Drumbeat: July 28, 2012

In U.S. Agency, Drillers in Utah Have a Friend

Bureau officials deny any favoritism toward industry, while Mr. Stringer talks of balancing sometimes competing interests. “Depending on who you are, where you stand, B.L.M. looks very different to you,” he told industry executives last year. “We move maybe from your hero to your villain.”

In the nine years that Mr. Stringer has been the top bureau official in Vernal, the field office has approved an average of 555 new oil and gas wells a year, nearly three times the number in the previous decade. Agency records show that his office, where employees often shuttle between business and government, rarely issues drilling-related fines for environmental or safety violations and has pushed to ease rules about well sites near sensitive wildlife habitats.

The agency in Utah also sided with business executives to kill a proposed agency study of the effect of thousands of oil and gas wells on area air quality. Mr. Stringer then helped push for an industry-controlled study instead, documents show, despite protests from Environmental Protection Agency officials.

Enbridge suffers new oil leak, shuts key pipeline

(Reuters) - Canada's Enbridge Inc. said an oil spill in Wisconsin had forced it to shut down part of the main pipeline system delivering Canadian crude to U.S. refiners on Friday, a fresh blow for a firm already facing fierce criticism from regulators.

Almost two years to the day after a major spill on a different part of its network, Enbridge shut down Line 14 after a leak that it estimated at around 1,200 barrels of oil. The 318,000 barrel per day (bpd) line, part of the Lakehead system, carries light crude oil to Chicago-area refineries.

U.S. pipeline agency to probe Enbridge oil spill in Wisconsin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. pipeline safety agency said on Saturday it is investigating an oil spill in Wisconsin on Enbridge Inc's network that forced the Canadian company to close part of the main pipeline system delivering Canadian crude to U.S. refiners.

The U.S. Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration "is investigating the cause of the Enbridge crude oil pipeline failure in Wisconsin," spokesman Damon Hill said in an email, adding that an inspector "has been dispatched to the failure location."

New Pipeline Safety Regulations Won't Apply to Keystone XL

WASHINGTON—Efforts to beef up oversight of the nation's oil pipelines are progressing so slowly that it's unlikely any additional safeguards will be in place before construction begins on thousands of miles of new pipelines, including the proposed Keystone XL.

Oil Rises for Fourth Day on Stimulus Speculation

Oil rose for a fourth day on speculation that the European Central Bank and the U.S. Federal Reserve will ease monetary policy to boost economic growth and curb the debt crisis.

Argentina to Require State Approval for Private Oil Investment

Argentina’s government mandated the creation of an oil planning commission that will set national energy goals and have the power to review private companies’ investment plans.

Ohio: Oil interests fight Kasich plan

Oil and gas extraction is a dirty business, but a year ago it seemed unlikely the industry would be rolling around in the drilling mud with the Kasich administration.

But that's exactly what's happening as the Republican governor has revived his call for a bump in the severance tax, which is assessed on those who remove resources such as timber or oil and natural gas from Ohio.

Incentives for drilling unneeded so far, Dunderdale says

Premier Kathy Dunderdale says the Newfoundland and Labrador government has found it unnecessary to sweeten the pot for oil companies to encourage more exploration offshore.

“We’re at a place now where we’re going into deeper water,” Dunderdale told reporters earlier this week. “We had a crush with rigs, and so on. We haven’t been at a place yet that we’ve felt we’ve had to incentivize companies to drill.”

Nigeria faces big test over fuel fraud

The Nigerian government is stepping up its attack on corruption in the oil sector as the country's anti-graft agency prepares a range of indictments.

Twelve people and seven companies will be charged, the country's economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) said this week.

Pirates kill Eni oil worker in Nigeria: military

YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Pirates killed at least one oil worker in an attack on a boat owned by Italian energy firm Eni's local subsidiary Agip in Nigeria's Niger Delta on Friday, the military said.

Saudi arrests 'troublemakers' in oil-rich province

Saudi Arabia said it arrested several "troublemakers" in its oil-rich Eastern Province on Friday while an activist said police wounded and detained protestors there after a peaceful demonstration.

Iran 'expands' oil tanker insurance

Iran is expanding its insurance on its fleet of 47 oil tankers through a multi-billion-dollar line of credit as it seeks to get around EU sanctions crimping its crude exports, reports said on Saturday.

The Nexen deal: China’s bid to fit in

Skeptics worry that, in its hunger for resource capital, Ottawa is ignoring some fundamental risks associated with relying on national companies from China and other emerging markets that are controlled by regimes with little commitment to the marketplace or a level playing field in international trade and investment. Complicating Canada’s decision on Nexen, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has openly wooed Chinese firms for investment during several state visits to Beijing.

Price drops take a toll on oil firms

Sentiment on global energy markets has weakened on expectations of slow growth in the world economy and a receding threat that Iran will disrupt oil exports from the Arabian Gulf.

At the same time, a surge in production in North America is depressing natural gas prices.

Oil prices crashed and Chevron still made nearly $24 a barrel

Take just about any business situation in which the value of a company's primary product suddenly falls by more than 29% and it could be time to panic. Then there is the oil patch, where billions of dollars in profits are possible even after that kind of collapse in crude prices. Chevron Corp. of San Ramon, Calif., is just such an example.

Even with the sharp drop in oil prices that began in the first quarter and ran through the end of the second quarter -- a decline from $109.41 a barrel to $77.69 a barrel -- Chevron had a positive margin of $23.53 on every barrel of crude it produced, according to analysts. Chevron said its margin was actually $26 a barrel.

Peak oil is no myth

Peak oil is not about running out of oil. It refers to the fact that, since oil is a finite resource, the annual rate of production of oil must at some point reach an all-time maximum – a ‘peak’ – and then decline. This empirical phenomenon of peaking has already been observed in about two-thirds of oil producing countries as well as the regions of North America (peaked in 1985) and Europe (peaked in 2000). Global new oil discoveries have been declining since the 1960s and giant oilfields – accounting for some 60% of world supply – are declining at over 6% a year. Production of conventional oil has hardly risen since 2005, even though demand is burgeoning in developing countries.

6 Of The Biggest Untapped Oil Fields In The World

Whether or not you subscribe to theories of peak oil, there is no doubt that there are some massive untapped oil fields around the world.

Some aren't reaching their potential in terms of oil extraction for political reasons.

Others present difficult technological challenges that haven't quite been figured out yet.

Syrian army supply crisis has regime on brink of collapse, say defectors

Bashar al-Assad's military machine is on the brink of logistical meltdown and collapse, because it lacks petrol and food, and is having problems resupplying its soldiers, according to a Syrian general who has defected to the opposition.

Dirty but essential -- that's coal

We may not like coal, but given the insatiable demand for electricity, it will be powering the global economy for decades to come.

UK energy flows 2010: sources, losses, exports and consumption of energy

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has produced its latest visualisation of UK energy flows, in this case referring to 2010.

The graphic shows the sources (including imports) and end points of energy in the UK, including quantities lost along the way and exported overseas.

In Blackouts, Drones and iPads May Come to Rescue

Facing more frequent storms that cripple electric distribution systems over big areas, utility companies are drafting iPads and military-style aerial surveillance robots to get the lights back on faster.

Siluria Technologies Raises $30 Million in Series C Funding to Commercialize Its Process Technology for Converting Natural Gas Into Commodity Chemicals and Transportation Fuels

Will births come back with the economy?

FORTUNE -- Deciding to start a family is an incredibly hopeful act and one that reflects in part the national mood. It should be no surprise then that birth trends in the United States peaked in 2007 and then began a long period of deceleration and decline over the subsequent five years. Births were still declining in 2011 and look likely to continue to slow in 2012, reflecting the shifting landscape of global economic concerns. There are glimmers of hope, however, and a recovery bodes well for many stocks in Healthcare, but in particular Hosptials.

A Mobile Restaurant That Chases Down Farm-Fresh Ingredients

The Buijtenkitchen, a conceptual project by Studio Elmo Vermijs, challenges the very idea of what a restaurant can be. It’s essentially a wood burning stove in a mobile hut, an elevated lifeguard-like station that surveys the area for hungry locals. But rather than importing food into the kitchen to be prepared, the Buijtenkitchen seeks out local harvests and plants itself on farms themselves by the most seasonal produce possible. So instead of serving up local/seasonal cuisine of a single region, it can seek out local seasonal cuisines of every region.

Drought diminishes mighty Mississippi, puts heat on Congress

CHICAGO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The severe drought in the U.S. Midwest wreaked more havoc across the country on Thursday, forcing barges on the Mississippi River to lighten loads for fear of getting stuck and raising concerns about higher prices for food and gasoline.

Mineral Rush in Greenland; Independence May be Around the Corner

Greenland is an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark. The Danish government had ruled over it until 1979 when the island was granted home rule. However, the Danes still control Greenland’s foreign affairs, defense, police, justice system, and financial policy. Recently, however, Greenland has been courted by multinational companies and foreign leaders looking to exploit its rare minerals and potential oil reserves. The new attention brought to the island is leading Greenland's premier, Kuupik Kleist, to seriously consider moving toward full independence.

Melting Ice Floods Greenland River, Satellite Photo Shows

Melting ice in Greenland has swelled the island's rivers with water. A NASA satellite snapped a photo of meltwater overflowing the banks of the Watson River near Kangerlussuaq, a key air transportation hub, on July 12.

Deny This: Contested Himalayan Glaciers Really Are Melting, and Doing So at a Rapid Pace-Kind of Like Climate Change

Remember when climate change contrarians professed outrage over a few errors in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s last report? One of their favorite such mistakes involved an overestimation of the pace at which glaciers would melt at the “Third Pole,” where the Indian subcontinent crashes into Asia. Some contrarians back in 2010 proceeded to deny that the glaciers of the Himalayas and associated mountain ranges were melting at all. But now, using satellites and on-the-ground surveys, scientists note that 82 glaciers in the Tibetan Plateau are retreating, 15 glaciers have dwindled in mass, and 7,090 glaciers have shrunk in size.

Climate Refugees: A Human Cost of Climate Change

As climate change takes its toll around the world, global society is faced with the question of how to adapt to changing conditions, and how to assist climate refugees. Societies must also address issues of managing and allocating limited land and other resources as the human population increases, driving demand ever upward.

RE: Deny This: Contested Himalayan Glaciers Really Are Melting, and Doing So at a Rapid Pace-Kind of Like Climate Change

An interesting quote from the piece:

It’s all unfolding pretty much as predicted by climate scientists in the 1980s.

Earlier scientists saw the problem too, well before the '80s.

The problem has now become one of psychosis now that the denial has overtaken the minds of those in the industry.

Speaking of denial:

Pools May be “Adequate,” But Dry Casks are Safer


The paper reiterates the NRC’s position that storing spent nuclear fuel in wet pools at commercial nuclear power plants provides “adequate protection”...NRC also stated that it will continue to study spent fuel storage issues for up to five more years.

But “adequate” is not good enough, especially when there is a safer alternative.Nuclear plant owners are currently storing some 55,000 tons of spent fuel—which remains dangerously radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years—in overcrowded cooling pools that require active safety measures to prevent overheating.

However, 80 percent of that stored spent fuel has been in the pools for more than five years and can be moved to dry casks, which do not require power for cooling and are passively safe. Given the potential consequences from a severe accident or terrorist attack on a spent fuel pool, it makes sense to transfer to casks as soon as it is safe to do so.

The actual NRC paper on this subject (PDF):


I recommend to anyone who reads the oildrum to also read the following paper http://websites.psychology.uwa.edu.a...Conspiracy.pdf

This is a link to the Guardian article on the above paper Are climate sceptics more likely to be conspiracy theorists? http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/jul/27/climate-sceptics-...

Richard Tol of the IPCC on twitter laments "I'm saying that climate attracted the attention of every crackpot, left, right and loopy. Study only looks at rightwingnuts."

Substitute climate sceptics for peak oil sceptics if you wish but it seems according to the Australian study that it will likely be the same phychological profile for both groups.

Repaired link:

Motivated rejection of science 1

Are you a pilot?

Strange report. I only skimmed the Abstract and poked through a bit, but it left me wondering if they spent time on Consp. Theories (or what are accused as such) from some other political and class orientations.

It's hard to build a case around 'skeptics' whose stories already seem goofy and crazy to me, and I will assume, to the authors and their presumed audience. What about MY suspicions of conspiracies in (not by accident) the very free-market system that those others were so vehemently defending with their bodyguard of denials?

Tough also, is that they use 'Conspiracy Theory' in a context which presupposes an opinion on the group of groups allegedly (and sensationally, given their examples) engaged in it. It's a negatively pre-loaded term, and I don't see them unloading it before they analyze it. They must be in cahoots with someone- I smell an agenda!

Perhaps for falsifiability, they could find some cases where a strongly held public debate, and accusations or suspicions of heavy collusion ended up finally being proved, and look at the nature of the accusers who had been called out as mere 'conspiracy theorists' in the lead-up to it. Did that ever fully resolve with the Tobacco/Lung Cancer question as a matter of conscious collusion and conspiracy? I just felt the authors use of the terms like 'Conspiracist Ideation' cast a strongly academic sneer on one side of the trial, with a distinct air of superiority. .. Where's their lawyer!?

Scientific Objectivity is REALLY hard to get right..

Richard Tol peddles a particular line, he’s a colleague of Bjorn Lomborg and according to Wikipedia believes that ‘the impact of climate change is relatively small’. Also in Wikipedia —‘He was also among the US Senate Republican Party's "list of scientists disputing man-made global warming claims", which stated that Tol "dismissed the idea that mankind must act now to prevent catastrophic global warming”.’

"catastrophic" global warming or "catastrophic" man-made / anthropogenic global warming

watch for that hedge "catastrophic" to become much more common, especially after the full BEST results (skeptic funded, finding AGW is valid, looks like).

the last line of defense for deniers and skeptics is to hedge that AGW isn't "catastrophic" and they've often used that to get fence-sitters and apethetics on board....

BLM: Bureau of Lazy Men.

Okay, I worked for the BLM one summer digging hiking trail. That is where I learned this acronym.

I've also seen oil booms in inappropriate areas. There is one happening right up to the very edge of the Sespe Condor Sanctuary north of Fillmore CA. In places very steep terrain. This was all enabled during the Bush Administration.

6 of the biggest UNTAPPED oil fields in the world

"Whether or not you subscribe to theories of peak oil, there is no doubt that there are some massive untapped oil fields around the world.”

So to save other TODsters wasting time as I did: First only one of the “fields” is a field. The rest are trends or entire countries. Second none of them are untapped...they are all currently producing. Some areas certainly will have future development but to characterize any as “untapped” is very misleading IMHO.


Jubilee Field

Location: Ghana

Estimated barrels of crude: 1.8 billion

The deal: Tullow Oil is currently developing the field, which produced an average of 66,000 barrels per day in 2011.

The article also lists offshore Brazilian fields, as well as listing the Orinoco...

It is not as if this article announce something truly Earth-Shattering, such as:

Several Saudi Arabias worth of oil located under Greenland and even more under Antarctica

They also 'forget' to mention the fact that all the numbers are 3P (1P=Proven=95%, 2P=Probable=50%, 3P=Possible=5%). Nor do they mention bbl/day production or cost /bbl.

TPTB keep spewing crap like this on MSM to promote
BAU so the sheeple won't find out how FUBAR we really are.
it works! people keep driving and shopping like there's
no tomorrow in their mammoth SUVs and freaking monster trucks,
and TPTB are still printing and making big big big money.
everyday we burn more oil that is discovered which can be produced.
why is that so difficult for people to figure out ?
peak discovery was 50 years ago and it's still some big secret?
i think we are far past peak common sense and we're all just
lemmings headed for the cliff. hopefully you've got your parachute packed and have it within reach at all times. /rant off

Cheapest gasoline in Albuquerque now at #3.01...plenty of stations in the $3.05-$3.15 range...highest gasoline prices at $3.39/gal.

The station I typically use (location convenience for me) is typically a higher-price station and it was $3.18 a few days ago...maybe lower today.

How do we sell the idea of PO to the average person in the U.S. when we get these peaks and valleys of fuel prices?

I have an answer...but it is politically infeasible: Place a considerably larger tax on fuel...that way, if fuel prices go up, we get more revenue, and users have ever greater incentive to buy higher=mpg vehicles, ride-share, walk, bike, take public transit, telecommute, etc and if the underlying price of gas foes down (exclusive of the tax), then the government keeps the price of fuel at a high floor to keep consumers from throwing care to the wind...and the government pockets even higher revenues to help pay for the things we want out of government.

I would do something similar for NG...impose a hefty tax, then turn around and provide a price floor for NG production companies, to provide certainty in exploration and development of NG.

Impose a heftier tax on coal, but w/o the producer price floor.

Take enhanced steps to encourage the development of wind and solar energy production, and steps to encourage more freight to rail from trucks, and more reasonable (not 'High Speed') inter and intra-city passenger rail.

So happy to see you are having trouble with your price of gasoline, over there in Albq. over here in S.E.AZ just across the border from you it's still running between $3.70 / $3.80.

On top of that we just got under some of that climate change that has been talked about here of late. It rained for about 10 min and a grand total of 1/4 in. fell. The first for this year,

I'm talking about my little 40 acre world only;; It has been a fairly good season so far for the rest of the county.

Sorry to hear about your lack of rain...I wish some more your way...

ABQ's monsoon started up right at the beginning of July after a record hot (and dry) June.

Keep in mind that our monsoon consists of mostly high cumulo and some stratus clouds with brief isolated light rain showers...we have gotten one gully-washer last week though....I am so glad I got on the roof a couple of days before and patched the parapets and interior corners with goop...we will be getting a re-roof this fall.

I dunno why, but ABQ is some kind of low-price space-time vortex in the U.S.

Unfortunately, now that prices are super-low I have noticed a big upturn in the number of drivers recklessly weaving in and our of lanes, jack-rabbit starting and then honking on the brakes, etc. When gas was real high (up towards $4.30) a few years back, I sure saw a lot of folks driving with a light touch.

So far no price has been able to convince the huge number of ABQ urban cowboys with their F-150 super-crew cabs and even bigger models (the ones always immaculately washed and rarely ever having any cargo in the box) to trade those in for small fuel efficient vehicles.

I love how thrifty and easy to turn and park it is with cars such as the Versa and Elantra.

hey old hermit, ya could migrate up here where it rains too much
and eat elk..and salmon.

'ere's another one in beaver wa, rains 100" a year.
hard to grow a garden cause there's too many elk.

'ere's another,skokomish river valley. in november you can
gaff chum salmon from your front porch! how sweet is that ?
$30k and it's all yours bud. not quite as rainy as beaver
but it gets like 70" precip anually. good oysters in the bay
down the road..

okay just one more,i'll stop i promise,,
2 houses,10ac ,walk to best salmon riv,again too many elk $80k
and rain ? shoooweeemama,,you'll be doin sun dances.

funny you should mention the real estate;;; Years ago (back in the 60s) I had a friend that had grown up in the valley of the sun decide because of the lack of work, he and his 3 brothers all moved up to that area. I used to go up during my summer vacation and visit with them,for a week, and would you believe it never rained while I was there.

He used to beg me to come up more often so he would get a chance to see the sun for a week. He hated the place but his brothers loved it, in fact they are still up there as far as I know. He finally moved back to the valley and passed away just a few years ago.

I passed all the different links on to my son, just in case he might like to go take a look. The only way I'll be leaving this place is toes up.

I used to go up during my summer vacation and visit with them,for a week, and would you believe it never rained while I was there.

Seasonal precipitation patterns matter. For July and August, Seattle and Portland are both significantly drier than Denver on average, and even slightly drier than Phoenix. In the Willamette Valley, many crops require late summer irrigation to do well. Phoenix and Denver both experience the North American summer monsoon; Portland and Seattle are north and west of that flow and stay dry. One of the issues that, SFAIK, the climate models have not predicted is any changes in the strength or coverage of the monsoon.

Here's another fantasy option for old hermit, on the western edge of the Great Drought of 2012:


Our high taxes in BC are priced by cents per litre (Fed and Province) and not by percentage. Costs go up and the price climbs, but Govt revenues decline as people drive less and fewer cars on the road. Govt gets the blame for the high taxes.

I like the high taxes but they aren't the solution in total. I see these young kids driving the big trucks (flush with sands bucks) and want to double the taxes. One young buck told me he was going to buy an f-350 diesel...lifted, etc etc. I asked him if he ran the rig he was on to need a work truck and why he didn't spend his flash money on a hot fuel efficient rocket to impress the chicks? He thought I was a stupid geezer (and proud of it).

Pradigm shift please. Anyone, anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Change their wants, Ferris. Please.


"...a hot fuel efficient rocket to impress the chicks?"

Huh? LOL

Mustang? Corvette?

Our high taxes in BC are priced by cents per litre (Fed and Province) and not by percentage.

You're forgetting about the 5% GST the federal government charges on gasoline. BC does not charge HST on gasoline for some reason. Of course the HST was a complete mess, which is why it is going away (I am told here in Alberta).

Still.. I added them up and got 22 years of current global demand. Orinoco alone is 15 years.

Can someone here explain how Orinoco is any harder to extract than SAGD tar sand? I am inclined to believe that large hard-to-get resources like this mean the global decline curve will look more like the gradual USA decline curve than the 'shark fin' that some fear.

"Can someone here explain how Orinoco is any harder to extract than SAGD tar sand?"

It doesn't get any harder than SAGD tar sands extraction! So I wouldn't consider SAGD any reason to be unconcerned about the decline curve.

Basically, in 2006 (which significantly raised the forecast from the year prior), the industry expected Canada to be producing 3.5 mbpd of oil by 2010; 3.75 mbpd by 2011; and 4 mbpd by 2012!

Now here is the second chart, from 2011, forecasting production out to 2025.

As we can see, 2010 saw only 2.7 mbpd of annual production.

More revealing is that back in 2006 (the first chart), the industry expected Canada to be approaching 4 mbpd of production by 2011-2012. However, the latest data shows that the 2011 annual average only reached 2.9 mbpd, with recent months hitting 3 mbpd. In other words, the industry itself, on a five year time-frame, missed its forecast by nearly a million barrels. That is not a small miss for country producing only 3 mbpd.

They can over promise in the tar sands but the track record suggests they'll under deliver.

Above and below is from Gregor MacDonald's Race for BTU

You can see such perspectives in books that appeared 4-5 years ago, such as The Myth of the Oil Crisis, which correctly identified the vast oil resources still to be extracted, but missed the slow rate at which these resources would be developed. Indeed, if there is a single concept that trips up experts and laymen alike, it is the changing rate at which many natural resources have started to come to market in the past decade.

Depending on how much it's based on useful data and trends, your hunch is as good as anyone's I suppose.. the question becomes (as ever), which is path is more important to be prepared for?

Sure, maybe it'll be gentle and sort of easy. That would be swell.

Of course, back when the US declined, there were swing producers who were still truly flush and available credit you could turn to in a pinch, the population was a lot smaller, the climate was behaving pretty modestly. How many important factors now seem to have MUCH narrower margins today?

What shape is the middle class in comparatively to the 1970s ? How is their debt/savings ratio looking? Where do most of their essentials come from? How are Munis doing? States? How many rocks and hard places can you count which would easily compound problems with even an 'easy', gradual decline in global Petroleum production?

It's worth really asking yourself 'where are we really standing?'..

"It's worth really asking yourself 'where are we really standing?'.."

Thank you for articulating this idea. I think too often we pretend to have some knowledge of what's in store for our energy future. In some ways we obviously do, but I tend to think we (as a community of citizens, scientists, scholars; uninformed or not) over-estimate our own understanding of our true energy situation. We live in a culture of extreme consumption and waste. Shouldn't we address the underlying causes of why we need such intensive energy extraction in the first place? We don't have to live in a world where energy concerns dominate our political system, but we choose to.

We are not at the wheel.

Global Warming's Terrifying New Math

Chris Hedges on Capitalism’s ‘Sacrifice Zones’

"There's no way to control corporate power."

Of course the transition won't be gentle and sort of easy, otherwise there would be no transition. My point is that there is an important line between being deprived of what we want and of what we need to survive, while still having enough surplus to invest in sustainable society. If this is possible at all, it happens at the point of $300/bbl oil, and the article suggests that maybe there is enough $300 oil to last a couple of decades.

..At which point, it's not whether the '$300 oil lasts', but whether we can keep an economy functioning around $300 oil for any period of time.. Remember 2008? As I said before, we're already staggering and still trying to get back on our feet again from that.. how many hours or days did oil sit at $147 before we stalled and dropped?

I see no reason to think that we can even take THAT high a hit again, and somehow keep on and reinvest some kind of surplus, etc.

If we're not really assembling the tools in this ramshackle situation we are in right now, there seem to me to be very strong possibilites that the 'next' situation we try to do it in will just be that much less ideal, and we'll have shorter leashes, shoddier options, and it will STILL be 'Now' when we should be doing it, but many will be looking off the Bow, sure that they can glimpse a shiny recovery where these transitions will be not just possible, but will somehow just fall together naturally, as that invisible hand pitches in for the great barnraising.

No. That's a mirage.. and now is the time to stop digging and commence climbing up nonexistant ladders and loose scrabble.

I recall (although I haven't stashed any data, that the Orinoco stuff is very high in Vanadium content, which means it will require some special purpose refining technology. Isn't that Saudi Funded Gulf refinery thats having so many problems and delays designed for high Vanadium Saudi heavy? Maybe we shouldn't count this type of oil until we know we can refine it?

Is the Vanadium useful? Would there be demand for increased supply?

"Is the Vanadium useful?"

Quite useful. We only use a couple thousand tons per year though, so in principle the market could get flooded by heavy-oil byproducts.


Flow batteries?



Development of vanadium redox flow battery for electricity storage
"The vanadium battery, developed by Kashima-Kita, uses vanadium compounds as an electrolyte, recovered from boiler soot in Orimulsion-fired power stations to provide a solution to this problem. This battery is eminently suitable for load levelling, being operable at room temperature and normal pressure, easily convertible to a large scale and is environmentally friendly."

Friday, April 27, 2012
World's Largest Vanadium Flow Battery Goes Online
"The largest flow battery system in the world, capable of storing and delivering grid-scale power instantaneously, received permission to operate from the local utility and will begin full operation in the weeks ahead..."

"Prudent Energy is the designer, manufacturer, and integrator of the patented Vanadium Redox Battery (VRB®) – a large-capacity energy storage system with high performance and low operating costs."

Such a thing enables wind. The oil companies would be better off pumping the vanadium back into the ground. Look for alarmist API articles screaming the dangers of vanadium, that vanadium is socialism, and that the ridiculous unworkable green vanadium tree-hugger scam drives industry away and costs jobs.


Making "Renewable" Viable: Drexel Engineers Develop New Technology for Grid-Level Electrical Energy Storage


Ag Marketing Resource Center
Partially Funded by USDA Rural Development
Iowa State University
Ammonia as a Transportation Fuel

Colorado School of Mines
Solid State Ammonia Synthesis (SSAS) for Sustainable Fuel and Energy Storage Applications

Hydrofuel NH3 (ammonia) Car

Ammonia Car 2 years later

Research Project X-15 - Development of the X-15 Rocket Plane
Ammonia and liquid oxygen
Pale green/yellow flame
Engine segment starts at time 8:42 in the movie.

Anhydrous Ammonia
It's fertilizer

Ammonia can be made with wind, air, and water. You don't have to kill anyone's children to get it. Anything like it, anything that replaces oil, must not be allowed to happen:

"Blood and Oil - The Middle East in World War I" Has been cleaned from the internet. How very convenient. It makes it so much easier for the wingnuts to look at you with those baby-innocent eyes and say "Next time, get some oil!".

blood and oil is on youtube in random segments, tough to
compile a cohesive display of it ,but each segment still
tells the important story.i won't post a link to it, but
it's there for now.i think that may be the greatest docu
ever made and i've been recomending it to everyone i know
since it came out. it's so relevant to what is happening
in the ME right now with syria in the crosshairs.
i will link to'syrian girl' though,this one-'mass rallies
against conspiracy today' from 3/15/12

Hmmmm..even these batteries can be made from Vanadium and Sulfur, both of which can be by=products of producing oil...

...and they are relatively simple devices...which should be relatively affordable if manufactured in large quantities over time...

...if we can dedicate land to huge Walmart and Amazon distribution center which we never had before, and many many many tracks of retail CRE which we never had before (don't we have ~56 times the retail space per person that Europe has?)...and we have giant sports stadiums with huge amount of land for parking, and many mega-churches with the same....

...surely we can spend some money for land and hardware and software to build many large flow battery farms to help load-level intermittent power from wind an solar?

Current global production runs between 50,000 and 60,000 metric tons per year. The USGS estimates that at that rate, known reserves are good for at least a century. The big current market is as a component in steel alloys to increase strength and hardenability. The Ford Model T frame was the first large commercial use of vanadium steel; for many years, Sears stamped some of its Craftsman brand tools with "CRAFTSMAN VANADIUM STEEL"; sometime in the last few years, both China and Japan legislated increased vanadium content in rebar to improve its strength. As the US only provides about 6% of the world's steel production these days, we're a relatively minor consumer of vanadium at this time.

Declining VMT - and car ownership - in Portland Maine


And interesting perspective - and logical reaction to energy price stress.

Best Hopes for More,


I was happy to be able to bike over to a client's location over the last several weeks, and yesterday, really took notice that every bike rack I see is simply JAMMED with bikes.

You really can't go out without seeing a couple bikes per street, and often enough this extends *(in reduced numbers, of course) through the winter as well, and I mean even DURING storms.

Wickid good, Wickid Shahp!

Sounds like Portland. The other Portland.

We're getting there. The 'other' other Portland..

anyone else watch "Portlandia" on IFC and suddenly want to move there?

From Chatham House Reset or Restart? The Impact of Fukushima on the Japanese and German Energy Sectors

Japan and Germany are on the brink of a national energy transformation, implementing new energy policies that reduce reliance on nuclear power as a direct result of the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Both are seeking a significant expansion of renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes that will lead to a decrease in consumption, with a higher reliance on fossil fuels also envisaged in the short term.

In Germany the new national energy strategy, adopted by virtual consensus in the parliament, will phase out all nuclear power by 2022. In Japan, although some nuclear power stations are being restarted, it is doubtful that they will ever meet the pre-Fukushima contribution of 30% to the electricity mix, let alone the previously envisaged rise to 50% by 2030.

Geopolitical considerations are vital for a successful energy transformation. Europe's integrated electricity grid has enabled Germany’s relatively radical denuclearization without affecting energy service or price. However, Japan is unable to access electricity transmissions from neighbouring countries, and the fragmented nature of the national electricity grid has further exacerbated electricity supply.

Report: Reset or Restart? The Impact of Fukushima on the Japanese and German Energy Sectors (0.8MB pdf)

also http://www.chathamhouse.org/research/eedp/current-projects/nuclear-energ...

California should follow Germany's and Japan's lead and shut down San Onofre and Diablo Canyon.

Take the money saved from the potential environmental catastrophes and invest it in negawatts, in negawatts, in negawatts, and in solar and wind power.

According to the article: "Dirty but Essential - That's coal", Germany will be replacing much of their nuke power with coal.

California has considerably more potential for solar than Germany. California also has considerably more potential for negawatts/increased efficiency/doing less with less than Germany. More coal-fired trons can be imported from states East of CA, and this capacity can be replaced by more NG-fired, wind, and solar electricity production.

CA has much less of an impact from shuttering its two nuke plants than Germany does shuttering all or theirs, and certainly much less impact than Japan shuttering many, most, or all of theirs.

Talking negawatts, my local Home Despot had a stand up for 2nd phase of lighting swap out. Bring your electric bill and 4 incandescent lights get 8 CFL spirals in return. If you have already participated in part 1 and already have your 4 CFLs then take your bill and just pick up 4 CFLs. Hmmm, back there tomorrow? BTW the last offer cleared a lot of incandescents off the shelves. People were buying 4 incandescents at the checkouts then scurrying around to customer service to swap the for CFLs. They didn't go back on the shelves but were neatly packed in a big box to be sent back to CFE or Phillips.


Germany may not be able to afford the costs of increased renewable energy.


Perhaps they figure they could 'afford' a major nuke plant accident even less.

Heisenberg, They certainly can't afford a major nuke plant accident, but they can afford coal. The problem with renewables is the costs are usually placed on the backs of those who can least afford them. The more affluent get subsidies to install solar and industry is subsidized by low rates (as in Germany) to keep them competitive.

I am not against green energy, but I find greens are usually indifferent to those most in need of lower cost energy. There has to be a balance between the green agenda and social justice.

'Low cost energy' is revealing itself to be a lie.. or a short-lived jackpot, at the very least.. where the big bill comes long after with the Melting Glaciers, and with interest.

.. the real 'cheap energy' is using far less of it, in wiser ways. Those among the poor and soon to be poor who are saddled with high energy demands aren't served by getting the same fuels subsidized out of sympathy.. that is STILL shortchanging them cruelly, when we are smart enough to see where this cannonball is going to land.

Since renewables DO pay for themselves ultimately in energy captured, the myth that they are TOO expensive is merely playing on people's short-term thinking, and distracting them from the eventual costs of the burnt fuels.


I certainly don't want to say 'let the poor freeze' or anything heartless like that...but we are all going to have to adjust (hopefully at a reasonable pace) to become more efficient, and do less with less.

I have never been on record here or anywhere else advocating the immediate (or even medium-term) 'all-stop' to burning coal for electricity...but folks can pay a buck-fifty ($150) more a year for renewable energy in service to burning less coal and forgoing the risk of soiling their own land with a major nuke radiation release incident.

I gotta love those coal industry print ads run in the U.S. showing a heavy duty extension cord plugged into a lump of coal...kind of skips over all those strip mines, mountaintops removed, tailing piles, sludge dam breaks, and heavy metal and CO2 emissions.

Be that as it may, I understand that coal will have to remain a significant player for many decades (maybe even a century) to come...but at the end of the dirty grey/black rainbow humanity will be living a post-FF paradigm...and we better work real hard right now to figure out what that entails, instead of waiting till the bitter end when it is far too late...some would say it is already too late, but I think we can soften the transition shock if we haul butt right now.

"but I think we can soften the transition shock if we haul butt right now."

Butt, we won't... The shock isn't going to be softened, it will be worse than we expect. All past evidence says we won't do a damn thing until it's far too late.

You very well may be correct...my crystal ball is cloudy.


"The problem with renewables is the costs are usually placed on the backs of those who can least afford them."

Over the past 10 years Ireland has built over 1600MW of wind farms, wind regularly supplies 50% of electricity demand and this year the total subsidy for wind energy costs each account holder an extra 90c per month.

That is hardly an onerous subsidy but it has enabled the Irish grid to be suitably engineered to easily integrate intermittant wind energy, allow the financing of the wind farms and build the required confidance in using wind, such that the grid operator has recently stated that by 2017 the Irish grid will be engineered to handle 70% of demand being supplied from wind energy.

Such is the confidance of Irish wind farmers today that there have been two projects announced recently with the combined ambition to export 5GW of wind energy to neighbouring Britain via 4 new HVDC lines by 2018.

That 90c a month is certainly paying dividends in Ireland and nobody is in fuel poverty because of these achievements.

Eh? on the back of my ESB or Airtricity bills ive never seen the share of *total renewables* pass 12-20%? where are you getting this 50% from wind?

As for ruining our central counties with mammoth windfarms for power to be exported to the UK, I think this is an absolute scandal and not an achievement.

"Nobody is in fuel poverty". again, eh? Every time gas prices rise (Another 7.5% this Oct following last yrs 20% rise) the six news is chock full of stories of old people complaining how they cant afford to heat their homes. An avergage pensioner on just the state pension, during the cold winters of years past would certainly be in borderline fuel poverty.

Joe Gill, you are a wind farm booster concerned with lining your own pocket. We are a massively gas powered country, our gas being imported from Norway via the UK. Wind has had an incremental effect on our power supply, to imply as you do that it has been a stick-save against rising fossil fuel prices is totally disengenuous. Ask any of the many of the thousands of Bord Gais customers!

This is part of a giant political gnarl.


Airtricity has 0.6GW of wind installed. Just like in America, Canada or Hawaii, there is a war on wind in the United Kingdom. Wind power has been blown-up into a ruinous force of pure evil by the fossil interests.

These firms also supply gas. Gas is not made from electricity.



Arklo Bank
10 kilometers offshore

I don't see a whole lot of ruin.

Wind power reduces demand for natural gas, because much electricity comes from natural gas.

By the Law of Supply & Demand, reducing demand will, at a minimum, moderate the price rise of natural gas.

And exporting some surplus power to the UK is good business, good for the environment and good for reducing natural gas demand.

Wind mills are an icon for Holland. I have no doubt that some cottagers in 1500 complained about them spoiling the view. Once one grows up with them, they are beautiful and graceful.

Human aesthetics are quite varied.



"Eh? on the back of my ESB or Airtricity bills ive never seen the share of *total renewables* pass 12-20%? where are you getting this 50% from wind?"

The 50% figure is an intantaneous supply total, the figures on your utility bill are averaged over time.

"Joe Gill, you are a wind farm booster concerned with lining your own pocket. We are a massively gas powered country, our gas being imported from Norway via the UK. Wind has had an incremental effect on our power supply, to imply as you do that it has been a stick-save against rising fossil fuel prices is totally disengenuous. Ask any of the many of the thousands of Bord Gais customers!"

My name is Pat, my organisation is called Energy Co-operatives Ireland and we promote all forms of renewable energy. I stand by my statement that wind reduces the amount of gas burnt to produce electricity in Ireland.

You correctly state that a large amount of electricity production in Ireland is natural gas powered, let me quote from our website,

While there are no figures for 2011 available for the share of electricity produced by Gas, Gill estimates that gas fueled generation for 2011 is around 58% of all electricity generated.

The fuel cost for this gas powered electricity generation in 2011 was thus approximately €743m. The fuel cost for the 15% of electricity supplied by renewables in 2011 was zero.

If there were no renewables on the grid in 2011, however, we would have to increase the amount of electricity produced using gas by a corresponding amount, namely by €192m.

Taking into account the REFIT and AER subsidies paid by consumers to renewable energy producers, the fuel cost of the additional gas powered electricity generation Ireland needed would have increased by an additional €152m.



I have some contacts at Landsvirkjun, the Icelandic national electric utility. They are seriously looking at an HV DC line to Scotland.

I have argued for a larger line and to continue it on the Ireland (Northern or Republic). Two markets are better than one.

About 2/3rds of Icelandic power is hydro (rest geothermal). 9 out of 10 years a surplus 150 MW in the summer. Every hydro project MUST have a large enough reservoir to get it through that period of surface water assuming the solid state (hence the nations name).

The Icelandic national grid would work better importing some extra power in the winter (at any time, it does not matter) and preserving the liquid water.

LOTS of potential for summer hydro in Iceland - now worthless (see summer surplus above).

Your thoughts ?

Best Hopes,

Also, send me an eMail. My address is linked to my name.


I am aware that the Icelandic and British governments are currently conducting a study on the HVDC link you mention and I believe that your suggestion could work for reasons I have outlined in a little more detail in my email to you.

The grid operators throughout Europe are taking the construction of the European offshore supergrid seriously, although the current economic climate is expected to delay some of the investment, adding Iceland with its renewable energy resources to the mix makes sense provided the economics stack up.

It is heartening also to find that in Europe at least, the economics of renewable energy and its required infrastructure are being examined with the medium and long term benefits in mind.

I note also that the Icelandic government have been successful in attracting inward investment from companies who wish to take advantage of the medium and long term price stability of renewable energy.


Coal doesn't kill poor people, renewables kill poor people.

Is that about right?

Kal: Coal provides about 40 percent of the world's electric energy which provides power for homes, hospitals, clinics, heating, cooking, industry, etc. Without coal power generation, billions of people would live miserable lives and suffer much earlier deaths.

And with significantly more efficient use of electricity - all current technology - we could half, -75% or even less coal - with no significant adverse impacts on quality of life, or economics.

Actually economics would be better with higher efficiency - if you are not in the coal burning business.


War moves huge amounts of money. Without it, many would suffer.

Coal is nicely cast by the pro-nuclears as a filthy and destructive habit that releases mercury into the environment. Any attempts to replace coal, or nuclear, with renewables have been vigorously fought against.

joebbryner wrote:

The problem with renewables is the costs are usually placed on the backs of those who can least afford them. The more affluent get subsidies to install solar and industry is subsidized by low rates (as in Germany) to keep them competitive.
I am not against green energy, but I find greens are usually indifferent to those most in need of lower cost energy. There has to be a balance between the green agenda and social justice.

The push by the more affluent to increase solar panel purchases resulted in lower unit prices for individual panels. Without solar panel purchases in Europe, the US, and China driving down costs, people in Bangladesh would not have been able to afford a million solar panels (assuming the number reported is accurate)

"There has to be a balance between the green agenda and social justice."

Gosh, joe, where's the social justice in dumping the real, longterm costs on those who aren't experiencing the current benefits of coal and nuclear. I find not considering the yet-to-be-born an odd, if not pathological, sort of sociopathy. Suggest you call it 'discounted social justice', because you certainly discount the future. We're burying billions before they're even born. I suppose what they'll never know won't hurt'em, eh?

Ghung, We can't feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, cloth the naked and care for the sick of the future. We only do that for those who are among us here and now. As far as the future is concerned, worrying about it is an exercise in futility.

As far as the future is concerned, worrying about it is an exercise in futility

- Grasshopper (in a dialogue with Ant)

In other words 'screw the unborn'


As far as the future is concerned, worrying about it is an exercise in futility.

A rather sad comment, to say the least!

Guess you've never enjoyed the experience of visiting a National Park, eh?

In case you are wondering I could give a pretty long list of things that we benefit from today thanks to individuals and groups of people who fortunately disagreed with your particular world view!

BTW if ever there was a dangerous pathological meme that I would like to find a way to isolate and quarantine the one that you are spreading would be at the top of the list!

FM, I don't consider my comment about the future "a sad comment to say the least". It perfectly consistent with the advice given in Mt.6:34:
"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring its' own worries. Sufficient for the day is its' own trouble".

If that's a dangerous pathological meme, I am quite comfortable with it.
To strive for a better future is certainly admirable, but to worry about it is downright foolish. To think that you or others know what's best for the world, and that you are going to have any meaningful effect on the future is sheer hubris.

Prov 6:6-11, Luke 16:1-9, Matthew 25:1-27, Luke 14:28-32.

By all means be content, but do not rest on your laurels. There is work to be done, and it falls to each of us to turn our hands to it: Christ did not call us to be consumers, nor yet to despoil the Creation. I am confident you do not believe that the verse you reference exhorts passivity or inaction. Noah, Moses, Joshua, David, Esther, the Prophets, the Twelve, Paul, and not just they but their followers all ACTED. Yes, others might have been used, yes the stones could cry out, what of it; it does not mean that ACTING in line with His will is immaterial.

Sick, but entirely consistent. Using the Bible to justify an immoral action. It's been done forever.

Knowingly dumping toxic waste in the stream where you know your neighbor will be drawing his drinking water tomorrow is OK. It's tomorrow and you're not supposed to worry about it. Yeah, right. With that attitude, no wonder we're all screwed.

Why don't you just come out and state it? "Sorry kids, I GOT MINE, SCREW YOU!"

..to paraphrase one of the topquotes, "It takes as much energy to plan as it does to worry.." What we can do to feed and take care of future generations is that we look to the systems and tools in place today and move the unreliable ones towards more solid, useful, healthy and dependable alternatives. We insist on not leaving piles of indiscriminate waste and toxins lying around for them to dodge and survive, we make sure that the resources necessary to live will be able to continue, and we don't just spend them down like drunken MBA Students.

I have no intention to shut off all the Coal and Nuclear right this instant, but we know that we are just rolling the dice every month and every year we wait to take responsible action to replace them, and to reduce the dependency on this often splurged power source.

But ultimately I have to say NO, we don't simply have to deal with the here and now. We know about consequenses, we know there will be people following in our footsteps, as extensions of ourselves, and we have every obligation to make sure we are leaving the place ready for them to have the place as well.

This is what responsible adults know they have to do.

In other words, let someone else pay for your pollution.

We get the benefits from using the coal and nuke and dump the toxic long term costs on someone in the future that isn't going to benefit from them. I guess your attitude is "Who gives a crap about them, I'm the only one who matters! Let them eat my #$%^!"

Well, guess what? That's NOT MY ATTITUDE!

Aug I don't get it either.
It's written repeatedly that building electric rail, windmills, electric cars, solar etc is "for the future". That's their justification for prolonging BAU. But in fact it's not about the future it's about the now, making it as best for us now and damn the future, it's even admitted that in the future it will be "very bad, "hard times" etc. Nobody says we need hard times now. No, we need to save our own asses. A damn coal mine shuts down and it's further justification to continue with the idea that renewables and electric trains are for the future.

Well are these "renewables" going to be stockpiled, placed in storage, mothballed and left for use later "when we really need them". Of course not, they are required NOW for padding the use of hydrocarbon. They are required now for BAU and used NOW FOR PROFIT, because we are finding and producing less hydrocarbons and other carbon based energy. The world is essentially burning at peak. The burning of FF's has never and is not in any way affected negatively by the use of renewable energy or electric transportation. It is the opposite.

We are still mining tar sands, using heavy oil, deepwater, exploring the Arctic, fracking the hell out of everything in sight and using food productive land for biofuel. The clearing of forests, pollution of the atmosphere and species extinction will not be curtailed by furthering the consumer BAU system we have set up.

What is the use of construction "for the future" if we don't prepare the future for them to be viable. The idea seems to be, to build renewables in case there is a future. It's psychopathic. Do you read where a profitable coal mine was shut down because it was deemed to be a crime against humanity. The same for oil production.

The future will be hard alright, hard for humans and every living thing on the planet. Is anybody afraid for what we are doing and what is happening to the planet? Obviously not, because if we were truly concerned or even aware, we would be addressing the problem of CO2 DIRECTLY and stop it at the source.

As I see it, right until we can't any more, we will facilitate the burning of FF's all in the name of "preparing for the future". It doesn't look like the idea that we can engineer and build a way out of the predicament created by those very things, will be interpreted in any way but positive.

Like I said less than a week ago in reference to the idea that an EV will save us:

I'm having a very hard time seeing how a BAU EV sold by a BAU company to a BAU consumer to drive in a BAU lifestyle has any purpose but to maintain that BAU lifestyle. Major changes are needed and this isn't going to do it.

Most here, even though they see (unlike the average person) the problems with what we're doing, are completely unwilling to make any significant changes to their own life to make life for some future person/generation/society even a little bit less bad. Even a mass changeout to EVs to continue BAU isn't going to make a rat's ass of difference. A real sacrifice for the future is needed and we as a society and mostly as individuals don't have the interest in that.

My wife and I are working hard to make these changes and I truly respect those like todd, ghung, and a few others who have made or are truly making meaningful and hard changes to their lives.

That's a strange article, hinged upon one single person who claims to be unable to pay for her electricity. It also mentions that an average family of 3 has to pay something like 150$ more per year for the renewable electricity instead of BAU. That is (1) not really a big price to pay for making the transition to a more sustainable form of living, and (2) making electricity more expensive is actually desirable, so that it is wasted less (it would be nice if it wasn't wasted anyway, but humans apparently will only react to price signals, not to ethical signals)

The feed-in-tariff for PV has been lowered massively in Germany, and therefore the future build-out of PV and other renewables (which got a lower FIT to start with) will not influence electricity prices much any more (http://www.solarwirtschaft.de/fileadmin/media/pdf/bsw_posi_eeg_0112.pdf - sorry, only in German...)

Even if the feed-in tariff is equal to the price you buy electricity for, there still is a subsidy for solar power: The cost of the grid isn't accounted for, and neither is the cost increase of needing more peaker plants vs baseload plants. I'm not saying these costs make solar a bad idea, but they are real costs and they need to be taken into account.

It's a very complex affair. The best way to show everyone that it can be done, is to just do it, which is exactly what Germany is doing. Let's hope they can make it work.

Incorrect.. Most solar energy is feed in at the local level and more than likely consumed at the local level. With that concept in mind..

Solar energy minimizes transmission losses, wear and tear on utility infrastructure. Meanwhile at peak load a utility typically generates 1.2KW to deliver 1.0KW to a customer. That missing 0.2KW is turned into waste heat, wear and tear on infrastructure.

Lastly, Most Solar energy is generated at peak consumption periods(High temps, full sun, A/C's trying to keep up). Utility costs for peaking power is extraordinarily expensive to operate and are not very efficient.

Ideally this is true, in reality not so much. Solar is not all (or even mostly) produced under annual peak load conditions. Peak load is a relatively rare condition. Most peaking generation is off, most of the time. Average T&D losses are 7.5% in the U.S., including peak conditions. Under normal, or even daily peak, conditions, losses are even lower.

Even if distribution level local load is greater than local solar generation, this does not necessarily mean that system level losses are being reduced. For instance, if distributed solar is located in an area where transmission is generation dominated it has the effect of increasing transmission export from the area, and/or requiring curtailment of pre-existing generation resources, which may be renewable or QF, and thus losses may be increased, or less efficient replacement generation may be required. In the Southern California area, PV is most popular in places where it worsens transmission issues.

Finally, at the extremely local level (individual distribution transformer with 1-50 customers on it), it is common for a PV install to require equipment upgrades at other ratepayer's expense if sized to offset all pre-existing kwh consumption. This is due to solar's low capacity factor, which requires a higher demand level to offset an equivalent amount of usage. This is not an intelligent subsidy (or PV install design). Allowing subsidized (including net-energy metering and/or FIT) interconnection up to the level at which physical upgrades are required is an intelligent subsidy, in areas of the grid which are load dominated, is an intelligent subsidy, IMO. Installing PV up to the (much lower) level which replaces all usage AFTER spending money first on usage efficiency is an intelligent PV install design, IMO.

Solar is not all (or even mostly) produced under annual peak load conditions

It depends on where you look! First of all, in summer, PV in Germany is matched nicely to peak loads: see http://www.transparency.eex.com/en/ for an up-to-date graph (I wish I knew how to embed images here...?!) of expected and actual production in Germany, including solar and wind fraction. On nice summer days, the solar fraction neatly covers the peak load. Of course, in high-latitude countries peak load occurs in winter and not in summer (true e.g. for Switzerland, and probably for anything > Swiss latitude = 47°N). However, many countries in lower latitudes are different, due to high cooling requirements in summer. I recently looked at Japan's electricity consumption (trying to see whether they had really managed to reduce massively after Fukushima - they haven't, disappointingly); Japan ranges from about 31 to 42° latitude, and they have their annual peak consumption in summer (see e.g. here: http://www.leonardo-energy.org/decrease-japanese-power-consumption-adapt...). Since cooling demand coincides perfectly with solar output, solar generation is actually an absolutely perfect match for such countries! (Of course, building approximately half the world's PV installation in Germany was a stupid idea in the first place - but hey, let's thank the German consumers for kick-starting PV, and getting it to a point where it can begin to compete without subsidies...)

One:My job description includes utility integration of solar resources at the distribution level in a service territory with both summer and winter peaking areas. For a number of reasons, I am a renewables booster, but I believe in reality-based boosterism, rather than faith-based.

Two:Annual peak demand driving use of peaking generation occurs for a few hours per day, a few days per year, one year out of two under the resource planning model used at my U.S. utility. One year out of two, the annual peak is below average, which is 10% below the planned-for peak, which is at least 15% below the amount of generation which must be available for resource planning. The crummiest peakers go years without running except for exercise. If they ran, it would be cheaper to buy higher efficiency peakers. Virtually no peaker runs more than 100 hours per year in most areas.

Three:PV maximums do not occur under the highest temperature conditions. There is correlation of PV with daily summer peak load in summer peaking areas such that it is worth more per kwh than random generation, but the correlation is not perfect. Wires peaks aren't entirely coincident with gen peaks either, most of the time in residential areas in inland SoCal (some of the sunniest places in the world), demand peak is well after solar peak, such that PV only shaves about 30% of its capacity off the peak seen on sunny days.

Four:I have more than one distribution circuit where DG creates the peak rather than reducing the peak.

Five:Large parts of SoCal (in excess of 50% of our 50,000 square mile service territory) have generation dominated transmission, where DG actually increases congestion and losses.

I would dispute that perfect match of PV production and AC useage. On a daily basis, AC demand is delayed by a few hours after peak insolation. Using west or southwest sloping roofs can help somewhat with this mismatch. Then as you look day to day, PV actually peaks in cooler weather, and is several to ten percent down on the hottest days (even without clouds). In areas with significant humidity I bet the evening AC demand tail is pretty long.

For a place like my block where we have 17 houses on a single transformer. I'm the lowest energy user -even before PV which supplies roughly 80% on an annual basis. I suspect in cases like this, 100% of the time my PV reduces the load on the transformer. There are a lot of solar salesmen, and several neighbors who would like solar, but balk at the price. I think its going to be a while before PV penetration in suburbia will drive the need for upgrades. In the more rural areas, where there are few customers per transformer -and many of those customers are high demand (water pumping, or lighting for pot farms or ???) I can easily believe you are being forced to accommodate systems that cost your utility on net. I've also noticed PC penetration in rural unincorporated is much higher -probably because there are so many "energy hogs" who are paying the highest retail tariffs.

It is likely that someone situated such as you are is receiving the full benefit of NEM subsidy without imposing any cost on other ratepayers. As I said, if you lower your consumption before sizing your solar, you are much less likely to cause problems for the existing grid, and thus net metering represents a good subsidy. Being the earliest adopter with 16 neighbors on your transformer certainly helps reduce your impact. This is a higher than typical number, and NEM (as you note) is a much bigger subsidy per kwh for energy hogs than for watt-misers. Depending on where you are on the primary and secondary systems you could still cause high voltage problems even with 16 neighbors, if you were the biggest consumer and sized the PV to offset 100% of annual consumption prior to reducing consumption. This is even more true with distributed wind, when gen peaks are often at night. One thing I have noticed is that new installs of PV cluster, they are not randomly distributed. In other words, probably because working installs are great advertisements for solar, your neighbors are statistically more likely to adopt solar than folks who don't have neighbors with solar. Each of your neighbors gets the same free interconnection that you did under the existing tariffs. If caps on solar penetration continue to be raised with no change in subsidy structure, this can quickly get out of hand. That's why the notoriously anti-utility Department of Ratepayer Advocates at the California Public Utilities Commission opposed the latest reinterpretation of the 5% NEM penetration cap. They and the utilities lost to the solar installer lobby, roughly increasing the cap by 250% in practice.

Note that dedicated or low customer count transformers are not limited to rural areas (although they get more common the bigger the lots are). Due to changes in interpretations over the past several years, I can actually charge someone who requires me to replace their dedicated transformer, but lots of folks have one, two, or three neighbors. Mean customers per transformer is about 10 company-wide, but medians are significantly lower due to apartment complexes with up to 50 or so meters per transformer. New tracts typically have about 6-7 customers per transformer. Small commercial single-phase customers are the worst--PV doesn't turn off on Sundays. The most popular places for residential solar at my company are the regions around Palm Springs and Thousand Oaks (high income, big roofs, owner occupied, good insolation, low meter count per transformer). The low and high desert are also more popular than the areas with higher meter count nearer the coast.

"Peak load is a relatively rare condition. Most peaking generation is off, most of the time. Average T&D losses are 7.5% in the U.S., including peak conditions. Under normal, or even daily peak, conditions, losses are even lower."

Bzzzzt... wrong about he grid losses during peak loads.
Grid losses stem from the old P=I^2R ohms law. Each doubling of current flowing thru the lines quadruples the energy loss ... This coming from a professional EE.

Nothing in my statement is incorrect. Your interpretation of my statement is incorrect. Note that I have an electrical PE and have done grid loss studies for DG interconnection.

What I said was that AVERAGE T&D losses are 7.5% (the number varies a bit but has been trending down), and that this includes on-peak losses. The AVERAGE includes all losses: those which occur when instantaneous losses are lower than average and those which occur when instantaneous losses are higher than average (during peak). While a not inconsiderable fraction of kwh losses stem from no-load loss (transformer core loss), you are of course correct that load driven losses vary as the square of current. Thus, average loss levels occur instantaneously at load levels which are higher than average load levels. What this means is that for normal load levels, and even peaks which occur on a daily basis thru much of the year, loss levels may already be lower than average.

As you state, ideally, PV offsets losses. I have, however, done studies on DG which caused 20% distribution losses on a recurring basis (as opposed to the very infrequent basis on which annual peaks occur to cause load losses at this level).

You are confusing your companies own grid losses with those of distributed PV generation.. I.E..Your company signed interconnect and generation agreements with those major power provider..

I don't believe for a second, that localized PV generation is or has inflicted a 20% distribution loss anywhere within your companies system.

I'm not at all confused. Under the FERC WDAT SGIP tariff up to 20MW of DG solar could be connected. The advantages of that process with respect to the LGIP process led to a lot of 20MW applications. Placing one of those on a long 33kV circuit with minimal load HAS resulted in the peak being driven by the PV, and the losses at peak PV on distribution being in the neighborhood of 20%. Not a good scenario to say the least, but when DG is assumed to reduce losses such that loss studies are not required between the CAISO metering and the CAISO bus, there is no incentive for the generator to avoid such waste. If you want to run the numbers assume no load (if you don't believe me that there are such circuits that's a separate conversation and I can explain to you how it happens), 20MW of generation at 33kV, 4/0ACSR resistance (heavily loaded but under thermal limit), and check out how few miles of conductor are required to reach the specified 20% at peak. Note that voltage problems occur first and must be addressed, typically by bucking VAR's which increases current and worsens the loss problem. Note that end-of-line protection issues which will also arise sooner (generation current higher than normal load current allowed with appropriate safety margin for simple phase overcurrent protection) are typically addressed by using directional relaying at the utility source. I have had some success in arguing that good utility practice (as required under the WDAT tariff) does not allow creation of this type of waste and that reconductor is required.

P.S. If you are not familiar with WDAT it's an 'open wires' tariff. They don't sell the power to me, they send it to market thru me.
P.P.S. Also for comparison purposes, you can calculate how many miles of #6 AWG CU it takes (at 12kV) to produce 20% losses with 3MW of PV and virtually no load. 1.5MW is a common size under the CREST tariff, which is must take.
P.P.P.S. In both cases, theoretically the interconnection applicant pays full freight of required upgrades, but in reality doesn't have to pay for reconductor and does drive considerable loss increases which must be purchased and paid for by others. I recognize that this is not the DG ideal, but it is the subject of hundreds of applications, which result from misaligned incentives for non-ideal DG.

Bzzzt, You're making up hypothetical situations.. 20 MW solar installation would be very large(~200,000 to ~1,000,000 sq meters) and would be visible on aerial maps.

Nationally solar installations of that size(or larger) can be counted on my fingers. Your scenario is a far cry from the 1-10kW PV residential installation..

Thus you are mixing apples and oranges, claiming both are equal. Your argument falls flat as a pancake.

As for true costs.. why don't you include the eventual submergence of most of inhabited California as one of the costs of continued use of fossil fuels??
Oh, that's right.. accounting for damages to 3rd parties isn't part of your plan.

I am not making up hypothetical situations, although the examples I provided are by their nature boundary conditions, I've studied MANY, MANY generators with scenarios similar to the two I've pointed out (high losses due to misaligned incentives). Many of them have not been constructed, although I wasted a lot of time studying them. There ARE existing 20MW PV installs at my utility, and there are LOT's of 1MW and 1.5MW installs.

Although about 94% of the several thousand installs per month happening at my company are 10kW or smaller, this DOES NOT mean they are the majority of installed capacity, or that some of them do not impose costs which are disproportionate with their benefits, or that continuing down the road we are on will not create significant grid problems. I helped an entry-level engineer evaluate the voltage impact of 3 small installs (totalling 26kW) on the same 120/240V transformer and secondary system just yesterday. I have written substantially here about those impacts, and where I see intelligent PV development should be targeted.

Finally, I'm not advocating the status quo, so your California flooding is a strawman. I'm advocating realignment of subsidies and incentives to produce maximum results. Every poorly designed project which creates waste (either losses or inefficient capital) steals money from solutions driven by better aligned incentives.

It should be noted that sometimes (often) DG reduces T&D losses. In those frequent cases, the utility just accepts the gift (presumably with a smile).

Replacing conductors with larger ones will save energy indefinitely, at no material operating cost. A net social gain IMHO.

So if utilities get stuck occasionally, I would rather see that than less DG and more Climate Chaos.

Because if benamery's employer tells a prospective DG installation that they must pay $XXXX to hook up to the grid, then that DG goes away. No replacement is spawned by one cancellation.

Better inefficient DG (I assume solar PV) than no DG.

California cannot install 12 GW of solar PV if many installations are rejected for technical reasons. *MUCH* better for the utilities to redo their distribution networks (thicker conductors, metallic glass transformers, more VAR support occasionally, higher distribution voltages, distribution loops rather than trees) than burning more NG (and coal out-of-state). Apply for a rate increase if the T&D savings from more DG does not cover the extra cost.


I can remember during the Enron days, that Path 15 was a real bottleneck and a parallel HV AC transmission line was desperately needed. Since then, greater efficiency has taken the heat off (pun intended).

I suspect that with 12 GW of solar PV scattered around the state, that California will never need another HV AC transmission line again - except to perhaps service a new pumped storage project.

Officials: Ebola breaks out in Uganda

The deadly Ebola virus has killed 14 people in western Uganda this month, Ugandan health officials said on Saturday, ending weeks of speculation about the cause of a strange disease that had many people fleeing their homes.

In Kibaale, some villagers had started abandoning their homes in recent weeks to escape what they thought was an illness that had something to do with bad luck, because people were quickly falling ill and dying, and there was no immediate explanation, officials said.

... The challenge, was retaining the services of all the nurses and doctors who are being asked to risk their lives in order to look after the sick.

Every so often it emerges from its natural non-human host(s) reservoir, an outbreak occurs, then things subside.

Has anyone figured out what the host animal(s) in the wild are?

If the disease becomes more communicable, that will be bad.

Has anyone figured out what the host animal(s) in the wild are?

Nope! Not really! Though there is a lot of circumstantial evidence pointing to bats.

Plants, arthropods, and birds have also been considered as possible reservoirs; however, bats are considered the most likely candidate.[32] Bats were known to reside in the cotton factory in which the index cases for the 1976 and 1979 outbreaks were employed, and they have also been implicated in Marburg virus infections in 1975 and 1980.[30] Of 24 plant species and 19 vertebrate species experimentally inoculated with EBOV, only bats became infected.[33] The absence of clinical signs in these bats is characteristic of a reservoir species. In a 2002–2003 survey of 1,030 animals which included 679 bats from Gabon and the Republic of the Congo, 13 fruit bats were found to contain EBOV RNA fragments.[34] As of 2005, three types of fruit bats (Hypsignathus monstrosus, Epomops franqueti, and Myonycteris torquata) have been identified as being in contact with EBOV. They are now suspected to represent the EBOV reservoir hosts.[35]

The existence of integrated genes of filoviruses in some genomes of small rodents, insectivorous bats, shrews, tenrecs, and marsupials indicates a history of infection with filoviruses in these groups as well.[3] However, it has to be stressed that infectious ebolaviruses have not yet been isolated from any nonhuman animal.

Bats drop partially eaten fruits and pulp, then terrestrial mammals such as gorillas and duikers feed on these fallen fruits. This chain of events forms a possible indirect means of transmission from the natural host to animal populations, which have led to research towards viral shedding in the saliva of bats. Fruit production, animal behavior, and other factors vary at different times and places which may trigger outbreaks among animal populations.[36] Transmission between natural reservoirs and humans are rare, and outbreaks are usually traceable to a single index case where an individual has handled the carcass of gorilla, chimpanzee, or duiker.[37] The virus then spreads person-to-person, especially within families, hospitals, and during some mortuary rituals where contact among individuals becomes more likely.[38]
Source Wikipedia

I think the multiple host vector was used in the plot of the movie Contagion

Ebola needs an "amplifier" to infect large numbers. The incident that brought ebola to the attention of most decades ago was amplified by a bunch of nuns playing hospital in the jungle. "Yambuku Hospital nuns would use the same 5 needles throughout an entire day, giving plenty chance for a virus to spread effectively {to} hundreds of people. The virus erupted simultaneously in fifty-five villages surrounding the hospital."


The "bad luck" explanation is actually not bad.

Ironically, of course, preventing disease outbreaks is part of the predicament. Making it to a 10 or 12 billion (or ?) population this century will probably degrade the planet's cumulative carrying capacity by hundreds of billions of humans in the coming millennia.

If we seem to be treading water well at the moment, it's largely because we're standing on the shoulders of those who would have existed, and now won't.

"If we seem to be treading water well at the moment, it's largely because we're standing on the shoulders of those who would have existed, and now won't."

Haven't logged in for ages but just had to say that that is the most well written and poignant analogy/metaphor describing the current situation that I have ever read.

Cheers man!


Hi Jef.

Made that one up on the fly this morning, feel free to use it. Poignant analogies/metaphors seem to come easy in such preposterous times.

I'm not actually pro-ebola, just having a "Major Kurtz" moment with my coffee & sharing it.

The ethics of curing rapidly-fatal diseases are getting pretty murky, though.

"Well, here we can see the human dilemma—everything we regard as good makes the population problem worse, everything we regard as bad helps solve the problem. There is a dilemma if ever there was one. " - Dr. Albert Bartlett

That would be an interesting argument to use on folks who cite their religious beliefs as justifying procreation above the ~ 2/woman/lifetime level...the 'total over the lifetime of the species' argument....adopting a smaller, sustainable, steady-state population would maximize the total number of humans over the lifetime of the species....human life is sacred, more potential souls for the hereafter, and all of that.

I am afraid I can anticipate the answer: "The book says be fruitful and multiply"..."How dare you subvert the creators will and try to play God"..."The book fortells that we will all come to ruin but the righteous shall be saved" and so forth.

Arguing with religion is generally not productive... and there are a lot more religions out there than just the theologies.

However, I may expand the notion of "aggregate human lives lived on earth" in a catchier way to re-frame the arguments a bit just on general principles, even if it doesn't result in a cascade of enlightenment. It was one of the subjects I was prepared to argue in a keypost back in the slightly more freewheeling days of TOD. The block-time total of human lives to be lived on this planet should be salient to any non-sociopaths who take the time to think about it.

So far, based on reasonable assumptions, I think about 100 billion human lives have been lived. Had buried carbon not been combusted as the basis for a short-term overshoot, there's no a priori reason the total could not have made it to a trillion or so... (talking orders of magnitude). So there is something being lost in real time: those future human lives, being precluded by our actions at a hellish rate as we destroy the world's carrying capacity. Oceans of jellyfish and bacterial slime? Temperate-zone deserts? Loss of rainforests? Unlivable wet-bulb temperatures? These things have a real human cost in the same sense as unseen slavery or genocide, except for all historic instances of slavery and genocide being trivial by comparison.

We simply choose to regard the future as unreal. Y'know, like all of us here now have been for most of the history of the universe. We have no more worth that people in the future, we simply occupy a position of power over their lives by the nature of path-dependency in evolving systems, and now wield it much as a child abuser does, as though the vulnerable are things of negligible worth when set against our convenience and whim.

A trillion human lives. There's a meme for you, sounds like a sci-fi concept, but all we needed to do to achieve it was not burn buried carbon or nuke ourselves too severely. It is precisely what's being lost by our current failure to act... along with most other extant evolved megafauna.


A few questions if I may:

- When do you use as the starting time for Homo Sapiens?

That way I can calculate by what date in the future you would estimate Homo Sapiens reached 1T cumulative lived under your assumption of steady-state/no population growth.

Also, how do you estimate the terminus date for humanity?

The Copernican Principal:


To apply the Copernican Principle to the human situation in time, Gott relies on the mathematical nation of "a priori probability." The a priori probability of an event is the probability that we would calculate for it to occur if we were totally ignorant of any special circumstances or causes that might influence it. The Copernican Principle states that the place we are living in, and the time we are living at, should not have small a priori probability. For example, a central position has a much smaller a priori probability than a noncentral position in a galaxy. Therefore, the Copernican Principle says that we should be living in a non-central position, as in fact we are. When the Copernican Principle is applied to our situation in time, it says that Richard Gott and I should not be living either close to the beginning or close to the end of the history of the human species. We should be living roughly halfway through human history. Since we know that the species originated about two hundred thou- sand years ago, our living at a non-special time implies that the future duration of our species should also be of the order of two hundred thousand years. This is a very short time compared with the future lifetime of the earth or the sun or the galaxy. That is why I call Richard's argument gloomy. He argues that humans are not here to stay, that we are likely to be extinct in a few million years at most, and that we are not likely to survive long enough to colonize and spread out over the galaxy.


I think using the Copernican Principal to estimate the lifespan of homo sapiens is just numerology dressed in the robes of science.

It is a fascinating discussion though. Too bad this wasn't taught is High School as an example of thinking mathematically about an interesting question.

I just did a reply without saving it offline and lost it to the Drupal "site down" screen when I previewed it. This site goes down a lot and I know it, so my fault. No time to retype, but feel free to click my user name and drop a line if you want to discuss.


Hit "go back one page" or "return to previous page"... the "back" arrow... and your text will still be there, at least on Firefox/windows. The site goes down at 11:00PM Pacific Daylight Time for about 15 minutes.

Thanks, but I did that & it wasn't. Using Mac/Safari. Was about 915pm Hawaii time.

My bad, composing in a drupal window. Efficiency vs resilience.

OK, I'll do a much shorter reply with my coffee. Less sparkle, too, sorry.

The first time I did it some years ago, I came up with about 70 billion. Then I googled to see if others had come up with some similar answer (that's usually the way I go about such things, trying for my own order of magnitude first and then seeing what's out there. I don't recall what numbers I used then). Most estimates seemed to fall between 50-150 billion so that was in good accord for order-of-magnitude, which is all I was looking for, hence my saying 100 billion. The time scale for modern humans can be set where you want it. If you do a google search on "how many people have ever lived" or something similar, you'll see the numbers used by others who have tried it.

I'll polish it and make explicit the assumptions before I insert it into the mainstream. Feel free to help.

Then, for the purposes of the exercise, you pick a date (1800? 1900?) and assign a reasonable population size which could plausibly be maintained by a hypothetical sapient human civilization doing agriculture and fisheries but without fossil fuels. 1 billion? 100 million? 10 million? Choose one. Then choose a reasonable average lifespan based on historic expectancies.

As for how long the species would last IF we didn't nuke ourselves or inject massive extra CO2 into the atmosphere & oceans, that's a guess too of course. Using copernican/anthropic type estimates you might figure we're halfway done and apply the same amount of time that you used for the history of homo sap so far. Though there is no specific reason that a species having achieved such a position might not survive a million. By all means use multiple assumptions.

You can get to a trillion human lives using pretty conservative assumptions; and even if you don't get to a trillion, you get into the multiple hundred-billions pretty easily, and that's the point: that we inherited a perfectly good planet with robust & resilient ecosystems, and have chosen - by not choosing - to drastically cut back the total number of human lives (as well, of course, as diminishing and extinguishing other beings, some of whom are as self-aware as we.... admittedly a low bar to clear).

Why do the exercise? Because we're so damn impressed at the current appalling overshoot, and what any doofus ought to recognize as the inevitability of a significant dieoff, that it paralyzes most anyone who thinks that far, kicks them into nihilism, depression, witlessness. "the planet itself will survive" "what the hell, the sun will burn us up anyhow in a half-billion years" "extinction is natural and inevitable". Feh.

The fact is that there may well be ways to ameliorate the worst outcomes for the planet, even if all those outcomes seem terrible based on our preferred psychological anchoring. Many otherwise intelligent people seem to consider that all earth-futures past a certain subjective level of "bummer-ness" are fungible. Capuchin-monkey heuristics employed in rationalizing giving up on the planet. Have a grape.

We'll necessarily have a large human dieoff in the billions, and probably this century, because human population will revert to limits imposed by the earth's diminished human carrying capacity. The POINT is that this dieoff is trivial compared to the number of lives at stake, even if you only count human lives. Nearly everyone, even the enviro-cognoscenti, have their discount-rates adjusted to value extant human lives highly and future human lives nearly not at all; this makes sense from the point of view of how decision-making brains evolved, but no sense from the point of view of managing our existence and "civilizations".

If you (or anyone here) does the calculations, I'd be interested in hearing your results and assumptions - click on my user name and drop me an email. I don't always check back here often anymore. Oil supplies are simply not that interesting to me, though I appreciate the community of bright folks here.

So the image, the memeplex, is of a trillion real human lives held hostage. Now. In what sense are they not?


As you know, I think we can impact the future outcomes. I have used the operating tram in Hiroshima as the first American occupiers arrived as an example of making a TERRIBLE situation just a little bit better.

*IF* a coherent civilization can survive, there is a decent chance that they will learn from our/their mistakes. See Greer's "Star's Reach" novel on a blog - just 400 years in the future.

However, scattered hunter-gatherers will only have myths that will evolve towards uselessness in a millennium.

An essay on my blog points out that our planning horizon should go out at least 80 years. The expected lifespan of a young girl born recently if something like BAU continues. She is here - she is one of "us", not some hypothetical future generations.

And 2092 will be quite different than today.

Prepare for a better 2092, and you will be preparing for survival of some civilization long after that.


As you know, you're my favorite optimist/activist focused on human solutions in the near term, offhand I can't think of one smarter or more rational, and you get the probabilistic nature of campaigning.

You're looking 100 years ahead, I'm looking in the thousand-to-million-year range. That leads to somewhat different sets of priorities and boundaries when it comes to the bottleneck and how it rolls out. Over the longer term, the interests of other extant species align well with those of our own.

I'd say a human life lived in a million years has equal worth - whatever that might be - to one lived in 200 years. If that's the case, then maximizing total human lives/experience/happiness in block time takes logical precedence. It's only when one decides to posit that the non-existing humans of the near future have greater worth than the non-existing humans of the far future that any departure from that standard makes sense.

Your young girl who may live to be 80... her existence 70 years hence is itself probabilistic. Framing her as real, and the little girl born in two years as unreal, is an easier sell, but I'd say they're equally real if we're staying with probabilistic outcomes (as the universe does).

Your mileage may vary, of course. I respect your conclusions and actions highly.


"We" are heading into both massive uncertainty - and several game changing certainties.

All of the certainties are negatives for BAU. Climate Chaos, over-population, destroying the carrying capacity of the world, resource depletion off the top of my head are certainties.

The steps to modify BAU to make 2092 "better" (see Hiroshima tram) are also among the positive steps to keep 3092 and 5092 "better". Scale and scope of "better" are simply unknowable. But I do not see a disconnect between a better 2092 and a better 5092.

Burning less carbon today - abandoning a coal mine that was 81% depleted - leaving the remaining 19% forever uneconomic to recover (happened recently) is a good thing for 2092 and 5092 (even if the CO2 disappears by 3500).

Lower birth rates today are better for a long set of tomorrows.


And as an appeal to a mass audience, to change their perspective - at least a little bit - the future of a new born baby girl is about as good as I can make it.

Best Hopes for moving in the right direction,


The steps to modify BAU to make 2092 "better" (see Hiroshima tram) are also among the positive steps to keep 3092 and 5092 "better". Scale and scope of "better" are simply unknowable. But I do not see a disconnect between a better 2092 and a better 5092.

Could be that "better" is an insufficient term for complex systems, though I've used it too. Actions taken for near-term benefit may or may not have benefits over longer terms, even before we get to the question of "better for who?" For instance, I've spent more time thinking about dolphin populations than human, which haven't needed my help.

Of course, I can put myself into either perspective, the humanist or the benign alien observer with no favorite species and no perceptual discount rate. They don't necessarily lead to the same conclusions, though there is overlap.

Burning less carbon today - abandoning a coal mine that was 81% depleted - leaving the remaining 19% forever uneconomic to recover (happened recently) is a good thing for 2092 and 5092 (even if the CO2 disappears by 3500).

Absolutely. Let's figure out how to do more of that.

And as an appeal to a mass audience, to change their perspective - at least a little bit - the future of a new born baby girl is about as good as I can make it.

Absolutely, and best of luck.

That every google search, every refresh of TOD, every toilet flush, every plastic bottle consumed, every kilometer driven represent lives "that would be, but not won't" is eerie. Indeed, we're already ignoring the thousands who daily die in preventable circumstances (eg. starvation). While it's been intuitively obvious to me, I've so far only been concerned with our collective genocide on the other species that occupy Tellus. The shark has been around for 420 million years, while we may barely make it to 0.2 million.

BTW, I drove a bus running on bio-ethanol today, am I not green?

BTW, I drove a bus running on bio-ethanol today, am I not green?

I didn't drive a bus today but I went kayak diving out on the reef very early this morning... then came home and am now drinking some bio-ethanol, I'm more of dark tan color, not green at all >;-)

Bio-ethanol before Noon! Must be Sunday.

No bio-ethanol for me, I stick to fresh plant material. And no kayak either. Yesterday I jumped off the rocks and today I'll wade in from the beach. It's the calm kelpy and murky time of the year around here. The ocean is like a thin split pea soup with scattered jellies. But the fish are generally slow and fat.

The kayak fishermen are getting thick around here. It's unfortunate. They are cleaning out that remaining strip of ocean between the shore and where the bigger boats go. Ultimately there are just too many people.

The sum of individual conscientious behavior is still overshoot when the absolute numbers get too high.

That's what I've been grappling with this week since I saw other divers flailing about in a couple of my best spots. Even if each little yeast only takes enough sugar to 'get by', the sugar still gets used up.

Kayak fisherman here. One obviously good thing about kayak fishing is that it requires much less oil than running the typical motorized recreational fishing boat. That said, this is something I wrestle with in my mind and, due to the exploding popularity of the sport and sad state of most fisheries, don't fish near as often as I once did.

I have fished the margins, those spots unreachable by conventional boats or shore anglers, but just as often I hit the open water. Think about what it takes in fuel and effort to fish the tumultuous waters of the Columbia bar in a 23 ft. motor boat, and then now imagine the physical effort it requires from a kayak. An angler that ditches the motorboat and opts to fish from a kayak will soon recognize the true value of a fish. When you are burning a whole salmon worth of calories to catch one you cannot help but learn to respect it.

I am finding it difficult to explain, but in any case, for a fisherman to move from motorboat to kayak might be a "net" benefit :-)

for a fisherman to move from motorboat to kayak might be a "net" benefit :-)

I would think so. Aside from the fuel the boat directly requires, such fisherman usually end up owning large pickups (say 2500 or greater), and often end up commuting with them as well. The energy consumed by having a large inappropriate vehicle because of an occasional specialty need is many times larger than that actually consumed doing the sport. This applies to ATVing, off-road motor cycles, and horses, as well as boating.

The energy consumed by having a large inappropriate vehicle because of an occasional specialty need is many times larger than that actually consumed doing the sport.

That's for sure! My vehicle for getting my own ocean going vessel out to the water is a 1999 2 liter Ford Escort with manual transmission and a kayak rack. Plus I only need to drive 3.5 miles from my home to the launch site.

Perhaps it's just me but it seems there are fewer power boats out on the water this summer, at least where I live.

Best hopes for fewer and fewer recreational power boats out there!

Economics. No middle-class, no powerboats.

Best hopes for fewer and fewer recreational power boats out there!

I bet a lot of people in the power boat business (builders, retailers, etc), as well as users would just love to tar and feather you. -And me if I dared to speak my mind. But, I've always felt sports that depend upon fossil fuels in other than trivial quantities to be crimes against nature.

I bet a lot of people in the power boat business (builders, retailers, etc), as well as users would just love to tar and feather you.

Let them build sailboats, at least they require some real seamanship skills and tend to keep the riff raff off the water >;-)

Best hopes for more sailboarders and fewer jetskiers! It's a lot harder to drink and sailboard...

1985 Volvo wagon, manual. The perfect kayak hauler!

On recognizing the true value of a fish, I agree.

Unfortunately I don't think the people I'm seeing are reformed motorboaters. As with renewables piling atop fossil fuels, the new fishers are in addition to all the existing fishers. We're not substituting we're going for all of the above.

It's a slight re-framing of reality to point out the prevailing cultural dysfunction when it comes to relating to the future. A little tweak to the narrative. I doubt it'll catch on.

I have spent more time saving sharks & other species than humans, though it may well come to nothing. It is possible to steer things on larger scales than most suppose, though there are limits. Better use of time than being depressed, though anyone who isn't depressed fairly often at the destruction of the planet has cognitive gaps, be they organic or contrived.

I trust your "green" statement is meant to be self-mockingly ironic. Though I guess there are no actual standards for what 'green' means, so it means nothing.

Yeah, because even if I weren't riding the bus and actually walked, I'd still use sneakers produced in China shipped to Norway that I'd replace in a year. Walking barefoot in the heroin capital of the world makes me queasy though. Lenovo is apparently green because the boxes they ship parts and computers in are now made of recycled material. It should be synonymous with sustainable, but that's also ubiquitous without actually resonating anything meaningful.

A human in current society can't help but consume, and the concept of "green", while it originally meant well, seems to have come to mean little. The notion that a human life has no negative impact on the planet if a person goes through a few rituals is a silly notion indeed. If someone tells me to "live the change I want to see", I turn the hose on them. In a conflagration, idle bystanders are culpable even if they aren't throwing incendiaries. I'd suggest - for people who need an ethic - to live their lives in such a way that the planet has been impacted less than it would have been without their existence. This would place their consumption into some sort of context.

However. The fact that pretty much all coal, oil, and gas that come out of the ground will be converted into CO2 means that any activities which do not affect the total cumulative extraction will not affect that outcome, so playing monkey-dominance social-capital games based on "green-ness" rather misses any useful point.

This is not an attack on the fossil carbon industry per se - demonizing them is like blaming Hitler's pancreas. It's a species problem.

I suppose you could take that one step farther and note that - from the point of view of 1000 years from now - the least harm from fossil carbon is that which is flared without doing additional mischief en route to cooking the planet. The transitory dopamine fixes of a single jaded species in overshoot do not constitute any sort of "utility" for the biosphere - or even for that species if looking at it with a reasonable overview.

So by all means, wear shoes. If possible, find creative ways of being a benefit to the planet.

So by all means, wear shoes. If possible, find creative ways of being a benefit to the planet.

You have a well thought out and coherent worldview. I only wish it were more common. I think mine is similar, although I'm a bit of a technophile.


Feel free to drop me an email if you'd like to be in touch, by clicking my user name. I'm mentioning that to several posters here, since I'm spending less time returning to TOD but always enjoy being in touch with smart & thoughtful folks. And I'm acquainted with you through your past comments.

And who sez I'm not a technophile? Hell, I used to hang out with Gerard O'Neill and push for space colonization, and have invented all sorts of gizmo's. I just try not to let my technophilia lead me into unsupported beliefs. One needs a pretty good set of cognitive filters to keep it real.

I'd be an oddity in any forum, but TOD is the only place I've posted much, and it's due to the relatively high number of smart sane commenters (and some smart sane TOD staff as well).

-am i not green-
i was studying fisheries when raygun was prez,he was zapping budgets
and canceling programs. there was umpteen people with master's degrees out of work so i bailed and ventured into the plant kingdom commercial landscaping for $5 hr.it was all mandated work by code to cut co2/provide shade/improve habitat/offsite mitigation etc. installed wetlands,creek renovations,worked on 37 schools,miles of freeway carpool lane projects,park n rides, the tech bubble bldgs,lots and lots of parks,yada yada. eventually graduated into heavy const running heavy equipment, put in a 42"ng line from bc ,carpool lanes park n rides,helped build seattle light rail, yada yada..
were i not green ? well i tried.the trees i planted are still greeg,sucking up co2,providing shade . the wetlands we built are functioning,hov lanes cutting co2,seattle light rail running on hydro,etc etc. me, my body's is shot, i haven't worked in 3 years cause oil peaked and crashed the economy , basically fubar.

Could you please use proper formatting and capitalization? It makes it very difficult to read if you won't.

The following provide useful reasoning points for biblical literalists on population (assuming one is inclined to go thru the looking glass):

Note that this command is given pre-Flood. Ask them about the succeeding words about 'filling the earth.' Also ask about Genesis 8:17 which commands them to let animals fill the earth after the flood. Contrast stats about percentage of biomass on earth. Are we really letting animals fill the earth? Is the Earth not already full of people? If they bring up judgement day, remind them that Rev 11:18 talks about destroying those who destroy, ruin, corrupt, etc. the Earth. If they are placed as stewards, will pollution and laying waste the Earth be judged good stewardship?

"... and for destroying the destroyers of the earth."

Author of US fracking study had gas industry ties: watchdog

A university study that claimed fracking for gas deep beneath the Earth's surface did not cause water contamination was led by a US professor with financial ties to the gas industry, a watchdog group said Friday.

Lead author Charles "Chip" Groat, of the University of Texas, told reporters when the research on hydraulic fracturing was presented at a major science conference in Canada in February that the university had turned down all industry funds for the study.

Nor did Groat disclose his gas industry ties to the peer-reviewers, the university, or the organizers of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which hosted the conference in Vancouver where it was released.

However, an investigation by the Public Accountability Initiative (PAI) found that Groat himself has been on the board of the Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production Company for several years.

Groat was paid more than $400,000 in cash and stock by the company in 2011, and holds a near $1.6 million stake in the company's stock, it said.

Contaminated Inquiry: How a University of Texas Fracking Study Led by a Gas Industry Insider Spun the Facts and Misled the Public

... probably just an oversight. Riiight.

These types are sociopaths or psychopaths.

In reality, they only care for themselves, so, if they have to spread lies for an industry ("oil patch") that will end up killing untold millions, so be it.

Their handlers, however, are clearly psychotic, so it is a trickle down madness.

Dredd – I agree that he should have been more forthcoming with his oil patch connections. Regardless he’s not a sociopath or psychopath. You may want to consider making an apology as public as your condemnation...but I doubt you will. I’ll try to cut you some slack by assuming you didn’t bother reading the entire report. He does in fact clearly states that frac’ng operations have caused ground water contaminations: “Groat (stated) that any such events…have occurred…with gas operations at or near the surface, not deep in the Earth…Spills at the drill site or problems with cement casing around upper well bores were examples of incidents that have led to shallow groundwater contamination in the United States, said the study…Most of what we have seen happening related to shale gas development that impacts the environment was at or near the surface," said Groat when presenting the findings at the AAAS conference in Vancouver”.

Here’s the short version of his report: frac’ng activities have contaminated the environment due to poor well design and improper surface disposal but weren’t caused by the deep frac’ng process itself. I don’t understand how you can say he’s mentally disturbed based upon such a statement other than you didn’t bother to read the report. What his report stated is absolutely true: it’s physically impossible for a deep frac job to reach and contaminate the shallow aquifers. You’re free to debate Mother Earth over the laws of physics but be warned: I’ve never seen her lose. As far as his having industry associations is that a big surprise? I doubt anyone who is capable of studying any oil patch activity wouldn’t have similar associations. IOW who would you expect to write a report on frac’ng…a gynecologist? LOL.

Your arguments are extremely disingenuous. He is not in business he represented himself as an academic presenting a paper at a scientific conference. As such he has an ethical obligation to disclose any financial involvement with any company in the industry. This is an ethical lapse that could lead to dismissal from an academic institution. The content or validity of his paper has nothing to do with the offense.

GT - So how are my "arguments" disingenuous since I said exactly what you're saying? Read it again: I said he should have disclosed those relationships. But you seem to want to spin my words differently. Talk about being disingenous. But that wasn't the original complaint, was it? The post implied he said just the opposite of what he said and that his background invalidated the report. On that point don't you agree with me?
I'm not even sure what "arguments" you're referring to. I stated the known fact that it is physically impossible for deep fractures to be propagated up into shallow aquifers.

But it been repeatedly shown that poor regulations and enforcement allowed those nasty produced fluids to be dumped into the environment. During the initial drilling efforts not only was it legal in PA to dump them into streams. Local municipal treatment centers were taking in frac fluids (for a nice fee) and then dumping them untreated upstream of the water intakes of other towns. Treatment center owned by the local citizens and run by their officials. The state finally had to pass a law making it illegal. I would have thought common sense would have made the law unnecessary.

The first rule in fixing a problem identifying the cause. Folks wasted many months focusing on the frac trucks instead of the tank trucks hauling the frac fluids away and out of sight. If you were reading TOD at the time you would have seen my posts repeated warning folks up there what to watch out for. IMHO the important issue in out discussion is preventing environmental damage and not if he violated university rules. Perhaps you and I just have different priorities. Mine is the safety of our aquifers. As I've pointed out many times: my 12 yo daughter drinks well water every day. My primary concern is for her and all the other kids.

What is the average reservoir pressure of a typical well in a shale field? How much does a column of water in the wellbore weigh?

If the latter is greater than the former, a well CAN'T flow fraq liquids into a near-surface aquifer, without a pump involved.

Once a well is expended the pressure at depth will be much less, of course. And any fraq fluids that were going to come back out of the formation would have long before, mostly during initial production.

My company spends a lot of time figuring out how to get water out so gas will flow. Not much worry about ANYTHING coming up on its own, except for the earliest months of a well's life.

Not that evil and stupid people don't do bad things, nor that technology doesn't fail. It does, and will. But some risk is inevitable where human industry is concerned.


I assume that casings, cement jobs, etc, that are perfectly fine for conventional wells can leak with the high pressures of fracking. Solving this issue is still on the learning curve (although well along). Correct ?

Two, let us make the heroic assumption that homo sapiens will be around, with enough technology to drill water wells, for 100,000 to 250,000 years (perhaps some gaps in between, but we relearn lost knowledge) before we go extinct. A short time geologically - but time enough for some ground water circulation and diffusion through recently introduced holes and cracks.

What are the risks that our progeny will be drinking well water contaminated with frac fluids (perhaps chemical analysis is at circa 1900 levels a hundred millennium hence) ?


There was an article recently showing that the shale formations have defects.

Such articles:

Geochemical evidence for possible natural migration of Marcellus Formation brine to shallow aquifers in Pennsylvania
"...suggests conductive pathways and specific geostructural and/or hydrodynamic regimes in northeastern Pennsylvania that are at increased risk for contamination of shallow drinking water resources, particularly by fugitive gases, because of natural hydraulic connections to deeper formations."

Here is the collusion between industry and its lap-dog, government:
Marcellus Shale Gas: Development Potential and Water Management Issues and Laws


Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing

"greater stewardship"

K – Mother Earth has no “defects”…she’s perfect. LOL. OTOH mankind may improperly/dangerously misuse her bounty but that’s not her fault.

“(In) northeastern Pennsylvania…pathways, unrelated to recent drilling activities, exist in some locations between deep underlying formations and shallow drinking water aquifers.” Not just in PA but in many oil/NG producing regions. In fact, such occurrences were often led to the earliest hydrocarbon development efforts. Just within 2 hrs of where I now sit are many hundreds of water wells that are contaminated with methane and were so decades before the first oil/NG wells was drilled in the region.

From the second report: “Additionally, managing the large volumes of wastewater produced during natural gas production
(including flowback from hydraulic fracturing and water produced from the shale formation) has emerged as a major water quality issue related to Marcellus development.” Which is exactly what I’ve been warning those folks about for a very long time.

I actually don’t see “collusion”…what am I missing? Thanks in advance. I always read your post and look forward to your view point.

The collusion is implicit... like the Minerals Board accepting British Petroleum's contingency plan for the Gulf of Mexico that included provisions for protecting the tropical Gulf walruses. The walrus section was in there because the submitted paperwork was from another, cold-climate effort and the board simply signed-off on anything. The board was also used to having the client write the board's internally generated documents which were then transcribed to appear as originating from within the board: collusion as Standard Operating Procedure. It was revealed and undebated that members of the regulatory agency were also having sex and consuming drugs with operatives of the regulated entity.... reminiscent of the Securities Exchange Commission's masturbation episode while turning a blind-eye towards the the Wall-Street led economic crash.

Paleo/Alan – here’s some general responses to your comments. Alan – Bad cement jobs/csg failures are actually more likely with conventional wells then wells frac’d. When an operator plans to pump a high pressure frac they’ll over engineer the specs. I’ve seen a number of aquifer contamination events and don’t recall one that came from a frac’d well. Actually almost all the contamination events I know off came from poor plugging and abandonment efforts of depleted wells. In the early days, even in Texas, P&A methodology was very flawed. So were shallow csg requirements that were designed to protect aquifers during the initial drilling phase.

I can only speak for Texas and La. but today these two aspects, along with disposal of toxic fluids, are the most highly regulated and enforced aspects in the oil patch. What little I know of regs in PA and NY they are at least 20 - 30 years behind Texas. As I’ve repeatedly said: the oil patch won’t spend one penny more to protect the environment than the regs require. But that’s true of all industries IMHO.

As far as cracks from a deep frac job reaching the surface I wish I could go into a complete explanation why that’s impossible but if I posted such a long response the editors would likely ban me for life. LOL. I can’t even posts links to explanations simple enough for the layman to appreciate. I came to this technology late in my career. I spent 8 hrs a day for months to develop my knowledge base and that was from an expert mentor. In truth I doubt half the engineers and the vast majority of geologists could explain the science. IMHO it the most complex aspect of the oil patch.

Paleo – Not completely accurate. Once the well is drilled, frac’d and the water/completion fluid is removed from the tubing the well will flow without pumping. At least until the pressure falls to low to lift what fluids are also being produced. Then you can go with a lifting/pumping system. As a well ages csg deteriorates. So do cement jobs but much less. By far the greatest potential for a current frac well in PA or NY to directly contaminate an aquifer will come many years down the road…not now. And that potential is governed by their current regs/enforcement efforts. So to run thru it again: based upon all the reports I’ve seen nearly all the frac fluid contamination has resulted from improper disposal of produced fluids. I believe there have been a few incidents of cement/csg failures but volumetrically insignificant.

Back to Alan: IMHO if I were a resident of those two states I would be worried about problems years from now. Based upon the regulators poor handling of the disposal issue I would be concerned about well integrity years from now.

"But it been repeatedly shown that poor regulations and enforcement allowed those nasty produced fluids to be dumped into the environment."

Yes. Here the produced fracking fluids are shown stored in pits with pumps arranged to spray them into the air in order to encourage the lighter constituents, like benzene, to evaporate.

GASLAND a film by Josh Fox

At time 00:49:46 in the movie

Benzene is interesting. Just like radioactives, zero exposure to benzene is best with a linear accumulation of damage accruing beyond a zero exposure to benzene. Will benzene be our solvation?

There were a couple of people a bit ago asserting that having degrees in general chemistry allowed them to know exactly what the effects of all petro-industry related chemicals might be on living things in the environment, like people. The MSDS was offered as foundational. These material safety data sheets are just general guides for incident or workplace exposures. The legal limits, presented as gospel, are lobbied agreements. The total ramifications of exposure of all-kinds of living things to the very common contaminant benzene are the stuff of endless revelation through research:

Cation-π Interactions in Chemistry and Biology: A New View of Benzene
Oil geologists know what a ligand is, yes?

That article is cited in this one, from 2012:
End-Plate Acetylcholine Receptor: Structure, Mechanism, Pharmacology, and Disease

And this one:
Tetrahydrofolate Recognition by the Mitochondrial Folate Transporter
Most all animals use mitochondria as the powerhouses of the cell.

In insects:
Two Amino Acid Residues Contribute to a Cation-π Binding Interaction in the Binding Site of an Insect GABA Receptor
Bees are insects. (All insects have four wings. If you look closely at a bee, or, more safely, at a crane fly, you will see that the other set of wings have evolved into sticks with balls on the end. These are gyroscopes... gyroscopic sensors used for airframe attitude control.)

Onward, into the bacteria:
Genetic Control of Osmoadaptive Glycine Betaine Synthesis in Bacillus subtilis through the Choline-Sensing and Glycine Betaine-Responsive GbsR Repressor

Here are 700 benzene derivatives:

Once you corrupt the Tetrahydrofolate chain, for example, how does the rest of the living system then respond to each of the polycycloalkenes? To mercury compounds? To sunlight? Do tell.

The assertion is absurd. One is left to wonder if the intent is not grotesque.


Tetrahydrofolic acid

In humans and bacteria:

In plants:

Filling a gas tank at a filling station is an excellent way to get a good whiff of benzene (much less if you live in a polluted city and have those black rubber collectors over the metal gas pump filler tube).

An excellent reason to use less gasoline.


Yes. In California, the pumps have warning signs:

It's leukemia:

Benzene and Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
"Although it is generally accepted by the medical and scientific communities that benzene causes Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), some physicians/scientists (typically those affiliated with the petroleum industry) argue that the available literature does not support a causal association between benzene and other forms of leukemia, including Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. However, a fair review of the literature shows that exposure to benzene can indeed cause Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in humans."

Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Benzene

Leukemia Risk Associated With Low-Level Benzene Exposure
"No evidence was found of a threshold cumulative exposure below which there was no risk."

In the 80's, a proposal was made to lower the exposure limit to 1PPM.

Benzene and Leukemia: The 0.1 ppm ACGIH Proposed Threshold Limit Value for Benzene
"The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has proposed a threshold limit value (TLV) for benzene of 0.1 ppm. Individuals representing the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA) have argued...

KD, there is a report Public Health Goal For Benzene in Drinking Water (2001) that you might find interesting.

Wow... Thank you!

They seem to offer numbers below one part per billion as being a desirable goal for levels of benzene contamination of water.

The report lists quite a range of pathologies associated with exposure to benzene.

There were a couple of people a bit ago asserting that having degrees in general chemistry allowed them to know exactly what the effects of all petro-industry related chemicals might be on living things in the environment, like people.

Speaking as one of the people with a degree in chemistry, let me tell you something you probably did't know: 50% of exposure to benzene in the US is caused by cigarette smoking, either primary or second hand. We had to ban smoking in the lunch rooms in our plants because it raised the level of benzene (as well as other chemicals) above the allowable level for an oil and gas facility.

Yes benzene is toxic, but in the oil industry we weren't allowed to expose our workers to as much of it as in normally found in the air of the average smoking section of a bar.

Other things you probably didn't know: Other than smoking, the main sources of exposure to benzene in the US are automobile filling stations and automobile exhausts. Benzene is an octane booster, so oil refineries increase the level as high as they can. There is generally not much benzene in crude oil. If they were allowed to, they would put a lot more of it in than they do in the US - (many other countries have no controls.) As I like to tell people, oil refineries don't take toxic chemicals out of gasoline, they put toxic chemicals in.

And, by the way, GASLAND was wildly inaccurate. It was about 90% entertainment and 10% documentary. I wouldn't look to it as a source of hard facts.

"And, by the way, GASLAND was wildly inaccurate. It was about 90% entertainment and 10% documentary. I wouldn't look to it as a source of hard facts."

Any references?

Here are the American Petroleum Institute's claims about Gasland. API is an industry misinformation and propaganda engine much quoted on TheOilDrum and the mainstream media by professionals:

Energy in Depth is a creation of the API made specifically for the job of attacking Gasland:

Here is Gasland's Josh Fox in response to this attack by API:

"I am issuing the following point-by-point rebuttal of their claims, not because I feel obligated to address what are clearly falsehoods and smear tactics, but to show the depth of the industry’s assault on the truth and to point out their obfuscations, misleading spin on information, and attempts to shut down questions about their practices."

Be careful what unsupported, casual, and knowledgeable sounding stuff you read here.

404 error on Affirming Gasland link. Try this link.

From page four of pdf:

This is a common industry tactic, to claim that hydraulic fracturing [HF] has been used for 60 years.
This is deliberately misleading.
The new hydraulic fracturing that has brought about so much attention in the last few years is
different in many ways from the historic fracturing:
1) the pressure used is much higher and the duration of the frack job is longer. Today HF employs
typically 13,500 pounds of pressure per square inch, whereas earlier HF was less than 10,000 pounds
per square inch.

This is a common industry tactic, to claim that hydraulic fracturing [HF] has been used for 60 years.

Of course it is. Hydraulic fracturing was developed before I was born, and I was born in 1948. Before that, they used to "shoot" wells with nitroglycerin. Hydraulic fracturing was a lot safer since you didn't get blown to bits if you accidentally hit a bump or dropped the nitro on the way to the well.

The discovery well in the Pembina oil field, the biggest oil field in Canada, was fractured in 1953. Subsequently, all the other wells were fractured, too. None of the wells in the Pembina field would have produced oil without fracturing. Nowadays the Cardium Formation, which is what the Pembina field produces from, is the "hot" conventional oil play in Alberta, due to fracturing and its vast extent.

The Alberta government claims 170,000 wells have been fractured in Alberta over the last 60 years with zero incidents of well water contamination. Worldwide, over 1 million wells have been fractured, but I can't speak to the amount of well water contamination in them.

RMG, to Josh Fox, et al. an increase in pressure amounts to a difference in the hydraulic fracturing process. From your comments and ROCKMAN's, it is clear that geologically there is no significant difference in HF today vs. sixty years ago, with respect to pressure. I am not surprised that Josh Fox, an artistic director, would fail to see that there is no significant difference (wrt environmental contamination) at the increasing pressure regime over time.

As another person with a chemistry degree (even more underutilized than yours), I found that Gasland made effective use of the fear invoking sounds of chemical compound names and elements in fracking fluids. Citric acid was stated as one of the compounds (near end of movie); volumetric (or atomic) concentration is important. For example, is the citric acid concentration at the level of an average orange or otherwise? But, hey, this is a documentary.

Finally, I agree that documentaries should not be used as a source of hard facts. (Thanks for the link to the movie, KD.)

Thank you so much for catching that and posting a working link.

That's one of the most amazing collections of informal logical fallacies I've ever seen. Congratulations to their "amazing team of experts" for their amazing efforts.

Any specifics?

Why is there, here, no reference to the "injection of benzene" discussion on page 33 of the report when, above, the injection of benzene has been questioned?

Any specifics?

Well, to take one of many examples,

This is a common industry tactic, to claim that hydraulic fracturing [HF] has been used for 60 years. This is deliberately misleading. The new hydraulic fracturing that has brought about so much attention in the last few years is different in many ways from the historic fracturing:

The statement that hydraulic fracturing has been used for 60 years is provably true. The historical records are there, and I personally worked for a company that used it 60 years ago.

However, they deny a provable fact by drawing a series of red herrings across the path, none of which change the fact. A lot of the techniques which they call "new" have been in use for decades. Their references actually say this, but they interpret them differently from what they really say.

Why is there, here, no reference to the "injection of benzene" discussion on page 33 of the report when, above, the injection of benzene has been questioned?

Because it's a red herring. Page 33 says,

The Safe Drinking Water Act requires EPA to protect drinking water sources. 80% of Americans rely of water from wells for fresh drinking water. EPA does this with a program called the Underground Injection Program, and although a federal court ordered EPA to regulate the injection of fluids for hydraulic fracturing, EPA has done this only in Alabama where the case began.

What the EPA site says is:
Basic Information about Benzene in Drinking Water

How does benzene get into my drinking water?
The major sources of benzene in drinking water are discharge from factories; and leaching from gas storage tanks and landfills.

These are the sources that the EPA is monitoring - but note that they do not prohibit factories from using benzene, or oil companies putting it in gasoline. They only prohibit them from releasing it into the groundwater.

They didn't want to regulate hydraulic fracturing because it has never been known to be a source of benzene in drinking water. OTOH, leaking gasoline storage tanks at neighborhood service stations are a major source of benzene contamination of groundwater. The tanks at the service station across the street from where I grew up leaked, and the government spent a fortune cleaning up the mess after the owner went bankrupt. They had to excavate it about 12 feet deep across half a block.

As for the Underground Injection Control Program

The UIC Program is responsible for regulating the construction, operation, permitting, and closure of injection wells that place fluids underground for storage or disposal. This site provides information for owners and operators of injection wells and state regulators on how to safely operate injection wells to prevent contamination of underground drinking water resources.

They are conflating injection wells used for disposal of waste fluids with a technique used on producing wells - hydraulic fracturing. The two are not remotely similar, although they claim they are.

Class II Wells - Oil and Gas Related Injection Wells

Class II wells inject fluids associated with oil and natural gas production. Most of the injected fluid is salt water (brine), which is brought to the surface in the process of producing (extracting) oil and gas. In addition, brine and other fluids are injected to enhance (improve) oil and gas production. The approximately 144,000 Class II wells in operation in the United States inject over 2 billion gallons of brine every day. Most oil and gas injection wells are in Texas, California, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

This type of injection well is intended to protect groundwater sources by injecting the brine and other contaminants into deep underground formations. It has nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing - although the best way to dispose of recovered frac fluids is to put them down an injection well.

"hydraulic fracturing [HF] has been used for 60 years"

Really?, this is a pivotal point in the veracity of the report? The rebuttal above speaks of herrings, but does not display them... even if the matter mattered.

No, page 33 item 2-d says:
"These 3 companies voluntarily agreed not to inject... benzene which is carcinogenic in drinking water at just 5 parts per billion."
Which plainly indicates the presence of benzene. And yet:

What was in the frac fluid? Was there any benzene in it? What were the levels?

You have to realize that frac fluid normally consists of water, sand, and relatively small amounts of chemicals such as are normally found in toothpaste, chewing gum, and household cleaning products. I don't know why they would put benzene in it.

The knowledge of diesel fuel, one source of benzene in fracking fluid, is affirmed. The reading of the rebuttal to API's campaign against the movie Gasland is claimed. Yet, the innocent "benzene?" is offered.

The crowd at The Oil Drum ebbs and flows, ever-changing. Reputations are forgotten or never known... people come and go. The handles will pass to others, if they don't already pass around. Seamless industry representation is a given.

Hugh – Just have time for a brief response. Yes frac’ng has been used for many decades. There is no debate…there are tens of thousands of examples in the public record. “the pressure used is much higher and the duration of the frac job is longer” – again not only completely false but a very foolish argument. Companies don’t pick and choose the pressures they frac with. That metric is determined by the rock properties. A rock that used X psi to frac 30 years ago requires the same X psi to frac today. In fact engineers are very cautious to not exceed that pressure since doing so typically produces a less effective frac job. Let me dumb it down some: it would be similar to driving a golf ball 300 yds on a 220 yd hole just because you're capable of doing so. I’m sorry if that offends anyone but the details of this technology are beyond the knowledge base of most petroleum geologists let alone the general public. You’re certainly free to take my words and those of others who do this for a living or completely reject them. Won’t hurt my feelings one bit. LOL.

But the most ridiculous aspect of that statement: if you took every frac truck on the planet and used them all to pump at pressures 10X the greatest pressure ever used to frac a well we still couldn’t propagate a fracture from deep within the earth up to the shallow aquifers. This isn’t a debate about opinions. There are physical laws that control the situation. This is the same foolish approach that distracted folks from focusing on the real threat from frac’ng: disposal of frac fluids. It has been a great disservice to folks trying to protect their local environment. I’ve never seen an instance when overreaching hasn’t hurt a valid cause. From what I’ve read disposal regs in PA (and maybe NY) still aren’t close to those established in Texas and La. long ago. Continuing to focus on “problems” that aren’t really problems isn’t helping my Yankee cousins.

" This is the same foolish approach that distracted folks from focusing on the real threat from frac’ng: disposal of frac fluids. It has been a great disservice to folks trying to protect their local environment. I’ve never seen an instance when overreaching hasn’t hurt a valid cause."

The above quote is just about the most important thought in this entire discussion. There are REAL issues that people who line up on the anti drilling side could choose to uncover and fix. If you spend all your energy trying to expose something that's not a problem with infactual evidence and lies, then you also loose support. You have already lost support! You loose support for your other issues because the lies about fracing taint your facts on other issues. It's like a lawer calliing a witness to the stand when that witness has already purjured themself.

Even if your simply against all drilling and ending it is your goal, why would you hurt your chances with the people who are on the fence that you are trying to pull over to your side, especially when your evidence in Gasland for instance is so easily debunked with a little 30 minute clip called Truthland? Come on now! It's irrational.

Do you guys need some help finding real issues that would slow down the industry? Let's talk!

There are real issues that you can go after so why waste time with this fracing BS?

Thanks for the response, ROCKMAN. I have a degree in civil and environmental engineering; I have taken only one class in geotechnical engineering (a good one). As a result, I thought the "Josh Fox response" was weak and I stopped reading, shortly thereafter. At any rate, geotechnical engineering is not exactly in my lane, so I relied on experience (like yours) in the field to confirm my engineering judgement.

Continuing to focus on “problems” that aren’t really problems isn’t helping my Yankee cousins.

One solution would be for legislators to hire more science and engineering folks for their staff. (The legislators, and their five-minute rounds of cross-examination style questioning, show no sign of searching for real problems and solutions, however.)

I recently interviewed for an engineering position at a state department of natural resources and I left saddened for the engineers working there.

Any references?

Yeah, me. And I'm not even going to charge you my corporate rate for my opinion.

API is an industry misinformation and propaganda engine much quoted on TheOilDrum and the mainstream media by professionals:

The American Petroleum Association is the official industry standard association of the US petroleum industry, and sets most of the standards for the oil industry in United States.

The US government adopts most of its standards from the API. If you want to see some really heavy duty measurement standards, you should try reading the API Manual of Petroleum Measurement Standards (MPMS). It costs about $8,800 and occupies about 4 feet of shelf space, not including chapters 11 and 19 available at extra cost.

In Canada we had our own standards, mostly set by the provincial governments, but when I wanted to find out what the United States wanted, I had to look at what the API said was official. In Alberta, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) set the standards, but when I needed a copy of the MPMS to figure out what the official American standards were, I used to borrow it from the ERCB library. Being a highly-paid industry consultant, all I needed was my business card to check out a copy. They trusted me to bring it back.

No references.

"The American Petroleum Institute, commonly referred to as API, is the largest U.S trade association for the oil and natural gas industry. It claims to represent about 400 corporations... The association’s chief functions on behalf of the industry include advocacy and negotiation with governmental, legal, and regulatory agencies... It has many front groups, including the NH Energy Forum that in August 2011 hosted a New Hampshire event for Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry."

Jack Gerard won't reveal how much API spends on the "Vote 4 Energy" ad campaign
Jack Gerard, Big Oil's top lobbyist, refuses to reveal how much money the American Petroleum Institute is spending on its "Vote 4 Energy" ad campaign.

Leaked Memo Reveals Oil Industry Effort to Stage Rallies Against Climate Legislation.
A leaked memo reveals the American Petroleum Institute is asking oil companies to recruit employees, retirees, and contractors to take part in rallies against climate change legislation.

Upcoming American Petroleum Institute 'Vote 4 Energy' TV campaign...
Over two years ago, Greenpeace obtained a confidential memo [pdf] from American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard, asking API member oil companies to support a campaign to fake a grassroots movement called “Energy Citizens.” Under the guise of this astroturf group, Big Oil would pay for public events similar to Tea Party rallies in support of their absurd wishlist: killing global warming legislation, unrestricted offshore oil drilling, increased tar sands development through the Keystone XL pipeline, expanded hydraulic fracturing, and no form of accountability for their immense contributions to climate change.

I Vote 4 Energy -Spoof-

API 675 is the specification for controlled volume positive displacement pumps. Does it change much year-to-year?


As a reminder, the subject was benzene in hydraulic fracturing fluid.

"Yes benzene is toxic, but in the oil industry we weren't allowed to expose our workers to as much of it as in normally found in the air of the average smoking section of a bar."

Yet, the GAS field workers are seen covered head-to-toe and soaked in the fracking fluid. The fluid in the pit is seen being sprayed into the air. Are these scenes faked?

What was in the frac fluid? Was there any benzene in it? What were the levels?

You have to realize that frac fluid normally consists of water, sand, and relatively small amounts of chemicals such as are normally found in toothpaste, chewing gum, and household cleaning products. I don't know why they would put benzene in it.

GASLAND tends to use frightening chemical names such as "Citric Acid" without telling people that it is the active ingredient in citrus fruits and was used to prevent scurvy in sailors.

The reason I mentioned the smoking section of a bar is that cigarette smoke contains about 50 different chemicals of great concern to toxicologists, of which about 40 cause cancer. The levels were totally unacceptable for an oil and gas operation. Our men would have had to wear gas masks and protective clothing, and exposure time would have been limited. People didn't realize that and thought it was in some sense, "safe", but barmaids and bartenders were at higher lifetime risk of death from smoke inhalation than firemen. By comparison, what comes out of the average gas well is rather non-toxic.

Second-hand smoke is one of my pet peeves, but I've seen the chemical analyses.

There was a local (in New Orleans) ad campaign supporting eliminating smoking in bars. It focused on musicians (VERY sympathetic figures in New Orleans), bartenders and bar maids having to work in second hand smoke.

Some complex compromise resulted - smoking only in areas with better ventilation, no smoking next to stage, I am not totally sure of the details. Result is much less second hand smoke.

Best Hopes for Just Much Less Smoking,


How about people that don't like smoking just not enter into or work in bars that allow smoking?

You would have certain bars try to cater to the non-smoker and certain bars cater to the smoker and adults get to be pro-choice. No nanny state regulations necessary, just adults making adult decisions thats a novel idea.

Myself, I'd pick non-smoking bars.

"Your rights end where my nose begins".

And old saying quite appropriate for second hand smoke.

Most musicians are hungry for gigs. Picking and choosing only non-smoking bars is not a realistic option.

There is more choice for bartenders & bar maids, but still limited if the rent is due in a week.


See I'm looing at the business owners rights. If I as a business owner wanted to cater to the smoker or non-smoker and made it abundantly clear that this bar or club was a certain type of establishment, then the owner should have that right. Just as the customers, the workers, and/or performers had the right to go elsewhere.

Does everyone need big brother to hold there hand?

All workplace safety regulations would have to be considered in the same light. Personally I'd lean more towards freedom, but as a society clearly we have picked the safety over all other considerations route in almost every way.

All worker / management relationships are considered in the same light.

Do people working the nightshift at the 7/11 in a bad part of town knowingly take certain risk?

Does the offshore oilfield worker take certain risk?

Does the coal miner, the helicopter pilot, and the cattlemen all take certain known risk?

It's all about knowing what the job entails and deciding whether or not you accept it.

OSHA admits it can't even stop all risk. If working in a smokey bar was the job desription then OSHA would try to mitigate the risk and if all other mitigation tools such as engineering and management controls wouldn't work, then personal protective equipment would be the option.

Maybe people working in smokey bars should wear respirators?

Maybe people working in smokey bars should wear respirators?

Technically speaking, they should. People working in similarly hazardous environments in other industries are required to wear respirators.

This is actually a serious point. Regulators have a responsibility to reduce environmental risks in the workplace wherever possible, and have to ask themselves why they don't force bartenders and servers in smokey bars to wear respirators and protective clothing. The level of toxic chemicals is high enough that if they were working in the oil and gas industry, they would have to.

Of course, the simpler solution is simply to ban smoking. That's what the oil and gas industry did. This came as a shock to some of the employees, but it made perfect sense to the management because they were used to introducing safety rules on a "These are the rules. Follow them or we'll fire you" basis.

RockyMtnGuy, what the oilfield didn't do is change the scope of work into a job that has dangers and turn it into one that doesn't, we try but we can't. What I'm saying is that if the job discription of any job has certain known dangers to it and you agree to that job, then you have the right and job duty to take that known risk. We take risk everyday and I'm rewarded for it.

If the bar owner advertises "Wanted bar tender in a smokey bar" and you accept that job, then that's your cross to bear. The owner should have the right to allow a legal substance to be used at his work sight. You should have the right to not take the job or take the job. The patron should have the right to patronize or leave the extablishment. If smoking is made illegal then the debate goes elsewhere.

If OSHA regulators decide that workers in smokey areas should have to follow OSHA rules for permissible levels of exposure to smoke, then Personal Protective Equipment would be necessary. I have little problem with that.
If smoking patrons decide that getting served by someone with a full face respirator was just too damn goofy and they forced the owner with thier cash to change to "no smoking" then that's fine too.

Management has a moral and legal obligation to make the workplace as safe as possible. That's why when I worked for oil companies, we had a large number of rules designed to make the workers safer, and if they violated any of them, we fired them. It was just so much easier than sorting out dead bodies.

Bar owners have a similar obligation to their workers to make their workplace safer. Serving drinks should not be a high-risk occupation.

If the bar owner advertises "Wanted bar tender in a smokey bar" and you accept that job, then that's your cross to bear. The owner should have the right to allow a legal substance to be used at his work sight.

Where there's smoke, there's liability

Exposure to second hand cigarette smoke is now a recognized workplace hazard in Ontario.

Recently the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) granted benefits to a career waitress who became ill due to second hand cigarette smoke.

The waitress had no personal direct or indirect exposure to tobacco smoke, but worked decades in smoke-filled bars and restaurants. As a result, her cancer has been ruled attributable to workplace exposure. The WSIB has accepted liability for the worker's benefits, the cost of which will be transferred back to her employer and its industry.

The implications of this claim are stark: an employer permitting exposure to second hand smoke may be subjecting employees to a hazard contrary to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. If the employee sustains genuine medical problems due to the exposure - temporary or permanent - the employee may be entitled to benefits under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

You should have the right to not take the job or take the job. The patron should have the right to patronize or leave the establishment.

When I am in a bar which allows smoking, I feel that the bar is exposing me to toxic chemicals which I did not agree to be exposed to. I feel I have a right to a toxin-free drink. The easy solution for me to deal with it is to get smoking banned in the bar. The tougher solution is to sue the bar for exposing me to toxic chemicals, but that is also a possibility because I did not agree to it. Just being there is not agreement.

"Of course, the simpler solution is simply to ban smoking. That's what the oil and gas industry did"

RockyMtnGuy, in the GOM we didn't ban smoking, but as private companies they should have every right to do so and the smoker who needs thier job in the oil field would feel just as the non smoker that works in a smokey bar. They both need to deal with it, or move on. I have no problem with a private company banning smoking if they so choose, I applaud it with my patronage, but I would never ask the government to coerse them to do so on my behalf.

Doesn't help much if you actually work there. Would you suggest that bar staff find a new job of the owner decides to allow smoking?

In the not too distant past, they theoretically had non-smoking sections, but these tended to be undesirable (next to the door to the kitchen), or adjacent to the smoking section which effectively provided no relief at all. The places that completely banned smoking were few and far between, the result being you just didn't end up going out. That was the only "choice" that you had. It wasn't until smoking was banned from restaurants that there was a real choice.

"That was the only "choice" that you had"

Was this in the united states? If it was, then you could have quit.

Yes, I suggest if your employer does anyting to you that you absolutely can't live with, you quit. We are still mostly a free people. You could even attempt to have your co-workers join you and really hold the owners feet to the fire. We're not a country of babies.

Several times in my working career I had to put my foot down and say I'm not putting up with this and if this is the way things are going to be, then I'm quitting. We have that right.

As an entreprenuer I would love it if all the other establishments allowed a very offensive act, one that left customers and some workers looking for a place to patronize and work. I could open a estabishment and cater to that specific clientele and charge a higher prices for my goods and services. I could hire workers that refused to work at the other businesses and offer them somewhat less pay for the priviledge to work in the better atmosphere.

If we keep running to government we will have an Orwellian existance one day, because we asked for it.

"What was in the frac fluid? Was there any benzene in it? You have to realize that frac fluid normally consists of water, sand, and relatively small amounts of chemicals such as are normally found in toothpaste, chewing gum..."

List of additives for hydraulic fracturing
Line (CAS#)71-43-2: Benzene

The fun thing about the style of corporate discourse is that their positions cannot stand upon the truth. To continually field such cynical posturing is their hallmark. For someone knowledgeable to assert that the API is simply a standards institute makes a quotable example. Once issued, it is up to much less well funded and organized entities to draw attention to the facts. By then, it is too late. This thread is dead. The discussion has been successfully deflected to some common-man's point like smoking or fishing or vegetarianism or bicycle riding. A good move would be to press the demand for references to the exact level of benzene in fracing fluid... knowing full-well that the details of the admixture have been vigorously veiled... but no one is watching. Well played.

That's a list of 750 different chemicals they could put in hydraulic fracturing fluid. Nobody puts 750 different chemicals into one frac job - maybe 5 or 10.

In the old days they used to frac wells with diesel fuel. They used to frac wells with chicken feathers and golf balls, too. Diesel fuel contains benzene, which may be where they got the item on the list. A lot of other things contain benzene as well, notably gasoline and cigarette smoke. Try to avoid breathing the fumes from either.

I never said the API is simply a standards setting organization. It is an industry association (of which there are many in industry) and one of its functions is to set standards. Another is to act as spokesman for the industry.

My objections was to the claim that:

API is an industry misinformation and propaganda engine much quoted on TheOilDrum and the mainstream media by professionals.

The reason the API is quoted by professionals is that it does considerable research into the properties of oil and gas, as well as producing documents about oil markets.

You will note that we often talk about the "API gravity" of oil, and express it in "degrees API". Well, guess who set the standard for the American oil density? (In the Canadian industry we used kg/m3 but converted it to °API for export to the US)

Yes benzene is toxic, but in the oil industry we weren't allowed to expose our workers to as much of it as in normally found in the air of the average smoking section of a bar.

Thus the widespread, and largely successful, movement against smoking in public places and the less successful effort to reduce smoking.

Best Hopes for More,


Great reminders that the more we learn, the more we should be aware that remains unknown as well.

Anybody who claims to know all of something is like that idealized specialist, "Who learns more and more about less and less until they finally know everything about nothing." .. and is even more like Twain's "..knows for sure what just ain't so."

K – “...to spray them into the air in order to encourage the lighter constituents, like benzene, to evaporate.”

An amazing comparison of the regs. Texas and La. are the open ranges where, in some folks minds, the oil patch supposedly dominates the politicians, the courts and regulators. I’ve mentioned it before: what it takes to drill a well in “wetlands” designated areas. I’ll skip the dozens of permits required, the 6 to 10 months of review and evaluation by the regulators and the 2” thick book of compliance requirements. Just one little rule to compare with the pit regs (or lack there of) in PA. When I’m drilling on a wet lands permit I’m naturally in a low flood prone area. Which means when it rains it's not uncommon for my drill site to become flooded. We can tolerate some standing water but there are limits. So we just pull in the some pumps and jet the excess off the location into the surrounding land, right? Not in La. I have to rent pump trucks to suck the rain water up and haul it away to a certified disposal site.

Just like you find in every mall parking lot or your drive way there’s always a few a few automotive oil leaks that the rain water could mobilize. When it rains in your neighborhood do they make you pay to have your runoff collected and disposed of? I didn’t think so. LOL. And what about all those other nasty/toxic fluids on the drill site? They are in enclosed steel containers which will eventually have them hauled off. And when those tanks are cleaned with power washers what happens with that dirty water? I pay to have it disposed of properly. About 3 months ago I did this to a drilling rig and barges I used to poke a well in the swamp in S. La. It cost $280,000 to have a certified company clean and then dispose of the dirty water.

Which it the point I repeated made to my Yankee cousins: do we like spending that money? NO. Will we stop drilling because of this expense? NO. I said it earlier today: the oil patch in general won’t spend one penny more to protect the environment than is required by the regs. But the vast majority of us will follow the regs and spend the money. It’s just the cost of doing business...and business is very good right now.

Rock, I didn't know where to jump in but I think with your very knowledgeable explanation of fracing you left out simple directions to the truth. If industry itself believes fracing is as bad as the people make it out to be, then Follow the money!

Would energy companies knowingly allow the frac jobs that they spend billions on every year put the proppant and frac chemicals in water zones, thousands of feet away from the target formation? Would they just Pi$$ away their money like that?

Would companies drilling in shales frac a zone, knowing that communications with a shallow formation where most or even some of the oil or gas will migrate into the shallow formation and escape, leaving them with even faster decline rates than they already deal with in those plays? Oh yeah and wasting a good frac job again!

Do oil and gas companies want the good stuff out the ground? Or Do they want to loose it to the earth because of a bad cement job, when they could simply badger the cement company into coming back and block squeeze cement into the well at a high discount?

The logic isn't behind the anti frac folks. Follow the money! Oil companies make much more money from producing the oil and gas not loosing it. They make more money by having frac jobs go as planned not by a frac job escaping into a water aquifer. If the industry thought this Gasland stuff was true they would be the first to figure it out, not because they are Earth loving greenies, but because they want to make much more money. Capitalism has a way of finding the logical truth by following the money!

If they made money by screwing up water aquifers, then I would say the opposite is true. I really would. I'll be the first to point out the oilfield shortcomings. I point them out in the field, 100 miles from shore, in peoples faces that threaten to fire me, as opposed to on a blog (much to my bosses chagrin).

We've had this debate before. I applaud Texas' and Louisiana's regulation of drillers. But there's no real evidence to suggest that if Texas and Louisiana discovered today that they were floating on oil, a similar regulatory regime would emerge. There is, in fact, reason to believe that at least in Texas, such regulations would not emerge. Texas government today is dominated by conservative Republicans.

  • I am unaware of any Texas Republican politicians that have advocated, even after the Deepwater Horizon fiasco last year, that the federal government impose Texas-like regulation of deep-water oil drilling operations. At least as I understand the Texas regulations, even those that were in place when I worked on some drilling-related systems engineering back in the late 1970s, BP would probably have gone bankrupt trying to clean up the mess they made. Similarly, I have yet to hear the Texas Republican politicians actively suggesting their regulatory structure as a model for New York and Pennsylvania.
  • In the late 1980s, the federal government turned the savings and loan industry loose and in Texas, it turned into a disaster. Texas then regulated the crap out of the mortgage business, and as a result, largely avoided the real estate bubble of the 2000s. In the 2000s, the big national investment banks, which can't be regulated at the state level as the S&Ls were, repeated many of the same bad things the S&Ls had done. I have yet to hear the Texas Republican politicians advocating the same regulatory regime that Texas imposed successfully on the S&Ls as national policy.
  • Today, the Texas legislature, dominated by Texas Republican politicians, refuses to take steps similar to what was imposed on the oil/gas industry decades ago with respect to electricity generators. Even though coal accounts for only about 30% of Texas generation, the politicians assert today that forcing the coal-fired generators to meet contemporary cleanliness standards will be economically devastating and must not occur.

Russia Seeks Bases Abroad

RUSSIA is in talks to set up naval bases in its former Cold War allies Cuba and Vietnam as the President, Vladimir Putin, undertakes the country's biggest military overhaul since the Soviet era.

"We are working on establishing navy bases outside Russia," Vice-Admiral Viktor Chirkov told the state-run RIA Novosti news service. "We aim to set up resupply bases in Cuba, the Seychelles and Vietnam."

Russia risks losing its only military base outside the former Soviet Union, a naval resupply facility in the Syrian port of Tartus, if Syria's President, Bashar al-Assad, is ousted.

One more story out of a continual drumbeat of stories about slow, incremental advances in understanding which may facilitate increased use of solar PV:


'Incredibly Realistic Fake Meat'


Potentially good news if it results in people eating less meat, and therefore avoiding some negative health influences and also lowering impact on the environment from meat production...

...if the fake meat is not toxic/unhealthy itself...or the fake meat process itself does not have a large negative environmental impact

... and if such fake meat production is not overly sensitive to the current level of BAU societal interconnectedness and complexity and subject to infeasibility when BAU goes away.

Hopefully, they are not using GMO's...

It is interesting, though, to note that soy contains all the essential amino acids in the right balance, so it is a complete food, protein-wise.

Fortunately, soy also has the ability to take on the flavor of almost anything, depending on processing. The right sauce can make a big difference to whether it can be perceived as "meat" or not.

There is processing required to get soy bean curd from soy beans - similar processing to making cheese, if using the acid method. Since we could do that before industrialization, one hopes this will stay with us.

EDIT: the only downside I see is the concept of meat "status". In other words, if you are poor you can only afford the "fake" meat. Rich people will eat the "real" meat. I can visualise the meat industry ad campaigns already...eat the "Lexus" of meat products...

Maybe it's not relevant if the total quantity consumed is reduced.

EDIT 2: since most fast foods can barely be called meat either, soy "meat" is certainly an improvement.

What is the truth about soy products and the allegations out there that they mimic femail hormones, mess up human endocrine/hormone balances, etc?

I have enjoyed some soy products, but I have experienced some soy products (mainly energy bars) giving me horrible gas. Maybe the culprit was some other ingredient in those bars.

My gut has changed as I aged...I cannot tolerate onions or green chile well anymore wither (fortunately red chile passes muster).

My best source for this kind of data is http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/soy/

One can register to post questions related to each presentation, and have them answered by a qualified medical professional (as well as there being open posting by others).

I recall seeing the answer to the question of mimicing female hormones somewhere - I'll try and dig it up.

Best I can recall, phytoestrogens bind to the same receptors as hormonal estrogen without having the same side effects, since they are plant-based, so are safe for even breast cancer patients. It's not like ingesting, or being injected with, human estrogen.

Also, phytoestrogens should not be confused with xenoestrogens, mainly found in fish, which apparently lower sperm count.



H -

Try the wiki on Genistein. It's an isoflavone found in soybeans. I worked on some early clinical trial back in the 90's. I'd give you some links but I'm running off the Kindle and I have fingers like door knobs.

Also oligosaccharides galato-oligosaccharides or inulin may be causing the digetive issues. They're all in soybeans.


Spring_Tides and Seraph,

thanks for the links!

my digestion has become defunkatated compared to my younger daze...certainly not laying all of that onto soy...just curious about the estrogen-mimicking assertion.

I will read the links.

Phytoestrogens appear to be helpful in the prevention of diabetes and cancers of the colon, liver, brain, breast, ovaries, and skin. “Bad” cholesterol appears to be reduced, cardiovascular risk decreased, and weight loss increased when they are consumed. Soy phytoestrogens do not decrease male fertility; however, xenoestrogens, which are found mainly in fish, have been shown to drastically lower sperm counts. Replacing dairy with soy may decrease abdominal fat.

These assertions of goodness are certainly appealing.

I could give a hoot about my fertility (a hit on sex drive would be a bean or fish of a different color though), since I was snipped 20 years ago after our second child was born....so, my love affair with salmon continues!

One more vote to be concerned about unfermented Soy in foods (and it's in a lot of them)..

Soybeans are high in phytic acid, present in the bran or hulls of all seeds. It's a substance that can block the uptake of essential minerals - calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc - in the intestinal tract.

Although not a household word, phytic acid has been extensively studied; there are literally hundreds of articles on the effects of phytic acid in the current scientific literature. Scientists are in general agreement that grain- and legume-based diets high in phytates contribute to widespread mineral deficiencies in third world countries.15

Analysis shows that calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc are present in the plant foods eaten in these areas, but the high phytate content of soy- and grain-based diets prevents their absorption.

The soybean has one of the highest phytate levels of any grain or legume that has been studied,16 and the phytates in soy are highly resistant to normal phytate-reducing techniques such as long, slow cooking.17 Only a long period of fermentation will significantly reduce the phytate content of soybeans.

When precipitated soy products like tofu are consumed with meat, the mineral-blocking effects of the phytates are reduced.18 The Japanese traditionally eat a small amount of tofu or miso as part of a mineral-rich fish broth, followed by a serving of meat or fish.

..According to Sally Fallon of the Weston Price Foundation.

I wouldn't give credence to the Weston A. Price Foundation. I don't know why they keep coming up in discussion, except that they are supported by the meat industry, such as the Beef Cattlemen's Association. Maybe they pay well to come up top on Google searches.

Sort of like the API doing global warming research.

Extensive debunking of their soy fearmongering claims at Sourcewatch :-


IMHO, WAPF are the Flat Earth Society of nutritional research.

I think you've got the Cattlemen's role confused in there.. and yet their testimonial adds little credibility to this debunking.

In fact, the complete adequacy of vegetarian diets is now so thoroughly proven and documented, that even the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) has acknowledged it's legitimacy:

“Well planned vegetarian diets can meet dietary recommendations for essential nutrients.”

..so what? Oh, if the Beef industry says so, then it MUST be true?

As with the Baby Formula, this is a HIGHLY contentious issue, and I don't see an obvious winner from the materials at Sourcewatch. Fuhrman himself seems to be throwing handgrenades that don't do his side of the argument any favors..

A diet of wild meats and natural vegetation, without exposure to modern processed foods may offer a better health outcome than predominately overly processed foods, according to Fuhrman, but, he says, "we don't purchase a car by comparing it to a junkyard wreck." He claims that a higher percentage of vegetables, legumes, fruit, raw nuts and seeds (and much less animal products) offers a profound longevity advantage due to a broad spectrum of life-extending photochemical nutrients.[17]

Frankly, that conclusion doesn't contradict anything promoted by the Weston Price foundation, it only undermines the exaggerated claims about their position, while the car-wreck statement just seems to be some kind of attempted Bon-mot. In fact, the WPF is looking very clearly at the junkyard of American Chronic Illness and Nutritional Degradation and trying to find out where we've gone so wrong. Like anyone taking on a VERY broad topic, they'll have hits and misses, but I don't see Soy as being in the clear as yet. If baby formula is supposed to be an article of defense for Soy, we're far from any final answers. The medical community that is still hawking Formula was the same one that was feeding my Mom Bright Orange Popsickles when she was admitted for Cancer Treatment. Brilliant!

{PS, I misspoke. Fuhrman suggests RAW Nuts and Seeds, which is another source of Phytates. Many ancient cultures had somehow figured out how to soak most nuts and seeds and roast them with some salt which helped to break down the Phtyic Acid on the shell skins and outer layers ( I think it is ), so that these foods didn't interfere with mineral absorbtion during digestion.. so, no, Fuhrman did miss one critical aspect of the WPF approach, while Milk products are almost exclusively taken Raw. I'm 5 years in, eat copious amounts of saturated fats, eggs, butter, etc.. AS WELL as fresh Veg and Fruit.. but will not go near Margarine, and keep the Tofu down to a very occasional complement in a dish. I guess we'll see..)

Since you probably haven't seen a surgeon removing fatty plaque from arteries, which I have, I can understand why you would think saturated fat consumption might be beneficial.

Having worked in a hospital where heart disease treatment was a specialty, Groote Schuur in Cape Town (famous for the heart transplants), I hope you won't find out the hard way.

The fact that the Cattleman's Association has been positively quoted in the Sourcewatch article doesn't alter the fact that they actively promote their product by any means possible, and spin all the research in their favor, by (surprise!) cherry picking data.

There was a great video on Youtube of atherosclerosis plugs being removed surgically - I'll post it if I can dig it up.

Here you go...


Starts immediately.

How did the plug get there ?


Start at about 3 minutes in.

EDIT: the good news is that atherosclerosis is reversible with diet and lifestyle changes.

Dr Dean Ornish has earned wide acceptance in the peer-reviewed literature for studies which demonstrate the reversal of conditions leading to heart disease and cancer.


Watching the second video, looking at diet trends.. He says 'Dairy' but the slide shows "Skim Milk" .. Skim milk is what Hog Farmers feed their pigs to FATTEN THEM.

IMO, Much of the current diet dispute comes down to Skewed Sampling and unmentioned assumptions, Spring_Tides. (Which leads to conflating things like 'Skim Milk' into broader areas like Dairy, while never looking carefully at what quality of Dairy products we are talking about.

From the Sourcewatch article, where they delve into dairy.

"Most cows' milk contains toxins such as herbicides, pesticides and dioxins and up to 52 powerful antibiotics; blood, pus, feces, bacteria and viruses. Both organic and non-organic milk contain fat, cholesteral and various allergens as well as 59 active hormones. "

Cows milk doesn't contain those things, unless you're raising your cows fed on Herbicide Frosted Grasses and Grains, putting Antibiotics into their feed.. they won't have pus in their milk if they are not in a state of constant distress and facing chronic inflammation endemic to the animals in the industrial food factory system. The stats they show on these videos need to represent several other factors in our diets and our food industry's standards before they can pretend to offer a useful set of even correlations, much less actual causes.

Milkfat is not causing clogged arteries.. the atheroschlerosis and buildup of Cholesterol placque is due to the same kinds of chronic inflammation in OUR bodies that we have been creating in our Franken-Farm Animals bodies. The amount of Cholesterol you eat is not the determinant of how much is stuck to your coronary arteries. But we DO have to make sure we're doing all we can to avoid ANY foods that will have the Antibiotics, the Ag Chemicals, the Dioxin, etc.. Cheap Rancidified fats, Oxidized grains, refined sugars.. Pretty much anything you get at most Grocery Stores today.

Like Bob says, this is a HIGHLY contentious issue.

I know a heart surgeon who thinks the lipid hypothesis is bunk. I could probably easily find a few dozen MDs who think the same thing. Author Anthony Colpo who wrote 'The Great Cholesterol Con' is an MD. Ornish is a follower of Swami Satchidananda (for what that's worth) and Ornish's research I've read is sorely lacking in scientific terms.

Everyone is free to believe what they want about nutrition. But when someone starts to make public policy based on their own particular slant on things (think Michael Bloomberg), then I get pissed off. I don't want a bureaucrat telling me what I should be eating. It's bad enough that the current dietary paradigm has gotten as twisted out of shape as it has.

Sorry for the OT rant.

Let's get back to topic.

Anthony Colpo is not an MD.

From his own website :-

Anthony Colpo is an independent researcher, physical conditioning specialist, and author of the groundbreaking books The Fat Loss Bible and The Great Cholesterol Con. For more information, visit TheFatLossBible.net or TheGreatCholesterolCon.com

Dr Dean Ornish, from his own website :-


"Dean Ornish, M.D., is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California. He is Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Ornish received his medical training in internal medicine from the Baylor College of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and the Massachusetts General Hospital. He received a B.A. in Humanities summa cum laude from the University of Texas in Austin, where he gave the baccalaureate address...

The research that he and his colleagues conducted has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Circulation, The New England Journal of Medicine, the American Journal of Cardiology, The Lancet Oncology, and elsewhere."

Dr Ornish's research is published free for all to see on his website.

Anthony Colpo wants to sell the "secrets" of his program for $9.95. Riiiight......

One is certainly entitled to one's own beliefs, but not one's own set of facts.

My bad. There are still plenty of MDs who reject the lipid hypothesis. These 'facts' are far from being settled.

More to the point: can you take any of the points that Colpo makes in this book and refute them? Let's indeed stick to 'facts.'

Doctor or No, as soon as I read Ornish celebrating zero-fat diet goals, I knew I had little interest in whatever he thinks his research has taught him.

The following is a little severe, but it points very clearly to the key discrepancies in the nutritional philosophies developed by this sort of Doctor.

A doctor’s dangerous advice

Steve’s special “anti-cancer” diet, was one which would be dangerous for any person to follow, let alone someone attempting to beat cancer.

Steve Jobs followed the nutritional protocol of Dr. Dean Ornish, who is a proponent of one of the least healthy, nontraditional (in the Weston A. Price sense) diets imaginable. The Dean Ornish cancer diet consists of the following guidelines and traits:

- NO saturated fat: Despite the fact that every cell of your body is largely comprised of this substance, Dr. Ornish believes a diet devoid of this critical nutrient is healthy, and will even help to fight cancer. Saturated fat is needed for virtually every function of the body, including fending off illness.

- As low-fat as possible: All fats are demonized by Dr. Ornish. Again, despite scientific evidence that the body needs fats to assimilate vitamins and other nutrients found in whole, natural foods, this diet simply shuns them entirely.

Vegetarian: The Ornish cancer diet avoids even lean meats, simply because they might contain trace amounts of saturated fat. There is virtually no natural protein from healthy animal sources allowed. A very small amount of fish is permissible for the intake of Omega-3 fatty acids. Except, Ornish — don’t you know that your body needs saturated fat to even absorb and assimilate Omega-3′s?


- Fake foods: Ornish is perfectly fine with recommending such freakishly unnatural fare as fake meats (Tofurkey, anyone?) and processed, frozen meals containing partially hydrogenated oils. I’m not kidding.


Who could argue with the faith diet ?

You think zero-fat and tofurkey aren't a 'faith diet'?

Most of the latest research I have seen recommends zero-saturated fat in the diet, not zero fat. One can consume mono- and poly-unsaturated fats.

Since the body can synthesize saturated and mono-unsaturated fats, as required, the only fat essential to consume in the diet is poly-unsaturated - Omega 3's and Omega 6's.

However, in practice, most try to keep fat intake as low as possible, below 7-10% of total calories, to prevent heart disease, recognizing that plant oils are better than animal fats.

Reversing heart disease takes a slightly more strenuous approach.

Dr Ornish's study, published in Lancet, did not state zero fat, it states low-fat, vegetarian diet. (PDF Warning)


Faux "meats", which was the topic that started this thread, just makes it easier for some people to make the adjustment from a meat diet to a non-meat diet. I haven't seen any research that says one is required to eat them, since, of course, they are a processed food.

Why not actually read the study for yourself ?

EDIT : WebMD outlines the Ornish diet published in his book below :-


It is somewhat more strenuous that the usual vegetarian diet which includes seeds and nuts, and plant oils.

It is indeed highly contentious, and I think we're on the verge of a sea change in the conventional wisdom on this. More and more cardiologists are realizing that refined carbs and inflammation are the problem, not fat or cholesterol. The "low fat" advice they've been giving us since 1980 may turn out to be about the worst ever given.

It's getting harder and harder to ignore the evidence: lower cholesterol does not result in longer life. Quite the opposite. Lower cholesterol is linked with higher death rates.

Here is another story that points to current studies that are contradicting old conclusions about Saturated and Animal Fats.

It has been broadly accepted that consuming saturated fat could lead to an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, prompting dietary guidelines to recommend low- and reduced-fat milks and yoghurt as part of a balanced diet.

''These still contain calcium and other nutrients, but with less saturated fat,'' the guidelines state.

But in a review examining the link between high-fat dairy and health, published in the latest European Journal of Nutrition, researchers concluded "… in contrast to the prevailing scientific and public sentiment, dairy fat consumption is not typically associated with an increased risk of weight gain, cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes."

"This is also in contrast to most current dietary guidelines recommending the consumption of fat-reduced milk and dairy products."

Researchers found 11 out of 16 international studies showed higher dairy fat intake was associated with lower body fat levels and lower long-term weight gain.

The review, led by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Washington, noted that further studies were needed, but concluded there was ''no compelling reason'' to avoid the fat found in dairy products.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/the-skinny-on-fullcream...

Where do these cardiologists suggest the inflammation comes from ?

I'll give you a hint : Arachidonic Acid.


EDIT : the problem with "low fat" is not the advice given. It is the fact that so many companies have produced "low fat alternative" processed foods, and compensated for the reduced fat by adding sugar or sodium as flavoring. Too much sugar, and sodium, of course, have their own own issues.

The problems we are experiencing are largely ones of marketing, not ones of science.

Study Identifies Taste Buds for Fat

Just because it tastes better to some people, doesn't mean one should eat more.

The real truth? Cardiologists know it is easier to get people to take an aspirin every day "to protect your heart" than to get them to make diet and lifestyle changes, and, of course, the drug companies know it too.

97% of soybeans are GMO

Controlling Monkey Brains and Behavior with Light

Researchers reporting online on July 26 in Current Biology have for the first time shown that they can control the behavior of monkeys by using pulses of blue light to very specifically activate particular brain cells. The findings represent a key advance for optogenetics, a state-of-the-art method for making causal connections between brain activity and behavior. Based on the discovery, the researchers say that similar light-based mind control could likely also be made to work in humans for therapeutic ends.

... the CIA's got your 'therapeutic ends' right here ... Now. Look into the light ...

The following Senate report from 1977 on the CIA’s MKULTRA program was originally posted online by the New York Times.

U.S. Senate Report on CIA MKULTRA Behavioral Modification Program 1977

CIA Inspector General MKULTRA Investigation Report 1963

a. Research in the manipulation of human behavior is considered by many authorities in medicine and related fields to be professionally unethical, therefore the reputations of professional participants in the MKULTRA program are on occasion in jeopardy.

b. Some MKULTRA activities raise questions of legality implicit in the original charter.

c. A final phase of the testing of MKULTRA products places the rights and interests of U.S. citizens in jeopardy.

d. Public disclosure of some aspects of MKULTRA activity could induce serious adverse reaction in U.S. public opinion, as well as stimulate offensive and defensive action in this field on the part of foreign intelligence services.


Project THIRD CHANCE testing on unwitting European population
Project DERBY HAT testing on unwitting Asian population

A Cow, a Goat, and a Chicken Walk Into My Backyard, and Eat It

Thanks to real estate company Movoto and its prolific Novelty Real Estate bloggers, we can now tell exactly how many goats — or chickens, or cows, or guinea pigs — it’ll take to keep our turf in check. Got space for the back nine in your yard? Better go with a cow or six, which is how many it takes to chew down an acre in a day. Don’t want the cow pies? Try a guinea pig ...

Livestock Landscaping Calculator

I hate to say this but not even one (1) cow could survive on this 40 acres that I own down here in S.E. AZ.

oh - I'm not a ranch hand but I've shared more than one cup of coffee with them on drill sites down in S Texas. There it can take 100+ acs to just keep a cow alive. And for a laugh: a friend bought a couple of goats to eat his weeds/grass. He discovered his goats would eat the siding on his trailer before they ate the weeds. LOL

My sister-in-law's family's 80 section cow-calf operation in NE AZ and NW NM has a carrying capacity of about 3 AU per section (when it isn't in drought).

Note:If I count the extended family it's more like 240 sections. It got split three ways two generations back.

The Nakedness Of Their Greed

... I miss the old days, when hack politicians at least felt the need to give voters a decent cover story for their chicanery. After all, if they're going to stick it to us, the least they can do is put a little effort into misleading us. C'mon, guys, show a little more courtesy! You're not even trying to fake it.


No more condoms ...

The Coming Food Crisis: Blame Ethanol?

If you believe the folks at the New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge, Mass., the global food supply system is stumbling into a drought-induced supply shortage that could galvanize a global food crisis far more severe than those implicated in the widespread uprisings known as the Arab Spring.

In an updated version of a paper first published in September, Marco Lagi, Yavni Bar-Yam and Yaneer Bar-Yam considered the possible consequences of the prolonged drought in the mid-western United States, the worst in half a century, on global food prices. The analysis, which relied on a quantitative model of historical food prices, concluded that the drought could amplify the impact of market speculation and corn-to-ethanol conversion policies on the impending global food crisis by an order of magnitude.

As expected, and predicted.

Inefficiently converting food to fuel adds local jobs and increases income for farmers, and the US might come out a tad ahead if the oil investment in corn offers a positive return (nat gas for fertilizer counts a lot less since gas is cheap -- if this converts nat gas to fuel it's not much different than a tar sands projects from one perspective).

If high gas prices incents less driving, do high food prices incent less procreation?

Would be interesting if we put ourselves in a position to choose between kids and cars.

But of course not all nations will have the same tradeoffs and choices. They simply have to live with high food prices. Perhaps the real trade is the US cars versus foreign lives. Global capitalism has a nifty way of blurring cause and effect so that such choices don't have to be consciously. It's simply unfortunate that my "want" for a car for my teenager is amplified to exceed your want for your child to survive.

Weak monsoon may fuel diesel demand for farm sector

New Delhi: Demand for diesel in India is expected to increase with more farmers using the subsidised fuel for pumping water in the backdrop of the monsoon failing to pick up more than midway through the season.

States are anticipating higher demand for diesel in the face of deficient rainfall. While the overall rain deficit in the country as of Friday was 21%, the worst-affected regions were the north-west (39%), and the central and the south peninsula (21% each).

... Diesel consumption in India grew 16% in the first three months of the current fiscal to 18.3 million tonnes (mt) from 15.8 mt in the corresponding period last fiscal.

An assessment by the ministry of agriculture on the rainfall situation and its impact on agriculture, released on 24 July, had pointed out that the cost of agricultural production is likely to increase “due to more demand of energy for operating water lifting devices in irrigated areas”.

Climate Change article on Alertnet focusing on Drought, with mention of Greenland Ice Sheet Melting:


Interesting comments to the article about population and per-capita consumption.

If only these articles and comments would appear on sites/TV channels such as CNN and Fox and in magazines such as Time and NewsWeek and not just on sites such as AlterNet and MotherJones:

If only we had taken head of the scientists in the sixties telling
us overpopulation was heading us to disaster and done something to throttle
down humanity. In 1960 we and the world had half as many people as we do today,
and if we were 3 billion today Global Warming would be a distant blip on our
radar and the mass extinction of wildlife would not be coming. The Earth could
be an Eden at 3 to 4 billion, it is in bad shape at
7 billion, and it will be a living Hell at 9 to 10 billion, which is what it
will be when our children are our age today. We have forsaken our children's
future by having too many of them!


The sustainable carrying capacity of the earth might be more like 1.5 billion if everyone lives like the average American.


There are those who say that we should all strive to level down to the quality of life enjoyed by a Bengali peasant, just so we can squeeze in several billion more people: quantity of life over quality of life.


Actually, those 1.5 billion would have to live with less than 1/2 the energy requirement of the "average American"...

The LA times posted the first installment of five on population issues on Sunday, July 22. My apologies if this was posted in another Drumbeat - I just noticed the series online today.



Thanks for that link.

It certainly highlights the social/cultural/religious challenges to population control and at the same time highlights the enormous magnitude of the problem.
So sad to see some of the younger folks wanting to limit their own family size but restricted/impeded by their own parents/families/pastors wishes.

Thanks for the link. What the article doesn't mention is that even if population levels off miraculously we are yet to see that massive explosion in consumption rates which will come with people in developing countries turning into voracious consumers. The disaster is baked in at this point of time...we are going to witness the largest bottleneck event ever in the history of mankind and most likely it will be played out before the century is over.

This just up:

The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic


What a self-absorbed TWOT Muller is.

Here is my reading between the lines synopsis...

I, Richard Muller, believe all climate science models are full of assumptions that makes them suspect (so what if they have been remarkably prescient) But my assumption free, human-interference free, totally wicked and totally automated analysis shows that AGW is real and is caused by CO2 emissions.

Furthermore, I, Richard Muller, my daughter, and my lead scientist have shown that AGW is occurring, but that there is no need to panic as temperatures will continue to rise gradually (Phew!), unless of course those nasty Chinese get carried away and use too much coal (then panic, and remember that in this case catastrophic climate change will be all their fault).

Also, polar bears aren’t dying from receding ice (they are just starving for a place to hunt seals from, it's a technology problem, maybe Rex "We'll Adapt" Tillerson can help the bears with this engineering problem) , and the Himalayan glaciers aren’t going to melt by 2035 (it'll be sometime after that). And it's been this warm before, back in "Medieval" times. And this "warm spell" in the U.S. (killer drought) is nothing to get anxious about because there is a "cool spell" (and remarkably wet one too) somewhere else in the world that totally balances things out.

In conclusion, unlike my study, the work of all other climate scientists remains full of assumptions that lead them to think AGW is real. So they are wrong, regardless of whether the results of my study agrees with what they have been saying for the last thirty years.

My thoughts exactly. Hooray to Dr. Muller for replicating 10-20 year-old science!

I wonder if he accepts anything that doesn't come from his lab.

Its a useful example nevertheless. There are a lot of scientifically literate people who are deniers -I suspect it comes from watching Fox News or some such. In any case the example of one of them being able to do a decent meta-study (and from the a-priori assumption that the climate scientists are wrong and/or frauds), and then discover that lo and behold they knew what they were doing all along, is certainly a great help debate wise. Sciencewise not so much. But, it does show that even a biased person if he/she carefully follows the scientific method can come up with decent results.

He is a good reminder that ALL scientists are still Fallible, Mortal, Emotional Human Beings, which can be a great or a terrible thing, although mostly it'll be some mix of the two.

All in all, I'd say it's not bad to have his testimony added to the chorus of voices. It offers room for others who would change sides if only they didn't so disdain the company of those they'd have to join to do so. (Company who might be ready to jump on with a bunch of 'I told you so' as a welcome wagon. Ever wonder how many stubborn coots don't change their minds just for that prospect alone?) ((Take my wife..!))

Two headlines posted one ofter the other on NBC.com right now:

DOW surges past 13000 on hopes of stimulus"


Economy Falters as Washington Fails to Act:


I have heard, numerous time over the past years, seemingly contradictory news stories at the top of the hour on AM radio during drivetime:

1. The Housing stat in question is improving and hopeful

2. The other housing stat in question has taken a turn for the worse and is cause for concern

One, right after the other...

It is like 1984...or V For Vendetta...the departments of Propaganda continually issue specious shinola to confuse the sheeple...while bread and circuses entertainment and diversions are provided to keep anyone from focusing on the contradictions offered as news stories.


All examples of why I answered the way I did to your comment about softening the shock of transition away from FF use. We won't do anything until it's way past the point of being too late, and even then we probably won't do anything. We'll be too busy blaming someone else.

The news simply loves to paint a dramatically changing scene to grab viewers/readers attention. Most often the change they are referring to is a minor temporary fluctuation, i.e. 1-2%, yet they want to make it seem like it heralds a changing of the tide, with an emotionally charged implication of a minor positive change possibly balooning into massive housing sales and a big jump in GDP! All the while they ignore the high cost of oil as it dampens growth.

What I find fascinating is the blame being laid on Obama for lackluster GDP growth, like he's holding back on using his magic elixer or some such thing. They will ask themselves in Nov. if Romney has the right potion. Could he actually be right, that deep tax cuts for the job creators will spur growth? It might even compensate for dropping EROEI. HA!

My favorite contradictory News Headlines are always the Bloomberg reports on oil price, and how, after a continuous ramping up, they pick a little drop and trumpet "Oil Falls from Seven week high".. a linguistic backflip that suggests the fall has just reversed all that growth, and not just an hour's downswing in morning trading..

Also, just announced: "Last week, The Onion reported that all our troubles are over, when in fact all is lost. We regret the error."


Annual Alaska + North Dakota crude oil production (EIA, crude + condensate)

2004: 0.99 mbpd
2011: 0.99 mbpd

Monthly Alaska + North Dakota crude oil production:

January, 2012: 1.15 mbpd
April, 2012: 1.16 mbpd

Just to ensure I am reading this correctly:

The monthly AK Plus ND Crude production so far in 2012 is somewhat greater than the Annual AK plus ND Crude + Condensate production in the time-span of 2004-2011?

What is the likely topside of ND/MT oil production? Since I have not heard about increases in AK oil production (quite the opposite) then I assume all of this increase is from ND production.

I wonder what the top-end will be...and what about the assertions I have read that there are anywhere from several to over 10 more oil-bearing strata below the currently-produced Bakken trend?


2004: 0.91 mbpd
2011: 0.57

North Dakota:

2004: 0.085
2011: 0.42

The 2004 to 2011 increase in production from North Dakota offset the 2004 to 2011 decline from Alaska, which is also true regarding the monthly data, for January, 2012 to April, 2012. The three month increase in production from North Dakota offset the three month decline from Alaska. (Taking the EIA data at face value.)

But it does seem likely that the combined annual production in 2012 will exceed the 2011 annual rate.

(!) Boom times in ND.

I had a discussion with a pretty smart guy (in his field) who works for the government...but his areas of expertise did not include FF issues...he espoused the idea that the free market has unleashed new production in the U.S.,and that eliminating most of the remaining government regulations would ensure even greater supply.

I verbally described the graph of U.S. oil production, with the early 70s peak, the secondary but lower Prudhoe Bay peak, and the current 'third order harmonic peak' with the current production advances...I tried to make the point that each of these 'sub-peaks' seem exciting and hopeful, and they do buy us some time...but the overall trend in down...no return to our 1972 peak by any stretch of the imagination.

He went down the road of 'The oil age will end some day because we found something better, not because we ran out of oil...'like the stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones'.


I could have talked about flat World oil supply, but he would just counter that higher prices and less regulation would lead to even more impressive discoveries across the World...I chummed the water with a vacuous statement about how there could be untold amounts of oil beneath Greenland and Antarctica, and his response was that there would be plenty of large deposits discovered in much easier areas of the World before we would have to go to such extremes.

I think his 'something better than oil' was some leading-edge large-scale application of nuclear fission (his area of expertise), combined with increased efficiency and some level of supporting roles from wind and solar and NG and coal.

It would be fascinating to arrange a week-long forum where some of the most eloquent and knowledgeable PO experts hold a colloquium with a spectrum of PHds and engineers from the government's FFRDCs (Federally-Funded Research and Development Corporations)and related entities such as Battelle, Pacific National Labs, Draper, MITRE, RAND, Sandia National Labs, Lawrence/Berkley Livermore, Los Alamos, and also folks from across DOE and EIA etc.

It is one thing to hold a revival meeting with the faithful (PO conventions with many of the choir in the crowd) and another thing to hold a forum with many well-educated but non-PO converts/PO skeptics. It would be great to video and transcribe the ensuing working groups.

Some months ago a drilling ship left Greenland after drilling eight disappointing wildcat wells. The ship was headed for a second round of drilling off the Falkland Islands.

I think we are already "there".


Having worked for a company that drilled a few billion dollars worth of dry holes in the Canadian Arctic Islands near Greenland, I'm not surprised that the company drilled 8 consecutive dry holes off Greenland.

Maybe they'll have better luck off the Falklands, but I wouldn't bet money on it.

H – Interesting perspective from a guy who works for the Mother Of All regulators: ”… and that eliminating most of the remaining government regulations would ensure even greater supply.” I work (and have for 37 years) in 3 of the most prolific hydrocarbon regions of the country: Texas, La. And the GOM. And not once has any fed regulation prevented me from drilling even one well. Some delay problems such as the DW GOM drilling moratorium after the BP nightmare but that has past and ops are back to normal. Sounds like he’s just buying the hype coming out of some of the oil patch mouth pieces. Some offshore areas and BLM are still out of bounds but little or nothing has been proven to exist there. And some data indicating that there is little potential. As other have argued it might be beneficial to drill these areas and prove what is (or more likely isn’t) out there.

Consider how much money was spent in the past seven years in Alaska & North Dakota, just to bring their combined production back up to the 2004 rate.

His "'The oil age will end some day because we found something better," will in some sense of the term become true. Now it is probable that the something better we substitute is "better" because at $300 per barrel (or insert your favorite high price), the alternative (electric vehicle, walking, public transit, etc.) will just seem to be the better choice, regardless of whether it can match the performance. Sure we will substitute. Whats not sure is whether the new lifestyle will actually be better than the old.

H - Just my WAGs but I suspect drilling activity will remain at roughly the current level as long as oil prices stay about where they are. But I suspect we’ll not see a repeat of the dramatic rise in rig count even if prices rebound a bit. Not because operators will have fewer prospects to drill but more likely have tapped out equipment utilization. Of course, eventually all the viable Bakken wells (and other reservoirs) will be drilled up but that would be many, many years down the road IMHO…as long as oil prices stay elevated. But due the high decline rates the production volume has to be maintained by a vigorous drilling effort. I doubt we will see a similar increase in rate over the next few years as we’ve seen in the last 5 years: there is a limit to equipment, manpower and capex regardless of the profit potential..

More current views:

“The pace of oil drilling could slow in the Bakken formation in North Dakota and also in the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas if US prices were to drop below $80/bbl for a sustained period, said Baker Hughes Inc.’s president and chief executive officer. "I think the shoe’s dropping in South Texas, no doubt about it…I’m a little bit more concerned about the Bakken…”

Separately, Barclays Capital analyst…wrote…that North Dakota might be experiencing a slowdown after the state has repeatedly reported record drilling…The largest drillers in the Bakken are all reducing their rig counts this month, although none acknowledge a change in drilling plans,”

"Horizontal drilling is expensive, as drilling levels must be maintained sufficiently to veil the effect of steep decline rates,.The technique is particularly intensive in the use of fracturing crews and other oil service industry inputs.North Dakota's Industrial Commission showed 210 rigs operated in the state during early July, down by 5 from June levels. State oil regulators have said they do not expect a constant climb in the rig count.”

"What we expect is a bit of a saw-tooth pattern in our rig count as new built rigs are brought in…Once they're up and operating, then older, inefficient rigs will be moved out.”

I don't expect any national awakening about PO and LTG anytime soon...not as long as we have other countries to bring democracy to!


An attack on Iran will provide perfect cover to pull the plug on the U.S. Budget Sequester scheduled to take place 2 January 2013.

Either the whole deal will be cancelled, or perhaps only the 'Defense' cuts will be dropped, with the non-defense cuts preserved.

Maybe, if the election gives the R's all of Congress and the Presidency, the non-defense cuts will be doubled, the MIC budget will be programmed to reach 6% of GNP (a considerable increase which is being shopped around by certain factions), and another generous round of tax cuts will ensue. Maybe if the D's take total control much the same will happen.

Or maybe the entire sequester will be scrapped, and the MIC budget increases and the tax cuts will go through, and the storyline will be back to 'Deficits Don't Matter'.

Thanks to these circuses, any hope of PO and LTG awareness being lifted out of marginalization to mainstream seems dim.

If Mitt gets in with an R House & R Senate, he plans to greatly increase the MIC. Here's a good article on it: http://truth-out.org/news/item/10586-unlike-mitt-romney-most-americans-w...

In terms of U.S. warships alone, he promised to raise annual production by 67 percent. Attacking President Barack Obama for what he claimed was military weakness, Romney called for increasing the U.S. military budget, in fiscal 2013, by 17 percent. Indeed, he has proposed raising U.S. military spending by as much as $2 trillion over the next decade.

$2T in opportunity costs...plus another $1T from avoiding the MIC sequester cuts over the next 10 years.

And I consider the threatened MIC sequester cuts a fairly minor dent, as they simply slow the originally-projected rate of MIC budget growth.

I guarantee you that poring that much coal on the MIC budget fire will result in crazy MIC contractor inflation, and frittering away money for nothing, as once the sharks smell the chum in the water the number of military 'requirements' will blossom far in excess of what even the huge $2 boost could fund...we will be back to 'Star Wars', Hafnium-bombs and Hafnium-powered airplanes (See 'Imaginary Weapons'), and all manner of monetary rat-holes.

What we need to do is program $3T towards negawatts, wind, solar, grid upgrades, better intra and inter-city rail, etc.

Oh, I just read earlier today that Mr. Romney has promised that he would move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This guy will be as bad or worse than G.W. Bush...

That it's even a possibility we might elect another rapacious plutocrat is a strong condemnation of the U.S. political process. That I have to work on behalf of an anti-libertarian, corporatist DLC puke to prevent this is even more revolting.

More people could have voted for Ron Paul (and a suitably-sized coterie of Libertarian Congresscritters) if they ///really wanted/// change!

Whoops, Two things prevented Ron Paul from being nominated:

1) He wanted to significantly cut the MIC

2) Very few Dems and just as few R's ///really want/// smaller government.

With the LTG facing us, I would trade away social security, but I insist on some basic Universal but seriously cost-controlled (rationed) health care.

I would cut the MIC by 35-65%

The EPA and most other regulatory agencies stay.

Institute a national VAT.

Institute carbon taxes.

Reduce and simplify income taxes...eliminate many deductions...mortgage, capital gains, carried interest, perhaps charitable as well.

If folks don't want their property taxes raised, we can experiment with increasing gasoline and license and registration fees for cars to pay for roads, along with toll roads, bridges, subscription fees for public schools, fire and police and ambulance services, making all new construction no kidding pay true cost for every penny of public utility/road extensions to serve the new property improvements, etc. Increased fees for garbage pickup and disposal, no bonds for new sporting venues...make them come into being as strictly private enterprise functions, and still tax them for every public improvement and service they use, and then charge the fans the true full burdened cost per ticket...tax all the church property.

How many folks really want to join with me, and try an experiment where government is truly reduced, simplified, and most things we take for granted are now fee-for service, point -of-use and subscription?

I already know the answer. So...all the bluster from Rs and Libertarians about reducing government goes in one ear and out my other...because most people have not thought these things through from a whole systems/true impact perspective.

'Get your government hands off my Medicare!'

Of course, note that I draw the line at disbanding regulatory agencies/jettisoning regulations...even though many of our so-called watchdogs are captured by the industries they supposedly regulate, I shudder to think how the 'free market' would treat externalizes with no one making them behave.

Health care...some level of health care is a human right in my opinion. Folks who think that their lifestyle/diet/etc will protect them from an accident or illness are not dealing with reality. Yes, better lifestyles and safety-conscious living are admirable and desirable, but fate can and will play its hand when and wherever. You can shape the odds, but you can't leave the game.

One last: benamery21, this rant of mine was //not// directed at you. You seem like a logical, level-headed person. Even though you don't manage my trons in ABQ, I thank you for 'keeping the lights on'.

Two things prevented Ron Paul from being nominated:

I am in many ways a big fan of Ron Paul, however, I do think we have to acknowledge that the bigotry in his newsletters may have justly doomed his run for presidency.

we have to acknowledge that the bigotry in his newsletters may have justly doomed his run for presidency.

I doubt it. At least not in the primaries. Far more likely the very things you liked about him, including anti-imperialism, anti-humongous military, anti- war on drugs, prison industrial complex.

Or maybe just that he's off his head?

Thanks for this very typical example of how intelligent and well thought out much of the opposition to Ron Paul is.

As ever, Ron Paul shows us how a person can be really bright in one area, and really cockeyed in another.

He frequently right, and yet sooo wrong at the same time.

I think he challenged war and the power structure too much to ever get further INTO that structure.

Several other posters here including Heisenberg will remember me going into significant detail as to my objections to Paul. I don't think it's really the place to do it again. Had I reeled off another screed on the subject, Leanan would likely, rightly have removed it. I will try to restrain myself to a few highlights. One of my objections is that I think implementation of Paul's ideas would result in civil liberties reductions via state and local intrusions on liberty unrestrained by the Feds. I also went off at length against some apologetics posted here on his racial views. I also view his economic ideas as dangerously simplistic. His governmental temperament is also a concern.

Yeah. You might be right about that, especially the primaries part. The Republicans certainly seem unlikely to hold racism against anyone, to say the least.

What we need to do is program $3T towards negawatts, wind, solar, grid upgrades, better intra and inter-city rail, etc.

This guy will be as bad or worse than G.W. Bush...

Agree in spades. I don't get the paranoia bit about spending so much on defense. What's to be afraid of - a few guys hyjacking commercial airliners? Just put a lock on the captain's door and get on with the business of a major energy transition. I thought Obama was going to use most of the stimulus to get it started, but ended up using most of it for political points with more tax cuts. For goodness sakes, stop cutting taxes!

One small corner of the stimulus was to roughly quadruple the rate of home weatherization under the WAP. 2009 was ramp-up but in 2010 about 330K homes were weatherized, up from an average of 95K from 2000-2007. Via this and various other programs there is a stated goal of weatherizing 1M homes per year.

Since the debts will never be paid anyway might as well spend like there is no tomorrow! Deficits don't matter and this is especially true when there is a Euro crisis across the pond. Not only will people pay little attention to the deficits, they will actually see the US as a safe haven!

The U.S. spends about 9% of GDP on energy consumption, much of which is imported. How much federal physical capital investment at a negative real interest rate is justified in reducing that, strictly on financial grounds?

222,000 added on foodstamps in may vs 77,000 non farm jobs.
this is what peak oil looks like.

No, this is what inefficient energy use, plus crony capitalism, plus government austerity looks like. We are foregoing the value of production of millions of man-years of labor for no apparent reason (well other than driving down incomes to subsistence levels). We could easily run our economy on half the energy we now use, and provide work for the unemployed while getting there.

It'll make your head spin, but very large numbers of those eligible aren't collecting SNAP. If they were, about 66M Americans would be collecting SNAP.

i agree there, inefficient energy use and infectious greed have
to be turned around asap, i'm all in on that.
i'd rather be installing maglev wind turbines.

Wow, those are startling stats, fubar. 3 x's as many fs as nfj's! Peak oil's puttin the squeeze on people.

So he wants to pay 13.9% on $20 million of income AND keep building a war machine as if the Soviet Union (which he keeps mentioning!) still exists. What kind of math supports that? I know he is old enough to know what the tax rates were during the cold war. Fiscal conservative? Yeah, right.

His idea I think is to implement the Ryan Plan, then probably nix or greatly reduce most social safety net programs (including food stamps) to pay for his intended huge tax cuts and massive defense increase, so the rich can get richer but also feel safer via a much bigger military.

We'll see if people fall for it. My take on the situation as things stand is Romney loses, but if the EU hits a wall (w/Spain going belly up) and world stock markets tank, then people may be slow whitted enough to vote against their own best interests, falsely thinking he will revive high GDP growth (in spite of peak oil), but in so doing seal their own fate to roam the streets pushing a shopping cart in search of recyclibles wondering why they did that to themselves.

India power outage hits 350m people
Delhi and states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir all affected


From article:-
He (Mr. Shinde) then prompted widespread incredulity by claiming that India had one of the best power grids in the world and boasting that when the US faced a similar failure in 2008, it took power from India.
LMAO! Delusional or what!?

From Washington Post:

Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde deflected criticism, pointing out that the United States and Brazil also had huge power failures in recent years.

Translation error?

Ah, possibly. Thanks.

David Strahan has commented on the Monbiot-Maugeri issue: