Drumbeat: May 30, 2012

Storytelling our energy future

I want to tell you two stories.

The first is this: You were born into an exceptional culture of enormous wealth. If you work hard and take advantage of the inherent genius and innovativeness of that culture, you can become wealthy, secure, happy, and comfortable. And if they work hard, your children can have even more wealth than you did.

Here’s the second: Right now, you are living at the absolute historical peak of human wealth. In terms of the energy you consume, the variety of foods and beverages available to you, and the amount of physical labor you don’t have to do every day, you are vastly more wealthy than any generation before you. Your children will be much poorer than you, will have far fewer options about what they can eat and drink and do with their free time, and will have to do a lot more physical labor. Their children will have even harder lives, and so on into the future, as wealth per capita declines for the next several hundred years.

Now: Which story do you think is more true?

Brent Crude Declines Below $105 First Time Since December

Brent oil declined to its lowest in five months before a report that may show U.S. stockpiles climbed to the highest level since 1990 and after economic confidence in the euro area fell more than forecast.

Brent futures dropped below $105 a barrel in London for the first time since Dec. 20. In the U.S., prices are heading for the biggest monthly drop in more than three years. American crude inventories rose 800,000 barrels to 383.3 million last week, according to the median estimate of eight analysts in a Bloomberg News survey before the Energy Department report tomorrow. Economic confidence in the euro area fell to its lowest since 2009, a European Commission report today showed.

Power Plant Gas Use Rose 40% in March, U.S. EIA Report Says

U.S. power plants increased natural gas use by 40 percent in March from a year earlier as low prices prompted a switch from coal, the Energy Department said today. Coal’s share fell by 20 percent.

Gas used in electricity generation rose to 703.5 billion cubic feet in March from 503.9 billion a year earlier, the department’s Energy Information Administration said today in its Electric Power Monthly. The increase represents 6.4 billion cubic feet a day of additional gas demand during the month, versus an average daily gain of 5.8 billion in February and 3.6 billion in January.

Don't expect North American prices for LNG exports: Shell chief

North American natural gas may be cheap, but the world is ready to pay far higher prices to bring it across the Pacific.

So says Peter Voser, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell plc, an energy giant that, by its own math, delivers some 30 per cent of global liquefied natural gas through facilities it owns shares in.

Chesapeake Valuation Seen Luring Major Oil Merger Deal

Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s depressed valuation is making the company a potential target for acquirers willing to bet that natural-gas prices will rebound from a decade low.

Chesapeake’s equity and net debt are valued at $9.19 for each barrel of oil equivalent, the lowest among U.S. oil and gas explorers with market capitalizations greater than $5 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While a stock purchase by Carl Icahn helped the $11 billion company’s shares rebound in the past week, Chesapeake is still down 27 percent in 2012 amid investigations into Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon’s personal loans backed by stakes in company-operated wells.

More candidates emerge for top OPEC post

(Reuters) - Two more countries are likely to field candidates for OPEC's next secretary general, OPEC sources said on Wednesday, widening a competition within the oil producer cartel for its top administrative post.

Saudi Aramco seeks $12.5 bln in debt for Dow project

(Reuters) - State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco is seeking to raise $12.5 billion in debt to help finance its joint venture with Dow Chemical, according to a report in Project Finance International (PFI), a unit of Thomson Reuters.

Norway strike widens, threatens crude refiners, gas processing

Copenhagen (Platts) - A public sector pay strike in Norway widened Wednesday, is threatening to disrupt crude refineries and gas processing plants, industry spokesmen said.

Norwegian papers reported that 50,000 workers were now out on strike, doubling last week's numbers, and including the operators of the boats carrying pilots which guide the tankers to and from the country's refineries.

Abu Dhabi set to avoid Hormuz with pipeline

Abu Dhabi oil will be able to bypass the Strait of Hormuz in a matter of weeks thanks to the completion of a pipeline leading to the port of Fujairah.

Energy offers GCC rationale for real economic union

The idea of a closer Gulf federation, raised by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia last December, suddenly returned to prominence this month at the GCC leaders' meeting in Riyadh. But with only Bahrain enthusiastic and Qatar giving a probably tactical welcome, the prospects of immediate closer union seem doubtful. As with Europe, economics may be a better place to start - and petroleum is the Gulf's key resource, as coal was for Europe in the 1950s.

China, Russia renew support for Syria amid international outcry

(CNN) -- China and Russia on Wednesday reiterated their stance against military intervention in Syria despite soaring international condemnation in the wake of a massacre that killed more than 100, including children.

"One cannot take decisions on military operations in Syria by being guided by only emotions," Russian first deputy foreign minister, Andrei Denisov, was quoted as saying by the nation's state-run Itar-Tass news agency.

Croatia clashes with MOL over oil firm INA

(Reuters) - Tensions between Croatia and Hungarian oil and gas group MOL over their INA oil business flared up on Wednesday, as the country accused MOL of stifling the output of local refineries and focusing on importing oil derivatives instead.

"The refineries are working at a low capacity and we are importing derivatives instead. That is conducive to closing the refineries, which is intolerable," Croatian finance minister Slavko Linic told reporters.

For Pakistani truckers, NATO route row is all about the money

KARACHI (Reuters) - Pakistani truck drivers who deliver supplies to Western forces in Afghanistan seethe whenever they recall a cross-border NATO air attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last year.

Despite their anger, financial survival outweighs nationalist sentiment and the shame of helping what many see as the enemy.

To Stop Iran’s Nuclear Program, Cut a Deal on Oil

Before Western diplomats sit down again with Iran’s negotiator, Saeed Jalili, they need to agree on exactly what is their achievable goal in the talks, and to calibrate their proposals -- even for interim deals -- accordingly. For all the many sins and faults of the Iranian side in this dispute, in Baghdad last week, European Union foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton and her patrons from the P5+1 -- the U.S., Russia, China, France, the U.K. and Germany -- appeared to get the balance wrong.

Glencore, Vitol keep oil flowing to Greece

LONDON (Reuters) - Debt-stricken Greece is surviving on oil priced at a premium from trading houses Vitol and Glencore, who have stepped in as suppliers of last resort after sanctions forced Greece to halt imports from its main supplier Iran.

'Flame' spyware infiltrating Iranian computers

Dubbed "Flame" by Kaspersky, the malicious code dwarfs Stuxnet -- the groundbreaking infrastructure-sabotaging malware that is believed to have wreaked havoc on Iran's nuclear program in 2009 and 2010. Although Flame has both a different purpose and composition than Stuxnet, and appears to have been written by different programmers, its complexity, the geographic scope of its infections and its behavior indicate strongly that a nation-state is behind Flame rather than common cyber-criminals, marking it as yet another tool in the growing arsenal of cyberweaponry.

Computer virus briefly hits Iran's oil industry

TEHRAN: A senior Iranian military official says Iran's oil industry was briefly affected by a powerful computer virus that has unprecedented data-snatching capabilities and can eavesdrop on computer users.

Gholam Reza Jalali, who heads an Iranian military unit in charge of fighting sabotage, said Wednesday that Iranian experts had found and defeated the "Flame" virus.

Iraq Pressures Western Oil Companies In Dispute With Kurdistan

A dispute between the Iraqi central government and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan over oil is heating up, with Baghdad moving to hinder the ability of the Kurdish authorities to make deals with foreign oil companies.

Iraq offers 12 oil and gas blocks at auction

Iraq on Wednesday put up for sale a dozen oil and gas exploration blocks at the start of a two-day auction it hopes will boost its reserves and strengthen its position as a key producer.

The sale, the fourth such auction to be organised by Iraq since mid-2009, comes as the country ramps up its oil exports, which account for the vast majority of government income, and looks to boost gas production to increase woefully inadequate electricity output.

Iraq oil ministry fails to award all but one exploration block at auction

Baghdad (Platts)- Iraq's oil ministry awarded only one exploration block on the opening day of what turned out to be a dismal start to a two-day auction of oil and gas acreage as international oil companies failed to submit bids or, in one case, rejected an Iraqi counter-offer to accept a lower remuneration fee.

Blow to Cuban hopes for oil as well proves dry

MADRID (AP) — Spanish oil firm Repsol said Tuesday it will stop looking for oil in Cuba after hitting a dry well drilled at a cost of more than $100 million, a blow to the island nation desperate to find its own energy sources amid deep economic hardship.

Speaking to investors and reporters about the firm's plans over the next four years, Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau said the company "won't do another" well in Cuba.

Championing Africa's food revolution

The quick and high returns of Nigeria's oil industry have led to it dominating the economy to the detriment of other sectors.

But Jite Okoloko saw an opportunity in the disarray of the agricultural sector to champion Nigerian farmers.

Energy costs & reshoring in the USA

Cheap natural gas prices at home and rapidly rising labor costs in China should boost US manufacturing. A new study by the Hackett Group found that US companies are exploring reshoring as an option for nearly 20% of their offshore manufacturing capacity between 2012 and 2014. “This repatriated capacity could roughly offset the jobs that will otherwise move offshore, indicating that the great migration of manufacturing offshore over the past several decades is stabilizing.” The Hackett Group's research found that the cost gap between the US and China has shrunk by nearly 50% over the past eight years, and is expected to stand at just 16% by 2013. This trend is largely driven by rising labor costs in China and falling energy costs in the US.

The Skinny American

When it comes to gasoline, are Americans transforming from the world's chief gluttons to models of moderation? According to Philip Verleger, the energy economist, that is more or less the country's direction, with surprising consequences.

Verleger spells out this scenario in a note to clients, his version of the narrative of coming fossil-fuel abundance that we have heard elsewhere. Verleger's 11-page note is as oil-bullish as his most enthusiastic colleagues, who as a group say the U.S. is on the cusp of near energy independence. The oil-abundance narrative is a global one, and asserts flatly that peak oil theory is wrong.

Former President of Exxon (XOM) Arabian Gulf Says We Have Exploited Much of the Easy to get Oil

HOUSTON /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Dr. Gerald Bailey tells FutureMoneyTrends.com that "the cheap oil is pretty much behind us."

Though he is not a believer in peak oil, he does believe the world has exploited much of the easy to get oil.

BLM rejects permit for methane bacteria project

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Federal land managers have rejected an application by a Colorado company to use bacteria to produce methane from northeast Wyoming coal beds.

Safety officials scrutinise Statoil leak

The serious situation caused by the weekend’s Heimdal platform is to be investigated, Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) says.

96 people on the Statoil-operated North Sea platform mustered in the lifeboats following the gas leak alarm. The leak, which according to the PS occurred in connection with testing some valves, was stopped after two hours.

Anadarko Claims Act of God in Contract Case After Spill

Anadarko Petroleum Corp., in what will be the first case arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill to go to trial, argues a U.S. ban on deep-water drilling qualified as an act of God that allowed it to end a rig lease.

IEA: Shale Gas Boom At Risk Over Environment Failings

LONDON - Global exploitation of shale gas reserves could transform the world's energy supply by lowering prices, improving security and even curbing forecast carbon dioxide emissions, but the industry might be stopped in its tracks if it doesn't work harder to resolve concerns over its environmental safety, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.

The IEA's report shows how the shale gas industry, which has already dramatically altered the energy landscape in the U.S., stands at a tipping point that will determine how it spreads across the rest of the world.

Obama’s Aide on Climate Change Seeking Oil, Gas Allies

Heather Zichal spent her early days in the Obama administration pushing a climate-change bill in Congress that oil and gas companies helped to derail.

Now President Barack Obama has named Zichal, his deputy assistant for energy and climate change, as a liaison to that industry, and to make sure proposed rules don’t slow the surge in U.S. natural-gas development.

Ottawa’s environmental-review overhaul hits tough hurdles

The federal government’s insistence that cabinet should have final say over resource projects such as Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway pipeline is stirring opposition that could undermine its effort to streamline environmental approvals.

First nations groups in British Columbia are poised to launch legal challenges if the government intervenes in the ongoing National Energy Board review of the Gateway project through legislation now before the House of Commons.

Even in Coal Country, the Fight for an Industry

LOUISA, Ky. — For generations, coal has been king in this Appalachian town. It provided heat, light and jobs for the hundreds of people who worked in the nearby coal mines and the smoke-coughing Big Sandy power plant that burned their black bounty.

But now, coal is in a corner. Across the United States, the industry is under siege, threatened by new regulations from Washington, environmentalists fortified by money from Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of New York City, and natural gas companies intent on capturing much of the nation’s energy market.

How Will Nuclear Plants Stand Up to Quakes and Floods?

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission should consider requiring nuclear power plants to analyze their vulnerability to natural hazards like earthquakes by using the same advanced tools that the industry uses to understand the risks from mechanical accidents, a new report from the Government Accountability Office argues.

A string of natural disasters has recently drawn attention to nuclear safety and natural disasters, including the Fukushima Daiichi quake and tsunami in March 2011, tornado damage near the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry complex in April 2011, the Missouri River flooding that nearly inundated two reactors in Nebraska last summer and the quake near Mineral, Va., last August.

Distrust could hamper Green Deal

Public mistrust of the "big six" energy firms may undermine the UK government's planned Green Deal, according to the International Energy Agency.

The energy firms are supposed to deliver a mass programme of home insulation under the Deal.

The IEA warns that customers could be deterred by high prices and instances of poor service and mis-selling.

Drivers, cyclists square off on sharing the road

"What I think we really need to focus on are more fuel-efficient vehicles, better city planning for the number and types of vehicles on the road, and more public transportation options," Curtis Lewis said.

"This is the 21st century after all; trying to solve modern problems with solutions over 100 years old is just simply not going to work. Why not change this to 'What's Your Solution? Week (where you send your ideas to manufacturers, politicians, city officials, etc.)" instead of 'Bike to Work Week.' "

Impending Resource Depletion Ahead: But We Are Intelligent

Since the beginning of time, human beings have used and consumed natural resources at their own will for their survival and desires.

Although this has gone on for several hundred years, the consumption of natural resources has skyrocketed in the past one hundred years with the advent of the industrial revolution, which created a growing concern for its depletion among Governments and organizations. So what will really happen if our natural resources run out?

Spain Ejects Clean-Power Industry With Europe Precedent

Spanish renewable-energy companies that once got Europe’s biggest subsidies are deserting the nation after the government shut off aid, pushing project developers and equipment-makers to work abroad or perish.

Michelle Obama on her garden, her future and the campaign

She has been tending the White House garden with similarly determined oversight, chronicled in her first book, American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America (Crown, 271 pp., $30). Out today, the book is filled with photos and stories about her efforts to encourage gardens — from plots in vacant city lots to pots of herbs on apartment windowsills — and, with them, healthier diets, especially for kids.

Global warming skeptics know more about science than climate change believers

People who are not that worried about the effects of global warming tend to have a slightly higher level of scientific knowledge than those who are worried, according to a new study.

The results published in the journal Nature Climate Change was determined by asking questions about both science and statistics to 1,540 representative Americans.

U.K. Energy Policy May Fail to Meet Carbon Goals, IEA Says

The U.K.’s energy policies may fail to deliver nuclear power and renewables needed for the nation to meet its goals for reducing greenhouse gases, the International Energy Agency said.

Britain’s new electricity generation capacity is coming mainly from natural gas fired plants, the Paris-based agency, which advises 28 nations, said today in a report. The government should spur an “efficient mix of new, cleaner generation, more efficient use of existing infrastructure and more flexible demand,” the IEA said.

Is California preparing for climate change?

A majority of California's coastal planners and resource managers now view the threats from climate change as sufficiently likely that practical steps on the ground need to be taken to protect against growing threats, according to results from a new survey published by Stanford University's Center for Ocean Solutions (COS) and the California Sea Grant.

Survey respondents acknowledge the need to prepare for changes along the coast that might result from rising sea levels and other impacts, such as more floods, loss of beach access, coastal erosion and potential damage to transportation infrastructure, including highways, roads and ports.

Coastal N.C. counties fighting sea-level rise prediction

State lawmakers are considering a measure that would limit how North Carolina prepares for sea-level rise, which many scientists consider one of the surest results of climate change.

Federal authorities say the North Carolina coast is vulnerable because of its low, flat land and thin fringe of barrier islands. A state-appointed science panel has reported that a 1-meter rise is likely by 2100.

Extra heatwaves could kill 150,000 Americans by 2099

A report by the US Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates how many extreme heat events will hit the US this century, assuming greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current path.

Climate models suggest that by 2099 the 40 most populous cities will have approximately eight times as many days of extreme heat per year as today.

Warmer Climate To Deprive South Africa of Water

Warming climate may mean less rainfall for drought-sensitive regions of the Southern Hemisphere, a new study says. Hundreds of species of unique South African plants may be affected.

"The link between climate change and rainfall in certain latitudes can have large effects on ecosystems," said Paul Filmer, of the National Science Foundation, which funded the work, said in a statement. "Plants, for example, may be able to grow in a wider area, or conversely, be squeezed up a mountain or onto a peninsula. When the affected ecosystem supports a food crop, that can mean a bonanza — or a famine."


"... shale gas reserves could transform the world's energy supply... but the industry might be stopped in its tracks if it doesn't work harder to resolve concerns over its environmental safety..."

Got an update last night which may have a big impact on those concerns. Some time back I mentioned a Texas company that was marketing a system that took those nasty frac fluids and converted them to not just non-nasty water but actually potable water. Apparently it's working out economically. Chesapeake et al are ordering equipment as fast as possible including sending some north to the Marcellus. The big problem at the moment is the supply chain of the off the shelf equipment. Besides eliminating the environmental problem it also allows the water to be recycled for use in other frac jobs. I suspect that aspect adds significantly to the economics of the process especially after last summer's rain fall shortage in Texas. I suspect we're not hearing much about it in the MSM because CHK et al don't want to stir up more buyers and the company making the equipment has more orders than they can fill now so they aren't looking to expand their sales base...yet.

time to buy shares them !


*clap* *clap* Sounds like good news. Now, where's the little black raincloud here beyond "can't make 'em fast enough"?

eric - Obviously a big capex infusion is called for. From there I can only slide into your basic Sgt Shultz's response: "I know nothing!". LOL

And stock...what stock?

Well whatever happens with shale gas, some people will want to regulate the hell out of it anyway;

Keith - "...some people will want to regulate the hell out of it anyway". Some people are already regulating the hell out of shale gas. They are the Texas Rail Road Commission. And you may notice it hasn't been holding back operators in the Eagle Ford. It's just the cost of doing business. The folks in the NE US need to grab the attention of the politicians and make them set the same rules we have in Texas.

"Greenpeace opposes the exploitation of unconventional gas reserves because the impacts have not been fully investigated, understood, addressed and regulated," Maybe not in the NE US but it's been done in Texas decades ago.

"The IEA admits that unconventional gas production will pump 12 per cent more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, compared with conventional extraction methods, but says the figure could drop below 3.5 per cent if producers follow its recommendations and stop venting gas and minimize flaring." Compared to whose conventional production? They might want to scan the nighttime satellite photos of offshore Africa and count the number of NG flares from all that conventional production. The folks at Greenpeace have a tough call to make for sure: if unconventional NG doesn't begin to fill the hole from decreased oil production then surely coal will be used to do so IMHO.

"The folks in the NE US need to grab the attention of the politicians and make them set the same rules we have in Texas."

I agree, Rock, to a point. Having an excellent blueprint, and implementation and enforcement are different things. How long did it take for Texas to develop its system and culture of implementation? Most of these other states have no analog to the RRC, and their environmental offices have been stripped of funding, personnel and resources. My concern is that the current political environment will make progress in this area difficult, if not deemed "unnecessary". Regulation has become a four-letter word, it seems.

Besides, everything's bigger in Texas; tough for the little guys to live up to ;-)

Ghung - I don't know all the details but the bad ole days in Texas were bad to a degree. But our surface owners (cattle ranchers and farmers) have always had a fairly big stick so it didn't take long to reign in the oil patch. No analog? Has PA ever regulated any industry? And if they did who enforced those regs? Has NY every regulated any industrial activity?

"Regulation has become a four-letter word, it seems." Then it's real simple: if the folks allow the oil patch to crap on their front door steps then they deserve to step in it every time they go outside. LOL. If PA folks/politicians don't have the heart to tax the oil patch for $billions as Texas has for decades then they deserve to lose services that would have been paid for by production taxes. If their "culture' allows this to happen then they deserve exactly what they get IMHO. I know that's harsh but I have zero respect for anyone who plays the sympathy card especially when they have the power to change the rules. I don't recall but didn't President Obama carry Pa and NY? If they had it in themselves to make that change then why can't they elect politicians who offer a change that will generate a huge income for the state, protect the environment and stick it to those lying oil company bastards? You gonna tell me that would be a losing platform up there? LOL.

"You gonna tell me that would be a losing platform up there? LOL."

Not after you explain it to 'em, Rock ;-)

Ghung - Ya know I've been telling myself to go on line and start posting some editorials in their media up there. I'm sure if I get some print in PA on the tens of $billion Texas and La. has squeezed out of the oil patch over the decades while they haven't gotten one penny I'll get some folks stirred up. Especially if I come at them with that big Texas oil patch irritating ego i fake so well. They already won't like me because I'm Texas oil patch so a bit more hate won't bother me. LOL. I suspect mocking them would get me better coverage then being sympathetic.

I'm going to start running my traps at lunch right now. As soon as I pee and get another cup of coffee, that is.

Don't give it away, Rock. Offer your consulting services for $$. Besides, free advice ain't worth the cost, at least to politicians ;-)

Ghung - Unfortunately with my contract I can only charge my owner for my brilliant insights. Like: you know how to make a hormone? Tell her you ain't paying for it.

Well, if you mock them about not doing something they like to talk big about -- regulation -- then it might just work, especially if you can reasonably demonstrate that Texas's own oil and gas regs and revenue generation are much more stringent and effective than their own.

Heck, they could tax the oil revenue on the more heavily regulated fracking and then use it as feed in subsidies for wind and solar while requiring that the new gas replace old coal in their states while all growth was met by these renewables. That's what I'd do in any case. Keep the energy and revenue in country and develop a solid, long-term plan to bring down that darn carbon output.

I have to admit that I was kind of looking forward to Rick Perry as the Republican candidate, when the national party puts the plank in the platform that calls for minimal federal regulation of oil and gas drilling, and taking away states' ability to impose tougher standards. Eg, the language in the Clean Air Act that allows states to impose tougher regulations only by permission (California has permission to set tougher standards, and other states can choose to follow California or to follow the feds, but no one else gets to do their own standards). I still expect that plank to appear, saying that in effect, y'all are too hard on the oil and gas companies down there in Texas, so cease and desist.

Better, although I don't believe the Republican National Party will support it, would be to take the same stance mentioned in the previous paragraph re California's emission standards. Allow one alternate set of tougher standards, and choose Texas'. So that PA and NY have the option of doing nothing and allowing any federal standards to control, or to adopt Texas' approach.

mc - "I still expect that plank to appear, saying that in effect, y'all are too hard on the oil and gas companies down there in Texas, so cease and desist." I'm not sure what practical affect that would have on operations in Texas and Louisiana. With the exception of the Corps of Engineers re: dredging in La. fed regulations are virtually non-existent for me. But I just put a NG well on production in La. It cost me $3,000 for a consulting company to put together my air quality permit application for the state. It's not "filler": it's an inch thick book with beaucoup calculations and analysis. And guess what: the state didn't like the volume of some of my discharge so I had to modify my production equipment and resubmit. Now that we're on production my gauger has to keep a daily log of the output and we have to have the discharged tested and certified yearly to prove we're still in compliance. Hold to fed regs in Texas and La. aren't even the last thing on my mind...the thought isn't even there in the first place.

Remember what I mentioned before: I can't pump rain water off my wetlands locations in La. I have to have it hauled off and disposed with certification. That La's rule...not the feds.

Yes, I understand. What I'm saying is that the overall legal situation is perfectly clear: if the feds choose to regulate, they can also forbid the states to impose tougher regulations than the federal ones. This has reached the Supreme Court numerous times over the last century-plus, and the states have lost every time.

Vehicle emissions are an example. The feds regulate such; California has permission, spelled out explicitly in federal statute, to have tougher laws; other states are allowed to use either the federal standards or California's, but can't make up new ones on their own; and California's permission can be withdrawn by Congress any time Congress chooses (absent the minor details of handling a veto). Note that in the most recent prominent case where states sued over regulation of CO2 emissions, they (with the possible exception of California) didn't claim that they could do such regulation, only that the EPA was required by the CAA to do such regulation.

If Congress were to pass a law saying that the EPA shall regulate oil and gas drilling with respect to disposal of assorted fluids and emissions into the air, including instructions to the EPA that keep the regulations from being as tough as the current state regulations in Texas and Louisiana (eg, part of the statute says that there must be alternatives to deep-well injection), then the TRR and its Louisiana counterpart are SOL: such a law would make their tougher regulations null and void.

One of the likely possibilities, once states like PA and NY and OH start implementing tougher standards, and sooner or later they will, is that the oil and gas industry will lobby like hell for Congress to take over drilling regulation. If lots of states start putting together tougher regulations (but all different in various ways), bet that the Bigs will push for the feds to start regulating and preempt all the state regulations. Once wide-spread regulation becomes inevitable, Big Business has almost always backed federal regulation, because (as your comment suggests), it's a pain in the ass to deal with different sets of regulations in different states. At best, Texas could hope to get a deal like California's, and be the one exception (that other states could choose to follow rather then the more lax federal regs).

My thoughts are that if the Republicans win control of the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, the party's position will be (with the Big Oil Companies' blessing) to establish national lax regulation of drilling and kick the states out of that particular arena. Certainly the national Republican Party's general position is one of making it easier to drill.

mc - I'm no legal scholar but I don't it would work well at least in Texas. Drilling for oil/NG in this state is considered a privilege and not a right...just like a driver's license. You can't drill without a state issued permit. Do so and you're subject to fines, loss of any future opportunity to drill in the state and, if you continue to ignore state regs, imprisonment. The feds might scream all they want and companies can get all the injunctions they want but no drilling contractor will ever move onto a location and spud a well without a valid Texas drill permit. There would be no lack of other companies that followed the state rules for them to work for. Additionally, I don't recall any fed regulation that overruled any state's effort to tax commerce within their borders.

Let's look at a couple of examples...

The 1998 federal Internet Tax Freedom Act blocked an estimated 30,000 state and local taxing authorities from imposing taxes on the provision of Internet service. There's a bunch of companies operating in Texas, using wires and fibers and wireless links to sell people access to the Internet. The State of Texas, its counties, its cities, and its special districts are all forbidden to levy taxes on that commerce.

The ongoing lawsuit between Entergy and the State of Vermont over the continued operation of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant will be instructive. The District Court has ruled that (a) the Vermont state legislature does not have the authority to stop operation of a nuclear plant (due to preemption of such regulation by federal authorities); and (b) that the state regulatory body with authority over construction of energy infrastructure may have power to block operation but only because Entergy signed a memorandum of understanding with that agency when they bought the plant. Legal analysts I've read seem to lean in the direction that the Appeals Court will rule that that part of the MOU is invalid because the state doesn't have the authority to impose operating restrictions on federally-regulated operations.

Personally, I look forward to the stand-off between the Texas Rangers and the US Marshalls when the first operator starts drilling a well under federal authorization. And I believe that someone will try it at some point, if that option opens up. While I've always liked the "One riot, one Ranger," attitude, the Marshalls have bigger backup.

I think this is a question of timing. Because Texas started this earlier, it was possible to put in place regulation to mitigate environmental damage. In the 1970 and early 80s, environmental regulation had not yet become a political litmus test. Today, even the most sensible proposals meet interference because of audiological reasons.

The case law on the subject is crystal clear (and this has reached the Supreme Court multiple times over the last century-plus): if the feds choose to regulate, they can preempt state regulation. No matter whether the states were doing it before or not. Yes, California got permission to have tougher regulations than the federal Clean Air Act regulations because they were in place when the CAA passed; but Congress (and the Republican Party in particular) was more reasonable in those days; and Congress can still withdraw California's legal ability to do so at any time.

Same thing for regulation of oil and gas drilling. If the feds choose to regulate those, they can declare Texas and Louisiana's regulations null and void.

The first is this: You were born into an exceptional culture of enormous wealth. If you work hard and take advantage of the inherent genius and innovativeness of that culture, you can become wealthy, secure, happy, and comfortable. And if they work hard, your children can have even more wealth than you did.

Is the bolded part an actual truth? Or is 'taking advantage' things like derivatives, Enron, computer program trading, oil tar sands, splitting the atom for civilian power (like TEPCO) et la?

If one views the world from the position of an Austrian economist - for one party to have "more wealth" most of the time someone else has to have less. Import economies like ancient Rome, the various "empires" of old europe, New York and now perhaps China have the seeming increase in wealth via importation of other raw and finished materials from elsewhere.

As P&H used to say - if its not grown its mined - and those things come from somewhere.

Meanwhile, we have the mainstream, infinite growth point of view, e.g., Payden & Rygel has been running the following ad on CNBC for some time, noting that nearly a quarter of all goods & service produced in all of human history have been produced in just the past 10 years:


"Seen in that light, global trade, investment and economic activity are still in their infancy."

Of course, nearly a quarter (about 23%) of all crude oil ever consumed was consumed in the just the past 10 years, and I estimate that about 40% of the total post-2005 cumulative supply of Global Net Exports of oil that will be available to importers other than China & India may have been consumed in only five years, from 2006 to 2010 inclusive.

my son have more wealth than me?

not a chance - he's a complete plank

my daughter - well thats another matter ;-)

I have always had trouble with the axiom that working really hard will get you wealthy - esp when I see the top 5% working compared with the bottom 5% !!

obviously the definition of " working hard" is oxy-moronic between the two !

only fools and horses work hard , as the saying goes . And if your a High Priest of Economic-magicks then pushing paper around ( or electrons ) in a , uh, "Smart" way gets you lots of Gold !

no, working hard does not make you wealthy - getting someone else to work hard for you does - and you're really good if you can convince them they are enjoying it!!


Ps: or being "creative" with money ;-)

only fools and horses work hard , as the saying goes...
~ forbin

And slaves... and prisoners...

...Or would you like to swing on a star
Be a mobile phone or a car
Or would you rather be a mule...

~ Severed Heads, "Psychic Squirt"

If one views the world from the position of an Austrian economist - for one party to have "more wealth" most of the time someone else has to have less.

I think you have badly misunderstood Austrian economics.

Perhaps that is the consequence, not the basis, of Austrian economics.

Most math-based economics people do tend to a zero sum point of view. And so, the Chicago School's adaption of von Mises' monstrosity takes the worst of Adam Smith, and combines it with the worst of von Mises to get a new religion, replete with its own Saints and Gods. Unfortunately it is the religious nature of the beast (combined with its adoption by one party in the US) that makes it so formidable. Heretics are scorned, apostates shunned, and non-believers reviled. What has already been done in the name of "fresh water" is unspeakable.


ps: I personally believe that the "Salties" (Krugman et al.) are as looney as the "Freshies." But more benign.

If you want to profit from what's coming in the years ahead, buy metal and related mining companies.

We'll sit back like princes and watch the ongoing human folly from a distance.

And no, I don't apologize for that. Anymore than Bernanke and his boys at JP Morgan do. Anymore than a guy driving a huge pickup truck does. Anymore than someone who puts solar panels on his house does.
Anymore than an ambulance chasing lawyer does. Anymore than a priest who sits on tax exempt property does.

Public sector strike in Norway. The strikees are not content with a 3.9% something salary raise, and demand another 0.26% or so. I can't express in words how disappointed I'm at the sheer and utter discrepancy between what's happening in Europe at large and Norway. It could actually go so far as to create fuel shortages. An artifically induced one, but it does give me the creeps thinking how people will react and act when shortages represent the new paradigm.

Link up top: Impending Resource Depletion Ahead: But We Are Intelligent

Since 2005, the cost of wheat and corn has nearly quadrupled. Rice has gone up by 500 percent. These increases indicate both an increase in demand and limited supply of food – we are not producing fast enough to keep up with the demands. According to Dr. Dickson Dispommier of New York, an expert in vertical farming, we are already using 80 percent of the total arable land on the planet and yet by 2030, we’ll have 50 percent greater demand.

There can be little doubt that this situation was brought about largely because of peak oil, or perhaps more correctly peak cheap oil. That happened early in the previous decade. Oil prices have increased five fold since early in this century. Peak cheap oil brought about peak cheap food and peak just about everything else.

Two things are happening concerning oil. The supply is stagnant while the price is skyrocketing. I believe this is the primary cause of the economic problems around the world.

Brent spot prices in US dollars. The last data point is April 2012.

Brent Spot

Ron P.

I'm actually pretty suprised by those numbers. 4x for wheat and corn and 5x for rice...yet my average grocery bill has only gone up from $85/wk to $120/wk (for two adults) since 2004, very little of which has to do with the food price itself vs. our changeover to vegetarians in 2010. I just haven't seen the price in the grocery market go up for any of the foods that I eat - rice, pasta, veggies, soy burger products, (formerly) chicken, cereal..they're all about the same. I have a strong liking for Life Cereal and the price for my local Giant off-brand has been $3.19/box since at least 2008 when I started keeping track. That particular number has significant meaning to me, and every week when we buy a couple boxes I look at the price to see whether it's changed. Yet it never does. I'm only a single datapoint, but I'm just not seeing the food price increases here in the mid-Atlantic, and my grocery receipt over the past 8 years backs up my observation.

Corn closed November 2005 at $189 a bushel. Last month it closed at $660.25 a bushel. So you can see there has been a far greater change in the price per bushel than you seem to be seeing in your cereal price at the grocery store.

Wheat has been slightly more volatile than corn. Wheat closed January 2005 at $289.75 a bushel. Wheat closed February 2008 at $1073 a bushel. Last month wheat closed at $604 a bushel. Still a dramatic increase in price from 2005.

Corn (Globex) monthly price chart

Wheat (Globex) monthly price chart

Ron P.

These quotes appear to be per 'metric ton' prices, not per 'bushel'.

No, the price is in cents per bushel, not dollars per bushel. That's why it looks so high. It was my error when I put a $ beside the price. Sorry if that mislead anyone.

Ron P.

Actually, corn at " $660.25 " represents 2.5 metric tons not 'per bushel'. Just talked with CME Group, a Chicago Board of Trade company: corn at 660.25, for example, is in 'cents' not dollars.

"is in 'cents' not dollars." Err... yeah, I think that's what I said.

Good, we agree then. Though farmers around here certainly wouldn't mind $660.25 per bushel corn.

Michael Klare has a new book out called The Race for What's Left: The Global Scramble for the World's Last Resources . There is a chapter about food production that is really quite alarming. Many of the large ME oil producing countries especially Saudi Arabia as well as China, India and South Korea have been buying up arable farmland in Africa and South America to feed their growing populations. These countries are not able to produce enough food for their people on their own land and are no longer willing to simply buy food on the open market. So they are setting up huge factory farms in some of the poorest countries in the world to provide export food for their own masses. Of course this leads to further displacement and starvation of indigenous people, environmental destruction, biodiversity loss and all the rest.

Excellent book by Klare documenting the mad dash for the last of the planets resources. Of course this can only end up in a gigantic nuclear war and dieoff of humans but how could it be otherwise?

Just simply too many of us now. We are very smart and we need to conserve and increase efficiencies where possible. But this planet can no longer sustain 7+ Billion. As a matter of fact the planet was never able to support this many humans, only our sheer genius made that possible. The conversations necessary to begin a worldwide population decrease will of course never happen. Clad it with all the religious and social structures you want, life has a single purpose, to make copies of itself.

...only our sheer genius made that possible.

Umm... not sure if you can attribute what humanity is doing to the planet to our collective "genius", more like "insanity". Though the technology to exploit limited resources at an ever accelerating rate is certainly due to a few very smart scientists and engineers. Too bad we are completely focused on how much, how cheaply and how fast we produce "stuff" and not at all on what we are doing or what the consequences of those actions will be.

... not sure if you can attribute what humanity is doing to the planet to our collective "genius", more like "insanity"

Haven't you heard of the archetypal mad genius, often referred to as the "mad scientist?"

Too bad we are completely focused on how much, how cheaply and how fast we produce "stuff" and not at all on what we are doing or what the consequences of those actions will be.

Kinda reminds me of the lesson from "Jurassic Park." Modern literature is chock full of cautionary tales in the guise of science fiction, beginning with the first recognized piece of sci-fi, Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein."

Too bad we seldom listen.

John Hammond: I simply don't understand this Luddite attitude, especially from a scientist! I mean, how can we stand in the light of discovery, and not act? 
Dr. Ian Malcolm: What's so great about discovery? It's a violent, penetrative act that scars what it explores. What you call discovery, I call the rape of the natural world. 

-- Jurassic Park

What happens when a new populist leader comes along and then 'nationalises' the farmland for the 'good of the people'? I wouldn't count on land in other countries with unstable regimes to stay 'yours' unless you've got some kind of clout to keep it that way.

What happens when a new populist leader comes along and then 'nationalises' the farmland for the 'good of the people'?

The leader's car has a 'malfunction' and suffers a crash or the helicopter on which he/she was traveling develops a 'technical snag' in bad weather. Oh and my favorite, the leader is accused of human rights violations and suddenly there is a rival leader to take his/her place

New times though. Increasing chaos and unpredictability. The cookie-cutters are cracking.
In Canada, someone sent a human foot to a political party headquarters.

Straight out of "Confessions of an Economic Hitman"


The events you describe are the early signs of desperation setting in.

A report saw this coming:

1.5 years are needed to generate the renewable resources used in 2007 (use was more than the Earth produced, i.e. decline) ... 71 countries are experiencing blue water resource stress ... 2 earths will be needed by the year 2030 ... 5 major threats to civilization (habitat loss, exploitation, pollution, climate change, invasive species)

(Shadow of Time Governs The Earth). The most attention grabbing, in one sense, is that "2 earths will be needed by 2030" to provide the resource material required.

I don't doubt there's been an increase in wholesale prices, it's just that it's never actually materialized in my grocery store food expenditures. And ultimately that's all I (and most people) really care about - how much does it cost me to eat? Someone must be absorbing the increase somewhere, but I don't know where.

Sounds like you live in USA or at least a G-8 country where
you spend < 10% of your income on food. Also it's likely
that a large fraction of what you do pay goes into
transportation, refrigeration, salaries, rent, profit, etc.
and that very little actually goes into the food itself.
So if that small part of the price you pay doubles it's
hard to see any increase at all.

Contrast that with a third world resident living on $1/day
who spends > 50% of her income on food. A 100% or 300%
increase on the price of maize, wheat, or rice makes a
noticeable difference.

Haven't read: The Race for What's Left: The Global
Scramble for the World's Last Resources but am aware of
the global land grab for arable land and water rights.
Way back in 1995 when it came out I read Lester R Brown's
Who Will Feed China. 1995 review:
It raised a lot of controversy at
the time. But seems to have played out as he predicted.
His Earth Policy Institute is still pushing the issue:

"Giant off-brand has been $3.19/box since at least 2008 when I started keeping track. "

Perhaps the box is smaller. I've seen "stealth inflation" in many products: "New! Smaller size... Same low price!"

When I was a kid Wagon Wheels were so big and then it was a running joke how much smaller they got each year. I haven't had an Oh Henry in years, it would be good to compare that to my memory from ~5 years ago

I can think of one instance in my grocery list where this has happened and that would be the yogurt that my wife likes to eat. Nothing else though. I did see a flurry of news reports about this soon after the recession in 2009, I think OJ was one they were trumpeting about. As a rather serious bodybuilder, I keep track of absolutely everything I eat, and I generally eat the same things day in and day out, and have been doing so for years. I keep waiting for food to start getting more expensive but like I said, nothing's really changed in my neck of the woods. It certainly could be a function of the food I eat which tends not to be refined foods.

The toilet paper holder in my old house doesn't have a spindle through the middle, but rather a clamp on either end of the roll. The last bunch of rolls I bought were clearly a bit short, because the clamps can barely hold onto them. Can't even tear the paper off without the roll coming off the holder. Guess I'm going to have to switch out the holder, if that's where this is going. There's a bit of "stealth inflation" that no one with a regular holder would even notice!

Not a problem - when the food supplies get tight you won't need it as much anyway.

Sitting there, looking at the roll this morning, it was clear there was a wider gap at the sides than there should be. So I measured against an old roll.

Sure enough, new roll 4" old roll 4.5".

Stealth inflation to be sure.

I second this...Rice hasn't gone up by 5x. Not everywhere, here it's about 2.5 times it's 2005 price.

Hey, 2.5 times just since 2005 is really quite alarming. Actually it went up far more than that by 2008 when oil peaked at $147 a barrel but has fallen since then.

Rough Rice (Globex)

Ron P.

Not all wholesale and spot prices show up directly in a products price. Cereal boxes, while still appearing the same size have been steadily decreasing in ounces inside of them.

Part of the disconnect is the link has futures prices, not cash price actually paid.

There is also considerable variation with cash price in regional markets.

Actual cash prices paid for local wheat that I noted since the runup has been 2 or maybe 3x, depending on your comparison points. Right now about 2.5.

Another factor is quality. Poorer quality, lower protein will sell for less. And within a grade for type or protein, there's variation. Needless to say, there's alot of substitution for bargain buys.

Perhaps some of the greatest variation I've seen is cattle futures and what's in your table product. Alot of cows may sell for a third to half of the day's future price. Large buyers will mix or play shell games to the extent it leaves me wondering if it's really beef in the fast food outlets.

This is not my experience at all, and I also have receipts. Green peppers used to 3/dollar on sale, now they are $1 a piece. Anything shipped is higher. I don't even want to talk about nuts. Where I live is where food is produced, so I don't have to go far to where there is corn, wheat, cattle, soy, sheep being produced, but I am at the end of the production cycle, as in there are no mills anywhere around, or large bakeries, slaughterhouses etc. So whatever is produced goes somewhere else to be turned into food, and then after a long trip finally comes back here as some kind of "food". Perhaps where you live is closer to the food factories? Prices of food here have risen tremendously, and I have been buying our family's food for thirty years. But I am thinking it took a giant leap in 2008. Cooking oil that was $1.79 on sale a bottle in 2008 is now $4 and $5 dollars for the same size bottle. In 2009 I was "investing" in bottles of cooking oil as they were higher every time I went to the store, and they keep a long time. In 2008, there was no "house brand" of Life cereal here, just the old standbys like Raisin Bran and Shredded Wheat. If you had remained a carnivore, your food bill would likely have risen much more than it did. Beans haven't risen as much as beef. If you ate many of the things from the center aisles, you would be noticing more increases. Wheat is much higher than it was. I buy wheat in 50 lb sacks of high gluten red wheat for grinding to make bread. It is almost twice as much money to buy as it was in 2008. Two years ago I couldn't even get any high gluten wheat. There was some crop failure due to weather, and all the high gluten wheat that there was was being shipped to Europe, where they can't really grow the high gluten wheat very well, and they can afford to pay a lot more for it. Farmers are businessmen, after all. I really wonder how being at the beginning and the end of the food production chain (at the same time) will play out as things fall apart.

More to the story than just the price of a bushel of wheat

Posted on 3/14/2008

Statement by: Harlan Klein, Chairman, North Dakota Wheat Commission

Higher prices for wheat and other agricultural commodities have received a disproportionate amount of attention from bakers, retailers and others as the cost of food and other consumer goods rise. What is obvious to many of us involved in wheat production is - this is only a part of a more complex story - and consumers and the general public are in some instances being misled. In reality, the cost of wheat in a loaf of bread or in a box of pasta is actually only a very small part of the final retail cost. The current trend in wheat prices and most other agricultural commodities is the result of strong demand here and abroad, a trend that is positive for the long term health and viability of the wheat industry - the largest single economic generator in our state's economy and something for all North Dakotans to appreciate.

The farm value of the wheat in a loaf of bread is estimated to be about 20 cents at this season's average wheat price of nearly $8.00 per bushel. A year ago, it was roughly 12 cents. On a percentage basis, as frequently cited by baking industry spokespersons, the increase appears to be more significant - but as the example illustrates - is vastly overstated in its real impact on the real cost to the consumer. The actual 8 cent per loaf increase pales in comparison to other escalating costs related mostly to energy and transportation which farmers, bakers and all basic industries have experienced. In the case of pasta, the numbers are roughly the same. The actual cost of durum in a one pound package of pasta, even at today's higher prices is still only 20 to 30 cents of the $1.50 per package store-shelf cost paid by the consumer. A year ago this was roughly 12 to 15 cents.

More than 80 percent of the retail cost of a loaf of bread or a box of pasta is attributable to transportation, processing, marketing, packaging and labor costs. These are the primary factors currently increasing consumer costs. To put this in its proper perspective, a family consuming one loaf of bread and one box of pasta per week would incur an additional annual outlay of roughly $20 per year due to the increased cost of wheat and durum in the finished product.

OTOH where I buy my food (a chain supermarket in Vermont) prices have increased quite noticably over the last few years. Some things more than others, of course. But many staple items by more than 50%. The bread I buy has increased by about $1.50 per pound, and it's not the most expensive "artisan" bread by any means. (Neither is it "wonderbread" junk, it is made locally from whole grains.)

Just as most of the cost of bread is added after the grain leaves the farm, most of the energy content is added as well in storage, milling, baking, distribution, and retailing.

So if energy prices are driving the inflation of food prices, they are mostly due to food processing, distribution, retailing, and home cooking/restaurant operations.

Over the last few decades the increases in food production were due largely to increased per-hectare gains due to fertilizers, irrigation, and more intensive management. In most of the world those gains are plateauing now although in Africa there are still some gains to be made. However, going forward, additional food demand will likely be satisfied by cutting down remaining rainforests, recently the Brazilian president has been faced with the issue of opening up vast areas of the Amazon to deforestation. I'm not sure how that vote turned out but eventually it will all come down.

I recently did a numerical analysis for food / biomass / energy production for the world, putting it all into an order of magnitude perspective. It's pretty scary how close we are to a collapse. Take away fossil fuels and we're there. Amazingly, despite the Green Revolution, global Net Primary Production has actually gone down due to degradation of non-agricultural land. Truly sad, and in contradiction with what many believe agriculture to be about -- increasing yields. Agriculture is actually about transferring yields -- away from every other species and onto our own plates. But the mainstream will not acknowledge the elephant in the closet, our imminent demise due to overpopulation.


Agriculture is actually about transferring yields -- away from every other species and onto our own plates.

You know, I never thought of it in that light, but you are exactly right. As the number of our species increases, the numbers of other species must decrease.

Ron P.

Two articles linked above pair nicely:

Global warming skeptics know more about science than climate change believers, (original article, The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks,) and Storytelling our energy future.

It reinforces my belief that denial isn't always the result of ignorance, and that you can lead a horse to water....

I've often been frustrated by my experience that many of the strongest denials come from some of the most capable (and believable) folks I've met. Cognitive dissonance is an equal opportunity deceiver, and the smartest, most learned people tell the best stories. Perhaps this is the basis of my belief that, for the most part, things must run their course and that changing conditions are the only way we, as a species, will get it, no matter how hard we beat the drum.

Greer, et al, pretty much sum it up. We need to tell better stories, and cast better spells....

See my comment below. The stats are being stretched to draw conclusion made in title. Don't always believe what you read, especially when it comes to science in the public media. Not to say that your observations of smart people being in denial are wrong, but they're purely anecdotal and don't necessarily indicate those people are smarter than those not in denial, on the whole.

"Don't always believe what you read..."

Nor do I always believe what I see at first glance. My point is that intellectual capacity and scientific literacy can only partially counter confirmation bias, etc., as is discussed in the second link. There are other, perhaps more powerful forces in play, especially these days.

A while ago I visited Watts up with That, the popular AGW denier blog. He made a blatantly biased and straw man argument and I added several comments exposing exactly how his line of reasoning was incorrect and misleading. I was quickly banned for a few days. These are fairly smart people, but the human mind can do amazing things to justify adhering to what it wants to believe.

Don't go to that Watt blog. Instead, try Climate Etc, where no one seems to get banned and you can battle with the most delusional folks.

They are really big on faux science, where talking is much more important than doing, validation is necessary for all simulations, one shouldn't proceed without a null hypothesis, and all these other phony rationalizations for how to do do climate research.

EDIT: I just realized I was responding to a Null Hypothesis. Carry on, you should do well, as they will be impressed by your handle.

"'At least among ordinary members of the public, individuals with higher science comprehension are even better at fitting the evidence to their group commitments.’


"...Regardless of how much they know about science, individualists were relatively unconcerned about global warming, whereas those who value equality were very concerned."

Glad they've stayed objective and kept any hint of ideological leading out of their report.

It's just pure desperation, seems to me, clinging to a tattered, teflon worldview.. but at least 'Relatively Unconcerned' gives the proper Marlboro Man coolness to the response. What, me worry?

"..he told Fox News."

.. alas,

"Glad they've stayed objective and kept any hint of ideological leading out of their report."

You emphasize the point nicely, Bob. Ideology, bias and emotion often trump logical analysis, (as Kirk eventually taught Spock). One of the most brilliant and learned members of my extended family is leading the charge for teaching creationism in his district. He has a degree (with honors) in biochemistry from a very respected university. Go figure...

Did anyone else notice that the "difference" in scientific understanding was 1%? And that was without any mention of the statistical significance of the answers.

A bit disappointing considering:

Having an article published in Nature is very prestigious, and the articles are often highly cited, which can lead to promotions, grant funding, and attention from the mainstream media. Because of these positive feedback effects, competition among scientists to publish in high-level journals like Nature and its closest competitor, Science, can be very fierce. Nature's impact factor, a measure of how many citations a journal generates in other works, was 36.101 in 2010 (as measured by Thomson ISI), among the highest of any science journal.

As with most other professional scientific journals, articles undergo an initial screening by the editor, followed by peer review (in which other scientists, chosen by the editor for expertise with the subject matter but who have no connection to the research under review, will read and critique articles), before publication. In the case of Nature, they are only sent for review if it is decided that they deal with a topical subject and are sufficiently ground-breaking in that particular field. As a consequence, the majority of submitted articles are rejected without review.

Fox News apparently did.

I don't see any such understanding in that Faux News version? Based on 1500 or so study participants, the margin of error is certainly larger than the 1% difference. I can't believe Nature has published it like that.

The generally low score around 56% shows that most people have little scientific understanding regardless of who (not what!) they believe regarding the climate issue.

The headline. At least yesterday, Fox was the only one that got the takeaway right: there is no real difference.

A more interesting test, to me, would be one focused on climate science. A general science test only really confirms one thing. Confirmation bias.

As for Fox. Well, a broken clock does tell the time twice a day...

The statistical analysis is in the "Supplement" available from Nature.

The questions asked to measure numeracy and scientific literacy are so basic that people getting 56 or 57% could be regarded as innumerate and scientifically illiterate.

Translation: The rich and the comfortable prefer their personal self-interest to the lessons of their educational advantages. Same as it ever was: The myth was that Joe Sixpack was the core support of the Vietnam War, when the truth was that support for that crime was, like almost everything else, closely correlated with class position.

What about this article?


There's no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to 'decarbonize' the world's economy.

Editor's Note: The following has been signed by the 16 scientists listed at the end of the article:

Claude Allegre, former director of the Institute for the Study of the Earth, University of Paris; J. Scott Armstrong, cofounder of the Journal of Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting; Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University; Roger Cohen, fellow, American Physical Society; Edward David, member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences; William Happer, professor of physics, Princeton; Michael Kelly, professor of technology, University of Cambridge, U.K.; William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology; Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences, MIT; James McGrath, professor of chemistry, Virginia Technical University; Rodney Nichols, former president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences; Burt Rutan, aerospace engineer, designer of Voyager and SpaceShipOne; Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. senator; Nir Shaviv, professor of astrophysics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem; Henk Tennekes, former director, Royal Dutch Meteorological Service; Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva.

I'm not impressed. The entire factual lynchpin of the article is this paragraph:

Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now. This is known to the warming establishment, as one can see from the 2009 "Climategate" email of climate scientist Kevin Trenberth: "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." But the warming is only missing if one believes computer models where so-called feedbacks involving water vapor and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2.

This particular canard has been debunked repeatedly. Ten years of data is too short to cherry pick for a trend, and the Hadley Center data (scene of the ClimateGate hacking) omitted the polar regions in its temperature estimates. See for instance:


The rest is basically invective. CO2 is good for plants, so how can it be bad, etc. I especially like the 'there is a vast grant-money generating politically correct conspiracy' meme. AFAIK, no global warming denialist has been criminally prosecuted, as AG Cuccinelli in Virginia did with Michael Mann, and no one has compared Richard Lindzen to mass murderers, serial killers, or Fidel Castro. If there are conspiracies, they are running both ways....

So the factual foundation of this piece is thin, and it offers no new insights from the denialist camp.

Yeah, signed by 16 whole scientists. In the meantime, since this article was published, thousands of new daily highs (and high lows) have been set, and numerous responses from the AGW camp have been forthcoming, signed by even more scientists who actually work in related fields:

Check With Climate Scientists for Views on Climate :

Climate experts know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade. In fact, it was the warmest decade on record. Observations show unequivocally that our planet is getting hotter. And computer models have recently shown that during periods when there is a smaller increase of surface temperatures, warming is occurring elsewhere in the climate system, typically in the deep ocean. Such periods are a relatively common climate phenomenon, are consistent with our physical understanding of how the climate system works, and certainly do not invalidate our understanding of human-induced warming or the models used to simulate that warming.

Thus, climate experts also know what one of us, Kevin Trenberth, actually meant by the out-of-context, misrepresented quote used in the op-ed. Mr. Trenberth was lamenting the inadequacy of observing systems to fully monitor warming trends in the deep ocean and other aspects of the short-term variations that always occur, together with the long-term human-induced warming trend...

...Research shows that more than 97% of scientists actively publishing in the field agree that climate change is real and human caused...

A lot of tit-for-tat going on; not enough action. Beyond this, humanity's relationship to its home planet is suffering multiple systemic predicaments, of which climate change is just (albeit major) one, and we are collectively inept at addressing even the minor challenges we face. Since I don't expect that we'll be very successful at addressing any of these issues, especially our population problem, the clusterf@ck will continue and ultimately, nobody really wins the arguments we occupy ourselves with, but keep fiddling folks...

AFAIK the Argo floats (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argo_(oceanography)) now give quite a decent picture of ocean heat content ("only" down to 2000 m below surface, but still). It's a relatively new development (finished 2007), and therefore not much can be seen yet in terms of trends.


This article has been discussed around here previously. William Happer wrote the commentary and he never actually addresses the obvious question regarding the physics, which is whether changing the optical transmission of the atmosphere will change the climate. All he does is give the usual denialist claims, carefully ignoring factual data which refutes these claims. Then, the list of 16 people actually includes only a few with professional background in the atmospheric sciences. Such a list is an example of appeal to authority, that is, these guys have great resumes, but that doesn't make them qualified to judge the issues. For example, both Rutan and Schmitt, while well known for their work in aeronautics, aren't likely to have worked with the atmospheric simulations which are common tools in the atmospheric sciences...

E. Swanson

And what should we think of these 'climate scientists?' Hmm...

Claude Allegre is a climate scientist. Unfortunately, he seems to be spending an inordinate amount of time attacking those pesky forecast models. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/04/claude-allegre-the...

J. Scott Armstrong (A professor of MARKETING. Oh dear goodness. But Inhoffe calls him an 'expert.' Must be enough for the Journal these days.) http://www.desmogblog.com/scott-armstrong-james-inhofe-polar-bear-alaska

Jan Breslow (A biologist known for her mouse research. Again, not a climate scientist. Notice a trend?) http://news.discovery.com/earth/atmospheric-scientists-slam-wall-street-...

Roger Cohen was a strategy manager at Exxon Mobile. That's really all we need to know about this one. Now he's a fellow at the American Physical Union which is funded by -- wait for it -- Exxon Mobil. Can anyone say conflict of interest?

Edward David. Again. Not a climate scientist. This guy was, however, president of Exxon Mobile's research and engineering division for 8 years. Not a surprise that you won't find any peer reviewed climate science papers from this one either.

William Happer. Again. Not a climate scientist. Happer is, however, a prominent physicist who specializes in spectroscopy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Happer
Happer is almost as prominent a climate skeptic as Spencer. You can see some of his erroneous statements here: http://www.skepticalscience.com/William_Happer_quote.htm

Michael Kelly. Again. Not a climate scientist. No peer reviewed papers on climate science. Kelly is another physicist. His work specializes in semi-conductors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Kelly_%28physicist%29

William Kininmonth is a Meteorologist. He is, however, not a climate scientist and has no peer reviewed papers published on climate change. He is a frequent 'expert' used by the extreme right wing Heartland Institute which has issued numerous political and media attacks on the issue of climate change. http://www.desmogblog.com/william-kininmonth

Richard Lindzen. Ah. Now there's a name that tends to crop up quite a lot. But, yes. We finally have a live climate scientist (so far two in the bunch). Lindzen contributed important work on ozone. His recent work has included climate sensitivity where he tends to are that Earth's climate is less sensitive to forcings than the larger body of scientific evidence. Lindzen, however, has been the beneficiary of a number of direct and indirect funding streams from the oil and gas companies. Lindzen is also noted for a number of statements denying that tobacco causes lung cancer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Lindzen

James McGrath is a chemist who works on adhesives. He has also received substantial funding from the oil industry. Umm... No climate science here. http://www.desmogblog.com/james-mcgrath

Rodney Nichols is another physicist. Just not a climate scientist. He is also a member of the conservative think tank AEI and sits on their advisory board. None of Nichols peer reviewed work is even remotely related to climate science. http://www.desmogblog.com/rodney-nichols

Burt Rutan is an aerospace engineer. Not a climate scientist. Rutan is know for his pioneering work in the private aerospace industry. He has submitted no peer reviewed papers on climate science and, instead, takes a government conspiracy view toward the science of global warming. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burt_Rutan http://www.desmogblog.com/burt-rutan

Harrison H. Schmitt is an Apollo astronaut and former US senator. He is also a geologist. He is not a climate scientist, nor has he submitted any peer reviewed papers on climate change. He does, however, sit on the board of the extreme right-wing Heartland Institute. http://www.desmogblog.com/harrison-schmitt

Nir Shaviv is a professor of astrophysics who claims that Earth's climate is more heavily influenced by external factors than by human CO2 production. His most current hypothesis is that changes in Earth's climate are caused by cosmic rays and fluctuation in solar activity. Though he publicly trumpets these assertions, he has yet to submit a paper for peer review on the subject. He is also an 'expert' for the right wing Heartland Institute. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nir_Shaviv http://www.desmogblog.com/nir-shaviv

Henk Tennekes is a professor of aeronautical engineering and a former director of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. He was forced to resign from his post after publishing unscientific articles on climate change. Tennekes hasn't published a peer-reviewed article since 1990. All previous articles were on the subject of meteorology. Not climate change. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hendrik_Tennekes http://www.desmogblog.com/hendrik-tennekes

Antonio Zichichi, is an Italian physicist who specializes in the area of nuclear physics. He is not a climate scientist. His noted work in nuclear physics included his work at CERN. In 1973, he helped to form the world Federation of Scientists. He is now retired. Antonio has never published a peer reviewed paper on climate science. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonino_Zichichi http://www.desmogblog.com/antonino-zichichi

OK. So let's count em.

Climate Scientists: 2
Other Scientists: 11
Non-Scientists: 3

People with known ties to the oil industry: 4
People with known ties to right wing groups: 5


There are, perhaps, 13 scientists in this group of 16. Perhaps you could press hard for the second engineer and lift the number to 14. But the one professor of marketing and the oil exec should probably be left out. So, already, we have an article with a non-factual title.

Digging a little deeper, we find that only two of these individuals are climate scientists. So one would wonder why an article touting a supposedly valid rebuttal to climate science would include only two climate scientists. It's a bit odd. But what is even more odd is that both of these climate researchers circulate the fringe of accepted science, publishing papers and issuing reports that receive little if any acceptance in the climate science community. Lindzen, for example, is known to have slanted views and continues to make a number of whacky and invalidated statements. Further, journalists keep turning up an inconvenient trail of funding for his research that leads directly back to the oil companies.

And it doesn't help matters that two of the people listed as 'scientists' are oil company executives, that four have been directly tied to oil companies or that 5 have direct ties to right wing political organizations. So you have a group almost entirely composed of non-climate scientists, heavily influenced by oil and political ties, claiming that you shouldn't worry about climate change. In my view, looking at this list, it gives us all the more reason to worry. In fact, it shows why we should be deeply concerned.

So the question for me is do I believe these jokers or do I believe NASA (the climate scientists at NASA, that is), NOAA, the world Meteorological Organization, the IPCC and many more? Sorry. I think I'll stick with the people who are paid to do actual climate science. Not the contrary.

Nice job, Robert. Too bad we can't electronically staple a copy of this rebuttal to each viewing of the article.

Oh, feel free to copy and paste all you want. Heck, use your own name. I don't care about attribution in this fight. Just facts.

Sorry to see Burt Rutan on this list. He is otherways a very creative mind, visionary and in my eyes a humble man. Simply a guy I used to look up to. Well, nobody is perfect.

You don't get out into space, without burning massive amounts of energy, and he knows this.

Even great people can sometimes be wrong. My issue is not so much with these people or their opinions on climate science. I admire Rutan's pioneering space work. I admire Lindzen for his work on ozone. I admire Antonio for his work building up the scientific community. And there are many reasons to admire most of the others too. It's just that they are put forward as some kind of experts on a matter that, for the most part, they only have an opinion on. And, sadly, in many cases there is motivation both by money and by political interest.

If you wanted published experts on climate science (science publishing), you'd end up with Lindzen and Allegre. For the most part, data keeps turning up that disproves Lindzen's previous assertions and you have Allegre making pretty much unfounded attacks on model systems that have also been proven valid by observation. And that doesn't even begin to take into account the oil company money that has gone to Lindzen's research which begs a conflict of interest.

Here are a few lists of thousands of REAL Climate scientists, who actually published peer reviewed papers in climate science...


This one is a list of 3000 climate scientists and includes a handful of deniers.


Those who still deny anthropogenic climate change generally seem to be in one of three camps, the profoundly ignorant, the deluded or those whose salaries depend on their not understanding it!

Here's food for thought on AGW believers vs. non-believers. Why were people able to get on the same page regarding ozone depletion, but not AGW? IMHO it is because in the former people did not have to sacrifice but in the latter there is a perception it will involve personal sacrifice. The difference then between non-believers and believers is between self centered greed and the willingness to sacrifice for the good of the whole.

In the case of Freon, for example, the same manufacturers were able to come up with new, similar chemicals that they could produce and sell for more money. Further, Freon was just one product in a larger business, so a transition to new gases was not an existential threat to the manufacturers.

This is totally different from telling entire fossil fuel industries that they have to go out of business and be replaced by new industries.

Yeah . . . Solar and Wind are not easy money. There are pretty much no solar or wind billionaires. Solar & Wind are instead a hard slog of thin-margin PV panel manufacturing, marginally profitable PV/Wind installation, PV makers going bankrupt in view of cheap Chinese PV panels, wind farms that can't compete with today's cheap natural gas, Electric vehicles that are loss-leaders compared to gas cars, etc.

There are jobs in green energy but not a lot of easy profits. The oil biz can literally create millionaires/billionaires with one lucky find. Especially these days with oil around ~$100/barrel.

Wind may not create billionaires.
It does widen wealth disparities by higher utility bills on everyone including the poor going to the richest landowners:

'Some of the wealthiest landowners in the UK are receiving millions of pounds in EU subsidies, an investigation has revealed.

The Panorama investigation showed that in 2010, 47 payments of over a million pounds were made to individuals and business - many already some of the richest in the country - across the UK under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

CAP payouts are rewarded for the amount of agricultural land a person owns, meaning often the richest and largest landowners receive the biggest payments'


The oil biz can literally create millionaires/billionaires with one lucky find. Especially these days with oil around ~$100/barrel.

Obviously, you know nothing about the oil industry. To pick a current headline: ExxonMobil just announced a first quarter profit of $9.45 billion, on revenues of $124.1 billion, after paying taxes of $27.4 billion. That's a 7.6% profit margin, and an overall tax rate of 22% of gross revenue.

By comparison, Microsoft made a profit of $5.1 billion on revenues of $17.4 billion, and paid $1.25 billion in taxes. That is a 29% net profit margin, and 7.2% tax rate.

Fifty to a hundred years ago a lot of people made a lot of money from oil. But today few people do: just governments.

Most of those so-called Exxon "taxes" are just royalty payments to the land owners - the gov'ts in many cases.

Just Spin.


Of course Exxon doesn't create millionaires except for upper management. It is a massive conglomerate and all its operations average out . . . to healthy profits even when the rest of the world was collapsing in 2008. The creation of millionaires/billionaires happens more from small company that have big lucky finds or landowners that just happen to end up owning land sitting on a lot of resources.

Governments do collect a lot of money but through corruption, a lot of that money leaks out. In Norway, the people benefit . . . but in much of the rest of the world, some of the oil money benefits the people but a lot of it helps the well-connected.

The point is that the greater wealth concentration of the fossil fuel biz allows for much more political power by fossil fuel businesses than political power of wind/solar.

That is the exact same argument I have made for several years: The Ozon thing could be fixed without to much fuzz, so we "believe" in that. Climate Change, not so, so we don't believe in that.

But there is a new spin on this recycled about by denialist: The ozon thing (and the Y2K bug) never became a big problem, so we learn from history that alarms are always false, and we never need to do anything. Nor do we with climate change. The fact that freon emission was dealt with, and billions of lines of code was bug fixed is nothing that the deniers care much about.

Because nobody was going to riot on discovering that their hair spray contained CHFCs instead of CFCs.

Perhaps the problem is in the way we frame the discussion.

"Believers and non-believers?"

Here's a serious problem. No one should use articles of faith in the discussion.

You either accept the theories of science based on merit or you do not.
Only from that point, can an individual make decisions.

For example, I do not believe AGW theory is vaid. I know it is. I accept the science. There are no articles of faith as defined by traditional belief systems.

Not a difficult leap, but collective action will not come until it is far too late for billions of people because we are hard wired to deal with the most immediate threat first. We're off the cliff anyway, so the discussion is rather moot. I just dislike the term "believer" when it comes to science.

Maybe something along the lines of...

I currently assess the available data offered in support of the 'XyZ' theory as credible and I provisionally accept this theory, based on the available data, including the apparent agreement of certain modeling and simulation outcomes with empirical data, as the best current representation of reality. [ensure to cite sources, state weaknesses in the theory and voids in the data etc, and state views of others, and state whether you have credible rebuttals or not for each]

Of course these 'understandings' and assessments are always open to influence and change by new data, new ways of grouping and mathematically manipulating existing data, and new/refined mathematical constructs, models, simulations, etc.

But...this type of formalized, structured thinking does not appear to be taught by many public education (K-12) institutions...perhaps the 'all knowledge is provisional' idea is alien to many folks who wish to cling to imagined 'rocks' of certainty and faith to make sense of the turbulent sea of reality.

Good way of saying it Heisenberg.

I would offer a further clarification. When people say things like "global warming theory" that means many different things to different people. There is a big difference for instance between provisionally accepting that increases in CO2 can effect the climate and provisionally accepting that the IPPC scenarios for 2100 are valid.

I, for instance, have no problem provisionally accepting the role of "greenhouse" gases in climate change, but because of my understanding (provisional) of the approaching decline in fossil fuel uses due to depletion I cannot take the IPPC modeling seriously since it assumes that fossil fuel use will grow dramatically in the future.

So asking someone if they "believe" in global warming is a meaningless question on several levels. First because belief is not the appropriate term and second because different people are thinking of different things when they hear the phrase "global warming theory".

I, on the other hand think the IPCC has a conservative bias and likely understates the most likely impacts.

And given the time lag due to thermal mass (30 to 40 years to fully realize the changes in the energy balance), I am less sanguine about the impacts of depletion. Fewer oil BTUs may mean more coal BTUs, and more climate impact.

I also think that the IPCC missed the impact of "chaos" - the year to year lack of predictability of the weather as climate changes - and the consequences of that.

Although the weather this summer in Texas may be predictable

Sure, by 2100 "we" will be running out of coal as well - but there is that time lag. Add greater positive feedback (arctic methane leads the list) than IPCC anticipated and, IMVHO, the IPCC will have understated Climate Chaos.


Alan - you missed my point - maybe I didn't state it clearly.

I was not trying to discredit the IPPC but trying to show that the term "global warming theory" has different meanings to different people.

Sorry if I hit a sensitive nerve.

Not a sensitive nerve, but a contra-example or at least an "expanded example".

I think the IPCC's take on "Global Warming Theory" is wrong. They understate the most likely outcomes IMVHO.

Best Hopes for Clarity,


The IPCC is definitely conservative. They're terrified of all the political interests. One meter of sea level rise is extremely conservative under the current emissions scenario. Look at the paleo climate data. There's a lot of research being done there. But that gives a hint at outcomes. Not really pretty. Not sure the IPCC is ready to tackle it yet.

"One meter of sea level rise is extremely conservative under the current emissions scenario. Look at the paleo climate data."

The data provided by geologists? Who were derided as "not climate scientists" a bit up the thread? The same geologists who point out the climate has changed radically at regular and irregular intervals for the last few million years, and perhaps we should breathe deeply and not panic?

And for the record, I do believe in climate change. Over the holiday we took a drive through the moraines just north of here. Climate change is irrefutable. Human caused climate change is certainly plausible. I don't consider it yet proven. Humans as the only possible source of climate change due to a mechanism much like Original Sin I consider a religious cult.

Cheap fossil fuels are being dissipated rapidly. The remaining supplies will be too expensive to burn by the end of the century, if not sooner. There is a self-limiting mechanism already in play. The wars likely to result from that limit concern me more. As well as Mt Rainier going active, or Glacier Peak (the volcano everyone forgets about.) And the Cascadia subduction zone, which probably won't do much here, but it will thoroughly mess up the entire West side.

Not one paleoclimate geologist was mentioned up-thread. I doubt Heartland has any on its 'expert' list for its rag to mention. But you might want to take a look at their research, since you find human caused climate change 'plausible.'

The scientists settled the matter of plausibility quite some time ago and have provided more than enough evidence to prove the matter a hundred times over to anyone not currently blinded by ideology.

As for 'if there's enough fossil fuel left...'

Oh there's more than enough to simultaneously wreck both the economy and the climate. Took 150 years to get to peak conventional oil. We haven't even seen peak coal. Peak nat gas is still a decade or two off. Then you have all the unconventionals. Tight oil, tight gas, brown coal, methane hydrates, deep water oil, polar oil, oil shale, tar sands. History shows that we are amply ignorant to burn everything we can. The oil companies are incentivized to.

And add to this the fact that human ff consumption has pushed co2 levels to the point where feedbacks are starting to kick in means we've already gone too far for safety.

I am an evangelical christian, and I have NEVER seen anyone say climate change beeing caused by the original sin. Also, are not CC denialism common among us evangelicals? Would this two sets of thoughts occour in the same mind on many of these people? (Not all evangelicals in the US are affected by the madness, there is a protest movment going on, muchly with young people).

However, original sin is suposed to make people egoistic, and egoistic people beeing the true source of climate change, many make that connection. And truly, this mess would not go on if we were not egoistic short sighted people by nature.

Hi PV Guy.

I would urge you to read the literature as you see fit in order to understand why your statement "Human caused climate chage is certainly plausible. I don't consider it yet proven," is clearly in the minority opinion.

There is empirical evidence along multiple lines of science that show human caused climate change is proven. Yes. There is debate to how it will impact life and how best to predict outcomes, and that debate is welcome. I suggest you start with Church et. al. (2011). Additionally, if you can find literature that has passed peer review and indicates where all the heat/energy is coming from if not man's activity contributing to the concentration of greenhouse gasses through his activity, share it with everyone. I assume that work would also be eligible for a Nobel Prize.

Last report from IPCC claimed 59 cm during the century. They only attributed 3 mm (yes) from all of Antarctica. What IPCC say is the stuff that all in the body can agree to. It is a slow working body.

If you see ongoing climate change as a race, it looks like this:
At the tail end you have climate change deniers, who are standing still and not moving at all, or some that are moving very slowly. Then you have IPCC moving forward slowly in a wheel chair. After that come various scientists who is moving about at different speeds, from walking to running. After this comes tha climate itself, wich is changing faster than any of these guys can predict,in its car. Finally, somewhere far towards the horizon, we got Hollywood in their rocket ship.

The climate scientists are saying that greenhouse gas emissions need to start decreasing within the next 8 years or we are locked in to serious trouble.

Even now, things aren't looking too great. There's a lot of inertia in the climate system. For example, the last time CO2 was at 395 ppm, the oceans were 15 feet deeper than they are today. That's a lot of moving and shaking for things to come into balance. And the inertia keeps growing.

One other severe concern. All the added CO2 now is manmade. But the added heat from the manmade CO2 is going to set off a number of feedbacks that result in even more CO2 and methane in the atmosphere. If all the coal, all the oil, all the gas, and all the unconventional fossil fuels are burned, there will be huge trouble.

Sure, you have peak conventional oil and higher prices. But the world needs energy and it is being pushed by the oil, gas, and coal interests to burn this stuff. To burn it all. They're talking now about the green river basin. They're talking about methane hydrates. They're gearing up to drill the arctic once it melts. They're pushing fracking world-wide. No. I hate to say it. Peak conventional oil isn't going to save us. It will just make the economy crappy as the hardest effects of climate change begin to ramp up. The economic machine that is the oil, gas, and coal industry will suck every last drop of the stuff they can reasonably sell while their political machine attempts to ensure they still have paying customers. It's just ugly. Like watching the Vikings keep farming in Greenland with a seven year winter around the corner.

We really do need to transition. It's not about belief and non-belief, it's about proven facts and increasingly valid and alarming forecasts. It's about what's moral. It's about survival. It's really about responsibility to our children.

I, for one, am tired of all the exploitation. Everyone is doing their best to pull one over on their fellow man. Everyone is thinking only about me, me, me. It's a train wreck of greed and pride. It's something lots of us are going to have to let go of it we're going to make it through this age. We need a real policy that takes everyone into account. We need the equivalent of climate disarmament before the bombs start going off.

I, for one, am tired of all the exploitation. Everyone is doing their best to pull one over on their fellow man

And where is the Carbon Trading/control scheme that doesn't have 70% of cash going to non-Carbon control entities like Goldman Sachs?

I prefer the Carbon Tax proposed by James Hansen.

Using a tax to limit consumption would fail because the tax would need to be constantly increased to offset inflation and to adjust for the continuing decline in allowable emissions. For example, one reason that gasoline in the US is much less expensive to the consumer is that gasoline taxes have not been increases along with other prices. The result has been our continuing excessive consumption and emissions of CO2. Also, rebating the tax would not result in the most incentive to conserve, IMHO.

I prefer a system of rationing going (in part) directly to the consumer. I would insist on a white market for trading allocations, primed by the remaining portion of the allocations. I think that business and industry should not have direct allowances, but should be required to purchase their needs from the white market. Doing this would set the price for the traded allocations as it would guarantee a large, fluid market. Businesses can pass on their costs, which would give a great incentive to reduce consumption, since the most efficient business would earn higher profits. Businesses also have the option of claiming the cost as an expense, which individuals can not, and businesses can borrow in order to purchase equipment for saving energy and for renewables...

E. Swanson

I prefer a system of rationing going (in part) directly to the consumer.

Black_Dog, I think most consumers would prefer the simplicity of a higher tax rather than rationing.

I don't think so. Raising taxes is anathema. People don't see anything in it for them.

Rationing with a white market would appeal to those who don't have cars or don't drive much. They could make money by selling their rations.

This problem comes up all the time. The basis here is that we do not have a good way to express ourself.

For starters, belief and faith are not synonymos. Not more than cute and handsome. There are quite substancial differences in nuances.

Secondly; we can say we do NOT believe in AGW. It is easy: The next time someone say "human CO2 emissions changes the climate", respond "I don't belive this is true".

But saying that you DO belive in AGW is wrong. The exact neuance of the meaning of that word does not realy apply to scientifical theories.

The word "believe" is used best when tlking about people. "I say X, you got to believe me" is a correct and well use of the word.

Sometime we see the usage "I subscribe to the X theory". I think that is very good.

The word "faith" is reserved for things I chose to trust. This is why we say about spouses that do not cheat that they are faithfull.

A little bit of science education only makes you better at cherry picking reasons to believe what you want to believe.

To climb out of that trap, you need a LOT of science education.

Same as it ever was.

Or the willingness to accept the PAIN it means to let go of old "truths". Because it hurts, and not everyone is willing to do so. I even think it is a minority feature.


A Pew research project discovered that phenomenon, which a Salon writer looked into, then wrote:

Buried in the Pew report was a little chart showing the relationship between one’s political party affiliation, one’s acceptance that humans are causing global warming, and one’s level of education. And here’s the mind-blowing surprise: For Republicans, having a college degree didn’t appear to make one any more open to what scientists have to say. On the contrary, better-educated Republicans were more skeptical of modern climate science than their less educated brethren. Only 19 percent of college-educated Republicans agreed that the planet is warming due to human actions, versus 31 percent of non-college-educated Republicans ... For Democrats and Independents, the opposite was the case. More education correlated with being more accepting of climate science—among Democrats, dramatically so. The difference in acceptance between more and less educated Democrats was 23 percentage points ... This was my first encounter with what I now like to call the “smart idiots” effect: The fact that politically sophisticated or knowledgeable people are often more biased, and less persuadable, than the ignorant. It’s a reality that generates endless frustration for many scientists—and indeed, for many well-educated, reasonable people.


Thanks, Dredd. Having grown up with highly educated academics, I've experienced this sort of thing first hand; spent my childhood "prostrate to the higher mind", so to speak. Some of the most 'qualified' folks I've met were prone to the sort of hubris that assigns certainty to what are only opinions, equating their expertise with abundant knowledge of all things. At least the humble generalist usually groks one thing; (s)he doesn't know everything about anything ;-)

That said, I still usually prefer to hang out with folks who are smarter than I, which is why I come here :-0

I consider myself reasonably smart and well educated (BSc Civil Engineering, MBA), but I don't necessarily buy all the GW claims.

Let's first be sure what we're talking about. There's

- GW, Global Warming,
- AGW, Athropogenic Global Warming, and
- CAGW, Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming

I believe burning fossil fuels and depleting organic soils has put more CO2 in the air leading to warming due to a greenhouse effect, therefore I believe in AGW.

That is, we are warmer relative to what the temperature would have been if man hadn't created all that extra CO2.

But exactly how much warmer, and just how catastrophic it is, is still an open question, given that we are entering a Malinkovitch cooling cycle. As are projections involving runaway methane emissions, ocean acidification, etc etc. They are still just scare stories, because although they are known to have happened in the past, the precise steps of cause and effect are yet to be teased out.

EU Weighs Direct Aid to Banks, Euro Bonds as Crisis Antidote

The European Commission called for direct euro-area aid for troubled banks, and touted a Europe- wide deposit-guarantee system and common bond issuance as antidotes to the debt crisis now threatening to overwhelm Spain.

The strangest thing to me is that the bubble in US Treasuries continues, especially when investors can see the results of that in the EC.

Investors flooded into U.S. Treasuries, raising prices and pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year note down to a record low of 1.656%.

From: http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/30/investing/stocks-markets/index.htm


Biggest Greek bank warns of dire euro exit fallout

"An exit from the euro would lead to a significant decline in the living standards of Greek citizens," the NBG wrote ahead of a vote which parties opposed to austerity measures that have kept Greece in the euro so far have a chance of winning.

The bank said per capita income would collapse by at least 55 percent, the new national currency would depreciate by 65 percent against the euro and a recession, now in its fifth year, would deepen by 22 percent.

Painting a dire picture of post-euro Greece, it added that unemployment would jump to 34 percent of the work force from around 22 percent now and that inflation would rise to 30 percent from its current level of 2 percent.

Translation: Do whats best for the banks or we're gonna make life hard on the people!

I still maintain that what TPTB are really fighting over is which set of taxpayers are going to pay the bill. Greece, Spain and Italy, if they have to really enforce their tax codes and pay their debt. Germany and France, if they allow Greece and the others to default and then have to bail out their banks. Or the US, if it turns out that the big banks here have written a trillion dollars worth of default insurance on the bonds held by the French and German banks, and have to be bailed out by the US taxpayer again.

Or the US, if it turns out that the big banks here have written a trillion dollars worth of default insurance on the bonds held by the French and German banks, and have to be bailed out by the US taxpayer again.

Sadly, I will guess the U.S. taxpayers will be hurt more in the end, by the time all the damage trickles down.

... which set of taxpayers are going to pay the bill.

Amen. Isn't this what the whole Keynesian versus Austerity debate is about, ultimately? Do we in effect collect taxes from bondholders by wiping them out, or balance budgets on the backs of retail taxpayers?

It's actually more complex and nuanced than that.

Taxpayers pay little (and borrow what they pay) the bulk of fund under discussion is borrowed. In other words, what bails out bondholders is more loans. Start at the beginning:

- The loans that have gotten banks in trouble (to finance the waste of resources) are bad loans. The banks that made the loans are now insolvent.

- The bad loans are not acceptable collateral. Lenders of last resort (LLR) cannot lend because there is no collateral ... OR, they make unsecured loans.

- If the LLRs make unsecured loans (lend without collateral or 'print money') they are no different from the banks- and bondholders they are trying to bail out. All the lenders are seen as being bad because the LLR loans are the same as the banks': the LLRs have no credibility. The outcome is a system wide 'run' rather than the suggested 'inflation'.

- If the LLRs choose to not make unsecured loans, the original banks collapse. Because the banks' assets are worthless, both equity and bond holders are wiped out. Depositors may also lose all their money.

- Right now, the EU governments have the same non-credibility as the LLRs (that is, the ECB and sovereign central banks/Target 2). The EU itself is systemically insolvent. There is no credible lender of last resort for the Continent.

The managers have inched out to the end of the gangplank. What is needed is credibility which cannot be borrowed: insolvency expands. More borrowing erodes credibility as markets see that all loans are bad loans.

What is past due is a finance industry house-cleaning. Prosecutions = instant credibility.

Also needed is stringent energy conservation.

The problem of too much debt can't be solved by nations or central banks issuing more debt. That will only shift the debt from the banks to the tax payers and let the banksters walk away with their gains. Spain is now in a crisis situation similar to that previously seen in Ireland and Greece. Their borrowing cost, i.e., the interest on their 10 government bonds, is fast approaching the "unsustainable" level of 7%. And their unemployment rate is around 25%, so they are not going to extract enough taxes to keep the game going. If Spain goes under like Greece is about to do, the result will be a much larger crisis, given that Spain has a much larger economy...

E. Swanson

Spanish 10 yr. Bond Yields are 6.522% this morning.
Irish 10 yr Bonds are at 8.2%.
Greek 10 yr Bonds are at 30.968%.

The Greek bond is way, way, beyond junk stage. If Greece drops the Euro then the bonds will be converted into Greek Drachmas which will immediately start to inflate and a tremendous rate. In ten years those bonds will be basically worthless. Anyway that is my WAG.

But, for anyone wishing to take a chance, at that interest rate, $1,000 would become $14,847 in ten years.

Ron P.

In the time of this posting, US 10-yr treasury bonds drop to 1.47%!!! Prices are at record levels, and when US rates rise to Spanish levels prices drop 67%. That's a big loss and high probability. Imagine if US rates go to 30+% ala Greece.

And yet, just as real estate prices went up beyond any rationally justifiable level during the early to middle aughts, bond buyers continue to have 'faith' in US Treasuries.

There are some really strange things going on at the Circle K.


The loans that have gotten banks in trouble (to finance the waste of resources) are bad loans. The banks that made the loans are now insolvent.

Really? Do you have a list you can publish?

Don't forget, Eric, that the bad loans have been guaranteed by the US of A. Just like that, banks solvent and taxpayers on the hook.

And, if you think Dems are going to do anything about it, consider that Holder has not prosecuted any of the bastards.

As far as I can see, right now we are about to enter free-fall. Hope everyone enjoys zero gravity!


Article Title: Global warming skeptics know more about science than climate change believers

From the Article:

Respondents who were relatively less worried about global warming got 57 percent of them right, on average, just barely outscoring those whose who saw global warming as a bigger threat. They got 56 percent of the questions correct.

As far as I can tell, there is no statistical difference between the scientific intelligence of the 2 groups. When composing the title, editors often exaggerate the truth in order to grab page views, but some might come away with the wrong conclusion based just on the (biased) title. What is also clear is that most Americans are not scientifically/mathematically literate, survey respondents and journalists included.

110% of Americans don't get statistics anyhow..

"50% of math class students are below average. I find that worrying."
"There are not so many students in our classes."

That first one would be good news, right? The average is not necessarily the median.


San Onofre Power Plant Operated For Decades With Vulnerable Backup Power

LOS ANGELES — The troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant operated for three decades with equipment that might have temporarily cut off the plant's emergency power supply in the event of an earthquake, government filings revealed Tuesday.

The company disabled the equipment, a vibration sensor, and reported to federal regulators that the problem was being analyzed as a threat to plant safety. Engineers found the sensor – designed to protect components inside the generators during operation – might incorrectly stop them during an earthquake or an aftershock

Don't they test these fail safe systems? Oh wait that means unplugging a million $$ / day generator from the grid. Systems so simple and proven they are taken for granted/not funny. In a discussion with solar equipment manufacturers, we were pondering a metric for account of Fission power offset in Energy monitoring system reports. Many Grid Tie Inverters report ton's of CO2 "saved" or not emitted into the Biosphere. Anyone want to take a stab on high level waste metric saved per megawatt/hour as well as a toxic equivalent? In previous discussions here, 30 grams of spent fuel resulted from 1 decade of average US household kWh consumption, 1 spent fuel rod could poison a billion plus people(??), 1 gram could ruin how many sq km?, Cost per gram for proper disposal?, Dolphin's saved index, etc? Not so easy to come up with either a best or worse scenario metric that is credible. Since there is no credible plan to secure the waste from population centers, a J6P easy to relate to credible metric would be informative.

Also, from GAO

Natural Hazard Assessments Could Be More Risk-Informed

On March 11, 2011, an earthquake triggered a tsunami wave that exceeded the seawall at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, leading to the release of radioactive material into the environment. The disaster raised questions about the threats that natural hazards, such as earthquakes and floods, may pose to U.S. commercial nuclear power reactors.

GAO was asked to (1) determine the extent to which probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) is applied to natural hazards at operating U.S. reactors and (2) describe expert views on and suggested changes, if any, to NRC processes for assessing natural hazards at such reactors.

... In 1991, NRC requested that licensees voluntarily examine their reactors’ vulnerability to natural hazards and suggested probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) as one of several possible methods for licensees to use in their examinations. However, most licensees opted to use other methods. According to NRC officials and nuclear power industry representatives—and reflected in data GAO obtained from five licensees that together operate 25 reactors—few licensees are likely to have developed or updated since the 1990s PRAs that address natural hazards.

Don't they test these fail safe systems?

And are these SCADA systems beyond the ability to infect with Stuxnet or other kinds of viruses?

Engineers found the sensor – designed to protect components inside the generators during operation – might incorrectly stop them during an earthquake or an aftershock

The guys that designed the generators did a good job and added protection to keep them from being damaged under certain conditions. But this is why one cannot just bolt off the shelf components together and call it a design. In this case, it is more important for the generator to give its all than to shut off and protect itself if something goes wrong. Even better yet would be for someone who understands the system and the situation to be able to decide what to do. I would not be at all surprised if this kind of thing is rampant in power plants, and in fact in many such complex systems often put together by people who do not really understand the subsystems involved. The power grid and many military systems come to mind. It is only when the system is stressed that you find out.

My first impression is that the earthquake-related vibrations would be very different than the rotating 'generator is out of balance' or 'the bearings are toast, please stop me now' vibrations.

Vibration sensors on rotating equipment is not new technology. I wonder what the details are?

Just the possibility of a sensor failure shutting down the engine is enough to warrant eliminating them.

It's probably not that simple. In fact, where it comes to complex system interactions, especially those that cannot be rigorously and repeatably tested, it's never that simple.

Earthquakes are short. The batteries (assuming they work) will carry the load for the few minutes that a generator would be shut down.

And now, as we say on the Internets, you have two problems.

2MWh of marine-rated lithium batteries can fit into a couple of containers, and easily provide power for a couple of weeks at reasonable cost.

Solutions to the issues at Fukushima are already in hand, and range from simply putting generators up higher, to having multiple redundant power supplies etc,. none of them rocket science.

In contrast the oil and gas installations which went up in a sea of flame incinerating any tsunami survivors with unknown numbers of casualties can't be effectively proofed against either that size of earthquake or tsunami.

It was apparent that a lack of power to run the pumps was not the problem, it was the destruction of the power distribution system within the plant that prevented getting the pumps going. You are only as good as the weakest link.

Yeah, it was far more than just a lack of power problem. The power distribution, the destruction of the various electrical components down near the water, the destruction of various plant components due to the tsunami, etc. Even if they still had power, I don't think they would have been able to avoid problems at Fukushima Daichi. That place got messed up badly and not just from the hydrogen explosions.

The main problem was locating a nuclear plant in an area susceptible to a big tsunami. That is the kind of thing that happens on a once in 300 years or so schedule, so it was outside of normal human planning horizons. We can barely plan for the next quarter. If we try really hard, we can kinda plan for things in a lifetime. But things that happen in a 300 year time scale just often are not taken seriously.

Not even the location was a problem. They could simply have built a higher seawall around the plant. This would have been enough to save it. However, the operator chose not to do anything. That's simply sheer stupidity.

Exclusive: This Is the Gyro-Stabilized, Two-Wheeled Future of Transportation

If you’re anything like me, you value your life. Which means you’ve probably avoided motorcycles despite their stellar fuel economy ...

Lit Motors aims to change that. This is the C1, the first prototype from San Francisco-based Lit Motors. It’s a fully electric, fully enclosed two-wheeled two-seater. And when the production version arrives in 2014, the C1 will come complete with airbags, a seatbelt and a smartphone-connected infotainment system. But that’s not the cool part.

Underneath the passenger compartment are two gyroscopes that keep the C1 constantly upright. That means it stays standing while stopped and can pirouette through traffic like the best from Honda, Yamaha and Ducati.

Looking at the pictures I believe the C1 would get much better fuel economy than a traditional motorcycle due to the aerodynamic body and the low height. See how low the driver is compared to a normal motorcycle? That should help a lot with drag but I would miss the commanding view one has from a normal motorcycle, being able to see over and around cars.

I'm not sure about 'stellar fuel economy of a motorcycle' My motorcycle is 'too small' by 'merican standards at 450cc and no matter how I try to drive it I can never get more than about 60mpg from it.

Re: 'stellar fuel economy of a motorcycle'

from article:

... The C1 prototype you see here is rear-wheel-drive for now, but the production version will be all-wheel-drive (two-wheel, if you prefer), with power provided by a hub-mounted electric motor good for 110 horsepower. Weighing in at between 800 and 900 pounds in production spec, Lit estimates a zero-to-60-mph time of around six seconds, with a 120-mph top speed and a range of 220 miles between charges thanks to the 8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack mounted in the floor.

450cc motorcycles are typically off road bikes and would not get the same mileage as their pure street counterparts. But I don't know your particular case.

It's a Kawasaki en450, came out in the 80's for a few years then replaced by the Kawasaki Vulcan 500 which is very similar.

I'm not sure the best technique for driving for fuel economy, I try to keep the RPMs low but without 'lugging' it. I'm not sure which is more important, rpm or throttle position. I can ride around at 5000 RPM with the throttle slightly open or I could ride around at 2500 RPM with the throttle opened up twice as much.

One of the biggest losses in IC engines is "pumping loss", the effort it takes to pump air through the intake system. Its one of the reasons that diesels are more efficient that spark ignition engines, they always run with fully open intake passages, i.e., no throttle.

Also there are higher friction losses at high RPM.

So low RPM/open throttle is more efficient.

I have a 500cc Kawasaki twin, which has produced 65 mpg the few times I've ridden it around here where the speed limit is 55. If I were to ride it on a freeway, it would probably do worse, but I'm no likely to do that. It is geared rather low, as I can ride it in 6th gear at 35 mph on level ground. It's claimed that top speed is about 100 mph. I've just mounted a larger windscreen on it, which may help a bit. Still, it has poor aerodynamics compared to a car, since there's considerable drag on the rider's back...

EDIT: From your post above, your bike appears to be an earlier version of my 2007 EN500. The engine is a de-tuned version of the NINJA 500, which is designed for rather high RPM operation. One factor is the gearing and I like to compare bikes based on engine displacement per mile, not just engine displacement. My 500 has a displacement of 1221 Liters/mile, while a Vulcan 900 does 1503 L/mi and a Vulcan 1500 is 1846 L/mi. The 1500 has an engine 3 times the size of my 500, but turns slower in high gear, thus displaces only half again as much air/fuel. I thought about changing chain sprockets, but the best I could find only reduced RPM's about 10%. Better fuel economy might be produced from a smaller motor with a single cylinder.

E. Swanson

My Kawi 250 ninja gets 76 mpg (imperial) in the city, and from 0-60 mph, it's only 1/20 of a second slower than a lamborghini countach. And it looks cool. Too bad I can't ride it in the winter.

HERE's a link to Kawasaki's MPG estimates for their bikes. The NINJA 250R is the best of their road bikes at 61 MPG. There's no entry for a 500, the smallest cruiser bikes are their 900s, which they claim produce only 45 MPG. I guess the 500s couldn't compete with the scooters, such as the Suzuki Burgman (with a 400 or 600 engine), the newer Honda Silver Wing or the Yamaha TMAX (which I understand has a 500 twin entine)...

E. Swanson

Underneath the passenger compartment are two gyroscopes that keep the C1 constantly upright.

And just how much electric energy is going to be used by those gyros that are running 24/7 to keep the device upright?

Don't worry about the juice to keep the gyros running. If they are even able to get it into production by 2016, the gyros will end up as an option and quadruple the base price, while dropping the range by 50%.

Assuming we are still big on SUV's by the time this goes into production, they will need to make sure the SUV's have front and rear facing cameras to not accidently run over this thing.

It's ugly, and the guy driving it has his head stuck out of the roof... and his eyes are directly being blocked from looking at the road by the roof edge. Also i fail to see how the passenger is going to be protected by the safety features. If anything it looks more dangerous for the passenger.

Actually i'm not even sure where they would sit. It all looks tight and very uncomfortable.

It is a prototype. A test bed.

"And just how much electric energy is going to be used by those gyros that are running 24/7 to keep the device upright?"

Why would they keep the gyros running while parked? A pair of jackstands could drop down when you switch off the motors.
A better question is how long to spin them up when you are ready to go.

Although better fairings on motorcycles are a good idea, the Flintstone solution (cut outs to put your feet on the ground) seems easier. But then after 30 years of riding, it's all done unconsciously, so I can devote my efforts to watching the cage drivers.

Having followed EV news for so long, I'm just too jaded to take such vehicles seriously anymore. They'll build prototypes, they'll try to attract investors, they'll take pre-orders, etc. But before they actually build a sizable number, they'll go bankrupt. The size of the market for such an odd vehicle would be pretty small such that it would end up being very expensive. And since it is expensive, there will be very little interest. Collapse.

That thing makes no sense to me, it seems to combine the faults of a motorcycle with the drawbacks of an electric car. I don't buy the safer part, you might as well be inside a barrel going over Niagara Falls if you get hit by a car. Airbags or not I'd take my chances on a motorcycle. As Swamp-Yankee mentioned, one of the prime benefits of a motorcycle is that you're very high up off the ground with a forward stance which gives you excellent visibility and response. I can see over almost any car except one of the mega-SUVs. On that thing it looks like you're about 12" off the ground in a reclining sofa. I hazard to guess how hot that tiny little cabin is going to get in the summer without AC, the only thing that makes a motorcycle bearable in the summer around here is the fact that you're in the wind. Nobody is ever going to drive around in that contraption on any significant scale. It's a fancy pet project toy. More power to those guys if they can make a living by playing around and designing a toy, but I won't hold my breath waiting to see one on the road someday.

This Bankruptcy Is Radioactive

A radioactive waste-treatment center with as much as one million pounds of the stuff sitting around filed for bankruptcy liquidation Thursday.

Impact Services Inc. of Oak Ridge, Tenn., owes between $10 million and $50 million to creditors, according to the Chapter 7 petition filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. Under Chapter 7, a business is wound down and its assets are sold to pay creditors.

Impact came under controversy recently when it was alleged to have illegally and intentionally disposed of radioactive materials at a Tennessee landfill.

"Last December, Impact told the state of Tennessee that it had a backlog of about 500,000 pounds of radioactive waste because of construction delays and equipment issues, among other reasons. The backlog represented a violation of its state license, and Impact pledged to fix the problem by July."

--from the Knoxville News Sentinel article linked from Seraph's WSJ link above.

Guess they fixed the problem. Before July.

(Just across a couple of hills from me)

This is a pretty good blog for anyone interested in "what goes on" in Oak Ridge (and some stuff on Pantex, too).


Gasoline down to 3.30 around Knoxville


Privately run toxic waste disposal always seems a bit problematic. You collect high fees for getting rid of something but you need to do it properly. But organized crime gets into it, collects large fees, then just disposes the toxic waste somewhere that no one knows about without the proper safeguards.

White collar crime can also get into it. Create a company, get approved, and start collecting big massive fees. But then start cutting corners, over-fill, siphon money out of the corporation with various schemes (large pay packages, high-paying sub-contracts to cronies, etc.), all while continuing to collect big fees. Ask Bain capital how to do it . . . they've got great strategies like have the company take out loans and then pay management fees to consultants. And when it gets wobbly from cutting corners and siphoning out too much money, just declare bankruptcy. Walk away with all the money you siphoned out. Leave the smoldering pit of toxic radioactive waste for the state to deal with.


Some may consider this to be implausible, however, there is a major case in point:

Pressure is growing on the Italian government to act over revelations that 30 or more ships with radioactive cargoes, deliberately sunk by the Mafia, may be polluting the Mediterranean.

(Mafia Contract Out On Mother Earth)

You anti-American non-believer, havn't you joined the recent all-out celebration of the "new era" of space launches being provided by The Private Sector (tm)? (Never mind that those launches are still paid for by the taxpayer.)

This will come on the heels of the glorious privatization of prisons, police, water supply systems, and everything else.


Oh, but they need rockets so they can launch their clown show into orbit. There's a sucker born every day, right?

All markets in Europe and the US are down sharply this morning. The drop ranges from just over 1% for the Dow to 2.9% for Spain. Even Germany is down 1.77% Oil is down over 3%. Brent sets at 103.74 Down $3.54 on the day. Everything is in a free fall. Is this just a correction or is it a harbinger of things to come?

Also, don't miss this new really great 13 minute video: Gail Tverberg / Running Short of Cheap Oil

Ron P.

My opinion, Ron, is that wealthy investors short sell when the market goes up; that drives markets down, whereupon the cover their shorts. When they have sucked enough off the top, they try to find a secure pool to place their gains, and right now they have a bubble in bonds because of that. Despite how patently insecure US Treasuries are, we are still sovereign and can print money to pay off the bonds, so the face values should be okay. Of course, when no one is buying bonds any more (except the Fed), interest rates will spike, and prices crash. By which time those savey investors are out and back in land (my guess for the next step down).

It is indeed a harbinger of the sort of 'step down' predicted (?) by Greer, I believe, rather than a sudden crash. Or that could be my hopeful outlook and my always optimistic point of view.


Naw Zap, you, like many others, want to blame wealthy market manipulators for what happens in the market. There is far too much volume in all the European and American markets for that to be the case. This has been a month long move. And this is a worldwide move. The S&P 500 closed at 1400 on May 1st. It sits right now at 1311, a drop of about 6.35%. And European markets have dropped even further. There is just not enough short selling in the world to drive all the markets in Europe and the USA down that much over that length of time.

Anyway there is a much simpler explanation, it is the teetering on the brink of European economies that is scaring the hell out of all investors causing them to dump their stock. But you ain't seen nothing yet!

Ron P.

Point taken. And, I would add, volume on up days is generally light; on down days heavy. The difference would be the short sellers. Now, alone they would not be able to have that much down side influence, but combined with the overall stair step down, they can and do.

One of the steps down may be "a doozey," though. And I would guess sooner than later.


Zap, short sales average about 10% of all trades. This from last October, the latest I could find:
Short Sales Rise the Most Since 2006

Borrowed shares, an indication of short selling, climbed to 11.6 percent of stock last month from 9.5 percent in July, the biggest increase since at least 2006, according to information compiled for Bloomberg by Data Explorers, a London-based research firm. Trades that profit when Chinese equities decline have reached a four-year high and bearish bets in the U.S. are the most since 2009, exchange data show.

So 11.6 percent was the highest since 2009. However short sellers have a far greater effect on an up market than a down market. Short sellers don't act in unison when selling short, but they do when the market takes a sudden upturn. They all panic and buy back their shorts. It is commonly called "A short covering rally" and it happens quite often.

Ron P.

Yep. Big cracks are starting to appear in Europe. People are starting to get spooked. And my bet is there are more than a few big shorts out there trying to profit from the next step down. No hope for these funds being reinvested in the economy. They'll likely go to the next bunker purchase, big guns for shooting vermin, or be traded for higher than money valued nickles...

There is far too much volume in all the European and American markets for that to be the case.


Analysts estimate that up to 60 per cent of trading in equity markets is driven in this way.


By the end of the day, his computers will have bought and sold about 60 million to 80 million shares, with the heaviest activity in the last hour of trading, from three to four in the afternoon. Tradeworx and similar firms around the country will race to close billions of bets that hinge on things like tiny differences between the prices of shares in an exchange-traded fund holding the S&P 500 and the individual shares that make up the same index.

I leave it to other readers to decide if the volume is an illusion or not.

Relax, Ron. It's a "buying opportunity" ;-)

It's a harbinger of QE/LTRO. Central Banks are about to come out all guns blazing. :-)
There will be no deflation or repeat of 2008, all governments, powerful entities are committed to that and that's no conspiracy.

In pictures: Life on Kenya's Dandora dump near Nairobi

... At roughly the same time every day, the unfinished salads, sandwiches, bread, and other foodstuffs from flights to Nairobi's busy international airport are transported to Dandora by this green truck. The scraps hardly make it out of the truck before dozens of men fight over the haul.

This boy slurps down a carton of yoghurt - it is hot, liquefied and reeking after being baked by the sun. Nevertheless, it is one of the most coveted items.

Are we entering a new era of cheap abundant energy?


High oil prices and concerns over both global warming and local pollution have led to the development of viable sources of renewable energy, the development of deepwater oil and last and not least the development of both conventional and non-conventional gas worldwide.

As oil and gas production rapidly increases in the USA and as heavy vehicles increasingly convert to natural gas, oil and gas imports to the US have plummeted. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4611795a-63bb-11e1-9686-00144feabdc0.html#axzz...

This trend seems likely to continue over the coming years.

In Europe, renewables are taking an increasing share of electricity production just as competitive electric vehicles are becoming widely available. As a result the use of oil for transportation is likely to fall rapidly as the transition is made.

Meanwhile huge new discoveries of oil have been made during the last year and the production of shale oil in the US has increased much more rapidly than expected.

Things never go quite as you think. Do they? :-)


Combined net oil exports from the seven major net oil exporters in North & South America, inclusive of rising net oil exports from Canada, recently fell by 1.4 mbpd, declining from 6.2 mbpd in 2004 to 4.8 mbpd in 2010 (BP, total petroleum liquids) . . .

If we use the RRC data for Texas production, instead of the EIA data, it puts US crude oil production at 5.3 mbpd for 2011, which would be no increase over the 5.3 mbpd rate that we saw in 2010.

Based on the Texas RRC data, it appears that a thousand rigs drilling for oil in the US in 2011 served to keep production flat year over year. Note that--based on the RRC data--all of the cumulative expenditures by the US oil industry from 2005 to 2011 inclusive only served to bring US crude oil production back to the 2004 pre-hurricane rate of 5.3 mbpd.

Incidentally, we have also seen sizable discrepancies between the EIA and other data sources for regions like Saudi Arabia, where the EIA's annual 2010 total petroleum liquids production number for Saudi Arabia is 500,000 bpd higher than what BP shows.

The following file has what appears to be the most recent monthly and annual oil and gas RRC production numbers for Texas (2/12 is provisional):


The RRC data show that Texas gas wells had a secondary production peak (absolute production peak so far was in 1972) in 2008, and from 2008 to 2011, annual Texas natural gas production, from gas wells, fell at 3.5%/year, even as the number of producing gas wells in Texas increased at about 2.5%/year (from 2008 to 2010). The RRC data show that monthly Texas natural gas production, from gas wells, fell at 8.5%/year from 1/09 to 1/12.

This, along with the RRC crude oil production data, does not bode well for the Shale Play model, i.e., the assumption that increasing production from shale plays can keep total US oil & gas production on a steady upward slope indefinitely.

"Things never go quite as you think. Do they? :-)"

Nor are they as they may seem.

"Meanwhile huge new discoveries of oil have been made during the last year..."

And how do these "huge new discoveries" compare to real-world decline rates of existing "reserves"? Production rates? Costs of recovery?

Things are rarely as simple as they are presented, are they? :-0

From nordic_mist:

...just as competitive electric vehicles are becoming widely available. As a result the use of oil for transportation is likely to fall rapidly as the transition is made.

Sweden has been promoting non-oil fueled private cars for years now.
The result?
Their Greenhouse emissions have increased! As pointed out in "Transport Revolutions"
it was the increased emissions from transportation in the EU countries which led to
them missing their Greenhouse emissions targets.

changes in Greenhouse Gas Emissions compiled from UN data:
Changes in GHG emissions 1990-2004:

All sources including LULUCF All sources except LULUCF Transport only
Canada 62% 27% 30%
EU15 -3% -1% 26%
Japan 5% 7% 20%
US 21% 16% 28%

LULUCF means "Land Use, Land Use Changes and Forests"
It is CARS and TRUCKS which are the major source of increased Greenhouse Gases!

Here is an article on Sweden's promotion of electric and other fueled private cars:

What if electric cars made pollution worse, not better? What if they increased greenhouse gas emissions instead of decreasing them? Preposterous you say? Well, consider what’s happened in Sweden.

Through generous subsidies, Sweden aggressively pushed its citizens to trade in their cars for energy efficient replacements (hybrids, clean diesel vehicles, cars that run on ethanol). Sweden has been so successful in this initiative that it leads the world in per capita sales of ‘green cars.’ To everyone’s surprise, however, greenhouse gas emissions from Sweden’s transportation sector are up.

Electric private cars are not going to solve the Transportation problem!

Swedens industry is one of the most oil-dependant in the world: with our long distances and relativly small population, there is a lot of goods transported on our roads. We have more Km/ton transports than most industrial nations. And as long as the number of cars go up, the dent in the graphs caused by efficient fuels and engines simply can not make up for that.

As I said to ROCKMAN in a discussion the other day: the gas station franchise Preem has a diesel with some mixture of some pine extract in it, called Evolution. According to them self this lower CO2 emissions 17%. Well, I saw a SUV with a sign on the car "I drive an enviornmental car" coming out from that gas station; they fill up the SUV witth this fuel, and think they are enviornmental all of a sudden. It does not work like that.

"Preem has a diesel with some mixture of some pine extract in it, called Evolution.."

Interesting. Turpentine? Some early Honda motorcycles ran on turpentine. My Dad's friend brought one from Japan in the mid/late '50s; Dad said it smelled like cheap Gin :-0

I accidentally started an old VW beetle engine on turpentine many years ago. It ran fine, but we could tell what happened by the smell!

Nordic_mist on May 11, 2011 - 1:08pm Permalink | Subthread | Comments top
The commodity bubble continues to burst: After a small bounce yesterday it now seems likely that prices will fall a very long way. QE2 is coming to an end and unless QE3 is immediately set into motion (unlikely with the current discussions on the debt cap) the collapse will almost certainly continue in the month ahead. Oil will very probably fall to USD 50/BBL or even perhaps below and Silver is likely head back down to its USD 15/oz stabilisation point. It is now also looking likely that these levels can be reached within a matter of months. Overall oil production however, is likely to hold up fairly well and may cause prices to stabilise at a low level for a quite a while to come - this will particularly be the case if the Chinese economy really slows down.

Things never go quite as you think. Do they?

Hello Nordic Mist,long time no see.Just to remind you of the gentleman's bet we had in Aug 2011(brent below $100 and WTI below $80 by end 2011 your view,mine was it will be above).Well looking in the rear view mirror I was right and you were wrong.As they say in USA: Do you concede?

I concede! Sorry I've been away for a long time. Too much to do at work I'm afraid! I was absolutely wrong with regard to the timing. Should clearly have said May 2012 instead :-)

Absolutely! I got it completely wrong! At least the timing :-) Oil prices have now fallen fairly rapidly from 130 USD/BBL to the current level of 103 USD/BBL. (And yes, I'm referring to Brent as WTI is fairly irrelevant unless you live in Cushing.). No signs of the drop in prices stopping yet as the prices has just fallen through a number of key support levels. Brent is down 7% year on year. Silver prices have fallen from 38 USD a year a go to about 27 USD today. Not the greatest investement you could make. (although not the worst either).

38 to 27, 38 to 27, now where have I seen that before. Oh yea, the facebook IPO.

In Europe, renewables are taking an increasing share of electricity production just as competitive electric vehicles are becoming widely available. As a result the use of oil for transportation is likely to fall rapidly as the transition is made.

LOL. I'm an advocate of EVs but it is going to be a long hard slog. They just barely make a case right now and that is with big subsidies. Sales are small and growth will be slow unless there is a serious technological breakthrough in battery costs or oil prices rise sharply. The latter is more likely and that would have reduced use of oil even if EVs did not exist.

Why don't we just run the Green Transit we have is my question?
I do not see why we continue to be obsessed with "running our Cars by any means necessary" as James Kunstler puts it instead of INCREASING use of Rails, buses and shuttles that are already running in major US cities. If we really want to cut our oil usage and greenhouse emissions this is easy to do:
1)Restore all Green public transit cut since the 2008 financial crash
2)Restore OPERATING subsidies for Green public transit that had existed for decades before Reagan
3)Instead of "cash for clunkers" how about "Transit pass for clunkers" ie Green Transit passes for trading in your car?
4)Renew FREQUENT passenger service on Rails which already exist all over the USA like
Vermont paralleling Interstate 91, Baton Rouge to New Orleans, Cincinnati, 996 miles of Rail in New Jersey, more densely populated than China where 50% of the population already lives within a few miles of a train station
Chances are you can think of local Rails wherever you live which could be restored!
5)Build Rails down the medians of existing highways for example if this were done for I-287 in New Jersey on through to I-87 in New York across the Tappan Zee bridge it would connect 10 Rail lines!

Electric private vehicles are fine as a transition and my family has a Prius. However it is NOT the endpoint! Continuing to subsidize 10 lane highways for electric vehicles is a disaster and we have to start weaning ourselves from Auto Addiction.

5)Build Rails down the medians of existing highways for example if this were done for I-287 in New Jersey on through to I-87 in New York across the Tappan Zee bridge it would connect 10 Rail lines!"

If only.
Most of our highways have stretches too steep or too curvy for that treatment.

Sometimes because the powers that be made them that way on purpose to prevent them being used for rail.

I nneed to make a list of all the 20th century functionaries on whose graves I should relieve myself.

Are we entering a new era of cheap abundant energy?

Considering the "price" used to be under $5 band $10 a barrel - I don't see anyone saying those prices are just 'round the corner.

We may very well be heading towards low prices on energy, but in an economy where little actuall money is floating around to buy it with.

Unless "money" goes back to being physical metals or even abstract things like Watts (or why not Calories? Memphis, TN citizens would be seen as rich with the display of excess wealth and bell peppers would be a sign of being "poor") I can't imagine Governments won't print all the money they want.

Freecycling has viral effect on community spirit and generosity

The results, published earlier this month in the journal Administrative Science Quarterly, may help explain why a growing number of recession-weary Americans are participating less in monetary-based consumerism in favor of "gift economies" built on freebies and community spirit.

"What we found is that a site like Freecycle is uniquely good at generating pro-group sentiments like group identification and solidarity," said Willer, a co-author of the study. "The more people receive gifts through these systems, the more they come to identify as members of the group and view the group as cohesive and high in solidarity, more so than Craigslist members. These pro-group feelings in turn motivate members to give to the group."

Thus, the study points out, "If a critical mass of contributions can be harnessed, it may spark a sort of 'virtuous cycle' that leads groups featuring generalized exchange to achieve productivity and maintain group members' giving."

Freecycle doesn't work for me any more, and several of my friends across the country say the same. I think it's been ruined by greed.

Now, when you offer something on Freecycle, lots of people say they want it...but they never actually show up to pick it up. I think there are a bunch of people who jump on every offer, just in case. Perhaps with the idea of reselling the item. On second thought, they realize they can't resell it for much, and don't bother to pick it up.

Sadly, Craigslist seems to work better. Asking for even a token amount of money means only those with serious intentions reply.

Same here. A buddy came by yesterday and he doesn't freecycle anymore. He said that it's become "one man's trash is another man's... trash." He's still big on labor trades and trade/barter systems; more incentive involved, and the "social contracts" have some substance to back them.

I still gift, but it's usually a gift of time.

I've had a pretty good run with freecycle. Yes, there are no-shows and people have been pretty demanding in some cases, ("Must be gone by this afternoon!", "Don't ask me STILL AVAILABLE?") .. but generally, it's been a great program.

I think it's a bit like blogs, co-housing and other 'volunteer social institutions'.. it's going to require some tiresome input by those who run it.. so burnouts will be inevitable, and success may often be driven by having the right kind of people, habits and system in place.

'Who bells the cat?'

It used to work great when it first started. I gave away lots of stuff to people who really wanted it. Same for my friends. Now, everyone says they want stuff, but nobody actually comes to get it. Basically, we've given up on Freecycle.

We use freecycle all. the. time. It's still awesome around here, I can get rid of just about anything in 24 hours max. There's a medium-sized group of people (my wife refers to them as gypsies) who seem to come and pick stuff up regularly, I suspect to sell at the county flea market or yard sales. I couldn't care less, I'm saving the hassle of dealing with selling the stuff or hauling it to the dump and helping someone make money at the same time.

We find the best way to deal with people is telling them how many hours they have to come get stuff before it get offered to the next person in line, and we place our demands on them. Generally if we have a whole bunch of crappy stuff to give away then we'll bundle it with something good (like an old digital camera or PC component) and require that they take everything away in a bundle.

When you have something really good to give away, it's amazing the sob stories you hear as they try to convince you to give them the stuff. I don't know how they come up with the stories they do, but it's pretty entertaining nonetheless.

The local freecycle people won't take a signup with a + sign in the email address. Claim 'abuse' or 'spam' or some other lame reason.

And I'm unwilling to change my email address habits just to give away things. So instead my extra 300 tomato plants are going to others who are not "on freecycle".

Grid realities cancel out some of wind power's carbon savings

... To test how wind energy affects carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, Argonne scientists modeled the Illinois electric grid—power plants, production and demand—and tested how more wind power would affect the system. They found that adjusting for wind power adds inefficiencies that cancel out some of the CO2 reduction.

It’s actually the older technology in the background that hampers wind. Because the wind doesn’t blow all the time, operators occasionally have to turn on extra fossil-burning plants to keep up with demand.

“Turning these large plants on and off is inefficient,” explained study author Lauren Valentino. “A certain percentage of the energy goes into just heating up the boilers again.” Power plants are also less efficient when they’re not operating at full capacity.

Thank you for posting this item, but the information in it is not new news, or shouldn't be. The grid is a system designed a long time ago under a different set of assumptions. To think it can just be used differently is foolish. In spite of all the talk about a smart grid, that concept is to essentially overlay a communication system for better control over the existing power infrastructure. It doesn't really change the architecture or basic characteristics of that system, and it isn't really happening anyway (because it's expensive and there is no growth to fund it).

I prefer the real world verse simulations, for these types of problems the industry has a solution..

New GE combined cycle power plant delivers both flexibility and efficiency; enables greater use of wind, solar and natural gas on grid.


I.E. Dump the coal in favor of NG or gasify the coal and you'll solve the problem..

good news,
Wind power supplied 4.4% of US grid net generation in March 2012. Yeah..

Groundwater Depletion in Semiarid Regions of Texas and California Threatens US Food Security

... Three results of the new study are particularly striking: First, during the most recent drought in California's Central Valley, from 2006 to 2009, farmers in the south depleted enough groundwater to fill the nation's largest human-made reservoir, Lake Mead near Las Vegas -- a level of groundwater depletion that is unsustainable at current recharge rates.

Second, a third of the groundwater depletion in the High Plains occurs in just 4% of the land area. And third, the researchers project that if current trends continue some parts of the southern High Plains that currently support irrigated agriculture, mostly in the Texas Panhandle and western Kansas, will be unable to do so within a few decades.

Yep. Time to move to the new website.

"The Water Barrel"
Discussions about water and our future

And in India ... High temperature, dipping water table

... the alarming nature of the situation can be gauged from the fact that the annual rate of decline in ground water table in these areas was in the range of one to 1.5 metres. Experts attribute this sudden increase in the demand for water to the ever rising population coupled with installation of more and more hand pumps and bore wells in some of these areas.

Also, could happen again ...

Migration of monsoons created, then killed Harappan civilization

The slow eastward migration of monsoons across the Asian continent initially supported the formation of the Harappan civilization in the Indus valley by allowing production of large agricultural surpluses, then decimated the civilization as water supplies for farming dried up, researchers reported Monday.

The results provide the first good explanation for why the Indus valley flourished for two millennia, sprouting large cities and an empire the size of contemporary Egypt and Mesopotamia combined, then dwindled away to small villages and isolated farms

Maybe this has something to do with it?


Increasing depletion of water in order to sell religion. Wonderful!


Most high rises in my vicinity have the water required for daily usage trucked in as water tables have sunk so low that it's impossible to drill; drinking water is now supplied via water cans. Although the best part is that this is considered entirely normal, in fact RE prices in this region have never been so high. LOL

Funny thing...human expectations.

In agreement. Yes.
Peak oil will be ugly but peak water is the end.

I use this example when trying (and failing) to tell my parents (late 80s) about AGW and peak resources.

They live in a state where they are fighting in court with two other states over dwindling water resources and rights. I tell them:

"If you were told 40 years ago that Georgia, Alabama and Florida would go to court over not having enough water, you would think that messenger crazy too."

It does not work though.... They always drop the name of a supernatural being who will provide.


Funny how we never hear quotes such as

"wether I live or die, I belong to the LORD"


"I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."

She helps those who help themselves?

Whatever gets you through the night.

tat tvam asi

('That thou are'. In other words that Brahman which is the common Reality behind everything in the cosmos is the same as the essential Divinity, namely the Atman, within you.)

Hahah, nice Bob,

Remember that thing I wrote once to you about ?

Regardless, try this out >

'You are consciousness, and consciousness is you and everything else'- My Big TOE.

The above is based on cutting edge scientific principles of the 21st century, with roots traceable all the way back to the mystics of yore. In short, a unification of metaphysics and philosophy with physics.

I apologize for not remembering that exchange at the moment.. but glad it connected with you.

Another favorite of mine,

'The truth is one. Sages call it by many names.'

No apology required. I expected it not to impress anything significant upon you based on your reply.

Sages also know we 'get it' when the time is right for each individual.

Take Care.

Funny how we never hear quotes such as

"wether I live or die, I belong to the LORD"

You just have to hang out with the right group...


Oh those folks! Well, if everyone joined their cult, it would help with the population growth problem a bit.

"just as the man had apparently watched a snake kill his father years before."

Only if they start snake handling before they start reproducing....

Recovering water from tailings ponds

... When oilsands are processed, tailings are the materials left over. They include water, clay particles, unrecovered bitumen, and residual solvents that are used during the process of refining oil. This leftover material is dumped into tailings ponds where it can take three to five years for the water to separate from the clay particles. Even then, further settling requires decades.

“According to the rules and regulations, [companies] are required to recycle 85 to 90 per cent of the water that they use. If [tailings] don’t settle quickly, they are not able to recover more water,” ... Siddique and his collaborators have found a natural way to speed up the settling process.

... Tailings ponds cover about 170 square kilometres of land in Alberta.

I've seen this work presented in person and it seems plausible in the lab scale, but I see it failing like most Oil Sand innovations in that they're not going to be able to scale it up. There's just too much bloody production of tailings to make something like this work.

Anyways, the main problem with the oil sands is the extraction process, it's an antiquated process developed in the 1930's. IMO the only real solution to Oil Sand tailings is innovation in the extraction process to avoid making so much tailings ... but trying to do that in Alberta (and I work for an R&D company trying to do that) is really hard since the processing plants for surface mining are such a huge investment and the operators would rather pay for bandaid solutions to deal with the tailings than try to rework the extraction process.

Study takes novel 'back-casting' approach to transform cities for healthier lives

... Professor Rogers said: "Engineering of our cities has traditionally been a 'top-down' exercise, mainly because it's so very difficult to create a 'bottom-up' approach: solutions are created and society must either learn to work and live with them or choose to resist them.

"Our research is novel in that we start by imagining the future that we want for our cities, for example what does an 80 per cent carbon reduced Lancaster look like? We then work backwards to find out what combinations of engineering solutions, behavioural changes and technological developments are needed to make these alternative futures possible, while at the same time ensuring that the planet can still provide us with the resources we need. The ambition of our research programme is necessary to deal with the global challenges that we face."


I just had another cornucopian interview where I was dismissively challenged on the notion that peak oil was real for the US. In fact, the claim was made that the US will, because of shale oil, surpass it's old peak of C&C production set back in 1970, thereby proving that Peak Oil is a flawed idea.

Capital and ingenuity will always find a way to make more oil come out of the ground, or so the logic goes.

The more I dig into actual data the more concerned I get but I am fighting a mighty propaganda machine that has somewhat comprehensively flooded the airwaves with the idea that we're now out of the woods. While I understand the psychological motivations that led to the desire to believe that no changes to our lifestyles will be necessary let alone geologically enforced, I am perplexed by the gap between my reading of the data and what is being commonly touted.

Here's where I could use some help from the esteemed membership here:

1) Has there been any data based refutation of Berman's & Pittinger's 2011 shale gas analysis that concluded that commercial reserves had been overstated by ~100%? Anything? Have they been subpoenaed or sued by one of their 'targets'?

2) Is there any explanation yet for the gap between the EIA and the Texas Railroad Commission production data?

3) Is it possible that shale oil could add 4 MBD (net) or more over the next ten years to the US' daily production?

As I run the numbers in terms of the number of wells that would have to be drilled to achieve #3 it's not an unthinkable number...but I have too much uncertainty around decline rates from existing wells (both conventional and shale), flow rates from the various shale plays, EUR, and all the rest.

At any rate, I find the conversation has tilted decidedly towards the cornucopian side of things on an emotional level, but I cannot find the data to yet sway me away form the idea that the US will be import dependent forever and that the P/C figures that Westexas has gathered for exporters says that the future is heavily tilted towards higher oil prices.

"I find the conversation has tilted decidedly towards the cornucopian side of things on an emotional level,..."

I never noticed that the conversation tilted away from cornucopianism, much, on any scale that matters.

but I cannot find the data to yet sway me away form the idea that the US will be import dependent forever..."

We don't need no inconvenient data. It took us @2 million years to get this far. You think humans are going to let a little geology or science (or ELM, or doom-bloggers) spoil their party?

"Save as many as you can."

BTW, any link to the interview forthcoming?

Chris - As far as your #3 goes did you catch my post a while back? I pulled the data for all the Eagle Ford wells completed during the month of March 2011. You can find that post for exact numbers but initially production was around 450 bopd per well. During month 13 they were averaging around 225 bopd. So it's a simple model: to be producing 4 million bopd would take 8,900 wells drilled in Month 1...you pick a year. Obviously they can't drill that many wells in one month but if they did those wells would be producing closer to 2 million bopd 12 months later. So to stay at 4 million bopd for any extended period would require a constant addition of new wells. So whether all the wells were drilled in one month or if it took 10 years to get production to 4 million bopd, decline rates would require an every increasing number of wells to be drilled to keep production at 4 million bopd for just one year.

And let's not forget that there are a finite number of Eagle Ford drill sites. At one time many years ago the Austin Chalk horizontal play (a fractured carbonate "shale") was the hottest play in the country...much hotter than the EFS is right now. Yet you don't hear much about it today. And for good reason: it's been fairly well drilled up. And if oil prices stay up some day they'll be saying the same thing about the EFS.

Thank you Rockman,

I did catch that post and saved it as it had the same sort of aggregated data that I am reviewing for the Bakken play. Namely, without going through the trouble of getting all the well by well data by vintage, we can learn something by noting that 1,427 wells are producing ~300 kbpd for an average of 210 bpd/well in the EF, while the Bakken had 6,617 wells in January producing 546 kbpd for an average of 82 bpd/well.

I've built the spreadsheet models with the annual decline rates for wells and find that unless the drill rigs we have somehow multiply by whole numbers that the output asymptotically declines until a steady state is reached between new wells completed and old wells declining. Of course, the very instant the drill programs stop the output declines exponentially. It's really quite a staggering program of drilling, and I am not sure that most casual observers are aware that the same 1,000 drill rigs will definitely give you an initial increase in production will also max out and achieve a sort of equilibrium with the decline rates.

IT's not a terribly complex model to build, child's play really, yet it seems that many are making mental linear extrapolations of current production increases and calling that future production.

...I feel an article - a quest if you will - coming on....

Hey Chris,

re: "yet it seems that many are making mental linear extrapolations of current production increases and calling that future production."

That seems to be the foundation of all belief other than those 'in the know' on TOD and similar sites. Lately, it has seemed that PO views are more polarized....acceptance and acknowledgement, or total denial based on misinformation.

I am still waiting for the editorial by Fareed Zaharia on GPS about Peak Oil. I haven't seen it yet!!

The fact that more folks have opinions on energy, rather than the simple mouth breathing blank stare of past discussions, suggests the concept of PO and energy scarcity is risimg to the surface of consciousness.


Chris - it will be very interesting to look back a year from now. I keep hearing from various vendors about a near future slow up in EFS drilling. It hasn't manifested in the rig count yet but operators are telling the subcontractors they will not be drilling as many wells as they previously planned. Heard scuttlebutt that one contractor is planning on laying off several thousand workers. I'm sure the drop in NG had some effect even though the prime target is oil. With oil prices starting to soften and the prospect off the Seaway p/l delivering a significant volume of Cushing oil to Gulf Coast refiners I wonder how many more projects will be delayed. BHP put out a very telling press release IMHO. They plan to cut back on some of the development of the shale leases on the properties they recently acquired (for $17 billion) until economics improved. They were talking about NG prices in particular. The question is how long can they wait. All those undrilled shale leases have automatic expirations. Most probably less than 3 years. Even without a slow up in drilling I've already wondered how many leases would expire before they were drilled. Producing a well on a 10,000 acre lease block typically only hold the acreage assigned to that well....around 160 to 320 acres at most. The rest of the acres will expire if production isn't established. Essentially the BHP press release said an unspecified number of their leases didn't meet economic requirements. And now with the prospect of oil prices sliding a bit one has to wonder how many other leases won't clear the hurdle.

Drilling won't come to a complete halt in the EFS for a number of reasons. But a significant slow up would likely kill some of the hype the public companies have been riding on. And if that equates to less interest in their stocks which leads to lower valuations which leads to less capability to raise capex to expand drilling? Makes me envision a run on a solvent bank: they are really financially sound but the perception of unsoundness leads to massive withdrawls which leads to insolvency. Reality wasn't as big a factor in the expansion of the EFS as was the perception IMHO. And that knife can easily cut both ways. Consider the drop in Facebook stock value. Perceptions hyped the IPO value. Now many of the analysts are saying it will likely be a good buy...when prices drop a good bit more. Something of a self filling prophecy IMHO.

"Of course, the very instant the drill programs stop the output declines exponentially."

And that, my friend, is but one major economic downturn away. You hit these higher capital costs, these higher marginal costs for a barrel, these higher decline rates with major economic shock via demand destruction and plummeting prices and you wonder if production will recover rapidly enough to bring down that decline rate.

Seems to me it would take a lot to hit net new 4 million bpd. Thousands and thousands and thousands of rigs. We'd be very lucky to make half that. In the meantime, it looks like volatility has become much more endemic to the oil patch.

Anywhere we can grab an MP3 or catch the video?

U.S. oil production to surge on shale output: EIA

Growing shale production as well as Gulf of Mexico development will boost U.S. crude oil production by more than 20 percent to 6.7 million barrels per day in 2020 from 5.5 million bpd in 2010, the EIA said in its annual domestic energy outlook.

That is a far cry from 4 mb/d.

Also the Bakken has a very high decline rate. After a few years you have to keep drilling hundreds of wells just to make up for the decline in older wells. In other words you must run faster and faster just to stay in the same place.

From the Oil & Gas Journal. Behind a pay wall but full article available with Google search.

Bakken's maximum potential oil production rate explored

The issue explored in this article is the maximum oil production rate of the North Dakota portion of the Bakken oil formation. Three oil production rates for 2020 are evaluated: 1 million b/d, 1.5 million b/d, and 2 million b/d. This information is important because of tightening world liquid fuels supply/demand balances and increasing price volatility.

In other words they consider 1 mb/d the minimum and 2 mb/d the maximum. This chart is also in that article:

Bakken Decline Rate

Ron P.

Those are hyperbolic declines drawn in those diagrams. Hyperbolic arcs are the most desirable as they generate the fattest tail in the decline part of the curve and thus a creeping cumulative.

From the numbers in the inset, the median of the hyperbolic decline is around 5 years, bouncing between 4.2 and 5.9
0.19 = 1/(1+4.2/1)
0.46 = 1/(1+5.9/5)
0.64 = 1/(1+5.6/10)

The artists rendition is completely bogus however, as the median point is not at half of the cumulative as drawn.

But there is no real indication that Bakken wells are hyperbolic, and one could argue that they are more than likely exponential declines. I say that because there is not a big reserve where a slow decline can draw from. Is it diffusional flow from the fractures?


Regarding your question 3:

3) Is it possible that shale oil could add 4 MBD (net) or more over the next ten years to the US' daily production?

I believe the answer is a categorical NO. One way of addressing that is to simply say "What if they could magically get production up by an additional 4.1 million barrels per day?" Then let's see how long the shale oil resources would last.

The USGS estimates of the P50 (proven plus probable) oil reserves in the two major plays going on right now are:

Bakken 3.6 billion barrels
Eagleford 900 million barrels
Total 4.5 billion barrels




So 4.1 million additional barrels per day is ~ 1.5 billion barrels per year

4.1 million barrels per day would consume those proven plus probable reserves in 3 years. Then what?

Of course true cornucopians do not get their reserve data from the USGS - they get it from investment newsletters.

Similarly, I did some simple math on what the effect might be of removing ALL limits on drilling in the U.S. and following the "energy independence" path, and concluded that it would cut the lifespan of our remaining recoverable oil resources in half: The last sip. I also reviewed some data on Bakken & EF well productivity from Laherrère here: Energy independence, or impending oil shocks?. And yes, there does seem to be a real disconnect between EIA and TRRC data.

Chris - Perhaps your model is a tad too simple. As I've pointed out before while drilling in the heart of oil country in the Gulf Coast for almost 40 years not once have I been prevented from drilling any well due to anyone's regulations. Granted there are some areas offshore and In Alaska some companies would be happy to drill but I would hold off making very big projections as to how much oil might be developed in those areas and, equally important IMHO, how fast they would be developed/produced once companies got access. There has been a basic truism in the oil patch for many decades: the best place to look for oil/NG is next to (or under) where you've already found it. And most of those potential wells fall in areas where there are virtually no regulations preventing drilling. Consider where the big increase in US oil production has come from in the last 10 years: Deep Water GOM. Except for the little bump in the road caused by BP's carelessness things are moving along out there just as they had been.

My comments up the thread:


I think that the RRC numbers for Texas natural gas production are particularly relevant:

The RRC data show that Texas gas wells had a secondary production peak (absolute production peak so far was in 1972) in 2008, and from 2008 to 2011, annual Texas natural gas production, from gas wells, fell at 3.5%/year, even as the number of producing gas wells in Texas increased at about 2.5%/year (from 2008 to 2010). The RRC data show that monthly Texas natural gas production, from gas wells, fell at 8.5%/year from 1/09 to 1/12.

This, along with the RRC crude oil production data, does not bode well for the Shale Play model, i.e., the assumption that increasing production from shale plays can keep total US oil & gas production on a steady upward slope indefinitely.

So they blow their horn of plenty, and most will believe them. That won't make it happen. Their efforts cannot bring about what they promise. OTOH, they are telling people what they want to hear. What percentage could be convinced that the propaganda is wrong, and what difference would that make? I tend to think that those who grasp the predicament we're in are a self selected group inclined to be skeptical, and that the more important thing is to provide such people with access to the information. Trying to wake the sleeping is an effort if diminishing returns.

Chris: the leaders of our nation, like the financiers, cannot admit the truth b/c if they did the party would end post haste. It is only the perception that things will get better that is keeping this ship afloat today... sort of like trying to plug the leak on the Titanic with one roll of duct tape! You can spin out the tape, but reality eventually will claim the ship.

For a short time though, you keep things going and there is a buck to be made. Just one more quarterly report! Maybe we can salvage an IPO? Or take this thing private?


Chris Nelder's article up top: Storytelling Our Energy Future is a though provoking look at the narratives we live by:


Highly recommended.

'Methane' bubbling in river

BUBBLING in the Condamine River in south-west Queensland is "unlikely" to be the result of nearby coal-seam drilling according to the Queensland Government.

Instead, investigations by the government and gas well owners Origin suspect it is methane that is rising from beneath the river bed.

Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said the four gas wells in the area were "cased" so there were no pipelines nearby.

The closest is 1.4km away.

Occam's razor

Don't worry... that really unusual bubbling in the river that no one noticed before was always there.

When patching a bike tire's inner tube that has a pin hole leak the first thing you have to do is find the leak. The way to find the leak is to pump the tube up to a high pressure and stick it under water. The bubbles give the leak away.

"Extra heatwaves could kill 150,000 Americans by 2099"

Now I understand hardcore conservative denial of climate science. It is actually in ingenious plan to reduce social security and medicare costs. :-)

Methinks the estimate is a bit low! Consider


One heatwave... 35,000 dead. Imagine that combined with blackout in, say, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, or Chicago, etc. Like flies, they'll be dropping. L i k e f l i e s.


Japan inches towards restarting nuclear reactors

Japan on Wednesday inched closer to re-starting idle nuclear reactors, just weeks after the last one was switched off amid public disquiet following the disaster at Fukushima.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda indicated that he was close to giving the green light to units at Oi in western Japan, with opinion coalescing around the need to bring them back online.

"We are beginning to gain a certain level of understanding from the local governments concerned," he said, a reference to the self-imposed restriction of seeking agreement from communities that host the plants. "Nuclear reactors continue to be important for the development of Japanese society as a whole. "What comes first is not the restart of reactors but the safety of them. "I will make a final decision after having discussions with ministers concerned if Fukui prefecture and Oi town reach a conclusion."

Japan's political classes have been tip-toeing around the unpopular issue of reactor restarts for months, in the face of public distrust of the technology since the meltdowns at Fukushima.

Increasingly alarmist warnings of summer power blackouts, with some estimates suggesting certain areas could see electricity supply fall as much as 20 percent short of demand, have added urgency to the issue.

They've been trying to turn them back on for a while now. Japan simply relied far too much on nuclear and never tried to build up its renewable power generation, and now they have a gap. The popular opinion seems to have turned decisively against nuclear, however.

It is interesting to see the politicians so obviously trying to go against the popular will.

Economically, Japan doesn't really have much choice but to restart them.

Economy being held up by power shortages

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said at a meeting Wednesday of Cabinet members concerned with the country's energy policy that nuclear power will "continue to be necessary to stabilize and improve the country's economy."

Concern about electricity shortages due to the suspension of nuclear power reactors is one of the six main difficulties facing Japanese companies. Others include the strong yen, a delay in trade liberalization and high corporate tax.

Under such conditions, firms are taking such measures as installing private electric generators and reducing work hours. However, there are limits to how much they can do.

If expectations of power shortages continue, this may lead to an acceleration of companies shifting their production bases abroad, which would adversely affect the domestic employment situation.

Japan posted a record trade deficit of 4.42 trillion yen in fiscal 2011, due mainly to a sharp increase in imported liquefied natural gas for thermal power plants due to the suspensions of nuclear power plants.

According to an estimate by the Cabinet Office, if all nuclear reactors in the country are offline and thermal power generation continues to cover the power shortfall, power generation costs will increase by 10 percent and the country's gross domestic product will decrease by 0.4 percent to 0.6 percent.

And if Japan installs, say, 10 GW of solar PV and 5 GW of wind every 12 months ...

I was surprised to learn that Japan already leads the world in pumped storage - 25.5 GW. So little of a massive renewable installation would go to waste.

And the Japanese people are clearly capable of such as effort.

Best Hopes,


Actually, if you think about it, it's not that surprising. If one considers a typical load profile with a peak in the middle of the day and a trough in the middle of the night and then considers a generation profile consisting of a lot of nuclear base-load plants, what would be the best way to deal with that? Pumped storage is perfect.

The optimum storage capacity would be just enough to sink all the excess during the trough and provide all the excess during the peak. FF powered peaker plants would not be necessary. Funny how a solution for the solution for the relatively constant output of nuclear generators also turns out to be a good solution fro the intermittent nature of wind and solar.

Alan from the islands

Interesting . . . they'll just reverse their pumping schedule. Instead of pumping at night and using hydro to help cover peak, they'll instead pump during the day from solar and help cover the night-time needs.


Japan's photovoltaic resource map is about half way down. They have some decent locations.

Hokkaido has wind. http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/indepth/scenic/hokkaido/hokkaido_01.html

"The Hokkaido area has the largest number of wind-generated power plants in Japan. As of March 2007, 249 plants were in operation. It is expected that this figure will increase in the future in order to provide stable power through operation appropriate for the environment of Hokkaido and to control carbon dioxide emission."

And they have mountains for pumped storage. They can do it if they want to.

The popular opinion my have turned decisively against nuclear power, but I bet it's even more strongly against *not having* power. The desire to keep the lights on will trump any other concerns --barring the availability of scalable, viable alternatives.

'War on Drugs' not going so swell ...

Colombia Moves To Legalise Drug Crops

Colombian politicans have passed the first draft of a bill that will decriminalise the cultivation of drug crops. The new law would permit coca, marijuana and opium poppies to be legally grown within the country, but trafficking would continue to be illegal.

Those in favour argue the elimination of prison sentences for cocaine production would create market forces through legal crop growth. This would in turn drive down the price and reduce the flow of cash from drugs to the country’s violent rebel groups.

and Mexico Ex-President Calls Drug War 'Useless'

MEXICO CITY — Former Mexican President Vicente Fox on Wednesday labeled the global war on drugs “useless” and an "absolute failure," saying it's time to consider legalization as an antidote to the violence ravaging his country.

No ticker-tape parade then?

At least the 'War on Terror' is going well?

Don't forget the War on Poverty and the War on Cancer.

Past of the problem, in Colombia, is that farmers are often forced into growing at gunpoint. The Coca tree grows widely and can turn up anywhere. If a farmer has one on his land the narcos will come along and harvest it, if he cuts it down they will shoot him. It is pointless prosecuting the farmer, who will be the one caught with the crop on their land.

As for Mexico, legalization will do absolutely nothing to stop the violence as the cartels will turn to other incomes such as kidnap and extortion plus fighting to control the legal trade.


Certainly some in the cartels will continue their criminal careers in other ways, but many more will not be involved. Organized crime in the US is far from over, but the shoot-outs in the streets and overall power of criminal mafia (cartels) in the 1920s, during prohibition, was much worse than it is today. As for the claim that they will be "fighting to control the legal trade", I would like to ask you the last time people from Bud and Coors had a shootout on your street, or murdered 10 people and left them as a warning, or the last time Diageo had the mayor assassinated in any city in the US?

Take the big money out of crime and fewer people will be drawn to it. Make it legal and businesses will be created. Bud and Diageo and Altria and all the other corporations that make and sell legal drugs may be bad, but the alternative is worse.

When narcotics was legal in Europe (late 1800eds, early 1900) crime was low (nearly non existent) related to drugs, but usage was high. It eventually became so much it was outlawed. Looks like whatever we do, there is a downside.

If you make existing narcotics illegal, the enterprising among us chemists will invent new ones. This can have unfortunate consequences.


Why 'bath salts'( the drug of choice for face eaters) are dangerous

Bath salts contain amphetamine-like chemicals such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone, and pyrovalerone. They’re referred to as a “designer drug of the phenethylamine class” by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Other drugs in this class include amphetamines, mescaline, and ephedrine. MDPV comes in a powdered form that is inhaled, swallowed or shot into a vein. Bath Salts are sold as "cocaine substitutes" or "synthetic LSD".


It sounds like they mix the worst traits of other drugs in the amphetamine class. The addictive, speedy qualities of meth with hallucinogenic qualities, all with an even greater tendency to cause psychosis than the rest in the class (amphetamine psychosis is well known, and seems to be a trait of stimulants in general). Some other drugs in the class look safer, actually; mescaline has a good safety record, and MDMA (ectasy)'s record (despite widespread use) is not bad either. But the stimulant amphetamines certainly do have a bad record in general.

A similar but different thing is going on with the fake-pot "incense" stuff like K2 and Spice. It turns out that, in contrast to actual cannabis which is one of the safest drugs on the planet (literally impossible to overdose on, few long term health effects, etc.), the synthetic analogs have a number of negative health effects. So by chasing people out of the illegal drugs we're encouraging the use of more unsafe imitations.

That said, the drug "problem" could be solved in a number of ways, and if we were rational we would probably look at actual harm and legalize the safest drugs (cannabis) while heavily regulating the most dangerous (alcohol, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, tobacco). The biggest parts of the current drug trade are cannabis, cocaine, and heroin. Cannabis should be legal, period. Cocaine used to be available in less concentrated forms, like Coca-Cola and such, but if I were in charge I would just allow coca leaf tea (as they do in Peru and 3 other South American countries) and see if that works out or not. Heroin is obviously not going to fly, but there are non-criminal treatment options like maintainence programs.

Unfortunately, so much hysteria, racism, propoganda, and money is involved (police and prisons as well as on the criminal side), that the whole thing is left to fester instead. Even talking about legalizing cannabis gets people in a tizzy, when that's a no-brainer.

I'm sorry but today's Mexico is nothing like yesterday's Chicago. We see this stuff all the time and I get to hear some of the background too. We are talking people who kill for a couple of hundred pesos or drag a truck load of innocent people off the street and dump their dismembered bodies just to scare people. They are not going to let anything get in the way of making money and increasing their life styles.


And I'm equally sure people thought and said the exact same thing about the mafia during prohibition - that they were a new and different type of criminal that would never go away. And to some extent they were right; the mafia still exists. But it doesn't have shoot-outs in the streets, either. Prohibition ended and with it ended the wars between criminal syndicates for the alcohol trade.

If they don't have the money, they don't have the guns and ammo (which all cost money), the ability to bribe others, or any of those things. Drugs are the source of their power, take away their source of power and they wilt like a plant deprived of water. Whether they want to or not. The ones that are hardened criminals may stay that way, but there simply will be many fewer new entrants into the criminal world of the cartels to replace them.

You are right, the best way to fight the war on drugs is to legalize it and tax it heavily. It will provide a good source of revenue for the Government.

The casino that was burnt out killing many people was not drugs. The teachers who were threatened with handing over their aguinaldo or the children would be gunned down was not drugs. The dismembered bodies dumped was not drugs. I could go on. I see it regularly. If, say, cocaine was sold through pharmacias the gangs would demand payment. If they did not receive that payment the pharmacias would be attacked, killing people and getting burnt out. I cannot agree with legalising as it will not change the violence, that is a society matter and nothing to do with drugs.

On the other hand I do consider it better to deal with the addicts by treatment not custody, throwing kids in jail and leaving them with a trail of convictions for smoking dope is not going to help them. Likewise farmers who are forced to let the narcos use their fields should not be punished either. It is the middle ground where things need to be changed and that does not relate to drugs alone but the accumulation of power and wealth. If these people cannot gain from drugs they turn to extortion, money laundering, loan sharking, people trafficking and many other such activities. Are you suggesting that, if such activities are pusued with violence, that they should be made legal too? If the answer to one problem is to make it legal then why should that not apply to others? If robbery with violence is a problem then why not make robbery legal?


Voluntary groups can promote pro-environmental practice at small scale

Evidence suggests third sector organisations (TSOs) can be successful at changing behaviour within local, small group settings, which encourage collective action and the creation of new group norms. They have also been successful at providing alternative infrastructures – such as sustainable housing projects, community farms, food or renewable energy co-operatives – that enable behaviour change.

However, the small, local and time-intensive nature of many projects poses a barrier to implementing them on a wider scale. There is also a lack of evidence around whether TSOs can have impact on 'harder to change' behaviours, such as transport practices.

The question that remains is whether it is possible to engage the broader public, especially where behaviour change challenges mainstream attitudes and norms.

There is also a lack of evidence around whether TSOs can have impact on 'harder to change' behaviours, such as transport practices.

This is the problem with simple individualized or even small group attempts to resolve
our problems with Peak Oil and Climate Change. Transportation is necessarily a GROUP or
government issue which cannot be solved by simple individual choice. I cannot take a train that does not run, choices of Rail or Roads across eminent domain routes are decided by governments not individuals. And yet Transportation is the most critical issue for Peak Oil accounting for 70% of US oil usage and the hardest to change for Climate change accounting directly for 38% of greenhouse emissions but actually far more when you count the costs of 250 Million cars and thousands of miles of highways and 50 million football fields of asphalt for the 250 million cars.
Which is precisely why the Koch Bros and the fossil fuel consortium is determined to stop Rail projects wherever their Teabaggers are elected to keep the addiction going...

Australians 'may have to choose what to save'

The responsibility for choosing which Australian native species survive – and which go extinct – may ultimately fall to ordinary Australians.

“For the first time ever, we are starting to get a handle on the return on investment from conservation,” he said.

“However, this also clearly shows that, at current levels of funding and current rates of extinction, we won't be able to save everything.

“Then it will come down to a public decision about what kind of Australia we really want, which native species we should strive to keep – and how many we feel we can afford to let go.”

As Aldo Leopold pointed out some time ago, this is akin to amateur auto repair wherein the tinkerer discards some (many) of the engine parts; because he does not understand them, he considers them "not useful". "The first rule in intelligent tinkering: keep all the parts."

Evidently H. saps will not be one of the endangered species with an annual population increase of about 2% of which 60% is from immigration. New human arrivals don't go near wilderness areas but increasing demands of the cities eventually affect habitat.

Extending out to a global perspective for a minute, Vaclav Smil calculated that in 2006 humans and domesticated animals and birds made up 97 percent of terrestrial vertebrates by mass. As recently as 1950, the figure was under 50%; by now, it's probably over 98%.

Conclusion: nearly all wild animals and birds are functionally extinct. They won't see out the century, except in zoos and a few small "reserves" (hunting parks for the patron of the WWF).

How long after that H. sap. survives, I don't know.

From Springer publications ...

Peeking at peak oil: Will consumers face oil rationing within a decade?

What happens when a handful of the world's largest oil fields— accounting for two-thirds of the world's oil—run dry? What are the implications of such a prospect for food production, economic growth and ultimately, global security? In his new book, Peeking at Peak Oil ( Springer, 2012) physicist Kjell Aleklett explores the science and consequences behind the sobering reality that the world's oil production is entering terminal decline with no satisfactory alternatives.

Converting cars to all-electric is catching on, but slowly

Does that old Honda in your driveway need a valve job? Transform it with an electric conversion. A team at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh has come up with a kit to make your 2001-2005 Civic a zero-emission battery car. Converting an existing car instead of buying a new one is good for the planet, and the old beater will have a new lease on life.

Your mechanic can probably install the kit in 2 half days. It's not a difficult job, and you can sell the used engine and transmission on Craigslist. That's the good part.

Here's the bad part: ...

San Andreas Fault in Santa Cruz Mountains -- large quakes more frequent than previously thought

Recent paleoseismic work has documented four surface-rupturing earthquakes that occurred across the Santa Cruz Mountains section of the San Andreas Fault (SAF) in the past 500 years. The research, conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, with assistance from the California Geological Survey, suggests an average recurrence rate of 125 years, indicating the seismic hazard for the area may be significantly higher than currently recognized.

Geologists Thomas Fumal and Tim Dawson conducted paleoseismic studies at Mill Canyon, near Watsonville, California. They documented evidence for four earthquakes, the most recent being the 1906 M 7.8 San Francisco event. They conclude that each of the three earthquakes prior to the 1906 quake was a large magnitude event that likely ruptured most, or all, of the Santa Cruz Mountains segment, producing similar physical deformation as the 1906 quake.

Baltic pipeline in subsea tie-in phase

Work has started on underwater tie ins of the second Nord Stream gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea.

Connection of the central and southwestern sections will take place in June off the Swedish island of Gotland in a water depth of around 110 m (361 ft).

Azeri gas flow to Turkey may not resume for 10 days-officials

Flows on a pipeline carrying Azeri natural gas from the Shah Deniz fields may not resume for 10 days due to the extent of repair work after an explosion halted supply, Turkish energy officials said on Wednesday.

An explosion occurred on the pipeline near the eastern Turkish city of Erzurum late on Tuesday, the Turkish officials said on condition of anonymity. It was not immediately clear what caused the blast.

The real headline.. Wind power generates 4.4% of US electricity.

For the month of march.. March 2012 stats from DOE/EIA

For my own reasons, I am always curious about the status of the states of the three major US interconnects. After downloading the raw data, dropping Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia (DC shows up as zero total net generation and zero wind generation), I get the following for March 2012:

Interconnect    Percent Wind
Texas               9.18
Western             6.61
Eastern             3.08
Total               4.38

Kudos to Texas, although March is not a typical month: total net generation is about half their summer peak, and the wind tends to blow better in March than in does in the summer, so they'll look somewhat worse as the year goes along. Several smaller (by population) states along the Great Plains and downslope of the Rockies did better than Texas; the "winner" was South Dakota at 32% of generation.

An alternate, but also interesting, way to split things is east and west of the Mississippi River (again counting whole states, with Minnesota and Louisiana both counted as west of the river): west of the river, 8.28% of March generation was wind, while east of the river, only 1.39%. This is not surprising, given the distribution of wind resources and population. I find this one particularly interesting because it suggests that if the eastern population centers are going to get a significant portion of their power from wind, they're going to have to finance a massive construction program.

RE: Drivers, cyclists square off on sharing the road

The other day I was cycling home and I was pondering how easy it was to move on a bike. I barely have to exert myself on flat land and coast downhill [a high quality bike makes a hugh difference]. The calories you burn walking have to be more than the energy that went into the bicycle parts. The bicycle may be the closest thing we have to free energy.

I agree that a high-quality bike makes a huge difference. But if you admit to having spent more than $1000 or $2000 on a bike here, you may get branded as an elitist. Sorry but IMO that is chicken-feed kind of money for the payback you get.

Yes some bikers do go over the top, and it's not just the bikes, first it's the helmet, then the jersey, then clip-less pedals, shoes, Wi-Fi cyclo-computer, hydration packs, bottle cage, gloves, glasses, locks, high visibility jackets, trouser clips, pannier racks, bags and don't get me started about the lights. By the time one is finished loading the bike it has more bling on it than a disco pub from the 70's and 80's. And in the biking sub-culture you gotta have it all if you are a serious biker i.e. unless you are into fixies, in which case you must ride naked. Kinda kills the whole idea of a 'simple means of transportation'. :-)

Still any day better than a car though. I always wondered how many bicycles can be made if 80% of the stuff from a car was recycled.
I own a $400 Schwinn MTB, great bike.

"Kinda kills the whole idea of a 'simple means of transportation'."

Luckily, there are a number of 'bike cultures'.. and many of them are into cheap, functional and casual transportation.

I made a couple quick trips over to a client yesterday on a semi-rusty old $100 schwinn from Toys-R-Us.. and gave my colleague there a ride and we thought about where he could get such a fine and plain set of wheels.. as we snickered about the 'grand' bikes. (ie, $1000 or more)

Vive la difference..

The type of cyclists mentioned in Wiseindian's post are not into bikes for transportation - it's all about ego, how neat my stuff is and who is the fastest - Lance Armstrong wannabes. I see this type of biker by the peleton load on weekends in our town which is on a very popular cycling route.

I belong to the class of cyclist that values cheap functional transportation that is an integral part of my daily commute.

High quality bicycles are nice, but maybe not the biggest factor in using a bike for commuting purposes. Tires make a huge difference. If your riding is mostly on hard surfaces, get the slimmest tires with the highest pressure rating that will fit your rims. A narrow 85psi tire will transform that heavy clunker into a much more efficient transportation machine than it is with the fat 40 psi mushballs that come on most inexpensive bikes. And unless you are into extreme mountain biking or jump a lot of curbs, skip the full suspension bikes - the weight penalty and increasesd complexity is not worth the small increase in ride comfort for ordinary cycling. Using a sprung saddle or seatpost gets about the same amount of comfort at much less of a weight penalty.

Thorn-resistant tubes on a carbon-fiber or titanium road bike frame is the way to go.

If I smeg up, a few whacks of a #4 adjusting tool should straighten things out on my bike frame. How does that work with Carbon Fibre? ;)


Too bad you can't take care of your things.

Ooooooooooo! I'm not perfect, are you? ;) On a more serious note, given the uncertainty of road surfaces and other vehicles?


I'd not discount the old, quality 'all-steel' bicycles of the 60s, 70s. I have a Raleigh Sports from 1960, and it's the most reliable and well-built bike I've ever seen. Even the Brooks leather saddle, 50 years old, still is in fine condition.

I'll just need to buy myself some decent supply of kevlar tires and inner tubes, and post-peak transportation issue is settled.

See? ALL SORTS of solutions to the 'bike' question..

Who says we don't have answers here?!

My rusty little schwinn with the fat, low pressure tubes is for the moment the 'path of least resistance', since it's the one I've got.. so it is 'the one'.. though I'm looking around for backup equipment constantly..


Anybody want a $25 classic banana-ride? That was #3 on the list after a 2-second search.

I wouldn't ride that.

Even if you are too lazy to pedal, bikes are great. EV cars get all the attention but the most popular EV is the humble electric bike. Millions of them in China and they are becoming more & more popular in the USA & Europe. They are pretty cheap and very efficient.

Before electrifying my 32 lb 1997 Raliegh M30, I decided to see what it was like at 54 years old to ride over the Hollywood hills on my own power. Took my 29 lb. 1994 Trek 930 (slightly modified, suspension stem and suspension seatpost, less weight than full suspension, just enough give for the cracked pavement.) Rode from my house to the parking lot in Ferndell, up the road past the observatory and to the top of the ridge -- not quite as high as Mt. Hollywood or the sign. Took me about an hour. Ate half a sandwich and drank 8 ounces of water. Rode halfway down the back side, cutting around the southern edge of the hills, down Los Feliz blvd. and back to my house...

Okay, I can say I did it (though I did walk the last hill.) It was beautiful; it was exciting, great views, some great downhill stretches where I probably was going close to 40. Deserted, closed paved roads on the backside, a few other bikers, but mostly me and the lizards and rattlesnakes.

It was also hell, and I definitely won't be able to do that in a few years. I'm gonna go electric on the Raleigh, start with a lightweight 250 motor. I can't wait.

And yeah, you guys are right... there were some bicycle snobs who wouldn't even look at me, but most of the folks didn't care. I really liked the 20-year-old kid who raced by me going the opposite direction doing close to 50 who pumped his fist in the air and screamed "get some!"

New Mexico Wildfire Becomes Largest In State's History

"ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A massive wildfire that has burned more than 265 square miles in the Gila National Forest has become the largest fire in New Mexico history, fire officials confirmed Wednesday...

...The fire has not been contained, and officials worry that shifting winds and dryness related to the state's record drought may cause the blaze to grow even more."

Oil Nations' Budgets to Put Floor Under Oil Price

In Russia, where protesters have been disputing election results since December, an increase in government spending has raised the oil price needed to balance expenditures to $117 per barrel in 2012, the Fitch Ratings agency said in March, compared with $34 a barrel in 2007.

High Maintenance

Ron P.

US gasoline demand hits new 2012 high

According to Master Card Spending Plus, US gasoline demand kicked off the summer driving season on a high note. Demand hit new 2012 highs for the third week in a row, but remained about 1% less than the comparable week from one year ago.

As US gasoline prices generally fell below year ago levels (with notable exceptions in isolated markets, such as in Oregon and Montana), demand has markedly recovered from the low levels of late winter.

US gas consumption rises as price falls

“Prices continued to fall which has given consumers a bit of a break at the start of the busy summer driving season,” John Gamel, a gasoline analyst and director of economic analysis for SpendingPulse, said in the report.

Fuel purchases were 1.1 percent below the year-earlier level, the 39th straight weekly decline in that measure. Fuel use over the previous four weeks fell 2.8 percent below the same period in 2011, the 62nd consecutive drop in that measure.



Is it just a coincidence that gasoline prices are falling during an election year in which gasoline prices were poised to be a major campaign topic for Republicans? I don't see how the government could be orchestrating this and I'm not a fan of conspiracy theories, but it certainly is very good news for Obama. Is it possible that the U.S. is withholding financial support for Europe because they know that doing so will lead to lower oil prices? Yes, a Eurozone crash would hurt the U.S. -- eventually -- but elections are now.

The US is in no condition to bail out European stressed countries. That would create a firestorm of protest in the US. And that is precisely why there is no talk in Congress or the White House about such a move. It is a European problem. The US is swamped with problems of its own.

Some Republicans are claiming Obama wants higher oil prices in order to cause a move away from fossil fuels. Other Republicans are claiming there is a conspiracy by Obama to lower oil prices in order to win more votes. The poor guy is boxed in on both sides by conspiracy theorist.

Ron P.

The US is in no condition to bail out European stressed countries

A public bailout is not necessary, Dollar-Euro swap lines are enough to prop up the market, it has happened by stealth previously, at least the MSM didn't cover it as much.

A Dollar-Euro might have some temporary affect on the markets but would do nothing to bail out the troubled economies of Greece, Spain or any other European company. There are no magic bullets that will save the troubled European economies. They have massive debts caused largely, but not entirely, by huge entitlement programs. There is no way to pay those debts now because their income is only a fraction of their liabilities.

And I seriously doubt that any Euro-Dollar swap would even dent the markets at this stage.

Ron P.

I would point out that Spain was in good fiscal shape when The Great Recession began. They have been killed by a massive real estate bubble fed by German, French and other banks. All managed w/o fannie and freddie. Greece is of course a long running basket case that can't be bothered to collect taxes. From what I have read GS, the Great Vampire Squid helped them mask reality in order to qualify to join with the tacit knowledge of the other countries.

They had an aconomy based muchly on building houses. Such a thing must cometo an end. They went down with the first blow of the 2008 crisis.

"The US is in no condition to bail out European stressed countries. That would create a firestorm of protest in the US. And that is precisely why there is no talk in Congress or the White House about such a move. It is a European problem. "

That made me flinch. 98 years ago that same statement was made. The US did not manage to stay out of it. One big mouthed German diplomat offered Mexico the Southwest back if only they would join the German side at the same time it was dawning on the East Coast bankers that England was not going to be repaying those war loans if they lost.

I would ditto Ron's comment and add:

Presidents don't have much control over either the economy or what happens to oil (and gasoline) prices. All the President's Men couldn't sustain a successful conspiracy. President Obama has probably perceived by now that an economic recovery = expectation of rising demand for oil = higher oil/gasoline prices, and conversely that economic weakness = expectation of falling demand for oil = lower oil/gasoline prices. If he could pick, he would much rather have economic recovery and spar with Mitt Romney about high gasoline prices.

The closest thing to conspiracy that has been described today would have Saudi Arabia flooding the market with oil to beggar its Shiite neighbors. That might cause a temporary but substantial dip in gasoline prices that brought retail employment and growth in consumer spending. I'm not holding my breath for this scenario.

Besides which, a surge in Saudi production would mess up US tight oil production, and probably a lot of Canada oil sands as well, offsetting gains on the consumer side. No free lunches!

Presidents don't have much control over either the economy or what happens to oil (and gasoline) prices.

War. Regulations. Two examples of control.

All the President's Men couldn't sustain a successful conspiracy.

If one removes the "secret" part of conspiracy - There are plenty of plans made every day that are harmful made by Government wrapped up in a cloak of "for your own good". And if this planning is done in omnibus legislation you, the citizen, has no control over and won't ever read yet is able to effect you - does the "secret" part matter all that much?

Contrary to a widely spread political theory, the delay in building the main portion of the Keystone pipeline has resulted in a build up of oil supplies and very low oil prices in the upper Midwest as compared to the rest of the world.

Some refiners (that upgraded themselves for heavier grades from Canada and the Bakken) in the upper Midwest have been able to show a nice refining profit and at the same time reduced gasoline prices.

So in this case the accusation that Obama is delaying the pipeline intentionally may be true, but it is having the opposite effect of what his political foes may claim.

Note I am not making a statement as to whether the pipeline will be good for the US, or not, in the long run.

On the Euro, the US through the Fed lent Europe up to around $500 billion in 2008 and 2009. They may withhold direct support, like IMF contributions, but I suppose the Fed could lend more again, although not subject to a Congressional vote loans of that size by the Fed could get a lot of attention.

One possibility is an IMF loan for Europe without the direct support of the US.

Unconfirmed Report: Chavez's cancer has 'entered the end stage'

This reporter has been told that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive cancer that has "entered the end stage". The information and the quote come from a highly respected source close to Chavez and who is in a position to know his medical condition and history. This source says the prognosis is dire and that Chavez is now not expected to live "more than a couple of months at most." Chavez is running for re-elec tion in Venezuela but several sources--including the one who revealed the exact kind of cancer-- have told me that they believe it is doubtful the dictator will live to see the results.

Voting is scheduled for October 7th. Chavez has been treated three times in Cuba but the exact kind of cancer has been a closely guarded state secret.

Reporter's note: There is only one source for identifying the cancer and for the prognosis quoted in the first part of the above story. This is a person whom your reporter has very good reason to trust, but you should know that there is only one source so far; no other immediate confirmation. All sources asked for and were granted anonymity because to reveal their names could place them in danger or, at the very least cost them their positions.

This could be the biggest oil story of the year. If Chavez were to die and a replacement allowed more foreign oil investment . . . that could really change things.

Chavez has been treated three times in Cuba...

This would imply, Venezuela (or at least Chavez) considers Cubas medical system and treatments available superior to thier own?

Cuba and international healthcare

...Cuba currently exports considerable health services and personnel to Venezuela in exchange for subsidized oil.[63] Cuban doctors play a primary role in the Mission Barrio Adentro (Spanish: "Mission Into the Neighborhood") social welfare program established in Venezuela under current Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.[64] The program, which is popular among Venezuela's poor and is intended to bring doctors and other medical services to the most remote slums of Venezuela,[65] has not been without its detractors. Operación Milagro (Operation Miracle) is a joint health program between Cuba and Venezuela, set up in 2005. The Venezuelan Medical Federation has criticized the appointment of Cuban doctors to high-ranking positions,[66] and protests have taken place in the capital Caracas by Venezuelan medical staff who fear that the Cubans are a threat to Venezuelan jobs. Questions have also been raised by protesters about the level of Cuban medical qualifications, and there have been claims that the Cubans are "political agents" who have come to Venezuela to indoctrinate the workforce.[65] Opposition supporters in Venezuela have called Cuban doctors "Fidel's ambassadors" and refused to go to their clinics.[67] Two defected doctors have claimed that they were told their job was to keep Chavez in power,[67] by asking patients to vote for Chávez in the 2004 recall referendum.[67]

Health tourism and pharmaceutics:

Cuba attracts about 20,000[73] paying health tourists, generating revenues of around $40 million a year for the Cuban economy. Cuba has been serving health tourists from around the world for more than 20 years. The country operates a special division of hospitals specifically for the treatment of foreigners and diplomats. ..

Then, again, maybe Hugo can't trust his own doctors :-/

Not only Venezuela, but most countries recognized Cuban Doctors as some of the best in the world.

Great medical schools also.

I have never been to Cuba but have read that it has a two tier medical system with one particularly impressive medical center that caters to high level bureaucrats and wealthy tourists??? There are also reports of an extensive eye surgery program. Google "Cuba two tier medical" if interested

I'm sure preferences are given to the elites within the structure, like in all vertical hierarchies.

However, Cuba doesn't do badly according to the WHO:

And has a longer lifespan than the US (barely):

And a lower infant mortality rate:

Medical care is one area where we can probably cut a lot of fat with little pain. Heck, it might even improve care. Doctors don't want the kind of care they provide. There's even some evidence that people live longer with palliative care, rather than aggressive treatments. Never mind the quality of life issues.

I had a talk with our dentist the other day, sort of a "you're fired as soon as I can find a cheaper/simpler dentist" conversation. He questioned why I refered to his office as 'the land of diminishing returns'. They are very proud that they've invested so much in all of the latest and greatest technology, passing the costs on to patients. I told him it was fine, except that some of his patients simply can't afford his services anymore. I pointed out that the price for replacing a filling has tripled since 2005, the last time I needed it done (after he fussed at me for not coming in sooner).

We use the same vet who refuses to raise his prices as much as other area veteranarians have done, for exactly this reason; he fears folks will neglect their pets' health if he charges too much. He stays quite busy these days. Too bad more doctors/dentists don't have the same philosphy, but I guess vets don't get sued as often.

A friend went to the emergency room recently with a dislocated shoulder, no complications. $10,000+. That's insane, and he's challenging every penny.

Did someone mention unsustainability?


Screwed,, in so many ways.

What I want to know is what is the date of peak greed. Hmm?

That is an infinitely renewable resource.

A friend went to the emergency room recently with a dislocated shoulder, no complications. $10,000+. That's insane, and he's challenging every penny.

In Brazil and Germany two vastly different cultures and economies, with which I am personally acquainted, anyone, native born citizen, resident or visiting foreigner, rich or completely destitute, would be fixed up at no charge!

Contrast that with my poor German Brother in Law who ended up in the emergency room on a recent visit to South Florida. He just had a fainting spell at a restaurant due to simple exhaustion. They took him by ambulance to the local hospital and once there wouldn't let him out for two days and a battery of useless tests! At the end of which the examining physician even admitted (off the record) that it really wasn't necessary to put him through all the tests when all he needed was a good night's sleep. The US health care system is a scam! Most of the fancy technology is completely unnecessary for the vast majority!

Are the statistical methods used in US and other countries comparable?


If you talk to socialist Cuba-enthusiasts, they always bring up the school system and the health care as example of things the cuban regime does very well. It apers these cases are geuine.

But the cuban democracy activists respond to this with "you are not always a student, or sick".

And they have a good point.

The rest of their argument might add more reason to this, but that line on its own is about as helpful as the 'Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of rocks..' line.

Covering education and healthcare, wherein people are particularly in need in a society, is a very forward looking plan, and does a lot to help make that society resilient.

It doesn't erase other unmet political and societal needs, but still you don't have to be a 'Socialist or an Enthusiast' to notice when someone is doing something right.. or even VERY right.

A huge success.

have told me that they believe it is doubtful the dictator will live to see the results.

Ahh yes. Interesting what is revealed by the choice of words.

It does give hints to the news media one is consuming.

Thought I'd post this for HereInHalifax (Paul?)

Tom Murphy of Do The Math had this post on lighting and efficiency.

Spectral Extravaganza: The Ultimate Light

What do you get when you cross an astronomically-inclined physicist with concerns over energy efficiency in lighting? Spectra. Lots and lots of spectra. In this post, we’ll become familiar with spectral characterization of light, see example spectra of a number of household light sources, and I’ll even throw in some mind-blowing photos.

Great article. aws. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.


Great article, all right. I can almost persuade myself I understand the concept of colour rendering index, now.

In practical terms, all one needs to know is that higher numbers are better. Your typical, old school cool white fluorescent has a CRI of 62 whereas the T5 and T8 lamps that we use today have a CRI that ranges anywhere from 82 all the way up to 98 in the case of the Philips TL950. In our commercial work, we always use a 5000K lamp unless circumstances dictate otherwise.

A high CRI and a high colour temperature allows us to replace a 4-lamp T12 fixture that draws as many as 180-watts with a 2-lamp fixture that draws just 43. I spoke with the gentleman who works at this counter earlier this week and he's complaining that the new lighting is "way too bright" even though my light meter tells me that light levels, post retrofit, are slightly lower -- a case of perception versus reality.

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_1383.jpg


Journal of Light Construction article on an affordable Passive House.

An Affordable Passive House
This airtight, superinsulated home was built using familiar methods and materials.

I've been working in construction since I was a kid. I've worked on job sites in New York, Florida, California, Massachusetts, and Maine, where I now run my own company. Along the way, I've managed more than a few big expensive projects, but none of them was as satisfying as the work I'm doing now - designing and building affordable houses to the Passive House standard, arguably the most stringent energy-efficiency building spec in the world.

The big-picture goal of the Passive House movement is to nearly eliminate housing's share of climate change by slashing energy consumption to about 6 percent of that used in conventional homes . But to have a practical effect, the standard can't just apply to high-end projects with big budgets; it has to be within reach of ordinary working people. That's why I jumped at the chance to build a 1,600-square-foot two-bedroom Passive House in Knox, Maine, for a young working couple with a $210,000 budget.

Barton Biggs Spoke With A Well-Connected Businessman Who Says Saudi Arabia Has A Plan To Bankrupt Iraq And Iran

"Here is what Biggs writes about his conversation with the Saudi man:

You have to understand our geo-political equation and vulnerability,” he said calmly but intensely.

“Our two most dangerous enemies are Iraq and Iran. Both are Shia, and both are trying to destabilize the Arab world and our Sunni kingdom by funding terrorism. Our only weapons against them are our wealth and our oil. Their current vulnerability is their financial fragility. Their financial reserves are a fraction of ours, and they desperately need money to prop up their economies.

The ruling council has decided that over the next two years we have a brief window of opportunity to impoverish and weaken them by driving down the price of oil. Iraq and Iran need to produce and sell their oil at well over one hundred dollars a barrel. In the next twenty four months, we will gradually increase our production with the objective of breaking the price of crude down to sixty dollars a barrel.

The man also pointed out to Biggs the opportune timing of this plan from the Saudi standpoint:

"Don’t forget we have the wind at our backs because of Europe’s problems and the weak global economy. Under normal recessionary circumstances, we would be reducing production to maintain current prices. Instead, we will be flooding a weak market already suffering indigestion. You also should understand that Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are with us. Royal families tend to stick together.”

If possible, this would also have severe repercussions for some other countries like Russia and Nigeria which depend on high oil prices.

Saudi Arabia doesn't have the power to do this these days.

In 1980's, North Sea, Alaska, and Saudi oil probably did bring down the Soviet Union though. Oil was the USSR's big hard currency generator and when the oil prices dropped out, the USSR limped along until it collapsed.

But those kind of days are over as far as I know.

In the next twenty four months, we will gradually increase our production with the objective of breaking the price of crude down to sixty dollars a barrel.

Sounds like a baseless veiled threat being made in order to try and influence those two countries, Iran & Iraq from involving themselves in supporting terrorism.

Just as a matter of interest though, I wonder how many phantom additional barrels of oil it would take to accomplish the task of dropping the price of oil that much?

So Mr. Biggs interiews a "Saudi man" and that's news? And isn't it great that this man wants to undermine the fledgling "democracy" in Iraq that the United States spent thousands of lives and billions of dollars to create? (I'm not saying it was a good idea or that we succeeded) And just how is Iraq a threat to Saudi Arabia just because they are Shia? And how is it that Saudi's are Sunni when the rulers are Wahabbi, a sect that makes Shias look progressive? And isn't it nice to know that without the Iranian threat, Saudi would be restricting supply to keep prices high -- a strategy they have publicly denied -- while western economies crash and burn?

This article has no credibility. And they don't have the oil to do it anyway.

Depending on which estimate you trust most, KSA needs anywhere from $70-90/bbl to balance it's own budget given post-Arab Spring social spending. KSA risks fouling it's own nest with $60 oil.

But if they want to try, I'm sure President Obama will have no objection....

The invisible hand steadying global energy markets is the growing influence of modern technologies. So a case can be made for a relatively stable crude-price window—$80 to $120 a barrel for the next several years.

Now we have entered a phase where oil prices (presumably WTI) can be considered "falling" if they stay in the $80 to $120 range. Only a few years ago, anything above $80 would have been considered an economy-killing price (which it is). Now even $120 is considered ok. That's just wonderful.

Notice, also, that the author never mentions depletion. It's as if any new discovery just gets added on to the pile of stable existing production. And what happens after "the next several years"?

The article "Storytelling our energy future" starts out good, until this little paragraph:

(Although I very much consider myself one of that vanishing species, the centrists, when forced to choose between the two major parties, I generally lean left.)

Which is patently ridiculous, because the two biggest political parties (in both Europe and the US) have never been as similar as they are today. As threatened species status goes centrists are a "Least Concern", while people who question the very system ("extremists", if you like) are far and few in-between.

Just because the political realm has opposing sides that are remarkably similar, it doensn't really make them 'Centrists' really in any sense.

It seems likely that they are going to be 'Corporatists' to a Man and Woman. That is the common Political ground.

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

--GEORGE ORWELL, Animal Farm, Chapter 10

Watched the film "Days of Heaven" last night on Netflix -- hadn't seen it since it came out over 30 years ago. Still an incredibly beautiful film, but takes on a totally new meaning now that I am peak-oil-aware. It is set in a time when fossil fuels are just beginning to make an impact in agriculture, but human labor is still required in massive amounts. Note the standard of living which I believe is accurately portrayed. It makes me think about the future and the world my son may live to see towards the end of this century. No, it won't be exactly like the film -- but how far from it will it be?

Increase the number of people by an order of magnitude, add GMO plants, subtract generations of farming experience. Stir with Climate Chaos (unpredictable but mostly extreme weather).


If you are looking nto the future from now on, there will be no order of magnitude more people. At maximum we can double. By then we will break the carrying capacity of the earth and decline will follow.

Ignore if I missunderstod your post.

I was comparing the near future with the time of the movie he watching (when fossil fuels were just beginning to impact farming - my guess without having seen the movie, the early 1920s).

So the 2030s & 2040s should see about an order of magnitude more people than the 1920s. In the USA, from @ 110 million to around 350 million. Just three times as many.


Does anyone have some insights as to this guy's agenda? He's allegedly an oil analyst (translated page):


In short, he predicts no energy shortages the next 100 years, perhaps never. He also says oil is in a phase of extraordinary growth.
There must be an agenda. He must know what's up. I guess it's just to spur optimism and be a catalyst for investment.

Fixed your link, which was not working. Please don't use HTML coding if you don't understand it. Just post the link. It will "linkify" automatically.

D - No facts, just opinions and predictions, presented by him in the article so there's not much to debate. But it seems clear he's primarily talking about Norway's future...not the rest of the world. Heck...I would be bubbling with enthusiasm if I were Norwigian. But I don't live in an oil exporting country with a small population that has almost a $trillion in its sovereign fund. A country that not only exports oil but also a good bit of the technology that will be used to develop offshore fields in the future. It's appropriate to point out his audience was Norwigian businessmen...not someone in California that keeps looking over their shoulder for $5+/gallon fuel. LOL.

No. Norwegian gasoline is the equivalent to $9/gallon gasoline.

I think there was an old proverb "Waste not, want not"

They do have a massive surplus of renewable electricity - their role in a future more renewable Europe will be as "Europe's battery" Buy cheap solar & wind when it is in surplus, sell hydro when needed.

Best Hopes for Norway !


Yesterday I flew from NYC to Dallas to attend a convention at the Gaylord Texan resort. The flight was enough of a waste of scarce fossil fuels, but the Gaylord Texan takes resource consumption to new heights. Putting aside the aesthetic assault on your senses (which isn't easy to do) the "resort" seems intentionally designed to suck up energy resources as fast as possible. From the huge open atrium with massive glass walls that require equally massive air conditioning to the extravagant electric lighting to the ubiquitous wall-mounted TVs, it's one huge energy sink.

Even better, this "resort" has no outside walking areas! I thought I would enjoy the early evening with a leisurely stroll -- nope. No sidewalks, no walking path, you MUST stay indoors at all costs. Down the road a piece is a new Great Wolf Lodge -- also completely self contained with no outdoor access.

And this is considered normal. This is considered progress. This from an 2005 article, when the Gaylord Texan was just opening:

The hotel has also had to turn people away because it didn't have enough parking, said Kathryn Goldstein, the hotel spokeswoman.

"That's a great, positive thing that we have so much traffic", she said. "We truly have become a destination for local folks to come and hang out."

After about 9,000 people crammed into the hotel one night during the holidays, the Gaylord Texan began turning people away because there was no more room to park, she said. Many were there just to see the Christmas display.

But Greg Crown, vice president of PKF Consulting in Dallas, said the Gaylord Texan is building the garage for more than just restaurant customers and locals.

"I think they're thinking of the future" he said.

Thinking of the future, indeed.

I don't travel much, which is good because every time I do, it's just depressing.

I hope they go belly up; their website stinks.

Gaylord has just "leased out" (to Marriott) its "huge and amazing" hotel (part of the Grand Ol' Opry complex) in Nashville. I think it is their "flagship" super-hotel. Been there a long time. Press release says they are going out of the hotel operating business and will be just a property manager. No word on their management of the Opry entertainment venue. I don't know whether they also manage the mall that took the place of the OpryLand theme park, when they decided to go out of the theme park business and tore it all down. (Many in Nashville are still very "sore" about that, thinking that they should not have done it.) That shopping mall was very badly flooded by the 1000-year flood of the Cumberland River, after middle TN's "super-rain" of spring 2010 -- just recently reopened. Their "press release" apparently didn't mention their other hotel(s).

Revealed: Hundreds of words to avoid using online if you don't want the government spying on you (and they include 'pork', 'cloud' and 'Mexico')

The Department of Homeland Security has been forced to release a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S.

The intriguing the list includes obvious choices such as 'attack', 'Al Qaeda', 'terrorism' and 'dirty bomb' alongside dozens of seemingly innocent words like 'pork', 'cloud', 'team' and 'Mexico'.

The article includes the complete list, and why the words are included. "Cloud" is nuclear-related, "pork" swine-flu related.

They appear to be concerned about border violence, epidemics, terrorism, cyber attacks, and weather disasters. Nothing about oil.

It's interesting to notice how many words relate to the electrical grid, though.

"Drill" is in the first category - one of those rather ambiguous words. In the context of the list it refers to the military meaning not the energy meaning. I notice "Collapse" is on the list too.

If "Drill" is on their watch list, they sure are going to read a lot of email porn spam.

I knew searching for pirates was a bad idea!

It only puts you on a list with several million others. A list among a million lists. Being at TOD is probably a higher statistical hit.

I think most of the algorhythms will give out from stress before we do.

It's a good day to die..

Nobody posted Tom Whipple's Piece yet?

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Edisonian Approach


Bushnell reports that NASA is currently attempting to verify a new theory known as Widom-Larsen that may provide the theoretical basis for understanding how heat is produced. NASA is trying to validate (or not) the claims of the groups that say they have working devices that are producing 100s or even 1,000s of watts of energy through LENR. The current efforts of NASA's Langley Research Center says that not only do their scientists believe the phenomenon is real but that it has the potential to reshape the relationship between man and his environment in much the way the Neolithic and Industrial Revolutions did in former times.

Many who have heard of LENR and the claims about its potential find the whole concept simply too good to be true and therefore believe it isn't. The science's very origins, which is one of small groups of researchers plugging away for years with almost laughable amounts of government and corporate support considering what is at stake, is not the way paradigm-shifting technologies are supposed to be invented. Most think of the multi-billion dollar Manhattan Project or the Apollo moon rocket as the way major technical advances take place. A lack of published "peer reviewed" theories bothers many people. It is a good thing Edison, the Wright brothers, and Marconi did not know that their inventions would not work with being reviewed by peers.

I have no idea what the truth is behind the various LENR claims over the past few years, but I think that an open, peer-reviewed information-sharing process will settle the veracity of the claims, after an appropriate amount of time to sort through the data, examine the equipment and materials, both as piece-parts, as sub-assemblies, and as an operational whole devices while functioning. Also time to build identical kit from the provided designs and replicate (or not) the results.

Since these assertions have been posted on the Internet for quite some time now, it is not as if this is some conspiracy where the facts can be hidden. NASA also had for a time a 'Breakthrough Physics Department' where warp drive and such things were discussed....just a few years ago.

Thinking of the big players in nuclear research...where are the Russians, Germans, and Japanese on this? What about the up-and-coming Chinese?

It is important to distinguish between a real phenomenon (which with respect to power generation) which will remain a lab curiosity, but an important advancement of scientific knowledge nonetheless, and a breakthrough which can be scaled up to provide meaningful amounts of energy (one would think electricity production is the brass ring)for industrial/commercial/residential use.

I'm skeptical about this, but trying to keep an open mind. Tom Whipple has a lot of credibility in geopolitical analysis and in peak oil circles -- he is putting that credibility on the line by giving LENR serious treatment.

On the one hand, you would think a breakthrough of the magnitude claimed would have hit commercially by now, even at a small scale. The relative lack of information from those pursuing commercial LENR tech may mean their claims can't survive scrutiny (i.e. fraud in some degree).

But, it is also possible these developers are keeping their cards close to the vest while they figure out how to position themselves commercially. Whipple's use of the Wright brothers as an example contains the cautionary tale that they scarcely profited from their breakthrough on flight.

If it turns out we can turn the molecules of gas around us into energy and waste heat, with no additional pollutants, I believe the (justifiable) celebration will be surprisingly short-lived.

I'm utterly scornful of cornucopianism, the basically religious belief that the universe is constructed in such a way that a new and better source of anything will always be available to humanity "just in time" if we try hard enough. Particularly "clean energy". That's extreme delusionality.

And some of you may be familiar with my withering comments on various subjects in which people skip logical steps and fail to employ reasonable filters to their fantasies, such as space solar power.

That said, back in '89 I was delighted at the original Pons & Fleishman announcement... enough to buy palladium and start work with another science teacher to try seeing the effect. It was a disappointment when nobody replicated it.

However, I've noted for some time that there is no way, with the theories we have, to determine the emergent dances of matter and energy which can be stable at various scales in the real world. Something like sonoluminiscence, for instance. No way to predict that from first principles using what we have today. I've opined in print that things like the fine details of surface-confined interactions might turn out to have some unanticipated effects in terms of energy-releasing nuclear reactions... while noting that the odds of such a thing turning up "just in time" is miniscule.

I have been quite surprised recently, then, to see that there apparently IS an effect of some sort, and it is of a magnitude, and with common enough materials, that it could actually be a game-changer IF we understand it, which we obviously don't yet. It is VERY interesting.

Is it a good idea for humans to have a lot more energy? Almost certainly not on general principles, but set against the high odds of ultimately wiping out most of the land and sea life with CO2 injection by doing what we now do, it's probably worth pursuing with some urgency.

Even if it works & is practical, there's no reason to believe it would lessen CO2 emissions without some very good plan. Better technologies don't replace entrenched worse ones quickly without some sort of massive perturbation of the system.

Oh, and on the question of scammers, conspiracies, secrecy, etc.... I think the case is simply that nobody yet understands what the hell is going on. There's an effect seen so people are scrambling to create a theory to explain it and make it work on demand, and that doesn't yet exist.

(and I idly wonder if Homeland Security has added "palladium" to their list of naughty words. Oh well.)

"Is it a good idea for humans to have a lot more energy? Almost certainly not on general principles.."

We've already been there, done that. Isn't that what coal and petroleum gave us; a lot more energy? How has that worked out so far? (Take CO2 out of the current picture and evaluate our situation. Doesn't change much, does it?) Chapter three, without the carbon, will only increase our hubris, give us permission to continue outgrowing and fouling our biosphere in countless other ways. We have met the enemy, and it isn't energy. LENR would be overshoot on steroids, excepting the fortunate few who may escape the planetary carnage.

We've earned our day of reckoning. Time to grow up.

We could maybe use the newfound "free" energy for good instead of evil.............
Like withdrawing CO2 from the atmosphere to save the planet.

There is untold good, free energy machines could do for the Earth. One "good" is not providing energy to do human work. These machines should only be used to defend the ecology of the planet, from de-acidifying the oceans, undaming rivers, declaiming wetlands and rehabilitating previous human inhabited land as the population retreats due to decreased energy supplies.

And of course we will use the free energy to prevent the burning of FF's. I'm sure many could imagine a "good" use for free energy devices. Many, many, many more could imagine a "good" use also, but it would involve profit and growth.
Much as we see now with "renewable" energy.

Notice the relentless rise of atmospheric CO2. We need to turn everything we think we know about renewable energy on its head. We have to use renewable energy to prevent the burning of FF's. Not extend our ability to burn more and create machines that allow for continued BAU and the onward march of the human population and the resultant ecologic destruction.

"We could maybe use the newfound "free" energy for good instead of evil............."

When have "we", collectively, ever done the right thing (good for the planet) when presented with the sort of freedom abundant energy and resources represent? There have been a few examples of generally isolated societies living in relative harmony with their environment, but not many, and it's usually been the result of constraints, not abundance. Abundance begets exploitation; it's what we do. Our desire to test limits is... unlimited. Enough is never enough.

Again, energy is not the issue. Energy is only the vector which enables us to consume. It's all in our heads.

Ghung, I love your comments and agree with them so closely that my own point of view is generally covered in your comments without my posting anything... great time-saver, that, and thanks.

And I agree utterly with your comments here, EXCEPT FOR the seeming fact that the planet with BAU is headed for catastrophic CO2 overheat. Finding some source of non-CO2-generating energy might give a bit more chance of avoiding that particular doom.

I agree humans will muck things up. At this point we're in a careening bus full of monkeys going down a mountainside without nobody at the wheel. Steering the crash might be something we owe to the other species, and while a long shot, it may be possible. We don't deserve to assume otherwise.

Thanks, greenish. I've pondered this question alot lately. My feeling is that this sort of technical breakthrough would be sanctioning our current course, providing validity to the belief that we are above nature in our fineness. Seems like cheating somehow. I keep seeing an image of Boromir:

"...it is a gift. A gift to the foes of Mordor. Why not use this ring? Long has my father, the Steward of Gondor, kept the forces of Mordor at bay. By the blood of our people are your lands kept safe. Give Gondor the weapon of the enemy. Let us use it against him."

I have a sense that this is a journey we must take without shortcuts, and pray that planetary cycles, feedback loops, are more powerful than any damage we may do. Silly, I know, yet I see a special opportunity for a species to take more than a baby step, should we make it through this coming bottleneck...

...otherwise, it all seems quite pointless. Perhaps it is.

My feeling is that this sort of technical breakthrough would be sanctioning our current course, providing validity to the belief that we are above nature in our fineness. Seems like cheating somehow.

I like your comment... and ultimately nothing may have a point except the points one decides to care about.

However, the difference in my perspective is that I don't see this being primarily "about" humans. There are myriad other species, many of them self-aware, which have not messed the world up, and which stand to have their evolutionary lines expunged from the universe for having the poor luck to be contemporaneous with pyromaniac-ape overshoot.

As I have alluded, I have worked closely with some of these species and literally consider them to be as worthy as humankind.

So the moral journeys humans may or may not take are largely beside the point to the main events playing out. It isn't about us, except to the extent that we're the plague species du jour. Our inward-looking narratives are fleeting. It's about the flora, fauna, and consciousness which exists at this late date in earthlife's evolution.

From that point of view, it's self-indulgent to do anything but try steering the crash in any way possible to avoid collateral damage to those other evolutionary lines. Right? If a shortcut exists, we need to take it, be it hoodoo energy or whatever.

Say goodnight, Smeagol....

Ha! G'night, Preciousss...

I still don't think there's really anything going on. Blacklight Power announced yet another "hydrino" breakthrough. They've been doing this for 20 years, and have raised $60 million dollars in funding, and have a lot of "experts" who say it's legit...but I don't believe it is.

Moreover, I suspect "Edisonian" inventions are no longer possible. Or at least far, far more difficult than they used to be. For the reasons laid out in Tainter's work, and in The End of Science. The low-hanging fruit is picked first. It's no longer possible for intelligent but not particularly well-educated or well-equipped people to make major breakthroughs, because they've already been made. To make progress now, you need a ton of formal education - and the access to funding, expertise, laboratories, equipment, etc. that that provides.

I still don't think there's really anything going on

And that may be the case WRT LENR/cold fusion. I'm "there is some kind of effect" - but it may never end up working as a prime mover.

Blacklight Power announced yet another "hydrino" breakthrough. They've been doing this for 20 years, and have raised $60 million dollars in funding, and have a lot of "experts" who say it's legit...but I don't believe it is.

If Blacklight Power has what they claim they have, one should be able to take hydrino's (Hydrogen in a low energy state), place them in a calorimeter and watch the temperature drop when hydrinos become the normal higher energy state Hydrogen we all know and love. Where is the heat transfer test? And if Randy wants money - simple way to combat global warming - take Hydrogen from on Earth, put it in the space elevator, make Hydrinos in Spaaaaaccccceeeee, put the Hydrinos back on the space elevator and make em Hydrogen back on Terra Firma.

Claim of Magic batteries: (2010)
Claim of Magic Batteries: (1999 with a 2007 ship date)

To make progress now, you need a ton of formal education

One can make progress via training General Purpose Computers to do a task. The trick is understanding the problem you are trying to automate.

But taken from George Ure today http://urbansurvival.com/week.htm

When there are no jobs (or only a handful of machine maintenance jobs once machines begin designing machines, a process we're halfway down the road on thanks to software and automation already) how are people to be paid? And for what? Work?
Most folks haven't grokked what Honda's got going in the wings with their ASIMO program, but the answer is simple: ASIMO with a few tweaks and a credit card scanner can wipe out virtually every job in retail, including pizza delivery, and even housekeeping there is.
As I'm opening it, let me say it again: If you're under 25 you will face this problem for real. Robotics and automation are coming to get your job and with Google testing self-driving cars in Nevada, automatic landing systems doing CAT 3 landings of aircraft, maybe the Kapitalist wet dream of no workers to deal with is closer than you might think. So do think a bit about what history teaches us about people who have no redeeming value and ask "Am I only worth what I consume, not what I make?" and "How come robotics and automation aren't taxed at parity (or above) human tax rates since they destroy jobs?"

Leanan, two months ago my opinion was exactly the same as yours, for those same reasons. "Hydrinos" are BS, and argument from authority - particularly dubious authority - isn't worth much; there's nothing so crazy that you can't get a few people to sign on endorsing it. I utterly agree with your points on Tainter's work, the low-hanging fruit, the diminishing returns of science... you're entirely right, and these are the same arguments I make.

However, in actually listening to what's being done, the experimental evidence, there actually seems to be something going on. Ignore all the claims and look at the experimental results. They don't fit well as delusion or puffery, though those things are there in the mix as always to confound things.

I'm basing my comments on the basic data claimed by many labs. There would pretty much need to be an explicit conspiracy among a number of folks for that data to be what it is. And yes, I understand that results can converge based on what people want... the way the description of aliens in "abduction" memories tend to normalize without any conscious conspiracy.

Still, it seems there is some sort of energy signal that is inexplicable by current theories which can't be chemical, and the implications of that would be big.

The 'easy' Edisonian stuff has been found. This is an effect that doesn't even show up in current apparatus for weeks sometimes even when it works. It's exactly the sort of thing which would be missed.

Sometimes to discover new stuff you just need to find something you can't explain, like the Penzias microwave hiss, or the orbital precession of Mercury being a little out of whack, the fogging of photographic plates by a new material, etc. We're to the high-hanging fruit now, but there could be some high-hanging fruit there, in principle. Heck, how long have we realized that the universe is accelerating its expansion and will end that way? We still have no idea what most of the universe is even made of. There's stuff out there to know.... I just share your skepticism that any will be relevant to the current time-scale of human overshoot problems. Yet there seems to be a rather large unexplained energy reaction in some often-repeated lab experiments. I don't "believe" it, but it seems like there may be something there.


I don't think it's completely impossible that there's something there. But this has been going on since the original Fleischmann–Pons experiment broke. A lot of people trying to find it, and having inconsistent results. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes others can repeat it, sometimes they can't.

Frankly, it's reminding me of parapsychology (where some eventually came to the conclusion that doubt on the researchers' part could dampen psychic ability, because of the inconsistent results). FWIW, the US military also invested money in researching psychic phenomena - just in case it was possible to find hidden silos via clairvoyance, or influence missiles in flight via psychokinesis.

Perhaps there really is something we don't understand going on. Maybe it's chemical, not nuclear. But "black box" demonstrations are not at all convincing. If it's real, publish it, let others poke around in it and try to repeat it. Otherwise, it's just another Steorn Orbo.

I agree with all you say, of course, and I trust I'm not indulging in a goat-staring fallacy of some sort. Really, I'm a huge skeptic in general; no tolerance for conspiracies, alien abductions, telepathy, Nessie, etc... humans are very good at being gulled, and being gulled by themselves in particular. Indeed, I think that Tom Whipple has been a little less skeptical this last year than he should be, and he's the one who has lately reported on this among the "peak oil" cognoscenti.

I don't think anyone understands "the effect" well enough to reproduce it reliably yet, much less come up with a valid theory about it. However, in the last two months I have come around to thinking there are actual anomalous results, fairly consistent by some labs and between labs. Anomalous, that is, in terms of being explicable by current theories, which is always something to look for.

That is, I'm not saying that anyone making claims that they have a product, or even understand what's going on, are credible. I'm saying I'm surprisingly intrigued at my interpretation of the results. I think maybe there's something there, and it seems unlikely to be chemical... unless there is an overt conspiracy among the labs.

I'd like to see more research to establish or negate this anomaly. The kook/fringe trappings could be camouflaging something which may be interesting and even important..... My mental filters are pretty good, and my delusions well-indexed, so you can take these statements by me for what they're worth.


I think Tom Whipple is a bit out of his element with cold fusion. I'm a little surprised he wasn't more skeptical of Rossi, who has a long history as a scammer. I'd expect an ex-CIA guy to be a little wiser about such "human intelligence" issues. But for the rest...I don't think Mr. Whipple has much of a science background, and it's probably not reasonable to expect him to evaluate something like cold fusion. And scientists have their own blind spots. They tend to be looking for mistakes, not scams.

I agree with you. And this late in a Drumbeat, I'm just writing to you.

Whatever else, Rossi IS a scammer, and every "device" claim I've seen is a scam. The interesting thing is if one mentally throws out all the BS and looks at the experimental data. At this point it seems to either be a fairly overt conspiracy to cook results between labs over decades or an actual effect nobody anticipated. I have no way to guess really, but my "finger in the air" feel of it would be 80% it's not real and 20% there is a new effect of a very interesting magnitude.

One way to think about it is to ask what characteristics some effect would have to have in order to be discovered experimentally, but to be unlikely to occur significantly enough outside a lab to have left traces in the natural world which needed explanation.

Any such effect would pretty much have to be emergent/complex, so beyond the predictive abilities of QM and current computing. I mentioned sonoluminescence as one such effect. Until it was observed, there would be no reason to think it existed. It was seen in 1934, forgotten and not rediscovered until 1989, in both cases by individual researchers. It might well remain unknown today if not for them, because until it was seen in an experiment it was not predictable.

If something like another mode of fusion based on complex low-energy dances in special physical circumstances had fallen through the cracks, there are only a few places it could "hide", and the top one would arguably be surface effects in which reactions can be more or less constrained to 2 dimensions. And any effect not seen until '89 would have to be something that took awhile to detect experimentally and was subtle.

The main reason to assume it's not possible is similar to that of Doug Adams' Babelfish. A source of nuclear energy using plentiful stuff that's easy to get, using simple construction and throwing off no dangerous radiation would darn near be proof of a deity with an interest in humans.... it could not be logically explained by any anthropic principle. I would find that jarringly improbable. Hell, it would have implications for the Drake equation.... if it's that simple, it would raise the odds of spacefaring civilizations... and there don't seem to be any nearby. It's exactly the sort of "miraculous" effect that people would wish to delude themselves into finding.

I'm not buying the spin. But the unexplained signal they seem to be getting is messing with my mind a bit. Edisonian discovery is well past its peak, but there's no a priori reason to assume it's over.


I'm considering buying like 15 peak-oil and survival-esque books from thriftbooks.com. Do you guys know of any services in the US that generate a fake US adress and handle shipping so that everything can arrive together (in a bag or larger box)? Shipping in the US is free, but $5/book internationally.

"...15 peak-oil and survival-esque books.."

You'll need to change your handle to DepressedALotMore :-/

Get some good books on gardening ;-)

Google something like, US address OR mail forwarding.

Here's an example hit. You can also download a surprising number of very good books via bit torrent. I use the decentralized Tribler.

The price of oil seems to be dropping quite a bit. Just in time for summer in the northern hemisphere.

Kia ora.

Seems like $5/book actually is an alright price. Only $150 for the lot, shipped. I have tons of audio books and PDFs on my hard drives, but none of the really interesting books (Heinberg etc).

From the economic front....

Job market looks dismal in May

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The job market looked pretty bleak in May, according to several reports released Thursday.

While one report showed hiring was weaker than expected, another showed planned layoffs were at an 8-month high. Separately, the government said claims for unemployment benefits inched higher last week.

Will crisis-hit Ireland rebel against harsh remedy for ailing Europe?

KILDARE, Ireland -- Families ripped apart, pay cuts, hundreds of thousands without work, homes lying empty, teenagers with little hope for the future: Many in Ireland have been brought to the brink of despair by a dramatic economic collapse and the harsh remedy prescribed by the European Union.

But unique among the EU's 27 members, Irish voters were Thursday giving their verdict on the policies of austerity as a backlash grows across the continent in countries like Greece, Spain and France.

The job market looked pretty bleak in May, according to several reports released Thursday.

This would almost be funny if it was not so sad. I read the Bloomberg synopsis early this morning before all of the numbers came out. They confidently predicted the market would take off this morning because economists were confidently predicting that hiring would be up and unemployment would be down. No matter what is happening in the economy the consensus of economists is that next month's numbers will be substantially better.

Yet no one, especially Bloomberg, ever calls them on their predictions.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending May 25, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged just under 15.2 million barrels per day during the week ending May 25, 182 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 89.1 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging about 9.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.6 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 9.1 million barrels per day last week, up by 473 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged about 8.9 million barrels per day, 199 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 796 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 71 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 2.2 million barrels from the previous week. At 384.7 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 0.8 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories decreased while blending components inventories remained unchanged last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.7 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.6 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 5.5 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged about 18.7 million barrels per day, down by 0.1 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged just under 8.9 million barrels per day, down by 2.6 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged about 3.8 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 1.0 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 0.7 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

So the US has a glut of oil and a dearth of fuel.

Something is broken.

Location, location, location. I think we have a glut of oil at Cushing but a dearth of fuel in places like Seattle where there was refinery outage and California.

Lots of of oil in the mid-West, not enough fuel on the coasts.

Total oil ‘products supplied’ catches up with year ago levels

US refiners and distributors supplied virtually the same amount of oil products as they did in the comparable four week period a year ago. Even while the financial markets continue to focus on potential doomsday scenarios for the Euro and an oil ‘glut’ in the US Midwest – especially at the Cushing, OK oil delivery hub – the state of the nature’s energy supplies may well be deceptive.

If demand for oil products remains at last year’s levels even while oil imports decline and oil product exports increase, well, then literally ‘Houston we may have a problem’. After the Cushing ‘glut’ is worked off, it is by no means clear where the US will get the extra 1,500,000 barrels per day of oil it needs – the 1,500,000 bpd being the amount of net oil/product import/export exports we have lost over the last year. Per the EIA, the US has imported a net amount (oil imports less exports, plus product imports less product exports) of 7,948,000 bpd this year as compared to the 9,586,000 in the comparable four week period a year ago.


For more on the state of gasoline supplies, see my prior post last week:

Gasoline supplies: The calm before the summer storm

Matt Yglesias has a column up that is interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, he points out something that I think a lot of people, including many here, have overlooked:

America is still recovering from the Great Recession and Europe is melting down, yet from a global perspective, the economy has never been as healthy or prosperous. The world economy enjoyed amazing growth from 2002-08, took a small dip in 2009, and then went back to growing.

The peak oil era, which began in 2005, has so far been contemporaneous with broader prosperity, better living conditions, and more improvement at the bottom of the global income scale than we've seen at any time in human history. This has been most obvious in China and India, where rapid growth has predominated in economies that are home to like a third of the world's people. But it's also been true in Latin America and Africa, where commodity exporters have benefitted from this economic growth. This paradox - improving conditions for the bulk of humanity at the same time as oil production plateaus - is something that tends to be obscured by the fact that those of us in rich countries have been doing so poorly for the past several years.

But Yglesias also argues that the good times may be coming to an end, particularly in China, where they've suffered from lower exports to rich countries, tried to compensate with a real estate/infrastructure investment bubble, and now are sliding off of that temporary extension of the good times. And this may mean that all these wonderful peak oil-era improvements in living standards may finally be coming to an end.

Greenhouse Gas Levels Hit 'Troubling Milestone'

Monitoring stations across the Arctic this spring are measuring more than 400 parts per million of the heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. The number isn't quite a surprise, because it's been rising at an accelerating pace. Years ago, it passed the 350 ppm mark that many scientists say is the highest safe level for carbon dioxide. It now stands globally at 395.

So far, only the Arctic has reached that 400 level, but the rest of the world will follow soon.

It's been at least 800,000 years — probably more — since Earth saw carbon dioxide levels in the 400s, Butler and other climate scientists said.

Until now.

Alternative to herbicides ...

Blanch your weeds

You don't need to spray weedkiller to remove the weeds between your paving stones. Six treatments throughout the summer with either boiling water, steam or flaming will dispatch even the hardiest of unwanted plants. This is the conclusion of a new PhD project from the University of Copenhagen.

S - I hope they didn't spin their wheels too hard on this idea. Not exactly a new thought. About 15+ years ago I saw a film on how to control weeds in an orange grove in FL. Tractor pulled a pad about 10'-12' wide behind it. A generator pumped steam out of ports on the underside of the pad. The steam melts the waxey coating on the leaves of the weeds which then die from dehydration. No nasty chemicals, the dead weeds add a little mulch and, if I recall correctly, they could knock out a couple of hundred acres a day. Essentially as fast as the tractor moved.

The bar for a PhD is apparently not set too high.

Most research has some precedent. PhD's are supposed to do something "original" but what that means in practice is usually some buffing on the edges of existing work.

Maybe, but don't diss the wisdom in getting back to simpler solutions.

EROEI is likely far superior if the weeds are eaten, used and/or left to grow and enhance biodiversity, ecological health, and perhaps survival if/when the industrial food/medical systems wither/collapse. (Besides, is there really such a thing as a weed?)

- Eat The Weeds
- Nettle Lasagna
- Dandilion Wine
- Milkweed Rope
- Medicinal Weeds

Peter Andrews on Weeds

The corporate oligarchy is putting one too many over on us.

Climate change: Arctic passes 400 parts per million milestone

Arctic monitoring stations show carbon dioxide levels are now above 400 parts per million. Carbon dioxide is the chief climate-change gas and stays in the atmosphere for 100 years. Before the Industrial Age, carbon dioxide levels were 275 ppm.

Study accuses corporations of hypocrisy on climate change

WASHINGTON -- Some major U.S. corporations that support climate science in their public relations materials actively work to derail regulations and laws addressing global warming through lobbying, campaign donations and support of various advocacy groups, according to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental and scientific integrity group.

Unprecedented May heat in Greenland; update on 2011 Greenland ice melt

The record books for Greenland's climate were re-written on Tuesday, when the mercury hit 24.8°C (76.6°F) at Narsarsuaq, Greenland, on the southern coast. According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, this is the hottest temperature on record in Greenland for May, and is just 0.7°C (1.3°F) below the hottest temperature ever measured in Greenland. The previous May record was 22.4°C (72.3°F) at Kangerlussuaq (called Sondre Stormfjord in Danish) on May 31, 1991.


Looks like the arctic melting season is in full swing. Do 'denialists' understand that warming causes ice to melt? I knew that in grade school. It didn't even require high school science to know that much!!

From one of those articles:

It took only a few minutes to transform downtown streets into miniature canals. The foul odour of overflowing sewage floated over the area near the port.

They still have combination sewers in Montreal? This seems more of a problem with incompetent or outdated civil engineering than anything else. 46mm of rain in 1/2 hour is a lot, but it's really not very "crazy" for a mid-continent thunderstorm far to the east of the dry line.

This looks like another instance of a rapidly growing hobby: build incompetently - or build in a stupidly chosen place such as a shifting sandbar miles off the coast, or a sinking swamp - then shift the blame when the inevitable happens.

76.6 F in Greenland in May? 4.3 F higher than the previous record?!

Well, don't worry too much about it. Look you need to understand that AGW has been rejected due to greater concern for the world economy. Maybe in a few decades we'll get back to a veiled concern for methane and CO2 mass release potential in the Arctic, but for now corporate profits are much more important. We ask that you and mother nature bear with us. snark off

Geoengineering: A Whiter Sky

One idea for fighting global warming is to increase the amount of aerosols in the atmosphere, scattering incoming solar energy away from the Earth's surface. But scientists theorize that this solar geoengineering could have a side effect of whitening the sky during the day. New research from Carnegie's Ben Kravitz and Ken Caldeira indicates that blocking 2% of the sun's light would make the sky three-to-five times brighter, as well as whiter.

Their models predict that the sky would still be blue, but it would be a lighter shade than what most people are used to looking at now. The research team's work shows that skies everywhere could look like those over urban areas ... In urban areas, the sky often looks hazy and white.

... Vanilla Sky?

These potential geoengineering scare me more than the climate chaos they're meant to mitigate.

Clouds hold heat in better than clear skies.

Better pick the aerosol carefully to let the longer waves out and block the shorter waves.

Highway through Amazon worsens effects of climate change, provides mixed economic gains

Paving a highway across South America is providing lessons on the impact of road construction elsewhere.

The results of their five-year study provide a holistic picture of the social, environmental and economic effects of the highway project, including relationships with climate change. Among the findings:

•Highway paving facilitates migration and population growth in communities, which can result in forest clearing and conflicts over natural resources.
•Highway paving has left the Amazon rainforest more vulnerable to clearing with fire, which results in carbon emissions.
•Improved access to markets may give people an economic boost, however, financial security is dependent on access to a range of diverse raw materials whose availability is declining in many areas.

... "Is the road good or bad? It depends on who you ask and what you choose to study," Perz said.

"Is the road good or bad? It depends on who you ask and what you choose to study," Perz said.

Hang that on the wall and frame it. Just about everything in this life involves tradeoffs of one sort or another, and choosing among them is at least somewhat arbitrary; so arguments over them can never be settled to everyone's satisfaction.

Mass Strikes Across India over Fuel Prices

Cities disrupted as opposition parties and trade unions call nationwide protest after 11 per cent rise in fuel costs.

A nationwide strike against rising petrol prices in India has closed shops and disrupted public transport, with the under-fire government facing new dissent over its economic management.

Opposition political parties and trade unions enforced a shutdown in many cities on Thursday, with anti-government marches held in New Delhi and commercial hub Mumbai.

In New Delhi, most shops were closed and traffic was extremely light, with many workers deciding to stay home because of the lack of public transport.

In Mumbai, the Shiv Sena party, a BJP ally, instructed residents that they "should not venture out of their houses" and there were reports of buses being stoned and offices attacked.

... Last week, Indian state-run oil firms announced the sharpest jump in petrol prices in nearly a decade to offset growing losses caused by subsidised rates.

Sip Lattés and Fix Busted Stuff at the Repair Café

It says something about where we’ve come as a society that the simple act of fixing something that’s broken is considered a revolutionary act. Yet here we are. It’s cheaper and easier to buy a new toaster, lamp, printer, or chair than it is to mend the one you have when it breaks — never mind that you may already be jonesing for an upgrade.

For 80 years or so, planned obsolescence has been the dirty little engine that drives our consumer economy. Today the members of a nascent fixer movement say it’s been long enough.

From CurbMart a few years ago I grabbed a Lakeland Fan - almost all metal + copper windings but looked like brass bushings.

And when the SO saw it I was told to 'get rid of it' - 3 years ago.

Now, a "new fan" was needed. under 2 hours - a fan that takes the same power as the box fan and moves air so you can get the wall hung pictures to move and a counter-breeze back out of the room.

Modern box fans? Plastic hub press fit on the shaft - no real way to pull the fan blade. How is that fixable when the brass bearings run outta oil?

Pipeline Company Building Oil Rail Export Terminal

BISMARCK, N.D — North Dakota regulators have approved the site plan for a new Berthold facility to load oil onto railroad cars. The Enbridge pipeline company is building the terminal. Enbridge already has a Berthold station for loading oil into pipelines, and the network is expanding.

Enbridge is spending $102 million to build the rail loading terminal for oil exports. The price includes the cost of land and new storage tanks and piping. North Dakota has almost a dozen rail terminals for loading oil.

Public Service Commission Chairman Tony Clark says about one-quarter of North Dakota's oil exports are shipped by rail, because pipelines can't handle it all.

I was wondering: sometimes I read articles about unemployment and welfare for the US. The stocks get upset if they miss by 10-20,000 on their estimates, ie. if like 350k instead of 330k apply for social benefits (unemployment) that week/month. Is that altogether new people, or just people that have recently lost their jobs?

I recently bought a computer ($2000 gaming desktop puter) and feel really bad about it too. I feel like it's the stupidest decision I've done in a while. I'm not awash with cash, my net worth is like $2000 if you take deposits minus student debt, which could be worse. I just felt it should be my post-graduation treat, since I've hardly made any unnecessary expenditures the last three years. But I think that's the mindset of the old DepressedAlot, the one who was depressed because he would be a perpetual virgin, not because he would die relatively young (I suspect I won't make it to 40) from laborious activity or just right out starvation.

Don't be too hard on yourself- the pleasure you get from your computer games is real- much else in this world is not. Enjoy the moments you get in life, that is all the wisdom I can pass on to you.

I actually returned a computer I bought last August and got a full refund (in the nick of time, too). This time I bought the parts so that I wouldn't do that. Instead I'm trying to sell it for a loss of like $600, but nobody wants to buy. Awesome!


Do you have the opportunity to visit natural outdoor spaces near where you live? Sometimes a causal day hike/walk can invigorate the spirit and the exercise can contribute to an overall lifting of the mood. I enjoy a daily dose of fresh air, sunshine, blue skies, and wildlife, oftentimes while walking my wonderful dog. May you find happiness in your life!

I agree with this. Biophilia is real, and getting outdoors to experience nature (even if it's just the bushes in your front yard) can make a big difference. Water (streams, the ocean, waterfalls, etc.) is especially beneficial.

I love computers and video games as much as anyone, but don't spend too much time with your "square headed girlfriend." Seriously...too much time online is linked with depression. Keep your computer, but make an effort to get out more. Both to experience nature and see people face to face.

You need not sell the thing as a whole, check out electronics forums. Sometimes people are looking for a good bargain for computer parts. I used my old SMPS unit as a stable power source for my electronics projects. Those regulated power supplies cost a bomb otherwise.

On a side note, though getting rid of unnecessary stuff is good, your posts sound very depressing. I hate giving free advice but you remind me of a friend who went through the same phase, for him the world was about to end; it's never like that. Talk to other people, get involved in some community or charity initiatives or anything that suits your philosophy, it's very uplifting. Staying alone is the worst thing one can do when in depression.

When I used to study with my Buddhist teacher, Garchen Rinpoche, he would throw his head back and laugh when I was totally in the dumps. Since he didn't speak English and I didn't speak Tibetan (sans translator), I'm pretty sure he was trying to say you've got to find a way to laugh at yourself, or find the humor in the pain. You can have pain but you don't have to suffer. There's beauty in the breaking.

Get better soon,

Kate - Very good. I became a member of an equally philosophical group as your Buddhists when I was 18 you that taught a similar line of thought: pain is your friend. It lets you know something is wrong and provides an incentive to rectify the situation. I still embrace that mantra although it does irritate my wife to some degree. With my various ailments I have good days and bad days. On bad days when I just smile at her she'll often just say "Don't say it!". LOL.

I've tried to instill the same philosophy to my 12 yo daughter. At 7 yo she was getting an inoculation when the nurse told her not to look at the needle. I told the nurse she didn't have a problem and it wouldn't bother her. So she watched the needle slip in. The nurse looked at both of us as though we were nuts. The nurse asked her if it hurt and she said a little but it didn't matter. Very proud dad, of course.

As you seem to have learned there's an endless source of physical and emotional pain out there. No one can eliminate those sources but we can all try to respond to them in a manner that lessens the impact. IOW, as your teacher said: you don't have to suffer. Of course, easier said than done but still a worthy goal.

pain is your friend

My karate teacher says the same thing :-)

Yeah, Rock, pain is our friend ;-) Having a connective tissue disorder (over 30 years now), I too have learned to live with it. Not terribly debilitating, just searing pain and inflamation. One of my fears of collapse is that aspirin won't be available, so I've planted a variety of willow trees around our ponds. Anyone have a good recipe for home made aspirin?

The Salix family is one of the reasons I don't like evolution; it makes a mess of everything. I want the different species to be each in their individual box, and stay there, so I know what I got and where I got it. But not so here. The Salix is a mess of sub species, and hybrids, that are not easy to keep track of. The version you have in your local area varies from what other got in their. Hence, concentrations in the below recepie may vary accordingly.

Boil 2 dl bark in 3 dl water for 20 minutes. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Drink 3 to 5 times a day. Helps against pain and fever.

When I get liquid steel on my hands (or in my shoes too, that is realy funny) I use to think that the burnt skin area is far away from my head, my head beeing me. So I am told there is a burnt skin area over there, so what? It does help in ignoring the pain. But after a few rounds of that, one does not even feel it. The body itself learn to ignore the pain.
The girl in my youth group who used tocut herself in the arms says the same thing; it just don't hurt as much after a few rounds.

Dude, you gotta get over yourself. Peak oil is a real issue but it is a big slow-motion issue. And you happen to live in country that will benefit from it since it is an oil exporter and a hydroelectricity exporter. You are too young to be obsessing over this.

Fire up Steam on your gaming computer, buy a couple new games, and enjoy. (Perhaps the new Max Payne 3 since you've got a nice rig for it.) Don't buy those Peak oil books. You can find more than enough reading material on the web and reading those books will just worsen your mental condition.

The Cornucopians have a point that the doomers ignore . . . people have been preaching doom for the entire history of mankind. Even Jesus himself was an apocalyptic preacher that indicated the world would end during the lives of living people back then. Didn't happen. Paul Erhlich's famous 'Population Bomb' had lots of doomerism that hasn't panned out.

Most of the modern doomer stuff you read won't pan out either. We'll adapt. We'll carpool, we'll travel by jet less, well do more public transport, well buy hybrids, we'll buy plug-in hybrids, we'll buy EVs, we'll prioritize oil to farming by market systems, etc. All of that can be done without a single new technology . . . and there will be new unknown technologies that will be invented that will help us. So we are NOT going to be living in caves & collecting berries.

Summary: Don't order the books, keep the computer, play the games, take whatever your job is seriously, and try to enjoy things as much as you can. That's coming from a Scandinavian-American that has learned a lot dealing with his own depression issues. I've read your posts and I can tell you that your problems are more in your own head than in the outside real world.

We're all gonna die!!

.... Just not all at the same time.. and those folks playing frisbee or making breakfast when you and I go probably won't even really register the fact..

Dieoff is boring, I'm going to go get some pie.

We are all going to die. So you might as well enjoy it a bit. Don't be totally irresponsible or hedonistic. But it is better to have a shorter enjoyable life than a longer miserable one. There is no prize given for longevity. The only prize is the enjoyment you get.

Redefining Security for the 21st Century

One of our legacies from the last century, which was dominated by two world wars and the cold war, is a sense of security that is defined almost exclusively in military terms. ...

But the situation in which we find ourselves pushes us to redefine security in twenty-first century terms. The time when military forces were the prime threat to security has faded into the past. The threats now are climate volatility, spreading water shortages, continuing population growth, spreading hunger, and failing states. The challenge is to devise new fiscal priorities that match these new security threats.

... We can calculate roughly the costs of the changes needed to move our twenty-first century civilization off the decline-and-collapse path and onto a path that will sustain civilization. This is what we call “Plan B.” What we cannot calculate is the cost of not adopting Plan B. How do you put a price tag on social collapse and the massive die-off that it invariably brings?

Ottawa considers high-altitude drones for Arctic surveillance

The federal government is considering a proposal to buy at least three high-altitude, unmanned aerial vehicles in what could be an attempt to salvage its Arctic sovereignty ambitions.

Many of the Conservative government’s plans to establish a presence in the rapidly thawing region, including the construction of military icebreakers and the establishment of a deepwater port, are behind schedule.

The U.S. Air Force is considering selling some of its Global Hawks, which are still under construction, as part of military budget cuts.

Top US companies shelling out to block action on climate change

Some of America's top companies are spending heavily to block action on climate change or discredit climate science, despite public commitments to sustainable and green values, a new report has found.

An analysis of 28 Standard & Poor 500 publicly traded companies by researchers from the Union of Concerned Scientists exposed a sharp disconnect in some cases between PR message and less visible activities, with companies quietly lobbying against climate policy or funding groups which work to discredit climate science.

The findings are in line with the recent expose of the Heartland Institute. Over the years, the ultra-conservative organisation devoted to discrediting climate science received funds from a long list of companies which had public commitments to sustainability.

The disconnect in this instance was especially stark in the researchers' analysis of oil giants ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil, and the electricity company DTE energy.

A Climate of Corporate Control: How Corporations Have Influenced the U.S. Dialogue on Climate Science and Policy (pdf)

Some of America's top companies are spending heavily to block action on climate change or discredit climate science, despite public commitments to sustainable and green values, a new report has found.

How did we allow this country to evolve to be so corrupt? Why are corporate profits placed higher than the welfare of the country and world? Wasn't it suppose to be by the people, for the people, etc.? Now we have our first presidential election in which anonymous wealthy individuals can influence the vote with as much money as they want without their identity ever being disclosed. Isn't this fun? It's all for sale now including our morals and ethics.

How much money do you have and what would you like to buy?

Oh, I'd like to buy the rejection of science to further our corporations profits as they relate to GHG emissions.

That's going to cost a lot.

Name your price. As long as we still make a hefty profit, we're in!

Well corporations are people now. In fact because of their size/wealth, they are super-people!

Well corporations are people now. In fact because of their size/wealth, they are super-people!

More importantly they are 'people' without a specific country, they have no loyalty to anyone but their own self interests!
I'm not aware of too many corporations who can be considered good global citizens... at least in terms of being realistic about the consequences of economic growth on NRRs and planetary ecosystems. Most of them have become a pox and a cancer on the planet!

Perhaps the only way to change that is to let things run their natural course and let them die along with their host.

Perhaps the only way to change that is to let things run their natural course and let them die along with their host.

I like that - let the snake eat its own head.

Collapse by decadence, resource depletion and climate change all at the same time. Fun. Fun. Fun.


How much money do you have and what would you like to buy?

Oh, I'd like to buy the rejection of science to further our corporations profits as they relate to GHG emissions.

That's going to cost a lot.

Name your price. As long as we still make a hefty profit, we're in!

True enough.

But it is not just mere corruption . . . there is a lot of self-delusion involved. If you really believed you were destroying your great-grandkids world, would you do it just for some money. I guess many would still say yes but I would hope that most would say no. So they have to first self-delude themselves that what the climate people say is bunk.

Of course that is not that hard. That is hard-wired into us. We all believe we are smarter, healthier, and more attractive than we really are. I mean really . . . everyone of us walks around with the knowledge that ourselves and everyone we know will be dead eventually, but we all go into denial about it to press on.

What could happen next if Greece leaves the eurozone?

There is more and more speculation that Greece is about to leave the euro. ... Click on the labels on the graphic to read more about some of the possible consequences

Why doesn't that graph show 'contagion' as one of the possible side effects from a Greek EU exit? Surely Spain will be tempted to exit once Greece has taken the embarassing first step. And what of other PIIGS countries then? This thing could start rolling pretty hard, pretty fast.

Definitely starting to size up like this will be part of another economic step down (greater or lesser than 08), as well as a step back from globalization towards regionalization.

Definitely starting to size up like this will be part of another economic step down (greater or lesser than 08), as well as a step back from globalization towards regionalization.

I'd say greater more likely than lesser. For a while I see each successive step as a bit larger, the landing a bit rougher, the pain more widely shared.

For one thing, the Reps will likely win if the step begins now; the economy will be in terrible shape by election day, and the outs will get in. Propaganda machines are revved up for maximum distortion; voters will be totally flummoxed by then, and blame Obama, though it wouldn't have mattered who was in at this point in time. And, the programs that will pass will make things much worse! By 2014 there will be a Democratic House and Senate; in 2016, a Democratic President, and it will still not matter much - though again, it may be a bit better for a short time.

History shows that we are on a four year cycle, and my crystal ball says 2020 is the year that the steepest step takes place... what happens after that I don't want to guess (or maybe I can guess but don't want to?)

Regionalization, Earl? More like fragmentation!

Best hopes for finding the best fragment.


Regionalization, Earl? More like fragmentation!

From globalization to regionalization to localization to fragmentation. Still working our way down the net energy eroei ladder, but whomever makes it through the musical chairs to fragmentation will certainly be a strong minded, physically capable person.

Agree it won't matter which politician or party has the power.

Ran across these two U-tube videos last night on collapse, where not to be when shtf. He thinks the US will be the worse country to be in during the collapse and in particular urban areas. Ascribes to the idea collapse will occur when the dollar fails as a currency due to hyper-inflation, taking all other currencies with it. I agree it will occur due to hyper-inflation, but whether it takes all others with it is hard to predict.



Greece Finding Crude Oil Increasingly Hard to Come By

Greek refiners are finding fewer willing sellers of crude oil as suppliers wary of the country’s economic situation avoid doing business there, people familiar with the situation said. The issue extends beyond the supply of crude oil to oil products that are used for fuel, heat and power generation and are essential for industrial activity. A trader described people in the market as “completely reluctant” to deal with Greece, amid concerns over customers’ ability to pay for oil, as rising fears that the troubled country could be forced out of the euro zone have dented sellers’ confidence, and with banks increasingly reluctant to supply Greek companies with credit lines . . .

For much of last year and the beginning of this year Greece bought substantial amounts of oil from Iran at very advantageous credit terms, but Iranian state media reported in April that the country was cutting off supply to Greece as a result of unpaid bills, and in any event a European Union-wide embargo on the import of Iranian oil is set to come into force July 1.

Seattle Fault Zone -- 900-930 AD earthquake larger than previously thought

A fresh look at sedimentary evidence suggests the 900-930 AD rupture of the Seattle fault possibly produced a larger earthquake than previously recognized. The Seattle fault zone, a series of active-east-west trending thrust faults, poses seismic threat to the Puget Sound region.

Help Combat Energy Illiteracy: An Energy 101 Primer

A few years ago, over 1,000 Americans responded to a Public Agenda survey about energy. The results were startling. Nearly four in ten American adults could not name a single fossil fuel. Over half of respondents couldn't name a renewable energy source.


We're creating a resource that aims to demystify energy -- the science, the economics, the technology, the history. You can consider it a primer or a user's manual. Or a sort of 21st-century textbook. Basically, we want it to be a complete Energy 101 education in language and charts and graphics that we all can understand.


Some 50,000 pages of documents about the JFK assassination remain classified until 2017, and even then, the then President can apparently decide to keep them classified indefinitely longer.


I wonder what documents may be squirreled away pertaining to Peak Oil, Limits to Growth, and so forth?

makes me hark back to the movie....and the revelations from the Soylent Corporation Oceanographic Survey of 2025...

Forward the Foundation!

Brent back below $100.

Markets down again.

Nothing magical about $100 but I think it is a clear marker that we are onto the next stair-step down.

Bad employment report this morning.


Only 69,000 jobs were added in May. The unemployment rate rose to 8.2%, as people rejoined the labor force.

Economists surveyed by CNNMoney had expected to see employers add 150,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to remain at 8.1%.


Unemployment rises to 8.2% ??.... sure. Another case of the disappearing workforce. Poof!

I was just trying to confirm a news headline I saw on CNBC this AM, that showed April non-farm revised down from 115,000 to 77,000. However, so far have not found an article with that revision. But that does seem like a number more in line with a downward trend in line with May's 69,000 number, so it probably is accurate.

From my link:

Revisions from previous months also showed the economy gained 49,000 fewer jobs in March and April than originally thought.

Just realized some rather interesting timing:

From the time world oil extraction hit a plateau in May 05 until the onslaught of the first major economic step down, or better known as the Great Recession starting in 08, was approx. 3.25 years.

Once the initial stages of that debacle had played out until this 2nd economic step down has been approx. 3.25 years. From about Mar. 1st 09 until June 1st 2012.

So once the EU breakup situation plays out along with its influence on the US & China economies, can we expect another 3.25 years to pass until the 3rd step down?

However, what may be different this time around is there is no political will to have a stimulus. In fact the opposite - to try and rein in spending, at least on entitlements. Therefore maybe the step downs begin to occur now on shorter time frames.

Ghung - Even worse when you consider new folks entering the market. Last I saw the stats on average 135,000 college students become wannabe employees every month. That's the average but given the time of year I suspect the additions are many times that during the beginning of summer. Of course, if I understand the counting protocol, they won't be counted as unemployed since never having been employed for the most part they can't apply for unemployment benefits. Just my WAG but calculates out to be 1.6 million per year entering the market place. If half graduated in the spring than perhaps as many as 800,000 have entered the game at a time when less than 100,000 jobs are being added per month.

Along the lines of employment problems there was an interesting story on NPR: the difficulty of finding young workers for those high salaried jobs working in the offshore oil patch. The prez of Hercules Drilling noted that 30% of their applicants fail the mandatory drug tests. And this is after they've been told they will be tested. Drugs in the oil patch is a very old problem. More than once I've arrived at an offshore platform at sunrise with drug dogs and private security guards. Always a sad experience especially when you have to put a guy you've become friends with on the boat and send him to the house for good. Needless to say it's dangerous enough out there when you have a clear head.

Look at the bright side, Rock. Over half of students graduating from law school this year will never practice law ;-/

What an interesting narrative of our time. Sadly this decline in living via oil stagnation is akin to bleeding to death by a paper cut.

About climate change, why can't one be undecided? Surely
We have sealed our fate. Is humanity a parasite destroying our beloved
Gaia or planet Earth?

Sadly this decline in living via oil stagnation is akin to bleeding to death by a paper cut.

I take it that you meant that as sarcasm. If so then that is cornucopian nonsense. Oil prices have multiplied five fold in ten years. That has brought immense hardship on many nations. Also it takes oil to grow, if oil production is stagnate then eventually growth must stop. And that is what is happening in Europe right now and will happen in the US very soon.

Also, very important oil production is stagnate but oil imports to all OECD nations have been dropping precipitously. That means oil consumption in all Western Nations and even Eastern Nations like Japan and South Korea has been dropping fast since 2005. That is not a paper cut, that is a deep gash.

Is humanity a parasite destroying our beloved Gaia or planet Earth?


Ron P.

Ron - I'm sure we share a similar philosophy but express it differently. Humanity can't destroy Mother Earth IMHO. She's pushed many times more species to extinction than exists today. She's covered large section of continents with thousands of feet of molten rock. She transformed quiet shallow coral seas into mountain peaks tens of thousands of feet tall. I think human ego tends to make us think we are in control of earth's future to some degree. We can't destroy the planet but we can certainly destroy our ability to exist happily in Mother's realm. And Mother couldn't care less. We're of no more importance to her plan than a trilobite that scurried along the sea floor 400 million years ago. All that's left of it are a few fossilized remains. Perhaps mankind will share its fate one day. But Mother will still be carrying on at that time...perhaps observing the development of a sentient cockroach. LOL.

Rockman, surely you didn't think I literally meant "destroy the earth". Only a massive asteroid hid or some other such catastrophe could do that. I meant destroy the earth as we know it.

Of course the earth will eventually recover from this plague, but it will take millions of years.

Ron P.

Ron - I know. LOL

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, here, but I don't think there will be any sentient cockroaches. "Intelligence" requires brains of a certain size. Individual arthropods are limited in size by the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere. "Sentience" in insects is better considered at the group or colony level, example bees and ants. If one could get to a big enough colony size, that might approximate sentience.
I'm of the opinion that "Intelligence" as we know it is a one-time accident. We are it. We'll either act to preserve it, or not.

Perhaps 'intelligence' is over-rated :-/

Evolution is not goal-oriented, it is the response to environmental change. "Intelligence" as we know it is just the end result - to date - of a series of changes in one branch of apes. The problem is we view it as the highest level attainable. That's a pretty anthropocentric view, unsurprisingly. It could turn out to be just another blind alley.
Evolution in H. sap may result in the next development - H. non-sap.

Well said, and I entirely agree.

I should note, though, somewhere in this string that in the early '90's it was shown that bottlenosed dolphins possess the cognitive benchmark called self-awareness when tested by human standards. (I remember it well, it was my lab which did the work). That and other research has shown that conscious highly-intelligent beings have evolved twice on earth after at least 70 million years' genetic divergence from some dopey little critter. That is, convergent evolution of abstract intelligence - by current human definitions - has happened more than once; though self-awareness as narrowly defined only in mammals.

I mention this not in disagreement, but to note that we're destroying those evolutionary lines. Our CO2 injections combined with out other depredations will likely end the cetaceans, as well as other large-brained "intelligent" species.

Perhaps self-awareness confers some advantage over non-self-awareness if it has evolved more than once.

Maybe self-awareness is a niche to be filled just like the large predator niche. I don't mean to suggest it is a bad thing, just that there are so many other incredible examples of evolution at work - colors, behaviors, communication mechanisms (such as color change in squid) - that I think should be seen as just as important as sentience.

I suppose we value "intelligence" as a measure since it makes other creatures more like us.

On destruction of evolutionary lines - that is our most dismal failure.

s/t - Obviously you've wasted much time reading and going to school instead of taking advantage of insights of the sci-fi movies of the 50's/60's. A life of such potential as yours wasted...so sad.

"I'm of the opinion that "Intelligence" as we know it is a one-time accident." Given where we seem to be heading perhaps you might want to reclassify that "accident" as a near miss. LOL.

Rock - I've been reading Sci Fi since I was old enough to absorb my dad's Sci Fi books - most of which I still have. I love a good fantasy, same as the next geek.
Reality has a great way of slapping one in the face with a wet halibut (insert one's remaining sea creature of choice).

"Beam me up, Scotty. Ain't no intelligent life down here".

s/t - ya gotta give up that reality thing, brother. It's a real buzz kill, man.


you've wasted much time reading and going to school instead of taking advantage of insights of the sci-fi movies of the 50's/60's. A life of such potential as yours wasted...so sad.

Hopefully s/t understands that you had hit the /sarc/ button! LOL

Beam me up, Scotty. There is no "Intelligence" on this planet.


If we go, intelligent lizards will replace us one day. Lizards, I tell you!