Drumbeat: June 20, 2012

Shortages: Is 'peak oil' idea dead?

Since humans found that oil was better than coal for shifting vehicles, people have fretted over oil wells running dry.

Bouts of anxiety are periodic. In the seventies a Shell geoscientist, M King Hubbert, sounded an alarm that supplies would peak by 1995 "if current trends continue."

They didn't peak. Fear is a powerful motivator and forecasting a shortage can be a good way of avoiding one.

Instead of seeing the 1970s oil crisis end in a long-term shortage, we responded by developing more fuel-efficient cars and burning less oil for heating. And what's more, oil production continued to grow.

Presentations from ASPO 10 - Vienna

Presentations by Nate, Arthur, Rembrandt, Euan, and others.

The Vanishing Peak

One of the most enduring myths about oil is the Peak Oil theory. The theory, first articulated by a geologist, M. King Hubbert, in 1949, hold that since petroleum is a finite resource, production will lead to exhaustion . From then until his death in 1989, he routinely predicted that the end of the oil age was at hand. In retrospect, this has turned out to be more like the periodic predictions about the end of the world that are always sometime in the not too distant future.

Peak planet: Are we starting to consume less?

The talk is of "peak stuff": that beyond a certain level of economic development, people simply stop consuming so much. Technology and the course of economic evolution allow prosperity to keep rising without a linked increase in our use of energy and materials. Our demands on planetary resources stabilise - and ultimately begin to fall.

Others are unconvinced, seeing in peak stuff a dangerous myth and a thinly veiled excuse to abandon efforts to limit our planetary impact. Without large-scale intervention to curb our excesses now, they argue, peak stuff, if it exists, will be too little, too late. So who is right? Is humanity really about to lose its appetite for stuff - and if so, will it help?

Predictions such as those of Malthus and Ehrlich fell down on a simple point: they failed to see what came next. Malthus missed the industrial revolution and its ways of mass production, which ultimately allowed more people to live longer and more comfortably. Ehrlich failed to factor in the "green revolution", the widespread use of more productive crop strains and chemical fertilisers and pesticides that has kept food production ahead of the population curve since the 1960s. Perhaps we are missing a similar trend now.

Oil Drops a Third Day in London on Crude Supply Increase

Brent oil dropped for a third day in London on speculation that U.S. supplies may have shrunk less than estimated, while investors awaited the outcome of a Federal Reserve meeting on monetary policy.

Brent futures lost as much as 0.9 percent, while the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell 0.7 percent. An industry report yesterday showed U.S. crude stockpiles fell 550,000 barrels. That decline is less than the 1.3 million forecast by analysts before an Energy Department report. The Fed concludes a two-day meeting in Washington today.

Gas prices fall below $3.50

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Gas prices fell below $3.50 per gallon on Tuesday for the first time in more than four months, according to AAA, thanks to the free flow of oil in the U.S. and the Middle East.

"In general, we've got a very well supplied oil market," said Dan Dicker, oil trader and author of "Oil's Endless Bid: Taming the Unreliable Price of Oil to Secure Our Economy."

Record number of drivers to hit the road on July 4

Motorists will travel in record numbers for the Independence Day holiday this year, encouraged by cheaper gasoline, travel group AAA said on Tuesday.

The group said 35.5 million people will drive 50 miles or more away from home between July 3 and 8, up 4 percent from last year and the largest number in the last decade.

Opec tops $1 trillion in revenue

Opec producers' oil revenues topped the unprecedented US$1 trillion (Dh3.67tn) mark last year as the price of oil averaged above $100 a barrel for the first time.

But last year's windfall contrasts with a current slump in oil prices, which brought the cost per barrel to an 18-month low yesterday.

OPEC Pledge Means Record Tanker Cargoes Reversing Rout

OPEC’s pledge to maintain production quotas will sustain a record supply of oil cargoes in the Persian Gulf, giving ship owners the confidence to demand more money after charter rates plunged 76 percent in 11 weeks.

Rates for very large crude carriers, each hauling 2 million barrels, tumbled to $9,710 a day since April 2 amid speculation that slumping oil prices would spur producers to cut back. OPEC instead left output targets unchanged on June 14. Returns will average $18,000 in the third quarter, the median of eight analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s more than twice the $8,536 anticipated by forward freight agreements, traded by brokers and used to bet on future costs.

The OPEC bogeyman

The escalation of oil demand and the rapid increase in prices beginning around 2004/2005 has been the most prolonged boom in OPEC history. Current account surpluses have been significant and should continue for the foreseeable future; financial reserves are at historic highs; the oil market is tight, with only Saudi Arabia, followed distantly by the UAE and Kuwait, having any significant excess oil production capacity.

Looking at OPEC's record, what should we conclude can we conclude that OPEC been an effective cartel; that it can blackmail the world?

Russia's Gazprom sees exports at record high in 2012

(Reuters) - Russian gas exports are expected to hit a record high of 222 billion cubic metres this year, state-controlled monopoly Gazprom said on Wednesday.

The company expects its sales of gas to Europe this year to be worth $61 billion, Gazprom's deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev told reporters.

Hedge Funds Hurt in May Commodity Rout as Brevan Drops

For the third straight year, May proved a disaster for hedge funds that specialize in commodities as raw materials from copper to oil fell into bear markets.

Funds tracked by the Newedge Commodity Trading Index lost an average 3 percent last month, the most since September. Taylor Woods Master Fund Ltd., managing more than $1 billion, retreated 4.2 percent, according to a monthly report obtained by Bloomberg News. Galena Asset Management Ltd.’s metals fund dropped 2.6 percent in May, according to the company, and Brevan Howard Commodities Strategies Master Fund Ltd. fell 2 percent, according to a monthly report to investors obtained by Bloomberg.

China warns its rare earth reserves are declining

China has warned that the decline in its rare earth reserves in major mining areas is "accelerating", as most of the original resources are depleted.

In a policy paper, China's cabinet blamed excessive exploitation and illegal mining for the decline.

China accounts for more than 90% of the world's rare earth supplies, but has just 23% of global reserves.

It has urged those with reserves to boost production of the elements, which are used to make electrical goods.

Petrobras Jumps on Possible Gasoline Price Increase

Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4), Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, rose to the highest in four weeks after Energy Minister Edison Lobao signaled the government is considering raising regulated gasoline prices.

Petrobras, as the Rio de Janeiro-based producer is known, rose 4 percent to 19.65 reais at the close in Sao Paulo, the highest price since May 22.

Brazil Government Fails to Benefit Blocking Oil Firms

International oil companies looking to start exploring Brazil, home to the largest discoveries in the past decade, can’t get near the crude.

Brazil has repeatedly delayed the sale of exploration areas since 2007, leaving Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc shut out of an offshore area that holds at least $5 trillion of oil. Meanwhile Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the state-run company that pumps more than 90 percent of the country’s crude, is struggling to develop deposits it has already found. Petrobras’s output grew 1.5 percent in 2011, the slowest pace in four years.

Iraq oil hopes slide on legal limbo

LONDON // Five years after the first attempt by the Iraqi authorities to ratify an oil law, the country's petroleum sector is still in legal limbo.

A hydrocarbon law remains a mirage in Baghdad and the reality is dawning that Iraq's plans to become one of the world's top-five oil producers are jeopardised by the legal deadlock.

Chesapeake Hired Lawyer With Stealth Record in CEO Probes

The lawyer Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s audit committee hired to investigate possible conflicts of interest in its chief executive’s loans has a record of managing probes with minimum publicity about himself or his client.

Norway oil workers threaten strike over pensions

OSLO (Reuters) - Oil workers in Norway, the world's eighth largest oil exporter, resume wage talks on Friday, threatening to go on strike within days if firms fail to improve their pay offer and tackle a sensitive pension issue.

Unions are demanding wage increases, better overtime pay and the right to retire at 62 for the sector's 7,000 workers, but the Norwegian Oil Industry Association (OLF) already said pensions will not be on the table during the talks.

Chevron seeks priority pipeline access in Canada

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Chevron Corp is seeking priority access to capacity on the Trans Mountain pipeline to Canada's West Coast from Alberta, saying crude supplies for its British Columbia refinery are dwindling as other shippers clamor for limited capacity.

In an application to the National Energy Board on Tuesday, Chevron said its Burnaby refinery has been getting elbowed out of space on the Kinder Morgan Energy Partners-owned pipeline. The plant, which supplies nearly a third of the gasoline in Canada's Westernmost province, has received nearly all its oil from the pipeline since 1954.

East Africa set to be global gas hub

Statoil has struck gas in Tanzania, adding to the slew of discoveries that raises the prospect of east Africa becoming a major gas provider.

The Tanzanian discovery builds on a rich series of finds in the offshore Rovuma Basin, which is shared with Mozambique, and the area is already shaping up to become an exporting hub.

Iran oil exports fall more in June, sanctions bite

LONDON (Reuters) - Iranian oil exports are falling further in June as more customers in Europe and Asia stop or scale back purchases ahead of European Union sanctions aimed at slowing Tehran's nuclear program.

Iran to build 6.9mn bl product storage capacity

Iran will build 6.9mn bl of products storage by the end of March next year, as it boosts capacity to 80 days of consumption from a current 50 days, according to oil ministry news service Shana.

Ahmadinejad Woos Chavez-Led Allies in Latin America

ranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, facing tighter U.S. sanctions and rising tensions in the Persian Gulf, will turn to his diminished group of allies in Latin America for support this week.

Ahmadinejad arrived in Venezuela yesterday to kick off a four-nation tour to push investment projects such as a hydro- electric power plant in Ecuador. He’ll be joining forces with leaders like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s Raul Castro in taking shots at the U.S. in its own backyard, defying attempts to isolate Iran over its nuclear activities.

Japan passes law to insure Iran oil imports

Japan's parliament approved government guarantees on insurance for crude oil cargoes from Iran on Wednesday, paving the way for it to become the first of Iran's big Asian oil buyers to get round new European Union sanctions, Reuters reported.

Last month IEA said Iran's oil exports have decreased from 2.5 mbd to less than 2.0 mbd, and this figure is expected to fall even further to 1.5 mbd in the second half of 2012.

Japan, China to import Iran oil after EU ban

TOKYO (Reuters) - At least two of Asia's four top buyers of Iranian crude will keep imports flowing, though at overall reduced rates, as they find ways around an EU ban on insuring tankers carrying the Islamic country's oil.

Asia needs oil to feed growing demand and top consumers are reluctant to entirely halt imports from Iran and depend entirely on top exporter Saudi Arabia, especially given that output from other alternative suppliers such as Libya and Iraq has not stabilized.

Statoil: Shtokman Gas Project Must Compete With Other Opportunities

Norwegian oil and gas producer Statoil ASA (STO) has many potential investment opportunities and if the giant Shtokman gas field development in Russia is to proceed it must offer a rate of return that is globally competitive, said the company's Executive Vice President of Global Strategy and Business, John Knight Wednesday.

NEA slashes load-shedding hours

The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has slashed the load-shedding hours to 7 hours a day at the maximum from Thursday.

GDF Suez Quits Europe as Belgium Plans to Shut Reactors

Europe is driving its largest power and natural-gas utility off the continent.

GDF Suez SA is dealing with government caps on prices in France and Belgium, losing a 1.8 billion-euro ($2.3 billion) wind-farm project in France it spent five years preparing, and an early shutdown of as many as three atomic reactors in Belgium. Chief Executive Officer Gerard Mestrallet says he only sees expansion coming in faster-growing Asia and Latin America.

Shell Faces Pushback As Alaska Drilling Nears

The federal government could soon give the final go-ahead for Royal Dutch Shell to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Shell has spent $4 billion since 2007 to prepare for this work, and is hoping to tap into vast new deposits of oil.

But the plan to drill exploratory wells is controversial — opposed by environmental groups and some indigenous people as well.

Chevron Among 48 Bidders Seeking U.S. Leases Near BP Spill Site

Chevron Corp. is among 48 companies bidding for the first drilling rights in the central Gulf of Mexico since BP Plc ’s spill two years ago, tapping a region the U.S. estimates may yield more than 1 billion barrels of oil.

The auction today for tracts covering almost 39 million acres off Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi is the first in the region since the BP spill. A sale about a month before the April 2010 disaster raised $949.3 million for the U.S..

U.S.: Pipe Failure Caused Fire At BP Refinery

FERNDALE, Washington (AP) -- BP says the Feb. 17 fire that shut down its Cherry Point oil refinery in Washington state near Ferndale was caused by a pipe failure in the crude processing unit.

Enbridge Elk Point Spill Pumps About 230,000 Litres Of Heavy Crude

ELK POINT, Alta. - There's been another oil spill in Alberta, this time northeast of Edmonton.

The Energy Resources Conservation Board says the leak of heavy crude oil happened Monday at a pumping station on Enbridge Inc.’s (TSX:ENB) Athabasca pipeline about 24 kilometres southeast of Elk Point.

Activist Artist vs. Pipeline

An illustrated article that takes a leaf from “Alice in Wonderland” has gained something of an online following, prompting thousands of people to urge the Canadian government to halt development of the Northern Gateway oil pipeline.

In this “visual essay,” posted by the Canadian activist Franke James at her Web site, Alice poses a series of questions about the pipeline’s environmental risks to the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, and his minister of natural resources, Joe Oliver, in brightly illustrated cartoon-like frames.

Fukushima plant operator: We weren't prepared for nuclear accident

Tokyo (CNN) -- The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant admitted Wednesday that it was not fully prepared for the nuclear disaster spurred by last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

"All who were related to the nuclear plant could not predict an occurrence of the event which was far beyond our expectation," said Masao Yamazaki, executive vice president of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). "We did not have enough measures to prevent the accident."

Japanese Officials Failed to Use U.S. Data Tracking Radiation After Tsunami

TOKYO — The United States shared detailed radiation measurements with Japan in the early days of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster that the Japanese government did not make public or use in conducting evacuations, officials acknowledged on Tuesday.

King Coal's return bad news for Big Oil and greener energy

It takes 1.5km to brake a coal train to a standstill and nearly 9km to stop an oil supertanker.

BP's Statistical Review of World Energy, released last week, shows the world's energy economy has a similar inertia.

Despite demands for rapid transformation for the sake of the environment, the global complex of mines, wells, pipelines, wind farms, nuclear plants, power lines and petrol stations changes very slowly.

Are we moving toward a fact-free future?

Issues such as climate change and peak oil seem so abstract to most people that they do not see them as pressing issues that require a thorough analysis and immediate action. This is true because the effects are not immediately impinging on them or, at least, they unable to connect what effects there are to themselves. And, the usual fact-filled analysis that is often thrown at them therefore doesn't interest them much. As it turns out, information that is new, but not consistent with one's current belief system, is normally discarded by most people. Typically, only some exceptional concrete change of circumstances will cause people to open their belief systems to contradictory information.

Rent your car for cash

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Neil St. Clair owns a BMW 5-series and if you want, he'll let you drive it for $15 an hour or $75 a day.

St. Clair -- like thousands of people -- doesn't actually need his car all the time, so he's decided to take advantage of a new peer-to-peer car sharing service that allows him to rent his car out to strangers and defray his ownership costs.

Solar power could have saved $520 million last summer, study says

If Texas had used more solar energy last summer, electricity customers could have spent nearly 10 percent less on power, according to a hypothetical analysis released Tuesday.

The study, commissioned by a mix of solar and renewable energy industry organizations and produced by the Brattle Group consulting firm, said that if Texas had the capacity to generate up to 5 gigawatts of electricity from solar photovoltaic cells, Texas customers would have saved $520 million during the state’s hottest summer on record, when the state’s total electric cost was $5.4 billion.

The Afterlife of Cheap Clothes

What American doesn’t have something hanging in his or her closet worn only once or twice, a pair of pants waiting for a diet, or even a brand-new dress or jacket with the tags still on? Common sense and everyday experience tell us that we have so many clothes that a major­ity go underused and neglected. According to a 2010 national survey in ShopSmart magazine, one in four American women own seven pairs of jeans, but we only wear four of them regularly. Not surprisingly, charities regularly see brand-new clothes come in with tags still affixed. “We see people throwing away new stuff every day,” Maui says.

There is an enormous disconnect between increasing clothing con­sumption and the resultant waste, partially because unworn clothes aren’t immediately thrown out like other disposable products. In­stead, they accumulate in our closets or wherever we can find space for them. Master closets now average about 6 feet by 8 feet, a size more typical of an extra bedroom 40 years ago.

District’s needy get fruit and vegetable Rx

The familiar refrain: Fresh fruits and vegetables can be expensive and scarcely available in poor neighborhoods. “We have a motivated group of people who want to make changes,” says Jessica Wallace, We Can’s coordinator. “But financially, they are at a loss for how to do that.”

Wallace has a new way to help. On June 6, the clinic began writing “fruit and vegetable prescriptions” to help cover the cost of fresh produce. Thirty-five families will receive vouchers for $1 per family member per day — $112 every four weeks for a family of four — to spend at any of five District farmers markets: the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace, Mount Pleasant, 14th and U, Bloomingdale and Glover Park. The hope is that a medical endorsement of healthful eating, plus cash to buy ingredients, will help families make real changes to the way they shop and eat.

As Swarms Startle New York, Officer on Bee Beat Stays Busy

This spring in New York City, clumps of homeless bees have turned up, often in inconvenient public places, at nearly double the rate of past years. A warm winter followed by an early spring, experts say, has created optimal breeding conditions. That may have caught some beekeepers off guard, especially those who have taken up the practice in recent years.

...It can be difficult to trace a swarm to its source. Officer Planakis said the bees he had collected were wild, but some beekeepers believe they were fleeing the poorly managed hives that have proliferated on rooftops, in backyards and on balconies since the city lifted a decade-long ban on raising Apis mellifera — the common, nonaggressive honeybee — in March 2010.

DNA evidence of Asian carp above electric barrier grows

While it's been nearly two years since crews landed the only live Asian carp specimen above an electric barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, DNA evidence of the jumbo carp continues to come in - and the percentage of DNA-positive water samples taken above the barrier this year appears to have grown tenfold over last year.

Evangelicals and Climate Change: Global Warming Activists (Pt. 2)

For evangelicals who are global warming activists, convincing the Christian community to get engaged has been a process.

For example, Richard Cizik, though he was cited in 2008 by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world for his work as a 'green evangelical,' had a very tough time convincing his organization to back him at the time.

Defense: Buyers knew renewable credits were fake

BALTIMORE (AP) - A lawyer for a Maryland man accused of selling $9.1 million in fraudulent renewable energy credits says his client isn't guilty because buyers knew they were fake.

Canada's Oil Insiders Want a Carbon Tax

Surprising as that sounds, interviews reveal a business community consensus based on economics.

Cities Lead Effort to Curb Climate Change as Nations Lag

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is leading an effort by 58 of the world’s largest cities to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions while federal governments struggle to meet global targets following two decades of discussions.

The member-cities of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group produce about 14 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Their actions to improve energy efficiency and invest in renewable power will reduce emissions by 248 million metric tons in 2020, Bloomberg said on a conference call. The cities can cut emissions by more than 1 billion tons by 2030, or the equivalent annual output from Mexico and Canada.

Environmentalists Say UN Sustainability Pact Lacks Teeth

United Nations envoys endorsed the broadest steps yet to harmonize economic development with efforts to protect the environment, measures that pressure groups say lack the teeth needed to force change.

Delegates from 190 nations put the finishing touches on a draft agreement early this morning that addresses cuts in fossil-fuel subsidies, provides support for renewable energy and details measures to protect oceans, according to diplomats and Brazil Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro.

Global Economy Limits Expectations at Earth Summit in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO — Global leaders, development experts, bankers, academics and activists are gathering here this week to celebrate the anniversary of the landmark Earth Summit of 1992 and to try to address the linked problems of poverty, hunger, energy shortages and environmental degradation.

But the conference — expected to draw as many as 50,000 participants — is in many ways overshadowed by economic and political crises around the world. While more than 100 heads of state and government are planning to attend the formal talks starting Wednesday, President Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany are staying away, preoccupied by domestic politics and the financial turmoil in Europe.

Rising Asian cities may sink into the sea

HONOLULU - An Asian century, an urban century — the rise of the East and the role of such expansive urban giants as Shanghai are emblematic of popular assessments of where the world's economy is heading.

But talk with Roland Fuchs of the East-West Center in Honolulu and you hear two deeply disturbing warnings.

First, the climate equation, and what it means for Asia in particular. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are rising at alarming rates, with the Pacific Rim seriously endangered.

Pakistan is looking a little wobbly.

Pakistan power cut riots spread as politician's house stormed
Rioting and looting sparked by power cuts of up to 20 hours a day run into their third day in several parts of Pakistan


I guess that politician forgot that when energy is so scarce, make sure what little you have goes to the armed forces and police first. That way, you always have plenty of armed people ready to beat back the angry mobs (to protect their own privilege).

I've been saying for like year now that Pakistan is borderline failed-state status. You can't fuel an economy on Islamic rage. Unstable government, totally ungoverned regions, at least two separate armed insurgency groups, not much beyond some light industry.

The place has been dependent on foreign military aid since 9/11. Much of that money has been cut-off due to a spat between the USA and Pakistan for the last few months. I think of of these problems may be increased due to that funding cut-off. It is nice to see the US administration pushing a tough bargain since they haven't been helping us much and so much of the money given is siphoned off in corruption.

Pakistan would be my first choice for large country to achieve failed-state status. As a result of its high birth rate, it now has more people than Russia, which is ridiculous because it has nowhere near the land and resources that Russia (a G-8 country) does. It doesn't have the resource to sustainably support the population it currently has, never mind the population it will have in a few years.

Pakistan is a very militarized country, but has the disadvantage that the neighbors it is most likely to get in a war with (India, China) are much bigger and could easily defeat it. It can try to bluff them with its nuclear weapons, but realistically, both India and China have nuclear weapons and either of them would wipe Pakistan off the map in a nuclear war. All Pakistan could do to India or China is reduce their populations to a more sustainable level.

Pakistan is a useful idiot for China...a check on India...India and China have animosities not that far below the veneer of diplomatic cordialness. The historical border disputes will be magnified by China's move into Tibet, and especially by its increasing claim on Himalayan headwaters.

One may ask oneself the question...where might have Pak gotten its WMD technology from?

Also one may ask oneself: Which country may have felt most threatened by the 'Smiling Buddha' test circa 1974?


I wish I kept my NEXT (or was it Omni?)(ca early 1980s I think) magazine which had the article detailing the results of a deplhi poll of 'experts' addressing the probabilities of WMD exchanges between various country/country block pairs.

India-Pak was far and away rated as the highest probability, with Israel-Pak (or another Islamic state which acquired WMD) a respectable second place, and the classic U.S.-Russia (Then USSR) a very distant third place. A NATO-Warsaw Pact exchange was also way down in the noise..seen as a very remote possibility...as was U.S or USSR-China.

I don't like the potential futures regarding the India-Pak-China situation. Between the aftermath of a India-Pak or India-China or all three conflict, and the inevitable sea level rises, Bangladesh's future seems bleak as well.

I have an alternative scenario (and much more horrendous)...Pakistan melting down first and hundreds of millions of those refugees at India's and Iran's borders, this will definitely make China very happy (Though a few would sneak into China through POK as well).

IMO the prob of Nukes getting used is thin. I do believe that G7, China and India have already planned for a swift take down in case things go south. No one in the world wants 60 (from last count) nukes in a country which resembles Afghanistan more closely than anything else.

I sure hope your swift take-down theory is correct.

Given Russian demographics, and the attraction of living in Moscow and St. Petersburg, I can foresee a post-Peak Oil, post-population Peak and Climate Chaos affected China with too many young men "making a move" on Siberia.

Russia's only military response is, realistically, nukes. Perhaps nukes used only on their territory (territory with too many Chinese - including PLA - there).


As the number of women in prime child bearing years (say 20 to 28) declines in the next few years, the birth rate will as well. And the population bulges of 50 y/os will soon be older and retire (women) or die (men).

In just 30 years, can Russia effectively populate Siberia ? Maintain and operate infrastructure and run extractive industries with native Russians ? The answer is likely not - so where do the get immigrants from ?

The answer may be China - or India or ???

At least Russia should be able to feed itself, even with Climate Chaos.


BTW: there are almost twice as many 29 y/os (in 2012) as 12 year olds. And a comparable peak of 51 y/o women (men are dying off by that age).

Go forward a dozen years and the 12 y/o's are now 24 y/o. In the peak child bearing years for OECD women.

Go forward another 18 years (for a total of 30 years) and their sons are at the prime military age.

Recruiting for the Russian Army - and Siberian copper mines & oil fields - will be difficult.

The tragic history of Russia is written in their demographics.

Link up top: Presentations from ASPO 10 - Vienna This is all the videos from ASPO 2012, there are 34 of them if my count was correct. I have watched six or seven of them so far. I found the presentation given by Robert Hirsch to be the best one I have watched so far. The one by Kjell Aleklett, "Peaking at Peak Oil" was very good also along with Navigating through a Room full of Elephants by Nate Hagens.

Hirsch says peak oil is one to four years away. He said he predicted, last year, that it was two to five years away and he is sticking to his guns.

Ron P.

Thanks Darwinian, I am going to check those out.

All ASPO 2012 Videos

Two more video's have been added today bringing the total to 36.

Panel Discussion: Less oil more Problems
Reiner Kümmel, Olivier Rech, Robert Hirsch, Thomas Bachheimer
Moderation: Paul Hohnen

Climate Change and the Sustainable Use of Resources - Helga Kromp-Kolb

Ron P.

Are the pdfs of the presentations posted yet?

Don't get me wrong on Robert L. Hirsch, I absolutely respect the man, but I was still kind of disappointed that the was lying a little bit there.

I bought his book from 2010(the best Peak Oil book I've written. Short on mindless doomster yapping and rich on facts, charts and statistics, my kind of book) and it was never a decision I regretted.

However in his book, he says that the decline will occur in what he then wrote as '2-5 years). Namely 2012 to 2015.

Well it's 2012 now and now all of a sudden it's 1-4 years. So basic math tells you that such a timeframe implies 2013-2016. That's a not insignificant nudge. And for him to pretend that he was 'sticking to his guns' simply isn't credible. Even if he was saying the same thing last year, in 2011, that's still a change from 2010 and his book(which again, I recommend everyone to read).

I don't quite like this tendency even among those I respect the most to constantly nudge the timeline a few years forward. Again, if you read this site in 2006/2007, the vast majority of analysis that you'd read would very strongly suggest that by the time you're reading this, now, in 2012, that we'd have a decline already.

This was true even from the professional academics in ASPO. I've seen chris skrebowski make similar nudges. Just a year or so moved ahead. It was 2012 first, then 2013, then 2014 and now he is even making noises about 2015.

Peak Oil isn't a myth, but to be debated intelligently we have to criticize those nudge their forecasts. Hirsch in this regard has so far only done it once, but too many in the community do it far too often and as a result, that breeds cynicism and people are turned off and buy into the cornucopian propaganda.

And too many inside the community who are perhaps not as high-profiled as Hirsch or Aleklett or Skrewbowski just lets it fly, which they shouldn't, because I too buy into the general timeframe but too much of the discussion is frayed on a black/white canvas. Either imminent decline or cornucopian dreamland, and I'd suggest to you that neither is correct and we are right now much more likely to bumble along in stagnation for the coming decade, not outright decline. And this was true in 2007 and it continues to be true now, and Hirsch's nudging and false statements of 'sticking to his guns' does not help, and he isn't even the worst offender(unlike, say, Skrewbowski or others).

This too plays into the tendency of some to completely disregard all liquid fuels productions except crude, because it blows their forecasts and their tunnel vision. But that's another discussion.

And then there is the IMF analysis.

A safe range of outcomes - with the mid-point being prices doubling every decade and volumes increasing by 0.9%/year - until we can't afford the oil.

BTW, I am "coming around" to the IMF POV.


"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"
-- John Maynard Keynes, also attributed to Winston Churchill

That's precisely my point. The facts change and if the model doesn't work, then ignore datapoints if they don't support your outlook.

Yeah but you cannot change your mind and then claim you are "sticking to your guns" at the same time.

That depends upon what sticking to your guns means. If it means, I will plug the latest data into my model, and go with that (now changed) prediction, there is no slight of hand going on, albeit some explanation as to why the newer data didn't follow the model -else the model loses credibility. The other case, I'll stick to the old prediction, even though the new data shows it is clearly wrong, doesn't make logical sense (although maybe psychological and political).

Alan sez:

And then there is the IMF analysis.

A safe range of outcomes - with the mid-point being prices doubling every decade and volumes increasing by 0.9%/year - until we can't afford the oil.

We cannot afford the oil now, we cannot push the price to the high of 2008 four years ago. The level of economic activity has diminished since then, with less to come in the future. Production volumes might increase for a little while because of intense efforts to obtain very high initial recoveries. These are bankable but do not represent a trend of increased output capable of effecting the price.

It is declining access to credit and accompanying consumption that is effecting price. Price matters, in dollars peak oil took place in 1998. The economic perturbations of peak oil are being felt now even as various measures of liquid fuel production keep increasing.

The major trend that has buttressed industrial expansion since the end of World War One has been exponential increasing supply relative to consumption pushing down the price of fuel, this in turn expanding the base of crude customers who are also consumers of other goods: cars, houses, vacations, hotels, high-rise office buildings, highways, airports, etc.

This productivity trend ended in 2000, liquid fuels are increasingly unaffordable, the customer base shrinks even as fuel production increases.

The conclusion of this 'game' is very low-priced fuel, few with money to afford it. What the production levels are at that point will be irrelevant.

I used "we" in the global sense, not the American "we".

Yes, I expect the USA to be one of the nations to drop out - we are rich - but we use too much damm oil and have no viable alternatives.

Quite a few other nations will consume more oil though as we consume less - and the ever higher prices will keep supply volumes stable for a while yet.



I agree that all of those foolish enough to try to predict the "moment" of peak are eventually proven wrong. But I really do not understand why anyone cares. Several years ago I saw a video interview of Colin Campbell in which he was asked if his predictions of the peak will be proven correct and he replied without hesitation - "No - all of my predictions will be wrong - because the data we have to work with is so inadequate."

He went on to say that the only reason he provides periodic forecasts is that he is requested to do so.

Campbell has also stated repeatedly that the timing of the peak moment is irrelevant - the important concern should be the the envisioned future once the long decline begins.

I just think we have become so infatuated with our reasoning power we tend to demand that our "experts" provide us with very accurate forecasts. That will never happen. I have attended four ASPO meetings and listened to multiple predictions of the peak. I always disregard them. All that concerns me is that conventional oil production has roughly "stalled" and that has put the world in a very bad condition. Accordingly I am trying to to prepare my family for a different future.

I know that some believe that it is critical to convince the rest of the world about peak oil so that the world will "do something". Therefore we need to provide more precise forecasts. I really think that is a waste of effort. All I watch for is any reasoned arguments on whether future oil production will either increase or decrease. To date I have seen nothing rational indicating future increases. It appears (to me) that the "long decline" is about to start. Whether it starts in 2014 or 2020 is unknowable with the quality of the data.

And (surprise) - all of the things I have done to date (more insulation, weatherizing, solar screens, solar panels) have been excellent financial investments. Much better than the stock market. But they will not ensure BAU for me much longer.


I don't quite like this tendency even among those I respect the most to constantly nudge the timeline a few years forward.

On the same set of facts, yes. But note that Hubbert predicted 1970 for the U.S. peak, but usage slumps and the like changed that a bit.

What I am saying is that if the fact base, the data upon which the estimation or prediction is based, changes then the estimator should be given the right to reflect upon the new fact base.

I don't know it that is the situation here in this case, just sayin' ...

I think that you're being a little too exacting.

If we're generally right around here at TOD, this is the middle of a slow-motion train wreck. Will 9-11 be looked back on as 'part' of it? The Fannie/Freddie Debacle? the '08 spike? The industrial flight to China?

It's very unlikely we'll have enough perspective to confirm or deny when it started and when exactly it was at the 'Heart' of the disaster.. the predictions and the predictors have bigger questions to deal with, I think, and I don't find their credibility marred by such Crystal Ball Juggling..

If the stagnant economy depresses demand near the peak date it in effect slices off the top of the curve. If you are using the beginning of the decline as the peak date this will cause it to appear later.

Re: Enbridge Elk Point Spill Pumps About 230,000 Litres Of Heavy Crude In Alberta

This is moderately interesting to me because I did some work at Elk Point a few decades ago. We made some technical advances in heavy oil production inventing a technique now called "Cold Flow". It was also interesting culturally and historically because the restaurant we ate at in the town was across the street from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and many of the people in the restaurant were speaking Ukrainian.

The spill is relatively minor and there are no streams or lakes involved, so all they have to do is get in some bulldozers, build a dike around it, and then suck it up.

However, there is slide show at the end called "10 IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT CANADA'S OIL INDUSTRY" which is unique for the mainstream media in that it actually contains some useful facts which are true, and it actually cites authoritative sources. The MSM usually sticks to misleading factoids and cites sources which don't know anything. It's worth looking at if you want to know something basic about the Canadian oil industry, e.g.

Oil Exports Have Grown Tenfold Since 1980
Canada exported some 12,000 cubic metres of oil per day in 1980. By 2010, that number had grown to 112,000 cubic metres daily. Source: Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

97 Per Cent Of Oil Exports Go To The U.S.
Despite talk by the federal government that it wants to open Asian markets to Canadian oil, the vast majority of exports still go to the United States -- 97 per cent as of 2009. Source: Natural Resources Canada

Canada Has World's 2nd-Largest Proven Oil Reserves
Canada's proven reserves of 175 billion barrels of oil -- the vast majority of it trapped in the oil sands -- is the second-largest oil stash in the world, after Saudi Arabia's 267 billion. Source: Oil & Gas Journal

Canadian Oil Consumption Has Stayed Flat
Thanks to improvements in energy efficiency, and a weakening of the country's manufacturing base, oil consumption in Canada has had virtually no net change in 30 years. Consumption went from 287,000 cubic metres daily in 1980 to 260,000 cubic metres daily in 2010. Source: Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

250,000 Jobs.. Plus Many More?
The National Energy Board says oil and gas employs 257,000 people in Canada, not including gas station employees. And the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says the oil sands alone will grow from 75,000 jobs to 905,000 jobs by 2035 -- assuming, of course, the price of oil holds up.

Now the last item is particularly startling, if you stop and think about it, because it implies that the northern oil sands town of Fort McMurray might be a city of over 1 million by 2035. All of a sudden you will have an industrial city bigger than Detroit in the supposed wilderness of the Canadian northern boreal forest. Greenpeace will be horrified.

"oil sands alone will grow from 75,000 jobs to 905,000 jobs by 2035"

With "steam assist gravity discharge" production of tar sands being more environmentally acceptable and lower cost for deeper reserves, I think the job projections are exagerated. Unlike mining production SAGD needs no truck drivers for hauling mined product & wastes, need for overburden removal and remediation is almost zero (another employer), and no shovel operators/maintainers at the mine. Besides, the jobs created by SAGD are more skilled, like welders & pipefitters, drill rig operators, and electricians. Never been to the tar sands area of Alberta, but just evaluating the situation based on technology descriptions presented here gives me this impression.

mb - I suspect the estimate includes peripheral jobs created by the influx of oil field workers. Like food services, retail sales, etc,. And I also suspect they are using rather optimistic assumptions. Eventually going bust? Of course it will. Every oil town that has ever boomed eventually went bust to some degree. Even a big diverified town like Houston hit a major hit when the late 70's boom collapsed.

My problem with the jobs comment is that they are implying that Oil and Gas will be creating tonnes of jobs for the economy, but it ignores that between 2012 and 2035 there is going to be population growth so obviously we're going to have more jobs. Stating the raw numbers only exaggerates the economic potential of their claim. A more accurate economic measure would be the current and projected percentage of the workforce.

PS: I do agree their 2035 job number seems to be over optimistic

If the numbers quoted are accurate, then there is no way that Canada will be able to produce enough tradespeople to fill all the jobs which will be created in the oil sands. Hence the Canadian and Western Canadian governments are proposing to open the floodgates and let in skilled foreign tradespeople by the hundreds of thousands.

The Canadian government also wants to encourage domestic mobility, so they are proposing to cut off the unemployment payments to any worker who refuses to move to another province to take a new job. Move or starve is the message.

It's because of a fundamental mismatch in Canadian demography - Because it was settled from East to West, the country managed to put most of its population in the East at the opposite end of the country from its natural resources, which are mostly in the West. Over the long term this will correct itself because the population will move to where the resources are, but in the short term it's going to be a difficult transition for people.

And in natural resources, I include agricultural resources, because unlike the US, the vast majority of Canada's arable land is in the West, and much of it is not very far from the oil sands.

Because [Canada] was settled from East to West, the country managed to put most of its population in the East at the opposite end of the country from its natural resources, which are mostly in the West.

When Canada was settled by Europeans, its main resources were lumber and fish, which were heavily concentrated in the East. Depletion and technical advances make the West richer in resources today, but oil sands and farmland in the middle of nowhere weren't that valuable in the 17th century.

If you looked at the forests of British Columbia (which I do from time to time), you wouldn't think the lumber was mostly concentrated in the East. BC is also not exactly deficient in fish resources, either. The East used to have more fish, but that was before the Atlantic cod fishery was destroyed by overfishing.

However, the oil sands are totally in the West, and about 85% of Canada's farmland is also in the West. The resource base of Western Canada is staggering in scope, and in a world with too many people and not enough resources, it will become increasingly important.

"All of a sudden you will have an industrial city bigger than Detroit in the supposed wilderness of the Canadian northern boreal forest."

If we take our cues from Detroit's boom and bust we will see an even greater bust in Ft McMurray when that unsustainable boom ends. Of course the enviros will be blamed, being the messengers for our society's incredible stupidity, for pointing out that it really was a dumb move to be developing oil sands for the purpose of export in the first place. Imagine the gall of Greenpeace --- arguing that we shouldn't build an overextended global economy based 95% on burning plant and animal carcasses that will soon run out! What kind of twisted logic is that?

Of course in the first 2/3 of the 20th century, the people of Detroit thought theirs was a sustainable boom. They didn't realize that automobile production was based on a non-renewable resource, since the idea of Peak Oil had not been invented.

Fort McMurray could experience a similar boom/bust cycle. However, it might last longer than Detroit's since it will take a long, long time to exhaust the oil sands.

I lived in Calgary most of my life, and Calgary has been through at least four resource booms in its 100-odd years of urban history - 1) Cattle, 2) Grain, 3) Oil, 4) Oil sands. That's about one boom every 25-30 years. The constant yo-yoing between boom and bust is annoying, but at least there's a lot of money to be made in it. There is always the question, "What is the next boom going to be about?" You have to keep moving forward, never looking back.

In the book "Triumph of the City" the author Edward Glaesar makes an interesting observation about Detroit. The assembly line took previously skilled positions and made them largely unskilled. The consolidation into the big three auto companies also stifled innovation and entrepreneurship- the ultimate losing combination when the time came to adapt. He makes the point that in NY there were more people employed in the garment industry than were employed in the automobile industry yet NY was able to recover while Detroit has only gone down hill. For those who haven't read it strongly recommend it.

Electricity (stability) vs Gasoline (volatility) price history

(Not sure if this has been posted before)

Certainly highlights the stability of electricity prices and therefore the relatively low impact on economic activity compared to gasoline's pronounced volatility (war, geopolitical turmoil, hurricanes etc) and relatively strong impact on the world's economies.

And highlights one of the huge advantages of electric vehicles . . . reliable low prices.

The energy cost to operate EVs may be low but one driver in the cost of buying one is skyrocketing:

This article plus another from Bloomberg that talks about China's production of rare earth elements being restricted might slow advance of EV market shares of on road vehicles. China refines much of the worlds rare earth production, but gets a large part of its raw material (ores) from Australia.

(edit for clairity regarding China)

'According to Jon Hykawy, a researcher at Byron Capital Markets, the Nissan Leaf contains about 4kg of lithium metal, equivalent to 21kg of lithium carbonate. According to the USGS [pdf], lithium carbonate in 2009 cost $4.47 per kg. Hykawy states that the price of battery-grade lithium carbonate is actually more like $5.70 per kg.

Thus, the Nissan Leaf contains $120 of lithium carbonate. That's 0.6% of the cost of the battery.'


Actually the insured value of the Kangoo Ze 22kwh battery pack is £7,500, which works out at $550 kwh, but lithium carbonate costs remain a small part of the total cost.

Yet the price of lithium will have to rise enough to temper demand or increase production, no matter how high. What price is necessary to make it profitable to replace slower solar evaporation ponds with a natural gas flame to evaporate away water to concentrate lithium? What is the cost to extract it from sea water? $50,000 / kg? A kilo of gold is worth ~$56,000 and yet no one is extracting it from sea water.

There are huge deposits of lithium salts available on land, why bother with extracting it from sea water?


'What price is necessary to make it profitable to replace slower solar evaporation ponds with a natural gas flame to evaporate away water to concentrate lithium?'

Why would you want to do that, when evaporation in the sun works fine and is economical?

'What is the cost to extract it from sea water? $50,000 / kg? A kilo of gold is worth ~$56,000 and yet no one is extracting it from sea water.'

Gold is both scarce and insoluble.
In contrast lithium is more common than lead and highly soluble.
There is enough in the very rich land deposits which are economic at present costs for a couple of billion electric cars or so, and enough for billions more at somewhat higher costs, but for around $32/kg lithium carbonate can be extracted from the seawater if needs be, which would provide plenty for trillions of electric vehicles:

In any case, zinc and possibly magnesium can also be used for electric vehicles.

Sorry Dave but I have to call you on some of this..

In this bit...

but for around $32/kg lithium carbonate can be extracted from the seawater if needs be, which would provide plenty for trillions of electric vehicles

...you are quoting a 1975 paper that uses the waste heat from FUSION reactors (p 18) from here..


I'm going to guess that $32 in 1975 is slightly more today, and where are these fusion reactors that we are going to use for the waste heat??

Oops, looks like the costings are based on 1970 dollars (p 25).

I had not checked through to the links in this paper, so did not realise on posting that it referenced a 1975 paper.

My memory was at fault, as I assumed it referenced Japanese, Korean, and American efforts at lithium extraction, which incidentally should cost a lot less than $32/kg for lithium carbonate, not a 1975 paper

Here are the US efforts:
It is obviously good economic sense to tackle places where the lithium is already concentrated first.

Here are the Koreans:
Clearly since they are intending to use it commercially the costs are somewhere in the ballpark of conventional reserves.

And here are the Japanese:

BTW, the real hassle in lithium from the sea is not extracting it, as you can basically flood any depression and let the seawater evaporate.
The problem is separating it from the manganese, as that also has a high concentration in seawater.
Presumably both the Japanese and the Koreans have managed that.
Whether it is worth doing on a large scale with present good supplies of conventional lithium is another question, but it can undoubtedly be done, and at an affordable cost, if likely above present prices on the market.

The whole idea of getting Li from seawater seems like a worst case scenario. There is lots of Lithium in Bolivia, Chile, Nevada, etc. And it is a relatively low-impact mining operation so that is nice.

Yup. I recall reading that Bolivia alone has enough low-cost lithium for ~4billion EVs. Just an idea that I'm throwing out there, one could use reverse osmosis to de-salinate seawater and then use low-grade solar heat to totally dehydrate the saline discharge. Presumably, recovery of elements could proceed from there.

Well clearly, lithium isn't the bottleneck in the EV supply chain. I could think of a ton of others like electronic controllers. A lot of sealed black boxes and single source suppliers. Although I'll admit, a motor controller is a whole lot simpler than the fuel injection/ignition map on a modern ICE.

The whole idea of getting Li from seawater seems like a worst case scenario.

Yeah, too bad there isn't some kind of marine organism that accumulates Lithium in the same quantities as Vanadium.

Vanadium accumulation in tunicates and ascidians

German chemist Martin Henze discovered vanadium in the blood cells (or coelomic cells) of Ascidiacea (sea squirts) in 1911.[50][51] It is essential to ascidians and tunicates, where it is stored in the highly acidified vacuoles of certain blood cell types, designated vanadocytes. Vanabins (vanadium binding proteins) have been identified in the cytoplasm of such cells. The concentration of vanadium in their blood is up to 10 million times higher than the concentration of vanadium in the seawater around them. The function of this vanadium concentration system, and these vanadium-containing proteins, is still unknown.

Then again maybe we can develop better Vanadium based batteries and farm genetically modified Ascidians to help us produce the Vanadium... Oh, wait, the Ascidians like most marine organisms require healthy ecosystems and non acidified oceans! Bummer!

Maybe we all just need to concentrate more on reducing the human population and consuming fewer resources?

I have often wondered if kelps may be useful in extracting element from the sea. Large with huge surface area, just right for collecting. Harvest, dry then extract Lithium, Vanadium, phosphorous or whatever. I wonder if they can be developed to be highly selective for these elements.


NAOM, because the rate of production from land based deposits of lithium will not scale up to meet the demand for EV's. Reserves are not the same thing as rate of production.

DaveW, solar evaporation ponds are too slow to produce lithium at the rate needed for a conversion to EV in 20 years. If the world does a build out to EV's using lithium batteries, then the demand for lithium will greatly exceed the current rate of production. It would cause the price of lithium to increase until other quicker methods of production become cost effective. One possible method is to use a natural gas flame to replace solar evaporation ponds.

I have linked to this before on TOD, but it needs a repeat. The Tourble with Lithium 2: Under the Microscope, Meridian International Research, 2008 May 29

Yes, speculawyer, lithium from sea water is the last ditch effort. I mentioned it because it probably places an upper limit on the price of lithium. DaveW linked to Koreans who are running a pilot project to do just that which suggests a desperate situation for lithium supply is already forecast for the near future. The Korean article states, "current 11,000 tons, worth $600 million," which is $60 / kg. In the next paragraph it states, "$4.54 per kilogram." Something is inconsistent. chemicool lists:

Cost, pure: $27 per 100g
Cost, bulk: $9.50 per 100g

which are $270 / kg and $95 / kg, respectively. Lithium Prices 2012 indicates:

lithium carbonate varies depending upon volume, customer, and contract commitments between a range of approximately $4,500 to $5,200 per tonne

Li2CO3 is 19% lithium by weight and batteries require high purity, so this source indicates $27 / kg for lithium. Investors seem to be quoting a lower price than others while news reporters do not seem to know the difference between lithium and lithium carbonate.

The Salton Sea is surrounded by expensive agricultural land which wrecks the economics of solar evaporation ponds. Something different and more expensive would have to be used there.

Converting to plug-in series hybrid vehicles would reduce the demand for lithium compared to pure EV's making the ramp up in production easier.

Journalistic confusion about lithium/lithium carbonate makes the figures as difficult to compare without really delving into them as their repeated mis-statements on nominal solar capacity, which we are earnestly assured is 'equal to whatever number of nuclear plants' without taking into account capacity factors, so that they would be fine is the sun shone 24/7.

I think we are pretty safe in thinking about prices in the ball-park you mention.
One other difficulty is that prices are sometimes quoted as the price of the raw materials, which is a very different matter to the price of the lithium carbonate refined to battery standards.
The cost of refining is though presumably capable of being reduced, although I have not investigated it.
Other sources can also be used than the salt flats, for instance in Nevada it can be mined.
Overall I am content that lithium carbonate costs and availability are not sufficiently stressed or form a large enough proportion of total battery cost as to present undue difficulties, even if perhaps more energy input via natural gas is deemed necessary.

The efforts by Japan and Korea at lithium refining do not in my view show that forecasts indicate a 'desperate' supply situation in the future, although they surely indicate that they are properly cautious to ensure they can access supply, as they are accustomed to do for many commodities having little indigenous resources.
The fact that lithium from the sea is an indigenous resource no doubt motivates them to possible accept a rather higher price for lithium than would otherwise be the case, but the planned large scale of the Korean plant indicates more surely to me that they reckon they can do it at reasonable cost.

The author of 'The trouble with Lithium' is Tahil, a somewhat eccentric individual who also maintains that the World Trade Centre was brought down by set explosives.
Also far from not thinking that electric cars are the way to go, he simply wants to promote his zinc solution.

Personalities aside, Evans has provided some comprehensive responses:

In my view excess production of lithium and batteries is more likely to be a problem for quite a while than production shortfalls, with major suppliers rapidly ramping up.

Written by DaveW:
Personalities aside, Evans has provided some comprehensive responses:

Thanks for the link to "An Abundance of Lithium, Part Two," R. Keith Evans, July 2008.

It is a response without references containing a lot of numbers Evans makes up. For example, he claims that Tahil only lists 2 Canadian deposits and then throws out his estimate of known but underexplored deposits of pegmatites of 150,000 tonnes of lithium. He has an opportunity to smack Tahil down by listing all of the deposits that Tahil omitted along with their reserves, resources, concentrations of lithium and contaminates, cost of production and rates of production. But he does nothing of the sort substituting his magical estimate. Let me guess, solar evaporation ponds do not work well at Canada's high latitude and wet environment making them uncompetitive at current prices.

Tahil: Lithium resource total: 21.8 million tonnes
Tahil: 6.8 million as reserves
Evans: Lithium reserves and resources: 29.79 million tonnes

Because resources includes reserves, Evans' title does not make sense. Nevertheless, there is not much of a difference between their estimates of resources. Because there is much more lithium available on Earth, this difference is irrelevant. The issue is whether production of lithium can increase sufficiently at a price that would allow EV's to run from lithium batteries while supplying the other demands for lithium.

He superficially address this at the end under "Supply and Demand" criticizing Tahil's scenario of converting to Chevy Volts as extreme. The Volt is a PHEV having a smaller battery than a pure EV. This underestimates the demand for lithium compared to what people are talking about: a 100% conversion to electric vehicles around the world. Evens basically cops out by arguing that vehicles should be run from all available fuels. Sure, if we are only going to have a small fraction of vehicles with lithium batteries, then lithium production will not be a problem. But that is not the scenario being considered.

A rise from the current levels is probably necessary but the cost of carbonate in batteries is a very small percentage of the battery cost.

There it is, the very cornucopian assumption that I have been questioning. I would like to see a competent analysis on price and resources required (like energy and water consumption) necessary to get the production of lithium suitable for all uses to 300 million tonnes / year. Tahil's analysis is the best I have seen.

I am not sure why you would see scaling up land based resource production, to meet demand, as a problem.


BTW, just for clarity, although you separate the issues to some extent, lithium is not a rare earth.
It is NiMH batteries which use a rare earth, lanthanum.

Only some sorts of electric motors use rare earths also.

Care to plot battery prices over the same time frame?

'Lets just run the numbers with all the averages shall we? Average vehicle in the US gets 23.9 MPG as of May 2012. Average cost of a new vehicle is $30,303, average person keeps a new car 9.2 years, traveling an average of 13,476 miles. At the end of this 9.2 years this average car would have 123,979 miles. Average cost of gasoline right now is $3.54, @ 23.9 MPG it would take 5,187 gallons of gas at a cost of $18,363. That assumes that the cost of gas does not go up. The cost of gas has doubled in the last 10 years so it is not unreasonable to assume it will double again in the next 10 years. Assuming that, the cost could be as high as $5.31/gallon average across those 9.2 years = $27,542. Oil change every 5,000 mles * $40 = $1000, filters, belts, tensioner, new plugs X 2, transmission oil changes, for just maintenance, no counting anything major breaking, another $2000. So we are somewhere between $21,363 and $30,542, just in fuel costs and maintenance + the cost of the car itself $30,303 = $51,666 - $60,845 . Leaf over that same timespan, $34,200 - $7500 = $26,700. 3.7 miles/Kwh * 123,979 * $0.15/kwh = $5026 in electricity. No oil changes, filters,plugs, coil packs andy of that other stuff. Total cost after 9.2 years and 123,979 miles = $26,700 + $5026 = $31,726 a savings of between $19,940 and up to $29,119. That is best case scenario, a perfectly reliable gas car with no major mechanical issues between 0 and 123,929 miles. This does not count the stuff that is common between an EV and a normal car like tires, car washes, wiper fluid. It also gets better for the EV that the deprecation at least initally is far less. If you take that into account, the average new car looses 22% of it's value the first year, $6060 in deprecation year one. The deprecation on on the average car in the first year is more then the electricity to power a leaf for 126,929 miles.

Oh at the upper end of that, the $29,119 number, you would be saving enough money to buy a new Leaf, so an EV is like buy 1 car, get your next car free!!! :)'


TurboFroggy, comment.

Only those with reasonable incomes who fancy it will have to walk due to oil shortages.
Electric cars are perfectly viable.

Looking at Turbo's figures, after 100,000 miles I would reckon on a $10,000 replacement battery pack.
As given above the Renault pack has an insured value of $550/kwh , and batteries are dropping in price at around 8% pa, so I am being generous after 8 years.

Plus it should be good for another 75,000 miles after Turbo's numbers, and electric motors in vehicles last pretty well forever.

Update on projected battery prices for 2020 - around the time a pressent battery might need replacing:

'We expect a cell price of between $170 and $190 between 2018-2020.'

In my view this analysis is very credible- see the detailed cost breakdowns for 2015.

You can think in terms of a 24kwh battery pack, replacement or new, costing around $5,000 or so.

Assuming a rise in petrol prices of around 100% in that time frame, not only would buying a new BEV then make sense, but buying now and replacing the battery when needed is also very economic.

Love the analysis but I have a few quibbles
1. the leaf is a rather small, rather spartan car, the equivalent gas powered car should both cost less than average and have better gas mileage.
2. Maybe someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I suspect the battery in the leaf will be near the end of its useful life after 9.2years and so the trade in value will suffer for the leaf.
3. Again not sure about this but I suspect all maintenance and parts for the leaf will be premium priced due to the small base. Hard to factor in but a real expense nonetheless.

Not trying to nit pick, I'm will need to buy a car in the next year or two, love to be able to financially justify an electric.

You are right that you get more bang for the buck in an ICE, although the smooth ride in an electric vehicle is incomparable short of a Rolls.

Range is also of course relatively limited.
I indicated the possible cost of a battery replacement, and after that expense you are good to go for many, many more miles, with most of the bits which wear out on an ICE not existing, from thousands of engine parts as against 1-4 or so, to the exhaust system etc., so there is no reason given battery replacement why the depreciation on the rest of the car should be comparable with ICE cars.

The point of the exercise, at least as far as I have chosen to post it here, is to indicate that for similar or less cost acceptable mobility can continue whatever happens to oil.

Initially some restrictions may have to be accepted, but that is a far cry from society coming to a halt due to petrol shortages, or the suburbs having to be substantially abandoned.

The electric/fuel cell cars we have in 2020 will be a lot better, and should offer substantially the same mobility we now enjoy.

You can crunch the numbers as much as you like, but there's a status/emotional side to the purchase that'll justify any price your credit rating will allow. Look at it this way... The eco-conscious urban yuppie class can drop 35K on a me-too loaded Prius or move up to a "real" EV for the same price after tax credits... If eco-conscious was the priority in your car purchase. I have friends with different priorities like 500hp engines.

I have to say one thing. The Leaf is the closest I've ever seen to a mass market, non-vaporware EV, meaning that I actually see them on the road as everyday commuters and not weekend toys for showing off.

Problem I think will still be the initial sticker shock. $~30,000 including government rebate for the utility, comfort and performance I get get in say a Nissan Versa which is about half the price. Has anyone come up with a plan that would allow someone to buy something similar to the Leaf for under 20,000 and then be in a contract to buy electricity from the seller at an inflated price to cover the costs over time and still be cheaper than gas?

Yes, the value proposition is not quite there yet. (Actually, if there were a sharp uptick in gas prices a couple years after buying an ICE it could be but no one knows.)

Has anyone come up with a plan that would allow someone to buy something similar to the Leaf for under 20,000 and then be in a contract to buy electricity from the seller at an inflated price to cover the costs over time and still be cheaper than gas?

Yes, it is called "Paying $20K in cash and taking out a loan for the rest." ;-)

Various companies have proposed or are doing battery leases. Renault is doing this in France. But I find the whole lease idea strange. What happens if you don't make your lease payments? Do they come and remove the battery? What happens at the end of the lease? Do you own the battery? Do you have to keep leasing forever? What would stop them from raising the lease price?

Better Place does what you mention . . . and I have the same problems with the idea. Especially being locked into a single source. I think just getting a loan is the simplest solution.

Renault sells electric vehicles in Europe at comparable prices to the diesel version after the 5,000 Euro subsidy, and then leases the battery.

In Europe battery leasing plus electricity works out cheaper than heavily taxed petrol.
That would not be the case in the US until petrol hit something like $4,50-5/US gallon.
In the UK if electric cars had to pay an equivalent tax to that on petrol, in terms of fuel costs/battery depreciation they don't break even until petrol reaches around £2/litre.

Much of the savings on an electric car come from reduced maintenance.

The excess costs of electric vehicles are falling though, and not just because of battery price reductions, but also because of parts being sold in bigger volume reducing costs.

The thing is though that costs are already not a million miles away, so the idea that oil shortages may mean that everyone has to travel by bus or bike cannot in my view be sustained, although to be sure a lot of people may experience hardship in transitioning, and poorer people may fall off the car ownership ladder.

This has sparked a new little train of thought for me. As oil peaks and presumeably becomes out of reach due to cost as a fuel source, will it have a substantial impact on the price of the plastics, epoxys, etc., they use extensively in cars and everything else? or are the costs of these feed stocks insignificant in the manufacturing processes and even if the price jumps ten fold would not really add to the cost of the finished product?

Basically could peak oil substantially raise the base price of goods in the industries trying to move us off oil in the first place?

You can get the precursors for plastics etc from a host of sources.
Even biomass might work, as the resource is of the right order of magnitude to do that, unlike fanciful ideas of running any substantial light vehicle fleet on them.
More realistically, natural gas, oil from tar sands, or coal could be used.
Plastics etc account for ~5% of a barrel of oil.

High oil prices would shove up the cost of heavy road transport though, which is what would really hit prices.

You can't run giant trucks on batteries. You can only run light vehicles on it, and so free up oil for the trucks.

There will undoubtedly be some problems due to the 'receding horizon' issue. That affects everything. However many of feedstocks for things like plastics are now from natural gas or biomaterials.

Historically, the price of natural gas was the same as that of oil on an energy equivalency basis, so the price of plastics did rise and fall as the price of oil rose and fell.

In recent years, the historical link has been broken and natural gas is selling much more cheaply than oil, but there's no guarantee that will last. If the price of natural gas returns to energy equivalency with oil, it will very definitely affect the price of plastics.

In that case, especially for the US with it's extraordinarily low price of NG, the economy would have much bigger problems than the price of plastics.
Electricity prices would go through the roof until coal plants could be built, which they would be as they are quickest to build.

The thing is though that costs are already not a million miles away, so the idea that oil shortages may mean that everyone has to travel by bus or bike cannot in my view be sustained, although to be sure a lot of people may experience hardship in transitioning, and poorer people may fall off the car ownership ladder.

Yet, it is a fact that EVs are a pretty damn marginal part of total new automobile sales, less than 1% total, and it's EV sales in the present and short-term which will decide their later (almost certainly marginal) availability in the medium and long-term, as the world economy is inexorably pulled further into its death spiral. The "poorer people" you speak of will represent the vast majority of people.

What you are essentially saying is "I don't like it happening, so it won't".

I don't think that "falling off the car ownership ladder", or more accurately, stepping off the car ownership ladder, is necessarily a bad thing.

Many younger people now are stepping off the car ownership ladder. They do a cost/benefit analysis on owning a car, and decide it fails the analysis, so they don't buy one. They get a place close to public transit and take the bus or the tram or the train to work, and walk or bicycle anywhere that transit doesn't go. This is a personal choice and not restricted to poor people.

I personally used to ride the light rail system or walked or bicycled to work for most of my career, and I was (at the end of it) a business analyst. I did an analysis on driving to work and it was just uneconomic since LRT, walking, or bicycling were much cheaper. I did have a 4x4, but only to drive to the mountains on weekends. If you only use a vehicle on weekends, it will last 25 years or more, and mine did.

One of my colleagues either had a BMW or took the bus. He would buy a BMW, drive it into the ground in about two years, and then get rid of it. He would not have a car and take the bus for two years, and then buy another BMW, and drive it to destruction in two years. He either had a BMW or he took the bus. It was his lifestyle, and it worked for him.

'Lets just run the numbers with all the averages shall we? Average vehicle in the US gets 23.9 MPG as of May 2012. Average cost of a new vehicle is $30,303

The Leaf has an 860 pound load capacity. The 2013 Ford Focus has a payload capacity of 1056 pounds, and gets about 25 miles per gallon. It costs $18,300. So if we are prepared to make do with a car only 120% the load capacity of the Leaf, we need pay $12,000 less than the average price. Or, if we want a much larger and better equipped car, we can pay around the average price for a VW Passat TDI (actually, they start at under $26,000) and average about 40 miles per gallon. Or we could get a Ford Fiesta, which actually has about the same load capacity as a Leaf for $14,300, and get around 30 miles per gallon.

Even sticking with Nissans, the Versa at $14,670 averages over 30 miles per gallon and has about the same passenger and cargo volume as the Leaf.

So the cost difference for a comparable vehicle (a small 5-seat sedan) could easily be 25% less for fuel ($4500-$7,000), and $16,000 less than the average for the vehicle itself giving a saving of $20,500 to $24,000 from your figures. This would reduce the difference to a range of -$560 to $4,119. I must say that the prospect of possibly saving up to $4,000 over nine years would hardly convince me to pay nearly an extra $12,000 up front to buy a car I know could not be driven to Galveston and back in the same day.

If you are going to compare an electric vehicle to a conventional one, surely you should compare with one of comparable function. Or if you are going to compare with averages for conventional vehicles, compare averages of electric vehicles. Adding in Volts and Teslas would push electric vehicle costs up substantially.

You misunderstand the purpose of my post here on this forum.
It is not to show that equal utility and convenience can be had with an electric vehicle to an ICE.
It is to address the concern of this forum, oil peaking and either very high prices or it crashing the economy, which is perhaps the same thing.

Electric cars are now a 'good enough' alternative to reduce that impact, even if people have to sacrifice their SUV's.

In fact the big car companies reckon that they can duplicate the convenience, utility, and by around 2020 or so the price of combustion engine cars with fuel cells burning hydrogen, but I am simply trying to show that short of that a reasonable degree of mobility can continue at a reasonable price.

For instance, for older people whose children have flown the nest even a Smart EV would do, if it had to.

The price in Germany is $29,586, but there is 19% VAT in that, so it is maybe around $24k.

Not a bad deal with a $7,500 subsidy available.

Car companies are aiming to reduce costs by the time the subsidies stop for them to remain about the same.

This would not be the equal of the family SUV, but it would sure beat walking.


Clearly EVs are not mainstream yet. They are currently a niche market for technology fans, tree-huggers, national security mavens, etc. However, as the market conditions change (oil prices go up and/or battery prices come down), the size of the EV market will grow.

And it is nice to know they they are ready to be called upon when they will be needed.

I don't think the present market is quite as limited as that.
Around two thirds of US families have more than one car, so the limitations of electric vehicles are not that relevant to them.

Once you have paid the sticker price your cost for everyday running around is tiny, and you can be sure that you can get to work and so on whatever the sheiks do.

Readers of this forum are also likely to think that oil prices will rise more/shortages be more prevalent, than the general public.

You can buy the perfect insurance at a reasonable premium.

Agreed, it really comes down to what you think the price of gas will be. With gas at %4 per gallon it's not completely useless to go electric and when gas gets to $8, a lot of people will want one. There are places right now where gas is getting that high, so there shouldn't be any problem selling the cars.

Yeah, TurboFroggie whose discussion of costs I linked above assumes a doubling of prices over 10 years. He uses an average of $5.31/gallon for his figures over an ownership of ~9 years for his case.

I reckon an electric car should be good for 20 years with one change of battery costing maybe $10k, so anyone who sees oil prices rising can't really go wrong.

Of course, if they are fans of some politicians who assert that petrol will be back to $2/gallon if the US drills enough, then they might as well keep their V8 pick-up.

I intend to drive my current twenty year old 4x4 truck either until I'm dead or unable to drive, maybe another twenty years or so.

I don't think it will cost over ten thousnd dollars in terms of current day money to maintain it for another hundred thousand miles, not including tires, insurance, and so forth, which will cost about the same, for an ev.

Property axes and full coverage insurance on a new vehicle are enough to pay a most of of the upkeep on an old one.

My twenty or thirty grand is going towards something with enduring value such as triple glazed windows for the house or maybe a greenhouse for home grown winter veggies.

If you buy a vehicle such as a basic 4x4 truck based on it's manufacturer's reputation for durability and take care of it, it will last almost indefinitely.

You can reasonably expect at least three hundred thousand miles out of such a vehicle, and you can usually have a low mileage engine and transmission out of a wreck installed for well under five thousand dollars, turnkey.

If certain auto parts chain stores don't go broke, you need buy only ONE replacement muffler, starter, alternator, fuel pump as these things are readily available gauranteed for as long as you own the vehicle.

If you have to drive a lot, it is FAR cheaper as a rule to own two older cars or a car and a truck than it is to own one new one.If you take care of them, you won't need a tow home if one breaks down to fetch the other one more than once in three or four years if that often.

Invest your money, don't pxxs it away.

No one has suggested that buying a new EV is a better economic decision that keeping an existing paid-for ICE running. It isn't.

The apples-to-apples comparison is between a new EV and a new ICE.

I agree with your point about the apples to apples comparision.

My broader point is that if you are concerned about your economic well being, and your future quality of life, probably the smartest thing to do is to consider the opportunity costs of all the ways you can spend thirty thousand bucks.

Ev's are very likely coming down in price.

The longer you wait to buy, so long as you don't have to buy in a crisis situation, the better the deal is likely going to be.

The annual decline in price may exceed the cost of gasoline and maintainence expenses involved in driving an existing car over the next few years.

In the meantime, ground source heat pumps , triple glazed windows, and insulation are likey to go up.

The price of any highly desirable house or condo close in to the jobs, or accessible to mass transit,is also likey to go up, even in a rotten real estate market.Ditto apartment rents if the apartment is well located.

If I were young and prosperous, I would likely buy a new ev within the next few despite thses considerations.

The $7,500 tax credit on EV's won't carry on forever, so that expiring is likely to offset any cost reductions for a while.
The Honda Fit is an excellent donor body for EV conversion if you want to buy an old one, as insurance in case petrol prices rise.

Electric bikes are fairly cheap to build, much more so than buying one.
Two Wheeled Menace, a poster on Autoblog Green is the expert on that.

I don't disagree with what you say, save that I would go for a CO2 air source heat pump which are fine in a Continental climate rather than the massively more expensive ground source.

Here in Halifax is the expert on that subject on this forum.
Solar thermal also works almost everywhere in the US, including southern Alaska.

You can buy the perfect insurance at a reasonable premium.

There is an interesting survivalist/doomer aspect to EVs.

If Iran and Saudia Arabia go at each other and oil prices go crazy ($hundreds/barrel) . . . well you can keep driving your EV no problem by plugging into your local grid.

If the local grid becomes really expensive for some reason . . . well, you can throw up some PV panels on your roof and 'grow your own' electrical power such that your costs are limited due to net metering.

If the local grid goes totally off-line . . . well, swap out that grid-tied inverter and put in an off-grid inverter. Sure, you'll have to do your charging during the sun-hours but you still have motorized transport despite no oil and no grid.

So when the zombie apocalypse comes, that survivalist guy with the jeep is eventually going to run out of gas. Your PV/EV combo will keep you driving as long as you can keep the equipment running. :-) Of course you won't be able to go more than half the EV range away your PV system!

Kinda ruins the plot to Road Warrior and Waterworld. Just not as sexy with some nerd puttering around in his EV powered by his solar panels.

This is the same old error of considering an EV as a thing in isolation, rather as part of a transportation system. Or even further what is the value of personal motorized transport in a society that is failing? If 90% of your neighbors can't drive their cars, does it matter if you still can? Is that still a benefit and if so for how long?

In your hypothetical scenario, can you keep driving your EV after that war starts? Of course, for a while. But the cost of that oil will have such an impact on the rest of the society that it won't matter long. When food, goods and services and access to money/credit begin fail you may still be able to drive it, but will doing so be as beneficial? A bit further out you need to consider the supply of parts and tires, maintenance of roads, reliability of electric supply, and security. With an oil price super spike will you still be able to afford and obtain that PV system to charge it?

There is an assumption here that not too much will need to change, and that we can manage it by merely changing our cars and the energy source that powers them. I think that's woefully naive.

It seems, by painting a scene where '90% of your neighbors can't drive their cars', that it is your argument that is putting the EV in isolation. Where it will matter is in the near term, as ICE cars are up against the rigidity of their fuel options..

I would imagine that we're going to see a transition where fuel supplies are going to get unpredictable, and where there is a growing range of people inconvenienced by gas lines and more intense obstacles, and if you ARE one of the few with Electric wheels in an otherwise ICE neighborhood, you could do a lot towards either community cohesion or simply a bit of barter and income supplementing, with your rare and coveted set of working wheels, when many others are dry, either from empty gas stations, or inability to pay in cash..

I would also guess that this valuable tool would likely be guarded as much by your neighbors as by your own family, so security could actually be enhanced for such an asset.

There's a big middleground between here and your distant vision.. and throughout much of that, there will be streets remaining, and people needing to move things.

The apocalyptic scenario was not mine, nor is it the one I'm expecting. I do expect some events will create step price/availability crisis, but not to that extreme. Mostly I expect:

A relentless increase in the cost of fuel relative to people's ability to pay for it.

A continually worsening economic situation where ever fewer people have jobs to drive to or homes to drive from and are increasingly priced out of automotive transportation.

A deterioration of the electric grid through lack of investment in hard T&D infrastructure (as opposed to overlaid control and communication systems) plus the loss of skilled staff.

A deterioration in road and highway infrastructure.

A breakdown in international trade where car parts and electronic components from China become hard to get.

I'm not convinced that a small percentage of the population having EV's will matter much in the big picture one way or the other, certainly not enough to justify the endless debate on the merits of trying to implement this old technology again. Sure, somewhere some guy with a working EV may be the local hero in some town for a while - it's not that important.

The apocalyptic scenario was not mine, nor is it the one I'm expecting.

The apocalyptic scenario was mine . . . a zombie apocalypse. It is pure fiction. I'm surprised it has garnered much discussion but it is fun. :-)

I just wanted to point that many of these alleged self-sufficiency people have gaping holes in self-sufficiency if they depend on ICE since ICE only works with a modern civilization with drilling, crude shipments, refineries, refined product delivery, gas stations, etc. A PV & EV combo can actually be self-sufficient for as long as you can keep it running. But, as I mentioned, as soon as a complex part which requires advanced manufacturing dies, you are screwed. But you probably lasted a bit longer than an ICE car that ran out of gas long ago. Take that, zombies! :-)

If I were playing Robinson Crusoe I would go for a hand built wind turbine, which can be kept going by a DIYer with basic materials, and power my EV that way.
That is OK until you run out of batteries.

Of course in reality in a collapse none of this works at all, as just as in Argentina when it collapsed you have armed gangs looking out for any hint of relative prosperity, and killing anyone there and seizing the loot.

To stay alive in that environment you don't fool around with self sufficiency, you corner any arms and fuel you can and attack.

There is not the remotest possibility in my view of 'powering down' a society of several billion people.

You either make technology work or have a massive die off.

just as in Argentina when it collapsed you have armed gangs looking out for any hint of relative prosperity, and killing anyone there and seizing the loot.


In this list of countries by homicide rate we see that Argentina's homicide rate did rise after their economic "collapse" but only to 9.2 per 100K. That's a little higher than their current rate of 5.5. (The US rate was 5.6 in 2002 and is now 5.0.)

A non-collapsed country like Brazil had a rate of 32 per 100K in 2002 and is now at 23.

It sounds like Argentina during collapse was a much safer place than Brazil during their economic boom.

If Argentina is your example for what collapse looks like then we have little to fear.


Jonathan, I have little confidence in the data collected concerning the homicide rate during the collapse! Who collected that data and who kept those numbers? Your Wiki link, "List of countries by intentional homicide rate", was probably collected by some bureaucrat somewhere with little other than "estimated' data. And I would have to believe their estimation was not even close.

I would suggest that you take a look at this article: THE ARGENTINA COLLAPSE

Just a few quotes from that article:

After TSHTF in 2001, only the most narrow minded, brain washed, butterfly IQ level idiots believed that the police would protect them from the crime wave that followed the collapse of our economy. A lot of people that could have been considered antigun before, ran to the gun shops, seeking advice on how to defend themselves and their families....

One used to be able to let kids play on the sidewalk, or walk back home from a party, a few blocks, and be somewhat safe. This all changed now. There are no kids playing on the sidewalks anymore. I should emphasize this a little more. There are absolutely NO kids playing on the sidewalks at all, at any time of the day...

Once the veil of crime=jail is lifted and people comprehend that they will not be punished for their crimes, it’s the beginning of the end people. All of a sudden, bank robbery, stealing, kidnapping and murdering people is just a matter of personal moral values, nerve and determination, and punishment is almost left out of the equation...

How many people were murdered during the Argentina Collapse? No one has any idea. No one will ever know. No one was there to count the bodies and there was no one to report the crime to even if there were.

Edit: The Argentina data from your Wiki link came from: Estadísticas en Materia de Criminalidad - Ministerio de Justicia, Seguridad y Derechos Humanos.

I don't speak Spanish but I think that says "Estimates by the Minister of Justice" or something pretty close to that. Nuff said.

Ron P.

From Survival-spot dot com, a marketing enterprise.


I based my comments on this account of events during and after the collapse:

'The best alarm system anyone can have in a farm are dogs. But dogs can get killed and poisoned. A friend of mine had all four dogs poisoned on his farm one night, they all died.

After all these years I learned that even though the person that lives out in the country is safer when it comes to small time robberies, that same person is more exposed to extremely violent home robberies. Criminals know that they are isolated and their feeling of invulnerability is boosted. When they assault a country home or farm, they will usually stay there for hours or days torturing the owners. I heard it all: women and children getting raped, people tied to the beds and tortured with electricity, beatings, burned with acetylene torches.

Big cities aren't much safer for the survivalist that decides to stay in the city. He will have to face express kidnappings, robberies, and pretty much risking getting shot for what's in his pockets or even his clothes.'

One also has to bear in mind that this was a partial collapse, with the world at large unaffected.

For the events which occur when a true universal collapse occurs, which many on this forum consider possible or likely, then I largely base my remarks on the many accounts of events subsequent on numerous collapses of empire, especially the Roman.

Not many dwelt in peace in partibus agricolarum then, but were robbed, raped, and if not killed sold into slavery.

That's an interesting link, and I've posted it here myself more than once. But...it's just one person's account. Is that really more reliable than government statistics? Not saying government statistics shouldn't be taken with a grain of NaCl, but I don't see any reason to believe one person's Internet posts are necessarily a better source. Especially when he doesn't give any solid numbers.

And other people who lived through the Argentina collapse have disputed that account.

I have read that "ferfal", the author of that blog, just made it up. In reality it was not that bad. For most people, life was pretty much normal.


Several thousand newly homeless and jobless Argentines found work as cartoneros, or cardboard collectors.

...an unemployment rate soaring at nearly 25%.

Producers of television channels were forced to produce more reality shows than any other type of shows, because these were generally cheap to produce as compared to other programmes. Virtually all education-related TV programmes were canceled.


We're there already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Freak out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ferfal is hyping/selling his book

The entire subject of the Argentinian economic collapse has been co-opted on the internet by endless reverberations of the Ferfal offerings.

Yes, that line from Wikipedia is striking. (I note that it's unsourced, but it doesn't seem to be the kind of thing an editor would make up.)

More reality shows instead of scripted television isn't exactly what most of us expected from collapse.

I'm reminded of Sharon Astyk saying many of us would prefer zombie hordes to the more likely "brother in law on the couch" version of the apocalypse. Especially when he spends all his time watching reality TV shows.

Some say he made it up, and it was nothing like what he describes. I've also heard that he exaggerated, and even that it might have been that bad where he was. (Apparently, he lived in a really bad neighborhood, where things weren't good even in the best of times.)

I could see a doubling of the homicide rate being very dramatic, even if the new, higher level is lower than in many other countries. Especially if the increase is concentrated in a few bad neighborhoods.

Indeed. I should have qualified my remarks by stating that what happened in Argentina is not something I have looked into much, and a single source is simply anecdotal.
I used it however for illustrative purposes, and any breakdown there was anyway limited in scope as it was in the context of a prosperous world.
We do however have plenty of knowledge of what happens in the event of total social breakdown, which several hypothesise on this forum, and it's the big, rough gangs in defensible locations that survive, and then only with a great deal of luck, not some chap who is trying to carry on farming a small, relatively undefended plot.

The apocalyptic scenario was mine . . . a zombie apocalypse. It is pure fiction. I'm surprised it has garnered much discussion but it is fun. :-)

That is my scenario also... I don't know what a zombie apocalypse is but if you are talking about a catastrophic collapse over... say... 25 years, which I consider a distinct possibility, then I don't know that it is fiction. That would be a death rate of over 600,000 per day above the normal death rate. Discussing it can be interesting but I am always depressed after thinking about it for awhile.

Ron P.


Zombie apocalypse

...a subgenre of apocalyptic fiction...the breakdown of society as a result of zombie infestation... In a zombie apocalypse, a widespread (usually global) rise of zombies hostile to human life engages in a general assault on civilization. ...swamps normal military and law enforcement organizations, leading to the panicked collapse of civilian society until only isolated pockets of survivors remain, scavenging for food and supplies in a world reduced to a pre-industrial hostile wilderness.

The usual subtext of the zombie apocalypse is that civilization is inherently fragile in the face of truly unprecedented threats... that most individuals cannot be relied upon to support the greater good if the personal cost becomes too high. The narrative of a zombie apocalypse carries strong connections to the turbulent social landscape of the United States in the 1960s when Night of the Living Dead was first created. Many also feel that zombies allow people to deal with their own anxiety about the end of the world.

There was roughly 1,000,000 ICE cars sold in Australia last year. A decade from now, how many ICE cars will be sold here I wonder, to replace those million? (We're also on the plateau of oil pricing, IMO). I can't imagine a half-million EVs in the pipeline. Not even in 20 years.

But are light vehicles really the problem/answer? Seems a heck of lot of oil is tied up in other forms of human "endeavour". Ah, the zany randomness of it all, life, the universe and everything! :)

Cheers, Matt

But are light vehicles really the problem/answer? Seems a heck of lot of oil is tied up in other forms of human "endeavour".

Transportation uses some 90+% of the oil. Doing more mass transit and replacing light vehicles with EVs/PHEVs is the low-hanging fruit of the oil usage. It is much harder to deal with tractors, long-haul trucks, maritime, and especially aviation. If one can replace light-duty vehicles with mass transit & EV/PHEVs that frees up a lot of oil for those other harder tasks.

Long haul trucks can easily be replaced by electrified railroads.

For passenger trips up to 800 km or so over land, electrified rail can replace them as well.


Apologies... I think my comment was a little cryptic! :)

I guess I'm trying to envisage battery-power replacing carbs and fuel-injection on a grand scale; I see the idea as pushing BAU to a large extent; having-the-cake-eating-it-too. For me, re-packaging the status quo will result in, well, the status quo. What we should be doing is encouraging (enforcing?) more people into fewer cars *today*, banning SUVs and the like and avoid all those multiple short trips to the local shops, etc. But of course, this will never happen as the BAU mindset marches on. Compounding growth and all that.

I joined the doomer camp a couple of years ago and see the talking heads keep on keeping on. I'm not convinced "alternatives" are a better option to, say, halving the population's greed.

Cheers, Matt
Concerned dad

Hmm, Joe, you seem to have got into a 'If I ruled the world' sort of mentality, and what is more would really like to impose your preferences regardless of other's wishes.

I don't think that is a good place to be.

In any case personal preferences are not relevant to whether society at large can continue to have a fair degree of mobility, and avoid a catastrophic collapse etc.

It would seem clear that we can, so why anyone would want such an outcome escapes me, since population falls when a good standard of living is attained.

I don't think you really have to imagine that the only possible alternative with access to private transport is life as it is lived in the suburbs of Los Angeles, as Amsterdamers have access to private transport, but the nature of the city is very different.

Wishing everyone dead is a rather negative attitude!
Do cheer up, Joe!
Sure there are problems, but then again there always have been.

If Erlich and Malthus had the only possible insight, we would all already be dead!

"Wishing everyone dead is a rather negative attitude!" Err... Was that my implication??

Sorry Dave, if you thought my comment "negative" (it wasn't really). I just see the BAU model a very wasteful and unsustainable way to go - and from where I sit (mainstream), the ship's not changing course anytime soon. I'm not a negative lad really, quite a friendly chap in fact; just shrug the shoulders more than I used to, that's all. And I certainly don't wish ill upon folk, jeebers no. Much less rule the world! Though, that might be kinda fun... :)

Yes, we've always had problems; just seems the scale of them is getting a little out of hand.

Cheers (with beers), Matt

Yeah, sorry if I was too down on you, just the way your comment struck me.
I don't think life has yet got too unbearable in the hell that is Australia! ;-)

And who knows, maybe when doom strikes, you will all be too busy downing a tinny to notice!

There is a story from 1915. I came across a single line:

"...in 1915- a quarter of the 40,000 or so trucks then plying the streets of New York City were electric (and participated in a rail based battery exchange program)."


"Most of them were manufactured in Long Island City... by the General Electric Vehicle Company."

This link has more on the very word "truck" and the electric truck of the time:

"General had an interesting scheme to power the trucks, which involved the shipping of batteries to and from a power plant in Connecticut, which would charge industrial base rates for charging them."


"In order to overcome the limited operating range of electric vehicles, and the lack of recharging infrastructure, a exchangeable battery service was first proposed as early as 1896. The concept was first put into practice by Hartford Electric Light Company through the GeVeCo battery service and initially available for electric trucks. The vehicle owner purchased the vehicle from General Vehicle Company (GVC, a subsidiary of the General Electric Company) without a battery and the electricity was purchased from Hartford Electric through an exchangeable battery program. The owner paid a variable per-mile charge and a monthly service fee to cover maintenance and storage of the truck. Both vehicles and batteries were modified to facilitate a fast battery exchange. The service was provided between 1910 to 1924 and during that period covered more than 6 million miles. Beginning in 1917 a similar successful service was operated in Chicago for owners of Milburn Light Electric cars who also could buy the vehicle without the batteries."

Isn't that interesting!?. It offers a vision of trains carrying goods and passengers and the batteries to power their further, lateral, transportation. If the trains were electrified, then the batteries could be charged right at the stops.

Ad from 1910;

Here is a fun page:

It shows electric trucks. There is an electric tractor.
Specifications for Electric Commercial Vehicles 1914
(It reads better on the source page above)

Specifications for Electric Pleasure Cars for Season of 1914
60 Models by 17 Manufacturers

From this page:

Joe; (By which I mean Matt)
Google up a couple Image results for "Traffic Jam", "Congestion" and "Commuting" if you're not in a major Urban area. Even in my little city (60,000), we have two to five mile long packs of cars trying to get in and out of town EVERY day.

Trolleys and Light Rail will really be much heavier hitters in this arena, as will a gradual redistr. of people closer to work, jobs closer to towns, etc.. But light vehicles, like Blackflies, aren't so inconsequential when you get them in swarms!

(What part of Oz are you in, by the way?)

Bob .. the other Joe.

Hi Bob,

"The Swarm" is why I work at home and mostly ride a motorcycle these days (eastern burbs of Melbourne). But on occasion, the car needs it's legs stretched... Today for example, dreary rain all day, had to pick up my eldest from the station (no way I'm letting/making my daughter walk the 20mins in the dark) - peak hour was atrocious. But I simply can't envisage that changing anytime soon, the way our public transit system operates, particularly the lack of security presence. Though I'm all in favour of solar-power golf carts or whatever, it's such a giant leap for the general population to move away from the ICE car, with all the creature comforts, while fuel remains cheap. And really, I've never heard an acquaintance bring the subject up.

Cheers, Matt

Whoa. You mean the cost of the energy is reliably low, not the vehicles.

Yes, that is what I meant. Low fuel price. Clearly, the big problem with EVs is the high up-front price. But hopefully, that is improving:

Thanks, interesting battery cost breakdown. If correct that should take ~$4000 out of a 25kWh EV battery.

I'm curious as to why the balance of the EV does not see more reduction in cost over a combustion vehicle: no exhaust system, small or no radiator, no water pump, no oil system, no starter/ignition system, smaller transmission (or none), no air intake/filter, no insulation/fire wall to stop heat flux from to the passenger compartment, no tyranny of the drive shaft and universal. Seems to me the vehicle manufacturers and/or their component suppliers are still locked into to the combustion supply chain if they can not achieve more EV other-than-battery cost reduction.

It's the small volume of the parts that you buy for an electric vehicle that are keeping prices up ex battery.
They also have to amortise the set up costs of the production facilities.
Renault/Nissan reckon that they can be fully competitive at a volume of 500,000-1 million vehicles pa.

You are correct that fully electric cars are simpler and potentially cheaper than an ICE ex battery.

Out of interest, here is a more comprehensive parts comparison:

Keep in mind that $250/KWH or less price is projected for 2015 or later. Right now, the prices for automotive grade Li-Ions are probably in the ~$400 to $500 per KWH range.

But you are right, an EV eliminates a LOT of parts & subsystems. And importantly, many of those parts are moving parts that are subjected to friction and thus break down eventually. EVs have FAR fewer moving parts.

As DaveW points out, if EV production volume goes up then EV component prices can come down such that large spread between an ICE car and an EV car come down.

Here in the UK for decades we produced electric milk floats, and the darn things never wore out.
The company that built them is now Smith Electric, building delivery vehicles in the States..

Conventional commercial vehicles are kept on the road until repair costs become more than financing a new vehicle.

Until the bottom of the vehicle falls out, it is unclear that you ever reach that point on an electric vehicle.

You have the steering set up, the suspension and not much else to the basic vehicle other than consumables like tires.

That is probably not true for modern EV's, as you have sophisticated, and probably subject to failure, subsystems like lighting, air bags, electric windows and so on, but they remain a heck of a lot simpler than a combustion engine vehicle.

Engines, transmissions, engine cooling, fuel and exhaust systems are the big differences, all the rest is the same. While those are mechanically more complex, they are really all commodity items now, and the design and manufacture of them has been worked out long ago. They routinely last for a long time, so I'm not sure the inherently simpler EV will really last much longer in practice. Suspensions, brakes and other systems seem to fail at least as often, and the EV has no advantage there. It remains to be seen how the MTBF of the power electronics compares to the old tech mechanical systems.

Because of "range anxiety", EVs tend to add as much battery (i.e. dead weight) as possible.

This means a heavier car with larger and heavier suspension and wear (springs , brakes, etc.).

It also means that more expensive materials (Al, Mg, carbon fiber) can be justified. They all add to range.

Personally, I would like a light weight 2 seater (think original Honda Insight) with modest batteries (say 35 mile range under optimum conditions - larger batteries an option). Roll up windows, manual steering, a/c & heat optional, etc.

The Renault Twizy is just a bit too primitive for my taste. 6 kWh battery though.


Best Hopes for Minimal EVs,


The Mitsubishi-i is not exactly what you are looking for but it is kinda close. Small 16KWH battery. Not very good aerodynamics though.

Depending on where you live, you can get it for $20K after the tax-credits:

I would like to suggest the upcoming Honda Fit and GM Chevy Spark EV as possibilities but both seem to be low volume compliance cars that will only be offered in limited states and probably for a bloated price. :-(

the Honda Fit uses Toshiba's SCiB battery, which has an astonishing SOE as well as very high cycle life and excellent performance in the cold.
It all boils down to very little excess battery weight.
Unfortunately they are only leasing it, but it is a good harbinger.

I feel that present trends for reduced car ownership will continue, and combine within ten years with robot cars.

That would mean that many could do without owning a car, and in places like France I can see them relaying people to the tram.

I would have thought a Twizy would be ideal for New Orleans?
It can zip in between the traffic, and park everywhere.
Toshiba is doing a version of the same thing.

Twizy is not legal in the USA. :-(

Oh there is definitely a difference. Moving parts and parts subjected to a lot of heat wear out faster than other parts. We have "Muffler shops" because mufflers wear out due to heat & corrosion. ICE engines have lots of moving parts that require lubrication and are subjected to heat & friction. Certainly early EVs will have more problems than they will down the road. There will be a learning period. But how often do you need to replace the motor in your refrigerator or some IC in your stereo? Electronics are pretty reliable.

Yes, the tires, suspension, doors, hoods, trunks, windows, etc. are the same. (Brakes are not the same . . . they get less wear since regen systems take up some of the braking energy.)

And battery cells will eventually need replacement. The 8-year, 100K warranty on the Leaf, Volt, and Mitz-i gives some feeling of security though.

And yet ICE components routinely last 150Kmi under pretty appalling conditions and maintenance, including the exhaust if they've added a little chrome to the steel as most do now. I'd be amazed if the regenerative braking system reduced lining wear by more than 20%, and it does not reduce the required size of the brake components at all because you clearly cannot rely on it for safety purposes. As far as LED lights and expensive lightweight materials, well you can do that to any design regardless of powertrain.

As for reliability of electronics - automotive electronics is amazingly reliable, ignition, charging and engine control. Consumer electronics is just awful in recent years, especially lead free with low cost manufacturing. I've spent 25years designing electronics and we manufacture in the same building; it's what I do. My co-workers and I have all noticed it, in audio, computer and household appliances. When I look at it I'm often appalled at the quality. We've just thrown out another (and our final) microwave here at home, and I hoard our older gear.

But my point was this: I'm sure an EV can be more reliable due to inherently less complexity, just don't oversell it. The automobile in it's present form is amazingly reliable thanks to a hundred years of development and a large portion of the systems will be the same, so it's not going to be a big difference.

"...The automobile in it's present form is amazingly reliable thanks to a hundred years of development and a large portion of the systems will be the same,..."

I think it is more accurate to say the combustion vehicle and its maintenance infrastructure combined render a reliable product. Combustion vehicles clearly do not routinely survive 150Kmi without it. That is, regular maintenance on the combustion vehicle at the shop make it reliable. The large majority of that maintenance disappears with EVs. The urban delivery truck fleet managers, for instance, are recognizing this in EV purchases of delivery vans (Smith, Ford)

Brakes last much, much longer when they use regenerative braking.
Electric cars use LED lights for the main beam to conserve the battery, and it so happens that they last way, way longer than conventional lights.
There are obviously no oil changes, no exhaust to blow, no transmission to replace.

French companies have very substantial experience in electric vehicles, with Peugeot having produced around 10,000 electric 107s over ten years, and they offer maintenance contracts at a very substantial discount to those available for their equivalent diesel version.

In my opinion they are still making out like bandits on the contract, as there is so little to go wrong.

Here is the maintenance schedule for the Leaf:

Cool chart, the economy is getting hammered by the high price of liquid fuel which has to remain high to balance supply. As the economy cools, electricity demand also declines which leads to a surplus of electricity. So chances are electricity prices will fall even as gasoline continues to go up.

Yes, electric cars are more expensive up front but for typical usage, 12,0000 miles per year. It takes 120 charges for a Nissan leaf 28KWHr battery (100 miles per full charge) and say 15 cents per KWHr comes to $504 in annual cost versus $2400 for 600 gallons (20 mpg) of gas at $4 per gallon. That's per year at the current cost of gas, which is only going higher.

Yes, electric cars are more expensive up front but for typical usage, 12,0000 miles per year. It takes 120 charges for a Nissan leaf 28KWHr battery (100 miles per full charge) and say 15 cents per KWHr comes to $504 in annual cost versus $2400 for 600 gallons (20 mpg) of gas at $4 per gallon. That's per year at the current cost of gas, which is only going higher.

Yep . . . that is indeed the value proposition for electric cars. But with oil in the low $80s and gasoline hitting the low $3s/gallon, it is not a compelling value proposition given the limited range & slow recharge time. But as oil creeps back up (or battery prices come down), they'll eventually become quite compelling. It is going to take a while though.

The point of my original comment was that electric cars do not make any sense even if gas prices double, when you can buy an internal combustion engine vehicle of comparable utility for half the price, especially when that ICE vehicle gets 30-40 miles per gallon (as many small cars do today). Assuming the economy does not collapse completely, and electric vehicles do become cheaper, ICE vehicles will also become more efficient: there is no technological reason why an ICE vehicle should not be available by 2020 which can carry four passengers 80 miles on a gallon. VW has a current production car with a load capacity comparable to the Nissan Leaf which does 70 miles on a gallon. It just isn't sold in the U.S.

I could also suggest that if liquid fuel prices double, there is a strong probability that electricity prices will double too.

'I could also suggest that if liquid fuel prices double, there is a strong probability that electricity prices will double too.'

Why? Electricity prices have remained pretty flat, whilst oil prices have shot up, basically because coal, gas and nuclear have not increased in price whilst oil has.

The reason on this forum to suggest that electric cars have a part to play is because they provide a counterweight to visions of the apocalypse as oil runs low.
In that sense if improvements in gasoline cars keep pace with any decline in access to oil, then it doesn't matter if they remain cheaper than electric cars.

Looking at West Texas's data on the decline of exports, and marrying that with the huge growth in potential demand in China, India etc I can't see any conceivable increase in ICE efficiency which is going to provide for the 2-3 billion or so cars that will need fuelling.

Any increases in ICE efficiency is welcome, as it provides breathing space whilst batteries and fuel cells mature still further, but already we have a useful backstop, as at perhaps $200/barrel electric cars are clearly the economic winner.
If more efficient ICE cars push that to $300/barrel, that is fine.

So we now know that we can continue to have reasonable levels of mobility whatever the price of oil.

What is the reason that not more NG cars are used in Canada and the USA? A transition of petrol to NG could increase the NG price and reduce crude imports. What do I miss?

I've been wondering this one myself. Traditionally the gap between gasoline & natural gas has not been large enough to merit changing things. But now the BTU/$ spread the two is enormous. You'd think people would start moving to natural gas. And many fleet operators have done so.

But for individual car owners, one problem is a lack of fueling infrastructure. There are not many publicly available CNG fueling stations. And the home unit for fueling is pretty expensive. But still . . . that spread is huge. And you can use the carpool lane in California. Well if we head back up to $5/gallon gasoline and there still remains a natural gas glut, I suspect people will start talking a lot more about natural gas vehicles.

Oh . . . another issue is that there is only one off-the-shelf CNG car available: a Honda Civic GX. Get one and you can say that you drive the car of a billionaire. (T. Boone Pickens drives one.)

In my hometown (Graz, Austria) you observe many taxis that are NG fueled, the public transport company is fielding an incrasing number of NG busses (+ hybrid busses), if you start in cities there should IMHO no real problem as new infrastructure is relatively cheap.

Here is the 2012 Honda Civic CNG car:

Here is their page on refueling:

Here is a guide to fast-fill compressed natural-gas stations:
Los Angeles area looks O.K.
$2 per gallon

The tank holds 8 gallons GGE.
The range is about 200 miles.

There are home-refueling gadgets:

Phill Home Refueling Appliance
It costs $5,000.
"The Phill pump is good for 6000 hours of operation before a rebuild is needed. The 6000 hours of operation times the flow rate of 0.42 GGE per hour equals approximately 2520 GGE. Dividing the net Phill cost of $5000 by 2520 GGE equals $1.98 per GGE PLUS the cost of natural gas (flow rate equal to 48,000BTU) and electricity (800W making for 2KWh/GGE) to run the Phill."
It would take 19 hours to fill the Honda.
It would do about 300 fill-ups.

The FMQ2-36 pumps twice as fast and seems to make more happiness among its users.

The home refuelers may cost $1000 to install.

Infrastructure and range may be what limit acceptance. Also, this is the only car available for private purchase in America and it was recently introduced.

GGE is Gasoline Gallon Equivalent

Holy crap, I didn't realize that Phill needs to be rebuilt every 300 fill-ups. That seems to make the natural gas just as expensive are regular gasoline! Now I understand why my friend with a Civic GX decided not to buy Phill.

That also may explain why CNG has not caught on much beyond fleets.

And 19 hours to fill up with Phill? That is as bad as an EV on 120V. And I presume Phill is probably noisy too.

The prices for CNG cars in the US ruin the economics.
There are loads of them in Italy, but Fiat in particular sell them at a much more reasonable premium, and no one fools around filling at home, they use a garage like everyone else.

We are providing a refurbishment estimate service ONLY for Fuelmaker; C-3; C3; FM4;FMQ2-3000; FM2Q-3600, FMQ8-3600. The pricing will be quoted at the hourly rate of $55/hour. The evaluation fee ($293) paid here at Ebay will be deducted from any final refurbishment costs (typical refurbishment costs range from $500 to over $3000)

The FMQ2-36 seems to be the better deal.
9-hour fill-up
Better reviews

3600 psig, 5700 hours of use between overhauls doesn't sound too excessive for a small domestic pump. I doubt if many people would want a commercial grade scuba equivalent compressor in their home, which is likely what you would need to improve on that. Them's expensive and noisy.


That's a very interesting observation!


This compressor is also $5,000 and 3600PSI. I don't know offhand how to convert litres to GGE...

The scuba problem might be a little more complex. This observation from the perspective of a shop is interesting:


Right about the time you cover your initial investment, it's about time for a complete overhaul, and you find yourself deep in the hole again.

This I can promise... If you are trying to save money, you WILL NOT do it by owning your compressor. If you are trying to save TIME and EFFORT, and want the convenience, then by all means, buy a compressor.

We don't make a penny selling air fills. But it brings customers into the store to buy gear.

I've spent too much time filling tanks, most of it is waiting and you want to do that away from the noise. Basically, you get what you pay for, the faster you fill or the longer lifetime is going to cost more. I guess those home NG pump makers are trying to hit the sweet spot between performance and price for the job.


Until recently, oil was cheap and natural gas was priced at a 1:1 ratio to oil on an energy equivalency basis, so there was no real reason to use NG cars.

Now that oil is expensive and natural gas is priced at about a 1:6 ratio to oil, there is a very definite incentive to switch. The problem is that the capital costs of such a switch are quite high. Try pricing out the cost of converting your car to NG and putting in a home NG compressor for your car, and you'll see.

Realistically, it's cheaper to take public transit. Most Canadian are within walking distance of a public transit system, so that will be their first choice. Most Americans are significantly further away so a lot of them are screwed.

Most Canadian are within walking distance of a public transit system, so that will be their first choice.

According to [pdf] Statistics Canada, maybe not quite, the money quote being:

A major goal of urban transportation is to encourage car users to leave the comfort and convenience of their automobiles and take public transit. In Canada in 2010, 82% of workers travelled to work by car, 12% took public transit, and 6% walked or bicycled.

Two very interesting things in that quote. First, the blindingly obvious tacit assumption that transit is an inferior mode - one forgoes "comfort and convenience" to use it - you get what you pay for. Second, that 82% number, suggesting that for most Canadians' most frequent regular trip, the overwhelming majority drive (except in the central cities, which, as someone else has already observed in this Drumbeat, are expensive far beyond the means of ordinary people.) This should of course be no surprise since it only takes a little more than half the time, and for most people, their bottleneck is time.

Now, that does leave a mystery that maybe you can clear up, which is found in an earlier overview (emphasis added):

When work and non-work travel is combined, results show that 41% of households with access used public transit regularly in 2007 (Table 1). Travel to work did not dominate the use of public transit on a household level: close to half of households using public transit regularly in 2007 were using it for non-work travel only (Table 1).

Now, "regularly" could be a civic meeting they attend weekly or monthly, or an eight-times-a-season concert subscription downtown, so the actual mileage and number of trips could be utterly insignificant. Or it could be, since this seems to be survey data, that respondents are counting in the kids' school buses (which the Americans you like to twang on also have.) I doubt that most who drive to work would try to carry sacks of groceries home on the bus. So where on earth are they going, and how often, really, on those non-work transit trips?

Most Canadians drive to work. However I believe the key factor is the most Canadians could take transit to work if they had to. They might well have to use public transit in the not-to-distant future.

Percent Who Used Transit to Had Nearby Access
Travel to Work to Public Transit
Canada 15 68
Newfoundland and Labrador F 31
Prince Edward Island F 23
Nova Scotia F 46
New Brunswick F 37
Quebec 14 64
Ontario 18 74
Manitoba 11 62
Saskatchewan F 53
Alberta 11 67
British Columbia 16 78

F = too unreliable to be published

Note that I'm not thinking in term of what people would like to do, I'm thinking in terms of what they would have to do if TSHTF and they were unable to drive. British Columbia is the obvious place to be, followed by Ontario.

OK, then this is all a bit hypothetical and extrapolation-like. Which means it depends on how hard, how fast, and in what exact manner "TSHTF". There could be complications of many kinds depending on the scenario. Fatal ones, of course, for the sort of scenario dear to the hearts of USA-type doomers.

But leaving that aside, even if there's a transit stop near home, that doesn't mean there's one near work. Even if both are there, that doesn't mean the transit system actually connects the two together in any useful manner at the times when they're needed, or even at any times at all.

Even if the system theoretically makes that connection, it surely doesn't keep a huge inventory of surplus vehicles. So under "TSHTF" conditions, most people won't be able to get anywhere near the buses/trams/trains. Long before they ever get to the head of the queue, they'll probably have to leave it, oh, I don't know, because their joints are paining them unbearably, or they can no longer put off the need to go to the toilet. Since so many transit systems these days are designed to require multiple transfers for all but a few just-so trips, repeat four or six times for just one round trip. The 24 hours in a day won't be enough to get it done.

And even for someone (probably both living and working in the astronomical-rent district) who manages to get past all that, the economic and physical paralysis may well have caused the job to go the way of all things. Then the trip will be superfluous anyhow.

In the end, I'm left unsure to what extent "having access to transit" - in an exceedingly weak, even comical, sense that there is a stop within some sort of walking distance, providing service at no stated level (at least once a week?) - means they "could take it to work if they had to". Or whether they would even need to go to work under the hypothecated TSHTF conditions. Or whether, therefore, mere "access" is really anything to crow very loudly about.

Well, if WWII serves as an example of when TSHTF, people make do. They crush onto the vehicles in larger numbers, the transit service runs the existing vehicles more often, and they build more vehicles as fast as they can. During WWII, some transit systems were running streetcars 30 seconds apart just to keep the crowds moving.

Typically, there is more likely to be transit near the place of work than the commuter's home - at least the ones I am used to. These are of course must be much different than the ones you are used to.

In Europe aside from the relatively small numbers of people who live in the country a very large fall in oil imports would not immobilise society, although it would inconvenience.

The biggest problem with public transport is the low ridership due to car use, so that would be solved at a stroke, and with it the frequency of services and so on would improve.

Home delivery services cover much of the need to transport large shopping, and is far cheaper than running a car even if the fuel for it increased greatly in price.

I suppose a book about peak oil and the consequences on society would not sell very well if it were titled:
'The Great Inconvenience!' :-)

N.B. I'm still at a dead loss about all those self-declaredly "regular" transit users - an astonishing half of them - who "never" use it to go to work. Where else but work would or could one possibly go "regularly" by transit?

Where else but work would or could one possibly go "regularly" by transit?

Huh? You could go shopping, you could go to school, you could go to a recreation center, you could go to visit your grandkids. The possibilities are endless.

Yeah, I like using mass transit to go to things where you do not want your car because of traffic or parking issues. Going to a ball game or other event with mass transit avoids traffic and parking costs. Going the airport with mass transit is a big one, it avoids hefty parking fees. And going to events where you plan on drinking is quite compatible with mass transit. :-)

Exactly. Many people who live near cities like NY wouldn't think of driving there. It's far more convenient to take the train. Parking is expensive, inconvenient, sometimes unsafe, and in some places nonexistent, the tolls and traffic are insane, and as you say, if you're planning to drink, public transportation is the way to go.

If you don't work in the city, you don't use transit to get to work. But to catch a Yankees game Sunday afternoon, to go shopping, to take the kids to a museum on Saturday or to go clubbing or to a Broadway play - the train is the way to go. Basically, unless you are rich enough to afford a limo for everyday use, you take the train. Even very wealthy people take the train.

You would have to be crazy to drive in a city like New York and London (and many people are). Parking in London is so hard to find that people bequeath their parking spots to their next of kin in their wills. The transit systems are fast and effective, although crowded.

These cities are easy to get around if you are rich have your own limo and driver. If you don't, then public transit is probably the best choice.

One of the self-created problems the US has (in addition to the fact it subsidizes freeways quite heavily) is that parking is also heavily subsidized - although the subsidies are disguised as zoning regulations. It is actually quite expensive to provide a parking spot for a car. It can easily cost a restaurant $20,000 per parking spot to provide parking for its patrons - I'm sure in Manhattan it's a six-digit number - but in the US the parking stalls are mandatory. They need to provide them to get approval to build the restaurant. Because this cost is hidden (built into the food bill), the patrons don't see it, but it is there.

I'm speaking as someone who volunteers to be on local government boards, and I get to vote to approve or disapprove the building permits. I know all the rules and see all the costs, so I know whereof I speak.

The pub and the gym. Because parking in town is an expensive nightmare, and then I wouldn't be in a position to drive anyway.

When I rented without a washer/dryer connection, I would take the streetcar to a laundromat instead of driving & parking. Startled a few tourists on the St. Charles Streetcar Line :-)


That reminds me of my younger days (i.e. before I turned 30). Calgary did have buses before it had LRT, and the buses did run past laundromats. Sunday morning, I would get on the bus with two or three big garbage bags full of laundry, and people would look at me very funny.

I thought it was very efficient because I only had to do laundry once a month. The closet held 31 shirts, 31 sets of underwear, 31 pairs of socks, and maybe a dozen blue jeans. Get there early, grab 5 washing machines in a row, and away you go. The suits and dress pants went to the dry cleaners which were usually conveniently next door to the laundromats.

This idea that you have to own a car to drive to work or have to own a washer and drying is just thinking inside the box, and I have always thought outside the box.

Well, now the gas side is not doing a fair comparison.
-The Polo is smaller than the Leaf
-That is diesel and diesel costs more than gas
-That is using imperial gallons which are larger than US gallons.

It is not likely that electricity prices would go up as fast as liquid fuel
-Look at the above graph
-Electricity is generated from a wide variety of energy sources and can shift toward the cheaper ones (like the way natural gas dominates right now)
-Solar and wind kind of put a ceiling on electricity prices

And even if electricity prices did double . . . so what? Doubling gas prices would have a gas driver go from $2K per year to $4K per year whereas double electricity would go from $0.5K per year to $1K per year. Bring it on.

But pure electric clearly is not for everyone. I'm now feeling that various Plug-In hybrids are going to be the technology that wins big.

There's more to life than price, Ird.

An EV could probably access some charging power in any of a bunch of ways, where most ICE vehicles pretty much need functioning gas stations and your functioning credit card in order to go anywhere.

As far as I'm concerned, the main point of these and renewables is about having some variety available, so there are as few impossible bottlenecks out ahead as you can set up.. and to have that variety be durable, resilient, flexible, maybe simple..

Your objections seem to be on today's basic assumptions. I'm trying to look at surprise directions things could turn, and what I could have in my corner in order to have some choices..

Do the math, at $8 per gallon and 15 cents per KWHr, the savings are almost $4000 per year for the electric - of course that makes sense. We are talking about typical driving, a mix of city and highway the only cars getting 40mpg are hybrids.

The economy is contracting to balance liquid fuel supply and demand. The price of electricity will go down as the economy contracts.

Tricky thing here is this notion of "comparable utility". There's potential utility, and that which is actually realized. The common case for an automobile is carrying a single person and not much load in perfectly fine weather. For that, a small motorcycle or even an electric scooter is perfectly adequate. There's a social aspect to this, which means that though we can attack it from the engineering end (can we build something that meets expectations?) we can also attack it from the marketing end (change expectations).

Note that e-vehicles of all kinds benefit from reduced size. Given a fixed-size charging circuit (not too outlandish an assumption), a half-sized vehicle with a half-sized battery charges in half the time. There are limits on charging rate at the battery end, but right now, it's the supply that is constraining. Very small vehicles (e.g., bicycles with e-assist) allow user battery-swapping and spares for extended range, which is not practical for automobile-sized batteries.

could also suggest that if liquid fuel prices double, there is a strong probability that electricity prices will double too.

I would tend to duspute that. They use (unless you live in an oil dependent island like Hawaii) different energy sources. There is quite a bit of independence between these different sources/commodities. For instance look at the ratio of natural gas to oil prices. It has varied severalfold. Electricity comes from a variety of energy sources, and long term capital costs, such as the power grid account for roughly half the cost.

This is an apples-to-oranges comparison. Nationally, the majority of power prices are set by regulatory bodies (slow acting), while retail gasoline price is set by the markets and We the People. further, if there is a primary fundamental driver of power price, it's natural gas. The latter has typically been lower on a BTU basis than crude oil and its various products.

How do those things make it an unfair comparison from the consumer perspective? They don't.

That is another way of saying that there is more NG about than oil at a good price, which is exactly why swapping is attractive.

The bottom line is that the US light vehicle fleet could be powered on around 100Gwe.
That power could be generated in a variety of ways.
Renewables advocates would fancy solar or wind.
I would simply build around 75 new nuclear power stations.

However, there is a huge difference between peak power in the US and normal load, and providing charging is mainly at night much of the US car fleet could run on electric before any more power stations were needed, the existing ones would simply run with a higher load factor and more economically.

Meanwhile, Argonne NL says a 10 percent "EV" market share with unconstrained charging behavior would require construction of 8 new 400 MW natural gas plants, plus one 230 MW -- in just NE, NY, Illinois, and the West.

What would 100 percent market share require?

Whilst there are several other studies which come to conclusions similar to this:
'The idle capacity of the U.S. grid could supply 73%of the energy needs of today’s cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans…without adding generation or transmission if vehicles are charged off peak'


There are also substantial savings to be made in areas where oil refining is important, such as California, as it is energy intensive.

Moving to 100% of light vehicles on electric will take decades, and presents a not dissimilar challenge to the introduction of air conditioning in terms of power needs.

An EV for 12,000 miles pa uses around 4,000 kwh, so that is an energy flow of less than 0.5kw.

An EV for 12,000 miles pa uses around 4,000 kwh

A PV setup with that annual output, is much cheaper than an electric car. The real problem is not providing/affording the electricty, it is in providing/affording the car!

Indeed . . . solar panel prices plummeted in the last couple of years and have made them very attractive. The price of EVs remains the weak link.

And that is why we need to do with EVs what we did to solar PV . . . offer the early adopters various incentives that helps build a market to mass-market scale. Once at mass market scale, manufacturing efficiencies and innovation should help drive the EV prices down. And we are doing that. We just need some time and some innovation.

Batteries. The batteries are costing $500 to $1,000 per KWh.
There are new battery possibilities announced every week.
...The only thing this week, though, is A123's nanophosphate re-branding and GM's chemistry simulation efforts... but still, it's something.
Collaboration Speeding Development of Better Electric Car Batteries

I honestly don't trust GM's efforts after witnessing the EV-1. It's marketing featured the nuclear death ad. The radio advertisement for the GM Volt goes on about not being embarrassed about owning a life-sized rubber doll. The TV ads are selling Nerds, not Volts:

Lithium, used in many batteries, is about as common as copper... it's just that the production isn't up to demand. Neodymium is used in some motor rotors. Others reflect the field winding's energy off of the rotors with more windings instead.

Tuneable plasmons on graphene

The same study also pointed out that absolutely no new generation capacity is required just by having people charge up at night. So all you have to do is have time-of-use metering that would get people to charge at night.

Why didn't you bother mentioning that? Oh . . . because you are not interested in the full picture.

Well, one of us isn't very interested in the full picture, that's for sure.

But, yes, if everybody charges at night only, Argonne estimates that a 10 percent "EV" fleet would require no new power plants. Just a more intensive use of the existing (half coal, 20 percent nuclear) ones.

So, again, what would a 100 percent "EV" fleet require, even in the dream world of nights only charging?

DaveW already answered your question . . . we could get 73% of the existing fleet on EVs without a single new power plant. It would take decades to build that many EVs. It will take decades merely to meet the 10% figure. We could easily add many new power plants during those decades. So what is the problem? And lots of PV, wind, etc. will be added to handle day-time charging.

And I'm sorry to say that we won't ever have a 100% EV fleet but I admire you optimism for shooting so high! :-)

Here is data on energy use in the home in the US:

The trend is pretty flat in spite of air conditioning coming in, large screen tv's, computers and so on.

We need to continue to increase efficiency, and the tools are to hand, including the use of better insulation, more efficient air conditioning, air heat pumps and so on.

There would seem no reason to think that most of any increased use which did occur would not be absorbed over the adoption time by these efficiency gains.

The grid would certainly need strengthening in some places, just as it had to be when large screen tv's came in, but there seems no reason to exaggerate a relatively modest adjustment, particularly when it is consequent on a massive reduction in use of the biggest energy source of all, oil.

In my own opinion all this may take place in the context of a trend to smaller houses, rather denser housing and with a continuance of the trend to reduce car ownership.

There is a heck of a difference though between a world where drastic shortages of oil lead to people being unable to get to work, the economy seizing up and the rest of the dire predictions often aired here and one with a reasonable amount of access to personal transport and where the broad pattern of US city's housing would remain viable.

Even supposing that all charging were to take place at the worst possible time at peak, that is only about 100Gwe out of the peak capacity of ~1000Gwe, so if it takes 15 years to move to 100% of all new cars being electric then 15 years to rotate the fleet that is 30 years to increase electrical capacity by 10% - say 3-4Gwe a year.

That is tiny compared to historical growth.

More realistically with most charging at night and continuing improvements in efficiency of electrical use, between 0-1% or 1Gwe per year might be needed.

I don't see why that couldn't be done.

Big screen TVs are actually getting to be VERY efficient. I've got a ~60" HDTV but it uses LEDs for backlight and energy star arrow is all the way at the left and it says $25 to power it for a year. It uses much less than old much smaller clunky CRTs.

There will definitely need to be some upgrades though . . . various local transformers will have to be upgraded. Many of them used to work on the assumption that they could cool off during the night but with EVs being charged at night, some will be a bit overburdened.

The grid is not a problem for EVs. If you want to whine about EVs, the big issue is the battery cost.

The big screens are quite variable in efficiency. LED ones (not backlit, but LED display) are very efficient. Liquid crystals and plasma TVs not so much. Its usually hard to find info on their power consumption at purchase time. You can plug it into a Kil-A-Watt meter and report back...

I don't think there are many real LED TVs (unless your home is the superdome). They've been trying to make OLED but it hasn't worked out well yet. Some are out there but they are very expensive. But the LED backlit LCD TVs are pretty efficient as well.

Modern big screen Tv's are indeed very energy efficient.
The utilities had to be careful to ensure timely upgrades of transformers etc when the early big cathode tv's and plasma's came out though, as they were energy hogs.
In the same way transformers in affluent areas of San Francisco etc where there is likely to be a high uptake of EVs will need upgrading.
It is simply that the level of investment and challenge is no show stopper, and less than when air conditioning became common.

Does Dave W's data fit with Argonne's analysis? How so? No doubt with every assumption being the rosiest possible. Even then, it simply does not fit. You are both clearly "EV" advocates, for some unexplained reason.

Moving 3,500 pounds that could be 350 or 35 or 3.5 pounds costs serious energy, whatever the energy source. That's simply a fact.

Choose the rosiest analysis in this situation if you wish. Good luck with it.

And the question is not, of course, reducible to new plants. It's also a question of how much raw material and emissions we incur in existing plants. Obviously, indisputably.

You have to consider a few facts:

1) 2/3 odf the fuel is lost as heat in combustion engines.

2) EV or hybrids can store some of the energy you gain when you decelerate

So you could reduce your energy demand to 25% of current consumption by using electic engines instead of combustion engines. The political question is where you get the electricity from, I support a mixture of nuclear energy and PV/wind. Additional efficiency gains would come from weight reduction of cars (and drivers:-))

3) Loading of car batteries will usually be done during night time or whole weekends. I have done some estimations for Germany, 100% electric car/truck fleet would only increase the demand for electricity by 15-20%, therefore, you do not have to add many additional power plants and transmission lines. Other aspect is that demand for cars/trucks is uniform over the year, so no real peak demand problem.

So for me DaveW's approach, to replace first second/third family cars and small trucks/busses in cities makes most sense. Transition will take decades so we will see dramatic reduction of battry prices and introduction of storage/loading systems in housholds which make PV really useful for EVs.

Lightweighting car bodies, which is happening anyway, is a very favourable trend for electric vehicles.
Here is Toyota's approach, using cheap rather than expensive and exotic materials:

'Reduced mass. The curb weight of the FT-Bh is 786 kg (1,733 lb). Assuming a mass-produced fuel-efficient vehicle, the FT-Bh body structure makes greater use of high-tensile-strength steel and does not require expensive materials such as carbon fiber for weight reduction. In addition, a new high-expansion foam material is used inside the vehicle to improve interior thermal management and reduce the weight of interior components. This allows other components, including the body frame, chassis and powertrain, to be made lighter.'

Of course highly efficient ICE cars reduce the incentive to make an early move to EV's, but from the POV of mitigating peak oil and avoiding collapse both are fine, and more efficient ICE means more time for battery and fuel cell technologies to mature.

You could perfectly well turn your comment on it's head, and enquire why you are so determinedly pessimistic, even to the extent of ignoring the more favourable figures in your own link, and solely focus on the unlikely case that all charging takes place at times of peak demand.
There is no substantial disagreement between your source and the ones I have quoted, it is simply that you have highlighted a very unlikely charging pattern.

We don't need to guess, we now have the data on how people charge:

'Charging availability for residential charging units is similar in each EV Project region. It is low during the day, steadily increases in evening, and remains high at night. Charging demand, however, varies by region. Two EV Project regions were examined to identify regional differences. In Nashville, where EV Project participants do not have time-of-use electricity rates, demand increases each evening as charging availability increases, starting at about 16:00. Demand peaks in the 20:00 hour on weekdays. In San Francisco, where the majority of EV Project participants have the option of choosing a time-of-use rate plan from their electric utility, demand spikes at 00:00. This coincides with the beginning of the off-peak electricity rate period. Demand peaks at 01:00.'


So all that is needed to ensure load on the grid is minimal is to have time of use charging, which is not exactly rocket science.

Charging away from home is a very small part of total demand, which is why it does not significantly affect the figures.

So utilising the grid more at night will reduce costs, and amortise equipment more effectively.
It is also more energy efficient, as the boilers do not have to be brought up to heat.

It would appear that your objection is at root one of dislike of the status quo, and motorised society, and so you are finding any possible quibble.

They do not however hold water, and it is clear that people who so wish will be able to continue to enjoy substantial mobility.

But, yes, if everybody charges at night only, Argonne estimates that a 10 percent "EV" fleet would require no new power plants. Just a more intensive use of the existing (half coal, 20 percent nuclear) ones. [emphasis mine]

Keep in mind that depending on which of the three US grids you examine, those percentages change a lot. Half coal and 20% nuclear is typical of the Eastern Interconnect, at least before the recession started those generators cutting back on coal. The Western Interconnect, OTOH, is about 30% renewables, 30% NG, 30% coal, and 10% nuclear. And the Texas Interconnect has its own fuel mix that starts with 50% NG. Minimal transfers between the three interconnects, so heavy Eastern coal and nuclear use has little to no effect on the other two.

How much EVs will add to the load also depends on which interconnect you examine. If you look at generation in the states in the three (a fairly close approximation, but not exact as the interconnect boundaries don't follow state borders precisely), the Western currently produces/uses only about one third as much per person as the Eastern, with Texas somewhere in between. Assuming that per-capita miles are roughly the same across the three, the increase in Western demand as a percentage will be significantly larger than the increase in Eastern demand.

Re: Are we moving toward a fact-free future?

As distinct from the fact-free present we already live in?

Being Canadian and having been to numerous countries around the world, I find that American TV (need I mention Fox?) is particularly fact-free. If you are in some semi-mythical remote Himalayan Buddhist monarchy, you can get satellite feed from BBC World Service, Al Jazeera, and RT (Russian TV), and you can get a much more accurate picture of what is happening in the world. Of course all these sources will have a certain national or cultural bias, but it will be easy to guess what it is and discount for it by watching a different channel. For the most part they don't give a d*mn about American politics and will just give you the straight facts.

However, one thing that stuck me as significant in the article was:

P.S. I want to relate an encounter I had with an energy analyst from a highly regarded think tank, not a fake one, but a real one that does real consulting for corporations and government agencies. When I mentioned to him that the EIA reports that crude oil plus condensate (which is the definition of oil) has been flat since 2005, he responded that I couldn't be correct. I suggested that he look it up himself and see that production has bounced between 72 and 74 million barrels per day during that period. He stated that that number must not include tar sands production. I told him that it indeed includes all crude plus condensate from whatever source. But, he was simply not prepared to accept what the publicly available data told him.

And this is absolutely true. Many supposedly authoritative sources don't really want to believe what is happening to the world and will reject the facts in favor of their established biases, which are that there is a glut of oil on American and world markets. Unfortunately for Americans, this is giving not only the public but the government a completely misleading picture of what is going on at this point in time.

Do you think that the American "government", or whomever is making decisions for that country, is aware of the likely current reality of Peak Oil, or do they delude themselves with fantasies about the Bakken etc.? What about Stephen Harper?

I think the American government is quite delusional about Peak Oil, although it appears that the Democrats and the Republicans have their own separate and different delusional systems.

I don't think Harper is particularly deluded about Peak Oil. His delusions were mainly about the political and economic reliability of the US, and those have largely been shattered. That's why he is looking to Asia as the main driver for future Canadian growth. Canadian energy supply is almost completely secure, so he's mostly concerned about where and how to sell the surplus and how to maximize the revenue from it.

I think our government knows about peak oil.

It is a strong belief of mine that Bernake deliberately crashed the economy by hiking the interest rates right after a series of government "stimulus" intended to encourage public indebtedness. A lot of people got into debt head over heels, then the fed pulls the rug out from under them.

My belief is that the government feared the loss of control of world finance if oil, believed to be in scarce supply, became a form of currency - like gold. Who would value a dollar if we can print them as desired.

At the time, oil seemed to be not only a commodity, but an investment medium - like a currency. People were bidding it up just as they are bidding up gold. With gold, you hope someone else will value it in the future enough to pay you for it - cause gold has few uses outside of a shiny stuff people place value on. Oil, on the other hand, is valued for the energy stored in it. How much would you pay for that energy if oil wasn't around to do it? Want to mow your lawn by hand, or pull your car with a horse?

Someone here a few years ago found an image of an inverted triangle showing the amount of GDP that went into various human activities. Stuff like banking was at the top, followed by real estate, manufacturing, housing, and at the bottom was energy - the smallest. I have not been able to find that graphic. Anyone here remember it and can repost it?

Right as the 2004 elections come into view, powers-that-be shake hands and dine together, with plans to hike interest rates from 1% to 5%, so that all those folks "helped" by governmental programs ( Community Redevelopment Act and others ), all financed with "creative financing" are blown away, losing everything. Panicked into buying before price of anywhere to live goes through the roof, people borrow beyond the limit of what they can afford and barely get by. Naturally, they succumb to a sudden quintupling of interest rate on their adjustable rate mortgages. The top people at financial institutions get bailouts and bonuses, paid for by legislators we voted for, while these same legislators ignore our pleas to enforce financial responsibility on the banker equally to sixpack joe who was panicked into buying a house.

The world supply of oil becomes like the quantity of chairs at a meeting. If there are seven people and six chairs, another chair is of great worth. If there are five people and six chairs, one is just in the way, and it has so little worth it is likely to be removed from the room. Likewise, government had to use whatever pens it can still control to crash demand so that the existing oil supply would be more than sufficient. The fact it bankrupts a lot of taxpayers is tomorrow's problem. Government pensions will be funded regardless of what happens to our elderly and schools.

I believe this whole thing is to bankrupt Iran by crashing the price they can ask for their oil. And do it in such a way that no-one is responsible. Our government appears to be losing power fast as the Chinese have increasing economic power to finance their oil purchases regardless of the desires of Washington.

I'd agree that the US is worse; however, if Sun News Network (essentially a Canadian carbon copy of Fox News) gains any significant market share Canada could be just as bad as the states.

Politically though Canada's a mess. Harper believes tooth and nail in his orthodoxy and no amount of evidence seems able to persuade him otherwise. I mean we really need to have an honest federal debate about Energy Policy, but Harper will never allow it since the facts get in his way. At least Muclair (our opposition leader, though with limited legislative power due to Harper's majority government) is trying to bring up valid arguments like dutch disease (and lets face it dutch disease is an economic fact, for Canada it's just a matter of what the magical number of oil exports are to start seeing broad effects will be), but Muclair was attacked with standard logical fallacy, republican rhetoric about job killing, etc. that did not address his argument.

I don't think Harper is all that inflexible in his thinking, although he does have an agenda and he does stick to it. He changes tactics from time to time, although he never admits that he did so. His next change in direction is probably to dump Canada's protectionist rules on dairy and egg production to expedite a Trans-Pacific Trade Pact, which is #1 on his current agenda. The diary and egg farmers will scream bloody murder, but so what? He can afford to p*ss them off and go for the big Asian money instead.

Mulcair, I think, could get into serious trouble as a national Canadian leader. He doesn't understand Western Canadian politics (the 4 Western Provinces have been growing rapidly and have a bigger share of the population than Quebec and the 4 Atlantic Provinces combined), and he doesn't understand the oil business. I am sure he doesn't have a clue about Peak Oil. None of these are problems that Harper has.

Editorial: It’s easier to reclaim tailings ponds than to reprogram Mulcair

Back in the mid-1980s, when Thomas Mulcair was a 30-year-old lawyer in Quebec, he was probably unaware how badly the West was reeling economically under an oil price that had dipped as low as $11 a barrel. The manufacturing economy of the East, of course, was roaring along, fuelled by a 69-cent dollar. Nobody was talking about Dutch disease back then, nor were there any great tears of sympathy from Eastern Canada about the utter malaise out West.

When the shoe is on the other foot, however, it’s a different story. Protective of those interests with which he is most familiar, Mulcair recently raised the ugly spectre of regionalism by blaming Canada’s high-flying petrodollar for the economic malaise of the East, comparing it to the so-called Dutch disease that afflicted the Netherlands’ manufacturing sector after gas discoveries 50 years ago.

Now, Canada has a $1.00 dollar, a positive trade balance, and one of the most stable economies in the world, and Mulcair is arguing that this is a Bad Thing? Compared to Greece or Spain?

Of course it's a bad thing because it's not in any way sustainable. All ponzi schemes give a feel-good vibe on the way up. It's that crash thingy on the other side that leaves people wondering what happened. There are only so many carcasses available to burn and when 95% of the world's energy comes from that source then we're in trouble.

Greece and Spain are being attacked by western bankers using CDS's, it has nothing to do with underlying fundamentals. The debt to GDP ratios of the worst European nations are no worse than the US's debt to GDP ratio which enjoys zero percent interest rates (and is home base to the banskters).

Greece and Spain have been taking advantage of their membership in the Euro zone to spend way beyond their means. This spending is been subsidized by the stronger members of the Euro zone, notably Germany, who are getting upset about supporting their spendthrift southern European partners. The downside is that the unemployment rates in Greece and Spain have been skyrocketing.

In a world where Greece and Spain were still on their own currencies, this excessive spending would be unaffordable. The value of their currencies would plummet, they would be able to buy much less than they currently do, and they all would have to tighten their belts. The upside is that their unemployment rates would be much lower because they would be working for much less money than people in other countries if it was expressed in German Marks, for instance.

It's not a Ponzi scheme, it's just what happens when you spend beyond your means. If Greece and Spain were not in the Euro zone, they would not be able to spend beyond their means.

First off Greece and Spain are totally different.

Greece should never have been let in the Euro. In any case when they joined the Euro their interest rates on bonds went from about 10% (Junk) to around 3 to 4 % (A rated) overnight; however, there was no fundamental improvement in the Greek economy to justify this decrease in interest rate. Anyhow, German and French banks started to lend the Greeks lots of money because their bonds were considered "safe" and well the Greeks wasted the money. Now the Greeks have lots of debt, but instead of defaulting the German and French banks want their money, although they screwed up their analysis of the safety of Greek bonds.

Second Spain had one of the lowest debt to GDP ratio of the ENTIRE eurozone (something like 20% less than Germany's) before the financial crisis and has less government spending as a portion of GDP than Germany; however, lots of money had been invested in their housing market by wait for it ... German and French banks creating a housing bubble which when it popped tanked the Spanish economy.

Also Germany hasn't been a spendthrift, they're been spending lots since they have huge trade surpluses from selling their goods to countries such as Greece and Spain that were bought using money borrowed from German banks. And what is the German solution to the problem, tell everyone to run a trade surplus ... which is kinda tough since trade surpluses and deficits have to normalized to zero.

kinda tough since trade surpluses and deficits have to normalized to zero.

We just gotta find an alien planet that we can run trade surpluses with....

Greece's finances got out of control less because of government spending and more because the populace, especially well off professionals, turn tax evasion into a national sport. German manufacturing was subsidized by consumption in the south. Germany is just as guilty as all of them.

This idea that debts are spiraling out of control because of excess government spending is getting tiring and the fact that so many adhere to this simplistic belief is a tragedy in the making. It's another conservative MSM ploy to steal the remainder of the middle class's wealth via inflation, and tax breaks for the wealthy well connected, and for Harper to finish off cutting most government services according to his ideological agenda. The fact is, government spending has been going down on a real per-capita, inflation-adjusted basis for 30 years. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and the government is included in that poor class now as it's largely funded by taxing the middle class which is dying.

The only way debts can be managed in an exponential monetary system that must perpetually grow is for economic growth to follow right along with it (another way to deal with debt is via stealth inflation but that isn't working anymore due to the sheer magnitude of the problem). Of course, as we here on this site are all too aware, Peak Oil is throwing a wrench into that nice smooth theoretical exponential economic growth chart and the world can no longer grow, hence debts are spiraling out of control. The historical theft from the middle class that used to be replenished by economic growth can no longer be maintained when the middle class can no longer grow.

The whole world is enslaved by an illegitimate monetary system built around usury, a crime that in most of human history would have sentenced you to death or at least imprisonment, and in Muslim cultures is still banned for good reason, yet today in most of the world it's as common as going to the local bank machine.

The idea that debt ,and borrowing and spending, is evidence of poor morals is just too enticing for our morally drivn brains. So we automatically think "savers good, and borrowers bad". In reality you can't have one without the other. The problem is with persistent imbalances, and the adjustment has to occur on both sides. But, again our simplistic moral barometers don't let us see it that way.

The world has had serious problems with debt for thousands of years. Usury has been a problem even longer than we've had money. People can become desperate for a variety of reasons -crops failed got to eat -got to pay for papa's funeral etc. etc, and loan sharks pop up to take advantage. Many many people and their families have been turned into debt peons by this process. Revolutions happen to rectify the situation and free the too numerous debt peons. Then the process begins again. IMHO, our moral sense wrt debt makes the matter worse. In extreme cases it allows us to countenance forms of debt-slavery, in extreme cases the selling of children etc. We need to take a step back, and realize that debt is a useful -as well as hazardous social instrument.

"In reality you can't have one without the other."

I explain that to people who argue to me that if they can be disciplined an work hard and save all their lives, then other people should be able to too. But then I point out that the only reason their savings have any real world value is because 10 other people are in debt, because money = debt, then I lose them...

Our monetary system is built with debt. Without debt there is no money. The fact that debt is spiraling out of control is not because of irresponsible overspending on social programs to help sick, poor or old people, it is a natural and unavoidable consequence of a debt-based monetary system operating in a world that can no longer grow.

Monetary systems don't necessarily have to be debt based, that is just the system we choose. Savings can be used to purchase income producing assets so obtaining a return on savings doesn't necessarily have to rely on loaning money and receiving interest.

The current system in the US of 401K, IRA and other tax vehicles was designed to corral retirement savings in Wall Street where the banks and investment firms can skim off profit. Prior to the centralization of finance, retirees could obtain an income by purchasing a rental property, buying utility stocks, etc rather than passively relying on financial firms to deliver a return.

First there was debt, with some sort of IOU. Then the IOU's became tradeable, but baking up this money(IOUs) was a very strong expectation that the debtor would make could on his debt. Eventually the value of these IOUs became standardized, and the were used as money. Usually a government comes in and provides a currency guarantee.

Now you could imagine currency being some long lasting commodity -say dried beans, that in fact you could consume for food. Then the distinction between debt/money becomes blurred. i.e. a farmer can grow "money" without any debt being cteated.

Its not just that no (or slower growth) is throwing sand into the gears, but the global oligarchs have got enough control to game the system for their own ends. So wealth is being transferred up the wealth ladder at increasing rates. Even the nominal democracies have largely become dominated by the oligarchs, who can simply buy all the propaganda it takes to win politically.

Germans are disciplined but even they won't be able to overcome the problems of a strong currency if they were to go solo with a Deutsche Mark. It's precisely because of PIIGS that the Euro trades at a discount and provides Germany with a thriving export market, without it German exports would become unaffordable in a world where every country is depreciating their currency.

Look at what a strong Yen has done to the balance sheets of Japanese companies. Without intervention the CHF, Yen and a hypothetical Mark would trade above the dollar destroying their respective economies.

I don't think Mulcair is going to have as many problems in the West as you suggest. See: http://threehundredeight.blogspot.ca/2012/06/tories-slip-as-ndp-makes-mo... The NDP has been preforming very well in BC and both Sask and Manitoba, it's just Alberta where there is little support. Second, I would like to see evidence that Mulcair doesn't understand peak oil since renewable energy is a major part of their platform and jives well with peak oil theory.

Also I would argue you're substituting "stable economy" for what should be "stable banking sector". As natural resource extraction become an ever increasing percent of the Canadian GDP our economy becomes inherently more unstable since natural resources prices are beyond our controls and have historically always been very volatile. Canada's losing diversity in its economy and kind of placing its eggs all in one basket. Our banking sector though is very stable and a model for the world.

Furthermore Mulcair's original intent has been bastardized beyond all belief by his opponents and the media; he was trying to demonstrate that there are signs (albeit more mild than he implied) pointing towards dutch disease and that further development of the oil sands could make this considerably worse. His statement is considered fact according to many economist and rather than address this issue he got slagged for being "anti-jobs" (http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/christophermajka/2012/05/dutch-disease-d... is a good analysis of dutch disease in Canada which links to economic studies). I find it frightening that Harper did not respond with any study suggesting what point of oil production will start to lead to manufacturing decay or acknowledge this concern at all. IMO we can probably get away with at least 1 mbpd more production, but I would really like to see some investigation into what amount of production of oil we can get away with as a country.

PS: I should note that Mulcair has never proposed shutting down the oil sands, only better regulation and planning; unlike his predecessors and opponents in the leadership race that did want to shut down Fort Mac and thank god they lost the race since they were crazy corporate union bosses.

The NDP is in favour of renewables because of Climate Change, not because they have a clue about Peak anything.

Fair enough. I couldn't find any evidence of Peak Oil for the NDP.

On the other hand I couldn't find any evidence of Peak Oil in the Conservatives platform or from Stephen Harper. (I also didn't find anything from the Liberals either)

So ... in reality we have no clue if any of the parties hold a strong belief in peak oil and just presume Harper must have some knowledge because he has an economics degree.

At the end of this I'm disappointed with all of the parties *sigh*

Harper is not going to be putting "Peak Oil" on the Conservative platform because it does not sell particularly well in the political arena. He is going to be using phrases like, "lower taxes", because they do sell well.

However, knowing the people he's talking to, he will have a pretty good idea of what the global oil production curve looks like. It will look a lot like the Hubbert curve, except it will not have the words "Peak Oil" on it. He will also know what the Canadian oil production curve looks like, and it will be a lot different. It will just go up and up and up until somebody says "STOP!"

Mulcair's first choice is to yell "STOP!" right away because he wants to protect Eastern Canadian industry from the consequences of Western provinces making too much money. This goes over badly in the Western provinces, where most people like making more money and nobody feels any urge to subsidize the Eastern provinces by shutting down lucrative Western industries.

Harper's first choice is for nobody to yell "STOP!" until he's run his course and he's out of power. Somebody else can deal with the consequences of yelling "STOP!" and curtailing Canadian oil production. When that happens, the Western Premiers will bring out their knives and it will somewhat resemble Ceasar's experience on the Ides of March.

Yeah, I can agree with your analysis. Although I would point out that the oil and gas sector will never be able to sustain a majority of the workforce of Canada, that seemingly rosy number of 1 million jobs by 2035 mentioned earlier seems less impressive when you consider there will be a predicted 43 million Canadians (in a medium growth scenario). So I think it's fair to say that the federal government should be concern about manufacturing jobs, wherever they are in Canada, because they're still going to have to be a large portion of workforce to sustain the Canadian economy.

To be honest, what's going to end up killing Harper is when Bay street (the Canadian Wall street) turns on him. Bay street makes a lot of money off of financing the manufacturing sector (from what I've heard it's more lucrative than financing oil and gas) and if increasing oil production starts to hurt those sectors it will hurt the Canadian banks bottom line and they will revolt.

Another thing that could hurt the economy in Alberta in the short run is inflation. I don't know how bad inflation is in Calgary, but in Edmonton it's crazy and ignored in political dialogue.

The sad thing about the manufacturing industries are that they no longer provide the number of jobs that they used to. Focusing on them is counterproductive because they no longer provide the jobs they used to. The reality is that the service sector provides far more jobs than manufacturing.

Climate change is a sort of planetary sink peak problem. Its not far from accepting CC to recognizing peak XXX -or vice versa. In any case, why someone supports the right policy is less important than that they do it.

Well if that were their only policy, maybe. Unfortunately the NDP also believes in Big Government Always and All the Time, along with big unions. Sadly, big government and massive entitlement programs are not compatible with peak oil.

And we're an "energy superpower" that imports -- what is it? -- about a million barrels of oil per day?

Canada imports about a million barrels of oil per day into its Eastern Provinces and exports about 3 million barrels a day from its Western Provinces.

We could back out the imports and flood the Eastern market with Western oil, but somebody would have to build a pipeline (or more accurately reverse a pipeline) to make that happen. The environmentalists are opposing it. Western oil companies are shipping oil to the East Coast by railway at the moment, but that is much more expensive than a pipeline.

Rocky - I may have told you already but on my recent trip to Africa I got hooked on Al Jazeera...even better than BBC. Not only a lot of facts but not one instance of opposing talking heads yelling at each other. It was very nice.


My son recommended Al Jazeera as a good news source to me about a year ago. I thought he was kidding but I now check it daily and although I never accept any news source without question I have found Al Jazeera to be very informative. They actually seem to understand journalism.

I stopped reading US newspapers and magazines years ago.

If they just changed the name...


Americans can now only get their real news from the Islamic Muslim state of Quatar.

Americans can now only get themselves into space on Russian rockets.

It's really pretty funny...


I'm sorry... There's been a mistake... This is not the future I ordered.


America has never really been a country that dealt with reality. Sure, there is a strain of Anglo empiricism in American culture that powers the scientific discoveries and advances, but at heart America is about fantasy...Disneyland, Jesus wants you to be a millionaire, etc.

Facts are mundane, and reality is depressing. And thereby un-American.

Fox News is a perfect expression of Americanism.

..only if you accept the Fox news audiences' definition of America.

Don't let them define your country. They'll be far too happy to do it for you.

Jesus wants me to be a multi millionare that lives life like only Disney would portay and I have my own personal lobbyist on K-street to make sure it happens just that way. Get it right Oilman!

I'm reading an interesting book at the moment called "The Hidden Brain". It discusses unconscious decisions we make every day.

One segment details actions taken by people working in the World Trade Center, on 9/11, in one company, on the 88th and 89th floors.

Most of the people on the 88th floor survived as a group, while most of the people on the 89th floor perished as a group.

On 88, they all decided to leave based on one person standing up and yelling to get out. People looked at each other and decided to leave. On 89, people were saying "don't worry, go back to your desks" and everyone did.

It was, of course, only in hindsight that one could tell which group's actions were appropriate.

The point being that we don't necessarily make independent, rational decisions - we subconsciously look for group consensus.


I read the same in "Influence", albeit there it's named "social evidence" or "social proof". If I hadn't gotten into IT and hadn't made my former librarian aspirations reach fruition, psychology and social science would've been an interesting field to get into. Albeit, given "peak everything", it's all for naught. I've recently understood that peak oil in itself isn't the problem. Even if there were an additional ten trillion easily accessible barrels of oil in the world (preferably on the Norwegian Continental Shelf :-)) , we'd still hit a limit in the form of depleted or polluted aquifiers, exhausted supplies of phosphorous, uranium or rare earths or a globally warmed world.

Anyway, in "Influence", authored by Robert Cialdini, he used various examples, one of which was that in the event of several people standing on a street looking up at the sky or toward the roof of a tall building or whatever, you will be compelled to do the same. I suppose the rationale was that you'll be in an advantageous position and that it's socially acceptable to conform with "the group (tm)". Another example is most people's aversion towards interacting with beggars, because hardly anyone stops (ie. you're deviating if you stop to talk to them). Third one I can think of is people's inclination to mass when there's been an accident, often to emergency services' dismay because they're not given the required space to do their job.

I recommend the book, it also details other automatic responses/habits that humans make/have in order to reduce the complexity of everyday life.

Professor Lakoff estimates that the hidden brain, or subconscious does about 98% of our cognition, and has a personal PR or propaganda center to color all input with our learned cultural bias.

Exactly, as in, "There is no such thing as Free Will".

Take a listen here: http://www.radiolab.org/2007/jul/24/

- Jump to the 38 minute/ 20 second mark and prepare to be astounded...

That's cool. Everything is pre-decided and our sensation of the present actually (such as my deciding which words to write) happens micro/milliseconds after the electrical signals in the brain flip one way or the other. I suddenly feel like I'm peering through the eyes of someone else, as if watching a "point of view" movie. . At least I have an excuse for feeling like I've made no fruitful achievements in life, I'm pre-decidedly worthless.

Exactly...your brian is driving you!

Your perception of reality is that of a second-hand, tag-along mouthpiece.

Scientific findings such as this never get press or reciognition...they are much to threatening to cultural and religious memes.

Interesting. So your brain decides to do something and your sense of free will is really just part of the processing of it after the fact.

Although it seems like there has to be a sort of meta-feedback at work. That is, one's after-the-fact processing of an event serves as a cue to what the brain decides to do next. Your brain gets there before 'you' do, but 'you' have influenced where the brain is going.

The author of "Hidden Brain" describes it as working on auto-pilot, vs actively piloting an aircraft. Like the way you can sometimes drive to a destination without recalling how you got there. The auto-pilot can be a very useful function in certain circumstances.

One interesting example from the book was this :-

There was a coffee station at a company, hidden from view, working on an honor system - there was a list of prices for tea, coffee and milk, and a box for people to put the money in. The question was, what factors determine how many people behaved honestly and paid for their drinks.

A researcher downloaded pictures to place as a banner on the top of the price list. On odd weeks she used a pair of eyes. On even weeks she used pictures of flowers. Payment for drinks was much higher in the odd weeks when people subconsciously thought they were being watched. Later on, they said they had never noticed there were pictures on the top of the price list.

The fact, though, that there is an autopilot, doesn't alter the fact that the pilot, at some point, has to actively fly the plane, so there has to be some element of personal responsibility.

Saying "the Hidden Brain made me do it" is no more a defense than "the dog ate my homework".

Saying "the Hidden Brain made me do it" is no more a defense

Not to mention that there are people with agendas, and lots of money who are trying to program our hidden brains. They've been pretty succesful. I think the best way to get people to pay attention/resist, is to imply that they are being unwittingly brainwashed.

There was a really fascinating one:

An interview is given and at the end of it, some of the people are given a string of numbers to remember. Everyone is sent on to walk to another office. In the hallway, they meet the snack lady. She's offering yummy cakes and nutritious alternatives. The people trying to remember a string of numbers are more likely to select the yummy cakes. The theory is that bits that are distracted leave the remainder open to unconsidered reflex.

There is a similar one with simians. Apes and M&Ms: Two apes, two bowls of M&Ms... one with more, one with less. Whichever one the subject chooses goes to the other ape. They choose the bowl with more candies immediately... and then go "Doh!", over and over as the other ape gets that bowl. If the candies are replaced with symbols, with, in effect, numbers representing the quantities, then an additional processing cycle is introduced into the decision making. With just the addition of that part of a second, the bowl with less is chosen and the subject gets the bowl with more - per the rules of the encounter.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 15, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.6 million barrels per day during the week ending June 15, 12 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 91.9 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased slightly last week, averaging 4.7 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.4 million barrels per day last week, up by 328 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.1 million barrels per day, 168 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 988 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 67 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 2.9 million barrels from the previous week. At 387.3 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 0.9 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.2 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.3 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 11.1 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 18.6 million barrels per day, down by 2.2 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged about 8.9 million barrels per day, down by 5.0 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged 3.6 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 1.6 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 7.5 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

The Heat is On – US refiners maintain high level of utilization; gasoline supplies improve

US refiners maintained a level of utilization, at 91.9%, just short of last’s weeks levels – which was the highest seen in a few years. With the notable exception of Motiva (Black Day at Motiva), and with a few other refineries undergoing renovations – especially in the Northeast, US refineries are essentially operating flat out.

Oil used by refiners has been consistently been about 3% higher than last year’s levels in recent weeks. Although products supplied are down about 2% as compared to last year, the 5% discrepancy is mostly accounted for by increased product exports. Net oil product exports (less imports) have increased more than 500,000 bpd over last year, although this discrepancy is also partly due to less volume of oil product per barrel processed.

The high level of oil inventories belies the fact of improving US oil demand. Saudi Arabia may have stored around 20 million barrels near the Motiva refinery, which may not be useful at all for some time. Shippers report demand for tankers on the Saudi Arabia to US route has fallen sharply.

With gasoline stocks a week or so ago being unusually low for June, a wave of gasoline imports indirectly helped improve the gasoline supply situation nationally. Moderately short supplies of some grades of gasoline were still reported within the last week in the upper tier of the Magellan Midstream Pipeline system, but it was thought that short supply situation will ease this week.

Actual retail gasoline sales were not reported by the MasterCard SpendingPlus unit this week, which switched to reporting on a bi-weekly basis. They were last reported at about 2% less than last year.

Jet fuel demand appears to be very strong – even before Delta Air Lines has finished reconfiguring a Pennsylvania refinery to produce more jet fuel.

There's been alot of discussion here on Diamond and Easter Island, this story made Nat Geo this month:

But lately the moai have been drawn into a larger debate, one that opposes two distinct visions of Easter Island’s past—and of humanity in general. The first, eloquently expounded by Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond, presents the island as a cautionary parable: the most extreme case of a society wantonly destroying itself by wrecking its environment. Can the whole planet, Diamond asks, avoid the same fate? In the other view, the ancient Rapanui are uplifting emblems of human resilience and ingenuity—one example being their ability to walk giant statues upright across miles of uneven terrain.


Or maybe the Rapanui, were a society that wrecked thier own evironment in the end pretty much destroying themselves and were a brilliant society showing the signs of ingenuity and resilience (represented by thier ability to construct and move massvie monuments with by todays standards simple tools.) Just like us. I see no reason how these ideas cannot co-exist, except in the minds of some prefessors. Humans haven't really changed in 10,000+ years, these big brains of ours are a belssing and curse at the same time.

both arguments seem to hinge on the initial colonization date of the Rapanui. I would think that, along the Diamond line, a reduced pop would have survived on fish and shellfish and such, perhaps as was found. The thing they couldn't withstand would have been western introduced disease. The rationale for forest demise via rats seems expressly weak.

Will renewables destroy the electric grid? Disclaimer - I don't really understand the L, Z, or H VRT stuff. This goes along with yesterday's post about distributed solar energy becoming it's own grid and rendering utilities superfluous.

Here's an article where solar power is helping to stabilize the grid:

From: AE Solar Energy Q2 Newsletter (Company email sent out to potential clients)

"Over the past year Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has been aggressively working on solutions to reliably maintain its solar power production during unanticipated energy disruptions. The 30 Advanced Energy (AE) 500 kW 1kV DC Utility PV Inverters at PG&E’s 15MW Westside Solar Station have been an integral part in the facility's success particularly during events such as rolling brownouts. Built by Cupertino Electric, this site's inverters are equipped with Voltage Ride Through (VRT) capabilities and are connected to a Pacific Gas & Electric substation outside of Fresno, CA.

With VRT, AE’s Utility inverters stay connected to the grid under external fault conditions and produce reactive power in an effort to stabilize the grid. As part of the VRT offering, the AE Utility inverters can also perform Zero Voltage Ride Through (ZVRT), High Voltage Ride Through (HVRT) and Low Voltage Ride Through (LVRT).

By integrating AE’s inverters into its solar systems, PG&E was able to mitigate 4 low voltage events in March; as well maintain power production during a connected substation’s 50 percent voltage sag. These events successfully demonstrated the VRT capabilities of AE’s Utility inverter and its ability to limit the system’s downtime and lost revenue."

It sounds like they have separate buzz words for nearly every form of grid stress. They modified the inverters to provide negative feedback against some of these undesirable states.

Canada's Oil Insiders Want a Carbon Tax

Surprising as that sounds, interviews reveal a business community consensus based on economics.

This really makes me wonder why Harper is so against anything Carbon tax. I mean it seems that if business thinks it's inevitable it would be better for him to make a carbon tax system now that favours business and make it really hard and costly to change rather than wait for a future left-wing government to develop the legislation.

I mean it seems that the only real losers with a Canadian Carbon tax would be foreign national oil companies (like the Chinese), since it would increase their cost of operation which is all they care about, since unlike public companies they aren't trying to maximize long term shareholder value. I mean it really makes you wonder if some foreign countries are currently influencing Canadian legislation ... and I really hope that's not the case because it makes me sound a bit like a conspiracy theorist with a tinfoil hat.

"I mean it really makes you wonder if some foreign countries are currently influencing Canadian legislation"

I have been wondering the same and it seems more and more plausible as things unfold. Canada is pursuing policies that are definitely not in the best interests of Canada, seem more in the interests of China securing oil resources.

Canada's Oil Insiders Want a Carbon Tax

This is of course from The Tyee a typically left-coast newsletter, and one of the things which convinces us people who live somewhat further to the right in the Canadian map that people in BC are smoking too much of their local produce.

Cannabis in British Columbia

The province's inexpensive hydroelectric power and abundance of water and sunshine—in addition to the many hills and forests (which aid stealth outdoor growing)—make it an ideal cannabis growing area. The British Columbia cannabis industry is worth an estimated $6 billion annually, and produces 40% of all Canadian cannabis, making cannabis among the most valuable cash crops in the province.

Disclaimer: I was born in British Columbia, so I feel a sense of entitlement to take cheap shots at it from time to time.

I was thinking about oil reserves on my hike today (3 hours!). The Canadian tar sands are hailed as one of the largest in the world.
However, the EROEI of these reserves is something along the lines of 1:3 (possibly a little higher) when you consider the cost of the trucks and equipment that have to scoop up the mass that contains the oil reserves, truck them off to the processing facility, the water and energy required to boil the stuff to get the hydrocarbons, etc (I may be missing a few parameters). At an EROEI of 1:3 the net energy is only one barrel, since you expend one barrel to get three, and then you need to expend the second of the three barrels to extract three more, leaving only one left for industrial purposes.

What I'm getting at is this: supposing Canada's reserves were 100 billion barrels and the remaining Saudi reserves also were 100 billion barrels. The EROEI of Saudi oil, while worse than decades ago, has to be a lot higher. For my argument's sake let's assume it's 1:10, ie. you have a net of 8 barrels for every 1 expended to get at the stuff. This means that, assuming 1:3 for Canada's reserves of "100 billion barrels", they only really have a net of 33 billion barrels that could go towards the market, while the Saudis would have a net of 80 billion barrels.

I'm sorry for the poorly worded and superficial explanation, math's not my strong side (and neither is language apparently).

Another cool thing I learned today: The first book about peak oil/gas and our predicament written in Norwegian is out by the way. It's good to have one in one's native language. http://www.bokkilden.no/SamboWeb/produkt.do?produktId=6581481&rom=MP if any Norwegian/Swede/Dane is interested.

I think the EROEI is about 5:1. Robert Rapier estimates 8:1. If the reserve is 100 billion barrels (more likely 300) then this would give net 66 billion using your EROEI, 80 for mine and 90 for Robert's. But they use natural gas not oil to fuel the "energy invested" part. If gas gets expensive they can indeed burn some of the produced bitumen. They have also suggested using nuclear (not practical IMHO) and coal (more likely).

The in situ operations don't haul the stuff out, they heat it up underground and suck it out. That's where the energy invested part goes, as well as to upgrade it afterwards by increasing the hydrogen component and breaking longer chains. For open pit operations the energy invested part is indeed towards fueling all the mining machinery etc., separating it from the sand, as well as upgrading. Either way, most of the energy sitting there underground is not available when it's said and done.

Plus, EROEI will drop as the deposit gets used up.

They don't burn oil to produce oil sands, they burn natural gas. It takes roughly 1 gigajoule of energy (Canadians measure gas in gigajoules) to produce 1 barrel of oil. 1 barrel of oil contains about 6 GJ of energy, so the EROEI of oil sands averages about 6:1.

Canada has roughly 175 billion barrels of established oil sands reserves, and it would require 175 billion GJ of natural gas to produce them all. Fortunately, Canada has considerably more than 175 billion GJ of natural gas reserves. It could produce the whole 175 billion barrels of oil sands and sell them to markets.

At current market prices in Alberta, 175 billion GJ of gas would cost $350 billion, and produce 175 billion barrels of syncrude which would contain 1050 billion GJ of energy. At $80/bbl the oil would sell for $14 trillion. The net gain in energy would be 875 billion GJ and the net return on fuel costs would be $13.65 trillion.

Now, the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia are about 267 billion barrels, all of which they could deliver to markets. However, domestic oil consumption in Saudi Arabia is rising rapidly (while that of Canada has been flat for the last 30 years), so they are using more and more of their own oil. According to Westexas analysis, it will not be too many more decades before they are using up their entire oil production internally, with nothing left for export.

Okay. I should've given my hypothesis more thought I suppose. Nevertheless, it's a testament that it's not reserves in itself that matter most in every situation. Whether they burn gas or oil, the energy equivalent of two barrels of oil are required to keep producing 8 of which 6 make it to the market (if I understand correctly that 1:2 would just keep production going in perpetuity with an infinite resource base producing with the same EROEI).

I get that the net export declination will matter most, and that forthcoming financial turmoil and increased awareness of our finite world could make them shut down efforts into furthering production at current levels to make the tail of the bell curve last longer. It seems that US consumption is 18.5~ mbpd, but the imports and domestic production just amount to around 15mbpd. Are the rest refined products such as jet fuel, diesel, gasoline etc? Also, do the 18.5mbpd take into account all of the energy "embedded" in the products that are imported each day also, ie. electronics, furniture, clothing, food, etc? If not, I suppose you could shave off some of the world's consumption as it goes towards exports to the US. Maybe it is offset a bit by the fact that the US also export goods. This is impossible to measure correctly though, but interesting to think about (alas tragically depressing also).

"At current prtices in Alberta, 175 billion GJ of gas would cost $350 billion...."

Here is where assumptions can and do get us in trouble. World market price for gas (imported LNG from Middle East) is about $15.00/mmBTU versus North American price of $2.50/mmBTU. Should a gas pipeline be built to BC coast and LNG facility constructed, the cost for the gas to process tar sands would be more like $2 trillion. That would raise the profit threashold of oil from tar sands. So natural gas cost is not inconsequential under all future scenarios.

I had thought that $15/MMBTU would be at the top end of the price spectrum for LNG but the linked PDF indicated that it is being sold in North Asia for more.


However, piped gas is much cheaper.

Thailand gets gas from Burma in the range of $5-6/MMBTU, which I suspect is more typical of pipeline NG prices.

The final price for LNG also contains substantial processing and transportation costs, so would not be equal to the price that producers get for exported gas, even if it is eventually delivered as LNG.

I wouldn't expect that producers could get average prices above $8/MMBTU or so, even if some eventually winds up getting sold (after processing) in Japan for much more.

Sure, the gas could be sold to Asia at $15/GJ rather than to an oil sands producer at $2/GJ, but to do that, someone will have to build a pipeline to the West Coast and an LNG terminal to put it on the ships.

In the long term that will happen, but in the short term it can't, and companies need the money now, so they will sell the gas at whatever price they can get for it. Hence, oil sands companies can buy gas for $2/GJ or less.

In the longer term, when such facilities are built, the price of fuel gas will rise, but most likely the cost of oil sands bitumen will rise too, because it will also be possible to ship it to Asia.

This is an example of "economic risk", which is the main risk in the oil sands. You pays your money and you takes your chances. It's all a crap shoot.

As noted above, the price of LNG includes processing, so valuing unprocessed Canadian NG at world market rates might value it at something like $8/GJ, and increase of $6 on a barrel out of production costs of perhaps $80/bbl, a substantial difference but hardly one which is going to fundamentally change things.

Of course, present processes are used to some extent precisely because NG is so cheap, and there would no doubt be opportunities to economise if the price rose, although by how much I certainly would not know.

Regardless of what might happen to general world export supplies, it is clear that Canada will have very large supplies of oil available for export for many years at an acceptable price.

A couple of small nuclear plants would do the job just fine of course, and free the natural gas for export.

Burying nuclear waste deep beneath the ground

"If the entire current stock of used nuclear fuel in Canada were stacked like cordwood, it could fit into the space the size of six hockey arenas, from the ice surface to the top of the boards."

“In our site selection criteria, we have one criterion that the repository should not be in an area where there are exploitable natural resources,”

"So far, in the 40 years nuclear power has been used in this country, we've produced two million of these bundles."

"In 2010, the NWMO began the site-selection process for the deep geological repository, a process which is expected to last at least eight years."

"Given the consultations, regulatory approvals and construction time lines, the NWMO estimates the earliest this facility will be in place is 2035, making it a mulch-generational project."

"Mulch-generational"... That's just too good... I'm pretty sure the intent was -multi-, but mulch-generational is so much more descriptive of the possibilities.

No solution yet, eh?


Canadian Coalition
for Nuclear


Oil headed to $38/barrel! . . . and then lower!

Crude oil has fallen 20% in less than 2 months. The drop has been sufficient to prompt most bears to declare victory and cover their shorts or even ponder getting long near last year's lows in the mid-$70s. But Jeff Kennedy, chief commodity analyst at Elliott Wave International thinks those buyers are early by about $40.
He bases his outlook on pattern recognition and psychology. His work suggests crude will plunge to the December 2008 lows of $38 a barrel then pause prior to falling another 50%. All in, Kennedy is forecasting an additional 80% drop in crude to $16.70 a barrel; a level not seen since November 0f 2001.

Technical analysis is a hoot. It works to some degree on a self-fulfilling prophecy principle . . . lots of people buy or sell based on a technical analysis projection and that makes it come true. But it is funny when clowns like this are so detached from the real world that they project prices lower than the extraction costs of the more difficult plays.

agreed, Eliot wave got it right one time predicting the 1987 market correction, but then they went broke predicting crashes all though the bull market of the 90's

NG prices have been below extraction costs for difficult plays for how long? Also, price is a function of money supply. If we let the banks fail and trigger deflation, $38 may be very expensive for oil.

Or we could bail out the failing banks again and trigger inflation, then $238 may be very inexpensive for oil.

"As Swarms Startle New York, Officer on Bee Beat Stays Busy".

I don't think it's helpful to say that swarms are caused by poor management, since a swarm is nature's way of bees reproducing and takes place in healthy hives.

A beekeeper may be limited in what they can do to prevent swarms. They could give the bees more room, by doing splits and making nucleus hives. They could go into the hives and destroy swarm cells. They could add more boxes on top of the hives.

Sometimes, even with all that, the hives will swarm anyway. Once the bees make the decision, it's hard to stop them.

One caveat is that rooftops are limited in the number of hives they can hold, due to weight-bearing load limits, so even if a rooftop beekeeper wanted to make more hives, they might have to decide against it, and let the bees swarm anyway.

Most city beekeepers are happy to go catch swarms for free - more free bees for them. Some education of the public is needed here, since swarms are not dangerous.

From BBC: ...

Global Resources Stock Check

As the world’s population soars, so does its consumption, and as a result we are stretching many of our natural resources to their limits.

Of course, the assumption is that human ingenuity and market forces will prevent supplies from running out: we could create better or cheaper extraction methods, recycle materials, find alternatives to non-renewable sources, or reduce consumption.

The hope is that talks at the Rio+20 Earth summit will help to steer the world economy on a more sustainable path. But the clock is already ticking, and if the unthinkable happens and we fail to correct current trends, then when can we expect our most valuable resources to run out?


So sayeth the BBC. From the WSJ:

"We think there are 10,000 more years of minerals left for civilization," said Andrew McKenzie, a geologist and BHP Billiton BHP -4.23% PLC's chief executive for nonferrous metals. "Civilization will change, of course, and there will be different minerals involved, but 10,000 more years."

Some minerals are more plentiful and some parts of the world more endowed. The world has plenty of potash—610 years worth, which ensures centuries more of fertilizer-making, and 590 years of known iron-ore reserves, according to U.S. Geological Survey estimates. Overall, the earth has about 136 years of copper but just a small proportion of it in Australia, which could supply the planet for only a few years, according to the U.S.G.S.


"Civilization will change, of course, and there will be different minerals involved, but 10,000 more years.""

And metals are generally recyclable.

The metal I worry about most is zinc, simply because it is less recyclable than most. It isn't all that common (nature just concentrates it well) and much of it is used in pigments and corrosion control, which are both hard to recover it from.

But we are still not running out of that anytime soon.

"Miners See Planet as Almost Bottomless Pit"

"The crust is between three and 30 miles thick. On most land masses, only the first half-mile has been mined."

Now, that's a pit!


...It is interesting that Rupert Murdoch's misinformation machine is still operating in America.

It was recently shown that people who got their news from that source knew less about reality than those who got no news at all.

STUDY: Watching Only Fox News Makes You Less Informed Than Watching No News At All

Which has what to do with anything in this thread?


US to extend military presence in Kuwait

The United States is planning to extend its military presence in Kuwait. Iran, Iraq and the ability to keep oil flowing from Saudi Arabia are major concerns for the world's biggest economy.

The latest report from Congress said 15,000 US troops are already stationed in the tiny Gulf country. It said more troops are needed to respond to sudden conflicts in the region.

also U.S. to create massive military base in Kuwait to counter restless Iran and growing Middle East uncertainty

... Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said he envisions about 40,000 troops stationed in the Middle East region after the withdrawal from Iraq.

and from U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee: ...

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Report Identifies Security Challenges in the Persian Gulf

... The United States should preserve the model of “lily pad” bases throughout the Gulf, which permits the rapid escalation of military force in case of emergency.

... The United States should not be quick to rescind security assurances or assistance in response to human rights abuses, but should evaluate each case on its own merits. [Bahrain protesters left swinging in the wind]

The report has been shared with the State Department and the Department of Defense. “Gulf Security Architecture: Partnership with the Gulf Cooperation Council” can be read in full here.

We built "massive military bases, suitable for long term use" in nearby Iraq.

What happened ?


Syria, Iran, Russia and China plan joint war games, Iranian news agency says

Iran, Syria, Russia and China are planning the “biggest-ever wargames in the Middle East,” according to an unconfirmed report on the semi-official Iranian news site Fars News. A Syrian official denied the claims.

According to the article, the four countries are preparing 90,000 troops, 400 aircraft and 1,000 tanks for the massive joint maneuvers, which are to take place along the Syrian coast within a month.

Four comments re "Peak Oil":
1. The point of the physical peak of global oil production is not the interesting moment. Of much more interest is the first time global supply < global demand, regardless of production and consumption rates.
2. The concept invariably suffers from the unknowable unknowns of future technology. The current example is the increase in U.S. domestic production from fraccing the Bakken shale. The increase follows 25 years of production declines, including the period during which the Alaskan North Slope peaked.
3. As the BBC author mentioned, both coal and natural gas can be converted to transportation hydrocarbons (Fischer-Tropfsch process) at the right price. Both the PRC and the USA have vast sources of both fuels. Furthermore, other sources are available at higher prices. Since spiking energy price invariably reduces economic activity, hence energy use, there is an intrinsic governing mechanism on supply.
4. The long-term history of energy (coal displacing wood, oil displacing coal, natural gas displacing liquid hydrocarbons currently) has been one of increasing price driving economies to the next product. While initially at a high price, the displacing fuel benefits from technological innovations (e.g. seismic exploration) which increases supply markedly and drives down price. There's no reason to believe the process will not continue.

There's no reason to believe the process will not continue.

TOD is essentially a conversation that's been going on for many years now, precisely because there are lots of good reasons to believe the process will not continue.

And there we go again.
1.Physical demand vs physical supply is not important,what is important is the export surplus available to the rest of the world.Read WT's ELM model.
2.Bakken and others added less than 1 million barrels to the supply and the US lost about 2.5 million from Alaska's peak.General consensus here on TOD is that shale "oil play" is as good as it lasts.Ask ROCKMAN or Art Bremen.
3.GTL and CTL are pies in the sky.What price,how about scale,how about pollution?Forget it.DOA
4.Yes as usual technology will save us.Try driving your car with an Ipod,Ipad in the tank. As per Hirsch we need minimum 20 years to transition from one energy source to another but sad to say as per WT KSA will go to zero export by 2025 which is 12 years.

1. I believe supply always equals demand in an economic sense.

3. Those processes are slow leading at some point to a rate peak.

4. All of those historical transitions have been from switching from one type of biomass carcass to burn to another. Despite what the mainstream media might suggest, there is a limit to how many dead things there are on the planet to burn and we are likely quite near it. A decade here or there due to the emergence of fracking for example doesn't make much difference in the grand scheme of things.

95% of our energy comes from burning carcasses, about half from recently dead things and the other half from fossilized dead things. The problem is there isn't an obviously easy source of energy to replace burning dead things when they're all gone. Nuclear, solar and wind offer the best chances but each has its own challenges and complications making a transition in the time frame likely available to be a quite disruptive, if not catastrophic period in human and world history.

Good news everyone!

When we run out of dead stuff to burn, we'll have a whole new supply of dying things! Problem solved.

There's no reason to believe the process will not continue..

Sure, including atmospheric level of GHG and the associated radiative forcing.
That is of course another story. Please continue shopping.

Some observations.

"1. The point of the physical peak of global oil production is not the interesting moment. Of much more interest is the first time global supply < global demand, regardless of production and consumption rates."

That happens all the time. So the market just raises the price to reduce demand and make them equal. Demand can't ever really exceed supply now can it?

"2. The concept invariably suffers from the unknowable unknowns of future technology. The current example is the increase in U.S. domestic production from fraccing the Bakken shale. The increase follows 25 years of production declines, including the period during which the Alaskan North Slope peaked."

This was not really an unknown magical event. Fracking was known. All that happened was that the market prices for oil rose high enough such that it became economically viable. As you yourself point out, the same thing will happen when coal-to-liquid and gas-to-liquid conversions become economically viable.

"4. The long-term history of energy (coal displacing wood, oil displacing coal, natural gas displacing liquid hydrocarbons currently) has been one of increasing price driving economies to the next product. While initially at a high price, the displacing fuel benefits from technological innovations (e.g. seismic exploration) which increases supply markedly and drives down price. There's no reason to believe the process will not continue."

Well . . . here we have real issue. We've been using oil for 150+ years and we still can't find a good substitute. Nuclear is the really only 'new' energy form to come along since then and it turns out to be more difficult to use and expensive than we thought. And you can't use it for mobile transport applications easily.

And therein lies the problem. We have no good cheap replacement for oil. So we've had to suck it up as we just watch the oil price go higher and higher. There is little relief in sight. So we've just watched it drag down our economic system since we have had no alternative other than to suffer spending more & more for oil. Yeah, it is nice that we don't ever "run out" . . . but this constant drag of ever higher oil prices is part of the reason the world has been mired in economic stagnation since 2007.

"Fracking was known. All that happened was that the market prices for oil rose high enough such that it became economically viable."

Some more thoughts. As price rises then the total amount of economically viable reserves grows, paradoxically. The techniques this expensive new oil uses (fracking, EOR) are promoted as proof that we will always find new ways to extract more, technology will always prevail over all challenges, blah blah blah, when in fact it is proof that we are running out of oil. These new expensive sources are slow even though the total recoverable reserve is large.

The techniques this expensive new oil uses (fracking, EOR) are promoted as proof that we will always find new ways to extract more, technology will always prevail over all challenges, blah blah blah, when in fact it is proof that we are running out of oil.

Yep. If oil only went up at the price of inflation since 2000, it would be in the $30s today. It is not just the supply that matters, it is the price. The higher the price, the weaker your economy since you must throw more & more resources just to obtain the needed energy.

It is the annoying flip-side to the "Look, renewawables are a failure because Germany is reducing the subsidies to them." crazy argument.

All fracking and these other plays do is change the shape of the curve on the downside, while at the same time eating up more and more of the oil in production while overall global production stays flat.

Net effect: faster depletion, less oil available for consumers as overall share of production, and higher prices.

Four comments re "Peak Oil":

You don't seem to have thought through your comments very well, or even bothered to read the many excellent posts here and elsewhere that have long since moved the conversation well beyond your point of view. For example:

Since spiking energy price invariably reduces economic activity, hence energy use, there is an intrinsic governing mechanism on supply.

Um..., OK. So, how many "reductions in economic activity" before you don't have an economy anymore? At what point do you cross a critical threshold beyond which further "reductions in economic activity" cause the economy to collapse?

Now, just for the sake of argument, let's attempt to broaden your horizons by throwing in environmental costs in addition to the economic costs for these much lower quality resources. At what point do the costs of poisoned air, poisoned water, dying forests, a destabilized climate and collapsing ecosystems overwhelm a societies ability to cope?

Now add the cost in energy for these much more difficult to extract resources. At what point does the amount of energy needed to extract a resource exceed the amount of useful work that the resource can provide?

Let's see now, to summarize, we have rapidly depleting energy and resources available to a society that is increasingly desperate to cope with exponentially rising environmental and economic costs. Hmmm..., hard to see how that has a happy ending.

And that is just one example of several where your thinking, with a minimal amount of effort, could be greatly clarified.


As somebody a while back succinctly put it here on the the Drumbeat re: item #2 - retrieving oil etc. from shale plays...

paraphrasing because I can't remember and I am too lazy to try to hunt down the actual comment:

"...when you have to resort to 'producing' hydrocarbons locked up in shale - you know you are scraping the bottom of the barrel and the jig is just about up..."

It is amazing how often shale sources are presented as a "vast" new resource and how infrequently they are interpreted as a sign that big problems are afoot.

When the biggest growth industry in North America is pressure washing sand in Alberta the party is over. Civilization is carpet surfing.

Hahahaha - very good - pressure washing oily sands...


And then when the shale is gone, there's a gazillion whatevers of natural gas on one of the other planet's moons. Problem solved. Party on, dude.

Red Dwarf showed us how it's done.

Oh yes the old argument of "The stone age didn't end because....blah blah blah" the problem with this argument is quite evident, every time in history we have moved from a inferior energy source to a superior one...from wood to peat, peat to coal, coal to oil.

But look what's now in front of us, solar and wind. They are much inferior sources of energy when compared to oil, highly diffuse, unpredictable and difficult to store with extremely low energy densities to boot. Even in Oil we are moving from the conventional oil to stuff like Tar sands, and now people are talking about burning rocks (oil shale) to generate oil.

This alone should tell us that the tide has turned.

Yes, I was always skeptical of that opinion but believe it or not Cold fusion is back and it's real.

This has been posted before, but NASA says it works and we can forget just keeping BAU going and go for BAU squared - bring on the flying cars...


At a global level, coal is displacing oil now. Your fuel progression went into reverse in the middle of the last decade. Its anyone's guess still when it gets back to wood displacing coal, but it will happen eventually.

Wood & wood pellet stoves have made quite the comeback in some places. Largely in the places where they can't easily get natural gas and are instead stuck with expensive heating oil.

But we are going beyond wood . . . we are going back to wind & solar. Fortunately, we have 21st century technologies to help harvest them more efficiently. But they are difficult to harness disperse energy sources. It's the 'all of the above' strategy. Well, at least we are not stooping to collecting whale oil.

Good point on using wood as a substitute for propane and heating oil. That is probably its highest value use and contributes to lower heating costs in rural areas with access to wood. Wood is a great, low cost, way to store solar energy but it is difficult to use cost effectively for anything beyond heating applications.

I share your sentiments on the all of the above approach. A million acres of forest would probably only produce the equivalent of about 20B CF of NG a year or about 0.1% of US annual use so while it is helpful in rural areas it can't fill more than a small percentage of the total energy needs.

I'd bet youd get a lot more heating value by burning the wood in a biomass power plant, and running an air source heat pump. It would be even better if you did the co-gen thing, and used the waste heat for district heating. There isn't enough wood to do this everywhere, but where it is in plentifull supply it could be a useful addition. Also cleaning up the pollutants is a lot more economical and enforceable, than everyman to his wood stove.

Possibly, biomass power plants are about 25% efficient and a good wood stove or wood chip boiler is about 75% efficient so the heat pump would have to be better than 3:1 on average. Small biomass power plants are fairly expensive to operate and require larger areas to draw fuel from so they also have a bigger energy input per ton. Firewood can be very efficient from an energy input standpoint when it is collected locally. A few gallons of gas can produce a cord of wood with a net heat output of about 15MM Btu.

Typically, a CHP setup involving biomass uses the heat in a related application like a drying kiln at a sawmill or wood chip dryer for a pellet operation. I'm not familiar with any biomass CHP setups in the US that supply heat for district heating. A dedicated boiler similar to what is done at schools might be a better way to go. Biomass power plants aren't necessarily something you want too close to town.

As far as air pollution is concerned, wood stoves and outdoor boilers can be a problem. With dry wood and some attention to how the stove is operated, they can burn cleanly but too often that is not the case. Automated wood chip or pellet boilers, furnaces and stoves can burn fairly cleanly and are currently used in Europe but with current propane and heating oil prices in the US, they don't pencil out to well unless they are replacing a minimum of about 2,000 gal/yr.

Wood may have a 'higher value' - as the stock of complex carbs one grows mushrooms on.

Fungi converting complex sugars into protein. Some of them 'shrooms have their own complex sugars that have health benefits.

Germany might miss electric car target, official says

Germany will miss its target of one million electric cars on its roads by 2020 without more incentives, the country's coordinator on electric transport policy warned on Wednesday.

The German companies have been foot-draggers on EVs. But that is understandable . . . who wants to walk away from something that you've become world experts in? (ICE engines) And the fact that they have voluntarily made their renewable push and decided to eliminate nukes has made their electricity very expensive.

But they are finally starting to move on it. The Smart ED is a respectable electric city car. VW promises EVs by 2014. BMW's commitment has been questioned by many lately . . . are they really going to release the i3 and i8? Audi just dropped their EV efforts.

Toward super-size wind turbines: Bigger wind turbines do make greener electricity

One study shows that the average size of commercial turbines has grown 10-fold in the last 30 years, from diameters of 50 feet in 1980 to nearly 500 feet today. On the horizon: super-giant turbines approaching 1,000 feet in diameter. The authors wanted to determine whether building larger turbines makes wind energy more or less environmentally friendly.

Their study showed that bigger turbines do produce greener electricity — for two main reasons. First, manufacturers now have the knowledge, experience and technology to build big wind turbines with great efficiency. Second, advanced materials and designs permit the efficient construction of large turbine blades that harness more wind without proportional increases in their mass or the masses of the tower and the nacelle that houses the generator. That means more clean power without large increases in the amount of material needed for construction or fuel needed for transportation.

Company develops a new way to generate wind energy, a possible improvement over turbines.

Device uses a sail to capture kinetic energy:

I've noticed that these "Peak oil is dead" articles are coming out at the same intervals that advertisements come out to create brand awareness. I've also noticed that the articles in both Fuelfix and the BBC article both have the comments section removed.

Pretty obvious, and pretty blatant, as propaganda efforts go.

Regardless, a momentary spike in the oil supply hasn't changed anything. It just means we're using up the high energy return/low cost oil faster, making the supply chain decay happen sooner.

Some cynical souls might speculate that the increase in supply was arranged in advance to help someone win an election.

I wouldn't suspect any conspiracy theories. It is just that WTI has dropped to the low-80's so oil bears come out for a victory lap. The tide will turn. The only question is when.

I sure hope this lower-priced oil helps the economy though . . . it could sure use the boost.

Pesticides Hit Bumblebee Reproduction

Scientists already knew that neonicotinoid pesticides, which affect insects' nervous systems, can alter bee behaviour, putting these vital pollinators, already threatened by habitat loss and disease, further at risk.

This new piece of research shows that bumblebees with diets contaminated with levels of neonicotinoid pesticide typically found in the environment produce up to a third fewer offspring.

"In the UK, roughly 85 per cent of [the neonicotinoid] imidacloprid is used growing oilseed rape, so the bees are getting exposed in short bursts during the mass flowering,"

see also The fields of the UK seem to have a lot of oilseed rape in them this year. Why?

NREL helps 'supersize' butanol production

Recently, a team of scientists from Cobalt Technologies assembled at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to supersize their process for making renewable butanol.

Cobalt had proven in the lab that its anaerobic microorganism could take organic feedstocks and convert them into biobutanol. Butanol is valued as an industrial chemical — used in plastics, paints, adhesives, and inks — and, through a Cobalt-U.S. Navy process, can be made into jet fuel. It is also seen as a drop-in replacement for petroleum-derived fuel blending.

"We've been developing a bacterial fermentation process in order to build commercial biobutanol plants," Cobalt's Senior Director for Research and Development David Walther said. "One of the key milestones is demonstrating our fermentation process at larger and larger scales in order to minimize the risk for ourselves and our partners.

also Toward a more economical process for making biodiesel fuel from algae

Problem with bio produced butanol (waste product from bacteria eating carbohydrates) is that the natural maximum concentration by volume is 2.5%. In comparison, yeast turns sugars into ethanol to a concentration of 17%. So the problem of butanol from natural sources is having to deal with 5 times as much unwanted liquid in the process. This means higher energy inputs to get rid of so much more water from the mix. However Butanol has nearly the same enrgy content as gasoline on a BTU per volume basis (around 90% value IIRC).

with ethanol you need to add heat to separate it from the water - the appeal of ACE and getting Butanol is it is supposed to separate out all by its lonesome.

Creating a stink about traffic pollution

QUT Public Health Associate Professor Adrian Barnett said most exhaust gasses were odourless and invisible as were some other very dangerous pollutants such as carbon monoxide, particulate matter and ozone.

"It is possible to give traffic pollution a smell and this has been demonstrated by some alternative fuels, such as chip fat," he said.

"If traffic pollution smelled it might encourage policy changes to reduce exposure."

Natural gas discoveries put E.Africa on world energy map

East Africa's coastal region, stretching out to Seychelles holds 441.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the US Geological Survey. That's about 50 percent more than in Saudi Arabia.

"The gas discoveries offshore in Mozambique and Tanzania are large and world-class, with potential for more to come, including prospects for an oil leg," said Duncan Clarke, CEO of oil consulting company Global Pacific.

"These finds will lead to LNG (liquefied natural gas) plants ... and will make the zone akin to the Northwest Shelf in Australia," which can produce 23 billion cubic meters a year, he told AFP.

Houston-based Anadarko in June announced new finds in northern Mozambique which brought its estimated recoverable resources to up to 60 trillion cubic feet.

The company has proposed $15 billion in investments to set up LNG facilities. Mozambique's GDP last year was $12 billion.

Trouble on the horizon for GM crops?

Pests are adapting to genetically modified crops in unexpected ways, researchers have discovered. The findings underscore the importance of closely monitoring and countering pest resistance to biotech crops.

Resistance of cotton bollworm to insect-killing cotton plants involves more diverse genetic changes than expected, an international research team reports in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In 2011, farmers worldwide planted 160 million acres of Bt cotton and Bt corn. The percentage of cotton planted with Bt cotton reached 75 per cent in the U.S. in 2011, but has exceeded 90 per cent since 2004 in northern China, where most of China's cotton is grown.

Last week in the St. Louis newspaper was a story about Monsanto's GM (genetically modified) corn that is supposed to resist rootworms. Last year three or four counties in Illinois reported GM corn crops having been attacked by this pest that weakens and kills the corn stalks by eating the roots. And now ten or eleven Illinois counties are reporting rootworms in GM crops, but this is a month earlier than last year's reported problems. Perhaps the limits of the "Green Revolution" in food production have been reached.

Dirty money thrives despite Mexico drug war

... Back in 2006, Woods started asking questions about billions of dollars pouring into Wachovia accounts in the US from Mexican currency exchanges.

"I guess what surprised me most was my own naivete," Woods told Al Jazeera. "I aggravated my own employers (by bringing forward evidence of laundering) and also the regulators themselves."

Two years later, Woods said: "There was no consequence for anyone dealing with that money. Some other compliance officers broke the rules and they kept their jobs. I obeyed all the rules, blew the whistle and lost my job."

As the body count from Mexico's drug war passes 50,000, public beheadings have become commonplace. ... In the current climate of violence and impunity, financial analysts say there is no hyperbole in accusing bankers of laundering blood money for international assassins.

Officials in Mexico believe the tide of laundered money could be as high as $50bn per year, a sum equal to about three per cent of Mexico's legitimate economy - more than all its oil exports or spending on key social programmes. Internationally, money laundering represents between two and five per cent of global GDP, or between $800bn and $2tn annually, according to the UNODC.

New rioting prompts Nigeria curfew

Officials in northern Nigeria's Kaduna state have imposed a ban on movements following fresh rioting in two cities after a weekend of violence left at least 70 people dead.

The unrest broke out in the cities of Kaduna and Damaturu on Tuesday, adding to fears of rising violence in the country's north, where the Islamist group Boko Haram's campaign has been concentrated.

... most Nigerians recognise that their country is now in grave danger

Oil and Gas in Nigeria - Overview

Food crisis worsens in Mali's Timbuktu

Turmoil in country's northern region making it difficult to manage severe food shortage.

also Burkina Faso food crisis worsened by influx

Drought-stricken country struggles to cope as more than 60,000 Malians cross border to escape fighting.

and Food crisis in the Sahel

The EIA number today was 900 kbd which is about last year's level of supply. How does Arizona have a plant anyway.

Ethanol plant closures 'will not be the last'

A third plant, in Arizona, is also being temporarily shuttered, Agrimoney.com has heard, with other sites believed to be running below maximum capacity.

"We are hearing more slowdowns or closings of ethanol plants in the western Corn Belt due to poor margins and problems procuring corn," said Paul Georgy at broker Allendale, who on Tuesday reported that "several" sites in Nebraska were either closing or operating only one fortnight in every two.

REPORT: Most Anti-Environment House Of Representatives In History Voted 109 Times To Enrich Big Oil

Led by Republicans, the House has voted against the environment 247 times in the last 18 months, averaging one anti-environmental vote for every day the House has been in session.

The newest report, released by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA), finds that many of these votes have directly benefited the oil and gas industry. According to the report:

•One out of every five votes has either rolled back protections for public lands, clean air, clean water, or enriched the oil industry.

•There were 77 votes undermining Clean Air and public health protections, including new EPA regulation of mercury toxins.

•Another 39 votes would weaken public lands protections, 37 votes to block climate change action, and 31 votes against Clean Water Act protection.

•The House voted to enrich the oil and gas industry 109 times, a total 44 percent of its anti-environment votes. There were 38 votes to prevent clean energy deployment and 12 votes to expedite review of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Republicans have close ties to the industries seeking to roll back environmental protections. House Republicans have received 8o percent of the oil industry’s campaign contributions over their careers...

and House Considers ‘Drone Zone’ Bill To Roll Back Dozens Of Environmental Laws Within 100 Miles of U.S. Borders

and Telling The Public When The Air Is Unsafe To Breathe: Follow The American Tradition Or China’s Approach?

and Romney Signals Support For Sen. Inhofe’s Push To Nullify Mercury Pollution Standard

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." - Martin Luther King Jr.

"What a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away." - Doobie Brothers

We are so weak. Raise the price of gasoline by a buck a gallon and we are instantly willing throw away environmental standards on (false) promises of cheaper gasoline.

You don't have to say WE.. you can say THEY. Not everyone has thrown in the towel.

'Once more, unto the breach!' Henry V

Well, there could be a debate about the meaning of "we". But even so, I take this as further evidence that "environmental standards" and "dumping on wicked 'corporations'" are so thoroughly conflated that they may never again be prised apart. Or, in other words, no price is too high for somebody else to pay no matter the size of the benefit (if any.) Especially when we are green with envy at that somebody else's income. But when it comes home to roost, hoo boy, that's a completely different matter.

I think its more a testiment to the effectiveness of the fossil fuel oligarchs takeover of much of politics and media, then it is of a fundamental shift in opinion about the environment. The sheeple are being led to the slaughter, all the while thinking they are ushering in the government they deserve.

Hiding Houses; These a**holes are going to drag this thing out forever

Why are the banks allowing 3 million people to stay in their homes without paying their mortgages?

Is it because bankers are big-hearted people who hate to make others suffer, or is it something else altogether?

... Okay, so foreclosure sales are down substantially year over year, right? (From 37% to 28%)


It's because the banks are foreclosing on fewer homeowners, not because there's a shortage of people who've defaulted their mortgage. Lord knows, there're plenty of them; 2.8 million to be precise. The only way the banks can stop prices from falling is by withholding supply, which is what they're doing. And--guess what--their plan appears to be working.

Yes, there's no real shortage of housing. We should wipe away the mortgage debt and let houses clear at cash prices.

But no, that can't be allowed, because then some bankers may lose some money.

Keep on working, Americans! Heads down and sleeves rolled up! Keep on paying down that debt the rest of your lives!

Keep on believing in the dream!

Its a lot tougher than just some bankers losing money. Millions of retiree's (or soon to be retirees) would lose their savings as well. And retirement plans would take a huge hit -which would throw they over the cliff. And the general economy along with it. We really are between a rock and a very hard place.

"Millions of retiree's (or soon to be retirees) would lose their savings as well. And retirement plans would take a huge hit"

What about the retirees that expected to have a safe savings that gained enough from interest payments to survive? Now they can't even expect the value of the dollar to be enough to simply go into cash as a safe haven. Bailouts, stimulus, and all of the other inflationary tactics will crush the purchasing power of retirees.

Rock, or hardplace? And someone else gets to make the decision as to which you get!

Retirement plans? Surely you jest.

Look a little farther than your immediate circle of workmates. All those folks ringing the cashier register, waiting your table, transporting your purchases, cutting your hair, tending your kids, growing your food, most of us save the ones government employed or at the top of private companies, we don't have retirement plans. The 80's started the end of non-government plans, there's no end in sight. GM just jettisoned another load of their pension obligations.

GM pension plan shift may be signal of things to come

General Motors’ deal to cut pension obligations by $26 billion


Seraph, I'm of the opinion that the economy would be much better had Bush and eventually Obama just allowed the recession to take place. The banks that should have failed would have been the example for the ones that survived. You wouldn't need any new rules to tell banks how to act, because the shareholders and the board of directors would bushwack them if they didn't comply with obvious common sense. The real lessons learned during the great depression was the banking rules imposed by banks themselves not the regulations. Those rules disappeared in the late 1990's and early 2000's.
Now the FDIC which is one outcome of the Great Depression actually gives cover to depositors to not care how a bank lends their deposits. Depositors holding a banks feet to the fire would be the best insurance against malinvestment not a government backed insurance giving depositors the ability to be complacent. Imagine if you had $250,000 in a bank that was advertising NINJA or NO-DOC home loans every 15 minutes and there wasn't any FDIC. My cash would be looking for a new home, soon!

The economic doldrums will drag on until the day that it doesn't and when that happens the chickens will come home to roost for all of us.

You wouldn't need any new rules to tell banks how to act, because the shareholders and the board of directors would bushwack them if they didn't comply with obvious common sense.

Sadly, this really wouldn't work. If it did work, we would not have so many corporate scandals, companies going bankrupt, and lavish executive compensation. The shareholders are largely powerless. Shareholder voting is largely a joke and the only power shareholders really have is to sell their shares (and buy shares in another crappy company). Boards of directors are basically all filled with cronies of the executives. Generally people who are executives at other companies. That way, they call all give each other big compensation packages. The boards give the executives compensation packages that often lead to bad results since they are geared toward short-term gain. When they do well . . . they win massively big. When they do awful they still win big with a golden parachute.

Everything you say is true because we have a system that allows it. The government bailouts reward such behaviour and implied future bailouts impower them to continue down the same path. Think about the Jamie Dimon hearings, what in the heck is congress doing asking questions about a private trading loss? Well they are concerned that they will have to bail out JP Morgon Chase. If JP Morgan Chase was allowed to fail then the others would have to tighten up as they should. Losses are as much a part of capitalism as gains except big business doesn't like losses.

It would work and it did work when the alternative was corporate death. Getting government out of the system is the best choice, because with government in the system they use lobbyist and campaign funds to force government regulations to rig the game. In the status quo we the people will be left holding the bag.

JP Morgan is an arm of the Fed. The trading losses are staged. It's not about getting the government out of the system, it's about getting the system out of the government. Empower the government to print its own debt free, interest free currency. Our money is created by private bank monopolies that offer no public stock ownership opportunities. They then lend out to the commercial banks which do all the dirty work of R&Ping the public.

"You wouldn't need any new rules to tell banks how to act, because the shareholders and the board of directors would bushwack them if they didn't comply with obvious common sense."

That would work for one generation, two at most. Then a new group of alleged brainiacs would be convinced that "this time is different" and the cycle repeats.

"That would work for one generation, two at most. Then a new group of alleged brainiacs would be convinced that "this time is different" and the cycle repeats."

It worked from the 1930's until the late 1990's in America. I'll take 60 years of common sense in finance and banking. Pain is a great teacher that's why our bodies function as they do.

Having government make regulations that were written by banksters who get bailed out is not the answer. Having the survivors tell stories about wall street bankers jumping off of buildings in shame, now that makes a lasting impression.

"It worked from the 1930's until the late 1990's in America"

That was Glass-Steagall, a regulation Clinton was happy to get rid of with bipartisan support. Now considered a major mistake by most people who didn't profit in the looting frenzy that followed.

Put that back into effect, actually enforce the other rules still in effect (like the one forbidding raiding the segregated client accounts to make a margin call; I'm looking at you John Corzine; or the laundering of drug money (Wachovia)) and you can get back to a functioning financial system.

PVGuy, I'm talking about basic common sense rules of banking more than regulation. Going back to 20 Percent down, actually having to document your income to get a loan, having a bank tell you the how much of a house is too much for your income before you go house hunting. Banks were real picky on how they loaned your deposits after the 1930's. I remember as a young man having loan officers instantly tell me I needed my father as a co-signer because of my age until they saw my(oilfield)income.

I do think that they will find a way or give themselves a way around regulation, but they can't get out of total failure unless they change or we keep bailing them out.

In other words, the Canadian system of obtaining a mortgage. It works. Plus, getting rid of interest tax deductability and the capital gains tax for primary resident sales encourages outright home ownerships with no mortgage. Of course we don't have the toys and motorhomes to the same extent as down south, but getting there with the re-fi to obtain personal lines of credit, (which is just stupid), entering into home owner consciousness about 15 years ago. However, most folks I knew did this to upgrade and renovate.

A common Canadian goal is to pay off the house asap, certainly by fifty, and have no debts before retirement or you can't retire. At least is the form in my circle.

Rereading this I have to admit this doesn't really apply to Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto. These cities are so expensive I don't know how people can even afford to live there, much less purchase a home. Friends that do own homes in Victoria bought them 25+ years ago and are riding the wave. I suppose they will sell out and retire in a cheaper area.


I shoulda been Canadian. Thats certainly how I arranged things. But, noone ever said go north to get a job in my field...


If you follow "The Automtaic Earth.com" the idea that you can
return the banking system to a form of "Glass/Steagall" will not work
because of dervitives! Basically all the Teir1 assets (deposits, contracts,
bonds, & any liquid assets held are leveraged as collateral against
derivitives held by the banks( FYI insurance cos., brokerage houses,
Finance cos., & other businesses are also in the derivitives market).

Jamie Diamond as CEO of J. P. Morgan is sitting on over 90 trillion
dollars in "face value" of various types of derivitives! The estimated
face value of derivitives held by U.S companies is around 300 trillion
dollars. All the assets held by these companties are leveraged
collateral and if any attempt is made to remove these assets from
use as collateral by legislation, Dodd/Frank, the Volker rule,
Glass/Steagall, or any form of regulation will result in "margin calls"
of unheard of size!

This is why there will be no regulation, legislation, rules, or any form
of control to break up banks!! All the money/debt in the world is
"in play" as collateral!!!

Wow! Wall Street banksters had shame back then? I think the latter day ones had that emotion surgically removed.

Either way it seems to work out that way. Paid the price big time leading to the great depression. Eventually the lesson is forgotten, and those who stand to make a killing it the rule book is thrown get their way, and the next great financial crash will soon be on its way. As they say, those who don't know history will be condemned to repeat it.

Exactly. Remember, it was the shareholders and the directors who wanted the shenanigans. Well, not specifically, but they wanted higher returns on their investments. That pressure was a big reason so many who should have known better got into trouble.

I went by my old house yesterday. It is still unsold and not even on the market. As a matter of fact the county still has my name on the property. I have gotten at least 100 pieces of mail asking me to pay what I 'owe' (about $75000 atm) and they would LET me continue to make my payments as normal. I have been out of the house for 2 years and declared bankruptcy.

They have let the house go. Huge amount of moss on the roof, blackberries taking over both decks, etc. When/if they finally decide to take possession and sell it they will get MUCH less than they have into it.

Average home prices up in May, but number of sales falls

The figures, released by the National Association of Realtors, show that total sales of existing homes fell last month by 1.5 percent, to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.55 million. Despite that drop, the rate of sales remained nearly 10 percent higher than a year ago.

NAR officials attributed the decrease in sales largely to inventory shortages in numerous markets throughout the country, rather than decreasing demand from buyers.

Distressed homes — such as foreclosures and short sales, which typically sell at steep discounts — accounted for 25 percent of sales in May, down from 28 percent in April and 31 percent a year ago.

Meanwhile, more than 2 million homes across the country remain in some stage of foreclosure, and numerous borrowers continue to face a similar fate. In addition, more than 11 million homeowners continue to owe more than their houses are worth.

and Why Your Bank Wants You to Refinance

... Lenders have an added incentive to offer refinancings to existing customers — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac don’t require lenders to vouch for the quality of the new mortgages, making it less likely that the lenders will be forced to buy back soured loans. That incentive has lenders scouring the databases of their customers to find borrowers who are eligible for the program, says Frank Donnelly, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Metropolitan Washington.

Beyond the Politics of the Big Lie: The Education Deficit and the New Authoritarianism

The American public is suffering from an education deficit. By this I mean it exhibits a growing inability to think critically, question authority, be reflective, weigh evidence, discriminate between reasoned arguments and opinions, listen across differences and engage the mutually informing relationship between private problems and broader public issues.

This growing political and cultural illiteracy is not merely a problem of the individual, one that points to simple ignorance. It is a collective and social problem that goes to the heart of the increasing attack on democratic public spheres and supportive public institutions that promote analytical capacities, thoughtful exchange and a willingness to view knowledge as a resource for informed modes of individual and social agency. ...

The education deficit, along with declining levels of civic literacy, is also part of the American public's collective refusal to know - a focused resistance on the part of many members of society to deal with knowledge that challenges common sense, or to think reflectively about facts and truths that are unsettling in terms of how they disturb some of our most cherished beliefs, ...

The End Is Nigh. Seriously.

... The consequence of being a citizen who cares about issues like carbon footprints, peak oil and rising temperatures is a feeling of powerlessness. The oligarchs have us by the short hairs. If you aren't feeling impotent, you haven't been paying attention.

Powerlessness hurts -- literally. It's a clinical diagnosis. The Occupy movement was, briefly, a kind of therapy for it. Tracking every online detail about the latest outrage is a recent form of self-medication for it. But as long as informed majorities are rendered helpless by a rigged system, the only thing more demoralizing than knowing how nigh the end may really be is being trapped, powerless, alongside that nutcase in the cartoon.


This is a really great interview with Marty Kaplan, who explains how it is that our society is being entertained to death.

“It’s all about combat. If every political issue is [represented by] combat between two polarized sides, then you get great television because people are throwing food at each other,” Kaplan tells Moyers. “And you have an audience that hasn’t a clue at the end of the story, which is why you’ll hear, ‘Well, we’ll have to leave it there.’”

From the link:

“The problem is that there’s not that much information out there if you’re an ordinary citizen. You can ferret it out, but it ought not be like that in a democracy,” Kaplan says. “Education and journalism were supposed to, according to our founders, inform our public and make democracy work.”

Well, some of the glowing promises made during TV's early history, painting a glorious uplifting future, didn't work out very well. The lowest common denominator mostly won out (and one might expect the same of the internet in the long run.)

But is that actually anything new? I question whether it was really ever possible, as Kaplan seems to suggest, to behave only as a consumer, i.e. to avoid any thinking or exertion, and yet be spoon-fed only the good stuff. After all, decades before commercial TV, Mencken noticed the problem: "No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the record for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people."

Well, it's now official; our home will be participating in a two year pilot programme that is intended to help Maritime utilities integrate additional renewable energy, principally wind, into their generation mix.

The e-mail I received earlier today:

This is to confirm that you have been registered with the PowerShift Atlantic Research Project.

Attached is some additional information on the project along with some frequently asked questions.

The next step is that when our shipment of monitoring devices arrives, you will hear from a local area electrical contractor who will make arrangements with you for the installation of the device near you water heater. We expect this to be in July.

In the meantime, if you have any questions you can reply to this email and I will help you with any questions you may have.


[Name Redacted]

PowerShift Atlantic – NSPower Team

For more information on this project, see: http://www.powershiftatlantic.com/

See also: http://www.nspower.ca/en/home/environment/powershift/default.aspx

Presently, Nova Scotia has 318 MW of wind capacity on line or under construction and that figure could very well double within the next five to ten years. But with provincial demand dipping to as little as 600 MW during the overnight hours, balancing supply with demand is no small feat. Active management of domestic water heaters, electric thermal storage devices, EVs and the like should make the task a little easier and help us reduce our dependence on fossil fuels even further.


I have signed up for a similar program with PSE&G our utility in New Jersey. Ours is a lot narrower in scope however. On hot days like today, they can cycle the compressor on our central a/c to reduce electrical load when demand rises.

Toronto Hydro and other utilities throughout Ontario have something similar to what you describe -- peaksaver and peaksaverPLUS, the latter incorporating electric water heaters and pool pumps.

See: http://www.torontohydro.com/sites/electricsystem/electricityconservation...


Well, I don't think picking your home was a good idea since I assume your power usage habits are MUCH different than the average user.

True, we'll probably skew the results but, hey, they didn't ask and I felt under no obligation to tell. :-)

My objective is to reduce our home's overall energy use to the greatest extent possible (now down to just over 9,200 kWh per annum for all purposes), flatten our demand curve and to shift as much of our discretionary use to off-peak hours. We've successfully eliminated all of our fuel oil consumption (originally, some 5,700 litres/year) and our next step, hopefully, will be to replace my 300 and/or partner's Magnum with a Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Caravan EV or, if need be, a plug-in hybrid RAM which we can recharge during overnight hours. Our electricity is 100 per cent wind and low-impact hydro sourced through Bullfrog Power, so that would effectively make our home and personal transportation carbon-neutral.


What about running your dehumidifier when the wind blows ?

Does Nova Scotia have some DC connections to HydroQuebec ? If so, they could be a sink for excess wind - or us down south.

Best Hopes,


We're currently averaging between nine and twelve hours operation per day and that's keeping the relative humidity at between 65 and 70 per cent. I forgot to empty the bucket the other day and by the time we returned home the relative humidity had shot-up to 82 per cent. This one appliance accounts for over half of our total energy use five months of the year and, needless to say, this peeves me to no end.

There's a single 345-kV intertie between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with an inflow capacity of 500 MW and 300 MW outbound. There are plans afoot to add a second 345-kV line so that additional renewable energy can be better shared by our two provinces and to permit surplus power from the Lower Churchill Falls to be shipped out of province once that development comes on-stream in 2016/2017. Network congestion in the Moncton/Memramcook area is particularly severe and this second line will help alleviate this bottleneck.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/story/2010/07/20/nb-nbpower-...


What's wrong with 82% relative humidity ?

It is good for the complexion and just power wash the homes every few years :-)


Got Mold? It's no joke.

Our basement level is fully finished so mould and mildew is a concern, in addition to that really nasty smell (we can't blame everything on the dogs). We installed a sub-floor when we gutted and rebuilt this space (http://www.dricore.com/en/eIndex.aspx) and that helps, but things can quickly get out of hand if you don't keep on top of it, e.g., our hardware floors swell and buckle.


National department stores used to offer dehumidifiers here in sunny Alberta. It was a complete marketing failure. In the middle of winter, it gets like the Sahara Desert here - floorboards shrink and gaps form between them, the arms and legs on the furniture shrink and the furniture falls apart. Cats live in fear because if you shuffle across the carpet and reach down to pet the cat - ZAP! There's a 1-inch electrical arc between your hand and the cat's nose. We have cold and dry, seriously dry winters

When the Chinook winds blow off the mountains in winter, the snow doesn't melt, it just - disappears. You get up in the morning and there's a foot of snow on the lawn. You look out at noon and it's all brown grass. Sublimates is the scientific word.

One department store suffered a complete failure to understand and offered a sale on rat traps here. We don't have rats here in Alberta - we killed them all years ago. (Mostly using 12-gauge shotguns, deadly poisons, and high explosives, not so much rat traps). It's different than other places, mostly better.

I remember Autozone putting out windshield snow (or ice) scrapers (I guess that is what they are called) in New Orleans a few years ago.

It has snowed here twice in the last 50 years.


We call them windshield scrapers because you can use them for either snow or ice. I can see that they might be a little redundant in the New Orleans area. On those rare occasions that you do have snow and/or ice, just use a credit card to clean off the windshield. It has worked for most Canadians on those occasions when they forget their windshield scraper.

Credit cards are also useful for opening doors if you forget your keys. I remember one time I got to work on night shift and the security guard was standing outside in a state of panic because he had locked himself out of the building. I just used my handy credit card to let us in. (Previously, I often had to let myself in with my credit card because the security guard was passed out drunk). He was very grateful and didn't question the process.

How about frost. It snows about as often here (interior California), but there are a dozen or so mornings where you gotta scrape frost off the windshield (or wait ten minutes till your car is warm enough to melt it off).

About two out of three winters (my observation - sample size 19), it gets below 32 F (0 C).

But I cannot recall ever getting frost on the windshield. A hint on grass or door handles maybe.

Down to 26 F one night last winter {brrrrr}


"Down to 26 F one night last winter {brrrrr}"

OTOH in Minnesota, which is outside the Torrid Zone, a nighttime low as warm as that in mid-winter (by the calendar) might be taken as a sign of an impending early spring.

Once I was at a business meeting in Houston, I was from Wisconsin, my college from Minnesota, the Houston native complained that last winter it had hit 26F. It was only October, my college chimed in "we've already had a Houston winter". That always stuck with me.

Our local Home Depot, here in tropical Mexico, sells the insulated covers to stop outside taps from freezing or, rather, they have them on the shelves. I suspect RMG's store had the rat-trap sale as it had a load that weren't selling. Maybe they could offer them here, for the cockroaches.


Living at 9000 feet in the Rockies adds another layer of fun. Yes, when it's getting down to something like -15F, all the water freezes out of the air. The altitude rarefies the air, making electric discharges behave differently. On the blankets, a purple glowing border would appear all around a dog being pushed slowly across the bed. Whipping the sheets off of the bed would make six-inch sparks... and was to be avoided. If a thunderstorm approached, you could hear the corona hissing off of the antennas on the truck.

Any explanation for the assymetry in intertie capacity (in versus out)?

I have to apologize as I muddled this badly. It's 350 MW outbound and 300 MW in -- the second 345-kV intertie will add an additional 500 MW and I confused the two in my mind.

The difference is dictated by NB Power and NSP's respective single contingency loss factors.



You probably are already aware of Therma-Stor's Santa Fe dehumidifiers. Their best performing dehumidifiers have an energy factor of 4.2 L/kWh (Efficiency of 8.8 pints/kWh)

Santa Fe Impact XT (Freestanding)
Ultra-Aire XT105H Ventilating Dehumidifier (Ducted)



Thanks, Andrew, for mentioning this as I hadn't heard of this product. Truly amazing performance. Our Kenmore model is Energy Star rated, but it removes, at best, 1.8 litres per kWh.


Paul and Andrew,
There's a MFR in Maine which has been selling a Dehumidifier Heat-Pump which takes the energy from this humidity and heats your DHW with it. I wonder if you've seen products like this before, and have any sense of their efficacy?

Come to think of it, Paul you might have been the one to bring this item up in the first place. ??

Geyser Heat pump water heater.. ($1200-1500)

DIY install video..


Hey Bob,

I was all set to buy one but when I called the company to obtain more information I discovered that it's not certified for use with indirect water heaters, just electric. It's too bad, because I was rather smitten with the idea.


A dozen years ago I searched and found the most energy efficient dehumidifiers (commercial) were by DEC (Dairy Equipment). I think Therma-stor is their spin-off.


Our Kenmore model is Energy Star rated, but it removes, at best, 1.8 litres per kWh.

Energy Star is a very low bar!

I've come across products in lots of categories that are way more efficient than the Energy Star standard, that don't bother getting the Energy Star rating. It's kind of meaningless to the manufacturer of very efficient products, unless of course there are lots of incentives to buy an Energy Star qualified product for that brand category.



And now that I think about it, given its age, it would have been certified under Energy Star, Version 1.0, so its efficiency is much lower than I had originally thought. In October of this year, Version 3.0 kicks in and the minimum standard will be raised to 1.85 litres per kWh which, as you say, isn't setting the bar all that high.

At the moment, we're averaging between nine and twelve hours runtime per day, which translates to be 4.5 and 6.0 kWh, but during the height of the season it will run virtually non-stop (the outside humidity as we type this is 91 per cent). Hopefully, we can come up with a workable solution.


Connecting The Dots: How Climate Change Is Fueling Western Wildfires

There’s compelling evidence that talking about western wildfires without mentioning climate change is like talking about lung cancer without mentioning cigarettes. I want to walk you through what’s happening out west right now, what the latest science tells us about why it’s happening, how it’s affecting people and wildlife in the region, and what we can do about it.


...and what we can do about it:

...Cutting Carbon Pollution Can Reduce Future Fire Risks

To prevent wildfires from getting much worse and to limit the risks communities and wildlife, we must reduce carbon pollution. Just this week a new climate study came out making projections that many areas of the world, including the western United States, should expect even more fires if we continue spewing carbon pollution into the atmosphere.

Uh... we?

Yes we, the collective we, not the editorial we.

Not personal, your carbon spew is probably quite low, but your area is where I see the greatest impact of wildfire. The west will continue burning until the fuel load stabilizes, but with the low pop density, it can be ignored. It's all that fuel in the SE, projected for a much drier time, where it will get ugly in a hurry. Wildfire is just nasty stuff.

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

U.S. Trade Deficit and the Impact of Changing Oil Prices (pdf)

Petroleum prices rose sharply between January 2012 and April 2012, at times reaching more than $109 per barrel of crude oil. Although this is still below the $140 per barrel price reached in 2008, the rising cost of energy was one factor that helped to dampen the rate of growth in the economy during the second half of 2011 and the first half of 2012. While the price of oil was rising, the volume of oil imports, or the amount of oil imported decreased slightly from the comparable period in the previous year. In general, market demand for oil remains highly resistant to changes in oil prices and reflects the unique nature of the demand for oil.

Turmoil in the Middle East, natural disasters, and hurricanes, however, could have a significant impact on the course of oil prices for the foreseeable future.

The ubiquitous nature of oil in the economy generally means that changes in energy prices will affect the U.S. rate of inflation and the rate of economic growth.

It is possible for the economy to adjust over the long term to the higher prices of energy imports by improving its energy efficiency, finding alternative sources of energy, or searching out additional supplies of energy. Higher oil prices may well cause consumers to increase pressure on Congress to assist in this process.

For Congress, the increase in the nation’s merchandise trade deficit could add to existing inflationary pressures and complicate efforts to reduce the government’s budget deficit and to stimulate the economy should the rate of economic growth stall.

In particular, Congress, through its direct role in making economic policy and its oversight role over the Federal Reserve, could face the dilemma of rising inflation, which generally is treated by raising interest rates to tighten credit, and a slow rate of economic growth, which is usually addressed by lowering interest rates to stimulate investment.

Methane, Water Spout, Geyser

Shell Appalachia subsidiary SWEPI LP suspended operations in Union Township while they contain and investigate methane and water releases around the Guindon K 706 well pad. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is also working in the area.

Though equipment from several gas industry contractors remains on scene, hydraulic fracturing and other work have stopped around this well head on the Guindon K 706 pad.

Arctic oil exploration will cost up to $400 billion – Rosneft chief

Total cost of the operations in Russia’s arctic shelf might reach $400 billion, which is “comparable to the cost of space exploration”, Igor Sechin, President of Russia’s state major Rosneft, revealed.

"According to a preliminary estimate, total operations in the Arctic might require between $250 and $400 billion investment," Sechin said during the annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday.

For example, the first stage of exploration for projects with Exxon Mobil will cost about $3.2 billion. "Eni will pay around $1 billion. Geological exploration for projects with Statoil has the same estimate," Sechin added.

Global warming is changing Arctic seas from where CO2 is absorbed to where it is produced, new study warns

The Arctic coastal seas are changing from a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide to a source of the greenhouse gas because of global warming, new research warns.

Research into two seas bordering the polar region has shown that they are absorbing ever smaller amounts of atmospheric CO2 and, at points of the year, even becoming a source of the gas.

The shock finding suggests that climate change could be fast becoming a vicious, inescapable cycle which can only further accelerate the damage to the environment

also Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in Arctic coastal seas

The Laptev Sea had an excess of carbon dioxide during the late summer of 2008 that was of the same order of magnitude as the western East Siberian Sea, probably caused by the breakdown of organic matter from the land.

The results suggest that the Laptev Sea has changed from being a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide to become a source of carbon dioxide during the late summer. This will probably be reinforced by a higher air temperature, particularly if parts of the large reservoir of stored organic matter in the Arctic tundra thaw and are carried to the sea. This will further increase the rate of temperature rise of the Earth.

Tar Sands Pipeline Heading to Central Canada and New England?

Controversial new pipeline plans threaten drinking water and many beloved natural areas in Central Canada and New England according to a new report. A broad coalition of 19 organizations is sounding the alarm about plans to bring tar sands oil through Ontario, Quebec, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The advocates say the plan is unsafe and that a tar sands oil spill could harm the region’s waterways, wildlife and tourism economy.

The report, Going in Reverse: The Tar Sands Threat to Central Canada and New England, outlines an array of threats associated with the controversial fuel source, often referred to as the “dirtiest oil on the planet.” The unique corrosive properties of tar sands oil increase the prospect of oil spills and the United States federal government is currently studying whether the highly-corrosive toxic material can be safely transported through pipelines.

I don't think that the people opposing these pipeline reversals really understand that the economics of the oil industry have changed dramatically in the last few years, and these Eastern Canadian oil refineries are going to become road kill in the international market if they don't get access to cheap, plentiful, Western Canadian oil of whatever quality. In addition to a massive increase in oil sands production, Western Canadian conventional oil production is up as well. In the rest of the world, things are not so good.

The European refining industry is a disaster area, half of the oil refineries on the East Coast of the US have shut down or will shut down, and the 95-year-old Imperial Oil refinery in Nova Scotia is for sale and will be converted to an import terminal if it can't be sold.

Imperial Oil lining up buyers for aging Dartmouth refinery
Thin margins and heated global competition spark move

Imperial Oil has put its second oldest oil refinery in Canada up for sale on waning demand for product from the Dartmouth, Nova Scotia facility in a highly competitive Atlantic basin.

Imperial confirmed Thursday the 88,000 barrel per day refinery would be either sold or possibly transformed to a terminal as the integrated company, Canada’s largest refiner, seeks to reduce its losses.

“Demand for refined products in the basin has declined in recent years and, despite tremendous efforts by our workforce, the refinery has not met expected financial returns,” Imperial said in a statement.

A decision on a sale or other alternative, including having the operation in the Dartmouth community converted to a terminal, is expected to be made by the first quarter of 2013, Imperial executive Gilles Courtemanche told a news conference Thursday.

“The demand for diesel has grown by a factor of five, but gasoline demand in Europe today is lower than it was in 1970,” said Courtemanche, vice-president of refining and supply for Imperial Oil.

The opposition to pipelines is the thing I do not understand about "environmentalists". I mean whenever they get a pipeline stopped like the Keystone XL, they pat themselves on the back for stopping the oil from flowing ... but the oil is going to get shipped somehow, and honestly I'd rather have it on a pipeline than on rail cars - cause you know pipelines require less energy for transport so I suppose they're "greener" and are just more efficient.

I also enjoy how wall street money managers like Buffet and Ackman are supportive of the "environmentalists" trying to save the planet ... although though own large amounts of rail company shares who lose business when Keystone XL is built, funny how that works.

Margaret Wente!

Echoing Obama, let’s have more fracking and faster

Since the turn of the century, shale gas has risen from 2 per cent to 23 per cent of U.S. energy production, according to energy expert Daniel Yergin. “I think we're just beginning to see the economic impact of it,” he says. He describes hydraulic fracturing – a process that uses chemicals, water and sand to drill through shale rock and release trapped gasses – as a breakthrough innovation that will transform the energy landscape. Fracking could unlock a 100-year supply of natural gas, as well as new supplies of oil from such unlikely spots as North Dakota. North Dakota is now producing more oil than Alaska. The only state that produces more oil is Texas.

I'm no expert on fracking technology, and I'm in no position to evaluate the risks. I have to rely on experts for that.

Some experts she could have consulted.

Art Berman (ASPO 2010 presentation - YouTube)
Chris Nelder (Slate article on abundance)

Howarth - fugitive emissions make fracked gas CO2e emissions as bad as coal. (Nature)

Canada upside-down

Because it is here in Kitimat, and in BC’s protected forests and coastal waters, that the Enbridge pipeline proposal will meet its fiercest opposition.

Here’s a fair question. Does the location of proposed Enbridge Kitimat port in the middle of the protected Great Bear Rainforest, funded by the Moore, Hewlett and Packard foundations in a Tides Canada deal have anything to do with the fact that all of these organizations are now being pilloried by the very government that partnered with them?

Has the federal government decided to get out of the Great Bear Rainforest partnership, and calculated that the best way is to vilify and smear its own partners?

Just asking.

Meanwhile, it might be worth getting to know if we’ve really been palling around with terrorists.

Who could have known Gordon Moore was a terrorist! (co-founder and former CEO of Intel, Moore's Law)

I really have to question the wisdom of Canada's government in pushing to make Kitimat the central hub for oil exports on the west coast. It strikes me that even Vancouver would be better, at least then the worst that will happen is that they'll have an issue in an already industrialized and citified area. Are they pushing for this in order to purposefully annoy environmentalists and first nations groups?

Well, it IS a right wing government, so maybe they did. In any case, Canadians elected it, they will have to deal with it. Is anyone really surprised that they like prisons and hate science and protecting the environment? All of this is obvious, no?

Also, does anyone really think the Keystone XL pipeline is permanently dead? Obama only postponed it, right?

adam - How important do you feel the Keystone Pipeline is to the movement of Canadian oil to US refiners? The tar sand oil has been transported to the US for sometime and will continue whether Keystone is built or not. AFAIK the Canadian tar sand companies have been selling every bbl of oil they are producing. Expanding production will require an increase in their export capacity but that primary problem isn't at the border. The hang up has been at Cushing, OK. Check out my post far below fow an update on that situation if you're interested.

Reality check: Kitimat is a company town planned and built by the Aluminum Company of Canada (Alcan) during the 1950s. It is the site of a massive aluminum smelting operation and associated hydroelectric power facility. It also has one of the few privately-owned ports in North America.

British Columbia is considerably bigger than Texas. You can't really convert all of it to a nature preserve. People have to live there and work there, and the problem that Kitimat has is that the aluminum operation is not really going that well and the unemployment rate is very high.

Kitimat, British Columbia

The Kitimat Valley is one of the few locations on Canada's Pacific coast that has substantial room for affordable growth, although between 2001 and 2006 the population of Kitimat dropped by 12.6%, the largest percentage decline of any Canadian municipality. The population was further declined by 7.3% between 2006 and 2011. The population of the city now sits at 8,335.

And as for bears - there are thousands of bears all over British Columbia. They are doing pretty well and unbeknowst to most people, actually like clearcut logging. But the basic question is, How are the bears in Kitimat more important than all the other bears in BC?

BC is one of the last places on Earth with large, intact ecosystems.
We are obviously reaching a point of diminishing returns as the economic system starts bumping against limits, and starts to decline.
So what is that worth to us?

I am a bit biased, as the Skeena is one of my favorite places---

I wouldn't describe BC as all that intact. If you wander through the forests, you will discover that most of it has already been cut down at least once. Among the 4-foot diameter trees, you will find a number of old 8-foot diameter tree stumps.

However, since it is considerably bigger than e.g. Texas or e.g. France, it is not close to reaching any serious populations limits, so I am not all that concerned about it.

That beats Wisconsin. Where there were once tewnty foot diameter white pines, there are now 4inch diameter junk trees (which get cut down before they reach 6inches). But, hey the PR makes a big issue of the fact that there are a lot more trees now than in the old days.

State of the Climate - Global Analysis - May 2012
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Climatic Data Center

Considering land surfaces only, the average global temperature was record warm for May, at 1.21°C (2.18°F) above average, surpassing the previous record warmth set in 2010 by 0.10°C (0.18°F).

Leanan, I know this was posted in the drumbeat, but I didn't see anyone post the chart which I thought was worthwhile.

On the brighter side, the PNW has finally staggered up to seasonal normals this last week. The cold late fall/winter in Australia is a bit of a surprise. That hadn't made the news.

Retirement developments in Greenland are looking promising too. I wonder if the Norse Western Settlement (the first one to starve out in the early 1300s) is habitable again.


Updated data (through 2011) for the ratio of GNE (Global Net Exports*) to CNI (Chindia's combined net imports):

The dashed line represents the extrapolated curve, based on the 2005 to 2008 rate of decline in the ratio. In 2002 there were about 11 barrels of total petroleum liquids net exports for every barrel of total petroleum liquids that the Chindia region net imported. In 2011, this ratio had fallen to 5.3. At a 1.0 ratio, the Chindia region would consume 100% of GNE.

*Top 33 net exporters in 2005 (BP + Minor EIA data, total petroleum liquids). Note that two of the top 33 (Argentina & Vietnam) slipped into net importer status in 2011.

Looks like data points for last couple years are sloping to an earlier time for Chindia to absorb 100% of GNE.

What concerns me is the news of China's emminent economic "slowdown" which according to MSM means economic growth of only 7 or 8% instead of 12 to 15%. That means oil consumption still increasing, partially due to the fact that only about 10% of the families in China own cars, but most want them. And the government of China is continuing to build more roads and highways to accomodate the additional cars.

Also, the EIA is showing flat Chinese oil production from 2010 to 2011. When US crude oil production peaked in 1970, our rate of increase in net imports went from about 11%/year (1949 to 1970) to 14%/year (1970 to 1977).

I expect India to drop out - and stop increasing oil imports. Perhaps even reducing them as financial constraints and recession bite.

So Chindia will become China.

Which will alter the slope on the graph some.


It's already happening, right now it's hidden in the Government's balance sheet which is ballooning at an alarming rate. We don't have a manufacturing industry, no infrastructure to speak of, the consumption is bound to come down.

Doesn't Tata steel and motors count as manufacturing industry? I think you exaggerate. I would think maybe the growth of (oil) consumption will stop. As long as you can expand the middle class there will be people who wants cars -even if they can't afford fuel todrive them every day.

EOS,Tata group(even as a whole) are not the total Indian economy.The Indian middle class cannot grow further because the system is bankrupt,corrupt and all fundamentals are out of whack.The middle class in urban areas(at least in Northern India)is living on maxed out credit cards just like the middle class in USA.

No exaggeration, manufacturing forms a tiny fraction of our exports. India is a service economy, this is a well known fact.

At the NYC Oil Wild Cards Symposium, there was some discussion of the discrepancy between the Texas RCC data for Texas crude oil production, versus the EIA data (as a result of a question from yours truly).

Note that the RRC has a handy new link that has oil and gas production data back to 2006, and it appears to be revised and updated on a monthly basis:


As I noted at the conference, if we substitute the RRC crude oil data for the EIA data for Texas, and use the EIA data for the other producing regions, then there was no increase in US annual crude oil production from 2010 to 2011.

I asked the panelists, for the sake of argument, how they would change their outlook if the RRC data were correct, and there was no increase in annual US crude oil production from 2010 to 2011. The two panelists who responded, an EIA representative and Ed Morse (with Citibank), declined to even consider the possibility that there was no increase in annual US crude oil production from 2010 to 2011. They agreed that the RRC must be wrong.

Note that the EIA estimates Texas production, using a sampling approach, and the RRC sums the reported production from Texas producers.

The gap between the RRC and the EIA for Texas crude oil production in January, 2012 is about 500,000 bpd.

It seems somewhat incredible to me that we are expected to believe that the Texas RRC is missing a volume of crude oil production that is roughly equivalent to all of North Dakota’s crude production.

Here is the EIA link:


It occurred to me that a different approach would be to just focus on the RRC data for natural gas well production, versus RRC shale gas play data.

The following chart shows RRC data for annual Barnett Shale gas well production from 2004 to 2011, and the RRC shows a steady increase in production from the play, although the rate of increase has slowed.

But I assume that the Shale Play advocates have no problem with the Barnett Shale portion of this graph:

The same chart shows total annual Texas natural gas well production from 2004 to 2011, from the same source, the RRC (2004 and 2005 data points from other RRC data sources, 2006 and later data from above link). Note that the RRC shows that Texas annual natural gas well production fell by 8% from 2008 to 2011. The above link shows that monthly Texas natural gas well production fell by 20% from January, 2009 to January, 2012.

Very few people, with the notable exception of Art Berman, have been paying any attention to the ongoing decline in Texas natural well production.

Note that current Texas natural gas well production accounts for about one-fourth of total US marketed dry natural gas production.

It seems to me that the Texas natural gas well data are not terribly encouraging for the Shale Play Model (which I define as the premise that rising oil and gas production from shale plays can indefinitely offset the underlying decline and result in an indefinite net increase in US oil and gas production).

Long time lurker here. Maybe I am misunderstanding the debate and if so I appologize, but I get the feeling that the Texas RRC methodology is seemingly not understood here.

As I understand it, for both oil and NG, the latest RRC report is ALWAYS too low, since it is attempting to report actual production reported by the deadline date, but it can take up to two years for all the data to come in since some of the data is always late. As a result, the latest production ALWAYS rises with time as late reports slowly trickle in.

One consequence of this is that it is a lot of work to keep the data up to date, since all the numbers as far back as two years can change every month (but with the older numbers changing least, of course).

The article linked below explains this for oil production.


Back to lurking.

A few points. It's true that the primary RRC annual historical data set only shows the preliminary annual numbers. The following data, showing monthly and annual data from 2006 onward, is now updated and revised on a monthly basis:


Given that this data set is revised and updated on an ongoing basis, the data shown at this link are higher than the preliminary annual data. Also, I would think that the late reporters tend to be smaller producers that don't have a material impact on total production.

Having said that, it's useful to remember that the RRC is summing actual production reports, while the EIA is estimating.

Given the 500,000 bpd discrepancy between the EIA and the RRC for January, 2012 Texas crude oil production, the EIA is saying that the RRC is missing the equivalent of virtually all of North Dakota's crude oil production or about 80% of Alaska's crude oil production.

Very interesting !

However, the scale of the discrepancies (both time and volume) can perhaps explain 100,000 or even 200/250,000 b/day for December 2011 being caught up in accounting for a half year, but in the range of a half million b/day with 5 months (or at least 4+ months) to report ?

Looking at a percent of total production for NG, and applying it to oil, looks like (eyeball) >100,000 b/day and <250,000 b/day oil undercount.

In other words, MAYBE a half, likely a third or a fourth, of the discrepancy.

Thanks for the Meaningful Contribution :-)

Elmo - I'm not sure about the details of the TRRC attempting to provide yearly compilations of the state's past production but I can tell you about how the monthly production numbers are acquired. Every operator reports their production monthly to the TRRC. If you're late more than a month you get a notice. If you don't timely correct the report deficit you get fined. And then if you don't correct the situation after that you lose the right to produce that well and receive a notice from the state to terminate production from that well. Fail to comply and your company could lose their right to produce all their wells in the state and could also face criminal prosecution as well as civil penalties. Two years late reporting production? Not even 6 months is tolerated. If your offices burned down, everyone dies except you and all your records were destroyed the TRRC still won't cut you slack. All the purchasers of your production have duplicate records. A full and accurate accounting would still be demanded by the TRRC.

The actual production report is 2 to 3 months behind the current date. I pull Texas production info from Drilling Info which collects it directly from the TRRC. Today I can pull up production from every well that's posted as of May or April 2012. This info may not be accurate down to one decimal place for various reasons. But it's impossible for it to be off more than a percent or two. The report is not voluntary. It is audited every month. You are not allowed to produce any well in Texas if you're not reporting in the prescribed timely manner. No company has the right to drill or produce any well in Texas without the full written permission of the TRRC. Either a company complies sufficiently with the rules or they are shut down. In my 36 years I've seen that happen dozens of times.

Whatever inaccuracies there may be in the TRRC data there is no way those numbers aren't more accurate than anything anyone else can estimate IMHO. You should remember that both the state and the county collect a tax on every bbl of oil and every cubic foot of NG produced from every well in the state. Failure to report your production accurately is tantamount to tax evasion. Accidental mistakes can happen. Not paying your taxes to the state correctly would be considered a criminal offense unless you can off a reasonable explanation. If the EIA reports data incorrectly, intentionally or otherwise, does anyone there risk going to state prison?

Brent spot at $90. Is it all because of Europe or Japan restarting it's nukes also has something to do with it ?

Motorists will travel in record numbers for the Independence Day holiday this year, encouraged by cheaper gasoline, travel group AAA said on Tuesday.

The group said 35.5 million people will drive 50 miles or more away from home between July 3 and 8, up 4 percent from last year and the largest number in the last decade.

How do they know this, within an accuracy of 500,000 people? Seems a difficult metric to get a handle on, unless everyone has been secretly implanted with a GPS chip.

July 3rd through July 8th is 6 days. Is that typically the number of days they poll for the holiday? Seems like an awefully large number of days...wish I got that many off work :(

What complicates things this year is that July 4th falls on a Wednesday. Some people get the Tuesday off as a vacation day, some get Thursday and are taking Friday as well, to make a super-long weekend.

I, however, get to work when my clients are in the office, so end up working on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Probably a good bit of spurious accuracy as with most headline "statistics". But they should be able to make a statistically decent guess from credit-card statistics, traffic counts, and surveys (even keeping in mind that the few people who still answer surveys are probably not a random sample.)

Honda to recycle rare earth metals from hybrid batteries

Honda said Wednesday it will start recycling rare earth metals and other key materials in hybrid auto batteries this year — a key innovation in the Japanese carmaker's effort to be green.

Japan depends on imports, mostly from China, for rare earth elements, which are essential for making high-tech products. But a steady supply has been periodically threatened over political disputes with China.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/06/20/honda-rare-earth-meta...

Perhaps this will allow a few folks to get a better night's sleep.


"Honda said Wednesday it will start recycling rare earth metals and other key materials in hybrid auto batteries this year "

Well that is a big Duh.

The only reason rare earths are considered rare is that they are expensive to extract and purify. Once you have them in hand you certainly should not through them back out.

First oil flows through UAE’s Hormuz bypass

The pipeline ends the OPEC producer’s total dependence on the vital Gulf shipping artery which Iran has threatened to block as Western sanctions on its oil exports have tightened.

The new pipeline has a stated capacity of around 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) while UAE exports total around 2.4 million bpd. Some sources say the pipeline could carry around 2 million bpd of the UAE’s biggest export at a push.

The 370-km (231-mile) Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline carries oil from fields in the UAE’s western desert to the east coast port of Fujairah, a major oil storage and fuel bunkering hub.

“Today oil has been received at the main oil terminal in Fujairah and 1 million barrels is coming in,” a source directly involved in the project said.

“The plan is to load the first oil tanker around July 1... We will slowly increase it to 1.5 million bpd.”

... daily Hormuz traffic ~ 17 million bpd

Statoil to triple North American oil & gas production by 2020

Statoil has discovered 100m to 200m barrels of recoverable oil at its Mizzen prospect in the North Atlantic Sea off Canada's Eastern Coast.

The company is hoping to drill two additional wells at the site and possibly more in the later years of the decade.

Located in the Flemish Pass about 310 miles East of St. John's, Newfoundland, the discovery comes a day after the company was awarded 26 leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The resource base in North America has grown well above 6 billion boe, representing around 30 percent of Statoil's total resource base," said Statoil North America president Bill Maloney

The [Norway] state-controlled company, which increased its global capital spending to $17 billion this year, expects to produce 500,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day (boepd) in North America by 2020, up from the 149,000 boepd produced in the first quarter of this year, as it moves away from barely profitable natural gas fields to concentrate on more lucrative liquids-based acreage.

and Statoil to triple North America oil and gas output

US billionaire to buy Hawaiian island

The third wealthiest American Larry Ellison is set to buy 98 percent of Lanai, the sixth-largest of the Hawaiian Islands, also known as the Pineapple Island. ­The co-founder and CEO of software company Oracle is buying the land from current owner billionaire David Murdock’s Castle & Cooke Inc. The price is still to be announced, however reports suggest the asking price was between $500 million and $600 million.

The report on the deal came from Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie who held a meeting with Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa and Castle & Cook last week to go over the details of the sale, Associated Press says.

... He's got his lifeboat

Not sure the Hawaiian Islands are the most secure lifeboat - unless you put in a lot of self-sufficiency infrastructure (which I guess Larry Ellison will). Don't they still generate all their electricity from oil, and import a huge percentage of food and just about everything else they desire?

You only have to remember the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to realize how secure the Hawaiian Islands might be when TSHTF.

If all three of the U.S. Pacific Fleet's aircraft carriers hadn't been at sea and escaped damage when the Japanese planes attacked, and if US carriers hadn't sunk four Japanese carriers at Midway Island, history could have been very different. Midway was just a stepping stone on their way to seize Hawaii.

And then there's the tsunami issue. The Hawaiian islands are exposed to tsunamis from anywhere in the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Natural Gas: Where Endless Money Went to Die


Even better is the article linked to at the end about the pipeline system in North America and how Canadian heavy is likely to stay landlocked at Cushing for some time.

mass - "how Canadian heavy is likely to stay landlocked at Cushing for some time." I'm not sure how you define "some time" but that Canadian oil has never been completely landlocked. Just slow to make it to the Gulf Coast refiners. And as of last May not quit as slow. And in another year it will be moving 3X as fast. And a year after that about 6X as fast.

On May 17, 2012 Enterprise and Enbridge completed a project to reverse the flow direction of the Seaway Pipeline, allowing it to transport crude oil from the bottlenecked Cushing, Oklahoma hub to the vast refinery complex along the Gulf Coast near Houston. In reversed service the line has a capacity of 150,000 barrels per day (BPD). Following pump station additions anticipated to be completed in about 8 months, the capacity will increase to approximately 400,000 BPD of crude oil. Construction of a twin of the Seaway Pipeline, designed to parallel the existing right-of-way from Cushing to the Gulf Coast, is expected to more than double Seaway's capacity to 850,000 BPD by mid-2014.

That would ultimately be about 26 million bbl per month. Given Cushing has storage of 46 million bbls it would take less than 2 months to drain it 100% if there were new oil coming in. And this new through put would happen long before the Canadians could finish a pipeline from the tar sand fields to their west coast. Some folks were confused about the US govt delay in approving that new pipeline crossing over from Canada. That production was already moving across the border in a series of older pipelines as well as by truck and rail transport. The new pipeline would just make it more efficient and cheaper. The real road block, as you've pointed out, was getting it from OK to Texas.

High gas prices may be explained by self-organized cartel behavior

Rapid increases and unpredictable fluctuations in gas prices annoy many drivers, especially since it may seem that oil companies are secretly conspiring to keep prices high by forming a cartel in an effort to increase their profits. But a new study shows that cartel-like price dynamics of certain commodities, such as gasoline, can emerge spontaneously in a strategic model without any collusion among the sellers. The finding doesn’t necessarily mean that companies don’t intentionally form cartels, but the possibility of self-organized cartel formation could have implications for market regulations.

The key variable in the game is who can update their strategy the fastest. If buyers can update their strategy at a fast rate relative to sellers, the model shows that the pricing favors the buyers. Since the sellers offering the lowest prices will profit most, other sellers will replicate these low prices until all sellers have the same low price.

But if sellers can update their strategy at a fast rate above a critical value compared to buyers, then the entire population of sellers benefits at the expense of all the buyers. This is because the sellers are quick enough to copy the high prices of more profitable sellers before the buyers have a chance to react. Soon, there are no low-priced options available, marking the emergence of a cartel-like phase.

Foreign Policy: The Coming Oil Crash
by Steve Levine

...Industry analysts are using phrases such as "devastation" and "severe strain" to describe what is next for the petro-states should prices plummet as low as some fear. No one is as yet forecasting a fresh round of Arab Spring-like regime implosions. But that's the nightmare scenario if you happen to run a petrocracy.

To understand why your average oil king is right to be worried at the moment, grab your calculator. The price of U.S.-traded oil fell to $83.27 a barrel on Monday, and global benchmark Brent crude to $96.05 a barrel; now juxtapose that against the state budgets of Iran, Russia, and Venezuela, which require more than $110-a-barrel Brent prices to break even, according to generally accepted estimates, and you'll see the problem.


"Meanwhile, though, (Oil economist Philip) Verleger thinks that oil prices will crash. Markets overshoot when one is trying only to fine-tune them, as the Saudis are, he argues — which is the basis for his forecasts of $40-a-barrel oil and $2-a-gallon gasoline by November."

That's fun. A Newt-less two dollars a gallon even before the elections.

Because of Saudi Arabia's "Wall of oil"? Because of further economic decline?

Twenty-Five Ways To Suppress Truth: The Rules of Disinformation (Includes The 8 Traits of A Disinformationalist)

Built upon Thirteen Techniques for Truth Suppression by David Martin, the following may be useful to the initiate in the world of dealing with veiled and half-truth, lies, and suppression of truth when serious crimes are studied in public forums. This, sadly, includes every day news media, one of the worst offenders with respect to being a source of disinformation. ...

1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.
2. Become incredulous and indignant.
3. Create rumor mongers.
4. Use a straw man.
5. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule.
10. Associate opponent charges with old news.
14. Demand complete solutions.
15. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions.
17. Change the subject.
19. Ignore proof presented, demand impossible proofs.
20. False evidence.
22. Manufacture a new truth.

That sounds like the operating manual for an AM radio talk show.

Thanks. I copied it and the links. Such refs can be useful, although this was addressed to more of a crime coverup, then the more typical political/ideological misinformation which seems to be winning out.

"1) Avoidance. They never actually discuss issues head-on or provide constructive input, generally avoiding citation of references or credentials. Rather, they merely imply this, that, and the other. Virtually everything about their presentation implies their authority and expert knowledge in the matter without any further justification for credibility."

The one that I don't see is to attack the authority of the source of real information.

Work starts on fossil fuel free cargo ship set to transform shipping industry

Development is underway to design the modern world's first 100 per cent fossil fuel free sailing cargo ships.

The testing programme, which begins in June, will undertake tow tank and wind tunnel research to identify a basic hull design and how it interacts with the dyna-rig system. It will examine various options in the performance parameters of a B9 Ship in scale model, calibrating the thrust from the sailing rig with various hull shapes to secure optimum performance efficiencies in a wide range of meteorological and sea conditions, whilst delivering against the essential commercial (loading and discharge; port constraints) aspects.

A virtual crystal ball: Sustainability for Rio+20 and beyond

As governments gather in Rio de Janerio for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, a coalition of researchers from the EU has a handy tool that can be used to help a government go green.

The online tool is called EUREAPA (for EU Resource and Energy Analysis Programme Application), and has been produced by a coalition of European researchers, including from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. The EUREAPA tool can produce graphics that show how national consumption patterns affect land and water use, along with the production of greenhouse gases

But perhaps EUREAPA's biggest strength is that it can analyse future development scenarios. The user can enter different values into a range of fields, from population numbers to consumption patterns and expected economic growth, and the tool can calculate a future scenario that shows how the values entered will affect the three different footprints.

OPEC exports slip; Motiva refinery rebuild may prod Saudi Arabia to cut exports further

Since the widely touted Saudi export surge of March/April, OPEC exports in the last six weeks have fallen about 500,000 bpd. The export surge was closely related to the shipment of extra Saudi heavy sour crude for the start-up of the huge Motiva refinery, where the main crude processing unit has now been closed for extensive repairs. In sum, as much as 27 million extra barrels were shipped to the US for the start-up.

Recent OPEC export rates are roughly the same level as they were at the end of 2011 and start of 2012. Since Iran has reduced exports by as much as 500,000 bpd since then, other OPEC nations are doing their best to maintain overall export levels about where they were before.

21 Jun, 2012, 09.44PM IST, Reuters
OPEC oil exports to fall in 4 weeks to July 7: Analyst

LONDON: Seaborne oil exports from OPEC, excluding Angola and Ecuador, will fall by 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the four weeks to July 7, an analyst who estimates future shipments said on Thursday.


Analysis: Texas refinery crisis rattles Saudi oil export drive
DUBAI/NEW YORK | Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:07am EDT

(Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's unexpected surge in oil exports to the United States this year has fallen into question following a deepening crisis this month at the kingdom's jointly owned and newly expanded Texas refinery.


Con Edison trims voltage in Brooklyn, Queens amid heat wave

The New York grid operator revised its power consumption forecast for Thursday, saying its new forecast of 33,700 megawatts would exceed last summer's peak of 33,295 MW.

Temperatures in New York City, the biggest metropolitan area in the United States, were expected to reach a near-record high of 96 degrees Fahrenheit (35.6 degrees Celsius) on Wednesday, 97 degrees on Thursday and 92 on Friday before dropping to the 80s over the weekend. The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory until Thursday night.

Average highs in New York at this time of year are about 81.

New York's Consolidated Edison Inc reduced electric voltage on some equipment in Queens and Brooklyn Wednesday evening. The reduction, called a brownout, is used to protect equipment and maintain service while crews worked on the problem, the power distributor said in a release.

OK, Mr. Bloomberg, you know what to do. Create an incentive system to put PV on many of those NYC build rooftops. They'll generate lots of power just when you need it . . . those hot sunny days. Your rival neighbor, New Jersey, is actually the #2 solar state just behind California. You can't let that be now can you? Just give a tax-credit . . . those Wall Street hedge fund guys will jump at the chance for a tax-credit.

Bloomie's got no time for anything of that sort. He's fully booked playing the role of Nano-Manager And National Soda Jerk, and supervising the vast army of diverse sorts of police that implies.

Man, he got pounded on that Soda idea. It wasn't THAT crazy. You could still buy as many sodas as you wanted. Having a limited quanta just would serve as a reminder to people that they were consuming more than they need.

And you know...that kind of thing appears to work.

CAISO showing above 800MW of Solar contribution since about 11am today.


Its a pefect solar gen day, cold(?) windy, and a few clouds near the coast. The panels not under a cloud should be maxing out, cSi loses about a half percent per degree C, and today is 30F cooler than yesterday (99F to 70F).

I like this page's presentation:

The wind blew all day and blew all night and made as much power as nuclear in California. Renewables made 1/7th of the total of power used... and that is in spite of the political suppression that has been mustered against them.

Optimum Vegetarian Nutrition - Omega 3's and B12

Dr. Michael Greger discusses research looking at incidence of diseases such as heart attacks, strokes and Altzheimer's in meat eaters vs vegetarians, shows the mechanisms by which heart attacks occur, and discusses how diet can be modified to reduce these conditions. Also discusses other minerals essential to healthy diet.

Based on work done in 2001/2002. Well worth viewing all 8 segments.

Sounds similar to the documentary Forks over Knives

That documentary is a must - must - must see.

16:00 East coast

WTI futures $78.43, Brent $89.43

Below $80, $90.

Looks like WTI and Brent will continue to fall in price based on their close today. Has the world figured out a way to live with the reality of peak oil?

It looks like Greece is becoming "free" of its dependence on foreign oil.

WSJ blog item from 5/31:


Why can't they just pay first, or buy it cash on delivery?

From what I'm getting from the article, sellers are perfectly willing to sell them oil, but not to loan them euros.

Why can't they just pay first, or buy it cash on delivery?

Probably the small matter of not having the cash to pay for it might come in to play.

Y - The typical process for selling exported oil is to pay in full prior to it being loaded on a tanker. The tanker fee is also paid in advance as well as the insurance which normally the buyer pays. Payments can be made via a wire transfer or drawing on an existing line of credit. The Greeks, like anyone else, can buy all the oil they want. All they have to do it pay for it and the transport cost up front. And that appears to be the problem. Put yourself in the seller's position: a buyer can't pay for it now but if you deliver it they will then. Would you risk the money it would cost to deliver that load to the buyer's port when they're telling you they are unable to pay for it today? I suspect a good bit of the proposed loans to Greece are actually credit lines for such purchases. I also suspect much of that credit line is required to be used to buy products from the countries issuing the credit lines. Some folks don't realize that much of the "aid" the US gives to other countries is structured so. IOW we'll give an African country $X in aid but part of that aid is credit lines tied to US food exporters. So the Africans get the food for free but US companies make the profit.

Moody's cuts global capital markets firms ratings

The financial institutions affected by the new downgrades include American giants Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase, as well as European-based Barclays Bank PLC, Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale.

also Moody’s downgrades global banks, including RBC

Could the stepdowns in the world economy force reductions in supply? This is how it works:

Oil supply hits a plateau in May 05
Competition for a given supply drives price up to 147 by July 08
Mortgage meltdown debacle & high oil price leads price back down to 35
Economy recovers to minor growth percentages
Price steadily builds back up to 128
Economy contracts due to high priced oil
Price drops back down to 89 (today)
Reduction in supply to force price back up to triple digits
Economy contracts due to high oil prices
oil price drops
Further reduction in supply to force price up

2 Scenarios:

1) How much oil is available in the future may be much greater than what the world economy can purchase at the price sellers need or want. The problem at that point would turn from a geologic peak to an economic stepdown - supply contraction by way of purposefully withholding supply.

2) The market is supplied at a price the economy can handle, but if that price is too low for tar sands, orinoco, deep offshore, etc., then those operations shut down and supply contracts, and halting further exploration which also reduces future supply.

In either scenario 1 or 2, oil supply contracts as the world economy steps down. Although the problem shifts from peak oil to an economic one, the problem initiated via a peak in May 05. The subsequent plateau only acts to substantiate May 05 as the peak due to evidence of the economic consequences that continue to follow to this day and into the future.

Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Making

Discusses in detail how proximity to animals in settlements has given rise to various diseases, and the new strains that are appearing today, thanks to CAFO's (concentrated animal feeding operations).

Avian flu viruses which are transmissible between humans could evolve in nature

Currently, avian H5N1 influenza, also known as bird flu, can be transmitted from birds to humans, but not (or only very rarely) from human to human. However, two recent papers by Herfst, Fouchier and colleagues in Science and Imai, Kawaoka and colleagues in Nature reveal that potentially with as few as five mutations (amino acid substitutions), or four mutations plus reassortment, avian H5N1 can become airborne transmissible between mammals, and thus potentially among humans. However, until now, it was not known whether these mutations might evolve in nature.

Colin Russell, Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, said: "Viruses that have two of these mutations are already common in birds, meaning that there are viruses that might have to acquire only three additional mutations in a human to become airborne transmissible. The next key question is 'is three a lot, or a little?' "

... the results suggest that the remaining three mutations could evolve in a single human host, making a virus evolving in nature a potentially serious threat,"

Mercury rising: Greater L.A. to heat up an average 4 to 5 degrees by mid-century

A groundbreaking new study led by UCLA climate expert Alex Hall shows that climate change will cause temperatures in the Los Angeles region to rise by an average of 4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit by the middle of this century, tripling the number of extremely hot days in the downtown area and quadrupling the number in the valleys and at high elevations.

Southern Californians should expect slightly warmer winters and springs but much warmer summers and falls, with more frequent heat waves. Temperatures now seen only on the seven hottest days of the year in each region will occur two to six times as often. The number of days when the temperature will climb above 95 degrees will increase two to four times, depending on the location. Those days will roughly double on the coast, triple in downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena, and quadruple in Woodland Hills. In Palm Springs, the number of extremely hot days will increase from an annual average of 75 to roughly 120.

...The complete study, "Mid-Century Warming in the Los Angeles Region," along with interactive maps and ways to get involved, can be accessed online at http://c-change.la/

NASA eyeing southern Gulf of Mexico low for tropical trouble

NASA satellites are providing data on a broad area of low pressure in the south-central Gulf of Mexico that has a medium chance for development into a tropical depression

also http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Tesla's new sedan will make or break the company

The company's first mass-market, five-seat sedan will be delivered Friday. The car, called the Model S, will either propel the company to profitability or leave it sputtering on the fumes of a $465 million government loan.

"The Model S is the going to be the first true mass market product experiment for Tesla, one they cannot afford to fail," says Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence at car buying site TrueCar.com.

The Model S carries a starting price of $49,900 after a federal tax credit — about the same as a Lexus RX hybrid crossover. Models top out at $101,550, or about the same as a hybrid Fisker Karma sports car

It is a beautiful car and one with enough range to silence critics (at least on the high-end model). But it is really expensive. They are going to start by filling orders for the highest end models and work their way down. So although they give a starting price of $49,900 after tax-credit, you probably won't be able to get one for that price until more than a year from now. They should be able to survive for a while, but eventually they'll need to sell some real mass market cars. I wish them luck.

Some nice videos of robots & workers as the Fremont Tesla plant:

The robot action all seems to be in assembling formed metal sections into a body and painting it.

For an inexpensive car, what about just roto-molding the entire finished piece out of colored HDPE or some suitable thermo- or thermosetting- composite? I live in a roto-molded septic tank with 0.3" wall thickness... and man, it's strong!

Home Sweet Home

For an inexpensive car, what about just roto-molding the entire finished piece out of colored HDPE or some suitable thermo- or thermosetting- composite? I live in a roto-molded septic tank with 0.3" wall thickness... and man, it's strong!

Think built its EV with colored ABS plastic:

Unfortunately then went bankrupt because the cars were too expensive. They were too small to get the needed manufacturing scale. And that car design is not very attractive to most.

Ahhhh... Interesting!


"...the company was bought soon after (bankruptcy) by Electric Mobility Solutions AS and production is supposed to restart in early 2012 with a refined (vehicle called) Think City."

"...built around a chassis made of aluminum and carrying a body made of polyethylene thermoplastic rotomolded in one piece."

(Well... there you go. It's so hard to invent anything new. Like I tell people: "If you're thinking of something (new), seven other people are thinking of it at the same time." It becomes a race as to who develops a successful market presence first ...But, it is fun!)

"three-phase AC induction motor"... so no neodymium magnets required.

"Based on the experiences from the prototypes, Pivco then went on to develop their first true production model, PIV4, later called the TH!NK, with Lotus Cars in a consulting role. The basic construction concept from the prototypes was retained, except that the roof was made of ABS plastic, and the lower frame chassis elements were made of steel."... so the roof became ABS.

"Probably due to changes in the California zero-emissions vehicle policy, Ford gave up THINK on January 31, 2003." The policy was overturned with industry money, as I recall.

"The used cars from US and UK have been re-exported to Norway where they are in high demand due to the government's policy to promote the use of electrical cars (EVs are exempt from taxes, have free parking, pass toll roads for free, and are allowed to drive in the bus lanes avoiding traffic congestion)." ... those Norwegians again... always with the Norwegians... and their better lifestyle, clean air, independence from oil, universal healthcare... They think they're so smart. Well! We've got Rush Limbaugh and lead the world in the number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe that angels are real and in defense spending! Ha!... Ha Ha!!

Some of the remainder might be available at $15,000 each:

"We secured a contract with THINK NORTH AMERICA to buy the remainder THINK City cars and sell them." http://eurostarautos.com/

(The ! blows-away the linkinator, so it remains unlinkified.)



I think I may buy one of the discounted Thinks. It is a cute little car and cost virtually nothing to run. At that discounted price, the car will literally pay for itself in gasoline savings.

I hope they can emerge from bankruptcy. If they can get costs down, refined the design, and make real 4-seater then they could go somewhere.

Kleiner Perkins Invests in Seed Company as It Sees Food Shortage

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the U.S. venture capital firm that provided startup financing to Amazon.com Inc. and Google Inc., is investing in a seed company as it forecasts food will become a “global problem of huge dimensions” over the next decade.

“One of the biggest problems we see in the horizon on the next 10 years is food,” he said. “If you identify a problem like food, you have to begin to start to experiment with solutions.”

Sirens ring out in S. Korean power shortage drill

Sirens rang out across South Korea and some traffic lights were switched off Thursday as the country carried out an unprecedented drill aimed at averting summer power cuts.

The 20-minute exercise was intended to encourage consumers to switch off appliances if reserves run dangerously low, and to simulate responses if phased blackouts become inevitable, the ministry of knowledge economy said.

Reserves are feared to fall to dangerously low levels in July and August when air conditioners will run at full blast, a situation that could spark rolling blackouts across the country as on one day in September last year.

Arctic once had extreme warm periods: study

WASHINGTON — An international team of scientists said Thursday that the Arctic went through ice-free periods of extreme warmth over the past 2.8 million years, based on a new analysis of deep sediment in Russia.

The sediment reveals periods of extreme warmth that show the polar regions are much more vulnerable to change than previously thought, and are difficult to explain by greenhouse gases alone, said the study in the journal Science.

Scientists have long known that the Arctic went through climate cycles, but the latest research shows some of these warm phases were "exceptional," with temperatures four to five degrees Celsius (7.2 to nine degrees Fahrenheit) warmer and 12 inches (30 centimeters) wetter than during normal interglacials, the study said.

Two of these "super-interglacials" happened about 400,000 years ago and 1.1 million years ago, and the data suggests it was virtually impossible for Greenland's ice sheet to have existed in its present form at those times.

also 2.8 million years of climate data lurking in Russian lake

On the same page:

This page from the "U.S. Chamber of Congress", a business organization, just starts right in with defenses against a number of issues in the news.

Where there are fifteen columns of smoke, there just might be fire.

Explosive materials found near nuclear plant in Sweden

STOCKHOLM -- Security was ramped up at Sweden's three nuclear power plants Thursday after explosives were found on a truck at the southwestern Ringhals atomic power station. Police said they were investigating possible sabotage.

Bomb sniffer dogs detected the explosives during a routine check Wednesday afternoon by security staff while the truck was in the power plant's industrial area near its high security enclosure. Police declined to describe the amount or type of explosive material found.

Hot job market feeds Alberta’s record population boom

Alberta has the biggest population surge in the country, with a recording-breaking boom in both interprovincial migration and immigration.

It’s easy to see why. The province’s jobless rate ties with Saskatchewan for the lowest in the country, and employment has grown at more than three times the national average in the past year. Average weekly wages are the highest in the country. In the next decade, Alberta’s government figures the province could be short 114,000 workers amid blistering demand.

Still, one province’s gains is another’s loss. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland all saw steep – and accelerating – interprovincial losses in the first quarter of the year, deepening long-standing concerns about an exodus from the region.

Alberta’s situation is a contrast to other parts of the country and highlights deep divergences in Canada’s labour market.

In Nova Scotia, 31,000 people received jobless benefits in March, while on average there were less than 5,000 job vacancies in the province, separate Statscan data this week show. In Alberta, meantime, there were on average more than 60,000 jobs available as of the same month.

Even if every EI beneficiary in Nova Scotia moved to Alberta and took a job, there would still be more than 30,000 jobs available in the Western province.