Drumbeat: April 16, 2012

6 Scary Extreme Energy Sources Being Tapped to Fuel the Post Peak Oil Economy

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.”

Crude Drops for Second Day in New York After Iran Talks

Brent crude fell, extending last week’s drop, after the first international talks in 15 months on Iran’s nuclear program yielded an agreement for the parties to reconvene in May.

Futures slipped as much as 1.5 percent in London. The United Nations’ five permanent Security Council members plus Germany will meet Iranian delegates in Baghdad on May 23 after “constructive” talks in Istanbul on April 14, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said yesterday. Oil rose this year amid concern that tension with Iran may disrupt global supply.

U.S. economy in better shape to handle high gas prices: Geithner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy is in a better position to deal with high gasoline prices, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Sunday, adding that unseasonably warm winter had lowered overall energy costs for consumers.

"The economy is in a much better position to deal with those pressures ... because natural gas prices are down, the overall cost of energy for consumers is down," Geithner said on ABC's "This Week" program.

Retail Sales in U.S. Increased More Than Forecast in March

Retail sales in the U.S. rose more than forecast in March, showing consumers are weathering the jump in gasoline prices heading into the second quarter.

The 0.8 percent gain was almost three times as large as projected and followed a 1 percent advance in February, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a rise of 0.3 percent. Eleven of 13 categories showed increases.

U.S. Gas Price Redux

It is truly amazing how much can change in four years. Or, more accurately, how little things change in terms of human behavior. Four years ago the US was mired in the last spike in gasoline prices heading into the summer. Virtually every media outlet was conducting daily interviews, polls, and newsbytes about how Mr. and Mrs. Average were dealing with the high gas prices. Today, we have a new norm, and the wires are rather silent on the high gas prices other than quietly reporting the national averages. We as a country have come to be comfortable with $3.50 gas. Gas is one of those strange commodities too because, unlike so many other things, almost everyone has a pretty good idea of the price they paid for their last tankful.

Oil refining capacity to rise 43% a year by March 2017

India's oil refining capacity will rise by more than 43% to 310 million tonne a year by March 2017 from current 216 million tonne, Oil Secretary GC Chaturvedi said today.

Argentina’s Government Postpones YPF Takeover, La Nacion Says

The government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will wait until she returns from the Summit of the Americas to make an announcement and will negotiate with the parties involved, the Buenos Aires-based newspaper said, citing unidentified people within the government.

Spain's Repsol urges talks in Argentina YPF oil tension

The head of Spanish oil giant, Repsol, has urged the Argentine government to enter a dialogue amid reports that its YPF subsidiary could be nationalised.

"The only way is to talk and talk," said Antonio Brufau, who has been in Argentina since last week.

Chevron plans to ship more Forties crude to South Korea

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil producer Chevron (NYSE:CVX - News) plans to move a cargo of Forties crude to South Korea, its second in two weeks, as ample supply depressed spot differentials of the European benchmark grade, trade and shipping sources said on Monday.

The move will drain excess crude supply in Europe and meet robust demand from South Korean refiners.

Exxon, Rosneft to sign strategic deal - sources

(Reuters) - Russian state oil firm Rosneft (ROSN.MM) and U.S. Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) will sign a wide-ranging strategic partnership on Monday at Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's residence, sources familiar with the matter said.

Libyan oil exports to total 1.29 million bpd in May

(Reuters) - Libyan crude oil exports are expected to amount to 40 million barrels in May, or 1.29 million barrels per day (bpd), a senior official at Libya's state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC)said on Monday.

NOC plans to sell 30 million barrels, while firms that receive oil for investing in Libyan production are expected to take 10 million barrels.

Iraq's southern oil exports surge in April

LONDON, April 16 (Reuters) - Iraq's oil exports from its southern ports have jumped by 190,000 barrels per day (bpd) in April, according to shipping data tracked by Reuters, a sign shipments are heading for another post-war record.

Exports from the Basra oil terminal, Khor al-Amaya, and a new Gulf outlet have averaged 2.11 million bpd in the first 16 days of April, the data showed. Iraq said its southern exports averaged 1.92 million bpd last month.

Azerbaijan-Russia Natural Gas Pipeline Hit by Explosion, Fire

An explosion hit the Mozdok- Gazimagomed pipeline carrying natural gas from Azerbaijan to southern Russia, causing a fire.

The blast late yesterday in Azerbaijan’s Shamakhi District section of the pipeline resulted from a gas leak, the state gas distribution company, Azariqaz, said on its website. No casualties were reported, and the fire has been extinguished, the company said.

Hedge Funds Cut Commodity Bets on Slowing China Growth

Speculators cut bullish wagers on commodities by the most in 2012 on mounting concern that the slowest Chinese growth in almost three years will curb gains in demand for everything from copper to cotton.

12 Predictions by Michael Pettis on China; Non-Food Commodity Prices Will Collapse Over Next Three to Four Years; Nails in the Hard Landing Coffin?

For years the mantra has been buy what China needs (commodities), sell what China produces.

That strategy worked for a long time but that time is up or soon will be. The implication are far from pleasant for the currencies of commodity producers like Australia and Canada.

When Does This Travesty of a Mockery of a Sham Finally End?

All this surplus energy in North America sounds wonderful, but that doesn't mean the world as a whole has escaped Peak Oil. Even if these projections turn out to be accurate, that expansion of production will not replace the loss of production as supergiant fields in Mexico, the North Sea and the Mideast enter the depletion phase. Yes, technology can extract more oil, but technology is costly. The days of cheap natural gas may have arrived, but the days of cheap oil are numbered.

How all this plays out is unknown, but even raising U.S. production by 10 million barrels of oil equivalents a day--quite a challenge in the real world despite the easy-to-pen hype-- might not be enough to maintain current production levels. Since several billion more people desire the U.S.-type lifestyle of energy profligacy, then what are the consequences of the mismatch between global demand and supply?

U.S. Can Help Iraq Help Itself to Stay on Democratic Path

Iraq is on a path leading away from the reasonably democratic model the U.S. hoped to leave behind. President Nouri al-Maliki is on a power trip. More broadly, his government is pushing laws that would constrain freedoms fundamental to a democracy.

Maliki, a Shiite, has gone after leading Sunni politicians, most notably issuing an arrest warrant, on what seem to be trumped-up murder charges, for Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, now a fugitive. In response, Hashimi’s Sunni-dominated party, a part of the governing coalition, refuses to participate in the Cabinet.

Iran Nuclear Talks Face Challenges Heading to May Meeting

Diplomats face a battle against time and precedent as they look toward the next round of talks with Iran on its nuclear program.

The negotiators broke a 15-month stalemate after 10 hours of “constructive” talks in Istanbul on April 14 and agreed to reconvene in Baghdad May 23. Squeezed by U.S. and European Union sanctions, as well as Israeli and American talk of a military strike to prevent it from acquiring atomic weapons, Iran dropped upfront demands and the talks focused almost exclusively on its nuclear program, according to two Western diplomats involved in the negotiations.

Cheniere to raise up to $4 billion in debt for Louisiana plant

(Reuters) - Cheniere Energy Partners LP (CQP.A) said it has engaged eight financial institutions to raise up to $4 billion in debt to help finance the construction of a gas-liquefaction plant for export markets.

LNG developer Cheniere will use the investment to build its first export plant in Sabine Pass, Louisiana.

Exxon's big bet on shale gas

America's most profitable company now produces about as much natural gas as it does oil. CEO Rex Tillerson thinks the fracking party has just begun.

Calls to ban new fossil fuel projects

As Victoria faces a wave of exploration licences for coal seam gas (CSG), coal, and tight gas, there is growing opposition to this industry. “Community groups have formed across the ‘coal belt’ of southern Victoria, from the Otways to Wonthaggi to Toongabbie” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker. “Clearly local farmers and residents do not want to see their lands and water sacrificed for short term fossil fuel development.”

Let's Build That Pipeline

The days when your mater and pater gave you your first 100,000 shares of a company, and you held on to that stock for the rest of your life and uttered a hearty "huzzah!" when the dividends would roll in, are long gone. Which is why we billionaires in the petrochemical industry, as we reach Peak Oil, when offered the choice between securing the long-term well-being of our companies by making the agonizing shift to renewable energy sources, or embarking on a mad, hungry dash for every last barrel of oil that can be squeezed out of the most remote and inaccessible ends of the planet, it was a no-brainer: We're putting our chips on the Alberta tar sands, baby!

Chart of the day: Fracking up the landscape

This chart shows the daily production of natural gas in five states, and the Gulf of Mexico (Federal GOM). Apart from Louisiana and Texas, almost all of the increase in production has come from states which were not previously major gas producers, as the practice of fracking has opened up new reserves.

More on the Link Between Earthquakes and Fracking

Scientists from the United States Geological Survey have cautiously weighed in on a subject that has sparked public concern in some parts of the country: spates of small earthquakes in oil- and gas-producing areas.

In a report to be presented next week at a meeting of seismologists in San Diego, the scientists say that increases in the number of quakes in Arkansas and Oklahoma in the last few years are “almost certainly” related to oil and gas production. But in a summary of the report, they say they do not know if seismic activity is increasing because companies are taking more oil and gas from underground or because of “changes in extraction methodologies.”

Inupiat tribal leader wins prize for opposing offshore drilling

Caroline Cannon's lifelong connection to the Arctic Ocean pushed her to become one of the state's most vocal opponents of offshore oil drilling.

Now, just as Shell Oil is poised to drill exploration wells off Alaska's northern coast, her advocacy has won her a coveted environmental award.

Edano May Visit Fukui With Message Japan Reactors Safe

Japan’s point man on nuclear energy visited regional officials this weekend to say reactors are safe to operate, less than three weeks before the nation’s sole nuclear plant still running closes for maintenance.

Industry Minister Yukio Edano doesn’t need local approval to restart two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Ohi plant, about 95 kilometers (59 miles) northeast of Osaka. With Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and two other Cabinet officials he can approve operation of the plant.

New underwater images show damage at Fukushima

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has released dramatic images taken by an underwater camera showing major damage at a spent fuel storage pool at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Photos show a 35-tonne crane, set to straddle over the pool, which may have dropped due to a hydrogen explosion three days after the tsunami and earthquake on March 11 last year, TEPCO said when it released the images on Friday.

Japan Utilities Use Record LNG in 2011 on Idle Reactors

Japanese power providers said they used record amounts of liquefied natural gas last year to replace nuclear generation.

Japan’s 10 regional power utilities burned 52.9 million metric tons of LNG in the fiscal year ended in March, up 27 percent from the prior year, according to data today from the Federation of Electric Power Companies.

Plan to Track Quake Threat Is Questioned

A hulking research vessel would haul air guns, echo sounders and other instruments along the California coast day and night for several months as part of a proposed $64 million effort to map seismic fault lines near the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

The surveys, proposed by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, could produce a precise three-dimensional map of the fault lines, helping the utility estimate the location and magnitude of potential earthquakes. But the maps would do little to reveal the likelihood of a rupture, experts said, because the proposed surveys will not measure the speeds at which underlying tectonic plates are slipping past each other.

Growth Prospects for Uranium Stir Concerns

Company officials hope that the Hobson plant will increase its yellowcake production, now at 200,000 to 250,000 pounds per year, far below the plant’s capacity. Uranium has been mined in Texas for decades, but companies see a potential hike in demand for their product. They are ramping up for a new push, despite concerns from environmental groups that past operations have not been sufficiently cleaned up and pose a threat to aquifers that people drink from.

Christie-Lautenberg grudge spoils NJ-NY tunnel project

A year and a half ago, work was under way on two new commuter railroad tunnels under the Hudson River connecting New Jersey and New York City, with a scheduled completion date of 2018. Then Gov. Chris Christie pulled the plug, claiming that his state couldn’t afford its share of the costs.

Last week, the federal Government Accountability Office issued a report reviewing that decision. Its summary of the benefits that were lost makes painful reading.

The long road home: super commuters on the rise

Beseda, 37, who has managed to keep this schedule for 10 years, is one of a growing number of “super commuters”-- people who travel about 100 miles each way to work.

He grew up in Fayetteville, Texas, halfway between Austin and Houston, then moved to Houston to be closer to his job. But after just a year and a half in the big city, he moved back to the much smaller Fayetteville community (population: 258) to start and raise a family. On the weekends, Beseda, his wife, and their four kids go fishing in a pond near their home and on Sundays, the whole family –- cousins, aunts and uncles who also live in town -- have a big dinner together. It’s a family tradition, Beseda said, and that means more to him than living closer to his place of employment.

What’s Your Walk Score?

Tregoning envisions Walk Score as a kind of divining rod for developers and officials, a tool that could help them spot opportunities in places that are about to “tip” into walkable urbanism. Tysons Corner, Va., is an archetypal “Edge City,” one of those centerless clusters of office parks and corporate headquarters located a few highway exits away from a major metropolis (in this case, Washington, D.C.). Tysons Corner has, says Tregoning, a “pretty good Walk Score, but it’s anything but walkable.” People in Tysons have been known to drive across the street for lunch. “But it’s not a bad indication that there’s already enough stuff that if you were to overlay a more urban pattern of development, that you would have a lot of the destinations that people would need a daily basis.”

Learning To Walk

The plight of life on foot in America was nowhere more poignantly expressed than in the conviction, just last year, of a Georgia woman for vehicular manslaughter. What brought the case to national prominence was a single, Kafka-esque detail: She was not driving.

What happened? Raquel Nelson, having just disembarked from a bus across from her apartment complex, was crossing busy Austell Road with her four children when a driver—who admitted to having consumed a “little alcohol,” was on prescription painkillers, and is partially blind in one eye, and who already had two hit-and-run charges on his record, but a very active driver’s license—struck the group, killing her 4-year-old son.

The Magical Decline Of Crude Oil Demand

People who like conspiracy theory are well served by the Oil Establishment's ceaseless quest to present world oil supply as sufficient if not 'abundant', denying the evidence of Peak Oil, and accessorily keeping a lid on oil prices. BP, like most of the downsized family of private, nonOPEC, non Emerging country national oil companies, and the energy agencies of the major oil consuming countries spins magical theories purporting to show that oil demand is "withering away". The clan of oil majors once called the Seven Sisters, but today better called the 5 Anxious Dwarfs in oil production terms because all of them are making the Gas Shift away from oil, claims that global oil demand "will shrink to nothing". To be sure, the 5 Dwarfs now control only 12% of world oil production capacity, even if their profits remain impressive, so they like to pretend they dont need Black Stuff anymore.

Like other Anxious Dwarfs, BP massages the numbers to show that world oil supply is holding up, while oil demand is naturally fading away, preparing the mega shift away from oil to gas, and making it 'unlikely' oil prices can hit the peaks of 2008.

Time to shed global investments?

Recessions, currency problems, wars, famines, poverty, disease, peak oil, extreme storms and natural disasters. Is the world getting worse and the time coming to divest from traditional global investments?

Matt Ridley's new book "The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves" may help with your long-term perspective.

Food miles a bit of a myth: CSIRO

TWO brands of olive oil, one from Australia, the other shipped 16,000 kilometres from Italy, sit on a supermarket shelf.

Most eco-friendly shoppers would reach for the Australian oil. But despite burning less fossil fuel to get here, it may not be better for the planet.

Contrary to popular belief, ''food miles'', or the distance food has travelled before we buy it, is a poor indicator of our food's total greenhouse gas emissions, or ''carbon footprint''.

More important is the way our food is farmed and produced, and how far we drive to buy it.

The Myth of Sustainable Meat

The last decade has seen an exciting surge in grass-fed, free-range, cage-free and pastured options. These alternatives typically come from small organic farms, which practice more humane methods of production. They appeal to consumers not only because they reject the industrial model, but because they appear to be more in tune with natural processes.

For all the strengths of these alternatives, however, they’re ultimately a poor substitute for industrial production. Although these smaller systems appear to be environmentally sustainable, considerable evidence suggests otherwise.

Trailblazers on Masdar's frontier

A trailer on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi is named SAF-1, short for "sustainable administrative facility". Its amenities include air conditioning, a parking lot and proximity to a Caribou Coffee, the only one in this stretch of desert near Abu Dhabi International Airport.

It is also the home to a cluster of optimistic entrepreneurs who want to help create the Silicon Valley of the Middle East.

EU’s ‘Recession-Busting’ Wind Industry Set to Triple in Value

The European Union’s “recession- busting” wind power industry is forecast to triple in value as its labor force doubles in the 10 years through 2020, the European Wind Energy Association said.

The contribution of the wind industry to the economy of the 27-nation EU will rise to 94.5 billion euros ($123 billion) in 2020 from 32.4 billion euros in 2010, the lobby group, known as EWEA, said today in a report published in Copenhagen at the start of its annual conference. Jobs supported by the industry will jump to 520,000 from 238,154, it said.

Clean coal plant as important to Dubai as its landmarks

Dubai has become known worldwide for its ambitious projects - the tallest, largest, longest, most expensive or prestigious. Its latest venture matches all those superlatives - but is being adopted more from necessity than pride.

The global happiness derby

Well, if economic growth doesn’t make people happier, what’s the point? The happiness movement is often anti-growth. Yes, the poorest countries need growth to relieve misery. But otherwise, “the lifestyles of the rich imperil the survival of the poor,” writes Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs in the happiness report. “Climate change is already hitting the poorest regions.”

This sounds reasonable but isn’t. There are two flaws. First, the Easterlin Paradox may be untrue. A recent study by economists Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson of the University of Pennsylvania found that higher economic growth does raise happiness in most countries. Second, even if the Easterlin Paradox survives (economists are quarreling), growth is essential to maintaining existing happiness.

Nigeria Tested by Rapid Rise in Population

LAGOS, Nigeria — In a quarter-century, at the rate Nigeria is growing, 300 million people — a population about as big as that of the present-day United States — will live in a country the size of Arizona and New Mexico. In this commercial hub, where the area’s population has by some estimates nearly doubled over 15 years to 21 million, living standards for many are falling.

Lifelong residents like Peju Taofika and her three granddaughters inhabit a room in a typical apartment block known as a “Face Me, Face You” because whole families squeeze into 7-by-11-foot rooms along a narrow corridor. Up to 50 people share a kitchen, toilet and sink — though the pipes in the neighborhood often no longer carry water.

At Alapere Primary School, more than 100 students cram into most classrooms, two to a desk.

As graduates pour out of high schools and universities, Nigeria’s unemployment rate is nearly 50 percent for people in urban areas ages 15 to 24 — driving crime and discontent.

The growing upper-middle class also feels the squeeze, as commutes from even nearby suburbs can run two to three hours.

Can Supply-Side Economics Solve Global Pollution Problems?

“In my analysis, I show that by letting coalition countries buy extraction rights in third countries – and preserve rather than exploit the fuel deposits – climate coalitions can circumvent the traditional problems of a demand-side policy, the most intuitive benefit from this policy is that emission is reduced if one buys and conserves deposits. Furthermore, the coalition finds it cheapest to buy the marginal deposits (ie, deposits that are not very profitable to exploit, but still quite polluting when consumed).”

By targeting cheaper marginal deposits that are difficult to extract, and which require the most extreme and destructive mining and drilling techniques, costs of buying reserves are kept down and benefit is multiplied. Not only is the fuel kept out of the market, strip-mining and other high-energy and high-emission extraction is avoided. World prices are equalized and third world countries are encouraged to invest in renewable energy, effecting social change as well as environmental progress. In effect the countries that are not participating in the climate coalition become part of the larger effort.

Can natural gas help stop global warming?

America’s abundant supplies of unconventional gas have the potential to be a rich economic and environmental blessing. New extraction techniques — hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” — make the country’s vast reserves accessible at low cost. The fact that burning natural gas produces about half the carbon emissions as coal means the fuel could be an attractive, affordable alternative, giving lower-carbon energy options more time to become less expensive.

But extracting and transporting all that natural gas, which is mostly methane, also results in fuel leaks. When methane leaks, it has a shorter-lived but much stronger global warming effect as the carbon dioxide released when the same amount of methane is burned. Particularly on relatively short time frames of 10 or 20 years, too much methane leakage can make the fuel less attractive than even dirty old coal, some critics warn.

No need to wait for the clean air dividend

WHAT if there was a way to simultaneously slow down climate change, save millions of lives, improve crop yields and contribute to sustainable development and energy security? It sounds too good to be true, but it is possible. It won't be free or easy, but with some effort and moderate investment, it can be done.

As Arctic ice cap melts, a new Cold War

(AP) YOKOSUKA, Japan - To the world's military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over. They are preparing for a new kind of Cold War in the Arctic, anticipating that rising temperatures there will open up a treasure trove of resources, long-dreamed-of sea lanes and a slew of potential conflicts.

By Arctic standards, the region is already buzzing with military activity, and experts believe that will increase significantly in the years ahead.


Pro-oil outside groups spend more than $16 million on energy attack ads since January

A handful of outside groups, fueled by oil and coal dollars, are committing tens of millions to propel Big Oil to the forefront of the 2012 elections — outspending the Obama campaign on political energy ads by an overwhelming amount.

That story was in Saturday's Drumbeat. It is a non-story, if not Obama PR designed to scare the base into staying brain-dead. It assumes there's some deep contrast between Obama and the "pro-oil" advertisers. ROFL.

Right this is true. Obama's pretty much a nonentity, he just latches on to whatever happens to be the trend and then follows it. He's not a leader.

There's probably not much to do about our difficulties, anyway. But Obama could have given a better go. He could have seriously tried to unwind the wars fast. He could have pushed for broadened public health care and genuine reform. He could have pushed for the nationalization and clean up of the toxic big banks. He could have been a major advocate for rail.

And if he did, even if he failed he would have the leverage to use against the corporate snakes from the opposing side.

But, I see Obama's failure in the context of general societal wide American failure. This is starting to smell like the late 70s again, except ten times worse.

I do appreciate much of what you contribute on a continuing basis, but.
If You were me, you would try to keep this type of commentary to yourself. What you say gives the appearance of being all opinion. Then, again, I am not sure I understand your substantive point.

If You were me, you would try to keep this type of commentary to yourself.

It seems a bit peculiar that you would set out to force censorship on other posters, on the grounds that their views are their opinions. I would think 75% of the content here is opinion, although often backed up with good numbers, research, and sources, or experience. But nevertheless, still from a certain personal perspective.

Why do you wish to censor opinions on an Internet forum anyway? And besides ... I think it can be demonstrated fairly easily that President Obama has been a huge disappointment, in many ways that Democrats and liberals were hoping he would not be. It might be because he is actually very conservative, or because political numbers in Washington made major reforms impossible, or perhaps he is just not up to the job.

The reasons don't matter much ... he has not delivered. There - that's all opinion by me.

TJC is clearly not trying to force censorship on anyone. All discussion groups have discussions on what is and what is not worth discussing. The moderators here, for example, have urged people not to argue about religion as it is not particularly relevant to this forum and isn't going to lead anywhere. They have at time corralled climate change debates for the latter reason.

I don't particularly want to tell people what to say, but am sympathetic to TJC. What is the point of the endless Obama whining? Where is it going to lead? What does it really have to do with TOD (compared to the two topics above).

In my view the original comments by Oilman Sachs are no different then thousands of comments made here and everywhere else. There is nothing in it that links it to TOD at all. You could cut and paste into just about any blog in the world and it would be no more or no less relevant.In fact, they are analogous to the religion discussion. They add no value, will convince no one of anything, and don't move the discussion forward.

I would urge you to stop trying to force censorship on TJC, but that could go on forever. But if I were a moderator, I would prune the US politics discussions.

I don't particularly want to tell people what to say, but am sympathetic to TJC. What is the point of the endless Obama whining? Where is it going to lead? What does it really have to do with TOD (compared to the two topics above).

Every single thing about Peak Oil and Global Warming is political - in fact it is nothing but political. Discussion here about the political processes and the wielding of power in Washington (and many other places) are central to every debate that there is to have here.

And I disagree that TJC was not trying to impose censorship - his comment said it all.

But if I were a moderator, I would prune the US politics discussions.

We do. During the height of the BP oil spill coverage, we were removing hundreds of posts a day, mostly for being political attacks/rants. I remove political rants quite frequently, though not at that rate.

While we can't ban all political discussion, since politics will very much be part of how we deal with peak oil, an awful lot of political comments aren't particularly interesting or useful. It's an election year, which means there's going to be a whole lot of political talk, but please, folks...try to avoid knee-jerk comments that, as Jack says, could be cut and pasted from any blog in the world. Think before you post. Does your comment improve on silence? Is it worth shoving other comments further down the page? Is it the kind of thing you come here to read? If not, don't post it.

Also, there is some community moderation here. Use the flag button. If enough people agree with you that the comment doesn't add anything, it will disappear.

I did completely stop bringing up religion, and any issues that I may have with it, after you presented me with a similar argument several years ago.

I think "Does your comment improve on silence?" is the right criteria. I also still enjoy the Drumbeat after all these years and think you and other moderators are doing a great job.


Yeah. He really is mostly a triangulator. At least he's pushed aggressive fuel economy rules, I can't imagine we would have got that under an R -most probably they will be overturned if they get in. So at least we are slowly staggering in the right direction, which means the transition won't be quite worst case. So our choice is quarter hearted O, or R who will whole heartedly run in the wrong direction.

The 'back story' to Crossroads GPS [Grassroots Political Strategies] group ...

Karl Rove Group That Absurdly Blames Obama For Rising Gas Prices Was Bankrolled By Top Oil Speculator

... Crossroads GPS, a political organization run by strategist Karl Rove, has spent $1.7 million on a new national ad campaign blaming President Obama for making gasoline cost “too much.” But the organization has in the past received substantial funding from Paul Singer, manager of a hedge fund responsible for some of the highest volume of oil trading in the country

Secretive 'Grassroots' political group -- vehicle for the very rich

The non-profit, Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategies, is a vehicle by which America's super-rich can carpet-bomb campaigns with money while leaving no footprints.

Crossroads GPS and its partner, American Crossroads, which does disclose its donors, are the handiwork of Bush political brain (and Fox News pundit) Karl Rove and ex-Republican National Chairman Ed Gillespie. A former U.S. Chamber of Commerce honcho runs the operation.

Still, lies sell -- when millions of dollars get spent repeating them. The millions of dollars "invested" in politics save millions and billions more for the plutocrats who put them on the air.

and Rove Super PAC Hits Obama Over Coal

also heavily funded by the Koch Brothers

Yup, "grass roots" is the new advertising.

A emergent term for fake "grass-roots" is -astroturf-.

Appropriately, made from petroleum products :-)


Chart Of The Day: Wind Power Helps Drive Strong Increase In U.S. Renewable Electricity Generation

As policy makers in Washington ignore the urgent need to extend federal tax credits for wind, there’s some new data for them to consider. Over the last decade, the number of states generating more than 10% of electricity from non-hydro renewable energy has increased from two to nine.

The main driver?



‘The Only Ethical Path Is To Stop Using The Atmosphere As A Waste Dump For Greenhouse Gas Pollution’

We are converting the climate of our planet to one that is similar to the hothouse climates that existed on this planet when dinosaurs were the top predators. To a first approximation, if we emit greenhouse gases half as rapidly as we do today, we will wind up in the same place but it will take us twice as long to get there.

Economists estimate that it might cost something like 2% of our GDP to convert our energy system into one that does not use the atmosphere as a waste dump. When we burn fossil fuels and release the CO2 into the atmosphere, we are saying “I am willing to impose tremendous climate risk on future generations living throughout the world, so that I personally can be 2% richer today.” I believe this to be fundamentally immoral.

Here is a good video on the recent climate chaos:


Be sure to watch the second section, too. It really explains the connection between the melting of the Arctic sea ice and the persistent blocking patterns and big loops in the jet stream that have caused much of the bizarre weather in the Northern Hemisphere recently.

The chickens have come home to roost.

I suspect that with amplified and more persistent blocks we are setting ourselves up for more long lived and possibly life threatening air stagnation events.

Like! The information, that is. The general production is typical of web-videos; a bit silly, so will never be taken seriously by my fellow Joes and Janes.

A question: Do climate scientists discuss amongst themselves (at the very least) PO and Limits to Growth? If so, might there be a link or two to a general concensus?

Cheers, Matt

I dunno if we have any real climate scientists. I occasionaly participate on RealClimate, but that is purely as an amateur/civilian. There has been some disagreement between PO and them. Many POers think the emission scenarios are unrealstic (we'll run out of fossil fuels). But, there is a lot of low grade dirty expensive FF available, so I suspect the climate scientists are right.

I do really appreciate the feelings of the climate folks to downplay the costs of transitioning from the current smog-belch model to the happy-times-to-come version of bike riding in the rain.

Economists estimate that it might cost something like 2% of our GDP to convert our energy system into another that does not use the atmosphere as a waste dump.

Whatever any economist says must be taken with a healthy dose of Pepto-Bismol because they a) are wrong most of the time and b) wrong the rest of the time. There is no group of well-intended professionals who are consistently incorrect for more reasons for a longer period than economists.

The professional duty of the economist is to convince his clients that two plus two equals twenty-two.

Converting to a new economic model is well underway and can be seen in its effects in Greece right now. There is certainly more than the 2% GDP cost and before the model is through with Greece its GDP will likely be 2% of what it is now. Following Greece is Spain the economy of which is collapsing due to capital waste that does not pay for itself.

The dynamic that reduces fossil fuel use and carbon emissions is national bankruptcy which crushes demand by force majeur. The people in these countries have little or no inexpensive domestic fuel supplies (relative to demand), no organic credit, cannot borrow externally and have nothing to trade for fuel. They have stripped themselves out and have been stripped out by others.

These countries also cannot afford cars which will vanish except for a few wired-together jalopies ... as are seen today on the streets of Havana and in other third-world countries.

Other economies on the chopping block for the same reason include the entire/rest-of EU, Japan, China, Brazil, the United States, Canada and Australia.

It is not enough that the world's developed nations and their would-be imitators have virtually destroyed the life-support system on this our only space ship but to add insult to injury the same entities have all indebted us all to the finance industry to the tune of hundreds of trillion$ of US dollars-equivalent afford the privilege.

It is the high real price of fuel added to the high cost of credit that is the cost of transition: it is also the bankrupting agent. The real cost to eliminate fossil fuel 'addiction' is the worth of all credit stripped out from our assets and our economy. The entire world is underwater financially.

2% of GDP. The Moon is made of cheese and demand for crude is shrinking. Good grief!

I was thinking of what good walking and bicycling infrastructure looks like, and it came to me that covered streets might be a good idea, and possibly feasible with most streets not needing to be as wide as with cars to carry bike and pedestrian traffic. But as you say, that is pretty much moot when the way it's going down is the economy crashes and everyone gets poor.

Matt Mushalik in Australia asked me to post links to a couple of his recent posts:

Fry and Fly – the new era of sustainable aviation regarding developing an aviation fuel from used McDonald's cooking oil.

Also, a Mushalik post linking to a recent Daniel Yergin talk: Australian ABC TV falls into oil and climate trap of unconventional oil

I, of course, continue to put up posts on Our Finite World. One that has been very popular, that I didn't submit to TOD is

True Sustainability Solutions

Another that may be of interest to those who are concerned about natural gas is

Why are natural gas prices so low? Are changes needed?

Thanks for your link to "True Sustainability Solutions"

I think we need to start that conversation to have a clear idea of where we have to go, even if we end up deciding we can achieve a slightly more complex level and still be sustainable. It sounds like you were discussing a non-metal society, but then you came up with solar cookers. Can these be made without metals or glass? In the past you have placed any such devices into the category of 'ff extenders' rather than true alternatives. Have you changed your mind on that?

Probably solar cookers we already have, or can make from reused materials. Otherwise, I agree, they are pretty much out.

Fry and Fly – the new era of sustainable aviation regarding developing an aviation fuel from used McDonald's cooking oil.

Let's see if I git this right?

Unsustainable agriculture produces corn, that feeds livestock, that are also raised using unsustainable practices, from which we get the products that are sold in fast food drive through restaurants catering to people who live completely unsustainable lifestyles... and this chain of events will produce sustainable aviation fuel?!


And the EROEI of this sustainable fuel is what exactly?

I hope you linked to the article, it was equally skeptical.

I WAS impressed that the production of fryer oil was detectable on the same scale as aviation fuel consumption. I expected it to be 4 or 5 magnitudes less, not 2 or 3 magnitudes.

I love the future idea of saving your 1000 McDonalds receipts to allow you to buy a ticket, then being charged a surcharge for being obese.

Yeah, I still have no idea how the Onion manages to stay afloat...

Thanks, Gail. It's helpful when we stop treating 'sustainable' as an absolute. A well built solar oven that can be passed down for generations is far more sustainable than an electric oven that gets replaced every ten years. A passive solar home which uses very few energy inputs other than the sun and wind, and is worthy of being lived in for many generations, is similarly sustainable versus an overbuilt suburban showcase McMansion. No one will ever move out of my house because it has become too expensive to maintain/power. A friend's grandson is riding the same bike, a Raliegh Record, that my friend rode in college; still a great bike. I've walked bridges in Europe that have been useful for over two thousand years with minimal maintenance. Examples are everywhere of 'more sustainable' as long as there isn't a requirement for debt, profit and growth.

Growth is the sustainability killer.

Another example..

My mother in law is visiting, and was teaching my daughter about quilting, using my Mom's kinda nice Husqvarna Viking Sewing Machine.. and she was timid about judging it, since she is still 'just using the one she got some 48 years ago'.

Regarding Solar Ovens,
I'm hoping to do some Solar Baking with my daughter's 3rd grade class by the end of the school year, and I just came up with the Oven-Box solution, I think.. It will be in the Typical Cast Metal BBQ Grill on a frame, left in my yard by some previous tenants.. soon to be Enclosed in a Heavy External Insulation Layer, but open at the Bottom-rear through a Glass Pane, the Metal casing being hit by a bank of cast-off Full-length Mirrors. The great thing if this works out, is that the rig is already at a Cooking Height, and all set up for cooking, even has a Thermometer still in it.., as well as being built from Outdoor Materials, and on a rolling frame for Deployment and Storing, etc.. The Mirror Bank will fold into a rolling cart that will be easy to move and pack away as well. Anyway, almost everything is made from materials that are in great abundance around us (for the time being).. they ought to have a much longer life in this application than their former jobs.

(The Exercise-bike Tool-Table has now sanded up its first project, but I'm still working on tieing in a fan and dust control component, as the works will be gummed up with Sawdust in short order if I don't. It's always the little things!)

Heh...I had a Husqvarna Viking (electric foot pedal) when I lived in South Africa - the old, green metal one from the 1960's - sold it when I emigrated as it wouldn't run on US outlets.

I do still have my grandmother's manual Singer, though, from the 1930's.

From: Australian ABC TV falls into oil and climate trap of unconventional oil

First it was Alan Kohler getting his ideas from a Citi bank report on the death of peak oil, now it is Tony Jones accepting advice from peak oil denier Yergin that there is no peak due to unconventional oil. This ignores earlier information given in the ABC TV stories “the incredible journey of oil” in May 2007 and “oil crunch” in April 2011. Not to mention Tony’s own interview with NASA climatologist James Hansen who said we really can’t afford the CO2 from unconventional fossil fuels.

i watched the Jones-Yergin interview here live in Melbourne.

Tony Jones did not accept anything much that Yergin said - he is far too smart, sceptical, and well-read for that - but he had 15 minutes or so, and had to cover the ground he wanted to. He gave Yergin some slack, but he also pulled him up at times. It wasn't a bad exchange at all.

Looks like bets are back on the table for GROWTH!!!!

No Double-Dip Deja Vu Seen for U.S. Economy

Beating Estimates

Even with this year’s increase, retail sales in the U.S. rose more than forecast in March, showing consumers are weathering the jump. The 0.8 percent gain in sales was almost three times as large as projected and followed a 1 percent advance in February, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington.

CKE Restaurants Inc. (CKE) hasn’t seen “a significant impact” yet on its business from higher gas prices, Chief Executive Officer Andrew Puzder said on an April 11 teleconference call with stock-market analysts. The Carpinteria, California-based operator of the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurant chains recorded net income of $88,000 in the 12 weeks ended Jan. 30 versus a loss of $5.05 million a year earlier.

Signs that gasoline prices have topped out may be good news for President Barack Obama, whom Republicans have tried to tie to a climb in energy costs.

“The lower they go, the less they will be an issue,” said Bruce Oppenheimer, a professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, who has studied energy and politics.

If we extrapolate the 2005 to 2011 rate of increase in annual Brent crude oil prices (12%/year, although actual prices have been of course above and below the trend line), we would be looking at an annual price of $125 for 2012.

These economic cheering sessions get worse all the time. Headline should have read: Go team go!

Ha, it actually feels more like in the old street circus, "Step right up, step right up, everyone's a winner! Just one dollar to spin the wheel".

Right, but let's think for a second.

It's getting close to 5 years...yes, 5 years...since the onset of the last downturn. Yes, I know, time flies.

Are you ever going to ever anybody from the mainstream ever say that the economy is now going into recession? That we are going into a downturn? That stocks will drop? That we will become poorer?

No! You will never, ever hear that. You didn't hear it in 2000, you didn't hear it in 2007, and you won't hear it now. You will not hear it 5 years from now, you will not hear it 10 years from now.

It's always, always, always, good times ahead. Prosperity ahead. Growth ahead. We'll all become millionaires ahead. Utopia ahead.

That's baseline human thinking, we're sort of evolved that way. But in America it's on steroids. Americans recognize no limits, they recognize no philosophy of life, they recognize no pessimism, they recognize no mortality. America is one big experiment on the concept of progress to infinity.

What pharmaceuticals are you on tonight Oilman? Way to go!

I agree with this. But have you noted they dont talk about "the recovery" any more? After the crash in '08 they talked about how the recovery was a long way ahead. in '10 it was coming soon, in early '11 they still talked about it. But now, on economic news on tv, no one ever mentions the recovery again. Seems like people don't believe in it any more.

Is it only I who have made this observation?

6 Scary Extreme Energy Sources Being Tapped to Fuel the Post Peak Oil Economy

"The problem is we’re addicted to oil, and like most addicts, we can’t take that first step and admit our addiction."

That is because the drug peddler we buy from is also in control of government policy and propaganda.

Not only that, we have a Stockholm Syndrome type "love" affair with Mr. Peddler, and these types of relationships engender "cognitive dissonance", a.k.a. social dementia.

Or, it could be that we are lazy, and like pushing a button better than pushing a plow.

Don't plows have buttons? ;)

There's still plenty of hard workers out there, but how does Gen Y compare to X? Gen Z? Perhaps Gen Z1.1 will see a revival in manual labour.

People are no more addicted to using oil than they are addicted to breathing air or drinking water.

People need some sort of energy source to power a modern society, because modern societies don't work without energy sources. In the 20th century, the preferred energy source was oil because it was the cheapest, most flexible energy source available. There were other energy sources, but they weren't as flexible and in most cases weren't as cheap.

In the 21st century, oil will be less available and less cheap, so people will need to evaluate alternative energy sources. However, it's not a matter of addiction, it's a matter of necessity.

As we go back down the desirable energy options, when do we get back to slaves? Or will new things, like wind turbines, save us?

Depends on the parasitic loads on the resulting system.

Taxes, insurance, rules applied to your business that are not applied to your competition are all loads that are going to really hurt a system that has its energy input from photons in the NOW VS the present system that uses old photons at a discounted rate.

Some light-duty, part-time slavery might benefit my waistline. Perhaps I could start with providing my own lawn care using 18th century tools.

I do believe if you were on the Titanic you would be a big fan of lifeboats.

The EROEI of slavery is very poor. It is a net sink for energy rather than a source of energy. That is one of the main reasons slavery disappeared - it is very energy inefficient.

Geez, I wish I could be one of the Boys, just like you.

Also, we discovered it is way better to free the slaves and collect taxes, than having to do the managment of enforcing labour, instructing work tsks and punish disobediance. Taxes can be collected once a year buy a guy who travels around. Much much better.

I'm going to stick to the discussion of Peak Oil and how the world can cope with the inevitable decline of global oil production.

I have been and remain a strong advocate of Wind Power. The US is ideally positioned to take advantage of Wind Power. The potential power output is huge and most of the Wind Turbines can be placed in unpopulated areas.

Shell Oil Using Deathsquads For Torture, Forced Labor
"It’s easy — if you want to shield your money from the victims of your crimes, all you have to do is incorporate. ... Is it really that simple? In 2010, a federal appeals court in New York said yes — as long as the perpetrators or abettors of human rights abuses form a corporation, their money cannot be used to compensate their victims."
THE BURMESE GULAG Slavery and oil / natural gas
Indigenous Peruvian Community Reduced to Slave Labor to Clean Oil Spill

Wow... I guess if you don't look, it's really hard to find it.

Another oil
Don't Let Cargill Profit From Forced, Child Labor in Palm Oil

Slave labor is so cost-effective that regulations have to be written against its use.



I wish someone would tell those companies how much money they are wasting using slavery.

I don't think this is the polite, gentrified, "part of the family" sort of slavery, either. These are unpaid, captive, disposable employees... like in the V2 rocket factories.

I am often heartened by the bravery of those who toiled at Mittelwerk.


Spectacular failure rates, 135 rockets returned for repairs. Imagine: The course of the war may very well have been changed by people whose names we'll never know who risked their lives to make sure those rockets never flew.

I read another post somewhere that said that pissing on the electronics was a preferred method of sabotage, because these units would sometimes pass inspection... the corrosive effects did not manifest for several days.

RMG, I think not. Slavery is simply less efficient than cheap fossil fuels. Slavery more or less disappeared because it couldn't compete.

I don't think slavery has really disappeared. Sweatshop labor is essentially slavery but with the added benefit (to the factory owners) that disabled or sick workers can simply be discarded and their space on the assembly line filled by another body from the huge pool of poverty-stricken people. Real slaves would have to be taken care of to some degree because of the investment the owners had in them.

As far as classical slavery goes, the book 'Time on the Cross' makes a good case for the theory that slavery in the Old South US was efficient. The wider use of fossil fuels and automation probably spelled the end of classical slavery and led us to what we have now.

Not even classical slavery has disappeared, even in the U.S. It's just illegal. Sex slavery is common in the U.S. Cases of slavery in domestic, restaurant, and manufacturing settings are also reported.

Slavery was never made completely illegal in the US. The loophole was for people being punished. Blacks became the predominant population of prisons just as they had been the predominant population of slaves. The patterns are quite clear.

There is no question that our society is still suffering from deep racial bias and discrimination. I hadn't thought there were places in the U.S. where incarceration actually pays for itself via labor (I know there are non-trivial programs using prison labor, but I think the cost of incarceration is higher than the return). I think the prisoners are more of a vector for siphoning tax money into the pockets of more favored interest groups.

Right but let's be honest...you and I can sit at our homes and type this in safety because aggressive males who would rape, plunder, and murder are behind bars.

I don't think this is a particularly elegant solution to crime, but it's a solution nonetheless.

But don't worry, the prison industrial complex is going bankrupt just like everything else. It will just take awhile.

The future is one in which you, your family, and your neighbors will have to defend yourselves.

I'm actually surprised to see this from you. The meme that we are safe because we lock up the bad guys is a delusion I got over at about age 6. Good guy, bad guy has some truth to it, but an awful lot of bad things are done by fairly 'decent' folks. People respond to their environment. Most of the people we have locked up are non-violent. Most of the bad guys are not behind bars. Incarceration is a breeding ground for repeat offenders. It's not an effective policy, it's security theater for the masses, just like TSA.

Justice is not blind, who you are and what you do plays a massive role in how your offense is legislated against, whether you are caught (or questioned/arrested for something you didn't do), how you are treated as a suspect/citizen, how you are charged, what plea offers are made, how/if you are tried/defended, how you are sentenced, where/how you do time/probation, when/if you get out, and what you can/can't do if you are out.

Public safety is to a large extent a result of cultural norms/memes, not the physical restraint of uncontrollable predators in cages or by the thin blue line. The thin blue line is needed, but would be much more effective (indirectly) if it actually believed and acted on the memes it mouths as platitudes in public.

I know lots of people on both sides of the law and the bars. I have an uncle who was a cop, another who was a tower guard, a brother-in-law whose brother and father are/were in LE. My grandfather died in a hit which was covered up by cops. My brother was beaten senseless (not arrested or charged) by cops based on where he was and what his last name was. My ex-gf did time for assault after she went a little too far against a (male) roommate who got physical with her. I talked her and her cousins out of killing their brother-in-law after he committed statutory rape of another of his sister-in-laws. I know dozens of people who have done time for possession or DUI(I grew up in a lousy neighborhood). I know a few who did or are doing time for felonies. I knew one (Native) guy who was killed by cops under suspicious circumstances. I knew a cop (husband of a close co-worker) who was killed by a teenager ostensibly as part of a gang initiation. I have observed the very different treatment given to different people under the same (minor traffic stop) circumstances (because I spend time with more than one demographic). I am told by people I trust of extrajudicial killings carried out by LE, and have seen cops lie under oath when I had personal knowledge that their statements were false.

I believe most people (including cops and felons) are products of society and the system. They behave as they are treated. If we create an underclass, they will act like it, if we train officers not to respect citizens, they won't.

I'm actually surprised to see this from you. The meme that we are safe because we lock up the bad guys is a delusion I got over at about age 6.

I'm more than surprised, I'm quite shocked. But there again, I don't live in the US.

The 'ownership' of people is not legal.

Now that Corporations are people, the last step to Corporate freedom is to declare that Shareholdership is not legal people ownership.

New paradigm: Corporations are people. People are consumers.

Sweatshop labor is essentially slavery but with the added benefit (to the factory owners) that disabled or sick workers can simply be discarded and their space on the assembly line filled by another body from the huge pool of poverty-stricken people.

This, as well as the industrial revolution, is why slavery faded away in the north even before it was outlawed. It just wasn't economic, when you had a constant influx of poor immigrants eager for work. IMO, "classic" slavery is when you own the children of your slaves. That's what made it economic. You could breed more workers. This wasn't necessary in the north, with its high immigration rate.

Real slaves would have to be taken care of to some degree because of the investment the owners had in them.

More than that. Even if your slave was so old or infirm he could not work, and never would again, you still had to feed and house him, because otherwise, the neighbors would get upset.

This was a big cost in the plantation system in Hawaii. It was not classic slavery, because the plantations did not own the offspring of their indentured servants. But they were responsible for caring for disabled workers. And their dependents - often for decades after the worker died.

The Industrial Revolution completely wrecked the economics of classical slavery. Even prior to that time it had disappeared in England because it was cheaper to hire workers off the street and fire them when you didn't need them rather than having to feed, clothe, and shelter them.

After the Industrial Revolution, machines were cheaper to use than people because you didn't need to feed or clothe them at all, so in the US, the Northern states changed to an industrial society and abolished slavery.

Slavery persisted in the South, but slavery was an inefficient use of labor compared to the free labor market and the plantation system was an inefficient use of land compared to the Northern homestead system, so only a few wealthy slave owners benefited. The average person couldn't afford to own slaves and so remained poor. The trouble was that the Southerners didn't connect the fact that they had slavery and plantations with the fact that they were not progressing as rapidly as the North, and blamed it on the federal system of government rather than lack of industrialization - hence the Civil War.

Slavery and industrialization are fundamentally incompatible. You can't trust slaves to run machinery because as a first step you have to educate them, and that leads to them knowing too much for your own safety.

The inefficiency of slavery is demonstrated by the fact that only a few years after the Civil War, the landowners were producing as much as they did before war, but without using any slaves at all. The downside was that they had millions of black people with no jobs, no education, and no skills other than farming that somehow had to be accommodated, and that didn't work at all well.

Oil is not a substitute for slavery in some cases.

(link has other human trafficking)

How about we cut demand by stopping the Wars costing all total $1 Trillion per year between Afghanistan, DOE nukes, CIA, Homeland Security, NSA, etc. The Pentagon is the world's largest institutional consumer of oil.
Next stop the Auto Addiction and run the Green Transit we already have which amazingly is already only 3/4ths mile from 70% of working age Americans in 100 US Metro areas, stop
building any more highway lanes, overpasses or bridge lanes, then build out along our
existing 233,000 miles of Rail and get it running again or build new Rail transit down highway lanes and medians.

Oil is already much less cheap, we just don't include all the costs in the price we pay at the pump:

Pollution and security ($2T oil wars, for starters) are at the top of the list.

You don't use human slaves as energy converters, horses and cows are more efficient at that. The human slave, is employed partly for his brains, and partly for his dexterity. Also today many would be classified as sex slaves. Stuff machines can't really accomplish. Even horses and cows, fed off of sunlight fed plant matter, aren't very efficient -not compared to a solar panel plus a motor.

Current estimates are that the number of girls and women trafficked as sex slaves annually is about 10X the rate of African slave transportation at its height. That actually makes it higher as a percentage of population TODAY! Of course, it is ostensibly illegal now.

And a photovoltaic panel(s) plus a motor are even cheaper than a horse or cow.

When one isn't using the motor you don't need to coulomb it out :-)

Exactly RkyMtnGuy. Pretty simple, really. Supreme law of "Supply & Demand".

I generally agree with (and learn a lot from) everything you say RMG, but in this case I beg to differ strongly.

I think "addiction to oil" is absolutely the best way to describe modern urban and rural living (not just in the wealthy world, but all over the planet) ... in fact, I can think of no other way to better describe the modern world. Calling such addiction a need or a necessity is really the wrong way to go, in my view.

And lets not ever forget Donald Rumsfeld - "the American way of life is not negotiable" - pretty close to an addictive statement I reckon.

You are both right. Oil consumption goes into 2 boxes.

The first one is stuff we need. Diesel to the trctor that plow the fields where your food comes from is absolutely "needed".

The other box is the stuff we want. Flying to vaccations, NASCAR, motorboats, plastic gizmos and gadgets we have for fun. This is what I call "the microwave life style" after the kitchen implement.

We NEED the first box, we are ADDICTED to the second.

harder to separate those boxes. For instance diesel to the tractor. Perhaps we are overplowing because its cheap. And running the AC in the tractor on days we could just have the window open, etc. etc. Our traditional attitude toward energy is oblivious to waste and inefficiency. So even for those uses we "need", with care we can probably cut back significantly.

I have done some thinking about it and have come to the conclusion that "Americans are addicted to oil" is a misstatement of the problem. Someone pointed out that Americans are not addicted to oil; they are addicted to cheap, fast, private transportation. Oil is just the enabler of that cheap, fast, private transportation and has been for the last century.

If they had cheap, fast, convenient electric cars, people would switch very rapidly to them and oil consumption would plummet. Unfortunately, with EVs, the choice is "Cheap, Fast, Convenient - pick one". It was actually Henry Ford who killed the electric car when he introduced the Model T, which was 3 times as fast and had 3 times the range of the then-ubiquitous electric cars for 1/3 the price. He also killed the electric street railroad, with a lot of help from GM and Standard Oil.

However, US oil production peaked and started to decline over 40 years ago, world oil production appears to be doing the same now, and the parameters have changed. Cheap, fast, private transportation is going away on Americans, and they need to adapt to that. They can have any two of the three, but not all three.

I'm looking at this from a different perspective after riding a Canadian light rail system to work for 25 years. It was cheap and fast, but not very private. In fact it was nearly impossible to get the doors to close during rush hour because of the number of passengers. I could also walk or bicycle - they were cheap and private but not fast. I never drove to work because although it was private, it was neither cheap nor fast because of the lack of freeways and cost of downtown parking.

American cities decided that freeways and free parking were a necessity and spent huge amounts of money providing these "free" services. Having done that, they killed their transit systems. It should have been no surprise to them that people started driving on the free roads to their free parking lots rather than paying to ride a slower, less convenient bus. If they were in a situation like London, with a daily congestion charge imposed on all vehicles entering the urban core and elderly people willing their parking places to their next-of-kin because they are so scarce, it would seem much different.

Donald Rumsfeld thought that taking over Iraq would be a cakewalk, too. The American way of life is only non-negotiable in that it's unsustainable and is going to disappear in the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, with EVs, the choice is "Cheap, Fast, Convenient - pick one".

Not really. EREVs like the Volt are very affordable, fast and convenient.

So why aren't they selling very well? (Don't blame some kind of global conspiracy against EVs.)

Why not? It's perfectly clear that Fox News has been trying to kill the Volt.

More importantly,

1) It's new: People have to take time to get used to new things. The Volt is actually selling faster than the Prius in it's first year. GM's early sales forecasts were over optimistic about early adopters.

2) It's new: New low volume things always cost more, and costs fall with time and manufacturing volume.

3) It's new: GM didn't know how to price a completely new thing, and they over priced it. It should have been priced where costs will be in several years, not where they are now. It should have been priced under initial cost, like the Prius was when it was new.

And, most importantly,

Gas is underpriced. It should be taxed in the US like it is in Europe. If you price in PO, ME supply insecurity ($2T oil wars are a pretty good symptom of that) and pollution you get a Pigovian tax of at least $3 per gallon.

That would give a good goose to HEV/PHEV/EREV/EV sales!

That headline is a large part of what's wrong with most debates these days.

Whether or not something is "scary" (i.e. has a high perceived risk) is more important than comparing measurable risks.

+1 That particular article from a "media studies" author is one of most hyperbole laden and error prone I've seen on energy topics.

This is exactly where your own critique of this is backwards.

He shows quite clearly the high risk and high cost ventures of each of the drilling and extraction methods, how they've already shown their flaws, and how such flaws are unlikely to do anything but grow into a true nightmare as companies fight to expand them.

Yes.. It's scary. Not like 'Monsters under your bed' Scary, like 'Daddy's found a new brand of Scotch' scary.

But this seems to be why you're willing to remain calm and at ease around fission.. as you know, I think the outcome is spelled out very clearly around all these foolish 'promises' for our future.

But note in the headline itself he uses the emotion-laden "scary" instead of the less emotional (but quite sufficient) "risky".

Language is important.

Amen, Dredd.

In case you're interested, over at Death by Car, I write about the hidden and forgotten history of elite planning and pushing.

It saddens and scares me to see how conceptually and politically disarmed even decent commentators are in the face of the prevailing "consumer" blame-everybody-game.

In Natural Gas Bust, Boom Town Teaches Drillers a Lesson (April 5)

This week, Chesapeake Energy officials were back in Caddo Parish to make a bid on Haynesville acreage. The price per acre being offered by Chesapeake says all that needs to be said about the cycling from boom to bust.

In July 2008, just as the press was chasing the Haynesville boom story, the high bid for shale drilling acreage in Caddo Parish was $30,212 per acre and a 30% royalty. By April to July 2010, Caddo Parish was accepting bids at $6,867 and $7,537, both with a 25% royalty.

Chesapeake Energy's latest offer? Not to exceed $1,500 per acre and a 25% royalty. Glass said that twice in the recent past Chesapeake Energy came to Caddo Parish with declining bids of $5,000 and $3,000 per acre before the latest drop to $1,500.

Excellent article contrasting the fiscal conservatism of Caddo Parish, Louisiana with the gambling mentality of public companies spending other people's money. According to Caddo's director of public works:

"It's somewhat normal down here. It's always been that way with gas. No matter how good it gets, two or three years down the road, it will turn."

I'm sticking with my first prediction from the post Gas Boom Goes Bust (February 6):

  • Natural gas producers and investors with poor hedge books and too much debt will end up in bankruptcy court.


A lot of these shale players have been performing a bit of natural gas to oil alchemy. They have been booking proven and proven undeveloped natural gas reserves as Barrels of Oil Equivalent (BOE), using a six to one ratio. Coastal oil price ratio to US natural gas price is about 64 to one now. One wonders how much of the non-economic drilling in these shale plays was driven by a desperate effort to replace rapidly depleting reserves with new BOE reserves.

Two problems arise, as drilling slows: (1) The decline rates kick in with a vengeance, and (2) If they don't convert the proven undeveloped to producing, they are going to have to do some serious reserve writedowns.

Why do they have to do writedowns?
What is wrong with saying that they exist, but we just don't feel like getting it today? Isn't that what KSA does now?

KSA books oil(including condensate)reserves separate from gas reserves.

It's likely that many of the leases, or portions of the leases, will expire if they are not drilled.

The physics here don't make sense.

A Fukushima citizen living in 30km area published the book about his experience after 311. In his book (P43), he refers to a nuclear worker who watched reactor 4 being destroyed. Though explosion of reactor 4 was not reported, it is significantly destroyed.
“Reactor 4 is the most mysterious case. There was no major blasting sound, but the walls of the reactor building were deformed like morphing of SFX in front of our eyes, the walls of lateral side went totally messed up after all.”

But enough radiation to make your optics and brain think you were seeing things 'deform' - that I can accept.

Because how much radiation would you need to 'totally mess up' a wall?

Can you dig up a better link for this one?

What you've quoted here is pretty much all the actual content at the site, and this is actually an interesting scenario.

Though I think you are reading too much into it, as always...

Can you read Japanese?

Unfortunately, no. And the automated translations are horrible.

Much joy will be had with happy wall to spark excited.

Though I think you are reading too much into it, as always...

You got a point you want to get to here?

I got straight to it, and you seem to be reading more into it than is there.

You are right.

I posted how the claim is suspect and you correct me that the claim is true as stated.

Thank you for the correction.


I said it is an interesting claim but there is a lack of information at the site you linked.

I also said that you made assumptions beyond the limited information available there as to the *cause* of the reported effect.

I've watched the glowing green rings as I had an MRI taken that covered my eyes. I know for a fact that radiation and magnetic fields can cause optical effects, but the effect described sounds more to me like a thermal distortion effect similar to a desert mirage.

In either event I also know that there is one heck of a good story there and if a copy of the full story exists translated into English I would love to have a chance to read it.

If it's all there and only available in Japanese, I could probably cope (I have a couple of friends locally who are reasonably fluent).

Re: Japan Utilities Use Record LNG in 2011 on Idle Reactors

Back in September of 2010, long before the tsunami, I wrote a post titled Japan and LNG fears

In early 2010, Middle Eastern nations that export liquified natural gas were concerned about a downturn in the LNG market. But by September, Asian consumers such as Japan and Kroea had stepped up imports, increasing prices for “spot” cargoes and allaying fears of a lengthy downturn. This post will address the opposite fear — that LNG demand may soon outstrip available supply, driving prices inexorably higher.

The charts in that post comparing Japanes, Korean, Chinese and Taiwanese consumption and per capita consumption of natural gas are still eye opening today.


Great link, I just want to grab the data so when the link rots we have it. This is a major forcing of global oil price as well as Pacific LNG price.

Year Ended Year Ended
March 2012 March 2011
Fuel oil 11,822,365 6,297,685
Crude oil 11,572,589 4,759,614
LNG 52,885,437 41,740,733
Coal 49,293,267 51,025,604

From Fatih Birol [IEA]:

Deferred or Steady MENA {Middle East/North Africa] Investment?

In a well-functioning energy market, steady investment in oil and gas production in MENA countries should benefit their economies as well as the global economy. But energy markets do not function perfectly. There has long been uncertainty about the pace at which investment in the region’s upstream industry will occur, how quickly production capacity will expand and, given the heavy subsidies that are fuelling rapid growth in domestic energy usage, how much of the expected increase in supply will be available for export. The prospect of new spending priorities and higher perceived risks in the wake of the Arab Spring has heightened this uncertainty

For consuming countries, the benefits are obvious: economic development cannot be achieved without energy at affordable prices and cannot be sustained unless energy supplies are secure.

2015: Pricey Delay for Climate Action

Policy makers have been preoccupied of late with concerns about economic growth, but it is imperative that they not lose sight of the urgent need for a transformation to a low-carbon energy economy. Despite impressive recent growth in the use of renewable energy, energy-related CO2 emissions rebounded to a new high in 2010. Current energy sector trends point to CO2 emissions consistent with a long-term increase in the average global temperature of 6°, which would lead to environmental and economic costs at a scale frightening to imagine.

... United Nations climate talks late last year in South Africa, provided some grounds for optimism, with all of the biggest emitters signing up for the very first time to develop a binding agreement to cut emissions. They were given until 2015 to negotiate the exact details. However, there has been no indication since that this agreement has had a material impact on investment decisions in the energy sector. We remain on an unsustainable course for the climate!

... History will not reflect kindly on us if we fail to make the right decision.

...History will not reflect kindly on us.

There --fixed it for ya'!

Technology's Power to Misinform Dims Utopian Hopes

With the rapid increase in news and information distributed by such technologies as the Internet and mobile phones, people are struggling to tell the difference between facts and opinion, entertainment, and outright disinformation, according to the researcher

... As corporations increasingly try to make money from information, the researcher said that economic pressure is blurring the line between news and entertainment. ... "This leads to a concession to the grandiose and sensationalization." ...

... Mohammed said that people who praise the role of information technologies and social networks in fostering democratic movements, like Iran's Green Revolution and Arab Spring, often ignore how the technology has been used to suppress those movements ...

Countries That Best Prepare Math Teachers Share Similarities

Countries that best prepare math teachers meet several key conditions generally lacking in the United States, according to the first international study of what teacher preparation programs are able to accomplish.

"In Taiwan, for example, nobody graduates without the demonstrated ability to teach mathematics," she said. "Here in the United States, far too many of our graduates lack the knowledge of mathematics and how to teach it, which they will need as they begin to teach."

On NJ Gov Christie's decision to cancel the NYC tunnel the following is critical:

Critics were quick to point out that the governor followed up his decision to cancel by raiding the $2 billion kitty that former governor Jon Corzine had set aside for ARC, including the funds from an unpopular Turnpike toll increase. Christie diverted the funds to other transportation projects, which allowed him to keep his vow not to increase the state’s modest gasoline tax....

Although the ARC NYC-NJ tunnel was stupidly routed to a dead-end more than 200 feet below
Macy's basement so it could not connect to Grand Central Station or provide options to Amtrak, it could have been redesigned. Living in NJ myself and a monthly-pass Rail rider
involved in several local Rail groups, I warned them that Christie would rob the funds to
continue wasting $7 Billion on totally unneeded expansions of the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. Which is precisely what Gov Christie did.
Meanwhile Green public transit ridership despite 25% cuts and off-peak family fare hikes of 60% continues to increase while highway miles in New Jersey have declined.
Having just driven down NJ Turnpike/ I-95 the site of the highway massacre, huge flying
buttress flyovers and new lanes are being added even as the US has passed Peak Cars.
This is on the Northeast Corridor in which you can reach D.C. in 2 /12 hours on the Accela vs 4 1/2 to 6 hours driving.

Perhaps indicative of Gov Christies motives is that 3 of the top contributors to his
"Reform Jersey Now" PAC were paving contractors....

Christie-Lautenberg grudge spoils NJ-NY tunnel project

Christie diverted the funds to other transportation projects, which allowed him to keep his vow not to increase the state’s modest gasoline tax and bolster his growing national reputation as a hard-nosed fiscal conservative. ... He was thinking about his career, not his constituents.

Gov. Christie and the Tunnel Project

If you find yourself in a stopped train in a Hudson River tunnel, or in a vehicle on a choked highway, in coming years, at least you will know why.

Chris Christie: The Heartless, Smug, Bullying Embodiment of Today's Republican Party

The easier it is to get to NYC from New Jersey, the further out people will move. Once you accept a 60-minute commute as normal/acceptable, the actual distance is more or less irrelevant. So people will add that time commuting to the station.

I've watched this happen all my life in northern Delaware. People complain about the traffic on the commute to Wilmington. The DOT widens the roads. Enjoying the shorter commute, people move further away from the city. Pretty soon, they complain again about the traffic on the commute to Wilmington. So the DOT widens the roads...and on it goes.

(Sometimes bad folks do the right thing for the wrong reason.)

Used to live in Newark, Del. I was teaching on Wilminton's "west side" when MLK was murdered and we had to shut down schools due to rioting. When school started back up again, a 13-year-old female named Mary Christmas rushed up to my desk at the beginning of homeroom period and ask to give me a complete report on exactly who was where and did what during the riots. Those were interesting times.

Is the swamp filled with gorgeous yellow flowers just south of the Del. Mem. Bridge (along I-95) still there? Or have they filled it in and "developed" it?


The area just south has had a small plant as long as I can remember (early 1980s). I honestly don't know who owns it or what they do there, and it's been there literally my whole life. The area just north is still a quiet swamp. I haven't seen it in the spring recently, but I do recall explosions of yellow there when I was younger.

Green Transit is not just about travelling many miles to NYC although that is what all
the Transit planners seem to care about. I have been taking the train for years and
except for recreation or occasional trips to NYC for conferences or classes I have only
gone to New Jersey destinations. Many people on the trains are NOT going to NYC as planners assume but to local stops, in particular landscape workers but also many others.
Just as bad as cancelling the ARC tunnel are the 35% cuts in actual train frequencies since 2006.
Since Midtown Direct to NYC service was launched train ridership on the Morris Line tripled. Planners attributed all the increase to the fabled 1-seat ride to NYC. Actually because Midtown Service initially doubled train frequencies riding the rails became much more feasible for local travel when you had trains every 20 minutes instead of 40 minutes to an hour for peak. NJ Transit, the NJ DOT and the politicians either do not understand the value of Rail for local travel or just want to benefit their paving contractor contributors. To give an example, there is a bus which takes 50 minutes or more to get to the local Mall by taking a roundabout route with many stops for pickups. Yet the same Mall could be accessible in 20 minutes if the trains ran frequently because it only takes 10 minutes to get to a few miles from the Mall where a shuttle could run.
Many major Rail lines like the MARC in Maryland from DC to Baltimore, the Boonton Line in Northern New Jersey have no weekend service whatsoever. Apparently the brilliant planners thing that nobody wants to get from DC to Baltimore on the weekends!

Researchers Pioneer Molecular Catalyzer

Scientists in Sweden have developed a molecular catalyser with the ability to quickly oxidise water to oxygen. Presented in the journal Nature Chemistry, the results are a significant contribution to the future use of solar energy and other renewable energy sources, especially since gasoline prices continue to soar.

The molecular catalyser developed by Professor Sun and his team is so fast that it can reach more than 300 turnovers per seconds. The speed with which natural photosynthesis is carried out is between 100 and 400 turnovers per seconds.

According to the scientists, the fast molecular catalysers can form the basis for many changes to come. Not only do they enable sunlight to be used for the conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) into different fuels like methanol, but the technology can be used to convert solar energy directly into hydrogen.

'I'm convinced that it will be possible in 10 years to produce technology based on this type of research that is sufficiently cheap to compete with carbon-based fuels,'...

sufficiently cheap to compete with carbon-based fuels

Other than Carbon based fuels are a tad more easily contained.

Not to mention the Carbon based fuel prices are based on a 'price' to pick it off/out of the ground and process VS the additional costs of smashing about water.

But once becomes a mass fuel and blows holes in the Ozone then a bunch of people will stand around going "duh"?

Ummmm, When you remove oxygen from something isn't that called "reducing"? And making hydrogen this way, even with a catalyst is still an energy transfer, not a source, right?

Did I miss something?

I suspect there are very few writers who know the difference.

Leo says ger!


Yes, removing oxygen from a molecule is called reduction not oxidation or oxidizing (technically it is defined by what happens to the number of valence electrons, but don't worry about that).

This article is mostly fluff, and one can tell the writer is trying but not succeeding at masking their unfamiliarity with the field of photocatalysts. They don't even identify the material of the catalyst. The current cutting edge of this field is identifying the promising materials and their phases. The current front runners are titanium dioxide, molybdenum sulfide, and a nickel cobalt compound, studied by a Dr. Nocera at MIT. There are some other semi-decent prospects too.

When I first glanced through the summary of the article I thought it was from The Onion... the sloppy mistakes like "oxidizing," this measurement of "turnovers" which are not defined and I have never heard of before in photocatalysis, and the Professor is named Dr. Sun!!

BTW, If the photocatalyst is doing "turnovers" on par with photosynthesis then it can't be that efficient, probably only a couple of percent in efficiency just like photosynthesis.

The field of photocatalysis is pretty cool and I think there is some promise there, but it is beginning to take on the fusion problem of always being 20 years away. There is a running joke in the photocatalyst field with one of the most prominent researchers in the field at MIT, whose name is Dr. Nocera. The joke is: Nocera's technologia no sera. No sera is spanish for "it will not be." (accent on the 'a' in sera)

A molecular ruthenium catalyst with water-oxidation activity comparable to that of photosystem II
Lele Duan, Fernando Bozoglian, Sukanta Mandal, Beverly Stewart, Timofei Privalov, Antoni Llobet & Licheng Sun

"Here, we show that it is possible to close that ‘two orders of magnitude’ gap with a rationally designed molecular catalyst [Ru(bda)(isoq)2] (H2bda = 2,2′-bipyridine-6,6′-dicarboxylic acid; isoq = isoquinoline). This speeds up the water oxidation to an unprecedentedly high reaction rate with a turnover frequency of >300 s−1. This value is, for the first time, moderately comparable with the reaction rate of 100–400 s−1 of the oxygen-evolving complex of photosystem II in vivo."

A photoelectrochemical device for visible light driven water splitting into
hydrogen and oxygen - ...and Licheng Sun
(the exclamation point throws the link generator)

Artificial Photosynthesis


Flash spectroscopic characterization of photosynthetic electron transport in isolated heterocysts.
"Consistent photosynthetic turnovers* were observed..."

*The term could be a matter of source language or discipline.

Thanks Kaliman, I was too lazy to look at the original paper's abstract at the time of my comment. Still though their photocatalyst should not be regarded as some kind of unprecedented breakthrough for two reasons, it's turnover frequency is about equivalent to chloroplasts and their catalyst is based on Ruthenium, may as well be platinum... i.e. not scalable.

I did a bit of digging to figure out more about this "turnover" jargon. From what I gather it was borrowed from biologists who described enzyme activity with it. It is the number of molecules reacting per active site per unit time. So I think a turnover frequency of 300 for this catalyst would mean 300 water molecules break apart at each Ruthenium active site per second. (Although it might mean that only 300 O-H bonds break per Ruthenium per second, not completely sure)

Here is a paper paper that gives quantitative definition of turnover.. pretty technical but here's the operative paragraph:

“...the turnover frequency, N, (commonly called the
turnover number) defined, as in enzyme catalysis, as
molecules reacting per active site in unit time can be
a useful concept if employed with care. In view of the
problems in measuring the number of active sites discussed
in: : : , it is important to specify exactly the means
to express: : : in terms of active sites. A realistic measure
of such sites may be the number of surface metal atoms
on a supported catalyst but in other cases estimation on
the basis of a BET surface area may be the only readily
available method. Of course, turnover numbers (like
rates) must be reported at specified conditions of temperature,
initial concentration (or initial pressure) and extent
of reaction...”

Brings back memories. In the early 1960's I worked in the Advanced Systems Division of the Manned Spaccraft Center in Houston and we had a project (Project OHIO) to breakdown urea in human urine to produce drinking water for extended space missions.

The key part of the technology was to contact urine with an enzyme called urease, which completely disassociated urea into ammonia and CO2. Our metric we were optimizing was the turnover number. Urease was a potent enzyme and we achieved turnover numbers of 50,000 per second.

The original astronauts worked in our building. We could never get them to sample our purified urine :-)

By the way - Project OHIO stood for Outhouse in Orbit. I always loved government/military acronyms.

And to get the water BACK out on earth along with the valuable Phosphorous one can place the urine in a solar still, collect the water in the still the subject the collection vessel to heat. The book "Caveman Chemistry" goes into details.

The whole article PDF is out there: I posted the link here recently, the TOD search is pretty much useless, and I didn't bookmark it.

I remember BET from desiccant work.

Joules Burn points out how the vanadium compound found as a contaminant in produced oil is similar to chlorophyll in structure.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum (how many here have ever looked this one up?!)

It is also similar to heme-b in the hemoglobin oxygen carrier of blood:

Which offers up strange visions of aliens

Or... this guy

Greenland May Be Slip-Sliding Away Due To Surface Lake Melt: Study

Like snow sliding off a roof on a sunny day, the Greenland Ice Sheet may be sliding faster into the ocean due to massive releases of meltwater from surface lakes, according to a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder-based Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

Such lake drainages may affect sea-level rise, with implications for coastal communities, according to the researchers. "This is the first evidence that Greenland's 'supraglacial' lakes have responded to recent increases in surface meltwater production by draining more frequently, as opposed to growing in size," ...

This bastard is self reinforcing. The top of the ice shelf is some 3000 meters above the sea level. It is cold up there, and the higher up you get, the less affected you will be by ricing CO2. The molecules only increase the heat if they are above you. As the ice melt (or slide) away, the altitude lower, and the air get warmer. Thus, melting increase, and it goes faster and faster.

The second process has to do with the plastic properties of ice. The glacial ice behaves like tooth paste realy. If you remove ice from one area that melts, the neighbour area that do not melt will start to sink as well, to fill up the hole that formed in the melting part. Then that area become a melting area, and then it goes on and on and on...

I think you have a few errors. Ice shelf, actually refers to floating glacial ice, i.e. floating on seawater. There is very little of this left in the northern hemisphere (some around Elsemere Island). In any case, mountain elevations have been warming faster than at sealevel. In general the temp in the troposhere scales as the adiatic curve (lower pressure is cooler), so the expectation should be any elevation in the tropo should change by about the same amount.

But, you are correct that the central high regions don't yet have surface melt. The fact that the extra meltwater isn't pooling, but is draining has been known for a couple of years now, i.e. the scare stories that the whole icecap could slide off into the sea, seem to be unsupported.

Yes you are right; I did not mean floating ice but land ice. Glacial plains.

How to Radically Transform Industrial Energy Use

New IEA-IIP report offers step-by-step guide to implementing energy management programmes for industry

Improved efficiency could cut industrial energy use by more than a quarter, benefitting more than just the bottom line. Because industry accounts for about a third of global energy demand, greater efficiency in the sector is also a major step towards improved energy security as well as reduced greenhouse-gas emissions.

Download the Policy Pathways: Energy Management Programmes for Industry

Argentina nationalises YPF

Argentina has nationalised YPF, the former and once again state oil company, as a matter of “public interest”, Argentine and Spanish media are reporting.

Reports say the Republic of Argentina will take a 26 per cent stake held by the Eskenazi family and a 24 per cent stake out of the 57 per cent of YPF held by Respol of Spain. The Spanish government warned Argentina last week that any action against Spanish companies would be taken as an action against Spain and would have “consequences”.

Argentina to expropriate Repsol oil subsidiary YPF

Announcing the move, President Fernandez said energy was a "vital resource". Of the seized shares, the state will hold 51% and the country's oil-producing provinces will get 49%.

The Argentina authorities have accused YPF of not investing enough to increase its output and so lessen the need for imports, an accusation it rejects.

Wonder when the U.S. will start doing this?

The decline in Argentina's net oil exports from 2002 to 2010 exceeds the increase in Canada's net oil exports over the same time frame (BP) and Argentina is probably on the verge of becoming a net oil importer.

S - Probably when the govt thinks ten's of millions of our citizens won't notice the drop in the value of their retirement accounts and when private mineral owners won't miss the $billions in mail box money they won't receive. A tad different than taking assets away from a foreign owned company and their shareholders who can't vote you out of office.

I expected this to happen. IMO this is just the beginning, most countries save for countries like Sudan, Nigeria which do not have any power on world stage will do this and no amount of world bank or IMF regulation will prevent it from happening.

Noticeably absent from English language reports of 'expropriation' is the information that the company will be appraised and a fair market value paid for the 51% position being taken in the company. The previously state controlled company was sold off a bit less than 20 years ago (80% was sold for $2B plus assumption of $3B in debt).

Explains the logical progression of Peak Oil in a nutshell ...

Nation's Poor Bastards Never Even Saw It Coming

... we are, apparently, part of the 4%

ASPO-USA Webinar Series: Global Oil Exports: Smooth Sailing or Midnight on the Titanic?

Featuring Jeffrey J. Brown - Independent Petroleum Geologist, Creator of the Export Land Model, ASPO-USA Board Member

This session will review major trends regarding availability of oil exports on the world market, and the growing tension between oil production and rising internal demand of oil-producing nations as well as China, India, and other emerging economies. Key topics to be addressed include:

•Review of fundamental export trends and projections for demand growth in oil-producing and developing countries.

•Critical discussion of export data in the context of overall constraints for world oil supply.

•Projected timing for reaching critical impasses in the world oil export market.

•Analysis and discussion of potential scenarios

Can't beat the price.

All I can say is "wow". I had no idea anything like that had every happened. It sure illustrates the power that was unleashed in Oklahoma City by McVeigh.

ANFO and a building

You don't want to breath in the by-products of ANFO - not good for the lungs.

It is interesting how there are so many industrial accidents, traffic accidents, etc that kill and injure dozens of people but are not well known but whenever there is an accident at a nuclear power facility it is front page news all around the world even if there are few or no injuries.

Really? And how many non nuclear industrial accidents have you heard of that require 30 mile radius exclusion zones and the permanent evacuation of thousands of residents from their homes? In case you haven't figured it out for yourself yet those thousands of people would probably get very sick and die if they stayed there. Interesting isn't it?

Exclusion zones are a political decision to avoid a particular, detectable risk.

There are plenty of cases, old and new, where an area has been either declared off-limits due to chemical contamination or where it *should have been* and wasn't.

It's called taking precautions, so if you want to use the term 'Political' to make these repercussions of a very real toxic situation sound somehow Not Real, that's your choice.

It's a political choice to keep people out of one risk area and not another.

Radiation is trivially detected, so it is easy to keep people away from it. Chemical contamination you just have to poke and pray so they don't even try except in obvious cases with pre-isolated grounds.

It is interesting how there are so many industrial accidents, traffic accidents, etc that kill and injure dozens of people

Yes, how "interesting".

accident at a nuclear power facility it is front page news all around the world even if there are few or no injuries.

Let me see if I understand your position:

Radioactivity released into the biosphere does not harm.

That was bad. Sorry.

Whenever there's trouble, why does Monsanto's name show up?

I had not heard of the Texas City explosion; likewise probably most of you have never heard of the 1917 Halifax Explosion.

Monsanto built a chemical plant that would be handling some dangerous chemicals and was at risk of an explosion. For safety it sited the plant well away from a town. They bought a farm and the farmhouse even remained as the main office. The town built housing estates, shops and a large school around the plant. I am sure, that if it blew up, everyone would ask why they were allowed to build their dangerous factory so close to homes and schools.


"The town built housing estates, shops and a large school around the plant. I am sure, that if it blew up, everyone would ask why they were allowed to build their dangerous factory so close to homes and schools."

Moral of the story; Not all zoning is bad.

See also, Risk Management Planning.


Drought causing desperation on farms

... "We can't rely on the water sources we used to, we have to plan for a future with much less water," he said. "It is more important than ever that we get private reservoirs built on farms, that we use water more economically and find more drought resistant crops." The Environment Agency and Defra must loosen regulations around building water tanks and farmers will have to work together more, he believes. "We need that investment and help from the government – if they don't do it now it is very short-sighted."


By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to coordinate the efforts of Federal agencies responsible for overseeing the safe and responsible development of unconventional domestic natural gas resources and associated infrastructure and to help reduce our dependence on oil, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Shale gas isn't profitable/has a liability risk and so now the Government is in bailout mode?

I'm sorry, but how do you get from the text to 'bailout'?

That depends upon what folows the word "follows:". If it is we are gonna make the investors in money losing wells whole, then it would be approriate. The crucial text was left out.....

It's a one page order. Follow the link. All it basically authorizes is info sharing and coordination between agencies.

ben - I have difficulty seeing any significance in the order. I don't see much in a way of PR given no one is complaining about NG prices right now. And in the end it's going to be up to the states to regulate matters. Texas has had many tens of thousands of wells frac'd and thousands more frac'd yearly now. And you notice not one story about improperly disposed fluids here. Good reason: it's illegal. Virtully none of the regs controlling oil/NG operations here are federal. So it makes me wonder if there is a hidden message to the states with insufficient regs: don't make rules restricting frac'ng or if you don't make really restrictive rules the feds will. But I have no idea which message it might be. or maybe none at all.

Yes, I agree. I was disagreeing with the original poster.

I recently read a really interesting article about how very differently gov't lawyers "interpret" the language that "seems" very innocuous to us "regular" English speakers. I'm going to print this and read it over and over -- maybe I can crack the code with repetitive reading. Question: Why was it written and signed in the first place if it is innocuous? What's the reason for this Executive Order?

I've been very curious as to why promised state regs for fracking have not happened in Tennessee. There was supposed to have been a meeting of TDEC's Oil & Gas Board with the Tennessee Oil & Gas Association a couple of months ago to work out some details on some draft regs (or something like that). The meeting was cancelled, or the discussion of regulations was -- no reasons given. No draft regs have appeared yet. Meanwhile, back in them thar hills....

They say there's not even a list of frackers. Apparently there is no special license -- just "drill a gas well." That's what "seems to be," anyway. Time for me to hit the telephone again.

Somehow I think that the Tennessee Oil & Gas Association knows what the "message" is, ROCKMAN. And the non-regulating Tennessee regulators, as well.

Call me Suspicious.


Lizzy - I'm not familiar with Tennessee oil/NG regs but I have drilled in KY and if your regs are anything like there's you're in trouble. Not sure if the regs have changed in the last few years but KY didn't even require operators to report how much their wells produced.

Those tired of me blabbing about the Texas Rail Road Commission can stop reading now. Tennessee doesn't have to study anything. Here's the TRRC website: http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/. Take a look at some of the sections. There's a cottage industry of consultants in Austin just to help operators deal with the rges. It's not just a PR piece...it gives every detail of how you regulate the oil/NG industry with an iron fist. Way beyond proper disposal of frac fluids. Trust me: I live by these regs and they are comprehensive and rigorously enforced. And the tax payers don't spend a penny for it: the state has collected many $billions over the decades from production taxes and fees.

I've been preaching to my Yankee cousins that they need only change the title to the TRRC and call it their own...the TRRC won't care. And PA should immediately start charging the same fees and production taxes Texas does. The PA politicians are complaining they can't afford to regulate: I estimated that last year the state would have collected over $300 million had they had our production tax rate. Would companies stop drilling? Given Texas and La. are heavily drilled states the obvious answer is no.

There's a reason the TRRC has tough rules: they were learned the hard way by dealing with bad environmental policies in the bad ole days. The oil patch has been big business in Texas and La. for a very long time. But ranching and farming has been here even longer. And that's a lot of voters. I sometimes wonder if voters/politicians in other states think the oil patch is too strong to go up against. It so easy to control in reality. I either follow the TRRC regs or I can't drill a well in this state. I can't sue the state to make them let me drill. I can hire all the lobbyists I want but the TRRC commisioners are elected: make the pubic unhappy and you don't get reelected.

It might hurt their feelings but you might send the TRRC web site to some of your politicians and politely tell them there's no need spending time to reinvent the wheel. BTW: the TRRC rules and regs are enforced by their own field inspectors. And break some serious rules? The Texas Rangers show up at your door. And trust me: they have no sense of humor when it comes to folks breaking the rules.


Do you know when the Texas regs were implemented? Having read your posts on this, it seems to me that these strict regulations have been in place for a while as fracking has been used in Texas for several decades.

One of the obstacles to implementing adequate controls for the disposal of fracking fluid is that environmental policy has been so thoroughly politicized that any attempt to regulate is seen as a partisan issue and fiercely opposed by current Republican officeholders. This was not the case prior to the last decade when the need to regulate extraction activity was accepted by both parties. They may have disagreed as to how strong that regulation should be, but they accepted the potential for environmental damage and a need to try to prevent it.

klee - Not exactly sure but most were well in place when I moved to Texas in the late 70's. I get what you mean about the politicized aspects. Each state has its own oil/NG regulatory system so that's where it has to start. And that's up to the locals to raise hell with their politicans. In Texas and La. it's very easy to work with our regulators: we just shut up, do what we're told and write a check...no politics...problems. LOL

I think you are unduly optimistic about recreating TRRC in other states. Elections are basically meaningless. The TRRC is mean because it is backed by politically-powerful landowners. That power doesn't exist in the hills and hollers of central PA or upstate NY. There's not much out there but extremely poor white people trying to scrape by. You can recreate the same form, but without the same underlying power dynamics, the results are likely to be very different.

Jersey - Very valid point. The new R gov of PA ran on a no new tax pledge. Now the Marcellus is booming. PA has never collected oil/NG production taxes unlike Texas and La. that have collected tens of $billions over the decades. All I can think to do is get enough in the local press to start publishing those numbers from down here and get the all the locals really pissed off. If these facts and the current high fuel prices don't move them to action then those folks deserve the crappy representation they are getting IMHO. Me, westexas, Rocky et al have all the numbers if any of those folks want the ammo.

That may work. Unfortunately, it's possible to get both higher taxes and bad (or actively corrupt) regulators. I freely confess I don't know what the solution is. Maybe require that one member of the board be approved by Greenpeace? *shrug*

This. Collectively, the Republicans of today are running on a platform of no new taxes, no new fees, no new regulations, and reduce the number of non-security government employees -- regardless of the consequences.

Added to that, oil and gas company executives can and do sit in front of state legislative committees and say, "If you add regulations, we'll take our rigs and our jobs and the royalties and severance taxes and go somewhere else." There are a number of studies that suggest that they haven't ever done that -- shut down during the busts, yes; move on when the gas runs out, yes; but not simply pick up and go drill in other places with lower regulation. Still, the legislatures worry about it.

For states with easy NG and oil produced from non-federal lands in excess of the amounts needed in their state, regulation and severance taxes are wonderful things; overall, those fees and taxes are largely paid by out-of-state consumers. So it doesn't actually cost the state's citizens much to regulate. If PA or NY could produce enough gas that a large portion of it was being sold out-of-state, it wouldn't be too long before they figured out that only a small part of the cost of the fees were being paid by the locals, and would jump on the bandwagon. Given the demands that will be put on NG supplies in the near future -- eg, a lot of Eastern electricity generators seem to believe that they can switch from coal to NG to meet new federal air pollution standards -- it seems unlikely that those states will export much gas to other states.

"If you add regulations, we'll take our rigs and our jobs and the royalties and severance taxes and go somewhere else." There are a number of studies that suggest that they haven't ever done that". A waste of time to do such studies IMHO. Consider:

La. takes 12.5% of bbl of oil produced in the state as severance tax. It current takes $0.33/mcf which is more than 12% of what I getting today for my NG in the state. In 2010 La. produced 67 million bbls of oil and 2.1 billion mcf of NG. The oil severance tax for that year brought in $600 million ($90/bbl) and NG severance brought in $720 million $3/mcf). That's over $1.3 BILLION. And this is just severance tax...doesn't include the taxes collected on oil patch business such as refineries. And Texas severance taxes aren't quite that high but we've typically collect over $1 billion/year. And about 1 out of every 3 wells drilled in the US are poked in Texas and La.

So if the folks in those states are either too ignorant of these easily researched facts or allow the politicians to ignore the obvious they deserve to lose out on this easy money. Does paying such taxes bother me or make me want to drill in other states? Honestly the thought never crosses my mind. It's just part of the cost of doing business. It just works into the economic analysis...and we still only drill in Texas and La.

"A waste of time to do such studies IMHO." Academic economists have to do something to feel productive; several have asked the question, phrased in economic-speak, of whether or not oil and gas company threats to leave a state in the face of increased regulation are credible. They get the same answer that you give: no. OTOH, (a) it's an article of faith for one of the two major political parties in the US that both you and the academics are wrong, (b) those economists aren't invited to present their results to legislative committees, and (c) TTBOMK you haven't dropped by up here to tell our state legislature that the executives who make those threats are lying.

I'm inclined to the simple argument that if oil and gas companies can't make a profit drilling here unless they're allowed to do unsafe disposal of things like fracking fluid, and to skimp on field maintenance so that they leak substantial amounts of methane and other nasties into the air, then that's not a business that we want here. Certainly the companies that make those claims are not the operators that we want handling drilling and production. It's entirely possible that those claims are true; we don't have the disposal infrastructure that Texas has, we're farther from markets, etc, etc. If that's the case, then leave the gas in the ground until prices are high enough that we can extract it in a reasonable fashion.

One way - remove the liability for fracking.

Right now there are claims of fracking causing earthquakes and groundwater contamination. These could be a liability for Corporations.

An example of the potential liability in Reuters:


Human-made earthquakes reported in central U.S.
By Deborah Zabarenko
WASHINGTON | Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:50pm EDT
(Reuters) - The number of earthquakes in the central United States rose "spectacularly" near where oil and gas drillers disposed of wastewater underground, a process that may have caused geologic faults to slip, U.S. government geologists report.

But now, without a 'retroactive law' 'administrative law' can make a declaration as to 'this is how it is' and now one has to overcome administrative remedies.

Re : What’s Your Walk Score?

I have a tiny little bone to pick with the way WalkScore does its calculations. I ran the WalkScore for my location, and got a score of 75. Then I randomly selected a couple of the stores listed on the amenities list and looked them up on Mapquest. The WalkScore distances are 15 - 20% shorter than the Mapquest distances using the "shortest distance" selection.

I recall viewing the WalkScore site a couple of years ago, and they had these caveats listed, although I am unable to find them now :-

1. WalkScore uses "as the crow flies" directions.
2. WalkScore does not recognize physical barriers such as expressways or bodies of water - it assumes you will cross them, rather than going around (swim, anyone ?).
3. Bad neighborhoods, poor lighting, lack of crosswalks or badly maintained sidewalks, are not covered.
4. They don't account for time of year, like when snow is 4 feet deep, or vagaries of the weather.

There were a couple of others, specfically regarding the alorithm used, but I don't recall those off the top of my head.

Of course, also, they are only as good as the quality of the data - some of the amenities they list are long gone, and some are - shall we say - not good places to spend time.

Having said that, it does provide some ability to measure the walkability of neighborhoods, but, as I'm always telling people, one has to have a place to walk to, within a reasonable distance, without getting knocked down trying to cross the street. WalkScore remains, in my mind, a great selling tool for realtors, rather than a good, qualitative measure of neighborhood accessibility.

I ran the WalkScore...

I think I see your problem.


The as the crow flies calculation is in their main scoring system because it is easy, fast, and responsive. However they have introduced more advanced optional calculations currently in beta, called smart scores, that are based on true walking route distances. This drastically lowers suburban cul-de-sac scores, and urban areas with coherent street grids keep their high scores. My understanding is the developers are well aware of the limitations of their methodology and are working to address them, and find the right balance between the amount of data to get a solid read, but not so much it becomes bloated and slow loading application. Also in the works is Bike Score, which I am very excited about.


He strongly urged the Ambassador to accept international help to prevent dangerous nuclear material from being released into the environment.
“The scope of damage to the plants and to the surrounding area was far beyond what I expected and the scope of the challenges to the utility owner, the government of Japan, and to the people of the region are daunting,” Wyden wrote in the letter. “The precarious status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear units and the risk presented by the enormous inventory of radioactive materials and spent fuel in the event of further earthquake threats should be of concern to all and a focus of greater international support and assistance.”

12 Predictions by Michael Pettis on China; Non-Food Commodity Prices Will Collapse Over Next Three to Four Years; Nails in the Hard Landing Coffin?

In Australia we like to think this party will go on forever, that is exporting minerals to China. A lot of immigration growth has been predicated on increasing mineral exports. We even have the strange belief that coal must be carbon taxed at home but China can have all the coal they want because that CO2 is somehow is not an issue. One company that operates a steel mill now facing closure with the loss of jobs says that they will send the iron ore and coking coal to China and still make more profit. That's their perspective, not that of the wider community.

If Chinese commodity imports tank Australia will have all these big mines and ports lying idle. Foreign currency earnings (needed to pay for oil imports) and government royalty revenue will decline. The huge FIFO industry whereby mine workers fly in and fly out to mining camps will decline. These places might get families instead. Wheat exports may improve as the $A shrinks, currently about $US1.04. We might be forced back into making our own stuff and thinking about long term sustainability and population. A China collapse will be painful for Australia but perhaps better in the long run.

A lot of immigration growth has been predicated on increasing mineral exports.
Its quite bizarre the calls to step up immigration for more "skilled labor" when mining is a capital, not labor, intensive industry.

A couple of strange developments there. One is the call for guest workers under the so called Section 457 provisions.
About half the 'temporary' workers apply for permanent residence and bring out their families. Presumably they will go on the Australian welfare system when mining employment runs out.They are often mistreated and underpaid in the mines.

Apparently underemployed youths in the coastal cities can't be trained. In reality some jobs described as 'skilled' and hard to fill are really unskilled. The idea is to get a compliant workforce who can be bullied under threat of deportation. The other development is robot mining, for example driverless trucks

Note that both urban greenies and mine bosses say what a good system it is. Cornucopians at either end of the political spectrum. Mine labour is not only unsustainable but unfair since the bottom rung people get fired or sent home the minute the commodity price falls.

I very rarely circulate requests for donation, but this is a case that may be of specific interest to TOD readers.

The site Plants for a Future is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in plants of all kinds. I have found it especially useful for the information on edible and medicinal plants, and other very specific uses.

One can do searches by scientific name, common name, and a number of other criteria - sun requirements, climate zone, uses - to name just a few.

I recently purchased the database for my own use. One can also donate a small amount. I really think it is worthwhile to support this.

More here :-


Flag if inappropriate.

Thanks, all.

A bit off topic

While going through some receipts, I came across one from Best Buy and since I was considering returning the item, I looked it over for instructions. Here's what it says:

Dear Valued Customer,
Best Buy tracks returns and exchanges on an individual level. When you return or exchange an item at this store we will require a valid form of photo ID. The information from your ID will be stored in a secure, encrypted database of customer return activity that Best Buy and its affiliates use to track returns by our customers. This information is used to help us continue to deliver competitive prices.

Valid forms of ID accepted are: U.S. or Canadian Driver's License, U.S. State ID, Canadian Province ID Matricula Consular, Mexican DL, U.S. Military ID, Passport, and U.S. Laser Visa.

Your personal information helps them to remain competitive??? WTF!

People steal product then try and return it for a refund.


Yes. People also use stores as free rental places. They buy an item, use it for a special event, then return it for a refund. Stores have been forced to track "serial returners" to prevent this.

Examples: A family with three daughters "buys" three expensive designer dresses for Easter, then returns them when the holiday is over - wrinkled and food-stained. A college student buys a laptop, then returns it a week later - with the term paper he "bought" the computer for still on it. A couple buys a fancy new video camera for their vacation...then returns it when they get back, vacation videos still on it. A man "buys" a flatscreen TV for his Super Bowl party, then returns it when Super Sunday is over.

The point of the database is to keep track of stuff like this. If you have a record of returning things after using them, they won't accept returns from you.

Edgy, You obviously don't live in a high crime area.

Crime is the least of it. The people who do this are well-off, and could afford to buy the items. They just don't see why they should.

I've noticed a number of television shows promoting it - characters use it successfully and happily.

Stores have a "No Hassle" return policy for a good reason, to promote customer satisfaction and ultimately increase the bottom line.

I know I have appreciated this doing some home construction jobs. Which box will work the best? I'll just get both. How many elbows will I need 8?, 10?. Grab 12 to be sure. Knowing I can easily return the extra stuff makes life easy.

And now these people are ruining it. Tragedy of the Commons comes to mind.

This appears to have absolutely nothing to do with tragedy of the commons.

If a store has a policy of allowing customers to take construction products home to check them out, that is great. If not, that is fine too. I am sure it is profitable in some cases and not in others.

But the fact that they may not want to spent several dollars restocking a $0.50 product because customers didn't take the time to do their homework, or don't want people borrowing expensive clothes for a night for free is hardly an issue of justice or a tragedy of any sort. Pull yourself together!

The point of the database is so people like you can continue to benefit from the return policy, while those who abuse it can be reined in.

Another alternative: patronize a local shop, where they know you, and know you're not a scammer. I do that, even when it's cheaper at Lowe's or Home depot.

My gripe with Best Buy is a bad UPS I bought from them. While under warranty the thing failed. They told me I had to ship it back to the manufacturer myself. Thanks a lot. The da*n think weighed so much the shipping was more than I paid for it.

Best Buy is closing 50 stores and looking for a new CEO.


The board named director Mike Mikan interim CEO. He introduced himself in a message on Wednesday and said he was very pleased with the priorities the company had established including "improving the customer and employee experiences, re-energizing the store portfolio, reducing costs and driving our global growth strategies (Connections, Services, e-commerce and China)."

The company said it was closing the 50 stores as part of an initiative to "increase points of presence, while decreasing overall square footage."

Re: EU’s ‘Recession-Busting’ Wind Industry Set to Triple in Value

Things are continuing to progress rapidly with respect to Nova Scotia's COMFIT (Community Feed-in Tariff) initiative; earlier today, another eighteen community-based wind and tidal projects totalling 42.2 MW were approved by the Province and this bumps us up to just over 100 MW.

For a list of COMFIT projects approved to date, see: https://nsrenewables.ca:44309/approved-comfit-projects-status

Nova Scotia's COMFIT rates are as follows:

   Project Type    Payment
   Wind, 50 kW or less    49.9¢ per kWh   
   Wind, > 50 kW    13.1¢ per kWh
   Run-of-the-river hydro       14.0¢ per kWh
   In-stream tidal    65.2¢ per kWh
   CHP biomass    17.5¢ per kWh

I recall from past discussions there had been questions raised as to what impact COMFIT might have on electricity rates, but the vast majority of projects approved thus far have all come in at 13.1¢ per kWh. And the key thing to remember is that these rates are locked-in for a full twenty years, so this price will remain unchanged over the life of the contract -- that's a pretty sweet deal for ratepayers given that almost all of the risk is borne by the developer and not the utility, and in light of where we can expect thermal generating costs to be five, ten and twenty years hence.

Presently, 17 per cent of our electricity is generated through renewables and if all goes to plan that climbs to 25 per cent by 2015 and 40 per cent by 2020. Already, we're starting to see the fruits of our labour, e.g., NSP will begin seasonally idling two of its largest coal-fired units in the next few weeks (see: www.thechronicleherald.ca/business/78434-ns-power-idle-two-lingan-coal-u...), but there's still much work to be done and little time to lose.


Wow, harsh article about unconventional resources. Most of those won't even amount to much put together, perhaps a few percent of production. Especially kerogen, since the EROEI is below 1. Shale gas is perhaps the most promising, but still limited, as david hughes and chris nedler have shown. More promising is the outlook for nuclear fuels, especially U-238 and thorium, although conventional reactors won't help much.

More promising is the outlook for nuclear fuels, especially U-238 and thorium

What is not promising is Man's flawed nature - leading to unacceptable failure modes.

One of the failure modes of Man is warfare - what happens to the biosphere when these reactors are targets?

Interesting article up top, "6 Scary Extreme Energy Sources Being Tapped to Fuel the Post Peak Oil Economy" - particularly the stuff about how Cesium is being found in Milk in California according to Berkely U. See this link: http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/forum/218/continual-rising-levels-cesium-mil...

This concerns me, directly. Are my two girls, 8 and 9, in Eastern Washington at risk? I can find only stories written during the panicky earlier days of the Fukushima disaster - but nothing recent. We go through two gallons of milk per week, if not more.

I don't know what to make of this Fukushima disaster - how it's so hush-hush - I'm thinking it's like a Biblical plague - one of the seven plagues of the Revelation seems a reasonable assessment. As we watch, the burning mox mixture that now melts through the earth slowly, irreversibly poisons the seas, first around Japan and later throughout the world - whales developing tumors the size of cars - fish caught with six eyes - dead regions with trillions of glow-in-the dark jellyfish ...

I wonder what the second plague's gonna be.

The US NRC has a page dedicated to the Fukushima incident.


It's quite technical, and probably doesn't answer all of your questions even at that, but it's hardly a disaster of biblical proportions.

I don't know, creating permanently dangerous zones that remain so for lifetimes... Places where you can no longer farm... Sounds biblical to me. Just like how our fossil fuels are poisoning everything (mercury in coal, CO2 causing global warming, etc). What a great choice, cancer vs. aids!

If by "permanently dangerous" you mean no more than 240 years for a place you wouldn't want to walk through today to be completely safe, then yes.

But there are very few places in the exclusion zone that are anywhere near that bad and people will be living in most of the current exclusion zone within the lifetimes of most of the people on this board (and we aren't the youngest on average).

Considering that most biblical stuff happened in an area smaller than New Jersey, I think this qualifies.

No need to count how many Angels can dance on the Head of a Pin..

Here, we have dozens of aging Reactors and overloaded Spent Fuel stores that lie almost entirely concordant with the most densely populated parts of the Globe, and we know that we can't handle it once it goes wrong.

You don't have to be Zoltar to write up the Fortune for this one..

You don't have to be Zoltar to write up the Fortune for this one..


As of 30 March 2012 in 31 countries 436 nuclear power plant units with an installed electric net capacity of about 370 GW are in operation and 63 plants with an installed capacity of 60 GW are in 15 countries under construction.

What could possibly go wrong? After all so few people have been directly injured or killed by nuclear accidents in the past, right?...

Perhaps a look at Richard Feynman's report on the Challenger Disaster might shed some light on how the pro nuclear folk lead themselves into falsely believing in the long term safety of these reactors.


Appendix F - Personal observations on the reliability of the Shuttle

by R. P. Feynman


It appears that there are enormous differences of opinion as to the
probability of a failure with loss of vehicle and of human life. The
estimates range from roughly 1 in 100 to 1 in 100,000. The higher
figures come from the working engineers, and the very low figures from
management. What are the causes and consequences of this lack of
agreement? Since 1 part in 100,000 would imply that one could put a
Shuttle up each day for 300 years expecting to lose only one, we could
properly ask "What is the cause of management's fantastic faith in the

What is the cause of the pro nuclear folks complete denial of the true risks of playing russian roulette?
After all they have spun the chamber, pulled the trigger and they are quite ready to keep repeating that process.

After all they have spun the chamber, pulled the trigger and they are quite ready to keep repeating that process.

That would be fine if they were only pointing it at their own heads.

Don't forget adding reactors to places like Zimbabwe and The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (Both have had press releases on the plans to build)

As for Zoltar and predicting fortunes..........
You have the public story of the boat with radioactive material.
This same ship has a different "history" depending on whom one asks.

Russian Intelligence: Ship Was a Dirty Bomb Sent to Israel

And after the ship was releasd it headed to its intended destination of Rotterdam where


The MV Iran Deyanat arrived at Rotterdam on 11 November 2008. A "multi-disciplinary team comprising inspectors from the port authority, customs and habour police boarded and searched the ship" and found no hazardous substances on board.[12] The paperwork was in order and the ship was unloaded. Lloyd's List reported that the ship’s charterer—German-based Hinrichs—denied any evidence of pirates falling ill during the hijacking.

Are my two girls, 8 and 9, in Eastern Washington at risk?

Yes as the material is now in the biosphere.

The 'debate' is how MUCH risk.

The pro-nukers here will say 'no risk' and cite how "safe" fission power is. More realistic people have a different position.

Radiation causes cells to change. Many times the changes are fatal. The times that are not fatal might become cancer.

You have a couple of paths to take:

For bio-similar material (Caesium being treated as Calcium) you can choose to add more than one may need to the diet so that the body has less reason to uptake Caesium.

Another path is diet change. Start learning to like anti-cancer foods like Turmeric, mushrooms like Oyster/Shiitake, or even Tomatoe sauce.

http://www.radiation.org/projects/index.html talks about low doses and their effects in case you want to read what we understand from Science!

"For bio-similar material (Caesium being treated as Calcium)"

Cesium is more like potassium (both +1). Adding potassium fertilizers to the soil around the old Pacific nuclear testing grounds significantly reduced the cesium uptake in the local plants.

Strontium (and radium, not that much of that came out of Fukushima) acts like calcium (+2), and that is probably what you are thinking of. Strontium carbonate is insoluble, so once it forms the strontium 90 is going to stay put, barring immersion in acid. So Sr-90 is less mobile in the environment, although the half-life is about the same as cesium.

Cesium is more like potassium

Should a dug out my periodic table. Mea Culpa.

Overloading with Calcium causes one set of problems, overloading Potassium a whole nother set. I believe excess Potassium can kill one right away.

Insufficient K and you risk cramps.


I have to believe any amounts this far away are miniscule. Take, say calcium to reduce Caesium uptake, and you risk having too much Calcium. You have to weigh risks against each other. I'm not at all worried about Fukushima radionucleotides making it over here (California). The only thing I'd be wary of it untested imported Japanese food. We will probably be indirectly damaged because of the accident 9several countries are giving up on N-power, and that increases GW gasses. Thats the biggest direct effect of this disaster (for those not living in Japan).

I have to believe any amounts this far away are miniscule.

And yet the background counts are now higher than before and according to some statements have been at times above the levels called safe.

Look at the beta counts for California. Note how one city is higher than all others. Then think about what large industrial process is there - hint: they need a deep water harbor.

And remember that it was the high radioactivity in the Hazelnut crop in Turkey due to Chernobyl that caused the PERSONAL action of the chair of the Ritter Group to take funds/effort from the candy making business and create their solar energy capture business as a way to provide alternative energy capture to the "smash atoms boil water" method of fission power.

.... The only thing I'd be wary of it untested imported Japanese food.

R4ndom just posted how 'easy' it is to detect radiation. Surely it would be no problem to find the Alpha and Beta decay materials in the food?!?! Right r4ndom?

Thats the biggest direct effect of this disaster

If one is worried about greenhouse gasses - then start doing actual things in your own life. Build a bio-char maker and bury charcoal. Install Solar panels.

The real long term effect will be the additional wealth transfer "to save the planet" under Government fiat which will result in the money going to the class who steers Government policy.
The 1st 'canary in that coal mine' is this report showing 70% of the money for Carbon reduction is wasted.

Iran's Ghasemi says Saudi Arabia cannot replace Iranian oil

Iran is not facing any restrictions in selling its crude oil because of international sanctions and Saudi Arabia cannot replace Iranian oil in the longer term because it is already pumping at full capacity, Iranian oil minister Rostam Ghasemi said Tuesday.

"Saudi production may be temporary and it definitely cannot continue," he told Iran's PressTV in an interview ahead of the opening of the 17th International Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemicals Exhibition in Tehran. "It is not practical, and if it is practical, it is transient...and will have negative effects in the future."

The truth about Saudi production capacity will soon be known... perhaps.

Ron P.

I wonder for how long we can keep using export bans as a political instrument. If you forbid a country to export, that oil is after all off the market. And every dropis needed.

The oil never really goes off the market. Just the money.

China to Overtake U.S. as Biggest Tanker User: Chart of the Day

China will pass the U.S. in 2013 as the biggest user of tankers carrying oil at sea as Asian imports travel over longer distances and fewer cargoes go to the world’s biggest economy, according to Arctic Securities ASA.


China will account for 25 percent of oil-tanker demand by 2015, against 19 percent for the U.S., according to Arctic. U.S. seaborne imports of crude will decline to 7.6 million barrels a day by that year, the lowest level since 1995, from 8.3 million this year, the bank estimates.

The ELM drums are pounding.
Sorry I can't link the graph, but worth a look.

Good news for the US, bad news for China.

China has contracted to build 12 VLCCs for Iran, which will take delivery of the world's largest--2.2 Million bbls capacity--in May, with the others to follow. Iran is adding a total of 21 new tankers to its fleet, a process to be completed by the end of 2013. The project, started in late 2011, will expand Iran's tanker fleet to 70 vessels.

Reuters reports:

Direct imports to India from Iran were 433,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the first quarter compared with 256,000 bpd to China, according to data compiled by Geneva's Petrologistics and seen by Reuters via an industry source.

The Indian import figure was up by around 23 percent from the 351,0000 bpd imported over the same period of 2011 and significantly above the its 2011 average of 326,000 bpd.

And they (US Propaganda Officials) say the IPI or Peace Pipeline project is dead. I seriously doubt that as all 3 countries stand to benefit greatly from its completion, and the Iranian segment is already complete.

IMF Raises Global Economic Growth Forecast to 3.5% From 3.3%

The world economy will expand 3.5 percent this year and 4.1 percent in 2013, the Washington-based IMF said today in its World Economic Outlook, raising forecasts made in January from 3.3 percent for 2012 and 4.0 percent for next year. The U.S. will grow 2.1 percent this year and 2.4 percent in 2013, up from 1.8 percent and 2.2 percent in the lender’s January projections.

No worries mate. What could possibly go wrong.

At the end of the article, there's this happy thought:

“The potential consequences of a disorderly default and exit by a euro area member are unpredictable and thus not possible to map into a specific scenario,” the IMF said. “If such an event occurs, it is possible that other euro area economies perceived to have similar risk characteristics would come under severe pressure as well, with a full-blown panic in financial markets and depositor flight from several banking systems.”

And Krugman in his latest NYT post points out what's going on (although one might question his prescription for fixing things). This sucker's going down...

E. Swanson

Yeah, his closing words aren't exactly what one would call the epitome of optimism either...

So it’s hard to avoid a sense of despair. Rather than admit that they’ve been wrong, European leaders seem determined to drive their economy — and their society — off a cliff. And the whole world will pay the price.


Concerning the Economics and Finance side: the thing I am still wondering is whether the global economic news portends a deflationary period or an inflationary period around the corner. I am hearing more frequently that inflation is around the corner, especially from gold bugs. They say central banks will "print, print, print." Well, actually they will just lend, lend, lend... no need to get up and start the presses. The lending will increase the money supply drastically, thus inflation. But I wonder who can afford to increase their borrowing (especially governments--even the US has 1.2 Trillion automatic "sequester" soon). And when do the banks stop lending because there are no worthy and willing borrowers?

But with everything happening in Europe I personally find a deflationary period quite likely due to so many private and sovereign borrowers defaulting and/or paying down loans. This decreases the overall money supply so the dollar should appreciate due to its relative scarcity as a result of the debt repayments/defaults.

Of course I'm assuming the the dollar doesn't completely collapse due to lost faith in the fiat. That could happen, but it would be impossible to predict I think.

"the thing I am still wondering is whether the global economic news portends a deflationary period or an inflationary period around the corner."

I'm voting for 'Yes'. Inflation in necessities as resource constraints bite (along with their attendant political instability), and deflation in non-essentials as demand drops due to the first point.

Ah, interesting: Perhaps "squeezeflation." A reduction in the variance of prices of all items being sold. Expensive stuff gets cheaper and formerly cheap stuff gets more expensive. So if you plotted the normal distribution of the price of any and all goods on the same coordinate axis the normal(-ish?) curve should start displaying a narrowing and sharpening of its shape.

I agree, I think this is entirely plausible.

Price increases aren't inflation. Inflation is the increasing of the money supply faster than the economy grows. This usually manifests as price increases, because more dollars are chasing the same goods and services. But price increases due to scarcity have nothing to do with inflation.

If the money supply increases, but the general price level doesn't...who cares???

Why is that sort of inflation a problem??

Well the money will go somewhere. These days it goes into asset bubbles. Internet stocks. Housing. Gold. Internet stocks. Inflation will always cause distortions somewhere.

I'd say that a housing bubble is inflation - our current method of counting imputed rent is crazy.

OTOH, I don't see much harm in bubbles in gold, or internet stocks. And, nobody recognizes bubbles while they're bubbles, so how do you tell the difference between providing liquidity for growth of a wonderful new sector of the economy, and a bubble?

it's kind of strange to read krugman. of course if one strongly believes that economic growth is just around corner and it will continue forever, then perhaps his views make sense. but apparently even though european leaders speak continually about growth, they are not so keen to follow his advice.

related to this there was a funny interview in finnish tv. the former ceo of nokia, jorma ollila ( now some boss in shell) was asked about the economic situation. you see he's regarded in finland as some sort of hero so people ask of his opinion about various things. first the tv guy asked what he thought about austerity and raising taxes and of course ollila said the usual thing that it's not good for business to raise taxes etc. then the guy asked if we should just happily borrow and wait for the growth. but ollila wasn't quite comfortable with this proposition either. he clearly had some doubts. so finally he didn't have any clear opinion at all on the matter.

this is just a guess but maybe politicians in general in europe have more and more doubts about the return of growth although they can't publicly say so. of course the american situation is quite different so i guess krugman has in mind just his american audience. but i wonder in what sense krugman thinks his ideas are relevant to europe.

I have to admit to being confused, again.

So, if these European countries don't do austerity, then wouldn't the opposite thing be to borrow an amount of money that they couldn't even afford to pay maintenance on? I mean every action has both consequences and LIMITS. Lets say, the ECB prints money LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW, wouldn't the Germans who worked hard and saved get hurt?

And, on another angle, if these countries weren't doing austerity, wouldn't they be using even more oil, and therefor make my oil costs higher? Good for them :) Just kidding...

Hey eastex,

Paradigm change! BAU is dead, so things should start getting interesting in the near future.

Sure wish I had a crystal ball to see how things will shake out!

It's only natural to be confused about the unnatural system we call finance. It is a system that has only one possible outcome: collapse (duration may vary). The problem is there is more debt than money out there and the payments are coming due in Europe first as everyone scrambles to collect as much money they can to pay off their own debts. That of course leaves other parties without enough money to pay off their debts, and so they must default. Then, hurray! the ownership of hard assets transfers to the banksters who actually risked NOTHING when they gave the loan due to fractional reserve requirements. (Republicans and plutocrats repeat the mantra that lending is risky and should be rewarded, but banks don't actually need money to lend they create money from nothing. The thing they have that we don't is a license to bank.)... The default victim could always take out another loan to pay off their current debts as Greece was forced to do. This of course only delays the inevitable.

Our financial system, because of compounding interest and bank-loan created money, will ensure that there will always be more debt than money available to pay off the debt. With such a system dynamic an inevitable collapse is a feature not a bug. The only question is how long can it muddle along as people continue to borrow... that depends more on human psychology and confidence than the system itself. Economists call this "the business cycle" and speak of it as if it is some natural law, when it is merely an inevitability of the social construct we call the financial system.

Edit: The really sinister part of this system is that it elicits austerity measures which imply paying down debts. This decreases the money supply as loaned bank money annihilates when it meets debt. Therefore there is less money in the economy and so defaults come about sooner as parties become delinquent. With this financial system it has been said that paying off debts makes us poorer not richer because the amount of money out there decreases. So even if you never participate in the financial scam system by taking out a loan you will have trouble finding money through honest labor contracts (thus unemployment).

I think the softish way out is what I'd call stealth inflation. You pretend the economy is still growing, by letting nominal GDP keep marching up. But if good and services aren't going up as well, then prices must rise to make up the difference. But still you can create the appearence of a exponetially growing economy (as long as you don't compare actual hrad goods across generations). I suspect you can even make it feel like improvements, by changing styles of stuff (the old unwanted stuff, versus the new in fashion stuff), and over a period long enough for people to forget, you can cycle through several different styles. I feel I'm getting richer, because red clothes suck, and I'm now acquiring Blue. Then my kids get richer, because they get to trade in crappy Blue, for newly stylish Red.....

So I think there are less than totally catastrophic climbdowns available. They aren't completely honest. But, you can't have everything.

"So, if these European countries don't do austerity, then wouldn't the opposite thing be to borrow an amount of money that they couldn't even afford to pay maintenance on?"

In the neo-Keynesian universe, mega-squandering will create a boom that will last long enough for 6 to 8% inflation to disappear the troublesome debt. The fact that it will also annihilate the savers in a feature, not a bug, since saving is theft. (Any money saved is not spent, and since all income is from spending, a saver is depriving someone of their income, which is theft.)

It used to be that 2 or 3% inflation would devalue the old debt fast enough to stay out of trouble. Now Krugman is claiming we need 6% inflation. When that stops working, he will want 10%, and so forth. How someone who took calculus can not grasp how exponential functions work, or what the derivative of e^x is a long-standing mystery.

The point I was trying to make above, is that exponential limitations don't apply to artificialitiesm, such as GDP as measured in fiat currency. So we could invent a system that mimics exponential growth -in nominal economic terms, but which is quasi-steady state in physical terms. And at least in the present era there is no good way to measure inflation, as the relative costs of different sorts of goods are changing. Want raw computational power, thats getting cheaper fast. Want to burn oil, thats getting more expensive fast. Others things are in between. What looks like 5% inflation to person X, might look like 5% deflation to me.

EU break up in the offing?
China growth greatly reduced.
US deficits over 1 trillion,
but stock market rally's?
Price of oil higher,
yet consumer can withstand it better?
On an oil production plateau,
but unconventional fills voids?
Economy working its way back up,
or getting ready to dump down hard?
You make the call >

I'll just say this: Greek elections. I expect a messy default sooner or later. And rightly so, the EU literally chose to impoversh the Greeks - have them literally eating out of dumpsters - in order to save the banks. It would be amazing how badly the EU and Eurozone is managed, until you consider that the managers are bankers and unelected bureacrats and each country is still publicly holding its nose about being in the same group with the others.

The dream of European unity was a nice one, and even the Euro was not really a bad idea per se. I'll be sad to see it go.

I've been amazed over the past 15 years how Europe has given up on most Border controls, but I can no longer enter the USA without a passport.

I expect the EU is a flash in the pan but I hope that it's memory lasts a while & the Euro states don't immediately go back to continuous squabbly warfare. However I'm almost as pessimistic about the 'United' states.

I'm thinking about starting to issue Cascadia passports - who wants one?


I'm thinking about starting to issue Cascadia passports - who wants one?

You could found your own micro nation and even create your own currency.


I find the nation of Wirtland especially intriguing.


Hey, there was one in my own home province. Never heard of it. (Only 6 square meters in size anyway).


Obama to pitch $52M plan to regulate oil markets

WASHINGTON – Under pressure to take action on rising gasoline prices, President Obama wants Congress to strengthen federal supervision of oil markets, increase penalties for market manipulation and empower regulators to increase the amount of money energy traders are required to put behind their transactions.

There, that was easy. FIXED IT!

The pipeline bottleneck at Cushing which is preventing Canadian and North Dakota oil from reaching the Gulf Coast is starting to break up with the early startup of the Seaway pipeline reversal. Plans are also in the making to drastically increase the capacity of the reversed pipeline from 150,000 bpd to 850,000 bpd.

Seaway oil pipeline reversal ahead of schedule

An oil glut in the U.S. Midwest could ease sooner than expected, if regulators approve an early start to the Seaway pipeline reversal, but prices likely won’t respond as quickly, warned analysts.

Partners in the project, Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. and Enterprise Product Partners, applied for a May 17 start up date on the 150,000 barrel per day pipeline which would flow crude from bloated storage hub Cushing, Oklahoma to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The Seaway launch, a reversal in direction of an existing pipeline, is expected to alleviate pricing pressure at the hub which has seen Canadian crude selling at a wide discount to its U.S. counterpart, West Texas Intermediate, and offshore Brent prices.

Western Canada Select heavy oil blend is trading around $20 below U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for May, as it competes for take-away capacity with rapidly rising Bakken barrels from North Dakota.

Thank you for the update. I've been trying to watch this one as I suspect it will have many effects beyond the price of oil. At 850,000 bpd, or even 400,000 bpd they plan to get out of the existing pipeline, it's going to change the equation, and with so much in US politics this year revolving around oil prices... Though if they only do 150k bpd for a while, I wonder how strong an effect it will have on prices? That's still much less than what comes out of ND, according to the article.

Stocks at Cushing are at 50 million barrels currently. This flow (.15 mbd) would reduce the stocks to normal levels within 3 months if every other method of moving oil away stayed the same as today (which wouldn't happen in the real world, some movements that are marginal today will quickly fade as WTI gains parity with Brent).

Thanks. I guess that means we'll probably get to see the WTI/Brent gap close mostly by the end of the year. This is gonna be interesting.

Obama gets tough on oil market speculators

The president announced Tuesday that he wants Congress to crack down on oil market speculators whom he argues have helped drive up the price of crude oil and gasoline. Obama wants to boost funding to step up regulators’ surveillance of energy futures traders and increase civil and criminal penalties tenfold for those found guilty of manipulating prices. He's also urging that market regulators deploy new technology. 

"At a time when American consumers are feeling pain at the pump, it is critically important to ensure that illegal manipulation, fraud and market rigging are not contributing to gas price increases," the White House said in a statement.  House Speaker John Boehner (R, Ohio) denounced the plan as unnecessary, saying the White House already has the tools available to crack down on any possible oil price manipulation.

A look at Consumption to Production ratios in former and current oil exporting countries:


One of the key characteristics of net export declines is that an initially (relatively) low net export decline rate tends to obscure a very high post-peak Cumulative Net Export (CNE) depletion rate. For example, three years into a 12 year net export decline period, Indonesia had shown a post-peak net export decline rate of 7.9%/year, but only three years into the decline they had already shipped 42% of post-peak CNE, a three year depletion rate of 18%/year.

As noted in the above link, the entire post-2005 cumulative supply of global net oil exports (GNE) that are available to importers other than China & India may have already fallen by about 35%, in only the five year period from 2005 to 2010, a five year post-2005 depletion rate of 8.6%/year.

Re getting tough on speculators: What a nice bit of theatre. They can bluster and posture about about how they're doing something to fix the problem, but nothing will actually be done and even if it were it won't change anything because speculation isn't really the problem anyway. But I guess it makes a nice headline, which is as far as anyone will read anyway.

Bit of theater indeed! All Obama has to do is to make sure to do this blustering just before the price of gasoline would have fallen from its normal springtime highs anyway. Then he can claim credit for the effect. Maybe he has been reading Robert Rapier's TOD postings on the subject.

Stock speculation good! Oil speculation bad!

Well, it's an election year and Obama has to point the finger of blame at someone, preferably not himself. The nebulous "speculators" are always a good target because they must have lots of money, whoever they are.

The public doesn't like to have politicians shattering their illusions of living in a free-wheeling society where fuel is always cheap, so there will a minimum of facts involved in the debate. The fact that world oil production has been flat for the last half-decade will be avoided, as will the facts that the oil exporting countries are consuming more and more of their own oil because they feel they owe nothing to the oil importing countries, and the rapidly developing countries are using a bigger and bigger share of the diminishing exports available and bidding up prices.

It's hard to remember that China was once an oil exporting country, because it is now one of the world's biggest oil importers, but it really wasn't that long ago.

The opposition will continue to shout back that if Obama only allowed more drillling on wildlife refuges the US could be self-sufficient in oil, without anybody in the audience having enough facts to jump up and yell, "What!?? Are you guys on crack cocaine??" or something equally perceptive.

But what's the end game? At some point after the economy has long ago collapsed and the speculators are gone, the contrivance of independent oil companies recognized as the farce it is and all of them nationalized, any pretence of democracy and limitations to what the government can do long gone - then what is the excuse as to why the cheap and plentiful oil won't come?

If you take away all the excuses then there's nothing to hide behind. Therefore nothing will be done that risks taking away the excuses.

Anyone who has studied collapses knows that at some point rising prices become irrelevant. That's because the market system stops working when a crucial commodity is in shortage, it's not about prices anymore. What you have are price controls, theft, rationing, hoarding and a lot of other non-economic stuff.

Same will be the case with nation-states, there will be rationing, nationalization (as with YPF and Argentina), embargoes, desire to strike barter deals such as arms for oil, food for oil etc etc.

But what's the end game?

The 'end game' is to stay at the top of the heap as long as possible. Perhaps humanity will 'get lucky' and space aliens/fusion power will arrive and be able to provide the underpriced energy fix.

If you take away all the excuses then there's nothing to hide behind

You create new excuses. War - fighting the enemy is always good. Look at the use of the word "War" and tying it to something. War on Cancer. War on Drugs. War on poverty. War on terror.

Well put. I stated here four years ago that energy futures markets in the US will be slowly restricted, then eventually boarded up and closed. This may take another five years when the effects of falling world net oil exports will be so great that most every importing nation will choose to take what may be considered now as radical actions.

So enjoy the show if you can.

BTW I previously worked in the Wall Street trading room of one of the largest US stock and futures trading firms. I don't trade futures now, not because I am more worried about manipulation by speculators, but by sudden changes to exchange margin requirements and government rules.

Link to CNBC story:


There is actually a certain (superficial) logic to the "Speculators are to blame" belief, if one accepts the ExxonMobil and CERA party line that we won't peak for decades to come, and when we do peak it will be an "Undulating Plateau." If we have vast oil resources, then there must be some kind of conspiracy to raise oil prices.

"If we have vast oil resources, then there must be some kind of conspiracy to raise oil prices."

I think that is the reasoning, and belief, of most.

Ukraine nuclear plant halts reactor as power fails

... The second reactor of the Yuzhno-Ukrainskaya Nuclear Power Station in the south of Ukraine was put on minimal capacity following the failure of its main transformer and the subsequent breakage of the high voltage power line late Monday, the emergencies ministry said.

"Reactor No 2 has been switched to the minimum capacity and unplugged from Ukraine's energy grid," the emergencies ministry said in a statement on its website.

... "Everything is okay. The level of radiation is what we always have," Tishkova said

And? (I assume you supplied the emphasis in the above quote, is there a deeper meaning there that I'm missing?)

... and everybody lived happily ever after :-)

Since just the mention that there is radiation somewhere is enough to scare people these days, I thought you might be trying to imply that somehow the Ukranian reactor was an accident waiting to happen but you didn't want to say so explicitly.

I guess I'm just reading things into it that aren't there.

I guess I'm just reading things into it that aren't there.

And yet you accuse other of the same.

Know thyself.

NOAA releases new views of Earth's ocean floor

NOAA has made sea floor maps and other data on the world’s coasts, continental shelves and deep ocean available for easy viewing online. Anyone with Internet access can now explore undersea features and obtain detailed depictions of the sea floor and coasts, including deep canyons, ripples, landslides and likely fish habitat.

Hint: deselect Multibeam Bathymetry Survey layer, select DEM hillside layer, select Ocean Baseline Map

The Sea as a Rubbish Tip

Biologists have prepared guidelines for a more precise investigation into marine pollution from microplastic particles.

'Diesel Reloaded:' A vehicle for rethinking mobility rolls into Hannover Messe

Public can see the latest progress in a unique, ongoing electromobility research project during the international trade fair MobiliTec, which takes place April 23-27 at the Hannover Messe. Embodied in a sleek, Colani-designed tractor-trailer that looks more like a spaceship than a truck, the project "Diesel Reloaded" aims to demonstrate how paradigm shifts in automotive, energy, and information technologies can help to address major societal trends and needs.

Small Oil Field Closures In North Sea Have Knock-On Effect On Global Oil Price Benchmark

Two recent minor outages in the North Sea, off the east coast of the United Kingdom, have affected the price of Brent – a global benchmark for the price of oil – according to the International Energy Agency’s latest Oil Market Report (OMR).

The monthly OMR notes that these outages and planned maintenance are likely to force supplies from Brent, Forties, Ekofisk, and Oseberg (BFOE) – the four major oil streams that make up the Brent benchmark – to below 1 million b/d in the second and third quarter of 2012.

“The sensitivity of BFOE pricing becomes even more acute when unplanned maintenance occurs at fields [such as Elgin/Franklin] in the Forties stream,” the OMR states.

The OMR also notes that over the next five years, it is possible that other mature oil fields will experience similar problems as the one Total encountered when it decommissioned an old well at the Elgin/Franklin site.

Over the next decade, the UK Continental Shelf can expect to see a number of fields and installations cease production and begin decommissioning. A recent report by Douglas-Westwood and Deloitte’s Petroleum Services Group calculated that over the next 30 years, almost 500 platforms, 8,000 wells, 4 million tons of steel and several hundred subsea wells, manifolds and pipelines will need to be decommissioned in the North Sea.

“The sensitivity of BFOE pricing becomes even more acute when unplanned maintenance occurs at fields [such as Elgin/Franklin] in the Forties stream,” the OMR states.

"unplanned maintenance" must be the re-phrasing of a major accident of the year.

Report by Douglas-Westwood and Deloitte’s Petroleum Services Group

The forecasted peak period of decommissioning is a likely to coincide with a peak in offshore wind turbine installation projects, which is likely to put even more pressure on existing decommissioning facilities.

Might some of this infrastructure end up abandoned instead of decommissioned? Was enough money for decommissioning set aside in advance?

Better stock up: Strike threat at Hostess could kill off Twinkies

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread heads to court Tuesday to try to throw out its union contracts, in a battle that leaves the iconic baker's future very much in doubt.

Hostess Brands, which makes Ding Dongs and a variety of other sweet treats, is asking the bankruptcy court in White Plains, N.Y. to tear up labor agreements, which would, among other things, allow Hostess to change how it funds union pensions. The hearing is expected to last two days.

Catabolic collapse at its worst; peak Twinkies. How does one adapt to that? Oh well, back to the garden. Maybe I'll figure out how to grow my own polysorbate 60 :-0

Maybe I'll figure out how to grow my own polysorbate 60 :-0


Polysorbates are surfactants that are produced by reacting the polyol, sorbitol, with ethylene oxide. The number in the name of the Polysorbate indicates the average number of moles of ethylene oxide that has been reacted per mole of sorbitol. The polyoxyethylenated sorbitan is then reacted with fatty acids obtained from vegetable fats and oils such as lauric acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and oleic acid. Polysorbates function to disperse oil in water as opposed to water in oil

I'm guessing you could probably manage the vegetable fats on your own, however...

the ethylene oxide is industrially produced by direct oxidation of ethylene in the presence of silver catalyst. It is extremely flammable and explosive and is used as a main component of thermobaric weapons;[2][3] therefore, it is commonly handled and shipped as a refrigerated liquid.

Source Wikipedia.

Any chance you'd consider carrot cake cupcakes instead? Granted they might not be quite as exciting >;^)

Maybe I'll figure out how to grow my own polysorbate 60 :-0

Well, twinkies are now uneconomic to manufacture because the oil companies are buying up all the supplies of polysorbate for hydraulic fracturing and so there's none left for making twinkies.

Help is in sight because the EPA will soon ban the use of polysorbates in fracking because of the danger of groundwater polysorbate contamination killing goats and small children. This will leave more for Twinkie making. The FDA feels it is not a problem in Twinkies because the other ingredients will kill people long before the polysorbates have any effect.

I'm only half-kidding because they actually do use polysorbates in hydraulic fracturing, as well as twinkies.

I'm only half-kidding because they actually do use polysorbates in hydraulic fracturing, as well as twinkies.

Yeah but either way it still seems like such a waste of perfectly good ethylene oxide which could probably be put to so much better use in thermobaric weapons...

*clap* *clap*

That is a post of beauty.

"...they actually do use polysorbates in hydraulic fracturing, as well as twinkies."

They use twinkies in fracking? I guess they make good plugs/packers :-0

I can't vouch for whether or not they use Twinkies in fracking, except for the ingredients. They used to use golf balls and chicken feathers, so anything is possible.

They should have tried the ol' Twinkie Kill on the Deepwater well.

And here I thought it was just a defensive tool..

Aaaagh, I't happening too fast, the Onion was right. I've got a 15 year supply of twinkies but not enough ammunition to defend them!

General Plan and Start of Main Work of the Cover for Fuel Removal of Unit 4 in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

Based on "Mid-to-Long-Term Roadmap towards the Decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 1-4" which was announced on Dec. 21, 2011, we started the preparation work for the installation of the cover for fuel removal of Unit 4 on Mar. 23, 2012.

As the first step of the main work, we will conduct the foundation improvement work in order to strengthen the foundation which supports the foundation of the frame for supporting the crane which is a part of the cover for fuel removal.

At the same time, we will conduct the countermeasure to prevent rainwater from penetrating into Unit 4 Reactor Building

As Air Pollution from Fracking Rises, EPA to Set Rules

On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce the first national rules to reduce air pollution at hydraulically fractured - fracked - wells and some other oil and gas industry operations. The agency estimated that the plan it proposed in July would reduce smog-forming, cancer-causing and climate-altering pollutants from the natural gas industry by about one-fourth.

The most fuel-efficient hybrid and electric cars

Given increased environmental awareness, high gas prices and a continually slumping economy, it's no wonder that more fuel efficient cars are all the rage these days. The best deal going may be Honda's hybrid, the 42 miles-per-gallon (MPG) Insight ($18,350). Meanwhile, the newest version of Toyota's flagship hybrid, the Prius ($23,015), garners an impressive 50 MPG. Other solid choices include Toyota's 41-MPG Camry hybrid ($25,900), Ford's 39-MPG Fusion hybrid ($28,700), Lexus' 42-MPG CT 200h ($29,120) and Lincoln's 39-MPG MKZ Hybrid ($34,755).

... Mitsubishi's new MiEV ($29,125) electric is the most fuel efficient car available to U.S. consumers in the 2012 model year, achieving 112 "MPG-equivalent" (the U.S. Environment Protection Agency's rating for electric vehicles that swaps in electricity for gas in its calculations) and a 62 mile range per full charge - not bad considering four adults can fit fairly comfortably inside. Another option is Smart's FourTwo Electric ($28,752), a two-seater with an 87 MPG-equivalent. And Nissan's all-electric Leaf ($35,200) achieves 99 MPG efficiency for a range up to 100 miles.

Study: Location key to green benefits of electric vehicles

Apparently, location, location, location is the latest twist on electric vehicles and the environment: Whether an electric car such as the Nissan Leaf protects the atmosphere from greenhouse gases depends on where it's charged, according to a new study. Such a car is no better than a standard gasoline-powered subcompact such as a Hyundai Elantra in cities such as Denver and Wichita, but far exceeds even the best hybrids in Southern California.

These simplistic studies don't reflect night time charging.

Night time power has a different mix, and additional night time demand is good for wind (and nuclear) power.

I recommend the Union of Concerned Scientists report on the impact of Electric Vehicles on greenhouse gas emissions. While it deals with the environmental effect of EVs, it clearly is also relevant to Peak Oil.

The website is:


The "Executive Summary" is at:


Ford Focus EV Review

Well more of a preview and less of a review

A cursory look at the Focus Electric’s stats aren’t going to stoke the flames of enthusiasts’ hearts. The front-mounted electric motor powering the front wheels is good for 141 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque, the latter of which is available – as with all EVs – as soon as you tramp the throttle. That makes for a spirited sprint from a stop, despite being down some 20 lb-ft from the Nissan. But more impressive is the tractability of the brushless motor and the single-speed gearbox putting the power down.

Unlike other EVs that begin to wheeze as you pile on the speed, the Focus Electric retains a suitable amount of punch above 40 mph. Credit the extra 31 horsepower over the LEAF, which does its best to counteract the additional 300 pounds the Focus Electric has to lug around over the Nissan.

But the additional tonnage over the standard Focus (around 500 pounds) added by the liquid cooled and heated 23 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and assorted plumbing is used to good effect, with Ford claiming weight distribution is an Ultimate Driving Machine-approved 50:50 front-to-rear. It’s just too bad the overly-grabby brakes aren’t up to par with the keenly tuned electrically-assisted steering, front MacPherson struts and multi-link rear suspension.

They are claiming 4 hours to charge the batteries with a 240V outlet.

If the Ford Focus EV came out 3 years ago, EV fans would have applauded it. But since it shipped after the Leaf & the Volt are already on the market, it is basically a nothing but a big green-washing flop. It is an assembly line conversion of a the standard Focus except that it costs twice as much!

When you can get the Volt which includes an ICE powertrain for $40K or the pure electric Leaf for $35K then why would anyone buy this pure electric FFE for $40K? The FFE provides no real value over the Volt or Leaf. So it probably won't sell well and will mainly go to Ford fans and people that want pure electric but don't like the look of the Leaf. Well, it does charger faster than the Leaf on a level-2 charger, so that helps.

The success of EVs relys on people that have the money for new cars (still a lot of people, overall) realizing that it is not going to get better. If people think gas prices will drop, or not get much worse, EVs remain as status vehicles or tools for urban commuters (I see a lot of Leafs in Honolulu, so they ARE popular somewhere - someone in my neighborhood has one, and I see other ones on the road often). But I suspect EVs will look much better if people feel scared about gasoline. The million dollar question is whether gas can be scary enough to get people into EVs without first destroying the economy to the point that almost nobody can buy EVs...

I suspect the Ford Focus EV is a way to be in the game in a time of crisis. Any automaker with a brain must have hybrids or EVs as production vehicles as a hedge for the future, IMHO. I think the managers at Ford recognize this.

I have been looking at the 2013 Ford Escape that is to begin sales in June of this year. Ford has dropped the hybrid entirely and instead has used their "eco-boost" technology 4-cylinder engines that get better mileage than the existing hybrid.

The Escape hybrid was never very good. I had one . . . it basically gave you 6-cylinder power with a 4 cylinder engine but it didn't save very much gas.

The upcoming C-Max hybrid and . . . better yet . . . the C-Max Energi might be nice though . . . . need more info though.

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

U.S. Energy: Overview and Key Statistics (pdf)

Why Are Oil Prices So High? Because the oil market is forward-looking, future supply and demand conditions are important factors in determining price. During the crises of the 1970s, there was a widespread belief that natural resources in general, including oil, were running out. [... obviously never bothered to actually read the reference he cited - LTG] In the 1980s, after the price of oil collapsed in the face of reduced demand and excess production capacity, the limits to growth concept lost much of its support.

However, during the recent price run-up, there was, and continues to be, widespread belief that future finds of large oil deposits will diminish, and even that world oil production will soon reach a peak and stabilize or decline. These predictions are controversial –– they appear to be contradicted by the doubling of world proven oil reserves [... doesn't understand the difference between resource, reserve, and flow - or is very naive], as shown in Figure 4 –– but they have a powerful influence on the forward-looking oil market.

... the author is unclear on a number of concepts - and now Congress is too.

Relies too heavily and un-questionally on EIA projections. Otherwise, there is a wealth of information, tables and graphs in this report, especially per capita energy usage over time.


U.S. Trade Deficit and the Impact of Changing Oil Prices (pdf)

... The data indicate that during 2011, the United States imported about 4.2 billion barrels of energy-related petroleum products, valued at $421 billion. On average, energy-related imports for 2011 were down 2.7% in volume terms from the average amount in 2010 and cost an average of 30% more than similar imports during the same period in 2010.

These data demonstrate that U.S. demand for oil imports is highly resistant to changes in oil prices. According to various studies, U.S. demand for oil is correlated more closely to U.S. per capita income than to changes in oil prices.4 Based on two-moths of data, estimates for 2012 indicate that with the average price of around $103 per barrel, U.S. imported petroleum costs could rise by about $50 billion in 2012 to reach $468 billion.

The increase in energy import prices is pushing up the price of energy to consumers and could spur some elements of the public to pressure the 112th Congress to provide relief to households that are struggling to meet their current expenses. With oil prices rising to over $100 per barrel in early 2011, the International Energy Agency cautioned that the rising price of oil was becoming a threat to the global economic recovery.

Report to UK government backs fracking

Exploratory work to extract gas by hydraulic fracturing in England should be allowed to resume even though the technique has caused earth tremors, a report commissioned by the government said Tuesday.

also Gas 'fracking' gets green light

Ministers have been advised to allow the controversial practice of fracking for shale gas to be extended in Britain, despite it causing two earthquakes and the emergence of serious doubts over the safety of the wells that have already been drilled.

The advice of the first official British government report into fracking, published on Tuesday, is all but certain to be accepted by ministers, with the result that thousands of new wells could be drilled across the UK.

and Fracking: green groups denounce report approving further exploration

... green groups and local anti-fracking groups angrily denounced the report. Former Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper said this morning that it cast "grave doubt" on the government's commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. A study by Cornell University last year predicted its impact on climate change would be worse than coal.

Elsie Walker, an activist from the Frack Off group that has staged protests at Cuadrilla rigs and fracking conferences in London, said: "This report is a seriously dangerous distraction. People need to understand that the wave of unconventional gas development that is threatening the British Isles will bring with it far greater consequences than a number of small earthquakes."

'No-till farming' revolution grows in Indiana

No-till farming helps to rebuild the "nutrient capital" of farmland that now is dependent on fertilizers, Starkey said.

The technique, also known as "conservation farming," started about 20 years ago by following the "three pillars" of the method: cover crops, no-till and crop rotation.

"Conservation tillage systems, with today's planting equipment, with today's technologies... have been yielding consistently the same" as traditional farming, said Tony Vyn, professor of agronomy at Purdue University, where the technique has been studied since 1975.

About 35 percent of US crops are grown with no-till farming, according to the US Agriculture Department.

One problem with no-till is the perceived need to use herbicides to keep weeds down (tilling can take care of that). In a home garden, though, it's a great idea, and you can control the weeds by, uhh, weeding!

No-till was a bad idea in my garden. The problem wasn't the weeds but the bugs. They overwintered undisturbed and devoured everything.


It's reality for most small grain, no till farms, that is, if they want any sort of yield.

Careful use of the right cover crop can replace use of herbicide with no-till.


There may be designer solutions in boutique situations, but the blanket solution just doesn't work. I think it is much better to focus on permanent pasture in erosion prone areas and perhaps reduced tillage where proven, rather than continue creation of super weeds.

There is a group working on perennial wheat which solves quite a few of the no-till problems (though again at the expense of yield).

I am fairly aware of the research towards perennial wheat. In the meantime, nature works faster.


STUDY: Climate Coverage Plummets On Broadcast Networks

A Media Matters analysis finds that news coverage of climate change on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX has dropped significantly since 2009. In 2011, these networks spent more than twice as much time discussing Donald Trump as climate change.

Since 2009, climate coverage on the Sunday shows has dropped every year across all networks. The Sunday shows spent over an hour on climate change in 2009, compared to 21 minutes in 2010 and only 9 minutes in 2011.

•Fox News Sunday covered climate change the most, for just under an hour, but much of Fox's coverage promoted the "Climategate" controversy and downplayed the threat of climate change. In fact, at no point did Fox News Sunday explicitly affirm the scientific consensus that human activity is changing the climate.

•CBS' Face the Nation covered climate change the least, for a total of just 4 minutes in 3 years

In total, 68% of the political figures interviewed or quoted by the Sunday shows were Republicans, and 32% were Democrats. In 2011, the only people interviewed or quoted about climate change on the Sunday shows were Republican politicians. Fox News Sunday was the most skewed, featuring eight Republicans and only two Democrats over the three years.

Our study finds that the Sunday shows consulted political and media figures on climate change, but left scientists out of the discussion.


Local Media Fail To Cover Climate Denial, ALEC Link

Starting in 2008 seven states -- Louisiana, South Dakota, Kentucky, New Mexico, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Texas -- passed measures or promoted policies that would change the education curriculums in their states to begin teaching "different perspectives" in environmental science instruction. The major newspapers in each of these states gave varying coverage to the issue with some not even covering the issue at all. In addition a Media Matters investigation shows that, despite the appearance that these state proposals and model legislation by the conservative organization the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), not once did these newspapers mention ALEC or their model legislation in their coverage.

Depending on your outlook, climate change is (1) scary, (2) boring, (3) a hoax, (4)depressing. The only thing that surprises me is that TV ever covered it at all.

(5) Fascinating, (6) Amazing, (7) Predictible, and a host of others.

I imagine that the reason for the coverage drop is their belief that rating/viewership would suffer under continued coverage. What about the other way? Rating plunges due to no coverage. Oh, that's right, those people don't watch tv anyway.

And Peak Oil coverage would make Climate Change coverage seem immense!
A tiny sliver, much of devoted to denial...
I am still amazed how many people I talk to have no clue about Peak Oil!

Except for Nat.Geo and BBC, I don't believe I've ever heard Peak Oil mentioned on MSM news.

I was surpirsed and pleased to hear Newt Gringrich actually use the term "Peak Oil"
a couple weeks ago. It was a clip aired by a local radio station from one of his campaign appearances. He was using denying Peak Oil was upon us of course.

For all of America's scientific and technological prowess, it's actually staggering just how narrow the thinking of so many of it's people can be.

Part of it is that, culturally speaking, Americans are not skepticists. They are not empiricists. They are believers. They believe in things, and when they do believe in things, you better watch out.

That's why in America you have such rabid fanaticism on the part of atheists and evangelicals alike. They are true believers.

(Watch how many atheists become extremely offended at the above, proving my point).

Part of it is that, culturally speaking, Americans are not skepticists. They are not empiricists. They are believers. They believe in things, and when they do believe in things, you better watch out.

I have one word for it; scary.

  • Is there really such a thing as a rabid fanatical atheist? My perspective:
  • Good Lord, Man, you've offended my Atheism! I have an urge to blow up a bus of infidels (er, believers?) so I can go to heav... - hmm, that's not going to work.
    I had a holy book (the Aldrich catalogue) but it was getting pretty old so I burnt it.

    Most atheists I know are cautious, rather than fanatical, as there is not much to look forward to after death. Heck; I'm trying to even picture a fanatical atheist. Perhaps I am one, but I'll have you know, if God appears as a pillar of fire & tells me where to camp tonight, I'll be the first one roasting marshmallows.

    Offended? I don't even care if I'm right, or wrong; or what you think of my belief. I mean non-belief. I think.
    But perhaps the American Atheist is more focussed.

  • Most children have faith in their parents: eg "World's Greatest Dad" Mug. This is improbable, but most people have a very small sample size.

    The parents take them to church where the clergy states that you've gotta have faith. Note how few children chose a different religion than their parents!

    The teachers, (even if trying hard) occasionally have to say "that's just the way it is, (have faith)".

    The politician says "if I'm elected I'll give you economic growth". If that's not faith I don't know what is.

    They are believers.

    The alternatives are hard, It is a mighty tide to swim against.

  • How can you be a militant atheist? It's like sleeping furiously -- AC Grayling

    We do make some terribly "cutting" remarks and someones fee fees may get hurt...

    ...perhaps that's what was meant.

    Not militant literally, as in blow up churches or something. But militant as fanatically aggressive...yes, there are those. Generally, they are formerly religious people. They believe that religion is a terrible thing for humanity, and can go on for hours, ranting furiously about it.

    Interestingly enough, that does describe the most agressive athiests.

    I think there is a definite distinction between "not believing in god(s)" and "believing there is/are no god(s)".

    The former makes no demands, the latter seems to.

    I think it's more about the attitude toward religion than toward any deity.

    Some people think that it's possible we could eliminate religion, and the world would be a much better place for it. They see religion as an evil influence, keeping people mired in the superstitions of the past and holding all of humanity back. (I think Gene Roddenberry fell into that category. Though it wasn't always clear in what appeared on screen, his view of the future was that in Star Trek's time, everyone was an atheist and much better for it.)

    Others accept that we will never be rid of religion, even if it's a bad thing, or don't think it's all that bad, or even an overall positive influence. "I know there is no god, but if it makes my neighbor happy, and keeps him from stealing my stuff, what's the harm?"

    There are some like me, who (never really believed) think religion is very harmful scary, but consider militancy counterproductive etc. I guess if I was given the freedom (and arrogant unaccountabilty to anyone of {get ready for it} a god), I'd be blowing up chuches full of believers. Ha Ha, hows that: make me a god, and I will use my godhood to destroy those who believe in me!! But in the real world we have consequences and such, and that sort of behavior just won't cut it.

    Of course I'm sure you haven't missed how Oilman has been Fanatically Thumping his own version of a bible around here today..


    My take on this: I have atheist friends. Some join clubs for people who don't belive in deities. They spam my Facebook page with atheistic posts all day long. And so on.

    Some of the atheists I know are more engaged atheists than some of the christians I know are engaged christians.

    For a counter example: I do not believe in reincarnation. I do not join a club for people who don't belive in that. I don't spend any time what so ever trying to convince people to also no belive in it. Frankly, I just ignore the subject totally.

    Now many atheists I know are casual atheists, who just live their atheistic life without bragging about it. But these guys exist.

    I would take active atheists more seriously if they spent more time ignoring God, and less time whining about how he is not there for them.

    I have a suspicion that active atesits actually do belive in God, they are just working hard to convince themself they dont, by repeating the issue all the time. Why else are their minds occupied with something that don't exist? It is not rational, and many of them claim to be "rationalists"

    "Natural" atheists otoh just live on, and ignore God. I have no problems with that.

    The parents take them to church where the clergy states that you've gotta have faith. Note how few children chose a different religion than their parents!

    The pdf TheAuthoriatarians http://issuepedia.org/The_Authoritarians talks about how 'Note how few children chose a different religion than their parents!' isn't the case.

    I guess those who are actively ridiculing religion (I've seen -and even particpitated in that on TOD), although all the ridiculers probably aren't atheists. But, we do have a few who make an effort to get in the face of believers, versus the majority who just wanna be left alone.

    (Watch how many atheists become extremely offended at the above, proving my point).

    So OS, and when did you stop beating your wife?

    To clarify, the point is, atheists do not 'believe' in gods any more than I 'believe' in the theory of gravity.

    Why don't I 'believe' in gravity?

    Because I happen to know the meaning of the word 'Theory' in a scientific context.
    I have studied math, have been exposed to the scientific method, studied physics, actually performed experiments in a lab, and for fun have studied Newton's Principia Mathematica from the perspective of the history of science.

    I have therefore concluded there isn't any 'magic' in gravity.

    I apply a similar thinking process when confronted with extraordinary claims about faeries, ghosts, goblins, leprechauns, and supernatural phenomenon in general.

    I sincerely hope you are not offended by my attempt at setting the record straight >;^)

    So OS, and when did you stop beating your wife?

    When I moved outta Topeka, that's when.

    (part of the War on Women series - coming to the energy debate near you via the old 'the mobility of bicycles is empowering and therefore must be stopped' 1900's flashback.)

    You are confused, as you've lumped atheists in with other "believers". Atheism is not a belief in the lack of a god, rather the lack of a belief in a god. There isn't any need to believe in the absence of something, it's simply not there, and this is more powerful than any belief.

    I think you are wrong to speak for all the atheists.

    I never claimed to be. Personally, I think those who claim to no longer believe in god and be atheists but have become zealots who cannot move on are probably fooling themselves. There seems to be a natural tendency to want to convince and convert others of all sorts of things, from the types of products people buy to religious beliefs, but still if you spend as much effort trying to convince others that god doesn't exist as you used to do trying to convince them that it does, I'd say you still believe.

    Low water flows cause U.S. avian cholera outbreak

    More than 10,000 migrating birds have died from an avian cholera outbreak blamed on reduced water flows through vast marshlands of southern Oregon and northern California known as Western Everglades, federal wildlife officials said.

    Water remains a highly contentious issue in this area. Several species of fish are listed as endangered or threatened, and the Endangered Species Act makes them a top priority for water management, Baun said.

    "We also have legal contracts with agricultural irrigators to supply them with water, when water is available," Moore said.

    Greenpeace: Apple Fuels iCloud With Dirty, Dirty Coal

    ... Apple’s new data center is only one of many coal-fueled server farms across the country. The map below shows 52 of the largest, owned by companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, and Twitter. Mouse over a point on the map to see who owns the plant, and click to see how reliant on coal it is, according to Greenpeace estimates. (Some data centers are clustered close together; zoom in on a particular area to see each one in more detail.)

    This report relies on very, very rough estimates of energy consumption:

    "In a statement issued in response to the report, Apple disclosed for the first time that the data center would consume about 20 million watts at full capacity — much lower than Greenpeace’s estimate, which is 100 million watts."

    This raises the issue whether the Internet and our current Telecommunications infrastructure will be sustainable past Peak Oil.
    The GreenTouch initiative started by Bell Labs and joined by a consortium of many Internet and telecommunications companies is aiming to come up with a major redesign of telecomm and networking in 5 years which could cut Internet/ Telecomm energy usage by 1000 times.


    It seems to me since the Internet is basically just transmitting abstract 1's and 0's that
    it should be feasible. In theory at least the 1's and 0's could be infinitesimally small
    unlike planes, cars or food, or physical consumption items.
    On the other hand the physical devices, cabling, etc to enable this still relies on physical
    infrastructure and may require ever more usage of rare earths and other non-renewable materials. When I worked at AT&T Bell Labs it was fascinating to work with the group running submarines to lay and maintain oceanic cables. Not a cheap proposition!
    I wonder if I could recruit some people from Bell Labs to provide info to the OilDrum
    community about this.

    Pretty pictures: Can images stop data overload?

    Welcome to the 21st century workplace, and "data overload".

    ... "I've been interviewing a lot of senior business people lately, and they're actually hiding... because they're frightened they're going to be asked questions they can't answer, so they're delaying making really quite important decisions," she says.

    "When we feel overwhelmed we start to delay making decisions."

    Dr Shaw says this is a symptom of the computer age.

    the solution ...

    ... "If you present data visually it has much more impact and the brain finds it much easier to process."


    From ideas to action: World experts meet on better mobilizing knowledge in the age of information

    "Policy makers tend to gather only what they need to know when they need to know it. They have a very short-term, reactive perspective and deep content knowledge is rare as they frequently move jobs. There is an appetite to summarize information into one page for the top brass. Policy makers are averse to anything too complicated. They default to trusted sources even when they suspect those sources may be out of date or incomplete. They may have a jaundiced opinion of science believing it is too slow and expensive and that it is answering questions no one has asked."

    "The worlds, values, norms and languages of science and policy are very different, and arguably divergent. Scientists and policy makers are both time poor. Few have the aptitude, skills, commitment and time to excel in both domains at the same time. There is a real need for intermediaries dedicated to work between knowledge generation and its use. This works best not as an add-on but in a comprehensive supportive system. This is where knowledge translation and knowledge brokering enter."

    Austerity plan decapitates Greek heritage

    The burglaries in the National and Municipal Galleries during February, as well as the armed robbery at the Museum in Olympia on March 5, have exposed weaknesses in the protection of cultural heritage sites around the country, made worse by the so-called austerity programme that is slashing all national public service budgets.

    ... "Organised crime mechanisms are sensitive and react faster than authorities. When a state and its structures are collapsing, as happened in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Soviet Union, traffickers exploit the situation fast. In the midst of social and political crises, those countries all suffered a severe loss of symbols of their cultural heritage."

    "I doubt that someone would steal from a museum, take antiquities that are famous and registered and try to sell them alone in the illicit market," ... "These are usually orders from specific rich collectors in Western Europe and the United States."

    Dan Meridor: We misquoted Ahmadinejad

    In the words of Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister: "They are the leaders of Iran who called for a new Holocaust and who vowed to wipe Israel off the map."

    Al Jazeera's Teymoor Nabili talks to Dan Meridor, Israel's minister of intelligence and atomic energy and deputy prime minister, about this and questions him over Israeli politicians' claims that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, said Iran would 'wipe Israel out'.

    "They [Iranian leaders] all come basically ideologically, religiously with the statement that Israel is an unnatural creature, it will not survive," Meridor says. "They didn't say 'we'll wipe it out', you are right, but 'it will not survive, it is a cancerous tumour, it should be removed'. They repeatedly said 'Israel is not legitimate, it should not exist'."

    Of course, Iranian leaders aren't the only ones viewing the Zionist Entity as such; even the Torah agrees as only Yahweh can absolve the Hebrews of their many sins and provide them with a homeland once they've purified themselves.

    So he never said "we shall erase Israel" but indeed said "Israel should be erased"? I feel much safer now.

    I the second case the 'ersaer" is yielded by the Flying Spaghetti Monster. If you don't believe in the FSM, you have nothing to fear.

    The problem may very well be that they think they are FSMs chosen tool. Then it does not matter weather this deity exist or not, I still have reason to worry.

    No. They don't think they are the choosen tool. They just think it will happen because of god.

    It's the difference between saying, "One day, you'll die" vs. "I am going to kill you." Neither is good news, but only one is a threat.

    Elsewhere ...

    FBI High Value Detainee Interrogation Group “Advance the Science of Interrogation” Contract Announcement

    The following broad agency announcement (BAA) was posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website on April 5, 2012. The announcement is designed to elicit “research proposals for behavioral science research to advance the science and practice of intelligence interviewing and interrogation.”

    DoD SERE Pre-Academic Laboratory (PREAL) Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Manual

    ... the manual was reportedly consulted during high-level discussions in the Bush administration regarding potential “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Several techniques described in the manual are mentioned in a series of controversial memos commonly referred to as the “Torture memos” authored by Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel attorney John Yoo.

    Sec. 2.2: Provide a situation that exposes students to: (a) a search based on an anticipated detention situation, (b) humliation and degradation of a strip and body cavity check. (c) the removal of all items that provide support or identity for that individual.

    Sec. 2.4. Isolation: Provide an isolation experience that exposes students to: (a) The effects of sleep deprlvation exhaustion, boredom, hunger, and fear of the unknown, (b) Benefits _and the need
    for inter-group communication.

    Sec. Iso-Stress: Provide an iso-stress environment fo~ students t_o: (a) Accelerate the fatiguing process, (b) Accentuate the feeling of isolation, (c) Expose students to selt:-inflicted punishment.

    FEMA Research Report: How to Improve Public’s Suspicious Activity Reporting

    Great strides have been made within the last few years to improve information sharing amongst law enforcement agencies and fusion centers via initiatives like the NSI; yet, more can be done to improve the quantity and quality of information that law enforcement receives from the public.

    Concern over getting an innocent person in trouble (43 percent) was mentioned as the circumstance that was most likely to cause respondents to reconsider reporting the suspicious activity. [meaning 57% had no problem fingering an innocent person]

    Meet Catalyst: IARPA’s Entity and Relationship Extraction Program

    - The Princess Bride - 1987 -

    Count Rugen: [admiring his torture contraption] Beautiful isn't it? It took me half a lifetime to invent it. I'm sure you've discovered my deep and abiding interest in pain. Presently I'm writing the definitive work on the subject, so I want you to be totally honest with me on how the machine makes you feel. This being our first try, I'll use the lowest setting.
    [Count Rugen activates the water powered torture machine. Wesley writhes in great pain]
    Count Rugen: [calmly] As you know, the concept of the suction pump is centuries old. Really that's all this is except that instead of sucking water, I'm sucking life. I've just sucked one year of your life away. I might one day go as high as five, but I really don't know what that would do to you. So, let's just start with what we have. What did this do to you? Tell me. And remember, this is for posterity so be honest. How do you feel?
    [Wesley cries and moans in pain]
    Count Rugen: Interesting.

    It's amazing how much brainpower our Security Apparatchiks employ just to reveal to us how desperately out of control they've gotten.. the INSECURITY STATE.

    "the removal of all items that provide support or identity for that individual."

    They rip and tear and dig to get their answers, and don't notice that even the answers that may carry a couple more facts, still bring less and less truth ..

    I saw a pretty disgusting news piece yesterday. Homeland sdecurity was on campus, recruiting students. Great careers, interesting work, job security..... I could just imagine working for the NSA, but Homeland Security!

    Biochar in the desert


    With biochar and other innovative eco-techniques, there is 80% plus reduction in water consumption and only 2 hours of labour per day is required. “Once the trenches are ready”, the Algerian-born agronomist continues, “they’re filled with a mixture of biochar (generally one kilo per square meter), compost (when available) and animal dung. This combination of organic fertilizers and amendments is essential to regenerate soil fertility in often sterile soils and contributes to healthy plant growth”.

    You might be thinking 'so'?

    The biggest reason behind this acclaim is that biochar also acts as a “carbon sink”. Sequestering carbon (one tonne of biochar is equivalent to 2.7 tonnes of CO2), it mitigates long-term climate change. A scientific publication in Nature Communications calculated that 11% of annual CO2 emissions could be offset by the large-scale use of biochar in agriculture. This system may well be the only realistic geo-engineering scheme available.

    Thanks eric. I can't get the link to the pdf to work (went to pronatura.org; same result). I'll keep looking. I've been sequestering carbon in my garden for a couple of years now, mostly char and ashes from our woodstove. I've evolved a ditch-and-mound system. I use my little tractor to pull up rows of soil about a foot high by 3 feet wide, about 30 feet long. Most rows this year are capped with plastic mulch; all have drip irrigation. The ditches get filled with straw (hay) from last year's cut, and fresh hardwood mulch, along with my charcoal. This helps retain water and composts the mulch mixture. In the fall we'll pull the plastic, turn everything together and plant cover crop. I hope to add about 4 -6 inches to the topsoil in the next few years with this method.

    We added four raised beds this year (4'x12') that needed to be filled with soil. The creek bottom below the garden and small pond has some beautiful soil flats so I took a sample below the pond and came up with very different soil than I'm used to; thin layers of grayish soil with reddish layers mixed in, along with what is obviously charcoal. The previous land owner had a small saw mill in this bottom until about 60 years ago, (we dug up some cable and parts when we dug the pond), and I've found where they were pushing the sawdust along with the partially burned scrap and ashes. The loggers were unknowingly creating terra preta. This is a great find; no rocks, and the layer is about 2-3 feet deep capped by a layer of silt from the creek when it used to flood this area. Our cows would cool off there on hot days; a sort of rainy weather wetland shaded by several really old trees.

    We should be able to mine this area for decades as a soil amendment without disturbing the trees or creek. We'll use the holes we dig as composting depositories, basically repeating what the loggers did 65 years ago. I'm going to try 'in situ' charcoal production in the ditches we dig using debris from the garden and other acreage.

    From the WhiteHouse ...

    Fact Sheet: Increasing Oversight and Cracking Down on Manipulation in Oil Markets

    1. Requesting Immediate Funding to Put More “Cops on the Beat” Overseeing Oil Markets: The President is calling on Congress to pass an immediate increase in funding to support at least a six-fold increase in the surveillance and enforcement staff for oil futures market trading at the CFTC.

    2. Funding Critical Technology Upgrades in the Oversight and Surveillance of Energy Market Activity: The President is also requesting that Congress provide the CFTC funding for critical IT upgrades to strengthen monitoring of energy market activity.

    3. Substantially Increasing Civil and Criminal Penalties for Manipulation in Key Energy Markets: The President’s proposal includes a ten-fold increase in maximum civil and criminal penalties for manipulative activity in oil futures markets. These heightened penalties will make sure that penalties reflect the seriousness of misconduct.

    4. Empowering the CFTC to Raise Margin Requirements in Oil Futures Markets: The President is also calling on Congress to act immediately to give the CFTC authority to direct exchanges to raise margin requirements to address increased price volatility or prevent excessive speculation or manipulation. This authority will help limit disruptions and reduce volatility in oil markets.

    5. Taking Immediate Steps to Expand Access to CFTC Data to Better Understand Trading Trends in Oil Markets: These executive actions will allow additional analysis of CFTC’s data to look for patterns and better understand trading activity in energy markets.

    Transcribed from the President's speech:

    " We're going to make sure nobody's taking advantage of American consumers,,, for their own short-term gain".

    ...but isn't that the basis of our entire economy? Enquiring consumers want to know.

    We're still consumers - not citizens

    When in election mode, blame high prices on the nefarious and nebulous speculators. It couldn't have anything to do with an actual physical shortage of oil supply on the world market, could it?

    Why not just make a transactions tax of 0.5%?
    That would cut down the incentive for short-term speculation and make some $$$ which could be used to fund Green Transit to save oil, greenhouse emissions and land devastated by asphalt.

    Sunlight plus lime juice makes drinking water safer

    "For many countries, access to clean drinking water is still a major concern.

    "The preliminary results of this study show solar disinfection of water combined with citrus could be effective at greatly reducing E. coli levels in just 30 minutes, a treatment time on par with boiling and other household water treatment methods. In addition, the 30 milliliters of juice per 2 liters of water amounts to about one-half Persian lime per bottle, a quantity that will likely not be prohibitively expensive or create an unpleasant flavor."

    After reading the article I think I'll continue to rely on chlorine dioxide drops for sterilizing my water supply in third world countries. I don't think you want to reduce the pathogen levels, I think you want to kill them off completely.

    It is what I use--
    And very effective. And much lighter than a filter.

    I guess I'll try the tablets this week instead of a filter -- I've got a day trip scheduled where I am going to cover over 100 miles (mostly with my mountain bike). I've had tablets about six years down in the basement but have never tried them, do you they are still good?

    Build a bio-sand filter (demomovies avilable on Youtube), then pour the water slowly over a sheet of alu tin foil, while the sun shines on it. After an hour everything should be dead in that water.

    On my hikes I use a "Katadyn Hiker" water filtration pump. Works netly.

    U.S. OKs Sabine Pass natural gas export plant

    Cheniere Energy has received government approval to build the first natural gas export facility in the lower 48 states. Critics fear fracking fallout and price spikes.

    also Path cleared for LNG exports; Cheniere rides wave

    So the US economy is by some accounts doing better because of the low cost of NG, and there is a gradual transition for more usage of NG, however due to a surplus of NG and a low price, it can now be exported. I'm still trying to catch up to this one. But if we export the surplus won't the price rise, and if so won't that counteract the idea that the low cost of NG is helping the economy by offsetting the high price of oil/fuel? What does Boone Pickens think of this? Does this fit with his transition plan of wind farms producing electricity instead of so much NG, then using the NG for transport instead?

    The price of NG could triple and still be dirt cheap. Less than 40 dollar oil on a btu basis.

    Not to worry, these are the same folks that didn't see the shale gas boom and were busy building LNG import facilities a few years ago. Now they can't seem to figure out that current prices are uneconomical for shale gas and once the current over investment works it way through the system natural gas will be too expensive to be competitive for LNG exports. Of course, if the dollar really tanks then maybe they will end up looking like geniuses.

    Shortage of gas may hit power producers

    ELECTRICITY generators have revealed they are having trouble finding long-term gas supplies at any price, adding to doubts about the government's ambitions to use gas as a "transitional fuel" to a low-carbon economy.

    The National Generators Forum fears resource owners could be trying to "warehouse" their reserves for lucrative future export markets instead of offering gas to the domestic market, saying some of its members have been unable to lock in long-term supply contracts.

    The alert comes after mining giant Rio Tinto warned that the official estimates of Australia's gas reserves are overly optimistic, and said it was struggling to secure supplies in Queensland for 2015 and beyond.

    The Japanese are paying $15 a gigajoule (mmbtu for the non-metric) for LNG as opposed to $4 or so for piped gas in Australia. Obviously that's what gas producers want as I guess liquefaction only adds 10% or so to the cost. This will happen to the US when the Louisiana LNG export terminal gets built. Then there's the CNG rush when millions of trucks and buses switch over from diesel.

    It spells trouble for places like my former home town of Adelaide which is 44% dependent on gas for electricity. One of their gas sources (Cooper Basin) also helps supply gas for the export LNG plant in Gladstone Queensland. The gas heads north not south because of the higher price. Another source is Otway Basin western Victoria. Both basins have reserves to production of under 20 years and both are trying out fracking to increase those reserves and production. What if fracking doesn't help much? The crazy thing is Adelaide is near massive uranium deposits but they reject nuclear.

    Kitimat natural gas pipeline expansion approved

    Proponents of what could be Canada’s first liquefied natural gas export terminal have won an application to widen the pipeline feeding the proposed Kitimat, British Columbia facility.

    The revamped $1-billion Pacific Trails pipeline, stretching from the northeast corner of the province to the marine terminal, will now be 106 centimetres (42 inches) in diameter instead of 91 cm (36 inches), according to documents from the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office.

    The Summit-to Kitimat pipeline will be the main supply link for Encana Corp., Apache Canada and EOG Resources’ $4.5-billion LNG facility, set to launch in 2015.

    Isn't the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline also supposed to go to Kitimat? It seems like the policy of the Canadian government to try to turn the place into the export hub for oil and gas to the Pacific markets. I see this working out well monetarily but with spectacular downsides if there is a spill... Which seems not totally unlikely.

    I understand the reasons but as many parts of the northwest are still relatively untouched (even given the aluminum smelter at Kitimat), it doesn't make me happy at all.

    The Northern Gateway is intended to go to Kitimat, too, so it looks like it will become a major oil and gas export port. Kitimat has a first class deepwater port and is situated in one of the few wide valleys along the BC coast. The reason for the port and aluminum smelter is the hydroelectric energy there.

    The town of Kitimat has lost about 20% of its population over the last 10 years, and has been one of the fastest-shrinkings town in Canada. It is down to about 8,000 people. The townsite was actually designed for about 50,000 people, so there is lots of room for expansion.

    Exclusive: Chesapeake CEO took out $1.1 billion in unreported loans

    The size and nature of the loans raise questions about whether McClendon's personal financial deals could compromise his fiduciary duty to Chesapeake investors, experts who reviewed the documents told Reuters.

    Youth increasingly turning to Green Transit rather than Auto Addiction:


    The report’s key findings are encouraging for transportation and sustainable development advocates:

    From 2001 to 2009, the annual number of vehicle-miles traveled by young people (ages 16 to 34) decreased from 10,300 miles to 7,900 miles – a drop of 23%.
    In 2009, 16 to 34-year-olds took 24% more bike trips than they did in 2001.
    In 2009, 16 to 34-year-olds walked to destinations 16% more frequently than in 2001
    Between 2001 and 2009, the annual number of miles traveled by 16 to 34 year olds on public transit such as trains and buses increased by 40 percent.

    There is hope for the future if the young lead the way!

    I wonder how that looks broken down by employment status? I'm confident the percentage of 16-34 y.o.'s who can't afford a car or gasoline has increased dramatically.