Drumbeat: August 11, 2012

Recycling Reality: Humans Set to Trash Most Elements on the Periodic Table

Almost all lead is recycled, among the only elements on the periodic table to earn that distinction. With good reason, mind you: the soft metal is a potent neurotoxic known to impact children’s brain development, among other nasty health effects. Today, nearly all lead is used in batteries (though it was once put into gasoline, leading to widespread contamination, and, in places like Afghanistan, still is.) Most of this dangerous element is now endlessly cycled from battery to battery, thanks to stringent regulations (though enough of it ends up being improperly recycled to constitute one of the world’s worst pollution problems.)

In principle, all metals are infinitely recycleable and could exist in a closed loop system, note the authors of a survey of the metals recycling field published in Science on August 10. There’s a benefit too, because recycling is typically more energy-efficient than mining and refining raw ore for virgin materials. Estimates vary but mining and refining can require as much as 20 times the amount of energy as recycling a given material. Think about it: a vast amount of energy, technology, human labor and time are expended to get various elements out of the ground and then that element is often discarded after a single use.

India’s Biggest Corporate Loss Shows Singh’s Deficit Dilemma

“There’s a problem with inflation and we can’t increase fuel prices, and the budgeted amount for subsidy is not enough,” Indian Oil Chairman R.S. Butola told reporters in New Delhi yesterday. “The problems are many, but something will have to be done. The loss is huge.”

Rise in oil prices on QE3 expectations should be a warning to the Fed

Crude Oil prices for WTI were just $78 dollars in July, a month later they are $93.40 with supplies well above their five year average range, China decelerating at a rate not seen since the financial crisis, and US gasoline demand down 4.2 percent year-on-year and distillates down 2.8 percent.

So what the heck is going on in the Oil Markets? Well, just look at the S&P for your answer: Capital has flowed into assets based upon the expectation that Bernanke and his cohorts at the Federal Reserve will print some more money out of thin air in the form of some monetary easing initiative falling under the heading of QE3.

US gas prices spike; refinery problems cited

NEW YORK — A surprise surge in gasoline prices is taking some of the fun out of summer.

The national average for a gallon of gas at the pump has climbed to $3.67, a rise of 34 cents since July 1. An increase in crude oil prices and problems with refineries and pipelines in the West Coast and Midwest, including a fire in California, are mostly to blame.

Opec output down as crude gains

Opec oil output fell last month, one in which the price of crude rose steadily on geopolitical concerns and steady demand.

The 12 members of the organisation pumped a total average of 31.1 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, a decrease of 157,000 bpd.

Iran, saddled with hefty sanctions, led the decline but Saudi Arabia, Libya and Angola also reduced output.The cutback was partially offset by Iraq, which passed the 3 million bpd mark for the first time in many years.

Iraq oil production surpasses Iran

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Oil production in Iraq surpassed that of its regional rival Iran last month, highlighting the impact of continued investment in Iraq and Western sanctions on Iran.

Iraqi oil production inched over the 3 million barrel a day mark in July, according to numbers released Friday by the International Energy Agency. That's 300,000 barrels per day higher than the country's average output in 2011.

Iran needs oil at $127 to balance budget, more than Saudi Arabia

Manama: Iran needs oil to average $127 a barrel this year for its fiscal budget to break even, more than what Saudi Arabia needs to balance its spending plan, according to an inter-governmental Arab energy lender.

Oil prices must average $99 a barrel this year for the 12 members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) to be able to balance their national budgets, the Arab Petroleum Investments Corp., known as Apicorp, said in an e-mailed report.

EIA: Kazakhstan's oil production to decrease in 2012

Kazakhstan's oil production will decrease by 70,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.57 million bpd in 2012, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts.

Tough coal market means big loss for Alpha Natural

NEW YORK (AP) — Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources Inc. said Wednesday it lost $2.2 billion in the second quarter as the industry struggled to compete with cheap natural gas and demand waned in some key markets.

Analysis: Legal woes may spoil Chesapeake's Michigan sale

HOUSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chesapeake Energy's planned sale of its oil and gas properties in Michigan likely will bring in less cash for operations or even be stymied completely because of probes into how it got the properties in the first place, some analysts say.

ATP Oil Said to Get Funding Ahead of Possible Bankruptcy

ATP Oil & Gas Corp., the oil explorer whose new chief executive officer quit after less than a week in June, arranged loan financing ahead of a possible bankruptcy filing, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Gazprom, four Turkish companies sign agreement to import gas

Russian company Gazprom and four Turkish companies have signed an agreement on imports of Russian gas to Turkey via the Western Route, the Zaman newspaper reported with reference to a source in the Turkish Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK).

U.S. Sanctions Syrian Oil Firm

The United States has imposed sanctions on the Syrian state-run oil company Sytrol for providing gasoline to Iran, a State Department spokesman said.

The new penalties come after the firm delivered $36 million worth of gasoline to Iran in April, department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement.

Clinton meets Turkish leaders on Syria amid tales of new carnage

Aleppo, Syria (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Turkish leaders Saturday to discuss the spiraling crisis in Syria, where reports of deaths mount by the dozens every day.

US, Turkey plan for worst-case scenarios in Syria

ISTANBUL (AP) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Turkey's foreign minister say their countries are creating a formal structure to plan for worst-case scenarios in Syria, including a possible chemical weapons attack on regime opponents.

Libya National Congress Names Magariaf Interim President

Libya’s new interim legislature elected Mohammed Yussef Magariaf, leader of the National Front Party, as its new president as the country rebuilds after the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi 10 months ago.

Thousands file claims after Chevron refinery fire

RICHMOND, Calif. – Several thousand Richmond residents have filed legal claims against Chevron Corp., seeking compensation for a refinery fire that fouled the region's air for hours and sent more than 4,000 people to seek medical care for breathing problems and irritated eyes.

BP's Olympic Ads Seek To Erase Oil Spill From Memory

In this spring's run-up to the Olympic games, London 2012 organizers announced that BP would be a main sponsor of the event—specifically, a "Sustainability Partner" helping to create the "greenest Games ever." The enviro community balked at the move, launching campaigns, circulating videos, and pranking high-profile orgs to underscore the irony. But to little avail, it seems: Despite the controversy, a survey published this week shows that the oil and gas giant's Olympic ads seem to be rekindling the public's BP love.

The Ford Focus Electric: A bad case of range anxiety

As I pulled out of the garage on West 55th street and headed toward my house in Westchester County, I looked at the range gauge and saw that I had 50 miles left on the lithium ion battery -- plenty of juice to make the 20-mile trip. (The Focus's range when fully charged is 76 miles.) But as I drove, the mileage gauge kept changing in response to my driving habits. At one point it was down to 38, but then bounced back up to 42 but then down again to 35. How many miles did I really have? I didn't know. That night, I drove to the movies to see Beasts of the Southern Wild, and when I entered the parking lot I had about 15 miles left to make it home. Enough, but it was still a little nervous-making. So I checked my GPS for the closest charging station thinking it would be great if the car could recharge during the film. It turned out to be 10 miles away, across the river in New Jersey, not to mention the $5 toll on the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Japan: Inspectors Study Plant That Avoided Disaster

The nuclear power plant that was closest to the epicenter of last year’s earthquake endured more ground-shaking than the Fukushima plant did, but was largely undamaged because it was designed with enough safety margins, nuclear inspectors said Friday.

The Nun Who Broke Into the Nuclear Sanctum

The actions of Sister Rice, a New York native who grew up on a prosperous block in Morningside Heights, and her companions, ages 57 and 63, are a huge embarrassment for President Obama. Since 2010, he has led a campaign to eliminate or lock down nuclear materials as a way to fight atomic terrorism. Now, the three — two of whom, including Sister Rice, are free and are awaiting trial in October — have made nuclear theft seem only a little more challenging than a romp in the Tennessee woods.

US nuke plant delay fails to solve storage conundrum

The gauntlet has been thrown: until the US figures out what to do with its nuclear waste, new nuclear plants can't be licensed and existing licences can't be renewed.

The dramatic decision, taken by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on 8 August, is a sign of mounting pressure over the issue of nuclear waste storage, and is likely to rekindle doubts over the future of the nuclear industry. But whether it will result in a solution anytime soon is still unclear.

Cities, schools energize savings by conserving

When municipalities and school districts go over yearly budgets, they look at all the nuts and bolts. And in tough economic times, they also are looking at light bulbs.

Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Manchester are four very different communities, but all are trying to cut costs by conserving energy.

100% renewable energy 'attainable'

The ambition to generate 100% of Scotland's electricity from renewable sources by 2020 could be within reach, a report has suggested.

Scotland's Renewable Energy Sector In Numbers - an online portal by industry body Scottish Renewables which pulls together figures from a range of sources - shows figures on energy capacity, output, jobs and investment, and emissions which were buried away in dense government reports.

Hetch Hetchy reservoir debate swells with pending vote

On one side are Republican lawmakers and environmentalists, including Ronald Reagan's former interior secretary, who want the dam removed and valley restored. On the other are Democratic San Franciscans, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, fighting to hold onto the city's famously pure drinking water in a drought-prone state.

Filipinos should get used to weather disturbances

Manila: Filipinos should learn to accept that typhoons and other weather disturbances would increase in intensity as a result of effects of climate change, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said.

“Filipinos must learn to accept the growing intensity of typhoons as the new ‘normal’” the environment top official said in the aftermath of heavy rains that left large areas of the national capital region and surrounding provinces under several feet of water.

As reported in the media this morning, Rep. Paul Ryan is to be Mr. Romney's choice as running mate. Mr. Ryan's web page offers the usual Republican solution to the energy problem, that is, remove regulations and reduce taxes on the energy industry. HERE's Ryan's issue statement on energy.

As one might expect, there's no comment about reducing CO2 emissions while calling for more energy "made" in the US, as well as more refineries to produce the gasoline to power America's "Path to Prosperity"...

E. Swanson

"Ryan then dashed on to the platform from the battleship U.S.S. Wisconsin docked at Norfolk."

Such a great symbol. A thoroughly obsolete oil-burner best known for running aground, a collision, and an electrical fire while docked.

Maybe it's more appropriate than i thought...

Meet Paul Ryan: Climate Denier, Conspiracy Theorist, Koch Acolyte

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick, is a virulent denier of climate science, with a voting record to match.

A favorite of the Koch brothers, Ryan has accused scientists of engaging in conspiracy to “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” He has implied that snow invalidates global warming.

Ryan has voted to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting greenhouse pollution, to eliminate White House climate advisers, to block the U.S. Department of Agriculture from preparing for climate disasters like the drought devastating his home state, and to eliminate the Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E): ...

... In short, Paul Ryan stands with Big Oil against scientific fact and the future of human civilization.

Ryan's Family dynasty: Ryan, Inc. Roads, power plants, landfills, sludge ponds, golf courses. They're dirt movers.

Ryan, on energy:

It rejects calls from the President and his party’s leaders in Congress to raise taxes on energy producers. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, the President’s tax policies would “raise the cost of exploration and production, with the possible result of higher consumer prices and more slowly increasing domestic production.” Independent energy producers and families would bear the brunt of these punitive tax hikes.
The Obama administration has blocked and delayed domestic energy production both onshore and offshore, costing jobs and sidelining American energy sources at a time of rising gasoline prices and unstable conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.
The House-passed budget calls for a more sensible approach, allowing for more resources from bonus bids, rents, royalties, and fees as a result of unlocking domestic energy supplies in a safe, environmentally responsible manner.

A Long Term Solution for Energy Independence

I believe a national energy proposal must take a multi-pronged approach focused on increasing American-made energy, reforming outdated fuel regulations, and investing in alternative energy sources. I was happy to help author H.R. 909, A Roadmap for America’s Energy Future. This legislation, introduced by Representative Devin Nunes, promotes an all-of-the-above energy policy that embodies the pillars explained above: it facilitates American-made energy, recognizes the importance of alternative energy, streamlines the outdated regulatory process for clean technologies like nuclear power, and avoids hitting our economy with new taxes and mandates.

More Refineries

I also support reforms to our regulatory regime to allow for new refineries to be built in the U.S. We have not built any new refineries since 1976. At that time, our country was only using a handful of blends of gasoline. Now, we are attempting to refine four dozen blends of gasoline in a system designed to only produce a few. This has imposed substantial constraints on our ability to refine the gasoline that we use on a daily basis and has forced us to import more and more of the gasoline that we use. Furthermore, adding new refineries to the market will lead to greater competition and help place downward pressure on prices.

...see more at link.

Ryan supports H.R. 910 – the Energy Tax Prevention Act

112th Congress, 2011–2012

To amend the Clean Air Act to prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change, and for other purposes.

...and supports James Inhofe's Senate version: S. 482: Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011

His energy statement on his website also pledges to reduce dependence on oil producing nations like Iran and Venezuela... nations we currently buy no oil from. He must really think we are pretty thick

Per EIA we import about almost a million barrels/day from Venezuela.

Not to say that his plan is based in reality.

The U.S. is probably more comfortable with importing oil, in increasing amounts, from Vz vice from Iran.

The supply chain is much shorter.

We have a greater ability to bond with the folks in Vz...we are closer geographically, we are closer culturally/religiously...we have far more people who speak their language.

It may make more sense for Iran to sell its oil to more proximate customers...Europe, India, and to China (Mutually Assured Distribution of Resources).

It just makes sense to divide the resources to make the big dogs at least minimally satisfied.

What is more dangerous than a big, strong animal with sharp teeth and claws? Such an animal wounded and in a corner.

Paul is a graduate of Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville and earned a degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio.


Ryan was popular enough at Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville, Wis. to have been elected prom king and junior class president, but he was also voted by his senior class in 1988 as “Biggest Brown-Noser.”


There is a war going on on the Wikipedia "Paul Ryan" entry:

Wikipedia "Paul Ryan" Revision history:

Over 500 changes just today.

The noser data comes and goes.

And now it's gone again.

Paul Ryan Voted as best brown noser

So what? When that term is tossed as an epithet, it usually means no more than "he got good grades in one or more academic subjects." This being the anti-intellectual USA, there's a big social problem with academic success, although sports success is not only perfectly fine, but highly praiseworthy.

I wouldn't be surprised that the "Biggest Brown-Noser" title is true: I watched one local television station (Madison, WI) interview with one of Paul Ryan's high school teachers.

Let the economists and political scientists claim Paul Ryan; civil engineers have enough problems.

Paul Krugman has a post on his blog about the Romney economic plan, "Culture Of Fraud", in which he points to a new white paper from a group of Romney's economic advisers. If one reads the white paper and Krugman's comments, as well as the line by line commentary from Brad DeLong, one can see why Krugman chose his title. The authors of the paper apparently wish to ignore the fact that the tax cuts under the Bush 43 presidency, coupled with the unnecessary war with Iraq, led to a sharp rise in the US deficit. The authors suggest that cutting taxes further would result in "sustainable" economic growth, which many of us on DrumBeat think will be impossible after Peak Oil.

The differences between the Republicans and Democrats on economic and energy policy extend back to the events of the Great Depression. There is still a great debate on what was the best policy to solve that economic calamity, in spite of the passage of many decades. The Republicans have accepted the prescription of Hayek and Milton Friedman of the so-called "Chicago School" of economic thinking, which contrasts with that of Keynes, which appears to be the path of the Democrats. Both approaches claim to be aimed at restoring economic vitality and a growing economic system, that is, a system based on increasing consumption of material goods. As we now know, energy, especially oil, is at the base of all production/consumption activities and thus a growing economy will most likely result in increasing energy use. Such a result is highly unlikely, given our finite world, so it's reasonable to conclude that both parties are wrong and whichever party wins this electoral round will not be able to deliver on the promises made before the election. However, one party appears most willing to ignore the implications of their policies on the Earth's ecosystems, lying by omission, which would appear to be justifiable cause to use the word "fraud" to describe their public assertions...

E. Swanson

Sigh. I'd feel better of either of the schools of economics had something at all to say about energy resource depletion.

Economists who ignore peak oil are like physicians who ignore germ theory.

From memory, consumption as a % of US GDP has increased by 10% since 1980. This has come at the expense of investment and savings.

I think an alternative model is possible. Divert X% from consumption to wise investments - long lived investments in energy producing (see renewables) or energy efficient (my favorite - electrified rail, but also insulation, more efficient lighting, etc.) infrastructure.

I have read that, excluding land lease costs (just a transfer payment), over 90% of the lifetime cost of a wind turbine is invested when it enters operation. From an input/output perspective, the WT produces almost free energy for 20 to 25 years after that.

Solar PV likely has a higher ratio and longer life.

Divert, say 10% of GDP (back to 1980) for, say 15 years, and the accumulation of low cost inputs and more efficient operations of the economy will only benefit the economy and society.

Best Hopes,


While neither Keynes nor Austrian school deal explicitly with resource constraints, the Austrian school is significantly more useless in that it rests on a total lack of empirical evidence and persists only because its distributional upshot is to help those who need no help. I do not think it is fair to draw an equivalence between the two schools (to use the term loosely in the Austrian case) simply on these grounds. The Keynesian school offers some insight into the practical role of governance in promoting economic prosperity, both in fiscal and monetary terms, and some of its principles could be adapted to a nongrowth scenario; it is at its core a utilitarian philosophy, which is at the root of economics itself. Economics is about making good decisions through appropriate valuation, and macroeconomics is about creating systems that work at the policy level to promote good decisions and disincentivize bad decisions. The people who subscribe to the Austrian school simply do not understand economics at all. This includes a number of people who go by the title of "economist."

By the way, the same criticism could be raised of both schools for their failure to deal effectively with the problem of climate change and other environmental externalities. But again, the Keynesian school at least allows or is amenable to adaptation to provide a framework to address it, through a carbon tax or other mechanisms to distribute costs to more accurately reflect responsibility for them. The Austrians would simply deny the possibility that an externality can exist at all because the possibility is denied by the rational market, a first principle and article of faith from which all other forms of free market fundamentalism flow.

I've done a bit of remedial reading on economics these past few years since the 2008 crisis. I can't claim to understand the detailed differences between the two schools which you describe, however, I did recently read Milton Friedman's book, "Capitalism and Freedom", written in 1962. Friedman calls himself a 19th century Liberal, in that his free market economics was widely promoted in that century as the new, progressive, approach to economics. I found it most interesting that this 50 year old book, written for the public, presents an economic prescription which sounds very much like the latest Tea Party mantra. We must recall that Friedman was at the center of the policy advocated by Reagan and his ideas still permeate the basic Republican Party platform. That these ideas didn't work very well in the 19th century seems lost on those who promote them in the 21st....

E. Swanson

"macroeconomics is about creating systems that work at the policy level to promote good decisions and disincentivize bad decisions."

And that is where Keynesianism trips up. Who decides what is a good decision and a bad decision? If I decide to buy a new rifle, who is authorized to tell me whether this decision is good or bad? And why should their view outweigh my own?

The other problem of Keynesianism is the one Bernanke has now. He can hurl large quantities of money/liquidity into into the economy, but he can not control where it goes. So it ends up driving speculative bubbles instead of doing something productive. Add to that the problem of regulations slowing down or stopping anything looking like infrastructure development (not at all Keynes fault) and managing an economy becomes managing bubbles in consumer spending, and here we are.

The Austrian opinion is that psychology is an important part of the economic system, and that is ultimately unknowable in the short term. Therefore you are better off ignoring the short term trends. Furthermore, you must let the obsolete/inept companies fail. This is admittedly rather hard on the employees. Also many but not all Austrians are over fascinated with the absolute quantity of money in the economy, failing to see that credit spends the same as cash in the short run, and is more plentiful. Therefore a contraction in credit will also cause deflation even if the central bank increases the amount of cash if the increase in cash is less than the decrease in credit. So some of them get wrong answers too.

Keynesianism should work as a simple load leveling exercise. Unfortunately, politics does not allow part 2 to go into effect during a boom. The Left does not want to cut spending on social programs, and the Right does not want to raise taxes. Those actions would pay down the national debt so that there would be borrowing capacity available at the next recession. And it would also damp down the bubble. But no, we can't do that, "this time is different", "this is a a new paradigm" etc etc. So we hit the recession fully indebted from the last one, (stupid wars optional) and well, here we are.

"Keynesianism should work as a simple load leveling exercise. Unfortunately, politics does not allow part 2 to go into effect during a boom. The Left does not want to cut spending on social programs, and the Right does not want to raise taxes."

The thing is that during a boom, tax revenue would be expected to increase and, at least some social expenditures should fall, possibly resulting in a current revenue surplus or, based on extrapolations, a future revenue surplus. The right sees this as being morally wrong; their solution is to cut taxes and reduce or cripple regulation - recent examples in the US and Canada come to mind. Then on the downward side, they have no other solution except more of the same, possibly with some gutting of whatever safety nets that remain thrown in (the proposed Ryan budget comes to mind). If this is followed to its logical conclusion, you end up with an 18th century financial system, with the added feature of more or less permanent deficits. What the proponents of Austrian economics seem to conveniently forget is that is that numerous violent economic cycles preceded the Great Depression. In fact the term "depression" was adopted as a kinder, gentler alternative for "(financial) panic".

Keynes proposed a whole assortment of sensible things which are conveniently ignored by those who suggest that just because governments used some of them [running deficits] it shows his methods were wrong. Transparency of finance and international capital controls were his main thrust which allowed his other proposals to work. There is about as much Keynesian methods around as there is 'free market' economics - almost none.

PVguy wrote:

The Left does not want to cut spending on social programs, and the Right does not want to raise taxes.

We need to ALWAYS remember that the US spends $1 Trillion per YEAR, yes per YEAR on the costs of War and Military Keynesianism. The Left has ALWAYS supported cutting this huge waste of US taxpayers money and planetary resources. This is the largest part of the Federal budget. Social Security is (or WAS until Obomber and the Wimpocrats in collusion with Republicans stopped a portion of Social Security taxes) self-funded and has huge assets in Treasury bonds.
But the Military-Industrial complex spreads the wealth around to some extent to try to bribe "progressive" Democrats to support F-35's, the Star Wars boondoggle costing billions per year and still continuing even though it can never work, the nuclear weapons complex despite nuclear weapons reductions.
Any discussion which does not mention this is eluding the elephant in the room.
The next greatest subsidies are for sprawl via the unlimited mortgage deduction and the billions spent on our Auto Addicted highways.

Actually a few economists HAVE started talking about resource constraints and how they have been underemphasized by most economists. James Galbraith, economist son of John Kenneth Galbraith, last year wrote a paper on this:


This is joint work with Jing Chen and it’s work in progress addressed to a question that we believe has not be adequately dealt with, in fact barely dealt with at all, in any major tradition — neither in the mainstream nor in the Keynesian or progressive responses to the crisis so far.

The question that we are addressing, that we would like to address, is to the implications of rising resource costs for economic systems in general and for the structure of economic society.

Our approach is to treat the economy as having the same form as a biophysical system — something that it obviously does — insofar as economic life is part of human life and involves interaction between organized society and the natural world.

The meaning of this idea, in essence, is that you have to be able to get more value out of your environment than it costs to extract it. Otherwise, you cannot live.

Unfortunately Galbraith is almost alone amongst prominent academic economists in bringing up resource constraints as "liberal/progressive" economists like Krugman, Baker, Etc just hark back to decades old Keynesianism of the "digging holes to fill them back in" mode of economic growth/stimulus which is of course what the $1 Trillion annual War budget purports to do.
Marxists on the other hand, have always stressed the tie of economics to underlying physical reality but have not always been ecologically conscious either.

Regarding our upcoming election, I have frequently characterized the GOP and the Democrats as follows:

The GOP wants to increase our consumption of a near infinite fossil fuel supply, as we drive toward the net energy cliff in a H2 Hummer.

The Democrats want to transition from near infinite fossil fuels to cool new green sources of energy as we drive toward the net energy cliff in a plug-in hybrid.

In neither case (at least in public), do they question whether our "Wants" based economy and our suburban infrastructure are sustainable. Their argument is over how we will drive to our suburban houses and how we will heat and cool them.

My view of course is that we will be lucky to sustain a "Needs" based economy.

In my opinion, the ongoing efforts in OECD countries to keep the "Wants" based economy going are damaging the prospect of keeping the "Needs" based economy going. The 2002 to 2011 ratio of Global Net Exports of oil (GNE) to Chindia's Net Imports (CNI) versus total global public debt:


The 2002 to 2011 ratio of Global Net Exports of oil (GNE) to Chindia's Net Imports (CNI) versus total global public debt:

If you can't generate capitol, borrow. When the borrowing stops, everyone take a chair...


It has bee said that one cannot understand Ryan unless they understand Ayn Rand, evidently because:

In a 2005 speech to a group of Rand devotees called the Atlas Society, Ryan said that Rand was required reading for his office staff and interns. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” he told the group.

(Ayn Rand: Patron Saint of The Plutocracy). That is very scary if you know the Randian philosophy.

I don't know much about Randian philosophy, since I haven't read Atlas Shrugged. However, I did read her little book, Capitalism, which is a collection of her essays. Rand's essays were goofy as she often quoted from the characters in her books as if they were real people living real lives. Also included were several essays by Alan Greenspan. Remember him, the Fed Chairman appointed by Prez Reagan? I'd say we've already had a major dose of Randian economics, beginning with Reagan, and 2008 was the result. Let's have more "Irrational Exuberance", that will surely make things "Right"...

E. Swanson

You know, I wouldn't mind the whole "capitalists hiding in the mountains and leaving the rest of society to its own devices" thing.

For everyone worried about overpopulation, it seems that sperm counts worldwide are going from bad to worse. In Israel, Chris Busby predicts that because of uranium weapons production, all men will be sterile by 2020. Japan will have similar problems because of Fukushima.

But nowhere will be completely spared. The fallout (from weapons testing, Chernobyl, Fukushima, etc.) gets carried around by wind and water, so all men will probably have trouble conceiving, or else women will. Anecdotal evidence shows infertility on the upswing. I guess I'm not really surprised. Plastic packaging leaching chemicals, the junky additives in food ("food"), are also making us less healthy and lowering sperm counts.

We could be looking at a drastic decline in birthrates with no effort on the part of population-control organizations.


Wikipedia says that the world's population grew by 1.1% in 2011. As in every person that died was replaced by a new baby plus around ~75,000,000 other babies popped up extra. It seems that despite Fukushima and plastic packaging there was still enough sperm to go around.

*** Note: I agree that nuclear power, uranium weapons and plastic packaging are all things that need to be viewed with suspicion, if they must be used at all. I just don't think that it's a good idea to make it sound like the population growth problem has an easy solution.

Just wait until we burn the plastic from landfills to stay warm. Taste those dioxins..

Just a point of fact: burning wood makes dioxin too:

Fate and Distribution of Polychlorinated Dibenzo-p-dioxins and Dibenzofurans in
a Woodchip-fuelled Boiler
(PDF) http://www.ieecas.cn/qrjweb/AAQR/7_AAQR-10-11-OA-0098_282-289.pdf

NICE document on burning wood:
Firing installations for wood and other biomass fuels

It rates wood-stoves as being between 2KW and 10KW.

...and the truly horrifying
Emissions from Wood-Fired Combustion Equipment
(PDF) http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/industrial/pulp_paper_lumber/pdf/emissions_...

I love my wood-stove... and, yes, it's killing me.

Around here there are bits and pieces of neighborhoods that don't get frequent garbage pickup. So the unsorted trash is burned, the smell sort of sticks in your throat.

When I talk to people and explain that even though I'm 30 I've decided to wait a few more years before having my first child they say "that's because you come from a developed country, don't take the risk around here make sure to have lots of children soon because you might get cancer" It's like some vicious cycle where people feel pressured and make bad decisions. Then the consequences of their bad decisions pressure them more.

We get pickup 3 times a week and people still do it :( Some base instinct perhaps?


The movie, "Children of Men", was sort of based on this idea, that fallout will cause sterility - though it is women unable to become pregnant. Great show if you haven't seen it.

Will the last out turn off the lights?

California Gasoline Falls After Phillips 66 Said to Delay Work

Spot gasoline in California weakened against futures after Phillips 66 was said to delay six weeks of work on a hydrocracker at the Rodeo refinery in Northern California to take advantage of a fuel-price surge after a fire that cut production at Chevron Corp.’s Richmond plant.

meanwhile, 3 weeks ago ...

Refinery Status: Valve Leak Causes Flaring At Phillips 66 Rodeo, Calif., Refinery

... A leaking valve caused flaring and the release of excessive amounts of sulfur dioxide on July 24, at Phillips 66 122,000 barrel-a-day Rodeo, Calif., refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to a California Emergency Management Agency Hazardous Materials Spill Report.

Paul Ryan is going to force the Democrats to really discuss fiscal issues instead of the usual Romney dog in the car carrier type attacks.

A welcome change to BAU.

Obama seems to enjoy pointing out that tax cuts don't lead to prosperity. That's not a fiscal issue?

In what way does this relate to Seraph's post? Just askin'...

Tax issues are very fiscal. There was a song written about it.

Seraph's post (top of thread) was about a Phillips 66 refinery, not taxes. It was intercepted by a troll (who I think reposted after his/her original post was removed farther up). The refinery thread is now mucked up.

I think it was an honest mistake. He meant to reply to Black Dog's post about Ryan.

Black Dog's post concerning Romney and Ryan had direct links to their energy policy, and also, secondarily, to the impact on global warming from CO2 from FF burning.

Cog's reply [to Black Dog's post] did not relate to the issues of energy policy or climate change at all. His comments solely referenced fiscal policy, with a political slant concerning attack ad talking points.

Cog's comment violated your policy announcement at the end of yesterday's DB banning political attacks/statements which have no connection to energy or climate change or population or food or pollution issues, which seem to be the focus of this site.

Ghung's question was valid.

It's not like we never discuss fiscal policy here. I don't want to ban all political discussion not related to energy/environment. I'd just like people to step up their games a little. Both the civility and content of their comments. I don't want to see the taunting, name-calling, and mindless talking points here that infest so many other US-based sites.

Cog's comment was borderline, but I thought it stayed just this side of the line. If you disagree, feel free to flag it.

Re: Filipinos should get used to weather disturbances, official says from DB ...

Maybe they should convince the rice to 'get used to' typhoons during harvest season.

They are. IRRI, the International Rice Research Institute, is based in Los Baños and making a big push to develop rice that can deal with climate change.

Perhaps they should expand their research to include people who can deal with climate change as well...

I'm reminded of the dialogue from the movie Ice Age 3: "Maybe we can all quickly evolve into water creatures". So, how would it work? Are we supposed to make a bet that this year there will be a flood instead of a drought and buy their "flood resistant" variety?

Rice is already pretty flood-resistant. I believe IRRI is concentrating on making rice that's resistant to drought and to saltwater incursion.

They've already bred rice that's shorter and doesn't fall over as easily.

Actually, yes and no. Weed control with rice has been traditionally done by flood irrigation where the flood submerges the weeds and kills them. So rice by itself is capable of withstanding floods.

We do rice cultivation in the flood plains of Tamil nadu where we receive a total annual rainfall of 2200 mm in about 25 days. But the expectation is that the floods arrive like clock work, during a specific time - so much so that there are traditional festivals around it. But this has increasingly become unreliable. Last year, we had an unexpected rain during the flowering season. It killed most of the yield. Lucky for us, we planted a 6ft tall native, organic variety rice which survived the flood because it was tall. So surprisingly the "high yielding" short variety was not resilient to flood! But most people who have lost touch with these traditional varieties had IRRI stuff. Many lost their entire crops.

I wonder what IRRI will do: will their rice seeds sprout without water? This year that is the peculiar situation we're in. No crop at all because the monsoon has completely failed. We (my family) are OK because we're not fully dependent on the crop (I've got other "Industrial" means of survival) but there are entire families of farmers to whom this means a tragic year.

Maybe floating rice will become more popular. I know IRRI grows it in the Philippines.

Not much you can do with no water at all, though. Except irrigate.

The Philippines might have an advantage there, with their famous rice terraces. It makes water control easier.

Re: rice

I used to fly loads of wild rice from all over Manitoba. It was harvested by mechanizing two canoes and collected up on tarps.

Anyone here ever planted wild rice in a domestic pond? I am thinking of giving it a shot.

Thanks in advance.


Winona Laduke and Native Harvest have been working to reestablish the rice-growing in the northern US, (Minnesota?) which was a common crop for many Tribes up there, IIRC.



Sarah: Can you tell me about how wild rice is harvested?

Winona: We go up on the lake and we put our asemaa, our tobacco, on it. My son is my ricing partner, and we canoe through our rice beds. I used to push him, but he got too big, so now he pushes me out there, and I knock rice into the canoe with two sticks.

The rice grows on our lakes and rivers—some is fat and some skinny, some short, some tall. Some grows in muddy waters, some looks like a bottle brush, and some looks all punked out. That’s called biodiversity. It means not all the rice ripens at once. Some gets knocked off by wind. Some gets a blight, some doesn’t get a blight. The Irish potato famine should have taught us that agricultural monoculture is dangerous—but so is a social monoculture (or you could say, mall-culture).

The anthropologists used to come out and watch us manoominike—harvest the rice. After we rice in the morning, we bring our rice in and let it dry. We parch it over a fire, and we dance on it to get the hulls off, and then winnow it in a basket. We pretty much do the same thing today using wood fires as we’ve always done—we’re an intermediate technology people.

That's really nice. They're living within a functioning ecosystem. A very pleasant image. Thanks.

I met some folks in NC who do it. Their website isn't there anymore, but I'll try to find them. They built paddies that they flood from an adjacent pond. The hardest part is keeping ducks and blackbirds out, and dehusking after the harvest. They were hoping to buy a rice mill. I need to talk to these folks, see how they are doing.

The semi-local (120 miles away) farmer that I buy brown rice from (just got another 25 lb bag) SOMETIMES has red wild rice mixed in#. Strong customer demand for some wild rice mixed in - but he has difficulty raising it every crop (2/year). Germination if planted is 15%. "It's a weed that comes when it wants to".

#15 years ago he had a crop with a lot (say 10%) of wild red rice mixed in. The elevator offered him almost nothing for the crop - so he went to the Farmer's & Fishers Market. Still sells most to all of his crop that way. He comes every other Saturday to the New Orleans market - also sells in other markets.

Best Hopes for tasty rice,


The number of farmers markets has been increasing the past couple of decades:



California and New York are the far-and-away leaders in the total number of markets. "California, the country's top agricultural producing state, has 827 markets, according to the USDA. New York has 647, more than double the next most prolific state, Massachusetts, which has 313."

Her's looking towards more people buying fresh food and cooking more at home with basic ingredients.

The Rochester, NY Public Market has been around for a long time and just gets better and more popular - ongoing improvements, expansions, and new activities such as evening concerts "on the bricks". I like to swing by Saturday mornings and scoop up the fresh local produce.

I really enjoyed buying produce and some baked goods from the Amish folks in central Pennsylvania.

Their food always tasted good, and I think they eschew pesticides.

A recent article on urban agriculture:


A panel of urban framers discussing these issues:


DepressedaLot, perhaps these links may be of interest to you.

Sunson - Well said.
As a farmer (of livestock on mountain pastures) I share your concerns over the flawed promise of 'adaption' proposals.
The three major flaws need stating, as the assumption that we can adapt agriculture underlies much of the complacency over the lack of commensurate action to control global warming.

1/. We cannot know which way the weather will swing next year to plant appropriate varieties or make the right decisions over fractions of land to use for fodder & hay production. Yields will thus decline, driving more skilled farmers out of business.

2/. We cannot know which way the weather will swing next month meaning that harvests are taken before their best or will be lost to sudden weather impact. Yields will thus decline, driving more skilled farmers out of business.

3/. We do not face climate change; what we face is climate destabilization, with increasingly severe swings at decadal, annual and even fortnightly scales imposing crop losses. We have between the next 20 and 40 years of an increasing rate of warming, and consequent climate impacts, already locked in from our past GHG outputs;
- and, if we take 40 yrs to end anthro-GHG outputs then the timelagged warming will continue intensifying till at least the 2070s;
- and, ending our GHG outputs ends our maintenance of the cooling 'Sulphate Parasol' which is likely to at least double the warming received;
- and, all of that warming combined then powers the interactive mega-feedbacks, of which at least six are already observed to be accelerating, and several have the potential to dwarf anthro-emissions.

The idea of adapting global agriculture even to maintain yields - let alone raise them - under these conditions is simply unsupportable. Given that the annual decline-curve of summer arctic ice cover runs to zero around 2016, and given its influence on the northern hemisphere Jetstream that governs weather events from California to Spain to India to China, a crisis in terms of serial global crop failures is now very much closer to us than has been appreciated.

This predicament is certainly technically soluble, by means of applying a combination of:
- a global emissions control treaty (allocating declining national tradable emission rights converging to per capita parity by an agreed date);
- plus a global carbon recovery program to cleanse the atmosphere by around 2100, (via major afforestation optimized for biochar production as both a soil enhancer and self-funding carbon sequestration);
- plus an interim program of albedo restoration to control planetary temperature, halt the feedbacks' acceleration and stabilize global weather turbulence, (preferably via the 'cloud-brightening' option of lofting sea-spray several thousand feet up, targetted primarily on the arctic).

What is lacking for such a solution is not only the political will, but also the analysis by dissenters of the reason why political will is lacking. The fossil fuel lobby is a convenient repository of blame, but it makes no sense as the primary obstruction given the existential stakes all nations, including the US, now face.

The superpowers address the issue of climate change not only as an issue of their relative fossil energy costs over the next four decades, but also, critically, as one aspect of their rivalry for global economic dominance. The US, on present trends, is within six years of its economy being overtaken by China, and while it has since WW2 known no greater priority than maintaining global dominance, at present its only prospect of doing so is ensuring that unmitigated global warming will impose climatic destabilization and economic decline on China.

Numerous events in US conduct toward a climate treaty since Bush took power, and particularly under Obama, confirm this analysis, indicating that while there is a convenient circus of denial in the US, the actual (inadmissible) bipartisan policy has been one of a 'Brinkmanship of Inaction' against China.

For all it will take massive popular and international pressure to affect that policy, it is far from immutable. Its greatest weakness is due to the fact that the Neocons who originated it were poor strategists and prone to wishful thinking. The idea of breaking Beijing as Moscow had been broken in the '80s has to have been a very seductive prospect, and as a result it appears they misread the climate prognoses, assuming that the US would be both less hard hit by climate impacts than China and that it would be better able to endure the costs.

Neither assumption is holding up under the record of intensifying global climate impacts thus far. China is certainly vulnerable to global crop failures causing scarcity and civil unrest, but unlike the US it has very substantial popular support for the power of central government to intervene proactively for the public good.

To end this overlong comment, I'd suggest that if we are to retain and expand the number of skilled farmers that actually grow the food that society exists on, then we're going to have to challenge the orthodoxy of why the climate treaty is being obstructed, and then focus massive pressure on getting the established bipartisan US policy overturned. Nothing less will resolve the climatic threat to food supply.



- and, all of that warming combined then powers the interactive mega-feedbacks, of which at least six are already observed to be accelerating, and several have the potential to dwarf anthro-emissions.

Could you please point me to a link / elaborate what those "6 mega-feedbacks" are?

Similar wording:

"Yet we’re also committed to the ongoing acceleration of the interactive mega-feedback systems on warming, several of which have the potential to dwarf our emissions, and of which seven out of eight are already active at just 0.7C of warming."




The six interactive mega-feedbacks I referred to are – in order of known seniority –

A/. - The increasing capacity of the warming atmosphere to carry water vapour, which rises about 7% per degree centigrade, has been under way since anthro-warming began in early C19. Water vapour is a powerful GHG, but the rise also provides greater potential energy to storms that focus greater global precipitation. This feedback also adds volume to what might be called “the Mother of Feedbacks” which is the northward migration of rainfall from the tropics into high latitudes. NCAR has very fine plots of that strong but uneven global migration projecting stages of its progress from 1950 to 2099 at http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/research/profiles/images/2011/dai5.jpg . For context in viewing the plots, the US dustbowl was mostly around 3 to 4 on the ‘Palmer Drought Severity Index’, and only occasionally spiked to 6, with 4 to 6 shown as bright red. The plots are worth downloading from the main NCAR site and enlarging, and their background is worth studying there or in the paper “Drought under global warming: A review” by Dr Aiguo Dai at http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/adai/papers/Dai-drought_WIRES2010.pdf .

B/. – Albedo loss due primarily to cryosphere decline (shrinking of global snow and ice cover) had probably begun by 1950, and possibly earlier. Its loss of reflection of solar energy back into space was reported in Geophysical Letters (around March 2010) to be providing a warming equivalent to around 30% of current annual CO2 output. Its effect is sufficient to have caused increasing warmth to advance 1500kms from the Arctic Ocean across the permafrost.

C/. - Elevated CO2 is causing the microbial decay of peat bogs. The global increase of dissolved organic carbon in peatbog outflow streams, from which it rapidly outgases as CO2, was first observed in ’62, since when it has risen at a steady 6% /yr. The mechanism was identified around 2000 by Dr Foreman of Aberystwyth Uni, who reported in ‘Nature’ that raised airborne CO2 levels causes one microbe population to boom, which allows another that eats it also to boom, and the enzyme it produces for doing so happens to decompose peat. If the trend of airborne CO2 increase holds until the 2060s, annual peat bog decay would then emit CO2 equal to the entire anthro CO2 output of 2000.

D/. – The desiccation of soils and peat in tropical, sub-tropical and some temperate latitudes. This can be discerned in the Dai PDSI plots to have begun by the 70s, since when it has increased rapidly, with Hansen reporting the increase of land area under significant drought to have risen from 0.01% to around 10% at present. The consequence is an outgassing of both CO2 and CH4 (methane), with the latter having a GHG potency around 100 times as strong as CO2 over the crucial 20yr time horizon. Outputs appear to be amplified by volatility between drought and high rainfall events.

E/. - An accelerating melting of permafrost tundra was first observed in the ‘70s, with images widely published and discussed, for instance even in Dr John Gribben’s lay-science book “Hothouse Earth” in 1990. Estimates of the predictable output this century vary, with the NSIDC research indicting an annual output of around 1.8GtC /yr by 2100, and a cumulative output of around 100GtC, but failing to indicate any ratio of CO2 to CH4 outputs. If the ratio is just 1TsC as CH4 for every 9TsC as CO2, 1.8GtC /yr would be emitted with a CO2 GHG equivalence [CO2e] of around 30.0 GTCO2e. Yet the increasing prevalence of thermokarst melt pools and land-slip dam lakes, plus the greatly raised rainfall predicted for high latitudes, indicates that much of the melting and unleashed decay will occur anaerobically, thus favouring methane emissions over CO2. For discussion and links on this feedback at Climate Progress see link

F/. – Since the early 1980s there has been a strong rise in the prevalence of wildfire globally, emitting not only CO2 but also a cocktail of GHGs including CO, CH4, VOCs, NOx, etc. The scale of output is rising rapidly, reflecting both increasing global desiccation events and notably the bark beetle impacts in North America, which now threaten to cross the Rockies from western Canada into the truly vast Jack Pine forests of the east. The scale of this disaster can be seen in the area of around 43 million acres hit just in the US so far, which, at a modest 100Ts carbon /acre, would equal 4.3GtC now waiting to burn or rot.

There is also a seventh feedback whose acceleration has yet to earn recognition as a scientific consensus, for all there is substantial evidence of that acceleration. It consists of warming seas destabilizing ‘methyl clathrates’ on the seabed of continental shelves, (aka methane hydrates, fire ice, etc) whose stability depends on both low temperature and high pressure being maintained. They are in effect an ice lattice of water molecules trapping CH4 molecules, and exist under the Arctic Ocean and elsewhere in quantities such that even a 1% release could make our entire annual anthro-GHG output look like rather small beer.

Hoping that these brief notes help to clarify the pivotal relevance of the interactive mega-feedbacks for you,


Nice summary. Thanks.

This is sounding, more and more, that we have set something running that we simply cannot stop. Stop emitting GHGs today and we will still cook.


Yes, a positive feedback.

My introduction to it was thermal runaway in germanium transistors.

Moving towards the poles might relieve the heat but not the storms and unpredictability. Plus, the soils may be poor.

Reminds me of the vengeful weather in the wonderfully silly Star Trek movie with the whales.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, 1986
Image: http://www.neutralzone.de/database/Alien/OtherSpace/Other/WhaleProbe.jpg

Your feedback "B" (the albedo feedback), may not be as strong as has been claimed. I tried to find a reference to the albedo feedback in the GRL, but didn't come up with one which appeared to fit. Is this the reference?

Controls on Northern Hemisphere snow albedo feedback quantified
using satellite Earth observations, doi:10.1029/2009GL040057 (2009)

There are, however several papers on the subject, including a couple since 2010, two of which show measurements for albedo over sea-ice which show a smaller difference due to surface changes and melt ponding. Here are the titles:

Decadal to seasonal variability of Arctic sea ice albedo, doi:10.1029/2011GL049109 (2011)

Albedo evolution of seasonal Arctic sea ice, doi:10.1029/2012GL051432 (2012)

Over land, the situation is different, as the land area tends to be further from the pole in the NH than the sea-ice.

EDIT: Also, land can not store and shift as much thermal energy between seasons as can the oceans, since the only way to move energy from the surface to the sub-surface is conduction. With water, convective processes work to cycle heat (and cold) to much greater depths than is the situation for soil and rock...

E. Swanson

According to C, we are basicly screwed already. We have 50 years to stop that from happening, and there is a 30 to 50 years lag time from CO2 emission to climate equalization, so we have 10 to 30 years to stop emitting totally. Will not happen.

If you leave out clouds in a discussion in an enumeration of the major feed back mechanisms you can not be taken seriously.

And which way up would you like to put them Falstaff, if you want to be taken seriously that is ?

Back in '96 the fossil lobby's "Global Climate Coalition" spent $2m on a massive research project, utilizing NASA's entire photo archive of the Pacific back to the earliest space flights. The goal was to demonstrate that warmer air made more clouds thus cancelling the warming . . . Fail . . . the professional scientists doing the research did find marginally greater Pacific cloud cover developing over the decades, but it was doing so at night and so trapping additional heat, not reflecting it out.

Since then I've seen the argument swing to and fro several times, and I've yet to hear of a definitive position on the significance of clouds as a feedback that has anywhere near consensus support. As 'skeptical science' reports:
"Dessler (2010) used cloud measurements over the entire planet by the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) satellite instruments from March 2000 to February 2010 to attempt to determine the cloud feedback. Dessler concluded that although a very small negative feedback (cooling) could not be ruled out, the overall short-term global cloud feedback is probably positive (warming), and may be strongly positive. His measurements showed that it is very unlikely that the cloud feedback will cause enough cooling to offset a significant amount of human-caused global warming."

If I was listening to climate scientists discussing the range of feedbacks I'd expect to hear their views on the cloud issue, but I'm hardly going to put it in a list of long observed relatively well-quantified mega-feedbacks for public discussion, because I can't yet report a scientific consensus that it belongs there. It may well do so - particularly at the extreme end of the warming scenarios - which are both many decades off and of secondary interest compared to the earlier threats that will, if not prevented, generate serial global famines and the collapse of current societies.

I could of course also have listed the remote possibility of a Hydrogen Sulphide mass extinction event - which would be one hell of a negative sort of feedback - since it would kill most anything whether it was emitting GHGs or not. But for simplicity's sake, one draws a line.



And which way up would you like to put them Falstaff, if you want to be taken seriously that is ?
Since then I've seen the argument swing to and fro several times, and I've yet to hear of a definitive position on the significance of clouds as a feedback that has anywhere near consensus support.

That's the point. I do not pretend to understand all the feedback mechanisms. I do think that a carved in stone list of 'mega feedback mechanisms' promotes the idea that the important ones are all known, which when leaving off clouds is misleading. They're left of the list even though the magnitude of the impact *might* well be large (large enough to possibly cancel all positive feedbacks), left off precisely because their impact is not well understood and that admission would not sit well with the stone carvings, a kind of eleventh commandment that says "TBD" which might turn out to be, "never mind the first ten."

And pigs "might" fly.

Meanwhile here's the most comprehensive scientific assessment of the relevance of a positive cloud feedback.

"Dessler (2010) used cloud measurements over the entire planet by the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) satellite instruments from March 2000 to February 2010 to attempt to determine the cloud feedback. Dessler concluded that although a very small negative feedback (cooling) could not be ruled out, the overall short-term global cloud feedback is probably positive (warming), and may be strongly positive. His measurements showed that it is very unlikely that the cloud feedback will cause enough cooling to offset a significant amount of human-caused global warming."

Your unfounded smearing of scientists' conduct in listing the known megafeedbacks only undercuts your own credibility.

...here's the most comprehensive scientific assessment of the relevance ...

'Most comprehensive' according to who?

...smearing of scientists' conduct in listing the known megafeedbacks...

Now it is 'the known'. Before it was "The six interactive mega-feedbacks".

I've been through the IPCC discussions on feedbacks, which BTW includes a discussion of clouds, and nowhere do I find a characterization such as you make. What "scientist" has journal published a list of the known "megafeedbacks"?


"US policy overturned"

It would take an act of war or a disabling disaster.

First, in reply to your query above concerning similar wording, the explanation is rather simple: I was writing about exactly the same subject. At that point I was differentiating between the soil desiccation feedback and the peat desiccation feedback - hence 7 out of 8 feedbacks accelerating rather than 6 out of 7 - the two are distinct as far as actual processes go but counting them as one seems simpler for public discussion. As to the name, when I registered here on TOD about seven years ago I used the name Backstop to see if it would trigger responses on a key PO issue - it hasn't, so I'll post on it here.

Back in '56 Shell's Strategic Planning Committee met - presumably in response to King Hubbert's work - to consider the alternatives should oil reserves one day cease to meet demand, and decided to commission research on the issue. The ensuing report found only one option of scaleable value that would also be affordable, which was the widespread use of coppice forestry to provide feedstock for the liquid fuel methanol. This they titled the Backstop Option.

Second, your confidence that it would tale an act of war or disabling disaster to overturn the US climate policy of a Brinkmanship of Inaction is misplaced. Either of these might be effective, but they are far from the only possibilities.

Various other potentially effective catalysts are visible, including :
a/. the ongoing intensification of climate impacts causing the US public to adamantly demand commensurate global action;
b/. the exposure of the policy to an outraged US public who recognize its genocidal nature; (with a billion people now chronically hungry, purposely delaying action on climate advances global crop failures - whose body count would make that of the nazis look trifling)
c/. the simple recognition within the US political establishment that Cheyney's policy is no longer serving the full term interests of the United States;
d/. the decision by the rest of the world to form a coalition of the willing to agree an equitable and efficient climate treaty, leaving the US isolated and shamefully having to play catch-up.

The one thing that most definitely won't make the change is McKibben's followers being rude to the fossil fuel lobby, who have remarkably thick skins. Quite why he is leading people into such a useless dead end, while staunchly refusing to discuss the equitable allocation of national emission rights - surely needs asking loud and clear.




Thanks for the detailed outline of the 7 feedback loops. Your outlined solutions, I really really hope, happen. But going by the misplaced priorities of the world at large, I'm not sure we have much to hope for.

Isn't McKibben's idea actually to put a cap on the emissions at 350 ppm? I'm not sure I got what you're saying here w.r.t why you think it is a dead end.

PS: An interesting name you have there. :)

Backstop – I’m not necessarily arguing your expectations are unfounded. But for some balance to your hypothetical catalysts:

“the ongoing intensification of climate impacts causing the US public to adamantly demand commensurate global action” Perhaps those who are directly impacted but concerns about others? Hasn’t happened yet so why expect human nature to change significantly anytime soon. There’s isn’t enough band width on TOD to list the examples. The world has not one drop of effective concern about the environmental destruction in Nigeria…as long as the oil keeps flow out of that country. The EU receives half of the oil exports from Equatorial Guinea, a country known by every EU citizen as being ruled by a homicidal maniac who is slowly starving much of the populace despite the fact that EG is one of the richest countries per capita IN THE ENTIRE WORLD…not just Africa. The kind folks don’t care…as long as the oil keeps flowing.

“the exposure of the policy to an outraged US public who recognize its genocidal nature;… whose body count would make that of the Nazis look trifling.” Given no meaningful American response to the slaughter of 800,000 Rwandan Tutsi refugees??? But we did enact a “policy” condemning the event. Policies without a commensurate responses doesn’t appear to be more useful then no policy at all. But it wasn’t a total loss: Hollywood did generate an award winning movie or two out of the tragedy. At least Hollywood gave us the fictional heroes our policies or couldn’t provide in reality: “Hotel Rwanda” and “Tears of the Sun”. We can a least be proud of what ee might have done...in theory. Not really our fault: the Tutsi should have had some oil reserves. Then we could have brought them democracy as we did our Iraqi cousins.

“the simple recognition within the US political establishment that Cheney's policy is no longer serving the full term interests of the United States”. I suppose we can just write off our differences based on what we hear In Cheney’s words. I simply hear him expressing the feelings of the vast majority of Americans. You appear to be condemning the messenger and not the message…or its real source.

…form a coalition of the willing to agree an equitable and efficient climate treaty, leaving the US isolated and shamefully having to play catch-up.” Shame??? LOL. I think just the few examples I’ve already offered show a clear view of how easily Americans can handle shame. We’ve had no trouble handling the condemnation of the rest of the world over many issues for many decades.

You certainly have the right to offer you optimistic view of the potential future. I hope you’re correct. But I’ll reserve such optimism until I see some significant change in human nature and the American sense of self interest/determination.

"The one thing that most definitely won't make the change is McKibben's followers being rude to the fossil fuel lobby, who have remarkably thick skins." On this point we fully agree. In fact, I woud add that skin thckness isn't relevent. If you aren't aware I've worked in the oil patch for 37 years. We don't take anything antone has to say seriously. It's not personal to us.It's just business. The politicians elected by the public, makes the rule. Ad we're pretty good at following the rules these days. Bad regs/enforcement = bad hevior. Good regs/enforcment = good behavior. get in our face? We'll just laugh in their faces and walk away with no desie for compromise.

You certainly have the right to offer you optimistic view of the potential future. I hope you’re correct. But I’ll reserve such optimism until I see some significant change in human nature and the American sense of self interest/determination.

Which probably ain't happening...

Steppenwolf - Monster


This is definitely the strangest song those freaks ever put out, particularly the extended version on the album, which I bought when it first came out and has wild artwork on the cover.

I mean, the lyrics are NOT typical for a late '60s early '70s rock band:

"Then once the ties with the crown had been broken
Westward in saddle and wagon it went..."

I remember the first time I spun that up at 33 1/3. "What the hell is this?!"

No kidding! High school days...

Very powerful stuff, for the time, for any time...

For a brief period around that time, some rock bands stepped back from drug and partying themes and tried to address social issues. "Monster" was a classic of sorts in that regard.

"First, in reply to your query above concerning similar wording..."
I was looking for clues as to which loops the referenced 6 might be: which loops are commonly bundled together in conversation.

More indications of big changes in the arctic.

Alien iceberg floating off US Arctic coast puzzles scientists

The group was able to anchor up to the east side of the floe, which was mostly flat on top. Describing what they saw in a written summary, George noted that the surface of the floe was "smooth and striated with furrows and bands similar to a glacier. Some of the furrows appeared to represent sediment-laden bands in the ice. In other places, rocks and pebbles were 'meting in' to the ice surface."

The group observed thousands of rocks, with the largest rock some 4 foot (1.5 meters) cubed. The rocks were mostly granite.
So where did the floe with its unusual rocks come from? George and Glenn sent photos to scientists in Canada and elsewhere. The initial theory is that the chunk of ice may be part of an "ice shelf" or glacier, perhaps in the northeastern Canadian Arctic Islands where glaciers that were previously ice-bound are now on open water. Perhaps a chunk calved off and entered what Glenn describes as a circular clockwise current flow that characterizes the Arctic Ocean's circulation pattern.
George said that this floe may also be an indication of the changes due to climate shifts and the opening of waters in the Arctic that would allow this piece of ice to be castaway from the Canadian Arctic and drift along the U.S. Arctic coast.

I am very rusty at this, but well read with regards to sea ice dynamics, etc. I am going to post an admittedly lousy post here, but just in case it is worth something...

I find the description of a flat piece of ice intriguing as it suggests sea ice. It is difficult to tell from the article but this was either part of an ice flow broken off from the Canadian Archipelago, or maybe even the New Siberian Islands? It could have even been land fast sea ice. Anyway, due to the chaos (loss of ice, churning) going on in the arctic of late this ice could be from anywhere.

I remember back in the early 80s reading Zubov (Russian Ice Physicist?). He referred to situations in which sea ice could develop below the surface - on the sea floor. He was not referring to methane hydrates or anything of that nature, but actual sea ice. Another possible source?

Seabed creation would not have put rocks on top.

PERHAPS sea ice created under cliff ? Falling rocks ?

Created in an estuary, mid-summer water at +0.6 C washes fresh water with sediment over it. Boulder falls off a cliff onto it ?

Just thoughts,


Very ancient ice, created when sea level was lower, later flooded and bound to the bottom since. Now it has unstock, and resurfaced and no one know where it comes from.

Just a sugestion.

I think the preponderence of evidence supports the simplest hypothoses: It is glacier ice, calved off somewhere far to the east (Arctic Canada or Greenland). Global warming has accerlated glacial calving and put more glacial ice into the Arctic Ocean. The overall severe decline in sea ice has allowed it to more easily follow the clockwise circulation and be carried close inshore to near Barrow Alaska. Note that the article says that elders had occaisionally seen this sort of thing before, but generally much further offshore.

I belive it is galcial to. We have glaciers in Sweden, and the entire geological landscape is carved out from glacial events. School kids learn from early age about these phenomena. We have a word in our laguage "flytt-block" wich means a large stone just laying somewhere entirely unmotivated in the landscape. Before the ice age was known, local folklore explanied this as giants throwing rocks at each other. Now we know they are drop stones.

When there is ice with large rocks in it, off course it is galcial. I just kicked in another idea for the discussion.

The image in the link below is from the "Lapp porten", the lapp gate. Once a mighty glacier passed through here.


In Britain we call these 'erratic boulders' - dropped by melting glaciers.

Yes, in North America, where one finds them on land they would be refered to as eratics. In marine sediments they are called drop stones.

Alan - One more guess: iceberg calves coming off a glacier are full of rocks. The flat top? Perhaps the top layer of the glacier's surface.

Icebergs turn over all the time...the visible surface could have been the underside at some point.


IMO, A flat iceberg is much less likely to overturn than a more typical iceberg shape.


Sea ice ordinarily does not carry big rocks imbedded into it. Maybe a bit of dust or airborne volcanic ash settles on top, but not large rocks. Also, keep in mind that that Richard Glenn is a N Slope Native. The Native people spend much of their lives out on and around the sea ice (seal hunting, whaling, fishing). Also Richard Glenn has a degree in geology. The other guy is wildlife biologist with 30 years experience in the area. These guys know what sea ice looks like.

Glacier on the other hand does carry a lot of rock. Glaciers on land carve up the rocks and erode valleys. (Yosemite Valley in California is a spectacular example.) Hence glaciers typically have a great deal of rock imbedded in them. Some rocks are plucked from bedrock along the base and sides. Other's end up on top from falling off of cliffs along the glacier. When two glaciers merge, the "lateral moraines" (along the sides) merge where the two glaciers come together. This forms "medial moraines", which are the prominent strips you no doubt have seen on photos of valley glaciers. Bottom line is that glaciers often carry a tremdous load of rock. Sea ice typically does not. Note that they "observed thousands of rocks, with the largest rock some 4 foot (1.5 meters) cubed. The rocks were mostly granite."

The other issue is what geologists would call the "provinance" of the embedded rocks. This refers to matching rock fragments with their probable sorce in the bedrock. While there is some granitic rock within the Brooks Range, none of it is at all near the coast. Also, while there are currently some smallish glaciers in the Brooks Range, none of them currently reach anywhere near the coast.

So, we have something that is unlike normal sea ice, looking in fact like glacier ice. It has large (1.5 meter) bolders embedded in it, of a rock type unlike any found anywhere near the N Coast of Alaska. The nearest place with glaciers eroding into granitic rocks and flowing inot the sea is far to the East in Arctic Canada. The general circulation is clockwise when viewed from above, which would consistent with it coming from Canada.

Glacial iceberges rafting large exotic rocks long distances are not unheard of in the geologic record. In the Willamette Valley in Oregon there are some large granitic boulders which were rafted in from Montana during the "Bretz Floods" (aka the "Missoula Floods"). In other places one sometimes finds exotic pebbles in marine shales, which are termed "dropstones", and are believed to have been carried by icebergs, which eventually melted and dropped the rocks to the sea floor.

EDIT: FYI, the following give a bit of background on Richard Glenn, one of the guys quoted in the article.

Richard Glenn - Alaska Native Science Commission

Richard Glenn - Barrow Arctic Science Consortium

I saw some glaciers on tour in Alaska once, and was surprised at how dirty the ice was. (It really was that blue. They told me the bluer the ice was, the older it was - because it was so compressed.)

Yes, old glacier ice that has been deeply buried , and has not been contaminated by entrained rocks, dirt etc tends to be very blue. Glaciers build up by the accumulation of snow, which has a lot of air in it. Shallow parts of a glacier often have a distinctly layered appearence. partly due to entrapped air, and partly due to thin layers of dust, volcanic ash, etc. Occaisionally one even finds small insects entombed in the ice. Over time and deep burial most of the air gets squeezed out (or absorbed into the ice), and the ice becomes clear and blue, except of course where there are layers of dirt, rocks, etc, as I talked about up thread.

On a personal note, I once fell in a crevasse while on a glacier ski trip (thankfully I was roped up). I can attest from personal experience that the deeper layers were quite blue, and the uppermost part not so much. However I didn't stop to take photos or samples. I'm sure you can appreciate that I was rather occupied with trying to prussik up the rope, and get my rear end out of the crevasse! Definately one of my scarier days in the mountains of Alaska!


A new Heinrich event in progress?

Thanks. Interesting. I hadn't heard of Heinrich events before.

Tidewater glaciers are such amazingly complex interactions of not only climate, but also the physics of ice movement on both land and water. As I understand it, when a tidewater glacier is in a more or less stable configuration there is often a shoal at the outer edge of floating ice, with somewhat deeper water behind the shoal back to where the ice rests on land. These shoal are a sort of terminal moraine, where the melting edge of the glacier drops the rock debris carried in the ice. The shoal to some extent buttresses the edge of the ice.

When the glacier retreats back inside that shoal, the edge of the glacier is entirely floating. The floating ice is much more prone to calving off. Therefore the terminus of the glacier may retreat rather slowly while it still rests at least partially on the shoal. However, once it has retreated to the point where the terminus is entirely floating, further retreat is very rapid. Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound, Alaska, has been studied intensly and is often cited as an example of this.

The IEA's Highlights of the latest OMR came out yesterday.

Global oil supply grew by 0.3 mb/d m-o-m to 90.7 mb/d in July, with non-OPEC generating 60% of the increase...

Okay, the oil supply increased by 300,000 barrels per day in July, and 60% or 180,000 bp/d came from Non-OPEC. That means 120,000 bp/d increase had to come from OPEC. And the next paragraph states:

OPEC crude supply fell 70 kb/d to 31.39 mb/d in July versus June, on declines from Iran, Angola and Libya.

But of course the oil supply increase is all liquids while the OPEC supply is crude only. Doing the math if OPEC crude supply fell by 70 kb/d but their total supply increased by 120,000 per day then their "non crude liquids" had to increase by 190,000 barrels per day. That's quite an increase, especially when the EIA's Short Term Energy Outlook says OPEC non-crude liquids fell by 10,000 bp/d, from 5.66 mb/d to 5.65 mb/d.

If you want my opinion neither the IEA's production numbers or the EIA's STOE is worth a bucket of warm spit. I have been following both for years and they are usually off by a country mile. Yet they are usually both quoted in MSM as the absolute authority in what's happening with oil production.

Ron P.

The STOE numbers for the latest month production numbers are often revised by as much as 500 kb/d from month to month and their further out predictive numbers are often revised more than that.

Here are their non-OPEC crude oil and liquids numbers from the July issue of the STOE and the August STOE and the difference. The top line is from the July Issue of the STOE and the bottom numbers are from the August issue in mb/d:

        Jun-12	Jul-12	Aug-12	Sep-12	Oct-12	Nov-12	Dec-12	Jan-13	Feb-13	Mar-13	Apr-13
July    52.01	52.47	52.51	52.67	53.07	53.35	53.45	53.33	53.48	53.52	53.48
Aug.    52.4	52.58	52.26	52.58	52.95	53.13	53	52.77	52.93	52.92	53
         0.39	0.11	-0.25	-0.09	-0.12	-0.22	-0.45	-0.56	-0.55	-0.6	-0.48

As you can see the June numbers, which was already history when the July issue was published, was still revised by upward 390,000 barrels per day. And the January 13 numbers were revised downward by 560,000 barrels per day. And they will likely change just as much next month. They are basically worthless.

Please note, I am complaining about the EIA's STOE, or Short Term Energy Outlook, not their International Energy Statistics. The numbers there are delayed by three months and are much more reliable. They are also revised from month to month but by a much smaller percentage than the STOE.

Ron P.


I agree that the STEO is pretty bad. The IEA's numbers seem quite inflated relative to the EIA's numbers. One country where there is a significant difference(between IEA and EIA) is Venezuela. The EIA's International Energy Statistics, while not perfect, seem to be better than the IEA numbers.
(Sorry for deleting my earlier post, it had some bad info and I didn't have time to correct it so I just deleted it, I will do better in the future.)


Sinkhole Update:

Sinkhole cavern is not gas bubbles source, environmentalists say

(first casualty ... Wednesday, the Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle, appointed by Governor Jindal, resigned without giving reasons. A DNR spokesperson says Angelle's resignation is unrelated to the Bayou Corne sinkhole disaster. [... Run, Forrest! Run!]

Thursday, the Advocate surprised officials and the public when it revealed its investigation shows the Department of Natural Resources has been hiding critically important information from officials and the public about Texas Brine's salt cavern near expanding sinkhole has been failing for over a year and that the agency had issued a permit for the company to inject radioactive oil and gas waste into that cavern.

Louisiana sinkhole expected to keep residents away at least a month

... In working to expand mining of the cavern, the company made a cut in the well casing several hundred feet above its top, said Chustz. Texas Brine reported a potential breach at that time and that information was reported in 2011, he said.

... and one day later

Scott Angelle joins LSU Board of Supervisors

Angelle, who served as the Louisiana’s interim lieutenant governor between May and December 2010, is considered the state’s point person for federal oil and gas permitting issues.

S - Still can’t find many tech details. But I'll make a guess based on the latest release.

“The purpose of the well is to determine the structural status of the cavern as well as the pressure of any gas that might be inside of it, he said, adding that the last mechanical integrity test performed on the cavern was done in late 2010.”

There are a number of separate caverns in the dome. Some are active holding NG for Chevron (which has started removing some). It appears the cavern that Texas Brine used to dispose 20 million bbls of salt water (and maybe some other nasties) no longer has any well penetrating that particular cavern. Thus the need to drill a new well into that cavern to determine if the top has collapsed (the “structural status”) and if somehow the cavern has been pressured up from natural or manmade activity (“the pressure of any gas…”). Just my WAG but I would be very shocked if it were natural. Even a bigger WAG: communications may have been established between the Texas Brine cavern and another cavern holding pressured NG/butane/whatever).

“In working to expand mining of the cavern, the company made a cut in the well casing several hundred feet above its top, said Chustz. Texas Brine reported a potential breach at that time and that information was reported in 2011, he said”.

More WAGS. The must mean the casing several hundred feet above the top of the cavern. Perhaps done to drill a sidetrack back into the cavern. Which would imply that well must have had some mechanical problem otherwise why sidetrack it? I won’t go into details but drilling into a salt cavern can be very tricky. Remember the basic drilling method: drilling mud is pumped down the inside of the drill pipe and then circulated back up the outside. Buy drill into a cavern and all the mud (which provide the backpressure to prevent a blow out) falls into the cavern and circulation is completely lost. Pumping down cement to isolate the well annulus can also be difficult/impossible.

Apparent there have been indications of a problem of some sort for a year or two. Whatever happens my guess is that the problem won’t disappear naturally. If I were working on the drill floor of the relief well I’d be sure to have my fireproof jumper/head gear on. Might not save my life but the family could at least have an open casket service. Sorry…oil patch dark humor. How we tend to deal with stress/fear.

Some snippets are dribbling in ...

Officials: Bayou Corne bubbles are natural gas

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Officials watching the Bayou Corne area have determined the bubbling in the area is being caused by a release of natural gas.

An investigation into the origin of the gas is ongoing.

One of the community monitors went off Thursday, but only reached a lower explosive limit of 25.2%. Authorities are suspicious of the alarm and are investigating for criminal mischief.


According to Mitchell, Texas Brine Co. Saltville LLC president Mark J. Cartwright informed DNR in a January 21, 2011 letter about a failed integrity test of the cavern and company officials’ suspicion that the cavern possibly breached Napoleonville Dome’s outer wall, possibly explaining a loss of pressure in the cavern during the test.

One obvious concern is the cavern’s proximity to the edge of salt," Cartwright wrote to DNR’s Joseph “Joe” S. Ball Jr., director of DNR Injection and Mining Division that oversees salt caverns. “There have been several studies in this regard, and Texas Brine has mapped the salt boundary near the cavern applying available well log data, seismic data, and most recently, vertical seismic data gathered during the workover. At this time, a breach out of the salt dome appears possible.

In early September 2010, Texas Brine began reworking its cavern well, milling a section of salt higher than the existing cavern roof, at 3,400 feet deep, to see if the upper strata could be mined. DNR’s permit for that work was issued in May 2010.

Ball said DNR officials focused on locating a source of the natural gas large enough to send gas bubbling up in the bayous and they focused on area natural gas pipelines and two salt caverns known to be storing natural gas under pressure.

... stay safe, vaya con dios.

S – Every little bit helps. Still not a lot of details. But getting a picture. A good while back Texas Brine did a pressure test that indicated their cavity was leaking. That should have been a huge red flag. They might have had proof it was leaking but would have had no idea where it was going until it showed up. Some reports show that their cavity might have been as close as 30’ to the salt/sediment interface. They’ve also confirmed the big bubbles are natural gas. No big surprise there. Haven’t seen anything indicating whether there was a gas cap on the cavern or not. Was the cavern having contents periodically produced or was it strictly for disposal? Still haven’t seen that answer yet. It sound like Texas Brine was in the process of extending the cavern upwards from 3,500’.

There will be a community briefing this Tuesday night at a church in Pierre Part. Might be a good idea for me to attend. I cancelled plans to go over this weekend. Want to have all my state permits in hand before I start the conversation. Maybe find out exactly how concerned the parish is and who the key players might be. I need to check out the drill site construction anyway. By Wednesday morning the road should be completed and the drill pad marked.

BTW despite their spin the is no such thing as a "safe" release of the uncontrolled flow of NG. There's just a release tha hasn't exploded...yet.


Shouldn't this well and cavern be hydropressured? The original well was drilled on top of the shallow dome. Cross section suggests only 3-400' of alluvial sand before entering the caprock and salt.

I'd presume that they will drill from an offset location on top of the dome, and they will drill with brine, then case to keep the salt from coming in.

I have no experience with these kind of wells, but if the cavern was ok, I'd expect them to not lose circulation on entering, but just be circulating some of the brine from the cavern without any geopressure.

Now if gas has collected in there, that could be very bad. If it were me, I'd drill into the side of the cavern, pretty far down to avoid any gas cap, not the top, and try to get pressures, samples, and sonic survey. If the cavern is underfilled due to rapid brine loss, the cavern would be underpressured. In any case, they need to get pressures and not drill into the top.

It seems like the gas bubbles are not related to the cavern. I would think the collapse is due to connection from the cavern and the salt flank sediments causing brine to escape. Sounds like they drilled/excavated too close to the salt margin (the 300' indicated on the cross section seems like a ridiculously small number to have confidence in, not too mention just too darned close for comfort even though that's what the rules say. Let me guess, that rule might get ammended.

I see that there's a lot of data available on SONRIS, and working onshore LA, I presume you'd be able to find more info about the original well and sidetrack including permits and this reported "letter" from the operator to the DNR about the "failed integrity test" leading to the plugging of the well.

I saw some vague comment in media report that the sidetrack was to investigate creating another possible cavern or something. Sounds like they milled out of casing above the presumed top of the cavern and they didn't like something, reported it, and P&A'd. An integrity test sounds like they ran and cemented more casing in the sidetrack and couldn't hold pressure, but I don't know what test is being referred to, cement integrity, well bore integrity, cavern integrity? For all I know, maybe the salt that was supposed to be there wasn't. We know it's probably not there now as the diesel cap is appearing in the sinkhole.

What was the purpose of the sidetrack?
What testing was done on the sidetrack and what was reported to the DNR?

NOLA – Wish I could answer even half your questions. I’m having to read too much between the lines and make WAG’s I’m already a bit uncomfortable. I still don’t know: A) did they have any active injection/producing wells in the Texas Brine cavern; B) was there a gas cap on the 20 million bbls of salt water in the cavern; C) If so what was that pressure; D)Why did they side track, or try to s/t, the well they milled the csg on. And the biggie: where and why are they going to drill the “relief” well?

None of these are questions I could ask over the phone even assuming someone would take my call. I will try to fill in some of those blanks at the meeting Tuesday night. How successful I’ll be remains to be seen.

I'm learning a little bit about solution mining and storage/disposal practices. My understanding is that there is a single plugged borehole (SONRIS #180708) into the cavern. Of course there are many other caverns nearby within the same (Napoleonville) salt dome, including both liquid and gas storage (Chevron has a pretty big gas storage system here). The suspected well/cavern was drilled in 1982 for producing brine, changed operatorship many times, and was at some point used for NORM disposal (naturally occuring radioactive waste, probably from oil field activities).

In 2010/2011 a sidetrack was drilled for some reason, and there was some kind of testing which made the operators decide to abandon the well and cavern, setting a deep plug and filling the borehole with cement to surface.

On reading a little about solution mining etc. it seems that the standard practice on abandonment is to fill the cavern with saturated brine, and plug the well, leaving a diesel cap to reduce dissolution of the roof. Although storage caverns are often operated with high pressures to provide more storage and reduce salt closure rates, I would think (perhaps incorrectly) that a disposal well would be operated at halmostatic (a new word for me - hydrostatic except with a brine gradient) pressure to the surface and left that way. If there's a gas cap, I would assume that this was not intended and either introduced

Interestingly salt closure and thermal expansion of brine ultimately increase the pressure to geostatic. Then what happens? Well this seems to take a really long time and probably not currently the issue at Napoleonville, but remembering that the brine pressure gradient is less than the geostatic gradient, the pressure at the top of a tall cavern could become greater than geostatic, leading to fracturing and possible escape of fluids, etc (it's the etc. part you really don't want to have happen). In any case, proving my ignorance in my previous column, the fluid pressure in the cavern is likely to be elevated from halmostatic unless the whole thing is leaking.

Regarding testing and surveying: there are lots of regs and best practices out there. I don't know if the integrity test that failed was a cement test or what they call an MIT (mechanical integrity test) that uses carefully measured heights of a fluid (usually nitrogen) in the annulus connected to the cavern when pressuring up the tubing to a bit above operating pressure. Also, these caverns are supposed to be regularly tested and surveyed with a "sonic caliper" tool, which allegedly may also be able to detect salt boundaries and nearby caverns.

I suspect the "relief" well will penetrate the cavern down the flank in order to not discover a gas cap suddenly. They'll take samples and probably do sonar surveys and an MIT. Wouldn't it be interesting if the cavern shows full integrity - then what?

Not surprisingly there is a huge body of study, regulations, and engineering practice associated with all this stuff, and I've just minutely skimmed the surface, so it would be great if someone with experience in the field could straighten us out.

Anyway, on the good news side, it doesn't seem like the sinkhole is rapidly growing laterally so maybe the whole situation can stabilize.

Oh, one more question to ask: could they update, or share with the public, maps of all the storage/disposal cavern locations and products?


Ah, here's some more detailed info from 5newsonline.com

"The purpose of the well is to determine the structural status of the cavern as well as the pressure of any gas that might be inside of it, he said, adding that the last mechanical integrity test performed on the cavern was done in late 2010.

"In working to expand mining of the cavern, the company made a cut in the well casing several hundred feet above its top, said Chustz. Texas Brine reported a potential breach at that time and that information was reported in 2011, he said."

Ah, so they seem to have drilled the sidetrack to enlarge the cavern . But why couldn't the use the original hole? Also sounds like they did do an MIT before (?) drilling the sidetrack. I still don't know which test or observation caused them to abandon the project.

NOLA - Most excellent! I hereby anoint you the TOD SDSE: Salt Dome Storage Expert. I was guessing the cavern had been abandoned. The salt water column in that well bore should have been enough weight to hold back any down hole pressure. I'm guessing something made them want to re-enter that plug well. I saw one statement they wanted to expand the cavern upwards from 3,500’. Perhaps that was the purpose of the sidetrack.

What we know: a force has created a pathway from some unknown depth to the surface. Water and NG has been pushed up from some deeper source. Unless there was a secondary migration the NG bubbling up may not be coming from the salt water disposal cavern. Whether that force is effecting other caverns in unknown but so far no indication of that having happened. Still more questions than answers.

We drill these systems. We test them. We test them over time to see that they stay sealed. Our timespan is but a pin-prick even if we take the time span from the time the first well was drilled. Do we really know if these operations are stable over geological time spans?


Yes, we know. They're not. The gulf coast salt "islands" are only above sea level, because the salt is coming up faster than erosion and dissolution can remove the hills. Of course that won't cause problems for a very long time. People who study nuclear waste disposal need to worry about this stuff, though.

Thanks, that's depressing. Just another, cough, 'solution to a problem' pushed off to a future problem. Looks like the future has caught up.


Not to worry, humans will probably be long gone by then.

And probably a lot sooner than we should be though I do understand your meaning.


More details from the BR Advocate http://theadvocate.com/home/3599778-125/officials-seeking-well-at-sinkhole

Texas Brine met with DNR on July 30, before sinkhole developed, as USGS seismic monitors found tremors originating from the vicinity of the cavern. The sinkhole developed on August 3.

At the conclusion of the meeting Texas Brine says they thought that "the probability of a cavern collapse and sinkhole was exceptionally low.

The Advocate reports:

Chustz, who took over as interim secretary on Wednesday following the resignation of Scott Angelle, said the salt cavern passed its last mechanical integrity test — a kind of pressure test called an MIT — in October 2010.

He said a Jan. 21, 2011, letter to DNR from Cartwright, which discusses a failed MIT, referred to “a breach in the top portion of the well, not in the actual cavern itself.”

The Cartwright letter makes mention of a possible “hydraulic communication” between the cavern and the formation outside of the salt dome.

“At this time, a breach out of the salt dome appears possible. If the cavern is in hydraulic communication with the formation outside of the salt dome, such communication could have occurred during mining or during brine injection before the MIT,” Cartwright wrote.

His letter adds there had been no obvious signs of the loss of integrity during the productive life of the “cavern,” but those possibilities were under review.

Sonny Cranch, spokesman for Texas Brine, said in a later interview Friday that the company did one mechanical integrity test of the entire salt cavern and its well bore during the work on the well.

He said that operation was the failed test referred to Cartwright’s letter. DNR records show it occurred between early October and mid-December.

Gee, it sounds like the DNR is saying the failed test only indicated loss of integrity of the sidetrack, but the Cartwright letter (partially quoted) seems to indicate that they thought the cavern's integrity might have been lost by communication with the exterior of the dome.

India to launch its first home-built nuclear submarine, escalating an arms race with Pakistan and China

INS Arihant, planned to be the first of five submarines of its class, will be ready to begin sea trials, said Admiral Nirmal Verma, the navy commander. When the vessel eventually becomes operational, India will be able to launch nuclear missiles from the sea, land and air, joining a handful of countries possessing the “nuclear triad.”

... He pointed out that India is also planning to launch six nuclear-powered attack submarines, adding that within seven years the country should have a varied fleet which would, in theory, be able to block Chinese access to the Indian Ocean via the Strait of Malacca. “They could be sitting off Karachi – or China. It’s an investment for the future,” said Mr. Guruswamy.

Man, what an incredibly depressing line up of news. I'm glad I don't own a gas oven as my head would be firmly in it by now :-{

People cheer for these things here...I say that Asia is 1930's Europe...only this time we have something a lot bigger than a Vickers machine gun.

I keep hoping that you're wrong about that, and that the fact that the major players can all kill each other off fairly easily will be a deterrent to stupidity rather than make it worse. China has been somewhat agressive, but they haven't started any wars yet (seemingly perferring to just buy what they want). Pakistan did some very agressive stuff, but mostly indirectly (through terrorist groups sponsored by the ISI and maybe other parts of their schizophrenic government) and they've always backed away when it came to look like a real war would break out... And India, so far, has had remarkable restraint.

All the big players have the power to really destroy each other, but so far none seem like they really, really want to destroy each other. Though if any country was to be taken over by radicals, this would change. Pakistan is the most likely to suffer that fate right now, but so far so good? Kinda?

Maybe my perspective from the US is artificially rosy...

I think you're right. While the lay people "cheer" for such news, the PTB seem to fully understand the implications of attempting a nuke attack on the opponent. But I'm not willing to bet.

Yeah it is kind of depressing. In this case because India is too late.

You see this type of thing from third world countries. They copy others but by the time they copy, what they're copying has become obsolete or useless. But now we are pretty much all in the same boat. Everything's been done to death.

George Orwell must be doing some serious RPMs ...

Unravelling TrapWire: The CIA-Connected Global Suspicious Activity Surveillance System

Hacked emails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor have shed light on a global suspicious activity surveillance system called TrapWire that is reportedly in use in locations around the world from the London Stock Exchange to the White House. The emails, which were released yesterday by WikiLeaks, provide information on the extent and operations of a system designed to correlate suspicious activity reports and other evidence that may indicate surveillance connected with a potential terrorist attack.

A proprietary white paper produced by TrapWire, formerly called Abraxas Applications, describes the product as “a unique, predictive software system designed to detect patterns of pre-attack surveillance.” In an interview from 2005 with the Northern Virginia Technology Council, the CEO of Abraxas Corporation Richard “Hollis” Helms says the goal of TrapWire is to “collect information about people and vehicles that is more accurate than facial recognition, draw patterns, and do threat assessments of areas that may be under observation from terrorists.” Fred Burton, the CEO of Stratfor, describes Trapwire in an email from November 2009 as “a technology solution predicated upon behavior patterns in red zones to identify surveillance. It helps you connect the dots over time and distance.”

... The use of TrapWire could eventually can extend to fusion centers all around the country as congressional testimony from June 2011 indicates that the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is part of a trial project of the Department of Homeland Security to test the use of TrapWire. The Texas Department of Public Safety, which operates the Texas Fusion Center, also purchased TrapWire software in 2010.

Stratfor emails reveal secret, widespread TrapWire surveillance system


My beef with these computerized surveillance operations is that they suck resources and they are a poor substitute for intelligence operations. Particularly, the computer scoop approach overwhelms the very limited number of trained analysts, leaving no people power for other tasks. The first real application of data mining, after the World Trade Center bombing, dumped 40,000 leads on the FBI in one year. The FBI had fewer than 50 foreign terror suspects under surveillance at the time.

We keep building larger data centers to try and monitor everything. The last one that I heard about was in Colorado and takes as much electricity as the city of Boulder. There may be more since.

A trained analyst can integrate information from many sources and produce a very good idea of what's going on. That person takes time and resources to train, and has to be supported with field operations to produce the raw information, all expensive. My opinion is that spending megabucks on computer operations distracts us from focusing on the important stuff.

Does anyone remember the intelligence translator who, post 9/11, said that her work was discouraged and blocked because if the department was able to do the workload, they would get less funding in the next round. ?

This one is different?:

Lots of people building little empires.
Lots of other interests to serve.

Time to send more porno to the SEC.

The last comment in the YT seems to confirm what the lady is saying.

You can go to her blog and ask directly. Her book, Classified Woman ought to be a bestseller. What Sibel revealed was massive corruption within the FBI and the government as a whole.

From Trapwire's web site, it appears that they are collecting video and other sensor and alarm data from the security systems installed at private and public locations. This would logically include the systems at refineries, pumping stations, chemical plants and other critical infrastructure locations. They can probably do better video analysis and incident analysis than the individual companies and organizations, as well as do patterning of suspicious activity across multiple organizations.

The Feds have been working with owners of critical infrastructure since the early '90s and the first World Trade Center bombing.

Seems the TV show "Person of Interest" is not too far from reality.

Clinton meets Turkish leaders on Syria amid tales of new carnage

"This Syrian war is going to be better than the last one, and the Iranian war is going to be even better", promises the "marketing department" of state.

Armageddon Chic: luxury escapes for the End of the World

... Life is risky when lived above ground. Anybody who has ever been crapped on by a pigeon knows – living with our precious heads exposed to the sky may not be worth the hazard. Hence the new, ‘location, location, location’ driven trend in underground doomsday real estate.

AP NewsBreak: Refinery probe focuses on corrosion

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal investigators probing the cause of a massive Chevron oil refinery fire are focusing on possible corrosion in a decades-old pipe the company inspected late last year.

Investigators with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board said Saturday they are trying to determine why Chevron did not replace the pipe when it had a major five-year inspection last November.

The pipe that failed Monday dated back to the 1970s, but it is still unclear whether the thickness testing conducted by Chevron in its last major inspections noted corrosion in that specific, 8-inch pipe.

However, investigators said a 12-inch pipe connected to the one that leaked Monday was found to be corroded, and was replaced after the November "turnaround," an industry term for when a refinery unit is taken off-line so all the lines can be inspected.

The Richmond refinery, located about 10 miles northeast of San Francisco, produces about 16 percent of the region's daily gasoline supply.

Sulphur content a little high- maybe- just a little.

"The pipe that failed Monday dated back to the 1970s, but it is still unclear whether the thickness testing conducted by Chevron in its last major inspections noted corrosion in that specific, 8-inch pipe."

Snow job. The thickness tests are in purpose built databases. (google 'ultrapipe' for an example) Tippy-tippy-type-type and you have the full history on that piece of pipe as fast as the display refreshes, including the calculated average corrosion rate, and the estimated replacement date.

Now if they missed a spot, that's different. Pitting corrosion is hard to pick up with ultrasonic thickness testing, especially if you have a small area of deep pitting. Your probe has to be right over the top of it.

The next great oil crisis

Experts say soaring demand from China and India is sure to send oil prices back above $100 a barrel. A supply disruption in the coming years, they say, could trigger panic, gasoline hoarding and perhaps lead to lines at the pumps akin to the 1973 Arab oil embargo and the 1979 Iranian revolution.

Global shortfalls of other fuels also could develop sooner than many people think, as a planet of nearly seven billion people and more than one billion gasoline-gulping vehicles strains the limits of combustible energy resources that are the underpinning of modern civilization.

Great article from the Miami Herald. It seems to counter all those "The coming oil glut" articles that we have been seeing lately.

Ron P.

In 2005, I counted 33 major net exporters (countries with 100,000 bpd or more of net exports).

In 2011, only six years later, six of the 33 were no longer in the major net exporter category.

Vietnam, Argentina and Malaysia (based on most recent BP data) had slipped into net importer status, and Denmark, Syria and Yemen each fell below 100,000 bpd in net exports. (We seem to be losing one major net exporter per year*.)

Denmark is a case history of a net oil exporter, showing a production decline, that heavily taxes fuel consumption and that has successfully cut their consumption. Their 2004 to 2011 rate of change numbers (BP):

(P = Production, C = Consumption, NE = Net Exports.)

P: -7.9%/year

C: -1.0%/year

NE: -19.9%/year

P/C: -7.0%/year

Given an ongoing production decline in an oil exporting country, unless they cut their consumption at the same rate as the rate of decline in production, or at a faster rate, the net export decline will exceed the production decline rate, and the net export decline rate will accelerate with time.

For example, in Denmark’s case, their 2004 to 2005 net export decline rate was 12.5%/year, while their 2004 to 2011 net export decline rate accelerated to 19.9%/year.

In simple percentage terms, a 43% decline in production from 2004 to 2011 resulted in a 75% decline in net exports, even as consumption fell by 6.5%.

*Interestingly enough, if we extrapolate the 2005 to 2011 rate of decline in the Saudi P/C ratio, what I am now calling the Export Capacity Index (ECI), Saudi Arabia would hit an ECI ratio of 1.0, and thus zero net oil exports, around 2034.

WT, did the world gain any net exporters in the same period who were previously not?

I'm not aware of any new members of the 100,000 bpd plus net exporters club.

Note that the combined net exports from the six former members referenced above fell from 1.6 mbpd in 2002 to about 100,000 bpd in 2011.

And, in the last line it nicely puts purported "huge" finds into perspective for the lay reader:

    "For example, he said that if Norwegian oil company Statoil’s new discovery in the largely tapped North Sea amounts to a billion barrels, “that’s what the world consumes in 12 days.”

There are a few conversational tools that seem to work well with folks who are intelligent but currently clueless. In particular, the GNE and ANE notions from westexas's posts, and EROEI.

I think we need a shorthand for the "what the world consumes in X days" conversion. EWC (equivalent world consumption)?

RDY – Or at the risk of losing their attention we could put it in a more immediate time frame. Not sure what the projection might be but an offshore field anywhere comes close to maxing out around 500,000 bopd. Based upon current consumption this would feed the global oil consuming beast for about 10 minutes. And then only for about 5 years and then POOF…a gone.

I wonder when US media will cease referencing WTI as the price of oil. It's a lie that misleads on a daily basis.

kalof - Never as long as it's easier to go online and pick "the price" up with two mouse clicks. It's also good to point out that I've never seen one instance of the MSM reporting what any producer has actually sold their WTI crude for. What the MSM almost universally reports are the WTI futures prices. Even then they typically don't point out if they are tossing out 30 day future prices or 5 year future prices. Many WTI sellers have their sales contract pegged to some WTI benchmark price. But some may be selling for WTI+$10 or WTI-$15. Depends upon the composition of the crude, transport costs and local market factors. All my Texas crude, which is comparable to many WTI crudes, sell for Light La. Sweet prices because I have it barged to Lake Charles, La. Even backing out transport costs I've been getting $10-$20 more than the WTI benchmark.

It would be interesting to see a volume weighted price for all crude sold in the US but that would take a great effort.

From above: "Most of this dangerous element is now endlessly cycled from battery to battery" Note - When spec-ing Lead Acid (LA)Batteries for Solar/Grid Free applications. NONE have recycled Lead content. You don't get performance/life unless the Lead is triple digit pure which (??) is too costly with recycled content. That Lead can be recycled into junk batteries with different economic requirements, Like starting ICE motors, but not energy storage. Storing kWh's in LifePo4 Batteries can NOW be less costly than LA Batteries. Cost FOB China is flirting with $1.00/Ah (3.4Volt cells 2000-6000 cycles) from the premier maker in China, and you guessed it, owned by the State. Yes, China is serious about batteries. I have a 15 year old LA Battery in a Kabota Tractor.. Quality of Materials matters a lot in Batteries.

What is the efficiency - Amp-hours in vs. Amp-hours out of LifePo4 vs. Lead Acid ?

And the life expectancy, LifePo4 vs. Lead Acid.


Alan, Both Chemistry round-trip eff > 90% depending on temp. But it's the irreversible chemical reaction (ie. Bank Life) that drives affordability. Post 2011 PV Price crash, Solar Power is cheap,cheap compared to Battery cost, so install more PV to assure that the Bank is Full by Sundown EVEN on Cloudy days. So even NiFe at 35% loss can be best due to extra Long cell life. For Traction applications, LifePo4 is just 30% of the mass/kWh. Some of the best LA, Sealed LA, http://www.sunxtender.com ... for Flooded ROLLS is great if you can wait 5 months for a bank. ROLLS does use some recycled content. Typical design for 1000 cycles at 50% Depth of Discharge (DOD) for LA assuming 3-4 stage charging with temp comp. 3000++ cycles for LIFEP04. LIFEP04 MUST have Battery Management on each cell. i.e. see article on 100 computer GM VOLT in past Drumbeat. Note that kWh cost drops in half for LA if you can design just 20% shallower. ie 30% DOD. Guess at typical Energy Storage only Cost ~~ .35 cents/kWh for LA, .25 for LIFEP04. If you have purchased LA Batteries this year, you have felt the pain. If you have super deep pockets, go for a set of those Nuclear Sub Battery Banks :-) 2011 PV Price crash likely the 2nd Largest energy story of our lifetime??

Both Chemistry round-trip eff > 90% depending on temp.

The charge/discharge efficiency of lead acid does not exceed 90%. LiIon does.

Re: Recycling Reality: Humans Set to Trash Most Elements on the Periodic Table

From our local CBC Newscast: Efficiency N.S. looking for province's worst fridge

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2012/08/10/ns-worst-frid...

Today's Energy Star refrigerators use about one-fifth as much electricity as their 1970's counterparts, and the savings potential with regards to dishwashers and clothes washers can be even more impressive. For example, our Bosch dishwasher and high capacity front loader are rated at 180 and 130 kWh a year respectively, whereas their avocado green and harvest gold predecessors would likely consume six to seven times that.

On a somewhat related note, as of our July 26th billing, our total electrical usage has fallen below 9,000 kWh per year on an annualized basis; that puts our household usage for all purposes (e.g., space heating, DHW, appliances, plug loads, etc.), including my home office, at 38.7 kWh/m2.

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/NSPStatement.jpg


Guessing 8-10 kW of PV would net zero you out. 6.5 kW here in Cloudy NW Florida. Check out PVWatts.

Unfortunately, our local climate is “solar challenged” to say the least. Halifax averages 122 days of fog or mist each year, and our solar insolation during the three coldest months of the year amounts to 1.30, 1.56 and 2.31 kWh/m2 per day. Add to that, 1) our home is orientated east-west; 2) our roof is punctuated by three dormers, a chimney chase and a copula; and 3) we’re completely shaded on the south side by a steep rock face and heavy tree cover, and there you have it.

That said, we're continuing to find ways to lower our electrical requirements, e.g., in the current billing cycle, we're down 1.6 kWh a day, year over year. We're also installing a new electric water heater on the demand side of our boiler's indirect water heater as opposed to the supply side. The original electric tank was intended to pre-heat the water fed to the side arm and thus reduce our fuel oil consumption. Now that we no longer use the boiler, we have to pull enough hot water through this second tank to offset the additional standby losses, which means we wash all of our clothes in hot water, take longer showers than we would otherwise, and occasionally turn on a hot water tap for no good reason. The new water heater will eliminate all this and should cut our DHW related consumption by half.

When we started this process, I never imagined that we could get below 12,000 kWh/year. Now, we're under 9,000 and there's a slight chance that we might break through eight.




Vertical-axis wind turbines? I don't know much about these systems or their operating requirements, how much electricity they can be reasonably expected to provide over the course of the year, or their installed cost. Then there are all of the regulatory hoops you have to go through with Nova Scotia Power to tie into their system.

At this stage, our total operating costs average about $100.00 a month (8,984 kWh/year @ $0.13336/kWh) and I hope to continue picking away at that further, e.g., the reconfiguration of our DHW system could theoretically shave another 750 kWh a year from our utility bill. For now, I want to keep plugging-away on the demand side because there's still much more to do.


VAWTs, from Wikipedia:


I have read about these years ago, and there are some potential issues:

- installation at or close to ground level usually is not favorable in terms if wind speeds, wind speed consistency (gust loads), turbulence, etc.

- the Wikipedia article mentions past issues with blade cracking and failure due
to high stresses in the vertical configuration.

- I wonder about noise from a home unit close to one or more residences. (see the pic of the pole-mounted VAWT near the houses in the Wikipedia article).

The Wikipedia article has a pic of the World's tallest VAWT in Cap-Chat, Quebec.

Due to the natural topography of our lot and tree cover, we're mostly sheltered from the sun and prevailing wind.

Looking south: http://s362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/South.jpg
Looking east: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/East.jpg

Hurricane Juan took out a dozen or so trees and subsequent to that we cut down another thirty or more closest to the house to lower the risk of storm related damage going forward. That helped open things up a bit but, even so, our wind and solar potential is still pretty limited.


Renewable Energy World just had an article on some new work being done around floating VAWTs for offshore possibilities.


This area can become a religious war equal to Mac VS PC.

The maglev VAWT concept is the macdaddy :
Instead of bailing out the banksters,maybe they could have built these instead,,

Except, that in this case, the system output is KWhours (and maybe the reliability as well), which will have a cost associated with in. The cheapest solution will win. Whereas Mac v PC, the user experience is different, and that is very hard to quantify in dollars and cents. So I expect that once systems are built, that hardnosed wind company execs will choose the most cost effective solution.

No doubt, but in this case they have several steps up, and several steps back in relation to Horizontals.. some of the cost comparisons will be a matter of longevity and maintainability, and resilience in extreme weather events. Some of the small-scale verticals, like the Windside ones that I've linked to in the past seem to have enormous advantages in both high and low extremes of wind, for both output and survivability.

The race may not go to the swift or the cheap in the long run, and even those hard-noses might get softened up with enough time and brutal conditions..

4 small, 200W, VAWTS one on each corner of my roof that are designed for 5-15mph range would cover my winter base load and a chunk of my summer. Also, they would be generating at a good time of the day to supply that power.


Vertical-axis wind turbines

Those of the Arctic Ice Extent watch category outa take a gander at this recent development:


Check out the sharply descending extent line for 2012 as it moves to a lower extent than 2007 for this time of the melt season. With about 1 month of melt to go 2012 is at 5500 million sq. kilometers with the record from 2007 at about 4250. So one month to melt this is just 1.25 million sq. kilometers to tie the record. 1.25 may seem like a lot, until you realise it reduced by .5 in just the last 3 days! This came about because of a cyclone that hit the region at 935 milibars pressure. It caused a big melt of presumably thin ice and dislodged a huge section of ice on the upper section of the satelite photo below:


Per Nevin's arctic blog http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2012/08/new-site-with-new-thickness-maps....

This highly unusual summer storm has massacred all that weak ice on the Pacific side and even caused a large swathe of ice floes to detach itself from the main ice pack. The Stronghold I wrote about a month ago is no more. Trend lines have dropped precipitously on every single sea ice extent and area graph out there.

Keep that in mind when you see fake skeptics use this storm to mislead their audience into thinking that the storm, a freakish fluke, is the cause.

And then there's this: 'Rate of arctic summer sea ice loss is 50% higher than predicted'


Preliminary results from the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 probe indicate that 900 cubic kilometres of summer sea ice has disappeared from the Arctic ocean over the past year.


For all those interested in the developmental progress of LENR (AKA cold fusion) Here is the latest inside story.

1200C process heat can be used to recycle waste.

Have a look at the following photo and the attached technical information. These come from a quite reliable inside source who was allowed to "leak" some data and information about Rossi's 1200 °C test E-Cat core currently under testing. This was originally in Italian language, any error in translation is my fault.

* * *

Rossi's 1200C reactor

[The reactor] is composed of two coaxial steel cylinders. The internal space between the two cylinders contains an electrical heating resistance and the reaction chamber with the active material. The cylinder bases are sealed with heat resistant sealant for blast furnace use. Pressure sealing is not needed. The whole has been painted in black to increase emissivity and can withstand 1200 °C.

The photo shows a phase of the measurements

At the time of this photo, the average outer surface temperature was 801 °C, with local hot spots of 873 °C. The inner surface temperature ranged from 1100 °C to over 1200 °C. Two electrical heating resistances in parallel (the 4 visible cables). Value of the resistances in parallel: 6 Ohm. AC (50 Hz) input voltage of 147 Volts. Current consumption 24.25 Ampere. Power consumption 3.56 kW. Heat power irradiated by both inner and outer walls, assumed equal for a total of 13.39 kW, including the average ambient temperature of 35 °C.

Inner wall of bright white color, unapproachable under 1 meter of distance because of hot air flow. Outer wall measured by thermal camera with 2% measurement precision. Inner wall measurement by laser thermometer from a 1.2 meter distance by the shaky hand of a person who didn't want to get cooked.

Conservative, rounded down values due to heat taken off by convective flow estimated to be at least 8% on the outer wall and low irradiation cosine for the inner wall due to high irradiation angle toward laser thermometer (pointing almost in axis with the inner cylinder).

Stable reaction, without strange happenings. Virtually boring.

COP raises when 1000 °C are exceeded on the outer wall. [Fuel] consumption is that of a [nuclear] fusion reaction, that is, almost nonexistent. A proper estimate would require to turn the thing on and then taking a very long vacation before verifying the actual consumption.

For the sake of completeness, it should be noted that data are preliminary and that inner cylinder measurements will have to be remade with less shaky methods than a laser thermometer, in order to improve results as it's a delicate measurement, since the inner surface is in contact with the air heated by the surface itself.

COP raises when 1000 °C are exceeded on the outer wall. [Fuel] consumption is that of a [nuclear] fusion reaction, that is, almost nonexistent. A proper estimate would require to turn the thing on and then taking a very long vacation before verifying the actual consumption.


It’s not magic; it happens all the time in space, electron cloud screening always lowers the coulomb barrier in nuclear reactions from 1 MeV down to as low as 10 eV, This has been known for years.



This particular device could be a fake; Rossi may be scamming. But as my recent postings have indicated, I think the number of credible labs showing an anomalous heat effect has risen above reasonable background noise.

I'd like someone to do a keypost on this stuff again so the comments don't get lost with each drumbeat.

The fact that it's unlikely, and that various wackos and scammers have had nonworking inventions and crazy theories, does not mean much if there's a repeatable effect. Real-world results always trump theory. Sometimes they mess with scientists' minds.

If the effect is real, it may be the most important discovery in our lifetimes. Because near as I can tell, nobody yet has a theory for what's going on, or how to really get it cranking. If it's real - big if - then we're still at the stage where Edison was trying bamboo filaments in incandescent lamps, just random trial and error.

Anyone wanna try building one?

(BTW, I agree that the "leaked photo" of the Rossi thingy seems fairly bogus, and the "leak" with "partial confirmation by Rossi" is consistent with a scam. The "device" just looks like some stove elements jammed together. However, if you subtract Rossi from the equation, there are a lot of labs which are convinced they're seeing an effect. Could be that Rossi has actually managed to get an effect sometimes but not others and doesn't know why, so he's tap-dancing while hoping he figures it out in the meantime.)

It looks suspiciously like a small gloryhole for glass blowing.


Indeed, nice find :) I find the consistent lack of clear evidence quite amusing. It would be so easy to build a credible demonstration with power of that scale.

Power consumption 3.56 kW. Heat power irradiated by both inner and outer walls, assumed equal for a total of 13.39 kW

One bar of an electrical heater consumes about 1 kW. So effectively you've put a 3 1/2 bar heater in an insulated chamber. That would account for the toasty glow.

But the heat power irradiated from the inner walls just internally heats the device. It is only the heat power escaping the device at the outer walls and radiating out from the observation hole that can do any useful work.

And that is far less than 11.39 kW. My guess is it's about 3.5 kW, i.e. the device is simply an electric heater, there is no nuclear effect whatsoever.

I agree. I think their temperature measurements are way off. If the outer surface was in fact at 800 C it should also be glowing red.


And I also question their assumption that the power dissipation on the inner wall is the same as on the outer wall.

This "demonstration" pretty well pegs my BS meter...

Agreed on temperature/colour. Also, if you cannot get close due to the hot air flow then where the heck are the distortions in the atmosphere caused by the heat? You should clearly see the shimmer in the background. As for too hot to get the hand hear, haven't they heard of these wonderful inventions?


As for laser thermometer, sounds good but maybe infra-red thermometer with guiding laser may be more accurate. sfhaze, agree with you on the wiring also 147VAC sounds odd.


With BSmeter totally pegged.

It sounds like the description of what's happening in the photo is wrong. I don't think you can put 25A thought those 4 small wires. Those wires look more like some kind of temperature probe, and I think the insulation on the wires would be melting if the outside temps were that high. This was leaked by one of the Rossi's third party testers, the official test results should be published in a couple of months and we might find out what that is a picture of.

I don't think you can put 25A thought those 4 small wires.

I'm fairly certain you could. Probably double that even. It would simply get hot, which doesn't really matter in a lab. The allowable current for house wiring is very conservative for obvious safety reasons and the possible lack of ventilation to cool down the wire (eg. in an insulated wall).

With that said, my BS meter blew up long ago regarding the e-cat. It's the output power which was never properly demonstrated.

The comment suggesting the temperature measurement using the "laser thermometer" was not accurate sounds rather bogus. A simple baffle made of a mirror with a hole in it would allow the hand held device to be located much closer to the hot spot while shielding the operator's hand from the radiant heat. Also, if the device were mounted in a vertical position, and placed within an insulated duct, the rising air could be directed thru a heat exchanger with water flowing thru it. This would allow measurement of the total energy emitted over time, which could be compared with the energy supplied to the electric resistance heaters. The water could be run thru the heat exchanger for the entire period of operation and continued after the power to device was cut off and the temperature returned to ambient.

If the device can be shown to work as claimed, we may have a new way to heat houses and hot water, using only the setup described and the testing shroud. Lets see the data...

E. Swanson

Just from the photo, these temperatures are suspicious. The colour in the 'black body cavity' appears to be about 850C, but the outside can't be more than 500C, which appears cherry red in a dimly lit room. Remember, emitted power rises with temp to the FOURTH power, so even the claimed 5:1 heat excess requires a better test than this.

It would have been so easy to put the described apparatus in a muffle furnace used as a calorimeter - just integrate the power draw of the furnace with the gadget present and compare with a control.

Just another cold fusion hoax, IMO.

To have the inside incandescent and the outside cool would require some pretty good insulation. How's about it's just two concentric pipes with the inner one having been heated by a blowtorch before taking the picture? The rig is very odd... that same artistic pronounced clumsiness seen before. If I had a very hot metal tube in the lab, I wouldn't balance it on two knife-edge's suspended over the floor.

And decent calorimetry would be paramount! I mean, that's where the thrill is! That's whats vigorously gestured at while excitedly spouting nearly incoherent gibberish!

... but to even respond to these...

Even easier would be to build the gadget and Photoshop the glowing interior. I blew it up and checked it carefully. Maybe it was and maybe it wasn't Photoshopped. I couldn't tell. But NAOM makes a good point: where's the heat shimmer you should see in the air at those temperatures?

Also, new ecat car, automatically recharges overnight!

A statement From Rossi about the leak of secret info as follows:

Andrea Rossi

August 12th, 2012 at 5:35 AM

Dear Antonella:

About the tests: the precise dates will be decided in an agreement that we should reach at the beginning of September: obviously we have to accept their needs.

About Cures: He has been identified as Domenico Fioravanti, it appears that the data from the test made on July 16th comes from him. If it is true, it is due to an excess of enthusiasm for the results, that have been obtained in a test directed by him and by 6 Professors from two Universities. The data had to remain confidential, but he could not help to talk about this event and the remarkable results.

He is making these tests as a Consultant of a military Customer of us and now probably he will have problems for the leakages, even if I do not think it has been so important: sooner or later the same data will be published. I knew Ing Fioravanti when he was a Student of the Politecnico di Torino ( the Engineering University of Turin, Italy) because he was making a research for Prof. Cesare Boffa (one of the best Engineering Prof. of the time) regarding the new technologies of Electrostatic Precipitators. It was the year 1976 and even if I was 26 years old, I was at the times considered an expert of the sector, so I gave to Domenico Fioravanti much papers I had wrote and he also visited the electrostatic precipitators I manufactured in my factory of Caponago (Milan, Italy). Then we never met again. After 35 years (!!!) I received an email from him in the blog of the Journal, in which he congratulated for the E-Cat, and for me has been a delighting surprise to hear from him again. I contacted him privately and he explained to me that he was a Colonel Engineer, expert of missiles tests. One year later, when with our Military Customer we had to choose a neutral Consultant for the test of the well known plant of 1 MW, I proposed Fioravanti, whom they knew very well, because he worked with NATO, with the Pentagon at the highest levels and always for engineering connected with thermodynamic tests ( mainly nuclear carriers’ heads tests). So we all have been glad to choose him.

His intellectual integrity and his knowledge of the matter has allowed a job that has been considered highly professional from all the parties involved.

This is it.

Warm Regards,


Domenico Fioravanti is in trouble now: maybe 10 years in jail. He may have wanted to get the E-Cat into the public domain and out from under military secrecy. He may be the first martyr to the LENR cause.

[Fuel] consumption is that of a [nuclear] fusion reaction

Whatever this is, it is *not* nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion on hydrogen isotopes produces neutrons, period. At the incandescent power levels shown in the photograph enough of them would be produced per unit time to kill everyone in that room.

The device looks to be operating like a cavity radiator. What if the cavity is only open on one end? Using a larger version of the photo converted to grey scale, it appears that the diameter of the hole is about 2.56 times the size of the bolts on the frame in the foreground. If the bolt heads are 15mm across the flats, that would imply that the diameter of the hole is about 38mm. Lets assume that about 2 kw of the 3.56 kw electric supply leaves the cavity as IR radiation.

From the Stefan-Boltzman Law:

Power = area * emissivity * SB * T^4

SB = Stefan-Boltzman constant = 5.6704e-8
The emissivity of a cavity radiator is 1.0, thus:

T = (Power / (area * SB) ) ^1/4

T = (2,000w / (1.1341e-3 * 5.6704e-8) )^1/4

T = (3.1102e13 ) ^1/4  =  2,361K = 2,089C

With both ends open, double the area and the result is:

T = 1,985K = 1,713C

If my assumptions (and calculations) are close to the mark, it's not unreasonable to expect that the electricity input alone would heat the cavity to 1200C (or what ever). So, is there really any extra energy produced by this device? I seriously doubt it...

E. Swanson

These come from a quite reliable inside source who was allowed to "leak" some data and information about Rossi's 1200 °C test E-Cat core currently under testing.


Let's start with what Rossi himself had declared about his E-Cat. He said that it is based on the fusion of hydrogen and nickel nuclei (see Rossi's patent) and that gamma rays are produced during operation (see here) so that lead shields had to be placed inside the device. Rossi also said that he was building a factory in the United States where he would produce E-Cats by the millions; to be sold as water heaters for people's homes. According to some recent statements by Rossi, the device had been undergoing safety testing for months at Underwriters Laboratory.

It couldn't go unnoticed in Florida that someone was claiming to be producing nuclear reactors in large numbers. On February 24, an officer of the State of Florida Bureau of Radiation Control went to investigate what was going on in the pretended "E-Cat factory" in Miami. There, he found no factory, but an apartment and Andrea Rossi in person. Questioned on the E-Cat, Rossi declared that "no nuclear reactions occur inside the device." Rossi also stated that all the facilities for testing and production are "overseas," and that safety certification with Underwriters Laboratory will be arranged in the future. The officer then left, writing in his report that his bureau has no jurisdiction over a device which has nothing nuclear inside. (The complete documentation is here, comments can be found here and here. Rossi himself confirmed the story here.)


In the end, lacking experimental proof, the idea that the E-Cat produces energy rests only on Rossi's statements that say, basically, just "trust me". But after the Florida story, it is clear that this is, also, a no-win strategy. How can you trust Rossi after so many contradictions? Where is the E-Cat factory that he said was in the US and then, no, it is overseas? And where is the safety testing (not) being done? Incidentally, if, hypothetically, the E-Cat were really producing nuclear reactions, we should think of Rossi as a dangerous criminal who lied to the Florida officer about his plans to produce and sell without the necessary safety certifications a device that generates gamma rays. That Rossi can't be trusted has been clearly perceived also by Rossi's supporters, who have been abandoning the sinking ship: for instance Sterling Allan. The University of Bologna had wisely disengaged from Rossi already in January.

What do you people do to prepare? If you began preparing migitative measures in 2002, I can foresee their having an effect, or if you grew up in farm country and you have 40-50 years behind you. The earth has just spun another round around the sun since I first greeted the world, but for someone in my early 20s I can't really hope to become self-sufficient, self-reliant or engaged in any community doing meaningful stuff within the 5-10 years until there can be no. I have frozen interest on my student loan (though I fear it will go farther down to maybe 2%) for the next 10 years. I can't get into the housing market because I will probably not keep my job long enough to pay it down (ie. won't make enough dough). Even if I were to experience a relationship with a woman, she'd be put off if I began elaborating on the end of the world. I'm in the process of making a 5-year-plan encompassing what I want to get out of life. Wish I had gotten into farming instead of ******* IT. I'll be the first to be laid off after the aeroplane crews and airline people.

What do I do to prepare ?
One thing that is essential,IMHO,is to strive to maintain a positive mental attitude. (PMA)

Wish I had gotten into farming instead of ******* IT.

So what's stopping you? I'm 59 and have had the rug pulled out from under my feet many times and have had to start over from scratch. You get up, dust yourself off, and get on with life.

Maybe you could find a way to apply your IT skills in control systems for integrating and automating aquaponics or something like that. Industrial civilization may be doomed but there are still lot's of things that need doing right now.


"You get up, dust yourself off, and get on with life."

+ 10

My favourite expression is "we'll get by". (I have had four major career changes and still raised a family along the way).

But.....but, if you control your debts and have a plan, plus a little confidence and some tranferrable skills, you will always get by and do just fine.

IT skills are a great foundation to build upon.

Controlling debt provides freedom to change and move on. One shot at life, and you don't want to be a debt slave. Better to live and be poor than pay for some bankers trophy car. IMO.


"find a way to apply your IT skills in control systems for integrating and automating.."

Ain't that for sure.
I think we'll have to get really good at patching together tech and control systems to keep them running beyond their design lives. I know of a number of components that seem immortal if you don't overheat or overamp them. It would be great to see people finding out where the weak links (CAPs, notoriously) are and modding motherboards or microprocs so the 'expendable components' are set up to be replaced as needed, but keep the CPUs that can last (if they can) ready to continue serving..

Also, if we find out that we can only sustain a much simpler level of Processors and Memory Storage, then we'll need the programmers helping to pare us back into tight and lightweight code. I don't believe we're done with electronic language, signalling, control and sensing.. not by a long shot.

You get up, dust yourself off, and get on with life.


As Ursula Le Guin wrote about facing the end of the world as we know it, "... the world as I knew it has already ended several times."

Live your life while paying attention to the things that seem to be related to the problems of energy.

It worked for me.

I'm an English major, an academic. I started checking images of fossil fuels, bulldozers, cars, highways, the sun, etc. in literature. I think I found something interesting. And I got it published.

Juliet is the sun?? (i.e. opposed to coal)

An idea I got through this method!

And so just keep going with ideas that seem relevant and interesting, that tie into your skills and knowledge and interests.

Soon, others will be wondering "how did you think of that?"

Because energy is so important, it really should claim our professional attention, no matter what our profession. That it doesn't is just a sign of the complacency we've developed over the years of plentiful abundance.

Was that YOUR article? I thought you just linked it to us. I really liked it a lot.

Yes, Ecclesiastes 9:10 career advice still applies, even in dire and pinchy times.

'Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.'

Of course, as a good Unitarian, I didn't get it from Bible class.. I think it was in Steinbeck's EAST OF EDEN.


I like Proverbs 22:29

Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.

I will always honour workers of skills.I know the amount of work it take to get them.

Yes, OK, I'll take credit.

Thank you.

But Shakespeare couldn't have foreseen cold fusion. So he could be wrong. We might not be going back to the sun (albeit very slowly). We might be headed off in a totally new direction that he never thought of. Hey, he was just one guy.

I have been following the "cold fusion" discussions very closely here. So interesting. I wish I could understand them better!!
I hope it works out. I like my washing machine....

I wouldn't hold your breath for cold fusion, all I am seeing are scams. Rossi et al are just using pseudo science, jargon and peoples hopes to line their nest. Their physics just does not fly and the demonstrations can be quickly picked apart by anyone who knows how to take measurements. Put you faith in conventional renewables, they are available to order now.


I entirely agree with all these statements by NAOM.

However, Pons & Fleishman weren't novices, and there are apparently some pretty competent technicians convinced that "something" is going on. That's the interesting thing.

I would love it if someone like Robert Rapier would build one of these and report on it. Could be a fun project even as a demonstration of unworkability.

And here's a question: how would the observable universe look different today, even subtly, if such an effect existed? That is, is such an effect ruled out by the universe as we see it?

There's plenty you can do with your IT degree. Computers are used everywhere these days, including renewable energy, farming, etc. Stuart Staniford, who was one of the founding members of this site, is working in computer security now. He thinks that will be the place to be in a peak oil world.

Or you could do something else. You're still young. You could easily switch fields. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money. If you think you'd be interested in farming, try WWOOF.

If I were in your situation, I would choose something that would be useful even if BAU continues. For example, veterinary science. If BAU continues, your patients will be beloved pets. If not, you'll be treating farm animals, maybe even people.

Don't worry too much about money or real estate. If you can't afford it now, you can't afford it. Skills and relationships will likely be more important, anyway. Anything else can be stolen or confiscated.

And don't put your life on hold. Whatever you pick, make sure you enjoy it. Some peak oilers have been preparing for the collapse for 30 or 40 years. It still hasn't happened. If you end up in that situation, you don't want to look back and think you wasted your life.

One thought is to find others who are doing things.. this lets you share/inherit in some of the knowledge and progress they have already gleaned while you offer your efforts, and probably most important, you get to not be alone with these concerns. You don't have to do it alone.. and this really won't work in an 'Every man/woman for themself' mode. (That said, there ARE things you can look at personally about how to start learning to grow foods, or minimizing your dependences on external supplies of energy, learning other useful skills like carpentry, repair or teaching.. etc..)

If you don't know of people like nearby Permaculture groups who are accessible and active in positive ways.. you might find out where they gather online for your country or region, and at least join into the conversation, and find out how to extend the ideas (gently) into discussions with people closer by who might also be into this, and just haven't discovered it yet.

'Now' is often a less ideal time to start then years ago.. but just start, and don't try to do everything, just do something.. and when that's sort of in place, you can do something more. etc.. Your youth is an advantage to be appreciated, even if it doesn't look like it from where you stand.

Lot, I'm glad to read that you have begun preparing a 5 year plan. I'm sorry to hear that you are still focused on peak oil as a TEOTWAWKI scenario.

I think you have personality problems that have made you obsess on this issue in ways that are not healthy for you - and not conducive to your long term survival even if peak oil plays out in the apocalyptic fashion you imagine. I strongly urge you to seek medical help.

Meanwhile, I propose a modest experiment. Imagine a 6 meter snowfall just isolated you in your apartment or house for three weeks in the dead of winter. There is no electricity. There is no water. There is no natural gas. What would you need to survive indoors for 3 weeks?

1. You would need to stay warm and dry. Could you do that without whatever you use for modern heating? Do you have a wood stove? Wood? Do you have blankets? A winter sleeping bag? Enough winter clothing?

2. You would need water. How much water would you need to store to survive 3 weeks? How much to drink? To cook? To bathe? To take care of sewage? Could you use the water in your toilet? Your water heater? Do you have a water purifier? Chlorine?

3. You could probably survive 3 weeks without any food, but how could you do better? What foods could you store? Does it need to be cooked? How would you cook it?

4. What are you going to do for your toilet? Plastic garbage bags? Buckets? Porcelain chamber pots? The kitchen sink?

5. What kind of tools or equipment would you want if the electricity is off for 3 weeks? A flash light with extra batteries? A self-charging flash light? Extra batteries for your cell phone? A hand crank radio? A bicycle generator? A gasoline powered generator? A knife? Duct tape? A harmonica? A guitar?

Now do it. Just do it. It doesn't have to be expensive. Make a list. Remove anything too expensive and find a cheaper substitute. Get rid of the stuff you don't really need. And do it. I don't know your budget but there is no reason you cannot do this in 2-12 weeks.

I have SOS food bars in a box in a closet. Cheap online food for anywhere, not great, but not meant to be eaten everyday. I live in a Trailer, but have been fed out of a soup kitchen, while homeless in another state. You learn to get by on a lot less, when you have to carry everything you own with you. Keeping warm without a wood stove might be an issue, but covering up with towels and blankets and sheets will help. All that snow could be used in your toilet, melt it in your sink and bathtub, over time, you only flush for #2. As to bathing, a sponge bath works just as well as a huge shower, though they are nice, In space they only use a little water and it won't kill you to go a few weeks without one.


55 here, and I STILL don't know what I want to do when I grow up. Biology degree ... worked as a cabinetmaker, furniture maker, pathology lab tech, musician, managed a tropical fish store. There were other things, too. I am currently working for a bicycle maker, who does very cutting edge work. Since we don't know what the future holds (heck, the "experts" can't agree!), I just work on what I can do, and look to find ways to help others with what I can do. I feel very fortunate to have been able to follow my interests, as diverse as they are.

It was like reading a version of my own diverse life, Tonypdx. Don't you think there's a certain satisfaction is being versed in many different vocations? Anyway, I'm 56 and still bouncing around from this to that. BS degree in bus., worked as a cabinetmaker, bank card service liason with banks, contruction supervisor, finish carpenter, contractor, Haliburton pump operator, commercial real estate agent, writer, have my own company making a high end product for sale on the internet and am also a mold maker for figurative art. That last one listed there is probably the single toughest process I ever learned and not easy to find people to help in the learning curve, but once mastered it provides a lot of satisfaction as you see the final product, a bronze unveiled where it will reside for many years to come. Always had the problem of getting bored so keep moving on to the next challenge. Not the best idea for establishing a career, but we all have to do what is most interesting to us and what pays the bills. Ultimately as the cheese moves I move with it - it's called adaptation. My advice to the young is never shy away from a challenge. When given an opportunity 'take it on'.

Excellent, Perk Earl. There is a great satisfaction, I think, in being able to wear many career hats. It is amazing how much knowledge is transferable, although this may be hard for (actual/potential) employers to appreciate. Sometimes I beat myself up for not pursuing a "professional" career path, but it's a tad late in the day for that. I have always liked the more Buddhist perspective of doing the best you can, and letting go of the results.

I have always liked the more Buddhist perspective of doing the best you can, and letting go of the results.

Letting go of the results - have to admit I'm still trying to master that one. Always room to learn though.

Peak Earl:"...I'm 56..."

FMagyar:"So what's stopping you? I'm 59..."

Paulo:"I have had four major career changes and still raised a family along the way"

Paulo - no spring chicken

jokuhl:"Your youth is an advantage to be appreciated"

jokuhl - spoken like a golden oldie

Tonypdx:"...55 here..."

I wonder how many of these rosy scenarios are coming from people 50+ years old who have actually seen a time where there was cheese to be followed. That's the problem with Peak Oil, Climate Change, Fisheries Decline, Aquifer Depletion, Virus adaptation to antivirals and bacteria to anti-biotics, Sick Ecosystems...in the US we're seeing an anti-science movement, while simultaneously expecting science to produce miracles to save us so long as those miracles do not anger God or violate the 2nd Amendment Right to own Uzis (as written by the hand of Jesus). I think Gays are currently the US's Jew-equivalent in the "Reason things are crappy" box of excuses. If we can only ban them from marrying, all will be well again! And "freeing" the market so it can be free to make everyone Bill Gates!

As doom-pointing as everyone is about Europe, at least they still seem to have a coherent social structure not based on cowboy mentality and everyone for themselves "rugged individualism." "Manifest Destiny." And all of the lies constantly drummed as fact.

56 y.o. Peak Earl: "...Ultimately as the cheese moves I move with it..."

So can you see where there might be some cynicism coming from those 30 and younger...who hear something like "follow the cheese" and look around at a rapidly dying planet and say "what cheese?"

What f(*&ng cheese? On an island of 1,000 rats and 1 gram of cheese - what cheese? Are we to FINISH turning the planet Earth into a smoking moonscape in search of the mystical moving cheese?


Just remember, mother with child dying of starvation, Positive mental attitude! woot woot

BBC Future of Food: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiPuCSGo_wo


Hey? (No spring chicken here.)

Maybe in some (most) areas there are few opportunities....granted. I have lived in those areas. I moved and found other opportunities. This might seem a tad romantic, but how about those guys who headed south west to work with Mike Reynolds of "Garbage Warrior" fame. One thing leads to another. I worked for an airline that laid us all off to break the Union. Worked away from home for several years and ultimately moved. When I lost my flying license due to herniated discs, I did university by correspondence until 4th and 5th year when I had to attend. Today, one can do it all online.

I am 57 and will retire in 5 months. Do I have enough money? Don't know. But I have a friend who is 75 who summed it up. You trade time for money. What's more important as you age?

What kick starts action for you? When I was 15 I read Wind, Sand, and Stars by Antoine St Exuperey? It took 3 years but I got my commercial by 18, built a camper for my old truck and headed east to find a job when others said there wern't any for someone so young. I found one.

With an IT foundation you could live anywhere in the world and make it work. You just have to start out one step at a time. With Peak Oil awareness you are way ahead of most people to face the future. Way ahead.

It sounds like the 'older generation' had it all 'skittles and beer' like my pop used to say. Maybe if your parents paid for everything it was so, but not for working guys on their own. The struggles were there and the empty cupboards were too. Lots of boom and busts where we lived. (That's why there are so many grow-ops around). You do what you have to do and get on with it.

Best of luck as you move on.


"You do what you have to do and get on with it."

And boom - there's the problem. Wasn't there a post on here about some tiny nation where everyone had like a 100 square foot (10m2ish) plot of land to grow food on...but like every ten years or so everyone would, by necessity because of splitting the land for their children, eventually have to go on a murder spree and kill off a bunch of their neighbors so they'd have a place to grow food? They're just doing what they have to do and getting on with it. That totally blows - what kind of life is that?

It's funny you mention being a pilot, because at one time I wanted to do that - I really wanted to fly the Alaskan bush. I got a degree in Meteorology, minored in Math, and started taking flight lessons around 2005 ish through a club. The club dispersed before I got to the Private certificate and basically the price doubled on me instantly and of course in lead-up to 2008 Avgas was pushing like $6.50/gallon in planes that went through 6 to 8 gallons per hour. I knew the airline industry was toast and there was going to be a flood of high-time pilots with no jobs wandering about like zombies so there was no point in dropping $40,000 on getting a Commercial certificate with the prospect of no jobs on the other end. On top of that I knew about Peak Oil at the time and knew the airlines were definitely toast and also the thought of 8 gallons/hour of LEADED gas going out the pipes for my entertainment was getting kind of nauseating. So growing up doodling airplanes, going to school in Meteorology because it would be a good knowledge skill for flying, and finding out the whole thing is basically a sham and killing the effin' planet - kind of a downer.

Pile on top of that living in a country currently being steered by religious lunatics, racist wackjobs, and rich people whose only concern is getting more rich at the expense of everyone else with no qualms on turning the planet into a smoking hell-hole in pursuit of that goal...there's not really any hope left in the magic bag.

A "long-age of expectation" I suppose. Or FWO, formerly well off, as Westexas would say. I have seen that which was possible, that which has been, and see the trajectory of the future. If one were to plop one of those refugees in my place they would think they'd died and gone to heaven...but long-ages of expectation are about trajectory and the only way I can see is down, and down is a place the human brain does not like to go.

The crowded nation would be Rwanda and/or Burundi.

A buddy of mine qualified as a pilot the hard way, by paying for lessons instead of joining the Air Force like most people who become commercial pilots here. He was flying a King Air for a big corporation when he crashed and died, age late 30s.

"Wish I had gotten into farming ...". It is not too late. Many cities have some kind of community garden site where you can get a plot for $25 per year. Grow lots of veggies and share with friends or can them for the winter. You will learn a lot & become a sought-after guru for your expertise. Use your day job to support this subversive activity. There is much to do and no time to waste.

Mod Fred up, dust yourself off. I've had to do it several times.

Use these times to build yourself up both in skills and mind. You have mde a good start by coming here, follow the links people give and LEARN, LEARN, LEARN. You might not be able to become self sufficient in 5-10 years but you can practice. Grow small amounts of food crops, even if it is only a barrel of tomatoes. You will start to get a feel for plants that will set you ahead of city dwellers who don't even know if you plant with the roots up or down. I switched from th UK to Mexico and am having to learn a whole new load about plants and the things to watch for, TOD has made me want to learn more. As for women, in a few years they will be more interested in a man, you, who can show that he can look after them than someone who has fancy stuff and no future. Become strong. Both in mind and ody, you will need it. For your 5 year plan use your IT to make as much as you can and set that against your future, the next 5 year plan which will be to become more independent using the skills and resources you built up in this one.

I don't recall where in the world you are but there are others, other TODsters maybe, that are near you that can help you build your self up. As the old saying goes "seek and ye shall find". Take courses where you learn the basic handicraft skills, you will likely meet others there as well. I did a greenwood course, many years ago, and I learnt a lot, could likely make what I need just from that short course. It is out there if you look for it. I will say it again, use this 5 year plan to build yourself up on all levels.

Good luck


EDIT: Let me add that I was in IT and I can assure you that you are disposable and the first out of the door when cost cutting comes, been there.

I payed off my student loans, and moved back home to the area where I grew up and have my biggest social network. I guess that covers 90% of the stuff I can ever do. I am 35 in october.

Who Wants The Highest Crude Oil Price? Presenting The OPEC Cost Curve

Iran. Because according to a just released analysis by the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation, the price at which oil (read Brent) must trade for Iran's budget to balance has soared to $127/barrel, the highest among all OPEC members, $20 higher than 2 years ago, and about $17 higher than the Friday closing price. And far more dangerously, the APIC study has also found that the cartel (which after last year's fiasco in Vienna is anything but) breakeven price has soared from just $77 two years ago to a whopping $99/barrel. Which means that any and every deflationary plunge in oil prices will inevitably be met with a supply collapse or else OPEC members are in danger of pricing themselves right into fiscal insolvency, and economic collapse.


And while those with a sense of humor can see why it is, perversely, in Iran's favor to start a contained war which will not destroy the country but merely lead to surge in oil prices, the danger is that even Saudi Arabia - a critical long-time ally of the US in the region - has gradually seen its interests align increasingly against those of the US, namely in that its breakeven price has risen from $80/barrel to $94 currently. While the Kingdom itself claims it can "cope" with a price of $75/barrel, this is obviously for posturing purposes.

A light dawns over Marblehead: Professor sees energy 'trap' ahead.

At least it's some press attention...

Of course you probably know that Tom is a regular poster here as well.

Way to go, Tom! 'Do the Roof!'

Yesterday I attended our annual local Pageant of Steam with some of the family. Antique steam and gasoline engine events are fairly popular around here. My favorite attraction was the large Allis-Chalmers steam engine generator that is a permanent installation on the fairgrounds. Rated at 2300V, 50A, 3 phase, 60Hz, 150RPM. No video of this particular machine but it was similar to this one, only somewhat smaller and with a horizontal rather that vertical piston/rod arrangement. A wood-fired boiler on the site provided steam to this and other engines. It was strangely peaceful watching this beast spinning away in its semi-open building, with the woods in the background. The guys running the boiler outside would occasionally toss in a few logs. Made me wonder what really would be the best way to convert wood/biomass into energy on a regional basis? Would this thing make sense as part of a community center that could benefit from its 'waste heat' during the winter? At some point it did occur to me that this machine wasn't actually doing any useful work; just sort of loafing along 'flexing its muscles' so to speak. I tried to imagine it fully loaded, creaking and groaning under the strain, steam now spurting from every crevice instead of just a puff here and there, and the guys outside furiously stoking the boiler to keep up with the demand...