Drumbeat: October 17, 2012

Texas landowners take a rare stand against Big Oil

Oil and agriculture have lived in peace in part because a one-time payment from a pipeline company or monthly royalties from a production rig can help finance a ranch or farm that struggle today to turn a profit from agriculture. The oil giants also respected landowners' fierce Texas independence, even sometimes drilling in a different yard or rerouting a pipeline to ensure easy access to the minerals below.

TransCanada is different. For one, it has sought and received court permission to condemn land when property owners didn't agree to an easement.

"This is a foreign company," Crawford said. "Most people believe that as this product gets to the Houston area and is refined, it's probably then going to be shipped outside the United States. So if this product is not going to wind up as gasoline or diesel fuel in your vehicles or mine then what kind of energy independence is that creating for us?"

Oil Trades Near One-Week High on Bailout Optimism, U.S. Economy

Oil traded near the highest level in a week in New York on signs Germany may ease its resistance to a Spanish bailout and after industrial production rose more than forecast in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude consumer.

Futures were little changed after rising as much as 0.7 percent today. Two German lawmakers said the country is open to Spain seeking a precautionary credit line. Output at U.S. factories, mines and utilities rose 0.4 percent in September, twice as much as the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, data from the Federal Reserve in Washington showed yesterday.

Higher gas prices lift consumer inflation 0.6 percent

Gasoline prices jumped 7 percent in September after climbing 9 percent the prior month. Higher costs at the pump force many American consumers to cut back on other spending.

A measure of underlying inflation, however, was relatively muted. The core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, increased 0.1 percent for a third month in a row.

US Oil Rig Boom Leveling Off?

The above shows the weekly Baker Hughes count of oil rigs drilling in the United States. This number has been in a near-vertical climb ever since the beginning of the economic recovery in 2009. However, in the last few months there are signs of it leveling off - whether temporarily or permanently I don't know. It has certainly been an incredible boom.

Deepwater Permits in U.S. Gulf Exceed Pre-BP Spill Level

The Obama administration has issued this year the most deep-water oil-drilling permits for the Gulf of Mexico since 2007 as high crude prices revive exploration slowed by the 2010 BP Plc spill.

The pace of issuing permits under President Barack Obama drew criticism from his Republican rival Mitt Romney last night and from energy lobbyists during the campaign who say the policies slowed oil and gas production on federal land. Obama had suspended drilling after BP’s Macondo well exploded 40 miles off Louisiana’s coast, killing 11 workers and sending an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf.

Halliburton Profit Falls as U.S. Fracking Business Slows

Halliburton Co., the world’s largest provider of hydraulic fracturing services, said third-quarter profit decreased as customers negotiated cheaper rates due to the glut of fracking equipment.

Sabic Quarterly Profit Drops 23% on Petrochemical Prices

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s biggest petrochemicals maker by market value, posted a 23 percent decline in third-quarter profit as prices for its products dropped amid slower global economic growth.

RIL in talks with Venezuela's oil company PDVSA to produce heavy oil

NEW DELHI: Reliance Industries is in talks with Venezuela's PDVSA to produce heavy oil in the South American OPEC nation, PdVSA Executive Director Fadi Kabboul said today.

Venezuela's state oil company is in talks with both RIL as well as state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) for exploration of Ayacucho and Boyaca fields, he said at the Petrotech 2012 conference here.

Indonesia group plans $4.8 bln refinery with Azeri oil firm

(Reuters) - Indonesia's OSO Group plans to build a $4.8 billion oil refinery in a joint venture with the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR), a partnership it hopes to formalise in November, a top OSO official said on Wednesday.

The target for the refinery is to process 600,000 bpd when it opens in 2017. It would be located on part of OSO's concession in a free trade zone next to Batam island from where it could take advantage of busy east Asian shipping lanes.

Nigeria pirates kidnap six Russians, one Estonian

(Reuters) - Pirates off the coast of Nigeria have kidnapped six Russians and an Estonian during an attack on their ship, Bourbon, the French shipping company operating the vessel said on Wednesday.

Rosneft Seen Leading Race for TNK as BP Calls for Offers

OAO Rosneft, Russia’s state oil company, is the leading contender to buy BP Plc’s 50 percent stake in TNK-BP as the U.K. explorer looks to exit the venture that’s provided $19 billion in dividends since 2003.

BP Rises on Report Rosneft to Buy Billionaires’ TNK-BP Stake

BP Plc rose the most in more than four months in London trading after a report that OAO Rosneft has agreed to buy half of the TNK-BP Russian venture.

BP gained as much as 4.3 percent, the most since June 1, and traded up 4 percent at 452.70 pence as of 12:08 p.m. local time. Sky reported that AAR, which represents BP’s billionaire parters in TNK-BP, and state-backed Rosneft agreed to a $28 billion deal in Moscow yesterday for AAR’s half of the venture. BP had sought bids for its own half of Russia’s third-largest oil producer after relations broke down with the billionaires.

CRM and Energy Conservation

It's been a little while since I wrote about the impact of energy costs on business, but just because I have been silent doesn't mean the issue is quiescent -- just the opposite. Demand is stronger than ever and supply is trying to catch up, but it will fail.

The result will be higher energy and transportation costs in the year ahead, and those higher costs could upset an already sluggish recovery. To ward off a nasty surprise, companies need to find more ways to reduce business process dependency on energy and transportation. It also puts more emphasis on the front-office solutions that have come to market in the last few years that help in many cases to accomplish those goals.

Angola Starts Sovereign Wealth Fund With $5 Billion

Angola, Africa’s second-biggest oil producer, is starting a sovereign wealth fund with $5 billion in assets to ease the impact of commodity price volatility that prompted an International Monetary Fund loan three years ago.

Critics slam White House on Benghazi attack

WASHINGTON — Critics assailed the White House on Tuesday for repeatedly refusing to explain lax security at the consulate in Libya and whether it deliberately withheld information from the public indicating the attack there had ties to a terrorist group.

Russia moves to prosecute anti-Putin protest leader

Georgia, under Saakashvili's administration, cut diplomatic relations with Moscow after a five-day war with Russia over two Kremlin-backed breakaway regions in the South Caucasus nation.

"The voice recorded in the footage shot with a hidden camera... belongs to Udaltsov, and the meeting, excerpts of which are shown in the film, took place in the second half of June 2012," the statement said, referring to NTV documentary "Anatomy of a Protest 2".

NTV, owned by the media arm of state-controlled gas export monopoly Gazprom, has been used regularly to criticise those who have fallen foul of the Kremlin.

California Sued by Conservation Groups Over Fracking Risk

California was sued by the Sierra Club and other groups seeking to block approval of new oil and gas wells because regulators have allegedly failed to consider or evaluate the risks of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The state’s division of oil, gas and geothermal resources regularly approves permits for wells without any environmental analysis about the health effects of fracking by excluding such projects from review, lawyers for the groups said in a complaint filed today in state court in Oakland, California.

The 6 big energy issues this election

FORTUNE -- One curious thing about this year's presidential race is the prominent position energy policy has taken. This issue, which in past elections largely got relegated to the "too wonky to bother with" category, is now front and center because energy has become inexorably linked with job creation. Says Andy Karsner, a former assistant secretary of energy under George W. Bush and now executive chairman of Manifest Energy: "Both candidates see the current oil and gas boom as an opportunity to create employment."

The similarities end there. The shape of our energy industry will differ dramatically under Romney compared with a second Obama term. Jim Talent, a former U.S. senator (R-Mo.), sketches out Romney's basic philosophy in a white paper on the candidate's official website: "The problem is not that America does not have energy. The problem is that our government -- alone among the governments of the world -- will not allow its own people to recover the energy that they possess." Romney's policies heavily favor the development of America's fossil fuels, including an emphasis on more oil, gas, and coal production, the opening up of more federal lands and offshore sites for exploration and development, and severely curtailing the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon and other emissions.

Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

MOSHAV AHITUV, Israel (Reuters) - A bicycle made almost entirely of cardboard has the potential to change transportation habits from the world's most congested cities to the poorest reaches of Africa, its Israeli inventor says.

Obama’s $5 Billion Slow to Charge Electric Car Purchases

President Barack Obama has put $5 billion in taxpayer money behind his goal of having 1 million electric cars on U.S. roads by 2015. The Republican presidential ticket says it’s money wasted on “losers.”

Whether the technology itself is a loser or consumers are merely slow to adapt to new things, car buyers so far haven’t embraced electric vehicles in numbers close to Obama’s goal. Electric-vehicle sales since 2011 totaled fewer than 50,000 through September, just 5 percent of the president’s target.

A123 Bankruptcy Gives Romney New Example of Green-Energy ‘Loser’

The bankruptcy filing yesterday by electric-car battery producer A123 Systems Inc. (AONE) gave Republican Mitt Romney fresh ammunition to criticize President Barack Obama’s record on the economy.

“A123’s bankruptcy is yet another failure for the president’s disastrous strategy of gambling away billions of taxpayer dollars on a strategy of government-led growth that simply does not work,” Andrea Saul, a Romney campaign spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Will US wind power splutter out if Mitt Romney cuts its subsidy?

The subsidy has become a touchstone issue in the presidential campaign for windy swing states like Iowa and Colorado: Mitt Romney has referred to the PTC as a "stimulus boondoggle" and vowed to kill it, while President Obama has promised to give the credit his support. Every one to three years, as the PTC reaches its expiration date, it must be taken up, re-debated, re-tweaked, and re-approved by Congress, exposing it to shifting political whims particularly in a general election year where the future party spread is far from certain.

India’s 39% Plunge in Wind Installations May Spur Mergers

Wind-turbine suppliers in India may be forced to consolidate amid increasing competition after a policy vacuum prompted a 39 percent plunge in installations in the first half of the financial year.

Renewable energy projects are put on the map

The Clean Energy Business Council, a trade group based in Abu Dhabi, has released a map tracking the 150 renewable energy projects that are under way across the region.

A Chemist Comes Very Close to a Midas Touch

Dr. Chirik, 39, has learned how to make iron function like platinum, in chemical reactions that are crucial to manufacturing scores of basic materials. While he can’t, sadly, transmute a lump of iron ore into a pile of valuable jewelry, his version of alchemy is far more practical, and the implications are wide-ranging.

The process could herald a new era of flexible manufacturing technologies, while enabling companies to steer clear of scarce elements as prices rise or obtaining them becomes environmentally or geopolitically risky.

For the Crowded Masses, a Push to Provide More Escape Patches

With open space scarce, and much of it accessible only to those who can afford it, advocates want India’s commercial capital to create additional oases.

Who's moving in? Adult kids, aging parents

The survey out Wednesday of more than 1,000 homeowners by PulteGroup, builder of everything from starter homes to upscale residences and Del Webb adult communities, shows that the rise in multi-generational households may continue.

"It's an enormous change," says Stephen Melman, director of economic services at the National Association of Home Builders. "I remember when I was in college, no one wanted to be near their parents."

Agricultural cooperatives and food security

Another World Food Day is here. The event celebrated annually on October 16 is a movement for stakeholders in agriculture to think about the state of sustainable farming and how to adequately feed the world’s hungry billion. This year, the event is commemorated with critical focus on sustainable agriculture through cooperatives to feed the world in the throes of climate change. It enabled stakeholders rethink agriculture from problem to solution with a view to achieving the right to food in a climate-constrained world.

Rising food prices haunt our future

Food prices in China may be relatively insulated from the volatile global food market and thus the country can ensure food security. But the country could become vulnerable to outside shocks in the future.

Oxfam's research on extreme weather and extreme food prices shows how a drought in the United States (similar to one this year) in 2030 could temporarily raise the prices of corn and wheat in China by 76 and 55 percent.

If extreme weather becomes the norm, starvation awaits

With forecasts currently based only on averages, food production may splutter out even sooner than we feared.

Canadian government 'knew of plans to dump iron into the Pacific'

As controversy mounts over the Guardian's revelations that an American businessman conducted a massive ocean fertilisation test, dumping around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off Canada's coast, it has emerged the Canadian government may have known about the geoengineering scheme and not stopped it.

EU Carbon Link Presents Political, Price Risks for Australians

Australia handed control of its carbon price to a partner with more ambitious climate targets when it agreed to link with the European Union market, according to a partner at Baker & McKenzie LLP.

“Australia’s price will be influenced by the market where the reduction target is the highest in the world,” Martijn Wilder of Baker & McKenzie, the Sydney law firm, said in an Oct. 10 interview. “If EU prices go much higher, say 30 euros, then the Australian government will be placed under a lot of pressure by industry to revisit the linking arrangements.”

Dalai Lama Considers Climate Change At MIT Forum

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Every nation will suffer if governments don’t think about common interests and responsibilities in dealing with climate change, rather than national interest, the Dalai Lama told a crowd in Cambridge on Monday.

“Whether we can really solve these problems or not, we have to make an attempt, that’s how I feel,” the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said at a forum hosted by the The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values, a nonprofit think tank at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Scientists have 'limited knowledge' of how climate change causes extinction

A major review into the impact of climate change on plants and animals has found that scientists have almost no idea how it drives various species to extinction.

Computer models of Earth's climate change confirmed on Mars

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Computer models have accurately forecast conditions on Mars and are valid predictors of climate change on Earth, U.S. and French astronomers said on Tuesday.

These computer programs predicted Martian glaciers and other features on Earth's planetary neighbor, scientists found.

There may be more to the Arctic thaw than global warming

In what appears to be a deliberate tension-reducing mode, the Russians I spoke with carefully stressed how potentially explosive issues such as which of the countries with competing claims in the Arctic Ocean – Russia, Canada, Denmark (for Greenland) and the U.S. – will get what share of the top of the world must be achieved through consultation rather than by provocative rhetoric or actions.

It was equally plain from speaking with the Russians that their country remains far more capable of operating in the High Arctic than any potential rivals. Moreover, to build on the lead they inherited from the Soviet Union, they are already devoting more resources and intellectual energy than anyone else.

Study confirms sea-level rise is accelerating along northeast U.S. coast

(Phys.org)—A new study by emeritus professor John Boon of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science shows that the rate of sea-level rise is increasing at tidal stations along the Atlantic coast of North America, including those in Norfolk, Baltimore, New York, and Boston.

Flooding in Miami Beach prompts warning about rising seas

Miami-Dade County officials said Tuesday’s flooding of Alton Road and other low-lying areas in Miami Beach is a warning about the perils of rising sea levels.

North America Has Biggest Rise in Weather Catastrophes

Climate change contributed to a fivefold increase weather-related natural disasters in North America over the past three decades, according to Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer.

“Nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America,” Peter Hoeppe, head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research unit, told reporters in Munich today. There was a four-fold gain in disasters in Asia, while the number doubled in Europe, the reinsurer said.

Norway oil production drops way more than expected in September. Norway: Production figures September 2012

The average daily liquid production in September was: 1 243 000 barrels of oil, 205 000 barrels of NGL and 66 000 barrels of condensate.
The total oil production on the Norwegian shelf is 15 per cent below the prognosis for September.

Adding the Crude and Condensate that comes to 1,309,000 barrels per day of C+C. But they had high expectations for the last quarter of 2012. But they now say those expectations will not be met. Of course most of the September drop was due to maintenance and other technical problems so production will recover but just not as much as they expected it to.

Also Market-Watch reported on the decline: Norway oil production may to fall short of target

Norway C+C production in kb/d. The last data point is September 2012.

Ron P.

and yet to convince people that theres no peak oil , you're not helping me here at all , Ron. I keep showing them the graphs for Texas and North Sea ( UK) and now this one .... Yes I remind them that the very best in technical break throughs will always trump geology . " just look at these graphs " I say

Oh why are they always pointing DOWNWARDS !

It just not fair!

Then Westexas chimes in with ELM model , now that really does put a damper on the conversation I can tell you!


/humour mode off

PS: Do you think any one in power will really talk about this sensibly in any way shape or form ?

The only statement in the energy discussion in last nights debate that was not twisted beyond imagination to have a semblance of truthiness was Obama when he said, and I paraphrase, you will get $2.00 gas when Romney collapses the economy....

Here is the transcript

OBAMA: Well, think about what the governor – think about what the governor just said. He said when I took office, the price of gasoline was $1.80, $1.86. Why is that? Because the economy was on the verge of collapse, because we were about to go through the worst recession since the Great Depression, as a consequence of some of the same policies that Governor Romney’s now promoting.

So, it’s conceivable that Governor Romney could bring down gas prices because with his policies, we might be back in that same mess.

In the last presidential election round, Obama was talking about enery all the time. I was not the only one who thought at the time that mr Obama knew the PO story. i think he is fully aware.

Romney is fully aware as well :

“Our own policies interfere with free-market mechanisms. We subsidize domestic oil and gas production with generous tax breaks, penalize sugar-based ethanol from Brazil, and block investment in nuclear energy. Our navy assumes the prime responsibility for securing the oil routes from the Middle East, effectively subsidizing its cost. Thus, we don’t pay the full cost of Middle East oil, either at the oil-company level or at the pump.” (232)

“Market economists also identify a number of externalities – real costs that aren’t captured in the price of fuel – the most frequently cited of which are the health-care costs of pollution and the climate costs of greenhouse gases. There is a further externality: potentially leaving the next generation in the lurch by using so much oil and energy ourselves – domestic and imported – that our children face severe oil shortages, prohibitively expensive fuel, a crippled economy, and dominion of energy by Russia and other oil-rich states. No matter how you price it, oil is expensive to use; we should be encouraging our citizens to use less of it, our scientists to find alternatives for it, and our producers to find more of it here at home.”

“Many analysts predict that the world’s production of oil will peak in the next ten to twenty years, but oil expert Matt Simmons, author of Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, presents a compelling case that Middle Eastern oil production may have already reached its peak. Simmons bases his contention on his investigation into the highly secretive matter of the level of reserves in the Saudi oil fields. But whether the peak is already past or will be reached within a few years, world oil supply will decline at some point, and no one predicts a corresponding decline in demand. If we want America to remain strong and wish to ensure that future generations have secure and prosperous lives, we must consider our current energy policies in the light of how these policies will affect our grandchildren.” (233)


The thing is that things like "peak oil", that can be considered part of the underlying bare reality, effectively don't change anything to the political game (everybody equal on these).
But then of course you can talk like it's there or not, and not being able to talk like it's not there, would mean a sufficiently high number of people knowing about it.
And clearly not the case (due to the overall "journalism/entertainment" sphere one could say maybe).


He KNOWS this, and yet he still manages to be candidate for the Drill-drill-drill, Global-warming-is-a-myth, We-love-Fox-News, Obama-is-an-alien Tea Party. Even if he wins, he still won't be able to do a damn thing; the party machine won't let him.

If I weren't so cynical already, this sort of thing would drive me to despair... collective stupidity just drowns out individual knowledge and intelligence, all the way to the top.

Yes, must say that if he truly grasps it (and could very well be), it is a bit of a mystery for me why he still runs for presidency (same for Obama), power as a strong drug probably, and once on the train you can't get out..

Yeah, but that was the 2010 model Rombot. The software has been changed. He's now on board with the team and thinks climate change may be a hoax.

"Do you think any one in power will really talk about this sensibly in any way shape or form ?"

Do those in power ever talk sensibly about anything? Perhaps when the time comes to explain their lack of a useful response (as in "don't blame me... you didn't want to hear it then"). It will also be hard to explain how the people were duped by a much better organized and funded denial machine, quite adept at understanding what people want to hear, nullifying much of what they need to hear.

"You couldn't handle the truth then; what makes you seek truth now?"

"There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!"

From MIB.

Of course, Texas and overall US crude oil production have shown recent increases in production, although in both cases production numbers are still below the respective 1972 and 1970 peaks.

However, there is an absolutely crucial difference between the runup to the 1972 Texas peak and the recent significant rebound in Texas crude oil production.

A major contributor to the 1972 Texas peak was an increase in production from old fields like the East Texas Field, as it hit its final (secondary) peak in 1972, and started a terminal decline in 1973. However, note that the updip wells, on the east side of the East Texas Field in most cases were capable of making virtually the same amount of oil in 1972 that they produced in 1932 (in any case, the eastern wells above the Oil/Water contact would easily make their allowable in 1972).

In contrast, I suspect that at least 90% of the shale oil wells currently producing will be down to 10 bpd or less, or will be plugged and abandoned, 10 years from now.

Regarding "Net Export Math," this is the clearest demonstration yet that I have come up with to demonstrate the enormous differences between production declines and net export declines. The following sketch shows the Six Country* Model, from 1995 to 2004. Their combined production virtually stopped growing in 1995, ranging from 6.9 mbpd to 7.0 mbpd for 1995 to 1999 inclusive. In 1999, when their production was at 101% of the 1995 production rate, they had already shipped more than half of their combined post-1995 Cumulative Net Exports (CNE):

*IUKE + VAM (Indonesia, UK, Egypt, Vietnam, Argentina, Malaysia)

westexas... do you have any idea of what amount of Texas oil production comes from shale oil wells? Furthermore, do you think N. Dakota will suffer the same reduction in overall oil production by 2020?

I don't have the Texas breakdown, but I have previously noted that the Texas Shale Gas model is not terribly encouraging.

Texas has the longest recent history of intensive modern drilling and completion efforts in Shale Gas plays, and for example it resulted in a steady year over year increase in annual Barnett Shale gas production, through 2011. However, overall Texas natural gas well production started declining in 2009, as rising gas production from the Barnett and from other shale gas plays could no longer offset the overall decline in Texas natural gas well production (Texas RCC data for Barnett and overall natural gas well production).

The very interesting question is once the shale gas players have materially slowed their drilling--which they have now done--will the industry ever again be able to fully offset the overall underlying decline, given the very high decline rates from shale gas plays? In other words, as Art Berman has noted, I don't think that the industry has ever had such a high overall decline rate. As noted above, the 2008 to 2011 Texas natural gas well decline, with a higher drilling rate than we are presently seeing, is not encouraging for either the longer term US Shale Gas outlook or for the Shale Oil outlook.

"The very interesting question is once the shale gas players have materially slowed their drilling--which they have now done--will the industry ever again be able to fully offset the overall underlying decline, given the very high decline rates from shale gas plays? In other words, as Art Berman has noted, I don't think that the industry has ever had such a high overall decline rate. As noted above, the 2008 to 2011 Texas natural gas well decline, with a higher drilling rate than we are presently seeing, is not encouraging for either the longer term US Shale Gas outlook or for the Shale Oil outlook."

This is why I am buying space heaters for my wife's big beautiful new Barbie Dreamhouse (I am a PO Ken)

The concepts behind net export math are so very important and yet seem to get so little attention anywhere except The Oil Drum. (Thank you West Texas for your tenacity in educating folks on this subject!) When a country crosses over from net exporter to net importer, not only are they no longer contributing to world supply of oil available for export, they also begin chasing that same, now further limited supply as a consumer. So the result is a double whammy to all other oil-importing nations. Just the UK and Indonesia alone (countries from West Texas's model above) imported nearly a million barrels of oil per day last year when ten years ago they were exporting a million per day.

It must be extremely difficult for countries once flush with oil to reduce their internal consumption even as their production (and revenue from exports) drastically falls. As can be seen on the Energy Export Databrowser, consumption in Malaysia, Argentina, Vietnam and Egypt all continued to climb even as their exports were flat-lining. Countries such as Indonesia and Peru still haven't put a brake on rising internal consumption even though its been 8 and 14 years since they crossed from net exporter to net importer. The UK is an exception, but even they haven't dropped consumption enough to keep up with falling production levels.

As Alan mentions above, Denmark is the true exception, the only country whose internal consumption rate has fallen (rather than risen) ever since their very first year of being a net oil *exporter* in 1997.

Indonesia is still struggling to curtail petroleum subsidies, even after they slipped into net oil importer status.

As noted, Denmark is a case history of a net oil exporter, showing a production decline, that taxes fuel consumption and that has successfully cut their consumption. However . . .

Their 2004 to 2011 rate of change numbers (BP):
(P = Production, C = Consumption, NE = Net Exports.)

P: -7.9%/year

C: -1.0%/year

NE: -19.9%/year

ECI Ratio (P/C): -7.0%/year

Net Export Math Rule #1: Given an ongoing production decline in an oil exporting country, unless they cut their consumption at the same rate as the rate of decline in production, or at a faster rate, the net export decline will exceed the production decline rate, and the net export decline rate will accelerate with time.

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

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

I think you can go as far as to say that Indonesia has failed to curtail petroleum subsidies.

How about the US ?, passed the line net export net import in 1950, peaked in 1971, not a word on any policy to decrease consumption since then, almost, and total and per capita consumption right at the top with volume based taxes almost at zero ...

Well, yes, the US is perhaps the poster child of willfully blind oil consumption in the face of Net Export Math.

Y - Obviously you'll never have a career as a politician. Too bad IMHO

R - Thanks, but too lazy for that I think, would need to be king ;)

...not a word on any policy to decrease consumption since then ...

Yvest, how about the higher US corporate average fuel economy standard (CAFE) which basically doubles the economy requirement?

Yes, I'm not saying there is nothing, but frankly between regulations, subsidies, and volume based taxes, I think volume based taxes are the more in line with free market principles, most simple to operate, and overall the most efficient.
Especially for products linked to the "personal sphere", subsidies on common infrastructure like public transport a different matter.
(and for instance there was this thing about SUV registered as trucks or something so getting out of some regulations)

A gas tax is obviously the better solution as you point out. Any economist or conservationist will tell you that. However 'gas tax' is political suicide in the USA so unless you are in a strong political position and have some cojones, politicians won't raise the gas tax. But they realize that something needs to be done so they come up with kludgey work-arounds like the CAFE standards. CAFE is a very flawed system but it is something the politicians can play with without having electorate freak out.

Exactly. Advocating higher gas taxes is akin to advocating for more child molestation in the U.S. Even in the bluest of blue states, only a tiny % of the public "gets" why gas prices are so high, and are not likely to fall anytime soon (short of an economic collapse that results in cheap gas but few people with any money to buy it). Any politician that does can expect a recall election in short order, followed by a reversal of those policies by his successor.

@Speculawyer, Harm,
Understand the taboo aspect of the word tax in the US right now, even though I think volume based taxes on fuels is a very different animal from VAT or taxes on work, maybe another word should be found.
But it hasn't always been the case, somebody quoted here the first issue of a "hubbert peak study" magazine or something from the 70ies, where the point was clearly adressed.
"A gas tax is obviously the better solution as you point out. Any economist or conservationist will tell you that."
That's the key point, it works better and is more in line with "free enterprise spirit" than regulations or subsidies.
Again, understand that policies aspects aren't part of TOD editorial line, but saying at the same time "it would be the best policy" and "talking about it is useless" is a bit strange, and some people are still talking about it, like James Hansen for instance, in (2) below :

You can't find a better word to replace 'tax', because the very people who invested so heavily in making that word highly radioactive, will bring it up at every opportunity. We have to deal with the brainwashed electorate we have, rather than the electorate we wish we had.

As I've stated before, I think that a tax on fuel may not be the best solution. That's because we are attempting to deal with the decline in production of oil (and other fossil fuels), either because of Peak Oil or as a necessity due to the problem of Global Warming. A tax increase would be passed along thru the economy by those who can control their prices, thus prices will increase to reflect this. As time passes, people (i.e., consumers) become accustomed to these higher prices and to some degree their wages will increase also. The result would be that a tax increase would have less impact over time. I think that this means the tax would need to be increased faster than inflation, because the impact must increase, not stay at a constant level, as the supply of oil declines. This is clearly an unstable situation, prone to failure.

For this reason, I have suggested that a direct rationing system with a white market would present the better solution. Even with a rationing system, each year a smaller quantity must be allocated, which would force the value of the allocations to increase, which would promote trading in the white market and provide an incentive for individuals to use less than their allocation. As individuals learn to use less and purchase vehicles and other systems to reduce their use, their excess allocations could be sold into the white market, providing a direct payment as a reward.

This rationing system would not work like the cap-and-trade which the Wall Street banksters would love to exploit. I would place part of the allocation directly into the white market (perhaps half), and the rest would go to individual consumers. I would not allow the saving or hoarding of allocations, but would require that they have only a brief lifetime, after which they would be transferred to the white market, the holder credited with the current cash value, making them available for sale to those who wished to use more than their share.

Those who purchased from the white market would pay a premium for their use and I think that all businesses would be required to purchase from the white market as well, paying both the dollar market price and the allocation price. A business can write off their capital purchases as they depreciate, thus the turnover in equipment in business and industry is much faster than that of individuals. Businesses can pass on their costs and the most efficient business would be able to offer a product at a lower dollar price, thus the dollar market would reward them for their conservation efforts.

Slowly reducing the total allocation would result in minimal impact on the economy. For example, a 2% allocation reduction compounded for 25 years would result in a 40% reduction, while a 2.5% reduction would result in a 47% reduction. The increasing value of the allocations would likely provide a means to reduce the so-called "transfer payments" to citizens, such as those who receive welfare payments or Social Security payments. The allocation system would function like a progressive tax in that the more one uses, the greater the cost per gallon. Initially, the system would be applied only to oil products as Peak Oil appears to be the immediate concern, but the system could eventually be expanded to include all fossil carbon fuels, if climate change becomes accepted by the public.

As usual, the devil is in the details and efforts would be needed to prevent "gaming" the system...

E. Swanson

Did a calculation once, showing that volume base tax 100% redistributed à la Hansen, and Tradable energy quota, are more or less equivalent, except that the tax is much simpler and doesn't require associated market/traders (and also doesn't require or provide the possiblility for any recording of each citizen behaviour).
To me a volume based gas tax is preferable when the system is still more or less functioning in pushing for adaptations, but agree that in the end or without adpatation, this will end up in rationing (with white or black market), or complete chaos ...
These days for me increasing tax on fossile fuels (or even raw material in general) and decreasing on work would be the best.
(you can also view it as a simulation of the fact that even if for classical economics natural resources are valued at zero (only capital (machines) and work counted), it isn't really the case ...)

Do you have any comments on what I wrote?

I agree that a straight up tax would be simpler, but I think it would be less efficient in an economic sense, since rebating the tax would tend to reduce the impact on the consumers. What about undocumented purchasers who are not eligible for a rebate, since they don't file legal tax returns? What about the need to increase the tax to keep ahead of inflation? How are large scale users, such as agriculture, business and industry, to be accommodated with your 100% tax rebate, would they not be expected to calculate their fuel tax and demand a refund, thus removing all incentive to conserve? How would you deal with carbon emissions from coal, which is almost entirely used by the electric power industry, would you include the tax on coal in the rebates given to all consumers, or institute a separate tax program for the utilities without rebates? Most importantly, given that energy prices are rather inelastic, how large a tax would be required and how would it be possible to enact such a tax and continue increasing the tax to keep up with inflation?

I submit that an allocation system, (aka, rationing) is the only viable alternative. There's lots of big talk out there in politics land, but getting anything enacted into law is the goal and more talk just delays action. Of course, as things stand, it may already be too late...

E. Swanson

Isn't price an allocation mechanism?


What if you are part of the large fraction who have been "priced out of the market" if the price mechanism is the only mode for allocation of a major shortage? It takes energy to survive in the modern "developed" world and without access to enough of it, you would be history...

E. Swanson

If you're priced out of the market your allocation is zero.
There seems to be an implicit assumption that the minimum allocation should be greater than zero but what is the reasoning behind that?
My allocation of Rolls Royces is zero..... (every right is an obligation)

You regard Rolls Royces as equivalent to transportation fuel in terms of survival necessities? We've spent a hundred years building an almost exclusively automobile centered transportation system in the US, and the structure of almost all of our urban infrastructure is based upon it. Even the rural infrastructure requires it.

I'm sensing an implied message that energy somehow is a right and that everybody is entitled to some amount of it.
If I'm reading that correctly the implication is that somebody else then has the obligation to provide that energy. And that opens up a whole other can of worms.

I guess that depends on your concept of what being part of a society means. I don't put much of any meaning into the concept "rights" at all, unlike your implication that "rights" are some universal, immutable truth and that one either has them or not - to me they are just things society has agreed upon and are neither constant across the society or in time. So maybe those that have don't owe anyone anything, and if a basic thing needed to get by in a society is unavailable to them folks will just roll over and die. Let me know how that works for ya....

I agree with you. Rights are a human invention and vary across times and cultures. The only way for a right to exist is for there to be an offsetting obligation somewhere else.
If you have the right to clean water then somebody else (society) has the obligation to provide you with that clean water. You can't have a right without an obligation somewhere else, and that goes for positive rights as well as negative rights. That's all I'm saying….


I think you're oversimplfying things. Granted that rights are defined by the society you live in. A man is drowning in the middle of the ocean - where is his "right to live"?

If you have a "right" to, e.g., clean water, then there is the expectation that you will have access to it. Now, there comes along this idea that somebody else must be "providing" it. Nobody provides me with my water - I pump it out of the well on my property.

There is also the expectation of a lack of somebody withholding it from you. There is also the expectation that commercial interests won't be using water sources as dumping grounds for toxic waste. E.g., if some commercial enterprise held the very real possibility of contaminating the groundwater that constitutes my water supply, what then?

So what I'm saying is that you can unpack these things quite a bit...

You're pointing out the difference between positive rights and negative rights. A positive right is the right to something (for example minimum wage) whereas a negative right is the right to not be subjected to something negative (for example the right to not be beaten up by the police for no reason). Your water example is a negative right - you should have the right to lack of pollution - i.e. clean water.
Both rights are man-made, and are societal constructs, as I said earlier and you also point out. What the implication is (to bring it somewhat back to the original discussion) is that if somebody is given the right to a quantity of energy somebody else then has the obligation to make it so. That is all nice and well if the energy is actually is available and the question is one of distribution rather than the existence of energy, but if there are real physical limits on energy somehow that available energy has to be allocated. No matter which allocation mechanism you use there will be reasonable arguments against it and, no matter what, wants will exceed needs. Allocation mechanisms only deal with how the pie is sliced up, not how big the pie is. This is where taxes can come in. If you use taxes to reduce demand and syphon off dollars to alternatives (in the broad sense) you can structurally increase the pie rather than just divvy it up in a different way.


Well said. The thing is that positive and negative rights seem to get all wrapped up and confused.

Then you add little modifiers. The "right to affordable healthcare". Next thing you know, you got politics! ;-)

Price is indeed a very efficient allocation system. Rationing is an inefficient allocation system, and any rationing system can be expected to self-destruct after a period of time due to its inefficiencies.

That is what has happened to all of the rationing systems which have been introduced. They are like perpetual motion machines - they may sound good to people who don't know any better, but they don't work in practice.

"Price" was the primary threat to sustainibility, according to the technocrats:

Under the hazards that exist in a Price System it is imperative that both individuals and corporations save. If they save by hoarding they shut the existing plant down; if they save by building new plants they have a process which can only work provided the plant be continuously expanded and at an accelerating rate.

Excellent post RockyMtnGuy, Black Dog you need to read about how poorly rationing and price controls have worked in the past. I would much rather price decide my own necessities, so I can ration myself than having a bureaucratic dictate. If my labor and productivity as an individual dictates that allocation of fuel is zero, then it's zero. I'll have to deal with it.

Isn't high prices the goal of raising taxes on fuel? Why not let that happen naturally?

A reason to tax fuel (think along the lines of H Daley) is to reallocate dollars to develop varieties of solar and nuclear energy, and to encourage a decrease in quantity demanded. If those dollars were to flow to the sellers of energy instead of to a redistribution mechanism like taxes higher prices would likely incentivize producers (extractors really) to extract even more marginally productive sources.

"Isn't high prices the goal of raising taxes on fuel? Why not let that happen naturally?"

So that you go faster in products and way of life adpatation by investing money at home that you would have sent to oil exporters otherwise.

In other words the point of volume based taxes is : if a country A puts them at year n, at year n+5, it is in better shape than if it didn't.

"In other words the point of volume based taxes is : if a country A puts them at year n, at year n+5, it is in better shape than if it didn't."

What if country A uses the taxes to grow it's welfare state, which subsidizes the populations increased fuel use? Wouldn't that actually go against the greater goal. I don't know where you are from, but in America our elected officials off all stripes lack disapline and the use tax revenue to buy votes. They don't use tax revenue to promote efficiency and future sustainability. So why should I pay higher taxes that eventually fuel unsustainable growth?

Agree that the government efficiency is a major issue.
But again increasing taxes on fuel doesn't ncessarily mean increasing the government budget revenue.
You can either make them 100% directly redistributed as proposed by Hansen
Or decrease some other taxes, typically on work.
(and another fundamental issue might be that governments deficit and debt has become such a habit since the late seventies, so that sense has more or less disappeared, with the reality now coming back strongly at the same time ...)

Isn't high prices the goal of raising taxes on fuel? Why not let that happen naturally?

wildbourgman, besides encouraging conservation it also reduces the need for the Highway Trust Fund to dip into the general fund for revenue.

"besides encouraging conservation it also reduces the need for the Highway Trust Fund to dip into the general fund for revenue."

Oil companies could just charge more and make nice profits that would also encourage conservation wouldn't it?

I'd rather use free enterprise to achieve goals rather than government fiat. The below quote kind of sums up my thoughts!

“I believe that the free enterprise system is the greatest engine of prosperity the world’s ever known,” “I believe in self-reliance and individual initiative and risk takers being rewarded.” President Obama 2012

The problem with that ideology is (Harding etc) that the sum of the individual interests is not the common interest.

"The problem with that ideology is (Harding etc) that the sum of the individual interests is not the common interest."

Sometimes mob mentality and the common interest get confused.

I presume you are referring to Garrett Hardin's paper, The Tragedy of the Commons, published in SCIENCE, 1968...

E. Swanson

Yes. My bad. I never get his name right (or should I say "wright") ;-)

Should be required reading for every human being.

Living in the country with few people around, things are different than living in the city. If an individual is living in a city (as most now do), without a job, or other income or money in the bank, a person who doesn't own a home has little choice in finding food and shelter to survive. One can lean on family or friends, but that's not a long term solution. One might argue that there are always jobs available, but this situation may not be true if there is a major recession underway. Jobs may be available in other cities, but that requires moving and finding new lodgings, etc. In summer, one might live in a tent on public land, but when winter arrives in most of the US, that doesn't work so well. Having been a landlord on several occasions, I would not rent to a person without payment of the first month's rent and would require a deposit as well.

Without some sort of allocation at a minimum level, call it a safety net, what is one to do? There may only be one "risk" choice possible, that of violating the law, stealing whatever one can grab and turn into cash and by living in abandoned buildings, burning trash to keep warm. If enough people fall out of "the system", then society begins to disintegrate, as we may now be watching in the European mess. How long will it be before the young men and women who are unemployed decide to fight back? You may think that a minimum "life support" allocation is unfair to those who are still working and providing that allocation, but the alternative is likely to be far worse, judging from historical evidence...

E. Swanson

-->>the European mess<<--

I just spent two weeks in Italy. What I saw was that people were riding bicycles everywhere, the train system was fast and efficient (when it wasn't on strike), they had a lot of electric trolley buses, and when they did drive cars they were small ones with tiny little engines.

It was obvious that the very high fuel taxes were paying for the transit systems.

Other than that, the Italians were all very slim and dressed in very stylish clothes. If you wanted to buy a $1000 pair of shoes, you had your choice of them, the food was fabulous, they were taking three hour lunches and had two month vacations.

It didn't look a lot like collapse to me, in fact I would say most Americans are suffering worse than the Italians.

In Italy, in common with many other southern European countries, strong family ties are still common. Thus living with extended family is an option that is used in times of financial hardship. The more independently minded folks of the US and the Northern European countries may find this 'concession' harder to embrace when times are tough.

Public transport (or any non-car based transport), and closer familial ties also seems to engender a broader social acceptance of other generations (younger and older) and an awareness (but not necessarily acceptance!) of people with different views and lifestyles than your own. It also helps that you value food for its quality - not necessarily its speed and quantity!

Price may be an what the economist call "efficient", but I suggest that the price mechanism will no longer work so well after Peak Oil can be seen in the rear view mirror. We've already had 2 recent price shocks and now the price for oil is staying rather high by historical standards. But, while the distribution of oil and it's products using the price mechanism may be economically efficient for the moment, where is the long term signal of declining future supply? Indeed, we have politicians and others who repeatedly tell the public that these high prices are a temporary situation and that the future will bring lower prices. How is the general public to see that that there is to be a continual decline in world oil production after the peak?

Once the peak is hit, what is to keep the price of oil from skyrocketing due to inflation, the result of all those dollars floating about in the various computer accounts around the world? Wouldn't it be far more desirable that the need for allocation be clear to the consumer, so that he/she might be able to make some effort to adjust before TSHTF? Or, will things just slide into a Mad Max, dog-eat-dog climax as the wealthy take all of whatever oil is left for their own enjoyment, the rest being left to walk around or camp beside the road, slowly starving, one person or family at a time???

E. Swanson

All the price mechanism has to do is reduce oil consumption until it is back in line with the reduced supply. If you impose rationing, you just delay that inevitable adjustment and give people the impression that politicians can protect them forever - which they cannot.

It would help if politicians would tell the truth - that they can't protect consumers - and allow people to adjust to constrained supplies on their own. However, that won't get any votes, so the politicians wont say it.

Nobody is going to die from lack of oil. People can always bicycle or walk, and if the politicians committed some money to expanding it, they could even take public transit. If they did that, the US would start to look like a lot of European and Asian countries - not a life-threatening situation at all, but politically unpopular.

"Nobody is going to die from lack of oil."

Somehow I doubt that statement is entirely accurate...

I think, like Heinberg's oil depletion protocol, these are brilliant bits of theory; however...

Mitt Vroomney - "If elected President I will implement a fuel rationing scheme"
Oabamamama - "If relected President I will implement an increasing fuel tax"

Let the voters decide!

Satan just knocked, he asked if he can use the rest of our coal as things just froze over down there.

Of course, if we can generate some useful ideas they might get implemented after all other options have been exhausted.


Would have to dig a bit more to form a more precise analysis (and opinion).

For the allocation principle with global cap and white market, I don't know, this adding yet another market feels a bit "economists tricks" to me somehow, and defining the cap would be a major issue (more or less having to guess the economy in one year).
If we take the example of the European CO2 market (for industries), it really didn't turn that well.

But I'm not that much in favor of a 100% directly redistributed tax either.

Again for me, I think transfering taxes from work, towards fuels and raw materials in general, should be a major direction (and also what's comes out of Reiner Kümmel theory or modeling that I didn't find time to truly go through yet).

I would say :
- Increase taxes on fuel (with a defined increase plan over several years), decrease them on work
- maintain a good level of common infrastructure
- maintain a good level of revenue redistribution (to be viewed as "orthogonal" to the fuel tax)
- and more importantly maybe : find a way to pass the "resource constraints" message, that is this stuff is really serious (and that for instance everybody using 1,5 ton of steel and plastic to move oneself isn't a natural right ..)


Aggregate effect on the economy of a gas tax versus a general tax (say on income) ought to be nearly the same. We can't examine the effect of the tax in isolation, as the revenue raised goes out as, (a) reduces deficit, (b) offsets some other tax, (c) enables greater government spending. The net effect is what matters economywise. There are also second order effects due to redistribution (some pay more than before, some less -(assuming option(b)), and behavioral changes, less gas consumed.

Of course its all academic, as it ain't gonna happen. Political rhetoric is too simplified/ aimed as the most brain dead emotional voters, that only the direct effect will be discussed.

I like the idea of rationing with a white market. Of course it wouldn't be possible unless there was a severe crisis. But raising taxes probably isn't going to happen, even with a severe crisis.

The advantage is that it is theoretically revenue-neutral. No worries about what the government is doing with the money. People who can afford to or who have to can buy extra allocations on the white market. This rewards people who use less, and encourages everyone to set up their lives so as to minimize fuel use, whether that's moving into an apartment above the store or buying a more fuel-efficient car.

I like the idea of rationing with a white market... The advantage is that it is theoretically revenue-neutral.

Leanan, I still would advocate for the higher fuel tax. There is strong power in supply and demand. Tempering the demand via a higher tax is the way to go. I think there could be a lot of fraud in a rationing system.

There could be a lot of fraud, but there's a lot of fraud in fuel taxes, too. I think having a white market would help a lot with the fraud issue.

The problem I see with fuel taxes is 1) hell will freeze over before they are passed 2) they are regressive and 3) taxes aren't visible to consumers. Like the Californians who blame oil company gouging, not their own strict environmental standards for their high gas prices.

How is there a lot of fraud in fuel tax ?
(some for sure but really not that much I tink)

Otherwise they are visible to consumers, people in Europe or elsewhere know a big part of gas price is a tax :

Plus compared to allocation and white market, don't forget a tax is much less "Orwellian" : much less administrative information required to operate it.

As to "Aggregate effect on the economy of a gas tax versus a general tax (say on income) ought to be nearly the same. We can't examine the effect of the tax in isolation, as the revenue raised goes out as, (a) reduces deficit, (b) offsets some other tax, (c) enables greater government spending."(enemy of state above)

This is still reasoning in bare "GDP terms", a gas tax is primarily aimed at the "what"(real products (vehicles), real transport infrastructure) of the economy, and in that case also the trade balance, and in shortening the ROI time for capex investment decision (for insulation for instance).

In any case, first thing would be to have the situation known by a fair number of people ...

How is there a lot of fraud in fuel tax ?

Some people are exempt from paying the taxes. Like farmers. They dye it red (at least here in the US - I think other countries use different colors), but you still have truck drivers and regular consumers buying it "at the backdoor." Especially when prices are high.

I don't think you understand the political climate here in the U.S. Significantly higher fuel taxes on the federal level are not going to happen. It's political suicide. Even if peak oil were widely known and accepted, taxes would not be an acceptable way to deal with it. Just not going to happen.

Leanan - To go along with your statement about every farmer/rancher I've known in Texas has cheated to some degree by using non-motor fuel as motor fuel. And in the oil patch? Virtually all drill rigs are diesel powered with many thousands of gallons of diesel delivered while drilling a well. And quess how common diesel powered pickups are with the rig hands? I can't speculate on the magnitude but human nature being what it is I doubt many resist the temptation of this "victemless crime".

Red diesel is used in the UK for farm and some industrial vehicles. The law on its use is pretty tightly regulated. In general you are not allowed to drive a vehicle on a public road with red diesel. The authorities conduct spot checks and will seize vehicles, or fine drivers, if they are in breach of this. Of course people break the law, but in terms of a national administrable system, tax on road fuel, with exemptions for red diesel, works pretty well.

I understand this (political climate in the US), although don't think it's a reason to stop saying it's the best policy.

Plus rationing is an even more harsh(and Orwellian) policy, even with a white market.

But yes, baring total chaos, will probably happen (at least for a period).

As to fraud with diesel, yes some in France as well, but the tax should probably be made uniform, with some other balancing mechanism for highly fuel consuming/low revenu jobs.

But...politics is the art of the possible. If it's not possible, it's not the best policy.

At least the above picture shows it is possible in many countries (what Turkey went through is quite amazing).

But also true that you could say Americans are already paying a major gas tax, from their role as world cop or world oil police.

I disagree.

The conception of virtually everyone I have talked to (over 100 ordinary people) is that gas taxes pay for roads and highways today.

Knowing that they pay for about half - and OTHER TAXES pay for the other half, to the tune of $327/capita/year - can change views.

About a week after the commotion died down in Madison, Wisconsin, I spoke at an informal brown bag lunch to Senate & House Transportation Committee members. I found that they were desperate to find $2.3 billion in funding to rebuild a falling down Milwaukee Zoo Interstate interchange.

SOME of that money would come from reduced benefits for Wisconsin state workers (see sit-ins, etc.). NONE of that money would come from increased fuel taxes.

My eyes opened on learning this.

I am sure that I am not the only one.

The issue is not "no new taxes" but "which taxes" will pay for maintaining roads & highways. Pension Guaranty and environmental clean-up taxes - or fuel taxes ?

That old conservative principle - User Pays.

Best Hopes for Good Public Policies,


PS: #2 choice is tolling every limited access highway when it is rebuilt.

It is a myth from the right wing that people are not willing to pay any more taxes provided the service they are getting is clear. It was an increase in taxes which allowed the LightRail to be built in North Carolina by a Republican mayor. At first he was derided and viciously attacked by his Auto Addicted fellow Republicans but the system proved so popular that they relented. According to polls 70% of Americans even in rural areas and even a majority of Republicans want an alternative to Auto Addiction.
Any Americans (admittedly a minority) who have traveled to Europe, Japan or Taiwan, admire their Green Transit systems and the fact that you do not NEED a car.

Scheduled increases of 20 cents every year in Federal gas taxes which went directly to operating Green Transit and expanding it would face some initial opposition but eventually Green Transit would be widely supported. Tolls and the costs of Auto Addiction are going up faster than Green Transit ie asphalt now costs 4 times as much as a few years ago.

One would hope that we are "Robbing Peter" of $101 billion in other taxes & borrowing ($327/capita) just to keep gas taxes too low would impact some people.

4 months ago we took/stole $18.5 billion from the US Treasury, $12.8 billion from the Pension Guaranty Fund (!!) and $2.4 billion from an environmental clean-up fund to fund the Federal Highway "Trust" Fund.

Even more at the state and local level.

If you drive less than average (a small majority do) then you are likely loosing out with subsidizing cheap gas.


Best Hopes for More People Understanding the Facts,


PS: Almost no one knows just how much we subsidize cheap gasoline in the USA.

Yes also much more toll freeways in Europe than in the US, are there toll freeways in some states these days ? (not only bridges and things like that, but just the freeway)

Almost the only way to build new limited access highways is to make them toll roads. Maryland is trying to get more business for their recently completed ICC toll road ($2.5 billion). Many times private owners build and own/very long term lease the toll roads.


In Virginia, a private developer is building HOT lanes on the Washington DC Beltway (HOV lanes plus $$$ toll for single occupant cars). A new wrinkle.

When roads are rebuilt after 40 or so years, I would like to see them tolled to pay for it. (Gas taxes aren't covering the bill).

Best Hopes for Less Gas Subsidies,


It may work for the major thoroughfares, but I haven't seen how a toll road model could work for secondary roads.

There are all sorts of interesting things in those contracts that the governments sign to build the HOT lanes. Things like non-compete clauses (the state cannot expand a competing road), minimum revenue targets (the state must pay if not enough people use the toll road), the right of first refusal on some other nearby road projects, and fines to be paid if there are an excessive number of HOV vehicles (who pay no toll).

A Faustian bargain if there ever was one.

Our plans for the Amber Metro Line would lay tracks on the HOV lanes of I-395 to within a few hundred yards of the franchise the State of Virginia sold for the Beltway HOT lanes.

I wonder if converting those HOV lanes to Metro, and the three regular traffic lanes to HOV, would somehow violate their franchise. Would you know ?


The above needs some updating that I will do tonight or tomorrow.

Best Hopes,


I really don't know - the media doesn't talk much about what is in the actual contract, and which sorts of poison pills might be in this specific project. I suppose the alternative is to find the actual contract and try and read it. The concession runs for 76 years, which sounds like a long time - consider what the area was like in 1936 and all of the changes since then. And they are committing to this thing for a similar period of time.

Regarding 395, I *believe* that the project terminates just inside the beltway, so I guess anything north of that point would be unaffected. But I am not 100% sure of that either.

I found an WaPost article that mentioned the end of the franchise point on I-395. It was several hundred yards away from where we planned to "jump off" the I-395 HOV lanes and dogleg to the Blue Line close to Van Dorn Metro station and interline with the Blue Line to the Franconia-Springfield Metro, VRE & Amtrak station.

Joining the Amber and Blue Lines at the Pentagon and near Van Dorn allows for a separate service - an Amber-Blue Loop within Virginia.

Best Hopes,


Here in New Hampshire USA we have a small portion of the main Interstate Highway that is toll. Most of our road system is not toll. BTW, in the US, 'freeway' generally means 'no toll', though there are occasionally toll bridges on freeways :-) We used to call the tolled highways 'turnpikes', but it seems that you don't see that term used very much any more.

Yes indeed, calling non toll highways freeways is a bit of a contradiction :).

But lived in the states for a while (California) and seem to remember that there is also the meaning
freeway : several lines both ways (at least 4 total)
highway : can be only 2 lines

not the case ?

In France almost all "autoroutes"(at least four lines with no crossing) are toll roads, except in Britanny (for some kind of political reason)

I have lived in California, and many other states for that matter. And driven cross-country many times.

The terms 'freeway', 'highway', etc. are not used with great precision, and it varies region by region. I live in New England now, and most people don't even use the term 'freeway' at all - I use it from time to time from my California days, and people look at me funny :-) . They just say "the Interstate". "Highway" can mean just about anything...

The "free" in freeway probably originates from its being a highway upon which one can travel "freely", i.e. without stopping at traffic lights, stop signs, or yield signs at traffic circles, etc. It never has grade crossings and entering and departing traffic always use entrance and exit ramps which allow speed matching (well, theoretically at least, and practically when traffic is light -- during rush hour, not so much).

Yes also thought about that for the "free" meaning.

Many of the turnpikes built prior to the Interstate Highway System are toll "freeways" (i.e. 4 lane or more, divided roadway, controlled access highways). This includes the Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Turnpikes, the New York State Thruway, the Massachusetts Turnpike, and others.

New roads, such as I-355 on the western perimeter of Chicago, are being built as toll roads, particularly since EZPass and other electronic toll systems make the adminstrative overhead and user inconvenience of tolling minimal.

While tolling has been largely restricted to the northeast quadrant of the US, it is coming more and more to the rest of the country. http://www.texastollways.com/

4 months ago we took/stole $18.5 billion from the US Treasury, $12.8 billion from the Pension Guaranty Fund (!!) and $2.4 billion from an environmental clean-up fund to fund the Federal Highway "Trust" Fund.

AlanfromBigEasy, we should be at least raising the Federal gasoline tax to cover the needs of the Highway Trust Fund. I wonder how big of an increase would be required.

There have been and currently are some policies with that goal.

During the 1970's, the U.S. began a program to eliminate the use of fuel oil to generate electricity. Essentially fuel oil is no longer used to generate electricity and petroleum enters into electric generation in the form of transportation fuel and petrochemicals.

As already mentioned, CAFE standards are used to improve fuel efficiency.

Ethanol production reduces crude oil consumption.

Although progress is slow, developing electric vehicles is a policy of the current U.S. administration with the goal of reducing gasoline and diesel consumption.

Why worry about Indonesia, UK, Egypt, Vietnam, Argentina, Malaysia?


"A relatively new technology called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," has unearthed a 100-year supply of natural gas in the U.S.,"

Sigh. Maybe some internally administered corn-based ethanol is called for afterall.

Hi Westexas,

I understand that this spectacular decline in Net Exports for this 6 countries serves as a model for change in global net export after the peak. I was wondering if you have considered the fact that this assumption is an extrapolation of pre-peak data in a post-peak world? With declining demand in EU and US, the declining global net export might not turn out to be felt as catastrophical as it seemed in the first place.

What is your opinion on this matter?



With declining demand in EU and US, the declining global net export might not turn out to be felt as catastrophical as it seemed in the first place.

And what about oil demand from China and India in a world with oilproduction not a long time away from declining ? What happens with the world economy when growth in those countries is fading ? The question is how catastrophic the situation was with decline in net exports from countries with relatively little oilproduction during a period with rising/flat world oil production compared to the time ahead when world oilproducion will decline.

As the Net Oil Export value aproaches 0 thimbles/millenium, some very strange effects will take place, and Stuff will be Different. The problem is we don't know what this something will be.

My guess is that politicians will take the opportunity to strengthen power, and introduce political globalism. Atleast they will try. Several of them is dreaming about it already, so when they get the chance, they will try.

Your guess is off curse as good as mine.

We are being taken from exponential growth to exponential decline...

Exponential growth is antother Big Thing. I don't see it very often in datasets. Things rather fit with y=exp(-x^2) than with y=exp(x).

If we extrapolate the 2001 to 2011 rate of decline in Norway's ECI ratio (ratio of total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption), they would approach zero net oil exports around 2040, with estimated post-2001 Cumulative Net Exports (CNE) of about 23 Gb, with about 10 Gb having been shipped from 2002 to 2011 inclusive, putting estimated remaining post-2001 CNE at about 13 Gb.

What a graph!! It's got peak oil for Norway written all over it. Wonder how this is going to affect the economy of one of the richest countries on Earth. I recently visited Norway and it seems like Norwegians are consuming like crazy, despite the high prices.

It's got peak oil for Norway written all over it.

According to the following World Oil article, you are hallucinating.*

Peak Oil? — Not in Norway
April, 2012
(For access to article, search for title)

The Norwegian part of the North Sea, the southernmost part of the continental shelf, has been much less explored than the neighboring UK side, but with more finds. The Norwegian Sea, the middle part, has indications of an oil and natural gas potential almost as large as that of the Gulf of Mexico, but with far less exploration. Technical challenges and costs are, however, substantially higher, partly due to a basalt layer. The Barents Sea, the northernmost part, has promising geology, with both oil and natural gas finds in recent years.

Assessments based on new finds and new technology brighten the outlook for Norway’s petroleum industry. Declining output no longer seems inevitable; some scenarios indicate sustained growth.

*I usually quote the old joke about the wife who comes in and finds her husband in bed with another woman. Husband denies it and asks, "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?"

hehe - "Declining output no longer seems inevitable; some scenarios indicate sustained growth." yar right I suspect the ones indicate growth are the ones that need "selling " to mugs / government - Rockman has a tale to tell about that kind of forecast ( from recent posts ;-) )

or maybe its the Unicorn Hypothesis one....


Thank you for the link!

The guy runs a very good blog, nice scientific methodology in combination with out of the box thinking!

That should turn the North Sea oil producing nations into net oil importers as a group (Norway & Denmark still net exporters, UK & Netherlands net oil importers, net oil importers now as a group).


Denmark is hanging on as an oil exporter only by diligent efforts to reduce their oil consumption (and carbon emissions). -21.2% from 2001 to 2011.


Best Hopes for More Oil Free Transportation,


Denmark is a minor player. When I tell my friends (they all know I am an oil/energy geek) that Denmark produces oil they go "do they" all over the place. Some does not even know the UK have a share.

Didn't know it either, for me it always was : North Sea oil = UK + Norway

And Danemark started a bit later as well :

And NG for Holland inland, they don't produce any oil on Mazama, but do they have some things offshore ?

I might be seeing something wrong but it looks as though Norway will be out of the game in only 6 years

"If we extrapolate the 2001 to 2011 rate of decline in Norway's ECI ratio (ratio of total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption), they would approach zero net oil exports around 2040"

OK, what am I seeing wrong? the graph looks to zero out in 6 years?

Crude oil and natural gas condensate are probably different than "total petroleum liquids."

Norway still have fields to put online. This will not revert the dowgoing trend, but slow it down. Last time I did back-of-the-envelope calculations on Norway, I got it to that they became "importers" in 2035. (Not that there will be any to import then but hey).

Norway have several advantages that mean their domestic consumption of hydrocarbons is low. They have huge hydro-electric capacity. They have a small population. They embrace high technology in building etc. Cars and fuel are both highly taxed deterring most consumers from buying into ludicrous car extravagances.

They also have tons of hydroelectric power and a decent rail network.

I also should have mentioned the relatively small scale of the country - if you assume that the majority of the population tend to stick to short, local community travel - by car. I remember the building of the first dual carriage way road section between Stavanger and Sandnes. Madness! Why build a 4-lane road when 2 lanes would suffice? - especially as everyone was conditioned to sensible driving (draconian speeding fines - a fixed percentage of your annual salary - stopped boy racers (rich and poor) in their tracks).

The annual data from 2001 to 2011 show a (total petroleum liquids, BP) decline rate of 5.3%/year, with 2011 production of 2.0 mbpd and consumption of 0.25 mbpd. At a production decline rate of 5.3%/year, and if consumption stays constant (although it has been drifting up), they would hit a production level of 0.25 mbpd, and thus zero net oil exports, in 39 years, around 2050. However, the decline in the ECI ratio takes into account the slow increase in consumption since 2001, and an extrapolation of the ECI ratio decline puts them approaching zero net exports around 2040.

The Danish example does have some impact in Norway. Remember also that prior governments in Sweden had plans to go oil free by some date (forgotten).

Norway is building some new Light Rail lines, new railroad tunnels (electrified), and has an interest in EVs.

The Scandinavian languages (except Finnish !) are examples of "A language is a dialect with an army". They are all mutually understood (more or less) since they are all degraded versions of Icelandic. Culturally, there may be less difference between Danes & Norwegians than Texans and Bay Area Californians.

So, at some point, I would expect the Norwegians to look for new policies from Denmark and Sweden.

Best Hopes for the Scandinavians,


That looks like those Arctic sea ice cover graphs.

To the Norse, declining oil production may not be the end of the world.

They have managed their resource well over the years and staked out significant government participation in its exploitation, therein giving the people who own the resource a share beyond just royalties paid by an array of international conglomerates

As the result of issuing more control over their oil unlike, say, Canada which sells it off like the last gold rush, which rid itself of its only route of direct investment by selling Petro Canada when the price of oil was much lower (like, they couldn't do the math about depleting conventional oil?), and, in the case of Alberta, charged too little in royalties, used the funds to increase provincial expenditures rather than saving it and therein ironically incurring defict spending in one of the wealthiest jurisdictions (in terms of resources) on Earth, and allowed oil companies to carve out a share of the wealth that would make Conrad Black blanch, the latest of whom are Chinese who are also demanding an extrordinarily lopsided treaty with Canada that allows them to sue and bankrupt any government agancy that gets in their way (the Prime Minister is set to sign it on Oct. 31st without public debate), the Norwegians are laughing.

Norway has over $600 billion in their sovereign wealth fund, no public debt and a little more than 4 million people. They have done well through the prudent management of their oil resource.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending October 12, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.8 million barrels per day during the week ending October 12, 70 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 87.4 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging over 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging nearly 4.5 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged over 8.3 million barrels per day last week, up by 126 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged about 8.1 million barrels per day, 785 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 530 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 85 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 2.9 million barrels from the previous week. At 369.2 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.7 million barrels last week and are in the lower half of the average range. Of the increase in total motor gasoline inventories, almost all of it was due to an increase in blending components inventories. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 2.2 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 1.3 million barrels last week, but remained above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 2.7 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 18.8 million barrels per day, which is the same level compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged nearly 8.7 million barrels per day, down by 2.3 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged about 3.9 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 4.2 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 2.3 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

The most surprising thing about this week's report is that the total amount of 'products supplied' was up substantially from last week, near a high for the year, and closely equal to the amount in the comparable four week period one year ago. The amount of gasoline supplied also improved, although gasoline output was still more than 2% less than last year (in the last four weeks). The MasterCard SpendingPlus report of retail gasoline sales showed a decline of greater than 3% (in the last four weeks). Gasoline sales have slowed in recent weeks as retail prices generally neared record highs, or exceeded them in some West Coast locations.

Although the US recently approved some oil exports, so far US oil exports are still at a very low level. Even so, some in Congress are questioning the rationale of allowing any oil exports, and also, oil product exports - especially for gasoline and diesel. US exports of gasoline and diesel to Latin America, which as a group range from about 50 to 70% of total US oil product exports to the world, are up substantially over the last two years. While the US has narrowly avoided regional gasoline shortages along both east and west coasts within the last month, the falling net balance of oil and oil product imports/exports (that is oil imports less exports, and oil product imports less oil product exports) may yet cause more severe problems in the future. Even though US domestic demand for oil is leveling off or even falling slightly, the net import/export total is down about 900,000 bpd from last year. US demand would have to drop at about a 4.5% rate per year to fully offset the 900,000 bpd drop.

Lawmaker seeks details of crude oil export requests

BP, Shell to Export Crude to Canada

Petrol prices leap in Sydney jumping more than 20c at some Sydney service stations overnight

PETROL prices have jumped more than 20c at some Sydney service stations overnight, leaving motorists stunned at the bowsers this morning.

Prices soared as high as 158.9c per litre for 10 per cent ethanol blend overnight, with the lowest spotted at 132.9c/L for the same fuel.


There is no reason given for the rise, Sydney's prices have fluctuated between about $1.25 and $1.50 for the past few years. This price rise seems out of the normal range, for no apparent reason. I wonder if those nasty Californians are stealing buying "our" fuel from Singapore.
The world if definitely getting smaller!

Around last weekend, perhaps just before, gasoline prices spiked here in Vancouver, BC. They jumped nearly $0.20/litre. Prices reached at least $1.483/litre in my neighbourhood, almost touching the 2008 highs. This spike only lasted a few days, and prices are now back to the "normal" $1.30-1.35/litre range that has been more typical of the past few months.

Seems like the California super-spike created a ripple that spread out to the other West Coast states and provinces: Oregon and Washington and British Columbia. I traveled through WA and OR over the weekend and witnessed prices comparable to or higher than the summer of 2008. Seems plausible, if a bidding war did occur for refined product, that Australia got caught in the "price-quake," too.

These rapid price swings are likely a symptom of ELM (and our current oil extraction plateau) in action, with increasing oil scarcity making it ever more difficult to supply the refined products, oil refinery shutdowns being an important driver. It seems a reasonable expectation that more volatility in fuel prices would occur going forward as crude oil scarcity (especially declining net exports) bites ever harder in the face of a still growing human population.


Re: The 6 big energy issues this election

As noted in this article from FORTUNE, the Presidential campaign isn't addressing the problem of climate change. Again last night, during the candidates' debate, there was absolutely no mention of the problem of climate change or the connection between energy production from fossil fuels and climate. Looks like either candidate would let Planet Earth be "developed" to death, although Obama might slow down the process a bit. One can read Romney's energy plan HERE (PDF warning).

HERE's a commentary about Myth Romney's main energy adviser, former Senator Jim Talent, and his connections to the coal industry...

E. Swanson

It could be that they don't mention the polar ice melt portion of climate change because they do not know how to calculate as well as fifth graders.

Being the insomniac that I am, I watched the whole of last night's Presidential debate from my bed here in England.

I suppose at least in US elections energy is discussed. Here in Blighty it is never a doorstep issue. If Romney wins I am going to check back with all you chaps and chapesses in five years and see how energy independence is going. He sure must have one helluva good plan! Even the sitting president waffled on about energy independence.

It was 2 hours of sleep I will never get back but so what, I can catch up tonight safe in the knowledge that the US will be drowning in energy in a few short years.

Glurp! Our political process will drown us all right, but that brown stuff isn't energy.

That brown stuff does emit methane. Maybe thats the secret plan? BrownStuff gas wells, quite the fracking plan ehh?

You may not have noticed Myth Romney's carefully worded claim about his energy plan. During the debate, he said that his energy plan would achieve "North American" energy independence. To those of us who are aware of the problem, that statement does not mean that the US will be energy independent as "North America" includes Canada and Mexico. He is betting that there will be a substantial increase in fossil energy produced in Canada, both as oil and as natural gas. With his slight of hand, the energy imports from Canada to the US are no longer seen as coming from a foreign nation, such as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria or Venezuela. Too bad that there are many 'Mericans who apparently think Canada is part of the US of A...

E. Swanson

He explicitly said that Venezuala was not part of the mix...

Harold Hamm must be a Mitt Whisperer or some such...

??? Since when has Venezuela been part of N. America?

It obviously is not, but I can not see any reasonable scenario giving the NA "energy independence" without access to some oil production from Venezuala. Those imports could be offset by say US coal exports. All very hypothetical and a exercise bordering on determining how many angels can dance on the head of a pin...

I do think that the Monroe doctrine will rear its ugly head vis a vis Venezuala some time in the not so distant future...

Ah yes, the Munroe Doctrine. But how to get around the thorny question of popular sovereignty? Hugo Chávez is president b/c the Venezuela people want him. The last election there was a model of democratic legitimacy, which is a far cry from what sometimes passes in the USA.

Then again, one can always count on a remnant of neo-conservative thinkers in the State Department to come up with the appropriate spin should the time come to intervene.

I especially enjoyed the exchange on oil prices. I think Willard was making a claim that Obama presided over dramatic price increases since 2008.

Obama jabs with the right: If prices were low in 2009 it was because of the economic free fall courtesy of Dubya Bush.

Obama lands a solid left hook: If you want prices as low as that again then go ahead and vote for Mitt, he'll crash the economy again for ya'



Jerry ~ I agree that was pretty entertaining. But I'd really like to know how accurate (or inaccurate) their statements were regarding drilling/production on federal lands. Anyone?

EM – I tried to find a simple and non-misleading reference for you. Gave up after reading too many worthless and inflammatory stories. I’ll let you dig thru them but let me offer some advice dealing with some of the crappy statements I read. First you’ll see a lot of “companies own lots of leases but aren’t exploring”. They never define what “exploring” is but it seems to be either drilling, producing or both. Along the same line a “lot of land companies aren’t leasing”. I’ve had offshore federal leases I’ve spent years spending $millions conducting seismic surveys and prospect generation before I drilled a well…if I did in fact ever drill a well. Two years ago my company took 4 offshore federal leases (paid almost $500k) did the seismic work ($300k), killed the potential we thought was there and we’ll never drill a well. But the lease is our for 5 years from the date we took it. Maybe if another company comes up with a drillable idea they’ll sublease from us but I doubt it will happen. So yes: we’re sitting on lease that we’ve sunk over $800k in that we’ll probably never drill. This is not that rare a situation: companies don’t like to spend many $millions to generate prospects and then not eventually get the lease for whatever reasons. But I’ll make the feds an offer: give us our $400k back and we’ll give them the lease back now. I won’t be holding my breath. LOL. Also, you may be aware, but leases don’t stay leased forever. A typical fed lease is for 5 years. Don’t drill within that time frame and the lease automatically terminates. And no…w don’t get the lease money back. No: companies have not been sitting on millions of undrilled fed lease for decades. And even if you’re holding the lease by production it will expire as soon as you stop producing.

Now let’s talk about some of those many millions of acres of federal leases, especially offshore, that companies aren’t leasing. They aren’t leasing those huge tracts of offshore blocks for a dang good reason: those are the ones that have been leased, drilled, produced, abandoned and returned to the feds. Find a GOM map showing the lease blocks and fields out there. I have to wonder sometimes if some folks have a clue how much production has been (and continues to be) produced in the US. I think all the chatter about our huge import volume distracts folks from the fact that the US is the largest producer of NG and the 3rd largest oil producer on the planet. And much of that has come from federal lands. And guess what: in another 20 or 30 years there will be millions of more acres companies won’t be leasing from the feds: those areas will be depleted also and have no drilling potential left. Just like many millions of acs out there now.

I don’t know much about oil/NG resources in the western states (where the vast majority of onshore fed leases exist) but I do know companies have been exploring the region for over 70 years. And that includes large tracts of fed and tribal leases. And they’ve found what they found, produced it and depleted much of it. Consider this: many companies have paid huge lease bonuses (sometime $10k per acre in areas where leases were selling for just $200/ac not too many years ago) in the shale plays. There are millions of acs available to lease on western lands for just a fraction of that cost. Maybe some areas are off limits but so what? AFAIK there is no potential out there remotely close to being game changers. Both the “drill, baby, drill” and envirowackos groups put out too much BS on either side of the argument IMHO that it’s easy for folks to get confused.

It’s really very simple: companies don’t make money leasing fed lands…they spend money. They don’t make money doing seismic exploration…they spend hundreds of $millions. They don’t make money hiring staff to explore on fed lands…they spend tens of millions. They don’t make money leasing fed lands…they’ve spent $billions doing so. They don’t make money drilling dry holes on fed lands…they spend hundreds of $millions doing so.

How do we make money on fed lands: drill wells and hopefully produce oil/NG at a profit. If we don’t make a profit we go out of business. If we don’t drill we go out of business. But you can read so many opinions that there is some sort of conspiracy to not drill on fed leases. Does that make sense to anyone? BTW an afterthought: the Gulf Coast Basin is one of the most prolific oil generating machines on the planet. And yet even with the current high oil prices there are tens of millions acres of privately owned mineral rights that also aren’t being leased. I suppose that’s also part of our evil plan to keep oil out of the market place to keep prices up. The hype for the Eagle Ford et al might lead folks to think all of Texas is leased. It ain’t. Write me a check and I’ll lease you a million acs right now in one of the most oil productive areas on the planet. What you do with it is your problem. LOL.

Thanks, Rockman -- I kinda figured this one would be your cuppa noodles :)

A co-worker expressed reluctant agreement (Oklahoma is a very red state) with Obama's point that oil companies should "use it or lose it" regarding federal leases. I told him my simplified take on it is that those companies had determined that it's not profitable (yet) to develop said leases. His exact reply escapes me, but he was taken aback by a couple of things:

A.) The ability to get oil out of the ground does not automatically translate into profit

B.) The government cannot force a private company to "drill, baby, drill"

I've noticed that these things seem to shock most of the people in the "drill, baby, drill" crowd. They tend to hand-wave frantically about centuries of oil in the ground, fracking, a "friend's neighbor's well that was capped for no apparent reason," and the usual assortment of conspiracy theories.

These are the same folks who say, "let the free market do its thing," but when confronted with the above items, their world is turned upside down.

EM – Reading my response perhaps I got a tad carried away. Been on a well for 4 straight days with one shower, blah, blah, blah. I was already rather irritated. I don’t know if it came across but it’s the drill, baby drill crowd to pushes me over the edge. Especially when they blame the govt and I have to defend those buttholes. LOL.

I think I’ve developed a bit of credibility with some TODsters but I suspect many of them will still find this hard to believe: 99% of the oil patch considers the d,b,d crowd to be liars or idiots. I suspect a lot of the Big Oil PR folks would agree. Folks seem to have a difficult time seeing the difference between pubic company management statements and the reality that the oil hunters live with daily: there are very limited opportunities left in the US to add much more production. In particular very profitable oil. And the govt getting in the way? In my 37 years I’ve rarely ever seen a well not get drilled because of the regulators…state or federal. But occasionally a pain in the butt but such is life in the oil patch. LOL

But again the “use it or lose it” is a piece of crap. The feds have collected $billions from the companies in leases bonuses. And every lease taken from the feds that wasn’t put on production has been released back to the govt. EVERY LEASE. Except for the recent leases that are still in primary term. A fact that comes back to the issue of those millions of acs the companies aren't leasing today: it’s because most have been leased already, drilled and either were dry holes or produced and depleted. The companies don’t want those leases for a very good reason. When I have time I’ll try to estimate how much of the US minerals, both private and federal, have been leased over the last 100+ YEARS. As I said earlier the US has been a major producer of FF since the beginning of the industry. And that’s because we’ve drilled the heck out of this country. Common sense alone should indicte there are few significant oppotunities left here.

Rockman, your comments are always appreciated, and often invaluable. And no, I didn't think you sounded any more gruff than usual. ;-)

As to your last line, well, common sense ain't so common, is it? One of Seraph's links below expands on this topic (thanks, Seraph!).

Even if the United States managed to become completely free of fossil fuel imports from other nations, while still relying on fossil fuel production from within its own borders, this still would not be true energy independence. As William Catton pointed out in his book "Overshoot" (p. 45-47):

As late as the end of 1973, both the president of the United States and the chairman of the Senate Interior Committee proclaimed as a goal of American policy the attainment of "energy self-sufficiency" by 1980. If the expression meant anything at all, it had to mean (in Borgstrom's terms) a goal of deriving all energy used by Americans from visible acreage, none from trade acreage. But the living generation could not become really self-sufficient just by ending its dependence on trade acreage; this would only accelerate the drawdown of energy deposits hidden beneath the domestic (visible) acreage. To achieve independence from OPEC opportunists by this method meant inflicting upon American posterity a legacy of aggravated resource depletion. In short, energy independence was illusory so long as massive quantities of energy were still to be obtained from fossil resources.


As a drawdown-dependent nation, the United States was thus already relying upon fossil acreage four times as extensive as its total visible farm acreage. Our concern for the incidental fact that an appreciable and growing fraction of that fossil acreage was overseas and under the control of potentially hostile peoples was permitted to overshadow the more permanently significant fact that fossil acreage anywhere, and under anyone's control, was non-renewable. We were living on four parts of phantom carrying capacity for every one part of permanent (real) carrying capacity.


To achieve genuine self-sufficiency in energy by 1980, assuming a 1970 way of life but depending on visible acreage only, the population of this nation would have had to level off no later than 1880.

Catton's analysis in that particular chapter focused on growing food and fuel and did not include things like photovoltaic and wind power, and a different type of analysis may yield some different numbers. However, the general principle is sound. To be truly energy independent is to have figured out how to continue the business of civilization via the use of renewable energy sources. I suspect this will require a huge shift in the way life is conducted in the United States (and elsewhere). It would be nice if politicians would stop using the same old "energy independence" diversion that has been trotted out for decades and begin having a much more realistic discussion about what energy independence actually means. (Okay, so I am dreaming.)


Even with photovoltaic and wind power added in, the specter of a truly energy independent way of life in the United States and elsewhere is too horrific to describe or consider. It means a severe population adjustment that might not go as smoothly as it did in the book and movie "Soylent Green" (1973). So, realistic discussions about what energy independence might actually mean are certainly not brought up by politicians campaigning for elected office, and are not even considered polite conversation in most places. One aspect I really respect about Catton's writings on this matter is how he paints a big picture without actually showing you the canvas. Just leave it to your imagination, or not.

Catton is right, of course, but people don't want to hear that sort of thing. They'd rather hear about a zillion years of oil shale prosperity locked up in the Rocky Mountains.

As soon as Romney said "North American...", my first thought was about a couple guys in Canada watching. One says to the other ,"Hey, his creative plan is to take our oil, eh?"

I imagine that Canadians would be must unhappy to find that their country had suddenly been annexed into the "United States of North America"...

E. Swanson

I suggest you try a Google search on the "United States of Canada".

I had to give up on the debate after about a minute and a half.. Funny enough, HAC, I was up through the middle of the night here watching Michael Caine and Sir Larry Olivier in 'The Battle of Britain' from 1969 or so.

I wish my German was a little better, or there was a subtitle option.. they had full scenes with the Luftwaffe guys as much as the Brits.. anyway, it was just what I needed!

Unfortunately the Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein who would have undoubtedly raised the issue of Climate Change in the debate was arrested trying to get in.


Published on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 by Common Dreams
Green Party Candidates Arrested Outside Presidential Debate
Presidential candidate Jill Stein and running mate Cheri Honkala barred from attending then arrested

It should also be noted that the "newspaper of record" the New York Times just miles from the debates has not covered Jill Stein's arrest:


Or at least it is not showing up in the NYTimes search engine.

For some idea of how rigged these Corporate sponsored debates are you can read Glenn Greenwald's column on the sham debates paid for by the likes of Annheiser-Busch:


Published on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 by the Guardian/UK
The Lame Rules for Presidential Debates: A Perfect Microcosm of US Democracy
Secret collusion between the two parties, funded by corporations, run by lobbyists: all the ingredients are there

Note that the above articles were published in the Progressive website CommonDreams and in the UK's Guardian.

She wasn't part of the 'deal' ...

Obama and Romney 2012 Debates Memorandum of Understanding

Sec 3. Participants
If one or more candidates from campaigns other than the two (2) signatories are invited to participate pursuant to those Selection Criteria, those candidates shall be included in the debates, if those candidates accept the terms of this agreement. Any modifications to this agreement must be agreed upon by each of the signatories to this agreement as well as all other candidates selected to join the debate.

The Commission will conduct a coin toss at least seventy-two hours before the October 3 (First Presidential) debate. [can't have a three-way coin toss]

... bust a deal ... face the wheel

Amy Goodman "expanded the debate." For those who would like to hear their responses and compare to the "allowed" candidates:


Link up top: Flooding in Miami Beach prompts warning about rising seas

That was one of my primary reasons for moving out of Miami Beach (and South Florida in general). When I was living there, my buddy and I would talk about what we thought Miami Beach would look like 25-50 years from now. Would it be an abandoned, marshy sandbar with a foot or two of water on it at low tide? How fast would most of high rises collapse if their foundations were constantly being worn away by tidal currents. It all seems really plausible with ever more data pointing to accelerating climate change.

It's a toss up on whether RE in Phoenix or on the South Florida coast is a worse investement going forward...

It'll be either Dune or Waterworld in the future...

Absolutely. There will be a lot of stranded assets in both areas in the future.

I never owned any property down there. Only rented. Even after the condo prices cratered they were still way overpriced, IMO.

I bet the Apaches and the O'othams will be very efficient reclaiming all the valuable materials from the abandoned real estate in AZ, though.

An interesting interview that should generate some great comments from our TOD experts.


Let's start from the top:

Ed Dolan: In my view it is a myth that cheap energy - “affordable energy” as many people like to say is vital to growth. The idea that there is a lockstep relationship between growth of GDP and use of energy is widespread, but the data simply does not bear it out. Instead, what they show is that the world’s best-performing economies have become dramatically more energy efficient over time.

Gosh, Ed... if energy isn't vital to growth, what's the point of becoming more energy efficient? Was this some accident of economic evolution, or is their payback from using less energy?

This is an interesting interview, and a pretty good explanation of what I would call the 'principled libertarian' viewpoint. (As opposed to the many free-market conservatives who call themselves libertarians). Dolan's points about creating a level playing field for all energy sources and pricing externalities have merit.

I think he misses the boat here:

We’ve got big economic problems, but a lot of them don’t have much to do with energy.

What about a healthcare system that delivers mediocre results at the world’s highest cost?

Health care isn’t all that much energy driven. What about our steady move down the international rankings in education—are you going to blame that on the high cost of heating classrooms? Hardly.

Too glib. Is it really so hard to fathom how energy price inflation squeezes the middle class, drying up the tax base for items like education and health care? This has been decades in the making. He's correct that energy efficiency can partly shield a society from the effects of high prices, but there could be a whole lot of 'structural adjustment' ahead.

Per-student education spending has never been higher. The decline in education has no correlation with spending.

Schools are now part of the Education Industry (tm), similar to the Health Care Industry (tm). The purpose is to funnel public money to wealthy, connected patrons of the empire - if you manage to get an education or health care out of it, well bully for you but that's not the goal. So spending may well be up, but where does the money go?

Mostly to teachers. At least, at the elementary and high school levels.

Do you have a citation for this? I really sort of doubt it, but am willing to be informed. But I know several elementary and high school teachers, and this really doesn't ring quite true to me...

Actually Simkin is correct- @ 80% of costs cover personnel (not all of these are teachers)of course this includes health care, etc. Also, this is for public schooling, for-profit charters give a higher percentage to the owner very often. One day I'll write a PO based education feature- but, suffice to say, I know the profession well! (PS- spending doesn't correlate well with achievement- the single variable most predictive of achievement is family income. I have read ed research for over 15 years.)

The education and healthcare quandries bring out an interesting question for me:

If so many other nations are doing better in these fields why aren't we studying them like crazy to learn from their experience?

I can imagine lots of answers, none of which give me any confidence in the way the USofA is run.

why aren't we studying them like crazy to learn from their experience?

1. we assume we are better than everyone else in the world- studying others is an admission that we aren't smart enough to solve our own problems

2. powerful interests aren't actually interested in "solutions", they want a bigger piece of the pie (private health care companies, for-profit schools, corporations and ideologues interested in union busting education)

If the US were a person, it would be someone suffering from delusional grandiosity controlled by a powerful mother

The corollary of (1) is that even raising the question is hard evidence that the speaker is a traitor, who works by insulting the people! Powerful incentive to not challenge the American Exceptional-ism meme.

(2) hows just how difficult real change is, when there are so many stakeholders. If we actually succeeded in rationalizing healthcare so that say it went from 16% to 8% of GDP millions of people working in the medical-pharmaceutical-insurance complex would lose their current jobs. Pretty tough to run for office claiming, "I'm gonna fire ten million of these mouchers".

Of course it (education funding) goes mostly to wages.

That is because everything else has been cut and cut and cut.

Why would you assume it goes for cushy wages....overpaid teachers? That was the implication.

Citation: me. I am retirng in 3 months and glad to be done with this career. Back to construction as a carpenter welder. I might also go back bush flying for 3 months per year.

I have taught for 16 years and had to make do with less every year, all the while watching my classes increase in size and decline in support for those with special needs.

Supplies and resources? What's that??!!


Supplies and resources? What's that??!!

Something you run bake sales for. Buy ten cupcakes, buy your school a box of pencils. Buy twenty, and you can provide a box of pencils, and a pad of writing paper.

Most teachers work hard and don't get paid a lot. A big part of the problem is the mandates from the Feds and states and all the staff time and money that has to go towards dealing with those, which then leaves less time and resources for actual teaching.

And the much bigger problem is that students don't show up ready and willing to learn. Kids with poor nutrition, parents who can't or don't read, or who don't care about education and don't prioritize it for their kids, don't learn. Kids with developmental problems caused by parents drug use don't learn. Kids who are never taught to pay attention and do what they're told don't learn. And worse, the accompanying behaviour problems suck up an inordinate amount of the teacher's time, greatly lessening the actual instructional time for the other kids in the class.

I don't believe it matters how much teaching or resources you throw at them, most of the problems cannot be fixed in schools.

"No child left behind" has been extremely destructive to education because it requires devoting inordinate resources to children who do not want to learn.

Ed Dolan:... In short, we don’t have to hypothesize about the possibility of someday breaking the lockstep relationship of growth and energy use—we and most of the rest of the advanced world are already doing it.

"Lockstep", that is a straw man and straw men are always very easy to slay. What fool ever claimed there was a lockstep relationship between growth and energy. There is seldom, if ever, a lockstep relationship between any cause and effect.

We have had this debate before here. Someone, a few weeks ago, claimed that if there was any relationship between price and demand then a 10 percent rise in price should produce a 10 percent decline in demand. Sheer rubbish! Any fool should know better than that. If a 10 percent rise in price produces a .1 percent in decline in demand then that is still a relationship, but nothing is lockstep.

There is definitely a relationship between the price of oil and GDP growth. To say that there is no lockstep relationship is simply saying something that anyone should already know. But there is a relationship, a strong relationship between the supply of energy, the price of energy and GDP growth. That is simply undeniable.

Ron P.

I think it was on this site that someone made an analogy for our oil addiction using smokers on an island. As long as the supply of cigs was enough to meet demand, the price fluctuated very little if at all. But when the supply of cigs fell below demand, the price increased 1000% or something. I thought it was a good analogy!

Back during the mid 1970's after the Arab/OPEC Embargo, there were many analyst who claimed that there really was a 1:1 link between growth in energy use and growth in GDP because that's what the historical data showed. Only later, after the Iranian Crisis resulted in another sharp increase in the price of oil and other energy sources did it appear that the relationship was not solidly connected with both increasing in "lockstep" as technological improvements became more affordable and filtered thru the economy...

E. Swanson

Only later, after the Iranian Crisis resulted in another sharp increase in the price of oil...

Black_Dog, it was probably good to have the shock to get us to start reforming our wasteful ways. Imagine where we would be if we hadn't had that shock.

Back during the mid 1970's after the US production peak, there were many analyst who


"full-cost pricing of all forms of energy" is the "only one right way to promote renewables".

Even if all subsidies were somehow eliminated and all externalities somehow factored in, consideration of price only could still favor low-construction-but-high-fuel-cost fossil fuel plants over high-construction-but-low-fuel-cost renewable options.

Capitalism would seem to favor short-term cash payback over long-term energy payback. And of course the coal plants already exist; to be fair they should have to ante up all the true cost of their embodied energy.

Subsidies for renewables are just plain wrong, even if you look at them from a hard-core environmentalist point of view. With a subsidy, on the one hand, you say, “produce more green energy” and other the other hand, you turn around and tell the consumer, “waste more green energy.” We don’t want to waste energy from wind or solar any more than we want to waste oil and gas. We shouldn’t forget that even the greenest renewables can have significant environmental impacts.

Personally I would rather waste energy from a renewable source than from an exhaustible source.

If such wasted energy is expensive, the free market will surely provide a product to cash in on that waste stream :)

If the consumer ends up paying the price of the subsidy, then the incentive to waste it because its cheap will be gone.

The silly part of the argument is - subsidize renewables, they become artificially cheap, thus we use *more* energy overall.

No reason why energy would drop in price because of any subsidy to renewables. Barring fusion, energy will become more expensive, and for us 99% there will be no incentive to waste it. The free market in action, sort of.

Personally I would rather waste energy from a renewable source than from an exhaustible source.

dak664, I'd agree with you too.

Other things about subsidies :
- You need to decide what you want to subsidize first, so that there are always kind of "beauty contests", and it is very easy to get these wrong (or being forced to), typical example corn ethanol if the EROEI is around 1
- Although not inherent to the principle, it is usually on "alternative production"(and even on OPEX aspects), and not on efficiency investement capex (like insulation)
- Usually very complex from the administrative operational side (highly prone to various cheatings)

On the other side, volume based taxes on fossile fuels :
- No need for beauty contests : you leave the solution definition to the market, be it on conservation or alternative production side, you tend to produce more efficient products
- works as well in favoring conservations solution or alternative production solution
- very simple in terms of administrative overhead (less prone to cheatings)
- you put pressure in the right direction for the trade balance (even for net exporters in fact)

Moreover one can say that taxes impact the poor more than the rich, but :
- subsidies must come from somewhere (budget), so that feed-in tarrifs for instance increase the KWh price for everybody (or other taxes to pay them)
- it is very often more the rich that benefit from them, a poor family in an appartment project will not put PV on its roof or buy a volt.

...volume based taxes on fossile fuels...

Yvest, you have some good ideas. Too bad we have politians who will not implement them.

Somehow I think the "carbon tax" label, linking volume based taxes to CO2 and climate change, has been a dramatic error in this story (even though I'm not an AGW skeptic at all), but it has in a way completely messed up the "common sense" aspect of the resource constraints side.

Typically the volume based taxes have been put in Europe in the seventies, without anybody talking about CO2, just need for efficiency conservation and controlling the trade balance.
And for instance James Hansen has exactly the same point of view, in (2) below :

A rising carbon price is essential to "decarbonize" the economy, i.e., to move the nation toward the era beyond fossil fuels. The most effective way to achieve this is a carbon tax (on oil, gas, and coal) at the well-head or port of entry. The tax will then appropriately affect all products and activities that use fossil fuels. The public's near-term, mid-term, and long-term lifestyle choices will be affected by knowledge that the carbon tax rate will be rising.

The public will support the tax if it is returned to them, equal shares on a per capita basis (half shares for children up to a maximum of two child-shares per family), deposited monthly in bank accounts. No large bureaucracy is needed. A person reducing his carbon footprint more than average makes money. A person with large cars and a big house will pay a tax much higher than the dividend. Not one cent goes to Washington. No lobbyists will be supported. Unlike cap-and-trade, no millionaires would be made at the expense of the public.

The tax will spur innovation as entrepreneurs compete to develop and market low-carbon and no-carbon energies and products. The dividend puts money in the pockets of consumers, stimulating the economy, and providing the public a means to purchase the products.

A carbon tax is honest, clear and effective. It will increase energy prices, but low and middle income people, especially, will find ways to reduce carbon emissions so as to come out ahead. The rate of infrastructure replacement, thus economic activity, can be modulated by how fast the carbon tax rate increases. Effects will permeate society. Food requiring lots of carbon emissions to produce and transport will become more expensive and vice versa, encouraging support of nearby farms as opposed to imports from half way around the world.

Even though in a 100% directly redistributed version here, these days lowering some other taxes, typically on work, would probably be as good if not better.

If you live under a roof, you're already wasting renewable energy, whether you've bought collectors for it or not. Even using a little bit of that becomes far more beneficial than those of us sitting at an intersection idling at another light.. But luckily, that wasted energy off our rooftops at least isn't really creating any new harm, the way our other splurged power-sources are.

UN Warns of Looming Worldwide Food Crisis in 2013

This is particularly concerning to those of us who have been trying to engineer crops that would withstand drought and other environmental conditions. Monsanto and other biotechs have been focusing on making plants more resistant to pests (and their own herbicides), but the real problem in environmental instability.

Super pigweed (Palmer's Amaranth) seems to handle environmental instability pretty well. Nice job Monsanto :-/

You are correct Ghung- the mutant strain of pigweed on my porch nodded when I read your quote to him

Post of the day!

Super-Pigweed meet Super-Rat ...

'Super rats' develop genetic immunity to standard poisons

A University of Huddersfield scientist has alerted the UK to the mounting problem of destructive "super rats" immune to conventional poison. His research has created nationwide interest, especially in the West of England, where it might be that as many as 75 per cent of rats are the resistant type.

... The term "super rat" is quite appropriate, says Dr Clarke. The creatures that are unaffected by routine poisons have not become resistant because of their DNA mutating as a result of their exposure to the rodenticide chemicals. The timescale is too short for that. Instead they have a naturally occuring genetic mutation that protects them from the rodenticide poisons. Over time in an area that is treated with these poisons for rat control with a mixed population of susceptible 'normal' rats and the genetically resistant 'super' rats the population will become exclusively the 'super' rat type that pass the resistance gene to their offspring.

Nice Job BASF, Bayer, Bell, Killgerm, PelGar, & Syngenta

I'm confused. FAO numbers for cereal stocks seem about average for the last 10 years (although the lowest in the last 5 years by 5.5%). See http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/wfs-home/csdb/en/ dated 4th October 2012.


The problem is rapidly growing demand, due to population growth, biofuels, and increased meat consumption. The metric that has people worried is not current inventory but carryover stocks, the amount measured in days of consumption that can be carried over to the next years harvest

The New Geopolitics of Food

Producing enough grain to make it to the next harvest has challenged farmers ever since agriculture began. But now, the challenge is deepening as new trends — falling water tables, plateauing grain yields and rising temperatures — join soil erosion to make it difficult to expand production fast enough.

As a result, world grain carryover stocks have dropped from an average of 107 days of consumption a decade or so ago to 74 days in recent years.

The wild card is climate change. I see Nigeria is the latest victim to see their farms flooded and god knows how many millions of people facing hunger:

Nigeria flood disaster ‘worst since 1948’ – More than 600,000 people displaced, 589 square miles of farmland destroyed – Crocodiles and hippos washed into homes

A few more years of global catastrophic floods and droughts and I would hazard to guess that the FAO numbers will be showing a brave new world very different from the one we enjoy now.


Drowning our sorrows, for which we have a few good reasons to, is about to get more expensive...

Europe braces for worst wine harvest in 50 years

Decline of up to 20 per cent expected in France

Drought, frost and hail have combined to ravage Europe's wine grape harvest, which in key regions this year will be the smallest in half a century, vintners say.

Thierry Coste, an expert with the European Union farmers' union, said Wednesday that France's grape harvest is expected to slump by almost 20 per cent compared with last year. Italy's grape crop showed a 7 per cent drop — on top of a decline in 2011.

"Two big producing nations, France and Italy, have not known a harvest so weak in 40 to 50 years," Coste said. "All the major producing nations have been hurt."

"Europe braces for worst wine harvest in 50 years"

Time to think Domestic.

Washington State Vineyards Juggle Abundant Harvest

"Dinn’s biggest problem has been a larger-than-expected crop of Merlot, which has delayed the picking of Cabernet."

“A consistently warm and dry summer this year has given us a harvest more in line with what we think of as normal,”

Read more at: http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=news&content=106275&ht...
Copyright © Wines & Vines

Note that the only wine I drink is cabernet sauvignon cut 50-50 with Sprite. But for those who like it, it was a good year in Washington.

Here's What The Economy Looks Like From A Railroader's Perspective
At CSX, intermodal container freight is up 10% YoY in revenue and up 8% in volume based on strong truck conversions and Maersk traffic.

In this Time article: Ultra-Cheap Cars Are Coming – Even to the U.S.

Just what we don't need... cheap cars which will encourage increased vehicle ownership and more fuel use.

Besides cheap, they are fuel efficient at 60+ mpg.

If you strip off the PS, PB, AC, etc., and use a 2-cylinder 40 cubic inch turbocharged diesel in a very light car you can get very good fuel mileage.

There are plenty of small cars with good, 'real' mpg figures available - if you can afford to buy a new - or nearly new - car. These cars usually offer all that the average driver wants (aircon/heating, decent audio, safety, power steering/ power brakes, plus navigation and parking gizmos). As I see it the only thing preventing their take-up in the US is people's self 'image'.


Electric Vehicles May Not Be Able to Aid Power Grid in Summer

... researchers in Texas, US, said that historical claims about vehicle-to-grid (V2G) back-up power might have been too optimistic.

"Vehicle availability is complementary to net load during cooler months in hot climates, when electricity demand is bimodal and brackets the hours of highest vehicle use," Michael Webber of the University of Texas at Austin told environmentalresearchweb. "In hotter months, vehicle use and net load are closely aligned, thus the availability of vehicles to provide load shifting, peak shaving, or valuable ancillary services [backup generation] is more limited."

The EV automotive dream is dying before it even got moving. Fortunately too, as it was yet another incarnation of the car culture nightmare. Yes you can make an EV, and there will be electrically powered and assisted vehicles of many types for some time, but the massive automotive-only transportation system does not work without fossil fuel power no matter how many ways people try to keep it alive.

Exxon buys Canadian Oil Shale Company

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest energy company, has agreed to buy Celtic Exploration Ltd. for C$2.86 billion ($2.91 billion) in cash and stock, adding production in Canada's Montney and Duvernay shale.

The purchase is the largest by Exxon Mobil since the $34.8 billion takeover of XTO Energy in June 2010. It includes 545,000 net acres in the Montney shale and 104,000 acres in the Duvernay, fields where oil and gas are extracted by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, so-called unconventional operations that were XTO's specialty.

Current production on the acreage is 72 million feet of natural gas a day and 4,000 bbl/d of oil and natural gas liquids.

Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy

... despite its history and today's unprecedented riches from science, the U.S. has begun to slip off of its science foundation. Indeed, in this election cycle, some 236 years after Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence, several major party contenders for political office took positions that can only be described as “antiscience”: against evolution, human-induced climate change, vaccines, stem cell research, and more. A former Republican governor even warned that his own political party was in danger of becoming “the antiscience party.”

Such positions could typically be dismissed as nothing more than election-year posturing except that they reflect an anti-intellectual conformity that is gaining strength in the U.S. at precisely the moment that most of the important opportunities for economic growth, and serious threats to the well-being of the nation, require a better grasp of scientific issues. By turning public opinion away from the antiauthoritarian principles of the nation's founders, the new science denialism is creating an existential crisis like few the country has faced before.

God-talk is a great, indispensable key to political marketing in this market-totalitarian nation. Without pandering to it, the reigning Duopoly loses most of its capacity to flatter and gull the Bubbas.

Of course, all dying empires -- which is to say all outdated ruling classes in imperial societies -- turn back to the gods as they founder -- which is to say, as their elites refuse to permit needed reforms... See Kevin Phillips and Jared Diamond...

You need to take a look at this short Youtube video. This U.S. Congressman sits on the Congressional Science Committee. Of course he is from Georgia, and he is a Republican. I guess that explains it.

Rep. Broun: Evolution, Embryology, Big Bang Theory Are "Lies Straight From The Pit Of Hell"

Ron P.

Would be fun to tell him who invented the BB theory, and where he got the idea :c)

Today's denial of inconvenient science comes from partisans on both ends of the political spectrum. Science denialism among Democrats tends to be motivated by unsupported suspicions of hidden dangers to health and the environment. Common examples include the belief that cell phones cause brain cancer (high school physics shows why this is impossible) or that vaccines cause autism (science has shown no link whatsoever). Republican science denialism tends to be motivated by antiregulatory fervor and fundamentalist concerns over control of the reproductive cycle. Examples are the conviction that global warming is a hoax (billions of measurements show it is a fact) or that we should “teach the controversy” to schoolchildren over whether life on the planet was shaped by evolution over millions of years or an intelligent designer over thousands of years (scientists agree evolution is real). Of these two forms of science denialism, the Republican version is more dangerous because the party has taken to attacking the validity of science itself as a basis for public policy when science disagrees with its ideology.

"Common examples include the belief that cell phones cause brain cancer (high school physics shows why this is impossible)"

Citation? Last I knew the jury was still out.

"vaccines cause autism"

This one is more common among right-wing/Libertarian and evangelical folk - very odd that it should be ascribed to Democrats.

Totally agree that the Republican Party is the party of reality denialism.

Here in Sonoma County, CA it is certainly the more leftward part of the county that seems most anti-vaccine and there is a rabid left bunch constantly fighting against smart meters and wi-fi. I think they all have cell phones, though.

Here on the east coast it is certainly the more rightward and evangelical bunch that are rabidly anti-vaccine and anti-pretty-much-everything.

From my scandinavian horizon, anti-vaccine tends to be right wing, and anti-"radiation" a very very leftish thing. But both exists on both sides to some extent.

There are also a very tiny minority who are anti-evolution without having any religious connections. They tend to be leftists to.

Here's a long article about the anti-vaccine wars inspired by fears of autism:

. . . Science denialism works its harm on a larger scale as well. For instance, when parents, driven by baseless fears, resist vaccinating their kids, the wall of immunity that has kept measles, whooping cough and other childhood diseases at bay for decades can break down. In some geographic regions, that is happening already. "We are starting to see outbreaks of measles bigger than they were in 1996," Offit says. "California has had the biggest outbreak of whooping cough since 1947." France and other European nations also report more measles cases. Rebecca Martin, head of the Office for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases and Immunization at the World Health Organization, is worried. "There's been a buildup of children who have not been immunized over the years," she explained in an Associated Press interview last year. "When you have enough people who have not been immunized, then outbreaks can occur. . . ."

Authors of the article speculate on the influence of the Internet. You can get masses of information by Googling, but it's not all reliable. You have to be able to discriminate if you want to be your own physician. My husband researches anything our doctors' are treating us for, so he can discuss matters with them intelligently -- but ultimately we rely on their experience. (We're lucky to have physicians we trust, and who take time to discuss our interests thoroughly.)

The thing is, I'll take my doctor's guidance in one area, and find their views to be quite inadequate in another.

I really don't even try to get into the cholesterol issue with many folks in Allopathic medicine these days, and when I saw the sugary, processed, colored and 'fortified' foods they served my mom after she had gotten her cancer dianosis, I reaffirmed my belief that we REALLY have to take our care into our own hands.. look at the Doctors as partners in this, but not really as authorities.

I worry that the way we've approached epidemiology through vaccination has created the eqivalent to the Forest Management problem, where the underbrush has been left unburnt, and the forests become massive tinderboxes. I think vaccination is working in a reactive or defensive posture, targeting particular 'trouble-strains' .. where we need to refortify our front lines, like robust immune resistance instead. (Diet, Emotional Health and Lifestyle being clearly mismanaged factors in Industrial countries.. or managed scattershot and seen as marketing issues..)

I think vaccination is the least of it. The problem is our immune systems are too robust, not that they are not robust enough. Or maybe too robust for our current environment?

For example, the "hygiene hypothesis," that blames modern sanitation for many autoimmune problems, from allergies to MS.

Another interesting data point: about half of American children who die of the flu are perfectly healthy otherwise, and these healthy children die much faster than those with health problems. (4 days vs. 7 days after getting sick.) Possibly because it's their own robust immune systems that kill them.

This may be why the "Four Corners" Hantavirus outbreak killed mostly the young and healthy.

I think vaccination is the least of it. The problem is our immune systems are too robust, not that they are not robust enough. Or maybe too robust for our current environment?

I don't think so at all! I grew up in Brazil from an urban to a farm and wilderness environment. I camped in the bush as a kid. I had all kinds of infections, viruses and many parasites so I'm pretty sure my immune system got a really good workout and remains quite robust to this day.

To this day I rarely take any antibiotics for mild infections I just let my body take care of it, barring emergencies of course.

That is exactly the opposite of what happens to most supposedly healthy individuals who have grown up in overly sanitized environments. Their immune systems are not so robust.

The 1918 influenza is thought to have caused a severe immune system response -- a cytokine storm. In people with robust immune systems, this destroyed the linings of their lungs. People died either due to the direct effects or due to secondary microbial infections. In either case, they drowned when their lungs filled with fluid in a severe pneumonia.

severe immune system response -- a cytokine storm

Ah! That is a different beast from what I was talking about which is that people who are not exposed to many pathogens while growing up tend to have stunted immune systems and are more susceptible to allergies and infections later on.

It's not that their immune systems are stunted. They are very strong. They just don't have anything to fight against, so end up attacking the host, so to speak.

Yes. That was an interesting case, because again, it was healthy young adults that died, rather than the typical flu victims, the very old and very young, and the chronically ill.

Because the old and very young have a weaker immune system.

It's not that their immune systems are stunted. They are very strong. They just don't have anything to fight against, so end up attacking the host, so to speak.

Doubtful if that is the cause of an auto-immune disease.

It's likely that we have a number of varying ideas we are applying to the term "Immune System", to the point that like our discussions about 'Intelligence', it seems we need to find some less broad terms to cover this issue. I have heard recently that the idea of 'The Immune System' is far too fraught with such variable and conflicting assumptions.

I agree that the intense application of hygiene is part of what I see as a tinderbox.. it's like the boy in the plastic bubble... what could possibly go wrong? I'm working at L.L.Somebody right now, and they are doing all the 'right' things to antagonize pathogens.. and yet I feel much more vulnerable once I've washed my hands with some antimicrobial soap yet again. Just water, thanks. (They are really good about stretching breaks, though a little quick on the individual stretches)

It's similar to what we say about preparing for PO, the idea of developing a hearty resilience (for a home or for a body) is a philosophy that is frequently at odds with those who try to make their decisions on mainly an economic basis, or built around what seem to be some kind of authoritative approval.

Obviously, the lowest risk is if you do not get immunized (to avoid any risk from the vaccine), and every other person IS immunized (to eliminate the disease reservoir). Equally obvious is that more than one person is using this logic, so we just have to wait for a few un-immunized people to get together to liven up the hospital waiting room. So we are again seeing polio and whooping cough. Must be fun watching your kid cough like that. Though I have not heard of any severe (respiratory or crippling) polio yet, thank The FSM.

It's not all that safe, at least if you travel, or are exposed to someone who travels. Recent measles outbreaks were started by kids who had not been vaccinated bringing it home from trips to Europe, or by overseas visitors to the US. It then spread among those who were not vaccinated and among those whose vaccines had worn off. (It's now known than the safer, weaker vaccine in current favor has to be given more often to be effective.)

Its worse than that. Most vaccines are well under 100% successful on the individual level. Lets just say a give vaccine is 75% successful, and the disease in an un-vaccinated population would spread to 3 other people, then starting with one case, generations go as 1, 3, 9, 27, 81, ... i.e. it spreads like wildfire. Now if everyone is vaccinated, you cut the transmission factor four fold, so your case (on average) does 1, 3/4, 9/16, 27/64, ..., i.e. it decays away, and you don't get an epidemic. Now half the population skips the vaccine, and the factor becomes 1.5, so you get 1, 1.5, 2.25, 3.375, ..., you still get an epidemic but its takes longer to spread than the first case. And even those who did the right thing still have a 25% chance of getting it!

There are certainly left-proles that subscribe to the vaccine/autism crap. But can you identify any lefty politicians or legislation about it?

I actually saw a tough vaccine law pushed by a lefty that got killed by someone on the right who felt it violate religious freedom.

The only brain cancer thing I saw was Kucinich pushing for more studies. But he's a bit of an outlier.

Too Late To Stop Global Warming By Cutting Emissions: Scientists Argue For Adaption Policies

Governments and institutions should focus on developing adaption policies to address and mitigate against the negative impact of global warming, rather than putting the emphasis on carbon trading and capping greenhouse-gas emissions, argue Johannesburg-based Wits University geoscientist Dr Jasper Knight and Dr Stephan Harrison from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

"At present, governments' attempts to limit greenhouse-gas emissions through carbon cap-and-trade schemes and to promote renewable and sustainable energy sources are probably too late to arrest the inevitable trend of global warming," the scientists write in a paper published online in the scientific journal, Nature Climate Change, on Monday, 14 October 2012.

I can't remember where I read it, but someone predicted that the next big IPCC report will be about adapting to as much as predicting or slowing AGW. (probably read it from the comments on Skeptical Science, smart folk there)

It's time to get to the end of the Kubler-Ross model and get to work ;-)

But get to work doing what, exactly? If people would not pay a few extra cents for carbon taxes, and make an election issue out of relatively insignificant losses like Solyndra and A123, then what reason is there to believe they will want to pay shared mitigation costs? Will people living inland pay for the dikes and barrages on the coasts? Will those with enough rain bail out those in permanent drought? My guess is that most will choose to migrate, and that coordinated mega projects are unlikely

Yes, mega projects are unlikely, but necessary.

Oddly enough, keys to adapting to a new climate are the same as adapting to peak everything.

You use the time, energy and resources you have to at least attempt to soften the landing.

I spent most of my adult life in the military so I approach it like preparations for war, but there are other ways too:

- nationalize the energy sector and begin the orderly shutdown of depleting resources and transition to renewables. (The U.S. has done similar before)

- prioritize regional rail systems (The U.S. has done similar before)

- change (by mandate) the educational system to focus on what the country must do and provide those skills (The U.S. has done this before, in fact, my state is still under a federal mandate from the 1960s)

- bring back a modern CCC (simiar to depression era CCC) to rebuild every community with storm shelters, natural water catchment, drainage and filtering systems, plant vast areas of woody plants, return rivers and streams to natural flows, restore coastline plantings, build in-shore earth berms covered with appropriate coastal woody plants and grasses, etc. etc. etc.

There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, just like the run up to WWII or during the depression, but it's better than the alternative.

That's what I mean by getting to work on adaptation. And that's just the easy, operational stuff. :-)

EU cuts use of food-based biofuels

The European Commission said Wednesday that it was cutting targets for the use of biofuels so as to reduce the negative impact on food production and prices.

Critics said the measure did not go far enough while a UN official called for the European Union and the United States to abandon biofuels altogether as land used to produce them was needed by farmers to grow food instead.

"Europe has to do more than lower its targets for production of biofuels as it is planning. It has to have the political courage to abandon them and the United States should do the same," he said on the sidelines of talks in Rome.

"It is dangerous in a situation in which global cereal stocks are so low to set unattainable objectives," he said.

The United Nations official is Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. According to Wiki he appears to be Belgian, a lawyer and has three children. He seems to be a fanciful humanitarian who can not come to terms with the consequences of his quest to feed everyone. His title at the U.N. should be changed to the "Special Rapporteur on the Right to Overpopulate" (and deny physical limits of growth).

Bob Shaw's question from Phoenix, Arizona: Are humans smarter than yeast?

Fact Check: Romney Is Wrong About Energy Development On Public Lands

... Governor Romney and his lead energy advisor, oil and gas tycoon Harold Hamm, have repeatedly stated that oil and gas development on public lands has not kept pace with state and private lands. They conveniently leave out the fact that it is not geologically possible for that to happen. The Energy Information Agency released a map that shows the vast majority of the current oil and gas shale plays in the lower 48 states are not on public lands. As EIA administrator Adam Sieminski noted in Congressional testimony in August, “The geology is working in favor of non-federal landowners.”

This is backed up by the fact that the oil and gas industry itself has asked the government for fewer public lands on which to drill. As the price of natural gas dropped, there was a dramatic decline in the amount of public land nominated by the industry for leasing. Since fiscal year 2006 (during the Bush administration), there has been nearly a 67 percent decline in the amount of onshore public land nominated by the industry in the Rocky Mountain States. As one industry expert told The Wall Street Journal, “It is safe to say that there will be fewer natural gas wells drilled in 2012.” However, Governor Romney fails to recognize that the Bureau of Land Management cannot lease or permit lands that the industry does not request.

Isn't most of the offshore in the Gulf federal? I thought that the POTUS should mention the BP disaster, regulatory efforts and short moritorium in context of production over time, even if they aren't federally owned plays.

Wouldn't have mattered. We live in a post-truth world. :-(

N-S: from about 10 miles out to the international boundary is all federal land . The near shore belongd to the states . And virtually ever GOM lease block has been open for leasing with almost all leased at some time. Many have been leased multiple times

I don't think he could mention the BP disaster because that would be biting a hand that feeds him. It was really fun when Romney threw the XL Pipeline at him and all he could do is duck. Responding with "That pipe only crosses America to reach the dirty refineries and shipping docks leading to China" is similarly out of the question... so it was a free shot.

The only concern about the environment was who could move it out of the way fastest to get to the carbon.

Either one of these servants will sign TPP if it reaches them.


Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): 15th Round of TPP Negotiations Set for Auckland, New Zealand -- December 3-12, 2012

15 rounds of negotiations stretching back years.

Ever hear of it?

Shhhh now... no concern..... sleep.......... dream of a pickup truck towing the Space Shuttle to its grave............... what a great ad that would make..........................

Yes, the TPP would ban labeling products with their country of origin and extend the duration of patents for drugs making them more expensive.

"The Energy Information Agency released a map that shows the vast majority of the current oil and gas shale plays in the lower 48 states are not on public lands"

No point of drilling where there is no oil. Like that big gray area in central Idaho, also known as the Idaho Batholith. A solid block of igneous rock all the way down to the mantle. Or Yellowstone, a less solid block of igneous rock all the way down to the mantle.

Both good places to look for many metallic minerals, but for oil/gas? Nope.

Idaho oil/gas well map:
Big hole in central Iowa and from there up to the north.
There are some dots on the map, mostly in the southern part of Idaho:
"Based on our data there were 180 wells in Idaho. All of them were either dry holes or abandoned locations." http://info.drillinginfo.com/bad-shot-really-good-results/

...O0ohhhhhhhhhhhhh... it just makes me itchy all over... truly the foundations of a great prank! "Drill Idaho! Them dang greenie hippies can't lock us out of an entire state!"

You mean the drillers want to drill where the oil & gas actually is instead of just drilling on these Federal lands we offer them? What's up with that?

Spec – Even funnier: back in the 70’s boom I saw an ad from a NY environmentalist group (supposedly) soliciting donations to fight potential offshore drilling in Long Island Sound. For my $10 donation I got a rather cheesy looking diploma. But it did have a picture of a drill rig in the LIS with a slash through it. I stuck it in an equally cheap frame and hung it in my office at Mobil Oil. Probably one of the most successful environmental protection efforts in the country since LIS is igneous rocks. I couldn’t figure out if they were ignorant or just a clever scam. If just 1/10 of 1% of the NYC population sent their $10 in that would have been a way over $100k. And it would have cost the group only a few hundred $’s for those certificates of support.

The Neanderthals just had no breaks at all ...

An Extremely Brief Reversal of the Geomagnetic Field, Climate Variability and a Super Volcano

41,000 years ago, a complete and rapid reversal of the geomagnetic field occured. Magnetic studies of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences on sediment cores from the Black Sea show that during this period, during the last ice age, a compass at the Black Sea would have pointed to the south instead of north. Moreover, data obtained by the research team formed around GFZ researchers Dr. Norbert Nowaczyk and Prof. Helge Arz, together with additional data from other studies in the North Atlantic, the South Pacific and Hawaii, prove that this polarity reversal was a global event. Their results are published in the latest issue of the scientific journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

What is remarkable is the speed of the reversal: "The field geometry of reversed polarity, with field lines pointing into the opposite direction when compared to today's configuration, lasted for only about 440 years, and it was associated with a field strength that was only one quarter of today's field," explains Norbert Nowaczyk. "The actual polarity changes lasted only 250 years. In terms of geological time scales, that is very fast." During this period, the field was even weaker, with only 5% of today's field strength. As a consequence, the Earth nearly completely lost its protection shield against hard cosmic rays, leading to a significantly increased radiation exposure.

Dynamics of the Laschamp geomagnetic excursion from Black Sea sediments


► Laschamp geomagnetic excursion occurred at 41 ka.
► It was characterised by a full reversal lasting about 440 yr.
► Reversed phase was associated with a significant recovery in field strength.
► Virtual geomagnetic pole movement was in the range of half a degree in latitude per year.
► Comparison with globally distributed Laschamp records indicates non-dipolar excursional field behaviour.

Navy Secretary Won't Back Off From Renewable Energy Goals

Almost three years to the day after he laid out plans to achieve energy security for his service, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus on Oct. 17 doubled down on that promise.

Mabus said he was “absolutely confident” that the service will meet the prescribed goal that by 2020 half its energy will come from sources other than petroleum.

He has also called for half of all shore-based power to come from renewable sources by 2020 and for half of the Navy’s installations to be net-zero — meaning they create as much power as they consume — by the same year. Both are efforts to make the Navy’s infrastructure sustainable, “independent of what happens to the commercial electrical grid,” Mabus said. By 2015, all of the Navy’s ground vehicles will cut petroleum-based fuel consumption in half, he has vowed.

For the U.S. economy as a whole, a volatile and fragile global oil market can have “significant and dangerous impacts,” Mabus added.

New from Chatham House ...

US Energy Policy after 2012

•Continued partisan gridlock in the United States means it is unlikely that major congressional action on energy will occur after the 2012 US presidential elections. However, this could change if there is a deal to address the budget deficit or if one party makes significant gains in seats.

•Domestic oil and natural gas production will continue to grow under either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.

•A second Obama administration would be likely to seek to accelerate the commercialization and deployment of clean energy through a mix of tax incentives, encouraging private financing, and regulation of conventional and climate pollutants.

•A Romney administration would be likely to focus on increasing domestic conventional energy production by reducing environmental regulation, particularly on coal-burning power plants, and opening more public land to oil and natural gas development. Excluding basic research, government incentives for clean energy would be likely to be eliminated.

Download paper here

Man arrested in New York Fed bomb plot

NEW YORK — A Bangladeshi man with alleged al-Qaeda links was arrested on Wednesday in New York on charges of trying to use a 1,000 pound bomb to destroy the city's Federal Reserve building.

... But the suspect never posed an immediate risk because two people he thought were his accomplices "were actually an FBI source and an FBI undercover agent."

The actual plot appeared to go forward smoothly for the alleged bomber, since every step of the way he was being helped by the undercover agents.

... probably the horse-drawn cart tipped them off.

Doesn't this wiff of entrapment? Recent anti-coal protest convictions in the UK were overturned when it turned out a major protagonist was an undercover cop all along.

Yes, that's the standard M.O. now.
Find marginalised character (preferably with light suntan), bright but not too smart, check.
Whip up deep rooted animosities by whispering list of reasons to be peeved at the West in ear, check.
Provide help and "dud goods", check.
Que Our Heroes!

Got to keep the sheeple afraid of those evil darkies out there trying to take away their freedom fries.

He should have touched base with some of the folks who've been screwed by the bank's after foreclosure ... he wouldn't have gotten "dud goods" from them.

Glenn Greenwald has noted in the past that the FBI has gotten really good at foiling attack plots that probably would never have existed were it not for its assistance.

In Pennsylvania about a year ago it was disclosed that a private security firm with a multi-million dollar Homeland Security contract was infiltrating and keeping files on groups and individuals involved in the protest of fracking despite zero evidence of any security threat.
You have to wonder how many al Qaida killers will slip through and actually kill Americans while Homeland Security tax dollars are being used to execute political operations for the Republican party and the trans-national oil companies.
The operation was working fine until the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania got wind of it and had it canceled.

Norwegian Continental Shelf oil production figures so far in 2012 (numbers from npd.no: thousands of barrels/day). The September numbers are allegedly 15% lower than what was expected due to maintenance.

Month Total Change for total Crude Change for crude
January 2037 1681
February 2082 +2,2% 1657 -1,5%
March 2055 -1,3% 1631 -1,6%
April 2030 -1,2% 1633 +0,01%
May 2007 -1,1% 1631 -0,01%
June 1862 -10,7% 1502 -8,5%
July 1857 -0,02% 1481 -1,5%
August 1836 -1,1% 1506 +1,7%
September 1514 -21,2% 1243 -21,1%

Life is the suck lately. Sprained my foot for the first time EVER when getting out of bed (???), and another sort of frustration led me into soliciting a frowned-upon kind of service.

Aw, DoL... One time my foot slipped on the carpeted stairs and I broke all my toes on the right foot. (My body's weight landed on them turned backwards UNDER my foot.) It was very painful, and I walked like a very slow turtle for months -- had to wave people around me on the sidewalk. BUT it did get okay and now my right foot is fine. Take heart and have patience. For all varieties of depression/sadness:

I recommend Tai Chi/ChiGung (QiGong). A good selection of great marches tends to cheer me, as well; maybe you can make a "march channel" at Pandora.com.

http://www.taichi18.com/order.htm#first Here you can find free first lesson for a simple form.

Granny Lizzie

You want suck? Just wait until the fine day when your left internal carotid artery bursts on the same day that your horse (great friend and working companion) suddenly colics and dies. That, my friend, is suck. Happened to me a couple of years back...

I just console myself that I don't live in Gaza or Syria or some such place where they are truly pushing the envelope of suck.

I guess it's all relative...

Hey give the Gaza sukers a break. They wont run out of water for at least 4 years!

Personally I don't give much thought about people in Gaza, Mogadishu, the Chinese countryside, Siberia, blabla. I'm closest to myself, and the suck is not subject to gradation in that regard. In a post-peak oil environment it's only a matter of time until we're all consumed.

Maybe that is why you are "depressedalot". Extend your viewpoint. It might do you some good, and help others at the same time.
Apologies if I read too much into your moniker.


Demand drop shocks power industry

Power demand has dropped across the national electricity market, prompting one Queensland distributor to slash 500 jobs and one of Victoria's biggest generators to close one of its units.

Both Ergon Energy and EnergyAustralia's Yallourn power station are facing demand down about 10 per cent from their average highs of several years ago, according to analysts and an Ergon spokesman.


“The maximum reduction in demand in Victoria is about 600 megawatts," he said, with the switch from electric- to solar-heated water a key factor in the demand drop.

See: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/business/carbon-economy/demand-drop-shoc...

Unfortunately for us, solar is not in the cards, but as previously noted we did add a Nyle Geyser to our boiler's side arm and couldn't be more pleased with its performance.

In its second full day of operation, and with two back-to-back showers under its belt, the Nyle ran for a total of two hours and twenty-seven minutes and consumed 1.23 kWh of electricity (see: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/HPWH-Day2.jpg). It also did double duty as a dehumidifier. That's a key consideration for us because at roughly 550-watts our portable dehumidifier is one of our major power guzzlers and offsetting two hours and twenty-seven minutes of its runtime effectively eliminates some 1.35 kWh of energy demand. Thus, the reduction in our dehumidifier usage should theoretically offset all of our water heating requirements and, for this particular day, we came out 0.12 kWh ahead of the game. In fairness, we consumed 0.54 kWh for space heating purposes over this same 24-hour period, and much of this can be rightfully attributed to the cooling effect of the Nyle. With that in mind, if we allocate the full amount to water heating, the balance owing is 0.42 kWh or just under six cents at 13.3-cents per kWh.

This time last year, we were running between 15 and 16 kWh a day, and even with the slightly cooler weather this past week we're now down to 8 (space heating, DHW, major appliances, plug loads, etc.).


Great Paul! Keep it up.

Here is some food for thought...

Heat pump water heating has Marc Rosenbaum thinking about the waste heat from his fridge.

Seasonal Changes in Electrical Loads
Water heaters use more energy during the winter, while refrigerators use more energy during the summer

Again I find myself wishing for a fridge/freezer that rejects heat to a domestic hot water preheat tank, just as it's done in commercial refrigeration. But energy will need to get more costly before that device appears on the market.

Thanks, Andrew. It's an interesting idea, but I'm not sure how well it would work in practice. First of all, residential refrigerators are becoming increasingly more energy efficient; even our ten year old bottom mount refrigerator uses no more than a kWh or so per day; in other words, there's not a whole lot of waste heat to reclaim. Secondly, I wonder how much harder a refrigerator/freezer would have to work to reject heat to a tank of water sitting at 40°C versus the air at 20 or 25°C. If your freezer is set to -20°C, say, then that's a 60°C delta versus 40 or 45°C, and that's a lot to ask ! It would seem to make more sense to split the job in two with the ambient air serving as the intermediary -- after all, the heat rejected by the refrigerator is going to get into that tank eventually, and this way you don't have to worry about leaking line sets and you can relocate your refrigerator/freezer wherever you wish without being encumbered by this forced marriage.

With regards to efficiency and lift, here's what I discovered about our Nyle: it took 1.64 kWh to bring the 115 litres of water stored in our side arm from 16.7°C to 49°C. The first 6°C temperature rise was accomplished in 20 minutes and required just 0.16 kWh of electricity, and the maximum draw of the compressor was 492-watts. However, getting from 43°C to 49°C took 38 minutes and 0.41 kWh with a peak draw of 672-watts, so the poor little guy was obviously working a lot harder (and longer) to process those last six degrees than the first six, as one would expect.


Hey Paul,

After thinking about it I'd have to agree that mating residential hot water and refrigeration doesn't make a lot of sense. Better off reducing heat loss and heat gain for the water tank and refrigerator respectively.


I'm not sure if I missed mention of it elsewhere, but I caught this news story on Manifa:


in particular :

Aramco said on Tuesday it expects to begin oil output from the Kingdom's Manifa field and ramp up to an estimated 500,000 barrels per day in the first half of 2013. Manifa's crude output should rise to 900,000 bpd by 2014, the company said
Aramco officials have said the field is not expected to boost the Kingdom's oil production capacity, but will serve to keep capacity stable by offsetting declines from other fields.

So if it's not adding to production capacity, just offset decline, then the decline elsewhere would need to be 0.9MBpd on a supposed capacity of 12.5Mbpd - or 7% of existing capacity.

If you assume the reason they are accelerating this development is in order to maintain that capacity, we must be looking a swift declines elsewhere - my guess is actually that 0.9Mpbpd is to keep the current real production rate of 10Mbpd up on a 2 year type timeframe (otherwise why not increment production slower to match a slower decline rate and spread the cash spend?)

That's somewhere between 3.5% and 5% per annum, after infill drilling and other development activities on other fields.

Are we seeing a KSA major field dying elsewhere? Maybe one of the Ghawar fields? Or are they just looking to rest capacity elsewhere?

Either way, it seems a big lump, coming onstream quite fast, but without a supposed bump in overall production.


Thanks for posting this Garyp. I saw it earlier but was too busy at the time to post it on TOD. I have posted before that bringing previously mothballed fields on line is what has kept Saudi from obvious decline. And they still have Manifa to bring on line but then nothing. They have no other old mothballed fields to bring on line. Manifa was the last and it was last because the oil is very heavy and is contaminated with vanadium. They picked the low hanging fruit first and saved the hardest and nastiest for the last.

I have serious doubts that Saudi has 12.5 mb/d of production capacity. Saudi is currently producing every barrel it possibly can, or so says Sadad Al Husseni, a former executive at Aramco.

U.S. Reliance on Oil From Saudi Arabia Is Growing Again (Page 2 of this 2 page article.)

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

Saudi has no spare capacity whatsoever. I believe al Husseini is telling the truth here, though it might have been a slip of the tongue on his part, Saudi is producing flat out.

Ron P.

My view is the 12.5Mbpd number was spike capacity, they could do it for maybe half a year, then the field they could tap in an emergency would be exhausted. The 10Mbpd seems much closer, and thus I too think they are producing flat out, excluding this 2.5Mbpd ace in the hole they are keeping to allow for an attack on Iran.

However, it was the speed and numbers that got me. For 900k 'extra' production to not produce any blip in the total numbers seems weird. Manifa has got to be the nastiest, most expensive stuff they'll produce, if they were holding back production to meet some arbitrary quota, it wouldn't be scaling it so far or fast.

Thus 5% YoY reduction is the consequence, and if it's not to be a very swift fall off in totals, it would have to be tagged to a giant giving up the ghost - which brings us back to Ghawar...

Manifa has got to be the nastiest, most expensive stuff they'll produce,



Quoting from your referenced article:

Aramco said in May that it expected Manifa's development to be complete in 2013 and that the field would be fully operational by December 2014.

The last megaproject increment, Khuraia expansion phase II, was added 1/2010 (according to wiki), so the time span is 4.8 years. That would represent a decline of 188,000 bpd per year, less than 2% of current production.


They have been added other projects between then and now. Megaprojects are not the only fruit.

Indeed that is true. Berri is an example of a project where capacity was added - or decline replaced - or whatever catagory it falls into. As far as I know, that one isn't on any megaprojects list.

Berri was discussed on TOD a while back. In that case, a deeper zone, the Arab D was developed, from memory. There has been at least one other similar development.

Apparently that project and undocumented others like it and development drilling and infill drilling and workovers and optimization projects and surface facility upgrades are used to 'mitigate' the decline to around 2%.

Manifa is the first project that has been dedicated to 'decline offset', as far as I know. The question remains, was this 'decline offset' for the purpose of 'mitigation' or 'elimination' ?

Others on here have argued that all the megaprojects are aimed at eliminating the decline. What decline is eliminated, 2% or 8% or somewhare in between ?

A review of history of Saudi's production and megaprojects indicates that a 'mitigated' decline of much more that 2% can't be 'eliminated' with published megaprojects. That analysis has been posted here on TOD.

Another big field not living up to expectations?
BP Meets Azeri State Company Over Output Issues

LONDON (Reuters) - The bosses of BP Plc and Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR met on Wednesday to discuss the future of the Azeri ACG oilfield just days after the country accused the British oil company of making "false promises" about output there.
ACG was slated to produce more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) as recently as 2008, when the prospect of so much non-OPEC crude ensured considerable Western diplomatic support for the project and industry kudos for BP.
However, ACG has not lived up to expectations. After hitting 823,000 bpd in 2010, output has fallen, averaging 684,000 bpd in the first half of this year.

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev blames BP for the fields poor performance. He accused them of making serious mistakes. They did, they let them to believe the field might produce 1 million barrels per day. That was a serious mistake. The field was just not capable of producing that much oil. Well, not for very long anyway.

Ron P.

China Investment Treaty: Expert Sounds Alarms in Letter to Harper

Toronto-based authority urges PM to halt ratification, laying out numerous 'deep' concerns.

[Editor's note: Gus Van Harten, a global authority on investment trade deals and international arbitration panels, has written a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging a full public review of a highly controversial investment and promotion treaty with China, the world's second largest economy.]

Dear Prime Minister Harper and Minister Fast,

I am an expert in investment treaties. As a Canadian, I am deeply concerned about the implications for Canada of the Canada-China investment treaty. As I understand, the treaty is slated for ratification by your government on or about Oct. 31. I hope you will reconsider this course of action for these reasons.

1. The legal consequences of the treaty will be irreversible by any Canadian court, legislature or other decision-maker for 31 years after the treaty is given effect. The treaty has a 15-year minimum term, requires one year's notice prior to termination, and adds another 15-years of treaty coverage for assets that are Chinese-owned at the time of termination. By contrast, NAFTA for example can be terminated on six months notice.

Harper seems to be selling out Canada!

Giggle chuckle drool grin... yeah.

"irreversible by any Canadian court"
... now, where have I heard something like that...

"would grant transnational corporations the power to challenge virtually any environmental law, regulation or court decision that negatively affects their expectation of profits as a “regulatory taking” through international tribunals that circumvent domestic judicial systems."


"The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a massive new international trade pact being pushed by the
U.S. government at the behest of transnational corporations. If it continues on its current course, the TPP will accelerate “rip-and-ship” resource extraction throughout the Pacific Rim, encourage
unhealthy global consumption patterns and significantly limit the steps that communities can take to
address climate change and other pressing environmental concerns."

"For years, the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations have taken place behind closed doors. Since
negotiations began in 2008, none of the negotiating documents have been officially released for public review. In the United States, approximately 600 corporate lobbyists have been named as official advisers, granting them steady access to the negotiating texts, as well as the negotiators. Most environmental groups, journalists and those whose lives will be affected by the negotiators’ decisions have no right to see the texts until the negotiations have concluded — at which point, it is more-or-less impossible to change them."

Okay... that last part is a lie: The new rules are not to be released to the public until four years AFTER the deal is signed.

"Rip-N-Ship"... like the Keystone XL Pipeline.

This is what is sitting, unseen, in the background of the silly party-sponsored debate between the two corporate candidates.


"The League of Women Voters rejected the demands and released a statement saying that they were withdrawing support for the debates because "the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.""

New from Congressional Research Service ..

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Issues for Congress (0.8M pdf)

Temp Miners from China Dig up Trouble for Clark

Hailed by premier as jobs coup for BC, coal mine now a lightning rod for union, enviro, First Nations anger.

"Premier Christy Clark today announced financing worth $1.36 billion for two major investments which will eventually create over 6,700 jobs. 'This investment clearly shows how confident China is in British Columbia's world-class mining resources and strong investment climate,' said Premier Christy Clark. 'These two projects support our BC Jobs Plan and according to the companies will create over 6,700 jobs and other economic benefits for British Columbians.'"

What the provincial leader didn't mention was that most of the direct mining jobs would go to temporary foreign workers brought to mining camps in the northeast of the province from China. Now, as British Columbians get a closer look at the deal's implications, the government is facing criticism from a local union that says the use of temporary foreign workers will deny jobs to Canadians and expose the temporary workers to exploitation. Environmentalists are piling on, saying that the climate destabilizing coal should remain in the ground because of its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. And a local First Nation isn't budging in its firm rejection of the mine.

Chinese Temp Miners, Pawns of Racism

BC kills jobs by importing foreign coal diggers. Will it kill workers too?

BC's history of exploiting foreign workers

Racism? Yes. Up to 2,000 Chinese temporary foreign workers at as many as four mines with heavy Chinese investment will be paid less than Caucasian or other workers of different ethnic origins in the mining industry.

That's one big reason why they're coming here -- because underground machinery mechanics will be paid $25 to $32 an hour according to one coal company's job ads -- rather than Canadian mining industry rates of up to more than double that.

The Chinese workers will live in isolated camps at the underground mines in northeast B.C., just as in previous centuries.

That is poorly worded. The reasons the company wants them here is they make .5 that of the locals. The reason the workers come is that they make considerably more than they would at home. Why is this 'exploitation' of anybody? It's simply global wage arbitrage that is offending pundits for an until-recently protected industry.

Not only that, most corporations would quickly go under without wage arbitrage. The whole structure is built in that way.

Except for the idea that the people of BC are permitting a coal mine to built in their territory under the understanding that it will bring them jobs within their accepted wage range. They probably would not have permitted a coal mine to be built in their territory if it had been stated up front that the jobs would go to people who didn't live there and wouldn't put much into the local economy because they will be earning half the normal wage.

They should shut down the mine then, but no one's getting exploited here, cheated yes but no exploitation.

If you can't compete with a starving beaten prisoner who would do anything just to stand in the sunlight, then just get out of the way. HOLD ON ... it looks like there's bugs in your water... now, bugs cost extra, ya know.... Another day older and deeper in debt.

16 Tons

Global wealth falls – a first since 2007

Paris: The combined wealth of all individuals has fallen this year for the first time since the financial crisis of 2007-08, with a drop in austerity-hit Europe outweighing a small increase in China, a Credit Suisse report has found.

The study found the wealth of all individuals - defined as assets such as income, real estate, savings and investments less debt - fell 5 percent in dollar terms to $223 trillion by mid-2012 from the same time the year before.

Regulator probing 'safety culture' at TransCanada Pipelines

Investigation follows revelations from whistleblower

Canada's federal energy industry regulator is investigating the "safety culture" within TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., following revelations from a former engineer about substandard practices, CBC News has learned.

"This upcoming focus audit will certainly address the allegations and things related to the allegations," National Energy Board (NEB) chief engineer Iain Colquhoun told CBC News in an exclusive interview.

"But more importantly, the auditor is going to probe into the safety and loss management system of the company, and that is where he will be able to detect to what level they have an adequate or healthy safety culture."

Former TransCanada engineer Evan Vokes said he reported the company's substandard practices to the NEB because he believed the company's management, including its chief executive officer, refused to act on his complaints.

In an exclusive television interview with CBC News, Vokes said he raised concerns about the competency of some pipeline inspectors and the company's lack of compliance with welding regulations set by the National Energy Board, the federal energy industry regulator.

"I wrote a series of emails to a series of project managers saying, 'We can't do this practice, we can't do this practice, we can't do this practice,'" Vokes said. "And I received increasingly pressured emails about how things were OK to do it that way."

Cargo record on Northern Sea Route

Cargo transport between Asia and Europe on the Northern Sea Route has reached the one million tons milestone. So far 35 vessels have taken the Arctic shortcut between the continents.

The sailing season is not yet over. Three vessels are currently on their way from Europe to Asia, while one vessel is sailing in the opposite direction, the data from Rosatomflot reads.

Italians Are Turning To The Black Market For Cheap Gas

Local authorities recently uncovered a cartel of 11 foreign and 25 Italian trafficking 20 million kilos of gas smuggled through Greece and delivered to the port of Ancona on the Adriatic.

After 80 Years, Newsweek Is Abandoning Print

To: All Staff

We are announcing this morning an important development at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Newsweek will transition to an all-digital format in early 2013. As part of this transition, the last print edition in the U.S. will be our December 31st issue. Meanwhile, Newsweek will expand its rapidly growing tablet and online presence, as well as its successful global partnerships and events business.

Saves trees. Reduces polluting, energy-consuming paper making. Reduces energy used for transportation, printing, distribution, mailing, and retailing.

Romney’s Squawking About Birds Is Much Ado About Nothing

During the second presidential debate Tuesday, Mitt Romney described a criminal case filed against oil companies accused of killing just a few dozen birds — an example, he implied, of government regulation run amok and slowing down energy development in the United States.

In fact, the misdemeanor prosecution was a small, relatively routine affair, likely involving a few thousand dollars in fines for multi-billion-dollar companies that hadn’t taken simple, inexpensive precautions to avoid killing birds. One could argue that the fines were undeserved, but the punishment was negligible.

... For the last several decades, said McEnroe, Fish and Wildlife Service inspectors have routinely checked waste pits in spring, making sure they’re covered by nets to prevent birds from landing. If inspectors found dead birds, they charged the companies with misdemeanor violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. In practice it amounted to fines of a few hundred dollars per dead bird.

The sadness is that they have to be FORCED to do a small thing to prevent killing MANY birds.

I've not heard this "fact check" cleared up by the brilliant analysts/pundits who are routinely the talking heads on commercial or public media. Maybe, just maybe, NPR will get around to it.

Thanks, Seraph. You're really good at finding this stuff.


Thanks Lizzie :-)

Good article on Fracking Fluids and treatment. It includes the composition of the frack fluid from a gas well in Beaver, PA.



Nice to know they're thinking about us ...

'Mass Fatality Planning' in Bill Introduced Into Congress

112th CONGRESS, 2d Session, H. R. 6566

Sec 2. Findings ...

1) Emergency preparedness often plans for how to prepare and provide for survivors of a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster, but fails to plan for how to prepare for and respond to mass fatalities that result from such an incident.

(2) Funeral homes, cemeteries, and mortuaries could be overwhelmed should mass fatalities arise from a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster.

... go long on backhoes; you can sleep when your dead

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ‘Mass Fatality Planning and Religious Considerations Act’.


Congress finds the following:

(3) Different religions have different customs surrounding death; for example, the Jewish and Muslim religions call for burial of the deceased not later than 48 hours after death.

While backhoes and bulldozers are the practical solution, this is obviously a politically motivated sop to the impracticality of observing religous irrelevancies. (Although in the case of a biological attack, I doubt that such niceties would be observed...)

... go long on backhoes; you can sleep when your dead

How about something like this instead?


Solar Incineration System
Incineration of Hazardous and Non-hazardous liquid and solid waste is the most economical application with Solar Thermal technology. With Advance Solar Concentrated Technology, now it is possible to achieve temperatures up to 1000° C.

It's 'green', it's simple passive technology that could be placed on a truck trailer and I'm sure it could easily be scaled up to handle lots of bodies... what's there not to like? Solar funeral pyres coming to a town near you.

Not a good idea if it turns out to be the Zombie Apocalyse. Return of the Living Dead, anyone?

Track hoes and bulldozers would be better than backhoes. Then, there's portable crematorium, especially useful in the event of a biological "problem"...

E. Swanson

Back to the future!

Hah! Thanks for that! :-)

The bill is somewhat redundant, DHS, DoD has already made plans ...

Pandemic Influenza Mass Fatality Operations in the United States

... The number of those estimated to perish during another pandemic influenza (PI) event in the United States (US) may be between 5%- 7% of the infected population (infected population est. to be 25%) or 3,612,500 – 5,057,500 respectively.

... Every jurisdiction will require similar types of critical resources, to include personnel, equipment and supplies, to manage the surge in the number of decedents. Our nation’s just-in-time inventory method however, will not be able to respond quickly enough to manufacture these additional supplies.

Mortuary Affairs – Is USNORTHCOM and the Department of Homeland Security Positioned for Contaminated Mass Fatality Management?

... The units based on type are configured to establish mortuary affairs collection points (MACPs), personal effects depot, and theater mortuary evacuation points. One MACP has the capability to process 20 remains in a 12 hour period. The 54th QM Company has the capability to establish 20 MACPs and is therefore capable of processing 400 uncontaminated remains per day. The 311th QM Company is similarly organized and can also process 400 uncontaminated remains per day. The 246 th QM Company is organized differently and can only establish five MACPs and process 60 uncontaminated remains.

Defense Support of Civil Authorities for Mortuary Affairs

New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania Regional Mass Fatality Response System

Catastrophic Incident Supplement to the National Response Plan

... not sayin' that the plans will work

Exxon seeks to quit flagship Iraq oil project

Exxon Mobil wants to leave its flagship Iraqi oil project after upsetting Baghdad by signing a deal last year with the autonomous northern Kurdish region, which the central government deemed illegal.

It wants to leave its contract to develop the giant West Qurna-1 oilfield in southern Iraq , diplomatic sources said on Thursday, because of concerns over the profitability[?] of the project.

Iraq is our last great hope for stemming a rapid decline in oil supply!

New from GAO ...

Energy-Water Nexus

As GAO’s past work has shown, and other studies and specialists have confirmed, there are a number of key energy-water nexus issues that Congress and federal agencies need to consider when developing and implementing national policies for energy and water resources. Specifically:

•Location greatly influences the extent to which energy and water affect one another. For example, as GAO reported in November 2009, the impact of increased biofuel production on water resources will depend on where the feedstock is grown and whether or not irrigation is required.

•Although technologies and approaches exist to reduce the impact of energy development on water resources and reduce the energy needed to move, use, and treat water, their widespread adoption is inhibited by barriers such as economic feasibility and regulatory challenges.

•Making effective policy choices will continue to be challenging without more comprehensive data and research. GAO’s past work has identified the need for more data and research related to the energy-water nexus, for example, to better understand hydrological processes, including aquifer recharge rates and groundwater movement. In the absence of such data and research, developing and implementing effective policies could continue to be a challenge for Congress and federal agencies.

•Improved energy and water planning will require better coordination among federal agencies and other stakeholders. GAO’s work has demonstrated that energy and water planning are generally “stove-piped,” with decisions about one resource made without considering impacts to the other resource. Congress and some agencies have taken steps to improve coordination, but these actions are incomplete or in their early stages.

•Uncertainties affecting energy and water resources cannot be ignored because they could significantly affect the future supply and demand of both resources. For example, specialists GAO talked to and literature GAO reviewed identified climate change, population growth, and demographic shifts as significant uncertainties expected to exacerbate the challenges associated with managing both the supply and demand of water and energy. These uncertainties must, therefore, be accounted for when developing national policies that affect both of these resources.


World 'not on track' for temperature target: UN

Governments are "not on track" to achieve a target of keeping the average global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the UN climate chief said Thursday.

"Even if governments were to comply with all the mitigation pledges that are on the table, it will still only provide 60 percent of the effort that is necessary to keep global average temperature rise to under two degrees," she said.

"We are clearly moving toward a low-carbon economy. What we're not doing is we're not moving with the speed and at the scale that the science demands," Figueres said.

Her predecessor Yvo de Boer said in March that the target was already out of reach.

Russia hints plans to quit Kyoto Protocol

Russia on Thursday hinted that it may refuse to sign up to a new round of targeted carbon cuts that could see the Kyoto environmental protection treaty extended beyond its end of 2012 expiry date.

"One has to admit that we never got any real commercial gain from the Kyoto Protocol," news agencies quoted Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as telling a government meeting.

Yep, that's what it's all about.
I hope any genetic progeny this jerk has come together to micturate on whatever permanent address his worthless corpse winds up at.

Oil bull Goldman sees end to rising prices

Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs , one of the biggest banks in commodity trading, has called an end to the oil price super-cycle, reversing years of bullish recommendations, citing a rise in unconventional oil supplies in the United States and Canada.

"Over the past three years long-dated Brent crude oil prices have shown signs of stabilizing around $90 per barrel. This suggests a return to the pricing regime that characterized the crude oil market in the 1990s," Goldman's analysts Jeffrey Currie and David Greely said in a note.

U.S. crude oil production has risen above 6.6 million barrels per day, the highest since 1995 ... "The growth will likely put a cap on long term oil prices, making any runaway increase in average prices much above $110-$115 per barrel, beyond geopolitical or economic reasons, increasingly difficult," said Amrita Sen at thinktank Energy Aspect.

Sen said that oil was unlikely to fall much below $90 a barrel because lower prices make development of new shale projects uneconomic.

Sen said that oil was unlikely to fall much below $90 a barrel because lower prices make development of new shale projects uneconomic.

The failure of logic there is astounding! There is a presumption the economy will somehow responds to the price needed to develop new shale projects.

Eeehhhhh! Time's up! What do we have for the loser? It's a life time at exotic Fort Leavenworth! Sen will have a long and prosperous career teaching typewriter maintenance at the Rocco Globbo School for Women! Thank you for playing "Should we or should we not listen to the advice of the galactically st--id!"

Here is a NBC News article: Gas Prices: There's Not Much That Presidents Can Do About Them

The truth is the global nature of the world's energy supply means that no president has much power over what you pay at the pump.

We are 'On Target' to reach this in 90 years ...

Tropical Collapse Caused By Lethal Heat: Extreme Temperatures Blamed For 'Dead Zone'

The end-Permian mass extinction, which occurred around 250 million years ago in the pre-dinosaur era, wiped out nearly all the world's species. Typically, a mass extinction is followed by a 'dead zone' during which new species are not seen for tens of thousands of years. In this case, the dead zone, during the Early Triassic period which followed, lasted for a perplexingly long period: five million years.

A study jointly led by the University of Leeds and China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), in collaboration with the University of Erlangen-Nurnburg (Germany), shows the cause of this lengthy devastation was a temperature rise to lethal levels in the tropics: around 50-60°C [122-140°F] on land, and 40°C [104°F] at the sea-surface.

It is also the first study to show water temperatures close to the ocean's surface can reach 40°C – a near-lethal value at which marine life dies and photosynthesis stops. Until now, climate modellers have assumed sea-surface temperatures cannot surpass 30°C. The findings may help us understand future climate change patterns.

This broken world scenario was caused by a breakdown in global carbon cycling. In normal circumstances, plants help regulate temperature by absorbing Co2 and burying it as dead plant matter. Without plants, levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase.

The study, published today in the journal Science, is the most detailed temperature record of this study period (252-247 million years ago) to date.

also Roasting Triassic Heat Exterminated Tropical Life

... Extreme heat combined with humidity is fatal to humans, because sweating cannot cool us down. Huber has shown that lethally hot and humid conditions could spread over much of the tropics if global temperatures rise more than 7 °C.

An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces

At least they had a land bridge to reach the poles 250 million years ago.

IIRC 50C ocean temps are the magic breakpoint, above which "hypercanes" are theoretically possible. A hypercane is like a super-duper hurricane, with a small eye maybe one or two miles in diameter, and *supersonic* wind speeds. Hypercanes would make a real mess of things, and inject a lot of stuff into the upper atmosphere. It had been hypothesized that some asteroid impacts might be capable of heating the ocean enough.

Somewhere I read that the upper limit for hurricane wind speed was in the neighborhood of 240-280 mph. Something about laminer flow and atmospheric friction.

At any rate there would be more than enough energy for Category 5+ hurricanes year-round.

OK. I looked it up. They only discuss 500mph winds (not supersonic)

n order to form a hypercane, according to Emanuel's hypothetical model, the ocean temperature would have to be 48°C (120°F). Although such a storm would also be quite small in area as compared to hurricanes, perhaps only 25km² (10 mi²), it would extend much further into the upper stratosphere; present day hurricanes extend into only the lower stratosphere.[6]

Hypercanes would have wind speeds of over 800 km/h (500 mph), equalling an original Fujita scale rating number of F9.0,
A hypercane's clouds would reach 30 km (19 mi) into the stratosphere. Such an intense storm would also damage the Earth's ozone.[4] Water molecules in the stratosphere would react with ozone to accelerate decay into O2 and reduce absorption of ultraviolet light.

No Wonder People Can't Keep Up With Rising Transportation And Housing Costs

In the largest 25 U.S. metros, consumers have paid 44 percent more for housing and getting around over the last decade alone, according to a new study by the Center for Housing Policy. Middle-class family incomes, meanwhile, have only seen a 25 percent bump.

Especially in the south and west.

This is why I favor a sort of "land reform" in the distributist model. If people didn't pay so much rent, they would be much richer. Except for the landlords, that is. Distributed real property ownership is better for society as a whole, though it's terrible for the rich. Economists like to say that the economy is not zero-sum, but land is.

That said, the "trasportation" issue in the south and west is largely due to suburban style, road centric development and lack of public transit. The cause of this rests partly with the people who live there and choose to oppose public transit - I have seen it in more than one place, efforts to improve or extent public transit run into opposition very quickly.

ROVs find "globules" leaking from failed containment structure disposed away from Macondo well head.


ASPO-USA Webinar Series
An In-Depth Look at Critical Energy Issues

Free and Open to All

Thursday, October 25, 2:00 - 3:30 pm Eastern
Transportation in an Oil-Constrained World


Charles Schlumberger - Lead Air Transport Specialist, World Bank; Noted Commentator on Transportation and Energy Issues.

Richard Gilbert - Co-Author, Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight Without Oil; Independent Consultant on Urban Transportation and Energy Issues.

Transportation accounts for roughly 60 percent of world oil consumption--approximately 70 percent in the United States. How will the transportation sector respond to a world of increasingly constrained oil supply and rising global demand? How can America and other countries move toward oil-free passenger and freight transport systems and what would such systems look like?

To address these and other critical questions about the future of transportation in an oil constrained world, please join us for this webinar with two leading authorities on the issue.

Link to Register:


For more information:


Signs of the U.S. Drought are Underground

NASA Earth Observatory

A deep and persistent drought struck vast portions of the continental United States in 2012. Though there has been some relief in the late summer, a pair of satellites operated by NASA shows that the drought lingers in the underground water supplies that are often tapped for drinking water and farming.

The maps above combine data from the twin satellites of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) with other satellite and ground-based measurements to model the relative amount of water stored near the surface and underground as of September 17, 2012. The top map shows moisture content in the top 2 centimeters (0.8 inches) of surface soil; the middle map depicts moisture in the “root zone,” or the top meter (39 inches) of soil; and the third map shows groundwater in aquifers.