Drumbeat: June 27, 2012

New study forecasts sharp increase in world oil production capacity, and risk of price collapse

(Phys.org) -- Oil production capacity is surging in the United States and several other countries at such a fast pace that global oil output capacity is likely to grow by nearly 20 percent by 2020, which could prompt a plunge or even a collapse in oil prices, according to a new study by a researcher at the Harvard Kennedy School.

The findings by Leonardo Maugeri, a former oil industry executive who is now a fellow in the Geopolitics of Energy Project in the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, are based on an original field-by-field analysis of the world’s major oil formations and exploration projects.

Contrary to some predictions that world oil production has peaked or will soon do so, Maugeri projects that output should grow from the current 93 million barrels per day to 110 million barrels per day by 2020, the biggest jump in any decade since the 1980s. What’s more, this increase represents less than 40 percent of the new oil production under development globally: more than 60 percent of the new production will likely reach the market after 2020.

The report is here.

No Peak Oil In Sight: We’ve Got An Unprecedented Upsurge In Global Oil Production Underway

In the tradition of resource economist Julian Simon, here are some of the conclusions and predictions from new research just published by Harvard Research Fellow Leonardo Maugeri, titled “Oil: The Next Revolution; The Unprecedented Upsurge of Oil Production Capacity”"

Potential U.S. Oil Boom Shakes Up Energy Politics

“The shale/tight oil boom in the United States is not a temporary bubble, but the most important revolution in the oil sector in decades,” he wrote. Greater U.S. production of those so-called unconventional oils will spur job creation and boost energy security, the report concludes, though it won’t insulate the U.S. from global price swings in the oil market or Middle East problems.

Mr. Maugeri has made many of the same arguments for years. But now, oil-production data is backing him up. The Eagle Ford shale play in Texas, for example, went from zero production to 300,000 barrels a day by December. Other fields have expanded even more dramatically.

Oil Falls as U.S. Supply Gain Counters Output Disruption

Oil fell in New York to trade below $80 a barrel for a fifth day on speculation demand is ebbing because of higher U.S. crude stockpiles and Europe’s debt woes, countering possible disruptions in output from Iran and Norway.

Futures tumbled as much 0.9 percent after the American Petroleum Institute said yesterday inventories rose 507,000 barrels last week. A government report today may show supplies slid 1.3 million barrels after unexpectedly climbing to a 22- year high the prior week. Iran’s exports will “gradually” fall amid maintenance on fields and reservoirs as a European Union embargo starts, according to Deputy Oil Minister Ahmad Qalebani. Three more Norwegian fields shut in a labor dispute.

Gas prices lowest since January as July Fourth approaches

NEW YORK -- The price of gasoline has dropped to the lowest level in five months, giving drivers some relief ahead of the July 4 holiday.

The national average fell to around $3.40 per gallon on Tuesday. Gas is now below $3 in South Carolina and under $4 in every other state in the continental U.S.

Gas is down 54 cents from its peak of $3.94 in early April thanks to a drop of more than 20 percent in the price of oil. The decline means Americans are spending roughly $200 million per day less at the pump. Yet the savings hasn't encouraged people to drive — or spend — more this summer. They're buying about 5 percent less gasoline than they did last year, even though a gallon is 18 cents cheaper.

South Carolina gas falls below $3 a gallon

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Gas prices continued their nationwide decline on Tuesday, as South Carolina became the first state in nearly a year and a half to hit an average of less than $3 per gallon.

Exclusive: Venezuela wants OPEC price band restored

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela wants OPEC to restore an oil price band, with a range of between $80 and $120 a barrel, to control global market volatility, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told Reuters.

The producer group in 2005 abandoned the band system, which made oil nations cut or increase output to keep prices within a $22 to $28 per barrel range that had been adopted in 2000.

Cattle-Hide Economy Slumping While Goldman Sees Rally

At a time when Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG are predicting the bear market in commodities will end, a gauge of prices for raw materials from cow hides to steel is extending the longest slump since it presaged the global recession in 2008.

Credit Suisse said June 21 that an economic recovery will spur a 9.3 percent gain in commodities in 12 months and Goldman forecast a 29 percent return on June 11. A measure of industrial commodities from the Journal of Commerce that includes rubber, plywood and burlap is signaling contraction for an 11th month, the longest stretch since a retreat of the same duration that began in August 2008.

Suncor eyes Chinese help for oil sands projects: CEO

BEIJING (Reuters) - Suncor Energy is seeking partnerships with Chinese companies to help build its oil sands projects as Canada's top oil producer and refiner struggles with ballooning costs, its top executive said on Wednesday.

"The availability of highly skilled labor is a challenge to oil sands, so we are looking at the option to help with that," said Steven Williams, who became president and chief executive officer of Canada's largest oil sands producer earlier this year.

Tradesmen protest at Exxon's UK Fawley refinery

(Reuters) - Local UK tradesmen demonstrated outside the entrance to Exxon Mobil's Fawley refinery on Wednesday to demand that contractors working on a plant overhaul in the months ahead employ workers under the terms of an industry agreement widely used in Britain.

Norway oil industry increases loss estimate from strike

(Reuters) - The strike among Norwegian oil workers has now cut output by 240,000 barrels of oil per day, higher than previously estimated, The Norwegian oil industry association said on Wednesday.

Chesapeake CEO Disavowed Role in 2008 Plunge, Sold Shares

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon disavowed any role in the plunge in the company’s stock price in October 2008 after he had sold more than 31 million shares to meet margin calls.

Encana Expands in Michigan Shale Chesapeake Is Abandoning

Encana Corp., which is probing allegations it colluded to rig land auctions in Michigan, has been expanding in the state’s burgeoning shale-exploration region after one-time rival Chesapeake Energy Corp. decided to quit the area.

Saudi jails Al Qaida-linked group for US forces plot

A Saudi court has sentenced 11 men to up to 15 years in prison for membership of a cell linked to Al Qaida that planned to attack US forces in Kuwait and state-owned Saudi oil giant Aramco, Saudi media reported on Wednesday.

Iran acknowledges oil exports down 20-30 pct

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Iran acknowledged for the first time on Wednesday that its oil exports have fallen sharply, down 20-30 percent from normal volumes of 2.2 million barrels daily.

A National Iranian Oil Company official in Moscow denied exports had been hit by sanctions against Iran's nuclear programme, saying that oilfields were under maintenance and crude production was being diverted for refining.

But the admission that exports have fallen substantially is a change of tack from Tehran which until now has denied that the U.S. and European measures have had much or any impact.

S.Korea to halt Iran oil imports as EU ban bites

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea became the first major Asian consumer of Iranian crude to announce a halt to imports after the government said they would be suspended from July 1 due to a European Union ban on insuring tankers carrying Iranian oil.

The insurance ban makes it almost impossible to ship Iranian oil as most insurance is undertaken by EU-based companies and the move comes as part of a series of measures designed to put pressure on Iran to halt what the United States and others say is a nuclear weapons programme.

Falling oil prices put Iran over U.S. sanctions barrel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - For most of this year, the threat of tough U.S. sanctions on Iran, the world's third-largest oil exporter, helped push crude oil prices higher and higher, adding a menacing headwind for struggling global economies.

But in the past few weeks, a combination of higher output from Iran's rival Saudi Arabia and economic troubles in China and Europe have pushed oil prices down 25 percent, putting the threat of sanctions back squarely on Iran.

Indonesia's Pertamina seeks to import Iraqi crude, acquire stakes in oil fields in Iraq

Indonesia's state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina is seeking to import crude oil from Iraq to meet the country's refineries' needs. The company is also exploring acquiring stakes in some of Iraq's producing fields, a senior official said Wednesday.

Buyer beware of $10 mln discounts on Nigerian oil

GENEVA (Reuters) - Little-known firms claiming to have privileged access to prized sweet crude oil from Nigeria are offering to sell it at such deep discounts that traders say the deals are too good to be genuine.

Documents seen by Reuters show spot cargoes of several hundred thousand barrels of crude can be picked up at discounts of up to $10 million.

But the documents are suspiciously flawed, suggesting the financial scams for which Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, is notorious have spread to its oil sector.

Angola oil exports to hit 2 1/2-yr high in August

LONDON (Reuters) - Angola's oil exports are on course to hit a 2 1/2-year high of 1.87 million barrels per day (bpd) in August, a revised loading schedule showed on Wednesday, weighing on crude prices in the West African market.

Shipment from Africa's second-largest producer have not been as high since February 2010, when they reached 1.88 million bpd, according to Reuters records based on loading programmes provided by trading sources.

Lithuania calls 1st shale gas exploration tender

VILNIUS (Reuters) - Baltic state Lithuania, aiming to reduce its dependency on Russian gas, is keen to invest in shale gas and has called its first exploration tender, the Energy Ministry said on Wednesday.

"Shale gas could become a realistic and economically competitive alternative to natural gas supplied by Gazprom , now the sole gas supplier," the ministry said in a statement.

Japan expects to import 20% of LNG from N.America

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan expects to import 15 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from North America per year from as early as 2016 once the United States lifts restrictions on exports to the world's biggest LNG buyer.

A group of Japanese cabinet ministers on Wednesday cited the volume estimate, which amounts to about 20 percent of Japan's annual LNG imports, in a discussion on how to drive growth of the world's third-biggest economy after last year's Fukushima nuclear crisis, a government official said at a news conference.

Exxon CEO says low US natgas prices not sustainable

(Reuters) - Current prices for U.S. natural gas are not sustainable for the energy industry to continue to cover the cost of finding and producing new supplies, the head of Exxon Mobil said Wednesday.

"The cost of supply is not $2.50. We are all losing our shirts today," Rex Tillerson, chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil, said in a presentation at the Council of Foreign Relations.

Natural gas gold rush: Is your state next?

The script might not play out exactly the same in each new community touched by the nationwide boom in natural gas and oil drilling, but the changes have a familiar echo:

Trucks. Noise. Cash. Conflict.

Since the late 1990s, American landscapes have become dotted with a small forest of shale gas wells — 13,000 new ones a year, or about 35 a day, according to the American Petroleum Institute. In the past decade, this steady stream of development has become a gusher as nearly half the country has staked claim to these energy riches. In 2000, the USA had 342,000 natural gas wells. By 2010, more than 510,000 were in place — a 49% jump — according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Shell Is Likely to Receive Permits for Oil Drilling Off Alaska

WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday that it was “highly likely” that the agency would grant Shell permits to begin drilling exploratory wells off the North Slope of Alaska as early as next month.

Canada builds up arctic region defenses

OTTAWA (UPI) -- Canada is building up arctic defenses as part of its long-term program of projecting Canadian presence in a region increasingly claimed by competing powers.

Effects, including melting ice, of global climate change on the Arctic Ocean and Arctic Circle have raised possibilities the region may open up to maritime navigation and competing naval operations by Canada and neighbors in Europe.

Salazar: U.S. to open more of Arctic Ocean to oil, gas drilling

Even as the first offshore drilling in the Arctic in nearly two decades is poised to get underway, Obama administration officials said Tuesday they are preparing to open additional areas of the Arctic Ocean to oil and gas exploration.

Such exploration will be part of a “targeted leasing” strategy that will place a few of the most sensitive areas — including prized wildlife habitat just north of Barrow, Alaska — off-limits but will allow new leasing in 2016 in the Chukchi Sea and 2017 in the Beaufort Sea.

Green light for 1,500MW Abu Dhabi power plant

Abu Dhabi's Executive Council has given the green light for a large power plant to help meet the growing need for electricity in the capital and the Northern Emirates.

The plant, due to be completed in 2015, will be built in the town of Mirfa in the emiratewith the capacity to generate 1,500 megawatts of electricity and desalinate 53 million gallons of water per day.

Brazil may cancel, pay for 'strategic' mine rights

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil is considering cancelling some mineral rights in areas considered "strategic" and compensating mining companies for prospecting work done on those claims, high-level Brazilian government and mining industry officials told Reuters.

If enacted, the plan could limit exploration rights and raise prospecting costs of companies with mining operations in the country, such as Brazil's Vale SA and MMX Mineração e Metalicos SA, Great Britain's Anglo American Plc and Australia's BHP Billiton.

New Norway-Germany power cable

Statnett has signed an agreement in Germany which will mean the construction of a new power cable between the two countries by 2018.

Texas needs gas and nuclear to keep the power on

Last summer's heat wave pushed Texas' electric power grid to its limit. For example, on August 3, power demand approached 70,000 megawatts, or 96 percent of the state's generating capacity. Had a major plant gone offline that afternoon, many businesses and households would have experienced brownouts or blackouts. Luckily, as a result of voluntary curtailments by large electricity consumers, that did not happen.

Vermont Loses Bid to Block Entergy Nuclear Plant License

The state of Vermont lost its challenge to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s renewal of a license for a nuclear power plant owned by Entergy Corp.

A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington today dismissed a lawsuit filed against the commission by the Vermont Department of Public Service and the New England Coalition, a nuclear-safety watchdog group, after finding that they failed to raise objections to an environmental study directly to the NRC.

Inquiry on Nuclear Chief Finds No Rules Were Broken

On the eve of the resignation of Gregory B. Jaczko, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the commission’s inspector general has issued a report that exonerates him of some of the charges against him.

Supporters Join Foes to Claim Victory After NRC Report

Supporters and opponents of departing U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko used a fresh inspector general’s report on his management and use of authority to claim vindication.

9 utilities reject all shareholders' anti-nuclear appeals

Nine electric power companies stood firm on June 27 on nuclear power generation, rejecting all anti-nuclear proposals from their shareholders, including one from Osaka city to Kansai Electric Power Co., which sought the abolition of all its nuclear power plants.

The rejections were made in their annual shareholders’ meetings of nine of the 10 utilities, except Okinawa Electric Power Co., operating in Japan.

Tepco’s New Chief Sees No Plan B to Revive Profitability

Tokyo Electric Power Co., owner of the crippled Fukushima reactors, is committed to restarting another nuclear plant, the world’s biggest, next year, setting up the government controlled utility for further conflicts with a nuclear-shy public.

Starting up the bigger plant, known as Kashiwazaki Kariwa that was itself damaged in a 2007 earthquake, is part of “Plan A,” Naomi Hirose, the 59-year-old president of the utility known as Tepco, said in a June 18 interview. The plan refers to a 10-year business reconstruction that handed control to the government. “We have no choice right now but to do our best to carry out Plan A,” he said. “We don’t have a Plan B.”

Japanese Shareholders Starting to Show Their Teeth

TOKYO — To say that Yui Kimura is a distressed investor might be an understatement: She is a small shareholder in the operator of the tsunami-stricken nuclear power plant at Fukushima, Tokyo Electric Power, whose shares have lost nine-tenths of their value.

Now, she would like the company to at least face up to its responsibilities to the more than 100,000 people who have been driven from their homes in the disaster. She co-sponsored four resolutions at the annual shareholders’ meeting Wednesday, including one demanding that the company decommission all of its nuclear reactors.

'Tasted so good': Japan sells first Fukushima seafood caught since nuke crisis

TOKYO — The first seafood caught off Japan's Fukushima coastline since last year's nuclear disaster went on sale Monday, but the offerings were limited to octopus and marine snails because of persisting fears about radiation.

Octopus and whelk, a kind of marine snail, were chosen for the initial shipments because testing for radioactive cesium consistently measured no detectable amounts, according to the Fukushima Prefectural (state) fishing cooperative. They were caught Friday and boiled so they last longer while being tested for radiation before they could be sold Monday.

Flounder, sea bass and other fish from Fukushima can't be sold yet because of contamination. It was unclear when they will be approved for sale as they measure above the limit in radiation set by the government. The government is testing for radioactive iodine as well, but its half-life is shorter than cesium and thus is less worrisome.

India to establish nuclear reactor that uses Thorium as fuel: Atomic Energy Commission chief

BHUBANESWAR: India is planning to establish a nuclear power plant that uses thorium as main fuel instead of uranium, which is used in the conventional reactors. "It is natural for India to go for thorium reactors given the abundance in its supply in the country. We are in the process of selecting an appropriate site for establishing one," said Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chairman R K Sinha.

Natural-Gas Cars Can Drive Us Toward a Better Economy

Armenia is not generally known as a world leader, but it holds at least one record: Seventy-five percent of its cars and trucks run on natural gas.

In the U.S., in contrast, the share is well under 0.1 percent -- even though natural-gas prices have plummeted here over the past few years. Given the problems associated with U.S. dependence on oil, more use of natural gas for transportation could carry big benefits.

Iceland drops high VAT tax for electric vehicles (well, mostly)

The charismatic Gislason, CEO of Northern Lights Energy, is even more excited about a bigger piece of news, though – he calls it "the hottest news in Iceland" – which is that the bill to reduce the high "value added tax" (VAT) rate on electric vehicles has passed.

Elon Musk's spacecraft soared; can his Tesla car do same?

FREMONT, Calif. – Elon Musk just proved that his commercial rocket venture could reach the International Space Station. Now, he wants to show well-heeled motorists on Earth how to navigate without gasoline.

Charging Mats Seen Boosting Market for Electric Vehicles

One reason electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have hit the market with a thud is that there are strings attached. Models such as the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf are tethered. Drivers need to plug in to recharge the battery.

A number of companies are developing ways to cut the cord, to replenish the battery wirelessly with a mat that sits on the floor. Coils on the underside of the car engage the charger when the car is parked over them. The mats are plugged in while the car isn’t. Automakers and suppliers expect to have the chargers ready for sale around 2015.

China’s First Wind-Farm Lull Limits Outlook for Sinovel

China, the world’s biggest builder of wind farms, is set for its first year of slower growth in almost a decade as plans founder for expanding offshore, hurting domestic turbine makers such as Sinovel Wind Group Co.

Developers will install 18.6 gigawatts of windmills, 7 percent less than last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The state is curbing construction on land so that power-delivery grids can catch up with the explosive growth of wind energy in recent years.

From food, fashion to flowers, sellers set up shop in trucks

A truck is a cheaper and faster way of doing business, one backed by the power of social media and the freedom to go to your customers, rather than waiting for them to come to you, says Dave Lavinsky, founder of Growthink, a firm that helps entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

"The mobile retail option literally saves hundreds of thousands of dollars," he says.

Why You Should Love Grasshopper Tacos and Kelp Pasta

About 200 years ago, the lobster was regarded by most Americans as a filthy, bottom-feeding scavenger unfit for consumption by civilized people. Frequently ground up and used as fertilizer, the crustacean was, at best, poor people’s food. In fact, in some colonies, the lobster was the subject of laws — laws that forbade feeding it to prisoners more than once a week because that was “cruel and unusual” treatment.

Things obviously changed for the one-time prisoner’s grub. It’s a gastronomic delicacy, the star of festivals, subject of odes to New England summers, a peer of prime rib.

I’m telling the story of the rise of lobster (as described in David Foster Wallace’s brilliant Gourmet piece “Consider the Lobster”) because it’s a tale of hope, a shining example of triumph over the yuck factor.

Is the quest for endless economic and population growth sustainable?

According to most economists - the west is in decline, the eurozone is in crisis and even emerging powerhouse countries like China and India have witnessed a slowdown in economic growth. With that in mind, a new phrase is starting to emerge in the vocabulary of some horizon scanners. That phrase is "peak GDP".

All of us have heard of peak oil but in a stirring, if somewhat ideological, article for PublicServiceEurope.com the American documentary film-maker Dave Gardner suggests that humanity's endless pursuit of economic growth and population growth is doomed. It could lead to peak food, peak water, peak biodiversity, peak energy and even peak gross domestic product – he argues.

Forget peak oil, we may have reached 'peak GDP'

Economic growth and population growth, these are undoubtedly the questions of our time. These questions are highlighted by most of today's major news events: climate disruption, economic meltdown, hunger, poverty, species extinction and economic inequity. We have all heard of peak oil, but we will find out in this century whether we are living in the era of peak everything: peak food, peak water, peak biodiversity, peak energy, peak population and even peak gross domestic product. Several of these scenarios are potentially cataclysmic and we face them precisely because we have been embracing values and pursuing policies that are inherently unsustainable.

Behind these values and policies is a nearly universal belief in the benefits and essentiality of growth. Increasing the scale of humanity - population and economic throughput - has long been considered both good and inevitable. As a civilization, we have avoided examining whether such expansion continues to benefit us and whether it is even feasible going forward.

A Novel Way to Clean Wastewater

Seven years ago, Paul Edmiston was working in his laboratory on a potential way to detect the presence of explosives. By accident, he created a material that acted as a powerful sponge that could absorb small organic compounds like gasoline, motor oil, and pesticides dissolved in water.

Today Dr. Edmiston, a professor of chemistry at the College of Wooster in Ohio, is hoping that his invention, dubbed Osorb, will have a new commercial application: cleaning the wastewater created by the drilling process called hydraulic fracturing.

DuPont Says Claims Over Herbicide Are Rising

DuPont, which introduced a herbicide last year that was later linked to the deaths of thousands of trees, has begun processing claims for compensation that are running into the hundreds of millions of dollars, company officials said.

Faces of the Lost: Photos from Brazil’s Controversial Belo Monte Dam

Belo Monte will be the world´s third-largest hydroelectric project and will displace up to 20,000 people while diverting the Xingu River and flooding as much as 230 square miles of rainforest. The controversial project is one of around 60 hydroelectric projects Brazil has planned in the Amazon to generate electricity for its rapidly expanding economy—and one that has generated an enormous amount of criticism.

Can One Person Really Make a Difference?

You may feel that your hands are simply too full with work or raising your kids to get into the "saving the planet" business. If you are curious enough to look through Cooler Smarter, though, you will still find valuable information. Many of the choices offered in the book won't just lower your emissions of carbon dioxide; they can also improve the quality of your life, save you money and time, and even improve your health.

That's what the people of Salina, Kansas, found when they entered a yearlong competition with neighboring cities in their state to see who could save the most on their energy bills. Many residents of Salina have doubts about the findings of climate science. Nonetheless, these Kansans say they don't like their nation's dependence on foreign oil; plus, like most Americans, they are thrifty and very much like saving money. During this contest, the entire city of Salina (population 46,000) was able to reduce its overall carbon dioxide emissions by 5 percent. Jerry Clasen, a local grain farmer, captured the prevailing sentiment, commenting, "Whether or not the earth is getting warmer, it feels good to be part of something that works for Kansas and for the nation."

Mayor rigs wacky A/C to keep his SUV chilled

Mayor Bloomberg wants to maintain his politically correct credentials on global warming — but hates to get into a hot car when he leaves an air conditioned building.

The solution his aides came up with could easily have doubled as a stunt on David Letterman’s show.

In full view of bemused tourists and other passers-by, workers yesterday performed what looked like a comedy routine: They hoisted a standard room air conditioner to a side window of one of the mayor’s SUVs parked in the City Hall lot to see if it would fit.

If the strange plan gets a green light, the units would be plugged into electrical outlets and cause less pollution than running the vehicles’ own A/Cs on an idling engine.

Irish people are in world's top 10 of worst polluters

Ireland produces almost double the EU average of carbon emissions per person each year, an Irish climatology expert has said.

And You Thought That Heat Wave Was Bad?

Using a measurement called "wet-bulb temperature," which Huber explains below, they modeled what might happen in several warming scenarios. At the point where the average global temperature rise hits 10°C, "even Siberia reaches values exceeding anything in the present-day tropics" and many populated parts of the globe might become, if habitable at all, places where the relatively affluent would likely find themselves "imprisoned" in air-conditioned spaces and where "power failures would become life-threatening." Lacking access to AC, the world's poor would have little choice but to flee. Even "modest" global warming, Huber and Sherwood conclude, could "expose large fractions of the population to unprecedented heat stress."

Exxon’s Rex Tillerson Says Global Warming ‘Manageable’

Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson said the effects of global warming are “manageable.”

People may need to adapt to a sea level rise and shift food production with climate change, Tillerson said at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York today.

Rising seas mean shrinking South Florida future, experts say

Under current projections, the Atlantic Ocean would swallow much of the Florida Keys in 100 years. Miami-Dade, in turn, would eventually replace them as a chain of islands on the highest parts of the coastal limestone ridge, bordered by the ocean on one side and an Everglades turned into a salt water bay on the other.

Ben Strauss, chief operating officer of Climate Central, an independent research and journalism organization, warned that much of the southern peninsula south of Lake Okeechobee would be virtually uninhabitable within 250 years.

“There’s good reason to believe southern Florida will eventually have to be evacuated,” Strauss told some 275 scientists and climate and planning experts from government agencies, insurance companies, construction experts and other businesses likely to be impacted by rising seas.


Something occurred to me the other day: the future rarely turns out like we think it will, there are twists and turns that we don’t see coming. Yesterday I read some articles about how massive amounts of oil are being found or produced in new ways and how even more oil is on the way- liquids may not peak until 2030 some of these articles said. And I must admit that there is growing evidence that the peak is not in the “rear view mirror” so to speak. I then read some counter articles attacking this optimistic view- and the counter arguments also had sound points to make. Then I saw something that gave me a glimpse of the curve ball which may be coming our way- so here it is below:


As you can see, this is a map of drought conditions in the US. I check this map every week. Last year the map was in the news a lot because of the deep red super drought that gripped Texas and Oklahoma. This year there was not as much attention by the news media as there is not much dark red (severe drought) to go around. But if you look carefully, it is a remarkable map and one that may be more concerning than last year. What struck me first is just how much of the nation is experiencing dry conditions of some sort: about 75%. America is drying up as a nation this year and very little of the country is receiving normal precipitation. The other point of concern is that this year’s dry areas affect grain production far more than last year. The Corn Belt is getting hit hard. This will impact food prices widely as corn products are everywhere.

Now this is a dated map from last week and the recent tropical storm activity will help some areas as the new map comes out on Thursday. But it is also early in the summer. I would expect that overall drought conditions will only worsen as the blistering heat of the high sun wears on though September. America could be in a very bad place, moisture-wise, by fall.

And all this got me to thinking of something I remembered reading somewhere: two guys who knew about the amount of fossil fuels in the ground, and the CO2 they could produce, said there wasn’t enough fuel in the ground to cause significant global warming. In other words, Peak Oil will stop Climate Change. This struck me as odd back then but it wasn’t until later on that I realized why they were wrong: feedbacks. As the world warms it creates mechanisms that will lead to further warming. White reflective ice melts into dark heat absorbent colors, thawed methane is released which traps more heat, CO2 absorbing forests die from beetles that used to perish when there was a normal winter- and so on- the list is long. It occurred to me that you only need a small match to burn down a large forest, the dried up trees and wind funneling do the rest. We only need enough fossil fuels to kick start the process and we have done this part already. The forest is burning.

Now Americans generally don’t care much about Global Warming- that is, they don’t care enough to demand real change in policies or behaviors. But maybe this is because the forest fire is far away (to extend my metaphor). What happens if the smoke starts drifting though our yards? We suddenly become focused and fearful. So- what if our droughts become longer and more severe? Americans are not very motivated to save polar bears or stop global warming caused floods of other peoples’ houses. What would it take to shake us and wake us up?

I think there is only one thing that can cause a swift and severe attitude shift by average citizens to get serious about slowing global warming: food insecurity. Massive crop failures that drive up prices a little today but, more importantly, ring the alarm bells that the situation will continue to deteriorate if change doesn’t occur. Food is our most primal need, if a person is without food for a long enough time he will risk everything else to get it. Repeated food riots are almost a certain precursor to the fall of governments.

Global Warming is extremely unpredictable in many ways. We know the climate has changed in the past but our data is incomplete and scientists are uncertain how all the mechanisms and feedbacks may have interacted. The deterioration of a stable climate is inherently chaotic and very likely to be non-linear. Things could get worse fast, slow down, and then speed up again. There are experts about the components of climate but nobody really knows how it will play out and already many predictions have already been proven wrong. Global warming seems to morph as it moves from one stage to another: more hurricanes at this level, fewer at the next level- after that, who knows? The climate is so complex it becomes next to impossible to understand it completely. The variables are too many, too beyond some of our current knowledge base.

This is why it is sad to read James Lovelock say he and others were too alarmist about global warming years ago- how do we know yet what will happen? Maybe in a couple of years we will say he was right originally and is wrong later. It is disappointing to read Tom Murphy say that Peak Oil will be worse than Climate Change- how could he possibly know? The only scientific position is that we don’t know how global warming will play out- but that the worst case scenario is very bad. Any other statement is, to put it politely, BS. Humans are uncomfortable with uncertainty and crave answers, if there are no experts, or even if there can never be any experts on a scary subject- then we invent them, crown them and sooth ourselves with them. The true scientist finds that nobody wants to quote him.

And this is when, for the first time, I saw the curve ball that may be coming our way- the future that few anticipated: nobody will care about the Peak Oil debate in 10 to 15 years because the demand will be to stop using fossil fuels at whatever supply level is left (except to build renewable energy systems). The damage from global warming will so rock the psych of the public that food supply fear will overturn political orders and long standing attitude positions. Debates about how many years of oil are left will melt under the blazing heat of record setting days.

Mind you, I am not saying that this will definitely occur but that it is a growing possibility. I cannot stress this enough: climate change could be the ultimate nonlinear process: gradual warming followed by a big jump. History shows that the public can turn on a dime, in terms of changing long held beliefs. Tensions build up slowly until an idea takes over like wildfire. Your cars, vacations, and toys mean nothing when the real fear of food shortages takes hold.

I would be surprised if anyone on the Oil Drum agreed with me. Why study a subject if you think nobody will care about it in 10-15 years or that it may become socially irrelevant? I would expect the familiar counterarguments: global warming can’t be stopped easily so people will not even try to stop it, we will sacrifice others to starvation to feed ourselves, we will never accept a life without our toys, elites will fool the people, we could never scale down energy use dramatically.

But food is a powerful thing and the fear of future mass crop failure is a very frightening nightmare. Fear moves people to act in dramatic ways, unpredictable ways- even to the elites. Try to remember a time when you were really hungry for a long time. Do you remember how it changed your thinking and your priorities? What would you think if you saw empty store shelves? How do a long string of 105 degree days feel and what would it do to your fear level? Listen, I’m not saying this is for sure going to happen. But I keep going back to a gut feeling that has developed over the years: the future often turns out in a way that all our safe and secure charts failed to predict. How many people really saw 9-11 coming? How emotionally prepared were people when the Great Depression really hit and there was a run on banks? When events change quickly, people change quickly. Reading the Peak Oil debates, I kept wondering: what if none of this will matter in the end? What if Peak Oil becomes irrelevant?

Peak oil - even in the above scenario - is far from irrelevant. I have a weird feeling that industrial ag will take GCC into account and adjust the chemical mix accordingly - making us more dependent upon FF inputs.

In Poll, Many Link Weather Extremes to Climate Change

"A poll due for release on Wednesday shows that a large majority of Americans believe that this year’s unusually warm winter, last year’s blistering summer and some other weather disasters were probably made worse by global warming. And by a 2-to-1 margin, the public says the weather has been getting worse, rather than better, in recent years."

It's true that the majority of people don't act until the smoke is in their back yard. This is true for gasoline and electricity prices too.

The trade-offs will matter - higher energy prices or higher food prices - or both?

Fear of crop failures shows up first in futures prices, a fact not readily apparent until one visits the grocery store. Slow price increases are like a frog in slowly-warming water - he doesn't know when he's getting cooked.

Corn prices rise again as heat wilts Midwestern crops; other commodities mostly higher

If there was a massive crop failure, that would certainly wake people up, but probably rather too late. There would probably be food riots. One wonders if FEMA could handle the load. I'm not sure, though, if the call would be to stop using fossil fuels, or to burn whatever it takes to put chicken nuggets back on the menu.

I do agree with much of what you wrote. Reading this article, and those linked from it, just a few weeks ago has had me thinking about the implications of a drought that never really ends: http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-05-28/dust-bowlification-and-...

When you mention the possibility of things changing in 15 years, also remember the other effect of 15 years passing by - people age. Today's "climate change denialists" are generally older. In 15 years there will be less of them voting. There are few young denialists, most younger people accept the science. They will eventually be in charge of things...

Deja vu: (From May 6 2010)

I had a similar discussion with a friend a few years back. He gleefully predicted peak oil would stop AGW. I told him it was more like a sinking ship arriving too late to save a drowning witch.

a sinking ship arriving too late to save a drowning witch

Haha! This is a good one!

Interesting comment and replies - all very US-centric.

Can you imagine the scale of the disaster on a global scale if there were food riots because of a "food shortage" in the US? Maybe, literally, tens of millions of people starving to death.

I would guess you are off by at least an order of magnitude. Hundreds of millions or even a billion would be more likely.

I don't disagree, I was being conservative.

The next thing to extrapolate from that is the impacts such an event would have.... massive population movements, immigration, civil wars, cross-border conflict, etc.

Huge geopolitical implications which would make the Arab Spring look like a church outing. The shift to extremism, whether political or religious, would accelerate, as would isolationism/protectionism, leading quickly to fascism and police states (anyone think we're not already mostly there in the OECD?). Meanwhile, at a more local level, anti-capitalism will take stronger root as the gap between the haves and the have-nots widens to canyon-size.

The world is teetering on the edge of seismic changes .. it will not take much to tip it over that edge ... it will not be pretty.

... anti-capitalism will take stronger root as the gap between the haves and the have-nots widens to canyon-size.

Has the gap shrunk? It is already at least canyon-size, going on planetary (to be followed, we may be certain, by interplanetary).

At least, given the items posted today, Peak Oil is no longer relevant. Time to shut down TOD, I guess? Change the name to "The Climate Change Drum," or "The 99% Drum." Not that it will matter since the same crazies who now denigrate TOD would take an opposing stance to any of those positions.

Drill, baby, drill. Burn, baby, burn. Die, baby, die?

Best hopes in an out-of-control world.


This seems about the best time for TOD to be around and to be on it. (By the way, what does the apparent other usage of 'TOD' hereon mean?)

That we should be leaving our basic necessities for survival-- food, clothing, shelter-- in the hands of relatively unknown people far away seems like madness. To say nothing of the air, water, land and resources.

I refer back to the Iron Law of Oligarchy... We are out of scale, of simplicity.

Peak government too.

Turn the oil drums into bathtubs and stoves.

Alan Drake is a champion for 'TOD' = Transit-Oriented Development. You may see that occasionally.

Ah yes, thanks, Steve.

Imagine a people-oriented development! Woo!

What about ToDev? TorDev? LNTBS (live near the bus stop :-)

Instead of a corporation -oriented development.


Interesting comment and replies - all very US-centric.

Consider also that weather records in the US, particularly out West, record only 150 years give or take. The Old World on the other hand has a much longer history from which to draw conclusions.

Some years back, National Geographic published an article, "Drying of the West", which analyzed this very concept - and reported one conclusion drawn from analysis of calcified/preserved ancient tree rings that the settling of the west coincided with what is revealed to be the wettest cyclic period of all the cycles recorded in the rings - and that the norm is much, much more dry.

Google and ye shall find!


There is no doubt, as a matter of law, that greenhouse gases produced by man-made activity is causing global warming.

The Supreme Court and the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia have both indicated:

A well-documented rise in global temperatures has coincided with a significant increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Respected scientists believe the two trends are related. For when carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, it acts like the ceiling of a greenhouse, trapping solar energy and retarding the escape of reflected heat. It is therefore a species—the most important species—of a “greenhouse gas.”

Calling global warming “the most pressing environmental challenge of our time,” a group of States, local governments, and private organizations, alleged in a petition for certiorari that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has abdicated its responsibility under the Clean Air Act to regulate the emissions of four greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide. [-Supreme Court]
Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007)—which clarified that greenhouse gases are an “air pollutant” subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act (CAA)—the Environmental Protection Agency promulgated a series of greenhouse gas-related rules.[-DC Circuit]

(Have The Courts Fallen For The Greatest Hoax?). The deniers are now at odds with the law which may lead to civil liability in lawsuits against greenhouse gas emitters and deniers.

How a Bunch of Corporate-Backed Buffoons Took Over U.S. Climate Policy

"Deprived of actual publishing scientists to work with, they’ve relied on a small troupe of vaudeville performers, featuring them endlessly on their websites....

...If your urge is to laugh at this kind of clown show, the joke’s on you -- because it’s worked. I mean, James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who has emerged victorious in every Senate fight on climate change, cites Motl regularly; Monckton has testified four times before the U.S. Congress."

Now we wait for knock-down, drag-out fights through the courts, probably taking years, only to have climate legislation overturned 5-4 by the SCOTUS. In other words, one person determines the fate of climate legislation. Is that a democracy in action ?

Lubos Motl is scary smart in physics and he can wear anyone down in the amount of inforrmation that he can produce. Yet that is the only guy they have with any intellectual heft. But then he makes these bonheaded moves like suggesting that the Norwegian psychokiller had a point.

I engage with the climate skeptics and apart from Motl, its very easy to hold ground.

What they can't stand hearing is the spin-off energy technologies coming off the de-carbonization push. When you mention that this is good for combatting climate change and peak oil, their heads start to explode.

Peak oil is a high probability, medium risk outcome.
Climate change is an uncertain probability, high risk outcome.

Put together, risk mitigation is a no-brainer.

They hate hearing this kind of logic.

"Peak oil is a high probability, medium risk outcome.
Climate change is an uncertain probability, high risk outcome."

Uh, would say peak oil is at the root of the current crisis, and also a very high risk outcome although the risk casualty might be more current civilisation than the climate, even if climate change is also a risk to current civilisation ...

And the best mitigation regarding peak oil still is volume based fuel taxes, you don't even need to talk CO2 for that.

I'm convinced that we are now paying the almost complete outsourcing of the "Peak oil necessary alarmism" towards the "CO2/climate necessary alarmism", "proof" : after the first oil schock we weren't talking CO2, but it's at that time that serious volume based fossile fuel taxes have been set up in Europe, with clear results in efficiency difference (and associated energy bills).
Today the CO2 message gets more or less diluted (let's get serious we have a "financial crisis"), when this "financial crisis" is really a monstruous oil shock at the core, and isn't even labeled as such so obviously nothing is done about it.

I wanted to phrase it in relative terms.
Risk is higher for AGW because it has the possibility of getting out of control.
Yet that possibility is much less than the certainty of fossil fuel depletion.

The mix of risks makes it straightforward for risk mitigation. One can't go wrong in planning.

If one of the "spin-off energy technologies" actually works at a reasonable price, or at least shows good promise of doing so if scaled up enough to care about - or for that matter, if Vinod Khosla is spending his own money - how is that a problem? Or is it just that even if they're accustomed to government-sponsored research and eccentric billionaires, they see the development phase as a treasure-chest for corrupt officials handing out money to their buddies?

There are several alternative energy technologies which work. The problem is, they don't work like fossil fuels. That's because the renewables require the addition of storage to that which provides the energy, a step which fossil fuels don't need to include, since they are already stored. As a result, it may turn out that renewables may never become cost competitive with fossil fuels without subsidies. Then too, there are already several long established subsidies for fossil fuels, including the fact that the equipment to use them has been optimized over many decades of availability and the distribution systems are already in place for the most part.

E. Swanson

Volume based taxes on fossile fuels is a much better policy than subsidies on alternatives.

1) It favors as much efficiency and conservation as alternative production (and more to gain in conservation considering the starting point)
2) Subsidies favors the rich usually as much as taxes impair the poor (it's not a family in an appartment project that will put PV on its roof or buy an electric car)
3) from a fiscal perspective subsidies come one way or another from taxes
4) more importantly subsidies are highly prone to errors on "what makes sense to do", typically corn ethanol, taxes let this judgement activity on "what should be done" to the market.

Subsidies are ok on R&D, otherwise in general clearly not the best policy (but of course first thing would be to remove them on fossile).

As far as predicting the future goes it's all part of one much larger system. Problem with predictions, it is very hard to take all systems and all relationships into account, couple that with having to guess at a lot of the variables within each system. That being said, energy is a very key component in food production, for example the drought conditions are being mitigated to some extent by the energy for transportation over distance and irrigation. If we had truly unlimited supplies of energy we could even take the lack of rain out of the equation. Do not misunderstand the drought is significant, but energy from a regional point of view is necessary to feed the world as well.

Nice write-up, C8. I think you and I have reached the same conclusion: Our species has systemically screwed itself, and many other lifeforms as well. Whether or not we solve our energy/peak oil predicaments, and even if humans collectively begin to respond in mass to the causes/effects of depletion, environmental degradation, over-population, etc. (some forcing will be involved), we humans are damned if we do,, damned if we don't at this point. Our species has set itself a tough row to hoe, at least for several centuries. I've listed the many pitfalls we've created for ourselves and won't do so again here, but, that we've maxed out virtually every system required to sustain our current status quo is becoming quite evident. We face an unprecedented synchronicity of changes in the relative near term, and climate change will be paramount and fundamentally unavoidable. I've seen nothing to change my opinion on this. What to do?

While I have no hope of altering humankind's destructive path, I (we, locally) are keeping to the tasks that, if nothing else, help us feel like we're responding in the only sensible ways we can. On the subject of recurring/permanent drought and food security, I've spent much of the last two weeks improving the water system for our garden and livestock, and we are in one of the few areas that isn't currently in a drought condition according to the map (though this seems to be changing over the last few weeks).

We've had two spring-fed 1200 gallon cisterns supplying the house for 15 years. Last week we installed this 1600 gallon cistern on the hill above our garden/bottom land. It is fed by this spring which is in the forest above the garden, and has proven to be quite drought resistant in the past.

The spring is piped via the creek bed to this smaller tank, and pumped to the cistern on the hill with this small pump, powered by this PV panel. Our groundhogs are quite pleased with the overall layout, as are the crops. The PV photo also shows the pond we've been using (in the background), fed by a different watershed/spring.

Virtually all of the major components of the system are recycled/retasked, from salvage, much of it free. The large tank was purchased years ago from a defunct chicken hatchery for $300 where it was used to transport a slurry of egg shells, and has been sanitized. This spring water is quite potable.

The point is to not be wallowing in despair and fear, but to be taking action in whatever way one can. Greer, Foss, Kunstler, and many others have been beating this drum for years, and I consider the message to be a valid one. It's never too late, even if the end result is only to go down fighting. I have no idea how things will unfold, but hope this system will be useful to someone for many years. Building resilience, one day, one acre at a time...

I'm always finding something to laugh about.

This week it was Mutinus caninus in the large vegetable bed.

Ha! Imagine some guy at a speed-dating affair: "Hi! I'm Rolf, and I'm a Stinkhorn Specialist"... and they do stink. Little chance of someone mistaking them for edible, but likely a good sign in your garden.

They are a good sign. The button is edible.

C8 -- I think you're spot-on. Running a dairy inside the drought zone right now, and I can assure you that if this becomes the new norm, my farm is hosed. 95 degrees in SW Michigan in March, when we should be flirting with snow, is an indicator to me that we've flipped a switch somewhere. Forecast for my area has every day above 90 with no chance of rain. My pastures are about 85% dead now -- this will undoubtedly be the coup de grace.

I always assumed that there would be some major event, a "come to Jesus" moment for the general populace when they decided to take climate change seriously. Seems to me that we've already had several that should've qualified, and I'm hearing nothing but crickets.

Yes, I agree, if the Russians did not make a signficant change after their heatwave in 2010, who will? Some of the wheat fields imploded into flames. The pain was mostly exported and the Arab Spring commenced.

I always assumed that there would be some major event, a "come to Jesus" moment for the general populace when they decided to take climate change seriously. Seems to me that we've already had several that should've qualified, and I'm hearing nothing but crickets.

I made the same assumption and also can only hear the crickets. Why is it so hard to get?

Because we can see time and time again that people seem to decide to act on the message and warning too late. It does not help that people have been lied to so often over the past couple generations by everyone, the various government agencies, the corporations, thier own families. If 8 out of every 10 facts I hear are later proved false why not just toss Global Warming and Peak Oil into the same pile? Trust me I know what I am talking about. :)

I have read a number of times in books by cognitive psychologists that we generally do not absorb facts that conflict with our world view. Or to quote cognitive scientist George Lakoff: "If the facts don't fit the frame, the facts are rejected." That is why it is so hard to get. The more I have learned about how the human brain works, the more convinced I have become that we don't have a chance of solving these major problems.

Certainly not in the age of mass media- where every crackpot can have their views disseminated and where every person with a particular world view can find somebody who agrees with them. Nothing cements a world view like knowing that there are others who agree with you. Secondly, courtesy of our education that has emphasized self worth over knowledge and achievement everybody feels that their view has as much validity as somebody who has spent a lifetime studying the field- sort of like the Holiday Inn - I feel smarter cause I stayed at a Holiday Inn. Lastly, issues have become so much more nuanced that it is often impossible for people to really understand them and we substitute another question that we can answer - which we think is the same question but often isn't. see "Think fast and slow"

I was reading one of the news articles, and one man was apparently very frustrated with the government's response - paraphrasing - why couldn't they have got to it earlier and put the danged thing out before it got this big ? Ignoring the fact that weather conditions play a big role in size and speed of travel.

This was likely one of the same people that wouldn't pay more in taxes to support the fire department.

When it comes to actually paying out of one's pocket to prevent something, that, apparently can't be done. However, people know to to blame when things go wrong. Perhaps it is time to start handing out a few mirrors.

My guess has generally been that it is going to take a good 6 inches or a foot of sea level rise before people take it seriously. Of course, it may be too late to do much about it then. :-/

The fires are already here! Colorado is engulfed in flames:

Epic' Fire Forces Tens of Thousands to Flee in Colorado
Predictions of more frequent and intense fires fueled by climate change contained in recent study
- Common Dreams staff

A record-breaking heat wave in Colorado has generated what one local fire chief called a 'firestorm of epic proportions' and forced approximately 32,000 people to flee their homes near the town of Colorado Springs.

A coworker of mine lives in Colorado - she can see the smoke from her window atop a
Colorado peak. Another coworker who used to live in Colorado says the Air Force Academy
was being evacuated.
At one point do people wake up?

Personally I believe we ARE facing Peak Oil, Climate Change, the shortage of water and other key resources while we are sawing off the limb we are sitting on by destroying
all the Earth's natural systems.

From My cousin in Colorado Springs:

Six to eight miles (from my deck it looks like it's next door!)
We got sprinkled with ash and heavy smoke yesterday from 4pm til midnight.

The fire tripled in size in 4 hours when the wind changed and blew down the canyons just south of the airforce academy. 36,000 mandatory evacuated.

It's now 16,000 acres and a good portion of it is in the city on the west side of I-25. They closed I-25 for most of the evening due to visibility and TA's.

We know lot's of folks who lost their homes up there. I'd estimate three to five hundred homes burned to the ground.... not sure as no one knows yet.

Listening to joint fire command on my scanner and at one point the chiefs and commander conversations were like this "triage - take a stand - make a difference - save what's standing - knock down the worst and get out - resign the area - bump up to perrigrin join engin 51 - accountability check - staging 25 amr ambulances - fuel and chow at 30th and centennial" - etc.

This fire won't be controlled any time soon we expect 7-10 days with 100 degree temps and no precip - winds 20mph to 60mph at times.

Epic losses, armagedon, apocolyptic, and if this crosses hwy 24 or I-25 we're all scre

Little boxes, on the hillside
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
Little boxes on the hillside
And they all burn just the same...

A lot of praying in the comments. We'll all be paying for federal flood fire insurance before it's over. I guess it's cheaper to rebuild these homes than to construct fire-resistant structures in the first place.

Yep. And in a year or so you can bet there will be a bunch of triumphalist articles about how everything's "back to normal" and the unbroken American can-do-ism is re-building everything. That's how MSM will report it, anyhow.No lessons learned. No humility. As usual.
The people who live through it: not so much.

Maybe if people stop encroaching the borderlands of towns like C-Springs into the forest and more of them learn to live in the cities these tragedies will be less of a problem. Perhaps cities such as C-Springs should migrate East onto the plains and leave a buffer between their Western edge and the forest.

Article: For the first time in 100 years, U.S. cities are growing at a faster rate then their suburbs...due to more young people wanting to live in the city, closer to jobs and other people.


Perhaps this trend bears witness to Alan's assertion that some 30% of U.S. citizens want to live in Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)...BTW, I recommend spelling out Transit-Oriented Development vice using the acronym TOD for a while...it is not yet a commonly-known term.

Back to the hypocrisy of some folks with respect to the government: When the city of Minot flooded last year...


...there were many stories about how the locals were resilient and took care of their own (and these stories were absolutely true)...there were citations of people stating that the independent folks of Minot ND didn't need federal aid (sometimes tied to the mention of 'unlike those people in New Orleans')...but who. Nelly, soon enough the tune changed to many people bitching about how they were 'only' getting $30K per ruined house from FEMA!

What will be telling is whether the folks in Minot turn the valley into a green-way/parkland and rebuild most of those valley structures up on the North and South hills, or whether they lose their minds and rebuild in the valley of the Souris river...which per historical records will be an unimpressive ditch until the next flood withing ~ 30 years destroys everything again...

The only scientific position is that we don’t know how global warming will play out- but that the worst case scenario is very bad.

I agree. People prsume a linear warming trend over many decades with the far off year of 2100 as the point in time suggested when things have built to a point of much greater concern, which kicks the can down the road way too far IMHO. Fact is, ice core records show sudden weather changes have occured in the past and we do not know when feedbacks will accelerate climate change, switching it into a much higher gear. In my opinion peak oil and climate change are both pincering in on civilization and which one ends up being the coup de gras is anyone's guess.

That map of drought across many parts of the country should be much more worrisome and newsworthy than it is, but we still have a news service more interested in fluff than substance. I'm wondering if it is possible for the drought situation to reach a point where the cornbelt starts catching on fire and because its so hot, windy and dry, those fires cannot be put out and as they burn it reaches a point where people begin to panic about food supplies.

C8,a thought provoking article though US centric.Just read that in India the rain this year is about 75% of average.Considering that most of the irrigation there is rain fed the next harvesting seasons could be a troublesome situation.

Reportedly, they are carrying buckets of water to irrigate in North Korea. I am carrying buckets two times a week for some recently tranplanted bamboo, a couple of apple trees, and a few other odds and ends but to irrigate a whole country with buckets? Quite a change from the widespread global floods of 2011. This is absolutely insane.

Both Koreas suffering worst drought in a century

Parts of both countries are experiencing the most severe drought since record-keeping began nearly 105 years ago, meteorological officials in Pyongyang and Seoul said Tuesday.

The protracted drought is heightening worries about North Korea's ability to feed its people. Two-thirds of North Korea's 24 million people faced chronic food shortages, the United Nations said earlier this month while asking donors for $198 million in humanitarian aid for the country.

I think your scenario is spot on. However, as I read I expected another twist, and that is the fact that getting much of the remaining FF requires water, lots and lots of it. And the States are in a drought. So, you need water to get FF; you need water to grow food (and biofuel); you need water to make electricity. Your scenario is less complex than the likely reality. This is not a criticism, just an extension to your thoughts.


Hi C8

Thanks for the map.

re: "Tom Murphy say that Peak Oil will be worse than Climate Change - how could he possibly know?"

Well, aside from asking him directly, my guess is that one need only to consult the many charts on decline rate, including the ELM charts.

Since the industrial civilization we currently have runs on FF, this means a decline in EROEI (or however one wishes to conceptualize it) also enters into the picture of how much energy is available for end use and how it is apportioned between users, including regions and projects (such as war or agriculture).

Then, we have the phenomenon that the decline in oil (and decline in EROEI) is manifest as a financial crises, not an oil crises. Or, I should say - not necessarily as an oil crises.

This means that a sudden disjuncture in economic arrangements - (see current financial crises) - is a distinct, and many claim entirely predictable, outcome of the decline in oil, (along with decline in EROEI).

Then, we have the issue that to do things like move food from one place to another requires FF. As does moving people out of harm's way, as do attempts to repair the damage, eg. plant trees and change to more sustainable agriculture systems.

re: "climate change could be the ultimate nonlinear process"

Yes, it could be. The funny thing is, peak oil is for sure - if one follows the trajectory of BAU.

IMVHO, there's no need to frame then question as an "either-or" proposition.

re: "Debates about how many years of oil are left will melt under the blazing heat of record setting days."

I see the most important point in discussing peak oil to be to understand the role of oil and the impacts of it's decline, and to understand what questions are relevant. How many years are left is a question, but it is not the most relevant question, esp. in the sense that one can analyze ranges of probability, just as one can analyze qualitative dependency relationships (i.e., what is oil used for).

My candidates for relevancy are the following: 1) Is it possible to create an industrial economy on an all-electricity basis? (With zero or minimal LTFs.) Let us include here, the other systems currently (in the industrialized world) which rely on this industrial economy: water purification and delivery, agricultural systems, waste disposal and treatment, etc. 2) If so, what is required to make this change? In terms of FF, labor, materials, finance, etc. and *time*? 3) Is it possible to run an industrial economy on this all-electricity basis, using so-called re-newables? 4) If so, what is required to make this change? 3) What are the immediate measures that can and must be taken to minimize human suffering? 5) What are the best uses of the remaining oil? And so forth. (www.oildepletion.wordpress.com) (Sign now and beat the crowd.) :)


re: "What if Peak Oil becomes irrelevant?"

It's important to understand peak oil because it's what machines run on and the machines are supporting the 7 billion humans, in one way or another. (Or, I should say - supporting while killing them off, as well, as the case may be, eg. wars machines, drones, bombs, car wrecks etc.)

This means that positive action involving any use of machines whatsoever requires understanding the oil picture.

And...oil's role the financial picture, etc.

And...this understanding is where it becomes possible to take any mitigating action that may be possible.

And...there's a lot we actually do know about how to create something different.

I live in Colorado. The fear is here and yet the local news media scarcely mentions climate as a cause of all these fires. The Governor wants us to pray.

And as the jet stream sags, we have had the opposite problem. I had to replant potatoes as they rotted in their field....usually we grow several hundred pounds for family. Our kitchen garden is doing nothing, and if we didn't have a huge greenhouse for the heat loving plants, we would have nothing this year.

I had to use lights for most of this years broilers...I thought they might die from the cold.

I just lit the fire in our woodstove...end of June?!!?

I usually set out our dock in mid May....I won't put it in for two more weeks as the river is still too high and there is stil 9ft snow at 4500 feet...mountain just above us.

Our Province is flooding throughout the interior. Huge floods.

Local farmers cannot hay when they should be planning number 2 about now. Grass/hay all gone to seed.

Raining hard right now. When I feel depressed I think or say to my wife, "oh well could be worse, we could be burning up like Colorado". Seriously, that is what we say.

This is Vancouver Island.


Here in Sweden, I have two set of winter clothes, a heavy for the realy cold, and a light for when it is not so cold. In April, I hung the light winter cloths back in the wardrobe. In May, I took em out again. Now in late June, I still have it out on the hanger. Yes I walked barefoot to the grocery store today, but I had the light winter jacket and a fleece liner yesterday. This is the coldest summer in my expeience since 2004. I hate this kind of summers.

By contrast, we are near, hitting or exceeding record highs for the day :(


England is flooding and the temperatures are all over the place. The parents had the fire on in the middle of June.

The last of the anti-climate change sentiment isn't going to last much longer if this keeps up. In fact I expect a nasty backlash soon.

The backlash will be brief lasting until they consider what they have to do to fix the problem.

Meanwhile my garden is withering in the heat, and I am running low on water in the mountains of Arizona.

Summing up june, it indeed was a bad month. In Stockholm they have measued rain since 1786 and this was the rainyest june ever. Someother places have set their all time high rain for the month. For vaccation purposes, this June has now been ranked officially as the badest since 1991.

Some humoristic people sent out a fake press relase stating that June has been cacelled due to technical problems, and instead they will make a rerun of an older month.

Peak Oil is not irrelevant. Actually, Peak Oil should never have been called just that. It's a misnomer. You can get the oil out of the ground at high enough prices, which is what is happening right now. The problem is resource depletion and the higher cost in labor, materials and money for new fossil fuel energy.

Peak Oil is not irrelevant. But where I agree with you is that climate change, in my opinion, is the knockout punch. People and civilizations can eventually adapt to use new energy sources (solar, wind, etc). What people and civilizations are terrible about adapting to is an increasingly harsh climate. If the US dries up and we have drastically less food production our nation will simply become unable to support an indigenous population of the current size, much less add wealth through exports. In climate change, we all end up on shrinking islands. Very bad scenario. And that's before even the worst feedbacks kick in.

Iran oil export decline

This does not come as a surprise. The IEA published a graph in the Medium Term Oil Market Report in July 2011:

Iran crude oil decline to 2016

And those who think we can enjoy low oil prices for a long time, this IMF report contains the budget-break-even oil prices for ME oil suppliers

Iraq: $100, Iran $85, Saudi Arabia $80

Middle East
and Central Asia Oct 2011

RE: New study forecasts sharp increase in world oil production capacity, and risk of price collapse

110 million barrels of oil per day by 2020? I wonder if Maugeri would be willing to place a wager on this prediction. I've got the under!

If the world extracts 110 million barrels of all liquids in 2020, the climate will be fooked anyway. Mr. Maugeri would probably disagree.

He gives himself a classic 'out': the 110 mbpd is productive capacity, not actual production. I doubt you could get him to agree to a measurable definition of 'capacity'.

In one chart he suggests that the US had 8 mbpd of productive capacity in 2011, 30% greater than our actual production that year. It occurs to me that all that spare capacity we had would have come in handy when Brent (and Gulf Coast) prices went to $120-plus/bbl. With the supernormal profits that were available in the market, you would think we would have produced flat out.

He is basically updating/repackaging the IHS/CERA talking points, circa 2006. After repeated failed calls for price collapse over that period, CERA now prefers to work through surrogates, it seems.

EDIT -- This seems like the right time to bring back the infamous ExxonMobil declaration, in 2004, that they would 'bury the world in oil' if the price moved above $40/bbl. While I should perhaps be less snarky to an expert who is looking at all the potential new oil/liquids supply, I would argue that such an analyst should put themselves in the shoes of XOM at that time, and say: what did they so firmly believe that turned out not to be true? Are there perhaps lessons there that inform a similar analysis today?

I'm not so sure people are believing these flood of oil predictions. If they believed them, then shouldn't the stock market go up? If we have cheap oil for the next 10 years, that should give the economy a real kick . . . but markets don't seem to agree.

Markets (i.e. people) are jittery about all sorts of stuff right now, including the euro situation.

spec - One might not even classify their prediction as a "flood" even if it happens. And certainly not "unprecedented" as they offer. They are predictng a 2%/year increase. In the 60's oil production increased about 20%/year (an increase of over 30 millions bopd in 9 years)for most of that decade. I might cal;l that a flood. The details are posted below.


This is extremely interesting. A 20% growth rate in the 60's might explain a whole lot. Do you have data on growth rates per decade before and subsequent? I saw your comment below, but I should think a graph of decade over decade growth rates (if not annual) might reveal some very interesting dynamics that would correlate with global economic phenomena. If you don't have it maybe you could point me in the direction of where it can be found. I'm a theory guy so don't dabble much in historical data modeling except where it can be used to test a theoretical model.


Yeah, I had the same reaction. We currently squabble non-stop about tax-rates on growth because it is one thing that the government controls. But the tax-rates are probably largely irrelevant to economic growth compared to oil production growth rates and oil prices.

For example, people constantly refer to Saint Reagan for being a miracle worker by cutting taxes and thus proving non Keynesian supply-side economics are being the great system. I think this is quite wrong for several reasons.
1) Reagan as a huge Keynesian with his massive military spending that caused bloated deficits & debts.
2) Even Reagan had the sense to raise rates when he saw much they were bloating the deficits.
3) They ignore the effect of a flood of cheap oil from Alaska, the North Sea, and Saudi Arabia that happened in the 80's and forced ROCKMAN to drive a taxi. All that cheap oil was quite a kick to the US economy. (Which is something that I hope happens right now with the current relatively cheap oil hitting the market!)

Also ironically, Reagan who REMOVED Carter's solar panels from the White House roof,
benefited from Carter's energy efficiency measures which took a while to take effect.
The first CAFE fuel efficiency standards, energy star etc which cut US energy use about 5%.
But of course those measures took a while to have an effect. Car turnover back then was
about 5 years (now it is 8 years), and of course energy star only affected NEW appliances being bought.
This is one of the major reasons I think the very first thing we can do with immediate impact is to RESTORE all the Green Transit cuts since 2008 in over 150 cities. People would LIKE to take Green Transit but when it takes hours for a train or bus who can take it?
An encouraging story of how change CAN be done quickly to save oil and greenhouse emissions IF the will is there is related in "Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight without Oil" by Anthony Perl and Richard Gilbert ( http://transportrevolutions.info )
From 1941 to 1946 the US managed to drastically reduce oil consumption, rubber consumption, metals consumption which had been directed to burgeoning Auto Addiction by discouraging
cars. Public transit and Rail quadrupled in that short period of time!

If it were politically possible, perhaps the U.S could implement a 'cash for appliance clunkers' whereby folks could turn in older, inefficient appliances for destruction and recycling and get a discount on buying new appliance which meet a certain high bar of efficiency. This would work even better with some kind of coordinated push to raise electricity rates, perhaps through a carbon tax.

I would say the same about incentives for new windows/doors. insulation/weatherstripping, solar PV and hot water installations, and high-efficiency heat pumps and NG furnaces. Re-instate the expired/diminished federal and state incentives and pay for negawatts...increase fuel prices...carrot and stick approach historically works...creates some jobs as part of the deal (manufacturing/installation).

Yeah, that would be a great program. I'd like to replace my fridge but it is hard to justify since it works just fine. But it is 10+ years old so I'm sure a new one would save a LOT of energy and I want to buy an energy star CEE Tier 3 refrigerator. But it is right at the level where it is like break-even.


The credit for refrigerators is based on their energy savings relative to the energy conservation standards promulgated by the Department of Energy that took effect on July 1, 2001. §45M(f)(8)

$150 in the case of a refrigerator manufactured in calendar year 2011 which consumes at least 30% less energy than the 2001 energy conservation standards. §45M(b)(3)(E)
$200 in the case of a refrigerator manufactured in calendar year 2011 which consumes at least 35% less energy than the 2001 energy conservation standards. §45M(b)(3)(F)

The term “refrigerator” means a residential model automatic defrost refrigerator-freezer that has an internal volume of at least 16.5 cubic feet. §45M(f)(5)

(Page Last Reviewed or Updated: April 03, 2012)



Thank you for the great information.

In my opinion, the US Government is doing an exceptionally poor job advertising/promo0ting this opportunity.

I wouldn't be surprised at if Republican Congressfolks had some law passed to prevent it being advertised...wouldn't want to hurt the coal industry would we?

What? There is a tax-credit available? *Looks* Oh . . . this is only for businesses. I don't think I can claim my fridge as a business item. Well, I do store snacks in it that I eat during work hours. :-) Nah.

PG&E will give me $75 if I get a CEE Tier 3 fridge . . . but that is a pretty small amount relative to the price of the fridge. They did give me $100 for a whole house fan that cost me around $260 to install (self-install).

I want a low power fridge so I can cut my daytime costs and switch to TOU metering.

SDG&E offers similar lowball rebates on appliance and insulation purchases.
But, after getting a smart meter there's no time-of-use pricing and electric rates are as high as 31 cents per kWh (they call it $0.23222 dollars)so there's no incentive to conserve during peak use times.

When I installed my Energy Star hot water heater PG&E said it wasn't on their list even though it was the most efficient heater available in Home Depot at the time. The model number was identical to many others by the same mfgr except for one digit but no rebate.

Yeah, the rebate systems are a bit arbitrary. Energy Star refrigerators do NOT qualify unless they are CEE Tier 3. Their tips area suggests getting a tankless water heater since they are so efficient . . . but they offer no rebate for tankless water heater, rebates only for tank water heaters. Go Figure.

And the PV Solar incentive system is essentially out of money. (But PV is actually a much better deal now than when the program started since PV panel prices have come down so much!)

Anyone have a list of what the typical 'vampire' loads are? When I turn off all the lights, TVs, and computers, I only cut my load in half. All that remains is refrigerator, some LEDs on GFIs, clock on stove, clock on microwave, a couple motion sensor lights, and . . . ???? It seems like my usage should be lower when everything is off.

When I was trying to get my load down before switching to off-grid solar, I had an amazing time hunting down all the vampire loads. Here's what I found:
Clock on Microwave - 10 watts
Clock on stove - 6 watts
Cable Modem - 25 watts
Router - 12 watts
TV - 12 watts
Stereo - 15 watts
DVD player - 5 watts
VCR - 8 watts
Phone answering machine - 5 watts
Cell phone charger - 3 watts not charging
Toaster oven - 6 watts (digital display)
GFI Outlet - 2 watts
Clock Radio - 9 watts
Computer turned off - 10 watts
118 watts x 24 hr = 2.8 KWH/day for doing nothing!

I either unplugged or or put many things on a a switch.


I have most of my home entertainment stuff on a switched power strip but there are some other things on your list that I neglected. I think I can rearrange some things to reduce the load further.

We just turn 2 of 3 inverters off. Essential loads are on the third. One learns to ignore blinking displays on microwaves and such.

I find it amazing that appliance clocks are unable to keep time with the power off. Why on earth do they need all that power, why should they be power hogs when a watch can keep time on a tiny battery for years?


Many of those numbers seem quite high (although your total almost equals mine). I suspect the new microwave clock isn't much -its an LED, the old one was a nixie tube (bluish), and I can believe several watts. GFI outlets, 2watts, holy cow, I must have more than a dozen! I think modern cell phone chargers are under a watt now.

The Bluish-green displays are Vacuum fluorescent displays.

I don't ever remember a "Nixie" tube ever being used in any consumer products.

Yes. Pretty arbitrary cutoffs. They had rebates for insulating your attic. But it only applied if you went from seriously below code to code, not code to 1.5 to 2x code like I did.

Vampire loads? I checked last night, 200watts with the the fridge making noise -which is most of the time. 117watts when its off. My son found two vampire power supplies, removing them saved 10 watts. The TV's and cable boxes are on power strips and were off. That's still nearly a hundred watts I'm not sure where its going. A few clocks, some fire detectors, garage door opener on standby thermostat.... A lit house numbers fixture that claims to be 8 watts. Still this stuff doesn't seem to me to come even close to half way there?

Efficiency Nova Scotia offers a cash bounty on old appliances but the amounts are relatively modest.

See: http://www.efficiencyns.ca/for_home/energy_savings_programs/appliance_re...

That said, they'll pick-up your old appliances at no charge, and if I recall correctly, Sears charges $50.00 to dispose of your old refrigerator and that's contingent on you purchasing a new one.

Ontario has a similar programme (https://saveonenergy.ca/), but in this case there's no cash reward.


George: Here's the article I pulled those numbers from. It's actually from TOD: Europe May 2006. http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/5/15/174940/603

I was actually shocked to see the growth rate of global oil production during the 60's. I peak at historical numbers from time to time but don't typically go back more than 10 years or so. In fact in the period 1945 to 1971 (26 years) global production increased about 1,000% (6 mmbopd to 60 mmbopd) compared to the last 26 years (1986 to 2012) when it increased only 34% (60 mmbo to 83 mmbopd). So their audacity to proclaim we're seeing an "unprecedented growth in oil production" has virtually no merit. Either they didn't bother to do a 2 minute web search like I did or they are intentionally being misleading to support their own agenda IMHO.

The graphs also explain how the Texas Rail Road Commision was able to set the global price of oil for a while via it's proration rules: the TRRC monthly set the amount of oil our operators could produce. During the first half of the 50's Texas produced around 20-25% of all global oil production. They were the "OPEC" of those times. BTW those proration laws are still in effect...the TRRC sets them every month even now. But they've been set at 100% since the early 70's.

This one also has some interesting graphs. http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2010-12-21/world-oil-production-lo...

A slight math observation. A 10 fold change from 6 to 60 mbd over a 26 year period works out to a little over 9% per year change (the miracle of compounding). The figures I have for global oil production (C+C) show a slightly smaller increase over the 1945 to 1971 period of about 5.7 times, which amounts to a 7% per annum rate of increase. In any case, it remains true during the period 1945 to the early 70's world oil production increased at a greater rate than at any comparable period thereafter.

bf - First, my numer was the percent increase over the time period...not per year. So it was a 1,000% increase over that 26 year period vs. the much smaller percent increase over the last 26 years. Do it over the entire period or on a annual basis and the oil production increases were much greater 50 some years ago then they are today. If you pull that chart up it shows a really dramatic picture that numbers just can't convey IMHO. But thanks for the compounding calculation...that's beyond my skill set. And second my stat was for oil not C+C.

I can't vouch for the accuracies of that report but as best as I can read the graph they show oil increasing from 6 to 60 million bopd back in the 60's. I'll look for some other sources tonight.

Thanks Rock.

This could be pretty useful information. My dad was building his career in business back in the 50's and 60's. He used to tell me that back then you couldn't help but make money. It seemed like nothing could go wrong in the economy except for a few business cycle hiccups. Our recovery from WWII and the boom times pre-1970s might be explained by this explosion in oil (and I'll bet a similar effect in coal) production. More to the point, the current economic woes may easily be explained by the lesser raw energy extraction growth rates coupled with the declining EROI that seems to have started taking a big bite out of net energy post-1970s.

The economy is just a big heat engine that may be approaching its Carnot limit! Several of us are convinced that the net energy per capita started to decline sometime in the 70s but getting data to confirm or dis-confirm that looks really hard.

George - It really does put matters in perspective. As I said I don't tend to dig that far back in history. If you had asked how global oil production compared during WWII and the 60's I would have guessed they were somewhat comparable. After all, during the war we were building so much hardware and shipping millions of tons of material around the globe. Yet, from an oil consumption standpoint, WWII represents chump change compared to the demand by expanding economies after the war.

Who would have thunk?

Several of us are convinced that the net energy per capita started to decline sometime in the 70s but getting data to confirm or dis-confirm that looks really hard.

I think at least some of the economic behavior over the last few decades can be explained by the divergence of the oil markets from the ideal production curve.

adapted from "The Growing Gap"

The troubles we will soon see with net energy are more likely to be abrupt, i.e the "net energy cliff".

from "The Energy Return on Investment Threshold"

What I find fascinating, and truly frightening, is the number of different contexts where I have seen other curves very much like that cliff. For example, it is a well known dynamic of mineral extraction that below a certain threshold of ore concentration your costs start rising dramatically.

from "Minerals scarcity: A call for managed austerity..."

There are other examples, unfortunately I don't have links handy, but the take home message is that we are probably only just now crossing thresholds beyond which we will quickly learn what it means to be "unsustainable".

Everything is fine..., until it isn't.


A prediction from the past:

"Drowning in oil" - March 6, 1999

"Drowning in oil" - March 6, 1999"Our energy correspondent couldn’t go anywhere without people reminding him of our poorly timed 'Drowning in oil' cover, with talk of $5 oil, which ran just before the oil price started an epic, eight-year climb to a high of $145. To be fair, the article didn't say that prices would fall to $5, just that it might be smart of Saudi Arabia to let them fall - but no one remembers it that way."

Click on the link in the blockquote to get the actual article. What the article really said:

But low prices will gradually put most such areas out of business—especially if cash-strapped Gulf states conclude that the best way to increase revenues is to boost production, which could drive prices from today’s $10 to as little as $5 (see article). The world will then again depend on a few Middle Eastern countries for half its oil, up from a quarter now.

The cover picture came from this link: These Are The Economist Staff's Favorite Covers From The Past 20 Years
The cover, "The trouble with mergers" - September 10, 1994, is a real hoot. Check it out. It was banned in Saudi Arabia.

Ron P.

As Kjell pointed out at ASPO Europe, the trend by the IEA has been going the other way the past few years but this large increase in unconventional oil may convince them to break the trend this year.

WEO 2004 - 121 mb/d
WEO 2006 - 116 mb/d
WEO 2008 - 106 mb/d
WEO 2010 - 96mb/d
WEO 2012 -?? Let's see what they say this year.

However, it's the giant and supergiant oil fields that predict our future more than unconventional oil, since they provide 60% of world production. When they decline in earnest (c.f. Cantarell) unconventional cannot ramp up quickly enough to make up for their decline.

I read his report casually, just needed to see where the oil was supposed to come from.

The guy's a total clown. He forecasts Saudi to get to 14 mb/d, when their Aramco's own VP of engineering has said that it won't get above 11 mb/d in 2020. Russia is even increasing according to him, despite going flatout and is widely seen by ALL experts at having zero net spare capacity and overwhelmingly like to decline over the coming decade.

And best of all, Iraq to 8 mb/d. Iraq won't get there because it needs tons of infrastructure. Ports, pipelines etc, none of which has been built or even started yet. The most optimistic I've seen on Iraq is around 5 mb/d and that is really assuming a lot of things and cutting them tons of slack.

I could go on, of course, but it's essentially a fraudulent document. That people like that are at Harvard or climbed really high at one of the major oil companies is truly scary. If that's the intellectual quality of a lot of the 'experts' then I just become a lot more pessimistic.

Don't forget tight oil, the article lets us know that the Bakken output has grown "from a few barrels in 2006 to 530,000 a day in December 2011." Well, if you call >100 kb/d in ND alone "a few," that's true.

Regarding the central conceit of massive spare capacity appearing, this is timely, as I've updated some data on historic SC I compiled some time ago. Now, for actual numbers I've had to resort to reverse engineering this graph from WTRG; the government agencies don't seem to have data earlier than 1980, in the case of the EIA. You can suss them out from BP as well. But John Williams at WTRG does solid work, I trust these to be accurate enough.

Here's the graph:


Note the almost wholly price led response for 2009, its lack of magnitude in comparison to the past, its trend downward taking us right back to levels which prompted secular price trends upward. Maugeri is counting on the coming years to give up most of his oil promised in his forecast, of course, but I'd think after 4 years of price shock we'd have something more substantial than what we see here; and bear in mind that the figures I use post 2004 are those from the EIA.

His biggest contributor is Iraq; and if I'm not mistaken, he's using anecdotal evidence to state his case! Haven't time to read the thing exhaustively, later on.

According to several companies, most revamping and redeveloping test data on Iraqi fields
showed a rapid increase in production and a steady flow of oil. In some cases, I found evidence
that future production could significantly exceed the contractual targets agreed upon with the
Iraqi government.

Does he elaborate on this, have these companies actually documented this in detail? These sorts of stories are nothing new, either.

As the Cornucopians drop napalm on the raging firestorm of energy disinformation . . .

Some net export numbers follow that 99.9% of the world seems oblivious to, but first, following are the recent annual high Brent prices preceding year over year annual price declines, showing the progression in higher annual highs and higher annual lows.

While it seems a virtual certainty that we will see an annual decline from 2011 to 2012, it also seems almost impossible for the 2012 annual price not to exceed the previous annual year over decline level ($62 in 2009).

EIA data:

1997 to 1998: $19/$13
2000 to 2001: $29/$24
2008 to 2009: $97/$62
2011 to 2012: $111/?

Some thoughts on the GNE (Global Net Exports) to CNI (Chindia's Net Imports) ratio:

I don't think that China & India will actually be consuming 100% of GNE 2030, but on the other hand, it sure is one heck of a trend line, and it looks like China's oil production may be peaking. After US crude oil production peaked in 1970, US net imports doubled in about five years.

Note that at the 2005 to 2008 rate of decline in the GNE/CNI ratio, the Chindia region would be at a 1.0 ratio (consuming 100% of GNE) in 2033.

At the 2005 to 2011 rate of decline in the GNE/CNI ratio, the Chindia region would be at a 1.0 ratio (consuming 100% of GNE) in 2030.

Imagine you are in a commercial airliner. A production peak would be analogous to a gradual descent for landing. A net export decline would be more analogous to a commercial airliner doing a terrifying near vertical dive into the ground, and the data show that the GNE/CNI ratio decline curve has recently steepened:


Meanwhile, the Cornucopian Crowd is in a contest of sorts to see who can generate the most optimistic production forecast.

IMO, the disinfo campaign is part of an effort to talk oil and thus gasoline prices lower so Obama can get re-elected. A great deal of effort has gone into shorting oil, and the run-up in July will be blamed on the Iran embargo instead of the failure of the shorts to hold down oil price. If I ran an airline or other fuel dependent business, I would be buying as many of these unnaturally low futures contracts as I could, which will also serve to drive the price back to the $100+ area. And after the election, IMO you can forget about lower oil prices.

I agree. Obama is a figurehead of sorts, and all manner of cowards want to keep him in office because they fear what would happen if he isn't re-elected.

The opposite of Kennedy, if you will, who was a figurehead that all manner of cowards wanted to get rid of.

When oil prices [rise/fall], it's a plot by the evil [Republicans/Democrats].

Interesting in that former OPEC exporter Indonesia is now an importer of OPEC oil.

Pertamina Seeks to Invest in Iraqi Crude Fields to Secure Supply
By Fitri Wulandari on June 27, 2012

PT Pertamina, Indonesia’s state- owned oil company, is seeking to buy stakes in at least two fields in Iraq to secure crude supply, according to President Director Karen Agustiawan.

Indonesia, which left the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in 2009 after becoming a net crude importer because of depleting domestic production, is seeking supplies from overseas through acquisitions.


Yeah, there is something weirdly ironic about having to buy lots of something for a high price that you used to sell at a pretty low price. Its as if it was a bad idea to be selling back then. You should have held onto it and now you'd be much better off.

The UK is going through the same thing these days. More countries will join them. At least Norway is wise enough to structure things such that their oil needs are low. (They tax gas/diesel very highly such that they never got too addicted and they have very pro-EV policies.)

Three of the (2005) top 33 net exporters joined AFPEC (Association of Former Petroleum Exporting Countries) this year--Vietnam, Argentina and Malaysia. They went from combined net exports of 726,000 bpd in 2004 to combined net imports of 70,000 bpd in 2011.

A combined production decline of 22% from 2004 to 2011, plus rising consumption, completely wiped out the combined net oil exports from three of the (2005) top 33 net exporters.

Sorry couldn't resist, just for humor...this might just be the Black Swan we were looking for..

UFO' at bottom of Baltic Sea 'disables equipments within 200m range

London, June 27 (ANI): Divers exploring a 'UFO-shaped' object at the bottom of the Baltic Sea have claimed that their electrical equipments stop working when they approach within 200m.

In case you are thinking about whether to click on the link, the news source is Yahoo which has sourced it from ANI.

I hope this is not off topic. LOL. This might be full of Dilithium crystals.

Here's an older link from HuffPost

Remember that after the LGM, about 16,000 years ago, this location might have been above sea level. However, the history of the Baltic Sea is rather complicated, as glacial rebound changed the height of the land such that at one point, the Baltic became actually a fresh water lake filled with glacial melt water. Whatever it is, the unfolding story is surely going to be fun to watch. The diver's claim that electronic equipment wouldn't work within 200 meters is probably wrong as there are several images from TV cameras showing the surface of the "object" at close range...

E. Swanson

The UFO (Unidentified non-Floating Object?) is quite possibly a building, megalith or earthwork. As Black Dog points out, for a period overlapping the Neolithic until roughly 7600 years ago, the Black Sea was a lake and wetlands. It was inhabited, as samples of old building timbers and undersea photographs have revealed.

Electric field, that sounds odd, but the dead zone was already documented in ancient times. The rising sea submerged a lot of trees, creating an anaerobic region in the Black Sea which can still kill unwary sailors.

Baltic, not Black.

But yes, there are stone age settlements in Hanöbukten (Bay of the Han-island [whatever the Han-island is, I don't see it on a map]), just outside Skåne where I live. This sea changes like the weather, just more slowly.

Good eye, thank you for keeping me straight. Interesting about the submerged settlements around the Baltic. Makes sense, as the sea level came up on the order of 300 feet in 10,000 years.

I am confident there are also lost civilisations (very primitive ones) at the bottom of the Persian Gulf, for the same reason. I also belive both the Atlantis myth and Noahs flood in Genesis are stories originating in when this ancient settlement was flooded. Same one event, two different stories.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 22, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.6 million barrels per day during the week ending June 22, 37 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 92.6 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging nearly 9.3 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.5 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.1 million barrels per day last week, down by 327 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged about 9.2 million barrels per day, 343 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 773 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 90 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 0.1 million barrels from the previous week. At 387.2 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 2.1 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 decreased by 2.3 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.8 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 2.6 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 18.8 million barrels per day, down by 0.9 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged 8.8 million barrels per day, down by 4.8 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged nearly 3.6 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 0.1 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 9.9 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

Can someone tell me why, with such high crude oil inventories, that the U.S. (or businesses) are still importing 9 million barrels per day?

The US is currently importing 11-12 million barrels per day of oil and oil products. The reason is that it is unable to satisfy its consumption needs using only domestic production. It has been a net importer since 1949, so I don't expect that to change any time soon.

People try to imply that the US is close to being self-sufficient in oil, but that's not even close to being true.

Total Petroleum Imports have declined since peaking at an average of 13,792,000 barrels per day in October 2006 (for the previous 52 weeks). For the past 52 weeks they have averaged 10,966,000 barrels per day.

52 week average of Total Petroleum Imports in thousands of barrels per day.

Weekly Petroleum Imports

Ron P.

Yes TPI has declined significantly since 2008 (largely thanks to recessionary demand destruction), but the drop is not as dramatic when you start the Y-axis at zero and expand X to show historical data:

Weekly Petroleum Imports

The point is to show the almost 20% decline in total petroleum imports. That is dramatic. And your chart is missing the last two and one half years which mine shows. I think that is rather important also.

Ron P.

The peak and decline percentage in the 70's/80's was even more dramatic - and rather temporary. It remains to be seen whether this decline will be more permanent.


Thanks for the answer, and I understand. But if storage is near capacity, why not import 7 million barrels per day(inventories would plummet) or 8 million (slow decline)? Why import so much as to keep the inventory rising in the short term?

I doubt that storage is near capacity. Companies carry inventory for various reasons, and the outage at the Motiva refinery means that it is carrying involuntary inventory. Other companies may be buying more oil because the cost is lower than it has been, holding it in storage just in case the cost goes up again. Also there's still a lot of oil backed up in the system because of lack of pipeline capacity.

US crude oil inventories are definitely high, but the most commonly used number for Minimum Operating Level (MOL) is about 270 mb. So the Days of Supply in excess of MOL is about 8 days. And it's possible that part of the buildup in inventories is in heavy/sour, because of the problems at the Motiva refinery.

The extra oil supply built up by Motiva has been estimated as high as 27 million barrels, and I believe the figure to be at least 20 million.

A limited number of those extra barrels can by gradually used by other US refiners, but generally speaking, Saudi Arabia is already in the process of curbing oil exports to the US to reduce extra supplies near Motiva.

Last week, imports of Saudi oil into US ports were at their lowest levels in 3 months.

Beyond lower crude prices, one wonders if our current US refined products prices have been affected by expectations of Motiva being online this summer.

US refiners step up utilization to meet demand for gasoline & diesel, even though retail gasoline sales remain mired in slump

The great energy supply paradox of 2012 continues - that is, why must US refiners struggle to keep up with demand even though retail gasoline demand is still declining at a rate greater than 3%? [more than 3% according to MasterCard SpendingPlus retail survey, more than 4% per the EIA]. The answer is relatively simple: oil product (gasoline, diesel, ethanol) exports. The US has flipped from being a product importer to a product exporter over the last year - and in dramatic fashion too. Comparing the latest four weeks with the year ago period, US has swung from oil product imports of about 114000 barrels per day to exports of about 718000 bpd - a total swing of 832,000 bpd.

To accommodate the increased export demand, US refiners are consistently using about 3% more oil than last year, and refiner utilization, about 92.6%, is near the highest level for the last few years and also is effectively near the maximum capacity possible when the outages at the largest US refinery, Motiva, and major renovations at some Pennsylvania refiners (for example, the Delta airline refinery acquisition) are considered.

Gasoline inventories improved as refiners tried to optimize output for gasoline production. Over the last week or so, supplies of some grades of gasoline, mores specifically known as CBOB (Conventional Blendstock for Oxygenate Blending) have been in short supply in the NYC and a few areas in the upper Midwest. This week's EIA report indicates supplies of CBOB fell 0.9 million barrels even while overall supplies of all categories of gasoline increased by 2.1 million barrels.

Within the last few days, imports of gasoline have increased considerably, which alleviated any imminent gasoline supply problem. Generally US refinery output of gasoline reaches its yearly peak roughly from late June until late July, roughly about the Fourth of July holiday, although not always.

A final note: The EIA release today was not impacted by the recent tropical storm, but next week's report will be affected by Gulf of Mexico oil production shut-ins and the temporary closure of the LOOP (Louisiana Offshore Oil Port).

In full view of bemused tourists and other passers-by, workers yesterday performed what looked like a comedy routine: They hoisted a standard room air conditioner to a side window of one of the mayor’s SUVs parked in the City Hall lot to see if it would fit.

If the strange plan gets a green light, the units would be plugged into electrical outlets and cause less pollution than running the vehicles’ own A/Cs on an idling engine.

Hey mayor . . . why not just buy an electric car? They can be cooled while still connected to the grid. Duh. And I'm pretty sure you have money even for a fancy Signature series Tesla S.

Someone should tell him about this startup:

I was at a Cleantech conference a few years back when they were looking for money...and they got it. It's a great idea.

Interesting article about white-nose syndrome here.

It quotes a USGS biologist as saying that the bats' adaptation to the white-nose fungus probably will not be increased immunity. Rather, he thinks bats will instead hibernate in smaller colonies, which seems to protect against white-nose. That's what European bats do. (White-nose seems to have spread from Europe, on the boots and gear of spelunkers.) The days of huge colonies of bats in North America may be over.

Maugeri's study had very little on Saudi Arabia. He says he adjusted the official figure of a current capacity 12.5 mmbf down to 12.3 mmbf, then added Manifa. This figure is questionable since the Saudis have never produced much over 10 mmbf. The study apparently has no adjustment for depletion and production decline in North Ghawar. There is a lot more detail on prospective US production. I would like to see a discussion of his Bakken estimates by the oil people on the board.

RE: Canada builds up arctic region defenses up top.
We have been seeing lots of indications that all this talk of military build up in the arctic by Canada is mostly huffing and puffing, rather than real boots on the ground (or ships at sea, or aircraft in the sky). Possibly this might lead to a more sensible approach by both Canada and the US.

See Canada’s Arctic Defense Policy: Grand Theory, Stunted Practice

Prime Minister Steven Harper originally vowed to build three armed icebreakers during the 2006 election campaign, but subsequent events .... seem to have changed his mind. Now, Canada plans to build six to eight ice-capable Arctic Patrol Ships (AOPS) instead, though this project has been plagued with delays and as it stands right now the first ships won’t enter into service until 2019; a full 12 years after preliminary approval was granted.

Ambitious plans to build an Arctic naval facility at Nanisivik have also been savaged. Slated to open in 2016, this facility will now primarily serve as a seasonal refuelling station for Canada’s new fleet of AOPS. This is a far cry from the original announcement of 2007 that envisioned a deep water port with an airport, a telecommunications network, offices, and living quarters. Nanisivik was supposed to serve as the lynchpin for Canada’s military presence in the Northwest Passage. ..... Canada will continue to lack a credible location to situate air, sea, and personnel in the Arctic. The reality on the ground implies that the Canadian government has shifted towards a more passive approach to Arctic defense.

The Canadian government ....may look to its neighbour in the south to help rectify the situation. The United States is feeling its own pinch on defense spending, making it reluctant to commit on its own icebreakers. Thus, it’s possible that Canada and the US could come together and pool their resources in a coordinated North American take on Arctic security ala NORAD. And perhaps this kind of American involvement is exactly what Canada needs to get the US on board for supporting Canadian sovereignty over the Northwest Passage.


The U.S. Navy is taking it very seriously, and they even envision a deep water port like Singapore up there.

The US is about the only country that disputes Canadian sovereignty over the Northwest Passage. It is a convoluted, narrow, shallow, and frequently ice-blocked passage between numerous islands - not really a good candidate for an international shipping route. The Northeast Passage, north of Russia, would be much more usable in a global warming scenario, although the Russians may have a few things to say about that. However, if global warming kicked in big-time, ships could go in open seas right over the North Pole.

The rest of the Arctic countries are busy dividing up the polar region under the Law of the Sea Convention, which the US has not ratified. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush supported the treaty, but Congress has not given its OK. In the absence of that, the other nations bordering on the Arctic Ocean (Russia, Canada, Norway, and Denmark - i.e. Greenland) are dividing it up as they see fit.

Arctic sea ice shrinks to lowest June extent ever observed

"Sea ice melted back super fast across the Arctic Ocean during the first two weeks of June and now covers the smallest extent ever observed for this time of year, according to the latest update posted by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

Bathed in above-freezing air, a patch of ice as large as Illinois has been dissolving on some recent June days under 24 hours of sunshine. That’s twice as fast as the expected climatological rate, the NSIDC said."

One wow in this is that it follows a very cold winter up there.

Ocean Heat Flux

There are many factors involved in the current long-term decline of Arctic sea ice. From relatively small ones like river discharge, precipitation and soot, to bigger factors like atmospheric patterns and air temperatures. The possibly biggest factor of all is also the factor that is the most unknown and uncertain: ocean heat flux. How much heat are ocean currents bringing into the Arctic

Ocean heat flux is what separates the aggressive and famous forecast by Wieslaw Maslowski (Arctic essentially ice-free by September 2016, ± 3 years) from more conservative estimates that predict the thing to happen between 2050 and the end of this century.

To quote the first paragraph of this 2011 article by Ron Kwok and Norbert Untersteiner: "The surplus heat needed to explain the loss of Arctic sea ice during the past few decades is on the order of 1 W/m2. Observing, attributing, and predicting such a small amount of energy remain daunting problems."

Arctic sea ice shrinks to lowest June extent ever observed

True, and certainly cause for concern, however if you go to the following link: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ then scroll down to view a comparison of recent years, you'll see they are all comprable, fluctuating within a similar range. Now granted although that range has substantially less ice than the 1979-2000 period, we still need to wait to see how this year's melt compares to 2007. What is the lowest in June could change by the time we get to September's low.

In fact, if you look at the top graph comparing 2007 to this year, you'll notice 2012 is on a line to match up with 07's line in about a week or so. 2007 was unique though, which will become more apparent as they add months to those graphs, as 07's really tails off down near September and subsequent years have fallen short of that low. Not to say it won't be broken, but it's still early in the melt part of the cycle.

2007 was anomalous in that the summer weather pattern accentuated melt in parts of the arctic and the wind patterns concentrated the remaining ice in other areas. This resulted in a very low ice surface area minimum, which has not been repeated since.

However, the estimated sea ice volume has continued to decline,


with the summer minimum last year about 75% of the volume at the 2007 minimum.

Hard to spot a linear trend, but once the volume reaches 0% the arctic is ice free. On this data, September 2017 does not seem like an outlandish prediction for that event.

Some days I look at the Drumbeat and just think, "wow, we're really going all out for disaster, aren't we?", and today is one of those days.

The top article, "New Study forecasts sharp increase in world oil production", is either utter denial of the craziest sort, or even worse, a message of doom through too much energy... I think denial. I can't wait to see how bad the other stages of grief are!

The other that caught my eye is "9 utilities reject all shareholders' anti-nuclear appeals" - this is Japan. The public is very anti-nuclear, yet the PM keeps trying to turn them back on, and the powers that be in power generation obviously are still hoping to get the "friendly atom" up and running even after it's gone mad on them. TEPCO's boss got a golden parachute and plush new job, too. Even pro-nuke people often argue Japan shouldn't have nukes, with just being one of the most seismically active regions of the planet... And this is how hard it is, AFTER a disaster, to change. Really?

We're just gonna keep riding this bomb all the way down, like the last scene in Dr. Strangelove. Change? Why change anything?

Well I have a lot of sympathy for Japan's nuclear woes. Japan's economy is not in great shape and they have one of the biggest debt to GDP ratios of any country . . . as big as Greece I think. They have many billions invested in these nuke plants. It is extremely economically difficult to just walk away from these plants that you invested billions in and try to replace them with a mix of renewables and expensive imported fossil fuels.

They have that new solar FIT and they are working on getting a gas line from Russia. But I think it would be unrealistic to expect them to permanently shut down 54 nukes plants and build those new systems at the same time.

they have one of the biggest debt to GDP ratios of any country . . . as big as Greece I think

Far worse than Greece. But most of it owed internally, not to German and French banks.

The US is in the same ballpark as Greece.

The US is in the same ballpark as Greece.

Not quite. US - 102, Greece - 160

Aside from lower debt-to-GDP, we still have the world's reserve currency, sovereign control of that currency (at least in theory anyway), and a credible military. Greece has none of those things.

Not saying all is rosy here, but we are still better off than Greece.

Not to mention all the coal you can burn, a lot of natural gas, and enough oil for any rational industrial nation of 300M people.

Money corrupts.

From above: "The Unprecedented Upsurge of Oil Production Capacity"

Amazing how they try to spin a story while at the same time presenting data themselves that diminishes the impact they're shooting for. Perhaps they figure folks are too lazy to look at the actual numbers they are presenting. Accepting that their numbers are correct in the first place: according to their picture oil production increased 1.5% per year between 2000 and 2011. Between 2011 and 2020 they PROJECT a production rate increase of 2%/year. Assuming their PRODICTION is correct I don't think I would characterize an increase from 1.5% to 2.0% per year as an "unprecedented upsurge". Maybe that's just me. But in the 9 years prior to 1971 oil production increased at a rate of over 20% per year....19 mmbopd to 55 mmbopd. I don't think their 2%/year increase takes precedence over that 20%/year increase.

And perhaps it's just coincidental that the most rapid increase in global production coincided with the US reaching its PO. Or not.

@ROCKMAN - I know it was a typo, but I like your word, prodiction. A prediction about production, no doubt!

Tony - Yep: geologists and spelling...a problen since the Cambiam Period. LOL.

When I started college I couldn't even spell geolojist, but now I are one!


Yeah, I majored in biology because it would teach me how to buy stuff!

Cute story:
Several years ago a Gr.2 kid used the word, "grabbity" when he should have said, "gravity."
I said, "Pardon" and he said it again.
Being a conscientious teacher, I said, "The word you want is "gravity," emphasizing the "v."

The young fellow looked rather confused and said, "I thought it was called grabbity because it's what grabs everything and stops it from floating away."

Rockman the new Mr Webster or Samuel Johnson first MADOR and now prodiction.:-)

FOR ALL -I'm still waiting to see if anyone caught my errors in the post to Tony. Are any of you smarter than a geologist...I mean 5th grader? LOL.

Sí, señor, no es problen-o. IIRC, which I may very well not, a new paper from the Instituto Politécnico Nacional, with a co-author from Pemex, has dubbed the future era when oil will be changed out for other energy sources as the Cambiam. Indeed, depending on how the changeover itself goes, future historians may look back on it as the Cambiam Radiation.

Cambian. I assumed it was intenshunal.

No Problen (see ROCKMAN's post, above).

I really didn't need to read any farther than this:

This development seems consistent with the best study ever conducted on the geological features and potential productivity of Bakken (Price, 1999), which estimated the maximum Original Oil in Place of the whole formation at more than 500 billion barrels, with a probable recovery rate of about 50 percent.

In particular, I am more confident than others on the prospects of a faster-than-expected
recovery of offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.
This confidence is based on the renewed enthusiasm Americans have found for the possibility of
“energy independence” thanks to the country’s huge hydrocarbon resource base, and for the
economic impact that growing domestic oil production might have on the American economy as a


Re: Exxon CEO says low US natgas prices not sustainable

Here's a slightly longer comment from Tillerson:

Exxon CEO:'Losing our shirts' on natural gas price

Exxon Mobil Corp. is making "no money" on U.S. natural gas due to low prices that have fallen below the cost of production, Exxon Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said Wednesday.

U.S. natural-gas prices--which fell below $2 a million British thermal units earlier this year to the lowest level in a decade--are not sustainable, as energy companies won't be able to continue drilling unless prices rise...

E. Swanson

Thank you, Captain Obvious!

According to Gazprom's chairman, Alexei Miller, “Shale gas is a well-organized global PR-campaign."
Now even Exxon admits, that those Shale gas plays are not more than hot air.
And the idea of exporting this "innovation" to other countries looks like even hotter air: Europe shale push shaken by Exxon's Poland pullout


I'm somewhat confounded by this. Does Poland just not have a good shale gas reserve? With the high price of natural gas in Europe and a country with reasonably lax regulations (which I assume Poland qualifies as) then I would think that shale gas would be a no-brainer in Europe. If they can't make a profit on shale gas in Europe with their high natural gas prices then it really makes me wonder how much money the US companies doing shale gas are losing.

Poland's shale gas resources are probably not of the same quality as those in the US, and US companies will have lower costs of doing business. Despite that, US companies are losing a lot of money on shale gas, which makes one wonder how long some of them are going to be in business.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Urges Birth Control

... President Goodluck Jonathan said people were having too many children, and went on to back birth control measures.

He said that in particular, uneducated people were having too many children, and urged people to only have as many children as they could afford.

The United Nations has estimated that the population of Nigeria could grow from 160m to 400m by 2050.

Mr Jonathan said legislation and policies aimed at controlling the number of births might be considered in future.

Mr Jonathan was quoted as saying: "Both Christians and Muslims, and even traditionalist and all the other religions, believe that children are God's gifts to man. "So it is difficult for you to tell any Nigerian to number their children because... it is not expected to reject God's gifts."

Median age: male: 19.2 years, female: 19.3 years
Population growth rate: 2.553% (2012 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.38 children born/woman (2012 est.)

"Both Christians and Muslims, and even traditionalist and all the other religions, believe that children are God's gifts to man. "So it is difficult for you to tell any Nigerian to number their children because... it is not expected to reject God's gifts."

Religion is such a well-evolved virus. It coaxes its hosts to reproduce so it can reproduce.

Does anybody here know what religions yeasts practice?

Yes. It's actually the same one that cancer cells follow.


Yeast are Atheists. Why?

God Hates Yeast

The infamous passage in Leviticus does indeed state that male homosexuality is wrong (and that men who engage in homosexual must be killed), and yet, this is embedded among so many other laws given to humanity that it hardly stands out. It is fascinating that Christians obsess about the couple brief mentions this receives while completely ignoring the call for blood sacrifices, the clear requirement of stoning for minor crimes, and the multitude of references to the evils of yeast.

...at yeast they're not Moonies :-0

From the link:
"So I've decided to read the Christian bible from cover to cover."

Well... there's the first problem. All the old books, the old testament, are for the followers of the first prophet. Another prophet covered all those sins for the humans by dying. So, trim the margins of your beard: it's covered.

In pursuing these subjects with an invested party, there will arise a pattern of endless division. It will be found that all problematic aspects are owned by other variously named groups, not the exact one subscribed to by the respondent.

Does anyone know more about the prospects for the Ku-Maloob-Zaap (KMZ) field in Mexico? Offshore Technology dot com points out that they've boosted output from 329 kb/d to 800 kb/d, this last from when that page was put together, as it's currently at 926 kb/d. I'd read about how nitrogen production was redirected from Cantarell to KMZ, the OT page says 4 injector wells. They also say the fields will peak at 927 kb/d next year. Not much more to gain, eh?

Are there any forecasts of this field's output crashing in the same manner Cantarell's did? It's the same motive force pushing output up, after all. I know nothing about the reservoir characteristics. They had a fire at one of the production platforms in January, which didn't seem to slow output at all, either. Pemex says the field will decline slowly, natch.

Barclays will pay $450M for manipulating interest rates

NEW YORK (AP) – Barclays and its subsidiaries will pay more than $450 million to settle charges that they tried to manipulate interest rates [from 2005-2009] that can affect how much people pay for loans to attend college or buy a house.

Barclays is one of several major banks reportedly under investigation for such violations.

Barclays received $868 Billion in bailouts and liquidity loans.
... from GAO Report to Congress

... You sorry little ingrates!

also Bill Moyers: Matt Taibbi and Yves Smith on the Follies of Big Banks and Government

and Wall Street's City Bid-Rigging Racket: Who Ran It? How Many Billions Are Missing? Where's the Investigation?

BILL MOYERS: There's a definition of a sociopath as being radically deprived of empathy. Do you see characteristics of sociopathic behavior on Wall Street?

MATT TAIBBI: Absolutely.


MATT TAIBBI: I'm sorry, just what Yves was talking about with, you know, the old people who were dying earlier now, people who don't have kids, who aren't going to school, garbage that's being left in the streets. That's all because some guy was sitting up in a skyscraper in Wall Street and knowingly selling some communities, some municipality a fraudulent, toxic mortgage backed security.

I mean, he knows that that instrument is going to blow up in, you know, six months, a year. But he's selling it to them anyway. But he doesn't care, you know, because he can't see it, you know? I think in the eyes of a lot of these guys if they can't see the effect, it doesn't really exist. And to me, that's classic sociopathic behavior when you're blind, you're willingly blind to the consequences.

YVES SMITH: I mean, it's really the growth of the trading culture. You know, in the old days, I worked on Wall Street when Wall Street really was only criminal around the margins. I mean, you really, Goldman Sachs in those days had the expression long-term greedy which meant you didn't kill the--

BILL MOYERS: Long-term what?

YVES SMITH: Long-term greedy. That they were long-term greedy. And that meant you didn't kill the goose that laid the golden egg. You know, you wouldn't put your customer into egregiously bad deal. If you took a little extra, you only took it when the customer was making money, too, so if they ever figured it out they wouldn't be really upset.

That attitude has changed completely. And I attribute it significantly to the growth of derivatives. Over-the-counter derivatives where you can't see the price on an exchange. You can't see the history.

And they're much more complicated. And those started growing really in the early '90s and became, and it becomes very interwoven in the practice of finance. Because the derivatives are so complicated, you can't price compare. The risks are often bundled in within formulas that the buyers can't understand. And so they can load all kinds of basically what's equivalent to hidden fees in these things by the way they structure the risks in the terms.

So they're the perfect vehicle for stealing because you're selling, no, you're selling somebody something they can't evaluate.

So, as a customer, say, a city, if you go to them, they will now snuff you for the one-time short-term money to be made... because they can.
The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia

Leicestershire farm's 20 years as 'research lab'

A farm in Leicestershire has been researching how to grow more crops without damaging the environment.

The Allerton Project, at Loddington, was set up in 1992 with the aim of maximising crop yields as well as protecting wildlife.

Farming and biodiversity can coexist, say Stanford researchers

Although bird species disappear with intensive agriculture, research in Costa Rica shows that forest intermingled with cultivated land rescues biodiversity.

A new paper by biology graduate student Daniel Karp, with Stanford biology professors and Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment fellows Gretchen Daily and Paul Ehrlich, shows that low-intensity tropical agriculture can maintain regional species differences at levels similar to those of intact forest. The study appears in today's issue of the journal Ecology Letters.

Hey wait! According to the top article there is now a RISK of a price collapse. What am I not paying attention to here? Didnt the high prices use to be a problem?

All a matter of perspective, right? If you take the perspective of the producers, the prospect of a price collapse is a risk.

Californian city of Stockton faces bankruptcy

The Californian city of Stockton is set to become the largest US city to declare bankruptcy. The river port city of 290,000 - which lies 90 miles (144km) east of San Francisco - suffered badly during the US housing market crash.

Filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection would allow the city to hold some of its creditors at bay while still paying for basic services like its police and fire department.

The city is facing a projected $26m budget shortfall and a bankruptcy filing could come as early as Wednesday.

The Stockton story is an interesting mix. You'll hear lots of people knee-jerk respond with "Its those crazy liberal Californians and their government spending and unions!" But Stockton is a central valley Republican stronghold. But they indeed were far too liberal with city worker benefits. One can complain about the unions but it is ultimately the city that OKed the deals. Probably because they also give those elected city officials the same type of ridiculous benefits. So voting in Republicans is not a guarantee of fiscally responsible governance. Of course looking at the deficits/debt run up by Reagan, Bush, and Bush 2 should have already informed you of that.

And one can tie the story to peak oil. Stockton is just over the hills from Silicon Valley. With Silicon Valley housing becoming very expensive, many people opted to buy McMansions over the hill in Stockton and commute to Silicon Valley. But when gas prices soared, exurbs like Stockton had a severe housing collapse. A huge part of Stockton's problems (besides the too generous benefits listed above) was a massive foreclosure crisis. Stockton is foreclosure central, USA.

I really doubt there was much commuting from Stockton to Silicon Valley. I live 25-30 miles closer in, and that was quite common locally. But theres a lot of flat land closer than Stockton (such as Mountain House).
Where I live prices have crashed >60% from the peak, but are still more than double Stockton prices.

Yes. I heard 1100 current and former city workers just lost healthcare for life benefits. Sounds like a lot of people for a town with circa a quarter million. Must be panic city for many of these people, alhough this has been coming for years.

There was the famous case of the guy that commuted from Yosemite to San Jose.


Anecdotal evidence I realize.

That is further than I thought but I'm sure some people still do it. I know one guy that does. I know another that commutes 3 days a week from Sacramento.

Holy smokes on that guy from Yosemite to San Jose. That is just stupid. What a waste of your life to sit 7 hours in a car every day. I wonder if he still does it or did $4+/gallon gasoline get him to stop?

That's nothing. When I was a grad student back in '75, my adviser used to commute from Palo Alto to LA 3 days a week, then teach the other 2 days. Of course, since he was an Aero & Astro prof, he flew down on the shuttle, so I suppose that made sense to him...

E. Swanson

Big banks craft 'living wills' in case they fail

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, June 27 (Reuters) - Five of the biggest banks in the United States are putting finishing touches on plans for going out of business as part of government-mandated contingency planning that could push them to untangle their complex operations.

JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs & Co and Morgan Stanley are among those submitting the first liquidation scenarios to regulators at the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, according to people familiar with the matter.

Great Britain and other major countries are imposing similar requirements for "resolution" plans on their big banks, too.

... The plans are to include summaries for the public, but most of the data will be kept confidential at the request of the banks concerned about revealing trade secrets, according to the rules. The FDIC has not said when the summaries would be released.

The plan is to acquire as much real resources as they possibly can with freshly minted digital money, while it's still flowing from the Fed, so the downslope which they all know is coming can be mitigated.

....and the hits just keep on coming:

Could cheap gas save the economy?

Something is badly needed to get the economy moving again and avoid another slowdown.

The good news is that cheaper gas could be the answer. America has hit the energy jackpot with new techniques to extract oil and gas from shale.

Another laugh out loud article. The article is about cheap NG and many of the clueless commenters think it is about cheap gasoline.

I call these articles and the predictable comments 'funny bones'; it hurts so bad one can only laugh.

Yeah, I just don't see how cheap natural gas can help things much. It isn't really cheap since it is cheap due to losses of natural gas drillers. The only entities that need the gas this time of year are electricity utilities and they'll just be happy with the windfall that they don't have to pass on to customers.

I guess some industries that use natural gas as a feedstock will benefit. But I can't see it as helping the overall economy much. It just isn't a huge input like gasoline is.

That is because NG is a local market. Build some NG terminals and as you guys say you won't have to worry about cheap NG no more. Asia is hungry for energy, we could use all the NG we can get at this moment.

From ChinaDaily Shipyards bankrupt due to sluggish demand

Many small-sized shipyards in China, plagued by a shortage of new orders, are on the brink of bankruptcy as a result of the sluggish world economy, a glut of vessels and soaring fuel prices.

... Most banks regard the export-led shipbuilding industry as "high risk", refusing to underwrite or extend loans to related companies.

The Jingang shipyard is only one among many similar Zhejiang-based shipyards that have suspended business and dismissed employees due to the difficult market conditions. In June, Ningbo Hengfu Shipping Trade (Group) Co Ltd and Ningbo Beilun Sky Shipbuilding Co Ltd both filed motions to sell off assets.

Industry losses are widespread, as the volume of new orders in 2011 fell 52 percent, according to the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry.

A bit of a Finance question..

when you have a big asset like a shipyard, and have to shut down or relinquish it due to bankruptcy, how do the remaining assets weigh in from an economic POV? My point being, the financial downturn doesn't really change the intrinsic work value of the site or the heavy tools (cranes, specialized buildings, docks, etc) , save for the deterioration if it ends up sitting unstored and decaying for years.. but don't those assets become a good deal for the next buyer, and essentially retain a fairly high functional value (ie, for the society overall) if they can get put back into service by someone unhindered by the debt that closed the prior company?

I guess I'm thinking about intrinsic value, embodied energy, etc. as they stand distinct from strictly the 'blue-book price' ..

its all about cashflow- if those assets produce no net cash flow they are not worth anything in place. You might be able to sell pieces to somebody else or as scrap. I recall from my banking days being at a real estate training workshop - we were asked how much we would pay for a building that cost $50MM to build. Some of thought we were being very smart by offering 30% and were then shown how you would actually need to be paid for taking over the asset because the cash flow was negative even after renting the place.

The last I heard cargo ships were running slower than sail ships of yore to cut down cost, obviously business isn't looking up.

Oh! That's just too good! No kidding? Really! Wow.

"Shipping lines are running out of options to stop losses as sailing speeds reach their lower limit, exhausting a solution that helped restore profitability in 2010.

“Some of these container ships are now so slow that they’re close to the speeds of the old sailing ships. The clippers might actually have been faster.”

Maersk Line says it may be able to bring its speeds down even further. The company cut its average speed to about 17 knots last year from 20 knots in 2008, according to Morten Engelstoft, Maersk Line’s chief operating officer. The company’s whole fleet currently sails at about 16-18 knots, he said.

“There is still some potential for slow-steaming, both for us and probably for the industry,” Engelstoft said in a Jan. 23 interview. “We are looking into the possibility of super slow- steaming. That would be 12-16 knots.”

With speeds unlikely to get any slower, the industry is growing more vulnerable to rising fuel costs, and all container lines are now losing money, according to BIMCO, the biggest international shipping association.

The 19th-century clippers, the fastest ships of their time, transported tea to the U.K. and U.S. from China and India, according to the website of the U.K. Tea Council. The ships, which had three or more masts and dozens of sails, could reach a peak average speed of more than 16 knots."


This is like the ultimate case for renewables, wind, VS fossil fuels: Use wind and survive as a business... use oil and go under.

So, now, this story makes much more sense:

There was a report recently that said renewables could provide 80% of America's electricity needs.

Yup. We might as well restore Cutty Sark and use her to haul lightweight cargo across the world. Wouldn't make much of a difference.

I cannot find the link at the moment but I do remember that a group supporting Fair Trade coffee actually shipped it to Port Elizabeth, New Jersey by sailboat in the last year or so!
A problem they faced was the Port had no provisions for sailing ships anymore!

Interesting that perhaps once again the Environmental sloop Clearwater proves to be prophetic and way ahead of its time in a way Pete Seeger and its founders never expected!
Besides serving as a demonstration sailboat for cleaning up the Hudson and the Environment perhaps the sloop Clearwater foreshadows actual economic return of sailing sloops...

Check out the 19th Century Windjammer. Slightly mechanized, it was a cargo sailing ship with motorized assist for the sails. The crew was much smaller than a traditional sailing ship and it used a tiny amount of fuel compared to coal or diesel ships. They lasted a while serving ports in the South Pacific without refueling capacities and then were overcome by the 20th century.

The Clipper has a high length to width ratio. It was only good for tea or mail, something high value, lightweight and small, and the Clipper Era was only a few years.

I once took a cruise on a diesel powered sailboat. It's a passenger vehicle for a slower time. The diesel engine was really convenient in rough seas or unfavorable winds, but she ran on sail at least half the time.

Between the advances in Fabrics, Mast and Hull Materials/Design, Motors, Sensors and Control Electronics, Aerodynamic Modelling, plus these computerized Traction Kites, I expect there will be a fascinating series of developments with Sail-driven shipping coming at us.

Yes, as oil recedes, earlier solutions that were blown-away by oil will re-emerge, like electric cars and sailing ships, with new, modern, details.

Since electric cars never had such impact on societies which sailing ships had in the past and gasoline cars have today, it's a bit disingenuous to clump them together.

By the same logic, what is the mention of a century of gasoline cars doing near a discussion of millennia of seafaring? Tell ya what... let's change the reference to "horses". This will please the anti-cornucopians as well. Horses with modern amenities... like cup-holders!

I think both technologies are appropriate in his comment, regardless of how quick the original E-cars came and went.. the main point is that there were viable or economical ways to move about that were outgunned by cheap oil, and their advantages will soon have a chance, it seems, to re-emerge. Their overall roles in the past isn't as interesting as the balances that once undid them, and now might well reverse to reintroduce them for the very same strengths.

The economics of EV's have challenges in Battery Price and Economies of Scale today, and Sailing ships have the narrowing disadvantages of slower travel, but ultimately their position on the big scale will be shifting as Oil Price and Availability come down the slope to meet them.

Researchers upgrade ethanol to a better fuel

Using a mixed bag of microbes for specific chemical reactions, biological engineers have designed a process for upgrading ethanol into something even better -- caproic acid, a carboxylic acid that's a versatile fuel precursor. If scaled up, their process could integrate seamlessly into already-established ethanol production lines.

The researchers used donated buckets of fermented beer broth from a nearby corn ethanol plant, Western New York Energy, for their experiments. Angenent's group biologically converted ethanol into n-caproic acid using only beer with dilute ethanol. Their microbial mix then converted 2-carbon units into 6-carbon chain acids.

Caproic acid's advantages over ethanol are many: It's hydrophobic -- it resembles oil droplets -- making it easier to separate from water in the purification process. It's also versatile, with potential use in such diverse applications as animal feed, or as an anti-microbial agent.

Caproic acid? It will make your car smell like a goat - that's what the name comes from. Other than that it smells really "organic", I don't see what the point of using it is. Ethanol will work just fine as long as it doesn't dissolve the rubber parts in your fuel system.

Caprioc acid [hexanoic acid] can be readily converted to n-hexane* by a simple dehydration reaction with a catalyst (dehydrating agent, i.e. concentrated sulfuric acid). Other catalysts: Amberlyst® 15 a strong solid-acid catalyst, zirconium oxide as a Lewis acid catalyst, and Novozym 435 as an enzymatic catalyst.

Caproic acid is immiscible with water and can be removed in a continuous process - no distillation and you don't have to resolve the azetrope problem.

It takes a 1:1 EROEI process and makes it a 3-5:1 EROEI process. Plus the product has a higher heat of combustion

Ethanol - 12,800 BTU/lb
Hexane - 19,504 BTU/lb
Gasoline - 20,000 BTU/lb

* Hexane is one of the principal constituent of gasoline

Hey, a dummy question on this, if you do not mind? Organic was a tough subject for me.

If I started with a 2-Carbon fuel -- Ethanol per this topic, and re-structured it to say a 4 carbon fuel -- like Butanol, would I not only have 1/2 as much?

Just doing the Carbon accounting there.

While the molecule would now be longer and weight more . . . if were comparing Energy per Liter, would not my actual Liters be reduced?

Same on creating a 6-Carbon Hexane? While I started with (3) 2-Carbon Ethanol molecules, I would only be getting (1) 6-Carbon Hexane molecule? So now my volume of liquid fuel is significantly reduced?

Thanks in advance, for the kind and patient answer. :D

Energy Content

in Btu/Gallon

19,800 CNG, Compressed Natural Gas, Methane, @2400PSI
33,700 Liquid Hydrogen
40,500 Ammonia
64,000 Methanol
84,000 Ethanol ... 6.7 Lbs/Gallon
91,000 Propane
105,000 Butanol ... 6.75 Lbs/Gallon
106,000 Hexane ... 5.5 Lbs/Gallon
106,000 Hexanol ... 6.86 Lbs/Gallon
114,000 Gasoline
120,000 Biodiesel
130,000 Petrodiesel

Hexane is a hydrocarbon
Hexanol is an alcohol

A table of all alcohols:

Methanol = 56,000 BTUs per gallon
Ethanol = 76,000 BTUs per gallon
Propanol = 85,000 BTUs per gallon
Butanol = 96,000 BTUs per gallon
Pentanol = 101,000 BTUs per gallon
Hexanol = 106,000 BTUs per gallon
Heptanol = 109,000 BTUs per gallon
Octanol = 112,000 BTUs per gallon
Nonanol = 114,000 BTUs per gallon
Decanol = 117,000 BTUs per gallon
Undecanol = 118,000 BTUs per gallon

Petrol Gasoline = 109,000-119,000 BTUs per gallon


Nice papers:
alcohols of different chain length:

There is a new solid-state process for synthesizing Ammonia from wind, water, and air. Ammonia is a molecule containing one nitrogen and three hydrogen atoms. There is no carbon: It makes no carbon dioxide when burned as a vehicle fuel.


" Ammonia is a molecule containing one nitrogen and three hydrogen atoms. There is no carbon: It makes no carbon dioxide when burned as a vehicle fuel."

It is, however, quite toxic. It is also a regulated chemical under the Risk Management Planning system, so if there is more than 10,000 lbs in one place a large group of expensive regulations become applicable. These won't bother you at home, but they will impact a potential filling station.

"Anhydrous Ammonia is an irritating, flammable, and colorless liquefied compressed gas packaged in cylinders under its own vapor pressure of 114 psig at 70 F. Ammonia can cause severe eye, skin and respiratory tract burns. It poses an immediate fire and explosion hazard when concentrations exceed 15%; therefore, area must be ventilated before entering. Wear self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) when entering release area if concentrations exceed allowable exposure limits. Fully protective suits are required in large releases. Always be aware of fire and explosion potential in the case of large releases."


"Anhydrous Ammonia is a... liquefied compressed gas packaged in cylinders under its own vapor pressure of 114 psig at 70 F."

Easy to store. On the other hand, Compressed Natural Gas, methane, in CNG vehicles is stored at 3600PSI. That means that every square foot of that CNG tank surface is holding back half a million pounds of force.

Here in California, most of the smaller gasoline stations were shut down because the could not meet expensive regulations.

As you've pointed out, batteries contain dangerous chemicals, too:
... I guess that lets-out Photo Voltaic powered electric cars, as well... kinda ironic.

Anything that stores energy is dangerous. That's why you don't play Tug-of-War with a nylon rope.

would it make more sense to look at it on a mass basis rather than a volumetric basis?


Relative to Phildo's question, it can be seen that the packing density increases a bit:

Ethanol: 6.7 Lbs/Gal
Butanol: 6.75 Lbs/Gal
Hexanol: 6.86 Lbs/Gal

...but nothing like by multiples.

Relative to a car, yes: that relates to how much weight has to be carried to go as far. The volume to go as far is a limiter for things like CNG.

60 pounds of gasoline at 6Lbs/gallon
150 pounds of ammonia at 5Lbs/gallon
600 pounds or more of batteries

Another cost and chemical efficiency advantage to be had with ammonia made from wind, air, and water is in savings on the execution of warfare, expenditure of explosives, and propelling of ships to secure and deliver the international flows of hydrocarbons.

A Look At The Conflicts That Were And Will Be Caused By Oil

From the end of the MSDS for ammonia;

EPA - ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY CERCLA: Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (40 CFR Parts 117 and 302)
Reportable Quantity (RQ): 100 lbs (45.4 kgs)

SARA TITLE III: Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act SECTIONS302/304:EmergencyPlanningandNotification (40CFRPart355)
Extremely Hazardous Substances: Ammonia is listed. Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ): 500 lbs (227 kgs) Reportable Quantity (RQ): 100 lbs (45.4 kgs)

SECTIONS 311/312: Hazardous Chemical Reporting (40 CFR Part 370) IMMEDIATE HEALTH: Yes PRESSURE: Yes DELAYED HEALTH: No REACTIVITY: No

SECTION 313: Toxic Chemical Release Reporting (40 CFR Part 372) Ammonia is on the list of chemicals which may require reporting under Section 313.

CLEAN AIR ACT: SECTION 112 (r): Risk Management Programs for Chemical Accidental Release (40 CFR PART 68)
Ammonia is listed as a regulated substance. Threshold Quantity (TQ): 10,000 lbs (4535 kgs)

TSCA: Toxic Substance Control Act Ammonia is listed on the TSCA inventory.
OSHA - OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION: 29 CFR Part 1910.119: Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals
Ammonia is listed as a highly hazardous chemical. Threshold Quantity (TQ): 10,000 lbs (4535 kgs)

This is not the slightly smelly cleaning solution you may be thinking of.

Gasoline, All Grades MSDS No. 9950

Gosh, I can't reply!:

The CERCLA definition of hazardous substances contains a “petroleum exclusion” clause which exempts crude oil, refined, and unrefined petroleum products and any indigenous components of such.


Plus, I'd have to go through and expound upon this entire list:

Ethyl benzene
Methyl-tertiary butyl ether (MTBE)
1,2,4- Trimethylbenzene
Xylene, mixed isomers

"137 workers suffered... following exposure to a chemical, known as n-hexane."
Hexane was substituted for hexanol.

"Benzene, Aplastic Anemia, and Leukemia"

"Toxic Substances Portal - Toluene"



Contains benzene, a regulated human carcinogen.

High fire hazard. Keep away from heat, spark, open flame, and other ignition sources.
Excessive exposure may cause irritations to the nose, throat, lungs and respiratory tract. Central nervous system (brain) effects may include headache, dizziness, loss of balance and coordination, unconsciousness, coma, respiratory failure, and death.
-The kids are huffing it.-

WARNING: the burning of any hydrocarbon as a fuel in an area without adequate ventilation may result in hazardous levels of combustion products, including carbon monoxide, and inadequate oxygen levels, which may cause unconsciousness, suffocation, and death.
-Happens all the time.-

It stores energy. I wonder if it's dangerous?

Is that "simple dehydration" really feasible. I mean I've done a lot decent amount of O-chem research and that seems like it would be tough in the lab scale, never mind an industrial scale. Do you by chance have a link of any literature for those reactions?

Also incidentally, dehydrations shouldn't change the net oxidation of the molecule ... so shouldn't a double dehydration make a hexyne or a hexadiene (presuming some tautomerisation in intermediate steps of the dehydration)? I mean unless the dehydrations are coupled with hydrogenations.

The Canadian government prepares for peak oil ...

Via Rail to reduce service, cut 200 jobs

Via Rail expects to cut 200 unionized jobs, or about nine per cent of its workforce, as the government-owned passenger rail service reduces trips on lines across the country.

At least they're not ripping out any tracks. But they only do around 900 million passenger miles per year. So compared to air and cars, they're lost in the noise. Scaled to population, they're only a little better than Amtrak, which does 6.5 billion. Hardly even a blip, no real effect WRT peak oil without a vast expansion, in either country. And even if finances don't preclude a vast expansion, NIMBYs and BANANAs will.

They are not ripping out any tracks because they are used by the two main freight railways, CN and CP, and those are among the heaviest used rail lines in the world. However, they are dedicated to carrying freight. The passenger trains interfere with the freight trains, so CN and CP don't want to see them on their tracks.

The existing tracks are not particularly well designed for passenger service. The speeds need to be increased because of the vast distances. There are really only two major city pairs in Canada close enough together to make sense for high speed rail - Toronto/Montreal and Calgary/Edmonton. The latter doesn't have any passenger rail service at all any more, but Calgary and Edmonton are as close as London and Paris, so it could be made to work - downtown to downtown in 90 minutes or less on a dedicated line.

Toronto/Montreal is the city pair that would make the most sense for high speed rail - it is twice as far as London to Paris, about 500 km or 310 miles, but the time could still be under 2 hours using the latest technology. It would cost a lot of money to build, though.

For most purposes, inter-city passenger rail can't really compete with air travel in Canada because the distances between cities are too great. It's a huge country, bigger than the US or Europe, and it has fewer people than California or Spain.

Travel time between Toronto and Vancouver has actually reverted to the time it took back in the days of steam locomotives because CN no longer wanted to give passenger trains priority over freight trains.

In Eastern Ontario, it seems that, with the exception of a few heavily used lines, every rail that could be ripped up has been ripped up. The railways that ran through places like Renfrew and Barrys Bay are gone and the remaining rail beds are now used as trails for off-road vehicles.

For CP to abandon their Ottawa Valley line as they did last year is just goofy. This was by far the shortest route between Western Canada and Montreal, and avoided the congested Toronto area. I'm hoping their new management revisit this decision.

Record radiation levels detected at Fukushima reactor

TEPCO, the operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, said Wednesday record amounts of radiation had been detected in the basement of reactor number 1, further hampering clean-up operations.

TEPCO took samples from the basement after lowering a camera and surveying instruments through a drain hole in the basement ceiling.

Radiation levels above radioactive water in the basement reached up to 10,300 millisievert an hour, a dose that will kill humans within a short time after making them sick within minutes.

The annual allowed dose for workers at the stricken site is reached in only 20 seconds.

The Fukushima operator said that radiation levels were 10 times higher than those recorded at the plant's two other crippled reactors, number two and three.

... took them 15 months to notice this?

It sounds like the corium from reactor 1 fell into the basement.

There is a basement? I thought below the containment was like 30 feet of solid concrete.

Maybe the "basement" is the space around the torus in which case the radioactive atoms are dissolved in water.

"Maybe the "basement" is the space around the torus in which case the radioactive atoms are dissolved in water."

Or were dissolved in water. Water is a good radiation shield. If the tank boiled dry, then the gamma rays have a clear path out.

Dying trees in Southwest set stage for erosion, water loss in Colorado River

New research concludes that a one-two punch of drought and mountain pine beetle attacks are the primary forces that have killed more than 2.5 million acres of pinyon pine and juniper trees in the American Southwest during the past 15 years, setting the stage for further ecological disruption.

The widespread dieback of these tree species is a special concern, scientists say, because they are some of the last trees that can hold together a fragile ecosystem, nourish other plant and animal species, and prevent serious soil erosion.

The major form of soil erosion in this region is wind erosion. Dust blowing from eroded hills can cover snowpacks, cause them to absorb heat from the sun and melt more quickly, and further reduce critically-short water supplies in the Colorado River basin.

... let the dust-bowlification commence!

... cue dust storm ... Huge dust storm rolls through the Phoenix area

PHOENIX -- A dust storm rolled through the Valley on Tuesday evening that was 60 miles wide and 2,000 feet high, according to the National Weather Service in Phoenix.

The National Weather Service had issued a Blowing Dust Advisory that had to be extended twice and lated until 9 p.m. Affected areas included Phoenix, Mesa, Buckeye, Chandler, Gilbert, Apache Junction, Queen Creek, Casa Grande, Arizona City, Florence, Eloy, Coolidge, Maricopa and Sacaton.

How quickly we forget....

During the drought of the 1930s, without natural anchors to keep the soil in place, it dried, turned to dust, and blew away eastward and southward in large dark clouds. At times, the clouds blackened the sky, reaching all the way to East Coast cities such as New York and Washington, D.C. Much of the soil ended up deposited in the Atlantic Ocean, carried by prevailing winds, which were in part created by the dry and bare soil conditions. These immense dust storms—given names such as "black blizzards" and "black rollers"—often reduced visibility to a few feet (a meter or less). The Dust Bowl affected 100,000,000 acres (400,000 km2), centered on the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, and adjacent parts of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas.[2]


The Great Plains as a large grasslands are only about 10,000 years old; before that, the area was forested, with boreal pine forest to the north and deciduous forest in the south. There is a growing body of archeological evidence that episodes similar to the Dust Bowl have been a regular occurrence in the southern GP since they dried enough for the trees to disappear. While human practices helped with the Dust Bowl, only about one-third of the GP has ever been plowed, another one-third has been grazed, and the last third isn't even good enough to reliably graze. Many people confuse the Great Plains with the much wetter prairies farther east.

I highly recommend Geoff Cunfer's On the Great Plains: Agriculture and Environment.

If you want to read something more disconcerting, read Brian Fagan's The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and fall of Civilizations. It's about the Medieval Warm Period which ran from roughly 800 to 1200 AD.

People on TOD tend to poo-poo the Medieval Warm Period, or even deny that it happened, but archaeological data indicates that during it the Indians of Great Plains experienced droughts far, far worse than anything that has ever been seen since Europeans arrived in North America.

Meanwhile, the Norse expanded, settled Iceland and Greenland, and raided all around Northern Europe. It destroyed major civilizations around the world, killed millions of people, but caused other civilizations to rise and populations to explode in other areas - but that is another story.

The US Southwest as well as the Great Plains. William deBuys' A Great Aridness is a fascinating read.

Yes, I should have include the arid Southwest. If you think it's dry now, you should have been around during the major droughts of the Medieval Warm Period. There is dry, and there is Sahara-like dry.

In Canada there is a region of Southwestern Alberta and Southeastern Saskatchewan called the Palliser Triangle. When Captain Palliser first explored it in the mid-1800's, he described it as "an arid semi-desert".

When settlers arrived with the railroads around the turn of the century, they found it was a lush grassland. They started to overgraze and overcultivate it, and pushed it to its limits.

Then the 1930's came along and the region turned back into a desert. It was a learning experience for a the farmers and rangers, most of them went broke, and people have been much more careful how they approach it ever since.

Well, the denialists point to the MWP, and shout -it's all natural. The climatologists don't find a global MWP, but do find some regions that were warmer for a century or two, but not in synchronicity with other regions. It has the signature of changes in heat distribution rather than global temperature change.

I think Fagan's POV is that, while the climate didn't change in the same way in all regions, it did change in all regions. In most cases it was warmer, but in some cases it was cooler. Whatever it was, it was different from the Little Ice Age which followed. Whatever happened was advantageous for some people but disasterous for others.

In Europe, the MWP was usually warmer than the periods before or since, and the LIA was usually colder than the ages before or since. The Europeans named them, hence the names. You can find similar effects in North America, though, although they are different in detail.

What gets pooh-poohed is the way the MWP gets used regularly to try to disprove APCC.

Pinyon pine is food.

Gathering Pinon Pine Nuts
The size and taste of the pinon pine seed made
it a seasonal staple for man and animal in the Great
Basin. Native Americans ground the seeds to make
soup or mush and roasted the seeds to eat like a nut.
The large seed is so nut-like it is commonly called
pinon nut or pine nut.


Pinyon pine nuts seem to be selling for $20 a pound. Here's a 6Lb. jar for $158 ($183 total):

Half of inhaled diesel soot gets stuck in the lungs: study

The exhaust from diesel-fuelled vehicles, wood fires and coal-driven power stations contains small particles of soot that flow out into the atmosphere. The soot is a scourge for the climate but also for human health. Now for the first time, researchers have studied in detail how diesel soot gets stuck in the lungs. The results show that more than half of all inhaled soot particles remain in the body.

The figure is higher than for most other types of particles. For example "only" 20 per cent of another type of particle from wood smoke and other biomass combustion gets stuck in the lungs. One explanation is that diesel soot is made up of smaller particles and can therefore penetrate deeper into the lungs, where it is deposited.

Farmers and inhaled diesel soot

Good post, Seraph

I saw no particular focus on farmers in this study, but surely farmers would be prime candidates: almost all modern tractors burn diesel and usually the exhaust stack is about 3'-5' in front of the operator, usually slightly higher than the farmer's head.

I have always found this rather odd: I don't see why the exhaust cannot not exit behind the operator (either below, as in cars & trucks, or above, as on transport trucks).
In any event, farmers are out in their fields for many hours with diesel exhaust about 40" in front of their faces, so it's rather impossible to avoid the fumes.

I'm surprised that there aren't more reported cases of lung problems in farmers (there is the long-standing issue of "farmer's lung" but that usually is in reference to decades of inhaling hay dust & pigeon poop, not diesel fumes).

"I have always found this rather odd: I don't see why the exhaust cannot not exit behind the operator (either below, as in cars & trucks, or above, as on transport trucks)."

Speed of travel is the point you are missing. Most tractor work is done at walking pace, or a slow trot. Putting the exhaust behind you will just get it blown back in your face when you turn onto the downwind track of the field. Putting it under the tractor risks a fire if you are in dry field.

Blowing it straight up is a better option. Not perfect, but the best out of the six basic directions you have to work with.

Like Hell you can convert caproic acid into N-hexane by dehydration! You will get 1-pentene.

Give'm 'ell, Ari!

(But hit "REPLY" to a relevant comment so it doesn't end up far apart from the subject you're commenting on..)

Exxon's CEO: Climate, energy fears overblown

He highlighted that huge discoveries of oil and gas in North America have reversed a 20-year decline in U.S. oil production in recent years. He also trumpeted the global oil industry's ability to deliver fuels during a two-year period of dramatic uncertainty in the Middle East, the world's most important oil and gas-producing region.
"No one, anywhere, any place in the world has not been able to get crude oil to fuel their economies," he said.
Tillerson, in a break with predecessor Lee Raymond, has acknowledged that global temperatures are rising. "Clearly there is going to be an impact," he said Wednesday.
But he questioned the ability of climate models to predict the magnitude of the impact. He said that people would be able to adapt to rising sea levels and changing climates that may force agricultural production to shift.
"We have spent our entire existence adapting. We'll adapt," he said. "It's an engineering problem and there will be an engineering solution."

Clearly, the doomers are wrong. The Engineers will save us! /sarc

Oilsands newcomer strikes rail transport deal

One of Alberta’s newest oilsands projects will put its bitumen on rails to market, it announced Wednesday.

Calgary-based Southern Pacific Resource Corp. said it has signed a long-term deal to transport bitumen from its STP-McKay thermal oilsands project to the U.S. Gulf Coast via CN Rail.

“This arrangement is significant to Southern Pacific because it demonstrates that alternatives to conventional pipelines are available to market bitumen from the Athabasca oilsands,” said chief executive Byron Lutes in a news release.

“This has implications not only for Southern Pacific shareholders through higher netbacks, but also for Albertans through increased royalties and demonstrating another safe and viable alternative for transporting bitumen.”

In the same release, James Cairns, CN vice-president, petroleum and chemicals, said CN expects to move about 25,000 carloads of crude oil this year, up from about 5,000 last year.

Hello forum,
not a frequent poster but an avid reader of this great site.
I would like to post a question to this forum regarding climate change. Almost all dicussion regarding
climate change focuses on the negative effects of a warming/overheating climate. Surely there most be some
positives such as warming of cooler climates,tundra turning to fertile ground etc. I guess my question is with
so many unknowns in our knowledge of the climate of the earth - couldn´t it be possible that the earth could
reach an equlibrium with a warmer climate rather than the doomsday scenario of boiling ourselves to death in
less than a century ?

It is much easier to get a planet to warm than to cool. There are plenty of potent green-house gases that could heat up the planet should it start to cool. It is much harder to get the planet to cool should it get warmer, as it requires massive amounts of aerosols which will then precipitate out quickly.

The problem with high temperatures is that they are unprecedented. No recent paleo records have gotten this high. Recent data from NE Russia shows that the climate has oscillated but never gone above the ceiling that we are starting to break through. That is for a span of 3 million years.

It is a huge scientific experiment that we are in the middle of.

It is a huge scientific experiment that we are in the middle of.

Actually, I think that gives too much credit as it implies a "controlled" experiment, or at least one executed according to a plan. What we are engaged in strikes me as much more of a crap shoot, a giant roll of the dice. Will we get lucky and avoid the worst of the unintended consequences? What are the probabilities?

The dice metaphor was used by James Hansen to good effect recently to explain the variability of weather in the context of the climate. If weather is like rolling dice then you can calculate the probability of rolling a temperature anomaly on a normal distribution, but you cannot predict exactly when or exactly how often. Now alter the climate by adding pips to the dice, which is essentially what we are doing with CO2 forcing. The variability is essentially the same, but now the dice are loaded to the high end and you are much more likely to roll a high temperature anomaly than a low one.

Perceptions of Climate Change: The New Climate Dice (pdf)

Throw in the well known dynamics of positive feedbacks, for example melting permafrost, and the likelihood of catastrophic consequences becomes much greater. At which point it's not so much even a "crap shoot", but it becomes more of an object lesson on how NOT to reside on a lovely little speck of a planet.

Oh, sure, I know that on geologic time scales it can be said that God is the one rolling the dice (cue Einstein rolling in his grave) with any number of possible but unlikely extinction level events on the list, but is that really any excuse to deliberately trash the place?


First consideration: 7 billion humans are adapted to, and deeply invested in, the climate they have now. Beyond that, who knows? Just thinking about the infrastructure and living arrangement changes required to deal with a relatively sudden climate shift is mind boggling. e.g.: Do you think that Canadians are in any way prepared to accept millions of Mexicans moving to their 'tundra'? Beyond that, it may take thousands of years for these new temperate zones to stabilize, and if some of the sea level rise predictions are accurate, billions of folks will need to relocate before the end of this century. Not funny, that. Reaching a new 'equilibrium' is often a violent process.

Interesting times, indeed.

Grolar bears and pizzlys are already happening.

Do you think that Canadians are in any way prepared to accept millions of Mexicans moving to their 'tundra'?

Only 250,000 of them a year. And they have to be able to weld pipe or drive a 400-tonne truck in the oil sands.

BTW, there's less resistance to Mexican immigration in Canada than you might think. Virtually none, as far as I can tell. We don't actually get that many Mexicans this far north.

"BTW, there's less resistance to Mexican immigration in Canada than you might think."

...and in the context of climate-driven mass migration?

Who knows? We're more worried about the possibility of millions of drought-stricken Americans flocking north into the better-watered Canadian provinces.

Its not necessarily that a warmer or cooler equilibrium, with ecosystems and sealevel adjusted to he new state is better of worse. However establishing that new equilibrium will take several centuries at least. In the case of mature soils probably a lot longer.
Former permafrost will be a huge mess for quite a while, it will either be wet and boggy, or dry and subject to catastrophic peat fires. Not really a place we will plant crops on.

Another part to consider is not just 'adapting to change', but the SPEED of change, and whether this living system or that one will have the capacity or the luck to make the right changes in time, were we to see a great, quick 'Tipping' .. once we passed some crucial balance point.

Here is a well-cited summary of the science surrounding AGW positives (few there are) and negatives.


Read the links out to the full papers as you like. There are other sites that summarize and aggregate the research, but I happen to like the one above.

As others have said, it is very strange to see rapid changes in climate-- it's supposed to be mind-numbingly stable. While new evidence indicates some rapid shifts in the geological record due to "tipping points," and we have research on climate changes after significant impacts and geological upheavals, most would agree that the rate of anthropogenic forcing is significantly troubling and a yet-known "tipping point" is a worst-case.

Europe: No solution 'til it gets much worse

This week's Euro summit will do some useful things, but it will not remotely come close to solving the crisis.

The summit will lead to some political commitments to move in the right direction, which is more useful than it sounds because it helps enable actions to be taken later on.

However, the communiqué will be very short on specifics because the leaders are not yet ready to agree on the big things.

By one count, this is the 17th summit dealing with the Euro crisis. Why do they all disappoint on a fundamental level?

The answer is fairly simple: The real solutions will require painful actions that conflict with national myths in key countries and the politicians do not believe the public is yet scared enough to accept that much pain.

"...the politicians do not believe the public is yet scared enough to accept that much pain."

Remarkable. Ha! Just wait until the US reaches this reality. "The beatings will continue until moral improves!" morphs into "The beatings won't really start until we've got you numb enough."

The good news is that I believe the key European leaders will accept these steps when faced with true disaster.

The bad news is that they will need to be standing on the edge of that cliff before they are able to do the right thing.

I've always wondered about what would happen if some of the proposals in the comment fields actually were carried out. Austerity on a more extreme level than now has the slight side effect of undermining the very socio-economic fabric these societies are woven into, perhaps leading to flat-out revolution - the very thing these guys would hate the most. Makes my inner hyena marxist smile for a second or two.

The bad news is that they will need to be standing on the edge of that cliff before they are able to do the right thing.

Oops! That involves depth perception. Bummer.

Auto makers proving critics wrong in race to meet 2016 fuel efficiency standards

The doomsayers were saying it would not happen, it could not happen, that car companies were incapable of meeting strict 2016 fuel economy regulations without suffering cataclysmic damage to their health as viable companies. Apparently they were wrong.

In a nutshell, the doomsayers were saying that the 2016 standards could not be met, that they would reduce the horsepower of the cars, and they would increase the price. The reality is that many cars already meet the 2016 standards, the horsepower of most of them is up, and the price of many of them is down. And the bottom line:

“Anyone trading a 2001-generation product (which could include anything sold within five years on either side of that date) for a modern-day equivalent can expect to save an average of roughly a hundred bucks per month on gas,”

Of course it was the automakers themselves that were the biggest whiners & critics about raising CAFE standards.

Obviously, they were just being cheap & lazy.

To be honest, the new CAFE regs aren't THAT strict. When CAFE first started, it radically altered the nature of cars (partly because it also came on the heels of clean air regs). Now, all the carmakers know how to build a 50 mpg car, they just don't want to unless they have to - the knowledge of aerodynamics and use of lightweight materials is not "new technology", it's just applying existing technology. The fact they easily met 2016 standards already without any sacrifices means that the standards are increasing too slowly, in my opinion.

In fact, the hybrid tech needed to get bigger gains is now substantially worked out as well, and aside from Toyota it is still barely being used (hybrid models are offered but make up a small percentage of sales).

Still, any good news is nice. Hope they beat the 2025 standard in the next few years.

Hope we stop using as many personal cars as possible as soon as possible!

The Prius line already beats the 2025 standard, so they shouldn't have a problem figuring out how to meet the standards given that they have 13 years to do something we can already do.

Well, they can get right along with that 80 mpg 4-person sedan car that was the goal of the aborted program under Clinton-Gore...I forget the name of that initiative..

Oh wait, there's the Internet...


Here you can see a pic of a Ford 63 mpg 5-person sedan...


Gee, then there was the GM Precept (80 mpg):


Partnership for New Generation of Vehicles:


I'm seeing some 72 mpg and the GM 80 mpg entries...

Yea, these focused on Diesel-Hybrid technologies...but that isn't the only answer...we could be doing ///MUCH/// better with our fleet mileage in the U.S.....if we wanted.

Arctic drill ships leave Seattle for Alaska

The Kulluk and Noble Discoverer and support ships are headed first to Dutch Harbor. Once open water allows, the rigs will move to the Beaufort and Chukchi seas for offshore drilling.

Shell Oil prepared the ships in Seattle to explore for oil and natural gas.

Shell drill rigs depart Seattle for Arctic waters in Alaska

The Kulluk will be towed by the Aiviq, a new icebreaking ship built in Louisiana for Shell's Arctic mission. In all, Shell plans to stage more than 20 ships, drilling rigs and support vessels in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas this summer.

Decades ago, Shell pioneered drilling in Cook Inlet and also drilled the majority of early exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea and others in the Beaufort.

Edit: Added link to second story.

Many thanks for answering my question :)

The Supreme Court upholds the Affordable Care Act!


Now I can carry my newly graduated-from-college son on Tricare For Young Adults for three more years until he is 26 or until he secures a job with health care benefits (or until he wins the PowerBall or MaegaMillions and becomes independently wealthy).

Don't worry died-in-the wool libertarians/Faux Noise folks, TCFYA isn't free...right now Tricare for military families (whether the member is active duty or retired) costs only $460/year (kids covered until age 23 if they are enrolled as fulltime students). And please don't carp about that...'Free health care for life' was one of the parts of the contract that the recruiters dangle in front of folks to get them to offer their lives to their country. Now, TriCare has followed the AFA mandate on civilian insurers, and offers coverage for military dependent children until age 26, for the cost of ~$210/month...on top of the $460/year I will still pay for me (the service member), my wife, and my <23yo daughter in college.

Thank reason for small favors.

It really has been fascinating - in the way that watching a cobra is fascinating.

Since the "Individual Mandate" was a Republican idea, the Right wins over the Uber-Right. It is still considered a conservative outcome since the Mandate has been classified as a tax, rather than part of the Commerce Clause.
States can opt out of expanding Medicaid.
The Health Insurance Corporations win since everyone is required to buy insurance.
The Tea Party loses since they don't want to be told what to do. I saw one response that said something like "come and get me, 'cause I ain't paying".

Spring_tides, your exactly right Obama is on the record being against the mandate. Democrats actually caved and allowed the mandate, because the insurance companies said that they couldn't do Obamacare without it. If Obama could have got the votes he would have went with the one payer system and the mandate would have ever been an issue. So moderates on both sides that were lobbied by Health insurance companies gave us the health care mandate tax. Yeah, tax the poor people who can't afford insurance to start with that'll work out real well.

I don't think that the Tea Party loses, because they now have an issue to run on. If anyone lost it's moderate crony capitalist republicans and moderate bluedog democrats.

Obama never even allowed Single-payer Medicare for all advocates including Drs and Nurses,
in any of the hearings. Obama had no intention of enacting single-payer.
In fact it was the most popular and simplest option for the public, easily understood, with no private insurance mandate which I personally oppose as an unConstitutional requirement to essentially pay money to private for profit Corporations, in order to live.
Obama could have called on the huge legion of volunteers whom he is now inviting to dinners
to try to sucker them into donating to put the heat on Congress to pass a plan to move
to Single Payer.
He never even presented it...

"OBAMA: Let’s break down what she really means by a mandate. What’s meant by a mandate is that the government is forcing people to buy health insurance and so she’s suggesting a parent is not going to buy health insurance for themselves if they can afford it. Now, my belief is that most parents will choose to get health care for themselves and we make it affordable.

Here’s the concern. If you haven’t made it affordable, how are you going to enforce a mandate. I mean, if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house. The reason they don’t buy a house is they don’t have the money. And so, our focus has been on reducing costs, making it available. I am confident if people have a chance to buy high-quality health care that is affordable, they will do so. That’s what our plan does and nobody disputes that."

Above that's Obama's own words on the mandate, he was against it. The only reason he didn't go after the one payer system is because it couldn't pass and because health insurance company lobbiest did their job.

Because single-payer had no chance in hell (commie socialized medicine...). So instead we did a simple tunkering modeled after Rpmney's Massachusetts plan. The funny thing is Republicans were all for Romney-care, until Obama copied it, then it became devil-spawn.

"The funny thing is Republicans were all for Romney-care"

Not the ones I know. You must be talking about blue bloods from the north east.

Results of RomneyCare in MA:

- 98% of citizens now have health insurance

- Nearly 100% of children have health insurance

- 90% of MA doctors say the quality of health care has improved for MA citizens

- 66% of MA citizens approve; 32% disapprove

- Comparing the first half of 2007 to the first half of 2009, spending from the Health Safety Net Fund dropped 38%-40% as more people became insured (this fund covers uninsured/indigent emergency care expenses to Hospitals)

- Governor Romney's MA Gov official portrait features a portfolio laying on a table to his right with a caduceus on the cover (I think it was that and not the rod of Asclepius but I am not sure)..a paean to his signature health care reform accomplishment!

But now Governor Etch-a-Sketch says that type of plan is the worst thing in the World!

Who would vote for that lie-like a dog weathervane?

Tri Care for young adults ain't cheap. I have to put my oldest on it in a few months. Better than nothing....

Prime Option: $201 per month
Standard Option: $176 per month

I got a huge kick out of the CNN and FOX epic fails on trying to be fast and getting it wrong. Lots of "epic fail" screenshot memes out now about it. CNN went 7-10 mintues with the wrong report while others had it correct.

Anyway, ACA ain't what we need, but it's what we got.

I don't understand how adult care became an issue to start with. If I wanted to go buy health care insurance for someone else no matter what age or even without any relation who was stopping me?

I do have one question at what point does the courts rule that my 18 to 26 year old child can sue me if I don't decide cover them on my insurance? Won't that make Christmas dinner nice?

the truth is that nearly every available sort of state, federal and employer health insurance has been extending over time to cover young adults. it's been a boiling issue since the early 90s at least. With kids uninsured at 18 or 19 in high school, you will go bankrupt on any serious accident or illness that isn't somehow covered. Same for a 19-24 year old in college. That is our economic reality in for-profit healthcare in the US.

So rather than universal coverage, we get individual mandate, a "compromise" of both right-wing AND right-wing solutions.

The real tiger in the grass is for-profit healthcare. We will continue to subsidise it until everything breaks.

Try getting health insurance if somehone has a pre-existing solution? The libertarian answer, is if they aren't a millionaire, let them die.

eos - But there are other aspects beyond the indigent not be able to afford ins. or medical treatment. Is it fair for a person who makes $250,000/year but never pays a penny for health ins. who, after developig a serious illness, pays a few hundred dollars for the first month's premium and the files a claim for $500,000 worth of treament? How do you feel about some of the premiums you've paid for decades being spent on that fellow...and the subsequent rise in your rate from such behavior of many others?

In that sense I did see the logic of a mandate for forced payment of coverage by everyone. That way costs are more fairly covered by the masses who pay in more than they ever recover while some recover far more then they have ever paid into the system. That is the basic concept of insurance: it has to collect more than it pays out: someone has to pay more than they ever recover. I still think it's unfair to provide cover for preexisting conditions for someone who chose not to have prior coverage. But at least with mandatory participation the load is spread out.

I do not see a fundamental difference between mandating everyone to buy insurance (with the poor getting a subsidy) or the government collecting a tax from everyone to fund health care. A mandate is a mandate.

Oh, there is one significant /operational/ difference: Government-run health care administration costs will have a significantly lower cost due to lower salaries for the administrators, especially the higher-ups (no billion-dollar CEOs), no profit motive, no stockholders to assuage with the profit pixie dust, much lower marketing costs, and so forth.

Shared risk is shared risk...except the private insurance route has higher overhead costs and less transparency with respect to efforts to ration care.

Avoidance of selection is the whole reason for the mandate. Otherwise only sicj people will buy insurance, just like your hypothetical. Obviously if you've had insurance for years in some sense you are paid up. But, with today's (or should I now say yesterdays) system, if you get something expensive your insurance company has every incentive to deny you -or simply treat you so bad you go away and become someone elses problem. So for instance if you've had insurance for two decades, and get some expensive chronic condition, and lose your job/insurance, you now can't get it (because any insurance company exec knows you will cost him his shirt). So the idea is to avoid the hazard to avoid becoming uninsurable.

eos - And that the very irritating factor for me: the existing system if flawed but I've yet to hear any changes that don't seem to be equally flawed on some level. And probably not because there aren't better solutions but both parties are very glad to keep the electorate split on the issues. That way we have no choice but to support one side because "they" are trying to destroy our country. And it seems almost everyone has their own idea of who "they" are.

Good Point...when Obama apes RomneyCare, all the sudden the R's disavow it (even though the premises to this plan were endorsed by Bob Dole, the Heritage Institute many years ago, and by many other conservative figures and think tanks).

Romney gave a speech today claiming how terrible the ACA is, and then stated the aspects of it he would keep...kind of sounded to me like he was advocating repealing ACA and replacing it with something very similar, but with the R imprimatur.

To the point: The R's have been hollerin to 'Repeal and Replace'...but they are short of details as to with what exactly...seems like Congressman Grayson's characterization rings true: The R plan is that if get sick or injured and don't have adequate insurance or wealth, just go die!

What a 'society' we have...

Or has a high potential to develop an expensive condition. Medicare didn't happen because Congress thought that the US should be more "socialist"; Medicare passed because many people aged 65+ couldn't buy health insurance at any price. The insurance companies simply refused to deal with them.

And so the US government picked up all the high-risk people in its Medicare and Medicaid programs, while the private insurance companies got to cherry-pick the market to sign up all the low risk candidates.

The result is that in the US government spends more per capita on health care than the UK government, but for that money it only covers the high-risk citizens. The UK covers everybody for less money.

One can argue that the UK is a bit cheap in its coverage and should provide the same level as France, but the reality is that in both of them health care costs their citizens far less than in the US.

In reality, the US spends more per capital on health care than any other country, but according to the CIA has only about the 34th highest life expectancy - just after Portugal. IOW high spending is not matched by similar results.

Canada ranks 9th, just after France, so while spending is high, it is matched by results.

Rocky we're 34th in life expectancy because we have all the stress of running the world, that's pretty darn stressful. With all of our oil that happens to be located in other countries that's pretty tough too, it's a logistical nightmare at times. There is one small consolation and that is the FACT that Canadians are holding our water resources until we really need it. Thanks Canucks!

Standard operation procedure of American "capitalism": Privatize the profits and socialize the risks.


I think it was Adam Smith that said that when given the chance businessmen could be the worlds worst capitalist. Well don't give them the chance! Give them freedom and a small fair common sence set of rules that apply to all and get out the way. If they fail they fail, if the succeed beyond everyones wildest dreams, so what.

And some of those rules included regulating risk in the banking system. But that was jettisoned as inconvenient.

You talk to a capitalist and what they will say that the current system is bastardized, you talk to a communist and they will tell you that Mao and Stalin bastardized Marx's dream. I will tell you that it doesn't matter how an economic system looks in the books, what matters is what it ends up as. If you are interested in tea-coffee intellectual discussions it's OK to debate fine theoretical nuances but for most purposes they are useless.

It is for this reason that I hate these capitalist, communist discussions because they like all other economic systems are subservient to our animal instincts, which involves capturing all the power and consuming all the resources available in front of us. In one system it's the individual who does this, in another it's the state. Our problems are not problems of capitalism or communism, they are problems of size. If we learn to bring down our numbers down to sustainable levels, both systems will work beautifully. The key is to have far more resources for everyone than what the current technology can afford, i.e. to always run a large surplus.

Regardless of how one feels about "Obamacare", two things are assured: Collective costs will increase as will related debt, and more layers of complexity are being added. So it goes.

My wife's primary care doctor retired and she made an appointment with a new doctor to have a skin condition looked at. She arrived at the new office and filled out the paperwork, (insurance, all that), gave them copies of her records from the previous doctor, expecting to be seen. The receptionist thanked her and told her that she would "be contacted after the doctor reviewed her application, and if it was decided that she was a candidate for their services"...

She was totally miffed, and left without being examined. I told her this morning to go back and demand ALL paperwork be returned to her and tell them that she is no longer considering them as a service provider. Hopefully they will have discovered that she has excellent medical coverage.

This whole healthcare thing is totally out of control. Time for single-payer system like Western Eur.... never mind that; it'll all be moot before long.

I've been focusing on long term health, rather than health insurance.

I upped my deductible to the maximum and used the savings to renew a health club membership, so I can get regular workouts when I can't be gardening. I'm really focused on a healthy diet also, to try and minimise the risks of the chronic diseases of industrialization.

I can't do much about toxins in the air, but I can try and stop consuming them in food.

I've been growing medicinals in the garden and making my own treatments for lesser ailments. I do have to go for a physical - one free physical a year for my $4000 :-/ - next month with a new doctor. Hopefully, I won't be rejected ;)

"Also starting in 2014, companies with more than 50 workers will have to pay penalties starting at $2,000 per employee if they didn't offer a set level of health benefits"

Bad news for people working for companies that are anywhere close to 50 employees. If your company was getting ready to hire employee number 51, well that's not going to happen. If your company has 51 employees look around because someone won't be around or they will be a contract employee starting 2014!

wildman - The scary potential about that is the last time I saw the stats businesses with less than 100 employees numbered 8 MILLION. The Commerce Dept didn't break the number down beyond that but you have to guess a lot of companies fall close to that 50 level. Just a wag but if only 10% of those companies fall with in a few workers of 50 that might be an incentive for to either fire 2 to 3 or not hire 2 to 3. At $2,000 X 50 that could save a company $100,000/yr. But it could also mean 2 or 3 X 800,000 or about 1.5 to 2.5 million jobs lost. Maybe not that many...maybe a lot more. Just speculation at this point. If it does come to pass the silver lining for those of us who still have jobs is that such a down turn should greatly reduce energy consumption and our costs may go down significantly.

I'm curious if companies with more than 50 employees could just split up into small companies to avoid this?

Example, if I own a company with 200 employees with multiple departments why couldn't I create 4 companies with 50 employees each?

Or why couldn't I layoff all of my blue collar employees and make them contract employees like many large shipyards and oil companies did in the late 1990's in South Louisiana?

I have a family member that struck it rich when shipyards started using contract welders, because he started a contracting firm at that same time, so maybe Obamacare can create niche industry to help companies avoid Obamacare.

Interestingly, that may create a net increase in jobs...as each company will need its own overhead (secretaries, janitors, accountants, etc)...even if these services are outsources to third party companies, that effect will ripple...these service companies may also choose to stay below 50 people...or, we can all grow brains and adopt the Canadian Health Care system model.

"U.S. corporations are sitting on more than $1.2 trillion in cash - $3.5 trillion counting the financial sector - that has not been deployed, in large part due to anxiety over health care, the looming fiscal cliff in Washington, and the European debt crisis.

The Supreme Court decision "increases the likelihood that businesses will continue to hold onto that cash to see how the election turns out," said Greg Valliere, chief political strategist at Potomac Research Group in Washington, D.C"

Example, if I own a company with 200 employees with multiple departments why couldn't I create 4 companies with 50 employees each?

You wished for it...here you go..already happens in many places for somewhat similar reasons.

Why France Has So Many 49-Employee Companies

Here's a curious fact about the French economy: The country has 2.4 times as many companies with 49 employees as with 50. What difference does one employee make? Plenty, according to the French labor code. Once a company has at least 50 employees inside France, management must create three worker councils, introduce profit sharing, and submit restructuring plans to the councils if the company decides to fire workers for economic reasons.

Happens here as well, the number is IIRC 30 something. LOL. Bureaucracy is a weird thing.

Good information wiseindian!

Employment,your insurance premium is going to be based on your BMI as lifestyle has alot to do with your general health is it right or wrong it's just the way I see it heading.

Yes, and European countries have many of those nearly-uncrossable thresholds too. There will never be a mittelstand in, say, Greece.

Given the huge annual increases we're still seeing, the "tax", as the Supremes decided to call it, will exceed the median income in a couple of decades, and the "health" "care" sector will reach 110% of GDP soon afterwards. Except that according to Stein's law, the latter won't happen, since it can't. So, given the unrequitable American love of puritanical moralizing, layered over an exquisite sense of limitless entitlement, the fireworks over reining the spending in will be very entertaining - all the more so because the great bulk of it is for a small minority. By comparison, present-day US politics will seem like a calm walk in the woods on a nice day. (Along with the harsh back-and-forth nastygrams over health care I saw posted on the ad panels in the Edmonton subway - in notionally ever-so-polite Canada no less - quite a while back.)

Riddle me this Batman: What is the problem with the Canadian Health Care System?

Is Canada going broke due to this system? Yes, or No...speak!

Canada is the closest analog to the United States I can think of...No one has been able to answer this question which I have repeatedly asked.

Canadians on TOD: Speak the truth...would you rather ditch your country's health care system abd replace it with the U.S. American paradigm?

I don't think the demographics or economics of the US and Canada are comparable. Sure we speak the same language, but Canada's much smaller welfare state has resources to pay for it America doesn't. Canada doesn't pretend to be the worlds policeman which saves them billions on military spending every year. I don't think the comparison is appples to apples.

Canada doesn't pretend to be the worlds policeman which saves them billions on military spending every year.

You made a very astute observation.

Make that many hundreds of Billions (upwards of $1T)...per year.

Here is an interesting article comparing U.S. and Canadian Health Care 'systems'


...And I will bet that the Canadian Armed forces have not endorsed an 'Official' armed forces Bible, complete with the Canadian armed Forces Seal on the cover, as the U.S. DoD has done:


The Holman Bible, or HCSB, has been popular with evangelicals for its references and study tools. Someone convinced each branch of the service they'd be perfect for the military, too. So the HCSB became the "official" Bible of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines in 2004, complete with reader-friendly text and custom "designed to meet the specific needs of those who serve in the most difficult of situations," according to the publishers.

Kind of hard to decrease U.S. MIC spending when the DoD (and DHS and CIA etc) are apparently protected under Holy Writ...so much for the 1st Amendment...Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war...

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war...

Canada's also a net exporter of oil and I'm pretty sure Canada's national and consumer debt is much lower than it is in America. I'll have to check that.

Canada didn't have a bloody revolution because of infringement on liberty, so maybe even the mindset is a little different.

Canada doesn't pretend to be the worlds policeman which saves them billions on military spending every year.

True enough. However, another way to look at it is because of it's proximity to the US, Canada can afford to ignore national defense. There was an interesting article in the Canadian press recently comparing military expeditures in Canada vs Australia: "Australian defence spending puts Canada to shame"

The National Post article notes:

Australia may not immediately spring to mind as the country with which to best compare Canada’s defence spending, but it is not that much of a stretch. They share the same values and allies, have similarly robust resource-based economies, generous welfare nets ....

Although Canada’s economy is nearly twice the size of Australia’s – and has about 40 per cent more people – Canada lags far behind in defence spending.

Australia spent $29 billion on its armed forces last year. That is about $7 billion more than Canada did. Given the relative size of the two economies and populations, for the federal government to match Australia on defence spending would require an annual out-lay of between $35 billion and $40 billion, rather than the $22 billion that was spent last year.

One big difference is that Australians live in a much tougher neighborhood:

.....Australia is geographically isolated in the southwest Pacific with regional responsibilities that include bringing stability to places such as Timor. It is also situated near an emerging superpower – China – that has been dramatically ramping up defence spending.

Canadians .... have long been content to let the United States shoulder most of the defence burden.....


Your statement about the U.S. shouldering the lion's share of the (Canadian/North AMerican?) 'Defense Burden' leads me to ask:

What was/is the threat again to the U.S. and Canada?

Always start with the first principles questions.

The 'Red Dawn' scenario with Russian paratroopers landing in Colorado?

The Chinese hordes' landing craft beaching on the West coast?

Or maybe the timeless Warsaw Pact forces poring through the Fulda Gap?

The domino Theory of 'Losing Vietnam' them having the rest of the World follow suite?

The ephemeral (and incorrect) 'Bomber gap' and the 'missile gap'?

The MIC has created the 'Demand' for 'Defense'...a self-licking ice cream cone extraordinaire!

MAMP = 'Mutually Assured MIC Profits'

The level and sophistication of mind control by the MIC on the U.S. Citizens (and their allies) is incredible!

For your enjoyment (or lament):


What was/is the threat again to the U.S. and Canada?

So turn that around. Maybe the reason there was/is no credible threat is because there was/is a rather robust deterence?

I suspect you don't see too many Russian bombers probing your airspace down in New Mexico? It wasn't that long ago when that happened rather regularly up here.

I don't care for your simple minded straw men such as "The 'Red Dawn' scenario with Russian paratroopers landing in Colorado" The world is far more complex than that.

I'm not suggesting that the US doesn't do some really dumb, unjustified, and expensive foreign interventions. Vietnam was one (I know, since I spent a year of my life there). Former president Shrub's attack on Iraq was another. However, the fact that not all military spending is necessary does not mean that no military spending is necessary. Because some defense money is wasted, it does not follow that all defense money is a waste. The question is how much?

Maybe the reason there was/is no credible threat is because there was/is a rather robust deterence?

Kind of hard to go anywhere with that circular reasoning...maybe the hurricane missed our fair city on the Gulf because we prayed real hard...?

Wrong: First you have to describe and justify the existence of a credible threat. I have been 'in the business' for over 25 years, and I can separate the wheat from the chaff. There isn't much of a credible threat against the U.S. or Canada...not since the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis...

I suspect you don't see too many Russian bombers probing your airspace down in New Mexico? It wasn't that long ago when that happened rather regularly up here.

Don't lose any sleep about those occasional Bear H bomber forays...the Russians are still doing that, you know! People wouldn't even begin to believe how many forays have been made against USSR/Russian/Chinese/North Korean/ many other sovereign airspaces...its A-OK if the 'white hats' do it I guess! Sauce for the Goose and the Gander. All part of that Mutually-Assured MIC Funding marketing scam...their MIC establishment benefits from fear-mongering about us just as much as ours does about them (the Russians),,,and don't ever forget that Russia and China have each other to fret over, as well as numerous states on their periphery which they don't trust. Never consider Russian or Chinese military levels solely as threats to the United States...they will say 'Defense against the United Sates',,,and each other, and India, Japan, The 'Stans', NATO, etc. Comparatively speaking, NorthAm is sitting pretty. From someone whose job used to include delivering hell-fire on command.

Because some defense money is wasted, it does not follow that all defense money is a waste. The question is how much?

Talk about strawmen: I never, ever said on this forum or any other that the military budget should be zero, or even close! What burns my butter is that almost no one in the U.S. is willing to debate the $1T question you raise...'How much is enough'? Most folks are happy providing the Carte Blanche and trusting the MIC every time they scream for more.

Peace, A_G...please try not to lose too much sleep over boogie-men which have been promulgated over many decades by a first-class propaganda machine...

Kind of hard to go anywhere with that circular reasoning...maybe the hurricane missed our fair city on the Gulf because we prayed real hard...?

I'm not much into prayer myself, so I couldn't say.

Talk about strawmen: I never, ever said on this forum or any other that the military budget should be zero, or even close!

Nor did I suggest you said that. You did bring up a whole bunch of things I didn't suggest either (Red Dawn, Chinese landing craft, etc etc).

What burns my butter is that almost no one in the U.S. is willing to debate the $1T question you raise...'How much is enough'? Most folks are happy providing the Carte Blanche and trusting the MIC every time they scream for more.

That is kind of my point. Assuming (for the sake of argument) that there is an appropriate number, greater than zero but less than $1T, what is it? And how should it be shared amoungst countries that are, at least nominally, allies?

I Peace on you too.

I think the US military has more to do with offense than defense. It's about maintaining the US dollar as the reserve currency. Since the Canadian dollar isn't a reserve currency, Canada doesn't need to have a military presence in every corner of the world ensuring that oil transactions are carried out in Canadian dollars. To to fairly compare US and Canadian military spending you have to factor this out.

One further point, Heis, in case you missed it. The article I quoted was Canadians themselves debating what their proper level of defense spending should be, and whether they are getting something of a free ride.


Good points all, and I note your point about the internal Canadian debate wrt military budgets.

Personal side note: My Dad served a s a 'scope dope' at a 'Lashup' radar station in Northern NM in the mid-late 1950s. This station was one of three early waring/height-finder/Ground Control Intercept radar stations which formed a triangle formation around Los Alamos and Albuquerque...there to detect Russian aircraft which may snoop/attack/etc certain facilities therein.

They only were in operation for a few years...took the establishment that long to do the math and figure out that the Russian bombers could not possibly penetrate that far South...not w/o aerial refueling that is, a capability in which the Russians have always lagged far behind the U.S.

Best hopes for allocating scarce resources according to true needs, rather than based on 'suuport' generated by scare-mongering to maintain corporate welfare!

"Personal side note: My Dad served a s a 'scope dope' at a 'Lashup' radar station in Northern NM in the mid-late 1950s. This station was one of three early waring/height-finder/Ground Control Intercept radar stations which formed a triangle formation around Los Alamos and Albuquerque...there to detect Russian aircraft which may snoop/attack/etc certain facilities therein."

There were three Nike missle batteries surrounding Anchorage, which were abandoned after the cold war. One of them is now Kincaid Park, which is now one of the finest cross country ski facilities in the US. The old missle bunkers have been incorporated into the park. One bunker forms part of the warming chalet, a couple are used as garages for the grooming equipment, and one is the "wax bunker" for skiers to prep before races.

Another of the old Nike batteries is on Fire Island, which is now owned by one of the native corporations, who are developing a wind farm for power generation.

The third battery is "Site Summit" on military land on a mountain top. It is adjacent to state park land, and there is a proposal to covert it to a historical site.

Good to see those sites being put to good use, and simultaneously providing a sense of history of the places.

A friend of mine who works in Alberta's oil industry lost his daughter to leukaemia. She underwent an aggressive treatment regime and had to be hospitalized for the latter part of her life, and he figures that had he accepted a position with his company's U.S. operations that he would have most likely exhausted his medical insurance and would have been on the hook for medical expenses that his family could ill-afford. The loss of a child would be devastating enough, but the added worry of having no or inadequate health insurance seems needlessly cruel.


Some of my cousins in California lost a 20-something daughter to cancer. She didn't think she needed to have health insurance, so after she came home, it basically cost them their house to pay for her medical treatments before she died.

Fortunately, they had more than one house to lose, so they still had one left, and they had other assets, so it wasn't as disastrous as it would have been for most people in the US. Medical debts are the single largest cause of bankruptcy in the US.

However, I think the key point is that their daughter wouldn't have cost them anything in Canada because she would have been automatically insured, whether she wanted to be or not. The outcome would have been the same (she would have died), but the universal insurance system would have absorbed the costs.

I am a Canadian, from Alberta no less, and a doctor. There is no way that I would want to live OR work in the American Health Care system. The Canadian system is by no means perfect but it does a reasonably good job of meeting the key health needs of the vast majority of Canadians, a much higher majority than that of the United States. We do have waiting times for certain procedures, but at least we have the "luxury" of being on a wait list. There are many in the US who cannot even hope for that.

My worry is that virtually all health care systems are going to have horrific problems over the next decades as oil production declines, and climate change makes itself increasingly apparent. I think that we have to put far more of our resources into keeping people healthy, through jobs, education, security of food and shelter, rather than spending > 90% of our health care budget for acute health care.

For what it is worth, I don't think that the health authorities have a clue about the consequences of peak oil, or if they do, they do not know how to assign it a proper planning priority. I would love to be proven wrong.


Is Canada going broke due to this system? Yes, or No...speak!

Yes. Medical spending now consumes nearly 50% of every provincial budget and that percentage is increasing.

Canadians on TOD: Speak the truth...would you rather ditch your country's health care system abd replace it with the U.S. American paradigm?

God no. The US system is awful. But the Canadian system is not going to survive as is. Spending will need to be capped, and that will mean a lot more rationing and massive political problems.


thanks for sharing...it would be interesting to here from even more Canadians.

simkin: Perhaps dspady's suggestion is astute: focus much more on preventative care and lifestyle modification...eschew the siren song of U.S. American fast foods and watching too much TV and exercising too little.

The U.S. military issues its members a book called 'Taking Care of Yourself'...this book focuses on self-diagnoses of disorders and self-care, with the idea of lessening unnecessary medical visits..it also mentions some healthy lifestyle advice.

Can Canadian Provinces run deficits? Do they have deficits? What about the Canadian Federal government...how is it doing wrt deficits?

Perhaps the future should feature more small medical clinics, staffed with a few PAs and some nurses...perhaps the answer is rationing care, more self-help, more on-line/book self-help resources, more health education in schools...what else?

Can Canadian Provinces run deficits? Do they have deficits? What about the Canadian Federal government...how is it doing wrt deficits?

The federal government runs largish deficits (although nothing comparable to the US disaster), but is trying to reduce them.

Canadian provinces can and do run deficits. Some much larger than others. Ontario, for instance, is running deficits that can only be described as out of control. Other provinces have been more responsible.

The federal government also taxes a great deal that gets paid back to provinces as "equalization" payments. That results in some provinces (particularly Quebec) being subsidized heavily by richer provinces.

simkin: Perhaps dspady's suggestion is astute: focus much more on preventative care and lifestyle modification...eschew the siren song of U.S. American fast foods and watching too much TV and exercising too little.

Well, I think so. But having other people pay for your medical care turns out to be not much of an incentive to stay healthy. We aren't quite as fat and unhealthy as Americans, but we're pretty close.

"Spending will need to be capped, and that will mean a lot more rationing and massive political problems."

So who will decide which people get covered for certain types of care if care gets rationed? In America we have a little corruption amongst government workers, so if you have bureaucrats making triage decisions couldn't that cause problems? Could you see well connected family members of bureaucrats getting care when others don't?

If spending is capped and doctors leave practice and future doctors never start to practice how do you force them to practice? Do you just bring in more doctors from India and Pakistan like Canada did?

Politics isn't a problem in America, because politicians are gutless they'll do some medical care of their own and just put a band-aide on the problem and try to cover it up.

I think rationing happens more by proceedure, heart transplants (or insert other super expensive high tech treatment), gets axed because it costs too much. Or an estimate of the added patient life expectancy versus cost is done. The ration (for the same proceedure) might be very favorable for a twenty-five year old, who if cured could be expected to live for several decades, versus the ninety year old who won't be around much longer anyway. Still agonizing decisions, and vulnerable to corruption, gaming, or politics. But, not as bad as you let on.

So who will decide which people get covered for certain types of care if care gets rationed? In America we have a little corruption amongst government workers, so if you have bureaucrats making triage decisions couldn't that cause problems? Could you see well connected family members of bureaucrats getting care when others don't?

Well we would never officially ration anything. That would be political suicide. We just make the lines long enough that people die waiting.

And we already see situations where politicians and bureacrats somehow get preferential treatment, although not so much as you might expect. Canada in most ways is not a particularly corrupt society. Yet. We do have a huge safety valve in that anyone who can afford it can just go south to get treatment when they need it.

If spending is capped and doctors leave practice and future doctors never start to practice how do you force them to practice? Do you just bring in more doctors from India and Pakistan like Canada did?

We don't let foreign doctors practice. We have a huge shortage of family doctors here and are not doing much of anything to fix it.

simkin, according to the US/Canada comparison that someone posted a link to earlier it said that many new doctors in Canada are from India and Pakistan, now maybe Canada makes them citizens which allows you to call them something other than foriegn, but what's the truth?

If I'm really sick I want the best and I want them now, I don't care where they are from. BTW In America we are seeing an influx of Indian doctors too.

We have a lot of south asian immigrants in some parts of the country and some of them become doctors. Like most immigrants they tend to be harder-working and value education more than non-immigrants (on average). So possibly they make up a disproportionate share of new doctors; it wouldn't surprise me.

I'm not a doctor and I don't know the process, but I'm positive that existing south asian doctors don't get off the plane and present their credentials and get a job. They have to redo at least some of their education and maybe their residency. It probably takes years.

For the US, doctors from other countries have to pass an examn (like TOEFL but with medical questions) that is organized every year at each americian consulate. Only doctors with the best score (the number is decided evey year) obtain then the right to exercice medicine in the US. Since medical study is far cheaper outside the state it really worth it. Note: I had those informations from a friend who was finishing his medical degree in Switzerland and trying to pass the american equivalency but it was many years ago.

Simkin said:

Is Canada going broke due to this system? Yes, or No...speak!
Yes. Medical spending now consumes nearly 50% of every provincial budget and that percentage is increasing.

Alberta Provincial Budget 2012:
39.0% Health and Wellness
16.0% Education
7.2% Advanced Education and Technology
6.0% Seniors
4.6% Transportation
6.2% Human Services
3.3% Municipal Affairs
3.3% Infrastructure
2.4% Agriculture
12.0% Other

Provincial Debt

Alberta's commitment to fiscal responsibility
Budget 2009 set out a plan to directly borrow $3.3 billion over three years to support capital spending. The borrowing commenced in 2009-10 with almost $1.5 billion raised. During fiscal years 2010-11 and 2011-12, the economy strengthened and the government’s fiscal position improved, so borrowing of the final $1.8 billion was put on hold.

Alberta’s Triple A credit rating remains solid as it continues as the only province in Canada with total financial assets that exceed total liabilities.

IOW, the Alberta government has more in market investments than it has in government debt. It is not going broke any time soon.


Data is essential to debate.

Props for providing the data.

I wonder how the other provinces stack up?

The assertion on the table is that Canadian health care is 50% of provincial budgets, and the percentage is on the inexorable, unsustainable rise.

In Alberta, the health care percentage of the budget is 39%...unless there are health care costs disguised as 'seniors' and/or 'human services'.

But, let us say there is no chicanery, and 39% is the number for Alberta.

What about the other provinces?

And...are there projections of continued growth of health care to 100% of provincial budgets?

For all: According to this site, U.S. per-person health care spending was, in 1998 Purchasing Power Parity terms, 120% more than Canada's. Everyone keep in mind that Canad provides basic health care to everyone, and the U.S. has ~ 45M (now, not 1998 figure) uninsured. How again is the U.S. system more logical?


Well, I can go one province to the east and try Saskatchewan:

Saskatchewan 2012-13 Budget Summary

41.8% Health
22.3% Education
7.6% Social Services
3.8% Agriculture
3.8% Highways and Infrastructure
3.6% Debt Servicing
17.1% Other

So, it's not looking really good for the hypothesis that Canadian health care is 50% of provincial budgets, and I haven't seen any real sign of health budgets being on an uncontrolled rise lately. I could check the other 8 provinces, but that's a lot of work and I think that someone else should prove the hypothesis, rather than me have to disprove it. I've already kicked a couple of holes in it, and that's enough for me to doubt it.

I confess, 50% was pulled from my ass. But 40% is pretty bad, and not that far off, and it is certainly increasing as a percentage of spending. In BC it's grown from 20% to over 40% in 20 years.

False dichotomy. There are national health systems other than Canada's, which is not particularly good.

What part of the above comments is the false dichotomy? If it's the comparison between Canada and the U.S. I didn't start that comparison.

Which national health care system of other countries would work in the United States of America and why?

I don't think we want more government coersion just because the people some countries don't mind coersion in exchange for free stuff.

My family moved to the states when I was younger, we came back after 5 years partially because medical coverage was so expensive. Though this was partially because my mother developed a terminal disease.

One problem touched on by the nastygrams was apparently this, from downthread:

We do have waiting times for certain procedures, but at least we have the "luxury" of being on a wait list.

The well-known risk with state socialism is "we pretend to work, and you pretend to pay us". Or, in this case, "you pretend to 'care' for us". So those folks in Edmonton knew they'd get Band-Aids, casts, and vaccinations as and when needed, since relatively speaking those don't cost much and it's great public relations to hand them out with not too much fuss. And they knew that they'd get plenty of 'care' at death's door, especially at the time when it would do the least conceivable good at the greatest conceivable cost, since the US isn't the only place with the morality plays, just one of the worst. And the government guarantee (of whatever it guaranteed) was more than they'd have gotten south of the border, so if it was there they'd certainly take it.

But many (except for reckless youth who think themselves invincible) were/are scared to death of needing something like a knee replacement - something not "life-threatening", that is - and being left to languish on an eternal "wait list", and become bedridden for lack of activity. That in turn might eventually make their condition "life threatening" enough to qualify for actual rather than pretend treatment, but by then what would it matter?

The upshot: there was a large and grand hospital about six blocks down the street, which caught my eye because I hadn't encountered the Alberta megabuilding style before. But when I'd mention it as a possible place to take a closer look at on the lunchtime walks, they'd angrily say, don't be fooled, that hospital's only for show, I'll have absolutely nothing to do with going anywhere near it. After almost a week time was running out, so I had to get my closer look by myself.

And actually, being surrounded by addled hobby-socialists here in the Berkeley of the Midwest and maybe deluded a bit by them, in expecting Albertans to embrace government care unconditionally, I was flabbergasted the reactions of actual Albertans. This is one reason why I think the Supreme Court did not end the war, but only started it anew and with fresh vigor. No, it is not possible, under any form of governance whatever, for the medical sector to grow infinitely in a finite world, as is desired by both socialists and compulsive moralizers. The fireworks will be spectacular.

No one is advocating the medical sector 'growing infinitely'. That is hyperbole.

Only up to a point, and so what? I say it in the same spirit as westexas discusses infinite oil-growth. And in that spirit, I don't see anybody advocating seriously for the 10%pa growth to stop or even slow down much. In this context, wand-waving, or setting goals with no specifics about how to attain them, does not count as serious.

Any time health care rationing was even obliquely hinted at, the R's rolled out the 'They're going to kill Grandma' 'death panel' adverts from their noise machine, backed up by their legions of talking heads on radio and the TV machine...doesn't count as serious, indeed!

Kind of in the same way that when the suggestion of slowing the rate of growth in entitlement programs (not a cut) has political commercials depicting someone rolling grandma in a wheel chair off of a cliff? I wonder which party does that?

No argument from me on that point.

I have advocated consistently for 'shared sacrifice'...I honestly think the D's would 'cave' for rate-of-growth entitlement cuts if the R's would have given an inch on tax hikes (or repealing the Bush/Obama tax cuts...even some fraction thereof).

But...many of the R's took a pledge or oath to Grover Norquist to never, ever raise taxes...does this supersede their oath of office to the Constitution? Is this the United States of Grover? Is taking an oath to an unelected man perhaps a dereliction of Constitutional duty? What is Grover, the Godfather?

I'm no moderate, BUT if the right would allow closing tax loopholes without breaking the no new tax pledge to Grover and democrats would lower the rate of growth in entitlements and they would both pass a budget maybe that small move would help us step away from the edge of the fiscal cliff.

I go by the idea of equivalent exchange: Cut the entitlements by 10%, and raise revenues by 10%, with the goal of balancing the budget (replace 10% with the xx% necessary).

I also would throttle back the corporate welfare that //is// the majority of the DoD/DHS/CIA/etc budget. Put that savings into balancing the budget, and paying something to pay down the debt. Allocate something for incentives to increase energy efficiency and prep the U.S. for deeper forays into the post-Peak reality.

The fact that the R's are screaming about not cutting the DoD budget while the D's are largely silent about the prospect of equal magnitude non-DoD cuts promised in the upcoming sequester is telling. I hold that the D's are more willing to cave to some social spending cuts than the R's would be to one iota of MIC cuts. R's: No budge at all on revenue increases ///or/// MIC cuts? They are the sand in the gears here.

Listen, I have worked in the MIC my entire adult life...I find it a hoot that the R's bemoan and decry the auto bailouts (firms that generate revenue) while they slather on the extra bucks for Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop-Grumman, and thousands of other companies..as well as the jobs program for the many uniformed military and Federal MIC workers (wage-grade and General Schedule [G.S.] employees....activities that do /not/ make revenue, and are /not/ held accountable to standards of performance....no way to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of resources spent vs. desired effects achieved...the ultimate good-deal free ride....corporate social welfare at its finest.

Try to close a base or have our government decide not to buy the next Boeing superduper gyro scaloopter in a blue state and see if the D's don't complain about that.

I'm from a state where Mary Landrieu(democratic senator) would roughneck on a drilling rig at the Vatican just to prove her pro drilling street cred. Heck she would probably have Sarah Palin's love child if it were possible. Drill baby drill!

Grover forgot to get John Roberts to sign his pledge. ;-)

The fact is, the US was (is?) the only industrial nation without national health care. Given the high rate of growth in the cost of US health care, the overhead associated with health spending was (has?) pushing the US manufacturing costs above that of the rest of the world. One reason for the rapid increase is that the population of Baby Boomers (like me) are aging and slowly getting sicker. If the cost of health care continues to grow faster than the growth in GDP, it wouldn't take many years for the entire economy to become one giant health care system. Of course, that was before Peak Oil and it would appear that future economic growth may become very difficult, if not impossible. No matter what happens with our health care, the situation looks rather gloomy for older 'Merikans...

E. Swanson

I'm pretty sure the U.S already spends more per capita in public dollars on healthcare than any other country, despite not covering everybody and also hampering the private sector with higher private sector costs than any other country.

...medical sector to grow infinitely in a finite world, as is desired by both socialists and compulsive moralizers.

Need to include the providers in that too.


True, and after all the contradictory coffee "studies" I like to twang on because they epitomize the utter lack of quality control in the medical sector, and the forty-year dietary-"fat" obsession turning to dust, and the sometimes horriffic side effects of the statins some self-appointed "experts" wanted to put into the drinking water, and even belly-fat (within reason of course) being found to have a biological function after all, and on and on, I'd say the providers - and the so-called "researchers" - have a great deal to answer for. We'd do well to impose a 20-year "oh, just shut up" moratorium on pompous twits who know nothing imposing harmful "treatments" on the general public. During that time, the concept of statistical significance, sorely lacking, could be reintroduced, and fact could begin to be sorted out from fiction.

But even that wouldn't change the simple fact that 10%pa growth must (and therefore will) stop within the lifetimes of many here, no matter how much and how loudly the socialists and moralizers whinge and whine, and no matter the system of governance. Again, cue the fireworks.

Meh...The current health insurance system is for-profit socialism on steroids that sends those who really need the services to the no-healthcare-gulags after they've paid into the system most of their lives. Profiting from holding peoples' lives over a cliff is obscene.

My sister paid into the system for 35 years, making claims only for regular checkups. After she was diagnosed with cancer, they put her and her family through hell, denying coverage, forcing them to get attorneys, etc.. Her family had to declare bankruptcy after she died. Tell me, what was she paying for all of those years? Checkups? It took the hospitals and clinics less than a year to burn through her "lifetime benefits". They made damn sure they got it all, and then some, and they weren't "pretending".

Time for the big reset, and this bill ain't it.

This is called "business".

'Cue the fireworks', indeed!

Some folks on this site must be independently wealthy, or have lock-solid military or federal civil service health benefits.

I have found over and over that some of the biggest detractors of providing even a basic level of universal health care are folks whose nests are well-feathered....military retirees and Federal G.S. workers foremost amongst them...

I am sorry for the treatment your sister received form the 'Health Care System'.

I have 'lock-solid' lifetime military health care benefits...and I am willing to not only pay more for my health care (even though it was advertised as 'lifetime free' by the recruiters) //and// I am willing to pay more taxes to give others some basic standard of health care. We are all in this thing called 'Life' together.

It does seem that it is often the case that people who already have entitlements find ways of rationalizing why they are special. What they don't realize is that if and when a situation is reached where it is only a distinct minority has comparable benefits, they become a political target and can easily be devalued or taken away.

For some time in Canada, there has been incessant propaganda from the likes of the CFIB and Fraser Institute about how civil servants are an extraordinarily privileged elite whose excesses are running the country into the ground. Things have got to the point where a substantial portion of the public has really exaggerated notions that have only a slight correlation with reality.

I was born in US and family moved north in the 60's. My mom was Canadian and moved to US after marriage. All of us are very proud to be Canadian and most, if not all Canadians are exremely proud of our health care system. God help any politician that screws with it. This is simply a truth for us.

I had a cancer scare last September. Saw the surgeon and into surgery within one week, back to work in 4 weeks, it was stopped dead in tracks at stage 1, and I am now under monitoring for the next ten years with excellent prognosis and prospects. Cancer picked up on routine yearly physical.

Oh yeah, cost? to me?.....zip, nothing, nada... grandkids still have grandpa. No cost to patient.

How can that be improved upon? It can't.

Canadians are PROUD of their health care system and will defend it to the bitter end.

One thing we do is when visiting States we purchase additional coverage through BCAA because if we get hurt or sick down there BC Med won't cover the gouging by US hospitals. A Local had a heart attack in Hawaii. They made him buy the godd#!! mattress...can you believe they charged him $1,100.00 for the mattress? With meds and hospital stay he was out $40,000.00. This was a few years ago.

No, we wouldn't switch. Honest, H.


Canada has taxes on net exports to pay for their charity system. Canada is reaping the benefit of a resource es extraction and export boom.

If your taxes are higher and they allow a government to pay for your health care, I do NOT see that as a "charity". I see it as responsible government.


If a government mandates that EVERYBODY has to pay an insurance premium, why bother charging them a premium? Why not just call it a tax, and deduct it from their paycheck?

If you don't pay, could they cancel your insurance? Of course not. It's a mandatory program. They can just try to find you and garnishee your salary, which is a lot of work.

If you show up at the hospital and are dying, can they tell you to go away and die on your own? of course not, the hospital would treat you anyway. (In the US the hospital would have to absorb the cost, in Canada it's the government).

If you don't have a job and can't pay, the government picks up the tab. (In the US it's because you are on welfare, in Canada it is because the government pays for everybody.)

In Alberta, the provincial government used to send me a bill every few months for health insurance premiums, but there was no real point. If they just added a few percent onto everyone's tax bill, it did the same thing and was nearly invisible - just another deduction column on everyone's pay slip.

So, in Canada, you are paying an insurance premium but the government calls it a tax. If you pay it out of your wages, they deduct it at source (i.e. income tax). If you pay it out of your spending, they deduct it at the cash register (a sales tax). If you don't have an income and don't spend anything, well, I guess you're out of work and penniless, but you're covered regardless.

It's just a lot simpler to collect it through the tax system than to bill each insured person individually. Not to mention, it's a lot cheaper, which is one reason health overhead costs are a lot lower in Canada than the US.

Such rational pragmatism struggles against blind-faith ideology in the USA. "Free markets are ALWAYS the best solution!" some people think here. Yeah, as if you are even capable making free-market decisions when you are lying unconscious in the middle of the road after being run over by a bus. Even in non-emergency situations, average people are simply not capable of making educated decisions on their healthcare. How does Joe Six pack know if he really needs an XYZ scan or the Kramden surgery?

The USA seems to have unique ability to hang onto irrational things long after they have been firmly proven to be irrational. Like the imperial measurement system. What the heck? The entire world has moved onto a more logical system but the USA irrationally sticks to stupid system by sheer stubborness.

The only reason Justice Roberts voted for Obamacare is to allow corporate lobbyists to pay Congress to pass laws that say: buy this product or the government increases your income tax. It will determine which corporations live or die on the falling edge of peak oil.

Buy gasoline to avoid a tax.
Buy electricity from the grid to avoid a tax.
Buy a firearm or get taxed.
Buy a Bible or get taxed.

Buy any conservative/Republican product or get a liberal tax.

It's the new, politically acceptable method of raising taxes in America.

Well that is a bit out there on the conspiracy theory side, I'd say.

This is an odd departure for John Roberts but who knows what drove him to this decision? I sure don't. We can all play pop-psychologist. Maybe he was starting to worry that his legacy on the court would be nothing but a partisan hack who always sided with the far-right. Maybe he felt this was kind of a way of 'splitting the baby' . . . he upheld the law but didn't use the commerce clause that everyone assumed it would be based upon. Or maybe he actually decided to be Christian and help cure the sick. I'd like to believe that last one . . . it gives me some hope.

Well, now, no... give it a chance...
By obvious extension:

Buy a politician or get taxed.

This would encourage the people to join a pool and collectively own the politicians. Without such measures, many individuals will opt-out, unduly burdening the corporations.

Justice Roberts is not altruistic except, perhaps, for corporations who are now people. His thought process is dominated by what is good for the corporations, in this case, compel people to do business with them.

If you want to boycott the medical industry, then you now have to pay a tax. The First Amendment just got trashed.

My analysis is based on Robert's ideology. Here is Republican nonsense:

Conservatives Claim Roberts Upheld Obamacare Because Of ‘Cognitive Problems’ Due To Epilepsy Medication, ThinkProgress, June 29, 2012:

On his radio show yesterday, right-wing host Michael Savage — who has previously called autism a “phony disease” — claimed that Roberts’ epilepsy is the root cause of his “cognitive dissociation” in the Obamacare ruling:

Let’s talk about Roberts. I’m going to tell you something that you’re not going to hear anywhere else, that you must pay attention to. It’s well known that Roberts, unfortunately for him, has suffered from epileptic seizures. Therefore he has been on medication. Therefore neurologists will tell you that medication used for seizure disorders, such as epilepsy, can introduce mental slowing, forgetfulness and other cognitive problems. And if you look at Roberts’ writings you can see the cognitive dissociation in what he is saying.

The Roberts holding did not call it a tax. The holding only said because he did not approve it under the commerce clause, it was "saved" as a law because it could have reasonably be interpreted as a tax as a matter of sustaining a statute as Constitutional. It is a small penalty for deadbeats who choose to not pay for their health care costs. Are you a deadbeat? Do you support deadbeats causing the premiums to go up for the rest of us? The who.e system gets better if all who can are responsible for their insurance costs.
Right wing kooks don't have the intelligence to understand Roberts opinion.


Something to distract us from SCOTUS. In another discussion: stats of long ago US and global oil production came up. Not too familiar with such ancient history I dug up some facts that did surprise me a bit. And from a 2006 TOD -Europe piece:


Just guessing I would have expected a much higher oil rate during WWII. During the war global oil production ran only 6-7 mmbopd. But post war is when production truly boomed: 7 mmbopd to 69 mmbopd by 1980. The baby boomers et al were using 10X as much oil as the greatest generation did fighting a global conflict. And then oil production slumped about 15 mmbopd in 1982 due to the global recession. From that time the oil rate increase has been amazingly linear compared to the exponential growth of the 50's and 60's.

36 years (1940 -1976): 6 mmbopd to 62 mmbopd
36 years (1976-2012): 62 mmbopd to 82 mmbopd

1982 to 2012: 56 mmbopd 82 mmbopd

It may not be the perfect smoking gun but I think the graph gives at least some qualitative support to PO. Even some of what many consider absurdly optimistic growth projections in oil production over the next 20+ years don't come close to what we experienced a half century ago.

Something else surprising for me in that report: prior to 1975 the UK had almost no oil production. And then boomed to 2.5 mmbopd in just 10 years. And then started that quick slide down losing 30%+ just within 5 years after the last peak in 2000.

Rock, I support and promote peak oil, heck I'll vote for peak oil and I use as much of the stuff as I can afford. It's just plain good for business. Oh yeah I'm probably getting ready to sign a lease agreement for my tuscaloosa shale acreage. Cheers!

wildman - Don't forget to include your ownership of any water well they drill should they not make a well and walk from the lease. Won't make up for missing that mail box money but it's something. LOL. And hit them hard for high rental payments if possible. Low NG prices might make them site on the leases for a few years.

Rock, I had them add a "oil and gas only clause" and a "no surface rights clause", so if they drill a water well on my land that will have to be on another contract. Should that cover me on the water well issue?

What I really want if for them to deal with me to put a drilling pad on my land and then hire me be the night company man. Then if they make a well I'll become the production operator.

Good plan wildman. Yep - if they don't have a surface lease from you and they have to drill on your track you got them by the balls. LOL. And if you get the drill site you could end up with a couple of hundred of $thousands in surface improvements. And also maybe have some company certify you water before they drill. If they screw up and cause some contamination there's another pay day potential.

Thanks, Rock. These are interesting observations. It has occurred to me that the tax revolts of the 70s and the general backlash against big government might be traceable to US Peak Oil. As increasing energy bills ripped through the economy, the middle class got squeezed, became much less comfortable with levels of taxation they were ok with 10-15 years earlier, and much more receptive to a conservative, small-government message.

With a good dose of geopolitics mixed in to tweak the energy cycles, that particular dynamic has been playing out for the last 40 years.

steve - I keep looking at that chart showing the boom in global oil production during the 50's and 60's and try to imagine the dynamics of economic growth during that period vs. what we see now and in the near future. It's almost as if you're comparing two different universes. Take the most extreme cornucopian projections out there today and none that I've seen come close to matching what we had half a century ago. In fact, they strike me as pathetic compared to what we once actually experienced. Some scoff at projections of 10 -15 mmbopd increases in the next 10 years. And perhaps rightfully so. But in the 10 year period from 1965 to 1975 oil production increased over 30 mmbopd. If one wants to make projections why not forecast 30+ mmbopd in the next 10 years... there is such a precedence. If, as some offer, we have as much or more oil left to produce than we've done already why make such half-ass cowardly projections? Throw a 30 year projection out there with a 50+ mmbopd gain. We did it once in that time span...why not again if the reserves are really there?

We did it once in that time span...why not again if the reserves are really there?

I think the cornucopian playbook gives us three answers:

1) We probably could increase production that much, we just don't say so out of an abundance of conservatism
2) We could increase production that much but it turns out we don't really want the oil (Peak Demand)
3) and from the last couple of days: People are just psychologically wired to believe oil should be scarce and expensive, so much so that even folks who could stand to make a killing don't drill for the oil.

I think those time periods are important. Right around the mid-70's is when median wage growth pretty much started to stagnate. Of course globalization was also a huge factor . . . that's when we really had to start competing with the rest of the world. Japanese cars started appearing all over our roads.

Coincides with a pretty important event from that time, from which many of the bubbles of late can be ultimately traced: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixon_Shock

Yes, Rockman, US oil consumption during WWII was much lower than it was during the 60's.

Most Americans don't realize it, but prior to the 50's, the US transportation system was based on railroads, and they ran on coal. The vast majority of the WWII military production, and the vast majority of troops, were moved around the country and to port using steam trains powered by coal.

Gasoline was rationed in WWII (the military had first priority) so the majority of urban commuters walked or used electric streetcars or interurban trains to get to work. When the crunch hit, they just put on more streetcars and packed more people into them.

Oil was necessary for the warships, aircraft, tanks and trucks - including that of allies. After they were supplied, there wasn't much left over.

It should be mentioned that the US stood for about 60% of world oil production by the time of Pearl Harbour. It is really rather incredible that the US managed to slip into the role of importer so quickly, considering that fact alone.

After they [warships etc] were supplied, there wasn't much [oil] left over.

Nonsense; except a very little bit with respect to fear of submarines on the east coast, but most of the country was not supplied by seagoing ship. No, it was mainly, of all things ... drumroll ... rubber (!), most of which had to travel a very long way by seagoing ship:

A fuel shortage was not the problem. America had plenty of that. What it lacked was rubber. Both the Army and Navy were in desperate need of rubber for the war effort.

Well, actually, it was rubber, plus the desire of the authorities to convince those who were not in the military, and who also had no other role whatever to play in the war effort, that nonetheless they were Sacrificing, and thereby Doing Something. Remember that Doing Something is of supreme importance in US mythology, even when doing nothing would be just as well, or even better. And Sacrificing is integral to Being In This All Together, a supreme liberal-in-the-US-sense myth. And after all, by the standards of that day, Roosevelt was nothing if not a liberal in that sense.

Oil explains many things, but it doesn't explain everything.

...a very little bit with respect to fear of submarines on the east coast..

A very little bit? German U-boats sank about 400 ships off the East Coast of the US during the first few months after Germany declared war on the US, including about 25% of the American tanker fleet. They basically shut down all East Coast shipping and the US had to resort to supplying the East Coast by rail. In the meantime, the US Navy avoided the Atlantic for fear of having its remaining ships sunk. (This is an aspect of the Battle of the Atlantic not widely talked about by the US Navy. The German submariners called it "The Happy Time")

However, American industry proved capable of building tankers faster than the Germans could sink them, and after a while the US Navy learned how to sink German U-boats, too, so the rest of the war went steadily downhill for the U-boats.

Rubber is widely cited as the initial reason for gasoline rationing, which is true, but the US had over a year's supply of rubber in stockpile at the start of the war and very rapidly created a huge synthetic rubber industry which made it from petroleum. The US was able to supply itself and its allies with more than enough rubber, and never actually had any rubber shortages for military use.

However, as the war effort grew, the demand for aviation gasoline started cutting into the civilian gasoline supply, so the basic gasoline ration was reduced. The military ran short anyway, but whenever it needed more, it would just seize the available civilian supply, and let the civilians figure out how to deal with the shortages.

October 13, 1943

Gasoline available to civilians is running some 500,000 barrels short of the daily pre-war supply as military needs take ever-increasing amounts and production is urgently pressed, the Office of War Information reported today on the basis of information provided by government agencies.

Not only will there probably be less automobile gasoline but its quality will become progressively poorer as greater amounts of the limited supply of tera-ethyl of lead are absorbed for aviation gasoline and 80-octane all-purpose gasoline.

Daily production of all types of gasoline, both for gasoline and military use, is about 1,800,000 barrels, of 42 gallons each. Of this, the armed forces and Lend-Lease take approximately 600,000 barrels daily, leaving for civilian use about 1,200,000 barrels a day. In 1941, civilians--including farmers and industrial users--consumed approximately 1,700,000 barrels a day, according to state gasoline tax figures.

In 1942, 12.5 per cent of all gasoline produced in the East, Midwest, and Southeast went to the armed forces and Lend-Lease. The amount had risen to 21.4 per cent in the first quarter of 1943 and to 23.1 per cent in the second quarter. Estimated need for the last half of the year is 30.6, with requirements for 1944 and 1945 predicted as 36.6 per cent and 39.6 per cent respectively.

Less automobile gasoline is being processed from each barrel of crude oil as increasing amounts of oil go into high-octane aviation fuel, toluene for explosives, butadiene for synthetic rubber, and into scores of other petroleum war products. Only about 25 per cent of each 42-gallon barrel of crude oil now goes into gasoline for civilian use. In 1940 and 1941, approximately 37 per cent of every barrel was processed into automotive gasoline.

WWII was not a fun time to be a driver in the US. The good times started in the 1950's when all the wartime fuel capacity was switched to civilian use, and everybody could afford to drive a big, gas-guzzling, high powered V-8.

There are three major problems with Maugeri's report as far as I can tell on a quick perusal: 1) very high estimates for increased production in certain countries (3x production in Iraq by 2020, really?); 2) very low estimates for depletion rates at existing fields (he uses 2-3% when IEA's major 2008 report found 7% in the world's largest 800 fields, a conclusion that he addresses and dismisses in his report); 3) no discussion of the much more relevant issue of "net oil exports" declining due to dramatically increased consumption of oil in major exporting nations.

The whole idea that in this day and age of more difficult to produce oil -- that we are going to have faster production growth than we have had in decades -- is ludicrous.

Well . . . . there is some logic to it (and it has happened for a short period of time). There is a higher price for oil now such that many previous uneconomic fields are now in play such that there is a lot of $100/barrel oil out there to be extracted. But it wont continue to happen because not enough people can afford it. Aka 'peak demand' . . . their euphemism for demand destruction because of poor consumers.

Thank you Robert. You summed it up perfectly in just one sentence.

Tam - This seems to be the basic problem with analyzing many of these reports. Folks are offering their opinions. They may be presented in the form of projections, predictions, charts of future X, etc. As such they can never be "wrong"...those are the opinions of that person. No one on the planet may agree with those predictions/opinions. If Mr. Maugeri dooesn't think ELM is an important factor he's certain free to not use it in his analysis. I don't agree 9(and neither do you, I take it). But again, that's just our opinions. Now if he said the US was producing XX bbls of crude on a certain date and all the historical says he's incorrect then a challege makes sense. Not that I'm immune from getting sucked into such debates but I try to avoid challenging opinions. I've yet to see one opinion presented on TOD when someone didn't disagree. And i don't recall anyone changiing their opinion after a debate. So as long as I don't find an opposing opinion to absurd I let it pass.

But facts based on erroneous or misleading data? That's another matter.

It's revealing that, just as in the aftermath of the CITI/Morse report on a North American oil bonanza to 2020, there is not a single example of evaluation in any of the global newspapers that covered the Harvard/Belfer/Maugeri study. WSJ, FT, Reuters, NYT have reported the conclusions of the report. But no one dares/is able to evaluate the report. In a perverse way, I find this oddly encouraging because it at least confirms our current location. In other words, at least we know that while some progress has been made in society with the acceptance of the end of cheap oil, overall the entire subject of oil depletion continues to be cast as a "great mystery" and therefore the conversation never rises above dueling assertions.

As for the report itself, I encourage folks just to start with Maugeri's calls on Brazil and Canada alone. Both countries are central to his thesis of a big hemispheric swing back to the West, in oil power. As many here understand, both countries are on the contrary great examples of how reserve growth has way, way outpaced production growth for obvious reasons. Thus, his forecast for production *growth rates* in Canada and Brazil are outlandish.

I think the report is really damaging. It carries the imprimatur of Harvard, and it will bolster the optimism of the auto-highway complex, which yearns to carry on building highways and cars, and also the western state dept/diplomacy complex which yearns to believe that "above ground factors" still dominate.

I could almost be moved to write a 30+ page rebuttal and offer it up as a $1.99 e-book. Will have to ponder that.


Reddy says "Go Electric !"

Oil furnaces becoming rare items
Homeowners should get green grants to replace old systems, industry says

Quebec homeowners who heat with oil are becoming almost as rare as wool coats in July, according to an increasingly nervous heating oil industry.

“We had about 80 per cent of (Quebec’s energy) market about 25 years ago, now we have about 10 per cent,” Hélène Tomlinson, director of the Quebec Heating Oil Association said Wednesday.


In 2011 alone, Hydro-Québec added an estimated 11,000 customers – converts from heating oil – while almost 2,300 more moved to dual-energy systems, according to the most recent figures available from Hydro-Québec.

In 2008, when oil prices ramped up, 35,000 clients moved from oil to electricity and another 3,000 moved from oil to dual energy.

See: http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/furnaces+becoming+rare+items/6...

Dual energy and, in particular, dual energy heat pumps are an especially good fit for the Québec market.



Have you had a chance to update the Thunderhorse production numbers recently?


Thousands to lose power today

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) is advising customers across the island that there will be disruptions in their electricity supply throughout today.

The JPS said it is experiencing generating challenges, as two of its major units are not working and it is also experiencing a thin reserve margin.

The company said two other units operated by its Independent Power Producers are also down.

No timetable for Portmore Toll reopening

Businesses in the hectic commercial district of Newport West and its environs were forced to close today as a suspected gas leak from a mysterious source in the area baffled experts late into the afternoon.

Not only were personnel at the usually busy ports hastily evacuated from in that area by hazardous fumes, residents of Portmore were forced to take a wide berth to get in and out of the community as authorities effected a rapid closure of the Portmore Toll Road from late morning into the late mid-afternoon.

A timetable for the reopening of the plaza has not been scheduled.

Workers of the many commercial enterprises in Newport West were hurriedly sent home as experts scoured the area for the source of what one worker described as a really awful smell.

Portmore (Google Map) is a dormitory community across the harbour from the capital city Kingston. The main road in to Kingston goes literally across a small section of the harbour and goes right past a very busy container transshipment terminal. Tens of thousands of people use that road, which was upgraded from one, to three lanes either way and made into a toll road with the alternative route being along the main highway entering Kingston from the west. The toll road goes through some very swampy areas surrounding the mouth of one of the islands larger rivers so it is not yet known if the smell is coming from the side towards the mouth of the river or from the harbour. Environmental groups have been complaining about the amount of pollution being dumped into the harbour for decades so my immediate thought was, "What nasty sequence of events have we set in motion now?"

Alan from the islands

It seems that the U.S. is telegraphing its intentions to Iran through this Aviation Week and Space Technology article:


Snippets from the article follow:

2013...maybe as late as 2014...if negotiations and (purported) cyber actions do not convince Iran to put their program under international monitoring.

Mention of using a notional fall of the Syrian government as a distraction/cover for a U.S.-led 'kinematic attack'.

Descriptions of specific platforms and weapons which may be employed...by 'Three senior war planners, now retired'...(one seems to be named later in the article)

The military option is "not just available, but ready."..."The necessary planning has been done to ensure it is ready. The international community has been unified."

Gee, we are (mostly, sort of) out of Iraq, and are planning to be (mostly, more sort-of-kind-of) out of Afghanistan by 2014...looks like we need to keep the LOE (level of Effort) up for the MIC from here to eternity (or until we burn out as an empire)...this will make a nice 'out' to avoid any sequester cuts.

Best hopes for rational actors on all sides.

Schott Solar to close Albuquerque plant; 250 lose jobs


Hey kiddos, go North to work the oil fields or in support businesses in ND and Alberta!

Anecdote: When my wife went to Virginia to be a blood marrow donor, we met a couple where the Hubby was a wind turbine installer/technician from the TX panhandle...they were so poor that they couldn't pay for a checked bag for their several days stay...they put their clothes in carry-ons.

The money is in that black gold, not in Windmills...or in solar panels.

It is just really hard to compete against Chinese PV makers that are given free land, have low wages, and have very little environmental regulations.

But hey . . . we have lots of cheap solar panels available.

spec - I suppose it's also difficult for a German solar builder to compete with a US company that gets a $500 million loan from the govt it doesn't have to pay back if their biz plan doesn't work.

I'm all for creating American jobs. But is the trade off worth the potentially millions of US homes that wouldn't go solar due to the higher cost of domestic made systems? I'm sure Detroit would not have suffered its problem in the past if the govt had prevented all those Toyotas et al from being imported. Even better for them if we hadn't instituted CAFE standards. And think how much more money we geologists would have made had the govt banned the import of all that oil subsidized by many exporting countries.

Just think how much better things would be today. LOL.

Cover Charge: New Spray-On Battery Could Convert Any Object into an Electricity Storage Device

Perhaps someday you'll need to go to the store because you ran out of cathode paint. A team of researchers has just announced a new paint-on battery design. The technique could change the way batteries are produced and eliminate restrictions on the surfaces used for energy storage.

The paint-on battery, like all lithium ion batteries, consists of five layers: a positive current collector, a cathode that attracts positively charged ions, an ion-conducting separator, an anode to attract negative ions, and a negative current collector. For each layer, the challenge was to find a way to mix the electrically conductive material with various polymers to create a paint that could be sprayed onto surfaces.

Malaysia makes big bet on natural gas from Canada

Malaysia’s state-owned oil and gas company is making a multibillion-dollar bet on Canada’s vision to export natural gas to Asia.

Petronas said Thursday it struck a deal to acquire Calgary’s Progress Energy Resources Corp. for $5.5-billion. Petronas also chose Prince Rupert, B.C., as home of its planned export terminal for liquefied natural gas.

International energy companies have been spending billions on remote natural gas plays in Alberta and B.C., with plans to sell the gas in Asia where prices are substantially stronger. With a supply glut of gas keeping prices depressed in North America, foreign companies armed with big cash reserves are being welcomed by Canadian energy firms.

This gap has producers in North America searching for partners to help them develop both their resources and export potential. Indeed, Progress, which says it holds the most acres of land in the Montney shale play and controls 1.9 trillion cubic feet of proved plus probable reserves, struck a joint venture with Petronas a year ago.

“Petronas is a leader in the LNG technology business, but they don’t have the resource,” said Norman MacDonald, a fund manager at Toronto’s Invesco Trimark Ltd. “If one company brings the capital, the balance sheet, the discipline, and the technology, and the other company brings the real estate, it is a great marriage.”

Energy regulator approves export licence for BC LNG

Canada’s national energy regulator has granted its second liquefied natural gas export licence in less than four months – further opening the door to a future where Asia-bound tankers deliver new profits to struggling gas producers.

The National Energy Board approved an application by BC LNG Export Co-operative LLC, to ship LNG out of Kitimat, B.C., the regulator said in a statement Thursday.

“We’re very pleased to get the licence,” said Tom Tatham, the driving force behind BC LNG. “It’s one key thing that we need to do that’s now out of the way. We’re very happy, as are the Haisla.”

B.C.’s Haisla Nation is a 50-per-cent partner with BC LNG, which has the support of some important corporate players, including Talisman Energy Inc. and Tenaska Marketing Canada, one of the largest exporters of natural gas from B.C. and Alberta.

Those plans come amidst a broad push in recent months by the federal government to send Canadian energy products to Asia. In its reasons for its decision on the BC LNG project, the NEB said such exports make sense, when it comes to natural gas.

“The board recognizes that the forecast annual LNG demand growth in Asia provides a new opportunity for Canadian producers to diversify their natural gas export markets,” it wrote, pointing to the possibility of “attractive netbacks,” or profits, from shipping gas to Asia.

“Due to the size of Canada’s natural gas resource, proximity to Asian markets and stable political and regulatory environment, the board accepts BC LNG’s submission that Canada is viewed as a desirable source of supply for Asian LNG purchasers.”