Drumbeat: June 30, 2012

Iran Oil Sanctions Starting Risks Biggest OPEC Loss Since Libya

European Union sanctions on Iran entered into full force today after exemptions on some contracts and insurance ended, boosting crude prices and pressure on the Persian Gulf nation to halt its nuclear-enrichment program.

The reduction in Iranian exports may become the biggest supply disruption from a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries since an armed rebellion all but halted pumping in Libya last year, according to the International Energy Agency. It also comes just as a strike by Norwegian workers is curbing flows from North Sea fields.

U.S. Bets New Oil Sanctions Will Change Iran’s Tune

WASHINGTON — After three and a half years of attempting to halt Iran’s nuclear program with diplomacy, sanctions and sabotage, the Obama administration and its allies are imposing sweeping new sanctions that are meant to cut the country off from the global oil market. Many experts regard it as the best hope for forcing Iran to change its course.

Iran says selling oil easy despite sanctions

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran says it is having no trouble selling oil despite U.S. sanctions imposed over Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

The Saturday report by the semiofficial Mehr news agency quotes Central Bank Governor Mahmoud Bahmani as saying that Iran is "easily" able to sell its oil thanks to countries given waivers by the U.S. to import some oil.

Sanctions May Squeeze Iran ... And Raise Oil Prices

The move against Iran comes at a time when oil prices have been dropping for the past couple of months.

The EU action could potentially reverse that trend and push world oil prices higher over the next few months. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News forecast that the price for premium crude will rebound to more than $114 for the third quarter of this year.

The End of OPEC Despotism

The tectonic plates of Middle East politics are shifting fast. Egypt’s Arab spring may have run into the sand of anti-democratic Islamism, but the days when oil-rich Arab sheikhs colluded to hold Western economies to ransom will soon end. Massive shale oil and gas discoveries across the West, Israel’s rising status as a Middle East energy powerhouse and a deepening internal rift over strategic policy are all colluding to hasten OPEC’s demise.

India cuts gas prices

Indian oil firms cut gas prices for the second time this month, following an 11 percent hike in May that sparked public protests.

State-run refineries announced the cuts would yesterday, reducing the cost of a liter of gas by 2.46 ($0.04) rupees to 67.78 ($1.19) per liter, reported Reuters. May's increase triggered public outcry and political backlash in a country suffering from high inflation, even though gas is only about 10 percent of India's total fuel consumption.

Brazil Said to Consider Increased Ethanol Mix in Fuel

Brazil is considering a request by Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4), the country’s state-owned oil company, to increase the amount of ethanol added to gasoline, said two government officials with knowledge of the discussions.

Authorities are reviewing ethanol supplies in the South American country to determine if there is enough to proceed with the measure, which would help reduce imports and boost Petrobras’s earnings, said the officials, who asked not to be identified as the matter is not public.

Kazakhstan: Justify Charges Against Activists, Oil Worker

The vague nature of the charges and lack of transparency in the investigation, including a failure to provide any information on what they allegedly did to justify the charges, raise serious concerns that these charges are arbitrary and politically motivated, Human Rights Watch said.

Mexico’s Solar Energy Investment and Capacity Doubles

According to solar and wind systems producer, Conermex, Mexico will reach a total of 12 MW of electricity generated by solar energy by the end of 2012, doubling its current potential.

Kansai votes to keep power target at 10%

OSAKA (Jiji Press)--The Kansai community agreed Saturday not to lower its 10 percent power-saving target even after the second of two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi nuclear power plant is restarted and operating at full capacity.

Temperature climbing in No. 4 reactor's pool after cooling system knocked out

The cooling system of the spent-fuel pool in reactor 4 at the Fukushima No. 1 plant automatically suspended operations Saturday and the water temperature is starting to rise, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

The utility has been unable to activate a backup cooling system for the pool since operations halted at around 6.25 a.m., and is looking into the causes, Tepco officials said later in the day.

US Agency Gave Nuclear Industry 'Sweet Deal': Documents

According to documents revealed by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), the US Department of Energy (DOE) handed a secret 'sweetheart deal' to Southern Company, a large utility company. The deal includes loan guarantees for two new nuclear reactors proposed for Plant Vogtle in Georgia.

B.C. Carbon Tax Sees Gas Prices Rise Again

Gas prices are set to rise again in British Columbia as the final instalment of the province's carbon tax comes into effect on Canada Day.

The increase of 1.11 cents per litre is the last of several steady increases over the past four years that have seen the carbon tax on gasoline rise to almost seven cents a litre.

The B.C. government says the carbon tax has brought in $500 million in revenue, which has gone towards reducing personal income taxes and business taxes.

U.S. Sees Greatest Reduction in CO2 Emissions

ATLANTA, Georgia (IPS) - According to a recent report by the International Energy Agency, the U.S. has seen the greatest reduction in carbon dioxide pollution within the past six years in comparison to any other country, even as global carbon dioxide pollution has reached record highs.

“CO2 emissions in the United States in 2011 fell by 92 Mt (million tonnes), or 1.7%, primarily due to ongoing switching from coal to natural gas in power generation and an exceptionally mild winter, which reduced the demand for space heating,” the IEA writes on its website.

Iran calls for extraordinary OPEC meeting

Sanctions-hit Iran on Saturday called for OPEC to hold an extraordinary meeting to rein in output going over its agreed total quota because oil prices have dipped to a "critical level" under $100 a barrel.

"We have asked the secretary general to set up an extraordinary meeting as prices have become irrational," Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi was quoted as saying on his ministry's official news website Shana.

Oil Surges Most in More Than a Year on European Agreement

Oil rose the most in more than three years on optimism that Europe’s debt crisis may be contained after leaders agreed to ease repayment rules for emergency loans to Spanish banks and relax conditions on help for Italy.

Futures gained 9.4 percent, trimming the biggest quarterly decline since the final three months of 2008, as leaders of the 17 euro countries dropped requirements that taxpayers get preferred creditor status on aid to Spain’s banks. Prices also advanced because a European Union ban on the purchase, transport, financing and insurance of Iran’s oil starts in July.

“We’re seeing a massive return of risk appetite,” said Mike Wittner, head of oil market research at Societe Generale SA in New York. “The market was impressed by what the Europeans accomplished and there’s a feeling that the worst may be over.”

Saudi and Iraq spur Opec's oil production

LONDON: Opec's oil output has remained close to its highest since 2008 in June as extra oil from Saudi Arabia and Iraq has compensated for a drop in Iranian supply to its lowest level in more than two decades, a Reuters survey found yesterday.

US and European sanctions have pushed Iran from second-largest producer in Opec to rank third behind Iraq.

Crude Oil Price Bubbleomics Impact on EP Valuations

This is an update on an article posted eighteen months ago called Crude Oil Price Forecast to 2020. The issue then was the specter of Peak Oil.

Iranian first VP: We welcome oil sanctions

The Iranian first vice president has said that the country welcomes oil sanctions on the verge of imposing the EU sanctions against the Islamic Republic's oil sector.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony on the national day of industry and mine, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi said that sanctions show greatness of the Iranian nation.

Iran Says It Has ‘Inalienable Right’ to Enrich Uranium

Iran is declaring that it has an “inalienable right” to enrich uranium, reasserting a stand that is rejected by world powers and may prevent a deal to resolve Western suspicions it seeks to build nuclear weapons.

US exemption over Iranian oil trade shows China's power: Report

BEIJING: The US decision to exempt China from its unilateral sanctions over imports of Iranian oil reflected "China's power" and a "victory", a state-run Chinese daily said today, playing down Beijing's move to reduce oil imports from the Islamic Republic.

The US "decision has helped avoid direct diplomatic conflict and possible trade war between the two countries and is widely viewed as the result of compromise", Global Times said in an editorial titled 'sanctions exemption shows China's power'.

Iran ready to repair Turkey's damaged gas pipeline

The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) announced its readiness to help in repairing an Iran-Turkey gas pipeline that exploded yesterday.

Iraq to sign oil deal with firms

BAGHDAD: Iraq will sign initial contracts in July with three foreign companies that won deals to explore oil and gas blocks as it looks to attract more foreign investment to develop its energy sector.

The Opec member is expected to be the world's biggest source of new oil supplies over the next few years after signing contracts with international oil companies and plans to open up more rounds for additional oil and gas blocks for auction.

Vietnam Warns China to Halt Oil Bids in Exxon-Awarded Area

Vietnam’s state-run oil explorer warned China to halt efforts to develop disputed areas of the South China Sea that Hanoi’s leaders have already awarded to companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. and OAO Gazprom.

National Shipping, Aramco Sign Accord to Merge Their Fleets

National Shipping will be the sole carrier for crude pumped by Saudi Aramco, as the state company is known, under long- duration contracts, according to the statement. The merger will make National Shipping the industry’s fourth-largest owner of very large crude carriers.

Circling the Wagons on Syria

What to do in Syria? Western military intervention looks fraught with difficulties, but the situation on the ground is a humanitarian nightmare and is producing greater instability by the week. A recent trip to Turkey and Russia has persuaded me that there might be a path forward. The pressures on Bashar Assad's regime are real and mounting; it is running out of cash and now faces real military pressures from Turkey. These pressures could be heightened and combined with smart diplomacy, and they could push Assad out of power. But that would mean trying to work with the Russian government rather than attacking it.

Nigeria says arrests oil pipeline bomber

YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigerian authorities said on Friday they had arrested the leader of a network of crude oil thieves in the Niger Delta responsible for several pipeline bombings against oil majors including Shell and ENI.

When money stops talking: The sound of dissent in oil-rich Angola

WITH his thin-rimmed spectacles and philosophy degree, MCK belies the image of a streetwise rapper, but his latest album bears a message that is authentically tough. Released in January, “Proibido Ouvir Isto” (Forbidden to Hear This), assails a host of national ills, from the corruption of Angola’s elite to the squalor of its fetid musseques (slums).

Flush from oil exports that now generate more than $45 billion a year, the government is used to silencing critics with cash.“Four years ago they offered me $500,000 to stop rapping,” MCK confesses with a smile, sitting in a sports hall in Angola’s capital, Luanda. “Now they know it won’t work.”

Workers’ protests interrupt crude oil supply

State-run oil and gas firm PT Pertamina revealed that crude oil supply for the Balongan refinery in West Java was cut by around 1,000 barrels per day (bpd) due to a demonstration by hundreds of workers at the refinery who demanded the company scrap its outsourcing scheme.

BLM ‘Auctions’ 720-Million-Ton North Porcupine Coal Tract To Single Bidder For $1.10 A Ton

The Obama administration’s Bureau of Land Management auctioned a major tract of Wyoming coal to Peabody Energy at a bargain-basement price of $1.10 per ton yesterday.

Pressure Rises With Heat in Con Ed Negotiations

While New Yorkers try to keep their heads cool during this weekend’s heat wave, they may also want to hope that those running the final negotiations between Consolidated Edison and its biggest union do the same.

Natural gas: Managing our bounty

The financial effect of LNG expansion could be huge, but there is debate on what to do with the revenue — and how to manage the environment at the same time.

University Will Not Investigate Fracking Institute

The State University of New York at Buffalo has rebuffed calls for an investigation of the work of a new institute it founded that is devoted to the study of shale gas drilling, saying it is defending the freedom of faculty members to conduct research.

New nuke plant critical, Lithuanian minister says

VILNIUS — The Lithuanian energy minister said his country needs a nuclear power plant to reduce its dependence on Russia, secure economic development and employment, and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

"If you depend on imports, it is not safe," Arvydas Sekmokas said in an interview Tuesday after Lithuania decided to order a nuclear power plant from Hitachi Ltd.

Prisoners in Brazil Can Reduce Their Sentences by Producing Electricity

According to Jornal Nacional, Brazil's Santa Rita do Sapucaí prison, following the suggestion of a local judge, recently installed electricity-generating stationary bikes as part of a plan to keep inmates active while letting them contribute to a greater good.

For every 16 hours spent pedaling to charge a battery connected to the bike, prisoners of good standing will shave a day off their sentences. The energy will then be used to power streetlights in the city that might otherwise be dark, making the community a safer place at night for everyone.

Moldy matters: How wasted food is destroying the environment

The title of his new series -- "One Third" -- derives from a 2011 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization report. It revealed a chilling statistic: A third of all food products worldwide go uneaten.

Depending on the type of food in question, this figure ranges from between 25% and 75% and, altogether, it amounts to 1.3 billion tons of edible goods discarded each year.

Millions without power as storms pound U.S. following record-setting heat

The severe thunderstorms moving across the Midwest are fueled by the high temperatures, bringing with them lightning and wind gusts as strong as 80 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

The massive systems left one in three Americans baking in scorching heat, has threatened lives and caused misery for those not fortunate enough to find a splash of cool water or air conditioning.

Carbon Errors Make Australia Wiser as Gillard Sets Price Record

Australia is setting the world’s highest price on carbon emissions as it seeks to avoid mistakes made when Europe started the biggest cap-and-trade system seven years ago.

The country of 22.5 million people, with the most emissions per capita among developed nations, will charge almost 300 of Australia’s largest polluters a fixed price of A$23 ($23.15) a metric ton for their greenhouse gases for the year starting July 1. European Union carbon allowances closed yesterday at 7.97 euros ($10) a ton on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Greenland Ice Sheet Melt Nearing Critical ‘Tipping Point’

The Greenland ice sheet is poised for another record melt this year, and is approaching a "tipping point" into a new and more dangerous melt regime in which the summer melt area covers the entire land mass, according to new findings from polar researchers.

Re: Greenland Ice Sheet Melt Nearing Critical ‘Tipping Point’

The graph accompanying the post shows a steady decline in albedo over Greenland. The latest data for this year shows the most decline in the data set. Thus, the comment that Greenland's ice sheet may be near the point of no return after which the ice sheet will begin to melt completely. As a result, sea level may rise much faster than recent predictions have indicated...

E. Swanson

Which will first impact on countries like Bangladesh. They are already asking for compensation. I have put that on my website because this topic is rarely discussed

Compensation claims from global warming damage

And since this is a website about peak oil the link via syncrude from tarsands is here:

CO2 from unconventional fossil fuels

And as the Colorado wild fires are burning, this is Hansen's research on weather extremes:

Perceptions of Climate Change:
The New Climate Dice

"Climate dice", describing the chance of unusually warm or cool seasons relative to climatology, have become progressively "loaded" in the past 30 years, coincident with rapid global warming. The distribution of seasonal mean temperature anomalies has shifted toward higher temperatures and the range of anomalies has increased. An important change is the emergence of a category of summertime extremely hot outliers, more than three standard deviations (σ) warmer than climatology. This hot extreme, which covered much less than 1% of Earth's surface in the period of climatology, now typically covers about 10% of the land area. We conclude that extreme heat waves, such as that in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010, were "caused" by global warming, because their likelihood was negligible prior to the recent rapid global warming. We discuss practical implications of this substantial, growing climate change
The increase, by more than a factor 10, of area covered by extreme hot anomalies (> +3σ ) in summer reflects the shift of the anomaly distribution in the past 30 years of global warming, as shown succinctly in Fig. 4. One implication of this shift is that the extreme summer climate anomalies in Texas in 2011, in Moscow in 2010, and in France in 2003 almost certainly would not have occurred in the absence of global warming with its resulting shift of the anomaly distribution. In other words, we can say with a high degree of confidence that these extreme anomalies were a consequence of global warming..
The other extreme of the hydrologic cycle, unusually heavy rainfall and floods, is also expected to be amplified by global warming. The amount of water vapor that the atmosphere holds increases rapidly with atmospheric temperature, and thus a warmer world is expected to have more rainfall occurring in more extreme events. What were "100-year" or "500-year" events are expected to occur more frequently with increased global warming. Rainfall data reveal significant increases of heavy precipitation over much of Northern Hemisphere land and in the tropics (3) and attribution studies link this intensification of rainfall and floods to human-made global warming (24-26).

Here in Columbus Ohio we have just gone from extreme heat to a very violent windstorm and now back to extreme heat. The house next door to the west of mine had a tree go through her car, the house next door to the east lost part of her roof- somehow my house was undamaged. Thousands are without power and therefore A/C and the temperatures are climbing again. I am spending the day cutting up trees and trying to help neighbors. You can't drive down my street as a large tree blocks it. Next week is another brutal heat wave.

Just like there is an inflation adjuster for GDP there should be a global warming adjuster to GDP to show how much of it is increasingly just to repair damage over the years. Oh well, time to get outside and sweat- today will not be fun.

Be safe, C8.

Remember that last year, a tornado went through and destroyed an entire village(Joplin). Although I doubt a tornado will pop out of nowhere, falling trees on cars and houses doesn't exactly sound safe.

Give us a status update on how things are progressing!

Ironically, I from Washington State, attended a screening of Twister, the movie, at the mall in Joplin. Funny, that.

As I recall the locals were oohing and ahhing, in their hearts doubting it could ever happen in their cosmopolitan town. It was clear, though, they had great respect for the power of a tornado.

Tornados or violent thunderstorms after or during heat waves are nothing new in the midwest.

"On April 3, 1974 a tornado[5] rated F5 on the Fujita scale cut a path directly through the middle of Xenia during the Super Outbreak, the second largest series of tornadoes in recorded history. The disaster killed 34 people (including two Ohio Air National Guardsmen who died days later in a related fire), injured an additional 1,150, destroyed almost half of the city’s buildings, and left 10,000 people homeless. Five schools, including Xenia High School, Central Junior High School, McKinley Elementary, Simon Kenton Elementary, and Saint Brigid Catholic School were destroyed. Also destroyed were nine churches and 180 businesses."


"The 1984 Barneveld, Wisconsin tornado outbreak is a significant severe weather and tornado event that took place across the central United States from North Dakota to Kansas on June 7-8, 1984. The tornado outbreak produced several significant tornadoes including an F5 tornado which traveled through Barneveld, Wisconsin in the early hours of June 8, 1984. The entire outbreak killed at least 13 people across three states including 9 in Barneveld alone."


But usually (at least when I lived there) the severe storm meant the cold front had arrived, and if the storm didn't get you, you had pleasant weather to look forward to. This time its happening near the boundary of the really hot air, but it doesn't seem to signal the arrival of the cold......

NBC Meteorologist On Record Heat Wave: “If We Did Not Have Global Warming, We Wouldn’t See This.”

...NBC Meteorologist Bill Karins said on Friday , “We’ve never really seen a heat wave like this in the month of June.” Sadly, in a few decades this will just be considered a normal June (see below).

...The definitive NOAA-led U.S. climate impact report from 2010 warns of scorching 9 to 11°F warming over most of inland U.S. By 2090, it’ll be above 90°F some 120 days a year in Kansas — more than the entire summer. Much of Florida and Texas will exceed 90°F half the days of the year. These won’t be called heat waves anymore. It’ll just be the “normal” climate.

And remember, high heat means dry areas become drier and humid areas become intolerable.

Mother Nature is just warming up. The time to act is yesterday.

I looked at that and thought . . . but so much of the country is a nice cool bluish color. Oh wait . . .

After that extraordinarily hot March , now this. I really wonder what August has in store.

I have lived in 100F temps without any electricity, while it's not fun, you can live easily with the right kind of house built. And it might just work as an incentive to put up those solar panels.

spent much of the morning cutting and clearing trees- I left my chain saw at my other house but a guy in the neighborhood had one and started going to work on the tree blocking our road so I helped pull the heavy stuff out of the street that he was lopping off- then I found that I could get the neighbors car out from under the tree by cutting some parts and getting some neighbors to lift together while she backed it out- but her windsheild is busted up. Sound of sirens and chain saws everywhere- governor has declared us a disaster area which means we may see the guard- food stores out of commission in many places- line of 30 sitting in lawnchairs at the home depot waiting for generators- general mess- somehow my house is on a power line that is still in operation- exhausted- heat rising -going to lay down

If you have to work outside, try stuffing the pockets of a fishing vest with gel ice packs. You could also strap a couple of them on around your waist with ace bandages, but they have a tendency to slip around. It looks kinda funny and you get damp from condensation, but it provides enough relief to where you won't care.

GoodOld, there's a product that uses cool packs and neoprene wraps you wear around your neck.
They stay cool longer that gel and are oil based! What could be better? Global warming + personal cooling = synergy.


These are purpose-made versions of your fishing vest idea.

There are more brands than these out there...

I no zero experience with the efficacy of any of these...




I've got a pool which I jump in wearing jeans and a tshirt - long sleeves - and I can then work in 110F to 120F heat without any ill effects. When my clothes start to dry out, I jump back in again. Last summer I painted my house in the same conditions and stayed wet with a hose or sprinkler... works quite well.

We need a like button here! We did something similar in AZ. Or poured water over our heads. And if we needed to look more civilized, wore water-soaked bandanas around our necks. And of course drank copious quantities of water.

works great once in a while but you can get fungus if you do it too often.

i like a zip lock bag of ice under my wide brim hat and a frozen bottle of water to drink.

Not just water. you need to top up your salts as well. Bananas, tomatoes with a bit of sodium chloride sprinkled on them, use lite salt (50%) instead of regular salt everywhere to top up the potassium, drink suero/Gatorade. Really important to avoid bad cramps and keep your energy up. I had one cramp bad enough to tear a muscle through not keeping up on salts.


When I was in college, in Southern California, I worked (doing construction/repair) at the Desert Studies Center in the Mojave Desert. In the summer, the concrete buildings were out of the question for sleeping at night. We would drag cots outside, away from the buildings. We would would each take a sheet, soak it with water, and lay said sheet over ourselves. The trick was to fall asleep before the sheet dried out. Man, those were the days.

A race-car driving friend of mine describes a scene back in the crew areas of 27 wading pools.

I'm reminded of a lesson my dad got from his travels across the world: while cold can be overcome through the proper clothing and equipment, it is comparatively harder to do so in heat. I get the perception that air conditioners are near necessities in warmer countries, while cold can be endured through more mundane means. Or maybe that's just a morale-booster for whenever I find myself outside in -20, -30 celsius, lol.

Your dad is right, and I must add that enduring heat over cold requires bodily changes as well. People from hotter climes tend to be smaller, leaner and darker. While lots of fat works for cold conditions, the same thing can lots of discomfort in high temps.

Or maybe that's just a morale-booster for whenever I find myself outside in -20, -30 celsius, lol.

Ehehe, this reminds me of a joke my girlfriend is really fond of:

American calls his Russian friend:
- Hi Ivan, I hear you have -50 Celsius there!!
Ivan replies angrily:
- Nonsense! Maybe -20, but surely not lower than -30.
- But they are showing it on CNN!
- Oh, you mean outside...


My newly got 1kW of PV is keeping me and my household well supplied with lights, freezer and fridge, while all the other folks around here are in a panic to keep their hard-won food cold somehow.

And they are hot, while we are just comfortable-- no more than 25 C in the house- blow out the hot from 3-7 AM for a small dollop of kW-hrs thru a fan.

That was the strongest wind storm I have seen in 50 yrs at this place. Blew down a huge elm tree on my nice wheeled chicken house and smashed it flat. All the chickens had to flee instantly thru all the fury to the barn, leaving their precious diaries, mementoes, letters from former lovers, behind in the drowned ruin of the formerly fastest chicken house on the ridge.

You had wind up here? It must have missed the coast. Sorry about the hutch, hope the girls are ok. (I've been under the impression you're in Maine.. maybe I was off with that?)

I called my Mother in Law in Silver Springs MD, and she managed to find a library with power, where she got her phone at least charged up.. and I said maybe just a teeny little chunk of PV would be pretty handy for the Phone, her PC tablet and Radio, for future blackouts. She was already thinking the same, and I'm sure I'll be helping consult on a purchase pretty soon.

I live about 40 north in the hills.

My wife is pleased to see that I was right all along, and our being mostly off grid and using well and cistern water makes us far better off than the other folks around here, who are being told it might be a week before the grid goes up again.

Also, we have no AC and never did, and have learned how to cope quite well. Right now it is 24C inside and 34 outside, and I am fine--and if I wanted, I could use a very small quiet fan and get cooler than I need to be.

There are no generators left in the stores. And the people who have them are being hounded by those who don't- that is, most of them.

I have been pushing solar and wood energy for decades, and recently see evidence that people are starting to listen.

You may be able to live in it if your food is grown elsewhere -- but you cannot easily grow crops or keep livestock in it. That's the problem that will bite us first.

I keep having this bad feeling in the pit of the guts, saying: "You have been warned. Now you've had an example." I have not heard one single mention of "global climate change" on television weather talk. It's almost as if the topic has been removed by law, like the N.C. legislature removed "sea-level rise." Anybody remember the story of the "Undertoad" in The World According to Garp? I am feeling the grasp of the Undertoad. All the local TeeVee weather folks here are doing is jumping up and down with glee over "breaking records." Small towns all around are canceling fireworks displays. One mayor reported that a spark from a lawnmower blade hitting a rock set the grass on fire yesterday and burned it over half of their park's large grassy field (low grass) before they got it put out. Not a chance we are going to do fireworks, says he, unless we get a GOOD RAIN (unlikely to impossible).

My town is Powell, TN. This from Weather Underground, NOW. 4:26 p.m. EDT

Powell, TN
108.1 °F Clear

Full Conditions & Forecast
Nearby Airports
Oak Ridge | 104 °F | Clear
Knoxville | 103 °F | Partly Cloudy
Middlesboro | 106 °F | Scattered Clouds
Crossville | 100 °F | Clear
Wrong location?

Nearby Weather Stations
Powell | 108.1 °F
Sterchi Hills | 103.1 °F
Hidden Hills | 101.1 °F
Holiday Hills | 102.7 °F

All the local TeeVee weather folks here are doing is jumping up and down with glee over "breaking records."

Well then somebody needs to say it. These people are morons of the highest order!

Erainh20, I'm a native of middle Tennessee, though I spent most of my adult years in Kentucky. I do remember my parents talking about the heat wave of 1952, when I was an infant. That summer and the one in 1954 set many of the June and July records in the Nashville area. Looking through the records one also sees 1926, 1988 and a few years in the 19th Century. No doubt this summer will set new records for several days in a row.

Here in Mt we have forest fires right now and trees are dying because of beetles and bug worm it does not get cold enough long enough...Also we have lost a lot of smaller trees this year because we went from a warm fall to -1 in just a day...it stresses the trees out....and it stresses me out as well but I am a just a doomer ...I don't count....

Just to balance things out a bit, western Europe is having the coolest, wettest spring and summer for a long time. Where I live, in northern France, the farmers are at least a month late cutting the hay, and those who try are getting their tractors bogged down. Britain has had a lot of flooding.

BC is mostly damp and cool, drizzly most days but no significant rain. Except Sicamous which washed away last week.

On the other hand farther north is nice, Yellowknife & Dawson Creek are having 30ish and sunny...


But parts of south east England still have water use restrictions from the worst drought in 20 years....

As a result, sea level may rise much faster than recent predictions have indicated..

Trying to find a silver lining . . . . well, if we get some significant sea level rise then maybe some deniers may finally face the facts.

Yes, but only in an "I told you so" fashion. It will already be too late to do anything about it.

Other than "I told you so" what good will it do? By the time they see the light the damage will have been done.

I believe in AGW but believe that the efforts to try and prevent it however well meaning have actually hurt in the long run. For a while the debate was between those who believed the warming was natural part of the ebb and flow of the earths climate and those who believed it was man made. If instead of arguing about which was right we had taken steps to adapt to it I think we would have been better off. Now we are in a position where even adaptation for e.g. NC is off the table. I think some of the proponents of AGW were just as myopic as the deniers. It is possible (not probable) that the warming is natural in which case all the efforts at reducing the human influence wouldn't have made a bit of difference. In that case adaptation was the only option- but they weren't willing to consider that because they felt that it would take the pressure off people to reduce CO2 pollution.

The dangers of true believers

I disagree with your analysis. First of all, the evidence has been in on AGW for a good while, and is now overwhelming. Going straight to "adaptation" and forgetting about trying to curtail greenhouse gases would have been morally wrong, IMO.

Also, most AGW proponents are very well aware of the nature of the natural climate fluctuations, and the relative (minor) contribution of those fluctuations to climate change.

It has become more and more clear that we are not going to do anything meaningful about greenhouse gas emissions - this is certainly not the fault of anyone but deniers and the concerted effort that certain interests have made to confuse the issue. Of course, now many AGW proponents are very definitely considering adaptation/mitigation, because it does seem that we've locked in at least a couple of degrees C of warming. No AGW proponents that I know of have ever said we shouldn't plan for contingencies. It's not like "either we work on CO2 emissions or we work on adaptation". Not an either/or situation at all.

In short, I found your piece to be a strained attempt at "fair and balanced", and blaming the messenger. Conflating people who have studied/accepted the science with know-nothing deniers as "true believers" is absurd. Further, I find blaming AGW people for making things "worse in the long run" to be perverse and Orwellian.

I think the deniers have certainly played a part in the United states- but that is not where the big increases in Co2 are coming from. The control of CO2 emissions was a pipe dream from the start. India and China were simply not going to accept limits on their CO2 emissions at anything less than that of the United States- politically it was just not going to happen. No government whether democratically elected or totalitarian was going to be able to tell their people that they had to accept a permanently lower standard of living than the Americans. All to often you hear from them- its not our CO2 that is at fault its the stuff Western countries have been putting into the atmosphere for 200 years. All that the deniers did was give them somebody to point to and say "plus it is not even certain that CO2 is a problem" - if the deniers weren't around they would have come up with some other excuse.

Given how US society is organized it simply wasn't going to be possible - with or without the deniers- for the US to lower its CO2 emissions to level low enough that would hold CO2 emissions steady while allowing India and China parity with the United States. Once we reached our CO2 emission levels and then gave all the countries "the blessings of liberty and free markets" the game was over.

It is not entirely clear to me who suffers most from climate change- the rich countries who have less resiliency and whose economic structures are built around the previous stable climate or the poor countries. From my experience in Red Cross Disaster relief I found that poorer communities demonstrated far more resiliency after a natural disaster than did richer communities- the poorer folks were just more able to pick up the pieces and move on.

No government whether democratically elected or totalitarian was going to be able to tell their people that they had to accept a permanently lower standard of living than the Americans.

Fossil fuels are not essential a high standard of living.

Efficiency, wind, solar, nuclear are all cost effective, scalable, practical, etc, etc, etc.

Just depends on your definition of standard of living. If it revolves around a 3/4 ton crew cab, toy trailer, ATVs, etc. then fossil fuels are a big deal. It's that American Way of Life thing.

I'd love to see SUVS and ATVs go away.

For better or worse, they can be electrified or EREVized.

And ultimately synthetic fuels (using renewable electricity) will work. They may be expensive (up to $10/gallon), but for limited use they'll work just fine.

It is possible (not probable) that the warming is natural ...

No. It isn't possible based on the evidence we have. No one has ben able to account for the climate forcing (energy inputs) that have been observed without taking into acocunt anthropogenic forcing. A few claim to have done so, but their papers simply don't hold up.

Additionally, constant use of the term "belief" is not appropriate or necessary, unless you choose to involve articles of faith (if so, please explain). One either accepts AGW theory or rejects it. It's a might offensive to call someone who accepts emprical evidence as a "true believer."

I doubt it, they will just say that all that flooding is caused by gay marriage. See, just look at the places getting hit - Key West, Miami, and New Orleans... Or maybe it's sunspots.. who knows, but I really doubt many will every change their minds.

Ooooh good point. The fact that so many popular gay friendly areas are islands or peninsulas will support this. San Francisco, Provincetown, Key-west, New York, the Netherlands, etc. Yeah, it is just a matter of time before some kook calls the flooding to be God's punishment for gays. (Never mind the fact that Bible says god promised no more flooding events . . . detail details!)

A snippet from "The New Great Game", Defense Intelligence Agency briefing which was posted on the previous DrumBeat:

Bangladesh -

South Asia’s version of New Orleans (one “perfect storm” away from oblivion)!

Gee, sparky, try to say that without obvious glee...have a little empathy...

"See my works, how fine they are. Now all that I have created, I have created for your benefit. Think upon this, and do not corrupt and destroy My world. For if you destroy it, there is no one to restore it after you."

Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:28

(God to Adam)

Like the song says,

God gave Noah the rainbow sign
"No more water but fire next time"


Or 2012! And Revelations. A signal of the end times Huuu Rahhh!


What we often forget is that human activity going back as much as a hundred years brought this and other things on us.

These reactions to human activity are stored up for a hundred years in some instances.

The spring has been wound up to the point that simply stopping the use of fossil fuel will not stop the unwinding, but it hopefully could mean a recovery in a century instead of in a 1000 years.

Dredd guy, most of the CO2 and other greenhouse gases have been added during my life time, that is, since WW II. Of course, there are other impacts which may be changing climate, such as changes in albedo due to cutting trees and plowing fields, which also results in further CO2 emissions. Your point is that what we have done to the atmosphere so far has not fully worked thru the climate system, especially the oceans. It's not quite like a spring, it's more like a simple time delay. It's been estimated that our atmospheric changes will persist for centuries, thus your so-called "spring" can't snap back to it's previous state for a very long time, since the time delay in the oceans will act to slow the return just as it is acting to slow the effects on present climate. Unless, of course, we flip the ocean circulation into an entirely new pattern.

Which may already be happening, BTW...

E. Swanson


Yeah, "spring" is a mechanical term, but guys who work on rigs bringing the black plague the black gold to us do understand springs.

A read about another factor we might want to put into our EROI dictionary here at oil central, and that is the amount of water it takes to generate power using the black stuff:

"Burning Our Rivers," a new report by the River Network, found that it takes about 40,000 gallons of water to meet the average American household's energy needs, which is five times more than the amount of water used directly in that home...

More than a quarter of the water fossil-fuel plants take in is turned into steam. The remaining liquid is contaminated with pollutants and excess heat and returned to waterways, where it can kill wildlife and create toxic algae blooms.

"What we are seeing now is the way we produce electricity can threaten our water supplies, and it's already compromising our water quality across the nation," said Wendy Wilson, director of River Network's energy and climate program and author of the new report.

(...Burning The Rivers...). My point is that we could renounce all fossil fuel madness tomorrow but it would not change our sentence, the judgment, uncoil the spring, avoid what is in the pipes already, and similar metaphors, epitomes, and analogies.


Congratulations on your inclusion in the elite group of states that are currently negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement! Your acceptance into this proposed “historic, 21st century trade agreement” means that much of the “burden” of making laws and regulations for your nation will be taken off of you. No worries; lobbyists for Hollywood and American pharmaceutical companies and more than 600 official “corporate trade advisers” to the Office of United States Trade Representative (USTR) will help take care of the details.

I think that the political processes to which we are accustomed may be are a thing of the past. The controllers "came out" with the events of 9/11/01. That was not obvious, perhaps, until the fall of 2008. That's just what I am currently thinking, and have been for some time now. Each must decide for him/her self. The war is between the corporations and nature. I think that some have chosen sides already. Some still vacillate -- trying to figure what will be their "best bet." The time for decision draws nigh. Politics and gods are useless. /granny advice

TPP will be passed by both houses of congress and quickly signed into being by the president with hardly a murmur of debate. This will be obscured against a background of manufactured outrage, controversy, and pressure over some non-issue excitedly updated every breathless hour on the corporate media.

Yes, and this is what I call "the lag effect". I am 35 years old, and the climate we have is now in balance pretty well with the CO2 concnetrations of the day of my birth. This is how much time it take for the climate to adapt to new concentrations. Back in the days the Indian subcontinent colided with Asia and the vulcanoes emitted huge amounts of CO2, the emiision path was 1/10000 PPM/Year,compeared to 2 PPM/Year now. We are doing 20000 times fatser change now than nature did back then. Adapting to this rocekt speed emssion is going to lag with decdes.

This also mean that we have warming equivalent to at least 30 years of BAU ahead of us, even if we reduced emissions with 100% by tea time this afternoon. And how much will feedback effects have added to the cause by then? We have to accept that we have already lost Greenland and the West Antartcic Peninsula. There you have 15 to 20 meter higher seas in the comming centuries. And we can't do a thing to stop it. Only to stop it from getting even worse.

Shame you can't buy land there. All that lovely rich postglacial soil.

Australia's carbon tax starts in half an hour so I'm waiting for the sky to fall. While it seems steep at $23 per tonne of CO2 there are so many freebies to industry it may be turn out to be a lame duck. For example a raft of export competing industries get 94.5% exemption from the tax. Taxpayers and welfare recipients get cash increases that cover higher power bills immediately but in theory encourage long term conservation and substitution. We'll see.

To replace brown coal fired power stations with gas and make wind power competitive without subsidies the tax should be around $40 per tCO2. The fact the EU carbon price is more like $10 could reflect an inbuilt advantage of cap and trade schemes in that the price declines in hard times. It could also reflect the fact too many free permits were issued when they should have been auctioned. Also the large number of CDM offsets bought by Europe, many of which (billions?) are of dubious merit. Maybe in a couple of years we'll know what carbon pricing scheme works and what doesn't. IMO all fossil fuels will get expensive anyway in real terms in just a few short years.

Would have been smarter, quicker, easier, and more effective, to have imposed a direct tax on the extraction of brown coal - making it uneconomic.

I think many have noticed that the grants and benefits of installing solar PV have been withdrawn just as this tax comes into place - switching from the carrot to the stick in a blatant fashion.

The timing seems almost ironic given the falling demand for electricity even before the introduction of the carbon tax ...

For decades the greatest virtue of the electricity market was its predictability. All planners had to do was plug in the forecasts for GDP growth, and demand could be expected to respond accordingly. Building new generation and poles and wires in such a regulated environment was comparatively simple, if a little dull.
How that has changed. Now, thanks to new technologies, the factoring of environmental factors, and a dramatic consumer response to rising prices, the electricity market is being turned on its head – or at least it’s head has been turned. A whole range of new factors, mostly the installation of air conditioners and rooftop PV beyond the front door of the home – normally beyond the view and interest of the market operators – has made this a wildly unpredictable market. The electricity industry suddenly got interesting, and difficult to manage.


Additional analysis and commentary can be found here: http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/why-residential-electricit...


Spain electricity demand falls in June

Spain's demand for electricity fell by 1.8 percent in June on an annual basis, marking the tenth straight month of falls, national grid operator REE said on Friday, reflecting weaker consumer demand in the recession-hit country.

Demand in June was 20,655 gigawatt-hours. REE also said demand fell by 1.7 percent over the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2011.

See: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/29/spain-electricity-idUSL6E8HTBW...

I fully expect that we'll see the Australian experience repeated elsewhere and the spectre of flat or declining sales is likely causing brandy glasses to shake in utility boardrooms.


With such high unemployment, businesses are using less and I'm sure consumers are trying hard to reduce their bills.

Growth will probably return if the economy returns . . . but that is a big 'if'.

It's generally believed that the long-term price elasticity of electricity is in the range of -0.2 to -0.7, so a ten per cent increase in electricity costs should, in theory, reduce electricity demand by two to seven per cent over the long haul (and rising utility costs combined with stagnant incomes should nudge us toward the upper end of the scale).

At the same time, consumer goods are becoming vastly more energy efficient and this along with tighter regulation and various consumer incentives/inducements has the potential to radically transform the landscape. When it comes time to replace your refrigerator, dishwasher or central A/C, there's an excellent chance that the one you buy will use half as much electricity as your old one. Replace your top load washer with a new high efficiency front loader and your laundry related requirements could be cut by two-thirds or more. Ditch your desktop PC for a new laptop or tablet...your CRT TV for an LED flat screen...incandescent lamps for CFLs...and you can pretty much carry this right across the board.

When you combine rising utility costs, rapid technological advancement and highly motivated consumers, it's a pretty volatile mixture.


What you say about appliances is true about most. Although things that rely on resistance heating (say a toaster) don't really have much scope for improvement. I woulda changed lighting to replacing CFLs with LEDs (at least eventually, as they are still improving).

I suspect we could see significant erosion on this end as well -- there are heat pump replacements for electric space heating, water heating and even clothes dryers that can cut these loads by more than half. We can also replace standard coil and halogen cook tops with induction units that, again, use half as much energy. Likewise, there are opportunities for homeowners to dramatically reduce demand by substituting other, less costly fuels such as solar, natural gas (where available), and wood/wood pellet.


Kinder Morgan names shippers on Trans Mountain oil project

Oil producers and marketers commit 500,000 barrels per day on proposed expansion

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners has named nine committed shippers in a federal toll application for its $4.2-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, including oil producers already signed on to the competing Northern Gateway project.

Kinder Morgan identified its commercial supporters as BP PLC, Canadian Oil Sands Ltd, Devon Energy Corp, Cenovus Energy Inc, Husky Energy Inc, Statoil, Imperial Oil Ltd., Nexen Inc, and Tesoro Corp.

The energy companies inked 20-year contracts to flow 508,000 barrels per day of oil on the proposed expansion twinning Kinder Morgan’s existing line from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby [Vancouver], British Columbia, Kinder Morgan said Friday.

If approved, the project will more than double capacity on the pipeline to 750,000 bpd of oil from 300,000 bpd, and dramatically increase the volume of crude moving offshore in tankers.

Approximately 80 per cent of the committed volumes cited in Kinder Morgan’s toll application with the National Energy Board will be delivered to the company’s Westridge marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C.

The volume was a telling statement of shippers’ drive to tap into Asian thirst for Canadian crude.

“The biggest priority for us is being able to access those new markets for our oil,” said Jessica Wilkinson, Cenovus Energy spokeswoman.

It certainly helps to have access to a coastal market. West Coast Alaskan crude is at $100 (after the Friday bounce):


And for some folks who don't appreciate that importance of those volume commitments: it’s nearly impossible for large capex projects (pipelines, LNG plants, refineries, etc) to get financing without a guaranteed volume throughput. It sounds as though now the only potential roadblock to shipping a lot of Canadian oil to Asia is getting regulatory approval. Given how much more money Canadian companies AND the govt will receive as a result I doubt this will be that difficult.

I don't really know how much President Obama's rejection of the Keytone P/L played in this deveopment...maybe none at all. But just in case: Thank you Mr. President from US oil producers! Any action hat inhibits Canadian oil imports and allows us to charge US consumers more for our production is greatly appreciated.

Rockman, I think that President Obama's delay of Keystone XL had a great deal to do with this TransMountain expansion. These companies are looking for some way to move their increasing oil production to market, and with Keystone stalled, they are looking at any and all alternatives.

Regulatory approvals are indeed now the main hurdle to jump, but:

Kinder Morgan faces opposition from the Vancouver city council, partly over the increased tanker traffic the expanded capacity would bring to the city’s harbour.

Roughly a quarter of current Trans Mountain capacity, 79,0000 bpd, is allocated to the Westridge terminal, and the spot consistently has more bidders than space. Traffic would increase to 20-25 vessels per month from four or five, a “small percentage” of port traffic which local pilots and administrators consider can be managed safely, Anderson said.

Paget noted municipalities will be able to intervene during public hearings held by federal regulators but did not have the power to scrap the project.

“There is no regulatory provision that gives them a veto,” Paget said. “The city does not have a veto on pipelines. That regulatory authority is the National Energy Board.”

So, people in Vancouver may be a little upset at one supertanker per day moving in and out of their port, but there is an awful lot of money to be made doing so, much of it in the form of royalties and taxes to governments. The Canadian government will make money, the Alberta and Saskatchewan governments will make money, and the Port Authority of Vancouver is kind of keen on its revenues, too.

Rocky - "I think that President Obama's delay of Keystone XL had a great deal to do with this TransMountain expansion." Maybe. I bet you and I have both negotiated a lot of deals. The thing about "playing chicken": it only works if the other guy believes you won't change your path. At least not till he does.

And I still think it is a 'delay' not a cancellation. They've already given approval for half of it to be built and just asked for a revised plan for the other half.

Spec – it’s good to remember that the oil that will be shipped through the KPL is already being shipped to someone. And I believe the largest receiver has been Cushing, OK. That’s where the bottleneck has been…not at the Canadian border. I assume part of the reason for the KPL is efficiency/lower transport costs. Now that the Cushing/Gulf Coast p/l has been reversed about 150,000 bopd are moving this way. And based on current expansion plans that will be increased to 800,000 bopd b 2014.

I have no doubt the KPL will be completed. And there was no practical reason for it to belayed in the first place once the new route had been approved by the states through which it will pass. There is and never was an environmental concern about the section of p/l the feds had authority over…that infinitely small fraction of an inch at the border. The rest of the p/l sections thru Canada and the US have long been approved by the respective regulatory bodies. Just my WAG but I doubt the president’s delay has any impact on the time line.

As far as future volumes through the KPL that would still be more a function of the OK/Texas leg of the system than the Canadian/OK leg. I think the critical aspect of Rocky’s article are the volume dedications to the west coast pipeline. It matters not when the KPL is completed and the capacity of the OK/Texas connection. Those companies are now contract committed to shipping that volume to the west coast. Who it’s sold to is an open ended question…at least until someone signs a long term purchase contract on any of that production. BTW: China has been signing many such deals around the globe for some years now. Also good to remember that the Chinese own interests in a number of tar and fields including a recent acquisition of 100% of one such field. Probably a safe bet that oil will be shipped to the west coast/China whether it’s part of the volume dedication or not.

Now what oil makes it way to Canada’s west coast that isn’t already under contract will be available to the highest bidder be that an Asian, Canadian or US refiner. Just another WAG but not too far into the future (remember those west coast p/l dedications are for the next 20 years) there will be a strong market demand for every bbl of tar sand oil thanks to PO regardless of the amount produced. Maybe the president’s delay of the KPL was a factor in the west coast p/l being built. But I would bet the west coast export capability would have been pursued regardless. Canadian producers and govt have lost many $billions by only having the US market to sell into. And more than just price completion IMHO. The US economy has already shown that high oil prices reduce our demand. OTOH China’s demand has continued to increase in the face of higher prices. Sometimes faster…sometimes slower…but always growing. If you had to bet the ranch on whether the US or Asia is a better long term market for your production which way would you go?

Actually, not a little of the oil will go to the US. If you look at the list of companies signed up, you will notice that one is Tesoro Corp, which owns a huge oil refinery at Anacortes, WA, and other is BP, which owns another huge refinery at nearby Cherry Point. They are connected by another pipeline to the TransMountain pipeline.

These refineries were originally intended to process oil from Alaska, but Alaskan production has been falling as fast as Canadian production has been rising, and is approaching minimum operating levels on the Trans-Alaska pipeline. Canadian oil is the cheapest alternative.

I sailed into Anacortes last month. The city-owned Port of Anacortes marina was across the bay from the Tesoro refinery. It was probably the nicest marina I have ever stayed at - all state-of-the-art facilities, and moorage for 950 boats. Do you suppose the size and quality of the accommodations had something to do with the tax revenues from the refinery across the way?

These refineries were originally intended to process oil from Alaska, but Alaskan production has been falling as fast as Canadian production has been rising, and is approaching minimum operating levels on the Trans-Alaska pipeline.

It is simply not true that TAPS is all that close to minimum operating levels. Even if there are no additional N Slope discoveries, oil will flow down TAPS for a good while longer.

The N Slope producers have been pushing that propaganda in an attempt to scare the state into lowering "ACES" (Sarah Palin's oil tax). BP, XOM, and COP have pushed the idea that minimum operating level is around 300,000 bbl/day. However, at the same time, BP has been booking reserves, telling the SEC that the pipeline can operate at levels as low as 70-100,000 bbl/day. This was revealed in court documents early this year. For details, see A TAPS bottom line

.....in 2010 BP retained Phil Carpenter, an expert in TAPS low-flow issues, to determine the feasibility of operating TAPS at throughputs below 135,000 barrels per day..... Carpenter concluded that that it would be possible to operate the pipeline with throughputs in the range of 70,000 to 100,000 barrels per day by installing heaters at intervals along the line. Carpenter’s report stated that wax deposition and issues with pig operations would probably put a lower threshold of 50,000 to 70,000 barrels per day on throughput supported by pipeline heaters.....And from the fall of 2010 BP started using the 70,000- to 100,000-barrel range as the low-flow limit when booking its North Slope oil reserves, the court decision document says.

To my knowledge, BP has not de-booked any N Slope reserves, which suggests that the company believes the true lower limit for TAPS is indeed in the 70-100,000 bbl/day range.

Well, it could be that with line heaters and frequent pigging of the line, TAPS could continue to operate at much lower levels. I don't know.

However, the flow rates mentioned (70-100,000 bbl/day) are less than the startup capacity of one average Canadian oil sands plant. They are going to be starting new ones up quite regularly in the next few years.

Canadian Natural Resources Limited - Horizon Oil Sands

Full production capacity for Phase 1 is targeted to deliver 110,000 bbl/d of fully upgraded, light, sweet, SCO. At full production, we target the operating cost for the life of the mine to be between $25 and $35 per barrel of SCO, a low-cost producer within the oil sands industry.

We will see incremental production gains throughout the completion of future expansion and debottlenecking, with targeted full facility capacity of approximately 250,000 bbl/d. Further phases of expansion will bring the ultimate capacity to 500,000 bbl/d.

500,000 bpd is slightly less than the current oil production of the State of Alaska. Unlike Alaska, an oil sands project can continue to produce those volumes for decades into the future. Alaska is on a terminal decline.

No one disputes that N Slope prduction is in decline, although that could certainly change with new discoveries, either onshore or in the Beaufort.

However I do get extremely tired of poorly informed suggestions that TAPS is going to shut down in the next few years.

More from A TAPS bottom line:

The decision document says that Platt’s forecasts of remaining recoverable reserves lead to a probable end of life around 2065 to 2068 for TAPS, assuming a 100,000-barrels-per-day minimum throughput. This estimate excludes possible production from the Point Thomson field, the field that is currently the subject of a dispute between the field owners and the State of Alaska.

By comparison, reports by BP to the Securities and Exchange Commission for the Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust, an investment fund for the Prudhoe Bay field, have indicated TAPS end-of-life expectancies ranging from 2049 to 2075, with that wide range of years apparently related to an equally wide range in future oil price expectations. The pipeline owners’ testimony to the court presented a range of years from 2032 to 2053, with significantly lower estimates of remaining oil reserves than those presented by Platt. The State of Alaska, with reserves estimates between those of the owners and those of the municipalities, estimated an end of life ranging from 2043 to 2053, if the pipeline is operates to its economic limit, the decision document says.

So, even taking the lowest estimate of 2032 and assuming no new discoveries, TAPS shutdown is still at least two decades away. At the upper end, using what BP reports to the SEC (and again assuming no new fields), TAPS may still be operating sixty years from now.

Operation until 2075, thats a tough nut to swallow. They better find some new fields fast.

At the current rate of decline it goes to zero about 2026.

Year 1 is 1977, 12 is 1988, 35 is 2011-last data point.

Minor capital upgrades are needed to operate at those reduced levels, the per bbl cost of the upgrades is trivial. All politics, all the time.


Is there not sufficient potential in the tar sands to justify two pipelines? Plus I am sure that the Chinese would prefer purchasing oil that didn't transit the United States. Do you think that played a role?

And isn't there a benefit to having both? The Canadian pipeline services the Pacific whereas the Keystone services the Atlantic.

The Keystone XL expansion would take oil to the Gulf of Mexico. There is another proposal to serve the Atlantic Coast.

TransCanada CEO says east coast oil line possible

Oilsands crude could replace imports

The chief executive of TransCanada Corp, which is planning to build the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, said on Wednesday that a new line to carry oilsands crude to Canada’s Atlantic coast could also serve markets in Europe and the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

TransCanada, the country’s largest pipeline operator, is mulling whether to build a line to move crude to refineries in Eastern Canada that currently rely on expensive imports. It is considering converting an underused natural gas line to oil service to take oil as far as Quebec and then build new pipe to the line’s terminus. It is a model the company used with the first phase of its Keystone pipeline.

TransCanada and rivals Enbridge Inc and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP are all proposing new pipelines to carry surging production from the oilsands and the Bakken oilfield to new markets.

Well . . . I'm pretty sure it is not too hard to navigate from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic. :-)

Well, at this point some companies are shipping oil out of Vancouver, BC through the Panama Canal, to Eastern Canada, and some are moving oil from Alberta and North Dakota to the East Coast by railroad. It would be cheaper to do it with a pipeline from West to East.

And while they are at it they could string electrical lines. No route at present east for Manitoba Hydro.

Views from the cheap seats guys. The T/M pipeline will get both approval and social license as far as the Kamloops/Merritt area and then the ka-ka hits the fan. Both First Nations and residents will vehemently oppose the pipeline expansion. This can make it a very frustrating and drawn out process.

Based on the risk/reward basis, BC takes on a significant share of the risk and gets very little reward. So there is little incentive to cooperate. The increase in tanker volume through Burrard Inlet is a complete misdirection. They should quote the number in terms of tonnage and then the difference will be glaring. To clear Lions Gate bridge the tankers have to move in at low tide and then they clear both the sea bottom and the bridge by about one metre. Not a lot of room for error there.

My office looks out on part of the harbour and I can tell you that moving large oil tankers is not going to fit in well with existing harbour usage. Handling cruise ships is difficult enough as it is and they don't pass through the existing freight shipping areas. The oil tankers will.

There is a little Detail Demon; a lack of electrical supply capacity for the pumping stations along the North Thompson Valley. This too is also my stomping ground (I'm looking at it right now from my living room window). There are ways to accommodate this electricity supply but it will not be cheap. I've been working on a few of the solutions. Same old problem, same solutions: Gas and transmission.

However, the oil/bitumen will flow one way or another to the west coast. There are alternatives that can prove to be competitive once all the actual comparative costs can be tallied.

It would be preferable to ship the oil out of either Kitimat or Prince Rupert. Neither is as constrained or as congested as Vancouver and both can handle much larger oil tankers. The reason the Vancouver line is moving forward faster is because the TransMountain line is already in place and Kinder-Morgan already has all the rights-of way-it needs. It just needs to drop another, larger pipe in the ROW alongside the existing one.

First nations and residents who object have the problem that the pipeline has been in place and in operation since 1953. It's a little late to object to it. In a word, it is "grandfathered", and since it crosses a provincial border, it is under 100% federal government jurisdiction.

Oil companies generally have little problem with electricity supply. If in doubt, they just generate it themselves using any of a wide variety of methods. In the last TransMountain expansion, the pipeline just set up some temporary diesel generators until they got permanent facilities built, and they can do it again.

(Iran called for OPEC) "to rein in output going over its agreed total quota because oil prices have dipped to a critical level under $100 a barrel".

It will be interesting to see if the combination of PO, ELM and the decreasing number of effective OPEC members may be pushing to real cartel control of oil supplies. I doubt any member of OPEC doesn’t accept PO even if they don’t admit it publicly. OTOH those same factors make the KSA more of a swing producer than ever before. Their path will be controlled by more than maximizing revenue IMHO. Not good to read too much into it but the KSA spending half of the $10 billion to modify a Texas refinery to handle up to a potential of 600,000 bbls of heavy KSA crude daily may be a hint. Even if OPEC (read: KSA) restricts production to raise oil prices it doesn’t necessarily mean the US won’t have access to the energy it needs…as long as we can pay the freight.

Iran calls for extraordinary OPEC meeting

Well this was completely foreseeable to anybody with any knowledge of the true state of the state of energy in the world today, which means essentially just about all who read this site daily. We all know that no OPEC country wants oil prices below $90 dollars, and for some that's $100(according to some estimates, Russia may need as much as $110).

This is in of itself an interesting development. Russia, after being passive on the issue for over a decade, is finally moving very strongly forward to disengage such a large section of it's economy(energy) and to diversify.

Since the advent of peak oil(which is really a long stretch with ups and downs as efficiency, innovation/technology and demand destruction each tug away at the constraints on supply until it cannot do so any more), more and more OPEC nations may be richer than ever, but they are also in a sense more vulnerable than ever. You cannot, by default, have a stable financial outlook if your budget depends on a stable triple-digit dollar oil price in a post-peak world.

On the whole, you'll be richer(at least until your net exports are shrinking too fast), but the volatility is great and unpredictable. And the consequence of that is that even the natural downs of a period following demand destruction will be manipulated by the OPEC countries to be as short as they possibly can make them in order to jack up the price right away as to avoid busting their budgets.

The net effect, then, is that the time that the world has to breathe via demand destruction is artificially shortened, which ensures that the debts keep increasing unabated and growth is constantly slowed since the world never really can breathe a sigh of relief because then the OPEC nations would go bankrupt. This is a deadly co-dependence relationship between the OPEC and non-OPEC nations.

Of course, America is actually well off because it now imports quite little from OPEC compared to even 10 years ago. But even so, America cannot escape the winds of the world, it cannot isolate itself. It saw evidence of that in WWII.

Well put. The co-dependence of nations in today's world economy may be greater than ever.

In regards to OPEC, per tanker tracker 'Oil Movements', the amount of OPEC exports right now is almost exactly the same as it was 17 months ago. With Iran's exports falling at least 300,000 bpd if not more since then, OPEC and especially Saudi Arabia have successfully offset Iran's export loss - so far. However with the start of a new regime of sanctions against Iran on July 1, the ability to make up for further Iranian oil losses will be tested.

Although KSA has strongly stated and even delivered on its pledge to offset Iranian oil losses, Iran may going forward actually see cutbacks by OPEC - well more specifically a drop equal to the coming drop in Iranian exports.

So I am not sure if what Iran is requesting really makes a lot of superficial sense, but maybe it is some type of public relations gimmick to make it look like OPEC is cooperating with Iran - when in fact it is not.

Well you know Charles, it may not actually be tested since demand destruction comes with a lag, and Europe will still contribute to falling demand as the year closes and so will China and India.

So as always people won't get to see the mythical 'spare capacity' because as of now, Saudi is producing around 10 mb/d. The suggested limit to Saudi production is around 10.5 to 11 mb/d according to al-Husseini(via Wikileaks from the former VP of engineering at Saudi Aramco - and if anyone knows then it is that guy).

Still, producing 11 mb/d in 2010 is different than doing the same at year 2020 for Saudi, and by that I mean the effect of internal consumption and the corrosiveness it induces on net exports.

We're already inside the peak zone. Now it's anybody's guess how long we can prolong this moment via demand destruction and unconventional. So far the pessimists have been proved wrong on the exact timing, but they haven't been proved wrong on the general trend.

Hmm, very condensed summary, for what I know of these matters (I'm no geologist, nor economist). I have to translate your post in french and spam it on several blogs in my tongue I regularly check, with your permission.

One of these blogs draws many readers/commentators, and there are more and more harsh debates about the intrication of the energy, finance and economy crisis. Some laugh out loud at peak-oilers ("picolistes" en français dans le texte, which is a pun whith "pic" as peak and "picoler", a slang french word meaning to drink like a drunk), and since they know well about macro-economics , this may help them acknowledge some reality.

So basically Iran is asking KSA to cut output. Iran and KSA are not exactly friends these days so I would think KSA would be more likely to do the opposite of anything Iran asks.

MGM shares jump after Shell joins in N.W.T. shale oil play

Shares in Calgary junior MGM Energy Corp. leaped by as much as 45 per cent on Thursday morning after it announced it had signed Shell Canada to help explore a promising oil play in the Northwest Territories.

The company's stock rose seven cents to 22.5 cents in early trading in Toronto but closed the day at 20 cents, up 29 per cent from Wednesday's close.

MGM said the Canadian division of Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to fund the drilling and completion of up to two wells in its Central Mackenzie Valley Canol shale oil acreage to earn a 75 per cent interest in its exploration licence.

The play has attracted big explorers including Husky Energy Inc., which drilled the first two wells last year, ConocoPhillips, Shell and Imperial Oil.

"There is no production from any of the shales now," said Henry Sykes, president of MGM Energy.

"The play is new in the sense that it has become interesting and land has been taken up over the past year. Wells drilled in the Central Mackenzie Valley since the '30s have drilled through this shale reservoir but nobody ever stopped there because there was no way to produce oil from shale."

He said initial wells will likely cost more than $10 million per well as completion crews investigate which technologies work best.

To put it in perspective, this is something like the Bakken shale formation of North Dakota, but much further north.

Adding insult to injury, from above: Millions without power as storms pound U.S. following record-setting heat

In all, nearly 4 million homes were left without power; 1 million in Virginia alone.

The aftermath of the storm was compounded Saturday by a forecast of another sweltering summer day.

Temperatures tipped the 100-degree mark Friday in St. Louis, Richmond, Nashville, Washington and Atlanta, the National Weather Service said.

...and from the BBC: Washington DC region swelters after storm cuts power

Up to two million people are without power after violent storms hit the region around the US capital, Washington DC.

The storms swept across West Virginia, Virginia, Washington and Maryland, with wind speeds of up to 75mph (120 km/h).

The power outages left many without air conditioning after a day of record-breaking 104F (40C) heat.

Authorities were reportedly investigating two deaths linked to the storm.

The storm is locally referred to as a "derecho" - a violent, straight-lined windstorm associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms.

Trying to restore power to millions in this heat won't be fun for linemen. Earning their overtime this weekend, they are. Atlanta is expecting 106 degrees for the first pitch at the Braves game, but Southern Company said they aren't expecting electrical usage to set a record. Not sure if that's for the date or all-time. I bet they come close.

It's not climate change, just weather, right?

That storm cut a path of destruction from Indiana to New Jersey. I would not be surprised to learn that the total number who lost power would be above 4 million. The WaPo report says 1.3 million in Virginia/Maryland/DC area. One comment is that the damage to the electrical system is twice as bad as that from hurricane Isabel.

And, the temperatures on Friday set several all time records as well. Just another typical summer day. All true red blooded 'Merikans know it just natural variation...:-)

E. Swanson

Maybe, just the new normal.

We are in the DC area, and there are outages all over the place. This morning many traffic signals were dark - they were jerry-rigging emergency generators to some of the larger intersections to get the traffic moving better. They are saying that it could be days before power is fully restored, and then there is the potential for more storms this evening.

Some people are getting hotel rooms so they don't have to endure the heat, but not all of the hotels have power so supply is pretty limited. We pulled all of the shades first thing this morning, and it is still pretty cool in the house..

Edit: I should add that phone service is pretty spotty too - even cell phone coverage.

....emergency generators to get the traffic moving better....

just what is needed.

We're in southern maryland and the derecho hit us at 1130pm last night. I've never experienced anything that intense in my life. The damage is far worse than hurricane irene or isabel was. For 30 mintes or so the winds just seemed to roar between 70-80mph and the lightning was non-stop. I have huge tulip tree branches all over the yard.

The weird thing is that doug hill wasn't all that concerned during abc7 6pm news. I was watching with my wife and saw the radar image from WV and was like holy s*&t look at the derecho and that bow echo. Not being a weather nerd she didn't even know what a derecho was...now she'll never forget.

The saving grace is that somehow we still have power unlike irene where we were out for 5 days.

Yep, yesterday we blew away the old all time june high temperature record...last night we had one of the strongest tstorm complexes in a generation or more...and today we're back above 100 degrees. But don't worry, climate change is a hoax made up by hippie tree huggers.

It ripped the roof off the turbine area of the coal-fired power plant in WV, delaying start-up. Poetic justice?

Nature's feed-back loop.

In this video the anchor asks "what does this bode for July and August, or do these kinds of things just happen in vacuums ?". I infer she is really asking if it is part of a pattern. Heaven forbid the words "climate change" should cross anyone's lips.

The "weather man" responds - "they happen in vacuums - they come and they go". Huh ? That doesn't even make meteorological sense - all weather can be attributed to geographical and atmospheric conditions.

If not, we would see hailstorms in the middle of the desert in summer, materializing fully formed from the singularity.

Millions lose power in storms as triple-digit temps continue

Air-conditioning out to 1.5 million D.C. homes, businesses; 15 deaths tied to storms, heat

Storms leave 3.4 million without power in eastern U.S.

Yahoo news reports this:

In suburban Washington, residents were told to call non-emergency phone numbers or go to fire and police stations if they needed help because even 911 emergency call centers were without electricity.

"If not, we would see hailstorms in the middle of the desert in summer, materializing fully formed from the singularity."

Not a good choice for an example, as I've seen that happen. The one-cloud-wonder. Blue sky all the way around it, and rain, hail, and wind under the cloud.

They actually manage to kill people too, by flash flooding that extends miles away from the storm which is often unnoticed by the poor shmoe in the arroyo.

You're right - poor choice. They do happen. I couldn't think of a more unusual occurrence at the time of posting. Unless the snowstorm in Johannesburg in September (spring time) was a better example.

There are freak occurrences. The heatwave we are experiencing is not one of them. It was predicted by the climate models.

The vacuum is between their ears.

It was over 108 this afternoon in Powell, TN, where I live. By 5:30 EDT, the temp had dropped to 103.7.

Nashville's high yesterday was 109F. Slightly more than "tipping over" 100.

I have lived in East Tennessee or Middle Tennessee most of the years since 1942. The 16 that I spent in Del/SE Pa. my close relatives were here. I do not remember such high temps, EVER. And NO 100-degree weather that wasn't a result of temperature "inversions" that were also accompanied by accumulating haze and humidity. This really IS different. It is WEIRD! It was 106 in MIddlesboro, KY yesterday afternoon. I say again, I am feeling the grasp of the Undertoad.


Wow, Lizzie, 108, and it ain't a dry heat neither :-0

My weather station shows we reached 103, about 6 degrees above the forecast, a record since I've been logging (13 years) here at 2500 feet. Its not an expensive fan aspirated unit so it may be reading a little high, but it's usually accurate.

We bailed out and took the dogs down to the lake. The water felt like a warm bath near shore, but the poodles loved it (they're so funny when my head disappears under water). Maybe we'll go up to the river tomorrow where the water is cooler. My friend said the trout are all moving upstream to avoid the heat; maybe I'll wet a line. It'll suck when the streams and rivers get too warm for the trout to survive. So many repercussions...

Our spring temps are still holding in the mid 50s. When they start to warm up much, I'll know we're screwed. It'll change the whole ecosystem.

Yesterday, i listened to a 2011 talk by James Hansen of NASA on YouTube. His take on the data is not that events like those mentioned here today (heat waves, storms) have not happened before, but that what used to be rare events become more probable, raising the average temperature. The last 30 years have seen many more formerly rare events than the previous 30 years.

What distinguishes these changes from natural climate changes is the additional forcings provided by human generated CO2 which have induced rapid change, much faster than would be seen with natural climate variations. Dry areas may become much drier with additional heat, wet areas much wetter, changing faster than flora and fauna can adapt. Some accelerated change is inevitable because of inertia in the climate system. Doing nothing about CO2 and just adapting to change is folly, because if our contribution is unaltered, the rate of change will accelerate much faster than we can adapt so that migration is the only survival mechanism available.

Genetic variation has been important to human adaptation as discussed by others here, noting the change in skin color and fat levels depending on climate. Those changes take generations to come about. If the rate of climate change is accelerated, only insects, bacteria and other small fauna will be able to adapt fast enough because of the number of generations which occur in a small amount of time. Our wonderful brains may not be enough to overcome the rapidity of climate variations.

With regard to weather forecasters mentioning climate change, it depends on where you live. In Minnesota, the meteorologists on public radio speak freely about climate change. In red states, stations may select for meteorologists who won't disturb the populous (and the sponsors of programming) and make them think.

Sasol, the South African company specializing in coal-to-liquids and gas-to-liquids is continuing with its GTL plant in Northeast BC after its Canadian partner Talisman (which contributed the gas fields to the project) dropped out.

Sasol forges ahead on estimated $8B project after Talisman bows out

Talisman withdrawal ‘disappointing,’ South African company says

The head of Sasol Canada says his company will continue to investigate building a gas-to-liquids fuel plant in Western Canada — estimated to cost more than $8 billion — despite the exit of partner Talisman Energy Inc.

“It’s disappointing, but on its own it doesn’t mean we won’t go ahead,” country president Nereus Joubert told the Herald on Thursday.

“We still need to make that decision on this and we’re committed to make a proper decision (on a front-end engineering design or FEED study) before the end of the year.”

On Thursday, Calgary-based Talisman said after participating in the initial GTL feasibility study, it had decided not to go along on the next step.

This still leaves Sasol with 50% of the gas, which will come from shale gas formations in Northeast BC. Talisman dropped out because it is going to contribute its 50% of the gas to a new LNG project to ship natural gas to Asia via an LNG terminal at Prince Rupert, BC. It thinks LNG will be more profitable than GTL. It certainly has a better EROEI (that of GTL is about 0.6 to 1, i.e. 40% of the energy in the gas is lost).

That's an interesting bet. I just wonder if the best use of this gas might be the tar sands and the US market and let Alaska supply the LNG market.

The oil sands plants nearby in northern Alberta are a potential market, but they can't use the full volume of gas from NE BC - they are already well supplied by closer Alberta gas fields. The US market is saturated with shale gas and prices are severely depressed, so it wouldn't make any money to ship BC gas there.

In order for Alaska gas to get to market, they have to build a pipeline across Alaska, and that is stalled because it is too expensive. It is far cheaper to pipeline BC gas across northern BC than to build a pipeline to move Alaska gas across Alaska.

I was thinking more in terms of 10 years from now when, presumably, the gas glut in the US will be greatly reduced and the tar sands will have ramped up a bit.

What I find interesting about the LNG and GTL proposals is that one is relying on current gas prices holding while the other is probably banking on oil increasing. Maybe ten years from now both bets pan out. In the mean time, natural gas selling for just a little under oil in Asia and way over coal doesn't seem too sustainable.

Moldy matters: How wasted food is destroying the environment

- how about all the matter that ends up in landfills, rather than being composted and put back in the soil? so our topsoil is slowly disappearing with every banana peel you throw in the trash

Food scraps are actually being added to many recycle programs these days. You throw them in with your lawn clippings. They compost it all and you can often get free compost back from the recycler.

Where? Our county recently privatized the 'biomass' recycling thing. Folks would dump their grass clippings, tree branches, leaves, etc. and it would be ground up into a huge compost pile for anyone to get mulch and compost from. It's now under contract to a company that hauls it off (who knows where?), bags it and resells it. This was likely dreamed up by the same guy who stopped us from recycling/retasking old water heaters and other good stuff.

Sorry to hear they destroyed your program. :-(

My local garbage/recycle place gave everyone little pails for their kitchen:

Portland Oregon now picks up food scraps and has gone to picking up garbage only every two-weeks. That would be fine for me.

We have friends who lived in Germany while in the Air Force who told us at least 5-6 years ago that their garbage was picked up every other week.

From the article at the second link:

Not everyone supports the mandates.

Chris Baldwin, a Dick’s regular, said he had “issues with being told I have to recycle.” Turning to three colleagues who had joined him for a late lunch spread across the bed of a pickup truck, he said, “We wait until Seattle police go by, and we throw it all in the garbage.”

Here's hoping for more people to amend their lazy ways and check their hurt feelings at the door and do the responsible thing.

We have it in Seattle. They compost all the food and yard waste, much at the Cedar Grove location in West Seattle. They don't give it away, but you can buy it by the bag. In my house we switched to the smallest trash container and have the giant recycle bin and yard waste bin, so by sorting our garbage pick up costs have gone way down. For a metro area it's a very effective system.

Portland and San Francisco do it also.

What can you do about it? We have had trash fraction sorting in Sweden for decades. Every time I throw organics in the organic bin, I see 100% plastic bags. This can not be converted to soil. The operator know this, and just let the trash rot for the methane (wich is then sent to the CHP and returned home to me as hot tap water). What they do with the remains I don't know.

The only way to get people to sort properly is to have the bins manned 24/7 with armed guards, autorized to shot those who sort wrongly on site.

Our council has taken the labels off all the triple rubbish bins they installed. We are REQUIRED to sort rubbish into 3 bags by 3 separate bins, under state law NAE-SEMADES-007/2008, which are then put onto the street corner to be thrown into the same truck and compressed into the same block. Crazy.




Up in the mountains, the girls above me had been separating and carefully washing all the glass jars and bottles for recycling. Then a fire came through. Turns out the trash-men had been throwing it all into the shrubs for years.

And they expected no one to find out? Meh...

We send our organics either into a compost bin for usable soil, and the better board-cuttings over to the neighbors chickens, where they come back packaged in uniform little shells, and we fry them up for breakfast!

Our single stream recycling takes many/most plastics now..

"Portland's convenient curbside program now allows you to recycle a majority of your weekly trash including newspapers, magazines, bulk mail, letters, food boxes, cardboard, glass, aluminum, and a majority of your household plastics (all plastics #1 through #7). The City's recycling is collected by City of Portland employees and is brought to ecomaine where it is sorted and sold to companies who use recycled material in the manufacturing of their products."

..but I just learned that PE ziplocks and some styrene plastics don't apply.. so I have to come up with a chart to nail down the different formulae, and relearn my Polymers.

The Grain Report

It's clear that our government is slowing exports near-term until the crop yields are some what determined at the end of July as the current drought shows no sign of stopping.

It's not all gloom and doom. After a dry May, rainfall in June is above average.

Outlook good for Washington wheat crop

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Some people were complaining about a series of snow and rain storms in March but not Washington wheat growers.
Washington Grain Alliance Executive Tom Mick told The Spokesman-Review the wet early spring weather was optimal for the winter wheat crop.

When it's harvested this summer the crop should reach the five-year average of 145 million bushels. Farmers are hoping prices hold and they'll sell the 2012 crop for more than $6 a bushel.

The Washington crop was worth about $925 million last year. There are 3,800 wheat growers in the state.


Back in 2006 Euan Mearns had this for UK production:

year bpd (1000s)
2006 1671
2007 1672
2008 1644
2009 1528
2010 1342
2011 1148
2012 1003

His model was termed "Mearns2."

Note that on this compilation of production models, Mearns2 provides the lowest production outcome for 2011 / 12. Is this pessimism or is this realism?

And the answer is...

UK oil output falls 16% on year to 1.01 million b/d in April: DECC - Oil | Platts News Article & Story

The DECC preliminary data for April showed a continuation of the established downward trend in UK oil output, which has been falling from a peak of close to 2.82 million b/d in 1999.

Last year output fell 17% to an average of 1.07 million b/d.

So Euan's numbers were actually a titch high.

Congrats on the good call!

The UK has been increasing their excess productive capacity.

Nice. ;) Are you taking Bureaucrat 101 or something?

To quote Will Rogers, "I only know what I read in the newspapers," and lately I have read that we no longer need to be concerned about depletion.

Interesting Will Rogers quote I found, regarding three types of men (I would say three types of persons, but some would argue that this better applies to men):

The ones that learn by reading.

The few who learn by observation.

The rest of them have to touch an electric fence*.

*Alternate version: The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.

Oh really now, everyone knows it's peak demand! Can't you see how "virtual" the economy is now? Just ask all those blokes on the dole...


How to turn £50,000 into £1,000,000,000 ...

Guess who came to dinner: bankers, traders and an oil baron

Prime Minister's private guests all had one thing in common: wealth

... And if it had not been for the recent indiscreet boastings of the Tories' former treasurer, Peter Cruddas, the private dinner – along with three other similar gatherings at No 10 Downing St. and five lunches at Chequers – would never have come to light.

Now Mr Cameron faces awkward questions about the extent to which money can provide access to the Government and how much he is influenced by those who hold the purse strings of his party. Perhaps the most curious invitee at the Downing Street dinner was Ian Taylor, who gave the Tories £50,000 in 2009.

Mr Taylor is head of Vitol, the world's biggest oil dealer, who in the months leading up to the November dinner had played a vital role in helping Libyan rebels by supplying them with gasoline for their vehicles and selling Libyan crude oil for them on the international market. The arrangement – worth over £500m – had already caused controversy after it emerged that the deal had been brokered with the help of Alan Duncan, the International Development minister, who had received political donations from Mr Taylor.

Risky oil supply deal pays off for Vitol

Over the following five months what started as a one-off deal to swap crude for gasoline and diesel rapidly evolved into a $1bn business that fuelled the ragtag Benghazi-based rebel army’s progress towards Tripoli, the capital.

Libya Assets Unfrozen to Pay Vitol $300 Million Rebel Fuel Bill, U.S. Says

Vitol, Glencore win Libyan oil products tender

Trading giants Vitol and Glencore have won tenders to supply oil products to Libya's [post-Kaddafi] government until the end of the year... [Whad'Ya Know? ... Who Would'a Guessed?]

Traders with rival firms said Vitol and Glencore might have been prepared to accept low returns on the products deal in order to win lucrative contracts to export Libyan oil in 2012, which are due to be awarded within weeks.

... some would call this bribery.

Now Mr Cameron faces awkward questions about the extent to which money can provide access to the Government

This is news? Money and connections have been greasing the government since its inception. It's a bit late to notice now.

'Stunted' pot plants cannot reach full potential

Plants grown in pots never reach their full potential, images of their roots show.

In their experiments on 80 different species, the team found that doubling a pot's size caused a plant to grow almost half as big again.

"For every plant species we looked at, pot size was the factor limiting its growth."

Research in this subject has, in the past, focused on pot size from the perspective of how small a container plants can be grown in, as the aim is to grow as many plants as possible per square metre in a commercial setting.

also Want bigger plants? Get to the root of the matter

Plants grown in pots never reach their full potential, images of their roots show.

So eliminate the pots...

Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate media.


Neat stuff, but not cheap, especially the nutrient solutions and testing equipment. I'm still interested in aquaponics, but startup costs are high.

For no other reason than 'It's interesting'.

Red Crucifix sighting in 774 may have been supernova

A supernova may have actually been the mysterious "Red Crucifix" in the sky that is cited in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle for the year 774.

The student making the discovery, Jonathon Allen, a biochemistry major at the University of California, Santa Cruz, simply went to the Internet looking for answers after listening to a Nature podcast about a team of researchers in Japan who found an odd spike in carbon-14 levels in tree rings. Earth is believed to have been hit by a mystery blast of cosmic rays, and a relic of the powerful event was found in the Japanese cedar trees. An analysis of two such ancient trees found a surge in carbon-14, a carbon isotope that derives from cosmic radiation.

Still curious, Allen said, “I just did a quick Google search," although knowing any investigation would be limited to religious texts and chronicles. A look at eighth century entries led him to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, accessed on an online library site hosted by Yale.

Scrolling down to the year 774, Allen found a reference to a "red crucifix" that appeared in the heavens after sunset.

A.D. 774. This year the Northumbrians banished their king, Alred, from York at Easter-tide; and chose Ethelred, the son of Mull, for their lord, who reigned four winters. This year also appeared in the heavens a red crucifix, after sunset; the Mercians and the men of Kent fought at Otford; and wonderful serpents were seen in the land of the South-Saxons.

... the wording suggests the object was in the western skies shortly after sunset, which would mean that it would have moved behind the Sun where it could not be seen as Earth orbited the Sun. Add to that the dimness of the new star from dust, and, said Gyuk, it would go a long way to explain why no one else would have seen or recorded the event.

Gold Stock Investors Need to Understand Basic Geology

TGR[The Gold Report]: You are basically banking on the idea that demand for precious metals will continue to increase. Why are you so convinced that gold will increase in value?

CW[Chris Wilson, president of Exploration Alliance, a niche consulting group]: Gold is a finite resource. You've got to find 80 Moz a year to be ahead of current annual production. So, from a supply and demand perspective, each year we're spending more in exploration yet finding less. All things considered, that means that good discoveries will be increasingly valuable.

In addition, politics today works in gold's favor. Recent elections prove that people do not want to vote for austerity. People vote for an easier life. In some respects, this forces governments, if they want to be reelected, to print money to keep things humming along pretty much as they have been. That is going to lead to inflation and to paper money being devalued.

Oh, sure, you could argue he has something to sell, but all in all I thought this was one of the more concise and cogent descriptions of our situation that I've seen. And not just applicable to gold, replace with "oil" and you've got the dreaded reserve replacement problem in a nutshell.


Jerry – Some time ago I saw a report about the largest gold deposit on the planet. Hadn’t thought about it before but it’s analogous to the tar sands and shale plays. It’s out west, Nevada I think. And even though it’s exposed at the surface and thousands of folks have traveled across the area it wasn’t discovered until fairly recent. It spans hundreds of sq miles. Not only is the gold not visible to the naked eye it takes an SEM to see it. It’s distributed on a nearly atom level. There are literally billions of tons of “ore” in place. They didn’t describe the exaction process nor the cost but obvious its neither easy nor cheap.

But at some support price it’s economic to recover. Given the recent increase in gold prices there may be $billions if not $trillions of recoverable gold. But similar to those hydrocarbon reserves it would take many decades if not more than a 100 years to recover the majority. And likewise if the price for the commodity drops low enough the book value could drop to $zero. Whatever technology they use to recover that gold I suspect it isn’t new. There may have been a time when the gold deposit was known but prices didn’t support the production. Just like the tar sand and shales we knew about them for many decades. It just took a high enough price to make them work.

It's More than a Pipeline

So states Enbridge's expensive ad blitz. Here's what they don't say.

Robyn Allan - The Tyee

Few jobs for a short time

Enbridge's job claims are suspect. In their ads the company says Northern Gateway creates "3,000 construction jobs at the peak of construction." But in their report, the peak of construction is a three month period in the third year of a five year project and they aren't jobs -- they are person years of employment. A more accurate claim, using Enbridge's published data, would be 1,000 construction jobs.

Even then, Enbridge has indicated PetroChina -- probably using the Temporary Foreign Workers Program which allows imported workers to be paid 15 per cent less than Canadians -- would "love" to build the pipeline.

3000 temporary jobs is 3000 more jobs than they have now in Northern BC, which is somewhat depressed due to a downturn in the forestry industry - which is mostly due to a downturn in the US housing market.

The scary thing about the PetroChina bid to construct the pipeline is that they would probably import the managers and engineers from China, and have Canadians and Americans do the grunt work like digging and welding.

I just thought I'd toss that out there in case some people haven't been keeping up with how the world is changing.

Of course that is after the design work is first outsourced to India.

The “Stone of Hope” statue of Dr. King was sculpted in China by a Chinese sculptor out of Chinese granite and shipped to the United States where it was assembled by Chinese workers.

The Chinese workers were paid nothing - - which would seem to me to violate not only Dr. King’s principles but also U.S. anti-slavery laws.

A monumental insult to Dr. King


It would be more upsetting if it were not for:
As Chinese workers build the Martin Luther King memorial, a union investigates

The man said the workers get free room and board, and lunch delivered at the job site. Their work breaks last only as long as it takes them to eat. When they had been in the United States for one month, they were treated to dinner at a restaurant. Like any good tourists, they planned to go to New York City over Thanksgiving and maybe Niagara Falls .

What difference that information will make for American stonemasons, Jacobberger is not sure. He was disturbed that the workers didn't know what they would be paid.

But he couldn't take issue with the apartment building, which has a 24-hour concierge, Olympic-size pool and fitness center. "At least we know their living conditions are good ," he said.

Now, the union would like their workers to get $32/hr plus $12/hr in benefits, but workers in China only get paid a fraction of that. They also don't get to do much international traveling, so the opportunity to spend a month in the US, all expenses paid, plus 24-hour concierge, Olympic-size pool and fitness center, kind of appealed to them. They didn't particularly know or care how much they were going to be paid. Work all day and party all night, woo-hoo!

In the Canadian Alpine Club we do this kind of thing all the time. We took over a bunch of remote huts from various parks departments - we can manage them much cheaper because we can get people to work for free rather than union wages.

We just get a bunch of dirt-bag climbers who are also skilled tradesmen, helicopter them into a remote hut for a week, give them accommodation, feed them, work them, and then helicopter them out. They have to bring their own booze, although the Club does provide some wine and beer. In return they do all the maintenance on the hut.

Their alternative is to rent the hut themselves, supply their own food, and pay their own helicopter fares, which they can't really afford. This way, they work 40 hours a week in a spectacular Alpine setting, climb mountains for another 40 hours, and party the rest of their waking hours. At the end of it they're exhausted, and have had a great time they can tell all their buddies back at work about.

Hey RMG.

I have no argument with your argument. However I don't understand why; we have so much dead pine we don't know what to do with it, Japan is slowly shipping a zillion tons of wood this way; and I suspect they would like to replace all that wood so they have somewhere to live. Big supply, big demand; and no work for the woodworkers. Baffling.


The housing demand is down due to the economic decline in the US and Europe, hence the demand for wood is down. There is too much standing dead pine to cut, and not enough demand. The price falls and nobody makes money.

By the time the demand comes back, the dead pines will all have rotted and have no value.

I don't know why, but it apears timber is selling high in Sweden now. They are cutting down like madly everywhere.

Enbridge Safety Standards Not Yet 'World Class': Employee

Understaffing and hostile work culture contributed to US spill, operator testimony shows.

The transcripts reveal that Enbridge was so understaffed in 2010 that operators who called in sick were routinely contacted "and asked to come in to work even though they were sick because there were no other people available to cover for them." Many were not properly trained or supervised either.

Disease rates in oil and gas region show need for monitoring

Compared to Vancouver and the northwest of the province, the northeast has higher rates of asthma, lung cancer and respiratory disease, the report published by NRC Research Press said. While there might be other explanations, such as higher rates of cigarette smoking, the diseases are consistent with what you'd expect from exposure to contaminants from the oil and gas industry, it said.

Having been in Northeastern BC, I would put my money on excessive smoking versus oil and gas as the cause of higher lung cancer and respiratory disease. Smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

When I worked in gas plants, we had to ban smoking in the lunch rooms. It turned out that the lunch room had the worst air quality in the plant, and failed to meet air-quality standards due to large numbers of highly toxic chemicals in the air. The rest of the plant was within acceptable parameters - of course they couldn't smoke there for fear of blowing the plant up.

Also, we had to stagger the crew shift changes because, if the workers went out to start up their trucks all at once, it triggered the air-pollution alarms at the plant, and we had to report it to the government environment department.

One company I know had a large number of people in its head office complaining about headaches and allergic reactions. So, it took the air quality monitors from its gas plants, and tested the air in head office. Then they and their lawyers and engineers went and visited the landlord and explained how the landlord was going to fix the building air system to avoid being sued by the company and its employees.

For some reason, people assume that oil and gas companies are not monitoring the air quality around their operations. Of course they are - they are subject to much stricter government air-quality standards than, for instance, your typical neighborhood greasy spoon restaurant and bar, and they have much better testing equipment.

"For some reason, people assume that oil and gas companies are not monitoring the air quality around their operations."

One reason for that apparent assumption should be blindingly obvious: tall poppy syndrome. Typically the owner of the neighborhood greasy spoon and bar won't be burdened much by tall poppy syndrome, but the evil, wicked oil company management, who organize the fuel supply without which the drinkers would never even get to the bar, will receive it full-on.

There is also the familiarity breeds complacency syndrome. People assume that the air in the neighborhood greasy spoon and bar is breathable, when it may be full of all kinds of toxic chemicals such as carbon monoxide from people smoking, plus a little asbestos dust from the insulation. Nobody has ever tested the air or the ventilation system.

However, when they see a 100 foot-high red-and-white stack at a gas plant, they assume that what comes out it must be toxic, even though they have haven't tested it, either. The company that owns it has tested it and knows what is coming out of it, and the government environment department knows, too, because it gets all the data from the stack pollution monitoring system on its monthly report.

.. hmm.. Lest we forget the shiploads of Corexit globbing along the floor of the GOM, or the Mercury that continues to rain down on the Rivers and Lakes of the Northeast. I don't think those massive loads of poison are really the doing of a bunch of Ne'er-do-Well Dinky Roadside Diners and Bars.

But it's good to see that even the big companies have some sympathetic ears out there, and shoulders available to cry upon, when everyone else is being so mean to them.

The EPA thought Corexit was okay, but what do they know? However, dispersants used on oil leaks in the Gulf of Mexico have little or nothing to do with gas fields in Northeast BC.

There is mercury in some of the rivers in Northern Canada, but it was there before the white man came. There are natural deposits of mercury in the river beds. Also arsenic, uranium, a lot of gold, and a few diamonds.

The main problem with the gas fields is the hydrogen sulfide in the natural gas. Gas plants in BC are typically required to recover 90 to 99.5% of the sulfur, depending on the amount, which is why you will see it stacked in big yellow piles next to the gas plants before they ship it off to Asia to make fertilizer. The residual emissions of sulfur dioxide are far, far less than the industries of the Northeastern US emit.

Wow, the lengths you'll go to in rationalizing corporate pollution.

The EPA also said the air around Ground Zero was safe.. credulity has no bounds, it seems.

'Natural Mercury levels' - this is beyond the pale.. not worth arguing with.

The EPA said Corexit was okay; Environment Canada said it was safer than dishwashing detergent. You can argue with those guys, but I never saw the point in doing so.

Natural mercury levels, or arsenic, uranium, etc. are something you have to deal with if you start analyzing river water, which I assume you have never done. It's a reality - some rivers are naturally contaminated with hazardous materials. Sometimes Mother Nature isn't as clean and safe as you would like to believe.

Forgive them (all) for they know care not what they do..... Sure.

At midnight, the carbon tax on gasoline in British Columbia will increase from 5.56 cents/liter to 6.67 cents/liter. In Metro Vancouver we will now have the following taxes on gasoline:
Federal excise tax = 10 cents/litre
Provincial excise tax = 8.5 cents/litre
Regional excise (transit) tax = 17 cents/litre
Carbon tax = 6.67 cents/liter
Federal sales tax = 5% on everything including listed taxes (I think)

The total tax works out to around 50 cents/liter = US$1.86/gallon. This is the highest of any jurisdiction in North America. Yes motorists are complaining and a lot of them are crossing the border into Washington state to fill up. But a lot of people are also driving less, and biking, walking, and using transit more.

Yes, the transit system in Vancouver seems to be working really well.

I managed to get from Sidney, on Vancouver Island, to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal south of Vancouver, to the Airport Sky Train Station, to Downtown Vancouver, to the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal north of Vancouver, to Snug Cove on Bowen Island in not much more than 3 hours for a cost of somewhat less than $30, including the two ferry rides, two express buses, and the SkyTrain.

This was compared to about $500 for chartering a seaplane to go direct.

The alternative to buying the $5.00 TransLink pass to get me from the Tsawwassen Terminal to the Horseshoe Terminal was to take a taxi, which my navigation app estimated would cost $169.00.

All in all, I thought it was very cost-effective and reasonably quick.

As for driving, my wife took our camper van from Vancouver Island to meet me on Bowen Island, and it broke down in Victoria (twice), took three weeks to repair, and cost $1700, not including about $600 in hotel bills and the flight back from Calgary to pick it up. It's a good thing we have friends and relatives in Victoria and Calgary to mooch on or it would have been really expensive. She's considering selling it.

I do have a vehicle but I'm getting more and more hooked on the transit system. For example, I now take the bus to work, which costs me $110 for a monthly 2-zone pass. On the other hand, parking at work (downtown) would cost around $300/month plus the added fuel cost, wear and tear, and insurance. Driving would save me about 25 minutes of commuting time per day but I'm OK with that.

The Metro Vancouver transit system is improving, haltingly at times and occasionally in spurts. A fairly new phenomemon is the increasing number of young professionals who do not own a vehicle. This is especially true in the core region (City of Vancouver), which has the region`s best developed transit and cycling infrastructure. Traffic into the downtown peninsula has dropped by 30% over the last decade or so. Not sure if that has happened anywhere else in North America.

And hee hee, we'll be seeing even more Canadians filling up here across the border in Bellingham, eh? And you wonder why a supermarket is flying the American flag out front? So they can fly the Canadian flag, duh.

Here I am preparing to cut weeds with my Marugg before evac'ing from Waldo Canyon Fire. Discovered it also cuts pine saplings without hesitation.

Go, Ron! That scythe looks good on you!

Back when I had three acres of high prairie to attend to, I had something called a hake. It was a stick with a blade on the end, swing it like a golf club. I think a scythe is designed for cutting higher up?

I have one of those, I never knew what it was called until your post! It's from the 1900s and the blade is all rusty but it works like a champ. I often use it to mow down tall grasses and small saplings up to about 0.25" dia. It isn't very useful for precise jobs for obvious reasons, and I bet I look pretty funny to any onlookers as I move around swinging at golf balls that aren't there. They actually sell new ones at my local hardware store.

We always called them grass whips. I use mine all the time.

Could use one of those on the back 40 of the community garden. An acre of perpetually wet 5ft. tall grass - it's already taken out two of my gas powered weedwackers :-(

Seriously, are these difficult to use?

Scything works fine for dense, upright vegetation with a medium or high moisture content. Ripe grains, tall grass species with less than a month after last rainfall are easy. If the stalks are gapped than one finger wide and dry, the the blade won't move fast enough to cut them. If the ground is uneven and rocky, the blade chips, which is a shame as they cost $50 and upwards. Scythes can handle a decent size bramble, but it takes too much effort and your energy is better spent using a hook.

Both have their place, and I wouldn't be without my Stihl or my Hahnsense.

Problem is, very few people KNOW that the scythe really is a better tool for some (I will say many) of these jobs, and they will simply put more and more highly powered tools into the challenge.

I've got a ditch scythe, and it works quietly and lightly on a good range of cutting needs, and on some very uneven and stony ground. You just have to be awake and careful. It needs no constant external inputs, just a stone and a cup of water, and a person willing to develop some skill.

"The motto of the industrial revolution was If brute force doesn't work, you need to use more of it." - paraphrased from William McDonough

I weeded an area with a slingblade this week. It works better than a scythe on uneven ground and thicker stalk weeds. The scythe is much better covering large area. Strange that wsj has a scythe story. When I use it around town, I have boys come up and want to try it out but the adults just give me a wide berth.

I have yet to see one of those in action.. I don't even remember it from the movie that made the name broadly known, thank Heaven!

Guess I'll have to google up a couple vids and have a look-see!

dang.. couldn't find anything that wasn't either from the movie or some Self-effacing Redneck Baiting.

But Wiki had a bit of a decent descr under 'Kaiser Blade' - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiser_blade

We usually used what we called a "swing sickle" that looks like this: http://www.hardwarestore.com/media/product/664890_front500.jpg . Some also call this a sling blade.

The "kaiser blade" in your link is what we call a bush axe. The swing sickle is very efficient using a one-handed stroke, and gets close to the ground. It's light weight and you literally sling it back and forth. I still have my old Craftsman, and a couple of bush axes as well.

I need to order a couple of replacement blades to put in storage.

Yes, the swing sickle was what I was referring to. I have never heard of or used a kaiser blade.

Used something like that swing stick on the stoney embankments of my grandfather's fishing cabin.

The kaiser blade (bush axe) is a great partner to the swing sickle, good for larger brush, saplings, etc.. Some swing sickles are lighter weight with the handle only attached to the blade at one end (all metal). I don't recommend those, as they torque your wrist and aren't heavy enough to provide the inertia/force needed to be efficient. I recommend the ones like those pictured in my link, above. I put in a lot of time with these before ICE weed-wackers became common.

I'm surprised no-one has mentioned the machete. Down here used for everything from cutting the grass to cutting down trees.


I keep one in the truck and one tucked under the seat of the tractor. Use 'em a lot. My step son sells them at gun and knife shows; buys them for two dollars each and sells them for about $10. Actually pretty good quality steel for the price, molded plastic handles. Haven't broken one yet.

So where do you guys come down on the question of how to sharpen scythes? In the WSJ article it said to never grind them; only use a ball-peen hammer and anvil. But in the video above they seem to be using a whetstone to hone the edge prior to mowing. Obviously you wouldn't use a grinder as you would for a rotary mower blade; maybe that's what the original reference was to.

I still have my Dad's old scythe (Seymour No. 1 Grass Snath) hanging on the wall in my garage. Haven't used it in 50 years and last time I did it just seemed like old-fashioned drudgery. And it has some miles on it, including a crack in the blade. But I have a feeling we're going to get re-acquainted... He also had a swing sickle (Ghung's link above). That was more fun for a kid to use - lighter weight and you could just flail away at stuff, swinging in both directions.

I have a couple of scythes - one a standard blade big scythe and the other with a shorter, stouter blade for brushier conditions. I also have a grass whip (that's what I've always called the thing you swing like a golf club) and a hand sickle. I use them all.

I sharpen mine with a file.

After I bought this place about 20 years ago, as I explored along the stone walls on the property (many that now run through what is now the middle of the woods), I found a number of rusty old scythe blades here and there. Very very well worn, and evidently left where they were changed out for a new one. I have no way of knowing how old they are, but judging from the age of the forest, some of them have got to be near 100 years old. I must have half a dozen in my barn - they connect me with previous generations of laborers on this land...

I use a file on my two scythes and my sickle, the same one I use for my axes.

Our Permaculture group here gave a demonstration on Scythes, for the rest of us who got one, but have had to make it up as we went along.. The two meeting leaders used blades that get the Stone during cutting, a little touch-up every several minutes, almost more of a honing.. and on a more daily basis, the peen hammer and anvil, where they showed how you can really 'draw' the metal around to fill in nicks and set the angles, character and thickness of the cutting edge.

Yet another subtle art form from those days of 'ignorant servitude and mind-numbing brute labor'

(My new ditch-blade is cheaper.. apparently a hardened, industrially cut and formed type, and doesn't get peened, only supposed to use the stone and hip-cup of water)

My stragedy is to get a few goats ;-/ I just spent the afternoon wacking at the weeds around the PV arrays with the old swing sickle. Still works, but it's too damn hot. Fired up the Stihl; less likely to hit one of the panels :-0

To cool off I broke out the hose and sponge-on-a-stick and gave the PV panels a good cleaning, wetting myself down in the process.

Yair . . . Childhood memories of scythe sharpening are the regular weep,weep,weep sounds of the long oval shaped 'scythe stone' being applied every few minutes when cutting hay.

The filing if required was done at smoko or dinner break.

In PNG the lawns and grass along the roads and around buildings were cut with the 'seraph' . . . essentialy a piece of curved hoop iron fitted with a handle.

The length and curve was modified to suit the user. There was always a morning line up to use the grinder in the workshop but during the day they made do with a file.


Fracking: where's the debate about its climate change risks?

Fracking looks set to be given the green light in the UK, but there is a worrying lack of discussion about its climate implications

Yes, there are plenty of concerns about the possible localised environmental impacts of fracking, such as earth tremors, aquifer contamination, and surface leaks. As the report concludes, these need constant and tightly-regulated assessment if extraction is to get under way on a commercial scale. But this is a side salad compared to the picnic hamper of unanswered questions that still hang over fracking when it comes to its possible contribution to climate change.

With nice timing – but largely ignored by the media – is a report out today by the Committee on Climate Change, a statutory body set up to advise the UK government on greenhouse gas emissions. It urges the government to give up on its "dash for gas" in order to help avoid dangerous levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

Partly it has to do with ambiguity. If natural gas displaces coal or oil, GHG emissions are substantially lower. If there is too much leakage at the well site or in distribution, then we have a short time methane spike in warming potential. If it means we can keep sucking of the fossil fuel teat decades longer it as bad for CO2. So in some contexts it can seem like progress, and in other, just more dangerous BAU. So naturally we are conflicted.

Certainly they could ban hydraulic fracturing (not because there is any technical reason to do so but only because the Greenies don't like it), but then what do they do? Reopen the old coal mines and go deeper in search of very expensive and highly polluting coal?

As North Sea oil and gas production continues to decline, the UK is running out of options for energy production. It has had a comfortable few decades based on the unexpected bonus of North Sea oil and gas reserves, but now those are running out, and it is a time for hard choices. So far I don't see the government making any hard choices.

It's a small island (I live in Canada, which has bigger islands than Great Britain) and Britain doesn't have a lot of remaining resources. If they wanted to do something, they should have done something years ago when it became obvious the North Sea was going to go into decline. The fact they didn't do anything suggests that they don't know what to do and are just stuck in a bureaucratic never-never land.

The possibilities are endless, but you have to pick one or more of them, and it's not an easy choice because no option is perfect.

101 F actual temp (not that we worry too much about the Heat Index here) yesterday in Albuquerque, closing June 2012 and marking it as the hottest June on record.

Of course this is small potatoes compared to 108, 109 F in the Southeast U.S., with humidity. I have lived in places with humidity...those temps would be over-the-top for me.

But,the SE/East gets rain...I am struggling to remember the last time we received rain...

I knew a couple who moved to Mexico. They lived in a 100-year-old house which had foot-thick adobe walls with no exterior windows, a central courtyard with marble paving stones, and a 100-year old tree in the center of the courtyard which shaded the whole house. It was a cozy little tradition Mexican abode and didn't cost very much money.

However, they decided that this wasn't very modern, so they build themselves a big new American ranch-style house with air conditioning and all the modern amenities. And then they discovered a horrible reality they hadn't know before - it gets hot in Mexico in the summer time. Their air conditioner couldn't keep the house cool no matter how hard it ran, and the costs were astronomical.

So, this was a learning experience for them, but I find that even here in Canada, careful attention to the positioning of windows and eaves, plus judicious growing of the right shade trees makes a huge difference. I had a window air conditioner once, but that was because a shade tree died of old age, and only until its replacement tree got big enough. Then I gave it away.

I had a discussion about this with someone from the SE US, and his comment was, "I don't really like air conditioning myself - I just have a swamp chiller." And then he had to explain to me what a swamp chiller was. It helped that he really liked heat, and he liked living in swamps with gators, but that's a different topic.

Swamp chillers (evaporative coolers) don't work very well in the SE US where it's usually too humid. We had one where I lived in Tucson and it worked great. Good choice for areas with low relative humidity.

An evaporative cooler (also swamp cooler, desert cooler, and wet air cooler) is a device that cools air through the evaporation of water. Evaporative cooling differs from typical air conditioning systems which use vapor-compression or absorption refrigeration cycles. Evaporative cooling works by employing water's large enthalpy of vaporization. The temperature of dry air can be dropped significantly through the phase transition of liquid water to water vapor, which requires much less energy than refrigeration. In extremely dry climates, it also has the added benefit of conditioning the air with more moisture for the comfort of occupants. Unlike closed-cycle refrigeration, it requires a water source, and must continually consume water to operate.

Not sure why they call them swamp coolers since they aren't worth a damn in swamps :-0

My understanding is that the "swamp" adjective is based on the fact that in a poorly maintained cooler, the water pool in the bottom is a great place for mold, algae, moss, mosquitoes, viruses, etc, to breed and grow. This can be a problem for people with allergies or other respiratory illnesses. If the conditions get bad enough, they can potentially lead to sick building syndrome. My wife volunteers for an organization that uses a big swamp cooler to moderate the temperature in part of their horse barn; she says it's an incredible mess when it gets its annual cleaning.

We used to put a bit of bleach or vinegar or hydrogen peroxide in the water in our swamp coolers in AZ.


My house interior comfort is remaining OK...the stucco walls are painted with a white elastomeric compound which seems to do a good job of reflecting the heat. I have no grass, but numerous mature shade trees and little direct/harsh sunlight exposure through my windows.

Our evaporative coolers run continually, which definitely raises the electric bill in the summer.

When it comes time for my re-roofing (soon...by next summer certainly) I will price the normal built-up roof vs. a white roof.

I am not sure what a 'swamp chiller' is, but if it is the same as our evaporative coolers in the SW, I fail to see how this would be effective in the SE with the ambient humidity. Eben in Albuquerque, when the humidly gets much above 20% the evaps start to lose their cool...

It sounds like your evap cooler would be a great application of a small DC pump and a PV panel, likely doable for a few hundred dollars. A 250 watt panel (<$300) could run a pump and a DC fan. Might take a bit of tinkering... or you could just pony up some bucks and get a SOLAR CHILL Evaporative Cooler. These guys are in Tucson. Another excellent application for stand-alone PV.

Ghung, thanks for the link!

All the units I see around here use 'squirrel cages' instead of these four-bladed fans in the Solar Chill product lineup.

Looking at the specs, these units pump a very respectable amount of air...although I am curious about the note on one of the units about contacting the manufacturer for design details 'if one wants to use duct work'...my evap is a downdraft model which pumps cool moist air throughout my house through the same ducts which carry the heater air in the winter (this involves the twice-a-year ritual of the changing of the 'cookie sheets' to block and direct airflow different ways for the heating and cooling season).

Yes, you'll want a squirrel-cage blower. They can deal with the higher back-pressure of trying to draw air through batting. I made a solar air-conditioner for my dogs in the truck. It ran off of a single 40W 12V panel. A very oversize squirrel-cage blower assembly (10" diameter wheel, 5" tall, in an 18" diameter shell) was directly, slowly (240RPM?), driven by a D.C. torque motor of the type used in the old computer tape drives (reel motor*) and popular with small wind-turbine experimenters. These 24-pole motors are exquisitely efficient. Over-sized air-passages were used throughout. 240RPM made for low noise, too. The air was drawn from the outside and into a box (two assembly-line bins) with the center of the blower volute mounted over a port cut into the top. Under the port was a milk-crate lined with batting all around and on the floor. A Shurflow RV pump with an added PWM speed controller recirculated water from the bottom of the box and through a sprayer to wet the batting. More conventional drip-troughs along the top of the batting could have been used with only the sides, but the mist was more fun, made really nice air, and worked under g-loading. The water must be recirculated to cool the reservoir and improve the cooling action. The air must be drawn from outside. The air-conditioned space must be ventilated, open, to the outside.

I later used the air-conditioner to cool my rooms for about 20 years.

search terms;
Wind generator motor
They warn you off of the 37V 2000rpm motor because they are looking for 39rpm/volt. As a 12V blower motor, it may be happy or have to be slowed with a Pulse Width Modulator (PWM) depending on the blower dimensions and target power hoped for. The 30V would probably have to be geared up. I seem to remember it was the 37V motor.

The larger sized Southwest Solar products seem to use an oversize air-mover, too: 14" is big for 1100CFM. They claim 6" and 8" thickness of batting... a realm I've never played with. 45 Watts is very good, too. Maybe so! I'd like to see inside of one... $980

Same here, people are abandoning centuries old architecture and trying to imitate the west. If you happen to ever visit temples of Southern India in the middle of Indian summer where average temps hover around 100-105F, you'd notice that it's almost 15-20F cooler inside the granite and marble adorned buildings and that too with no AC or Fan. Sadly these practices are no longer followed and the knowledge is disappearing fast.

The common thing about all such houses is that they are heavily insulated with rocks such as granite or marble and where this is not feasible dried mud is used. The ceiling is very high and there are no windows at ground level and it's very dark inside. Light and air can only enter from the top. Since hot air rises up this makes sure that hot air doesn't flow into the house. There are four windows at the very top facing the four directions. This ensures a cross ventilation which picks up the hot air and recycles it out.

The principles are the same as seen in Termite hills

Termite-Inspired Air Conditioning

As we all know, fossil fuels make us stupid.

Another way that sounds non- workable but does work for me is a big cold cistern right next to the house from which I draw cold water for my dehumidifier when things get really sticky in August. That with good insulation does a fairly good job. But most of the time we get by with just night ventilation and shutting up tight about 7 AM.

Like right now, after another storm last night, and the house open, I am kinda chilly (18C outside)

I make sure that cistern gets only cold water in the winter. We use other cisterns for household water, etc.

But, hey, ain't we all tropical apes? What kinda sissy needs AC anyhow?

As we all know, fossil fuels make us stupid.

Yea it does. You should see the buildings being built in the cities, people do what others do and end up with such an ugly design that turns into a bakers oven in summer and a freezer in winters. Just plain stupid. Traditional houses look so much better IMO and are so energy efficient.

Another way that sounds non- workable but does work for me is a big cold cistern right next to the house from which I draw cold water for my dehumidifier when things get really sticky in August.

Something similar, down here in villages where some traditional houses still survive, they build a big rectangular house with a courtyard in the center. The courtyard houses a big water tank in the center which collects rain water from the roof. This way you don't have to separately guard your water source because it sits smack in the middle of your house, parts of courtyard also double up as gym/playground for kids, drying food items for storage, washing clothes, cooking or even plain old sunbathing.

Here's a pic...(this is a Chinese design, ours is similar)

I haven't seen a better design anywhere else.

Traditional Mexican house designs are very similar in layout to that Chinese design, except they typically have flat or low-sloped roofs (at least in the drier parts of Mexico).

They have very thick walls made out of adobe brick and very few windows. In the traditional buildings, the roof is made out of adobe as well. This gives the house a great deal of thermal mass and they don't heat up during the day. Much of Mexico is quit arid, so the nights are cooler and the house gets a chance to cool down.

Traditional Mexican houses vary a lot depending on the region. I found a fascinating book in our library, a few years ago, maybe I will have another look for it sometime. Some of the desert houses have a tall, wide chimney to draw air through. It warms up in the day and creates a draught due to the warmed air inside rising. Here, it is Spanish tile roofs either direct on the beams or on a layer of large flat bricks, the latter keep to ambient underneath. Modern ones tend to be flat 2 or 3 inches of concrete or slightly sloping metal or asbestos. We call houses built like that "pizza ovens". The courtyard homes, above, can also be found in Colombia.


Here we use cupolas to force ventilation. Any breeze, from any direction, across the dome creates suction which sucks the warm air, that has collected in the dome, out. Some people block the holes to stop any rain coming in but very little does enter especially if the cupola has been built well. It is quite an experience to watch a specialist build one. You pay for the job not by the hour or day as he will come in, build a couple of course then depart to either return later in the day to do a couple more or the next day.


Can The U.S. ever elect a President who will face reality?



Governor Romney is on the record as promising to do the following after he gets elected:

- Cut Taxes (of course starting from the baseline of maintaining all the current 'temporary' tax cuts as permanent)

- Cut the deficit

- Increase military spending to 4% of GDP, from 3.3% today.

Romney's {military}spending floor would require a 42 percent increase in defense spending compared to the Reagan era and a 64 percent increase over average annual budgets post Cold War.

All together, the requirement would add $2.58 trillion over the next decade's current baseline. That's an even bigger challenge given Romney's other commitments. He has variously promised to cap overall government spending as a percentage of GDP, not cut Medicare, and not raise taxes.

How might all of these promises fit together? Romney won't say, admitting that his budget plan can't be scored.

It must be magic.

Of course this 'new math' / blatant pack of lies will get close to zero airtime in the public forum.

For the love of reason, if the R's believe in small government size and intrusiveness and balancing the budget, then why did they not nominate Ron Paul? ...and sufficient numbers of fellow travelers in Congress in November to back him up...

If they were to have done so, I would have voted for him, just to break the mold and try some societal shock therapy...

For the love of reason, if the R's believe in small government size and intrusiveness and balancing the budget, then why did they not nominate Ron Paul? ...and sufficient numbers of fellow travelers in Congress in November to back him up...

Because they don't really believe in any of that. They want the magic.

Republican platform:

All the power and prestige of global empire ...

... on an itty, bitty budget.

Ron Paul repudiates the first part and is therefore RINO.

Don't confuse the Republican leadership with the base.

If you'd polled most Republican base voters which candidate has the best foreign policy, Ron Paul would win hands down. In fact, I'd even venture to guess that if you ask democrats (who are in the know) which foreign policy they prefer most, Ron Paul' or Obama's I think many, if not most, would prefer Paul's.

For the love of reason, if the R's believe in small government size and intrusiveness and balancing the budget, then why did they not nominate Ron Paul? ...and sufficient numbers of fellow travelers in Congress in November to back him up...

If they were to have done so, I would have voted for him, just to break the mold and try some societal shock therapy...

From Die große Entwertung (my very poor translation):

That some nations are in debt is not only a necessity for other countries to have excess exports; at heart all these nations have together taken part in keeping global growth rolling, despite its value base being undermined since the 1980's. Unknowingly, the protagonists have performed a gigantic manoeuvre for acquiring fictive, future value. This has only served to push the breakdown of capital growth into the future.

Nothing is more grotesque than the idea that going into debt must be stopped on wide front. If the German commissioners would triumph within the EU, or the Tea Party Movement in the US, so they made serious their plans to decrease the national debts, it would inevitably lead to an enormous collapse of the giant construct which has been built on fictious capital during thirty years. It would not mean the return to any "solid market economy", but a violent collapse where the creation of wealth returns to the visibly low level which the real creation of value can achieve, given the high level which productivity has reached today. It would hardly be possible without an authoritarian government declaring state of emergency.

So the government may be small like a pack of Velociraptors, but more deadly than the slow and bulky Tyrannosaurus Rex...

I perceive the choice is BAU, extend-and-pretend, more debt for as long as that can be accomplished, or a 'shock therapy' / phase change to a paradigm where everyone lives within their means.

The second quote gets right to the heart of the matter. The gigantic pile of IOUs will not be allowed to deflate. Extend and pretend, zero interest rates, deficit spending, and printing to buy bonds will continue as long as is needed to pay down the debt through deleveraging and inflation.

printing to buy bonds will continue as long as is needed to pay down the debt through deleveraging and inflation.

Deleveraging = default = deflation

So we're going to have both deflation and inflation at the same time, or maybe alternately. In the end, does it really matter how you purge debt? Deflation is bad for the spendthrift and inflation is bad for the savers, but I think everyone is going to get burned in the end, even the super rich.

Deleveraging can also result from paying off debt rather than just defaulting on debt. At the moment, both are happening while the government makes up the difference. I agree that everyone is going to experience pain it's a matter of how it is distributed. So far zirp has done a good job of propping up asset prices, bonds, and the banks in the US which, at the moment anyway, seems to be favoring the rich.

I can think to two ways to make Romney's pledges come true:

1. Helicopter Ben creates and distributes more money, or

2. a profitable resource war.

Otherwise, he is another dishonest Republican.

4% of a GDP for 2011 of $15.06 trillion (CIA World Fackbook) is $602 billion. Wiki: List of countries by military expenditures indicates the U.S. spent $711.0 billion on military, 4.7% of GDP, in 2011. Romney intends to reduce military spending.

The $610 B depends on whether you really believe this circle jerk of an economy is really $15.06 T. It's amazing how the economy keeps growing even though most indicators are still below the previous peaks.

From what I understand, the commonly quoted figures for US defense spending exclude substantial costs that probably should be included, such as Department of Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, and the black programs.

I can think to two ways to make Romney's pledges come true:
1. Helicopter Ben creates and distributes more money, or

That doesn't work . . . that violates the 'cut the deficit' part of his pledge.

2. a profitable resource war.

Steal our way to prosperity. :-/ Time to go buy a black hat.

Negative, Ghostrider!


The $707.5B that wikipedia posts for 2012 is the DoD 'base budget' + 'overseas contingency operations'

'overseas contingency operations' = foreign war operations costs

Mitt Romney is a weathervane, a paid empty suite shill for his masters, and a marionette-liar, but his masters are not stupid. They want him to take the Base Budget from ~ 3.3% GDP to 4% GDP by towards the end of this decade.

But don't fret over numbers, because it is like trying to navigate through a fun house hall of mirrors with lots of Hollywood fog and flashing strobe lights (from Wikipedia):

Again in 2011, the GAO could not "render an opinion on the 2011 consolidated financial statements of the federal government", with a major obstacle again being "serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense (DOD) that made its financial statements unauditable".[19]

In December 2011, the GAO found that "neither the Navy nor the Marine Corps have implemented effective processes for reconciling their FBWT." According to the GAO, "An agency’s FBWT account is similar in concept to a corporate bank account. The difference is that instead of a cash balance, FBWT represents unexpended spending authority in appropriations." In addition, "As of April 2011, there were more than $22 billion unmatched disbursements and collections affecting more than 10,000 lines of accounting."[20]

This has been going on for several decades...at least...


[Donald Rumsfeld]According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. We cannot share information from floor to floor in this building because it's stored on dozens of technological systems that are inaccessible or incompatible.

$2.3 trillion — that's $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America. To understand how the Pentagon can lose track of trillions, consider the case of one military accountant who tried to find out what happened to a mere $300 million.

"We know it's gone. But we don't know what they spent it on," said Jim Minnery, Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

Twenty years ago, Department of Defense Analyst Franklin C. Spinney made headlines exposing what he calls the "accounting games." He's still there, and although he does not speak for the Pentagon, he believes the problem has gotten worse.

"Those numbers are pie in the sky. The books are cooked routinely year after year," he said.

Another critic of Pentagon waste, Retired Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, commanded the Navy's 2nd Fleet the first time Donald Rumsfeld served as Defense Secretary, in 1976.

In his opinion, "With good financial oversight we could find $48 billion in loose change in that building, without having to hit the taxpayers."

To this day it is mind-numbing to try to track where all the money goes... every day program managers are pulling their hair out trying to ride the accounting tiger...

...but no one cares. Carte Blanche.

I hear there are some former Enron accountants that could help out.

More evidence that young people in the US are turning away from car culture (cue PaulS to explain how un-possible anything but driving is). Interesting as the young drive less, older people are driving more, meaning a big generational change is likely coming, as the heavy-driving elderly cohort gets too old to safely drive.


In her reluctance to drive or own a car, Gurian-Sherman is typical of a certain segment of Generation Y, the coveted marketing demographic encompassing the 80 million U.S. residents between the ages of 16 and 34.
Bigger than the post-World War Two baby-boom generation but without the middle-class expansion that drove the earlier group's consumer habits, Generation Y includes an increasing number of people for whom driving is less an American rite of passage than an unnecessary chore.
"That moment of realizing that you're a grown-up - for my generation, that was when you got your driver's license or car," said Tony Dudzik, a senior policy analyst of the Frontier Group, a California-based think tank that has studied this phenomenon. "For young people now, that moment comes when you get your first cellphone."
U.S. residents started driving less around the turn of the 21st century, and young people have propelled this trend, according to the federal government's National Household Travel Survey.
From 2001 to 2009, the average annual number of vehicle-miles traveled by people ages 16-34 dropped 23 percent, from 10,300 to 7,900, the survey found. Gen Y-ers, also known as Millennials, tend to ride bicycles, take public transit and rely on virtual media.
More than a quarter of Millennials - 26 percent - lacked a driver's license in 2010, up 5 percentage points from 2000, the Federal Highway Administration reported.
At the same time, older people are driving more, researchers at the University of Michigan found. In 2008, those age 70 and older made up the largest group of drivers on the road, more than 10 percent, which was slightly higher than those in their 40s or 50s.
The Michigan researchers offered a few reasons why some younger drivers hesitate to get behind the wheel: the high cost of owning, fueling and maintaining a car and the convenience of electronic communication.
The Frontier Group's Dudzik suggested a related cause: computer and smartphone applications that make taking public transportation easier, with minute-by-minute tracking of buses and trains and simple online maps and travel directions.

I would add one more consequence of mobile computers and smartphone, the ability to do productive work while using transit, not practical while driving. As an independent software developer, if I take the bus up to ski or to Denver I get an hour and a half of billable time, while driving means no time billed. So from my perspective driving is prohibitively expensive, because of income forgone, not because of gas and car expenses. When I look around, a substantial fraction of passengers on express buses and trains are working when they travel.

Well, OK, since we're flirting with personal insults here, nothing is "un-possible" for everyone, that's the usual sort of strawman that must in the end shed more heat than light. Amidst today's gargantuan populations, there will be niche markets for almost anything one can conceive of - even spending a couple of hours every day sucking one's virtual thumb tracking the arrival or non-arrival of buses and texting ceaselessly about nothing. Still, I'd keep a couple of things in mind with respect to scaling up enough to make a difference, as opposed to wallowing in breathless writing wishfully extrapolating short-term trends to infinity:

1. If the job can really be done from a cell phone or laptop, then somebody in India or China, where the cost of living is much lower, can probably do it much cheaper - and soon will be since education there is getting better than it used to be (see RockyMtnGuy's comments about the impending reality check on that point.) This doesn't mean there will be no such jobs in richer places, but one wonders about scaling up to where a major portion of the population could ever afford to live in expensive megacity downtowns by pushing pixels around. Many people will have to get to a meeting or workplace by a specific time; a group can't afford to wait forever for the last bus to arrive even if the app is telling the truth about when it will arrive. Others will need to visit the 99% of the landscape not accessible by bus, or will need to take tools along that are not practical, or perhaps even legally allowed, on the bus. (Remember, during the recent international conference, the Chicago RTA prohibited everyone from carrying just about anything.)

2. As a corollary, one must wonder how many of "Gen-Y" can forever remain adolescents sucking their thumbs. Fancy sitdown-restaurant food, absurdly expensive megacity downtown apartments, $4-million-each subway cars running on $1.5 billion/mile tracks, reliable electricity for the high-rise water pumps and elevators, and so on, don't grow wild on trees. Somebody's got to pay the bill for all that, plus the 'adultescent' navel-gazing it seems to be meant to enable. Somebody just might eventually tire of paying and paying, or the funny money might even run out. So while it will surely remain possible for some to keep at it, again one wonders about the pesky issue of scaling.

This is not the same as saying trains and buses must be entirely useless. But they only access a tiny fraction of the landscape, and that cannot possibly change materially without an enormous, decades-long build-out of dubious affordability. As usual, look at the awful traffic in Western Europe despite the wall-to-wall people, confiscatory taxes, and often good rail service (but it only goes where it goes.) Very few if any are driving in that for the sheer fun of it; accessibility and sheer wastage of time must surely play their roles.

Certainly no insult was intended, more of a friendly tweak. Clearly some 10s of millions of young US citizens see the practicality of non-car dependent life differently.

Anyway, the presence or absence of traffic jams has almost nothing to do with the success of transit in a particular city. For example, in Paris, only 11% of work trips are by private automobile, which is more than enough to clog the streets. While that 11% struggles in the gridlock, 55% are walking to work and 31% are taking transit. So while the traffic jams are very visible, only a small percentage of the population is stuck in them. Modal shares by city from wikipedia are quite interesting, US "private auto" percentages range from 29% in NYC, to 92% in Indianapolis. Meanwhile Europe ranges from 11% "private auto" to 79% in Turin. The modal shares in the link below, show that scaling is no problem for alternatives to car dependence.

Actually I would argue that scaling impacts run in the reverse direction (as more people use transit, bikes, and walking the frequency and areal coverage of alternative transport systems improve, increasing the practicality of car-free life, in turn increasing ridership, in a positive feedback loop). Paris would not be investing 32 billion Euros in the Metro system if they thought scaling was the problem (http://www.pie-mag.com/articles/1200/grand-paris-metro-network-wins-firs...).

And of course transit can only access " a tiny fraction of the landscape" but if that tiny fraction includes the work/home/shopping/entertainment urban destinations where people want to go, the landscape fraction is completely irrelevant.

Since car miles are vastly more expensive than walking or biking miles, and user auto costs are much higher per mile than transit costs, arguments that young people will start driving more when "the funny money might even run out" seem quite strange??? If young people have no money, how will they purchase, insure, maintain, and fuel vehicles??? More likely they will sit in their parent's basements goof off on Facebook, rather than purchasing cars with money they do not have.

Certainly jobs which can be performed completely remotely have more chance of being off-shored, but almost every job today has communication and other aspects which can easily be performed on transit. Just because you respond to work email on your iPhone while riding the bus does not mean that your job will be shipped to Bangalore. By being a more efficient and productive employee while in transit (rather than wasting both time and money sitting alone in traffic behind the wheel), young people might just help preserve their jobs.

Another way that communication technologies are impacting car usage is via car share networks. We use the Boulder car share, and it is hard to imagine how car share would work without web access and cell phones, but with those technologies it works beautifully. Rather than own and depreciate a pickup truck for 365 days a year, we can use an F-250 when we need it (like hauling flagstones yesterday) for $4 an hour and $0.30 a mile (gas included). That is several orders of magnitude cheaper than owning our own truck. So I suspect many of the "thumb-sucking" Gen Y urban hipsters will use carshare for those special occasions when nothing else will do, but the average US car costs $8500 per year according to AAA. For people living in a city (like ~80% of US citizens) the economics of car-share smash the economics of car ownership (of course people in the US watch 4 hours of TV a day, with about an hour of commercials reminding them that real men and real women drive high status new cars, so that balances the economics to some degree, but appears to work less effectively on young people).

The number of meetings should be drastically reduced - they are very expensive for companies. If you put 20 highly paid professionals in a room and have them spend two hours debating an issue that could be solved in 10 minutes by e-mail or text messaging, it is a tremendous waste of resources.

However, on the subject of meetings, I used to work in downtown Calgary, and the interesting thing about it is that 90% of the oil companies in Canada have their head offices within a 1 square kilometre area.

You can walk from one end of downtown Calgary to the other (without going outdoors if you use the skywalks) in about half an hour, and if that's too slow, the light rail transit trains run down the middle of it about every 4 minutes. Downtown was a free-fare zone so it didn't cost anything.

It was a very efficient way of conducting meetings. Everybody from all the oil companies and their business partners would converge on one company's head office, we would hold a 1 hour meeting, and then everybody would walk or take the train back to their respective skyscrapers and go back to work on what we had just decided.

In contrast, in the US, everybody would have to get on a jet airliner, fly to some central location, have the meeting, and fly back. It took about 2 days to hold a 1-hour meeting and was just a hugely less efficient way of doing business.

On the subject of offshoring, a number of my friends were backshored. Companies in China and India hired them to do work on projects in China and India from Canada. One guy lived on his boat at a marina on the BC coast and had a satellite dish up on one of the pilings to keep a high-speed link to head office in Beijing. The key to this, though, is to have skills and education that the Chinese and Indians don't have.

And it's true that the Gen-Y'ers are not buying cars or even getting driver's licenses like they used to. In the age of iPhones and texting, it just seems a lot less important since you can connect with your friends and business associates any time you want, without going anywhere. Live downtown in a small apartment with a small kitchen and enough room for your girlfriend and your iPod, and you've got everything you need as long as the local coffee houses are good.

On the subject of the $4 million subway car - amortize it over the hundreds of people who ride it each day and its probable 40-year lifespan, and then tell me it's not more efficient and cost-effective than your typical gas-guzzling 1.1 passenger SUV. In cities with subways, the tracks don't cost $1.5 billion/mile because they were built 100 years ago by Irish laborers and probably cost a few thousand a mile. In the modern era, you can build light rail for $25 million/mile if you can find a suitable ROW like a freeway median or an old railroad line.

Rocky - "It was a very efficient way of conducting meetings." Certainly a lot more efficient that hopping commuter flights. But even that tad of wasted effort can be avoided. With all our puter savvy TODsters it won't be a surprise to many how much can be accomplished over the net. And a lot more than a conference call or even video call. OTOH it's nice to get the other guy's company to buy lunch...difficult to pull off on a conference call. Tell the truth: you always try to schedule those meetings for 10 AM. LOL.

An extreme example but consider when I was doing well site pore pressure analysis (done to make sure, amongst other reasons, there was sufficient mud weight to prevent a blowout). My last gig was monitoring pore pressure on a Deep Water Brazil well. Which I was often doing sitting in my home in Baytown, Texas...occasionally in my underwear. A huge amount of real time data was transmitted from the rig to a Houston server. Basically I knew ever thing going on the rig as it happened. Wasn't even proprietary...provided by a commercial service anyone could contract. A group of engineers/geologists could sit in their individual offices scattered across the globe and watch, in real time, all the parameters of a well being drilled anywhere in the world and discuss the situation amongst themselves. I've done this with my counterpart in Houston when I was working offshore Africa.

BTW: if the com goes down there's always a backup on location. And yes: one night around midnight I saw a pore pressure spike where there wasn't supposed to be one. Immediately called the rig sitting down there in the southern Atlantic to alert them. The tool pusher had already seen similar indications on his board and had pulled off bottom. Got all the company managers on a conference call, tapped them into my data stream and in a couple of hours came to the conclusion that it was a non-event and we continued to drill ahead.

Rather long winded but I had another motive: the BP Macondo blowout. Had the system been monitored properly, with the same software package I used, an engineer sitting in Houston or London could have alerted the crew to the danger. Of course, had the hands on the rig been monitoring the data (and transmitting it correctly) and paying attention they would have seen it also. If the BP rig had been monitored via this system someone onshore would have at least known they weren't properly monitoring the well and could have called the rig and ordered them to get their act together. The system only costs a couple of $hundred per day. Cheap insurance considering the $billions lost. And sadly, they may have been using the same system but maybe, just as on the rig, folks stopped paying attention when the abandonment process began.

As you know there's a very basic rule in drilling ops: redundancy. You always rely on multiple systems and personnel to keep you out of trouble. But every safety system in the world is useless if it isn't utilized properly. Even worse than useless if folks assume it's in place when in reality it isn't. A dangerous false sense of security. which seemed to be the primary problem at Macando.

Yes, even redundancy fails. What I've observed is that, one-by-one, the redundant/nested/multiple system components are bypassed, removed, ignored, or fail.

Costs of Acquiring Sand For Hydraulic Fracturing

Northwestern Wisconsin supplies sand for hydraulic fracturing operations. Two videos show how the pursuit of sand is affecting some Wisconsin residents.

Northland Adventures:

America's Sandbox: Blind-Sided Part 1 - 6/29/12
America's Sandbox: Blind-Sided Part 2 - 6/29/12

The host usually reports on fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities in the upper midwest.

Costs to repair roads, dredge Lake Peppin, and create a harbor for sand barges are some items revealed in the videos.

Has anyone seen these sand-costs adequately addressed in any EROEI estimation for hydraulic fracturing of Bakken, for example?

Also, does anyone have any experience with measuring/(showing size distribution) of particulate emissions from sand processing?

Scots green electricity record

Scotland generated record levels of electricity from renewables in 2011 - nearly twice the 2006 amount - according to figures released yesterday.

New data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) showed 13,735 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable energy were generated in Scotland in 2011, up 44.3% on the previous year and up 97.3% on 2006.

[T]he Scottish Government said this amounted to about 35% of electricity demand. For the first quarter of this year, it said output from renewables had grown again by 45.5%, to 4,590GWh, on the same period the year before.

One GWh equals one million kilowatt hours; enough to supply the average power requirement for about 2,000 homes for an hour, according to Ofgem.

See: http://www.power-eng.com/news/2012/06/29/scots-green-electricity-record....

Hmm.. one million kilowatt hours divided by two thousand homes, consumed over the span of ONE hour... these Scots must be cooking-up a whole lot of Haggis.


More likely vaporizing and ionizing it into plasma, which to most people's taste would be a far better use for it.

"Hmm.. one million kilowatt hours divided by two thousand homes, consumed over the span of ONE hour... these Scots must be cooking-up a whole lot of Haggis."

There is so much energy to be generated by not wasting it in the first place. I wish 'negawatts' was the first place we'd start when getting serious about leaving fossil fuels behind.



these Scots must be cooking-up a whole lot of Haggis.

Yes, 500 kW going into one house is a lot electricity, over 2000 amps at 240 V. But as usual, the author has problems figuring our the zeros: pico, nano, micro, milli, kilo, mega, giga, tera -- it all sounds the same.

Towards exawatt laser power and sub-attosecond pulses
The article speaks of planned laser systems up to 10^25 Watts/Cm^2 of focused intensity.

EW exawatt 10^18 watt
PW petawatt 10^15 watt
TW terawatt 10^12 watt
GW gigawatt 10^9 watt
MW megawatt 10^6 watt

ns nanosecond 10^-9 seconds
ps picosecond 10^−12 seconds
fs femtosecond 10^−15 seconds
as attosecond 10^−18 seconds
zs zeptosecond 10^−21 seconds
ys yoctosecond 10^-24 seconds

Chirped Pulse Amplification... Yes!

very cool

Con Edison Locks Out Union Workers After Talks Break Down; Heat Wave Continues


"ConEd managers have been specially trained to handle emergency or maintenance work, he said."

Hmmmm, not just trained but "specially" trained. If someone's trained in a particular discipline aren't they always specially trained? I'm always suspicious of over reassurance, usually means there's a disaster waiting to happen.

Probably a 2 hour webinar. Reassuring. /sarc

Training video?

Glove footage:

NFPA70e Arc Flash and Qualified Worker Training

Arc Flash interior substation racking breaker refineria Barranca Ecopetrol
"Racking" is moving live breakers.

3000 KVA transformer start up
Procedure... not exciting... good sound... turn it up!!

Final management procedure:

I would read that as: they don't normally do this, and wouldn't normally be trained, so they had to be specially trained to fake it.