Drumbeat: February 24, 2012

U.S. House sets date to discuss Northeastern refinery closures

(Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives will hold a hearing on March 19 to look at how the closure of three refineries in the Philadelphia area that represent half of the refining capacity in the Northeast could impact national security.

U.S. Representative Patrick Meehan, a Republican who represents the Philadelphia area, said on Friday that the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence would examine the implications of Sunoco Inc closing two refineries and ConocoPhillips closing a third.

Geithner: We'll tap oil reserves if we have to

The Obama administration is weighing the circumstances that could warrant tapping the nation's strategic oil reserve, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Friday as he defended sanctions on Iran.

"There is a case for the use of the reserve in some circumstances and we will continue to look at those and evaluate that carefully," Geithner said on CNBC television.

There's 'No Quick Fix' to Sharp Rise in Oil Price: Geithner

"There's no quick fix to this, no short-term fix," Geithner said. "The best strategy for the country is to continue to make some long-term investments, to expand production in the United States, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, to encourage Americans to use more efficient clean sources of energy, to encourage Americans to be more efficient in how they use energy."

Attacking Iran Will Push The U.S. Back Into Recession

With oil prices hitting multi-year highs, in great part because of geopolitical concerns, the option of a belligerent conflict with Iran has once again been put on the table. Be it war with Israel or a preemptive strike by U.S. air forces, the reality is that a sustained conflict with Iran would tip the U.S., and possibly much of the developed world, back into recession.

Iran’s economy is now at risk of grave damage

Up to now, sanctions have failed in their main political objective—to persuade Iran to change course by committing itself to verifiably peaceful nuclear development. But the ratcheting up of sanctions is taking its toll on the country’s creaking economy. The Iranian rial has lost half its value since December, despite attempts by the regime to prop it up. There are reports of food shortages, hoarding and a drying up of investment.

'Ban on Iran oil shakes Obama admin'

President Obama has blamed tensions with Iran as the reason behind rising oil prices in the US causing the US to buy oil at above peak oil prices and use its reserves.

Saudi Shiites denounce violence against protesters

Shiite Muslim dignitaries in predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia denounced on Wednesday the use of violence by authorities in dealing with protests in the mostly Shiite east of the country.

'I think I will die,' man in Syria's besieged city of Homs says — then the line goes dead

A resident of the besieged Syrian city of Homs said on Friday that he feared for his life, shortly before a blast cut off the conversation he was having with NBC News.

"No one can protect themselves from shelling in (the neighborhood of) Baba Amr," Abu Bakr told NBC News producer Michele Neubert via Skype as government troops pounded the area. "We just need (to) stop the shelling."

"I'm hungry from two days. I'm eating just some onions (for) two days. That's my life, that's the life in Baba Amr," he said. "Most people here eat just simple things, the plants on ground."

Former governor of oil-rich Nigeria state faces $15M fraud allegations

ABUJA, Nigeria — A lawyer for Nigeria’s antigraft body has filed fraud charges against a former governor in the oil-rich West African nation.

Festus Keyamo from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said in a statement Friday that Timipre Sylva, the governor of oil-rich Bayelsa state, has been charged with six counts of money laundering and attempted fraud.

Pain at the pump: Deputy interrupts elaborate gasoline theft

As gasoline prices rise at the pump, so apparently does the brazenness of some thieves trying to steal it.

In Tampa, Fla., authorities say criminals used a minivan with a cutout floorboard, a pump and a big plastic container in an elaborate scheme to siphon gas directly from a gas station’s underground storage tank.

Peak Oil is here, Crude Oil price to reach $150 by 2012 Year End

Peak Oil is here to stay. The Chinese are more prepared than any of us. China is now training 40,000 geologists a year to confront these challenges and they are scouring all over the globe to look for oil and joint energy partnerships. Whereas in the US, it is doing exactly the opposite, training 500 geologists and 40,000 lawyers !! So, it is obvious that both have different directions, one is training more lawyers for its Sub-Prime mess whereas the other is training more geologists to look for more energy sources!!

Air Force Eyes Nuclear Reactors, Beamed Power for Spacecraft

The U.S. Air Force has laid out a new vision for its energy science and technology needs over the next 15 years – a forecast that includes plans for space-based power stations and the prospective use of small nuclear reactors for new spacecraft.

The report, entitled "Energy Horizons: United States Air Force Energy S&T Vision 2011-2026," focuses on core Air Force missions in space, air, cyberspace and infrastructure. A series of Air Force mission-focused workshops and summits were held to shape the new strategy.

Gas prices: It's about the efficiency, people!

What I think is really happening is a combination of reduced refinery capacity and increased vehicle efficiency. We're in a transitional energy period right now. In the U.S., we'll need to refine less fuel for vehicle use, and so refineries are shutting down and the industry is being fragmented into smaller players who can fight over tighter profits.

Driving this is the anticipation that cars are going to go longer between fill-ups in the future. This expectation is being driven by advances in internal combustion engines, as well as by hybrids and plug-in hybrids — cars that run on combinations of electricity and gas.

Oil Rises a Seventh Day in Longest Winning Streak in Two Years

Oil advanced a seventh day, the longest winning streak since January 2010, on signs of economic recovery from the U.S. to Germany and concern escalating tension with Iran threatens crude supplies.

Futures climbed from the highest close in more than nine months and headed for a third weekly gain. U.S. jobless claims held at the fewest since March 2008, while South Korean consumer confidence increased to the highest level in three months and Germany’s gross domestic product grew 1.5 percent from a year ago, an eighth quarter of expansion. Oil may rise next week as sanctions on Iran tighten, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

More drivers than ever may pay $5 per gallon

More drivers than ever could soon be paying $5 for a gallon of gasoline. And the national average, up sharply in recent weeks, is likely to top out at about $4.

Rising oil prices, lower refining capacity, Middle East tension and speculators are propelling prices. The spike in crude, now at nine-month highs, has driven regular gas to a record February high of $3.61 a gallon — up 42 cents over a year ago.

Gas spending and prices by state

Gas prices keep rising nationwide. But how much you actually pay is affected by your income and local economy. Mississippi residents spend a whopping 11.8% of their income on gas.

Fear of Iran is inflating gas prices

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Tensions with Iran are adding at least 30 cents to a gallon of gasoline in the United States, and experts say gas prices have only just begun to rise.

Gasoline prices have surged over 10% in the last two months, largely tracking the runup in oil prices, which have increased by a similar amount and are now at a 9-month high.

High gas prices: Are traders to blame?

(MoneyWatch) Record-high gas prices have been blamed on unrest in the Middle East, a pickup in the economy and rising demand from China and India. President Barack Obama is confronting Americans' anxiety over rising gasoline prices by drawing attention to his energy policies and taking credit for increased oil and gas production, a greater mix of energy sources and decreased consumption.

But it appears rising gas prices are mostly due to the work of Wall Street speculators and traders -- not any increase in demand, according to a new report from Yardeni Research.

Oil spike: Why speculators need a hug

Last year, when the price of crude oil surged above $114 a barrel and the average cost for a gallon of regular gas nearly pierced $4, there were hoots and hollers about evil speculators, as if commodities futures traders were part of some illegal syndicate that's rigging the game against consumers. That's not exactly how the markets work.

Goldman Bets on Rising Oil With Surging Supplies

The highest U.S. oil production in nine years is failing to dissuade Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) from predicting that the price of the country’s most-traded crude will keep climbing.

The New York-based bank says West Texas Intermediate will gain 7 percent by August to trade within $5 a barrel of North Sea Brent, even as rising output swells the nation’s inventories. Citigroup Inc. (C) takes the opposite view, forecasting that WTI’s discount to Brent may widen to $20 a barrel this year, from about $15.79 yesterday.

$4 A Gallon Thursday: Gas Hits $4 Overnight

If this is giving you flashbacks to 2008, when Goldman Sachs stampeded their sheep into $140 oil contracts on the promise that the same conditions would lead to $200 oil - you're half right. The reality is that it's even more asinine now to make these statements than it was then as we had a much more robust economy in 2008 and we had far less production capacity in 2008 and we had far less of an inventory surplus in 2008 but don't let that stop David Greely from destroying America to enrich his masters - just like Arjun Murti, who came out with Goldman's last massive pump job - Greely will soon be a disgraced footnote in investor history while his superiors decide what color Ferrari to buy this year with their bonus money.

IDC Predicts Oil and Gas Industry Growth, Expects High Oil Prices to Boost Investment in Unconventional and Renewable Energy Sources

Dubai – In its top 10 predictions for the Middle East and Africa oil and gas industry in 2012, international market research and advisory company IDC forecasts that oil prices will grow steadily this year, reaching about $130 per barrel. This will encourage entities in the oil and gas sector to increasingly invest into unconventional resources, including oil sands, extra heavy oil, biofuels, and shale oils, the production of which grew 4.5% year on year in 2011.

"Reserves are finite, the commodity is becoming scarcer, and the peak oil theory is gaining more supporters within the industry," says Senior Research Analyst Lamia Lafdil, IDC Energy Insights. "In addition, countries like China and India are creating more demand as they develop extremely rapidly. Even though renewable energy has enjoyed solid growth, most countries will still rely on oil for their energy needs."

$200 Oil Coming As Central Banks Go CTRL+P Happy

We have been saying it for weeks, and today even the WSJ jumped on the bandwagon: the sole reason why crude prices are surging (RIP European profit margins: with EUR Brent at a record, we can only assume the ECB will pull a 2011 and hike rates in 3-4 months even as it pumps trillions in PIIGS, banks bailout liquidity) is because global liquidity has risen by $2 trillion in a few short months, on the most epic shadow liquidity tsunami launched in history in lieu of QE3 (discussed extensively here in our words, but here are JPM's).

Global LNG-Asian LNG prices up on stronger demand

PERTH (Reuters) - Asian liquefied natural gas spot prices rose to over $15 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) LNG-AS as Japanese demand for the fuel increased.

Japan, the world's largest LNG consumer, was seen back in the market for LNG cargoes for April delivery as it struggles to meet electricity demands with more than 95 percent of its nuclear reactors offline.

Peak Oil Leads To 30% Increase In Green Energy Investments In 2011, Reports Penny Stock Detectives

Danny Esposito, co-editor for financial newsletter and web site Penny Stock Detectives, believes that we could see peak oil in the near future. According to Esposito, nations understand the fact of peak oil (the end of the line for oil extraction) and are pushing forward with investments in green energy, which is why investment in the area was up 30% in 2011 and is ready to move even higher in 2012.

Investing: Can I profit from rising gas prices?

Your investment portfolio isn't going to help you save on gasoline, unless you've discovered a way to make your car run on stock certificates. But if you want to profit from rising gas prices, you might want to wait a bit.

The biggest threat to your wealth today – the Bank of England

So forget what the Bank of England says about inflation. That 2% target is history. The Bank will say whatever it takes to justify more money–printing, but those forecasts for falling inflation mean nothing.

If you don’t believe me, consider this one statistic – the sterling price of oil is now higher than it’s ever been. That spells stagflation.

Obama addresses gas prices, pitches energy policy

President Barack Obama confronted Americans' anxiety over rising gasoline prices by drawing attention to his energy policies and taking credit for rising oil production in a speech Thursday to students and faculty at the University of Miami.

Newt Gingrich releases a soliloquy on energy: ‘I know that we can do better’

Newt Gingrich recently presented an ad, featuring himself talking about energy for 29 minutes. Yes, that’s right. Just him, talking about energy, for 29 minutes. According to Wall Street Journal, his campaign is planning to run the full ad in “key cities” until Super Tuesday March, 6.

A half-hour infomercial.

It’s unconventional, but it’s pure Newt.

Gingrich's $2.50 gas promise

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Gas prices are on the rise, and so like clockwork, politicians are now selling the promise of lower prices at the pump.

Newt Gingrich, struggling to regain momentum in the Republican presidential primary, is leading the way, promising to get prices down to $2.50 per gallon.

Energy independence, or impending oil shocks?

Gasoline is back over $4 a gallon here in California and U.S. crude is holding firm over $100 a barrel, even though domestic demand is off more than 8 percent from the 2005 peak on an annual basis, and a whopping 16 percent on a monthly peak-to-trough basis. And that can only mean one thing: We’re entering the silly season in oil punditry.

Symposium: Russians vs. Vladimir Putin?

In recent years it has been remarkable how much Russian physical and verbal aggression has coincided with oil prices. For example, its invasion of Georgia in August of 2008 coincided almost perfectly with the peak oil price of $147/barrel. Russia typically lobbies for the maximum price for oil on the world market. Although it is not a member of OPEC, its interests often coincide with those members, such as Iran, who also seek to maximize oil prices.

Russia’s vulnerability to oil (and gas) price competition stems from the fact that its production costs are high and it is rapidly depleting its reserves. Costs are high because of weather, geology, great distances that must be traversed, and the deteriorating nature of much of its infrastructure. Consequently the Saudis, who can lift oil for a fraction of Russia’s cost, are much less vulnerable to price declines. If oil drops to $50/barrel the Saudis may feel a bit strapped, but the Russians are devastated: their major source of income is trashed.

Chinese investors to tread more carefully in Africa

(Reuters) - China's oil and commodities firms are set to tread more carefully in Africa after being stung by kidnappings, seizures of cargo and, most recently, the expulsion of a chief executive.

But they won't pull back.

If anything, China will broaden its exposure to the region, home to some of the world's most resource-rich but unstable countries, as it scours the globe for resources needed by the factories and businesses of the world's fastest-growing economy.

Billionaires Vie for Railway to $40B Coal Region

The race to open a $40 billion coal region in Australia is being led by billionaires Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer. Victory depends on who wins approval to build a 500-kilometer (310-mile) railroad to the coast.

Poland Offers 5% Stake in Nation’s Largest Power Utility for $600 Million

“They’re returning to market and trying to get more money for their budget,” Ed Kuczma, who helps manage $35 billion at Van Eck Associates in New York, said by phone.

The government is seeking to raise 10 billion zloty this year from state-asset sales, compared with 13.1 billion zloty in 2011, to help fund spending after posting a deficit equal to about 5.6 percent of gross domestic product last year. Poland sold 10 percent of the utility for 4 billion zloty in 2010, part of an effort to raise 25 billion zloty.

Sinopec reports Qinyang shale find

China's Sinopec has said it has found oil in shale rocks in the central Henan basin, the site of pioneering explorations for the unconventional fuel in the country.

Some states unprepared for shale energy boom

For the nation, a huge energy source near where tens of millions of Americans live is a once-in-a-lifetime development. For the region, the dream is even grander: that cheap energy will make manufacturing competitive again and restore industrial might that's been slipping away for generations.

But the new boom has the states struggling to figure out how to tax and regulate the drilling so the new-found wealth isn't just shipped via pipeline to Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

In the most obvious example: Pennsylvania and New York have no severance tax on oil and gas. Ohio has a tiny one that covers only the cost of regulating the industry.

By contrast, all veteran energy states tax their energy resources heavily and use the money to keep other taxes low.

Maximize Promise of Fracking by Solving Safety Problems

Anything as big and as promising as shale gas is bound to be complicated. This energy source has much to recommend it. To begin with, the U.S. has a lot of it, enough to meet current natural gas consumption for 35 years.

The increase in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the technique used to tap natural gas from shale, brought down the fuel’s price by 32 percent last year, to less than $3 per million Btu. Expanding the practice -- to New York State, for example, which now has a moratorium on it -- could help lessen American use of coal and oil to generate electricity and heat. That would reduce U.S. dependence on Mideast crude and lower greenhouse-gas emissions and acid rain.

Judge’s Ruling Complicates Hydrofracking Issue in New York

A state judge’s decision this week supporting the rights of individual towns to determine whether to allow hydraulic fracturing has added a new wrinkle to the fight over the natural gas drilling process in New York.

Parties on all sides are trying to figure out what the ruling will mean, but a consensus emerged on Wednesday that there will be further court challenges and delays over when, how and where the process, known as hydrofracking, will be allowed in the state, and by whom.

Consumers could overpay for energy if shale ignored

(Reuters) - British households are in danger of overpaying for their energy bills as government policy has ignored the potential emergence of cheap shale gas, a report by the Policy Exchange think-tank said on Friday.

Given recent developments in the shale gas sector, which have sharply reduced household energy bills in the United States, the report said gas prices could also fall in Britain.

BP starts court fight over Gulf of Mexico oil spill

BP will start one of the biggest fights in its 104-year history next week as the US Government sues the oil giant for the devastation caused by the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

The group will be in the dock alongside contractors Halliburton and Transocean as a single judge decides who was to blame for what happened when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, claiming the lives of 11 men and triggering the biggest oil spill in US history.

BP Spill Victims Face Economic Fallout Two Years Later

Louisiana oysterman Terrance M. Shelley was struggling to keep up with demand by New Orleans restaurants before BP Plc (BP/)’s Macondo well blew out in April 2010, crippling the processing plant he opened six months earlier.

“Demand was exploding” until then, said Shelley, 60, whose family has 18,000 acres of oyster reefs.

The state closed the reefs because of contamination from the Gulf of Mexico spill. Shelley’s business dried up as customers and wholesalers shunned Gulf seafood.

Settlement Talks Pick Up Ahead of BP Oil Spill Trial

With the start of the high-profile trial set for next Monday, and the specter of potential liability that some experts have estimated at $40 billion, BP and other defendants are stepping up negotiations to end the litigation before Judge Carl J. Barbier of Federal District Court picks up his gavel.

“We are ready to settle, if we can do so on fair and reasonable terms,” Robert Dudley, BP’s chief executive, said this month during a conference call about the company’s earnings. “But we are preparing vigorously for trial.”

Dryden Becomes New York’s Test Town on Fracking

The town of Dryden in upstate New York doesn’t have foundries or auto manufacturing plants. Its residents say they cherish their trees, meadows and farms and local officials said they wanted to preserve what one called “our country way of life” when they passed zoning laws to keep heavy industry away.

So it was not surprising when the town board last year passed a ban on hydrofracking. But Dryden’s town lawyer for more than 30 years, Mahlon R. Perkins, said the court victory this week upholding the ban was more about land use rights than natural gas drilling.

Petrobras output rises in January with new wells

(Reuters) - Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petrobras produced an average 2.73 million barrels equivalent of oil and gas per day in January, a 0.5 percent increase from the previous month, the company said on Friday.

Excluding Petrobras operations abroad, output was 2.49 million barrels-per-day equivalent, a 1 percent increase from December. The company attributed the rise in production to the coming on-stream of new wells.

Transneft to postpone crude loadings from Ust-Luga-traders

(Reuters) - The launch of Russia's new Ust-Luga Baltic oil terminal, undergoing repairs after damage caused by multiple landslides, is again postponed to an unspecified time, trading sources told Reuters on Friday.

EU’s Iran Sanctions Curb Cover on Oil Ships, Asian Insurers Say

(Bloomberg) -- Chinese and Japanese groups that insure ships against risks including oil spills said European Union sanctions will constrict their ability to cover tankers carrying Iran’s crude, a sign of the reach of Europe’s embargo.

Iranian Crude Supply to Turkey May Be Halted by Western Bank Sanctions

Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS (HALKB), the Turkish bank that handles payments for Iranian oil, will stop processing transactions for supplies into Turkish refineries from July amid tightening Western sanctions against the Persian Gulf state.

U.S. Said to Offer India Help With Replacing Iran Oil Supply

The U.S. government has offered to help India get alternative supplies for Iranian crude as it looks to squeeze the Persian Gulf producer’s oil revenue, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

The U.S. may help broker deals with suppliers such as Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the people said, declining to be identified because the information is confidential. Saudi Arabia has already offered to replace Iranian oil supplies if needed, two of the people said. The U.S. is in talks with countries around the world on reducing their dependence on Iranian oil, Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman at the State Department in Washington, said in an e-mail yesterday.

Sonangol ‘quits Iran’ over sanctions

Angolan state-owned oil giant Sonangol has pulled out of Iran due to stringent new sanctions imposed on the Middle Eastern state, a report has claimed.

Iran in oil for wheat barter deal

Iran has asked to import a million tonnes of wheat from Pakistan in a barter deal, a senior official in Islamabad said today, as Tehran faces disruption to its food imports because of U.S. and European Union sanctions. Iran would export iron ore and fertiliser to Pakistan in exchange for wheat, said Syed Naveed Qamar, Pakistan's minister for water and power, according to the state news agency.

'Friends of Syria' ready ultimatum for Assad

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) – The United States, Europe and Arab countries were set Friday to back a proposal for Syria's president to step aside and allow in humanitarian assistance to end a brutal crackdown against opponents.

Afghans resume protests over Quran burnings

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – Thousands of Afghan protesters are out on the streets in two eastern provinces in new rallies over the burning of Qurans at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan.

Northern Iraq's reserves put oil majors in a quandary

For years Kurdish villagers have brought their sheep here to graze, sometimes also filling a jerrycan or two with oil. But this picturesque land of soft green and yellow hills edged by slate-blue mountains has now become the centre of a race for resources between the world's oil majors, which believe Iraqi Kurdistan could hold as much as Libya's 45 billion barrels of reserves in massive reservoirs like the Tawke field.

Exxon spoils Genel's plans for Kurdistan

LONDON (Reuters) - Genel Energy Plc dropped plans to buy oil explorers in Kurdistan after U.S. major Exxon Mobil arrived in the region, pushing valuations up, and is looking to spend its $1.9 billion cash pile elsewhere in the Middle East and in Africa.

The London-listed firm was formed three months ago when former BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward and financier Nathaniel Rothschild's bid vehicle bought Genel Enerji, a Turkish company focused on the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Shell To Buy Fuel From Petroplus French Refinery - Sarkozy

PARIS – Royal Dutch Shell PLC has signed a contract to hire the French refinery owned by insolvent Swiss-based refiner Petroplus Holdings AG to process crude oil for six months, French President Nicolas Sarkozy Friday said.

"This contract isn't a definite answer," Sarkozy said. "But without this contract, the refinery was over."

'Little actions on the edge': John Thackara on Designing Solutions in the Bubble Economy

Thackara’s writing and speaking portrays a global society on the verge of catabolic collapse, past the point where it has the ability to repair itself--yet, politicians continue spouting rhetoric about economic growth. Arguing against growth as the solution, Thackara points to various industrial complexes (health, education, energy, real estate) that have turned individuals into users who benefit least in the services provided to them.

Instead, he poses the “gift economy,” where people rely on available social capital, instead of trying to create financial capital, as a mitigation tactic for the global recession and environmental crisis. “We are all in the gift economy, we have no choice,” Thackara told Dowser.

How social media could raise British Gas's sustainability drive to another level

The company is offering free insulation to the poor and elderly, yet is relying on the telephone to market this worthy message.

More than 1.4 million families live on $2 a day per person

The number of families living on $2 or less per person per day for at least a month in the USA has more than doubled in 15 years to 1.46 million.

That's up from 636,000 households in 1996, says a new study released by researchers at the University of Michigan and Harvard University.

What's on the grill this spring? More cash

With still a month before the start of the spring, wholesale meat buyers have indeed got off to a flying start in securing supplies because a devastating drought in the southern Plains has shrunk the cattle herd to its smallest in 60 years.

The absence of pasture combined with record-high feed costs last year forced most ranchers, especially in the top cattle state of Texas where the drought was one of the worst since the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, to send their calves to feedyards months earlier.

Japan's nuclear crisis goes much further than Fukushima

As Japan approaches the anniversary of the March 11 quake, the nuclear power industry, which just over a year ago supplied a third of its power, is virtually paralyzed. All but two of the country's 54 reactors are offline.

The 10 states that run on nuclear power

The anniversary of the Japan earthquake, which killed over 16,000 people and caused the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, is only two weeks away. Immediately after the disaster, several European nations decided to significantly trim their use of nuclear power. Similarly, the Obama Administration decided to partially pull back from a previous move aimed at gaining more U.S. energy independence through the use of nuclear reactors. Despite these decisions, nuclear energy remains the world’s most used source of emission-free energy. This is particularly true in regions which are densely populated, although it is not entirely clear why.

Japan's 2011 megaquake reactivated dormant faults

The megaquake that shook the east coast of Japan in March 2011 reactivated dormant faults near Fukushima's beleaguered nuclear reactors, geologists warn.

"A strong quake may occur in the Futaba fault, only 5 to 6 kilometres away," says Dapeng Zhao of Tohoku University. The fault runs parallel to the coast, right past both of Fukushima's nuclear plants.

Germany Plans Record Cuts in Solar Subsidies to Limit Boom

Germany, the world’s biggest market for solar power, plans record reductions in subsidies for the industry as part of a program to rein in a boom in installations.

Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said he plans to cut premium rates for solar power by between 20.2 percent and 29 percent from March 9 and decrease them further each month beginning in May. Plants larger than 10 megawatts won’t get support after July 1.

Anne Murray speaks out against proposed N.S. wind farm

A Canadian folk music icon has added her voice to the storm of controversy surrounding a proposed Nova Scotia wind farm.

Anne Murray, who is from the province and spends her summers in Pugwash, N.S., told CTV's Canada AM she is opposed to the plan to put 12 turbines on land located about two kilometres from what she said is a "beautiful, quaint, fishing village" surrounded by cottages.

Marshaling the Winds of Mongolia

Construction is to begin in March on Mongolia’s first wind farm, and its backers hope it will be the beginning of a renewable energy boom.

Mongolia’s first wind installation is a $120 million project that will provide 5 percent of the country’s electricity demand. Transmission lines were installed last year, while turbine construction waited out the fierce Mongolian winter. It is scheduled to begin in March.

Bill Gates Calls for More Accountability on Food Programs

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has brought a distinctive approach to problems of global development: a sense of urgency, a willingness to make big investments in pursuit of ambitious targets, and — above all — a hard-nosed insistence on results that can be counted and documented. The Gateses, who are heavily involved in managing the foundation that bears their name, take the view that setting explicit numerical targets and holding people to them is one key to progress.

Now Mr. Gates is calling for a stringent application of that approach in the field of global agriculture. In a speech Thursday morning in Rome, he called on the United Nations agencies that deal with world food supply to set a global target for the productivity growth of agriculture.

Lucy Lawless—a.k.a Xena the Warrior Princess—Occupies a Shell Oil Drilling Ship

Lawless and other Greenpeace volunteers climbed the Noble Discoverer's 174-foot oil derrick to stop it from sailing to Alaska.

Mutated Trout Raise New Concerns Near Mine Sites

It was the two-headed baby trout that got everyone’s attention.

Photographs of variously mutated brown trout were relegated to an appendix of a scientific study commissioned by the J. R. Simplot Company, whose mining operations have polluted nearby creeks in southern Idaho. The trout were the offspring of local fish caught in the wild that had been spawned in the laboratory. Some had two heads; others had facial, fin and egg deformities.

E.U. Stalemate on 'Dirty' Label for Fuel From Tar Sands

BRUSSELS — Years of lobbying over European Union rules that would label fuel from tar sands as more polluting than fuels from other sources reached a stalemate Thursday when a committee of technical experts failed to agree on the draft.

Will your kid be taught that climate change is a hoax?

One revelation from the recent Heartland Institute document leak is that the group is crafting a K-12 curriculum to teach kids that global warming is “controversial.” Heartland officials have confirmed this. So is climate change set to join evolution as the next big classroom controversy?

World on brink of first carbon trade war over flights?

MOSCOW — Countries opposed to a European Union law forcing the world's airlines to pay for greenhouse gas emissions have agreed on a basket of retaliatory measures, adding to a series of threats that have raised the prospect of the globe's first carbon trade war.

But the EU dismissed the threats as "hypothetical" and Russia's deputy transport minister also said the countries — which include China, India and the United States — were free to choose which of them they would actually carry out.

I watched Obama's energy speech yesterday, and while there were some things I had problems with (biofuels from algae?), at least he was strong on not being able to drill our way to energy independence. Of course, many were poised at their keyboards ready to debunk anything the President had to say. One story making the rounds:

5 Biggest Whoppers In Obama's Energy Speech

Fact: Obama constantly refers to this statistic to buttress his claim that "we can't drill our way to lower gas prices." The argument goes that since the U.S. supply is limited, it won't ever make a difference to world prices.

It's bogus. New exploration and drilling technologies have uncovered vast amounts of recoverable oil.

In fact, the U.S. has a mind-boggling 1.4 trillion barrels of oil, enough to "fuel the present needs in the U.S. for around 250 years," according to the Institute for Energy Research. The problem is the government has put most of this supply off limits.

Mind boggling, indeed. Many of these 'experts', along with Newt, in his "$2.50/gal" gas plan are citing "facts" referenced in this article regarding a study, from the API:

STUDY: Policy shift on oil and natural gas could create 1.4 million new jobs, increase revenue to government by $800 Billion

WASHINGTON, September 7, 2011 – U.S. oil and natural gas policy changes could generate more than 1.4 million new jobs, $800 billion in additional government revenue, and 10 million barrels worth of added daily oil and natural gas production by 2030, according to a study by Wood Mackenzie released today by API. New jobs could be added in every state.

Another 10 million BPD.... I guess I'll keep my truck a few more years :-/

In fact, the U.S. has a mind-boggling 1.4 trillion barrels of oil, enough to "fuel the present needs in the U.S. for around 250 years," according to the Institute for Energy Research. The problem is the government has put most of this supply off limits.

But of that 1.4 trillion barrels, 33 percent of it, one third, is under no federal control whatsoever.

In-Place Oil Shale Resources Underlying Federal Lands in the Green River and Washakie Basins, Southwestern Wyoming USGS file, Click on: Report PDF (2.04 MB)

The USGS, in 2011, that in place resources, regardless of grade, are about 1.45 trillion barrels.

1. About 906 billion barrels (62 percent)are federally owned.

2. About 969 billion barrels (67 percent) are located under Federal surface administered lands.

3. About 133 billion barrels (9 percent) are in strata that contains more than 15 gallons per ton (GPT) of rock, of which about 72 billion barrels are under Federal mineral (subsurface) ownership.

This means that there are 481 billion barrels that are not on federally owned or federally administered lands. And as for the rich strata, strata that contains 15 gallons per ton, there are 61 billion barrels that are not on federally owned or administered land.

So the next time you hear some wag talking about the feds not letting feds drill on that land tell them that 451 billion barrels of it are under no federal control whatsoever. Then tell them that the stuff cannot be drilled, it must be surfaced mined like the oil sands of Canada. Then ask them why no one is doing this?

And the US Department of Energy is trying to get someone to mine the 67 percent that the government does control.

Our Oil Shale Assets

The US Department of Energy published a report in March 2004 "Strategic Significance of America's Oil Shale Resource" setting out the strategic rationale for the US to develop its oil shale and proposing that an oil shale industry could be established by 2011 with a 2020 aggressive production goal of 2million barrels per day. They also published "America's Oil Shale: A Roadmap for Federal Decision Making" setting out recommendations for a program for development of US oil shale and proposed federal actions to facilitate and stimulate private industry to develop a domestic oil shale industry comparable to the Canadian development of oil sands.

Section 369 of the US Energy Act Aug 2005, established a national policy to develop oil shale.

Ron P.

Ol' Loonie Newt is sure great at presenting his story. Trouble is, it's full of so many holes that anybody might see thru it. He claims that "science and technology" has provided access to all those supposed oil resources and denigrates the Obama administration for it's (supposed) obsession with environmental concerns, yet he completely fails to mention the science which tells us about Global Warming. He speaks about the national security advantages of burning all those imagined oil (and Nat gas and coal) resources, yet says nothing about the national security issues which could appear as the Earth warms, resulting in major disruptions in world food and water supplies. He claims that the Keystone pipeline would help make the US independent of oil imports, ignoring the fact that the oil companies would sell that oil to the highest bidder, which would push the price of any products up to that of whatever happens to be the world price for oil at the time. That would increase the price for gasoline in the Midwest, where oil is now selling for less that the world price because there's a local glut. He states that there's no Peak Oil, which is wrong because even with his claimed vastly larger amount of resources, they are still finite and will eventually hit some peak in production. He is just saying we can ignore the problem, saying it's OK for the average American to go out and buy what ever vehicle they want, he will get rid of the CAFE standards.

Happy days are here again, so get out there America, put 2 SUV's in every garage, cauz' we're gonna be Number One again!..:-(

E. Swanson

We tend to downplay the role of "the evil speculator" here, blaming peak oil and constrained supply for high oil and gasoline prices, but, of course, it's more complicated. I had a sense a while back that central banks injecting huge amounts of liquidity into economies would show up as inflation somewhere. If I was an investment banker suddenly presented with a bunch of cheap cash, would I put it into some long-term business venture, hoping for a sustained return over time, or would I put it into shorter term contracts on commodities, possibly gaining great returns over the shorter term? Tyler Durden sees it pretty much the same way:

...As the world central banks have turned on the liquidity pumps to support the Eurozone and the U.S. economy; the most logical place for that excess liquidty to go is into highly liquid, highly leveraged, commodity contracts. The rising number, the second highest peak on record, of oil contracts outstanding continues to push prices higher. In turn those higher prices draw more speculation into the market - so forth and so on. That is - until it pops.

... so as supply constraints, liquidity injections and resulting speculation play their part in raising food and energy prices, deflation in other sectors and falling incomes relative to food and fuel costs hinder demand, resulting in a roller coaster that'll be hard to get off of.


But of that 1.4 trillion barrels, 33 percent of it, one third, is under no federal control whatsoever.

So are you accepting that there is 1.4 trillion barrels available? If so that's terrific - I'm off to upgrade my SUV.

The fundamental difficulty is that it's not really crude oil, it's kerogen, an oil precursor. Under normal circumstances geological forces turn it into crude oil, but in this case it has never been buried deep enough and so its still not oil. (And it's trapped in marlstone, not shale, but that's a different issue.)

You can cook kerogen into crude oil using heat and pressure, but you can cook bacon fat into oil that way, too. The two processes are similar in that neither would scale up to producing 18 million barrels per day very well.

They don't even have a working pilot plant for producing oil from "oil shale" (kerogen marlstone), so they are at least 40 years away from having a commercial-scale project assuming they started research now. There are no plans for starting research now.

So are you accepting that there is 1.4 trillion barrels available? If so that's terrific

I don't think you bothered to read my complete post. The stuff must be mined, not drilled. And most of it is quite deep and of very poor quality. And as Rocky states above it is not even oil, it's kerogen and must be cooked at a very high temperature, or at lower temperatures for several years, before it becomes oil.

No one is bothering because it is not economical. And even if it were there is no water except the Green River, which feeds the Colorado River. That water is already spoken for. In fact they are fighting over it.

Ron P.

When are progressives going to make the case for Green Transit - i.e. just RESTORE the
public transit cut in 150 cities since the 2008 financial crisis for starters?
Besides the fact that in the long run personal cars are not going to be sustainable for
the masses, is the reality that it takes years for fuel efficiency in cars to kick in which is actually getting worse as people hold onto their cars longer.

From 1941-45 the US elite both government and Corporations including the Auto companies
made a concerted effort to move away and stop the stampede towards auto addiction to save oil, rubber, metals etc for the War effort. In that short period of time
intercity rail, bus and local transit ridership quadrupled and huge amounts of oil were
saved from being wasted on cars. Do we have no leadership to do this today?

Meanwhile we have Teabag Republicans and the House Republican leadership in HR-7 proposing absolutely no Federal subsidies to Green Transit while road expansion at the cost of billions goes on.

It was over 30 years ago in 1980 that independent candidate John Anderson proposed raising the gas tax to 50 cents per gallon.

He introduced (as congressional legislation) his signature campaign proposal, advocating that a 50-cent a gallon gas tax be enacted with a corresponding 50% reduction in social security taxes. This idea, while not broadly supported, was hailed as interesting and innovative. Experts agreed that it would reduce consumption dramatically and cost average families nothing if they drove less than about 18,000 miles a year, depending upon the fuel efficiency of their vehicles.


Yet none of the political leadership of
the US can propose this as we face imminent threats of Peak Oil and Climate Change
staring us right in the face now?

Ahh smoke and mirrors. So people would drive less and reduce consumption (a good thing). However the 50 cent a gallon tax to cover a 50% reductin in SS tax would like most government estimates be based on consumtion at the original level. But you already expect cunsumption to go down and so 50 cents a gallon at the new consumption rate will not cover the loss to SS and you now have a serious (more serious) problem with SS. This sounds exactly like the kind of legislation all sides on capital hill could get behind.

This is also the kind of legislation that ends up with enough loopholes that 20% of companies or individuals do not pay the 50 cent increase and still get the 50% reduction.

Of course such a restoration might move a whole 0.1% of national traffic, not nearly enough to notice, out of cars. You'd need countless trillions to make that percentage appreciable, and countless trillions more to rebuild the country to high density in order that it should be workable. That seems unlikely.

Here we have the whole line swallowed hook, line and sinker from the Auto Addiction
Complex that the US is "too spread out" for Transit.
In fact 80% of the US population live in urbanized areas, 70% of working age Americans in 100 US Metro areas ALREADY live only 3/4ths mile from a Transit stop.
See http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2011/0512_jobs_and_transit.aspx
Transit ridership was showing double digit growth in 2008 as gas prices rose to $4 per gallon before over 150 cities CUT their Green public transit just when it was most needed.
Amtrak ridership continues to increase year over year despite endless attempts to kill it and repeated service degradations.
NJ Transit gives an excellent example of how cheap it is to simply RUN public transit -
it only costs $300 Million for operating costs for all of NJ Transit which provides
over 365 Million rides. That can be contrasted with the $78 Million it cost for just
1 interchange from I78 to the Garden State Parkway, the $18 Million proposed for a few miles of Route 18 in Piscataway by Rutgers, the quadrupled costs of asphalt in the age of Peak Oil.

New Jersey provides the best case for Green Transit as the USA's most densely populated State, more densely populated than China. New Jersey already has 3 major Light Rail lines, 12 commuter Rail lines all within a mile of 50% of its population.
Yet many train lines have no weekend service, 3 1/2 hour gaps in service from 5 to 8:30PM, 2 hour gaps in weekend service to Hoboken and the "Gold Coast" of Jersey City to Weehawken which is prospering since the Light Rail was built.

"only 3/4ths mile from a Transit stop"

Sure, where there's probably two buses in the morning, two in the evening, weekdays only, and taking a person in just the one direction, probably not where he or she needs to go - and almost certainly not in a reasonable length of time. By the time you've walked 3/4 mile to your stop, and 3/4 mile from the destination stop, you could have driven clear across town unless "town" is a clogged megacity, plus you wouldn't be sweat-soaked half the year and freezing the other half. So what?

"...it only costs $300 Million for operating costs for all of NJ Transit which provides over 365 Million rides..." (emphasis added.)

Huh? Whaaaaat? In which universe? NJ Transit says, for 2010:

The Board approved a $1.79 billion operating budget and a $1.39 billion capital program for the fiscal year that started July 1.

Oh, and it's not like the ongoing capital costs are free and not to be counted, any more than they are with those interchanges. Trains, tracks, and interchanges all wear out, and somebody has to pay for them.

"...no weekend service, 3 1/2 hour gaps in service from 5 to 8:30PM, 2 hour gaps in weekend service to Hoboken and the "Gold Coast" of Jersey City to Weehawken..."

Exactly. All those people with transit stops in their vicinity, and so what? Just maybe, they can use the train, provided they're going in precisely the right direction at precisely the right time, and coming back at precisely the right time. But really, what are the odds?

"New Jersey provides the best case for Green Transit as the USA's most densely populated State, more densely populated than China."

Exactly, again. A cherry-picked example, completely unrepresentative of most of the country. A mere 2.5%, not scalable without a vast densification that those not already living in high density places won't want and that there just isn't going to be the money to pay for. So what?

Also, according to NJDOT, annual VMT in New Jersey is about 73 billion. Of course, it's hard to know how to translate that into trips, but we might call it 7.3 billion trips, which comes to about 20 times 365 million. Now, $1.79 billion times the same 20 is $35.8 billion; about $4000 per capita. Does anyone seriously think that New Jerseyans are going to tax themselves that hugely in order to scale up a service that only takes them where and when some bureaucrat feels like allowing them to go, in lieu of taking them wherever they want to go, whenever they want to go?

Really, it looks like we're still stuck trying to sell something unsaleable. Indeed, one can run on about hooks, lines, sinkers, and "addiction" ("addiction" being the latest fashionably automatic conversation- and thought-stopper) until the cows come home, and it will still be unsaleable. Therein lies the rub, and it should be entirely unsurprising that virtually no one in the political realm seems to be inclined to take any of it much beyond pious lip service.

Your example assumes no coverage of costs by fares, and no outside revenue sources. It also assumes no economy of scale for a network good and no improvement in service for a 20X increase in the network. It also assumes no positive externalities for transit that might reduce other costs covered by taxes and/or individuals.

About U.S. mass transit I believe two things: 1)In current incarnations it's often fairly wasteful, and 2)it's on the wrong side of the breakeven penetration level but a lot closer than generally thought.

Remember, Anderson's proposal was in 1980, when gasoline was a much bigger chunk of the average person's budget at $1.25 or so a gallon. If we had implemented that plan, we would be in a very different place today.

I voted for John Anderson! I couldn't stand Ronald Raygun, and Carter had just done some things that rubbed me the wrong way.

I haven't posted on the Oil Drum in quite a while but I do check in from time to time to see what's being discussed. I'm grateful for the information that I learned here but it saddens me to see that TOD as a community hasn't moved on.

Peak Oil is clearly in the rear-view mirror; the simple fact that there's a market for tar sands and shale-oil is an obvious tip-off.

Didn't we all witness the economic tsunami of 2008 and watched as the elites were bailed out while the world population topped 7 billion with over 50% living on less than $2 per day?

Last Year I spent some time with a Dr. Guy McPherson, Professor Emeritus from U of A and author of "Walking Away From Empire". I'm currently working on a film: "Somewhere in New Mexico Before The End Of Time"



Joe Michaels

Peak Oil is clearly in the rear-view mirror


You're right.
Today's "all liquids" graph rubs in the point.

Nobody wants to look at crude + condensate anymore
That's so pre-peak seconds ago

Now it's time to deal with the dealt cards already in our hands:

1) high gasoline prices
2) above $100 WTI
3) politicians hoping to reclaim the glorious past with the 3D's mantra (drill here, drill now, drill like there was no yesterday)
4) jokers running wild

Hi step,

Good point.

I'm unsure exactly how to interpret the TOD posting protocol, however, to your point above, I also replied - to the similar idea that you voiced your most recent post in this thread here:

Just to say: the NAS study idea (www.oildepletion.wordpress.com) asks for impacts and policy options - not to verify dates. Could you possibly please check out my post?

Dear Aniya,

I am not disrespecting your proposal for an NAS study, nor saying that it might not produce some useful results.
IMHO, many studies have already been done.
See for example, Scientific American, Plan B for Energy: 8 Revolutionary Energy Sources

IMHO, this would be just one more study, nothing more.
I don't understand why you are picking on me. I'm just another nobody on TOD. Just a few more anonymous electrons pouring into you computer in the dark of night.

IMHO, the human animal is selfish, self-centered and doesn't pay attention until a problem hits him or her right in the face (the proverbial TSHTF).
I am not much different than anybody else.

We are all going to cry, "Woe is me" when gasoline climbs to $5/gallon later this year.
Only then will you see people suddenly paying attention.

One politician will say it's the Democrats' fault.
A second one will blame the Republicans.
And a third will say God is punishing us because we don't crack our morning eggs open at the littler end as it was meant to be done! (See Gulliver's travels)

And so it goes.

Maybe an action would be to gather the ideas about what to do, and the histories (Venezuela, Cuba, Russia) of what worked, in the midst of foundational economic change (akin to collapse) into a book or document with a working title evocative of "Now What?". It could also contain alternative personal transportation work-arounds like bicycle adaptations, gasification as seen in WWII, electric car conversion... Sort of like the innocent and enthused "Whole Earth Catalog" of the past: a seed, a resource, not a turn-key plan. In the great depression, books appeared that showed how to make what you need out of what you have.


Good idea

IMHO all of us at TOD agree on the inevitability of PO
(it already happened or soon will happen)

But then like shale rock, we fracture on the "Now What?" question.

--Some say, go solo & in survivalist mode,
--Some say, go big government & hopey changey style
--Some say, go localized & transition town permaculture

--Some say, "all of the above"

The "Now What?" road signs are going to point all over the map

Hi, Joe. Good to see you here again.

it saddens me to see that TOD as a community hasn't moved on.

So, where do we go post peak? I think the proper direction for a peak oil site, given the realities of today (we ARE post peak) is discussions of what do we do now that oil has peaked? How do we take care of society, ourselves and our loved ones? What do we see as the impacts of peak oil? How fast do we need to move, and in what direction?

The only alternative must be to sit back and gloat, saying, "I told you so?" That would be unfair to our children and grandchildren (I have 9 of the latter).

We do need to refocus, though, as you said, to become a "Post Peak Oil" blog. Mayhaps our above the line posts should be a bit more future directed? What do you suggest?


Hi Craig. The Oil Drum years ago was an exciting dynamic site. The heart of this site was always the doomers and they've been driven off by the conservative coffee-clatch that appears to have taken over. (see Ghung's over-the-top reaction to my statement) That's why I stopped posting here.

I'm sorry I don't have any suggestions.

"they've been driven off by the conservative coffee-clatch that appears to have taken over. (see Ghung's over-the-top reaction to my statement)..."

Jeez, Joe, you have been gone a while. Too bad many of my doomiest comments have been deleted. And it was the editors that decided that the site needed to have less doom, not us. I've said many times that humanity and its home planet are pretty much screwed. Industrialism will be self-defeating.

That said, I don't think it's over the top to challenge statements such as "we must end industrial civilization as quickly as possible.." I think such declarations need to be qualified; it goes to the integrity of the site/community.

Most folks, especially the ones we need to reach, will walk away from this position, even if it's true. What's over the top about "most of the 7 billion people you mentioned are utterly reliant upon industrialism for their survival..."? This is equally true, though not nearly as easily dismissed. So, purely for the sake of communicating our plethora of predicaments, which statement is more "over the top"?

For the record, and at the risk of being 'repetitive': go local, power down, reduce your reliance on hyper-complex external systems, adopt voluntary poverty, nurture local community, learn self-reliance skills, build a "lifeboat", collect the tools of self-reliance, and, yes, hoard some of the things that will aid your transition and will be unavailable in the near future. That's the short list.

Don't you think there might be a connection between peak oil being in the rear-view mirror and the discussion here being less doom-ridden?

Many of us thought $100 oil would mean overnight collapse. Gas stations dry, zombie hordes, Mad Max. That didn't happen. Doesn't mean things are all just fine and dandy, but it does mean that anyone who is at all permeable to evidence might need to modify their view of the speed and scope of collapse.

Being a “citizen” in a failing state will be similar to being a contestant in the game of Russian roulette. You have to play, the gun is aimed at your head, pull the trigger and see what happens. Did you lose your job today? Did the electricity get cut off today? Are you overdrawn at the bank, watch the fees compound. How would you like living in a car? Can't pay your taxes? That tooth you've been complaining about will cost $2,000.00 for the root canal and crown, looks like an extraction. Gasoline is what? $5.00 a gallon, better cut back on food purchases. Parents need long term care? That will be $35,000 a year please. Health insurance for your family? Just write me a check for $15,000 and don't get sick because your deductible is 20%. How much does it cost to send your kid to college? $50,000? No problem. Where is your hard earned pension going? Into a banker's pocket? What's happening to your home equity? Gone. How much are you earning on the money you've saved? 1%.

Even though the economy has not collapsed, people are quickly losing faith in its ability to provide a survivable environment. Faith will collapse first, some will voluntarily leave the game and others will be playing the game of Russian roulette well into the future.........until a full chamber blasts them into destitution.

That might be true. There are some things you can't control. But you can eliminate a lot of that stress. Don't own a home, and there's no need to worry about home equity. Don't send your kid to college (or don't have kids), and you don't have to worry about the cost. Accept that you may end up living in your car, and you'll be prepared if it happens. My parents and I have an agreement: I won't support them financially, and they don't owe me any inheritance. I will of course help them in other ways if possible.

The financial system is scary and unpredictable, but I'm starting to think I'll need an IRA or 401(k) more than I'll need an organic farm or doomstead in the wilderness.

For those who are physically able, I would suggest the best plan is to 'work until you die' in one form or another. I have known engineers and surveyors who worked until the week they died, at ages of 60, 85, and 92. Sure, the older ones slowed down, but they provided value and continued to make some money.

Of course the ill and invalid will have fewer options, but worst case that just means that death comes earlier, as in the work-til-you-die model you can either work later or die earlier to fulfill the mandate.

As the wealth curve tilts steeper and the bottom layer grows larger and poorer, the compensation for work and availability of paid work will shrink. We'll know when we hit peak life expectancy and the averages start declining that we're moving to the WTYD model.

As for me, I'm fully embracing WTYD but still putting my kids through college, because I reasonably can. I am pretty sure my skills will be in some demand as long as there is energy to produce, which will be longer than I will live. If I end up with a healthy 401K, I'll draw back some and help my kids. If I don't, I'll work harder and longer. But I do not delude myself that I am fortunate to have some options, nor that all these won't go away in a low-probability but high-impact series of events.

Retirement is an unknown concept in some cultures. And I think most people do want to keep working - they just want to work less, and/or have some choice in the kind of work they do.

However, this causes problems on the other end of work life, at least if the economy is not growing. The kids you are sending to college may want you to hurry up and retire so they can have your job. :-/

You can own a "home" (I do) and still not worry about home equity, if it's your home and not a house you bought for an investment. I do make the distinction between a house and a home, realtor-speak notwhithstanding.

I have no kids, though - it was a decision I made a long time ago, like 40 years ago.

Good comment, Leanan. I have modified my beliefs on the speed of the collapse. I have not modified my belief on the scope of the collapse. We still use 9 calories of fossil fuels for every 10 calories of food.

That's true, but we also eat a lot more food, and a lot higher on the food chain, than is strictly necessary. We're not yet being told that growing our own vegetables is our civic duty.

I have modified my beliefs on the speed of the collapse.

Maybe too early. While Peak crude oil is in the rear-view mirror, total liquids ('world oil production') is not. There is a graph from Hirsch published on the ASPO Ireland site, which shows that:
"we’ve got at best 4 years before terminal decline is particularly disconcerting." (I tried to copy/paste the graph, but it doesn't work.)

If that happens it could increase the speed of the collapse seriously this decade.

Many of us thought $100 oil would mean overnight collapse. ... That didn't happen.

Dear Leanan.

The "collapse" already happened.
Like Wilie Coyote, we are merely hanging up there on the last few after fumes.
Our rear view mirrors are still fogged by the fumes.
That is why we don't see it (the collapse).

Hardly any of us can keep track of how many zeroes there are in a "Trillion".
I don't doubt that the Germans of pre-World War II suffered from the same kind of myopia.
We are passing down by floor number 50 of the Empire's End Building and so far so good.

Or as Slim Pickens used to say, Yee Ha, Yee ha!

I think Joe was put off by my assessment of his film previews as 'cliche', which, judging from the "end industrial civilization as quickly as possible" statements and the "end of time" title, was justified, IMO. How many (some very well done) films and publications along this tack have we seen recently? 'Ending industrial civilization as quickly as possible' suggests some extreme measures which may or may not be appropriate for discussion here. I was hoping for a bit of clarification, something new and creative perhaps; certainly not more 2012 doomer porn.

In his first video clip, the voiceover says "I'm obsessed with Collapse" and goes on to mention several "Collapse" titles.
Perhaps he is looking for reinforcement of the "Collapse" idea here at TOD and is disappointed in not finding it - or not finding it at the same volume as in previous years.
I agree with Leanan - someone self-describedly "obsessed" is probably not paying much attention to the evidence.

Joe's first comment includes: "...saddens me to see that TOD as a community hasn't moved on." Later he expresses frustration that the doomers have been run off, longing for the good old days of TOD. It seems we may have moved on, realizing that doom for the sake of doom has limited usefulness to the ongoing discussion. There are plenty of pure collapse sites out there and they get boring after a while.

I've seen plenty of comments that some of us are too doomy, that we need to stay focused on solutions. I guess it all keeps things pretty well balanced here.

Interestingly, the themes of "doom" and "a return to a simpler life" are themes of fundamentalism in America.

Judging by the glut of "don't worry, (peak oil theory was wrong), be happy" articles out there of late, I'm beginning to think Newton had it all wrong and Daffy had it right.

The Daffy Duck rules of cartoon physics cease to operate the minute the TV shuts off

Very true. Thanks. It might be helpful here to include a mainstream economic idea expressed very articulately in the quote below that is at work (to some degree) as we see more liquids and gas coming on line:

If a scientific breakthrough in a given year increases the prospective output of the unused stocks of a resource by an amount greater than the reduction (via resources actually used up) in that year, then, in terms of human economic welfare, the stock of that resource will be larger at the end of the year than at the beginning. Of course, the remaining physical amount of the resource must continually decline, but it need never be exhausted completely, and its effective quantity can rise for the indefinite future. The exhaustion of a particular resource, though not impossible, is also not inevitable.

source - http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/NaturalResources.html

The continuum of possible futures having The Jetsons on one end and Mad Max on the other has infinite possibilities in between. Mainstream economic theory like the above quote is toward the Jetson's end.

I think Taleb is on the money saying that change in the world is driven by Black Swans - negative and positive.

Hi Leanan. I'm glad to see you're still moderating this site.

"Don't you think there might be a connection between peak oil being in the rear-view mirror and the discussion here being less doom-ridden?"

Maybe but I doubt it. I realize that this is a technical site and I would never try and debate this crew. I respect Ghung and Darwinian, Alan from the Big Easy for what they know. But where are a lot of names such as Darwin's Dog? That guy was a hoot! and he was way bright but I watched him get worn down here until he just left the community. As soon as you rattle the culture you have Harpies rush out to let you know the local pecking order. Petty and often mean.

Me I'm involved in doing volunteer Restoration projects for the California Lagoon system and the local Audubon. Here's a short film called "Birders" that I did for the Buena Vista Lagoon.


When I began to do habitat restoration projects I opened my eyes and saw for myself what industrial civilization is doing to the planet. Once I saw it I couldn't un-see it. It's one thing reading and hearing about numbers and charts but when you look at it up close it's horrifying. I can understand why Derrick Jensen is perpetually angry. It's called grief, Kubler Ross 5 stages.

As a result of explosions and massive machines scraping into the earth’s crust like a bad case of scabies, people driving hundreds of millions of cars and living large the earth is now in rapid decline. The climate bomb is exploding even now but most people never hear it. The earth has no rights and industrial societies are killing it as quickly as they can. The American Political system is the agent of corporations now and the monolith is ubiquitous. It is the "Tragedy of The Commons". Here's a Peak Oil prediction: We're going to run out of fresh air to breathe long before we run out of fuel to burn.

"Somewhere In New Mexico Before The End Of Time" is a semi-fictional piece of art about the anger and grief that two different men experience as a result of the Silent Spring that is now upon us and how they decide to deal with it. It's not making an argument.

The world needs Cassandras. It would be a better Oil Drum community if there was a place for them here.

Joe Michaels

It's natural for there to be a high turnover rate on any web site, on any topic. It's the nature of the web. Easy come, easy go. We apes are easily distracted by shiny things, and the web is full of shiny things.

Look back at the beginning of this site, and a lot of the formerly prominent personalities no longer post here, or post here very rarely. Not just doomers, but cornucopians and moderates, too. Some have blogs of their own now. Some are no longer interested in peak oil. (Matt Savinar has shut down his web site and taken up astrology.) Some have moved new formats, like Facebook and Twitter. Some have died.

This happens on all web sites, and there's really no way to prevent it, even if you wanted to. The doomers were not run off; people just changed their minds, or lost interest and wandered away when the zombie hordes did not materialize.

As for the earth...I think it will survive. We may not, but we're just a blink in terms of geological time, anyway.

I am fairly new to TOD and young (against the trend ?) and I think this is one of the best sites around. High on data and low on mindless rant, I like the current amount of doomerism on this site, it's fairly accurate and well reasoned, any more and you are asking for faith based arguments. Scientists and engineers are supposed to be skeptics, MSM on the other hand is filled with news about utopia without a single bit of evidence to back it up.

As for doing something about PO. Most of us are already doing it in small parts, many get ridiculed for mentioning this to their friends and family but take it in the stride. I think that counts as sacrifice. As for doing something regarding all this I am an electronics engineer by profession, this site encouraged me to think about the alternative energy as a career/hobby and I have convinced a four of my friends to take up cycling, I think that's a great thing.

IMO going forward this site can feature DIY designs about alternatives, many of our contributors already have experience in this regard.

Hi, Joe. The previews look captivating, but seem a little 'cliche', if I may. Guy McPherson: " we must end industrial civilization as quickly as possible.." I think most here agree with the sentiment, but firstly, who is "we", and secondly, how do "we" accomplish this? Since most of the 7 billion people you mentioned are utterly reliant upon industrialism for their survival, I doubt "we" will end it voluntarily. Those of us who've been making the break for, in some cases, decades, get a little perturbed if not amused, at the come-lately-to-the-party folks (in no way refering to you and Guy), but better late than never, I guess. Conundrums, indeed.

As for "TOD as a community hasn't moved on...", I'm not sure what that means. This community is always in flux, and the ideas of peak oil, peak other stuff, and the impacts, haven't really sunk into mainstream thinking. All of these concepts bare repeating, if only to gain a few converts now and then.

Interesting to watch McPherson in his gardens with his rubber hoses, plastic buckets, etc., discussing how we must end industrial civilization as quickly as possible. Perhaps you should buy him a nice wooden pail ;-)

Best hopes for a better garden this year...

"'cliche'"? How snarky!

"As for "TOD as a community hasn't moved on...", I'm not sure what that means. "

It means that the same repetitive armchair academic discussions about energy seem to be tirelessly debated and rehashed. I think most people on this blog know full well that solar panels and wind farms will not run industrial societies. The seas are acidifying and the carbon bomb is exploding. For most of the world survival will depend on dismantling the monolithic culture of make believe.

"Most of the 7 billion people you mentioned are utterly reliant upon industrialism for their survival..."

The ubiquitous dominant paradigm has in the last 500 years murdered and enslaved over 99% of the indigenous peoples worldwide until all we're left with is an infantile population and a denuded ecosystem. Perhaps it's time to start worrying about more than how long you should "keep your truck'.

Joe Michaels

Gosh, Joe, I apologize for any perceived "snark". It was meant as an honest critique, something the TOD community is known for, as you well know. I'll hold any further comments on the film until I see it. Sincere kudos for your efforts.

"...the same repetitive armchair academic discussions about energy seem to be tirelessly debated and rehashed. I think most people on this blog know full well that solar panels and wind farms will not run industrial societies."

We still discuss these things, and there is value in repetition over time. It refines the message and reaches new audiences every day. I've worn out my welcome here repeating and updating my responses to these issues. Off grid for 16 years, living well on active/passive solar, much more going on here as examples of how folks can power down and cut their energy/carbon/environmental/consumption footprint without returning to the caves. No "armchair academic" here; walkin' the talk every day, and still finding time for TOD. The deniers haven't gone away...

As for my truck comment; pure sarc. I'm kicking myself every day for turning down a pair of nice burros last year, but then again, they aren't street legal around here yet ;-) I do love my plastic buckets, rubber hoses and drip irrigation, BTW.

Gotta go get the night's firewood in. Best hopes you return more often, Joe.

In addition to not knowing how the future will play out (catabolic decay or sudden collapse or…), we all have a mind set based on or life experience and the current environment. As a result, we tend to think in terms of a continuation of BAU even though we know that BAU is going to be drastically modified.

For example a great amount of intellectual energy is devoted to the pros and cons of various transportation system for getting to work as petroleum derived fuels become more precious. We also frequently conclude that we must desert the suburbs and move closer to places of employment (cities).

It seems to me that we should first strive to determine what kinds of jobs will survive the persistent decline of petroleum recovery. We should also consider the following facts regarding today’s economy:
1. For three years, the US Treasury has borrowed over forty cents of every dollar spent.
2. Entitlements consume every dollar collected in revenue.
3. We are on the threshold of a massive surge in participants in Social Security and Medicare, the two largest entitlement programs.
4. There appears to be no ability of either political party to reverse this imbalance.
5. Additionally, automation and cheap, plentiful off shore labor will continue adding to the already high unemployment rolls.

Non essential jobs will continue to disappear. The question is what is essential. For a reference point, I go back to my childhood in the 1930’s. We had no electricity, no indoor plumbing, no wall or attic insulation, a pair of mules and a wagon to get to town occasionally. My parents bought flour, corn meal, sugar, coffee, matches, Buglar tobacco and kerosene. We raised all the rest of our food on the share cropper farm or went without. The children got one pair of shoes per year (maybe). They were bought in August for school wear. By March they were so small for the feet that we gladly went barefooted till late August in spite of the cockle burrs, goat heads and ‘sticker burs’. The farm had a blacksmith shop and a harness repair shop. My Dad used the winter months to build and repair for spring plowing and planting. Of course we bought other things such as a roll of cow hide to make harness and thread and cloth to make clothes on a treadle sewing machine. My point is that we had the bare essentials and did not feel overly deprived.

If we go back to essentials for survival, I would guess that at least 70% of the current jobs will go away. So the real issue is not how to get to a job, but how to keep food on the table and a roof over the table.

I am focused on my fifteen mile by one-two mile valley. If I was locked into another area (city, suburb, small town, etc.), I would be focused on what My community needed in the way of skills, tools, and supplies to be sustainable. Of course, supplies are for transition only. Therefore, plans must include provision for the day that initial supplies are exhausted.

I think most here agree with the sentiment, but firstly, who is "we", and secondly, how do "we" accomplish this? Since most of the 7 billion people you mentioned are utterly reliant upon industrialism for their survival, I doubt "we" will end it voluntarily.

Ghung, that is plagiarism. I have expressed those exact thoughts many times on TOD. However I could not be more flattered. Thanks. ;-)

Ron P.

Yeah, Ron, great minds think alike steal each others' ideas ;-)

That said, the above is a key concept most folks ignore or miss entirely. In a nutshell, OVERSHOOT. Nothing compares... everything else is only a symptom.

Hey, "who is 'we'?" is MY motto, you IP thieving rascals! :-)

It's funny how the Global Warming Appreciation Part (GWAP) of the brain shuts down
when the "Economical" production of Known-as "American" energy part (EPOKAE) lights up

(Click here for image of brain centers selectively ligthing up --or not)

Political hacks refer to this as "framing"

It's all part of the same thing
We can only pay attention to one thing at a time
And we don't associate "economics" with Global Warming
although economics is the root cause of AGW

So yes, let's repeat the 3 D's Dance
Drill here (NIMBY)
Drill now (you should've started yesterday)
Drill like there's no yesterday (cause you already depleted the easy stuff)

and Drill till your brains fall out (but oops, they already did --on account of the heat outside)

Oil advanced ... the longest winning streak since January 2010...

This makes me laugh. Is it "oil" being happy of U.S. and Germany "good news" in the economy? What about dollar? Is it "dollar" fearing Iran situation? Or are investors happy because there's big inflation going on here...?
Anyway. We know from many studies that dollar strength and barrel of oil prices are firmly connected. Let's talk about the dollar shrinking value* by the mid-february 2012:

15 febr ...... 79.67 ....... (WTI oil 101.80 $/b)
16 febr ...... 79.35 [-0,4%] (WTI oil 102.31 $/b ; +0,5%)
21 febr ...... 79.04 [-0,5%] (WTI oil 105.84 $/b ; +3,5%)
24 febr ...... 78.47 [-0,7%] (WTI oil 108.13 $/b ; +2,2%)

"The money's value is determined by a global casino of unprecedented proportions: $2 trillion are traded, per day, in foreign exchange markets: this is 100 times more than the trading volume of all the stockmarkets of the world combined." Bernard Lietaer, The Future of Money (2001)

*see link: Dollar Index Standard chart

To me, the supposed "winning streak" is merely WTI seeking parity with its peers, and it has a bit more to rise.

Some time ago I was out west visiting Yellowstone.

On the way home I decided to take one of the scenic routes out the north side of the park.(I no longer remember which one, perhaps someone can refresh my memory here)

The road wound up to the top of a mountain, and at the top was a beautiful small plateau with a rest stop around 12K'ASL at the Wyoming/Montana border.
As I was leaving, right before the road dropped away into a series of switchbacks to go down the other side was a sign:

"Speed Limit 75 MPH"

At least there was a speed limit. At one point, Montana didn't fool with them much:

In December of 1995 when the National Maximum Speed Limit was repealed Montana reverted to Reasonable and Prudent on all roadways outside of city limits, which was their law prior to Congress's mandated NMSL in 1974. http://www.hwysafety.com/hwy_montana.htm

"Reasonable,,, and Prudent" :-/

One wonders if 75MPH isn't just the terminal velocity of a car that missed one of the switchbacks :-0

They did put in a speed limit at one point. Speeding tickets were payable on the spot, $5 cash and you were on your way. Jay Leno claims he was pulled over by a Montana Highway patrolman for doing 75 miles an hour. When he was told that the fee was $5, he says he told the Highway patrolman, "Here is $20, I am going to speed through your entire state!"

They did put in a speed limit at one point. Speeding tickets were payable on the spot, $5 cash and you were on your way.

Ah yes...the Montana $5 pay on the spot speeeding ticket. I remember it well.

Early in my career I worked out of Denver, and we had an exploration well going in Montana. I was driving from Billings out to the rig, going way too fast, when a pickup screamed by me. A second later a Montana Hwy Patrol pulled us both over. It was a cold day and he had us both sit in the patrol car while he wrote the ticket and took our five bucks. He looked at the other guy (one of our rig hands) and said "I just busted you yesterday, didn't I?" Then he grinned and said "Too bad I can't let you put down a deposit, then we could just settle up at the end of the month!"

I am italian, living in France. In both countries, speed limits are 90 kmh (55 mph) in secondary roads and free highways, 130 kmh (80 mph) for toll highways: you pay, you can have fun! Many many drivers, specially in Italy, speed up far beyond the limits even when you have radar controls: they use to push down the brakes just before (and laughing at the camera). In toll highways I usually drive my 90 HP Ford car at 65 to 70 mph (I spare sooo much, 15 to 20%!) and everybody passes me and looks at me like "I'm the mad one" and/or the idiot and old grandpa (but finally I'm a 33 ys old man). Sometimes they horn and laugh. They are the people speeding up the world GDP...

Back in the days of the national 55 mph speed limit, one of the standing jokes was "Driving across <insert local western state name> at 55 mph isn't a trip, it's a career." During the decade I spent living on the East Coast, I discovered that people who had never lived in the West had no concept of western distances.

Nor how non-rural the West is (my definition of West -- the 11 states of the contiguous 48 from the Rockies to the Pacific -- sorry, Texas). Using the Census Bureaus figures, 8 of the 11 are in the top 21 states by percent of non-rural population. Only Montana makes the list of 10 most-rural states. Two of the three least-rural states (California, Nevada) are western states. The empty spaces in the West are really empty.

Maps are foolers. Montana just fills up the page in the road atlas, but then so does Maryland.

I recall driving from Flagstaff, AZ to the north rim of the Grand Canyon and seeing one structure in a 50 mile stretch.

But now drive south from Phoenix to Tucson and you will feel sort of like you are driving thru a spread-out suburbia. Not like driving from New York to Washington, but those wide open spaces don't exist along the Phoenix-to-Tucson corridor.

Yeah. Wikipedia has a nice population density map, by county (darker is denser). Lots of interesting things to observe.

The curve in Texas running from San Antonio up to Dallas, then a line pretty much straight north defines the eastern edge of the Great Plains, where the population is crashing (the GP don't really go quite that far south, but the Edwards Plateau is about as empty). West of the Plains the Phoenix-Tucson corridor is pretty typical: LA/San Diego; northern California's stripe from the Bay to Reno; Seattle-Portland; Front Range Colorado; Las Vegas; the Salt Lake City strip; Albuquerque-Sante Fe; on a smaller scale, Boise and Spokane. The population is actually more concentrated than the map suggests because of the size and shape of some of the counties. So much different than the distribution in the East.

Yes, in AZ and SoCal in particular, the shading is very misleading due to the county size. Here's a more representative view from the 2010 census.


Here's a finer resolution (one dot per 1000 people): Warning the pdf is 18MB


Here are the geographic centers of area and mean and median centers of population:


As you can see, all residents of Illinois and Mississippi are among the Western half of the population. Parts of Florida and Michigan are West of this line.

Yes, telling that more than half of the US population lives east of 90°W, an area quite poor in renewable energy resources relative to the size of that population. And about 70% of the population lives east of 100°W.

I'm a bit pickier about how I use "West" and "Western" with capital Ws. My "West" closely matches the Census Bureau's of the 13 western-most states, although I put Alaska and Hawaii in their own special categories for the obvious reasons.

The real dividing "line" between East and West for the 48 contiguous states is the (rapidly depopulating) Great Plains. There are several very good reasons for choosing that as the separator. The obvious is the topography difference, which also largely explains why the West's population is concentrated in specific areas. This is one of my all-time favorite US maps.

Another reason is the Eastern and Western Interconnect grid separation. The Western grid is largely about supplying power to California; the Eastern about supplying power to the East Coast. The West makes it pretty obvious; there are multiple transmission projects in various stages of development that would carry power from as far as eastern Montana into the SoCal-Phoenix-Las Vegas triangle. The East is a bit more subtle, but it is clear that Commonwealth Edison in Chicago joined the PJM RTO so they could sell power into East Coast markets.

I tend to agree that the American West begins at the western mountain edge of the Great Plains (which leaves out a good bit of the area some folks think of as the West), but a case can be made it starts a bit further east at the transition between mixed-grass prairie and short-grass prairie where average precipitation drops below about 15 inches and dryland farming didn't have a chance.

On the topography, I still remember my cousins in WV not believing me (I was about 8) when I told them I'd been living at about 7000 feet for the past year. They knew in a foggy sort of way that places like Mt. Everest existed but they are from the Mountain State and knew nothing in their state was over 5000'.

Yep. Precipitation is another of my dividing lines, too. I usually draw it somewhere between the 15" and 20" lines west of which reliable agriculture means irrigation. "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over," as Twain put it. Nebraska's legislature has always been dominated by the SE corner of the state, which is on the wet side of the line. Laws concerning water rights and use were finally passed in the 1890s after the Panhandle portion of the state, which is on the dry side of the line, threatened to secede and join Wyoming.

There are a number of other divisions that can be used, including the extent of federal land ownership.

The population density map of Canada looks quite different:

Note that most of the population lives in the small box in the Southeast corner of the map (enlarged in the inset), while the vast majority of the oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium resources - and even 80% of the farmland - are in the Southwest quadrant of the map.

Canada managed to put most of its people at the other end of the country from most of its resources, including most of its farmland.

If you want to watch an animated map of the people moving to where the resources are, follow 100 years of Change in Population Settlement. This process is ongoing, and in fact is speeding up as resources get scarcer.

Drive I-80 from Omaha to Denver... My God... 100mph isn't fast enough across that stretch.

That doesn't stop people driving South on I-25 from Cheyenne to Denver from trying while hugging the bumper of the vehicle ahead.

That sounds like Beartooth/Cooke City Pass, but it is just 11,000 feet tops if memory serves. But it is a seriously beautiful drive! It takes you from Yellowstone to Red Lodge Montana. Very tight corners, some fallen rock here and there, snow to the sides nearly all year, very fun to drive!

It could have been US 89 between Mammoth and Gardiner. I have friends near Gardiner and he drove a tour bus along this route for several years. He said he got tired of cleaning up barf bags, especially from poor folks with bad aim; found a less challenging job.

Huh? Barf bags? It's been a while, but I've spent time in that region and been through that area, and don't recall anything that would make one especially more carsick than anywhere else with curvy roads - or anywhere with lots of corners such any city or suburb. How fast was that tour bus going, or did it have a really squishy suspension?

We're talking about tourists from Des Moines and Orlando here... I used to drive a camp bus over near Asheville; kids mostly from FL and LA. It never failed; once one lost it, half the bus would respond in a fit of sympathetic hurling. Misery loves company, it seems ;-)

Oh, yeah, once it starts, it's contagious. Even sometimes when it's started by a drunk in a NYC subway station. But while the Million Dollar (long-ago $) Highway could be scary, it didn't occur to me that it was the hurling kind of scary. That's why I was wondering whether the bus was wobbling and swaying.

Knowing how my buddy drives (his name is Paul, BTW), I'll bet there was some "wobbling and swaying", likely on purpose, especially if there were arrogant 'furiners' aboard.

Some of those roads are amazing, and as you mentioned, expensive. One wonders how they will be maintained in a decline; far too expensive for locals to keep up. I did US-191 from West Yellowstone to Bozeman in a 72 Micro Bus; had to re-jet my carbs for altitude out there (and pray for a tailwind). The road looked like it was under constant repair.

It might have been scenes like this: http://durangoworldamerica.blogspot.com/2009/07/million-dollar-highway-i... We were out in Colorado in September. After discussions with a couple of locals, we decided to avoid this side trip, for example. (I prefer a guardrail myself.)

I drove my Ford to the top of Mt. Evans... Over 14,000ft up when you get to the parking lot at top (plus lots of goats). 80F+ in Denver and it was 40F up there.

Its been 15years, but I doubt Red Mountain pass has changed much. Not so bad going downhill towards Ouray, you are on the uphill side. Going up, when you have to pass someone going downhill, you only have a few inches to spare (and maybe 500feet of cliff). There simply is no room for a guardrail, and snowplows have to be able to push the snow over. Supposedly the snowplow driver job was the most dangerous job in the country, a small avalanche can push a plow off the cliff! But, it is truly gorgeous country.

I suspect you headed out of YNP via the Northeast Entrance and Cooke City - beautiful country. We have an Aussie friend who now lives on a cattle ranch not far from Billings Montana. She would be a conservative-moderate in Australian terms, but probably a screaming lefty pinko in American terms - certainly Montana terms.

She says the level of resistance to anything sensible, energy-wise or whatever, in her community, is absolutely extraordinary. Basically, anything rational and sensible is seen as Obama enslaving everyone, and kowtowing to the New World Order, run of course by the Elders of Zion.

Great world we live in.

There's a commentary in the NYT by Tom Ridge (a former governor of Pennsylvania), claiming that US needs to build cars which run on methanol, so that all that NG we now appear to have can be used for fuel:

The Methanol Alternative to Gasoline

Of course, if this is done, the NG supply will be rapidly depleted, just like oil. After that, how will we heat all those suburban houses that are hooked onto the NG system?

E. Swanson

And Art Berman has analyzed the rapid increase in overall decline rates, as the US NG production base has increasingly shifted to shale plays.

Art estimates that to just maintain current natural gas production, the industry has to replace the equivalent of four Barnett Shale plays every single year.

After that, how will we heat all those suburban houses that are hooked onto the NG system?

Simply buy a mobil-home. When NG prices are finally too high, just go for it: drive and heat at the same time. It's 21st century tourism.

Nah, it's old-fashioned mid-20th century tourism. For decades, they've called themselves full-time RVers, and they've been putting on events like Airstream Rallies.

No, No. These same politicians have explained how we have over a hundred years worth of natural gas...

Of course, not once everyone shifts to NG as the primary fuel. How many proposals are there to do that? Methanol from NG in place of gasoline; liquefied NG for long-haul trucking and rail; replace coal for electricity generation. Even export LNG to Europe and Asia. Have I missed any of the big ones? How much do we need to increase production over current levels to do all of that? Double? Triple?

No problemo. Double or triple you ask? Easy, peasy. Why, 2 and 3 are little numbers, don't you know. Of course we can easily 2bl or 3pl anything we want. We just have to put our minds to it. And, no, I have never heard of anyone named Albert Bartlett, why do you ask?

Today's news: Police found $10 million worth of meth in the gas tank of an SUV in Arlington, Texas.

I think he is using the wrong kind of meth, though.


Saw an address by Hoffsteder (sp?) of Shell, talking about his book and foundation (Citizens for Affordable Energy or some such).

On the plus side, he quite clearly pointed out the folly of heavy oil imports in a world dominated by Chinese and Indian growth, outlined an expectation for gas lines by 2015 on the road we're on, and described the complete lack of a US energy policy.

On the minus side, he painted a picture of trillion-barrel reserves, a need for an independent energy regulation agency modeled after the Fed with power over energy and environmental rules, and a fairly positive possible future with quick changes NOW.

He did push for efficiency, too. Overall, the information was broader than I expected, and the expectations quite cautionary. Even the regulatory part makes some sense in improving production (perhaps at the expense of other values, though). The expectation that technology will dig out more than a few percent of the trillion-barrel reserve looks pretty unlikely. Everybody thought that blocking Keystone was stupid for the US, but just fine for producers.

Others I spoke with said they expect cheap nat gas for at least a couple of years, and then a heavy spike as growing gas consumption (for vehicles, power, and heat) meets dropping production as shale wells play out quickly.

Rigs are moving from dry plays to wet ones, but from what I hear overall levels are not dropping much. A few rigs remain active in each dry play to hold leases in the hope that prices recover.

Put all the info together, and even energy insiders expect gas lines and $15 nat gas by 2015. Not that such would be a bad thing for those who make their money that way.

Oh, another point: pretty much nobody there supported solar and wind except for powering remote production monitoring and control equipment, nobody worried at all about fracking safety or emissions (many were for solid regulation, but figured occasional incidents were both unavoidable and manageable) and the general take was that spending on alts was silly until coal was gone. They weren't being hateful or anything, just taking a dollars and cents perspective on energy costs.

Cost of anything was no issue. Many vendors spoke of producers calling to look for well equipment, and if you said you had it, they said "ship me 200 units" without even asking price. Field hands are hard to find, and a sharp guy willing to work the fields can get close to six figures for long days far away from home. Young productions engineers are showing up everywhere...and they're taking chem-e's, mech-e's, and other majors as well as petro-e graduates.

Can see a lot of articles once again blaming "the evil speculators" for the oil price hike. Sometimes you do feel for those bankers on wall street, they take a lot of flak for things they don't have any control over. Maybe they have a role, but I doubt that it amounts to anything more than a $4-5 premium on a barrel.

No, I never feel for those bankers...

Though not all speculators are bankers.

In any case, if the gov feels that that speculation is so bad, then they should just tax it out of existence.
A 1% tax on all futures trades would put a stop to a lot of low margin, high volume trading.

It might also reveal the truth, that, ultimately, speculators have little influence on the price.
But then who would the gov blame?

No doubt there is some speculation involved in oil futures. However that works both ways. A few years back I said a temporary reason that prices spiked in 2008 was that speculative traders were 'short', that is expecting lower prices, and had to buy them back in a panic.

However in the longer term, the effects of supply and demand take hold - as well as the devaluation of the dollar, as well as other currencies.

Here is a good example of supply and demand actually working to increase US imports of gasoline:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Gas shipments rev up as US refineries close

“This is a part of a structural issue, as U.S. East Coast refineries are struggling with weak refinery margins and several are consequently closing down, lowering local gasoline supply,” Herman Hildan, an analyst at the Oslo-based investment bank, said by email.


I've often thought that speculation could have little intermediate to longer term effect on prices. I think they can increase volatility in the short term, so that the effect may be simply that they increase the amplitude of the waves on the price chart, but can have little effect on say, a 200 dma.

Edit: I should clarify, I believe this true for consumed commodities.

Charles,first I like to thank you for all your postings and the effort you make to provide the info is appreciated.However on the "oil speculators" I am in agreement with Darwinian and Rockman that the speculators are there for the ride and skimming.Keep up your good work.

Can see a lot of articles once again blaming "the evil speculators" for the oil price hike.

Maybe it is the airlines hedging? Or some other fuel intensive industry?

Hedging is just another name for speculating, yet fills a positive role in leveling costs; in the case of the airlines, it was their hedging strategy that enabled Southwestern to make profits when all the rest were in the red.

Just saying.


Maybe it is the airlines hedging? Or some other fuel intensive industry?

Exactly, not all speculators have two horns on their head. Some of them are your next door service companies trying to buy before costs soar. It's basically a tragedy of the commons.

The European Union and the rhetoric of immaturity

The infantalisation and animalisation of entire nations, for course, is nothing new for Europe that has had a long tradition of portraying itself in terms of the beacon of humanity and that has invariably resorted to the idea of its "civilising mission" throughout it colonial conquests and expansions. Now, almost four decades after the last European countries have withdrawn from the colonies overseas, the same rhetoric is being turned inward, retracing the new political economic continental rift between the North and the South of Europe. Exploitation is the one constant that remains after this shift: exorbitant interest rates and repayment conditions attached to the bailout package will make sure that the debtor countries organise their economies around the need to service their debt for the foreseeable future.

The article goes on to point out what most outsiders looking in can see as obvious: "that the demands for fiscal restraints and rational self-control in the economic realm are posed before governments but not before multinational corporations, banks, or hedge funds." Blatant contradictions are a blind spot for continental European policy makers in general.

For a continent that a century ago held much of the world in its thrall, it has morphed into a crude and cruel joke. How great the fall has been.

More than a grain of truth in Gandhi's dry observation: "What do I think of Western (European) civilization? I think it would be a very good idea." Unfortunately, doesn't look like the idea is coming to any kind of fruition in the near to distant future.

I recently saw this 5 minute vision of the future Corning Glass Video. Juxtaposed with the exporting coal from Australia article makes me think the title should be "A day made of Glass, Powered by Coal".

Australia has made a big deal about Climate Change and Carbon Tax but the coal export issue seems to be irrelevant.

This coming from a Canadian, now the world's biggest climate denier and per capita greenhouse gas producer, our federal government is making the republicans look like sound and stable leadership. We're Number One!

I think I'll spend the rest of the day curled up under the blankets, crying about the future of the biosphere. Nothing else seems to be working...


Tokyo Gamma air-reading - 1 yr chart. Maybe next century it will be back down to near the pre-disaster baseline (currently still almost double original background).

Click chart for larger image

Tokyo is about 150 miles from the Fukushima plant.

What is the green shaded area supposed to represent?

Well the bottom of the green shade is the old baseline minimum background reading of 0.028 microsievert per hour. The top of the green is the highest peak that had ever been recorded in Tokyo pre Fukushima (0.079 micro sieverts per hour). The daily average just before the disaster was 0.034. it was 0.053 yesterday (23rd Feb).

Well that's about a 60% increase compared to 1 year ago, Not quite as bad as the near double I initially said. Of course in Fukushima City levels are still about 30 times last year's levels. Levels of up to 1.5 milli-sieverts per hour were recorded by journalists on a bus at the plant a few days ago. That's almost 50,000 times the pre-accident level and that was inside a sealed bus.

Thanks, so I guess Tokyo is probably not going to have to be evacuated but totally YIKES on those more nearby numbers.

They should have evacuated Fukushima City, but the population is too high to deal with... A fair number of people with kids moved away for health reasons. They've scraped up the soil in playgrounds, at least at elementary schools, but with background levels that much higher I don't that that's enough to make everything all better.

Nuclear is going to look worse and worse the more time goes on.

The horse racing track in Fukushima City has been closed since the disaster as the radiation level is considered too high to safely race horses. However outdoor races for children and teenagers still take place in the area and they run right past the horse track.

Re: The 10 states that run on nuclear power

24/7 Wall St's selection criteria seemed somewhat odd: the states for whom nuclear makes up the largest portion of their "emission free" electricity. I'm not arguing with categorizing nuclear as emission-free; but for the headline "states that run on nuclear power", I would have thought that states where nuclear makes up the greatest share of their total electricity production would be better. This list puts Connecticut and Ohio in a tie, with each getting 97% of its emission-free electricity from nuclear. Looking at the total electricity picture, though, Connecticut gets 50% of its power from nuclear while Ohio gets only 11%.

Still, no real surprises here. All states east of the Mississippi, seven of the ten along the Atlantic Coast, four of the seven included in the Rust Belt, four of the ten in the Deep South (some overlap between those classifications, obviously). All with aging reactors that will need to be replaced in some fashion (conservation, new reactors, something else) over the next 30 or so years. How soon will depend on whether the NRC continues to provide 20-year extensions on licenses, how well the reactors hold up during the extension period, etc.

If I were one of the people charged with worrying about long-term electricity supplies for the eastern part of the US, I would be very, very nervous, even without the complications of Peak Oil.

During the last two years, it was interesting for me to watch how the initial projections kept falling throughout the summer due to extreme weather. The other thing I have learned is that the corn inventory numbers put out by the USDA are very uncertain. I would like to stumble upon some hard analysis on that but the uncertainty is generally accepted among corn traders. I would say there is at least a 50% chance we will see some spot shortages in corn supply by July. Nothing major with current estimates but it should generate a little buzz.

U.S. Corn Harvest May Top Record as Soy, Wheat Output Gains

Domestic corn inventories before this year’s harvest may rise to 1.616 billion bushels, rebounding from a 16-year low in the previous year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Yields may average 164 bushels an acre from 94 million acres planted, the most since 1944. About 4.95 billion bushels will be used to make ethanol, the fewest in three years, the USDA said.

A lot of the midwest is getting very little snow this winter--meaning a lack of moisture. If this lack of moisture continues (little rain this spring and summer), crops could be very bad due to drought. Any thoughts on this?

Alfalfa roots are 18 feet deep. There'll be a hay crop even if there is no rain. In some ag areas, the ground water is enough to grow a crop without rain for a growing season. Clover roots are 6 to 8 feet deep, you'll have blooming clover for clover honey.

Planting is the bread and butter. You plant, regardless if the rain forecast is bleak. People eat. Farmers farm for a reason other than for profits.

Diesel fuel will be bought. Seed will be bought. Anhydrous ammonia will be applied. Fertilizer products are available and will be used.

It's a gamble and a risk. Besides, if you have wheat in the bin, you'll be walkin' in tall cotton.


I would not be so sure.
Yes, mature alfalfa and clover plants can develop deep tap-roots, but almost all of the laterals are within the first two feet. The notion that you can "grow a crop without rain for a growing season" is not true (unless you can irrigate, and snow-melt can be vital in that regard).

Several years ago (summer of '05?) we had so little rain that our hay-field (which gives 150-200 five-foot round bales most years, and I'm just talking first-cut) only gave us 20 bales.
The grass & legumes were so short that the rake had trouble picking them up and moving them into windrows.
Then the windrows had to be quadrupled in order for the round baler to pick up the hay. All that handling knocks off flowers & leaves, and you can soon be left with not much more than stems.

Given the current price of farm diesel (only a fraction cheaper than regular diesel) farmers may not be able to afford all those extra passes in order to bale poor quality hay.

Corn & soybeans will be another matter entirely: newly germinated plants are pretty delicate creatures and certainly need moisture.
I think there is much to be wary of re. our food supply.

Yair...wardpierce. Could you expand on this please..........

Farmers farm for a reason other than for profits

I can only assume you have the sarc/stir button pressed...how could you ever post such nonsense...do you have any idea of the costs to control weeds in cereal crops?

Methinks you need a bit of edumicitation as to how farming works in the real world.


More sarcasm than not. Not only will it provide profit, it will feed you and maybe some of your neighbors too. The primary reason, for sure. When you have seen what it takes to fill an elevator with some 300,000 bushels of grains, you then know it takes know how and experience. Phostoxin for the grain bugs. Beam me up, Scotty.

When your water table is at 11 feet, your alfalfa is going to produce some biomass.

Corn plants catch dew and will grow. You'll hoping the raccoons don't find your sweet corn when it is ready and the coyotes feast on them.

Although and true enough, you need 300,000 gallons of water to produce a mature corn crop per acre, and lack of rain will be troublesome, you still have to take your chances. All the water from the sky has a cost, even if you think it is free.

It usually rains, so there really isn't much to worry about. Plants would rather live than die. You pay taxes on those profits and the rain is therefore then taxed.

Dumping milk was always a fun thing to do. Lack of money has a direct effect on supply and demand. Soon, they'll be dumping oil, or already are.


I don't know anyone who has an 11' well (ours is 50' and that is considered extraordinary).
If you are willing to hinge agricultural production on 18' taproots hitting 11' water tables, you are dreaming.

Dumping milk was always a fun thing to do?
Tell that to my late father-in-law: he spoke with great bitterness about the pre-supply management days.

Dumping milk is an absolute waste, but what about not being allowed to produce it in the first place?

That is what we have with this ridiculous system of "supply management" - no one else is allowed to do it - unless they buy "quota" from an existing producer.

This OPEC style system is killing innovation.

Thank goodness we don;t have it for vegetables, vineyards, orchards etc otherwise every small producer, or anyone who is brave enough to take some bare land and start something, would be breaking the law.

Supply management is the entrenchment of corporate controlled agribusiness. The sooner we are freed of this albatross, the better.

"Supply management is the entrenchment of corporate controlled agribusiness."

The supply managed sectors are dominated by corporate buyers, true, but the supply chain begins on farms where the price that the farmer receives is determined primarily by production costs: no increased costs = no increase on milk cheques.

If you are concerned about corporate control of food, then please examine the exceptional control which is exercised in the global beef sector by Cargill and XL, in the hog sector by Smithfield, in grains by ADM and Cargill, etc. These are, of course, not supply-managed (though they are often subsidized, which supply-managed sectors generally are not).

"This OPEC style system is killing innovation."
It's in the farmer's interest to adopt new efficiencies (including ones that save his back): when his milk cheque is limited by cost-of-production, improving efficiency is a primary way to boost his net income.

I agree that Canada's quota system is not perfect, that the value of quota is a major barrier to entry, etc.
But it provides a stable income for farmers and security of supply for consumers and for local processors.

"Thank goodness we don;t have it for vegetables, vineyards, orchards etc "
Here in Ontario you are free to start a commercial fruit or vegetable operation, true. But try to find a processor: a few years ago the last fruit cannery east of Okanagan closed:

Here in Kingston, local farmers who want to raise small flocks of chickens have no slaughterhouse to take them to.
Bottom line: when farmers can't make money, not only to they go out of business, so does the local ag infrastructure which depends on farmers (feed mills, equipment dealers, slaughterhouses, canneries, large animal vets, etc).

This recent study gives an accurate picture of Ontario's farm income crisis:

Please note the graph at the bottom of pg 13 which shows the degree to which many farmers rely on off-farm income to keep their operations afloat.
Meanwhile, corporate profits are at record levels.

Rick, the dairy industry is just as dominated by the Saputos and Parmalats as is the beef industry etc.

The innovation killing is by preventing the entry of new players to the game, or forcing a new player top use scarce capital to buy out an existing player, or worse, the only way to get quota is by a "lottery" or "reallocation"

More than 42,000 conventional battery-cage hens are being converted to specialty egg production this year by existing producers, according to BC Egg Marketing Board executive director Al Sakalauskas. Only 800 of those birds will produce organic eggs because of the lengthy certification process.

Another 30,000 hens are being allocated to new farmers aiming to produce cage-free specialty eggs, more than half of which will be organic, the fastest growing segment of the specialty market. A lottery was initiated late last year to allocate 12,000 of those hens to four new producers and a second lottery will be held early in 2011 to allocate the remaining 18,000 birds.

Full story here

So a bureaucratic board, that is unanswerable to producers, gets to "allocate" who gets what. One of the licenses in the lottery was given to a board members son, another to someone who didn't even have land, while another group that had their small farm ready to expand were denied. How fair is that?

And how good are those bureacrats - who don;t live or die by selling eggs - at keeping up with things?

In a judicial review released in November, the FIRB found that the BC Egg Marketing Board's plan for specialty egg production fell short of consumer demand. In response, the BC Egg Marketing Board proposed to increase the number of hens granted to new farmers for cage-free specialty production by 50 per cent, from 12,000 to 18,000 birds this year. "I would say the FIRB gave the board a scolding," said Easterbrook. "But the new allocation is still vastly inadequate, the market wants a lot more organic eggs than even this ruling gives them."

So the bureaucratic board had to be taken to court, by some of the producers it is meant to serve, and is hopelessly behind the times. And whose interests do you think are best served by it's foot dragging on organic vs industrial eggs?

This situation leads to decision making in the hands of bureaucrats, and opens up the way for corporate manipulation - a game small and new producers just can;t play. This is leading to the centralisation, not localisation of farming.

More here

I cannot believe that in this country someone can be taken to court and fined for producing "too many organic eggs", yet exactly that has happened here in BC. A producer here was closed down because the exceeded the determined the "market was adequately supplied" even though the nearest commercial egg producer is 100km and a ferry ride away - how can the supply "local" eggs?

To buy that quota, at $200/hen, a 400 hen farm costs $80k, just for a "licence to produce" , or they have to lease quota from someone else- how, exactly, does this help a small farmer?

By not allowing anyone new to start up, and bypass the wholesale market completely, it entrenches the positions of the corporate players, who have gobbled up the small players, or forced them out of business.

They have influenced the rules on slaughterhouses to ensure that small ones can't stay open.

Thank goodness the wine industry never adopted this model or we'd be stuck with Baby Duck.

I cannot wait for this archaic system to end so I can start...

"the dairy industry is just as dominated by the Saputos and Parmalats"

Agreed, Paul,

The difference is that primary producers are assured a fair return on labour & investment & cost of production, which is certainly not there for "free market" farmers.
They are not assured a fair return, and very often they get nothing close to a fair return.

Did you examine the NFU study which compares the price the farmer receives for beef & pork, as a fraction of the price paid in supermarkets? Farmers are price-takers, and buyers know it.
Nowhere was this more true than in the dairy sector, where farmers had very limited storage for a highly perishable product.

You are correct re. cost of quota and the system is far from perfect.
As for lotteries, etc, supply management means what it says: supply must be managed if prices and farm income are to be managed. Yes, there is a loss of freedom and there are several problems, but the supply managed sectors are the most stable of the farm sectors in terms of net farm income.

My brother-in-law is a small organic dairy farmer (milking 35) and my nephew is commercial chicken farmer. Neither is rich, but both are receiving a fair return given the scale of their investment and the intensive daily work that they do, IMHO.
I don't know much about the system for eggs or turkeys, but I do believe that all boards are answerable to producers, at least in part.

I'm a small farmer myself and certainly share your concern over corporate dominance. Small farmers can't enter the supply managed sectors very easily, true. But often they can't win in a free market system where they have to compete with lower-cost overseas producers (NZ lamb, Chilean apples, California produce, Chinese garlic, etc), either.
At least supply management ensures domestic food supply and a fair return to primary producers, as opposed to leaving entire sectors vulnerable to being undercut by the supposedly free market.

What sort of farming do you want to do?

Hi Rick,

I don't disagree about the "fair return" part, but it seems like a bit of a Faustian bargain to me, as the corporate middlemen are more entrenched and protected than ever.
And now they are using the supply management system to keep a lid on the development of small, independent and (often) organic producers.

The situation here with the egg board is deplorable. You can do what you want with up to 99 hens, but any more (up to 399) and you are "regulated" and have to pay "marketing fees" to the board, even if you are selling the eggs yourself!
Basically, they have regulated your size down to where it is just a glorified hobby.

For dairy, the direction I see is small dairy farms wanting to do small dairy processing - especially cheesemaking. At this point, you have an exact parallel to the wine industry, which is not supply managed. A flourishing industry in small wineries has sprung up on Vancouver island - this would never have been allowed with SM. Certainly the big cheese co's do their best to keep a lid on this. That is, I think, a major reason why Cdn cheese is generally of such low quality and overpriced.

As an innovator I find the whole system extremely frustrating - it prevents me from implementing ideas to maintain the status quo for those that don;t innovate, and creates the worst form of "artificial wealth" - a piece of paper called the quota.

I grew up on a mixed farm (milking cows -had to milk them before going to school -, beef, lots of hay production and some grain) back in Australia (I am civil and environmental engineer, and am currently developing small renewable energy projects - another "supply managed" industry!), and am looking to get back to that. My partner is a part time organic veggie grower and we want to set up our own mixed farm.

I am a great believer in the mixed farm concept - take maximum advantage of the synergies between animal and plant production. It was very obvious on the farm in Oz how much the soil improved on the arts where we grazed the cattle (using an elec fece strip grazing system) - we always had the greenest farm around, even in droughts.

And here in coastal BC with the mild winters it is perfect. I have access to unlimited produce scraps from local stores for feeding chickens, and they would like to buy any and all local eggs that can be produced - but need more than what you can do with 99 hens. I would gladly run a few dairy cows too- about 6 or so, and do what we used to do in Oz - put a beef breed bull to the Friesian cows, and get superb beef cattle out of it. The local butchers would kill for any local produced beef, and there is a facility near Vancouver here that does the slaughtering for a couple of grass fed beef operations, so that pathway is open (and not supply managed). I have a neighbor who is a retired cheesemaker who will take that on - and teach me- ( have done that for years as hobby).

And, there is the veggie part - lots of opportunity for more of that here - all the local growers get sold out at the farmers market, and the few that supply the local stores can't keep up.

And, the niche I really want to pursue - growing Quinoa. A high value "grain" that is ideally suited to the mild climate here.

There are people here with land in the Agricultural Land Reserve that will lease you some land, so they can get producer status, but they generally want you to just graze some animals - they don;t want chickens, veggie farms or any crop production (except perhaps hay).

So the opportunity is there, but I if want to do anything more than veggies and beef, then I run into these barriers. There are quite a few other people here in BC in the same boat.

The SM system is a huge barrier that is keeping new and young farmers out of the business - because they can never afford the buy in, and is encouraging corporatisation of farms - I think that is wrong.

It may give a fair return to existing farmers, but when you don't let new ones in, the industry stagnates.
And it is certainly stagnating the most promising growth area - small, independent farms producing for local markets.

That's why I think the wine industry is such a great counterpoint - if you can grow good grapes and/or make good wine, then you are free to do so, without a bureaucrat saying you can't do that unless you buy out someone else first.

I just have a real problem with government telling me I can;t do something, that I know I can do. My whole engineering career has been doing things/solving problems that everyone, and especially gov, didn;t think could be done (or would not be economic to do). Technical and standards committees get stacked by the big players, who then use that as barrier to entry for small players and innovators - they drive the innovators out of business, then, when they are ready, apply the innovations themselves.

Now I am facing the same wall here, to protect the industrial egg an dairy producers in the Fraser Valley - they are stomping down on the independent organic egg producers, until they can serve that market themselves, and we are seeing evidence of collusion with the egg board - and I reject that behaviour absolutely, which is why I cant stand any system that lets bureaucrats decide what is good for whom.

Local communities are also being sold down the river by the SM rules, which maintain the centralisation of production, and I have a real problem with that. For the egg/poultry/dairy board to tell me I have to buy out someone else 100km away, to produce for my local community, is just wrong. Thank goodnes that does not apply to fruit and veg production, which, because of this, is the only locally growing sector.

I suppose a reasonable compromise would be to raise the minimum size (before you are regulated) to 5-10x what it is now. That is not large enough to threaten commercial operations but is large enough to allow small independents to be, well, independent.

And to innovate - something that is really missing in all the SM sectors.

Does this explain my frustration?



Platte River valley in eastern Nebraska. Freaky geology. The saturated gravel through which most of the water actually flows was about six feet down at the ag field lab where I worked, the water table often within a couple of feet of the top of the gravel. With the pump pulled off the top, you could shine a flashlight down the (IIRC, 12") pipe and see the water. You could pump at nearly arbitrary rates and never drop the level.

Once established, alfalfa was almost impossible to get rid of, no matter how dry the summer. But like I said, really freaky situation.

"Farmers farm for a reason other than for profits."

It's a lifestyle.

Back a few years before this ethanol boom pushed field crop prices up, one of my Dutch dairy farmer buddies here in the States used to talk about his cousins 'dairying to support their farming habit.' About farming, a buddy of mine from a German farming family who quit school in 8th grade* during the Depression for a job breaking rocks (literally) says: "There are easier ways to go broke."

*He later worked at Motorola for many years as part of an Engineering team on silicon refining (his GED and his partner's PhD made a fearsome combo) and is among the brightest folks I know, as well as the handiest, and hardest working.

Foreclosed: Architecture Center Reimagines Suburbia After Housing Crisis

... after the housing bubble collapsed in 2007, leading to millions of home foreclosures across the U.S., Reinhold Martin, saw an opportunity to look at how America’s housing stock could move beyond the suburban, single-family home that dominates the “American dream” but presents real-life economic and environmental problems.

Last year, the architect-led teams presented their ideas at a series of workshops.

WORKac, a firm run by Amale Andraos, also a Columbia faculty member, and her husband, Dan Wood, developed a proposal for Keizer, Ore., that would house several thousand people on 220 acres. The new buildings would be five times as dense as the surrounding suburbs, but with three times the amount of open space. The reinvented suburb of Salem, the state capital, would include a facility to process organic waste into compost while generating methane that would power fuel cells.

Diagram showing WORKac's analysis of infrastructure in Keizer, Oregon

... from Keizer,OR Nature City plan & renderings

also The Oranges,NJ
Temple Terrace,FL

site map Foreclosed: ReHousing the American Dream

Lovely concepts, but no mention of solar energy. The best layout for solar is probably an east-west row house model, each 2-3 stories high, with the space between rows being large enough such that the next row to the north wouldn't be in the shadow from the row to the south during mid-winter (December-January). The space between rows could be used for gardens catching the higher solar angle summer sun or road ways. It's rather like the Philadelphia Model (a grid of E-W streets and N-S avenues) all over again. All those curved layouts ignore the basic geometry of solar availability...

EDIT: For a look at the sort of building which utilizes the solar energy to the max, check out this batch of historical photos. The southern California aircraft hangers built before and during WW II used south facing windows to take advantage of the sunlight for interior lighting (and perhaps heating as well).

E. Swanson

Symbolic Legislation to Nowhere: Why Statehouses Fail in Governance

... At a time of great economic turmoil and pain, while Americans have clamored for jobs and financial security, how many thousands of official hours have our state legislators spent since the 2010 election on bills that purport to solve problems that don't exist (like a Sharia-led takeover of American law) or which cannot exist in conformity with criminal law (like a state law which protects those who kill abortion providers) or which contravene individual constitutional rights (like laws that are aimed at religious minorities)? These legislative Jeremiads, frivolous even in the best of times, seem downright obscene today.

America, sadly, has grown accustomed to "symbolic" legislation which is designed not to advance the public good, or even to become sustainable law, but rather to appease particular interest groups. The campaign promise becomes the pending measure; the donor's crusade becomes the subject of public hearings. And what is squeezed out of the legislative process as a result of such pandering is the more moderate legislation, the more practical measures, which do stand a chance of passing constitutional muster and which do solve real problems in sensible ways. That's no way to run a country -- or even a state.


GA Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Limit Vasectomies in Response to Anti-Abortion Bill

This new bill, introduced by Democratic Representative Yasmin Neal, would limit vasectomies as a form of birth control only to men who will "die or suffer dangerous health problems" without receiving one.

Rep. Neal presented her bill in direct response to an anti-abortion bill now being considered. The Republican-backed anti-abortion bill (HB954) in the Georgia legislature would ban women from having an abortion after 20 weeks after the fertilization of the egg...

... In explaining the bill that some might call outlandish and others tongue-in-cheek, Rep. Neal said she wanted to bring attention to the male side of the contraception debate. “Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies,” said Rep. Neal explained.

Then, again, this is Georgia, USA, a State with U-3 unemployment hovering around 10%....

Even though I can understand the desire of the Democrats to play tit-for-tat with the Republicans, this is no way to run a government. But that's what we have today, a bunch of children (and immature ones at that) on both sides run amok on their "Playground".

Virginia too with their transvaginal ultrasound bill.. Seems the Equal Opportunity Commission at work.

"another who made her point with a failed amendment requiring rectal prostate exams for men seeking Viagra prescriptions."


Mr. Rick Goes to the Doctor

Kinda like a visit from 'the ghost of Christmas past'. Enjoy ;-)

... thank you sir, May I have another ...

Satan Speaks to Santorum - and Has Some Words For Sarah Palin Too

and Politicians Increasingly Dancing With Billionaires Who Brung 'Em

I wanted to offer Don Henley's "Garden of Allah"... but YouTube got rid of it... and the Google video search button is now "YouTube". Ah, another little freedom... gone.

It may be cliched to say it but the brightest have long ago abandoned public service. They are working in financial firms and big multinational and tech companies. Still some in academia, health care, etc.

The politicians in America, are, for the most part, nincompoops. I don't think it was always this way.

New ship to boost Arctic expeditions

BEIJING - China is accelerating its pace in exploring the North Pole with two Arctic expeditions planned before 2015, according to the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration.

Climate and environmental changes in the Arctic have a direct and immediate impact on China, so Chinese scientists pay a lot of attention to Arctic research, a senior official with the administration, who declined to be named, told China Daily.

With the building of a new icebreaker in 2013, China can sail two polar expedition vessels at the same time in the North and South poles, largely enhancing its polar research capacities, the official said.

With the building of a new icebreaker in 2013, China can sail two polar expedition vessels at the same time in the North and South poles, largely enhancing its polar research capacities, the official said.

Do they really mean one expedition at the North Pole and one to the South Pole at the same time? Quite apart from the South Pole being about 1300km from the nearest water capable of floating an icebreaker, the North Pole is hardly accessible even to an icebreaker except in summer, and the Antarctic coast is hardly accessible even to an icebreaker except in summer. So surely they mean two Arctic expeditions at the same time in the northern summer, and two Antarctic expeditions at the same time in the southern summer.

I've been on the sea at the Antarctic coast (in January and February), and on the sea in Baffin Bay, well north of the Arctic Circle (in July). I would not care to reverse the seasons in either location.

Oil tank blast shakes Galveston, Texas

A crude oil storage tank containing 12,000 barrels of oil exploded and burned at a biodiesel plant on the waterfront docks in Galveston, Texas, rattling the island city Thursday. The fire reportedly broke out after an explosion at a sulphur plant on Harborside Drive.

Speaking to KPRC, Cahill said boiling crude oil fed the flames -- which made the fire difficult to contain.

also http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Firefighters-snuff-out-G...

From the article uptop.

It could take a decade, but we're looking the very opposite of a "peak oil" future. (snip) My feeling is that even the combination of new sources of oil and increased vehicle efficient may create an eventual plateau around $4-5 a gallon. And at that point we can tackle the more vexing problem, which is traffic. We may never have cheap gas again, but we might need gas that's expensive enough to get cars off the road.

Next in the series "How to make catabolic collapse seem like the common cold", is Climate Change and 'those pesky parking lot door dings'!

IMF sounds warning for global economy on rising oil

Policymakers from around the globe are converging on Mexico City for a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 economic powers, and several of them raised concerns over the spiraling crude costs.

"A new risk on the horizon, or maybe not on the horizon, maybe right in front of us, is high oil prices," David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, said in a presentation at the G20 gathering.

Angel Gurria, the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], followed up on Geithner's comments by saying the jump in oil prices were due to politics and would not be solved by releasing reserves.

Gurria said there was no distortion in markets and oil prices of up to $100 per barrel were "the new normal".

"We are not seeing a situation today where there is something wrong with (market) fundamentals, in fact, we are seeing a slowdown in the global economy. There should be a reduction in consumption," he said.

The weak dollar also was cited by analysts as a supportive factor for oil.

"We are not seeing a situation today where there is something wrong with (market) fundamentals, in fact, we are seeing a slowdown in the global economy. There should be a reduction in consumption," he said.

Something wrong with fundamentals? There's that inference again regarding the ill advised belief higher oil prices is being caused by speculators. How could oil price have been rising inexorably since it hit a low of 35 in 08 (after a peak of 147) to today's triple digit prices in 2012, a period of approx. 3.5 years if it was simply speculators? Wouldn't they be the dumbest-ass investors ever to go that far out on a limb on a falsely driven high price, effectively opening themselves up to huge losses as oil price plunges, due to what, actually very high supply?

The mirage of triple digit oil prices being the result of speculators is delaying the moment world leaders are jolted into coherance regarding the 75 mbd crude oil supply that has been bumping up against a supply ceiling (absent unconventional oil) since May of 05, causing price to rise, that will in turn reduce demand.

His comment consumption must be reduced, fails to grasp that a reduction in consumption will slow the economy further. And therein lies the conundrum, that either higher oil prices or reduced consumption (that temporarily reduces oil price) will slow the world economy. Like Huey Lewis sings, Stuck in the middle with you... In this case 7 billion people stuck in the middle of a conundrum of which there is no escape.

"Like Huey Lewis sings, Stuck in the middle with you..."

Wasn't that Stealers Wheel (Gerry Rafferty, RIP)? Cute little Scottish group... Ha! The clown looks like Newt.

Great song. Great comment under that video:

"Music today sucks ass, vehicles don't look as cool and more things are illegal. F[@#]k the 2000s. No wonder so many people are depressed nowadays.
QsOSiRiS 1 day ago"

Yup, no wonder.

Hi, Earl. I think the disconnect is that pundits still believe that there is unlimted supply of oil. Therefore, when they see that price stays up as demand in the US drops, it must mean that the evil speculators are at work!

Of course the reason is that supply has either remained the same or decreased, and / or worldwide demand has risen.

This strong US-centric view is very common, and leads to all sorts of wierd commentary in the guise of intelligent discussion. What to do, eh?

Keep the faith!


Peak Earl,

I used to trade commodity futures professionally in the 70's. Every contract has a termination - where the futures price has to meet the cash price. The cash price is determined - of course - by supply and demand of the actual commodity.

I foresee a crisis coming in the next few years when the supply of both conventional and unconventional oil clearly is in a decline - in other words, when we are clearly past peak oil. This crisis may continue until (or unless) the unconventional oil supply (including coal to oil, and ng to oil, and other liquid fuels) is able to be ramped up enough to enable growth in supply again. We may require $200/barrel oil for this to happen.

Ironically, the futures chain of NYMEX oil shows 85.98 price for 2020. They are evidently expecting bau.

Baghdad seeks to involve BP at Kirkuk oilfield


and the salient part - "..to revive Iraq's giant northern Kirkuk oilfield, which is suffering from massive declines in production.."

The field is 77 years old, and went from 900kbpd to 280kbpd in ten years, a cantarell style nose-dive. I wonder how many more of these middle-eastern fields are about to go tits up, presently bombing along but about to fall off a cliff? Is this solely to do with the use of super straws or does regional geology play a part?

also "..A consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell offered to boost flows to 825,000 b/d for a fee of $7.89 a barrel, but Baghdad insisted on payment of $2 a barrel."

eh? Wouldn't Shell have mystical powers to confer a turnaround like that? How could they possibly do so? The old girls' tapped out is she not? I know you can revive old fields to an extent but that seems extravagant.

Also just to thank Rockman for his posts to this forum.

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy

Bahrain’s unrest demonstrates that Shiite grievances over the distribution of power and economic opportunities were not satisfied by the efforts during 1999-2010 to increase the role of the Shiite majority in governance; most Bahraini Shiites now say they seek a constitutional monarchy in which governments are established by an elected parliament.

As protests escalated in March 2011, Bahrain’s government bucked U.S. advice by inviting direct security assistance from other Gulf Cooperation Council countries, declaring a state of emergency, forcefully suppressing demonstrations, and arresting dissident leaders and proopposition health care workers.

The Obama Administration has not called for a change of the Al Khalifa regime, but it has opposed the regime’s use of force against protesters and urged further and faster political reform. The U.S. position on Bahrain has been criticized by those who believe the United States is downplaying regime abuses because the U.S. security relationship with the Al Khalifa regime is critical to U.S. efforts to contain Iran and preserve security in the Persian Gulf more broadly.

Fueling Shiite unrest is the fact that Bahrain, having largely run out of crude oil reserves, is poorer than most of the other Persian Gulf monarchies.

Homes near Japan Nuke Plant may be Banned Forever

Japan on Friday said some areas surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant that was wrecked last year by a massive tsunami will likely remain permanently off-limits.

Measurements taken between November and January confirm earlier results which show a level of radioactivity of 470 millisierverts per year when the average, under normal conditions, is less than one per year, according to a government report released Friday.

Some of the highest readings were taken in the town of Futaba, to the northwest of the plant wrecked on March 11.

A final report by the environment ministry, expected in the coming weeks, is expected to declare as permanently off-limits to human habitation any area with contamination of more than 50 millisieverts per year.

also Two-headed tortoise goes on show in Ukraine

"is expected to declare as permanently off-limits to human habitation any area with contamination of more than 50 millisieverts per year."

If permanently is defined as seven generations, that will be close enough.

(for Cs 135, 30 yr half life, 22 years, per generation, close enough to 150 years, or 5 half-lives, so 50 /(2^5) comes out to 1.56 millisieverts/yr.

http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/energy-futurist/energy-independence-or-i... (Energy independence, or impending oil shocks? ) should be required reading.

Here you see the dramatic fall off from frac'd oil, about 90% after first year!

To see predicted results, you need 16,000 wells @ $7M/well or $112B per year.

I did not see a data point on how fast that would tap out all of Bakkan, but note made regarding Montana was interesting near the end.

Of course, the saddest fact gleaned from today's various offerings is that we will simply keep producing new types of ever more expensive (and less efficient) hydrocarbon fuels, mostly to keep ICEs going until global warming hits 6 to 10 degrees (C).

At which point, there is not much use in fueling ICEs, since there is not much left to transport.


T. Boone was just on CNN talking about oil. The anchor asked him what role speculators are playing in the price of oil and he said, The politicians would love for you to think its about speculation, but that has nothing to do with the price of oil.

She asked about the Saudi's 2.5 mbd spare capacity and he said, The Saudi's just opened up an oil field closed in since the 1930's to increase oil flow. It's a low gravity, high sulphur content oil. She said something to the effect of isn't that a good thing, and he said they wouldn't be opening that field up again if they had more light sweet crude.

He says we will convert NG for large truck transport in 5 years like when we converted big trucks to diesel in the 70's. (I'm skeptical of that working in the long term or even over long distances, but he's got a stake in CLNE)

Everytime he tried to answer something she cut him off to ask another question, then cut to the anniversary of the Shuttle Challenger disaster, showing the same footage we all have tatooed into our memories.

But at least he got a few things out there.

Funny thing is that oil people are more honest than the politicians and newsies who blame big oil and speculators.

Went to hear a Fed guy speak a few days back. He was surprisingly open, talking about interest rate and inflation expectations and the voting members backing each tier. Also talked about economic growth plus and minus across the nation, and again expectations. The maps he showed were clear, and his statements as well. Economic recover is coming earliest and best to the energy-core states in the middle of America. Most are well above the national average, and several are nearing pre-crash peaks for housing values, employment, wages, and so forth.

It's been kinda eerie these past few weeks, when oil insider and Fed guys are saying the same things stated here for years. At least mainstream media is still dependably consistent.

We've found oil!

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- The U.S. Geological Survey estimates shale formations on the North Slope of Alaska could contain up to two billion barrels of recoverable oil and 80 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to a new study released on Friday.

2,000,000,000/20,000,000 barrels a day=100 days of US consumption! Get it while its hot!

Why don't we just put a sign on top and call it the SPR. Done and done and it didn't cost a dime.

Badger - The feds started doing that about a hundred years ago: http://fossil.energy.gov/programs/reserves/npr/

"For much of the 20th century, the Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves served as a contingency source of fuel for the Nation's military. All that changed in 1998 when Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 1, known as Elk Hills, was privatized, the first of a series of major organizational changes that leave only one of the original six Federal properties in the program."

"… the government-owned petroleum and oil shale properties were originally envisioned as a way to provide a reserve supply of crude oil to fuel U.S. naval vessels in times of short supply or emergencies… In 1976, Congress passed the Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act authorizing full commercial development of the Reserves. The crude oil, natural gas, and liquid products produced from the Reserves were sold by DOE at market rates. Revenues were deposited to the U.S. Treasury."

"One of the largest of the Federal properties, the Elk Hills field in California, opened for production in 1976 and became the largest (in terms of production) oil and natural gas field in the lower 48 states at one point in its history. In September 1992, the field produced its one billionth barrel of oil, becoming only the thirteenth field in the Nation's history to reach that milestone. While managed by DOE, Elk Hills generated over $17 billion in profits for the U.S. Treasury."

Long-term energy security

As opposed to all the talk about energy independence, opening up America's last few oil reserves, shedding foreign oil, etc, one would think that someone would press the counter-argument:
In the long run, it should make more sense to deplete the reserves of others (especially one's rivals) and preserve one's own until imports become fairly unobtainable.

Getting rid of the Naval Oil Shale Reserves, on the other hand, made good sense.

Does it seem to anyone else that pundits use the word "billion" (as in billion barrels of oil) because it sounds huge, when in fact a billion barrels is small change in reference to oil deposits and is about 10 to 11 days of oil use worldwide? I would suggest that a different standard be used. Like, maybe, "___ days supply in 2010 needs."


That is exactly why they use it.

Even keeping it in the US context, a billion barrels is just 55 days of supply

And, as Westexas, Rockman, RMG always point out, the amount itself is irrelevant, it is the rate at which it can be produced that matters.

After all, the oil shales in Colorado/Utah/Wyoming have trillions of barrels of (potential) oil, but the production rate is presently zero, and likely to remain so.


A company called Great Bear Petroleum has taken leases and is planning on drilling for shale oil on the N Slope. When they took leases and anounced their plans, everyone around here was totally surprised. At first we all thought it was some kind of investor scam. However, they seem totally serious. They apparently have already lined up their funding, and don't appear to be looking for partners. I think most of us with N Slope experience are highly sceptical that it will work. I have serious doubts, on both technical and economic aspects. However, this is one of those cases where I would be delighted to be proven wrong.

They are initially targeting the Shublik Formation, which is the most important N Slope oil source rock. They seem to be going about it in an intelligent way. Their first wells to test the concept will be from existing gravel pads along the Dalton Hwy (the TAPS "Haul Road"). This is very advantageous, since they can drill in summer, when rigs are available at a better price. Obviously being on the road system helps their economics in other ways.

For a few more details see Great Bear betting big on Alaska's shale oil.

EDIT: Just to add that I believe the USGS was as taken by surprise as anyone by Great Bear. The USGS has been doing shale oil resource studies in the lower 48 for some time, but I have reason to suspect that the Alaska study noted above was something of a rush job added in response to Great Bear's activities. The Alaska Division of Oil and Gas geos also had to scramble to get up to speed on production from shale.

From the link:

• If production begins in 2013, as planned, Great Bear projects oil production from its acreage at 200,000 barrels a day by 2020, 350,000 by 2035, 450,000 by 2041, peaking at 600,000 in 2056, with sustained production of 450,000 until 2074.

Wow...they should have started drilling back in 1980's

Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2011/03/05/1739077/great-bear-betting-big-on-alaskas....

Timothy Geithner's comments linked from http://www.cnbc.com/id/46511198

"There's no quick fix to this, no short-term fix," Geithner said. "The best strategy for the country is to continue to make some long-term investments, to expand production in the United States, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, to encourage Americans to use more efficient clean sources of energy, to encourage Americans to be more efficient in how they use energy."

Yes there is an obvious fix - restore Green public transit cuts in over 150 cities
since 2008. Beyond that increase the frequency of public transit, insure there is
reasonable off-peak /weekend service, add Local/Express service, add shuttles.
Increase Federal gas taxes by 20 cents every 6 months until it hits $1 per gallon and use that money to fund Green Transit operations, extensions and logical buildouts instead of endless highway expansion.

If the US could quadruple transit ridership in 4 years in WW II, we could do the same
and easily cut oil consumption 10-15% per year.

I believe that the current GOP transportation bill in the House cuts spending on mass transit and redirects it to highways.


it has WT;

It now looks like Boehner and Mica may pull back and 'revamp' the removal of dedicated public transit funding section before bringing it to the floor(we shall see what that really looks like) but the House bill(s) still

-Cutback Amtrak
-Demand 'drill to drive' provisions like ANWR stay
-Eliminate Safe Routes to Schools and TE (dedicated state funds to bikeways and bike bridge approaches)
-attempt to eliminate environmental and public reviews of highway projects
With a 78 Billion $ shortfall which depleats the highway trust fund (to me it still screams).

"Keep drilling and driving big, everybody else Get outdaway"

Billionaires Vie for Railway to $40B Coal Region

Does it seem strange that with Australia about to start carbon tax in July that big new coal mines are being developed? The idea is that at home CO2 emissions must decline but there is nothing wrong with helping increase emissions in China and India. One mine will be called 'China First' and another mine wants to import Indian guest workers who need to be paid a lot less.

The carbon tax will be $23 per tonne of CO2. A tonne of sub-bituminous black coal currently worth about $120 spot price creates about 2.4t of CO2 when burned. If export coal was carbon taxed it would add $55 or 46% to the price. Kyoto rules don't allow that however. The problem is that Australia's aluminium and steel producers are thinking of moving to Asia to escape carbon tax. Therefore Australia gets to not only supply the alumina/bauxite or iron ore but also some or all of the energy source in the form of thermal or coking coal. I suggest a rethink is needed.

Here in British Columbia we have just had the last of the four year phased ramp in of our carbon tax, to $30/ton (that works out to 6.6c/L gasoline, or about 25c/US gal).

Just like the Oz carbon tax, it does not apply to exports, so BC's (rapidly growing) coal exports are unaffected.

However, unlike Australia there is no steel production here and the aluminium is done with hydro, so there is little heavy industry to be affected.

I agree that Australia will see a further exodus of energy intensive manufacturing industries. It is going the same path as western Canada - export the raw materials to China/Asia, be happy with the very high prices being achieved and buy whatever else is needed.

Problem is of course, the wealth of those exports is very unevenly distributed. The former steel or lumber mill worker does not get to share in the benefits except by unemployment insurance.

In this case, I think the carbon tax should have been applied to exports too, but really just from the point of view of government revenue, to then allow income tax cuts.

Income tax is a tax on labour, so if you are trying to encourage labour, then you should cut low income tax rates, or raise the tax free threshold.
Even that is not enough to compete with bringing in low paid "guest workers" - i hope that situation is not allowed to happen.

The chances of China willingly paying carbon tax on coal imports look somewhat slim based on their reaction to the EU airline tax http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2012-02/21/content_14653548.htm

I'd say they have no chance of getting 1.2 bn people up to Western standards of energy consumption any time soon given that ours will decline. Recall the BP Energy Outlook 2030 had China burning 3 billion tonnes of coal every year til 2030 and presumably beyond. Not if they're running out of coal which seems consistent with their global effort to source new supplies of coal.

My alternative approach is that countries which are making the effort to reduce emissions should slap Chinese metal exports with an equivalent carbon tariff. Steven Chu and others support carbon tariffs.

I agree, an equivalent carbon tariff would be good at this point. But we know that with oil going up, the chances are only getting slimmer.

It will happen, but probably not until it's too late. Too little, too late.

I used to think an ice-free Arctic could provide the impetus for serious measures to address carbon, now I think it will only be extreme heat and heated-related moralities in the population centers of the world that produce the change. As for my greatest fear, incessant drought in the grain baskets, I'm afraid that "rationalizations" and an on again, off again weather pattern, will prevent action.

An international carbon tariff would be just fine with me too.

it would be interesting if any carbon tax/tariff was separated out from the price of the good/service (it isn;t here in BC) as then every time you buy anything that has a carbon tax, you know how much it is, and can then start to do "carbon comparison" shopping - which, hopefully, would favour locally produced stuff.

As for the Arctic, an ice free Arctic is going to kick off another oil and gas rush up there, making things even worse...

Drought in the bread baskets is a real possibility - it is a fact of life in Australia. It is not the end of the world, but it is the end of high yields.

An international carbon tariff would be just fine with me too.

it would be interesting if any carbon tax/tariff was separated out from the price of the good/service (it isn;t here in BC) as then every time you buy anything that has a carbon tax, you know how much it is, and can then start to do "carbon comparison" shopping - which, hopefully, would favour locally produced stuff.

As for the Arctic, an ice free Arctic is going to kick off another oil and gas rush up there, making things even worse...

Drought in the bread baskets is a real possibility - it is a fact of life in Australia. It is not the end of the world, but it is the end of high yields.

The hottest Moscow in all recorded history (no thermometers before 1760 or so, but anecdotes)plus never before seen fires did not change Putin's mind about Climate Chaos (my preferred term).

So even that does not dramatically shake beliefs.


Didn't George Santayana say, "Those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it"?

Oil in 2008, early March, at $109 and rising (WTI).

And Einstein said that, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."

Continuing with famous quotes, "This is like deja vu all over again." (Yogi Berra)


Yeah, Leanan and others have remarked that it's starting to look a lot like '08 again, except the central banks have pretty much blown their wad treading water.

I think we have never left the calamities of 08, case in point is one of today's Drumbeat top stories on cattle prices.

Although the drought of last summer is a factor, the writing on the wall began in 08, and 07, with the huge increases in hay esp, and feed in general. It started an exodus of cattle from the farm. By winter 08-09, heifers held for replacement was at near historical lows.

The national herd would have dived anyway this year, irregardless of the last summer's drought. Problem now is with feeders at nearly $2/lb. Makes it hard to hold, or buy, replacements. So the overall situation won't change for a awhile. The economics for producers still aren't there. Most folks I talk with say they are scared anyway, that this $10/lb retail for beef can't last, people can't pay it, I'm not sticking my neck out.

If you happen to be free at 10 PM EST, I will be on Alan Colmes' radio show trying to set the record straight on politics and gas prices:


I tried to register with the show about 9:30 PM EST but failed. Is it archived? How did it go? Alan Colmes is a regular on Fox News. Did you develop any contacts for TV exposure?

Not sure if this helps: on the right side of http://www.alan.com/ there is a "podcast" box
First call re oil comes in around 3:00 minutes. Caller says we are "awash" in oil.

see also this: http://radio.foxnews.com/podcast/the-alan-colmes-show/#premium

How did this slip through the editors at Fox News.

What caused collapse of Mayan civilization?

The scientists noted that the droughts they saw during the demise of the ancient Mayan civilization were similar in severity to those projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the near future in the same region.

For those who have read Diamond's Collapse and Guns, Germs, and Steel this is a familiar story. Not only does it show that civilizations do collapse (and they do, despite contemporary groupthink that they don't), and that climate matters (and it does, despite contrarian manufactured doubt), but that civilizations that do everything possible with technology and resources still fail (despite a neo-centric view that people then weren't very intelligent).

Some of the civilizations such as the Mayans built massive irrigation works, dams, cisterns, and viaducts at great effort to capture water in a futile attempt to preserve their cities. They KNEW their risks, and they had time and effort on their side just as we have had, and yet their best efforts were not enough. We're not even putting forth much effort. What does that say about our chances?

IIRC some of the cisterns are still functioning today, long after the civilisation died. So I guess it wasn't a failure of technology that caused the collapse, technology and human ingenuity weren't enough to offset natural factors it seems. Or my preferred conjecture is that they had the intelligence to adapt and abandon the ridiculous civilisation they'd created and left the inbreds and their public works to it.

Perhaps that's what finally makes civilisations collapse, people simply stop partaking in them and find something more useful to do :)