Drumbeat: November 14, 2012

Could ‘economic peak oil’ rival the banking crisis?

‘Economic peak oil’ could cripple the world’s economies by 2014 according to a UK-based think tank, which recommends governments take urgent action to wean their economies off fossil fuels.

In its latest report the New Economics Foundation (nef) argue that the end of cheap oil, and a new age of sustained high oil prices will bring economies to a standstill, create unemployment and deepen poverty.

The report is here [PDF]

U.S. the New Saudi Arabia? Peak Oilers Scoff

The U.S. is set to increase oil production so much that it will overtake Saudi Arabia and become the world’s biggest producer by around 2017, the International Energy Agency said today.

The reaction from “peak oil” theorists? Not a chance. They continue to argue that the surge in U.S. production coming from shale oil and shale gas is a flash in the pan. Before long, they say, U.S. output will start falling again—as will global output. The price of oil will skyrocket and the industrial economy will be brought to its knees, they argue.

U.S. Oil Future: Energy Independent By 2030, Bigger Than Saudis In 2020

• With oil projected to flow like the River Jordan, there will be less incentive for Americans to become fuel efficient. That doesn't mean that we won't, just that the process might be slowed down. Which could be a serious problem when...

• ...oil production from shale reserves plummets, as it often does. In fact, some suggest that shale oil sources taper off as soon as 12 months into the production cycle. We can keep finding new spots for fracking, but it's a bit like filling an oil barrel with a leaky bucket, which is a frightening proposition.

Opportunity for Gulf in forecasts of US oil surge

The world is full of surprises. Who could have suspected, even a decade ago, that the US would today be poised to become the world's leading producer of oil by as early as 2017?

The neo-Malthusian proponents of "peak oil", who preached that the world's oilfields are all but depleted, have fallen silent as new technologies and market forces inject vast new supplies of fuel into the engines of the world economy.

Warning from Opec over US oil production

The head of Opec warned yesterday that if predictions that the United States will surpass Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest oil producer continue, the result will be a reduction in investment by his members that will hit oil consumers.

Did Peak Oil Doomers Fixate On a False Scenario?

I am no oil geologist. I can't say whether peak oil is around the corner or centuries away. I can't tell you whether world oil reserves have been overestimated, or whether we are sitting on centuries worth of new power. What I can say is that the world keeps changing, and our technological abilities to harvest fossil fuels, and to harness renewable energy for that matter, keep changing too. We can't afford to make predictions about the future and then hope they come to pass. Instead, we must pick the future we want to see—and my money is on a low carbon, energy efficient, equitable, enjoyable, compassionate and sophisticated new economic paradigm—and then work like heck to make it happen.

The globe's glut of energy

Today the International Energy Agency released its projection of the potential future picture of the international energy sector. If you worry about having enough oil and gas to go round then the picture is pretty rosy, but if you worry about the environment, it is extremely concerning.

Oil Up on Equities, Potential Stimulus; Stocks May Swell

Crude erased gains after rising for the first time in three days after a report showed U.S. retail sales declined in October for the first time in four months.

Futures rose as much as 0.7 percent before retreating. Retail sales in the U.S. fell in October for the first time in four months, influenced by the effects of superstorm Sandy. The 0.3 percent drop followed a 1.3 percent increase in September that was larger than previously reported, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. U.S. inventories probably climbed last week to the highest in more than three months, according to a Bloomberg survey before a government report tomorrow. U.S. equity futures rose.

US wholesale prices fell 0.2 percent in October

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Wholesale inflation fell in October as a big drop in gasoline and other energy prices offset a rise in the cost of food.

Gas Prices Doomed to Stay Low as Producers Pump Faster

Gas producers in North America including Chesapeake Energy Corp. are killing their commodity’s biggest rally in 10 months by opening more wells, putting the U.S. on track to have record gas supplies this year.

After a 44 percent price rise beginning Sept. 10, the fuel began a slide Oct. 30, falling 9.2 percent by Nov. 12 as stockpiles swelled to an all-time high this month, valued at about $15 billion using the current spot price. Gas production in 2013 is expected to match this year’s record level, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecast this month.

AAA: More people to travel thrifty this Thanksgiving

More people will hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday this year, but they'll do so with tighter belts because of the sluggish economy, AAA predicted Tuesday.

The travel group projects that 43.6 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles for the holiday weekend, an increase of 0.7% from last year. If so, that would mark the fourth consecutive year of increases since the financial crisis of 2008.

Virginia Tries to Circumvent Obama on Drilling

WASHINGTON — When Doug Domenech looks out at the Atlantic Ocean, he sees oil and natural gas and jobs and revenue. Standing between him and those prizes are President Obama, the Navy and whales.

Mr. Domenech, Virginia’s secretary of natural resources, is undeterred. He and the state’s Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, have teamed up with Virginia’s two Democratic senators to try to do an end run around the president and put Virginia’s coast on the energy map through an act of Congress.

The state is trying to restore a lease sale for energy exploration that was canceled in 2010 after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Its efforts have made Virginia the new epicenter of a campaign by energy companies to gain a toehold in the potentially vast resources hidden beneath the Atlantic.

Oil Industry Revives Campaign to Avoid Losing Tax Breaks

U.S. oil and gas producers began a public-relations campaign to protect industry tax breaks as Obama administration and congressional negotiators seek revenue to offset spending cuts that take effect next month.

The American Petroleum Institute, which represents Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and ConocoPhillips (COP), will broadcast commercials in the Washington area and in select states warning against higher taxes on producers, Khary Cauthen, senior director of federal relations, said today on a conference call.

Gazprom Gains BASF Gas Traders in Swap for Russian Output

OAO Gazprom agreed to take over BASF SE’s natural gas trading and storage in Europe as the Russian export monopoly seeks to maintain dominance over imports.

Under a swap deal signed today, Gazprom will gain full ownership of trading ventures held with BASF’s Wintershall AG unit and storage in Germany and Austria, the companies said. BASF will gain stakes in Siberian projects, increasing output in the world’s biggest oil and gas producing nation.

RWE Lifts 2012 Goals as Profit Rose in First Nine Months

RWE AG, Germany’s second-largest utility, increased a full-year profit forecast after earnings rose on an improved performance from its trading business.

Operating results for 2012 may exceed the 5.81 billion euros ($7.39 billion) reported in 2011, the Essen-based company said today in a statement. The company had previously expected to match last year’s level.

EON Falls Most in 20 Years After Utility Scraps Forecasts

EON AG plunged the most in 20 years after Germany’s largest utility scrapped profit forecasts and said the shift to renewable energy presents “huge challenges.”

The Dusseldorf-based company said today it may have to cut dividends and close power stations because lower electricity prices in Germany are making it difficult for gas-fired plants to make money. EON is reviewing forecasts for the next three years because existing targets are no longer achievable.

Many Coal-Fired Power Plants Poised to Retire, Group Says

Southern Co. and other U.S. utilities could retire as many as 353 coal-fired electricity units as the costs of installing pollution controls on those plants won’t let them compete with cheaper natural gas and wind power, an environmental group said.

The Union of Concerned Scientists said in a report released today that an additional 59 gigawatts of electric generating capacity from coal plants could be shuttered, representing more than 6 percent of all U.S. electricity used. Those changes are warranted because many of those rarely used plants have already outlived their 30-year lifespan and generate the most emissions of harmful pollutants and greenhouse gases, the report said.

Cove Executives Said to Start Oil Explorer for Africa

Former executives from Cove Energy Plc are starting a new oil and gas exploration firm focused on Africa after selling the London-based company for $1.9 billion to Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production Pcl earlier this year, people familiar with the group’s plans said.

BP Ends Disputes With TNK Partners to Clear Rosneft Way

BP Plc agreed to end all legal disputes with its billionaire partners in Russia’s third-biggest oil company, clearing a path for the sale of the venture to OAO Rosneft.

The TNK-BP shareholders will drop arbitration against each other and waived the venture’s right to new opportunities in Russia and Ukraine, according to statements today from BP and AAR, the group representing the billionaires. AAR’s battle against a BP-Rosneft alliance last year centered on the nine- year venture’s right to new projects in Russia.

N.J. charges 8 merchants with gouging after Sandy

New Jersey has filed lawsuits against eight businesses for allegedly gouging customers with exorbitant prices in the days after Superstorm Sandy roared ashore, the state's attorney general said Friday.

The defendants, seven gas stations and a hotel, are accused of hiking their prices from 11 to 59 percent in the days after the storm. One gas station was charging as much as $5.50 a gallon, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said. The hotel, a Howard Johnson Express in Parsippany, N.J., allegedly raised its room rates to $119 after the storm, up 32 percent from the top rate of $90 just prior to the storm.

Brooklyn "gas guzzler" caught cutting in line, faces felony for trying to beat the system, say cops

(CBS) NEW YORK - Think you're special, Mr. Milan Nuss? Police guarding a Brooklyn gas station say, think again.

Police said Nus, 22, was nabbed trying to get around the gas lines resulting from post-storm rationing, by sneaking into a lane reserved for cops and first responders, according to CBS New York.

NJ to end odd-even gas rationing

New Jersey will discontinue odd-even gas rationing Tuesday at 6 a.m.

Gov. Chris Christie put the order into place on Nov. 3 to ease long lines at the pump following Superstorm Sandy. Some gas stations couldn't get fuel while others didn't have electricity to pump it.

Long Islanders fume over utility's Sandy response

While most utilities have restored electricity to nearly all their customers, LIPA still has tens of thousands of customers in the dark.

The company said that the storm was worse than anyone could have imagined and that it didn't just damage outdoor electrical lines; it caused flooding that touched home and business breaker boxes. It acknowledged that an outdated computer system for keeping customers notified has added to people's frustration.

But some say the government-run utility should have seen it coming. It was recently criticized in a withering state report for lax preparation ahead of last year's Hurricane Irene and for the 25-year-old computer system used to pinpoint outages and update customers.

Power grid fails digital economy

Thanks to computers and smartphones, Americans are more dependent than ever on electricity. But the nation's 20th century power grid is incompatible with its 21st century economy and increasingly extreme weather.

Not every country's power grid is as easy to bring to its knees. A 2006 study by professors at Carnegie Mellon University found that Americans lose electricity for an average of 214 minutes a year, compared with 70 minutes for the British and 53 minutes for the French.

Saudi Aramco Opens Head Office in Beijing

State owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Aramco, has opened a new Chinese head office in Beijing, deepening its presences in one of the world's largest energy consumers, in a move the company says "underscores the strategic importance of Asia" in its operation.

Shell Expects to Invest More Than $20 Billion in Gas by 2015

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, sees opportunities to invest more than $20 billion in natural gas projects between 2012 and 2015.

Shell’s earnings from integrated gas have more than tripled to $9 billion over the last three years driven by the development of liquefied natural gas and gas-to-liquids projects, The Hague-based company said in a statement on its intergrated gas strategy today.

Delicate Balancing Act for Western Oil Firms in Iraq

LONDON — Iraq’s re-emergence as an oil power is inevitably sending ripples through the industry and the surrounding region. The country has surpassed Iran as the second-largest OPEC producer after Saudi Arabia, raising questions about whether other oil-producing countries may at some point need to trim production to accommodate a rising Iraq.

But the more immediate tensions are between the federal government in Baghdad and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, which is headquartered in Erbil in the north of the country.

Syrian warplanes pound targets near Turkey

(CNN) -- As Syrian government warplanes operated uncomfortably close to Turkey's border again Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backed up American support for the opposition by adding to Washington's humanitarian aid.

Government jets pounded Ras al-Ain on Wednesday, a town near Turkey's border, for yet another day, shaking residents on the other side and triggering demands from Ankara that the Syrian military "stop this as soon as possible."

Iran to ration diesel to stem smuggling surge

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran plans to ration diesel supplies in a bid to curb rampant smuggling of the scarce fuel to neighbouring countries, its oil minister said on Wednesday.

Government-issued smart cards have controlled private Iranian motorists' use of heavily subsidised gasoline since December 2010 in a programme that has successfully dampened demand for fuel in a country where supplies are scarce.

Two Indonesia LNG cargoes to S.Korea cancelled

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea has lost two December liquefied natural gas (LNG)shipments from Indonesia after a fire at a terminal there, its economy ministry said on Wednesday.

December shipments of two spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes with a combined volume of 120,000 tonnes were cancelled due to the shutdown of Indonesia's Tangguh LNG train 2 caused by the brief fire earlier this month.

'Green' car makers look for boost in second Obama term

President Barack Obama’s support for the 2009 auto industry bailout turned out to be critical to his successful re-election bid.

And with Obama re-elected, at least one segment of the industry is breathing a bit easier, as manufacturers of so-called “green” cars count on continued support in the form of federal subsidies and tax credits.

For 'preppers,' every day could be doomsday

The number of preppers is unknown, but a poll done for National Geographic Channel in September indicated that 28% of Americans knew one. Preppers meet-up networks are proliferating on social networks. Doomsday Preppers is the network's most-watched series.

'Doomsday Preppers' Get Ready for the Apocalypse

John Hoopes, a researcher at the University of Kansas and expert on the so-called Mayan doomsday prophecy, said he thinks preppers' motivation "stems from apprehension about the U.S. government and its ability to deal with people's fears about security, the economy and the welfare of their families." Many also have concerns about government interference with private autonomy, he said. Many more of the preppers are also men, which he thinks speaks to their need to feel "in charge" and provide protection for their wives and families.

Doomsday Preppers Reveal They're Crazy & Brilliant

My wife thinks I'm crazy. I look at it like this: You have a savings account and hope to God you don't have to use it for a medical emergency. We're doing the same thing, but with food, and fuel, and the coal I buried in the backyard. And generators. That to us is money in the bank.

New bulb ushers in 100-watt-like LED light

An energy-sipping LED light bulb that gives off the equivalent brightness and color of the standard – but being phased out – 100-watt incandescent bulb has hit the consumer market, Osram Sylvania announced Monday.

The new bulb has similar shape, brightness and glow of a 100-watt incandescent bulb, but consumes only 20 watts of electricity. It provides up to 25,000 hours of light, which is 25 times longer than the bulbs it is designed to replace.

Bloom privately reports $32 million Q3 loss.

FORTUNE -- For years, the knock on fuel cell maker Bloom Energy Corp. has been that its boxes cost more to make than they cost to buy. Not exactly the sort of dynamic that would help Bloom make it up on volume.

But perhaps things are finally about to change, after 10 years and nearly $1 billion in venture capital funding.

Germany's Bosch pulling out of Desertec renewable energy project

(Reuters) - Bosch, the world's biggest auto parts supplier, is exiting the Desertec project, the second German company to leave the consortium aimed at expanding the use of renewable energy in Europe.

"The economic conditions (do) not allow a continuation of its membership," spokeswoman for Bosch told Reuters late on Monday, confirming Financial Times Deutschland's report due to be published on Tuesday.

Wind Power Market to Slow on EU, U.S., China Hurdles, Lobby Says

Wind farm growth is set to slow as limits on capacity in China’s grid, falling carbon prices in Europe and a lack of direction in U.S. government policy hamper demand in major markets, the Global Wind Energy Council said.

Urine-powered generator unveiled at international exhibition

Four African girls have created a generator that produces electricity for six hours using a single liter of urine as fuel.

The generator was unveiled at last week's Maker Faire in Lagos, Nigeria, by the four teens Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, and Faleke Oluwatoyin, all age 14, and Bello Eniola, 15.

Icelandic volcanoes could heat British homes

Volcanic heat from Iceland could generate electricity to power British homes within a decade, according to experts.

Gas body fired up over reports of methane leaks

VAST amounts of methane appear to be leaking undetected from Australia's biggest coal seam gas field, according to world-first research undercutting claims by the gas industry.

Testing inside the Tara gasfield, near Condamine on Queensland's western downs, found some greenhouse gas levels more than three times higher than nearby districts, according to the study by researchers at Southern Cross University.

Methane, carbon dioxide and other gases appear to be leaking through the soil and bubbling up through rivers at an astonishing rate, the researchers said.

Oil obstacles: Hitting a peak

“Green: concerned with or relating to conservation of the world’s natural resources and improvement of the environment.”

I’m a guy that believes that being green can improve the world substantially. I want to re-brand the whole green concept to you, because it seems that it’s gotten a bad rap time and time again.

Best Environment Infographic Ever

Politicians and oil companies might waste time debating whether or not we’ve reached peak oil. What they ignore is that we run out completely in under 40 years’ time, by which time a third of the planet’s biodiversity will be lost.

In the meantime, tantalum, that great mainstay of mobile telecoms, will last only a few years more and run out just in time to celebrate the planet breaking the 2oC barrier in 2060.

As Floods Recede, Superfund Neighborhoods Fear Contamination

Scores of New Yorkers have had it bad since the storm. But for residents and businesses on the industrial waterfront and near Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal, New York City’s two Superfund sites, there’s an extra layer of worry. Did the flood waters spread contamination that poses a lingering risk?

The Problem Is Clear: The Water Is Filthy

Seville, with a population of about 300, is one of dozens of predominantly Latino unincorporated communities in the Central Valley plagued for decades by contaminated drinking water. It is the grim result of more than half a century in which chemical fertilizers, animal wastes, pesticides and other substances have infiltrated aquifers, seeping into the groundwater and eventually into the tap. An estimated 20 percent of small public water systems in Tulare County are unable to meet safe nitrate levels, according to a United Nations representative.

In farmworker communities like Seville, a place of rusty rural mailboxes and backyard roosters where the average yearly income is $14,000, residents like Rebecca Quintana pay double for water: for the tap water they use to shower and wash clothes, and for the five-gallon bottles they must buy weekly for drinking, cooking and brushing their teeth.

Water Supply in a Warming World

More than anything else, climate change is a water problem. Scientists expect more coastal flooding and possibly more inland flooding. They expect higher temperatures and greater evaporation to deplete water resources, creating risks for the food supply. They believe sea-level rise will eventually render some regions uninhabitable.

But a new paper published on Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that the outlook on fresh water may not be entirely bad.

Peak Oil? What About Peak Food? A Conversation With Lester Brown

In India, 24 percent of families have foodless days. That means that each week they plan what days they will not eat. In Nigeria, it is 27 percent of families. According to Lester Brown, "food is the new oil." Lester's new book, Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity, makes a very convincing case that the greatest threat we as a human species face is food scarcity -- and at 123 pages, the book is packed full of data and analysis to support this.

Rise in diabetes and NCDs linked to climate change

"Type 2 diabetes is driven by both over nutrition and malnutrition", says Keeling. "These are global risks and global threats. We're seeing, particularly in middle income countries, type 2 diabetes related to maternal malnutrition. The dysfunctional food system is very much connected to what's happening in global agriculture changes and ... it is leading to both huge numbers of people who are malnourished and huge numbers of people that are obese."

Brazil's Amazon rangers battle farmers' burning business logic

Carlos Selva works in Mato Grosso, the frontline of efforts to find a balance between protecting the climate and feeding a growing world population. Next year, Brazil is expected to overtake the US as the world's biggest soy producer. Most of that crop will be grown in Mato Grosso – where the Amazon forest meets the Cerrado savannah – and both are being engulfed by farm fields.

California takes big step in limiting greenhouse gases

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California is set to unveil a new weapon in its fight against global climate change on Wednesday when it holds its first sale of carbon emissions permits - a landmark experiment that it hopes will serve as a model for other U.S. states and the federal government.

The state's carbon auction is a key step in the initiation of its "cap-and-trade" program, a policy where the state sets a limit, or cap, on the amount of heat-trapping gases released by manufacturers, oil refineries, electric utilities and other large emitting businesses.

EU Commission freezes airline carbon emissions law

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will freeze for a year its rule that all airlines must pay for their carbon emissions for flights into and out of EU airports, the EU executive said, following threats of international retaliation. Flights within the European Union will still have to pay for their carbon emissions. The year-long exemption will apply to flights linking EU airports to countries outside the bloc, a move welcomed by U.S. and Asian officials.

EU fails to fill cash gap as climate talks loom

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU finance ministers have failed to deliver firm promises of cash to help poor nations deal with climate change, threatening progress at international talks to tackle global warming later this month.

Talks on Tuesday in Brussels agreed vague wording but no detail on funding after the end of this year when a first tranche of cash runs out.

Pandas' Bamboo Food May Be Lost to Climate Change

According to a new study, projected temperature increases in China over the next century will likely seriously hinder bamboo, almost the sole source of food for endangered pandas. Only if bamboo can move to new habitats at higher elevations will pandas stand a chance, the researchers said.

However, if conservation programs wait too long, human inhabitants and activities could claim all of the new habitats capable of supporting bamboo in a warming world.

Drought continues despite weekend rainfall in Oklahoma

The Tulsa area has been experiencing worsening drought since May. The most recent report from the U.S. Drought Monitor, which issues weekly reports on conditions across the country, has nearly a third of Oklahoma in the most severe drought category, with all of the state experiencing at least severe drought.

David Miskus of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center wrote in last week's drought report that without significant improvement soon, "it is getting difficult to degrade the state further."

Tourists swim in Venice square as heavy rain pounds Italy

VENICE, Italy (Reuters) - Nearly three quarters of Venice was flooded on Monday and tourists swam in St Mark's Square as a wave of bad weather swept through northern and central Italy, forcing the evacuation of 200 people from their homes in Tuscany.

Shops, homes and historic palaces filled with water in Venice and authorities said 70 percent of the lagoon city was flooded.

2028: The End of the World As We Know It?

“There is nothing radical in what we’re discussing,” journalist and climate change activist Bill McKibben said before a crowd of nearly 1,000 at the University of California Los Angeles last night. “The radicals work for the oil companies.”

Taken as on its own, a statement like that would likely sound hyperbolic to most Americans—fodder for a sound bite on Fox News. Anyone who saw McKibben’s lecture in full, however, would know he was not being hyperbolic.

Energy Efficiency Can Buy Five Years for Climate Deal

Adopting measures to promote energy efficiency can buy the world an additional five years to seal a climate-protection deal and would amount to a low-cost “hidden fuel,” the International Energy Agency said.

Energy efficiency can be described that way because “you can’t sell it, you can’t buy it or put it in your tank,” Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the Paris-based agency, said today at a presentation of its World Energy Outlook report in London. “Efficiency in energy use is just as important to our energy future as unconstrained energy supply.”

The energy policy conflict at the heart of government

Decarbonisation of electricity must be delivered at any cost, but the Treasury and Decc are exploring fundamentally different questions.

Al Gore's views on climate change, extreme weather and Keystone XL

We will have a lot of highly produced content that connects the dots between extreme weather and the climate crisis. This is the second annual 24 hours of reality ... This one is different from the first one because last year the focus was on explaining the science underlining the connection between climate change and extreme weather events. This year we are bringing that story to life...

We are focusing on the reality of what is happening in peoples' lives all around world as a result of the human alteration of the climate balance

Report: Melting Arctic Ice Caps Open Door For Big Oil

Although the corrosion of polar sea ice is considered by many to be the foremost indicator of environmental damage, it also may represent the opening the world’s major oil firms have been waiting for, business intelligence provider GlobalData says in a new report.

World 2011 CO2 emissions up 2.5 pct - German institute

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2011 rose 2.5 percent to 34 billion tonnes, a new record, Germany's renewable energy institute said on Tuesday.

The IWR, which advises German ministries, cited recovered industrial activity after the end of the global economic crisis of recent years.

Hurricane Sandy Damage Amplified By Breakneck Development Of Coast

Given the size and power of the storm, much of the damage from the surge was inevitable. But perhaps not all. Some of the damage along low-lying coastal areas was the result of years of poor land-use decisions and the more immediate neglect of emergency preparations as Sandy gathered force, according to experts and a review of government data and independent studies.

Authorities in New York and New Jersey simply allowed heavy development of at-risk coastal areas to continue largely unabated in recent decades, even as the potential for a massive storm surge in the region became increasingly clear.

In the end, a pell-mell, decades-long rush to throw up housing and businesses along fragile and vulnerable coastlines trumped commonsense concerns about the wisdom of placing hundreds of thousands of closely huddled people in the path of potential cataclysms.

Federal flood insurance subsidizes risks

At least one leading New Jersey politician is already talking about moving people out of some of the most flood-prone areas, those drowned last year by Tropical Storm Irene and again by Sandy. "Get appraisals for their homes, write them a check, knock the homes down and just let it go back to its natural state," said Steven Sweeney, a Democrat and president of the New Jersey Senate.

Good luck with that. A huge federal apparatus and powerful special interests are intent on doing just the opposite. The best illustration of this misguided policy is the National Flood Insurance Program, created in 1968 to provide insurance to homeowners on coasts and near rivers who had trouble getting private coverage.

The creators meant well, but here's the flaw: The program's premiums don't reflect the actual risks, especially in an era of rising sea levels and extreme weather. As a result, federal insurance has encouraged developers to overbuild in risky areas, buyers to purchase there and residents to rebuild even after repeated flooding.

Austrian experts say melting glaciers are the main cause of rising sea levels

VIENNA — Austrian experts say melting glaciers have been the single greatest cause of rising sea level over the past century.

Scientists at the respected University of Innsbruck say that between 1902 and 2007, glaciers contributed 11 centimeters (4.33 inches) to a total sea level rise of about 20 centimeters (nearly 8 inches).

Transport Beyond Oil
The Economic, National Security, Energy and Environmental Implications of New Paradigms for US Transportation

Alan Drake

An ASPO Webinar. November 15th at 2 to 3:30 PM EST



Video will be on-line for viewing later

Best Hopes,


must be a slow afternoon

on seeing the title "Transport Beyond Oil" I immediately thought " donkey" !


I;ll have to view later when at home :-)

Four Important Things To Know About California’s First Ever Carbon Auction

"The companies that operate California's 13 oil refineries have been vocal opponents of the program, arguing that it could lead to the closure of five to seven refining facilities."

We will see. I have heard threats before, as long as they make money from those refineries, I doubt that they will shut them down.

I guess it depends upon whether they can still make money running them. If imported (into the state) refined products also must participate in the Cap N Trade, then it should be a wash (plus or minus the fact that different refiners will have different CO2 emission per unit output.)
They have used similar arguments against royalties (they currently are none), "if you impose them, gasoline will cost more/ jobs will be lost". How many jobs has Texas lost because of state oil royalties? Is that why Texas gasoline prices are so much higher than California prices?!

California should have charged oil extraction royalties from day one. The fact that they did not and do not was and is a puzzle to most California residents IMO.

Shouldn't be a puzzle, several years back there was a ballet proposition to do just that. Chevron spent millions on advertisers saying, it would make gasoline more expensive. The sheeple bought the argument and voted against the proposition. So it really is the fault of a plurality of California residents.

I have heard threats before, as long as they make money from those refineries, I doubt that they will shut them down.

I'm not sure they're making any money from those refineries. Don't be surprised if they shut them down. Closing refineries has become the thing to do on the East and West Coast. It's the ones in the Mid-Continent area with access to cheap Canadian and North Dakota oil that are making money.

We will see. The Pennsylvania refineries had to buy very expensive oil so they could not make enough money. Delta bought one of them to make jet fuel, which I thought was a clever move.

The California refineries have to buy expensive waterborne oil, too. They don't have access to cheap land locked oil. We'll see how smart the Delta move is. Most people I know thought it was pretty dumb.

40% of California's oil comes from within California. We get oil from Alaska, Mexico, Canada and 15% from the middle east via the Gulf of Mexico and a pipeline.

The refineries in El Segundo and Richmond have bay connections which makes it easy to get oil into the refineries, which was why they are there. I would say the Pennsylvania situation is different.

If the assertion is that several of the 13 California refineries will close because of the cap and trade law, I challenge that assertion. To say "I would not be surprised" is not a definitive commitment.

No, I'm saying that at this point in time, OPEC oil is trading for $106/bbl, West Texas Intermediate is trading for $86/bbl, and Western Canadian Select is trading for $56/bbl. Those refineries with acess to WTI are doing very well, those which can get WCS and are capable of processing it are making out like bandits, and those which are stuck with OPEC oil are hurting badly.

Prices in California are largely determined by OPEC prices, and so the refineries there are hurting badly. Not as badly as East Coast refineries processing North Sea Brent oil at $109/bbl, but close.

It has nothing to do with cap and trade, it's all about markets. Canadian oil and North Dakota oil is trading well below world prices and refineries which have pipeline access to it have a very large spread between their feedstock prices and the prices of the products they sell. Refineries in California don't have access to cheap feedstock, and because of competition their sales prices are not much higher that the mid-continent refineries who do have cheap feedstock.

We've been through this before but it's worth repeating for those who missed the discussion.

So how much does it cost to ship refined oil products into California, versus refining it locally? And wouldn't imported oil products be subject to the same Cap&Trade constraints as the refinery inputs? This may just be political posturing/fear mongering? Its not like we haven't seen that done before?

I don't think cap & trade is particularly relevant, but I do think California's "boutique" gasoline standards definitely drive up the prices. Not very many refineries outside of California produce gasoline to California standards, and when they do, they add a premium to the price to pay for the annoyance of having to meet them.

The thing is that the outside refineries have lower feedstock costs, so the higher fuel prices fall out on their bottom line as profits. This doesn't particularly help the refineries in California which are stuck with higher priced feedstock.

Question: Those refineries (in the upper midwest/great plains) that can get the WCS, can they then ship the products to other areas? Or are they only able to sell the products locally? AFAIK the prices for the products are lower there (more supply than demand), thus the refineries' profit isn't as high as could be if they could sell the products at the prices paid on the coasts? IOW, isn't the transport bottleneck between the tar sands and most of the continent the reason for the low price of WCS?

The Midwest refines less than 100% of their demand, so the marginal supply of refined products for the Midwest comes from the Gulf. And the marginal supplier sets the market prices.

Buy at WTI and sell at Brent :-)) (if you are a Midwest refiner).


The transport bottleneck between Cushing OK and the Gulf Coast, where half of US refining capacity is located is the main reason for the low price of WCS. So far there is enough pipeline capacity to get it to Cushing, although that surplus capacity will be gone in a couple of years as Canadian and North Dakota production rise.

It has gotten to the point where companies are shipping oil sands bitumen from Northern Alberta to the Gulf Coast by rail to bypass the pipeline bottleneck. Pipelines are being reversed and expanded between Cushing and the Gulf, but that takes time.

Refineries in the Midwest can and do ship products to the East Coast in competition with East Coast refineries. This is one of the things killing the East Coast refineries, because the Midwest refineries can easily undercut their prices while making a hefty profit on the sales, whereas the East Coast refineries are losing money.

Peak refining?

from Yahoo (link to an article from The Atlantic)

Why the US won't be Energy Independent



Point #3 from the Atlantic article might draw some attention here:

Saudi Arabia is special for three reasons. First, it has the world's second-largest proven oil reserves, behind Venezuela. Second, it pumps more crude each day than any other nation. Third -- and this is the important fact about Saudi Arabia -- what gives it enormous sway over the international oil market is that it could pump more if it chose.

As a net oil exporter, the country's only goal is to maintain a stable market that yields that maximum profit per barrel. It accomplishes this by leaving a couple million barrels of oil a day untouched as an insurance policy.

MSM has been ignoring this part...

) The Key Is Still Conservation

This can't be repeated enough: We can't drill our way to oil independence. But by conserving our usage, we can insulate ourselves from rising gas prices. Here's the IEA's economist talking to the New York Times:

Dr. Birol said the agency's prediction of increasing American self-sufficiency was 55 percent a reflection of more oil production and 45 percent a reflection of improving energy efficiency in the United States, primarily from the Obama administration's new fuel economy standards for cars. He added that even stronger policies to promote energy efficiency were needed in the United States and many other countries.

"But by conserving our usage, we can insulate ourselves from rising gas prices."

Starving the beast that feeds us. Likely to create it's own set of problems over time...

And you use how much FF to power your house?


Guilty ;-/

Less every year. Currently about 100 gallons of diesel backup and about 80 gallons of propane, annually. Does not include tractor fuel, chainsaws, log slitter, mowing and transportation. Soon to add more PV, reducing diesel genny fuel usage significantly. Goats will help with mowing, maybe a couple of cows; edible methane factories.

Of course, one could argue embodied energy and all that... Someone living in a small urban apartment may have less impact,, and fewer choices.

I will be interested in how more solar PV gives you more flexibility in when you do what.

Looking forward to the reports :-)


PS: What is your orientation for the new panels going to be ? SE & SW give more power early morning and towards evening, more quickly reaching (or extending later) the power required to, say, wash clothes. South gives maximum kWh.

Adding PV is more about keeping the batteries happy than keeping lights on. Most of our diesel usage goes to reducing battery cycling, extending their life. Many folks who complain about short lead-acid battery life are cycling the crap out of their bank and not doing their maintenance.

And, yes, we expect a bit more flexibility (without proving Jevons correct), and I've asked Santa for an electric chainsaw. We are also shopping for a gas range that doesn't need an electrical connection (something like this). Our current gas unit has a glow bar that uses quiet a lot of AC power when I'm baking.

As for PV orientation, our current arrays are tracking, so I'm planning to orient the new PV solar south, boosting the midday 'hot charge'. Also planning for amorphous panels to complement our current crystalline arrays (amorphous are better in diffused light and higher temps). It's a bit of a gamble since amorphous aren't as proven as mono/poly-crytalline panels, but this whole thing started as a gamble ;-)

It's nice to have plenty of space, a big flat roof, and a wife who accepts my eccentricities..

I got a Premier brand kitchen range that does not use glowbars. It uses electric spark ignition, but the oven (and of course the top burners too) can be started with a match if necessary.

We're looking at Premier and Unique, though we have reservations about anything when we can't 'kick the tires', so to speak. We're hoping to find some dealers nearby so we can look at the models we're interested in. PV is next on the list; prices have bottomed out it seems.

I bought the Premier sight unseen. Once it arrived, I found out that its design and construction were not very robust. It does work though. But it was damaged in shipment, didn't find out until after they hauled the old range away and the propane technician arrived to connect the new one and found it had a big leak. Took a month to get the parts to fix it. It was in the winter, so we learnt to cook on the wood stove - plus microwave and crockpot and countertop electric "range".

Please continue to report on the gas range that doesn't need an electrical connection. I'd like to install such a range and am interested in hearing everyone's experiences: good and bad. It's on my ever-going list of home improvements. Doing my bit for the economy: supporting trades. ;^)

I recently bought a new oven/range that doesn't use electricity. It has the old "pilot light" technology. Easy.

Sorry, I don't know the make/model, but it was in stock at Sears. They're definately out there.

Pilot lights, over time, use up a huge amount of gas. They also are tricky to re-light, meaning that after a disruption in gas supply "they" must go house to house, before restarting supply, to make sure no pilot lights end up leaking the gas unburnt (eventually causing an explosion). Pilot lights should be outlawed! There are other options, from using matches to piezoelectric ignition that is grid-independent (powered by pressing a button).

Well, I don't know about outlawing them, but you're right about your other points. Actually, I have all the pilot lights turned off and use a Bic lighter (stovetop) or matches (oven) to light.

Unique (http://www.uniqueoffgrid.com/en-Ca/Products/Product-Line-up_/Off-Grid-Ra...) uses a 9 volt battery/electronic ignition. Most pilot systems won't allow the burner to light until the thermocouple is hot.

I have an adjustable transformer that reduces 24 VDC to 8-14 volts; could power the igniter in a Unique from our main battery set. Problem: Unique burners max out at 9000 BTU's, a bit weak for canning. Prefer at least one 12K to 14K burner; gets that pressure canner going fast.

"Pilot lights, over time, use up a huge amount of gas. They also are tricky to re-light,"

True on the first, not hard to relight though. My old Magic Chef range had standing pilots. To relight the one in the oven there was a button to push that bypassed a bi-metallic valve. Once the pilot was hot enough, the valve would open and you could let go of the button.

The water heater and the furnace worked the same way.

That range had no electrical connections at all, by the way. When the lights went out it had no effect at all on supper. (Or on the hot water supply. Furnace didn't work without the blower though.) I don't remember the range top pilots (there were two, each lit two burners) having a button, but they were tiny. When I turned the oven's gas supply on, I just lit them first, then fussed with the oven.

My 10yo Mabe needs no electricity other than a piezo lighting torch that ran out of gas several years ago. I agree on pilot lights using a lot of gas, my water heater used over 1000 pesos of gas a year just keeping warm and the pilot running.


Sure pilot lights are wasteful and should be phased out for that reason... but I don't understand where you got the idea that some magical "they" have to go around relighting them all.

Pretty much anything made with a pilot light also has a thermocouple operated valve that shuts of the gas supply to the pilot if the flame goes out. The "button" others refer to is the override switch to manually open the gas to light the pilot. Operating properly a pilot light appliance should *never* leak gas.

In Los Angeles, for example, if the gas is turned off to the community or at the house, then the gas company wants to check everything out and relight the various appliances.

I remember that happening one time at My Mom's house in town. After an interruption they (the gas company) went around to every house relighting pilot lights.

They presented themselves as providing a service, but I'm sure it had more to do with safety/liability than anything else.

Automatic safety valves can fail.

In Los Angeles, for example, if the gas is turned off to the community or at the house, then the gas company wants to check everything out and relight the various appliances.

Wow, never heard of that before, that hasn't been the case any place where I've lived. Must be some California thing?

As a young lad in the PNW, we had gas heat and range, and now and then my parents would have to relight the pilots. It was no big deal. Likewise here in AK, until we got a new high efficiency boiler with side-arm water heater, I would have to relight the pilots on rare occaisons. Again, not a big deal at all.

I think this is common all over the US. They're afraid a house will blow up or something.

...a burner might have been left on because it didn't light and so did not indicate that it was on.

If the gas is of one mixture with the air, it will deflagrate upon ignition and push the structure apart.

Image: http://www.havredailynews.com/mha-media/user_uploads/06-08-2011/org_1404...
Image: http://uploads.static.vosizneias.com/2012/08/Building-Explosion_sham.jpg
Image: http://markalcock.mycouncillor.org.uk/files/2012/07/Shaw-Explosion-19.jpg
Image: http://www.towncourier.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/housefiregasexplos...
Image: http://media.wktv.com/images/WhitesboroExplosion1+%2839%29_1024x768.JPG

If of another fuel/air mixture, it will detonate: the flame front will move at supersonic speed and create a shattering shock wave that shreds things into itty-bits.

Image: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02259/summery-new_2259716b.jpg
Image: http://i.imgur.com/ZWmD1.jpg
Image: http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/ap_webfeeds/f7bcc031cc5c981f200f6a7067...
Image: http://fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/indiana...
Image: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/01/30/us/30blast600span.jpg

The Audible Difference between Deflagration and Detonation
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-dLjHJuFWQ

The way houses are built in the US, the design is intended to support vertical loads. That is, the basic loads from the structure and the floors in a downward direction. The added load from snow cover is also a downward force. Wind is a horizontal force against the walls, usually directed inward. As a result, there's lots of thin sheets of plywood or OSB attached to the structural members by nails. If the load is reversed, either due to a sudden decompression from a tornado or from a pressure wave from an blast inside, the nails can't keep all those sheets of plywood attached to the frame. The nails simply pull thru the thin sheets and the panels fly away.

The photos from the Indianapolis blast show many sheets of plywood or OSB scattered about over a wide area. The sheets appear to be intact, which suggests to ma that the blast was not particularly strong. Otherwise, as you suggest, the thin sheets might have shattered into small pieces. The suggestion that the blast was from some military explosive would seem to be a bit over the top, IMHO, but I expect we will learn more as time passes...

E. Swanson

I think the military theory guy was noticing some seeming similarities... but, no, I'm imagining it was gas.

I don't know blast effects on plywood. Plywood is pretty strong. I can break up beams and boards for firewood a lot easier than I can break up plywood.

Uncontained flash-powder loosely-coupled to plywood

Does the ATF regulate the sale or purchase of aluminum powder?

"...flash powder is considered a high explosive by the ATF..."


"High explosives are explosive materials that detonate, meaning that the explosive shock front passes through the material at a supersonic speed."

It's SOP in our area, especially if you lease the Propane tank. When you call your supplier for a refill, the first question they ask is "did you run out?". This isn't because they're necessarily concerned that you have no propane, but because they have to schedule time for the driver to inspect/relight appliances with pilots or make sure appliances with electronic ignition are turned off. And it's entirely about liability.

While modern pilots with thermocouples are designed to 'fail safe', there have been instances where they didn't. Appliances that have electronic ignition, such as ranges, can be turned on, fail to ignite, and dump gas into a room. In this sense they are inherently less safe. I've had a pot boil over and extinguish the flame, while unburned gas continued to pour into the kitchen. A range with a pilot is unlikely to do this. If the pilot is burning, it will relight the burner. If the pilot gets extinguished, the thermocouple shuts the gas off.

This may be true for equipment manufactured now, but it certainly wasn't the case with the stove at the hunting/fishing lodge my Dad belonged to. After opening the valve on one of the propane supply tanks, it was necessary to briefly light one of the burners on the stove which in turn would light the pilot light.

but I don't understand where you got the idea that some magical "they" have to go around relighting them all.

People are amazingly useless these days. They can't change a flat tire, they can't jump-start a car, they don't know how to roll-start a car . . . of course why would they because they don't know how to drive a manual transmission, they can't change their own oil, etc.

So does it surprise you that people can't re-light their own pilot lights?

So does it surprise you that people can't re-light their own pilot lights?

Umm, is there an iPad app that you can download for that?

FM - As silly as this sounds I know the guy involved and beleieved him. When he left work he saw a woman in the parking lot obviously upset. He figured she had locked her keys in the car the way she was staring at the door. Asked if he could help get her keys out. No...keys weren't locked in the car...had them in her hand. She said her remote to unlock the door wasn't working. He asked if she had tried her key. She said no because that was the key that started the car. He took the key and unlocked the door. Handed the keys back while she stood there with her mouth open. He said he walked away quickly because he could barely keep from laughing and making her feel worse.

I'm sure many (most?) folks know how to do basic things like light their pilot lights, if only to prevent the wait and expense of paying someone to do it. It's that small percentage that can't/don't/shouldn't-be-trusted. Someone turns Grandma's gas back on. Grandma blows up with the house. Family/insurance company/neighbors sue...

Or...what if no one is home to do it?

In that case they will probably turn your gas off at your meter, and leave a note on the door to call.

Have they found a cause for the Indianapolis explosion yet?

Slightly off topic, but as long as we are talking about people who don't know how to relight a pilot light, I will bet many don't have a clue how to shut off all gas and electric into the house. That is a pretty basic skill that every homeowner should know how to do in an emergency.

For a couple of bucks you can buy a simple wrench that fits the main gas valve on the side of your house by the meter. I keep one by the valve, attached with a zip tie. If we have an earthquake or something similar that heavily damages the house, or in case of some other emergency, I've shown the whole family where that valve is and how to turn the gas off. It can help keep a bad situation from getting worse.

Similarly, how many people know how to shut off the water supply and drain the pipes in the house, if the heating is nonfunctional during freezing weather and looks like it'll stay that way for a while? Very basic resilience training.

A few months ago, the gas company came by and did some work on our gas meter (some of the seals were weeping, and of course they needed to fix that). But we weren't home when they did it, so they left our gas off and we had to call to have someone come by and check things out before he would turn it back on. Mainly to make sure that the pilot lights were lit.

What was funny was that the guy had never seen a tankless gas water heater. He kind of stared at it - not sure what to do, really. To convince him it was working, I had to turn on the hot water. He was looking for a little window into the combustion chamber so he could see that it was burning, but there wasn't one of those. Finally I had him just stick his hand in the stream of hot water to convince him that it was working correctly.

I believe the only pilot light we have in the house is for a gas fireplace that we never use. I am pretty sure the pilot light isn't even lit.

Same here, the gas fireplace we never use has the only pilot light in the house. We normally use the wood fireplace which we start with matches. Everything else including the stove has electronic ignition.

The tankless water heater has a little window in it so you can see the flame in the combustion chamber when the electronic ignition starts it up. Maybe it's to keep the gas company guy happy.

They suspect homicide.

And it sounds like the target was not the house where the family was killed, but the one next door. And the motive may have been arson (insurance purposes?), not murder.

Funny how everyone, including the cat, was out at the time.


If Iraq Can Triple Production, Oil Will Only Be $215 In 2035

Today the International Energy Agency released its 2012 World Energy Outlook. In the report the IEA for the first time really embraced the enormous impact that unconventional tight oil and shale plays are having on North American production.

The IEA believes that the United States will actually become the largest global oil producer in 2020 and will no longer need imported oil from the Middle East.

And from the IEA 2012 World Energy Outlook:

Growth in oil consumption in emerging economies, particularly for transport in China,India and the Middle East, more than outweighs reduced demand in the OECD, pushing oil use steadily higher in the New Policies Scenario. Oil demand reaches 99.7 mb/d in 2035, up from 87.4 mb/d in 2011, and the average IEA crude oil import price rises to $125/barrel (in year-2011 dollars) in 2035 (over $215/barrel in nominal terms)...

Iraq makes the largest contribution by far to global oil supply growth. Iraq's ambition to expand output after decades of conflict and instability is not limited by the size of its resources or by the costs of producing them, but will require co-ordinated progress all along the energy supply chain, clarity on how Iraq plans to derive long-term value from its hydrocarbon wealth and successful consolidation of a domestic consensus on oil policy. In our projections, oil output in Iraq exceeds 6 mb/d in 2020 and rises to more than 8 mb/d in 2035.

Are you kidding me? Matthew Hulbert, writing in Forbes has this to say:

Put all that together, and Iraq will struggle to nudge output towards 4mb/d over the next few years, let alone hitting 5, 6, or 7mb/d over the next decade. As for 12mb/d production targets by 2017 as a the new ‘swing producer’, forget it.

It just ain't gonna happen.

Ron P.

"...will no longer need imported oil from the Middle East."

That would be nice, ever since the 1973 embargo we have been vulnerable.

Darn...you just made me calculate that I could be 84 years old in 2035 - if I live that long. And if oil is "only" $215 per barrel just think of what everything else might cost. I don't think I have enough retirement savings for that long an inflation.

Re: "Editorial: Power grid fails digital economy"

Public policy has contributed to the fragile design of the power and communications grid. Regulated utilities were generally prevented from charging customers based on the distance between the electrical substation and the customer's premises or between the telephone office and the customer's premises.

Had utilities been able to charge distance-related amounts reflecting the true costs of constructing and maintaining longer lines, a more compact settlement with less exposure to hazards would have resulted.

The same distance-related charges should also apply to water, natural gas, sewer and roads; either collected as fees or taxes. These would all promote the more efficient use of land and energy.

"Had utilities been able to charge distance-related amounts reflecting the true costs of constructing and maintaining longer lines, a more compact settlement with less exposure to hazards would have resulted."

Some do, at least for construction and connection. Many electric co-ops, including the one in our area, charge by the foot to install a grid connection. In our case, they wanted $3.80/foot to bring in power, underground, @4800 feet from the nearest grid power (it actually wasn't the nearest, just the one they designated; easements and all that). There were also equipment charges, including setting boxes on adjacent properties and obtaining easements from other land owners. To top it off, they wanted a blanket easement from me, and to choose their route across my property. Remaining off-grid was a no-brainer after that. Their rep scoffed at that idea; got a bit pissed. The rest is history, and they have no easements across my property, and collect no annual membership fee from us. Their meter guys still show up occasionally, looking for our meter, quite baffled when I explain that they're trespassing.

My brother had a very similar experience when he built his house in 1995, and came up with a similar solution: essentially a house powered by solar panels with lead-acid backup for electricity, direct solar supplemented by wood burning and good insulation for heating and hot water, wood burning for cooking, and appropriate house design for cooling. He does have a small diesel generator and a small wind generator to supplement the solar panels when the sky is cloudy.

He has just now had to face the inevitable battery replacement, for about $8,000. But that still leaves him well ahead of where he would have been with a grid connection. I estimate his total electricity costs for seventeen years are about the same as the grid connection alone would have cost. I think that would have involved extending an 1100 volt line a little over a mile and a half, and installing a transformer to drop it to 240 volts.

The math gets better when you look at local RE production as untaxed income, sort of like growing your own food.

Kudos to a guy who's "been a geophysicist most of his life, working mainly in the petroleum industry in regional Queensland and the Simpson desert, and also as the chief geophysicist for BHP, based in Melbourne."

I expect he knows some things most people don't consider. Thanks for the link!

.. and one could add also whatever benefits in security and comfort (particularly to our later years) come from the promise of continued Tax-Free income , uninterrupted by politics, exchange rates, the business climate, your physical abilities or younger competitors for said income, and some but not all of the Climate-climate.

(Did we also keep in mind that we could actually roof about half the house with them and save THAT recurring expense, too!)

Weather.com gives July average high of 59 degrees F and an average low of 37. Cooling in the summer is likely more of a challenge than heating, but cooling is more optional than heating. After all, people were living there before mechanical refrigeration.

He has just now had to face the inevitable battery replacement, for about $8,000.

There has been a series of new press releases from EEStor - perhaps they will have a product at some point.


They seem to have attracted a new round of funding.

Their meter guys still show up occasionally, looking for our meter, quite baffled when I explain that they're trespassing.

Might be fun to have a fake meter set up somewhere and when the meter guy tries to read it tell him that you're charging him by the second for time spent on your property >;-)

Wow. No wonder you are such a fan of off grid.

Suffering on Long Island as Power Agency Shows Its Flaws

In many ways, the Long Island Power Authority, known as LIPA, reflects the shortcomings of the state’s quasi-independent public authorities, which are often criticized as a shadow government that resists scrutiny. Long Island is the only region of New York where the main electrical utility is run by the government.

Anyone looking to politicians to solve engineering or business problems will be looking in vain.

Loren Steffy has several pieces on that IEA report.

Our reign as oil king likely to be very short quotes Westexas and Art Berman.

But I still wonder if he gets it.

Could the U.S. surpass Saudi oil production in a decade? points out that IEA numbers are notoriously untrustworthy.

But today, there's this: Why the U.S. won’t join OPEC

Quoting Michael Economides:

“This is a silly report,” he told me. “The idea that Saudi Arabia would allow the U.S. to increase production that much is ridiculous.”

If U.S. production increases, and global prices dip, imports become more attractive. If OPEC wants to beat back U.S. competition, it only has to raise its quotas even further.

The resulting price declines would undermine the profitability of expensive U.S. shale plays. Our domestic drilling reflects the industry’s cutting-edge technology, but it’s only higher global prices that make it economical.

Apparently, he still thinks OPEC has the ability to flood the market with oil and force prices lower.

This is perhaps the hardest thing to impart to the average person on the street: Why the US needs, and is essentially stuck with, high oil prices. Rising costs of production (domestically and abroad), developing economies that will suck up/bid up any surplus, ELM, etc.; all will conspire to keep prices at the upper margin.

Ghung - And that's the reality, isn't it? But a reality the MSM et al, either out of ignorance or an agenda, continues to hide from the public. Like everyone here I ran through those stories looking for the red meat. My take:

First, I know there's no way we'll ever change the terminology they so loosely (and often intentionally IMO) use to confuse folks. My favorite is the seeming simple "energy independent". Folks hear that phrase and they invent in their own minds what that means. Obvious whether the world goes 100% green with wind and solar we won't be one bit less "energy independent". We'll be just as energy dependent as we are today...if not more. There would just be a different source of energy. And they rest of you just hush. LOL. Don't tell me what "they" mean when they use that phrase. English is a simple language and that is a simple phrase with a simple meaning.

Now the second catch phrase: oil independence. Due of course to the sudden boom in US oil production. First, the US has been one of the major oil producers on the planet for more than half a century. Fortunately we have increased production in recent years but hardly a boom IMHO. From Sept '07 thru July '12 we've increased domestic crude production by 30% or so. But even with this increase we're still producing about 40% less than when we peaked over 40 years ago. But this was the result of drilling wells that will have a productive life much shorter than those that lead to our PO in 1971. A little out of date but 1.5 years ago: What countries are the top producers of oil? Russia: 9.9 mmbpd
Saudi Arabia: 9.7 mmbpd and the U.S.: 9.1 mmbpd. Whoever wants to claim bragging rights as the biggest producer is fine...I couldn't care less. The BIG THREE are all in the same category IMHO.

So maybe they meant "crude oil independent". Same thing whether we increase our domestic production to meet all our demand we'll still be just as dependent on oil. OK...so let's say they are really trying to say we will be independent from oil imports. No problem: all that will take is producing almost twice as much oil per day as the US has ever produced. No problem there: all we need to do is find more oil domestically than we did from the 30's thru the 60's. Who would doubt that expectation? After all every knows the oil industry has been hiding all those reserves for decades just waiting for prices to get high enough. LOL. Or maybe they are counting Canadian oil as "our oil". But Canada and Mexico have been the major suppliers of US oil imports for many years. So that has been "our oil" for a while. Does that make anyone feel better when the pay the tab for filling up their tank knowing that some of that fuel came from "our oil"? Or do they even imagine it coming from any one country in the western hemisphere or not?

But the US is #1 in a far more important category: oil consumption, which is 18.8 million barrels per day (MBD), according to the EIA. That usage puts the U.S. atop the list of the world's largest oil consumers by a wide margin. Indeed, U.S. demand is more than that of the next four nations combined: Japan, Russia and rising economic powers China and India.

The good news: Imports as a share of US oil consumption dropped to 44.8 per cent, the lowest proportion since 1995, down from a peak of 60.3 per cent in 2005. The bad news: how much of that drop was due to increased efficiency, voluntary conservation or economic decline. I'll let others carry on that debate. As well as the debate to how much the US economy might exhibit significant growth in the near future and what that might mean for increased consumption. Which in turns leads to speculation over increasing oil prices as the US economy joins China and India in the growth efforts.

And let's not forget westexas' bogie man: ELM

There was one glimmer of understanding in one of the articles above IMHO: "Economic peak oil" In other words EPO. Which they characterize as: "...a new age of sustained high oil prices (which) will bring economies to a standstill, create unemployment and deepen poverty". I still prefer my POD: Peak Oil Dynamic. IOW the exact date of global PO is far less important than all the rapidly changing above ground factors, including the effects of AGW, which have been impacting everyone for a few years now and will continue to eventually get worse IMHO.

Rockman wrote:

A little out of date but 1.5 years ago: What countries are the top producers of oil? Russia: 9.9 mmbpd Saudi Arabia: 9.7 mmbpd and the U.S.: 9.1 mmbpd.

The EIA Annual Review for 2010 says the US crude production was 5,512 thousand bbls/day. I suppose that your number for the US includes all those other inputs, such as NGPLs, Lease Condensate, refinery gains and biofuels (mostly ethanol). The EIA Annual Review says that NGPL's add 2,001 thousand bbls/d and processing gain is 1,064. The Annual Review adds all this up to give a total of 9,443 thousand bbls/d and total consumption is given as 19,148 thousand bbls/d, giving a production/consumption ratio of 49%.

Given that there's little chance that the other categories are likely to experience large increases, I think it's highly unlikely that growth in US crude production alone will result in the overall growth which the IEA suggests...

E. Swanson

Exactly Dog. I didn't want to be accused of editing their numbers so I repeated their claim verbatum. But it does a good job of showing even when they inflate their numbers how unrealistic they seem IMHO.

And comparing our "9.1" against the numbers for Russia and Saudi Arabia is apples against grapefruits. Russia and Saudi Arabia, don't have much of those low net energy content liquids in their totals.

When the first version of this story came out on October 24th, I made some enquiries and did some digging. IIRC the figures for Russia and SA are crude plus condensate while this 9.1 for the US is all liquids (almost every damned thing you could possibly use as liquid fuel). I posted this

Country Total Oil Crude Oil
Saudi Arabia 11,153.02 9,458.36
Russia 10,228.52 9,773.52
United States 10,141.68 5,658.01

Looking at the "Total Oil" column, yeah, it looks like the US is on the verge of overtaking Russia and is within striking distance of Saudi Arabia. However looking at the "Crude Oil" column the US is just under 4 mbpd short of Saudi Arabia and a little over 4 mbpd short of Russia.

So, the question is, what exactly are the "other liquid hydrocarbons" that the US is producing roughly 4.5 mbpd of?

The answer to the question was provided by an entry in Tad Patzek's blog, linked to in a post by Ulenspiegel in Monday's (Nov 12) DB:

In summary, of the 4.6 million barrels of the other "oil" produced in 2011, 1.1 MMbopd were refinery gains, and another 0.6 MMbopd was the equivalent volume of oil corresponding to the production of roughly 0.9 MMbpd of ethanol. Biodiesel production was in the noise. I fear that EIA simply added volumes of the various fuels without converting them to oil equivalents based on a common oil density and heating value. The rest of the other "oil", 2.9 or 2.6 million barrels of oil equivalent (again I do not know how EIA made their conversions) were natural gas plant liquids and lease condensate. All of these liquids are significantly less dense than crude oil, and a proper conversion lowers their volume contribution by 25 percent.

This also answered my second question

Data that I could find suggests that biofuels (ethanol and bio-diesel) contribute less than 1 mbpd. Where does the other 3+ mbpd come from ?

Actually biofuels only contribute 0.6 mbpd with refinery gains making up another 1.1 mbpd leaving a deficit of less than 3 mbpd which is:

The rest of the other "oil", 2.9 or 2.6 million barrels of oil equivalent (again I do not know how EIA made their conversions) were natural gas plant liquids and lease condensate.

The last part of my second question:

and why don't Russia and Saudi Arabia produce these "other liquid hydrocarbons" in a similar ratio to their crude oil production?

is partially due to the fact that they do not consume and therefore refine nearly as much oil as the US does resulting in much lower refinery gains. Still it appears that the US production of natural gas plant liquids and lease condensate is out of proportion to SA and Russian production of either NG or oil. US production of NG was 23,000 Bcf in 2011 compared to Russia's 23,686 Bcf and SA 3,504 Bcf (soure: EIA). Can anybody explain what is the reason for the difference in (reported?) amounts of natural gas plant liquids and lease condensate produced by the US and Russia for example?

Alan from the islands

If they adjusted the volume of "other liquids" for energy content, then "refinery gain" would disappear. Refinery gain is just an adjustment for the volume change as products go through the refinery because most of the products are less dense than the feedstock.

All the mass and energy goes into the real products and refinery gain is massless and energy-free. It's not even hot air because hot air has mass and energy, it's empty space at the top of the oil barrel. The Russians and other Europeans wouldn't have refinery gain because they account for oil by mass (tonnes), not volume (barrels).

I don't know of any other country that adds natural gas plant liquids to their oil production, other than possibly pentanes plus if they send it to an oil refinery. Ethane is natural gas component, and propane and butane are natural gas substitutes or components, depending on market. Russia probably accounts for most of it as natural gas rather than oil.

When larger hydrocarbon molecules are "cracked" into smaller ones, with hydrogen atoms added, doesn't that add some mass? And perhaps even heat value? Of course, if either mass or energy are added, they originate from natural gas used in the refining.

Yes, but where did they get the hydrogen from? You're assuming they got it from natural gas, but that's not necessarily true. They could have produced it themselves.

Refineries both consume and produce hydrogen. Often what they will do is reduce some of the feedstock to carbon (petroleum coke) and feed the liberated hydrogen into the cracker to produce gasoline and other light products. So, what they end up with is petroleum coke, plus gasoline and other light products, with a net increase in volume - which is accounted for as "refinery gain", at least by the EIA. Other authorities might have different ideas.

If you want a true picture, you have to keep track of it accurately, you have to account for it on a component basis, i.e. molecule by molecule. I used to design software to do that, but I get the feeling it's way too complicated for the EIA. Their use of "refinery gain" is a dead giveaway.

Not only would the refinery gains go away, but the energy output would be less than the energy input, since some quantity of energy must be used to drive the refining and there is likely to be some leakage of unburned hydrocarbons into the air. My WAG is that refining heavier crude or crude with undesirable components, such as high sulfur content, would require even more energy to process the products. Also, it appears that biofuels are simply added in to the total by volume, instead of accounting for the lower energy content of ethanol when it's added to the gasoline stream...

E. Swanson

If they adjusted the volume of "other liquids" for energy content, then "refinery gain" would disappear.

Are you sure? There are non oil energy inputs as well, most notably electric power and natural gas. So ending up with more energy content than the original oil doesn't violate physics, although some of the energy is lost as heat in the process, so the sum of oil plus nonoil inputs only gives us an upper limit.

Yes, but the volume gains are caused by the changes in molecular structure of the products, not the increase in energy from, e.g. electrical inputs. And, realistically, the energy inputs don't translate into much if any increase in the energy content of the final products. Energy is not really conserved in the processing.

Good digging Alan...thanks. But they still avoid the obvious second half of the statement: ...and they US only produces half of the "liquids" it consumes daily. So even when you use their cooked numbers there's very little if anything to make one smile.

(US needs ... hi prices)
(a short while ago rockman told dullards US benefits from hi prices)
to me this isnt a no brainer; in general as cost increases things costs more, more difficulties in general

But of course by the numbers US oil revenue is up 4-5x from 15-20/barrel which (same as russia,SA)
but i'm guessing our rev was on par w/ them even 20/bar.
On a relative basis it seems we'll always be as energy well off as anyone but that will be of little consolation if we hit 200/bar.

I have a new post up on Our Finite World called IEA Forecast Unrealistically High; Misses Diminishing Returns.

There is a reasonable chance that an excerpt from this post will run on TOD in the future.


Your criticism seems much more realistic than the IEA cornucopia surmisings.

As usual they have on those gold plated rosy lensed glasses.

BAU got us here, and will not take us anywhere else beyond here where we perpetually face our own custom made catastrophies.

@ Gail

I was delighted to hear you interviewed on CBC on my way to work re: the IEA report. It felt like I was listening to an old friend. Well done!!


Thanks! Others outside are interested in the real story. It seems like the best opportunities to talk about the issue is with non-us stations. CBC is Canadian.

The Tax Code Practically Subsidizes Luxury Car Leases

If a vehicle is purchased, the allowable depreciation is limited to the value of an ordinary basic car, so the additional depreciation amount for expensive luxury vehicles cannot be written off.

However, this “luxury automobile limitation” does not apply to leased vehicles, which is main reason that most of the late model vehicles in Los Angeles are leased.

Instead of having the major depreciation limits for purchased luxury vehicles, the business lessee deducts the FULL business use percentage of their lease payments adjusted by a just a tiny “inclusion amount” added back to income.

Government subsidy for gas guzzlers.

When I was living in Sydney there was a popular discussion amongst my 'clients' about the best highway to rack up mileage.

I think it went something like this:
Instead of increasing your salary you were offered a luxury car lease, which saved a bunch of tax & let you drive a Maserati. Then the tax laws gave you a bigger benefit for higher annual mileage. So if you only drove, say, 18,000km in a year it was to your advantage to go out and drive another 2000 km - the 20 hours in your car would push you into a more lucrative mileage bracket & give you another few thousand dollars of deductions.

I bicycled to my job - parking those cars - so I know the details are wrong but the perverse incentives were well known. Anybody know if Australia has changed their rules?

Oddly, in almost 40 years of commuting in a dozen cities, 2 countries, +45 to -45C and 20ish employers I've never had a subsidy, tax benefit, incentive or societal reward for riding my bike. Maybe that's why bicycles are still a statistical anomaly. Do places like Denmark & Holland have any financial benefits to cycling or did they just build bike paths?

Still, for those who are unable to organize their lives & are forced to rot in their cars, I feel truly sorry. I'm going for a ride in the snow now.

AFAIK there's still a bike plan for employees in the Netherlands. At one point you could buy a bike once every 3 or 4 years, deduct the purchase price from your gross pay so that you saved a bit in taxes, generally 30 percent or so of the purchase price of the bike. It all runs via your employer.

And since commute distances are subsidized (if you live more than 10 km from work), those who brave the elements and cycle to work earn their bikes back even faster that way.

[edit] This is run through google translator


Gives you a bike or sets a bicycle made available to an employee for commuting? Then you may under the following conditions for the VAT on the purchase of the bicycle (partially) deduct:

You have in the current calendar year and the 2 years before any bicycle purchased for this employee.
Provides you off the bike for a fee or other facility for the commuting of the employee? You can do that up to 50% of the travel days. This condition begins on the date that the employee gets the bike, and go until the end of the calendar year and the two years thereafter.
Your employees may also private bicycle use.
Own contribution bike

Pay your employee no contribution for the bike? Then you may deduct up to € 130 vat. That means that when a bike worth € 749 or less may deduct the full VAT.
Receive from your employer a contribution? Then pull it off of the purchase price. Takes the bike after deduction of the contribution more than € 749? Then you may use the VAT of the amount exceeding € 749 not deduct. Takes the bike after deducting contribution € 749 or less ? Then you may use the full VAT amount of the purchase price deductions. About the contribution you must pay VAT.
Example 1
You buy a bike for your employee of € 2,000, including VAT of € 348. You ask your employer for a contribution of € 1,300. The bike will cost you less than € 749 and you can use the entire amount of VAT of the purchase price (€ 348) as input tax. However, you must have the own contribution an amount of VAT payable of € 225 (21/121 x € 1,300).

Example 2
You buy a bike for your employee of € 2,000, including VAT of € 348. You ask your employer for a contribution of € 1,100. The bike will cost you € 900 and you can purchase the VAT (€ 348) € 26 not subtract (21/121 x (€ 900 - / - € 749)). About the contribution you must pay € 190 to VAT (21/121 x € 1,100).

I rode a company bike in the UK. Price of the bike was deducted for tax. Just my luck it was a REALY wet and rainy summer :(


The last time I participated the scheme was much more generous than the one described on the site of the tax authorities. So the UK must be catching up a bit these days. And that wet weather - we've had it a bit worse than usual with records in a few months this year but still not as bad as the UK. Some think this may be some change in weather patterns thanks CC, melting ice, slowing currents or something. I guess most have heard theories about that. Things are getting harder to predict. You definitely need to pack a good rain suit pretty much any time you go away for an extended period though ;)

The system is still in place and I'm just about to buy a bike using it.
Both the employee and employer gain a benefit.
There is a maximum price for the bike and accessories of GBP 1,000

From up top:

> "With oil projected to flow like the River Jordan ..."


No More Baptisms in the Jordan River - Expected to Run Dry by 2011

It is not dead yet. But the trend is there. Also one can check out the Dead Sea and watch how the sea is declining to get a better picture of the situation.

And yes, I had just that reaction when I read that headline.

Yes. I laughed out loud as I had an inkling the Jordon's flow was under threat.

What's it with Business Week recently? See the "Peak Oilers Scoff" article up top. And other recent articles there, e.g. about Sandy and the climate. Not a publication I would expect it from? Something to do with Mayor Bloomberg's epiphany? Him and his buddy across the Hudson River?

I get the feeling that TPTB are softening up the masses a bit for more bad news (typical after making promises they can't keep).

There's a fine line between shooting the messenger and just beating him within an inch of his life...

They also ran a pretty good piece on PV.

Energy Independence in the United States? Don’t Pop the Cork Yet

Even if the United States were no longer dependent on oil from the tumultuous Middle East and North Africa, vital American trading partners like China, India, Japan and Europe would continue to import increasing amounts of oil from the region. Future price shocks at the pump would still be likely as long as the world depended on unsteady producing nations like Venezuela, Nigeria, Iraq, Libya and Iran, where politics often mixes inharmoniously with crude.

Wow! Clifford Krauss is a smart guy but some of his previous journalism has made him look either embedded in the energy industry or preparing for a Republican presidency. Today's news analysis piece demonstrates the extent of profound change in the post-Texas drought, post-Sandy, post-Obama victory era. Here's another quote from the article:

It may go without saying, but burning American oil rather than Saudi oil brings few environmental advantages. Greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, which will continue to dominate the energy landscape for decades, will raise global temperatures several degrees in the years ahead, according to the energy agency.

If this is the type of perspective we can expect from the new Clifford Krauss then I can genuinely look forward to more of his work. Despite all the clamor around "energy independence" I get the sense that, post-Sandy and post Republican-echo chamber-meets-reality, more and more intelligent people are taking the blinders off and really putting the pieces together.

Best Hopes for clear vision.


It's beginning to seem like some of these folks are hedging their previous bets; perhaps a sign, and an incentive for peak oilers to stick to their story..

There is no substitute to enhance understanding the concept of a shortage than having a shortage.
What I see, here in Sandy territory, is that a number of friends and acquaintances to whom I've been talking about PO/GW for years are now reaching out to me to with energy related questions and suggestions on how to become a bit less reliant on the current infrastructure.
There is a big difference between moaning and groaning because the price of gas went up 30 cents and not being able to get any gas, at any price. That drives home that quantity available (at any price) is ultimately what matters.

I suspect that these pinpricks from nature may be increasing the general level of awareness that resources are critically important. The combination of imparting facts and logic combined with a nudge from nature is pretty powerful.


We will see if any attitude changes have stuck six months from now, after they've gotten used again to having gas and electric available on demand.

the road not taken

Germany Has Built Clean Energy Economy U.S. Rejected in 80s


Urine-powered generator? Energy journalism is still, as usual, clueless. This example is an electricity-powered electrolysis process, generating hydrogen which is then burnt in an ICE to make ... (a smaller amount of) electricity. At least some of the comments recognize it as "just another nigerian scam". No offense to the enterprising Nigerian girls, but I wish somebody would give them better scientific education on that elusive "energy" topic.

Yes. I also wondered where the hydrogen came from.

In the cycle of nature, plants take low energy chemicals (CO2, urin etc) and upgrade them with photosynthesis to high energy chemicals (sugar, celolouse etc). Basicly the rule is; if plants can use it, it is of low energy value.

True enough, but urea is not quite as "low energy" a chemical as carbon dioxide. Evolving hydrogen and nitrogen gas from it by electrolysis requires considerably less energy than can be derived from combustion of the hydrogen.

Similarly, separating ammonia from urea by hydrolysis is mildly endothermic but the resulting ammonia carries more energy than was contributed to produce it.

Well, it's not exactly taking the p[redacted]. One review pointed out that using used water made sense in areas where fresh water was scarce. The general idea is to use excess solar electricity to generate hydrogen that can run a generator when the sun don't shine.


Yes. As one recent article said, an energy problem is a water problem. In some places more than others.

I have a question for my fellow "economic geologists" out there. When faced with this variable: "resource nationalization", what do you enter into the model? I would expect that in many instances "resource nationalization" would be much like a zero multiplier, ie = [Economic Model] x 0
(with regard to crude oil, see Westexas' Export Land Model for much more detail on the process of 'going to zero', or "getting to zero"...)

Example from metal miners:
(Bloomberg) -- Gold Mining Breakeven Costs Are Increasing, Barrick CEO Says

The breakeven cost for mining gold is going up on so-called resource nationalization, a shortage of skilled labor, infrastructure access to remote mines and rising capital expenditures, Jamie Sokalsky, CEO of Barrick, said at a conference in Hong Kong today. SNIP>>>


Chirp chirp...

I don't think you'd get a fixed multiplier for that? It is a very good question, but I don't think the resources would be nationalized in order to be 'allowed' to lie dormant for 20 years? But my hunch is that the multiplier to your model is definitely <1. I would not suggest the state is a lower cost producer, even on TOD.

[edit] Wait a sec, maybe I out to read the reference you make to Westexas, sorry.

Just trying to help you keep your question alive I guess.

Suppose all the industrialized nations on the planet, and the various economies that exists within them and that operate between them were nearly 100 percent dependent on liquid hydrocarbons found in pretty much only in great quantities in timbucktwoistan. A combination of geology, geographic luck of the draw and prudence - or lacktherof - lead to this predicament.

Now, lets imagine that for some unknown reason Timbucktwoistan decided to "nationalise" their resource and husband it, perhaps use it all up making rubber balls. Who knows? These are human beings were talking about here, it could be any reason at all, and you would think it was IRRATIONAL... Anyway, they stop exporting it. Thats a full stop. Regardless of the resource (energy and/or mission-critical raw materials) I think the economic "model" at that point "blows up".

Actually, I think at that point the capital of Timbucktwoistan blows up. If you catch my drift ;-)

So, by not including variables for such things as "nationalisation of resources" (human behaviour) in the model, we are not getting consistently realistic results from the "economic" modeling, forcasting and jerryrigging.

By not having accurate models, we are missing the need for certain redundancies, diversities, self reliances and robustnesseses in "economic systems" ~:) (The Economy), particularly within highly interdependent, energy and resource intensive industrialized "economies" like the one we currently find ourselves in. Without these empirical data correctly understood, our models blow up eventually, and with them, Timbucktwoistan and our "economy" with it...

When Timbucktwoistan stops exporting its resource, it loses all revenue from the export. If the export is a small fraction of its total revenue and the other dependent nations do not invade to steal the resource, then it is fine. If the export provides a large fraction of its total revenue, then it undergoes financial collapse. If it is invaded by those nations dependent on its resource, then it undergoes collapse by conflict.

Nationalization of a resource is not the same thing as a nation hoarding a resource. Look at China on the subject of rare earth metals. It hoarded for the sake of its domestic industries sending the international price up and spurring development of other mines around the world. No one invaded nor applied sanctions to China. China did not collapse from the action.

If you are thinking about ELM, the reason export land does not hoard oil is because they are dependent on the revenue from selling the oil. The government is dependent on the tax revenue. The executive has a quarterly board meeting where he must show profit. They have loans to pay for their expanded and unsuccessful drilling campaign performed at their peak production. Exporting the resource grows their economy or business placing them in a financial trap when the production of the resource declines.

Wow, Drumbeat brings the gloom today.

I've been reading about how the world is on pace for a 6C/11F rise by 2100. What I haven't found is a good breakdown of what that means in terms of emissions. That is, how much has to be emitted, and by when, to get to 6C/11F?

It would be handy to have a chart that has two axes: billions of tons of CO2 emitted between 2010-2050 v. expected rise in temperate over pre-industrial average in 2100. If anyone knows where I could find a chart like, or the data that would allow me to figure it out myself, please leave a comment. Thanks!

The IPCC produces that paper once every 5 years.

Hey Jersey,

I posted this chart a few days ago, unfortunately I forget where I found it. They had a country by country breakdown of the info you are looking for.

Average annual rate of global decarbonisation to 2050 (%) Implied concentration levels, approximate* ppm CO2e IPCC ‘best guess’ of average global temperature increase above pre-industrial levels, rounded to nearest oC
1.6% 1,200 ppm 6oC
3.0% 750 ppm 4oC
4.5% 550 ppm 3oC
5.1% 450 ppm 2oC

Edit: Here is the link, it was probably posted here on TOD by someone else.

I'm still waiting for global decarbonization of any rate to commence...

PWC is using carbon intensity as their measure. Carbon intensity has decreased slightly worldwide, but not by much. I think it's a weird metric, though: "GDP" is not a climate input.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that it seems very unlikely that we can get enough inexpensive fossil fuels from the ground to get to 1200 ppm. My back of the envelope calculation comes out to 10-12 trillion tons of CO2 emissions to get to 1200 ppm (~30b tons/~2 ppm rise). Six degrees C seems pretty unlikely. Unfortunately, 4 degrees C is enough to render huge swaths of Earth more or less uninhabitable.

I think the ratio of how much CO2 remains in the atmosphere to how much we emitted will increase as the temperature (and ocean acidity etc.) increase. We have some feedbacks from warmer temps to CO2 being released -for example from melting permafrost, or forest and/or peat fires etc. Currently that ration is under a half (depends on the timescale), but positive feedbacks will increase that number.

Yes... feedbacks... and methane release... and 30ish year lag in warming/effects... so 2C is already 'baked in the cake'... and given current reality, 4C seems unavoidable... see JP's comment above... at that level, additional feedbacks (clathrates...) likely... 6C dead ahead...

But everybody smile, flip on the furnace, turn on the tube, pedal to the metal - technology will save us, fer shure.

Sorry, doomer day...

This might be useful:

Earth System Research Laboratory
Global Monitoring Division
Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

What fools a lot of skeptics is the delay in time from the pollution until the damage becomes noticable. That delay in time could be as much as 50 years. Thus we are already plugged into a rise to a certain level no matter what we do. Waiting 10 more years will push the eventual average up for another 50 years after that. Like putting money in a bank, the interest on it is paid way later.

Another thing that fools a lot of folks is the subtle propaganda, memes that are subconsciously working on their minds, such as:

"... no single weather event can be linked directly to ... global warming."

(False Climate Change Meme Infects The President). The logic of that false meme, taken to its bottom line deduction, is quite telling.

"... no single weather event can be linked directly to ... global warming."

??? That is actually true. Which is why you have to use statistics and settle for a 95% confidence level that the observed frequency of weather events is outside the historical average.

The whole reason we have statistics is to sort out whether a series of events or measurements is within the normal variation of experience, or whether they represents a change from previous experience.

Of course given that most people do not understand statistics at all, you are unlikely to be able to explain any of that to them. Which is why people go to Las Vegas.

And yet, when we have extreme snow or extreme cold, then the deniers are more than willing to link that event to their assertion that there is no global warming.

I don't know about this no single event theorem. If the probablility of a single event is extremely low and perhaps unprecedented in storm or temperature records, and this low probability is a function of AGW, then isn't that single event linked to AGW.

In any event, when you have thousands of record high temps like last spring and summer, then it is silly to focusing on single events.

Sandy had the highest storm surge since the Dutch bought Manhattan for $24 in beads in 1626 (?).

Hybrid hurricanes/nor'easters are very rare but not unknown.

Hurricanes that far north THAT late in the season were unknown before Sandy. Landfall was 28 hours before November.

I would argue that Sandy cna be linked to Climate Chaos.



This morning on CBC radio news in Canada, I hear Gail's voice calling into question the idea of U.S. becoming oil independent. Wanted to applaud Gail for being a voice of reason and to give Gail a shout out. Boo yaa Gail! :)

And some news from Denmark for once...


Translated headline:
"Warnings from 15 organisations: The private solarcell market will disappear with the governments new law."

What has happened is that private citizens could sell their production of electricity and then buy the same amount (KWh) back at the same price (called Nettomålerordning). This option has now been stopped very effectively.

The new deal:
When you produce a KWh that you cannot use you must sell it at market price (122øre or about 20 cents a KWh). This income you must pay tax on which is about 50% - so effectively you sell at about 10 cents. When you later use electricity you must buy it at market price + all sorts of taxes which is 222 øre.(about 40 cents).

During the next 3-5 years the 122 øre will be reduced to 60øre (or 10cents). This means you sell at 5 cents effectively and buy at 40 cents. Or an effective tax on "grid storage" of 800 %.

People still have the option of battery storage.

"According organizations will remove the incentive to consume power at times when demand for power is highest, and it would allow the State to compensate its revenue wholly or partly by a levy on the produced solar electricity."

Greedy sons of [redacted]! Since I'm looking at a Google translation I might be missing something, but this looks like a classic case of corporate cronyism. The key that I see here is the removal of Time-of-Use rate charging. That's basically a give away to businesses...particularly industrial business who're likely to use a lot of electricity in the middle of the day. Rather than dump the entire burden this will cause on the electric company they give them this sweetheart deal for a nearly free peaking power source. I bet they plan to raise overall rates to make up for the rest.

New Dating Of Sea-Level Records Reveals Rapid Response between Ice Volume, Polar Temperature

A new study has revealed a rapid response between global temperature and ice volume/sea-level, which could lead to sea-levels rising by over one metre.

... "Ice sheet responses to a change in climate forcing are like the responses of heavy freight trains to firing up the locomotive. They are hard to set in motion (slow to 'spin up'), but once they are reacting, they will be equally slow to 'spin down'.

If the natural relationship (when changes in climate were slower than today) also holds for the very fast changes in climate today, then we are coming into that 'window' of time where we may expect to start seeing some unprecedented responses in the large ice sheets.


... rates of sea-level rise reached at least 1.2 m per century during all major episodes of ice-volume reduction.

A picture with the caption "global warming divides America" presciently shows the denier states under water. The denier states who want to secede from the union will get what they asked for.

The Great Plains are a couple thousand feet above sea level. And the Great Lakes are missing, even the basins.

I think that picture is supposed to be from the Jurassic or something, overlaid on the current North American map.

Be careful what you wish for. Birmingham AL is 660 feet up, while far inland Fresno CA is 336 ft. The Blues will drown first. Portland OR, will drown before Baker City. Seattle will drown before Richland WA. None of Idaho will drown, Nor will Utah or Wyoming. But things are not looking good for RI, Massachusetts, or Delaware.

Yeah, I think they plagiarized a paleo-geographic map from somewhere.

Keep in mind however that when Houston TX is a group of offshore reefs, Portland and Seattle, will just have to relocate their docks a bit further up the hillside. Portland would then be able to handle larger ships than at present. Seattle would no longer need the locks for vessels to reach Lake Union and Lake Washington.


It looks like a map of North America during the Cretaceous Period. One-third of the present land area of the Earth was submerged at the height of it, and the Arctic Ocean was about 20°C - as warm as the water is off California today.

There was a seaway that extended across North America from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean during that period. You will note that Denver, the "Mile-High City", is shown as being under water. There have been a lot of tectonic changes since then, notably the uplift of the High Plains.

People I hike with often wonder why we find sea shells on top of the Rocky Mountains, and tectonic uplift would be the reason.

Were the plains uplifted? Or mostly just covered with erosional deposits from the Rockies?

Well, both. The plains were both covered by erosional deposits from the Rockies and then uplifted by tectonic forces. The uplifting was more extreme in the American West than the Canadian West, so both the mountains and plains are much higher.

Generally topography and slopes are pretty healthy along both left and right coasts. The big exception is the central valley in California, which will partly becomes an extension of the bay. The Gulf coast (and Florida east coast), have pretty minimal topography, show flooding will extend well inland. Of course rivers are low valleys that extend well inland.

Yes. Solar is the worst possible energy solution... except for all the alternatives!

Actually, I agree ... but this image gives an impression of the scale required to feed our addiction. It will require more than the wave of a hand to change course.

This view shows the size of the installation relative to the nearby golf course (which I doubt many objected to, and has no business being there, ecologically). One wonders how many golf courses these installations could power.

Given that this is a desert ecosystem you gotta wonder which consumes more water the golf course or the solar installation? It could be that the Solar installation actually uses more? but I couldn't find good info for the golf club.

Here's what I found for the Solar Installation:


Water Use and Discharge

Raw ground water would be drawn from one of two wells, located east of Ivanpah 2, which would provide water to all three plants. Each well would have sufficient capacity to supply water for all three phases. Actual water is not expected to exceed 100 afy for all three plants. Groundwater would go through a treatment system for use as boiler make-up water and to wash the heliostats. No wastewater would be generated by the system, except for a small stream that would be treated and used for landscape irrigation.

The Primm Valley Golf Club has 36 holes. One of the courses is called the "Lake Course", and, indeed, has numerous lakes and ponds (for evaporative cooling, no doubt ;-). Virtually the entire club appears to be intensively irrigated.

Just trying to put some things into perspective.

One of the courses is called the "Lake Course", and, indeed, has numerous lakes and ponds (for evaporative cooling, no doubt ;-).

Yeah, I'm sure the endangered desert tortoise really appreciate those!

The Canada Geese and Deer certainly appreciate the nearby course I worked at. More Geese than golfers. The large gang mower I operated burned 30-40 GPD of diesel. Not sure what the total daily consumption of fuel was for this fairly small 18 hole course.

My boss told me that the irrigation electric bill was about $2500/month, and our area gets, at least historically, @65"/year rainfall.

Pure consumption, unless you consider health benefits (though almost nobody walks the course these days).

I live in a subdivision with an embedded golf course that contains a couple of artificial lakes. We have a signficant flock of Geese and ducks. There would be no reason for any of those animals without the "lakes". Change the environment, and you change the flora and fauna.

In semidesert Namibia I used to regularly encounter ducks in the long barren stretch between Mariental and Windhoek. I couldn't understand it. Look around and all you see is dry land with scattered bush. Not even a windmill or farm dam.

Then I flew over in a light aircraft and all was revealed. It was the road builders who every few miles scraped out depressions called borrow-pits to get gravel for road construction. These became shallow ponds, in some cases with reeds, and the ducks had pond-hopped in.

Next question, where did the reeds come from in the middle of the desert?

Next question, where did the reeds come from in the middle of the desert?

Perhaps the seeds came through the ducks and other birds... either that or they were flown in by FedEx >;-)

100 afy = 100 acre feet/year = 32.6 million gallons / year = 123 million liters of water / year.

Ivanpah 1, 2 and 3 are rated at 400 MW combined. Assuming they operate for half of a day and there is 15% cloud cover, they generate 1.5 TWh/year. They consume (.022 gallons of water)/kWh which is 21 times less than the Navajo Coal Generating Station, .47 gallons/kWh.

Each plant uses an air-cooled condenser or "dry cooling," to minimize water usage in the site's desert environment. Water consumption would therefore, be mainly to provide water for washing heliostats.

I was wondering why there were no cooling towers. Dry cooling saves water but requires fans which reduces the useful output of the plant.

Incidentally, I note there is a natural gas component as well:

Each plant also includes a partial-load natural gas-fired steam boiler, which would be used for thermal input to the turbine during the morning start-up cycle to assist the plant in coming up to operating temperature more quickly. The boiler would also be operated during transient cloudy conditions, in order to maintain the turbine on-line and ready to resume production from solar thermal input, after the clouds pass.

Off topic but interesting: At nearby Lake Ivanpah

Wind Powered car sets new world record at 126mph

March 29, 2009 With a wind speed of just 30mph (48kmh), British engineer Richard Jenkins has set a new land speed record for a wind-powered vehicle at blistering 126.1mph. Driving the Ecotricity sponsored all carbon fiber land yacht Greenbird across the Ivanpah dry lake bed on the Nevada / California border


(The solar-powered land speed record: a puny 55mph, slower than the human-powered land speed record.)

Surprisingly it's asymmetric, so it looks like it only goes one way; which is a long push back at that speed! Maybe it can travel slowly 'down range'?

Using less energy is my favorite alternative. Even beats solar!

And so easy to do. And the more pig, the more easy to be less pig.

And after you are down to a lean trim pig, solar is even easier.

Or, you could make little ones and scatter them all over, as well as run them on combustion when no sun.


With climate change I don't think we will be having any shortage of desert habitats. The "debate" is just NIMBY issues, it's ridiculous. People actually blocked some of these solar thermal projects, or they were forced to be scaled back. One argument was strictly aesthetic, people complained about how it would look. We also have people blocking off shore wind farms for similar reasons. But look at the damage done here versis the disaster of oil sands projects, there is no comparison.

Energy for 140,000 homes - footprint the size of 3 cities

Hmmmm! As I was arriving in Miami yesterday, I was struck by the amount of empty roof space on the commercial/wharehose type buildings I could see through the window of th aircraft. Space enough to provide energy for how many homes? I suspect that under net meetering, covering these roofs with PV panels would produce way more energy than the premises use and therefore not make economic sense. Such a pity.

Alan from the islands

covering these roofs with PV panels

making these roofs with PV panels


Subtract cost of roofing cover from the total bill and the numbers get even better.


Bottom line. We gotta do it or we cook our kids. We can do it with solar and such like, so just do it.

Q-- if it's true we gotta do it, then why are we spending so much time around here talking about not doing it and so little time talking about doing it? I mean, tarsands, fracking, etc etc etc. instead of solar, conservation, usw.

Still in denial.

Still hankering for a few more lucrative contracts...

so just do it.

Exactly. If we bean counter every decision to death, we will fry.

Generally PV as building materials has not worked out so well. PV is thermally sensitive, it is better to leave an air gap between the panel and roof through which windflows and removes some of the heat. This also helps with reducing the heat load into the attic. Typically the companies that have pursued building integrated PV have been those who know their PV tech is uncompetitive. Of course building the roof and installing the panels together makes the most sense economically, as mounts can be installed before the water barrier is created. It took the poor guys who installed my panels three days on the roof to get the mounting hardware installed, (tough concrete faux tile roof). That was three years ago, hopefully they have climbed a learning curve since then.

Social evolution in Europe ...

Spain City Dwellers Head to Countryside for Work

... going from selling cellphones to harvesting chestnuts

The Battle for the Arctic

The UN has imposed a 2013 deadline for the submission of scientific claims to the Arctic seabed. It is the precursor to a resource boom which would see Canada, the US, Russia, Norway and Greenland all attempt to exploit the region's resources.

These Arctic countries are desperately mapping out their territories so they can tap into the fossil fuels and minerals locked beneath the fast melting ice. And with global warming speeding up the melting of the Polar ice caps, potential shipping routes are opening up - raising concerns about oil spills, and control over these new passageways.

A fundamental problem is that the United States has refused to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The other Arctic nations - Russia, Canada, Norway, and Denmark (Greenland) have ratified it and are in the process of submitting claims for their share of the Arctic Ocean. The US is not participating in this process, which has a 2013 deadline for submissions of claims.

Successive US Administrations have recommended ratifying the treaty, but ratifying it requires a 2/3 vote in the Senate, and 34 Republican Senators have indicated they will vote against it, which is enough to block the ratification.

This may not be the smartest move in the world, because in the absence of US participation, the other Arctic nations might just divide up the Arctic Ocean among themselves and ignore US claims, with UN backing of their claims.

Those voting against it do not care what other countries or the UN do. The reason they are voting no is because they don't accept the legitimacy of the UN or other nations' claims. They don't see anything in it for them. In their view, UNCLOS gives no benefits they don't already have, and takes away some they believe they do have.

British ban squatting to tackle ‘anarchists’

Under a law in place since the beginning of September, squatting in empty residential properties in England and Wales is already a criminal offence, with those convicted facing months in prison and steep fines. The ministry of justice estimates that up to 2,000 people could be prosecuted each year.

Supporters of the law, including David Cameron, the British prime minister, argue that banning squatting is necessary to protect homeowners and landlords, to prevent associated anti-social and criminal behaviour, and to give the police and courts greater powers to evict, arrest and prosecute those engaged in it.

But opponents say that the ban targets the vulnerable at a time when cuts to public services and benefits, high unemployment and a shortage of social housing mean that, for some, sleeping in a squat may be the last option before sleeping on the streets.

The U.K. is a pebble-toss from being the 51st State of the United states and already seems to operate as a US territory...so it's not terribly shocking that they're adopting the "knock 'em down and then kick 'em while they're down" style of showing the rest of population that they'd better keep the cash flowing - or else. Just wait until you get for-profit private prisons with lobbyists who lobby for more strict laws so they can make more money.

Oopsies! http://www.politics.co.uk/reference/private-prisons

Ocean still suffering from Fukushima fallout

Radioactivity is persisting in the ocean waters close to Japan's ruined nuclear power plant at Fukushima Daiichi.

New data presented at a conference held on 12–13 November at the University of Tokyo show that levels of radioactivity in the sea around the plant remain stable, rather than falling as expected.

Researchers at the conference are convinced that something is preventing the radiation levels from dropping. "There must be a source," says Scott Fowler, an oceanographer at Stony Brook University in New York.

The implications are serious for the fishing industry, which lost an estimated ¥100 billion to ¥200 billion (US$1.3 billion to $2.6 billion) in 2011 as a result of the accident. Many fisheries remain closed, and because of the persistent contamination "we can't answer the basic question of when these fisheries will be able to open", says Woods Hole oceanographer Ken Buesseler.

Ironically, the area is probably going to be healthier now that you can't fish it... It seems like nukes are the one of the few things that can stop us from destroying everything living. Just look at the wildlife in the Chernobyl zone, or the Bikini reef.

I hope it stays closed for 50 years! There needs to be some refuge from human greed.

I can't remember if I've said it here, but I like to say to nuclear proponents that "I kind of like nuclear power because when they explode they leave really nice nature preserves."

To nuclear proponents? Seems to me like it would make more sense to say such a thing to anti-nuclear wackos. I would think that they're the ones who need reminding that nuclear accidents are, in fact, no end of the world, or even the end of all life forever in areas that they affect.

In Financial Ecosystems, Big Banks Trample Economic Habitats and Spread Fiscal Disease

Like the impact of an elephant herd grazing on grassland, multinational banks shape the financial environment to an extent that far outweighs their small number. And like a contagious person on a transnational flight, when these giant, interconnected banks succumb to financial ills, they are uniquely positioned to infect wide swaths of the financial system.

Researchers from Princeton University, the Bank of England and the University of Oxford applied methods inspired by ecosystem stability and contagion models to banking meltdowns and found that large national and international banks wield an influence and potentially destructive power that far exceeds their actual size.

As a result, the capital that current regulations require large banks to maintain should not be based solely on its own risk, but also on the institution's systemic importance, the researchers suggest. This would mean that large banks maintain capital that not only surpasses that of smaller regional and local banks, but also is proportionally larger than the bank's slice of the financial pie. Additionally, requiring such hefty reserves could discourage banks from becoming "too big to fail," the researchers write.

... Prior to the crisis, regulators typically judged banks on their individual health rather than their potential threat to the overall network, he said. "In terms of regulation, there was really very little attention to how the financial system worked as a whole," ...

PNAS abstract: Size and complexity in model financial systems

... "When looking only at individual institutions, big is beautiful because larger banks can more easily diversify their assets," Arinaminpathy said. "But a system-level perspective reveals that when a big bank goes down its impact is much bigger than its size regardless of diversity.

... Unlike a virus, financial contagion only spreads more quickly and widely when banks "quarantine" themselves by freezing loans and cutting business ties. That, in turn, feeds distress, which further fuels withdrawal from the system.

... using datafrom the American financial sector, 1.4 percent of U.S. banks controlled 79 percent of banking system assets in the first quarter of 2011

Segs nicely with your link from yesterday:

Now put the Monopoly game board away and consider this: Researchers in Zurich, Switzerland have found that there are roughly 43,000 transnational corporations that dominate the global economy. Of those, there are about 1,300 companies that control 80% of all the global revenues for all the transnational corporations on the planet. Now let’s take it a step further. Of those 1,300 core companies, only 147 companies, which all happen to own each other in some way, control 40% - or nearly half – of all the wealth in the entire transnational corporate network. That means 1% of transnationals own 40% of all the world’s business wealth.

In other words, the global 1% has its own 1%.

Too big to be allowed to succeed...

IHT Special Report: Oil & Money

The special reports coincide with a conference in London that the IHT is convening with Energy Intelligence, an energy consultancy, bringing together the top executives in the oil and gas industry, as well as leaders who deal with energy issues in government, academia and the media.

... But the special report lays out in stark relief that the more things change on the global energy landscape, the more they stay the same — especially when it comes to coal.

... The biggest attraction, is low cost. By many estimates, including that of Li Junfeng, longtime director general of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, burning coal still costs about one-third as much as using renewable energy like wind or solar.

Coal use is expected to increase 50 percent by 2035, said Milton Catelin, executive director of the London-based World Coal Association, who says that coal represented 30 percent of world energy, “the highest share it has had since 1969.”

He predicts within a year or two, coal will surpass oil as the planet’s primary fuel.

... And, in Qatar, Shell “is ramping up production of a facility called Pearl. Not a tiny jewel, Pearl is a sprawling $20 billion network of pipes and tanks designed to perform the alchemy of turning Qatar’s matchless natural gas resources into even more valuable diesel and jet fuel.”

meanwhile Climate leader parties with Big Oil

With less than two weeks before the next round of UN climate negotiations in Doha, guess who the president of those crucial climate talks was having a party with? Yes, that's right, Big Oil chiefs at the Oil & Money 2012 conference in London – a gathering of over 450 senior executives from the fossil fuel industry.

Qatari deputy prime minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, president of the UN Climate Change Summit, spoke yesterday at the oil industry event, extolling the virtues of hydrofracking and other new extraction technologies. His comments came just a day after the International Energy Agency released a report saying that no more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if we're to avoid planetary disaster.

Attiyah also took the time from his busy schedule to congratulate the climate wreckers days before he's supposed to rein them in, presenting the petroleum executive of the year award – an honour he received himself in 2007.

... Oh fox - could you keep an eye on these chickens for me?


Thanks for outing the phony bastid!

More phony bastids ...

Polling day shambles for coalition over climate change policy

The coalition's green policy is in disarray after an undercover film revealed George Osborne's father-in-law claiming that the chancellor is behind a Tory campaign to oppose commitments against climate change.

Lord Howell of Guildford, a former minister in Margaret Thatcher's cabinet who stood down as a foreign office minister in September, said the chancellor was "putting pressure" on David Cameron over "absurd" climate change targets.

and Doha conference: carbon cuts talks must wait, says key negotiator

The debate on whether the world needs stronger greenhouse gas cuts to keep the planet from warming by 2C should be deferred until next year, according to Brazil's lead negotiator at the upcoming talks in Doha.

Ambassador Luiz Alberto Figueiredo says delegates at Qatar – the most important climate negotiations of the year – should prioritise an extension of the Kyoto protocol and the rules for a longer-term agreement rather than be distracted by the crucial but contentious issue of emissions reductions.

In Power Shift, National Oil Companies Gain on Western ‘Big Oil’

... It is now clear that national oil companies are beginning to eclipse the Western oil majors as dynamic players in the industry. One area where this shift is easiest to see is in mergers and acquisitions. But they are also using M&A in the West to change the balance of power in the industry.

It’s a trend that is likely to continue and even accelerate. National oil companies own the bulk of the world’s oil and gas reserves. Now they are trying to translate that ownership into a much more important position in the global industry.

The distant goal of these companies is to be on a par with industry giants like Exxon and Shell, able to profit from movements of oil and gas around the world.

WATCH: ’24 Hours Of Reality’ Begins At 8 PM EST Tonight

Many weather reporting outlets are still hesitant to discuss connections between intensifying extreme weather events and global warming. But one 24-hour station is not. The “Dirty Weather Report,” the latest project from Al Gore and the team at the Climate Reality Project, will air tonight and take viewers around the world on a 24-hour trip to examine how humans are warming the planet and “dirtying” the weather.

Just got an invite to a gathering in Houston to learn what I don't understand about our current energy situation. Unfortunately I'll be busy that week. I not sure what I'll be doing but I'm sure I'll be tied up. LOL."

An interesting crowd: "IHS CERAWeek 2013 will offer new insight on the energy future"

•Daniel Yergin, Chairman of IHS CERAWeek
•Michael Spence, Economist & Nobel Prize Laureate, Senior Fellow, Stanford University, Hoover Institution
•Walter Isaacson, President & CEO, Aspen Institute and best selling author
•Daniel Akerson, Chairman & CEO, General Motors
•Clarence Cazalot, Chairman, President & CEO, Marathon Oil Corporation
•Robert Dudley, Group Chief Executive, BP p.l.c
•Anthony Earley, Chairman, CEO& President, PG&E Corporation
•Ryan Lance, Chairman & CEO, ConocoPhillips
•Fanrong Li, CEO & President, CNOOC Ltd.
•Mark Papa, Chairman of the Board & CEO, EOG Resources
•Matthew Rose, Chairman & CEO, BNSF
•John Russell, President & CEO, CMS Energy Corporation and Consumers Energy Company
•Steve Williams, President & CEO, Suncor Energy
•Mike Yeager, Group Executive & Chief Executive Petroleum, BHP Billiton
•Farouk Hussain Al-Zanki, Deputy Chairman of the board of Directors & CEO, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation
•Diezani Alison-Madueke, Honorable Minister of Petroleum Resources, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources,Nigeria
•Esperança Bias, Minister of Minerals & Mining, Mozambique
•José Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos, Minister of Petroleum, Angola

They do that every March. We used to do extensive coverage. Which was probably a waste of time.

Leanan - Yep...probably. I didn't add a comment to that post to see if anyone else caught what seemed obvious to me: Almost everyone on the list either a public oil exec or NOC exec. Given that every answer about our energy situation covers a wide range it's reasonable to assume most attendees are going to swing heavily towards the most optimistic. A few others on the list actually get paid to present optimism. And at least one benefits directly from convincing American consumers they need not worry about filling their ICE's up with affordable fuel. Though not familiar with everyone on the list I suspect none fall into what many here would consider the realist camp.

Thus, as you said, probably a waste of time.

where i live (NJ) things are back to normal. no odd/even, no gas lines, electric power, yes!
of course there are areas more impacted by sandy. some say it is a super storm.

i say not. imagine if morristown was as flooded as the jersey shore. imagine if paterson was as flooded as the jersey shore. imagine if mahwah was as flooded. imagine if indian point atomic reactor was shut down in a state of emergency, because they had to. now THAT would be a super storm.

back in the 1960's the jersey shore was destroyed and back in the 1930's also. the place where the land meets the ocean is expected to be ever shifting even under mild weather.

consider the billions of dollars that will be used to rebuild the jersey shore and then consider that the jersey shore will be destroyed all over again.it's a zero sum game or a zen cycle.

the 3kw photovoltaic system on the roof generated 8.2 kw today in clear skies and bright sun. however, i stopped into a national chain of hardware stores and found out that this store only stocks 3 types of gasoline powered generators and only 2 of each. the clerk mentioned that they only sell when there is a storm. he said that there is a shortage of generators. he said they are waiting for their quota. he said maybe after the holidays. he said they are built to order and the warehouses have none. freshly made from china, yummy!

as an aside, these generators put out "dirty" electricity. only very expensive ones put out pure sine wave like the electric company does. filters and conditioners are the order of the day.

please consider again if the whole metropolitan nyc area was wiped out to the same degree as the nj shore. we would be in mad max territory. only those mobile and savage enough to pillage would have a tank of "juice". no one gets out of here alive.

the smartest men make the biggest mistakes. there is no limit to human greed and folly.

everyone is now becoming a prepper, a doomer and a survivalist. i have my portable propane heaters and soon a generator and lot of gaz-o-lean and propane, canned goods, 5 gallon buckets, and lead, yup, dont forget lead. lead will be the new gold. bug out or bug in, it's pretty much the same these days.

out in the boonies where i live i have survived quite a few black outs. instead of them becoming less they seem to becoming longer. the old record was 5 days in the late 1980's. sandy won out with 8 days and i expect the next one to be even longer. that is discounting all the annoying over nighters and 48 hours. looks like the dystopian view of sci-fiers has come to be after all.

look at the mix of articles in today's drum beat. some proclaim a glut of hydrocarbon fuel and others descry the fact we are running out. i say we discuss it endlessly until the fuel runs out. then and only then will we be sure of "peak oil".

you take a chicken in the pot, i want pie in the sky!

"these generators put out "dirty" electricity. only very expensive ones put out pure sine wave like the electric company does. filters and conditioners are the order of the day"

- if you've already invested in batteries and an expensive inverter/charger, don't buy that capability over again: run your smart charger off the dirty power from a cheap generator.

I have several generators. When I use the cheap Chinese 2kW one for small loads (like computers, DVD/TV - I don't care about the lights) in the house, I run the output through an old UPS unit I have to clean it up. Seems to work fine.


"these generators put out "dirty" electricity. "

That comment puzzles me. If they are using a rotating coil on the armature they should be making a sine wave. Frequency and voltage regulation may be off, but a clean sine wave should come out. If they were using permanent magnet on the armature and then using a cheap rectifier/inverter to turn the mystery power into 120 V AC, then I could see you getting square-wave derived (modified sine wave as they call it) AC out.

And I have seen both kinds of generators. I wonder if the second kind is now cheaper to build, given how electronics are now so cheap. Or at least cheaper than a good governor to hold the RPM at 3600, and a good voltage regulator plus the slip rings and brushes.

"I wonder if the second kind is now cheaper to build..."

It seems to depend on size. Looking through the Google search category "shopping" set to sort by "review score", the generators under 2000 Watts have a lot of inexpensive inverter models... in fact many under 1600 Watts now seem to be inverter models with 4-stroke engines.

Overall, the price of generators seems to have dropped. There are a lot of insanely cheap ones that confuse the comparison.

Inverter generators were a price-premium item three years ago.

I bought a remarkably inexpensive 2-stroke 1000 Watt "All-Power America" brand slip-ring type generator at O'Riley back then for $140. The insulated quick-connect terminals within it were so flimsy that they overheated, flash-rusted, and almost caught on fire in the 10 Amp / 12 Volt battery charging output section. Changing them and cleaning up the mess and the mating spades fixed the machine.

800 Watt 4-stroke 38cc $433 inverter generator Generac sold under the licensed name "Honeywell":
Brochure: http://common.csnstores.com/common/marketing/hwinvertersellsheet.pdf
Spec: http://common.csnstores.com/common/marketing/spec6064ix800.pdf

One review elsewhere suggests your chances of getting a good one is 50%.

Under "Generac" label:


At 1000 Watts, the Honda, at $800+, seems to be the gold standard.
...but that's only if you want Japanese quality, not Chimerican bullc&@p.


1000 Watt slip-ring generator 2-stroke $109

Works if you have good luck, realize the choke is labeled backwards, adjust the idle screw from its factory default all-the-way-out setting, don't get one with debris blocking the fuel valve...

A friend of mine bought the Honeywell, He wanted a Honda but didn't want to pop the bucks.

It gave problems from the beginning, finally just before the warranty was up He exchanged it for another. Number 2 wasn't any better.

Now he has a Honda and the Honeywell is properly stored back in the box to sell next hurricane.

Thanks for the heads-up. It's just so... tempting. The super cheap generators are more like a kit or collection of parts that might work or might be made to work.

If you don't have any 240V items and don't need a lot of power, 1000W-1500W pure sine inverters seem to be rather cheap. Wire up a sub-panel with a lockout and power it with the inverter and some batteries when the power goes out. Use a cheap generator through a charger to replenish the batteries when needed (or build an automotive alternator generator). Keep the battery bank fresh with some battery tenders when on normal power. Simplicity through complexity.

U.S. Rethinks Security As Mideast Oil Imports Drop

... The sharply reduced dependence on Persian Gulf oil is raising questions about whether the Carter Doctrine should still apply.

"The U.S. has been the guarantor of the sea lanes and the Gulf producers because we felt that was vital to U.S. energy security interests," says Herberg of the National Bureau of Asian Research. "As we become quasi energy-independent it's likely that there will be questioning here in the U.S. 'Do we really need to carry that load?'

"U.S.-Brazil relations will be quite important," says Altman, now chairman of Evercore Partners, an investment banking firm. "Relations with Mexico will be quite important. They will be more important, from an energy point of view, than relationships with Iraq or Libya or potentially Iran."

To serve and protect ...

Minnesota Police Investigation of Officers Providing Drugs to Occupy Protesters

The following document contains files related to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s investigation into allegations that law enforcement officers participating in Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) courses provided drugs to sober people they had picked up from Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis where protesters connected with Occupy Minnesota had been located since April 2012.

The officers then used the intoxicated subjects for their training course, sometimes providing them with rewards like food or cigarettes, and then returned them to the Plaza. Though the investigation confirms many aspects of the story and a Sheriff’s Deputy admitted to the DRE course instructor that he had witnessed his partner in the course providing marijuana to subjects, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension found that there was insufficient evidence to sustain charges and obtain convictions against any of the officers involved.

This was partly due to the fact that 29 former officers and employees associated with the program refused to testify, blocking the investigation.

U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission Analysis of Chinese Investments in the U.S. Economy

... First, the Chinese government has made a conscious decision to diversify its foreign currency assets into hard assets. This has led to the creation of sovereign wealth funds that make portfolio investments in U.S. equities, private firms, and real estate.

Second, the Chinese government has altered its policy guidance toward foreign direct investment (FDI). Whereas it previously encouraged investments almost exclusively toward energy and resource acquisition in developing countries, it now also encourages investments in advanced countries. The government’s goals for these investments include securing energy and mineral resources and acquiring advanced technologies in industries where China wishes to leapfrog existing competitors.

Third, U.S. state governments and, to a lesser extent, the federal government are vigorously trying to attract Chinese greenfield investments in the hope of creating jobs and jump-starting local economies.

Fourth, Chinese investments are being drawn to the United States by the availability of financially weak firms, some of which possess potentially useful technologies for China.

Don't know if any caught the first comment in the BusinessWeek article about peak oil scoffers:

I don't know if the comment is original with the writer or not, but from the many spelling mistakes, it just might be. Anyway, I havn't heard it before and think it is great. Below is the cleaned up version, with my own heading:

Parable of the Rats

Twenty rats were in a barrel. One of them (a mathematician) plotted the rise in population, and wisely pointed out that exponential growth rates are unsustainable. The other rats laughed and scorned. “Nonsense!” they cried, “we’ll always find a way to sustain ourselves. The great rat in the sky put us here and commanded us to multiply and replenish the barrel!”

Time passed. Now there were 100 rats in the barrel. Thanks to advances in rat science there were new discoveries in antibiotics and food production. Rat civil engineers had developed new ways to cram more and more rats into the remaining space. The rats prospered and wrote magazine articles about how to increase production and consumption.

The mathematician was getting old, the rat population topped 1000. He warned them again: “exponential growth is not sustainable.” The rats scoffed, and said “you have no credibility – we’ve been breeding like rats and we’re doing just fine. Go away, we don’t believe in your silly mathematics – we are smart, and can breed like rats, and nothing bad will ever happen.”

Now there were ten thousand rats. The infrastructure was wearing thin. All those rats in a barrel caused the barrel to heat up. Their excrement was getting deep. The rats had no room to move. The food supply was one step away from collapse; starvation and disease were rampant. Then the whole thing collapsed, the rats all died.

And the great sky rat looked down in sorrow at the putrid mess they had created, and said “stupid rats.”

But even at 10,000 rats in the barrel the Rat politicians would still be trying to keep the rats breeding.

Iran aims for baby boom, but are Iranians in the mood?

Best quote:
"Without setting out a specific timeframe, officials have said Iran should eventually have 150 million people, double the current population."

I don't mean to pick on Iran here, but this is a good example of the mindset of pretty much all of the world's politicians with regards to population.

Scientists uncover evidence oilsands pollution travels further than anticipated

Federal scientists have uncovered evidence that contaminants wafting out of Alberta's oilsands operations are collecting on the bottom of remote lakes up to 100 kilometres away.

The chemical "legacy" in the lake sediments indicates that oilsands pollution is travelling further than expected and has been for decades.

"The footprint of the deposition is potentially larger than we might have anticipated," says Derek Muir, a senior Environment Canada scientist, who will present the findings Wednesday at an international toxicology conference in the U.S. where the oilsands are a hot topic.

A team led by federal scientist Jane Kirk, also of Environment Canada, will report that snow within 50 kilometres of oilsands operations is contaminated with a long list of "priority pollutants" including a neurotoxin that "bioaccumulates" in food webs.

But perhaps the most dramatic finding is that pollutants called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, are building up in lake sediments up to 100 kilometres from the oilsands operations.

"That means the footprint is four times bigger than we found," says David Schindler, an aquatic scientist at the University of Alberta.

--- snip ---

Environment Canada earlier this month said scientists were not available to comment on their findings of contamination around the oil-sands. The department's media office arranged this week's interviews with Muir and Parrott after Postmedia News obtained details of the reports the scientists will present at the U.S. conference on Wednesday.

Noah Smith, an economist, is picking a fight with Do the Math's Tom Murphy.

Murphy's Law? or, Follies of a Finite Physicist

Tom Murphy, a physics professor at University of California San Diego, writes a blog called "Do the Math", in which he attempts to show that every single alternative energy source is going to fail, and hence economic growth is soon going to either grind to a halt (in the best case scenario) or go into full reverse. But his most famous post, if my Twitter feed is any guide to fame, is "Exponential Economist Meets Finite Physicist." Because in this post, he purports to show that economists' most basic ideas about growth are inconsistent with the laws of the Universe.

Be gentle with Noah! His blogroll does contain The Oil Drum.


Noah Smith's rebuttal to Tom's post seems to boil down to Tom just doesn't really understand economics and apparently most of the commenters agree.

What is it that ROCKMAN says about never mud wrestling with a pig?

"Suppose there are 100 holdouts who refuse to upload into a virtual world. Suppose that these people's standard of living doesn't increase at all, but the standard of living of the uploaded people in the virtual world keeps going up and up (say, as new virtual stuff gets invented inside that world). In that case, economic growth is still positive, even though the 100 physical people aren't seeing any of the benefits!"

That is basically the same Krugman made awhile back. Even if resources run out, we'll just redefine GDP to ensure it always and forever goes up. Windows 8 can be redefined to worth more 10X more than Windows 7, so GDP will soar as operating systems are upgraded on existing hardware, so on and so forth.

In that case, economic growth is still positive, even though the 100 physical people aren't seeing any of the benefits!"

That's fine, I'll still be poor and eating real rice and beans washed down with a cold beer while all those other people in the Matrix will be filthy rich and will be eating the finest virtual caviar and popping virtual bottles of champagne.

That is until the real energy powering the Matrix runs out and their whole virtual reality world goes cold and dead!
Good luck with that!

The comments say sure nearly all economists at the moment keep bleating for ever more GDP growth everywhere like a stuck record, but that doesn't mean they want perpetual growth. At some point in the indefinite far future, when the time is right, we can switch over to a more steady state economy. Later, later. That time is so far off we'll either all be in living in the matrix or in the Star Trek Federation. No need to plan for the end of growth as we know it.

I read that piece, really disingenuous. To begin with the assumptions about Tom Murphy are all flawed, he never says that renewables will never work, he says that renewables won't work with the existing BAU since they are so much inferior to FF in terms of all the known engineering parameters. And the constant harping about timelines of 2000 years and million years seems absurd to me. It was clearly used as an absurd argument to make another point, about the futility of the path we are following. To me economists are just apologists for existing BAU, they don't have any alternatives because they can't fathom a world where Nature is a limiting factor and not labor and capital. Not surprising given that Economics ain't even a science in the first place.

Read the post, but I'm not going to read more from this guy. I have very little patience with people who misrepresent facts. There is enough misinformation in this world already.

Tom Murphy, a physics professor at University of California San Diego, writes a blog called "Do the Math", in which he attempts to show that every single alternative energy source is going to fail

This is a complete misrepresentation of Tom's position: (in my own words) "A transition to renewable energy is possible, and the sooner we start, the higher the chance of success. The alternative is calamity."

From Michael Kumhof and Dirk Muir's IMF working paper, "Oil and the World Economy: Some Possible Futures"

In their discussion of the baseline scenario...

With rising oil prices, oil exporters experience sustained increases in income and wealth. As a result, their domestic demand (domestic absorption) increases ahead of GDP, at an initial rate of over 2 percent annually. Higher spending leads to upward domestic price pressures and a large real appreciation. This “Dutch disease” effect reduces output in the tradables sector (other than oil), thereby reducing GDP by up to 7 percent below trend over the first five years, and by almost 10 percent after 20 years. The current account improvement in this group of countries, which equals up to 4 percent of GDP in the very short run and almost 8 percent after 20 years, is due entirely to the higher value of oil exports, with the initial spike in oil prices explaining the large current account surplus at that time. Goods exports fall substantially relative to GDP, and the non-oil current account deteriorates. But the government’s very low propensity to consume out of the oil fund limits the size of that deterioration.

Tying Canada's economy to the "one trick pony" that is the tar sands is not good for Canada.

As an example of how dependent Canada now is on the resource sector the Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty revised his deficit forecast today because...

"Canada has clearly been affected by volatile and falling world commodity prices since the budget in late March," Flaherty said in a speech to a Fredericton business audience."

Except for water and food, that 'one trick pony' (tar sands bitumen) is the only real resource of value the world wants. That is, the one resource product that still offers decent wages and prospects for a working man and professional.... engineer, etc. The rest have to compete with either starvation wage slaves, illegal log thefts (siberia) etc.

We have always been wood carvers and water carriers to the worlds needs, and damn good at it. We do have coal, hydro electricity, but as for manufacturing and high tech Canadians have this pesky expectation they are worth more than slaves. They don't build cork (caulk) boots in China like our Victoria made Vibergs, but a logger has to pay $600.00 for a pair. Will an Ontario car plant compete with Chinese knock offs when they eventually arrive? Nope. We saw it with Japanese vehicles first, then Kias, and soon they will be of Chinese origin and their workers will be paid next to nothing by our standards.

example: I used to teach Auto Cad and my students found work at engineering firms, etc. Now the work is ftp to wherever is cheapest and our folks are only hired in-house when absolutely necessary. Portable employment skills have been Wal Marted just like everything else these days.

Buy local


Jose Mujica: The world's 'poorest' president

Laundry is strung outside the house. The water comes from a well in a yard, overgrown with weeds. Only two police officers and Manuela, a three-legged dog, keep watch outside.

This is the residence of the president of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, whose lifestyle clearly differs sharply from that of most other world leaders.

And from the President himself...

"I'm called 'the poorest president', but I don't feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more," he says.

"This is a matter of freedom. If you don't have many possessions then you don't need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself," he says.

An inspiration for all of us...

As you say an inspiration - what a way to lead! He donates 90% of his salary to the poor and small entrepreneurs so what remains is about the average Uruguayan income.

Gotta love him. I can't imagine our media addled electorate going for similar.

From Peak Oil to ample supply

One indication of how far the oil thermometer has swung in the last year comes from the International Energy Agency, an agency formed after the 1974 oil shocks by oil consuming nations trying to cope with the OPEC oil producers.

Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, this week said future production from the United States and Iraq has completely changed the global energy outlook from chronic shortages to ample supplies.
Just a year ago, Birol was one of the apostle’s of Peak Oil, the theory that holds that world oil supply is on a permanent decline slope.

This is absurd. US shale oil and Iraq promises has completely reversed the peak oil situation. Just because of the US and Iraq, everything has changed. What has changed is that we are now counting on a dramatic increase in NGLs and that is going to change Peak Oil into an ample supply.

Iraq will struggle to even reach 4 mb/d but the IEA seems to think they will reach 8 mb/d by 2035. But even if they did that will make little difference when current fields are declining by 4 million barrels per day.

Nothing has changed except fro a little fracking in the US. That will not even change the situation in the US by very much and will certainly not change the world situation at all.

Ron P.

All those MSM stories spawned by the IEA report are reverberating around the Net, amplifying the disinformation. It's stunning how many people take the IEA report at face value, without digging into the reality within. One wonders how many of the MSM reporters actually bought the full report and read it. I, for one, certainly haven't the time or money to do so, yet I understand that the conclusions of the report in reference to the US depend on the results of a major conservation effort between now and 2020. I suspect that the doubling in the fleet MPG for new cars is rather still highly uncertain, though I know it's technically possible because I've done some experiments myself. The mandate sounds great, but the public must be willing to purchase those vehicles in large numbers, which will require a major shift in the market. Without the drastic increase in auto MPG presently mandated, there won't be the reduction in petroleum demand projected in the report and thus the suggestion that the US could become a net exporter of petroleum products seems most unlikely to occur...

E. Swanson

One thing completley missing from the mainstream media coverage about the IEA report is price. Who cares if the U.S. is energy independent if oil costs $140-$160/barrel. The economy cannot handle oil prices this high and still grow.

The economy cannot handle oil prices this high and still grow.

True but you do realize that 'growth', ain't quite all that it's cracked up to be, right?

Parable of the Rats http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9626#comment-929806

I absolutely agree. Continued growth is unsustainable and we are getting close to figuring that out in the next 20 years. But unforuantely the center piece of every economy in the world is growth. This idea will die a long and painful death. I don't think people will ever give up on this idea of growth in the economy especially when the global population is still increasing. Worldwide population is about 7 billion, the growth rate has been decreasing but it is still about 1% which means the population will double to 14 billion in about 70 years. The world cannot support 14 billion so population growth will have to stop at some point in the next 40 years. What does this all mean? Lower standard of living for everyone....

What does this all mean? Lower standard of living for everyone....

Yes! Or a population crash, and those are not mutually exclusive possibilities.

Continued growth is unsustainable and we are getting close to figuring that out in the next 20 years.

Well I think we figured it out in the 1970s, but the fear was that the first nation to stop growth would lose the cold war. So the USA elected Bonzo, gave capitalism a free rein, and won the war. Unfortunately the peace dividend did not satisfy the now entrenched military/industrial establishment (if Eisenhower is to be taken at face value, they were not hopelessly entrenched by 1961, just well on the way) so we are now stuck with it. I suppose their professed but secret rationale is still the same, but to me it just seems greed at this point.

Bill McKibben was interviewed on North Carolina public radio today (The State of Things);his east coast lecture tour goes through Durham on the 19th. A remarkably good presentation I thought, especially compared to the worship of the IEA report on yesterday's Diane Rehm show.

Favorite Reagan quote: "There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder." If he really believed this (and I think he did) he was a pure Julian Simon-style cornucopian. No wonder Americans loved him so much.

But its not just the military/industrial establishment who would have suffered from end of growth. Every part of American society would suffer from the end of growth. American society collectively resists the end of economic growth. But economic growth as we know it is probably going to end before the end of this century regardless.

I'm sure he really believed it. It would have taken a bit more imagination than he had to see the limits to our intelligence.. but alas, such wasn't his strong suit.

The quickest way the United States could achieve energy independence would be to raise fuel prices to European levels, i.e. $8.00 per gallon. This would reduce demand sufficiently to eliminate the need for imports, although it would be very unpopular among drivers.

The IEA is working on the issue from the other direction. They are assuming the US will continue to burn 18 million b/d of oil, and in order to achieve energy independence, that means it has to increase its production to 18 million b/d of oil. In order to that, it probably needs to have about 26% of the world's oil. If the world has, e.g. 1.5 trillion barrels of oil left, then the US must have 390 billion barrels of oil left.

My problem is that I look at the geological maps of the US with all its exhausted oil fields and abandoned oil wells, and I don't see 390 billion barrels of oil left there. There is probably that much in Canada's oil sands, but that is not American oil, although some people seem to believe that.

I think the IEA is suffering from a bad case of Groupthink, which is a collective decision-making disorder in which otherwise intelligent people believe the impossible must be possible, because the alternatives are too horrible to contemplate and they have no acceptable solutions. It has been well documented in various studies of group decision-making.

Most likely the price of fuel will rise to $8.00/gallon, which is to say the oil price will be around $300/barrel, and that will solve the problem. People who think it can't are just denying obvious possibilities, and avoiding the consequences. This is what I am thinking about when I start discussing wind-powered electric trains and electric bicycles. The unthinkable becomes thinkable under the right circumstances.

I agree with you but I think another factor stopping fuel costs rising too rapidly is the fear of inflation. I think because the price is already at a disagreeable level to policy makers they are prone to reduce demand by higher taxes and reduced services. And Southern Europe seems to be playing it's role of economizer for the benefit of the rest of humanity quite well at the moment. Runaway inflation must not happen. These are trade offs that are discussed frequently here, just thought I'd bring it up. I think a major U turn (a mix of policies including the ones you're suggesting) is needed because BAU is breaking down faster than you can say revolution. And if you are correct, Groupthink is going to hinder a possible way out of the challenge we're facing.

Austerity in Europe is certainly having an impact.

Aside from this, I've noted that oil prices amount to a feedback loop affecting economic activity. If the supply doesn't meet the demand, prices rise until it does. The net effect is for the supply to act as a throttle on economic activity - think of the vacuum in the intake manifold of a piston engine being analogous to the price.

Austerity in Europe is certainly having an impact.

It seems quite literally in some places... http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/14/us-eurozone-idUSBRE8AD0UK20121114

Reuters) - Demonstrations turned violent in Spain and Portugal after millions took part in a mostly peaceful general strike on Wednesday in organized labor's biggest Europe-wide challenge to austerity policies since the debt crisis began three years ago.

In Lisbon, marches ended with a level of violence not seen since the crisis began, with police charging demonstrators who hurled stones and bottles, leaving nearly 50 people hurt.

I seriously believe that a lot of so called bad debt, both public and private will need to be forgiven. There are certainly those who will loudly complain that it is unfair and that those who incurred the debt should pay it back. I think they are going to get a major reality check sooner rather than later. If I were, say, a well to do banker, I might not wish to advertise that fact on the streets of Lisbon or Madrid, right about now.

true but fracking was totally off the radar screen & I wouldn't be surprised if it spreads across the globe. The sad thing is we don't take these windfalls (scraps?) and redirect in more efficient ways. just build another cul de sac & waste precious petro...

Academy Report on Electric Grid Withheld for Five Years

Over the objections of its authors, the Department of Homeland Security classified a 2007 report from the National Academy of Sciences on the potential vulnerability of the U.S. electric power system until most of it was finally released yesterday.

The report generally concluded, as other reports have, that the electric grid is lacking in resilience and is susceptible to disruption not only from natural disasters but also from deliberate attack.

But even though the report was written for public release, the entire document was classified by DHS and could not be made available for public deliberation.

New from Congressional Research Service ...

The Distribution of Household Income and the Middle Class (0.2M pdf)

... The first key point of the report is that, although there are a variety of ways to describe the income distribution, all show that income is concentrated among high-income households. Relatively few households can be found in the upper end of the income distribution. Of the 121,084,000 households with income in 2011, only 2.3% had incomes of at least $250,000. (The Census Bureau does not disaggregate income within the $250,000-or-more income class.)

In addition, a disproportionately large share of total money income accrues to those at the upper end of the distribution. In 2011, the top 5% of U.S. households with income accounted for 22.3% of total income, and the top 20% of households (which includes the top 5%) had 51.5% of all money income.

There has been some discussion of the Bakken play recently. Here is some quasi-insider information.

Poseidon Concenpts is a TSX listed company that rents storage tanks to oilfield customers. They just reported their Q3 results are here is the relevant paragraph in their report:

During the third quarter of 2012, North American oilfield service market conditions were both transitional and challenging. With continued strengthening of Poseidon's market position in the southern U.S. region, which includes Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, a strong rebound in our western Canada business, and essentially flat activity in the eastern U.S., the Company's slowdown was primarily the result of lower well completion activity in the Bakken shale play (North Dakota and Montana) and the Rockies market (Colorado and Wyoming). The combination of declining rig counts, delays to completion programs and, ultimately, lower capital spending by exploration and production companies attempting to rationalize service costs and stay within reduced 2012 budgets, meant lower utilization and pricing for Poseidon's tank fleet.

Listed company's reports are by definition public and not inside or even "semi-inside".

They may be insightful, valuable, little-known, etc. Few people may dig deep enough into the reports to find this stuff, but they are "outside" information.

BP to pay record fine for Gulf oil spill

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- BP will plead guilty to a dozen felony charges stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and agreed to pay $4.5 billion in government penalties, the oil company said Thursday.

Of the penalties, $4 billion will resolve criminal charges and an additional $525 million will be paid to resolve claims brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

$4 billion will buy a lot of personal immunity, even from obstruction of Congress charges. One reason corporations aren't people: You can't lock'em up and throw away the key ;-/ Feeds my cynical side a bit. Anyway, it's a big chunk out of BP's "total profits of $43 billion over the course of the subsequent nine quarters."

BP to Admit Crimes and Pay $4.5 Billion in Gulf Settlement

BP is not out of the woods yet on this:

The Justice Department also filed criminal charges against three BP employees on Thursday.

The government charged the top BP officers aboard the drilling rig, Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, with manslaughter in connection with each of the men who died, alleging that they were negligent in supervising tests before the well blowout and explosion that destroyed the rig.

Prosecutors also charged BP’s former vice president for exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, David Rainey, with obstruction of Congress and making false statements about the rate at which oil was spilling from the well.


In particular, BP noted that the settlement does not resolve what is potentially the largest penalty related to the spill: fines under the Clean Water Act. The potential fine for the spill under the act is $1,100 to $4,300 a barrel spilled. That means the fine could be as much as $21 billion.

Who gets the money from this fine?

On another note from above: We have a Brown gas stove- made in the USA. Link to their site:

I always just shut off the propane supply line when finished to avoid the pilot light issue.

From: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/15/15181916-bp-to-pay-45-billion...

I presume the money goes to the feds. More than just money on the line:
"The settlement total, to be paid out over five years, includes more than $1.25 billion in criminal fines -- the largest such penalty ever. In addition, two BP employees have been indicted on manslaughter charges and a BP executive has been indicted on charges he lied to authorities about his work estimating the Gulf spill rate."

Gulf Coast lawmakers got the "Restore Act" passed. My understanding is that 80% of the fines goes to the effected area.

I've heard a rumor that at least a couple of other BP execs may still be charged.

Thanks, Jeanne! They're in Cleveland, TN, about 90 minutes away. We may need to take a road trip.

I prefer electronic ignition, just without the big, watt-hungry glow bar in the oven and all of the fancy electronics. Seems they may have what we need.

How 'Black Swans' and 'Perfect Storms' Become Lame Excuses for Bad Risk Management

The terms "black swan" and "perfect storm" have become part of public vocabulary for describing disasters ranging from the 2008 meltdown in the financial sector to the terrorist attacks of September 11. But according to Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, a Stanford professor of management science and engineering, people in government and industry are using these terms too liberally in the aftermath of a disaster as an excuse for poor planning.

... An engineering risk analyst thinks in terms of systems, their functional components and their dependencies, Paté-Cornell said. For instance, in many power plants that require cooling, generators, turbines, water pumps, safety valves and more, all contribute to making the system work. Therefore, the analyst must first understand the ways in which the system works as a whole to identify how it could fail. The same method applies to medical systems, financial or ecological systems.

What some described as a "perfect storm" of compounding mishaps Paté-Cornell sees as failure to assess basic failure probabilities based on experience and elementary logic.

Full Article: On “Black Swans” and “Perfect Storms”: Risk Analysis and Management When Statistics Are Not Enough

Climate change greater threat to EM financial centres to storm-hit New York

If you thought ‘superstorm’ Sandy was bad, here’s a sobering thought: New York isn’t even a high-risk city when it comes to climate change. For that, head to Asia.

According to a report by Maplecroft, the risk consultancy, several big Asian financial and manufacturing centres are in the danger zone.

The cost of energy independence

A report says the US could be energy independent by 2035 but will it follow a sustainable path to reach this goal? So what price is the US willing to pay to achieve energy independence?

Luv the comments:

If Romney would have won, the US would have Energy Independence 5-10 years sooner, because he would have opened up the Federal Lands that Obama keeps closing down. But the latest new oil fields are on Private land, so he can't close them down.


Re comments: I started to read the first one, judge for yourselves...

I agree with most of the Article but I am still not convinced of the Global warming part caused by Fossil Fuels as the Earth has been running in Cycles like this, ever since the formation of the Earth all those Millenniums ago.

Well he is right about one thing, 4.5 billion years, probably does add up to a lot of 'Millenniums'

Whenever I forget myself and begin to read the comments on any remotely mainstream website, I am appalled at the lack of understanding that seems rampant in the general public, to put it mildly. Thank you, TOD, for being a haven of at least relative sanity.

Right. Also the lack of civility is just awful. It seems to correlate well with the stupidity.

I think a big part of it is that such comments arenas are afterthoughts, and don't have enough follow-through for people to try to have conversations.. let alone enough time to start noticing that there are consequences for antisocial behavior.

I know the EDs here chafe at the silliness and Off Topic stuff..(guilty enough).. but those strike me as part of how we're able to be a little more rounded here. It's like a good work team. You have to shake off the tension here and there, but when it's necessary, you get to work.

But the consequences and the expectation of posting respectable words are key at TOD, I feel.

Both correlate with stress and tension. Most Americans hate their lives.

I blame what Nate calls the Internet version of Gresham's Law. The bad drives out the good. If you allow people to post whatever they want, soon only the most obnoxious are posting. Because everyone else leaves.

I agree with most of the Article but I am still not convinced of the Global warming part caused by Fossil Fuels as the Earth has been running in Cycles like this, ever since the formation of the Earth all those Millenniums ago.

It's so difficult! I just don't get it! How can more of some stuff put into the atmosphere add more energy that warms the planet? Duh, I'm having a brain cramp. You mean more CO2 increases the amount of thermal energy in the atmosphere? What, I'm just too dense to get it. Are they talking about chemistry? I baked some cookies once.

A light tidbit from NBC: http://msnbc.msn.com-b3.us/jobs/

"No. 1 worst job: Roustabout/roughneck

Job description: Performs routine physical labor and maintenance on oil rigs and pipelines, both on and offshore.

Verdict: This job makes its second straight appearance at the top of the worst list. The demanding, dangerous work is what gets the gig its crummy distinction. Roustabouts routinely perform backbreaking labor at all hours of the day and night in conditions that can range from arctic winters to desert summers to ocean storms,” the CareerCast jobs report found. Braving these inhospitable surroundings, roustabouts work on the front lines, getting hands-on with dangerous drilling equipment and risking serious injury or worse — as last year’s explosion at the Deepwater Horizon facility in the Gulf of Mexico illustrates.

About 60,000 individuals hold such jobs, which typically require little advanced education. Wyoming has the most roustabouts, but Alaska pays the best. Midlevel income for this job averages $32,123, according to CareerCast, but Willis said depending on experience and what they do, roughnecks can make as much as $60,000. Unfortunately job prospects going forward are lousy with a jobless rate upwards of 14 percent."

Long ago I heard a line in a movie: "I only work as a cowboy when I can't find any other work and I'm real hungry". Most of the manual labor hands on a rig have a choice of this paycheck or something closer to minimum wage. Work at it long enough without getting killed or crippled and a very small percentage make it up the food chain to physically easier and better paying jobs. You don't see many floor hands over 30 yo. Trivia: more hands are killed in helicopter and car crashes than on the drill floor. In this case the Grim Reaper doesn't care about the size of your paycheck.

Ron Paul delivers farewell speech to Congress that blasts the government and bemoans 'Dangerous March Toward Fascism'

Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas who ran for president this year, warned of a 'dangerous march' toward fascism in his final address to Congress on Wednesday.

'If it's not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, and warfarism caused our crisis, we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties,' Paul, 77, said in a speech that lasted nearly an hour.

Paul lambasted the government as bloated, corrupt and wasteful and said the American people are losing their freedoms.

Scores isolated after new Ebola outbreak in Uganda

Uganda has experienced increasingly regular outbreaks of deadly hemorrhagic fevers that have left health officials grappling for answers.

In addition to the three dead in the latest outbreak, up to 15 are being monitored for signs of the disease, officials said. They advised against panic after it was revealed that two possible Ebola patients had since checked into Kampala's [pop: 1,659,600] main referral hospital.

Canada lab probes pig link to Ebola virus

... this research suggests that wild or domestic pigs could also be a natural host, said the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports.

And it strengthens suspicions that the pathogen can be transmitted by airborne droplets, in addition to contact with infected blood.

"Our findings support the hypothesis that airborne transmission may contribute to (Ebola) spread, specifically from pigs to primates, and may need to be considered in assessing transmission from animals to humans in general," said the paper.

Hmmm... hemorrhagic swine flu. Wonderful...

When pigs fly, we're doomed.

Can we at least upgrade in the new prepper lifestyle?
I bet not too many cabins have this
lets see: less paper but more water/elec : maybe it's a wash...

Why aren't we all using Japanese toilets?

Building a bidet seems like a fun DIY project. I've considered doing it for the master throne, using PV to warm the water, pushbutton valve and hose from a shower wand, nozzle from an enema kit... I already have most of this stuff. Need to work out the heater thing.

The systems in the link are out of my resource range,, but thanks!

A common bidet hose is found in Indonesia. Which explains the odd looks I have seen when Indonesians first see American kitchen sink sprayers...

We also precycle our toilet fill water.

Accompanied by an ad for a cordless drill!!! What are they trying to say!


Things that make you go Hmmmmmm.

Love this comment by an Amazon user...

My mistake was going for the kitchen-sink-spray look alike instead of recognizing the configuration of the button-on-the-same-side with the nozzle provides a more natural positioning of the hand held bidet to do its job - front or back. It is difficult to get a thumb-behind-the-nozzle model far enough down to get a good angle on the target.

A couple of interesting stats from Norman R. Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, in asking the government to invest in startups. (Fat chance after Solyndra.)


America’s investment in energy innovation from the public and private sectors together is less than one-half of one percent of the nation’s energy bill. This fraction is eclipsed by the innovation investment in most other sectors, particularly those in the high-tech arena.

U.S. corporations spend over twice as much on litigation as on research.

Nanoparticles: A greater danger to the environment than previously thought

Nanoparticles are more harmful to small animals than tests have indicated to date. This has been shown in a new study of the University of Koblenz-Landau. Thus, the offspring of water fleas (Daphnia magna) exposed to nanoparticles of titanium dioxide react significantly more sensitively than the offspring of parents from a control group. This is the case even though the offspring themselves are not exposed to the nanoparticles. With the usual test methods, no effects attributable to nanoparticles were found. Until now, standard tests do not investigate the effects in the next generation.

Titanium dioxide, also known as rutil, is a common component in welding rods. My flea offspring will be affected badly...

Then they should flee from you!

Why Hundreds More Dirty, Aging Coal Plants In The U.S. Are ‘Ripe For Retirement’

America’s older coal generators are dirtier, less efficient and less utilized than the rest of the country’s coal fleet. And a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists has found they’re not economically viable either.

The report’s authors looked at each coal generator in the U.S. and determined whether its operating costs would be higher than those of a natural gas generator when updated with any of the pollution controls for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, mercury or soot that it lacked. It found that up to 353 coal-fired generators in 31 states are “ripe for retirement” – meaning adding upgrades important to the health of communities and the planet was more costly than retiring the coal plant or using natural gas and renewable energy.

India’s Solar Revolution: Why Small Is Big

... Let’s start with hard reality: The grid is never coming to rural India. No matter what policy makers want to believe, decades of attempts and huge gains in supply have yielded little increase in electrification. More importantly, off grid solar installations have been dramatically cheaper than grid extension because they compete with the huge costs of extending the grid and the huge costs of diesel and heavily-polluting kerosene. That’s why the future of rural electrification is decentralized clean energy — something even the very serious IEA recognizes.

But it’s not just the IEA that gets this. Politicians are catching on as well. Take Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar, whose sole political platform is delivering energy access to the 100 million people of Bihar. To achieve this lofty goal (only 18% of the population currently has access) Bihar is going to need a distributed clean energy revolution because coal-gate has deepened the already immense problems of the coal sector, making the possibility of a coal fired future impossible. If Kumar wants to remain in office, he has to rely on distributed solar.

In the previous drumbeat, Ulan Baskaw asked:

I wonder how many negawatts we could save in the entire U.S. if everyone replaced almost all their incandescent lamps with CFLs and/or LEDs?

No one responded with an answer to Ulan's question, so I will share this CFL example. Due to their longer life, the savings for LEDs would be even greater (e.g. 2.5 times if the rated life was 25,000 hours).

The example shows the savings with widespread CFL use is staggering.

Consider this example on a US national level:
100 million residences x 10 bulbs changed per residence; 60 Watt incandescent replaced by 13 Watt CFL;
Bulbs used average of 3 hours per day (1095 hours per year); cost per kWh = $0.11

(0.047 kilowatt saving per bulb) x 1095 hour usage per year x $0.11 per kWh = $5.66 savings per bulb per year

10,000 hour rated life / 1095 hour usage per year = 9.1 years of savings

1 billion bulbs x $5.66 per bulb per year x 9.1 years = $51.5 billion total savings ($15.5 million daily)

1 billion bulbs x $1.50 per bulb = $1.5 billion CFL Purchase Cost

$1.5 billion / $15.5 million per day = 97 day payback

$51.5 billion / ($110 per MWh) = 468 million MWh electrical savings

How long would a 1000 MW Nuclear Plant need to run to provide this same amount of power?

468,000,000 MWh / (1,000 MW per hour) = 468,000 hours

468,000 / (8760 hours per year) = 53.5 years (Or roughly 6 nuclear reactors operating throughout the 9.1 year life of the bulbs).

The savings on an individual level is small, but on a national level the savings is huge.

if everyone replaced almost all their incandescent lamps with CFLs

Indeed,this brings to mind the following quote from Kathleen Dean Moore (audio, at 12:20 to 13:30)

"Imagine aliens come down, the spacecraft lands on earth; and the little green beings come out and set about doing such things as pouring poisons into the rivers, and killing one out of every ten species of wild organism, and scraping the top off the land and shipping it westward in trains a mile and a half long. Lacing agricultural fields with poison, seeding carcinogens in the plastics that we use with our children. Emptying our aquifers and making our rivers undrinkable. Torching our forests. Turning our democracy over to the tender mercies of the corporations who sometimes act like aliens themselves. Injecting carbon dioxide into the air until even the climate turns on us. Taking everything for themselves and leaving nothing for us and our children.

The question is, if these aliens came down and did this to us what would we do?
I don’t know, but I think we would do something more than change out our lightbulbs and call it good.
I don’t think we would wait until we had absolute scientific evidence that this was harmful.
I honestly don’t think we would convene the supreme court to call them persons then give them all our money."

I suppose I should turn off the water while brushing my teeth, too.


Sorry about the long quote, but I suspect some people will not want to download the whole hour of audio.

OK, your three 'money quotes' at the end of your post conflate the ideas that:

1) changing to more efficient light bulbs is not nearly enough of a step to cut our ecological footprint to a sustainable level

2) This is a lament against global warming deniers

3) Corporations are people, my friends!

My response is:

2&3: Got it, agree

1: Agree in spades...I never said that everyone changing light bulbs was the be-all, end-all 'fix-it' to Limits to Growth...it is but one of a plethora of seemingly small steps which can cumulative add up to significant changes.

Yes, you and everyone else should turn off the water when you brush your teeth...but this guidance means a lot more to Limits-consous people who live in deserts...

Sometimes I get the vibe on TOD from some folks that if the human race cannot be quickly reduced by ~ 90% with the remainder living an idyllic 'Little House' lifestyle, then we might as well fuhgettabouttit and party on, petal-to-the-metal, over the cliff.

We didn't get where we are overnight, and unwinding our colossal overshoot won't happen in a flash either.

fuhgettabouttit and party on, petal-to-the-metal, over the cliff

Ulan; I wish I had some evidence to contradict this behaviour, but I don't. There are details about that recording that I don't agree with; but the overall subject seems accurate - I reuse 6" wire cutoffs while hundreds of truckloads of 0.3% copper ore are trucked down the road for export. At least we stopped exporting asbestos.

I'm making all these changes (and more) but I feel like it's pissing in the ocean when I see the amount of coal being loaded on ships.

Kitimat Alcan uses ~300MW of (hydro)power, I suspect the world throws out that much aluminium annually. But I still unplug my charger (utterly pointless)'cause it's in my nature.

I have 40 mostly LED light bulbs (2 on right now), so if I turn on every light in the house I can hit 360 watts. This chandelier is the same price ($12,000) and power consumption (~2100W) of my entire heating system! If we're lucky nobody has ever bought one.

I know that having a biogas stove is also utterly pointless compared to shipping every kitchen stove purchased in North America across the ocean from china, and plugging it into the coal fired grid.

Or the number of nuclear powered clothes dryers running right now while my clothes hang on the line at -10C.

We are supposed to use steel bird shot to avoid lead poisoning the ducks; meanwhile we drop tons of depleted uranium shells on the ragheads to kill them for their oil. Mighty neighbourly.

I hope society has a LED light up over their head, and they will all say, in 4 part harmony,"Ahhh, I get it!" But there are 10,000 people in this surprisingly Eco-friendly community and I know less than 100 of them (12?) are doing the same efficiency things. The vast majority of vehicles passing me on my studded bicycle are < 20mpg full sized pickups because you need them for winter driving.

So what I'm seeing is all these seemingly small steps are adding up to a statistically insignificant reduction in total planetary resource consumption - which seems to be the problem. I am happy with my life, and being the change I want to see in the world and an example of green living, but I see no evidence that it has made the tiniest difference.

And I usually consider myself an optimist!

Are you having fun?
Do you have an advantage?

I had fun. I lived free and for free up on a ridge with a view, past the pavement, down a long, sometimes nearly impassable dirt road over-arched with trees. There were no utilities and endless supplies of dry wood. I ran solar and fetched wood and water on foot. It was beautiful. It felt really good. There were dangers. There was constant upkeep of things like phone-line and road.

I had an advantage. I, otherwise oblivious, would get calls from distant neighbors when the power or water went out... and go give them a hand. It was an odd, quirky example that alternatives existed. One family added solar to their property. Wimbi and others here delight in this sort of thing, too.

It was necessary. I couldn't have been there otherwise. Everything changes. I miss it, but I've done it.

It was never the point, but, no, it didn't stop the arctic from melting.

Stupid rats.

Yea, I understand your angst.

Keep living our life being the change you want to see, help others as possible, and try to enjoy life w/o carrying the weight of the World on your shoulders.

I have no problem with people using more efficient light bulbs, I use CFLs myself and will use LEDs when they're cheap enough. But aren't you ignoring the effects of "Jevon's paradox"? My own view is that technological advancement just makes things worse, history seems to confirm that view. So counter-intuitively using technology to solve the problem just makes the problem worse, not better. A faux solution.

So what's the solution? I don't know, perhaps there isn't one.

We've internalised the insidious poison of technological progress and can no longer return from whence we came (reminds me of Adam & Eve). Perhaps our only choice is to keep going forward, but we should at least be aware that its taking us to a place we really don't want to be. We shouldn't be painting happy faces on our so called solutions to convince ourselves otherwise.

There are only so many light sockets.

Electric companies hand-out Compact Fluorescent Lights for free because it helps keep demand within present generating capacity... even as other demands grow... whereas adding capacity costs more than the lights.

Power capacity/cost can be preserved even better through insulation... but it's a lot more brain-damage than just trying to get the lighting losses down.

After the American election, the vows and frothing over the sanctity of the 100 Watt incandescent here are heading into 5150 land. "From my cold, dead hands."

But, yes, you cannot have the population densities of modern cities without the technologies that support them. About half the world's population lives in cities.

Total urban population map and breakdown:

World Urbanization Prospects
The 2011 Revision
(PDF) http://esa.un.org/unup/pdf/WUP2011_Highlights.pdf

More awareness of insulation needed


At the individual level, per my experience, I don't 'buy' Jevon's paradox.

I only want so much light. I can only drive so much time per day (I have a job). I can onlt eat so much food until I am full...all regardless of price.

Does Jevons allow more people to breed? Quite possibly.

Jevons can be nullified with that T-word...taxes...on consumption.

I work with one particular extremely conservative guy who interestingly drives a Prius and he said yesterday that 'Maybe we should replace the income tax with a ~ 20% VAT in the U.S." He said "At least that way people can control how much tax they pay."

I was amazed..this fellow wearing the EIB polo shirt was saying the same thing Thom Hartmann is saying!

Is he implying people don't have any control over their income???

That KDM talk was one of the most moving RadioEcoshock shows ever, IMHO.

Because some people are already using CFL's, your estimated savings are exaggerated.

All of my CFL's consume 26% or 27% of the power of an incandescent bulb. You calculated at 22%.

When it is turned on briefly and frequently, the lifetime of a CFL degrades making it unsuitable for some applications. If their price decreases sufficiently, LED's could fill those roles.

From Light-bulb ban leads to hoarding in Europe, is U.S. next?, Sept. 25, 2012:

... in 2011, about 1.1 billion bulbs were sold in North America

Although not quite the USA, it is the best estimate I can find and confirms your estimate is close numerically but does not consider higher wattage bulbs.

Was in Commercial Mega today. 8 CFLs for your incandescents. If you have already participated in the 4 for 4 you present your electric bill and get another 4 CFLs. And it's all FREE!!!


Because some people are already using CFL's, your estimated savings are exaggerated.

BlueTwilight, on the average, each residence has more than 10 bulbs (probably close to 25). I used 10 to focus on the more heavily used bulbs and to discount for some bulbs that have already been changed to CFL and LED.

All of my CFL's consume 26% or 27% of the power of an incandescent bulb. You calculated at 22%.

Most CFL bulbs used to replace a 60 Watt incandescent are 13 watt. Some are 15 Watt which would be closer to the percentage you use.

The intent was to show that a small savings on an individual basis can add up to a huge savings on a national basis.


Thank you for doing the math and sharing with everyone.

The other potential advantages to LEDs are that they are a bit more miserly on electricity usage, I think, and many of them can be controlled by at least a certain kind of dimmer switch, potentially leading to even greater energy savings. Also: No Mercury.

Of course, they are currently much more expensive than CFLs, hopefully their price will come down.

U.S. utilities should fund a project to clone Paul from Halifax and his crew and pay them handsomely to make those negawatts across the country!

If only we could put away our 'gotcha politics' and craft and implement a logical national energy strategy.

Ulan Baskaw, the use of CFL & LED bulbs has contributed to the lower growth rates in electricity usage even while accomodating addition uses (Flat-Screen TVs, electronics, etc.)

The modern flat screen TV uses less electricity than the old tube and plasma types. Replacing the old TVs with new, biger, flat screens can be a plus for cutting consumption.



In addition to NAOM's assertion below, I add:

The adoption of flat screen TVs, IPods, smart phones, and computers in general were going to happen with or without the advent of CFLs and LEDs. I will go further: much of the adoption of more and more modern consumer electronics was on-going before significant CFL adoption.

I seriously doubt almost anyone was monitoring their electric bills and then adopted CFLs and saw the savings and then made a decision to apply that savings to purchasing and operating consumer electronics.

Recall that the individual savings from adopting more efficient lighting are modest, but they add up over millions of people over many years.

One could then posit that individuals, over time, would realize the extra cash in their accounts accrued from investing in energy efficiency, but a few issues disabuse that idea for most people:

- People have to invest extra money up-front to buy the more efficient bulbs, then wait for the payback and the crossover point after which they accrue a payoff.

- The ways things are, and are likely continued to go, many folks may experience declines in their income while at the same time inflation eats away at their purchasing power. Therefore, any extra money possibly realized through buying and operating more efficient goods may be sopped up by the consequences of entropy manifested on a finite planet with an increasing population, where the highest-quality ores/resources are extracted and used first, leaving lower and lower quality resources left to exploit over time.

Likely that Jevons only serves to stave off and/or slow people's decline in consumption, at least over more than the short term.

Thanks for your kind words, Ulan.

I'd like to provide an example of the energy saving potential within the commercial sector, if I may: a local bicycle shop recently moved into their new location and hired an interior designer to give the store a more up-scale look. Here's what she selected for their showroom lighting:

  1. Wall displays: 32 x 50-watt GU10 halogens = 1,600-watts
  2. Recessed cans: 11 x 50-watt MR16 halogens = 550-watts
  3. Display pendants: 3 x 100-watt A19 incandescents = 300-watts
  4. Decorative pendants: 33 x 100-watt A19 incandescents = 3,300-watts

Total connected load: 5,750 watts.

And here's what we did for this client:

  1. Wall displays: 32 x Philips 5.5-watt AmbientLED GU10s = 176-watts
  2. Recessed cans: 11 x Philips 10-watt EnduraLED MR16s = 110-watts
  3. Display pendants: 3 x Philips 12-watt EnduraLED Short Neck PAR30 = 36-watts
  4. Decorative pendants: 33 x Philips 9.7-watt L-Prize A19s = 320-watts

Total connected load: 642 watts -- a near 90 per cent reduction.

In addition to the lighting savings, they'll reduce their air conditioning costs during the summer months due to the 5,100-watt reduction in waste heat generated. AND they'll also reduce their heating costs because the space is heated by two high efficiency ductless heat pumps. Eliminating this excess heat means more of their heating demand will be satisfied by their heat pumps which can do the same job using one-third as much energy, i.e., a COP of 3.0 versus 1.0. A win-win-win.

The GU10s and MR16s were supplied through Efficiency Nova Scotia at no cost. The L-Prize lamps are cost-shared, but the client only pays 20 per cent of the installed cost ($8.40 per lamp) and they'll repay this amount over 24-months, interest-free, on their Nova Scotia Power account (35-cents a month).

They'll save several thousands of dollars each year on their utility costs, they won't have to buy another replacement lamp for the next five to ten years, and we will have cut their CO2 emissions by some sixteen tonnes per annum.

Last night, I was pitching in to help the boys and installed one hundred and thirty-four replacement MR16s. My homework assignment for the weekend? Two-hundred and ninety MR16s and thirty-six 7-watt EnduraLED PAR20s for a gift retailer (http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_1992.jpg). This portion of the lighting load will drop from 16,300-watts to 3,152-watts. Again, Efficiency Nova Scotia will pick-up the full cost and we'll score another 50 tonnes per year in CO2 savings.

I love my job !



It seems that a key enabler to replicate your success in the U.S. is to have utilities with policies similar to Nova Scotia Power...

...and to have citizens who are receptive to positive change...

Your knowledge and dedication and leadership by example is commendable.

You're very kind, Ulan; thank you.

I got half-way through my homework assignment before my back packed it in for the night. BTW, in addition to the aforementioned MR16s and PAR20s, two hundred and fifty-two 90-watt halogen PAR38s were swapped out for 18-watt LEDs. As before, all of this has been undertaken by Efficiency Nova Scotia at no cost to our client.

To get a sense of the lighting load at this store, see: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_1994.jpg


"...and hired an interior designer to give the store a more up-scale look. Here's what she selected for their showroom lighting:"

Have you considered contacting this interior designer and giving her a tour through the retrofitted space to show her what she needs to be doing?

I've given it some thought, but I'm worried that it might result in some blow-back with the client (I visualise her stepping one foot into the store, raising both hands in Edvard Munch fashion and shrieking "HE'S RUINED MY CREATION !". Like most creative artists, interior designers don't generally embrace constructive criticism with open arms, so it's probably best to let sleeping dogs lie.


Might a slightly different course be an idea. Contact designers in the area and offer a workshop on the new lighting available. Point out that the scheme you work with slashes the cost of lighting work which means they can offer a better service to clients at a reduced price and/or improve the designer's bottom line.


When I was researching my essay on using the Philips L-Prize LED (the ONLY one I can personally recommend, superb light quality, 9.7 watts, 940 lumens, assembled in USA. I also recommend LED motion sensor night lights), I found that residential lighting in the USA used 215 TWh/yr in latest stats available (2010 ?). Some % of this is CFL (very little LED in 2010).

Hope that helps,


US FERC launches probe of two natgas pipeline companies

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said on Thursday it was investigating two natural gas pipeline companies for possibly overcharging their customers.

FERC said Wyoming Interstate Company, owned by El Paso Pipeline Partners, and Viking Gas Transmission Company, owned by ONEOK Partners, may be charging unjust and unreasonable rates for use of their pipelines.

The investigation was spurred by cost and revenue data the companies submitted to FERC for 2010 and 2011.

Pipelines Explained: How Safe are America’s 2.5 Million Miles of Pipelines?

... Since 1986, pipeline accidents have killed more than 500 people, injured over 4,000, and cost nearly seven billion dollars in property damages. Using government data, ProPublica has mapped thousands of these incidents in a new interactive news application, which provides detailed information about the cause and costs of reported incidents going back nearly three decades.

Loophole Lets Toxic Oil Water Flow Over Indian Land [text and audio]

The air reeks so strongly of rotten eggs that tribal leader Wes Martel hesitates to get out of the car at an oil field on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. He already has a headache from the fumes he smelled at another oil field.

Martel is giving me a tour of one of a dozen oil and gas fields on the reservation. These operations have the federal government's permission to dump wastewater on the land — so much that it creates streams that flow into natural creeks and rivers. And this water contains toxic chemicals, including known carcinogens and radioactive material, according to documents obtained by NPR through Freedom of Information Act requests...

...In most of the country, this would be illegal. Most oil fields reinject wastewater far underground, where it cannot cause harm.

So why is this wastewater being released into a desert wilderness of sagebrush-covered foothills and sandstone cliffs that blaze with reds and oranges?

The few cows grazing nearby provide a clue.

Bring in the TRRC and Texas Rangers ;-/

Best wishes for a fast and complete collapse of industrial civilization. That is all I can think after reading that article.

Sounds like we need less regulation.

New war invitations go out:

Egyptian official's Gaza visit fails to bring lull in violence

Map: http://www.hayovel.com/hayovel3/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Israel-Nbrs-M...

Good for politics and politicians
Good for the price of oil