capacity in the US is totally inadequate to accomplish his goals.

Unlike others here I think Hofmeister's message - which I think is totally wrong - will be useful to raising awareness about our energy situation. Simply because Hofmeister will be trotted out to the media on a relentless basis and everyone will start hearing from a former Shell UsA CEO that we are facing a near term energy crisis.

ASPO has been saying that for years but the media pays no attention to ASPO.

I saw the video of the debate between Patzek and Hofmeister, and frankly if Hofmeister hadn't been introduced I would have taken him to be some kind of politician. I was surprised by his sweeping generalizations and rhetoric. He thinks that Americans don't need to become more efficient in energy usage. Basically he says that one can drive Hummers on Bio-Fuels and NG forever.

According to him geology is irrelevant and if there was an independent(Just like the Federal Reserve) Federal Energy Board, US would be able to solve all it's energy problems once and for all.

IMO he comes across as another oligarch who has no interest in discussing solutions to our current problems; the proverbial grasshopper.

The John Hofmeister link: Gas to Hit $5 By Summer?

The Donald Trump link: Trump: Greece Made Terrible Mistake Going Over to Euro

Trump says it is all the fault of OPEC.

Ron P.

Excerpts from the Hofmeister transcript:

"(Oil) Demand globally is not down. That's the issue. Demand continues to rise in Asia and whether we (the US) use less or not, doesn't matter. Price is going up because supply can't keep up with the demand . . .

I think OPEC is about maxed out. When people talk about spare capacity in OPEC, I don't see it. I just don't see it coming through and I'm not sure it's there. And it's not just that they're greedy, but they're really producing what they can produce."

My 2¢ worth (with a corrected "bank" metaphor):

In round numbers, I estimate that the remaining cumulative supply of (net) exported oil available to importers other than China & India is falling at an annual rate (8%/year, 2005 to 2010) that is about three times the rate that the annual volume of (net) exported oil available to importers other than China & India is falling (2.8%/year, 2005 to 2010).

Think of it this way. Let's assume you have $55,000 in the bank and you withdraw $10,000 the first year, $9,000 the second year, $8,000 the third year and $7,000 the fourth year. The rate of decline in annual withdrawals is 12%/year, but the cash balance in the account is falling at 25%/year. Note that in simple percentage terms, after four withdrawals the withdrawal rate was down by only 30% ($10,000 to $7,000), but the cash balance in the account would have fallen by 62% ($55,000 to $21,000). The annual withdrawal rate is analogous to annual net oil exports and the cash balance in the account at the end of a given year would be analogous to remaining post-peak Cumulative Net Exports.

Trump's tongue (and ego) often gets ahead of his brain but he is right in part, Greece made a terrible mistake going over to the Euro.

He's wrong about it being all OPEC's fault. Goldman Sachs dodgy dealings and secret swaps coupled with the Greeks' desire to play in the big league of Europe and the willful blindness of the Eurostat regulators, all had a hand in contributing to the fiasco.
How Goldman Sachs helped mask Greece's debt

That said, I think oil will finish it off. Once Iran pulls the plug, the Eurozone will sink. Maybe that's why Europe is so gun-ho about sanctions. Easier to say a belligerent outsider did away with the project that one's own internal deficiencies.

Btw, when is anyone go to bell the cat? Goldman Sachs has profited off every economic misery in the past ten years. The vampire squid (the firm not the animal) is a predatory parasite that ought to be exposed and dismantled. Yet nobody in high places ever seems to want to suggest that it anything but a good corporate citizen of sterling reputation. Meanwhile, the revolving door between market and government continues and we're all the poorer for it.

Slightly OT, possibly, but interesting.

Ancient plants back to life after 30,000 frozen years

"Scientists in Russia have grown plants from fruit stored away in permafrost by squirrels over 30,000 years ago."

A couple of thoughts come to mind.

Firstly, that the frozen seed banks being created, such as Svalbad , have a reasonably good chance of preserving seed material for a long time.

Secondly, a warming climate may destroy many such natural seed caches which today lie under the permafrost.

Peak Airwaves?

Sorry, America: Your wireless airwaves are full

"NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The U.S. mobile phone industry is running out of the airwaves necessary to provide voice, text and Internet services to its customers."

This can be fixed by using more short range towers. But this increases cost and reduces profit.

Or by using more cable where it does not need radio waves. If it does not move; pull a cable. You do not need wireless broadband toyour stationary computer. A phone that never leaves the desk does not need to be a cell. We are wasting bandwith like there was no limit to it.

Didn't Citigroup call an end to Peak Oil the other day? They're at Peak BS.

C had a high price of 583.90 USD at one time, 58.39 before the reverse split of 10 for 1. It is at 33 today. It would be 3.30 USD if it hadn't reverse split. If you bought their stock before it fell from grace, you were not a winner. Enough to make a grown man cry.

Bankers and economists haven't a clue. They'll be better off taking a nap.

Matthew Yglesias weighs in on the inflation debate. He argues that the best measure of inflation isn't price, but wages. (Or "unit labor cost.") If they aren't going up, it's not inflation.

I would say, for example, that one of the great virtues of the more globalized economy of 2012 rather than 1972 is that the freer flow of goods across borders makes inflation much less likely.

It doesn't matter what you call it. All that matters is my ability to pay. The disconnectedness of these folks is becoming laughable.

In a sense, you're right. It doesn't matter if oil costs $1000 a barrel or $10 a barrel, if you can't pay either price.

Inflation vs. deflation matters when it comes to policy. But I think he makes a more interesting point. That is...things may well be different now.

People who fear hyperinflation often point to Weimar...forgetting that hyperinflation was ended by the Depression and it was actually Weimar deflation that propelled Hitler to power. And with the current, global, electronic economy, it just might not work the way it did back then.

Even more recent financial crises...in Argentina, a lot of the hardship was because of restrictions on cash withdrawals (to keep people from removing their assets from the country). But today, most people could get by fine without cash. The government could block us from removing money from the country, while allowing us to spend all we want within the country.

Who knows, that might make things worse, for reasons we don't yet realize. But there's reason to think that whatever happens, it won't be what happened in the last century.

EU to vote on oil sands pollution

European Union officials are expected to vote on draft legislation that would label Canadian fuel as more polluting than oil from other parts of the world.

Considering that the EU is not likely to benefit much from the oil sands this is a nice way for Europe to distract attention from its own woes and to gain extra political scoring points on the green front.

Expect a bit of hyperbole and exaggeration with this. Canada is a convenient whipping boy for environmental activists. Some of the concerns are legitimate, yes, but much of the rhetoric is probably less so.

The reality is, however, oil (the WTI differential aside) is holding its own at over $100/barrel. Shutting down oil sands production would probably not be in Europe's interest.

Maybe Canada should join Iran and do something to strike the point home. Perhaps declare, starting tomorrow, a six month moratorium on Athabaska production, you know in light of Europe's enlightened criticism. Even the threat of that would likely bring a renew focus on the Keystone debate, as well as watching European politicians turn from green to bright red as they witness the effects of taking 1.2 million /barrels a day off line.

It's not going to happen of course. But I do get frustrate at the disconnect in people's minds. There is a blatant contradiction within the green movement. Most people remain oblivious to how much our lifestyle is dependent on fossil fuels. Take that away and the convenience of our daily living becomes very hard, very fast. It's easy to shout green, green, green. It's easy to vilify the tearing up of vast expanses of boreal forests. But to name the alternative is a very different discussion.

This would be the same Europe that imports biodiesel made from slash and burn oil palm plantations in Malaysia and elsewhere?

And, presently, they don't import one drop of oilsands oil, and aren;t likely to anytime soon.

So, I think the Canadian government should not even waste any breath responding to what the Europeans say - if they don;t want to buy the oil, then fine.

As for tearing up the boreal forest, the oilsands operations are, really, rank amateurs at that. The Canadian lumber industry is much more efficient at tearing up the boreal forests.

And a part of said forest ends up as the 1.5 million tons of wood pellets that Europe buys from Canada each year.

The hypocrisy of the (continental) EU knows no bounds.

I think that the Canadian government has become thoroughly fed up with the Europeans' moral hypocrisy, and just wants to take them in front of an international court to embarrass them.

Of course, it doesn't mean anything to Canada in money terms, because the EU does not import oil sands production from Canada. It's just the principle of the thing.

The Canadian government has a few other things that the Europeans have bugged them over the years about (seal hunting, fishing rights), but this is an opportunity to play nasty with them. It's going to take them to court and say, "Prove your allegations".

And then when they can't prove them, it's going to hit them with some nasty trade sanctions - e.g. sky-high import duties on French wine and German sausages.

I don't know for sure, but this is based on knowing the personalities involved.

The really big developing market is China, and that's what is important.

I don't have an exact count, but it seems like most or possibly all the canadian posters on here are in favor of using the Alberta tar sands to whatever degree is financially advantageous irrespective of the environmental impact. This goes to the heart of the problem of humankind, from the standpoint that economic advantage always supercedes environmental concern. Canadians will benefit greatly from tar sand tax revenue, so who could blame them? It's a natural response. But that is the problem. Once economic advantage is seen, there go the trees in Borneo for Palm oil, there goes concern for aquifers from fracking, and so on.

The inherent problem arises from two distinct worlds; the natural and economic worlds. What's good for the latter isn't necessarily good for the former, but the former is most often advantageous to the latter, supporting conflict of interests. And the result of those are a path to cause all sorts of eventual mayhem. We are a product of our economic environment, not the natural one, that is until the natural one reaches thresholds upon which the economic one whithers until the advantage of exploiting the natural one ceases.


Not all of the Cdn posters here are in agreement about the development of the oilsands.

But the real disagreement, on the oilsands, about the impact on the environment of their development - is it really as big a deal as many people would have you believe?

When someone from LA tells me that oilsands developments are bad for the environment, I tell them to look at a satellite image of the LA basin, and the dried up Owens lake, Colorado aqueduct, Salton Sea, etc and then tell me which one has had the bigger impact?

That doesn;t change your point that economic factors usually take precedence over environmental ones, just that the environmental factors of the oilsands aren;t as big as many people make out. See the photos above of Madagascar for some real -irreversible -environmental destruction.

The thing about the Canadian oil sands is that, by Canadian standards, they don't take up that much of the vast boreal forests. They are bigger than Great Britain, but so what? Canada has islands of its own that are bigger than Great Britain.

The immediate concern is that the rest of the world is running out of oil. Not only does Canada have the means to mitigate this very serious global problem, but it has the opportunity to make large amounts of money doing so.

They might rearrange the landscape while they're developing the oil sands, but they will restore the land after they are done. By comparison, Great Britain was once as heavily forested as the oil sands area (in fact the trees grew faster and became much larger) but now resembles some kind of large garden. The British will never restore it to original condition because they think that what they see now is natural.

The rest of the vast Canadian boreal forest will remain unaffected by oil sands development, and after the oil sands are produced, the land will be restored to as good as or better condition. They are aiming for better (i.e. as good as the British countryside).


We are a product of our economic environment, not the natural one, that is until the natural one reaches thresholds upon which the economic one whithers until the advantage of exploiting the natural one ceases.

Yeah, and the EU stops the import of seal pelts, locals go on EI instead of harvesting seals, the seal pop explodes and the fish stocks decline in link, but everyone rejoices. No more seal hunt. Bridgette Bardot is so happy.

Everyone's happy, except those out of work, of course.

Now, they don't like the sands oil?

My relatives moved to the New World hundreds of years ago. Easy to see why. Export west young man....export west.


Until we, as a species, or even as a country or continent, start to deal with resource depletion, let alone the totality of ecological overshoot, I'm not going to sweat the Oil Sands.

An Oil Sands barrel is no better or worse than any one of the ten million barrels that the US produces every day, or any one of the 17? 18? million barrels it consumes.

None of us knows the provenance of the fuel in our car: it all looks the same and works the same. (I'm sure many of the people protesting the Keystone Pipeline use Oil Sands oil in their cars.) It doesn't matter where it's produced or where it's consumed. It all goes to the same place: into the atmosphere. The fact that a little more carbon is released in the processing of Oil Sands oil is immaterial. It's the old prostitute joke: "We've established what you are: we're only dickering on price now." (Or carbon footprint, in this case.)

Supporting the system is supporting the Oil Sands.

I don't see any of the protesters saying "We'd like everyone to use 15% less fuel, as a country, in perpetuity (I'm assuming my mythical community organizer doesn't actually understand peak oil or exponential population growth here), so we don't need to use that dirty Oil Sands oil."

Instead, we hear that the system is fine and the problem is those @#$%&* Canadians and their dirty oil.

To my mind, this is hypocrisy, pure and simple.


Most of the people on this blog are for cutting back consumption bigtime. But we aren't in the protests. And a sign saying "The problem is YOU, cut back your consumption" wouldn't attract many followers.

Most of the people on this blog are for cutting back consumption bigtime.

And my comment was regarding the unenlightened outside world.

And a sign saying "The problem is YOU, cut back your consumption" wouldn't attract many followers.

I'm aware of that. However, here, in a reason based (for the most part) arena, when invited to expand my position on something I usually comment on only peripherally, I don't have to worry about that stuff and can call hypocrisy hypocrisy. The fact that people don't want to be told they're the problem doesn't change the objective fact that we are, in fact, the problem.

That said, I'm curious: if telling people they are the problem and should cut back on consumption isn't going to win me any friends, how do you convince them that they need to reduce consumption? Seems to be a Catch 22.


From a Canadian perspective (I'm not Canadian) there are problems in the rest of the world but at the same time it doesn't necessarily apply nearly as much to a food, energy and relatively climate secure Canada. They could easily take the position of a drug pusher, it's their choice to buy the oil, if they don't like it then they shouldn't buy it. One could easily ask why other countries continue to dig their own graves when almost none of the problems the rest of the world faces actually applies domestically.

Can a Papermaker Help to Save Civilization?

... “Sometimes I worry about what a weird thing it is to be preoccupied with paper when there’s so much trouble in the world,” Barrett told me, “but then I think of how our whole culture is knitted together by paper, and it makes a kind of sense.”

One of Barrett’s coming projects involves gathering a team of students to reproduce what he called the “production environment” of a 15th-century paper mill — making paper in relatively high volume and treating the product as a useful commodity rather than a luxury item. ... Barrett’s work has been driven by the notion that good materials, worked by hand, transmit their power in ways that the products of less painstaking manufacture can’t.

I've sometimes wondered what skills would be necessary to keep civilization going in a post peak world. I think papermaking is worth saving.

There has been a good bit of discussion on thearchdruidreport about paper and typesetting (Greer has or is aquiring a manual printing press, IIRC). When the company my wife worked for folded a few years ago they told her to take whatever office supplies were left. There were several boxes of acid-free, archive quality printer paper (about 35,000 sheets), along with the regular stuff. I grabbed them and have them stored, if only to print important documents and worthy online content. Now I just need lots of permanent ink cartridges :-/ JIC, I picked up a couple of thousand quality pencils at the flea market for just a few dollars. All of this may be of some use to someone, going 'forward'.

And when we can't have all the actual high tech toys anymore, when can have cardboard cut-out versions of them;

Amazing collection of them here;
download, print, fold, paste

A quick google search shows lots of sites for home made paper, though most of them use recycled paper. Paper making, like weaving, is a classic example of a laborious job made much easier by automation.

If that company makes an EV, they should call it the Fiat Currency!

Civilisation faces 'perfect storm of ecological and social problems'

... Apart from dire warnings about biodiversity loss and climate change, the group challenges governments to think differently about economic "progress".

"The rapidly deteriorating biophysical situation is more than bad enough, but it is barely recognised by a global society infected by the irrational belief that physical economies can grow forever and disregarding the facts that the rich in developed and developing countries get richer and the poor are left behind.

"The perpetual growth myth ... promotes the impossible idea that indiscriminate economic growth is the cure for all the world's problems, while it is actually the disease that is at the root cause of our unsustainable global practices", they say.

Synthesis report:

Unfortunately, humanity’s behavior remains utterly inappropriate for dealing with the potentially lethal fallout from a combination of increasingly rapid technological evolution matched with very slow ethical-social evolution.

The human ability to do has vastly outstripped the ability to understand. As a result civilization is faced with a perfect storm of problems driven by overpopulation, overconsumption by the rich, the use of environmentally malign technologies, and gross inequalities.

They include loss of the biodiversity that runs human life-support systems, climate disruption, global toxification, alteration of critical biogeochemical cycles, increasing probability of vast epidemics, and the specter of a civilization-destroying nuclear war.

These biophysical problems are interacting tightly with human governance systems, institutions, and civil societies that are now inadequate to deal with them.

Stark warning emerges from science summit

A stark theme emerged from an annual scientific get-together in Vancouver: the world must be helped to believe in science again or it could be too late to save our planet

"We have to plan for a future, considering the risk of climate change, with nine to 10 billion people," said Hans Rosling, a Swedish public health expert famous for combating scientific ignorance with catchy YouTube videos.

Rosling, pointing to charts showing how human populations changed with technology and how without science the majority of a family's children die, said it is naive to think that humanity can easily go backward in history.

"I get angry when I hear people say: 'In the rainforest people live in ecological balance.' They don't. They die in ecological balance," he said.

it is naive to think that humanity can easily go backward in history

Humans can go backwards in history with zero effort mother nature will do all the work. It will take much human effort to avoid going backwards in history.

"I get angry when I hear people say: 'In the rainforest people live in ecological balance.' They don't. They die in ecological balance," he said.

Yes, yes!

Also the myth of the peaceful Native Americans. If you forget about all the nations that practiced war. And let's not even talk about the cannibals of central America.

You keep Gaia, I'll keep the reformation, the enlightenment, English common law, and individual rights.

"I'll keep the reformation, the enlightenment, English common law, and individual rights"

Good luck with that. They're going extinct faster than the flora and fauna.

There are lots of ways that story has been told.


As the Indians were standing along the shore watching the Puritans arrive, the Indians carried with them a tradition of meeting and democracy, of free speech, of free thinking, of tolerance for each other's differences of religion, of all those things which got attached to the Bill of Rights.13 White leaders watched the method of government that the Iroquois utilized and they learned union and democracy from it. Historians are now beginning to admit what they must have been aware of, that the government of the United States is not patterned after something across the ocean where there was a belief in the divine right of kings and where the people had no voice, but it is patterned after the government of the People of the Long House, where all people, including both men and women were respected and took a part in their government.14


During the discussions at Albany (Benjamin) Franklin addressed the assemblage in words that freely acknowledged the Iroquois Confederacy as a model to build upon:

"It would be a strange thing...if Six Nations of ignorant savages should be capable of forming such a union and be able to execute it in such a manner that it has subsisted ages and appears indissoluble, and yet that a like union should be impractical for ten or a dozen English colonies, to whom it is more necessary and must be more advantageous, and who cannot be supposed to want an equal understanding of their interest." 21

When Franklin proposed his plan of union before the Congress it had a 'Grand Council," a "Speaker," and called for a "general government... under which... each colony may retain its present constitution" all nomenclature and concept derived from the Confederacy.22

These biophysical problems are interacting tightly with human governance systems, institutions, and civil societies that are now inadequate to deal with them.

As seen on peak oil news:

Why Do Political And Economic Leaders Deny Peak Oil And Climate Change?

Political (and religious) leaders gain votes, wealth, and power by telling people what they want to hear. Several politicians have told me privately that people like to hear good news and that politicians who bring bad news don’t get re-elected. “Don’t worry, be happy” is a vote getter. Carrying capacity, exponential growth, die-off, extinction, population control — these are not ideas that get leaders elected.

I think I'll start actively campaigning for religious zealots in office on the slim hope that they'll launch the nukes and just get it over with already.


Voting for the lesser evil gets boring, doesn't it?

Especially when it feels like a hopeless rearguard activity that only slows the slide.

Billionaire Fredriksen Sees Golar LNG Rates Surging: Freight

... Rising requirements from Japan mean Golar LNG Ltd., which operates nine LNG tankers and is controlled by shipping billionaire John Fredriksen, will report a fourfold gain in 2012 net income, according to the mean of 11 analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Golar is reactivating four-decade-old mothballed ships after rates doubled in 2011 and are forecast by analysts to advance another 58 percent in 2012.

Traders redirected 13 ships to Asia from Europe or the U.S. in the past month, data compiled by Bloomberg show. LNG from Nigeria, the largest exporter in the Atlantic, sold for 93 percent more in Japan than in the U.K. in January, up from 40 percent 11 months ago, according to New York-based Poten & Partners.

"This bottleneck cannot be corrected overnight,"

I'm seeing a lot more articles on EV's these days and I have to say that I like the trend.

Though EV's don't fix any of the energy overuse problems we have as a society, they do open up the door for small community and individual fuel sourcing in ways that conventional IC engines don't. This makes them a better vehicle for trying out new ideas that could potentially lead to a storm of silver BB's.

It would be better still if we saw more *actual* EV's, rather than just articles about them. LIke solar PV, the amount of press they get is orders of magnitude greater than their actual impact.

I do agree they are better for the reasons you say - about local fuel sourcing etc, but really, the problem is the car-centric society, and society in general seems unwilling to give that up, or even just reduce it, no matter how good the results can be;

After all, which would you rather have in your neighbourhood - this street (Norwalk, Ct)

or this

Which is actually the same street but with the asphalt digitally removed. Get rid of the cars - be they ICE or EV, and your local neighbourhood becomes a place you want to stay in, rather than one you want to leave. That is how you localise a town/economy.

(full description here)

Yes, without the cars is nicer, but I do like the sunlight, so, a little wider walkway please.

But make it any wider and someone will try to drive down it...

Put some sitting benches in the middle. It will be nice to have a place to sit and it will stop people from driving down the walkway. In Burlington, Vermont they converted a car street to a people street. They use concrete pillars and a chain in the middle to stop the cars. I think they do not put the pillars straight across because they want to have fire truck access if needed.

Photos of Church Street Marketplace, Burlington
This photo of Church Street Marketplace is courtesy of TripAdvisor

For the main public gathering areas, which this obviously is, then sure. But you don;t need, or want, to do that to every street - it just becomes a waste of space.
That is more of a "plaza" than a "street", which is fine. But for the "streets", you want them narrow. It makes it feel more personal scale, even if there is the odd car driving along them. Now "roads", which are primarily for transport, are a different beast, but once you get to where you are going, or close to, by road (or train, bus etc), then you want to be able to walk down the street, or if you are feeling haughty, then the "avenue".

The obsession with being able to drive to, and park in front of, the door of the business is the problem. Planning streets for people is much easier than for cars.

Of course, if you already have the wide streets, dominated by cars, then you can just start to reclaim them, to let bikes and people and "life" in, like this exercise done, in of all, places, Dallas;

The Better Block Project

The key thing is to not let cars dominate - they can dominate the roads and freeways, but not the multi-functional streets.

I agree with what you say about streets. But we will be left with the existing infrastructure for a long time. Streets maybe re-purposed but they are the width they are.

Well, when you do your re-purposing, you can change that.

In my small town the main "shopping" street has two sidewalks each 12' wide, and then the street itself, two lanes of traffic and two lanes of parking, 40' wide, to make the whole thing 65'

Get rid of the cars, and the paved street could be built upon to give you a 35' wide row of buildings down the middle and two 15' lanes where the current sidewalks are. Plenty of room for people, bikes or an emergency vehicle, if needed. Even delivery vehicles could come - at certain hours.

In doing something like that, you can create building space without needing to build any new roads, reclaim any farmland, cause anyone to have to drive further, etc (you may need to lay/re-lay water and sewer pipes depending on where they were beforehand)

The city has more buildings paying taxes to support less sq. ft of pavement, and the higher density of people generally will have to drive less and can walk to more things.

Building in on a street like that is a major change, but sometimes major change is needed. Cities are potentially sitting on a fortune in tax-paying real estate that currently is under tax-consuming pavement...

Cities are potentially sitting on a fortune in tax-paying real estate that currently is under tax-consuming pavement...

A really good, easy 1st step: charge market rates for all that parking!

You know parking fees are way too low when you can't find a place to park.

Well, yes and no. High parking fees tends to encourage the the strip mall or Wal-Mart type sprawl developments - if your time is not costing you money, it is worth the drive to them to save $4 in parking

My concept here is to rebuild the town cores so that the space performs useful functions, and people are less dependent on cars, not more.

High parking rates may generate some income, but that doesn;t mean the space is really performing a useful function.

Well, cities tend to require free parking in store parking lots, and then provide free or badly underpriced municipal parking on the street.

So, stop requiring free parking in store parking lots, and then raise rates for municipal parking on the street.

IIRC, they also allow delivery trucks early in the morning, up to 7:30 or 8 am as I recall.

I, too, find that dark, narrow passage off-putting. Kinda scary, in fact.

Keep in mind, this is an early morning photo, so most of it is in shade.

but the narrow streets, in and of themselves, are actually quite charming - as long as you are not dodging cars.

Many British town/cities have streets like this that go off from the "high street" (what we would call the main street). They are punctuated with irregularly spaced openings like squares, courtyards, even a mini-park.

You want the streets to feel alive - if they are too wide for the amount of people then it starts to feel deserted.

The people on this street in Paris don;t seem particularly scared, I'd say they are even enjoying themselves;

Once you get rid of the cars, there really isn;t much need for wide streets - everything can become human scale again.

Once you get rid of the cars, there really isn;t much need for wide streets - everything can become human scale again.

A little depending on how big a city is. The main shopping streets in Istanbul for example are about 10-12 meter wide and lot of times completely loaded with people.

I'm not sure about that - that photo above is from Paris, which is not your small town. But it will vary from place to place.
You don't want the streets too wide, or they seem deserted. It's like a party with the same number of people in a large house or a small condo - the party in the condo will seem much more alive and bustling - which is how we want the city streets to feel.
Too much space and they are not inviting - except to cars, of course...

I think these photos were put up a while ago and I commented that the Americans would find the latter scary ;) Being from the UK I would much prefer it though, there are some wonderful places like that and I know one, in particular, in London that had a truly fantastic pub in it.


yep, I have put these photos up before. I think this is the best example I have seen of how the character changes if you do nothing else other than remove the cars and pavement.

it all depends on whether you view the street as (a) a place to do something (shop, watch, meet, eat or drink) or (b) a way to get from A to B, or even (c) as a place to avoid for fear of getting mugged.

I view it as (a), but I think most Americans view it as (b) or even (c).

Streets like this have great hole-in-the wall shops and pubs (I went to a pub at Turnham Green that was called "the hole in the wall"! - it was actually a rebuild from a WW2 "bomb gap")

Having these interesting streets, with shops at ground and people living above makes for great neighbourhoods with lots of character - just like many traditional Euro towns, or old parts of modern cities.

There is something to be said for having everything in walking distance....

They did something similar up here for real, though they still let buses down Nicolette Ave.

It's one of the nicer places to be if you are downtown.

But my point is more about EV's of any stripe opening up options for local energy reliance, electric bikes are even better than electric cars.

You can't power a gas burner with PV or wind.

"local energy reliance"

That is the key point. What gets me is that for most people the only alternative to oil, is some of other form of energy to power the vehicle, rather than questioning the need for the vehicle itself.

Buses ares till pretty intimidating to pedestrians. The downtown part of Granville St in Vancouver is a bus only area, but it's not really a nice place for strolling. During the 2010 winter Olympics, it was closed off to the buses and given over, completely, to people, and the difference was amazing.

Not every street has to have vehicles, and the ones that don't are places where people want to be - once they get out of their vehicles.

Oh, we don't need vehicles of any sort, but there is a quality of life thing where being able to move people and product relatively large distances rapidly makes life better in many ways.

You don't need 3000 lbs of fire-belching metal to gain those benefits, however.

Increased Amount of Rail Freight Requires Cities to Change

When switching to a sustainable transport system, one key factor involves shifting more freight transport from road to rail. This change, however, can result in increased environmental problems in the local urban environment – primarily due to transshipment from train to lorry, that must almost always take place in order to transport the freight the last mile.

For historical reasons, intermodal freight terminals are generally located in close vicinity to the passenger train station. An increased level of rail freight leads to more local air pollution, noise and congestion at these central locations. If, on the other hand, freight is transported by road the entire distance, the negative effects inside cities may diminish, for instance because many lorries do not need to enter the urban core.

So the question is: how can this dilemma of global sustainability versus local sustainability be resolved?

Well, in the cities I am familiar, they just removed the freight yards and redundant tracks from the city center and moved them to an industrial area - typically in the east of the city since prevailing winds blow from west to east in the temperate zones. They left the passenger stations where they were.

Then they built the inter-modal freight transfer yards adjacent to the rail yards in the same industrial area of the city. It seemed to work fairly well for mitigating the impact on residential areas in the west.

This was actually an application of the sector theory of zoning. You slice a city like a pie and zone the west for residential development and the east for industry because wind typically blows pollution from west to east. Then you put all the freight railroads, trucking, warehouses, and factories in the east, and run rail lines from the west to get workers to their jobs in the east.

That is far more organized than the way most cities are laid out.

Engineers develop cement with 97 percent smaller CO2 and energy footprint

"Cement consumption is rapidly rising, especially in newly industrialized countries, and it's already responsible for 5 percent of human-made carbon dioxide. This is a unique way to limit the environmental consequences of meeting demand," Dr. Alex Moseson, one of the lead researchers on the project, said.

"Our cement is more like ancient Roman cement than like modern Portland," Moseson said. "Although we won't know for 2,000 years if ours has the longevity of Roman buildings, it gives us an idea of the staying power of this material."

New from GAO ...

Economic Circumstances of Individuals Who Exhausted Benefits

Among the 15 million workers who lost jobs from 2007 to 2009, half received Unemployment Insurance (UI), and about one-fourth of the recipients exhausted UI benefits by January 2010. This represents 2 million displaced workers who exhausted UI as of early 2010, the most recent survey data available. Labor estimated that about an additional 3-1/2 million individuals exhausted benefits in 2010 and 2011.

Many of the displaced workers who exhausted UI by January 2010 appear to have faced difficult economic circumstances. Their unemployment rate was high—46 percent in January 2010.

Here in the UK you get unemployment benefit (about $100 per week) for 6 months, no matter what your savings. After that, you don't get full unemployment benefit until your savings are less than approx $5000. At that point, you get benefit forever. Or until you get a job :)

While this may sound like madness to the Tea Party, I actually prefer it to the prevailing system in the world's largest economy (the USA).

Here we go, boys and girls. They are starting to reverse the pipelines to get the surplus of Canadian and North Dakota oil to the refineries on the Gulf Coast who need it.

Seaway crude oil pipeline purging for reversal

  • Flows still scheduled to be reversed June 1
  • Lack of pipelines south has depressed WTI prices
  • Reversal is historic move to ease Midwest glut

Enterprise Products has begun purging the Seaway pipeline ahead of a reversal that will move crude out of the glutted Midwest and into the U.S. Gulf Coast refining hub and likely bring U.S. oil futures closer in line with world prices.

"We just started that this weekend. We're not really giving information out as to when it will be completed. But we will still expect to be able to reverse flow by June 1. We're on schedule," Enterprise spokesman Randy Burkhalter said.

"We expect to be able to flow up to 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) south," Burkhalter said. To empty the line for reversal, Genscape estimates 90,000 bpd are being pushed into Cushing, the only direction in which purging could occur prior to reversal, Genscape spokesman Abudi Zein said.

With 2.3 million barrels in the line, which historically has run from the Gulf Coast to Cushing, it will take weeks to accomplish emptying, Genscape said.

Ethanol futures price is now a dollar below gasoline futures price.

Ethanol industry aims to cut glut as subsidy ends

Previous gluts have usually resolved themselves by demand growing each year as federal requirements for ethanol uses continued to kick in. But producers already are blending retail gasoline with 10% ethanol, leaving little room for additional gains under government mandates.

Radiation detected 400 miles off Japanese coast

Radioactive contamination from the Fukushima power plant disaster has been detected as far as almost 400 miles off Japan in the Pacific Ocean, with water showing readings of up to 1,000 times more than prior levels, scientists reported Tuesday.

But those results for the substance cesium-137 are far below the levels that are generally considered harmful, either to marine animals or people who eat seafood, said Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

It's amazing what you can say by where you choose to cut your quotes, isn't it?

... amazing what you can say by where you choose to cut your quotes, isn't it?

The results are for water samples taken in June, about three months after the power plant disaster

Yep. It is indeed.

I'm still waiting for the mass damage list to come in. So far all we've got is a bunch of animals that were abandoned to die because officials were afraid to let people into the area to get them out.

An area that has had people working at the center of the problem for months now, with few reported casualties of any kind.

You know by now who I think is to blame.

Private Prison Company to Demand 90% Occupancy

The nation's largest private prison company is offering cash-strapped state governments to buy up their penitentiaries and manage convicted criminals at a cost-savings. But there's a catch…the states must guarantee that are there are enough prisoners to ensure that the venture is profitable to the company.

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) has reached out to 48 states as part of a $250 million plan to own existing prisons and manage their operations. But in return CCA wants a 20-year contract and assurances that the state will keep the prisons at least 90% full.

Inmates are the assets at the root of prison privatization. [Kinda like 'property' - they can be bought and sold]

also Private Company Makes Bid to Control State Prisons

meanwhile in Saudi Arabia ...

Silent Arab Spring

... This is Hussain. I’m from Qatif, east Saudi Arabia. I read your article ”The Saudi Arab Spring Nobody Noticed” and I thought that you would be interested following the updates of the pro-democracy protest. Because nobody, or few non-Arabs, know details about Qatif, we recently opened an English page in Facebook for updating international community.

Recently, 4 more people were martyred in Qatif by the live bullets of Saudi Forces. They don’t use water or tear gas to stop the protestors, they use live bullets, shooting with a kalashnikov! They didn’t come to my beloved city with police, they came with tanks as if they were going to war!

... By the way, Occupy Qatif says its Twitter account was suspended, and that it had to start a new one. Hmmm. Nothing to do with that Saudi prince buying $300 million in Twitter insider shares?

also Scoring the Global War on Terror: From Liberation to Assassination in Three Quick Rounds

and Lieberman Edges US to War with Iran

... you can go back to the Whitney Houston funeral coverage now.

Inmates are the assets at the root of prison privatization. [Kinda like 'property' - they can be bought and sold]

So, if we are stupid enough to continue the "war on drugs" it would save a few bucks, but if we get smart it guarantees we keep spending insane amounts of money trying to control a criminal problem we created by designating victimless crimes and insisting on "being tough" on them.

Insanity, according to Einstein, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Witness Prohibition and Volstead Act. Witness War on Drugs.

Any others pop out other than Drill Baby Drill?


The American psyche is one of gung-ho, vigilante, tough-on-crime, wild west. American politicians gain kudos from promising to be tough on crime, probably more so than any other country. There are huge numbers of Americans in prison because this satisfies some deep-seated cultural urge, and with her huge wealth America was able to afford this.

The war on terror: the more we piss off the natives, the more "bad" guys we got to fight.

Only, none of these things are considered to be bugs, they are the most important feature for growing the business.

"But there's a catch…the states must guarantee that are there are enough prisoners to ensure that the venture is profitable to the company."

This is very reminiscent of the traffic intersection cameras. These systems take pictures of cars and drivers that roll into the intersection after the traffic control signal light turns from yellow to red. Monies are paid. The corporations that supply the service insist, contractually, that the yellow light signal time be shortened. This is to increase the volume of actionable infractions, of criminal transgressions. Some of the signals here got down to less than one second of yellow warning light time. Since yellow became the same as red, some people do an emergency stop on yellow. this increases the rear-ending accidents... but those make profit as well, with taxable monies changing hands, including hospital care.

In states with for-profit prisons, they will bust a kid for having a roach in his pocket... the kid gets into a fight in jail... now the kid's in for years... it's all gravy. A cozy arrangement grows up between the corporation and the judges.

I remember many years ago my father and I were driving through Vancouver, BC and I remember thinking, "These yellows are awfully short."

Somewhat later somebody got ticketed for going through on a red light in Vancouver, and being a stubborn sort of person, he contested the ticket. Before his case came up, he sat down with a stop watch and timed the light through 1,000 cycles.

He found that, not only was the light very short, but 3 times out of 1,000, it didn't go yellow at all but went straight from green to red. Just like that, he had them! The judge threw the case out on the grounds that it was impossible to obey the law. After that, the City of Vancouver couldn't win any more red light cases until it sent its traffic engineers out to recalibrate all the lights, and time them through 1,000 cycles, so they could submit the timings in court.

Now, in reality, anybody with a basic understanding of physics could look up the normal reaction time of an average person (not very quick) and the average stopping rate of a North American car (not very short), and calculate how long it would take them to stop on a yellow. In most cases they would find that the yellow is too short (obviously, a 1-second yellow is too short). Then they could bring in experts from NASCAR and NASA and totally devastate the prosecution.

Most people are not motivated to do this because it costs much more than the ticket is worth. But I have a few ornery friends who will do it, and usually the police just drop any case they contest before it comes to court because they don't want that kind of aggravation. It might set a precedent.

In Sweden yellow means "stop if you can, go ahead if not" and it always is on for several seconds, giving time to stop if you see it ahead. The lamps are calibrated.

In Sweden yellow means "stop if you can, go ahead if not"

It means the same in the USA, although most people seem to think yellow means "step on it"!

I heard a Canadian policeman interviewed on the radio on this topic, as to what constitutes a a yellow light offence.

His answer was twofold;
1- if you cross the line after it is red (obviously)
2- if you accelerate when the light is yellow

So, you can accelerate when it is green, but once it is yellow - you are supposed to either come to a stop, or maintain your speed to get across before it turns red.

He said that many people seemed to think they had to speed across the intersection when they could in fact stop safely. He also said he had never yet seen a crash from someone who tried to stop, and came to a stop on/over the line - the problem was always those speeding up to make it across - especially when there was someone waiting to make a left turn (across the traffic) from the oncoming lane.

Of course, roundabouts solve all these problems with no lights or traffic cops required.

I really think they should hammer the "yellow means stop, if you can" meme to drivers. It turns the whole ego thing on its head. Are you capable enough (manly enough) to stop before the line, or will you admit you're a loser who can't do it?

Gotta hit those young male drivers who are big part of the accidents right in the testosterone!

Paul - "...roundabouts solve all these problems". Except in Houston, of course. We have one roundabout here. After a couple of passes through it I avoid it. Of course, this is in a state where the most common statement before an accident is: "Hold my beer and watch this".

I did spend a week driving in New Zealand and thought they were great. Especially in rural areas... a heck of a lot better than stop signs.

It does help if everyone knows how to go through a roundabout. The few that are in Calgary were a mystery to many.

I grew up in Canberra, Australia which probably holds the world record for the most roundabouts per capita or mile. The Australian Parliament House is actually inside a giant roundabout! (there are several ways you can interpret that, all of them correct!)

Canberra also has the least "traffic" of any city I know, but that may just be a coincidence.

Around here it seems to be

Green - go
Flashing green - accelerate
Yellow - accelerate harder
Red - err, no one seems quite sure of what that one means


"In Sweden yellow means "stop if you can, go ahead if not" and it always is on for several seconds..."

Anaheim, California, home of Disneyland, has the longest yellow lights I've ever seen... maybe 15 seconds. They make good money on the tourism. They want to offer a happy time. Driving is quite sedate.

Well, the society is moving to a simpler model with a small ownership class and a large underclass. A small change to the laws here and there will allow those prisons to be filled with debtors, vastly expanding the pool of slave labor available to the corporations. Corporations which in turn are tools for the very wealthy. Beyond that, with large numbers of unemployed and a regime that will increasingly turn to coercion to maintain control as the invested middle class dissolves, there should be no shortage of law breakers anyway. So you get a whole class of people with no rights who are essentially owned. We can have them assemble iPhones.

Higher oil prices push down airline shares; UAL down 9 pct, Delta down 7 pct

Airline shares fell broadly on Tuesday, with US Airways Group's stock leading the decline, as the price of oil rallied, which directly influences the cost of jet fuel.

The stocks are just going to move with oil, it’s as simple as that," said Helane Becker, an airline analyst with Dahlman Rose & Co. “No matter what the airlines do to tell people it’s changed and they manage their business differently. They’ve proven the model, right? They’ve proven that they’ll take capacity out, and they’ll raise ticket prices, and they made money last year. It doesn’t matter. The stock’s still soft.”

also U.S. airline shares tumble on oil price rally

Once again, speculators behind sharply rising oil prices

U.S. demand for oil and refined products - including gasoline - is down sharply from last year, so much that United States has actually become a net exporter of gasoline, unable to consume all that it makes.

Yet oil and gasoline prices are surging.

On Tuesday, oil rose past $106 a barrel and gasoline averaged $3.57 a gallon - thanks again in no small part to rampant financial speculation on top of fears of supply disruptions.

$3.57 a gallon -- that's so cheap!!

Meanwhile in Britain

The threat saw the price of a barrel of crude oil climb to an eight-month high of $121 (£76), just days after diesel hit a record level in the UK of 143.05p.

This works out to 1.4305 GBP/liter * 1.57693 USD/GBP * 3.785412 liter/gallon = $8.54 US$/gallon.

And Americans truly believe that they are being gouged.

From the article:

The ostensible reason for the climb of crude prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange, where contracts for future delivery of oil are traded, is growing fear of a military confrontation with Iran in the Persian Gulf's Strait of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of the world's oil passes.

Other factors driving up prices include last month's bankruptcy of Petroplus, a big European refiner, and a recent BP refinery fire in Washington state that's temporarily crimped gasoline supply along the West Coast; gas now costs an average of $4.04 a gallon in California.

So, they're trying to say its not enough to have potential war with Iran looming, which might block 20% of the world's oil supply; plus the bankruptcy of a huge European refiner; plus the fire and shutdown at BP's Cherry Point refinery which supplies 10% of the fuel on the West Coast; not to mention the impending shutdown of half the refineries in the Northeast (which they didn't mention)?

That's not enough to cause a spike in gasoline prices, so it must be speculators? What planet did they say they lived on?

What's indisputable is that oil and gasoline are not in short supply, and that demand remains weak.

That statement is false and there is a shortage of some types and grades of gasoline in the US [see my post below]. Once again, those blaming high prices on speculators get some of the basic facts wrong.

Unfortunately articles blaming high prices on speculators, etc., will probably become more frequent this year.

Interesting interview with Mark Papa of EOG resources. Bakken oil/NG developer.

Sifting through all of Kramer's baloney the interesting part for me was around 5 minuets in. Papa responds to the query about what would oil be w/o the Iran tensions.

Response "for WTI right about where they are now $105 a barrel" "supply/demand is tight worldwide particularly Asia" He goes on to note that gains are being offset by declines elsewhere and "demand is going up by 1 million barrels per year"

Seems same as TOD. Credentuals (check) no mention of 'speculators' (check) Sure you are right ,though, not the last we'll hear that or alternately 'president', or any other non supply/demand above ground factor.

West Coast and Chicago wholesale gasoline prices soar

Wholesale prices across the US are escalating rapidly, possibly because refiners, starting with low supplies, are in the process of shifting from winter to summer blends of gasoline, and may have been caught short by unexpected refinery shutdowns and slowdowns.

FEBRUARY 21, 2012, 6:14 P.M. ET

West Coast Products: Spot Gasoline Climbs To 3 1/2-Year High

LOS ANGELES (Dow Jones)--Spot prices for West Coast gasoline hit a 3 1/2-year high Tuesday after a three-day Presidents Day Weekend, boosted by Padd V refinery run cuts, exports to Mexico and South America and a fire at a BP PLC's (BP, BP.LN) Cherry Point crude unit last Friday.

Los Angeles March Carbob gasoline was done 35 cents a gallon to 40 cents a gallon over March Nymex gasoline, up 28 cents to $3.60.

California lowball retail gasoline was seen at $3.629, up nine cents.

February CARB diesel was done 10 cents over March Nymex heating oil, up 10.5 cents to $3.345.


US Cash Products-Chicago gasoline surges, sellers absent
Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:16pm GMT

* Chicago gasoline surges with few sellers in market

* Chicago gasoline up 35 cents since Thursday

* Gulf Coast gasoline see-saws on pipeline scheduling

* Harbor jet fuel up 1.50 cents

NEW YORK, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Chicago cash gasoline rallied in afternoon trading on Tuesday, reversing its recent 11-year lows as few sellers were left in the market with changes to a cleaner-burning grade coming soon, traders said.

Gasoline differentials shot up by about 14.50 cents-a-gallon on the day to a bid-offer spread of 28.00/25.00 cents under the March RBOB futures contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange, traders said.


Some background information as to why the spike in gasoline prices may not be over:

The Superspike Next Time - January 2, 2012

Even assuming that something worse in the way of international conflict doesn’t occur in 2012, oil will still be subject to upside stresses. There is also an additional reason why the price of oil may rise, which was [a] less important factor in prior years – but could still lead to shortages of gasoline and diesel. That is the growing imbalance between the types of oil available as compared to the location and refining capacity of refineries to process that oil. Essentially present oil production trends will lead to the closing of refiners faster than new refineries or improvements can be made, because in general refiners will not adjust fast enough to the lower quality of oil available (which require more upgrades and refinements than higher quality oil).

With the inevitable Peak Oil runup in global oil and gasoline prices underway, and US demand collapsing, Canadian oil sands producers are getting desperate to get their product into the international market where it will make more money. Here's another effort to get bitumen to the West Coast.

Another pipeline debate kicks off as Kinder Morgan lines up shippers

Oil producers have thrown their support behind the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the West Coast, but the latest project aimed at providing much-needed shipping capacity for the oil sands industry now faces regulatory hurdles and growing resistance to pipelines.

Kinder Morgan Inc. $3.8-billion plan to double the amount of oil it can move from Alberta to the Pacific has garnered “strong” support from shippers and the company will now carry on with engineering and planning, it said Tuesday.

The momentum means the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will attract greater scrutiny – something it has largely avoided as local communities and environmental groups turned Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline into an international debate.

Kinder Morgan wants to build a twin pipeline on the existing Trans Mountain system, doubling its capacity to 600,000 barrels of oil a day. Trans Mountain already reaches Port Metro Vancouver in Burnaby, B.C., where most of the oil from the pipeline heads to California.

But energy producers are desperate to send more oil westward to feed Asian markets, where their crude is in strong demand and can fetch higher prices. Cenovus Energy Inc., for example, sold its first half-tanker full of bitumen directly to China earlier this month, after the raw crude was shipped through the existing Trans Mountain line.

What is the cost of moving a barrel using railroad in Canada from Alberta to say Vancouver? Doesn't it trump the difference between WCS and OPEC Basket price?

The cost does indeed trump the difference, and CN Rail is seriously promoting the concept of running oil trains to the northern BC port of Prince Rupert (where its line already runs to).
According to CN, ten 100 car trains a day can equal the 500,000bpd pipeline proposed by Enbridge. CN does 90 coal trains a day in BC, so 10 oil trains is nothing.

The problem is, at present, there is not an oil loading facility there, and they don't have enough of the right kind of railcars - they will need several thousands of them.

But all this can be done, and for a tenth the capital cost of a pipeline.

In fact, given that, currently, the pipeline is scheduled to go through two years of hearings, I'd say oil will be getting trained to the coast before the hearings are even wrapped up.

Of course the risk of a pipeline spill are measurably tiny; the risk of a railroad spill are measurably larger.
OTOH the volume of a pipeline spill are significant, the volume of a railroad spill is usually a few tank cars.


Recent Prices:
OPEC Basket Price $118.60
WCS Closing Price $75.24
Difference in price $43.36

CN Rail would probably ship your oil from the oil sands to Vancouver or Prince Rupert for, I don't know, $10 to $15 per barrel, depending on volume. You would have to call them up and ask them for a quote, and you would probably have to supply your own tank cars.

But basically, I think it's highly economic, even given the difference in oil quality. (which may not be all that different these days).

Rocky - Really amazing. There must be a slew of folks trying to figure out a way to cut into the situation. I know a lot of folks in Houston who wouldn't hesitate to jump in for just a $5 margin. I know you know but some others may not: in trades like this few will speculate on the outcome. I could go to a bank in Houston today and borrow $100 million to get a piece of the action. But I would have to show contracts to buy the oil at a specific price, contracts with buyers at a specific price and guarenteed transport volumes/costs. Essentially the profit is locked in before the first bbl of oil is moved.

It's just a matter of fitting all the pieces together. Obvious not an easy process otherwise we would see hundreds of thousands of bbl moving west today. I suspect, as you allude, the hang up is transport. The rest is just a matter of some folks sitting around a closing table, signing papers, and going out for a big fancy lunch and spending some of those profits.

Rockman - it is true that these is a lot of money to be made, and it is also true that there are a lot of rich people interested in it - notably Warren Buffet (BNSF) and Bill Gates (CN). And I think some people are making a lot of money already - notably WB and to a lesser extent BG. I tried to invest in it, but apparently if you don't have $1 billion in loose cash you can't find a better use for, you can't play in this game.

But as I understand it, there are a few impediments. One of them is tank cars - there are only about 3 tank car builders in North America and they are backlogged, and another is loading/unloading facilities. All of these take time to build, and they can't be built as fast as people would like.

Another issue is that sooner or later some pipelines are going to be built, and the railroads know the pipelines can move oil much cheaper than they can.

Rocky - Exactly: it's a timing play. that's why I pointed out that unless you had those $billions in cash to play with you would need finance. And no one was going to loan the money without having every aspect tied up under contract. If you recall last year they shipped a load of LNG from Texas to England. I confirmed what I has assumed: the profit was already in the bank before the ship was deployed to Sabine Pass. The LNG sales price on both ends were fixed by contract as well as the tanker charge. I couldn't confirm what the profit was but I doubt more than $0.50/mcf. But that would still be perhaps a $500,000 profit (less finance charge) in the can before the signitures dried.

Buying stock in a tank car builder might be a good investment. OTOH given my history of stock investing the last thing anyone should do is listen to me.

I'm quite surprised nobody attacked Bloomberg for its statements from the article atop that despite falling industry income, the USA will be "largely energy self-sufficient by 2030," and "The supply bonanza of gas and oil made possible with fracking means the U.S. will become increasingly independent of foreign energy producers..."

If the American people are too impoverished to be able to afford more gas than we produce, we will be.

karl - Maybe because taking shots at Bloomberg is like using a cannon to hunt rabbits: no contest. LOL. But there are some worthwhile gems in that piece:

"Stung by free-falling gas prices, Chesapeake is burdened by a net debt load that is twice the size of Exxon’s, a company 27 times larger by market value." And Chesapeake is one of the prime companies that will lead us to energy independence?

But there are still little flubs sprinked through their piece: "Horizontal drilling techniques and advances in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, developed in north Texas during the past 15 years have enabled energy producers to unleash oil and gas from rock formations such as shale." A little thing but we've been frac'ng for over 50 years. They didn't develop it for the Barnett Shale. They continue to miss the point that it was increases in oil/NG pricing that pushed this new boom. And at the moment that push might have gotten Chesapeake (and others) close to disapppearing. Can't predict the future but I wouldn't be surprised to see ExxonMobil takeover CHesapeake in the next years. Just like XOM did XTO.

its funny to think that an XOM takeover of CHK would triple their debt...

Still, From XOm's point of view this is a good time to do a takeover by stock swap - the oil stocks are overvalued, the NG ones undervalued.

How long will XOM wait?

Would be interesting if a Chinese oil company suddenly put up a bid for CHK - that would really stir the pot!