Drumbeat: October 12, 2012

In the energy business, constant change is the new normal

Peak oil? That’s so yesterday. U.S. energy independence? No longer unthinkable. Natural gas glut? Don’t bet on it any more. Railway tankers? Add them to your watch list.

Who said the energy business is boring? Long-standing tenets and assumptions are being ripped up faster than an application for a pipeline through a nature reserve. New business dynamics are popping up faster than a rig in a shale play. Mashed together, the collective influence of technology, price signals, government policies, geopolitics, demographics and social licence are challenging the status quo of our energy complex with a vigour not witnessed since the post-1970s oil price shocks.

It’s easy and exciting to embrace the new, positively-sloped energy mega-trends taking shape – light tight oil production, oil on rails, gas-fired power generation, and LED light bulbs, to name just a few. On the other hand, it’s more difficult to shake old beliefs and admit that yesterday’s linear trajectories are now bent out of shape.

Jeff Rubin: Growth Alone is Not the Answer

If we know anything about what makes our economy tick we know this: Feed it cheap oil and it runs like a charm. But keep it rationed to expensive fuel, and growth stops dead.

Every major global recession in the past four decades has oil’s fingerprints all over it. For all of our efforts to wean ourselves off the fuel, oil remains the world economy’s most important source of energy (and, as a transit fuel, almost its only source of energy).

In the past, oil prices spiked to growth-killing levels when key producers shut off supply. Today we see these prices with the spigot wide open.

Renewables Are Overrated, We Need Cheap Oil – Interview with Gail Tverberg

I am doubtful that shale gas will be the energy savior that we have been hoping for. There are several issues: (a) It is hard for US natural gas prices to rise to the point where shale gas extraction will truly be profitable, because of competition with coal in electricity generation. (b) While natural gas can be used for transportation, it takes time, investment, and guaranteed long-term supply for it really to happen. This will be a long, slow process, if it occurs. (c) People won’t stand for “fracking” next door, if the end result is LNG for Europe or Japan. We have otherwise “stranded” non-shale gas in Alaska that would be a better option to develop and sell abroad.

If shale gas does come into widespread use, it will take many years. The quantity will be helpful, but not huge. Furthermore, it will still be natural gas, rather than the fuel we really need, which is cheap oil.

IEA Sees Oil Supply Rising as Demand Growth Slows to 2017

Global oil markets will become better supplied in the next five years as demand growth slows and production rises in North America and the Middle East, according to the International Energy Agency.

Worldwide fuel demand is projected to gain 1.2 percent annually to 95.7 million barrels a day in 2017, from 89 million last year, the Paris-based energy adviser said in its medium term oil market report today. Output is forecast to advance about 1.5 million barrels a day each year to 102 million barrels a day in the same period. Crude prices may not drop much even as producers pump more because of increased geopolitical risks, the agency said.

IEA doubts Russia can replicate US unconventional oil, gas success

(Platts) - The International Energy Agency does not expect Russia to replicate the success of North America in the development of unconventional oil and gas resources, a senior agency official said Friday.

China Could Become Oil Product Export Powerhouse

China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, could become a new oil product exports powerhouse if all planned projects of refining capacity expansion in the country go ahead, the International Energy Agency said Friday.

The Paris-based energy watchdog said in its medium-term oil market report that it is capacity expansions, rather than declining demand, that fuel increase in product exports in Asia and the Middle East, with China, India and Saudi Arabia leading the trend.

Oil prices rise after US jobless claims fall

The price of oil rose slightly above $92 a barrel Friday after a big fall in U.S. unemployment benefit claims suggested some improvement in the world's biggest economy, raising expectations for increased demand for energy.

Are We Thinking About Gas Prices Incorrectly?

The market can be wrong sometimes. It can gyrate dramatically and overcorrect in times of fear and uncertainty, like during the financial crisis of 2008 to 2009. So we should be careful what we wish for when we pine for those days of $2 gasoline again. In modern times, that price indicates some trouble with the economy. A $2 gallon of gas is nice, but you better hope you're still getting a paycheck to buy it with.

Producer prices up on surging gasoline, core rate flat

(Reuters) - Producer prices rose more than expected in September as the cost of energy surged, a government report showed on Friday, but underlying inflation pressures were muted.

The Labor Department said its seasonally adjusted Producer Price Index increased 1.1 percent last month.

BP to export U.S. crude to Canada, Shell seeks permit

(Reuters) - Oil major BP Plc has secured U.S. government permission to ship U.S. crude oil to Canada, and Royal Dutch Shell has applied for an export license, as rising production in the world's top oil consumer upends global energy flows.

A surge in output from shale oil reserves in the Bakken of North Dakota and Eagle Ford of Texas has raised U.S. domestic production to the highest level since 1995.

While the United States still imports more than 8 million barrels of crude oil per day, a glut of light, sweet crude oil created by the controversial hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking' boom could fetch higher prices on international markets.

Why the Oil Boom is Over

ne of the biggest and most pervasive of myths surrounding oil demand is that somehow it is price inelastic. In other words no matter how much the price goes up the demand will remain the same. This idea is simply not true and here is the evidence to prove it.

Disputed Islands With 45 Years of Oil Split China, Japan

China and Japan sat down for talks and agreed to jointly develop a natural gas field under the East China Sea, defusing a dispute between Asia’s biggest economies over who owns the reserves. That was in 2008.

The accord, hailed as a model for cooperation at the time, has yet to be carried out and the countries now face a new territorial dispute, also in the East China Sea. The quarrel over who owns the uninhabited islands called Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan is again linked to a prize beneath the ocean that may hold enough oil to keep China running for 45 years.

Will China's auto boycott backfire?

HONG KONG (CNNMoney) -- Chinese car buyers boycotting Japanese brands due to a dispute over a group of oil-rich islands could end up hurting local engineering firms and dealerships as much as the big automakers in Japan.

Sales of Japanese cars in China fell by between 35% and 50% in September, with Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi all feeling the pain.

Iraq looms large in era of growing oil scarcity

Gone are the heady days of the early oil booms, when wildcatters would stumble on rich reserves conveniently located a few metres underground.

Rapidly developed oilfields on the American plains no longer flood the market with kerosene, and it has been a while since the wells around Baku quickly pumped enough oil to satiate most of Europe's demand.

In today's world, increases in production are incremental and a cause for anxiety over whether they will meet projected increases in demand.

But there is one country that has the potential to recreate the oil bonanzas of old. After being diminished by years of conflict and long periods of under-investment, Iraq's oil output is now predicted to almost triple in the coming decades.

US: Hackers in Iran responsible for cyberattacks

WASHINGTON — U.S. authorities believe that Iranian-based hackers were responsible for cyberattacks that devastated Persian Gulf oil and gas companies, a former U.S. government official said. Just hours later, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the cyberthreat from Iran has grown, and he declared that the Pentagon is prepared to take action if American is threatened by a computer-based assault.

The former official, who is familiar with the investigation, said U.S. authorities believe the cyberattacks were likely supported by the Tehran government and came in retaliation for the latest round of American sanctions against Iran.

Iran's oil exports fall in September, may slip further

LONDON (Reuters) - Iran's oil supply, which has fallen to the lowest in more than two decades, is unexpectedly continuing to decline due to Western sanctions, in a further strain to the country's financial resources.

In a report on Friday, the International Energy Agency estimated Iranian supply fell by 220,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 2.63 million bpd in September, a steeper decline than other estimates of Iranian output last month.

Turkish imports of Iranian oil halve in Sept vs Aug

London (Reuters) - Turkish imports of Iranian crude oil plummeted to around 100,000 barrels per day in September after spiking in August, data from Reuters AIS Live ship tracking and a shipping source showed.

Turkey's state oil refiner Tupras imported two 140,000 tonne cargoes and one 145,000 tonne cargo to one of its oil import terminals, Tutunciflik, in September. The crude oil was lifted from the Egyptian port of Sidi Kerir, the end of the Sumed pipeline linking the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.

EU insurers strip coverage from Titan ships storing Iran oil

Two European insurers have withdrawn coverage for tankers involved in the Iranian oil trade, the first such move since tough new sanctions were imposed in July, documents obtained by Reuters show.

Despite targeting nuclear program, sanctions affect Iran's food imports

Despite the fact that International sanctions from U.S. and EU target Iran's nuclear program, the restrictions also affect Islamic Republic's food imports, Reuters reported.

A lot of Iran's imports, including food and consumer goods, arrive on container, bulker and other ships, but the number of vessels calling at its ports has reduced by more than a half this year, because of the tightening sanctions.

Senators Contradict Oil Industry’s Challenge of SEC Rules

Two U.S. senators who wrote the provision in the Dodd-Frank law requiring oil and gas companies to report payments to foreign governments defended it against a lawsuit that said regulators went beyond what Congress intended.

The American Petroleum Institute, whose members include Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., and other business groups sued in federal court yesterday, saying the regulation based on the law “grossly misinterpreted” the lawmakers’ directive by requiring each company to report publicly payments made to a foreign government.

CFTC Said to Be Close to Granting Delay on Energy Swaps Rule

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is close to granting a delay on a rule set to take effect tomorrow affecting energy swaps clearing, potentially helping CME Group Inc. avoid customer defections, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Canada Extends Cnooc-Nexen Review Period by 30 Days

Canada said it extended its review of Cnooc Ltd.’s $15.1 billion takeover of Nexen Inc. for 30 days to conduct a “thorough and careful” assessment.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is reviewing the bid, China’s largest ever foreign acquisition, under Canada’s foreign takeover law, which specifies transactions must have a domestic “net benefit” to win approval.

Tesoro California Plant Swap Proposed as Antitrust Antidote

Intensifying regulatory scrutiny of record gasoline prices in California may force Tesoro Corp. to sell its Los Angeles-area refinery to complete a $1.18 billion purchase of a larger BP Plc plant in the state.

Tesoro proposed selling its 97,000 barrel-a-day Wilmington refinery to overcome any government antitrust opposition to the acquisition, according to a company filing. Adding BP’s 266,000 barrel-a-day Carson refinery would double Tesoro’s California market share, making it the state’s largest crude processor with control of 25 percent of refining capacity, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

India to Pay for Highways for First Time in 14 Years: Freight

India will end a 14-year policy of solely depending on private capital to build major roads as it grapples with infrastructure worse than Guatemala’s.

The government will award $2.3 billion of state-funded highway contracts by the end of March after a credit crunch left builders unable to find bank loans, Road Transport Minister C. P. Joshi said Oct. 8 in New Delhi. India has previously relied on construction companies funding new roads with loans, which they then repay from income including toll fees.

EPA fines Sinclair $378,000 for violations at Rawlins refinery

Sinclair Oil will pay a $378,000 fine under a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stemming from a 2010 inspection of the company’s troubled oil refinery near Rawlins, the agency announced Thursday.

The inspection showed Sinclair hadn’t properly implemented its risk management plan, a key requirement for the facility, which deals with a large range of toxic substances and hazardous gases, the EPA said.

Nigerian oil pollution case against Shell to start in Dutch court

(Platts) - A legal case against Shell is set to begin Thursday in a Dutch court with the Anglo-Dutch major facing charges of causing environmental pollution in Nigeria.

Will Seismic Blasts Upend Atlantic Marine Life?

As a federal decision draws near, environmental and commercial fishing groups are marshaling their forces to protest a plan by the Obama administration to allow seismic airgun testing for oil and gas exploration off the Atlantic coast.

U.S. Panel to Hear Opponents of Indian Point Nuclear Plant

The Indian Point nuclear plant is going on trial.

On Monday, the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission will open a hearing to determine whether opponents, among them the Cuomo administration, have valid arguments against a 20-year extension of operating licenses for the Westchester County site’s reactors.

Merkel Curbs Renewables to Limit Voter Anger on Power Bills

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to cap taxpayer subsidies for renewable energy is aimed at limiting the political fallout among voters from a surge in electricity bills due next week.

With the grid operators planning to announce an increase in the surcharge consumers pay for clean energy on Oct. 15, the government said it will extend caps on subsides for solar energy to more technologies including wind and biomass. The plan is designed to contain the rising costs of scrapping nuclear power.

Lanai to become eco-lab that runs on solar, billionaire Ellison promises

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- Four months after snapping up nearly the entire island of Lanai, billionaire Larry Ellison has presented his vision of paradise: an eco-lab based on solar power, with electric cars replacing gas guzzlers and sea water transformed into fresh water for an organic farm export industry.

Solyndra Bankruptcy Plan Has Objections From IRS, Energy

Solyndra LLC, the failed solar-panel maker that received a $535 million U.S. Energy Department loan guarantee before going bankrupt, faces objections to its bankruptcy plan from the Internal Revenue Service and the Energy Department.

The IRS argues in court papers filed yesterday in Wilmington, Delaware, that the plan can’t be approved because its principal purpose is to allow the owners of Solyndra’s parent, Argonaut Ventures I LLC and Madrone Partners LP, to avoid future taxes.

Solar Silicon to Bottom as China Halts Factory Expansion

Polysilicon, the raw material used by the $38 billion a year solar industry, is forecast to bottom near a record low next year after the leading manufacturers in China and South Korea halted factory expansions.

U.S. sets steep final duties on Chinese solar panels

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday set steep final duties on billions of dollars of solar energy products from China, but turned down a request from lawmakers and U.S. manufacturers to expand the scope of its order.

Chinese solar manufacturers criticized the decision, adding more heat to the U.S.-China trade relationship following a congressional panel report on Monday urging American companies not to do business with two Chinese telecommunications companies because of security concerns.

Texas Windmills Make Schools Share With Poorer Districts

Giant turbines that give Texas the largest wind-generating capacity among U.S. states have forced seven school districts facing budget cuts to share new wealth from the equipment under the state’s education-finance system.

The Hermleigh Independent School District had to give up $2 million a year -- about the same as its annual budget -- after growth of local wind-driven generating capacity spurred a 10- fold increase in district property values per student, according to a report from Standard & Poor’s.

9 ways to cut your energy bills

An attic-to-basement primer on amping up energy efficiency and cutting your power bill this winter.

Are India’s Farmers Victims of a Global Land Rush?

An Oxfam report released on Oct. 3 argues that these rising food prices are part of what’s forcing more and more farmers in developing nations off their land in a “global land rush.” According to Oxfam’s calculations, the amount of land bought around the world by private investors from 2000 to 2010 could produce enough food to feed 1 billion people, and yet it is having the opposite effect. After the food scare in 2008, investors rushed to pour money into land deals. “From mid-2008 to 2009, reported agricultural land deals by foreign investors in developing countries rocketed by around 200%,” the report reads. Much of what’s produced on that land, particularly in Africa, is destined for export. Meanwhile, the small farmers from whom it was acquired are no longer able to feed themselves.

Everyone Eats There

California’s Central Valley is our greatest food resource. So why are we treating it so badly?

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

With the tools below, learn about how USDA supports local and regional food economies; see examples of producers, businesses and communities putting these resources to work; and explore the map to find out what's happening near you. Use the tools and get involved!

Halting extinctions would cost $80 bln; half of bankers' bonuses

OSLO (Reuters) - Governments need to spend $80 billion a year to halt extinctions of endangered animals and plants, many times current levels and only half the amount paid to bankers in bonuses last year, a study showed.

The extra spending is vital to protect natural services such as insect pollination of crops or water purification by wetlands, the report in Friday's edition of Science said. "These are investments in natural capital. They are not bills. They are dwarfed by the benefits we get back from nature," Stuart Butchart of BirdLife International in England, one of the authors of the study, told Reuters.

Tribes Add Potent Voice Against Plan for Northwest Coal Terminals

Many environmental groups and green-minded politicians in the Pacific Northwest are already on record as opposing a wave of export terminals proposed from here to the south-central coast of Oregon, aiming to ship coal to Asia. But in recent weeks, Indian tribes have been linking arms as well, citing possible injury to fishing rights and religious and sacred sites if the coal should spill or the dust from its trains and barges should waft too thick.

And as history has demonstrated over and over, especially in this part of the nation, from protecting fish habitats to removing dams, a tribal-environmental alliance goes far beyond good public relations. The cultural claims and treaty rights that tribes can wield — older and materially different, Indian law experts say, than any argument that the Sierra Club or its allies might muster about federal air quality rules or environmental review — add a complicated plank of discussion that courts and regulators have found hard to ignore.

Clean coal projects face political, financial headwinds-report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - At least 130 projects that capture and store carbon emissions at coal power and industrial plants must come online by 2020 if the world is to stay on course to keeping the rise in global temperatures below a threshold deemed dangerous by scientists, a new report released Wednesday said.

In its 2012 report on the global state of carbon capture and storage (CCS) deployment, the Global CCS Institute warned that reaching the 130-project goal from 16 in the works will be unlikely amid current investment levels and regulatory uncertainty.

U.S. Struggles to Rescue Green Program Hit by Fraud

WASHINGTON — A Maryland man is awaiting sentencing for what may seem an unusual crime: selling bogus renewable energy credits and using the $9.3 million in illicit proceeds to buy jewelry and a fleet of luxury cars.

In a similar case in Texas, a man has been indicted for selling a whopping $42 million in counterfeit credits. He bought real estate, a Bentley and a Gulfstream jet.

Norway to double carbon tax on oil industry

Norway is to double carbon tax on its North Sea oil industry and set up a £1bn fund to help combat the damaging impacts of climate change in the developing world.

In one of the most radical climate programmes yet by an oil-producing nation, the Norwegian government has proposed increasing its carbon tax on offshore oil companies by £21 to £45 (Nkr410) per tonne of CO2 and a £5.50 (Nkr50) per tonne CO2 tax on its fishing industry.

China Carbon Debut Defies Emission Doubters

China’s first steps to build what is destined to be the world’s second-biggest emissions market are boosting the prospects for fledgling programs from Australia to California.

Four cement makers in China, the world’s biggest emitter, bought 1.3 million pollution permits for 60 yuan ($9.55) a metric ton last month in Guangdong. The province plans the largest of seven pilot programs for a proposed national market within three years. Exchanges will trade permits to emit an estimated 1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases a year by 2015, close to half the volume in the European Union system.

Forests to feel climate change effect—damage could cost billions

A new pan-European study suggests that the economic value of forests will decline between 14 % and 50 % due to climate change. If measures are not taken to change this, the damage could reach several hundred billion euros, say researchers led by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) in Switzerland. The study was presented in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Afghanistan to Strengthen Climate Change Defenses

BAMYAN, Afghanistan (ENS) – To strengthen Afghanistan’s ability to withstand climate change, the government and United Nations partners today announced a US$6 million initiative, the first of its kind in the country’s history.

The program will be run by Afghanistan’s National Environmental Protection Agency, NEPA. It aims to reduce the vulnerability of communities to the effects of climate change, such as drought, floods and erosion, and to build the capacity of Afghan institutions to address climate change risk.

North India to be warmer than the south, says study

Mumbai -- A new study on future climatic changes in India by the Centre for Sustainable Technologies, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, has indicated that north India is likely to experience more rise in temperatures than south India. In Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha will experience higher levels of warming while coastal areas, including Mumbai, will be similar to the south. The study, reported in the latest issue of Current Science journal of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, has made long-term climate projections for India.

Tesla gives away battery charges for free, here's a report about a trip over more than 500 miles in a Tesla battery car.

This is what passes for journalism, isn't it?: The author's naked cheerleading, and the silly comparisons. Who drives 60 MPH on I-5? Nobody, yet that's how he tries to sustain the idea that his $70,000 EV only cost him one hour, rather than three. Need we mention the stress of being within 5 miles of running out of power? The three separate fueling stops. The inclusion of two "rest stops" in the one-hour comparison? The prospect of waiting in line for an hour or six at those charging stations, once there are an appreciable number of other Teslas on the road?

"No tailpipe emissions." That's also another excellent one, given that 69 percent of the power comes from natural gas and nuclear.

Michael, my observation is that there is no journalism today. The 'journalists' simply pass along pumped up spin from the corporations, in the form of 'press releases.'

That way the corporations get 'free' advertising for their unsustainable junk. And, an added benefit, the masses are distracted - at least for the moment.

But, hey! There's a buck to be made there... right?


I have to say you read the article differently than I did, MD. "No tailpipe emissions" is totally accurate, since the car has no tailpipe. Notice the author didn't write "no emissions"; something I noticed right off.

Further, the author states: "...I made up time by flying along with Interstate 5’s speedy traffic", not that he went 60 MPH (as you imply). 60 MPH was referring to a hypothetical average speed: "Driving a gas-powered car averaging 60 miles per hour, stopping one hour for lunch and twice for 15-minute rest stops, would have cut my travel time by one hour. In my electric test car, if I had eaten my lunch on the go, the duration would have been much the same." The car was charged before his meal was even served: "...added 153 miles of range before my burger even arrived."

Is your post what passes for an unbiased comment these days?

Ghung, I consider "no tailpipe emissions" a pretty clear lie of omission. You don't?

As for the 60 mph, I wasn't saying he drove 60. I'm saying it's wildly unfair to take that as an average speed for comparison on a highway with a posted 70, meaning a practice of 80. Driving that trip at 75 would take 7 hours. Even with an hour-long lunch and his two "rest breaks" (who takes those on this length of a trip?), that's 8.5 hours. I smell fudge.

As for his own speed, he says he drove 70 to preserve the range to even pull off his 11.5-hour trip. If he'd driven 75 or 80, he'd have failed to make it.

And what about the issue of waiting in line? Without asking where all the new generation would come from, does Tesla plan to rebuild the nation's electrical distribution grid to ensure on-road no-wait charging for 200 million EVs? Given that it would require something far larger than existing gas stations, which dispense 400 miles worth of range in about 3 minutes per car, that seems like yet another rather obvious impossibility. And how happy will its customers be when there are even 2 million of these things, and they start having to sit around for hours just to get a plug?

I'm quite comfortable asking such questions, which strike me as at least valid, if not unanswerable in anything but a pessimistic way. Why isn't this journalist?

I agree with Ghung. The article made no ludicrous or unreasonable claims or misrepresentations And please do not underestimate the benefits of moving tailpipe emissions to natural gas stacks, coal power stacks way the heck out of the air pollution of urban traffic. Sounds like R. Dawson has not experienced the air in Houston, Mexico City, etc. on bad air days. And in case you have not heard there is a boom of PV and wind turbine development that will reduce the fossil fuel content of the electricity grid despite the braindead vitiriol of tea baggers. This will continue especially after the shale gas bust starts to bring natural gas prices back to normal levels or higher.

Thanks, Decarb. Since Michael continued to mis-read (or mis-relate) what the article actually said, I just let it go. Another case-in-point: Michael: "As for his own speed, he says he drove 70 to preserve the range..." The author never said he kept his speed at 70. He states: "Tesla engineers advised holding my speed to 70 miles per hour just to make sure. No restrictions were placed on air-conditioner use, though."... a small difference to some, perhaps, but inaccurate spin, IMO, indicative of bias. Just sayin'... and what's Michael's hurry anyway?

If I'm in no particular hurry, I often drive 60 mph on I-5 in my journeys around OC and SD counties . . . saves fuel in my old 4-banger Nissan.

The new IEA Highlights of the latest OMR is out this morning. They did not say what the world oil production was in September nor what non-OPEC production was in September. They usually do give these numbers in the "Highlights" but not this month. I am sure they do in the "Full Issue" but non subscribers will have to wait two weeks for that.

Non-OPEC output growth is expected to bounce back to 0.7 mb/d in 2013 (to 53.9 mb/d) after outages cut growth to 0.4 mb/d (to 53.2 mb/d) in 2012. Both estimates are up by a marginal 10 kb/d since last month. Supply recovers by 0.6 mb/d (to 53.6 mb/d) in 4Q12, from maintenance and hurricane disruptions in 3Q12.

OPEC crude oil supply fell to an eight-month low in September, down 510 kb/d to 31.17 mb/d. Higher supplies from Iraq and Libya failed to offset reduced output from Nigeria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Weak demand cut ‘call on OPEC crude and stock change’ by 400 kb/d for 3Q12, to 30.7 mb/d.

They are saying that non-OPEC growth will be .7 mb/d next year while OPEC says non-OPEC production will grow by .9 mb/d in 2013. I am predicting both non-OPEC production and OPEC production to be slightly down next year.

Ron P.

It's now official...

LED Roadway strikes deal with NB Power

LED Roadway Lighting Ltd. has signed a contract with NB Power to supply 72,000 LED light fixtures for deployment across the province.


The new light fixtures will replace existing 100 [to] 400-watt high-pressure sodium fixtures. The installation of the new energy efficient fixtures will provide energy savings of approximately 60 per cent.


The LED fixtures, which have a design life that is significantly longer than conventional high-pressure sodium technology, will also provide significant savings in maintenance costs. In addition to the economic benefits and improved lighting conditions, the retrofit will yield greenhouse gas reductions of approximately 324,000 tonnes over 20 years, an amount equivalent to removing approximately 3,000 cars from the road.

See: http://www.ns.dailybusinessbuzz.ca/Provincial%20News/2012-10-12/article-...

LED Roadway lighting is also supplying over 100,000 replacement street lights in this province.


The LED fixtures, which have a design life that is significantly longer than conventional high-pressure sodium technology, will also provide significant savings in maintenance costs.

We go to a show every year in Hickory, NC and a couple of years ago I noticed they were replacing the traffic light lamps with LED lamps. Last weekend while there, I noticed that many of the @2 year old LED lamps had several, if not many, individual LED failures; some were blinking, some totally failed. Best hopes that these are the exceptions and not the rule. I expect that this was an early rollout problem, and hope they are under warranty.

In the UK all new traffic light lamps (and old ones when they break)are being fitted with LEDs. They have been around for a few years now, never noticed any failures. They are easy to spot because the green is a slightly different colour.

We have had LED traffic signals for perhaps 3 or 4 years now... most are perfect today, though there are a few individual LEDs that can be seen to have failed (they are composites of many individual small LED lights). Not more than one in any light fixture that I have noticed, and only in one or two of the many that were installed.

I would imagine that total failure of a fixture would be on the part of the circuitry - maybe inadequate moisture control? I do not know who manufactured our lamps. If I ever get to another city council meeting I will ask.


We have many LED traffic lights down here and the main advantage is they are WAY easier to see in our bright tropical sunlight than the traditional ones. As for getting wet, they seem to resist tropical rain, unlike the controllers that end up with plastic bags over them


Hi Ghung,

There's a good reason why I often reference the Philips name whenever I talk about LED products. The short answer is that old adage "you get what you pay for", and when you tender and select on the basis of the lowest cost, you learn why this expression holds true. :-)


Yeah, Paul, I've resisted ordering LEDs I've seen in discount catalogs for that reason, even though they have good specs at about 1/2 the cost. Don't trust'em...

Yep. That's why they deserve re-mention they are the L-Prize* winner.

From my experience, their CFLs also seemed to outlast other brands in my house as well.

[* - personal non-paid endorsement ; ) ]

How much is this going to cost, and how much will it save? The article doesn't talk about how much the roll-out will cost, or how much will be saved in electricity and/or maintenance.

The GHGs savings are obviously great.

Hi JP,

I can't recall the exact figure, but I had heard that it costs about $400.00 to change a street light at the end of its life. Often, this involves closing off a lane with cones, a bucket truck to perform the change-out and sometimes a second vehicle parked a few metres back as a sort of quasi-crash barrier.

It's not so much the energy savings that drives these decisions as it is the reduction in ongoing maintenance costs.


If you have figures about the cost/benefits, please pass them along. Thanks.

Sure, here's how the numbers breakout for Welland, Ontario:

The Council also approved financing of the capital cost of CAN$2.74 million through a debenture. This will be paid back by utilizing the savings from the program. The LED retrofit program is expected to reduce street-lighting energy costs by $221,553 and street-lighting maintenance costs by $159,250 in year one.


Welland estimates that the total cost of operating its current HPS-based lighting system will amount to almost $18 million over 15 years, which is the “estimated true cost of doing nothing.” By switching to LED lighting, the City will save a total of $6.8 million in operating costs. After paying the various charges including debt repayments, the city will save a net amount of $2.38 million over the 15-year term of the agreement.

See: http://ledsmagazine.com/news/8/9/31


The article didn't state what assumptions the project had made about the future cost of electricity in Ontario. They may save substantially more money if rates continue to rise well beyond the inflation rate.

That's true. We don't know what assumptions have been made with respect to the future cost of electricity, but I'm guessing that some sort of escalation factor was built into the analysis and that it likely exceeds the general rate of inflation.



Do you know of a LED grow light? When we upgraded to triple pane low-e windows, it cut down on light for the houseplants. I'd like to use a LED grow bulb in a overhead fixture if one exists.

Thanks - Paleo

Sorry, Paleo, unfortunately I don't. Good luck !


Google "led grow lights". It looks like there is a major industry --

We use the brightest high power LED chips to ensure heavy yield; have a color spectrum proven to produce THE BEST tasting, smelling and most potent flowers and fruits; and have the most dependable warranty in the industry.

Eliminate Ballasts · Minimize Heat Signature · Control Your Color Spectrum · Cut Electricity Costs Dramatically

Now what could they be growing?

Check out http://www.groworganic.com I've dealt with them for years.

Research Moves LEDs to the Greenhouse

The experimental protocol was straightforward. The team retrofitted a growth chamber with LED lighting and ran growth tests with a second “stock” chamber as a control. All aspects of the chamber performance were evaluated, including electricity, heat, cooling, watering, humidity, maintenance and plant growth. The team anticipated and found great potential savings for both Penn State operations and research. LEDs not only provided substantial lighting savings but also reduced the need for compressor cooling, associated maintenance and watering. Since the chamber lighting runs cooler, there is less evaporation and less stress on the plants. LEDs also will last five to 10 years and need far fewer replacements than the old high-intensity fluorescent and incandescent bulbs.

Even though plants evolved in full sunlight, they don’t actually utilize all the wavelengths that sunlight provides. Depending on the plant species, they like blue, medium-red and far-red wavelengths. LEDs can focus the spectrum energy and intensity where it is most beneficial to plant growth. Conventional lighting provides a full spectrum and generates a lot of excess heat, especially in a small growth chamber. Since LEDs can supply only the wavelengths needed, the excess heat is minimized. Additionally, LEDs are ideal for research purposes because each wavelength can be controlled independently.

The choice of red and blue LEDs mimics the spectra of an actinic FL.
Blue light shortens internodes and makes for a stockier plant.

One of the main streets in my city of San Gabriel, Las Tunas, changed the streetlights to LEDs about a year ago (didnt take a pix of them at night yet, sorry).

One day I will have to go google and research, or ask the city if they have any info about the pwr savings vs cost, and such.

With the long life of LED lights the replacements are likely to be the next generation and increase savings further.


I love the ubiquitous commercials touting energy independence.

"By producing more homegrown fossil fuels, we can lower prices at the pump for America."

Who is "We," kimosabe? Do you mean the oil companies, who are beholden to no one but their shareholders? The ones who are obligated to sell to the highest bidder? And this is especially attractive to the Right Wing "free marketeers" who believe in Ayn Rand's polemics.

These are messages to the oblivious.

In the UK the energy minister is planning to build 20 or more new natural gas power stations "in order to cut UK domestic energy bills". This week the NG companies announced 6-10% domestic gas and electric price rises. Again.

The sheeple blame the cost of subsidising renewables, (about 5% of total energy bills) for their energy bills doubling in the last 10 years.

UK NG production fell again this year. Was it 7 or 15 or 25% this time? I loose track.

Historical numbers to 2011 here http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/stats/publications/dukes/5954-duke...

UK natural gas production has been decreasing since 2000 and in 2011 was down over a
fifth on 2010. This is the largest year-on-year decrease recorded [since]2000, and some three
times the average post 2000 decrease. It is a result of a number of unexpected slowdowns
and maintenance issues on the UK Continental Shelf (Chart 4.1, paragraph 4.6).

Will be interesting to see the 2012 numbers for UK NG production.
Official projections for 2012 onwards see a sudden levelling-off of the previous precipitous fall!

Even to me as one of the sheeple the sudden improvement in our North Sea fortunes seems a touch optimistic. I never under-rate the unexpected!


These are messages to the oblivious.

Which is 99% of the nation.

I would like to obtain a larger data sample from you all. I have recently run into the problem of contaminated diesel fuel that I had put into my Kubota tractor. The diesel fuel was less than a year old, and I had put some of the special diesel preservative in the 5 gallon can before I put it away. Apparently there was some sort of mold/slime that grew in that time and plugged the fuel filters in my tractor.

I was at the local Kubota dealer yesterday buying a couple extra fuel filters to keep them on hand. When I complained to the parts person about my trouble and the poor quality of the diesel, she told me that I was not alone. She said that many local farmers were going through similar problems with their BIG tractors (especially troublesome during harvest season when racing the weather here in upstate NY).

Anyway, I was just wondering if others here on TOD are experiencing similar troubles with the quality of diesel fuel. If there is some other place monitoring the quality of fuel in the US, I would appreciate knowing of this too.

Thanks in advance,

Rev. K

This is a common problem with stored diesel. Boat owners frequently add a product like this http://www.priproducts.com/pdfs/Flyer%20-%20PRI-OCIDE%20-%20CONSUMER.pdf to control algae and bacteria. Others can chime in but I don't think it is a diesel quality issue but rather a storage issue. In nine years of running a diesel car I don't recall any fuel problems.

A lot of diesel fuel problems come from having water in the fuel, allowing algae and bacteria to grow. Often the water is from condensation (suppliers and customers not keeping tanks full, etc.) If I'm storing diesel for very long, I store it in a dark shed and add "Pri-ocide", an anti-microbial (different from a "stabilizer"). It's a bit expensive, but worth the cost. Seems to work better than some other products I've tried. I also add a little "Pri-D". An old buddy of mine runs a fleet of sport fishing boats and uses this stuff religiously. Diesel RVers also use it, especially when parking their vehicles for long periods.

I expect that fuel producers/distributors are pushing their systems pretty hard and deferring maintenance, which may be affecting fuel quality somewhat; no different than declining maintenance on most of our infrastructure.

I have a small sailboat with a baby sized diesel for getting in and out of the harbor. I think Ghung and Stump nailed it. Storing diesel leads to two problems. If the tank is not full then water can condense in the air space above the fuel. The water sinks to the bottom and becomes a breeding ground for little beasties. Keep the tanks full, especially when you are not running the engine a lot. Use a biocide. The other thing is change your fuel filters regularly.

I am a part owner in a large sailboat which has similar problems. Diesel fuel is biodegradable. If you leave it sitting too long, bacteria starts growing in it, and the bacteria is capable of destroying the injection pump and injectors.

This is not generally a problem with diesel cars because the fuel is turned over quite frequently, but in a sailboat left sitting over the winter, it can be disastrous. The solution is to fill the tanks to the top at the end of the season to prevent water condensation in them, and put in a biocide to kill the bacteria. And then if you get bacteria growing in the tanks anyway, have a professional clean the fuel and the fuel tanks.

Bacteria in diesel does not seem to be a problem here in Fairbanks. The underground tanks used here stay cold year round and this slows microbial growth.


Douglas is next to Juneau not Fairbanks. Make up your mind :)

Sorry I have relatives in the Douglas/Juneau area so I couln't help but think about going "whos on first" with that post.

Some years ago I was involved with a project to salvage several large tanks of diesel that had become contaminated with algae. We ended up building a recirculating filtration system to remove the slime. A smaller version of that using a hand cranked pump could be very handy for home use.

Thanks for all the replies to my query. It does not seem to be a larger problem, other than my one data point at my local dealer (well, two, counting me).

FWIW, my 5 gallon cans were filled to the top, and the stuff I initially used to extend it's life (supposedly made for this purpose with diesel fuel) just was not up to the task. The tractor dealer sold the better stuff, so hopefully my problem is now in my rearview mirror (just like PO).

Enjoy the Fall weekend and thanks again.


You may want to take a look inside your tanks and see if there is any build up on the walls. If you put in a 'cide that kills the stuff off it may slough off the walls and increase your problems. You may need to clean the tanks too.


Thanks NAOM. I am hoping I can avoid this (tank cleaning). The "goop" was the same color as the inside of the fuel tank. In the meantime, I have 4 fuel filters sitting on the shelf. Luckily they are cheap for my Kubota BX25.

A farmer here in South Africa told me he stored his diesel for a couple of months in a drum with a tap at the bottom. Just before using the diesel he'd open the tap and drain off the water that had settled out. He said he never had trouble starting his tractors in winter, unlike his neighbouring farmers.

Pedaling Produce: Boston Gets a Bike-Powered Farm Cart

... Boston-based nonprofit design collaborative Building Research + Architecture + Community Exchange. BR+A+CE (pronounced “brace”) designed and built the human-powered mobile farm stand as the first project in support of its mission to create new community spaces that engage social, economic, and cultural issues.

... [the] design firm redesigned the ubiquitous cart, adding pedals and a folding system of trays that can haul up to 150 pounds of fruit and vegetables.

Pedal-powered, cargo-carrying tricycles are increasingly popular in hip neighborhoods in European and North American cities, and have been widely used in Asia for decades. Fully loaded, the rig weighs about 500 pounds.


I hear Lance might be looking for work soon.. but you'd want some solid assurances that his apples aren't being embellished with anything! B>

Next, the home mechanic/tinkerer sees the potential to turn it into a PV electric assist.

Would just need a PV 'golf cart' roof, and a hub motor for rear wheels, and controller, voila!

I don't know what we will do about peak oil, but I think we will be doing it on bicycles.

If we have enough spare energy to run the bicycle and tire factories (and move the raw materials to them).

We had bikes with rubber tires at least by 1869. Long as we don't crash completely, I'm gonna stay long on bikes. Smooth surfaces to ride them at a decent pace may be more rare, but efficiency of travel may not be quite such an issue. Ditto for trains. I guess it comes down to whether you're a fast crasher or a slow crasher in the end. I admit I'm on the fence but hopeful...


London bee numbers 'could be too high'

There may be too many bees in the capital, the London Beekeepers Association (LBKA) has said. The association has criticised an initiative by a business group offering hives to central London firms.

LBKA secretary Angela Woods said: "There are a finite number of green spaces in London. It could get to the point where the bees are not sustainable. "London's bee population is going up but honey yields in London are going down and we need to ask is it because there is not enough forage."

"Firms would be better off spending money on forage projects and teaching bee keepers to act responsibly."

Or just plant plants.


Peak oil? That’s so yesterday. U.S. energy independence? No longer unthinkable.

Hear that perma-doomers? Peal Oil is OVER, much like Tom-Kat's marriage! Might as well shut down TOD and open a new blog. Allow me to suggest a name: Cornucopian Resources Abounding in Perpetuity: CRAP.com.



One wonders why these "Apocalypse proof" underground condos built in old missile silos are so popular.

Japan's TEPCO admits downplaying tsunami risk

The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Friday admitted it had played down the risks of a tsunami to the facility for fear of the financial and regulatory costs.

The admission is one of the starkest yet by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which has been criticised for trying to shirk responsibility for the worst nuclear disaster in a generation.

The report says before the huge waves of March 2011 smashed into the plant the company was aware defences against natural disasters were not sufficient, but did not act because of the possible consequences.

The company document, entitled "Fundamental Policy for the Reform of TEPCO Nuclear Power Organization" says insufficient planning was done to prepare for a natural disaster at the plant.

And this is where every argument in favor of nuclear falls down.

Cure for over-population? ...

Study suggests that obese teen males may become impotent, infertile adults

A study by the University at Buffalo shows for the first time that obese males ages 14 to 20 have up to 50 percent less total testosterone than do normal males of the same age, significantly increasing their potential to be impotent and infertile as adults.

Too bad this will only impact Western countries (where fertility rate are already below replacement in some cases), but not impoverished Third World countries that have the sky-high birth rates. Also, as Peak Oil and ELM begins to really bite in the decades to come, obesity will likely "cure itself" even here in the U.S. (peak oil = peak cheap food production).

Doesn't seem to be a problem by the number of land whales I see dragging around mini land whales.


Harm - regarding: "In the energy business, constant change is the new normal"

Under the category of what's old is new again: "It’s easy and exciting to embrace the new, positively-sloped energy mega-trends taking shape – light tight oil production, oil on rails, gas-fired power generation...On the one hand, it’s more difficult to shake old beliefs and admit that yesterday’s linear trajectories are now bent out of shape."

I suppose if one makes a statement with enough apparent authority folks will believe it. What we're seeing today has cycled in the oil patch for many decades. Positively sloped energy new? How about 60 years ago when the US transitioned from an oil exporter to a net importer in just a few years? How about a couple of decades ago when the horizontal drilling of the Austin Chalk almost doubled oil production in Texas? Not very "linear". Granted it didn't last long given the nature of fractured shale production but it did boom just as some of the oily shales are booming today. Gas-fired power plants? When I started with Mobil Oil in 1975 THE big story was the transition to NG as a significant revenue stream due to the increased prices as well as there being much more NG resources left to drill then oil. The US has been the largest NG producer on the planet almost every year for the last half century. NG the new big game in town? Hardly.

Light tight oil production new? Check out the history of west Texas oil production. They've produced billions of bbls from such reservoirs for more than half a century. From wiki consider just Yates Field: "...it has produced more than one billion barrels of oil and it remains productive, though at a diminished rate. Estimated recoverable reserves are still approximately one billion barrels, which represents approximately 50% of the original oil in place.... Careful study of the fractured nature of the oil-bearing geologic units allowed operators to shut down almost 400 of the least efficient wells without diminishing the overall output of the field." BTW west Texas drilling is booming but it doesn't have the PR machine pushing it like the shale plays.

"...linear trajectories are now bent out of shape." Maybe he's worked in different oil patch that I've lived and breathed for most of the last four decades. I don't recall any significant linear periods. It has always been either getting a lot better or a lot worse. But has never been static for very long. In the ten year period starting in 1975 I went from salary increases of 400% to driving a Yellow cab in Houston. Linear my *ss. LOL. IMHO just one more sad example of someone trying to convince the public that we're entering a new day where energy BAU is certainly sustainable. In my experience in the oil patch nothing changes significantly...until it does.


I appreciate your comments and experience. As a regular reader, I always look for your comment. Many comments are listed in my "dreams and schemes" section.

zeke - you're welcome. I know I come across as a doomer to many. But that's probably because I am one. LOL. But not because I have a pessimistic nature. Being a petroleum geologist I could not have been and still make a living. There aren't a lot of matters I don't know a great deal about. But I've been doing this for almost 4 decades (which saying it that way suddenly makes feel a lot older than when I say 37 years). And you have to be really dumb to not pick up something over that time. The funniest thing about that ridiculous article is that it's only talking about trends and not any technology issues per se. If nothing else I've sat inside the oil patch for all that time so the trends are very fresh even in my fading memory. Years ago I did a career day at a local school. I really had no idea what to tell a kid if they asked if they should consider a career as a petroleum geologist. When I decided to major in geology in the fall of 1970 there was no career future to speak of in the field. I was young and foolish and just liked rocks. We had a running joke in the geology dept: get your degree and then you can sell shoes for Tom McCann. But when getting out of grad school in '75 oil companies are flying me all over for interviews. And then by the early 80's I've driving cabs and delivering produce. And then by the late 80's I'm making a client 6 to 1 on his money and making more money than I ever had. And then I helping start a new pubco in 1992 which I saw go bankrupt a short time later. And then watched oil go under $25/bbl in the late 90's. And I few years later I'm making big bucks again as a pore pressure analyst in the DW GOM for Devon. And a couple of years later Devon is selling all the DW acreage trying not to go bankrupt when NG prices collapsed in late '08.

And this is my "linear" career in the oil patch this fool is trying to convince folks has existed. And a lot of folks will believe this hype. Just one more reason to be a doomer IMHO.

I'm a doomer because I can't ignore reality. But I'm not pessimistic since if anything I'm criticized for offering possibly too-optimistic alternative scenarios that may save us from doom.

I guess some like to bury their heads in the sand and others prefer to look at what's coming.

On a related note, I am finding that there is so much knowledge here on this site, every drumbeat provides enough to write a small book. Is there a "best of" or something? I am too busy to spend too much time sifting through old pages. I want to learn as much as possible but the volume of material is overwhelming. Also, does anyone have recommendations for books I must read?

Guys, I was KIDDING.
I mean "CRAP.com", really guys... ;-)

If you zoom out enough and average all the data, it's all linear.

I guess I should have include the "/snark" tag on that post. Mimicking the absurd (and comically optimistic) pronouncements of cornucopians and right-wingers is one of my favorite pasttimes.

HARM - No need. Your reputation as a smart *ss is well known. And appreciated...especially by me. LOL.

Thanks! Just wanted to be sure I wasn't being "misunderestimated".

Heating Oil Supplies Unusually Tight as Winter Nears

U.S. distillate fuel supplies are unusually tight as winter approaches, which means consumers, particularly in the Northeast, probably will pay record-high prices for heating oil, the Energy Information Administration said in its This Week in Petroleum Report.

Similar to the last several years, the seasonal increase in heating oil demand is occurring against a backdrop of tight global distillate markets in which supply and demand centers are "geographically mismatched," the EIA said. Refinery outages and stricter anti-pollution rules have compounded the supply tightness.

Gas-to-Crude Converter Tackles Oil Rig Flaring Ban

Flaring at sites worldwide burns enough gas to satisfy a quarter of U.S. demand and puts 400 million tons of CO2 - 1.2 percent of emissions - into the atmosphere every year, according to the World Bank-funded Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership (GGFR).

Now engineers believe they have succeeded in miniaturizing the process that changes gas to liquid (GTL), marking a major leap forward in a technology whose economics have so far depended on massive scale.

Privately-owned CompactGTL, took a step this week towards getting the first functioning offshore mini-GTL plant on to a working drillship.

It operates without flames, does not require an oxygen supply, and uses only small volumes of fluids in a shipping container-sized device designed to work aboard the floating production storage and offtake (FPSO) vessels that are widely used in modern offshore oil projects.


The CompactGTL modular gas solution can benefit new or established, onshore or offshore oilfields. It is ideally suited for:

•Fields producing 10 – 50 million standard cubic feet (MMscf) of associated gas per day
•Fields where flaring is being phased out or heavily taxed
•New fields where re-injection is not viable because of the low volume of associated gas, high reservoir pressure, the distance to market, a lack of on-shore solutions and the location of reservoirs
•New fields where re-injection is the only current viable option but results in significant capital cost, increased complexity of reservoir management, potential damage to the reservoir and limits on oil production rates

This could prove to be a real asset where small quantities of gas are produced relative to the oil produced. I don't think it will bring much more liquid fossil fuel to the market relative to 75mmbpd produced globally, but could mean less emissions and greater profits for some producers. In previous posts about Bakken formation, the percent of gas flared is 40% due to lack of pipelines or cost of processing & compression.

mb – Yep…probably won’t add a lot on a percentage basis. But a lot of potential applications. Working in a field offshore Equatorial Guinea I watched the FSPO flare over 25 million cu ft every day. And from my platform I could see dozens of flares at night from offshore Nigeria.

Not much detail in the article but unfortunately I suspect there may not be much application in the Bakken or other US plays. The only number offered was 10 to 50 million cu ft per day. That’s a huge amount compared to the casing head volume from our individual onshore wells. Even if gathered from a cluster of wells I doubt it would come close. And if an extensive gathering system were built then it could tie into a NG pipeline system. Probably a lot of applications overseas and maybe not many, if any, in the US.

Africa facing intensified 'food crisis'

New report suggests that numerous African and Middle East countries are at a high or extreme risk of a food crisis. Seventy-five per cent of countries on the African continent and several Arab countries face an impending food crisis, a new study has revealed.

Maplecroft’s Food Security Risk Index, a report released on Wednesday, found that in a survey of 197 countries worldwide, up to 39 of the 59 most at risk of food insecurity were African countries.

"The drivers of the 'Arab Awakening [Spring]' were varied and complex and included long-standing public anger at high levels of governmental corruption and oppressive tactics against populations and political opposition," said Maplecroft.

"When these factors combine with food insecurity, sparked by rising global prices, it can create an environment for social unrest and regime change."

The Year the Grains Failed: Why Poorer Countries Are Scheduling 'Food-Free Days'

World grain prices have risen so high that families in poorer countries are being forced to schedule "food-free days" each week, according to one of the leading experts on global agriculture.

The extreme rationing is an "an unprecedented manifestation of food stress," according to Lester Brown, president of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, and the most respected environmental observer of food and agricultural trends.

Quoting figures from a report commissioned by Save the Children, he said that foodless days were now a part of life for up to 24 per cent of families in India, 27 per cent in Nigeria, and 14 per cent in Peru.

The development was part of a long-term shift, he said, from a world food economy dominated by surpluses, to one dominated by scarcity.

also Can science help improve food security?

Projections of future changes to the planet's climate and its impact on the agriculture sector's ability to feed a rising global population has made the issue a priority for scientists.

Its a shame that no one in these grossly overpopulated countries isn't advocating for "child free families".

Every nation has the ability to feed its population --assuming that population stays within the sustainable limits of its own land and natural resources. All of the nations listed are far into overshoot, but of course no one will even mention the elephant in the room because it's culturally taboo.

It's interesting that up until 2000 the food per capita metric was actually beating the projected trajectory of the World3 model "standard run".

So much for debunking the Club of Rome...
(good video of Dennis Meadows 2009 commemorative lecture at the bottom of the page)


Looking Back on the Limits of Growth

Not sure what the data for the last decade is, but if this trend of "food free days" starts to spread we could see a global downturn in that metric far sooner than expected. I guess we'll find out in another 20 years or so.


JMM - It's interesting that up until 2000 the food per capita metric was actually beating the projected trajectory of the World3 model "standard run".

It just means the 'downside' will be a little bit steeper. The Seneca Effect: Why Decline Is Faster Than Growth

Certainly a possibility, although for comparison it's worth noting that the data is still far below either the "stabilized world" or "comprehensive technology" scenarios:

For a detailed discussion I recommend reading the full report from Dr. Graham Turner which can be viewed as a pdf here:

Related podcast:

Examining the limits to growth


The food crisis will be a very destabilizing event, indeed. Even today food inflation (and fuel price inflation) is not included in the 'official' inflation, this month claimed to be zero %.

The strange thing about that is how inflation of food and fuel will impact other prices. As more and more of the family's money is spent on those two items, less and less will be available for other products and services. The lack of demand for those other things will depress the price. In that way, real inflation will cause 'official' deflation. Somewhat as we are seeing today. This in turn will result in fewer jobs, as those 'other' items' productive cycle drops, and families will have even less to spend, until the time comes when they have insufficient income to pay for the inflated items of food and gas.

At which time all Hell breaks loose. Just as reported where families have already reached the breaking point.

And, during two debates thus far, not a word has been said about any of this. Nothing. Two empty suits (well, okay, four empty suits).



And, during two debates thus far, not a word has been said about any of this. Nothing. Two empty suits (well, okay, four empty suits).

How hard would you run for Herbert Hoover's second term?

"As more and more of the family's money is spent on those two items, less and less will be available for other products and services. The lack of demand for those other things will depress the price. In that way, real inflation will cause 'official' deflation. Somewhat as we are seeing today. This in turn will result in fewer jobs, as those 'other' items' productive cycle drops, and families will have even less to spend, until the time comes when they have insufficient income to pay for the inflated items of food and gas."

Money printing is offsetting the deflation. The current extent of this has always resulted in hyperinflation. We would be there by now but the problem is it's the whole world's monetary system. There is nowhere else for the capital to flow, except for commodities, and the fear of deflation may be slowing this shift. Historically if one country experienced this amount of money printing the capital would just flee and move to another country with better fundamentals. But there is no other planet for the capital to flee to. But we will get hyperinflation, when oil hits $200. All it takes is a shift in sentiment and then it's unstoppable. That's why the MSM does what it does to lie and shape opinions, because they do not want sentiment to shift from bullishness.

Money printing is offsetting the deflation. The current extent of this has always resulted in hyperinflation.

There probably isn't any way around it. What else can be done once the cheap energy that generated so much easy profit turns into expensive energy? History has shown that hyper-inflation once started, accelerates very quickly. Up until now we have not yet entered into that devaluation spiral. However, even what is suppose to be helping generate growth (in spite of high oil prices depressing growth), QE's, is pushing commodity prices higher, in effect causing inflation in relation to food & energy prices. It's like the damn is cracking and leaking at the edges, but has not completely busted loose yet.

I submit we are at a mid-point now, in which oil supply has matched what the economy can handle at a much higher price with little or no growth for developed countries, with stimulus including QE's being used to try and help offset this stage, but what will follow is what you suggest, $200 oil. It may never reach that price, but on the way will be just as devastating as the world economy contracts, morphing into who knows what.

I don't think it matters whether we have inflation; the point is (see below Bloomberg's POV that corn prices need to increase to reduce demand and avoid shortage) there will be shortages of food resulting from oil / AGW problems. They recognize that the only way to reduce demand is to reduce the number of consumers. Of food, though? Really??? And, by raising price? Will that really do it???

For food!!!

What ARE these people thinking?


There is profligate waste of food in the US, not including the food that is contributing to obesity. High food prices might in fact mitigate this. All the food produced that is no longer consumed in the US would then be available for export.

"All the food produced that is no longer consumed in the US would then be available for export."

Presumably paid for out of the income from selling oil and other non-renewable resources to the US. If food prices are high enough to significantly reduce consumption in the US, how will poor countries be able to buy it?

Poor countries cannot afford to buy food on the international market at normal prices or even histoirically low prices. Their only hope is to produce their own food.

I'm not convinced that hyperinflation is the inevitable result of current fiscal policies combined with expensive energy and plateauing (or shrinking) industrial output. Yes, many world central banks -especially the Fed in the U.S.) are "furiously printing money" in the sense that they are buying up worthless assets (junk MBSs, CDOs, CDSs, etc.) and replacing those junk assets with dollars (or Euros, Yen, etc.), but (and this is a big "but")...

All this "new" money is generally *not* ending up in the hands of consumers, either in the form of rising wages or net-new consumer debt. And it's pretty hard to get sustained, broad-based inflation in commodities and consumer goods when all the central bank money printing (supply) does *not* end up in the hands of consumers (aggregate demand). To paraphrase a great remark I read over at Angry Bear, "In order to buy a loaf of bread with a wheelbarrel full of money, you first need to *have* a wheelbarrel full of money."

This is why I seriously doubt there will be hyperinflation anytime soon --there's simply no current mechanism by which the Fed's "money printing" can translate into more currency in the hands of consumers. The high inflation of the 1970s (not quite high enough to really be considered "hyper" inflation btw) was possible because it was also accompanied by RISING WAGES. Obviously wages significantly lagged price increases, but the price-wage spiral was well documented by economists of the day, who broadly acknowledged that sustained *price* increases could not have occurred without sustained *wage* increases.

Of course, there is one other method by which the Fed's "money printing" can translate into more currency in the hands of consumers: Debt. Mortgage debt growth is primarily what made housing price "inflation" in the 2000s possible (as well as inflation of many other commodities during the same period --concrete, copper, steel, etc.). However, this method of spurring price inflation is not likely to be repeated anytime soon. Why not?

A: ZIRP and Peak Consumer Debt. Even with rock-bottom interest rates, most consumers are simply unable to take on any more debt, and cannot even service much of the debt they already have --hence the foreclosure rate, short sales, student loan defaults, etc. This is what economists inluding Krugman, DeLong, etc. have been calling "the zero bound" or "pushing on a string". For their own part, the banks are highly relucatnt to lend any more money to already debt saturated consumers, because they know these consumers are likely to default.

So... most of this newly conjured Fed money simply sits on bank balance sheets or gets invested into derivatives, HFT (arbitraging market price volatility), or low yielding (but relatively "safe") Treasuries. Either way, it is effectively "sterilized" --i.e., not circulating in the "real" consumer economy. The rent-seeking capitalist 1% and especially the 0.1% (who derive most of their income from financial profits not labor) greatly benefit from all this shadow banking money sloshing around in HFT, exotic financial intruments, commodity ETFs and hedge funds, but it has limited impact on consumer demand.

I wouldn't count on hyperinflation happening anytime soon, *unless* a whole lot more money ends up in the hands of consumers, either by wage increases or net-new debt. Based on current trends, neither seems very likely.

It occurs to me to ask, what exactly is the difference, inflationwise, between just "printing money" in a literal sense, and loaning it into existence? Other than the loaning provides income to the parasitical elements that stay alive through usery, that is?

Just asking. I have wondered this, and everyone seems to take it as a given that loaning money you don't have, through fractional banking, is in some way different, and I just don't believe it. I think it is just the way they keep people confused.

I was thinking... what if the US just prints the money instead of allowing the Fed to impower the banks to loan it to them? No difference in the reality of what has happened that I can see.

I think that with a growing population, the government should always be adding money to the pot; this way seems better in my view.

If you have some real argument contra, please let me know. Don't just scream and parrot the tripe that is put out by our corporate overlords... give it serious thought.


You've just recognized one of the most overlooked central truths of the fractional reserve banking system: there is no difference between lending and "money printing". They are one and the same thing. "Money printing" is really growth in lending and business/consumer debt. There is no "money printing" in the literal sense (unlike Weimar Germany). Just growth of debt/assets on a banks balance sheet, which gets conjured into existence by the Fed purchasing Treasuries or other assets, then depositing "money" into a member bank's account.

Re: "what if the US just prints the money instead of allowing the Fed to empower the banks to loan it to them"

There is no profit in this for the .01% or member banks of the Federal Reserve. Therefore, it cannot be allowed to happen. It could also lead to consumer de-leveraging (bad b/c the banks want very indebted and therefore compliant little serfs on their little hamster debt treadmills) and the aforementioned hyperinflation.

"I think that with a growing population, the government should always be adding money to the pot; this way seems better in my view."

Again, you are mistakenly assuming the government actually cares about what's in the interests of the 99%, vs. the 1% or .01%.

Very valid points....another reason hyperinflation is unlikely in the short term is the HUGE amount of deleveraging still to come in the housing market. The Fed may buy up crap mortgages in exchange for "real" money, but those houses still exist, and in most cases are still being held off the market to avoid the inevitable losses.

When everything finally gets "marked to market" (which HAS to happen in some form), that shadow inventory will continue to keep housing prices depressed, maybe much lower than at present. That's deflation, for awhile anyway.

The rails will come off in the 2015 - 2017 time frame. We won't get hyperinflation like Weimar, but the dollar and paper currencies will be devalued a lot.

Why 2015 - 2017? Not saying it can't happen, just curious as to why you picked this specific time frame.

I should have said the wheels will come off. Anyway I follow Jim Sinclair at http://www.jsmineset.com in these matters. He was calling for $1650 gold by Jan 2011 back when gold was around $300. He was laughed out of the room. He turned out to be right; he was off by just 6 months. Gold touched $1650 in June 2011.

Also, the stock market in the US follows a 16-18 year bull/bear cycle. The stock market has been moving sideways since 2000. If this is similar to the 1966-1982 period then the next bull market in stocks should start around 2016. Just before the secular bull in stocks starts, the bull market in gold and commodities will probably end and the financial crisis will be "resolved" (see below) and confidence restored.

Another reason I picked 2015-2017 is that our financial system is clearly on the verge of collapse. The PIIGS are in a depression and France and Germany will soon follow them. The central banks will try to kick the can down the road and will probably succeed for a few more years before there is a coordinated central bank action to "resolve" the crisis by devaluing paper currencies.

before there is a coordinated central bank action to "resolve" the crisis by devaluing paper currencies.

If this happens, then I seriously doubt the bull market in gold and commodities would end. Far from it, if dollars (or Euros/Yen) are greatly devalued, then the price of hard assets/commodities --especially gold-- would necessarily rise by definition. I still don't think this is likely (for the reasons I outlined above), but if it did, then I would also think you would want to be invested in as many commodites and other "hard" assets as possible going forward, including housing.

To buy the inflationist (much less hyper inflationist) argument, I would need to be convinced of the following:

1. There is evidence clearly indicating that real-economy wages are about to start broadly rising.
2. There is evidence clearly indicating that consumers have nearly completed the debt de-leveraging process (by having defaulted on or repaid a significant % of debt) and are ready to take on more debt.
3. There is evidence clearly indicating that banks are ready to start lending to most consumers and businesses again.

Jim Sinclair might have gotten the gold play right this time, but... I am skeptical of history exactly repeating itself this time, given the mountain of debt already accumulated, plus the colossal headwinds of Peak Oil. This might be the time when the old rules (and business bull/bear market cycle) breaks down and gives way to a slow, painful deflationary collapse.

In the past, during crises the folks with the most guns scoop up the gold and silver along with the other hard assets. The peasantry then continues using local currencies, engages in barter and quid pro quo trades, or reverts to a credit/debt accounting system similar to what existed prior to coinage.


There was an article on Barron's regarding Sinclair and his involvement in a company called Tanzanian royalty. The article was critical of his integrity. I write this in case you are not aware of it. cheers, I always enjoy your posts.

Yes, exactly. And just to get a nice representation of how much debt there is to be "deleveraged" here are some graphs:

And for a good representation of ZIRP in action, here's the FFR (Federal Funds Rate) over time:

On of the problems in looking at aggregate debt levels currently and comparing them with past levels is that the financial market is more "intermediated" (my word). e.g 50 years ago Bank A took a deposit and loaned the money to somebody in their local area. Now bank A takes that money and lends it out in the Fed Funds market to Bank B which takes the money and makes a 3 month LIBOR deposit (hoping to benefit from the carry) to Bank C which turn lends the money to some hedge fund that then turns around and buys a mortgage from Bank D. What was a $100 deposit (debt) is now $400 of debt. I don't believe that the aggregate level debt numbers account for this effect.

Even debt on a disaggregated basis is also subject to some level of double counting- money in tax advantaged savings accounts is not adjusted against consumer debt. Plus tighter accounting with regard to defined benefit pension plans has also resulted in a lot of debt that was "off the books" coming onto the books.

There is this article from Zerohedge that I'm trying to fully grasp, about the shadow banking system and how it's sucking up QE without causing inflation, but when it's all full up then watch out as we'll see REAL inflation, and they will have to print because "the economy" is only going to get worse.


Europe has just announced that they are doing the same, they have about $5 trillion in mortgage backed securities and other junk the ECB is going to buy up.

I don't necessarily agree with the assertion made below that the housing market has to deleverage. Why would it? Inflation is a transfer of wealth from savers to debtors. The deleveraging could occur in an inflationary environment. If there are too many houses out there in relation to people then absolute prices don't necessarily have to drop, only relative prices have to drop. People who went into debt to buy houses get them "for free", if the price for a tomato and everythign else goes up three times as much as a house. Then the house is worth less on an absolute scale than before, but the owner didn't have to deleverage. The question is if people could still carry their mortgages through this period, which they could in the 1970's, because there is a glut of labour and I think wages would be the last thing to rise.

Hyperinflation could happen when the bonds markets reject the debt monetization. Then they will have to "print" to pay off the bonds, that's where all the money comes from to cause inflation which spirals out of control because the more they print, the more inflation there is and the more bondholders reject the currency and bonds, and demand payment. Inflation would cause the average person to lose confidence in their money and start a bank run, and then literally the Fed would have to print paper to give people cash.

The deleveraging could occur in an inflationary environment.

Deleveraging means either defaulting or paying down/off debt. Doing either at a large enough scale causes deflation not inflation. Money (cash + credit) is created out of thin air when it's lent into existence. The reverse happens when debt is defaulted or paid down/off, money vaporizes into thin air, which causes deflation.

The money may cancel out, other things being equal. But that cycle of debt fueled the supply side economics that the US has been operating under since Reagan, and the success of that "voodoo economics" is based on financial stimulus and regulatory protections that encourage business to extract and consume resources without consideration of the long-term consequences, e.g. that EROEI will eventually head down the slope. After that existing assets may well deflate, but saved dollars will purchase diminishing numbers of joules until a sustainable population and energy supply is achieved.

The shadow bankers have been a major driver of the process, probably with government encouragement, and I suspect quantitative easement is somehow replacing embarrassing shadow-backed "fiat debt" with US-backed "fiat reserves" to take them off the hook when the crunch comes.

At which time suburban housing may become free or even negatively priced to those who can afford the upkeep. If that is a bright side :)

"suburban housing may become free or even negatively priced to those who can afford the upkeep"

I don't think very many owners will be paying people to occupy their property. Without trying to imply too close a parallel, I will note that in the Great Depression people gave away their properties (or tried to). My great grandmother offered her farm to my grandmother, but my grandmother declined because she couldn't afford to pay the taxes. A lot of property was surrendered to tax sales.

Without trying to predict anything, I find an interesting parallel between the situation of the last 5 or 6 years and the Great Depression. Here is a study that indicates that the stock market recovered much more rapidly than the housing market after the crash of 1929.

Real Estate Prices During the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression.

"... it was not until 1960 that assessments in Manhattan exceeded their pre-Depression

Null H

And what happens if the US Govt. takes away the deduction for mortgage interest? In Canada, at least until the recent consumer bubble housing frenzy, folks strived to pay off mortgage debt as fast as possible. People that arrived from Europe to work in mills and woods remembered what it was like to be poor in the old country, bought modest homes and paid them off, often buying several more over the years as 'rentals'. Years ago I told my American sister to pay off her house as fast as possible and was dismissed by brother-in-law who said it did not make any economic sense to do so. Now, they are in their sixties, trying to retire with a huge mortgage on a house they cannot sell in Seattle because it is underwater....can't afford to drop the price so they rent it out.

This may be a corny idea, but regardless of inflation or deflation, if people lived withing their means and paid off shelter all these economic problems diminish, thus allowing one freedom to choose and explore this gift of life. People need to stop buying the crap advertisors tell them they need. Shelter costs should reflect ones means, even if that means a 'tiny house' or a fifth wheel hidden out on some lot.

Debt is bad....including student debt. What are people thinking? "Gee mom, everyone borrows money to go to school". Not.

Folks could always get off the treadmill and quit being a hamster on the wheel. Walden's Pond required reading in high school?

What if the '....s' threw a party and no one came, built a subdivision that no one bought, and built a mall that stayed empty?

Just a few thoughts. Regards, Paulo

I agree with you on a personal level. (I posted this article last month.)

However...individuals' economic problems may diminish, but if everyone does it, it's a huge problem for the economy in general. That's why they want us to consume more and more, even if we can't afford it. Someone's job (and someone's profits) depend on you buying that house, and the appliances, paint, lawnmower, carpet, window treatments, landscaping, etc. that go with it.

"...but if everyone does it, it's a huge problem for the economy in general."

What we have now is a huge problem, especially for the 99%. The big reset will occur, of that I'm certain, and it's all about how people position themselves for it. My family has been living a mostly self-inflicted poverty meme for a while now, de-leveraging on a family level, not only to prepare, but to starve the financial/political parasites who are the root cause of all that we discuss here.

It's a bit like worming a dog; makes them sick for a few days, but they feel so much better when it's over.

de-leveraging on a family level, not only to prepare, but to starve the financial/political parasites who are the root cause of all that we discuss here.

I completely agree with and embrace this attitude. I no longer wish to be another cog in the great machine oppressing the huge majority of the population for the benefit of a few, slowly destroying ecosystems, wiping out other species, and turning the planet into a barren, overpopulated wasteland. Debt, even more than money, is the root of our current evils.

It's like turning Grover Norquist's "starve the beast" on its head. His "beast" is democracy and social programs that benefit working class people. My "beast" is the parasitic financial class and the rapacious plutocracy perpetuating a growth based system that is slowly destroying practically everything good on earth and impoverishing most of us in the process.

Someday I would like to own my own house and property, but I do NOT wish to become a lifelong indentured servant to the banks in order to do so --which is exactly what a "conventional" 30-year mortgage would turn me into at my age (even assuming I don't serially refinance unlike most Californians). Unfortunately, when I place a bid for a piece of property, I, with my tiny amount of savings, must bid against all the "stupid money" out there --people with FHA 3%-down 30-year mortgages that are 10X their annual family incomes. And then there all the RE speculators and REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) out there buying up investment properties by the thousands, funded by Wall Street tycoons and private hedge funds.

When Mr. prudent buyer with his tiny savings bids against Mr. FHA Howmuchamonth and Mr. Tycoon REIT, guess whose bid usually wins? Sadly, the deck is usually stacked against you and me. Simply put, I want better choices that what the system is allowing me to have.

"if people lived within their means" [typo removed]

A number of years ago, an insurance salesman (who got into the house under false pretenses) looked around, and commented, "You are obviously living below your means." Now it is true that we were carrying very little credit card debt, so in that sense we were not living as high on the hog as we could have (for a while), but we were comfortable, and I did worry about what would happen if either of us lost our job. And, as it happens, when we sold that house 4 years ago, we actually got some money out of it, even selling it at about 40% below what had been the appraised value 2 or 3 years earlier.

Amen, Paulo! Debt, more than money, is the root of current evils --well said.

Yeah, I think you have a good point. The rich sell their toxic assets to the Fed and get cash. They are generally not spending that cash. Some of it they are just sitting on it in fear. To some degree they are investing but there is not much good out there to invest in. However, some of the 'investing' is speculation that will cause inflation. Things like buying gold, buying oil futures, and other commodities. So there will be some inflation created that way. The rentier state will find a way to extract more money out of the proles somehow.

"Even today food inflation (and fuel price inflation) is not included in the 'official' inflation..."

Not true.

Common Misconceptions about the Consumer Price Index: Questions and Answers

Has the BLS removed food or energy prices in its official measure of inflation?

No. The BLS publishes thousands of CPI indexes each month, including the headline All Items CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and the CPI-U for All Items Less Food and Energy. The latter series, widely referred to as the "core" CPI, is closely watched by many economic analysts and policymakers under the belief that food and energy prices are volatile and are subject to price shocks that cannot be damped through monetary policy. However, all consumer goods and services, including food and energy, are represented in the headline CPI.

Most importantly, none of the prominent legislated uses of the CPI excludes food and energy. Social security and federal retirement benefits are updated each year for inflation by the All Items CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Individual income tax parameters and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) returns are based on the All Items CPI-U.

UTUniversity of Texas at Austin Study Measures Methane Emissions Released from Natural Gas Production

AUSTIN, Texas — A research team led by The University of Texas at Austin, and including engineering and environmental testing firms URS and Aerodyne Research, is conducting a major field study to measure methane emissions from natural gas production, about which little empirical data exist. With a goal of obtaining scientifically rigorous, representative data from multiple producing basins, the study brings together Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the university and nine of the nation's leading natural gas producers: Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, BG Group plc, Chevron, Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., Pioneer Natural Resources Company, Shell, Southwestern Energy, Talisman Energy, USA, and XTO Energy, an ExxonMobil subsidiary.

The study, set for completion in January 2013, seeks to estimate the methane emission rates from participating companies' natural gas production, including hydraulically fractured wells, by conducting direct measurement techniques at a sample of natural gas production sites. Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas that can be released into the atmosphere during natural gas production, processing and transportation. A greater understanding of the amount of methane emitted into the atmosphere can better inform sound policies and management of emissions from well sites.

also New Study To Provide Important, Direct Measurement Data On Methane Emissions From Natural Gas Production

vs Revisiting a Major Methane Study

Hanford Nuclear Waste Tank Farms - Flammable Gas Safety Strategy

On August 5, 2010, the Board sent a letter to the Department of Energy (DOE) outlining issues related to the safety strategy for flammable gas scenarios at the Hanford Tank Farms. In its letter, the Board identified that the safety analyses for accident scenarios ... show that all of the double-shell tanks (DSTs) generate flammable gas in sufficient quantities to reach the lower flammability limit (LFL) for hydrogen.

Further, many of the tanks contain sufficient quantities of gas trapped in the waste such that the LFL could be exceeded if the gas were spontaneously released, which is possible under both normal operating and accident conditions. The current control strategy does not include any measures to periodically release the trapped gases in a controlled manner to preclude the accumulation of flammable concentrations.

During the last year, the Board reviewed DOE's progress in meeting these commitments and addressing the Board's safety concerns. ... the Board has concluded that no progress has been made in these areas, and the schedule for upgrades continues to slip. ... At this time, DOE does not have a means to provide alternate ventilation if the existing ventilation system becomes inoperable.

... Big Badda Boom

Scientists uncover diversion of Gulf Stream path in late 2011

At a meeting with New England commercial fishermen last December, physical oceanographers Glen Gawarkiewicz and Al Plueddemann from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) were alerted by three fishermen about unusually high surface water temperatures and strong currents on the outer continental shelf south of New England.

"I promised them I would look into why that was happening," Gawarkiewicz says.

Manning and scientists from WHOI, including Robert Todd and Magdalena Andres, analyzed a time series of temperatures from two eMOLT sites, OC01 and TA51, which were located over the outer continental shelf near the shelfbreak, and identified two events when temperatures suddenly increased by 6.2 and 6.7°C, respectively, to highs of more than 18°C.

The extent and duration of the two 2011 warming events combined with the high salinity observed by the researchers suggested the cause was not a transient warm core ring, but the Gulf Stream itself that carried warm, salty water to the outer shelf.


Very interesting article.

Biofuels benefit billionaires, study finds

Biofuels will serve the interests of large industrial groups rather than helping to cut carbon emissions and ward off climate change, according to research to be published in the International Journal of Environment and Health this month.

... "The EU's decision to focus on the first-generation biofuels, raises many doubts." In particular, the approach seems to favour several issues. For instance, it favours production systems that are in competition with traditional agriculture for use of resources and production factors, he says. Additionally, to encourage agro-industrials models, such as those on which the production of first generation biofuels is based, might compromise the possibility of developing models based on multifunctional agriculture and, then, on the production of energy from agriculture waste and by-products rather than from dedicated products.

... "the choice to promote first generation biofuels is an example of how politics places the protection of the interests and profit strategies of a restricted number of subjects before the costs and benefits to be had on a wider scale", adds Vieri.

What's not to like?

The test results demonstrate that, compared to a high-quality lead-acid type of battery (such as the absorbed glass mat [AGM] battery currently used in most stop-start vehicles), the lead-carbon battery provides:

Ten times the dynamic charge acceptance;
Four times the cycle life;
Stable round-trip energy efficiencies in the 85 percent range; and
Thirty percent lower weight.

But how will it work in my GEM car? And when will they be on the market?

Axion Discloses Test Results on PbC Battery for Stop-Start Cars
November 11, 2011
in conjunction with BMW

International Lead Association
Lead in the News
LC Super Hybrid car stars at Lead Battery Conference

"Operational Stability Of PbC Batteries And Battery Systems"

October 11, 2012
New energy storage technology acts like a UPS for your entire house
Rosewater Residential Energy Storage Hub
Rosewater's device uses lead-carbon (PbC) batteries from Axion Power, which it says outperform traditional lead-acid battery technologies.

Lead-Carbon Hybrid Battery/Supercapacitor Performance in Commercial Vehicle No-Idle Applications

"Additionally, the PbC(R) battery has a sloping voltage profile, which provides a highly reliable indication of battery state-of-charge and thus a more stable no-idle system performance."

So... the battery's voltage actually declines as the energy it stores is emptied from it. In other batteries, there are electrochemical plateaus where the output voltage only declines a bit and then suddenly drops to the next level or down to nothing much.

...articles talk about tens of thousands of charge/discharge cycles.

October 3, 2012
Federal grant to fund hybrid rail locomotive

Lots of batteries in shipping/cargo containers
Slideshow: DOE Energy Storage Project Portfolio Funded by ARRA

An interesting resource:

Stationary Electricity Storage News


Much about batteries:

Thanks KD, Hank kind of left us hanging.

Does anybody know what exactly this is?
It's being marketed as a assist to help start outboard engines with a marginal battery.

It sounds like a "Super Capacitor" with a super price of $1350 to match.

It looks like a fancy jump starter to me. It says it uses radio batteries.


"Capacitor" is implied by this thread:

"This topic was created to discuss the Capacitor products offered by Micron Corporation (Tullahoma, TN)."


Micron seems to be an engineering prototype house doing printed circuit boards and such.

Corn Surges to Three-Week High as USDA Sees Smaller World Supply

“We have to raise prices and reduce demand immediately to prevent a real shortage.”


Re: Lanai to become eco-lab that runs on solar, billionaire Ellison promises from DB above. Looks like the billionaire may have bought himself a 'desert' isle ...

Documented Decrease in Frequency of Hawaii's Northeast Trade Winds

Scientists at University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) have observed a decrease in the frequency of northeast trade winds and an increase in eastern trade winds over the past nearly four decades, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. For example, northeast trade wind days, which occurred 291 days per year 37 years ago at the Honolulu International Airport, now only occur 210 days per year.

Persistent northeast trade winds are important to the Hawaiian Islands because they affect wave height, cloud formation, and precipitation over specific areas of the region. When trades fail to develop the air can become dormant and unpleasant weather can develop.

Furthermore, Chu explained that the trades are the primary source of moisture for rain, and that a dramatic reduction could fundamentally change Hawai'i's overall climate.

"We have seen more frequent drought in the Hawaiian Islands over the last 30 years," he noted. "Precipitation associated with the moisture-laden northeasterly trades along the windward slopes of the islands contributes much of the overall rainfall in Hawaii."

I'm pretty sure Lana'i is partly in Maui's rain shadow anyway... I don't know that it's as wet as the other islands, though I'm sure it's a lot wetter than Kaho'olawe or Ni'ihau. In any case, the islands don't produce any substantial amount of argiculture nowadays anyways. There are farms and there is local produce, but the days of Hawaii as a big agriculture area are in the past. Though with declining and expensive fossil fuels, all that imported food is really expensive. Probably a good time to start planting breadfruit.

I wonder how much his intention to go solar reflects the resistance to the planned wind farm, and what the end result will be. We badly need to produce some substantial portion of our own energy here, and the fact that we don't despite having wind, sun and geothermal resources that are better than almost anywhere else is a crying shame. It doesn't help when the wind farm's batteries catch on fire.

We badly need to produce some substantial portion of our own energy here, and the fact that we don't despite having wind, sun and geothermal resources that are better than almost anywhere else is a crying shame.

You're in Hawaii,I'm in Jamaica and except for a slight difference in the balance of renewable resources (not nearly as much geothermal, probably more hydro and undetermined wind), I feel exactly the same way.

Attended an "Energy Fair" Friday, hosted by the International Development Bank and their local partner the Development Bank of Jamaica, an effort to induce people to borrow money for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Heard a speech by the minister responsible for the energy portfolio in which he bragged about reducing the electricity bill at his house from J$30,000 per month to under J$2000 per month. He did not brag about how much his solar system cost him but he obviously is into his solar PV.

As far as translating his own enthusiasm into tangible legislation and policies geared towards encouraging ordinary citizens and businesses to emulate his personal achievements, I believe his hands are tied. The administration of which he was a part literally had to beg the overseas investors that bought the electric utility to invest and offered them some generous concessions in return. He can't now go offering deals to consumers at the expense of the utility. After all, a deal's a deal and politicians never go back on their word ;-)

Alan from the islands

Energy Security Update: Straight of Hormuz Less Crucial to US in 2012

... Earlier this year, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi opened new pipelines that will increase the ability of countries to bypass the strait. Fully operational, 6.5m barrels per day, or about 40 per cent of total flows, will now be able to take alternative routes. “The Middle East is much better prepared now than a year ago to cushion the impact of a disruption in the Strait of Hormuz,” says Edward Morse, head of commodities research at Citigroup and former US deputy assistant secretary of state for international energy policy.

US imports only 42% of its oil, and only 16% of that comes through straits, so only about 7% of US imported oil comes through straits, or roughly 3% of total US oil usage comes through straits. Of total US energy usage, that's just under 1.5%.

... completely misses the point that nothing insulates the U.S. from the cost of a super-spike in oil price.

also Oman mulls oil storage outside Hormuz Strait

Oman is considering building a facility to store up to 200 million barrels of crude safely outside the Strait of Hormuz, the head of a state-run oil investment company said on Wednesday.

The proposed facility would be larger than any other tank farm in the world. Working crude storage capacity at Cushing in the United States is around 62 million barrels.

... China is on course to double its strategic reserve capacity to 315 million barrels by 2013, according to US government estimates, but that will be spread across 12 sites built over nearly a decade.

Is Anarchism a Political Philosophy Whose Time Has Come?

It seems that everywhere, these days, people are talking about anarchism. Now Dmitry Orlov joins the discussion with a 3-part series, “In Praise of Anarchy.” Utilizing primarily the work of the 19th century Russian anarchist, Peter Kropotkin, Orlov argues that anarchy, rather than hierarchy, is the dominant pattern in nature, that hierarchical organizations ultimately end in collapse, and that the impending collapse of the capitalist industrial system presents an opportunity for the emergence of anarchism.

I’ve been reading Orlov for years and never really understood where he was coming from politically. Sometimes I thought I detected a note of libertarianism, but mostly I perceived him as apolitical, or sometimes even fatalistic. Certainly, he is one of the most original thinkers among the “peak oil” intelligentsia, and definitely the most entertaining. Unlike some prominent writers on The Oil Drum, he seems to have no interest in either defending oil companies and their rapacious profits or influencing government officials to take some action or other to mitigate the effects of oil depletion. Probably that should have clued me in, but my anarchist antennae were not well-developed until recently.

Strange, I see very little if any defending of oil companies on this site. Don't know where she got that from.

Anyways, regarding anarchism, I don't have time to go too detailed into analysing the link, I'm at work on lunch, but I presume this argument boils down to the same one often espoused by the free marketeers who argue how nature is so beautiful, all the birds and bees sing, and babbling brooks fill us all with glee. And since there are no rules or regulations in nature, we should emulate that in our societies.

Unfortunately this suffers from a lack of understanding of ecological principles. I don't know what kind of nature Kropotkin spent his time in, but it is rare to actually see animals taking down a kill. That's why carnivores spend most of their time sleeping, there is an inverse relationship between waking hours and position up the food chain. If he expects animals to be killing each other at every opportunity then there would't be anything left. If an animal is full, then it need not go randomly killing other animals just because they are there. Populations are kept in check usually by certain seasons, events, or stages in life. This summer I spent time up the coast watching wolves and grizzlies catching salmon. They normally hate each other but why would they when there's an overabundance of salmon? Likewise, they didn't bother me. But in other seasons wolves will attack and eat full grown black bears.

Nature achieves a quasi-stable, though often punctuated "balance" in which every species uses its adaptations to compete for and maximize the amount of carbon sequestered by photosynthesis it can obtain for itself. "The struggle for existence" for the evolutionists.

Every individual in that ecosystem WILL use whatever means it has available to maximize the amount of resources it can devote to its offspring over the period of its reproductive life (humans are a bit different in our modern societies -- it seems our wiring has gone funny, we aren't adapted to cubicle life). The "balance" achieved in nature results from each species using every advantage it can, and each filling a niche. When all of these equilibriate, that's the ecosystem you get.

There is only so much intelligence and tool making ability exhibited by the average animal, and a male elephant seal can't use computers to extend his control over the entire beach, beyond what he can immediately defend using his size and aggression.

With humans, however, it's a whole other story, and the problem with free marketeers is that we are very "intelligent" (only in some ways -- mostly related to maximizing the amount of taking we do -- we're not so intelligent in terms of envisioning the effects of this 10 years down the road -- again, an evolutionary adaptation inherited from our primate roots). With our technology, accumulated knowledge, and sheer numbers, if everyone were allowed to take as much productivity as they desired (to become like westerners) then we'd need 10 Planet Earths.

We are in no way in equilibrium and freeing up the markets in some misapplied anarchist ideology is the fastest way to planetary destruction. We've already murdered most of the animals on the planet in our quest to sequester photosynthetic carbon, the idea that relaxing rules even more will allow us to live happily ever after is just ludicrous (if we can't keep a few thousand tigers alive then how could we possibly keep 7 billion people alive?)

Edit: oh I followed the link to the criticism of Hagen's article. Didn't see that.

While I agree with Dmitri on many things, we have our differences. He says:

[A]nimal societies can be quite highly and intricately organized, but their organization is anarchic, lacking any deep hierarchy: there are no privates, corporals, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, majors or generals among any of the species that evolved on planet Earth with the exception of the gun-toting jackbooted baboon (whenever you see an animal wearing jackboots and carrying a rifle—run!)…

I say shoot it... It's either declared itself a target or too stupid to know it has. Then again, they usually end up shooting themselves or each other ;-/ Life's better from the cheap seats.

(if we can't keep a few thousand tigers alive then how could we possibly keep 7 billion people alive?)

I agree, not really Orlov's best work. In the comments to the first installment Orlov flamed someone for suggesting that egalitarian societies don't scale up beyond the level of small tribes. Bizarrely, he offered the Pashtun tribe as an example of anarchy working at a large scale.

In the second installment Orlov hints at the work of Prof. Geoffrey West of the Santa Fe Institute as how he will mathematically and quantitatively prove that "biological systems" are mo' better than what we've got now.

Personally, I subscribe to the view that hierarchies can be observed in complex systems, both living and non-living, at all scales. The late ecologist H. T. Odum, building on the work of Alfred J. Lotka, formulated this into the maximum power principle which is the theory that systems self-organize into patterns that maximize available energy and resources.

It has been pointed out by Boltzmann that the fundamental object of contention in the life-struggle, in the evolution of the organic world, is available energy. In accord with this observation is the principle that, in the struggle for existence, the advantage must go to those organisms whose energy-capturing devices are most efficient in directing available energy into channels favorable to the preservation of the species.

— A.J.Lotka 1922

Orlov's argument that the hierarchy observed in industrial civilization is some sort of construct invented by powerful elites and reluctantly acquiesced to by the working class is weak in comparison.


I wondered about Orlov's seeing no hierarchies in animal societies. Male lions laze about waiting for the females to kill something -- then they use their strength to move in for the first sitting. I once read that gorilla groups prosper when the dominant male, the Silverback, is well-adjusted. When the Silverback has had a lousy childhood, however, he takes his fears and neuroses out on the weaker members, and the group lives in terror. Butting-order or pecking-order can easily be observed on the farm, and it's not benevolent.

Orlov's ideas point in interesting directions, but when the salmon go away, the bears and wolves will compete for resources. Archeologists several years ago found indications of an intelligent primate group that had lived peacefully in Africa. Evidently they were were wiped out by our more aggressive ancestors.

Humans are not only the top predator, they are the only surviving species in the genus Homo and most of the more closely related genuses in subfamily Homininae. are also extinct -- except for the more distantly related chimpanzees and gorillas.

Studies of ancient DNA and the distribution of variations in modern DNA indicate the near extinction of Neandertals and Denisovans. They also indicate that the transition to the Upper Paleolith resulted in a near replacement of the Mesolithic populations, and that the transition to agriculture also resulted in the near replacement of the Upper Paleolithics.

Homo sapiens are the Fratricidal Ape. (Maybe there is something about that story of Cain and Abel.)

Just from observation, I'm thinking that a lot of interbreeding occurred, and the Neanderthal bloodline should be traceable.

I seem to remember that there are different chimp societies. The bonobos I believe are female dominated and quite peaceful and they defuse conflicts by having lots of sex. Others are male dominated and much more violent. I wonder how that compares with the South Pacific human populations that are female dominated.

Not just different societies, but different species. Bonobos (Pan paniscus) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) split 1.5 to 2 million years ago. That would make them equally closely related to humans. If I wanted to engage in a little pop evolutionary psychology, I could say that "chimpanzees are from Mars, bonobos are from Venus," but I don't think that actually illuminates anything.

There have been plenty of anarchist societies. Unfortunately, almost all of them were hunter-gatherer. Hierarchy, state, law, civilization, and agriculture all arose roughly simultaneously. It's unlikely that they can be separated for long.

There's a good reason for this. HG societies rarely produce surpluses. Agricultural societies do; indeed, they have to. Problem is, once there's a surplus, there's an incentive to specialize in forcing someone else to do the work while you live off the surplus. If you specialize in farming, and someone else specializes in violence, the farmer loses to the violence specialist in a fight. The farmer prudently submits and turns over some surplus. And you have a state. That's basically what we've seen through the history of civilization, with some tweaks here and there.

Frankly, though I love the idea of anarchism, I don't see any mechanisms in anarchy to stop this process. It would revert to non-anarchism pretty quickly. The Founding Fathers got it wrong. It's not that the state is a necessary evil, it's an unavoidable one.

This is why Jared Diamond calls agriculture the worst mistake in the history of the human race.

Would that imply that a return to hunter-gatherer society is desirable?

I'd say it's certainly more desirable than agriculture before the fossil-fuel fiesta. As Diamond points out, stone age Europeans were very well-nourished, as tall as they are now, and much taller than they were in medieval times.

But of course, the population is way too high now to return to a foraging lifestyle, even if people wanted to do it.

$200 million Alaska-based research vessel prepares to get its feet wet

On Saturday, the $200 million, 261-foot-long research vessel Sikuliaq -- operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks -- will finally get its hull wet in the waters off of Marinette, Wisc. For nearly two years, the ship has been getting from-the-ground-up treatment at a shipyard there. It will finally find its way into the water this weekend at a launch and christening ceremony.

That doesn’t mean the ship is ready for action, though -- it’s still less than 80 percent complete. After that, it faces months of testing. It won’t even find its way to Alaska until the end of 2013. But Saturday’s ceremony is a big step forward, and it highlights the progress being made on the ship, which is being funded primarily through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus.

The ship, when finished, will also fill an important gap in American research capabilities; it’s the first vessel devoted to research that will have a double-reinforced hull capable of icebreaking. The name itself, Sikuliaq, is particularly fitting; it's an Iñupiaq word meaning "young sea ice."

In recent years, the Arctic has become a hotspot for research, but there has been a serious gap in the availability of scientific vessels capable of negotiating the harsh and often icebound environment.

Nokia looks to improve solar charging performance

The Portable Solar Charger DC-40 can add two minutes of talk time for each minute of charging time

Well, as a citizen of the European Union, I never expected to be a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize ;-)

Jeez... I was pulling for Pussy Riot :-0

When do you get your check?

Everybody is an ally of the great US of A anyway ! :

There is the GNE/CNI ratio

GNE is Global Net Export
CNI is ChinaIndia Net Import