Drumbeat: August 17, 2012

Mexico's big oil problem

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Mexico, one of the largest suppliers of oil to the United States, has a big problem: Its production of crude is falling fast.

In 2008, the country's production peaked at 3.2 million barrels a day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Last year, it didn't even produce 3 million a day.

The reason: aging oil fields and years of underinvestment.

Industry experts say Mexico could revive production if it allowed more investment from international oil companies. But under current policy, EIA says Mexico will have to start importing oil by 2020.

U.S. Reliance on Saudi Oil Heads Back Up

HOUSTON — The United States is increasing its dependence on oil from Saudi Arabia, raising its imports from the kingdom by more than 20 percent this year, even as fears of military conflict in the tinderbox Persian Gulf region grow.

The increase in Saudi oil exports to the United States began slowly last summer and has picked up pace this year. Until then, the United States had decreased its dependence on foreign oil and from the Gulf in particular.

France, U.S. conferring on oil, all options eyed: source

PARIS (Reuters) - France and the United States are in contact on recent oil price rises and are studying all options, an official at the offices of President Francois Hollande said on Friday when asked about a possible release of strategic oil reserves.

"We are consulting our American partners on all issues, including containment of oil prices. All options are being studied," the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

Oil price falls as Britain says it is ready to call for release of reserves

The UK is prepared to ask the International Energy Agency (IEA) to take action to deal with high oil prices, but no decision has been made to release stocks, a energy ministry spokesman has said.

Oil Trims Third Weekly Gain on Speculation Rally Was Excessive

Oil fell for the first time in four days, paring a third weekly advance in New York, on speculation that its rise to a three-month high was not sustainable.

Futures dropped as much as 0.7 percent after yesterday’s 1.4 percent increase to more than $95 a barrel. Crude’s 14-day relative strength index rose to 66.6 yesterday, its highest since March and near the 70 level considered to signify a market is overbought. Oil may slide next week on concern that slower economic growth in the U.S. will reduce demand, a Bloomberg survey showed. The world’s biggest crude consumer is considering a plan to release emergency stockpiles, Reuters reported.

Exports of coal and fuels on track to set record

U.S. exports of coal and fuels such as gasoline and diesel continue to soar. Both categories are on track to set new annual records, according to government data.

Coal shipments are rising because U.S. demand for coal is falling as electric utilities burn more natural gas, which has plummeted in price, instead of coal. At the same time, demand for coal is rising in developing countries such as China and India as those countries work to bring electricity to millions who don't have it.

Weekly LNG imports into N Asia rise 7% on surge in Qatari supply to China

Singapore (Platts) - North Asian countries -- China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea -- imported 125.10 Bcf gas equivalent of LNG, or 2.57 million mt of LNG, for the week ended August 15, a 7.3% gain from the previous week, according to port and satellite data compiled by Bentek Energy, a unit of Platts.

Hedge funds bet on oil spike as Israel attack fears grow

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hedge funds are quietly laying new bets on a potential spike in oil prices tied to the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran, skewing the options market to a bullish bias for the first time in six months.

Beyond basics, is there a such thing as informed energy debate? The API joins in

Still, even laying out different cases -- reference, low EUR, high EUR and high TRR -- trend lines are apparent for oil and gas in the coming decades.

The oversimplied answer: there will be more production. But, look at the ranges. Take the total US production of crude oil and natural gas liquids. For 2010, it was 7.5 million b/d, and for 2020, it could be 9.6 million b/d (reference), 8.8 million b/d (low EUR), 10.3 million b/d (high EUR) or 11.6 million (high TRR).

Batista Failing in $1 Billion Earnings Pledge

Billionaire Eike Batista’s energy and mining companies lost almost as much money in the second quarter as in all of 2011, reducing the chances that Brazil’s richest man will deliver the profits he promised for this year.

Oil giant Saudi Aramco hit with virus

The world's largest crude oil exporter has become the latest victim of a cyber attack, allegedly as a warning to officials in the country.

Saudi Aramco said in a statement on its Facebook page that it has shut down outside access to its computer network in a pre-emptive measure following a virus attack.

Israel sees monthlong war after Iran strike

JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear program could trigger a bloody monthlong war on multiple fronts, killing hundreds of Israelis or more, the Israeli Cabinet's civil defense chief warned in an interview published Wednesday.

It was the most explicit assessment yet of how the government sees events unfolding in the aftermath of an Israeli attack.

Japan to deport Chinese held over island landing

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Japan will deport 14 detained Chinese nationals who were arrested over a disputed island chain in the East China Sea, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said on Friday in a resolution aimed at ending a diplomatic incident between the two nations.

UN Ends Syria Mission; Gulf Citizens Told to Flee Lebanon

The United Nations Security Council won’t renew its unarmed observer mission in Syria, conceding it was unable to stem the violence as concerns grew that the country’s conflict was spilling across borders.

CNN inside Syria: Caught in middle, people of Aleppo frantic for peace

Some residents of Aleppo, Syria, are full of questions: Why are we being shelled? Who are the rebels who've come to town? How will we eat? The answers seem to be only bloodshed.

Problems persist for oil-containment project at Bellingham

BELLINGHAM — Minor oil spills have plagued construction of an oil-spill-containment barge Shell Oil is waiting for to drill exploratory wells in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska.

Americans Rate Computer Industry Best, Oil and Gas Worst

PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans continue to give the computer industry the most positive ratings out of 25 business and industry sectors tested, with the restaurant industry in second place. The oil and gas industry and the federal government have the least positive images, as they did last year.

Japan: Butterfly Mutations Found Near Damaged Nuclear Plant

Radiation that leaked from the Fukushima nuclear plant after last year’s earthquake and tsunami caused mutations in some butterflies, including dented eyes and stunted wings, though humans seem relatively unaffected, researchers say. The mutations are the first evidence that the radiation has caused genetic changes in living organisms.

Renewables Rout Ends as Asian Bidders Seek Q-Cells, A123: Energy

The slump in renewable energy shares is ending as bidders from China and South Korea signaled interest in German solar manufacturer Q-Cells SE (QCE) and A123 Systems Inc. (AONE), a U.S. maker of batteries for electric cars.

Debt-Laden Chinese Solar Firms Need Infusion of Funds

As solar panel prices continue to tumble, Chinese solar companies are struggling with heavy debt loads, fueling expectations that many will be forced to seek new infusions of funds through takeovers or mergers.

GE 'Skypump' charges electric cars with wind power

Almost a year after they officially announced it, GE and vertical axis wind turbine company Urban Green Energy have announced the installation of the Sanya Skypump, a wind-powered charging station capable of recharging an electric car on wind energy.

Tapping Into the Land, and Dividing Its People

BLACKFEET INDIAN RESERVATION, Mont. — The mountains along the eastern edge of Glacier National Park rise from the prairie like dinosaur teeth, their silvery ridges and teardrop fields of snow forming the doorway to one of America’s most pristine places.

Yes, there is beauty here on the Blackfeet reservation, but there is also oil, locked away in the tight shale thousands of feet underground. And tribal leaders have decided to tap their land’s buried wealth. The move has divided the tribe while igniting a debate over the promise and perils of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in a place where grizzlies roam into backyards and many residents see the land as something living and sacred.

In Drought, a Debate Over Quota for Ethanol

WASHINGTON — Three big intertwined but rival agribusinesses — corn farmers, meat and poultry producers, and biofuel refineries — are in a political fight to protect their interests as a drought ravages corn producers and industrial consumers alike.

At issue is whether to suspend a five-year-old federal mandate requiring more ethanol in gasoline each year, a policy that has diverted almost half of the domestic corn supply from animal feedlots to ethanol refineries, driven up corn prices and plantings and created a desperate competition for corn as drought grips the nation’s farm belt.

Forecast: US drought lingering but leveling off

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The worst drought in the U.S. in decades may be leveling off or even be easing ever so slightly in some lucky locales, federal weather forecasters announced Thursday in a report of little comfort for farmers and ranchers who already have begun tallying this year's losses.

Food-Price Surge Not Expected From Drought

The United States is in the midst of its worst drought in half a century, with significant impacts on food production, but economists say that global consumers rather than U.S. shoppers are likely to shoulder the biggest burden of the resulting rise in commodity prices.

Climate Change Poses Risks to Food Supplies beyond US Drought

Downpours and heat waves caused by climate change could disrupt food supplies from the fields to the supermarkets, raising the risk of more price spikes such as this year’s leap triggered by drought in the United States.

Food security experts working on a chapter in a U.N. overview of global warming due in 2014 said governments should take more account of how extremes of heat, droughts or floods could affect food supplies from seeds to consumers’ plates.

Cheap natural gas linked to cleaner air

In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.

Metro Manila sinking at a fast pace

Manila: The land level of Metro Manila where there are 10 million residents, has been sinking while its sea level has been rising, at a fast pace, an expert said, adding that reclamations and over-extraction of water have exacerbated the situation in the capital, an expert said.

The sea level surrounding Metro Manila is rising by almost one centimetre per year because of global warming, Dr Fernando Siringan of the UP Marine Science Institute said during a Senate hearing, the data of which was reported by GMA News.

Greenland melting breaks record 4 weeks before season's end

Melting over the Greenland ice sheet shattered the seasonal record on August 8 – a full four weeks before the close of the melting season, reports Marco Tedesco, assistant professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences at The City College of New York.

The melting season in Greenland usually lasts from June – when the first puddles of meltwater appear – to early-September, when temperatures cool. This year, cumulative melting in the first week in August had already exceeded the record of 2010, taken over a full season, according to Professor Tedesco's ongoing analysis.

"With more yet to come in August, this year's overall melting will fall way above the old records. That's a goliath year – the greatest melt since satellite recording began in 1979," said Professor Tedesco.

Re: U.S. Reliance on Saudi Oil Heads Back Up

The cats out of the bag:

Saudi oil experts said the kingdom was merely following the markets.

“This is strictly, totally business,” said Sadad Al Husseini, a former executive at Saudi Aramco, the state oil company. “Saudi production is flat out. Where you send it is a matter of where you make the best profit.” [emphasis added]

The article also misses any mention of the Saudi funded refinery on the Gulf Coast, which was modified to accept Saudi sour crude.

E. Swanson

Annual Saudi net oil exports in 2002: 7.2 mbpd, annual Brent price of $25
Annual Saudi net oil exports in 2005: 9.1 mbpd, annual Brent price of $55
Annual Saudi net oil exports in 2011: 8.3 mbpd, annual Brent price of $111
(Total petroleum liquids, BP)

Saudi ECI* in 2002: 5.3
Saudi ECI in 2005: 5.6
Saudi ECI in 2011: 3.9
(6%/year rate of decline, from 2005 to 2011)

*ECI = Export Capacity Index, Ratio of Total petroleum liquids production to domestic liquids consumption. At an ECI of 1.0, a country is no longer a net exporter

Re: Mexico's big oil problem (Uptop)

Incidentally, regarding Mexico, I wuz wrong, circa 2008/2009, about Mexico. I guessed that they would hit zero net oil exports by the end of 2012.

Interesting enough though, the ECI ratio was more accurate, circa 2009.

An extrapolation of the 2004 to 2009 rate of decline in Mexico's ECI ratio indicated that they would hit zero net oil exports around 2017.

An extrapolation of the 2004 to 2011 rate of decline in Mexico's ECI ratio indicates that they will hit zero net oil exports around 2020.

It's all about me, me, me... Basically, the CNNMoney piece is about where the US will have to turn for oil imports when Mexico stops exporting, and how letting the big oil companies in might keep them exporting. You would think that a business piece on Mexico's oil would say something about the potential problems Mexico faces -- given that they're the third largest US trading partner after Canada and China, that the US shares an almost-2,000 mile border with them, and that problems there are almost certainly going to spill over into the US in some fashion.

And the oil problems come on top of the Mexican federal and state governments' current difficulties maintaining order. Juarez, across the river from El Paso, has been described as the most violent city in the world outside of active war zones. Mexico managed to earn particular mention in the US DoD's 2010 Joint Operating Environment document (can hardly wait for the next version). And the US State Department has issued travel warnings for some Mexican states. There would seem to be a decidedly non-zero probability that by 2020 (when the EIA says oil exports may hit zero), there won't be a functioning Mexican nation.

The command that produced the 2010 Joint Operating Environment document has been disbanded due to budget cuts. No more systematic reports on strategic threats.


Yes, you are referring to U.S. Joint Forces Command, which spawned from the former Atlantic Command.

USJFC was established in 1999 and disetablsihed in 2011.

USJFC disestablishment was a reaction to budget realities...I expect further rationalization in the DoD and in the Defense contracting industry going forward.

There were organizations which reported on strategic threats prior to USJFC, and there are organizations which will report on strategic threats after USJFC, i.e., now and in the future.

Defense Intelligence Agency:


Some free books (PDF) from the national Intelligence University:


An example DIA paper available from their web site (Concerning China):


Transcript of DIA annual threat assessment:


The CIA produces analyses:


The National Counter-terrorism Center:


White House paper on Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime:


The General Accountability Office (GAO):

Linking Threats to
Strategies and Resources


The Congressional Research Service (CRS):



Not to forget the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), what I perceive to be the first and foremost of the U.S> DoD Combatant Commands:


Don't forget RAND, MITRE, The Aerospace Corporation, The Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) and all the other Federally-Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs):


The above is by no means a complete list of U.S. Government (USG) organizations (and USG-sponsored organizations) which can and do conduct strategic threat analysis reports...of course, many of the products are classified and hence unavailable to those without the requisite security clearance(es) and need-to-know. However, numerous products are 'Distribution A'...no distribution restrictions.

CNN and most of America seem so blind to what is happening in Mexico. Those of us on TOD have known for several years that Mexican oil is declining. Most likely Mexico will wind up importing from Venezuela in the near future. However, Iran and Russia are still trying to get their foot in the door in South America too.

Venezuelan exports are also declining, so I don't think Mexico will be importing much oil from them. Iran presents political problems, particularly for a country so close to the US. Russian production is not backed by a lot of reserves, so I wouldn't be surprised to see their exports decline, too.

Actually, I think Mexico may end up having to import oil from Canada, given Canada's domestic oil surplus and rising exports. This presents some interesting logistical problems. I don't know that Americans would be keen on having new pipelines built completely across their country from Canada to Mexico, and if Canadian oil reaches a coast (West or Gulf), then Mexico will have to compete with Asian buyers for it. This is not really compatible with their policies of subsidizing domestic oil consumption.

All in all, it's not a great time to be Mexican.

Is it true, as we so often hear, that if only they would let in the majors they would continue to grow their production? It seems that the primary problem isn't a lack of skill in Mexico but that they are politically caught needing the money from today's production to stave off unrest due to the lack of any other sources of national revenue.

Or is Mexico already a failed state, just waiting for the last straw on a bleagered camel's back?

It's not so much the majors but the junior oil companies that would be good at developing Mexico's other oil plays.

Its largest oil reserve is Chicontepec Formation which contains at least 19 billion barrels of recoverable oil but is is a tight and complicated play somewhat like North Dakota's Bakken Formation. If there were a hundred or so small oil companies scurrying around developing it they would be able to increase Mexico's oil production substantially.

Pemex has managed to get almost no oil at all out of Chicontepec so far, and it is unlikely to be able to do so at a profit. It is not the sort of thing that a giant state oil monopoly is good at.

What Mexico really needs to do is encourage the creation of hundreds of small oil companies which can do the kind of development needed in a declining oil industry where all the big, easy fields have been depleted - similar to what Rockman is doing in the US. It's not so much that Mexico is a failed state, it's just that it doesn't have the sort of culture that encourages venture capitalists rather than giant state monopolies.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that, if re-electeed, one of the first things Obama does is take back the one bone he threw to climate change activists- the Keystone pipe block- in the name of "national security interests" to guarantee canadian oil in the face of an unstable Middle East and Mexican declines. This man does not care one bit about climate change, in fact, Obama's neo-cons believe climate change will benefit the US by hurting China more.

Sad that our house is run by fools who think they can predict the future and see nothing but competition as the only option beteeen nations.

I have oft stated that our present untenable position is a consequence of 33 years of uninterrupted far right political action, funded by global corporations. They have no moral compass, other than what Ayn Rand and the Austrian Economists give them, and worship only money, at the altar of Milton Friedman. If they have a patron saint, it is St. Ronnie the Wrong.


Obama's neo-cons believe climate change will benefit the US by hurting China more.

For starters, Obama does not have any neo-cons. And even if he did even a neo-con would have better sense than to believe that it would benefit us to hurt China. The US only benefits if China's economy is healthy. If China goes under then the US would suffer tremendously. That is a no-brainer.

Sad that our house is run by fools who think they can predict the future and see nothing but competition as the only option beteeen nations.

What on earth gives you that impression? When has Obama ever gave the impression that he can predict the future? When has he said anything that indicates we are in competition with China? That statement is nothing but Obama hating rhetoric with no basis in fact.

I think your rhetoric is inappropriate.

Ron P.

Ron P., it's semantics but - neo-conservative (or neo-con) is exactly what we've elected for the last four decades or so, minus a few social issues and window dressing.

All the cabinet is "neo-con" and probably will remain so. They are all more Friedman than Keynes. On the foriegn policy side /defense side, the folks in there now helped write the book (Panetta, Clinton, Petreaus, et. al.) Neocon and neo-liberal are basically the same "qualified endorsement of free markets"

I agree with you that U.S. and P.R.C. are and will be BFFs for a great long while, in spite of what's said and no matter who the U.S. "elects."

If Obama and his cabinet are neo-cons then I have no idea what a liberal is. The democrats want to give most tax breaks and benefits to the poor and the middle class. The republicans want to give all the tax breaks and everything else to the rich and the super rich. They are the guys who are the neo-cons. The old republican party would never dream of doing the things that the new republicans want to do. The new republicans want to re-distribute the wealth. They want to take money from the poor and give it to the rich.

The democrats are for women's rights, for a woman's right to choose. They believe the poor should have access to medical care. They believe the heaviest tax burden should be on those most able to pay. The republicans believe in none of these things.

I can understand that if you are a socialist or a communist then you would call the democrats neo-cons. But we have neither. Of course our democracy is not perfect, it has hundreds of flaws but it is better than the alternative.

Ron P.

I think what the other posters refer to when they say "Obama's neocons" is their actions not their speeches.
Based on Obama's actions he is at least as much a neocon as Bush 2 (war spending, gun control etc) or Romney (Romneycare).

Right on Ron. Lets keep Democracy in this Country. right wing politicians want to strip our rights, women, minorities, and anybody else that disagrees with them. Voter suppression, secret plans and hiding the agenda are anti democracy and must be fought.

Ron P: "If Obama and his cabinet are neo-cons then I have no idea what a liberal is. The democrats want to give most tax breaks and benefits to the poor and the middle class. The republicans want to give all the tax breaks and everything else to the rich and the super rich. They are the guys who are the neo-cons. The old republican party would never dream of doing the things that the new republicans want to do. The new republicans want to re-distribute the wealth. They want to take money from the poor and give it to the rich.

The democrats are for women's rights, for a woman's right to choose. They believe the poor should have access to medical care. They believe the heaviest tax burden should be on those most able to pay. The republicans believe in none of these things."

Re-read your post Ron: you contstantly speak of what democrats "want" and are "for" with out actually talking about what they have "done" despite having control of the presidency and congress in 2008.

1.killed single payer and forced people into buying corporate health insurance.
2.signed women's reproductive rights out of that bill
3.gave another round of "bush era" tax breaks to the rich
4.stiffed those being forclosed on from help
5.expanded offshore drilling in environmentaly sensitive areas
6.gave the stamp of approval to the patriot act spying and even expanded it
7.kept Guantanimo open and continues torture
8.gave massive amounts of public monies to big banks and auto corps
9.increased indiscriminate deportations of immigrants
10. expanded bush era wars in Afganistan, added Yemen, Libya, and now Iran with drone attacks over much of Africa and Asia
11.has stayed almost totally silent on global warming, the mass incarceration of minorities, unions under attack, laws designed to limit voting right, corporate control over education, etc,

This is your idea of a democrat? God help us (and by the way, if you don't want "rhetoric" then don't imply those who disagree with you are communist)

12. Signed off on the first authorized assassination of a US citizen.

On the other hand, he did get the US out of Iraq. No way McCain would have done that.

It's my idea of a whimpocrat. Almost all of that list of shameful things would have been hung about his neck by the opposition had he not caved. That doesn't mean I recommend caving. A few strategic caves might have made sense, had they been part of a clever plan to outmanueveur the enemy, rather than just kneeejerk compromises. So our choice is between whimpocrats, and those who actively desire to push us in the wrong directions.

1&2, no way could he have got any sort of health plan through, those were had to caves.
3 Might have been strategic, he needed a secondary stimulus, that was the only compromise available.
4 HAMP is a pretty whimpy plan, but it has helped some -but not nearly enough. I'd classify its weakness as an own-goal.
5 I think that was stragically needed, got to bury the myth that if only we'd allow it we would be swimming in oil.
6/7 Pretty awful caves. Maybe he understands the public better than I? I woulda made it a point of difference
8 I think that was an economy saving necessity. At least the auto comps one was a good policy -not so sure about the banks.
9 Serious cave-in
10 More cave-ins, trying to dispel the D's are weak on defense BS. Libya was a (rare) success.
11 Pure whimpout. Doesn't he know that you gotta draw a line in the sand somewhere?

At least we got, dramatically improved fuel economy standards (if we can hang onto them). If R's get enough power, they will be thrown out.

13. Let the war criminals Bush, Cheney, and Does 1-1000 go... free to write books, boast, giggle, and further connive.

It's a one-party system, the property party, which has two right wings, the republicans and the democrats, if I may poorly quote Gore Vidal.

If Obama and his cabinet are neo-cons then I have no idea what a liberal is.

Most American's don't. Most American's don't refer to the US of A as a Republic.

Compare America's "liberals" to what the rest of the world calls a "liberal".

Consider Superman - who is pitched as standing for Truth, Justice and the American Way used to act.

Tye notes that in the original comics provided by Spiegel and Shuster, Superman was an activist New Deal hero who battled slum lords and fought for social justice

The democrats are for women's rights, for a woman's right to choose. They believe the poor should have access to medical care. They believe the heaviest tax burden should be on those most able to pay.

And do the actions of "democrats" show what they 'are for' or 'believe in' is nothing more than words?

Kind of like 'the republicans' are interested in overturning Roe V Wade - yet when there was control of House/Senate/White House no such action was taken.

(Remember Bush did take action on Row V Wade - both were a way to get out of New Orleans that he supported)

Of course our democracy is not perfect, it has hundreds of flaws but it is better than the alternative.

Like what? A place where Government power is used to benefit private Corporate interests?


Not to be flip, but I would agree with the statement that you do not know what a liberal is then.

Obama holds almost identical positions to those of George H. W. Bush and many other moderate Republicans from 20 years ago. I admit to being a moderate Republican and I am fully comfortable with his positions overall. Romney can sleep outside with my barn cat.

Check this link out for reference. Obama in 2012.


note how far to the right of center Obama's positions are. Now look at this link for 2008.


Note how far to the right Obama has moved since 2008. He is far from being a liberal. Next is the 2004 election:


If you want a liberal to support I suggest Ralph Nader as he has been the most prominent liberal in the US for a long time. Basically there are no liberals or liberal parties in the US and there have not been for a long time. We have moderate conservatives, conservative conservatives, and wackos. We are messed up so to speak. In Europe you used to find liberal and conservative parties but they do not really exist there any longer either. See here.


I was falling off my chair laughing the other day when Romney said he was not going to do what those foolish socialist governments in the EU were doing. He does not even know that all of the European countries are being run by conservatives at this time.

The world is rapidly turning towards right-wing authoritarian view points (even Ron Paul would not recognize a real anarchist.. err libertarian in US terminology... if he saw one).

Politics sucks. And people wonder why everyone stockpiles guns n ammo.


I think a lot of folks are going to be surprised if Obama gets reelected and becomes a lame duck. Neocons worst nightmare, IMO. This fall will be disgustingly political.

In 2003 Prof. Lawrence Britt wrote an article "fascism anyone" Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20. After studying 5 fascist regimes found the following 14 common elements.
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism.
2. Disdain for the recognition of human rights.
3. identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.
4. Supremacy of the military.
5 Rampant sexism
6. Controlled mass media.
7. Obsession with National security/fear as motivational tool over the masses
8. Religion and government intertwined.
9. Corporate power is protected.
10.Labor is suppressed.
11.Disdain for intellectuals and the arts.
12. Obsession with crime and punishment.
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.
14. Fraudulent elections.
In addition it has been known since the 1930's that fascism will be wrapped in a American flag and carrying a cross.

He does not even know that all of the European countries are being run by conservatives at this time.

France threw out Sarco, and brought in Hollande, socialist at least in party name. We will see how that plays out.

If China goes under then the US would suffer tremendously

Something to consider - if Nation-States are trading that gives them less reason to be at war with each other.

China 'going under' does what for world trade?

C8 - Maybe some of the CCA's thought the president tossed them a bone but he really didn't. The oil that was traveling from the tar sand fields before the president blocked THAT VERY SHORT SECTION of Keystone P/l at the border has never stopped being imported by the US. I don't have the numbers but I suspect a larger volume is coming in today due to expanded infrastructure than at that time. The oil never did have great difficulty getting to Cushing, OK. That's exactly why there was a glut of Canadian oil piling up there driving down WTI prices. The critical pipeline that will open up a huge increase in Canadian imports in the section from Cushing to the Gulf Coast. One line, at 150,000 bopd, has already been reversed. In the next two years that volume will be increased to 450,000 bopd and then 600,000 bopd.

In the meantime the construction of the northern legs of Keystone P/l has continued on both sides of the border. Once those are completed just a very short segment (I think just a few miles) will need be built right at the border crossing. Nothing the president has done has delayed the expansion of the Keystone P/l one day so far. Of course, if gasoline prices spike right before the election I'm sure we'll hear the R's shouting it did and the D's shouting it didn't. That last section at the border crossing won't take but a few weeks to finish and it won't need to be finished until the rest on the line is laid. And they are doing that as fast as possible.

I think the whole blocking the Keystone XL was just politics. I saw a recent poll suggesting that there are so few true "independent" voters that this election is about making sure your base comes out to vote. So Obama's choice to block the Keystone XL was just to keep those voters enthused and in his tent (since they might actually be crazy enough to vote for the green party). I forsee Obama not giving a damn about the Keystone if he's reelected; he'll just pull out some study done recently to say they've proven the pipeline is safe and that waiting for the environmental study was a good idea and then it'll be business as usual.

I don't really know how much spare capacity Saudi had in 2009 but it was likely about 1.5 mb/d after they cut back from their last flat out peak in 2008. Since early 2009 they have brought Shaybah Ph. 2, Nuayyim Exp, and Khurais Exp Ph. 1 and Ph. 2 on line, all with a total production capacity of 1,550, barrels per day of new oil on line. Now they are producing 9,875,000 barrels per day and they are producing flat out.

They also had 300,000 barrels of new crude that came on line in late 2008. That is a total of 1,850,000 barrels of new oil since their last flat out peak of 9,522,000 bp/d in July of 2008. That means even though they managed to bring 1,850 kb/d of new oil on line they have only managed to increase production by 350 kb/d. That should give us some idea of their decline rate.

And according to Wikipedia Megaprojects they don't have anything new coming down the pike until 2015 when Manifa Ph. 1 comes on line. And they don't have anything after Manifa Phase 1, 2, and 3.(If you total all new production since mid 2008 you will get 2,710 kb/d of new liquids but only 1,850 of that was crude.)

Saudi Crude Only production in kb/d. The last data point is July 2002.

Saudi Arabia

Ron P.

"...the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years...the biggest reason is...cheap...natural gas.

Interesting how they have to dig deep to come up with "good news": we are now only contributing to AGW to the same extent we were in 1992. Of course much of the cheap NG was developed as a result of frac'ng that destroyed all those fresh water aquifers.

and that surplus of NG is making coal cheaper here do to falling demand and that makes it easier to sell it overseas where they burn it instead of us.

Meanwhile global CO2 emmissions are still setting a new record every year. In a perverse way it kinda makes you hope the economy stays horrible.

I just love how Bloomberg sticks to their apparent policy guns and finds a way to make the first two words of any Petroleum Article start magically with "Oil Falls.." even when it's basically been shooting back up skywards like Yeager's "Bat out of hell".

"Oil continues it's perilous plunge, (since I'm standing on my head! HA!!) Hey, that's weird, oops, it's actually still rising this way, I guess.. Whoa, cool !! Ninety Six upside down is still Ninety-Six! ... I guess what I need is a mirror! Why is reality so hard to undo!?"


The other day we were debating the source of the belief systems behind the AGW deniers. Granted it's not a one-size-fits-all calculus. But the camps broke down into two general groups: A) the deniers are intellectually unable to understand the facts or B) they either understand the facts or might be willing to accept the words of "experts" but instead reject it because it would inhibit their current lifestyles.

I'm in the circle that feels many deniers either don't want to study the facts to develop their own thoughts or are unwilling to accept the words of experts because they don't want to accept the costs of dealing with the problem. Especially if they feel much of the bill will come due long after they've gone on to the giant NASCAR race in the sky.

I spent yesterday in the field dealing with the location builds for 3 of my new wells. Had a lot of time just standing and waiting so shot the sh*t with a number of Joe6Packs. Some were oil patch with others strictly construction hands. So as an experiment I initiated a number of conversations about those envirowackos and their stupid ideas about global warming. Needless to say comments about factual data had little play. Most of these J6P's weren't dumb sh*ts incapable of understanding the science behind the subject. A couple had college degrees. To make a long story short here's a synopsis of what I heard from them:

"global warming - blah blah blah - BS - blah blah blah - less gasoline for us - blah blah blah - more f**king taxes - blah blah blah - more f**king regulations - blah blah blah - fewer f**king jobs - blah blah blah - they ain't going to tell me how to live my f**king life - blah blah blah.

Notice virtually nothing in these conversations dealt with whether AGW was real or not. There was nothing about impacts on other folks around the world. There was nothing about the impact on future generations...even their own future families.

Maybe we should change the terminology into two camps: AGW deniers and AGW rejecters. The deniers say the envirowackos are wrong and it either isn't happening or it's happening naturally. The rejecters, if you got them to admit the truth, would agree AGW exists and that there will be very negative consequences down the road. But their priority is maintaining BAU so they have to reject AGW.

Folks can spend a lot of energy trying to convert the "deniers". Won't change anything IMHO. Convert every denier and you still have a minority. And more importantly, a minority TPTB care little about. No amount of conversation /proof is going to convert the "rejecters" because they already understand the facts. They only way to pull them to the mitigation side of the argument is to show how those efforts won't interfere with BAU. Good luck with that.

IMHO the bulk of the resistance to mitigating AGW isn't based upon science but economic self interest. I don't think building a stronger science argument will likely change the situation significantly.

Of course, we all are reminded of the old Upton Sinclair quote, and a we see something similar regarding global oil supplies. My chart (courtesy of a helpful Oil Drummer) of Global Net Exports of oil (GNE) divided by Chindia's Net Imports (CNI), versus Total Global Public Debt.

In my opinion, as the GNE/CNI ratio approaches 1.0 (when the Chindia region would theoretically consume 100% of GNE), the value of most global debt approaches zero, at least in terms of constant value currencies. So, I don't think it is a coincidence that Ed Morse, with Citibank, sees nothing but rising oil production for decades to come.

Price for oil on the export market is dependent on global net exports meeting demand at a certain price. As less oil reaches the world market, price is bound to go up some until oil users reduce demand. The limiting factor is how high an oil price can most countries afford until their economies enter recession or depression. Slow rise in price allows the consumer to make adjustments in conservation by investing in more efficient technology. Rapid rise in price does not allow adjustment and just knocks down economic activity, causing recession.

The article up top about Mexico is endemic of the oil export problem. PEMEX spent several billion $$$ in a failed plan to boost Chicontepic basin production from 35K barrels per day to 750K per day.
After about four years of drilling (about 100 wells IIRC) production was boosted to 70K. So Mexico is unlikely to remain an oil exporter beyond seven years from now, just like Brazil is unlikely to become an oil exporter after Tupi and other deep water areas are produced. Petrobras is losing money on current operations and that will not encourage foreign investment partners, so new oil may not come on very quickly there.

I also have to guess that in the "B" category, there is simply the group identity factor, and those who see Climate as part of the Environmentalist Left part of America are going to frequently be too irked by that association to be willing to take their side on a contentious issue. It ends up being more about team loyalty and cultural identity than it is about the arguments themselves.. (can surely hold true for loyal team-players of any stripe or background, I'd say.)


I think there is a good deal of truth in what you say. A large segment of the population automatically rejects anything proposed by the other tribe. If the "f**ing greenies" said water generally flows down hill, the J6P tribe will reject it. It is a symptom of the general polarization of our society.

This is absolutely correct. Even worse, the tribalism you speak of is no accident; it's stoked by a well-funded propaganda machine.

Talking to people whose livelihood depends on Oil may not be the best gauge of acceptance of Global Warming and Peak Oil or more importantly, what to do about it.
I have read a number of stories of towns or people who are skeptical of Global Warming (Peak Oil? forget about it! they know NOTHING of that!) who are nonetheless getting windmills and solar energy, and Priuses. For economic reasons!
The most important thing to save oil and greenhouse emissions is Green Transit. And here people are voting with their "feet" (quite literally) as bicycling, transit ridership, Amtrak ridership continue to increase and set new records even in the Auto Addicted US while car miles and number of cars declines. Polls show that 70% of Americans across all parties prefer more Green Transit to more highway lanes which have pretty obviously failed to resolve congestion. This is why Amtrak continues to survive despite repeated fossil-fuel moneyed Republicans attempt to destroy it since its inception and why Paul Ryan and the House Teabag contingent was forced to give back some modicum of Green Transit funding in the latest Transportation Bill.
The arguments going forward need to be economic - if your town or region does NOT get
Green Transit-oriented development then you are going to suffer the 9.8% unemployment, one of the highest in the nation, of New Jersey after Gov Christie killed the billions to be invested in a new NYC tunnel along with axing yet more Green Transit, teachers, and public employees.
The NYC tunnel was going to the wrong place and not properly serving Amtrak, the Region or even New Jersey NYC commuters with a Grand Central connection in NYC. BUT it could have been redesigned (currently is by the regional Rail advocates) to increase Green Transit.

Also encouraging is the cities suing the banksters for the interest rate swap swindles which crippled many transit systems after the 2008 crash costing them billions.
The pressure is going to be on to do the right things...

I believe in "A" and "B"

But I also believe part of it is a herd mentality.

Some of these people just have to support the team they happen to be on or identify with.

If all AGW solutions are collective and an entire society is conditioned to treat collectivism as evil/undesirable/counter-productive/etc., there are no significant policy options to explore, at least for now.

I accept the fact that it is too late. :-)

I think collectivism==Stalin is a big part of it. That, and it would support the other political tribe. Tribal feuding/loyalties take precedence over data any day (and twice on Sunday).

Don't forget calling those you don't like or agree with 'some kind of Communist'.

"Collectivism" and "Statists" are alive and well in the US of A.

The way I look at it, its always been too late or too early.

Instead of deniers, etc. its better to look at them as 'clingers'. What the majority of people do is 'cling' to what they have, and the desire that the world either doesn't change, or gets slowly better. They are not happy with fast changes; and explictly don't want anything to do with getting worse. Deniers are just clingers who will go so far as to reject science to cling to their idea of the status quo.

The way I finally worked out where we were headed was to play a thought experiment. Imagine aliens came down to earth and said we had despoiled it and we needed to live sustainable. They would come back in X years and if we hadn't met their standards, that was curtains for the human race.

Now consider where X =

    50 years Well that's plenty of time to bring about change. We don't need to change anything too fast. In particular, most people will subconciously think "if I put it off, my children can be the ones to deal with a lower standard of living". So change over the first ten years would be low/slow.

    40 years Well that's also plenty of time. Maybe invest in some S&T so we can keep the good times rolling, but still live ok.

    30 years We're pretty sustainable as it is, aren't we? After all the dictionary definition is ... We can however make sure that them over there don't grow or develop such that we'd have even more drain on resources. Yep, let's limit 'them'.

    20 years Well if we implement a crash R&D programme we can do wonders. We got to the moon in ten years didn't we? And the level of change needed to make the changes ourselves, well the economy would collapse. Nope, it has to be S&T.

    10 years Look there is no way we can cut our usage in that time. Better to look at this laterally, we put the R&D money into dealing with the aliens, not the climate. We know we can blow things up.

    5 years There's no way we can do anyting in time, best to just live it up now and enjoy things.

And obviously if the threat isn't as clear and present, the situation is only worse.

The reality is that there is a class of problems where gradual change is possible, but its so far ahead that its too long compared to a personal lifetime (or political). So we put it off, and once it gets into our personal time horizon, its too big a problem to deal with and accept the hit. We end up hitting it with 0 years prep - because we aren't setup to be able to deal with it - collective action or no.

Climate change is one, peak oil is another. We, as a society, aren't setup to be able to deal with them.

It's an interesting idea, "denier" versus "rejecter" -- could help us hone our message. I like "contrarian", because it's less pejorative, but it lacks a certain bite.

808 - I thought about contrarian/devil's advocate. I also thought about "liar". I split the difference with rejecter because it doesn't itself define why they are rejecting AGW.

What of those who reject proposed "solutions" because they are nothing more than a transfer of money from the poor to the well off who benefit from the Government use of force?

You, of course, refer to the continued use of fossil fuels and building of more automotive infrastructure.

IMHO the bulk of the resistance to mitigating AGW isn't based upon science but economic self interest. I don't think building a stronger science argument will likely change the situation significantly

I think you are right. Problem is, so often in US media the case that we need to address AGW is made by scientists, whose easiest tack is to supply more science.

It might be different if we heard more from religious & political leaders, those whose bailiwick is making the moral case for action. Such people may speak to your rejecters.

Thanks for relaying these conversations btw. Very interesting.

dovie - kinda like one of my favorite movie lines: when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail. Many AGW proponents have only the "science" hammer to use. Rejecters/politicians have the "spin" hammer to use. The general public is conditioned to readily swallow spin. Science...not so much.

Yes. I wanted to edit that comment of mine a little bit - it's not just the moral case that needs to be made, but an economic one as well - AGW is going to be incredibly expensive. even now it is ... another related point is that even when non-scientists speak about it, they so often preface their remarks with "scientists tell us ...." That line is overplayed imo.

Harry Reid gave a good speech on the issue last week. More messaging like that could reach some of these people.

I just don't know what to think about deniers any more - with the arctic sea ice headed for a new record minimum at the same time as a record Greenland melt and extreme weather caused by jetstream variations probably influenced by conditions in the artic, I'm afraid there's never been more evidence we warmed it enough to melt the north polar ice...

...but in newspaper comment columns in the UK we get this sort of stuff (in reply to a post on sea ice levels):

"An increase in clouds due to an increase in Cosmic Rays means that there is an increase in heat being trapped in the Arctic, there is an eleven year lag in cooling due to the oceans, so Arctic ice could eventually increase over time after these lags. Because the greenhouse effect is weakest at the poles and none existent in the polar winters, then the polar regions are not a reliable indicator of Global Warming or Cooling for either the AGW theory or the Cosmoclimatology theory."

..that is no matter what, some guy will try and explain it away with their own invented physics.

The first of this year's many arctic sea ice minimum records was set today.


Not the most reliable dataset, the next will probably be reached on Monday.


Of course the biggie will be the sea ice volume. That figure is not out for a few more weeks.

I think, especially as complexity increases, most folks compartmentalize much of this information; rising temperatures, rising food/fuel prices, melting ice, more noise in the ether... They don't, for various reasons, contemplate the whole. They just assign values to things and move on. I have numerous people in my life that admit this; they don't even try to solve these puzzles because they've decided they can't. No point in trying to understand something when there's nothing you can do about it.

It isn't denial, it's surrender.

Yeah, that kind of describes me. I'm prepared to let our great experiment proceed full speed ahead. Personally, I think it will be fascinating to observer the effect of that force of nature known as the human population.

I could try to do something about it, but my own hypocrisy in doing such (I'm rather fond of BAU) and the sheer difficulty of overcoming everyone's vested interest in becoming richer (from the poorest to the richest on earth) which seems to me to be an impossible political problem, I figure to hell with it. Let it all burn. I'll get out my popcorn and marshmallows and enjoy the show as long as I can before I too melt away under the growing heat.

I'll try to enjoy what I can of the endless merry go round of climate change deniers and believers. It's kind of like an ideological fight over whether the sky is blue. The deniers say it's red for ideological / self interest reasons. The beleivers are bit by bit opening their eyes and developing an ability to "see" that the sky is actually blue. Once there is no longer any ideological or political aim to be won by denying that the sky is blue, no one will maintain that it's red. However, because we aren't at that point yet, the argument will go on.

All well, as wise men once told a king long ago, "This too shall pass." I find a great deal of serenity in that concept as my popcorn pops louder and the marshmallows are cooking.

The Wet One

Yes - I have got that from some of my folks.
But Rock's crowd round the well-head; it sounds more like the usual grumble about the usual 'them' - they get the connection between the stuff they must do day to day and the futility of it as they get older, I guess.

I expect Rock got the same type of response I got at the hospital the other day, when I mentioned the high cost of health care ;-/

Ghung - But even more interesting to hear what "they" say when they think you're of the same mind. Imagine what you med folks say to each other when the likes of you aren't around. LOL. many of my hands will readily tell me they don't give a crap if AGW drowns every Pacific Islander as long it doesn't impose on their making a living. Throughout my career I've sat on rigs and laughed along with every racist joke. Jokes they might not have shared if they knew about my black great-grandfather. No point in telling them...won't change their attitudes. And I get to find out which venders I won't give any more work to. LOL.

I have no goal of changing anyone's attitude about anything. Knowledge is power. The more I understand what's going on between a man's ear the better I know who to deal with him...or not deal with him at all. And the less he understands about my true feelings the better...at least for me given what I do for a living.

Rock, I think you nailed it with the "don't give a crap" comment. At the heart of the issue, it seems to me, is a society wide self interest that only worries about what the individual feels is in their best interest for the next decade or two. At the moment, the conventional wisdom seems to be that technology will allow developed western economies to ride out the effects of AGW, CC, PO, etc. therefore why should a self interested person worry about these issues when they could worry about how to get themselves ahead financially? Financial success is still associated with the ability to survive, adapt, and flourish.

On the flip side are the folks that are not employed and have already fallen out of the financial system who are too worried about daily survival to worry about AGW and CC.

Noncon - Or as a cohort said to me a life time ago:"Life can be a cold hearted bitch...and then you die". A somewhat sexist but articulate SOB none the less, eh?

Rock, unfortunately that is probable all too true in too many cases.

For some reason it reminds me of how we relate to and treat illegal immigrants in the US. As a society we seem to be ok with the idea that farmers and other employers can take advantage of these folks for their own personal gain but go to great lengths to make sure the immigrants kids receive an education, healthcare, meals at school etc. so that they aren't exploited like their parents.

For the immigrant, life can be a CHB but maybe the satisfaction is knowing that their kids will be better off? Perhaps we as a society can take the compassion that we show to the immigrants kids and find some inspiration in the sacrifices that many immigrants make to look beyond our immediate wants and needs. Who knows, maybe in the example of personal sacrifice that is in our society every day we might find the will to make some society wide sacrifices for the greater good and the next generations.

My daughter used to work in the WIC office in Salinas, Ca. It was a mind warping experience for her and, through her, for me. 90% of the clients there for food aid could not speak English. They were all agricultural workers (except some military families!). So the people doing the physical work in producing food could not afford to feed their children. I came to understand that the federal government was subsidizing the wages of farm labor, at least in part to keep food prices down and to keep the parents in a job market they paid incredibly low wages. The WIC employees were forbidden by law from asking any questions about citizenship or legal residency. However clients were required to prove that they lived in the county. Some had nothing but a cable TV bill to show, and that was accepted! The aid recipients regarded the food aid as a right and were often indignant if, for any reason, they were denied aid. So it was easy to see that they were an exploited segment of the society, yet they seemed to have no qualms about demanding aid from, what was for them, a foreign government.

The stated purpose of the program was to prevent long term health issues in young children. A very strange arrangement.

I think this "self-interest" has become pathological in US. Most people here have no problem sickening their kids with junk food, keeping them dumb (so they don't contradict their parents) etc. So it's not only a total disregard to people faraway (understandable from an evolutionary perspective) but also of their own kids. It's especially galling when they pretend they do something for the kids (like buying a big SUV or suburban house) when it's obvious they are doing it for themselves (to gain status etc).
As a different example, I consider giving in when the kids are begging for sweets also a selfish act. It's just easier on the parents to give up and the price is paid by the kids.

TD, I agree it isn't just about people in foreign lands but also a lack of concern for other people and the next generations here in the US. Somehow the focus needs to move from insuring a life raft for one's self to insuring that everyone has a life raft or at least access to one. Ideally, this would be done by eliminating the need for the life raft in the first place.

While I'm not a scholar of historical psychology (not sure that is an actual field) but, overwhelming self interest and the decadence that comes with it seems to have been associated with a few of the past dominate societies.

But even more interesting to hear what "they" say when they think you're of the same mind... LOL.

Um, yeah, a more plangent (to borrow a word from the late Molly Ivins) truth has never been told. It's partly the result of Political Correctness run completely amok. People feel obliged to lie to each other with luvvy-duvvy rhetoric they don't believe for even a nanosecond, which mightily reinforces collective social and political delusions about, well, just about everything. One notable effect is the continual disconnect between polling data and actual election results. Another seems to be the perpetual bewilderment of the cloistered academic Left at the way that the foolish (to them) US working class continually fails to vote Communist.

Unfortunately, the violent breakup of Yugoslavia shows where the trail of lies can end. One day a tipping point is reached for some reason that may never be known and will never matter. People stop lying to each other, which abruptly shatters their illusions and delusions about each other. Then all hell breaks loose - and to no useful ultimate effect, since after the shooting stops the survivors are still stuck with each other...

Hi Ghung,
As usual you have made a poignant comment, but maybe you could elaborate on your judgment/insight of the opposite- the informed "capitulator".
In other words, what of the person who understands that nothing can be done about CC ? and perhaps- for other reasons- even hopes for the demise of this experimental, rapacious creature of nature.
See, i have this friend who is concerned about the other species of the planet that are being wiped out due to human activity and population growth. He has said we may end the lives of countless species unless we kill ourselves off in some way.
I know this can be a very touchy subject as my friend and i only have discussions along these lines occasionally and quietly.

Meh, no biggie. Your friend has yet to realize that all those other species are going to go extinct from something sooner or later. Whether it's because of the force of nature called Homo sapiens or a gamma ray burster, or an asteroid or simple out competition by a new entrant in a species local ecology, they will all eventually go extinct.

Once you realize and accept this fact, it's no biggie. Just try to not personally cause the extinction of any given species. Moral responsibility accrues to individuals not whole groups of people, let alone the whole mass of humanity.

Also, your friend sounds like a bit of a misanthrope. That's understandable, but I don't think it's helpful in the long run.

Just my 2 cents...

The Wet One

Since I consider myself, at least in part, an "informed capitulator", I think your friend has a point. I have little hope that, collectively, humanity will respond en mass to our various conundrums in any positive, meaningful way, but to use that as an excuse to continue to live a western BAU lifestyle is, IMO, surrender, which I don't see as the same thing. I've been trying to form a groove where prepping for the worst and reducing my contribution to the 'madness' are one and the same. Relying upon and maintaining a highly consumptive lifestyle and connections to complexity, it turns out, simply isn't worth it, at least for me.

Its little things that end up owning us; recycling is good, but avoiding things that need recycling is better, and cheaper. Producing co2 is, to most, a necessary evil, and an expensive one at that, but an evil that can be dealt with if one is willing to consider options. Positioning one's self to reduce consumption has many win/win aspects, not the least of which is that if you don't need it/don't use it to begin with, reality can't take it from you. People who walk to work don't worry much about fuel prices, and folks who eat less while producing at least some of their own food worry less about rising commodity prices, at least on a personal level. Greer has described this meme as voluntary poverty, though I doubt many who've adopted this strategy feel impoverished. It turns out that doing the right things for the planet, as much as one can, has personal rewards built in, even if one has no real hope of stopping humanity's rush to destroy its biosphere and itself. At least one will have a better chance at watching things unfold from the cheap seats.

One of my favorite Joseph Campbell quotes:

"We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.”

At least your friend has allowed himself the gift of being concerned. Seems like a good thing, though it comes at a price, I'm sure.

No point in trying to understand something when there's nothing you can do about it.

I must assume you are speaking about "most folks" and not yourself. That would be terrible if you believed that yourself. But I do understand that there are millions, possibly billions, of people with that mindset. Pity.

Ron P.

Yeah Ron, like you, I'm one of those who actually spends a lot of my time trying to understand things I have no hope of changing. And we think "most folk's" are crazy? Best to not think about it too much, since we have no hope of changing ;-)

The 'why' may be found in greenish's comment, below.

Ok, look

Unfortunately you share the world with meat-heads. Not everyone has an IQ of 100 or above. The other half has an IQ below 100.

Many people are subject to manipulation from one side or the other, depending which "team" they prefer.

Think about how dumb the average person is. Now, realize that half the people are dumber than that!

-- George Carlin (paraphrasing, I'm sure)

@ Rock...hey ho

"But their priority is maintaining BAU so they have to reject AGW."

I am finding this attitude about everything, and not just from Joe six pack.

In fact, it seems the more educated people are, and entrenched in the system of industrial civilization, the higher the blinders. What never fails to amaze me is still how large most people are building their homes in my area. The lots are overpriced with all the requirements of curbs, gutters, and underground wiring. The homes are huge and it seems that while cf bulbs and led fixtures are greenie/sexy, the countertops have to be granite, tile slate, the number of bathrooms equal the number of bedrooms, great rooms....blah blah. 200 amp service and nary a welder in sight!! Of course, this is all financed.

Just mention the decline of FF and the inevitable changes implicit in this concept, or that interest rates will one day increase, or that global warming is fact and likely the cause of extreme weather fluctuations...or that your kids are already teenagers and what are you going to do with 6 bedrooms? and all youu are met with is a blank stare.

I will never forget when the mortggage on my first house shot up into double digits at renewal time. I remember my Dad and father-in-law having a few drinks and remarking that "we would never see interest rates below 12%". Well, my son just financed his first home at 3.01% for five years. The plan is to have it paid off in five years. Of course everyone is saying that interest rates will never rise because of the sluggish economy. Never? Never?

Global Warming, house payments, sunday drives, cheap food, rule of law, just society.....nah, none of that will ever change. Everyone still plans to go to university and prosper forever as the economy continues to grow.

AGW...the Maldives, Bangladesh, New Or...sea level rise? Nah.


In addition to those who toe the BAU line "tomorrow will be the same as yesterday" line, there are those who label themselves AGW skeptics who actually embrace the potential warming (which they grudgingly say _may_ be happening). Paleocon Jerry Pournelle is an example of this, espousing that he'd much rather it be warm than cold - which trivializes the global effects that climate change may have on economies, agricultures and ecosystems that have evolved for the current climate.

There is a whole range of odd reactions from the denial/rejection camp about Global Climate Change:

0. We don't know enough about global climate to say what, if anything, is happening. So, just forget it.

1. We don't know enough about global climate to say what, if anything, is happening. So, we need to do more research (RARE!)

2. We know enough about the global climate to say it is not happening. Those who say otherwise are subsisting
off of the massive "AGW" research funding trough.

3. It may be happening, but it's not human-caused, it is exactly the same climate change that has happened in the past. See #2 re scientists with vested interests in anthropogenic causes.

4. It may be happening, and it may be human-caused, but it is actually a good thing. Our ancestors benefited from warmer climes, so we should be embracing this change.

I agree.

You actually have to get down to the working classes to see what's going on. The upper and upper middle class are oblivious. But it won't last.

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let`s sing a song of cheer again...etc.

From Stories at WIRED:
Apocalypse Not.
"The end of oil and gas had been predicted repeatedly throughout the 20th century. In 1922 President Warren Harding created the US Coal Commission, which undertook an 11-month survey that warned, “Already the output of [natural] gas has begun to wane. Production of oil cannot long maintain its present rate.” In 1956, M. King Hubbert, a Shell geophysicist, forecast that gas production in the US would peak at about 14 trillion cubic feet per year sometime around 1970.

"All these predictions failed to come true. Oil and gas production have continued to rise during the past 50 years."

"Flipping the supply-demand relationship is having some unexpected consequences. Chief among them is that, as fossil fuels become more abundant—and we consume less of them—the incentives to develop clean, renewable energy drop dramatically. As a result, we may no longer be looking at an age of increasing solar, wind, and nuclear power. Instead we are likely moving into a new hydrocarbon era. And that’s very bad news for climate change."



So the effects of toxic chemicals, disease, overpopulation, and resource depletion are all "Nothing to see here" and steady oil prices and increasing supply will stifle gains in efficiency and innovation.

As fossil fuels become more abundant — and we consume less of them — [prices for these fuels will drop precipitously] ...

This is demonstrably FALSE for all fossil fuels every in the world. The single exception is natural gas and coal in the US where our export capacity is severely constrained and where an Oklahoma City/Wall Street fracking mania has resulted in natural gas prices below the cost of production.

The author of this quote, Matt Ridley, has a PhD in zoology from Oxford. One would think he should be a pretty smart guy so I'm surprised he would write something so idiotic. A quick look shows that his blog is called the Rational Optimist and that his schtik is to gainsay any and all pessimism coming from scientific studies. Financially, he has done well with this approach. It would be interesting to know what he really thinks.


I just read the Apocolypse Not article in its entirety and I now conclude that he is a smart guy. The take home message from this article is that we need a more nuanced discussion than the doomer/corunucopian shout-off that gets most of the attention:

So, should we worry or not about the warming climate? It is far too binary a question. The lesson of failed past predictions of ecological apocalypse is not that nothing was happening but that the middle-ground possibilities were too frequently excluded from consideration. In the climate debate, we hear a lot from those who think disaster is inexorable if not inevitable, and a lot from those who think it is all a hoax. We hardly ever allow the moderate “lukewarmers” a voice: those who suspect that the net positive feedbacks from water vapor in the atmosphere are low, so that we face only 1 to 2 degrees Celsius of warming this century; that the Greenland ice sheet may melt but no faster than its current rate of less than 1 percent per century; that net increases in rainfall (and carbon dioxide concentration) may improve agricultural productivity; that ecosystems have survived sudden temperature lurches before; and that adaptation to gradual change may be both cheaper and less ecologically damaging than a rapid and brutal decision to give up fossil fuels cold turkey.

Personally, I would welcome this kind middle-ground discussion.

  • What is a reasonable range of economic, resource and climate possibilities in different regions over the next decade?
  • What options are available to mitigate the negatives?
  • How can we capitalize on any positives?

These kinds of questions are interesting and personal and -- most important of all -- whose answers provide actionable information.


Hi Jon:

Was going to post at the end of these, but you hit some of what I would say.

I would add that whilst focusing on how mitigation could profit the deniers, I see nothing meaningful happening lest there is a financial penalty for continuing to add CO2 to the atmosphere.

I realize this would encounter resistance, and believe that the best way to approach it is to call it a 'clean up' tax, and direct lawmakers and voters attention to the irresponsibility of foisting remediatiion costs on our children and grandchildren, as well as on us. It puts a moral spin on what has otherwise been a scientific and policiy wonk debate. Gets closer to the truth of the matter as well.



I see nothing meaningful happening ...

I guess I'm looking for meaningful change to come from the bottom up or at least from local jurisdictions rather than from the top down at the national/international level. Not owning a TV makes it easier to pay attention to what is actually happening where I live. Here's some of what I see:

Gov. Gregoire signs landmark legislation to transition state off of coal power (April, 2011)

Washington state to install electric vehicle charging stations along interstate (July, 2011)


Seattle's Bullitt Center is set to push the boundaries of green building (September, 2011)

Sound Transit Quarterly Ridership Report (Jan - Mar, 2012)

All Sound Transit modes except Paratransit showed significant increases in ridership for the First Quarter of 2012. Both total boardings and average weekday boardings were up 12 percent compared with First Quarter 2011.

Dude, Where Are My Cars

But over the past decade, actual traffic trends have bucked predictions. In some places, traffic volumes have held steady; in others, they’re falling. This conundrum has got Sightline blogger Clark Williams-Derry asking, “Dude, where are my cars?”

UW plans development above Seattle light rail station (August, 2012)

The University of Washington may build transit-oriented apartments, shops or office space above an underground light rail station planned in Seattle's University District.

The Station at Othello Park

Make The Station your home, contemporary living with unmatched access to light rail, bus routes and highway connections to wherever you want to go — from downtown restaurants and Columbia City cafés to SeaTac International Airport or Bellevue.

Bike-share program finally coming to Seattle? (August, 2012)

It's easy to think everything is going poorly when you focus on things at the national or international level. By refocusing on the local level you start to notice some of the changes taking place that will actually have an impact going forward. If you look around and you don't see any of this happening in your community ... then you should worry. But some places "get it" and are moving forward. Maybe not as quickly as you or I would like. But at least in the right direction.

Best Hopes for your community.


  1. Karen Liftin on Ecovillage Experiments Around the World. See also: Liftin, K. (2012). A whole new way of life. Pp 129-140 in The Localization Reader: Adapting to the Coming Downshift. The MIT Press.
  2. For an interesting take on small scale farmers as technological entrepreneurs, see Logsdon, G. (1998). A buggy ride. Pp. 150-155 in You Can Go Home Again: Adventures of a Contrary Life. Indiana University Press.
  3. Check out the many ads in Farming magazine. A lot of invention is going on, but hidden in plain sight. And, apparently, not driven by energy descent or climate disruption.

I'm embarking on a new project, albeit on a small scale - hugelkultur. It involves burying and creating mounds of/over dead wood/trees/stumps, to create raised beds. This one process includes carbon sequestration, soil fertility and water retention. An excellent presentation on the process:


One wonders if this idea could be scalable, considering the millions of acres of forest being lost to beetles, etc. While conifers aren't considered the best trees for huglekultur, once they are degraded enough, they seem to work well. Marginal land, especially in dry areas, seems to benefit greatly. It's a bit like biochar in slow motion.

Did you know about such before the postings on TOD?

It's a bit like biochar in slow motion.

Not at all. Biochar doesn't seem to get attacked by fungi VS what happens with wood. The wood breaks down in years - such is not the case with Biochar. And Nitrogen + the tree leads to breakdown VS Nitrogen and Biochar seems to have the Nitrogen to be 'held' and later released. Nitrogen from Lightning will help breakdown wood. That same Nitrogen in Biochar will hold the Nitrogen and release later.

I've actually got a plan (but keep it a secret, shhhh). I'm going to combine biochar and chicken litter (for a nitrogen boost) into the matrix. And yes, I've known about and been using biochar for years. An Appalachian oldtimer showed me how he sifted the coals from his stove into his garden back in the 70s. He didn't know why it worked, just that it did.

I also plan to plant clover as a cover crop.

"Biochar doesn't seem to get attacked by fungi VS what happens with wood."

Fungi is an important part of my plan...

A claim exists that heavy Nitrogen feeders like Tomatoes like charcoal such that you can see a 10% increase in yield.

As for Fungi - Paul Stamets is the man. By adding fertilizer to the roots you are working to break the sugar/fungi pact with your plants.



The fungi's long thread-like mycelia are especially effective in capturing moisture and nutrients from the soil, particularly Nitrogen and Phosphorous. The fungi consume the nutrients but more importantly,they generously share them with the roots of the host plant. In return, the host plant provides the fungi with photosynthesized nutrients, especially sugars.

As a fellow Seattleite, I have mixed feelings about the green image Seattle is trying to project. Most of the initiatives I see are just greenwashing - have you seen the green building standards? They just build twice as big and save 10% of the energy.
As far as transportation goes - I think most of the efforts are misdirected. They consistently choose the most expensive alternative and it takes decades to build anything. My guess is this is a mixture of pork (to different construction companies) and simple waste (Pacific Northwest is not suffering economically yet so they have money to spend).
When the economic crisis will hit here, all these projects will be dropped (or stopped if they already started). On the other hand, the highways expansions will continue just like today.
Sorry to be a downer but this "green" image is just a status symbol for the rich.

Trying to be optimistic I can say that the bus system could be worse.

When the economic crisis will hit here, all these projects will be dropped (or stopped if they already started). On the other hand, the highways expansions will continue just like today.

I claim no such clairvoyance about what might happen in the future. I'm only reporting what is happening on the ground today.

Sorry to be a downer but this "green" image is just a status symbol for the rich.

In 25 years in Seattle, I have bicycle commuted from my close-in neighborhood (Fremont) to different destinations over 95% of the time. Anecdotally and statistically, apartment dwelling and bicycle ridership are both way up over that period -- especially among a younger set. It sure doesn't feel like "just a status symbol for the rich".

While I don't live in Seattle, I have to somewhat agree with jonathan. I grew up near Portland, and have close family in both Seattle and Portland. I travel frequently to both cities. Based on long term observation, I think both Seattle and Portland are at least trying to do the right things. Neither is (or ever will be) utopia, but I believe both cities are a good way ahead of most places in the US.

Let me clarify first my negativity. I think all these changes are good. It's just that I am overwhelmed by the amount of waste and destruction done in the name of King Car while all the other better choices get a drop in a bucket. And regarding predictions for the future, don't you think it's crazy that the monorail (for example) will take until 2050 to actually become useful? By then the south portion to Seatac will probably be useless (unless they convert the former airport into a train suburb).



Thanks for your response.

Like you I am horrified by the waste I see all around me. Always have been. But, spending a decade or two of my more youthful years railing against stupid and wasteful projects only to see those very projects get full backing from politicians and voters, I have taken a different tack in the last decade or two. Raising kids probably also had something to do with it.

Now I spend much more time highlighting the successes of the alternatives than railing against the stupidity of BAU. I have learned that, outside of a few visionaries and early adopters, change is scary for a lot of people. My previous approach was akin to using a cattle prod to push people to do things they were frightened by and thus dead set against. It didn't work very well and becoming more shrill didn't help. Now I am trying to stand out in front and lure those same people forward with the yummy carrot of functional, bike-and-walk friendly urban neighborhoods. And guess what? I am a lot more fun to be around and I see more and more people moving toward the urbanist vision.

Do I think all of our problems are solved? Far from it. But there are things to be optimistic about amidst all the pessimism. Why not focus on them?



TD, when low-flow shower heads, toilets that use less water, and other water conservation products and programs started in south California, it created "New Water"! Housing and commercial building increased in the already over-built (Los Angeles) areas to the point that cars had "Flush Twice-Stop Development" bumper stickers.

They're not saying what the residential rent or mortgage might be at The Station. $4000 a month, and for merely an apartment, which means you get to be kept awake nights by the pounding and thumping of the neighbor's stereo? There's one born every minute, so don't doubt that they can fill it, but I suspect a vastly larger number of folks will find someplace quieter, and enough more affordable to have plenty of money left over after paying within reason for the car(s) - AKA Drive Until You Qualify.

So really, it looks like more of the same tired old "urbanist" greenwashing. Get back to us when they open up an affordable "The Station" along the same rail line, one where the wait staff who serve the hand-made canapés and premium "organic" sun-dried whatnot to the folks who will live in this one could seriously consider living.

Get back to us when they open up an affordable "The Station" along the same rail line

New Holly is across the street and down a few blocks. It is run by the Seattle Housing Authority. For renters the site says: "Households that rent in these three communities earn 30 percent of area median income or less to qualify." For owners: "Either by contributing sweat equity through Habitat for Humanity or by making use of various assistance programs, many NewHolly residents are first-time homeowners."

Kind of nice to see high-end apartments and low-income public housing sharing the same light rail station.

And that's very typical. Public housing for those with really low income; pricey pads for the yuppies; and nothing for the large group in between, who, to repeat, must Drive Until They Qualify.

Can we please deal with facts instead of opinionated, grumpy, nay-saying?

According to http://www.zillow.com/homes/othello-station,-seattle_rb/ there is housing in exactly the same neighborhood priced in a broad range from low to high.

I know that there are still cities with a dysfunctional urban core and continued energy-intensive development on the periphery. I used to live in one of those doughnut cities back east and left as soon as I realized that another lifestyle was possible.

I am not trying to deny that there are plenty of problems in US urban development. Heck, there are plenty of problems with Seattle's urban development. But rather than just whine and moan about what's wrong I think it's occasionally worth while pointing out what appears to be working in one city and think about how it might be applied to another.

Not all public planning is bad, not all city planners are idiots and not all young people want to live in a big house in the suburbs. At least not where I live. Come visit and see for yourself if you don't believe me.

Can we please deal with facts instead of opinionated, grumpy, nay-saying?

Very much agreed. PaulS, you have a tendency to post political talking points that turn out to have little or no basis in fact. Please stop. You're not improving the quality of the discussion here.

Waiters use all of the New Orleans streetcar lines. I have seen our billionaire (our only one) sitting next to hotel staff, both going to work.


Well, yes, that's the third alternative (besides public housing if you're dirt-poor, or hugely expensive rentals or condos if you're very affluent) for very high-density living. The astronomical-crime-rate district. Most sensible people will much prefer to Drive Until They Qualify, as I just said, which is why the suburbs are still growing six times faster in actual numbers than the cities.

...which is why the suburbs are still growing six times faster in actual numbers than the cities."

Wasn't expecting any citations, as usual, but feel free...

The astronomical-crime-rate district.



Zombies are at an all time low level but the fear of zombies could be incredibly high!
Doesn't mean you have to have government policies to deal with the fear of zombies...

Dara O'Briain on Science, Quackery and other Stuff

Editorial in this month's Appliance Design magazine

Appliance makers of the Earth, I tell you that these events are just preludes to a time that will try mankind’s souls, when he shall have to either adapt, or live in a world without central air, refrigeration, XBox Live, or coffee for hours or even days at a time!

Has there ever been a poll/map/something that shows how the deniers are distributed geographically in the US? I'm thinking that there might be a higher percentage of deniers in those areas that the projections show being affected sooner, particularly by increasing frequency and severity of droughts. Roughly the states south of 30° N latitude (split California in two), plus the Great Basin and the Great Plains up as far as Nebraska or so. In much of that area water is already a concern, and people have their ears shut because they don't want to hear about increasingly common droughts.

I think it has far far more to do with political affiliation, and which side of the putative culture/religious war going on. Rarely is it related to what the effects are going to be on me/my town/my region etc. You choose your political affiliation, and along with it what news you accept, friends etc. So it will largely follow the red/blue divide. So in California, its the coastal cities (Blue, versus the interior) red. The fact that the red areas are already mostly already hotter than Hades, and will get worse, just doesn't factor in.

i'm not sure if this distinction deniers/rejecters is helpful.

the way i see it is the main problem is economic growth. even those who take agw seriously typically do not try to discuss how it's related to growth (or else talk about green growth...). but doing something serious about emissions would probably stop the growth. and since we all have been told that growth is good and recession is bad then it's kind of natural to oppose anything that is opposed to growth.

so in that sense it becomes a political question: how to view recession in a positive way? in other words how to organize society differently such that recession (=degrowth), if not actually a positive experience, can be seen at least as a right way forward?

or perhaps to put it in another way the people you call rejecters are probably not at all interested in agw, but perhaps they feel that something is wrong in the society but they don't know quite what it is...

Most folks are largely reactive rather than proactive. They respond after the fact; not good when global warming lags co2 increase, or when there's "plenty of oil", until there isn't. They just keep dancing until the music stops...

jukka - "even those who take agw seriously typically do not try to discuss how it's related to growth". Which is exactly my point. AGW proponents can explain the science until they're blue in the face. The rejecters will only be thinking of negative economic impacts of mitigation. And the deniers will just sit there and wonder why they are wasting time listening to someone who doesn't know what they're talking about.

They are rejecting AGW mitigation because of economic reasons and not scientific facts. The deniers are rejecting AGW because they don't see the scientific support. One cannot counter both groups with the same approach IMHO.

The rejecters as I define them are very interested in AGW. More specifically efforts to curtail AGW are of great interest because they could negatively affect BAU. In their view they know exactly what is wrong with society: some folks are willing to sacrifice growth for environmental reasons. And that is completely wrong in their opinion.

How about instead of rejecters we use AGWBWDGACANEI (AGW Believers Who Don't Give A Crap about Negative Environmental Impacts). And for deniers we use AGWNWATDTUTF (AGW Non-believers Who Are Too Dumb To Understand The Facts).

Hmmm...I think rejecter and denier are still easier on the tongue.

Hi Rock.

I think the real issue here is not the why they choose to reject or deny, or if they're stupid or just ignorant, or how to label them. It's that they see that it's a slippery slope. First global warming is real, then energy scarcity, then overpopulation. And they don't even want to admit to one.

BAU is a religion. A fundamentalist one at that, with no room for compromise or partial-believers. And the Republican-Neocon-Teaparty-Libertarian-psycho Right wing has tied it to real religion (and yes, I realize that "real religion" is kind of a twisted concept...what I mean is "superstition-based socio-political organization") to make a spiritual double whammy for anyone who doesn't toe the line.

I don't think the answer lies in trying to come up with a way to explain the truth.

We need to find some way to make being a heretic (both kinds!) cool.

We need our own church(non-church?) And then, maybe, an inquisition.


"The American way of life is non-negotiable" --Dick Cheney


Luckily, Cheney doesn't define all Americans the way he seems to think he can.

'The Brittle branch will break, as the supple one bends..'

another prototype

'(AGW Believers Who'.......................

feel as if stuck to the front of a locomotive that is uncontrollably pulled towards a doomsday scenario by the vacuum of energy consumption worldwide.


Maybe we should change the terminology into two camps: AGW deniers and AGW rejecters.

Human decisions are made in milliseconds deep in ancient brain structures. It is the function of the neocortex to create retroactive rationalizations for those decisions for social self-consistency. Since there are many "tells" that a person is consciously lying, part of this mechanism is that a person has to sincerely believe their own rationalizations. That is, self-deception is an evolved trait which has been strongly selected for, and will thus be the default.

AGW is rejected by the core brain, the amygdala and other structures to which we have no direct conscious access, while it is denied for social-tribal reasons by the "conscious" neocortex.

Very few humans realize this simple truth about the way human minds work, despite the fact that it really isn't even scientifically controversial. It "feels like" we make our decisions based on a review of facts. But in reality that's very hard to do for mentally healthy humans. Technically, allowing the neocortex to influence decisions is dysfunctional from the point of view of our evolution.

So the denier/rejector distinction is probably mostly true in terms of intra-skull dynamics in our complex inner society of mind.

The "conscious" mind doesn't get to do much. Maybe analogous to the vice-president having the tie-breaking vote in the US senate. In theory, it can happen. In reality, don't hitch your wagon it.

The entire paradigm of "enlightenment activism" is something like focusing one's lobbying dollars on securing the vice-president's senate vote.

greenie - Yes...I agree with you about that brain thingy you describe. LOL.

I can easily relate. I'll pat myself on the back a tad: early in my career I learned the distinction between what the geologic data was indicating vs. what I wanted it to indicate. I made a living by convincing folks to risk their money to drill a prospect I generated. But if I don't generate a viable (and more importantly a marketable) prospect I don't make a living. As you say we're may be hardwired to see what we want/need to see instead of what's really there. During the interpretation process I've always tried to keep that reality out front and be cautious of its effect. I've had my authority over ridden and have even been run off for not supporting a project "we really, really needed to drill". Once I actually got thrown out of a room during a conference call...by someone on the other end of the line. LOL

For decades I've told investors the same thing: a geologist who truly believes in his prospect can be more dangerous than a con man. He'll make his pitch with the true and honest heart that will convince you he's correct.

Or more bluntly: Be careful dealing with a person who truly believes their own BS.

Hi Rock. I know you "get" this stuff.

Learning to filter one's own thoughts for BS is probably a first step toward wisdom... though it really needs to be done constantly, because our brains are evolved to be BS generators.

Most everyone we deal with in life will believe the core of their own BS, because doing so has led to huge species success in past contexts.

One of the best ways to tweak one's critical thinking skills is to seek to understand all common cognitive fallacies... and there are hundreds of major ones. And if you do that, and reinforce it every day of your life, you'll STILL be highly deluded. Indeed, it's necessary for sanity I'd say.

However, one can try to avoid certain classes of delusion while allowing oneself the luxury of others which don't affect objectivity on the class of decisions being made at a given time.

I think that indexing our delusions is more reasonable than trying to get rid of them. It's a good exercise to realize that there are multiple brains in each human head, disagreeing in cacaphony like a fractious board of directors. The neocortex just writes the press releases after the fact.

I long ago gave up on being "all-wise". I have areas where I freely and happily delude myself (New Orleans is fertile ground :-), I also recognize my prejudices and give them their due.

In the space between, I apply a somewhat reductionist analysis. Will this help in a wide variety of circumstances and meet a variety of goals (for myself but also for a variety of others and their goals).

For example, I can (and do) argue for electrified rail on National Security grounds, but also economic, energy, employment & environmental reasons as well. And I can debate with the doomers too.

On the emotional front, I have staked out "Hope" as a central value, both internally and externally.

But I can take a step back and be quite Machiavellian as well - calculating odds and judging which social contacts can lead to what.

Hard to do without a functioning neocortex :-)

Best Hopes for Wisdom, despite the tools we work with,


You da man, Alan. The very model of a modern major-general.

Seriously, I'm impressed. As you know.

You're a rare example of someone whose neocortex is inspiring to watch at work. It Can Be Done.

So have you had any luck training others to be as much of a mutant as you are?

best hopes for that...

Greenish, I found your comment to Alan very moving. I know you've been burnt in the environmental movement. Kudos to you and Alan. There is hope :)

PS Your Enphase-assisted PV production of 900+ kWh in one month is more than my annual consumption! (lighting, cooking, computer, stereo, heating the kitchen). Congrats :)

Thanks for the comment. Yes, I'm pretty burnt by the decades of slamming up against it despite a lot of large wins; though ultimately the problem in my case is more my body giving out on me than mental burnout, though there's a bit of that too. It's possible I exacerbated the physical damage by working too intensely nonstop - my wife believes that - but the real world can be an intense place, and if you choose to engage with the most intractable parts it can wear you down some. For what it's worth, with the issues I engaged I didn't expect to necessarily be alive at all at this age, so that's something of a bonus. I only wish my body would cooperate so I could get back into the game at the level it can be well played. Not an uncommon sentiment for old men, I gather.

Of course you realize that I'm not particularly proud of that 900+ kWh, your low consumption is much more admirable. Our situation is that due to my physical limitations we rent out the lower floor of our house, and renters like using electricity the way they're used to. So trying to zero that out seems worth doing... but a low-consumption lifestyle is a lot more admirable. I generally consider that the grid-tied new PV system is for the renters, and my off-grid 1.2kw system is for my wife and me.


So have you had any luck training others to be as much of a mutant as you are?

I'm afraid either one must already be born a mutant as I am quite sure one absolutely can not be trained!

Case in point my own sibling's recent cornucopian guest blog post for a major economics magazine, yes I have a link to it but can not bring myself to post it publicly, it made me want to cry >:-(

I'll send you an Alan a link via private email. Perhaps you can post a comment there.

As they say you can bring a horse to water but you can't force it to drink!

Best hopes that some mutants will survive!



Thanks for sharing, Fred. I've suffered from delusional-sibling syndrome as well.

And my comment to Alan reflect the fact that I naively tried training a couple generations of "mutant enviro campaigners" in the methods I use; and it didn't work. The way my mind thinks just doesn't translate well into the minds of others. My thinking style is a bit abnormal; I've been able to teach basics to others but not to clone the deep disciplines and analysis which make it reasonable to to attempt large-scale changes to a system.

So just as the planet heads into the converging crises I've long seen coming, I'm sidelined. (I do NOT think that blog posts are activism; they're commiseration).

So yes, three cheers for mutants... and Fred don't hesitate to exercise your own jedi powers while your body still works...



Technically, allowing the neocortex to influence decisions is dysfunctional from the point of view of our evolution.

Then, why did the neocortex evolve? And why did it (and consciousness) evolve after the midbrain?

I'm modestly familiar with the research literature on human cognition and information processing and my sense is that to lay it all on ... retroactive rationalizations for those decisions for social self-consistency is, at the very least, an insufficient explanation. But I'd like to read more, on both sides. Any references?


By all means, read more about it, it's interesting. If I were to go looking for links, I'd have to google like you will. You will find that what I have said is in line with current understandings of the mind. There is NO question that decisions are made in the deep brain before the neocortex is even aware of it, because that's testable and has been repeatedly tested.

I not posting here as a psych guru, just bringing up something nobody had brought up. Currently I'm a generalist. In the past I have been responsible for some cognition-research breakthroughs which rewrote some textbooks, but that was decades ago.

In general, to ask why something evolved is to seek a reductionist narrative, a fallacy involving teleological reasoning. There is no direction to evolution, it is the sum total of frozen accidents, the interaction of environmental context with the organisms over time, and "luck" is a large factor.

Certainly, though, one can observe what the human neocortex currently spends its time DOING... and that is largely self-deception, deception of others, rationalization, and general optimization of benefit in social interaction.


There is NO question that decisions are made in the deep brain before the neocortex is even aware of it, because that's testable and has been repeatedly tested.

We might agree more than we don't. And I'm always looking for new ideas and new way of presenting old ideas, for the psychology courses that I teach at a "major Midwestern university."

But I just want to be careful that we don't leave the wrong impression here.

It is one thing to say that decisions can be made in the midbrain before, or without, neocortext involvement. Of that there is "NO question."

But it is quite another thing to imply that:

  1. All or most decisions are made this way, or that
  2. The sole role of the neocortext is post hoc justification of such decisions.

Current research supports neither statement.

NB Asking for an adaptive, functionalist explanation for why something evolved is not reductionism. An evolved cognitive feature once addressed an environmental or information-processing challenge.

Understanding that adaptation can help understand current behavior. But only if kept it in context with the rest of the cognitive system. As has been repeated in study after study, humans rarely have only one good reason for doing any one thing.

Yes, JoulesBurn called me on my oversimplification and I copped to it below. Some sorts of decisions involve a lot of bouncing back and forth between parts of the brain.

No, I did not say that was the sole function of the neocortex. I said "largely". So a strawman alert there, your inner brain structures are making you believe something I didn't say... unless you considered carefully the pro's and con's (of making a semi-deceptive statement) to your semi-anonymous social capital vs mine. Creeps up on you, doesn't it?

By all means rejoin with a post-hoc justification.

Asking why something evolved is exactly reductionism; it seeks to compress a nearly incomprehensible confluence of biological factors, environmental factors, luck etc into a simple statement.

As you say, we probably agree more than we don't; I have no great need to champion this notion here though, Just stirring the pot. The salient thing, as I told JB, is that whatever the structural reasons, human behavior is evolved for short-term goals and self-deception, so we should be unsurprised when that's what we see around us.

I doubt anyone else reading this thread cares much for us playing mind games. And I find them a sad waste of time.

I do find it ironic to be arguing over reductionism and evolution when another, and more serious, reductionism is staring us in the face. Namely, the misleading claim of dominance of the midbrain (e.g., your "inner brain structures").

While claims about its functioning and important role in behavior are based on valid insights, the mistake is believing that it is the primary source of behavior (or, as sometime construed, human nature).

Such reductionism hearkens, unfortunately, to an earlier period, when a then-dominant behaviorism argued that the existence of a behaviorist explanation made all other explanations irrelevant.

This notion that an explanation at one level usurps the possibility of a useful explanation at another was widespread enough to have received several colorful labels, such as ‘nothing butism’ and MacKay’s more elegant “fallacy of ‘nothing buttery’”.

After over a century of research, it would hardly seem necessary for us to argue in support of multiple determinants of behavior. Yet, single-determination theories abound. Their oversimplification is no more acceptable now than it was then; if indeed there is a demonstrable role for one mechanism, this in no way eliminates the possibility that there is a significant, and possibly concurrent, role for others.

To bring this home to responding to an energy descent: that humans can act in unsustainable ways is irrefutable. But when discussing such human behavior and the possibility of timely behavior change, saying that our species’ motivation is X, or our drive comes from mechanism Y, or our behavior is to always do Z is simply wrong. There is absolutely no scientific basis for so narrow a view of human nature.

The brain is more malleable and behavior more adaptive than such statements allow.

Sorry if I've depressed you, you seem like a good person. I didn't mean to be playing mind games; you commented on my post and I commented back.

I'm just killing time on a mental slow-day while convalescing.

My comments are those of an activist who has spent decades steering real-world situations, or failing to. There are dynamics which work, and those which don't. I'm familiar with them.

Based on that experience, I give a lot of credence to researchers who show that the neocortex primarily fills a social-rationalizing role which centrally includes self-deception. As a theory it's as elegant as it is initially unsettling. It also has explanatory value.

This is a real-time blog based on fairly short posts, in which it can be reasonable to strip down a comment to its conceptual core, even at the expense of rigor, and in which there can be elements of humor or provocation. I apologize if you've taken any of it personally, that wasn't my intent.

My understanding of the world is perhaps more nuanced than you think. Even if so, doesn't mean I'm right.

I'll just note that a strong tendency toward unexamined core-brain thinking in individuals creates the emergent effect of it being entirely dominant in the aggregate behavior of populations. For instance, one could argue that there are hundreds of political parties in the USA, and it would be technically correct; but it's also correct to call it a two-party system (or one party with two mildly different flavors). Because while it's entirely possible for an individual to be a communist, or a green, or a libertarian, or whatever, the nature of decision-making is such that electing a the communist party's candidate in the next election won't happen. By the same token, I think it's reasonable for me to generalize about the dominant cognitive dynamic in play.

Anyhow, my contention is that core-brain thinking is dominant, the default, because that's how we evolved. You disagree. OK.

I'll continue doing my best to affect the world, and I wish you well at trying the same.

Please don't apologize for winning the mind games!

Seriously, this theme, and it's dire implications with respect to the likelihood of developing coordinated, effective responses to our situation, is one of the core arguments in the basic doomer perspective. Understanding this, some basic biology, and a little bit about the physics and economics of energy, is all it really takes to begin to see the outlines of the terrible fate in store for humanity. As Jay Hanson said: "How could it be otherwise?".

By the way, if one follows the logic to it's bitter end, it is easy to see that not only are we headed for a social collapse and die-off, but that it must be a rapid collapse as well.

There isn't enough time left to agree to disagree about this stuff.

Greenie – “…convalescing”. That makes two of us. Just my bad luck: I could have done some more damage to my bad leg but noooooooo…I gotta hurt the good one. LOL

I’m very pleased with how many folks took up the rejectionist/denialist thread and expanded the discussion. After hearing the pros and cons I like the distinction even more. One TODster thought it was too judgmental…I feel just the opposite. One can readily admit to rejecting any concept and take pride in it. If I called you a rejectionist because you disagree that maintaining BAU is sustainable would you feel insulted? Similarly if you denied the existence of pink unicorns existed and I challenged that belief would you feel threatened or just think I’m just another dumb bunny?

Remember somewhere way back in the thread was the discussion of how to move folks from the rejectionist and denialist camps with respect to AGW. The emphasis being that belonging to one or the other faction was wrong. I think that missed the point: every one reading this post migrates constantly between both camps. I’m sure you could list hundreds of beliefs of others that you feel are incorrect…you are a denialist. And hundreds of bad situations that you believe exist but reject any number of proposed solutions to those problems. You are a rejectionist.

Now to you hard-wired response system we carry around with us. I can buy that without too much analysis. When working offshore and sitting in the galley staring at a freezer that contained a couple of dozen flavors on Blue Bell Ice Cream I had no trouble recognizing my natural desire to skip the jambalaya and just have a 100% BBIC feast. And I will admit to occasionally giving into that desire. But despite every strand of my DNA telling me I could live off of BBIC I know the consequences would be bad. And that brings us full circle to those rejectionists who, if honest, would admit that AGW is real and a potentially serious problem. But when presented with solutions reject the entire concept because those solutions could have a negative impact on them (higher taxes, more regs, expensive energy, etc). In the case of my addiction to BBIC what if the vast majority of negative effects impacted someone else? And if that person weren’t in my immediate sphere how much easier would it be to grab a big spoon and camp out in front of that freezer?

Which is exactly why many AGW activists are spinning their wheels by pushing the proof thingy IMHO. That might swing some denialists onto their side. But IMHO it’s the rejectionists who will control the future: the corporate and political leaders. And they’ll do so for personal reasons. Consider how simple it would have been to bump the motor fuel tax $0.10 or $0.15 after prices fell a couple of $’s. The public should have been as pleased with paying $1.90 less as if they were paying $2.00 less. But did any politician make any serious effort to do so? No and that’s despite the fact that there are many politicians who get AGW, IMHO. This is just one obvious example of a rejectionist…a rejectionist that may listen politely and accept a slew of facts supporting AGW and then vote against serious mitigation efforts. A no vote that gets him sufficient votes from his constituents to be reelected. Just as the corporate leader thrives for acceptance by his voters: the board and the shareholders. And that’s why I think activist will have a difficult time succeeding in their efforts because they are trying to use the “proof hammer” on the rejectionist screws.

I agree with you: Machiavelli their butts if there’s any hope for success. I don’t have any idea of how to go about that. But I think I’ve done my part by defining the problem so I’ll let someone else come up with the solution.


First, thanks for starting a most interesting thread. Lots of good discussion...

Machiavelli their butts if there’s any hope for success

I do want to chew on this some more because because it seem so clearly wrong, at least from my limited perspective :). My basic thought; Using a process that put into place the present situation can hardly be expected to create nearly the opposite outcome.

Free will must be honored, this just seems so logical to me that in order to create a peaceful and sustainable society this becomes a must. But this creates a major issue that I have been struggling with and this discussion has brought out a different way of visualizing it.

The goal of creating a peaceful/sustainable world has to be something the majority agrees on. In a way there is no right/wrong or good/bad about this. Just, is this the path we want to take. We might decide that our goal is to create a violent unsustainable world. That we will realize greater ego gratification from adopting this goal and this seems to be what we have decided, though for the most part sub-consciously and indirectly.

I feel that greater ego gratification will come from the peaceful/sustainable goal and would like to see this changed. But I'm sort of thinking that I have no "right" to force this goal on anyone else. Sure I can advocate for this but it needs to be something we all want to do of our on free will.

I think the Morlocks were under-appreciated by the Eloi. They made the hard decisions, ate carrion while giving opulent meals to their charges, and balanced the ecosystem while enabling the Eloi to maintain self-satisfying belief systems and thrive despite their delusions.

Perhaps "enlightenment" - whatever that truly might be - involves sacrificing one's own self-image in striving for a greater good.

Enlightenment, for me it is simply the ability to think for oneself, independent thought. A major part of that is developing the skill set needed to keep the sub-conscious from running amuck. It is a process where the self-image is developed/created. The benefit to the greater good is in a way just a very nice side effect.

Rock - thanks for the great (and long!) reply. I just came off a night of zero sleep so can't do it full justice with a reply in kind, though maybe I'll pore through my records and snag your email address for a note later, rather than try doing it here as this drumbeat turns into a pumpkin.

As I've said, I like the way you think. You have the makings of a good reluctant enviro campaigner (the only really sane kind).

I really need to come up with a better term than "machiavellian" to keep peoples' heads from exploding when I note that indirect methods and an actual strategy are necessary to get things done in human societies. Unfortunately, that term has become loaded with semantic monkey-negativity. Not enough that the world desperately needs saving, we need to do it in "nice ways". Well yes, I like nice ways too, but at some point adults need to get involved.

more soon...

Maybe "top down" would be a better term than "machiavellian". Father knows best and keeps all the adult children from shooting themselves in the foot.

I like the bottom up approach, help the adult children become adults, but yes this drumbeat is nearing punkin time so more later.

A unified solution does exist.

One that satisfies a multitude of desires. To enumerate - more GDP (but different GDP), more employment, preserves the middle class, more energy efficient, less CO2.

However, this solution is just mitigation in the larger scheme of the ecosystem (which includes us) future.

Best Hopes,


I used to have a book - A History of the Telencephalon- a coffee-table book of images of everybody's brains, from fish to sheep. They're all the same idea. Today, I can't find a reference to it. I could a few years ago.

Here's what today brings:

Studies on the teleost brain morphology in search of the
origin of cognition

(PDF) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-5884.2009.00397.x/pdf

Although, those who make a conscious lifelong effort to follow the facts as it were, can do reasonably well. But, this doesn't come naturally. And most humans react unfavorably to attempts to correct their cognitive fallacies.

Human decisions are made in milliseconds deep in ancient brain structures.

This is true for some decisions, depending on the context in which they are made, but is not generally the case. If you have not, I suggest you read
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

Perhaps it is that some perceive certain ideas or questions as physical threats to their well being, or maybe their brains are being taxed too much and so they revert to a more primal (fast) way of decision making.

I've been on the library wait list for that book for two months now...

Yes, I've oversimplified in my narrative. Par for the course. There's a back-and-forth between parts of the brain, and only some classes are made in milliseconds. However, once made, all decisions (or non-decisions) are subject to active rationalization once they become accessible to the "conscious" mind, which is the part of my comment salient to Rockman's post.

Most, or perhaps all of our motivation comes from the mid-brain. The cerebral cortex receives input from all of our senses and connects them into an analog representation of our environment. Those things that release the most dopamine or the most pain, form more permanent memories. The brain's basement decides on what we want and then we are free to explore our analog world to find a map to our most pleasurable destinations. I often find myself thinking about the detrimental effect of eating too many chips, but even as I entertain those ideas, the decision has been made and my hand is in the bag. Can we stop ourselves? Yes. But, like a bad drug addiction, it is very hard to override the desires in the brain's basement. It knows what it likes and will find a way to get it's preferred stimuli.

If there is no pain, the current orgy of pleasurable excess will continue. The pain will be felt sometime in the future and will not be associated with the activities that generated the pleasure.

I keep imagining hopper cars full of coal moving down the railroad tracks, to be converted into electricity to create the stimuli that makes the dopamine flow freely in our brains. But after the peak of this "mindless" consumption, I see hopper cars full of bodies moving in the opposite direction. I think when we see the hopper cars full of bodies, there will be an all-out panic, although most cerebral cortices may not understand the reasons why the numbers of coal trains is slowing and the number of body cars is increasing. Of course, there won't be body cars, people will dissipate where they lived or on their way to somewhere else as average life expectancy declines, but the connection between fossil fuel application to food production and other industrial benefits and reduced death rates is a tight one.

Eventually the earth will lose its technological upstart and the sun's heat will continue to move through its liquids and vapors and what's left of the dissipative structures we call life.

Recently I bought a Denoyer brain stem, mid-brain model, it makes a nice pondering piece. I don't know what I'm looking for, maybe an iron-clad determination that our salvation is beyond reach. Then what? Try to distance "me" from the seemingly insane societal "we"? Anyway, the Kahneman book sounds very worthwhile.

For those interested in the neuro sciences I recommend the Charlie Rose Brain Series with Eric Kandel and various world class experts. Most of the participants admit to an incomplete understanding of the human brain. One has stated that it is probably the most complicated system in our world. One of the episodes is scheduled tonight



Lots of neuropathology... which can be illuminating.

Oliver Sachs writes stories from the field.

entire paradigm of "enlightenment activism"

Let's see, we have a possible solution. It may well be a long shot but it appears that it is the only potential solution that we have. I even believe that it's not a question of, will it work, it is only a question of whither or not there is enough "will power" to make it happen. But we do not want to go there, why?

There are several good explanations in this thread about how the sub-conscious mind can greatly influence our decision making process. What makes it so impossible to get this understanding into common knowledge. Sure this is only one piece of a large body of information that needs to be developed/conveyed but like most things, you get the job done one step at a time.

So, why? I do wonder if there is not something sub-conscious at work here. Do we have ego gratification invested in seeing the outcome of natural consequences play out. Kind of like getting an ego feed off a "I told you so". Or maybe we have invested much time in solution finding to no avail, so there will be an ego cost if one is found now especially if it come from a direction we thought was wrong.

The conscious mind can do a lot if we can keep the fear driven sub-conscious under control.

To be a little clearer, I don't think "enlightenment activism" is the only shot. It's the nature of humans that most won't think much about thinking, and will go with what "feels" best short-term, choosing from among the limited number of socially acceptable positions held by those around them.
It's an effective error-correction mechanism. Anyone who comes up with an opinion which is at odds with those around him or her will tend to be marginalized, and pressured to conform.

This highly-connected conformity and worldview can tend to make populations subject to relatively abrupt phase shifts in behavior, but only in certain ways.

If there is some issue that "feels good" to a full population, such as driving the Brits out of India or chopping up the Tutsi's, you can plant the seeds of a populist campaign and have a good chance of it growing, with a chance of success. If it's something that "feels bad" to the population, it will not be acted upon unless you can convince the population that they themselves are in relatively immediate danger from a specific entity, or unless the solution proposed is perceived as painless.

So even the large number of people who "believe in" AGW really aren't willing to do much based on that conclusion, and if pressed to do so they'll change their belief. Just wait and see where the mass support for AGW mitigation goes come the next depression.

There are other ways of minimizing dissonance besides denial, such as a "nihilism heuristic" which kicks in once one believes a predicament like AGW is real. You see that on this board a lot: the sun will burn out someday, species always go extinct anyway, the situation is probably hopeless by now, etc etc. As many rationales as necessary to self-justify not doing anything.

So the cards are stacked against the sort of tipping-point revolutions that McKibben and others hope to see catch hold. They're further stacked by the perceived idealistic necessity of such folks to feel like like the ideal of Jesus or Gandhi or some other saintlike being, AND to judge their allies harshly by that standard.

The reality is that we don't get to choose how humans act in aggregate; they act the way they act. Those relative few who would hope to actively steer events for the better can engage that set of gritty, disappointing realities or be ineffectual.

At its best, a machiavellian win is made to look like a victory for the common man, and that's the way history writes it down.

I think Jesus and Gandhi were both quite manipulative monkeys, and good for them.

Just a ramble on a slow day...

Well said

So much of the near and medium term consequences of AGW/CC are already baked into the cake, and I really don't see our western industrial societies voluntarily reducing CO2 output by the magnitudes required to have an effect on the long term. So that tells me that the changes will happen and the world will change - a lot, likely causing horrendous hardship for those of us who must go through the transition. Basically, it is our existence in this culture/society that is the issue, and significant changes cannot happen without changing the culture/society in ways that would make it unrecognizable. It's not about what we might technically be able to do in a perfect world with a benevolent, enlightened, all-powerful dictator, but what is likely in this real world.

The question then is can one do things to "prepare", or to make survival more likely or coping less difficult? If the answer to that is yes, then folks like you talked to are decreasing their own odds by their denial. And I think that the answer is "yes", at least partially. An example might be those who are staying in Phoenix, unless they're very wealthy. At some point they will be stuck there, in a place that cannot support anywhere near the population - so staying is becoming suicide, even at this point.

Knowing what is coming is no guarantee that one can do a damn thing about it on an individual level, and sometimes the totally ignorant blunder through, but on the whole I think one is better off understanding what is happening.

...a benevolent, enlightened, all-powerful dictator...

That those three things could ever go together for more than a millisecond is infinitely less likely than the sun going supernova this afternoon.

Nonsense - I saw one riding a pink unicorn.

I suspect it happens from time to time. I suspect many dynasties got their start that way. probably it takes a few years of slippery slopes, before the originally benevolent dictator evolves into a monster.

I don't consider myself an idealist, but I believe it is possible to have an enlightened benevolent dictator. There are people out there that are not prone to paranoia. Combine that with a down to earth approach to leadership (try and see what works) plus love for their children (more than love for themselves) and it could work.
That does not mean that they will make the right long-term decisions though - they are just humans after all.
And of course the next generation is going to be worse - there is just too much pressure.

There are examples from history, but they are from long time ago. For example: http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/rulersleaderskings/p/Cincinnatus.htm

I think humans are just not evolved to live in groups as big and dense as today's countries. In other words, we are all like caged animals in a zoo - pacing back and forth in a small space and slowly going crazy.

It's also possible for a pig or a brick to fly, with a powerful enough engine. But it doesn't last.

You are mangling the old aircraft designer saying: "We could make a sheet of plywood fly, if we had enough power". A sheet of plywood will act rather like a wing, however, a pig or a brick isn't going to provide nearly enough lift. A powerful engine can "fly" straight up, as in, a rocket, even if it looks like a pig, but that isn't flying in the sense of an aircraft moving from point A to B at a nearly constant altitude and then landing safely. Of course, however you choose to "fly", it doesn't last, by definition...

E. Swanson

The ancient ideal of the philosopher King. Happened occasionally, Cyrus the Great, Ashoka after his great change of heart, and maybe a couple since. But, even those who may start with the best of intentions, will encounter serious resistance, and overcoming such resistance requires breaking some eggs, and sometimes the resistance snowballs....

I don't consider myself an idealist, either.
But as a history enthusiast I would point to an inherent flaw in any dictatorial regime:


Every possible permutation has been tried, all have eventually failed.

Dynastic succession included. (Just look at two particularly pathetic modern examples, Assad the Younger or Kim the Third, the lines just get weaker.)
Succession is critical and needs to be designed in.

That necessitates rule of law with robust enforcement options, very difficult. Civil wars were much more common prior to the modern era.

Not sure what you guys are even talking about on this topic. Half the population accepts AGW as real, and 63 percent accept CC. Those are pretty remarkable numbers, given that AGW is a forbidden topic within mainstream corporate D versus R politics, and only a suggestion at best within mainstream media.

We ought to be celebrating the allies we already have, and attacking the confusion on which "denial" rests. We might start by dropping the insult of calling those who aren't with us yet "denialists." You don't catch flies with vinegar.

Half the population accepts AGW as real, and 63 percent accept CC.

Probably the anger and frustration lie with those "acceptances" being a light-year wide and a femtometer deep. As I've said before, even those scientists who profess to be scared out of their wits by the phantasms haunting their virtual crystal balls still insist on creating countless tons of the evil wicked CO2 by forever jetting all over the world merely to hear absurdly incapable public speakers "in person", mumbling incomprehensibly through "papers" that were already available for weeks, months, or years as preprints. The wider public simply imitates the scientists' pointless profligacy (and ignores their hollow words) in whatever manner suits their own circumstances.

Naturally, that in turn drives save-the-world campaigners up the wall. After all, CC is potentially such a convenient means of jamming a diverse array of mutually incompatible utopian visions - everyone is to be forced to live in megacities; no, small towns; no, farmettes; no, well, whatever about that, but at a minimum they are to be crammed into micro-houses with travel beyond walking distance made a logistical nightmare; etc. etc, - down the public's throats. So when the public wants none of it, what more satisfying way to take out the frustration than to bring in the Holocaust meme, bandying about accusations of criminality ("denier" being a crime in some European countries, as the jet-set campaigners know full well) as an automatic argument-winner?

But yeah, while the tactic has been rhetorically effective in some circles, it seems to have been of little use for wider practical effect. The Gordian knots people tie themselves into are something to behold, aren't they?

Where do you come up with such delusions ?

"After all, CC is potentially such a convenient means of jamming a diverse array of mutually incompatible utopian visions - everyone is to be forced to live in megacities; no, small towns; no, farmettes; no, well, whatever about that, but at a minimum they are to be crammed into micro-houses with travel beyond walking distance made a logistical nightmare; etc. etc, - down the public's throats."

"Where do you come up with such delusions ?"

Assuming the question refers to the quote, right here on TOD is a fine source, and there are others. Heinbergs 50 million eco-serfs are at one end, and the vertical farms in mega-cities separated by wilderness but connected by solar-powered bullet trains are the other extreme, and Kunstler is in the middle somewhere.

And to add to the noise level, the people you are preaching to the hardest are those who are already fed up with the nit-wits in DC dictating how they should live without ever bothering to come out and look at the situation. And at the same time their survival instincts are telling them this is a time to stay flexible, and they are even less likely to allow themselves to be herded into someone else's notion of the "right thing to do."

I think there will be another 8 to 10 years of shouting yet. 'The Fourth Turning' is looking too accurate for my own comfort; I hate being categorized.

Delusions??? Oh, please. A skim of almost any Drumbeat will turn up at least a few, and usually more than a few, examples of the visions in question. Not only that, but the notion of ramming stuff down people's throats is also evidenced in the strong anything-but visceral hatred of so-called "BAU". Whenever we get into responses or "solutions", we dive deep into pre-existing notions of how everybody else ought to be made to live, ranging from confining them to limited "walkable" areas, to making them ride bicycles on ice, and far beyond.

Be Fair, Paul.

The only reason we want to imprison you in these tiny, tiny walkable areas (where you at long last won't have to risk life and limb just to consider crossing the interceding onramps or multi-lane intersections) is so that in your desperation and panic from getting a little exercise and having seen some untold number of your neighbors face to face, on their trikes, their wheelchairs or their ultra-snazzy EuroStyled Stainless Steel Preacher's Bikes.. that in this unmitigated terror, you'll dive for the apparent relative safety of one of our specially fitted electric trolleys or (gasp!) busses, where our professional transit staff will be waiting to serve you with all the modern 'comforts'.

Relax, said the night-man, we are programmed to receive.. You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave..

Now it's "Making you ride bicycles on ice", is it? Nobody expected the Spanish Iquisition! Oh My!

Go out for a little bike ride.. meet some neighbors, Paul. It might calm these jamming cramming fears down a bit.

(Ve haf Vays of making you Bike!)

Rockman (For All),

Trickle down economics doesn't work, but trickle down religion does.

The folks you talked to got everything they know from the highest limb on their tree of knowledge.

Their knowledge will only change when someone who is not a psychopath tells them what they know.

Would "AGW rejecters" include those who agree that AGW is real, but who believe that the human economic and political global systems are such that effective measures to curtail AGW cannot be implemented? And that therefore, further debate about it is unimportant.

They may also be of the view that the consequences of AGW are not likely to be the most significant limitations on the long-run development of human civilization.

Absolutely. But to some extent, rising prices and poverty may restrict emissions.

Merrill - I would say no. Depends on what you mean by "cannot be implemented". If the rejectionists thought it were impossible to implement mitigation then they wouldn't waste breath rejecting AGW. But if you mean TPTB won't allow serious mitigation to take place for fear of damaging BAU then IMHO the rejectionists would sign on for a full blood and guts debate if serious mitigation efforts started to materialize.

It may sound harsh but I don't really see a meaningful difference between many AGW rejectionists and a guy pointing a gun at a convenience store clerk: "If I have to destroy you to get what I want/need, I will". Well, a little difference: the guy with the gun is willing to admit his callousness.

Do not assume those are the only camps.

There's also, as always, the "doomer" camp which understands the science, and implications, but believes that nothing can or will be done about it, except for the ongoing catabolic collapse of global industrial civilization.

I am firmly in this camp. The only thing that can stop AGW is the end of the global industrial economy (and even then it might be too late). And you're screwed either way. And we certainly aren't going to take kindly to being told to "save the world."

I think you also have to consider the "Zealot" group. That is the people who believe it is humanity's god-given right to do whatever we desire to this planet regardless of the consequences. They do not care about AGW, since they view it as their heaven-mandated right to produce as much CO2 as they want.

I have some outspoken fundamentalist relatives that believe that as "god's children" everything in the world was made for humanity to exploit, which makes for hilarious arguments with vegetarians/vegans.

Objection ROCKMAN,

leading the witness.

Just a joke

I believe AGW to be a fact because
a) as a chemistry student i measured the P/T curve of carbon dioxide (it can enter upper atmosphere)
b) i also measured the IR absorbance spectrum of CO2, using a gas cell (it absorbs and re-emits heat)
c) Some rough math confirms that the number of planes, trains, ships, cars and power plants i have seen around the world jibes with the consumption numbers i read.
d) I understand the Arhenius model (earth is a rock in a thermos bottle, governed by black body eqn)
There were maybe 20 students per year in that Phys-Chem class, out of a catchment area of a million people so, rough guess, 0.13% of the population have directly observed what i have (in a classroom anyway). i am privileged to be able to 'conclude' AGW as fact. There are several jumps of faith i must make to agree with it, but reasonably small ones. Most people who accept AGW are true believers; they trust the theory because they trust science, but they are really no different from those who trust their church, politician, or whoever.

In a few more years, we will all have direct empirical proof of warming, and most won't like it. We will confabulate morals, politics, and economics that mandate action, whether or not we agree that the problem was man-made. There are even technologies, like atmosphere capture of CO2, that can forestall the worst sea level rise by shortening the duration of the CO2 'spike', but we can hardly blame people for denying or rejecting AGW today.

"They only way to pull them to the mitigation side of the argument is to show how those efforts won't interfere with BAU. "

And there is another stipulation; you have to show them that they will not be only ones making the sacrifices. That was the issue with Kyoto. It seemed designed to cripple the US economy while letting the rest of the world continue BAU. Coming at the same time there was much political babble from Europe about the dangers of a one super-power world the perception was that was indeed the intent, and so Kyoto was rejected by both parties. The vote was 95-0 against Kyoto. The Republicna did not have 95 votes either.

To wit (from Senate Resolution 98 in 1997;)

"Whereas the Senate strongly believes that the proposals under negotiation, because of the disparity of treatment between Annex I Parties and Developing Countries and the level of required emission reductions, could result in serious harm to the United States economy, including significant job loss, trade disadvantages, increased energy and consumer costs, or any combination thereof; "

To start I want to give a shout out to Rockman and Greenish. I found their comments on AGW and the complications of people interesting and sound. I have a few comments as well, with a slightly different twist. This is a dark post.

My opinion on the likely hood of us getting our collective act together and dealing with AGW, is that there is such a small chance that we are capable of acting in a rational fashion that it is not intelligent to even take that approach. To justify this opinion I point to many of the comments above as well as something that has not been articulated that well.

TOD is filled with commenter's who have a world of real experience under their belts and readily recognize the pitfalls one has to avoid when trying to implement solutions to difficult problems. This is not a skill set or body of experience that is common to those highly educated (and motivated) proponents of AGW solutions who are leading the debate. I point towards several prominent individuals here such as Joe Romm, Gustave Speth, and Jorgen Randers (hopefully Greenish is not one of them :). PhD's in physics are pretty much required to truly understand the physical mechanisms at play in AGW and the various research relating to the causes and consequences. A weakness commonly found in those with such skills sets is that their education and careers have not given them time to learn what some of the rest of us have. For instance, all of those I named above are promoting solutions to AGW that are technically feasible in a broad sense. That is their solutions do not require new technology or energy sources. But their solutions do require that the global population adhere to rational thought processes, authoritarian leadership, willingness to suffer great hardship, loss of freedom and sacrificing themselves to save the future. Those with a body of real world experience know that it is certain that enough people will not play along with those requirements, for whatever reason, that solutions requiring such behavior will not succeed.

It is worth throwing in at this point that we do not really have a 'problem' when we are talking about dealing with AGW as problems have solutions. A solution being something that is readily recognizable as dealing with a problem in a way that is satisfactory to the bulk of the people. That is not possible with AGW. AGW is a dilemma. There are no equitable solutions. Dilemmas require a system reset to an new state. Most everyone will not like the result and thus there will be no support for triggering the reset to the new state.

I am slowly coming to the point here. I do find the categorization of denier and rejector useful in the discussion. But I also feel that it leaves out a group that is also not particularly helpful. So I kind of divide up the pro and anti AGW camps a little differently. There are two groups who reside on opposite sides of AGW who are functionally accomplishing the same thing - even though that is not their intent. I refer to these groups as the right-wing and left-wing cornucopian's. We all recognize the right-wing folks and many of us rail about them. We know with certainty that following their lead, BAU, leads us to the cliff..so to speak. To paraphrase a bit; "You can't solve a problem using the same thought process that got you into it in the first place." and "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." Now the interesting part comes when you examine the proposals of those who are trying to 'solve' AGW. Once again I point to folks like Romm and Randers here. Their solutions, when looked at in depth, give a strong appearance of being versions of BAU but with the use of technology oriented towards the technically possible solutions to reducing/eliminating CO2 emissions and halting, eventually, the rise in temperature, etc. Their solutions sill require all those changes in human nature mentioned above that are not going to happen. An additional place I choke on when considering their visions is that they still describe a world very similar to the one we have now. When they look to the future they still see a very large global population (8-9 billion 50 years out), vast consumption of resources, energy, rising consumption and GDP, etc. This all flies in the face of logic. Not only are people not going to cooperate with them, but the world that they envision would still require sustenance far beyond the carrying capacity of the world. There are a host of resources that are currently constrained and many others that are heading there quickly. Grasping at straws, looking for the needle in the haystack, buying lottery tickets are all actions people take every day to try and solve their problems. This is what they are trying to do. They cannot help themselves due to their training and backgrounds. But in terms of realism they are not functionally different than the right-wingers mentioned above. Everyone wants to defer the hard part to someone in the future.

Fixing AGW requires a system (civilizational) reset. Nothing else will suffice. We already have the technology and knowledge to live sustainably on this planet on one condition. We have to get rid of most of the world's population. And we need to do it quickly. Waiting for declining birth rates, which depend on a rising affluence that is not going to happen, won't do it. That takes decades to work through the system and by then you are much farther into the effects of AGW as well as well down the depletion curves of many resources. So how do you reduce population fast without a deliberate implementation of the four Horsemen? I can think of only one way (and it is impossible of course) and that would be to ban anyone on earth having a child for at least 20 years starting right now. Additional time to be added as needed. THIS would actually work on all levels. And it does not require active murder and genocide.

A brutal solution. But I think that everyone deep down knows that we are eventually going to get to some version of a brutal solution that does involve mass murder in some form. I see commenter's all the time say that at least they will be dead when it happens. A typical human cop out. What we need to do as a people is to step up to the plate and become the real heroes we are always talking about. We give now to save the future. This solution of course requires that same fundamental change in human nature that we all know is not going to happen. The sooner we collapse the better as it will leave more resources for the survivors to pick through. Hopefully they will not set about repeating our mistakes.


A brutal solution. But I think that everyone deep down knows that we are eventually going to get to some version of a brutal solution that does involve mass murder in some form. I see commenter's all the time say that at least they will be dead when it happens. A typical human cop out. What we need to do as a people is to step up to the plate and become the real heroes we are always talking about. We give now to save the future. This solution of course requires that same fundamental change in human nature that we all know is not going to happen. The sooner we collapse the better as it will leave more resources for the survivors to pick through. Hopefully they will not set about repeating our mistakes.


You are being obtuse here.

What are trying to say?

What is entailed in the idea of 'people stepping up to the plate and becoming real heroes'?

What does 'giving now' entail?

Please speak plainly, your post is couched in riddles...

I think that there are courses of action far less draconian than you suggest that can potentially lead to a longer-term sustainable balance of humans within Earth's ecosystem.


Sorry if I was not clear. It is very hard in the limited space here to articulate a comprehensive argument. I was assuming that readers, who had the interest to read all of the above posts, would already be conversant in the complexities of the subject.

To boil it down (trying to be brief once again) I am basically stating that no one is articulating an approach to our AGW dilemma (predicament) that has any chance of working. Plus, that all of those proposed approaches, beside not working, are going to take far too long to execute, thus leaving the survivors a dearth of resources to try and rebuild with. I specifically call out those I call left-wing cornucopian's whose solutions are just a version of BAU. They fall into this trap because they incorrectly think that proposals like their's can actually be executed (they can't) and they fail to address the elephant in the room (too many people), because they are too nice I guess. We just cannot make it with a population any where near the size of the one we have now.

"Real heroes" and, "Giving now" alludes to my belief that it is cowardly to be facing a situation like AGW and deferring dealing with it. In our society we lightly use the word hero all the time in an inappropriate way. We know what the problem is, we know the incredible risks we face, we are honor bound, duty bound to deal with it ourselves. Now. We have to give of ourselves now and not let the children have to try and solve it somewhere down the road. You either have honor or you don't. I hope that is clear.

As to your comment

I think that there are courses of action far less draconian than you suggest that can potentially lead to a longer-term sustainable balance of humans within Earth's ecosystem.

That is exactly the kind of approach that I and several other posters above are saying, in our own individual ways, will just not work.



I will admit that I am dense at times, and this is obviously one of those times.

Do you advocate:

A) people having from here on out <2 children per woman per woman's lifetime (perhaps a global 1-child policy...we will ignore for the moment how such a policy could be enforced) /AND/ reducing per capita consumption to a level <<< average U.S. citizen [perhaps to a .2 of U.S. citizen average consumption] (same issue with how to enforce)


B) People voluntarily extinguishing themselves en masse ASAP?


Neither 1 or 2.

The solution I proposed would mandate that NO children be conceived at all for a period of at least 20 years, perhaps 25 years. Duration to be determined by world population levels. This avoids our having to eventually resort to some means of mass murder sometime in the future to get population under control. And it avoids your option 2 of mass suicide at the present time. As you point out, there is no imaginable means of enforcement of such a solution that could avoid crossing into the realm of mass murder. It would require that the global human population voluntarily choose to not have children for the 20-25 years. This would, of course, require a significant change in human behavior that is not likely to occur.

We, as a species, do not have the mental makeup (as Greenish so eloquently points out) to collectively recognize what needs to be done, nor do we have the courage to act upon that knowledge. We are fundamentally cowards (we are hard programmed for flight first and fight only when we can no longer run away). Thus we always come up with excuses to delay and ponder the probabilities rather than act in a prompt fashion. This aspect of our mental makeup is one reason why the general public is so impressed with those few among us who willingly run towards the sound of gunfire rather than away. If we all had such courage we would never have gotten ourselves in this situation to begin with.

As greenish said below:

To a good first approximation, there is no useful human response to AGW at this time, period.

There is no useful human response available to us because our mental makeup would not allow us to execute a solution which results in a state of existence which is less attractive than the one we are in now. Analogously, we are lost in the wilderness and have contracted gangrene in our foot due to an injury. We have blood poisoning and we are going to die if we don't suck it up and cut our leg off and cauterize the wound. We can't bring ourselves to do it because of fear and not being able to accept a vision of the future where we are less of a person than we perceive ourselves to be. So we delay hoping that someone will walk through the woods and save us. Thus guaranteeing our demise.



Thank you for your patience giving further clarification.

'Option 2' is horrific and repulsive to me...that was not my advocacy at all.

The best humanity could do would be to adopt a cultural norm to have 1 < x < 2 children per woman per lifetime and to reduce consumption (by what amount...) and persevere.

No one is saving us...we have to slog it out and do what our species has done up till now...survive. The Earth;s ecosystem will continue to be degraded, but at some point a new equilibrium will be reached...it will be different for humanity.


By 2100? Who knows?

The war it would take to force that on humanity would cause the very bloodbath you profess wishing to avoid.

Hi Wyo, thanks for the shout... and for the dark post.

Having had a zero-sleep night, I'm not well-suited to reply coherently or at length now; but if you'd like to be in touch from time to time when I'm away from TOD (which is to say, when I'm well enough to be functional), feel free to drop an email to the link at my user name.

So with that disclaimer in place I'll go ahead and ramble, not like I'll get anything useful done in the real world today anyhow...

Nope, I'm not Romm, Speth, or Randers... or anyone well-known, and in the past I have taken reasonable pains to keep it that way. I'll give a little backstory.

While I was an oil-industry geophysicist for a short time after college, I mostly got a degree because my butt would have been shipped off to war in Vietnam otherwise, helping kill perfectly nice people we're now on good terms with. I switched from physics to geology in the last year since they got outdoors more. But geology/physics was not a bad starting place, in terms of sorts of knowledge to have. Voracious reading of scattered disciplines broadened it.

Within my first year of the oil biz, it was clear to me that what I was doing - seismic exploration for oil - wouldn't cut it as any sort of life work for me, even though I was sending 66% of every paycheck to various conservation efforts. I took a rather odd direction then: I decided to make myself into a generalist, actively avoiding specialized expertise in any subject except as it was needed to get a task done, and to always try to derive theories and techniques on my own from first principles. And to create and dedicate to a value system which would have meaning to me.

This led to an interestingly unusual career. Creating various enviro groups and initiatives, inventing various things, acting far outside normal comfort constraints and societal boundaries, affecting several scientific fields, and honing techniques for affecting complex systems.

I mention all this in support of your statement that very smart people are often quite dysfunctional by any real-world standards. I have known some brilliant academics, and some of them couldn't even make coffee without a functional spouse. I've employed a number of advanced-academic-degree people in various capacities over the years, and have learned that they wind up being near idiot-savants the way academia shapes and rewards them these days.

In contrast, to learn multiple disciplines and learn to make connections between them - and then to take that show on the road into life-threatening situations and high-stakes risk situations - helps hone a pragmatism that offers the best of reductionist science without the systems blindness. The reason I've gravitated to TOD is that as an alien of sorts, I find like minds here, who have by whatever process learned similar cognitive filters with which to augment their specialized knowledge, or who have an intuitive (or hard-won?) grasp of systems in the real world.

It is reflected in some of my posts that I'm frustrated at the poor functionality of what passes for advocacy on such issues as AGW. To a good first approximation, there is no useful human response to AGW at this time, period. (I specifically exempt Alan's rail proposals, etc; those are good human activism, but that's not my main focus or concern).

Bottom line, humans don't tend to have a good mental model of how and why humans behave. This is ironic on a number of levels, since we're evolved to socially conform, and each carry within us the mechanisms which make aggregate humankind what it is.

Indeed, I'd go farther and say that most people have no real notion of how and why events of any kind occur in complex evolving systems. The beautiful and ubiquitous patterns which repeat themselves with near-mathematical precision in all aspects of human (and nonhuman) systems remain unseen. Human thought in currently dominant cultures is leaning hard towards the relative poverty of verbal reasoning, in which self-consistent nonsense propositions can be formulated, and which seem to make as much sense as any others. The more powerful "analog visual logic" of deep system behaviorism isn't even a discipline at this point, it seems alien despite its paleolithic evolutionary roots.

But be that as it may....

You note that there are no equitable solutions to AGW. I'll sidetrack and give you kudos for that - and mention that the entire notion of equitability has no place in considerations of trying to save one's home planet from destruction. The universe is unfair. Having the monkeys bring grape/cucumber distribution arguments into "saving the planet" is unfortunate, and they pretty much all do it. The capuchin-monkey "fairness imperative" is fundamentally at odds with planetary survival. Yes, it's only fair for people in China and India to drive cars if people the in the USA do. But it's insane to look at things that way. One of the reasons I left the Greenpeace empire, which I co-founded and gave a decade to, is that it morphed from a straightforward earth-advocacy group to one which weighed social fairness at the same time. Of course, once it grew past a certain point, that was inevitable. The worst thing you can say about it is that it is composed of humans acting the way humans act, making decisions in an egalitarian way. I wish them well, and wish I had that decade back.

But to get down to it, yes. AGW is a horrendous predicament. It is the nature of horrendous predicaments - by the time they're left to fester into horrendousness - that all possible ameliorations are also fairly horrendous, which means that our inner monkeys just scream themselves into inertness.

It is absolutely true that - with AGW and other nasty elements of our self-made predicament - there are probably huge degrees of freedom left in the systems involved. The worst-case and best-case scenarios are hugely different. However, even the best-case scenarios are horrible from the point of view of the default panglossian future worldview of individuals. And that's the standard any amelioration must meet... it must seem nicer than the imaginary future people now envision.

If we were lucky enough to have benevolent alien gamekeepers to control our excesses, we would be lucky indeed. As I've commented before, if we simply didn't commit biocide/suicide, there's no particular reason that the earth couldn't host a trillion or more human lives over a reasonable period. Those lives are a small part of what's now at stake (the balance being all the OTHER species, some of whom are as aware as we are). But we decline to step into the benevolent alien role ourselves, even to save a world and our own descendants.

A predicament, and it's very much about the odd workings of the human mind. What originally attracted me to TOD was Nate's posts along those lines.

Wyoming -- Sad to say, but I have to agree. Human nature will have it no other way.

I think that now it is an unwritten plank of the Repub party. Look at Mittens, he had to change his stance. They spend so much time railing against enviro whackos, greenies, the EPA and solar and wind that AGW is just another Agenda 21 conspiracy to the right wing.
On another point, I thought the neo-cons were the signers of the Project for a New American Century. That would be Wolfy, Rumy, Darth Cheny etc.

From Food-Price Surge Not Expected From Drought, above:

The good news for consumers' wallets is that Americans on average spend less than 10 percent of their disposable income on food, according to the USDA, although the percentage is higher for lower-income families. In developing countries, that number is much higher, often closer to 40 percent, Alexander said. The greater the share of income spent on food, the larger the burden felt by rising prices.

To see how drought may affect those in developing countries, the global drought map, updated yesterday: Global Drought Monitor

Not looking so good, especially South Asia. While the article hints that US consumers may only be 'inconvenienced' by a 3% - 4% overall rise in food prices, I doubt families already stressed by high energy costs, un/underemployment, etc. will see it that way, and those in the developing world may not just see even higher costs for food commodities, but shortages. It seems that stress levels are already up, worldwide. Even developed/OECD nations are taking steps that may not seem so obvious on first take. Came across this this morning:

German court widens army's internal crisis role

The German military will in future be able to use its weapons on German streets in an extreme situation, the Federal Constitutional Court says.

Seems like governments are tightening their grip all over, at least showing signs of uneasiness. While these things can't be directly linked to drought or high energy prices, and stress points vary by location, it's all part and parcel of interconnected complex systems under stress, almost as if planetary and societal immune systems (resiliences) are becoming increasingly compromised. Stopgap measures (injections of capital, strategic reserves utilization, social parachute programs, etc.) are like antibiotics, becoming less effective with time. At what point does the patient become terminal?

Ghung, I reset the map to one month, and was surprised to see most of the newer drought in the southern hemisphere, most of South America and Africa south of the equator plus a large section of Australia, where spring(their spring) planting is set to begin. Not good after the problems the Northern Hemisphere had this year, not good at all if you eat food for a living.

The German military will in future be able to use its weapons on German streets in an extreme situation, the Federal Constitutional Court says.

It is probably worth adding, that the supreme court did explicitly rule out under all circumstances the use of the military in incidents in any way related to demonstrations or mass gatherings of citizens. It also ruled out shooting down passenger planes even if they are a threat to ground targets.

Oil falls to $114 as U.S. considers oil release

(Reuters) - Brent crude oil fell to around $114 on Friday after the United States said it was considering the possible release of oil reserves to dampen prices and the Israeli president spoke out against any lone Israeli attack on Iran.

News the White House was "dusting off old plans" for a potential release of strategic oil stocks helped knock more than $1 per barrel off Brent, which hit a three-month high on Thursday.

The global benchmark has risen more than a third in less than two months on worries that conflict over Iran's disputed nuclear program could lead to war, disrupting oil supplies from the Middle East.

These prices are wrong (not updated with today's fall). Direct from the Exchange at https://www.theice.com/homepage.jhtml is currently showing Brent Front Month $113.120 change -1.901

Bloomberg is currently showing Spot Brent at $114.40 but it tends to be a bit behind. It is normally the ICE Front Month Price that is quoted.

CNBC reported that the head of the IEA said that a release of oil from the US SPR was not justified, based on current market conditions.

Strange. The USA, UK and France all "leak" talk about a strategic release thus dropping the price then their "employee" at the IEA contradicts them and sends the price back up (up about $0.80 since the news broke of the IEA downplaying the idea).

Would like to see exactly what was said though and not just a press report or shortened quote that could be taken out of context.

News the White House was "dusting off old plans" for a potential release of strategic oil stocks helped knock more than $1 per barrel off Brent, which hit a three-month high on Thursday.

Obama may not talk about peak oil (except in private), but it sure is clear he's tuned into oil price. He knows the price tipping point at which the economy starts to slow down and unemployment numbers go up. He's nervous and with good reason. If Brent stays where it is or goes higher from this level, he could be in a world of hurt by Nov. elections.

CIBC forecasts huge crude oil production growth

North American tight oil, oilsands predictions too low, bank says

Oil production in both Canada and the United States is set to soar by much higher levels in coming years than estimated by other industry forecasts, according to a report by CIBC researchers.

The 270-page “bottoms-up” industry update says estimates of conventional oil and oilsands crude growth in Canada are too low, implying that the need for further take-away pipeline capacity may be greater and become critical sooner than estimated.

They may well be right. Continued high oil prices are now attracting hundreds of billions of dollars in new investment to expensive non-conventional plays. Geologists have known for generations where the oil was, but now it is profitable to develop the resources.

Americans tend to be focused on the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, but Canada has its own share of the Bakken, plus several other Bakken-like plays. Then there are the oil sands, which are vast in scale, the biggest game in town. A lot of the new oil will come out of Canada.

The main constraint is pipeline capacity, since nobody expected huge new production to come out of these areas. The oil companies are going to be frantic to build new pipelines to get all this new oil to the coasts - West, East, and Gulf. Failing that, people are going to see large numbers of 100-car trains of crude oil rumbling through their formerly quiet towns.

The main beneficiaries will be the mid-continent refineries who are turning the cheap oil into expensive fuel. Consumers other than in the Central West and Rocky Mountain states won't get much of a price break.

This central North American glut of oil is unlikely to be matched by increased oil availability on the global market, so the coastal refineries will continue to shut down if they don't get access to the cheap oil. If it manages to get to the coasts, then Asian countries will be bidding for it, which will make prices higher.

I see the profit on this "Bakken" oil and tar sands being much less than Gulf of Mexico because of shipping by truck to a rail loading point, then by rail several hundred or a thousand miles. The railroads today are monopolies in transporting this oil as each serves a geographic area (in Canada CP rail near US border and in US the BNSF railroad near Canadian border). Railroads are profitable because they have "pricing power" meaning they can increase prices at will and the shippers must pay because they have no other transport choice. Last quarter several railroads increased rates by about 6%.

When cost of truck/rail transport is $10 per barrel, then the producer effectively gets $10 less than at the pipeline hub or tank farm. In some cases i would not doubt that cost is more like $15 per barrel for long hauls. So, if profit from tar sands and Bakken is reduced due to transport issues, production will not increase as projected.

Yesterday, Brent was trading at about $117/bbl, West Texas Intermediate at $94, and Western Canadian Select at $68. That's a differential of $23 between Brent and WTI, and $49 between Brent and WCS. For those differentials you can afford to move the oil a long, long way by rail.

However, the pressure on companies to take advantage of the differentials is extreme and they are pressuring the politicians to get the pipelines built.

The railroads aren't really monopolies - CP, CN, and BNSF all serve both sides of the border and their rail lines often run parallel to each other. Companies might have to truck oil 50 or 100 miles further to put their oil into a different railroad's tank cars, but they can do it if they want.

On a lighter note (and, God knows, we need one today!)

at Japan: Butterfly Mutations Found Near Damaged Nuclear Plant

we see that Mothra is evolving. Soon to come: Lizard Mutations Found Near Damaged Nuclear Plant, to a theater near you!


Zaphod, you may be on to something. Maybe as comic relief for the japanese people, someone should do a Godzilla vs. Mothra. It starts with Godzilla getting washed ashore during the tsunami, and Mothra emerging from a cacoon due to radioactivity, then Godzilla and Mothra fight at Fukushima Nuclear plant, smashing plant infrastructure causing meltdowns with geiger counters cracking at super high levels, fish mutating and people running for their lives. That might take the edge off if they can laugh about it.


If there is humor in the item posted, it is "gallows humor."

My comment was intended to focus on the way that life begins to imitate fiction; as well as a comment on how dire the threads have become.

Science has learned much about human reactions - for instance smiles and jokes apprently are quite often a way of saying "I am not being serious", or, "it's okay;' laughter in response an affirmation.

Your scenario created such a response, and made me wonder why. I suppose it is for the same reason that 'slap stick' humor works (people fall on their faces, fall off cliffs, get hit in the face by a pie, etc.) It breaks the tension, or as you said "take[s] the edge off."

Post TMI I remember laughing about "Three Mile Island lobsters; 6-feet long and glow in the dark." Obviously we didn't see any such, and the thought was both alarming and a relief b/c we didn't. That there are already mutations to local fauna at Fukushima is frightening... making us wonder where that will go. Yesterday's TOD discussed that vegetation takes up radiation, and passes it on to animal life. You have to wonder...


Agreed, I shouldn't have taken your idea and run with it so cynically. No disrespect to the japanese intended. Just got carried away with the whole Mothra bit, and may be toxified myself. Using two part polyeurathane rubber mold material in less than adequete ventilated space and feeling zinged. Installing 8" diameter ducting to draw air from other side of building this evening when the weather cools off.

Amtrak Dominates Northeast Corridor Travel (NY Times Slideshow)

An Amtrak Acela crossing Hell Gate Bridge in Astoria, Queens, en route to Penn Station in New York City. Long a punch line for harried Northeast travelers, Amtrak has come to dominate commercial travel in the corridor connecting Washington, New York and Boston. This summer, its trains are packed.

Union Station in Washington. Bus services have eaten into Amtrak’s market share, and airlines have been trying to attract more business travelers by offering Wi-Fi on their flights. Still, many Northeast passengers say the potential for weather delays and the inconvenience of security lines make Amtrak their preferred option.

Eurostar has 80% of the London=Paris & London-Brussels market.

A ditch inhibits bus competition to Eurostar.


Well, there is a chunnel for buses (bus on a railcar). It was quite slow though pretty cheap cost when I was on the bus. (Elites do not travel on buses. I travelled with a nice type of people, but it was somewhat exhausting long distance across France to Italy. Also a bit unnerving when a youngster gets taken off at a border in the middle of the night because he does not have the right papers, and when two young women were thoroughly searched because the police dog thought it might smell some cannabis on a bag. And it was awful getting to the middle of London once we were off the motorway.)

Aye, some ditch. Only I thought the Ditch is what separates New Zealand from Australia.

Pemex struggles to stop spike in petroleum theft

MEXICO CITY - The pilfering of Mexico's petroleum wealth by criminal gangs and their cronies inside the energy industry continues to spike despite years of effort and many millions of dollars spent to curtail it.

Pemex, the Mexican government's hydrocarbon monopoly, reports that theft of crude oil and petroleum products jumped some 18 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2011, totaling more than 1.8 million barrels worth.

Panic Radiates From Distant Indian Region

BRAJAKHAL, India — Like a fever, fear has spread across India this week, from big cities like Bangalore to smaller places like Mysore, a contagion fueling a message: Run. Head home. Flee. And that is what thousands of migrants from the country’s distant northeastern states are doing, jamming into train stations in an exodus challenging the Indian ideals of tolerance and diversity.

What began as an isolated communal conflict here in the remote state of Assam, a vicious if obscure fight over land and power between Muslims and the indigenous Bodo tribe, has unexpectedly set off widespread panic among northeastern migrants who had moved to more affluent urban cities for a piece of India’s rising prosperity.

The hysteria in several of the country’s most advanced urban centers has underscored the deep roots of ethnic tensions in India, where communal conflict is usually simplified as Hindu versus Muslim yet is often far more complex. For decades, Indian leaders have mostly managed to isolate and triangulate regional ethnic conflicts, if not always resolve them, but the public panic this week is a testament to how the old strategies may be less effective in an information age.

A couple of (somewhat non-oil) energy news from Alaska:

In Alaska we are taking some baby steps into wind energy. The Fire Island wind project will soon be on line providing power into the Alaska rail belt grid. Fire Island is in Cook Inlet, just a few miles from Anchorage. During the cold war it was the site of a Nike missile battery. After statehood, ownership of Fire Island eventually was passed from the military to CIRI, one of our Native Regional Corporations.

On another front, an old idea has resurfaced for using N Slope gas for in-situ generation of electricity.

An idea pursued by ARCO in the 1980s and early 1990s has been revived due to a combination of modern technology and the current surplus of natural gas. It would use North Slope natural gas to produce electricity and then use that electricity to power the state — not just the Railbelt but also rural Alaska
................ He told legislators and later the RCA commissioners that ARCO was run by engineers in the 1980s and they didn’t believe it would be economic to move natural gas off the North Slope via pipeline. ARCO established ARCO Power Technologies to look at high-voltage direct current as a way to use natural gas on the North Slope and move energy to market. ARCO Power Technologies did the studies and determined you could take some 8 gigawatts of power to California and put it into the U.S. power grid at competitive prices.
What happened?
The political climate in Alaska favored a natural gas pipeline and ARCO didn’t want to get at cross purposes with Alaska’s government, so “they just canned” the idea, Jacobsen said.

Also see the Utilizing Stranded North Slope Gas via HVDC Proposal. I'm not an electricty guy, so I have no idea if this plan has legs. Maybe some of our electro-gurus will comment?

2012: The Year Greenland Melted (AKA Alarmists Gone Wild)

“Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.

Wu et al., 2010 determined that the GIA (Glacial Isostatic Adjustment)commonly assumed for Greenland was way too high and that the 2002-2008 ice loss rate was 104 Gt/yr rather than the oft cited 230 Gt/yr. Even at 230 Gt/yr, it would take 1,000 years for Greenland to lose 5% of its ice mass.. . .

So… We have barely a decade’s worth of data and no idea if the modern melt rates and albedo changes are anomalous relative to the early 20th century Arctic warming, Medieval Warm Period or any of the other millennial-scale Holocene warming periods.

So what's the big deal?

Jeez, David, Anthony Watts has been so thoroughly debunked for so long, I don't think anyone even bothers anymore. He's like the Pee-wee Herman of climate denial.

The once in 150years was an average over a few millenia. The 1889 event was the only other one in the last 850years. And this one covered a pretty large area.



The conclusions they come to are:
Conclusion and outlook
Adding it all up, one must conclude that under the present conditions in the Netherlands a 100 MW (Megawatt) 'name plate' capacity wind development produces on average 23 MW because of the capacity factor. 4,6 MW (20%) of this has to be subtracted from the final net result because of initial energy investments. From the actual Statline production figures we know that 38% of this 23 MW = 8,74 MW represents the actual fossil fuel and CO2 savings. But from this figure we need to subtract the amount of energy invested in the construction works: 4,6 MW. The net total of fuel saving electricity provided by our windturbines therefor is 8,74 - 4,6 = 4,14 MW on average over the year. That is ~4% of the installed capacity. It makes wind developments a Mega money pit with virtually no merit in terms of the intended goal of CO2 emission reduction or fossil fuel saving.

What is going to happen next? The current plan is to extend wind capacity to 8 GW onshore and 4 GW offshore. Presently wind capacity is about 15% of the domestic electricity consumption. If the capacity exceeds 20% we enter into a new phase in which curtailment sets in: there wil be periods in which the grid simply cannot absorb the supply. This situation already exists in Denmark and Ireland. Then we shall see a further dramatic decrease of the fuel-replacing effectiveness. In a previous study (6), we used a model in which the most favorable scenario had a windpenetration of 20%. We found that in that case savings were already negative, which means that wind developments actually caused an increase in fossil fuel consumption. The present study based on actual data shows that we are well on the way to reach that stage.

"4,6 MW (20%) of this has to be subtracted from the final net result because of initial energy investments."

MW is the unit of power, not energy. so subtracting energy from power (or vice versa) doesn't make sense.

These figures don't add up:
4.6 mega watts for initial energy investment
4.6 mega watts for energy used in construction

So somehow 9.2 megawatts of power produced over the life of the wind turbine project (about 20 years minimum)will be allocated to constructing and installing and maintaining the project.

Clearly the author is spewing BS as wind turbines produce power at a certain rate known as MG or mega watts. But energy expended for building the turbines and installing them is an energy quantity known as joules, BTU's or kilowatt hours. Therefore the author has no concept of the subject at hand and the article is largley just Bu!!sh1t.

People as a whole don't get the difference between energy and power, nor the difference between energy and temperature.

All part of the war on wind.

Note that I question his conclusions but (on the energy versus power issue)...
He's assuming a 3 year payback of the energy invested, pro-rating it over an assumed 15 year useful life, and subtracting that 20% of output power from the 23% capacity factor he calculates for wind in Holland. Reasonable methodology, albeit probably overly conservative assumptions.

Some of the stuff in the article seemed pretty off while he does make some trenchant points in the actual article. I wondered if translation might be some of the problem and i did write an E to him asking if he'd like to weigh in on the discussion to clear up things.

Too funny.

Double-counting much?

The opening graphic is a nice testament to making an emotional appeal with pseudo-scientific imagery.

From it, I have learned that the Utrecht Dom produces 2mw of power (spiritual, I suppose) but is being emasculated by a 3mw turbine in its ascendency.. while the 3mw is in truth hammered down to .2 or so mw of effective fuel saving power by the lies of the imperial green wizards who have bejeweled their coffers with these scams.

Over and over, wind and solar are either awful because there isn't enough or there's too much.
Welcome to farming!

The link is worth reading. The authors explain why they amortise energy embodied in wind systems and not dispatchable generation because mainstream energy saving is one of the stated goals for wind power.

I think the take home message is that if the backup system such as combined cycle gas becomes unaffordable then wind is less useful. I guess that is for an economy that expects power on demand eg aircons in hot weather. It can't be assumed that nonfossil backup such as biomass burning will make economic sense. They briefly mention that energy storage is too expensive.

Fast forward to 2050... natgas is hellishly expensive and there have been no energy storage breakthroughs. Windpower is no longer a serious player which begs the question of what is.

If, in 2050, Nat Gas or the Assoc. equipment is hellishly expensive, and the Wind is still blowing, do you really think people won't be keeping the Wind Turbines running, and using that power any way possible?

In other words, what is the mechanism by which wind becomes an ex-player, except for a lack of wind? The thing that becomes more economical is systems that can use the intermittent sources, and what becomes an unbearable burden is thoae that cannot. Right?

We can use wind to charge many many freezers, thermal heat masses, some batteries, to devise industrial processes that ramp production speed or number of production lines active to the amount of power available.. Make hay while the wind blows..

Gosh, Bob, the concepts of intermittency and making what you have work are a bit foreign these days. I've been waiting a couple of days to do laundry as it's been overcast... the horror!

I expect there will come a time when folks are fighting over good wind and solar resources. Humans have fought over much less.

Thank you all Gentlemen. I live in a small town in Vermont that is currently being targeted for a wind farm by Iberdrola. They are currently applying for a Certificate of Public Good which authorizes them to erect some wind measuring towers and depending the outcome of that they will decide whether or not to go ahead. Available data – wind maps prepared in about 2007 for the Vermont Dept of Public Service indicate that this would be a marginal site at best, but the company says they wish to measure wind for about six months over the windiest months of the year and they will decide by early spring (the towers are not yet erected). The site does have some advantages for the wind developer: 1. A single property owner 2. A power transmission line nearby and 3. A Public Service Board that asks for no wind measurement data and nothing beyond assurances by the company that the project is in the public good.
We think the project will not go forward in the Production Tax Credits are not extended. We have no problem with companies getting the PTC's but think that congress should restrict the eligibility for them to sites that will be economically viable after the tax credits expire.
By the way, this is not a NIMBY situation, I already have a wind turbine in my back yard and it is at the same altitude as the MET tower sites and is just upwind of them. My experience with wind is disappointing and I think wind is wrong for Vermont. Also, this wind advocate does too :

Hi Moose;
Understand, I do want wind to be developed wisely and appropriately, and oftentimes we have seen it not be the case. There may well be appropriate sites for industrial wind in VT, I don't know.. I will surely support the voice of Vermonters in being part of those decisions. (Cousins in Burlington, and Godfather in Brattleboro) Moreover, I REALLY want to see a strong precedent develop for windfarms to pay the locale for the wind they harvest, as a local resource royalty, not just some tax that gets rebated by sufficient wiggling.

I didn't think the article was a good counterpoint to windpower, however. There seemed to be a lot of familiar handwaving at flimsy issues..

Best of luck!

Note this article: Wind turbines sprouting from farmland raise hopes for central Alberta village

HALKIRK - When they first come into view as shimmering towers in the distance, the wind turbines resemble alien apparatus looming over tiny Halkirk and its green grain elevator in east-central Alberta.

Rising 124 metres from ground to blade tip — taller than the Epcor Tower in Edmonton — the first eight towers still look out of place.

Now they are now popping up at a rate of two per day. There will soon be 83 spread over 10,000 hectares of private land within a 60 square kilometre area straddling Highway 12 between Halkirk and Castor, about 120 km east of Red Deer.

but also note the details:

While power from the $357-million Halkirk project will go directly into the Alberta power grid, Capital expects that half of the project’s revenue will come from these green credits, paid for by California consumers

So, if California wants to appear "green" by funding wind power projects in Central Alberta, I suppose it is okay, but in the absence of "green power" funding from California, it doesn't really make financial sense.

What does make sense is that Alberta can provide 100% backup for the wind power from its hydro, natural gas, and coal power plants on days on which the wind does not blow in Halkirk (a particularly windy village), which California can not do. It can keep dumping power into the California grid even if the wind does not blow. If it does blow, Halkirk will supply power from wind generators, and Alberta will hold its hydro and natural gas in storage for a future windless day.

It is similar to the Danish situation. Denmark is rapidly increasing its wind power production, but this would not work if Denmark did not have backup power from Norway and Sweden's much larger hydroelectric and nuclear powered grids. Without those, Denmark would be freezing in the dark on windless days.

For those who may be misled: Alberta needs the power, the AESO forecast shows a probabilistic shortfall. Most of the windpower produced will stay in province. All that goes to California is the REC's. Offsetting coal in Alberta reduces GHG emissions more than offsetting gas in California. As Rocky notes, this would likely not happen without CA money. Note that California has substantially more wind installed and under construction than Alberta, as well as having more hydro to facilitate integration. What it does not have is wind-blasted plains (wind in CA is primarily limited to three small geographic pockets, which are being intensively developed). Note also, that for planned physical import of power to California, California has numerous major transmission upgrades to the Southwest U.S. (where most of our imported power comes from, not the PNW, and certainly not Canada) either recently completed, under construction, and/or planned. Alberta is a bit player in the WECC and reliant on interchange power to meet capacity needs under probable scenarios in the next two years.

To amplify, per CANWEA and AWEA: Canada had 5511MW of wind installed thru 2Q12, Washington and Oregon had 5519MW installed, California had 4425MW installed and 1165MW under construction. AB had 967MW installed, Montana and Idaho had 1013MW, WY had 1412MW. The U.S. part of the WECC is not reliant on Canada to integrate wind resources, but cooperation across the border can be good for both parties. Reducing the amount of coal burned in AB is good for everyone, and California (making up about half the population and economy of the WECC) is willing to shoulder part of the bill in the short term (20 years in the case of this 150MW contract)...

Other benefits of this 150MW project outside California and AB: The towers and 3/4ths of the blades were mfg'd in Colorado, the nacelles and 1/3rd of the hubs were mfg'd in Denmark, and the remaining 2/3rds of the hubs and 1/4th of the blades were mfg'd in Spain. Imports from Europe were via Thunder Bay.

From the actual Statline production figures we know that 38% of this 23 MW = 8,74 MW represents the actual fossil fuel and CO2 savings. But from this figure we need to subtract the amount of energy invested in the construction works: 4,6 MW. The net total of fuel saving electricity provided by our windturbines therefor is 8,74 - 4,6 = 4,14 MW on average over the year.

That 4,6 MW is once only, so doesn't count the next years.

Because 4.6 MW is a power unit, not an energy unit, the author's math is nonsense. He gets an "F" grade for his physics and his incorrect result.

I did write to the author and he sent this and gave me authorization to post it:
My answer to some critics is:

My web-paper distinguishes power and energy. The latter I express in GWy
(GigaWattyear = 1000 000 000 x 365 x 12 x 3600 J). That makes numbers
convenient when dealing with the country as a whole. For power I use mostly
GWe (GigaWattElectric) and sometimes, when dealing with a single generator
MWe (MegaWattElectric). I use the same energy unit for caloric heat used by
conventional generators. Installed (name plate capacity) of wind
developments in The Netherlands is by the end of the 12 year period ~ 2,3
GWe. From the total electric energy production by wind - by all turbines
onshore and offshore together - a capacity factor of ~ 23% can be derived,
i.e. producing ~ 0,53 GWy. The analysis of fossil fueled electricity production in the
paper shows that this 0,53 GWy is only 38% effective in replacing fossil
made electricity. This means that the actual fuel saving by wind is 8,7% of
the possible maximum electricity production the wind developments would give
if there would always be sufficient wind to run at full capacity and if the
turbines would never have to stop for maintenance. This analysis is based on
the official data gathered by our National Bureau of Statistics.
The reason for this rather dramatic low performance is the non dispatchable
charachteristic of wind electricity and its fluctuations. It lowers the efficiency of
conventional back up to stabilise frequency and power on the grid.

The said data deal only with fuel use during electricity production. They do
no encompass the energy invested in the construction of wind turbines, their
installation, and the connection and adaptation to the grid. Because of the
new wind developments, moreover, it is considered necessary to increase the
volume and capacity of the grid. These are rather impressive as they
include new undersea cables to Norway and the UK apart from what has to be
done in land. When I calculated the energy that is being used for that
purpose and combine it with the life time of the turbines, I find that we
should subtract ~ 4,6% annually from this net result to earn back the extra
energy investment. Therefore the net fossil fuel saving by our wind
developments is ~ 4,1% of what they could save maximally.

To avoid further misunderstanding: our wind turbines produce 23% of what they
are at best capable of, but that does not result in a corresponding amount
of fossil fuel saving. And it is that saving why we build them.

The average electricity consumption over a year in The Netherlands was ~ 14 GW. The name plate capacity of wind turbines therefore is ~ 16%. When it increases to ~ 20% we are entering into a situation where day and night demand variation taken into account, we should expect that curtailment of windpower begins to reduce their net production. Then the situation will rapidly deteriorate. Based on a previous model study, I expect the saving of fossil fuel will then become negative.

Please note: no two regions or countries in the world are equal. If there is sufficient cheap opportunity of hydro storage of energy - which we do not have - wind turbines might be more usefull. In places with more coal fired generators or with a greater share of nuclear power, negative consequences of wind electricity may be felt earlier.

Feel free to post this as my reaction.
Good luck to you and your attempts.


Dr. C. (Kees) le Pair
Smient 27
3435VJ Nieuwegein

T: +31(0)306049006
F: +31(0)306000440
E: clepair@casema.nl
W: www.clepair.net

I haven't had time to read through this carefully, but a couple things of note.... According to IEA Wind, Norway's average capacity factor is 31.3 per cent as opposed to the 23 per cent stated above (source: http://www.ieawind.org/annual_reports_PDF/2011/Norway.pdf). Secondly, 1,000,000,000 x 365 x 12 x 3,600J does not equal one GigaWatt-year, i.e., there are twenty-four hours in a day, not twelve.


He's talking Holland, not Norway, but I haven't taken the time to review as I don't think the meat is there to warrant detailed review...

His assumptions about embodied energy and infrastructure lifetime make a huge difference in his result (I've never seen a 15 year lifetime assumed for transmission infrastructure, for instance). His calculation that only 38% of net wind energy in Holland offsets fossil use bears investigation. Even if we take that at face value he is charging wind power for transmission upgrades (including interchanges with Norway) but not allocating increased efficiency due to that transmission to wind power. One major advantage of interchange with Norway and UK should be major increases in dispatch efficiency, which ought to raise that 38% number (presuming it is accurate in and of itself, which I consider suspect).

You're right, Ben, it should have been the Netherlands and not Norway. My mistake.


I'm not a statistician, but the 38% is almost certainly meaningless in my view. He's effectively creating his numerator ('fossil fuel saved') by subtracting the trends of two large numbers (total electricity production and total fossil fuel consumed by generators) to get a small number answer. His error band is going to be extremely large with respect to his answer, even assuming that his trends (simple linear fits to the reported data) are accurate AND all of the trend in fossil fuel efficiency is attributable to a tiny fraction of power production (wind). I do not find this remotely convincing.

The article on Mexico mentioned that PEMEX could go after the Eagle Ford formation to offset declines, since it reaches past the Rio Grande into Northern Mexico. I did some digging and found this Reuters article that brings up a few interesting challenges in doing so:

  • PEMEX is geared mainly toward non-deep-water GOM drilling, so adapting to new techniques would be challenging
  • The governmental red tape involved in drilling means that there'd be a %40-%60 premium on Mexican drilling
  • There isn't a lot of water in Northern Mexico to support fracking
  • On the gas side, it sounds like Mexico is relying on US imports for now, since it's much cheaper than fracking Eagle Ford

Living in complete artifice

Image: http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/o_stepanov/24752499/414929/original.jpg

These are villas in a setting built on top of an 8-story shopping mall in Zhuzhou, China.

Very reminiscent of the discussions about suburbia and survival... except the boundaries are blurred.

Instructive to go over past predictions, this time regarding Mexico oil prediction from 6 years ago.


This overlays an ASPO forecast as well, as I tried to map he oil shock model without much tinkering with the extraction rates.

Not bad in comparison to what they are producing, a little aggressive perhaps in predicting too steep a decline, but like UK and Norway, these have turned out to be pretty useful predictions and the model seems to work fairly well. It is all about modeling the discovery profile accurately, and then extrapolating for future discoveries. Once you have that and some part of the earlier production profile, the approach works fairly automatically.

Using the daily consumption from Indexmundi and eyeballing your chart Mexico seems to be closer to the zero oil left over for export than 2020. Looks to be about zero now.