Drumbeat: July 16, 2012

Poland dreams of energy independence — through fracking

GDANSK, Poland — Dreams of freedom from Soviet oppression were nurtured and realized in the shipyards of this seaside city, where the Solidarity movement that helped tear down the Iron Curtain was born.

Now, Poles are having new fantasies of throwing off Russian domination. But this time the road to independence lies more than a mile beneath their feet.

If geologists are right, up to 768 billion cubic meters of natural gas sits trapped in shale deposits deep beneath the surface in Poland, enough to meet the country's needs for the next 50 years and more. The estimates have tantalized Poles with visions of ending their reliance on Russian gas, which warms them through harsh winters but puts them at the mercy of their former masters far more than they would like.

Crude Oil Futures Drop From One-Week High

Oil fell from the highest close in more than a week after Premier Wen Jiabao said China’s economic recovery hasn’t gained momentum, stoking speculation that demand may ease in the world’s second-biggest crude consumer.

Futures slid as much as 0.7 percent in New York, their first decline in four days. Wen said “difficulties” may persist, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Abu Dhabi started exporting crude through a pipeline to the Indian Ocean port of Fujairah, bypassing the Strait of Hormuz, the oil- transit corridor that Iran threatened to shut earlier this year in response to sanctions on its nuclear program.

Price of gas continues to fall, but that may change soon

Consumers have caught a break from the slowing economy as gasoline prices extended their steep three-month decline, but the cost of filling the tank may soon head back up, a widely followed survey said on Sunday.

The Lundberg Survey said the national average price of self-serve, regular gas was $3.41 on July 13, down from $3.478 on June 22, and from $3.615 a year ago.

UK gas prices sink as Norway boosts supply

LONDON (Reuters) - British prompt gas prices slid on Monday morning as above-average temperatures weighed on demand and Norway boosted exports towards winter levels, leading to UK oversupply.

The day-ahead gas contract lost 1.20 pence to 54.55 pence a therm as imports from Norway rose to about 80 million cubic metres a day (mcmd), akin to winter levels of demand, despite a forecast rise in temperatures to 23 degrees Celsius later in the week.

Analysis - Asian LNG freefall sets up swing to Europe

(Reuters) - A nosedive in natural gas spot prices in Asia over the last month marks the end of bullish Japanese buying following the Fukushima disaster and the likely start of higher supply and lower prices for gas shipped to Europe.

The price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia has fallen 25 percent since June as collapsing demand in the region silences, some say permanently, the world's biggest spot market for the fuel.

Saudi bumps up oil supplies

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia showed no sign of cutting back supply in June following last month’s Opec agreement to rein in production, instead raising output by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) from May to 10.1 million bpd (mbpd), an industry source said.

The Supply Side Of Oil

Oil supply growth from countries outside OPEC should grow by roughly 660,000 barrels per day, with North America accounting for much of this uptick in production. Preliminary data from the US Energy Information Administration indicates that domestic crude oil production in April surged by 567,000 barrels per day from year ago levels. Robust drilling activity in unconventional plays such as the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford Shale in south Texas fueled much of this growth.

Teekay Returning to Profit as Russia Ships Record Oil: Freight

Teekay Corp., the biggest operator of Aframax crude tankers, is poised to return to profit after three years of losses as record Russian oil exports by sea boost charter rates to the highest since 2008.

Norway could soon face more oil strikes

(Reuters) - Norway's oil and gas industry, which just emerged from a strike that had cut oil production by 13 percent, risks fresh disruption to drilling and output in the coming months if a new round of pay and pension talks fails, union leaders said.

The Norwegian government on July 9 forced an end to a 16-day strike by offshore production workers after companies threatened to shut down all output in a move that would have cut off Norway's top source of tax revenues.

Iran discovers new oil layer in "territorial" waters in Caspian Sea

Ali Osouli, the managing director of Khazar Exploration and Production Co. (KEPCO), said on Monday that the newly found layer, which is located on Sardar-e Jangal oil and gas field off the shore of the northern province of Gilan, contains quality crude that is toxic hydrogen sulfide-free.

Osouli also prognosticated that Sardar-e Jangal field would produce some 8,000 barrels of oil per day.

UAE and Saudi Arabia open pipelines bypassing Hormuz

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have opened new pipelines bypassing the Strait of Hormuz in order to secure exports following Iran’s renewed threats to close this oil shipping lane.

South Korea’s Imports of Iranian Crude Drop Amid Sanctions

South Korea’s crude imports from Iran fell 24 percent in June from a year earlier amid Western pressure to cut shipments from the Persian Gulf nation.

Evidence shows Syrian security got comms from West

LONDON (AP) -- As violence began racing through Syria last year, two European contractors were putting the finishing touches on an encrypted radio system that Syrian officials intended for their security forces, according to leaked company emails and three senior employees involved in the project.

ABB to invest $40 mln in Saudi power projects

The economic growth experienced by Gulf countries, led by oil and natural gas revenues in the region, has highlighted the need for power infrastructure to secure supplies of electricity, both at times of peak demand and in the long term.

Anonymous hackers target oil industry giants, more than 1,000 email credentials exposed

More than 1,000 email credentials from five multinational oil industry companies, including Shell and Exxon and BP, has been dumped online by hackers associated with the Anonymous movement.

Nigeria state oil firm gives government informal loans: audit

(Reuters) - Nigeria's government owes the state-owned oil firm for improper, informal loans used to cover a range of expenses, from a presidential helicopter to maritime security, a report of a partial audit will say.

The audit, prepared by an outside organization given access to accounts of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corp as part of a government effort to improve transparency at the firm, raises doubts over its independence.

Factbox: Nigeria's state-oil company NNPC

(Reuters) - Nigeria's government owes the state-owned oil firm for improper, informal loans used to cover a range of expenses, from a presidential helicopter to maritime security, a report of a partial audit will say.

Here is a look at Nigeria, the largest oil producer in Africa, and its indebted oil company:

Nigeria: A Tale of Two Subsidy Reports

The presidential committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to verify and reconcile all fuel subsidy claims and payments made between 2009 and 2011 submitted its report on Friday with the revelation of significant gaps in the report of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on fuel subsidy.

Ukraine, China sign $3.7 bil loan deal to move power plants from gas to coal

Ukraine's energy and coal industry ministry on Friday signed an agreement with China Development Bank securing a $3.656 billion credit line to help the country switch its power plants over to coal from gas, the ministry said.

New cold war over shale gas

We lost Bulgaria. We are likely soon to lose the Czech Republic. We gained Ukraine. Poland has always stood with us. Germany hedges its bets. France definitely is not with us. The United Kingdom probably will side with us. The Baltic States would love to join us if they have the resources. A fierce battle rages over Romania.

The adversary is Russia, a petro-state that projects power through control of the European energy market. President Vladimir Putin’s regime depends on selling hydrocarbons. That pays for the Russian state and for a patronage system that keeps his supporters and backers in clover.

Boom Promises 20,000 New Jobs but Shortages Too

The hydraulic fracturing technology that sparked a drilling frenzy around Texas and the nation has proved a boon for the petrochemical industry, which is converting cheap and abundant natural gas into resins and polymers that go into items like synthetic clothing and cellphones. Experts say this represents the largest petrochemical expansion in Texas since the days of cheap oil in the 1980s.

But the growth comes amid concerns about future shortages of water and electric power statewide, as well as worries about the industry’s impact on air pollution in the Houston area.

North Sea oil spill will have ‘no impact on the environment’

An 8.7-tonne oil spill in the North Sea will have “no impact on the environment”, according to the UK Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The hydrocarbon spill was reported in the vicinity of the Osprey field which feeds back to the Dunlin Alpha installation at approximately 8.30pm on Tuesday.

Egypt’s nuclear dream, or nuclear nightmare?

A grassroots campaign is underway to end Egypt’s embryonic nuclear ambitions in the town of Dabaa — or at least to relocate them. Meanwhile the Ministry of Electricity, and its subordinate the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority, are sticking to their guns regarding their nuclear aspirations, which have been dubbed “a national project” and an “issue of national pride.”

Dabaa is the planned site for a massive energy station that would measure around 55 square km, a dream of the Egyptian government since 1981.

Tens of thousands demonstrate against nuclear power in Japan

Tokyo (CNN) -- Tens of thousands of people crowded into a park in central Tokyo on Monday to protest the use of nuclear power in Japan, highlighting the growing opposition to atomic energy in the country since the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Environment minister voices doubts about energy reforms

Germany's environment minister has admitted that the government faces an uphill climb if it is to achieve the targets it has set out for reducing carbon emissions while simultaneously stopping nuclear energy production.

Germany's environment minister raised eyebrows on Sunday by conceding that some of the targets that are part of the government's policy of phasing out the use of nuclear energy, while at the same time cutting emissions of greenhouse gases, may not be achievable.

Germany ‘saved by the sun’ from post-nuclear blackouts

Germany’s lights were kept on by solar power last winter, after Berlin’s rapid phase out of nuclear power brought the country to within a whisker of complete breakdown, senior energy industry sources say.

The Desired Apocalypse

Of course, the strangest thing about this post-apocalyptic obsession is that the post-apocalypses we see are almost always beautiful. Knustler predicts the repopulation of quaint old ports like Troy, New York, as the riverboat and rail trade revive. In his post-apocalypse, the beautiful buildings will be saved, while the strip malls and superhighways will fall. And indeed, there is more than a tinge of romanticism in many of these visions; some combination of Burning Man-style, radical self-reliance and the slow show of the old steamboat culture, before iPhones and the 24-hour election cycle.

Study: Natural Gas is Much-Needed Tool to Slow Global Warming

Natural gas as an energy source is a smart move in the battle against global climate change and a good transition step on the road toward low-carbon energy from wind, solar and nuclear power.

That is the conclusion of a new study by Lawrence M. Cathles, Cornell professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, published in the most recent edition of the peer-reviewed journal Geochemistry, Geophysics and Geosystems. Cathles reviewed the most recent government and industry data on natural gas "leakage rates" during extraction, as well as recently developed climate models.

The Crony War on Coal

Natural-gas companies and environmental groups team up to kill affordable energy.

Romania to resume trading carbon emission rights

Romania has won the right to resume trading its surplus carbon emission rights, almost a year being suspended from doing so under the Kyoto Protocol, Romanian Environment Minister Rovana Plumb has said.

The Big Heat

One of the most salient—but also, unfortunately, most counterintuitive—aspects of global warming is that it operates on what amounts to a time delay. Behind this summer’s heat are greenhouse gases emitted decades ago. Before many effects of today’s emissions are felt, it will be time for the Summer Olympics of 2048. (Scientists refer to this as the “commitment to warming.”) What’s at stake is where things go from there. It is quite possible that by the end of the century we could, without even really trying, engineer the return of the sort of climate that hasn’t been seen on earth since the Eocene, some fifty million years ago.

Poland fracking gas

Tornadoes rip through Poland

I wonder how many more of such events must happen before governments realize they cannot continue with fossil fuels.

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).

Before we get obsessed with the linkage between hydraulic fracturing of natural gas reservoirs and tornadoes in Poland, let's keep in mind that electricity generation in Poland is 100% coal-burning, and coal is the main source of fuel for Polish industry. In fact, coal accounts for most of Poland's energy consumption according to statistics I have seen.

The choice they have is really between coal, nuclear, or natural gas. Natural gas is the most environmentally benign of these choices (although there are various opinions) but Poland gets most of its natural gas from Russia which 1) charges a great deal of money for it, and 2) is not a very reliable supplier.

Since Russia charges about 5x North American rates for its natural gas, it would likely be highly cost-effective for Poland to drill for its own gas.

Do you really think that the comment simply relates to fracking, rather than a commentary on fossil fuel consumption, the primary cause of anthropogenically caused climate change.


The article was about hydraulic fracturing in Poland, the comment more of a generic rant about climate change. I prefer to stay on topic.

Well played, sir. I agree with you.

I am not so sure I agree with you, but I don't want to get into an unnecessary and fruitless argument. Your first comment was relevant and to the point in that it emphasized that there were better things than coal -- principally because it is dirty and produces more CO2 than gas.
I read the initial comment as one that related to climate change, and a comment querying the need to continue to look for more FF even when they are doing too much damage as it is.


If they use frack gas to replace coal; I am for it more than anyone. If they use it on top of coal, then doomed we are.

Coal and lignite is a major export industry for Poland and it employs a lot of people (about 130,000 jobs in 2010 out of a population of about 38 million). Cutting back on production and combustion of Polish coal and lignite isn't going to happen; locally derived NG from fracking will be used to replace existing imports from places like Russia which has a track record of turning the pipeline taps off during political bargaining sessions. Some of it might be liquified and exported as well depending on market prices.

One should consider renewables as an option as well - next-door neighbor Germany can do it, why not Poland?

Because Germany is several times as wealthy as Poland--and renewables are expensive.

Renewables are somewhat expensive compared to fossil fuels right now as long as you completely ignore externalities like all the nastiness of coal (mercury emissions, particulates that cause lung disease). Gas has many fewer problems but ultimately has the same fatal issues as the others - CO2 and the unfortunate fact that it's a finite resource that will only get more expensive (in the long run) as time goes by.

Ultimately, we will all be relying on renewable resources, just as we did in the past. This may be in a hundred years or more, but the day will come.

Perhaps a better question is, what renewable resources does Poland have, and how would they go about using them? They are still a northern country, so solar is probably even less wise than in Germany (though probably still useful, as it has proven to be in Germany, despite the naysayers). They don't have any coast on the North Sea, so I suspect they don't have wind resources comparable to Denmark. Anyone have a good idea?

Gas is also expensive in Poland, according to comments higher in the thread.

No more production is never the only choice.
There is ALWAYS the possibility of Conservation - insulation, cutting waste, more
energy efficiency. This should be always be placed first in the list of solutions because
an increase in energy efficiency is generally self-sustaining whereas more production is not.

Highly cost-effective for Poland to drill for its own gas? Are you sure?

This article from Reuters says it all:
Europe shale push shaken by Exxon's Poland pullout

"Exxon realised that commercial extraction was not possible with currently available technology. This is a general problem in Poland that shale rocks are too tight to allow extraction," an industry source said, asking not to be identified.


Matt, this will happen only when there's a week without a Saturday in it. Until then, it's party on till the apocalypse...

Betsy Isaacson takes cheap shot at JH Kunstler, above. In conclusion:

But there's a hypocrisy to Knustler's charge that we're a society more mired in fantasy than reality, when the art that surrounds his post-apocalyptic world plays off precisely our desire to envision ourselves in a world other than the real.


Dayum, Betsy... Constructing strawmen, are we? Summer doldrums?

Kunstler is "trusting technology to forestall the true, ugly disasters..."?


Appears her reading comprehension is embarrassingly low. She can't even spell his name correctly.

Maybe she was rushing to meet her article deadline and decided to make something up. Caveat emptor, friends and comrades, there's a lotta junk out there.

If there's a contest for the ten worst book reviews of the year, this one is a solid nominee. Wow! I'd give big odds she didn't even crack the book. That's the only explanation for how utterly off her little riff is. Internet journalism is often like this, alas...

Maybe she just likes her Doom a little more hardcore, like, for instance, the movie "The Road."

Tried posting a rebuttal to Betsy's hit piece, got filtered out. Imagine that.

The other day I stumbled upon The Hamilton Project's website. The organization is set up by a bunch of Clintonite Democrats, mostly protegées of Robert Rubin.
Call it the pro-business side of the Democratic party if you will.

Well, they've put up a so-called jobs gap calculator for the American jobs market.
They estimate how many jobs America would need (in absolute numbers) not only to recover the lost ones but also to catch up the people entering the workforce every month.

The assumption was that about 125,000 people entered the labor force every month. In the year 2000, the assumption used was 150,000 every month. Due to falling immigration levels(at least from Mexico) and people dropping out of the labor market or staying in college much longer to prolong the moment that they have to enter the workforce, the amount of new entrants have been calculated to have been fallen to a mere 88,000 a month.

That's a historic low. Even when adjusting for boomer demographics.
So the notion would be that because of such a low bar, wouldn't the jobs gap be closed quickly?

Well, take a look yourself:


The average jobs gains per month last year(when every single month is added and then averaged out) is about 153 thousand. So far this year, America is trending slightly below that.

You can calculate the pace it would take to close the gap, and needless to say, it is not pretty. Chances are very high that America has reached peak employment. And with the global slowdown around the corner, the jobs gap may not only stagnate, but actually fall further.

What this means to social stability I leave unsaid.

Perhaps we'll need to redefine what qualifies as a "job". Homemaker? Housewifehusband? Family gardener? Social capital builder? Domestic efficiency specialist?

I expect there are at least some families discovering that the benefit of having two bread winners isn't as beneficial as it used to be. Having a partner at home creating nega-bucks and nega-watts may offer a better return over time.

A quick note on the genderjab via the "Housewifehusband" comment.

Most of the people who lost their jobs were men, but most of the people who gained job the last few years were men too.

Many people talked about the rebound of manufacturing etc, but that is actually not the main driver. 90 % of all retail jobs have gone to men, which sounds a bit hard to believe but the data is clear. There's a lot more in there. Dean Baker has a good roundup here:


My point is that the lazy assumptions of changed gender roles have been dashed.

"My point is that the lazy assumptions of changed gender roles have been dashed."

Dashed? Another lazy assumption, perhaps. I personally know of three other couples (besides my wife and myself) who, by choice or circumstances, have a stay-at-home husband while the wife is in the workplace. No genderjab intended, nor bias here.

In our case, my wife found a full-time job first (after the companies we worked for closed), and I already had a part time business at home. It also left me free to do things that will likely have a longer-term payoff to the family such as building a more resilient homestead. The few job offers I received included higher overhead and much longer commutes = less overall benefit. Realistic doomers don't waste energy on "genderjabs"...

...besides, I'm the better cook; not that it's a job :-/

Heh, well I prefer to come to my conclusions based on broad data, not on who is cooking the meals in my kitchen. But I guess people are different :)

I don't think it's unusual for men to be getting more of the new jobs, since they're the ones who lost their jobs. More interesting is that bit about job growth among older workers. I didn't expect job growth to be strongest among those over 55. I'd guess that overall, this means people who had been holding out for better jobs are being forced to settle for what they can get. Most of the new jobs are in retail.

Then there's this....

Study: Majority Of Women Becoming Primary Breadwinners

The 2012 survey of 1,410 American women and 604 men – between the ages of 25 and 68 – finds that 53 percent of women make more money than their male counterparts, with an increasing number of women assuming this role as a result of partners losing jobs during the financial crisis, divorce and marrying later in life.

“While our past research focused on women who are primary or joint financial decision makers, this new data is consistent with demographic trends and reflecting the impact of the financial crisis,” Susan Blount, senior vice president and general counsel of Prudential Financial, said in the study. “The majority of women today are financially responsible for generating their own and their families’ income.”

I have argued for years that the rise of two-earner households created a large number of jobs for tasks that used to be performed outside of the formal economy by the stay-at-home spouse. Day care for kids. Dry cleaning instead of washing/drying/ironing at home. Lawn care service instead of the homeowner mowing the grass and trimming the bushes. Hired help for maintenance chores like painting a room. An increase in take-out and eat-out food (there has been a literal explosion of casual sit-down dining over the last 25 years). House cleaning.

There's a point where the process has to stop -- the newer service jobs don't pay enough to cover the costs if it's a second-earner job in the household. Once you add up day care, clothing, cleaning, increased transportation and food costs, taxes*, etc, the household loses money when the second member takes a full-time low-end service position. Once this started to get unwound when the recession hit middle-class employment, there was a deep fall in employment before the spiral bottomed out. Polls of small businesses indicate that the factor holding back hiring is lack of demand. For many of those businesses -- consider house cleaning services as an example -- it's going to be a long time before the demand comes back. To increase demand for those services means the more highly-paid workers have to find good jobs again first.

* Most people ignore the importance of the marginal tax rates on the income from the household's second income stream. If the first income puts the couple in the 15% marginal income tax bracket, the tax rate on the first dollar earned by the second worker is 22.5% -- the income tax bracket they had already reached, plus 7.5% FICA taxes.

Somewhere several years ago I read a report that claimed that you can not increase your economy in a traditional family if the other spouse take up a jobtoo. It is a net loser. That on money, then you lose time as well.

"Somewhere several years ago I read a report that claimed that you can not increase your economy in a traditional family if the other spouse take up a jobtoo. It is a net loser. "

Elizabeth Warren had a slideshow that said the same thing. Between the second car, child care, and taxes you didn't actually come out ahead.

Clearly there are many variables for each family. And for most US families having 2 earners passes the cost/benefit calculus, or otherwise so many people would not be doing it (or trying to, in the case of job-seekers).
For our family, when our children were pre-school age, we decided that my wife's teaching salary pretty much disappeared after child care, commute costs, and taxes, plus we did end up paying for a lot of services we used to do. But for us the real clincher was the time crunch, feeling like we never caught up, and the sadness of missing that special and irreplaceable time with our children in their magic years.
But after our children were in school the equation changed again, and having 2 full-time earners made more sense.
But our optimum is 2 part-time earners, the situation we currently feel lucky to enjoy.

Most people also ignore the extra tax hit, AKA the "tax wedge", that whacks them whenever they farm something out.

My wife was quite surprised when we did the math. I won't say what my income would need to be just to break even, but it wasn't worth it, especially when stress levels and other incalculables are factored in. In our case you can add food, water and energy production on site, untaxed negabucks, and dog grooming. These don't take a lot of time, but would be a significant taxed income burden if I didn't have the time to take care of these things. Lawnmower needs repair? Add at least 30%. House painted? Utilities? Appliance repair? ...

My overall energy use has dropped significantly, especially transportation. Our car insurance dropped this year, as I drove less than 5000 miles in my truck. I spend less on clothing, eating out, and prepare healthy lunches for my wife to take to work. Further, if I can expand the farm production (looking at various things) our property taxes will drop. We're also looking at selling the truck and getting an on-farm-only vehicle; save on taxes and get the deduction.

Re-entering the rat race seems nuts at this point, considering my world view. I doubt I'm even compatible with "the machine" at this point. So many of my friends are micro-examples of our economy; spinning their wheels for a lost cause, though I'm sure they enjoy their annual golf vacations.

"We're also looking at selling the truck and getting an on-farm-only vehicle;"

Like one of these?


The neighbor uses a Kawasaki Mule in his orchard. Down the road they use the John Deere version. Both are low enough to miss the branches.

If the mule isn't big enough it's the tractor with a utility trailer but you have to pick your route route carefully. If that still isn't big enough they use a hay rack with the same tractor, but that won't fit between the trees.

Looking at electrics, perhaps something like this or this. I may build my own from a beefed up golf cart platform. There's a guy in the next town who has built some nice utility carts with a lot of torque and a trailer. PV direct charging is in the plan.

48 V electric, a gun rack, and in "patriot blue". What's not to like? (And who let marketing loose anyway?)

If your range requirement is within its capabilities it should do fine.

The golf cart based homemade version of the same thing may not have a transmission/differential up to the torque levels needed for more cargo with big tires in mud.

Ah, all good points, but the truck will haul stuff to and from the farm. I find that using my elderly four door compact as a farm truck only sort of works.

Two things that come to mind here. One, having a larger percentage of students either entering college, or staying in school longer, is a one time delay. Once those first kids come out of extended schooling, we resume the previous quantity entering the workforce as before. And, second, the decline in birth rates in the early 1990's will see a gradual rebound soon. It looks like we will start to see a smooth growth in the number of high school graduates this year. And, as we move forward, the kids who were born during the housing boom years will come of age.

Good points rasied but a few counter-points:

The first is a secular trend, to be sure, but how long can you delay and punt?
It's now been five long years since the recession officially began. That's half a decade. Most people going to college don't stay longer than four years normally, unless they have remedial stuff to do, but even then it's rare to stay more than a semester or two.

Also, if these people are coming back then new entrants to the labor force would most likely increase again, thereby pushing up the requirement a minimum amount of jobs being created just to keep up with the labor force.

And, all of these assumptions rest on a huge assumption itself: namely that over the next 8 years the U.S. economy will not suffer from a recession even once.

And since one occurs every 5-7 years(in other words, we're entering the prime period just about now), what then, if indeed one occurs? The one-off generation will become the lost generation. And their ranks will swell.

BP's historic data series on Malaysia has been drastically revised in last 2 yrs - oil production down, oil consumption up - changing the picture from a gradual decline in net exports to a collapse. There is no parallel for this in the local stats. I have shown the charts here: http://www.apolloinvestment.com/F120716.htm
Can anyone shed any light on these changes, or advise on authoritative sources?

Peak Oil Versus Peak Exports:

A 25% decline in Malaysia's production, from 2004 to 2011, plus a 15% increase in consumption caused them to become a net importer in 2011.

From 2004 to 2010, here are the rates of change (BP):

Production: -2.9%/year*
Consumption: +2.3%/year
Net Exports: -31.1%/year

*Increasing to -4.1%/year from 2004 to 2011

From 2004 to 2010, net exports fell at about ten times the rate of decline in production.

Welcome to the 0.1%. (I estimate that about 0.1% of the people in the world have some clue about "Net Export Math.")

(I estimate that about 0.1% of the people in the world have some clue about "Net Export Math."

I think it is much lower. First, maybe 5% is in the position to even be personally concerned about oil supply issues. It does take some amount of education and knowledge to get this. Then of those 5%, maybe 0.1% get the math. Maybe.

I would say it is probably closer to 0.01% that are aware of net export maths and that estimate could even be optimistic. If you went out on the high street and asked 100 random people what peak oil is I would guess only about 1 person per 100 would know what it is. Then if you took all those people who knew of peak oil fewer still would know that conventional crude oil has plateaued since about 2005. And from there you need to go another level to consider the export situation and even if people considered that aspect they would then need to understand the mathematics behind the net export land model.

After going through all those barriers then a person will get the export land model. It is surprising, if you add a few conditions to some selection process the probability of a person meeting all the given criteria plummet dramatically. You see this phenomenon quite commonly in dating when people ask for a 20-30 male who is over 6ft and has blond hair. Those innocuous criteria which are actually pretty common yields a surprisingly low probability of finding a matching subject when all conditions are required.

Plus if you consider that this information is not broadcast in the mainstream media then people have no reason to know about it. More people will know the name of Tom Cruise's children than the export land model.

Tom Cruise have kids?

Who is this "Tom Cruise" character, and why should I care?

Cuz he's important in Scientology and by Xenu when Xenu returns there'll be all kings of safe nuclear power on display...just like last time.

All readers of this website should by now be familiar with the arithmetic of net exports, but calculations down to the last decimal point may give a misleading impression of precision when the input varies so drastically. Any thoughts on BP's data revisions? Or its sources of data?

Thanks for that link. I haven't gone into Malaysia's details yet but this is on Indonesia:


By the way, Malaysia has a good night train service


Hi Matt, can i ask you whats your opinion on when natural gas in indonesia or malaysia will peak? Do anybody knows whats the rule for contract for NG, let say there is a 20 yrs contract for NG from Australia, is it possible for Australia to just break the contract? Matt, from your gas analysis on your blog on the overstated booking of NG in Australia do you think Australia will ever not be able to supply enough gas to fulfill their contracts due to increasing domestic demand.

Turning off nuclear power in Germany. The graph in this article


shows how much nuclear capacity is thrown away by prematurely turning off nuclear power plants.

This will lead to a triple energy crisis: peak oil, nuclear and then coal because nature will force us to turn off our coal fired power plants.

NASA climatologist James Hansen at Sydney Uni: "Australia doesn't agree now that they got to stop their coal, but they are going to agree. I can guarantee you that within a decade or so because the climate change will become so strongly apparent that's going to become imperative"
20 seconds clip:


I think the link shows the plan for phase-out of nuclear reactors in Germany that Chancellor Merkel rejected in 2010. The plan implemented in 2011 has already permanently shutdown the 6 oldest nuke plants and 2 with technical problems. The others will be phased out and completely shutdown by 2022.

Wiki: Nuclear Power in Germany

From the graph on the Wiki page, in 2005 Germany generated 150 TWh in 2006 from NPP's which corresponds to 17.1 GW. Germany is building out renewable energy sources and improving efficiency to deal with two parts of your triple energy crisis. In 2011 Renewable Energy in Germany indicates Germany generated 122 TWh (13.9 GW) of electricity from renewable sources. They are acting proactively to replace their nuclear and lignite generators before a nuclear accident cripples their economy and their coal reserves deplete. They are leaving the rest of the world choking on their dust.

I greatly admire Mr. Hansen as a physicist, but he grossly underestimates the human capacity for self-justification and denial.

"Australia doesn't agree now that they got to stop their coal, but they are going to agree. I can guarantee you that within a decade or so because the climate change will become so strongly apparent that's going to become imperative"

Indeed - not only is Australia not looking at stopping the digging and exporting of coal, but just about every relevant policy (at both federal and state level) is geared towards even more production.

Meanwhile we introduce a lightweight "carbon tax" - so we look good at the big meetings - usually held in places where you can wear a casual shirt, and get a little umbrella in your drink.

The Big Heat

"Along with the heat and the drought and the super derecho, the country this summer is also enduring a Presidential campaign. So far, the words “climate change” have barely been uttered. This is not an oversight. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney have chosen to remain silent on the issue, presumably because they see it as just too big a bummer.

And so, while farmers wait for rain and this season’s corn crop withers on the stalk, the familiar disconnect continues. There’s no discussion of what could be done to avert the worst effects of climate change, even as the insanity of doing nothing becomes increasingly obvious."

Ah yes, When You Are Governed By Psychopaths things get not said.

It was refreshing to see her tackle the subject of feedback delays, I posted a similar observation the other day in the comments on the Tom Murphy article.

For example, if you had a car that took several minutes to respond to actions on the gas and brake pedals it wouldn't be long before very bad things happened. Pressing the gas pedal for a few minutes as you impatiently waited for the car to start moving would result in the car smoothly accelerating up to speed, then well beyond as it continues to respond to your actions of a few minutes earlier. Frantically stomping on the brakes at this point has no immediate effect on your now high speed journey to disaster. Oops.

The simple fact is that even if we stopped emitting all carbon tomorrow, everyone in the world voluntarily doing nothing else but sitting in the cold and dark, the climate would continue to destabilize and sea levels continue to rise for decades if not centuries to come due to the gigatonnes of GHG's we have already spewed into the atmosphere.


...the climate would continue to destabilize and sea levels continue to rise for decades...

Yes, it's called thermal inertia as added heat in the atmosphere seeps into the real thermal carrier, the oceans with a 3-4 decades delay, then later socks it to us as those increased water temps drive the climate hotter, faster and harder. What is outrageously comical is most people are so unaware of the complexity of the topic they actually think the increase in climate change could stop instantly if we stopped spewing GHG's. They will have a real bad day once they finally accept AGW, only to then be told the whole truth - get ready for it to continue to get worse for decades and then stay that way for centuries!

Many even believe we would COOL DOWN the world, if we just emitted less.

Yes, I am active on other formus than TOD.

There are several types of delays in the system. The one that most people don't get, is is the accumulated emissions over hundreeds of years, rather than the current rate of emission that determines today's forcing. So the damage dome by today's actions are distributed over thousands of years, we don't see much this week. Also you have the thermal delays -although a decent fraction of the warming (half to maybe a quarter) should come within about a month.

The Buddhists had a real thing about cause and effect (in this case karma). Human folly is caused by the fact that delay in getting the effect means we don't realize the effects of our current actions, therefore we stupidly create bad causes without realizing the future price we will eventually have to pay. They considered an ideal state had simultaneous cause and effect, by which a person would instantly know if they were doing the right/wrong thing.

John Lennon got me thinking about Instant Karma. A lot less ambiguity that way.

Right, the thermal inertia of the oceans is truly massive. In addition to that is the fact that the CO2 (at least the fraction not absorbed by forests and oceans) is resident in the atmosphere for decades.

I'm certainly no expert, but my understanding is it essentially needs to "weather out" by slowly being turned into limestone. Although, even that requires the help of calcium carbonate loving marine organisms, the same organisms that are prone to dissolving in our increasingly acidic oceans.

Either that or the oceans return to a state like the anoxic swamps they were a few million years ago, after which all that green goo and swampgrass slowly gets buried and cooked into more black gold. Who knows, maybe in a few million more years another clever species will figure out how to burn the stuff.


There are many sources/sinks, some like the oceans have much greater capacity than the oceans. A good chunk (maybe half or a bit less), equilibrates with the shallow waters of the sea within a year or two. But some has a residence times of thousands of years.

The silicate to carbonate weathering, is supposed to happen only on land -it requires the presense of watering, but I read it doesn't happen in/under the ocean. That allegedly takes about a million years. We could speed it up by breaking up lots and lots of silicate (usually volcanic) rocks, and let nature do her slow job of silicate to carbonate weathering. I read where this is actually not very energy intensive, simply use explosives to bust up the top couple of meters of rock, then leave the stuff. I suspect unhealty stuff like heavy metals might leach out of the broken up rock -but at least it's CSOEI (Carbon Sequestered Over Energy Invested) is quite high.

"Yes, it's called thermal inertia as added heat in the atmosphere seeps into the real thermal carrier, the oceans with a 3-4 decades delay, then later socks it to us as those increased water temps drive the climate hotter, faster and harder. What is outrageously comical is most people are so unaware of the complexity of the topic they actually think the increase in climate change could stop instantly if we stopped spewing GHG's."

Dude. So totally unintuitive! Not like any of them have ever heated water on a *stove*...can't expect anyone to 'get' that kind of advanced math!


650-700 ppm CO2 by 2100 is the number now quietly assumed. We can't imagine the upcoming world.

Semiletov and colleagues have been noting methane bubbling, not dissolving, since 2008 in the Arctic waters. Amounts and extent growing each year.

No one is going to talk about climate change with the economy as it is. The politicians do polling and I presume it ranks extremely low. And anyone that talks about it will be tarred with "job-killing climate change rules" rhetoric. They are not psycho-paths, they are just politicians. If you wanna blame someone, blame the voters that encourage this behavior.

And I don't think the voters are psycho-paths . . . they are just ignorant, short-sighted, and greedy.

Just FYI, polls on climate change, pollution, CO2, clean water poll quite well and would be a strong plank for election to president (and will be, when the time is right, post conventions).


Yes, concern for AGW goes down when the economy is bad, but that's the best time to put government money into the solultions if you're going to do that all. I do admit that the old GOP solution (89/90), Cap and Trade, is now considered the left of center solution. But that's weak sauce compared to what we probably need -- I'm thinking WWII-level response. :-)

Anyway, we seem to have economics 101 backwards, cut when down, increase spending when up. Twilight Zone huh?

Temperatures climbing, weather more unstable, a majority says in poll

Americans are leery of broad-based tax increases to address the problem. More than 70 percent oppose policies that would rely on tax increases on electricity or gas to change individual behavior, while 66 percent favor tax breaks to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Fewer, 20 percent, want the government to stay out of regulating greenhouse gases altogether. About two-thirds want the United States to be a world leader addressing the problem, even if other major industrial countries do not pitch in. But being a world leader doesn’t translate into direct help for poor countries that may suffer from global warming: Just 24 percent think the U.S. government should provide a great deal or a lot of help to such countries.

These poll results show exactly what the problem is in the US.

"Yes it's a problem. I don't want to pay for it. The US should lead the world in addressing the solution. I still don't want to pay for it."

Or maybe the people answering the question realize that spending money helping people in other countries is not a solution to the underlying problem of overpopulation driving global warming. They recognize it for what it is: begging. Adaptation is not the solution.

Eliminating fossil carbon emissions and withdrawing 20% of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is the best solution for global warming.

Eliminating fossil carbon emissions and withdrawing 20% of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is the best solution for global warming.

When you put it that way, it sounds so simple.

They recognize it for what it is: begging.

Thats part of how we've been pschologically manipulated. Resentment against the fact that someone somewhere might get something underserved has been tweaked so far it is overwhelming. So we can't do anything that involves government, bacause somewhere, someone undeserved might game the system. We end up valuing making parasites pay (or at least not be fed) far far more, than saving out own skin.

The United States is the world's biggest oil hog, energy hog and Climate change emitter on the planet per capita. If we clean up our own house that would be plenty!

If Darwinian is correct, you'll need to be content with like 6mbpd of oil in total within a decade. Domestic oil production halved, net exports nil? That'll clean up plenty ;)

For large countries with population over 100 million thats true. I'm not sure where the current numbers are, but Canada and Australia were pretty close, and those two are adding significant fossil-carbon exports to the mix as well. Also some of the small oil states -like UAE etc. are probably higher per capita.

Turn off the computer. Now.

Only if you do it first!

Why> My computer, satellite modem and lights all run from an off-grid photovoltaic system. I am certainly doing my part. This one little yeast does not have the power to make everyone else get their rear ends in gear, including digital communication companies.

Kind of like Bush juniors wars. Don't ask the electorate to pay a cent of extra taxes to pay for them. Somewhere we failed to teach basic arithmetic, we expect something for nothing.

Yes, higher taxes on the rich, renewable energy, cutting defense spending... Many things that poll well, get slaughtered in the political process, which includes the process of those very same voters selecting candidates. Is it because these things are only weakly desired by the average voter, and he can easily overlook them to chase some other issue? Or, is he/she just easily distracted by the usual mud slinging?

Just FYI, polls on climate change, pollution, CO2, clean water poll quite well and would be a strong plank for election to president

“I don't vote. Two reasons. First of all it's meaningless; this country was bought and sold a long time ago. The **** they shovel around every 4 years *pfff* doesn't mean a ***** thing. Secondly, I believe if you vote, you have no right to complain. People like to twist that around – they say, 'If you don't vote, you have no right to complain', but where's the logic in that? If you vote and you elect dishonest, incompetent people into office who screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You caused the problem; you voted them in; you have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote, who in fact did not even leave the house on election day, am in no way responsible for what these people have done and have every right to complain about the mess you created that I had nothing to do with.” - George Carlin

"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal." - Emma Goldman

If you want AGW/the environment to mean something politically in the US of A do what got the EPA created - work on getting a Constitutional amendment passed to reflect biosphere protection. Such an effort bypasses the sELECTED SOTS right away and a few of the oppertunists would attempt to get out in front and THAT would create change.

Left or right, amending the constitution is an arduous and mostly ineffective way to legislate. I can't find the link right off-hand, but I read that there have been over 10,000 attempts at amending the US Constitution. Less than 30 amendments have ever been passed, so you'll forgive me if I roll my eyes whenever I hear someone suggest that amending the constitution is some magic way of getting past congressional gridlock.

One of my favorite George Carlin bits...(WARNING: Saucy language)

George Carlin - Persian Gulf War

Can you remember any white people, that we've ever bombed? The Germans, those are the only ones. And that's only because they were trying to cut in on our action. They wanted to dominate the world ... bull****, that's our f****** job!!

"we" know what ain't working (what had been happening) and the creation history of the EPA shows that the threat of the success of a Constitutional Amendment was enough for 'em to get off the dime decades ago.

I don't know anything about the creation of the EPA, except that it was that liberal treehugger Richard Nixon who signed it into law. A normal bill needs a simple majority in the House, 60 votes in the Senate (because of judicious use of fake filibustering) and the signature of the president to become a law. A constitutional amendment needs 2/3 majority vote in both houses. If they can't/won't deal with CO2 by passing normal legislation, what the hell would make them amend the constitution, and how would you ever get 67 votes in the Senate? On top of that, 3/4 of all state legislatures will have to ratify the new amendment. That means 13 states could prevent any new amendment from becoming the law of the land.

You might be able to pass an amendment that said something like, "Lollipops taste good." But even that might be too controversial for our current highly polarized political climate.

I don't know anything about the creation of the EPA, except that it was that liberal treehugger Richard Nixon who signed it into law.

The EPA, or something like it, was inevitable. Love Canal. The Cuyahoga River catching fire repeatedly. The Hudson and Chicago Rivers. Acid rain in the NE from Ohio and Pittsburgh smokestacks. LA smog. The federal government had a number of anti-pollution programs in effect, administered (inefficiently) by multiple departments. The EPA combined all of those into a single agency. The people of the US, and their representatives in Congress, decided that we were rich enough that we could dispose of some of our garbage, and operate a bunch of our equipment, in a more responsible fashion.

And it worked. The rivers don't catch fire. You can see the Mountains in LA now. Love Canal . . . well it is better and hopefully we don't that as much these days.

And to some degree, the EPA is the victim of its own success. People forget all the bad stuff and the reason why it was created so they demand for it to end by exaggerating its costs. Especially in tough economic times.

From phreephallin's commments above

A normal bill needs a simple majority in the House, 60 votes in the Senate (because of judicious use of fake filibustering) and the signature of the president to become a law.

Actually this is NOT historically the case! The "requirement" to get 60 Senate votes to pass anything is actually a recent distortion of the Constitution and US democracy by the rightwing Republicans once they lost the Senate in 2006 by filibustering EVERYTHING with
no consequences or effort required. The rightwing Republicans have launched literally hundreds of filibusters - unprecedented in US history. There used to be a handful of filibusters over critical issues. Now the Republicans have launched hundreds! There is no effort involved since a change in Senate rules which allows any filibuster without even the "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" requirements to continue speaking on the Senate floor during the whole length of the filibuster with enough votes to sustain it. Instead any Senator can simply raise a little finger and say "I object" and then go across the street to a sumptious dinner with lobbyists.

There was an attempt to change the Senate Rules at the beginning of the post-2010 election results but Majority Leader Harry Reid and some key Democrats did not support it.
Besides the flood of money and essentially legalized bribery corrupting our whole democratic process in the US, this is the biggest obstacle to getting anything done.
Of course if the Democrats had any courage they could easily counter by filibustering things like the Wars, fossil fuel subsidies and agricultural subsidies and the Republicans would be whimpering and screaming "foul foul foul" when the same tactics are used against their own favorites. As Romney now is crying foul when his tenure at Bain is brought up by Obama.

Overstated. The 60 vote thing had become a tradition in recent decades. But there was no real need for it. It of course unneccesarily makes our government pretty unresponsive.

Sorry but filibustering literally hundreds of bills is totally unprecedented!
To quote from Senator Tom Udall who proposed changing the Senate rules with the
latest Senate:

New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, Mark's cousin and a former state Attorney General, explains:

"There are more than 400 bills passed by the House that are waiting for Senate action. With secret holds on judges and administration officials, 50 courts have issued judicial emergencies and important government posts sit vacant. Blocking a vote with a filibuster used to be rare and reserved for extreme situations. Today every major bill faces one. There have been more filibusters since 2006 than the total between 1920 and 1980. Senate rules are supposed to allow for substantive debate and to protect the views of the minority-as our founders intended. Instead, they are abused to prevent the Senate from ever voting on critical legislation."

From http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/01/05-4
Note that as I stated the routine use of the filibuster by rightwing Republicans began after the 2006 elections when the Democrats retook the US Senate.
As much as I personally see the Democrats as pusillanimous Corporatists, the Republican party has become extremely rightwing and undemocratic as in this tactic, the radical right Supreme Court and now efforts for voter suppression in many States. The whole Republican program really consists of blocking ALL change and any progress for the sole interests of their 1% contributors.
Our democracy has been hijacked by a radical wing of the wealthy for their own gain.

14 reasons why this is the worst Congress ever

This week, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. On its own, such a vote would be unremarkable. Republicans control the House, they oppose President Obama’s health reform law, and so they voted to get rid of it.

But here’s the punchline: This was the 33rd time they voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Holding that vote once makes sense. Republicans had promised that much during the 2010 campaign. But 33 times? If doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result makes you insane, what does doing the same thing 33 times and expecting a different result make you?

Well, it makes you the 112th Congress.

This may be some Performance Art for their base; a little grandstanding. They make a lot of noise when there is no chance of repealing it, I wonder what they will do when they actually can. Lots of powerful corporations are going to cash in on it, depriving them of that cash may be political suicide.

Agreed that the obstructionism has been amped up to a ridiculous degree. I was just making the point that the filibuster and the 60 vote thing has been with us for a while. The R's have figured out, that they can gain politically by obstructionism, the voters don't pay attention, except to note that things are not going well. All blame then falls upon the party who controls the WhiteHouse, so anything that prevents any sort of success is done with apparent immunity.

I hate the kind of argument I'm going to make.

First, some current events:

HSBC Bank, with a value of 2.4 trillion dollars, just got noticed for laundering Mexican drug and Middle East terrorist money... including connections to Al Qaeda. They might get a billion dollar, 0.04% (four one hundredths of one percent), fine... and no one goes to jail.

The banks that got bailed-out with the people's money continued their casual practice of manipulating the LIBOR rate... further damaging, through reduction of investment returns, the municipalities that got sacrificed through the loss of land values, tax revenues, and retirement funds during the banking gambling debacle itself. The banks, after receiving trillions, paid little tiny fines for the gambling, and not even in cash. No one goes to jail.

The argument is one of those "out of frame" declarations at the wrong fractal scale: It doesn't matter. The whole political system and the media reporting it are pure theater. It's like having a really serious discussion about PRI versus PAN in Mexico: no matter who you vote for, the same 14 families control the show. Incremental changes are not going to fix that.

The kid's had the right idea. Too bad they got gassed, shot, beaten, and fined into retreating from view. Any real reporters got arrested: America is now 47th in press freedom. This all happened while the elders applauded and whistled to the representations on Fox News. No American spring. TPP is next.


Hence, my use of the term 'fake fillibustering'.

"Of course if the Democrats had any courage they could easily counter by filibustering things like the Wars, fossil fuel subsidies and agricultural subsidies".

Perhaps you have simply chosen a poor example, but my experience is that most democrats are just as much in support of things as the republicans. As well as unlimited growth. One coin, two sides, still good for buying an election.

Democrats are clearly not "just as much in support of such things as the republicans". Certainly the Dems fall short on many measures, but the record is clear and that statement is false, in the case of the Iraq war.


Introduced in Congress on October 2, 2002, in conjunction with the Administration's proposals,[2][7] H.J.Res. 114 passed the House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. EDT on October 10, 2002, by a vote of 296-133,[8] and passed the Senate after midnight early Friday morning, at 12:50 a.m. EDT on October 11, 2002, by a vote of 77-23.[9] It was signed into law as Pub.L. 107-243 by President Bush on October 16, 2002.

United States House of Representatives

Party Ayes Nays PRES No Vote
Republican 215 6 0 2
Democratic 82 126 0 1
Independent 0 1 0 0
TOTALS 297 133 0 3
126 (61%) of 208 Democratic Representatives voted against the resolution.
6 (<3%) of 223 Republican Representatives voted against the resolution: Reps. Duncan (R-TN), Hostettler (R-IN), Houghton (R-NY), Leach (R-IA), Morella (R-MD), Paul (R-TX).
The only Independent Representative voted against the resolution: Rep. Sanders (I-VT)
Reps. Ortiz (D-TX), Roukema (R-NJ), and Stump (R-AZ) did not vote on the resolution.

United States Senate

Party Ayes Nays No Vote
Republican 48 1 0
Democratic 29 21 0
Independent 0 1 0
TOTALS 77 23 0
21 (42%) of 50 Democratic senators voted against the resolution: Sens. Akaka (D-HI), Bingaman (D-NM), Boxer (D-CA), Byrd (D-WV), Conrad (D-ND), Corzine (D-NJ), Dayton (D-MN), Durbin (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Graham (D-FL), Inouye (D-HI), Kennedy (D-MA), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Reed (D-RI), Sarbanes (D-MD), Stabenow (D-MI), Wellstone (D-MN), and Wyden (D-OR).
1 (2%) of 49 Republican senators voted against the resolution: Sen. Chafee (R-RI).
The only Independent senator voted against the resolution: Sen. Jeffords (I-VT)

And the statement above is also clearly false on the issue of fossil fuel subsidies.
Romney is on record as opposing the Wind Production Tax Credit, while Obama is in favor.

Yesterday, 47 United States Senators voted to kill 37,000 American jobs, while giving $24 billion in tax breaks to big oil companies. It’s clear where these Senators’ loyalties lie: They would rather give handouts to the dirty energy of the past rather than invest in the clean energy of the future.
In a largely party-line 51-47 vote (four Democrats side with Big Oil, and two Republicans side with clean energy), the Senate failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to move forward on the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act, sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ).
This bill would do two things: End several egregious subsidies to big oil companies, while extending industry-supporting incentives for clean energy. Among those incentives is the critical Production Tax Credit, which encourages investment in wind energy.

They don't have courage. And they often agree with the policies.

And worse . . . they often have a good reason to be that way. The voters won't support them. Especially on things like trying to stop a war.

"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
- Hermann Goering at his Nuremburg trial.

they are just ignorant, short-sighted, and greedy.

Its far more than that. They are easily mislead by the increasing sophisticated and prevalent propaganda. They usually follow their "programming" well enough that the elites get their way.

Yesterday our governor in Illinois suggested that we pray for rain. Yup, that will do a lot of good, and is the preferred strategy of a lot of the rubes down here in south central Illinois as they look upon their drought destroyed crops. Global warming? Don’t even bring up the subject. God wouldn’t permit global warming! Me, I’m praying to Joe Pesci.

That's one smart governor you have there. In one fell swoop he:

(a) "Responded" to voter complaints about drought ruined crops in a way that none of his opponents dares criticize for fear of being branded an Athiest-Commie-Liberal.
(b) Took away the voters' ability to hold him accountable for not doing anything about it ("it's in God's hands")
(c) Cemented his credentials as "one of the flock" and a faithful GWD.

Once again proving that we get exactly the sort of politician that WE WANT and WE DESERVE.

Article on CNN Money claiming that the recession/anaemic recovery is not as bad as feared. Funny how they don't mention the fact that the Federal bean counters have been cooking the books to make growth seem better than reality.

The myth of the 'Zombie Economy' - CNN Money

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Welcome to what's being called the "Zombie Economy."

The recovery seemed to be picking up in the winter, only to then taper off in the summer. Several major indicators are barely showing a pulse these days, leading many to compare the U.S. economy to the walking dead.

But the heart-stopping stall might not be quite as bad as it appears.

Recent data would seem to back up the 'zombie' theory. The economy was growing at a 3% rate at the end of 2011, only to fall below 2% in the first three months of this year. Several economists are now cutting their forecasts for second quarter growth closer to 1%.

Interesting that the comments are all over the place instead of the usual neocon dribble. More folks seem to be accepting that we're in new territory, economically. Still plenty of folks explaining how we can fix this, though, and who's to blame.

Maybe as simple as, if you have a job it's not as bad, and if you've lost your job it's much worse.

My observation as well. Since there are no shortages of stuff, if you've got the bucks, "What's the problem?"

Now that you bring it up... Where are the resident TOD cornucopians? Haven't heard from them lately.

Though it's predictable that their "techno-narcissism" (as Kunstler puts it) might wane a bit as we begin to experience the reality of non-negotiable biogeophysical limits.

"All truth passes through three stages..."

More folks seem to be accepting that we're in new territory, economically. Still plenty of folks explaining how we can fix this, though, and who's to blame.

That is good news. Maybe people are learning. Neither the right nor the left have any magic solution for the economy. You can find mad Keynesian economic attempts and severe austerity around the world and neither of them produced any magic results. The issues more structural these days and just futzing around with interest rate levels, stimulus spending, or government program slashing is going to fix things. Those things won't address the fact that oil is much more expensive now, the population is aging, and low-cost foreign labor has decimated the US middle class.

I think it is ironic that so much of this election will be about economics considering neither side has policies that can do much about it. So you might as well vote the side that you agree with on real war and culture war issues.

Vote carefully, locally, roll the dice nationally. At least Obama can stop campaigning if he gets reelected; make some progress or do some damage. Depends on your view of things. I'm keeping my hopes very local :-0

Gotta go... the pressure canner is off to the races (green beans tonight, 10 quarts, 10 PSIG, 27 minutes).

Moderates: "Jobs! Growth!"

Social Democrats: "Jobs! Growth!"

Greens: "Jobs! Growth!"

Liberals: "Jobs! Growth!"

Left Party: "Jobs! Jobs!"

Centre (on life support): "Growth! Growth!"

Christian Democrats (on life support): "Jobs! Growth!"

Sweden Democrats: "Jobs! Growth!"

A bit futile rolling a dice if it's loaded.

But which ones reject free trade agreements? If they support the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement, then they support jobs and growth in countries outside of the U.S. If they support jobs and growth in alternative energy while the rest decline, then there would be progress.

US Navy ship 'fires on boat in Gulf'

A US ship has fired on a boat off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, US officials say.

The USNS Rappahannock fired on a vessel after it ignored warnings and rapidly approached the ship, a US Navy official said.

There is no confirmation of casualties although AP news agency reported one person had been killed and three hurt.

Tensions in the Gulf region are high after Iran recently renewed threats to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Lt Greg Raelson of the US Navy in Bahrain said that a security team on board the ship fired on a small motor boat after it disregarded warnings and "rapidly approached" the US ship near Jebel Ali, UAE.

"In accordance with navy force protection procedures, the sailors... used a series of non-lethal, preplanned responses to warn the vessel before resorting to lethal force," he said.

Quick economy question:

I keep hearing these ads on the radio about making small savings here and there. An example sited was to make coffee at home, instead of buying a five dollar coffee at the drive-thru.

The ads are paid for by the ad council, which I think is the government. Isn't this counterproductive? Don't they need us to borrow and spend more money into the economy? What the hell are they preaching savings for?

Maybe someone came to thier senses and realized last time we tried to spend our way out of a depression, both major parties ended up where they are now. Nah, Ad council people need jobs too.

Keep in mind Ad Council is not a government organization they are a non-profit.


The Advertising Council, commonly known as the Ad Council, is an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various sponsors, including non-profit organizations and agencies of the United States government.

But I think your original question actually proves the point... the Ad Council is not working in concert with the government in this instance. I only point this out because one can imagine pointless, misdirected anti-government rants this could lead to.


Sound like one of their "financial literacy" ads.

This one sounds like it is sponsored by "feedthepig.org" (from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)).

They are targeting demographics that really have no good examples (and little ability) to avoid the consumer traps out there, and their second order of effect is getting the message out there to "save money and go ahead and store it in the bank since you save it" (yeah that's my editorial comment, not theirs :-) )

Coffee purchases vs. making coffee at home is a small example -- assuming one isn't in a food desert. Other ones are ATM fees, expensive lunches, etc. etc. etc.

The council does not pay for the Ad, its usually public service airtime

The New Gas Guzzlers
China, India, Brazil and other developing countries will soon consume most of the world’s oil. That’s alarming news for the U.S.

Starting next year, for the first time on record the wealthy nations of Europe, North America, and Japan will account for less than one-half the world’s oil usage, projects the latest Oil Market Report from the International Energy Agency.

That’s partially a reflection of the growing efficiency of wealthy nations, and partially a reflection of poor countries’ growing prosperity. But it’s also a specific challenge for the United States of America, which, unlike our smaller rich peers, has grown accustomed to thinking of itself as master of its own destiny. A world in which a majority of oil consumption is happening in China, India, and Latin America is a world in which America’s energy fate is driven by forces beyond our control. And we’re pretty far behind in preparing for it.

Depending how you group countries, they are already guzzling the majority of the supply. They the population of these countries is also growing rapidly. See my charts in THe Growing Part of the World.

Depends on how you spin the news...I would say reducing your oil consumption is good news, it means you are less dependent on what's going on in Riyadh and Moscow. But people are accustomed to only one kind of world view.

Well it really depends on how you reduce your consumption. If you retire your V8 gas guzzler and get hybrid, that is great. If you lose your job and consume less gas because you are sitting at home burning through your savings . . . that is not such a good reduction of consumption.

well spoken.

An interesting fact about that article is the unstated but assumed premise . . . 'Oil is a zero sum game' these days. In the old days, the economists would simply dismiss such an article and say that we will just increase oil production to accommodate their growth. But we now all know the unstated truth . . . the more they use, the less that is available for us. Sure, production is still growing . . . but at a slower pace than at which new oil consumers are being added.

So the fact that the premise did not even need to be stated seems to indicate that progress is being made. But of course, this was Slate. When Fox News understands such a premise then we will have really gotten somewhere.

Most things happen by degrees. It only approximates a zero-sum game, i.e. supply still has some price elasticity.

When Fox figures it out, then they will switch to demand suppression. Perhaps trying to ban all poor people from consuming any...

Oil prices could be rigged by traders warns G20 report

A report commissioned by the G20 group of the world's biggest economies has warned oil prices could be vulnerable to a Libor-style rigging scandal.


Traders at various banks voluntarily report the prices they pay for oil contracts to Platts, Argus or one of their competitors. The price reporting agency use a number of trades to decide what the benchmark price, quoted to the outside world, should be.

IOSCO said that "this creates opportunity for a trader to submit a partial picture, i.e. an incomplete set of its trades in order to influence the assessment to the trader's advantage."

I wonder if there is a tipping point beyond which further reports of fraud and malfeasance causes confidence in the entire financial system to suddenly evaporate? History has shown, repeatedly, that once people decide their money is worthless then all bets are off. Literally.


I wonder if there is a tipping point beyond which further reports of fraud and malfeasance causes confidence in the entire financial system to suddenly evaporate?

Yes, I wonder too. As a small business I was getting raked over the coals by way of Interchange fees by visa/mastercard. I don't even know what that is, but it had nothing to do with any charges I had put through for my customers, so I closed the service which cost 500 dollars! On the final statement I got today it says: NEW VISA FIXED ACQUIRER NETWORK FEE: This is a reminder that effective April, 1, 2012, Visa is charging a Fixed Acquirer Fee (FANF). The FANF is a monthly fixed fee that is determined at the tax ID level and varies based on many factors, including but not limited to, your number of locations, processing volume, industry type, and whether the customer is present. Go to and they list their website for more information.

What a crock. Not only are they charging interchange fees that apparently have no correlation to charges put through by the merchant, but now they have conjured up this new arbitrary, vague, usurous and downright phoney baloney made up excuse to rip off their merchants.

I thought about it and realised they are probably mad about Obama's regs that restricted some of the charges they could hit customers with, so now they are going headlong after the merchants. It's greed on a scale I've never seen before - just completely outrageous! I finally have realised that greed has no limit. In fact, the more money involved the greater the greed. Has the whole business world gone greed mad?

Anyway, was just glad I ended their chance to rip me off any longer. Checks please!

Its been shown that the more you have, the more greedy you get. Its not just that the greedy get the money in the first place, but that having it makes us greedier. So the plutocrats get greedier/bolder as they get more and more.

+10 e of s.

If you give it all away, then you would not have anything.

That plus the most talented sociopaths among us tend to get promoted up the chain faster because our current "winner take all" corporate Darwiniam culture rewards this type of behavior. "Greed is good", while altruism, conservation and environmentalism are for losers. This is a genuine paradigm shift from 50 years ago, and it's getting worse, as more than a few Tea Party rallies has shown. The Overton window itself has shifted so far to the right in the U.S. that Richard Nixon could not run for office in his own party today, and probably could not even run as a liberal Democrat.

Perk man,

I worked for a small airline that wouldn't take any charge cards. One day some Yanks ran up a $1,000.00 + bill and tried to pay with Visa. I told them no thanks, gave them a business card and asked them to just send us a cheque when you get home. We had the money within two weeks. Actually, this has happened to us many times. We have never been stiffed on a personal cheque and customers were amazed that we trusted them. Granted, most folks who charter planes are not deadbeats, but charge cards are highly overrated. The amazement on their face when we asked them to mail a cheque was fabulous...they couldn't believe it. Of course the owner had everything paid for and could afford the risk, but that's beside the point.


So far as I am concerned, "all bets are off."


Shell Drill Ship Runs Aground in Unalaska

The Noble Discoverer appears to have run aground in Unalaska on Saturday afternoon.

Despite rain and 35-knot winds, more than a dozen residents came to Airport Beach to watch the Shell's contract tugboat Lauren Foss straining to pull the rig back out to sea.

... "Fortunately, where it got grounded, it was pretty soft in here," he says. "There's not a big bunch of sharp rocks out there. It's fortunate to have gone up here rather than out on the S-curves, where there's a lot of rocky areas that might compromise the hull."

"Unalaska"? How "Unironic." ;)

U.S. tentatively approves Shell plan for new arctic-drilling

“In the Arctic frontier, cautious exploration — under the strongest oversight, safety requirements and emergency response plans ever established — can help us expand our understanding of the area and its resources, and support our goal of continuing to increase safe and responsible domestic oil and gas production.”

“We are taking a cautious approach, one that will help inform the wise decisions of tomorrow,” Mr. Salazar said.

“We recognize that industry’s license to operate in the offshore is predicated on being able to operate in a safe, environmentally sound manner,” said Pete Slaiby, Shell’s top executive in Alaska. “Shell’s commitment to those basic principles is unwavering.”

I think Shell/Nobel will be a little concerned about their main props, seeing the aft end in to the mud like that. Easy to have bent a prop shaft or at a minimum damage the prop seals or rudder.

Time will tell.

Boy I called that one. All the money that Shell spent for the right to drill in the Arctic and they use a couple of POS rigs like that. The rig in the picture wasn't even originally built to be a drillship, it's not fit for purpose and has had severe anchor problems in the recent past. It's a junker and it shows me that Shell making the poor decision to pick that rig out of all the rigs they have available maybe they can't be trusted to make other decsions. Why spend billions to be able to drill and then go cheap on the rig you drill with?

They have to cut expenses somewhere to compensate for the high cost of the permission.

Finland's TVO says nuclear reactor not ready in 2014

Monday's announcement marked only the latest in a string of setbacks for the construction project, which began in 2005, with the reactor initially supposed to begin producing electricity in 2009.

The Finnish EPR, which is an example of so-called third generation nuclear technology developed by Areva and which is set to have a capacity of 1,600 megawatts, was first delayed until November 2010, then to December 2011 and then to August 2014.

TVO said that the reactor being built in southwestern Finland known as Olkiluoto 3 would not be ready to produce electricity normally in 2014 as previously expected and that a new timetable had not been set, blaming its partners for the delay.

Quite an indictment: The EPR Nuclear Reactor- A dangerous waste of time and money [pdf]

The French EPR* is a nuclear reactor design that is aggressively marketed by the French companies Areva and EDF. Despite the companies’ marketing spin, not only is the reactor hazardous, it is also more costly and takes longer to build than renewable-energy alternatives.

While no EPR is currently operating anywhere in the world, four reactors are under construction in Finland (Olkiluoto 3, construction started in 2005), France (Flamanville 3, 2007) and China (Taishan 1 and 2, 2009-10). The projects have failed to meet nuclear safety standards in design and construction, with recurring construction defects and subsequent cover-ups, as well as ballooning costs and timelines that have already slipped significantly.

From the Document,

Using several complex software systems to control a nuclear power plant introduces an enormous amount of potential errors and unpredictable interactions. As of November 2011, no approved design of the control systems exists, even though Areva has been working on this system for years. In addition, in many of the EPR components Areva is proposing to use off-the-shelf computer systems that do not comply with nuclear safety standards.


The EPR design is not equipped to deal with a sustained blackout of the power supply to the reactor’s emergency systems, a crucial design defect that caused the Fukushima nuclear disasters in March 2011. The EPR reactor’s emergency diesel generators are insufficient to power many crucial subsystems needed to cool down the reactor. If the diesel generators malfunction, the reactor is designed to prevent a meltdown of the reactor and the nuclear waste ponds for only 24 hours before risking meltdown. In Fukushima, the blackout lasted 11 days. Once cooling is lost, an accident can proceed fast: in the Fukushima reactors, fuel was completely molten 11 hours after the meltdown started.

Relax, Bob, they're only building four,, so far :-/

Considering the Delays and the Costs, it's not too likely (I have to think) that there will be too many new Groundbreakings for EPR, at least until one of these four actually Flips the Switch. They're creating their own FUD for us.. thanks EDF!

Frack the Border: Cartels Use Oil Boom to Move Drugs

According to a report from the Houston Chronicle, drug traffickers are using the state’s Eagle Ford Shale to move drugs. Cartels have stolen trucks belonging to energy companies, and have bribed truck drivers and contractors who have flooded the area for work. The cartels may also be cloning vehicles to resemble company trucks. This is while new roads sprouting along the oil and gas fields have inadvertently opened new routes around the Border Patrol’s highway checkpoints.

“[Traffickers] are using those roads to transport drugs, guns, ammo, you name it,” Albert DeLeon, chief deputy for the Dimmit County sheriff’s office, told Chronicle reporter Dane Schiller.

In March, police intercepted more than 18,000 pounds of marijuana in two trucks “on a private road leased to energy companies and carrying what looked like supplies used in oil field operations,” Schiller reported. In June, the Border Patrol busted an energy company worker hauling nearly two tons of pot, Schiller adds. And one year ago, the Border Patrol stopped a “bogus oil field truck” hauling marijuana.

Looks like this nugget was overlooked:

Death Valley sets world record for highest 24 hr average temperature 117.5 F

It also ties the world record for highest daily low temperature ever recorded 107 F...


Of course it proves nothing, but funny how the records have been falling of late, eh?

Temperatures have cooled considerably at Death Valley over the weekend, and the forecast for Monday calls for for a downright chilly high of just 110°. That's sure to be a disappointment for the ultramarathoners in the grueling Badwater Ultramarathon, which begins Monday in Death Valley. Covering 135 miles (217km) non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA, it is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet. I'm sure they would have liked to have had the distinction of running their race last Wednesday and Thursday, during the hottest 24-hour period ever recorded on the planet!

Americans are crazy.

There seems to be one Swede on the Roster.

He is a fire fighter. Used to work hard in heat then. I also guess there are alot of welders in the crowd. Or not, we tend to conserve our efforts when it is hot...

America is a huge and diverse country. There's no such thing as "Americans".

There is no such country as America, but technically there is such a thing as Americans. They are just a diverse bunch that includes everyone living between Boothia Peninsula and Cape Froward, and between Attu Island and Ponta do Seixas.

Surely you know what I meant.

we are nearing solar max. the week before last, sunspot 1515
lobbed out continous M class flares . X-ray and UV surges
pummeling the planet. the proton chart jacked up and solar wind
speedometer was near the red zone for days. then a more M class and an X class last week from ss1520 causing yet more intense solar radiation.
i'm not doubting elevated co2 levels have increased climate volitility, but increased solar radiation will certainly increase temps,won't it ?
best hopes for utilizing more solar power to energize our economy, decrease our co2 emissions and our addiction to oil.

what's ironic is it's been another mild,wet spring in western washington state because of having our third la nina in a row.
the corn was nowhere near knee high by the 4th of luly.. too damp.

Wet over on the "dry" side of the state as well. Stevens County (NE corner) had its wettest June ever, breaking the old record by about an inch. We are usually hot and dry this time of year, instead having a lot of clouds and thunderstorms so far in July.

Sharing isn't always caring: Why don't consumers take care of their Zipcars?

The authors interviewed users of the Zipcar car sharing service and found that consumers do not feel any psychological sense of ownership.

"Our study challenges the romanticized view of access understood as a form of collaborative consumption and altruistically motivated. Instead, we show it to be the reverse, with everyone looking out for their own best interest and not connecting to the objects they are accessing, other consumers, or the company," the authors conclude.

As a carshare member, the above article is no news to me.

Most US citizens buy cars as status signals, more than as a transportation tool.
Certainly someone who lives in the city or suburbs and bought a rugged SUV or pickup(like ~50% of US drivers), feels a psychological sense of ownership and derives much identity from their car ("you are what you drive"). That is how marketers convince consumers to buy $40K SUVs and trucks when a $13K econocar would get them from point A to point B much more cheaply (and still safer than any car sold in the US 20 years ago).

But carshare members generally just want the transportation service on an intermittent basis, and derive no identity bonus from their choice of vehicle. Just because no car share members fondle their cars lovingly with soap and brush, does not mean that car share cannot deliver tremendous economic and logistical benefits. There is some maintenance benefit to an "owner's love" but not near enough to fill the economic gap between $10K per year car ownership costs versus $4/hr and $0.30/mile (gas included) car share costs.

Marketers are already lamenting that younger US cohorts do not have the emotional attachment to cars that older generations do.
This resistance to the marketer's whiles matches well with the utilitarian ethos of car share.


At a major conference last year, Toyota USA President Jim Lentz offered up a fairly doleful summary of the industry's challenge.
"We have to face the growing reality that today young people don't seem to be as interested in cars as previous generations," Lentz said. "Many young people care more about buying the latest smart phone or gaming console than getting their driver's license."

In almost any future scenario I can imagine I expect car sharing to grow as a percentage of car usage, even as US total car usage continues the current downward trend.

One of the major costs of Auto Addiction seldom mentioned is the HUGE drain on resources of 250 million personal 2 ton cars. The excellent book:
"Stop Signs - Cars and Capitalism on the road to economic, social and ecological decay"
by Yves Engler and Bianca Mugyenyi outlines these resources:

In 1968, automobiles consumed 21% of US steel, 10.4% of aluminum, 36.5% of zinc, 8.2% of copper, 54.7% of lead, 19.4% of ductile iron and 40% of malleable iron, 14.3% of nickel and 66% of rubber.

Carsharing services like Zipcars will help REDUCE this huge consumption.
Of course Green Transit Rail, lightrail, buses, shuttles, bicycles and walking would negate even that need although of course resources will be needed for more rail cars, buses and shuttles. But the usage rate will be far higher than even Zipcars.
This is another major reason transitioning from Auto Addiction to Green Transit is
so critical.

I hope carsharing grows. I like the concept of people being able to easily get a car that they need for a particular usage only when they need it for that usage. 99% of SUV driving is done with the SUV essentially empty and not towing anything but many people buy them because they occasionally have lots of people in them and tow something. Why not just get a small car and rent/carshare an SUV for the few times you need one?

And carshare programs can be nice for people that want to get an electric car but still have occasional long trips to make.

You go to sites about SUVs and read the comments where people defend their decision to buy such big vehicles. Most of their reasoning seems a bit weak. Lets face it, Americans on average just really, really love big cars. In their defense, they are often more comfortable and probably a little safer on average. But mostly it comes down to over 60 years of the American auto industry remorselessly promoting big cars. Which makes sense - a big vehicle only costs a little more to manufacture than a small one, but people will pay much more for them.

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

Hydraulic Fracturing and Safe Drinking Water Act Issues

Historically, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had not regulated the underground injection of fluids for hydraulic fracturing of oil or gas production wells. In 1997, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that fracturing for coal bed methane (CBM) production in Alabama constituted underground injection and must be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). … to address regulatory uncertainty the ruling created, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) revised the SDWA term “underground injection” to explicitly exclude the injection of fluids and propping agents (except diesel fuel) used for hydraulic fracturing purposes. Consequently, EPA currently lacks authority under the SDWA to regulate hydraulic fracturing, except where diesel fuel is used.

Several relevant bills are pending. H.R. 1084 and S. 587 would repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing operations established in EPAct 2005, and amend the term “underground injection” to include explicitly the injection of fluids used in hydraulic fracturing operations, thus authorizing EPA to regulate this process under the SDWA. The bills also would require disclosure of the chemicals used in the fracturing process. S. 2248 and H.R. 4322 would specify that a state has sole authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands within state boundaries.

This report reviews past and proposed treatment of hydraulic fracturing under the SDWA, the principal federal statute for regulating the underground injection of fluids to protect groundwater sources of drinking water. It reviews current SDWA provisions for regulating underground injection activities, and discusses some possible implications of, and issues associated with, enactment of legislation authorizing EPA to regulate hydraulic fracturing under this statute.

Low Water Levels On The Mississippi River A Major Threat To Commerce: ‘This Is Absolutely Not Normal’

Companies operating along the Mississippi River are seeing a drastic cut in business as severe drought lowers water levels and makes shipping increasingly difficult.

As the water levels fall, barges have run aground near Vicksburg, Mississippi, where the water is already less than 5 feet deep, and shipping companies have been forced to curtail their business.

In response to the dramatically low water levels, companies have decreased the number of barges in operation. Without some steady rain soon, “the vast majority of commerce would have to stop,” says P.B. Shah, president of Ingram Barge Co., the largest barge company operating on the Mississippi river.

Oh, the drought start hurting others than just farmers now? Mother nature is sending a PM. Are they reading it?

Ukraine, China sign $3.7 bil loan deal to move power plants from gas to coal

Who says coal is dead? Alternatively what happens when gas is no longer cheap? Ukraine and Germany are building new coal fired plant. In Australia the carbon tax is not enough to erase the 10X cost advantage of brown coal over gas. The two or three small coal plants that are to be retired were old and decrepit and would have retired anyway. The big brown coal plants (eg Hazelwood with 16 Mt CO2 per year) could be with us for another 20 years.

This is why international CO2 caps are better than taxes, provided they can't be scammed with bogus credits and free permits.

...provided they can't be scammed with bogus credits and free permits.

And provided we could breed a flying pig, we'd have flying pigs. And provided we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs, provided we had some eggs. Fat chance.

Anything as intrinsically complicated as a global numerical cap is guaranteed to be gamed to death. Just for starters, the numbers that countries provide will likely prove even less useful and accurate than, say, numbers for oil reserves. If it comes down to the choice between lying, or else shutting down large swaths of one's own economy with all the immediately dire consequences (possibly including revolution) that entails, any leader with a lick of sense will lie.

And how does one "enforce" the cap, anyway? The likely "police chiefs" would be the same sort of addled international "diplomats" who appointed Robert Mugabe as some sort of global "tourism ambassador". So give villains like that an army? Oh, yeah, that would build and enhance confidence and mutual trust...

The history of global ozone layer protection would seem to disprove your contention that "Anything as intrinsically complicated as a global numerical cap is guaranteed to be gamed to death.".

Certainly the numerical limits on emissions of ozone-depleting chemicals were "gamed", but not "to death", since the global treaty to eliminate CFCs and other ozone-depleting chemicals is almost universally considered successful.

So maybe sometimes the "guarantee" is not honored.


Since the Montreal Protocol came into effect, the atmospheric concentrations of the most important chlorofluorocarbons and related chlorinated hydrocarbons have either leveled off or decreased.[14] Halon concentrations have continued to increase, as the halons presently stored in fire extinguishers are released, but their rate of increase has slowed and their abundances are expected to begin to decline by about 2020. Also, the concentration of the HCFCs increased drastically at least partly because for many uses CFCs (e.g. used as solvents or refrigerating agents) were substituted with HCFCs. While there have been reports of attempts by individuals to circumvent the ban, e.g. by smuggling CFCs from undeveloped to developed nations, the overall level of compliance has been high. In consequence, the Montreal Protocol has often been called the most successful international environmental agreement to date. In a 2001 report, NASA found the ozone thinning over Antarctica had remained the same thickness for the previous three years,[15] however in 2003 the ozone hole grew to its second largest size.[16] The most recent (2006) scientific evaluation of the effects of the Montreal Protocol states, "The Montreal Protocol is working: There is clear evidence of a decrease in the atmospheric burden of ozone-depleting substances and some early signs of stratospheric ozone recovery."[17]

It's going to be a lot harder to keep carbon, which is ubiquitous, from being gamed, than it was to keep a small set of specialty gases from being gamed. Especially when for some major applications, i.e. transportation, the substitutes for carbon are less useful. So I wouldn't generalize too glibly from the one to the other, all the more because we've already seen a lot of gaming and a lot of pious but broken promises.

Bottom line is that your statement "guaranteed to be gamed to death" has been proved false by history. Maybe carbon limits will fail and maybe they will succeed, but failing to even attempt limits is "guaranteed" to fail.

A lot of people make the argument (will be gamed to death) in order to prevent action. Given how strongly the people of the US have had their resentiments stoked -the mere possibility that some unworthy A-hole will make money gaming the system is enough to kill it.

If we had flying pigs we wouldn't have any ham as they would have all flown to cloud cuckoo land.


U.S., Israel now on same page regarding Iran: Clinton

"It's absolutely fair to say that we are on the same page at this moment trying to figure our way forward to have the maximum impact on affecting the decisions that Iran makes,"

Aircraft carrier USS Stennis going to Persian Gulf early, staying longer

The Pentagon is sending the aircraft carrier USS John Stennis to the Persian Gulf region four months ahead of schedule for an eight-month deployment – twice as long as originally planned, defense officials told NBC News on Monday.

The major shift in the Stennis deployment is a response to steadily rising tensions over Iran's nuclear program, Iran's threat to shut down the Strait of Hormuz over tighter international sanctions and the possibility that Israel may launch pre-emptive airstrikes against Iran's nuclear facility

Today, Pentagon spokesman George Little confirmed that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has agreed to a recent request from U.S. Central Command to maintain a two-carrier presence in the Middle East.

Pentagon Sends Carrier to the Middle East Early

... got popcorn?

Navy sends underwater mine hunters to Gulf

WASHINGTON — The Navy is rushing tiny underwater drones to the Persian Gulf to help find and destroy sea mines as part of an American military buildup aimed at stopping Iran from closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the event of a crisis, U.S. officials said.

The Navy bought dozens of the little-known German-made devices, known as the SeaFox, in February after an urgent request by Marine Gen. James Mattis, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, for more minesweeping capabilities in the region, officials said.

Reopening the strait could take the Navy and its allies five to 10 days, officials said. But experts say even a temporary disruption of tanker traffic could cause global oil prices to soar and spark widespread economic turmoil.

Pipeline co. fined $5,000 for oil spill in Texas

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined Enterprise Crude Pipeline $5,000 for spilling some 4,200 gallons of crude oil into a Texas tributary that feeds into a major river.

The fine announced Monday is roughly $1.19 for each gallon of oil that ended up in Bull Creek, which spills into the Colorado River. The river is a major source of water for Texas, which is recovering from one of the worst droughts in its history.

The EPA reached an "expedited settlement" with Houston-based Enterprise. It says the company "certified it has investigated the cause of the spill" and cleaned it up.

Tropical butterfly discovered in Quebec a sign of warming

Giant swallowtails normally live in Central and South America. Starting in the late 1990s, they began showing up in North America as far north as the southern tip of Canada.

While other butterfly species are also edging northward at a rate of 16 kilometers (10 miles) per decade, the giant swallowtail is moving into new habitats at a rate 15 times faster than average.

Its range now extends a full 400 kilometers (248.5 miles) into areas previously too inhospitable to support a viable population.

What!? The Giant Swallowtail is hardly native to just Central and South America. Papilio cresphontes was quite common in Michigan for my entire life dating back to 1980...and there are thousands of them to be seen along Point Pelee (Canada) National Park during certain times of year. It's been that way all my life. Montreal may be somewhat outside of their documented NE range but that stuff happens now and then. I wonder if the SW winds have been stronger this year? I found a Black Witch at a Giant Supermarket in Maryland when I first moved here, now that was a bit unusual.

Ya sure it was the GIANT vs the striped worm that looks like a monarch caterpillar?

Trust me, I know my Lepidoptera.

Ortho wants to kill Monarch Butterflies. Well, they did.

As quests go, the one Thousand Oaks garden designer David Snow embarked on is a doozy.

For six months, Snow has devoted himself to saving the reputation of America's most beloved butterfly by getting the world's largest maker of pesticides to change its ways.

Specifically, Snow wants Ortho to change the labels on its "Bug-B-Gon" and "Flower, Fruit and Vegetable Insect Killer" so they no longer feature images of the striking monarch butterfly caterpillar under the ominous vow, "guaranteed results."

Not sure what that has to do with the Giant Swallowtail. Pesticides are generally indiscriminant with regards to what caterpillars they kill. I'm also not aware of anyone who has really ever thought of the Monarch as a pest, I'm actually surprised Ortho put one on the label. Pretty poor marketing on their part.

I raise native Giant Silkmoths, have done so every single summer for the past 25 years. When I first moved to my current residence, in the first two years I had a high mortality on many of my caterpillars to what I thought was some sort of disease. I finally figured it out - it turns out the stupid development I live in has signed up for the county mosquito spraying program, and every Thursday when I am at work the stupid fogger truck drives along spraying Permethrin. I was (am) livid about this, and opt out and refuse to pay for it, but my neighbors both do it so I have no (legal) way to stop it. One of the old ladies in the development runs the program for everyone, so every day that I see her fat ass waddling down the street I wish a heart attack upon her. I take solace that I will probably outlive her and hopefully see the demise of the program. Cruel maybe, but moths are a huge part of my life and actually the reason I bought this property in the first place.

I've adapted by bagging the caterpillars out on trees further in my backyard away from the drift of the fog. Still, if the fog drifts over to a tree and it doesn't rain for a while...and a caterpillar eats a leaf...it dies.

Not sure what that all has to do with Giant Swallowtails either, just another tale of pesticides...

We have had swallowtails as long as I remember on the west coast Canada. I am in my fifties. We have had a swack this year too!!

I'm no expert on butterflies, but my brother has observed them carefully for over 50 years. We grew up in Montreal but now live on one of the Thousand Islands, near Kingston, Ontario.

Both Montreal and Howe Island have always had plenty of tiger swallowtails and black swallowtails, but my brother says it's only in the past two years that he's seen the giant swallowtails. They are black with yellow, so a less observant guy like me might just think, "Woah, that's a big tiger swallowtail."

I've seen lots of tigers while doing the hay this year, but I will look more carefully from now on. My brother has taken a few photos of the giants, and notes, "They are a bit bigger than the tiger swallowtails and do a weird fluttering thing with their wings when they are feeding."

Another post from Neven and colleagues at the Arctic Sea Ice blog. (h/t Climate Progress)

Petermann calves again

Petermann Glacier has calved another large ice island, about half the size
of the calving of two years ago, which amounts to about two Manhattans.

This second big calving (spotted this time by Arcticicelost80) is another spectacular event on Greenland this year, following retreats of the Jakobshavn Glacier and lowest reflectivity of the Greenland ice sheet on record, leading to unprecedented flooding in the southwest of Greenland. This calving was expected to happen, as the rift in the glacier has been there for years

This is what it looks like:

Might be time to do something?

That looks so corpuscular, veinous, cerebral even!

Is that mostly bare rock we're seeing, with the glacier flowing through?

Yes. With a few local ice caps on the surrounding high ground.

Paste this into Google Earth.

80° 39.127'N 60° 25.629'W

Stop zooming at about 150k ?. None of the historical images show near as much rock.

Did it, very cool!

I pictured Greenland as 100% ice and snow. I didn't expect bare rock. And yes, older pictures have a lot more ice and a lot less rock exposed. By by albedo!



I just checked the dates, didn't see any correlation.

The Jakobshavn retreted further this year? Any sources to this? (AKA "Link Please"). I am curiously following the Jacobshavn with interest. It is a very special glacier.

Might be time to do something?

What exactly? Invest in some new Greenland real estate? "We" aren't going to do a d**ned thing about AGW because (a) it's too late already with decades-to-centuries of delayed feedback already "baked in the cake", (b) an intellectually lazy, willfully ignorant public that only elects "leaders" that tell them exactly what they want to hear, and (c) global population growth and the third world's race to become "just like us" negating any piddling incremental "savings" in carbon emissions that rich industrialized countries might make.

Regardless of what people on TOD may know or think, "we" (human beings) are mighty stupid and shortsighted collectively on national or global scale. If "we're" lucky, the bought and paid for corporate marionettes who masquerade as political leaders in rich nations *might* be pursuaded that transitioning to renewables (and Gen-IV nuclear) is a good idea right now while there's still time to avert catastrophic *economic* collapse (the only kind the money masters care about). That's about the best outcome we can hope for.

Human beings solving AGW on a global scale --as things stand now-- is politically, economically, numerically, religiously, culturally, and genetically impossible. As a species we would need a level of macro awareness, intelligence, cooperation, consensus, and centralized leadership on par with the Borg. Not. Gonna. Happen.

good interview of William deBuys from Climate Progress- well worth a fulkl reading if you have the time. Some key quotes:

Almost all the ways we have of producing electricity require a lot of water, with photovoltaic and wind being exceptions for the most part. Coal-fired thermal production is very water intensive, nuclear is very water intensive. At same time dealing with our water resources is very energy intensive. Well over a fifth of all electricity in United States is used for moving water around.

The feedbacks reinforce each other. The more water you need the more electricity you need the more water you need etc. It’s not a sustainable relationship. We’ve got to break that circle at some point with renewables and new ways of water budgeting.

All those things are working against the interest of forest stability. Some people say the eco-zones are going to march up-slope in a formal manner; frankly I think that’s baloney. It presumes a couple of things. One is that the changes in the climate occur slowly enough that these slow growing plants can make the move. I think that’s ostensibly false. The changes are happening much too fast. It also presumes that as things move up-slope they have open opportunity to reestablish themselves. But that’s not how ecology works –there’s always something there. And that complicates the establishment of a new community.

Yep. All water users need to pay for their water usage . . . including farmers and power plants. And if we make power plants pay more for their water, that will provide more incentive to build out more PV & wind since they are so much more water efficient. It definitely makes a big difference in water constrained places like California. When you realize how much water is saved by solar & wind, it helps their adoption. But natural gas turbine systems are still so much cheaper especially with the current low gas prices and their water usage is not so bad.

And those who've pointed out civilian atomic powered ocean going ships for trade:

A parliamentary committee has pushed through a bill approving the nuclear merchant ships project, reported semi-official Iranian news agency Mehr.

So that some day Somali pirates can capture a nuclear powered oil tanker flying an Iranian flag.

Iran strives for the ability to sneak into Israeli waters with a nuclear powered military submarine and send the core into meltdown.

Iran is prodding its enemies with a hot poker.

The article contains this gem (emphasis mine):

Iran categorically denies Western allegations that it is developing atomic weapons and defends its right to a peaceful nuclear weapons program.

That's a fine catch, but I bet it's a typo by the journalist. Iran has been insisting that it wants to develop civilian nuclear power throughout this mess. The fact that our nations roundly doubt their assertion does little to make most of our own assertions that much more reliable..

Everyone is still happy to let Isreal blush and claim they aren't Nuclear-tipped. They're Still drinking that kool-aid even with the Doggie-doo sculpture as the Floating centerpiece.

How Broken Is the San Onofre Nuclear Plant?

The interesting part, other than a tabulating of 15,000 wear points, say 1,000 of them about half way through the tube wall, on 3,400 tubes, is a long comment by "Begoodto" AKA Dan Johnson.

Thank you. Very illuminating. It appears we have an industry that will plead 'who could have forseen' after the next Fukushima.

"an industry that will plead 'who could have forseen'"

Metallurgically speaking, Inconel 690 is not as ductile as Inconel 600, so if they were already having flow induced vibration (FIV) issues with Inconel 600, then they would likely get worse with Inconel 690. Since they had to know this, they must have trusted the Computational Fluid Dynamics modeling to minimize the vibration. And this failed. Also not a surprise. Non-linear system, chaotic inputs, so doomed from the start.

I've had to do the failure analysis of a few shell and tube heat exchangers done in by FIV. All you can do is fiddle with the baffles placements and design, or use bigger tubes (reducing the heat transfer efficiency) and try again.

An old engineer, recently passed, spent his latter career consulting on nuke plants. Early career was building Navy nukes. He sorta wanted to retire, but couldn't because "the kids" couldn't solve high temp/pressure/vibration situations. Their tools would kick out solutions, but when built would have issues.

They didn't understand the underlying engineering well enough to fix it, so he got calls instead. he lamented the lack of somebody to fill his shoes. Unlike some, he didn't think there were none smart enough, just none smart enough that wanted to do engineering.

If this is not a terribly isolated phenomenon, we're in a world of hurt.

When cheap and portable "pocket" calculators became available, students were warned to at least be able to make an estimation in their heads about what range of answer to expect from the machine for a problem entered into it. Now, they are taught how to enter a problem into a machine that does a whole lot more. The students themselves are taught a whole lot less about practical matters... about actually doing something. The real tools and pieces are foreign to them. They haven't had nearly enough of their stuff blow-up right in front of them to learn what reality really looks like.

K - You might enjoy this tale from my distant past. First day of my first statistics class taught by a biology prof. And this was at the time we saw the first pocket calculators at the university. Found out later the prof always asked the same question of each new class: If he tossed a coin 19 times and every time it came up heads what are the odds of it showing heads on the 20th toss? Of course, we were all too smart to fall for this trick question and answered "50/50". And as usual he would laugh and explain why our answer made no sense.

With those spiffy new calculators anyone could quickly knock out the correct and very high number of permutations needed to see 20 heads in a row but that wasn't the answer, right? He said the odds were pretty dang 100% that the 20th toss would show heads. He said it didn't matter what the calculator said no one in the class would ever see a coin flip heads 19X in a row if it were an honest coin. IOW it was double headed and thus 100% certain to be heads on the 20th toss and everyone other one.

It wasn't just a silly joke. Throughout the entire course he made us focus on the validity of the assumptions regarding every population stat we calculated. He said he didn't care if we could remember the various stat equations...can always look those up. But if we didn't understand sampling bias and other factors that create false stats it didn't matter if we knew how to do math. At least half of all the problems he gave us had invalid assumptions that had to be adjusted for. And if adjustments couldn't be made then the correct answer was: there is no meaningful stat possible.

That's fun... and it points out something that's really true: constructing the question right is 90% of the answer.

If this is not a terribly isolated phenomenon, we're in a world of hurt.

So now we are maintaining nuke plants by trial and error.

As I understand it, the modeling was done by Mitsubishi using software from a previous project involving a different design.

Mitsubishi’s computer code was... not capable of analyzing Combustion Engineering (CE) designs like San Onofre... was only qualified for Westinghouse designs... In NRC licensing jargon, the Mitsubishi design codes were not benchmarked for the CE Design.

The original steam generators designed and manufactured by CE for San Onofre were successfully operated 28 years... the original steam generators had... unique egg-crate tube supports that kept the tubes from vibrating and colliding... dramatically different from any of the Westinghouse generators fabricated by Mitsubishi... the Mitsubishi computer design code, which is based upon Westinghouse models, was not appropriate for design changes to the San Onofre replacement steam generators originally designed by CE.

Westinghouse broached-plate tube support design (image):

Combustion Engineering egg-crate tube support design (image):

The flow restriction is higher in the Westinghouse design. This is said to lead to the top of the tubes being dry and acoustically undamped. It is also prone to clogging:
(PDF) http://westinghousenuclear.com/Products_&_Services/docs/flysheets/NS-ES-...


Improving like-for-Like RSGs
Nuclear Engineering International Magazine
January, 2012

Nuclear Engineering International online magazine:

Sounds like management trying to increase the "efficiency"...too bad most engineers can't afford to put their jobs on the line for the sake of ethics.

This was such a dumb unforced error by the industry. It seems they wanted to get a little more power out of the plant so they changed the design to increase the number of tubes and thus increase the heat exchanging. But it backfired on them when the new system wore out quickly. D'oh! And instead of getting a little more power out, the plant is shut down. They got greedy and it backfired.

That's what's so d@mn funny! People have been trying to get San Onofre shut down for decades... and here they go and shut themselves down! And for nothing! The ripple of changes to the design of the steam generators spread out from the attempt to add 400 additional tubes to a heat exchanger already having over 9000 tubes... a gain of 4%. To achieve this, they were willing to further compromise an already marginal design by striping out structural supports and greatly reducing repairability, then shut all the whistle-blowers up, and, further, lie their captive regulatory agency: in other words, lie to the public.

San Onofre’s Steam Generator Failures Could Have Been Prevented

San Onofre Cascading Steam Generator Failures Created By Edison
Imprudent Design And Fabrication Decisions Caused Leaks

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia showed no sign of cutting back supply in June following last month’s Opec agreement to rein in production, instead raising output by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) from May to 10.1 million bpd (mbpd), an industry source said.

I was nearly chased out of here in 2005 or so for challenging the notion that Saudi was on the cusp of a precipitous decline. I thought the evidence pointed to them having some spare capacity, but a number of people were certain that the nosedive was imminent. Hubbert Linearizations were posted to "prove" that the Saudi decline was underway, and I went to great effort to debunk those models. In fact, I recall a couple of people saying that they would only be proven wrong if Saudi raised their production up to 10 million barrels per day. Someone in fact offered to bet me that Saudi would never raise production to that level.

Have posters here ever generally acknowledged that what was predicted here -- by the majority of people in fact -- about Saudi oil production was grossly in error? Or do people simply believe their predictions aren't wrong, but simply early? (Lots of wrong predictions about Russia too, but I never really argued that point with anyone).

I don't read through the comments every day, so this may have been discussed. And I am not posting this as an "I told you so." I am just curious as to whether the subject has been discussed, as I think there are valuable lessons that can be learned.


I have enjoyed your writings, including your recent book and video response to Monbiot, and respect your informed views. And it's a shame if you felt uncomfortable posting your views on TOD as the result of criticism you received. On the other hand, I think most on TOD shared a sense of mission, especially at that time, to wake people up to the catastrophe that lies ahead as world oil production inevitably goes into decline. I also get the sense that most of the people here now accept that it's too late to make a difference -- the world slept through the alarm and will pay the consequences.

Predictions about the future are always risky and the most pessimistic ones have certainly not come true. However, I don't know that I agree that predictions about Saudi production were "grossly" in error because I have seen many different estimations from very pessimistic on up. Certainly, Saudi has not yet gone into decline, yet can you deny the signs that they are running into difficulties (in field drilling, turning to less attractive fields, declining net exports)? Do you feel that a month-over-month 300,000 bpd increase, if confirmed, is significant? Can it be sustained? And, more to the point, does it make a tinker's damn worth of difference in the larger picture?

Timing the exact moment that Saudi peaks is impossible and unnecessary, in my opinion. I think the bigger picture painted by Deffeyes, Campbell, Laherrere and others is accurate enough to tell us where the future lies. And it is that future, rather than the precise estimation of a particular producer's peak that is of greatest relevance.

On the other hand, I think most on TOD shared a sense of mission, especially at that time, to wake people up to the catastrophe that lies ahead as world oil production inevitably goes into decline.

My point was always that if you made bold, confident predictions that turned out later to be disproven, we would be largely discredited. So I tried to hold those Saudi predictions to a high standard, and I challenged what I considered pseudoscience around those predictions.

However, I don't know that I agree that predictions about Saudi production were "grossly" in error because I have seen many different estimations from very pessimistic on up.

If you go back and look up some of the models and projections, in 2012 Saudi production should be 7 million bpd or lower, the world should be wholly unable to react, and as a result there would be no doubt that peak oil is one of the most serious threats facing mankind. As it stands in 2012, those predictions are grossly in error.

Timing the exact moment that Saudi peaks is impossible and unnecessary, in my opinion.

Those are the sorts of caveats that were in short supply during the period I am talking about.

If you go back and look up some of the models and projections, in 2012 Saudi production should be 7 million bpd or lower

How long ago is that and from who ?

How long ago is that and from who ?

In the 2006-2007 timeframe, Stuart Staniford, "Ace", and Westexas were all projecting much lower production from Saudi. Stuart's can be seen here: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2331/

If you look at his last graphic, by 2011 he was projecting Saudi production to be as low as 4 million bpd to as much as 6.5 million bpd. (Stuart has since changed his views about Saudi production).

Ace's projections I believe were in the same range; I recall about 7 million bpd in 2010. Yeah, I checked. Here is one of Ace's predictions from 2007: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2716

He predicted that 2012 Saudi production would be in the 7 million bpd range and world production down about 8 million bpd from 2005.

Westexas and I had a number of debates around predictions arising from the Hubbert Linearization. My conclusion was that it was a completely worthless way to analyze the data, and I think without a doubt at this point we can see how badly that model broke down for Saudi Arabia. If we look at the HL graphs put together in the 2007 time frame, again Saudi production would have been in the 7 million bpd range in 2010.

Here is a 2006 post from Westexas explaining his position and detailing our differences: http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/12/3/23028/8015

Key excerpt from his essay:

At the same time that the Saudis announced their "voluntary" production cutbacks in the spring, their stock market started crashing. Interesting enough, Venezuela, which has long life unconventional oil reserves, has a booming stock market.

In my opinion, Saudi Arabia, like Texas in 1973, is at the start of a long term and irreversible decline in conventional oil production, with a long-term decline rate in the 4% to 5% range, perhaps sharper at first if Ghawar is crashing.

Those sorts of decline rates would have put Saudi production in the range that Stuart predicted in his essay. The comments to that essay also establish the sort of thinking that was common at TOD at that time.

Robert, thanks for the ref's. The aggressive recovery methods are buying them some more time, possibly indeed followed by a rather steep decline. As mentioned a few years ago in the ASPO conference what is important to know is how much of the remaining oil is heavy oil.

Westexas was referring to "conventional oil production" while the industry source does not even mention what is being produced, "300,000 barrels per day (bpd) from May to 10.1 million bpd (mbpd)." There is a propaganda campaign to mislabel natural gas and other things as oil. I am not sure if conventional oil includes sour crude oil.

The EIA lists Saudi Arabia as producing 10.04 Mb/d of C+C in March 2012, but the accuracy of EIA data for Saudi Arabia has been called into question because it has been suspiciously higher than JODI data in recent years.

The problem is that many people here are Doomsters and expect the sky to fall at any moment, so they tend to assume the worst. They are in the position of the "Boy Who Cried Wolf". However, the Cornucopeans focus on the false alarms and tend to forget that in the end, the wolf did get the sheep.

Saudi oil production will go into decline at some point in the future - geology dictates that - and the way they are managing their oil fields, the decline is likely to be very steep. However, it is unlikely to be anything like the "Shark Fin" curves the Doomsters like to draw. It is more likely to be a very long, drawn out affair. KSA will probably be producing quite a bit of oil 100 years from now - just nothing like the amount they are producing now.

The real problem in predicting when the decline will begin is that the Saudis consider geological and production data to be a state secret and don't release details. This is understandable since they are in competition with a lot of other countries for oil markets. If the international oil companies got hold of detailed information about their oil fields, they could predict with considerable accuracy when they would go into decline. Two or three decades in advance of the decline, the multinationals would start pouring billions into oil sands and oil shale, and when the Saudis started to decline, the multinationals would step into the market with huge amounts of new oil.

The Saudis don't want that to happen because it would depress prices just when they needed the money the most - and at that point they would still have half their oil left in the ground. Because they want the most money possible for their own oil, they are doing their best to keep the non-conventional oil off the market and prevent alternative energy development by giving the illusion they have infinite reserves of oil.

However, they appear to have lost the ability to bankrupt their competition by flooding the market with cheap oil, which was their previous strategy to keep non-conventional and alternative energy off the market. The multinationals have seen the paw prints in the grass and are starting to put billions into non-conventional oil. Governments, though, having heard the cry of "Wolf!" too many times, and are unaware that a real wolf is starting to sneak up on the sheep.

Saudi oil production will go into decline at some point in the future - geology dictates that - and the way they are managing their oil fields, the decline is likely to be very steep. However, it is unlikely to be anything like the "Shark Fin" curves the Doomsters like to draw

Very steep, but not a 'shark fin' is steep enough for a big impact, above all if a few more M-E countries oilproduction do the same in the same timeframe. I doubt that most Doomers like a shark fin. Is it a writing on the wall that now you can see more of them in Australian coastal areas ?

Because they want the most money possible for their own oil, they are doing their best to keep the non-conventional oil off the market and prevent alternative energy development by giving the illusion they have infinite reserves of oil.

So the 'above ground factors' stupidity and greed is what is going to cause the most problems. It could plunge the world economy in a long lasting depression spiraling down oilprices more than they would have done with being honest and cooperation. This apart from the fact that sustainable growth is impossible.

The real problem in predicting when the decline will begin is that the Saudis consider geological and production data to be a state secret and don't release details.

Of course. That's why we have to be very rigorous and incorporate all of the data. Too often I saw people cherry-picking data and ignoring pieces that did not fit their narrative. An example of that was Saudi cutting production (which fit the narrative) but then my argument was that global inventories were extremely high, and so Saudi's justification for cutting production was consistent with what we knew. In response to that, I got all kinds of blowback about how we can't really know what inventories are, etc. In short, denial so some could maintain their belief in the narrative. Posters believed in low inventories, but high inventories were rationalized away.

That's when I stopped posting here so much. Some people took it very personally that I would question something like that, and they got very nasty. I even had someone say "Who are you to question Matt Simmons?" as if he was God handing down truth from the mountain.

My point then is the same as my point now: We have to be very careful with our predictions and analyses, because false predictions do a lot of damage and expose us to ridicule. So we need to educate to the dangers without exposing ourselves to unneeded ridicule.

"That's when I stopped posting here so much. Some people took it very personally that I would question something like that, and they got very nasty."

Gosh, Robert, some people have been less than polite all along. Your very first comment...

...and the reply to that post: "With all due respect, baloney."

While I was only an occasional lurker back then, one thing that drew me here was that folks were passionate about their positions, and the fruitful, in-depth discussions that resulted. While there have many predictions made, many wrong, some spot on, my feeling is 'nothing ventured, nothing gained'... And there have been numerous discussions regarding the impact our false prophecies have, and may have had. That said, we're not politicians here, parsing every word. It would be dull, indeed.

Perhaps you can provide links to specific comments directed your way; open them for discussion ( and best hopes for ongoing civility).

Perhaps you can provide links to specific comments directed your way; open them for discussion ( and best hopes for ongoing civility).

I honestly didn't bring this up to rehash all of that. At that time I took a break from TOD and I documented some of the comments in a post. But a sample of the comments I am talking about -- in response to my critiques of the ability of the Hubbert Linearization to predict a peak for Saudi Arabia -- characterized my arguments as “basically garbage”, “dangerous”, “not even close to being the right way to critique HL”, “sad, silly, egotistical”, “disingenuous”, “arrogance, pigheadedness and perhaps even childishness”, “waste of time”, “absurd”, “clumsy and actually self-defeating”, “way off base”, “junk”, “deceitful”, “not very useful”, “cheating”, “vindictive, and spiteful.”

That's when I stopped posting here very much. I just felt like a very vocal minority was determined that these sorts of issues couldn't be discussed in a civil manner.

That's a shame. It's also a shame that it is impossible to show support for someone (posting just 'I agree' isn't best netiquette either). If a lot of people could show they value your posts the incivility would perhaps not frustrate so much. A moderation system like Slashdots might help.

Anyway, let me state for the record that I value your posts :-)

Count me as another lurking RR fan. I sympathize with your lack of enjoyment; I also stopped following ToD at the time you decided to scale back, for similar reasons. There were too many zealots disrupting analysis and discussion with emotional attacks. Too bad, since this was the best source for independent, systematic analysis of energy up until that point.

We used to have a system where you could vote up comments, and the ones that received a certain number of votes went green.

I didn't find it all that useful, though. The same people's comments were always the ones that turned green, and they tended to be the ones who post the most here. (In other words, not the ones who particularly need encouragement.) It ended up being a popularity contest, and also something of a doomers vs. everyone else thing, with the doomers handily winning.

I believe Nate posted about this in the past. People have a natural tendency to follow those who are the most sure of themselves. It doesn't matter if they've been proven wrong many times in the past, people will still follow someone who is self-confident over someone who expresses their opinions less forcefully. I find that fascinating, since studies have shown that it's those who are most uncertain who are mostly likely to be right. Perhaps because being sure of yourself blinds you to evidence that does not support your position.

RR - Have always considered you one of the leading lights on this board; your posts are consistently interesting, informative, and authoritative. I think the crowd here these days may be more even tempered and wiser than it was back then. Moderating a site like this is a challenge but I believe that aspect of TOD has only gotten better over the years.

I think the crowd here these days may be more even tempered and wiser than it was back then.

Thanks for the comments, Walt. I agree with your assessment; it does seem that people have mellowed and there isn't as much fighting as there once was.

Yeah, it *has* been quiet the last year or so. Chock it up in part to a growing global sense we're running out of gas (economically and politically, that is) if you ask me. Everyone I talk to sounds more 'British' of late...clear that in their gut they feel no 'recovery' is coming.


It is unfortunate that you received such comments when making your predictions but as I have found through personal experience is it is hard to make calls that go against the general consensus of a group. This seems to be relevant in any area I happen to be in. You can be right and provide perfectly logical arguments that are more thorough than the critics that go against you but if you are going against the grain then it is often a uphill struggle to change peoples' minds. It is a sad fact of life that often people will make assertions based more on emotion than raw facts. This even applies to people who are highly educated and should know otherwise. So I feel it would be wise not to expend too much energy on the people who don't want to listen. You just have to remember that the more rational people will take your viewpoints into consideration provided you can offer good solid arguments backed with good evidence. Although the unfortunate side-effect in this is that those in agreement are less likely to be vocal than the ones in disagreement. So naturally most peoples' comments will get a negative bias, at least outwardly so.

It is hard, but ultimately one simply needs to learn to have thick skin when making predictions. Do not get me wrong, I would love it if people would change. Even the name calling would be more acceptable if people had the humility to admit they were wrong. Alas, people do not often admit to their mistakes but are quick to point the flaws in others. It is human nature.

In any case, you provide great insights and knowledge regarding this topic and it would be of great use if you could give the Oil Drum another go. By the sites very nature it will attract doomers and I have noticed that some posters, particularly in the past, have made some rather hysterical comments but the protracted nature of this oil crisis (as opposed to sudden collapse as some may have been advocated earlier) has caused people to take a more measured response. Some posters have made the wrong calls and deep down they know it. So they have become more reasonable in their opinions and outlook. A blind spot in the peak oil community before 2008 I feel was the general failure to consider the implications a financial crisis and recession would have on the peak oil scenario. That has certainly added another dimension to this whole debate, and I feel this has made people more cautious about how things will develop from here on in.

I think on the whole though the regular posters who still post here do take a more reasonable stance and are capable of engaging in a discussion that will not degenerate in name calling. Yes there will be some unfortunate exceptions but I think your name and stature does carry some clout so you will receive more respect than most. Well that is merely my opinion, and I am rather new here, but I have read multiple sources and I can tell when I see a good honest writer. Your contributions would be very welcome for me and I sure many posters here would share a similar viewpoint.

If memory serves, in an Oil Drum post I proposed a $10,000 bet, probably in the late 2007 to early 2008 time period, to-wit, if the EIA showed annual Saudi crude oil (C+C) production exceeding 9.6 mbpd, I would pay you $10,000. If Saudi annual production did not exceed 9.6 mnpd, within a specified time frame, you would pay me $10,000. I don't recall if we ever got around to specifying the time frame. In any case, you declined the proposal, and you countered with a $10,000 bet that I would pay you $10,000 if Saudi annual crude oil production exceeded the most recent annual production level (and that you would pay me $10,000 if Saudi annual production did not exceed the specified level), which I declined.

Someone noted that I would not bet a serious amount of money that Saudi production would not increase, and you would not bet a serious amount of money that annual Saudi crude oil production would exceed the 9.6 mbpd. Based on the annual crude oil data, so far we both made smart choices in declining the proposed bets.

In any case, my 2¢ worth for the past few years was as follows: "In my opinion, it is more likely than not that annual Saudi crude production will not exceed the 2005 annual rate of 9.6 mbpd, but it is extremely unlikely that annual Saudi net oil exports (total petroleum liquids) will ever exceed the 2005 annual rate of 9.1 mbpd."

Of course, if there is anything we have learned in the past few years, it is that data quality is not what we would like for it to be, e.g., the large discrepancy between BP and the EIA regarding 2010 Saudi total petroleum liquids production, and the enormous gap between the RRC and the EIA regarding Texas crude oil production (over 300,000 bpd for 2011 annual and over 500,000 bpd for January, 2012). If we have this much of a discrepancy between actual production reports and EIA estimates (based on sampling), what does it tell us about global data quality?

With that caveat, here are the most recent annual production and net export numbers for Saudi Arabia:

EIA Saudi Crude Oil (C+C, mbpd):

2002: 7.6
2003: 8.8
2004: 9.1
2005: 9.6
2006: 9.2
2007: 8.7
2008: 9.3
2009: 8.3
2010: 8.9
2011: 9.5

BP Saudi Total Petroleum Liquids (Production & Net Exports, mbpd):

2002: 8.9 & 7.2
2003: 10.1 & 8.3
2004: 10.6 & 8.7
2005: 11.0 & 9.1
2006: 10.8 & 8.7
2007: 10.4 & 8.3
2008: 10.8 & 8.4
2009: 9.8 & 7.3
2010: 10.0 & 7.2
2011: 11.1 & 8.3

And some recent thoughts on Saudi net exports & depletion:

Re: Saudi Net Oil Exports--Observed Net Export Decline Rates Vs. Post-2005 Estimated CNE Depletion Rates

The following graph shows the ECI ratio (Export Capacity Index, the ratio of domestic total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption, BP) for Saudi Arabia, from 2002 to 2011:

The observed 2005 to 2008 net export decline rate was 2.7%/year. Saudi net exports in 2008 were 8.4 mbpd, at an annual Brent price of $97, versus 9.1 mbpd in 2005, at an annual Brent price of $55.

The 2005 to 2008 rate of decline in the ECI ratio (6.5%/year), suggested that Saudi Arabia would approach zero net oil exports around 2032, with estimated post-2005 CNE (Cumulative Net Exports) of about 41 Gb. I estimate that the 2005 to 2008 post-2005 Saudi CNE depletion rate was about 8%/year.

The observed 2005 to 2011 net export decline rate slowed to 1.5%/year. Saudi net exports in 2011 were 8.3 mbpd, at an annual Brent price of $111, versus 9.1 mbpd in 2005, at an annual Brent price of $55.

The extrapolation on the preceding Saudi graph is based on extrapolating the 2005 to 2011 decline in the Saudi ECI ratio.

The 2005 to 2011 rate of decline in the ECI ratio (6.0%/year), suggested that Saudi Arabia would approach zero net oil exports around 2034, with estimated post-2005 CNE of about 45 Gb. I estimate that the 2005 to 2011 post-2005 Saudi CNE depletion rate was about 8%/year.

Using the Rule of 72, these two extrapolations both suggest that by the end of 2014 (one-third of the way into the projected net export decline period), Saudi Arabia may have already shipped about half of the total cumulative supply of post-2005 Saudi net oil exports.

A 50% depletion level, after 9 years, is consistent with the "One-Third" rule, to-wit, about one-third of the way into a net export decline period, as a general rule about half of post-peak CNE have already been shipped.

In my opinion, we are only maintaining something resembling Business As Usual because of a sky high rate of depletion in post-2005 Global and Available Cumulative Net Exports.

If memory serves, in an Oil Drum post I proposed a $10,000 bet, probably in the late 2007 to early 2008 time period, to-wit...

I vaguely recall that, but that wasn't the bet I was referring to. It was a different bet with someone else. My argument was that Saudi was not producing full out and had the capacity to produce more. I would not make the bet because getting them to demonstrate their production was dependent on too many other factors. But my position was that when they started reducing production after 2005, they were doing so voluntarily. I said that I did not believe they were at that time beginning a terminal decline -- which was the widely held belief here. I took a lot of heat (and was called a lot of names) for taking that position.

But I was just curious as to whether people were still rationalizing away the incorrect predictions, or discussing them and talking about lessons that could be learned.

A tale of two annual price doublings:

Annual Global (Brent) crude oil prices showed three straight year over year increases from 2002 to 2005, with annual Brent prices doubling from $25 in 2002 to $55 in 2005. The cumulative increase between what the Saudis would have net exported at their 2002 net export rate of 7.2 mbpd and what they actually net exported for 2003 to 2005 inclusive was 1.6 Gb.

Annual Global (Brent) crude oil prices showed year over year increases for five of the past six years, from 2005 to 2011, with annual Brent prices doubling from $55 in 2005 to $111 in 2011. The cumulative decline between what the Saudis would have net exported at their 2005 net export rate of 9.1 mbpd and what actually net exported for 2006 to 2011 inclusive was 2.3 Gb.

It's certainly possible that the Saudis tried like to hell to reduce oil prices from 2002 to 2005, by increasing their net exports by a cumulative volume of 1.6 billion barrels over their 2002 rate*, and then in 2006, they decided to drive prices higher, by cutting their net exports by a cumulative volume of 2.3 billion barrels of oil versus their 2005 rate, but there is a simpler explanation. In any case, I suspect that a good deal of what passes for excess capacity in Saudi Arabia consists of what Matt Simmons called "Oil stained brine."

*As they pledged to support the $22 to $28 OPEC price band

The cumulative increase between what the Saudis would have net exported at their 2002 net export rate of 7.2 mbpd and what they actually net exported for 2003 to 2005 inclusive was 1.6 Gb.

As you know, I have never disputed that the net exports issue is a very real issue. I even discussed in my book the tendency of oil exporters to cannibalize their own production.

My issue was always in trying to understand what was going on inside Saudi Arabia. Sometimes we do that by thinking about things from our perspective, instead of thinking about what we might do if we were in charge of policies in Saudi Arabia. From that perspective, I thought their moves in the 2005-2008 timeframe made sense, when others read them as indicative of terminal decline.

The cumulative decline between what the Saudis would have net exported at their 2005 net export rate of 9.1 mbpd and what actually net exported for 2006 to 2011 inclusive was 2.3 Gb.

Yet they made a lot more money exporting less. If I am in charge of their oil, I certainly like that model: Preserve my oil as long as possible and earn more money while doing so.

What I have labeled the ECI (Export Capacity Index) in some cases can be a very good indicator of why production plateaus in oil exporting countries are not all that they seem to be.

IUKE + VAM Case History

The six countries in the IUKE + VAM* data set showed a combined "Undulating" production plateau, starting in 1995--with combined production ranging between 6.9 and 7.0 mbpd for 1995 to 1999 inclusive--and they hit combined zero net oil exports 13 years later, in 2008. By the end of 1999 (31% of the way into the net export decline period), they had already shipped 53% of post-1995 CNE (Cumulative Net Exports), a four year post-1995 CNE depletion rate of 19%/year.

Here's the kicker: There was no production decline over the four year period after 1995.

Combined production in 1995 was 6.9 mbpd.

Combined production in 1999 was 6.9 mbpd.

Starting from the beginning of the production plateau in 1995, the combined initial six year rate of decline in the ECI ratio was 2.7%/year. At this rate of decline, they would hit an ECI ratio of 1.0 (and thus zero net oil exports) in 2015. They actually hit zero net oil exports in 2008.

Estimated post-1995 CNE, using the initial six year rate of decline in the ECI ratio, were 9.2 Gb.  Actual post-1995 CNE were 7.3 Gb.

In other words, the actual net export decline was faster than what the initial six year projection predicted.   This is a little more clear on the following graph which shows the 1986 to 2011 Export Capacity Index (ECI), which is the combined ratio of total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption for the six countries:


Note that the 1988 North Sea Piper Alpha accident contributed a significant temporary decline in UK production, which caused the overall ECI ratio to temporarily decline.

I think that these six diverse and geographically diversified former oil exporting countries give us a pretty decent model for Global Net Exports of oil (GNE). 

*Indonesia, UK, Egypt, Vietnam, Argentina & Malaysia

Given the discussion here about confirmation bias and objectivity, would any of you care to address my question further up about the drastic revisions in BP's historic data for Malaysia? Or are we just to accept the latest BP figures at face value, since the newest set most accords with the favoured model? I for one would like to know more about the different data sources and hear views on possible reasons for the discrepancies and revisions.

I don't know the details behind that revision, but in the global picture it's pretty small potatoes. There were small revisions upward of consumption (556K to 606K) and downward of production (716K to 573K) from 2011 to 2012 (I don't have the 2010 report handy), but they were enough to change the picture from net exports to imports (depending on their finished product imports and exports).

There are a number of reasons for discrepancies in data, namely the use of different sources and the specific product covered (i.e., "all liquids" versus "crude plus condensate").

Of course, any one country is small in the global context, but the world picture is the sum of the parts. This revision is of great significance to the country involved, as shown in the linked charts. The analysis of the revisions in each year was attached, and BP's original data series from 2002 are archived at http://mazamascience.com/OilExport/data.html; BP continues to present figures for crude + condensate.

BP continues to present figures for crude + condensate.

Yes, that's what their production numbers reflect. Their consumption numbers are for all liquids.

Sorry, my point was that BP's definition for production has not changed, I should have been more precise. For consumption, the definition in their latest report is "Inland demand plus international aviation and marine bunkers and refinery fuel and loss. Consumption of fuel ethanol and biodiesel is also included." - which is a bit short of "all liquids", is it not? Biofuels production for Malaysia is tiny (BP's figures are on the spreadsheet).

I would guess that it is hard to measure consumption directly, and that it may often be calculated from production and exports? Do any of us have insight into such methodology, and into BP's sources of data when it deviates from the official local statistics?

Note that I believe that BP shows total petroleum liquids for production--Crude + Condensate + NGL's.

It looks like BP made revisions back for several years. The 2011 data release shows Malaysia's net exports falling from 260,000 bpd in 2005 to 160,000 bpd in 2010. The 2012 data release shows Malaysia's net exports falling from 233,000 bpd in 2005 to 36,000 bpd in 2010. In percentage terms, it's a big change. As Robert noted, in volumetric terms, relative to global numbers, it's a rounding error.

But as noted up the thread, if we have learned anything in recent years, it is that global data quality is not what we would like it to be. Ongoing data revisions to the annual data set is also a reason why I tend to generally ignore the monthly estimates.

Robert - About predictions: I don't tend to make such calls unless there's a practical use for it. Sport predicting is OK but, right or wrong, there's no impact either way. Now if a company/govt were using my predictions in long range planning that would be another matter. But I like seeing the analysis behind such calls from folks like you and the other TODsters whether I agree or not. The assumptions can often be more enlightening than the actual prediction. As far as being correct or not: remember I work in a field where if you're correct 50% of the time you'll be a millionaire superstar. LOL.

I've never understood any of the "cliff" predictions at least with respect to production. Of course the first problem is one man's cliff is another man's modest downward slope. And the effect of that visual has as much to do with the scaling of the time frame as the actual decrease. In my 37 year I've seen the production from many wells go off a cliff. Just two years ago I had a NG well go from a dang good producer to fully deplete in just 37 days. I've seen some fields go off in a somewhat cliff-like fashion. Mexico's Cantarell Field is the best model example I can think of. But that was very predictable if you understood the dynamics of the N2 injection program. But I've never seen a producing trend every go off anything close to a cliff. And never seen a geologic basin go clifftal. Thus I've obvious never seen a country take a big plunge in a short time at least not for geologic or reservoir reasons. Iraq went off the cliff a couple of times but we understand why that happened.

Just like old marines, old fields just slowly ride off into the sunset. Granted US fields have done so more slowly than I would expect KSA fields to do so thanks to the sweat equity our small independents put into keeping them going. I have no trouble accepting that the KSA has hit an undulating plateau. But even if they didn't drill another well in the country I don't foresee anything that I would call a cliff in their future. OTOH if one takes into account ELM export reductions it may start looking more cliff-like. And then stir in a little political instability it could quickly get worse. And perhaps that's part of the reason the sides of the debate stretch apart. Considering reservoir/exploration dynamics there's one future scenario. Add in the other factors with variable demand destruction and a different picture can emerge.

It may not be a coincidence that KSA is pumping all out. In the past, several US presidents ask KSA to pump more for US domestic reasons (wrong! For their personal reasons). And so reportedly did president Obama to (a) get the gasoline price down, and (b) to prepare for the Israeli attack on Iran to assure that storage tanks around the world are full and less severe interruption will occur. Secretary Panetta said in March that he suspects an Israeli attack in May or June and, curiously, at the same time the Saudis started pumping. Now it is said that Obama asked the Israelis to hold off until after the election.

Yes. Now we have a tug-of-war between adequate supply driving prices down and Iran's mouth driving prices up. I wonder who's behind the curtains.

The State of Illinois revisited its Drought Preparedness and Response Plan (PDF Warning) in October of 2011.

Notably, these words appear in the document :-

"Humans often postpone dealing with issues that are not a current problem, especially when there is a cost
or effort involved. Time can slowly erase memories. It has been quite some time since the 1953-1955
drought and most of us have only read about the dust bowl era in the early 1930’s. Probabilities would
indicate that we are due for another drought of this magnitude."

It's reassuring to know someone was thinking ahead.

Towards the end, one can read this :-

"In addition to the technological changes, such as installing more water-efficient fixtures in homes,
conservation can be accomplished by encouraging behavioral changes in citizens and businesses. But in
many ways, technological changes are more easily accomplished. Bringing about behavioral changes in
the populace usually requires an acceptance that such changes are important to avoid a water crisis.

Citizens may be willing to sacrifice outdoor water use during periods of drought and potential shortage,
for example, but not so willing to do so on a full-time basis.

The impact of conservation on a community’s drought vulnerability may also depend on how the
community responds to the reduction in water use."

It seems only external events can usefully modify human behavior.

Indeed. I had a day of field work today so I stopped at the local plaza to grab a sandwich for lunch. Hot and miserably humid - grabbed my lunch and sat in the car with A/C running for a couple minutes then thought of how I was likely contributing to the misery. Opened all the windows and parked car so I was facing opposite the sun... Nice warm tropical breeze kept things comfortable (granted this is NY state and we probably really shouldnt be having tropical breezes). Person near me turned on car via remote starter and let it idle for about 15 min. before arriving at car. Various other cars idled away around me as the heat continued to build. Ironically (?) a service truck from the electric company sat and idled away its diesel (illegal in NY). We are truly in quite the pickle...

Living in the UK (especially lately) we don't need the car a/c so much....

But I'm starting to see 'switch off engine when stationary' signs in towns where traffic queues and pollution are an issue (I believe it is standard practice in Germany to switch off when stopped at lights etc - and many cars now have an auto ignition when you press accelerator (gas pedal))

Free-Thinking and the future of human society:


Seems to me that there is ample amount of debate space on TOD...it is a shame that the wider domain of TV, print and Internet mass-consumption media doesn't entertain open and honest discussions of important issues.

Interestingly, Koreans are splitting their families so that one member can travel to America and school their kids there. In Korea, schools are rote-learning and childhood is much attenuated, they say. They seek freer thinking and the cachet of having gone to American schools.

Korean Families Chase Their Dreams In The U.S.

Five Men Agree To Stand Directly Under An Exploding Nuclear Bomb

Fiscal Crisis in States Will Last Beyond Slump, Report Warns

WASHINGTON — The fiscal crisis for states will persist long after the economy rebounds as states confront financial problems that include rising health care costs, underfunded pensions, ignored infrastructure needs, eroding revenues and expected federal budget cuts, according to a report issued here Tuesday by a task force of respected budget experts.

“The ability of the states to meet their obligations to public employees, to creditors and most critically to the education and well-being of their citizens is threatened,” warned the two chairmen of the task force, Richard Ravitch, the former lieutenant governor of New York, and Paul A. Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The report ... also called into question how states will be able to restore the services and jobs that they cut during the downturn, ... “This is a fundamental shift in the way governments have responded to recessions and appears to signal a willingness to ‘unbuild’ state government in a way that has not been done before,” ...

If federal grants to the states were cut by just 10 percent, the report calculated, the loss to state and local government budgets would be more than $60 billion a year — which it said would be nearly twice the size of the combined tax increases that states enacted from 2008 to 2011 in response to their deepest fiscal crisis in more than 50 years.

Things are worse than they appear, the report contends.


Oil: Only part of the Arctic's massive resources

Encouraged by high commodity prices and shrinking sea ice, everyone from Big Oil to the cruise industry is eager to get in on the Arctic's riches.

... drip'n with greed

It should say, "Oil: Not part of the Arctic's massive resources"

I worked for a company that spent billions drilling for oil in the Canadian sector of the Arctic Ocean. We drilled all the likely prospects, and we didn't find anything that was commercially viable. We found lots of natural gas, but there is lots more natural gas closer to market and producible at lower prices.

On the map in the article it says, "highlighting major oil and gas fields". That's not correct. They are highlighting regions in which they might find an oil or gas field. You will note that they left out the Canadian sector, despite the fact that there are oil and gas fields there, because it has already been thoroughly explored and found to be disappointing.

There are lots of other interesting resources, though, e.g. massive iron ore deposits on Baffin Island and huge coal deposits in Alaska and the Canadian Arctic Islands.

Interesting. Always look forward to reading your comments.

Sworn Declaration of Whistleblower William Binney on NSA Domestic Surveillance Capabilities

The following sworn declaration of William Binney, a former employee of the NSA and specialist in traffic analysis, was filed July 2, 2012 in support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s case against the National Security Agency (Jewel v. NSA) regarding their illegal domestic surveillance programs which, according to Binney “are consistent, as a mathematical matter, with seizing both the routing information and the contents of all electronic communications” inside the U.S.

... 4. One of my roles at the NSA was to find a means of automating the work of human analysts. I supervised and participated in the development of a program called “Thin Thread” within the NSA. Thin Thread was designed to identify networks of connections between individuals from their electronic communications over the Internet in an automated fashion in real time. The concept was for devices running Thin Thread to monitor international communications traffic passing over the Internet. Where one side of an international communication was domestic, the NSA had to comply with the requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”). With Thin Thread, the data would be encrypted (and the privacy of U.S. citizens protected) until such time as a warrant could be obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Comi.

5. The advent of the September 11 attacks brought a complete change in the approach 18 of the NSA toward doing its job. FISA ceased to be an operative concern, and the individual liberties preserved in the U.S. Constitution were no longer a consideration. It was at that time that the NSA began to implement the group of intelligence activities now known as the President’s Surveillance Program (“PSP”). While I was not personally read into the PSP, various members of my Thin Thread team were given the task of implementing various aspects of the PSP. They confided in me and told me that the PSP involved the collection of domestic electronic communications traffic without any of the privacy protections built into Thin Thread.

The NSA has the capability to do individualized searches, similar to Google, for particular electronic communications in real time through such criteria as target addresses, locations, countries and phone numbers, as well as watch-listed names, keywords, and phrases in email. The NSA also has the capability to seize and store most electronic communications passing through its U.S. intercept centers. The wholesale collection of data allows the NSA to identify and analyze Entities or Communities of interest later in a static database.

... smile, and say cheese.

Is there anyone left who doesn't realize this is happening?


Global health impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster calculated

Radiation from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster may eventually cause anywhere from 15 to 1,300 deaths and from 24 to 2,500 cases of cancer, mostly in Japan, Stanford researchers have calculated.

The numbers are in addition to the roughly 600 deaths caused by the evacuation of the area surrounding the nuclear plant directly after the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and meltdown. ... According to the model, the evacuation prevented at most 245 radiation-related deaths – meaning the evacuation process may have cost more lives than it saved.

To test the effects of varying weather patterns and geography on the reach of a nuclear incident, the two researchers also analyzed a hypothetical scenario: an identical meltdown at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, near San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Despite California's population density being about one-fourth that of Japan's, the researchers found the magnitude of the projected health effects to be about 25 percent larger.

The model showed that rather than being whisked toward the ocean, as with Fukushima, a larger percentage of the Diablo Canyon radioactivity deposited over land, including population centers such as San Diego and Los Angeles.

Report: http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/TenHoeveEES12.pdf
also http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/fukushima.html

Their Chernobyl baseline is 30 deaths and 6000 cancers.

George Shultz on energy: It's personal

George Shultz leads a group preparing to propose a federal tax on carbon to slash U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and oil consumption, a seemingly unlikely policy from a Republican Party statesman

... Why did you get so involved in energy?

I've been worried about our energy problem for a long time. President Eisenhower said that if we imported more than 20 percent of the oil we use, we were asking for trouble with national security. By 1973, I'm secretary of the Treasury and we have the Arab oil embargo. They seek to deny us oil in order to change our policies. I thought then, you know, President Eisenhower knew something.

What a refreshing article: a Republican willing to acknowledge the importance of confronting energy issues and climate change.

Shultz: "Historically, Republicans have often protected the environment. President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. We dealt with the ozone layer under President Reagan and with acid rain under the first President Bush, both with bipartisan support. People making careers out of disagreeing with each other is a very recent phenomenon."

He was one of the more reasonable members of his time. Back then, some members of the tribe maintained personal integrity. Today they've all been driven out -or are acting out to hide the fact.

Holy smokes. A GOPer proposing a TAX on OIL? Heresy! They are gonna run George Shultz out of the party on a rail.

Wow . . . that was a lovely story. A real throwback to when the GOP wasn't so crazy.

You recently traded in your hybrid car for an all-electric one, which is powered by solar panels on your roof. Can you talk about that a little?

If you speak out about something, you've got to walk the talk, you've got to do it yourself. The biggest consumer of oil is the automobile, so I've been interested in driving a car that is more efficient. My solar panels have long since paid for themselves by the savings in electricity costs. I have my electric car running on electricity from the sun, which costs me nothing and there is plenty of it here. So, I'm driving on sunshine. Take that, Ahmadinejad!

What we do today is going to have a big impact on the future. I have three, soon to be four, great-grandchildren. I've got to do what I can to see that they have a decent world. And if we let this go on and on the way it's going right now, they're not going to have one. Getting control of carbon is right at the heart of the problem.

What happened to the GOP?

If they had any gonads they would legislate against the mining and production of FF's.
Instead they are clueless idiots that think because they don't burn oil then it is "saved".

Actually they probably contribute more to the burning of FF's with what they do with the money saved. Is it just left in the bank or used to add to the family, take more vacations, purchase more consumer goods to ensure BAU and someone else has the chance to use the fuel "saved".

Some of the most dangerous people on this earth are the "just buy a Prius" crowd.

"Some of the most dangerous people on this earth are the "just buy a Prius" crowd."

Oh yeah. All my Prius commuting friends are driving on the order of 200mi/week @ 50mpg = 4g/week (and that's probably being generous). I drive my beater pickup maybe 10mi/week @ 10mpg = 1g/week. I fill up every couple of months.


Digging up lessons from an ancient quake

The ground warping that Arcos measured around Bremerton was bigger than expected. That means the earthquake probably affected a wider swath of Western Washington than previously thought - which, in turn, nudges it toward the upper end of its estimated magnitude 7-7.5 range.

The study also underscores the fact that a repeat of the most recent Seattle fault quake, dated at about 930 A.D., would be catastrophic for the cities and ports that have sprung up since then, Walsh said. Tsunami modeling suggests waves up to 16 feet high would swamp harbors and waterfront property from Olympia to Everett.

If that's not enough, Arcos also unearthed evidence of another hazard. Lying atop the tsunami layer in the stream bank is a much thicker layer of mud - the signature of a massive landslide, probably shaken loose by the quake.

'waves up to 16' would swamp harbors'..
so, the big plan in seattle is replace I-99 viaduct with a multi billion dollar tunnel. the south portal is two blocks from the water's edge at 14'above sea level which is 2' above ave high tide.
this WASHDOT simulation shows 70' above crown below the waterfront
plus add 60' for the tunnel. so road bed 100' below sealevel ?
anybody else see a problem there with potential tsunamis ? glubglub
this vid shows tsunami hadzard for seattle waterfront which was found right next to the tunnel vid,,lol
in 2006 a study was completed by an independent firm which said tear down the aging viaduct and don't replace it. after years of further studies of different options, the governer went with the tsunami route. i don't know how we're going to pay for it we're broke..

NREL helps cut building energy use in half

Don't Just Follow Code

The building code is the baseline for the least energy-efficient building an owner can construct. Fortunately, there is nothing in building codes to stop building owners and construction companies who want to go for the most energy savings they can find — and that's where the AEDGs [Advanced Energy Design Guidelines] can bridge the gap.

also http://www.nrel.gov/buildings/

London riots will happen again: expert

Professor Kessl explains: “As long as the politics in England go in the same direction as we have experienced in the last years: disrespecting people's everyday needs, demolishing the idea of the public and strengthening the consumer capitalism - the pre-conditions for a new political revolt are furthermore given. It's just the question of another "trigger" ...

If you think London is bad, take a look at Chongqing... assumptions of Chinese stability might be in for a surprise.

Glyphosate-resistant 'superweeds' may be less susceptible to diseases

Scientists searching for clues to understand how superweeds obtain resistance to the popular herbicide glyphosate may have been missing a critical piece of information, a Purdue University study shows.

Most laboratory tests done to understand glyphosate resistance are done in sterile soil, void of microbes. Schafer said Purdue's findings, published online early in the journal Weed Science, show that those microbes may play a significant role in how glyphosate affects plants.

"Soil microbes can be minor to major contributors to how glyphosate is able to affect plants," Hallett said. "We may be selecting not only for glyphosate resistance, but inadvertently selecting for weeds that have disease resistance as well."

Report: HSBC allowed money laundering that likely funded terror, drugs

A "pervasively polluted" culture at HSBC allowed the bank to act as financier to clients moving shadowy funds from the world's most dangerous and secretive corners, including Mexico, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria, according to a scathing U.S. Senate report issued on Monday.

The report [link to PDF here] which comes ahead of a Senate hearing on Tuesday, said large amounts of Mexican drug money was likely to have passed through the bank.

and from BBC US Senator says HSBC concealed Iran transactions

Banks = Organized Crime

also Dirty money thrives despite Mexico drug war

Crisis-hit Spaniards revive community spirit

The austerity-hit people of Spain are fighting back with a free food distribution scheme that relies on a co-operative effort between neighbourhood shopkeepers and local volunteers.

The shopkeepers don't see it as charity, more a community effort with mutual benefits, helping people who previously helped them build their business.

... not something Wal-Mart would do

Generation X is surprisingly unconcerned about climate change

Amid a summer of record-setting heat, a new survey finds that most of Generation X 's young and middle-age adults are uninformed and unconcerned about climate change.

"Most Generation Xers are surprisingly disengaged, dismissive or doubtful about whether global climate change is happening and they don't spend much time worrying about it," said author Jon D. Miller.

Only about 5% of Gen Xers, now 32 to 52 years old, are "alarmed" and 18% "concerned" about climate change, reports the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research on Tuesday. Two-thirds, or 66%, of those surveyed last year said they aren't sure global warming is happening and 10% said they don't believe it's occurring.

The full report in online at: http://bit.ly/GenXReport0712

Not to disagree with the findings of this article, but does anyone else find it curious how ill-defined generation ranges could corrupt statistical results?

Edit: Being in my late 40s I get lumped into boomer/joneser/genexer depending upon the point to be made.

Are those numbers in any way different from other age groups in the US? 23% either alarmed or concerned might actually be on the high side, no?

CAISO approaching 1GW solar electricity production

Nearly since becoming a member of TOD, I have regularly looked at CAISO as a way to see how solar power was doing in terms of their utility electricity production. Solar seems to be approaching a (to me) nice milestone of 1GW of contribution.

Cheers for California.

While quite a bit has been written about the bad soy and corn harvests in the US on ToD lately, some focus should also be on the big grain belt Ukraine-Russia-Kazakhstan, with more than 21% of the global wheat exports.

Russia: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-07-16/russian-wheat-crop-seen-fall...

The grain forecast was cut from a previous estimate of 49 million tons to 50 million tons, according to the ministry. In 2011-12 the country harvested 56.2 million tons of wheat and shipped more than 27 million tons of grains and legumes, according to state statistics data.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture sees Russia’s wheat exports at 12 million tons for the current season, down from 21.3 million tons in the year-ago period.

Ukraine: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-07-09/ukrainian-grains-harvest-yie...

Ukraine’s grain harvest yields are expected to fall 20 percent to 25 percent on average because of dry weather, said Tetiana Adamenko, head of the agro-meteorology department at the National Meteorology Center.

Kazakhstan: http://www.brecorder.com/agriculture-a-allied/183/1207986/

Hardest hit is Kazakhstan, expected to harvest 16.6 million tonnes of grain, down from 27 million tonnes in 2011, of which wheat may account for 14.8 million tonnes.

If the food prices rise as a result of many food exporters having problems, it could be very deleterious for the world's poor and for poor countries' stability. Buckle up for a long and hard winter...

Merkel warns of global warming if no climate accord

Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Monday that global warming will accelerate at a dramatic rate unless leaders reach a deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.

"Time is of the essence," Merkel told an international conference in Berlin, where delegates from more than 30 countries are preparing for a major UN climate conference at the end of the year in Qatar.

Sorry, Angela, too late. But, at least she's willing to tell it like it is. When was the last time any politician here mentioned it. Not that I can blame them -- if I were running for office, it's the last thing I'd talk about.

Nature always finds a way ...

Vaccines Team Up to Generate Lethal New Chicken Virus

Vaccines are supposed to prevent disease. But two new strains of a nasty poultry disease that have been plaguing chickens in Australia since 2008 have been found to be hybrids of viruses from live vaccines. It is the first time such recombination has been seen between vaccine viruses in the wild.

In 2007, chicken farmers in Australia were using two commercial, live vaccines for infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT), a lethal poultry disease, that were made from Australian strains of the virus. They then began using a third live vaccine containing a European strain. The following year, they began to see outbreaks of two new ILT strains.

Browning and colleagues have now sequenced the new viruses and found that in each case they arose when the European vaccine strain acquired genes from the Australian vaccine viruses. "We were quite surprised," he says. The newer strain is half European, half Australian, and has outcompeted the original strain – it now dominates outbreaks in Australia.

Live vaccine viruses are incapable of causing disease – but the hybrids were as deadly as wild ILT, killing 18 per cent of affected flocks.

... imagine a flu virus doing this

Seasonal flu vaccines protect against the three influenza viruses (trivalent) that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The nasal-spray flu vaccine — a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that is given as a nasal spray (sometimes called LAIV for “Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine”).

also Threatwatch: Florida's TB epidemic is bad news for all

Henry Wu ( B.D. Wong ):
"Are you saying that a group of animals entirely comprised of females will breed?"
Dr. Ian Malcolm ( Jeff Goldblum ):
"No. I am merely saying that life finds a way."

From Jurassic Park. Remember how that ended up? ;-)


Jurassic Park is one of my favorite books on philosophy, the dinosaurs are just a prop.

Shell faces $5 billion fine over Nigeria Bonga oil spill

Nigerian regulators have told parliament that Royal Dutch Shell should be fined $5 billion for environmental damaged caused by an oil spill at its offshore Bonga field, one of the biggest in the history of Africa's largest energy industry.

The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) told a parliamentary committee on Monday that although last year's spill, estimated at around 40,000 barrels, was contained offshore, there was a serious environmental threat

As in "Casablanca", I'm shocked, shocked to learn there is environmental damage in Nigeria. (Your winnings, sir) Combine this with the suit that Brazil is bringing over a relatively minor incident and you get the feeling that we aren't even close to peak extortion of remaining oil.

Harvard used to be such a good school......

US geoengineers to spray sun-reflecting chemicals from balloon
Experiment in New Mexico will try to establish the possibility of cooling the planet by dispersing sulphate aerosols

Two Harvard engineers are to spray sun-reflecting chemical particles into the atmosphere to artificially cool the planet, using a balloon flying 80,000 feet over Fort Sumner, New Mexico.


The article does a good job of mentioning the obvious problems caused by dispersing sulphate aerosols in the middle of the stratosphere.

David Keith's biography states he is "President of Carbon Engineering, a start-up company developing industrial scale technologies for capture of CO2 from ambient air." The article indicates he "manages a multimillion dollar geoengineering research fund provided by Microsoft founder Bill Gates."

I wonder why he is wasting money and time on this experiment when he clearly understands the solution is to remove fossil carbon from the atmosphere.

Haha... Bill Gates funding geoengineering... That's exactly the sort of response from the best and brightest technical minds I expect. What was broken with engineering and technology can be fixed with more of it! Geoengineering in particular strikes me as trying to quit heroin by taking cocaine.

I've noticed people with technical minds tend to be believers in technology and more likely to be conservative. Bill Gates is "liberal" by American standards, but the belief that technology is the answer is definitely there.

Yeah, great. Let's do that, pump loads of reflectants up there and the wonder why solar PV production is dropping and we need to rely on more FF which will pump out more CO2 requiring more reflectants...


has X posted here lately about his crops? sorry I don't remember how to search for this

Aerographite: The World’s Lightest Material is 99% Air

Weighing in at just 0.2 milligrams per cubic centimeter, Aerographite is a jet-black sponge made up of porous carbon tubes interwoven at the nanoscale. The least dense solid ever, it is 75 times lighter than Styrofoam. "Our work is causing great discussions in the scientific community. Aerographite weighs [a fourth of the] world-record-holder up to now," said study co-author Matthias Mecklenburg of the Hamburg University,

Knustler (sic) predicts the repopulation of quaint old ports like Troy, New York, as the riverboat and rail trade revive. In his post-apocalypse, the beautiful buildings will be saved, while the strip malls and superhighways will fall.

This is gross ignorance and silliness from Huffington Post ... Kunstler is much more dystopian than that - and in fact his whole point (in all his writing, plain as day) is that returning to some made-by-hand, noble savage, survivable state post-apocalypse will be extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, for the vast majority of ill-prepared mall-waddlers.