Drumbeat: September 5, 2012

A Chinese City Moves to Limit New Cars

GUANGZHOU, China — It is as startling as if Detroit or Los Angeles restricted car ownership.

The municipal government of Guangzhou, a sprawling metropolis that is one of China’s biggest auto manufacturing centers, introduced license plate auctions and lotteries last week that will roughly halve the number of new cars on the streets.

The crackdown by China’s third-largest city is the most restrictive in a series of moves by big Chinese cities that are putting quality-of-life issues ahead of short-term economic growth, something the central government has struggled to do on a national scale.

The measures have the potential to help clean up China’s notoriously dirty air and water, reduce long-term health care costs and improve the long-term quality of Chinese growth. But they are also imposing short-term costs, economists say, at a time when policy makers in Beijing and around the world are already concerned about a sharp economic slowdown in China.

Oil Trades Near One-Week Low as U.S. Manufacturing Contracts

Oil traded near the lowest price in almost a week in New York after a report showed manufacturing declined in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude consumer. Futures were little changed after slipping 1.2 percent yesterday, the most since Aug. 2. U.S. manufacturing slid for a third month in August, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index yesterday, adding to contractions in Europe and China. Concern that supply will increase also weighed on oil as companies resumed output in the Gulf of Mexico. Crude stockpiles dropped 5.5 million barrels last week as Hurricane Isaac shut offshore platforms, according to a Bloomberg survey before a government report tomorrow.

U.S. Gas Rises on Forecasts of Below-Normal Gain in Inventories

Natural gas climbed for a fifth day in New York, the longest run of gains since July 24, on speculation a government report this week will show a smaller- than-normal increase in stockpiles.

Gas for October delivery rose as much as 1.5 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $2.869 per million British thermal units in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile exchange. It was at $2.86 per million Btu at 10:27 a.m. Tokyo time.

Despite delays, China seeks full Iran oil volume for third month: sources

BEIJING (Reuters) - For the third month in a row, China has nominated full contract volumes of Iranian crude for September, but refineries have begun to complain about delays in oil deliveries posing a problem, trading sources said.

China, Iran's largest oil customer and top trading partner, is expected to load about 15.5 million barrels of Iranian oil this month, the third that it will be using the tankers of National Iranian Tanker Co. (NITC) to carry home oil and get around a European Union insurance ban that began in July.

Ahmadinejad admits sanctions hindering banking, oil exports

Speaking on a live TV talk show, Ahmadinejad said, "It is an all-out, hidden, heavy war."

Ahmadinejad admitted that the West's sanctions have created problems in oil exports and banking. "There are barriers in transferring money, there are barriers in selling oil," said Ahmadinejad.

Libyan Oil Field Fire 'Under Control'

DUBAI – Libya's National Oil Corp., or NOC, said Wednesday that it has controlled a fire that broke out Tuesday at the 35,000 barrel per day Amal field in the eastern Sirte basin, but crude output was still halted.

Baby survives as family dies in Syrian onslaught

Aleppo, Syria (CNN) -- It is impossible to get used to. The roar of a jet overhead, the hum of helicopter blades hovering around your block, the sudden thud of a blast. When you hear it, at least you know you are safe.

Yet this has become daily life for residents of Aleppo. People living in rebel held territory, among whom the Free Syrian Army (FSA) mingle, and upon whom the Syrian regime's wrath is visited.

Pirates seize oil tanker, kidnap crew off Nigeria

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria's navy says pirates have attacked and seized an oil tanker off the coast of its largest city.

Commodore Kabir Aliyu said Wednesday that the attack happened off the coast of Lagos. Aliyu said he had no other immediate details about the assault.

Pipeline changes landscape of UAE oil industry

With the inauguration of the Habshan-Al Fujairah pipeline for carrying oil from Abu Dhabi’s productive oil fields to the exporting port in Fujairah on the Oman gulf, the UAE has taken an important strategic, economic, and environmental step.

This pipeline, which extends 350 kilometres from oil fields overlooking the Arab Gulf to Fujairah, resembles a quantum leap in the UAE’s oil industry.

Kenya Spends $25 Billion on Bond-Backed Port for Oil

Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, is moving to spend $25 billion on a second port, a crude pipeline and roads that will open up export routes in a region luring investors with oil and gas discoveries.

The Kenyan government has agreed with oil-rich South Sudan to build a 2,000-kilometer (1,243-mile) pipeline to the northern Kenyan coastal town of Lamu. Early-stage construction began in March to clear the way for a deepwater port that will serve Kenya’s underdeveloped north, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Aramco, Total start testing Jubail refinery-sources

DUBAI/KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco and France's Total have started testing their new refinery at Jubail, three sources with knowledge of the project said, raising the prospect of full operation of the $14 billion facility ahead of a scheduled start-up in the third quarter of 2013.

Ax Killer’s Pardon Reignites War Fears in Oil-Rich Caucasus

Azerbaijan’s pardon of a convicted murderer who killed an Armenian army officer with an ax risks reigniting a 20-year-old war between the two foes in the energy- rich South Caucasus.

Ramil Safarov, who was serving a life sentence for slaying Gurgen Margaryan in Budapest in 2004, was pardoned by Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and promoted after Hungary transferred him home Aug. 31. Armenia’s parliament will hold an emergency session today, while Europe, the U.S. and Russia have expressed “deep concern” about regional stability.

Dhoot Said to Seek $3 Billion for Africa Gas Block Stake

Videocon Industries Ltd., controlled by Indian billionaire Venugopal Dhoot, is seeking $3 billion for its stake in a Mozambique gas field, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Videocon, which runs businesses from making flat-screen television sets to operating mobile-phone services, is in talks with companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the person said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. Videocon may find a buyer for the stake in about six months, the person said.

Saudi oil well dries up

I don't wish to knock shale. It is a Godsend and should be encouraged with utmost vigour and dispatch in Britain. But it is for now plugging holes in global supply rather than covering the future shortfall as the industrial revolutions of Asia mature.

The basic point – common to other Gulf oil producers – is that Saudi local consumption is rocketing. Residential use makes up 50pc of demand, and over two thirds of that is air-conditioning.

The Saudis also consume 250 litres per day of water – the world's third highest (which blows the mind), growing at 9pc a year – and most of this is provided from energy-guzzling desalination plants.

All this is made far worse across the Gulf by fuel subsidies to placate restive populations.

Saudi Arabia To Become A Net Importer Of Oil?

Is This Really A Possibility?

No, not really. The Saudi economy is still an oil economy, and they're having great growth, but that's not necessarily sustainable. And with most "we're going to run out theories" -- as I've written in my peak oil article -- we see people generally just assume that current consumption trends stay the same without accounting for changes.

One of the most important concepts for understanding long-term human action is the notion of reflexivity. People change because they see trends change. In other words, people react to reality, which changes, and then people react to that reality, creating a feedback loop.

Peak Oil: Undulating Plateau Shaped By Price

Dr. M King Hubbert famously predicted peak conventional oil. Supporters point to Hubbert's correct predictions as a source of doom prophecy. Detractors misrepresent Hubbert and point to the unconventional shale oil revolution. Both sides ignore economics and price.

The U.S and world conventional oil production predictions of Hubbert were largely correct. U.S. production peaked in 1970 and world conventional production peaked in 2006, a date later than planned because of political, rather than geological, reasons. Last decade when the oil price was marching higher the peak oil enthusiasts could be heard screaming loudly.

UK gas rises as Norway diverts gas to Belgium

LONDON (Reuters) - British prompt gas prices rose slightly on Wednesday after the restart of Norwegian exports to Belgium meant less gas was flowing to Britain, but low demand for British gas from continental Europe meant the UK gas system could cope with lower imports.

British gas for within-day delivery rose 0.20 pence on Wednesday to 59.60 pence, but day-ahead gas slipped 0.05 pence to also trade at 59.60 pence.

Europe Opens Inquiry Into Gazprom Trade Practices

BRUSSELS — European Union antitrust authorities opened a formal investigation Tuesday into whether the Russian export monopoly Gazprom had blocked fair competition in the natural gas markets of Central and Eastern Europe.

The case highlights one of the most pressing issues in Europe: how to create a competitive market for the fuel when Russia supplies about a quarter of Europe’s needs and exercises significant leverage over importers.

Gazprom tells EU it is under Russian state protection

(Reuters) - Gazprom said on Wednesday that the European Union should treat it as a Russian state owned-company while investigating its practices in Europe.

Europe Might Regret Getting Tough With Gazprom

If the Commission thinks it can force Russia to pay serious fines for sticking to long term (oil indexed) contracts, good luck. No political authority on earth would be able to force payment from the Kremlin short or seizing of assets. Rather, this is more to do with trying to get Gazprom to comply with European liberalization and antitrust rules. Whether it really needed to go down this road to achieve that, is at best, tenuous. Not only will Russia throw its toys out the pram (winter is always the most brutal time to unleash supply cuts in the Balkans), the Kremlin will hire the best energy lawyers money can buy in London to point out some rather inconvenient market truths.

Chesapeake Energy losing its grip on Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale

Chesapeake Energy, the once hard charging shale gas company who took the Pennsylvania Marcellus by storm back in 2009, is losing its hold as the market leader within the state. New state production reports out this week show Chesapeake does not own any of the top producing 25 wells in Pennsylvania. All 25 of the best wells are now owned by either Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (COG), who owns eight of the top ten wells, or private Citrus Energy. State records further show after drilling an average of 235 wells each year for 2010 and 2011, Chesapeake has drilled just 64 wells in Pennsylvania so far this year.

Gas pipeline operators set sights on NY

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — With a decision expected soon on whether to allow hydraulic fracturing in New York state, natural gas pipeline operators are already looking at setting up shop and opponents are predicting environmental damage, safety problems and land seizures through eminent domain.

There's already a proposal for a pipeline to carry low-cost natural gas from Pennsylvania to major Northeast markets, such as New York City and Boston. A $750 million pipeline proposed for southwestern New York would also provide a route from wells in New York if Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifts a 4-year-old ban on hydraulic fracturing and lets drillers use the technique.

Opponents claim that's the real motive for the pipeline plan.

Explosive Methane Gas Found in Some N.Y. Wells

About 9 percent of New York state water wells contain enough dissolved methane to require monitoring and other safety measures, according to a new study.

Venezuela’s Amuay to Return to Full Operations in ‘Days’

Venezuela’s Amuay oil refinery, the country’s largest, will return to full capacity in “days” after restarting some distillation units following a fatal gas explosion on Aug. 25, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said.

“We’re in the midst of our safe restart protocol and currently processing 264,000 barrels a day,” Ramirez said today at an oil conference in Puerto La Cruz. “In the next few days we’ll have normalized our operations.”

BP Falls as U.S. Reiterates Gross Negligence Charge in Spill

BP Plc the owner of the Macondo well that caused the worst U.S. oil spill two years ago, declined in London after the Department of Justice reiterated it will pursue charges of gross negligence in the case.

BP slipped as much as 4.5 percent, the most in more than a month, and traded down 3.9 percent at 419.70 pence as of 10:40 a.m. BP faces a trial with the DOJ after reaching a $7.8 billion settlement in March with victims of the spill.

President of Tokyo Electric Urges Nuclear Future

TOKYO — Japan would be foolish to abandon nuclear power, the operator of the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station warned Wednesday, saying the company had not ruled out reopening two of the plant’s less-damaged reactors, as well as four others at a nearby sister site.

The country is expected to outline a new energy policy soon, prompted by the disaster at Fukushima, and one option the government has explored would phase out all nuclear power by 2030.

French Power Gap May Accelerate on Nuclear Shutdowns, Grid Says

France may be hit by a shortage of generating capacity a year earlier than forecast because of the planned closing of outdated fossil-fuel plants and two nuclear reactors, grid operator Reseau de Transport d’Electricite said.

Global Frackdown on Fracking Companies: 22 September

A common language made it easy for French people and French local groups to read news coming from Quebec and to forge links with local Quebec groups. Soon, the slogan “Neither here nor elsewhere” became widespread. Following the achievement of the law banning fracking, interest in learning more about the situation in other countries has steadily increased. Many links have been forged, initially interpersonal ones, then some group twinning, especially between French and Quebecois groups has emerged. Now, a new step has been initiated: structuring these links and the building of a European, or even an international coordination, of the grassroots movements. After the meetings we organized in Marseilles (France) during the Alternative World Water Forum FAME (march 2012) and in Rio (Brazil) during the People’s summit (June 2012), each with participants coming from several countries, the next step is the Global Frackdown day that will be held on the 22nd of September.

Ohio’s Gas-Fracking Boom Seen Aiding Obama in Swing State

Four years ago, Barack Obama pledged to promote a green revolution, saying the government would back alternative-energy technologies that could create 5 million jobs and free the U.S. from a dependence on overseas oil tyrants.

Today, the energy industry is one of the main engines of job growth and the U.S. is the closest it has been in almost 20 years to meeting its own needs. Yet the transformation -- driven by a surge in oil and natural gas production -- isn’t primarily green and has little connection to the president’s plans.

Car sales post strong August

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Car sales jumped in August, as major automakers all reported better-than-expected demand on Tuesday.

Industrywide U.S. car sales jumped 19.9% compared to a year ago, according to sales tracker Autodata. That works out to an annual sales pace of 14.52 million vehicles, which topped forecasts and nearly matched the pace in August 2009, when demand was inflated by the "Cash for Clunkers" program.

China Speeding U.S. Solar-Dumping Case as Election Nears

China is accelerating a dispute with the U.S. over solar-energy taxes, moving forward its next salvo to hit as President Barack Obama faces re-election.

Illegal Logging Deals Rife in Liberia, Group Reports

or years, the environmental group Global Witness has been investigating the destruction of forests in the developing world. Much of the wood illegally harvested there ends up in the hands of international companies that manufacture furniture, paper and biofuels. Global Witness has campaigned against illegal harvesting of ebony and rosewood in Madagascar, exposed illegal exports of timber from Myanmar to China and documented the killings of antilogging activists in Cambodia.

In a new report that seems to be having some immediate repercussions, the group has now turned its sights on illegal logging in Liberia.

Do as I Say, Not as I …

Even as the Energy Department preaches energy conservation and efficiency, it is failing to take advantage of readily available, low-cost opportunities to reduce its energy consumption, the department’s inspector general said in a report released on Tuesday.

Critics Say California Law Hurts Effort to Add Jobs

LOS ANGELES — Environmentalists in this greenest of places call the California Environmental Quality Act the state’s most powerful environmental protection, a model for the nation credited with preserving lush wetlands and keeping condominiums off the slopes of the Sierra Nevada.

But the landmark law passed in 1970 has also been increasingly abused, opening the door to lawsuits — sometimes brought by business competitors or for reasons unrelated to the environment — that, regardless of their merit, can delay even green development projects for years or sometimes kill them completely.

'Why Have Kids?' author on parenting's contradictions

Q: You say we need to stop talking about parenting as the default rather than a deliberate choice. Is it still that way?

A: It's becoming less so, but I think it's very much the default — just the way in which women's health care is centered around the idea that one day they'll become pregnant. From policy to culture, the assumption is that everyone — women in particular — will become parents. Parenting is still being considered the default rather than a proactive decision.

Traveling to Farms, From Dirt to Dining

Many C.S.A. farms in the United States offer apprenticeships for a season, usually from February to December, though you can find some summer-only opportunities. For aspiring farmers, I recommend working a season, because you really see everything, from planting to weeding and trellising to harvesting, washing and packing. To find these apprenticeships, I would suggest contacting the nonprofit farming organization in the region where you’d like to go. All of them do a great job, but to name a few, there’s Georgia Organics, Northeast Organic Farming Association, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (Moses). Attra also has a good internship directory.

Study sees no nutritional edge in organic food

Organic products have no significant nutritional advantage over conventional foods, even though consumers can pay more for them, a new study finds.

Food-Stamp Use Climbs to Record, Reviving Campaign Issue

Food-stamp use reached a record 46.7 million people in June, the government said, as Democrats prepare to nominate President Barack Obama for a second term with the economy as a chief issue in the campaign.

Participation was up 0.4 percent from May and 3.3 percent higher than a year earlier and has remained greater than 46 million all year as the unemployment rate stayed higher than 8 percent. New jobless numbers will be released Sept. 7.

Durham entrepreneurs developing 'emissions-free' power plant

The first reaction is always the same: It’s too good to be true.

The disbelief is directed at a next-generation power plant under development in Durham by NET Power. Its backers say their machine won’t emit a particle of pollution.

The emissions-free concept exists only on paper today, but a key mechanical component is getting readied for testing in about four months. It would have to elevate the pressure at which natural gas is burned by a factor of several times, a thermodynamic feat that has only been achieved in the aerospace industry but is limited to computer simulations in power plants.

Arctic Drilling May Never Heat Up

The oil and gas industry has changed dramatically since the 20th century, when offshore exploration typically meant there were rigs sitting in a few hundred feet of water drilling into the Gulf of Mexico's outer continental shelf. Today, despite the 2010 catastrophe that befell the deepwater Gulf, there's increasing activity there, as well as in Brazil's Santos Basin and the waters off Africa.

But with big new finds becoming scarce, the industry is expanding into the icy and technically challenging -- but promising -- waters of the Arcitic, where it's already facing a host of obstacles. In addition to obviously frigid temperatures, the impediments include disruptions from environmental groups, loggerheads that increasingly are characterizing the relationship between the U.S. and Russia, and pokiness on the part of the U.S. government relative to drilling offshore Alaska.

Turning off Energy, Not Climate Change, Is Biggest Threat, Doctors Say

TUCSON, Ariz. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thousands of accused witches were burned at the stake in medieval times in an effort to protect their communities from bad weather, stated Jane Orient, M.D., president of Physicians for Civil Defense. It didn't work then, of course, as Europe continued to suffer greatly during the Little Ice Age. And human beings still do not have the power to control the climate, she said.

Canada's Mackenzie River needs aid as climate "refrigerator"

OSLO (Reuters) - Canada's Mackenzie River basin needs better protection as a vast northern "refrigerator" slowing global climate change, experts said on Monday.

Canada's longest river also needs a unifying plan to oversee water quality, wildlife and oil pollution that would be similar to European Union directives governing rivers such as the Rhine or Danube, they said.

New model: Coastline erosion due to sea level rise greater than previously thought

A new model allows researchers at UNESCO-IHE, Delft University of Technology and Deltares to much more accurately predict coastline erosion due to rising sea levels. It would appear that the effects of coastline erosion as a result of rising sea-level rise in the vicinity of inlets, such as river estuaries, have until now been dramatically underestimated. The scientists have published their research in the online edition of Nature Climate Change on Sept. 2, 2012.

Resource Wars Connect Yanomami Massacre and Shell’s Arctic Drilling

It has been a painful day for me. Two pieces of news came in this Thursday morning: one about the massacre of an Yanomami settlement in the Amazon, and the other about Obama green lighting Shell's drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Both are about resource wars that lead to killing—humans and/or animals, fast or slow, one to get gold, and the other to get oil.

Crops in India Wilt in a Weak Monsoon Season

MURUMA, India — Vilas Dinkar Mukane lives halfway around the world from the corn farmers of Iowa, but the Indian sharecropper is at risk of losing his livelihood for the same reason: not enough rain.

With the nourishing downpours of the annual monsoon season down an average of 12 percent across India and much more in some regions, farmers in this village about 250 miles east of Mumbai are on the brink of disaster. “If this situation continues, I’ll lose everything,” said Mr. Mukane, whose soybean, sugarcane and cotton crops were visibly stunted and wilting in his fields recently. “Nothing can happen without water.”

Q. and A.: Climate Change and the Monsoon

Scientists who have devoted their careers to studying the monsoon and predicting its dimensions say that the prognostications can be incredibly difficult. Adding to the complexity is global warming, which could potentially cause monsoon patterns to change.

But in a recent paper in Nature Climate Change, researchers write that they are beginning to understand more about the systems driving the monsoon and that they hope to improve their projections in years to come. We discussed the challenges recently with Andrew Turner, a researcher in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading in England who was a co-author of the article with H. Annamalai. Following are excerpts from the e-mail conversation, edited for brevity and clarity.

Finally the domestic consumption of exporting countries is getting some attention.
Exploiting OPEC's Weakness Is OPEC Counting Their Barrels Too Soon?

ven prod

Of course, rising domestic consumption — now estimated at one million barrels per day — hasn't helped Venezuela's cause any.

This is a really good article on the quality an quantity of Venezuela's Orinoco Bitumen.

Meet the Real Oil Crisis

For years, we've explained why tomorrow's oil supply isn't the same as the crude of decades past.
Most often we've focused our attention on the heavier grade that makes up the Saudis' spare capacity — and the quality of those barrels still in the ground.

Today I'd like to talk a little about the Orinoco Belt...

Ron P.

Not mentioned in the article is the fact that, not only is Venezuelan oil difficult to refine, it is difficult to produce. Venezuela's real problem is that Chavez fired most of PDVSA's heavy oil experts for political reasons some years ago, and replaced them with people who's main skill is toeing the Chavez party line. They aren't much good at producing heavy oil, and Venezuela just can't get the stuff out of the ground any more.

There are lots of refineries worldwide that can handle the kind of oil Venezuela produces, but 1) Venezuela doesn't produce enough oil to supply them any more, and 2) Venezuela won't discount its oil enough to make it worthwhile for them to buy it. In the US, this puts Venezuela in direct competition with Canadian producers who 1) have steadily increasing supplies of oil, and 2) are willing to discount it to whatever price is needed to sell it.

The Canadian export blend, Western Canadian Select, is more or less a direct replacement for Venezuelan oil, so those refineries who have a choice are running Canadian oil, and those who don't have access to it are desperately trying to get the pipelines built from Canada so they can get the cheaper Canadian oil.

Canadian oil consumption is lower now than it was in 1980, so all of the increase in production since then has been exported to the US. Canadian consumption will probably be flat into the foreseeable future, so eventually Canadian oil will back Venezuelan oil out of the US market completely, and any other market it can reach. Eventually the only consumers of Venezuelan oil will be Venezuelans.

It might be... that Venezuela isn't in a big hurry to produce its oil. What's the rush? There will be customers in a decade or two... and at much higher $$$. Let the North American energy pundits whine. BFD.

Remember... Britain sold the bulk of its North Sea oil for what? 10 dollars a barrel?


Britain also lost a bundle selling gold. They first knocked the price dome by announcing forthcoming sales


It's difficult to think of another country in the world as short sighted as Britain.

It seems they got suckered by Americanism without realizing that Americans have several backup options that they don't.

"It's difficult to think of another country in the world as short sighted as Britain."

Remember they were forced out of a large colony because they wouldn't let said colony have a seat in Parliament even though the colony was paying taxes.

It' s a little less cut and dry than that. The UK was certainly not outright evil, nor the 13 Colonies all in the right.

They may be short sighted now, but there are pubs in Great Britan older than the United States.

Just sayin' :-)

Venezuela's real problem is that Chavez fired most of PDVSA's heavy oil experts for political reasons some years ago, and replaced them with people who's main skill is toeing the Chavez party line.

The companies from different countries that Chavez want to let develop some oil blocks have no 'heavy oil experts' ? Or are those last year announced plans cancelled ?

Venezuela is having to turn to oil companies from other countries because its own state oil company, PDVSA, is not having much success developing its own resources. Production in the Orinoco Belt has fallen since it nationalized heavy oil projects formerly operated by ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Total.

Meanwhile, Venezuela's own former heavy oil experts have found employment working on heavy oil projects for oil companies around the world, notably here in Canada.

Meanwhile, Venezuela's own former heavy oil experts have found employment working on heavy oil projects for oil companies around the world, notably here in Canada.

This makes no sense. So, basically the problem is... PDVSA needs to lure back it's own talent by paying them a higher salary, correct? And the considering the $billions of additional revenue at stake, that should be a no-brainer. Is PDVSA's leadership so blindly ideological that they refuse to see the logic in paying Venezuelan engineers a competitive wage to keep them in the country?

Harm, the reason those guys must work in Canada, Saudi and other places is because Chavez won't allow them to work in the oil industry in Venezuela. Those guys would love to go back home to Venezuela and work, even for a lesser salary than they are receiving right now. But they were fired by Chavez because they struck in December of 2002. And Chavez has too much pride to offer them their jobs back.

Chavez fired everyone that struck and replaced them with totally unqualified workers. And Venezuelan production has never gotten back to the level it was before the strike and mass firing. Many of the fired workers are still in Venezuela, working at low paying jobs totally unrelated to the oil industry. But Chavez will not allow them to be rehired.

Venezuelan general strike of 2002–2003

In the aftermath of the strike, the government fired 18,000 PDVSA employees, 40% of the company's workforce, for "dereliction of duty" during the strike.[25] Arrest warrants were issued for the presidents of Fedecamaras (Carlos Fernandez) and the CTV (Carlos Ortega).

Ron P.

The firing of many of PDVSA's qualified staff was a major blow, as was the nationalisation of many IOCs assets. The result is that many of your traditional IOCs place the financial risk of future investment in Venezualan projects as too high, and that assumes that they are awarded exploration and production rights in the first place. A third factor is that it can be a violent place, which deters some professionals from working there when they can be offered employment elsewhere in the world. Oh, and some of that heavy oil can be difficult to produce.

Re: Turning off Energy, Not Climate Change, is Biggest Threat, Doctors Say above,

These doctors are more terrified of the cure than they are of the disease. If one considers the "patient" to be Business as Usual (BAU), then yes, the cure will kill the patient. Unfortunately, the patient is on its deathbed anyway.

However, if the "patient" is our biosphere, then they've got it all wrong...

From the article:

"Carbon dioxide is part of the cycle of life, not a pollutant," Orient explains. "All living things are made of carbon that was once in atmospheric carbon dioxide."

That is deceptive logic. The atmosphere is 78 percent nitrogen, so obviously nitrogen is not a pollutant. But if the percent of nitrogen in the atmosphere started rising to 85 percent, then 90 percent we would obviously be alarmed at this rise of a "non-pollutant" in our atmosphere. But on the other hand she does have a point.

Medieval technology such as windmills cannot replace coal, natural gas, and oil to provide the electricity and transportation fuel on which modern society depends. Drastic cuts in carbon dioxide emissions would have at most a negligible effect on earth's temperature, but would cripple agriculture, medicine, industry, and defense, Orient states.

We can debate the damage carbon emission is doing until the cows come home but we cannot possibly cut emissions enough to make any real difference. Our modern way of life depends on fossil fuel consumption and we are simply not going to cut emissions by any significant amount. Well, not until fossil fuel starts to decline by a drastic amount. Then we will have a lot worse problem than climate change.

Ron P.

I'd say it's not logic at all. Carbon dioxide from combustion is absolutely a pollutant insofar as pollutants represent an imbalance between sources and sinks.

Life as we know it is only possible because single-celled organisms of antiquity drew carbon out of the atmosphere and sunk oxygen back into it, over the course of hundreds of millions of years, as the carbon from their remnants was interred in sediment. In so altering the atmosphere their proliferation destroyed the pre-conditions for their own existence.

Several mass extinctions later, a significant portion of this natural carbon sequestration (and that of subsequent multi-cellular lifeforms), which occurred over the span of 2 billion years, has been reversed over the course of three hundred years by our species and is continuing to be undone to the tune of fifteen billion tons per year. What could possibly go wrong?

College is great!

There, I learned, that humans, as well as all other animals, were created by plants solely for the purpose of burning up the toxic by product "oxygen", while simultaneously replenishing the carbon dioxide essential to the dominant life forms, the plants. Our recent acceleration of carbon dioxide liberation is all part of the plants' big plan.


Do you have a single scrap of scientific evidence to back up your statements?

Where do you get your measurements of levels of CO2 that were so high no animal life existed?

All that coal was once plants and CO2 and the plants did very well from it the worry is not co2 but massive rates of unnatural deforestation. Woodlands and forests would have little problem absorbing the extra co2 within the carbon cycle if only so much of it had not been destroyed.


8 million square KM has been destroyed in the last 150 years, if that forest were still intact it would be safely recycling the Co2 and sunlight into food and wood.

Co2 is only 0.03% of the atmosphere and has only increased by a tiny amount in 50 years.
Co2 is not harmful to animals until it reaches levels of 5% you would not reach that level even if all the coal, oil and gas were burned.


The real problem is deforestation and concreting over millions of hectares of land which previously absorbed the suns energy and turned it into food of various kinds.

You seem to not understand the carbon cycle. They also include vulcanos. All those carbon atoms have NEVER been in the eco-climate system simultaneously. You get this all wrong.

You seem to not understand the carbon cycle. They also include vulcanos. All those carbon atoms have NEVER been in the eco-climate system simultaneously. You get this all wrong.

Who said they were all there at the same time?

Enough. Take it to RealClimate or something.

Hi Leanan,

It confuses me sometimes what is permitted. I was under the impression that a little more latitude was allowed on drumbeat for people to have a conversation.

Climate change does seem to touch on both "energy and our future". Is a civil discussion of that subject off limits? Thanks.


The problem with climate change discussions is that they tend not to remain civilized - at least when it comes to whether AGW is real. They tend to eat up the thread, without providing anything interesting or useful, and not changing anyone's mind. And let's just say some of the participants here have a record of getting...um...overheated on this issue.

Climate change is pretty much completely off-limits for the rest of TOD. Here in the Drumbeat, it is allowed. Since it's how most of the rest of the world discusses limiting fossil fuel use, I don't think it can be entirely excluded.

But I don't want to re-hash the same old arguments about whether AGW real, whether CO2 causes warming, etc. The effects of climate change (whatever the cause), comments on new information or research, and the politics of climate change are okay, though.


I appreciate the clarification as well as the excellent job you do with the Drumbeat. Thank you.


Where do you get your measurements of levels of CO2 that were so high no animal life existed?

This has nothing to do with anything in my post, so I'll skip it.

Do you have a single scrap of scientific evidence to back up your statements?

It's funny to think these statements need backing up here, as I was under the impression that "The Great Oxygenation Event", as it is called, of 2.4 Ga ago was fairly widely accepted knowledge. I'm not an expert, but the timeline of the composition of the atmosphere and its relationship with early life is a well studied subject. Read any text covering the biogeochronology of the earth or in particular the precambrian eons for detailed treatments the roles life has played in modifying the atmosphere, and how the changing composition of the atmosphere in turn affected life on earth.

In so altering the atmosphere their proliferation destroyed the pre-conditions for their own existence.

Almost but not quite. You are talking about Stromatolites. Stromatoliets are mounds of cyanobacteria (commonly known as blue-green algae). They still exist today and are thriving in a place called Shark Bay, Western Australia. Of course they once covered the shallow ocean everywhere and they did put oxygen into the atmosphere. But there is still enough carbon dioxide in the oceans for them to live. But apparently just barely because they are very rare and are found in very few places anymore.

Other than that you got everything correct. For billions of years CO2 levels were extremely high and there was virtually no free oxygen in the atmosphere. Not enough for animal life to exist most certainly. And cyanobacteria did remove CO2 from the atmosphere and replace it with free oxygen. And that was what allowed animal life to evolve.

Since the Precambrian period carbon dioxide has risen to much higher levels than exist today. Of course those times were times of severe global warming, so warm that tropical forest grew near the poles.

Ron P.

Actually, stromatolites disappeared because animals love to eat them, not because the oceans are insufficiently carbonated. The only places you can find them today are places that are so harsh (almost always "hypersaline") as to exclude animal life completely. Shark Bay is the most famous spot, but there are also some in Baja California and a few other places.

As an aside, cheers to my former labmates for the new K/T paper below :)

cheers to my former labmates for the new K/T paper below :)

I missed that in the thread. Link ?


It's Seraph's "Dinosaur die-out" link at 12:55 PM.


We have visited Hamelin Pool (in Shark Bay) - and walked out along the extensive boardwalk that hovers a couple of feet above the stromatolites.

You have to concede that they are not very exciting visually ... but when you appreciate what they are, how old they are, and the role they played in the evolution of terrestrial life - it's all fairly cosmic.

Very harsh country as well - bleak and hot and dry.

Yes, the reference was clearly to this, when the oxygen produced by photosynthesis exceeded the earth's ability to absorb it.

The rising oxygen levels may have wiped out a huge portion of the Earth's anaerobic inhabitants at the time. Cyanobacteria, by producing oxygen that was toxic to anaerobic organisms, were essentially responsible for what was likely the largest extinction event in Earth's history. Additionally the free oxygen reacted with the atmospheric methane, a greenhouse gas, triggering the Huronian glaciation, possibly the longest snowball Earth episode ever. Free oxygen has been an important constituent of the atmosphere ever since.

I have attended several DDP (Doctors for Disaster Preparedness) meetings. I first heard about the group from the pro nuclear writer Petr Beckmann two decades ago. The first time I attended I sat at a table with Jane Orient and Edward Teller. The group is run by Jane and the infamous Art Robinson. Jane now suffers from MS. My interest was partly due to attendance of several world experts on radiation hormesis. To a large extent I am a persona non grata, especially with Dr. Robinson, due to my pessimistic views on population and resources. Many of their speakers are extreme cornucopians




Jane Orient is also the executive director of Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which, reportedly, shares the same Tuscon address as DDP:

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a politically conservative non-profit association founded in 1943 to "fight socialized medicine and to fight the government takeover of medicine."[1][2] The group was reported to have approximately 4,000 members in 2005, and 3,000 in 2011.[3][1] Many of the political and scientific viewpoints advocated by AAPS are considered extreme or dubious by other medical groups.[1] Notable members include Ron Paul and John Cooksey;[4] the executive director is Jane Orient, a member of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.

Jane and one or two others were largely responsible for squelching the Hilliary Clinton Health Care Plan


I recall that Robinson is a Fundamentalist Christian with a Creationist viewpoint. He has 6 children, Zachary, Noah, Arynne, Joshua, Bethany and Matthew. I also recall that he published a series of text books for home schooling kids with a so kids won't accept a "humanistic" viewpoint, marketed thru OISM and another web site...

E. Swanson

Art's home schooled children are doing well academically. The oldest got a Cal Tech PhD at an unusually young age. The others are involved with various doctorate tracts including nuclear engineering and veterinary medicine, though there was some controversy regarding possible political payback at Oregon State.


Art's home schooled children are doing well academically. The oldest got a Cal Tech PhD at an unusually young age

All by rejecting their father's teachings and embracing a scientific worldview, no doubt. Despite the odd success that defies the Creationist home school trend, Art and people like Art continue to stunt the education of millions of young minds.

This is touchy subject for one in a public school district in many regards taken over by the religious right. Several instructors continue to verbally degrade the school, home school their children, yet gladly accept the paycheck. With one, the only way to admonish him was not through church/state separation, but sexual practice. He was inordinately fond of touching young boys.

With the instructor and other's home-schooled children, they are often enrolled in after school and sport programs. It was here the cited reference's statement "In particular, they are succeeding in partially isolating their children..." becomes apparent. The poor children are unable to react with their peers. They have become so isolated.

And noting the comment downthread on Art's kids, it never ceases to amaze me how one could get a PhD in Vet medicine, or any medicine, or Geology, and deny evolution, believe the earth is 6,000 yrs old. The fact that bugs continually evolve, and require new meds, doesn't seem to sink in.

The ""world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don't believe in evolution."

"Here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils, here is radioactivity, here are distant stars that are just like our star but they're at a different point in their lifecycle. The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent," "
Bill Nye

I'd compare CO2 with fat instead. We need SOME, we just don't need to much. Bad for the health. Or salt. You need a 0.9% concentration. Divert from that and you get problem. Same with CO2, you need 280 PPM. How hard is this point to get along?

Same with water.

The dose makes the poison.

Have these "doctors" breathe an atmosphere of 75% nitrogen, 20% oxygen and 5% carbon dioxide and time how long it takes for them to drop dead. Carbon dioxide is most certainly a waste product of the metabolism of animals.

This all reminds me of the fun we had back in '06, sponsored by the CEI:



For some reason I remain surprised when I see the same inane rhetoric repeated 6 years later.

Really, "[t]here are some things you just can't make up."

I made a comment on the first video, and it got queued for pending approval. Do you think they will let it through?

I think it would be good to parade these kind of videos around. Show that there have been active anti-climate change campaigns deliberately trying to undermine the science for a while.

This seems to be a pretty "standard" global warming denial article and it is saddening to see a group of professionals who are supposed to examine the evidence arrive at the conclusion that climate-change is not the biggest worry, although both climate-change and energy loss are BIG worries. The "scientists" quoted regarding climate change are well known warming deniers and hence the whole premise of this article is questionable. There is no doubt that energy decline will seriously affect how medicine is practiced, and also energy decline likely will seriously compromise human health, at least in the short term, but climate change is the real long-term worry. Those that survive the energy decline will have to survive an ever-changing and ever warmer earth (for a few centuries anyway). Finally, in medicine, the premise ideally is to emphasize prevention rather than cure. In the case of global warming, the "preventive medicine" part of me says we must stop burning fossil fuels; the realist says 'fat chance.' There is no cure for global warming or for energy decline: just adaptation.


There is no cure for global warming or for energy decline: just adaptation.

Exactly, you hit the nail on the head. To claim that there is a way we can stop global warming, or mitigate fossil fuel depletion so that business almost as usual can continue, is just another form of denial.

Ron P.

Right - the fallacy is that somehow we have a choice to continue BAU if we make the right decisions. So yes, modern medicine and a host of other things that depend on our modern fossil fuel driven world will end. This is an input, not an output.

Yep. It is quite possible to stop burning things & do any sort of mitigation which is physically possible, it just isn't social-primate acceptable. Ook!

Not jumping on you, dspady, just jumping in here to make the point that climate change may be a much nearer term worry than most think - certainly these doctors. Given the current record lowly state of the Arctic sea ice, and what appears to be happening regarding methane hydrates, it may be, as the article posits, game over.

Don't apologize. I agree fully with you. I am constantly impressed, and frightened, by the rapid rate of climate change. One would hope that we could mitigate some of this change, but we are fast running out of time.


I'd like to see more comment here on that link - and on the paper it's linked to, http://arctic-news.blogspot.co.uk/p/global-extinction-within-one-human.html

Pretty attention-grabbing stuff....

One report last February was titled, “Global Extinction within one Human Lifetime as a Result of a Spreading Atmospheric Arctic Methane Heat wave and Surface Firestorm.” Its author, Malcolm Light, predicted, “This process of methane release will accelerate exponentially, release huge quantities of methane into the atmosphere and lead to the demise of all life on earth before the middle of this century.”

EDIT A BIT LATER - I hadn't read it and I still haven't, but in a quick scan I was happy to see some pretty wild extrapolation & some stuff about earthquakes, HAARP, nanodiamonds etc which may be a clue that this is more than a bit wacko. Still, unsettling.

re: "I'd like to see more comment here on that link"

Yes. Please.

From his conclusion:

"The warning about extinction is stark. It is remarkable that global scientists had not anticipated a giant buildup of methane in the atmosphere when it had been so clearly predicted 10 to 20 years ago and has been shown to be critically linked to extinction events in the geological record (Kennett et al. 2003). Furthermore all the experiments should have already been done to determine which geoengineering methods were the most effective in oxidising/destroying the methane in the atmosphere in case it should ever build up to a concentration where it posed a threat to humanity. Those methods need to be applied immediately if there is any faint hope of reducing the catastrophic heating effects of the fast building atmospheric methane concentration."

My quick take is that he extrapolates a lot. And maybe he wants a job as a geoengineer.

Malcolm Light in Global Extinction within one Human Lifetime as a Result of a Spreading Atmospheric Arctic Methane Heat wave and Surface Firestorm seems to think a spike in methane emission (from about 1900 ppb to 2040 ppb) in the raw data from Svalbard, north of Norway, in early 2011 caused a massive surface temperature anomaly (10 C to 20 C) in the region. He then uses this bogus relationship between methane concentration and surface temperature to extrapolate dire consequences from small methane emissions.

At least that is my interpretation of his obtuse writing. For example, what is an "Arctic Gakkel Ridge earthquake frequency temperature increase curve"? Does he think earthquakes will cause the methane hydrates and permafrost to destabilize releasing the methane from the Arctic?

Yeah, that's some of the wacko stuff I referred to.

Sorry for re-posting it. I do worry that a destabilization of frozen methane leading to a self-accelerating feedback may wind up being our "game over". This piece was linked in an article on Energy Bulletin, and I re-posted it here since I didn't have time to decipher it. And I still haven't read it, but it didn't pass the skim test.

It sounded spectacular, though - everything on earth dead by 2060, the surviving billionaires huddling on Antarctic mountains. Take that, overly conservative IPCC models...

Perhaps the truth is somewhere in between...

Perhaps the truth is somewhere in between...

Good gawd, let's hope so!

Certainly the truth lies somewhere between. And since I started this, let me say that I had not read the article linked within the EB article. Albert Bates' EB article seemed stark enough, and provides scary enough data without the wild extrapolations. If Arctic/global methane is growing at the rate shown in this graphic, on top of what we already know we're doing to CO2 levels, that seems cause for some serious concern to me.

Smiley face

Yes, the "maybe it lies somewhere between" was my odd sense of humor again. Certainly reality lies somewhere between "hardly a problem" and "everything on earth dead in a single human lifetime".

And yes, the methane picture is terrifying enough without exaggeration, even with the uncertainty which exists. It changes the game.

There are those who seemingly believe that the universe was constructed like a psych maze, with a cheese reward to always take the rats (us) to the next level if they are clever enough, proceeding in stepwise fashion from clay pottery to warp drive and dyson spheres, to physical immortality which survives the heat death of the universe.

Then there are those who realize we're just another species of animal, and the universe owes us no favors, no sympathy. The dice can be loaded against us without it even being our "fault", as is the case with the current amount of frozen methane combined with the existence of accessible fossil carbon. What survives and what doesn't is often determined by luck.

"It sounded spectacular, though - everything on earth dead by 2060, the surviving billionaires huddling on Antarctic mountains. Take that, overly conservative IPCC models..."

You perhaps recall that was the take of James Lovelock for years, before retracting it. He had quantified 2100. As creator of the Gaia hypothesis, he's been "on the fringe", at least till his ideas are accepted.

"... everything on earth dead by 2060, the surviving billionaires huddling ..."

Does this mean that you consider billionaires not to be living organisms.
Some might agree.


Actually, on my quick skim of the article, the paper did seem to have wealthy people in antarctica after the date all life on earth was extinguished, but that could have been a mis-skim on my part.

I was REALLY happy to turn up crazy stuff so easily.

As far as what I think of billionaires, I find them occasionally useful and have known a fair number. Just social monkeys like the rest of us, living by pretty much the same values, just as clueless and needy, just as insecure.

If there was a qualitative difference in behavior between the relatively poor and relatively rich, the power-law relation of wealth level increase would presumably not hold. All species have wealth inequality (if you treat social insect colonies as single organisms), and it provides survival benefits for the species as a whole. It's a feature, not a bug.

To a fair extent, the "powers that be" meme is illusory, a face in the clouds.


Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane - a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide - have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region.

That was in December 2011. Since then, silence. Is the phenomenon no longer news, or has it stopped?

According to the researchers, those methane plumes aren't the result of recent climate change.

We would first note that we have never stated that the reason for the currently observed methane emissions were due to recent climate change. In fact, we explained in detail the mechanism of subsea permafrost destabilization as a result of inundation with seawater thousands of years ago.

This is plausable. It has been known for at least 40 years that the permafrost thins dramatically as one goes offshore towards the shelf edge. This has been obvious since the first 2D seismic lines were shot many years ago. This has always been a problem when tying onshore seismic to offshore data, since permafrost has a substantially higher seismic velocity. The rapid lateral velocity changes cause lots of problems when one tries to create a good depth image in the transition zone. Modern seismic processing does a much better job than in the past, but it is still an issue.

The way it was always explained to me is that the offshore permafrost formed during the ice age when sea level was lower, and much of the present day continental shelf was exposed above sea level. As sea level has risen since the end of the ice age, the offshore permafrost has been slowly thawing.

This is not to say that recent climate change has not already or will not eventually cause more methane to be released. In the long term it makes sense that it would. The question is how much and how fast? Part of the problem is that so little data has been gathered in the past on arctic methane release. As Semiletov and Shakhova note: "The number of stations monitoring atmospheric methane concentrations worldwide is very few. In the Arctic there are only three such stations — Barrow, Alert, Zeppelin — and all are far away from the Siberian Arctic." Without a reasonably long period of observation, over a reasonably big area, it is difficult to say if the observed realeases are something new? Or is it something that has been happening for a long time and we just haven't noticed before?

the offshore permafrost formed during the ice age when sea level was lower

This bit puzzles me. I can understand that land now underwater was exposed when sea levels were lower, but wasn't it, like, icy? As in, covered with an ice sheet, or a plant desert like Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic. Colder than Siberia today. Which poses the question, where does the decaying plant matter come from to supply all the methane trapped in the permafrost in the first place?

The usual view of the ice coverage of the recent ice age is biased towards Europe and eastern North America. Much of Alaska and eastern Siberia, collectively called Beringia, especially along the Arctic Ocean coast, were not under an ice cap. See the illustration at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Iceage_north-intergl_glac_hg.png. Beringia had a "grassland steppe" environment. With lower sea levels, Beringia extended far into what is now the Arctic Ocean (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Beringia_land_bridge-noaagov.gif). Most of Beringia was further south than Devon Island.

Thanks. I'd never heard of Beringia.

That second image is illuminating. When I first heard about the Bering "land bridge", I imagined something long and thin, like a modern bridge. But they should actually talk about the Bering Plains. It would be much more descriptive.

I hadn't realized how much of the Arctic Ocean seabed was exposed during the ice age maximum until I found that image. It makes me think now that no one has a good handle on how much methane is stored in drowned tundra or how fast it might be released. Back to worrying about CO2 from burning FF.

It makes me think now that no one has a good handle on how much methane is stored in drowned tundra or how fast it might be released.

Exactly. It clearly is something we need to know much more about.

Mighty unfortunate synchronicity...

Thanks for the clarification. I had assumed the plumes were a recent phenomenon related to global warming.

But according to Shakhova and Semiletov, when sea levels rose after the last ice age much of the methane-containing arctic permafrost was inundated, and this permafrost is melting, releasing methane, as Alaska_geo explained.

Given that the temperature of seawater at the bottom of the ocean doesn't vary much, the implication is that this release has been ongoing steadily for thousands of years and will not stop until the methane is all gone, and there is probably a LOT of it.

I'm guessing that the observed plumes were due to melting of localised methane-rich pockets of permafrost and might be intermittently observed; they aren't a permanent feature of the arctic seas.

However, there's the "methane gun" hypothesis which says the inundated methane clathrates are not pressure-stabilised but are temperature-stabilised at close to their melting temperature, and the current small rise in temperature will lead to a catastrophic release of methane, of which the observed plumes are a precursor.

Looks like we don't know enough to make firm predictions.

Doctors for Disaster Preparedness appears to be another denialist organization, judging from the speakers at their latest convention. About half the speakers have been central to the campaign to discredit the science behind the problem of climate change, in particular, Fred Singer and Arthur B. Robinson, who founded the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which circulated the notorious OISM Petition. This particular piece of fluff is from a PR release. In it, the same old denialist lies are repeated. These guys must be getting desperate, after this summer's mega drought and the remarkable melt in sea-ice which is still going on...

E. Swanson

It's unnerving to see a press release on a news site without any flag or comment.

I also think it's funny that windmills are medieval technology and "burning things" is not.


Commenting is open.

I meant "comment" in the sense of a comment on the press release, or an opposing view by, say, actual climate scientists. Internet comments are worth zero, including this one.

The PRNewswire source at the top shows it's a press release.

We've used PRNewswire ourselves on occasion.

And of course, what is being built today are not 'windmills', but rather wind turbines. Definitely not medieval technology. But why would we expect doctors to know the diff?

B.S., Secondary Education, English: 1964.

I know the difference.

My "primary-care physician" is a nice guy but is scientifically challenged. His job is to "filter" patients. I do NOTHING based solely on his word.

"Houston, World, we have a problem."


Only a small minority of DDP attendees have an MD degree. There are far more PhDs. Unless the rules have changed a doctorate of some sort was required to be a voting member. However anyone can attend meetings and participate in the discussions. One of my favorite members was the physicist Howard C Hayden. Unfortunately he was initially taken with abiotic oil. Though he is (or was?) a 'denier', I would still recommend his books on renewable energy. Edward Teller was not a member but was a regular attendee and speaker prior to his death. My attendance at the yearly meetings was mostly during the 90's and early 00's. Have only attended one meeting the past six years. DDP was THE world leader in the study of both radiation hormesis and civil defense. The field trips have been excellent including a day at Dugway, a tour of bomb shelters in Salt Lake City and a VIP tour of the Palo Verde Nuclear plant.



As with the blind men examining the Elephant, it's possible to be very smart and right in one place, where your inputs are valuable and essential, while still seeing other parts of the picture through a very distorted lens.

Thanks Robert, for sharing this with us. It reminds me of an iconic moment from ALL IN THE FAMILY, where the Bunkers have a houseguest who has some sort of learning disability, and carries this placard on his chest, his Mantra, which he shows to Archie, and it says "Every man is my master, in that I may learn from him.." (Where I take the term 'master' in the spirit of Teacher, I should say..)

We gotta get ALL those babies out of the bathwater and keep them safe!


Water is like CO2 in that sense, good stuff ... in the proper amounts.

Try staying in it over your head until you breathe a lot of that good water stuff into your lungs, in place of also good air ... not so good any more U.S.eh?

The bottom line is that "the right stuff" is only as good as "the right amount".

Anyone ready for a drip tube of that good CO2 in the hospital for the "patient" ... ???

Heat is good too, but we put the equivalent heat of 400,000 Hiroshima type nuclear bomb detonations into the Earth environment each day, which cannot escape to space because of CO2.

Feeling all warm and fuzzy about it, or feeling that someone's ignorance wants us dead?

"U.S.eh?" Very good.

Yep, water's indispensible - but just drink enough and you will drown

Re: Turning off Energy, Not Climate Change, is Biggest Threat, Doctors Say above,

Deniers, yes, and as such deserve to be ignored. What caught my eye in the articles above on the topic of climate change is:

'Crops in India Wilt in a Weak Monsoon Season'

MURUMA, India — Vilas Dinkar Mukane lives halfway around the world from the corn farmers of Iowa, but the Indian sharecropper is at risk of losing his livelihood for the same reason: not enough rain.

There has been a lot of talk within the climate change community among scientists regarding amplification and its effect on the weather.

Take a look at this link:


'High Amplitude Weather Pattern'

As you can see there is a pronounced wavelike jet stream shown, which is referred to as high amplitude. The higher the amplitude (jet stream wavelike pattern) the more likely the weather pattern will stall out and remain that way for an extended period of time, which leads to prolonged heat waves, drought and floods.

Here's a link showing the drought situation in the US:


As you can see there are huge areas of the US in drought, similar to the article about the weak monsoon in India and their lack of rainfall.

Ok, so the question is why is high amplification occurring? Here is a link to a video explaining the science behind it:


Does Arctic Amplification Fuel Extreme Weather in Mid-Latitudes?

It's a rather technical explanation, which I will summarize: Ice volume in the Arctic has been dropping super fast, which can be viewed in the following animation:

PIOMAS Arctic Ice Volume 1979 - 2012 July


As the ice volume drops, the contrast between the temps at the equator and the Arctic reduces and that weakens the jet stream, causing high amplification.

It's not just the idea of climate change, it's now a reality. But reduced ice volume also means greater methane releases as the pressure that was holding the methane caltrates in place, the ice, cracks or melts away. You can see in this photo comparison of two recent years:

'Striking increase of methane in the Arctic'


Here's an aricle on the potential of methane releases: Large Release of Methane Could Cause Abrupt and Catastrophic Climate Change as Happened 635 Million Years Ago, UCR-led Study Warns


Here's a link to a website that is calling attention to the situation of methane releases in the Arctic:


AMEG has recently warned of increased climate extremes and a global food crisis that will deepen as the Arctic warms. This year’s severe drought in the US is not an isolated event; much of the world has been afflicted by extreme weather in one form or another, with floods and droughts impacting agriculture. Such extremes have been on the increase. Recent research by scientists, such as Dr Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University, shows convincing evidence that this increase is related to dramatic warming of the Arctic and changing polar jet stream behaviour.

So forget the deniers who are so far behind the curve they aren't even on the graph. Just know our current situation and what lay ahead without action being taken.

From BBC: Arctic ice melt 'like adding 20 years of CO2 emissions'

Loss of Arctic ice is effectively doubling mankind's contribution to global warming, ice scientist Professor Peter Wadhams has told BBC Newsnight.

Prof Wadhams calculates that this increased absorption of the sun's rays is "the equivalent of about 20 years of additional CO2 being added by man".

Parts of the Arctic Ocean are now as warm in summer as the North Sea is in winter, Prof Wadhams said.

I'm watching Newsnight now. Thanks for the heads up.

From NSIDC ... Arctic sea ice falls below 4 million square kilometers

Following the new record low recorded on August 26, Arctic sea ice extent continued to drop and is now below 4.00 million square kilometers (1.54 million square miles). Compared to September conditions in the 1980s and 1990s, this represents a 45% reduction in the area of the Arctic covered by sea ice. At least one more week likely remains in the melt season.

... In recent summers, Arctic Ocean sea surface temperatures (SSTs) have been anomalously high (see our 2010 and 2011 end-of-summer posts), in part linked to loss of the reflective ice cover that allows darker open water areas to readily absorb solar radiation and warm the mixed layer of the ocean.

... Between mid-March and the third week of August, the total amount of multiyear ice within the Arctic Ocean declined by 33%, and the oldest ice, ice older than five years, declined by 51%.

Wow. The guy they had on to counter the Green Party leader on Newsnight, Peter Lilley MP, started his rebuttal by saying the BBC had orchestrated a piece of "non-peer reviewed" drivel from a "quack" (Prof. Wadhams) and had strayed from their upholding of only the IPCC as gospel. Because, apparently, the IPCC is only to be listened to when their projections are less worse than reality. Who knew?

That was an utter waste of time, I assure you. The man could be shown a single bungalow sized chunk of ice as all that's left of the Arctic (he mistook the Arctic for the Antarctic and brought up the '30s melt myth too) and still insist the IPCC models are correct and we have more pressing matters to attend to. Oh, but he DOES care about climate change. How much does he care. Well **** you, that's how much.

Now I need to go over to Neven's blog and read some more reasoned commentary.

With this week's UK cabinet reshuffle, there's a worrying possibilty that people with the same views as Lilley now have posts in the DECC (Dept of Energy and Climate Change) and DEFRA (responsible for environment).

Worrying times for the renewable energy industry!

On the other hand, devolved Scottish government is aiming at '100% equivalent' renewable electricity by 2020.

"Parts of the Arctic Ocean are now as warm in summer as the North Sea is in winter, "

This is obviously a different definition of 'warm' than I am used to.

In the Netherlands there is a tradition of taking a (short) dive in the north sea on New Years Day. So, who's up for a dive in the Arctic ocean?

Hmmmm, dry suit, thermals, full helmet.... what is the water clarity like, oh, and can I do my specialities in tepid water first?


Who's up for a dive on the North Pole?

Synchronicity? Someone around here has been hammering out 'The Bangles' tracks today :)


We do that in some places in Sweden too.

Perhaps so. But it is a very different definition of cold than the Arctic is used to...

Arctic ice melt 'like adding 20 years of CO2 emissions'

Interesting article Seraph. Hadn't thought of ice loss in that context before. Here's a hilarious spoof video of a weather woman explaining arctic ice melt in which she gets over wrought. It's funny but also drives home the point.


So forget the deniers who are so far behind the curve they aren't even on the graph. Just know our current situation and what lay ahead without action being taken.

Sometimes that can be like trying to forget the screaming child on the airplane, if you know what I mean.

Oh... pish posh: this is all just science. The American Taliban made great advances today in getting the name of their cartoon superhero put back into the Democratic platform. This is at the expense of all other named superheros, revered actual people, concepts, and paths to fulfillment, understanding, and the pursuit of fruitful happiness and being. The video is also a great demonstration of "It does not matter who votes, but who counts the votes". The system of thought and regulation that might avert disaster has succumbed to dementia and other pathologies.


Organ-grinder's monkey at 00:14 00:23
declaration of war against reality at 01:50 to 02:10
voting sequence starts at 02:38
(02:52... hold on, that isn't the required answer... )
Let's try this again!
(02:55... Wrong answer! What to do?!)
03:22 "Let them do what they're gonna do." (Let the children vent.)
Let's try this one more time!
(03:38... Wrong answer again!... but, that's OK... because...)
We count the vote, and we declare that the vote went the way we wanted it to!

There are no solutions or remedies available through this system.

Wrong answer

I would just run the TV for noise while I worked. If "The Fifth Element" came on, I let it play. After 911: the scene where the perfect being is watching images of war on the computer, a pivotal scene, ... this scene is removed (observed 4 times over many years):

That fact scared the h#ll out of me and made me understand exactly what I was living in. The song "Imagine" was banned from Clear Channel stations (most radio stations), too:

The people's vote being denied at the convention really bothered me. Belief had ended long ago, but a little hope had struggled on... but any hope of beneficial leadership died just then. The conversations here are among the very few. Personal, individual work can be put into the problems discussed.

I had noticed that there was no pervasive coverage or mention of protests at the conventions, not even on KPFK. I went looking for images and found them. I went to youtube and found no real videos. Russia Today had a video "►► DNC chairman declares Jerusalem the capital of" that went up 17 hours ago, but is gone now. In trying to find it directly through rt.com, I got directed to a malware site. It is not super easy to find videos that match the images.

In the part of the article in the snapshot, they actually make the link that since burning witches did not controll the climate, humans are not able to controll the climate through CO2 emissions. I didn't bother to read the article but making such conections other than as a joke is just silly.

Unfortunately, the patient is on its deathbed anyway.

Actually it's more like an inmate on death row and it's just a question of how many more appeals the defense is going to file before they ultimately lose and the execution takes place... The victim is the biosphere and the crime is ecocide.

USGS Releases Damning EUR’s For Shale

Chesapeake Energy (CHK) claims average EUR’s for the Marcellus at 4.2 Bcf. Range Resources (RRC) has claimed average EUR’s as high as 5.7 Bcf in investor presentations. According to the USGS, however, the average EUR for the Marcellus turns out to be about 1.1 Bcf.

USGS is not only active inside America but around the world.
They have a long track record of overshooting/following the multinationals on their own estimates(which is usually skyhigh for economic self-interest).

Now they've slashed the shale gas reserves very substantially.

I'm reminded of the Jack 2/Malo field in the Gulf of Mexico.
Exxon announced that it was a 10 billion barrel field, USGS blindly followed as usual.

A year ago or so, the final estimate was in: 0.8 billion barrels.

USGS is basically a bunch of triggerhappy Daniel Yergins collaborating; the results are not pretty and the awful track record should be kept in perspective whenever people quote their estimates(for example, tight oil in the U.S. or offshore Brazilian oil fields).

Terrific article, some of the best reporting and analysis I've seen alongside Art Berman's. (And of course he is cited extensively.) I read the article to confirm that the Bcf values you quoted from the article represented EUR per well. That is confirmed. Does anyone know if this is Bcf per producing well, or does it include wells that did not produce?

“The wells cost some $7.5 to $8 million. “This sort of type curve should generate acceptable economics with gas as low as $2,” said Biju Perincheril, equity-research analyst for Jefferies & Co. Inc.”

I couldn't tell from the article if this quote referred to a type curve with EUR of 15 BCF, or 2.6 BCF. 15 BCF seems like it would be crazy profitable if the completion cost were amortized, where 2.6 BCF EUR might work at $2/mcf. The article does not address the balance of production liquids vs. dry gas, muddying the economic picture a bit further.

steve - "As Does anyone know if this is Bcf per producing well, or does it include wells that did not produce?" Just my guess but probably just wells from which NG has been sold. Typically any statement that says the average production from certain wells is X doesn't include the dry holes.

OTOH wells can be completed and produce that never recover their costs. This is especially true with the shale wells. It's nearly impossible to tell if the shale well you just drilled will be profitable or not even after you just drilled it. You have to complete and frac it and then produce it for at least 6 months to have any idea if you'll make a profit or not. With a conventional well you usually know right when you drilled it whether it's worth completing or not. With the shale wells the operators are essentially committing to produce the well long before they know it's worth producing. If a completed shale well looks like it will only recover half of what it cost to drill, complete and frac it, the operator will still keep producing it as long as there's a positive cash flow.

The 15 bcf EUR? Again, just my guess but that well might be that good. The investment bank my engineer buddy works for loaned a Marcellus player $100 million to drill their wells. These guys fund a spot where their wells were going to do several times as good as the GOOD average well. Ever trend has very sweet spots where wells do many times the average of the trend. OTOH there are always sour spots that way underperform the average well.

Besides the value of any liquids there are much bigger variables: did the lease for an $8 million cost the operator $300,000 or $2 million? The SEC started criticizing some of the companies about reporting how much wells were costing just to drill but not including peripheral costs like leases and pipelines. IOW two wells may have the same EUR, same liquids yield and same lease costs but one might cost $60,000 to hook up to a pipeline and the other cost $500,000. So at the extremes for two wells with the same EUR one may have total cost 50% or more than the other well. And then there's a question of how do they capture the cost of that $20 million lease position they took and won't want to or be able to drill before the leases expire. Hundreds of $million worth of leases expired undrilled in the Haynesville Shale play of E Texas when NG collapsed back at the end of '08.

Thanks ROCK, always appreciate your candid replies. Interesting that producers don't have a good fix on EUR when they go to drill in shale. Same is true of drilling for tight oil, no?

I imagine that with a few weeks of production, they try to fit a curve to the well and have an assay of the source gas components (dry gas v liquids), allowing them to create a revenue profile. And then it's a matter of a couple of thresholds: net revenue sufficient to cover well completion and lease costs + returns on equity = pop champagne; revenue sufficient to exceed cash operating expenses = get it done and move on; prices too low to drill at a profit = shut-in/spud candidate.

It doesn't seem like rocket science .... maybe ROCKMAN science?

steve - The curve fitting has been THE battle ground for coming up with EUR. It is extremely operator biased: one can cut 50% or double EUR by just a little sliding. But it's all one has (except for trend averages) for the first few months. But after a year or so of production you can take those fitted curves and use them for toilet paper. That's the one nice thing about pressure depleted reservoir; once you've gotten the initial high decline rate you can plot the pressure trend on a log-normal scale and use a straight edge to project EUR.

Similar for tite oil but they tend to hit a predictable trend line sooner. Actually true to some degree for all reservoirs. Water drive reservoirs typically depend on the geologic mapping to develop EUR. OTOH the mapped EUR may say 10 million bbls but if you're cutting 50% after making less than 1 million there's a fair chance your map is wrong or your estimates of recover factor is off a good bit. And sometimes you don't have a clue what happened: about a 1 1/2 years ago I had a well deplete (or at least appear to deplete) in 37 days. We had estimated it would produce for years. I still don't have a good answer for why this happened. Geologist/engineers can argue all they want but when the grease stops flowing ...that's all folks.

Great catch Sv. For those who haven't read the article some highlights:

EUR for the Marcellus: Chesapeake - 4.2 Bcf. Range Resources - 5.7 Bcf . USGS - 1.1 Bcf

EUR Barnett: Chesapeake - 3.0 Bcf. The new USGS numbers - 1 Bcf.

EUR Fayetteville Shale: Chesapeake - 2.4-2.6 Bcf. Of the company’s 742 wells only 66 have produced more than one Bcf and none have produced more than 1.7 Bcf. Chesapeake’s average Fayetteville well has produced only 541 Mcf.

Rock, ya think bhp was had?

joe - There's generally only two reasons you sell leases that have potential drill sites: 1) you don't have the capex to drill them yourself and 2) you find some fool willing to buy them from you for more than they are worth. Some of the most profitable companies I've ever seen have never drilled a single well. Just land speculators who buy low and sell high. Pretty much works like the stock market: sometimes you lose, sometime you win, and sometimes you win so big you can hardly believe it.

We in the oil patch are supreme preditors: we eat the weak, the ignorant, our own and, on rare occasions, our friends. It's not personal...just business.

By the same author:

Shale Oil Reserves Questioned Too
By Deborah Rogers

The USGS recently released new EUR numbers for all shale gas plays in the country and the numbers were significantly lower than operator claims. (See previous post). Interestingly, this same phenomenon is playing out in shale oil as well . . .

In a recent paper issued by SPE (Society of Petroleum Engineers) on the Eagle Ford shale, we are once again confronted with the specter of overestimation of reserves.

As SPE notes:

“…nearly all the quoted figures [for EUR], which range up to 850,000 BOE (barrels of oil equivalent) or 8.5 billion cubic feet, are from companies active in the trend.”

They also note that very little of company data backing such claims is made available. Like disclosure of fracking chemicals, it appears conveniently proprietary.

Further, the SPE report examines production data up through early 2012 so their numbers are timely. SPE’s conclusion?

“…the mean EUR per well [for the Eagle Ford] is 206,800 BOE and the median is 160,500 BOE”

. . . Like I said: same girl, different shade of lipstick. But hey, take heart: everybody looks good at 2am.

If we take out the natural gas component, the mean EUR and median EUR for Eagle Ford wells, based on the SPE report, could easily be around 160,000 BO and 120,000 BO respectively.

Go Fly a Wind Turbine

As wind powers an increasing amount of electricity generation, entrepreneurs are hoping to replace modern windmills with a high-tech version of an even older technology: kites.

Winds are stronger and more consistent at higher altitudes, but building a 100-story-tall turbine isn't cost effective. So engineers are working on using kites to send aloft power generators that create energy when mounted rotors are spun by the wind; they transmit electricity through the cables that tie them to the earth as a string tethers a child's kite.

(subscription seems required, but I got the whole article by googling "Go Fly a Wind Turbine" and clicking the first link, right below 'news for Go Fly a Wind Turbine')

I remember some discussion on TOD a while back on this, anyone know where the project stands now?

You might have been thinking about kitegen.com

Thanks, that's indeed what i meant. Going by their site, they've been working hard and are nearing the scale-up phase; they already have made a prototype that produced power. Let's hope they make it work :-)

Re: Durham entrepreneurs developing 'emissions-free' power plant


NET Power’s goal is to create a super-efficient power plant that burns gas in a pure oxygen chamber and whose only byproducts are water and carbon dioxide, or CO. The carbon dioxide is seen as an added source of revenue, with potential in various markets, such as advanced oil recovery, where oil is dislodged through underground gas injection. Or it could some day be pumped deep underground as waste, Strakey said.

At least the editors have now fixed their carbon dioxide = CO blunder. Presenting the idea of liberating billions of tons of fossil carbon and burning it in some new process as some sort of game-changer always irks me. The process of extracting any fossil fuel, and eventually sequestering the carbon will never be emissions free. This may as well be marketed as a 'safer cigarette', since it's coming out of the land of tobacco companies. And what to do with all of that CO(2)? As they imply, "we'll find somewhere to put it". No mention of costs.

The plant is intended to burn the natural gas in an oxygen environment, thus, no emissions of nitrogen oxides, unburned hydrocarbons or particulates. The CO2 might be captured and injected into some deep well(s), or it might be used to stimulate enhanced recovery from oil fields.

Sounds great, however, the article fails to mention the most basic problem, which is, where does the pure oxygen come from? Given the large quantities required, one would expect that the O2 would come from the atmosphere, that is, it would be separated from air by some known process. An oxygen concentrator wouldn't work, so a cryogenic plant might be required. That process would use some of the electricity from the plant, thus the net production wouldn't be so great. In the end, the cost of the system would likely be much higher than other, more polluting systems, thus the only advantage would be the stream of (relatively) pure CO2.

Looks like a great way to spend some more stimulus money...

E. Swanson

"The plant is intended to burn the natural gas in an oxygen environment,"

In copper and nickel mining they have long been using pure oxygen to burn the sulfides to SO2 that directly feeds an acid plant. The process greatly cleaned up the air and allowed lower grade ores to be fed into the smelter. The economics of the oxygen plant were not that bad from a total cost per ton of output.

The oxygen plant that was used at the Getchell Mine for oxidizing gold-bearing pyrite also was not very expensive in the grand scheme of things. You are only liquifying the oxygen; the effort you put into cooling the nitrogen you get back by way of a heat exchanger that cools the discharge of the compressor.

There are also byproduct profits from argon, and if the plant is big enough, the krypton and xenon column. Getchell made $40,000 per month (1992 prices) from crude argon sales even though it had to go back to CA for re-distilling to upgrade the purity.

Yes, I expect that O2 production would be provided by such a system. However, I would think that the volumes required for the power plant would be much larger than that of the mining operation and thus the added cost per kWHr would be rather large. Another challenge would be the very high flame temperatures, similar to a torch running oxygen and propane, which would challenge the designers of the turbine wheels at the exit to the burners. In a stationary situation, it would be possible to recycle some of the CO2 into the burners after cooling it, which would lower the flame temperature by dilution. An interesting project, to be sure...

E. Swanson

I would guess that the energy needed for the pressures the require and the pure oxygen, will cut into the EROEI of this design.

A couple of interesting developments when I was recently down in the Tampa/ Clearwater area for a family emergency. First is that it appears that the Crystal River Nuclear Plant will be closed because they cannot repair a major crack. What is interesting here is once again the huge costs for nuclear when the sun shines in this area so often that the St Pete Times used to offer a free newspaper on days when the sun did not shine at least once. Potential cost of repair is $1.3 Billion which could pay for a LOT of solar!


Progress has spent $839 million so far on the first repair attempt and to purchase alternative electricity, according to its SEC report. The utility expects future repair costs to exceed $1.3 billion and the cost for replacement power while the plant sits offline to run about $300 million a year.

Also interesting is reduction in electrical demand after Florida sprawl meltdown:

Customers aren't using as much power, a result of the Great Recession and more energy-efficient products. Progress Energy predicts a further decline in power use through 2013 and then only incremental growth over the following decade.

Customers aren't using as much power, a result of the Great Recession and more energy-efficient products.

orbi7er, definitely the more energy-efficient products played a large role in the reduced energy need. As an example, Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) save 75% compared to historical incandescent bulbs. New LED lights will save a similar amount of electricity.

The other rather amazing development down in staunchly Republican Auto Addicted Pinellas County next to Tampa and containing Clearwater and St Petersburg, is that even as the sprawl Auto Addicts have ridiculously expanded 2 lane roads to 7 lane roads uncrossable by seniors to even get to a 7-11 or Strip Malls while also spending billions on I-19 flying buttress overpasses and added very confusing access roads it is obviously not working.
Despite all this wasted investment in Auto Addiction along with service cuts and fare increases to Green public transit, it appears Green transit ridership is increasing and miracle of miracles they may even be considering a 1 cent tax to fund Light Rail!!


Get on board rail transit

Article published on Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Agencies involved in mass transit in Pinellas County are moving cautiously, and correctly, in developing plans for light rail projects.

The Project Advisory Committee, which is made up of elected officials representing four agencies, agreed on a proposed rail route alternative Jan. 30. It stems from a study that examined options to implement premium transit service connecting major residential, employment and activity centers in the county.

Basically, the proposed light rail route connects Clearwater, Largo, the Greater Gateway area, Pinellas Park, and St. Petersburg in Pinellas County, with a regional connection across Tampa Bay to Hillsborough County.

More info:


1. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority set another monthly ridership record in July, according to a PSTA news release. That makes for the seventh monthly record dating back to November 2011. Last month the transit agency gave 1,205,256 rides, which is more than any other July in agency history and a 14% jump over July 2011.

I used to live in Tampa Bay, Pinellas county in fact, for almost 10 years. What you have are suburbs with nothing to do and no way out without a car, strip malls, and then the real shock - actual places worth going to, that you can walk around in, and are all the leftovers of the various towns and cities that existed many decades before the population of Tampa Bay exploded. Where do you go for fun, to hang out, when you live there? Maybe to Dunedin, or Tarpon Springs, or the bits of Tampa and St.Pete that still have walkable areas full of resturants and shops. Maybe to the beaches, too, which tend to have centralized areas like the Clearwater Beach Pier area.

The strategy of building more roads, forever, is a failure. But there are still the nuclei of livable areas there, and if they ever decide to try to link them and also to develop them in a wise way (not like Baywalk, which failed embarrassingly), it might be very pleasant. But some places, like "new Tampa" and many of the more recent suburban developments, would be a nightmare to make walkable/bikable. Pasco is pretty bad, too - 19 right in the middle of everything, people dying just trying to cross the road...

The problem is that nobody there knows how to make and maintain a livable, walkable area. Attempts to do so by the cities often result in making things worse. It's not impossible, though.

I lived in Clearwater for a few years and during Summers off from college.
The road sprawl has gotten unbelievable as many North-south side roads have become 7 lane monsters from 2-4 lanes. Also many millions or billions of dollars have been wasted on the flying buttress overpasses on I-19 along with 1-2 lane parallel access roads which get incredibly confusing to navigate besides paving over huge amounts of space with asphalt and making intersections almost impossible to cross.
On the other hand it is mostly FLAT and ideal for bicycle riding if proper paths are
provided. Although they still have not built any kind of lightrail or monorail to Clearwater Beach, the bike/pedestrian path is excellent. The key to Green Transit down in mostly flat Florida is lightrail with bicycle connections.
The Malls are a total disaster and eventually need to be in-built. It is interesting that the "Checkers" Hamburger FastFood chain had a successful business model by placing their stores in a cheap corner of the huge Mall parking lots.

Years ago I managed to navigate most of the time without a car as we could not afford another one for my family. I rode my bike from Dunedin 5 1/2 miles to Palm Harbor to work on a garbage truck at 5:30 AM (not much traffic then!) and then would frequently ride down to Clearwater Beach to clean up in the Gulf.
There are often more options for Green Transit than people think if they just do it particularly using a bicycle.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - BNSF Railway on Tuesday said it has expanded its capacity to transport 1 million barrels-per-day of shale oil from the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana in 2012.


Earlier, refineries like the cheaper crude:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - PBF Energy said on Friday it plans to expand its crude shipments by rail to its 180,000 barrel-per-day Delaware City refinery to take advantage of cheaper North American crudes at the expense of more expensive foreign crudes.


I believe WT was making the point many months ago of the effect of the price differential between tar sand oil and Brent. It's coming home.

Delta looking into domestic oil for its refinery

Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) is looking into buying cheaper North Dakota crude oil to feed its new refinery near Philadelphia, instead of the more expensive overseas crude that has fed the refinery in the past.

Delta bought the idled refinery at Trainer, Pa., in June. Like most East Coast refineries, it has refined mostly North Sea oil that arrived by ship and is priced in London.

North Dakota oil would come by train to Delta's refinery, Delta President Ed Bastian said at an analyst conference on Thursday. Delta is already in discussions with railroads about getting oil to the Trainer refinery. By some estimates, it can cost as much as $15 per barrel to haul oil from North Dakota to the East Coast.

In 2010, Guangzhou Metro was the 6th busiest in the world. 144 stations and 236 km in revenue operation today. To be expanded to 600 km by 2020.


By comparison, Paris Metro has 216 km (from memory) open or under construction today and an extra 200 km to be built from 2013 to 2020.

This makes limited car ownership and use feasible (see top story).

Best Hopes for Investing in Oil Free Transportation,


China in 2009 had 34 passenger cars per 1000 population according to the World Bank compared with 439 for the United States.

Using the broader scope of motor vehicles, China in 2011 had 83 motor vehicles per 1000 population according to Wikipedia compared with 812 for the United States.

I'd expect personal passenger cars in China to play a role similar to horse drawn carriages in late Victorian England -- personal transportation for the rich and connected, while the rest used cabs, trams, railroads, bicycles, and foot depending on their circumstances.

A Ferrari crash kills privileged Chinese playboy and ruffles top leaders before power shift

The South China Morning Post on Monday cited an unnamed official in Beijing as confirming that Ling Gu, the son of a loyal aide to President Hu Jintao, was the person killed in a March 18 Ferrari accident which initially garnered only minimal coverage in China’s state media.

Or perhaps Edwardian England...

It is quite intersting to look on a graph of fossil energy use for United Kingdom. During the Victorian time coal was started to be use on a large scale and there are places all over the world with the name Victoria.

Coal have already declinee although it have been replaced with oil and natural gas. Natural gas is now imported from mainly from Norway and Quatar. They have just turned from exporting oil to importing oil. It will be intersting to see what happens then output of natural gas and oil start to get low. They may end up exporting cheap goods to Russia in like 30 - 40 years.

I'd expect personal passenger cars in China to play a role similar to horse drawn carriages in late Victorian England -- personal transportation for the rich and connected, while the rest used cabs, trams, railroads, bicycles, and foot depending on their circumstances.

Unlikely. Automobiles depend on economies of scale to operate. If enough people are not using them, you can't sell enough gas to keep gas stations open and you can't generate enough tax money to maintain the infrastructure of roads and bridges. You eventually run into the planned obsolescence factor and debt overhang. I covered this in more detail in Waste Based Society II: Vendor Financing & Planned Obsolescence on the Diner.

Doomstead Diner

If the US had 81 motor vehicles per 1000 population, then there would need to be about 15,000 gas stations instead of the current 159,000 gas stations. 15,000 is on the order of the number of MacDonalds or the number of Starbucks, neither of which is hard to find. Actually, the gas stations would probably be more numerous than 15,000, but would be smaller on average.

Roads and bridges would be maintained, since they are needed for trucks, buses, taxis, limos, etc. in addition to private motor vehicles. There would be a lot fewer lane-miles needed.

One way to reduce the number of cars would be to no longer issue new plate numbers. Anyone wanting to acquire a acquire and license a motor vehicle would need to buy a plate number from a current owner. This might be done by auction on eBay, for example. The government would also bid for and buy some number of plate numbers per year, gradually reducing the total number of motor vehicles that could be licenses. Gradually, the licences would be acquired by taxi, limo, bus, auto rental and other higher value users.

If the US had 81 motor vehicles per 1000 population, then there would need to be about 15,000 gas stations instead of the current 159,000 gas stations. 15,000 is on the order of the number of MacDonalds or the number of Starbucks, neither of which is hard to find. Actually, the gas stations would probably be more numerous than 15,000, but would be smaller on average.

It's not the fewer number of stations, its the reduced number of sales. In order to make the Refineries profitable, they have to sell a LOT of refined product. So besides closing down many gas stations, you also have to close down many refineries. You can't scale down refineries and remain efficient in production of refined products.

Now from the fewer refineries you have longer distances each tanker truck has to travel to service the fewer and more spread out Gas Stations. You now have to maintain an enormous road network that can handle Big Rigs pulling gasoline on the backs of very few consumers of the product.

To support this "Boutique" system for the Rich who might still afford a Car, the end price of the Gas would likely have to quintuple at least, since you are talking about a 10:1 reduction in total revenue from the system in taxes at the refining level and the usage level. With $20/gal gas, the number of rich who can afford to drive any mileage at all even if they can afford the car is reduced still further, and you continue the downward spiral from there. More gas stations close, refineries drop down to one still working and then finally the system drops off the map entirely.

Its enormously expensive to maintain the infrastructure of roads and bridges, and this can only be done if many people are using them. In fact even if you DO have many people using them, it is STILL not really profitable and only functions through further issuance of debt. I covered this in more detail recently in Financing the Industrial Revolution.

A Waste Based system such as we have been running here only can exist for so long as the substrate resource is Cheap and can be financed out at low interest rates. As the resource becomes scarce, you can't do that anymore and eventually there is no profit to be made at any level, even a Boutique one. At this point the gas becomes unavailable to buy at any price, the roads fall into decay and disrepair and the system ceases to function.

The only real question is precisely how long it takes for the contraction phases to play themselves out in their entirety. In some areas of the world, it is likely to play out in less than a decade. In the last Ringfenced Boutique Economies, maybe it makes it 50 years, though I doubt it.

Doomstead Diner

In other countries, a low ratio of vehicles to population does not prevent a small fraction of the populace from using private cars. The roads and bridges may be more modest, the refineries smaller and more expensive, but they are needed for trucks and buses. Road networks were established before cars.

My impression is that refineries generally consist of multiple production units. Once individual production units reach scale, further scaling up does not lead to much greater efficiencies. In many cases, you would only need one refinery instead of the several clustered together, as is now the case in many locations.

$20/gal gas is no problem if private cars are limited to the wealthy. It is only 2 to 3 times more than Europeans currently pay. If you can afford a $60,000 car, you can put $20 gas in it. A power boating industry exists, even though the vehicles are expensive, the gas is expensive, mileage is terrible, and there is no practical reason to have a boat (a hole in the water that you throw money into.)

My fairly comfortable uncle gave me and my dad and my wife and daughter a little ride around part of Lake Winnipasaukee last month on his motorboat, a twin-pontooned pleasure deck, and he commented on how little motor traffic is on the lake these days, as people have been hit by the cost of it. He says he doen't go out all that often either, but as Ratty said, sometimes '..there's nothing quite so nice as simply messing about in boats'. It was pretty nice to see him and Dad singing some old silly tunes together from their youth, as my girl and her girlfriend dove repeatedly off the gunnels.

His son keeps a sleeker craft moored there, set up for waterskiing, and has hardly been able to use it, as he's discovered that he can lay out some $75 in gas for a weekend's slicing the waves. That's a grocery bill or tix to a decent show right there. I prefer self-powered craft, but still, if you treat it as a rare treat, it needn't always be an offensive excess. It's all a balancing act.

My two Canoes are still waiting patiently get properly wetted down this year, but we're not able to commit the time to put in at this point.

$20/gal gas is no problem if private cars are limited to the wealthy. It is only 2 to 3 times more than Europeans currently pay. If you can afford a $60,000 car, you can put $20 gas in it.

Let me try one more time to clarify this.

There won't be $60,000 carz, because those are production line vehicles. You'll only have one offs like Rolls Royce and Lamborghini at $300K and up, and only for a while.

The Gas doesn't stay at $20/gal, because the few Lamborghinis on the road have to pay the debt and operating costs for $1B Deepwater Drilling Platforms. The gas goes to $100...$200 until it is unavailable at any price.

The luxury cars don't last long on the Pothole ridden streets, because the Uber Rich cannot afford to pave much more than their long Driveways into their Walled Compounds. They also will not be able to find a Mechanic who can fix them, because there aren't enough Carz on the road for a mechanic to make a living. Auto Zones can't sell enough Parts to make the rent.

Old Saudi saying:

My father rode a camel, I drive a car, my son flys a jet plane, his son will
ride a camel.

Why are the roads so bad in Pétionville?

Here is a hypothesis that was independently proposed by three different people last summer to Jim when he was in Port-au-Prince: rich people like having roads so terrible outside their houses that you need a four wheel drive to drive on them. This has a number of advantages. First, it makes it less obvious that rich people are living there to potential criminals. Second and more important, it makes it difficult to make a get away after a robbery unless you yourself have a four wheel drive!

More and more, I'm thinking that peak oil means the US is going to look increasingly like a third world country. There's a lot of middle ground between the current happy motoring asphalt paradise and no cars at all. It's not like the auto infrastructure sprang up overnight; there was a period when only rich people had cars, and drove them on dirt roads.

And many third world countries have extensive road systems, even where most people cannot afford cars. Is it sustainable forever? Probably not, but I could see it lasting a lot longer than many here think.

Asphalt free roads don't have to be rough, people should take a browse on Shorpy and see what roads were like way back. Ours, here, are getting VERY rough because there is 0 maintenance being done. This is not because of any plan to downgrade but because the local council overspent on shiny projects to get peoples vote - they lost. I expect they planned to bury the project cost next year but are now exposed due to a new regime coming in. When they run a grader over the roads they aren't too bad and I prefer them, on a bike, to cobblestones. Asphalt needs a bit more than a grader.


I suggest you read up on the reasons why Eisenhower actually built the Interstate system.

I'm starting an article on this tonight, should have it up on the Diner in a couple of days.

Heavily built up asphalt roads are not needed for transport. Local or area transport can be carried on dirt road. I travel on these roads all the time along with asphalt, concrete and cobblestone. I have travelled on these sorts of roads in my car before I switched to bike and travelled long distances on them. As I mentioned, check on Shorpy - you will see ordinary dirt roads in use for main traffic. Long distance freight and passenger, I believe that Alan has covered this extensively so I will not re-hash it. Ah, maybe we are confusing the ability to carry out effective travel for required journeys with BAU. The decline of transport means that a declining road structure will not be a huge issue. You may not be comfortable driving your Ferrari on a graded road but my MTB is quite happy.


Losing asphalt roads would be insanity, especially without motorised transport. A MTB is happy getting nowhere slowly, until its boutique parts wear out.

Some states have torn up asphalt roads and put them back to gravel when they could no longer afford to maintain them. It is much cheaper maintaining a road when you only have to run a grader over it every so often.

When I was in the oil industry, they never used to pave the company roads. The large number of big trucks would have pounded the asphalt to pieces in a very short period of time. They might have to run a grader over the road once a week to keep it smooth, but that was a lot cheaper than having to repave it every few years.

Of course, once the trucks were out on the state/provincial highways, the state/provincial taxpayers had to pay for fixing the pavement, and that was a totally different proposition from the company's perspective.

This is true. In alaska oilfield roads are almost always gravel, and get lots of traffic.

A well maintained (graded now and then) gravel road can be much better to drive on than an inadequately maintained paved road. Some years back I drove down the Alaska Highway, and then took the Cassiar cut off. At that time the Cassiar still had two stretches of gravel, about 80 miles total gravel as I recall. The Cassiar gravel stretch was a much nicer drive than parts of the paved Alaska Highway. Note that I am not slamming Canadian or Alaskan road maintainence. Arctic climates are tough on pavement and it is very expensive to maintain. The point is that running a grader down a gravel road now and then keeps it in decent shape, wheras keeping pavement in good shape is extemely expensive. And when pavement starts to fall apart it is very nasty to drive on.

Likewise, I have driven the Dalton Highway (AKA the "Haul Road") from Fairbanks to Prudhoe. For some reason parts of it out in the middle of nowhere had been paved at some point. (I think it had to do with some sort of Federal highway funding.) The pavement was falling apart and those stretches were by far the worst to drive on.

Maintaining good roads requires the will to do so as well as the means. More than 30 years ago we moved to a suburban street, 1/2 mile long, dead end. The street was nicely paved. It ran on road easements; all of the lots extended to the middle of the street. We moved after 8 years. A few years ago I drove down that street. The pavement was in very bad shape. On one long stretch the asphalt was completely gone. There were a lot of potholes. One lot had new asphalt that abruptly ended at the property lines. It looked like many of the residents were unwilling to assess themselves for the cost of repairing/repaving the street on their properties (which would, after all, primarily benefit people who lived further down the street than they did).

People will continue to drive on deteriorating roads if they have to, reducing speed and having to make more frequent repairs to their vehicles. Collapsing bridges are another matter, however.

If you have sufficient equity in your home, and live far from access to public transportation, you will likely continue to put up with the increasing costs of operating a motor vehicle for a long time.

"and there is no practical reason to have a boat"

There is no practical reason to do most things in the recreation category. It's optional. That is why it's called recreation.

But people have been playing with boats long before the Iron Age. From something I read about a discovery on the Arabian side of the across the Red Sea people may have been playing with boats for about as long as they have been Modern Humans.

And I will be glassing the hull of my sailboat later this month, which will pretty much finish the activities of year 2 of construction. I might get it in the water next fall, but it probably won't be 'completed' until 2014.

"What needs to be proved today is that as long as a man has a car, he can do anything and go anywhere. Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Peking to Paris by automobile?"

In 1907 five cars drove from Peking to Paris. Four made it. They bought petrol along the way from pharmacies (it was used as dry-cleaning fluid in those pre-car days).

I think the motor car is here to stay. The roads will have to get worse than 1907 Siberia before they stop. As for refining petrol, I posted pictures of illicit Nigerian refineries a couple of weeks ago. An oil drum and some piping is all it takes.

One way to reduce the number of cars would be to no longer issue new plate numbers.

That shouldn't be too difficult to do, In the UK and Ireland the number of registered vehicles on the road has been dropping for the past couple of years. If number plates had to be recycled, there would be enough to go round!

Progress in LED's for the home

I recently had occasion to go to Home Depot and was very impressed with the growing array of LED bulbs and fixtures that are becoming available for homeowners. If you haven't looked at LED bulbs in over a year it might be worth taking another look. Phillips has a large selection of bulbs for home use.

Six months ago I installed one of their prize winning standard bulbs in a bathroom fan fixture where the space was very tight. Incandescent bulbs kept burning out and CFLs wouldn't fit. The Phillips bulb was a great solution and the quality of light is superb.

Last week I splurged for some indoor floods to go in overhead recessed cans on a dimmer switch. I had previously used some "dimmable" CFLs which I was never satisfied with. The new bulbs give plenty of light, come on instantly and have great color even when dimmed.

With improved color, increased choice and lowering prices it's time for everyone to start thinking about replacing with LEDs the next time a bulb burns out.



The Phillips L-Prize bulb - 9.7 watts for 940 lumens, 92 CRI (all better than the in store version 12.5 watts for 800 lumens) is ONLY (AFAIK) available by mail order from Home Deport and few internet dealers


JUST $49.97 for a lifetime (if 59 y/o like me) of cheap, good quality light. If you value the 92 CRI (Color Rendering Index) light at 1 cent/day/bulb, it is worth the uptick from the "cheap" 12.5 watt version.

Phillips also makes, and HD sells, a $17.97 4 watt, 320 lumen lower CRI bulb as well. Good for certain applications. And 0.6 watt LED night lights (much brighter than their old 0.25 watt LED night lights). Enough for a sparkle from a chandelier, etc. with a candelabra base.

No more changing bulbs, unless you move.

Best Hopes for Efficiency,


Just screw in the CFL's when you move & take the LED's with you!

I haven't spent much time comparing, but the last time I went to costco I picked up a number of LED bulbs surprisingly cheap, and they seem to do a pretty good job - not that I'd be an expert.

I paid $10.59 apiece for FEIT LED bulbs claiming 850-lumens, 3000K color temp, 13.5 w, 25,000 hr life. The Philips bulbs look niftier, but 10 bucks works for me...

My vet is using a LED spot in his fancy examination table light. Wasn't in the mood to chat about it but I guess that it gives the patient a much cooler light, the lighting was very good.


Actually, the one to beat is amazon. Now just $39.49 and that includes free shipping.

See: www.amazon.com/Philips-423244-10-Watt-60-Watt-L-Prize/dp/B007RKVT4C


The reviews are pretty good.

I'm still wondering if they really last as long as claimed. CFLs have been a bust for me, perhaps because my old wiring means unsteady voltage. They don't last anywhere near as long as advertised.

I have six L-Prize lamps in my home, including two I use for exterior flood lighting (http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/LP1.jpg and http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/LP3.jpg). Including seven carriage and one post light (Philips 2-watt EnduraLED BA11s), our exterior lighting load is 35.4-watts, or less than that of a standard 40-watt incandescent.

In terms of reliability, we've installed several thousand LED screw-ins to date (all Philips) and I can only recall one 17-watt PAR38 failing and one 12.5-watt A19; that's it.

We're now replacing incandescent and halogen lamps in retail and hospitality environments at no cost to the client. Efficiency Nova Scotia is picking-up 100 per cent of the tab (materials, labour and lamp disposal) and, with that, we expect to be installing these products as quickly as Philips can supply them.


I have been using CFLs and LEDs at home since they first came out, mostly GU10 fittings. My experience has been very mixed and I would say that the quality of the cheap Chinese lights varies enormously with some failing within a few days but others still running after several years. Of the more recent bulbs say bought within one year none have yet failed so quality is improving. The more expensive brand name bulbs seem to have all performed as expected - the quality control is probably better?

People keep telling me that, but I have not noticed a difference between the no-name Lowe's bulbs and the supposedly high-quality Sylvanias.

Hi L;
The only CFL's I've seen die early deaths are ones in tight or fully enclosed fixtures, where they get too hot, apparently.

I'm surprised that with them out for so long now, you've still had no luck with them.

C'est la guerre, I guess.

CFLs can be a bit fragile so if they get knocked around a bit, they'll die. LEDs are far more robust.

And CFLs can die if they are turned on & off frequently such as in motion-sensor applications. Actual LEDs are actually turned on & off nonstop . . . that is how their brightness is modulated. But I guess turning an LED unit on & off frequently could hurt the driver chips.

As part of the L-Prize a lab abused (voltage, vibration, etc.) to failure 15 CFLs and 15 prototype Phillips LEDs. All 15 CFLs failed and no LEDs. So they continued until one L=Prize bulb failed.

Forensic analysis showed failure was a known fault that had already been corrected in subsequent units.

Another group bought an L-Prize LED and did an autopsy. "Best LED ever built" was the verdict. (At $50, I would hope so).

And assembled in the USA.


LEDs ar great for directional and feels safe with cold light bulbs for spot lights. If available they had been useful in the Windsor Castle.

LEDs winning light race to save energy, the environment: report

Today's light-emitting diode light bulbs have a slight environmental edge over compact fluorescent lamps. And that gap is expected to grow significantly as technology and manufacturing methods improve in the next five years, according to a new report from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and UK-based N14 Energy Limited.

The report examines total environmental impact, including the energy and natural resources needed to manufacture, transport, operate and dispose of light bulbs. Fifteen different impacts were considered when evaluating environmental footprints, including the potential to increase global warming, use land formerly available to wildlife, generate waste and pollute water, soil and air. The report examines the complete life cycles of three kinds of light bulbs: light-emitting diodes, also called LEDs, compact fluorescents, or CFLs, and traditional incandescent light bulbs.


FWIW, I am starting to see lighting dimmers with power curves designed for LED fixtures.

So there is some nice synergy going on now that LED lighting is starting to mature.

This is it! This is LATOC! The recession phase has lasted longer than expected, helping Obama, but in about a year we will begin to transition into the mad max phase. By 2017, net exports will be dramatically lower, and that will be going mostly to Chinindia. The world has also reached peak coal this year at 8 billion tonnes. By 2040 things will be like the 1800s, and we will just be starting to roll out the IFRs and LFTRs. Good luck!

Please, some translation of the acronyms for those of us who are not Jesuits.

Life After The Oil Crash
Integral Fast Reactor
Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactor

Because China's growth is stalling, you should update your forecasts concerning the amount of crude oil exports that will be going to China in 2017.

I'm going to assume this is trolling.

Zachary J Moitoza
Member for 29 weeks 5 days

Tough call, could just be weird. Benefit of the doubt.

This is it! This is LATOC!

There is a greater probability of this being life during or closely pre-oil crash.

The recession phase has lasted longer than expected, helping Obama, but in about a year we will begin to transition into the mad max phase.

Bad economic times never really help the president who is in office during them. I'll at least say that. If you're looking for a Mad Max phase, I suspect an inflection point to be closer to 2015 than 2012. Probably not Mad Max, but another turn for the worse.

By 2017, net exports will be dramatically lower, and that will be going mostly to Chinindia. The world has also reached peak coal this year at 8 billion tonnes.

The net exports thing might be true. Chindia...mmm - they're reliant on exports to fund those imports. If things get as bad as you believe, there likely won't be many people importing those exports. It's a complex situation with many chaotic feedbacks. Coal situation I can't comment on.

By 2040 things will be like the 1800s, and we will just be starting to roll out the IFRs and LFTRs. Good luck!

If things go as badly as getting knocked back into the 1800's there is going to be far too much chaos to organize and fund a bit of high-tech infrastructure such as those reactors. Subject also to the "energy trap."

Article from CSM on older workers:

The silver-collar economy

Some companies actively seek senior workers because they believe they have better work habits and are more likely to stay with the company. They are also cheaper, since many are willing to work part-time and are covered by Medicare for their health care costs.

Good news for those who cannot afford to retire. Maybe not so good news for young workers trying to get into the workforce.

Nigerian navy frees hijacked Singapore-owned oil tanker

Nigeria's navy says it has rescued a Singapore-owned oil tanker hijacked by pirates on Tuesday night with 23 Indian sailors on board.

A navy spokesman told the BBC the crew was safe, the hijackers had fled and the vessel, the Abu Dhabi Star, was being escorted into the port of Lagos.

The BBC's Will Ross in Lagos says unlike the piracy off the coast of Somalia where hostages are held for ransom, in the Gulf of Guinea the armed gangs are after the cargo which is usually swiftly offloaded.

Hurricane Center watching a better organized system in the northern Gulf

The National Hurricane Center is giving a low pressure system southeast of Pensacola a 40 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone within 48 hours.

The disturbance, about 25 miles south and east of Pensacola, is moving south to southwest at 5 to 10 mph, according to the 2 p.m. advisory from the NHC.


Hunger Games: The price of feeding the world

The World Development Movement, a UK-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), has accused Barclays Bank of profiting from world hunger by betting on food crises and helping to push food prices up.

The NGO said Barclays had reportedly made more than $800m over the past two years from speculating on food markets and that investors were using the food market as a "playground".

... It has been estimated by the World Development Movement that Barclays pulled in no more than £529m from the company’s “food speculative activities” in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, Barclays made £340m and in 2011 the bank made £189m.

The bank makes the majority of its money from speculating on food by creating commodity funds that take money and invest it. The money is taken from pension funds, wealthy individuals and insurance companies in return for commissions and fees. Barclays has said that it does not invest its own money. According to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, since 2000, Barclays has been able to make $200 billion when investing cash in agricultural commodities.


How Goldman Sachs And Its Henchmen Are Starving The World

... What's the solution? There may not be one, not right now anyway. “ What would happen if the U.S. government simply outlawed long-only trading in food commodities for investment banks,” another reporter asked a group of wheat speculators. They laughed. One phone call to a bona-fide hedger like Cargill or Archer Daniels Midland and one secret swap of assets, and a bank's stake in the futures market is indistinguishable from that of an international wheat buyer was their response. Well, the reporter persisted, “What if the government outlawed all long-only derivative products?” They laughed again. That problem could be solved with another phone call, this time to a trading office in London or Hong Kong.

It seems that the new food derivative markets have reached supranational proportions, beyond the reach of sovereign law. Thanks to speculation, where we should have cooperation, instead, we have "me-first" policies - from export bans to grain hoarding to neo-mercantilist land grabs in Africa - while efforts by concerned activists or international agencies to curb grain speculation have gone nowhere. In the meantime, the bankers pocket the profits and the world's poorest teeter on the brink of starvation.

New startup uses robot to reposition solar panels (w/ Video)

As prices for solar panels continue to fall, those looking to make money selling large arrays have increasingly been turning their attention to the physical infrastructure that supports the panels. To keep the panels pointing at the sun, engineers typically install motors, gears and electronic controllers on each one, all of which tend to cost a lot of money. Buyers on the other hand must make decisions on whether to install arrays with no moving capabilities or to choose from either single our double axis systems, with the latter costing a lot more.

Single axis systems are capable of tilting panels along one line, moving forward following the available sunlight. Those with a two axis tracker on the other hand can tilt sideways a little bit as they move forward to ensure the panels face directly into the sun.

Now, a new startup called QBotix has come up with what it believes is a better way. They employ a small robot moving on a monorail to move between the panels adjusting each to point at the sun, eliminating the need for each panel to have its own motors, gears or electronics.

Seems overdone to me.. I would think that even ganging a row together so a common drive runs maybe up to a dozen poles would make better sense than keeping this critter running reliably on clean rails day in and out.. but good on them for trying things.

With the cost of PV so low, IMO, it makes more sense to just use the space for more panels. While tracking can extend the peak output period, the company's claim that dual axis tracking produces "up to fifteen percent more energy capture over existing single axis systems" simply hasn't been born out in studies and tests. Typical gains are 3-4% over single axis tilt-and-roll trackers. It cost me about $250-$300 each (actually less since I scrounged most of the actuators) to outfit my trackers with linear actuators and photo controls, and on the rare occasion that one of my trackers fails, they don't all go down. It's no big deal to adjust the elevation a few times a year. Further, reading the article, the robot only adjusts each array every 45 minutes, or ten degrees. My little trackers are accurate to less than one degree.

Seems like a case of trying to invent a better mouse trap when existing ones work fine.

Single vs. Dual Axis Solar Tracking

$250-300$ for how many watts? These guys are in another part of the business -utility scaled PV farms. Saving a few cents per watt is a big deal.
Whether the saving pan out is a different matter entirely.

I'd still be really surprised if their R2D2 really ended up being a cheaper solution at scale than having a uniform tracking mechanism that is popped into each post.

I expect that the savings will come from some progressively simpler redesigns of the movement plan, and not the decentralization of the motors altogether. Motors and gear, belt or pulleyworks working at such low speeds and tensions are probably not the weakest or the priciest links in the chain.

I do wonder how many of the parts in the current ones are from our proud 'lowest bidder' hardware manufacturing base, though. The beancounters sometimes get snagged when being asked to finance a system for the long haul.

"$250-300$ for how many watts?"

Arrays rated at 1004 watts, or less than $0.30/watt for about a 30% gain in annual output (40%+ in winter when it really matters), a bargain at the time, when PV was $4.00+/watt. The arrays in the link look to be about the same size as mine, perhaps a bit larger.

Then again, my favorite tracker is my passive Zomeworks...


...which just works. Doesn't get the gain of active trackers, more like 20-25%, but will likely last at least as long as the panels. One of those things you just don't worry about. Not great for really windy areas, but far better than I expected. Hard to believe I found it on a junk pile.

Was having trouble with the videos loading ...


I wonder if you could do the same thing with a closed system hose and pulses of water. Then again that might not last 20-40 years either.

Kinda reminds me of Wall-E without the personality.


Cute... I wonder if it does windows. [not a bad idea; make it wash the panels as well, it may be worth something]

If the monorail can house the electrical wiring for the PV panels, then the robot could get power from the monorail eliminating the need for a second robot to sit and recharge.

Loss of tropical forests reduces rainfall

Deforestation can have a significant effect on tropical rainfall, new research confirms. The findings have potentially devastating impacts for people living in and near the Amazon and Congo forests.

By combining observational data with predictions of future deforestation, the researchers estimate that destruction of tropical forests would reduce rain across the Amazon basin by up to a fifth (21 per cent) in the dry season by 2050. The study is published today in Nature.

"Our study implies that deforestation of the Amazon and Congo forests could have catastrophic consequences for the people living thousands of kilometres away in surrounding countries."

and Climate change: More carbon dioxide leads to fewer clouds

The warmer the air, the more water can evaporate: a simple relationship familiar to us from everyday life. Researchers from Germany and the Netherlands have now established that this is not always the case: although an increase in the greenhouse gas CO2 makes the climate warmer, it also allows less water to evaporate. Plants, with their billions of tiny leaf pores, are the cause of this apparent contradiction. They influence the gas and moisture content of the air around them. Using new calculations of an atmospheric model, the researchers found that this sets in motion a cascade of processes, finally resulting in global warming.

Spain -No more free treatment for undocumented migrants

"Starting on September 1, at least 150,000 foreigners from non-EU states who do not have residency rights in Spain, will have strict limits imposed on their access to the public health system,” explains El País, in the run-up to the application of the decree on “urgent measures to ensure the sustainability of the National Health System. “Medical assistance for undocumented migrants will be restricted to emergency care, pregnant women and minors,” adds the newspaper. According to the government, the measure which is part of its austerity package, will result in savings of €500 million per year. However, El País remarks that –

A more realistic calculation would be for savings that will not exceed half of this sum – which is close to the figure for revenue lost because of difficulties billing for health services offered for free to EU-passport holders from other member states.

At the same time, the Madrid daily points out that “this decision will undermine the right to healthcare guaranteed in the Spanish constitution.” Worse still –...

One feels anger at the vile actions of our government, those migrants from Africa and South America were needed in the boom times, and now they are getting rid of them. Many were cheated and swindled out of their savings by our corrupt banks.

The only consolation is that if they go away they are not going to be caught in the Spanish death trap, we're going down like a lead weight.
The more world-wise among them, Argentinians specially, have already left with all their savings, experience and know-how.

Concern about plans to close unique Canadian environmental project

The Canadian government's plans to discontinue in 2013 a unique environmental research project that has yielded insights into water pollution, climate change and other topics for almost 40 years would be a "huge loss not only to science but to the scientific heritage of humanity." That's the focus of a viewpoint article in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The authors reflect that concern in arguing: "In a world facing unprecedented effects of global climate change, we can ill afford to abandon a facility that offers the unique combination of long-term monitoring and the capacity for ecosystem-scale experimentation."

One of Canada's greatest scientists on the closing of "the world's only ecological supercollider."



Glacial thinning has sharply accelerated at major South American icefields

For the past four decades scientists have monitored the ebbs and flows of the icefields in the southernmost stretch of South America's vast Andes Mountains, detecting an overall loss of ice as the climate warms. A new study, however, finds that the rate of glacier thinning has increased by about half over the last dozen years in the Southern Patagonian Icefield, compared to the 30 years prior to 2000.

... The Southern Icefield, which Willis and his colleagues focused on, loses around 20 billion tons (gigatonnes) of ice each year, the scientists calculated, which is roughly 9,000 times the volume of water stored by Hoover Dam annually. Cumulatively, the Southern Patagonian Icefield has lost enough water over the last 12 years to cover the entire United States with 2.7 centimeters (about 1 inch) of water. Include melting of both icefields, and that amount increases to 3.3 centimeters (1.2 inches), the scientists report.

Exceptional upward mobility in the US is a myth, international studies show

... "Especially in the United States, people underestimate the extent to which your destiny is linked to your background. Research shows that it's really a myth that the U.S. is a land of exceptional social mobility," said Fabian Pfeffer, a sociologist at the U-M Institute for Social Research and the organizer of an international conference on inequality across multiple generations being held Sept. 13-14 in Ann Arbor.

... He found that parental wealth plays an important role in whether children move up or down the socioeconomic ladder in adulthood. And that parental wealth has an influence above and beyond the three factors that sociologists and economists have traditionally considered in research on social mobility—parental education, income and occupation

and US poor left out in the cold

and For sale: The American dream

What enables the U.S. system is the poor being paid off with just enough of a wage or food stamps to purchase corn syrup laced foodstuffs at huge grocery stores, and then go home and occupy themselves with endless entertainment..."bread and circuses."

I see this continuing and in fact plan to participate myself, as I increasingly withdraw my support from this society and consequently become poorer, which is a price I am willing to pay to save my soul. But the cracks are beginning to show.

Posted many times already: "That's why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." - George Carlin


Dinosaur die-out might have been second of two closely timed extinctions

The most-studied mass extinction in Earth history happened 65 million years ago and is widely thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs. New University of Washington research indicates that a separate extinction came shortly before that, triggered by volcanic eruptions that warmed the planet and killed life on the ocean floor.

Trout will become extinct in the Iberian Peninsula in less than 100 years: study

This fish is very sensitive to changes in its environment and, according to the Spanish study, its habitat will have reduced by half by the year 2040 and will have completely disappeared from Iberian rivers by 2100, so its population will become extinct.

Trout will become extinct in the Iberian Peninsula in less than 100 years: study

That's okay. We've got a zillion of them (Salmo trutta) here due a truck breakdown in 1925, and I can go and catch one any time I want.

Brown Trout in Alberta (Salmo trutta)

Brown Trout are not native to Alberta but were introduced in 1925 when a truck carrying 45,000 fingerlings broke down. The driver released his cargo into the nearest stream which lead the fish to the Bow River -- which is now world renowned for Brown Trout fishing. Despite their unintended entrance into Alberta they are a part of the Alberta stock program and are now found moderately throughout the Eastern Slopes of the Alberta Rocky Mountains.

It's true - the Bow River is a world-class trout fishery, and the accidentally-introduced, non-native Brown Trout is one of the more popular catches. Here they are classified as "exotic/alien" rather than "endangered". OTOH, Spain might have to rely on some other fish in future.

Rocky – I was going to let I ass without comment but since you brought it up. Not the greatest spin sin but once again using a hot button word (extinction) to push for an emotion response bothers me a tad.

In a similar light I could talk about the great black bear extinction in Harris County, Texas (aka Houston). I still remember back some 30 years ago when I moved to Harris County they still had a black bear hunting season. And this despite the fact that many decades had passed since a black bear had been seen in these parts. Except for the zoo, of course.

Brown trout are not going extinct on the Iberian Peninsula…they just won’t be there. Just as there are no black bears in Harris County. Unless they are re-introduced as they have been in S. La. Where they are now so numerous they become a problem.

But, as I said, not the most egregious example of spin by any means but spin none the less.

The word is extirpation, Rockies. And as the Iberian pennisula is a tad bigger than Harris Co. Texas, I'd say, no, it's not 'okay'.

The use of "extinction" rather than "extirpation" is nonetheless misleading, because the Brown Trout is in no danger of extinction. It is found in many places around the world.

The Iberian Peninsula may be bigger than Harris Co. Texas, but it is smaller than Alberta, and the Brown Trout seems to have found a nearly ideal habitat for itself here. However, it is quite popular with the fishermen, which why the wildlife authorities have shown no interest in controlling its numbers. And, if the rivers heat up in Spain, the Brown trout will probably expand its range here because the water is on the cold side for that species of trout.

If Harris Co. needs any black bears, we can let them have some of ours - I've got black bears walking through my back yard. And, last week, my wife was walking the dog back from the nearby dog off-leash area, and a grizzly bear walked across the street in front of them, notwithstanding the fact it is extirpated in most of the US.

On the reintroduction front, a few years ago we sneaked some of our local wolves down to Montana, slipped them across the border, and got the ranchers there quite upset. However, we stand willing and able to un-extirpate a lot of species if anybody wants them back.

Local extirpation is quite different than extinction, and I wish journalists would keep that clear.

cliffy - I didn't notice anyone say it was okay or even desirable. The loss of the trout on the IP may be a tragic example of man's foolishness or it may be no big thing. I have no idea. It's just not extinction. Some extinction could be desirable though. Such as the skeeters carrying the West Nile Virus which has killed a record number of folks in the country this year with the season far from over.

If the loss comes about from poor environmental management then hit it from that angle. But the use of inflammatory yet untrue rhetoric cheapens the effort IMHO.

Some extinction could be desirable though. Such as the skeeters carrying the West Nile Virus which has killed a record number of folks in the country this year with the season far from over.

The hype about West Nile should also be condemned then. It has a mortality rate of less than 1% and has killed far less people than what Tuberculosis did. 80% of West Nile patients don't even show any symptoms and the rest only get a cold and cough as a result. Only 1 in 150 see severe complications. Of course efforts must be made to remove the disease but at what cost ? would you choose to have carcinogenic pesticides sprayed all over (to make those skeeters and carriers extinct) in the name of combating a disease that has a mortality rate much lower than pneumonia (5% vs ~1%) ? (source : wiki)

See this post about west nile by Tad Patzek.

From the post

Being an eager student of Edward Bernays, and other younger experts in propaganda and manipulating the little people, I sat on the edge of my sofa, trying to divine what would they start selling us?

And thus the sales pitch started. The local crew first showed us aerial spraying of Dallas, with a mosquito bomber circling above. They assured us that the chemicals drizzling upon our heads were absolutely harmless and the whole metropolitan area would be sprayed with DEET.

DEET is N,N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide, developed by the United States Army, after the harrowing experience of mosquitoes and other bugs in jungle warfare during World War II. It was originally tested as a pesticide on farm fields, and entered military use in 1946 and civilian use in 1957. Canada, for example, is not as eager to use DEET on its population as the U.S. is.

One man's paranoia is another man's no worry and vice-versa.

The hype about West Nile should also be condemned then. It has a mortality rate of less than 1% and has killed far less people than what Tuberculosis did. ... would you choose to have carcinogenic pesticides sprayed all over (to make those skeeters and carriers extinct) in the name of combating a disease that has a mortality rate much lower than pneumonia (5% vs ~1%) ?

You're not worried about a disease because it only kills one percent of its victims?? Because it is less lethal than tuberculosis and pneumonia?? I'll go for the pesticides, myself. Some of the more popular ones are less toxic to humans than aspirin, but very lethal for insects.

BTW, tuberculosis is making a comeback because people have become rather blase about it on the assumption that it is curable, and because HIV compromises resistance to it. Some of the new multiple drug-resistant versions are about 100% incurable. Malaria is also reappearing because people are not spraying mosquitoes as much as they used to. Both diseases kill millions of people worldwide every year.

re: See this post about west nile by Tad Patzek.

It's total BS. DEET is an insect repellent, not a pesticide, and nobody sprays it from airplanes. You can spray it on your skin to keep the bugs away, but not on your face because it smells and tastes nasty, and makes your eyes sting. It doesn't kill the insects, it only annoys them.

If you spray it on your house, it will melt the vinyl siding, as one of my brothers-in-law had his daughter demonstrate to him. So, no, they weren't spraying DEET on Dallas from airplanes. The author is badly confused.

Comes down to personal choices then eh. I have seen the nasty effects of both pesticides and insecticides, I'd prefer a 1% mortality rate which is on top of a 1-10% odd chance of contracting the disease in the first place. I guess I have a higher chance of getting run over or getting killed in a crime than I have of dying by west nile.

The thing about any contagious disease is that if you don't control it, the probability of contracting it can rise on an exponential curve until the entire population contracts it. Then it becomes known as a "plague". There was a lot of that happening in the Middle Ages. Plagues wiped out half the population of Europe during the Middle Ages.

The reason we no longer have a lot of contagious diseases in developed countries is that we control them. In third world countries, they don't control them nearly as well, and as a result, millions of people die from them.

The standards for use of insecticides in third-world countries are just as bad as the standards for controlling diseases, and as a result a lot of people die from pesticide use - but not nearly as many as from contagious diseases. It doesn't rise into the millions, unlike TB and malaria.

In first-world countries the standards for insecticide use are just as high or higher than the standards for disease control, and as a result almost no one dies from using pesticides. It is certainly far lower than the number who die of contagious diseases, because there are still a lot of those.

I like to bring up the topic of malaria and Ottawa, because Ottawa is the coldest capital city in the world after Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia. (Moscow is relatively warm by comparison). During the building of the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, about 500 of the workers died of malaria. Malaria is not restricted to warm countries, other than by the fact that cold countries are developed countries, and are very good at stamping out malaria, which Canada has done. It's all about spraying those mosquitoes.

Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan since 1998, is the world's coldest capital.

Reykjavik, Iceland is the least warm capital (90% of the time between +10 C & -10 C).


Strawman. We are talking about west nile here, not bubonic plague which has a mortality rate of 30-70%, incapacitates the rest temporarily and spreads much faster.

As for the utility of pesticides and insecticides, I am not denying their importance but to attribute everything to them would be a mistake, basic practices like cleanliness, segregation of waste and quarantine are as important as using pesticides. My whole point was that we should not be using these chemicals at the drop of a hat. All technologies follow the law of diminishing returns, sometimes over use leads to more problems. And you don't need to tell me about importance of protection against mosquitoes and insects, I grew up in a tropical rainforest area, never contracted malaria, neither did any of my friends or acquaintances, I once had the misfortune of being on anti malarial medication when the doctor incorrectly diagnosed me. It sucks the life out of you.

I find a mosquito net and covered clothing far more preferable than things like DEET and DDT.

I would say that each has its place. The problem is more of misuse. The widespread spraying of DDT is a disaster, spraying ceilings with it, where the mosquito likes to sit, is a benefit. Covered clothing is very effective but at 33c+ and high humidity can cause severe heat/dehydration issues. We have Dengue here, I know why they call it breakbone fever too well. A few years ago the health official charged with spraying used a family member to provide the insecticide. The contract was so cheap because the insecticide was the wrong one that had no effect. How many lives did that cost? Fortunately it was found out, the insecticide was switched to the correct one and those responsible are enjoying a sponsored holiday.


What I find reprehensible is that people use these chemicals to cover up for their laziness. Garbage and water is left in open tanks to rot and then when mosquitoes and insects breed they liberally sprinkle these things everywhere. Dengue is also prevalent here but is most of the times avoidable if water is allowed to drain away. Down here most dengue deaths occur not in tropical areas but in areas with poor planning.

It's not so much laziness but that without chemical pesticides, it requires heroic efforts to bring disease-spreading insects under control.

When the French tried to build the Panama Canal, their efforts were defeated by the fact that 25,000 of their workers died of yellow fever, plus the project manager's family. When the Americans took over the canal, after overthrowing governments and rearranging national boundaries, the first thing they did was wipe out yellow fever in Panama.

Since they didn't have chemical pesticides, they did this by pouring kerosene on all the standing water in Panama to suffocate the mosquito larvae. It was a pretty drastic approach, and had huge environmental consequences, but it did wipe out yellow fever and malaria in Panama, and the Americans were able to build the canal.

I'm old enough that I remember a time when DDT had not been introduced to large scale use. We had bedbugs back then, and controlling them was nearly impossible. Fortunately bedbugs don't spread disease - they are merely annoying. After DDT was introduced, the bedbugs disappeared pretty fast. All someone had to do was spray a room with DDT and they were gone.

Since DDT has been banned, bedbugs are making a comeback. They are a nightmare to control in hotels because, unlike DDT, the permitted insecticides are non-persistent poisons. If they spray the bedbugs, they all die, and then the new ones come out of their eggs. If it was DDT, it would last for weeks and kill the new ones as well. The hotels have to keep spraying the rooms over and over again.

It's a tradeoff. If pesticides were banned, people would be going back to spraying their bedrooms with kerosene, which is what they did in my grandparent's time. Or... using the Medieval solution - travelling with a pig. Travelers would put their pig in the bed and go down to dinner. When they came back, the bedbugs would be satiated, so they would kick the pig out of bed and have a comfortable night's sleep.

Yes, we get the state health patrols coming door to door to check up.People here do generally try and keep their places safe but there is still a lot of rubbish strewn around. The puff patrols do come around though I did not see as many this season though I may just have been missing seeing them. The geckos do their part and I am happy for them to co-exist unlike some who hate them.


Strawman. We are talking about west nile here, not bubonic plague which has a mortality rate of 30-70%, incapacitates the rest temporarily and spreads much faster.

Bubonic plague is another disease that could come back very quickly if they stopped their efforts to control it. There are reservoirs of bubonic plague among the rodent populations of the US, and every so often someone dies of it. If the health authorities were not alert and didn't jump on every case, it could spread very rapidly, and then we would be back to having 30-70% of the population dying of it.

People are too complacent about these extremely dangerous diseases. They still exist, and they could come back if governments didn't control them. A mutated version could spread quickly if one appeared that was resistant to immunization and drugs.

Here in Alberta we don't have any rats of the sort that spread plague - one of the few rat-free places on Earth. This is not an accident. When rats first poked their invasive noses across the border, the government hit them with arsenic, shotguns, bulldozers, high explosives and flame-projecting devices. It was like a preview of the Vietnam war. As one rat-patroller said, "Most other jurisdictions don't control rats with pyrotechnics. We do."

There is a $5000 fine here for possession of an unlicensed rat, and they aren't kidding. They aren't going to give you a license for your pet rat because they only give them to laboratories so they can test new drugs on them. If you come to Alberta, bring your (properly licensed) gun but leave your rat at home.

Since Warfarin was introduced, rat control has been an easier struggle since rats don't associate Warfarin with dying and keep on eating it. It's a lot safer, too, and is taken by human beings to prevent blood clots. However, we had an outbreak of rats in a sanitary landfill recently, and the shotguns, bulldozers, high explosives and flame-projecting devices came out again.

I think it's a good idea. Unlike most places, it leaves us at no risk of a bubonic plague outbreak.

I think the main hype about the west Nile thing is really more about climate change than anything else. Feel free to correct me, it's just my initial take on the subject.

I didn't notice anyone say it was okay

Then you didn't read the first line of RMG's comment to which you replied...

And while I agree that journalists are pretty much as clueless about the environment as they are about energy, and that editors are always happy to sensationalize with misleading headlines and wording, what we are collectively doing to the global environment - in some cases piece by piece as with extirpation - and in others in one hellish fell swoop as with AGW - is ignorant, arrogant, foolish and tragic beyond what any sensational headline could possibly convey. It is, afterall, the only home we have.

cliffy - I fully agree with you about what we have been doing to the environment for many decades. My point was that if you give the deniers an easy opening to attack a postion you're doing one's cause more harm then good. Unfortunately it's not like there aren't thousands of useful examples without over reaching. It seems like most debates on ever issue these days get bogged down over arguments about such over reaching instead of focusing on the critical facts. Folks often raise strawman arguments but there's no benefit in giving them more ammo IMHO.

Then you didn't read the first line of RMG's comment to which you replied...

Maybe I shouldn't have used the word "okay" in my first post, although my point was that the brown trout was in no danger of extinction because it has been widely propagated worldwide. The fish is "okay" in that sense.

What I really meant, and said later was,

The use of "extinction" rather than "extirpation" is nonetheless misleading, because the Brown Trout is in no danger of extinction. It is found in many places around the world.

I was making a comment on the exaggeration of the facts by certain researchers and journalists. It results in the "boy who cried wolf" syndrome. People become blase after all the claims of species going extinct, so when some species is actually in danger of becoming extinct, they ignore it.

In the case of the brown trout, its natural range is from Northern Norway to North Africa, and from Iceland to Afghanistan. It has been successfully introduced into all continents except Antarctica and 82 countries worldwide, so it can't be as temperature and environment sensitive as the article implies. My BS detector goes off when someone tells me a fish which is native to North Africa and thrives in South Africa and India is going to be wiped out by temperature increases in Spain. That's a very dubious hypothetical claim.

Extirpation is quite different from extinction. When the Plains Bison was locally extirpated here in Alberta a century ago, the government just brought in a herd from Montana and put them in the parks. When the Grey Wolf was extirpated in Montana and Wyoming, we just sent down some of our local wolves to fill the gap (we let them walk down on their own), much to the horror of ranchers down there.

Extinction is forever, extirpation only lasts until the government brings in a new stock and does some wildlife management to ensure it survives. In some cases it is difficult, but it is hardly impossible. There are species which are in danger of extinction, but this is not one of them.

If people want to stop the brown trout being extirpated in the Iberian Peninsula, they should tell the Spanish and Portugese governments to tighten up their pollution control efforts, do some more intense fisheries management, and maybe put some poachers in jail. AGW is a more difficult problem to manage, and efforts are trending toward total failure on that front.

What your comment said to many readers was 'That's okay that they're running out. I've got mine.'

It's an eyepoke that we're familiar with, RMG. Sure, 'Extinction' was inappropriate in a global or absolute sense, and you can certainly argue that this is the only sense that matters.. but the point of the report is that there are broad and deep ecological effects taking place, and we'd better be looking at more than Canaries if we want to recognize that there are some serious changes coming about.

As Darwin experienced in the Archipelagos, there are regional populations that one day may become, and nevertheless may be looked upon as species unto themselves if they have no meaningful communication with their cousins abroad, and their disappearance is clearly going to be a hit to that ecosystem.

The idea that all these local 'extirpations' require is a restocking by governments is simply goofy. The article describes the effects on a fish that sportsmen can recognize, but it hardly applies to the numbers of complementary species that are also being affected. They are certainly NOT all being 'restocked' when their shelves run dry here and there around the globe.

Your persistently glib dismissal of such concepts is disappointing.

joker - Not that Rocky needs me to defend him but: "...according to the Spanish study, its habitat will have reduced by half by the year 2040 and will have completely disappeared from Iberian rivers by 2100." So apparently "it's OK" with the Spanish since they are intentionally eliminating the habitat for agricultural benefit. It may sound harsh but I'm just as OK with the lack of a future for the Iberian trout as I am for the future of black bears in Harris County. Apparently it's the will of the majority of the folks in both regions. Personally I'm actually OK with the return of the bears here but I'm in the minority. You might vote in favor of maintaining the habitats for the trout but I suspect the Spanish care as little about you desires as the Texans care about mine. I've hunted many types of critters but will never hunt bears. For some strange reason they just remind me too much of us. I just like to watch them as I've often done up in Canada.

"I've hunted many types of critters but will never hunt bears. For some strange reason they just remind me too much of us."

It's the same reason I'll hunt wild/feral pigs, Rock. They remind me even more of 'us': breed like crazy, destructive of their environment, little respect for other creatures, mean and nasty, eat almost anything...

Ghung - feral pigs are my favorite game also but I thought it was just because I luvvvvvvvvvvvvvv pork. And I don't like the way they occasional tear up the dogs. Need to re-examine my true motivation. A lot of the locals in Texas give up their deer tags to silly city hunters who pay way too much. The locals just focus on a lot of pork sausage.

Rockman, while we're on a culinary note, I can recommend a blend of bear and feral pig in your sausages. My brother's uncle-in-law shot a bear one week, and the next week he shot a pig. He ground them up together and made sausage. It was quite good, although a bit fatty.

I personally prefer elk sausage or bison sausage because it's leaner - I barbecued up some bison sausage with Italian seasoning earlier this week, and it was delicious.

And if you ever need some bears down there in Houston, I'm sure we can spare some. Ours are all numbered and radio collared, and we know where they are, so we can pick them up any time you want. I can understand how your neighbors might get a little perturbed about them, though. My neighbor got more than a little perturbed when he was sitting in his hot tub on his deck, and a bear walked up, looked down on him in the tub, and then walked away. We've got some really casual wildlife here, people less so.

We have no feral pigs here, though - they can't run fast enough. If the grizzly bears didn't get them, the cougars or the wolves would, and I'm sure they all enjoy a nice ham dinner.

And if you ever need some bears down there in Houston, I'm sure we can spare some. Ours are all numbered and radio collared, and we know where they are, so we can pick them up any time you want.

My, My. You Canadians are so orderly! ;-)

Around here we only radio collar a few now and then for studies, such as this one:
Tracking Anchorage grizzly bears

In that study they collared and tracked 11 grizzlies in the area around town. The most recent estimate I've heard is that there are upwards of 60 grizzlies in the immediate vicinity of Anchorage. I haven't heard of anyone bothering to collar Black Bears around Anchorage, but there are estimated to be several hundred in the immediate area. Not too long ago a friend of mine had a griz on his deck, looking in. Surprisingly few people are injured by bears, though it does happen now and then.

We get Alaska Moose in our yard all the time. Last fall, I stepped out the morning after Halloween to find a cow and calf right by our front door, munching the jack-o-lantern we had put out the night before. Alces alces gigas is the largest subspecies of moose. According to Wikipedia "Male Alaska Moose can stand over 2.1 m (7 ft) at the shoulder, and weigh 634.5 kg (1,396 lbs). The antlers on average have a span of 1.8 m (6 ft). Female Alaska Moose stand on average 1.8 m (6–7 ft) at the shoulder and weigh 478 kg (1,052 lbs). The Alaska Moose matches the extinct Irish Elk as the largest deer of all time." I've heard of occaisonal bulls going even bigger than Wiki states. They aren't generall aggressive, but occaisonally one will be provoked and someone will be injured. A few years back a guy was stomped to death on the UAA campus. My wife and I had a scary experience a couple of years ago while skiing one of our in-town trails on a very dark, cold night. We inadvertantly got too close to a cow and calf. Mamma was not happy....but we were able to back off without damage. In winter they like to walk on roads after they've been snow plowed. Hitting a moose at speed will total your car, kill the moose, and likely kill you as well.

This is not prime bear habitat here in Canmore, it is just that bears like to come here, much like the tourists. There is a fundamental conflict because human beings and animals prefer to live in the same kind of habitat, and humans usually win.

You have quite a few more bears in Anchorage than we have here, mainly due to the presence of salmon there. We don't have any salmon here, it's the wrong side of the continental divide. Salmon are very good grizzly feed, our local buffaloberries and dandelions somewhat less so. Regardless, I think most of the bears in town are numbered and wearing radio collars. They try to keep track of the urban bears.

There are no moose in town, only a few hundred elk which roam through from time to time. There are moose in the neighboring valleys, and hitting one with a car would indeed be a distinctly bad experience. We mostly meet them in parking lots after backcountry skiing trips, when we find them licking all the salt off our cars - a moose car wash.

I met one head-to-head when driving a Toyota Tercel out of a parking lot one time, and noted that I could probably drive under its belly and make my escape, but decided not to chance it. Provoking a moose can result in a trashed car. I just waited until it decided to leave.

They remind me even more of 'us': breed like crazy, destructive of their environment, little respect for other creatures, mean and nasty, eat almost anything...

Yeah, but I bet they taste really good too! Hmm, looks over the fence at plum neighbor sitting on porch >;^)

All this talk of bears and moose and pigs and elk... one has to draw a line somewhere and I think you just crossed over it. Plums are a peaceful, quiet fruit that deserve our greatest respect and protection.


What your comment said to many readers was 'That's okay that they're running out. I've got mine.'

That is not what I said and not what I meant. You are putting words in my mouth. It is a straw man argument.

The idea that all these local 'extirpations' require is a restocking by governments is simply goofy. The article describes the effects on a fish that sportsmen can recognize, but it hardly applies to the numbers of complementary species that are also being affected.

Governments are in the habit of moving fish around quite freely. The introduction of rainbow trout into innumerable streams in the US and Canada without any regard for the consequences is a classic example. The brown trout is another fish that has been introduced into large numbers of countries, but that was originally a British colonial exercise rather than an American one.

I can sometimes be glib, but that is probably because I know too much about some of these things. I have talked to a lot of the wildlife experts. If you want to keep your environment healthy, you have to manage it aggressively, and you have to know what you are doing. You can't just expect to stand back and let the environment sort out the mess humans have created all by itself.

The environment where I live is actually quite healthy, but it is very heavily managed.

"The environment where I live is actually quite healthy, but it is very heavily managed."

So, mucho resources are consumed to manage human impacts, intensively manage disappearing* species (*only a v.few highly visible + popular ones, nearly never flora or invertebrates), regulate rates of resource consumption, control pest spp. (my region: rabbits, deer, foxes, dogs, ~12 major weeds, fruit fly, ..), fight fires, maintain roads around everybodies leisure acres, etc.

That is nice for those of us with that level of 1st world privilege now, but you don't really expect such to continue do you?

What fish did the brown trout displace ?

Do arctic char go that far south ?


I can answer this with authority, I suppose. I will try; since I studied these fish not long ago(genetic component).

Brown, rainbow, eastern brooks, and lake trout together form the four most dominant introduced fish in the Rockies by biomass and count. Depending on river/creek and drainage, they have displaced bull trout, cutthroat (western and Yellowstone), in some areas whitefish (minor), arctic char (very minor), and others I may have missed. If you have to pick the one species that brown displaced, it would be the beautiful bull trout. But in lakes, it would have been the lake trout that did the damage. I can definitely see why most anglers would love to see bull trout again, after all, they were the top predator and might I add the most beautiful.

Native fish (cutthroats and chars) once display move upstream i.e. higher elevation, fragmenting their habitat. These high elevation streams/lakes are islands of refuge since rainbow, brown and brooks don't compete well or at all here.

No drainages that I know of is "natural" since the USFWS systematically introduced rainbows in the 20s from California. Ted Turner is trying to turn Cherry Creek (Gallatin County, MT) back to once it was, and I help study the genetics of cutthroat in that tiny creek two years ago.

All these historically introduced fish had adapted well and to many they are considered part of native fauna.

These are cold water fish, but to the east of us are the warm water fish, which is another story.

Ditto that, Cinch. Much more detail than my response below. Thanks.

Bull trout are doing better here in the Canadian Rockies than the American Rockies. They are still found in the headwaters of all rivers which originate on the Eastern Slopes of the Canadian Rockies, but their range is much reduced from what it used to be. They are listed as "threatened" and it's catch and release only for them. The wildlife people are removing other species of trout from some lakes and rivers to give bull trout a chance.

Interestingly, rainbow trout are considered a native species in Alberta because at the end of the last ice age they somehow found their way over the continental divide into the headwaters of the big northward-flowing rivers (the Athabasca and Peace). They didn't get into the eastward-flowing rivers, though, so the situation there is the same as in the American Rockies.

This has resulted in them being designated as "threatened" in the rivers in which they are native, and "secure" in the rivers in which they were introduced. In their native habitat, the rainbow trout are being outcompeted by the introduced brook trout, whereas in areas they were introduced, they are outcompeting the native bull trout.

The dual designation might be getting overly finicky, because the native rainbow trout are genetically identical to the ones just over the continental divide in BC. Their biggest survival risk is interbreeding with the introduced rainbows, who are after all the same species, just faster growing and bigger.

I take it brown trout were introduced deliberately in the American Rockies, rather than accidentally as here. They stock brown trout into the rivers (Bow and Red Deer) into which it ended up anyway, because it is very popular with the fishermen and doesn't seem to be endangering any of the native fish. The fish already in those rivers were pretty gosh darn competitive to begin with.

An aside we have native rainbow here down here too, mostly in Glacier NP and immediate surrounding areas. They are called Kokanee salmon (yeah, weird right), and currently have very restrictive range.

From memory, I think the browns were brought here to southern Rockies from Europe maybe in the 60s.

Hybridization of introduced rainbow and cutthroat trout is a big and chronic problem. IMHO, all these introduced will not go away, but will shape the ecology of the region long after we are gone.

Sorry about this, but I have an uncontrollable urge to keep the record straight. The Rainbow Trout is actually the same thing as the Steelhead Salmon.

The rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is a species of salmonid native to tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. The steelhead is a sea-run rainbow trout (anadromous) usually returning to freshwater to spawn after two to three years at sea; rainbow trout and steelhead trout are the same species. The fish are often called salmon trout. Several other fish in the salmonid family are called trout;

Montana Field Guides: Kokanee Salmon - Oncorhynchus nerka

The kokanee is the landlocked version of the sockeye salmon. Kokanee were first introduced into Montana in Flathead Lake in 1914 and are currently fairly widespread in the western half of the state on both sides of the Divide.

Montana Field Guides: Rainbow Trout - Oncorhynchus mykiss

The rainbow trout is Montana's number one game fish. Rainbow trout were introduced from numerous hatchery stocks into virtually every suitable habitat in the state, beginning in 1889. Scientists believe that only the rainbow trout of the upper Kootenai River drainage are native to this state. This small group of natives are a Fish of Special Concern.

So, if they told you the Rainbow Trout in the Kootenai River were Kokanee Salmon, or that the Kokanee Salmon in Flathead Lake were Rainbow Trout, they lied.

Yeah, common names coupled with local norms (naming conventions etc.) is something I don't really pay much attention to, because it is confusing and often doesn't add much.

With regard to these fish, Fst, genetic distance, phylogeny and more recently genomic profile using SNP panels are what I do. There are fishing guides and volunteers that know more about traditions and local ecology than I will ever know. I'm just a little bioinfomatic, armchair researcher!

Salmonids have confusing variety of local names, which probably won't change for a while. Much quicker to change is scientific appellation. Rainbow, or Kamloops trout for the Canadians, were still considered trout (Genus Salmo) until quite recently. IIRC, about 1990 when they were switched to Oncorhynchus, the true salmon. Add the land locked forms of salmon with their common names-Kokanee, silver trout, blueback-and it is confusing. The Eastern Brook trout is not a trout, but a char. (Salvelinus) Simarily, the lake trout is not a trout, but a char, yet lo and behold, the Arctic char is a char. Bull trout or more commonly Dolly Varden trout or Dollies? A char. Seems the only common trout, save the cutthroat, that's a trout is the Brown trout.

But wait, there's another---the Atlantic Salmon is a trout.

And yet, at the end of the day, a pan of brookies fried in butter on a streamside fire is a treat for the gods. To paraphrase The Bard... What foods these morsels be!

My favorite is a fresh grilled or baked fillet of "Red Salmon" (AKA "Sockeye").

One you forgot is the arctic grayling, still hanging in there (barely) not far west from your work at Ted's. As noted below, the arctic char is not native to the intermountain west, not even in Alberta. It's a circumpolar fish of truly arctic distribution.

One point I'd like to add to your discussion is the introduction of these salmonids would not have proceeded near as well without the habitat changes. For stream fisheries, the dominant ones have been temperature, and sedimentation. In the lakes, a large factor was the introduction of preferred prey. Mysis shrimp, a planktonic crustacean, was instrumental in allowing lake trout to override the previous cutthroat in big lakes. In one of the large lakes I studied, cutthroat were the dominant fish until the 60's. Here we found Mysis not only provided food for the other specie, but contributed to the decline of preferred cutthroat prey.

Sorry Doug, I actually meant to say Arctic Graylings instead of char.

Oh, yes, the arctic grayling, not to be confused with the arctic char. They are generally found in the big northern rivers in Alberta, plus some streams in the Rocky Mountain Foothills.

We have some stocked in the small lake in our local dog-walking park, a short dog-walk away from here, which is fed by an underground spring that obviously gets its water from a nearby glacier. People who do not have a dog to walk like to fish for them in the lake, strictly catch-and-release.

Dogs are not allowed to swim in the lake. People can if they wear wetsuits, are extremely tough, or are extremely drunk. The drunk ones tend to require a rescue team to go down and retrieve their bodies. It is a very, very cold lake, but very popular on a hot day.

"the introduction of these salmonids would not have proceeded near as well without the habitat changes."

A point I've always wondered about is how stable these western populations were, given the Ice Age ended not that long ago. Some of the freshwater species don't seem very robust (as in the Lake Trout vs cutthroat example) in what is assumed to be their natural environment when compared to the Eastern fish who just headed north when the glaciers melted off.

Out west they couldn't do that (except for the Colorado) so did they come in from the ocean salmon style and then stay? Is that why they seem sort of precariously hanging on; they've only had 15,000 years to adapt to the streams, which were also completely denuded by the glaciers?

The brown trout didn't displace any native fish - it seems to have slipped into a gap in the ecosystem.

The native bull trout has suffered somewhat, but that is more from competition with other introduced fish species (not so much the brown trout, which prefers warmer water), and from overfishing. There is a zero bag limit on bull trout (catch and release only) and in the parks they are removing other (introduced) species from some waters to give the bull trout a chance.

Arctic char are not native to Alberta. They have been raised on fish farms here but a couple of attempts to stock lakes in the 1950s were unsuccessful.

Sea foraging in Dorset - Video

John Wright, River Cottage's forager-in-chief, takes Alastair Sawday down to Osmington Mills on Dorset's Jurassic Coast in the search of an alfresco dinner. Together they find, pick and cook the finest meal the Weymouth coastline can offer

Trawling is Changing Seafloor Habitats: Study

... "Trawled continental-slope environments are the underwater equivalent of a gullied hill slope of land, part of which has been transformed into crop fields that are ploughed regularly, thus replacing the natural contour-normal drainage pattern by levelled areas," they wrote.

And while farmers ploughed a few times per year, sea trawling can occur almost daily.

This disturbs complex ocean floor habitats, "potentially affecting species diversity" in a manner comparable with intensive agriculture, it said.

Nature article: Fish trawling reshapes deep-sea canyons

Why is this practice legal? Can anyone do whatever they want if it makes a profit? Is that the ONLY criterion for anything any more?

Any more? It's been the dominant pattern for 500 years!

Ecological plunder is hardly brand new. Neither is money-first policy.

I understand. I just can't escape the feeling that we, humanity, are going to eat the Planet, and that there is nothing to be done about it.

There's plenty to be done, we just aren't doing it.

"...we just aren't doing it."

Until there's a 'we', an 'us', we won't. Not holding breath... defaulting to Plan B.

Not to worry. As someone has said here before, the problem will solve itself... Just not in a nice way.

That seems to be the loose consensus here. 'We' are going to burn/eat/consume until there is nothing left, then we're going to die. A few of us seem to be aware of the horror unfolding around us, but we're too few to turn the tide. It seems like things might have gone differently if we had made a change 40 or 50 years ago and tried to work with nature instead of against it, but I think that's more a fantasy than a real possibility. At this point there is too much momentum in the system, we're past the point of no return. I think I'm finally to the point of acceptance, but it's a hard pill to swallow.

As totoneila used to sign his posts: "Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?"

Thx for recalling toto - Bob Shaw. Miss his presence here. And yes, a very hard pill to swallow.

It's not legal everywhere, notably it is not legal on most of the US west coast, though the Gulf continues to be raped.

It is actually not the oldest fishing practice, and when it first appeared in Europe a several hundred years ago it was widely hated by every other fisherman. They took it to court in England, arguing that it destroyed the habitat that the fish lived in and left a wasteland behind. Obviously, they didn't win that battle.

There is no need to do scientific studies. The damage from trawling is so obvious and easily documented, and has been known for so long, that any country with half a brain has either banned it or severely restricted it. It's like doing scientific studies of clearcutting - only an idiot or someone making a buck off of it would demand "scientific proof". The countries of the Pacific actually tried to get bottom trawling banned worldwide at the UN, led by Palau. Of course they lost. The Pacific countries have the most to lose and least to gain - they are mostly water anyway, they depend on the oceans for their livelihood, but they have small populations and little ability to enforce their laws against international factory boats. It's also still probably one of the least raped areas on the planet - the kelp forests, oyster reefs, sea banks, and estuaries that provide similarly important habitat for temperate and cold water fish have already been very severely damaged and fished out.

Ahh, don't get me started... I really will go on. We badly need no-take ocean reserves to cover half or more of the oceans (especially near shore environments), we need to ban bottom trawling, we need to sink the factory ships, clean up the rivers, etc. People don't see the life in the water so they don't care, and now so much is gone. I recently took a buddy snorkeling, he commented that he didn't realize so much was living under there, and that it was such an interesting environment. Yup. I'm lucky to live in Hawaii and have some healthy and protected reef not too far from where I live, but I wish the environments of the temperate zones had been respected as much. Historical accounts of Chesapeake bay are mindboggling...

I recently took a buddy snorkeling, he commented that he didn't realize so much was living under there, and that it was such an interesting environment.

If your reefs are still healthy, lucky you!

It always amazes me how many people living in my state have absolutely no idea what lies so close to our beaches!
Let alone how fragile and threatened these environments really are!

I live about four miles as the pelican flies from coral reefs in Hollywood Florida. I try to visit them as often as possible on my kayak. I have long been acutely aware of things like coral bleaching and many other problems on these reefs. Just the other day I learned of a brand new threat added to a rather long roster of already existing ones! >:-(

Kickstarter project started to identify unknown sponge disease.

The threads just keep getting pulled from the tapestry, at some point the entire thing will just unravel.

"All these fish have vanished from the area, victims of commercial fishing that saw huge trawlers rip up the seafloor and kill the corals, bryozoans, tubeworms and other species that nurtured new schools of fish. The trawlers left behind barren underwater wastelands of mud and debris. It is like this across the planet."

--Chris Hedges


Any suggestions for alleviating this on the demand side? Avoid eating (store-bought) fish altogether? Buy only "farm raised" fish? Are there particular species/commercial fish names to avoid? Any associated brand names that have a better or worse reputation in this regard?

Unless these farm raised fish are fed organically grown food (highly unlikely), farm raised is not the answer. I believe they are fed organisms trawled from the oceans and industrially raised grains, so in other words...fossil fuels.

I visited a fish farm that was not actually raising fish, but was growing algae for food for the other fish farms - in a dozen 100,000 gallon tanks out in the bay. Bruce, one of the owners, said this was the more profitable part of the fish farming business - he had given up on raising fish in favor of algae.

His other big markets for algae were the cosmetic industry and health foods. He had about 29 different types of algae sitting in flasks on his shelves, and could grow algae with any kind of nutrient profile that anyone wanted. It was quite an interesting operation - run by the two brothers who owned it, their lab tech, and huge amounts of automated equipment.

I buy most of my fish and shrimp at the Farmer's & Fisher's Market from the wife. She nets and filets the fish from a holding pond the afternoon before the market.

The husband (and often son, when he is not working construction) often work close inshore in shallow to very shallow waters in a small boat. They go after fish and crabs in areas under less fishing pressure. I am not sure @ shrimp.

But I buy frozen and canned northern fish as well - not so good there.


This is addressed to consumers, demand side alleviation. There is a "Seafood Watch Card" for your area:


No-battery lantern uses water and salt for light

... The "GH-LED10WBW" does not need any dry cell or rechargeable battery. Using a dedicated water bag, the water and salt once placed in the lantern produces light, pure and simple. The lantern can generate electricity for eight hours per charge of water. You just keep refilling the bag every eight hours for continued light. Inside the lantern is a magnesium rod, negative electrode, and a carbon rod, positive electrode.

The magnesium rod can be used for up to 120 hours of power generation. One can replace this rod, which is to be separately sold. The lantern goes on sale this month.

What is drawing added interest is that the lantern can double as a charger as well as light source. A USB port, on the casing could be used to plug in a smartphone or some other device in the event of a power outage.

Sounds like somebody needs to do their homework on what a battery is.


It's not a battery, it's two electrodes and a salt bridge... oh wait...

So technically, it's a 'cell', IIRC. A Battery is a string of cells..

Anybody remember that Asimov Sci-Fi where someone "discovers" multiplication in a world so computerized no one need to think for them self any more?

Ha! I recall the storyline -- that was fun :-)

!fun what they used it for :(


"A Feeling of Power"

Higher and Higher: US EPA abruptly moves to ease gasoline standards in eight states as US gasoline demand hits new 2012 high

Even though US retail gasoline prices continued to accelerate upward the last few weeks, domestic US gasoline demand continued to grow. Hurricane Issac, instead of dampening gasoline demand, may have acted to increase it – especially in some of the eight states where the EPA ‘waived’ gasoline standards for ‘summer’ blends.

Typically a gasoline waiver is granted when gasoline supplies are limited in a part of a state or the whole state. An EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) waiver allows a blend of gasoline with a RVP (Reid Vapor Pressure) other than that normally used in that season. Most parts of the US would now be using a ‘summer blend’ of gasoline.

Usually ‘summer blend’ gasoline has a lower Reid Vapor Pressure, meaning it creates less vapor than ‘winter blend’ gasoline and is less likely to contribute to smog formation in higher temperatures. It is a more complicated refining process to produce gasoline with lower RVP. If faced with a shortage of low vapor pressure gasoline, individual states can and usually do request exemptions from the Environmental Protection Agency to use what gasoline is available - which will probably be a leftover 'winter blend'.

The seasonal switch from lower to higher RVP gasoline begins in many parts of the country about September 15, as refiners switch their blending to make gasoline for colder weather.

The unusual thing about today’s action by the EPA is that it appears that the EPA was concerned about potential gasoline shortages in those eight states, and took pre-emptive action before the situation deteriorated. Today the EPA stated that "an extreme and unusual fuel circumstance" exists, which is a result of Hurricane Issac.

US gasoline sales, in a mirror image of what might be expected in normal times, were reported to have increased in MasterCard's Spending Plus report – now released only bi-weekly. In the latest MasterCard's report on last week's retail gasoline sales, sales actually increased slightly over last year’s levels. However when comparing the last four weeks to last year, sales are still indicating a small year over year decline in sales. The recent improvement in sales is in contrast to a fairly consistent sales decline of about 3 to 4% usually seen in the first half of 2012, when comparing weekly gasoline sales in 2012 to 2011 amounts.

Meanwhile the API report indicates that crude inventory levels plunged last week as imports dropped by about 1.7 million bpd in the Gulf of Mexico region affected by the hurricane.

EPA Announcement (PDF File)

US eases summer gasoline rules in some states after storm

US Gasoline Use +1.9% vs Week Earlier at 9.109 Million B/D - SpendingPulse

U.S. crude stocks fall sharply after hurricane-API

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 31, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.6 million barrels per day during the week ending August 31, 772 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 86.1 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging about 9.3 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.3 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.0 million barrels per day last week, down by almost 1.5 million barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.6 million barrels per day, 445 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 964 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 135 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 7.4 million barrels from the previous week. At 357.1 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 2.3 million barrels last week and are in the lower half of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.0 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.8 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 9.6 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 19.2 million barrels per day, down by 1.0 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged about 9.2 million barrels per day, up 0.7 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged nearly 3.5 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 9.3 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 6.0 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.


"Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.8 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range."

Retail propane is lower than I've seen in our area for years. Glad I held out, as my supplier put 800 gals in our tank Tuesday for $1.92/gal. With frugal use, this should last us 8-10 years (cooking, DHW backup, some clothes drying). Buying/burying our own 1000 gal. tank has really paid off. I've had relatives make fun of my prepper mentality, but from a purely financial view, things are panning out pretty well. If the price difference between diesel and propane stays what it is, I may have to put our LPG generator back in service. Need to do some math.

Flash comments:

EIA confirms that gasoline demand has increased over 2011 levels, affirming the retail gasoline sales report from MasterCard (see further above)

Gasoline imports increased in the last four weeks to a high for 2012, most all of which have gone to the Northeast part of the US. However going forward, Venezuela has already confirmed shipments of gasoline from Europe that would have normally been shipped to the US. Also, it is not yet clear if temporarily the US will be directly exporting some unfinished gasoline to Venezuela.

In general, most all of the inventory drops in oil and gasoline can be traced to the Gulf of Mexico region, which was severely disrupted by Hurricane Isaac last week.

Being that the summer 'driving season' has now drawn to a close, and the fact that the Trainer, PA refinery is about to restart soon after major improvements, the US will probably avoid any gasoline shortages in the near future (excluding some supply disruptions in the eight states covered under the EPA waiver discussed above).


Have you ever seen a more clueless or despicable woman?

Look, I don't know about the rest of you but I've come to the conclusion that these people actually want to own us, birth until death. Which is why I refuse to let them.

Ms Rinehart is said to make nearly A$600 (£393) a second,

Let's see that's £1,414,800 an hour, how many of us make that in a year?!

Starts with P, ends with G (three letter word).

"Australians would be richer if they smoked and drank less"... this from a woman who appears to weigh in excess of 300 pounds. Just can't make this stuff up...

The phrase 'hoist by one's own petard' comes to mind. I think more of the elite should speak their mind or romp nude at parties or whatever, until the lumpen proletariat (probably the Middle Class nowadays) finally wake up to reality.

The fact that the UK Chancellor and Home Secretary were both booed on separate occasions at the London Paralympics gives rise to hope. Maybe a helpful "let them eat cake" comment from the Prime Minister would help push the masses over the edge :)

Seemingly a UK judge commended a burglar for his courage before letting him free. Or Tom Cruise demanding a hotel kick out its guests so he could dine alone. LoL, you couldn't make this stuff up. I'm sure even the dimmest can sense the overwhelming tide of inequality and injustice that's being rubbed in their faces on a daily basis.

One can only hope that whatever functions as a heart in this circumferentially challenged ogre will shortly no longer be up to the task of pushing around the acrid black sludge that passes for her version of blood.

a la Cheney, just order a new one.

Africans are willing to work for $2/day. Do some screening (perhaps in a health clinic), find a good genetic match and, for a day's income, have it delivered to a South African cardiac unit with transplant experience.

Not too difficult - and no one will miss one African.

Perhaps another day's income to pay for "contributions" to keep things quiet.


:-( What a world we live in.

As a South African, let me say that I am unaware of any Africans being used as unwilling organ donors. Which is not to say abuses never happened...


“Kidneygate” is the long-running saga of how—between about 2000 and 2003—about 200 Israeli patients with kidney disease were brought to South Africa to receive organs from living donors who were presented as their relatives.

The donors were in fact poor Brazilians, Israelis and Romanians who were recruited by international organ traffickers and paid a relatively modest sum to give up a precious kidney—a criminal offence under South African law.

And the platinum miners are unwilling to work for less than $50 a day, which is why they are on strike ATM.

For someone in the $10+ billion wealth class - and no scruples - many things are possible. Including keeping it out of the papers. Get a transplant and call it an extended vacation.

Even the assembly line "kidney gate" took years to become known.


"Have you ever seen a more clueless or despicable woman?"

Clueless ? - No
Despicable ? - Now that probably fits

She has been trying to take control of Fairfax Media - the other mainstream newspaper group in Australia (other than News Ltd) - to push her right-wing, anti-government, pro-mining views.

She revels in being unpopular. In her own mind she's telling it like it is... in reality, well she's not as bright as she thinks she is. But there's plenty of people in America too saying Americans won't work cheap enough, that the minimum wage (is it $8 p/h in America?) is too high. But if you don't pay people a living wage how can they afford to buy all the goods and services these plutocrats provide?

I think that is where the USA right wing has tripped up. They are forgetting that those whose wages they are trying to drive down or tax are those who are supposed to be buying.


And then there was Leona Helmsley: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leona_Helmsley - "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes..."

Dumb and Dumber

Heathrow runway row: Cameron flies into storm of Tory criticism

Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith warn government against Heathrow U-turn in wake of cabinet reshuffle

The new Conservative co-chair, Grant Shapps, reinforced that impression on Wednesday when he said there would be no expansion during this parliament in line with the coalition agreement, but refused to rule it out in future.

"If we are going to remain a great trading nation in the future, you need to have ports. Airports are particularly important these days and there are a lack of slots in the south-east around London and it must be addressed, otherwise we are dooming ourselves to economic failure in the future," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Shapps said it would be "irresponsible" not to look at how to boost aviation capacity, adding the government would not "turn a blind eye" to infrastructure improvements that would help the economy to grow.

His promise to consider all options did little to alleviate the impression among critics that the Tories are ready to give a third runway the green light.

Johnson, who wants a new airport to be built in the Thames estuary, called for the government to promise there would be no third runway even after the next election.

With Brent about to complete another year with an average annual price over $110 shouldn't the question be "How much is traffic at Heathrow going to decline?", not "Where are we going to build a new runway?".

There is an overwhelming barrage of 'We need a new runway' reports in the British media in the last couple of weeks. This is clearly an orchestrated and well funded campaign. I regularly post comments on these pieces pointing out the obvious drawback of peak oil, but I a cannot keep up. There is zero mention of fuel prices in any of these media articles.

Unfortunately our chinless wonder of a PM is crumpling into submission.

I would have thought that with Eurostar trains and the Chunnel taking 80% of the London-Paris & London-Brussels market (and some of the London-Amsterdam market) that runway demand would be down.

Combined scheduling should allow "one seat" service from London to Frankfurt in less than 4 hours. Fast enough to pick off a chunk of the air market.

Recent EU aviation fuel taxes should lower demand a bit as well.

Best Hopes for Fewer Runways,


The Heathrow pushers are obscessed with Long haul business traffic particularly East Asia-London-US.

Try the book 'Treasure Islands' by Nicolas Shaxson to see why The City of London wants all the 'funny money' it can get it's hands on.

This is a must see spoof video of a weather woman losing it over arctic ice loss, GW, 565 gigaton carbon limit vs. x 5 available FF's, etc. It's hilarious, yet also a very good explanation of climate change.


Thanks! I needed that... when he said 'so, a great time to break out the barbecues' I just lost it...

Another article on the recent Citigroup report on Saudi Arabia:

Saudi Arabia May Run Out Of Oil To Export By 2030:
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/saudi-arabia-may-run-out-of-oil-to-export...

But what caught my eye was one of the comments (emphasis added):

Excerpt from a comment by “Alpha directed”

Peak oil is a lie. Of course we will run out. But do NOT let a global bank with a commodities desk tell you that we are running out. Look up Goldmans "super spike" thesis put out by Arjun Murti. A complete fabrication that ran oil upto $147. Why you ask? Because Saudi Arabia wouldn't be able to provide Chinese demand. Damned well better believe Goldmans desk front run the long AND the short side of that trade. I know for an absolute fact they did.

We may have a winner for the Cognitive Dissonance Comment of the Year Award.

"Peak oil is a lie." Therefore, production will increase forever.

"Of course we will run out." But oil is finite.

wt, a couple days ago you posted an article about Bernanke's plan to have an open ended QE (III) in which they could add money to the monetary system as needed on an ongoing basis - a money printing press on 24 hour call.

Well here's what Europe's copycat version of the same program looks like which just came out today. Isn't the timing interesting just after Bernanke's announcement?


Central Bank to Snap Up Debt, Saying, ‘Euro Is Irreversible’

The European Central Bank on Thursday announced a sweeping program for buying the bonds of troubled euro zone countries, giving the bank potentially unprecedented power.

But in fact, Germany’s Bundesbank was the lone vote against the central bank’s bond plan, arguing that it was “tantamount to financing governments by printing banknotes.”

The problem as I see it, is if we never return to cheap oil, the govt. debts will keep piling up and so there's never any end to the amount of money printed and eventually the devaluation of currency reaches a point of shifting into hyper-inflation. I suggest this is why Bundesbank is against the plan.

Thus my "Thelma & Louise OECD Race to the Edge of the Cliff" metaphor. Most net oil importing OECD countries seem to be borrowing money, from real creditors and from accommodative central banks, in an attempt to keep their economies going, while waiting for what most people seem to believe will be the inevitable return of plentiful, cheap oil supplies. The countries cross over the cliff when they can no longer afford to borrow money at interest rates that they can afford, e.g., Greece.

Net oil importing OECD countries are trying desperately to maintain their "Wants" based economies, when a more likely scenario in my opinion is that we will be lucky to maintain a "Needs" based economy.  From 2002 to 2011, the absolute value of the rate of increase in Total Global Public Debt (8.5%/year) is about the same as absolute value of the rate of decline in the ratio of Global Net Exports of oil (GNE) to Chindia’s Net Imports (CNI), 8.1%/year.:


...we will be lucky to maintain a "Needs" based economy

The word lucky used in that context reminds me of the scene in Alien when Sigourney Weaver is putting on a spacesuit while nervously chanting, "Lucky, lucky, lucky", in hopes of having time to get suited up and open the space door to oust the Alien before it attacks her.

Similarly, this situation is desperate and the time to act is getting shorter as evidenced by those diverging lines on the graph. I can just see Bernanke kicking on the printing press yet one more time, chanting nervously, "Lucky, lucky, lucky."

IIRC 43 Trillion $'s would correspond to a stack of $1,000 bills approximately 3,000 miles high......

A lot of people seem to think the term "peak oil" means the supply just collapsing dramatically and permanently. One day its Business as Usual, the next Mad Max. A lot of articles linked in Drum Beat "debunking Peak Oil" are based on this assumption. The logic then goes that since an overnight apocalypse is very unlikely, then whatever those in the Peak Oil camp argue must be automatically wrong.

New from Congressional Research Service ...

Weather-Related Power Outages and Electric System Resiliency

... Data from various studies lead to cost estimates from storm-related outages to the U.S. economy at between $20 billion and $55 billion annually. Data also suggest the trend of outages from weather-related events is increasing.

The United States is generally considered to have one of the industrial world’s most reliable electric power systems. However, when compared statistically to other nations, the U.S. grid does not necessarily meet those expectations. (e.g. ...

United States - SAIDI:240, SAIFI:1.5
Germany - SAIDI:23, SAIFI:0.5

The system average interruption duration index (SAIDI) represents the average amount of time per year that power supply to a customer is interrupted, expressed in minutes per customer per year. The system average interruption frequency index (SAIFI) represents the average number of times per year that the supply to a customer is interrupted, expressed as interruptions per customer per year.

… The cost of upgrading the U.S. grid to meet future uses is expected to be high, with the American Society of Civil Engineers estimating a need of $673 billion by 2020. While the federal government recently made funding available of almost $16 billion for specific Smart Grid projects and new transmission lines under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, there has not been a comprehensive effort to study the needs, set goals, and provide targeted funding for modernization of the U.S. grid as part of a long-term national energy strategy. Such an effort would also require decisions about the appropriate roles of government and the private sector.

Ultimately, however, electric utilities are responsible for this infrastructure. They are in the business of selling electricity, and they cannot sell electricity if their power delivery systems are out of service.

Honduras to build new city with its own laws and tax system to attract investors
Central American country hopes to emulate success of Singapore and Hong Kong by building 'state within a state'


Maybe they'll call it Onepercentistan?

White House holds meeting as to whether the SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserve) should be tapped within days. Well, more than 'tap' the SPR, use the SPR to flood the oil markets.

White House consults oil experts on SPR; some say "go big"

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON | Thu Sep 6, 2012 6:51pm EDT

(Reuters) - Obama administration officials met with a handful of oil market experts on Thursday as the White House considers the merits of another release of emergency oil reserves -- potentially one several times larger than the last.


Possible huge release of oil from the SPR + massive quantitative easing from the Fed and the ECB? Must be an important election coming up.

No doubt that releasing SPR oil after the shut down of Libya was a much more practical use of SPR oil - since in particular Northeast refiners lost supply which they otherwise had difficulty replacing.

The presently discussed 'shock and awe' type release of SPR oil is primarily a price reduction plan, since up until Hurricane Isaac refiners were essentially operating flat out - that is they were not limited at all by oil supplies but by their own physical capacity limitations.

Even after Isaac, it is not clear that anything more than 10 million SPR barrels could be needed to replace production lost while GOM oil fields were recently shut in.

The presently discussed 'shock and awe' type release of SPR oil is primarily a price reduction plan,

Maybe big money R donors would get more bang for their buck by becoming 'Oil Speculators' to run up the price of oil to counteract the price reduction from the SPR release. An 'oil price war' between the two party's would make for great entertainment.

It's hard to create "shock and awe" when you're doing it on a regular basis. As I mentioned elsewhere I doubt this will have the same effect as last time.

SPR release details

Again let me offer some reality to the discussion. First and most important the president doesn’t have authority to release SPR oil as he chooses. There are very precisely written Congressional laws the president must follow. I recently posted a link to a great summary I cannot find at the moment.

As far as a shock and awe release goes the gov cannot release more than 30 million bbls during the first month. IOW 1 million bopd (about 1% of global production) or the max delivery rate (4+ million bopd) for 7 days (about 5% of global production). I think they are also restricted to no more than 60 million bo over 3 months. As I pointed out before the oil exporters don’t even need to cut back production to compensate for this slight addition to the market place: they only need to slow the sailing speed of some of the tankers in route.

And if the other SPR’s around the globe match our release: from http://money.cnn.com/2011/06/30/markets/oil_prices/index.htm

“The amount of oil contracts that 60 million barrels generates is tiny compared to the amount of oil contracts that are traded on the world's financial markets every day… The futures and options markets trades that in an hour…The only fundamentals that matter are the ones that the paper market decides that matter

Also should be noted how the SPR oil is released. It can be purchased by the refineries or “borrowed”. How does selling the SPR work out for the owners (the American citizens) of that oil?
From http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2012/08/24/fact-sheet-the-stra...

“Perhaps of greater interest is the fact that the average price-per-barrel the federal government paid for the strategic stockpiles is just under $30. This means that replenishing President Obama’s release from last year (2011) would cost around $3 billion at current prices. Or put more precisely, President Obama released $900 million of taxpayer-owned assets to achieve a marginal drop in gasoline prices — a drop that has long since disappeared at the retail pump. In the end, the Obama administration has racked up at a $2.1 billion loss in value to SPR by “investing” $900 million to prop up our economy for a very brief time”

IOW if we sell the oil at current prices we’ll have to buy it back at prices which may be higher than they are now. Also good to know the govt can’t sell the SPR at a low price. By law it has to sell at a price bench marked to Light La. Sweet postings for the 30 day period prior to the release. Since oil prices had already begun to decline before the 2011 the SPR oil was purchased at a higher price than the market price when it reached the refiners.

And if we loan it? The refiners have to replace what was the borrowed plus a little bit of premium bbls on a fixed schedule. Thus what is added to market today will be removed (plus the premium bbls) from the market in several months.

Again that pesky detail of the law. The president might ignore it for now but I suspect if he does and is also re-elected he might begin his second term facing impeachment. How could the sore loser R’s pass on that opportunity.

From: http://www.texaspolicy.com/center/energy-environment/opinions/strategic-...

With respect to affect prices in the market place: “the law is quite clear that using the SPR for this purpose is prohibited. The relevant provisions of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, codified at 42 U.S.C., make it clear that the SPR can only be used in case of a “severe energy supply interruption” and 42 U.S.C. Sec. 6234(f)(1) makes it clear that drawdowns are “prohibited” for any other purpose. 42 U.S.C. Sec. 6241 provides that, except as provided by treaty, such drawdowns require a presidential finding of a “severe energy supply interruption” arising from an “emergency” situation that has resulted in a “significant reduction in supply.” 42 U.S.C. Sec. 6202(8)(c) further clarifies that the “severe energy supply interruption” may arise from an interruption in foreign supply, an interruption in domestic supply, “sabotage, or an act of God.”

Federal law clearly prohibits a drawdown on the SPR simply because oil production fails to keep pace with increased demand.

Another opinion: Washington is attempting to use the reserves for political purposes with hopes of artificially affecting crude prices. But this won't work over the long run for four reasons:

First, an SPR is not designed to work this way. Such draw downs will not have the intended effect because they are not in response to a genuine market lack of supply. The availability of excess oil, in itself, will not determine prices.

Second, the amount necessary to affect prices over any extended time period is well beyond the ability of a political manipulation. Take last year's unsuccessful exercise, for example. The total amount of 60 million barrels was the commitment for an entire month. However, that translated into about 18 hours of global oil consumption.

Third, the market compensates for the additional supply rather quickly. Unless policy makers are prepared to continue the draw downs, there is no effect. This is always the problem with policy moves that are not in response to genuine causes.
Finally, should the use of SPR barrels continue for any length of time, the reserves would need to be replaced. That requires purchases directly from oil companies. The market then draws its attention away from the draw downs and toward the buying of oil for replenishment as the base point for determining price. The attempt then would fail anyway and priced would move back up, based this time on what was actually paid for the oil moving back into the SPR - rendering the entire approach a grand waste of time.

All of this merely points toward a simple reality when it comes to oil prices. Presidents cannot influence them very much. It makes no difference what party the president represents or how much of a supporting majority that party provides on Capitol Hill. Whether or not there is an election looming.

I suspect that many a politician has lamented the fact that they cannot "print" BTU's. As Hubbert noted many decades ago, what he called the "matter/energy" economy is finite, while there is no limit to the possible increase in the money supply.

S.Africa lifts moratorium on shale gas exploration

South Africa has lifted a moratorium on shale gas exploration in the semi-arid Karoo region, where the extraction technique of "fracking" might be used to tap into some of the world's potentially largest stocks of the energy source.

I am very worried. The Karoo lives and dies by groundwater. The most prominent features of the landscape are flat-topped hills and windmills providing water for a few sheep.

aardy - Interesting. So I figured what the heck. Why restrict my brilliant insights to just this hemisphere so I dropped Collins Chabane an email with some thoughts. Of course, there’s the possibility he understands the technology better than me so maybe I learn something.