Drumbeat: April 27, 2012

White House Promotes a Bioeconomy

The Obama administration is expected to announce a broad plan on Thursday to foster development of the nation’s “bioeconomy,” including the use of renewable resources and biological manufacturing methods.

The National Bioeconomy Blueprint, as the plan is called, discusses a variety of measures and strategies to spur research and development of medical treatments, crops, biofuels and biological manufacturing processes that would replace harsher industrial methods.

Use of biology “can allow Americans to live longer, healthier lives, reduce our dependence on oil, address key environmental challenges, transform manufacturing processes, and increase the productivity and scope of the agricultural sector while growing new jobs and industries,” the report says.

National Bioeconomy Blueprint [PDF]

Crude Oil Futures Fall as Spain Cut Renews Demand Concern

Oil fell from the highest level in almost four weeks in New York, trimming a second weekly gain, after a cut in Spain’s credit rating renewed concern that Europe’s faltering economy may curb fuel demand.

Futures slipped as much as 0.8 percent after New York-based Standard & Poor’s reduced Spain’s rating to BBB+ from A and said the nation may have to provide fiscal support to the banking sector as the economy contracts. Prices also dropped after reaching technical resistance. West Texas Intermediate crude may decline next week after economic confidence in the euro-region fell and more Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Gas prices seen headed lower at the pump

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- A surge in gasoline prices earlier this year sparked talk of $5 a gallon by this summer, but prices at the pump have been ticking lower in April, and it appears they'll continue falling as the driving season approaches.

This rosy scenario is prompted by the fact that the price for one of the most common types of gasoline futures traded in New York has dropped 30 cents, going from over $3.40 a gallon at the beginning of April to $3.10 a gallon Wednesday.

Why Should Bahamas Be In 7% Oil Minority?

IT CREPT like a spider, softly climbing up our back. Suddenly, it appeared in front of our eyes: big and black, poised to strike. This was how it felt to suddenly, out of the blue, be told that a foreign multinational company had been given the right to explore, drill and own oil in the Bahamas. The Bahamian public was not forewarned. There were no public meetings or discourse. So, how could we be blamed for thinking it was of little import and "no big deal". Well, I'm here to tell my fellow Bahamians that the ownership of Bahamian oil by any foreign multinational company is of huge importance and consequence to Bahamians now and in the future.

Turkey starts oil, gas search in north Cyprus

SINIRUSTU/SYGKRASI, Cyprus (AP) — Turkey began exploratory drilling for oil and gas Thursday in the breakaway Turkish north of ethnically divided Cyprus, heightening a dispute over who is entitled to the Mediterranean island's potential fuel riches.

The move counters an offshore gas search by rival Greek Cypriots in the island's internationally recognized southern half that has touched off vociferous protests from Ankara and Turkish Cypriots.

Bulgaria PM Ties Gas Supplies from Azerbaijan to Interconnection with Turkey

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who is on a two-day official visit to Azerbaijan, has said that the main route for exporting Azeri gas to Bulgaria must cross Turkey.

Speaking after a Friday meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Artur Rasizade, Borisov insisted that there was no other option but the Bulgaria-Turkey gas grid interconnection to achieve a diversification of gas supplies.

Mittal Aids India-Pakistan Detente With Refinery

Billionaire Lakshmi N. Mittal and an Indian oil company are formally opening a $4 billion refinery on the northern border with Pakistan as the countries that have fought three wars seek to stimulate trade.

Iran denies China cut imports of its oil - agency

(Reuters) - An Iranian oil official denied major buyer China had cut imports of crude from the country in 2012, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Friday, after Chinese data showed they were a third lower in the first quarter than a year earlier.

The customs data this week showed China - until recently Iran's top customer - halved its Iranian crude imports in March compared with the same month in 2011.

Iran Nuclear-Program Raid Fears Ease, Conciliation Seen

Iranian and Israeli officials offered what may be conciliatory signs this week, easing concerns of a possible strike on the Persian Gulf country’s nuclear installations.

Fitch: Nigeria fuel subsidy report increases chances of reform

The fact that corruption in Nigeria's oil subsidy programme has been officially uncovered is encouraging, both politically and economically, Fitch Ratings says.

Politically it shows the government can clean up the system if there is political will. However, a key test will be the penalties suffered by perpetrators and what is done to make the system more transparent. However, it does make it more likely that further steps will be taken to reduce or eliminate the fuel subsidy, though the timing of such a move remains uncertain.

PetroChina Profit Unexpectedly Rises on Higher Oil Output

PetroChina Co.’s first-quarter profit rose unexpectedly after it ramped up oil and gas production, while China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.’s earnings slumped on losses from selling fuels at state-controlled prices.

High oil prices help Shell raise profits 11 per cent

Royal Dutch Shell increased its profit in the first quarter, helped by rising oil prices and production growth.

Current cost of supply net income - an industry measure of profit - rose by 11 per cent to US$7.7 billion (Dh28.28bn) in the first three months of this year.

Plummeting natural gas prices in the United States cut into its profit, but gas prices elsewhere, as well as a ramp-up in production at the company's gas-to-liquids plant in Qatar, compensated for the decline, and supported Shell's growing emphasis on gas markets.

Eni Profit Rises 13% on Higher Oil Prices, Recovered Production

Eni SpA, Italy’s largest oil producer, reported a 13 percent gain in first-quarter profit after crude prices increased and Libyan output recovered.

Adjusted net income rose to 2.48 billion euros ($3.27 billion) from 2.22 billion euros a year earlier, the Rome-based company said today in a statement. That beat the 2.28 billion- euro average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Chevron profit rises 4 percent, even as production falls

(Reuters) - Chevron Corp, the second-largest U.S. oil company, reported a 4 percent increase in quarterly profit as rising oil prices and refining margins made up for a decline in oil and gas production.

Total Says Gas Leak Will Cut Output as Profit Little Changed

Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil producer, said second-quarter production would be cut by a gas leak in the North Sea as earnings in the first three months were weighed down by a weak refining market in Europe.

Oil’s Dark Heart Pumps Strong: ‘Private Empire,’ Steve Coll’s Book on Exxon Mobil

The company, Mr. Coll writes, is “a corporate state within the American state” and “one of the most powerful businesses ever produced by American capitalism.” Some employees call its ominous headquarters near Dallas the Death Star.

Little light, or information, leaks from the Death Star. The company wields “a corporate system of secrecy, nondisclosure agreements and internal security,” Mr. Coll writes, “that matched some of the most compartmented black boxes of the world’s intelligence agencies.” Exxon Mobil’s media strategy, an in-house joke declares, is learning to say “no comment” in 50 different languages.

Natural Gas Is on a Roll, Executive Declares

A “perfect storm” of economic and regulatory factors is driving major United States utilities to rapidly switch from coal to natural gas as an electric power source, the top executive of one of the nation’s largest utilities said on Thursday.

Nicholas K. Akins, chief executive of Ohio-based AEP, said the company plans to retire 5 of its 25 coal-burning plants and shut down coal-powered units at other plants it owns in a shift that collectively means the elimination of about 5,000 megawatts of capacity. The result will be that by 2020, only about half of the power AEP produces will come from coal, down from about 67 percent last year.

Chesapeake’s Outlook Dims as Board Switches Course on CEO Loans

Shareholder confidence in Chesapeake Energy Corp. sank to its lowest point since the 2008 global economic meltdown as company directors reversed course on the need to examine Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon’s personal financial transactions.

Chesapeake’s board, propelled by a plunging stock price and potential conflicts between McClendon’s personal finances and corporate duties, said yesterday it would end a program allowing its chairman and CEO to buy stakes in the company’s wells and review loans McClendon obtained by using those investments as collateral.

'World's Biggest Fracker' Pockets $1 Billion in Shady Deal

If the company’s wells are performing so well, why does McClendon need to borrow a billion dollars to cover operating expenses? Maybe he’s broke. Or maybe, as some analysts have suggested, the wells aren’t performing as well as the company would like you to think they are.

Sumitomo, Tokyo Gas in talks for U.S. LNG imports

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese trading house Sumitomo Corp and Tokyo Gas Co Ltd said on Friday that they will hold talks with Dominion Resources Inc to import up to 2.3 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year for 20 years from 2017.

Tokyo has been negotiating with Washington since last year to allow more shale gas projects to export LNG to Japan, the world's top importer, which hopes to receive cost-efficient LNG via the Panama Canal as early as in 2015.

Sierra Club challenges Md. natural gas terminal

WASHINGTON -- The Sierra Club said Thursday it will try to block an energy company's plan to export liquefied natural gas to find new markets for the drilling boom that has flooded the Mid-Atlantic with natural gas.

Will The Stars Align for Small Nuclear Reactors?

A company that wants to build a new kind of nuclear reactor, one small enough that it could be delivered by truck, has found a potential customer.

BlackRock Says Bailout May Keep Tepco Rating Being Cut to BBB+

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the company at the center of the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, isn’t likely to be downgraded to BBB+ by Japan Credit Rating Agency Ltd., as the government bailout bolsters its business, according to BlackRock Inc.

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Quantum Fusion Hypothesis

For nearly 25 years now, the idea that it might be possible to extract unlimited amounts of energy from the nucleus of a hydrogen atom at low temperatures has been pretty much in disrepute. When major laboratories were unable to detect nuclear reactions on their work benches back in 1989, the whole notion of what was then called "cold fusion" was debunked as junk science and for most remains so to this day. Fortunately however, a few scientists kept plugging away on just how one could get heat from the nucleus of a hydrogen atom. Now their efforts seem to be paying off. In recent months numerous respected scientists have been reporting at scientific gatherings that they are seeing increasing amounts of heat, which can only be coming from nuclear reactions, during experiments with hydrogen loaded into nickel and palladium under the proper conditions.

There have been so many of these reports by reliable and respected scientists that it has become absurd to claim that the phenomenon is fraudulent or that all these scientists are mistaken in their observations. Currently there are at least six different organizations around the world saying they have a commercially useful heat-producing device under development which they will be demonstrating soon.

Peak Dow, Peak GDP And Peak Oil

Peak Oil and Peak Credit do not exist in a vacuum; they're why we have Peak GDP, Peak Dow and peak Income.

Affordable Fuel: Salvation, or Existential Threat, Doctors Ask

Thousands of British and Scottish families live in “fuel poverty,” and many American families suffer from the severe economic recession and rising prices.

Abundant oil and natural gas, a hopeful development for ordinary people of the world, is an existential threat to special interests: those who want to keep the world dependent on their oil or gas supplies (such as the Middle East or Russia), and those who want sky-high prices for natural gas so that windmills or solar panels look “affordable” by comparison.

Politics stands in the way of nuclear plant's future

PIKETON, Ohio – Three dozen 43-foot-tall centrifuges swirl quietly in a cavernous building in southern Ohio, ready to turn uranium hexafluoride into the enriched fuel that can power America's nuclear power plants.

They stand like stacks of poker chips on a table — the ante for what could be a $2 billion national gamble on nuclear energy.

Greece eyes UK-style railway privatization

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece is considering breaking up its railway and selling the right to operate some routes to different companies, in an attempt to maximize proceeds from the privatization and sidestep regulatory hurdles.

The heavily indebted country had initially planned to sell Trainose - the monopoly that operates 500 freight and passenger routes on 2,500 km of railways - as part of its international bailout.

AAA study finds driving costs get small increase

There were sharp increases in the last year in the costs of things such as gasoline and tires. But cars retained much more of their value because Americans held on to their vehicles, increasing the value of used cars.

Energy guzzler Singapore boosts 'green' buildings

From the bone-chilling air conditioning that pumps through Singapore's malls and offices to lights that burn all night, the city state is one of Asia's most intensive energy users.

Nearly all electricity used by the industrialised island is produced by burning fossil fuels, which in 2010 contributed to the largest carbon footprint per head in the Asia-Pacific region, according to conservation group the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

City Council Is Set to Encourage Greener Buildings With Zoning Changes

New York City is about to update its zoning regulations to catch up with the Bloomberg administration’s environmental image and to make it easier for buildings to insulate exterior walls, install solar panels and put gardens on rooftops.

With buildings accounting for 75 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, city planners say, the hope is that owners will take steps to increase their structures’ energy efficiency, produce their own renewable energy, put storm water to good use and, in some cases, even grow food.

Despite Budget Cuts and Base Expansion, Trying to Save Energy

Solar panels are popping up across Fort Bliss, which is the nation’s largest Army post by physical size, covering an area slightly larger than Rhode Island. The panels are part of the base’s effort to cut its net energy and water use, reduce waste and thus demonstrate self-sufficiency, a concept that can have a large impact on operations abroad. The military refers to it as “net zero,” and bases like Fort Bliss and Fort Hood have embraced it, but high upfront costs pose challenges.

Dow Corn, Resistant to a Weed Killer, Runs Into Opposition

The Save Our Crops Coalition, as it calls itself, says it is not opposed to biotechnology. But it fears that fruits and vegetables, which will not be immune to 2,4-D, will become unintended casualties of herbicide drift as the chemical is sprayed on tens of millions of acres of corn.

Meat Helps Human Populations Grow

In traditional societies lacking birth control, women tend to nurse their babies until about the age of 2. Chimpanzees, on the other hand, allow their offspring to suckle for about five years. Orangutans are even more generous; they don’t wean their offspring until after age 7. Scientists have wondered why humans are such weird primates in this regard. It turns out we’re not so weird when you consider that we’re also carnivores, say Elia Psouni of Sweden’s Lund University and colleagues.

Now Off Case, Judge Weighs In on Dams

SEATTLE — A federal judge who spent a decade presiding over one of the most contentious environmental court fights in the Northwest — the fate of endangered salmon in the Columbia River Basin and four hydroelectric dams that interrupt their migration — has said in a recorded interview that the dams should be removed to help the fish.

As Bison Return to Prairie, Some Rejoice, Others Worry

“The region’s fastest growing economic engine, oil production, is proving a mixed blessing. In 2010 the Environmental Protection Agency reported that toxic chemicals from nearby drilling contaminated drinking water supplies for Poplar, a reservation town of around 3,000. This year a schoolteacher from Sidney, near the North Dakota border, was kidnapped during her morning jog and murdered. The suspects are two Colorado roughnecks.

“These bison represent healing,” said Iris Greybull, 62, of Poplar.

Ministers Wrap Up Clean Energy Powwow

Their work is not sexy and generates little controversy or media coverage, but a group of energy and environment ministers from 22 countries and the European Union is claiming substantial progress in spreading energy efficiency and more affordable energy around the globe.

Why India’s electric fans, frozen peas and women hold key to green economy

Yesterday minsters at the annual 23-government Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy For All initiative (SE4All) gave their support to a series of measures to promote energy efficiency and empower women.

These included programmes targeting super-efficient fans in India, energy efficiency standards for TVs and fridges, and a US-led project to empower women in the clean energy sector.

Players bail on showcase carbon capture project in Alberta

CALGARY — The poster child of federal and provincially funded incentives to cut industrial carbon emissions and curry favour in the international community was orphaned by its corporate proponents Thursday.

TransAlta Corp., lead partner in the $1.4-billion Pioneer carbon capture and storage project, said initial studies indicated there is not enough of a market for carbon dioxide to justify the expense.

India to urge airlines to boycott EU carbon scheme

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will urge its airlines to boycott the European Union's carbon charge scheme, raising the prospect of a global trade war over a law requiring flights in and out of Europe to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions.

A senior Indian government official told Reuters that India would soon ask local airlines not to buy carbon credits from or share emissions data with the bloc, which says other countries are not doing enough to tackle this source of greenhouse gases.

Peru is latest developing nation to adopt climate change initiative

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru became the latest developing country to enact a domestic climate change initiative in the absence of a binding global pact, adopting a resolution on Thursday to lower carbon emissions in its fast-growing economy.

As one of the world's most geographically diverse places, Peru said it is already feeling the effects of a changing climate, such as melting tropical glaciers in the Andes and high levels of solar radiation.

Australia: Residents rise up over sea level policy

Hundreds of waterfront property owners have marched through Gosford on the state's Central Coast to protest against their local councils' sea level policy.

The large crowd of residents from the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie have waved placards and chanted, "sea level rise - one big con".

Where international climate policy has failed, grassroots efforts can succeed: researchers

The world can significantly slow the pace of climate change with practical efforts to control so-called “short-lived climate pollutants” and by bringing successful Western technologies to the developing world, according to three UC San Diego scientists in the journal Foreign Affairs.

For the last two decades global diplomatic talks on climate change have struggled to make progress. Part of the problem, the scientists say, is that diplomacy has focused almost exclusively on carbon dioxide—a pollutant that is expensive and difficult to control.

Global famine if India, Pakistan unleash nukes: study

More than a billion people around the world would face starvation if India and Pakistan unleash nuclear weapons -- even if that war is regionally limited, a study released Tuesday warned.

That's because the deadly and polluting weapons would cause major worldwide climate disruption that would dramatically drive down food production in China, the United States and other countries.

Study Indicates a Greater Threat of Extreme Weather

New research suggests that global warming is causing the cycle of evaporation and rainfall over the oceans to intensify more than scientists had expected, an ominous finding that may indicate a higher potential for extreme weather in coming decades.

By measuring changes in salinity on the ocean’s surface, the researchers inferred that the water cycle had accelerated by about 4 percent over the last half century. That does not sound particularly large, but it is twice the figure generated from computerized analyses of the climate.

If the estimate holds up, it implies that the water cycle could quicken by as much as 20 percent later in this century as the planet warms, potentially leading to more droughts and floods.

Re: Bioeconomy, first article above. Obviously a communist plot spawned by biologists who also tend to be evolutionists and believers in climate change. The right wing sound machine led by Fox is going to go nuts over this. What is this thing called biology, anyway?

"Life begins at the end of the woman's period" Believe it. It's the law.

Edit: On a more serious note, there are legitimate objections to this policy, including its actual implicaitons for the biosphere and whether or not this will further empower the purveyors of GMOs to control our food supply. There is also the issue of whether biobased fuels like ethanol should receive further encouragement from the federal government.

This clearly sounds like desperate BS overall (besides promoting Monsanto and the like, and saying advance in medicine is good), otherwise it sounds a bit like the "singularity" airheadnishness.

I didn't read every word of the report, but scanned through it - I'll read it in more detail later. It seems to me that it is designed to have something which they believe will appeal to everyone - in other words, it isn't a direction so much as an attempt to formulate a policy without ticking anyone off.

There is room for GMOs as well as Organics, Reducing Regulation as well as Increasing Safety, Plant Breeding as well as Gene Manipulation, etc. etc.

I noticed they seem to have baked in 8.5 Billion people as the target to feed, at the same time as committing biomass to pharmaceutical production, energy, new biodegradable products such as utensils from corn, amongst others, on the same amount of arable land we have now. Drought-tolerant corn too. And, if that's not enough, we are going to look for even more new ways to use what we have.

It's a sweeping grand plan designed to pull in as many "innovators" as possible - i.e. everyone from the person next door to the large corporations. That's been the hallmark of the administration. If one is a purist of any shape or form, it is going to tick you off. I also don't see where we come to terms with limits to growth.

There is room for GMOs as well as Organics, Reducing Regulation as well as Increasing Safety, Plant Breeding as well as Gene Manipulation, etc. etc.

'You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time'

Good try though!

I forgot to mention Sustainable Consumerism.

new biodegradable products such as utensils from corn

So does this mean that after I finish my Wheet-Bix in the morning, I can then eat the spoon as well?

There you go - you can have your disposable coffee cup and eat it too ;)

Actually, such utensils are designed to be composted.

The bagasse/wheatstraw and paper barrel bowels and plant starch utensils are specified up to 200 F. They need to be up to 212 F to withstand boiling water. Wooden bowels and utensils would seem to be superior.

These products are designed for the take-out or fast food market. I don't think they have to be resistant to boiling - they are for single-use serving. Prepared hot drinks generally go into some kind of airpot or stainless steel vessel before dispensing, so they aren't likely to be boiling hot. Probably a safety/liability issue too.

I find it interesting that instead of solving the problem of fast food, we are solving the problem of too many waste plastic items by replacing them with compostable items. Not that less plastic is a bad thing.

First it was "Green Jobs", then it was "Clean Coal and Nukes", now it is "Bioeconomy". It is just an ad campaign for the re-election.

Seems to me that a scientifically-grounded plan for a bioeconomy would include hemp, but that's one issue that there's near-universal fear among both journalists and politicians.

My first reaction, not unlike Tstreet's, was that the Prez is looking for SOME branch of science that doesn't carry an instant negative association with the Right Wing, and keeps the rest of the pol. spectrum onboard as well.

They won't touch hemp, that has to be led from the bottom, not the top. It's a weed, let it work it's way in through the cracks..

But "Bio-Econ" seems like an empty stab. Let's don't wait for the backwards part of the right to catch up. Just leave them where they are.. they'll come around when they get hungry.

My first reaction, foolishly enough, was that OMG, he's proposing a move to biophysical economics, and names like Herman Daly, Charlie Hall, Steve Keen, Robert Costanza and our own Nate Hagens will become household names, and perhaps we'll begin to negotiate energy descent and the coming bottleneck with at least a bit of forethought and some appropriate measures in place. That, of course, lasted about 3 seconds, then I returned to the reality of our current political landscape. Sigh.

I heard a great interview with Van Jones about his experiences in the WH, and it was very fresh and clear. A big part of it is that the Prez is NOT free. Jones, being on the outside, like you and I presumably.. we ARE free, to whatever extent we can find to practise it.. but when we look at the power structures, while they have access and a podium, etc.. they are bound by the things that form those narrow little Pillars on which they Stand. (I haven't found a link.. and have to get back to work! Might have been on Fresh Air, NPR)

As also Russ Feingold just said a few weeks back at the Commonwealth club. 'You guys have to lead.. and then, the leaders WILL follow.' (somewhere in that link.. but watch it, it's a good talk.)


A big part of it is that the Prez is NOT free. Jones, being on the outside, like you and I presumably.. we ARE free, to whatever extent we can find to practise it.. but when we look at the power structures, while they have access and a podium, etc.. they are bound by the things that form those narrow little Pillars on which they Stand.

An important realization. It's odd to think about, but there are classes of things a regular citizen can accomplish that the president couldn't. Our perception of "the powers that be" and "politics as usual" leads to feelings of powerlessness, but through history I think very few of the key turning points were due to decisions by those people; mostly they react, and in a quite narrow band of behavior. One big reason we tend to be individually powerless is that we take for granted that we are.

just saying...

One big reason we tend to be individually powerless is that we take for granted that we are.

"You must unlearn what you have learned."


Yes, had the same reaction ! :-)

Exxon Mobil Oil Production down -7.7% year-on-year

Profits are down too, on higher oil prices, but lower US natural gas prices.

But dividends are increased 21%


This is the "business liquidation" model.


And from a big XOM supporter too! :)

Seriously, their recent joint venture announcement with the Russian oil giant Rosneft gives cause for wonder...30% stake for Rosneft in some GOM, fields, Alberta tar sand, others, for more "relaxed" regs in the Russian Arctic fields.

" A Rosneft subsidiary RN Cardium Oil will gain a 30 per cent share in the Harmattan acreage in Alberta. The National Energy Board of Canada estimates the formation of which the acreage is part contains about 10.6 billion barrles of oil. The problem is the oil is in very dense rock. However, new technologies may be able to release the oil.

Rosneft hopes that the Alberta investment may eventually help it develop similar unconventional oil reservoirs in Russia as well. Exxon gains from the project since it will gain access to the Russian Arctic and Black Sea. Three key Arctic fields in Russia are thought to contain up to 85 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Russia will take advantage of Exxon's experience and technology in Arctic drilling. For more see this article. Many environmentalists are concerned about drilling for oil in the Arctic."


Jodi has Russia dropping over 400 kb/d in January and only slightly recovering in February. Don't know yet if this is a trend but Russian oil production has been slowing in recent years. Russia was, in the last decade, the growth horse for non-Opec. JODI non-OPEC less Russia is down about 1.5 million barrels per day from its peak in 2004.

Russian C+C production in kb/d according to JODI. The last data point is February 2012.


The JODI data with the February data came out on the 18th of April. The last update from the EIA has only the December data. They should have been out with the January data on about the 20th of April but here it is the 27th and it has not shown up yet.

Ron P.

Annual Russian net oil exports (BP, mbpd) for 2002 to 2010:

2002: 5.0
2003: 5.8
2004: 6.5
2005: 6.8
2006: 6.9
2007: 7.1
2008: 6.9
2009: 7.1
2010: 7.1

JODI chart shows oil production growth of 8% from 2005 through 2010, but your stats show net exports grew only 3%.

If overall 5% decline sets in the net exports will be going down by 7.5% or 515kbd.

That would not be a good trend right now.

Ron, just to let you know I really appreciate the work you do tracking production.

Thanks, I thought this might be of interest to some folks.

Non-OPEC C+C less Russia in kb/d according to JODI. The last data point is February 2012.

Ron P.

The following exercise produced some results that were pretty stunning, even if they are only approximately right.

I took the first three years of increase, after their respective peaks, in the Total Petroleum Liquids Consumption to Production (C/P) ratios for Export Land, Indonesia, UK and Egypt and I estimated when each country should approach a 100% C/P ratio and thus zero net oil exports. I then estimated the area under what tends to be a triangular shaped net export decline curve to get estimated post-peak Cumulative Net Exports (CNE). The predicted values versus actual results are shown below.

Note that the ELM and Indonesia predictions were pretty much right on the money. The UK prediction was too optimistic, Egypt was too pessimistic. Note that if we sum the predicted post-peak CNE for IUKE (Indonesia, UK, Egypt), the predicted combined post-peak CNE would be 4.6 Gb. The actual combined post-peak CNE number was 4.6 Gb. Their combined net exports, at their respective peaks, was about one Gb per year. This was more oil than they had ever before net exported, and the ratio of remaining CNE to their combined peak rate was 4.6.

I then went through a similar procedure for Saudi Arabia, Top Five Net Oil Exporters, GNE (Top 33) and for Available Net Exports (ANE), except that I extrapolated the 2005 to 2010 rates of increase in the C/P ratios. For ANE, I extrapolated the rate increase in the ratio of Chindia's combined net imports to GNE. ANE = GNE less Chindia's net imports. The predicted values are shown below:

I appreciate your efforts to keep up with global C+C production figures. You seem to have current Non-OPEC production
at 30.4 mbd (all but Russia) + 10.5mbd (Approx. Russian) = 40.9 mbd for total Non-OPEC. Both Bloomberg & WSJ put recent
OPEC production around 31 mbd which would give a global total of 71.9 mbd. That seems significantly lower that one might
expect (74 mbd seemed to be the approximate "plateau" level I remember starting in 2005). If you could comment on the current
total world C+C production in relationship to the "plateau" value, I think many here might find that interesting.
Best -

Yes there is a a 2.77 mb/d difference between what JODI reports for world C+C production and what the EIA reports. The difference is about 1.5 mb/d difference for non-OPEC and about 1.3 mb/d difference for OPEC.

Some of the difference can be attributed to the fact that not all nations report to JODI. But in most of those cases I have used EIA data for the missing reports. But there is still perhaps about half a million barrels per day of smaller countries that are not reported in the JODI data. That still leaves, in my opinion anyway, about a 2 million barrel per day discrepancy between what JODI reports and what the EIA reports.

Below are the average production for 2011 for both JODI and the EIA.

         World  Non-OPEC  OPEC
EIA      73,964	 42,239	 31,725
JODI     71,194	 40,763	 30,431
Diff     -2,770	 -1,476	 -1,294

I will post a chart of JODI World production tomorrow.

Ron P.

The linked story by Tyler Durden is horseshoes math. The centerpiece is this chart:

This doesn't look right and sure enough, when you grab a to-scale inflation-adjusted DJIA, it looks like this:

Note that this is a logarithmic scale on the DJIA average, not a linear scale that oil production is plotted on.

If one does make the leap to equating wealth with oil, then MarketWealth ~ exp(k*OilProduction)

This makes the stock market exponentially sensitive with respect to oil production levels!

BTW, Tyler Durden has a bunch of opinion pieces written with the title "The Oil Conundrum", which is not related to my book of the same name.

Tyler Durden is not the author of that piece. The author is Charles Hugh Smith. He has a blog of his own, called "Of Two Minds," and is also a frequent contributor to Chris Martenson's blog.

Tyler Durden is just interested in polemics. Bit of a jack ass in my opinion. He has no problem in railing against both sides of the coin at the same time e.g. decrying spending while simultaneously linking austerity to a evil conspiracy of vested power interests.

So . . . he is living up to his namesake.

The other reason Charles Hugh Smith's graph is bogus, if I'm not mistaken, is that any market index has survivorship bias.

Bear in mind that the Dow Jones Index is modified once a month based on which large company is making news. There's a committee, and its decisions are so bad that if you took the original unchanged index, and carried it through the entire time of the index's existence to today, eating the bankruptcies and holding on to the spinoffs and corporate splits, the result would be worth more than today's official DJIA.

Any time someone is using the Dow Jones like this, it's for loose analogies, not good methodologies. For the latter, there is only the S&P 100 and 500.

"Currently there are at least six different organizations around the world saying they have a commercially useful heat-producing device under development which they will be demonstrating soon."


the idea that it might be possible to extract unlimited amounts of energy from the nucleus of a hydrogen atom at low temperatures has been pretty much in disrepute

Science fail. Am i supposed to trust an article that can't get the basics right?

Funny that your 6 organisations all seem to have gone from "nothing" to "under development" without actually passing through that difficult "showing it works to others" stage.

Maybe we will all be amazed. But I won't be holding my breath.

Well, I'm truly amazed by your ability to read contexts...

(In case you didn't notice, I responded negatively to the article.)

You might offer your conclusion more directly in your post. I'm sure I'm not the only one who doesn't have time to follow most outbound links to see what a person is trying to say.

Ah well, sorry about that. When something is so obviously flagrantly bad from a superficial reading I don't feel like breaking off and checking the entire separate article... and it did look like a positive advert for cold fusion the way you posted it.

Re: Dow Corn, Resistant to a Weed Killer, Runs Into Opposition, above; I took a series of courses on rotational grazing in the mid 90s and, among other things, we discussed weeds and their control. One thing that stuck was the discussion on herbicides, and that 2,4-D "doesn't stay put". Here it is, from the article:

Then there is the issue of drift. Droplets of any pesticide can drift onto adjacent farms as the chemical is sprayed. But 2,4-D and dicamba can also vaporize — known as volatilization — days after they are sprayed and then travel in the air for miles.

“This volatilization thing is a situation we’ve never had to face before on a widespread basis,” said Steve Smith, director of agriculture at the tomato canner Red Gold and chairman of the Save Our Crops Coalition.

Due to volatilization, (looking at my old paperwork) "2,4-D's effects may be observed beyond the intended area of application". Under certain conditions, it vaporizes and condenses on foliage well beyond where it was applied. Glyphosate (Roundup) "stays put better" (NOT promoting Roundup here). I've actually seen this occur with 2,4-D when the State sprayed a couple of acres of Kudzu across the road from my Mother's place.

The real issue here is that it's just one more case of doing the same thing (slightly modified) and expecting a different result. Nature keeps dancing around our attempts to overcome her limitations, and always will. It's a bit comical if one just sits back and watches a self-important species that has the ability to understand its limits, yet refuses to do so. Most posts in Drumbeat can be reduced down to this one thing.

I need to get into the garden (after a good rain) to pull as much of the glyphosate resistant Palmer amaranth (a pigweed invader from south of here) as I can before their nasty thorns harden and their roots go deep, a perpetual chore these days. This is a Frankenweed, hard to pull and seemingly mulch proof. Use of herbicides by factory farms has seemingly made it even more tough and prolific.

Again, from the article:

But some other scientists say there is little choice but to turn to the new crops and their matching chemicals. Without them, “we’re going to get to a situation where we have no tools at all,” said Greg Kruger, assistant professor of cropping systems at the University of Nebraska.


Ghung, I share your disgust concerning these chemicals. However these "chemical tools" are at the very heart of the green revolution. Without them there would have been no green revolution. Were it not for the green revolution the world population would likely be less than half what it is today. Soooo...

Ron P.

Yeah, forget the part where I said "a self-important species that has the ability to understand its limits". Collectively, we don't (I still stand by the "self-important" part), and it's apparent that the 'green revolution' has had it's critics for decades.

> However these "chemical tools" are at the very heart of the green revolution.
> Without them there would have been no green revolution.

I would contest that assertion if you're talking about THESE chemicals... the Green Revolution predates the combinations of pesticides and GM pesticide-resistant crops that this article is describing. Indeed, the phrase was coined in 1968, according to Wikipedia, and referred to the combination of high-yield crops, fertilizers, and pesticides that enabled greatly increased yields of staple food crops.

Since the introduction of the first "Roundup ready" crops in 1996, there have only been slight increases in crop yields, unlike the huge increases between 1940 and 1990.

Of course, the big corporations would love us to believe that their GMO crops are the only thing that can save the world from starvation, but I do not believe this is the case at all.

I think Ron was being iRONic...

I would contest that assertion if you're talking about THESE chemicals... the Green Revolution predates the combinations of pesticides and GM pesticide-resistant crops that this article is describing.

Well that is not exactly correct. The green revolution ramped up over the years. Sure these chemicals were not around in the 1950s when the green revolution really started to take off but "these chemicals" were an integral part of the total revolution. From Ghung's Wiki link above: Green Revolution

Between 1950 and 1984, as the Green Revolution transformed agriculture around the globe, world grain production increased by over 250%.

The Green Revolution is still in progress. But the Green Revolution was basically a chemical revolution of fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides and defoliants. Pesticides were in use in the 15th century. The first herbicides were developed in the late 1940s. Roundup was developed in 1974.

Ron P.

Anyone interested in leaving a few comments here:


Study points to role for both organic and conventional agriculture in sustainable food production
Category: GMO • Genetically engineered crops • agricultual policy • biofortified • genetics and society • organic farming
Posted on: April 26, 2012 5:05 PM, by Pamela Ronald
A paper in this week's issue of Nature and a commentary on Revkin's DotEarth blog reinforces the argument that a hybrid path in agriculture -- incorporating both conventional and organic production practices -- gives the best chance of feeding some 9 billion people by midcentury in an ecologically-based manner.

I tried to argue that we shouldn't even be thinking of feeding 9 billion people but should instead focus on reducing population and consumption... didn't go over to well.

It really irks me when scientists seem to be just as oblivious of natural laws and limits as J6PK.

It would be nice if there was a mention that feeding 9 billion is going to be "a tad difficult", but that wasn't really the point of the paper so it's not overly surprising. To be honest you aren't going to get "9 billion" people anyway before TSHTF so it's a moot point either way.

Don't, it's much harder convincing 'educated' people if they have their minds set on something. It doesn't matter if you have either logic or data or both on your side. I don't comment on any forum other than TOD, it's kinda useless. I feel my time and energy is invested better building my own DIY solar panels and windmill and honing the skills of craftsmanship and engineering.

Fools only listen to one person and that's reality.

"I don't comment on any forum other than TOD, it's kinda useless. .."

Glad I'm not the only one.

I've yet to find other commenting arenas that have ANY chance of a real conversation.. tho' I'm hesitant to try. I suppose Real Climate or TAE are somewhat on par with this, but I haven't got the elbow room to check, as it is.

(..and if you don't mind my asking, are you a native to India? Based there? I'm eager to see that we have Non-anglo/euro voices and perspectives in this conversation. There are some, but I'd be glad for more. 'Monocultures', as a whole, seem fairly brittle and unresilient, it seems to me.)

"Mr. Hurst, the Missouri farmer, said that even the older formulations can be used safely. “My dad sprayed, 2,4-D,” he said. “I’ve sprayed it since I graduated in 1988.” "

I recall an argument of 30 yrs ago between a wheat farmer and his dad. The young guy taking over the farm was upset he was told to spray in mid June, told his dad: "1/2 a day with a backpack and I'll have it done." A little different philosophy, Dad thought the whole place should be sprayed for thistle, the younger knew the bad spots, could hit them and be done with it.

For those unaware, 2,4-D is specific to dicots, it won't harm grasses(grains), the reason for it's big appeal. But we've overmedicated the fields and livestock both, it's coming home to roost, and Dow's solution is a bigger hammer. Their bigger hammer. Their industrial solution for their industrial problem.

"“Surely, there is a better way to address concerns than for one group of ag stakeholders to attempt to deny access to tools that are urgently needed by their neighbors.”

That's slick.

I used to get cereal with amaranth. Its seeds are pretty good.

from Wikipedia:

The leaves, stems and seeds of Palmer amaranth, like those of other amaranths, are edible and highly nutritious.[1][2] Palmer amaranth was once widely cultivated and eaten by Native Americans across North America, both for its abundant seeds and as a cooked or dried green vegetable.[2]

Maybe wouldn't be a terrible thing to have some of this around your place. This could be one of those permaculture moments - look for opportunities in the middle of the problems.

I grew amaranth the past couple years and some volunteer seedlings are popping up this spring (it readily self sows for what seems like a perpetual crop)

Disadvantage is that the seeds are extremely small and light so I've found winnowing them to be a real drag if really attempting to separate from other crumbly bits of the plant. I've heard a flour sifter works well but haven't tried yet.

Would certainly be open to other suggestions :)

Update your bug-out bag in advance of the NATO summit in Chicago.

Shortly, we will begin seeing Federal agents, some in battle gear, patrolling the downtown streets.

I heard on the local news yesterday that Milwaukee Red Cross are, reportedly, preparing for a potential evacuation, in the event of "unrest or a National Security Incident".

Downtown highrises are preparing security plans. Local hospitals are dusting off their "Dirty Bomb" Response Plans. People are a tad nervous.

Meanwhile, I am assessing my supplies of duct tape...

Question: Why don't they hold these summits at some remote resort, an island perhaps. What does this cost?!

Our recent Mayors have been engaged in trying to elevate Chicago's profile as an international city. We get both ends of that deal - the high profile for tourism and business, and the high profile for security risks.

The costs - well, that's our tax dollars at work. I can think of a hundred ways we could use that money to prepare ourselves for a lower-energy future...

EDIT: the tax dollars at work are Federal dollars, although the Chicago Police, Fire and other first responders are heavily involved also, which means city tax dollars. Our local Police Precinct just canceled this month's community policing meeting since everyone will be busy. I expect an uptick in neighborhood crimes of opportunity.

We are embarked upon a somewhat controversial Infrastructure Trust plan to retrofit public buildings using private funding.

Wow, China thinks $6/bushel corn is cheap.

China a buyer in biggest 1-day US corn sale since '91

Near-record Chinese domestic corn prices and a recent dip in U.S. corn costs to two-month lows triggered the buying spree, traders said.

Well . . . if your aquifers are depleting and the desert is encroaching on your farmlands, it is pretty good deal.

"Wow, China thinks $6/bushel corn is cheap."

What else will they do with their hoard of rapidly depreciating Bernanke-bucks?

The US dollar is up around 10% YoY versus the Euro, which is the other widely used and traded global currency, so it seem bizarre to refer to it as rapidly depreciating.

The dollar is down by about the same amount versus the Reminbi, but a stronger Chinese currency has been a US policy objective for many years.

Globally, at this point in time money in general is depreciating versus real assets, but the dollar is fairly strong in relative terms.

From Disruption to banality: Views on Variability

A world in which, say, a third of electricity is provided by wind and solar power would need to be very different from today’s. The tools now available to power system operators are unlikely to be up to the task of managing so much additional variability and uncertainty.

To system operators, wind and solar represent disruption – in both senses of the word. On the one hand, additional management complexity; on the other, a game-changer. And the new game is flexibility.

And the new game is flexibility.

There's the rub. Our centralized grid is locked into a narrow system of parameters, mainly to increase efficiency. The things powered by the grid follow, operating on a standardized set of parameters. Flexibility is limited for the most part. Perhaps not so efficient after all.

Questions of scale aside, I designed our house to accept and store (or reject) more diffuse inputs and was flexible with the operating parameters. Little forcing going on here. Our hot water system temp can vary 40+ degrees (f) over time and still be functional. When electrical availability is limited, we don't do certain things, and room temperatures may vary a bit more than most folks are used to. Adapting to conditions (being flexible) reduces the need to force conditions into a narrow range.

Not sure how we apply this philosphy to massively centralized energy systems and a society which is totally invested in its inflexibility.

Random thoughts...

The US actually has three grids -- the Western, Texas, and Eastern Interconnects, with minimal power transfers between the three. The Western is much better suited than the other two for heavy use of renewables (and Texas better than the Eastern). Three main reasons for that:

  • The absolute scale of the problem is much smaller in the West. Based on EIA figures, in 2010, Texas accounted for about 5.0% of total US generation; the states in the Western Interconnect about 8.9%; and in the Eastern about 86.1%. Those are approximate, as the interconnect borders don't exactly align with state borders. On a per-capita basis, the Eastern disadvantage is even larger, as Texas accounts for 8% of the population, the Western states 23%, and the East 69%.
  • The Western states have much higher quality -- particularly in the sense of cheaper to exploit -- renewable resources, and those resources are located in reasonable proximity to major population centers: hydro in the Pacific NW, solar inside the SoCal/Phoenix/Las Vegas triangle, wind along the Rockies downslope and western Great Plains near the Front Range.
  • Western population is more concentrated, and the utility corridors that would connect those population centers are relatively well defined. The network that has to be managed in the East is much more complex. As a result, you see relatively detailed studies for running the West with a large portion of renewable electricity; I have been unable to find anything of comparable detail published for the East.

Visualizing The U.S. Electric Grid

The U.S. electric grid is a complex network of independently owned and operated power plants and transmission lines. Aging infrastructure, combined with a rise in domestic electricity consumption, has forced experts to critically examine the status and health of the nation's electrical systems....

Click on the "Sources Of Power" tab to see where your State's electricity comes from.

It ain't your Grampa's electrical grid - oh wait, yes it is!

Varying a lot by geography. Parts of the country that have experienced above average population growth over the last 30 years have probably got a lot of new stuff in the grid. Where I live in a suburb west of Denver has had a lot of distribution grid upgrades in the 20 years I've lived here. And the state as a whole as had quite a lot of work on the transmission part of the grid, as well.

I'd worry about it a lot more if I lived in the strip from, say, Indiana through Pennsylvania. 80-90% generation from coal and aging nuclear, plus minimal population growth so the grid has probably been neglected. There was less power generated in Ohio in 2010 than there was in 2000.

Yeah, I'm in PA. Some of the equipment around here is ancient.

Nifty graphics. Some of the new transmission lines within the West are moving forward, slowly. I really doubt that those big new transmission lines and AC-DC-AC links across the Great Plains will ever be built. At least for the western states, the "sources of power" numbers are somewhat dated; in percentages, there's less coal and significant additional natural gas and wind. The "power plants" tab really makes my point about the amount of power generated/used in the East compared to the West.

I think the Eastern Interconnect is going to have problems. For 2010, 47% of their electricity came from coal and 21% from their large fleet of aging nukes. On an absolute scale for the 48 contiguous states, Eastern coal plants account for 40% of all US generation and Eastern nukes for 18% of all US generation. It seems unlikely (to me, at least) that they're going to replace that with western renewables -- consider that replacing just the nukes would require them to move more than twice as much as the total power output in the West today (from all sources) across the country.

Making any significant change to those sources is really a daunting task, with some major limitations as you've described. Which is why I think the place for wind and solar is at the home, at the point of use, such as solar thermal hot water, passive solar heating, etc., along with getting used to less energy. Let the grid serve key public facilities and rail transport.

Commercial and industrial? Together probably twice the residential usage. Much more concentrated in a physical sense, so local generation from wind and solar is impractical.

No, I didn't really mean commercial and industrial. I regard most industrial activity as net negative in terms of return from the energy used, and it is only due to fossil fuels that they can pretend to be viable. If the costs of their output were to reflect the true costs of the inputs (including energy) then there will be little. I was thinking more in the way of a few hospitals and emergency services, lighting in public places, public markets, things like that.

The USA has 10x the commercial sq ft PER CAPITA that we had in 1950.

Just turn off the lights at most malls - we once lived without them.


Always have wondered how much electricity is wasted by having 50 televisions on at once in thousands of big box / dept stores for 10 hrs per day...

Ummm.... Depends a lot on the season. During winter in Maine, all those televisions just provide a little more electric heat. And at current heating oil and propane prices, electric resistance heat is only about 20% more expensive than oil or propane.

but during the warmer months, all those TVs make the A/C system work harder.

Speaking of lights at malls..... Several months ago I was ranting about the local Penney's store, which had about 200 halogen floodlights in track light fixtures. but just last week I noticed that they have recently all been changed to LED floodlights. Probably about an 83% reduction in energy use for these fixtures.

Unfortunately, whenever I see one of these way overdue lighting upgrades, I find myself thinking "too little, too late" For example, in this same store, they still haven't changed from T12s fluorescent tubes in the ceiling fixtures.

Sometimes I think that I should be trying to organize boycotts of local stores that refuse to upgrade their lights, but I don't see much chance of getting people to boycott 80 to 90 percent of the locally owned stores in this area.

More recently I've been thinking that we should be encouraging people to shop at the few stores that have upgraded to more efficient lighting. Unfortunately these tend to be the big chain stores, controlled from far away. So the dilemma seems to be, either shop at locally owned stores with wasteful lighting, or the big chain stores with efficient lighting. So what to do?

Not sure how we apply this philosphy to massively centralized energy systems and a society which is totally invested in its inflexibility.

Well, you yourself were once part of that system, right?

So how do you change paradigms? Thomas Kuhn, who wrote the seminal book about the great paradigm shifts of science, has a lot to say about that.5 You keep pointing at the anomalies and failures in the old paradigm. You keep speaking and acting, loudly and with assurance, from the new one. You insert people with the new paradigm in places of public visibility and power. You don’t waste time with reactionaries; rather, you work with active change agents and with the vast middle ground of people who are open-minded.
Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System
By Donella Meadows

Whether by intent or not, you, Ghung, are an example of an active change agent, much like the grain of sand that irritates the mantle of the oyster and causes it to produce a smooth shiny iridescent pearl... and for that, I salute you, sir!

Ghung- I expect that we will demonstrate greater flexibility than most doomers assume. IMO there is a reason why Homo Sapiens became a dominant species- adaptability. At the moment it makes more economic sense to engineer a 24/7 electric grid. When the grid is no longer 24/7 I fully expect that the market will adapt to it with different types of products such as you describe. Many civilized societies survive with far greater dislocations than not having 24/7 electricity.

It seems to be me that once you get away from the idea of 24/7 electricity then issue of depending on fossil fuels for electricity becomes much less relevant.

It all boils down to Tainter's book, adding more complexity to manage the problems. Even if they do manage to manufacture enough solar panels and batteries and tie it up to the grid they'd have to put it up across vast distances just to ensure that one giant thunderstorm doesn't knock the whole grid out. Then you'd have to use all kinds of computer algorithms just to predict the weather and manage power, like advanced routers trying to predict traffic to maximize bandwidth.

...or make lines and loads much more independent and flexible.

or make lines and loads much more independent and flexible

LOL. We already have that, it's called a blackout in your place and load shedding here. It's very flexible, happens at any time of the day
During Earth Hour there was a running joke here, that "we don't need to celebrate Earth Hour coz we celebrate it everyday for upto three hours a day". ;-)


- Geographic distribution of renewables (harder for rooftop solar, because big cities will have more)
- Several % (say 2% to 3%) of load is interrupterable with minimal or no warning, and several % more with 15 minutes to 1 hour warning
- 2% of load is pumped storage, or dispatchable water pumping (municipal water is pumped on utility command)

will be more than enough grid system flexibility to deal with 40+% renewable generation.

Best Hopes for Adapting,


Very good article.

Polluting China for the Sake of Economic Growth

... Economic growth in China is heavily invested in the development of manufacturing and heavy industries, export and fixed asset investment, and energy consumption is thus growing rapidly. In one sense, energy consumption underlies economic growth. Unfortunately, this rapid increase in energy consumption and the rise in pollution and carbon emissions reflects rapid economic growth but is adding to environmental harm on a global scale and having a tremendous impact on ecological systems.

Xia points out that the data show that energy consumption has a greater impact on output compared with conventional factors of production such as labor (human capital), while pollution has relatively little effect on output.

Atmospheric Warming Altering Ocean Salinity

The warming climate is altering the saltiness of the world's oceans, and the computer models scientists have been using to measure the effects are underestimating changes to the global water cycle, a group of Australian scientists have found.

Records showed that the saltier parts of the ocean increased salinity -- or their salt content -- by 4 percent in the 50 years between 1950 and 2000. If the climate warms by an additional 2 or 3 degrees, the researchers project that the water cycle will turn over more quickly, intensifying by almost 25 percent.

The water cycle is the worldwide phenomenon of rainwater falling to the surface, evaporating back into the air and falling again as rain.

One gigantic electrode in the Pacific and one in the Atlantic hooked up to a coast to coast grid in the USA could provide all the electricity we need!

'Warming Hole' Delayed Climate Change Over Eastern United States: Study

Climate scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have discovered that particulate pollution in the late 20th century created a "warming hole" over the eastern United States—that is, a cold patch where the effects of global warming were temporarily obscured.

... Since the early 20th century, global mean temperatures have risen by approximately 0.8 degrees Celsius from 1906 to 2005, but in the U.S. "warming hole," temperatures decreased by as much as 1 degree Celsius during the period 1930-1990. U.S. particulate pollution peaked in 1980 and has since been reduced by about half. By 2010 the average cooling effect over the East had fallen to just 0.3 degrees Celsius.

... "Something similar could happen in China, which is just beginning to tighten up its pollution standards," says co-author Loretta J. Mickley, a Senior Research Fellow in atmospheric chemistry at SEAS. "China could see significant climate change due to declining levels of particulate pollutants."


"It's not just the Willamette that will be difficult to clean up because of mercury beyond local control. Scientists expected to find patterns of mercury pollution from nearby factories when they took sediment samples beneath lakes near Bellingham, Wash., that contain fish unsafe to eat. Instead, most of the industrial mercury came from global sources.

"Our best estimates indicate that there's more mercury deposited in this country from outside our borders than from inside our borders," says Richard Scheffe, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency senior science adviser.

Mercury is just one of the foreign pollutants that scientists are tracking. At least one-third of California's fine particulate pollution --known as aerosol --has floated across from Asia, says Steve Cliff, an atmospheric scientist at the University of California at Davis.

"In May this year, almost all the fine aerosol present at Lake Tahoe came from China," says Tom Cahill, a UC Davis emeritus professor of atmospheric sciences. "So the haze that you see in spring at Crater Lake or other remote areas is in fact Chinese in origin."

Given your warming hole quote, the above bit about mercury I remembered and (was able to find again), and the cold last few years in the Pacific Northwest, you do have to wonder if they are all related. Even if the weather effects don't directly reach across the Pacific, if China was able to cool the Japanese current, then that would cool the California current, and that would keep the Pacific Northwest cold by an indirect effect.

Drought-resistant Argentine soy raises hopes, concerns

Researchers in Argentina have isolated a drought-resistant sunflower gene and spliced it into soy, bolstering hopes for improved yields as the South American agricultural powerhouse grapples with global warming.

... With an eye on feeding a world population set to rise from seven billion to 9.5 billion by 2050 and predictions of the worsening impact from climate change, scientists in many parts of the world are working on pinpointing genes that could help crops cope with harsher weather or marginal soils.

In separate projects reported this year, scientists in Australia developed strains of wheat and rice resistant to salt, enabling the crops to be grown in saline soils damaged by excessive irrigation or tsunami waves.

New England officials testify at storm hearing

CONCORD, N.H. — Spurred by major storms that have left millions of New Englanders without power, a Senate committee is questioning what can be done at the federal level to better prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

... [New Hampshire Sen.] Shaheen said whether it's through better standards or incentives for innovation, more must be done to protect the electricity grid, given that catastrophic weather events appear to be increasing in frequency.

"It's no longer a situation where once in every five or 10 years we're going to get a significant weather event," she said

also US Senators looking at grid reliability finding need to talk with PUCs

New Yorkers Bring Fish Farms to Urban Jungle

... Aquaponics is a technique with ancient roots for breeding tank fish, recycling their effluent-filled water to fertilize vegetation, then allowing this naturally cleaned water to drip back into the tank below. It's a perfect, miniature eco system that will let you grow healthy food right in a cramped apartment with almost no specialist equipment.

"We built our system just from trash cans," said Pozdeeva, a slender woman who emigrated from Russia's Siberian region 20 years ago and still speaks English with a gentle accent.

... [tilapia] require just five to 10 gallons (19 to 38 liters) of water and by nine months are big enough to eat. Besides, they can be entirely vegetarian and seem to like duck weed, a grainy green plant which Toole and Pozdeeva scoop up from ponds in the Bronx's big Van Cortland Park, then drop into their tanks.

"It's illegal, but on the other hand it's choking the pond, so you could argue we're doing it as a favor," Toole said of the freelance weed harvesting expeditions.

Reef Shark Populations In Steep Decline: Study

"We estimate that reef shark numbers have dropped substantially around populated islands, generally by more than 90 percent compared to those at the most untouched reefs", said Marc Nadon, lead author of the study and a scientist at the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR) located at the University of Hawaii, ... "In short, people and sharks don't mix."

Global Prices of Pollination-Dependent Products Such As Coffee Could Rise In The Long Term: Study

... countries such as China, India, the USA, Brazil and Japan greatly benefit from pollination-dependent products.

For the first time, the researchers have analysed this effect at the regional level: In the USA, for example, the dependence is particularly high in California and in the corn belt in the Midwest relatively unimportant. In Asia the northeast region of China is particularly dependent upon pollination, in Europe primarily the Mediterranean countries, such as Italy or Greece, and in Africa especially the region along the Nile in Egypt.

Since 2001 the costs of production for pollination-dependent crops have risen significantly, far faster than the prices of non-pollination-dependent field crops such as rice, grains or maize.

... When fields are sprayed with more pesticides, more fertilisers are applied and valuable agricultural structural elements, such as hedges and rows of trees, are transformed into fields, the insects vanish. Consequently, the extent of pollination is reduced, and this is reflected in higher production prices. "We see this price increase as an initial warning signal that conflicts could arise between the services of insect-related pollination and other agricultural interests", ...

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

Carbon Capture and Sequestration: Research, Development, and Demonstration at the U.S. Department of Energy (pdf)

... Congress has appropriated nearly $6 billion since FY2008 for CCS RD&D at DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy: approximately $2.3 billion from annual appropriations and $3.4 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (or Recovery Act). The large and rapid influx of funding for industrial-scale CCS projects from the Recovery Act may accelerate development and deployment of CCS in the United States. However, the future deployment of CCS may take a different course if the major components of the DOE program follow a path similar to DOE’s flagship CCS demonstration project, FutureGen, which has experienced delays and multiple changes of scope and design since its inception in 2003.

A question for Congress is whether FutureGen represents a unique case of a first mover in a complex, expensive, and technically challenging endeavor, or whether it indicates the likely path for all large CCS demonstration projects once they move past the planning stage.

... In addition to the issues and programs discussed above, other factors might affect the demonstration and deployment of CCS in the United States. The use of hydraulic fracturing techniques to extract unconventional natural gas deposits recently has drawn national attention to the possible negative consequences of deep well injection of large volumes of fluids.

and Hydraulic Fracturing and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): Selected Issues (pdf)

This report provides an overview of two situations in which agencies are arguing that they do not need to conduct a comprehensive environmental review of hydraulic fracturing under NEPA. On March 21, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development agency reaffirmed its use of a CE to exempt from further NEPA review the loans it makes for the purchase of singlefamily homes on properties leased for drilling. The agency stated that, by itself, the existence of a drilling lease on a property is not an extraordinary circumstance that will prevent the agency from using a CE for a loan

Thanks for those links, Seraph. One of my kids is a geologist who works for a small company that is in that "cottage industry," as ROCKMAN calls it, that does the environmental sciences work for RCRA and NEPA and other regulatory compliances. My daughter does it in biology and my son as a geologist.

I've been following, or trying to follow, the Delaware River Basin Commission's antics, as well as the Susquehanna River Basin stuff, so the fracking/NEPA thing is especially interesting to me. I used to be very familiar with all of the environmental regs because I edited so many Superfund and RCRA documents. Also I lived so close to the Delaware River near its bay into the ocean and it just doesn't need more crapping up, especially way upstream where for a long time it's been pretty decent. Don't know how it is nowadays down around Philly and Delaware. And I just cannot really imagine that they would allow three companies to suck 9 million gallons of water PER DAY out of the Susquehanna R. That makes me feel sick. Oh, well. I suppose, when you consider the money involved that there is no stopping them. At least NY has put this moratorium on it due to litigation. But they have SO much power. It's not right.

Spain downgraded by S&P

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Standard & Poor's downgraded Spain's credit rating by two notches on Thursday, the latest sign Europe's debt crisis is once again gathering force.

S&P said the downgrade, from A to BBB+, "reflects our view of mounting risks to Spain's net general government debt as a share of GDP in light of the contracting economy."

The only surprize there is that it took so long.

Spooky ;-)

Spain's jobless rate hits record high

Spain's notoriously stagnant job market is at the root of its economic crisis, which is a serious problem that is expected to get worse before it gets better ... if it gets better.

"The rate of job destruction proved to be very worrying," wrote Societe General analysts Michala Marcussen and Michel Martinez on Friday, after the Spanish government reported that its unemployment rate rocketed to a record high of 24.4% in the first quarter.

Renewables are for sissies.

I videotaped some kids in a Foster Care workshop today, and one championed a man he knows who said to his Homophobic dad, 'Real Men wear pink!' ...

Driving Back from that job, coming up Route 1 along the Southern Maine Coast, I saw at least a half-dozen businesses, including a large Car Dealership, sporting piles of PV on their rooftops. Maybe it's contagious!

"Capitalism will sell you the rope to hang it with.."

'Everywhere is Freaks and Haries, Dykes and Fairies.. tell me where is Sanity?
Tax the Rich, Feed the Poor, Til there are no poor no more...

I want to change the world, but I don't know what to do, so I'll leave it up to you..'
- Ten Years After

As I've said many times, nothing good will happen until people accept the end of economic growth. Only then, in my opinion, will political support for mandating large-scale renewables reach a critical mass. The best that can be done until then is to inform people of the realities of energy.

I passed a new coach depot the other day. Did a double take. Two LARGE solar hot water collectors on the roof. Slow, but people are getting it.


U.S. Amasses Stealth Jet Armada Near Iran

The U.S. Air Force is quietly assembling the world’s most powerful air-to-air fighting team at bases near Iran. Stealthy F-22 Raptors on their first front-line deployment have joined a potent mix of active-duty and Air National Guard F-15 Eagles, including some fitted with the latest advanced radars. The Raptor-Eagle team has been honing special tactics for clearing the air of Iranian fighters in the event of war.

It’s been years since the Air Force has maintained a significant dogfighting presence in the Middle East.

... In March the Air Force deployed the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Wing, flying 20 standard F-15Cs, to an “undisclosed” air base in Southwest Asia — probably either Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates or Al Udeid in Qatar.

... Upgraded F-15Cs from the 18th Wing in Japan joined the Guard Eagles. The Japan-based fighters have the latest APG-63(V)2 and (V)3 radars, manufactured by Raytheon. The 18th Wing is working up a fleet of 54 updated Eagles spread across two squadrons.

... F-22s followed this month. “Multiple” Raptors deployed to Al Dhafra ... It’s not clear where the Raptors came from. If they’re from the Alaska-based 3rd Wing, they’re the latest Increment 3.1 model with boosted bombing capabilities in addition to the standard air-to-air weaponry.

Isreal has also moved a sizable force to bases in Azerbaijan.

... move along; nothing to see here folks.

Gotta cost an awful lot of money to deploy those there.

But we have to decide between low-interest college loans and preventive health care. Sorry, but I just can't help but see a little smidgen of irony in that. The Iranian people I've known are such very nice people. Sometimes I wish so much that I had a way to tell them all that I am so sorry -- for the most of them, as for the most of us, it really isn't fault of the Peoples. I don't buy that "Well, you voted for them," nonsense, either. I'm almost 70, and I have tried all my life to vote for good people who would do right things. There just weren't any. ONE year I didn't vote, because I was sick in my heart of choosing the lesser of evils. But that didn't do any good, either.

Romania's government falls in confidence vote

Two-month-old government latest in wave of European administrations brought down by disputes over austerity measures.

The defeat came ahead of another confidence vote, in the Czech Republic, whose budget-cutting cabinet is expected to survive but may find itself hamstrung by infighting among its scandal-plagued parties and widespread public anger over its policies.

"The end result seems to ... echo what we have been seeing in other countries in terms of a popular move away from the parties that are pushing for austerity," said Koon Chow, a strategist at Barclay's Capital.

"France, Holland, the Czechs - it's all connected."

Japan sea sediments tell of past 'Tohoku quakes'

Previous earthquakes that rivalled the March 2011 Tohoku tremor in size may be recorded in sediment samples just recovered from the seafloor off Japan.

The sediments hint at three major disturbances on the ocean bed that could be the result of the submarine landslides often seen with big quakes.

Analysis raises atmospheric, economic doubts about forest bioenergy

... Early suggestions that such a forest biofuel industry would be greenhouse "neutral" or even reduce greenhouse emissions "are based on erroneous assumptions," a group of international researchers said in an invited analysis in Global Change Biology/Bioenergy, a professional journal.

A major increase in this industry, they concluded, would also result in shorter tree rotations, younger forests, depleted soil nutrients, increased risk of erosion, loss of forest biodiversity and function, higher costs for bioenergy than are now being anticipated, and increased use of fertilizers – also a source of greenhouse emissions.

This is a Link to the original study on which the report is based.

Large-scale bioenergy from additional harvest of forest biomass is neither sustainable nor greenhouse gas neutral

It seems like this result is pretty obvious, if you plan to add fertilizer and remove the biomass as it grows. I am glad someone figured out the details.

re: The Peak Oil Crisis: The Quantum Fusion Hypothesis

I wonder if these Cold Fusion devices are somewhat like atomic level heat pumps? They seem to take high quality (low entropy) energy (electricity) and generate greater amounts of heat. A heat pump does the same thing at a macro scale. Otherwise if there is no consumption of nickel, palladium or preexisting heavy hydrogen, I don't see how they get around the second law of thermodynamics.

I don't see how they get around the second law of thermodynamics.

The obvious answer is they don't.

The rest of the solution is left as an exercise for the reader.

Re: Residents rise up over sea level policy (near bottom of the links).

They are angry at state legislation and action by their councils in response to projected sea level threats over the next 90 years.

They say sea level warnings, attached to their planning certificates, are affecting their home insurance costs and house prices.

Coastal residents group President Len Gibbons says the laws are "alarmist" and should be repealed.

"We're not denying there's climate change, nobody's denying that, but we're saying the claims are grossly exaggerated by about 90 per cent more than what is actually happening," he said.

We're not denying it but we're denying it. I mean how dare they lower house value and reprice insurance properly according to risk?

One thing I always found ironic was how coastal land is considered some of the most valuable real estate in the world on average and yet much of it is predicted to disappear this century. It has to be one of the classic examples of Doublethink.

"It has to be one of the classic examples of Doublethink."


Well, I'm close to the sea and can see it from upstairs however I am about 50m up. I look forward to the future as I will be able to claim a beach front property with some interesting diving reefs.


Well . . . current rates of ocean rise are less than 2mm/year. It is rising, but very slowly. The rates may accelerate though.

Hmm, maybe last year was less but average for last 20 years is 3.1mm/year: http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

Yes they may.

3.1 mm/y (the most recent value, it changes up and down all the time) means 31 cm/century.

The latest IPCC report predicts 59 cm during the century.

The Pine Island and the Thwaites glacier alone will, according to glaceologsts working with them, provide 50 cm sea level rise before 2100 during current climate. If it warms up further (what doyou think about that?) it may accelerate more. This is notincluded in the IPCC report. (They only had 3 cmfrom Antarctica)

Then you have other sources as well. You may want to monitor the Jacobshavn glacier at Greenland. I guess that one alone will add another 50 cm.

In total, below 150 cm higher sea level before 2100 seems optimistic.


'Austerity Creating Backlash Across Europe'

Romania’s government fell Friday in a no-confidence vote just two months after taking office, the latest government in Europe to crumble amid disputes over unpopular austerity measures.

Governments have been collapsing across Europe amid calls by Germany and others for tough austerity measures to help restore confidence in the euro zone, even as some critics complain that aggressive cuts are undermining economic growth and spurring European citizens to protest.

The backlash in Eastern Europe against austerity has been particularly acute in countries like Romania and the Czech Republic because it has been combined with growing anger at endemic corruption, a legacy of more than two decades of Communist rule.

Looks like Europe is taking their medicine to reign in deficit spending, while the U.S. continues to put off the inevitable. What if, when US austerity measures kick in, the timing conincides with a further reduction in world oil exports? Is it even possible to reduce expenditures enough to cover over a trillion a year deficit, while also expecting the economy to keep buzzing on even higher priced oil?

We are going to see a massive number of defaults, outright defaults and/or through devalued currencies.

One way or another, these cutbacks are going to backfire, especially in the PIIGS; it's just a question of when.

Jeez... "? and the Austerians". They're gonna cry 96 Tears :-/

You make it sound like there is a choice. IF you are spending more money than you are collecting and you have run out of dumb people to lend you the difference what choice do you have? In a perversion of language we are now defining "the inability to live beyond ones means and stick our children with the bill" as austerity.

IMO the problem with the austerity measures is that they are not deep and sharp enough initially. SO you end with serial austerity which at the end of the day crushes the animal spirits of any economy. On the other hand a swift and sharp restoration of fiscal stability would mean that interest rates would be falling following such moves rather than increasing as they have done in PIIGS.

I recall an Australian dollar devaluation from many years ago -which was the only well managed devaluation that I had observed. They devalued by far more than the market was expecting and the net result was that the currency trader higher (and never looked back) after the devaluation. There are psychological studies that show that if you want to maximize happiness and minimize unhappiness - the answer is to stretch out pleasant activities and compress unpleasant e.g. don't furnish your house all at one time and do your taxes at one sitting.

I didn't say that austerity wasn't necessary or even that they (we) have a choice; has nothing to do with inevitable repercussions. Austerity is in the cards for most, globally. That doesn't mean that folks have to like it or will react well.

Oil’s Dark Heart Pumps Strong: ‘Private Empire,’ Steve Coll’s Book on Exxon Mobil

One wonders how much they have done to keep the science of human genetics in the dark?

If people knew that only 2% of our "human genome" is "human", that the 98% we have been taught is "junk genes" is actually microbial, that we are mostly composed of "non human" cells, and that humans are technically a unique ecosystem, would that cause more concern for the other ecosystems?

Important Report from TEPCO

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, Incorporated, would like to make comments on subjects that are reported by the newspapers, TV or websites.

We affirm that the Reactor Building and Spent Fuel Pool of Unit 4 will not collapse in the event of an earthquake

April 26, 2012

The upper part of the Reactor Building of Unit 4 was damaged due to a hydrogen explosion. We confirmed the items below and affirm that the building, including its spent fuel pool will not collapse should another earthquake occur.

1) We measured the distance between the water surface of the spent fuel pool and the floor surface of the building, and confirmed that the building has not tilted.
2) Our analyses show that the building, including the spent fuel pool, will not collapse even if an earthquake equivalent (seismic intensity 6) to the Tohoku-Chihou-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake occurs in the area.
3) In addition, we have improved the seismic safety margin by 20% by reinforcing the bottom of the spent fuel pool.
4) We will regularly check the reactor building and the spent fuel pool four times per year to confirm their soundness.

Wonder what happens if a "seismic intensity 7" quake hits?

And hopefully the ruins of the building have the decency not to unexpectedly fall down just before one of TEPCO's generous quarterly inspections.

So . . . . they are not going to empty the pool?

They are just going to allow a spent fuel pool to be exposed to the outdoors for years with quarterly inspections?


Its all a part of the safe in "Nuclear power is safe".

How would TEPCO empty the spent fuel rod pool in reactor building 4? I think the rubble is too radioactive for workers unless one uses TEPCO executives as expendable biobots.

That text sounds like the manual they used to get permit approval in the first place, you know, before the entire complex was devastated. Of course they had to massage that text a wee bit. Sociopaths.

The more reassurances they offer, the more worried I am!!!

These are the people who refused to listen to seismologists and engineers for years about how dangerous a reactor with generators within tsunami range was at that location. Many people, including TEPCOs own engineers, explained this to them.

TEPCO just ignored them or asked the government to let them ignore warnings. The government happily obliged.

Prince George sawmill 'ball of flame' kills 1, injures 24

It appears that global warning is destroying sawmills and killing its workers in British Columbia. Sounds illogical but it may very well be true.

1. A string of mild winters have greatly increased the survival rate amoung pine beetles.
2. This has led to an explosion of the pine beetle population.
3. Pine beetles have killed about 60% of the pine trees in British Columbia.
4. The still standing dead trees have been agressively harvested and sent to sawmills.
5. The beetled-killed wood is much dryer than normal wood.
6. The dry wood has led to high levels of fine dust inside sawmills.
7. Two massive explosions, three months apart, have destroyed two sawmills.
8. In each case, workers have been killed.

Although the results of the investigations have not yet been released, dust is a prime suspect.

To lose a second mill for the same reason is not an accident -- it is criminal negligence.

And Jellyfish blooms have shutdown various power plants by clogging up the water intake. The Earth fights back.

And it's about time She did......!

Open to Cutting Old Growth, Says Premier

Leaked cabinet document pushes to lift protections, allow unsustainable cuts.

A leaked cabinet submission that considers reduced conservation of old growth forest and wildlife habitat is indicative of the discussion the British Columbia government is having about finding timber for a new Babine Forest Products sawmill, said Premier Christy Clark.

Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell responded, saying the government has been working since 2001 on responses to the mountain pine beetle epidemic. "None of this is new news," he said. "It's important now -- it's been expedited as a result of that very tragic fire -- but this all started a long time ago in the 1990s."