Drumbeat: April 21, 2012

High oil prices threatened by ... high oil prices

The fivefold increase in oil prices over the past decade has created boom times in Alberta, in North Dakota and in crude-producing regions across the globe, but the era of $100-a-barrel oil may be sowing the seeds of its demise.

Oil-consuming nations, such as the United States and China, have become preoccupied with security of supply, amid predictions of “peak oil” in which the global energy industry will have trouble keeping pace with rising demand.

But oil producers are increasingly worried about “security of demand.” And none have greater cause for concern than those in landlocked Alberta. The crude they sell is some of the world’s most expensive to produce, and they need a massive and politically-challenging expansion of pipelines to get it to global markets.

U.S. oil production is up, so why are gas prices so high?

Given America's new oil rush, it would seem the best of times for gas prices. But with $4-per-gallon sticker shock, it might feel like the worst of times.

How can this be?

The question is all the more perplexing, because the United States is not only producing more crude oil but also using less of it. As a result, net oil imports have dropped a third since 2005.

Oil Rises First Time in Three Days on German Confidence

Oil rose for the first time in three days in New York, erasing this week’s decline, after German business confidence unexpectedly increased.

Futures gained as much as 1.1 percent after the Munich- based Ifo institute said today its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, rose to 109.9 from 109.8 in March. Economists forecast a drop to 109.5, according to the median of 40 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. Oil may resume its decline next week on speculation that the U.S. economic recovery will slow, reducing demand for crude, and tension with Iran will ease, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Why Canada just pumps out cheap oil

“We have more oil moving into the system than the pipeline system in North America was designed to accommodate,” as Randy Ollenberger, a managing director at BMO Capital Markets puts it.

Many factors are pushing the price for North American crude lower, but the hit for Canadian oil companies specifically is even worse. The most prevalent Canadian benchmark is called Western Canadian Select. A blend of conventional oil, bitumen and synthetics, WCS is heavier and therefore more difficult to process than some other types of oil like Brent and WTI.

Because of the added transportation and refining costs, the profit margin a refiner can earn from using WCS is less than they would get from WTI. So refiners are paying Canadian producers less per barrel as a result.

Asia to Cut West African Crude Imports to Five-Month Low

Asian refiners will reduce daily imports of West African crude in May by 3.6 percent to the lowest in five months, a survey of five traders and an analysis of loading programs obtained by Bloomberg News showed.

Elgin gas leak to cut supply this summer - Nat Grid

(Reuters) - Britain's energy network operator National Grid expects a gas supply loss of up to 2.3 billion cubic metres from a gas leak at Total's Elgin platform in the North Sea, the grid operator said on Tuesday.

The hidden costs of a gallon of gas are rising

This month marks the second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers and leaked 4.9 million barrels of crude oil, causing extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats and to the area’s fisheries and tourism industry. The spill’s local impact still unfolds.

Now the nation is in the midst of an election-year energy debate -- with mostly a sole focus on rising prices at the pump -- that is, in light of the Gulf disaster, woefully shortsighted. This is underscored by a recent report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Gas prices actually start falling around the US

NEW YORK — The worst is over, for now. Gasoline prices are starting to fall.

After a four-month surge pushed gasoline to nearly $4 per gallon in early April, drivers, politicians and economists worried that gasoline prices might soar past all-time highs, denting wallets, angering voters and dragging down an economy that is struggling to grow.

Instead, pump prices have dropped 6 cents over two weeks to a national average on Friday of $3.88. Experts say gasoline could fall another nickel or more next week, saving drivers about $2 per fill-up.

Drivers might also get to say something they haven't since October 2009 — they're paying less at the pump than they did a year ago.

Fuel Prices Rolled Back

MANILA, Philippines - Oil companies will reduce their pump prices on Sunday.

At 12:01 a.m., major player Petron Corp. and small player Seaoil Philippines will slash P0.65 per liter off their respective prices of premium gasoline (including unleaded), P0.50 per liter off regular gas, P0.40 per liter off diesel and P0.25 per liter off kerosene.

Protester dies as Bahrain Grand Prix tensions mount

(CNN) -- Opposition groups said Saturday that a protester died after clashes with security forces, amid claims the government is cracking down on demonstrations ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Bahrain's opposition party Al-Wefaq and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights said the man, named as Salah Abbas Habib, took part in a peaceful protest Friday evening which was violently broken up by security forces.

Iran oil too precious to be dropped

American president Barack Obama recently advocated to the world to ‘forge ahead’ with tough sanctions on Iran, saying there was enough oil in the world market - including emergency stockpiles - to allow countries to cut Iranian imports. In support of his case, Obama said increased production by some countries as well as ‘the existence of strategic reserves’ helped him come to the conclusion that sanctions can advance. ‘I will closely monitor this situation to assure that the market can continue to accommodate a reduction in purchases of petroleum and petroleum products from Iran,’ he said.

Iran has been exporting about 2.5 million barrels of crude oil per day (bpd), with 65 percent going to Asia and 30 percent to Europe. It is the second largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). India and China, which together buy 34 per cent of Iran's oil, appear unwilling to give in to western pressure, contending that the U.S. and EU sanctions go beyond measures approved by the United Nations Security Council and will be counterproductive.

Sanctions leave Iran with few options for selling oil

(CBS News) For years, the U.S. and Europe have been trying everything short of going to war to get Iran to drop its nuclear program. That includes unprecedented sanctions. CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason looks into how those sanctions are working.

The oil trade funds about half of the Iranian government's budget. But under sanctions, Iran's oil business has suddenly sprung a leak. The International Energy Agency predicts that by this summer, Iran's exports could be down by as much as 30 percent.

Japan Is Asked to Insure Iran Oil Shipments as EU Sanctions Bite

Japan’s government may insure tankers carrying Iranian oil, joining China and India in responding to European sanctions blocking private providers.

Report: Israel threatens to strike militants if Egypt fails to secure Sinai

Israel delivered a threatening message to Egypt, according to which it would take action against militants in the Sinai if Cairo did not take responsibility and secure the countries' shared border, Egyptian officials indicated on Saturday.

Hints of possible Israeli intervention in Sinai could intensify tension between the Bedouin and the Egyptian government, as well as put the fate of the Camp David agreements at risk.

Israel-Cyprus Deal on Gas as Lebanon Won’t Negotiate

Israel’s biggest gas discovery, potentially turning the fuel importer into an exporter, is prompting a race by nations from Lebanon to Turkey to tap similar deposits in disputed waters of the East Mediterranean.

"Armed terrorist" group blows up pipeline in Syria - state news agency

(Reuters) - Syria's state news agency said that an "armed terrorist" group blew up an oil pipeline in Syria's eastern province of Deir al-Zor, near the border with Iraq, on Saturday.

Guar at Record May Fail to Boost U.S. Output, Help Halliburton

Record-high prices for guar, a little-known legume used increasingly to help extract crude oil, may fail to boost U.S. production enough to cut imports or reduce costs for drillers including Halliburton (HAL) Co.

While planting may triple to 50,000 acres this year from 15,000 in 2011, mostly in Texas and Oklahoma, U.S. supply will be dwarfed by the 8.6 million acres that will be sown in India, the world’s largest producer, said Calvin Trostle, an agronomist at Texas A&M University. Few U.S. farmers know how to grow guar, which means “cow food” in Hindi, and there is no crop insurance like there is for corn or cotton, he said.

Argentina seeks Petrobras role in YPF

Argentina urged Brazil's state-owned oil giant Petrobras to increase investment and collaborate further with oil company YPF, which Buenos Aires announced it would seize.

"We are not asking Petrobras to replace (Repsol) but we would like it to increase its participation" in areas of Argentina, Argentine Planning Minister Julio de Vido told a news conference in the Brazilian capital, on Friday.

Spain Stings Argentina Over Oil Company Nationalization

MADRID — Spain said Friday that it would seek to restrict imports of biodiesel fuel from Argentina, its first retaliatory measure after the government in Buenos Aires decided to seize control of the assets there of Repsol YPF, the largest Spanish oil company.

Cuba supports Argentina's oil firm takeover

HAVANA (Xinhua) -- Cuba on Friday expressed support to Argentina for its decision to expropriate a majority share of Spanish-owned oil company Repsol YPF, saying it is lawful.

Argentina has the "right to exercise permanent sovereignty over all its natural resources," the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the country's official daily Granma.

Qatar’s Stake in Total Rises to 3 Percent, De Margerie Says

The Persian Gulf emirate, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, has been buying shares in French companies including Lagarde SCA and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA amid rising gas revenues. The Qatar Investment Authority, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, holds more than $65 billion of investments, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Abdullah al-Mahmood said at a conference in Doha.

Gazprom, Eni agree to build onshore South Stream branch before trans-Adriatic section

Gazprom and Italy's Eni have agreed to build the northern onshore branch of the South Stream gas pipeline before the southern section, which will be laid across the Adriatic sea to Italy, Eni chief Paolo Scaroni told a press conference.

The northern branch will cross Bulgaria, Serbia and Austria.

China, Iceland announce deal on oil-rich Arctic

REYKJAVIK — China and Iceland announced a deal on the oil-rich Arctic region Friday after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao flew in to Reykjavik on the first stage of a four-nation European tour.

Chesapeake Energy: Forced into fire sales?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Can Chesapeake Energy's chief executive pull yet another rabbit out of his hat?

To plug what's been estimated as a $9.2 billion gap between Chesapeake Energy's 2012 capital expenditures and its cash flow, CEO Aubrey McClendon needs to sell assets fast.

BP says Texas City hydrocracker shut by storm

(Reuters) - A hydrocracking unit was shut by a lightning strike on Friday at BP Plc's 406,570 barrel per day (bpd) Texas City, Texas, refinery, a company spokesman said.

Drilling in deep Gulf getting busy again

Drilling in the deep Gulf of Mexico is becoming robust two years after the oil spill that prompted a six-month moratorium on deep-water exploration, but more of the work now is left to large companies.

Triple-digit oil prices are driving the activity, making it worthwhile to go forward even given the cost, risk and heightened government scrutiny of working in waters often a mile deep or more.

Gulf Still Grapples With Massive BP Oil Leak 2 Years Later

Two years after the largest oil leak in U.S. history, the Gulf of Mexico region still struggles with its impact. Jeffrey Brown, David Valentine of the University of California, Santa Barbara and Garret Graves of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana discuss the state of the Gulf and related industries.

Editorial: 2 years after BP spill, lower risks

Two years after the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, two conclusions are inescapable.

One is that the spill, as bad as it was, didn't cause the sort of long-term, catastrophic environmental damage that some predicted at the time. While the Gulf is still recovering, it's no dead sea.

The other is that another spill of this magnitude is much less likely today, and that if one did happen, the oil industry would be better able to stop it and contain the damage.

Ted Danson: Move away from offshore oil

This second anniversary of the worst accidental oil spill in world history is a time to reflect on how far we've come in breaking our oil addiction and improving offshore drilling safety. Sadly, we've not come far enough.

Romney: 'I Will Build That Pipeline If I Have To Do It Myself'

Mitt Romney vowed Friday that, if elected president, he would build the controversial Keystone Pipeline linking oil deposits in Canada to refineries on the Texas gulf coast.

Kyushu Electric calls on customers to conserve power

TOKYO — Kyushu Electric Power Co on Friday called on households and businesses in its service area to conserve power as much as possible in an attempt to reduce electricity demand by 5% this summer.

KEPCO President Michiaki Uriu said the utility does not plan to restart any of its six nuclear power reactors that it has put into cold shutdown, Sankei Shimbun reported. Uriu said that this will result in nearly zero surplus power and called on residents to conserve electricity where possible.

Nuclear-Free Summer Looms Over Japan’s West in Risk to Recovery From Quake

Japan’s economic rebound from the deepest contraction among advanced nations after Greece and Portugal may be stunted this year as power shortages threaten its western region.

Inspection of San Onofre's Faulty Tubes Completed

Inspections of faulty tubes that caused the shutdown of two reactors at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station have been completed, but findings are not yet being released, Southern California Edison said Friday.

Investigators are hoping that the inspections will pinpoint the cause of unusual wear in steam-generating tubes in Units 2 and 3, which was detected in January.

What does California use for power when nuclear reactors are offline?

After the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns, WEM proposed that CPUC launch a planning process for replacing nuclear power with the cleanest, most affordable resources available, should California’s reactors be offline for any reason. I say it’s high time for CPUC to explore clean, affordable replacement for nuclear power, especially since San Onofre’s two reactors have been out of service for two months, and majority owner Southern California Edison (SCE) is silent about when they’ll be restarted.

Electrical Fire at San Onofre

The fire, which started at an electrical panel in an area where non-radioactive steam spins turbines that generate electricity, burned for about 40 minutes and was “easily extinguished,” according to Jennifer Manfre, a spokeswoman for plant operator Southern California Edison.

Optimistic Visions of the World After the Oil Runs Out

Our whole economy and way of life is based on the idea of cheap petroleum. So what happens when the oil starts to run out? Most scenarios assume that it will be catastrophic — rioting in the streets, governments collapsing, Mel Gibson fighting guys with big mohawks.

But what are the optimistic scenarios for a post-peak oil future? We went looking, and here's what we found.

Mesa school district moving toward all-propane bus fleet

Arizona’s largest school district is striving to have the first all-propane bus fleet in the state.

The district’s transportation director, Ron Latko, said the change comes with rising diesel prices and increased emission standards.

A Push to Make Motors With Fewer Rare Earths

FOR much of the last century, the straightforward solution to making a car perform better has been to install a bigger engine. In the hybrids and electric cars of coming years, however, the answer might be installing motors with more powerful magnets.

Do a reality check before writing a check for more MPGs

Earlier in Drive On, we posted an item about a report that says President Obama's new federal fuel economy rules will save U.S. drivers $69 billion a year overall by 2030.

The Natural Resources Defense Council's report, called "Relieving Pain at the Pump," also says there already are more efficient vehicles for Americans facing higher gasoline prices to buy now.

Will IBM’s Battery 500 Project Disrupt The Automobile Industry?

During the last few decades, environmental impact of the petroleum-based transportation infrastructure, along with the peak oil, has led to renewed interest in an electric transportation infrastructure. Electric vehicles differ from fossil fuel-powered vehicles in that the electricity they consume can be generated from a wide range of sources, including fossil fuels, nuclear power, and renewable sources such as tidal power, solar power, and wind power or any combination of those. So then why haven’t we seen the industry disrupted?

Discovering Green Alternatives to Driving

Transportation is the second-highest contributor to greenhouse gas emission. Cars rank among the highest within this category, due to the way they are manufactured and the sheer number of them.

Israeli Desert Yields a Harvest of Energy

After more than five years of political and regulatory battles with the Israeli authorities, the company has transformed 20 acres of a sand-colored field on the edge of the communal farm. It now glistens with neat rows of photovoltaic panels from China — 18,600 in all — that harness the sun. There is no smoke, only a slight buzz in the spotless rooms where the panels’ current is turned into electricity that can be fed into the electrical grid. Small openings in the perimeter fence allow animals to cross the field.

Depending on the time of year and rate of energy consumption, this field provides power for as many as five communities.

Getting our land back

No matter which result we should consider as the most reliable, the data clearly show that building takes place mostly in flat and fertile areas. There, the fractions covered by human-made structures are much larger than the world average. For instance, recent data for Europe indicate that, in January 2012, the most urbanized European states were Holland and Belgium with, respectively, 13.2% and 9.8% of the surface. As you see below (From Schneider et al.), urbanization in Europe is, indeed, concentrated in the fertile plains. Apparently, we are engaged in the task of destroying the land that supports our physical existence.

Muskrat megaproject called burden for future generations

Critics of a proposed $6.2-billion hydro plant in Labrador say the battle over natural gas pipeline tolls in Canada shows how inflexible megaprojects can hamstring consumers as technology evolves.

They say the plan to bring Muskrat Falls power from Labrador to Newfoundland and then mainland markets locks the province into a 50-year deal that backloads risks for future residents and businesses who will be tied to the pricey venture.

In tornado season, words save lives

More than 100 tornadoes struck the US Midwest last weekend - the most severe outbreak so far this year. But the death toll of six people was very low compared with similar outbreaks in recent years.

That seems in part to be down to research about how people respond to warnings. After the US's deadly tornadoes in 2011, the National Weather Service (NWS) found that residents waited for visible signs of the threat before responding. New warnings try to conjure those images in words.

No Place for Heated Opinions

A Discovery Channel series about changes in polar regions does not mention causes, avoiding the fury that often accompanies mention of climate change.

Vietnam Dispatch: The Salt Problem

Ben Tre is the most affected of the country's provinces in terms of sea level rise, with 50 percent of its land area expected to be submerged by 2100 with one meter of sea level rise (which is within the range of what scientists predict will occur). But saltwater intrusion is already a major problem, and local officials say that the brackish water is creeping as much as 5 kilometers farther up the river each year. (It's also exacerbated by decreased flow down the Mekong from big dams upstream, and by more severe dry seasons that mean less fresh water flowing through.)

No Letup in World's Warming

Global warming contrarians remind the public that the world has not warmed all that much, if at all, during the past decade or so. But that's the atmosphere. Oceanographers with their thermometers in Earth's biggest reservoir of heat—the world's ocean—report in a paper to be published in Geophysical Research Letters that greenhouse warming has in fact been proceeding apace the past decade, not to mention the past half century. Ninety-three percent of the heat trapped by increasing greenhouse gases goes into warming the ocean, not the atmosphere.

The opening item in Drumbeat today:

High oil prices threatened by ... high oil prices

Shows once again "energy analysts" who don't bother to use their calculator. Analysts from Raymond James state that dramatic increases from tight oil like in North Dakota will raise US production by 4 million barrels per day by 2015.

O.K. - the Bakken will then be producing 4.5 million barrels per day. Annually that is 1.6 billion barrels. The USGS estimate of recoverable oil in the Bakken is 3.6 billion barrels. So that empties the Bakken in 2.2 years? Then what?

I am not even going to get into the annual drilling activity that would be required to produce 4.5 million barrels per day of tight oil. Where will all those rigs come from?

The term "energy analyst" has become meaningless.

TE, I just picked this up from an investor village board. If this is the face of oil independence, we are in deep trouble.


I did an exponential and hyperbolic decline analysis on that set and they are all slim.
McKenzie has a half-life of 0.75 years
Williams is 1.2 years
Mountrail is 2.3 years
Dunn is 18.5 years

If they are hyperbolic declines, the total will be bigger.
Dunn seems to be the only set that has any kind of sustain.

Anybody else know how to do this ?

Summary of Bakken
Info Since 1/1/2007
BOPD Wells Recovery Rec/Well Well Age Curr Ave
months BOPD
Mountrail          154,089          1,087          154,727,270          142,343              22 141.8
McKenzie            96,750             533            45,059,945            84,540                 9 181.5
Dunn             75,560             613            52,446,391            85,557              22 123.3
Williams            69,513             472            30,550,213            64,725              10 147.3
Major Cos          395,911          2,705          282,783,819
Total          483,706    3,187.00          327,866,294    102,876.15        17.00     141.50

Phenology Gardens Track Ties Between Weather, Nature

How strange has this spring been?

Denise Ellsworth can tell you exactly.

Ellsworth is one of the coordinators of the Ohio Phenology Garden Network, a patchwork of gardens that helps scientists track the timing of natural occurrences. The gardens supply data on when plants bloom, allowing researchers to show how that timing is affected by weather.

Looking at the data, it's easy to see just how much farther ahead nature is this year than normal. Late last week, for example, plants were blooming in Akron, Ohio, that bloomed in mid-May a year ago.

also USA National Phenology Network *an exceptional resource

Editorial: 2 years after BP spill, lower risks

Two years after the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, two conclusions are inescapable.

One is that the spill, as bad as it was, didn't cause the sort of long-term, catastrophic environmental damage that some predicted at the time. While the Gulf is still recovering, it's no dead sea.

The other is that another spill of this magnitude is much less likely today, and that if one did happen, the oil industry would be better able to stop it and contain the damage.

The only inescapable conclusion is that finely refined yak dung and pure bullsh*t are pretty similar... >;(
And that the author of the piece is either an ignorant fool or a lying sack of either of the above mentioned items!

Still, both you and I know that around the time of the spill, some here were saying it was "game over" for the entire oceanic food chain.

I consider myself a peak oil doomer, but I'm relatively immune to theories of environmental apocalypse. I've heard them so many times before.

And it's a shame because so often these people are swimming in the same circles, which weakens the message whenever the environmental side is overblown.

The message behind the spill is this: that the cheap oil is running out, that we are forced into more and more dangerous and difficult places to drill, and that the complexity of these operations is beyond our collective ability to control.

The message behind the spill is not "the algae and jellyfish are going to take over the oceans! We're all going to die!" The latter, of course, a truth universal to all times and places.

Nature is considerably more resilient than human industrial civilization, which is rapidly collapsing all around us.

I agee OS. The unfortunate addendum to your observation is that we are going to take a lot of other specied down with us, such as polar bears, salmon, cod and, what?, a few thousand less visible species each day, month, year until we give up our obsession of "multiply and subdue the earth".

Still, both you and I know that around the time of the spill, some here were saying it was "game over" for the entire oceanic food chain.

No, it isn't game over for the entire food chain yet but it is a few more threads pulled from a very complex interwoven tapestry. We don't really know which thread is the one that unravels the whole thing, yet we continue to rationalize that pulling a few more threads out is no big deal because so far it hasn't unraveled completely. Either we understand complex systems, tipping points, non linear dynamics or we don't. So far the jury is still out.

Actually in many places we have so impacted the previously stable marine ecosystem by taking out top predators and overfishing that jellyfish are indeed taking over.

Sure, nature is very resilient and some kind of life will continue but we humans are sitting out on limb merrily sawing away at it's base. And that, IMHO, is pretty damn stupid!

The jellyfish of the Black Sea appears to disagree with you.

Really? Do you have a link to a study? And even if the jellyfish blooms in the Black Sea have other causes there is little doubt about the connection between most blooms and overfishing. BTW have you ever paddled a kayak on the ocean for an hour and been surrounded by jellyfish as far as the eye can see? I have! Whatever the cause it is a very strange sight...


The blooming jellyfish threat

In 2010 jellyfish blooms (swarms) reaching plague proportions led local officials to close beaches in the Mediterranean and Black Seas during the height of their summer tourist seasons. The same year a jellyfish expert from Barcelona’s Institute of Marine Sciences warned that the potentially deadly box jellyfish (Carybdea marsupialis) had been seen in swarms off the Spanish Costas (Brava, Blanca and del Sol). In early August, in just half an hour, the Red Cross treated 50 people in Denia, Costa Brava for injuries from the mauve stinger jellyfish (Pelagia noctiluca), although this appears minor compared to the 4,000 people who needed treatment there on a single summer’s day in 2008, following a major infestation.

For many people, one jellyfish might cause a mild sting and rash. But for others, the box jellyfish, mauve stinger and Portuguese man o’war (Physalia physalis) can cause excruciating pain, severe allergic reactions or even death for people with respiratory or cardiac problems. If one jellyfish can do this, think of the consequences for unsuspecting swimmers encountering dense swarms, dozens of kilometres long, with around 10 mauve stinger jellyfish per cubic metre of water (about the same as the space inside a large bin bag).
Why is this happening?

Researchers have demonstrated that overfishing is a significant contributory factor in almost every major jellyfish bloom they studied

But I'm agreeing with you. :S I was replying to OilmanSachs about nature supposedly being a more robust system than industrial civilization.

Heh! Must be the meds I'm on...

Not funny either, when diving and you have a carpet of jelly fish over you extending as far as you can see. Now look for a hole to surface in. People don't appreciate how far down those tentacles go either.


People don't appreciate how far down those tentacles go either.

That's right, the Portuguese Man of War, can have tentacles that are over 30 ft. long and they are almost completely invisible and I can attest to the fact that being stung by one can be excruciatingly painful...

I'm glad we don't get those devils here but I have had to take 'experience' divers well below 40' to get out from being trapped by tentacles. One moment there can be none around next you are surrounded. Note to anyone reading, rule here is don't pee on the stings, use vinegar.


Note to anyone reading, rule here is don't pee on the stings, use vinegar.

Better yet! Don't get stung... and that means be very very careful when you remove your wet suit, those tentacles stay alive for quite some time and you really don't want them rubbing you the wrong way >;^)

Actually a good hosing off with fresh water is not a bad idea.

Heh, in the summer even a pair of boardies feels overdressed let alone wet suit:) I usually end up treating other boats' people.


And it's a shame because so often these people are swimming in the same circles, which weakens the message whenever the environmental side is overblown.

Yeah well ... this may be true sadly, but I agree with the others who indicate that all those who disclaim and disparage environmental "collapse" tend to ignore real, identifiable, incremental degradation.

In fact - there isn't a depleted or depleting fishery in the whole world that has not been over-fished before anyone realised that over-fishing was occurring. I remember as a kid watching over-fishing occurring along the entire coast of New South Wales ... it was so obvious even to little me, that it was happening ... but it wasn't controlled at all.

I think this is happening everywhere ... and the jellyfish will take over.

Optimistic Visions of the World After the Oil Runs Out, above:

"Our whole economy and way of life is based on the idea of cheap petroleum."

This may be the "idea", but it's far from accurate, as there are numerous processes required for the continuation of life as we know it, all essential parts of natural and human-made systems, most of which are under attack or in decline. Yet another simplistic article suggesting that, if we can solve our energy problems, things will be ok going forward.

No mention of how humanity gets past the overshoot hump: No mention of extreme (and accellerating) biosphere decline; no mention that many other finite resources are being consumed at an equally alarming rate; no mention of human overpopulation and the process by which this corrects itself; no mention of how humans divert themselves collectively from their natural tendency to extract and burn virtually anything that they perceive will better their lot as individuals and groups. Yet another article that ignores our tendency to foul our nest, to use our planet as our giant toilet. Another feel-good fairy tale for the masses...

IMO, these optimistic outlooks do more harm than good, giving folks a sense that small, gradual change (change you'll barely feel) is a path to a better future. Reality likely won't work that way. It doesn't care.

In fairness, it's not a serious piece. It's more of a humorous article that mocks the scenarios.

Excellent point!

As pointed out by William E. Rees, co-developer of the Ecological Footprint, the world economy is depleting the earth’s natural resources, and economists cling to models that make no reference whatsoever to the biophysical basis that underpins the economy.

Standard economics portrays the economy as a circular flow: Households pay money to firms in exchange for goods and services, and firms pay wages to households in exchange for labor. Textbooks describe this circular flow as self-perpetuating, capable of infinite expansion. In reality, the production of our goods and services depends on the extraction of material from ecosystems, causing resource depletion on the one hand, and excess pollution on the other.

Ergo: Substitution of one form of energy with another, i.e., renewables, is simply the status quo by other means and in no way addresses the problem of overconsumption.

There will be life-style changes. Get used to it.

Changes to come can already be seen, the post-peak is here already.

Egypt, Syria, Greece, Yemen, Sudan ... all post-peak outposts. More to join them as time passes.

Embarrassed to say, this is what passes for learned opinion from my state senator...

Blumenthal urges action on gas prices

... Blumenthal said he supports increased drilling for oil, but only if oil pulled from federal lands stays in the United States rather than being exported to foreign countries.

He added that of the 93 million acres of federal land leased by oil companies, only about 25 percent is actually being used.

"Those lands should be used or the permits should be lost," Blumenthal said. "Either use it, or lose it."

As for learned opinions from state senators? Geez! you think YOU are embarrassed? (Actually I am just on the other side of his district's line and couldn't even vote against him.)


Wow!! That's one serious case of 'industrial-strength' stupid.

Bet he won by a landslide.

Okay a bit of clarification is needed here. Stacey Campfield is a Tennessee state senator. However Richard Blumenthal is not a Connecticut state senator, he is a U.S. Senator representing Connecticut. The former meets in the State Capital and is elected by voters in his district only. The latter meets in the U.S. Capital and is voted on state wide.

However, the interview on Sirius Radio is really great. Listen to it here:
Interview with TN Sen. Stacey "Don't Say Gay" Campfield

This is my interview with Sen. Stacey Campfield of Tennessee, who spearheaded the "Don't Say Gay" bill, which is back and being debated in the Tennessee House. Excerpts of the interview, in which he pushed misinformation about AIDS and homosexuality, are post in a piece I wrote on Huffington Post Gay Voices. Please send that link around if you pass this on, as it has the excerpts and also links back here for the audio. The story has been picked up in all of the major Tennessee newspaper TV,radio and Internet outlets, and also on the AP wire.

Ron P.

S - Sad, ain't it? For those who don't know, as the good senator doesn't, oil/NG from federal leases cannot be exported without specific written approval from the govt. Been the law for decades. As far as taking away "unused" leases: all fed leases automaticly expire at the end of the primary lease term if production has not been established.

But what the heck: his proposal may get him some voters who are as ignorant as he appears to be.

Sadly, he won't be up for re-election for another 4 years.

... exported to foreign countries.

Anyone who can place two hilarious tautologies in four words deserves to be re-elected.

re. Chesapeake Energy cash flow

When Art Berman respectfully called for "critical thinking" in Denver (ASPO-09), this is exactly the sort of scenario that he warned about.

This week's Globe article seems all the more pertinent:

Marine scientists urge government to reassess oil spill response

... "All our previous oil spill models were focused on the skin and the edge of the ocean. That was where everyone thought the action was, like it was for the Exxon Valdez," said co-author Sean Anderson, an associate professor at California State University Channel Islands, "As the Deepwater Horizon spill unfolded, you would hear folks saying things like 'we all know what happens when oil and water mix; the oil floats.' That wasn't the whole story. And that oversimplification initially sent us down an incorrect path full of assumptions and actions that were not the best possible use of our time and effort."

This new model for how an oil spill unfolds and where the resulting ecological impacts accrue emphasizes that the vast majority of the oil is retained at depth and, among other response actions, calls into question the efficacy of dispersants.

... The truth is much of this oil probably was staying at a depth independent of the amount of surfactants we dumped into the ocean. And we dumped a lot of dispersants into the ocean, all told approximately one-third the global supply."

"Our hope is that this paper brings attention to the fact that deep-water oil spill response efforts must be extensively revised so that we do not repeat the same mistakes and are better prepared to assess important ecological impacts from day one," Joye said.

Right! And when are we going to start banning the private ICE powered automobile?


I like these driving versus non-driving sections. Wish they had them where I live.

Another Item on Drumbeat Today:

Chesapeake Energy: Forced into fire sales?

A rather remarkable set of comments on Chesapeake - the darling of the shale gas producers.

To plug what's been estimated as a $9.2 billion gap between Chesapeake Energy's (CHK, Fortune 500) 2012 capital expenditures and its cash flow, CEO Aubrey McClendon needs to sell assets fast.

That's just for starters.

McClendon and Chesapeake came under fire this week after Reuters reported that McClendon took roughly $1.1 billion in personal loans against his stake in Chesapeake wells.

The disclosures have raised calls for the resignation of McClendon and other board members, and sparked a host of shareholder lawsuits.

"We believe the best thing for investors would be to replace the board and/or CEO," Phil Weiss, an analyst at Argus Research, wrote in a research note. Weiss cited not only McClendon's personal loans as reasons for shareholders to push him out, but Chesapeake's "use of financial engineering" and "the relatively low quality of its financial data."


Argus' Weiss noted that there's only so much that Chesapeake can cut because they could lose leases on production sites if they don't make investments in them. "Since 2001, their capital expenditures have always exceeded their cash flows," said Weiss.


Overall, investors remain a bit befuddled by how Chesapeake accounts for interest expenses and where profits come from.

"They're spending a lot of money and the money they're making seems to be coming from raising more money," said Daniel Yu, a private investor who has been studying the company.

When coupled with Art Berman's recent analysis that all of the shale gas producers are in deep debt, cheap abundant natural gas - our bridge to the future - is starting to look like a rotten rope bridge.

TE - The article seems to give the impression that this is a new development stemming from a lack of operating capital. But off the top of my head I can think of at least $5 billion raised from selling of chunks of their shale acreage starting well over a year ago. And they're still short??? What folks need to also understand that when CHK sells of 25% of one of their plays not only do they pocket cash but they also reduced their capex requirements by 25% in that trend...$billions. And they are still short??? And what very few folks outside the oil patch know know is that CHK has been transforming themselves into a service company: drilling rig, frac trucks, drilling mud, mud loggers, etc. Last count I heard was 17 companies big and small.

For those that don’t understand an oil patch drilling joint venture: CHK has “working interest” (WI) partners in each play. CHK typically only owns 50-75% WI in their wells. But they are the operator of those all the wells. They pick the contractors who actually drill those wells…contractors who are receiving many $billions. Guess what contractors CHK picks to pay those $billions to? Do I really need to say it? LOL. Not only is CHK transferring their own capex to their own service companies but also the capex of their WI partners.

And with all the above they are still selling properties and raising capex from other sources. And they are still short of capex??? I mentioned it a while back: I would not have thought it a year ago but now I won’t be shocked to see CHK absorbed by another company, like ExxonMobil, in the next 12-18 months. All they need do is offer the shareholders a premium price for their stock. And with all the developing negative news all the shareholders need believe is that the takeover offer is the best deal coming down the road and it’s a done deal.


Given CHK's debt would ExxonMobil still want to buy them?

Chesapeake Energy: Forced into fire sales?

While Chesapeake has valuable assets, it's unlikely to be a takeover target because it also has a heavy debt burden of roughly $10 billion, say analysts.


Andrew - Most of the successful acquisitions I've been unvolved in debt wasn't an obstical and often a motivation for the shareholders of the target company. Debt is subtracted (to some degree) from the asset valuation and that sets the acquistion price. A company like XOM can also restructure debt to more affordable terms. Also, it's been a while, but last time I saw the numbers XOM had a $65 billion cash reserve. Also, such acquisitions might not involve any cash exchange...just a stock swap.

Companies the size of CHK seldom go bankrupt. They may lack sufficient capex to carry on a significant drilling program after interest payments are made. Given the high decline rate of the shale wells CHK has to drill a lot of wells to prevent a decrease in booked proven reserves y-o-y. That tends to hurt Wall Street's valuation of a company. While that might push stock prices down (and motivate the shareholders to welcome a white knight) it doesn't mean the company has a negative net value.

And what's the best way to convince the shareholders they need a White Knight? Well selling assets and making it look like you are CAPEX poor and on your last legs ought to do it....

My guess is this supposed 'new' white knight appears on the scene just before shareholders can dump the board - and that the board get a nice little payoff as part of the buyout.

Re: Muskrat megaproject called burden for future generations

I don't generally favour megaprojects, but a couple thoughts come to mind. For one, Nalcor's Holyrood GS sucks back something in the order of 18,000 barrels of fuel oil per day at full-tilt bogey, and that strikes me a rather expensive and wasteful way to generate electricity. Secondly, over 300,000 homes in Atlantic Canada are still heated with oil and at some future date I expect most will be converted to electricity (80 to 90 per cent of new homes built in the past twenty years are all-electric); a sharp rise in oil prices, a disruption in supplies, or federal and provincial policies to encourage us to get off oil along the lines of what was in place in the '70s and '80s could accelerate this trend and find us critically short of capacity. At the same time, Nova Scotia Power and NB Power are gradually phasing-out their use of fossil fuels, coal in particular, and will likely require additional hydro-electric supplies to balance wind as the latter continues to grow share.

No question, the Lower Churchill Falls project will be a costly venture in more ways than one, but I see it as an important step in our transition away from fossil fuels and in reducing our region's dependency on foreign energy.


Secondly, over 300,000 homes in Atlantic Canada are still heated with oil and at some future date I expect most will be converted to electricity (80 to 90 per cent of new homes built in the past twenty years are all-electric) ...

I find this very different from here (Australia), where most homes would be heated with natural gas, if not by electricity (in RC air conditioning). There is almost no oil heating at all.

Notwithstanding the realities (and costs I expect), most people here think gas is much cheaper than electricity, but more to the point, most people think that gas heating is more efficient - burning a fuel being seen as hotter (per unit energy) than resistance in an electrical element.

Also - while blackouts are extremely rare here - there is a sense that if your hot water, stove-top, and heating are gas, while lights, power, and oven are electricity, you are not beholden to one energy source in the event of a system failure. Few people are all-electric.

There's no natural gas service in Atlantic Canada to speak of, and the cost of serving residential loads would be prohibitive due the nature of our terrain and our relatively low population density.

Think along the lines of this:

In this part of the world it makes more sense to distribute natural gas by wire than by pipeline with, ideally, a high efficiency heat pump at the receiving end.

Electrical service is generally reliable, but most folks in rural areas have wood or propane as a back-up, e.g., we have four propane fireplaces and a six burner propane cooker that can be used in the event of an extended power cut.


A question for the oil guys. How practical is it to convert methane to propane?


I'm not an oil man, but I can tell you that propane locally sells for about $1.00 a litre, so a kWh(e) of propane heat runs about 14.3-cents, gross. However, the operating efficiency of a standard gas hob is about 40 per cent, so the true cost when all is said and done is closer to 36-cents. Our induction hob is 90 per cent efficient, so with electricity priced at 13.336-cents per kWh our actual cost is 14.8-cents. On that basis, induction wins hands down and even your basic coil ring comes out ahead.


A while since I bought propane by the litre but I think it is around .4 CAN. OTOH our electricity ramps up with use, so, if we start using a lot for cooking, the price can soar, especially if going over the high user limit which could be around .18 CAN. I am working on something here and our emphasis is gas as the commercial electric rate is double.


NASA Image Gallery Highlights Earth’s Changing Face

In celebration of this year’s Earth Day on April 22, NASA’s Webby Award-winning Global Climate Change website, http://climate.nasa.gov , has unveiled a new version of its popular image gallery, “State of Flux.” The gallery, which can be found at http://climate.nasa.gov/sof , presents stunning images, mostly from space, of our ever-changing planet, chronicling changes taking place over time periods ranging from days to centuries.

The State of Flux images are worth viewing



States In Northeast Cap And Trade Program Reduce CO2 20% Faster And Grow GDP At Twice The Rate of Other States

Northeastern states participating in America’s first carbon cap and trade program have outperformed the rest of the country in GDP growth and reduction in global warming pollution.

That’s according to a new report from Environment New Jersey, which examined emissions data and economic growth indicators from 2000 to 2009.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a nine-state cap-and-trade market designed to reduce emissions in the utility sector 10% by 2018. A recent independent analysis showed that the program has already created $1.6 billion in economic value and set the stage for $1.1 billion in ratepayer savings through investments in efficiency and renewable energy.

This latest report shows that states under the RGGI program saw a 20% greater reduction in per-capita carbon emissions than non-RGGI states — all while growing per-capita GDP at double the rate of the rest of the country.

While a reduction in greenhouses is certainly a good thing, correlation often has nothing to do with causation. There are a tremendous amount of other factors affecting the growth of GDP. For instance, most of the Federal Reserve's bailout money and the benefits of ZIRP has probably been concentrated in financial companies in the Northeast States.

I think I just had a lesson on people ignoring the blindingly obvious even when it stares you right in the face (or screams in your ear).

So I get into my car today, a convertable MX5 Miata with custom turbo because I so love to waste gas ^^ and I turn it on and it sounds like a vacuum cleaner humping a lawn-mower. I kid you not!!! So I drive it for a couple of minutes with a horrible sound and EVERYONE staring at me trying to figure out what might be the problem. I get home and I ask my lady what happened to my car? BLANK STARE then... 'Theres something wrong with your car? It was fine when I drove it this morning'. No dear, my car does not normally sound like a vacuum cleaner humping a lawn mower. How is it possible to ignore such a horrible sound in a convertible? It seems for every person who was born with great insight, god made sure there were 10 people born without any just to vex them.

S – Thanks for the opening. I made an observation this morning that is rather light and somewhat silly. But the flow is slow at the moment and I can’t get it out of my head. Not so much a condemnation of the inability of much of the population to properly address problems but that of advertisers. TV ad (for Viagra to make it even funnier). Guy driving down the highway thru the desert. Steam coming out from under the hood…temp gauge reading “Damn Hot”. Pulls into a gas station, takes a liter bottom of chilled water out of the cooler, pours it in to his radiator, gives the station owner a smirk and drives off.

So instead of the obvious fix, buying a jug of coolant from the station, he dumps the entire bottle of water in and drives off with no water reserve. I know it’s something of a stretch but it immediately reminded me of some of the energy “solutions” I’ve seen tossed out.

Like I said silly but I can’t get it out of mind. BTW: cat converter fall apart on you? That was my firdt quess.

R - Well my car exhaust would probably smell like work to you. No cat and tuned to run rich... Although if your work smelt like my car exhaust you'd probably have some of them famous Texas Rangers knocking on your door! Yeah I know that's pretty slack on my part, however I sort of owned the car before I started caring about environmental issues, sunk costs and all... That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it.

I suspect it has something to do with the turbo piping or a vacuum leak somewhere. It seems that the exhaust is making it all the way out the back just fine so I'll discount it for now. It's a funny sucking sound when the car goes to vacuum on the gauge and it sounds like a two stroke on positive pressure. I probably have to put the car on axle stands and have a look under it myself when I get the time, it's my fun car so I can always drive my mighty Fiat in the mean time. No doubt it's some tiny little hose of some great importance tucked away somewhere so I won't see it until I give up, have a beer and then by some stroke of inspiration figure it out.

Funny story: I was driving down by the coast one day and I heard rattle for a second then a tinkle right behind me and in my rear view mirror I see this piece of aluminium about a foot and a bit long, like a really thin stick and I never did work out which part of my car it fell off.

Oh look at the time! 6am and I've spent the night reading TOD and listening to music... Wooops.

How is it possible to ignore such a horrible sound in a convertible? It seems for every person who was born with great insight, god made sure there were 10 people born without any just to vex them.

People say whatever they want for political reasons. She heard it.

I could tell you how sympathetic I am to you present inability to waste more fuel - if I was sympathetic, that is.

General FYI and question.
Are people here aware of this and whether it's as big a deal as claimed?

FBI: Hundreds Of Thousands May Lose Internet In July



They took advantage of vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system to install malicious software on the victim computers.


It's what I use and I highly recommend it!

For those who might prefer a simpler lighter system, I can recommend Xubuntu. I don't know Linux from linoleum, but all I did was push the OK button a couple times and it was up and running.

Thanks for the tip all. I'll give it a whirl.

Many Linux distros are available on bootable CD/DVD, just pop them in and away you go. It gives you an easy way to try some and see what you like before going the whole hog and installing. Some can easily be put on an USB drive.


Does using any of these alternative platforms negate the need for anti-virus software?

Use an Apple computer! I have never spent a penny on "anti virus" programs and a segment of your hard drive can be partitioned off to run Microsoft programs. All communication with any inputs must go through the Apple OS before reaching the hard drive partition.

Emailing results are no problem but there are issues when "burning" CD's or using "Thumb" drives!

While the linux system itself is indeed imune to viruses, the graphical systems Gnome and KDE both are not. Almost all Linus systems do run one of these. So no, they are not imune as such.

But I have run Linux on my personal computers since 1999. I have never installed an anti-virus software. Do not even know the name of one. Indeed, I have never heard of an anti-virus software to be installed on a Linux computer. With the exception of one that is intended to search for Windows-viruses in a network. Also, I have never seen a Linux computer infested with a virus, or heard of a case. Ever.

Clamav is an open source anti-virus software package for Linux and other systems, there are commercial packages as well.

It's actually pretty important on the server side to avoid the "Typhoid Mary" effect.

The previous replies are a good summary. There is a distribution, can't remember what or if it is CD or USB, that is hardened against attack. Using a CD or DVD version is a good help as any attack can only attack the session as it will not be able to change the software on the medium you are using, switch off and reboot to flush it out.


Some security consultants have gone so far as to recommend that businesses keep an old clunker around for handling their online bank transactions. Boot it once per day from such a CD, launch the browser, conduct bank transactions, shut the machine down. That guarantees that you're booting from a known clean copy of the OS, launching a known clean copy of the browser, and any changes that get made to the RAM-based file system are wiped out each time.

I was amused by the consultant who was presented with the situation, "I can't do that, my bank's online software requires Internet Explorer," and answered, "You need a different bank."

I installed my first version of Linux off the University of Manchester floppies in 1992 -- ah, the heady days of picking a kernel that would recognize your hard disk, then rebuilding from source code in order to handle the rest of your hardware. Somewhere in a closet here I still have an antique laptop with a 386SX processor and 4M of memory with that system loaded, and Bellcore's MGR light-weight windowing system -- still boots if I charge the batteries up overnight. Astounding how much work -- simulation models and 50-page technical reports -- could be done on that hardware.

The recent versions have gotten very good at recognizing hardware and installing cleanly.

Those who may want to try Linux, Ubuntu will install in a duel boot configuration, keep your windows partition intact, and let you choose which partition to boot. My Windows partition is accessable to Ubuntu; I use Wine to run several Windows applications, and some run faster without the Windows overhead.

When my power supply started to fail, I installed my boot drive in an external USB enclosure and Linux booted immediately. Windows doesn't even see the drive. I'll never spend money on dumb again..

I'll never spend money on dumb again.

Unfortunately, I do find myself required to pay for other people's dumb. I dabble in a couple of fields where the default computation engine is the Windows version of Excel -- including VBA code and Solver, the nonlinear optimization tool. Running the spreadsheet on the Windows version of Excel is the only way to be sure that you can reproduce others' results.

"Dumb" is probably unfair, at least if applied to the users. Their employer pays for Office anyway; in some cases there are restrictions on loading anything other than the provided software; and it is the most ubiquitous numerical platform. Those don't necessarily make Excel a good choice of tool for the problems -- over the years studies have identified a whole host of types of errors that get made when using a spreadsheet as a programming language -- but it does explain why it gets used so widely within those areas.

studies have identified a whole host of types of errors that get made when using a spreadsheet as a programming language

Could you elaborate?

Spell the variable name wrong and it is assumed that the variable is empty. No type checking, variables with different units barrels or cubic metres could easily be exchanged. I have a program their I had to store values in global variables before calling the functions/procedures.

Basically it is easy to get a program started and running but simple misstakes that are checked more or less in other programming languages are not checked.

That is easy to fix by forcing the user to define all the variables to be defined a priori. And that is just good programming practice.
"Option Explicit" is your friend.


"Option Explicit" is your friend.

That is scale dependent. Write a short throw away program, and the extra hoops you are forced to jump through aren't worth it. Don't force the hoop jumping, and build a large scale application, and the gotcha's get you. Of course often your app starts small, then after a series, of "lets add one more features", a simple baby ap can grow into something unyeildy.

I'm prone to typos so I use in all the stuff I do (which is not much btw)and it has saved me a lot of grief over the years. I agree that quick patches tend to turn into firm-wide programs / functions....


The tradeoff point, applications size wise are probably different for different programmers, and certainly by applications domain. In the area I work in, getting the freaking alegebra correct is one of the major issues. And none of the traditional computer science techniques help there.

Let's see...

  • There have been a number of academic studies on the subject. In live spreadsheets obtained from businesses, they consistently find that >90% of all spreadsheets contain one or more serious errors, and on average, about one percent of populated cells contain errors. Common errors include incorrect formulas, incorrect numbers, and numbers where there should be formulas. In my own experience trying to find errors in other people's spreadsheets, range expressions that miss a cell are very common.
  • Studies of programming languages/systems have consistently found that environments where code and data are mixed are more error-prone than environments where code and data are kept separate. Copy-and-paste in mixed environments seems to be particularly dangerous.
  • In general -- although not universally true -- there's no specification, no documentation, and no test cases. The typical 50-page spreadsheet is like Topsy: it just growed. Large spreadsheets are often worked on by at least several people, usually without benefit of any formal version control system.
  • The psych people tell us that spreadsheet authors are rather grossly overconfident. Programmers know that their code has errors. Spreadsheet authors tend to believe that the spreadsheet is perfect from the get-go.

I'll always remember the project where I got banned from the top-level status meetings. I was responsible for the requirements for the real-time software, and was there representing the development side of the project. At some point I asked to see the test cases for the decision spreadsheet, and ended up saying something like, "You're going to make a $50M decision on the basis of this spreadsheet, and you've got no documentation and no test cases; if we said we were going to write the real-time software to that standard, you'd fire all of our asses."

The psych people tell us that spreadsheet authors are rather grossly overconfident. Programmers know that their code has errors. Spreadsheet authors tend to believe that the spreadsheet is perfect from the get-go.

Yep, sounds like a classic example of the Dunning–Kruger effect:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes.[1]

Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. As Kruger and Dunning conclude, "the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others"

Either way, I sure wouldn't want to be the one signing off on that $50M decision...


Typically, when I do "one last check" of a complicated spreadsheet model, I find one or more errors. That tells me that there are more...

I always insist on at least one independent review before sending a model to a client.

The most common issue I run into is when formula are copy/pasted then end up addressing the wrong cells.

To help me out when using it I attempt to show my work and have several output steps along the way(for instance A+B=10, then when A+B+C=10 ?? that's not right...). When the formula in Excel get to be long it simply too difficult to follow the cell addresses to check if they are right. All those parenthesizes, makes my eyes hurt.

Yeah, overly complex formulas are hard to get right, hard to test, and hard to modify.

The most common issue I run into is when formula are copy/pasted then end up addressing the wrong cells.

My goodness ... this is such a fundamental level of error that I'm not sure such authors are ready to be allowed out on their own yet. Do they know what the $ is for?

Do they know what the $ is for?

In lots of cases, no. Or they've used it incorrectly. Nor do they know about named cells and ranges. Nor do they understand the boundary cases that cause Excel to incorrectly change (or more often, fail to change) references and ranges in formulas when a row or column is inserted or deleted.

As a "programming" language (the spreadsheet itself, not VBA), Excel has lots of weaknesses. A non-exhaustive list... The scoping rules for names suck. The programmer must remember to save array formulas as array formulas every time the formula is changed. Excel modifies the code (references and ranges in formulas) when the data structure is changed by inserting or deleting rows and columns, but doesn't always get things right. People who are clueless can turn on the fixed-point iteration handling of a circular reference without any idea of what they have done (that's a fun bug to try to find).

"They took advantage of vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system..."

My God! Can you imagine!!! Of course, the Estonians are renowned high-tech adversaries. Sneaky devils, of all stripes!, probably rely on the fact that Windows tells you nothing about what is going on or who it's talking to and prevents you from finding out.

'Huge' water resource exists under Africa

Scientists say the notoriously dry continent of Africa is sitting on a vast reservoir of groundwater. They argue that the total volume of water in aquifers underground is 100 times the amount found on the surface.

The team have produced the most detailed map yet of the scale and potential of this hidden resource.

Writing in the journal Environmental Research Letters, they stress that large scale drilling might not be the best way of increasing water supplies.

No doubt these reservoirs will be used, exploited, conscientiously!

It will be sucked dry to water farm field leased by KSA, China, etc. When it is gone well they will lease land elsewhere US?

Due to changes in climate that have turned the Sahara into a desert over centuries many of the aquifers underneath were last filled with water over 5,000 years ago.

It will be sucked dry to water farm field leased by KSA, China, etc. When it is gone well they will lease land elsewhere US?

Sad to say that could become the truth. This is what is known in the business as "mining" ancient groundwater, common in the Ogallala aquifer and several other areas of the Western US. Kinda similar to extracting oil. It can still be a benefit for a while, but it depletes until it approaches the natural recharge rate.

"(Africa's limited groundwater) will be sucked dry to water farm field leased by KSA, China, etc. When it is gone well they will lease land elsewhere US?"

Naw... we'sa gonna frack-up all our gas an' sells it to Japan. Tha'sa gonna spoil our water... why y'all think them Halliburtons smashed that-there drink'n water act first?

Why did Halliburton get the clean water act set aside for them before starting on the natural gas rock fracturing campaign? Why would that be necessary?

Oh, look, they put up their own site about Gasland:
Look at that... the gas suddenly appearing in peoples wells is naturally occurring biogenic methane! Not like that nasty old abiotic methane the fracking releases.

An extended preview of Gasland:

The Libyans have been exploiting a prehistoric aquafer for many years. I can't remember, but it might have been thirty years ago that I read the water would last one hundred years.

The artesian basin aquifers under Central Australia are estimated to be up to a million years old. It's very pure and very hard and a bit rough on all manner of equipment and appliances, but it is beautiful to drink.

The Road Through Chernobyl

... Valeriy Zabayaka was one of the plant workers who became a “liquidator,” one of thousands tasked with the awful job of clearing the radioactive disaster zone.

“When I heard about the explosion no one told us the radiation level was life-threatening,” Zabayaka tells us. “This was the time of the former Soviet Union and the authorities were hiding the information about the danger from us. The level of radiation where I worked was already very dangerous. I was in a group of 20 and only six of us are still alive. My health is damaged.”

A guide explains how plans are in place for a better cover — a nuke-proof sarcophagus — to help bring this dreadful chapter in history to some sort of a close. The trouble is, this is the same story that has been coming from here for years — all that seems to change is the deadline which keeps extending, seemingly inexorably, into the future.

" to help bring this dreadful chapter in history to some sort of a close."

Another sarcophagus won't do that unless it can survive the half-life of the nasties inside, including stopping whatever weird humans may want to drag something out of there for their own purposes.

Concrete, then thick layers of clay, then rock, then soil, then forests. In short, build a mountain over it. To prevent future archeologists to dig into it and learn its content the hard way, build a fake burial chamber somewhere down from the top, so they stop digging there.

That funny. If you do all that then the archeologists are going to dig into for sure. "Must be something very important in there if we have to go through all this to get there." They would be saying.

The film Into Eternity speaks to just such future possibilities. It's a haunting depiction of the Onkalo nuclear storage facility under construction in Finland.

That looks really interesting. Doesn't seem to be a way for U.S. residents to watch it, but I'd like to.

Into Eternity
in five parts






At the end of part 3 / the start of part 4 they are talking about how/if to warn people about what is buried. The image "The Scream" (Edvard Munch) is spoken of.

Thanks, that was great! My only question is what is it about the pro nuclear energy supporters that makes them incapable of being willing to even have an honest discussion about these issues. Granted, that is a more of a rhetorical question than one that I expect any of them to actually answer.

The obvious answer is that they know for an absolute fact that their world view is the 'RIGHT' one!

Yet the truth may turn out to be that they are not even wrong... and that there are millions of shades of grey between the stark contrast of their simplistic black and white reality.

At work right now, so can't take the time to watch the videos, but I can hazard a guess that the issues in question involve long-term storage (due strictly to the titles).

While I know a lot of nuclear advocates brush off such considerations, that is because there is an expectation that the material in question should be burned to dust: it should be used until there is no more useful energy to be extracted from it.

If there is no more useful energy that can be extracted, that makes the danger levels from the resultant waste correspondingly lower and storage and disposal at that point is not expected to be a major issue.

If you can't accept that as a valid position it is no wonder you feel that there hasn't been an honest debate.

My only question is what is it about the pro nuclear energy supporters that makes them incapable of being willing to even have an honest discussion about these issues. Granted, that is a more of a rhetorical question than one that I expect any of them to actually answer.

The obvious answer is that they know for an absolute fact that their world view is the 'RIGHT' one!

This rhetorical (or whatever) question of yours contains a pretty wild accusation. My honest opinion is that that kind of thing is not a great attitude for discussion.

But by all means, let's have a discussion about "these issues" (whatever they are, exactly) if you want. I am a Finnish person living in Finland and I tend to support nuclear power. (I might make some mistakes with English language.)

I saw the film and don't recall if the cost of the operation was mentioned. Hundreds of meters into solid bedrock? Nuclear is a nightmare from my perspective. I recently came across some kind of info (forget where) of a graph of the fallout area from Chernobyl and from my recollection there were some pretty serious-looking hotspots over Finland. Congrats. When nuclear goes wrong, it has the chance to do so spectacularly, and very long term. Check out what Dr. Helen Caldicott has to say about nuclear. Mutations and all that. You Tube has some other vids of her talking about it. Riveting.
Maybe you 'tend' to support it for Finland, but what of other countries, like, say, the more unstable ones, politically and geologically?
Rakkaus and welcome.

Looks like Dow Chemical expects U.S. NG to be available and affordable as a feedstock for some time. They are doing a $4 billion expansion to their petrochemical complex in Freeport, TX.

Here's a strange one. The illustration is taken from the article in the print edition of The Yomiuri Shimbun (found uploaded elsewhere) as the online copy didn't have it.

Solar poles to become quadrupolar in May

Magnetic field polarity at the solar poles will reverse and become quadrupolar in May, meaning positive fields will emerge in the North and South poles and negative fields will emerge on the equator, according to the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and other institutes.

When a similar phenomenon occurred about 300 years ago, the Earth's average temperature fell slightly.

A research team led by Saku Tsuneta, a professor at the observatory, analyzed solar magnetic fields data using Hinode, an observational satellite, and confirmed that the polarity of the magnetic field at the North Pole began to reverse in July last year.

...The current sunspot cycle has stretched for close to 13 years. A similar situation occurred in the 17th to 18th century, when the average temperature of the Northern Hemisphere decreased by 0.6 C. The research team believes the quadrupolar pattern also emerged at that time.

And here's what NASA said at the last flip.


The Sun's magnetic poles will remain as they are now, with the north magnetic pole pointing through the Sun's southern hemisphere, until the year 2012 when they will reverse again. This transition happens, as far as we know, at the peak of every 11-year sunspot cycle -- like clockwork.

Except the article linked above says it won't flip "like clockwork" this time. No other media source seems to be reporting this.

Ahh, I don't think so.

First. We don't have solar magnetic orientation data from 300 years ago. All we have is sunspot activity data.

Second. The intermeadiate magnetic orientation during the solar cycle, normally causes multiple positive/negative field pairs that are not coincident with the polar axis of the sun. see butterfly diagram fig.

Sorry. No Ice age

Yes I saw that diagram. But what the researchers seem to be saying, if report is accurate, is that the sun is about to enter a semi-stable (not just transitional) quadrupolar configuration (maybe for many cycles?).

I'm trying to hunt down the paper but The Yomiuri Shimbun is a major newspaper and Saku Tsuneta is a top solar scientist. Do the researchers themselves postulate a connection with the Maunder Minimum or is the newspaper just making it up?

Edit: The paper didn't make it up


Listing of Poster Abstracts

Early Reversal of the Sun's Polar Magnetic Fields and Assymetirc Sun as Observed with Hinode
Saku Tsuneta (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan)

We have been monitoring yearly variation of the Sun s polar magnetic fields with the Solar Optical Telescope aboard Hinode (Tsuneta+08, Ito+10, Shiota+12). The large magnetic flux concentrations with magnetic flux larger than 10(18) Mx per concentration have the same polarity, while the positive and negative fluxes are well balanced for more obscured flux concentrations with smaller magnetic flux (10(15)-10(16) Mx per concentration). The polarity of the polar region as a whole is determined only by such large magnetic concentrations. The decrease in the net magnetic fluxes of the both regions started in the declining phase of the previous cycle. The decrease is much more rapid in the North than in the South. The rapid decrease of the positive flux in the North region is due to the decrease in the number of the large flux concentrations. In contrast, the obscured concentrations for both polarities and that of the horizontal magnetic fields (Ishikawa+11) do not change during the year of 2008-2012. The Sun will have a dominant quadruple mode from the usual bipolar mode as the Sun in the Maunder minimum was speculated to have.

Some more info from last year


Some unusual solar readings, including fading sunspots and weakening magnetic activity near the poles, could be indications that our sun is preparing to be less active in the coming years.

...In a separate study, Richard Altrock, manager of the Air Force's coronal research program at NSO's facility in New Mexico, examined the sun's corona and observed a slowdown of the magnetic activity's usual "rush to the poles."

..."Cycle 24 started out late and slow and may not be strong enough to create a rush to the poles, indicating we'll see a very weak solar maximum in 2013, if at all," Altrock said. "If the rush to the poles fails to complete, this creates a tremendous dilemma for the theorists, as it would mean that Cycle 23's magnetic field will not completely disappear from the polar regions. … No one knows what the sun will do in that case."

If the models prove accurate and the trends continue, the implications could be far-reaching.

"If we are right, this could be the last solar maximum we'll see for a few decades," Hill said. "That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth's climate."

So the new info now from Saku Tsuneta's team seems to be the confirmation that "the rush to the poles" isn't completing and the result will be a quadrupolar sun. Uncharted territory for solar science.

Here's another report

Sun may soon have four poles, say researchers

The sun may be entering a period of reduced activity that could result in lower temperatures on Earth, according to Japanese researchers.

Officials of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the Riken research foundation said on April 19 that the activity of sunspots appeared to resemble a 70-year period in the 17th century in which London’s Thames froze over and cherry blossoms bloomed later than usual in Kyoto.

In that era, known as the Maunder Minimum, temperatures are estimated to have been about 2.5 degrees lower than in the second half of the 20th century.

The Japanese study found that the trend of current sunspot activity is similar to records from that period.

OK, I spend a lot of time on the internet following all sorts of threads, and this seems interesting but I just don't have time. Can someone distil this one down into the implications?

We MIGHT get a multi-decade reprieve from Global Warming - but not Climate Chaos.

Humanity will still be disturbing weather patterns with CO2 et al, but the overall energy balance will not be nearly as warm as it otherwise might be.


Agreed, and I'm certainly not posting these links to discredit global warming in any way.

What I'm also trying to figure out is whether there is any potential for some kind of very large X-Ray event/CME prior to the Sun going quiet. I'm not sure the answer to that is known.

Just from basic physics - and one course in astrophysics from almost 4 decades ago (obsolete and fading memory) that is a valid concern.

With a major changes in flows (everything is a plasma, changed magnetic fields change physical movements, fusion reactions, etc.) there should be chaotic results.

The sun puts out more major ejecta than most people realize. The ejecta have to hit near Earth to have an impact. If the Carrington event of 1859 had waited one hour, there would have been no noticeable events on Earth except perhaps vivid Northern Lights.

I looked up Carrington Event on Wikipedia and a Baltimore newspaper reported Northern Lights there as a result of the Carrington Super Solar Flare. Manassas, Virgina is less than 100 miles further south of Baltimore.

So we may well see major events - and they may all miss us - or not.

Best Hopes for Good Timing of our orbit,


PS: Northern Lights were seen over the battlefield in Virginia (First Bull Run/Manassas) in 1861. It is VERY rare to see "Northern Lights" that far south. Perhaps from a twin of Carrington from two years before that just barely missed us.

We are short term thinking monkeys !

What if

1) Solar activity is reduced, and reduces global temperatures by an average of, say -1.5C for, say, 60 years. This reduces the impacts of Global Warming and Climate Chaos to tolerable levels. So we tolerate growing GHGs and do not get serious about reducing them.

2) And in, say, 2073, the sun reverts back to what we have experienced for the last few centuries ?


Here's the modelled Northern Hemisphere temperature difference during the Maunder Minimum.

Chilly Temperatures During the Maunder Minimum

The impact of the solar minimum is clear in this image, which shows the temperature difference between 1680, a year at the center of the Maunder Minimum, and 1780, a year of normal solar activity, as calculated by a general circulation model. Deep blue across eastern and central North America and northern Eurasia illustrates where the drop in temperature was the greatest. Nearly all other land areas were also cooler in 1680, as indicated by the varying shades of blue. The few regions that appear to have been warmer in 1680 are Alaska and the eastern Pacific Ocean (left), the North Atlantic Ocean south of Greenland (left of center), and north of Iceland (top center).

If energy from the Sun decreased only slightly, why did temperatures drop so severely in the Northern Hemisphere? Climate scientist Drew Shindell and colleagues at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies tackled that question by combining temperature records gleaned from tree rings, ice cores, corals, and the few measurements recorded in the historical record, with an advanced computer model of the Earth’s climate. The group first calculated the amount of energy coming from the Sun during the Maunder Minimum and entered the information into a general circulation model. The model is a mathematical representation of the way various Earth systems—ocean surface temperatures, different layers of the atmosphere, energy reflected and absorbed from land, and so forth—interact to produce the climate.

When the model started with the decreased solar energy and returned temperatures that matched the paleoclimate record, Shindell and his colleagues knew that the model was showing how the Maunder Minimum could have caused the extreme drop in temperatures. The model showed that the drop in temperature was related to ozone in the stratosphere, the layer of the atmosphere that is between 10 and 50 kilometers from the Earth’s surface. Ozone is created when high-energy ultraviolet light from the Sun interacts with oxygen. During the Maunder Minimum, the Sun emitted less strong ultraviolet light, and so less ozone formed. The decrease in ozone affected planetary waves, the giant wiggles in the jet stream that we are used to seeing on television weather reports.

The change to the planetary waves kicked the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)—the balance between a permanent low-pressure system near Greenland and a permanent high-pressure system to its south—into a negative phase. When the NAO is negative, both pressure systems are relatively weak. Under these conditions, winter storms crossing the Atlantic generally head eastward toward Europe, which experiences a more severe winter. (When the NAO is positive, winter storms track farther north, making winters in Europe milder.) The model results, shown above, illustrate that the NAO was more negative on average during the Maunder Minimum, and Europe remained unusually cold. These results matched the paleoclimate record.

Undertow - I know this is a tiny nit, but just want to pt. out that the 3rd warmer area is north of Svalbard, not of Iceland. Iceland lies within the northern part of that 2nd warmer area near Greenland.

Thanks for all the informative climate data you post here.

2073, the sun reverts back

To use the attitude of a few regular posters on TOD - I'll be dead and it will no longer be my problem.

There are some people who've posited the Sun's fusion reaction starts and stops but because of the large size we Humans don't see that.

The upside to this new data is we Humans will have a reason to watch the Sun more closely and attempt to figure it out. The downside is we Humans may not figure this all out in a timely manner.

There are some people who've posited the Sun's fusion reaction starts and stops but because of the large size we Humans don't see that.

Source? Solar Neutrinos, as measured on Earth, would suddenly vanish if fusion stopped. Then the sun would start to collapse.

I think we only measure a few events per what (a month). If there were some high frequency on/off cycle, we could miss it. Note, there is no concievable physical mechanism. But the time scale for noticing the reactions in the center is something like a million years. Incidentally if we had some majoc fusion killer material and injected it into the sun, after fusion shut down, the suns luminosity would go up, as gravity slowly contracted the sun. Stars work in conter-intuitive ways most of the time.

As I understand, there is now real time continual monitoring of solar neutrinos at a few sites. One of these had a report, IIRC, saying they had detected neutrino sources which they identified as being the reactors of passing nuclear subs. Trying to find that report.

While hunting I found this interesting new paper.

Minerva Experiment Demonstrates Neutrino Communication

The Minerva Experiment at Fermilab successfully transmitted a message coded in neutrinos. In a paper submitted to the archive (arXiv:1203.2847[hep-ex]), the collaboration describes their test, in which the word "neutrino" was encoded in the pattern of neutrino pulses sent from Fermilab's NUMI beam line and reconstructed from the pattern of neutrino interaction observed in the Minerva detector, located 1 km away. They found a data transmission rate of 0.1 bits/second and an error rate of 1%.

The Minierva message is the first successful attempt at neutrino communications, demonstrating the possibility of neutrino communications as proposed by Center for Neutrino Physics member Patrick Huber. In a 2010 paper published in Physics Letters B (Phys.Lett.B692, 268), Prof. Huber outlined a method for communicating with submerged submarines using high energy neutrino beams. The Minerva result brings the realization of this technology one step closer.

Demonstration of Communication using Neutrinos

(Submitted on 13 Mar 2012 (v1), last revised 9 Apr 2012 (this version, v2))

Beams of neutrinos have been proposed as a vehicle for communications under unusual circumstances, such as direct point-to-point global communication, communication with submarines, secure communications and interstellar communication. We report on the performance of a low-rate communications link established using the NuMI beam line and the MINERvA detector at Fermilab. The link achieved a decoded data rate of 0.1 bits/sec with a bit error rate of 1% over a distance of 1.035 km, including 240 m of earth.

In 2073, most policy-makers alive today will be dead. So what do they care? We are also short-lived monkeys that don't really care as much about our progeny as we say we do.

That is my worry if some natural event should introduce a temporary cooling. With the current denier climate any such occurrence would be a major disaster in the making. Worse, we would be thrown into a situation where feedback would take over to give an unstoppable change.


Here's another new article. This one avoids any mention of what this might mean in reality - seeming, strangely, only concerned with the "models".

Hinode and SOHO paint an asymmetrical picture of the sun

by Staff Writers
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Apr 23, 2012

...While the cycle unfolds with seeming regularity every 11 years, in two upcoming papers scientists highlight just how asymmetrical this process actually is. Currently the polarity at the north of the sun appears to have decreased close to zero - that is, it seems to be well into its polar flip from magnetic north to south - but the polarity at the south is only just beginning to decrease.

"Right now, there's an imbalance between the north and the south poles," says Jonathan Cirtain, a space scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., who is also NASA's project scientist for a Japanese solar mission called Hinode. "The north is already in transition, well ahead of the south pole, and we don't understand why."

...Typical models of the magnetic flip, suggest that as active regions rotate around the equator, their higher, trailing edge - which is almost always the opposite polarity from the pole in their hemisphere - drift upward, eventually dominating the status quo and turning positive to negative or negative to positive. The Hinode data show that this transition at the north began before such drifting had a chance to occur.

"This is one of the most interesting things in this Hinode paper to me," says Tarbell. "How did the polar reversal start so early, even though the onset of the solar cycle, that is, increased activity at lower latitudes, hadn't begun yet?"

Tarbell thinks these observations mean that this model, too, may need to be re-examined.

EDIT: Curious again = despite it being credited "By Staff Writers" it is a cut and paste from a NASA press release written by Karen C. Fox at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center,. I also found the same story word for word at Science Daily but they, at least, actually credited it as "reprinted from materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center."

Speculation about potential planetary impact clearly is not on Karen C. Fox's agenda.

Of course they are concerned with the model. The model is the representation of what we know about how the sun works, and if the model is wrong that means our knowledge is less complete than we'd hoped.

Once the model matches observable reality we can say we understand it reasonably well.

And, of course they are right to be concerned about the models. What I'm pointing out is that the article doesn't begin even to touch upon the claim by the Hinode team that the sun may be about to enter a decades long minimum with a magnetic configuration not seen since the Maunder Minimum.

In fact the article reads as if what is happening with the Sun now is just the usual stuff but we just don't have the models right. When in fact the actual claim, by leading solar physicists, is that the Sun is about to do something never seen before - but may be the same thing that happened during the Maunder Minimum - with all the possible implications that might have.

I think a new Maunder Minimum would indeed be a blessing, because I don't really believe people are going to do much to mitigate what we put up there anyway. It is only external limitations that can force man to behave, and of those peak oil is the only real contender. It's really just damn bad luck that that the Earth had as much fossil fuel as it did, such that climate change is hitting right with PO. A bit of a delay might be really helpful.

Of course it would be a blessing. We're going to burn every damn drop of oil we get our hands on, and a 40 year cooling pattern should outlast our oil.

I think it would be a worse case scenario. It will only allow us to ignore climate change and continue to use up all coal, gas and oil. When the new Maunder minimum ends climate change will be back with a vengeance.

One way to look a this is: greenhouse gas warming will be somewhere in the 2 - 4 degrees by 2100 while solar induced cooling would be around -0.6, not even enough to cancel out half of the warming.

Another way is: current greenhouse warming is about 0.2 degrees C per decade, a new solar minimum would be countered by greenhouse warming after 3 decades.

A new maunder minimum is nothing to get excited about (global cooling wise).

I think it depends on what you're expecting the human response to climate change is going to be. I think we're going to "ignore climate change and continue to use up all coal, gas and oil" anyway, so this would be a reprieve from the temperature rise while peak oil finally stops us.

I agree it's nothing to get excited about, and clearly our understanding of this is limited at this point.

European Austerity – What's Actually Happening?

... Conservatives in Europe and America say cutting back on what democracies do for their citizens is the solution to our economic troubles because it will bring economic growth that helps everyone. But this is not what's happening where it is tried. These are not stupid people. Maybe economic growth wasn't the goal of austerity.

...And now that it is clear that austerity is making things worse they are demanding more austerity as a cure.

So here is the thing. Everyone can see that this is the result—the expected result—of austerity policies. And Europe's financial elites are not stupid people—not by a long shot! Perhaps they can see the obvious, because it’s obvious, and therefore we might conclude that their campaign pushing austerity isn’t about growing the economy – it’s about something else -- they have a different agenda.

When smart people are forcing something to happen we need to look at what is happening, and realize perhaps this is what they wanted to happen. Maybe economic growth wasn't austerity's goal at all. Maybe the results we see— the results we all knew would come from austerity—are the results they wanted.

Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine makes the case that financial elites have been following a strategy where they take advantage of crises and the resulting panic (and sometimes they make the crisis happen and whip up panic.) Crisis and panic set up chaotic environments in which it is easy to swoop in with pre-packaged "solutions" ...

"So here is the thing. Everyone can see that this is the result—the expected result—of austerity policies. And Europe's financial elites are not stupid people—not by a long shot! Perhaps they can see the obvious, because it’s obvious, and therefore we might conclude that their campaign pushing austerity isn’t about growing the economy – it’s about something else -- they have a different agenda."

I have an inherent distaste for conspiracy theories, so I don't like this explanation.

I'd rather believe that policy makers are following their religion: that the "free market" can solve any problems, any government intervention other than police and military and a stable currency are counter productive. That conforms, IMHO, equally well to the data and more closely to human behavior.

Isn't it you calling it a conspiracy theory and activating your own bias? Watch that loop!

Some policy makers are surely motivated by the highest of ideals as you claim, and some are surely also motivated by prospect of post-gov jobs in merchant banking/ 'privatisation'/PPPs etc. The motive of self interest is more typical of human behaviour than altruism to strangers, and might explain why policy-makers persist with generally disasterous (but elite-enriching) neoliberal policies.

I didn't claim high ideals, only religisosity. My bias is only that people can ignore a hugh amount of reality if it conflicts with their "religion". In this case economic/social beliefs.

"I have an inherent distaste for conspiracy theories..."

Conspiracy or culture? Perhaps a 'father knows best' system, and father will always protect his own interests and those of his get first. The revolving door of western finance opens on the Fed, ECB, IMF, and World Bank; different branches of the same exclusive club, same members. Symantical differences aside, the results seem to indicate a process of privatization that protects the very wealthy, regardless, ensuring that a falling tide doesn't sink all ships. Nothing new there.

"I'd rather believe that policy makers are following their religion: that the "free market" can solve any problems..."

Just who, exactly, do you think is actually determining policy? Let's start with Greece: The current interim Prime Minister is Lucas Papademos (by appointment), a former Vice President of the European Central Bank. Italy? Mario Monti (by appointment), former European Commissioner and financial technocrat extrordinaire:

Monti actively participates in several major think tanks. He is a member of the Praesidium of Friends of Europe. He was the founding chairman of Bruegel, another European think tank, which was formed in 2005. He is also the European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, a think tank founded in 1973 by David Rockefeller.[46]

Monti is a leading member of the exclusive Bilderberg Group.[47] He has also been an international advisor to Goldman Sachs[48] and The Coca-Cola Company.[49] He has also been a member of the "Senior European Advisory Council" of Moody's[50] and he is one of the members of the "Business and Economics Advisors Group" of the Atlantic Council.[51]


I could go on...and on. These folks don't need to conspire; they're already on the same page. The little meetings of the Bilderberg Group are just bridge and chess tournaments :-/ You may want to rethink your conspiracy position.

... According to Thompson, Bilderberg itself is not an executive agency. However, when Bilderberg participants reach a form of consensus about what is to be done, they have at their disposal powerful transnational and national instruments for bringing about what it is they want to come to pass.

Just sayin'...

No conspiracy needed. Just demographics and high levels of inequality.


But the preferences of developed, aging polities — first Japan, now the United States and Europe — are obvious to a dispassionate observer. Their overwhelming priority is to protect the purchasing power of incumbent creditors. That’s it. That’s everything. All other considerations are secondary.


I am often told that this is absurd because, after all, wouldn’t creditors be better off in a booming economy than in a depressed one? In a depression, creditors may not face unexpected inflation, sure. But they also earn next to nothing on their money, sometimes even a bit less than nothing in real terms. “Financial repression! Savers are being squeezed!” In a boom, they would enjoy positive interest rates.

That’s true. But the revealed preference of the polity is not balanced. It is not some cartoonish capitalist-class conspiracy story, where the goal is to maximize the wealth of exploiters. The revealed preference of the polity is to resist losses for incumbent creditors much more than it is to seek gains. In a world of perfect certainty, given a choice between recession and boom, the polity would choose boom. But in the real world, the polity faces great uncertainty. The policies that might engender a boom are not guaranteed to succeed. They carry with them a short-to-medium-term risk of inflation, perhaps even a significant inflation if things don’t go as planned. ... The polity prefers inaction to bearing this risk.

This way of looking at things (look at what they do, not what they say) explains other times also. In the 1960s and 1970s, there was much less accumulated wealth. Since there was not so much to lose, the preference was for growth. When productivity growth slowed down in the 70s, governments overstimulated to try to keep growth rates up, and caused runaway inflation, which has been a bogeyman ever since.

"Accumulated wealth" has no value, once the energy to run the capital equipment is no longer available. Of course, before that time, the "cost" of energy becomes so large that much of that wealth must be "spent" just to keep things going along well enough to prevent societal collapse. After that, TSHTF and the wealthy must find a new location, since they become targets in their old neighborhoods. I hear that the Bush clan has a large ranch in Paraguay. Texas is for turkeys...

E. Swanson

The 'choice' of austerity is no choice. Austerity is concealed behind all the doors. No one will escape it.

Economists believe we can will ourselves to waste by fiddling around with interest rates. These are the same economists who do not recognize resource limitations so they are unable to calculate their effects.

Ironically, Waldman was writing about demurrage money, a topic that was examined here on The Oil Drum almost 3 years ago.

Oil Refining: A Tale of Two Markets

..., no other segment suffers boom and bust like refining. Last December’s IEA Medium-Term Oil and Gas Markets 2011 update highlighted an expected net rise of 8.7 million barrels per day in global crude distillation capacity post-2010, to reach a total of 102 million barrels per day by 2016.

This compares with forecast demand growth of less than 7 million barrels per day, even as an increasing share is met by biofuels, gas liquids and condensates supplies, which can bypass the refining system.

All the expansion occurs in non-OECD countries, most notably in Asia, and much of it has a competitive advantage embedded from the start – resulting from economies of scale or less onerous environmental norms than in the OECD, or both. IEA projections envisage excess refining capacity persisting for several years, pushing many European and other OECD refiners to close shop or sell capacity at distressed prices.

How Much Oil Is Really in the U.S.?

This week, the U.S. Geological Survey released a study of the world's "undiscovered, technically recoverable" oil resources. It sounds complicated, but is relatively simple. It's oil we haven't actually found, but believe is there based on geological studies, and think we can get at with current drilling technology, regardless of the legal or economic issues. The new survey did not include the United States, but Republicans have combined its results with previous estimates showing we have 198 billion barrels of this kind of oil. Here's a breakdown.

Oil Reserves

Wow, all that undiscovered oil. Of oil we haven't found yet and we have almost twice as much as the Middle East and North Africa combined. If we only knew where it was. ;-)

Ron P.

So basically Republicans are saying that the US oil industry is run by a bunch of incompetent boobs who can't find their ass with their own hands let alone this massive treasure trove of 198 billion barrels of economically viable conventional oil. Yeah, right.

I think it is more likely to be a cynical political ploy to support the 'drill, baby, drill' policies that their donors want.

I think it is more likely to be a cynical political ploy to support the 'drill, baby, drill' policies that their donors want.

I say let them put their money where their mouths are and let them drill and we hold their feet to the fire when they don't produce

FM – IMHO there really isn’t much bluff to call. Nearly all the known US petroleum provinces have been actively explored for over 80 years. The great majority of major onshore fields in the lower 48 states were completely drilled up over 50 years ago. As I’ve mentioned I’m about to start a horizontal EOR project in one Gulf Coast Texas trend that has produced over 4 billion bbls of oil. A trend that is only 140 miles by 20 miles. And the bulk of that oil was produced over 30 years ago. The US has produced about 195 BILLION BBLS OF OIL. At our current production rate, WITH ZERO DECLINE OF ALL EXISITNG FIELDS, it would take about 100 years to match that recovery. But we currently have declined 50% from our max rate so if this hidden treasure of undeveloped oil, were to have the same decline, will take 200 years to recover the same volume. But certainly once the envirowackos get out of the way we’ll be able to double the amount of wells ever drilled in the US and increase production back to our former peak and produce that next 195 billion bbls in 100 years.

And I know exactly where that 195 billion bbls is hidden. Well, actually where it isn’t. It’s not in Texas, Ca and LA. These 3 states have produced over half that 195 billion bbls of oil. And the oil patch has had virtually unrestricted access to drilling in these areas. It must be hidden under all those federal leases that we haven’t had access to all these years. Woops…just remembered: with the exception of the North Slope we have had access to all federal leases at the same time we were developing those many billions of bbls of oil. Yes: the oil patch leased and drilled federal leases off the east and west coasts as well as off the west coast of FL. Sure, today there are restrictions to those areas but back when the oil patch was booming we poked holes in those areas wherever we thought it looked good. With the excetion of offshore CA it didn't look that good. But with current seismic tech we could probably do better. Heck: the feds allowed all the major oil companies to form a consortium and drill stratigraphic tests of the east coast on FREE LEASES just to find out if there had been a history of oil generation in the region.

But, of course there are all those billions of bbls of potential oil we could produce from the kerogen shales in the western states but the dang govt won’t open them up for leasing. Woops…just remembered: about 30% of that shale sits under privately owned and could be leased by any company today that wants to develop all that easy oil.

There is a good bit of oil left to produce in this country. Obviously: we are the THIRD LARGEST OIL PRODUCER ON THE PLANET. But it seems many folks just can’t grasp the scale of what the oil patch has accomplished in the last 80 years in order to acieve that tite. They also don’t seem to grasp that it isn’t the ExxonMobil et als that aren’t responsible for the US currently being the third largest oil producer on the planet. The small independents that are squeezing out less than 10 bopd on average from all our existing wells are responsible for the majority of our production. I also recently discovered that many folks don’t realize the US is the #1 NG producer on the planet. Just beat the Russians out by the slimmest of margins. But between our two countries we produce almost half the NG on the planet. And our oil patch achieved that title by having our activities restricted by the feds and envirowackos? BTW: I do use the term envirowacko with true affection...honest.

Bottom line: the US hasn’t achieved these remarkable results by the oil patch being restricted to any significant degree from developing our natural resources.

I agree with most of the above. One quibble: Low production stripper wells are a majority of U.S. wells but not close to providing a majority of production volume.

My understanding is that the Republicans are pointing at the EIA's "Assumptions to the Annual Energy Outlook 2011" document, which shows three major sources for that undiscovered oil: Alaska (both on- and off-shore), deep-water Gulf of Mexico, and unconventional formations in the western half of the country (most in the western third). The oil may in fact be there. But all three are locations where there is good reason to believe that the maximum flow that can be achieved will be limited.

Maybe that's a good thing. If the US is forced to be dependent on its own petroleum production for those parts of the transport and traction functions that can't be electrified in a straight-forward fashion (military, agriculture), 90 years of production at 6M bbl/day may be a better thing than 30 years at 18M bbl/day.

mc - Good point IMHO. The US isn't "going to run out of oil" anytime soon. What's left to produce, be it a few tens of billions or hundreds of billions of bbls, will be produced slowly IMHO. Some trends, like DW GOM, may have individual fields that come on at 300,000+ BOPD but they take many years to develop and then they decline very fast. Even worse for the oil rich shale plays: individual wells decline significantly in just a few years. Takes massive drilling programs to keep the collective rate up. But as long as oil prices stay high the incentive to keep the drill rate up will be there. But I'm starting to wonder if the current mismatch between operations capex requirements, debt load and potential insufficient cash flow may significantly hamper these plays even with high oil prices.

I don't see any cliffs in our future...never have. Just a bumpy plateau that will, over decades, eventually slide lower IMHO. I'm not sure I would bet on 6 million BOPD for 90 years but hopefully it will hold at a sufficient level until the country come to terms with the reality of the situation and takes serious action to prepare for that future. And that's the BIG QUESTION IMHO: will we take advantage of the plateau to correct our course or use it as a false hope that we don't need to change our energy habit to any significant degree? And there falls the spread of predictions between the cornucopian BAU and the Mad Max doomers. And all the rest of us in between.

Good point Rockman

What's left to produce, be it a few tens of billions or hundreds of billions of bbls, will be produced slowly.

That IMHO is the point that the deniers who base their arguments on the size of reserves numbers are completely missing. As has been said many times - it is the rate that matters - not the ultimate recoverable.

However - I would argue that even if we could achieve 6 million BOPD for 90 years - that will be an unmitigated disaster for all of the government planners who are assuming that the economy is simply going through another recessionary cycle and soon we will return to healthy growth rates of 3-5% in GDP.

90 years of healthy economic growth (which will not happen)would require enormous increases in oil production. The exponential function is a killer.

So healthy economic growth will not happen - meaning our ludicrous credit bubble cannot be paid back in any way.

There is no brighter future.

Great point T.E., the global economy is already failing and we are just on the plateau of oil production. As West Texas is fond of pointing out, the Titanic is taking on water fast. Export Land Model will be the grim reaper for the global economy that already only functions because of bailouts, stimulus, and unsustainable debt. I wish there was a site like the Oil Drum that focused on the economic situation because that is where the rubber meets the road from here on out.

Are you familiar with The Automatic Earth?

I have heard of the site, I will check it out thanks.

Perfectly agree with your question, but there's no need to undergo a dramatic fall in fossil fuel availability for most people to lose the comfort of their normalcy bias. Just look at Greece. If the same or so happens to Spain or Italy, then hell breaks loose in Europe. Though, there's plenty of oil left (there, I assume that the plateau of oil production since 2005 is a root of the current multi-root crisis).

That's what is thrilling me : long before a Mad Max world, the irrational reactions of the lazy, uncultivated, selfish and BAU accustomed herd. I know many people can adapt in a relatively short time frame, but I also know many people cannot and won't especially display some kind of cooperative frame of mind. This is the part of Peak Oil I don't like at all.

US total petroleum liquids production increased from 7.2 mbpd in 2004 (prior to the hurricanes) to 7.5 mbpd in 2010*, an increase of 0.3 mbpd from 2004 to 2010.

Over a similar time frame (2005 to 2010), the global supply of Available Net Exports (Global Net Exports less Chindia's net imports) fell by 5.0 mbpd, and it could easily fall by another 14 to 20 mbpd from 2010 to 2020.

*And probably to about 7.8 mbpd in 2011

Yes, but if we can just get use to myopically looking at the numbers that are the most positive and keep the data that is most negative to the periphery of our focus, then positive thinking will solve all ill. Ask not what your country can do for you, ask how myopically we can view things to keep BAU.

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask how myopically we can view things to keep BAU.

How about THIS myopically! http://shine.yahoo.com/financially-fit/deals-earth-day-2012-191900272.html

Deals for Earth Day 2012

The first Earth Day in 1970 led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts. We've come a long way in 42 years—green has gone mainstream and Earth Day has become a day to celebrate all things earthy. It's also become a day to celebrate freebies, coupon codes and sweepstakes. Here's a sampling of some of the promotions available...

Target is giving away one reusable bag per customer on April 22; check at your store's guest service desk.

The insult added to the injury makes me want to puke! Happy Earth Day, folks! Drive your SUV to the mall and buy some more crap! A$$holes!

I will go start the tomatoes, once I get my fourth year ecology term papers marked. Spousal unit is hanging clothes on the line. Nobody in our household is going near a shop or using the car (well, one of the cats might sit on it and decorate it with muddy paw prints).

Is buying a children's book at the LA Times Festival of Books allowed? :]

You refer I presume to Kareem who is at this moment being interviewed on C-Span from the festival

We didn't catch Kareem, but we - the grandpup and I - did run into Julie Andrews reading from her children's book. Just seven, but he recognized her as Mary Poppins. And that it's Earth Day - he was especially careful about his trash and recycling, he said.

Want to read something really scarey? 27 Reasons The European Sovereign Debt Bubble Is About To Burst

The economic crisis in Europe continues to get worse and eventually it is going to unravel into a complete economic nightmare. All over Europe national governments have piled up debts that are completely unsustainable. But whenever they start significantly cutting government spending it results in an economic slowdown. So politicians in Europe are really caught between a rock and a hard place. They can’t keep racking up these unsustainable debts, but if they continue to cut government spending it is going to push their economies into deep recession and their populations will riot.

This is rather like another such article posted by Lenan last November: The 27 reasons to fear economic apocalypse

Peak oil is not likely to be the thing that causes the economies of the world to collapse, it will only be the last big push that pushes them off the cliff. We are staring apocalypse right in the face due to: 1) all the economical problems the world faces, 2) all the ecological problems the world faces, and 3) all the resource problems the world faces.

Ron P.

Ties in nicely with this thread, above:


I don't really understand all those who criticize austerity. Of course austerity causes unemployement to rise, govermment revenue to decrease, and the economy to shrink. But the only alternative to austerity is to borrow even more money at ever higher interest rates to keep the economic bubble running for an additional undeterminate period, causing an even bigger debt implosion in the future. Can anybody here tell me if there's a solution to these enormous debt bubbles that don't involve a huge amount of pain for the populace.

"Can anybody here tell me if there's a solution to these enormous debt bubbles that don't involve a huge amount of pain for the populace."

The pain's already baked in. Relax...

Think about it without thinking about the money/banks/governments. Do you believe that there is no productive activity in which able-bodied adults who are currently unemployed could be engaged which would create value for society at large? If those people do not work, the value of their labor is lost, if they do, the assets of global society as a whole are greater. The money and debt involved only change the location of claims to the greater asset base. Unless you believe nutty theories about the unemployed suddenly choosing leisure or the marginal value of their labor suddenly becoming negative, you will agree that the current market is not properly allocating/employing labor. Austerity makes that worse, and makes the globe as a whole poorer.

Robert Michels believed that any political system eventually evolves into an oligarchy. He called this the iron law of oligarchy. According to this school of thought, modern democracies should be considered as oligarchies. In these systems, actual differences between viable political rivals are small, the oligarchic elite impose strict limits on what constitutes an acceptable and respectable political position, and politicians' careers depend heavily on unelected economic and media elites. Thus the popular phrase: there is only one political party, the incumbent party.
~ Wikipedia

It is not for a small number of large-scale-centralized gangs-we-call-governments/corporatocrats to impose any kind of 'measures'-- austerity or otherwise. It is precisely these decisions-of-the-few-for-everyone-else that has got us into our predicaments in the first place.
This also goes for the multinational corporations and the products we buy and think we need. Our lack of say in how they are produced, marketed, etc., our lack of ownership in these very entities that affect our lives, means that failure is baked-in.

Looking to the problem for solutions is like repeating the same thing over and over and expecting a different result: Insanity-- exactly.

We are not a nation-state people. We are a band or tribal people. That's how we evolved. We know what is good for us thank you very much and is not up to 'unknown others' to decide against our full agreement whether we are 'working' or not and how we should. Again that's what gets and has gotten us into trouble-- the inevitability of our capacities for systemic complexity which progressively removes us from certain levels of control. We've gone too far and need to step back.

The 'iron law of oligarchy' states that all forms of organization, regardless of how democratic they may be at the start, will eventually and inevitably develop oligarchic tendencies, thus making true democracy practically and theoretically impossible, especially in large groups and complex organizations. The relative structural fluidity in a small-scale democracy succumbs to "social viscosity" in a large-scale organization. According to the 'iron law', democracy and large-scale organization are incompatible.
~ Wikipedia

Statism Is Dead

The sooner we re-frame our perspectives, narratives and lives beyond the nation-state, the better for all, including Earth.

I suspect that if we don't relocalize in a hurry, we're toast, if we aren't already. I would begin yesterday looking at Transition, Permaculture and/or ecovillages/intentional communities and/or turning your place into one.

Well, you've equated austerity to having the populace not work, which at the present is inevitable because most people's jobs in an industrial society involve turning fossil fuel energy into waste. But in general austerity means being poor, not that people don't work. I'd have to think that the moneyed interests would love to have those people working quite hard while paying them little. However, they will be unable to come up with any way to use the people's labor that does not have a fossil fuel input and functions within the existing system of wealth concentration which keeps them on top of the pile - at least not fast enough to head of major unrest.

Yes, maintaining increased unemployment to drive labor costs and living standards down is what austerity is REALLY about in the near term. Everyone striving for their crust alone is the aim in the longer term. As to not being able to employ more labor without causing increased energy expenditure: Have you looked at what is in American solid waste, and its embodied energy content? Do you know the energy payback of housing weatherization? Are you aware how much biomass is accumulating on public lands?

The money and debt involved only change the location of claims to the greater asset base.

And when we QE/print? We are now increasing the claims to a diminished asset base...now where have I read that before?

'excess claims to underlying real wealth' - Stoneleigh of The Automatic Earth

There is plenty people could do to aid the Green Transition needed to deal with Peak Oil and Climate Change in which they could be employed. Running more trains, buses and shuttles for Green Transit on existing lines/routes. Restoring passenger service on the 233,000 miles of existing Rail in the US. Building bikeways and sidewalks for safe travel over the last mile(s) to public transit or thereby avoiding any oil usage or greenhouse emissions altogether. Insulating every building and house. Installing solar panels on as many flat roofs as possible. Adding an extra door/anteroom before all shops, houses and buildings so
that heating/cooling does not just go out the door. Installing wind turbines where it makes sense. Installing micro-hydro.
These are all Green investments which would create jobs as opposed to 1% austerity unemployment. But BAU elites throughout the world do not want this. They want to prop up existing Auto/Oil/Sprawl addiction and military sycophantic industries so they can
get a sure profit. Like the cell-phone operator that gives you a heavily discounted phone so they can make money off the usage charges, they want the people on the hook.
Meanwhile there is the highest military/ war wasted spending ever:


Published on Monday, April 23, 2012 by Common Dreams
The Shame of Nations: A New Record is Set for Spending on War
by Lawrence Wittner

On April 17, 2012, as millions of Americans were filing their income tax returns, the highly-respected Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its latest study of world military spending. In case Americans were wondering where most of their tax money -- and the tax money of other nations -- went in the previous year, the answer from SIPRI was clear: to war and preparations for war.(Image: File)

World military spending reached a record $1,738 billion in 2011 -- an increase of $138 billion over the previous year. The United States accounted for 41 percent of that, or $711 billion.

Actually the $711 Billion for the US War budget is an underestimate which does not include the CIA, NSA, 70% of the DOE budget which goes to nuclear weapons, Homeland Security, the Veterans Administration costs to treat all the Iraq/Afghan veterans crippled for life by those Wars.
The US and the developed world has PLENTY of resources if they stopped the endless War
spending and redirected resources from Auto Addiction.

Debt/money is a closed system. There are no Alien Space Bats to whom we owe our debt. We, globally, only owe ourselves. There are also no little green men coming to pay us. We have a certain amount of productive capacity. To the extent we idle labor, we reduce the asset stock against which the debt/money claims exist (monied interests hope that by concentrating the claims they will come out ahead even though collectively we are worse off). The paradox of thrift is that if everyone 'saves' without deploying assets productively, everyone will be worse off. It's a prisoner's dilemma. There are a few actors who have the ability to act collectively to break the dilemma. The U.S. Germany, the U.K. the Fed and the ECB are among them.

The World Bank is... devoted to state-run corporate capitalism. Established and managed by a multitude of national governments, the World Bank promotes managed trade by which politically-connected individuals and corporations enrich themselves at the expense of the poor and the middle class. Western governments tax their citizens to fund the World Bank, lend this money to corrupt third world dictators, who abscond with the funds and then demand repayment, which is extracted through taxation from the poor Third World citizens, rather than from the government officials who were responsible for the embezzlement. It is in essence a global transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. Taxpayers around the world are forced to subsidise the lavish lifestyle of Third World dictators and highly-paid World Bank bureaucrats who don't even have to pay income taxes. [see also; 'WTO Why Is It BAD For You' on You Tube]"
~ Ron Paul

I reject that many if not all populations owe their national debts because of this lack of participatory democracy in their running up. Riots are an understandable response to austerity.

Riot picket sign idea: 'National Debt: Walk away and let the 1% pay'

Debt/money is a closed system

But there's no physical limit to how much money and debt we can create/destroy. When the limit is infinity, is it really a closed system?

The physical value IS bounded (except to the extent growth occurs). Only the nominal value is unbounded. Dilution/concentration (rich vs. poor) is what procyclical 'austerity' is really about. The monied want to use this opportunity to crush the 99% (taking the post-Civil war era as their model). We did the opposite from the 30's to the 70's.

If it were really about living within our means we would be taxing the rich rather than borrowing from them and spending the money instead of giving it back to them.

We may not owe our debt to Alien Space Bats but we do owe a lot of debt to the planet in terms of resources and carrying capacity. One day we will have to pay that debt back as the bounty gets over and we are back to natural recharge rates.

Energy-wise, the current flow of energy is about 100,000 terawatts, so we're ok there.

The bigger problem is ecological services.

I think using the word "debt" in this context confuses us more than in enlightens. We are part of a large system with flows and stores, and what we do affects those flows and stores, and hence have some impact on future possibilities. But, unless we discover some Flying Spaghetti Monster, that keeps books, and enforces some sort of long term balance, there is nothing to focus us to payback what we took.

As an example of using a planetary store, lets posit a civilization that found a way to live off of its planet's uranium (via fission reactors of some advanced kind). After a brillant million year run, the planet's supply of Uranium is exhausted. Now they will have to get by with some other energy source -or get along with much much less energy. There is nothing forcing them to carpet the planet with advanced solar cells, and to use the power to transmute collected fission wastes back into uranium, and store the resulting Uranium in rock. Now, the net result is a Uranium depleted planet. A different place (and likely one that precludes the possibilty that a future civilization could follow the same course), but not one that requires repayment of a debt in kind.

A completely different conversation. Right now we are squandering the human resources we could be using to address that problem, by artificially idling labor due to disputes about Monopoly money.

Default (like Iceland) or jubilee. Also, impoverish and prosecute the bankers and bail out the people, rather than the other way around. Why pretend the debts will get paid back? And why impoverish the populace at large? Not that defaults are pain-free, but considering what is going on under "austerity", default is a much better solution.

You could nationalize the banks and make them operate as non-profit ventures (one of the proposals in the Communist manifesto). You could put together a system so that people can't be forced out of housing (even within the system - foreclosures could just be unable to proceed until adequate housing was found for those being foreclosed on, for example) or denied food (government aid, like food stamps). There are plenty of things that can be done to prevent situations where people are visibly dumpster diving for food in groups, which is what seems to be happening in Greece.

I will believe in "austerity" when it means bankers who ripped people off get prosecuted and their houses and land are given to the people. The banks often engaged in downright criminal activity, and they get bailed out and hand out bonuses. Heck, bankers who set up the system that failed are put in as Prime Minister by foreign powers (Papademos in Greece)! For many of us peasants (which is what most of us are), even if we do everything right, "austerity" can come along and there goes the job... and the house... and who knows what else.

Austerity is a scam.

I will believe in "austerity" when it means bankers who ripped people off get prosecuted and their houses and land are given to the people.

But bankers rip people off in good times as well as during austerity. Austerity simply means living within, or below, your means.

If you phrase it as "living within, or below, your means" it makes sense individually, but on the scale of a nation what does that mean? No individual took out the debt that threatens Greece, and in fact the closest thing to a guilty party is Papademos and his pals!

"Reduce government services and raise taxes" is the usual line... But in effect it means "reduce services and raise taxes for the peasant/proletariat class while the big guys get fed money". Even this is pretty meaningless with a debt like Greece's debt, which simply won't and can't be paid back. Default or a massive write down of the debt are the only possible options.

Infinite growth is impossible, and there is a need to put needs and desires in line with capability to service those desires. But what is going on now is not anything like that. The first cuts are taken on those that need them most, and taxes on the weathiest are not rising in proportion. Where is the 90% marginal tax rate on the rich, where are the taxes on corporate profits?

The people who looted the world are still in power, and richer. The calls for "austerity" are basically the rich telling each other "open buffet on the poor!"

The people who looted the world are still in power, and richer. The calls for "austerity" are basically the rich telling each other "open buffet on the poor!"

What the rich still haven't grasped is that the poor left with little choice will destroy the support systems on which the rich must also depend. Here is an example of what I mean.

Asia's reefs being destroyed by fishermen with explosives

Read more: http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20120420/indonesia-explosions-coral...

It is the rich with their greed who are most responsible for the destruction of the commons even though the poor may be the immediate vector for that destruction.

So how much was that reef really worth? How long would it take to restore it? That reef's destruction is more the fault of the rich than it is the fisherman's and we are all of us the poorer for it >:^(

World's 40 richest now worth $1 trillion

The group has increased its wealth by a combined $88 billion since Jan. 1, says a daily ranking.

Perhaps a few of those 120 million dollar yachts that I see docked around here will be donated to make some artificial reefs...

People equate rich and poor with some kind of moral low and high ground. While the reality is that it's neither, the poor will destroy the environment as much as the rich do given enough opportunities. The difference is knowledge of what your environment is worth to you, without it, the lack or excess of money is useless.
Only the Aborigines traditionally possessed this knowledge and now they are gone.

I kinda agree with Darwinian here, people will dig out roads and chop down trees when the time comes.

people will dig out roads and chop down trees when the time comes.

Yes, in some places, but I think it's more complex than that. First, humans are social creatures, and just because official control breaks down doesn't mean all social limitations will be gone. I think new, more local (tribal?) ones will form fairly quickly.

Second, after so many years of fossil fuel dependency few have the ability to, say, dig up a section of asphalt and burn it for heat. I'm not sure how I'd do it, but likely I could. And some that do will kill themselves in the process. Aside from a lack of skills, strength and tools; starvation, lack of medication and depression will prevent a lot of people from doing the damage they might otherwise do.

Just like the rest of this process, the results will vary greatly in time and location.

While some of my response is not necessarily addressed to your post, it did get me thinking...

A small town, small-scale, simple local banker working with a local, ethical, democratic currency/banking system is far less likely to rip you off, in part because you know them and they know you and you can look each other in the eyes and shake each others' hands and talk about the weather, etc..

Generally, we don't know our so-called leaders and they don't know us. Some only think they do.

Austerity in a large-scale centralized over-complex nation-state construct (that people have a natural right to opt out of, incidentally) essentially means paying for the fundamentally undemocratic decisions(/failures/disasters/etc.) of a small number of generally-unknown/distant people (save as corporatocratic media-contrived cardboard-cutouts) who make up 'government'.

The KISS principle

...states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complex, therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.

At the same time, with every death-of-a-thousand-cuts of the lack of democratic, local, generally simple participation in the running of our everyday lives, I'm reminded of The Butterfly Effect

If we ran a simulation, we might get something of a world like what we have now, with maybe each cut increasing exponentially.

Our system(s) already need far more than one Earth, but we only have one anyway.

Austerity might do well to be re-defined to be something much closer to The Olduvai Theory's setting and lifestyle, because I doubt we can manage much more than that with our numbers and complexity.

Quality-of-life that is temporary and in part depends on ecological draw-down and future-generation quality-of-life draw-down needs redefining too.

"living within, or below, your means" is the sales pitch for austerity. Unfortunately, this is akin to the idea that you shouldn't plant corn but instead save your seed corn to eat, or that while diving underwater, you can only use air obtained below the surface. Procyclical policy is idiotic for the global economy.

The idea of nationalization and non-profits is particularly interesting to me. Take healthcare in the US. The gov is in the process of introducing measures to increase competition (free-market) in the marketplace in attempt to bring down costs. This is being viewed as a direct threat to large non-profit healthcare insurance outfits currently in operation.

So in the financial realm, nationalization (non-profits) are being discussed as the better/safer option for economies going forward. Meanwhile, we are looking to push healthcare insurance in the opposite direction - privatization. Something is amiss here.

Regulation is only as good as the bodies imposing said regulations.

Can anybody here tell me if there's a solution to these enormous debt bubbles that don't involve a huge amount of pain for the populace?

Well, Romney has proposed a 20% federal tax cut across the board. The idea is for people to spend more of what they get to catapult the economy into such high growth that the huge tax cut will translate into even higher tax revenue received by the government.

Of course we all know better; that its really a not so veiled idea to eliminate entitlements. When they say keep govt out of our lives, they mean everyone is on their own. A pure form of capitalism in which every single individual fends for themselves w/out social security, medicare, medicaid, food stamps or any other program to progressively spread the wealth.

Their idea to solve our problems is to concentrate most of the remaining wealth with the top 1/1000 of 1% because then power gets concentrated and it is easier to get the campaign funds needed to get re-elected.

I think it will make it even more of a two tier society of the haves and the have nots, but those guys, like Mitt they are pretty sure its the best thing for all of us. So vote for the guy and watch a new gilded age spawn.

A 20% flat tax is a MAJOR tax increase for most Americans. All those in the 10% bracket, 15% bracket and those not well into the 28% bracket.

Those scraping by on 2,000 hours/yr at minimum wage or minimum plus a quarter/hour, pay little income tax. The 10% bracket plus just a hair in the 15% bracket (from memory of brackets).

Eliminate their deductions, and food stamps, and they will be starving and/or homeless at the 20% flat tax rate.

Best Hopes for a roll back of the Tea Party in 2012,



Agreed 20% would be a major tax increase for the vast majority. However, Romney said a 20% tax cut, not rate.

Something like 50% of Americans pay NO federal income tax.


Did Romney quote the last Republican Vice President - "Ronald Reagan proved that budget deficits don't matter" ?


PS: I could support a phased in across the board -20% income tax cut *IF* higher gasoline & diesel taxes, imported oil tariffs, carbon and inheritance taxes made up the difference, plus the structural deficit (balanced budget at 5.5% unemployment GDP) plus pay off the debt for the Invasion of Iraq.

That "50%" are the working poor, retirees and those working "off the books". Plus military in combat zones.

Only the last group should pay ANY income taxes.

I see the 50% figure as indictment of our economic system and income inequality.


Besides those 50% do pay a lot of there limited income in social security and sales taxes. They are not getting off scott free by any means.

If you total up all the sales tax, drivers license, property tax, permit fees, road tolls, phone tax, cable tax, gas tax, utilities tax, auto tags, and use fees the working poor contribute a staggering amount of their total income to taxes.

That doesn't cover any parking tickets, traffic tickets (driving a crap car is a cop magnet), kids sports fees at schools, etc.

But the system requires poor people to operate, just like it needs oil. And that's a fact.

According to USDebtClock.org, corporate taxes account for less than 5% of what the Federal budget spends. Tax loopholes must be closed. Most all workers pay FICA taxes, all even the poor pay gas and sales taxes. Real estate taxes are part of rent payments. Do these taxes count? Yes they count and they count for the poor and lower middle class a lot more than the rich. Don't get caught up in the right wing news channels hogwash.

Something like 50% of Americans pay NO federal income tax.

Well, 45% of American households with income, or more precisely "tax units" (gotta love government jargon). The Tax Policy Center has looked at who those people are. The biggest portion of those who owe no net income tax are those that make less than the standard deduction plus personal exemption -- IOW, the US version of "subsistence income". The next biggest group are the elderly whose principle income is Social Security (most of whom paid income taxes while they were working). The third biggest group are those who receive public assistance through the tax code (Earned Income Tax Credit, etc). Together these three groups make up about 90% of those who pay no federal income tax. A surprising portion of the remaining 10% are well-to-do people who have "special" income with its own tax treatments that leave them paying no income tax.

I've always thought a better question would be, "Why do so many Americans make less than the subsistence level of income?" Which for 2011, was $11,600 plus $3,700 per person in the household. For example, for a single mother of one, less than $19,000 (equal to full-time work at $9.40 per hour). Less than $1580 per month. Out of which comes payroll/state/local taxes, rent, food, energy costs, medical and dental care, insurance, day care, etc.

When they say keep govt out of our lives, they mean everyone is on their own.

Does mean that Romney will have to pay rent when he moves into the White House. As well, he'll have to shell out big bucks everytime he flies on the presidential 747. And what about the billion dollar security team that follows him around -- who's going to pay for that?

And what about the billion dollar security team that follows him around -- who's going to pay for that?

Perhaps they could finance that through prostitution? Somehow that seems fitting.

How do you think the average (uhh what do I call them "customers"), would pay for a night with a fat aging politician?

I was actually referring to the latest scandal where the imperial palace guard secret service was caught partaking of the services offered. Maybe there was a reason for that eunuch thing after all!

My quibble is with the word "austerity" itself. I wish the wealthy players would just come out and say "Go die." All they need are their staff, armies, support, and young pretties. Everyone else is just a load or a threat. At best the unwanted person's value is retrieved in unpaid labor, their possessions, the gold in their teeth, their hair, their daughters, and the soles of their feet... as demonstrated in WWII... at an industrial scale.

"Elephant In The Room Alert!!!"

But the only alternative to austerity is to borrow even more money

So the option of raising taxes on those segments of the population who can afford to pay them is not even "an alternative" anymore. What a beautiful example of the right-wing success in shifting the Overton window.

The most obvious and straightforward solution to the problem is "that which must not be named".

So the option of raising taxes on those segments of the population who can afford to pay them is not even "an alternative" anymore.

Taking all, or most, of the money from the country's rich people isn't nearly enough to pay off these guargantuan debts while simultaneouly keeping all the social programs at the same level as before. So no, this is not a solution to the debt problems of the PIIGS or the many other countries who soon will be experiencing similar problems.

The most obvious and straightforward solution to the problem is "that which must not be named".

I assume you are talking about defaulting 100% of the debt. In my opinion, this is the only real solution. But don't expect the standard of living for the masses to return to pre-crises levels.

Just because the debt (which includes a couple of behemoth wars) is beyond the Wealthy's ability to pay off with a renewed and very reasonable tax on all real income, doesn't mean that insising on their contributions should then become unmentionable.

Looking at default as a national economic strategy is like looking at hunger strike as a diet plan.

jokuhl, I agree with you that the wealthy should pay way more taxes than they do today, but not because this is a viable alternative to austerity for the non-wealthy.

I have a question for you regarding that: why are the northern european countries that are the MOST socialist - the Scandinavian countries, but also the Netherlands - not in trouble? We keep talking about austerity, but why are these countries avoiding it when they have the biggest "welfare states"? Norway has oil, ok, but the rest of them?

I expect that there will be a fall in living standards in many ways - cars will become out of reach for many, more people will have to live together, etc. - but what people are saying about the causes of economic chaos and trouble and the actual reality of extremely socialist states being mostly untouched is partly why I think austerity just a form of looting.

It seems to me that countries that care about keeping their citizens fed and housed can do it. Education is the same - the USSR managed to create near total literacy in every place within it's borders as well as having high scientific achievment, although economically they suffered from many problems. They did fail in the end, but how much of that has to do with social welfare?

From someone who's lived in Sweden (quite a few years ago), I can tell you that the average Swede is heavily in debt. This is partly because interest was (is?) tax deductable, and because of a housing bubble that could pop anytime. Similar to Greece, there's a black market in the construction and other related industries where a great deal of income isn't taxed because of cheating. At some point the government realized that setting tax rates higher and higher didn't bring in any extra income. The Swedes are very pragmatic and are less socialistic today than they used to be. For example, welfare payments for some people have been cut and some hospitals have been privatized. The last couple of governments have been "right wing" but are still less right wing than the US Democrats.

Northern European countries are simply way better organized, better educated, more productive, and less corrupt than Mediterranian countries. This ingrained cultural difference is historical and may have something to do with living in a colder versus warmer climate. In other words, the stronger economies of northern Europe can better afford social programs and are more adaptable when bad times come around -- less rioting and more rational thinking. That said, Northern Europe can easily be subjected to a severe recession in the next few years because of balooning debt levels. It'll be interesting to see how they handle it as opposed to how Greece is handling it.

I have heard it theorized that those who live in more northerly climates are forced to be more organized and forward thinking, as (traditionally) food/fuel must be stocked in order to make it through winter. Perhaps this plays a role, perhaps not.

For a discussion on the debt levels of Swedes, check out the comments on this article:

'Swedes' debts cost society billions': minister

I think the Dutch have even worse debt levels.

Probably, but the Dutch have also the largest savings (pension funds).

The Dutch government has collapsed because the cabinet refused to implement an austerity budget. Markets down 2%. Unprintable words of 'Sauce for the Goose' coming from Greece, et al.

It's a soap. A bad one.

Geert Wilders pulled the plug from the minority cabinet which he agreed to support without taking part in the cabinet. This happened during a seven week long negotiation marathon behind closed doors about budget cutbacks between the cabinet and Wilders.

It still doesn't explain why Southern Europe went first. Spain, famously, started out with better fundamentals than most of Northern Europe. Even now their debt is not as bad as many countries that seem to be ok.

You know, I can believe the corruption thing to some extent, but that is worst, or at least most damaging, at the upper levels... but what you're saying (better organized, better educated, more productive, less corrupt) smacks of a certain chauvanism. I'm sure the Arabs said the same things about the European Christians back in the day. It may be partially true but that doesn't change anything about what I said, that Greece could keep its citizens housed, fed, and educated to a decent degree.

A lot of money is involved, and it's going somewhere, but the citizens of the so called "PIIGS" countries are suffering but conditions aren't improving. Meanwhile, Iceland has had some reduction in living standards under their austerity, but overall things see to be fairly normal. Of course, they were the only country with the guts to tell their creditors to go jump in a lake. They also have arrested many bankers. Sweden went through a bank crisis in the early 90's, and that partly led to some of the less socialistic stuff going on, but they still maintained high living standards.

All of the explanations I hear don't add up. It looks like a scam, and every explanation of why it isn't a scam rests on the people of Southern Europe somehow being inferior, as far as I can tell. I don't believe it.

It may be partially true but that doesn't change anything about what I said, that Greece could keep its citizens housed, fed, and educated to a decent degree.

Greece cannot sustainably keep its citizens housed, fed, and educated to the same degree as northern Europeans because its productivity is lower and this has been the case been for decades. The Greeks tried to implement northern European level social programs by taking on exponential levels of debt, and it hasn't worked. There're no scam.

The scam is called the euro. You can't have a sustainable common currency without a common labor market and a fiscal union, unless you want the kinds of problems the world had with the gold standard in the 30's and that europe is having with the euro now. If Germany isn't going to allow the problem to be addressed and will insist on bankrupting the rest of the union, then the eurozone needs to kick them out of the currency union and depreciate the euro.

One may add that countries of Southern Europe, especially Greece and Spain, have a great share of their debt that is held by the most influent French and German banks. Of course the european banking sector is notoriously wealthy and has not suffered from the 2008 crisis, so these banks have no need to suck the money back from their creditors in the smallest time frame, so as not to collapse.

I don't eat that "these countries have lived beyond their means, they're lazy" cake. A greek employee is perhaps less productive than a French or a German, but he works more hours a week. And your lambda Nikos Constantinos has surely not ordered a submarine to go fishing on Sundays.

Looking at default as a national economic strategy is like looking at hunger strike as a diet plan.

In my opinion, default will happen in many countries, not because it's a good thing but because there's no way all that debt will ever be paid off. I also consider hyperinflation to be a form of default.

Yup. 95% of money is debt. Interest must be paid on the debt, meaning more must be paid back than there is in the system. The only way to deal with this is either growth, jubilee or default. The doors are closing for growth, jubilee doesn't seem to be politically possible, so default seems the most probable outcome.

The part that is certain is that the debts will not be paid. The debt was taken based on the assumption of future growth allowing them to be paid off - growth that now cannot happen due to peak oil. Therefore the bets were bad. The only question is who gets stuck with the loss?

Recession is the solution to all the problems. It is so obvious it is stupid.

The mere thought of recession is blasphemous to society.

So the world is in a situation where the only solution is the only solution you can't use.

I just haven't figured out if the politicians fear using it for fear of loosing votes. Or if the people would vote for politicians who use it.

A controlled recession could still keep employment high, if it were managed correctly. With the banks at the helm, this can't happen b/c the banks need to take the greatest losses.

So yeah, we are screwed.

Recession is the solution to all the problems. It is so obvious it is stupid.

Well I really must be stupid. Recession throws people out of work and lowers the tax base. This reduces government revenues and all that unemployment reduces revenues for everyone.

A controlled recession could still keep employment high, if it were managed correctly.

A controlled recession? I don't believe we have ever had one of those. And if unemployment is high then it is not a recession. Every recession has been defined by rising unemployment and declining public spending. It is a viscous circle. A slow economy causes business revenues to fall, people are laid off. This causes spending to fall further and more people are laid off and so on.

But you are going to tell us how this can all be done on purpose, and controlled? And just how would a recession fix anything? It would appear to me that a recession would only makes things worse. At any rate a recession is what is happening right now. So if that is going to fix everything then happy days are here again. From my link above:

As economies across Europe slide into recession, that is going to put even more pressure on the European financial system. Most Americans do not realize this, but the European banking system is absolutely enormous. It is nearly four times the size that the U.S. banking system is. When the European banking system crashes (and it will) it is going to reverberate around the globe. The epicenter of the next great financial crisis is going to be in Europe, and it is getting closer with each passing day.

Ron P.

Ron, I see that I did misspeak when I said recession would fix things.

What I should have said is that sustainable healthy government and economic activity will fix the unsustainable growth policies that got us into this mess. The perpetual growth model is so engrained in society that words like recession and unemployment are blasphemous.

If you aim for a sustainable GDP level then that level, at least for the developed countries, is less than it was in the past. So GDP must decrease, thus recession must happen.

To use an oil analogy you have 3 things, number of wells, production of each well, and total production. If people here talked about oil the way the media talks about the economy then all you would here are total production numbers and # of active wells(or more precisely, #of wells shut down since last month).

The media pushes the conclusion that this is bad news and must be fixed. Thus if the proposed economic solutions were used in the oil analogy that proposed solution would be to borrow more money to build more wells so you can have more oil to tax, to pay back the loans. It may work this year, but next year you will be in worse shape.

Most here would agree that won't "fix" the problem. Those new wells would just cause other wells to fall in production faster. The problem can't be fixed because oil is a limited resource. You can't always make more of it than you did the year before, forever and ever. This is exactly what "growth" in economic terms is. It is a failed policy.

Hopefully, by now you understand why targeting growth as a solution will fail. If growth is off the table, then your only options are stagnation and recession. I say controlled recession because the aim is to keep reductions at a level that is slow enough for people to adjust to. The recession happens over stagnation (or steady state) because the debts need to be paid back.

I don't really want to go into the employment aspect as this post is getting rather long. You can keep employment high in 2 ways. Cut the wasteful jobs if this is done then loss of spending power can be made up on increased productivity when said person finds a more productive but lower paying job. Second thing is to buy less stuff made in China. Let them eat some reduction in growth rather the suffer more domestic loss. I'm only talking theory here, so don't know if it is possible to implement as I don't know enough about the feedback. But as I said it COULD happen.

It won't be fun. It won't be easy. But intelligent sacrifices and planning can be used to create a controlled decent to a different lifestyle. The other option is BAU until collapse, then hope you aren't one of the 33% of the people unemployed during the depression.

The word "apocalypse" comes - as most people know - from Revelations. But I never realy thought much about that until I this very day found out that the root of the word actually is the greek title of the book: Apocalypse means Revelation. And revelation does in everyday english mean "to be informed", if we alow our self to drift away slightly from the technical definitions.

The apocalypse is coming. Prepare to be informed.

Apocalypse is Greek for "what was hidden is revealed". The word is much older than John of Patmos' ravings.

"what was hidden is revealed"

Or to put it another way, when reality slaps you hard in the face or TSHTF!

Here's a revelation for you:

“The earth's total energy imbalance right now is about 0.6 of a watt per square meter, which is equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima-style atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year." - James Hansen

Enough of an apocalypse for you?

Yeah - I just watched the TED talk where he said that. Everyone should watch that talk...

I'm listening to a " Country Oldies" show on KNEL FM out of Brady, Texas. A caller just asked for Frankie Miller's "Back When Gas was 30 Cents a Gallon." He said: "Please send it out to all the Big Oil companies."


" . . . love was only 60 cents away . . ." "We burned a tank of love most every weekend."

A friend of mine is part of a Facebook campaign to lower the price at the pump by boycotting the "large oil companies". I tried to explain to her that oil is a global comodity, and since Sweden imports 100%, ALL oil come from the large companies. I am not entirly sure I reached through to her.

Chemical plant blast kills one worker

Explosions at a chemical plant in western Japan on Sunday killed one worker and injured 17, including nearby residents.

The blasts occurred at Mitsui Chemicals' Iwakuni-Ohtake facility, which straddles areas in Yamaguchi and Hiroshima prefectures.

The first explosion hit an adhesive plant shortly after 2 AM. A 22-year-old worker was killed and 11 others were injured.

The blast broke windows of about 270 buildings, including nearby houses. The hands and heads of 6 people were cut by broken glass.

Interesting Sunday read of Peak Oil "news" from a few years back. http://home.entouch.net/dmd/cantarell.htm

"This is one of the geologically interesting oil fields because the producing formation was created when the Chicxulub meteor impacted the earth"
Maybe Matt Simmons had it going on with application of underwater Nukes. BOOM, wait a few million years, and, Supergiant Oil Field.

"No big exporter is struggling more than Mexico" - Hmmm , Political pressure? More OIL NOW or off with your heads. No wonder petro brains and
hands left Venezuela. What would you call the Nation-state formed by topgun oil guru's? Petroleumland, Carbonworld. Who is John Galt?

Has there been a review of Yergin's "The Quest ..." on TOD? If so I missed it. Search's return references but no review. Has anyone here read Quest?

I read parts of it. Not all bad, just mostly bad. I did enjoy some of the history, particularly the fall of Russia.

particularly the fall of Russia.

The fall? The chapter in the book is titled "Russia Returns", and details the creation of various post USSR oil companies.

Yergin presents an interesting 'doomers' history in the chapter, "IS THE WORLD RUNNING OUT OF OIL?"

After the creation of modern oil production by Col Drake in 1859:

-State Geologist of Pennsylvania: "the amazing exhibition of oil [was a] temporary and vanishing phenomenon ... one which young men will live to see come to its natural end."
-John Archbold, Rockefeller's partner in Standard Oil: sold some of his Standard Oil shares at a discount on belief that American production collapse was inevitable. Upon hearing oil my be found in Oklahoma: "Why I'll drink every gallon produced west of the Mississippi"

-Highest gasoline prices ever recorded in the US (real terms) due to WWI. National appeal to "Gasolineless Sundays" goes out with no driving.

-US Bureau of Mines, Director: "the oil fields of this country will reach their max production, and from that time we will face an ever-increasing decline"
-President Wilson: "there seemed to be no method by which we assure ourselves of the necessary supply at home and abroad"

-Discovery of the East Tx oil field turns mild surplus into "enormous glut" of oil

-Club of Rome "The Limits of Growth" published. Warns of "rapid resource depletion" and portends "unsustainability of industrial civilization"

-Atomic Energy Commission, Chairman, "We are living in the twilight of the petroleum age"
-CEO major oil company, "world had reached the tip of the "oil mountain". and was about to fall down the other side.
-Hubbert predicts a child born in 1965 "would see all the world's oil used in up in their lifetimes", and that humanity was about to embark on "a period of non-growth"

-Alaska North slope and North sea fields open. Oil falls to $10/bbl.

-US oil production at four times Hubbert's prediction for the time (i.e. 5.9 mbbl/day vs Hubbert's 1.5 mbbl/day)

The question was asked if anyone wrote a review of Yergin's book. I only did a review of his NY Times article which he used to promote the book. I clipped block quotes and critiqued what he said:

The date of the predicted peak has moved over the years. It was once supposed to arrive by Thanksgiving 2005. Then the "unbridgeable supply demand gap" was expected "after 2007." Then it was to arrive in 2011. Now "there is a significant risk of a peak before 2020."

The missing point that Yergin won't mention is that crude oil has definitely peaked. The other oil that is starting to be counted is called “all liquids”. This can include natural gas liquids, biofuels, etc. Those have effectively made up the difference. There is no doubt that crude oil peaked in the 2005 to 2008 time frame. One has to just look at the accounting.

But there is another way to visualize the future availability of oil: as a "plateau."
In this view, the world has decades of further growth in production before flattening out into a plateau—perhaps sometime around midcentury—at which time a more gradual decline will begin. And that decline may well come not from a scarcity of resources but from greater efficiency, which will slacken global demand.

The peak is plateauing right now. All those other liquid products are valiantly trying to maintain a peak

This is actually the fifth time in modern history that we've seen widespread fear that the world was running out of oil. The first was in the 1880s, when production was concentrated in Pennsylvania and it was said that no oil would be found west of the Mississippi. Then oil was found in Texas and Oklahoma. Similar fears emerged after the two world wars. And in the 1970s, it was said that the world was going to fall off the "oil mountain." But since 1978, world oil output has increased by 30%.

The warnings have been continuous. On the scale of human existence, tens of years is not a long time.

Just in the years 2007 to 2009, for every barrel of oil produced in the world, 1.6 barrels of new reserves were added. And other developments—from more efficient cars and advances in batteries, to shale gas and wind power—have provided reasons for greater confidence in our energy resiliency. Yet the fear of peak oil maintains its powerful grip.

Choosing the years 2007 to 2009 is cherry picking and badly torturing the data. A couple of years this may have happened, but global discoveries peaked in the 1960s. Discoveries are very erratic and are fat-tailed phenomena so a few large discoveries every once in a while will create unwarranted optimism.

Marion King Hubbert was one of the most eminent—and controversial—earth scientists of his time. Born on a ranch in San Saba, Texas in 1903, he did his university education, including his Ph.D., at the University of Chicago. One of his fundamental objectives was to move geology from what he called its "natural history phase" into its "physical science phase," firmly based in physics, chemistry and, in particular, rigorous mathematics.

Hubbert was mainly an empiricist when it came to oil depletion estimates and his math was not actually very rigorous and he was renowned for not showing his work. He was more rigorous in his other research. What I tried to do was add rigor to his oil depletion work which was highly intuitive.

In the late 1940s, Hubbert heard another geologist say that 500 years of oil supply remained in the ground. This couldn't possibly be true, he thought. He started doing his own analysis. In 1956, he unveiled the theory that would forever be linked to his name. He declared that U.S. oil production would hit its peak somewhere between 1965 and 1970.

To be fair, it wasn't really a theory as much as a heuristic.

Hubbert used a statistical approach to project the kind of decline curve that one might encounter in some—but not all—oil fields, and he assumed that the U.S. was one giant oil field. His followers have adopted the same approach to assess global supplies.

Yergin has no clue what statistics means in this context. Hubbert didn't use a statistical approach, and this is obvious from the way he calculated his curve, as it was a deterministic heuristic. I am not a follower of Hubbert and a few other analysts are using a true stochastic approach to estimate the tails of oil depletion.

But it all comes down to how one defines "minor." Hubbert got the date exactly right, but his projection on supply was far off. He greatly underestimated the amount of oil that would be found—and produced— in the U.S.
By 2010, U.S. oil production was 3½ times higher than Hubbert had estimated: 5.5 million barrels per day versus Hubbert's 1971 estimate of no more than 1.5 million barrels per day. Hardly a "minor deviation."

This occurred because Hubbert didn't do the stochastics correctly. Peak oil is actually a fat-tail effect that pushes the perfectly symmetric Logistic curve into an asymmetric curve. The fat-tail occurs because of dispersion in rates of discovery and in the variations regions of area explored. This gets back to the idea that oil does not exist in “one giant oil field”. Yergin should not be pounding on Hubbert anymore and he should realize this.

"Hubbert was imaginative and innovative," recalled Peter Rose, who was Hubbert's boss at the U.S. Geological Survey. But he had "no concept of technological change, economics or how new resource plays evolve. It was a very static view of the world." Hubbert also assumed that there could be an accurate estimate of ultimately recoverable resources, when in fact it is a constantly moving target.

It is a constantly moving target because information only comes out slowly. Only a few countries like the UK and Norway require accurate bookkeeping of oil production. In these places we can predict the decline very accurately. I have trends from a few years ago that I continue to track and they are still spot on for UK and Norway.

Hubbert insisted that price didn't matter. Economics—the forces of supply and demand—were, he maintained, irrelevant to the finite physical cache of oil in the earth. But why would price—with all the messages that it sends to people about allocating resources and developing new technologies—apply in so many other realms but not in oil and gas production? Activity goes up when prices go up; activity goes down when prices go down. Higher prices stimulate innovation and encourage people to figure out ingenious new ways to increase supply.

Yergin likely only has the slightest concept of Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI). The tar sands and other places use huge amounts of energy. The innovation is there but it is innovation on how to use energy to get back meager returns.

In the oil and gas industry, technologies are constantly being developed to find new resources and to produce more—and more efficiently—from existing fields. In a typical oil field, only about 35% to 40% of the oil in place is produced using traditional methods.

The average “shut-in” reservoir was left with 60%-65% of the oil left behind. So what he said is true and the amount of energy it will take to scrape that out of the pores is the real issue.

One example is the "digital oil field," which uses sensors throughout the field to improve the data and communication between the field and a company's technology centers. If widely adopted, it could help to recover an enormous amount of additional oil worldwide—by one estimate, an extra 125 billion barrels, almost equivalent to the current estimate reserves of Iraq.

This is why the discoveries are all in the past. The new technologies have been in place. Part of my stochastic model incorporates an accelerating technology to take into account search over a finite volume, and this still will not bring up the declining tail.

New technologies and approaches continue to unlock new resources. Ghana is on its way to significant oil production, and just a few days ago, a major new discovery was announced off the coast of French Guiana, north of Brazil.

This is called the law of diminishing returns. The fat-tail is real but it doesn't reverse the course.

As proof for peak oil, its advocates argue that the discovery rate for new oil fields is declining. But this obscures a crucial point: Most of the world's supply is the result not of discoveries but of additions and extensions in existing fields.
When a field is first discovered, little is known about it, and initial estimates are conservative. As the field is developed, more wells are drilled, and with better knowledge, proven reserves very often increase substantially. A study by the U.S. Geological Survey found that 86 percent of oil reserves in the U.S. were the result not of what was estimated at the time of discovery but of revisions and additions from further development.

I debunked the USGS reserve growth work in my book. This is really a bookkeeping problem, and this does not happen in other parts of the world, where the initial estimates are spot on. The reason that the initial estimates are underestimated in the USA is because of financial regulations to avoid fraudulent claims, therefore companies essentially only report what their wildcat wells report. It is now a moot point in the USA because discoveries peaked in the USA in the 1940's, and all these numbers have been continuously backdated.

Estimates for the total global stock of oil keep growing. The world has produced about one trillion barrels of oil since the start of the industry in the 19th century. Currently, it is thought that there are at least five trillion barrels of petroleum resources in the ground, of which 1.4 trillion are deemed technically and economically accessible enough to count as reserves (proved and probable).

This is a fat-tail effect. The issue is now on how fast we can extract the oil, and thus peak oil has become a throughput or flow problem.

Based on current and prospective plans, it appears that the world's production capacity for "oil and related liquids" (in industry jargon) should grow from about 92 million barrels per day in 2010 to over 110 million by 2030. That is an increase of about 20%.

Watch how much of this is the alternative “all liquids” category, what he calls related liquids. Yergin is a cagey political crony.

But this is no done deal. There are many "buts," having to do with what happens above ground. The policies of governments around the world—especially concerning taxes and access to resources—have a major impact on whether and when oil is discovered and developed.
Wars and civil wars, social turmoil and political upheavals, regional conflict, corruption and crime, mismanagement of resources—all of these can affect not only current production but also investment and future prospects. Environmental and climate policies can alter the timing and scale of development, as can geopolitics and politics within oil-producing countries.

This is the “drill, baby, drill” argument in a nutshell. No one really believes this but it is the only thing one can say to avoid an open revolt.

Meeting future demand will require innovation, investment and the development of more challenging resources. A major reason for continuing growth in petroleum supplies is that oil previously regarded as inaccessible or uneconomical is now part of the mix, such as the "presalt" resources off the coast of Brazil, the vast oil sands of Canada, and the oil locked in shale and other rocks in the U.S.
In 2003, the Bakken formation in North Dakota was producing a mere 10,000 barrels a day. Today, it is over 400,000 barrels, and North Dakota has become the fourth-largest oil-producing state in the country. Such "tight" oil could add as much as two million barrels a day to U.S. oil production after 2020—something that would not have been in any forecast five years ago.

In the worst cases this is like extracting oil from the asphalt in a parking lot, and in the best cases, like Bakken, these fields have very short lifetimes and are flow limited. Take a look at how many small rigs and multiple processing centers are planned around North Dakota.

Overall U.S. oil production has increased more than 10% since 2008. Net oil imports reached a high point of 60% in 2005, but today, thanks to increased production and greater energy efficiency (plus the use of ethanol), imports are down to 47%.

I did a recent study of this and the increase is largely due to a few large Gulf rigs coming online and the fat-tail is being maintained by many stripper wells and a little from Bakken. The USA is definitely in decline.

Things don't stand still in the energy industry. With the passage of time, unconventional sources of oil, in all their variety, become a familiar part of the world's petroleum supply. They help to explain why the plateau continues to recede into the horizon—and why, on a global view, Hubbert's Peak is still not in sight.

Unconventional sources of oil are not petroleum. In summary what Yergin has written is very predictable because you can find it in any of the industry projections. I included a chapter on the cornucopian views in the book and you can see how in detail how they are debunked point by point.

Mr. Yergin is chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an energy research and consulting firm. This essay is adapted from his new book, "The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World." He received the Pulitzer Prize for his book "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power."

WHT - your work is great, but one difficulty I've had with it is that it's a bit incomprehensible to the non-specialist, and I think that limits not only the audience but the impact it can have on the discussion.

I'm wondering if you'd consider writing an updated projection of oil and all-liquids production using your model(s) and any other projections you think might be interesting, and laying it out in a way that's understandable to a non-specialist. I for one would love to read about where you think things are headed.

So flat until 2022 and then 3% decline for 10 years and then who knows. Is this about right?

Estimates for the total global stock of oil keep growing. The world has produced about one trillion barrels of oil since the start of the industry in the 19th century. Currently, it is thought that there are at least five trillion barrels of petroleum resources in the ground, of which 1.4 trillion are deemed technically and economically accessible enough to count as reserves (proved and probable).

this is where he cooks his own goose. We've burned 1.25 trillion barrels to date, and he says we have 1.4 trillion barrels that are "technically" and "economically" recoverable.

That's peak oil right there. Half (give or take off the estimates). And all the "technically" recoverable oil is expensive, hard to get to, risky, low EROI oil. He's admitted it whether he knows it or not.

hazbro - You make a valid observation IMHO. But remember that PO isn't about URR. It's about peak oil production rate. But that also makes his optimism rather misplaced. New sources of oil are clealry more expensive to develop: compare drilling 10,000' holes in the ME deserts to 25,000' holes in 5,000' of water. Operational capex access can be as much of a limiting factor as geology. Many new wells don't have the life span of the old megafields: DW fields may come on at 300,000+ bopd but are often depleted in 7+ years. There are still old megafields producing more than that after 40 years. And many of those high rate wells in the oily shale plays have initial depletion of 70% or more. He also ignores the increased internal consumption of potential oil exporters. Brazil may eventually produce significant oil volumes from their DW trend. But they have a huge population and a desire/demand to support their own economy. There's no certainty IMHO that Brazil will ever be a net energy exporter.

a review of his NY Times article

That's was the WSJ, right?

WHT:There is no doubt that crude oil peaked in the 2005 to 2008 time frame. One has to just look at the accounting.

By "crude" you mean to not count shale oil and oil sands? To what purpose?

BP stats:
"Includes crude oil, shale oil, oil sands and NGLs ( the liquid content of natural gas where this is recovered separately)"
year: mbpd

Oh, we had that *all liquids* article from Saniford a couple months ago, production over 88 mbpd. At what new production high would the idea of a plateau be discarded?


Shale oil and tar sands are clear cases of substitution at a higher energy cost since they require pre-processing before they can be used as crude oil.

They still give us "liquid fuel", but it's not the same source from an energy and process standpoint.

It's like counting kerosenelard as whale oil because they both burn well in lamps.

Granted, but then (as below) the question of peak oil/liquids becomes moot and turns into peak energy instead. Is the world about to run out of energy (all sources)? I don't think so.

It isn't a matter of "running out", and it never was.

It's a matter of how much it costs to keep the economy supplied. Raise the cost too much and the economy has to change in ways that most people will find unpleasant at best.

Agreed, "running out" was a clumsy choice of words.

So then if we look at the sweep of energy resources and their prices, are they about to reach costs that cripple economies? We have seen short term 10-20% drops in energy use in the past with growing economies.

Price per million BTU
1. Natural Gas (Henry Hub): $2.0
2. US Coal (North App): $2.2
3. US average, retail electricity: $32

4. Petroleum (Brent): $20
5. US gasoline retail: $35

It appears to me that the price of 1-3 are either declining or flat (in real terms), while liquid fuel prices have been increasing. It is then logical to expect an ever increasing shift from traditional easy oil sources to more energy intensive, alternative oil (e.g. tar sands), given the affordability of other energy sources to extract then.

In the short term that may well prove to be the case, but when looking at the prices of any commodity of fixed ultimate supply "what goes down must come up".

As long as the energy available to tar sands producers is cheap enough relative to crude prices for the conversion process to be profitable we will see considerable production from that quarter. If natural gas prices go back up (either due to increased demand or depletion causing production to decline), the liquid fuel production from that quarter could dry up faster than anyone can reasonably plan for.

My point was that it isn't crude oil, so it shouldn't be counted as such even though it can be converted to be "close enough".

Just as you wouldn't count tallow as whale oil even though they are both "animal based fatty substances".

but when looking at the prices of any commodity of fixed ultimate supply "what goes down must come up".

That follows the same line Erlich took in the wager with Simon on commodity metals, where Erlich ignored the inevitability of alternatives. For example, the need 20 years ago was not fundamentally for copper to make communication cable. Rather, the fundamental need was and is for communications, which can be rendered with glass cable, as it turns out at great improvement.

Now, I do not suggest that any alternative will be found to replace the fundamental demand for energy, just it's various forms.

Right, and there are plenty of substitutes.

The thing that makes them substitutes, however, is that they cost more, or have qualities that differ significantly that may make them less desirable.

With time and adaptation the desirability of a substitution can flip, so in the modern day whale oil would be a poor substitute for modern petroleum-derived specialty products. Or, to use your example, copper is a poor substitute for glass fiber for long distance data cables.

I suspect that something similar will happen with energy, where we hit a point that electricity replaces direct usage of natural gas and liquid fuels for most common applications.

Don't try to pin me down on a timeline for that though, as people have been predicting it for decades now.

...Yergin likely only has the slightest concept of Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI). The tar sands and other places use huge amounts of energy. The innovation is there but it is innovation on how to use energy to get back meager returns.

...The average “shut-in” reservoir was left with 60%-65% of the oil left behind. So what he said is true and the amount of energy it will take to scrape that out of the pores is the real issue.

Perhaps, but in taking this line you grant Yergin his argument on liquids production, and move the argument to "peak energy", leaving peak oil (liquids) production arguments to the waste bin.

I struggled thru the whole mess. I doubt if anyone here would get much out of it. I had the impression that he collected a bunch of newspaper clippings of current events back to the seventies and paraphrased them. He tip-toed around the subject of oil depletion with the usual arm waving.

On Friday I posted a comment linking to an autobloggreen.com story featuring some comments from Bob Lutz and pointed out that I was intrigued by what other speakers at the same forum, particularly Fred Smith of FedEx had to say. I don't know if anyone noticed the link to the complete 1hr 25min video stream of the forum or, if anybody took the time to watch/listen to it. Just in case anybody's interested, you really need to have a decent broadband connection, especially if you want to reposition or pick particular segments to listen to, it's at


In his introduction the moderator introduced the hosts of the event and in doing so clearly implied that this was not a Club of Rome/Limits to Growth friendly gathering but, more of right wing, free market, never ending growth type of grouping.

Briefly, the event was co-hosted by The Hudson Institute founded in 1961 (by the late Herman Kahn) and SAFE,

Securing America's Future Energy was launched as an action oriented, non partisan organization dedicated to reducing US oil dependence by educating policymakers and advocating for comprehensive energy reform.

The panel was formed by a group business executive who are also former Marines Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx, Bob Lutz former vice chairman of GM, retired general James Conway especially known for bringing next generation systems into the Marine Corps and retired general P. X. Kelly who served as a member of the joint chiefs of staffs.

What I found particularly interesting was that the four panelists together had an amazing collection of facts and grasp of the realities that face America/the world in some respects. In other respects they were clueless. For example, at 42 min. 48 sec. retired General James Conway, in discussing Iran's nuclear power program says

they've got more energy right now than they know what to do with and will have for generations to come.

Obviously he is unaware of the consequences of exponential growth in consumption and it's impact on exports when production is not rising faster than consumption. ELM anyone?

In some cases they appear to have a view of the realities that because of their political and ideological position does not allow them to come to what would seem to us to be logical conclusions, like the likelihood that world oil production has just about reached it's peak. Take Fred Smith at 1 hr. 11 min. 10 sec.

My guess is that people think we'll be a net oil exporter uh probably a bit over optimistic based on the depletion rates of oil that's coming up from fracking

and at 1:12:05

Given the demand growth of China, India and the emerging economies, from this point forward, as long as we have this kind of imbalance, as soon as the United States starts showing any type of significant economic growth, I can almost assure that that economic growth, of wealth, will be expropriated by an increase in oil prices because it would not be in the best interests of the people who control the oil markets through the cartel, to do anything other than that.

Obviously in Mr. Smith's world view, price increases cannot be a result of supply and demand fundamentals but, must be the results of market manipulation by evil, anti-American interests.

Still, there appears to be some amount of deep psychological conflict going on in their minds as illustrated by Smith at 1:23:50

Just one fact. The Energy Security Leadership Council was prepared to support an increase in fuel prices just as Bob Lutz described, you know, on a graduated scale, to get to the same place and supported the re-imposition of fuel efficiency standards and incentives for electric vehicles since it was impossible to achieve politically

AFAICT most of the presentation was filled with weird contradictions. Are some members of the conservative right beginning to assimilate some of the realities that face us, despite the fact that some of these things do not fit in with their world view?

Alan from the islands

On the bright side, Bob Lutz said that the prices of automotive Li-Ions were down to $350/KWH. If that is true, EVs should start becoming economically attractive if built right. Build them aerodynamic & light-weight to minimize the size of battery needed to get a decent range. Throw on the $7500 tax-credit. And when gas prices are high, the EV looks quite attractive.

But the national security angle is very true. If the entire light duty transport market could magically be changed to electric vehicles, the USA would not need to import oil. Imagine that. Well, if the Westexas' ELM model is accurate, you won't need to imagine it because we may eventually have no choice.

If you have a few minutes to go through these slides, which I prepared for the ASPO-USA webinar this coming Thursday, I am interested in any comments or questions.

The first three look at the Export Land Model (ELM) and at the Indonesia, UK and Egypt (IUKE) case histories. The second three look at Saudi Arabia, (2005) Top Five Net Oil Exporters, Global Net Exports (GNE) and Available Net Exports (ANE).

I am focused on the rates of change in the consumption to production ratios (C/P).

For the ELM & IUKE, I extrapolated the first three years of the rates of change in their respective C/P ratios and then compared the predicted dates for hitting a 100% C/P ratio versus actual. Given the estimated year for C/P hitting 100%, one can estimate the post-peak Cumulative Net Exports (CNE), by simply multiplying (the number of years to zero net oil exports X the annual peak net export rate) X 0.5 less the volume of net exports at peak. (Net export declines tend to show a triangular shaped decline curve, so we are just estimating the area under a triangle.)

ELM & IUKE Net Export Case Histories:


ELM & IUKE Predicted Year for C/P = 100%, based on extrapolating first three years of decline data:


ELM & IUKE Predicted Post-Peak CNE, based on extrapolating first three years of decline data:

Saudi Arabia (& Top Five), GNE & ANE predictions for C/P ratios in 2010, based on extrapolating 2005 to 2008 data:


Saudi Arabia, et al Predicted Post-2005 CNE based on extrapolating 2005 to 2010 rates of change in C/P ratios:

Saudi Arabia, et al Predicted Post-2005 CNE based on extrapolating 2005 to 2010 rates of change in C/P ratios, plus an assumed 10 years to C/P = 100%


GNE = Top 33 net oil exporters in 2005, BP + Minor EIA data

ANE = GNE less Chindia's combined net oil imports

Webinar info: www.aspousa.org

Midnight on the Titanic

After hitting the iceberg at 11:40 P.M. on April 14, 1912, at around midnight only a handful of people knew that the ship would sink, but that did not mean that the ship was not sinking. Slowly rising US crude oil production is to the ongoing declines in Global & Available Net Oil Exports as the Titanic’s pumps were to the incoming flood of seawater. The pumps were helpful, but they pumps could not fully offset the flood of seawater into the ship.

A little late for this reply, but my two cents is that many people's eyes will glaze over after looking at your charts full of numbers. Can't you use graphs like the export data browser to show the trends?

I'm using some charts to introduce the concepts, but with multiple case histories, a combined graph gets pretty complicated too.

In the three years after their respective production peaks, Indonesia went from consuming 42% of total petroleum liquids production to 52%, the UK went from consuming 59% to 69% and Egypt went from 45% to 55% (the IUKE case histories). Note that extrapolating the initial three year rate of increase in their C/P ratios indicated that the combined post-peak CNE for IUKE would be 4.6 Gb. The actual combined post-peak CNE for IUKE was 4.6 Gb.

In the six years after 2005, Saudi Arabia went from consuming 18% of total petroleum liquids production to about 28%, and if we extrapolate this rate of increase in the C/P ratio, it suggests that remaining Saudi post-2005 CNE are on the order of about 20 Gb or so.

In other words, Indonesia, a founding member of OPEC, once was as Saudi Arabia, also a founding member of OPEC is now. Soon, Saudi Arabia may be as Indonesia is now.

IMO, maybe 0.1% of the people in the world have any kind of idea of what is going in these exporting countries.

Egypt scraps Israel gas supply deal

Egyptian officials say they have scrapped an agreement to supply Israel with natural gas.

Israel received around 40% of its gas supplies from Egypt and uses it to generate electricity.

The announcement comes after the cross-border pipeline suffered numerous sabotage attacks which cut supplies.

The Israeli Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz, said the move was of "great concern", and overshadowed peace agreements between the countries.

Egypt was the first Middle East country to sign a peace accord with Israel, in 1979, and the deal to supply energy has been a key part of agreements between the two states.
Heavily criticised

A statement from the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company said it was ending supplies because the terms of its contract had been breached.

Ampal, the Israeli company which buys the gas, said in a statement that it considers the attempt to terminate the contract "unlawful and in bad faith", and demanded its withdrawal.

I have a feeling THIS will be a key point in how much the US works to help facilitate' the development of a new government in Cairo.

Back to the Future

Hate to stick here on a Sunday night,
but I didn't catch an earlier reference to it.

Maybe a mod could arrange for it to appear as a main post.

The collapse scenario gamed here is a political crisis.
The model is IHS/Global Insight US Macroeconomic Model.

Thinking the Unthinkable: Modeling a Collapse of Saudi Oil Production

The Heritage Foundation contemplates another crusade for oil, this time in KSA. Imagine that..

The United States has a vital interest in ensuring that no hostile power exercises hegemony over the Middle East, which is not only a key region for energy production, global trade, and investment, but also a potential source of transnational terrorism and nuclear proliferation. The U.S. will likely need to selectively use force to ensure the continued flow of oil from the region, as it did in Operation Desert Storm. Securing the oil fields and supporting allies, especially GCC members and pro-American elements in Saudi Arabia, may be imperative.

First line of that quote is Carter Doctrine as updated with some Bushisms.
The middle sentence is standard neocon PNAC.
The last one is a simple extension of the (secret) Reagan Corollary.*
American Hegemony soldiers onward.

* My one 'conspiracy': I believe Reagan cut a deal with the Saudis to help bankrupt the Russians. In turn we would support the royal family from its enemies foreign (Iran, later joined by Iraq) and domestic.

Ron - Ronnie may have been doing a backdoor deal with the KSA at that time. But I also recall seeing projections at that time: the KSA was cutting back their production rate to support prices as most of the rest of OPEC kept pumping full out in the face of the decline in global consumption. The projection was that if the KSA were to keep cutting production at this rate they would have been 100% shut in within 18 months. Difficult to imagine the KSA would give up all their income to support the revenue streams of uncooperative OPEC members. But as in the case of most complex systems there are multiple pressure points.

It was around 1985 when King Fahd visited the US. It was late 1985 when the Saudis started increasing production again. In 1986 crude prices fell precipitously, contributing to the bankrupting of the Soviet Union. I don't think it was all coincidence.

Wow, that paper is horrible. How much money do those clowns get to pump that crap out?

And they have titles like senior research fellows. Asses, the lot of them.

Their political 'game' seems paint-by-numbers - unimaginative.
I am curious about their economic modeling.
Sudden cut-off of Saudi oil, mitigated by SPR, causes a doubling of crude price?
A 3% drop in GDP? A 1% change in employment?
My instinct says too little, but ... who knows?

What if its not a shock? What if its a permanent two years of global depletion? 74 MPD -> 66 MBPD of conventional&crude? Followed by more years of depletion? Assuming the economic models are even vaguely accurate, what does the depletion down-slope look like from a modeled perspective?

Editorial: 2 years after BP spill, lower risks

What an utterly deceitful editorial.

The herring fishery destroyed by the Exxon Valdez has not even returned, after decades.

Likewise, damage to the Gulf of Mexico, and damage to people as well is not getting better.

The worst case scenario is playing out.

Collaborative Governance

...is an emerging form of governance, based on direct democracy, supported by internet technologies ("ICT"). It enables any interested individual to collaborate in the decision-making of a community.

Other terms for this concept include open source governance, open democracy, eGovernance, real democracy, electronic direct democracy, open source democracy, and more.

Collaborative governance is not directly comparable to traditional direct democracy, which is usually a majority rule system used on only a few major issues. By comparison, collaborative governance is a consensus system intended to be used on all issues affecting a community, with the implicit understanding that anyone not participating on a particular issue consents to allow others to decide the issue.

Traditional implementations of direct participation have labored under enormous obstacles. First there are the technical obstacles of gathering all people together for each vote, then of meaningfully tallying so many votes. Modern technologies can remove these obstacles.

However, that still leaves the much more profound criticisms of direct democracy: mob rule, demagoguery, issue overload, and tyranny of the majority. The Metagovernment project posits that, by careful application of sophisticated software, these issues can be used to solve each other. Simply put, mob rule and demagoguery result from focusing governance on a few hot-button issues. Issue overload is only a problem because of the demands of a majority rule system, requiring that there be massive participation on each of these few hot-button decisions. By contrast, collaborative governance opens up every decision to everyone. Nobody is expected to participate in each decision, but those who do must come to a consensus or no action is taken.

Potential in perhaps a "glocal" or "translocal" context and as a way to get out from under/within and progressively render current forms of centralized nation-state oligarchies irrelevant/impotent. Also, in Collaborative Governance, there may even be some glimmer of hope of reasonably dealing with such things as, for examples, high levels of health-care or nuclear waste/decommission issues in the wake/event of impending civilizational collapse or fadeout.

In any case, I think real participative democracy-- somehow-- is key.

The state has moved into many new areas as they become significant, such as... promoting nuclear power. This expanding role of the state helps prevent the rise of any significant competing forms of social organisation...

The obvious point is that most social activists look constantly to the state for solutions to social problems. This point bears labouring, because the orientation of most social action groups tends to reinforce state power. This applies to most antiwar action too. Many of the goals and methods of peace movements have been oriented around action by the state, such as appealing to state elites and advocating neutralism and unilateralism. Indeed, peace movements spend a lot of effort debating which demand to make on the state: nuclear freeze, unilateral or multilateral disarmament, nuclear-free zones, or removal of military bases. By appealing to the state, activists indirectly strengthen the roots of many social problems, the problem of war in particular...
~ Brian Martin, 'Uprooting War'