Drumbeat: July 18, 2012

Utility Chiefs Worry U.S. Rush to Gas Will Crowd Out Other Fuels

The U.S. is at risk of relying too much on natural gas as transportation, manufacturing and electric-power industries vie for the cheap fuel, top executives of three power utilities said.

While greater use of gas instead of coal for generation cuts air pollution and carbon-dioxide emissions linked to climate change, the executives said the U.S. needed a diverse fuel mix to hedge against cost increases in any one source.

“Having one focus is never good, just like a portfolio having one stock,” Michael Yackira, chief executive officer of Las Vegas-based NV Energy Inc., said today at a Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington.

Oil Drops From Seven-Week High on Outlook for Economy

Oil fell from a seven-week high in New York on concern fuel demand may falter after China signaled more economic weakness and analysts cut their profit forecasts for European companies at the fastest rate since 2009.

Futures slid as much as 0.7 percent after advancing a fifth day yesterday, the longest run of gains since April. The labor situation in China, the world’s second-biggest crude user, will become more “severe,” Premier Wen Jiabao said, according to a statement on the government’s website. Profits at Euro Stoxx 50 Index companies will rise 6.8 percent this year, more than 12,000 estimates compiled by Bloomberg show. That compares with a 19 percent gain predicted at the start of the year.

Oil-Tanker Charters Seen 17-Month Low as China Demand Slides

The number of oil-tankers booked to haul 2 million-barrel cargoes of crude from ports in the Persian Gulf is poised to slump to a 17-month low as Chinese charters decline, commodities broker Marex Spectron Group said.

Charters of very large crude carriers to ship Middle East crude will probably fall by 10 percent from June to 115 shipments this month, the lowest tally since February 2011, Kevin Sy, a Singapore-based freight derivatives broker at Marex Spectron, said by e-mail today. A reduction in bookings to China will be the biggest contributor to the slump, he said.

Iraq inaugurates prized southern oil field

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq has inaugurated a prized oil field in its oil-rich south, the latest major step in developing the country's untapped energy resources.

Brazil’s Petrobras Raising Prices as Rivals’ Sales Drop

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the worst- performing major oil stock this year, is raising fuel prices even as a recession in Europe and slowdown in China reduces revenue at global energy providers.

Petrobras (PETR4) said July 12 it would boost diesel prices by 6 percent, three weeks after it increased gasoline and diesel prices for the first time in seven months. The government, which controls Petrobras with a majority of voting shares, had resisted higher prices to avoid fanning inflation in the world’s second-largest emerging market. Petrobras has sold fuel below international prices since the start of 2011.

Sabic Misses Estimates as Second-Quarter Profit Declines 35%

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the world’s biggest petrochemicals maker, posted a 35 percent decline in second-quarter profit on lower product pricing and higher raw materials costs, missing analysts’ estimates.

What will we do when all the oil is gone?

One day, the oil will run out. It’s only logical. It’s a finite resource, so unless we can figure out a way to make more, we’ll use it up eventually.

And probably soon. According to the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), conventional oil production is likely to peak within the next 20 years, and could possibly do so within the next decade.

It’s a difficult future to imagine. We’re just so used to being able to switch on the lights, drive to work, have our grocery shopping delivered.

EOG Resources: A Hidden Gem In A Tumultuous Market

With peak oil fading fast in the rear-view mirror, investment in energy exploration and production companies is more focused on the quality and life of the energy assets, and the ability of a company to exploit those assets in cost-effective ways.

Energy Revolution 2: A Post Post-American Post

Forget peak oil; forget the Middle East. The energy revolution of the 21st century isn’t about solar energy or wind power and the “scramble for oil” isn’t going to drive global politics. The energy abundance that helped propel the United States to global leadership in the 19th and 2oth centuries is back; if the energy revolution now taking shape lives up to its full potential, we are headed into a new century in which the location of the world’s energy resources and the structure of the world’s energy trade support American affluence at home and power abroad.

Peak Oil author launches new book on “one of the greatest problems ever to face mankind”

A NEW book launched in Schull recently by Ballydehob-based author Colin Campbell aims to shed light on what has been described as “one of the greatest problems ever to face mankind”.

Peak Oil Personalities is a collection of biographical essays by some of those who have played – and continue to play – a crucial role in raising awareness about the impact of Peak Oil.

Peak oil debunked? The mechanisms of denial at work

A couple of decades ago people started referring to the "Limits to Growth" study as "Club of Rome's mistake". Are we going to see Peak Oil described as "ASPO's mistake"? It is too early to tell, but we can't rule out this possibility. Especially if oil prices were to collapse in the near future - as they did in 2008 - most people would take that as a vindication of Maugeri's thesis. Never mind that the price collapse would also cause a decline in production - as Maugeri himself clearly states in his study. Most people perceive the problems with oil only in terms of prices, not of production. If we are going to see this kind of events unfolding, it will take a lot of time and effort to redress the public perception on Peak Oil, just as it is taking a lot of time and effort to fight the perception that the "Limits" study had been "wrong".

The Paradox of Energy Efficiency

A new report, The Rebound Dilemma, for the Institute for Energy Research (IER) by California State University, Fullerton economist Robert Michaels analyzes the implications of depending on energy efficiency improvements to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as a way to mitigate future climate change. Michaels looks at studies of direct, indirect, embedded energy, and economy-wide rebounds. The Melbourne heating case is largely an example of direct rebound effect in which better insulation and more efficient heaters apparently resulted in no reduction of energy use. An indirect rebound occurs when efficiency improvements raise the productivity of other goods and inputs that, in turn, boost the demand for relatively cheaper energy. Embedded energy is the energy used to produce, distribute, and maintain more energy-efficient capital goods. And economy-wide rebounds result from the ways in which people use their savings on energy to purchase other goods and services that also consume energy to produce. For example, cheap gasoline enabled suburban living.

Final decision on South Stream pipeline in sight

A consortium backing the Gazprom-led South Stream pipeline expects to make a final investment decision within months, says the head of one of its second largest shareholder, Italy’s Eni energy.

Eni chief executive Paolo Scaroni was quoted on Sunday (15 July) as saying that all four partners were interested in the natural gas pipeline project, but that they still needed to see all the details before making the investment decision. A decision, he said, is expected by early 2013.

Syrian defense minister killed in bombing, state-run media report

(CNN) -- Syria's defense minister, Dawood Rajiha, was killed Wednesday in a suicide bombing at a national security building in Damascus, state-run media reported.

The bombing took place during a meeting of ministers and security officials, state-run TV said.

Syrian rebels 'shoot down' helicopter in Damascus

The rebel Free Syrian Army said it shot down on Tuesday a helicopter gunship in Damascus, scene of violent battles between army and rebel forces.

"Yes, we have shot down a helicopter over the district of Qaboon," the FSA's Joint Command spokesman told AFP via Skype, without elaborating.

Ship with helicopters for Syria heads back to Russia

A Russian ship that tried to supply attack helicopters to Syria last month before being forced back was Sunday sighted sailing back home after unexpectedly starting a new voyage.

The privately-chartered Alaed had to return to Russia after its initial attempt to deliver the controversial cargo to President Bashar al-Assad's regime in June was exposed by the US State Department.

State Department Rep.: US sorry for damaging Iran oil reserves, but no other choice

U.S know that sanctions imposed on Iran's oil export has forced Iran to shut off some oil wells which would damage the Iranian citizens' national energy assets in long term, but the current situation is caused by Iran's avoidance to engage its international commitments in the nuclear issue, Persian language spokesperson of the U.S State Department Alan Eyre told Trend on July 16.

The United States sanctions over the Iranian Central Bank came to force on 28 June whereby a new US law penalises countries that do business with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) by denying their banks access to the United States financial markets. Blacklisting the CBI which involves transferring payments for exported Iranian crude oil is leading to a decrease in Iran's oil exports by 50 per cent to 1.1 million barrels per day, costing more than $3 billion which the Iranian government lost per month. Its 50 per cent of revenues relies on oil exports.

Iran Offers $1 Billion Insurance on Oil Tankers to S Korea -Hyundai Oilbank Official

Iranian officials have offered accident insurance coverage worth a maximum of $1 billion for Iranian tankers shipping Iranian crude oil to South Korea, a Hyundai Oilbank official, who declined to be named, said Wednesday.

Hyundai Oilbank and SK Innovation, which fully owns the nation's other refiner, SK Energy, are considering Iran's offer, officials from both companies said.

Navy Cmdr.:US security to face danger if Iran threatened

We are witnessing some "slight" military movements in the region and all of the enemies' actions are under Iran's supervision, Commander of Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said on July 18.

U.S., Allies to Stage Persian Gulf Region Minesweeping Drill

The U.S. and 20 allies will stage a minesweeping exercise in September in the Middle East as tensions build in the region over Iran’s nuclear program.

Planning was completed last week for the exercise that will focus “on a hypothetical threat to mine the international strategic waterways of the Middle East, including the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf,” the U.S. Central Command said in a statement to be released today.

U.S. Envoy Vows Probe After Navy Firing Kills Indian Off Dubai

U.S. Ambassador to India Nancy Powell called the country’s foreign secretary, Ranjan Mathai, to offer her regret for the loss of life after an American navy ship opened fire on a fishing boat off the coast of Dubai.

Powell vowed a full investigation, according to a statement from India’s foreign ministry. The shooting killed one Indian fisherman and wounded three others, the ministry said in the statement, citing U.A.E. officials it didn’t name.

Why the U.S. Fracking Industry Worries About the Weather in India

Workers in America’s oil patch pay little heed to the weather. They know for a certainty that down in the South Texas Eagle Ford Shale fields the metal rigs will turn red hot in triple digit summer temperatures, while up north in the Bakken Shale, winter will come with a fury to North Dakota. But these days they do have an eye on the weather forecast 8,500 miles away on the other side of the world in Rajasthan, India, home to a little green bean that is proving vital to the oil and gas industry in the U.S.

UAE's first nuclear power plant gets green light

The nuclear regulator has given the green light for the construction of the UAE’s first nuclear plant.

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) is set to pour the first concrete today at the coastal site of Baraka, where four nuclear reactors supplied by a South Korean consortium are scheduled to come online between 2017 and 2020.

So, How Hot Was It?

It was so hot last week, a twin-unit nuclear plant in northeastern Illinois had to get special permission to continue operating after the temperature of the water in its cooling pond rose to 102 degrees.

...The problem, said Craig Nesbit, a spokesman for Exelon, which owns the plant, is not only the hot days, but the hot nights. In normal weather, the water in the lake heats up during the day but cools down at night; lately, nighttime temperatures have been in the 90s, so the water does not cool.

Asked whether he viewed Braidwood’s difficulties as a byproduct of global warming, Mr. Nesbit said: “I’m not a climatologist. But clearly the calculations when the plant was first operated in 1986 are not what is sufficient today, not all the time.”

Hokuriku Electric Falls Most Since at Least 1974: Tokyo Mover

Hokuriku Electric Power Co. plunged 21 percent, the most since 1974, in Tokyo trading after seismologists said there may be an active earthquake fault line under the No. 1 reactor at its Shika power station.

Gulf cities need to rethink the best ways of cooling it

Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha would not exist without air conditioning.

Large, cosmopolitan cities, centres for finance and tourism, demand an equable indoor climate through the fierce Gulf summers. But the energy and environmental impacts of air conditioning mean the region needs to rethink keeping cool.

By one estimate, the world's energy consumption for air conditioning could rise 10 times by the middle of the century. Global warming means a hotter Gulf climate, requiring even more cooling.

Mohammed Badri, the director of the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology, indicated last year that 70 per cent of all electricity used in the UAE was for air conditioning. The peak demand during a summer's day may be three times that of a winter's night, demanding a fleet of power stations that stand idle for much of the year.

Trees, what a powerful knockout

The best long-term solution to the dilemma of trees is to be proactive with new construction and landscaping projects. When trees aren't in a completely natural environment, "the kind of care they need is heightened by the fact that they're competing with power lines, with concrete, with households," says Sean Barry, spokesperson for the Arbor Day Foundation. "We can't take it for granted that trees will survive and thrive without attention." To get the benefits of shade while minimizing the risk of limbs falling on lines, you need to put, as the foundation has titled a campaign, the "Right Tree in the Right Place."

Here's what that means: First, choose species that have evolved to deal with the weather your region gets. Second? Consider height. Put tall shady oaks by buildings, where they can keep you cool. Plant lofty spruces and pines outside your windows so you can hear the wind whistling through. Choose shorter trees, such as crabapple and dogwoods, to put near or under lines. The trees' height when mature are often less than 20 feet — meaning that, from a geometrical perspective, they can't fall down on the lines.

The Power Grid: From Rickety to Resilient

In his new book Resilience, Andrew Zolli — the director of the global innovation network PopTech — uses the electrical grid as an example of a system that lacks just that. And in an increasingly interconnected world — financially, ecologically, politically — one in which small errors in one place can cascade into broader system failures, the ability to adapt, accommodate and bounce back is only going to become more important. From climate change to overpopulation to recessions, the threats facing the world are as unpredictable as they are varied — which is why we need to craft systems that are nimble, that can bend under stress rather than break. "If we cannot control the volatile tides of change, we can learn to build better boats," writes Zolli. "We can design — and redesign — organizations, institutions, and systems to better absorb disruption, operate under a wilder variety of conditions, and shift more fluidly from one circumstance to the next."

Apple: No wait, we're green again

(CNN) -- Calling its decision to abandon a green certification system for electronics "a mistake," Apple on Friday announced it would again submit its products for EPEAT certification.

7 most common gas-guzzling mistakes

With the national average price of gas nearing $4 a gallon, drivers are feeling the sting, but there's no need to cancel your vacation. We sifted through mounds of data from the government, automotive consumer advocates and car-rental agencies to find out how to squeeze every last penny out of what you put in your tank. Here is what you need to know before your next summer driving adventure.

25 Million Light Duty Natural Gas Vehicles Will Be On Roads Worldwide by 2019, Forecasts Pike Research

The current high costs of gasoline and diesel fuel, along with the substantial and growing supplies of low-cost natural gas in many countries, are leading to renewed interest from both consumers and fleets in natural gas vehicles (NGVs). What’s more, NGVs produce lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particulate matter, and nitrogen oxide than gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles, giving governments looking to reduce GHGs a tool to meet those objectives. According to a new report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, the worldwide market for light duty NGVs will grow steadily over the next 7 years, reaching 3.2 million vehicles sold in 2019. This will result in a cumulative total of 25.4 million light duty NGVs on the road by 2019, the market intelligence practice forecasts.

GM's Chevrolet Volt ads aim for gay, lesbian buyers

Gay and lesbian consumers prefer fuel-efficient cars, account for 5% of new car purchases and have average household income in the six figures -- more than that of heterosexual households, according to a recent marketing survey.

So it's little surprise that General Motors ran a gay-themed advertisement in Detroit last month for the Chevrolet Volt, a pricey extended-range electric, the type of car studies show gay and lesbian consumers tend to like.

European bicycle lobby set to deliver

More than 30 companies from across Europe have launched a European Cycle Logistics Federation (ECLF), aimed at improving urban bike deliveries and lobbying for cycle-based delivery policies.

“We will be able to influence and convince stakeholders that freight bikes are a feasible option for delivering cargo in congested inner city areas,” said Rob King, the founder of Outspoken Delivery, a Cambridge, England-based company that hosted the UK conference at which the launch was announced.

Electric Plane Turns to Drones as Flying Batteries

An aviation pioneer wants to recreate aviator Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic and show the world why electric planes can fly long-distance. His shrewd plan for success involves replacing the plane's batteries in midair using no less than five drones.

US Navy Great Green Fleet trials fire new salvo in battle against climate change

One hundred and five years ago the US Navy was flexing its muscles by sending the 16 ships of what would become known as The Great White Fleet to tour the world. Its goal was to inspire fear and admiration in equal measure.

In 2016, The Great Green Fleet aims to do the same, only powered entirely by alternative energy sources. It moves a step closer to reality this week as the enormous biennial RIMPAC naval exercise gets underway off the coast of Hawaii.

New Database from NREL Makes Costs of Energy Technologies More Transparent

A new web application collects cost and performance estimates for electric generation, advanced vehicles, and renewable fuel technologies and makes them available for utilities, policy makers, consumers, and academics. The Transparent Cost Database (TCDB) app provides technology cost and performance estimates that can be used to benchmark company costs, model energy scenarios, and inform research and development decisions.

In keeping with the Obama Administration’s commitment to open and transparent data, the TCDB provides cost comparisons to make it much easier to view the range of estimates for what energy technologies such as a utility-scale wind farm, rooftop solar installation, biofuel production plant, or electric vehicle might cost today or in the future. The new database will help companies and investors make informed decisions supporting the commercialization and deployment of clean energy.

Offshore Wind Slump Means No Firm Orders for GE, Siemens

Sales of offshore wind turbines collapsed in the first half, a sign the power industry and its financiers are struggling to meet the ambitions of leaders from Angela Merkel in Germany to Britain’s David Cameron.

In wake of Fukushima, Japanese village goes all-solar

A small village in Japan has become the first in the country to provide for its power needs entirely through renewable energy, after a number of factors convinced villagers to build a large solar installation. According to The Japan Times, Sanno, a rural community of less than a dozen households, decided to go renewable shortly after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and now, just over a year later, has done so.

The national disillusionment with nuclear, combined with some pressing financial issues, made residents of Sanno opt to take the risk of building a solar array that would power their whole community. They had the space, the inclination and — thanks to the local government's purchase of land from residents — a little money. They got a quote, got another quote, and started building in January with estimated costs of around ¥17 million, roughly $215,000.

Sustainable Tech Saw Ancient Maya Through Drought

The Maya are well-known for their complex calendar system, which some say predicts the end of the world in December 2012 (an interpretation that experts on the civilization call absurd). But the Maya's own fate was sealed by the weather. Eventually, a growing population and an increasing level of drought spelled the end for Tikal. The city peaked in population by A.D. 700, and by A.D. 900, "the show is over," Scarborough said.

Nonetheless, modern people may be able to take lessons from the long-lived Tikal technology, he said. In developing nations where water and energy are scarce, simple solutions may work better than new, costly technologies that are prone to break, Scarborough said. Looking at history can also reveal the consequences of certain water strategies, he added.

The war over coal is personal

(CNN) -- Amanda Sedgmer, mother of five and daughter of coal country, believes that in this presidential election, her way of life is at stake.

"If you ask anybody in the coal industry what would happen if Obama is re-elected, they'd say the coal industry is done," said Sedgmer, whose husband, Ryan, is a coal miner and whose family has depended on the industry for at least four generations.

Our microbes are under threat — and the enemy is us

Although scientists can't yet prove direct cause-and-effect, researchers have linked changes in our microbial inhabitants with rising rates of obesity, allergies, autoimmune diseases and other chronic illnesses.

Scientists note that developed countries have drastically altered our environment in the past century or so. Our water is cleaner. Our food is more processed, so that our guts have less need for bacteria to help us digest leafy plants and whole grains. We use more antibiotics, to treat disease, fatten livestock, even wash our hands, and spray our counters with antibacterial cleaners, Blaser says.

So scientists aren't surprised to find that the microbes of people in industrialized countries are very different from those living in developing ones.

5 Ways Mother Nature Is Impacting Your Wallet

All of a sudden, much of the country seems to have turned into Arizona, with a hot, dry summer coming on the heels of a remarkably mild winter. Here are five ways that months of odd weather have affected—and will continue to affect—costs around the house, at the supermarket, in restaurants, and beyond.

Grocery prices headed higher as drought lingers

Shoppers across the country should stand up and take notice of the Midwestern drought that has already hurt supplies of corn and soybeans.

The drought will lead to higher supermarket prices for everything from milk to meat. How high will depend on what happens with rain and high temperatures in the Corn Belt in the next few weeks.

Midwest drought threatens crops, livelihoods and food prices

CLUNETTE, Ind. – Ask Craig Ganshorn how his corn crop is faring and he winces before replying. "Basically, it's burnt up," he says.

Ganshorn, 62, who has farmed 500 acres of corn and soybeans here since 1976, is confronting the grim realities of a drought that he says is worse "by far" than the one in 1988 that's remembered as among the worst in U.S. history.

Lose the Crust, Inherit the Wind

While state agencies grapple with the public safety problem, scientists are studying the root causes of dust storms. Just as poor farming practices, including plowing up the prairie to plant crops, created Dust Bowl conditions in the 1930s in the driest regions of the Great Plains, the erosion of Arizona’s “desert crust” is contributing to dust storms today. The trick is getting people to care about a terrain that some people think of as barren or lifeless, and perhaps not as worthy of preserving as, say, a rainforest.

“My whole life, I’ve been trying to get people to see this wasteland as a wonderland,” said Jayne Belnap, a research ecologist with the United States Geological Survey who is an expert on desert soil.

Alaska drilling: From 'hell no!' to ... 'OK'

Practical and personal considerations influenced Itta's decision, he says. Growing up, he had no electricity, no running water. "You'd get back and forth from where you need to with dog teams."

"I started dealing with looking at my grandkids and my kids and what I had gone through ... and I wanted them to have what I have, if not better."

If production dips from the region's Prudhoe Bay wells and pipeline, "our tax revenues go way, way, way down," Itta admits. In an era when reliance on foreign oil is seen as a security threat, President Barack Obama's support of offshore drilling also helped Itta decide. "I think it's inevitable that action is going to happen out here -- in the name of national security if for nothing else."

Fake Crowdsourced Ad Campaign Celebrates Shell Oil

As the energy giant pushes into the Arctic, the Let’s Go Public! Arctic Ready ad contest, involving user-submitted captions paired with photos of the pristine north, has drawn attention with a clever simulation of corporate social media engagement going off the rails.

Profiteers of climate change in the Arctic

Climate change has made it easier to gain access to the Arctic for the extraction of fossil fuels. It is also opening up shipping routes that were once mostly covered by ice. As an analysis by ETH Zurich’s 'Center for Security Studies' (CSS) now shows, the main winner from these new realities in the Arctic is Russia.

Salazar on Parks, Arctic Drilling and Clean Energy

Visiting New York City for an urban parks conference, Ken Salazar, the secretary of the interior, stopped by The New York Times on Tuesday to discuss the partnership his department has forged with the city on revitalizing parkland around Jamaica Bay.

Oil: Only part of the Arctic's massive resources

Asked about the window of opportunity for Shell’s offshore oil drilling in the Arctic this summer, he said he would made a final decision on whether to issue drilling permits by Aug. 15. While the permits might be issued earlier, he said, the department is still awaiting outstanding tests on equipment including a oil-spill-response barge.

The secretary would not say definitively whether drilling would begin this summer. “We have not yet given the final permits to Shell,” Mr. Salazar said. “We don’t know if it will occur, and if it does occur, it will be done under the most watched program in the history of the United States,” he said, referring to safety precautions.

How Barry Bonds helps explain why it's so hot

Yes, there were hot summers, cold winters and other extreme weather events long before anyone heard the term "greenhouse gas." And people hit home runs without the aid of steroids. Pittsburgh's Barry Bonds, for example, hit 16 as a skinny rookie in 1986.

But in 2001, when the bulked-up Mr. Bonds was playing for San Francisco, he hit 73. Just as steroids made it more likely that he would hit the ball extremely far, greenhouse gases make it more likely that there will be extreme weather events.

Federal Court backs government over Kyoto pullout

The Conservative government's decision to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol was legal, and it wasn't obliged to consult Parliament before doing so, the Federal Court has ruled.

Daniel Turp, a former Bloc Québécois MP and former Parti Québécois member of the province's national assembly, went to Federal Court to challenge the government's withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol.

Trial Balloon: A Tiny Geoengineering Experiment

Two Harvard professors said Tuesday they were developing a proposal for what would be a first-of-its-kind field experiment to test the risks and effectiveness of a geoengineering technology for intervening in the earth’s climate.

The experiment, which would be conducted from a balloon launched from a NASA facility in New Mexico, would involve putting “micro” amounts of sulfate particles into the air with the goal of learning how they combine with water vapor and affect atmospheric ozone.

Syria. Oil graphs from more peaceful times, some planning now outdated:


Perhaps in this drumbeat those who have good links to the oil strategic situation around Syria could come forward.

To start the ball rolling, this is a video from Russia's RT

‘US wants to redraw Middle East map’
17 March, 2012

It is really hard to see a good outcome in Syria just now. Implosion of the Assad regime and massive internecine blood letting seems most likely, similar to ex-Yugoslavia. No major power wants this, far too close to the major oil producing regions for comfort.

Unfortunately, I expect many more Syrias in the coming decades.

ie: a fundamental transformation of energy flow distribution from west to east.

Isn't this done in order to defang Hezbollah and reduce the reach of Iran?

This really doesn't seem to have been "done" by others, but by internal dynamics within Syria. Arab spring inspired a demand for a more open government. Gov decided to resist via large scale violence. Gov reflects major ethnic splits within society, so many people are forced to take sides based upon whether the gov has traditionally been friend/foe to their own ethnic group.

Not a conspiracy by Washington, or Moscow, or Tel Aviv, or Tehran, or Ankara, although all have significant stakes in the outcome.

It probably could have ended reasonably well if Assad had agreed to major reforms early on. So I put the biggest blame on the regime.

How do you explain Bahrain.

What's to explain?

a. Arab spring inspired Shia uprising
b. Sunni regime gets help from larger Sunni regime (KSA)to supress.
c. Nobody but nobody wants to get on the wrong side of KSA
d. Sunni regimes live happily thereafter.

(Note: I didn't say "ever after")

Bahrain, is a similar story. Clearly the Saudis are egging on the repression. Internationally you could say the Russians are bad guys -refusing to abandon their Syrian client Assad, for fear of losing the advantages that have accrued from that relationship, including a naval base. The US is playing a similar role in Bahrain, playing to the government with which we have important agreements with (including a naval base). Iran is on opposite sides in those two conflicts, supporting Assad in Syria, but the protestors in Bahrain.

Rebels need logistics, weapons, money.. Unless there is a sponsor i doubt a large uprising can be sustained against any government. In case of Bahrain one can see how an indigenous uprising can be killed by the state if outside support is not forthcoming. Syria and Libya are a totally different story. Should Syria be unstable or without Assad, its ability to support other mischief in the region is reduced or eliminated.

and then.. in regional oil news from above:
china leads iraq oil project

wednesday's UN meeting on syria postponed till thurs 7/19/12

I suspect an unstable Assad-less Syria would cause more problems; incubating terrorist groups, a haven for criminal organizations, producing new flocks of homeless refugees.... Lack of central government to put a lid on provocative activity. (because a central national government usually wants to avoid dangerous foreign wars)

I remember when they were showing a live feed of looters stealing everything from Khadaffy's palace. Teenagers, young men, old men, all carrying out brand new automatic rifles, RPG's and anti-aircraft missiles. WTF?!?!?!

In the USA that would be a personal protection plan.


I suspect an unstable Assad-less Syria would cause more problems; incubating terrorist groups, a haven for criminal organizations, producing new flocks of homeless refugees ...

That is the rationale used by US administrations for - oh - at least a hundred years, for all its foreign interventions, including a few current ones. Stability = we want the oil more than anyone else.

Russia prefers a secular tyrant in a suit and tie over the religious tyrant in robes.
That is their sole reason for holding up Assad.

Thier military base in Syria is tiny, symbolic and only holds a few hundred troops (a supply depot). Arms sales to Syria are small (5B) and they have other customers who can take over 7th place on their list of arms sales.

Thier attempt to delay so Assad may hold out was futile, but it was their only hope to dampen revolution (or whatever you call it) in Syria.

The issues in Bahrain really have nothing to do with the Americans, it would be the same if they had a naval base there or not.

The biggest issue is that Bahrain is ostensibly controlled by the Saudis not Bahrain's royal family. The thing is Bahrain is really poor, they have already exhausted most of their oil resources and have no gas resources. Nearly all of Bahrain's resource income is from a oil field the Saudis have gifted to Bahrain (the field itself is in Saudi borders), and they also have a refinery for Saudi oil ... so essentially the country is funded by the Saudis and that money comes with certain expectations from the Saudi such as Shias will never be allowed to have political power.

Also, it really doesn't help the Shias in Bahrain that one of their main political parties is very Islamist and want to reinstate draconian laws that ban women from jobs, ban all other religions (Bahrain actually lets Christians and Jews practice their religions), and treat migrant works like slaves (which is kind of ironic since these workers are mostly muslims too and essentially they are in favour of mistreating a group of muslism when they themselves are being mistreated by another group of muslims). Yes it is sad that many Shias have died in Bahrain, but if the Shias had more spokespeople who weren't fundamentalist Islamists then they might be better received by the west, because lets face it the PR game is important. The one thing that Bahrain's royals seem to be doing right is trying to keep their country more secular. I remember an article in the NYT that was interviewing professional women (i.e. lawyers, investment bankers etc) in Bahrain and they were on the whole terrified of what would happen if the Shias gained any political power.

To add to this I had the pleasure of working with a wonderful reservoir engineer from Oman, and his comment on the situation was that the Shias in Bahrain (and many people in his own country) need to start living in the 21 century. He was telling me that throughout the Arab peninsula that taking a job in construction or similar blue-collar work (that the rest of us consider a good days work) was considered a shame on your family since it was a "slaves job" and this was a far greater underlying problem in countries such as Bahrain than anything. In his view there should be more than enough jobs for everyone to be prosperous in Bahrain (and Oman for that matter) if people were willing to do blue-collar work instead of importing what amounts to slave labour from Asia.

The issues in Bahrain really have nothing to do with the Americans, it would be the same if they had a naval base there or not.

Are you sure about that? I don't think there is anything that happens in the Middle East that doesn't have US fingerprints on it somewhere.

I.M.F. Warns of ‘Sizable Risk’ of Deflation in Euro Zone

FRANKFURT — The International Monetary Fund warned Wednesday of “a sizable risk” of deflation in the euro zone, and called on the European Central Bank to begin buying huge amounts of government bonds to help hold down borrowing costs for troubled countries.

In a report on the state of euro zone policy, I.M.F. staff said there was a 25 percent risk of consumer price deflation before 2014, and that the danger was greatest in countries like Italy where growth is slow and tax increases have made inflation appear higher than it really is.

Deflation, a destructive decline in prices that can be extremely difficult to reverse, would make it even harder for countries like Greece, Italy and Spain to get government debt under control, the I.M.F. said, because falling prices and wages would further depress tax receipts.

“The viability of the monetary union [EU] itself” is in doubt, the I.M.F. said

Score: Nicole Foss (Stoneleigh) - 1, World Economists - 0

How Close Are We to New Great Depression?

... This explosion of credit created the world we live in, but it now seems that credit cannot expand any further because the private sector is incapable of repaying the debt it has already, and if credit begins to contract, there’s a very real danger that we will collapse into a new Great Depression,” he argued.

“If this credit bubble pops, the depression could be so severe that I don’t think our civilization could survive it.”

“The increase in government debt is making total debt grow, otherwise we would already have collapsed into a debt-deflation death spiral.

“You can defer, but not prevent.”

This is massive hyperbole and misplaced concreteness. I know such talk is popular now, but credit is not the only thing that "created the world we live in." There has also been labor and capital and natural resources/nature, plus government.

There remains plenty of room and even resources (not least, human labor) for one more round of major building. If this capital-first epoch does finish imploding, it is entirely feasible and even somewhat likely that governments will step in and do what they did to conduct WWII, which was quickly change the rules to end the implosion for a purpose.

The big issue is whether the reconstruction will be sane and green and aimed at a sustainable future, or some kind of neo-fascist war effort.

The world will not sit around and tolerate a true Great Depression. Present credit issues would be swept away, if and when full employment gets moved onto the agenda.

It's clear the guy interviewed in the article is a goldbug. Those people tend to think that the economy is an abstraction; they look at it from the perspective of finance and they think finance controls everything else. The peak oil people, on the other hand, look at the economy from a materialist perspective - a bottom up view - where resources are primary. The reality of economic function is probably somewhere between resources and abstract control structures.

I agree there's a lot of leeway for responses to the problems that are currently besetting civilization. The world still produces more oil than ever, the U.S. produces a lot of oil, coal, and natural gas. There's a huge amount of unused labor potential. All of this could be used for a huge transition.

The current problems are mostly institutional.

.. where the institutions 'think of themselves' as ethereally conceptual and eminently reconfigurable- instead of mere electrical signals in flesh and blood mortal brains...

I think that those of us with engineering or science backgrounds take the "bottom up view" as you call it. Finance, as in banking, is based on credit, which is to say, a confidence game and thus what we call "wealth" an illusion. Governments and banks can create money out of thin air, which gives the appearance of wealth until inflation takes over. Such a system has always been prone to the creation of excessive credit, which then results in bubbles, which, eventually burst, causing a crash. The Great Depression was just one of numerous examples and this latest round is another.

We aren't finished with the fallout from 2007-08, as we see things in Europe unresolved. If the multiple problems in Greece or Spain or Italy can't be contained, the entire world financial system might implode and we could see the US economy look like Greece. That would surely result in a the government's taking a stronger hand to direct things. Such a path could well become very messy...

EDIT: See the post below about the latest from the IMF.

it will be necessary to have more fiscal integration. This would require, at some point, common debt issuance with very strong governance safeguards to ensure fiscal discipline at the national level...

Which means the individual countries within the Euro Zone would no longer have complete control over their budgets...

E. Swanson

Crisis theory is what is practiced in thinking about a crisis, regardless of whether it is seen as economic, material, ecological, cultural, or what have you. In an attempt to show some fundamental differences between differents ways of thinking about a crisis, I present, the bourgeois, tragic and critical crisis theories.

Bourgeois crisis theories presume that 1) growth is the normal economical condition, 2) the crisis can>/em> be solved with the right policy, 3) the solution to the crisis is that growth and thus normality is sustained once again.

The IMF would fall into this category, as would most gold bugs. The "non-bourgeois" crisis theories, on the other hand, has another view of normality, all they have in common is perhaps that they set the present in a more historical light, as opposed to the bourgeois who want to tone it down.

The tragic crisis theories is distinguished by a cyclical conception of history, where periods of rise and fall happen simultaneously throughout history. It's a creed of the eternal return of something, such as a way of living. In the peak oil circles, John Michael Greer would perhaps the strongest example of this.

The critical crisis theories presume no grand historical onthology, but sticks to the formation which shows signs of crisis now. The theory is "critical" because it acknowledges crisis as a manifestation of limits to growth. These can be inner or outer, which gives cause to two different variants:

a) Endogenous crisis theory point to an inner limit to the growth of capital, in line with what Karl Marx briefly noted in volume three of Das Kapital. At least parts of old marxism's collapse theories are in this category, but to a higher degree also present value critics like Robert Kurz. These mean that the increase in productivity made possible by micro-electronics ( http://www.exit-online.org/link.php?tabelle=transnationales&posnr=168 ) has gone past a decisive point, where the only possible result is some sort of collapse for value-formed growth. Endogenous crisis theory could be said to be the opposite to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endogenous_growth_theory

b) Exogenous crisis theory points an outer limit to growth. It could be about resources, climate change, demographics, or a combination of these, which leads to industrial development driving into a wall, rendering impossible growth of the kind we know of - you know the deal.

While this site is obviously most focused on b), combinations of a) and b) are fully possible, and it is with feet standing astride both of these two that I aim to understand our predicament.

Tis, good to see someone who doesn't fall for the single cause theory. IMO most situations reflect a variety of important causes. The preoccupation with single causes single cures is a problem.

M - There remains plenty of room and even resources./ it is entirely feasible and even somewhat likely that governments will step in and ... quickly change the rules to end the implosion./ The world will not sit around and tolerate a true Great Depression.

Mike - You need to get out more. The world has no choice in the matter. The resouces are NOT there. This is not a parallel universe. Credit froze in 2008. No credit - no global economy. No single government has control of this. The current global economy is a Ponzi scheme.

WWII - World Population - 2 billion
2010 - World Population - 7 billion (3.5X)
2040 - World Population - 9 billion (4.5X)

And if you burn up the remaining FF were cooked. Period.

It's been suggested more than once, here and elsewhere, that a sudden drop in unemployment would quickly result in a liquid fuels crisis in the US. Considering how consumption has followed employment in recent years, while prices have remained relatively high, I think there's validity to this supposition.

We, in the US, can't fuel full employment.

We CAN support the increased transit needs for full employment IF support for Green Transit is the major part of the plan! During WW II intercity buses and trains along with local trolleys and other public transit ridership quadrupled as the US elite made a conscious decision to
put the brakes on further resource hogging Auto Addiction. Car production was cut from
tens of thousands to 300 cars as factories were converted to the War effort and the copious resources of Auto Addiction were also redirected. At the same time Green Transit was heavily promoted to save huge amounts of resources.
We could do that almost immediately to promote Green Transit access to jobs.
First off, restore Green transit in the 150 cities suffering service cuts since 2008 by restoring the operating subsidies which had been in existence for decades until Reagan.
The capacity is already there for that as the trains, buses and shuttles could support it in 2008.
Then ADD 24x7 frequency on all major Rail systems in NYC, Boston, Chicago etc.
This might require some new trains but for systems which have Zero weekend or off-peak
service not significantly because there is capacity to handle say 3 trains per hour on peak already. As part of expanded utilization of our Rail/LightRail capital, part of the new
service would be Express along with Local which could beat auto speeds for Express service.
Many transit systems already do this during Peak hours so they do not need any more tracks or sidings to handle it 24x7.
Next steps which would require minimal capital investments would be adding some sidings to further promote Express and 2-way service and adding connecting buses or shuttles for the last mile.
This could allow the SAME transit accessibility to jobs for most Americans as the current Auto Addicted Transit monopoly but save 10% of US oil usage virtually overnight.
This is a "no shovels" as opposed to "shovel-ready" Transit stimulus which has immediate benefits.
After that then strategically restore Rails like Cincy to Cleveland which already have been built with increased gas taxes.
It is all feasible.
PIRG did a study of the Stimulus and found that public transit provided 2 1/2 times the jobs of highway expansion and of course way more than the tax cuts. Part of the jobs produced immediately would be recalled bus drivers, conductors etc to full-time permanent Green Transit operations jobs.

Orbit7er, I agree that we need to shift transportation investment toward public transit and intercity rail now. There is much infrastructure work that can be done on rail sidings, station and platform reconstruction, intermodal facilities, etc., that doesn't require massive land acquisition like some high speed rail proposals do. Unfortunately, there is no overall plan or policy to do this. Individual states have requested studies by Amtrak for certain routes, and those studies are very revealing in terms of the type of improvements needed.

Most of the strategically significant railways in this country haven't seen a passenger train in 40 years, 50 or more in some cases. The Penn-Central collapse left a lot of mid-west and eastern rail in poor shape if not abandoned entirely. For instance, the Pennsylvania Railroad main line from Indy to Louisville, which once carried Chicago-Florida streamliners, is now owned by a short-line operator, and the speed limit is 30 mph. Amtrak tried an overnight Kentucky Cardinal on this route, and it was a failure.

West of the Mississippi the situation is not much better. Montana Rail Link, a regional carrier, now operates what used to be the main line of the Northern Pacific, with its vista-domes to Yellowstone National Park. The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) bled roads like the Rock Island, which had excellent passenger service, until they fell into disrepair and bankruptcy. The repair list is long. The good news, though, is that a study by Cambridge Systematics for the American Association of Railroads found that a $128 billion investment over 25 years would yield a national system with consistently good levels of service. Stations and passenger rolling stock will add billions more, but it is doable.

The primary text so far for the transportation task of peak oil is of course Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight Without OIl by two Canadian researchers, Richard Gilbert and Anthony Perl. They projected the necessary modal shift by 2030, including what amounted to a 50-fold increase in intercity rail transport in North America. That would require a World War II level effort and a Roosevelt-type leader.

Intracity travel likewise must shift out of the single occupant vehicle. Frankly, I regard that as a greater technical challenge than intercity rail, due to the low existing densities in most of our cities in the USA.

darkfiredtobacco - I love that book Transport Revolutions!
It has a very cogent analysis which makes a lot of sense.
Glad to hear somebody else has read it!

I think the crux of the problem, though, is well explained in the article linked to above (http://www.exit-online.org/link.php?tabelle=transnationales&posnr=168), which, though froma Marxian point of view, explains a lot of things rather well. Namely, that it is impossible to even think of solutions while trying to maintain capitalism. The real change that we need is not technical, it is socio-economic. And I eprsonally have no real idea of how that could be done.

"...Empirically, the internal limits of capitalist production appear as a competitive crowding out of the market and structural unemployment, such as in the auto industry, whose situation was described very well in DIE ZEIT on October 16th, 2008 in an article by D.H. Lamparter, which was titled Emergency Brake [Notbremsungen]:

„The crux of the situation: even if German manufacturers could keep their car sales constant, with each model the pressure on jobs increases. When production shifted from the Golf V to the Golf VI, Volkswagen executive Winterkorn disclosed proudly at the presentation of the company's most important new line, productivity in Wolfsburg rose by ten percent and in Zwickau by more than fifteen percent. That means that for the assembly of the same number of cars fifteen percent fewer people are necessary. So if the Golf VI doesn't sell correspondingly well, jobs are in danger. It's same with new models from BMW, Mercedes or Opel. In some of those cases productivity has jumped twenty percent.“

If productivity rises 15% then sales must correspondingly rise if the same (surplus) value is to be produced (in terms of labor time), as it is from this value alone that profits are generated. Should this not be achieved not only are those employees affected who are laid off, but so is the capital bound up in the automobile industry, which can no longer obtain the same surplus value as before. The enterprises most threatened by the drop in profits are those that couldn't keep pace with the growth in productivity, which explains the pride of the VW executive, who can look forward to a larger market share and maybe even rising profits. In summary however, in the branch as a whole higher productivity will necessarily lead to slimmer profits.

In theory at least higher productivity frees up capital and labour to create other types of products. You still get stuck with the need for ever expanding production and consumption to keep things going. New desires are created to be fulfilled. In autos, that has created the push for bigger, fancier, faster. Economics (without admitting to limits), refers to that argument as the lump of labour fallacy. Again growth seems to be the foundation for the whole thing.

Ghung - Good point IMHO. I can see the bumper sticker now: ENERGY INDEPENDENCE - FIRE HALF YOUR COMPANY. LOL. But seriously it makes me think of MADOR except on an internal scale. Instead of the question of which countries will get the energy they need but which segments of each society. Let's say unemployment in the US jumps another 30% (of whatever it actually is right now). Won't be nearly as many folks driving so more/cheaper fuel for the rest of us. More foreclosures so cheaper homes on the market. A lot of folks not buying nearly as much "stuff" so cheaper stuff for those still with a job.

I recall stories about the Great Depression. Certainly tough for those with no income but also read how folks with capital had a great time. If matters were to turn that bad it would still be tough on those with good resources: gated communities don't come cheap and alcohol only cures guilt so far. Not really a theoretical thought for me...remember what I do for a living. Typically my great times are poor times for the rest of the economy. And vice versa. So observes the petroleum geologist and former Yellow Cab driver.

But I think people overlook what the full consequences of such a situation would be. All those millions of unemployed and homeless people don't just quietly disappear in the night. Right now they are placated by unemployment benefits, help from friends, food stamps, etc. But if the situation grows worse, those people will organize and push back. Occupy Wall Street was an abortive start. It lacked critical mass and fell-apart. But if things get worse and social programs helping those unemployed people are cut . . . well people won't just quietly die.

spec - "All those millions of unemployed and homeless people don't just quietly disappear in the night". I don't know: there are already millions who are relatively invisible to most Americans. If it weren't a presidential election year they wouldn't even be getting what lip service is being offered now IMHO. I'm dealing with some of these folks on an almost weekly basis and none of them are in a position to go occupy anything...just struggling to get by. Some of the OWS folks may have had good intentions but I didn't see that many who themselves fell into that bottom rung of society.

"Push back" against whom? Picket companies who aren't hiring? You ever notice that most folks picketing in the past were union workers getting some benefit checks during their struggles? Push back against politicians who are cutting aid to the poor/homeless? How...voting for the other guy who's only making promises he won't keep? Push back thru some acts of violence? Against whom: in the past most of the harm was done in their own communities against folks in similar sad circumstances. Do you really expect to see looting in Beverly Hills or the Hamptons? Folks who are trying to figure out how to get their kid a good winter coat are going to travel to D.C. for a Million Poor Man March?

It's not that folks today, and probably a lot more in the future, don't have reason to react harshly. But against who and how are they going to do anything that could effectively change their lot? Given the millions who are in bad shape now what have you seen of significance happen in the last 12 months? Critical mass is a valid idea...but only if that mass is concentrated in a functional format IMHO.

And then we come to the uncomfortable fact that the US government has spent several trillion dollars over the last couple decades developing just exactly the right equipment and techniques to fight a popular insurgency. And as we all know, 'us citizens' can become 'those troublemakers' mighty fast. Think it can't happen? Think again.

These control measures that selectively disallow legitimate and peaceful protest (OWS in my opinion fell victim to this) will only ratchet things up in the long run as citizens consumers realize effecting change through peaceful ways no longer exists.

Exactly. It's not so about "room" or even total remaining "resources", it's about economically recoverable resources, resources per capita and "useful" land. Considering the earth is a closed finite system, increasing the global population reduces resources per capita automatically. Add to this the fact that our species has already consumed a large % of non-renewable resources and seriously degraded the stock of renewable resources globally. We've already burned through about half the recoverable crude, mined out many of the earth's best deposits of phosphorus, copper, tin, etc., destroyed or seriously degraded millions of hectares of previously good farmland through pollution, deforestation-caused erosion and overcultivation.

If *only* we still had the population and bank of unspoiled resources the world had back in WWII.

And if only the oceans weren't dying...

Yeah, well, those are the thoughts I really find scary, because I'm sure somewhere, somehow, someone is thinking them exactly like that, but as a guiding principle for policy. "If we only had a billion people on Earth" then becomes "How can we engineer the disappearcne of 6 billion people". Dark thoughts, indeed.

Not much "global economy" (which is mostly offshored manufacture of goodies and trinkets, plus an utterly useless financial superstructure of equally useless claims on income streams) is required to do the reconstruction that could be done and should be done. There is a big difference between the operation of existing economic patterns and what remains entirely possible by intelligent use of all available labor.

I'm not denying that we only have the materials and absorptive margins left for one more build of infrastructure. If we wait too long, we will lose that.

But there is a big amount of possibility left.

Maybe you need to get out in the world, meanwhile. Capitalism is continuing on. It is sputtering, but continues to fill the stores and roads and media outlets. State intervention did stave off a true Depression, albeit not very well.

"State intervention did stave off a true Depression, albeit not very well."

...and not for very long, IMO. What we're seeing is inertia, burning off a lot of fat, and eating of seed corn. Once this process runs it's course, the true nature of our overshoot condition will be revealed. The masks will be lifted and we can go about the business of restructuring,, or not. The addict hasn't bottomed out yet.

"Milk blood to keep from runnin' out" [Neil Young]

Yes. The last chord is unresolved.

WWII - World Population - 2 billion
2010 - World Population - 7 billion (3.5X)
2040 - World Population - 9 billion (4.5X)

And if you burn up the remaining FF were cooked. Period.

If the data is correct we are pretty much cooked regardless and I find it highly doubtful that we will ever see a World Population of 9 billion, certainly not for very long. I think we have already pushed the reset button on that one.

I'm going back to questioning if humans are smarter than yeast.

We sure do have plenty of resources, namely $1 Trillion annually the USA wastes right now on the costs of War! Another War will only make matters worse - Military Keynesianism like Auto Addiction no longer works and is basically moribund.
Of course we have a moral obligation to maintain the Veterans Administration to care for all the tragically wounded soldiers blown up in the Afghan/Iraq Wars. But we have plenty of room for immediate cuts:
F-35 boondoggle
Star Wars Missile Defense boondoggle
Nuclear weapons refurbishing boondoggle
German military bases 60 years after WWII
Japanese military bases 60 years after WWII
234 Pentagon golf courses overseas
Iraq staged troops withdrawn
Afghan troops withdrawn in 6 months
new Australian military deployment by Obomber
That's a start!

Orb: I agree 100% with all you said. And, would add that already the MIC is beginning the "we make jobs" chant. As though the capital used in wasted production could not better be used in creating a new energy and transportation infrastructure, employing more Americans and at a lower cost.

Who do you bet on winning the argument? MIC or You and Me?


As James Kunstler has a habit of saying, regardless of blithe comments like George Bush Jr that "we make Reality" in fact Reality has a way of asserting itself. Military Keynesianism has been showing itself to be a colossal failure for growing the economy for decades now, only disguised by cheap oil.
Years ago during Reagan's threat of nuclear war and the Nuclear Freeze movement, Seymour Melman from Columbia did some excellent studies of how to do a civilian conversion from Wars to productive investments. But it all got tossed under Clinton who could've actually provided a Peace Dividend after the collapse of the Soviet Union but settled for very minor cuts. This has been one reason I am sick of the neoliberal Democrats like Clinton and now Obama who have been actual sweet-talking evaders of genuine change. As Jill Stein said on NPR's onPoint yesterday - we cannot afford that anymore! We are in crisis now!


So ultimately we will win sooner or later...
90% of the people I talk to about this are in agreement that the Wars and military waste have to end. Most people have no idea just how gargantuan a waste the War spending is because the Corporate Media, including NPR, never talk about it.

have been actual sweet-talking evaders of genuine change.

Had they tried to be anything else, their political careers would have followed the same path as Dennis Kucinich. A politician cannot afford to be too far ahead of the people/times.

Sure cutting military polls well -especially if you attach loaded words like waste to the polling questionaire. But when push comes to shove, and candidate A say's his oponent is a lacky of foreign devils, and hates the soldiers (because he wants to cut the MIC), they tend to fall for that framing. We get the governance we have because we as a people are highly vulnerable to propaganda and issue framing. As well as the fact that we've seeded our politics and media to those who have the most money to spend influencing it.

Had they tried to be anything else, their political careers would have followed the same path as Dennis Kucinich.

Or Alan Grayson, or Jimmy Carter, or _______________ (fill in the blank)

This is precisely why I'm positive we will never see any real leadership on population, peak oil, AGW, or any number of critical-to-the-survival of the biosphere and our species issues. You have a jet setting global nobility of deep pockets that can afford to buy every media outlet, politician, and hire the best propagandists to tell us that nothing is wrong and to trust in the "free market" (meaning anti-competitive rigged markets and price fixing cartels). The .1% successfully convince ~98% of the public to either go to sleep or that liberals, scientists, environmentalists, gay people and women and are the problem, but the status quo is A-ok.

You might enjoy this:
... just the last 1/4 of the piece.
In closing, a question is asked about banking and the fellow lists most of the recent crimes... and is just mind-blown.

A commenter from you link sums up my position nicely!

Jill Stein couldn’t win governor of Massachusetts. At best her campaign will be ineffective. At worst, she will siphon enough swing state progressive votes to bring about a Romney victory. Progressives should work to make the Democratic party more liberal instead of leaving on a futile quest for the perfect party. While Al Gore wasn’t a dream candidate, does anyone doubt that he would have kept us from squandering Clinton’s surplus on tax cuts for the rich, invading Iraq, and appointing Roberts and Alito? Anyone who votes for Stein, has only himself to blame when Romney passes more tax cuts, repeals regulations, appoints the next Scalia, and invades Iran.

Am I thrilled with the D's? Not especially, but when the choice is between a slap in the face or a kick in the testicles, I'll go with the slap every time. The D's and R's have a total stranglehold on the mechanisms that control our political system. They will fight with every dirty trick in the book to keep third parties on the fringe. I don't ever see a third party ever having a viable presidential candidate. If you really want to support Green Party candidates, work to get them elected to city councils, county commissions, state legislatures, etc.

This is sadly true. And it would be really nice to change the system but the two parties with a stranglehold on power would be reluctant to pass rule changes such as instant run-off voting & proportional representation.

Any fundamental change. And fundamental change is whats needed, not just some tweaking around the edges would be framed as unAmerican attempt to overturn what the founding fathers created. Tagged with this framing it would go down in flaming defeat, taking any prominent supports down with it. Its gonna take some very serious discontent before any real progress can be made. I disagree that 98% are fooled, perhaps as many as 10-20% are getting the picture in broad form. But, 10-20% might as well be 2%, for all the good it will do us.

In regard to MIC, what is the thinking inside the National War College? The DOD? Does anyone on this list have good contacts with either or with top brains in the defense establishment? As discussed some months ago, the military is a respected, can-do institution in US society which, however bloated now, could step in and mobilize quickly to "git er done".

I have seen little evidence that DoD groks Limits To Growth issues, either at the institutional or individual level...or let me rephrase that individuals keep their mouths shut and heads down if they have awareness, otherwise the military 'Fox News Culture' folks will beat them down publicly and they will fear for their career advancement and at least despair of being mocked abd challenged every day.

Institutionally they seem to get recycled 'Clash of Civilizations' stuff such as was promoted by Sam Huntington, or 'The Pentagon's New Map' kind of thinking such as was promoted by Tom Barnett. It is usually all about the 'who's the flavor of the day/decade' threat to U.S> hegemony...Korea North? China? Radical Islamic Fundamentalists...and them to what types of weapons and strategies and tactics do we need to potentially defeat (and thus hopefully deter) such threats? New Bomber? Prompt Global Strike missiles? Cyberwarfare? Autonomous air/sea/land war machines?

We have hammers at DoD, and thus all the World's problems look like nails to them.

Any LYG thinking out there is either marginalized at the open source fringe, or I would bet there perhaps are some studies triple-wrapped under classification which won't see the light of day...too 'off the res' to see sunshine.

If the SECDEF started to publicly trumpet LTG issues and then perhaps how the MIC should trim its sails even marginally (say5-10%), understand that the Michelle Bachman's and fellow travelers would lambast Panetta with a crap-storm of McCarthy-esque 'anti-American' conspiracy charges/smear campaign. L-Rushbo and the zombie hordes would provide withering supportive artillery barrages. Folks are stuck playing their expected roles in this grand puppet theater.

Sweet dreams are made of these
who am I to disagree
sing to Eurythemics
Get real but you are in the orbit so excused.

So,the world will not sit around and blah blah.Who decides that?That sounds like Dick Cheney "the American lifestyle is non-negotiable".My dear friend reality does not negotiate,it dictates and their is not even a take it or leave it option.We have crossed the tipping points in the 3E(energy,economy,ecology)collapse and all we can do is prepare and wait that when TSHTF we are better prepared than our competitors.On this the TOD readers/members do have an advantage and a head start.

New from Congressional Research Service …

LIBOR: Frequently Asked Questions

The London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR) is an estimate of prevailing interest rates in London money markets. Barclays, a British bank that serves on the panel responding to the LIBOR survey, recently admitted submitting false responses to manipulate the index (and attempting to manipulate a similar index, the Euro Interbank Offer Rate [EURIBOR]). The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reached settlements with Barclays in which the bank agreed to admit fault and pay a large fine.

This report answers several frequently asked questions.
- How is LIBOR calculated?
- Which banks serve on the dollar LIBOR panel?
- How can a single bank manipulate LIBOR?
- How did Barclays manipulate LIBOR?
- How is LIBOR used in the U.S. financial systems?
- Are there alternatives to LIBOR?
- Were U.S. policymakers, such as the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, aware of problems with LIBOR?

Slide Deck of 2008 FEDReserve Presentation to the Interagency Financial Markets Group Meeting, Market Concerns Regarding LIBOR

IMF Interview: IMF Calls on Eurozone to Take Determined Action in Response to Crisis

IMF Survey online: The IMF said recently that the euro area crisis has reached a critical stage. What do you mean exactly?

Pradhan*: The critical stage is indicated by the clear signs of very high levels of stress in a number of financial markets. Risk premia have recently reached a record euro area high in some countries, especially Spain and Italy. This applies to sovereigns as well as to corporate and household borrowers.

This tells us that the adverse links between sovereigns, banks, and the real economy are stronger than ever. As a consequence, financial markets are increasingly fragmented across member countries. In other words, borrowing costs are very high for some countries, but at record lows for others, because capital within the euro area is moving away from the Southern periphery countries to safer havens in Northern Europe.

These developments are not consistent with a properly functioning economic union. They imply a breakdown in the monetary transmission mechanism. The common monetary policy is not working the way it was intended.

... Growth is crucial for the crisis-stricken countries to escape their debt traps.

The IMF Report [ ... that is one scary report]

* Mahmood Pradhan, Deputy Director of the IMF’s European Department and mission chief for the euro area.

“A deeper euro area crisis would have substantial global implications,” the I.M.F. said in its report, which also warned of other possible shocks to the euro currency bloc, like the failure of a big bank.

It would appear that the capitalist banksters at the IMF recommend that the solution is an application of "The Shock Doctrine" to those southern nations which are in fiscal trouble. Same old story, only this time, the scale is much larger. Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the rest of us...

E. Swanson

Score: Nicole Foss (Stoneleigh) - 1, World Economists - 0

If I didn't know better, I'd think Nicole was gloating a bit, certainly taking a shot at Rubin ;-)

Go girl!

She has no reason to gloat. While oil has not climbed to $200/barrel as predicted by Rubin, it has not collapsed in price either. And remember the all time high price of oil when measured in Euros was in March this year.

Looks like the commodities including oil are on the upswing again and gold has formed a powerful base just 20% below its all time high 10 months ago. We could get another spike in commodities again this year similar to 2008.

Some links about US bellicosity during the 70s: Britain Says U.S. Planned To Seize Oil In ’73 Crisis

“The United States government seriously contemplated using military force to seize oil fields in the Middle East during the Arab oil embargo 30 years ago, according to a declassified British government document made public on Thursday.

“ The top-secret document says that President Richard M. Nixon was prepared to act more aggressively than previously thought to secure America’s oil supply if the embargo, imposed by Arab nations in retaliation for America’s support for Israel in the 1973 Middle East war, did not end.”

This page has more stuff. Here's a link to the article printed in Harper's mentioned there; it's subscription-only from them: Seizing Arab Oil: How the U.S. can break the oil cartel's stranglehold on the world

The first question is where. The goal is not just to seize
some oil (say, in accessible Nigeria or Venezuela) but to
break OPEC. Thus force must be used selectively to
occupy large and concentrated oil reserves, which can be
produced rapidly in order to end the artificial scarcity of
oil and thus cut the price. Faced with armed consumers
occupying vast oil fields whose full output can eventually
bring the price down to 50 cents per barrel, most of the
producers would see virtue in agreeing to a price four or
five times as high, but still six times lower than present
prices. This being the ultimate goal, there is only one
feasible target: Saudi Arabia.

And from 2005: WorldTribune.com: U.S. fears prospect of Saudi coup, weighs invasion plans

Curiously enough the other day I found a $1 copy of Sir John Winthrop Hackett's odd book The Third World War: the untold story, which I'd read about before; it's a dry-as-dust account of conflict told after the fact, describing troop movements, diplomatic cabals, etc, much along the same lines as these hypothetical commando raids into the Eastern province.

Kenai River to close to all king salmon fishing as of Thursday : Opening ends Wednesday; catch and release not legal in worst season in 30 years.

With no letup in the dismal return of king salmon to Alaska waters, the state on Tuesday announced maximum restrictions for its premiere salmon river: Starting Thursday at 12:01 a.m., all fishing for kings on the Kenai River is over. This means no catch and release nor any targeting of kings. Any king salmon caught accidently must not even be brought to the surface before being immediately released.

"Any king salmon caught accidently must not even be brought to the surface before being immediately released."

Perhaps the fishers among us can elighten me. How do you know what species of Salmon (or even if it's a Salmon) before you bring it to the surface?

You have to identify, and remove the hook while leaving the salmon in the water as opposed to hauling it out of the water first. I wonder what the fine is for removing one from the water? I hung up my fishing tackle for good two years ago. I can find better ways to relax than torturing fish.

Are you saying that prior to two years ago you DIDN'T have anything better to do than torture fish? ;)

PS I used to fly fish a lot, but gave it up for photography. I echo your general sentiment.

LOL I grew up with a father that loved hunting and fishing. I started out at an early age but was never that into it. I quit altogether when I moved away from home at 18. I think I fished once or twice in 17 years! When I moved back to my neon wonderland, I inherited the old man's collection of weapons and tackle. I took bird hunting and fishing back up as a way to honor his memory.

After 5 years, I replaced hunting and fishing with an activity that is equally if not more exciting. One that can be practiced in the city, doesn't require a license, and one which helps animals instead of harming them. I trap feral cats and get them spayed/neutered. It's all the challenge of hunting, without the killing and I still get a huge rush when I spring my drop trap on a target cat!

Normally this is determined by method used and timing (each river and seasonal run of salmon are predictable within a span of weeks). That said, in all but the most turbid conditions visual identification can be made below the surface.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending July 13, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.5 million barrels per day during the week ending July 13, 236 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 92.0 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging nearly 8.9 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging about 4.8 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.9 million barrels per day last week, up by 311 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged about 8.9 million barrels per day, 405 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 635 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 84 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 0.8 million barrels from the previous week. At 377.4 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.8 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.6 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.6 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 1.4 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 18.9 million barrels per day, up by 0.4 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged 8.8 million barrels per day, down by 3.3 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged about 3.6 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 1.9 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 5.3 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

Northeast US Refiners Still Fail to Keep Up with Gasoline Demand, even as retail sales wilt in record summer heat

Nationwide, gasoline sales, per both the EIA and the latest MasterCard’s Spending Plus reports, appear to still be declining at an annual rate of 3 to 4%. [MasterCard’s report was not released this week; it is now bi-weekly]. Yet, as discussed here for many months now, Northeast refiners have failed to keep up with demand. NE gasoline inventories last week were near five year lows.

On the other hand, there are some surplus gasoline supplies situated near the Gulf of Mexico coast, and perhaps surprisingly, in parts of the Midwest. Last year saw very low gasoline supplies in the Midwest before some refiners in that region finished major renovations. The nation’s largest pipeline system, the Colonial Pipeline, which generally runs from Louisiana to New Jersey with many branches, has been operating at or near maximum capacity for the transport of gasoline for most of the last four weeks. Distillates lines (for products like diesel) were also operating at or near capacity last week.

The discrepancy between demand in the Northeast and supply in the Gulf of Mexico region has resulted in Northeast wholesale gasoline prices roughly about 12 to 14 cents/gallon higher than in the Gulf region. That price spread is probably kept from expanding by the use of gasoline barges leaving the Gulf; using them costs about 10 to 12 cents/gallon in shipping costs per gallon - per a report earlier this year from the EIA.

US oil demand growth continues to gain, but slowed to a rate of about 2% per year. It has been widely expected that US oil demand would be falling with sluggish economic growth and more vehicles getting higher mileage per gallon.

Oil imports from Saudi Arabia dropped significantly, from 1.531 million bpd to 1.233 mbpd. Saudi Arabia is intentionally reducing oil exports to the US while the largest US refinery, Motiva, is being repaired after an operational error caused major damage to the refinery just as the new heavy crude unit was started. Saudi Arabia was counting on the rebuilt Motiva refinery to use the bulk of its marginal sour heavy crude. [Motiva is half owned by Saudi Arabia]. Recent shipping reports confirm that Saudi Arabia is still exporting at a reduced rate to the US, rather than the higher levels seen in a two month export surge in March and April.

"Motiva, is being repaired after an operational error caused major damage to the refinery just as the new heavy crude unit was started. "

I was under the impression that the Motiva breakdowns were due to undetected (undisclosed?) corrosion. Just curious... seems like, perhaps, a case of unqualified operators meet worn out infrastructure?

I expect we'll see more of this as the oil patch (and it's equipment) ages and retires.

"Just curious... seems like, perhaps, a case of unqualified operators meet worn out infrastructure?"

No so much unqualified as not sure where the gotcha's are hiding in a new plant. The infrastructure involved was brand new.

A valve leaked by (last version I heard) and allowed concentrated caustic into the system at low flow and temperatures while doing other minor maintenance. When they heated up to start full rate operations, the 700 F caustic attacked the heat exchangers. Some sources called it 'accelerated corrosion', and some 'caustic stress cracking'. Probably both occurred. The interesting part to take home is that if you strip the chrome oxide film off the stainless steel, it's not stainless any more. And if you are in a reducing environment (like say a pipe full of crude oil), then you can't reform the oxide film. So the corrosion just keeps going.

Stainless steel is not immortal. Especially 304 stainless, which is marginal at the best of times, but is cheap and easy to weld.

Thanks for the detailed explanation. More here:

Al Arabiya
July 16, 2012

As Motiva investigates, no good news at stricken Texas refinery

A month-long investigation of the pitted and scarred crude unit at Motiva's massive Port Arthur, Texas refinery has uncovered the "worst news" about its condition, according to sources familiar with the probe, giving operators no reason to shorten estimates of an up to year-long outage.

With workers finally able to access most of the new 325,000 barrel per day (bpd) crude distillation unit (CDU) now that it has cooled down, the company expects to rebuild much but perhaps not all of the more than $300 million atmospheric section, the heart of the unit, the sources said.

But nothing has given them reason to hope that repairs will be any shorter than had been projected last month, when workers were told the unit could be idle for as long as a year.


Arctic warming could kill off polar bears in 30 years: U of A

In the recent issue of the journal Global Change Biology, Ian Stirling and Andrew Derocher suggest that the bears of Hudson Bay and the Beaufort Sea in Canada and Alaska are likely to go first. And while they believe a small population of bears in northern Greenland and the Canadian Arctic islands could persist in the foreseeable future, they warn that the longterm well-being of those animals is in doubt as well.

" It may be possible for a remnant population to survive for quite a while, but that will also depend on what survives for them to eat."

... It may be possible for a remnant population to survive for quite a while, but that will also depend on what survives for them to eat - True for them - True for us

The problem the Canadian Federal and Territorial Governments have with these predictions is that their data indicates polar bear numbers in Canada are increasing rather than decreasing. In fact, their counts indicate numbers have doubled in the last 30 years, after hunting was severely restricted. The Inuit in the high Arctic also think that polar bear numbers are increasing based on their observations of them. Derocher, of course, disagrees with them.

See: Healthy polar bear count confounds doomsayers

From the denialist mass circle *#&$ in the comments of that article I could swear I was back home in the good ole US of A :(

The actual study results paint a different picture (study downloadable in pdf format). Let me just point out that the 2011 survey method was ...umm slightly different than those conducted in the past. Intensive aerial survey vs. catch and release.

Even still, actual aerial observation bear count in 2011 was 701, well under the 935 results (actual catch and release) conducted in 2004, with an alarming low number of younger bears observed.

Well, the question is, who is a denialist on this subject? The biologists and Inuit who live in the Arctic among the polar bears seem to have a completely different opinion on the subject than academics at more southerly universities.

A 2004 Environment Canada estimate of the polar bears on the West Coast of Hudson Bay was 935, and they PREDICTED it would go down to 610, but the estimate based on the ACTUAL count in 2011 was 1000. In other worlds, the polar bears did better than predicted - see Western Hudson Bay polar bear numbers “stable,” Government of Nunavut survey shows

Polar bear population is "stable, and not in decline as predicted

(Nunatsiaq News).

It reminds me of the Newfoundland harp seal hunt. Back in 1955 when Brigit Bardot and similarly qualified environmental experts started claiming the seals were facing extinction, there were about 1.5 million harp seals in Canada. After years of protests about seal hunting, the numbers are up to about 5.5 million seals. However, you will never convince the protesters about that. They are the denialists in that situation. They don't like to let facts interfere with a good demonstration.

In the time frame that is being discussed (30 - 50 years), what do you think the disposition of the habitat that can support polar bears be? Do you think it will be larger or smaller than it is today? Will a smaller habitat mean a larger or smaller polar bear population?

The thing that has been tripping up the biologists predicting their demise is that the polar bears are far more flexible in their eating habits than they expected. They are related to grizzly bears, who are very flexible in their eating habits, so this shouldn't have been totally unexpected.

What has been happening recently is that, as the ice floes melt early, the polar bears can't get as many seals. However, at the same time the ducks have been nesting early, so the polar bears have been going ashore and feasting on duck eggs instead of seals.

As some biologists have been saying, and the environmentalists have been denying, the polar bears have been through global warming before, several times, so they must have some pretty good coping strategies for it.

The governing factor in their population is really hunting by humans. If humans stop hunting them, their numbers will likely increase. And if all else fails, they can shoot some of those 5.5 million harp seals and air-drop them to the polar bears. I'm sure the polar bears wouldn't object.

Thanks for the reasoned response. Presumably, what is now polar bear habitat will become grizzly habitat in the future. Polar bears are only going to be able to go further north for so long. Isn't there more to suitable habitat than food sources? Yes polar bears have survived climate change before, but have they ever had to evolve or adapt so quickly?

Polar bears appear to have evolved from grizzly bears that got trapped on the ice with nothing but seals to eat, whereas Grizzly bears are more adapted to warmer conditions. Polar bears are pure carnivores whereas grizzly bears eat plants as well as animals.

Normally, grizzly bears would push the polar bears further north, but that assumes that humans will let them. Remember that grizzly bears are extinct in most of the lower 48 states due to being hunted out of existence. It all depends on what governments allow to happen.

Climate change in the past has been rather rapid at times. It wasn't always a gradual process, and there were often sudden changes in temperature and rainfall that we don't really understand.

EDIT: I checked the literature and it turns out that polar bears will eat plants like berries, roots, and seaweed when meat is scarce, too.

From NYT's Green blog...

Requiem for the Bears?

Andrew Derocher of the University of Alberta, a co-author of the new paper, told me recently by e-mail: “It is likely that the long ice-free period of 2010 affected cubs born in both 2009 and 2010 and may have negative effects on females that were pregnant and gave birth to cubs in December.”

His colleague Ian Stirling, also at the University of Alberta, told me that the climate changes under way in the Arctic have so much momentum that even an immediate shift in global policy on emissions would likely come too late for this particular bear population. “I don’t think things look good for the bears of Hudson Bay in the next 20-30 years, even if we are able to stop anthropogenic warming, which presently appears very unlikely,” he wrote via e-mail.

Dr. Derocher pointed me toward this video of a skinny mother polar bear and her starving cubs, typical of the sort of thing likely to happen more often in the future. Warning: it is hard to watch.

Here's part of the description of the video...

Mother Polar Bear Loses Her Two One Year Old Cubs Most Likely to Starvation

During our time watching this family of bears fight for survival, one of the cubs twice sat up. At first it looked like normal curiously but as he scanned beyond their wintery bed his little head developed an obviously abnormal tick. Without warning his body seized in a fit of violent convulsions. The first was not as bad as the second. The second was so intense it seemed impossible he could have lived. It was one of the most horrific scenes I have ever witnessed in the world of nature and one that scientists predict will repeat itself much more frequently as Hudson Bay freezes later and later each winter season. This incredibly beautiful, magnificent little animal was slowly dieing and all who had witnessed it were moved beyond words.

It's apparent that there is a serious disagreement between Dr. Derocher and some other researchers, notably those in working for the government of Nunavut.

Polar Bear Monitoring and Research in Nunavut (PDF)

Annual survival of polar bears in Davis Strait has increased since the 1970’s. For example in the 1970’s annual survival was only 85%. Now, an adult female as a 91% chance of surviving every year.

We think that survival of bears in Davis Strait has increased because of an increase in the number of seals.

The Inuit people also believe the number of polar bears is increasing, and the majority of the population of Nunavut is Inuit, so the government of Nunavut tends to believe them rather than white southerners.

The government of Canada tends to follow the lead of the government of Nunavut and is not about to get into a political fight with them or the Inuit people. Nunavut has 12 of the 19 populations of polar bears in the world, or about 15,000 of the global total of 25,000.

And, as per the article referenced further down, China produces as much CO2 per person as Europe: report, what Canada does about AGW is becoming irrelevant. What will happen will happen.

Seems to me the Chinese might have been hoping to import a whole lot of diluted bitumen, so I am hard pressed to understand your assertion that what Canada does (or more to the point, does not do) about AGW is irrelevant.

The way I see things happening with respect to Canada and AGW is that our economy is becoming a tar sands `one trick pony`. And we, the global We, will eventually realize and accept that we have have waited too long to respond to climate change, but at that point it`s impacts will be profound enough that we impose drastic reductions on the use of FF.

That`s my optimistic scenario. The trouble with that scenario is that Canada became a `one trick pony` whose economy won`t make sense in a rapidly de-carbonising world.

That`ll be bad for Canada, and it`ll will be very bad for Alberta, but when things become desperate then the world will resign itself to doing that which needs to be done.

Most of the Chinese CO2 production is from burning coal, with oil a much smaller part of the picture. They have huge coal supplies of their own, but are beginning to import large amounts from Australia and other countries.

Polar Bear Monitoring and Research in Nunavut

That's cherry-picking the data to prove a particular bias.

Summary of polar bear population status per 2010

"That summary indicates that of the 19 populations, 8 are declining, 7 are too data deficient to determine a trend, 3 are stable, and 1 is increasing. The Polar Bear Specialist Group also estimated the risk of future declines among these populations and found that 6 had a very high risk, 1 had a “higher” risk, 1 had a moderate risk, 2 had a very low risk, and 9 were data deficient."

Why is this bias important enough to corrupt the argument with such tactics?

Consequences of change and variability in sea ice on marine ecosystem and biogeochemical processes
during the 2007–2008 Canadian International Polar Year program
(PDF) http://www.springerlink.com/content/k43n16338461l162/

Effects of climate warming on polar bears: a review of the evidence

Of course the Government of Nunavut has the opportunity to cherry-pick the data because they are the people collecting the data in the first place.

However, US Fish and Wildlife is somewhat out of their jurisdiction trying to second-guess them on polar bear numbers. The Government of Canada is monitoring the situation, but their experts are more likely to side with those in Nunavut than with US Fish and Wildlife.

The US Government should be a bit more cautious than it has been to date, because the Canadian Government is already rather P.O.d at them on several other issues. There can be consequences to trying to tell other countries what to do.

When we look in the rearview mirror we see just how accurate all the US government data is; especially their prognostications and projections. It would be a very short list of accuracies.

Okay, in preface, picture Stephan Colbert saying this:

Polar bears... Would you miss them? Really? They're BEARS, for god sake! Nature's Killing Machines! A Rambo-Schwartzenegger wrapped in fur! And who keeps them up north, where they can do no harm to God-fearing Americans? Grizzly bears!

Nation, I say we let nature take its course. Let the grizzly bears keep chasing the polar bears north until... Until they get sucked up by the Great Northern Light Vortex, never to trouble us again!

(the crowd goes wild)

Clap clap clap! That does have a certain amount of 'truthiness' to it!

Thanks, I worked not-long and not-hard on it. However, I was watching The Colbert Report at the time :)

I suspect they might be able to survive in the new environment, but that they would be outcompeted by Grizzlies, or even that they would evolve back into something a lot closer to Grizzlies.

Will the Grizzies and Polars not learn to love one another (now and then) and make little pinto-bear babies?

They already do --- the offspring are golars

And here I thought they were pizzlies!

I don't care what you call them, I'm staying clear.


This, I feel, is a wise policy.

There is a website Arctic Ready which shows that oil companies are very concerned about everything Arctic, including da bears.

Yes, when we were drilling up there, we were very concerned about the polar bears - mostly that they would start eating our men.

We weren't allowed to shoot them, of course. So, when one bear started prowling around too much, we engaged one of the local Inuit to exercise his aboriginal hunting rights with respect to the bear.

He showed up with a rifle and two bullets. When we asked him if he thought that was enough, he said, oh yeah, you'll never see more than two bears together in this part of the country.

I met someone who was trapped in a post office building by a polar bear. He said he met a bear walking down the street, and when it saw him, it started chasing him. Fortunately, the post office box section was open 24/7, the door had unbreakable glass, and the bear couldn't figure out how to open it.

Four U.S. power reactors shut & NYC sweats during heat wave

Several nuclear plants on the U.S. East Coast shut down by early Wednesday and New York's Consolidated Edison power company reduced the voltage in parts of Manhattan as the obsessive heat wave stressed the region's power system.

Constellation Nuclear Energy Group's 630-megawatt Nine Mile Point 1 nuclear reactor in New York automatically shut on Tuesday due to high neutron flux -- meaning neutrons are not equally spread around the reactor core.

A unit at Exelon's Limerick nuclear plant in Pennsylvania shut early Wednesday, according to power traders.

Constellation Nuclear 855-MW took the Unit 1 at the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant in Maryland offline by early Wednesday due to a small leak in an instrument line.

North Carolina-based Duke Energy's 846-MW Unit 1 at the Oconee nuclear plant in South Carolina also shut by early Wednesday.

This is what should be defined as "Intermittent Baseload Power"

Details about the Oconee shutdown were not immediately available to comment.

Just a note: Oconee was the first nuke plant in the US slated to go to digital control, in 2011. Not sure of the status of this conversion..

Nebraska nuclear plant not restarting soon

Utility workers continue inspecting the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant, but it's not clear whether the plant will be ready to restart in September as Omaha Public Power District officials hoped.

Fort Calhoun was initially shut down for routine refueling maintenance in 2011, but flooding along the Missouri River and the safety violations regulators identified forced it to remain offline.

Violations include a small electrical fire in June 2011, the failure of a key electrical part during a 2010 test and deficiencies in flood planning that were discovered a year before last summer's extended flooding along the Missouri River.

I haven't been involved in power plant instrumentation since the early 90's, but the debate between "computerized" and dedicated monitoring instrumentation goes back at least to the mid-70's when microprocessors and 'personal computers' first came on the scene. Traditionally you have the assurance of hard-wired annunciator panels with discrete backlit engraved window displays, in fixed positions around the control room above the other discrete gauges and controls. A glance around the control room provides the operator with a quick review of plant status; he/she subconsciously registers which lights are normally on and which ones are abnormal at any time. A new alarm causes the display window to flash (and an audible device to activate) until the operator presses an acknowledge button, causing the audible to silence and the light to go on steady. These systems have battery back-up power, and each window has dedicated electronics (swappable modules) between the display and the input sensor or contact in the field.

The argument against this has always been the massive expense and real estate of these dedicated display systems. At least since the late 70's, "virtual" annunciators have been available via computer display, but these were always an optional feature. Despite various schemes to provide redundancy, they were just never considered comprehensive, robust, and reliable enough to depend on for monitoring and running a power plant, especially a nuclear one. Recently I have read that power plants are indeed now starting to go "digital", so we'll see how that works out.

Stuxnet invaded the uranium enrichment centrifuge controllers built around Siemens industrial computers and presented all normal indications to the operators while spinning hundreds of machines up to speeds that caused their destruction.

Roto-Tellite rules... but I think that's a different field.

Back in 1968 all reactors on Enterprise (CVAN 65) were monitored and controlled with hard wired circuits. Magnetic amplifiers were our “solid state” electronics used to amplify signals from sensors as these would take the shock from bomb, and torpedo hits. Vacuum tubes would just shatter. As for “semi conductors” we had 4 transistors in each engine room, (in some newly installed radiation monitors). Civilian plant controls were modeled after the systems used on Navy reactors. A gage would give the value of some reactor parameter. Just above each gage would be a light, and a switch. If the parameter went out of spec a klaxon horn 18 inches above the reactor operators head would sound, and the light above the offending gage would start flashing. To silence the horn you flip the switch to acknowledge the event, and the light would go solid. If the horn kept blaring you find what other parameter is out of spec, and acknowledge it with its switch. You do this until there is silence. This horn will wake the dead. :)

Most good system designs nowadays will use computers to do most of the work, but have a few hardwired circuits to limit the damage that can be done if there is a computer or software failure. In civilian designs there are no ways to bypass these limits unlike on Enterprise where when the “BATTLE SHORT” light is on you have all safeties, and limits disabled.

The mysterious Fukushima reactor 4. What don't TEPCO want us to see? And this appears to be a sudden rush job. No mention of the type of "unused" fuel (MOX?) being removed.

Fuel rod removed from Fukushima plant pool

Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Wednesday removed one of two unused nuclear fuel assemblies from the spent-fuel pool of reactor 4 at its Fukushima No. 1 power station.

Television footage showed dozens of workers, all wearing white protective suits, atop the heavily damaged unit 4 building, extracting the fuel rod with a crane. TV crews used helicopters to film the operation, defying requests from Tepco.

The operation is a trial ahead of the planned transfer of all the fuel assemblies now in the spent-fuel pool to a common pool in another part of the stricken plant. The transfer is expected to start by the end of 2014.

During the work, Tepco removed one of two unused fuel assemblies, which emit relatively low levels of radiation. The other assembly is expected to be removed Thursday.

Sounds like they just did a practice run of removing a fuel rod from the unit 4 pool. I'm glad they are starting on that job.

I wonder if they have to wait a while before moving many of the other fuel rods since they are currently too hot for dry cask storage?

Whether or not some of the fuel rods are too hot for dry casket storage is a moot point -- the unit 4 pool needs to be decommissioned asap so everything needs to be moved to another storage pool or to dry casket storage as appropriate.

TEPCO are planning to have the Spent Fuel Pool (SFP) of reactor 4 emptied by the end of next year (2013). Extracting a couple of unexposed and only slightly-radioactive unused fuel rod assemblies from the pool by crane allows them to see what condition the fuel rods and the jackets of the remaining assemblies are likely to be in after exposure to seawater etc. from the ad-hoc cooling used in the early days of the disaster.

Pulling more-radioactive exposed rod assemblies from the pool is more difficult than the operation they ran a couple of days ago. The process will require lowering an empty cask into the pool and then transferring a number of spent assemblies into the cask one at a time, keeping them under water while they are being moved. After the cask lid is put in place and sealed, the loaded cask can be lifted from the pool and another empty cask lowered in its place for the next batch of rod assemblies to be inserted.

Loading casks is a regular part of refuelling operations at functional reactors and is usually carried out using a large travelling crane; if you've seen the pictures of the ad-hoc fuel rod lifting operation you might notice a large green structure visible in the background. That's the damaged crane which in normal operation was capable of lifting a 100-tonne loaded cask out of the pool and moving it to the transfer bay for shipping. That will need to be replaced and/or rebuilt before spent fuel assemblies can be loaded into casks and removed. TEPCO are also planning to build a weather shield like the cover installed over reactor 1 last autumn so the operators can work around the pool without having to depend on good weather.

Anybody know how much each fuel rod weighs?

There appears to be some confusion in the press. My understanding is 1535 fuel rod assemblies, 50-70 rods per assembly, 460 tons of nuclear fuel. This implies 300 kg per assembly or 5 kg per rod.

For Fertilizer Makers, Drought Means Opportunity

"...the worst drought in 56 years is now threatening crops across much of the United States. Mosaic reported the growing evidence of nutrient deficiencies in the soil throughout the farm belt.

That double threat will be a bane for farmers, food producers, and eventually consumers - but it could very well turn out to be a boon for fertilizer makers like Mosaic."

Until the raw materials for fertilizers become less available...

Until the raw materials for fertilizers become less available...

The US is already well past peak production of rock phosphate and potash as seen in these charts from the US Minerals databrowser:

The USGS recently updated most of the publications on its Commodity Statistics and Information page. There you will find well researched, well written "mineral commodity summaries" that should be mandatory reading for anyone wanting to understand global mineral resources.


So Jon, stop beating around the bush, tell us what ya think ;)

Didn't somebody talk about boring Summer days in last Drumbeat...
well chaos is never far away...

Israeli prime minister blames Iran for Bulgaria bomb

"All the signs lead to Iran. Only in the past few months we have seen Iranian attempts to attack Israelis in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus and other places," Netanyahu said in a statement.

And with things getting ugly in Syria this could get interesting.

South Asia landslides 'on the rise'

Most South Asian countries are witnessing an increasing trend in landslides in recent years and scientists say extreme rainfall patterns, seismicity, and uncontrolled human activities are to blame.

about bikes: there have been a lot of posts about biking in the drumbeat. there's an old movie by vittorio de sica about the society where bikes are important:


it's kind of strange to think that perhaps this is also about the future and not just about the past. anyway it's a good movie.

Had a couple of bikes stolen in my lifetime. I've got a pretty heavy duty lock for the commuter bike I have now.

Anyway, thought your comment would be a good segue into a series of article from The Tyee on the recent Velo-city Global 2012 conference in Vancouver.

Slow Lane for Vancouver Cycling

Liquid nitrogen and a hammer will defeat most any lock I have heard, but specialists specialize in the very expensive bikes. Yes, great series on the Tyee.

China produces as much CO2 per person as Europe: report

China's carbon dioxide (CO2) levels soared in 2011, putting its per capita emissions on a par for the first time with those of Europe, while global levels of the greenhouse gas hit another all-time high, a report released Wednesday said.

Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) increased by 3% in 2011, reaching an all-time high of 34 billion tonnes in 2011. With a decrease in 2008 and a 5% surge in 2010, the past decade saw an average annual increase of 2.7%. The top 5 emitters are China (29%), the United States (16%), the European Union (EU27) (11%), India (6%) and the Russian Federation (5%), followed by Japan (4%). These figures exclude emissions from biomass burning, such as forest fires, as the occurrence of which is uncertain.

Levels of global CO2 emissions from flaring of unused gas during oil production, which have decreased by about 25% since 2003, did not significantly change in 2011. They roughly amount to the total of CO2 emissions in Spain. However, according to satellite observations, flaring emissions in the United States are on the rise, with a steep 50% increase in 2011. The main cause is the recent sharp increase in the country’s use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for shale oil production and its ensuing flaring of co-produced gas.

Scientific literature suggests that limiting average global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – the target internationally adopted in UN climate negotiations – is possible if cumulative emissions in the 2000–2050 period do not exceed 1,000 to 1,500 billion tonnes CO2. If the current global increase in CO2 emissions continues, cumulative emissions will surpass this total within the next two decades.

It was more or less inevitable that China's per-capita CO2 emissions would reach those of Europe, but I didn't think it would be this soon.

China has 1.3 billion people and has been growing very fast in recent decades. Its industrial growth has been based on coal rather than oil, and its energy efficiency is low, so the the result is very high CO2 emissions.

I always thought it was very naive of the countries who created the Kyoto accord to exempt China and other developing countries from any controls. Because of its huge population, if China's per-capita emissions are the same as Europe, its total emissions will be vastly greater.

The minor reductions in CO2 emissions in OECD countries is rather insignificant compared to the huge increases in China. India and other developing countries are going the same way as China. In fact, in a few decades, India's population will be greater than China's, and its CO2 emissions will probably exceed those of China.

Considering that most of their emissions go towards making our stuff, I don't think that they have much to apologize for.

Most of their emissions go toward making THEIR stuff. The Chinese domestic consumer market is becoming HUGE! Most Chinese are middle-class these days, and they want everything that goes with being middle-class.

I do not think that comment holds up to scrutiny of the evidence.


*cough* Er, sorry...

China is one of the most inequal societies in the world, the world of a gigantic Chinese middle-class sounds romantic though.

h - I had the same thought. OTOH maybe the term "middle class" needs to defined when talking about China. An American "poor" family might be living a bit more affluently than a Chinese middle class family. I've spent a short bit of time in China 12 years ago. For some of those folks getting to middle class meant not having 6 people sleeping in one room. Or having a 4 burner stove instead of a single burner hot plate. Perhaps for the average Chinese moving into middle class means spending an extra $500/year. But $500 X a billon folks or so could have a significant impact collectively.

Okay, maybe I was overanticipating. I think I was conflating the middle class numbers with the urbanization numbers. There are apparently only 300 million middle class citizens in China, which is slightly less than the population of the United States.

Meet China's booming middle class

China is preparing for a major change in its top political leadership in the autumn, with President Hu Jintao and other senior leaders stepping down after 10 years in charge.

President Hu has overseen a decade in which China has become the driving force of the world's economy, creating a middle class now estimated at 300 million people.

However, in a few years they will move up the economic ladder in large numbers:

Within A Generation, China Middle Class Four Times Larger Than America's

Within a generation, the middle class in China will be roughly four times the size of the American middle class population, according to the UN Population Division and Goldman Sachs. By 2030, China should have approximately 1.4 billion middle class consumers compared to 365 million in the U.S. and 414 million in Western Europe. India is next, with its citizens moving up the income ladder and reaching a sizeable 1.07 billion in a little under 20 years.

Anyone have a clue as to how these guys define Middle Class? A casual google would seem to indicate there are many definitions of what middle class was or is now.

Well, here's one definition of "middle class":

China's growing middle class

Q. Who are the middle class in China?

A. I define middle class as households with an annual income of between $10,000 and $60,000 U.S. dollars. But income is a little misleading because the cost of living in China is very different. A rule of thumb is a household with a third of its income for discretionary spending is considered middle class.

The definition of middle class as having 1/3 of their income for discretionary spending after fixed expenses are paid is a common one. The thing is that in China, people can achieve this at a lower income than in the United States.

They don't have to own a car, they don't have to live in a big house, and they don't have to spend a lot of money on food. The result is that they have a lot of money left over after all their expenses are paid.

The "1/3 of their income for discretionary spending after fixed expenses are paid" reduces the size of the middle class in the US considerably. A lot of people in the US are living closer to the edge than the middle class Chinese.

A city-dweller requires fossil-fuel for basic day-to-day living. Heating/cooling, transportation, facilities, etc. So, what's been going on is the Chinese have been building massive cities out of energy-intensive materials such as cement, consuming millions upon millions of barrels of oil, only to need to consume ever more millions and millions of barrels of oil to accommodate their new surroundings! Water towers, elevators, insulated windows, public transport, private transport, food transport, grocery stores, lighting, sewers/plants, and so on.

The Chinese typically use coal for all those purposes except car and truck transportation, and they have vastly greater amounts of coal than oil. That is why they are now by far the world's largest producer of carbon dioxide emissions.

The amount of coal in China is still insufficient for their purposes, but they are importing increasing amounts of it from Australia and other coal-exporting countries.

They also have insufficient amounts of domestic oil for all their their cars and trucks, so they are buying up increasingly large amounts of the world's oil reserves, notably in the Canadian oil sands.

The latter is a problem for North American and European countries, because the Chinese are outbidding them for the world's remaining oil resources.

How quaint--they're pretending the United States still has a middle class.

Most Chinese are middle-class these days

Nope. Only 50% of their population is urban, of that most live in slums and make do on very little, only a small proportion is middle class, but since the overall numbers are so huge even that small percentage looks imposing. China has a long way to go before it attains middle class status. You are making the old statistical mistake of looking at the mean. Look at the median.

I think its mainly that it is the midle class professions, especially engineering and comp scientists that are highly visable in the west. So we get the impression that "most" Chinese are like that.

Two articles linked above...

Grocery prices headed higher as drought lingers

Midwest drought threatens crops, livelihoods and food prices

... fueling my sense of urgency to get more stuff canned and preserved this year. Two things from the first article caught my attention: "The price for a bushel of corn hit $7.48 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade this week...", and "The expected rise in food prices is nothing new for consumers. “Food price inflation in 2011 was well above normal,” explained Corinne Alexander, an agricultural economist at Purdue University. Grocery store food inflation was 4.8 percent last year, she said, and the expectations were of about 2 percent this year."

While food prices have obviously been rising faster than overall inflation in recent years, the MSM has generally been downplaying this, IMO. Seems it's starting to sink in a bit. On my last visit to the grocery, I was impressed that many folks seemed to be doing a lot of window shopping; walking slowly past the meat and seafood counter like the proverbial poor kid in front of the bakery.

Meantime, fuel blenders get the go-ahead for E-15, and I have the pressure canner working overtime, hoping the propane holds out until next month when I have a reasonably low price locked in for our annual buy. I'm trying to preserve our limited freezer space for meat, since it's likely meat prices will drop temporarily as ranchers slaughter their herds, reacting to the drought and higher feed prices...

For example, you may want to make room in your freezer for meat because prices for beef and pork are expected to drop in the next few months as farmers slaughter herds to deal with the high cost of grains that are used as livestock feed, said Shawn Hackett of the agricultural commodities firm Hackett Financial Advisors

... not unexpected. Today I'm canning about 30 half-pints of Salsa Verde, making use of a bumper crop of tomatillos. While I was picking this morning, the choppers were buzzing around the area in a grid pattern, looking for this year's marijuana crop (not mine, mind you, I have enough worries), a bit surreal for our usually quiet area. Seems that the National Guard has offered its services this season. Too bad, really; I'm sure folks around here really need the income, if not the buzz...

Corn currently at $7.83 bushel.

In $/ton (currently off this chart, IIC) This pattern is looking quite familiar:



Before they start selling sweet corn by the dimebag, bring some up here and we'll set up those Lobsters!

I'll be in Richmond Saturday; not quite half way, but the best I can do these days ;-)

But wait, there's more!

Your burger is about to get pricier:

Nearly 40% of the corn planted across the nation is in poor or very poor condition, compared to just 11% at this time last year, according to to the U.S. Department of Agriculture

The drought and the fear that conditions could worsen, further pressuring crop yields, has triggered a 50% spike in the prices of corn futures over the past month to $7.79 per bushel...

...Analysts and economists predict that prices of beef, pork and poultry will jump the most, as corn is the main feedstock for chicken, cattle and pigs.

Prior to the drought, analysts had predicted a 4% to 6% rise in retail beef prices, said Michael Miller, senior vice president of global research for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

But if the drought lingers and the high cost of corn continues to weigh on farmers, consumers could face an increase as high as 10% for fresh protein at the grocery store,...

...and if inquiring minds want to know, corn vs. oil:

(top line is corn)

I've been meaning to eat less meat anyway.

Gotta look on the bright side.

Grass fed beef from a local rancher (1 man operation), is what I consume..
Cattle should not eat grains, and it only industrial AG that has done this for profit.

From one of Leanan's original posts...

So, How Hot Was It?

In the case of a nuclear plant, the problem is that if the plant shuts down, enough cold water must be available to cool vital equipment and carry off the heat that continues to be generated by the core, to prevent fuel damage. The maximum allowable temperature for water coming into the cooling system varies by plant and is specified in the plant’s license.

The safety argument “is likely solid and justified,’’ he wrote in an e-mail, but “it is tough to argue (rationally) that warming water conditions are unforeseen.’’ That is a predictable consequence of global warming, he said.

Given the essential need for water for nuclear, coal and gas generation of electricity, I can't help but think that climate change will force us towards PV solar and wind for the reason that they don't have a water dependency.

How Low Can You Go, Mississippi?

The mighty Mississippi River is running low and leaving cargo barges high and dry.

As of Tuesday, America's main aquatic artery was flowing at the negative 6.2 mark on the gauge in Memphis, Tennessee, according to the NOAA's RiverWatch system. The river is forecast to drop to negative 8.5 by August 8. Negative numbers mean the river is well below its average depth.

This reminds me of what happened a few years back, when a particularly severe drought out west had all kinds of knock-on effects on energy. The lower water levels meant hydroelectric plants couldn't generate as much electricity. It left nuclear power plant intakes high and dry. The water levels were so low that coal barges couldn't get through to the east.

And don't forget drinking water for Nawlins. The base of the MR at New Orleans is over 150' below sea level. During low flow periods a salt water wedge moves up river and can cause a problem with the water intakes for the city as well as many refineries along that stretch of the river.

7 most common gas-guzzling mistakes

The comments from this article crack me up. There are a bunch of commenters who claim to own vehicles that are more fuel efficient at 70-75 MPH than they are at 50 MPH. Without a very controlled test (a la mythbusters where they use a fuel cell and weigh it before and after the test to determine exactly how much gas was burned) I will not believe your claims!

People believe what the want to believe. They are just rationalizing their behavior. The air resistance is an exponential factor that really hurts efficiency at high speeds. So unless they have an extremely aerodynamic vehicle with a really bad transmission problem at 50mph, they are just lying.

"People believe what the want to believe."

I will go one step further - people are full of sh*t. They're not even lying - they just want to appear contrarian and clever and snarky. I see this all the time, and it's really getting out of hand. I blame the Internet ;-)

You get their sooner so it has to be more efficient, right? Any Jethro with a sixth grade education can figure it out ;-/


"nought from nought is nought, nought times nought is nought, ...."

Good ol' Jethro! He knows his cipherin'!

Good ol' Jethro! He knows his cipherin'!

Aqualung my friend?

Not that Jethro (Tull). Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies - an American TV show of the the 60's...

Jethro Bodine (on the left) aka Dash Riprock :-0

"vehicles that are more fuel efficient at 70-75 MPH than they are at 50 MPH."

That is far fetched. However, at 60-65 you might get a different answer though. My car is still in 4th gear at 50. By 60 It will be in 5th, and should be getting better mileage.

My manaul gear box car will cruise in 5th at 40 mph. Happier at 50 mph. Returns 100 mpg (80 mpg US) at a steady 50 mph, but very dependant on finding a straight, completely level road, and the mpg is sharply affected by prevailing wind (even 10mph breeze can cause 10 mpg difference facing to following).

I frequently travel 60 miles to the ski area, and this Spring after my tires had been changed back to the all-seasons, I decided to lock in at 55 mph for a return trip on highways with speed limits ranging from 60mph to 75mph including two small mountain passes, just to see what my mileage would be. I averaged 29 mpg according to the car computer (2003 Maxima). The next week, similar weather conditions, I locked in at the speed limits at each change (e.g. mountain passes are 65mph) and I averaged 32 mpg. I was surprised. There is something to be said for a loping engine in a streamlined car.

The difference between 55mph and all those other speeds, however, is that 55 is much more relaxed and allows one to look at the trees and structures - any faster and it's all eyes-on-the-road even though it's not all that much faster. I guess the faster speeds are just more harried and demanding and thus more "fun" if driving's your thing.

I lived in CO for 12 years, and I made that drive many a time. I used to make it to A Basin in just over an hour, door to parking lot. Driving that stretch of I 70 on the weekends is just grim if your timing is bad. One time it took us 5 hours to get home.

Perhaps your sample size is too slow? Perhaps your car computer is not always 100% accurate? Perhaps one day was windier than the other? Maybe the loads were different? Did your tire pressure change? Perhaps your car is more efficient at 65 than 55, but I'd be much more apt to believe you if there were more controls to your experiment and more data points!

Perhaps your sample size is too slow?

Errrrr, I meant small not slow.

There's more to skiing than Colorado! My drive is from Spokane Valley to Silver Mtn. at Kellogg, Idaho. There's a little pass just past Coeur d'Alene, and a bigger one (1000 ft, 4th of July) just beyond that.

My car always gets 29-33 mpg highway depending on whether I'm going downhill or uphill. Spokane to Seattle, 275 miles, overall downhill, I'll get 33mpg at 70mph, and 29 back, which is uphill.

I spent some time in Colorado Springs, and would take Hwy 24 over to Hoosier Pass then Breckenridge/Keystone/Abasin - that's a much nicer drive than the drop into Denver (and NO headache!!) - no traffic and almost no cops. (ran into one once, coming the other way, he flashed his lights before we met up and kept on going, slowed down however) 100 miles, exactly, one way.

The point, however, is that I was expecting my mileage to shoot into upper 30s and it remained low as if I'd been doing 75 the whole way. I won't be doing that slow stuff again ...

Works even in a non-streamlined car, perhaps even better.

During a recent driving vacation. I averaged around 27mpg to 30mpg going 60mph in a brick-shaped 2011 Honda Pilot (3.5 liter 6cyl).

At 70mph the average dropped all the way down to 22to24mpg.

At 55mph, the average was 29 to 30mpg, but I only did so if the posted speed was 60 or lower.

I guess the faster speeds are just more harried and demanding and thus more "fun" if driving's your thing.

Much. I know I get drowsy pretty quick at less than 60. On any decent road 65 or so is a pretty good driving speed, not fast enough to be dangerous, not slow enough to kill me with boredom.

Fertilizing oceans with iron dust helps sink carbon: study

OSLO (Reuters) - Dumping iron in the seas can help transfer carbon from the atmosphere and bury it on the ocean floor for centuries, helping to fight climate change, according to a study released on Wednesday. The report, by an international team of experts, provided a boost for the disputed use of such ocean fertilization for combating global warming. But it failed to answer questions over possible damage to marine life. When dumped into the ocean, the iron can spur growth of tiny plants that carry heat-trapping carbon to the ocean floor when they die, the study said.

I've been against geoengineering as a solution to climate change, but at this point, what else can we do? We're not going to stop burning ff's until they are either too expensive, or almost all gone.

The authors pointed out that results seem to be highly dependent on local conditions. Of a dozen tests conducted (by others mainly), this is the only one that showed significant sequestration. In a best case, we might be able to sequester about a quarter of the current rate of emissions via this mechanism. Just maybe we have a climate change BB here. It takes a lot of BB's to add up to a true fix.

Hmmm... in terms of geoengineering, how about sinking coal ships? I don't mean as a terrorist initiative, that would clearly be wrong, I mean as a recommended national policy. There's a certain efficiency to preventing it from being burned in the first place. Treating the global distribution of fossil fuels as analogous to a metastasizing cancer might suggest some approaches. Or perhaps bariatric surgery is a better metaphor: can't stop the compulsion to consume, but there might be effective structural interventions.

What do you think... too soon?

Too late?

That's what I was thinking. By the time we're psychologically ready to get our CO2 gastric bypass surgery, we'll be waaaaay past...

Well, it would only be one part of an amelioration strategy.

We've seen wars to keep fossil fuels flowing, certainly, and wars to possess them. Military action to "sequester" them is certainly possible, even if I offer it here slightly tongue in cheek. Indeed, it would be easier to convince people that global warming was caused by other nations & declaring war on their emissions than it would be to get people to limit their own.

At the point people ever DO decide to generally believe in global warming & CO2, they will not tend to blame themselves. They'll blame others because that's what humans do. And at the point "globalism" is no longer working well, limiting the fuel supplies of one's perceived adversaries may be seen as a good thing to do.

I wonder if there aren't scenarios of that sort in military file drawers already.

At some point, we're going to recognize that enlightenment is not that great a mechanism to create mass self-restraint in a democracy. Yet it may start becoming increasingly accepted that heating the world with CO2 is a bad thing.

I see a doctrine out there just waiting for Obama's name on it...

Someone wrote a pretty good essay a while back positing that the Iraq war (and others) weren't wars for oil, but wars to destroy oil producers' infrastructure so that they couldn't produce/sell/burn it. Of course, the motive was to hold it in reserve for the empire's future needs, not to inhibit its climate/ecological impacts. Seems like a fine point to me ;-/

Not sure who wrote it, Durden or Pandurangi perhaps, but I reached the same conclusions you have; make sure it stays buried. Looks like it'll all get burned anyway, though not by the Western Empire. Funny that... (well,, not really).

It's what we do... burn, dig, kill.

Infestation: 1. To inhabit or overrun in numbers or quantities large enough to be harmful, threatening, or obnoxious..

Too late?

I battle with that reality. It's too late for population control, resource depletion, atmospheric damage including the ozone layer, too late to save coral reefs, larger vertebrates, fish stocks, glaciers, rivers and soil quality.
Yet I still can't abide the dangerous clowns, I know in my heart it's hopless but every now and again I've just gotta say something.

I know in my heart it's hopless but every now and again I've just gotta say something.

How human of us to tread between unwelcomed yet easy hopelessness, and ill-suited yet dogged optimism.

    P.D. James' Intellectually, I'm a pessimist, but my genes are optimistic.
    Antonio Gramsci’s notion of a “pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will.”

Here's what happens when you have an R in the WH


AMY GOODMAN: —I also spoke to Marc Morano, who is publisher of Climate Depot, a website run by the climate-denier group, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. I asked him about President Obama’s record on climate change.

MARC MORANO: His nickname is "George W. Obama." Obama’s negotiator, Todd Stern, will be here today. They have kept the exact same principles and negotiating stance as President George Bush did for eight years. Obama has carried on Bush’s legacy. So, as skeptics, we tip our hat to President Obama in helping crush and continue to defeat the United Nations process. Obama has been a great friend of global warming skeptics at these conferences. Obama has problems, you know, for us, because he’s going through the EPA regulatory process, which is a grave threat. But in terms of this, President Obama could not have turned out better when it came to his lack of interest in the congressional climate bill and his lack of interest in the United Nations Kyoto Protocol. So, a job well done for President Obama.

The problem is the unintended consequences. Geoengineering strikes me as an attempt to kick heroin with coke - it's just putting more technology and engineering on top of what was caused by tech and engineering. The side effects are not going to be nice, and it will divert resources from doing things we should be doing, like replacing coal with solar and wind, etc. It will be used as an excuse to keep going.

We could, instead, try to preserve and restore natural systems, and realize that ultimately what we've done cannot be undone, at least not by us, and will only gradually be "fixed" by natural systems. But I'm not counting on that realization.

The problem is the unintended consequences. Geoengineering strikes me as an attempt to kick heroin with coke - it's just putting more technology and engineering on top of what was caused by tech and engineering.

I don't disagree with this, but I note, methadone is used to treat heroin addiction.

It will be used as an excuse to keep going.

To date, we haven't need an excuse to continue with what we are doing.

We could, instead, try to preserve and restore natural systems, and realize that ultimately what we've done cannot be undone, at least not by us, and will only gradually be "fixed" by natural systems.

Preaching to the choir, brother!

" don't disagree with this, but I note, methadone is used to treat heroin addiction."

And sure enough, there are methadone addicts.

Pick a lesser evil?

Also treatment of choice for some deep seated continuous pain. I overheard a talk on this to med professionals (Winnipeg) in a coffee shop once. Also it was prescribed for a person (Alabama) I helped care for who had deep long pain of a bad - bad knee damaged decades prior at age 8. We started getting the prescription filled and it got the surgeon to do a total knee replacement asap.

Methadone is used as a replacement addiction in a clinical setting, partly because it has a long duration, and partly because it looks better than just giving them heroin. But it's basically similar to heroin. I would say the analogy there is getting off coal (like street heroin, dirty) and switching to natural gas (much cleaner, but still has the same fundamental problems).

I say "kicking heroin with coke" because that's a common sort of pattern with addicts trying to do things themselves - they go from one addiction to another in a cycle of self destruction. I think geoengineering has limitless possibilities for disaster, especially as opposed to an approach of restoring natural systems as best we can and allowing room for natural systems to recover naturally where we can.

Somewhere in my lifetime, environmentalism went from a good thing to a bad word, and protecting natural land became some sort of "oppression"... I blame Bjorn Lomberg (sarcasm - though he is a perfect example of how liberals turned against the natural world).

I tend to think of geo-engineering research as doing the groundwork for what we will be doing AFTER we finally kick the fossil habit, and seek to begin to rollback the damages. At that I don't react negatively to the few experiments that are being done. It makes little to no sense to deploy geo-engineering on other than pilot plant scale, until the primary problem is solved.

I noticed a similar story on the Beeb the other day:

Climate ocean tech fix 'can work', research suggests

As usual the conclusions at the end of the article are almost completely opposite what the headline suggests, but here is the bit that really jumped out at me:

Releasing the iron caused a big bloom of algae, which died off again in the days following the release as the iron concentration dwindled.

Replace "iron" with "fossil sunlight", replace "algae" with "humans", and replace "days" with "decades" and you have a really quite good description of the current state of affairs with regards to industrial civilization.


Good to know the problem will work itself out. Wonder in the end if the "algae" started killing each other off for what was left of the "iron"?

Profiteers of climate change in the Arctic

Climate change has made it easier to gain access to the Arctic for the extraction of fossil fuels. It is also opening up shipping routes that were once mostly covered by ice. As an analysis by ETH Zurich’s 'Center for Security Studies' (CSS) now shows, the main winner from these new realities in the Arctic is Russia.

Grätz explains that Russia is dependent on new fossil fuel resources for further economic growth. Extreme weather conditions and ice drift in the Arctic means that extraction there is still risky and expensive. But while other countries neighboring the Arctic have alternatives in temperate latitudes (Canada extracts oil sands at home while the USA extracts shale gas), Russia doesn’t really have that option.

In the meantime, Russia’s main focus in the Arctic is on expanding its own trading capacities and military presence there. Two thirds of the Russian Navy is stationed in the region. Moscow is investing in its fleet, expanding its coastal infrastructure and planning a new oil refinery. At the same time new border patrols are being set up and additional troops are being dispatched to the coast. Grätz sees this first and foremost as an effort to mark Russia’s presence in the region and to stake its territorial claims. "Moscow views the Arctic not just in terms of energy policy, but also from a geopolitical perspective," he explains.

But it’s not just Russia that is battling for its territorial claims. Norway also has a strong interest in the region. "Norway is reliant on new gas and oil for its export market in order to continue to grow," says Grätz. He reminds us that Norway is the world’s second-largest exporter of petroleum. Particularly the Norwegian archipelago of Spitsbergen is highly contested. Under the Svaldbard Treaty of 1920, all 40 of the signatory states – which include Switzerland – were granted the right to carry out research on the archipelago and extract resources there.

However, opinions differ as to whether this right also extends to the surrounding seabed. Norway takes the view that the Treaty does not apply to that area and has attempted on several occasions to convince other Treaty partners of this – so far unsuccessfully. During the course of his research, Grätz himself was amazed at how consistently even NATO alliance partners dismissed Norway’s claims. It seems that sovereign interests outweigh the desire to have a trustworthy partner in charge of extracting natural gas in the region.

Report: http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/pdfs/CSS-Analysis-118-EN.pdf

Russia's Pipeline Overstretch

The Nord Stream pipeline, which is going to reach full capacity this year, is a crucial tool for Russia's long-term influence in the EU gas market. In times of high uncertainty over future gas demand and market structure, it has the dual goal of cementing market share at oil-indexed (or in other words, high) prices, and strengthening Russia's market and political power vis-á-vis Ukraine by creating overcapacities for gas trans¬port to the EU.

Although not the most efficient transport route to the EU market, the pipeline may realize modest gains in transport efficiency in comparison with the Ukrainian corridor as production moves to the Yamal peninsula. Nord Stream is thus hugely advantageous for Russia, while it is not of particular value from an EU perspective.

Meanwhile, the proposed South Stream pipeline is less efficient in terms of trans-port economics. Russia's strategy to construct new costly undersea pipelines is eroding Gazprom's reliability and competitiveness: Investment resources are being diverted towards long-term potential benefits of market monopolization, while investments of immediate necessity in storage and production are being postponed.

Report: http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/pdfs/RAD-113-9-12.pdf

Here's a fun skit that displays the only sure-fire way to rid ourselves of auto-addiction through other means than oil depletion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXEddCLW3SM&feature=g-u-u

Same genre, but not quite up to the standards as this one. I guess I'm a bit warped, since most folks didn't think it was funny. I suppose it's a matter of where you fall on the how-bad-am-I-raping-the-planet curve :-)

That's grim, but the dialogue made it humorous still! Even with those measures we'd be hard pressed to make a difference i think.

well I loved it, no surprise.

Though for some time I have felt that airbags should be legal only for small cars, and for actual SUV's and large trucks the airbag circuit should instead fire a 12-gauge birdshot shell into the driver's solar plexus. A little "risk parity".

Count me as loving it too.

I'd better not say any more...

LOL! Most of the commenters don't seem to get satire... Then again, they don't get the consequences of climate change either.

The EROEI of oil is different from the utility of the oil itself. I think we need to separate the two concepts. Whilst the utility of diesel for instance is extremely high and extremely difficult to substitute for, the world can get by on less than even 1:1 EROEI oil so long as sufficient quantity can be acquired and the net energy presently gained from oil can be replaced with something else, gas for instance in the case of the oil sands.

When. Oh, when will people rise up and collectively tell these pigs to Foxtrot Oscar?

As Defense Cuts Loom, Weapons Makers Say Tax Hikes Should Be On The Table


Oink! Oink!

Propose increasing the U.S. upper income tax rate, corporate income tax rate and capital gains tax rate to 90%, and listen to them squeal even louder.

Andrew Freedman at Climate Central has this post explaining the drought in a series of maps. His explanation via the series of maps he presents builds nicely to the last map.

As he put it... "These maps help tell the story of why the drought is occurring, and where it is hitting the hardest."

Explaining the Extreme Drought in U.S. Via Maps

Ok, so this map is geekier, but it gets at the heart of what's been intensifying the drought. There's been a major imbalance between precipitation, i.e. rainfall, and the amount of water being evaporated by plants through the process known as evapotranspiration. Higher temperatures cause more evapotranspiration to take place.

When subtracting precipitation and potential evapotranspiration (which is estimated by using temperature data), you want to get a positive number, since this means that there was a net gain in moisture. However, from this map of precipitation minus potential evapotranspiration during June 2012, you can clearly see that much more water was lost rather than gained across much of the country, from Delaware to California. This is quite remarkable.

The June Temperature Anomalies chart is out...

State of the Climate : Global Analysis : June 2012
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The average global temperature across land and oceans during June 2012 was 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 20th century average of 15.5°C (59.9°F) and ranked as the fourth warmest June since records began in 1880. June 2012 also marks the 36th consecutive June and 328th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average June temperature was June 1976 and the last below-average temperature for any month was February 1985. It was the second warmest June in the Northern Hemisphere, behind only the record warmth of 2010. The Southern Hemisphere had its 12th warmest June on record.

The global land surface temperature for June was 1.07°C (1.93°F) above the 20th century average of 13.3°C (55.9°F), the warmest June on record. This is the second month in a row that the global land temperature was the warmest on record for that month.

The inland NW has finally gotten its temperatures up to normal; we are banging into the 90s on a regular basis, which is what we are supposed to be doing in July. Oddly enough, we have exceeded our monthly normal rainfall already. Average 0.40 inches, with 0.55 inches already arrived, and more rain in the forecast.

Looking at the records, most of the record highs were set in the 1960's, with '60 and '68 being particularly notable. Currently at 86 F, and 21% humidity. AC is off, but the attic fan started about an hour ago, (10 AM local time)

From the map it also looks like Alice Springs in Australia was cooler than normal, so what is normal for them in June?

Some of those brown areas are normally very dry with high evaporative potential (but little water/vegetation to realize it). The departure from normal would be a better indicator.

Spiritual Insurrection
Canada's Hard Turn Right
A New Petrol State Has Emerged

Andrew Nikiforuk

A new petro state has emerged in global affairs and its extreme political behavior has unsettled both Americans and Europeans alike.

For starters, the year-old regime has muzzled government scientists who are now accompanied by Soviet-like “minders” at public events.

It has branded environmentalists as “foreign radicals.”

It has abandoned its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce atmospheric pollution and effectively has no national plan to deal with climate change.

The state’s Auditor General has accused the government of lying to elected officials and concealing the real price tag for military aircraft: An astounding $25 billion.

More than 30,000 citizens have filed complaints with authorities accusing the ruling party of committing massive electoral fraud during the last election.

The same ruling party has gutted most of the country’s environmental legislation to quicken the approval times for pipelines and other oil and gas projects.

Oh, Canada.

I used to really admire the nation. It had a small enough population, and a huge land mass and resource base, that it could afford luxuries that no other country had. I drove from BC to Quebec in '82, during really tough times for me, my state and nation. I was so impressed by the land and the hospitality, cheerfulness, and reasoned thoughts of its people.

I doubt the population has increased that much since then...eh?

The population of Canada in 1982 was about 25 million. In 2012 it is about 35 million, or an increase of 10 million people.

The petroleum consumption is about the same as it was in 1982, though. There has been a huge increase in oil production - from 1.3 million bpd to 3.1 million bpd - but all of the increase is being exported to the United States.

I always preferred BC to Alaska.
But the hard right turn might make all those redneck Alaskans seem hospitable.
Better steelhead in BC though.
Alberta has always been Arkansas with peaks and plains.

Nikiforuk sounds like he's in a bit of a left-wing frenzy these days. However, let's look at it from a different perspective:

Bloomberg: Hardheaded Socialism Makes Canada Richer Than U.S.

According to data from Environics Analytics WealthScapes published in the Globe and Mail, the net worth of the average Canadian household in 2011 was $363,202, while the average American household’s net worth was $319,970.

Since the 1990s, Canada has pursued a hardheaded (even ruthless), fiscally conservative form of socialism. Its originator was Paul Martin, who was finance minister for most of the ’90s, and served a stint as prime minister from 2003 to 2006. Alone among finance ministers in the Group of Eight nations, he “resisted the siren call of deregulation,” in his words, and insisted that the banks tighten their loan-loss and reserve requirements. He also made a courageous decision not to allow Canadian banks to merge, even though their chief executives claimed they would never be globally competitive unless they did. The stability of Canadian banks and the concomitant stability in the housing market provide the clearest explanation for why Canadians are richer than Americans today.

So, from the American perspective, Harper is a "fiscally conservative socialist", which might cause Nikiforuk to blow a blood vessel, but is probably correct from the viewpoint of the American right. Despite being a Conservative in Canada, he is left of center by American standards.

But, let's keep in mind, it was the Liberal Party which kicked off this trend toward hardheaded realism, starting in the 1990's. The Conservatives just expanded on it.

To put this in context, one should consider the reasons that Canada has done relatively well:

1. we were late to the housing bubble party - however our turn to have the bubble burst may be at hand
2. we hadn't gone down the financial deregulation path as far as others (but we were certainly working doing so)
3. the resource industry has done well
4. there may have also been an influx of foreign money


I think you need to look at what the Finance Minister at the time did. From the link above,

Alone among finance ministers in the Group of Eight nations, he “resisted the siren call of deregulation,” in his words, and insisted that the banks tighten their loan-loss and reserve requirements.

So, guess which nation among the G8 had the fewest problems with its banks in the downturn?

"guess which nation among the G8 had the fewest problems with its banks in the downturn?"

That can change pretty quickly :-0

Barclays the biggest Libor liar?

FORTUNE -- Earlier this week, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit told analysts not to use Barclays' $450 million Libor settlement as a guidepost for what his firm might have to pay. And he could be right. Citigroup (C) might end up paying much more.

A number of studies have shown that when it comes to lying about the key bank rate, Barclays was far from the worst offender. That title may belong to Citi.

In early 2010, two economics professors from UCLA and the University of Minnesota looked at Libor manipulation and found that, at least according to one measure, Citi had misstated its lending rate by more than any other large U.S. bank in the run up to the financial crisis. The worst offender worldwide, according to the analysis, was the Royal Bank of Canada.

[emphasis added, just because...]

This may turn out to be one huge can of worms, on top of the derivatives and CDS mess.... and how many of these a'holes have been sent to prison (you know, real prisons,,, among the general population)?

And the RBC replies: RBC says it followed the rules, didn’t collude in LIBOR rate-fixing scandal

Canada’s largest bank has moved to distance itself from a growing international rate-setting scandal that engulfed one of Britain’s oldest and largest banks this week.

Royal Bank of Canada said Friday it followed the rules in reporting its expected cost of funds to the authorities responsible for setting the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR.

“We have determined that RBC acted in accordance with the British Bankers’ Association requirement that our LIBOR submissions accurately reflected our perception of our cost of funds and that we did not collude with other banks,” Royal Bank spokesperson Katherine Gay said an emailed statement.

BTW, The Royal Bank of Canada is not under investigation in this case. This is a problem in the British banking system.

Riiight.. [saves permalink]

Ghung – Perhaps you follow such matters closer so maybe you have a sense of scale. I’ve not seen anyone offer even a wild ass guess how much the banks gamed the system. So the B Boys pay a $450 million fine and have to hang their collective heads in shame. But if they made $2 billion on their end it sounds like they came out winners in the end. I’ve heard some chatter about civil suits but nothing specific. And was the fine more a settlement that possibly relieved them of some future liability? I’m don’t run in such global circles but my impression is that $450 million doesn’t even rate as chump change in the world that hinges on LIBOR.

That's why God invented credit unions. Screw the banks.

I have to disagree with you that the conservatives have "expanded it". IMO they've done nothing but cruise on the coattails of Martin's excellent financial leadership (plus the current excellent leadership of Mark Carney at the Bank of Canada) and been kept afloat by profitable resource markets.

Just looking at the Liberals in the 1990's shows what's wrong with Harper. Look at Paul Martin, Jean Chretien (our Prime Minister at the time) made him finance minister because he was the obvious best choice for finance minister, although personally and even in government the two hated each other. Whereas in Harper's government it's always loyalty to Harper first and actual skill at your job second; which is a poor way to govern.

Furthermore I'd like to point out that many of our current conservatives, such as Harper himself and the Harris Tories chastised Martin for not allowing banking deregulation. I also find it funny that Paul Martin is the only Prime Minister in recent history to be a successful executive and businessman and is a Liberal, whereas Harper was a lobbist hack and his minister are nearly all career politicians (not a true successful business person in the lot). It really is too bad Martin held the bag for the sponsorship scandal (which he had no personal involvement in), Canada would have been far better off with him as Prime Minister for a while longer, and then maybe Harper would have left after a humiliating defeat and then we could have had a respectable conservative like Jim Prentice as the opposition/future PM ... but I guess all this is wishful thinking.

There is one mammal that is at least as efficient (energy consumed per unit distance traveled) when moving at higher speed than lower: Kangaroo. AFAIK every other mammal consumes more energy per unit distance traveled when moving at higher speeds. Another factoid: The most efficient mammal (least energy consumed per unit distance traveled) by a wide margin is homo sapiens on a bicycle.

When I was a kid, one of my favorite movies was "Breaking Away". I fancied that I would become some great road racing phenom. For a couple of years I wore those stupid looking biking hats everywhere I went! I still shudder when I see pictures of those hats. But that bike gave me the freedom to go anywhere in the city I wanted.

That bicycle locomation is only efficient when on a smooth, hard surface made from high energy content fossil material and flattened by fossil fuel powered tools. Even if all human transport was by bicycle, the energy content into building and maintaining those roads would be about 10% of our current oil use.

Not necessarily. There are other ways to make good roads that only get loaded up to bike, or even small auto weights.. and the repair frequency would be drastically reduced.

A well built road with only lightweight traffic can last decades with little maintenance. This old highway in our area was abandoned almost 40 years ago and is still in fairly good shape with only bike/foot traffic and an occasional car; no maintenance during this period. It's a simple 'tar-down' road; layers of gravel and tar, and has been subject to frequent rains and seasonal freeze/thaw cycles.


While it took heavy equipment and petroleum inputs to construct, the long term inputs have been nil without heavy, high-speed traffic. It would be in even better shape if only a little work was being done like removing debris and growth from the road edge. The roads we have would last centuries, perhaps, with only foot and bicycle traffic. Move the heavy stuff to rail.

In the old days, i.e. pre-tractor, the "heavy equipment" was pulled by draft horses with only hay inputs.

The Romans constructed some pretty impressive roads using nothing but slave labor, and many of them are still in use today.

It's hard to put smooth pavement on a road without fossil fuels, though. You can use cobblestones, but that somewhat compromises the ride.

We have a lot of cobblestones here, they still put them down too. 'Compromise' is rather an understatement.


I cycled home today on a Roman road, now covered with tar. They were well made, and remained the best roads in the UK for 1500 years, but they only made a few thouasand miles over about a century, and that with a large standing force of military engineers and slave labour. Without that, nothing much got built until the 18th century. It was the growing force of middle class cyclists at the turn of the 20th century that lobbied government to tar the road network.

There's not much freezing and thawing in the southeastern US though.

This section of road is at @4200 feet in the Appalachians; frequent freeze/thaw cycles in winter. As a comparison, the nearby new highway needs constant maintenance (they've been falling behind lately), and since it's a much newer, more modern road, I deduce that it's heavy traffic doing the damage.

I'm not implying that lightly traveled roads won't need repair, especially in northern climates, just that required repairs will be much less frequent and require far fewer inputs. We've discussed this before. Most road degradation is the result of heavy traffic, especially large trucks.

Looks like this roadway is well-drained to the sides. Getting water out of the sub base is one key to handling freeze-thaw cycles. I administered road maintenance in Kentucky for a couple of decades, with a dozen or more cycles per season. The streets and roads without curbs and without good drainage in the cross-sections often had a high moisture content adjacent to the pavement. That is a tell-tale sign that water is trapped and will freeze and thaw in cycles, breaking up the surface layer and thus exposing the sub base to more water from above.

Well constructed roads that are structurally designed for the anticipated loads can indeed last a long time with minor maintenance. Unfortunately, many of our more rural roads were built prior to current standards and with limited constructive effort. After all, they were originally simply as farm-to-market roads developed to "get the farmer out of the mud."

Depends on the base it is on too. If the base is not right then small damage can escalate as rain water washes through.


That bicycle locomation is only efficient when on a smooth, hard surface made from high energy content fossil material and flattened by fossil fuel powered tools

Try thinking outside the old paradigm...


Actually mountain biking by a skilled rider on even very rough (but not soft) surfaces is pretty efficient. Not as efficient as flat surfaces, but much more efficient than walking. Even unmaintained trails are quite useful.

A couple of years ago, a major bike street here in Portland was being repaved. Although open for traffic, the top layer of road was ripped up, and the resultant surface was very harsh. The underlying surface was uneven, and there was a lot of loose gravel. I was riding - carefully - on my road/touring bike. Suddenly, a fellow on an older mountain bike (with fat knobby tires) went sailing by. I was quite amused, because on a normal street, I would have the advantage. This was a "note to self" moment: if our infrastructure keeps declining, perhaps every bike stable needs a bike with wider 26" wheels.

This was my reasoning for choosing to stick with a mountain bike for getting around New Orleans instead of a smooth-tired road bike. Many of these old streets are rather bumpy, so I'll take any help I can get!

Every so often, I lust after a Surly Pugsley or Moonlander. They're the ultimate snow/sand bike, and those WIDE low pressure tires will really even out the ride on cobblestone streets!

Thanks, I'll make a note of that idea. I use a MTB with knobblies but our cobbles can send it all over the place and when wet can yield a quick bail-out. I've seen one kid with tires about 2" across so they may be available around hear, wonder if I can make them fit.


NAOM - you may need a bike with disc brakes, if the tires are really big. Also, some frames/forks may not be able to accommodate the really larger tires. A good bike shop can really help with all of this. Some folks get the biggest tire their bike can accommodate, and, with some creative tinkering, are able to use their existing cantilever or V-brakes.

Part of the plan is to go to disk brakes, there is a LOT of fine sand/powder here to act as an abrasive on the rims. That will mean new forks so looking at larger tyres, at that time, seems like a good plan.


Not true. A mountain bike, at low speeds on non-sandy or reasonably non-muddy surface, is very easy to pedal. By low speeds I mean less than say 15mph. Hardpacked footpaths/trails are almost as good as a paved road for mountain bikes with wide tires (26 x 2.00" or so).


There are MANY ways to solve the puzzle of having firm smooth tracks and paths that can allow for easy bike passage, and they can be applied to fit different regions with different available materials.. Even the Roman Roads example can support this, while there is no requirement that such undertakings today that would learn from the substructure, drainage and engineering, would be required to surface it with short, lumpy cobblestones like they did 1000 years ago. Paving Brick can be formed to fit neatly together for a smooth joint (as we in Portland ride on every day), and can be made from local materials in many places.. granite cobblestone can be formed more appropriately today, longer and with keyways, for instance..(using hydropower or wind, no less - how's that for 'stored renewable energy'??).. etc etc..

The idea that this REQUIRES FF inputs is really borne of minds that have been 'soaking in it' for too many decades.

On the trails here in Norway they often build paths with wood for crossing marshes and other muddy/wet areas. Super smooth and fast. And all you need is wood, nails and some manpower.


There are also growing numbers riding the Fatties, 4" tires on Snow and Sand.

Back in the horsedrawn days, they used to just pack down the snow up here (and surely in Norway as well) for the best and slickest roadway you could ask for. Great big rollers can still be found in a few barns up in the mountains. It also made hauling heavy timber a lot easier, when ground was frozen and hard, and you had some low-friction and mouldable material available for custom temporary passages.

Lots of possibilities that need to be re-entered into the Silver BB planbooks!

A bike afficionado here bought a fat tire wountain bike (4inch wide tires) for use as a beach cruiser. I bet it does pretty well in soft terrain that would bog down a standard mountain bike (sand, snow, loose gravel etc.). It might even be good at rock hopping, as it had enormous ground clearance.

I'd say driving a bike on a dirt road is just slightly less efficient than driving on an asphalt road. It might get a bit harder to travel on with rain or light snow, but I haven't noticed much of that myself when cycling on dirt roads (I live with dirt roads outside my house and with asphalt roads a bit further away).

The question of fossil fuels required for road maintenance remains, of course, but I think it should be possible to push the oil use under 10%.

Even the rocky/root-laden trails in the woods of New England are easy for someone with basic experience on a bicycle.

Then there are the Inca Roads

The Inca were experts at cutting and shaping stone.

Yair . . . RalphW. Those little guys wheeling two hundred pounds of ammo along muddy tracks to beat up on my mates found them pretty bloody efficient.

Bikes can be useful anywhere. Get your facts right.


RalphW, A trivia question ... When did USA start paving its intra-town streets? And what was the most prominent lobbying group pushing for the pavement?
No it wasn't the teamsters who had been living with muddy dirt roads for centuries.
The League of American Wheelmen was founded in 1880 and soon grew to 100,000 members. The main reason for founding the organization was to lobby for intra-town pavement.

U.S. Military Purchasing Combat Equipment for Domestic Contingency Planning

For the last two years, the President’s Budget Submissions for the Department of Defense have included purchases of a significant amount of combat equipment, including armored vehicles, helicopters and even artillery, under an obscure section of the FY2008 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the purposes of “homeland defense missions, domestic emergency responses, and providing military support to civil authorities.”

Items purchased under the section include combat vehicles, tanks, helicopters, artillery, mortar systems, missiles, small arms and communications equipment. Justifications for the budget items indicate that many of the purchases are part of routine resupply and maintenance, yet in each case the procurement is cited as being “necessary for use by the active and reserve components of the Armed Forces for homeland defense missions, domestic emergency responses, and providing military support to civil authorities” under section 1815 of the FY2008 NDAA.

Section 1815 of the FY2008 NDAA requires that every five years the Secretary of Defense work with the Secretary of Homeland Security to determine “military-unique capabilities needed to be provided by the Department of Defense to support civil authorities in an incident of national significance or a catastrophic incident.”

A Congressional Research Service report on the domestic support roles of U.S. Northern Command describes section 1815 of the FY2008 NDAA as a strengthening of the relationship between the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security...

The Government Accountability Office released a report in 2010 on the DoD’s efforts to identify capabilities for supporting civil authorities during disasters and other emergencies.

Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno wrote in a recent article in Foreign Affairs that the increasing use of the military in domestic situations will be part of a necessary evolution as it transitions to “responding in force to a range of complex contingencies” both inside the U.S. and abroad. Odierno states that the “need for U.S. armed forces, and the army in particular, to provide planning, logistical, command-and-control, and equipment support to civil authorities in the event of natural disasters continues to be demonstrated regularly and is unlikely to diminish.”

... just sayin'

Buckle your seatbelt Dorothy, 'cause Kansas is going bye-bye!'

...and on top of that DoD wants to take away our youth's lazy, hazy daze of summer...bad for readiness you know...need these young pups to be good little soldiers to fight the next enemies...whoever they are designated to be...


Study points to causes of high dolphin deaths in Gulf of Mexico

The largest oil spill on open water to date and other environmental factors led to the historically high number of dolphin deaths in the Gulf of Mexico, concludes a two-year scientific study released today.

The cold winter of 2010 was followed by the historic BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in April 2010, which dumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, likely disrupting the food chain. This was in the middle of the dolphins’ breeding season. A sudden entry of high volumes of cold freshwater from Mobile Bay in 2011 imposed additional stress on the ecosystem and specifically on dolphins that were already in poor body condition.

Without excessive regard to the many levels of 'plausible deniability' in the above section, it sure seems to show that there's little need to argue whether it's Climate Change or Peak Oil that we have to be 'really' worried about~!

Like I put into my Titanic analogy.. 'Does it matter whether it's the 5 pound weight in your left pocket or the 7 pound weight in your right pocket that drags you under the waves?'

America's Fascination with the Apocalypse

The end of the world is nigh. Or so you might think if you immersed yourself in American popular culture. From TV adverts to Hollywood movies, depictions of post-apocalyptic worlds are everywhere.

There is a long tradition of such apocalyptic thinking in the US. But as Matthew Barrett Gross and Mel Giles argue in their book The Last Myth, it has now moved beyond religious prophecies into the secular world.

The authors also claim that activists from both the political left and right have embraced apocalypse thinking, issuing dramatic warnings that everything from the traditional American way of life to the very existence of the planet is under threat.

Barrett Gross spoke to the BBC in Utah to explain why he believes the rise of apocalyptic thinking prevents some people from trying to reach more pragmatic solutions to 21st Century problems.

NASCAR sponsorships get House OK

The House last night upheld the military’s practice of paying millions for sports sponsorships, voting 202-216 to strike down a bipartisan amendment to cut $72.3 million in Pentagon funding for the controversial recruiting tool.

Costing tens of millions a year, the military sports sponsorships run from professional bass-fishing contests to the martial arts Ultimate Fighting Championship, a Las Vegas-based enterprise paid about $1.5 million a year to be a “warrior” partner with the Marines. But NASCAR has had the highest profile, and the Army and National Guard alone paid almost $174 million in the past four years sponsoring two teams.

... yet we can't seem to find the funding for wind and solar.

Electric Forecast Calls for Increasing Blackouts

It’s not just a feeling: Power outages have become normal in the United States. Last month’s heat and derecho storms that left more than 300,000 people in the Mid-Atlantic states without power (some for as long as a week) are part of a larger trend. In 2008, according to the Eaton Blackout Tracker, there were 2,169 power outages in the U.S. affecting 25 million people. In 2011, there were more than 3,000 outages affecting 41.8 million people.

Since the early 1990s, according to data gathered by Massoud Amin, an electrical engineering professor at the University of Minnesota, the number of power outages affecting more than 50,000 people a year has more than doubled, and blackouts now drain between $80 billion and $188 billion from the U.S. economy every year. The power grid is slipping backwards to a time when infrastructure was unreliable, and more and more people are talking about going “off the grid” with solar, batteries, and generators as a result.

By Amin’s reckoning, since 1995 the power industry has taken more from its infrastructure than it’s invested; research-and-development spending in the power sector has fallen to just 0.17 percent of revenue. In effect, the power industry has behaved like a low-tech industry—and so it’s becoming one.

CitiGroup [Cornicopian] Commodities Research and Strategy Presentation ...

Energy 2020: North America, the New Middle East?

Surging supply growth could transform North America into the new Middle East by 2020, driven by growth in shale oil and gas, deepwater and oil sands resources. And US liquid fuels demand is in structural, secular decline due to demographics, fuel efficiency, transport technology shifts.

North America has become the fastest growing oil and gas region in the world, and is likely to remain so for the rest of the decade and into the 2020s, with the main obstacles as political rather than geological or technological.

Abundant domestic natural gas triggers an industrial revolution in energy intensive industries, as well as shifts to gas-fired power generation, natural gas vehicles and LNG exports. The potential economic consequences by 2020 are dramatic:

– An additional 2 to 3% of real GDP
– +2.7 to 3.6 million net new jobs
– Current account deficit narrowing by 2.4% of GDP
– US dollar appreciation in real terms of +1.6 to 5.4%

... deepwater production is bouncing back and could see a hockey-stick trajectory that takes total Gulf of Mexico output from 1.3-m b/d today to 3.75-m b/d by 2020.

If the US has become the fastest growing oil and gas producing country in the world, then Canada is not far behind and is likely to see annual +200-k b/d growth for the next 20 years

Perth fuel shortage likely: BP

Perth motorists can expect unleaded fuel shortages over coming weeks, which could push up the price of petrol.

BP spokesman Jamie Jardine confirmed maintenance works being undertaken at the company's Kwinana refinery, which is a major wholesaler of fuel across WA, would slow production of premium and 98 unleaded fuel.

He said there would be "tightness" in supply, meaning BP would have to import supplies of premium and 98 fuel. This, he said, would come at a cost to the business. ... but he said there was "ample supply" of regular unleaded fuel and for most motorists it would be "business as usual".

Gasoline Cargoes to U.S. May Increase as BNP Sees Higher Demand

Gasoline shipments across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe may increase after inventories of the auto fuel on the U.S. East Coast reached this year’s low.

Traders and oil companies booked 14 tankers to make the voyage for the two weeks to Aug. 1 and 13 more are likely to be hired, according to the median estimate in a survey yesterday of six shipbrokers, traders and owners who specialize in shipping gasoline. Demand for the fuel may be poised to strengthen, according to BNP Paribas SA.

East Coast gasoline inventories slid to 52.2 million barrels as of July 13, according to Department of Energy data. That’s the smallest stockpile since November and the lowest level for July for figures going back to the start of 1990.

Morgan Stanley Said to Reload LNG Tanker in Spain for Japan

Morgan Stanley is loading a liquefied natural gas carrier in Spain for export to Japan, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Spain is prioritizing its domestic coal industry over gas for power generation. Combined with weaker fuel demand because of the economic crisis, the country is oversupplied with gas, stimulating re-exports of previously-imported gas from storage tanks at terminals.

Bees make a living on early honey store

“Everything came on about a month early. Now the bees are eating what they gathered,” Rheins said. “If (the drought) keeps on it’s going to hurt.”

"Rhein said he historically keeps 40-50 hives, each yielding about 80 pounds of honey in a productive growing season. The drought has diminished blooming of wild plants that honey bees depend on, particularly white clover blossoms are missing from the bees’ work regimen."

I just harvested honey this morning - roughly one quarter of the yield compared to this time last year. Not good. Looks like winter feeding may start early this year, if the fall nectar season is also bad. I hope we don't get another doozy of a snow season. Sigh...

Also this :-

Drought takes a toll on honey production

"Besides honey, maple syrup makers are calling this a disastrous year as they watch their trees shrivle [shrivel*] up.
Honey producers say expect to see higher prices through next year."

*my correction...

This looks like a clever way to get some free labor...

Singles labor for love at 'weed dating' event on Idaho farm

He described himself as somewhat shy, but at weed dating he found himself surrounded by people with similar interests. There were activists, gardeners, and outdoor enthusiasts.

"What I find is if you go to bars, you don't really know what people's interests are," he said. "You can't really walk into a bar and complain about climate change or peak oil without having people look at you weird. That would probably scare off a lot of people."

For those that intergrate economic and resource data ...

FRED Add-In for Microsoft® Excel®

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Economic Data (FRED) Add-In is free software that will significantly reduce the amount of time spent collecting and organizing macroeconomic data. The FRED add-in provides free access to over 30,000 data series from various sources (e.g., BEA, BLS, Census, and OECD) directly through Microsoft Excel.

Key Features:
■One-click instant download of economic time series.
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■Create graphs with NBER recession shading and an auto update feature.

Hey Rockman:

I'm really sorry Gov. Good Hair didn't last long in the Republican primaries. I thought he was at least as entertaining as Shrub was when it came to verbal gaffs. It saddens me and numerous late night tv show writers to see him off of the national stage. Oh well, there's always 2016.

The mayor of Houston was on the Colbert Report last night. It was an interesting interview.

Video: Houston's Annise Parker on The Colbert Report

Parker was particularly interested in discussing her city's economy and growing job market.

phre - I had one hope for Good Hair: that he show some balls and would take the lead on the energy issue and start a serious conversation. Obviously didn't even come close. Now Annise OTOH is probably one of the best things to happen to Houston politics in a long time. Unfortunately that bar wasn't set too high. Still she does have a good head on her shoulders and tough as nails to.

Vegan menu on tap for astronauts flying NASA's mission to Mars

Vegan diets are all the rage among stars such as Michelle Pfeiffer, Anne Hathaway and Venus Williams.

And celebrities such as Al Sharpton, Bill Clinton and Chaka Khan have credited a vegan diet for helping them lose dramatic amounts of weight and become healthier.

Now the popularity of veganism has spread to outer space. NASA scientists are currently working on a vegan menu for the astronauts who will blast off to Mars on a trip planned for 2030.

The menu, which will feed six to eight astronauts for up to three years, must not only be healthy and nutritious, but provide enough variety and flavor to sustain the prolonged space expedition.

US forecast: Hot, dry weather to linger

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's outlook for August through October shows that nearly every state likely will have hotter than normal temperatures. Much of the Midwest is likely to be drier than normal, too.

The forecast, issued Thursday, indicates a high probability for little rain for all or parts of 15 states for August. The region encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Iowa and the states generally surrounding them. The outlook improves a bit over three months, shrinking to just eight states.

also No end in sight for US drought: experts

and Drought could go through October: forecasters

... Another gauge of U.S. drought distress came in the form of voluntary reports, which rose from fewer than 50 in January to over 300 in the first half of July.

Smith included one such report from an unnamed farmer and rancher in Colorado: "With record-setting high temps. and several days of 108 to 113 degree temps, irrigation water shutting off and the dry hot wind, conditions of pasture have turned from bad to worse. Ranchers are now calling in with reports of finding dead antelope fawns in the shade of cedar posts, very sad situation. Cattle are starting to go to town."

A La Nina pattern of cool water in the equatorial Pacific, which normally brings colder, wetter conditions to parts of the continental United States, ended earlier this year, and there is a good chance that an El Nino pattern could develop before year's end, said Dan Collins of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

That could prolong drought conditions in the central United States, Collins said.

Elsewhere - The United Kingdom had its coolest June since 1991, while Austria had the sixth-warmest June in 250 years

From Jim Hansen's Master Resource Report...

Gasoline and the price of corn

The AAA posts an interesting table on its web page that looks at the prices of gasoline, diesel and E85 (ethanol gasoline blend) each week. This week in light of the steeply climbing price of corn there are huge implications for the price of biofuel based E85. When adjusted for the lower energy content of ethanol in the E85 the price of the fuel climbs above even conventional premium gasoline.

And from FarmdocDaily; h/t Big Picture Agriculture

Current Expectations of Future Corn Prices, and Ghosts of Prices Past

For instance, in March, the market expected prices to be above $4.00 in 90% of the possible cases. By July, that value has been revised to $5.81 – or an implication that there is a 90% chance that prices will exceed $5.81 at expiration. Interestingly, there is still some meaningful upside pricing possible, with a 20% chance that price will exceed $9.26 at the expiration date.

Many alarming developments in the arctic this summer. One could easily get a sense that we are reaching a tipping point with our climate.

Neven's Sea Ice Blog is a good place to catch up on these. Today's data/post regarding the latest sea ice area extent is a must see for anyone that wishes to keep up with this developing catastrophe:

Arctic Sea Ice Blog

And another must see, this from Jeff Masters at the WunderBlog:
Record warmth at the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet

I shared this on Twitter (@rrapier) but a new paper on algal fuels concludes that the EROEI is far below 1.0:


The estimated range is given for an experimental and an idealized system. The EROEI was in the range of 0.0001 for the experimental system. Nearly all of the ideal cases were also below 1, and the best one was only 1.74.

OPEC’s exports fall from three month plateau on Saudi export cutback, reduced Chinese purchases

Per the oil tanker tracker consultancy, 'Oil Movements', OPEC exports finally fell off a three month plateau they have been stuck on in May, June and July. Exports had been consistently around 24.0 million barrels per day, as if on autopilot. Also that level of 24.0 mbpd was seen at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012, as well as in early 2011 right before the Libya uprising.

While the one week drop was not severe, when coupled with recent shipping reports, it appears that OPEC exports are on their way to a new lower level. Over the past seven years, OPEC has sometimes made significant adjustments to their export levels in August. Please note that the Oil Movements report is partially forward looking.

While it is clear that Saudi Arabia intentionally cut oil exports to the US related to the expected prolonged closure of the new processing unit at the huge Motiva refinery, it is less clear why OPEC exports to China have been reduced. That answer may partially have to do with sanctions against Iran, a temporary lull in the steady buildup of China’s strategic oil reserves, or just possibly a lull in seasonal activity.

OPEC Shipments

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, responsible for about 40 percent of global supplies, will curb exports by 0.9 percent to 23.78 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Aug. 4, compared with 24 million a month earlier, Oil Movements said yesterday in an e-mailed report. The data exclude Angola and Ecuador. Western sanctions on Iranian shipments will also contribute to the drop, the researcher said.


That answer may partially have to do with sanctions against Iran, a temporary lull in the steady buildup of China’s strategic oil reserves, or just possibly a lull in seasonal activity.

Or Saudi Arabia needs more crude oil for domestic consumption in the hot summertime.

That too, but some Saudi oil has to be exported only to return as an oil product import to meet summer seasonal demand.

In other words, even if OPEC exports were stable in summer, net imports available to the rest of the world may be dropping. {see exportland model)

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has been stepping up fuel imports to meet peak summer demand in the Middle East. Traders estimate state oil giant Saudi Aramco bought about 400,000 to 500,000 tonnes for July, up from an estimated 350,000 tonnes in June.


Court rejects Tory bid to halt overturning of election results

The council alleges the outcome of last year’s election was influenced by misleading or harassing phone calls – so-called robocalling – in seven ridings across Canada where Conservative MPs narrowly won their seats.

The court said the application raises serious issues about the integrity of Canada’s electoral process.

As a reminder of what the above article is about here is something I posted previously...

Misinformation and elections: Insights from Canada

That is, our point estimate indicates that robocalls reduced turnout of opposition voters by an average of 3% in the affected districts, or 2,700 votes.