Drumbeat: April 6, 2012

Sprawl is on the skids as Americans gravitate to cities and jobs

Communities within commuting distance larger cities such as Los Lunas, N.M., had been beneficiaries -- or victims -- of urban sprawl. New Census data show this trend is waning.

Almost three years after the official end of a recession that kept people from moving and devastated new suburban subdivisions, people continue to avoid counties on the farthest edge of metropolitan areas, according to Census estimates out today.

The financial and foreclosure crisis forced more people to rent. Soaring gas prices made long commutes less appealing. And high unemployment drew more people to big job centers. As the nation crawls out of the downturn, cities and older suburbs are leading the way.

Oil Rises for First Time in Three Days on Jobless Claims

Oil gained for the first time in three days as claims for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped to a four-year low and equities pared losses, raising hopes that demand will grow in the world’s leading user of crude.

Futures rose 1.8 percent, completing the first weekly gain since March 9, after the Labor Department said jobless claims fell 6,000 to 357,000 in the week ended March 31 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rebounded from a 0.4 percent decline. Trading is closed tomorrow for Good Friday.

Huntsville drivers frustrated over rising gas prices

"I can't afford to fill it up 'til tomorrow," said Figures, a Huntsville resident and self-employed electrician. At Fuel City on University Drive, where he got gas, the price for regular-grade was $3.77 a gallon.

"It's ridiculous," he muttered. "We've got all these oil reserves, there's no shortage."

Headlines aside, $4 gas isn't that big of a deal

Okay, okay. Catchy headline aside, $4 gasoline does matter to many people. Gas prices are extremely regressive. They impact the poor much more than anyone else, especially when their gas need is what economists call “inelastic,” which is just a fancy word for something where demand doesn’t change based on price. If someone needs to get to work, they need to get to work, and they’ll fill up their gas tank to do so largely regardless of price.

That said, for the majority of the country, $4 gas isn’t going to doom us or our economy. Here’s why.

No more cheap gas?

Drill all you want. The days of $2-a-gallon gas – hell, $3-a-gallon gas – are over.

That’s just reality. Peak oil or no peak oil, we’re finding new sources of oil, which is good news, except that, bad news, it’s a lot harder (and thus more expensive) to tap these new finds like the ones off the coast of Brazil and in the plains of North Dakota. The reason oil companies are willing to develop these harder-to-extract sources is clear – it’s called moolah, and gobs of it.

Are we heading for a fuel crisis?

Is this normal volatility that’s fuelling violence, panic and frustration worldwide — the usual price jump before the busy summer months in North America, say — or is something larger at play? Are we headed for a fuel crisis?

The short answer, perhaps not surprisingly, is that there’s no short answer, according to Daniel Yergin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and energy expert. His new book, The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, explores the global struggle for control of oil.

Oil Scare Turns FedEx On To Energy Efficiency

The rising cost of oil isn't just a hit to the family budget. Businesses are hurt, too. Few are more affected than firms like FedEx. It deploys nearly 700 planes and tens of thousands of trucks and vans every day to deliver packages around the world. And few business leaders are more focused on finding alternatives to petroleum-based fuels than FedEx CEO Fred Smith.

Shortly after Smith founded Federal Express, the 1973 Arab oil embargo almost killed it. The experience imprinted Smith with a keen interest in the price and availability of oil.

Putin’s Port Project to Divert Russia Urals Oil to Baltic

A Baltic Sea oil terminal opened in March by President-Elect Vladimir Putin to boost Russia’s direct access to international markets may weaken the country’s crude price in northern Europe compared with the south.

Explosion shuts down oil pipeline in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Official says explosions and fire have shut down one of twin pipelines in southeastern Turkey that carries oil from Iraq to the Mediterranean.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government rules, says explosions near the southeastern town of Idil sparked fire at the pipeline, forcing authorities to shut it down early Thursday.

Gazprom wants gas price hike despite Putin rebuke

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Gazprom is sticking to its view that an additional rise in domestic gas prices this year is "reasonable", despite a rebuke from President-elect Vladimir Putin, a company official told reporters on Friday.

UK’s energy production falls by 14 per cent

THE UK’s energy production fell by 14 per cent last year as a result of decreased gas and oil output from the continental shelf, according to the latest figures.

Despite the drop, the production of low carbon energy increased, with nuclear power output up by more than a tenth (11 per cent) and wind power from major producers rising 59 per cent due to more turbines and higher wind speeds last year.

Apache Quits Ultra-Deep Gas Search off Louisiana Coast

Apache Corp. (APA), the second-largest U.S. independent oil producer by market value, is abandoning a project with Energy Partners Ltd. (EPL) to explore for natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico amid a slump in the price of the fuel.

Abu Dhabi plans boost for domestic gas

Abu Dhabi is on track to develop new sources of natural gas that will ease a looming shortage, says the head of the company in charge of delivering the additional supply.

Sharp increases in the demand for electricity, which is produced in gas-fired power plants, and the growing gas requirements of an expanding petrochemical industry, have long rendered domestic natural gas production inadequate.

Blackout nation: fault leaves Cyprus without power

Cyprus's electricity resources are already stretched after its main power generating facility at Vassilikos was almost destroyed in an accidental explosion in 2011 that left 12 people dead. The Famagusta Gazette said last year's explosion occurred in containers, full of munitions, that Cyprus had confiscated from a vessel sailing from Iran to Syria.

London’s Daily Telegraph said Wednesday’s outage forced authorities to put ageing stations back online and to get supplies from the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state which lies north of a ceasefire line splitting the war-divided island.

Canada's Oil Matters

We import almost twice as much oil from Canada as we do from Saudi Arabia.

We don't even have to go to war halfway around the world to ensure we get this oil. We don't have to twist our beliefs like a pretzel, or pay massive bribes to tribal thugs, either. Nor do we have to spend a trillion dollars we don't have.

Energy: Too important to leave to corporations

Some European nations are even now responding to the ills of global warming, peak oil, and nuclear meltdowns by making renewable energy a national priority. Washington doesn’t have this option, since we don’t own our own energy, and the corporations that do aren’t inclined to opt for conservation or safety.

Son of Frackenstein

In a few short years the term “fracking” went from obscurity, mostly mistaken for an obscenity, to a household word, now often associated with flammable tap water. The technology is not new, but the market conditions that make such reckless forays deep into the earth’s crust profitable, are new. Welcome to the post peak oil energy economy. What’s online to follow fracking is even scarier.

The problem is we’re addicted to oil, and like most addicts, we can’t take that first step and admit our addiction. For over a century, we mostly glided, enjoying the high that cheap oil gave our economy and consumptive lifestyles, while not facing many consequences—at least none that we could yet recognize. But, like the meth-head whose body was rotting from the inside out, our addiction was poisoning our atmosphere, our oceans and in places, our land and fresh water. Now we’re seeing the results of that five generation-long binge. We’re also coming into a period that energy economists call “peak oil.”

Peak oil denial: How does this help?

There are people who care about facts. And then there are peak oil deniers.

Whether or not peak oil is true cannot possibly be in doubt. Within anything other than a geological frame of time, oil is a finite substance. When it is burned, it is gone. Without stretching our brains very far, it is easy to conclude that anything that is finite and consumed will someday be gone.

Peak Oil, then, is really an observation, not a theory.

If everyone used as much energy as Americans, we’d run out of oil in 9 years

“Aha!” say the naysayers. “But haven’t I been hearing that America is on the verge of producing all the oil we’ll need?” You have — but not from anyone credible.

Syria steps up offensive in Damascus suburbs

BEIRUT (AP) – Syrian forces broadened an offensive against opposition fighters in three Damascus suburbs Friday in an apparent attempt to crush pockets of rebellion near the capital less than a week before an internationally sponsored cease-fire is to go into effect, activists said.

U.S. not backing off as Iran sanctions bite

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration's man in charge of squeezing Tehran over its nuclear program is unapologetic for the difficulties faced by banks in their dealings with Iran since the U.S. tightened sanctions against the country.

Companies that trade with Iran are struggling to get paid and the biggest Asian countries are scrambling to work around U.S. sanctions that aim to deprive Tehran of revenue needed to develop its nuclear program. "I don't feel apologetic about it because that is the consequence of these banks in Iran willingly facilitating transactions for Iran's nuclear programs," said David Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the U.S. Treasury Department.

Russia's Novatek eyes Cyprus offshore gas

(Reuters) - Russia's top non-state gas producer Novatek is interested in bidding for licences to explore Cypriot offshore gas deposits, a company spokesman said on Friday.

Cyprus reported its first natural gas find in December, when U.S. based Noble Energy said it had discovered an estimated 5-8 trillion cubic feet in a block south of the island. The block lies close to where neighbouring Israel has reported significant discoveries in the past two years.

IMF warns of economic overheating risks in Russia

(Reuters) - Russian economic growth is running at or ahead of its potential and there is a risk of overheating from a planned increase in the 2012 non-oil budget deficit, an International Monetary Fund spokesman said on Thursday.

Shell plans $10bn gas-to-diesel facility in Louisiana

Royal Dutch Shell is considering at developing a plant in Louisiana, US estimated to cost about $10bn, to convert natural gas into diesel fuel.

The gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant will be equal in size to the company's Pearl plant in Qatar, the Wall Street Journal said.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon joined with business leaders to detail plans for a pipeline across the state.

Pipeline project: Nearly $1 billion, 1,100 jobs

Officials with Enbridge Inc. in Concordia on Thursday outlined a nearly $1 billion construction project that has the potential to provide approximately 1,100 jobs.

Conoco, partners suspend $16 billion gas pipeline project

ConocoPhillips and its partners suspended funding for a proposed $16.3 billion pipeline that would bring natural gas from northern Canada to U.S. markets, citing low prices for the fuel.

The decision will result in a one-time charge of about $525 million to its first-quarter results, Houston-based ConocoPhillips said in a statement today. The Mackenzie gas project’s 743-mile pipeline would link three gas fields in Canada’s Northwest Territories with a TransCanada Corp. (TRP) system in Alberta.

President Scapegoat Can’t Stop Picking on Big Oil

Barack Obama isn’t the first U.S. president to conjure up scapegoats to serve his political ends. The Roosevelts, both Teddy and Franklin, were masters at the game. TR decided the trusts were an enemy of the people and busted the likes of Standard Oil and Northern Securities, which controlled the railroads in the northwest. FDR demonized just about anyone who had money.

BP Pursues Namibia Crude Amid No Known Discovery of Oil

BP Plc (BP/)’s push into Namibian oil makes it the only major producer expanding in the West African nation, where commercial crude deposits have never been found and the sole gas field has sat idle since its discovery in 1974.

Eni investigated on Libyan corruption

MILAN, Italy (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni said it was being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged illegal payments to Libyan officials.

Eni in a 20-F annual report said it received a "judicial request" from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to hand over documents related to its work in Libya from 2008 to 2011.

One row too many? Argentina upsets Brazil in oil dispute

BUENOS AIRES (UPI) -- Did Argentina take a step too far by targeting Brazilian oil giant Petrobras in its campaign to pressure companies to invest more into producing more oil?

Latin American oil industry experts were left wondering this week if Argentina's surprise suspension of Petrobras Argentina licenses, after similar measures against Spanish-controlled YPF, was the straw likely to break the camel's back.

Fracking bidders top farmers at water auction

DENVER—Front Range farmers bidding for water to grow crops through the coming hot summer and possible drought face new competition from oil and gas drillers.

At Colorado's premier auction for unallocated water this spring, companies that provide water for hydraulic fracturing at well sites were top bidders on supplies once claimed exclusively by farmers.

Exxon Mobil told to allow vote on fracturing disclosure

The Securities and Exchange Commission has turned down a request from Exxon Mobil Corp. to omit a resolution on hydraulic fracturing disclosures from its proxy statement, opening the door for a vote on the proposal at the company's annual shareholder meeting May 30.

"We are unable to concur in your view that Exxon Mobil may exclude the proposal," the SEC wrote in its decision.

Matt Damon to star in 'The Promised Land' anti-fracking movie

Matt Damon will star in “The Promised Land,” an anti-fracking movie set to begin filming later this month.

WME Agency, which represents Damon, confirmed that the “Good Will Hunting” star has signed on to the movie and co-wrote the film, and that it is, indeed, about hydraulic fracturing — the controversial practice of pumping a mixture of sand, water and chemicals into a well to break up rock and help extract natural gas.

In Brazil, Chevron's Lone Gunman Shoots Again

Just like in the movies, it takes just one man, one hero. And in Brazil that hero is one Federal prosecutor named Eduardo Santos de Oliveira.

After an oil spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, one man takes on Chevron.

Maori Battle Goldman by Mount Doom in New Zealand Asset Sale

Near the volcano that film director Peter Jackson chose as Mount Doom in his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, the bankers view a drilling rig shipped from Iceland that has bored 1,100 meters (3,600 feet) of a geothermal-power well for state-owned Mighty River Power Ltd. The company plans to sell shares this year in the first of four initial public offerings Key says will help raise as much as NZ$7 billion ($5.7 billion), the nation’s biggest asset sale in two decades.

Some Maori say the sales violate the 172-year-old Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s controversial founding document that gave the indigenous people rights to their land and resources. They’re mounting a legal challenge to the IPOs that Key says will raise money for schools and roads after the country lost its top credit rating because of mounting debt.

615 dead dolphins found on Peru beaches; acoustic tests for oil to blame?

Conservationists counted 615 dead dolphins along a 90-mile stretch of beaches in Peru, a wildlife group said Wednesday, and the leading suspect is acoustic testing offshore by oil companies.

"If you can count 615 dead dolphins, you can be sure there are a great many more out at sea and the total will reach into the thousands,” Hardy Jones, head of the conservation group BlueVoice.org, said in a statement after he and an expert with ORCA Peru walked the beaches.

Resident raises questions about Marysville pipeline project

Not all residents appear to be happy with the city of Marysville's decision to allow Bluewater Gas Storage LLC to use a portion of its public bike trail north of Marysville Park to provide access to a pipeline drilling operation under the St. Clair River. If the project proceeds, the bike trail will be closed about three months, from August through October.

Cut nuclear reliance to zero - Japan energy minister

(Reuters) - Japan should aspire to phase out nuclear power completely, its energy minister said on Friday, even as the government struggles to persuade a wary public that it is safe to restart reactors after the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

Yukio Edano, whose trade portfolio makes him responsible for energy, couched his remark as a personal and not necessarily realistic view - though it could still anger utilities and industries eager to see nuclear power bounce back.

TEPCO workers quitting due to threats, sense of despair

TOKYO — Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said Friday 460 employees sought voluntary retirement in fiscal 2011, which ended on March 31.

The number was 3.5 times higher than the usual number, TBS reported. In March alone, more than 100 employees took voluntary retirement, officials said at a news conference.

EDF Says Fires at Penly Nuclear Reactor Extinguished

Electricite de France SA, the biggest operator of nuclear reactors, said two fires were put out in their early stages at its Penly plant in Normandy.

It didn’t say what caused the blazes and where they started. No casualties or damage to the environment were reported. Unit 2 shut down automatically after smoke was detected in the reactor building, the Paris-based company said today on its website.

NRC Pilgrim Plant Hearings Appealed by Massachusetts AG

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s decision to proceed with hearings on a 20-year license extension for Entergy Corp. (ETR)’s Pilgrim nuclear power plant was appealed by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Coakley’s appeal, filed in the U.S. Appeals Court in Boston, challenged the commission’s decision to go ahead before considering lessons from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, according to a statement from her office today.

Watts Bar reactor delayed again

Tennessee Valley Authority's plans to complete an unfinished nuclear reactor near Scottsboro are again on hold as delays and cost overruns continue to plague work at its Watts Bar nuclear plant in Tennessee.

Areva Predicts Uranium Demand Freeze Until 2014

Areva SA (AREVA), the world’s largest maker of atomic reactors, predicted the market for uranium will suffer from a glut before nuclear fuel demand rebounds from 2014 as the industry reels from last year’s meltdown in Japan.

Uranium, Grazing Cattle and Risks Unknown

As I reported last weekend in The Times, a cattle rancher stumbled upon an abandoned uranium mine in the summer of 2010 on his grazing land, about 60 miles east of the Grand Canyon on the Navajo reservation, and notified federal officials. They came in with Geiger counters and found levels of radioactivity that were alarmingly high.

A year and a half later, the former mine in Cameron, Ariz., is not fenced off to either humans or animals, and cattle continue to roam through the site and eat grass that might be tainted with uranium and other toxic substances.

“Those cattle go to auction in Sun Valley and are sold on the open market,” said Ronald Tohannie, a project manager with the Navajo advocacy group Forgotten People. “Then people eat the meat.”

Republican Donor Simmons Seeks Rule to Fill Texas Dump

Harold Simmons built a West Texas dump for radioactive waste that is bigger than 1,000 football fields and he can’t fill it.

To turn it into a profitable enterprise, the Texas billionaire hired lobbyists to urge the Obama administration to expand the types of nuclear waste, including depleted uranium, the dump can accept and award his company disposal contracts. If the Nuclear Regulatory Commission changes the rule, it could open access to a market worth billions. The deadline for a decision is in 2014.

Bulgaria Energy Minister Mulls Removal of Biofuel Component

Commenting on measures to tackle climbing fuel prices, Economy and Energy Minister Delyan Dobrev said in Parliament that the removal of the bio component from diesel would lead to a BGN 0.05 price cut.

Coal mine is key to utility's 'green' goals

A coal mine near Somerset could play an unlikely role in helping an energy cooperative in the Roaring Fork Valley reach its goal of providing 20 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2015.

Holy Cross Energy has signed a contract to buy power from a plant that Vessels Coal Gas Inc. will build to produce power using methane released from the Elk Creek Mine, according to Del Worley, CEO of Holy Cross. If all goes as planned, the plant will be operating by late summer or early fall, he said.

Electric-Drive Vehicle Demand Recharged by Gas Prices

Just when it looked like electric cars were running out of juice, the return of $4 a gallon gasoline is generating new life for battery-powered vehicles.

Electric-drive vehicles, including hybrids, plug-in models and pure battery-powered cars, were the fastest-growing segment in the U.S. auto market in the first quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales of those models rose 49 percent to 117,182 vehicles in the first quarter, from 78,527 a year earlier before Japan’s earthquake and tsunami pinched output.

Soaring battery prices "devastating" U.S. lead producers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Secondary lead smelters are paying near record prices for junk batteries, their raw material feed, because drivers are not replacing their car batteries due to the unseasonably warmer winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

The price rise has been driven by a scarcity of spent batteries, used to make 90 percent of the United States' lead output. Lead-acid batteries in cars and trucks are lasting longer due to the milder weather.

Energy Dept. to Revitalize a Loan Guarantee Program

WASHINGTON — Six months after the expiration of a federal loan guarantee program that backed $16 billion in loans to solar, wind and geothermal energy projects, the Energy Department has decided to offer a smaller set of similar guarantees by tapping another pot of money appropriated by Congress last year.

Google saves energy by cooling its buildings with ice

Google’s new $700 million data centers in Taiwan will make ice at night, when electricity is significantly cheaper, and use it to cool the buildings during the day, reports Rich Miller at Data Center Knowledge. It’s called thermal storage, and it’s basically a battery, but for air conditioning.

Chilean court approves controversial dam project

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Chile's Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected challenges by environmental groups to a hydroelectric dam project in the wilds of Patagonia.

The ruling upheld an earlier decision by an appeals court in the southern city of Puerto Montt, which decided the project doesn't violate the constitutional rights of those who challenged it, court spokesman Jaime Rodriguez said.

What Hong Kong Can Teach New Yorkers About Cramped Urban Living

Hong Kong is one of the most land-hungry cities in the world. This results in sky-rocketing housing prices and a constant need for new ideas in urban development and sustainability. One Hong Kong architect, Gary Chang, took these challenges and ran with them. Today, Chang is known for his biggest experiment -- the "Domestic Transformer." Chang transformed the 360-square-foot apartment his family has owned since he was a child into a futuristic shape-shifting space that uses a complex system of sliding walls to create a 24-room living experience.

How to... buy a green home

From wool insulation to wood-burning boilers, a greener property is possible.

Sharp rise in prices of agricultural necessities

China's skyrocketing prices of agricultural necessities will cut agribusiness margins and increase inflationary pressures, analysts warned Thursday as prices of seeds, fertilizer and diesel oil all saw double-digit jumps in the first quarter.

Right to food should be enshrined in constitution: UN expert

The right to food should be enshrined in the constitution if African nations are to fight food insecurity in an efficient manner, a senior UN official said on Thursday.

"Food insecurity, very often, has its sources not only in bad harvests ... or climate related events, such as those the region increasingly frequently goes through," Olivier de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, told journalists at the end of a two-day summit in Nairobi.

But other factors are the lack of government accountability, the inability of NGOs to monitor governments and the weak role of national parliaments in monitoring what governments are doing to reduce food insecurity, he said.

How To Feed the World After Climate Change

Genetically modified seeds aren’t enough. We have to change the entire agricultural system.

Movie review: 'The Island President' is heartening, unsettling

President Mohamed Nasheed works to save the Maldives from the threat of global warming. But he can't change the country's past and its influence on the present.

Ezra Levant Attacks Ontario’s Future

CFN – It should be no surprise that Ezra Levant would do anything he can to sabotage Ontario’s efforts to bring its economy into the twenty-first century. After all, it was Levant who invented the “Ethical Oil” myth, so he has an obligation to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and its members to look after their financial interests ahead of Ontario’s.

Realistic action against climate change and global warming is not in the best interests of CAPP and its members. Their basic business plan is to encourage everyone to ignore the consequences of Peak Oil and burn fossil fuels, especially theirs, without regard to the environment, the economic future of Canada, or the future and well-being of our children and grandchildren.

UN Cuts Emerging-Nation Carbon Out of EU, Sindicatum Says

United Nations regulators are probably cutting emission projects out of the European market by failing to reform processes fast enough and by changing existing rules, said Sindicatum Sustainable Resources Group Ltd.

Melting Arctic Ice May Usher in New Era of Geopolitical Conflict

Countries of the Far North are set to be the new players in the emerging Arctic frontier. The polar ice cap is melting at much faster rates than previously predicted, and may be completely ice free by the summer of 2040 or sooner. There are vast untapped resources in the Arctic Ocean such as new shipping lanes, fishing grounds, tourism, and it is believed to contain the largest of the world's remaining energy reserves. This year has brought about a frenzy of oil and gas exploration which will only increase as the ice recedes. The coming summer will bring an even more intense search for resources. Cooperation will be required among the northern nations to avert territorial disputes and conflicts at the top of the world.

Antarctic ice shelf dwindles as satellite continues to look on

As a European satellite enters its second decade in orbit, it continues to observe the retreat of an Antarctic ice sheet, which has been dwindling due to warming.

Ice age study delivers blow to global-warming skeptics

A new study finds that rising levels of carbon dioxide drove rising temperatures at the end of the last ice age. The findings contrast with previous studies, which skeptics of human-triggered global warming said showed that CO2 levels weren't an important factor.

States' readiness ranked in face of water threats

New Mexico, Arizona and more than two dozen other states could face increased threats to water supplies if they don't do more to plan for rising temperatures and changes in rain and snowfall patterns, according to an analysis released Thursday by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The nonprofit environmental group used the state-by-state analysis to highlight what it sees as a link between greenhouse gas emissions - the pollutants blamed for global warming - and weather changes that could ultimately affect water resources.

Map and PDF here: Ready or Not: How Water-Ready is Your State?

With respect to the idea that to corporations own/control our oil/NG resources: “Washington doesn’t have this option, since we don’t own our own energy.” About 75% of those resources belong to US citizens and the balance to the federal govt. The corporations only acquire the rights to develop those reserves. They have no power to determine how and when they are developed. For instance the govt can use tax payer money and develop all the DW GOM oil/NG and keep all the profit for our citizens. Likewise the govt can lease virtually all the private mineral rights in the country and develop them as it wishes.

Re: Ice age study delivers blow to global-warming skeptics

The study was just published in NATURE:
Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last deglaciation

HERE's another news story about the research from ABC Australia.

If this study holds up, it kills one of the main arguments of the denialist camp, which is based on previous evidence from Antarctic ice cores which showed temperature increasing before CO2 began to rise...

E. Swanson

Also, Christian Science Monitor?

Aren't christians supposed to be anti-science hence AGW? My prejudices are confused...

Don't confuse Christian Science with garden-variety Christianity. Not the same at all.

However, Christian Science Monitor is considered one the best newspapers in the US, at least as far as unbiased reporting goes.

The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) is an international newspaper published daily online, Monday to Friday, and weekly in print. It was started in 1908 by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist. As of 2009, the print circulation was 67,703.[1]

The CSM is a newspaper that covers international and United States current events. The paper includes a daily religious feature on "The Home Forum" page, but states the publication is not a platform for evangelizing.

Despite its name, the Monitor does not claim to be a religious-themed paper, and say they do not promote the doctrine of its patron church. However, at its founder Eddy's request, a daily religious article has appeared in every issue of the Monitor. Eddy also required the inclusion of "Christian Science" in the paper's name, over initial opposition by some of her advisors who thought the religious reference might repel a secular audience.[2]

The Monitor's inception was, in part, a response by Eddy to the journalism of her day, which relentlessly covered the sensations and scandals surrounding her new religion with varying degrees of accuracy. In addition, Joseph Pulitzer's New York World was consistently critical of Eddy, and—according to many historians—this, along with a derogatory article in McClure's, furthered Eddy's decision to found her own media outlet.[2]

Eddy declared that the Monitor's mission should be "to injure no man, but to bless all mankind."


Very unfortunate name...

On the contrary, I think it's a very illuminating name, which ought to serve to let people who may have had a bad experience with some Christians know that they are not all the same.

We grew up with the CSM in the house, as a UU Family (Unitarian Universalism derived in part from Christianity, but is no longer really a Christian or Bible-directed Church.) That paper offered a much clearer domestic and international perspective, which I always felt was more balanced and independent a voice than what was to be found in the NYT, which carried far too many class and cultural assumptions in their content and editorial direction.

The newspaper is good, but Christian Science itself is...somewhat outside the mainstream. They're the ones who are prosecuted every once in awhile for letting their kids die of curable illnesses, because they believe that you can cure people by prayer. Jesus could do miracles, and so can you...if you believe. In short...Christian Science is not particularly scientific.

I thought it was the Seventh Day Adventists that forbid medical treatment for letting their kids die, etc. AFAIK the CS folks believe in the power of prayer, but don't forbid medical treatment. But I don't really know that much about it.

No Seventh Day Adventists go to church on saturday. Jehovah's Witness hand out Watchtower. Mormans send (male) missionaries around to convince you that Jesus walked on American soil.

Amish drive black buggies around and oppose war. Quakers are pacifists and are often confused with Amish. Shakers are a dying breed that don't breed. Maybe they have the answer to overpopulation.

The Amish will be the most helpful to the rest of us during energy descent...

Medically speaking, Jehovah's Witnesses are notable for banning blood transfusions. They are allowed every other aspect of modern medicine, but not blood transfusions. They believe the part of the Bible that says you can't eat blood (the reason kosher meat is completely drained) applies to transfusions.

Yeah, I lived for a time with a family of Jehovah's Witnesses in the '70s. The mother had a form of anemia that could have been corrected with transfusions, but she refused and eventually died. What was frustrating was that she accepted other, more expensive therapies, paid for by the taxpayers, that clearly weren't working. She had a degree in horticultue and had lost a good job (and used up her benefits) because she couldn't work. Her church helped some.

She and I had a fairly close relationship, and a doctor from the health dept. asked me to try and convice her to get transfused (I even offered her my blood, as I'm O-negative), but she wouldn't budge. Her three kids ended up with an elderly Aunt, and a monthly 'endowment' from the State.

Yes, this is a point of endless frustration for medical professionals. Blood transfusions are relatively cheap, and in some cases, there's no substitute. Instead, they have to use more expensive, more dangerous therapies that are less effective.

Jehovah's Witnesses are hoping that new technology breakthroughs will make transfusions unnecessary. It kinda reminds me of the technocopian response to peak oil.

Could they blood bank? It would be their own life blood not that of another animal.


No. They refuse autologous as well as allogenic transfusions. Some of the Biblical passages make reference to 'pouring out' blood, hence any technology that stores blood is unacceptable to most Witnesses. Any orthodox Witness will refuse whole blood, as well as RBC, WBC, platelets, or plasma. Beyond that point individual patient decisions as to what treatment to accept come into play. Some Witnesses will accept virtually any other treatment (including blood components originating from stored blood), others will reject any treatment in which human or animal blood has played any role, however small.

In the healthcare forum, Witnesses have worked successfully to dramatically broaden the range of bloodless options available to them and others, the awareness of the general medical community of those options and recognition of the right of bodily self-determination, and the awareness of the general medical community of appropriate protocols for blood transfusion with its concomitant risks. In the legal forum, Witnesses have successfully pressed criminal charges, obtained civil damages, and obtained constitutional rulings in numerous countries protecting their right to bodily self-determination, up to and including the right to die refusing treatment they find unacceptable.

WHO's BTS indicates that blood is often overprescribed in both developed and developing countries and has made reduction of medically unnecessary transfusions an increasing priority in recent years.

I understand the frustration and the focus on the cases which drive more expensive, less effective therapies. I think it is important to note that like antibiotics, blood transfusions are significantly overprescribed, and that there are costs and consequences associated with that overuse. Some alternative therapies, for some diagnoses, are less expensive, less dangerous, and more effective.



No, Seventh Day Adventists encourage a healthy diet - vegetarian, for many - and the kosher laws from the Bible. They also discourage smoking, drinking, and some even avoid caffeine. They have a long average lifespan for that reason, but they don't ban modern healthcare.

Christian Scientists are allowed to use modern medicine, but many choose not to, because they are taught that prayer can heal, and also that this type of healing should not be combined with modern medicine - you have to choose one or the other.

And so, in any case, we do have to look beyond our assumptions in what things are named. In this case, at least Two of the CSM's three names have to be looked at with some contextual understanding.. and as you said, the paper itself has been good for a good, long time.

I don't really have a sense of what the present-day ravages to all the news-room economics of these businesses have done to the overall quality at CSM.. I pray, and ALSO cross my fingers that they will be blessed with good luck and continued wisdom! But I do also think that their guiding culture has been driven by some of the better aspects of our Christian neighbors, particularly that of the stubbornly independent New Englanders who have held such high standards in their actions.

I have a friend whos Mom just died, refusing care as a Christian Scientist. The daughter is not CS, and has to face that troubling issue of her mom's choice.. but having seen others who've lived for years attached to tubes, valued for their pulse alone.. I have to say that there are valid points on the other side, too.

CSM has really embraced the Internet. They were among the first papers to go online, then to produce PDF versions, and RSS feeds. They were also among the first to move to online-only.

I don't know if they are turning a profit, but supposedly the church requires that they do, so the fact that they are still publishing is probably a good sign.

My Master's Project was on "Media Treatment of Energy Issues". I used several major newspapers as representative - NYT, WaPost, LAT, USAToday (McPaper), and an advisor suggested adding CSM. It was a good addition - their coverage was often broader and more in-depth than any of the others.

Al Jazeera and Russia Today are good sources of different views.

"Shouting in the Dark": Film Chronicles Bahrain’s Pro-Democracy Uprising Against U.S.-Backed Rule

Also, I wouldn't hold my breath. The climate 'debate' has long since departed from this rational universe eg. in its insistence that the peer review process is a conspiracy etc. Sure enough this will be fuel to the fires of the debunking and de-debunking sites on both sides of the popular advocacy trenches - and make it all the more harder for any serious political decision-making body to dismiss anthropogenic global warming - but the public sympathy for AGW is on the rise - and will rise as the economy goes down the peak-oil way.

Here in Europe as the fuel prices at the pump keep rising we are already hearing louder public protests for EU regulations concerning CO2 that are seen as major contributors to rising consumer prices of everything: fuel, cars, heating, housing, food etc.

It is only a matter of time that some popular political parties capitalize on this discontent and begin to drive the issue - by any means necessary - and science will have little influence in that debate.

The battle is far from over.

Yes, after having been on the front lines here in the US of A, the political fight isn't about the science. People in the US don't appreciate the seriousness of the situation and the denialist propaganda machine has pushed public opinion to the hard right. The economy has always been at the root of politics and when economic contraction appears, most other concerns are tossed into the dumpster. The result, of course, is that the non-human world is in the process of being trashed as well. Our capitalistic/consumer societies have been doing a great job of consuming, which can only end badly when there's nothing left to consume, IMHO...

E. Swanson

Hopefully, greed or this 'economy' (same idea) smashes or keeps smashing its head on nature's glass ceiling. Good and hard.

I have to say that the article the Dawg referenced is significant.

If one stares at the Vostok ice core series, like I have, the lag seems to be the other way around and it is at least several hundred years that CO2 lags temperature.

This has been explained away that once the feedback system is underway they become more in sync, but that the initial trigger was some other stimulus, such as solar/planetary changes (e.g. Milankovitch cycles).

If people are interested, this is a detailed analysis of Vostok I finished a couple of weeks ago.

The temperature and CO2 concentration follows a rather noisy phase loop (a lissajous pattern) ranging between the interglacial extremes.

The same thing happens on a much smaller scale with seasonal variation in atmospheric CO2 concentration and sea surface temperature (SST).

This leads to the same kind of loop, when one takes the data over the last 30 years (note the smaller temperature swings):

For the Mauna Loa, the CO2 lags the SST just slightly, by around couple of months.

The new paleoclimate interpretation is based on spatially separated behaviors that suggest that the CO2 strongly leads the temperature, indicating a strong GHG effect. The Milankovitch cycles may still trigger it, but the CO2 positive feedback kicks in faster than was previously thought. The positive feedback in the natural case is that oceans will outgas more CO2 as the earth starts heating up, and this reinforces the GHG to feed on itself. The effect is somewhat self-limiting; as an example, the three-dimensional contour plot is based on a feedback calculation using a nominal activation energy.

Its definitely interesting science.

Just to be clear -

Your analysis of the data suggests that either a non-CO2 trigger (methane and NOx are other GHG, non-CO2 potential triggers) starts the warming cycle. Then natural CO2 releases (not natural GHG, like methane) kick in with positive feedback and the bulk of the warming cycle is driven by natural CO2 (not GHG) feedbacks.

Is that correct ? What role to you think natural GHG, non-CO2 (like methane) plays ?



actually the battle is over- and the planet and climate lost. McKibben and others like him are very much the like the Japanese soldiers stranded on islands- who didn't know the war was over and they had lost.

There is no way the human species can possibly deal with preventing climate change. Evolution designed us to think of the here and the now rather than deal with some predator that might come along in the future. Are we really that much smarter than the Easter Islanders or any other civilization that has disappeared along the way?

But the Japanese soldiers, all they had to do was accept defeat, and move on and rebuild. And things would get better.

I think that's exactly the point. At least in the modern caricature of those Japanese soldiers, they were so sure of their belief that anyone advocating surrender was a traitor. Hence there was simply no way to convince them to admit defeat.

That's where the analogy falls down. For the Japanese to admit defeat must have been painful and difficult, but a better life was possible after doing so.

On the other hand, for McKibben, Hansen and all the rest to "admit defeat" is to accept there is really no hope for mankind.

I don't know what your credentials might be, but I find it a little amusing for you to declare that McKibben or others 'haven't got the memo yet'.. but you have.

This IS very probably going to be a devastating and a hectic set of changes.. and yet with all that, the one thing I think I can safely claim, is that none of you, or myself either can Possibly Know how it will turn out.

Remember that Twain topquote every now and then..

“It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.”

.. it's REAL easy to point and cluck at those who are trying to actually DO something.

I have had beers with Bill.

He is very much aware how totally and utterly f'd we are.

He prefers to go on fighting, in spite of it all.

What is your oh-so-brave response to our totally f'd predicament?

It is the idiocy of the rabid anti-AGW's that is most perplexing.

They are like a US which has already bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but just keeps bombing cities in spite of the obvious fact that the country is utterly destroyed.

They have already won.

There is now absolutely no way to avoid utter annihilation of nearly all complex life on earth.

And yet they keep spewing their idiocies.

Can't they just claim their victory and leave us in whatever peace the rest of us can find?

The problem is that to make the analogy accurate, that hypothetical US's entire economy would be based on continuing to make bombs and bomb more Japanese cities. So of course destroying two cities and getting Japan to surrender is not enough.

so true.

And presumably, before warming occurred, trapped carbon leapt from the permafrost due to molecular boredom. Honestly, it doesn't seem to be a problem that a temperature rise would precede a rise in CO2.

I read a Nature blog post on this, and came away disgusted. (http://blogs.nature.com/from_the_lab_bench/2012/04/06/old-news-for-carbo...)

The journalist portrayed scientists as working feverishly to "pin the blame on carbon dioxide" and the scientist portrays himself as a crackpot with statements such as "we've got 80 records from around the world, let's just slap them together". The sad thing is that it doesn't matter whether or not global warming came before or after global CO2 rise. An ice cube melts as a consequence of local temperature. Siberian permafrost need not require approval from a thermometer in Paraguay in order to melt.

Milankovich cycles seem to be able to initiate an interglacial. When our orbit is maximally eccentric, when we have maximum obliquity, when we have a summer solstice at perihelion - things will get warmer. Maybe not everywhere, maybe not even on a global average - but warmer where it counts, where it can create feedback loops to perpetuate the warming via permafrost melting, lowering albedo levels, etc.

I hope the article in Nature and the science behind it is of much higher quality that the bloggy bit I read would suggest.

There is a commentary in the same issue, neither of which I can see, since I don't have a subscription. One wonders why you take such offense at the blog commentary without reading the actual paper. But, I presume that you would agree that the denialist who cherry pick a dozen or so proxies of differing accuracy and limited coverage of the globe should be more strongly faulted for their work. Craig Loehle wrote one for E&E, which was full of errors (some of which I found), yet the conclusions are still referenced by the denialist camp. This latest paper's data sets are spread over most of the globe, so regional effects are canceled out. If you want to look at the data, it's in the supplementary PDF link at the bottom of the abstract. All the figures are included in the PDF as well. There is a good discussion of various errors in the process, such as the date models used, and error bars are included...

E. Swanson

I think the blog commentary should stand on its own, especially since it's as close as many will get to the lead author and his work, and that it is affiliated with what should be a prestigious scientific journal. And I don't think it does a good job. I certainly agree that cherry picking data, whether done by a denialist or not, should be conspicuously faulted.

The piece clearly suggested that - in the opinion of scientists and climate change communicators - detecting a local temperature rise in Antarctica before a CO2 rise represented a problem. I think that's completely false. As I understand it, the most likely cause of increased CO2 is increased temperature. Perhaps it's only a local temperature increase - driven by orbital mechanics, for example - but to suggest the CO2 increase somehow needs to be ahead of global temperature increase so that CO2 can be the villian (and deniers can pound sand), is just goofy and wrong. Too much CO2 is a villian either way.

In being critical of the blog's piece, I'm not trying to suggest that the underlying science is bad or wrong or undeserving of a read. I might have to pick this issue up. I'm interested to know how an ice core provides (or is said to provide) a global picture of CO2 distribution.


I think you've entirely missed the point of the report. The source of CO2 is said to be the southern oceans, which respond to the shutdown of the THC in the high latitudes of the North Atlantic as a result of an initial rapid melting of the ice sheets. The claim is that the NH warms first, indirectly releasing CO2, which then warms the SH, if I understand the CS Monitor story.

As for the global CO2 concentration, the atmosphere is well mixed and cross equatorial flow mixes the air between hemispheres rather rapidly. This can be seen by comparing the CO2 history in the NH with that at the South Pole, the latter lags the NH source regions by only a couple of years (I don't know the exact time)...

E. Swanson

It's possible that there may be some systematic biases in the way that they interpret the proxy measurements.

I can agree that it's odd that the lags of several hundred years can change into a lead of several hundred years. Someone will come up with a potential mechanism for this and then the discussion will launch from that.

The ocean has a huge thermal lag in comparison to atmospheric temperatures. CO2 has a huge lag in returning to a steady-state value if it doesn't have easily accessible sequestering sites. Outgassing from the oceans by itself doesn't show a huge lag because the sequestering sites return as the ocean cools. Dispersion of CO2 in the atmosphere doesn't have a huge lag either. Each of these factors can reinforce or cancel each other depending on their relative strength.

As I understand things, the seasonal cycle is dominated by the NH land cycle of summer growth and winter decay in the temperate and higher latitudes. The tropical ocean wouldn't be the driver which you show with your graph in the previous post. Don't forget that for there are oceans in both hemispheres and their seasonal effects offset each other. Then too, the solar input at the Equator has two peaks, one at each Equinox...

E. Swanson

This is likely very true.

What I did with the Mauna Loa data is find the strongest correlation with that measuring point, which is in the middle of the Pacific. This location is very sensitive to the Equatorial Photspot, which is just south and west of Hawaii. The prevailing circulation wafts that high CO2 right over top of the Mauna Loa measuring station.

Other locations have differing contributions.

"The claim is that the NH warms first, indirectly releasing CO2,"

So the CO2 still lags the initial warming, but a self-reinforcing feedback loop cuts in sooner than originally thought.

Less a revolution in thought than a refinement.

Note: I read and responded to Nature magazine's blog post, a fact you've entirely missed. I'll entirely miss the point of the other writings you mention as I get to them.

If this study holds up, it kills one of the main arguments of the denialist camp, which is based on previous evidence from Antarctic ice cores which showed temperature increasing before CO2 began to rise...

You are dead wrong in overestimating the common sense of climate skeptics.

Climate skeptics will never ever let an argument go, no matter how often and thoroughly it has been demolished. Ever. They can't, it's fundamental to their denial.

Edit: Also it doesn't matter if CO2 lead or followed warming in the geological past. The radiative properties are still the same, the effect is the same be it a feedback or a forcing. The CO2 follows warming argument is therefore silly to begin with.

Exactly. And what's worse, is the buzz around the Nature article which appears to grant the denier's argument that CO2 lagging temperature is some sort of problem. (Link in my post above.)

I'm not sure it doesn't matter, it does demonstrate that CO2 changes can drive other feedback mechanisms and amplify an intially small perturbation.
You are correct about the denialists, they've long since departed ways with reality, this will just be confirmation that the size of the liberal-scientific conspiracy is getting larger by the day.

I'm not sure it doesn't matter, it does demonstrate that CO2 changes can drive other feedback mechanisms and amplify an intially small perturbation.

Yes, we agree, but I still think it doesn't matter if CO2 lags or leads.

If CO2 rises as a feedback (e.g. ocean outgassing as a result of a small warming by other forcings) it will warm the planet and so does a CO2 rise lead warming when we burn fossil fuels.

The "CO2 lags warming, therefore it cannot warm the planet" argument is silly because more CO2 causes more warming whether is leads or lags. To CO2 it doesn't matter where it came from or why it's in the atmosphere, it's radiative properties remain the same.

I think the important issue is the amount of warming which resulted from the relatively small initial effect due to the Milankovitch forcings. Perhaps this new research implies that the added CO2 caused a much larger fraction of the warming after the LGM, thus the more recent addition of CO2 can be expected to also produce warming closer to the higher projections. As it is, the warming after the LGM can not be reproduced in the simulations without the addition of CO2's forcing...

E. Swanson

Accurate Headline for Google Article: "Google Saves Money, But Uses More Energy By Cooling Its Buildings with Ice"

I suspect that in this situation, saving money by shifting electric demand from day to nighttime when rates are lower may also save energy. The efficiency of a heat pump is a function of the outside temperature, which would be lower at night. A typical A/C unit produces cold side temperatures below freezing, even during the day. At night, less electricity is required to provide this cooling and the stored "cooleth" of the mass of ice can be used efficiently during the day to provide the cooling for all the servers in the data center.

I remember reading an article a few months ago regarding Facebook locating a new data centre in Lulea, Sweden, as due to the low temperatures they do not require cooling for 8 months out of the year. Somewhat ironically, this is in many ways the best strategy (at least in the short term) as the greatest efficiency comes from not using any energy at all to provide cooling power, in spite of the fact that the heat source is being located in the area most vulnerable to temperature increases. Nonetheless, the reduction in power consumption for cooling which is one of a data centre's biggest energy costs probably has a net positive.

Probably best if we don't locate all of our data infrastructure in the arctic though.

Russian oil: flat for next 20 years?

Any thoughts on what has prompted this announcement?

- rick

Russia sells oil to China and buys widgets from China. China is happy with this trade and would like to sell more widgets and buy more oil. The Russia minister is in China to try to sell Russian widgets to China and has to come up with a credible reason as to why Russia prefers to sell widgets rather than oil to China.

A picture of Russian oil capacity which is rather less rosy than is presented in other places fits the requirements. It also has the merit of being more accurate, but I suspect the reason it was said at all is that the minister is trying to promote Russian widgets to the Chinese. The Russian is also hinting that if the Chinese don't buy more widgets from Russia, then the price of Russian oil will go up.

Many were expecting Russian oil production to increase by about 1.5% in 2012 and continue growing afterwards. Skrebowski and other have been predicting a decline after 2010-2011. I think the Russians recognize tihs and are trying to deliver the bad news in steps. First tell people production will be flat, then break the news about declines in degrees as needed. I don't expect to see a crash in Russian production -- they are developing new resources -- but I expect we will see modest declines for the next five years at least. That's my WAG.

The jobs report was a big surprise and a huge disappointment today.

Though weirdly, Denninger doesn't think it's as bad as it's been portrayed.

Yeah, the report is rather scary, given that almost twice as many new jobs were expected. The warm weather apparently didn't help boost spring hiring, which might also be taken as a negative. Stagflation may be back in play, given the rise in retail prices for fuel. Denninger's comment includes the results of the household survey, which oddly shows a much larger increase. I wonder how the shift from land lines to cell phones is impacting the household survey, as there are many fewer fixed household phones to be included in a random survey, (assuming that's how it's done). People who have lost their jobs may also be relying on cell phone service, since it's less expensive for minimal calling. I use a TRAC phone for travel, which costs about $7 a month...

E. Swanson

Interesting point. I've long wondered has anyone done research on phone-survey biases. For example by collecting the data by other means on a sample of households and comparing the self-reporting results. Would at least give an idea of the kinds of biases there are as well as their magnitude.

As a metrologist, I'm horrified every day by the 'uncertain' uncertainty factors that the social 'sciences' which govern our societies policies rely on ;)

For example I have a non-listed cell phone and no land line. What would be the demographic of people with non-listed phones (this would appear as selection bias in every survey)?

It seems that using phone surveys is inherently biased from the start as many jobless (homeless?) folks don't have a phone at all. No job, no unemployment, no phone = off the grid. Blanks...

I've long wondered has anyone done research on phone-survey biases.

Yes. Social science methods are always improving to respond to the issue you raise (and many other issues related to the validity of empirical findings).

As is true of any science, the reliability of the methodology used is the upper limit of any finding's validity. The question here is part of the concern about external validity, specifically relating to the representativeness of the sample.

One, but only one, means of improving the external validity in phone surveys is to utilize random digit dialing. This is a means of getting unlisted numbers that would be missed if the sample was selected from a published directory. In locations where there is reason to believe (based on past studies) that you have a high phone ownership rate, this method is a reasonable way to increase external validity.

There are other means of increasing external validity in areas with lower phone ownership rates.

Suffice it to say that your concern about bias in social science samples is shared by any reputable social scientist, is a major question brought up in almost any peer-review of proposals or manuscripts, and is the topic of thousands of published articles and conference presentations. Improvements are made all the time, and the reporting of validity within manuscripts is being required. Of course, the MSM rarely cares to report more than a few sentences and rarely gives even basic confidence intervals for any finding reported. IMO, the sloppiness is not in the social science but the users of that science.

NB Equally important is the internal validity of the study (e.g., are you measuring what you think you're measuring, have you measured it well, are the measures used accurate, reliable and reproducible). However, only extremely rarely can you simultaneously increase internal and external validity. For instance, to increase the internal validity of a survey instrument, we might include many hundreds of questionnaire items (to representatively sample the cognitive space which involves approximately 10^11 neurons and 10^14 synapses). But in doing so, we make it highly unlikely that anyone will want to do the survey, thus decreasing external validity (i.e., reducing the representativeness of the sample of participants). This, also, is a constant matter of concern and research within the social sciences.

I've long wondered has anyone done research on phone-survey biases.

Yes, and plenty of it. The people at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, who do the household and payroll employment phone surveys, worry a lot about biases built into their survey techniques. Among those I know are considered: type of phone service (cell, landline, mixed), the time of day the calls are made, refusal rates for different types of households, how to incorporate random-number dialing.

Then again, Denninger:

PS: If this is "recovery" what's a second recessionary dip -- which I think we're headed for here and now; it's baked into the cake from the PPI increases that must go through the python of the last year and change -- going to look like? That ought to hit us starting right about next month and continue through the election. Oh joy.

I think the usual metrics are getting confused as people adapt. I know folks who are no longer considered unemployed as they have under-the-table arrangements for now, though they may well admit that they are employed if surveyed. Many folks have fallen out of the system in other ways, and I'm not sure the govt. is looking really hard for actual unemployed folks. I'm technically unemployed, but nobody seems to know or care.

Perhaps they need to look at other metrics such as social safety nets. Food stamp participation has continued to rise even as reported unemployment has dropped. Most folks making a living wage aren't eligible.

Exactly. I also like to look at metrics such as income tax receipts (which are actually down, when adjusted for the payroll tax cut, year over year).

The American jobs report is quite startlingly different from the latest Canadian jobs report:

Canada Adds Most Jobs Since 2008 as Full-Time Work Soars

Canada added the most jobs since September 2008 last month, a gain dominated by full-time positions that revived what had been a stalling labor market in the world’s 10th largest economy.

Employment rose by 82,300 following a decline of 2,800 in February, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa, lowering the jobless rate to 7.2 percent from 7.4 percent.

Canadian and American economic trends have been diverging considerably in the last few years, and this is one of the more extreme examples. Multiply numbers by 10 to compare to American numbers.

Last week the Canadian government announced it was cutting 9,200 federal government jobs to reduce the deficit, so the increased opportunities in the private sector will be welcome news to the soon to be cast-free federal bureaucrats.

Yes, I agree that this is happening. But it's all being driven by the money printers at the IMF and New York Fed.

Once the printing stops, as it inevitably must some day, Canada will find that it has a whole lot of tar and wood and not many people to sell it to. Not to mention having a third world, collapsing country bordering it to the south.

Unfortunately we are all in this together now. The global economic system has sort of evolved that way. There is no "escape" like there was in times past. The whole world is colonized and full up, there's nowhere else to go.

Eventually AGW might result in land opening up in Canada, but that's a far way off, and again, poses the problem of who gets in and who stays out.

Canada is working on cultivating the Chinese market at this point in time because it is fairly obvious the US is going nowhere. The Chinese are displaying a lot of interest in our oil sands, less so in our lumber.

The Chinese have a lot of American dollars they can use to pay for it, and they would like to dump some of the American dollars in their reserves. They have recently been acquiring Canadian dollars as a second-tier reserve currency.

Canada is working on cultivating the Chinese market at this point in time because it is fairly obvious the US is going nowhere.

Sure RMG, and I guess you seriously believe that China is going somewhere, eh? Well I do too! It's going to hell in a hand basket just as fast if not faster than the US. Do resource limits and ecological and population overshoot mean nothing to you?! What makes you think that Canada and China are exempt from paying the piper?


Canadians and Chinese are apparently not a whole lot smarter than USians and non of them are much smarter than yeast!
Listen to this while you look at that graphic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNi1sevKNd0

At the risk of being pedantic, you don't have to be smarter than yeast to see that your graph is a pretty inferior representation of an exponential curve, because the upper end is simply a straight line.
Anybody with a French curve could have done a better job.

Over that interval, the artwork is accurate to within...


Impossible Hamster:

Don't forget too that the coyote is hanging off of it for heaven's sakes.

You need to know what kind of curve you are on. China is not on an exponential curve. Their one-child policy is starting to have its effect.

It is definitely having an effect, in springing what will be a very significant demographic time bomb...

China is in big trouble, in many ways like other societies that are boxing at its weight class. Desertification in the north, exhaustion of surface water sources and water tables, plenty of hidden debt burdens and social unrest due to significantly inflating food and fuel prices (probably a knock-on effect of Federal Reserve money printing). Not to mention effecting a shaky political transition.

They are trying to stave off what they know are significant resource constraints by securing stuff elsewhere but it may be too little too late. I agree that China is not really going exponential in the same way that few nations are going exponential anything right now (except perhaps in public debt). But I'm not sure it matters in terms of avoiding "paying the piper" as FMagyar puts it. I doubt they will do anything but get pulled down the spiral along with the rest of the big players.

China is not on an exponential curve. Their one-child policy is starting to have its effect.

While that may be technically correct with respect to their population growth curve and I believe I have discussed that, with either yourself or someone else here at TOD, the title of the cartoon, (yes, it is a cartoon for criminey's sake), is "Strong Sustainable Growth" and I meant it to refer more to their economic model which is the same unsustainable infinite growth model that all of our global and very interconnected industrial civilization is currently on.

So any individual or country who is betting on China and putting their eggs in their basket hoping that will keep them afloat long term is not being very realistic in my opinion. Overall China is already an ecological basket case, I haven't seen that they are doing much to change their course from going over the cliff.

The title "Strong Sustainable Growth" is an American motto. The Chinese official slogan is "Later, Longer, Fewer", which refers to the way the government wants people to have children. China is not a democracy, so the people don't get to vote on it.

The technocrats who run China are perfectly aware of the problems their country faces in long-term growth (unlike, apparently, most American leaders). They are putting solutions in place and they are quite ruthless about it. The "one-child" policy is a case in point. Can you imagine what would happen in the US if Obama introduced a mandatory "one-child" policy? He can't even introduce mandatory health insurance.

They stepped on the brakes early and hard to put the country into the deceleration phase of the population growth logistics curve before they hit any kind of hard limit to growth. Now that they've got the population growth under control, they're building nuclear reactors, hydro plants, and electric rail systems like there's no tomorrow because they know that if they don't, there may be no tomorrow for them.

It's other countries I worry about more than China. India is going to exceed China's population soon, although India doesn't have nearly as many resources and is not nearly as well organized. Pakistan seems to think Allah will provide and has a very high birth rate despite the fact it already has more people than Russia and is already at the limit of its agricultural resources. Much of Africa is already a disaster area and still has very high birth rates.

China is one of the countries I worry about least because it seems to be aware of its limits and is working to avoid them. I'm more worried about the US because a lot of its leaders seem to be quite delusional about its possibilities for infinite growth.

In Canada, we are nowhere near our limits to growth because the country is bigger than either the US or China and it has fewer people than California. It also has a lower birth rate than the US and vastly more oil reserves than either the US or China.

Good points. To get a concrete sense of the different birth rates, as well as CO2 production, from different countries, check out:


India is just shootin' out kids by the second.

China is one of the countries I worry about least because it seems to be aware of its limits and is working to avoid them.

Have you been to China lately?
The last time my brother was there on business, the sky was green during his visit, with the Sun marginally visible.
There are huge sections of the country with no flowering plants, as the pollinators are extinct.
China is a denuded wasteland, run by people with a extremely limited knowledge of ecosystems, as George Schaller and Peter Matthiessen have experienced directly.
China is the poster child for collapse, and is merely at this point the last great industrial society.

I've only been on the periphery of China, in several surrounding countries, often within walking distance of the Chinese border. I've only flown over it, never landed there (excluding Hongkong, of course). I don't really have any great urge to visit mainland China.

China, from my perspective, is a country with over 35 times the population of Canada in a land area that is smaller than Canada. If given a choice, I wouldn't live in a country that overpopulated. Naturally, if it tries to achieve the same standard of living as Canada, the impact on the environment will be severe.

That being said, it is doing better at coping with overpopulation than a lot of other countries I could name.

Canada of course does not exist in isolation, and in this complex, globalized world, will increasingly be impacted by failures in other regions. Meanwhile, our federal government is hard at work extending our relationships - and dependencies - on other nations.

Of course the Canadian government is expanding its relationships with other countries in the hopes of selling something to them. It's all about money.

It's all about money.

Yeah, like most governments in the world today they seem to know the price of everything but the value of nothing.


Big Yellow Taxi
by Joni Mitchell

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel *, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

IMF, WTO (why is it bad for you), World Bank... all rings to one big circus. Where the animals get tortured and killed and/or sold as meat at the end of their miserable lives.

A species that does half of what we do can't possibly hope to survive. The writing on the wall is so obvious when you think about it.

AGW has the opposite effect since as permafrost melts it will be impossible to travel a very large part of Canada. You cannot build roads on semi-aquatic pools.

Melting permafrost called ticking time bomb

Turetsky began her research on Canadian permafrost in the late 1990s. Over the last decade, she travelled to a number of permafrost sites in northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories — and she’s seen the melting permafrost drastically change the landscape.

“In that short time, the transformations are quite drastic,” she said. “It literally turns a forest into a semi-aquatic pool . . . vegetation starts to slump, thaw and sink into the ground. Trees start to pitch. This is causing the landscape to change in ways that most of the community hasn’t quite recognized yet.”

I'm picturing huge Empire Ex-tractors, with tires much larger even than those on tar sands trucks, plowing through the previous permafrost, perhaps with Slim Pickins driving in 'Yee-Haw!' mode...

Not many people live in the places with permafrost.

Presumably the ex-permafrost will eventually turn into terrain more amenable to construction. The adaptation period for existing communities will certainly be painful. But really you're talking about less than a couple hundred thousand people.

What jobs, though? Jobs for the sake of jobs? So what?

Perhaps we need to get more into what exactly we are talking about.

We have to rethink how we’re going to live on this earth — stop talking about the fact that we’ve got to have agriculture, we’ve got to have exports, because all that is the death of us. Permaculture challenges what we’re doing and thinking — and to that extent it’s sedition.
~ Bill Mollison


Permaculture = Work
BAU = Jobs

I clearly prefer work.

But for now, I have to keep my job. :-(

I agree "work" is awesome and natural. Jobs suck.

But for now, I have to keep my job. :-(

Why and for how long? :\

I very much like the differentiation of 'work' versus 'jobs'. I lost my job at the end of last year, and have been working hard ever since. There is so much to do! Due to fortunate circumstances (certainly not my, ahem, financial acumen - or lack thereof! ), we own our home. We are also car free. This has given us a great cushion. So, I have been making furniture and attending to all sorts of details around the house. And the households of friends and family. I am also taking a welding class, something that I have wanted to do for quite some time. In short, I am viewing the job scenario through the lens of "how does this benefit the community"? Precious few jobs do so. But the work I am doing seems to be of benefit. I have been thinking of renewing my contractors license, but I have such mixed feelings about that: It's state sponsored extortion (" You wanna do that kinda work? Then pay up, Chump"). OK, for big jobs, it may be important. But for little "fix it" jobs? And these little jobs are often "work", to cycle back to the original thread. These little projects are often helping people address some little home problem. And this seems more like beneficial, honest work to me, than many other jobs out there.

Cool to hear and best wishes. Maybe you might like to share some relevant future progress on here.
Despite the BAU din, I think progressive numbers of us here and elsewhere understand where we/things need to go, even if it is uncertain sometimes exactly what paths to take.

Perma culture is where we were not too long ago.

This is a good read and something for those inclined to keep in mind. It's a full circle thing.


Re: Huntsville drivers frustrated over rising gas prices (uptop)

"We've got all these oil reserves, there's no shortage."

I suspect that this will be a recurring theme as consumers compare the reality of pain at the pump, versus industry promises that we won't see a global production peak for decades to come (ExxonMobil), and when it does come, it will be more of an "Undulating Plateau" (CERA), and oh by the way, US "reserves" may be in the hundreds of billions to trillions of barrels of oil.

Meanwhile, back at the pump:

The WTI crack spreads show that US consumers are fully exposed to global crude oil prices (Mid-Continent refiners are paying WTI prices for crude, but charging Brent based prices for refined product), and the US is of course already a net exporter of refined product. In other words, the US is already being outbid for a portion of the output from US refineries.

Here is a chart for the normalized oil consumption for China, India, the Top 33 Net Oil Exporters and the US from 2002 to 2010 (BP):

Strictly speaking of course, there is no shortage. Rising oil prices are balancing demand against a declining supply of net oil exports. Our data base shows that supply of Global Net Exports of oil (GNE) that are available to importers other than China & India, what I call Available Net Exports (ANE), fell from 40 mbpd in 2005 to 35 mbpd in 2010, an annual volumetric decline rate of about one mbpd per year. I estimate that this annual volumetric decline rate will accelerate to between 1.4 mbpd and 2.0 mbpd per year between 2010 and 2020.

US annual total petroleum liquids production probably increased at an average rate of about 0.15 to 0.20 mbpd per year over the past two years.

It seems obvious to me that unless and until the decline in the net exports is reversed, or until global demand declines, US consumers are looking at higher oil prices.

The EIA shows that the nationwide annual price of gasoline increased from about $2.30 per gallon in 2005 to about $3.60 in 2011. I estimate that in round numbers, the US in 2011 paid about a billion dollars more per day for product than we paid in 2005.

There are many positive aspects to rising US oil production--more jobs, probably most of the oil revenue is recycled into new projects, etc.--but from the point of view of an average consumer, what is the more important metric, the rise in US crude oil production or a doubling in global annual crude oil prices from 2005 to 2011?

westexas - I encourage you and anyone else who is insterested in a good laugh go back to that article "Huntsville drivers frustrated over rising gas prices" and read the comments. They are at 27 now, and will probably hit 100 tomorrow.

There will be no "reason" such as yours applied to any argument about the price of a gallon of gas.

I live near that town in the article and I can tell you that folks openly talk about invading Country X and draining the oil.

It's a cultural combination of dominionists, neo-confederates and even educated folks who refuse to accept reality.

"It's a cultural combination of dominionists, neo-confederates and even educated folks who refuse to accept reality."

Perhaps it's just a cultural sense of entitlement, a symptom of living in the imperial core (ala Greer).

Imperial Core. Perfect characterization in two words for why we've run off mentally into the ditch here.

I encourage you and anyone else who is insterested in a good laugh go back to that article "Huntsville drivers frustrated over rising gas prices" and read the comments.

I think I got dumber reading those comments.

"It's a cultural combination of dominionists, neo-confederates and even educated folks who refuse to accept reality."

AKA: voters.

You have to take a test to drive a car: maybe you should have to take a test to have a vote. Weed out the knuckle-dragging mouth breathers?..... 1/2 sarc off

We moved to the Huntsville area from Massachusetts a few months ago. The array of SUVs, Hummers and muscle cars here is stunning. So far though, they seem to be amazingly considerate drivers as they pass me while I'm biking to work. I think part of the reason for the big cars is that defense jobs pay pretty well and the cost of housing is relatively low, so more money can go towards shiny new cars. They also firmly believe that with the right person in the White House gas prices will come back down as you can see from the comments section.

Newt tried to run the end of his campaign on "I'll drop the price of gas to $2.50 if you elect me and I open up drilling everywhere." But his campaign has crashed and burned. Hopefully people rejected that promise of his as cynical attempt to get votes with a plan that simply will not work. But they may have just rejected him because he is Newt. Well, hopefully having Newt bring up that trope will tar it with the derision it deserves.

From the 1970's to now gas has increased from 1.00 per gallon to 5.00 per gallon.
Inflation during this period has devalued the dollar to a fifth of its 1970's value.

Overall change in the inflation adjusted price of gas? 0.00

The real problem is that wages for the average worker have not increased 5 times.

So are you making 5 times what you did in the 70's?

2011 war college study on PO

Last year was a very quiet one re. war college papers on PO.

This one is worth examining, done by a Swiss officer studying at Ft. Leavenworth (91 pgs), reviewed here:

Some may find Lt. Col. Eggen's date of 2025 a bit optimistic, and he has a few spelling/grammatical errors for which he should be forgive, but it's a pretty thoughtful analysis.

If anyone is aware of other military analyses on PO from 2011, please let me know... I've seen very little since the English translation of the Bundeswehr study was released in Nov. 2010.

From your link:

The key points of Lt. Col. Eggen’s analysis are summarized in the second paragraph of his Abstract:
“This research has found that the peaking of world oil production will increase the resource awareness of great powers. While oil production will decline, nations will try to preserve their high level of organization. The world politics will shift from idealism, typical of our present growing economy, to realism and offensive realism. The economic rules will move to those of a negative sum game. As a consequence, minor geopolitical players will have to align with great powers, to ensure minimal losses in oil supply. Finally, the great powers will wait until the last moment to start mitigation measures against oil depletion. Indeed, too early a transition towards new sources of energy constitutes a risk to alter their current geopolitical position.”

[bold added]

I'm curious to see if there will be a JOE (Joint Operating Environment) 2012, as they've been released in Spring on even-numbered years in the last few years. Maybe they got their budget cut :-/

Ghung - "...minor geopolitical players will have to align with great powers, to ensure minimal losses in oil supply" I still like the lineage of MADOR: Mutually Assured Distributon Of Resources

"...minor geopolitical players will have to align with great powers, to ensure minimal losses in oil supply"

Hmm, I think that was in my Chinese fortune cookie at lunch today...

Yes, Ghung

The 'waiting until the last minute' bit is one of the more interesting twists which Eggen explores.
Given what Hirsch and others have argued re. the decade or two required for hope of semi-effective mitigation, Eggen's scenario is not exactly encouraging.
Nor is his observation that “there is no peaceful and orderly shift to expect” (p. 68).

"Given what Hirsch and others have argued re. the decade or two required for hope of semi-effective mitigation, Eggen's scenario is not exactly encouraging."

Wait until then last minute, then panic. Preferably after the captain has left the ship in one of the first lifeboats.

True, PV

Remember Schlesinger's quote about people having only two modes of thinking/operation: complacency and panic?
He was almost certainly correct....

This is an unusual report.

China to Drop Solar Energy to Focus on Nuclear Power

China will accelerate the use of new-energy sources such as nuclear energy and put an end to blind expansion in industries such as solar energy and wind power in 2012, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says in a government report published on March 5.

China will instead develop nuclear power in 2012, actively develop hydroelectric power, tackle key problems more quickly in the exploration and development of shale gas, and increase the share of new energy and renewable energy in total energy consumption.

The guidance indicates a new trend for new-energy and renewable energy development in China from 2012. Analysts believe that the development of the solar and wind power industries will stabilize while hydropower will have the top priority in renewable energy development in China.

The article also notes, "The operating hours of wind power generating units plunged by 144 hours in 2011 despite an increase of 48.16 per cent in on-grid wind power output. The operating hours of solar power generating units also declined in spite of the tripling of installed capacity of solar PV power."

I heard a report at a conference I attended back in October 2010 saying that China's grid is not up to handling the long-distance transmission needed to handle the large amounts of renewable energy that are being added. I wonder if that is one of the issues involved.

Could another issue be that solar and wind have dropped in prices enough to keep on expanding without government subsidies, so they're shifting the subsidies elsewhere?

Are $1/watt PV panels here to stay, or are they temporary fire-sale prices due to PV makers going bankrupt, reduced demand due to weaker economy and reduced subsidies in Europe and USA, etc?

I'm thinking the cheaper prices have forced manufacturing efficiencies to rise substantially. A big driver of PV prices is the price of polysilicon, which has dropped severalfold in the past few years. New polysilicon plants are still being planned and built, so obviously the low price isn't simply market overshoot.

I wouldn't be surprised to see fluctuations on the general downward trend of PV prices, just like the oil price sometimes decreases for a year or two, Pv prices might be capable to going up a bit.

A big driver of PV prices is the price of polysilicon, which has dropped severalfold in the past few years. New polysilicon plants are still being planned and built, so obviously the low price isn't simply market overshoot.

Eventually, if Fossil Fuels keep rising in cost, PV does not need to decrease in price.

I think that once FF's get expensive enough the migration to less expensive generators of electricity will migrate over.

So for the consumer, prices on electricity will go up no matter what, it seems.

Troubling for me is that I still cannot see what could replace liquid FF for transportation fuel at this point, to keep BAU going.

It's kind of depressing to think this way but I often think of different modes of collapse. One of my rosier scenarios is one in which our electrical and communications grids are rather robust and are powered almost entirely by renewables and/or breeder reactors. As the full force of peak oil hits, there will be a crisis but people will adapt and localize to a large degree (dense cities are screwed). Civilization will carry on.

Given recent manufacturing advances, I'd say yes with the only caveat being that there will be short term fluctuations with a ceiling somewhere in the $2/W neighborhood. In the next 3-5 years, I could see production prices falling to ~$0.65/W. Now we just need to reduce BOS and supply chain costs.

Seems like they should focus on improving their grid rather than building nuclear plants close to urban centers. The cost of one or two nukes would pay for a lot of grid upgrades and help get their stranded renewables sending output where needed. Ah, well...

The next chapter of 'Planet of the Pyromaniac Apes' will likely end with the hero emerging into a desert in (what used to be) China to a sight of thousands of half-buried, broken down wind mills:

You bastards!....You couldn't make it work, could ya!...

I think he said, "You maniacs!", but then, it's your sequel. (: (I would like to help write the script.)

I see a future, at least for awhile, where people are locked into the large-scale centralized nation-state model, due to nuclear power and its surrounding issues.
(Like how many seem or feel locked into their jobs/this economy.)

Nuclear energy looks like the nation-state's blackmail.

Very dangerous, this lock-in stuff.

Sure would be interesting to visit that desert in 100 000 years.

By the way, I mentioned it a couple weeks ago..

SCI-FI Future Date Alert !!!

If you have anything fun or significant happening on the 27th, or if you care... you might want to cue up the Pre-Crash Scene in PLANET OF THE APES.. because the Hibernation Beds read (I believe..)
04 27 2012 in a little cutaway. (Tho' the date/month labels are reversed..)

Damn Dirty Apes..

I could go for a good spacetimeship right now with reasonable access to an uninhabited Earth-like planet just about the time before humans arrived.

I think the Chinese have decided that wind and solar won't scale sufficiently large quickly enough to supply their huge economy, so they are going to go with nuclear reactors for base load and hydro for peak power.

They probably thought that wind and solar power were too touchy-feely and environmentally sensitive, not to mention overall too expensive for them - the Chinese technocrats are not touchy-feely or environmentally sensitive at all, and they like to keep costs down.

They are running short of coal resources and they need to get more generating capacity on-line soon, so look for a big push to get these projects built fast. Probably nothing will be smaller than 1000 MW, and there will be hundreds of them.

I've been told that China is in talks with Russia to acquire their FBR designs and associated technical know-how. Sensible approach IMO.

I hear Japan has some nuclear reactors that they're not using anymore. Maybe China could pick them up at, um, fire sale prices.


The news above is that Conoco is taking a charge on the proposed MacKenzie pipeline. But just a few days ago, Conoco and BP and ExxonMobil (March 30, 2102) issued a news release saying they were working together on advancing the Alaska Pipeline Project with TransCanada http://thealaskapipelineproject.com/docs/news_releases/20120330.pdf

Combine that will Shell's plan to do a Gas-To-Liquids plant to make diesel from natural gas, and you can see on the far horizon a path to produce abundant supplies of domestic diesel (and jet fuel and home heating oil) without incurring any additional capital expense to convert the existing transportation infrastructure and, as a bonus, getting ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel in the bargain to clean the air.

I guess that is why the majors are investing their own money in synthetic liquid fuels and leaving wind and solar to the "Green Energy" crowd.

Reading between the lines on the press release, I can see what they have in mind is to put an LNG export terminal on the southern Alaska coast and export the natural gas to Asia. The price of LNG in Japan is about $15/BTU vs. about $2/BTU for natural gas in the lower 48 states.

The only reason I can see for producing diesel fuel in Shell's GTL plant in Louisiana is to turn cheap natural gas into expensive diesel and ship it to Europe, which needs more of it. It's not as if the US needs more diesel fuel since it is already shipping a lot of what it produces to other countries.

I'm afraid these projects really have nothing to do with US energy supply, although they no doubt will be promoted as contributing to US energy self-sufficiency. (Net exports are up again!)

Reading between the lines on the press release, I can see what they have in mind is to put an LNG export terminal on the southern Alaska coast and export the natural gas to Asia. The price of LNG in Japan is about $15/BTU vs. about $2/BTU for natural gas in the lower 48 states.

Yes, that is clearly the way things are moving. Since the first part of a gas pipeline to Valdez or another ice free port in Southcentral Alaska will still follow the same route across the Brooks Range to Fairbanks, much of the preliminary work that Transcanada has done will still be useful.

I'm afraid these projects really have nothing to do with US energy supply, although they no doubt will be promoted as contributing to US energy self-sufficiency. (Net exports are up again!)

Well, yes and no. It's true that the gas will go to Asia, at least initially. However, as usual on the N Slope, many factors tie together, and gas sales should not be considered in isolation from oil production. In particular, the agreement between the State of Alaska and the Pt Thomson owners is significant.

The terms of the Pt Thomson settlement between the State of Alaska and Exxon (and co-owners) includes a liquids pipeline (70,000 bbl/day capacity ) to tie into TAPS. A project to develop initial condensate production of 10,00 bbl/day with gas cycling has already been started by Exxon. Terms of the agreement include either sanctioning a gas sales project by 2016 or increasing liquids production to 30,000 bbl/day, or lose some acreage. While these aren't huge liquids volumes, they do incrementally help mitigate declining flow through TAPS. This in turn helps to keep other N Slope production viable. Also, there are several other known small accumulations near Pt Thomson which will likely become viable with a liquids pipeline from Pt Thomson to TAPS.

According to the State of Alaska Settlement Overview there is an "Alternative C". A gas line could be built from Pt Thomson to Prudhoe. Gas from Pt Thomson would be re-injected into Prudhoe to help maintain production. By most estimates there is about 1 billion bbls remaining that might be recovered from Prudhoe. (Prudhoe has an large waterflood, and produced gas is reinjected). Additional gas injected from Pt Thomson would help increase oil recovery from Prudhoe. Note that this would not preclude later production of that gas for LNG export.

The bottom line is that this agreement probably means more ultimate liquids production from the N Slope.

but any sense as to over what timeframe production would/may go up?


Melting Arctic Ice May Usher in New Era of Geopolitical Conflict

Now there are a lot of barriers to developing the Arctic (including whether there are even any oil reserves worth developing) but since I'm already in a pretty bad mood today...

if this "frenzy" really goes forward as the article puts, I'm done. I'll put my hands up in despair and declare humanity to be locked into a genetically-inherited insane ignorance of systemic threats. There's no way for us to redo the neural wiring that's pushing us towards extraction, consumption and endless growth. Put less mildly, I'll bastardize a recent former President's un-apropos quote on 2008:

"This sucker [is] going down."

For real.

What is a job? What is work? What is labour? Where does energy and our future fit in here?

How far do you drive to work? (Gas? Infrastructure?) Where do you get your food/"work-energy"? (Shipping? Industrial agriculture?) What/Who benefits from your work? (Taxes? Profits? Corporate Bailouts? National debt?) What do you do or make at work and how does this affect you and your world? (Overseas disposal? Widgets that are useful and last?)

And so on.

Some quotes-for-thought:

"...the rat race is mistaken for productive work..."
~ Ivan Illich

"We live in an economy which takes 80% of our each new generation and educates that 80% to obey orders and to endure boredom, and stifles their creativity, and stifles their capacities, and curtails them. They're systematically crushed by a system which does what? Which fills slots, and 80% of the slots need people who just do rote tedious repetitive labour at least at work, and therefore are acclimated to doing that..."
~ Michael Albert

"Did you know that before the Industrial Revolution, the average person worked for about two or three hours a day? Studies from a wide range of pre-industrial civilizations show similar data-- it takes only about fifteen hours a week to provide for all of our basic human needs. And that's using hand tools."
~ Walden Effect (online)

"Using the data provided by the United State Bureau of Labor Statistics, Erik Rauch has estimated productivity to have increased by nearly 400%. Says, Rauch:
'… if productivity means anything at all, a worker should be able to earn the same standard of living as a 1950 worker in only 11 hours per week.'
...Since the 1960s, the consensus among researchers (anthropologists, historians, sociologists), has been that early hunter-gatherer societies enjoyed much more leisure time than is permitted by capitalist and agricultural societies..."
~ Wikipedia

"The important thing to understand about collapse is that it's brought on by overreach and overstretch, and people being zealots and trying too hard. It's not brought on by people being laid back and doing the absolute minimum. Americans could very easily feed themselves and clothe themselves and have a place to live, working maybe 100 days a year. You know, it's a rich country in terms of resources. There's really no reason to work more than maybe a third of your time. And that's sort of a standard pattern in the world. But if you want to build a huge empire and have endless economic growth, and have the largest number of billionaires on the planet, then you have to work over 40 hours a week all the time, and if you don't, then you're in danger of going bankrupt. So that's the predicament that people have ended up in. Now, the cure of course is not to do the same thing even harder... what people have to get used to is the idea that most things aren't worth doing anyway..."
~ Dmitry Orlov

"...they just took for granted that wage labour was virtually the same as slavery. They had no influence from European radicalism-- never heard of Marx, nothing of this-- it's just the ordinary assumptions of people who think reasonably about the world. Wage labour is illegitimate, it's like slavery... Northern workers in the American Civil War fought under that banner; that wage slavery is like chattel slavery. In fact it was even the position of the Republican Party. It was a fairly mainstream position. You've even got editorials in the NY Times about it, believe it or not. And they also took for granted that the industrial system is totally illegitimate. It's just a form of feudalism to which people are driven by essentially violence or starvation, and has to be overcome. Those who work in the mills should own them is taken for granted. The feudalistic industrial system was destroying their culture... These are understandings about the nature of freedom and domination that have been lost. So it's not pure progress. How far they've been lost is an interesting question. My suspicion is that they're right below the surface. And when the issues arise-- right now-- working people in the counterpart of the mills will recognize the relevance and accuracy of these, basically anarchist, positions..."
~ Noam Chomsky

"Here’s good advice for practice: go into partnership with nature; she does more than half the work and asks none of the fee."
~ Martin H. Fischer (1879-1962)

Agree 100%

Good to hear. The more who do, perhaps the more trouble we can dig ourselves out of.

early hunter-gatherer societies enjoyed much more leisure time than is permitted by capitalist and agricultural societies

That's because the more complexity a society requires/demands, i.e. the stuff we desire, electronics, transportation, fancy homes and appliances, the more labor involved in achieving and maintaining that level. A parallel could be drawn between a homeless person and a hunter/gatherer (although I'd prefer to be the latter). Neither one owns much but they also didn't have to put in much time either. The homeless person gathers from a complex society that produces excesses that can be retrieved from dumpster diving or from a few bucks gathered by pandhandling to trade for some processed or fast food.

Both have lots of leisure time, but to do what? Cave art? Once a few bison or antelope are painted, then what? There's always trade offs but people essentially become slaves to the things they insist on having. Didn't Brad Pitt say something like that in the movie Fight Club?

“Those cattle go to auction in Sun Valley and are sold on the open market,” said Ronald Tohannie, a project manager with the Navajo advocacy group Forgotten People. “Then people eat the meat.”

I guess the Navajo people are quite happy then the cattle is sold. The poisionous stuff will return to the people who came to their land and dug it up.

What does this say about

... actually knowing and/or coming face-to-face with who is putting food in our mouths/bodies and where that food is coming from and how it is being produced, etc....

Total gas leak: Elgin platform 'mud kill' plan to proceed

Emergency engineers have said plans to pump heavy mud into the pipeline leaking gas on board a North Sea platform can go ahead.

A team from operators Total flew out to inspect the leak on Thursday.

They said there was no "showstopper" for the "dynamic kill" plan to plug the Elgin platform well with mud.

Total has also released the first picture which shows the gas leaking from four points on a wellhead at the installation.

It comes as a Scottish government marine research vessel has set sail to carry out a four-day environmental assessment at the site.

The eight people from the Total team who boarded the Elgin on Thursday, 150 miles east of Aberdeen, included three workers who were familiar with the installation and five others from a company called Wild Well Control which specialises in capping wells.

The four hour inspection confirmed gas was leaking from the well head but not from underwater. Total said observations also suggested the gas leak rate may have decreased during the last few days.

They have hired BP's script writer.

Really nice, big picture of wellhead (download):

Elgin G4 well architecture:


Bigger drawing of well architecture (download):

Total's Media Center for the Elgin platform:

An opinion:

"...from the look of that picture, the wellhead has completely parted company with the hanger... those holes are probably where the tie down bolts used to be."


Trying to understand the opinion's words...


I think the first, top two "Frankenstein neck pins" are the tubing hanger tie down bolts. There would be two more in the other axis.

...probably better to listen to somebody who knows:

Yeah, what are we seeing ? My guess is that the wellhead has been pulled apart because of subsidence ???

About 2 years ago there were many discussions here on TOD about what oil price would cause a recession. Gail put together a great post that suggested 85 dollars a barrel was the break point - above which would cause a recession. Previous historical recessionary points in time were provided and the evidence seemed to support an 85 price, however the price of Brent is currently about 122 and WTI about 104. Oil price has fluctuated at those price levels for several months and yet no recession has ensued. In fact all arrows seem to point to an economy at least holding its own, if not on a slight incline of growth.

Obviously the oil price break point needs to be revisited to get a better idea of either why the current price has not caused a recession (yet), or what is a more realistic price break point.

I don't think the Recession stats are valid. I would check the shadowstats first.

Having said that we can note the longer the price stays in a stable range the more the economy can adjust. It's shocks that will derail the system.

Oil price is doing a dance between scarcity and the destruction of currency. The printing presses make the tipping point a moving target.

You make an intersting point hasbro. After placing my post above I may have answered my own question when I came across this article which shows the economy may be slowing down (in spite of MSM TV cheerleading).


'Job Gains in U.S. Trail Most-Pessimistic Forecasts: Economy'

The 120,000 increase in payrolls reported by the Labor Department in Washington today was the smallest in five months and less than the most pessimistic estimate in a Bloomberg report.

And to your point in particular regarding the printing press;

Tony Crescenzi, a strategist at Pacific Investment Management Co. in Newport Beach, California, said in a radio interview on "Bloomberg Surveillance" with Tom Keene and Ken Prewitt. "This is still not strong enough to create escape velocity, which is to say an economy strong enough to make it on its own without additional monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve."

After all this time since 08 for the US economy to still need stimulus of any kind, direct by borrowing it and handing it out, or by watering down the currency via monetization is a clear sign high oil prices are having a definite impact.

couldn't have put it better.


http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/M1?cid=25 This is M
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/MULT?cid=25 This is V

M ≠ Money Supply
Money supply = M*V

The printing presses are accelerating
The rate at which money circulates is decelerating
The net effect is nearly zero
Say what you want about the Fed creating inflation but they've barely staved off a deflationary cycle

Monetary theory/policy isn't as easy as everyone thinks. Most professional economists agree that the goal of monetary policy should be price stability but how does one define price stability when consumers purchase such a large variety of products at various times and at various prices? I present this (rhetorical) question to provide an argumentative framework: if central bankers were only concerned about the stability of the price of food and energy, what would be the result of such monetary policy on asset prices and wages? Given the current structural framework, there would be a very strong downward pressure on wages and asset prices. The real buying power of the consumer, which is ultimately determined by supply (don't forget we're on a finite planet), demand, and the structural configuration of the economy, would be unchanged from the situation in which energy and food prices were allowed to rise and asset prices were allowed to remain stable. The later scenario simply avoids the (real) transaction costs that are involved in broad based default.

Central bankers? How's that working out?

How about something egalitarian, and decoupled from the dysfunctional mainstream monetary system, like this instead? At the very least, the way things seem to be going, it seems like a great hedge.

Consider this short OWS video seminar too:
Reinvisioning Money, with Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics.

"Our mainstream money system is based on competition, selfishness, greed, individual gain, instead of cooperative values, altruism, good will... The mainstream money system [upheld by a questionable and complicated legal framework ~ my addition] destroys communities. It affects everything in our lives...

Outside the USA, there is a worldwide movement to replace the dysfunctional money system that exists-- all the individual national currencies.

One of the biggest hurdles is people's ignorance of how the mainstream money system works... Mainstream money is issued by banks, and those banks have an agenda... they're giving a public service in providing a medium of exchange which we all use-- we have to use-- but at the same time they have a for-profit agenda. And there's a contradiction there. In fact, if you think about it, the banks issuing money is anti-democratic...

If everybody knew the full facts about how money is issued, how it's put into circulation, who is issuing it, how they have power and control over the economy, and over individuals' lives, I think there'd be a lot of very unhappy people around."
~ Francis Ayley

"The nature to which people are able to be social, civilized, sympathetic is quite amazing and it's in contradiction to the nature of the money."
~ From the documentary, 'The Money Fix'

Incidentally, how is profit defined? What is it? Who profits, and what are the effects of this? What does one do with their profits? Invest in finite real estate/resources? Out from under whose feet?

The politicians...

...are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land... But I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking...
~ George Carlin

"Laws: We know what they are, and what they are worth! They are spider webs for the rich and mighty, steel chains for the poor and weak, fishing nets in the hands of the government."
~ Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Central bankers? How's that working out?

I have to ask, is the intention of this comment to simply dismiss my preceding comment, disagree with it, or provide a segway to a different line of commentary on the same subject? Comments like this strike me as ascribing a large portion of the world's problems to central banks.

How about something egalitarian, and decoupled from the dysfunctional mainstream monetary system, like this instead? At the very least, the way things seem to be going, it seems like a great hedge.

I'm not sure if you're aware of this but the only reason the dollar (euro, yen, etc) has any value at all is because that is the only currency acceptable for payment of Federal taxes. Local currencies would do well to convince their townships, counties.... if they're ambitious their states... to only accept payment for taxes in said local currency. Even though multiple currencies would raise transaction and informations costs for individuals (a no no if you're an economist) I could see the value of doing so simply to make the system more robust.

I looked through the Four Corner Exchange website a found this (my comments in itallics ):

It is issued by central Banks for private profit, not by the government or the people for the common good. There is a long and well documented history of governments directly controlling their money supply. It is never done for the common good but, rather, money is issued to promote the popularity of the current political regime. The result is always inflation.
The issuing of money is not under democratic control of the people. Not true. A democratic process indirectly led to the empowerment of the Federal Reserve. A democratic process can reverse that creation if it is the will of the people. Sadly, voter apathy in the U.S. makes this entirely theoretical
It is issued in scarcity, so there is never enough available to the people who need it most, or for essential community services, like education and health care. Yet there is always enough for war! it is issued in "scarcity" because goods and services are scarce (one of the definitions of economics: the study of choices made under the condition of scarcity). Academic and professional economists generally agree that price stability should be the ultimate goal of a monetary system thus the need to balance money supply (remember, M*V) against real gdp. As an aside, I have a slightly different view but it is far too complex for this setting.
The government unnecessarily pays interest on the loans it creates, hence we have taxes, when it could create all the money it needs, for the benefit of the people, without taxes. This goes to one's stance on private property. If you believe that the majority of property should be owned privately then you're going to have taxes proportional to the size of government. Again, governments with direct control over their money supply generally go down the path of hyper-corruption and hyper-inflation. Further, giving a central government an essentially unlimited budget with the prerogative that all they need to do increase prosperity is to "print" and "spend" is a recipe for disaster on so many levels.... unless, of course, you're naive enough to believe that humans are capable of some sort of a utopian, corruption-free, responsible, and well informed government. It's tough for me to say things like this because, within the current monetary regime, I take a Keynesian stance. Right now, I believe that the government should be running deficits and that the Federal Reserve should continue its program of asset purchases. I take this view, however, assuming everyone in the room is mature enough and well informed enough to understand that giving a government a blank check book is a recipe for disaster.
It creates worldwide poverty. Do tell, how so?
It interferes with 'Right Livelihood'. I don't know what this means
It separates, isolates and disempowers people. The monetary system is a tool. Just like a gun or a hammer. Specifically, the modern monetary system allows for specialization and trade. Specialization and trade has its downsides but it has also greatly advanced living standards.
It destroys communities. ... and it builds up others. This is the error of the seen and the unseen. Read some of Henry Hazlitt's work.
It gives great economic power to multinational corporations. No doubt. Corporations derive most of their power, however, from the legal frameworks they operate within.

There was also the usual "money as debt" video. There's a lot to debunk in that video. A fundamental premise of that video was that banks are essentially a one-way black hole for money (via interest payments). Two problems with this argument:
1. If this were true, banks would have literally bankrupted the rest of the economy a very long time ago.
2. Banks have costs. They have employees. They rent land. They have utility bills. They pay taxes. Through these channels most of the interest is re-injected into the economy. The cause of any "demand shock" can generally be traced to actors in an economy spending less than they make (assuming no money supply growth). This is the central tenant of Keynesian economics.

2 years ago, $85 a barrel probably was the right price to cause a recession. But BAU 2010 is not the same as BAU 2012. Sustained high prices are steadily ending those uses of oil that have the lowest marginal return on utility. Capital spending plans include mitigation projects. Old equipment is replaced with more efficient equipment sooner than was originally planned. Even normal maintenance spending is affected (the old motor that burned out is not just replaced with a like motor, but with an energy-efficient motor.)

Any one of these effects are small, but they add up. As Here-in-Halifax keeps pointing out, a few dozen light bulbs of savings times 365 times 24 makes a noticeable dent in the energy bill.

An extremely intelligent and spot-on comment, imvho.

hazbro is on it. If you track oil price since early 2009 it is closely following several other price actions such as the S&P 500.

I think this is evidence that the money printing is artificially inflating many things at similar rates. In an environment where oil price might be more depressed an expanding money supply is propping it up. While this may be bad for gas prices, it is necessary for other things such as raising asset prices and producing engineered stock market rallies. My view on this is that this is being done to produce a rosier economic outlook, despite the fact that the fundamentals are really quite bleak.

Coal mine is key to utility's 'green' goals

Coal bed methane is not renewable. It is fossil carbon that has escaped by digging into coal seams whether by tunnels, open pits or boreholes. Ideally it should be prevented from entering the atmosphere at all. OTOH bio carbon is 'in the loop' as CO2 from burning is re-absorbed by plants with no new additions to the amount of carbon above the soil layer.

If this 'renewable' methane gets a PTC, feed-in tariff or accreditation under a green certificate scheme it would be a serious mistake. This is not the first time this has happened
German Scientists Declare Coal Bed Methane a "Renewable Energy Source"

I think whether it is good or bad is contingent. If the methane would have reached the atmosphere, and thsi stops it, it is a big plus GHG wise, Heck even capturing it and flaring would be abig imporovment. I think the best use for old mines -especially coal, is as disposal sites for GHGes. I think coal can absorb decent quantities of CO2.

There is a tremendous post at Steve from Virginia's blog on the Euro. Highly recommended.


Are Seismicity Rate Changes in the Midcontinent Natural or Manmade? (abstract)

While the seismicity rate changes described here are almost certainly manmade, it remains to be determined how they are related to either changes in extraction methodologies or the rate of oil and gas production.

More here.

Shale Shocked: ‘Remarkable Increase’ In U.S. Earthquakes ‘Almost Certainly Manmade,’ USGS Scientists Report

I know quite a few folks are sold on tankless water heaters, but I'm not one of them. For anyone considering this option, the following GreenBuildingAdvisor article may be of interest.

Are Tankless Water Heaters a Waste of Money?
The energy savings you’ll get from a tankless water heater are usually too low to justify the high purchase price

Although tankless water heaters are, on average, more efficient than traditional tank-style water heaters, they’re also more expensive — so expensive, in fact, that many potential customers wonder whether their high cost can ever be justified by likely energy savings.

Before you can decide whether to buy a tankless water heater, you’ll need to know how much energy you’ll save. Can you trust the information provided by tankless water heater manufacturers — for example, the estimate from Rinnai’s online calculator that you’ll save $178 per year?

Before I get around to answering that question in detail, suffice it to say: probably not.

See: http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/are-tankless-wate...

Our electric water heater is plugged into a power monitor and between October 1st and today it has consumed a total of 708.5 kWh or an average of 3.75 kWh per day — that suggest an annual usage of some 1,370 kWh; in reality, it will be less than this because inlet temperatures are higher during the summer months and our DHW demand is somewhat lower because we wash fewer loads of laundry (less bulky items) and take slightly shorter and generally cooler showers.

We're a two person household, wash all of our laundry in hot water and keep our tank set at 75°C for legionella control; regrettably, we use far more hot water than we would otherwise because this feeds directly into this and if you don't draw enough hot water to offset the standby losses of this second tank, then you best be prepared for this when you take your next shower.


My primary residence is in FL and I have two tankless heaters (don't ask why). They're both outside the house and are both corroding badly. Rheem brand I believe. I probably need to replace them in the next year or two. When I do so, I need to have some of the plumbing in my house reconfigured (again). They don't save that much money. All in all it has been a disastrous experiment.

I guess the losses are proportional to the surface area.

There might be some other problems if water is heated only as used since they have to generate more heat while used. Power consumption might be a problem with tankless water heaters and the losses in the transmission lines will be higher since the losses are proportional to the square of the current. I guess the power company is not to happy with a lot intermittent high power loads controlled by relays. In average larger fuses will also be needed but that is also an opportunity for the electric grid companies to charge extra.

According to Stiebel, the minimum size suitable for our climate draws a full 24 kW (source: www.e-tankless.com/choose_heater.php) and that's a 100-amp load at 240-volts and our voltage routinely falls well below that. By comparison, our electric tank draws a maximum of 1.38 kW and, typically, closer to 1.25 kW, so an electric tankless unit would demand EIGHTY times more power when energized. I do everything I possibly can to flatten our load, e.g., the kettle and toaster never operate at the same time, and if the microwave happens to be in use then both wait their turn. These things are disgusting.


Had an issue with someone trying to turn 2 things on at the same time. Used 2 sockets with a 2 way switch.


Note: 1 socket would have quickly gained a multiway.

The OTHER type of tankless heater - a gas pilotless version - has a lot to support it.

It is the ideal companion to a solar water heater, as one virtue. Significant savings as the only water heater as well.


I have a gas-fired pilotless tankless water heater. It works extremely well and will run two showers at once (or a shower and the washing machine).

If I had a solar water heater (not likely in my location with two mountains and numerous trees blocking the sun), I could connect them and have the tankless heater boost the solar water to shower temperature, saving the energy required to get the water to whatever temperature the solar heater produced.

The tankless heater can be programmed to whatever temperature you want, and has a remote control, so we just program it to our favorite shower temperature and turn the hot valve on full blast, not bothering with the cold. The water heater controls the temperature to about a degree of accuracy, and if anybody flushes the toilet or turns on the washing machine, it doesn't affect the temperature at all.

The dishwasher needs a higher temperature, but it has its own water heating system, so it takes the shower-temperature water and boosts it to dish-washing temperature itself.

Here's hoping for a little divine intervention...

Bishops say Northern Gateway pipeline hearings must be fair

Anglican bishops in B.C. and the Yukon are calling on the Northern Gateway pipeline hearings to demonstrate integrity, fairness and freedom from political pressure.

Six bishops signed the statement issued on Good Friday.

They say comments by federal officials have raised concerns that the National Energy Board hearings may be subject to improper time constraints and industry influence.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2012/04/06/northern-gateway-bishop...

You already know how this film noir ends long before they roll the opening credits, and it ain't gonna be one of ye're happy ever afters.


615 dead dolphins found on Peru beaches; acoustic tests for oil to blame?

This is really sad.

The article says 3000 might be dead.

They were just in the way.

k - Obviously no way for me to know what killed or didn't kill the dolphins. But no area on the earth has had more seismic data acquired more than the Gulf of Mexico...easily a half million miles. Literally hundreds of millions of explosive (in the old days) and air gun (in more recent times) explosions. And I don't recall a report of a single mass death of marine mammals. But I'm sure some have been killed directly by the concussion. Along with any other fishes in the immediate proximity. Part of the process unfortunately but that's the trade off. One may agree or disagree with that value. Just as with the bird deaths attributed to windmills...a choice to be made.

Yes, having worked in the seismic industry, I have a problem with seismic killing that many dolphins.

Dolphins are pretty smart and will get out of the way of the seismic boats. They know the boats are coming because they fire their air guns every few seconds, and dolphins can swim much faster than the seismic boats move.

I think it's a false correlation: they start doing seismic, dolphins start dying. Most likely it's two unrelated events occurring at the same time. I think Peru has some kind of disease epidemic going through the dolphin population.


I admire you for caring for dolphins. They are amazing creatures.

what I love about this site is the consistently high level of thoughtful opinions.

I have recently changed my opinion. Without OIL (or something equivalent) lots and lots of sentient human beings will die of starvation (I have been convinced by Darwinian's arguments). If humans are starving than many more animals will die or go extinct.

I therefore applaud the work of the oil patch and petroleum geologists and petroleum engineers even if it means some animals (even humans) unfortunately have to die.

This is a flip/flop for me as I grew up to believe the oil men were bad. Boy was I wrong!! Even as I was/am a relentless consumer of their work....

Easy for me to say as I sip a beer on my couch...

It sounds like you are still in a all-or-nothing, black-or-white world.

Flipping from "oil man bad" to "oil man good" does not strike me as a great advance in wisdom or maturity.

We are faced with predicaments that don't have any good solutions.

Pumping more death-fuel to save more people is not really a wonderful solution.

But it is certainly true that there are not a lot of real 'solutions' ready at hand.

Nature will ultimately provide her own final solution.