Drumbeat: June 13, 2012

IEA calls for $36 trillion more in clean energy investments

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The International Energy Agency said the world's clean energy investments are sorely lacking and this week called for an additional $36 trillion of funding by 2050.

In a sharply-worded introduction to a 700-page report, IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said governments and private industry need to do far more if the world is to hold global warming to what most scientists say is an acceptable level.

"Our ongoing failure to realize the full potential of clean energy technology is alarming," said van der Hoeven. "Under current policies, both energy demand and emissions are likely to double by 2050."

Conoco CEO Sees North America Energy Self-Reliant In 2025

North America is expected to become self-sufficient in energy by 2025 ConocoPhillips (COP) Chief Executive Ryan Lance said Wednesday.

Oil Falls in New York as IEA Says Global Supplies Have Improved

Crude oil declined in New York as the International Energy Agency said global markets are better supplied than earlier this year.

Futures slid as much as 0.8 percent. The Paris-based IEA said in a monthly report today that global supplies increased by 200,000 barrels to 91.1 million barrels a day in May. U.S. crude inventories, which rose to the highest since 1990 at the end of May, may drop this week, according to a Bloomberg News survey before a government report today.

IEA says oil prices firm despite "accelerated slump" in markets

PARIS (KUNA) -- The International Energy Agency (IEA) said Wednesday that the slump in oil markets accentuated in May, but that prices remain firm due to economic concerns and prospects of diminishing demand.

The Agency forecast that demand growth for crude oil in 2012 would rise by about 820,000 barrels to reach 89.9 million barrels per day (mb/d), slightly lower than forecasts of 90 mb/d a month ago in the previous IEA report.

The lower projections take into account "mounting concern over a slowdown in Chinese growth and rising oil supplies." The ongoing Euro crises and fears of negative consequences on growth also weighed on the market and calculations for future trends.

Oil, gasoline prices to fall more than forecast

The average price of domestic oil and gasoline will be less than previously forecast through the remainder of 2012 because of weak demand and increased world supplies, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said today.

Weak oil, food prices dampen U.S. imported inflation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. import prices recorded their largest decline in nearly two years in May as energy and food costs fell, pointing to muted inflation pressures amid slowing global demand.

The Labor Department said on Tuesday import prices fell 1.0 percent, the biggest drop since June 2010, after being flat in April. In the 12 months to May, import prices fell 0.3 percent, posting their first year-on-year decline since October 2009, also reflecting a stronger dollar.

The data was the latest sign that falling energy prices were keeping inflation pressures well contained and offered evidence of weakening global demand as the debt crisis in Europe worsens.

May producer prices fall sharply, energy plunges

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Producer prices fell sharply in May as energy costs dropped the most in over three years, a sign of easing inflation pressures that could give the Federal Reserve more room to help the economy should growth weaken.

The Labor Department said on Wednesday its seasonally adjusted producer price index dropped 1.0 percent last month.

The drop was mostly due to a 4.3 percent decline in energy prices, the biggest drop since March 2009. Europe's debt crisis is threatening global economic growth, pushing oil prices lower.

US retail sales dropped 0.2 percent in May

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. retail sales declined in April and May, pulled down by a sharp drop in gas prices. But even after excluding volatile gas sales, consumers increased their spending only modestly.

The Tricky Calculus of Oil Price Differentials

One of oil’s most important characteristics is its fungibility, which means that a barrel of refined oil from Texas is equivalent to one from Saudi Arabia or Nigeria or anywhere else in the world. The global oil machine is built upon this premise – tankers take oil wherever it is needed, and one country pays almost the same as the next for this valuable commodity.

U.S. Energy Output Jumps as China Spurs Global Demand, BP Says

The world’s two largest economies followed opposite paths on energy last year as the U.S. boosted oil and gas production while Chinese consumption jumped, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

Shale production made the U.S. the world’s largest gas producer and the country’s oil output climbed more than any nation outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in 2011, BP said today in its annual survey. China accounted for 71 percent of global demand growth.

The U.S. experience “shows how an open and competitive environment drives technological innovation and unlocks resources,” BP Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said in a statement. “The message for policy makers is to follow this model and to encourage competition wherever possible.”

Opec sees calm in the oil markets

Opec predicts an improving supply and demand picture for the rest of the year in a report released one day after its most prominent member suggested further raising the organisations voluntary production ceiling.

Saudi under OPEC pressure to prevent oil price collapse

VIENNA (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia came under pressure on Wednesday from fellow OPEC producers to cut oil output to prevent a further slide in crude prices.

Price hawks in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are fretting that slowing economic growth will send crude, already off $30 since March, plummeting further.

Nigeria sees too much oil in the market

VIENNA (Reuters) - Nigeria Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke said on Tuesday that she thought there was too much oil supply on the market.

Algeria says OPEC faces risk from oil price slide

ALGIERS (Reuters) - The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will face a real risk because of a slide in crude oil prices caused by the group exceeding its production ceiling, Algerian Energy and Mines Minister Youcef Yousfi was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

‘Oil below $100 very painful for Libya’

“I am afraid of this fall, anything below $100 is very painful for Libya,” he told Reuters at an OPEC-organised oil industry conference ahead of the cartel's Thursday meeting.

Why Saudi Arabia wants to bathe the world in affordable oil

Thursday’s Opec meeting is expected to be a cracker. Supply is relatively abundant right now, but Saudi Arabia wants the quota raised. Iran, Venezuela, and a bunch of other Opec members fearful for their export receipts definitely do not want that.

No Rally For Natural Gas - Come Back Next Winter

Even if there will be another rally in natural gas prices in the weeks to follow, assuming the warmer than normal weather will continue and will also induce an increase in consumption of natural gas, I still think the natural gas market will remain loose and an increase in demand could be sustains with the high productions and imports. As long as the storage levels will remain much higher than in recent years, natural gas prices are likely to remain low.

Iran's oil exports plummet as sanctions bite, agency says

LONDON (Reuters) - Iran's oil exports have fallen by an estimated 40 percent since the start of the year as Western sanctions tear into the country's vital oil industry, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

The agency, which represents the interests of major consuming nations, said preliminary indications suggested exports - the lifeblood of Iran's economy - fell to 1.5 million barrels per day in April-May from 2.5 million at end 2011.

Oil embargo to cause 'unstable' market: Iranian minister

VIENNA: A looming oil embargo on Iran, related to its controversial nuclear programme, will destabilise the global oil market and spark higher prices, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi warned Wednesday in Vienna.

"Unfortunately the issue of imposing sanctions... is being considered by Europe," Qasemi said on the eve of a meeting of the OPEC cartel to discuss oil output levels.

"This politically-motivated approach will damage the stability of both the oil market and the world economy," he added.

China Trying To Cut Iranian Oil Imports -CNPC Executive

Speaking to reporters on the side of a seminar of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Wang Dongjin, a CNPC vice president, said it remained unclear, however, how China could reduce its imports from the Islamic Republic.

"We will see at a later date state," he said, what do with "some contracts signed before sanctions on Iran."

‘Sinopec turns down cut-price Iran crude’

Chinese refiner Sinopec has turned down offers of bargain Iranian crude and will cut imports by up to a fifth this year, a senior Chinese oil executive said, insisting ties with the United States were more important than cut-price oil as the West squeezes Tehran over its nuclear programme.

Insurance to stop India shippers handling Iran oil in July

Indian state-owned refiners will halt planned oil imports of 173,000 barrels per day from Iran when European sanctions take effect in July, unless the government permits them to use insurance and freight arranged by Tehran, industry sources said, Reuters reported.

India is the world's fourth-largest oil importer and second biggest customer of the OPEC member nation, but domestic shippers have refused to transport the oil because of a lack of cover, the sources said.

India’s crude oil import bill jumps 40% to $140 bn in FY12

New Delhi: India’s oil import bill leaped 40 per cent to a record $140 billion in 2011-12 as high oil prices shaved off much of the nation’s GDP growth rate, Oil Minister Mr S Jaipal Reddy said today.

Speaking at the 5th OPEC International Seminar in Vienna, Mr Reddy said it was “estimated that a sustained $10 increase in oil prices lead to a 1.5 per cent reduction in the GDP of developing countries“.

Venezuela’s Chavez Plans to Double Oil-Output Capacity by 2019

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will more than double the country’s oil-production capacity to 6 million barrels a day by 2019 if re-elected on Oct. 7, according to a government plan released today on his website.

Chavez wants to increase domestic refining capacity to 1.8 million barrels a day from 1.3 million barrels a day in 2013, according to the plan. No details on funding were given in the plan, which stated that the nation would “intensify efforts to obtain the financing needed.”

Bad Policy And Planning Is Keeping Brazil From Becoming A Oil Superpower

These factors are driving up Brazil's regional operating costs for oil producers and service companies alike. As a result, some service companies are exiting Brazil seeking greener pastures elsewhere, and Petrobras performance has been negatively impacted as well.

The issues discussed herein are long-term in nature and unlikely to be resolved any time soon even with some fast and furious government actions.

Shell oil exploration off Guiana stalled -Le Monde

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government has put on hold plans by Royal Dutch Shell to drill for oil in four exploratory sites off the coast of French Guiana while it carries out a review of how permits are awarded, Le Monde newspaper said on Wednesday.

Russia gas tax to rise less than thought-Deputy PM

GAZOPROVOD, Russia - Russia's government, in the process of revising planned tax rises for the gas industry, may reduce the planned rate increase on independent producers such as Novatek , Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told reporters on Wednesday.

Turkey, Saudi discuss long-term oil purchase

ISTANBUL--Turkey has started talks with Saudi Arabia about long-term oil purchases, Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Tuesday, appearing to mark Ankara's latest move to reduce its reliance on Iranian oil as regional tensions have seen the neighbors' policies diverge.

"We have started spot purchases from Saudi Arabia, and also started negotiations on long-term agreements (for oil purchases)," Yildiz told reporters in Ankara, while analysts commented that Turkey was taking steps to reduce oil purchases from Iran specifically, in line with the U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Why We Need Expensive Oil

To some it can seem a joke, but the new definition of "expensive oil" is about $75 a barrel. Even worse fol oil producers, $75 a barrel is rapidly becoming the base price for financially feasible oil production development strategies. Above all, the old paradigm of extreme high oil prices is long dead.

Sad news for peak oil disciples

Whenever oil prices surpass US$100 per barrel, a certain group of well-known economists and investment banks re-emerge to tout their dire warnings that oil will soon top US$200 or more because of peaking oil supplies. Several bestselling books have been written warning that the world’s supply of oil has peaked and we had better prepare for the day of reckoning when there will be global shortfall of crude.

I must admit the data, especially given the rapid growth in demand from emerging countries, seemed very compelling five or six years ago. So much so that even the contrarian in me capitulated and I was an active participant among those predicting a global shortage of energy.

Times certainly have changed and so have I. Very few observers, if any, were able to predict the enormous impact new technologies such as horizontal multi-stage fracking would have on unlocking supplies of oil and gas once thought unrecoverable. There seems to be no shortage of news these days about the vast amounts of unconventional oil and gas being discovered in North America, Russia, China and several other countries.

A peak oil follower despairs of his movement's future

When OPEC officials meeting in Vienna are talking about "tremendous" surpluses of oil in the world, and US crude production has risen above 6 million b/d, it's tough to be a disciple to the peak oil school of the future.

Ask Luis de Sousa. This Portugese member of the the Association for the Study of Peak Oil has just returned from the recent ASPO meeting in Vienna, and he is not optimistic that the movement has a great deal of energy left in it.

North Dakota Landowners Fight State Over Oil Rights

North Dakota Landowners Fight State Over Oil Rights North Dakota landowners claiming the state is usurping their subterranean oil and mineral rights and costing them millions of dollars are asking a state court judge to let them proceed with a lawsuit.

Institute’s Gas Drilling Report Leads to Claims of Bias and Concern for a University’s Image

A report from a new institute at the State University at Buffalo asserting that state oversight has made natural gas drilling safer is causing tumult on campus and beyond, with critics arguing that the institute is biased toward industry and could undercut the university’s reputation.

The study, issued on May 15, said that state regulation in Pennsylvania had made drilling there far safer and that New York rules were even more likely to ensure safety once drilling gets under way in the state.

But a government watchdog group quickly raised questions about the study’s data and the authors’ ties to the oil and gas industry. And a newly formed group of professors and students is calling for a broader inquiry into the genesis of the institute, which issued the report only weeks after its creation was announced in April.

Coal producers find themselves in a hard place

NEW YORK — America is shoveling coal to the sidelines.

The fuel that powered the U.S. from the industrial revolution into the iPhone era is being pushed aside as utilities switch to cleaner and cheaper alternatives.

The share of U.S. electricity that comes from coal is forecast to fall below 40 percent for the year — the lowest level since the government began collecting this data in 1949. Four years ago, it was 50 percent. By the end of this decade, it is likely to be near 30 percent.

"The peak has passed," says Jone-Lin Wang, head of Global Power for the energy research firm IHS CERA.

California to stop buying electricity from Nevada coal-burning power plant

The state Department of Water Resources will stop buying electricity from a coal-burning power plant in Nevada next year as part of a plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Falling Coal Use in U.S. Fails to Stem Global Growth: BP

Falling coal consumption in the U.S. last year failed to stem the pace of growth in the fuel’s use globally, which was driven by China, Australia, Ukraine and South Korea, according to BP Plc.

Coal represented 30 percent of global energy consumption, the highest since 1969, the oil producer said today in its annual Statistical Review of World Energy.

Incentives for Drivers Who Avoid Traffic Jams

PALO ALTO, Calif. — London, Singapore, Stockholm and a few other cities around the world battle heavy traffic with a “congestion charge,” a stiff fee for driving in crowded areas at peak hours. But drivers generally hate the idea, and efforts to impose it in this country have failed.

Balaji Prabhakar, a professor of computer science at Stanford University, thinks he has a better way.

A few years ago, trapped in an unending traffic jam in Bangalore, India, he reflected that there was more than one way to get drivers to change their behavior. Congestion charges are sticks; why not try a carrot?

Bike commuting in D.C.: From the suburbs, it’s not so easy

It is Friday evening and the city is nearly empty. So too is the Farragut North Metro station, where I have mistakenly entered on L Street. It’s about 6:15 and I know I can’t put my bike on the train until 7 p.m. But I’m trying to catch a 7:15 bus at Friendship Heights. Surely the station attendant will show me some mercy.

Not a chance. Faster than you can say “single-tracking,” she is out of her booth to make sure I don’t enter, hand me a pamphlet that contains the rules and send me to the K Street side. About 6:50 I approach the attendant there and ask for a little leeway to catch a 6:55 train, so I can make my bus. I point out that the purpose of the rule is to keep bikes off crowded trains. Tonight, clearly, most cars are nearly empty.

No way. “The policy is the policy,” she says.

Ethanol's Long Joyride Runs Out of Gas

(Newser) – After 15 years of growth, ethanol production will fall this year and be flat next year, shocking an industry that has only known boom times for many years, reports the Wall Street Journal. Driven by government mandates, production of the corn-based fuel additive tripled from 2005 to 2011, reaching nearly 14 million gallons last year (about 40% of US corn production) and pushing up corn prices in the process. But with gas demand 6.7% below its 2007 peak and ethanol use at its government-required limits, US capacity is outstripping demand.

U.S. Renewables Use Rose Faster Than China in 2011: BP

The U.S. increased its use of renewable energy other than nuclear and hydroelectric by more than China last year, BP Plc said.

U.S. consumption rose by 6.4 million tons of oil equivalent while use in China jumped by 5.8 million tons, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2012 report.

U.S. Solar Grew 85 Percent in First Quarter, SEIA Says

Developers installed 85 percent more solar panels in the U.S. in the first quarter than a year earlier, led by strong growth in commercial projects and demand in New Jersey, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Total U.S. installations were 506 megawatts in the quarter and may reach 3,300 megawatts this year, about 11 percent of the 2012 global market, the Washington-based trade group said today in its quarterly market report.

Fukushima Watch: Applying the Lessons of Fukushima By the Numbers

In Kansai Electric Power Co.’s final report on two soon-to-be-restarted reactors at its Oi nuclear plant in western Japan, the utility assured the government and the public that the pair could withstand a disaster like the one that crippled Fukushima Daiichi last year. Specifically, Oi’s No. 3 and 4 reactors could survive a tsunami of up to 11.4 meters, Kansai Electric said.

That figure gave JRT pause. After all, the waves that swamped the Fukushima Daiichi plant measured 15 meters. JRT investigated, and found that Japan’s regulators applied the lessons of Fukushima — very literally. Here’s what we found:

Tepco’s Loan Said to Have ‘Strict’ Profit and Assets Covenants

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)’s new loan that is part of the nation’s largest bailout in more than a decade will come with “strict” covenants triggering repayment, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Banks offering the loan to Tepco, as the utility is known, can ask for repayment in full if its profit or net assets fall 25 percent below targets stipulated in the company’s business plan for two consecutive quarters, the people said. The conditions will apply to a 370 billion yen ($4.6 billion) portion of Tepco’s 1 trillion yen loan, they said.

20,000 tonnes of uranium found in Jordan

A joint venture between Jordan Energy Resources Incorporated and French nuclear giant Areva said on Tuesday it has discovered more than 20,000 tonnes of uranium in the Middle East kingdom.

The Jordanian French Uranium Mining Company said 12,300 tonnes of uranium had been found in central Jordan last year, and now "the overall uranium potential on the licensed 70 square-kilometre (27 square miles) area exceeds 20,000."

"These potential resources are considered strategic for Jordan since they should enh

Water grab in Kansas oil boom

HARPER COUNTY, Kan. (CNNMoney) -- In the farm country of southern Kansas, water is a precious commodity. And not just for farming -- for fracking.

In hydraulic fracturing, water is injected into the ground at a high pressure to help crack shale rock and bring oil to the surface. The industry says it takes as much as 2 million gallons of water to drill a single horizontal well in Kansas.

Most drillers use groundwater or surface water from ponds and rivers. But first they must receive permission from whoever has rights to it and get a permit. Water permits have soared to the highest level in 30 years.

At the same time, many of the Kansas oil boomtown counties are already under "drought watch," and last month was the second driest May on record.

How To Make U.S. Agriculture Even Stronger

The lion’s share of our exports—about $50 billion worth last year—were basic staples: soybeans, corn, wheat, and cotton. The big destinations for American farm goods are our neighbors in Canada and Mexico, plus the hungry mouths of land-scarce Asia—China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. And rising living standards in the Pacific Rim promise even more agricultural bounty ahead. As people get richer, they start to want to eat more meat. America exports meat ($12.5 million worth of pork, beef, and chicken in 2011), but, more to the point, our staple grains feed animals. A cow is essentially a low-efficiency, high-status method of transforming grain into food for humans, so steady growth in world demand for meat implies enormous growth in demand for feed crops.

But to fully take advantage of these trends, America needs to increase its overall agricultural output, not just our total factor productivity. That means getting more inputs.

Fight over genetically engineered crops on Calif. ballot

A high-stakes food fight in California is getting more heated. A proposal to require labeling of foods with genetically engineered ingredients has qualified to appear on the state ballot Nov. 6.

I Think, Therefore I Yam

When farmland is scarce, will we all eat roots and tubers?

The future of ‘famine foods,’ unconventional edibles in the garden

They’re called poor people’s foods. Plants foraged by starving folk and scavenged when crops succumb to drought: They’re what you eat just to get by. Many are unusually rich in nutrients, have medicinal value and may even taste good. But because they’re free for the taking they get little respect.

The Butcher Next Door

Why the rise of DIY urban animal slaughter is bad for people and animals.

N. Koreans suffer chronic food shortages: UN

"All it takes is a winter that's been slightly too long, not quite enough rain at critical moments, or a flood later on during the rainy season for the agriculture to really be severely affected."

Reclusive North Korea suffers chronic food shortages, but the situation is frequently exacerbated by floods, droughts and mismanagement.

Beware the D.C. garden thief, still at large

The garden thief has been hitting Glover Park for about four years and may be the same miscreant who has plundered community gardens, private gardens and even commercial plantings for the past 10 years. So far two police departments have been unable to stop him, though they are trying.

W.H.O. Declares Diesel Fumes Cause Lung Cancer

A study showed that nonsmoking miners who were heavily exposed to diesel fumes had seven times the normal lung cancer risk of nonsmokers.

Dam Removal to Help Restore Spawning Grounds

The long-delayed start of the dam-removal project is expected to end years of rancor and uncertainty. Plans to dismantle the dams began in 1999, when PPL Corporation, a power company, bought a series of Penobscot River dams from Bangor Hydro Electric Company. Wanting to avoid the conflicts that had accompanied dam-licensing efforts on the river, PPL began negotiating with the Penobscot Indian Nation and several conservation groups. They agreed on a deal that allowed PPL to sell several dams for removal or decommissioning, while increasing power generation at six other dams to offset the power losses.

Evangelicals and Climate Change: What Does the Future Hold? (Pt. 1)

When it comes to the issue of global warming, the label conservative and liberal won't necessarily help you determine if an evangelical Christian is a proponent or skeptic. Why? Because even within the inner core of conservative evangelical circles people are divided over the issue, with both sides asserting that science is clearly on their side. Take The Christian Post, for example: Dr. Richard Land, CP's executive editor, is among those who are skeptical that humans tip the scales toward global warming, while Dr. Joel C. Hunter, CP's senior editorial adviser, believes controlling human behavior may be in order.

Mitt Romney worked to combat climate change as governor

WASHINGTON — During his first 18 months as governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney spent considerable time hammering out a sweeping climate change plan to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions.

As staff briefed him on possible measures and environmentalists pressed him to act, Romney frequently repeated a central thought, people at those meetings said: That climate change is occurring, that the United States has the resources to handle its vast impact but that low-lying poor countries like Bangladesh would suffer greatly.

Hotel industry unites on carbon footprint measure

As more companies pay attention to the carbon footprint their employees' travel leaves behind, a diverse group of hotel operators has announced a timely collaboration.

Hilton, Marriott and MGM Resorts and 20 other companies have agreed to adopt a uniform way to calculate their hotels' carbon footprint, the World Travel & Tourism Council announced today.

Oil sands must do ‘heavy lifting’ to meet climate goals, Ottawa told

Canada is facing a yawning shortfall in its commitment to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, and both Ottawa and the provinces will have to embrace far more aggressive measures to meet their targets, the federally-appointed National Roundtable on the Economy and Environment says in a new report.

N.C. Senate approves law that challenges sea-level science

RALEIGH - With hardly any debate, the state Senate on Tuesday nixed global warming restrictions on the state’s coast.

Lawmakers passed a bill that restricts local planning agencies’ abilities to use climate change science to predict sea-level rise in 20 coastal counties. The bill’s supporters said that relying on climate change forecasts would stifle economic development and depress property values in eastern North Carolina.

The Fastest-Warming US State Is

Some U.S. states are feeling the heat of climate change more than others, finds a new analysis of temperature increases over the past 100 years.

The state that saw the highest temperature increase was Rhode Island, followed by Massachusetts, New Jersey, Arizona and Maine.

The OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report came out yesterday with the production numbers for May. (Page 45 of the PDF) OPEC, in previous years has never reported what they themselves produced. They always posted production numbers and stated they were "According to Secondary Sources". However three months ago they started reporting both data from their Secondary Sources and just below that data they say are from "direct communication". In other words they get data from Platts or perhaps an average of the numbers from other sources, then they poll the OPEC producers themselves and asked them how much they produced last month.

The numbers for some countries are very similar but for they are quite different. For instance Venezuela has for years claimed they are producing almost half a million barrels per day more than OPEC's Secondary Sources say they actually produced.

OPEC production according to Secondary Sources crude only in thousand barrels per day

	 2010	 2011  Change 10 to 11	April	May    Change from April to May
Algeria	1,250	1,240	   -10		1,217	1,197	-20
Angola	1,783	1,664	  -119		1,769	1,730	-39
Ecuador	  475	  490	    15		  489	  499	 10
Iran	3,706	3,621	   -85		3,210	3,138	-72
Iraq	2,401	2,666	   265		2,994	2,952	-42
Kuwait	2,297	2,538	   241		2,789	2,858	 69
Libya	1,559	  462	-1,097		1,394	1,452	 58
Nigeria	2,061	2,111	    50		2,175	2,126	-49
Qatar	  791	  794	     3		  778	  757	-21
Saudi	8,271	9,268	   997		9,877	9,917	 40
UAE	2,304	2,517	   213		2,587	2,578	 -9
Venez	2,338	2,380	    42		2,362	2,378	 16
Total  29,236  29,751	   515	       31,640  31,582	-58

OPEC production according to Direct Communication crude only in thousand barrels per day

	 2010	 2011  Change 10 to 11	April	May    Change April to May
Algeria	1,184	1,173	   -11		1,220	1,206	-14
Angola	1,691	1,618	   -73		1,769	1,762	 -7
Ecuador	  475	  500	    25		  500	  498	 -2
Iran	3,544	3,576	    32		3,758	3,760	  2
Iraq	2,358	2,653	   295		2,942	2,915	-27
Kuwait	2,312	2,660	   348		3,007	3,000	 -7
Libya	1,487	  462	-1,025		1,504	1,552	 48
Nigeria	1,968	1,896	   -72		1,882  *1,834	-48
Qatar	  733	  734	     1		  733	  732	 -1
Saudi	8,166	9,311	 1,145	       10,102	9,807  -295
UAE	2,324	2,565	   241		2,716	2,383  -333
Venez	2,779	2,795	    16		2,831	2,826	 -5
Total  29,020  29,942	   922	       32,964  32,275  -689

*Nigeria did not report for May so I estimated their data based on the 48.5 kb/d drop that the Secondary Sources reported.

Noticed that Secondary Sources says Iran is down, in May, about half a million barrels per day from their average of 2010 and 2011. However Iran says their production is up about 200 kb/d from their 2010 and 2011 production.

But the main thing I wanted to point out is what Saudi Arabia and the UAE reported in May. OPEC's Secondary Sources says Saudi was up 40 kb/d from April to May but Saudi themselves reported they were down 295 kb/d. And OPEC's Secondary Sources says the UAW was down 9 kb/d April to May but the UAE themselves say they were down a whopping 333 kb/d in May.

Ron P.

Truth is where you find it.

Thanks for the info Darwin.

We really need a global market survey and supply forecast update
Calling Kebab?

Schools out - you must have some free time (unless you are out with the protesters banging pots)

Oil Settles Lower Ahead of OPEC Meeting

OPEC's output decisions are influential in setting global oil and fuel prices. The group produces around a third of the world's oil supply and holds more than 80% of global proven oil reserves.

I find this very strange. OPEC says they have 80 percent of the world's proven reserves and everyone believes them. OPEC says they reduced production by almost 700,000 barrels per day and no one seems to believe them. Not a ripple in the mainstream media about that dramatic one month decline. Everyone believes the word of others about OPEC production rather than "Direct Communication" with OPEC about their production. Why is their word taken as truth in one instance and as a blatant lie in another case?

Ron P.

The answer is rather simple Darwinian, believing that OPEC has 80% of the worlds reserve numbers (however outlandish this maybe) reinforces the inner belief that our sources of oil are still abundant. On the other hand if we are to believe that output has declined by 700kbd this fact will challenge the existing belief. Confronting such a truth can be distressing to many people, more so to people who are heavily invested in the system. In the end though people want hope and are not inclined to listen to difficult and distressing truths.

So instead of believing this source of information it is rejected so as to maintain their current viewpoint. When people have lived through cognitive dissonance for long enough attempting to break this line of thinking becomes a very difficult task. It is far easier to close your eyes and maintain the illusion all is well. Michael Greer addresses this very point in his latest post:

The Archdruid Report - The Parting of the Ways

In any case I believe most people have a sinking feel in their gut telling them that "something" is terribly wrong and they are staring from the top of the cliff. Problem is they do not really know how big the cliff really is as the picture down below is distorted as it is covered in smoke. The thought of falling down this abyss without knowing the true depth is truly frightening so we make up stories that somehow our eyes are deceiving us or technology will transport as away from this mess at the nick of time.

Hey, I read that article by John Michael Greer earlier this morning and posted a rather lengthily post on it, below on Drumbeat, just a while ago. It is a fantastic article, one of Greer's best.

Ron P.

What do you think of Greer's prediction that our demise will not be a catastrophic collapse, but rather a gradual grinding downwards? I think that's quite a simplistic view, not taking into account exponentially decreasing energy returns, financial collapses leading to rapid losses in social confidence and order (which are essential for keeping a "faith based" system moving forward), and ecological collapses which are typically anything but orderly and gradual. I kind of lost interest in his postings after he started mocking catastrophic collapse scenario proponents earlier this year. But I think he does provide great insight into our collective social malfunctioning and behavioral quirks. But on the technological, economic and ecological fronts, I find him a bit lacking.

I think he is right up to a point. We did have the first leg down in 2008 and are now beginning the second leg down. But I think the last leg will be the catastrophic collapse neither he or hardly anyone else is counting on. It will be sudden and dramatic. But by that time a lot more people will have seen it coming, though that will still be a tiny minority of the total population.

But make no mistake, the end result will be catastrophic. Energy and Human Evolution

Operative mechanisms in the collapse of the human population will be starvation, social strife, and disease. These major disasters were recognized long before Malthus and have been represented in western culture as horsemen of the apocalypse. They are all consequences of scarce resources and dense population.

Ron P.


I couldn't agree more that it will be a catastrophic collapse. To me, given societal complexity and all the feedback loops, expecting a slow stair-step decline makes no sense. I've posted about society being blindsided many times yet it still amazes me how people cling to their beliefs.

Even if people don't want to become actual preppers, they should at least begin to prepare psychologically.


I've posted about society being blindsided many times yet it still amazes me how people cling to their beliefs.

I don't understand why you are amazed - all the postings you post will not change beliefs. The only thing that will change beliefs is collapse itself. And it is coming - it is baked in the cake. Like Greer however - I tend to use history as a guide. Historical collapses have taken centuries.

The only thing that might this one different is that for the first time it will be global. So maybe centuries will become decades. Who knows? - I don't.

And here is where I think you guys are dead wrong. And if you think about it, it should be obvious why it will not take centuries, or even decades this time. In Roman times, or in the case of the Mayans, they lived in a different world, a slow paced world that in no way resembles the world we live in today.

How long did it take the economy to collapse in 1929? Such an event could not possibly have happened to the Romans or the Mayans. Somalia had problems all through the 1980s but things started to collapse around 1990 and by the end of that year Somalia was in the final stages of collapse. It took only a couple of years for things to go completely to hell.

No, we are seeing the start of collapse right now. We can start counting from 2008 and it will likely take less than one decade to complete, one and a half decades at the most.

Ron P.

You might consider this comment on Ugo Bardi's take on the collapse of the roman empire. It's a quite convincing view about why the collapse of the Roman Empire might have been more sudden than we currently assume.


I take these Roman collapse arguments with a very large pinch of salt. Especially graphs deduced from statistical analysis of archaeological data. I do not dismiss Tainter's arguments out of hand but the validity of the supposed Hubbert like graphs and "what not" are often premised on some pretty loose analysis of what is in hindsight badly collated data.


The archaeological evidence of Roman London (londinium) is a case in point. The current model is that Londinium expanded in size to a peak population in the early 2nd cent then declined. This of course fits this peak empire model we see here. The evidence for this population profile is myriad but mainly taken from pottery data. The economic and cultural artifact assemblage mostly represented by pottery in London shows a distinct concentration in the early part of the city's life with a peak circa 120AD followed by a dramatic decline with a long tail extending in the late 4th cent.


The Romans changed the way they disposed of roman pottery detritus in the latter roman period and therefore it does not show up in the archaeological record.


Basically the Roman city got big and remained big

from our perspective the worrying thing that all doomers are going to love is the decline was probably VERY rapid and there was in fact large amounts of economic activity prior to collapse..... this is a tentative as we are in the early stages of re-writing the story.

(1) Basically the Roman city got big and remained big...

(2) from our perspective the worrying thing that all doomers are going to love is the decline was probably VERY rapid and there was in fact large amounts of economic activity prior to collapse...

So which is it? Did it remain big, or did it disappear almost in an instant?

Well, according to mididoctors' comment I think he says Rome remained big, and had a rather sudden collapse. So, yes to both your questions, it remained big and disappeared rather 'instantly' (whatever that means, can still have taken decades).

But don't take it as my conviction. I did find it an interesting contrasting view to Greer's catabolic collapse.

As I see it, I think Greer is in essence right. We shouldn't plan on one final cataclystic, sudden collapse that will be the end of it all. The staircase model seems quite convincing really. But I think the steps going down will still be very steep, and very sudden. All can be fine in Europe, until the periphery defaults.. Things could go very bad very quickly then, which probably many will experience as catastrophic collapse.


I don't know the future either. Here's how I look at it: If you are right and collapse takes a long time, you make out like a bandit. In my case, I'll just keep living in the boondocks as I have for 30+ years and my life will go on as it has.

OTOH, if I'm right that collapse will be "soon" and rapid, I'll pretty much just keep living my life in the boondocks. But, in your case you're likely to die.



Actually I don't think I am going to make out like a bandit. Because I think collapse has started and I think it is going to get really bad real soon. And please don't assume I am not preparing. Because I am. Just not in the boondocks.

My point is that things will get bad real soon but that does not mean collapse is then over. I think it will go from bad to worse and it will get worse for decades. It will continue to collapse perhaps for a century or more. And by then there will be a lot fewer inhabitants. I can't even imagine what it will be like then.

But you are right - I will die. Because I am an old man. I am preparing more for my family than me.

I couldn't agree more that it will be a catastrophic collapse.

I disagree that there will be one big quick collapse all over the world and that we should run to the hills. It is unlikely simply because of geographical separation and because a lot of what will collapse first is mostly fantasy based money and luxury goods. Plenty of padded steps to bounce down yet. That and people will constantly try to sew things back together again and it's not like there is actually a lack of "stuff", just a tightening of supplies compared to before.

I can't see it taking a century though before the U.S stops being one country.

"But I think the last leg will be the catastrophic collapse neither he or hardly anyone else is counting on. It will be sudden and dramatic."

Can I tease a timing prediction from you? I assume you mean the final financial collapse that will lay everything bare?

I presume that after the financial collapse we shall see the loss of global order and then increasingly chaotic lurches downwards as the delicate efficiencies we currently rely on break down, with this likely accelerated by resource wars.

Can I tease a timing prediction from you?

You got it, see my reply to Texas Engineer above. But I will reiterate, to compare today's economy and the mechanisms of collapse to Roman times is foolish. Ditto for the Hittite Empire, Mycenaean Greece, The Neo-Assyrian Empire, Indus Valley Civilization, Mauryan and Gupta states, Angkor civilization of the Khmer Empire, Han and Tang Dynasty of China, Anasazi, Izapa, Maya, Munhumutapa Empire, Olmec and anyone else you can think of.

Ron P.

The doomers on this site predicted that it would only be 18 months or so after peak oil. Oil peaked in 2005, or maybe 2008 and yet we are still here. There are some big cracks forming especially in Europe, but so far the economy has been contracting enough to balance supply and demand.

We have seen a big step down followed by a dead cat bounce. A fairly long sequence of stair step drops followed by flat to week recoveries could go on for a pretty long time. Here in the US gasoline usage is falling about 2% per year, about 8% since the peak, at that rate collapse might take 20 to 30 years. Of course, the rate of decline is likely to increase, but it seems like it will take at least 10 years at a minimum if no new energy sources are found.

The doomers on this site predicted that it would only be 18 months or so after peak oil.

I really don't think so. At least I have never read anyone on this site making any such prediction. Anyway one person can in no way represent "the doomers on this site". You write as if we all speak with one voice. Most doomers here say it will take decades, others not so long but no one, to my knowledge has said anything like "within 18 months after peak oil". Hell we won't have any idea when peak oil was until long after 18 months after the peak.

You really should not say such things unless you can give us the actual post where "the doomers of this site" made such a prediction.

You cannot gauge how long the collapse by the rate gasoline usage is falling. And it will be a worldwide collapse, not just one nation. Of course they will not all collapse together but I believe they will all collapse within a few years of each other. But there are a whole lot more things involved in the impending collapse other than just fossil fuel decline.

Ron P.

I didn't mean to imply that a majority here was that pessimistic, but I remember one posting was concerned we would hit a minimum operating level in some key pipelines leading to shortages, the shortages snowball, and cause complete failure of the supply chain. Sorry, no links.

Fossil fuel decline is the most pressing issue, can't think of anything else that might trigger a collapse in the next 20 years, well short of nuclear war.

Severe crop failures could do it, depending on how we define collapse. Even modest shortages would destabilize already weakened political and financial systems. A really bad summer in a couple of key agricultural regions would stress the global trade in grain and prove a major crisis for importers. Distrust and panic would be hard to prevent - even exporting countries would see hoarding. Electronic media would amplify everything.


Global warming is loading the dice.

It is interesting, reading the old comments here. Many of us did indeed think Mad Max was possible, even very probable, following peak oil/$100 oil. And we did have at least one person willing to out on a limb and pick January 2010 as a deadline.

I don't think anyone here realized how difficult the identification of the peak would be. Or that it would be denied and ignored by the MSM the way that the very likely 2005 peak has been.

Right, and few realized, before 2008, the effect that high oil prices would have on the economy and what that, in turn, would do to demand. Many argued, even after 2008, that oil prices would hit $200 and keep climbing. I admitted that I held similar views prior to 2008 but had now learned my lesson.

What I did not anticipate was that so few in the mainstream media would see the connection between high oil prices and the supply of oil, or even the connection between high oil prices and the state of the economy.

Ron P.

I did. I'm on the record saying that peak oil would probably never be acknowledged. People would blame Big Oil/treehuggers/greedy Arabs, etc., and never understand the real reason for energy prices.

And I've always been open-minded about what would happen, from BAU continuing as long as I had to worry about it to Mad Max, with Greer's long decline as the most probable scenario.

But what I didn't expect was such high energy prices with relatively little attention paid to them. OPEC has gone from saying $25 is a fair price to $110 is a fair price. Sure, people gripe about gas prices, but overall, they're far more interested in what was on TV last night than in energy prices.

Maybe it was the shortages after the hurricanes a few years ago, with people filling up their travel mugs with gas and punching each other out at gas stations. That, and Katrina, gave me the idea that peak oil might be very dramatic. But as long as there aren't any outright shortages, people seem willing to accept higher prices. Even much higher prices.

Hi Ron,

Thanks for this post.

re: "In other words they get data from Platts or perhaps an average of the numbers from other sources, then they poll the OPEC producers themselves and asked them how much they produced last month."

1) Do you have an idea of why OPEC made this change?

2) Do you believe the "direct communication" sources of information to be accurate and/or more accurate?

They didn't really make a change, they still post the numbers from "secondary sources" like the always have. They have now added a second set of production numbers from polling the OPEC members themselves.

I believe the "direct communication" numbers to be far less accurate than those from "secondary sources". Any fool could tell you that, because of the embargo and other reasons, Iran's production has been dropping these last few months. The secondary sources say they have dropped by half a million barrels per day. Yet Iran says their production has increased by about 200,000 barrels per day. That is a joke yet Iran tells it with a straight face. I have no idea why Saudi and UAE says their production has dropped that much. Perhaps it has but I really don't think so, not that much anyway.


BP's Statistical Review is out this morning. Curious what people make of it. What caught my attention is:

Oil production up 1.1 mbpd (not too surprising).
Coal production up by 3%, 190 mtoe, whereas renewables are up by 30 mtoe.
Saudi Arabia's production is up 1.2 mbpd to 11.1 mbpd.
Saudi Arabia's exports at 8.3 mbpd, up from 7.2 mbpd.

What I'm guessing, but isn't in the report of course: Saudi Arabia's spare capacity is largely gone.

Here's a missive I sent out yesterday (prior to the BP release):

Difference between production and net exports in 119 words:

A proposed new name for the P/C (Production/Consumption) metric: ECI, or Export Capacity Index.

For example, Saudi Arabia's annual 2011 production (total petroleum liquids) was either the same as, or quite close to, their 2005 annual production rate of 11.1 mbpd, but their ECI, or Export Capacity Index--the ratio of their total petroleum liquids production to their domestic liquids consumption--fell from 5.55 in 2005 to an estimated ECI of 3.60 in 2011.

As a country's ECI approaches 1.0, their net exports approach zero. At the 2005 to (estimated) 2011 rate of decline in the Saudi ECI, Saudi Arabia would approach a 1.0 ECI, and thus zero net oil exports, around the year 2029, in only 17 years.

The 2012 BP data set would put the 2011 ECI value at 3.9, which implies, based on the 2005 to 2011 rate of decline in the ECI ratio, that Saudi Arabia would approach zero net oil exports in about 22 years, around 2034, instead of 17 years, around 2029.

Well, it is just a matter of time before the Saudis reduce oil subsidies and start to allow them to rise to market levels. I guess they need to get some time between the Arab spring and the time they start doing this first.

The Republican Ryan plan for Medicare calls for all retirees to pay for most of their health care insurance in the future. CEPR has calculated that after 2027 a retiring couple would incurr $200,000 in 2011 dollars extra for their medical costs in retirement. What do you think the price of oil will be around that time? What about the cost of living?
CEPR concludes that for Ryan to save $5 trillion over 75 years for the Government, he will cost retirees $30 trillion more in costs over 75 years. Something for people under age 53 to think about or retirees who have children under 53.

"""The Republican Ryan plan for Medicare calls for all retirees to pay for most of their health care insurance in the future. """


This Bloomberg article seems to take a positive tone, but even in this article the author(s) caution about the potential for seniors to pay significantly (too much)more:


The danger is that Ryan may be cutting costs too steeply, forcing Americans to choose from a stingier menu of options while shouldering ever-higher out-of-pocket costs. He may also be relying too heavily on seniors’ ability to make smart decisions about their insurance -- often when they are frail or seriously ill.

To avoid these pitfalls, Ryan should clarify that insurers wouldn’t be able to charge any Medicare patient excessively high premiums. One way to do that would be to require insurers to charge the same premiums for all enrollees of the same age. To keep private insurers from cherry-picking the healthiest seniors, plans must be “risk-adjusted,” insurer-speak for customizing government subsidies for the average beneficiary’s health status. Finally, participating plans must be required to offer benefits at least as comprehensive as traditional Medicare.

How is the Ryan Plan superior to the Canadian Health Care System?

The American health care system is much more expensive than that of other industrialized countries and doesn't provided a better bang for the buck!


Health Spending vs. Results

The United States spends much more on health care than countries with similar kinds of economies. So costs are sure to be examined closely as federal officials shape regulations under the new health care law. Americans have abundant access to high-tech diagnostic tools like CT and M.R.I. scanners, and to life-saving surgical procedures like angioplasties.

Yet Americans don’t see doctors more often or live longer, healthier lives, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. And Americans’ cancer survival rates are not markedly better. In fact, the population of the United States has about the same prevalence of disease as that of other developed countries.

So where does the money go?

Doctor visits, medical procedures and prescription drugs cost vastly more, on average, in the United States than in other countries. The United States also spends more money on health care administration, according to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute.

“We have known for a long time that health care is a market failure,” said Colleen M. Grogan, a professor of health administration and policy at the University of Chicago. “We have a system where there is an enormous incentive to charge higher prices, and no accountability to control those prices.”


The article has some very good comparative charts!

US health care is too expensive, and too many people fall through the cracks. US health care is also the best in the world. That is, for those who get sick or hurt the outcomes are on average the best in the world. For someone who gets cancer or the like, once they *have* the illness their best chance of survival lies with the US medical system, period. These charts about life expectancy are dependent on numerous factors having nothing to do with health care. If one gets breast cancer, you do not want to know national life expectancy, or the number of CT scanners, or even the number of people that contract breast cancer. You want to know one thing: what are the chances of surviving the disease given the local health care. To state otherwise is to do a disservice to the ill. I hope that in the process of reforming US health care that performance level is not damaged.

I recall seeing assertions that private insurance overhead/adminsitration costs can run upwards to ~ 30% of premiums, while Medicare administration costs may be in the 4-7% range.

This is not surprising, since private insurance has huge CEO salaries, may want to pay dividends to stockholders, has a profit line to hew to (again to serve the Lord and Master of the Stock price), and has substantial marketing costs. Ever see how many insurance ads there are on the tube?

Let us start there, and implement a single-payer government-administered health care system and reap the benefits of lower overhead costs, and a 100% comprehensive risk-sharing pool of insured people.

And yes, this plan will have to implement cost and service controls, also called health care rationing. It is always fascinating to hear avowed fiscal conservative rail against robust cost controls for a government program.

Want faster/more medical care than the mandatory national plan? Feel free to buy private party insurance supplemental coverage, or do the Libertarian thing and self-insure...don't forget to rely on charities as if oft suggested by fiscal conservatives!

Emulate the Canadian Health care system...

If single payer is so effective, why not run everything single payer: food, transportation, entertainment, housing, energy, telecom, the net?

The US has the worst of all worlds. It has forced cost-shifting via EMTALA and multiple weird insurance schemes. Then it has multiple layers of private business trying to make money. Then it has 3 or 4 separate taxpayer financed cost-shifting schemes tacked on top of the mess made by the other layers.

The Canadian system is only better in that at least most people who can pay are forced to before they get sick. And it mostly works to deliver effective treatment, although if it isn't something urgent you may have to wait a good long while for treatment. It has all the other problems of government programs - ineffective and politicized planning and budgeting, big government unions inflating costs, lack of capital for machinery and new buildings, etc.

Neither system can financially afford to have 30% or more of the population be fat and old and sick. Big changes will be coming to both as a result.

"If single payer is so effective, why not run everything single payer: food, transportation, entertainment, housing, energy, telecom, the net?"

Because people don't have catastrophic illness every day, if ever. They do have to eat, get somewhere, etc. etc.

If major illness strikes, unless you happen to have good insurance (which is rarer and rarer), you are essentially ruined in this country.

But then, your question wasn't serious.

I'm an advocate for single payer.

Single payer with caps in horrendous situations, incentives/rewards for taking personal care.

As you read the litany of health insurance stories this week, it's funny how the companies who fought this now intend to make many of previously contested points permanent. Many types of well health care free-vaccinations, checkups- parental insurance till 26, others. Bottom line-its cheaper.

Why wouldn't they? The stuff they say they're keeping isn't really insurance, it's routine expenses. So they're horning themselves in for pure profit from a cut of routine, recurrent expenses, without really solving catastrophic expenses, or solving the problem that at the rate it's going the system will exceed the entire GDP by about 2030 if not sooner.

That would be an attempt to create communism. The first attempt (from the wrong starting point), went so badly its unlikely to be tried again.
But, really, there are only a few things that seem to work better with single payer. Healthcare largely fits the bill, because customers are rarely in a position to comparison shop. The problem is that too many people want to try one of the extremes either totally free market, or totally centrally planed. What we need to do is carefully pick and choose, and respect other political entities right to choose differently.

That would be an attempt to create communism.
Yes, or democratic socialism. Why do you think the description applies only in the case of across the board application, instead of the few like health care, the postal service, and education - the areas where socialism is used now?

But, really, there are only a few things that seem to work better with single payer.
What is your basis for that belief? Only a handful of countries use single payer, many with inexpensive systems do not (Dutch, Swiss, etc).

Healthcare largely fits the bill, because customers are rarely in a position to comparison shop.

Again, basis? Individuals make choices every day of providers in areas in which they are not experts: nutrition, housing, lawyers. To facilitate such choices they use middlemen that they trust based on reputation: grocers for nutrition and the like

US health care is also the best in the world.

The Orwell Estate may sue-----
WHO rates the US heath care system 37th in the World:

And you might watch out for Kurt Vonnegut's lawyers.

When I say health care I refer only to medical outcomes. What do you think that study ranks? Take a deeper look. They rankings are based on things like 'fairness' and life expectancy. What you will NOT find in the WHO study is anything like 5-year survival rate of lung cancers or heart-bypass operations or the wait time for a knee replacement. Good luck with the top countries in 'fairness' (whatever that means to some WHO bureaucrat) if you get sick.

For someone who gets cancer or the like, once they *have* the illness their best chance of survival lies with the US medical system, period.

I'm afraid the data do not support your assertion!


Linking internet blog posts authored under pseudonyms is not the same as citing the "data", much less the science. For real science on the subject there are plenty of serious, peer reviewed articles in highly respected journals.

The Lancet Oncology, Volume 8, Issue 9, Pages 784 - 796, September 2007

Traditional cancer-survival analyses provide data on cancer management at the beginning of a study period, and are often not relevant to current practice because they refer to survival of patients treated with older regimens that might no longer be used. Therefore, shortening the delay in providing survival estimates is desirable. Period analysis can estimate cancer survival by the use of recent data. We aimed to apply the period-analysis method to data that were collected by European cancer registries to estimate recent survival by country and cancer site, and to assess survival changes in Europe. We also compared our findings with data on cancer survival in the USA from the US SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) programme.
We analysed survival data for patients diagnosed with cancer in 2000—02, collected from 47 of the European cancer registries participating in the EUROCARE-4 study. 5-year period relative survival for patients diagnosed in 2000—02 was estimated as the product of interval-specific relative survival values of cohorts with different lengths of follow-up. 5-year survival profiles for patients diagnosed in 2000—02 were estimated for the European mean and for five European regions, and findings were compared with US SEER registry data for patients diagnosed in 2000—02. A 5-year survival profile for patients diagnosed in 1991—2002 and a 10-year survival profile for patients diagnosed in 1997—2002 were also estimated by the period method for all malignancies, by geographical area, and by cancer site.
For all cancers, age-adjusted 5-year period survival improved for patients diagnosed in 2000—02, especially for patients with colorectal, breast, prostate, and thyroid cancer, Hodgkin's disease, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The European mean age-adjusted 5-year survival calculated by the period method for 2000—02 was high for testicular cancer (97·3% [95% CI 96·4—98·2]), melanoma (86·1% [84·3—88·0]), thyroid cancer (83·2% [80·9—85·6]), Hodgkin's disease (81·4% [78·9—84·1]), female breast cancer (79·0% [78·1—80·0]), corpus uteri (78·0% [76·2—79·9]), and prostate cancer (77·5% [76·5—78·6]); and low for stomach cancer (24·9% [23·7—26·2]), chronic myeloid leukaemia (32·2% [29·0—35·7]), acute myeloid leukaemia (14·8% [13·4—16·4]), and lung cancer (10·9% [10·5—11·4]). Survival for patients diagnosed in 2000—02 was generally highest for those in northern European countries and lowest for those in eastern European countries, although, patients in eastern European had the highest improvement in survival for major cancer sites during 1991—2002 (colorectal cancer from 30·3% [28·3—32·5] to 44·7% [42·8—46·7]; breast cancer from 60% [57·2—63·0] to 73·9% [71·7—76·2]; for prostate cancer from 39·5% [35·0—44·6] to 68·0% [64·2—72·1]). For all solid tumours, with the exception of stomach, testicular, and soft-tissue cancers, survival for patients diagnosed in 2000—02 was higher in the US SEER registries than for the European mean. For haematological malignancies, data from US SEER registries and the European mean were comparable in 2000—02, except for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.


One, Health Care includes PUBLIC Health Care - next to Amtrak, a favorite target of conservatives.

US Public Health Care sucks has serious deficiencies !

And I really doubt your claims that if public and preventative health care fail (and since I do not have cancer today, PREVENTING cancer, diabetes, etc. are VERY important to me), that US Healthcare for acute (as opposed to chronic) diseases is very good, much less #1. Your statistical source ?

I do know that if you have diabetes, one of the worst developed nations to have it is the good ole USA.

Best Hopes for MUCH better health care in the USA,


PS: I was reading some of the reasoning for promoting bicycling in Paris. One reason was reduced health care costs. One saving was direct - cardiovascular health for bicyclists, the other was indirect, less pollution.

Since health care costs were considered in funding an implementing the program, I consider making bicycling in Paris to be part of the French health care system.

It is HEALTH CARE - not sickness care (which is what you are focused on).

False. CEPR and CBPP are hack organizations. Here's a point that is true: if the Medicare system is allowed to continue growing untouched as it is today, it will collapse. That's a simple mathematical fact.

Agreed, with above and your most of your upthread comment.

We are focusing on the court's interpretation of Obamacare this week, misplaced.

Unspoken are the rather dire straits of healthcare finance, today, yesterday. I find Zurissee's comments on the Greek situation so compelling because I fear we are so close ourselves. The financial skids of the last several years are really taking a toll. Most rural hospitals have been deep in the red for over a year. Private health orgs don't usually set up here, there's no $ to justify it. The doors are open, the staff still treats, but no one has the money or insurance. Talk about increasing employment all you want, but those #'s never have health insurance.

So charity care increases. It's normally a large component of nonprofits, but it has skyrocketed. System wide, no link, I read US hospitals are at 19% unpaid. Author made a point of contrasting this figure to other business models, that no other business could survive. For rural nonprofits, that figure becomes peanuts. Our local administer wouldn't give the figure for present, but his eyes would roll at 19. Twenty percent would be a goal. Their charity care is consuming the system. Others I spoke with felt that while the situation may not be quite as dire urban, single payer was the only route forward. They intend to continue as long as possible, the fat has long been trimmed and yet still remain within HIFCA guidelines-required for fed reimbursement.

Yes I agree and I think it's important for people to realize that we are now in the beginning of the collapse of the healthcare bubble in the U.S. This has been suggested since the early 90s, but only now beginning to really take shape.

The money simply isn't out there, folks. Meanwhile, in a peak oil environment, the cardiologists continue to have wet dreams about getting people in for a catheterization just minutes after they have chest pain. It's absurdity at a grand scale.

Also keep in mind that the healthcare systems of other major nations are only in marginally better shape.

I would be interested in an analysis/report on the state of the Canadian Health Care System, since I regard Canad as the closest analogue country to the United States. I would be interested in # of people covered, health care outcomes, health stats for the population, costs, revenues, projections of these into the future, etc.

You are right, all the money we could possibly want 'isn't there'...therefore we should manage our health care with a low-overhead-cost efficient/triage-care single payer system.. If people want premium care, then they can pay for that out of pocket...analogous to how society pools its resources to provide public education and people are still free to pay for private or home schooling above and beyond the tax they pay for public education.

Society is more than just a bunch of individuals living within some arbitrary borders on a map.

Gosh... I am just Totally overwhelmed by all the facts and data you've provided in your initial assertion and further response. Thanks!

Is that what you think you did there in the post above by linking some hard left think tanks without substantive comment? And so you deserved a detailed response? Show me where a Brookings Institute, or better yet the US Congressional Budget Office analysis that says under Ryan's Medicare plan, "Seniors Would Pay Most of Their Income for Health Care". You might even read and/or watch what Ryan actually says he plan says (gasp!).

"Have you even read the bible?"

"Who are you quoting?"

You should always post the URL: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2012

The growth was all in OPEC coming off its quotas. All OPEC, and everyone else in the world, is now producing flat out.

Virtually all of the net growth was in OPEC, with large increases in Saudi Arabia (+1.2 million b/d), the UAE, Kuwait and Iraq more than offsetting a loss of Libyan supply (-1.2million b/d). Output reached record levels in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar. Non-OPEC output was broadly flat, with increases in the US, Canada, Russia and Colombia offsetting continued declines in mature provinces such as the UK and Norway, as well as unexpected outages in a number of other countries.

Ron P.

Sorry, didn't think about it. I saw that bit in the summary too. Also, I made a mistake above, the increase in coal was around 5 or 6%, not 3%.

Amazing that in 2011 oil consumption at 88 mb/d was 4.4 mb/d higher than production at 83.6 mb/d. Where did an annual 1,600 million barrels come from?

BP doesn't include biofuels in production figures, but they are included in consumption numbers, in addition refinery processing gains are included in consumption (when measured by volume rather than weight), but not in production. If you compare the production to consumption numbers in millions of tonnes, only the biofuel difference is relevant. When you look at the EIA numbers for biofuels and refinery processing gains they add up to 4.4 million barrels per day for 2011 or 1606 million barrels per year.


That is the technical analysis that people need to understand.

Written by Matt:
Where did an annual 1,600 million barrels come from?

Libya for crude oil. I am not sure about the other liquid fuels.

According to their figures, last year we dropped 119.4 Terawatt-hours of nuclear power

And we added:

  • 13.8 Terawatt-hours of Geothermal and Biomass
  • 25.8 Terawatt-hours of Solar
  • 89.6 Terawatt-hours of Wind
  • 55.5 Terawatt-hours of Hydro
  • 716.3 Terawatt-Hours of Fossil Fuel generation
  • an additional 1 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions

We're not going to save to world at this rate.

I put up a write up of a talk I gave at the Age of Limits conference in late May on Our Finite World. It called

Rentier Debt and the Collapse of Debt Based Finance.

The talk is more general (and easier to understand) than the title might suggest. I talk about how growing debt fits in with economic growth and growth of energy supplies, and how inability to keep increasing this debt makes any existing tendency toward collapse worse.

Interesting presentation, thanks.

I have said as such many times and been called nothing short of crazy, even here.

Gail, I have never seen an actual analysis on this, and in your article you briefly mention in but don't give it justice in my mind:

At this point, anybody who pays above 0% interest on an automobile is pretty much looking to waste money - it seems like every domestic and Japanese dealer has 0% for 60 months on many of their vehicles. Compare this to 5% a few years back. Mortgage rates continue to set record lows. It seems to me that you overstate the requirement of future growth to service interest, at least in this low rate environment. Take mortgage debt since it's typically the biggest expense. I currently have a 30yr fixed mortgage from 2006 at 5.75%. I'm doing a refi and the appraiser literally just left my house. I'm actually able to refi into a 15 yr fixed (3.375%) for only $150/mo increase in payment. That's huge, I literally chopped my mortgage time in half and amortized out for the duration of the loan, no joke, I save $225k in interest payments. That saves me a huge chunk extra income, or less "growth/interest" that I have to repay. It also gives me about $3000/mo of freed up money in 15 years.

Multiply this by millions of people who are doing the same thing, and by lowering interest rates so much, I think the fed has bought us a significant capacity for additional growth. Eventually that won't work because it's more or less zero bound, but I could easily see it buying another decade or two in the US at least.

I just wish I'd see more people analyzing how much further we can go with interest rates as low as they are. There has to be a way to calculate estimated public debt carrying capacity and different interest rates given personal income data. I'm convinced that somewhere in there we'd find an answer as to how much longer this can go on.

"At this point, anybody who pays above 0% interest on an automobile is pretty much looking to waste money - it seems like every domestic and Japanese dealer has 0% for 60 months on many of their vehicles. Compare this to 5% a few years back. "

This statement demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of how automobiles are sold. There is no fixed price for a new car. If you take the zero interest loan you pay more for the car. If you pay cash you pay less for the car. The dealers know exactly, on any given day, how much profit they want to move a car. They will take the profit in interest or in price.

There's an old joke about selling cars:

A reporter asks a very successful dealer whether his business is giving customers "a good deal". The dealer responds: "If a customer pays less than he thinks the car is worth he got a good deal. If he pays more than the car is worth I got a good deal. All of my deals are good deals".

This has not been my experience. When I've bought a car, we agreed on a deal first, then talked financing.

However, the 0% interest rate is available only for people with sterling credit.

Exactly. Car prices have not climbed at all in my area with the oncoming of low interest rates. They're practically giving base model Ford Rangers away with 0% financing for not much more than I paid for my 2002 Suzuki Hayabusa when it was new. I always work the price before even talking about financing on any vehicle. Though I typically pay cash if possible.

In the past, you used to be able to get a good deal by playing on the dealers expectation that he would make a killing on the financing.

Sounds like you got a "good deal" ;>)

You will need the extra money when the time comes for retirement. If you get a pension there is a good chance that the pension fund will not have made enough money to pay the pension that you are expecting- or if you have a 401k that is certainly not going to keep pace with inflation invested safely. In other words roll the dice and hope that you don't lose it.

Many years ago while Treasurer at a bank in NYC I asked the person running our factoring business about the impact of rising interest rates on his business. Figured it would be the most interest rate sensitive. His comment was very interesting- it is not how high rates go that matters but how fast they get there. The Fed would have been well advised to heed that advice. It is not where interest rates are that matters but how fast they get there that does and that is the Feds weapon. After a while everything adjusts to the new level and the winners of low rates are offset by losers. If low rates were such a panacea Japan would be booming- after all they have had low rates for almost 20 years.

All that the Feds low interest rate policies have done is allow the government to be even more profligate by muting the message that the markets would have sent absent their intervention. It is a massive redistribution of wealth from prudent savers to borrowers. What a great long term policy- punish the prudent reward the foolhardy- sure to end well.

I have been continually amused by the credit-card industry's word for a card holder who pays their credit card balances in full and on time each month: "Deadbeat".


ty454 --- I do believe you are conflating what is best for you with what is best for the rest of the economy. While you might have an additional $3000 per month in 15 years ... what about the $150/ month less you have to spend until then?

I'll let you do your own math on that, but the differences in those cash flow numbers are not even on the same order of magnitude. And technically the $150 will drop off when LTV reaches 78% because it's an FHA loan, and that could be as soon as next year depending on appraisal value...which would make my payment net even on a loan that will be paid off in nearly half the time! I could have refi'd into another 30yr fixed which would have dropped my payment by over $1000/mo, but I want to get rid of my mortgage so I'm being more aggressive. So by choice I could have far more money to "consume" had I wanted.

Either way you look at it, the drop in interest rate allows us to free up an enormous chunk of monthly cash flow either right now (30yr) or basically free up a huge amount per month to spend how I see fit in the near future (15yr). If the world doesn't go to hell in a handbasket within 15 years then I could effectively retire from my real job and still live a comfortable life at 47yo with my house paid off (though my wife probably wouldn't be too thrilled about that). Or I could keep working and buy frivilous trinkets like a good consumer does.

Obviously everybody has different situations to deal with, but my situation isn't unique, and the point is that super low interest rates will allow people to spend money without the extra burden of future debt servicing that would have come with more historical interest rates. Eventually you'd expect prices to rise and offset these low rates, but I just haven't seen it yet. Certainly not in housing or automobiles.

Thanks for that Gail, it is a good article.

I think all those who are looking at a renewables led future do not see the implications of the current debt mess. The spending of more money that countries don't have, implies borrowing more to create renewables, to solve problems of costly import bills.

The catch 22 being that the renewables are also likely to be imported, plus take a long time to build decent capacity, which does not help with the original problem of too high import bills. This recently became obvious to me in a discussion in a recent drumbeat about Jamaica's energy problems.

Collapse does indeed seem inevitable, the cracks have been coming thick and fast for a few years now and unfortunately like all collapses there will be an acceleration.

As Farmers Age, Japan Rethinks Relationship With Food, Fields

The Japanese Government proposes new free trade agreements that would remove import tariffs on items like rice, and outsource pretty much all of Japan's agriculture. Many inside Japan disagree with this approach, and look for ways to bring more youth into farming.

It is possible to see the tensions involved in the debate as highly revealing.

The government wants to get the food in, cheaply, keep the status quo going. It is under pressure from large corporations that want to import bigger quantities of cheap food. Let the farms go bankrupt here and become cheap acreage for more shops.

Tellingly, PM Noda is for the new trade agreements and he is also on the side of nuclear power....he is a corporatist politician if ever there was one! He's scary, actually....

There is a tradition of farming, however. And it is old, and culturally important.

Probably we can't say that the world has enough "ooomph" left in its economic might to do real damage with these trade agreements. By the time they import a lot of food, the prices added on for fuel will make the imports hardly competitive with the local radioactive and fresher stuff here. So the farmers, which will include more and more young people, will be able to sell their things here easily.

The people in Japan would be too poor to buy the expensive imported things.

The food trade agreements are a kind of wishful thinking, to use food instead of expensive manufactured items, to generate lots of wealth. But that isn't how food works. You don't just keep buying it after you have eaten your fill for the day. It isn't like fancy shoes, a car, or a new sofa. Poor, indebted people assailed by radiation don't buy luxurious imported food.....Even if they do buy a little, it isn't clear that the people who produced the food will get rich selling it. Margins on food are so low.

Thanks for bringing an inside perspective. I can't see how these trade agreements would benefit anyone but the relative few. It seems like a crazy idea to be shipping rice from relatively water-poor regions of the US to Japan. Connect it to the article above re the US expanding its industrial agriculture outputs, and one can see the corporate model at work.

It could be interesting to do a comparison with China. Traditional agriculture in that country still provides employment (and food!) for a significant fraction of the population. However, the urban population grows at a great rate and is now probably over 50% of the total. There is a tendency for new higher-income urban folk to purchase more up-market horticulture (big inputs are needed, including fertilizer) and to eat a lot more meat and animal protein generally (this needs large imports of primary protein i.e. mostly Soya).
China must balance destruction of the livelihoods of its peasant population and at the same time satisfy urban demand. This seems to me a more extreme version of the situation you describe in Japan? Balance seems the least likely eventual outcome! What do you think?


Yergin weighs in
AMERICA needs a new political discourse on energy. This would recognize the emerging reality that the United States has turned around as an energy producer and is on a major upswing.

Yeah, we need a new energy policy. We need to be more like Norway . . . we need to develop these resources in a careful manner. And we need to tax the consumption of the resources so that we do not use them unwisely by just getting fat & happy. We need to realize that booms are ALWAYS followed by busts and act wisely to minimize the pain of the inevitable bust.

Just curious, when you say we need to be more like Norway are you being sarcastic or do you mean that they are creating their wealth fund with the profits?

IMHO Norway is in big trouble because they are trading their irreplaceable natural assets for pieces of paper of financial assets that, when the world enters its descent, will likely lose most of their value (ponzi scheme). In the future, the only measure of true wealth will be how many physical assets you own, i.e. energy, food, water and mineral resources. After the collapse, Norway will have a lot of title to devalued pieces of paper that would entitle the holder to purchase things of value that will basically no longer be in existence in quantity ... natural resources ... the same natural resources that Norway squandered.

I would think that the only way to "carefully" develop fossil fuel resources would be to use them to build out a renewable energy infrastructure that is capable of at least replacing them on a yearly energy production basis.

Some of their investments are direct. A new hydroelectric dam in Chile for example.

And stocks in companies that own a lot of land with trees should have some value (Weyerhauser, Georgia-Pacific, etc.), and other companies.

What % value in vs. value out - hard to be very optimistic on 1:1 I am afraid. But something is better than nothing.


I would think that the only way to "carefully" develop fossil fuel resources would be to use them to build out a renewable energy infrastructure that is capable of at least replacing them on a yearly energy production basis.

I lamented the same about the people in North Dakota in the last Drumbeat,,,they should tax the Bakken activities at the same rate as Louisiana and do what you suggest above...

Regarding: N.C. Senate approves law that challenges sea-level science...

Jeez,, just Jeez. This is real evidence of my State's swing to the head-in-the-sand, Neocon right. This isn't ignorance, nor is it stupidity; it's greed, pure greed. While coastal developers have been reaping the rewards of exploiting these unstable coastlines, while socializing and environmentalizing the costs, this bill takes government sanctioning of this selfishness to a new level. Best I get back to my chores, and the process of collapsing gracefully :-(

I feel your pain, really. One wonders if there will ever be "Nuremberg Trials" for the climate deniers, when people start picking themselves up, dripping, from the flood water. Somehow, I imagine the spin machine will operate to have them slithering off the hook, like the banksters.

What would you charge the deniers with? Aggrevated Self-Interest?

Crimes Against Future Generations

Behaviour which is so terrible that it puts the very survival of life at risk should be prohibited and prosecuted. When individuals act despite knowing the severe consequences of their acts or conduct on the long-term health, safety, or means of survival of human populations, they are committing what we call a crime against future generations.

These acts or conduct would cover political, military, economic, cultural or scientific activities that

- cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment;
- gravely or irreparably imperil the health, means of survival or safety of a given human population; or
- gravely or irreparably imperil the conditions of survival of a given species population or ecosystem

and The Earth’s advocate: Defending our environment

... the present legal landscape sees the protection of the environment as secondary to commercial success. And fines have proven an ineffective instrument for the regulation of the relationship between large corporations and the environment.

Ecocide would lift the corporate veil and target individuals under the premise of “superior responsibility.” CEOs would be directly responsible for the actions of their companies; heads of state and ministers for the effects of their policies; and investment institutions responsible for financing damaging and destructive action. The penalties would be potent, focused on prison sentences as direct deterrents.

Ecocide would lift the corporate veil and target individuals under the premise of “superior responsibility.

Sounds good! Are we going to indict everyone?


This is one of the biggest crimes against future generations, the question is how do we prosecute and punish all the culprits?

We have met the enemy and he is us...

Sorry Ghung. I feel your pain regarding frustration with state government. Our own governor, who just survived a recall election last week, acted quickly upon his election last year to reject some $800M in federal money for passenger rail. His stated reason for this was dodging some minor expenses for upkeep (which would have been dwarfed by tax revenue coming in to the state from the planned work), but it was apparent that the real reason was that passenger rail was just... too... well, liberal. Plus, one of the cities which would have been served by the line was the capital of the state, which voted heavily against him. Astounding.

I think that your metaphor of political heads in the sand, in this case, is particularly apt. As the waters head inland, those with their heads in the sand along the coast may find that conditions become unpleasant.

reject some $800M in federal money for passenger rail.

Want "someone else" do work a train network?

http://mp3.logosradionetwork.com/INN/64k/INN_Radio_2012-02-07_64k.mp3 At about the 47 min mark it starts.

Talks about the "Leo Wanta" settlement.
He wants to use $1 trillion to build a nationwide high-speed rail system. (Amerigroup and Amerirail where he's a board member - 53 min mark)
And a comment was made about the 'off the books bank bailout' was 4 trillion from the Wanta pile of funds.

All the unrestricted development could provide new habitat and structure for marine organisms. Carry the right farther, that the state or the federal government shouldn't be subsidizing flood insurance. Their habitat donation should be entirely private and personal.

To harken back to yesteryear, there is a 50's book on the Carolinas that is as much a conservation treatise as Sand County Almanac, though it is never billed as such. Robert Ruark's "Old Man and the Boy", I think you'd really enjoy it. At least, it would remind you what the seasons used to be like in your locale.

Well . . . when a hurricane hits some poorly designed coastal development and the storm surge floods them heavily, I'm not going to be too sympathetic to their pleas for help. Reap what you sow.

Or just out of staters looking for retirement homes, and not knowing to look beyond the legally required hazard assesments from the Realtors. I'd bet few people know the elevation of their house, or where the boundaries of the flood plains are etc. So many of the victims will be guilty of simple naivette.

Dig a perfectly legal trap. Pocket the resulting money. If anyone falls in the trap, it is their own fault. If this causes a system failure, blame the victims. This is the basis of the ACORN explanation of the financial collapse under president Bush in 2008.

One has to wonder if they are fundie types who will approach the ocean, strike it with a cane, and say "Thou Shalt Rise No Further!"

So where are the insurance corps in all this. They seem to take global warming seriously, as they could end up holding the bag when things go wrong. I can't imagine any one o them want to insure against damages that would come from sea level rise, that they aren't allowed to recognize. Will ther be a battle over whether they can put SLR issues into the rate base?

They can't force insurers to insure. Look at the insurance companies that bailed out of coastal areas in the aftermath of the various Gulf Coast hurricanes.

Florida's solution is for the state to provide insurance for uninsurable properties. The insurance fund is way underfunded, of course. They're probably counting on the feds to bail them out if necessary.

State or federal subsidy isn't restricted to coastal areas or Florida. It also encompasses river and lake frontage. Banks will require the insurance, feds are often the only ones to underwrite a policy.

It's ludicrous. I knew of one on the Missouri, MT, that built a total of 3 waterfront homes, first 2 flooded away, and yet like the old Monty Python line of sinking in the swamp, he built it back.

Just wait, those developers will use the figures in the bill to claim it has been [scientifically] proven that there will be insignificant sea level rise.


This bill does nothing to stop insurance companies from increasing rates for properties that would likely be flooded by sea level rise. It does prevent North Carolina from constructing an adequate sea wall if the Republican prediction of 8 inches is inadequate. It requires North Carolina to rebuild areas frequently flooded by storm surge if sea level rises by more than 8 inches this century. North Carolina tax payers will have to pay for this nonsense.

The president should direct FEMA to provide no assistance and no funds for people flooded in such high risk areas to make NC pay for its folly.

The article... A peak oil follower despairs of his movement's future

..strikes me as silly. I have never thought of peak oil as a movement. It is merely an observation of knowledgeable people that global oil production is in the process of peaking. It is a graph.

Most of the ASPO people I have met have grown past the notion that they are a movement to get the governments of the world to "do something". Governments are political cultures that only react to the next election.

Peak oil is not a problem in search of a solution - it is a predicament that the industrial world will have to adjust to. That adjustment will be an economic, cultural, and even a spiritual crisis. I certainly don't know exactly how or when it will play out but am convinced by the data it will be in our lifetimes.

The "peak oil follower" in question is one of our staffers, Luis. One of our other staffers, Ugo, pointed out that this was to be expected. He says Dmitry Orlov is right: when the Soviet Union collapsed, no one wanted to talk about why any more. Instead, the emphasis was on saving yourself and miracle solutions. When the tsunami arrives and you're swimming for your life, you don't have much interest in geological theory.

Tainter says this is typical of a collapsing society. The search for answers ramps up at first, but then you reach a point where you simply don't have the time and resources for that any more.

"But after 10 years of activity ASPO's message has failed to pass. Policy makers, climatologists, energy Industry, by and large are all yet to fully acknowledge the problem and its implications."

They won't. We need to Occupy DOE and Occupy Steven Chu's Office; arrests make the media. Maybe have 1000 Critical Mass bike riders join him on his daily commute.
What happened with the PR campaign last fall? Nothing. Who heard about it, besides us? Nobody.

Letter from ASPO-USA to Energy Secretary Steven Chu
(via hand delivery)
October 26, 2011

"Tainter says this is typical of a collapsing society. The search for answers ramps up at first, but then you reach a point where you simply don't have the time and resources for that any more."

Thanks Leanan - Interesting perspective. Like Luis - I will continue to attend ASPO meetings. Have been to the last 4 and will be in Austin this year (of course I live in Austin!). But I have not been attending in order to change the world. I have no illusions about that. I enjoy the smart people and I enjoy keeping up with the latest information. Which is why I check TOD daily.

And thanks for your excellent oversight of Drumbeat!

I see it as more of a retreat from the future and long term thinking.

In the past there were new shores to be explored and exploited. People considered their legacy and sort opportunity to make their mark. Of nature, they considered 20-50 years hence in doing so, and worked a plan towards it whilst optimising the present.

Today we think 5 years is a long time, have no new shores we think we can reach, and have given up optimism in the real sense that we don't think we can 'leap forward'. 1969 was the last time we had a big thought, and even then it was lacking in foresight.

I don't think this is a tainterisk resource and complexity reaction, I think it's a combination response of numbers, depth and constrained horizons. Gradually we lost the focus on the future as the pace of momentum towards that future speeded up. That happened from the Victorian era forward.

If you want a metaphor, as the car speeded up, the headlights have illuminated less and less far ahead. We are concentrating so hard on avoiding a rabbit in the road that we have no attention left for the brick wall. We are out of effective control.

Could we look up? Yes

Will we? No

Peak Oil isn't something that can gain political action, partly because politicians are the wrong people to be addressing in the first place, and partly because the story is the wrong one to get attention. Action will only be taken when its too late. The only think you can practically do when you know the wall is there is to prepare yourself - either jump from the car, or brace for impact.

The response to peak oil seems to be based on the need to respond. In oil surplus countries gas and diesel are subsidized since they don't need to worry about peak oil and benefit from the higher prices in the near term. In the US, the thought seems to be that the US will be financially shielded from peak oil, at least for a period of time, that will make it someone else's problem first and provide time for adjustment. In countries that can't afford to run trade deficits, it is already an issue as they can't afford to import more oil and peak oil will just make imports even more unaffordable so they tend to be more aggressive about limiting their reliance on oil.

In the US, the thought seems to be that the US will be financially shielded from peak oil, at least for a period of time, that will make it someone else's problem first and provide time for adjustment.

Well, we are partially shielded since we were already a large oil producer and with higher oil prices, we have become an even larger producer with the North Dakota tight oil. We are letting Europe and Japan show us how a modern industrialized civilization should respond to peak oil when you don't have much oil. The results are not pretty. Japan has massive debt (mostly to itself though). Europe has lots of debt and a really struggling economy. Greece seems to be at the bottom of the European totem pole . . . and that is an ugly situation.

I think people tend to discount what seems to be enthusiastic altruism in strangers, as having some hidden agenda or cult-like trappings. When you couple that with the default human tendency to believe the future must be rosy, and to quash cognitive dissonance, then throw in general science ignorance and innumeracy in some nations, it's unsurprising that the peak oil notion never really caught on as an evangelical crusade.

Rather, it tends to be a bit of a cognitive benchmark, a litmus test for real-world systems awareness and delusion filters past a certain level. As such, it never will sit easily as a belief.

As for the outreach premise, some years ago in private correspondence I asked a TOD staffer whether - if I presented him with a magic button which would grant full peak oil awareness to everyone in the world, he would press it.

I would, because I think it would precipitate immediate collapse of BAU, and thus be more likely than not to ameliorate the long-term damage to the planet. I'm not sure whether he ever pushed his.

..strikes me as silly. I have never thought of peak oil as a movement. It is merely an observation of knowledgeable people that global oil production is in the process of peaking. It is a graph.

Yes well idea's and graphs don't dissociate from publication in mainstream technical journals and industry associations to instead form international associations and take international flights to attend regular meetings.

That adjustment will be an economic, cultural, and even a spiritual crisis.
A spiritual crisis? And this is not a movement?

Oil Rises on Unexpected U.S. Fuel Supply Drop

Crude oil advanced after an Energy Department report showed that U.S. fuel inventories unexpectedly declined last week and refineries bolstered crude processing rates to the highest level in more than four years.

Futures rose as much as 0.8 percent as gasoline stockpiles fell 1.72 million barrels to 201.8 million. Supplies were forecast to gain 1.4 million barrels in a Bloomberg survey. Refineries operated at 92 percent of capacity, the most since August 2007. Prices also climbed on speculation central banks will boost stimulus to ease Europe’s debt crisis.

Crude stockpiles declined 191,000 barrels to 384.4 million in the week ended June 8, the Energy Department report showed. Inventories were forecast to fall 1.5 million barrels, according to the median of 12 analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Supplies rose to 384.7 million barrels in the week ended May 25, the highest level since July 1990.

Supplies of distillate fuel, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, slipped 63,000 barrels to 120 million. Stockpiles were estimated to increase 1.18 million barrels from the prior week.

Futures also rose after the International Energy Agency said OPEC cut crude production last month, ending a seven-month run of increases, as Saudi Arabia and Iraq reduced supplies.

The 12 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 31.86 million barrels a day of crude last month, compared with 31.89 million in April, the Paris-based IEA said in its monthly Oil Market Report.

The 2012 Oil 'Glut': Tastes great but less filing as US refiners/blenders step up output to yearly high

Who would have guessed by perusing the latest financial headlines that US refiners & blenders are now delivering 3% more oil products to the market than a year ago, and that those refiners are using almost 5% more oil as inputs than one year ago? [by comparing the latest EIA report week to the comparable week one year ago].

Granted US domestic demand for oil products, like gasoline and diesel, remains somewhat mired and may well still be declining. For example, US consumers used about 2% less for gasoline than a year ago (using comparable year ago week) according to the latest MasterCard SpendingPlus survey of retailers. The real force behind the recovery of US refineries is very strong and increasing foreign export demand for gasoline, diesel, and even ethanol (and similar blends).

The recent example of diesel shortages in Saudi Arabia, which precipitated sudden and massive imports of diesel into that country, is just the latest chapter of the ongoing story: many countries are seeking to top off their transportation tanks by looking offshore. While the US doesn't appear to be shipping much, if any, oil products to Mideast and Asian countries experiencing shortages, indirectly the US has benefited these last two years from having the refinery capacity to efficiently produce more oil products. These refiners, if located in the right part of the US (usually in the upper Midwest or Gulf of Mexico coast regions) have profited from more than adequate supplies of oil - frequently priced at a great discount to the commonly used Brent reference price.

With the largest refinery in the US, the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, now being shut down for two to five months since June 10, shortly after a $10 billion renovation and expansion was completed, it remains to be seen if US refiners can meet all the demands made on them as the summer driving season progresses. Even though refiners are operating at about 92% of capacity now, a four year high, there still is some limited capacity for increased output by refiners (excluding Motiva), especially in the Northeast US, and falling oil prices generally improve refinery profits. But whether that will be enough output is still a question. Even now national gasoline supplies are at the lowest level usually seen at this point in June (when compared to the range of the last five years).


Update: Two refiners in the upper Midwest that had been offline have returned to service today. Refinery utilization may be as high as 94% now nationwide, helped by reports of gasoline being in short supply in some parts of the upper Midwest. It’s unlikely that utilization will exceed 94% in the next two months, due to the Motiva problem and some Northeast refineries still undergoing extended maintenance.

Delta set to close refinery deal, begin maintenance: sources

Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:37am EDT

(Reuters) - Delta Airlines (DAL.N) is set to close its landmark deal to buy the Trainer, Pennsylvania, refinery on time later this month, allowing it to begin a long-delayed maintenance overhaul in early July, sources said on Tuesday.


Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:02pm EDT

Meanwhile, gasoline in the Midwest Group Three market rose 4.00 cents a
gallon to 20.50/21.50 cents over futures as allocations continued at Magellan
Midstream Partners' terminals due to a shortage of N-grade gasoline.


"PV installations in the USA are up 85% year-on-year in Q1 2012, while PV panel prices fall 49% on the year" Wow. I would say this could be the start of scaling up of PV that makes a real difference. And this happens when US natural gas prices are near all-time inflation-adjusted lows. What will happen to PV when nat. gas prices start to return to "normal" and all those decrepit ancient coal power plants are shut down for good?

What can possibly hold back PV from reaching its near-unlimited potential?

Global financial collapse drying up credit.

True . . . but on the other hand, PV is something you can invest your money in and get a guaranteed return. The system will generate power that you would otherwise have to buy.

Right now, buying treasuries gives you a negative rate of return. So why not invest that money into a PV system that will definitely provide a return on your investment?

This is especially true if you get an electric car . . . a PV system is like owning your very own mini oil well and mini oil refinery for a mere $15k! Try that with a gas car.

Currently PV production uses about 2% of world flat glass manufacture and about 6% of world silver fabrication demand. In 4 years at a rate of increase of 85% per annum we will use 11.7 times as much per annum, ie 23.4% of flat glass and 70.2% of silver. Does anyone see a problem here, apart from me?

The whole problem with a renewable future is the concept of more. We are in overshoot now, yet the solution presented is more, more silver production, more glass manufacture, more lithium mines for the EV's, more steel and aluminium for the support structures, more concrete for the wind turbines, more copper to connect it all, more more more!!

PV are cheap because they are only using a minor part of current resource production, but ramping it up creates increased demand for these same resources.

Current PV has a worldwide capacity of 67,400 Mw. Sounds immpressive until you realise it is .0674 Tw, which is what we need to be talking about. A ramp up of 85% pa for 4 years takes us to 1.639 Tw capacity. From the wiki article on PV below, the current .0674 Tw produced 80 Twh of electricity though it sounds more impressive if you say 80 billion Kwh.


The ramp up in PV to 1.639 Tw would give us about 1943 Twh of electricity. Compare this to total energy use of about 150,000 TWh pa and the growth in primary energy use for 2011 of ~3750 Twh (from BP statistical review).

BTW according to the numbers from this site..


.. world PV capacity seems to be producing an average of 3.25 hours/day. My own PV 5Kw array gets just a little less than 3 hours a day, so it appears all the wishful thinking of people touting numbers of 6-8 hours a day could only be using trackers, which is another expense in itself.

New glass factories are being built to supply the PV trade. There are alternatives to Silver. Buenos noches.


"New glass factories are being built to supply the PV trade"

More. We need more, which uses more energy, which means we need more PV panels, self defeating.

"There are alternatives to Silver"

Then why are they using silver?? perhaps performance is not as good or lifespan of the panels are not as good, can you explain??

I also just realised the above numbers I used are incorrect apologies. The actual numbers are worse.

The figures I used earlier seemed better, it was a mistake and they are much worse as I used the current world wide capacity (67 Gw) as the number using 2% glass and 6% silver when in fact that much was used to make the 28 Gw in 2011.

To get to .784 Tw capacity built per year, current capacity increased 85% pa for 4 years, we would need 28 times the raw materials used in 2011. So that would be 56% of world flat glass production plus 168% of silver production. That would get us to ~50% of the growth in energy consumption for 2011.

Increasing glass production over a twenty year time frame is a trivial issue.

Silver has an immense hard above ground already. One of the major uses for silver - color photographic film - is gone. So doable.

But what if we double electrical efficiency over 20 years as well ?

Best Hopes,



"Increasing glass production over a twenty year time frame is a trivial issue."

It might be, but it is still more. More energy, more resources.

Pity the 56% increase would have to be over 4 years, not 20, in the scenario of PV increasing 85% pa for 4 years.

More sand - shall we say "not a resource constraint" and more heat - trivial amounts compared to solar PV production.


I think people underestimate how much energy it takes to make glass. It's been made for 5,000 years or more, but until relatively recently, it was for the wealthy only. The ancient Egyptians used it to make temple windows and jewelry for the elite. The Bible talks about how precious gold, rubies, and glass are, which sounds very odd to modern ears. In British castles, the glass windows would be removed when the lord was away; they were too valuable to leave in when there were only servants around to enjoy them.

Will technology make a difference? I dunno, but I think it's at least possible that materials like glass will prove to be too expensive for widespread use by a society on a solar budget.

I wonder if glass can be manufactured in the U.S. Southwest using solar thermal energy for process heat? Perhaps extra solar thermal capacity could be used to store heat in underground tanks of phase change salts in order to keep the process material at an acceptable temperature overnight if required, or at least to extend the batch production shift time during the day?

It may be feasible, although there are difficulties, particularly for large sheets of flat glass.

  • The process heat temperatures are high (on the order of 1500 °C for production, 500 °C for annealing). Concentrated solar can reach those temperatures while the sun is shining. Storing heat at those temperatures is at least problematic. The annealing process requires reasonably good temperature control.
  • Starting and stopping is a problem. So much so that the bottling plant where my neighbor is a supervisor runs 24/7 for 51 weeks per year, then shuts down for a week for annual maintenance. If his stories are accurate, cooling things down to work on them, and heating them back up to operating temperature, both take more than a day.

In combination, those suggest to me that you would want to convert at least part of the solar to electricity, possibly from stored lower-grade heat, so that you have quality control over the sensitive parts of the process.

Your biggest need for energy will be in melting the materials. Process energy can be kept down with better insulation. Use concentrated solar to create a melt to supply the plant.


Modern plate glass is, I believe, made on molten tin. Quite a bit of thermal mass there. Electric resistance heat should work well.

If a reliable source of power (say hydro + wind + solar + geothermal, or nuclear) is available, produce 24/7. If power gets expensive, reduce production rates - and power consumption.

The energy to make glass today is to heat sand & gullet (broken glass) up to the melting point and then the phase change.

Tempered glass requires a couple of cycles warm <> hot.

Not exorbitant.


And it should be noted that the value of this investment can have a LONG time to recoup its costs.. save for breakage, glass can live for centuries, even millenia.

I used to think that glass had that 'slow liquid' factor to consider, but have since heard otherwise. If anyone knows better, I'd be curious to hear a correction.


Writing in the American Journal of Physics, physicist Edgar D. Zanotto states "...the predicted relaxation time for GeO2 at room temperature is 1032 years. Hence, the relaxation period (characteristic flow time) of cathedral glasses would be even longer."[44] (1032 years is many times longer than the estimated age of the Universe.)

If medieval glass has flowed perceptibly, then ancient Roman and Egyptian objects should have flowed proportionately more — but this is not observed. Similarly, prehistoric obsidian blades should have lost their edge; this is not observed either (although obsidian may have a different viscosity from window glass).[35]

If glass flows at a rate that allows changes to be seen with the naked eye after centuries, then the effect should be noticeable in antique telescopes. Any slight deformation in the antique telescopic lenses would lead to a dramatic decrease in optical performance, a phenomenon that is not observed.[35]

There are many examples of centuries-old glass shelving which has not bent, even though it is under much higher stress from gravitational loads than vertical window glass.

Written by Hide_away
It might be, but it is still more. More energy, more resources.

In the long run it means less materials used in other types of electrical power plants. Last year we got a large reduction in nuclear power in Japan and Germany.

I plan to do an analysis of PV capacity going forward as well. I'm not expecting or hoping for anything on the scale to replace fossil fuels, but merely a way to provide basic necessities for people and food distribution structures so we can avoid a Malthusian Collapse.

I'm guessing that your analysis will merely confirm what you already believe.

Unlike your analysis, oh wait you do not do any analysis.

I would expect that once silver demand drives its price up, alternatives will be used. I've never seen a decent technical discussion about silvers use in PV, and what the alternatives will be once scaleup forces their consideration. I'd really like to see that discussion. Blindly invoking substitution isn't a good way to go.

Silver is used as conductors and as a reflective substrate in crystalline PV. Copper can be used as a conductor and aluminum as the reflector. I guess that a substitute will be used for the reflector and rear conductor before the front conductors.

If the demand for silver rises, then its price will increase. It would have to increase enough to reduce the demand for silver which might include increasing the price of PV panels. Demand would be reduced and alternatives sought, such as concentrating sunlight onto a PV cell. Concentrated PV reduces the silver used per watt produced by a rather large amount (~100 times reduction). A very large scale build out of PV will not be done on residential rooftops because there is not enough area. Commercial plants with trackers and concentrators will likely dominate in the end.

If the economy continues to decline and the price of silver rises, more people might sell their silver jewelry and utensils (to be melted down) altering the ways in which people use silver.

Silver production has been increasing for the last 9 years to 761.6 Moz/year (23,689 t/year) according to The Silver Institute. Wiki: Silver Mining lists the top 6 silver mine development projects that are planned to begin production within the next 4 years as adding an anticipated 90 Moz/year. That is almost a 12% increase assuming the existing mines do not decrease production. There is a chart at Yearly Silver Production in metric tonnes (1900-to-2010). Peak silver is nowhere in sight.

If the PV industry uses such a large fraction of the silver supply that it drives price up, then several technical and economic things could happen to compensate.

I agree that sustaining BAU is beyond the potential of renewables in general. But if you read the personal stories of many who install their own PV, it is clear they have made very significant reductions in their total consumption of electricity compared to BAU. They understand their own energy "budget" in a very practical and realistic way. It is this combination that will allow PV, wind, solar thermal, biomass, hydro and yes a small portion of ff to scale and provide for a much more resilient world after peak oil/coal. This is not rocket science, but it is a cognitive psychology challenge which should keep the brightest and most ambitious scientists busy figuring out how to convince the world it can be happy, comfortable and safe with a lot less electricity.

It must happen.

"But if you read the personal stories of many who install their own PV, it is clear they have made very significant reductions in their total consumption of electricity compared to BAU. They understand their own energy "budget" in a very practical and realistic way."

I installed my first PV in 1985, it cost $600 for a 55w panel. It kept the lights on (with deep cycle batteries) when we did not have power (4 years). I have 5kw of panels. I use wood from my own property for heating. I make biodiesel from WVO and grow a couple of hundred olive trees for oil. I grow plenty of my own food and produce cash crops from the land (use bio in the tractor).

I think I have a bit of understanding about energy use, which is why I am in the doomer camp. We have no hope of providing for 7 billion of us. Because of the problems identified by Gail about debt and growth, renewables growth can only continue in BAU growth while playing a bit part. As BAU stops and economies collapse in domino like fashion the expensive option of renewables will become unobtainable, especially if it is needed to be imported.

Sounds like you have a great hideaway, Hide_away!

I agree with most of your comments. Of the 7 billion here on planet earth today, I would say for about 1 billion their BAU is some combination of starvation or severe nutritional deficit, no access to safe drinking water, no access to electricity, are living some form of slavery and constant threat of violent sectarian/tribal attack. So 1 billion of us are already in "collapse" mode.

But for the fortunate rest of us, anyone who can afford a roof over their heads will have sufficient access to PV on their roof. Already today you can order solar shingles from a very reputable global producer (name withheld to avoid advertising) which are the thin-film type, in other words, minimum material used in its manufacture.

If we can afford to replace our composite shingles every 15-25 years today, is it unthinkable that the next time someone needs to replace the roof, it will be with a somewhat more expensive shingle that produces electricity? Will society fall so low that you believe this cannot happen?

My grandparents bought a windmill with an electric generator and a battery for storage in the middle of the 1930's, before the electric grid came to their area. They lived a subsistence, rural lifestyle mostly producing food and housing for their own family. It was long before my time so I have no idea how they financed it. But it happened.

I am convinced that an aggressive scale-up of PV will relieve the financial and environmental debt burden carried by society, and thereby postpone (but perhaps not avoid altogether) collapse.

"I am convinced that an aggressive scale-up of PV will relieve the financial and environmental debt burden carried by society"

I'm glad you are a believer, pity the numbers don't support your beliefs.

Copper indium gallium selenide solar cells are those that you see as the great hope. The indium and gallium suffer from the same problems of supply as tellerium. They are by-products of current mining that relies on FF. A ramp up in production for these elements is not possible without a huge increase in price, to allow the mining of these elements for there own sake.

Of course there is the increase in energy and resources needed to create the mines and processes to extract these elements by themselves, again that minor inconvenience of MORE needed when it looks like we will have less available (energy).

From here..


I get the following..
"First, at around 12 to 13 dollars per installed watt, solar shingles tend to be more expensive than mounted solar PV panels."

At that type of price there is more hype than hope as a real solution. That is above what I paid for a PV panel over 25 years ago.

The solar shingles are the roof. They would be installed as a roof, and as such the installation cost of the PV shingles, i.e. a roofer lifting shingles onto the roof and nailing them in place, is about the same as installation cost of the "normal" composite shingles. So it is simply misleading to compare the installed cost of solar shingles to the installed cost of panels that do not function as the sealing surface of the roof.

As to the resource constraints on copper, indium, gallium and selenium, a first-order check of the quantities required, estimates of ore resources and claims by current industries to scale up appear to show the resource availability to be manageable.

Hint: it is not the cost of the Copper, indium, gallium or selenium that are the drivers of the cost of the CIGS PV. It is the capital equipment required for the manufacturing process to create the panel which dominates the cost.

"So it is simply misleading to compare the installed cost of solar shingles to the installed cost of panels that do not function as the sealing surface of the roof. "

The cost of installing normal shingles is about..

"That means your overall expense of roofing with shingles is between $275 and $335 per 100 square feet"

from here...


100 sq ft = ~9.09 sqm

With CIGS panels having an efficiency of ~20%, meaning 200w/m2, the same area of roof installed with the solar shingles would cost 9 X 200 X $12 or $21600. This is for 1.8Kw capacity!!

It is far cheaper to get a roof with normal shingles then put common cheap PV panels on it.

Please do the math!

"estimates of ore resources"

Estimates of oil resources also indicate that we don't have a problem there either. Yet we seem to be having an extraction/production problem looming called peak oil. As I stated earlier the production of things like indium and gallium rely on existing mining operations of other resources. It is way too expensive to mine them for themselves. Most mining operations are heavily reliant on current FF use.

Found ya, Hide_away. Your numbers are out-of-date. I found the website you quoted. It has no date, and it makes no mention of the most advanced thin-film shingles from Dow. It lists one supplier that has gone Chapter 11. The web page refers to the ongoing sub-prime crisis in California, so my guess is that the installed watt costs given, that you have quoted rather thoughtlessly, are from 2007-2008. These price estimates are worthless, and since they are the cornerstone of most of your case, you may want to re-consider your conclusion.

Do the proper research! The math is trivial!


"...Dow’s Powerhouse Solar Shingles are “the first roofing product that helps off-set energy costs” through power generation, according to a company announcement.

Dow spokeswoman Kate Nigro said the shingles cost about two or three times more than standard roof shingles, depending on local solar subsidies and the amount of shingles with solar cells installed. Nigro said it was difficult to quantify the power generating capacity of the solar shingles, but said homeowners who want to offset 100 percent of their electricity use would be able to do so with the system. The cells of the shingles are a thin film material that have about a 12 percent efficiency rate, she said..."

Funnily enough solar works best where it is sunny, and sunny roughly when you need the energy.
So the guy installing it in Hawaii will get about 5.5 hours of sunshine a day, with moderate seasonal variance and no winter to cope with.
If you are getting only just over 3 hours a day you also likely have a long, cold winter.
The true economics of this sort of installation are disastrous, and they only happen due to perverse subsidies and feed in mandates.
Solar is not a universal solution.
Unfortunately it has been touted as such.

"Solar is not a universal solution.
Unfortunately it has been touted as such."

Who says that?
Dave, these are spurious comments. Please back them up with something from a reputable source.

I have certainly come up with numbers many times that clearly show a solar future is not possible because of the immense build out necessary, plus the storage of power. Everyone likes to quote the currently declining price of PV panels as proof of what is possible.

Here are some numbers for you. To get to 50% of current world energy use with solar in 20 years, when Westexas ELM shows the world near zero net exports of oil, we would have to build solar arrays equivalent of 3750 TWh output every year. That requires, at todays average world output of 3.25 hours/day, 3.161 Tw capacity built every year. This is 112 times as much as was created in 2011 (.028 Tw).

2011 PV production used 2% of flat glass production and 6% of silver. How realistic is it to think we can use 224% of glass manufacture plus 672% of current silver fabrication, with the goal of using 50% LESS energy. My suspicion is that the ramp up needed will use more energy instead.

The figures I used earlier seemed better, it was a mistake and they are much worse as I used the current world wide capacity (67 Gw) as the number using 2% glass and 6% silver when in fact that much was used to make the 28 Gw in 2011.

I have certainly come up with numbers many times that clearly show a solar future is not possible because of the immense build out necessary, plus the storage of power.

I get really tired of this old strawman argument! To be clear, an exclusively solar powered future, that attempts to maintain our current BAU level of energy consumption is obviously not in the cards.

However anyone who imagines such a future is oblivious of many facets of the big picture and needs to seriously re-examine their expectations.

It might be a much more productive exercise to find ways to power down, reduce consumption and then find ways in which it might be possible to use alternatives such as solar, to power a completely different energy consumption paradigm, than the one we now have... Why is this such a difficult concept to grasp?!

To answer my own question, I think it is because people just don't want to entertain the possibility that they will have to change how they do things. So they just come up with reasons why change can't happen!

BTW, solar is here today and it works just fine!


I am at + 50 deg north on the wet west coast. Luckily we have Provincial Hydro infrastructure because pv won't cut it for us. So, we heat with wood, grow our food, but will remain grid tied with back up solutions. The trade off is low surrounding population, beautiful scenery, clean air, and great fishing. Can't have it all with 7 billion needing a spot to perch. One has to make do with where you are and resources at hand.

If the power gets dodgy we'll go to bed early and conserve even more.


Firstly, I was replying to a comment that implied that solar could be the universal solution. So please don't shoot the messenger.

"However anyone who imagines such a future is oblivious of many facets of the big picture and needs to seriously re-examine their expectations.

It might be a much more productive exercise to find ways to power down, reduce consumption and then find ways in which it might be possible to use alternatives"

When I am talking about the numbers, it does not matter if it is solar or wind or solar thermal, or whatever. The point I am trying to get across is that ALL the answers lead to MORE energy use in there creation. This is the exact opposite to power down, using less.

We cannot get to a future of renewables by powering down, we need MORE glass, indium, gallium, copper, silver, steel, concrete (wind turbines), aluminium, etc. These industries in expansion of course need more workers and associated support industries.

Does 'power down' work for farms, transport of food, extractive industries etc?

I think not, I think we get economic and civilization collapse instead, especially with 7 billion of us.

I am all ears to numbers that show a different future, but all I see are hopes and belief.

We likely aren't halfway through burning all the fossil fuels we ultimately will, so I think we do still have the energy available to build out a solar infrastructure. Of course, this will be in the face of a declining rate of fossil fuel extraction meeting growing global demand, so whether we use the FF's for that purpose is another story. As far as politics and human nature go, you may be right.

In my day job, I write software that is used to design energy efficient buildings.

Current buildings are such energy pigs that designing a renewable system to power them makes no sense. But designing much much lower energy use buildings is simple. See Passiv Haus standard or net-zero buildings in the US. So rather than using many TW to heat and cool stupid buildings, the lowest cost path (both fiscally and environmentally) is to build better buildings and remodel the ones we have to be more efficient.

So I think any model that attempts to convert existing energy systems to renewables without accounting for efficient design is pretty ridiculous. Rather than using 200% of existing glass production to replace fossil fuel currently burnt to air-condition and heat inefficient houses, designing passively heated and cooled houses that require little or no air conditioning and heating to remain comfortable makes much more sense.

Similarly in the transport arena, walking, biking, rail and buses can reduce energy use per mile traveled by several orders of magnitude compared to US standard SUV.

People in Nepal live on about 1% of US per capita energy consumption today, and while few in the US would want to trade places (though I know some people who have) Nepali's continued existence is an existence proof that life on a tiny fraction of US consumption is not only possible but common.

Building integrated PV will only become more common and cheaper, and eventually using petroleum in the form of asphalt shingles to cover a building will seem obsolete and silly. Expecting business-as-usual to continue in the face of climate change and peak oil seems foolish, but Denmark and Germany are already at 10+% renewables without any symptoms of doom showing up.

Since I know that the adaptations to reduce energy use are so simple and cheap (and often improve quality of life too), I do not find the doomer argument convincing. Of course, I don't expect Drumbeat discussions to change anyone's point of view, but I just wanted mention that I work every day on energy use in buildings and I do not see the situation as so hopeless.

Current buildings are such energy pigs that designing a renewable system to power them makes no sense. But designing much much lower energy use buildings is simple.

Yeah, I've got to say that I've never fully understood why buildings are designed so inefficiently. I guess it has to do with the fact that if you are at the level of an entity that can afford to design and build new buildings then you've got so much money that working on energy efficiency is just something you don't bother to think about.

Since I know that the adaptations to reduce energy use are so simple and cheap (and often improve quality of life too), I do not find the doomer argument convincing.

Yeah, I'm in this camp. There is so much 'fat' in our system that we could massively cut back on energy usage with a lot of rather simple demand side technologies . . . LEDs, insulation, hybrid cars, more mass transit, CFLS, heat pumps, weatherstripping, putting entertainment centers on powerstrips, energy star appliances, etc. And then when you combine that with the various energy supply side success stories of Dakota tight oil, natural gas glut, PV prices dropping in half, etc. Well, I just don't see any collapse within a decade. I *do* see continued economic malaise & perhaps another financial crisis. There is no hot new sector, energy prices are higher and that sucks away from other spending, there is too much debt, etc. But I don't foresee an energy-based collapse.

I've made a modest effort to cut back on my energy usage . . . I've put CFLs everywhere, I turn off lights, I put the entertainment center on a powerstrip. But I do have an old inefficient refrigerator, I tend to have a computer running 24/7, I'm sure I have several unidentified energy vampires because my night-time usage is pretty high (is it the refrigerator?) . . . but I still end up in the very efficient category according to my local power company. So I know that there is a LOT of energy savings that can be had if people had a sufficient incentive to do so.

You've probably found most of the low hanging fruit. Stuff like replacing major appliances usually doen't happen until they fail and become not worth fixing. With my not big enough PV system I know I could reach parity (no net annual electricity consumptions) if I did the following:
(1) Scrap the electric dryer, and replace with gas (I already use a spin dryer, and clothes line, but not all family members comply...)
(2) Chuck the liquid crystal 42inch TV for an LED TV. Even with an energy star rating that sucker is 220watts, the 32inch LED in the bedroom is an impressive 40. So probably a similar sized LED would run 70watts.
(3) Replace the AC compresor with a new energy efficient model (at least 50% gain in efficiency)
(4) Replace the ten year old refrigerator (again energy star), but nothing like what you could get today.
But each of these are major appliance replacements several hundred to a few thousand bucks. Not gonna happen till they wear out.

A bit nitpicking maybe but

reduce energy use per mile traveled by several orders of magnitude compared to US standard SUV.

Several orders of magnitude implies a factor of thousands to millions. Thats way out of line. Maybe one order of magnitude. {Which is more than you need to make renewables work].

I looked at your calculations and my first impression was that your initial result was correct. Please explain your second set.

Secondly, your claim about average daily production from PV as compared to the rated output of the panels, while it may be correct, does not consider the fact that large scale installations would likely be situated in environments which have the highest solar availability, such as desert regions. In addition, low cost single axis tracking would improve the daily average considerably, while reducing the rather sharp daily peak of fixed installations.

Thirdly, such calculations ignore the fact that much of the energy demand could be provided by solar thermal systems, such as those for space and water heating. Using PV for heating water is a great waste of glass, since the efficiency of the solar thermal systems is 2 or 3 times greater than PV.

Lastly, you've focused on PV and ignored wind energy and high temperature solar thermal electric, both of which also have the potential to provide considerable electric power. The resulting combination of renewable sources could provide a large fraction of the demand, demand which is likely to be reduced as the cost of fossil energy to the consumer can be expected to continue to increase in future...

E. Swanson


My initial numbers used the 67 Gw of solar as consuming 2% of glass and 6% of silver, yet it was only the 28 Gw supplied in 2011 that used those numbers. To get an 85% increase in solar per annum for 4 years, from the 67 Gw base would lead to 784 Gw built after the fourth year of 85% growth. 784 is 28 times the size of 28, hence current use of 2% becomes 56%, and current use of 6% becomes 168%.

Secondly, your claim about average daily production from PV as compared to the rated output of the panels, while it may be correct, does not consider the fact that large scale installations would likely be situated in environments which have the highest solar availability, such as desert regions. In addition, low cost single axis tracking would improve the daily average considerably, while reducing the rather sharp daily peak of fixed installations.

I agree that the best use of solar is in desert situations with tracking devices to maximise both the overall rated capacity and the extended availability of peak power production outside the window of 9.30-2.30. when I have mentioned it in the past, especially something like the Moree solar power station $923m cost for 150Mw (development now suspended due to lack of government promised funding), people keep telling me that the way to go is on roof tops.
Even for that type of development the numbers do not stack up for large roll out.

If we look at wind and solar thermal electric as well, all we get is more of other materials needed. The answer of more is very had to work in a future with constrained energy, irrespective of what we need more of.
If we spend less energy on other things to use existing FF to create a renewable future, who misses out? What happens to the debt ladden economy as all other uses of energy contract? Do we give farmers less energy for us to build renewables, other mining perhaps?

Assuming that the rate of increase continues at 85% a year, after 1 year, installations are now 1.85 larger. Then after the second year, it's 3.42 times that at the start. After the third year, it's 6.33 times the start and at the end of the fourth year, the rate of production is 11.71 times the initial rate, which was your first result. Note that this growth in installations represents only US installations, not the rate of global growth. When you jump to global production/consumption data, I think that you are assuming a situation which would not apply, as the rate of growth in global production would likely be much smaller. Furthermore, you assume that the yearly electricity production given is the result of the installed capacity at the end of the year, even though the total capacity you cite hadn't been in operation over the full year.

That said, I agree that material consumption is indeed a major issue, but that also applies to all other sources of energy. When the production of fossil fuels become limited, all the systems and machinery which rely on those fuels will become useless junk. Not only that, but the power plants which we now have are eventually going to wear out and reach the end of their lives, even if there were the fuels available to run them. Everything produced by industrial society is subject to scrapage and the result is a continual process of replacement.

If the world is to continue to enjoy even the present rate of energy supply, there must be a continual effort required to keep the lights on. We thus have an either/or situation where the choice is either to continue building fossil fueled equipment and systems or build renewable replacements and adapt conservation measures. Can it be done in time to meet the expected exhaustion of fossil fuels? That's the ultimate question and from my perspective, I agree that things look rather bleak for humanity...

E. Swanson

Less energy would be used to build other types of power plants and extract the fuel needed for them. Less energy would be used to run oil refineries. You did not subtract the energy used to maintain the current energy system from the energy needed to build out the renewable system.

The assumptions you used in your calculation are unrealistic. You are assuming a build out of PV to 50% of current total energy consumption (not just electricity consumption) in 20 years. You are shutting down hydroelectric, wind, natural gas, coal, nuclear, wood, solar hot water and every other power generation source before the equipment is worn out and the energy supplies depleted. This will not happen. 40 to 60 more years to build out PV in conjunction with other renewable sources is much more plausible. No one knows how long PV panels will last in operation. Warranties are typically 20 to 25 years currently. I have 21 year old PV panels that were warrantied for 10 years and that still output the same amount of power as when they were new. The average replacement period for PV will be well in excess of 20 years.

Because both glass and silver production can increase, assuming they will not is unrealistic.

Thank you, BlueTwilight, for this refreshing, first-hand knowledge and reminder of the reality of PV and renewable energy. I will be the first to admit there are a number of deeply disturbing, growing risks to society in the near-medium term, but scarcity of electricity is not one of them for me. Perhaps the biggest worry is the trend of total disbelief in positive, rational reaction and change for the better. This is still puzzling me. I do not see any lack of available technology or resources or capacity. The deficit in vision and leadership is however downright terrifying. Most people on TOD blame the debt bubble. Well, maybe, but the real problem is that our entire finance industry is a Ponzi scheme, not that there is a lack of capital or that there is a lack of the honest and realistic will to make promises today for payment later. There is however an excess of get-rich-quick bubble inflators who have no fear of punishment or reprisal.

There is a disconnect that you seem to assume continueing, that being current energy consumption. At existing rates of growth over the last 20 years, the energy consumption in 20 years time will be something like 250,000 Twh. To think that 75,000 Twh from solar is unrealistic, the simple question is where will the energy come from? We will be well past peak oil and probably peak coal.

To say that we will not increase energy consumption beyond present numbers indicates lack of growth. Lack of growth means no vast increases in basic things like glass, silver etc.

My entire point that seems to be missed is that the growth needed to make renewables possible means MORE energy used to get there. We are not talking about todays numbers, we are talking about those 20+ years hence, when oil is way past peak. As we go into an energy constrained future the demands for funds become greater, the shear cost of setting up new mining operations, factories etc will become more and more prohibitive.

To say that we will not increase energy consumption beyond present numbers indicates lack of growth. Lack of growth means no vast increases in basic things like glass, silver etc.

You don't need overall growth for more glass & silver. You can shift resources as needed and that is what we do all the time. For example, people have been shifting spending in other areas to keep filling their gas tanks and that has hurt the economy. Of course others have shifted things such that we use less gasoline now (less driving, using public transport, etc.).

Existing (up to last year) rates of global energy growth may be about to stall as China's economy finally slows down. Last decade China was the driver for increased coal consumption while their domestic supplies appear to be approaching their peak production rate.

I have purchased 3 PV panels amounting to 390 rated watts over the last 11 years to further my ongoing effort to eliminate propane consumption at my house. The first two were for running refrigerators/freezers from electricity that eliminated about 40 gallons of propane consumption / year and the diesel fuel used by a delivery truck. Installing a wood stove reduced propane consumption more but did not require an increase in electric power. I use the third PV panel for more power on cloudy days to run the refrigerator, on sunny days to help run a convection microwave oven that replaces the conventional propane powered oven and prolong the lifetime of my batteries. This allowed me to finally eliminate all loss from leakage and pilot lights which was up to 30 gallons / year (I turned off the valve at the tank to keep it lower). From a house that was initially set up to use propane for heating, hot water, cooking, refrigeration and a backup generator, I now consume less than 1 gallon of propane per year, deliver propane to my house in a 5 gallon tank and transport it using gasoline with an efficiency of 26 miles/gallon. So:

~170 gallons of propane/year and 8 gallons of diesel/year;

were replace by:

390 rated watts of PV and .8 gallons of gasoline per year.

I purchase the propane at the same gasoline station where I fuel the vehicle, and the .8 gallons of gasoline is also used for a regular trip to town meaning I did not increase my consumption of gasoline. As for the firewood it was rotting away in my forest before I began using it as fuel to heat my house and cook. I bought new plate glass measuring 2 feet x 4 feet x 1/8 inch for my solar hot water panel. The electric refrigerator/freezer uses 25% of the power used by the propane/electric refrigerator/freezer and performs better.

I am not completely sure because I do not know the embodied energy in all of the relevant items, but I think I reduced my overall energy consumption. I definitely reduced my fossil fuel consumption. The assumption that a conversion to renewable energy systems will increase power consumption is not necessarily true.


What you have done highlights my point. While you were in the process of replacing all the propane use, your actual energy footprint went up dramatically if you include the energy to make and transport the PV panels, the microwave oven, the batteries, the wood stove, the new plate glass. These things were being made elsewhere while you continued to use propane.

Now picture the same on a world-wide scale. We don't have somewhere else to get the extra energy. We have to either increase energy use for a long time to make all the renewables possible, or take energy from some other use. If it is the latter, then who misses out?

In the past when we have built more it has been because more energy was always available to make make the new while transforming, think horse and buggy to autos. The time to go to renewables was 40 years ago when the problem was first highlighted to society by Limits to Growth. By doing not much other than BAU, we have boxed ourselves into a corner.

Yeah, but you need to look forward too and balance it out.

He is saving ~170 gallons of propane/year and 8 gallons of diesel/year every year for the next 20 or 30 years with those PV panels. The PV panels will generate more energy than they took to make.

Yeah, but you need to look forward too and balance it out.

I have been looking forward. I have been looking at all the increases in energy use that are needed over a long period of time to make renewables possible.

Everyone seems to be saying we need to cut back, but cut back what?? Who is going to miss out on their energy?? Will we take diesel off farmers to be used to extract more glass, silver, aluminium, steel, indium, gallium, tellerium etc. Maybe from Greece, Spain and Italy. Perhaps we will take energy from users in other countries, oh wait, the developing world seems to be doing that to us.

Written by Hide_away:
While you were in the process of replacing all the propane use, your actual energy footprint went up dramatically....

Maybe and maybe not. The energy used to transport the PV panels is rather small allowing the PV panels to replace the energy in a few weeks.

I waited until my old microwave oven broke down (after 23 years) to replace it with a convection microwave oven. The energy used to make the new oven was the energy needed for ongoing replacement of microwave ovens, not an additional energy burden on the system. The convection microwave oven is smaller than the gas stove/oven that it is replacing. There is probably less embodied energy in the convection microwave oven than in the two appliances it replaced. I think I decreased embodied energy consumption in this case.

Because I purchased the wood stove before the old propane heater was worn out, I probably increased embodied energy consumption in this case. However, that replacement saved about 140 gallons of propane and 8 gallons of diesel in every subsequent year (including the year in which I purchased it because I did not buy propane that year) which probably made the energy payback time rather quick. Transporting it from the store to my house did not increase gasoline consumption because I bought it during a regular trip to town. I would have used the same amount of gasoline whether or not I purchased it.

You are probably correct about increasing embodied energy consumption in the solar hot water panel. It probably saves less than 1 gallon of propane per year. Although some of the components were used scrap (wooden frame, Styrofoam insulation, nails, bolts, nuts, rocks and the cover) and the electricity used to fabricate it came from the PV system, it cost about $100 in parts (Lucite, glass, vinyl hose, plumbing fittings, paint, silicone, EMT, concrete and concrete blocks).

I got the electric refrigerator/freezer used from someone who was moving into another occupied house (i.e. increasing occupancy) that already had a refrigerator/freezer. Therefore, there is a 1.7 kWh/day reduction in the load on the grid and about a 1.1 kWh/day increased load on an off-grid PV system. Only one 135 rated watt PV panel was needed to make that happen at the time. Three years later I purchased a second 135 rated watt PV panel to, in part, help run the refrigerator/freezer. I probably reduced overall energy consumption in the system.

My point is that sweeping generalization are easy to grasp but not so accurate compared to analyzing the details to determine the energy flows.

The efficiency of solar thermal systems is in fact greater in the sense that they send more heat to the end user than a PV connected to a resistive heater. However, as was pointed out in an earlier TOD thread, PV coupled with a modern, super efficient heat pump is much better than PV-> resistive heater, and overall, it is probably preferable to solar thermal where solar input is good.

Here are some numbers for you. To get to 50% of current world energy use with solar in 20 years, when Westexas ELM shows the world near zero net exports of oil, we would have to build solar arrays equivalent of 3750 TWh output every year. That requires, at todays average world output of 3.25 hours/day, 3.161 Tw capacity built every year.

3 TW every year? Check your numbers. Global energy use rate is ~12 TW, and you would replace half or 6 TW. With a ~15% capacity factor solar needs 13TW peak to supply 6TW, over twenty years that's .65TW per year. Also much of current use is primary heat energy to heat engines; replacing that component with solar electric allows a ~60% reduction.

Hi DaveW, I live in a climate where we heat 6 months of the year. But my pellets stove is idle about 7 months a year and the wood-burning stove is idle 5-6 months. The wood-burning stove is never used after we go to bed.

Were these bad investments?

These heating devices are certainly not universal solutions, but I would recommend them for anyone who has a high heating load for the home more than 3-4 months a year, and where it is too cold for air-to-air heat pumps.

Horses for courses. Same for PV. Get over it and move on.

Currently PV production uses about 2% of world flat glass manufacture and about 6% of world silver fabrication demand. In 4 years at a rate of increase of 85% per annum we will use 11.7 times as much per annum, ie 23.4% of flat glass and 70.2% of silver. Does anyone see a problem here, apart from me?

So there is a good opportunity for economic growth in the PV industry? That is not a problem, that is a blessing.

Have you looked at the world economy lately? There are a lot of people that would be very happy to work at new glass factories.

Surely, the labour of something must be valued by what is achieved, rather than as an end to itself?

OK, I say "surely", but the labour ideology's roots run so deep, to the point that people hold employment as a blessing and consumption as a curse, even though they're different sides of the same coin.

What do you do with the power? There are no FIT's, Net Metering Contracts are capped at 1%. Soft costs and permitting major system costs? Occupy the Grid? Roll out Microgrids?

Net metering capped at 1%? I thought is the other way around . . . power companies now have Renewable portfolio standards that require them to get more renewables.

Depends on State, they are all over the map. Some have a PV/(DG) Distributed Gen carve-out. Most limit installation size. It's ALL ABOUT who gets to own the Power. Check out Summary Maps: http://www.dsireusa.org/solar/summarymaps/ Now go make power!

Well, I just bought 7kw of panels/inverters this morning, which should zero out our bill and then some. With state/Fed rebates of 65%, grid electricity (from the burning of oil!) three times the national average price, $1/watt panel prices, and high odds of the sun continuing to rise in Hawaii, it seems like a good use of a charge card.

Congratulations ! This sounds like a very worthwhile investment.


It kinda got to feeling like a no-brainer. I already have a 1.2kw offgrid system which powers freezers and other daily stuff.. like my mac mini, giant 32" screen, and the large fan that's now blowing on me. But in addition to the aesthetic reasons, it seems to make financial sense. Our income is from renting our downstairs or we wouldn't need so much; we use very little power.

But one of the factors was that homes on this street are right at the capacity cap the electric company can absorb, so it's now or never. Now works for me.

What kind of panels did you buy, and why? How will they be mounted?

For specifics, best not to hijack the drumbeat thread, you or anyone can drop me an email at the address you get when you click my user name.

But briefly, korean 248w monocrystalline panels at $1.11/watt, wired with microinverters at $148 apiece, installing them myself (with a friend to help) on a standard 1-story frame house roof, though a licensed electrician will do the grid hook-up.


When you get it done, I hope you can write it up for us. DIY is probably the only way to get low overall costs. But there must be some hoops to jump through, such as dealing with permits and inspections? Having a report on someone who did that could be helpful.

Who knows, I may crash & burn as a do-it-yourselfer, there definitely are hoops. I'm just ornery enough to assume I can navigate the hoops; though I will have to pay the going rate for a licensed electrician for the electrical hookup itself. I'll be happy to share the story once I finish, or crash & burn. Feel free to drop me an email if you'd like to hear of progress.

You can do it. I self-installed a PV system on my previous house. It is not rocket science. The only difficult aspect is getting the plans approved by the building department. You should not even really need an electrician for the hook-up because you hook up to the grid through a breaker you install in your main electrical panel.

I self-installed the off-grid system that's powering me as I type this, and it's actually a lot more complex. However, the utility net-metering agreement requires a licensed electrician to do and sign off on the hookup, and I don't consider that unreasonable. So all I need to do is find a licensed electrician down on his luck who will work for coconuts and avocados. I see a Craigslist ad in my future.

The little micro-inverters seemingly just hook on easily as you go and synch up automatically, the racking is standard and hooked into the rafters with lag bolts. I've heard some horror stories about waiting at the state office to get the user-contractor permit, but life is an adventure, right?

I agree with the electrician thing. I know how electricity works, it wouldn't be hard to throw together something that works. But electricians are highly trained at meeting codes, and even if you didn't need to pass an inspection, knowing that it was done right (i.e. the odds of starting a fire over it's multidecade lifetime are really low), should be a big deal.

I agree that it needs to be INSPECTED before firing it up. But if you know what you are doing AND get it inspected, I don't see why the electrician is required other than to satisfy the electrician union.

Trouble is you have to alloa for those who do not know what they are doing and the law is unable to discern between them in advance.


There are lots of electricians and comparatively few inspectors. The electrician gets paid to interact with individuals hoping to straightening-out their installations detail-by-detail to the point that they will pass inspection... the county does not.

Freelance residential electricians are generally not union.

AC Panels change everything, All the NEC DC requirements for conductors and grounding do NOT Apply to a "LISTED" AC Module. Kinda like a mix of a light fixture and TV Antenna. Here's a system you can start with just 1 panel and take to megawatts. Occupythegrid.com systems ship next month. Cat's out of the bag. Disclosure, I consult on this project.

It is generally useful to provide a link:

Here is the link to 'Occupy the Grid' (occupythegrid.com)


I looked around the site...awaiting more detail.

How much?

All Details on the site soon. Starter/Teaser 255 watt System < $1200 Retail, Will be very competitive over a kW (4 panels) with margin for dealers. Complete 30 year engineered solution, 150 mph wind PE cert, kWh meter on 1st Panel, non metallic mounts, Install & Forget, Leave to your kids, etc. No one yet has done this in a complete solution.

I wish you success.

Congrats, 'nish. Greenish with envy am I. I'm hoping to add another 2kW before the next big step down, mainly to keep my batteries and my wife's 38" plasma happy ;-/ Also needing/wanting more hot water panels to improve winter performance. Keep us posted on your progress.

Ghung. You and other hardware types here might like to hear of my first try of a stirling wood fired generator to boost my batteries on cloudy days when my 1kW of PV is too feeble.

I and my very good helper were so excited at the prospect of the first fire-up that we hit the start button before properly checking the entire wiring, and so my nice little 1kW stirling dutifully started and then proceeded to furiously beat its brains out for a few cycles before I could hit the kill button. OOps- loose wire going to the battery, so no load. Free piston stirlings tend to run away if unloaded. Fortunately it wasn't very hot.

But we expect the ICU to do its thing and have the engine back in business shortly. Will report results. My little fantasy here is to prove that wood can be used instead of a gasoline genset for the cloudy day boost.

Wimbi, I'm also one of those hardware guys, and look forward to hearing how your sterling generator goes.

If it's possible to take measurements, I would like to know how much wood it takes to generate 1KW of electric?

Otherpower reported that it took about 60 pounds/KW with their steam engine.

Last time I measured it about 7 yrs ago, it took about 1.5kg wood pellets/kW-hr. But should be better now. We shall soon see.

Some folks have reported efficiencies in the 25% range for the newer stirling engines but I would imagine that it would depend on the temperatures that it could handle.

A great investment!
Solar makes real sense in Hawaii, due to the low annual variation in incidence and the lack of a cold, dark winter.

Japanese companies are now starting to bring out battery packs designed to smooth daily use.
At around 1.3kwh with 1 kwh usable they are fine for smoothing daily load.

Electric cars are now dropping to reasonable prices, and the range is fine for Hawaii.
The new Smart EV is selling ex VAT for around $24,000 in Germany, which in the US would attract the $7,500 subsidy.
If you are not earning enough to benefit from the full rebate, then leasing would be a better option so the company can claim the subsidy, and at the end of the lease you would then pay or finance the residual.

If two seats are not enough you will have to wait a little longer for something economic in 4-seaters.

Their energy use is about 0.45kw for perhaps 12,000 miles per year.

I'm guessing you will average perhaps a 23% capacity factor, so you should have an average energy flow of around 1.6kw or so available from your 7kw array:

You seem to be looking good for energy and transport.

If two seats are not enough you will have to wait a little longer for something economic in 4-seaters.

The Mitsubish-i (AKA iMiEV) is an inexpensive 4-seater but has a limited EPA rated 62 mile range.

A local dealer has them at costing less than $19K after all the tax-credits are taken into consideration:

But the EV crowd has their fingers-crossed hoping that Nissan cuts the price of the Leaf once the Smyrna Tennessee plant opens up.

Not planning any EV currently. We work from a home office and consolidate trips in the '99 civic DX hatchback. It gets 36mpg (would do better but it's an automatic for the wife), and our total yearly miles are about 600, including a trip to costco for staples every 2 months, various trips to the airport to get guests, and minor recreational trips. An older car combined with such a strategy probably causes a lot less problem for the planet than building one of the current EV's, and it makes the cost of gas irrelevant to us... I'd support taxing it to $50/gallon to clear some of the SUV's off the roads. In fact, if the guzzlers were gone, we'd be fine driving a golf cart at 25mph. Things aren't all that far apart on this island.


You have indeed made a very good investment. How is it that you have a 65% rebates? The Fed is 30% . . .the state kicks in that much more? California's program is pretty much out of money so all I'd get these days if from the Fed (and it is still a good deal).

Yup, at least for now the state of HI kicks in 35%. I don't count on that to last a long time, so now seems good.

I wouldn't discount tea party politics (driven of course by FF interests). Start throwing out net metering, FITs etc. Add more paperwork... We already have trade sanctions against Chinese panels (roughly 30%), I expect market prices of panels will rise by nearly that amount.


Euro zone discussed capital controls if Greek exits euro

European finance officials have discussed limiting the size of withdrawals from ATM machines, imposing border checks and introducing euro zone capital controls as a worst-case scenario should Athens decide to leave the euro.

No decisions have been taken on the calls, but members of the Eurogroup Working Group, which consists of euro zone deputy finance ministers and heads of treasury departments, have discussed the options in some detail, the sources said.

Belgium's finance minister, Steve Vanackere, said at the end of May that it was a function of each euro zone state to be prepared for problems. These discussions have been in that vein, with the specific aim of limiting a bank run or capital flight.

As well as limiting cash withdrawals and imposing capital controls, they have discussed the possibility of suspending the Schengen agreement, which allows for visa-free travel among 26 countries, including most of the European Union.

also EU discusses 'limiting ATM withdrawals'

and Greeks Withdraw $1 Billion a Day Ahead of Vote

"Worst-case scenario" doesn't really have the same ring to it since Deepwater Horizon and Fukushima, although economic failures can be gamed more easily than engineering failures. The tenderhooks upon which the bad news is being hung (e.g. "negative growth") are becoming more and more elaborate and ornamental as the weeks go by, especially when no one but the day-traders are admiring the design. Are we all just sidling inconspicuously toward the exit of the crowded theater and seeing who yells "fire!" first?

Sorry, there was a sale on metaphors at the farmer's market last weekend.

I noticed people were posting about discrepancies between the production numbers from the Texas RRC and the EIA. Delving into historical TX production numbers from the former, I see that they've never been in agreement; starting in 1981 (when the EIA data series begins) at 95 kb/d, the diff has widened over the decades to an all-time peak of 198 kb/d in 2010. It basically plateaued at ca. 100 kb/d until 1992. EIA is always higher.

Perhaps - presumably - this isn't news, but thought I'd bring it up. I've also teased annual numbers for California from the annual reports of their Department of Conservation's Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources; those provided numbers back to 1973, but, what is more, the numbers for the 1980s match up with those provided by EIA to within a barrel or two. Why the RRC diverges so widely from the EIA I couldn't tell you.

It's also quite irksome that its 37 year existence the EIA hasn't expanded these production numbers further back in time; it can't be that much of a challenge. They could have gotten the job done with a state per year, after all...

KLR - Have you dug into the EIA methods of ESTIMATING production in Texas? They request a limited number of companies to voluntarily supply them with production data. Then they extrapolate those numbers to ESTIMATE the state's total oil production...an extrapolation method I've yet seen them explain in detail. The TRRC, OTOH, requires every producer in the state to report their monthly production, accurate down to the barrel. Texas counties also require accurate reporting. Both the state and counties calculate severance tax based on the reported numbers. Reporting inaccurate production numbers is considered tax evasion and is punishable by fines if done accidentally and imprisonment if determined to be intentional. The production numbers are audited utilizing records of both the oil transporters and purchasers.

With that in mind who would you put your money on for accuracy: a random voluntary collection of partial data used to estimate (with no penalty for inaccuracy) statewide production or the numbers provided by every oil producer (who are audited under threat of fines and/or imprisonment) for every barrel produced in the state every month?

I think there is an even more important question: the TRRC can provide the EIA with its production numbers at the first of every month for free. Not sure how much it costs the EIA to develop their internal estimate but I'm pretty sure it's not free. So they spend time and money to generate what they actually define as an estimate instead of using what is easily argued as a more accurate data base they can obtain for free.

Why? Now that would be a very interesting answer IMHO.

The same applies in Canada. The provincial governments have constitutional authority over onshore oil and gas production, and misreporting the data to them involves fines and/or jail sentences. They actually do balance company production data against other companies and the pipeline data, and if there are any discrepancies inspectors show up at your oil production facility to ask some hard questions. If you don't have good answers, they might put a padlock on it and invite you to come up with better data before you can produce more oil.

As a result the provincial government numbers are generally pretty accurate. Unlike the US government, the Canadian government has decided that it is better, not to mention cheaper, to take the provincial data as gospel. They estimate numbers and flag them as such until the provincial data comes in, and then declare it official.

The question I (and the Rock) would ask is why the EIA is estimating Texas crude oil production instead of using the actual production reports from the RRC?

In any case, the gap between the two data bases grew to 500,000 bpd for January, 2012. Here is the link to the most recent Texas monthly and annual production data:


Following is a graph of annual US crude oil (C+C) production for 2002 to 2011. The top curve is EIA only. The bottom curve uses RRC data for Texas production and EIA data for other US producing regions:

What I find even more interesting is that the RRC, which again sums the reported production from producers' reports, shows that annual Texas natural gas well production peaked in 2008, when we saw all time record high annual natural gas prices, with natural gas well production falling steadily in subsequent years. The RRC shows that Texas natural gas production January, 2012 was down 20% from January, 2009.

wt - And down a tad more by March

From: http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/data/production/index.php

Texas NG peaked in Jan 2009 at 691 million mcf with the latest production reported for March 2012 at 539 million mcf. Or a 22% decline. I suspect the rapid decline was due to much of the previous increase coming from the east Texas shale plays. Not only did drilling activity fall off rapidly at the end of '08 but the high decline rates of those new wells brought the production down quickly. In my 37 years I had never seen the oil patch pull back so quickly. As I've mentioned before Devon had 18 rigs running and east Texas and dropped 14 of them within a couple of months at the beginning of '09. And paid a $40 million penalty for doing so. I don't have the time right now to quantify the gain but NG associated with the Eagle Ford oil production is helping slow the decline to so degree but I don't have a sense of that magnitude yet.

And the future doesn't look too bright - From:


"Natural gas drilling rig counts in the U.S. dropped by 11 to 652 operating rigs this week, the lowest rate since May 2002, Reuters reports."

500 kb/d! Hadn't noticed the gulf was so huge. That's about as much oil as is coming out of the ground in Australia. You could turn this into a big cause célèbre, seems like. Or a keypost, at least.

WT - had you noticed the diff all these years, and just worked around it? My guess is that's it's just inertia at play; EIA has always calculated it that way, if it ain't broke etc etc. One thing I noticed looking at those Annual Reports from Cali is that they've been using the same damn form for almost 40 years; now it's in slick color, of course, but you still get to the "Oil and Gas Statistics" section about 1/3 of the way through, same old barrage of fun facts like "CALIFORNIA’S GIANT OIL FIELDS"; then a table with 6 districts' output, total for same, for the year the report is issued and the previous year below that. And it's always been BBO for the year, too, you do the dividing by 365 if you want kb/d. And it's always the exact same number EIA has for annual, to within a bbl or two. This is an "estimate" or "calculation"?!?!?!?!?

KLR - Took a bit to dig the data out but here you go:

From: Ca Department of Conservation
Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources

"Monthly Production Reports: The owner of any production well must file monthly oil, gas, and water production data with the division in Sacramento, on or before the last day of the month following the report month."

The latest complete data I found from the CDC: 2010 - 200,821,137 bo. I assume this is the compilation of the monthly production reports submitted by operators. According to the EIA CA produced 201,480,000 bo in 2010. Giving rounding errors the numbers appear identical.

So that makes the question even more interesting: if the EIA is using production data supplied by operators in CA why aren't they doing the same for Texas?

BTW: an interesting side note I bumped into: Along with the 200 million bo produced in CA during 2010 they also produced 2.9 billion bbls of water. IOW 94% of the production from CA wells is water. The term "oil stained water" pops to mind.

They provide a ton of data to futz about with, alright. I've been looking at the numbers provided by ND as well, they have a lot of info on tap, but not quite that exhaustive. One thing the EIA has done right is to have spreadsheet files available at the click of a mouse, spares you the need for all the copy-and-paste marathons you have to go through with .pdf files.

Something I've mulled over for years is trying to provide all this data in a central locale; in fact I think the last time I threw out the suggestion was before Google Docs was fired up; or I wasn't aware they were around. You can put up any manner of spreadsheet there, for all to check out; very handy.

The Alberta Energy Conservation Board requires more or less the same information, but quicker and more detailed:

ERCB Directive 007 (pdf)

Well Volumetric
By the 18th day of the month, or if the 18th is not a business day the next business day, or as otherwise directed by the ERCB, the operator of the well must accurately report
a) the volumetric amounts of crude oil, condensate, crude bitumen, gas, water, or other substance produced from the well;
b) the volumetric amounts of oil, gas, solvent, water, air, or other substance injected or disposed of into the well;
c) the number of hours during which the well was tested or produced, was injected, or was used for disposal purposes;
d) the volumetric amounts of sulphur emissions at the well;
e) the volumetric amounts of gas flared, vented, or used for fuel at the well;
f) the shut-in activity if the well was shut in for the entire preceding month; and
g) any further particulars the ERCB may require.

Facility/Pipeline Information
By the 18th day of the month, or if the 18th is not a business day the next business day, or as otherwise directed by the ERCB, the operator of the facility or pipeline must accurately report
a) the particulars of the crude oil, synthetic crude oil, gas, marketable gas, ethane, propane, butanes, natural gas liquids, helium, sulphur products, crude bitumen, water, waste products, and other substances purchased, received, processed, disposed of, and sold;
b) the particulars of the source from which the component, product, and substance listed in (a) above were received or processed;
c) the particulars of the volumetric amount from each source for each component, product, and substance listed in (a) above;
d) the particulars of the inventories, disposition, and delivery destinations of all components, products, and substances received, processed, and recycled listed in (a) above;
e) the particulars of disposition when product leaves the province;
f) the particulars of fuel gas flared, vented, and used;
g) the volumetric amount of sulphur emissions at the facility;
h) the SHUTIN activity if the facility or pipeline was shut in for the entire preceding month; and
i) any further particulars the ERCB may require for a particular facility or pipeline.

And the ERCB balances the numbers from different companies against each other, distributes the results to all the oil companies, and invites the oil companies to explain any discrepancies or face fines and/or imprisonment.

Most oil companies take the final ERCB numbers as gospel because they are more accurate than the oil companies original numbers before validation against other companies numbers.

Regulatory authorities in the other major producing provinces derive their reporting standards from the Alberta ERCB, and the National Energy Board just consolidates the data, so the Canadian numbers are pretty gosh darn accurate.

Did Republicans Deliberately Crash the US Economy?

... there is circumstantial evidence to make the case. Republicans have opposed a lion's share of stimulus measures that once they supported, such as a payroll tax break, which they grudgingly embraced earlier this year. Even unemployment insurance, a relatively uncontroversial tool for helping those in an economic downturn, has been consistently held up by Republicans or used as a bargaining chip for more tax cuts. Ten years ago, prominent conservatives were loudly making the case for fiscal stimulus to get the economy going; today, they treat such ideas like they're the plague.

Traditionally, during economic recessions, Republicans have been supportive of loose monetary policy. Not this time. Rather, Republicans have upbraided Ben Bernanke, head of the Federal Reserve, for even considering policies that focus on growing the economy and creating jobs.

And then, there is the fact that since the original stimulus bill passed in February of 2009, Republicans have made practically no effort to draft comprehensive job creation legislation. Instead, they continue to pursue austerity policies, which reams of historical data suggest harms economic recovery and does little to create jobs. In fact, since taking control of the House of Representatives in 2011, Republicans have proposed hardly a single major jobs bill that didn't revolve, in some way, around their one-stop solution for all the nation's economic problems: more tax cuts.

As Paul Krugman wrote earlier this week, in the New York Times, while a Democrat rests his head each night in the White House, the United States is currently operating with a Republican economy.

Neither the dems nor the repubs know how to deal with the rising cost of energy. Nor we here at TOD.

Yes, we could have more equal distribution of the shrinking pie.

I disagree. "We" (meaning, the US) could institute a direct energy rationing system, one which sent allocations directly to the consumer and which included a white market to kill the incentive to game the system. Also, "We" could embark on a serious campaign to install renewable energy systems, such as solar thermal and PV, which have declined in price in recent years. "We" could actually make the auto companies stick to mandates to sell higher MPG vehicles. "We" could make a serious effort to hire those unemployed construction workers in order to cut energy waste in existing structures. "We" could insist that future development be limited around cities, with higher densities than has been typical in the latest McMansion craze and kill subsidies for unnecessary second homes.

All that and more could happen unless "We" continue to ignore reality. Sad to say, "We" aren't the rich banksters in New York and London who control our political and financial systems...

E. Swanson

Oh, please. The Democrats and Republicans are simply two different marketing strategies, designed to peddle the feeling that the United States debates its fundamental socio-political issues. The reality is that the differences are tiny, and the two marketing wings compete over style and marginal issues, while both faithfully advancing the agenda of the status quo, meaning the big money donors to the "campaigns."

The Democrats have hardly proposed anything different. Obama's "jobs" proposal is mostly more tax breaks for existing "employers."

The parties are definitely different. But neither party has any magic that will cure economic ills. No one does.

When it comes to economic issues, the differences between the parties seems more style than substance. They both want to monetize as much debt as possible in order to maintain as much of the existing financial and political power structure as possible.

I disagree. The economy could be run the way it was in World War II, but with the aim of ecologically oriented reconstruction of the society's infrastructures, rather than bomb-making.

This would create a massive economic boom and also redistribute wealth and end poverty and put everybody to work, for probably a decade or longer.

So, it's not that nobody could cure economic ills. It's that nobody in either "party" is willing even to talk about the rather obvious answers that exist.

They'd be red baited and run out of the country on a rail. The one thing politicians are good at is politics, i.e. reading what can be "sold" to the public, versus what can't. And of course all politicians -or policy makers have determined and totally ruthless enemies. Fending off attacks by these enemies takes precedence over implementing good policy.

It's certainly possible, but...good for them!

In this case, if they are single minded in their determination to get Obama out of office, I say, go for it.

Not that it impacts the lifeboats much. Leave the squabbling aboard the Titanic to those who, obsessed with failed ideas, lack the survival instinct.

Most say Bush to blame for weak U.S. economy, poll finds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About two-thirds of Americans believe Republican former U.S. President George W. Bush is responsible for the nation's struggling economy, with a smaller percentage blaming Democratic President Barack Obama, a Gallup poll showed on Thursday.

About 68 percent of the more than 1,000 adults surveyed nationwide said Bush, who left office in January 2009, deserves a "moderate amount" or a "great deal" of the blame for the U.S. economic woes compared to 52 percent who pointed to his successor Obama, the poll found.

Poll respondents who identified themselves as Republicans were split, with 49 percent saying Bush deserved a moderate amount or great deal of the blame while 51 percent said Bush deserved not much of the blame or none at all. They expressed even more blame for Obama, however, with 83 percent holding him largely responsible for the state of the economy, the poll found.

Among Democrats, 90 percent blamed Bush for the weak economy and only 19 percent said Obama should carry much of the blame, according to the poll, conducted by telephone June 7 to 10.

People blame the politicians but the real cause are the people under them. It's all about demographics. Harry Dent did a high correlation between the relative number of people in the 40 to 50 age group with the value of the S&P 500. He published his work in 1993. Basically, the relative number of people in the 40 to 50 age group drive the market. They have the most needs with teenagers, college, vacations and the income to spend. The relative number started to go positive in the early 80's which was start of the "Great Bull Market". The relative number started to go negative around the year 2000. The graph he drew started to plunge around 2010 with a bottoming around 2020 when the sons and daughters of us Baby-Boomers reached their 40's.

When we reach 50, our kids are basically out of the nest and our parents begin dieing. We see what lies ahead for us and we pay off our debts and begin to save so we aren't fighting the dog for his Alpo. We do not want to out live our money and be a burden to our kids. We are trying to buy the stock of companies we used to buy products from.

**Does this make sense???**

After a bit, we reach retirement and start to sell our stocks and bonds.

When Glass-Steagall was repealed, there went the financial "governor" the housing market engine overheated with "no doc and liar loans". Derivatives, credit default swaps, etc. replaced prudent investments. The world is paying the price. We won't see stability until responsibility is restored to the banking and financial systems.

Well, that's it then. After four whole years it's still all GWB's fault. So the only possible "fix" is to get ourselves a time machine, go back to 2004, and unelect GWB. Oh, goody.

Well he did enthusiastically continue the bubble economy -and spent a lot on wars. The change in tax revenues and spending meant our debt levels went up by trillions, so now we are afraid to use enough stimulus to reverse the decline. None of that means Obama did a good job, but the conditions for severe economic dislocation were already set up. Obviously other bubbles -such as in the EU were not Bush's fault. And running out of cheap oil, was also in the cards too. Basicly it was a case of strong headwinds ahead -party on dude. Now the headwinds are here, and we can't cope very well with them.

GWB has some idea about Peak Oil (from the upper right corner),

What people need to hear loud and clear is that we're running out of energy in America.”
—George W. Bush, May 2001

BUT he did NOTHING about it - no increase in CAFE, cutback efficiency standards set during Clinton Administration, decreased funding for urban rail (pushed oil burning BRT instead), no reduction in sprawl highways# - EXCEPT to invade Iraq.

On that issue alone, he totally and completely blew it. It will take 16 years to recover from his 8 years (and not just in energy).

Best Hopes for Blaming Bush for at least the next 20 years,


# GWB Administration asked for proposals to reduce inter-city highway congestion. 17 proposals for more concrete, and one from CSX. $11 billion (some private, some fed $) to build 3 grade separated tracks from DC to Miami.
Two tracks for freight and one track for 100 mph passenger service. All three grade separated.

5 "more concrete" projects got funding.

He did push for hydrogen fuel cell cars . . . of course that was a boondoggle that went no where. The Obama push for electric cars was more realistic but it has also not done nearly as well as many had hoped. It is just really REALLY hard to replace the relatively low price and energy density of oil even as its price has risen.

Current alternative technology cannot compete effectively against $85/barrel oil and $3.30/gallon gasoline. They do start becoming cost effective at higher prices though. But those prices are so high that market cannot support them and instead the economy breaks down which pushes oil prices back down.

Urban Rail and electrified railroads compete quite well with oil powered transport. As do bicycles.

Best Hopes for Effective Oil Free Transportation,


and unelect GWB


Change one vote in the Supreme Court.


EU watchdog agency warns of privacy issues with smart meters

... as Giovanni Buttarelli, an assistant supervisor with the independent watchdog group European Data Protection Supervisor, points out in a new report, sometimes good intentions can give way to unexpected side effects and in this case it’s the possibility of smart sensors giving away private information about people as they go about their daily lives.

Many items today relating to oil price – why we need high prices, low prices showing that there is no peak, dropping price painful for OPEC, . Looking for a pattern, I see that most try to foster the idea that BAU is not a problem or that high prices are good.

They all seem to miss the point that, at peak, oil prices disturb economies. When economies go into recession, especially worldwide interconnected recession, a major part of the equation is distorted. At times like this, a ‘high’ price for oil is determined by what is affordable. If people cannot afford to purchase goods that are connected with oil price [including, of course, imports and goods otherwise transported long distances], the price is ‘high’ and demand destruction is the result. Instead of providing analysis that shows such, the media announce that there is a super abundance of oil, and things are getting better now. It is when the "low" price is not "high" enough that we see disparate items in the press such as are visible today.

I know NG sales have continued at prices below production cost. At least it would appear that is the case. Are oil producers in pretty much the same predicament as to oil sales? (Will producers sell for an extended period at prices less than their production costs?) Does anyone have a definitive cost of production for, say, the Bakkan fields? Not talking about EROEI here, but captial costs. I am beginning to think that production will end well before EROEI = 2.
Also, as to NG production, is there a publicly available source to show NG wells under way vs. those in production, with comparative costs for production along the way?

Also, any thoughts about what happens when the economy can no longer sustain an oil price above capitalized production cost? I know there are existing wells plugging along, producing oil at lower than new production cost. How much of this oil is available, and how long will that oil last before it becomes impossible to supply any demand?

Just a few thoughts based on the first few reads today. Will try to get back before EOD Thursday.


zap - "Will producers sell for an extended period at prices less than their production costs?" That's easy to answer but first let's make sure of our terminology. In the oil patch the LOE (Lease Operating Expense) is what I spend every month to produce my oil well. Some of those costs vary but much is fixed. I'll pay my gauger $750 per well per month whether a well produces 10 bo or 1000 bo that month. The number varies greatly but the vast majority of wells are still profitable at $20/bbl or even less. So if by some miracle if oil fell to $20/bbl would operators cut back production? Some would to some degree. But many won't because they need what every bit of cash flow they can generate in order to keep their doors open. I've seen as many operators try to increase production in the face of falling prices as those who cut back on their rates.

Now if by production costs you mean what it costs to drill for new reserves then that's another matter. And a very difficult answer to quantify. When you invest in a stock you do so expecting it to increase in price. When I drill a well I expect to find X bbls of oil. Sometimes we're correct...sometimes not. I can calculate my target reserves will cost me $30/bbl to drill up. If oil is selling for $100/bbl it might seem like an easy decision. But what if I find only 1/4 of my target reserve volume and it costs me $120/bbl? Or worse yet: a dry hole? So I end up with any number of prospects I would drill if oil were $100/bbl but not as many if I expect oil to sell for $50/bbl.

It easier to use NG as an example given the current situation. We have all but dropped our deep NG drilling program due to current prices. We have cut back production some because we don't need the cash flow. Many operators can't cut their production back significantly and stay solvent. IOW I'll sell NG for $2.50/btu but I won't drill for it at that price. Nor will many other operators. But it will take at least several years for the lag of that activity to show up on the production end of the scale. Until then NG will remain relatively cheap while fewer pure NG wells are drilled.

North-East Passage soon free from ice again?

The North-East Passage, the sea route along the North coast of Russia, is expected to be free of ice early again this summer. The forecast was made by sea ice physicists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association based on a series of measurement flights over the Laptev Sea, a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. Amongst experts the shelf sea is known as an "ice factory" of Arctic sea ice. At the end of last winter the researchers discovered large areas of thin ice not being thick enough to withstand the summer melt.

Coincidently, the Laptev Sea is the same area where Shakhova and Semiletov identified substantial methane venting from submerged permafrost

I follow the development daily at http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ My bet this year is both the northwest and the northeast passages will be ice free this summer. The ice has been collapsing like madly the last week.

I will be away from the internet for about a week now, so I guess there will be a lot ice gone when I check it out after next week.

Measuring the 'other' greenhouse gases: Higher Than Expected Levels of Methane in California

New research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found that levels of methane—a potent greenhouse gas emitted from many man-made sources, such as coal mines, landfills and livestock ranches—are at least one-and-a-half times higher in California than previously estimated.

IEA calls for a trillion dollars per year additional investment in new energy. Wow. I am impressed. Let's hope they have better luck than Jimmy Carter did in 1974(?).

"Let's hope they have better luck than Jimmy Carter did in 1974(?)."

Carter was elected in 1976, and inaugurated january 1977. I remember reading somewhere that in politics, the only thing worse than being wrong, is to be right too soon. That certainly applies to Jimmy Carter.

Hell is the Truth Seen Too Late - Thomas Hobbes (1588 - 1679)

Global climate change: Underestimated impact of sea-level rise on habitat loss?

... The researchers assessed the potential consequences of human displacement on habitat availability and distributions of selected mammal species. Depending upon the sea-level rise scenario, between 3 and 32 percent of the coastal zone of these islands could be lost from primary effects, and consequently around 8 to 52 million people could become flood refugees. To assess secondary effects, the authors made the simplifying assumption that inundated urban and intensive agricultural areas will be relocated with an equal area of habitat loss in the hinterland.

Their projections show that such secondary effects can have dramatic impacts on the distribution of animals. Secondary range loss effects may equal or even exceed primary effects for at least 10-18 percent of the sample mammals in a moderate scenario and for 22-46 percent in a maximum scenario. In other words, for at least 20 percent of the examined species, secondary effects can be at least as important as, or more severe than primary habitat loss effects from sea-level rise.

"Our findings suggest that to accurately identify ecologically vulnerable regions and species, it is crucial to consider secondary effects of sea-level rise,"

Sad news for peak oil disciples
A peak oil follower despairs of his movement's future

Now we know that all that needs to be done to have infinite oil supplies in a finite world is to simply deny "finite", deny cost benefit ratios even exist, declare the controversy to be over, and of course covert to Oilah Akbar, source of the infinite oil.

Rarely are words so powerful, except when flowing from the pens of the psychopaths.


Rant against the machine ...

"We are on the precipice of being so ignorant that our democracy is threatened."
- Walter Cronkite - October 23rd 2004

U.S. to Pay 'Selected' Foreign Journalists to Cover State Dept.

U.S. taxpayers soon will pay for hotel rooms, flights, and even the TV production costs of foreign journalists covering the Department of State. The purported goal of the endeavor is to communicate and promote U.S. policies and "American values."

The new project comes at a time when State separately is attempting to buy, produce, and disseminate its own media broadcasts, establishing a paid 24/7 "news" service with contractor assistance

The State Dept. warned potential contractors via the RFP [Solicitation #SAQMMA12R0228] that they are bound by perpetual silence regarding their partnership with the government:

The Contractor and its employees shall exercise the utmost discretion in regard to all matters relating to their duties and functions. They shall not communicate to any person any information known to them by reason of their performance of services under this contract which has not been made public, except in the necessary performance of their duties or upon written authorization of the Contracting Officer. All documents and records (including photographs) generated during the performance of work under this contract shall be for the sole use of and become the exclusive property of the U.S. Government. ... These obligations do not cease upon the expiration or termination of this contract.

The General Accountability Office – the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress – in 2005 declared that several federal entities, such as the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, may have violated the law by disseminating “video news releases,” or VNRs as fact-based news reports.

Subsequent to the GAO’s findings, the “Stop Government Propaganda Act” was introduced to rein in and punish such activities; it died, however, after being introduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee.


Senate: Drones Need to Operate “Freely and Routinely” In U.S.

The integration of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS) needs to be expedited, the Senate Armed Services Committee said in its report on the FY2013 defense authorization bill last week. “While progress has been made in the last 5 years, the pace of development must be accelerated

“Large number of UASs now deployed overseas may be returned to the United States as the conflict in Afghanistan and operations elsewhere wind down in coming years, and new UASs are under development.”

VA Governor Wants Police To Use ‘Great’ Surveillance Drones Because ‘We Use [Them] On The Battlefield’

Joint Advanced Warfighting School Thesis on Problems Integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems [UAS] into the National Airspace System [NAS]

NASA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) Project

Rebuild Your Local Economy With the Drone Industry

DoD Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap FY2011-2036

U.S. Joint Planning and Development Office NextGen Unmanned Aircraft Systems R&D Roadmap

Drone aircraft are patrolling U.S. Cities

New Eyes in the Sky: Protecting Privacy from Domestic Drone Surveillance

40° 43' 47" north latitude 73° 59' 16" west longitude = intersection of Broadway and 42nd Street in Manhattan

Navy drone crashes in Maryland

… and from a person who knows nothing about computers …

McCain Promotes Offensive Cyber Capabilities

The U.S. military is placing too much emphasis on defense against cyber attacks when it should be developing offensive cyber capabilities, according to Sen. John McCain.

... can you say 'blowback

State Dept. RFP: Communications Intercept System

Solicitation Number: S-INLEC-06-R-4042
Agency: U.S. Department of State
SCOPE: The U.S. Government intends to procure a communications intercept system that enables the timely receipt, processing, analysis, and storage of intercepted communications from the national telephonic and other communications service providers in Mexico.

Loophole in Law May Allow Warrantless Surveillance of Americans

Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are divided over whether there is a loophole in current law which would permit government agencies to monitor the communications of American citizens without any kind of warrant or other judicial authorization.
The dispute was presented but not resolved in a new Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act (FAA) Sunsets Extension Act, which would renew the provisions of the FISA Amendments Act through June 2017.
“We have concluded… that section 702 [of the Act] currently contains a loophole that could be used to circumvent traditional warrant protections and search for the communications of a potentially large number of American citizens,” wrote Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall.

Legal Authorities Supporting the Activities [warrantless surveillance] of the National Security Agency Described By the President


/end rant

Clearly McCain slept through Stuxnet and Flame. The US is quite adept at offensive cyber tactics.

Be wary of DHS using drones disguised as flying animals...


Remember,always look on the bright side of life...


Boy, that is just off.

I seems grossly disrespectful of the animal and life.. I hope that it pisses on his furniture.

Chuck Testa probably sees a whole new business opportunity from this flying taxidermy idea...


Are you implying all-seeing Vatican quadrotor drones? There would be some asymmetry in pitch and yaw...
Ground troops would engage in mop-up?



It looks more like a prototype for Kzinti quadrotor attack drones...

The integration of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS)

Anyone else wonder if the acronym UAS was originally derived from Unmanned Aerial Surveillance?


The best take on the State of the Nation (and the State of the World) I have seen lately, and maybe ever. Maybe it belongs on TAE; has relevence anywhere. It is a part of the ongoing financial crisis, one of three crises that seem to be converging to end the Industrial/Oil age [the other two: the crisis of ecology - AGW; and, the crisis of politics - polarization and religiofication of the body politic].

Any wagers on the PTB going anywhere near this?


World Bank predicts weak economic growth

The bank is calling on developing economies in eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Latin America to be on their guard to take the strain in case Europe's economic crisis gets worse.

and from the World Bank ...

Global Economic Prospects - June 2012

... Economic developments of the past year have been volatile, punctuated by natural disasters, large swings in investor sentiment, and periods of relative calm and improving prospects. Output in the second half of 2011, was particularly weak, buffeted by flooding in Thailand, the delayed impact of earlier policy tightening and a resurgence of financial market and investor jitters.

Most recently, market tensions have jumped up again, sparked by fiscal slippage, banking downgrades, and political uncertainty in the Euro Area. The renewed market nervousness has caused the price of risk to spike upwards globally.

Virtually all developing economy currencies have depreciated against the US dollar, while industrial commodity prices such as oil and copper have also fallen sharply (19 and 14 percent respectively).

Should global conditions deteriorate, all developing countries would be hit — making the replenishment of depleted macroeconomic cushions a priority

The resurgence of tensions in the high-income world is a reminder that the after effects of the 2008/09 crisis have not yet played themselves out fully. Although the resolution of tensions implicit in the baseline is still the most likely outcome, a sharp deterioration of conditions cannot be ruled out. While the precise nature of such a scenario is unknowable in advance, developing countries could be expected to take a large hit.

Simulations suggest that their GDP could decline relative to baseline by more than four percent in some regions, with commodity prices, remittances, tourism, trade, finance and international business confidence all mechanisms by which the tribulations of the high-income world would be transmitted to developing countries.

Countries in Europe and Central Asia would be among the most vulnerable to an acute crisis in high-income Europe, with likely acceleration in deleveraging by Greek banks affecting Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia the most.

Full Report: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTPROSPECTS/Resources/334934-1322593...

Offshore wind power cost 'could fall one-third by 2020'

The costs of offshore wind power generation could be brought down by one-third by the end of the decade, making this form of renewable energy commercially viable in the UK, according to new reports by the wind industry and government.

If realised, the steep drop in price would reduce the cost of using offshore wind by more than £3bn a year, and to generate one-fifth of the UK's electricity – in line with government targets.

France suspends Shell oil exploration off Guiana

The French government has put on hold plans by Royal Dutch Shell to drill for oil in four sites off the coast of French Guiana while it carries out a review of how permits are awarded with an eye on the environment, the energy minister said.

The goal for the new government under Socialist President Francois Hollande is to revise the Napoleonic-era French mining code that governs such matters, because previous reforms of it had barely taken the environment into account, Bricq said.

"The reform of the mining code is launched. It is a subject that will be discussed in the energy debate," she added, referring to a planned July national debate on energy transition.

World oil reserves up eight percent, supply fears persist

The world's store of oil jumped 8.3 percent last year, as exploration rose and record crude prices made marginal projects commercially viable, yet supplies will struggle to meet demand due to political factors, oil giant BP (BP.L) said on Wednesday.

"One perennial question is whether there are enough energy resources for our needs?" Chief Executive Bob Dudley said as he unveiled the report.

"The answer from this review is certainly ‘yes': At today's consumption rates, the world has proved reserves sufficient to meet current production for 54 years for oil."

Higher oil prices have allowed resources previously known to exist, such as Canada's oil sands and certain deepwater projects, but which were previously deemed uneconomic to produce, to be profitably extracted, and therefore suitable for entry in the calculations.

... at a 3% annual growth in consumption the supply only lasts 31 yrs

(to be fair - the Lake Michigan picture could be from a mine tailings dune - the Copper mining operation and be an effect of heavy metal)

But the spike in radiation noted a few days ago along with the tree cracking booms?

June 13 (Reuters) - Entergy Corp shut its
793-megawatt Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan on
Tuesday due to leakage from a refueling water tank,

Gulf states look to the sun for future power

After decades of relying on carbon-emitting fossil fuels to build their cities in the desert, some oil and gas rich nations of the Gulf are now turning skywards to the sun to meet future energy demands.

Ambitious multi-billion-dollar projects to harness the power of the region's year-round blazing sun have already been announced by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

In Saudi Arabia, home to the world's largest oil reserves, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy last month announced plans to build 41 gigawatts of solar power capacity over the next two decades.

Potential Iceland eruption could pump acid into European airspace

A modern recurrence of an extraordinary type of volcanic eruption in Iceland could inject large quantities of hazardous gases into North Atlantic and European flight corridors, potentially for months at a time, a new study suggests.

Using computer simulations, researchers are investigating the likely atmospheric effects if a "flood lava" eruption took place in Iceland today. Flood lava eruptions, which stand out for the sheer amounts of lava and sulfurous gases they release and the way their lava sprays from cracks like fiery fountains, have occurred in Iceland four times in roughly the past thousand years, records indicate, the most recent being the deadly and remarkable eruption of Iceland's volcano Laki in 1783-84.

When Laki sprang to life on June 8, 1783, it generated a sulfuric acid haze that dispersed over Iceland, France, England, the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, and other countries. It killed a fifth of Iceland's population and three-quarters of the island's livestock. It also destroyed crops, withered vegetation, and sowed human disease and death in several Northern European nations.

"It's known that flying through a volcanic ash cloud can damage aircraft. In the case of a Laki-type eruption, high sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid concentrations will have to be considered as an additional hazard,"

also Volcanic gases could deplete ozone layer: research

Giant volcanic eruptions in Nicaragua over the past 70,000 years could have injected enough gases into the atmosphere to temporarily thin the ozone layer, according to new research. And, if it happened today, a similar explosive eruption could do the same, releasing more than twice the amount of ozone-depleting halogen gases currently in stratosphere due to manmade emissions.

Dozens of dolphins stranded in Texas since fall

The deaths of more than 120 dolphins off the Texas coast has prompted a federal agency to declare the event "unusual" and launch an investigation into whether they were related to a drought-related algae bloom or a more widespread mortality event that has plagued the northern Gulf of Mexico for two years.

also NOAA Declares 2011-2012 Bottlenose Dolphin Unusual Mortality Event in Texas

Satellite sees smoke from Siberian fires reach the U.S. coast

Fires burning in Siberia recently sent smoke across the Pacific Ocean and into the U.S. and Canada. Images of data taken by the nation’s newest Earth-observing satellite tracked aerosols from the fires taking six days to reach America's shores.

Longest-lived animals reveal climate change secrets

By looking in great detail at the shell of a species of clam that can live for at least 500 years, they have shown that a weakening of the Gulf Stream – the current that brings warm water from the Caribbean to northwest Europe - may have contributed to exceptionally cold conditions in Europe from the 15th to the 19th centuries. This is the period known as the Little Ice Age, and it was a time of bitter cold, poor harvests, famines and revolutions, but also of spectacular ice fairs on the frozen River Thames.

little ice age

Was the Black Plague also associated with that?

Black Plague - 1330s if I recall correctly.

With many returns. There is a lot of plague in the 1500's-1700's, corresponding to the depths of the little ice-age and the beginning of more modern times. The beginnings of this book make that clearer:
Encyclopedia of the Black Death

Here's a claim that the plague led to the little ice age:
...perhaps trees sprang up and absorbed carbon dioxide when the dead humans quit clearing their lands.
Here is just looking at that feedback;

Here's a claim the little ice age modulated the plague:
Climate Change and the Great Plague Pandemics of History

Perhaps they were positive feedback paths for each-other.

Sobering to realize the temperature changes for all of this are plus and minus one half a degree C or so.


Ring around the rosie
What the heck's a posie?
Plague doctor costume

Plague rare in U.S., surfacing in more affluent areas

Although the plague is typically considered a remnant of the Middle Ages, when unsanitary conditions and rodent infestations prevailed amid the squalor of poverty, this rare but deadly disease appears to be spreading through wealthier communities in New Mexico, researchers report.

... In the 1980s, most cases occurred where housing conditions were poor, but more recently cases have been reported in affluent areas of Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the investigators found.

Just recently someone in Oregon just contracted it, this month!

Apparently even with treatment 1 in 7 that get it perish.


The plague ( Yersinia pestis) came in 3 forms. Bubonic plague killed 50-90% of its victims, pneumonic plague killed 90%–95%, and septicemic plague killed 99-100%.

Septicemic plague often went from its first symptoms to death in less than 24 hours (and some people died before any symptoms appeared), bubonic plague usually killed in less than 4 days. Fortunately, Bubonic plaque was the most common form, and septicemic plague the least common.

It is endemic along the east slopes of the southern rockies. During bad years they would get as many as twenty cases a year in New Mexico. My sister who was an ER nurse back then, was given a course of anti-biotics because she had contact with a victim. I can remeber signs posted by the forest service, warning people to stay away from cute little forest animals.

When I moved to Front Range Colorado, it was not unusual to see Health Department signs posted near prairie dog colonies stating that plague had been detected and to keep your pets on lead, don't try to approach the prairie dogs, etc. Most of the colonies in town have been eliminated. The disease also shows up in rabbits and squirrels here. Colorado averages between one and two human cases per year.

IIRC, streptomycin and tetracycline in combination will stop Y. pestis cold, if treatment is started soon enough after the onset of symptoms.

Global temps didn't change much. It was more a matter of the redistribution of heat. Presumably ocean currents changed for a while.

Japan to develop drones to monitor radiation

Japan's atomic energy authority and the country's space agency Tuesday announced a joint project to develop a drone to measure radioactivity in the environment after last year's nuclear disaster.

Radiation from Fukushima, in northeastern Japan, was scattered over a large area and spread as far as several hundred kilometres from the power station by wind and rain

US battery maker claims electric car breakthrough

A US manufacturer said Tuesday it had developed a new automotive battery which can perform in extreme temperatures, offering the potential to cut the cost of making electric cars.

Testing showed the battery can retain more than 90 percent of its initial capacity at 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit). It also can deliver starting power at minus 30 degrees Celsius (22 below Fahrenheit).

Western diet changes gut bacteria and triggers colitis in those at risk

Certain saturated fats that are common in the modern Western diet can initiate a chain of events leading to complex immune disorders such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in people with a genetic predisposition, according to a study to be published early online in the journal Nature.

Researchers at the University of Chicago found that concentrated milk fats, which are abundant in processed and confectionary foods, alter the composition of bacteria in the intestines. These changes can disrupt the delicate truce between the immune system and the complex but largely beneficial mix of bacteria in the intestines. The emergence of harmful bacterial strains in this setting can unleash an unregulated tissue-damaging immune response that can be difficult to switch off.

What new 2,4-D-resistant crops mean – going backwards

On May 23, 2012, John Rowan, national president of Vietnam Veterans of America, sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting his “immediate assistance in staying de-regulation of Dow AgroSciences much ballyhooed 2,4-D-resistant corn seed until an environmental impact study can be conducted and its subsequent results evaluated by scientists who are not affiliated with Dow AgroScience.”

Rowan is concerned about the use of the herbicide 2,4-D on 2,4-D-resistant–corn because it constituted half the ingredients in the defoliant Agent Orange used by the U.S. during the Vietnam War and is causing serious ailments in vets and Vietnamese civilians. Agent Orange was contaminated with dioxins, the most potent synthetic class of carcinogenic chemicals known, second only to radiation in potency as a carcinogen. Although most of the dioxins were from the 2,4,5-T half of Agent Orange, 2,4-D was also contaminated.

... Last year less than 10 percent of corn was treated with 2,4-D. However, genetically engineering corn to be 2,4-D-resistant will mean “you can use more [2,4-D] more often, with less risk of injury,” Crouch said, and that will make 2,4-D more attractive to corn growers. It is estimated that there could be a 30-fold increase in 2,4-D application to corn if 2,4-D-resistant corn is planted widely.

also Agent Orange Ready Corn

Another example of conflation of facts. Agent Orange, so called because it was shipped in orange drums, was supposed to be a 50:50 mixture of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D, neither of which is particularly toxic when used as directed. In reality, however, the 2,4,5-T in Agent Orange was heavily contaminated with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD), an extremely toxic dioxin compound.

The US military sprayed about 20 million gallons of this heavy contaminated product around southeast Asia at rates far in excess of what is permitted for spraying the non-contaminated chemicals in the United States, resulting in defoliation of about 12% of Vietnam, which the Vietnamese government estimates resulted in 400,000 deaths, some of them from TCDD but many of them from famine. Of course, this was official military policy, so the US can't claim these were "accidental" deaths.

Pure 2,4-D is somewhat less toxic than aspirin if ingested by humans. The real problem with Agent Orange was the TCDD contaminating it. That, and the fact it was being used to destroy people's food supply.

...a metabolite of 2,4-D is known to cause skin sores, liver damage and sometimes death in animals. 2,4-D is a potential endocrine disruptor and can affect development. Rats exposed to 2,4-D exhibited depressed thyroid hormone levels, which can affect normal metabolism and brain functioning. Studies found that men who applied 2,4-D had lower sperm counts and more sperm abnormalities than those unexposed to the herbicide.

Case-Control Study of Canine Malignant Lymphoma: Positive Association With Dog Owner's Use of 2, 4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid Herbicides
The humans get non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Developmental Effects of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Wildlife and Humans
Look at that list! But wait, there are way more... Bisphenol-A isn't even on it back in 1993.

Acute toxicity and long-term effects are different things. As I recall, the conversation on TOD once degenerated to evaluating the dangers of snorting plutonium.

I didn't say 2,4-D wasn't toxic, I just said it was less toxic than aspirin. A lot of people have been killed by aspirin, you know - actually, a distressingly large number of them.

Quite so, quite so.

I found a list of 700 chemical receptor types in the human animal. These cause action to be taken when their trigger molecule or something vaguely close shows-up. What a mess has been made with all of these synthesized molecules and their byproducts being presented within the everyday environment.

IUphar database

On the top left is the type selected.
On the right are members of that top type.
> many have their own Wikipedia page.
On the left are other types to select.

There is even an aryl hydrocarbon receptor... even though these molecules are alien to the animal.
Orphan Nuclear Receptors: The Exotics of Xenobiotics

You mean the TCDD was not there on pupose, but a contamination? I don'tknow what is worse; if they didthis becase they were evil, or incompetent.

Obviously, they didn't do much laboratory testing before they started spraying Agent Orange on people in third-world countries. It's obvious they didn't care who got killed, and regardless if the toxic effects were deliberate or accidental, neither can be viewed in a positive light.

When it was sprayed on people in the US or Canada, the parameters are different. People who live in the first world can sue for damages, and have done so.

The Agent Orange Settlement Fund

The Agent Orange Settlement Fund was created by the resolution of the Agent Orange Product Liability Litigation – a class action lawsuit brought by Vietnam veterans and their families regarding injuries allegedly incurred as a result of the exposure of Vietnam veterans to chemical herbicides used during the Vietnam war. The suit was brought against the major manufacturers of these herbicides. The class action case was settled out-of-court in 1984 for $180 million dollars, reportedly the largest settlement of its kind at that time.

Stalling Agent Orange suit costs Ottawa $7.8M

The [Canadian] federal government has now spent $7.8 million fighting a legal challenge from people claiming they were exposed to Agent Orange at CFB Gagetown.

The federal government is facing a class-action lawsuit from veterans, their families and civilians who allege their health has been affected by the use of chemical herbicides, such as Agent Orange, between 1956 and 1984 at the military training facility in New Brunswick.

Tony Merchant, the lawyer spearheading the lawsuit, said Ottawa appears to be spending money in order to delay the legal process.

Merchant said it appears the federal government hopes the victims will give up and it "can get away with their wrongdoing."

Note that the Canadian Army was not involved in the Vietnam War, so the lawsuits over the spraying of Agent Orange at their military training base is a form of collateral damage. The Canadian Army should have asked more questions of the US Army before they used it.

Just an observation. I was pretty surprised this spring at the feed store. 2,4-D has been the cheapest herbicide available, between $10-15 per gallon, 1 to 2.5 gallon jugs. Now it one of the more expensive, around $50. Roundup, generic or brand name, had been pretty steep in the 1-2.5 gallon jugs, about $70, more earlier. Now it's in the 15-20 range, generic. I thought, people are moving away from 2,4-D, and demand for Roundup way, way up due to all the new Roundup ready crops, to the point that everybody is hawking it.

So 2,4 D may come back down. Everything is sprayer anymore, cultivation implements vanishing. Sprayer, Sprayer, Sprayer. Drift, drift, drift. It's a mess. One way or the other, it'll bite us back. Can't help but recall the ol slogan "Better living through chemistry." Dupont? Better for who?

Wildfire is biting us back. Just being itself, responding. After decades of us saying go away, you're fired, don't come back. A bunch of hubris, that we could fight fire, actually eliminate it from the western forest. Heroic tales, justly so, but in the end, natural conditions rule the day.


So we will restore the forest. Not to worry. We'll plant today's trees for tomorrow's forest. And who's crystal ball is it?

Continuing the theme.

Wildfire smoke shrouds Denver; climate change expected to increase Western fires

And heroic tales, but no fiction.

"Everything is sprayer anymore, cultivation implements vanishing."

No-till agriculture. Saves fuel, saves soil from erosion, requires chemicals.

There is always a trade-off. The relative values of the trade-offs are not constants though, so there is lots of debate.

Finding Ways to Feed Pigs for Less

Results of a preliminary experiment conducted at the University of Illinois indicate that it may be possible to select pigs that can make efficient use of energy in less expensive feed ingredients, thus reducing diet costs.

Less expensive feed is usually higher in fiber than the corn-soy diets typically used in U.S. swine production, explained Hans H. Stein, professor of animal sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. However, the white breeds that are used in commercial pork production use only about 40 percent of the insoluble fiber. "If you can increase that number to 50 or 60 or 70 percent, then of course, you would get a much better use of the energy in those ingredients," Stein explained.

"What we observed was that, particularly for the distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) diets, the Meishan pigs were quite a bit more effective at using that fiber," Stein said. "That diet is high in insoluble dietary fiber. When we looked at more soluble fibers, there was no difference."

... nah; probably just a coincidence ...

Methane Fires and Explosions in Livestock Facilities

Pork has become one of those meats I don't buy retail. Along with chicken, but that's another story. If I hang around the stock auctions for the hogs, invariably I watch some of the most tumor laden animals waddling thru the sale ring. Protuberances that may reach the ground. Not fat. Maybe it's just our area, maybe I'm hypersensitive.

Pasture pork is getting a hoofhold. Joel Salatin has a front page article this month in GrassFarmer. I have my issues with Salatin, but his comment bears repeating "This is not a hands-off low capitalization project. It takes far more management than cattle." It won't be cheap meat, I wonder if it will fly.

$36 trillion, eh?

Alright, well, the world hit $257 billion for 2011. So we've got 38 years to raise the other $35.75 trillion.

I think this begs study of compounded growth rates over the next, say, 10 years for a projection on where we might be then?

Professor Hamilton reviews the IMF working paper...

Peak oil and price incentives

We like to think that the reason we enjoy our high standards of living is because we have been so clever at figuring out how to use the world's available resources. But we should not dismiss the possibility that there may also have been a nontrivial contribution of simply having been quite lucky to have found an incredibly valuable raw material that for a century and a half or so was relatively easy to obtain. Optimists may expect the next century and a half to look like the last. Benes and coauthors are suggesting that instead we should perhaps expect the next decade to look like the last.


“We’re striving to be a world-leading company for electric cars,” Mattias Bergman, a spokesman for National Electric Vehicle Sweden, said at a press conference in Trollhaettan. “It’s not only about China being a big market for electric cars, it’s also about China having the ability to make the investments required and build the needed infrastructure.”

I'm sure such a push will have more than a few TODders saabing like a baby.

Peter Tertzakian

Lower oil prices will crimp industry spending

Even before the recent oil price slide, the talk around the Calgary Petroleum Club was one of greater austerity. Those sentiments were echoed in first-quarter financial reports and recent announcements. A review of the guidance of 29 publicly-traded oil and gas producers – large and small companies representing about 40 per cent of Canada’s conventional (non-oil sands) volume output – reveals that 21 of them are cutting back. Year-over-year, the announced spending cuts average 20 per cent, although this theme of frugality is not uniform.

As they always say, the cure for low oil prices is low oil prices.


spec - As you know I've been doing this for a while and have been through various price booms and busts. There is an almost universal response in both cases. In the oil patch folks, out of desparation I suppose, offer the surplus will be gone in a year or two and prices will recover. It never happens...the time frame is typically many years. On the consumption side the cornicopians can't help but tout the end of energy shortages when prices collapse. And the relief will be there for years even if those times are painful due to recessions that typically produced reduced consumption/prices. The only change I sense is the cycle rate: 60 years ago they seemed to run 10 to 20 years. Now my sense is more on the order of 5 to 10 years. Consider NG prices since the boom of $13/mcf in '08 to sub $3/mcf prices today. Just my WAG but I would expect a rebound between 2016 and 2020. Of course that hinges on anticipating global economic conditions as well predicting oil patch activity well into the future. And I still consider any serious belief to do so as folly.

You don't really think we could have 5 to 10 years of ~$80 oil do you? I can see the natural gas glut lingering for a while . . . but regarding oil, with Asian consumption growth and production declines in the North Sea & elsewhere, I don't think we'll be able to hold these prices even with Canadian tar sands and North Dakotan tight oil growing.

But then again, that is just my WAG . . . a Euro collapse could keep oil low for a while.

With world wide growth stagnating, the lack of demand growth could keep oil pegged near the marginal barrel price for quite awhile. Not sure what the production curve vs price of the marginal barrel would be but there does seem to be a fair amount of oil to develop at $80 - $90.

spec - I see it more similar to noncom: prices will bounce up and down but demand destruction via high prices will still dominate the dynamics IMHO. But remeber I'm a geologic child of the mid 80's when demand destruction drove oil prices below $10/bbl and had me pushing a Yellow cab around houston part time. LOL.

OTOH anyone who takes my predictions serious should be slapped upside the head.

For those who have heard a bit about the student protests in Quebec and are wondering what's motivating them here is an opinion from a couple of recent grads who are journalists at a Halifax paper...

A little respect, s’il vous plaît

(Selena Ross & Remo Zaccagna)

You say the protesting students are naïve and stupid. We believe they understand money a little better than you think. They rack up $13,000 of student debt, on average. It’s the lowest in the country, but it’s not pocket change when you’re 22.

If you were one of them, would you agree to help prop up a provincial economy, with the fruits of your barista job, when it’s been documented for years that criminals make away with tens of millions in jacked-up construction profits, and your leader has to be dragged kicking and screaming to clean it up?

If you’re angry about federal transfers to Quebec, be angry that they’re helping feed the construction barons. People who live there are angry about it too. Hundreds of thousands of them have taken to the street to protest, largely, the mismanagement of the province.

Don’t rush to judge. You can hope your fellow citizens in Montreal accomplish something, or you can hope they go back inside. You can’t have it both ways. You can turn a blind eye while their right of assembly is violated with Bill 78, or you can guard your own rights in case you need them one day. You can’t do both.

By the way one of the co-writers, Selena Ross, of the above opinion wrote an investigative piece on corruption in the Montreal snow plowing business. Snow plowing is the winter side business for many Quebec construction companies, same goes for most other provinces.

Getting Plowed

In this exclusive investigative report from Montreal, Maisonneuve exposes the bid-rigging, violence and sabotage at the heart of an unlikely racket: snow removal.

Anyway, Selena Ross' opinion above made me think about this Grist interview with E.O. Wilson that I read recently...

E. O. Wilson wants to know why you’re not protesting in the streets

We had lots of questions for acclaimed biologist and conservationist Edward O. Wilson when he dropped by the Grist office recently while touring to promote his latest book, The Social Conquest of Earth.

But Wilson directed the toughest question of the day back at us: Why aren’t you young people out protesting the mess that’s being made of the planet?

As we squirmed in our seats, Wilson, 82, continued: “Why are you not repeating what was done in the ‘60s? Why aren’t you in the streets? And what in the world has happened to the green movement that used to be on our minds and accompanied by outrage and high hopes? What went wrong?”

I think the student's in Quebec are protesting about more than tuition fee hikes. They probably have a pretty good sense at the mess they are being left to deal with. Wonder what they'll do when they realize how bad it is?

The same can be said for youth throughout North America.

I feel like that's a pretty terrible thing to be asking people. Why aren't the young protesting? Have you seen the videos of the arrests at protests? The people being pepper sprayed in the face? Not to mention that protests are now kept in tightly controlled areas, away from those who might be made uncomfortable by seeing it... If you get arrested and charged, you also are going to have to explain that if you ever want a normal job.

I think young people today aren't protesting like in the 1960's because they know it doesn't work very well, and they are concerned about being able to get by. And as for environmentalism... It's dead. Nobody cares. People who don't grow up playing in the woods, interacting with nature, but instead have video games and their parents don't even let them explore the neighborhood freely... They don't have any skin in it. What they see seems normal, they have no concept of nature.

Until they can answer the sort of question that comes up over and over, "Are you saying this habitat/species/etc. is more important than jobs/development/'the people'?" with "yes, because without it we all suffer", then environmentalism is dead. As long as the perceived needs of humankind come first, environmentalism is dead.


Crush protest
Gain compliance by impoverishing the population
Eliminate education and pesky ideas
Control the media and deny access

America is great... and soon to be better:

June 13 - Secret Trade Negotiations Exposed


> Offshore millions of American jobs,
> Free the financial industry from oversight,
> Ban Buy America policies needed to create jobs and rebuild our economy,
> Decrease access to medicine,
> Flood the U.S. with unsafe food and products,
> Empower corporations to attack our environmental and health safeguards.

Basically, the government formally becomes subservient to the corporations.

This is being negotiated in great secrecy. There is no chance it will be stopped: It will appear suddenly and be passed quickly and without dissent just like the Patriot Act. It is for our own good.

The impoverished populations of many Hispanic countries offer a good example of just how far people can be pushed and suppressed without seriously disruptive protest. I wonder how compliant the cultural majority in America will prove to be?

The Quebec students are protesting an increase in Quebec university tuition fees, which happen to be the lowest in North America. After the increase, they will still be the lowest in North America.

The Quebec government, like most others in North America, has a budget problem, and it trying to find ways to deal with it. Reducing subsidies to university students is one way to reduce spending. The alternative is to cut spending in other areas.

The Quebec students are complaining that after getting their degrees, some of them are as much as $13,000 in debt. If most American students had only $13,000 in debt after graduating, they would think they had died and gone to heaven.

Blathering about corporations, the Patriot Act, and Hispanic countries has nothing to do with the issues. The Quebec government just wants to subsidize overprivileged and frequently rather affluent and arrogant university students somewhat less than it currently does.

(And on the subject of pepper spray - I have accidentally shot myself three times with bear spray, which is considerably more potent than human spray - it has to stop charging grizzly bears in their tracks - and can testify that, while it really does bring tears to your eyes, the effects are only temporary. I mean it's basically a learning experience for those charging grizzly bears, and university students should treat it as a learning experience as well. You aren't really dying, although you might think you are.)

"Reducing subsidies to university students is one way to reduce spending. The alternative is to cut spending in other areas."

Of course the other alternative is to raise taxes for the ultra-wealthy. The wealth concentration that has been a pivotal part of humanity's expansion over the last century has always historically been offset by economic growth which allowed the middle class to maintain its level of wealth. When the middle class can no longer grow due to Peak Resources, but the wealthy keep stealing from it via the corrupt financial system, then impoverishment of the majority is the inevitable outcome.

There might be a practical problem with those taxes, though. The ultra-wealthy tend to immobilize their money in capital investments and "investments" (the latter being stuff like Bill Gates' rather absurd house.) Those investments themselves are not very fungible into food, full gas tanks, or university educations - it's not like you and all your friends can eat one of Rupert Murdoch's "newspapers" for dinner. So better be careful, lest you end up with rapid inflation (triggered by the "velocity" of the released money); and with great difficulty financing all those wind farms and solar panels that some folks want, since it's highly unlikely that anyone will make gifts in the required quantity.

Rampant inflation destroyed the middle class, such as it was, in Weimar Germany. An even more absurd inflation (with bills printed of 1021 currency units, far beyond J6P's understanding) was used by the Hungarian communists for that purpose as well. And really, even far short of that, the middle class isn't doing impressively well in high-tax European countries like Greece, with France now setting itself up to follow.

The middle class as we know it, with luxuries such as university education for vast numbers of people who have little real use for it, can only continue if enough goods and services (not just immobilized money) are produced to support its lifestyle. If that production is lacking - for whatever reason - then no amount of tax fiddling will keep the middle class going; it will unavoidably morph into something else.

IOW, you can't have it both ways. You can't have large numbers of people enjoying middle-class luxuries unless the requisite goods and services are produced - and with all that that may imply with respect to, say, to pick something at random, flows of physical resources.

University education requires

- Professors & lecturers
- Buildings (perhaps becoming more optional in the future)
- Books (paper or electronic)
- Administration
- Labs for a limited number of specialty courses/subjects

The buildings are, by & large, already there, and typically built to last.

None of the rest, except labs, appear to demand that much of the resoruces of society except money.

Best Hopes for Education,


None of the rest, except labs, appear to demand that much of the resoruces of society except money.

I think that's wrong. The labs are the least of the expense.

The expensive part is the professors and lecturers, administration, and bureaucracy that supports all that.

That's why, until recently, education was for the wealthy only. You need societies of a certain wealth to be able to afford to have a lot of people spending years being non-productive (students), and who will grow up needing to supported by the rest of society (not producing food or goods). Of course many of these people are useful (doctors, etc.) but there is still a limit on how many a society can support.

Only a few generations ago, it was common in the US for kids to drop out of school in middle school or earlier, because they were needed to work the family farm, or had to get a job to help support their families.

Four years of education or four years of unemployment - the delta in social input is basically the salaries of the professors and administrators.


But what if it's four years of education, and still unemployed?

If one eliminates all the useless liberal arts classes, then it would be 3 years of education.

You have a rather constrained view of education.

And on the subject of pepper spray - I have accidentally shot myself three times with bear spray, which is considerably more potent than human spray - it has to stop charging grizzly bears in their tracks - and can testify that, while it really does bring tears to your eyes, the effects are only temporary. I mean it's basically a learning experience for those charging grizzly bears, and university students should treat it as a learning experience as well. You aren't really dying, although you might think you are.

Hmmm.....maybe you need to go to Pepper Spray Safe Handling School?


I spend a lot of time in the Alaskan wilds, and routinely carry pepper spray many days each year. Been doing it for many years. Somehow I've managed to avoid spraying myself. I'm also pretty handy with firearms, and have in the past have successfully hunted and killed Alaskan Brown Bears (the largest of the grizzly clan), and Black Bears. However, as I get older I find I much more enjoy watching them, rather than killing them. Besides, Counter Assault bear spray is a lot lighter for an old guy like me to carry around than my 338 Win Mag!

You are correct that pepper spray and tear gas are generally just learning experices. Back in the day, when I was in Marine Corps boot camp, we had to walk into a gas chamber full of tear gas, take off our masks and sing a few verses of "Halls of Montezuma", before they would let us put our masks back on and clear them. It does get the point across.

I think it's probably good that I don't carry a gun in bear country because I'd probably shoot myself with it. The bear spray has the advantage that it's non-lethal, so both the bears and myself are safer.

I've never had a problem with a bear, grizzly or black. They just look at me with a "What are YOU doing here?" expression on their faces and then wander off on their usual bear business. I'm pretty sure that I've walked past a lot more bears than I know about, because they are quite good at blending into the woods if they want to. The classic case was when I was sitting out in my back yard reading a book when the neighbors said, "Did you see the bear that just walked by between you and your shed?" to which I could only respond, "What?"

The bear spray is reportedly more effective than a gun at discouraging hostile bear. They don't associate it with being attacked and just run away when their eyes start burning, whereas when shot they tend to attack the person with the gun.

A pine marten showed up on my back deck this morning. It was a cute young one and probably will do a fine job of thinning out the squirrels that are living in my attic. The last one that came around very effectively eliminated the mouse problem I had.

I've been gassed on three continents, and found CS Gas the worse.
It has been a few years, so I don't have primary experience with the current batch, but did get a few wiffs in Oakland last fall.

"The Quebec students are protesting an increase in Quebec university tuition fees, which happen to be the lowest in North America."

The only other part of North America of any size is the USA. In the USA, doctors are graduating in a state of indentured servitude owing $300,000. So, don't complain until such limits are reached?

No mention was made of the Patriot Act.

The thread was not exclusively about Quebec.

"over-privileged and frequently rather affluent and arrogant" ignores the striving.

The pan-American reference remains elusive.

I would question the great secrecy part. Its pretty obvious to anyone who looks hard enough. But the media is bought off to provide bread and circuses, so a few finding out is irrelevant. Same for the more narrow minded shock doctrine. It doesn't matter that the cat is out of the bag, the tactic is more successful than ever.

IMHO, E.O. Wilson is out of touch, with the events of the day. When you don't have meaningful well paying work and a debt burden that looms over your head constantly reminding you of its presence, the last thing you think about is protesting the demise of the planet. The 60s was different. Isn't it ironic that only in the age of abundance, can we afford to protest and concern ourselves with social justice and environmental causes? Lets ask the Greek youths what they most want right now; a) have gainful employment, b) throwing Molotov cocktails in street protests or c) care for the plight of polar bears.

Sanders releases explosive bailout list

No doubt all these one percenter bankers who were also sat on regional Fed boards would all claim they were "doing God's work". This reeks of criminal conflict of interest.

Go get 'em Bernie!!!!

None of this stuff's going to work! We were promised all of these alternatives, and nothing is going to work! Even coal and gas are pretty much maxed out at this point, maybe only a few more years of growth from those, if even. We'll probably be using half the oil in the u.s. by 2020, especially in terms of BTUs, since biofuels and nat. gas liquids are much less energy dense. Even for nuclear, we were just starting to warm up to it, and trying to figure out where the uranium would come from for all these new light water reactors, and then Fukushima happens! We're going to have to go back to a 19th century lifestyle. I think that feminism was created by the energy party, and gender roles will become important again, like in the 1800s. Population growth and economic growth will also end very soon in the u.s., but might continue for another decade or so elsewhere. We will probably have an 1850 style lifestyle by about 2035. By then, we will be a lean, rugged nation of 200 million farmers. I hope you survive the transition. I am a peakist, and Jevons witness. Efficiency and conservation are meaningless due to Jevons Paradox, they just go to more growth. I live in Eugene, Oregon, if there are any fellow peakists who would like to chat with me over lunch. Here is an article I wrote about the situation that sums things up quite nicely. It seems like we're betting the farm on wind & shale gas, but neither one will work.


Zachary Moitoza, Eugene Renewable Energy Examiner

Zachary Moitoza has been a resident of Eugene, OR, since 2005, the year he began attending the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!). He is the author of the book "The Nuclear Economy: Why Only Nuclear Power Can Revitalize The Economy And Environment," a realization he came to after years of careful...

It appears you have recanted on nuclear power...is the premise of your book now null/void to you now?

I think that feminism was created by the energy party, and gender roles will become important again, like in the 1800s.

Whooa, dragon! Where did /that/come from?

We will probably have an 1850 style lifestyle by about 2035

1850 lifestyle 23 years from now...maybe if we get another K-T asteroid or a Deccan/Siberian Traps event, but absent that, I think your prediction is a little extreme.

Look Zack, I can see you are very upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over. I know we humans have made some pretty poor decisions recently...but we still have the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in our mission...

...Go Ducks!

I think he's right about gender roles. We forget about the revolution that "labor saving" home appliances created. Women, who were still responsible for cooking and cleaning (by and large), now could get those tasks done so much quicker that they could handle a job outside the home.

In my grandfather's generation, men worked ten hour days, six days a week. (Actually, Saturday was considered a half day because he got off at 3:00). Without vacuum cleaners, washing machines, dryers, dish washers, etc. women simply had to stay home to manage the house because it was a full time job. As we go down the big energy slide, I can definitely imagine gender roles changing, with division of labor between the sexes being more pronounced, as it once was. Will it be the same as 1910? Of course not, but it won't be the same as today. And it will happen gradually enough that it will just be considered a common sense way to manage our lives.

My guess is 2035 will be more like 1935. Wait, it's already like 1935.

Anyway, that's my view.

Women, who were still responsible for cooking and cleaning (by and large), now could get those tasks done so much quicker that they could handle a job outside the home.

I don't think that's it. It was only women of a certain demographic - basically, white middle class women - who did not work outside the home. In days past, they didn't do much housework, either. They had servants to do it. Many of them were quite bored.

The '50s ideal was never true for the majority of the population. Women of color, and the poor and working class, had to work. Often, this was on a family business - a farm, store, restaurant, etc. - but they had to work.

In days past, they didn't do much housework, either. They had servants to do it.

Wow. What parallel universe did that come from? Maybe your mother had servants. I can tell you mine didn't and I didn't know anyone who did. AND WE ARE WHITE! Hey, how come we didn't get the servants we were entitled to by being white.

I meant in the really old days - before labor saving devices like vacuum cleaners and washing machines were widespread.

And like I said - this was not true for the poor and working class, white or not. Often, they were the servants.

In the old days, only a small percentage of people could afford servants. Of course, they were the ones who wrote all the books, so you only get their perspective on life.

The majority of people either worked as servants for the affluent, or did all their own work themselves using purely hand labor, and they had very little time to do things like write books about how bored they were.

In a country that had abolished slavery much earlier than the US, e.g. Britain, France, or Canada, the servants were almost all white. The only different between them and their employers was that they had less money.

The gender roles were less pronounced than you might think, too. My mother could ride a horse and herd cattle with the best of the boys. She could shoot and drink whiskey, too, and if someone gave her a bad time, she might give them a hard punch. One of her female cousins became notorious for knocking a six-foot tall man out cold on a dance floor when he harassed her.

There was the fictional version of the wild west in which the men did all the work, and the real version in which the women got pressed into doing hard work, too.

That's another issue. The middle class was smaller than it is now. But those in the middle class commonly had servants. It might be only one - a "maid of all work," unlike the many servants the upper class had - but they had servants.

The "middle class" as the Brits defined it back then was rather different than it is today. Today it represents probably 80% of the population. Back then the proportion in Britain who were considered middle class was much smaller.

In North America, however, incomes for the lower class were much higher than in Britain and the middle class for the most part did their own work. In general most of the working class were affluent enough to be considered middle class and the barriers to advancement from the lower class were low. Anybody could get ahead if they just moved to where the jobs were and worked hard enough. Not so in Britain.

Nevertheless...my original point is that the Ozzie and Harriet ideal of the '50s was not true for most of the population, even with our larger middle class. Women worked, even in the '50s, because they had to.

Mention sex roles and sparks fly. Actually, it's not what men or women CAN do, it's what they can be expected to do with a baby on one hip. The traditional division of inside jobs and outside jobs comes from what can be safely done while packing a nursing baby. Gardening is an inside job because it is done with hand tools, and the job can be interrupted to take care of the baby. Farming involves large animals or machines and sharp tools, so it's an outside job.

In the middle ages, it was widely known that a peasant farmer had to have another adult to take care of the house, garden and animals. If he had a convenient father or cousin, it would do as well as a wife. Lacking another adult, he might be required to get married as a condition of keeping his holding.

Not to mention the high mortality rate of women. While it is said that women live long and miserable lives, back in the days before the hospital it was short and miserable. While wars can do a number on the male population, it does not compare with the high mortality of women, whether in times of peace or times of war. Many number of stereotypes, like female vanity vs. male thoughtfulness can be attributed to the fact that most marriages had a large age gap, due to necessity.

I'd guess that is highly dependent on where and when. It's true that women are vulnerable to death in childbirth, but nature accounts for this; it's common for the female of the species to live longer than the male, probably because the female is overdesigned for pregnancy. In the US, we've had a fairly even distribution of males vs. females, until very old age, when there are more women.

I'd guess the older male/younger female pattern reflects the biological reality that men are attracted to younger women (because older ones have lower or no fertility), and women are attracted to older men (because they tend to have the power/resources).

It is presently like 1935?

If you have the time, please elaborate on that thought.

How does the U.S. inter-city passenger and freight rail service and city tram service compare to today?

What were the oil reserves in 1935?

Nuclear weapons were not yet a threat.

The Earth's biosphere was in much better shape than it is now.

The results of a new AP poll about energy in the US have just been released:

Energy Issues: How the Public Understands and Acts

These results might be interesting, if only the politicians were to listen. Of course, being that it's an election year, maybe they will pay attention, (though I'm tired of holding my breath after some 40 years of concern)...

E. Swanson

Interesting results.

I notice many people favor Government's involvement in energy subsidies, education, encouraging the use of alternatives, etc, as long as Government doesn't tell people how much energy they may use in their own homes. Interestingly, they don't think individuals can make much of a difference.

Apparently, people are trying, on their own, to find ways to use less, 89%, but only nibbling at the margins. Turning off lights is not a very difficult choice, yet only 39% say they have done it, 26% have turned down the heat, and 14% have turned off the A/C. Only 9% say they use less water.

We have a long way to fall.

We have a long way to fall.

Amazing comment spring_tides.

In China and India there are building a lot of new houses (eco-houses) for the increasing population with toilets that flush 30% less water. Great, but still a lot more than without new houses. In almost everything one can see a bright spot. They are also planning to recycle water.

OPEC readies no change on oil limits

Most in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries want cartel number one Saudi Arabia to cut back to defend oil prices at $100 a barrel but Riyadh is keen to prevent high fuel costs hampering a return to stronger economic growth in the West.

They want Saudi Arabia to cut back while they all continue to pump flat out. One can understand Saudi's reluctance to do so. Saudi would say that they are all in this together, why should Saudi be the only one to cut production? Of course Saudi has other reasons for keeping production high, like keeping the world out of a deep recession. But the fact that all the others want Saudi to be the only one to cut back has to be high on their list for reasons not to cut back.

Ron P.

John Michael Greer is a man after my own heart. He published, yesterday, one of his best articles ever.

The Parting of the Ways The Archdruid Report by John Michael Greer.

It’s something a great many people don’t want to hear these days, and the refusal to hear it is getting distinctly shrill in some quarters—consider the angry tone of the latest press releases from the financial sphere insisting that peak oil is nonsense—after all, it ought to be obvious to any reasonable person that waving around enough money will brush aside the laws of physics and geology, right? Not too long ago, that insistence used to be expressed in tones of insufferable superiority—think of Daniel Yergin’s dismissals of peak oil, or the airy optimism of Bjorn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist. Now of course Lomborg insisted that the price of oil would remain at $20 to $30 a barrel through 2020, and Yergin in 2004 claimed that the price of oil had reached a permanent plateau at $38 a barrel; the failure of oil prices to do as they were told doubtless contributed to the more strident tone such proclamations so often get these days.

Cornucopians are always quick to point to Peak Oiler's missed predictions of the past yet they are totally blind to any prognostication of theirs that totally failed to come to pass. But pointing this is not really the thrust of the Greer article. It is the things that the true cornucopian believer must do in order to maintain his optimistic view of the world, the things he must disbelieve in order to maintain his everlasting optimism.

Once it’s made, though, the pathologies of repressed disbelief unfold in predictable ways. The believer becomes brittle and defensive about the false belief, affirming it loudly and publicly, and taking on the familiar social role of the strident true believer. Elaborate arguments for the truth of the false belief take on an ever larger role in his mental life; if books of such arguments exist, you can count on finding them on his bookshelves, while his willingness to encounter differing views—not even opposing ones, but simply those that are not identical to the cherished false belief—drops like a rock.

That reminds me so much of the Longshoreman Philosopher:

(For the true believer) To rely on the evidence of the senses and of reason is heresy and treason. It is startling to realize how much unbelief is necessary to make belief possible. What we know as blind faith is sustained by innumerable unbeliefs.
- Eric Hoffer: The True Believer.

Ron P.

Ron - Not that this little factoid would be a very useful proof of PO but you've mentioned from time to time the "oil stained brine" being produced from the Saudi fields. Stumbled across this: CA oil production during 2010: 200 million bo. Water produced with that oil: 2.9 billion bbls. Or a 94% water cut. 6% oil would make a nice stain but just a stain none the less.

Actually Rockman, I may have used that term several years back but I don't remember using it lately, especially in regard to Saudi fields. Some of Saudi fields may be producing oil stained brine but not most of them. Saudi has had a tendency to shut wells down when the water cut gets too high, or so things they have published have stated. But eventually all of them will be pumping oil stained brine.

I did read an article, about five years ago or so, by a Saudi contractor who produced and installed oil/water separation tanks and equipment, saying that they were producing "oil stained brine". I dearly wish I had saved that link and article but back then I had not yet got into the habit of saving important articles.

Wish you had posted the link to that article. I would love to read it.

Ron P.

Ron - No article...got that stat directly from the CA Dept of Conservation website. Upthread someone had asked how the EIA stats for CA compared to state reported production. In fact, they matched so it appears they use CA's records. But that led back to the question of why their numbers for Texas differ so greatly from what the TRRC reports. IOW why use their voluntary and limited polling numbers to estimate Texas oil production instead of using the state data base as they apprently do for CA?

From 2006 to 2009 there are only 11 references to "oil stained brine" still showing on the current Google web, None from a contractor.

The earliest reference to "oil stained brine" on the web from Google is on TOD and does mention Matt Simmonds... but there are none of his words. It might take an archive search to find.

The second reference is from you, Darwinian, on TOD:

Here is a 2006 reference relative to Saudi that is gone:
But no specifics...
From 2006:

Matt Simmons msspeeches archives:

I had read Matt Simmons book and followed him very closely on the web. That is likely where I heard the term "tossed around". However I definitely read an article by a contractor about contracting for water removal in Saudi Arabia on the subject. However he probably used a similar term but not the exact same. Something like "oil stained water" or perhaps something like "water with a little oil".

However the article did not mention any particular field and I don't know of any field in Saudi that would be that watered out. I am sure there were a lot of wells that had such water cuts but I think most of them have been shut down now.

Ron P.

I may be mistaken,or suffering from bad memory, but I think it was Matt Simmons who used to throw out the term "oil stained brine" when talking about the future of some of the Saudi fields.

China to trial energy-saving electricity price scheme

China said Thursday that from next month people who use a lot of electricity will have to pay more under a trial scheme aimed at encouraging consumers to save energy.

"It is hoped residents will appropriately adjust use of power to reduce their expenditure and conserve national resources," it said in a statement posted on its website.

Researchers find building seismic strain in Azerbaijan

In 1859, a devastating earthquake ripped through what is now central Azerbaijan, destroying the capital city of Shemakha. Damage from the quake was so extensive that the capital was subsequently relocated to Baku, a coastal city on the Caspian Sea. Since then, Baku has grown into a thriving metropolis, fueled by vast offshore oil reserves. Rapid development of the city’s housing, infrastructure and foreign trade has made Azerbaijan one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

But new research shows that the region may be ripe for another devastating earthquake of a magnitude similar to the one that leveled the country’s previous capital in 1859.

“It doesn’t take a gigantic earthquake,” says Robert Reilinger, principal research scientist in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). “It just takes bad luck. And this is an area where they can’t afford it. It’s an extremely vulnerable area in terms of the density of the people, the density of oil infrastructure, and the potential environmental impact regionally, not just in Azerbaijan.”

Global crude demand should rise sharply in coming months – IEA Oil Market Report

June’s Oil Market Report (OMR) highlights a ‘better-supplied’ rather than an ‘over-supplied’ market.

Paging Michele Bachmann... Michele Bachmann to the courtesy phone....

Japanese government to call 'lights out' for energy-intensive bulbs

TOKYO -- The government is expected to call on major electronics retailers and home appliance makers to voluntarily halt production and sales of energy-consuming incandescent lightbulbs to save power this summer, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The government plans to submit a written request under the names of Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano and Environment Minister Goshi Hosono to an industry group, probably sometime this week. The industry side has indicated it will oblige.

The move is aimed at helping avert a power shortage this summer by encouraging people to use light-emitting diode bulbs, which consume less energy than incandescent bulbs.

See: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/13/4559427/japanese-government-to-call-lig...

Toshiba Corp. and Mitsubishi no longer manufacture incandescent lamps and Panasonic will phase-out their production by the end of this year.


Eurozone crisis: Banking sector could be 'wiped out' if weakest nations leave

Few large eurozone banks would be left standing and the banking sector could face a €370bn (£298bn) lossif the euro crisis results in the single currency bloc breaking apart, according to one of the first indepth analyses of what might happen if the eurozone disintegrates.

The analysis by Credit Suisse estimates that up to 58% of the value of Europe's banks could be wiped out by the departure of the "peripheral" countries - Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain - from the eurozone.

Even if the single currency remains intact some €1.3tn of credit could be sucked out of the system as banks retrench to their home markets, unwinding years of financial integration, the Credit Suisse analysis warns. This represents as much as 10% of the credit in the financial system.

"We find that a Greek exit could be manageable ... but in a peripheral exit, few of the large listed eurozone banks would be left standing," the Credit Suisse report said.

Ok the thing to remember is this:

We doomers are, mostly, messengers. We observe the state of the world and comment to the best of our knowledge, and make some preparations here and there.

The banksters are different, and more sinister. They promise the end of the world, but only if they don't get infinite amounts of money.

Give us a trillion dollars or the ATMs shut down! is their cry, always. They want you to forget that this money isn't real, it's digits on a screen, and created ex nihilo just for them. Which results in inflation and rise in the cost of living for everybody else.

I am asking everybody here to reject their offer. Everytime you hear "this must happen or everybody will be wiped out" reject it with every fiber of your being.

Why does a cabbage cost $28 in Canada?

Would you pay C$28 (US$27; £18) for a cabbage? $65 for a bag of chicken? $100 for 12 litres of water? That's not the cost of a meal at a world-class restaurant, but the price of basic foodstuffs at supermarkets in the territory of Nunavut, in northern Canada.

As a first guess, I would say it is because cabbage and chicken have to be flown into Nunavut by air since there are no roads leading there and the ocean is frozen over in winter.

Seal blubber, however, costs practically nothing up there, but they aren't hunting seals any more because of the EU ban on seal products.

(That last was a political commentary on European and American green touchy-feely pseudo-environmental interference with aboriginal lifestyles that they don't understand.)

"Seal blubber, however, costs practically nothing up there, but they aren't hunting seals any more because of the EU ban on seal products."

So let me get this straight ... they aren't hunting seals for food anymore in Nunavut because ... they aren't allowed to export it to Europe after they've chewed and swallowed it?

No, they aren't hunting seals because they can't sell the seal skins due to EU and US prohibitions on selling seal skins. The seal meat was a by-product of the seal hunt that the Inuit ate themselves. They wouldn't hunt seals if there wasn't a profit involved because it is rather hard work and expensive now that they use snowmobiles rather than dogsleds.

The problem with not hunting seals is that seals breed like rabbits. When the Europeans first started whining about the Harp Seal hunt and claiming they were on the verge of extinction, there were about 1.5 million of them.

Now there are about 5 million of them, and they are eating all the available fish. It's like yeast growing on a petri dish - sooner or later they'll overrun the food supply and all starve. The government is having to pay people to shoot them and leave their bodies rotting on the ice in the interest of preserving the fisheries.

Of course, the Europeans still claim they are on the verge of extinction because they are so cute and cuddly when they're small. Don't cuddle a big one because it will bite your arm off.

Yep, how many times do we hear this same tune. We create a problem, decide to "fix" the problem, and now we have arguably a new bigger problem. Funny how most (not all) of the media ignores the fact that the high population of humans is the main cause of all the other problems. The seals and fish would eventually reach an equilibrium on thier own. Sooner or later I suppose our population will as well.

No, they aren't hunting seals because they can't sell the seal skins due to EU and US prohibitions on selling seal skins. The seal meat was a by-product of the seal hunt that the Inuit ate themselves. They wouldn't hunt seals if there wasn't a profit involved because it is rather hard work and expensive now that they use snowmobiles rather than dogsleds.

I can't speak to the Canadian side, but Alaska Inupiat and Yupik still actively hunt seals for food. The Inupiat also hunt whales. This is an important cultural issue with them.

Under US law they are prohibited from selling marine mammal skins to non-natives, but are allowed to make craft items from tanned skins and sell those to non-natives. It is a serious crime for a non-native to kill a marine mammal.

What kept the seal pop in check before modern industrial hunting (snow machines, plus rifles are a far cry from seal-skin kayaks, and spears)? Or even before Inuit? Polar bears? Sea Lions? Orca's?

So they used to subsist on seals and stuff, then when modern world stuff came along, it's only profitable to do so if they can export the skins? Its quite likely that something that was sustainable with low tech, is not with high tech (i.e. you will catch/kill too many, and perhaps your population will explode etc.....)

My feeling on Native Amercan peoples' rights to hunt whales and seals and whatever...

Fine. No motorized boats, no high-powered rifles. If you want to go out there in the Old Way, fine. If you want to employ modern technology to the hunt, well, in my opinion you've just abdicated any special rights.

Why does an outsider get to determine the "kosher" method for a native culture to hunt? Shouldn't it come down to the total number of animals they take coupled with the use they make of those animals rather than the method by which thy kill them? They could use bazookas for all I care, so long as they don't put more stress on the population then it can handle.

I think thats actually sgage's point (which I completely agree with), a choice of A
No legal limits on numbers, but only traditional (primitive means).
(B) Use any means you want, but catch totals will be governed by resource science.
That sounds a lot like your retort.

The resource justification of (A), is that it is assumed to be inefficient enough not to need rigorous quotas.

The main point I was trying to get across is that certain Native American groups are claiming exemption from wildlife regulations based on "ancient cultural practices". Which I think is just fine. Motorboats and high-powered rifles, however, are not part of anyone's ancient cultural heritage.

I think the tribes/nations could do a hell of a lot better with public relations, and harvesting mega fauna using canoe vs. power boat would be one way.

I understand your point, but you're the adding the "ancient" identifier to the cultural practices that the Innuit and Makah people claim support their right to hunt whales. The following document "Innuit, Whaling, and Sustainability" details and discusses the Innuit perspective on why whale hunting is culturally important. What you will notice is that the number one claim with regard to the cultural traditions, that the Innuit claim to try to promote through ancestral whaling, is community sharing through potlatch traditions, which remain entrenched cultural values no matter whether a rifle is used to hunt the whale or if a dozen harpoons with gutted and inflated seals are viciously stabbed into a greywhale's back.


Industrialized Nations' political concerns regarding aboriginal whaling practices are a classic example of seeing the splinter in the other's eye and ignoring the beam in our own. If the industrialized nations of the world want to prevent whaling, then the industrialized west should put pressure on member countries who are flagrantly breaking internationally binding whaling agreements to hunt and trade whale products, namely Japan and Norway. Japan has offered to purchase whale meat from the Makah people which creates the marketplace that the Makah want to exploit.

With the above said, I do not support aboriginal whaling permits. I am of the personal opinion that many cetaceans have passed a critical threshold of sentience that makes them conscious enough to not be food. However, I do not believe that any headway can be made in the matter by the naive assumption that forcing native people to use an outsider ordained culturally acceptable method of hunting will somehow improve the situation. That policy will increase tensions between native rights activists and whaling activists preventing the legitimate aims of both parties from reaching their fruition. I believe that the best way forward is an open dialogue with the native communities focused on allowing them to maintain the cultural values that the native people require for identity and community while renegotiating their positions as whale hunters to whale stewards, like this editorial suggests:


All I'm really getting at is this is a more nuanced situation then your previous reply indicates. You may not be aware of the entire situation and while your proposal may give you some small measure of moral reward, it fails to identify the actual concerns of the parties involved. At the personal level it is as if I invited you to my family's traditional thanksgiving dinner wherein I try a different preparation method for the turkey. If you were to claim that this isn't the "real" traditional thanksgiving dinner because the turkey is fried this year instead of roasted you would be missing the point of the tradition and probably wouldn't have a whole lot of presence at next year's turkey day.


I don't think it's reasonable for outsiders to determine what methods the native people should use to hunt their tradition game, either. The real criteria is how many of the game animals they should kill, and at this point in time there are lots of seals to be had in the north.

A point that should be made is that even with rifles, snow machines, and outboard motors, seal hunting on and around the pack ice is still difficult, dangerous, and fearsomely cold work. I used to know a fellow who had the opportunity to tag along on a "modern" seal hunt with some Alaskan Natives. As a non-Native he couldn't actually take part in the hunt, but they allowed him to come along and observe.

This guy was no wimp. He had lived in Alaska all of his adult life. Spent a lot of time out in the bush in winter. He was also a climber with several trips up Denali. Someone who was not unaccostomed to being out in severe cold. Yet he told me that during the hunt he was absolutely certain that he was going to freeze to death. He also said there was no way he could have gotten back safely without the Natives. I don't think he was kidding. To the Native seal hunters it was just an average day hunting out on the ice.

Rifles, snow machines, and outboards have made it easier than it was in aboriginal times, but that doesn't mean it has become easy.

Oh, come on... seriously?

They wouldn't hunt seals if there wasn't a profit involved because it is rather hard work and expensive now that they use snowmobiles rather than dogsleds.

Using snowmobiles is easier than using dogsleds. Hence the current preference for them.

And if they need a money "profit" then they really don't seem to want to eat them.

Now there are about 5 million of them, and they are eating all the available fish. It's like yeast growing on a petri dish - sooner or later they'll overrun the food supply and all starve.

A miracle they didn't all starve before humans arrived, eh.

And in terms of depleting fisheries and going into massive population overshoot, we have a clear winner in the plague of apes which has recently inserted itself into that ecosystem.

Actually, human beings killed off most of the seal predators as well as most of the seals. Now the seals have come back, but the predators are not there to control their number. The only limit is the available food supply.

The problem is that the main predators on seals (other than human beings) are polar bears, and polar bears eat people just as enthusiastically as they do seals.

The problem is that the main predators on seals (other than human beings) are polar bears, and polar bears eat people just as enthusiastically as they do seals.

Well, ecologically that's not a problem, except for humans having guns.

I agree humans have mucked up the predator/prey balance in many ways, on the ice and below it. The species which get past the human dieoff bottleneck may have a slight chance, if they don't mind living in a hotter world with acidifying oceans, and higher background radiation levels.

Disclosure: I consider the larger cetaceans to be aboriginal cultures in the same sense as human aboriginals. At the point human natives start using automatic weapons, shooting whales with .50 calibre anti-armor weapons & machine-gunning walrus for their tusks, etc, they ain't aboriginal cultures anymore. I've spent time with tribal elders who are disgusted by it, and I agree with them.

....machine-gunning walrus for their tusks....

When/where has this occured? Evidence please.

geo - I think greenish just got a little carried away. Like me you probably know FMJ's wouldn't be the choice regardless of caliber. But long ago I did see a TV story showing that the natives were allowed to use a rifle to finish off a kill but only after they set a harpoon. Not sure if that's still the reg. Actually a similar rule for hunting gators in La: only once gator is hooked can it be shot. And for gators a .22 is sufficient.

Setting aside a bit of hyperbole from greenish I think you would agree that weapons technology has reached a point where regulatory control has to be exercised to prevent over harvesting. I don't hunt much now due to my MS but I use to chuckle to myself when I met guys who thought they were "hunting" deer here in Texas. Sitting in a heated tree stand with a rifle I could print 2" patterns at 300 yds and shooting a deer sitting under feeder isn't what I would call hunting. I would sooner buy my sausage...cheaper in the long run. LOL. If it weren't for the regs there wouldn't be a white tail left in Texas today IMHO. From what little I know of life above the Arctic Circle it is tough and revenue is difficult to come by for the natives. I have little doubt that human nature wouldn't override any sense of long term preservation for native species. And you and I both know a .300 short mag would be more than sufficient. Full auto and 50 cal aren't necessary.

As far as polar bears go I've stared into those little black eyes from 5' away of a wild one up at Churchill and knew exactly what he was thinking: supper. LOL. I would never want to shoot a PB but I also don't think I could accept one sharing an area with my family. So it would be a matter of chasing it off permanently or putting it down. From 300 yds, of course.

....I use to chuckle to myself when I met guys who thought they were "hunting" deer here in Texas. Sitting in a heated tree stand with a rifle I could print 2" patterns at 300 yds and shooting a deer sitting under feeder isn't what I would call hunting. ...

Yeah, that's why I never bothered with hunting those few years I lived in Texas. The tree stand thing just wasn't really hunting to me. For me, hunting was always about the adventure.

Geo - So true. Now hunting mean feral sows on the ground in thick mesquite with a pistol...that's an adventure. But since my knees have gone bad and I can't run or climb trees anymore that's too much "adventure" for me now. LOL.

geo - I think greenish just got a little carried away.

Rock, I got carried away in the same sense you do when you explain the realities of the oil bidness. It won't always be practical, ethical, legal, or appropriate for you to source everything you say. Nevertheless, folks are well-advised to pay attention to it.

I have utterly no desire to prove anything about environmental ugliness to the TOD crowd; I comment when I can add something because i feel some affection for folks here, and not least for you, BlueBell-eating scalawag though you may be; and to balance a lopsided statement on occasion.

People working for me in the field have found herds of walrus machine-gunned and their tusks chain-sawed off. Grey whales have been shot with military .50 calibre in U.S. waters by the Makah. I could have made a far longer list of appalling examples without straying into hyperbole.

just saying.

I think we need to be careful in making generalizations because Nunavut is along way from Newfoundland where all the caffuffle was last decade. I'd have to generally agree with you on the seal hunt though, I think that if you're going to eat meat, there are few less environmentally obtrusive ways of obtaining it, other than deer. However I am skeptical that it's the seals that are largely responsible for driving fish populations down, I think our fishing pressures may have something to do with it, based on the collapse of the Newfie fishery... If there's a potential scapegoat to take the blame for our destructive harvesting practices you can be sure we'll blame that animal till the very end until we admit that we are the problem.

But mostly I just question how you lay the blame on the "greens" for meddling in native culture. The genocide that occurred with Native Americans was definitely not perpetrated by greens.

The Inuit in Nunavut have basically become collateral damage in the campaign the European environmentalists have been conducting against the Newfoundland seal hunt. The Europeans don't realize that there is a big difference between Newfoundland fishermen and Nunavut Inuit, and the latter are heavily dependent on hunting seal, which has traditionally been the mainstay of their society.

There was never any genocide against Canadian native peoples (other than in Newfoundland, which was a separate country until 1948). Fighting the Indians was more of an American thing. There are more native people in Canada now than there ever has been.

17MAY2011 Terry Gross of NPR's Fresh Air interviewed
Kevin Patterson about his 2007 novel Consumption.

He's a doctor and a novelist. The novel fictionalizes
his experiences about working with Inuit in northern

> "No country in the world has the resources to continue
> to treat diabetics the way that they're being treated
> now, if the prevalence rates increase at the rates that
> they're increasing for much longer," he says. "I worked
> in Saipan, which is in the Marianas Island in the
> Pacific, and there, the dialysis population was
> increasing at about 18 percent a year, all as a
> consequence of diabetes and acculturation — exactly the
> same process as what's going on with the Inuit.
> "When you look at the curves, it's clear how
> unsustainable it is. In 20 or 30 years, everybody on that
> island will either be a dialysis patient or a dialysis
> nurse unless something fundamental is done about the rise
> in diabetes. That's no less true in Canada and in Samoa
> and Hawaii, and even in Omaha and Toronto. We all have
> exactly the same problem when we plot out those curves."
> http://www.npr.org/2011/03/24/132745785/how-western-diets-are-making-the...

> An article by Kevin Patterson published 15NOV2010:
> http://maisonneuve.org/pressroom/article/2010/nov/15/the-diseases-afflue...

We've done this before. The peoples in the Marshall Islands who were relocated for weapons testing, rapidly westernized then put back -- most to work for defense contractors out on Kwaj or fend for themselves in the new marginal "economy" that sprung up. Thier rate of health problems related to all this is staggering. A generation prior lived off the sea and land. A generation past got electricity, spam, etc.

When I was there, a box of Fuit Loops was about $17 USD, and it was a status symbol to eat them. I think the US Public Health Service and the US Military still provides their health care under a trust-terriroty agreement, but I've not read about their plight since I saw it first hand. I suspect you won't find many AGW deniers out there either, probably like the indigenous in cold climates.

Green grabs: The dark side of the green economy

The rapidly-growing appropriation of land and resources in the name of 'green ' biofuels, carbon offsetting schemes, conservation efforts and eco-tourism initiatives – is forcing people from their homelands and increasing poverty, new research has found.

Ecosystems being 'asset-stripped' for profit is likely to cause dispossession and further poverty amongst already-poor land and resource users, according to a set of 17 new research case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America, published in a special issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies

Some cry 'coup' as Egypt's highest court annuls parliament, military extends power

Cairo (CNN) -- Egypt's highest court declared the parliament invalid Thursday, and the country's interim military rulers promptly declared full legislative authority, triggering a new level of chaos and confusion in the country's leadership.

I ran across this map which re-scaled my understanding of how big the African continent is...

There are some other nice superimpostion maps of various countries as well if you scroll down the page...