Drumbeat: June 6, 2012

For first time in years, the world is producing more oil than it needs

Remember when, a few short months ago, the whole planet was panicked about cripplingly high oil prices? That’s changed in a hurry. Crude prices are now plummeting. Oil in London is trading for $96 per barrel, way down from $126 back in February.

The big reason why: supply and demand. The world is pumping out more oil and other liquid fuels right at the moment when the global economy is starting to slacken and people are using less of the stuff. Matthew Phillips of BloombergBusinessweek offers up this great chart:

The driver of oil prices

The long-run supply of oil is not fixed. As oil prices rise, a number of related activities are encouraged on the supply side. New technologies are developed. New areas are explored for crude. New fields are developed. Producing wells are brought on line in the new fields. More crude is produced from existing fields using new technologies. That is, in time, installed capacity to produce oil could be increased and more oil can be produced.

But can this go on forever-higher oil prices encouraging new technologies and exploration activities to increase global oil output? No. While new fields come on stream, older fields are depleted and stop producing.

Julian Simon, Power Of Market Prices, Why We’ll Never Run Out Of Oil, Why Peak Oil Is Peak Idiocy

As resource economist Julian Simon taught us years ago, we never have, and never will, run out of scarce resources like oil because as a resource becomes more scarce, its price will rise, which will set in motion a series of actions that will counteract the scarcity. For example, higher prices for oil will increase the incentives to: a) find more oil, b) conserve on the use of oil, and c) find more substitutes. And that’s exactly what’s happened recently in response to higher oil prices – domestic crude oil production reached a 14-year high in March, and the share of rigs drilling for oil (vs. natural gas) set a new record high of 70% last week.

Meet The Oil Shale Eighty Times Bigger Than The Bakken

Everyone has heard about the Bakken shale, the huge expanse of oil-bearing rock underneath North Dakota and Montana that billionaire Harold Hamm thinks could yield 24 billion barrels of oil in the decades to come. The Bakken is a huge boon, both to the economic health of the northern Plains states, but also to the petroleum balance of the United States. From just 60,000 barrels per day five years ago, the Bakken is now giving up 500,000 bpd, with 210,000 bpd of that coming on in just the past year. Given the availability of enough rigs to drill it and crews to frack it, there’s no reason why the Bakken couldn’t be producing more than 1 million bpd by the end of the decade, a level that could be maintained for halfway through the century.

But as great as the Bakken is, I learned last week about another oil shale play that dwarfs it. It’s called The Bazhenov. It’s in Western Siberia, in Russia. And while the Bakken is big, the Bazhenov — according to a report last week by Sanford Bernstein’s lead international oil analyst Oswald Clint — “covers 2.3 million square kilometers or 570 million acres, which is the size of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico combined.” This is 80 times bigger than the Bakken.

Oil Gains a Third Day on Demand Outlook as Supplies Drop

Oil rose for a third day in New York after stockpiles dropped in the U.S., the world’s biggest consumer of crude, and economic reports pointed to more demand.

Futures gained as much as 0.9 percent. Crude inventories fell 1.8 million barrels last week, the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said yesterday. An Energy Department report today may show supplies slid by 500,000 barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. U.S. service-industry growth unexpectedly increased, and Australia’s economic expansion beat estimates.

API posts bigger-than-expected crude supply fall

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Crude-oil supplies fell by 1.8 million barrels for the week ended June 1, according to a report from the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday. Distillate stocks climbed by 1.8 million barrels and gasoline inventories rose 1.4 million barrels last week, the report said.

Stuart Staniford: Oil Prices

So whither these trends now? On the one hand, it seems clear that the recent downward forces on prices will continue: negotiations with Iran will drag on as the US administration is determined to postpone any attack till after the election, while Iran is determined to not give any more ground than it absolutely has to. Similarly, Spain's difficulties rescuing Bankia, and the fact that there are likely still a lot of not-fully-discounted bad loans in Spain's banks, suggest that the Spanish government is near the end of its rope. Meanwhile the tension between the Greek populace and international authorities is not resolved at all. Eurozone leaders at present still appear to have no serious strategy for addressing the problems. Spanish and Greek unemployment continue to soar. And then there is the continued inability of the polarized US political system to come to grips with major challenges - particularly the upcoming expiry of the Bush tax cuts and the automatic spending cuts that will be triggered around the end of this year. All this is chilling stock markets everywhere, particularly as no-one really knows what the implications for the global financial system will be if pieces start to fall off the Eurozone as it trundles forward.

These kinds of considerations suggest that the downward break in oil prices could continue quite a lot further.

Oil Prices are Down, and That's Very Bad News

Generally speaking, we're finally living in the world of peak oil. Or call it plateaued oil if you like, since we seem to have hit a rough plateau in oil production that's likely to continue for quite a while. This is the world of the vicious circle: when the economy gets better, demand for oil goes up and oil prices spike. This causes the economy to tank, which sends demand for oil down. Rinse and repeat. Add to that the effect of external events on oil prices (the Arab Spring, pipeline breakdowns, embargoes on Iran, etc. etc.) and world economic growth is likely to remain both sluggish and unstable for the foreseeable future, held hostage to OPEC oil production until we get serious about alternative energy. And since, in this brave new world, the price of oil gyrates frequently and erratically, it's hard to get people serious about this. If oil were, say, permanently above $200 per barrel or so, we'd be building wind farms and installing PV solar at breakneck speed. But whenever the price of Brent falls below $90 or so, everyone gets nervous and wonders if wind farms and solar arrays are really such good investments after all.

Will the Oil Bubble Pop Down to $67 This Time: If so that’s Good News

So in March 2011 your Humble Guru was predicting a big fall to roundabout $70 for Brent by November 2011, so therefore either the guru is an idiot or the theory is wrong…or both.

Well this wannabe has been exposed as a blithering idiot many times before, so that’s not something worth debating.

The interesting question is whether the theory is any good, and specifically is it any use in making predictions?

World Energy Demand to Rise 40% by 2030, Chevron’s Kirkland Says

Global energy demand will climb by 40 percent by 2030, George Kirkland, Chevron Corp.’s upstream vice president for gas, said today in Kuala Lumpur.

RasGas Says U.S. to Limit Gas Exports to Keep Prices Low

Qatar, the world’s largest liquefied natural gas producer, joined Australian suppliers in playing down the threat of large-scale exports of the fuel from the U.S., where a shale-gas boom has upended global energy markets.

“The U.S. has need for energy themselves,” Hamad Rashid Al-Mohannadi, the managing director of RasGas Co., told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today. “I don’t see the U.S. exporting large volumes of LNG” as it would cause domestic gas prices to rise significantly, he said.

Japan's demand fuels LNG rise

Japan's voracious demand for alternative sources of electricity post-Fukushima continues to drive up prices of liquefied natural gas in Asia.

The increase widens the price gap with other markets, in particular the United States, and gives further incentive for shale gas exports from North America.

China Natural Gas Demand to Double by 2017: IEA

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Global demand for natural gas will likely grow 17 percent over the next five years as Chinese consumption doubles, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

China’s demand for natural gas should expand 13 percent a year through 2017 while U.S. consumption will probably grow 13 percent by 2017, the Paris-based IEA said. It forecast European demand to increase by 7.9 percent.

“Asia will by far be the fastest growing region, driven primarily by China which will emerge as the third largest gas user by 2013,” said the IEA, which is made up of 28 countries, including the US and most European nations.

GE Plans to Double Asia Oil, Gas Business, Grow Floating LNG

General Electric Co. is seeking to double its oil and gas business in Asia in three to five years, driven by about $40 billion in projects in Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia, two of its senior executives in the region said.

“This is where we see a lot of dynamism in the future,” Visal Leng, general manager of GE’s oil and gas division in Asia, said in an interview today in Kuala Lumpur, where he’s attending a natural-gas industry conference.

Exxon Mobil warns red tape risks snuffing out gas boom

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's largest publicly listed energy company, warned on Tuesday that too much government regulation could undermine a rapid global expansion of gas output from a range of unconventional sources.

Helped by a boom in shale gas, Exxon Mobil has become North America's largest natural gas producer, but energy firms face pressure for tighter regulation of the industry over concerns about the impact of drilling on the environment and also public concern that U.S. gas prices could rise if the gas is exported.

Keystone Supporters See Weak Jobs Data Boosting Project

A sputtering U.S. job market is encouraging supporters seeking to force President Barack Obama to approve TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline before the November election.

A report last week that U.S. employers added in May the fewest workers in a year underscores the need for the $5.3 billion pipeline, which would carry heavy crude from Alberta to Nebraska, according to Senator John Hoeven, a Republican from North Dakota. Hoeven is lobbying to include a measure in a transportation spending bill that would fast track the project.

House Adopts Measure to Halt Light-Bulb Efficiency Law

Republicans in the U.S. House adopted a provision designed to save traditional incandescent light bulbs by blocking what one lawmaker called the “energy police” from enforcing an efficiency standard.

Even if the House language approved last night survives in the Democratic-led Senate, the impact for consumers probably will be limited because manufacturers such as Royal Philips Electronics NV and General Electric Co. have revamped manufacturing to comply with the law, making bulbs that use less electricity to generate the same amount of light.

Three of 12 Ventures Funded by Romney-Created Energy Fund Failed

A $17 million, state-backed green- energy fund created during Mitt Romney’s tenure as governor of Massachusetts invested in a dozen companies, three of which have since closed, according to the fund’s manager.

EON Will Lose Millions After Trader’s ‘Irregularities’

EON AG, Germany’s biggest utility, will probably lose millions of euros after “irregularities” by a former employee were discovered last month.

“EON Energy Trading SE in Dusseldorf has detected some irregularities of a single trader,” Georg Oppermann, a spokesman for the power and natural-gas company, said yesterday by phone. “We expect only minor financial impacts on our portfolio in the lower double-digit million euro range,” he said, declining to specify the amount because the trades were in forward markets. He wouldn’t name the person or say which commodities were involved.

Algeria to invest $80 bln in oil and gas over 5 yrs

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Algerian state energy company Sonatrach plans to increase its investment to $80 billion over the next five years as the OPEC member country seeks to expand its gas resource base and boost its refining and petrochemical capacity.

The planned investment is $12 billion more than previously announced by the North African producer, which is a significant supplier of natural gas to Europe.

Malaysia firm, PDVSA to drill off Cuba as Repsol stops

Cash-strapped Cuba's long quest for black gold took another twist with the announcement that a Malaysian firm and Venezuela's PDVSA will use an advanced oil platform vacated by Spain's Repsol.

Repsol had been doing exploratory drilling since February offshore not far from Havana, but on May 22 said it had not found oil with the Scarabeo-9, a state-of-the-art $500,000-a-day platform.

Another fuel crisis looms large

KATHMANDU: A shortage of petroleum products looms large over the country as the sole supplier Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has failed to clear its dues to Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).

President of Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ National Association (NPDNA) Lilendra Prasad Pradhan said that the general public will face acute shortage of petroleum products due to the massive cut in fuel supply by the corporation.

China lends $1.1 bln for Kazakh refinery upgrade

ALMATY (Reuters) - KazMunaiGas, Kazakhstan's state oil and gas company, secured a $1.13 billion Chinese loan on Wednesday to complete an upgrade that will enable its Atyrau oil refinery to produce cleaner fuels.

The loan from China's Export-Import Bank will be repayable over 13.5 years, KazMunaiGas said.

Chevron Readies For New Iraq Auction; Exxon Out On Kurdish Deal

The Iraqi central government announced a fourth round of bidding for oil and gas exploration of new blocks in the country. The new round will see the participation of 39 foreign companies including Chevron and BP.

Oil major Exxon Mobil has been barred from participation in this round because it entered into a deal with the Kurdish Regional Government to explore blocks in the semi-autonomous region. The Iraqi government disputes contracts between local governments and private players and has added a condition to the present round of bidding, threatening the cancellation of contracts if successful bidders entered into contracts with regional governments without approval from Baghdad.

Iran can play important role in connecting Caspian Sea region and Persian Gulf

Azerbaijan, Baku / Trend A.Badalova / Iran can play an important role in connecting the Caspian Sea region and the Persian Gulf and can ensure the development of cooperation of these regions in the energy sector, general director of the department for Europe, America and the Caspian countries in Iran's Ministry of Oil Hossein Esmaili said at the 19th International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference in Baku on Wednesday.

Russia, China to 'Expand Oil, Gas Cooperation'

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Hu Jintao have instructed their governments to draw up proposals by fall to expand bilateral cooperation between their countries in the oil and gas sectors, Russia's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Fitch: Russia case highlights political risk for BP

The resumption of the USD13bn lawsuit against BP Plc through the Russian courts highlights the political and litigation risks that the oil major faces. Fitch Ratings will review BP's 'A'/Stable rating if the court case gains traction, but the company's improving credit profile means the rating can withstand greater shocks now than last year, when the lawsuit was first filed.

Litigation risk remains key to BP's credit ratings. The group faces a potential negative impact from the Russian case and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Likewise, if further legal developments move in the company's favour, the Outlook could be revised to Positive.

Russia probes TNK-BP on behalf of Rosneft

Russia's anti-monopoly service said Wednesday it was probing the British energy group BP's crisis-torn local joint venture TNK-BP on request from the state oil giant Rosneft.

The surprise announcement delivers another blow to a lucrative nine-year alliance that provides BP with more than a quarter of its oil output and billions of dollars in annual dividends.

Russia's Gazprom says Shtokman 2, 3 likely LNG projects

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - The world's top gas producer, Gazprom, said on Wednesday there is a "good chance" that all three phases of its Shtokman gas field will be developed into liquefied natural gas (LNG).

"Our decision to switch to 100 percent LNG is a reflection of the supply-demand balance in Europe," Alexander Medvedev, deputy chairman of the company's management committee, told reporters at a global gas conference in Kuala Lumpur.

Belarus Dilutes Oil Product Exported to Russia – Envoy

Russia is concerned with the policies of its neighbor Belarus, which sells more petroleum products than it can refine from oil imported from Russia, Russian Ambassador to Belarus Alexander Surikov said on Wednesday.

“The Russian side has drawn attention to the fact that the imports of Belarusian petroleum products into Russia have risen several times compared with 2009 and 2010. This year, imports from Belarus have risen almost four-fold. These are light petroleum products,” Surikov said.

Chesapeake to replace 4 directors in nod to Icahn

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Just weeks after taking a stake in Chesapeake Energy Corp., activist shareholder Carl Icahn has helped orchestrate a shake-up at the nation's No. 2 natural gas producer.

Chesapeake said Monday it plans to replace four of its existing board members in the next few weeks. The board has been under fire for recent corporate governance controversies and the company's stock has plunged as natural gas prices hit 10-year lows.

Chesapeake Energy may fare better keeping its pipeline unit

Chesapeake Energy Corp., which is looking for assets to sell to cut debt and close a funding gap, may want to hold onto its cash-generating pipeline unit, Chesapeake Midstream Partners LP.

Chesapeake Is Said to Discuss $4 Billion Pipeline Sale

Chesapeake Energy Corp. is in advanced talks to sell pipelines to Global Infrastructure Partners for more than $4 billion, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

The Oklahoma-City based energy explorer, facing a $22 billion cash-flow shortfall after natural-gas prices touched a decade low is discussing selling its entire stake in Chesapeake Midstream Partners LP and other pipeline assets, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are private. The negotiations may lead to a deal within days and could also fall apart, the people said.

Shell CEO sees no urgency to sell $6 billion Woodside stake

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, sees no urgency over what to do with its $6 billion stake in Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL), Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser said today.

“We are under no urgency or pressure to do anything,” Voser told reporters today in Kuala Lumpur, where he’s attending an industry conference. “Woodside has an interesting growth model in terms of projects and has strategic value.”

Nigerian court upholds ruling against Statoil on Agbami

Norway's Statoil said Wednesday it had lost a legal fight in a Nigerian court -- which supported a claim from a former consultant that it share profits from the 250,000 b/d deepwater Agbami oil field -- but vowed to fight on with an appeal.

Brazil's ANP: Chevron Hasn't Yet Totally Recognized Causes of Spill

Speaking on the sidelines of an event, ANP Director Magda Chambriard said that Chevron "continues to focus on natural causes as a basis" for the spill. An estimated 2,400 to 3,000 barrels of oil seeped from cracks in the seabed after a drilling accident in November at the Chevron-operated Frade offshore field.

New Gulf Oil Spill Claims Process to Begin

Thousands of victims of BP’s 2010 Gulf oil spill will participate in a new process for economic-loss and medical claims associated with the accident.

The Deepwater Horizon Claims Center, run by court-appointed administrator Patrick Juneau, will open 18 intake centers across the Gulf Coast next week to accept such claims. They will be paid based on the strict terms of a negotiated settlement. Its central offices are based in downtown New Orleans.

Indonesia may not ban low-grade coal exports, impose export tax: official

Bali, Indonesia (Platts)- Indonesia may not ban the export of coal with a low calorific value or may not even impose an export tax, but will definitely regulate coal production and exports and will look to increase government revenues from the commodity, a senior energy ministry official said Wednesday.

The official said Indonesia definitely had to impose rules to control the production and export of coal to ensure future generations in Indonesia will have enough resources.

New Value for Land in Rural Ohio

CALDWELL, Ohio — The energy boom has swept into the rural counties of the upper Ohio River Valley, producing a torrent of investment in mineral leasing that is jolting the economies of small towns and swelling the bank accounts of some working-class families.

Dubai's Drydocks set to target energy sector

Drydocks World, the Dubai World subsidiary on the verge of completing a restructuring of its debt, is seeking to expand in the energy sector with a string of innovative projects.

Drydocks has convinced most of its 19 creditors to agree to a restructuring of loans totalling US$2.2 billion (Dh8.08bn) and that a deal will be signed off in the coming weeks.

Honda Fit EV Most Efficient New Car In US

Fresh out of EPA testing, the 2013 Honda Fit EV has earned the title of most efficient car sold in the US.

The electric Honda’s 118 MPGe fuel efficiency equivalency rating is the highest ever awarded by the EPA, beating out the 105 MPGe Ford Focus Electric, 112 MPGe Mitsubishi i-MiEV and 99 MPGe Nissan Leaf. The Fit EV consumes just 29 kWh of electricity per 100 miles driven, which will cost the average driver about $500 per year.

9 electric car stalls, misses, and crackups

Making electric cars isn't rocket science -- it's a lot harder.

Technical Guideline to Help Fleets Transition to Natural Gas Vehicle Use

OTTAWA /CNW/ - The Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance (CNGVA) released a technical guideline today to help fleet owners transition to natural gas, an affordable and lower emission fuel for transportation. The new guideline gathers all of the required information in one place in order to simplify the process of making facilities safe for natural gas vehicle use. Fleets and vehicle dealers can take the guideline to their local technical expert to determine what modifications are needed for existing and proposed facilities in order to comply with existising regulations and to ensure the safe handling of natural gas vehicles.

Leaked documents reveal UK fight to dilute EU green energy targets

Allegations of coalition hypocrisy over green issues as critics say documents show UK has caved in to fossil fuel lobbyists.

Army trying to make bases energy independent

FORT CARSON, Colo. — The barrel-like oven transforming wood chips into electricity with a Ford auto engine hardly seems like battlefield equipment, but Army officials say it may save lives.

The pilot plant, built by Littleton-based Community Power Corp., is part of the “net zero” project that aims to make this base energy independent.

The base — whose 26,000 troops and their families make it Colorado’s 14th-largest city — is ground zero for the Army’s effort to reduce energy and water use and cut waste.

Fish Heads to Chicken Fat Light Homes, Cut Retailer Costs

Fish heads and chicken fat are being turned into electricity by the U.K.’s largest retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. that ship food waste to power plants to reduce garbage-removal fees.

Solar panels sales set to shine bright

The falling cost of photovoltaic technology will boost sales of solar panels as households harness the power of the sun to reduce their electricity costs, according to the head of Masdar's power division.

Disruptive Economics Accelerating Global Energy Change

Oil analysts already integrate “disruptive technology” in the shape of hybrid and all-electric cars in their forecasts of probable, at least possible decline in the total oil demand of the world's two-largest car fleets - in the EU27 and USA - and in the world's fastest-growing fleets of China, India and other smaller emerging economies.

Affluenza Afloat: The Dangers of Supersized Cruise Ships in Our Peak-Oil World

Habitual over consumption on billion-dollar high rise vessels comes at a huge cost to both the environment and the widening schism between rich and poor.

New book debunks myths of green living

Food grown locally, rather than far away, supports area farmers and is often fresher, but it makes little difference in the fight against climate change.

How about e-readers vs. print books? Or opening a new car's windows rather than running its air conditioner? The answer's the same in each case: There's no big difference in which consumes less energy overall, so don't sweat it.

Those are the findings of a new eco-myth-busting guide to green living that quantifies the climate impact or carbon footprint of hundreds of consumer decisions. It tallies the energy and resources involved in making and using a product as well as the heat-trapping emissions that ensue. It challenges Americans to cut their fossil-fuel energy use 20% in the coming year.

Bring Back Home Ec!

Parents don’t have time to teach kids basic cooking and housekeeping, so schools must do it instead.

Poor and fat: The real class war

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published a study that found $1 could buy 1,200 calories of potato chips but just 250 calories of vegetables and 170 calories of fresh fruit. And it is also true that Mississippi, the poorest state in the country, is also the fattest.

In fact, the five poorest states are also among the 10 fattest, and eight of the 10 poorest states are also among the 10 with the lowest life expectancy.

Big Bots in Little Agriculture

There’s no doubt that big bots are the future of big ag. The question is whether autonomous technologies will ever penetrate the rest of the market—smaller-scale, diversified, labor-intensive operations popping up across the country.

Farms covered by 4 feet of sand after flooding

MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa — Mason Hansen guns his pickup and cranks the steering wheel to spin through sand up to 4 feet high, but this is no day at the beach.

Hansen once grew corn and soybeans in the sandy wasteland in western Iowa, and his frustration is clear. Despite months spent hauling away tons of sand dropped when the flooded Missouri River engulfed his farm last summer, parts of the property still look like a desert.

Farming on the Campus Quad

Grassy quadrangles are staples on most college campuses. But maybe all that soil can be put to a different use: a handful of colleges and universities have planted small student-run farms on formerly grassy areas in recent years. This seems to raise the broader question of whether the quad, which gobbles water and fertilizer but produces very little, is outmoded in an era of sustainable thinking.

Thai Youth Seek a Fortune Away From the Farm

In some parts of the world, the image of farmers is bound together with thoughts of self-reliance, strength and nostalgia for the countryside, but the Thai farmer is seen as “poor, stupid and unhealthy,” said Mr. Iam, who specializes in studying the culture of rice growing. “Farmers say that if I’m reincarnated 10 times, I don’t want another life as a farmer.”

Television shows regularly portray farmers as the embodiment of uncouth. And farmers’ skin, darkened by the sun, has become a marker of lower social status in a country so obsessed with light skin that television and women’s magazines are packed with advertisements touting skin-whitening creams. But there are also economic drivers.

Rice Poised for Third Record Crop as Food Prices Retreat

The third consecutive year of record rice production is poised to expand inventories to the most in more than a decade, driving down prices and helping to contain the more than $1 trillion spent on food imports annually.

Wood That Reaches New Heights

Developed in Europe in the 1990s, cross-laminated timber, or CLT, is among the latest in a long line of “engineered” wood products that are strong and rigid enough to replace steel and concrete as structural elements in bigger buildings. Already popular in Europe, CLT is only beginning to catch on in North America, where proponents say buildings made with the panels could be a cheaper and environmentally friendly alternative to structures made with those other materials.

Arctic interests have spillover effects

OSLO, Norway (UPI) -- Environmental concerns about oil and natural gas operations in the arctic are butting up against geopolitical issues, experts said from Norway.

International delegates gathered at the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard to discuss the move toward a low-carbon economy and related environmental issues.

Oil rush in the Arctic gambles with nature and diplomacy

In Svalbard politicians and scientists talk of global warming and a low carbon economy. Outside, the drilling rigs are moving in.

China Asks Other Nations Not to Release Its Air Data

HONG KONG — After years of choking smog that stings the eyes and burns the lungs, regularly documented by an air sensor at the American Embassy in Beijing that posts the results hourly on Twitter, the Chinese government took a strong position on the issue on Tuesday.

Wu Xiaoqing, the vice minister for environmental protection, demanded that foreign governments stop releasing data on China’s air.

China picks stable power prices over emissions targets

(Reuters) - China will continue to keep electricity prices steady even if its stance complicates efforts to rein in runaway energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, an official of the country's state planning agency said on Wednesday.

Survey: Climate attitudes are polarizing

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Americans' attitudes toward climate change are polarizing, with both skepticism and alarm increasing during the last decade, a Yale University survey found.

Researchers say the images and emotions the American public associates with global warming shifted significantly between 2002 and 2010.

A burning question: Should Northwest be coal-export hub?

The Pacific Northwest could be on its way to becoming the nation’s No. 1 coal-export region, a prospect that raises several serious questions that must be answered sooner, rather than later.

Expert: Climate Change Will Increasingly Become Global Health Issue

Previously just the worry of climate scientists, environmentalists, doomsday prognosticators, and gas-price watchers, climate change is starting to worry some others— public health specialists, who say that global warming could affect large swaths of the population.

Climate change to cost LatAm $100 bn by 2050: study

Global warming could exact a devastating toll on the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean, with costs possibly exceeding $100 billion by 2050, the Inter-American Development Bank warned Tuesday.

In a new report, the Washington-based organization also called for "forceful" reductions in greenhouse gases to forestall some of the worst consequences of climate change.

The bank urged countries in the region to dramatically increase their efforts to prevent climate change and mitigate its negative impacts, including drought, diminishing agricultural yields, vanishing glaciers and raging floods.

Virginia's dying marshes and climate change denial

Dying wetland trees along Virginia's coastline are evidence that rising sea levels threaten nature and humans, scientists say - and show the limits of political action amid climate change scepticism.

LaHood Will Join Airlines to Protest EU Carbon-Emissions Limits

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today is set to join carriers including Delta Air Lines Inc. and AMR Corp. to protest European Union greenhouse-gas limits the U.S. companies say may cost them more than $3.1 billion by 2020.

I have been very surprised that ethanol production in the US has continued at the high levels of 2011. Looks like some folks just love to lose money.

Ethanol makers feel the squeeze

Financial results collected by Christianson & Associates from 65 of the nation's 200 ethanol plants show that the most efficient 25 percent are still making money, though the margins are lower than in the past.

Christianson, a partner in the firm, said the middle 50 percent of ethanol plants generally broke even in the first quarter, while the "laggards," or the least-efficient 25 percent, lost an average of 25 cents on each gallon of ethanol they produced.

"We are entering a new era where the government incentives and credits are gone," said Christianson, who noted that another federal tax credit to support small ethanol plants also has expired, along with a Minnesota producer subsidy.

Low oil prices will not last long. We know already for some time:

Iran needs $130 oil to balance budget


Brent back over $101.

They did not last long. :)

Re: For first time in years, the world is producing more oil than it needs (uptop)

What a surprise. Another misleading article and chart from two different sources in the MSM. The chart (from Bloomberg) linked to this article of course shows total liquids, inclusive of low net energy biofuels, and not crude oil.

Global annual crude oil production has not shown a material increase for six straight years, despite the fact that global annual crude oil prices doubled from $55 in 2005 to $111 in 2011, and then there is the net export situation.

Five annual "Gap" charts follow, showing the gaps between where we would have been at the 2002 to 2005 rates of increase, versus the actual data in 2010 (common vertical scale). BP data for 2011 not yet available. The EIA data for total liquids and for crude oil (C+C) show basically no change in annual production from 2010 to 2011.

EIA Total Liquids (including biofuels):

BP Total Petroleum Liquids:

EIA Crude + Condensate:

Global Net Oil Exports (GNE, BP & Minor EIA data, Total Petroleum Liquids):

Available Net Exports (GNE less Chindia’s net imports):

I would particularly note the divergence between the first chart, Total Liquids, and the last chart, Available Net Exports (ANE). 

It is a nice looking chart but how do they actually come up with that 'oil demand' value? That is not something one can measure directly. So basically it is something they just made up.

If demand (aka need) is a function of price as the price rises the "need" drops.

I'm guessing if the barrel price was a $10 there would not be a claim of 'more oil than is needed'.

Just to clarify, the oil producers really don't need high prices to continue exploring - if a barrel drops back below $80, they'll still continue to ramp up efforts to "do" the arctic, ultra-deep and all that is tough... Have I got that right?

Cheers, Matt

Re: For first time in years, the world is producing more oil than it needs

Funny thing, consumption and production must be equal over the long term. The graphic shows consumption exceeding production for the past 10 years. The obvious question is, where did all that extra oil come from to meet the demand? Perhaps the difference is hidden in the footnote and embeded link:

By the way, that chart actually shows “liquid fuels” production, which includes crude oil, natural gas liquids like propane, and ethanol. See here for a fuller breakdown. And note that while the most important liquid fuel, crude oil, recently hit new highs, it’s also largely stagnated since 2005 — so the chart is still consistent with various peak-oil worries.

Mixing barrels of crude with product and ethanol only adds to the confusion, as ethanol has less energy than crude...

E. Swanson

So the 'crude production' value is wrong the 'demand' value is made up. How informative.

How informative.

More like deliberately misinformative. Party on dudes!

After thinking about that graph over night, I realize that my comment on the WaPo blog was not quite on target. The demand curve is clearly bogus, as it does not reference price. How can one calculate "demand" without including some notion of the price? The usual Econ 101 version is a demand curve which declines as price increases and a supply curve which increases with price. The balance point where the two curves cross is said to be the price in a free market.

As has often been mentioned on TOD, there's considerable demand for oil at $20 a barrel, but rather little at $200 a barrel. The graph comes from a Bloomberg/Businessweek blog post without a reference to the data source and there are now some 73 comments, none of which appear to question the validity of the data as presented. It's really sad to see how deep the mis/dis-information runs within people's minds...

E. Swanson

Re: For first time in years, the world is producing more oil than it needs, above:

The graph is clearly labeled "crude oil" but an end-note in the WP article says:

By the way, that chart actually shows “liquid fuels” production, which includes crude oil, natural gas liquids like propane, and ethanol. See here for a fuller breakdown. And note that while the most important liquid fuel, crude oil, recently hit new highs, it’s also largely stagnated since 2005 — so the chart is still consistent with various peak-oil worries.

So much for journalistic accuracy. "Crude oil" and "liquid fuels" are entirely different quantities. And eyeballing the graph, supply exceeding demand is a rare and unsustainable situation.

Edit: Black_dog beat me to it... feel free to delete this posting

It's times like this I miss Rembrandt's Oilwatch Monthly, the last one being August 2010. A quick look at the last Oilwatch Monthly quickly revealed why my gut was telling me that "For first time in years, the world is producing more oil than it needs" not. As three others have pointed out while I was typing this, the graph shown is for all liquids, not crude plus condensate. Add to that the fact that, the vertical axis only covers 20 mbpd and the 7 mbpd or so increase since the end of 2009 really looks like the beginning of a new growth trend and the end of Peak Oil.

Unfortunately it's not as easy to find Darwinian's latest chart showing world oil production, as it was to pull up the latest Oilwatch Monthly so, I can't say exactly why I consider the chart misleading. It could just be that All Liquids are trending up while Crude and Condensate are trending very slightly up, staying flat or even slightly down. Ron?

edit: Thanks WT. Those GNE and ANE graphs tell a whole nother story!

After 4 years and a week at TOD, stuff like that pegs my BS-o-meter.

Alan from the islands

According to the EIA world oil production reached a new high in January and was down slightly in February. JODI still has the peak in 2006, about 200 kb/d below March of this year. But the 12 month average for JODI is still about 1,200 kb/d below the peak in 2006.

World oil production in kb/d. the last EIA data point is February 06 and the last JODI point is March o6.


Ron P.

Ron - Thanks. Always amazes me to see that chart and remember folks who argue that we haven't reached a plateau. Following the westexas drumbeat it would be great if you could overlay Brent prices on that chart. Great correlation between '02 and '05 with both rising in tandem. And then the big divergence: price runs up to a record in '08 and we slide off the production plateau in response to demand destruction. Post price crash the curves are running parallel again and increasing. And, just sticking with JODI, we see price increases pulling up production to the relatively common plateau level of previous higher price periods. A cornucopian might wish to keep that upward trend of production rate and bust out of plateau world. But suddenly we see oil prices sliding today. Not nearly as sharp as the '08 dip but we had that little recession thingy helping some back then. Since I don't like making prediction until after the fact I won't speculate that the plateau will stay in reasonable bounds established back '05. Nor will I speculate that we are seeing the consumption/demand destruction metric quantified to a degree. Of course, it will take another 12-18 months of tracking to strongly confirm the relationship.

One lingering thought: if the EU economic problems tip over fast/deep enough will we see a repeat of the '08 price/production mini-cliff?

One lingering thought: if the EU economic problems tip over fast/deep enough will we see a repeat of the '08 price/production mini-cliff?

They'll certainly be some dip but I doubt it would be quite as sharp & deep. The Europeans already are very efficient with oil and probably don't have as much fat that can be trimmed. And their unemployed workers just don't take train/tube/bus as opposed to don't drive the car.

But then again, if they go down so will we and Asia, so that is probably where more demand drop will occur. Hmmm.

Yes Europe will go down and so will Asia and surprise,so will the U.S....this is all deflationary...as everyone will pull their money back to pay for debt obligations. I think oil will plummet temporarily and then as Iran falls and other middle east countries do the same, we will not have stable world to produce oil; sending the price shooting back up. But by then we will be too poor to buy it..cheap oil is bad for the world but so is very expensive oil..scary times....hope I am wrong...

Yes the Europeans are efficient, but if the Eurozone economy really does take it on the chin, the global economy will see similar demand/price/employment drops like in 2008.

Although Europe uses a lot less oil per capita than the US, cutting back still further remains massively easier in Europe.

The reason for that is that Europe is not built around the car to anything like the degree that the US is, and the relatively small populations in rural areas aside it is perfectly practical if somewhat inconvenient to do away with a car altogether or severely restrict it's use, which is not a realistic option in much of the US.

So in the US the scrapage scheme has resulted in higher prices for old cars, as one way or another even the poor have to stay mobile.

Used car prices in the UK, for instance, have in contrast remained stable, as quite a lot of people simply gave up on having a car, sold the second car etc when petrol prices rose.

Of the 25 million cars or so in the UK, relatively few are essential, and of course the less people own cars, the more buses and so on will be laid on.

Large reductions in car ownership and travel in Europe would have comparatively little effect on it's functioning, whereas anything remotely comparable in the US would cause immense hardship and dislocation.

25-30% reductions in car ownership rates would be perfectly practical, and no doubt the rich will enjoy having to share the road with less peasants! ;-)

Of course, in rural areas real hardship would result from a large rise in petrol prices, but that affects comparatively few people, nothing like the same proportion as in the US.

However, they are fairly dependent on diesel buses, and even more dependent on diesel trucks than the US, so it won't be a piece of cake.

The effects of further rises in oil prices would be far more extensive than a rise in bus fares, as it would affect costs throughout the production chain, including agriculture, distribution, shipping and so on.

All those things would also hit the US too though, and unless shortages grew to such an extent that internal production would be the thing that counted, in which case the US would win hands down as around 50% of it's oil is produced internally, and still more is produced internally in North America with Canada the US's number one supplier then Europe would weather increased oil price better than the US.

Europe also consumes a large enough share of oil that a big fall in consumption there, perhaps consequent on the break up of the Euro, would put downwards pressure on oil prices.

Of course, in rural areas real hardship would result from a large rise in petrol prices, but that affects comparatively few people

Rural? you mean that place where our city food comes from? Yup, no real problems there with more expensive petrol.

So, which component(s) of All Liquids has grown pretty much steadily, by 3-4 mbpd, since sometime in 2009?

Alan from the islands

I think I can answer that. All of this talk about Drowning in Oil™ inspired me to fire up the ol' spreadsheet; here's how the various components of All Liquids have fared over the decades:


As you can see, C+C has been losing ground as a % of the whole to the others for a long time. Later I might stretch out that X axis and find out when it hits zero. ;) What, is that a ludicrous notion? If you're interested, it's gone down from 93.08% in 1980 to 85.08% in 2011.

Now, here's the YOY change in % for the components:


As can be seen the bits other than C+C made similar gains in the 90s, with a similar peak and decline. Maybe some sort of downstream supercycle at work.

What are these "Other Liquids," you ask? Took me a minute to find the EIA's definition; they left it out of their main glossary for some reason.

Other Liquids: Biodiesel, ethanol, liquids produced from coal and oil shale, non-oil inputs to methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), Orimulsion, and other hydrocarbons.

So, biodiesel and ethanol, then? Orimulsion's been on the downside for quite awhile as I recall, CTL is relegated to SA and they've been flat with the mess they make, again, IIRC. Would be interesting to see how that breaks out over time.

Thanks for the graphic.

and 'process gains' is purely an accounting fantasy- changes in volume as less dense fractions are separated out of the crude. Tonnage does not change, nor energy content, but the volume changes and they book it as a gain.

Without that bit of acocunting trickery the deline is impossible to ignore.


When one cracks a larger organic molecule in smaller ones, one must complete both ends of the c-c bond that was broken. Usually with Hydrogen, thsu making the broken c-c bond into a pair of c-h bonds. Note: One can fold the molecule into a ring and reform the c-c bond, but that's a bit more difficult and results in fairly toxic fuels, and combustion byproducts.

Well the excess hydrogen didn't just appear, it comes from NG feed stock. So, there is some net added energy content from the NG refinery inputs. This is primary reason why the Saudi's expanded their refinery in port Arthur Texas and Delta Air Line's purchased a refinery in Pennsylvania. Access to Cheap NG feedstock to upgrade cracked heavy oil.

Lack of NG feedstock is also the reason why certain, isolated refineries, line the one in St. Croix, and elsewhere are closing down.

North American NG is about the cheapest source of heat around. Refineries use a lot of heat. Which gives North American refineries a competitive edge (in addition to cheap hydrogen from cheap NG).


I note in the first graph that oilis giving in to NGPL. Do I read this right if I take it as a sign of aging ol fields?

Pretty much - from 2008 to 2011 C+C gained 455 kb/d, while NGLs leapt ahead 703 kb/d, indicating that the industry is having better luck tapping lighter hydrocarbons than crude, or condensate at that. OPEC use purely crude for its quotas and it would be instructive to see how that's fairing of late.

zurisee - refinery processing gains may be a bookkeeping artifice but it's one with some time-honored pedigree, as EIA noted 895 kb/d of it in 1980. 2008-2011 it only accounts for 145 kb/d growth, compared with other liquids' 391 kb/d, despite still being larger overall.

Now, note that OL's gains almost matched C+C in those 3 years - if I'm right and nothing new came along in Orimulsion or CTL (and GTL?), that means the fossil fuel industry couldn't keep up with a bunch of corn/sugar cane/palm/soy farmers, along with the attendant issue of how much of the farm output was burnt up processing and transporting their product around to the end consumer.

KLR - "...the industry is having better luck tapping lighter hydrocarbons than crude, or condensate at that." Not so much a matter of luck but necessity. My company is a good example. We would be glad to drill nothing but conventional crude oil prospects but there just aren't enough left. So we're left with deep NG prospects. And within that population we look for reservoirs with higher condenstate yields. And that leads to wells with higher NGL yields. I suspect much of the increase in NGL production is a result of this trend. So in perverse way the increase in NGL is a coincidental result of less crude oil producion.

Hi Rockman:
I would be grateful if you could find time to comment on the Bazhenov field, which appears from what I have been able to find out to be tight oil similar to the Bakken, and so exploitable without mining or heat by fracking, although the thawing in the summer will make extraction difficult and extensive:


Forbes ran a piece on that 2 days ago. 80 times the size of the Bakken. Golly. The writer took Harlod Hamm's left-field est of 24 bbo in the Bakk to come up with trillions of barrels in the Baz. Oh, is that all? 1.92 "tbo." Are they "tbo"? Meet The Oil Shale Eighty Times Bigger Than The Bakken - Forbes

Advancednano ran off a whole list of tight oil formations worldwide in one of the pieces here on the Bakk; only one I remember was the Paris basin, because the notion of the French putting up with a bunch of leaky casing and earthquakes is pretty amusing in its unlikelihood. Other parts of the world certainly would be more amenable to exploitation of oil in this fashion, it would make for an interesting article here.

Dave - Never heard of it before. That formation does appear to be the source rock for numerous fields in the basin. Just got in from a well so haven't had time to dig very deep. I'll work on it this weekend. But this isn't a "new field" discovery. First, it isn't a "field"...it a shale formation in this large basin. Second, it isn't "new"...the Russians have known about the oil in it for more than 60 years.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 1, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged just under 15.5 million barrels per day during the week ending June 1, 299 thousand barrels per day above the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 91.0 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging about 9.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging nearly 4.7 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 9.0 million barrels per day last week, down by 99 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged just under 8.9 million barrels per day, 111 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 836 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 98 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 0.1 million barrels from the previous week. At 384.6 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 increased by 3.3 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.3 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 2.3 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 6.8 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged about 18.6 million barrels per day, down by 2.0 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged just under 8.8 million barrels per day, down by 4.0 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged 3.6 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 5.0 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 1.4 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

Don't look now but US oil use is steadily increasing/Diesel shortage leaves Saudi Arabia fuming

Just when you thought that US oil demand was falling due to tough economic times, well it isn't - it's rising, up about 3% from last year. [See 'Crude Oil Input to Refineries' http://ir.eia.gov/wpsr/overview.pdf ]. There is one over-riding reason for this at a time when the US domestic economy consumes less oil: exports.

The net balance of US oil product imports and exports has quickly flipped the US over the last year from being a net oil product importer to an oil product exporter - and in dramatic fashion. The total balance of trade in oil products has changed about 1,400,000 bpd in just the last year.

To accommodate the rapid change in the oil product import/export balance, the US would have to use less oil (and natural gas) itself and/or increase oil and natural gas consumption and imports or both. In our case, the drop in internal oil product use, about 400,000 bpd, is not enough to make up for the oil product export drain. The rest of what is needed comes from increasing oil consumption by about 400,000 bpd and natural gas liquids use about 500,000 bpd. Natural gas is more readily available due to the widespread drilling effort in various shale regions during the last few years. Generally speaking natural gas liquids are used for middle and lower grade oil products.

The outlook for a further increase in US oil products remains strong. Even though the US does not export oil products like diesel, gasoline and ethanol to many far flung locations, indirectly shortages in the Mideast, for example, could encourage more demand for US products.

Which brings us to the diesel shortage in the place that average Americans would least expect - Saudi Arabia. Although to some extent, the shortage appears to be driven by a change in environment fuel standards, Saudi Arabia was already significantly increasing its diesel exports for the summer air-conditioning and water processing season, and as I previously explained, it had shut a major refinery for extended maintenance (which as a side effect, allowed them to increase oil exports to the US in April and May).

The Saudi Arabia diesel crisis may also be in small part due to the shipment of Saudi diesel to Yemen, as oil refineries and pipelines there have been damaged and are mostly not operational.

It's not expected that the Saudi shortage will be long lasting (see below).

Diesel shortage hits Riyadh

RIYADH — Diesel shortages were recently reported at gas stations in the capital as a large number of trucks and diesel-powered vehicles formed long lines to fill up their tanks both in the city and on the outskirts.

Truck drivers say they have noticed a shortage of diesel over the past few days, especially at gas stations located on the Riyadh-Al-Qassim Highway and the Riyadh-Makkah Highway, with waiting times reaching a few hours and in some cases an entire day.


Saudi diesel imports seen rising on seasonal demand, shortages

Dubai (Platts)--6Jun2012/900 am EDT/1300 GMT

OPEC giant Saudi Arabia has increased diesel imports to cope with the anticipated rise in demand during the summer season and cope with localized distribution issues that have caused shortages in the capital Riyadh and other parts of the country, trading sources and media reports said Wednesday.


Yemen Times
May 7, 2012

Saudi Arabia will continue to give free shipments of refined oil to Yemen over the course of this month and next, according to a number of Yemeni traders last Monday.

The traders expected that Saudi Arabia will give 200 tons of diesel to Yemen, estimated at $200 million, during May and June of 2012.

"The ongoing sabotage against oil pipelines has decreased Yemen's oil exports. The oil shipments given by Saudi Arabia will help us improve the bad economic situation in Yemen," said Mohammed Al-Mohalla, the director of the Chamber of Commerce.



the anticipated rise in demand during the summer season

Here is a chart from a databrowser using JODI refined products data:

It's pretty clear that annual consumption of diesel is steadily increasing, that seasonal variation is large (diesel generators to run AC in the summer) and that imports have increased. I believe the dip in production and stocks in 2009-20010 was due to Saudi refinery upgrades which finished by the end of 2010.

With the recent Motiva refinery expansion I would expect Saudi imports of diesel to continue to increase.


Gulf Coast region exports of distillates are increasing very fast, about doubling from two years ago:


However it is my understanding that Motiva is just getting underway running the new portion of the plant using Saudi oil. It will be interesting to see, as discussed elsewhere here, if the buildup in oil supplies near the Motiva plant is used for oil product exports. We (in the US) may not have the oil 'glut' we think we do once Motiva gets up to maximum capacity this fall.

After the earthquake in Japan last year, the Cherry Point refineries have been adding workers and shifts. SInce most of what Japan needs to rebuild is diesel, a person would think we'd be awash in mogas. Instead, we have the highest price in the lower 48. Somebody is buying it. We're exporting quite a bit to Canada, one fill up and the permitted two gas cans at a time, enough to always bump up local prices. But that must be down in the noise level for refinery volumes.

The EIA doesn't break out regional exports on a weekly basis but does on a monthly basis.

See the West Coast monthly exports for low sulpher distillates (diesel) here:

There was quite an export spike last July/August which probably directly or indirectly had something to do with Japan.

In general, US exports of diesel are increasing at a very rapid rate:

It's possible that West Coast refiners tried to optimize production for diesel, due to strong export demand, which is somewhat supported by the output statistics. They may have also misjudged gasoline demand.

The thing that really astounds me is how significant the change in demand has been in just the decade covered by the plot in the "world is producing more oil than it needs" lead story.

In 10 years demand up yet another ~12 mbpd and that's with a fairly serious financial / global economic crisis thrown in the mix.

Safe to say that is the increase in demand due to happy motoring in developing markets (Chindia) ?

Just a glance at that increase in overall demand is very worrisome...

For first time in years, the world is producing more oil than it needs

In a huge recession it does not need either.

U.S. economy heading straight for the cliff

The leadership is locked in civil war.

Manchester Airport 'likely to run out of fuel'

Manchester Airport will "probably run out of fuel" by 18:00 BST, a spokesman has said.

The airport said there was a "short-term" aviation fuel supply problem from the Essar refinery at Stanlow near Ellesmere Port.

An airport spokesman said the shortage would affect some incoming and outgoing flights until at least midnight.

A spokesman for the refinery said: "There have been some production issues which we are trying to put right."

The airport, which uses about three million litres of airline fuel a day, said it would be the first time it had run out of fuel.

Looks like an error at the refinery end of the the pipeline. It is 30 miles long. If it is a 9 inch pipe that is about 2 million litres of substandard fuel. It will take 8 hours to pump that through the pipeline so that clean stuff can be sent through.

Don't airports carry more than 8 hours of fuel reserves any more?

That's the good old J(ust)I(sn't)T(here) inventory system for ya! Should be real fun when trucks can't deliver food to the supermarkets...


The airport has about 24 hours of fuel reserve for normal level of demand. They claim demand was heavier than normal and they had run down supply. They have a single point of failure and no contingency plan for when things go wrong.

"They haven't gone wrong in 40 years, why should they go wrong in the future?"

An update (same bbc.co.uk link as above):

Last updated at 20:23

Manchester Airport runs out of aviation fuel
Manchester Airport The airport uses about three million litres of airline fuel each day.

Aviation fuel is being sent to Manchester Airport after it ran out of supplies, according to the suppliers.

A spokesman for the Essar refinery in Cheshire, which pipes fuel to the airport, said production was "now back to normal".

Stocks are expected to return to average levels by Thursday morning, an airport spokesman said.

New York City 2012 Symposium on Oil Supply and Demand | Studying the Wildcards Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Macro Oil Outlook
Short term outlook for oil and implications for medium-term supply projections
Impact of subsidies on international oil demand and role of net exports
Supply projections in a resource-constrained world
Unpredictability in forecasting oil supply, demand, and price
Shale/Tight Oil in US and Abroad
Unconventional liquid production potential – the rock matters
North American prospects from the ground up
Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs)
NGL production prospects in U.S.
NGL end markets – can demand absorb new supply?
Deepwater and Arctic Oil
Projections and possibilities for deepwater production
Middle East Supply and Demand
Overview of OPEC supply and Iranian tensions
Saudi Arabian oil consumption and ME demand trends
Update on Russian oil production
Commercial imperatives for Russian oil
China’s Appetite for Crude
Will China hit an economic speed limit on demand growth?
Synthesis – Where are Production, Demand, and Prices Going?

Participants: Citibank, Financial Times, Deutsche Bank, Ravenna Capital Management, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, Douglas Westwood, Groppe, Long, & Littell, Morningstar, BENTEK, Netherland Sewell & Associates, EIA, UCSD

Douglas Westwood are some hard-nosed supply analysts and frequent contributors to ASPO. I think they know the score. Steven Kopits is doing the Deepwater and Arctic Oil session.

On the other hand . .

Participants: Citibank, Financial Times

Cornucopian projections will be on display.

Mark Lewis, with Deutsche Bank, will be providing a counterargument to the Citibank guys.

Fission Power - the gift that keeps giving.


There has been no ‘Plant Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (Handout at Press Conference)‘ issued by Tepco since June 2:


The pump at the Number 4 reactor building pool stopped working on Monday night after becoming burnt.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, used a backup pump, but on Tuesday, it also broke.


It may take 3 days before TEPCO can fix the problem (wires not insulated well) in the backup motor. The rise in temperature of the SFP water is expected to be 0.3 degrees Celsius per hour, so in 3 days the temperature of the SFP water may rise by 21.6 degrees to 56.6 degrees Celsius (as the current temperature is 35 degrees Celsius, as tweeted by Councilwoman Kuniko Tanioka, who obtained the information by calling the NISA).

And something for all of you who are claiming "no harm - no deaths":


Watch this.. Japanese women speaking out at the January 'Stress Test' meetings..

blech, what a week!

It's true... there are no "Plant Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (Handout at Press Conference)" since June 2nd.

There is this:
"Unit 4 Spent Fuel Pool Alternative Cooling System Secondary System Circulation Pump (A) Situation of the Burnt Area Near the Motor Terminal Housing"
Pictures of the pump:

Using those words +/-, there is nothing about pump failure on Google news. You have to use Google search to see anything. It's on enenews and godlikeproductions and this one:

We are SO lucky to have the Price Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act still in-place and protecting our careful and honest corporations here in America. Almost any Nuclear Generating Station operator can afford the $17-million-per-year maximum payout in the event of utterly catastrophic nuclear accidents... without suffering any harm themselves.

San Onofre Cascading Steam Generator Failures Created by Edison


Here is the daily data:


The #4 spent fuel pool is shown hitting 40C in the record of June 7 at 11AM:

The latest temperature is reported as 37C.

Tepco probably sacrificed another couple of workers re-plumbing to use the backup pump.

From what I've read, the water in SFP #4 is likely to be hot as hell, (#2 SFP has 220 Million Bq/liter of cesium in it.), so just being near the pipes recirculating water in the pool is going to give the workers a real healthy dose of gamma radiation.

I kind of wondered about that... Sitting there wrapping tape around big connections that are adjacent to each other takes some time:

A cover has been added over the pool to prevent debris from falling into it as the remaining roof and its supports are removed:


For the brush that Bush or the wildfires hasn't consumed already ...

Gasification may convert mesquite and juniper wood to a usable bioenergy

Biomass gasification is being considered as a possible technology for converting at least 10 million acres of Texas brush into biofuel, according to Dr. Jim Ansley, Texas AgriLife Research rangeland ecologist in Vernon.

With limitations for growing bioenergy crops on land normally used for growing food, Ansley is looking to the vast supply of unwanted woody plants on rangelands as a possible energy source. The down side would be increased transportation costs, because of the trees’ lower biomass density.

“Right now, they are perceived as noxious plants that are detrimental to rangeland ecosystems,” he said. “Their removal and use as a bioenergy feedstock would improve ecosystem quality as well as services from these lands, such as increased income from livestock grazing.”

I didn't see any mention in the report of the nutrients taken away from the soil by removing the "woody biomass". Only the claim that the ecosystem "quality" would be "improved" providing "increased income from livestock grazing". The question is, what makes it possible for the grass to grow without fertilizer or the recycling of nutrients? Not to worry, science will fix things...

E. Swanson

I think they do that by spreading large amounts of ignorance.....

Dog - His 10 million acres is the S Texas mesquite range. Fertilizer won't do much good down there anyway: all the nutrients in the world won't overcome the lack of rain. That's why many of those ranches need 100 to 200 acres of "grazing" land per head. And you can clear cut a thousand acres of that thorny cuss and a few years later you'll have a new crop growing in nicely. But I do recall some years ago someone touting some plants that would thrive in this climate and had a great potential as a high density biofuel source. I'll try to find it. I know it wasn't switch grass...needs 2X to 3X the rain they get down there.

It was probably jatropha, the seeds that were going to save us all.


It was hot for a quarter, an airplane tested it etc etc and then it dropped off the radar. I wonder what happened (though I can take a few educated guesses, i.e., it was hot sometime around Q3 2008).

Is it Jojoba

Jojoba is grown for the liquid wax (commonly called jojoba oil) in its seeds.[3] This oil is rare in that it is an extremely long (C36-C46) straight-chain wax ester and not a triglyceride, making jojoba and its derivative jojoba esters more similar to human sebum and whale oil than to traditional vegetable oils.

Jojoba oil is easily refined to be odorless, colorless and oxidatively stable, and is often used in cosmetics as a moisturizer and as a carrier oil for specialty fragrances. It also has potential use as both a biodiesel fuel for cars and trucks, as well as a biodegradable lubricant.

Plantations of jojoba have been established in a number of desert and semi-desert areas, predominantly in Argentina, Australia, Israel, Mexico, Palestinian Authority, Peru, and the United States. It is currently the Sonoran Desert's second most economically valuable native plant.

The Mesquite Bosques were confined to washes until the Spaniards arrived with cattle. Cattle with no grass happen to like Mesquite beans ok. They then spread them all over the territory pre-fertilized, since only the husk is digestible w/o a hammermill. I'm not necessarily advocating another radical change of landscape, but what's there now ain't the 6 foot tall grass they had in the 1600's. The cattle didn't even 'eat all the grass'; instead they largely displaced the native Noram herbivores (which were conveniently finished off by the cavalry etc.). Cattle habitate in wet areas whereas the natives moved on after drinking. Thus watercourses become impacted over time, and erosion leads to cut-banks and runoff instead of the rain soaking in, so you can see the cattle dried all the grass up as opposed to just eating it. There are stories of being able to walk across the carcasses in AZ after a big drought in the 1800's. The Spanish land-grants and the anglo operations that appropriated them ran millions of cattle historically. Last in a long line of ecosystem collapses round here. The historic water table in Tucson was only a few feet down, and the major washes had perennial surface flows. Even before significant groundwater pumping in the modern era, our water table was long gone beneath the sands. Making wood pellets from the Mesquite is probably the least of our problems hereabouts...


rat - Thanks. Had no idea of that history. I hate to sound harsh and uneco friendly but you would have to try really hard to make that part of Texas any rougher than it already is. It ain't pretty. It ain't user friendly. Much native wildlife has already been displaced by cattle, feral pigs and the white tail deer on the big managed game ranches. BTW a world class trohpy buck down in the valley can cost you $25,000. About the coolest thing you might see is a bob cat running across the highway. Cutting a few hundred thousand acres of mesquite and replacing it with a viable biofuel source would be a big positive all around IMHO.

Not arguing the rights or wrongs. One problem in Estonia joining the EU was that they allowed Lynx hunting. Small as Estonia is it has the only sustainable Lynx population in Europe. Took a bit of convincing that this hunting wasn't the horror of horrors. $25,000 for a license but the crucial point was that after paying that amount with no guarantees of a kill you had to hire a licensed guide --- the few guides were all senior citizens. Surprise, surprise, less than 6 Lynx were shot in ten years whilst 30 times that number were killed in car encounters. Population is still sustainable and now a far larger number of captured Lynx are being relocated to Poland and elsewhere to restore, hopefully, their depleted stock.

"Ansley is looking to the vast supply of unwanted woody plants on rangelands as a possible energy source."

Scrape clean the sagebrush steppes and similar ecosystems for a few wood chips? That will wind up the Sierra Club.

I might even agree with them. Those "unwanted woody plants" grow very slowly due to the low rainfall.

I read some of the stuff is juniper. That grows slowly under any circumstances.

Desert junipers are also some of the longest lived beings on the planet.

Compact and flexible thermal storage

Biogas plants, combined heat and power plants don't just generate electricity, they also produce heat. However, unlike the electricity they yield, the heat generally dissipates unused. A new technology is set to change this: It will allow the heat to be stored lossfree in the smallest of spaces for lengthy periods of time, for use as and when required.

... This new system can store three to four times the amount of heat that water can, so it only requires storage containers around a quarter the size of water tanks. Moreover, it is able to store the heat loss-free over lengthy periods of time and can even operate at temperatures well in excess of 100 degrees Celsius.

Here we have another example poor understanding of thermodynamics. The heat energy rejected by a thermal power plant is intended to be very close to ambient and the nearer so the better. That's because the steam cycle efficiency improves as the outlet pressure drops below atmospheric, which is a function of temperature. The lower the temperature, the lower the outlet pressure and thus the more energy is recovered from the steam. With this new system, it would appear that the storage temperature would need to be above 100 C to remove the water from the zeolite, thus "recharging" thermal storage capacity. While there might be situations in which this effect would be useful, I think that a power plant wouldn't be one of them...

E. Swanson

I had the impression it was energy storage in the form of heat of hydration. But the dumbed down article didn't really eplain it (or whatever else it might have been). But reading between the lines, I assume its something like that. The claim was stoarge didn't need thermal insulation, but that you needed a water vapor barrier. Kind of intriging, but you would want to know, how do you charge the system, and how do you discharge it. Then maybe how quickly it can be charged/discharged, and how do you control the rate. So its somewhat intriging, but insufficient info to form a real opinion.

It is using the "heat of sorption".

The heat is used to drive the water out of the sorbent. The sorbent can the be stored cold and dry in something as small as packets. When water is re-admitted, the material warms. Get some brand-new silica gel and hold it in your hand: the water vapor will warm it. (Pour it in water and it will start to disintegrate with little popping sounds!) Silica gel can be regenerated to some extent at 150F at atmospheric pressure.
Wool exhibits this:

Operating under partial vacuum lowers the temperature needed to drive out the water. A steam-ejector could make the vacuum. This brings up the subject of steam air-conditioning:

I looked only quickly and did not find their paper on zeolite as the dessicant.
An article by the same house:

Poor and fat: The real class war

Thanks to massive subsidies, America grossly overproduces corn and soy. It has to go somewhere. Tough luck, poor people.


But it is also true that The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published a study that found $1 could buy 1,200 calories of potato chips but just 250 calories of vegetables and 170 calories of fresh fruit.

That might be true, but those 250 calories of vegetables provide quite a bit more satiety and eating satisfaction. It's not like obese people need every calorie they can get. They're obese, after all.

Moreover, the poor consume a lot of Corn Syrup Water, which provides calories but no satiety. If price is the problem, they could drink free tap water. It's safe.

There's responsibility to go around, I'm afraid.

Not only that, but those cheap chips and corn syrup laced foods cause you to feel hungry and lead to addiction.

Not only that, but those cheap chips and corn syrup laced foods cause you to feel hungry and lead to addiction.

Exactly. If a person eats fruits and vegetables, they get plenty of nutrients (try spring mix lettuce with spinach leaves in sandwiches and salads), which has fewer calories. Eating in America has somehow turned into a pursuit of what's fun to eat, what tastes best in the moment, like every meal needs to make the person feel like they are at a sporting event. Almost as if every person is a 9 year old with zero self control. In the TV show Man vs. Food they turn eating garbage into a sporting event by cheering that heavy guy on to gobble up 5 pounds of gooey junk. How clogged is that guy's arteries at his early age?

An article that complains about fat americans, before complaining that vegetables don't contain enough calories. Makes you wonder if these people read their articles before they send em.

I agree...and what's also odd is the complaint about overproducing corn and soy and then going right into an attack on potato chips.

A bit OT but IMHO the triangular shaped corn chip is one of the finest works of man. Yellow , red or blue; with just a bit of salt. You can indulge your culinary genius and make any number of fine appitizers.

They should also make one in green. Then you could have wednesday as green chip day.

You're confusing Corn Syrup (Glucose).. with HFCS.. combination of (fructose+glucose in varying ratios).

Glucose triggers satiety response, and can be utilized as energy source by nearly every cell in the body. While fructose does NOT trigger the satiety response and is metabolized mostly by the liver (converting 35-40% of the calories directly into fat).

The process to convert Glucose into Fructose wasn't discovered until the late 60's and real production started in the 80's.

Fructose as more than twice the sweetness index than glucose.

Those chips are easier to carry on the bus.

I think the writer under-reported the cost of meals for the family of four mentioned, based on viewing the USDA tables. He should have said "weekly cost" rather than "monthly cost".

I notice they always mention gound beef and chicken. Perhaps if people started to understand that legumes are much cheaper, while also being a good protein source, they could get their costs (and weight) down considerably. Unfortunately, Western conditioning insists that meat be on the menu.

EDIT: the average protein requirement for a "normal" adult is 56 grams - 2 oz - daily. That is roughly equivalent to 3.5 cups of beans, cooked, if that was one's only protein source.

s/t - I'm with you 100%. I grew up on beans while growing up in S. La. Some days for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And grandma had no imagination: red beans on Monday, navy beans on Tuesday, lima beans on Wednesday, etc. You might think I would never want to eat another bean. I like an occasional grilled steak (pork chop even better) but I would typically enjoy a well seasoned pot of beans more often than not. It always amazes when folks talk about being unable to afford to feed their family. For what a family of 4 pays for supper at McD's I can feed 2 dozens folks a healthy and tasty meal. And not spend half a day in the kitchen. That's why they created crock pots. LOL.

And since I discovered the joys of lentils some years ago I can whip a good meal in less than a 1/2 hour. Been hitting more Indian and ME spicing lately.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the protein content of some common fast foods. Just by way of example :-

Chicken McNuggets : 9 grams - 4 pieces
Big Mac : 25 grams
Chocolate Milkshake : 14 grams

How many chicken nuggets does one have to eat to get a day's protein intake ?

I think I'll stick with the beans ;) Love Indian curry recipes, by the way. No lack of variety there.

For adults, protein should be at least 10% of the caloric intake. So for an adult with an intake of 2000 calories/day, 200 should come from protein. At 4 calories per gram, that would be 50 grams.

Eating more protein than is needed for normal replacement is not advisable, since otherwise protein must be metabolized and the waste products excreted. This is more stressful than the equivalent processes for carbohydrates and fats, which are more easily metabolized and/or stored.

Furthermore, older adults with more sedentary lifestyles should eat less protein. Note that the pet food companies formulate "senior" diets which contain less protein.

Greek crisis creates medicine shortages

"Pharmaceutical companies are no longer interested in selling to Greece where hospitals and pharmacies are in debt," said Kostas Lourantos, head of the pharmacies' association in the Attica region that includes the capital Athens. "This is the case with Roche, Bayer, Novartis and Sanofi" and other big pharma companies, he said.

... Last week Euler Hermes, the world's number one trade credit insurer, said that it was no longer providing cover for firms exporting goods to Greece, following a similar move by Coface, owned by French bank Natixis.

"These decisions put a bomb under the foundations of the economy, rattling the basis for production and commerce," said Christina Sakellaridi, president of the Greek exporters' federation. The result, she said, was a "reduction in imports of primary goods needed by Greek manufacturers."

If you're paying cash, in greece you get whatever you want. But anything based on credit, anything based on promises, especially promises of big organizations and the state, nobody trusts for a minute anymore. the state is so clogged up in its own red tape now that one sees different
state-owned industries going broke because they're owed money by.. other state-owned industries.
hospitals in greece are an interesting experience. The level of medical training and quality of the doctors is generally high, and there exists reasonably modern equipment in most of the country - though not necessarily in state owned facilities. Until recently most of the state insuranceschemes were accepted at private operations but as the state is several years in arrears now in actually _paying_ those obligations the private providers are reluctant to keep on working for free. So you need an mri? cash will get you one. In the hopsital, all consumables are no longer in stock. The official budget is gone for even things like toilet paper. Nurses are at or by now probably even below the minimum staffing to even be able to cover the building in even a simple pass-through. however, in any hospital you will find the lifts and bulletin boards plastered with ads from private supply outfits or various nurses' unions or guilds, if you want to hire a nurse yourself or to buy all the things that the hopsital cant afford to provide anymore. the hospital is largely a building and the doctors (and the administrative mahcinery, which is still too bloated and part of the problem of why theyre broke). There are shops in the hopsitals where some enterprising (and connected, you assume) people now sell most of the consumables that used to be on supply in the hopsital itself. you need needles or gauze or a towel or whatever? the hospital cant afford them anymore,
as indeed their own budget is smashed by the state health system not paying them for a year or two at this point, so you (the patient's family , typically) will go down and buy those and bring them up if the doc needs 'em.

you do see people much more willing to cooperate and help each other out though, and you see people who cant afford to hire nurses basically doing this work themselves - family willcome and tend a patient, take his readings and note them on the charts, do simple things like adjust an IV or wash the patient or emtpy a piss-sack or something. In most places you'd be facing a mountain of legal trouble doing this kind of thing but in greece the doctors are happy to have the help, and you find that the general atmosphere is one of trying to help the patients get well given the lmited means.

People who paid extra for the deluxe level of state coverage are now finding that those promises are also empty. Until last year, the people who paid extra into the state system did get a better level of coverage, almost everything was paid for (but the premiums paid for this
were indeed comparable to premiums of fully private insurance in western countries, several hundred a month at least, out of reach of most greeks' income) but in the past 6 months or a year, the state has be reneging on mostof those and the deluxe plan doesnt really cover any of the expensive stuff anymore (e.g. they used to cover most of the cost of private nurses, no longer).

The problem is not confined to the medial sector. The electrical grid is going to come under heavy strain soon because one state-run company (the gas company depa) is unable to pay any more bills to e.g. gazprom for more supply- depa is broke because a different state-run company - which handles the division of reciepts from the state-run power company to power suppliers - is unable to find the funds to pay power suppliers for power delivered. Customers have paid their bills, but the state, being broke, has hijacked that money and it isn't going to the power suppliers now, who can't afford to pay the gas company, who cant afford to buy gas.
Baseload capacity in greece is locally mined lignite, so with some economization they can probably live without the gas (heating is still mostly with oil) but the system is really showing signs of being so stuffed up at so many point that damn near nothing works properly anymore.

But- things that operate on a cash basis are doing fine (relatively speaking). So far people manage to pay the quarterly municipal taxes, and so for example one still sees in most cities crews filling potholes and regular trash collection and so on. They're getting a bit more creative in raising revenue, but still behind the curve.. e.g. in some cities it is only occurring to them now to charge for parking a car on the street. I was surprised when i paid the last water bill to have the fellow at the counter hand _me_ about 20 euros explaining that i had been overcharged on a bill from last year. Anything that passes through the central government is pretty much a lost cause though.

The scary part of the picture, not just for greece but the rest as well, is that despite
the crisis we have been burning up what's left of any stored wealth in the country. these cash-for-gold places are popping up like mushrooms after a rain, people are trying to sell off an apartment and move back in with their parents etc etc.. People who did work hard and saved do still have some savings, and so on. once those things are burned through then we will see the uglier side of things. right now, despite something on the order of 30% unemployment, enough people are still getting by that things almost look normal if you only make a quick glance. it's a big question of how much longer that false calm will last.

Thank you for this sobering and excellent post. It is frightening and sad.

Geoengineering could disrupt rainfall patterns

A geoengineering solution to climate change could lead to significant rainfall reduction in Europe and North America, a team of European scientists concludes. The researchers studied how models of the Earth in a warm, CO2‑rich world respond to an artificial reduction in the amount of sunlight reaching the planet's surface.

Under the scenario studied, rainfall strongly decreases – by about 15 percent (some 100 millimetres of rain per year) of preindustrial precipitation values – in large areas of North America and northern Eurasia. Over central South America, all models show a decrease in rainfall that reaches more than 20 percent in parts of the Amazon region. Other tropical regions see similar changes, both negative and positive. Overall, global rainfall is reduced by about five percent on average in all four models studied.

"The impacts of these changes are yet to be addressed, but the main message is that the climate produced by geoengineering is different to any earlier climate even if the global mean temperature of an earlier climate might be reproduced," says Schmidt.

Geoengineering is really, really stupid. It's another attempt to replace natural systems with human ones. It hasn't worked in the past and it won't in the future.

It is well beyond stupid. It is criminally insane. It is the height of hubris.

Who would authorize such madness? The UN?

Unfortunately, it's just too late for anything like limits or caps on Co2 to work - we are past the tripping point (350 was probably right) If Co2 emissions were 0 starting tomorrow the continuing arctic methane release would still cause Co2 to continue to increase. So its geo engineering or lay back and die.

It's like we are terminal lung cancer patients and half of us are still arguing about weather 50 years of smoking was the cause and the other half of us are looking for holistic solutions and refusing the chemo therapy that might save them.

If we get into a situation on the edge of a rapid tipping point transition, we might well be desperate enough to go for it, as a least bad solution. Obviously the longer the don't deal with the real problem, the odds of getting into such a situation go up.

I vote for "lay back and die". Because the main thing dying is our pride and our "business as usual". Climate change will no doubt create havoc, but I realized recently... there are trees alive today that will live through climate change, and outlive modern industrial human society. Sea level rise? The seas have risen before and will again.

At some point it is better to let things take their own course. I think any attempt at "fixing" the problem is likely to create new, more severe problems, and hamper the ability of natural systems to adapt and develop. That is why I am not a fan of geoengineering. Perhaps the time scales are too much for people to handle, as it will take hundreds or thousands of years for the dust to settle, but I don't think we have the knowledge or ability to turn back the clock. We can't unburn the oil, gas and coal.

It would be nice, though, if we stopped making things worse. Bit too much to hope for, though.

Unfortunately, we really die as a species.

First the oceans die, and then they rot and give off Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S). The H2S kills us also, our crops can't grow, etc. The planet wound't again be habitable for millions of years so expecting even a few humans to survive living in caves or something is not likely.

LOOK, every time you turn on a light, post on a website, or start your car YOU are geo-engineering.

The longer we wait, the less likely anything we try can work.

First the oceans die, and then they rot and give off Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S).

I have the impression that the time scale for something like this is measured in thousands of years, not a decade or two. There may be interventions possible -such as artifically stimulated ocean circulation to clean out the depths. I don't think this is a big risk. But near and medium term climate chaos -we are already beginning to experience this in a small way.

admax, I totally agree with you. I don't pretend to know (unlike some) how exactly Climate Change will unfold. I don't think anyone does. It's too complex to prognosticate with any kind of certainty (beyond humanity doing nothing about it because of the way our politics and interests align).

What it boils down to is "we'll see."

Human extinction seems very very unlikely from Climate Change in my view, but I don't doubt that it's a possibility. However, the fact is that our species extinction was going to come sooner or later. Does it really matter if it's 100 years from now? I don't think so, though I know many different views exist (implicitly if not explicitly) on that point.

I'm far more interested in what Peak Oil and its related processes will herald. The fact that Peak Oil is going on now, or in the near future and the fact that it is having a noticeable effect already (just look at gas prices) makes it more interesting to view.

Climate change is occurring. There's no real doubt about that. Where it will go, no one knows. I do know that this planet has undergone a great many changes over its eons of existence. From ice ball to desert and everything in between. The entire atmosphere has had it's fundamental chemical characteristics changed, and it's still changing.

That's just the way it is and I'm fine with that. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the little experiment humankind is running and not worry too much about tomorrow. The sun will still rise, children will still laugh, ice cold beer will still be nice after day's work on a hot summer's day and my mom will still love me. Those are the more important things.

When I have children, I'll concern myself a bit more with the fate of their children. Until then, I'll smile, wave and enjoy the ride.

The Wet One

So its geo engineering or lay back and die.

And yet Geo-Engineering efforts via taking money and spending it is a 70% failure along with passing the taken by force money onto the likes of Goldman Sachs.


If the "best" plan of mankind is to take from the masses to enrich the few - perhaps it is time to just lay back and die.

From what I've heard of a great many Geo-Eng propositions, I'd say it's like Lung Cancer patients arguing whether to try smoking something else to fix what Tobacco had destroyed..

The 350 as a safe limit is most likely a missunderstanding. The climate do not operate like that, and there are no safe levels. There are only levels of stability. For the last millions of years, we have operated on 2 levels of stability. Those are 180 PPM (ice age) and 280 PPM (inter-glacial age). We are now outside the system. However the climate changes slowly, and have not adapted to the 392 PPMs we have now. We simply do not know what a climate of 392 PPM will look like in 30 to 50 years, when the climate catches up. But by then, we will be looking at 430 PPM at a minimum. And we do not know where the next stable level is. If it is for example 500 PPM, then we will reach 500 PPM even if we stop emitting today. Climate will adjust itself like so. To fix it, we must stop emitting, and then let a new ice age cycle come in and reset the clock. The climate will be back to normal in 150 000 years.

I feel much better now :-)

Good info,

The Permian–Triassic (P–Tr) extinction event 250 million years ago saw C02 increase to over 1000PPM, so we know from history going over 1000PPM is almost certain death. So right now with at least 500PPM already unavoidable (and likely going even higher) some geo-engineering is the only option.

Of course, we need to get serious about reducing emissions and stopping deforestation but Co2 has been collecting in the atmosphere since the 1800's when there were just a few trains running. How do we get emissions down to lower then the 1800's? How do you ask people to turn off the heat and go cold?

For geo-engineering there are two ideas I favor.

First, we could add some kind of additive to jet fuel. After 911 temps went up with no planes in the air - so there should be ways to make that cooling more effective.

The other method is fertilizing parts of the ocean to absorb some of the Co2. There have been some studies and it's pretty controversial but our whole green revolution has only happened on land, the oceans have lots of potential to increase productivity.

Fertilizing with what?

Re: "fertilizing" the oceans, two words:

Dead Zones

I think we are quite fortunate the green revolution has only happened on land, you are aware the revolution was mainly due to new strains of crops. I can only imagine a bunch of gene modified, super spliced dinoflagellates swimming around trying to clean up our mess of super spliced algae.

The planet is a much different place then 250 million years ago. I don't think we can take 1000PPM as some sort of hard upper limit (for life).
Actually planes cause a net warming effect. Those contrails don't just reflect incoming shortwave, they are infrared absorbers. In a crude general sense, low clouds are cooling, and high clouds are warming.
We could try to use jets to inject some sort of aerosols, but that is only effective if the atmospheric lifetime is years rether than hours/days/weeks.

I would favor surface albedo enhancements; making cities whiter, perhaps breeding argicultural plants to have a higher albedo, Microbubbles from ships to increase the reflectivity of the sea. Sea salt spray as low level cloud condensation nuclei (there are some proposals for this sort of thing). Of course the best geoengineering is CO2 removal, bio-mass to biochar, enhanced weathering of silicate rocks, etc. But I suppose CO2 removal will work slowly -too slowly if we need to respond to a tipping point crossing event. Then you'd need emergency solar radiation management, replaced once CO2 reduction has a chance to catch up.

"We simply do not know what a climate of 392 PPM will look like in 30 to 50 years, when the climate catches up. But by then, we will be looking at 430 PPM at a minimum. And we do not know where the next stable level is. "

That is an interesting thought. The Eocene was stable at 1000 ppm. What was the ocean pH at the time? Is there some way to figure that out?

With plate tectonical moves, we do not know if 1000 PPM is still a safe level. Many factors are involved, and our understanding of this is very imature. As said, we do not know where the next safe level is. Feedback loops are tricky things.

But the goodnews is, we are undertaking a practical experiment tofind out right now.

Don't forget our sun is a couple of percent brighter than it was 250 million years ago.

That fact in itself may cut the margin by as much as 2/3rd's.

330ppm today == 660-1000ppm(250 million years ago.) or 500ppm in a few decades from now == 1000-1500ppm(250 million years ago).

It is well beyond stupid. It is criminally insane. It is the height of hubris.


Yet we are doing it already without any need for authorization... 7 billion plus humans aspiring to, or already living the 'vida loca', courtesy of burning fossil fuels! And now we want to run a few more uncontrolled global experiments with unknown variables and unknown outcomes on top of that???

What could possibly go wrong?!

The phrase of the day seems to be, "What could possibly go wrong?" Or, "Mi lehet baj?"

OTOH, that is used so much on TOD that it should be our official motto, and forever and always associated with us.


Who would authorize such madness? The UN?

Most likely the U,S. House of Representatives. After all, Dick Cheney told us many years ago that the American way of life is non-negotiable.

No. The house has a simpler approach: denial! See no problem. Respond to no problem.

Senate panel approves bill limiting sea-level rise planning

North Carolina GOPers want to ban use of science in planning for global warming

Legislators to debate bill aiming to regulate sea-level science

From your third link:

The legislation would dictate to the commission’s scientists what they could – and could not – consider as they make their forecasts.

Sea-level predictions must be based only on straight-line projections from historical data, the legislation says, and “shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise.

They've just declared PI=3.0000...

Total idiots! Reality? What's that?


"Pi also appears as the average ratio of the actual length and the direct distance between source and mouth in a meandering river."

They are Republicans.

Vehicle fuel economy falls again in May

For the second straight month, fuel economy of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. fell by 0.2 mpg—likely reflecting a slight drop in gas prices, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Fuel economy calculations, along with a graph and table of current and recent mpg: http://www.umich.edu/~umtriswt/EDI_sales-weighted-mpg.html

Eco-Driving Index calculations, along with a graph and table of current and recent values: http://www.umich.edu/~umtriswt/EDI_values.html

Unadjusted CAFE performance, along with a graph and table of current and recent mpg: http://www.umich.edu/~umtriswt/EDI_sales-weighted-CAFE.html


This makes me so sad . . . gas prices go down a few cents so people are off to buy an SUV. 5 years from now, they'll be asking themselves "What the f#$k was I thinking?!?!" It is just really sad because there are getting to be a really nice line of high MPG and electric vehicles out there with the Prius line, eAssist, the Volt, Ford Fusion hybrid, Leaf, Model S, etc.

The main reason people are buying anything is that auto loans are one of the latest bubbles. It's even more insane than mortgages, as such a piece of equipment can't possibly retain any value in the long term. Once that's over it won't be propping up auto sales anymore and we can get back to watching the weakest manufacturers go under. They're not banks after all.

I was under the impression that auto lending had tightened up after the 07-08 implosion, and only recently started to loosen again. Do you have statistics about the bubble here?

The graph in the first link suggests considerable seasonality in purchasing. Perhaps that's due to the fact that cars and trucks tend to be a bit less expensive near the end of the model year, as dealers prepare for the next year's new cars. Also, the auto companies can sell cars at a lower price, since they may have amortized most of their tooling by the end of the model year. Then too, farmers and other seasonal workers may be able to buy then after the crops are in and they are flush with money, then decide to buy a new truck, which would have a lower than average mpg.

The car companies want to sell as many cars as possible, even though they might make much profit at the end of the model year, since each sale represents something of a monopoly for parts in later years. The car companies make many extra parts to be placed in storage, especially model specific crash parts, since they expect that people will break them over time. They allocate less cost to parts in the actual car compared to those put in warehouses for later sale. Then, they can make a killing on the replacement parts after the cars are on the road.

This game has another advantage for the car companies. The high prices for parts sold thru a dealer eventually make it too expensive to repair older cars and trucks, which results in their being scraped before they were completely worn out. This leads to more sales of newer cars, thus perpetuating the game...

E. Swanson

"This game has another advantage for the car companies. The high prices for parts sold thru a dealer eventually make it too expensive to repair older cars and trucks, which results in their being scraped before they were completely worn out. This leads to more sales of newer cars, thus perpetuating the game..."

True, but I'm pretty sure you can build an older 1/2 ton pickup a piece at a time from the JC Whitney catalog. The Chineese are more than happy to jump in and level the field for us. Now if you have something old that no one wants, that may be another story. I still get unsolicited offers to buy my pickup after 35 years though.


Yes but I have a 1994 ford ranger and needed a new spindel for the passenger side front and my mechanic's wife looked for 3 hours and could not find anything new...I had to buy one from a junkyard....so there you go.

Labor costs.
I thought that it was a pretty simple repair - replace the water pump and install a new timing belt on my son's '96 Ranger.
$1300.00! And that's after I talked the service writer down from $110.00 per hour to $95.00.

not sure about the water pump but on that truck it can't be very hard...the belt is a serpetine belt and it is very easy to repair 15 min.....look it up should be able to come up with times to do both jobs...Also that is way high prices...where are you? 65 per hour here in Montana

Not a complicated job, why use a dealer? In your neck of the woods, you ought to be able to find a low-end shop to do this for $500.

When I do drive - it is a 85 volvo. I love scrounging up parts from ebay and junkyards, but what it comes down to is this: The sum of the parts far exceeds the value of the car. This not factoring in labor.

the sad part is that most of them WONT be saying 'wtf was i thinking', but instead looking for someone to angrily blame for why 'their' gas is so expensive..

It is sad that people purchase the vehicle they want, or think they want, rather than buy for what they need.

However, in spite of ourselves, the modern "SUV" is nothing like the vehicles that started the craze, and many of them are closing in on 30 MPG.

Not good news, but better than worst case.

I don't see much of a silver lining but an odd contradiction in the top US car sales. Roughly half are trucks, trucks that have gotten very large compared to just 5 years ago. Roughly the other half are fairly miserly on fuel, compared to just 5 years ago.

Like posted above, they don't really sell cars and truck in the US, they sell credit.

I don't really know what that means when/if everyone has to (read must) swap to an EV/Hybrid/Smart/IQ/Yaris/TDI or whatever. I just know it'll be messy.

Two articles today tell us why Europe is in decline and soon to be followed by the US.

Babies! At the end of the world
What's Really Behind Europe's Decline? It's The Birth Rates, Stupid

Disaster, the birth rate in Europe has dropped dramatically over the last two or three decades or so. No new houses are needed, fewer appliances are being purchased, growth is dropping fast. And worst of all people are living longer means more on the retirement rolls. But as the numbers of old people collecting government retirement payments grow, fewer and fewer people are paying into the retirement system meaning the system is going bankrupt... and fast.

Dammed if we do and dammed don't, have a lot of babies that is. A high birth rate means more people pushing us deeper into overshoot. But a lower birth rate wrecks the economy. Talk about a "catch 22" this one's a doozie.

Ron P.

They have youth unemployment rate of 50% . . . . so obviously they need MORE YOUTH! Wait . . . what?

it has to happen... bit of a no brainer

Ron - Maybe it reminds you a bit of the shale gas players like Chesapeake. Drill more wells (have more babies) and output increase. But as wells decline (babies turn seniors) they become a negative factor. So you drill more wells (have more babies) and, while the wells (babies) are young, you've fixed the problem...temporarially. But like rust: depletion never stops and babies don't stay young and cute.

The birth rate may have declined but the population hasn't. Individually, people may have made the decision that a large family or starting a family at all is not appealing given their view of the world but governments have decided otherwise.

Immigration, plus the fact that people must get old and start dieing, before we see an actual pop decline. If we reduce birth rate today, we will need at least 30 years before pop declines set in. People don't just get old and die faster just because we have fewer children.

Tainter pointed out in The Collapse of Complex Societies that this is typical of a society that is becoming more vulnerable to collapse. He found that population tends to level off, or even drop, as collapse nears. This is seen as a catastrophe by TPTB. Ancient peoples may not have known about GDP, but they knew they needed more people - to be warriors, laborers, farmers, taxpayers. They did things like create orphanages for abandoned children and even feed the women while the men starved (since the number of females determines the fertility rate).

I guess the modern version of this is that the economy needs more people so that more loans can be given out and therefore more credit (money) injected into the economy.

With an adequate retirement age (say 68 or 69), an inverted age pyramid can work.

Less social services & resources spent on maternity leave, stay at home moms, schools & teachers and prisons (young people are usually the ones convicted) and more on home health care, pensions and nursing homes.

From a brief overview, it appears viable - if the years from retirement to death (on average) are not too long.

Best Hopes for nations with Shrinking Populations,


PS: Russia is a special case. The male-female delta in life expectancy has shrunk to just less than a dozen years last time I looked. Russian women live as long as East European women, and Russian men as long as many African men.

WW II, Stalin's Purges and the economic collapse after the Soviet Union have left a sinusoidal curve in their age pyramid, with the male vs. female ratio pronounced after age 50 or so.

Problem is, older people consume less, too. They eat less, they drive less, they buy fewer gagdets and baubles, they travel less. They're less inclined to try new products or services. They also sell equities and bonds to pay for costs of living, driving their prices down.

Russian men get like half a year more to enjoy this butiful earth, than pakistan men. Pakistan I tell you! Incredible! They smoke and drink, thats why.

Europe seems to be returning to what is historically normal throughout the entire world, population stability. But stability is anathema to our current civilization, which has known nothing but rapid population growth for a long time.

Birth rate has only a small influence on GDP in the short to medium run- productivity, access to resources, education, energy use, etc. play a much larger role- otherwise India would have the world's largest economy right now. Fear of the future being worse than the past can lead to far less purchasing than an the aging of a population- old people can spend as well as anyone else. Technology has a huge impact on GDP and productivity. Long term (more than 60 years, birth rate has a bigger effect

Of course new babies has little effect on anything, it is the results of fewer birth several years later that makes the difference. No population growth means fewer new homes purchased, fewer cars purchased and there is little to no growth in the economy when no new businesses and infrastructure are needed.

But by far the largest problem will be the growing number of retired people drawing government retirement pensions while the number of workers paying into that retirement fund is not growing at all.

Ron P.

Yet the main thrust of this site is that resources are truly limited, which is something very few economists or politicians believe. If resources truly are limited, then increasing the population indefinitely will cause far more pain in the long run than if it stops growing.

Chris, I don't think many would argue that point. But the point we are trying to make is that a declining birth rate is a sure sign of impending collapse. (See Leanan's post above.) There is no way out of this predicament. More babies means overshoot only gets worse, fewer babies says signals their economy is on the verge of collapse.

Ron P.

Birth rates declined in the 30's, and later recovered, so it does not seem to be a 'sure sign of impending collapse.'

Rates also decreased in all the developed countries way before any collapse, when they were still booming, for instance in the 60's in southern Europe.

Birth rates declined in the US slightly in the 1930s and early 1940s because of the great Depression then the war. They picked up with gusto after the war.

Births and Birth Rates in the USA

     Births in 1000s    Birth rate per 1000 population
1920	2,950	        27.7
1930	2,618	        21.3
1940	2,559	        19.4
1950	3,632	        24.1
2003	4,091	        14.1
2004	4,116	        14.0
2005	4,140	        14.0

And as pointed out in an above post, fewer babies mean absolutely nothing then. It is only several decades later that it becomes a problem, when those fewer babies are adults and on into middle age.

Greece would have far fewer problems if there were still ten workers for every one retired, if there were still a lot of new people employed looking to buy houses and furnishings.

Of course if the population continued to explode, as in years past, that would cause even worse problems. But when economies are so dependent on growth a declining population, along with declining natural resources, is a sure sign of impending collapse. Again, just look at Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and the rest of Europe. Then Japan and the USA.

People who believe that a stable population can live in balance with the productive capacity of the environment may see a slowdown in the growth of population and energy consumption as evidence of approaching equilibrium. But when one understands the process that has been responsible for population growth, it becomes clear that an end to growth is the beginning of collapse. Human population has grown exponentially by exhausting limited resources, like yeast in a vat or reindeer on St. Matthew Island, and is destined for a similar fate.
Energy and Human Evolution

Ron P.

The idea I am arguing against is that falling birth rates are a 'sure sign of impending collapse' not whether low birth rates may adversely affect growth.

For Europe in the 30's:
'Western Europe faced a similar situation in the 1930s, with fertility rates in a number of countries dipping below the replacement level for the first time.'


To refute the idea that low birth rates are a sure indicator of collapse it is only necessary to find one counter example.

Collapse may be always associated with a collapse in birth rates, that is true pretty much by definition although it is not so clear which precedes which.

That does not tell us that a collapse in birth rates always means collapse, as clearly it does not.

Okay perhaps a sure was a little bit over the top. However let me reword my comment. A very low birth rate is a sure sign that a society is becoming more vulnerable to collapse. From Leanan's post:

Tainter pointed out in The Collapse of Complex Societies that this is typical of a society that is becoming more vulnerable to collapse.

Of course things can happen to offset this vulnerability, or perhaps even turn it completely around. Something an influx of massive amounts of very cheap energy, like crude oil. But of course if this is also in decline, along with falling water tables in places where a high percentage of food crops are irrigated, then this would be a sure sign of impending collapse.

Ron P.

Fair enough on the re-wording - we have all overstated our case on occasion!
I feel the distinction is worth making however.

I have similar reservations on the notion that there is peak energy, extrapolated from peak oil, which for conventional oil at least is an observable fact.

It remains the case though that the actual energy contained in barrel of oil is available for around $5 from uranium using the US once through cycle.

If more efficient cycles/ breeder reactors and so on are used, we would be much nearer to using it's full energy content, for around a raw fuel cost of 5 cents or so for a barrel of oil equivalent.

Now some argue that this is fantastically dangerous, but it is hard to see how in practise more than the million or so people who are bumped off every year by coal could be killed, however you went out of the way to use the worst possible designs, let alone the billions who would die from either global warming or the collapse of society.

In any case, casualties are not really relevant to the basic idea that peak energy is not happening, we know perfectly well how to make lots of reasonably priced energy, whereas we can't go on to make or produce huge new amounts of oil.

So there may be 'peak political difficulties' or even a build up to 'peak number of nuclear casualties'

We may also perhaps, run out out water or something, but those are separate arguments.

One thing there is not however is peak energy in any way comparable to peak oil, as Hubble realised perfectly well half a century ago.

So I am a bit wary of extrapolations! :-)

Quite a few OECD economies that were doing well, had fertility drop below replacement levels in "good times".

I can remember discussions about this from decades ago.

Best Hopes for Fewer Babies,


Okay, let me say it once more, perhaps with a different phrase. A very low birth rate is very healthy for an economy when it happens. Families have more money because they spend less on large families.

It is only decades later when more people are retiring and fewer people are entering the work force that the problem becomes apparent. Far fewer employees would be paying into a retirement fund for more and more people. Also fewer new homes would be needed so the construction industry would suffer. Also fewer furnishings would be needed so manufacturing would suffer.

And a question for you Alan, just how are those economies, which had a very low birth rate just a few decades ago, doing today?

Ron P.

Ron, your looking at things from the perspective of the current debt based, fractional reserve financial system which is what makes growth look sustainable and desirable but in fact is just an over glorified ponzi scheme.

The problem you are talking about is debt and how to service that debt. Without debt the resources that are going into building more houses, roads, schools, etc. and paying teachers salaries could just as easily be directed into health care and assisted living. It means people have to save more and pay off their mortgage before they retire but it doesn't mean that society has to collapse.

If the US hadn't imported over a million workers a year for the last two decades what do you think the unemployment rate might be today? Do you think we would have near the pile of debt that we have today? Do you think the standard of living of the average person would be better or worse than today?

The problem is not a lack of population growth, it is the debt based financial system that allows countries to consume in the present far more than is possible on a sustained basis. Population growth allows the party to continue longer so that the final reckoning is even more painful.

I really don't know how you got all that from what I wrote. I never said growth was sustainable, obviously growth in a finite world is unsustainable. Also I never even hinted that population growth was good. The unchecked population growth we have seen since the beginning of the industrial revolution is very bad, the population explosion is why we are now in deep overshoot. And the only cure for overshoot is die-off.

And the problem the world suffers today, not just the US of A, is not immigration. The two links about falling birth rates that I originally posted was mostly about Europe, not the US.

And the problems the world has right now was definitely not brought about by the fractional reserve financial system. To blame any form of government for our predicament is to imply that another form of government could fix the problem. Not so.

- The destruction of the natural world is not the result of global capitalism, industrialization, 'Western civilization' or any flaw in human institutions. It is a consequence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate. Throughout all of history and prehistory, human advance has coincided with ecological devastation.
- John Gray, "Straw Dogs"

Ron P.

I'm with you on the overshoot but part of that can be attributed to high immigration levels in both the USA and Europe. The immigration into already developed countries has just contributed to more overshoot than we otherwise would have had.

Fractional reserve lending is not a form of government it is a financial system and yes it is part and parcel of how this overshoot happened to the extent that it has. The USA and Europe would not have been able to import all the goods and commodities that we have without the ability to sell the debt that the financial system has created. China would not be the consumer of commodities that it is today without the current financial system.

Consuming now with the idea that the debt would be payed for by future growth is what has brought us to where we are today and is the foundation of the entire growth paradigm.

The fractional reserve banking system is definitely a very big part of our form of government. Our particular form of capitalism would be impossible without fractional reserve banking. Capitalism could definitely exist without fractional banking but without it growth would be a tiny fraction of what we have seen since it came to be practiced, whenever that was.

While it is true that without this system the population would not be nearly as high as it is today. But all that is saying is that we would have hit the Malthusian limits a long time ago. And while it might have been preferable to have hit the Malthusian limit when the Earth had 2 billion people than to wait until it has 8 billion people, it makes no sense to complain about that today because that is history, and we cannot change history. Also if that had been the case neither you nor I would likely have ever been born.

I just don't understand complaining about history. There is nothing you can do about it.

Ron P.

Not complaining about history just using it to highlight that we are still doing the same things that got us into this mess in the first place. You've mentioned that economically we are dammed if we do something about increasing population and damned if we don't, but I think the difference is that waiting to make the adjustments will just make them harder in the future.

waiting to make the adjustments will just make them harder in the future.

We're like the cat who has climbed too far up the tree. He's too scared to climb down, so he keeps going up.

Some are doing fairly well.

Less money and social effort to raise & educate children. No growth in infrastructure, just maintenance.

Japan, even with longest life expectancy in the world and too early retirement, does doing pretty well before the tsunami & Fukushima. And more people would just make things worse.

Toyko subway decided not to add any more lines & tracks a decade ago, because by the time they were built, the working population would be lower. The crush of the past is gone - no pushers anymore.

Sweden and Denmark are doing just fine.

Best Hopes for Fewer Children and More Old People,


After a financial reset, and they've gotten rid of social security, and they let all the old folks with no money die I don't think this will be a problem.

Old people in high numbers have always been a drain on society. We're in new ground here where they're going to be a majority, and eat up an even higher number of the available resources. Their going to be the first generation that takes food from their grandchildren's mouths en masse.


US retirement age will be 67 in a few more years (66 today).

Say life span is 78. that is just 11 years of retirement on average - far less than the useless (to society) years of childhood.

And 67+ being a majority ??


I don't see why old people would be more of a drain on society than anyone else.

Indeed, the existence of menopause may be proof of the value of old people. Most animals do not lose their fertility as they age. Many become even more fertile the older they get. Chimpanzees, our nearest relatives, prefer older females to young ones, because as experienced mothers, they are likely to be more successful at raising offspring. Males will ignore adolescent females if an older one is around. The equivalent of dumping Kate Upton to go chasing after Hillary Clinton.

So why do human females have menopause? Likely because childbirth is risky for females, and after a woman has produced a few children, she's better off stepping back from the reproduction game, and helping her children and their children, rather than having more of her own. That suggests there is real value to an older person's skills and knowledge.

And this is likely to be even more true if peak oil is as catastrophic as many here fear. It's the older people who remember the skills of old days. My grandfather built his own house, as well as several seaworthy boats he used to go fishing. All with hand tools - nothing that had to be plugged in.

The very best thing that could happen would be for humans to stop breeding all together and gradually go extinct. Yes it would create all kinds of problems with an ageing society and the last humans would probably suffer greatly. But anything is better than what we are about to experience, an overshoot and dieoff with horrific starvation, warfare, and suffering.

This book explains it very well:

Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence

Let me guess, you're a doomer right?

While my natural tendency is to agree with you (I do love an existential horror after all), I just have to disagree or contest you Solar Dude.

Just like every other living thing on this planet, humans also come from the same spring of life. What you are contemplating runs contrary to the inherent characteristics of lifeforms.

Granted, some humans have adopted behaviour consistent with what you're talking about, and so far as I know only humans can take such actions, but that doesn't make it normal, natural or right. What is normal, natural and right (if painful and devastating) is the situation of the St. Matthews reindeer and yeast in a vat. We are just a much life forms as reindeer and yeast and barring our being smarter than yeast (because the reindeer sure as heck aren't), we'll do the exact same thing they do when they have a ecological free ride (or energy boost or what have you that enables exponential population growth), which is grow our population beyond the environment's carrying capacity (even if it is the entire planet we're talking about) poison it with our filth, eat ourselves out of house and home and die back to the carrying capacity of our degraded environment.

And, as has happened time and time again on this rock, life with adapt to the new circumstances and go on. Human life, not necessarily, but I'd bet more likely than not that humans go on.

The very best thing that could happen would be for humans to stop breeding all together and gradually go extinct. Yes it would create all kinds of problems with an ageing society and the last humans would probably suffer greatly. But anything is better than what we are about to experience, an overshoot and dieoff with horrific starvation, warfare, and suffering.

That is a very bizarre and fringe philosophy. Everyone dies eventually and unless you are lucky enough to die in your sleep, your death will not be pleasant. Even if I grant you your doomer porn die-off scenario (which I don't agree with), most of those people that die at least lived better lives than most humans did in our 200,000 plus years as a species.

It is awesome that us humans came into existence. The cosmos becoming aware and reflecting upon itself is miraculous. Hopefully we can figure out how to flourish far into the future. But even if we eventually go extinct in the not-to-distant future, it is really cool that we existed at all. Death was always a necessary part of the game . . . without death evolution does not happen.

You first. I'll survive and teach the lesson of the mistake this civilization made, to my children.

You (and so many other people) confuse this culture with Homo Sapiens. Our culture, our civilization, has indeed made a bloody mess of things, bringing the whole earth close to disaster (and we still have plenty more of that disaster to live through before it settles) but this culture is not the only form for our species. Thousands of human cultures have existed before and thousands more will exist over the rest of the lifetime of our species, and i am pretty sure that _some_ humans will survive even this crash.

Please, please, don't confuse humans with industrial civilization. One should be a great source of hope, and the other a terrific warning to the future.

Please, please, don't confuse humans with industrial civilization.

That's like "Don't confuse bees with the beehive." Humans have been doing exactly what their nature tells them to do and that is do everything they possibly can to make life better for them. That is to better feed themselves first and their families second, and try to insure survival for another year. The invention of agriculture enable our population to support a lot more people on a lot less land, so that is what we did. Industrialism enable our population to support a lot more people on a lot less land, so that is what we did.

And you somehow you think humans can violate their nature. Isn't that quaint?

Ron P.

Don't forget all those children that suddenly don't need paying for.

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

Department of Defense Energy Initiatives: Background and Issues for Congress (pdf)

DOD’s reliance on fuel can lead to financial, operational, and strategic challenges and risks. Financial challenges and risks relate to the possibility of a longer-term trend of increasing costs for fuel, and to shorter-term volatility in fuel prices.

Operational challenges and risks relate to: (1) the diversion of resources to the task of moving fuel to the battlefield; (2) the negative impact of fuel requirements on the mobility of U.S. forces and the combat effectiveness of U.S. equipment, and (3) the vulnerability of fuel supply lines to disruption. Strategic challenges and risks relate to getting fuel to the overseas operating area, and ensuring the global free flow of oil.

DOD’s energy initiatives pose several potential oversight issues for Congress, and have been topics of discussion and debate at hearings on DOD’s proposed FY2013 budget.

Potential oversight issues for Congress regarding DOD’s energy initiatives include:
- DOD’s coordination of operational energy initiatives being pursued by the military services.
- DOD’s efforts to gather reliable data and develop metrics for evaluating energy initiatives.
- DOD’s estimates of future fuel costs.
- DOD’s role in federal energy initiatives.
- The Navy’s initiative to help jumpstart a domestic advanced biofuels industry.
- The potential implications for DOD energy initiatives of shifts in U.S. military strategy.

... Shorter-term volatility in fuel costs complicates DOD budgeting … In DOD’s FY2012 budget, for example, the cost of oil was forecast to be $130 per barrel, but oil prices in FY2012 rose to $156 per barrel, reportedly leading to an unfunded obligation of more than $3 billion across DOD. … Many analysts expect future oil prices to continue to be volatile in coming years.

… The logistic network for an overseas military operation can be so extensive that reportedly as much as 1.4 gallons of petroleum fuel can be consumed to deliver 1 gallon to forces on the battlefield.

… Oil is critical to the U.S. economy. It is the United States' largest source of energy, providing 37% of the total energy the nation consumes and 94% of the energy used for transportation. Every U.S. recession in the last 40 years has been preceded by an increase in oil prices. Any disruption in the global free flow of oil could result in an increase in oil prices and pose a serious risk to the U.S. and international economies.

… As mentioned earlier, DOD in its FY2013 budget submission projects that fuel costs will decline 13% from FY2013 to FY2014 and then remain at that lower price through FY2017, primarily because DOD is projecting lower costs for refined products.108 Fuel appears to be the only category for which DOD projects costs to decrease over the next four years. While some analysts expect crude oil prices to decline, at least some of those analysts have said that DOD’s projected declines may be overly optimistic.

Financial challenges and risks relate to the possibility of a longer-term trend of increasing costs for fuel

So increasing demand of a finite production leads to a "possibility of a longer-term trend of increasing costs"? I think logic and proven history would make "inevitable" the better word.

But I guess we have to at least give them some credit for recognizing there is a problem.

… Oil is critical to the U.S. economy. It is the United States' largest source of energy, providing 37% of the total energy the nation consumes and 94% of the energy used for transportation. Every U.S. recession in the last 40 years has been preceded by an increase in oil prices. Any disruption in the global free flow of oil could result in an increase in oil prices and pose a serious risk to the U.S. and international economies.

Sadly, the only lesson they ever seem to draw is WE NEED MORE OIL AND WE NEED TO KEEP THE OIL FLOWING! :-/

Arctic ice melt sets stage for cold weather

The dramatic melt-off of Arctic sea ice due to climate change is hitting closer to home than millions of Americans might think. That's because melting Arctic sea ice can trigger a domino effect leading to increased odds of severe winter weather outbreaks in the Northern Hemisphere's middle latitudes -- think the "Snowmageddon" storm that hamstrung Washington, D.C., during February 2010.

Greene says, "What's happening now is that we are changing the climate system, especially in the Arctic, and that's increasing the odds for the negative AO conditions that favor cold air invasions and severe winter weather outbreaks.

Arctic's wintry blanket can be warming

... Accounting for the higher insulating value of taiga snow leads to such a dramatic shift in soil warming, “that decomposition of soil organic matter (greenhouse gas production) and permafrost thawing would be significantly greater at the global scale,” says forest ecologist Glenn Juday of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “What elevates this result from the mundane story of another [computer] model with another parameter that needs fixing,” he adds, “is the huge pool of carbon stored in cold or frozen soils in the north — more than the atmosphere and land plants combined.”

And it snowed on Mt Spokane this morning. And it's not that high. 5800 ft.

The day's high was the average low (49 F). It was 42 F out my window this morning. It's supposed to stagger up to 70 by Monday.

It's amazing how different the weather has been in the PNW, esp the inland northwest, from the rest of the country. We have seemingly endless rain, snow level today at 3000-3500 ft, high here was 43 till it rose in the evening. To think I called last year the Year of the Frog.

And again this June, Fairbanks, Alaska is enjoying nicer weather than Eugene, Oregon.

Mount St. Helens webcam. The best images are early morning or late afternoon, USA Pacific time, -7:00 UTC.

Tipping Point? Earth Headed for Catastrophic Collapse, Researchers Warn

Writing Wednesday (June 6) in the journal Nature, the researchers warn that the world is headed toward a tipping point marked by extinctions and unpredictable changes on a scale not seen since the glaciers retreated 12,000 years ago.

"There is a very high possibility that by the end of the century, the Earth is going to be a very different place," study researcher Anthony Barnosky told LiveScience. Barnosky, a professor of integrative biology from the University of California, Berkeley, joined a group of 17 other scientists to warn that this new planet might not be a pleasant place to live.

"You can envision these state changes as a fast period of adjustment where we get pushed through the eye of the needle," Barnosky said. "As we're going through the eye of the needle, that's when we see political strife, economic strife, war and famine."

Evidence of impending tipping point for Earth uncovered

“It really will be a new world, biologically, at that point,” warns Anthony Barnosky, lead author. “The data suggests that there will be a reduction in biodiversity and severe impacts on much of what we depend on to sustain our quality of life, including, for example, fisheries, agriculture, forest products and clean water. This could happen within just a few generations.”

... “We really do have to be thinking about these global scale tipping points, because even the parts of Earth we are not messing with directly could be prone to some very major changes,” Barnosky said. “And the root cause, ultimately, is human population growth and how many resources each one of us uses.”

The authors note that studies of small-scale ecosystems show that once 50-90 percent of an area has been altered, the entire ecosystem tips irreversibly into a state far different from the original, in terms of the mix of plant and animal species and their interactions. This situation typically is accompanied by species extinctions and a loss of biodiversity.

Currently, to support a population of 7 billion people, about 43 percent of Earth’s land surface has been converted to agricultural or urban use, with roads cutting through much of the remainder. The population is expected to rise to 9 billion by 2045; at that rate, current trends suggest that half Earth’s land surface will be disturbed by 2025. To Barnosky, this is disturbingly close to a global tipping point.

“My view is that humanity is at a crossroads now, where we have to make an active choice,” Barnosky said. “One choice is to acknowledge these issues and potential consequences and try to guide the future (in a way we want to). The other choice is just to throw up our hands and say, ‘Let’s just go on as usual and see what happens.’


Also Loss of biodiversity increasingly threatens human well-being: research

Over the past two decades, strong scientific evidence has emerged showing that loss of the world's biological diversity reduces the productivity and sustainability of natural ecosystems and decreases their ability to provide society with goods and services like food, wood, fodder, fertile soils, and protection from pests and disease, according to an international team of ecologists led by the University of Michigan's Bradley Cardinale.

"No one can agree on what exactly will happen when an ecosystem loses a species, but most of us agree that it's not going to be good. And we agree that if ecosystems lose most of their species, it will be a disaster," said Shahid Naeem of Columbia University, one of the co-authors of the Nature paper. "Twenty years and a thousand studies later, what the world thought was true in Rio in 1992 has finally been proven: Biodiversity underpins our ability to achieve sustainable development."


Green decline 'may bring irreversible change'

With forests and fish stocks declining, water demand rising and lack of action on climate change, humanity's path is anything but sustainable, the UN warns.

The Global Environmental Outlook says significant progress is seen on only four out of 90 environmental goals.

... "If current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed, then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation."

The trajectory of the green line represents a fold bifurcation with hysteresis. At each time point, light green represents the fraction of Earth’s land that probably has dynamics within the limits characteristic of the past 11,000 yr. Dark green indicates human altered ecosystems.

Got the original readable pic?

That is all there is without looking behind a paywall.

"Approaching a state shift in Earth/'s biosphere"

Anthony D. Barnosky

Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming

"In 2006, one of the hottest years on record, a “pizzly” was discovered near the top of the
world. Half polar bear, half grizzly, this never-before-seen animal might be dismissed as a
fluke of nature."

I wonder if it's possible for any scenario to satisfy the researchers - i.e. were the Earth actually in equilibrium and stable, would they even know?

I'm not trying to sound like a GW denier, but outside the obvious issues (e.g. Fukushima, Amazon Rainforest) ...

i.e. were the Earth actually in equilibrium and stable, would they even know?

It appears you are scapegoating the messenger. I'm trying hard to understand what you want or what point your statement is attempting to make.
I think it would be reasonably intuitive situation to observe if the Earth is doing well. There was and will be peaks and troughs in biodiversity due to varied circumstances. Over the last 2k odd years humans have had an unprecedented detrimental affect on the ecology of the planet, that should be obvious to anyone that is interested.

Bandits. Sorry for being so obscure ... but my point is something on the lines that the researchers are bringing up eye-of-the-needle scenarios indicating tipping points - are these conclusions from data collected outside of obvious anthropocentric behaviors (e.g. Amazon rainforest, desertification, poisoning of the seas) - which could be identical to the data collected were there no humans at all? Equilibrium over millions of years will include cycles much more extreme than the changes we have wrought, with the exception of long-lived nuclear waste, plastics, and the like.

I'll go fall on my sword now ...

How do you define equilibrium? The last ice age lasted about 90,000 years, but within that the temperatures and ice line moved up and down repeatedly. It was sort of an equilibrium, but not completely static.

Since then we've had the Younger Dryas, the 8200 year event, the Roman warm period, a cold snap whose designation I forget, the Medieval warm period (which was also the Western American Drought), and the Little Ice Age. The climate is never completely stable. How stable do you call stable? Stable enough that you don't have to abandon your cities like the Anasazi, or starve out like the Norse in Greenland? This whole period is called "The Long Summer" in one book.

We had a quiet century climatewise, and convinced ourselves it was permanent. So when it changes, and it will with or without man's influence, we've painted ourselves into a real corner. We could in principle move a billion people to Greenland and Baffin and Ellesmere Islands if the ice caps melt. But think of the logistics and production needed even if the global economy stays intact (pipe dream!)

Certainly, what we know about climate shows considerable variation over thousands of years. The Earth has experienced mostly Ice Age conditions for the past 3.3 million years. The situation since the end of the last round of Ice Age conditions, the 10,000 years of the Holocene, has been rather less extreme. Both the Younger Dryas and the 8200 year event appear to have been the result of the melting of the last areas of the great ice sheets which once covered much of North America. Such events aren't going to happen again until the ice cover re-builds, if it does.

More recent periods, such as the so-called Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age were relatively small changes in global average temperature and there is considerable debate about the causes of each compared to events during more recent periods. I think that volcanic events (or the relative lack of them), may have been primary causes of those climate variations, processes which are known but which some would ignore when discussing AGW and Climate Change. The is considerable evidence that adding greenhouse gases will produce long term changes in global average temperatures much beyond what's been seen during the past 1200 years, changes which will occur even if volcanic induced cooling events as large as seen in previous centuries. There are some who claim that all those greenhouse gases will prevent the onset of the next round of Ice Ages, if one believes the model results. Then again, there are models which project a shutdown in the THC will result, which would tend to cool Northern Europe. Whatever happens, the Earth will be a different place...

E. Swanson

While visiting the Natural History Museum in DC I was struck by one of their exhibits on the ice sheets and the "Ice Age". I think this

http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/haywood/s2_9519.pdf is pretty much the same display.

What it shows is that the "ice age " was largely a North American and European phenomenon. However, since most of history and science has been written from their perspective it is not surprising that the "ice age" is regarded a global phenomenon.

Well, there's not much land in the Southern Hemisphere at the right latitudes for the ice to come and go. And even in the Tropics, the climate changed considerably even without ice being directly involved. So I'm not so sure that much of anything escaped being changed, nor that we need to shed crocodile tears over some trumped-up cultural conspiracy...

Don't forget that there are ice sheets covering most of Antarctica. It would appear that those glaciers haven't melted for a considerable time, but the oldest ice found by the Russians at Vostok show an age of less than 1 million years. With AGW projections suggesting that these glaciers will eventually melt, sea level will rise considerably and the climate impact could be immense. It's likely that Greenland would lose it's ice cover before Antarctica, but the melting of the ice shelves which are buttressing the Antarctic glaciers might result in those glaciers surging into the ocean much sooner than what would result from their simply melting...

E. Swanson

Not to mention sea level 120meters lower than today.

There is evidence of glaciation in Patagonia and Tasmania, and the South Island of New Zealand was well covered with ice. But as you point out, there isn't much land south of 40 S other than Antarctica itself.

Ice Ages lower global sea levels, allowing biota the opportunity to exploit new regions. Indeed, the whole region East of the Malay Penninsula, to the North shore of New Guniea, and the Southern rim of Southeast Asia--known as the Sunda Sea--was open for settlement for thousands of years, and was likely well populated by Hominids. Having read Eden in the East and further pursuing the idea, it seems quite likley that rice cultivation originated there. Similarly, the Ice Ages exposed "land bridges" between New Guniea and Australia and between Madagasgar and Africa, as well as between the Aleutian Island chain. Ice Ages also affected African climate which it is felt caused the evolution of the hominid branch of primates. Ice covered the North, but they were clearly global events.

One way to measure equilibrium is whether the amount of energy incident on Earth equals the energy radiated from it.

We finally (hopefully) got an extended break in the weather to cut biomass (hay) after a wet spring. We may set a record this year for number of bales rolled, and diesel prices dropped about $0.30 recently, a nice bonus.

I came in for lunch and have been reading Big Bots in Little Agriculture. Jeez... sort of takes the fun out of farming, when even the farmers have a disconnect from the things we grow, just like the consumers.

My lunch is leftovers: Chinese cabbage stuffed with ground venison, fresh onions, leeks, garlic, wild rice, slow cooked in crushed tomatoes. Every bit came from our property, excepting the rice and a bit of salt (working on the rice thing). Ain't no robot gonna take that away from me. May as well eat Soylent Green...

We grow Chinese cabbage here on our raised deck (away from the deer). Are you willing to share the recipe?

It's basically this recipe except I steam the cabbage whole for about 8-10 minutes prior to stuffing, use (fully cooked) wild rice, and crushed tomatoes (1 quart, instead of soup), and added the crushed garlic (teaspoon) and 1/4 cup of leeks to the stuffing. The Chinese cabbage works great 'cause it stretches like gauze when you make the rolls. I don't bother with toothpicks or string; just lay the rolls in the cooker as I make them. About 60-70 minutes on medium. This would be a great recipe for a solar cooker :-0

As I advocated here on TOD right from the start. Run 'em on no more than 15 amp 120AC so the tether is cheap and have the ho bots work your field grid.

If one wants to be offensive you call 'em Juan, Paco and Hey-Zeus

I'll name them Barack, Mitt and Newt,, and beat them mercilessly ;-)

Bots aren't worth a dingleberry if the weather destroys the crop. Jun 2 before we could plant the garden, the earlybirds got the seed rot.

We had beautiful blossoms on our cherries and peaches, six hives of bees covered them. And even though I recorded no frost, the fruit never set. Tiny green orbs that withered away. Happened to 4 varieties of sweet cherries, blossoming over 3 wks. No one has figured it out, I lean to the cool weather, not quite freezing, that impeded the ovary from developing.

Fuel shortages bring Cairo to a halt

Motorists across the country are dealing with a major fuel shortage, the third of the year and by many accounts the most serious. Dozens of cars were queued up tonight outside a state-owned Misr Petroleum station in the upscale Zamalek neighbourhood, seemingly one of the few stations in Cairo with fuel. The line of cars brought traffic on 26th of July Street, one of Zamalek’s major thoroughfares, to a near standstill.

Why is Egypt running out of gasoline? Depends on who you ask. Some energy officials say they’re still supplying the same amount of gasoline, and they chalk the shortages up to panic buying and hoarding.

Others told the state-owned Al Ahram today that they’re running out of cash to buy gas (which is heavily subsidised by the Egyptian government). They blame the finance ministry.

Another theory is smugglers ...

... psst! Maybe it's peak oil.

Maybe Egypt has less revenue to purchase and subsidize crude oil because they stopped selling natural gas to Israel. Dogma can drag a country down.

Ha!! Particularly when you're selling the gas at a loss.

When haters of Israel frequently blow up the pipeline increasing the cost, the loss of revenue is the same.

Traffic, road deaths on decline (Greece)

Deaths from road accidents have fallen by about 30 percent since the economic crisis began, according to figures presented by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) on Wednesday.

Researchers found that 1,087 people were killed on Greek roads last year, compared to 1,533 in 2008. The NTUA also estimated that traffic on Greek highways and local roads had fallen by close to 30 percent during this period.

The conference where the figures were presented also heard that one in two vehicles have not been serviced adequately and that about 1.8 million cars do not have insurance.

There should be further improvements in 2012.

They got 1 million more inhabtants than Sweden, and more than double road kill statistics? Man, economy is not the only thing they drive irresponsible in that country.

well, have you driven on greek roads? i've only driven a little bit on swedish highways but quite a lot on greek ones. There are a lot of factors. When you have one lane in each direction, many turns, and a mix of large, slow trucks and small cheap cars, you are gonna get people passing the trucks. if you want to reach your destination today you will sooner or later try to pass. Once some critical percentage of the cars follow this strategy, those who dont fall even further behind (being piled up behind both the trucks _and_ the cars which are busy passing). Eventually you will also try to pass because its the only way to go faster than 50 or 60 kph. 99.999% of the time this is perfectly safe... well, that .0001% can still get you ;)

(mind you, i'm not a fan of highways and cars. I ride the intercity buses most of the time but this modern world expects you to be somewhere at some times and 'sorry i would have to drive' is not accepted as an excuse by a lot of people. and, yes, many compromises are made because of other people. If for example ones parents are arriving from abroad in another city (only a few airports see real international traffic) in the middle of the night, does one tell them 'oh just wait til morning and take a bus' or does one drive 200km to pick them up? i'm pretty sure you would swallow your opinion for a few hours and drive out there to pick them up too. ;)

And, by the way, they don't drive the economy there any bit more irresponsibly than they do in sweden, i can assure you. Greece is following exactly the same playbook as all the other 'western' countries. Just that greece has near nothing in the way of natural resources or industry, came into the modern age from a very different starting point than e.g. sweden (for example greece as a state entered the modern age as a disposable puppet of britain, france, and russia against the ottoman empire, whereas sweden was one of the 'respectable' western monarchies), and as a weaker link in the chain is breaking sooner, but the same basic script is being followed across europe (and indeed the whole modern world).

Yeah, driving in Greece is certainly an adventure, sort of like Italy except the Italians are a bit more predictable and the roads are better there. And then there's Florida...

My first ship pulled into Skiathos, Greece for a much needed liberty in the early '80s. We all rented scooters and got high on Ouzo. Four sailors (2% of the crew, in two days) went to the hospital, three were medevaced to Germany. After that, the Atlantic Fleet issued a standing order prohibiting renting of motorized vehicles by sailors in the Med, except for official use. The folks in Skiathos also dis-invited the US Navy from porting there, saying Americans couldn't drive or handle their Ouzo ;-/

When in Rome Skiathos...

Google adds warning of 'state-sponsored attacks'

Google said Wednesday that it has added a feature to warn users whose accounts it believes are targets of "state-sponsored attacks," but the Internet giant did not cite a specific government. ... Google cannot say how it knows activity is state-sponsored ...

... probably won't be mentioning when the NSA, or FBI is on your PC.

DOJ Asks Court To Keep Secret Any Partnership Between Google, NSA

Sure makes it easy when demand tanks, doesn't it?

The West is saved by the Russians!

But as great as the Bakken is, I learned last week about another oil shale play that dwarfs it. It’s called The Bazhenov. It’s in Western Siberia, in Russia. And while the Bakken is big, the Bazhenov — according to a report last week by Sanford Bernstein’s lead international oil analyst Oswald Clint — “covers 2.3 million square kilometers or 570 million acres, which is the size of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico combined.” This is 80 times bigger than the Bakken.

There, now no one has to worry.

Becoming dependent on Russia for high priced oil. What could possibly go wrong?


And to compound the awesome awesome-ness, he gleefully multiplies the 80x acreage against the Bakken reserve estimate (24B bbl) to conclude the Russians might have 2 trillion in reserves.

One of the comments suggests the reserves estimates might be a tad less than 24B, once the USGS is through revising. But don't let that get in the way of a 2T reserves story!

I will say this much about oil in shale formations -- it appears to have put an end to the utterly loony abiotic oil talk.

If those kerogene rocks could actually be converted to cheap esy oil, I would be very worried. Kiss your climate good bye.

I hear that it burns like really poor quality coal. The obvious solution is to open-pit mine the stuff and burn the chunks to power external combustion engines.

Another good product to get into would be long-life 100W incandescent light bulbs. The long life comes from heavier filaments... so they draw even more power!

Not to take away from your point, but long-life incandescents use less energy, not more; they also supply considerably less light. That's because long-life lamps are designed to operate at higher than normal voltages, typically 130-volts and upwards of 145-volts in the case of the tubular lamps that are used in exit signs (North American voltages).

A 130-volt, 100-watt A19 has a nominal service life of 750 hours when operated at its rated voltage, draws a full 100-watts and supplies about 1,600 lumens in return. However, when operated at 120-volts, life expectancy jumps three-fold and power draw declines by about 12 per cent (88-watts). Lumens take a much bigger hit as light output falls by approximately 25 per cent (1,200 lumens).


Performance of Incandescent A-Type and Decorative Lamps and LED Replacements

Luminous efficacy of incandescent replacement lamps typically is not reported by manufacturers but can be calculated by dividing lumen output ratings by power ratings.

Given that efficacy of a tungsten filament increases with its temperature, it follows that efficacy should increase with lamp input power.

Filament evaporation also increases with operating temperature, contributing to shorter lamp life. Using manufacturer data for 60-W A lamps as an example, Figure 6 illustrates the inverse relationship between lamp efficacy and rated life.

The graph showing efficacy VS the bulb's wattage rating is quite something to see! The 7 Watt incandescent approaches zero light producing efficacy. To truly celebrate one's freedom and pride, the patriotic household should be lit with lots and lots of good old incandescent night-light / Christmas-tree bulbs.

Retrofitting just one incandescent exit sign with LED replacement lamps -- two 15-watt long-life incandescents replaced by two 1-watt LEDs -- can save enough electricity to power ten Philips L-Prize lamps (60-watt equivalent) an average of six hours a day. One of the buildings that we recently upgraded had over a hundred of these exit signs so I look at them as mini gold mines in terms of energy savings.


The Bazhenov reserves are tight oil, like the Bakken, which can be extracted without mining or heating, unlike the Green River deposits, which can't, according to this:

'Russia. The Bazhenov tight oil formation in West Siberia is thought to hold as much as 365 billion barrels of recoverable reserves. The International Energy Agency forecasts that Russian crude output will fall to 9.7 million b/d by 2035 from 10.5 million b/d in 2010 as new investment fails to keep pace with declines from mature oil provinces. However, the Bazhenov formation demonstrates that future Russian production is a question of incentives and economics rather than a lack of physical resources.'

That is an amount broadly comparable with Saudi Arabia, although much more expensive to extract.

As they say - "The tales grow taller on down the line..."

I have recently learned of a new oil / gas ____ (fill in blank with play, reservoir, deposit, whatever you wish) that covers (some number followed by a ton of zeros) acres and holds (some number followed by even more zeros) of oil/gas, an area covering more than _____ (fill in blank with Saudi Arabia, all oil fields ever discovered, the moon) and holding more oil/gas than ____ (fill in blank Saudi Arabia, all oil ever produced, the moon).

There we go - just created an all purpose press release to be used in any situation where "baffling expedients" may be required in the future. Glad I could be of service...

There will be no political or environmental factors to block development of the Russian oil and gas resources.


Clearly we are saved! Captain Taggart has saved us...

What could possibly go wrong? After all, Deus ex machina, what?


Hmmm, I hope boone has left space for the duckies


"If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down."

Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012

We had better build some wings pretty quickly.... cliff, dead ahead.

RIP Ray Bradbury......but I don't think you understood his meaning. We won't start building the wings until we're over the cliff and headed for the valley floor. Which I interpret as we, humankind, will only get started doing something when we really, really need to do it.

“But you can't make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them. It can't last.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

RB hit on a truism... Homo Sapiens sapiens always waits until they have gone over the cliff. It has been good luck mostly that has preserved us.

I wonder if we will always be so lucky.

I wonder if we'll be missed.


Here's to Ray Bradbury. May he rest in peace.

Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. Scene from The Martians.

"We have everything we need to be happy, but we aren't happy. Something's missing. I looked around. The only thing I positively knew was gone was the books I'd burned in ten or twelve years. So I thought books might help."


"There was a silly damn bird called a Phoenix back before Christ: every few hundred years he built a pyre and burned himself up. He must have been first cousin to Man. But every time he burnt himself up he sprang out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again. And it looks like we're doing the same thing, over and over, but we've got one damn thing the Phoenix never had. We know the damn silly thing we just did. We know all the damn silly things we've done for a thousand years, and as long as we know that and always have it around where we can see it, some day we'll stop making the goddam funeral pyres and jumping into the middle of them. We pick up a few more people that remember, every generation."

.. From FAHRENHEIT 451

Thanks for the books, Ray!

As resource economist Julian Simon taught us years ago, we never have, and never will, run out of scarce resources like oil because as a resource becomes more scarce, its price will rise, which will set in motion a series of actions that will counteract the scarcity. For example, higher prices for oil will increase the incentives to: a) find more oil, b) conserve on the use of oil, and c) find more substitutes. And that’s exactly what’s happened recently in response to higher oil prices – domestic crude oil production reached a 14-year high in March, and the share of rigs drilling for oil (vs. natural gas) set a new record high of 70% last week.

So, according to economists, when food prices rise, poor third world people will a) look for more food, b) go hungry, and c) substitute eating for an early grave.

Or, to make a less snarky argument, it is of course true that when oil production drops, we will find substitutes. PO theory is about looking at those substitutes and when they are needed. We worry that people just won't like those substitutes, and that they may even lead to social unrest and revolution.

The article is amazingly stupid. Some 94% of oil is used for transportation. The article lists 5 substitutions of other things instead of oil for non transportation uses of oil (plastics, etc.). Uh . . . what about the the main use of oil, transportation? Duh.

We've had a 100 years to develop alternatives to oil for use in transportation. But in all that time, we still remain nearly 100% reliant on oil for road, maritime, and aviation transport. It is not easy problem to solve.

I think you will find that 94% of transportation is powered by oil. Not the other way round. Or at least, not in the world as a whole. The US may be different, but oil is also a widely used chemical feedstock for plastics, pharmaceuticals, etc.

There is a solution and it is outlined in a whole book by Anthony Perl :
"Transport Revolutions; Moving People and Freight without Oil",
In the first quarter of 2012 as reported in Drumbeat earlier, mass transit ridership had
another 5% increase. IF the PTB had not wasted billions on cash for clunkers and Stimulus funding for more highways, we could just RESTORE Green Transit service for the 150 cities where it has been cut since 2008. Just before the 2008 cuts my train ridership was soaring at double digits.
If we just RAN the public transit we already have we could easily increase Green transit ridership by 20% in a year. This would be a LOT cheaper than electric car subsidies or cash for clunkers. As pointed out in "Transport Revolutions" from 1942-46 the US elite increased Green transit ridership by 4 times in order to save oil, rubber, and metals for the War effort.
This shows what CAN be done very quickly with the political will to do it.

The total operating cost for NJ Transit to provide 350 million trips is only $300 Million for example. Just RUN the trains, run the buses, add shuttles and cheap bikepaths and sidewalks.
A lot of Rail is already electric and there should be investments to electrify it all.
But just getting people out of their gas-guzzling land devouring cars into Green Transit is
a major step in the right direction which would also reduce the price of oil.
Of course a further incentive would be 20 cent increases to $1 per gallon for gas and redirect
that money towards Green Transit initiatives.
We COULD cut oil usage.
The Koch Brothers and the Auto Addiction Lobby just do not want to do it...

I think it's something like 3-4% of oil is for feedstocks, 21% for agriculture, and most of the rest for transportation.

When I went to welding school, wall to wall we had a facility that trained people for the plastic industry (called "polymer technical machine configuration school"). We had a round tour at the plastic school and the head teacher gave us a lecture about plastic. I specificly remember he said the plastic industy uses 4% of all the oil. He does not need to be right, and this was years ago, but that is what he said.

re: "...and that they may even lead to social unrest and revolution."

Or, worse.

A burning question: Should Northwest be coal-export hub?

The morality of exporting coal to India and China has now become an issue for both Australia and the US. The ethical questions are
1) is this consistent with global emissions cuts?
2) are some countries getting a free ride?

In Australia booming coal exports may undermine acceptance of the carbon tax that starts in three weeks. We are supposed to reduce coal fired electricity at every opportunity. It seems pointless to turn off light switches when the same coal is burned without hesitation overseas. In both Australia and the US I suspect it will turn into a State rights vs Federal control issue. The latest development here is that Federal approval has been denied for a new export oriented coal province in central Queensland. The reasons given include shipping damage to the Great Barrier Reef but I'm sure an unstated reason is a public backlash against double standards.

I predict a year from now this issue will be a lot bigger.

As resource economist Julian Simon taught us years ago, we never have, and never will, run out of scarce resources like oil because as a resource becomes more scarce, its price will rise, which will set in motion a series of actions that will counteract the scarcity.

Every time someone utters this inanity can there not be someone right there to ask about the market clearing price of live Passenger Pigeons or Carolina Parakeets (which, should be noted, were resources trivially renewable in perpetuity with just a modest bit of market intervention)?

The far more critical point, clearly, is what economics tells us will happen when the market clearing price for a scarce resource becomes high enough to require economic substitution, but there are no substitutes. This point, unfortunately, appears too subtle for cornucopians to grasp, so perhaps Passenger Pigeons would shut them up just a bit.

Nah, they'll just respond that, apparently, common pigeons and morning doves have proven to be a sufficient substitute.

No lack of "ostriches" either, apparently.

Methinks there is some tacit wishful thinking here. If we surveyed 100 people, I don't suppose even ten would know what a "passenger pigeon" was, nor that even one would give a stuff that they aren't around any more. And if the 18th century reports are even half-right, then, well, the thought of a couple billion medium-sized birds suddenly landing all over your city and depositing great boatloads of psittacosis-infected cr*p over countless thousands of acres is not very pretty. So good riddance.

re: depositing great boatloads of psittacosis-infected cr*p

but that's the way world goes 'round.

Great boatloads of fertilizer, naturally spread. Brings immediately to mind relatively recent Lake Michigan photos, of dead Hexagenia (mayflies) piled 10's of feet high beneath light posts. Or the mosquitoes that came in droves to feast in the evening, antelope herds, or farther back, bison that darkened the horizon. Coastal marshes teeming with crab, salmon covering streams so thick you could walk across. Most of this wasn't that long ago, the yucky and the picturesque both.

For the last several decades we've focused on diversity, to the exclusion of abundance. IMO a poor choice, but probably all we could do given the end of abundance, save man, maybe Sphaerotilus natans. We watch diversity, it's abundance that is the bellwether for degradation.

...speaking of which...
I remember reading a review of a book several years ago whose premise was that the pre-Columbian abundance (and size!) of sea-life in the Caribbean was, by modern standards, mind-boggling. Accounts once taken to have been apocryphal may well have been based on solid observation. I have since searched in vain for the book...anybody recall it?

I don't know exactly what you're looking for, but there is a book called The Unnatural History of the Sea which attempts to document the former abundance, reasons for collapse, and possibilities for mitigation in regards to the abundance of the oceans. He spends a section on the Caribbean, and there are pictures that prove very handily that the abundance and size of large fish in the Caribbean - the example I remember is a 'record fish' board from Key West (technically the Gulf rather than the Caribbean but very similar ecosystems). One pictures was black and white, I think from before 1950, and had huge grouper (3 foot, 5 foot, 6 foot) covering the board. The other was from the 2000s I think and had small fish arrayed upon the board.

The whole book is very depressing, but pretty much points to the fundamental lie of fisheries science, which is that the baseline is formed by when you started measuring, usually long after the situation had degraded quite seriously.

That looks to be the one I've been searching for, thanks.

I can give you no sources of this, but I have from severalplaces that this was the case in Europe too. We aparently had lots of fish in our rivers during the stone ages. Everywhere peoplelook into this, that is what they say.

There is a very old book that gives an account of this. Genesis. In 1:21 we read:

So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.

Whoever wrote this was of the opinion that the seas were teeming with life. May it as simple as that it actually did, at the time?

Maybe - but the Bible also has references to fishing for days and not catching anything ... just like I do now. In fact, it required an act of Jesus to turn things around ...

That is interesting. According to those who are supposed to know, the lake of Genesaret was in a state of overfishing at the time of the New Testament. To many fishermen, to little remaining fish. A very good illustration of how we tend to overfish, and did so already back then.

The New Testament was millennium after Genesis.


Mike Eliason with a guest post at GBA...

Cold-Climate Passivhaus Construction Costs

Three new homes cast doubt on the idea that it’s too expensive to build to the Passivhaus standard in cold climates

Despite all the fuss about difficulties meeting Passivhaus cost-effectively on detached housing in über cold climates, there have been several projects recently that seemingly disprove the fussers.

Now, that’s not to say that meeting the Passivhaus standard in certain localities is a walk in the park – it’s certainly difficult in many places, like Siberia; the north slope of a steep, east-west valley (Graubünden!); Fairbanks… That being said, there are projects (certified, even) that meet the Passivhaus standard in climates north of 7,000 heating degree days (HDDs) – and with the advent of something like Super Windows - well, much of that nonsense could become completely moot.

Here's Mike Eliason's post on his blog

Andrew Nikiforuk...

Enbridge Not Positioned to Pay for Gateway Oil Spill: Report

BC taxpayers could be on hook for massive clean-up costs says economist Allan.

Enbridge has under-estimated the risk of a bitumen spill along its technically challenging Northern Gateway Project and ignored the company's spill history in the United States in its risk studies, concludes a prominent economist.

In a new report directly requested by the Joint Panel Review studying the controversial project, Robyn Allan, former CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, also concludes that Enbridge doesn't have adequate insurance coverage or the corporate structure to cover a multi-billion dollar spill either.

"There is no reason to believe Enbridge would be directly responsible for the cost of any spill based on the limited partnership structure. This structure allows profits to flow to Enbridge, but from what I have seen in the documents, not spill liabilities." explains Allan.

Socializing costs... and capitalizing profits!

Greetings, TODers,

Just had to share that I heard a bit of NPR yesterday - just long enough that the host and producers actually entertained a question (from the general, call-in public) that contained those two little words: PEAK OIL!

I was astonished. The caller -(whose name I did not catch and apparently audio-only available now, no transcripts) - made a fairly decent presentation, given the very short time allotted him. (Hello? Are you a TODer, Sir?) However, if you'd like to listen and thrill to the rationality of it all, here's a link.


Unfortunately, the two guests:

"Allen Sinai, chief global economist at Decision Economics." And...

"Ken Rogoff, professor of public policy and economics at Harvard University. He’s the author of a new book, This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly."

...made short shrift of our special phrase. One of the two guests seemed quite excited about all the NG around, which I suppose (sarcanol on) is just waiting to be turned into LTFs. Perhaps via corn fields? (Sarcanol off.)

Actually I have heard a number of CALLERS to NPR talk shows mention Peak Oil or Limits to Growth.
But it is ONLY the callers never the guests!
I stopped donating to NPR a while ago - I got sick of all the military generals parading on to justify the endless Wars for Empire and resources, the repetition of cornucopian blather about
100 years of Natural Gas, the endless repetition of the canard that US deficits are caused by
"entitlements" (actually legally contracted obligations for Social Security we PAID for) and never
once mention the $1 Trillion wasted every YEAR on the endless Wars....


In fact, with projected cuts added in, the national security budget in fiscal 2013 will be nearly $1 trillion -- a staggering enough sum that it’s worth taking a walk through the maze of the national security budget to see just where that money’s lodged.

This does not include interest on the trillions of dollars of War debt and some other items
which should be included but does provide a good list...

In the Los Angeles market, this is about the only voice worth the time:

Ian Masters "Background Briefing" KPFK

Warren Olney "To the Point"

Some follow-up on the damage to tree fruit crops as a result of apples and other fruit blooming early because of the warm winter and very early spring...

Damage to Ontario's apple crop is worse than expected

It’s worse than feared for apple farmers in Ontario.

Ontario Apple Growers association chair Brian Gilroy says that it looks like Ontario apple farmers have lost about 88 per cent of their crop this year.

“It’s devastating,” said Gilroy. “The estimates that we gave of there being 20 per cent of the crop left is probably optimistic. We’re looking at probably 12 per cent.”

Warm weather in February and March led to early blossoms that were, in April, burned by frost. A killer blow.

Michigan lost it's entire sour cherry crop, according to news reports. Here we lost our sweet cherries, but it wasn't frost. As I noted upthread, I think it was cool weather none the less. Apple blossom was strong, but poor fruit set on most varieties, esp the earlier. Even Duchess of Oldenburg, usually a very strong variety of Russian origin.

That freeze after the early warmup produced little in the way of record cold events in the US. The warm air pushed further to the north into Canada, fooling the plants into early awakening. Here's my graph of record events for the Winter and Spring of 2012, compared to 2002:

//www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/records/ US Record Temperatures, Winter-Spring 2002, From NCDC web site

The little cold "bump" of events around the first of April was concentrated in the northern Ohio Valley toward New England. Cold, but not as startling as what happened in 2002. I think we're seeing Climate Change at work, as the temperature distribution shifts toward warming...

E. Swanson

Interesting set of graphs, could you label the x axis on both? Or not. Still pretty obvious, I trust year 2002 is not "cherry picked".

The weather in the PNW hasn't been nearly as extreme as in the east, the type of extreme that changes the man on the street perception of CC. Which is ok, as the votes for change are back east. Still, we are following most IPCC predictions for change in milder winters, and much wetter springs. The script for drier late summer-fall isn't quite there yet. Which is good, as the increased forb production of wetter springs heightens the fire danger.

Sorry about the X axis. I've used Quatro Pro for decades until V10, in which the plotting routines were about useless for what I wanted to do. I haven't found a way to add the date to the axis, even though the dates are in the spreadsheet. I'm sure there are better plotting packages available, but I grown to hate upgrades.

As for 2002, I did pick that year because of the late freeze around here, which happened after all the plants were fully leafed out. Afterwards, all the leaves on the trees turned brown, just like Fall. I have been working on other years as well, but haven't put them up on photobucket. These data are not the sort of statistical information which scientists want to point to. With that in mind, here's 2007, another year with early warmth followed by a late freeze which resulted in considerable crop damage, and 2000, another year which produced general warm weather.

US Record Temperature Events from NCDC Data US Record Temperature Extremes, 2000

E. Swanson

"I've used Quatro Pro for decades..."

Jeez, Dog, it may be time to go with OpenOfficeCalc or LibreOffice Calc, both excellent, open source, and free. Ubuntu comes with Libre included. I've also been Microsoft free for over a year now and I can actually breath again. I didn't need a new computer, I needed a new operating system :-0

Open Office is also available for Mac.

Ah, the guilt!

"I'm comin' Elizabeth! Comin' to join you, honey!"

I've got a Puppy Bootable disk.. but haven't made the switch permanent yet.

Are there some decent substitutes for the Adobe Creative Suite yet?

I'm not totally divorced from my Microsoft apps yet. Ubuntu can install as a duel boot system, leaving your Windows intact. If I need to play in Adobe, I reboot into Vista. Once I've finished, back to Ubuntu, which can access and open Windows partitions and files. Windows doesn't even see the Linux partition. Many Windows apps will run in Ubuntu using "Wine"; some run even faster without the Microsoft overhead. I'm running AutoCad LT in Ubuntu and it performs great.

I can recommend the following:

1) buy an iMac with some extra memory
2) install VMWare Fusion (inexpensive)
3) install Windows as a virtual machine (requires installation disks)
4) install Ubuntu as a virtual machine (free)
5) install CentOS as a virtual machine (free)

(Or have someone else do this for you if you're not used to OS installations.)

This has been working flawlessly for me for a couple of years now and I have different VMs on different "desktops" all running at the same time. I can quickly bounce from one to the other.

My business partner prefers to run VMWare in "unified" mode where Mac, Windows and Unix share files and are all available on a single desktop but I find that too confusing.

Using a virtual machine is way better than dual boot.


"buy an iMac with some extra memory..."

Yeah, there's the rub$$. I've been parting together PCs from last years parts for years. I finally broke down and bought a new main board (mITX E350 dual core, about 9 watts) this winter with 8 gig. Really fast integrated graphics. I may have $200 in the whole thing. My power supply is a 9-30 volt DC, 100 watt from a carputer, running PV/battery direct. It's all I need these days.

Thanks Ghung, I've already got Open Office on my machine, I just haven't had the reason to learn to use it. My efforts are just a quickie attempt to look at the data and I'm learning as I go (as usual). I'm already thinking of another approach, except that it would require some serious data crunching and I don't know if I can access the data from the NCDC to do it. Besides, the concept isn't all that new, as seen in this paper:

"Relative increase of record high maximum temperatures compared to record low minimum temperatures in the U.S."

Authors: Gerald A. Meehl, Claudia Tebaldi, Guy Walton, David Easterling, and Larry McDaniel

Publication: Geophysical Research Letters

E. Swanson

NeoOffice is also available, although only for Mac. I slightly prefer it yo Open Office.


It's not just a Northern thing - California got hit too. Got this in my email last weekend:
Bacchini's Fruit Tree Update:

NO Sour Cherries for 2012!
It is with much saddness that we announce the lack of a sour cherry crop for the 2012 season.
These blossoms did not produce fruit :

Mother Nature sure dealt us a zinger this year!
All of the blooms pictured here (from 5/15/12) did not produce fruit.
We were unsure of the outcome from such a late blooming cycle until yesterday (6/2/12). Unfortunately, there will not be a crop of sour cherries for 2012. We just wanted to get this update to you!

Good news: The young sour cherry trees that we planted last year are progressing well and they look healthy. It will probably be two more seasons before we see any real production from these trees.

When I was in N. Cal. trying to grow cherries, I had problems when the bees did not cooperate. Could that be your problem?

Next year, take a broom; wrap a pair of pantyhose around it, and stuff it well into one tree's blooms (you might want to say, "buzzzz" whilst doing so). Then take the broom to another tree and repeat, taking the pollen from one tree to another. Cross pollenization is essential to growing cherries, and unless you had a serious freeze post 5/15 that is the more likely problem.

Of course, lack of bees is probably a consequence of AGW, at least IMO.


Parents don’t have time to teach kids basic cooking and housekeeping, so schools must do it instead.

Since children learn by watching and helping, what I suspect they really mean is that the parents aren't cooking or housekeeping. One hour a week of disconnected lessons is never going to replace even the busiest of parents showing the kid how to use the hoover or setting an example of what is and isn't good food.

It would also make the parent "less busy" since minor tasks can be outsourced to the children.

Supplemental lessons are a good idea, but something has gone seriously wrong when you need to outsource teaching your children to look after themselves. Will they soon need lessons on dressing themselves?

just another mile marker in the outsourcing of parenting.

IMO elites whether Liberal or Right Wing are both out to destroy the public school system whether consciously or unconsciously. It is the best way to safe guard the future of their children who will face less competition in the future from the uneducated masses. Liberals do it by heaping mandate after mandate on the school system and the Right wing by defunding it.

Our society is under siege by commercial interests.** Families are frequently overwrought with increasing demands for cashflow, while wages have stagnated for decades.. and more jobs and more hours must be devoted to aquiring cash just to keep up.

Yes, there are ways to slip the trap, but like breastfeeding vs formula, you might have heard of it, and you might have breasts and a baby, but without sufficient societal support, it would take three blindfolded backflips to get it to happen.. At every feeding time.

Our family has managed to keep outside of many of these traps, but we're aware of how many other families just can't sneak outside the 'accepted framework'.. they're tired, they're not supported, trying something different is either openly or subtly ridiculed and outflanked by Processed and 'Off the shelf' shortcuts that keep the cashflow going towards the big industries.. and make some aspect of this mechanized lifestyle somewhat feasible.

Parents are trying, but don't disparage common society trying to find ways to fill in a few important gaps.

Fight the real culprits. Vote Wisely with those dollars.

** and I don't think 'commercial interests' are malicious. They are an artificial life form we've created, with an ethos almost identical to cancer cells. EAT and GROW. They will eat us up, just trying to survive. They need to be killed or reformed to match healthy natural processes.

Trap, indeed. While those who don't see the trap work harder to acquire the the bait being offered at an increasing rate, they unknowingly are becoming evermore entangled in the trap's web.

Question: What happens when the trap, bait and all, begins to fail. Will the victims of entrapment be like the long-term incarcerated, with no clue of how to deal with their newfound 'freedom', like Brooks in the Shawshank Redemption? Has complacency become utter reliance?

It's virtually impossible for parents to teach their children basic skills that they, themselves, never acquired. Societies have a short memory for the most part.

One of the homeless shelters that I am involved in - determined that two important drivers of homelessness was (a) about a $1/hour shortfall in income and (b) the absence of any kind of financial management skills. To your point they found the latter problem was generational- parents didn't have it and neither did their children. By concentrating on those two factors only about 5% of their clients returned compared to about 40% before they focused on those issues.

I agree about financial skills,, except that those skills are likely to become more obsolete shortly. Frugality skills will likely prove more useful. Teach them the skills to collapse gracefully :-0

I might be a little more sympathetic but when I read of a father working two jobs and the mother remarking about the requests of her children for Xmas gifts- "normally we get them a few gifts but this year all they want is an I Pod" I feel that we might have our priorities a little screwed up. I figure that poor father has to work about a week so his poor children can have ONLY an IPod.

The fact that the most valuable company in the world - Apple- produces a product that nobody needs but everybody wants is further proof of how misplaced our priorities are. At $10/hour after tax an Iphone is about 50 hours of work. Buying a no frill cell phone would give that family about an hour extra per week.

Most of a child's desire for 'things' is learned these days. As for the basic cell phone, how about a good bike and no cell phone. Worked for me...

Social standards have changed. The bike is not "safe" enough any more. Neither, really, is even stepping out the front door. There's a perv hiding behind every tree, waiting to pounce. And failing that, even high-schoolers can't be expected to learn how to cross the street nowadays. So if the kid bikes anywhere, expect a not-so-warm-and-fuzzy call from Child Protective Services. Oh, and the lack of a phone isn't "safe" enough either.

As I've said before, can't have it both ways. The "consumer" and "environmental" movements have done a brilliant job of scaring everyone permanently out of their everloving wits over very small risks, so now we get to live with the inevitable blowback.

The roads are much bigger, and cover much more area. I grew up in a suburb in Texas not really that long ago (born in 1981), and I rode a bike within my neighborhood and in the actually quite extensive woods that surrounded it. Those woods are now gone, turned into roads and houses. Even when I was a kid, there were some roads that you just didn't cross if you could possibly avoid it, in my case FM 1960. I got to see new roads put in and some of my cherished woods get plowed under, but the really big changes are what I saw from when I moved to Florida at 14 - the area I was in put in a ton of new housing, the two lane road that passed by the development became 4 lanes, and when I was there last the nearby places that had been orange groves and cattle ranges (the last remenants) were being turned into developments and the roads went from 2 lanes, no streetlights to 4 lanes or more with streetlights. The gaps between urban/suburban areas in Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough counties are being filled with development.

Bikes AREN'T safe when right outside is a 50 mph road with no provision for bikes and no sidewalk. Even with sidewalks, when you have to cross the intersection, sometimes they don't even have crosswalks, and certainly the drivers aren't used to pedestrians or bikers. That's how bad it is.

It's not the environmental movement's fault, it's straight development, car-based development. The blame lies there, I know it because I've seen it.

Down here we just get on our bikes and ride em. It is the gringos I pass that I overhear saying things like "that's dangerous" or "how can you ride a bike in this traffic?". There seems to be a predisposition to fear.


Points noted.. but don't forget that 'what we read' are stories that are selected, too.

Yes, there's plenty of misjudgment and overindulgence in ConsumerElec., etc.. the producers and the consumers are both on the floor for this Tango.. I just hear a lot of stuff being pointed at the end-users..

I just bought a piece of 'plumbing' for a tenant's shower.. complete crap hardware, I expect it to fart out quickly unless luck smiles on me, but I had to get their shower going, and it was the only option at the best HDW store in the area.. next time I'll craft the piece from REAL materials, but often enough unless/until one can indulge in Herculean Efforts and aforementioned backflips, the products have been chosen for us.. and we either play ball or create a different game (and play more games alone..)

Jokuhl: Same trouble here as well. After buying various parts from the local hardware, I started dealing with a real plumbing supply outfit here in (the other) Portland. Although more expensive, so far I've been happy. I am really tired of cheap hardware from hardware stores. Such a waste of money and resources. And don't get me started on how unhelpful the "help" can be ... Cheap hardware gets expensive the third time it's replaced.

In all the toolshops I ever worked in, I can not remember seeing cheap stuff. Well, I do. They are in the "broken equipment" box. The stuff that actually is used are top brands, reliable stuff. Last place I worked on, we talked about an angle grinder that nobody knew where it came from. Turned out it was 20+ years old, and no one who was at the firm when it was bought was still there. It was when Walter, a retiered co-founder, came in we got told how old it was. Still working. No one in the industry ever buy cheap hardware. Or they do it once, then never again. It is to expensive.

At one point, it seems I had a choice AT THE STORE, to buy the 'cheap, the midgrade or the Premium' options.. nowadays, a great many of the parts I look for might come in two or three price ranges, but they are the exact SAME item, with different Finishing on them..

It's often a real challenge to find the reliable stuff.. which is why I custom build so many things.. but at some point, you run out of time for that and have to buy some of the crap just to get through the day.

Still using grampa's Bandsaw and many other nice old tools, though.

Juxtaposition. We are in a precarious position and have seen global instability due to ethanol consumption -- but the USDA is still a ethanol cheerleader by predicting low future corn prices and record yields. My land is very, very dry and my region isn't shaded on the drought monitor report.

Chief Economist of USDA:

USDA guru gives triple boost to corn supply hopes

Indeed, he handed a warning to sceptics of a bumper yield, despite the emergence "of some dryness in parts of the Midwest", particularly in "Iowa, bleeding into Illinois" – the two top corn-growing states.

"I caution anyone of making to much of that," Mr Glauber said, noting that USDA analysts were saying that "we should be seeing record yields this year".

The USDA last month raised to a record 166 bushels an acre its forecast for this year's US corn yield, although many analysts have questioned whether a reversal might be on the cards, given Midwest dryness, when the department unveils fresh estimates next week.

Drought Monitor Report Updated 6/5/2012:

According to the Iowa State Climatologist, rapid deterioration of the crops is likely in the next few weeks if substantial rain does not arrive as crop moisture needs greatly increase over the period and subsoil moisture is mostly out of reach of young plants at this stage of

Next to water, oil, and coal, I consider corn to be the most important feedstock in the US. A failure of the corn crop would be a huge problem, as there are few substitutes. Like oil, corn products are in many, many things. It's one reason I consider using corn for transportation fuel as foolhardy.


Video from The Sierra Club:-

Tar Sands Pipelines: the Dirtiest Oil on Earth


You have to understand it makes no difference letting 'people' know, because people no longer influence policy in DC. Only money does that via lobbying, and the politicians need to adhere to corporate lobbyists policy agendas to get campaign donations to run for office. The politicians and corporations have developed a feedback loop that works exclusive of regular people.

We now know the people have no power because money bought the election in Wisconsin via advertising. People evidently have little or no will power against ads, so the more money thrown at an election for a particular politician, the greater their chances of getting elected. An estimated trillion plus dollars will be spent on getting Romney elected. If that works then we have all been sold out to big business.

Perhaps people are at the point of saying they'll vote for any darned candidate if that would only make the ads stop. I can't imagine what the next few months will be like for TV viewers.

Now, now, Earl. You know that corporations are just people. SCOTUS told us that. Just as SCOTUS informed us that money contributions are speech. So, all we have is lots of very misunderstood people, talking to their friends by way of political contribution and advertising.

What is interesting is that SCOTUS has not invalidated all of the bribery laws, using the reasoning (?) above. And, some time during Romney's first term, they will, I am sure.

We were sold out, though, long ago!

No reason to worry. What could possibly go wrong?


I understand and agree with what you say completely. I just put the link up for general interest.
I don't bother getting into arguments with people about P.O., resource limits or the utter Ponzi scheme that the financial world is anymore. I just tell them to watch Dr. Albert Bartlett's video series on YouTube or Martenson's Crash Course...if they get it, they get it. Simple as that.

Anyone else seen this movie too....put a lot of things together for me.

The Secret of Oz (by Mr Bill Still)



The Story of Your Enslavement

Quick synopsis of life at time 6:30

They still need to convince enough of the rubes to vote correctly. Mostly spending the big advertising bucks, and corrupting the media to get your spin out, has worked so far. No guarantees however.

Arctic oil drilling: Greenpeace plans to monitor Shell Oil with submarines

"The notorious environmental group will be keeping a close eye on Shell this summer. Greenpeace plans to launch a "Save the Arctic" tour from Seattle in the coming weeks.

The tour is fronted by the group's signature vessel the Esperanza. The former Russian issued ice class ship is complete with a warm rainbow paint job and a well meaning crew."

Anarcho-primitivists view civilization as

...the logic, institution, and physical apparatus of domestication, control, and domination. They focus primarily on the question of origins. Civilization is seen as the underlying problem or root of oppression, and must therefore be dismantled or destroyed.

Anarcho-primitivists describe the rise of civilization as the shift over the past 10,000 years from an existence within and deeply connected to the web of life, to one psychologically separated from and attempting to control the rest of life. They state that prior to civilization there generally existed ample leisure time, considerable gender equality and social equality, a non-destructive and uncontrolling approach to the natural world, the absence of organized violence, no mediating or formal institutions, and strong health and robustness. Anarcho-primitivists state that civilization inaugurated mass warfare, the subjugation of women, population growth, busy work, concepts of property, entrenched hierarchies, as well as encouraging the spread of diseases. They claim that civilization begins with and relies on an enforced renunciation of instinctual freedom and that it is impossible to reform away such a renunciation.
~ Wikipedia

R U Advocatin', or just sayin' ?

I have to say my response is 'nice work if you can get it..' with the Boss in the background singin' Glory Days .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsEkhy7fGLw

I kind of like what Linda Hunt's character said in SILVERADO..

Stella: "The world is what you make of it. If it doesn't fit, you make alterations."

Paden: "I'll drink to that."

(tho' I don't think she'd include Geo-Engineering in that thought...)

You are what the world makes of you. If you don't fit, the world makes alterations. ;)

Geoengineering... peak government... neck-and-neck...

NutraSweet and nuclear waste...

If government's a machine that runs on oil-- a big bad nasty machine-- it's blood is oil, and it's supply starts being slowly turned off, what do you think it will it do?
Writhe, twist, kick and struggle to survive no matter what? If so, how?

According to him, the dystopia of the Wachowski Brothers' Matrix trilogy is already here: the technological-industrial 'machine' is already running the world, a world where individual humans are but insignificant little cogs with barely any autonomy. No single human being - neither the most powerful politician, nor the most powerful businessman - has the power to rein in the system. They necessarily have to follow the inexorable logic of what has been unleashed.
~ G Sampath on John Zerzan

...for more than a century and a half now, our own civilization has been pursuing a misguided image of what an advanced technology looks like. Since the late 19th century, when early science fiction writers such as Jules Verne began to popularize the concept, 'advanced technology' and 'extravagant use of energy' have been for all practical purposes synonyms, and today Star Trek fantasies tend to dominate any discussion of what a mature technological society might resemble. If access to concentrated energy sources inevitably peaks and declines in the course of a technological society's history, though, a truly mature technology may turn out to be something very different from our current expectations.
~ John Michael Greer

Springsteen sings from the music industry. Gorey days.


Saw this over at the Energy Bulletin in a shale gas roundup...

Lawmakers air frustration over federal attention to shale

Cornell University biogeochemist Robert Howarth, known especially for his work on methane emissions from shale oil and gas operations, countered the industry's common observation that hydraulic fracturing has been done for decades and there's no reason to direct greater regulatory effort toward it now, especially not from the federal government.

What is not decades old, he pointed out, as many have, is the combination of directional drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing that uses millions of gallons of water per well.

"As a result, the science, our understanding of the consequences, is very, very new," he said.

Half of all shale gas that has ever been developed was produced in the last three years, he said in support of that.

And almost all of the peer-reviewed literature on the topic has been published in the last year, he added — the first paper dating to 14 months ago.

From his 35-year career working with regulators, he said, he believes most state regulators lack the technical expertise to deal with the complex issues involved in shale gas.

Howarth's 2011 estimate that as much as 8 percent of a shale gas well's production escapes as fugitive emissions through its lifetime has been criticized as unrealistically high. But he told the Oversight Committee members that an about-to-be-published estimate from Colorado scientists about will show his estimates were conservative.

From a link I noticed when reading the above article...

Gas drilling triggers backyard geysers in Harrison County WV

Authorities in Harrison County say a gas drilling operation in Sardis inadvertently re-pressurized a handful of old wells, creating backyard geysers and minor flooding.

Paul Bump of the Bureau of Emergency Services says it happened Wednesday morning. At least one house was flooded by a 10- to 12-foot geyser.

At others, the water gushed into yards or garages.

No one was injured. The affected homes are on public water, so Bump says there is no danger to anyone, just a nuisance.

The Department of Environmental Protection says Colorado-based Antero Resources was in the early stages of drilling and was using only water when it hit an aquifer. When it pressurized the well, it re-pressurized the old water wells, too.

Can the drilling process cause that kind of pressure? Wouldn't it be the fracking stage that the pressurization would occur? And even if it was at the drilling stage, shouldn't the casing be going in as the drill goes down. Particularly at the level that the aquifer is found?

I kind of think I'd consider a 12 foot geyser in my backyard as a bit more than just a nuisance

Misinformation and elections: Insights from Canada

Does misinformation demobilise the electorate? Measuring the impact of alleged ‘robocalls’ on voter turnout in the 2011 Canadian federal election.

The 2011 Canadian Federal Election saw the Conservative Party form a majority government for the first time in 18 years. But the margin of majority was relatively narrow (seven seats) and the election was soon followed by allegations of improper campaigning. Most of these allegations relate to complaints made by electors that they had been contacted by telephone in the days before the election with false information that their polling station had changed (voters must vote at a particular polling station in Canada). These phone calls appeared to be targeted at voters that previously had informed the Conservative party they would not support them. Because many of the phone calls were automated, this has been popularly referred to as the ‘robocall scandal’.

Main findings

Our results suggest that opposition voters were in fact discouraged from going to the polls. In a representative polling station with a nation-wide average share of 62% non-Conservative voters, we estimate a differential effect on turnout of – 3%; this estimate is significant at the 1% confidence level. That is, our point estimate indicates that robocalls reduced turnout of opposition voters by an average of 3% in the affected districts, or 2,700 votes.

Mississippian Lime oil formation in OK and KS...


More and more harder-to-get and more expensive oil resources are being discovered...between the new resources and the higher cost which can work to hold down demand growth, does this portend an extended oil supply plateau, bolstered of course with 'All Liquids' non C+C contributions?

Any takers on an 'All Liquids' plateau through ~ 2025-2030?

No cornocopian celebration from this guy...but perhaps we have a very small window of time to plan for the day we start rolling off the backside of the plateau...or maybe not...by 2030 I will be 65 if I am around that long...my kids will be 38/40 at that time...

Party on, Texas!:

85MPH speed limit...they should post 88MPH for laughs...