Drumbeat: November 21, 2012

Will the U.S. Surpass Saudi Arabia in Oil Production?

Don’t misunderstand. The amount of oil on Earth is finite, and it could become depleted some day— in practical terms— particularly if consumption continues to increase exponentially in the near term. However, if the IEA prediction proves accurate, it ain’t over yet. Price increases and technological innovation still matter, a lot.

The IEA’s estimate for the U.S. is a bold prediction. It may be close … or not. Although wildly successful since 2004, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracture to recover tight oil and shale gas remain relatively young technologies whose long-term outcomes are unclear. It is worth considering a widely cited, though somewhat controversial, evaluation of the Bakken field in September 2012 by Rune Likvern at theoildrum.com. Likvern notes that "the estimated breakeven price for the ‘average’ well is $80 to $90 per barrel," just barely profitable at today’s prices. And, "the ‘average’ well … experiences a year over year [production] decline of 40 percent", two to four times the typical rate for conventional oil wells.

The end of the oil world as we know it

The International Energy Agency’s report ricocheted around the world last week, and nowhere more so than in Canada.

The United States will become the world’s largest producer of oil by 2020, predicted the IEA, and North America will become a net oil exporter by 2030. So much for foolishness about the end of oil. So much for the comfortable assumption in Canada that the U.S. would always soak up every drop of oil we could export to them.

What we missed in the global energy report

On November 12, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) released World Energy Outlook 2012. Globally, the report provoked a flurry of inaccurate reporting about the prospects for U.S. oil production, consumption, and exports. The Globe and Mail focused more on the implications of an increase in U.S. oil production for Canadian oil exports.

However, there’s nothing in the report to suggest Canadian exports to the U.S. must decline, although deliberately reducing the level of exports could well be a good idea.

Shale oil and gas to have deep effect on sector

The boom in production of hard-to-access reserves risks weighing on prices of conventional crude, according to industry leaders.

"We are facing a revolution, from North America," Christophe de Margerie, the chairman and chief executive of the French energy giant Total, said.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Descent Into Chaos

There is a growing disconnect between forecasts of prodigious amounts of oil coming out of the Middle East in coming decades and what is likely to happen in the region. The Middle East today is a patchwork of geographical entities known as states. A few, such as Iran, are reasonably coherent and go back hundreds of years, but others such as Iraq, Israel, and Jordan were created by outside powers out of a polyglot of ethnicities. In many countries, the people’s first loyalty is to a tribe or a religion rather than a national government.

Conflicts have little impact on oil prices

The price of oil is proving largely immune to conflict in parts of the region and remains on a generally downward trajectory, mirroring last month.

The Arabian Gulf's overall economic and political stability, increased output in the United States and a backdrop of weakening demand has offset potential supply risks caused by the civil war in Syria and growing geopolitical tensions between Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Crude Oil Rises on Gaza Conflict Amid Declining U.S. Stockpiles

Oil rose after a blast on a bus in Tel Aviv injured at least 10 people, boosting speculation that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians of Gaza may disrupt crude supply from the Middle East.

Futures climbed as much as 1.3 percent after the explosion near the military headquarters in Israel’s commercial hub. Egyptian plans to announce a cease-fire in Gaza fell through yesterday following a weeklong barrage of Palestinian rockets and Israeli airstrikes. Prices advanced earlier after American Petroleum Institute data yesterday showed crude inventories fell for the second week in three. An Energy Department report today is forecast to show supplies increased.

Can Jordan find a policy mix to avoid juggling with fire?

'To play with prices is to play with fire," read the placards of demonstrators around the Al Husseini Mosque in downtown Amman last week. More than 10,000 people marched to protest against the removal of fuel subsidies. Demonstrations and riots spread to several cities throughout Jordan, and slogans became increasingly political.

The government is increasing the price of bottled gas, used for cooking and heating, and diesel and low-grade petrol. This is to save some of the US$2.3 billion (Dh8.4bn) it spends annually on subsidies, almost a quarter of its budget, and the main reason for a deficit that has ballooned to $3.5bn.

Average cost for Thanksgiving dinner? About $50

With the United States having experienced its worst drought in decades this summer, there has been much concern about rising food prices. Yet the price of a Thanksgiving dinner in 2012 increased just slightly from its cost of $49.20 in 2011. In fact, of the 12 items calculated by the AFBF for the dinner, eight got cheaper compared to last year, while only three became more expensive.

Drought No Obstacle to Record Income for U.S. Farms

Even after the worst drought in a half century shriveled crops from Ohio to Nebraska, U.S. farmers are having their most-profitable year ever because of record- high prices and insurance claims.

Investors sought for for Turkmen gas pipeline

Turkmenistan is actively seeking investors for a planned Dh30 billion (US$8.16bn), 1,700km pipeline to transport its gas through war-torn Afghanistan to India and Pakistan.

Exxon warning adds to Nigeria oil output problems

ABUJA/GENEVA (Reuters) - ExxonMobil on Wednesday became the fourth oil major in a month to warn customers over delays to Nigerian oil and gas exports, adding to a raft of problems for Africa's biggest energy producer caused by oil spills, theft and flooding.

Clinton Seeks Gaza Truce as Blast Injures 21 on Bus

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in a bid to end to their weeklong conflict, as a blast hit a bus in Tel Aviv and air strikes on Gaza continued.

A bomb exploded on the bus around midday today near military headquarters in the Israeli commercial hub, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Television footage showed broken windows and damage to the interior while the chassis was largely intact. Roadblocks were set up in the city after the blast, and 21 people were hospitalized, three of them with serious injuries, Rosenfeld said by phone.

Rifle-Toting Terrorists Pose Great Threat to Power Grid

An attack on the power grid by terrorists -- even ones armed with relatively simple weapons is among the greatest threats to the reliability of the nation’s power system, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said.

“There are ways that a very few number of actors with very rudimentary equipment could take down large portions of our grid,” FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said today at a Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington. “I don’t think we have the level of physical security we need.”

Iraq to prefer Russia and China bids for Exxon stake

Iraq would give preference to offers by Russia's Lukoil and China's CNPC if they decided to bid for ExxonMobil's stake in the West Qurna-1 oilfield, a senior oil ministry official was reported as saying on Friday.

Rosneft 'bags two Arctic licences'

Rosneft is reported to have gained two more offshore licences in the Russian Arctic after they were awarded to the state-owned oil company without a tender taking place.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev handed over the pair of Pechora Sea blocks, Pomorsky and Pomorsky-2, to Rosneft in a signing ceremony earlier this month, according to a Russian-language RBC.ru report cited by the Barents Observer.

Gazprom-led group to start laying underwater South Stream gas pipeline in 2014

Moscow (Platts) - South Stream Transport, the operating company for the underwater section of the South Stream gas pipeline project aimed at bringing Russian gas across the Black Sea to Europe, expects to start laying pipe in 2014, after receiving all of the necessary approvals from the countries involved, consortium spokesman Sebastian Sass said Wednesday.

Potential problems in the oil pipeline remain

NOT long ago, the peak oil consensus painted a picture of a future of uncontrollably spiking oil prices. The rapid rise of developing market demand would lead to a squeeze on oil markets and surging oil prices. But as oil and gas producers can attest, many of these forecasts have come to nothing - a loose short to medium-term supply balance has put the brakes on any dramatic price rise.

Rather than floating on a cushion of huge fuel price increases, oil producers are instead facing a challenging future. And rather than global economic growth of 4 per cent or more, oil-demand driving GDP is now closer to 3 per cent.

Analysis: Why US will allow more LNG exports

Companies are eager to export cheap US natural gas, but only Cheniere Energy has an Energy Department permit to do so. The Obama administration is likely to issue more permits.

SUNY Buffalo Shuts Down Its Institute on Drilling

The State University of New York at Buffalo announced Monday that it was closing down its newly formed Shale Resources and Society Institute, which was devoted to the study of hydraulic fracturing, citing “a cloud of uncertainty over its work.”

Search called off for missing oil platform worker in Gulf of Mexico off US after deadly blast

NEW ORLEANS - The search has been called off for a Filipino worker missing since Friday's deadly explosion and fire aboard an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico off the U.S.

South Korea sets sights on more nuclear deals in UAE and Middle East

South Korea wants to win further nuclear deals in the UAE and the wider region, and build on its successful bid to construct the Arab world’s first reactors in Abu Dhabi.

The Energy Bill: What’s the real cost?

Throughout its time in power, Coalition energy ministers have stated, time and again, that there will be no subsidies for nuclear power. Ed Davey, the current Coalition Secretary of State for the Department of Energy, has so far played a straight bat on this. In 2006, before the Coalition existed, he concluded that “a new generation of nuclear power stations will cost taxpayers and consumers tens of billions of pounds…in addition to posing safety and environmental risks, nuclear power will only be possible with vast taxpayer subsidies or a rigged market.” More recently he has confirmed that "there will be no blank cheque for nuclear – unless they are price competitive, nuclear projects will not go ahead."

Although these statements could hardly be clearer, the Coalition Government is now considering capping onshore wind development and handing nuclear power large subsidies in the forthcoming Energy Bill. The key to this is what’s called a ‘strike price’.

Cloudy future for cash-soaked solar technology

Big Asian manufacturers are scooping up next-generation solar technology from the United States on the cheap.

But they face a long slog to turn these start-ups into serious competitors for the Chinese panel makers that dominate the market.

China Grabs Share in Latin America Wind With Cheap Loans

Chinese wind-turbine makers have broken into the South American market, the world’s fastest- growing, by offering government-backed loans at interest rates as much as 50 percent lower than local offerings.

Californians can now fill up on algae-based biodiesel

The algae-based fuel is known as B20, which means a mix of 80% conventional diesel and 20% biofuel. That’s generally the maximum motorists can find at a public filling station – though company officials insist they could use 100% organic diesel in a conventional vehicle without and change in performance or reduction in the life of a diesel engine.

King Coal, Alive and Kicking

Some 1,200 new coal-fired power plants are being planned across the globe despite concerns about greenhouse gas emissions from such generating stations, the most polluting type, the World Resources Institute estimates. Two-thirds of them would operate in China and India, it says.

Jane Holtz Kay, a Prophet of Climate Change, Dies at 74

Ms. Kay’s 1997 book, “Asphalt Nation,” told harsh truths about the environmental consequences of a car-centered society.

California’s CO2 Now Has a Price, but a Low One

A free-market auction has established a price for pollution in California: for each metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted, businesses, utilities and industries that bought allowances last week will pay just $10.09.

IEA report reminds us peak oil idea has gone up in flames

The truly global implications of the 2012 report lie in the warning that we must leave most of our fossil fuels in the ground.

Princeton geoscientists report Greenland ice sheet melting rate is increasing

(Phys.org)—Princeton geoscientists Christopher Harig and Frederik Simons have been applying new methods to study the amount of ice melt in the Greenland ice sheet. They report in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the rate is approximately 200 billion tons annually and is rising at a rate of approximately 9 billion tons per year.

Swift action needed to tackle widening emissions gap: UN

LONDON (Reuters) - Greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 could be between 8 billion and 13 billion tonnes above what is needed to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius, a United Nations' Environment Programme (UNEP) report showed on Wednesday.

The annual report, prepared by UNEP and the European Climate Foundation, studied a range of estimates to assess whether current pledges for emissions cuts are enough to limit the worst effects of climate change.

For some US cities small steps key to storm protection

SACO, Maine, (Reuters) - In the aftermath of the historic floods caused by Superstorm Sandy, some city leaders have begun to argue for the construction of sea walls capable of shielding the U.S. coastline from ever more intense storms. But in Saco, Maine, storm protection comes in a far less glamorous package. Along what used to be Surf Street, owners of beachfront houses are jacking their homes up to allow storm surges from Saco Bay to flow underneath them.

The northeastern city of 19,000 people has reason to be wary of the water - over the past decade it has washed away six homes and in 2007 took several blocks of Surf Street itself. Today the street is a gravel track along a wall of dishwasher-size chunks of rock built by the city to blunt the force of storm waves. The road "was damaged several times and we repaired it," said Dick Lambert, Saco code enforcement officer. But after a 2007 nor'easter swept away much of it, "We said, 'We're spending good money after bad. This time we're going to stop.'"

After Sandy: Why We Can’t Keep Rebuilding on the Water’s Edge

The reason so many Americans make their homes in storm and flood zones is partly because we simply like living along the water. But the other part is that government-subsidized flood insurance essentially eliminates the financial risk. The question now, after Sandy, is whether we’ll keep making the same circular mistake, paying billions to put people back in harm’s way, or whether we’ll instead say, “Build if you want, but the risk is all yours.”

As Coasts Rebuild and U.S. Pays, Repeatedly, the Critics Ask Why

Across the nation, tens of billions of tax dollars have been spent on subsidizing coastal reconstruction in the aftermath of storms, usually with little consideration of whether it actually makes sense to keep rebuilding in disaster-prone areas. If history is any guide, a large fraction of the federal money allotted to New York, New Jersey and other states recovering from Hurricane Sandy — an amount that could exceed $30 billion — will be used the same way.

Tax money will go toward putting things back as they were, essentially duplicating the vulnerability that existed before the hurricane.

“We’re Americans, damn it,” said Robert S. Young, a North Carolina geologist who has studied the way communities like Dauphin Island respond to storms. “Retreat is a dirty word.”

EU defines & limits eBikes

Maximum of 25 kph (15 mph) before electric cut-off and 250 watts of electrical assist.


Anything more is not a "bicycle" but a scooter.

Best Hopes for More bicycles and eBikes,


thats the current UK regulation by the looks of it

nobody I know would buy one

some have - seen them for sale on ebay 700GBP new , so if yer lucky ...


PS: as for the scooters ... .can be a real liability with so many SUVs around my area

De-restrict a chinese 50cc and get 55mph and 70-80 to the imperial gallon - and keep up with the traffic for less than 600GBP ........ yeah I know when theres no oil .... well there be no SUVs either will there?

Bought an e bike 3 yrs ago and the li-ion batteries are already dead. $700 to replace. Over all quality was garbage. I could have bought 3 nice hybrid bikes for the cost and lose weight as an added bonus. As long as I can ride, I will. Support our troops. Ride a bike.

Bought an ebike 8 years ago, used, for about $900. Put 5000 miles on it thus far. The NiMH battery pack, now 11 years old, finally started showing signs of age this year. It still works, but the range has shrunk to about one mile less than my 18 mile hilly roundtrip commute. If I charge it at work it is still usable. But I went on to the next-oldest battery pack I have on hand. Design and construction of this bike are great, but alas they don't make this model any more. Giant LaFree Lite.

This model almost fits within the EU limits: the e-assist fades out around 17 mph, and the motor is about 250 watts. The motor is in the pedals area and works through the chain and rear-hub gearing, thus that power output is enough to provide significant assistance up hills and into headwinds. On this model though one must push the pedals to get the assistance. Like a matching grant.

Do not buy the cheapest Ebike in a supermarket.
Buy something like the flyer http://www.flyer.ch/topic12426.html
And new battery (Li) for instance here, 200 euros, for an old bike do not buy original battery, they cost really as you said:

Ps I use that stuff, works good, all weather, cheap and durable. But you must enjoy biking outdoors...
Keeps me healthy. I bring the kids, gets them used to the natural world, a change from computer games.

Good pedalling!

Unfortunately, the best e-bikes are not available in the U.S. At least, they weren't when I last checked. All the most-recommended models were available only in Asia or Europe.

This custom-built e-bike takes no prisoners...but get some good medical insurance...8kw, caption under the vid from the builder says latest version is 13kw...


Being behind that car had Me wondering if the brakes were upgraded any.

1000 WH battery, just a little smaller than a prius or lynfords model airplane.

Yeah, the parts available are impressive. I've talked to some eBike people and they've built bikes that are just really crazy. Like one that you can let other people try to ride as a joke and it will throw them off because as soon as you hit the throttle with any force it does a wheelie and flips over.

eBikes are great. They are nice for people who kinda wanted to bike to work but didn't want to deal with showing up to work all sweaty.

European wimps!

My e-bikes are 1000 watts with 20 mph cutoff and LiFePO4 battery, which I consider the minimum for a decent bike. 1000 watts is higher than the US limit (750), but it's unlikely a policeman would know the difference. As a big guy who lives up a big hill, I need the power even with my pedaling.

Even at this power level, the bike gets over 1000 miles per gallon energy equivalent (0.4 KWH for a 14-mile commute).

Pardon the snark, Tech, and I AM jealous of your rig, but who is less wimpy, the one with the more pedalling to do or less? I know you're just goofin'.

I do think the day is coming though, for our American Boyz with the phattest trucks to also start reckoning on the difference between their'Muscle Wheels' and True Grit.

Could be worse.. I guess they just fingered Lance Armstrong for actually Peddling while he was Pedalling. I don't care how strong the guy was, when it's gotten so focused on the 'Win and the Trophy', and not on your own actual power, skill and endurance, I just have less and less respect for the accomplishments or the person.

—detailing damning evidence that Armstrong not only used performance-enhancing drugs and doped throughout his career, but also pressured his teammates to do so and aggressively intimidated anyone who challenged him. He was the kingpin in a doping scheme run like a two-wheeled mafia, insisting his underling domestiques cover up his elaborate fraud. After years of vehemently denying allegations that he cheated, Armstrong had nothing left to say. He waived his right to testify against the allegations, and was subsequently stripped of his seven Tour titles and banned from pro cycling for life.


- particularly that with it he puts cycling into the realm of such torrid loss of personal quality. It's just gross! To counter his book's title, Maybe it SHOULD be 'about the bike' again.

Yeah, I would love to know how Armstrong would have fared back in this day.

Back in the day, they smoked cigarettes during the Tour. Now that takes a real man.

Good point about a big guy needing a bigger assist motor. But using more power means carrying a larger battery - again less of an issue for a large person, although it also costs more. I am a lightweight person so the lower wattage suffices for me. But also note that in a lower gear (and assuming that the motor is either geared too, as in my e-bike, or is designed to work efficiently at low RPMs) one can climb the big hill with less power (both human and electric) - but more slowly. Same as in the automobile-power-to-weight-ratio thread discussed here recently, a little patience on the uphills goes a long ways towards making do with a smaller motor. As we descend from Hubbert's peak, "making do" will be more and more the thing.

Keep in mind a 'fit' person is 200 watts of pedal power, Old Lance Armstrong would do 600+ watts for 30 or so mins so the US 1 HP is strapping more than Lance to your bike.

As you go faster, wind resistance begins to have an effect same with picking a mountain bike fatter tire VS thin racing tires.

Something like this, but home-built (and less spendy?)?


I would love it...but I still need a dedicated bikeway to avoid certain death from the bad drivers/road-ragers...

Silly Train safety video from Australia - Melbourne Metro

It seems there are some themes running here - cars need to be smaller, bicycles are too slow, electric bicycles are legally underpowered but efficient. I rather like this solution

It's small, fairly fast, it's not pretending to be a pedal bike. There are two versions, I hope one gets going.


Though perhaps I'm biased as I can ride an analogue unicycle..



Opel RAK e
"En version non bridée, la vitesse maximale atteint les 120 km /h pour une autonomie de 100 km, grâce à son moteur électrique de 49 chevaux. Pour un prix qui devrait s'établir autour des 7 000 euros sans les incitations fiscales !"

Audi Electric Urban Concept: http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/14/audis-electric-urban-concept-says-tha...

From the website for the Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission.

Projecting these figures for the entire United States yields 13,983 total deaths and 822 infant deaths in excess of the expected. These preliminary data need to be followed up, especially in the light of similar preliminary U.S. mortality findings for the four months after Chernobyl fallout arrived in 1986, which approximated final figures."

(in excess of the expected? Oh pay tell where are THOSE models? Models that show a fission reactor failure 1/2 a world away cause deaths.)

Collapse and the Sorites Paradox

Sorites is the Greek word for "heap." Imagine, for instance, a heap of sand on your desk. A heap contains maybe 1,000,000 grains of sand. If you take away a single grain of sand, is it still a heap? I think most of us would say, "of course it is!" Nothing's changed from any outward appearance, after all. If I take two grains away? Three? Four? Ten? No difference, of course it's still a heap of sand.

The problem is, I can just keep doing this - picking away a grain of sand out of the heap and asking you if it still a heap. Eventually we will be left with a single grain of sand. Is this a heap? Of course it isn't. But exactly when did it stop being a heap? Which grain did I remove to turn it from a heap to something else? Can you point to it? This concept also works with someone who is rich. Clearly if I take a dollar away from someone who is a millionaire, it will make little difference. The rich person is still rich. What if I keep doing it? At what point do they become poor? $100,000? $10,000? $100? $53.76?

We can easily see how this applies to societal collapse. The problem arises from vague predicates. How do we define a heap? How do we define a collapse? When does one become the other? When does pre-collapse become post-collapse? What one single thing, when removed, causes the collapse? What one switch causes a pre-collapse society to become a post-collapse one? Is there a phase shift? Can we define such a thing? If not, how can we really define collapse at all? Does the term have any meaning?

I think that's also essentially Greer's argument, that collapse happens so slowly in a way that most people aren't able to observe and say...aha there it is. I know that it has been discussed endlessly here but I found the article noteworthy for it's clear articulation of the problem, so posting it here.

Excellent article! Thanks for the link. It really ties in with the previous Drumbeat's discussion about collapse.


Oddly, a sand pile has been used as a metaphor for collapse before...only, making the opposite claim. That the pile would collapse suddenly - a mini-avalanche, as it were, with no question of when the collapse occurred.

Strange that both metaphors could apply simultaneously; 'death by a thousand cuts' causing civilization to collapse under it's own weight.

These are two different metaphores, used to explain two different things. I like them both. Regarding the one in the article I will keep repeating the mantra that we will see it in the rear mirror.

Offcourse if there is a fast collapse Darwinian-style, or if my own scenario with the collapse of the grid comes true, we will know it real time.

JW - And if you want to push that metaphor further consider the slope of your pile of sand. That angle of repose (about 34 degrees) is well known by every geologist that has made his way up a talus slope on the side of the mountain. So pile your sand on the table and apply a very small vibration to the table. That pile will slow collapse into a flatter repose. So you're basically thinking of the above ground factors that can make basic PO worse and thus push faster towards collapse. But it can get much worse: lower that table into a pool of water and your pile can quickly become no pile at all. This might represent the worst of the potential above ground factors that could greatly accelerate collapse. I'll let other speculate on the nature of the small and large above ground factors that could hasten collapse.

Actually, the metaphor of the talus slope (or rice pile, etc) contains deep similarity to the invisible landscape of stabilities and criticalities all around us in nature and the human world, obeying very similar dynamics across what would appear to be wildly disparate system types.

Personally, I think there is far more leverage in learning to analyze and tweak the existing criticality landscape than to try to steer systems via politics, enlightenment, or the other usual default mechanisms. It's just a human blind spot.

Not disagreeing. Just trying to understand what "tweak the existing criticality landscape" means. Examples would help.

Sorry, I have no references or brief examples. To the best of my knowledge, nobody else refers to it that way.

The general concept of "landscape" is meant in the sense referred to in biological fitness landscapes; an abstract visualization aid for potential niches versus realized genotypes/phenotypes. A way of arranging certain sorts of simultaneous data. While it is an abstraction, it refers to real things, as a street or topographic map does.

The term "criticality" is here used as a noun, referring to the reality that the many overlapping systems around us, both adaptive and passive, can evolve toward critical states as well as being resolved to more stable states, and that there are various degrees of criticality around us in many systems which interact. The existence or absence of less-stable criticalities in overlapping systems establishes - among other things - the limits of potential leverage over target systems, where leverage refers to getting a large effect from a relatively smaller perturbation.

It is a bit different way of looking at the world, and I assume that others have defined the terms and dynamics better than I have, since I've invented my own systems just for effectiveness in field campaigns. I have not seen this from others, though I've seen piecemeal stuff which is very consistent with it. I'm a field campaigner rather than a theorist.

Anyhow, what I'm saying is that "criticality landscapes" in this sense can be useful in fields ranging from human advocacy, realpolitik, biological systems, affecting the way concepts propagate among human minds, etc. Basically why some stuff works in the real world and some stuff doesn't. Its the basis for a sort of behavioristic systems-intervention toolkit. The eco-jedi way.

Which is to say, it was a cryptic comment by an idiosyncratic poster.

Greenie – I think I get your “landscape” and it’s good especially the predictable/unpredictable interactions. Along the lines of my “POD”…Peal Oil Dynamic. IOW the actual date of PO is much less important than the interaction of all the individual pieces of the system. We may not have reached PO yet but the system has become unstable to some degree with uncertainty as to whether we’re about to slide off a steep social/economic cliff or a more gradual downslope or heck…maybe even a plateau or slight upslope. All of which hurtles me back to chaos theory and the difficulty in predicting complex systems.

Rockman ~
I like your Peak Oil Dynamic concept. It makes sense to my right-brain, generalist point of view. Maybe I'm just slightly autistic, haha, but perception of patterns in the Big Picture is my thing. I tend to take the Very Long View approach. The "Seven Generations" approach is good, but I like to think more in terms of millennia, for instance, what about the next Glaciation? Will some remnant of our civilization make it through?

I think I would mourn the loss of the Arts more than anything else...

perception of patterns in the Big Picture is my thing. I tend to take the Very Long View approach.

....the Force is strong in this one.....

Rock -

Yes, I don't doubt you and I have come to some similar conclusions about a few things, sorry you're not nearby enough to kick back and BS with you in person.

The interesting thing I've found, having shifted my career from the oil patch to systems intervention back in the mid-70's, is that learning to see the hidden criticalities in systems all around us, on all scales, can be a good guide for what is possible and what isn't; and ways to affect target systems by dealing with entirely different systems that overlap with them. Ways to tame complexity by doing key moves without allowing the systems time to iterate much. The pre-preparation of new stable states to trigger systems into. The art of simultaneous perturbations in several interacting systems. Steering viral public response. And doing it all with a handful of people mostly under the radar; not because there aren't millions of people to work with, but because of the sensitive nature of event propagation, and the necessity for tight information control.

Just riffing here, and I don't claim to be Hari Seldon, but I think that getting away from the verbal-narrative parts of our minds and learning to train the more powerful visual cortex to help frame a situation abstractly and perceive deep structural similarities, can be surprisingly powerful. The nature of narrow, often reductionist specialization and expertise in today's society has worked in a hive context, but it doesn't work as well for systems thinking in general, and is wholly inadequate to steer existing systems.

Of course I'm not talking about predicting the future states of complex and chaotic systems - though the bounds to their instability do lend themselves to some basic boundaries on outcomes. I have no idea whether we'll bump down one side of the mountain or careen screaming down the other side. Rather, my point is that intervention is not as futile as most "activists" think. It's only conventional methods that are pretty futile.

The thing that distinguishes me from the talkers is the same thing that distinguishes you from them, the folks who have never been near the oil business but figure they know about it in the abstract. No substitute for real-world results & experience over decades. And just maybe by our age we will have come to a few insights.

Feel free to drop me an email if you'd like to knock it back & forth at all. Every once in awhile I just throw out something like this as a SETI-like experimental probe.

happy turkey-eating...

Greenie – Thinking about your response as well as EM’s above it occurs to me there are two ways to try to resolve the energy analysis. The first we see in detail on TOD: study declines…study new oil…study alts….study biofuels… study ELM…sturdy all the other above ground factors… study ICE fuel efficiency… study monetary policies… study free market vs. govt mandates… study etc, etc, etc. Then take all that data and try to develop some universal calculus. As confusing and argumentative as this process can be on TOD it’s the real value of this site IMHO.

Then there’s the simpler analysis: oil is selling $X/bbl…deal with it. LOL

$X/bbl works. But people seem so fickle about it. Yeah, I know, I know, humans are short-term thinkers and all that. But since we're all humans here (LOL), and can think longer-term, then it must be possible. Can we build on that possibility?

So, is another way out studying how demand might be radically reduced and stay reduced, independent of $X/bbl? Challenge would be getting consumption to reduce in advance of forced decline and then stay that way (even through periodic easing of $X/bbl).

Any social innovations, beyond $X, we've forgotten about?

Didn't Tainter report one society intentionally adopted simplification? If we couple that reality with Boulding's "if it exists, it's possible," then do we have other ways out?

Then take all that data and try to develop some universal calculus.

Heck, we don't need a universal calculus, when it comes to steering complex systems we just need rules of thumb that aren't dead wrong.

What we have here primarily are human cognitive idiosyncrasies, not energy problems.

I think that boiled down, "deal with it" is the larger message we aren't seeing. If things can be steered so people have to "deal with it" sooner than later, the world and its species - including fire-monkeys - will wind up less destroyed. So some "tough love" may be called for.

Yes. "Deal with it" is core, and we're not hearing it.

Inevitably, no matter what we do now, people eventually will consume less, ready or not. Sets the baseline behavior change that's baked in. (And here's where we need the energy system analysis; to give us the slope of the curve down.)

It's getting there "sooner than later" that's the challenge. Change before it's fait accompli and stay changed through periodic flush times. Hard yes, and some here will say impossible given our species. But worth trying because it'd sure be nice to have some capital left to work with while we descend.

So, we need a bunch of ways to frame a "deal with it" message. Various ones, for various groups, at various stages and ages, all leveraging various cognitive heuristics.

[Maybe add ignoring energy descent as another "dumb way to die."]

"Deal with it" is inherent in the price. As gas prices rise, people will just be forced to 'deal with it'. They can whine all they want, blame Obama, blame OPEC, blame big oil, etc. But there is little they can really do but 'deal with it'.

I just hope people can think ahead a bit and make some wise decisions. The MPG of the new car you buy is the one you will be stuck with for the next 5 to 10 years (or however long you own your car). And even if you think you'll just sell it, the resale value may be heavily dependent on the MPG the car gets.

Jedi Welder,

There is also the slow collapse, but nevertheless it is orders of magnitude more sure.

The only uncertainty is which type of intelligence will cause that collapse (Did Abiotic Intelligence Precede Biotic Intelligence?).

BTW the Darwinian (biotic) collapse is orders of magnitude slower than the abiotic collapse (State Crimes Against Democracy).

With "Darwinian Colapse" I am actually refeering to our own doomer prophet Ron P. I tend to share his view of a collapse that is fast when it happen, but put different factors in as the triggering event.

in fact the pile doesn't collapse (unless you define avalanche=collapse) in the case you slowly add more grains of sand. the interesting thing (at least for physicists and mathematicians) is that it is not possible to predict when these avalanches happen (which is perhaps rather intuitive), but more importantly the avalanches do not have any preferred scale. in other words there are small and big avalanches randomly in a strange way. one kind of expected that there would be a lot of small avalanches and rarely big ones. however, the distribution is not at all like that.

Thinking about sand piles...

Everyone assumes sand is removed at the bottom of the pile causing a collapse. However, sand could be removed from the top of the pile and, while the pile would get smaller, it would never collapse.

We could, as a society, do the same thing. We could strive for Ecotopia. Many of us are doing this in our own way through energy usage and production and lifestyle changes. Will it happen? I doubt it.

My main point really is that few are thinking outside the box.


An interesting thing about the sand pile analogy is that such a pile is slowly pumped and configures itself. If you have a mind which can observe comprehend the states of criticality (slope) at all places, and have a few single grain of sand which can each be dropped in a specific spot at a specific time, the entire future of the pile can be altered and directed; the collapses triggered are predictable. Ironically, if you have several minds trying the same thing at the same time, it won't work. On a fundamental level, this is why information-controlled activism will always have more leverage and directionality than mass approaches: the sensitive path-dependence of sequential outcomes. Mass-based approaches are inherently directionless even if they seem not to be, and level all slopes. It is one fundamental problem with coalitions, enlightenment, and all that usual-paradigm stuff, and the reason most actual volition-initiated change is steered by parties who are not obvious, for better or worse.

This is exactly the aproach used by the KGB to infiltrate the western thinking. Yes they had Radio Mosow and all that, but the times they realy managed to implant their thinking in the western mindset was when they used stealth. Lefties don't like to hear this, but they were the group of people who most often swallowed the propaganda. One of the reasons I never was leftie. Kreml was the world leading players in the field at the time.

Certainly lefties swallowed it. As a founder of greenpeace in the USA, it was interesting to see the shift of the organization toward the USSR, and to incorporate capuchin-fairness mandates and veer toward ideological anthropocentrism as it became global and more hierarchical. In some ways this was a plus: it enabled me to, say, plan a seaborne invasion of the soviet mainland to expose industrial abuse of "aboriginal" whale quotas. By telegraphing the intent a week out, the decision could be made at higher levels not to blow the ship out of the water but just to take the PR hit on the whale issue so as not to mess up the warm & fuzzy feelings of the european greens for the soviets on anti-USA issues. (A couple months later a Korean 747 was not so lucky... not a good idea to surprise heavily-armed empires into making quick decisions). Of course, this required compartmentalizing info even within the organization, so there would be insufficient time for the campaign to be stopped by those with allegiance to our commie masters. This involved circumventing the internal funding-control process by getting the principle funding from a well-known semi-insane maverick billionaire. And actually that whole soviet invasion thing was a feint, the means to an end on an unrelated project which was intractable without going outside its visible boundaries.

It's always surprising to me that more people don't do stuff like that.

Very close to Theseus's Paradox (aka The Ship of Theseus)

The Athenians had a ship that was very important to them culturally - they maintained it for centuries - sort of like Old Ironsides (the USS Constitution)in the US - whether it really did belong to a historical Theseus we will never know - but they thought it did - anyway, they maintained it so well that after several hundred years, virtually every plank and fitting had been carefully replaced. It remained identical to the original, until it was lost IIRC in one of the sackings of Athens. The question being, if all parts were replaced, say at a rate of one part per year, with identical replacement parts, at what time does it cease being the Ship of Theseus? Or does it cease to be? When does the Constitution cease to be the Constitution? Is it the maker's original creation that is important, or what it has become? The more you think you have an answer, the more someone can find a problem with it.

Those Greeks were amazing (speaking of collapse). Check out Archimede's Method if you understand calculus. Or the final reconstruction of the Antikythera Mechanism, or Eratosthene's measurement of the circumference of the Earth in 240 BC (he got it right to several significant digits). They were about 1000 years ahead of schedule in some sciences, historians of science have come to realize this in part by chance discoveries. They clearly had much more than we are aware of, in fact the greatest percentage of what classic works of Greece we have available to us came from one source - the Imperial Library of Byzantium before it was destroyed in the 1400's(the Library was started by one emperor who was seeking to save the ancient works - he knew they were being lost - forgot which one it was though).
So anyway - when is a collapse a collapse? We can ask it another way (the obverse or maybe contra positive) that is perhaps a more useful way of voicing the question - but my headache is increasing (not the fault of this subject really - history of severe head injury - acting up badly the past few weeks) - so time to go -

There's also this ax that's been in my family for 5 generations. Of course the handle was replaced several times, and the head at least once... :-)

And I have a broom...:-)

The question being, if all parts were replaced, say at a rate of one part per year, with identical replacement parts, at what time does it cease being the Ship of Theseus?

In Asia there are various temples and shrines which have been rebuilt and are refered to in the same framing of "this has always been here for 2000+ years".

So anyway - when is a collapse a collapse?

When the emotional buy-in to the collapse idea is strong enough to warrant to have the bulk of the "important people" agree.

"Important people" may never agree.

I think Tainter did a pretty good job of defining collapse. He links it to a decrease in complexity - both technologically and politically. That would be a significant reduction in the number of different artifacts a society uses, as well as a reduction in levels of bureaucracy (and specialization in science, business, etc.). There will also be big population drop - 80%-90% is common.

While there are many signs that our society may be increasingly vulnerable to collapse (the leveling off of population growth, for example), it clearly has not happened yet, at least by Tainter's criteria. We are more specialized than ever, and have more gadgets than ever. And the population is still growing. More slowly, but it's still increasing.

Question: Does the truism "the bigger (or more complex) they are, the harder they fall" hold true? My feeling is that we are adding more straws to a weakening camel's back. Poor old camel :-0

Many peak oilers seem to believe this is true, but looking at the data, it appears the opposite. Larger, more complex societies take longer to collapse.

What do we offer as a definition of collapse for the United States?

Is the definition predicated on some baseline/reference year?

History is always a useful guide to understanding trends, but there are no historical industrial societies to refer to. We are in uncharted territory. The massive levels of over-population leave humanity attached to a petroleum lifeline; if severed civilization as we know it will end.

I disagree with your characterization, if I understand you correctly:

My guess is stated here:


So...yes, technically speaking, civilization as we currently know it will be a thing of the past, but if you posit that means some kind of Mad Max, Dark Ages, Little House on the Prairie, or similar circumstance, I think the outcome over time will look somewhat more like current civilization than those ideas.

I am not optimistic/happy with the likely future landscape...a few days ago I looked at almost every country on the mazama science population databrowser, and what I saw and shared with a few workmates was sobering. Even in countries with significant negative population events (such as the 'Killing Filds' time in Cambodia, and the 'Great Leap Forward' in China, and in several other examples, the level-off or dip in the population was compensated for with a resumption of the previous high population growth rates, sometimes with a temporary dramatic spike in births, but in almost all cases I saw the dramatic dieoff was nothing more than a speedbump on the curve.

We shall see if the total human population levels off at 9B and by when...

Very true-
Before, we had Continents to plunder, Oceans full of fish, and a small population, still not in overshoot.
I'm educated to be a historian, and I also think we are in uncharted territory, especially as this will be global, rather than local.

Quite possible.

OTOH...I always hesitate when I start thinking, "This time it's different." That's what we always tell ourselves, and it's usually not true. It's why we buy a new car or a new iPad, even though the last one we bought didn't make us any happier. That's why women have a second child. ;-) We think this time it's different, I know better. It won't happen to me, I'm not like the others. But most of the time, it's not different.

Of course, sometimes it really is different. But I don't think humans are very good at detecting those situations. We're truly terrible at predicting the future, even when dealing with subjects we know very well.

Think of the farmer feeding the turkey.
The turkey anxiously waiting for food , on a very regular, predictable schedule.
Then he shows up with a ax.

Don't be a turkey.

The turkey doesn't really have a choice in the matter, does he?

We only think we do, as it makes life tolerable, and gives the illusion of free will.

That thought did cross my mind. Collapse isn't something that happens every day. If turkeys were smart, they'd look at the bigger picture - the history. And they'd find Thanksgiving is a bad time to be a turkey. If we were in that situation, no doubt we'd tell ourselves that this time it's different.

But even if, unlike a turkey, you have the ability to do something...deciding what to do is quite difficult. As Greer points out, peak oil is often an excuse for people to do what they wanted to do anyway. Which is probably good, because we're so bad at predicting the future, we may as well do what we want.

I'm reminded of that "food fight" Greer, Sharon Astyk, and Stuart Staniford got into a few years back. (It was actually quite interesting and civil - an exchange not an actual fight.) Sharon had her farm in the country, and thought she would be needing it soon and that others should also farm. Stuart said the last thing he wanted to do was learn to farm, because people with those skills would be stuck being the epsilons in our brave new world. And Greer said whatever you do has to make economic sense now, not just in the imagined future, and suggested that a farm near a city would be the smart move. You could sell your organic produce at a premium at a farmer's market, and learn farming while your life didn't depend on it.

Three smart, informed, peak oil aware people, who have very different visions of the future. They can't all be right. And being wrong could be a costly mistake.

For example: the way people were preparing for the financial crisis, back before the mortgage bubble burst. Some people here suggested that the smart thing to do was to take out a mortgage you couldn't afford, knowing you could never repay it. They argued that so many people would default on their mortgages that they couldn't all be evicted, and squatters would rule, or maybe the government would actually give the houses to the people living in them. Grab one now, or you might be forever shut out. A different version of this theory counted on hyperinflation to shrink mortgage payments to the point that they were negligible. Be a borrower, not a lender. Run up your credit cards to buy solar panels for your over-mortgaged house, and laugh when inflation shrinks the monthly payments.

I don't know if anyone actually did this, but if they did, I'm guessing it didn't work out too well.

Refinance today at much lower interest rates - and lower, more affordable monthly payments.


I suspect that's an option mostly for those who assumed BAU would continue forever. The people who bought a house knowing they could not afford it have likely been foreclosed on by now. The ones who feared home prices would keep falling did not buy. It was the ones continuing BAU who are refinancing now.

This might be a situation where it was better not to know anything.

At least, assuming the bottom doesn't fall out again soon...

"Three smart, informed, peak oil aware people, who have very different visions of the future. They can't all be right. And being wrong could be a costly mistake."

It's possible for them all to be partially correct, enough to give them an advantage under their circumstances. Aquiring skills that are essential and sellable under most circumstances, especially things most people need, but most don't want to do, can make one more resilient to change, as can reducing ones overhead, building real social capital and community, and playing an important roll in your tribe. Many paths to a more resilient future. Planning to exploit collapse probably isn't one of them. I prefer a generalists approach, and am certain I don't want folks around who are miserable because they think they should pursue a similar lifestyle.

Greer's and Orlov's chosen responses are very different, but they seem to be mostly on the same page regarding where we're headed.

We places our bets and we rolls the dice...

Orlov is an engineer, with Russian genes to boot while Greer is a historian and a gifted writer. I wouldn't expect anything else from them :)

There is always the chance that fraud can be found in your mortgage paperwork and if you are willing to go to court you might get a ruling in your favor.

Greer is a postmodernist, probably came of age in the late 70's or 80's, and is a product of the time.
While an excellent writer, his view that any reference point has validity, and reality is up to the observer, is quite naive and questionable.

Wow. I don't see it that way at all. He does write a lot about the narratives we humans naturally create, but he sees that an impediment to understanding - because reality doesn't care what stories we tell ourselves. At least that's my interpretation.

That's my interpretation too. And he keeps emphasizing that history does repeat itself, and that is how we should predict reality. He's often been portrayed as predicting a very slow collapse, over centuries (after all he wrote "the long descent", counterpoint to Kunstler's "the long emergency"), but his own examples (and actions) hint towards significant down-steps happening fairly fast. It's just that he assumes that there will be additional down-steps for centuries, punctuated with minor up-steps, and regional variability.

He does emphasize that most people living through a collapse do not perceive it as such. It seems to me that people here on TOD saying that the last several years turned out to be BAU is an example of that! Most people who lived through the de-industrialization of the USA between the 70's and 90's saw factories closing, rise of imports, etc, but did not foresee how far that trend will go. The trends we are seeing now in most Western countries, of unemployment, fiscal crises, debt defaults, bailouts, austerity measures, reneging on pensions and social security and health care and education and other promises, may well continue until, in a decade or two, we'll realize that the world has changed drastically.

Mine too. Greer helps us see a bigger picture. Hard to write history from within a wicked trend, but he's making the effort. And he rises above being just a good writer; his catabolic collapse framework is scholarship.

As far as "...came of age in the late 70's or 80's" and "...is a product of the time." Well, change the dates and that gets close to an ad hominem against any of us. In fact, the reason this is an excellent forum is that everyone works to avoid writing superficial commentary.

Give turkeys the right to bear axes.

(The turkeys will kill each other and the farmer can sell the carcasses.)

Very reasonable view and I live my life preparing for continued BAU as well as preparing for a massive economic reset/collapse. I am tired of being a consumer and I am making sustainability with the earth my life goal regardless of how the future plays out.

I say exactly nothing is different this time either. So the end result will be the same as all the other times. There realy is only one thing that are different; the scope. Now we involve the whole planet, all countries, all the natural resources and so on. So that is what we will pull down with us when the whole thing ends the way it always end; in fiasco.

It never get 'severed' though. It is a slow-motion thing as we move to tar sands, hydrofracking tight oil, ultra-deepwater oil, heavy oil, natural gas, biofuels, etc. So the oil supply never suddenly stops, it just keeps going up in price forcing us to adapt. So far, we haven't adapted much. Some people have. But many just whine and cut back in other areas of spending, oblivious to the fact that such a strategy just won't work in the long run.

Oil will be "severed" due to economic failure. The credit creation mechanism is dependent on economic growth that is no longer possible without running a global ponzi scheme (massive debt). The global industrial economy has been failing for decades, manifest in the unreal debt levels in industrial countries. At some point relatively soon the marginal barrel will be more than sputtering economies can afford to pay.

If renewable energy could save industrial civilization, which is a cancer consuming its host, it would have already had to have been more affordable than oil before the 1979 per capita peak. Industrial civilization has been running up the charge card completely blind to the fact that the earth is finite and although you can print money you can not print oil. When the ponzi scheme blows up credit creation will fall back in line with natural resources again leaving humanity in massive overshoot with rapidly depleting fresh water, an ongoing mass die off of species, depleted soils, climate change and ocean acidification attacking the food chain base.

I support making changes on a personal level. I just don't see it affecting industrial civilizations march to consume the planet on way or the other.

Meh. Yeah, the debt sucks but it is not like we owe it to some alien overlord who is going to kneecap us if we don't pay. We mostly owe it to ourselves. It will be resolved one way or another. People will default on much of it. Other debt will be whittled down with inflation.

We just went through a massive debt default. Thousands of people have walked away from their underwater homes leaving banks/mortgage-pools with loans that will never be paid and homes worth less than the loan. But we are still here. The wheels are still turning. People will lose money, people will lose their pensions, rich people won't be quite so rich, . . . but we will soldier on. And as long as a there is money to made from tar sands, tight-oil, heavy oil, or other oil extraction project, the capital will be made available for it.

True, the economy is man made so it is a threat that we can overcome before it becomes existential. Energy to a certain degree is fungible we can alter our usage, introduce new technology and react to availability up to a point. Systemically I see both things happening once they become a significant drag on Progress.

The biggest threat I perceive is climate change. Particularly climate change occurring at a time when we are disorganised (financial collapse) and have little additional energy to mitigate climate change (peak energy). In order to survive in a world with an increasingly different climate we will need to reorder our civilisation, difficult to do when our command and control system (the economy) is in utter chaos. Climate change will also create an energy tax on us, we'll have to expend significant amounts of energy on maintaining or synthesising Nature's services that where essentially free before. Think of wheat being grown in massive man made structures with regulated temperatures, moisture levels and light. Or the whole of Europe having to live in air conditioned everything.

That is all true but I am talking about credit creation. Our fiat money is based on the notion that debts are repaid in an ever growing economy. When debt saturation hits and there is no growth the system implodes just like a ponzi scheme. The slow decline started in the late 60's and was papered over due to an ingenious banking scheme. The conditions that allowed growth that in turn allowed the fiat currency scheme you count on to finance industrial civilization have changed and will not return.

debt sucks but it is not like we owe it to some alien overlord who is going to kneecap us if we don't pay

Those "aliens" are plutocrats, and some countries Soveign wealth funds. If they retain the power to coerce, they might as well be aliens.

Sure. But ultimately they just don't have overwhelming power to coerce. Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt were all being run by plutocrats that were skimming money off the system for their personal gain. But little guy finally got so squeezed that they stood up and revolted. And there plenty of people in the USA who can pay their mortgages but have made the strategic decision of walking away from them because the underwater situation.

And there is the saying . . . if I borrow $10K from the bank and I can't pay it back, I have a problem. If I borrow $10 Million from a bank and I can't pay it back, the bank has a problem.

I hold this view.

Note, I do not purport this to be a happy-clappy future vision at all.

However, I think that the slow, sawtooth/bumpy downslope of oil production...the unwinding of the oil culture over the course of a couple of decades is the future...not the dramatic and abrupt 'phase change' depicted by the 'oil production cliff' that were in vogue several years ago...many of them predicting a steep downslope occurring in the vicinity of 2010-2012.

Besides my brain, my entire body is replaced atom by atom every 7 years. Still me though.

Not really still you though. Each night your conscious being terminates. The next morning another conscious being re-boots from your imperfectly retained memory as modified overnight by dreaming, etc.

Where did you come up with that?

As I see it, Unconsciousness is hardly the 'termination' of the being.. it is just changing states. The process of deep rest is not a process that makes an entire identity disappear and reform on a daily basis. In fact, during sleep the persona is actively working to coalesce and rationalize the newest info and experience so that it becomes a structurally sound growing part of that personality.

So far, Merrill votes for overnight, and Suyog quotes five minutes. One tenth of a second... we are just a memory of the last moment... If that memory fails, everything comes undone. Ever loose a thought? Recall the timing.

"Cognitive Cycle Hypothesis: This hypothesis claims that human cognition functions by means of similar flexible cognitive cycles each taking approximately 100-200 milliseconds."

Consciousness in Frames per Second
"evidence that human consciousness operates at about 13 cycles per second"

"The currently leading cognitive theory of consciousness, Global Workspace Theory, postulates that the primary functions of consciousness include a global broadcast serving to recruit internal resources with which to deal with the current situation and to modulate several types of learning."

90 miles an hour on the highway? Every time you wake-up, the car has traveled a car length.

No Problem.. I'm all in favor of getting a lot of healthy naps!

But none of these shifts makes 'you' not 'you' anymore.. it's all well within the regular truths of living beings.. the attempt to extract an id's entity such that it is only true if it remains static is not a definition from the natural world, but some arbitrary euclidean demand from a part of Human Thought that keeps wanting to look at Discrete Separate pieces as if they can be understood In Toto, and that they should and must remain strictly as identified in the texts and on the catalog page.

ie, Monkey Brain.

'You don't have to BE YOURSELF', you already ARE yourself.'

It's a useful convention to consider that a given hurricane is the "same one" from one day to the next, hence the naming scheme. This has to do more with the nature of human thought than it does water, air, heat, and the earth's rotation. It fits our hunting/running away circuits well to name the gods and demons.

Indeed, one of the many problems with "global warming" (aside from - perversely - its construction from words with positive semantic associations) is that it is too diffuse and abstract a process for easy referential animism. "It" can't "get us" because to our core minds there is no "it".

We as thermodynamic phenomena are really little different from hurricanes except when thinking of ourselves there is an additional thought-wrinkle: an assumption of continuity of "self". Though perhaps the default low discount rate reflects a subconscious realization that the person with your name in a year isn't really the same entity, it will just have access to scattered, imperfectly interpreted, narratively rationalized, and continually-revised memories of prior "selfs".

Continuity of self is a very useful concept & illusion, and most of us consider that it is not dependent on our physical bodies. What odd little whirlwinds we are.

It is memory that creates the illusion of continuity. You are not the same person now that you were 5 minutes ago. What is a "person" after all? A composite of memory, habits, traits and limitations built on the foundation of a physical body. Everything, including your body, is constantly changing. How can the "person" then remain unchanged?

If only I could stabilize in this understanding instead of succumbing to the illusion of being a separate person I would be enlightened :-)

Yes, a thoughtful article on collapse.
Thread commenter mentions Greer.
Greer as I understand him is talking about the slow lurching up and down collapse of industrial civilisation - with follow-on dark ages after a hundred or a few hundred years or so. (In a dark-age you do not have even the resources you had before the flowering of the said civilisation.)On the other hand Greer's discussion of the collapse of empires suggests from historical comparisons (comparison based on scale-free factors) that collapse is often swift, where the hegemon's core region fractures into ‘statelets’, and a new hegemon arises elsewhere whose reach depends on transport technology and resources available at the time. He thinks the benefits the US derives from empire e.g. imported resources, are already in visible decline and the balance of powers is shifting toward tipping points.
Anyway, that is my reading.


To put it in context, the blog also mentions things like sudden crashes (Gaddafi's death, USSR collapsing...my examples) , but the author likens it to noise (my interpretation). You can't have a smooth decline after all. I mean the events that I mentioned are where there was a long period of decline and people are saying It's about damn time, while outsiders are surprised, insiders would say that it was a long time coming.

Sudden events which no one (again a subjective term) at that time expected are indeed rare.

I think Greer in contrast to many discussions of 'collapse', differentiates usefully between the collapse of empires, which can be very swift, and the usually slow collapse of a civilisation when it loses its complexity.

If I understand him correctly...he believes that collapse will only be collapse if it's slow.

He points to the Black Death as an example. 30-60% of the population of Europe died, but it did not result in collapse. It was certainly disruptive, and there were peasant revolts and a crisis in the Church. But life was better for most of the survivors, and the lack of peasants (and hence peasant labor) spurred the development of technology.

He argues that even if there's some kind of fast-crash doom - say, 95% of the population killed in five years - at the end of it, many of the survivors will still remember the old technology, and much of it will be reconstituted. The short timeframe actually helps preserve civilization.

Thanks Leanan.
I had missed that 2008 essay of Greer's.

Couple of thoughts off the top of my head.

One. Perhaps rural America still mourns the decline of an old and presently irrelevant skill and knowledge base and its social cognates. I remember Old Farmer Mac's descriptions of his older generation and neighbors, here on TOD. Precious stuff almost beyond recall.

Two. Quote from Greer, 2008:

"Is it possible that some of today’s scientific and cultural heritage will find a welcome within the ambit of a present or future religious movement? Next week’s post will explore these options."

Or are we seeing a religious rejection already of the thought-basis of today's scientific heritage? Might bode ill for whatever might be carried forward through the cold scriptoria of the future?

Re: Will the U.S. Surpass Saudi Arabia in Oil Production? and

What we missed in the global energy report

A couple of articles which dig deeper into the IEA's projections for future US energy production. The first points to the full 672 page report, which obviously includes much more information than that found in the Executive Summary. I suspect that most of the first-to-publish commentaries were written without taking the time to read the full report, so those authors' optimistic comments were premature. The second piece points to specific errors in some of these reports, which, sadly, comes long after the public has absorbed these widely spread errors...

E. Swanson

Didn't read the full report, but it appears that "under the cover of the optimistic shale oil US message", it isn't that optimistic --at all--, in fact quite Alarmist for -many- countries, a quite detailed review of the report by Matthieu Auzanneau below (but in French) :

Maybe a translation could be done for the oil drum

Remains to be seen how and if, this "core" of the report will be relayed in the MSM ...

What is going on with the EIA website that is always down?


Works fine for me. Have you checked it with Down For Everyone Or Just Me?

Thanks. Unfortunately , it seems to be only me! ^__^
Maybe there are some problems with Russian IPs (I am in Moscow now)

(I am in Moscow now)

Well, that explains it, I guess... :-S
Maybe batyushka Putin doesn't want you to see things you are not supposed to see, eh? ;)

New law in Russia ...

Internet censorship in Russia

The law came into force on November 1st. It requires Roskomnadzor, the state’s media monitoring agency, to maintain a list of content to be banned in three categories: child pornography, instructions or propaganda for drug use, and material promoting suicide. The law also allows for a site or page to be blocked in accordance with any court order: a vague, potentially wide-ranging clause that has given rise to worries over censorship, given the frequent politicisation of the Russian judicial system.

If the site contains 'pipe' [like oil 'pipe'line] or bong it's banned

Actually the oligarchs probably own the porn sites and just want to eliminate competition

Perhaps have a friend in a country that does not have the censorship problem, and ask them to host a VPN/SSL connection for you.

Then you can then surf the net from their connection via a VPN/SSL tunnel.

If you should visit the U.S. you will feel right at home ...

Senate bill rewrite lets feds read your e-mail without warrants

A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law, CNET has learned.

Sen. Patrick Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies -- including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission -- to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge.

Leahy has already withdrawn it...

Leahy, D-Vermont, for those who don't know.....

Whoops! Should have given a bit more detail. Senator Patrick Leahy is a Democratic Senator from Vermont. He's been a Senator for a long, long time. He was Senator the entire time I lived in VT, from 1970's until 1993, and there he still is! I think he was first elected Senator in '74, so I reckon he's on his 7th term? I guess you could say he is popular. Not sure what he was thinking with this latest escapade, but evidently he came to think better of it, and retracted the re-written language.

a local news website says that his name is attached to every variant of this bill since he's the chair of the senate judiciary committee, but he's not supportive of said provisions which actually originated from a republican member of said committee.

That said, he's voted for several intrusive bills related to "the war on terra" in the past, and some bills that cater to the movie industry as opposed to computer innovation and privacy, and he also voted for TARP, so he's not popular with me, although yes he's popular in Vermont.

I haven't really followed Leahy's politics much since I moved from Vermont. Far, far away. I live in New Hampshire now ;-)

Works fine for me.

Use a web based proxy located in the USA or Canada. Search using Google.

Stop the Parade! -- Should we be wasting our dwindling supply of helium on floating cartoon characters?

Does anyone have information on what the price of helium has done in the last few years? It seems a shame to be "wasting" it on the balloons in the parade. What do others think?

Bureau of Livestock and Mining?

Bureau of Land Management.

I was being funny----
That is what we called it when I lived in Montana.

I thought there was a possibility that you were :-) Just wanted to put it out there for the record.

"Bureau of Land Management"

Yeah, which is livestock and mining, in practice.
I'm pretty sure he was referencing Edward Abbey's
version of the acronym's true meaning.

Oops, too slow I see.

Re: Will the U.S. Surpass Saudi Arabia in Oil Production?

Isn't the real question more like "Will pigs fly in our lifetime?"

Just sayin'...


The belief that the U.S. will surpass Saudi Arabia in oil production would be a good talking point for an administration intent on using this to show how friendly they are to oil production, specifically, and energy production, in general. This short term ability, however, to surpass Saudi Arabia, even if true, may not be of much comfort to future generations who, thereby, have less oil for their use. It will also be of not much comfort to future generations who will be suffering from global warming that has been even more enhanced by our ability to increase oil and energy production.

Perhaps all this enhanced oil and gas production provides some sort of temporary reprieve to give us more time to find alternatives to gas and oil before the possibly rather rapid downward descent of oil and gas production. If, indeed, it is a reprieve, now would be the time to act as if we are going to have a problem in 10 or 20 years as opposed to a few years. We may have another chance to get ahead of the curve as it were.

But no. We will pretend that this new found enhancement of oil and gas production will provide plenty of oil and gas on a multi generational basis. And, maybe next decade, the next generation will get the bright idea to start talking and worrying about peak oil again. And it will be too late, again.

If, indeed, however, this represents a reprieve from peak oil, it is a tragedy. Anything that diverts us from the course of providing less carbon intensive alternatives, including conservation, is a tragedy. Even the perception that we have temporarily fixed the peak oil problem is a tragedy. The fact that most commentators ignore the global warming implications is a tragedy.

And here I am in late November, in the mountains of Colorado, still waiting for winter. Frankly, it is a bit frightening. The lack of cold is frightening and the lack of snow on top of the lack of cold could be personally devastating as I will have no water.

Interesting. Winter showed up kinda early around here and with a bit of a vengeance. Unless spring comes in mid February, this will be a very long winter here indeed. Which says nothing about climate change. It's just that out of the last 10 - 15 winters, only the last 2 or 3 (not including this one) have been like the winters of my childhood. Now that I'm older, these long winters don't appeal to me as much. I need to head south for a respite. When winter didn't start until January 1 (actually happened a couple of years in row. Folks were golfing after Christmas) it was much more tolerable.

Such is the life in a cold clime...

Here in Vermont we're now nearing the end of a long stretch of sunny dry weather, about 10 days. In November, our cloudiest month, this is very very strange. And it makes me worried about what comes next. If the polar front now tends to wiggle into blocking patterns, we can get stuck in 10 days of snow just as easily.

Here in the Canadian Rockies, we have about 5 times as much snow as this time last year, all the resorts opened as early or earlier than they ever have before, and the skiing is widely reported to be awesome everywhere.

Sorry about conditions in Colorado.

I am guessing that persistent highs south of you is keeping all the cold and snow up your way. This is the same pattern we had last winter which is devastating.

My cousin Linda reported -30 on Facebook yesterday. Cold over there.

Regarding headline up top: "Will the US Surpass Saudi Arabia in Oil Production"

In the text of this Popular Mechanics article the production of North Dakota was said to go from 1000 barrels per day in 2004 to 1,000,000 per day in mid 2012. This is sloppy journalism as ND production as of July 2012 was 674,000 per day (see NDoil.org and go to news section). Maybe by 2015 ND will reach 1,000,000 barrels per day of crude oil production if prices can climb close to $100 for WTI. Even counting equivilent nat. gas they are still not at 1M per day (currently 40% of Bakken gas is being flared due to lack of pipelines across western ND and eastern MT).

A slick example of visualising big numbers ...

Mountain of balls engulfs New York to show GHG emissions

You may have heard that New York City added over 54 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2010. But other than recognising that it's a pretty big quantity, can you picture what that amount actually looks like?

Adam Nieman and a team from Carbon Visuals have now created a visualisation that gives the number a sense of scale by representing carbon emissions in terms of 10 meter-wide balls that pile up around the New York City skyline. The backdrop alludes to the fact that about 75 per cent of emissions are produced by buildings.

Each ball represents a ton of carbon dioxide: the volume of gas that would fill a sphere of that size. The video shows the mountain of balls that would build up after an hour, a day and a year, as well as visualising the emission rate of about two tons per second in real time, if it all emerged in one place.

The visualisation aims to give the general public a better understanding of greenhouse gas emissions by representing volume in a more intuitive way.

... would be cool to do this with barrels of oil

Great animation! He describes this as more intuitive, but actually it's 100% visual making it easy for people to realize the extent of carbon emissions even over short periods of time. I like the view from the top of the carbon mountian's one year NY emissions total, with the sound of high altitude winds. Sounds like a warning.

Now that's a heap.

Cloudy future for cash-soaked solar technology
Ominous sounding title, but this is cigs thin film. I see this as yesterdays, technology that was then falsely thought to be the future. Cigs made sense, when silicon was expensive, now it is just a cantankerous also ran technology. They can have it.

I wouldn't count out thin-film technology. It is still very inexpensive and can be integrated into things like windows. Granted, for a personal home roof I'd go with silicon since you get more energy per unit area and the prices are similar but thin-film is still very much in running as a useful technology especially if you have a lot of area to work with that isn't doing anything else.

So far the only really thinfilm success has been CdTe (First Solar). They were the first to break the dollar a watt barrier, but I think they are struggling to compete against cheap silicon. I am agreed, there might be niches that can support premium pricing. I do have hopes for the thin film GaAs guys (as they promise potentially very high efficiency of greater than 30%). But these CIGS players, I have trouble seeing them as anything other than has-been great white hopes.

I saw a presentation a couple of years ago where someone from a national lab asserted that silicon was the only solar material of which there was enough to make an impact on energy production. He asserted that all of the other potential materials were too rare, and hence too expensive, to materially affect energy production. Sorry but I forget who the presenter was. Does anyone have and data on this issue?

It has to do with the world's supply of indium.

First all-carbon solar cell

Organic solar cells with carbon nanotubes replacing In2O3:Sn as the transparent electrode

As in demonstration of principle

Cuba's Oil Quest to Continue, Despite Deepwater Disappointment

... It's not unusual to hit dry holes in drilling, but the approach in offshore Cuba was shaped by uniquely political circumstances. Benjamin-Alvarado points out that some of the areas drilled did turn up oil. But rather than shift nearby to find productive—if not hugely lucrative—sites, each new company dragged the rig to an entirely different area off Cuba. It's as if the companies were only going for the "big home runs" to justify the cost of drilling, he said. "The embargo had a profound impact on Cuba's efforts to find oil."

... Cuba's disappointing foray into deepwater doesn't end its quest for energy. The nation produces domestically only about half the oil it consumes. As with every aspect of its economy, its choices for making up the shortfall are sorely limited by the 50-year-old United States trade embargo.

At what could be a time of transition for Cuba, experts agree that the failure of deepwater exploration increases the Castro regime's dependence on the leftist government of Venezuela, which has been meeting fully half of Cuba's oil needs with steeply subsidized fuel. And it means Cuba will continue to seek out a wellspring of energy independence without U.S. technology, greatly increasing both the challenges, and the risks.

First Big Dengue Fever Outbreak in Europe Since 1920s, EU Reports

Europe is experiencing its first sustained transmission of dengue fever since the 1920s after an outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease in Madeira, Portugal that has infected more than 1,300 people, an EU agency said.

According to the UN's World Health Organisation, between 50 and 100 million dengue infections occur each year in more than 100 countries. In 1970, the disease was endemic in just nine countries.

Dengue fever in Portugal and malaria in Greece. What exactly is it about "austerity" that makes such spread of disease more likely? Or is it climate change rather than economics?

Says that it occurred in 1920's, AGW isn't the likely culprit. Most likely a budget cut threw a spanner in health department's plans to spray the area combined with dilapidated infrastructure which tends to attract water and mosquitoes.

I thought Dengue was a tropical disease (or maybe subtropical). It may be that it requires an unusual spell of hot/humid weather, as well as decay in public health. But those warm spells may be more common already. One consequence of global warming is the expansion of the range of tropical diseases.

It requires the right conditions for its vector, a species of mosquito, to thrive. Right temperature, stagnant water etc. We are at risk in the winter and spring, summer is too hot. Sounds more like a build up of rubbish, rather than a decay in public health, leading to more stagnant water. You really don't want to catch it, I do assure you.


vt - What exactly is it ... that makes such spread of disease more likely? ...

It's the bane of a monocrop.

Humans and their livestock represent 90% of the mass of vertebrates on the planet.

It's a target-rich environment.

Southern Europe has been fighting "unauthorized" immigration from Africa for some time. Is it possible that immigrants are bringing these illnesses, or the vectors, with them?

Yes entirely possible. Most of them would be immune to Dengue and would act as latent carriers. Here in my place, many foreigners contract the disease because they don't have any immunity.

Florida Department of Health: Dengue:

The number of dengue cases in Florida travelers returning from the Caribbean, Central and South America is higher than normal.

Four human cases of locally acquired dengue were reported in 2012.

Countries/Areas at risk of dengue transmission

This I understand originates not in mainland Portugal, but on the Portuguese administered island of Madeira (out there 400km N of Canaries)

Rooftop Solar Stood Up to Sandy

Big solar installers report almost no damage, even in hardest hit areas

Phew. I was concerned about that. New Jersey has a lot of it.

Study Details Natural Gas Leaks in Boston

... The new study comes in the wake of devastating fires fueled by natural gas during Hurricane Sandy. Potential damage to gas pipeline pressure regulators, caused by flooding in Hurricane Sandy, has raised ongoing safety concerns in New York and New Jersey.

The researchers report finding 3,356 separate natural gas leaks under the streets of Boston. "While our study was not intended to assess explosion risks, we came across six locations in Boston where gas concentrations exceeded the threshold above which explosions can occur," said Nathan Phillips, associate professor in BU's Department of Earth and Environment and co-author of the study.

Toshiba Shows Four-Legged Robot for Nuke Disaster

Toshiba Corp. unveiled a robot Wednesday that the company says can withstand high radiation and help in nuclear disasters. But it remains unclear what exactly the new machine will be capable of doing if and when it gets the go-ahead to enter Japan's crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

... the machine, which looks like an ice cooler on wobbly metal legs, also appears prone to glitches. The robot took a jerky misstep during a demonstration to reporters, freezing with one leg up in the air. It had to be lifted by several people and rebooted.

The robot was also notably slow in climbing a flight of eight steps, cautiously lifting its legs one by one, and taking about a minute to go up each step.

With obstacles that aren't as even and predictable as steps, such as the debris at the plant, it may need as much as 10 minutes to figure out how to clear the object, Toshiba acknowledged.

And if it ever falls, it will not be able to get up on its own.

And to think that many people predict that robots will soon self-replicate and take over the planet. Bah!

Give em time [small steps] ...

The Brain in the Machine

Half a trillion neurons, a hundred trillion synapses. I.B.M. has just announced the world’s grandest simulation of a brain, all running on a collection of ninety-six of the world’s fastest computers. The project is code-named Compass, and its initial goal is to simulate the brain of the macaque monkey (commonly used in laboratory studies of neuroscience). In sheer scale, it’s far more ambitious than anything previously attempted, and it actually has almost ten times as many neurons as a human brain.

Naah. From the same article:

At present, we still know too little about how individual neurons work to know how to put them together into viable networks. For more than twenty-five years, scientists have known the exact wiring diagram of the three hundred and two neurons in the C. Elegans roundworm, but in at least half a dozen attempts nobody has yet succeeded in building a computer simulation that can accurately capture the complexities of the simple worm’s nervous system.
the real issue is that we still know too little about how the brain is organized to understand how neurons build genuine intelligence. I.B.M.’s Compass has more neurons than any system previously built, but it still doesn’t do anything with all those neurons. The short report published on the new system is full of vital statistics—how many neurons, how fast they run—but there’s not a single experiment to test the system’s cognitive capacities. It’s sort of like having the biggest set of Lego blocks in town without a clue of what to make out of them.

Yeah, that is a bunch of over-optimistic (of the technology) clap-trap. Perhaps someday in the distant future but that is not something that is going to happen in the 30 years. The 'singularity' folks are quite odd. It mostly seems like a cult based on Raymond Kurzweil's desire to become immortal. A story as old as the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Climate change evident across Europe, says report

The report - Climate Change, Impacts and Vulnerabilities in Europe 2012 - involving more than 50 authors from a range of organisations, listed a number of "key messages", including:

- Observed climate change has "already led to a wide range of impacts on environmental systems and society; further climate change impacts are projected for the future";
- Climate change can increase existing vulnerabilities and deepen socio-economic imbalances in Europe;
- The combined impacts of projected climate change and socio-economic development is set to see the damage costs of extreme weather events continue to increase.

... In the report, the agency says the past decade in Europe has been the warmest on record.

$63k for the right to buy a car in Singapore

Are there any TOD folks from Singapore who could comment on how this system is working?

Maybe a sign of the times to come...

I'll have to remember that the next time I challenge someone to name a country more right-wing than the USA and they come up with answer of Singapore since they have a relatively low income tax rate.

Singapore IS more right-wing. Severely so. It's just a different kind of right wing; no gum, death if you have drugs, one party, business oriented to the hilt, BUT public housing, strict restrictions on driving, universal healthcare... I have a friend who goes there often (his boyfriend lives there - actually that's somewhat looked down on but they have loosened the rules against gays, I think there are now a fair number of gay bars rather than just one). He describes it as "fascism lite". It's basically Confucianist Asian paternalistic government. They have loosened up tremendously in recent years (you can now talk in the actual native tounges on TV - before it was strictly English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil but now Singlish, Teochew, Hokkien, Cantonese, etc. are allowed to some extent, initially dating from the SARS outbreak and the need to communicate to people in their native tounges but it being illegal to broadcast in them, which led to reform). Still, it is very much a planned and controlled country.

My friend keeps telling me I should move there, but I have misgivings. It is doing very well now due to being in the middle of rising Asian economies and having a major port right in the perfect spot... But I don't know how they would manage if things went bad. It's all roses now, but it has not always been that way.

Singapore has monthly auctions where you can buy a license (Certificate Of Entitlement or COE) to own a car in a certain weight class. The number of permits per month, per class is limited and the price is determined through the auction. A license is good for 10 years and is attached to the car, not the person buying the car. It is not uncommon for a license to be more expensive than the car, and for the last couple of years prices (for licenses) have been increasing the extend that, if one were to sell, you actually were driving for free. And then the S'pore government wonders why this system doesn't discourage people to buy a car/license……


Singapore is the only country of its size (theoretically first world) never to win a Nobel Prize.
Stifles creativity thought and innovation.

It is what is wrong with the universe (maybe that is a bit over the top, but a nasty place).

Amazing what you can do with a little wind ...

Sailing Boat Smashes World Speed Record

... The Vestas team hit a top speed on this run of 64.78 knots (120 kilometres per hour). For pilot and project leader Paul Larsen that one record-breaking run was payback for ten years of hard work.

"These latest runs represent a real breakthrough in the world of sailing. It's the hydrodynamic version of going supersonic...and it feels like it," he told New Scientist. "The acceleration just kept coming. It was like a rev limiter was removed.

"Things went into fast forward and my mind had to race with the decision-making process required for this new reality, i.e. can I stop the thing at the end.

Alas, Seraph, there's no cargo room in that sweet design for our CSA veggies, chocolate, or cider. ;-)
We wrapped up our season this past Sunday, and are holding our season debriefing at Center for Wooden Boats on December 1st. Debriefing is not all serious analysis: enjoy a catered sourdough pancake breakfast from our winning CWB Auction bid last winter. Any interested Seattle sailors can RSVP to info [at] salishseatrading [dot] com. Lots of work to do this winter in applying for grants for a renovated or purpose-built sail cargo boat!

Ron P. (Darwinian) states:

Their problem, as I see it is that their reason is influenced far too much by wishful thinking. That is a problem most all of us have, but some are far more subject to letting wishful thinking influence their reason than others.

Here's a try.

The intended purpose of the first operative electricity feed-in tariffs laws, for instance the ~1990 German FIT, was to kickstart the industries and it was assumed that the tariffs could slowly be phased out by reducing them as the crafts would become competitive with respect to fossils. While the method spread to more and more legislations it became consistently so effective and refined that it outgrew its deployment targets when it wasn't impeded, but i'm not aware of a place where the original intent has been realised to date. There are a variety of good explanations of why i don't think that it was a realistic scope in the first place, the development of which i will save space for here. And that one should care about it in the first place.

That outgrowth can however create some distorsions with more or less disruptive consequences that are to be dealt with below, basically meaning that what follows is me more re less academic wishlist for a Federal US renewables FIT.

I take it from the EIA that retail electricity in the US is sold presently roughly at 12 cents, up by two over the last few years. Which is comparatively cheap and replicates the pattern for gas in the US.

I do estimate that there can be a federal renewables FIT in the United States that sells for 12 cents all inclusive (transmission and the rest) provided a tight ship is run. And i'd put a more comfortable tight ship at 15 cents; better too, but thats a statement of preference. Now i want both options to be safe when they are to reach high wind^D^D^D^Dpenetration rates, and here's how.

First issue is that as capacity builds up there will be an oversupply because existing business models want to stick around, which tends to cause a number of weird and not very healthy arbitrations. Thus i'll come up with a way to maintain equilibrium prices under these conditions that also contains a throw of lifebelt to the old players.

Its convoluted nature will likely require a tad of patience at the first encounter, as optimization was attempted for workability not purity. A weak spot with respect to the lifebelt feature is that business models tend to be adverse to adapation (aka never change a running system), not least in energy matters, ergo i guess that the modus operandi 'd have to be pretty persuasive. Human brains use convolution by the way to a substantial degree, no kidding. So thats that and now the goods.

As far as i can see from a distance the juice in the US is sold by the electricity companies who then commission network operators for delivery. Feed-in priorities hand over that key from generation to transport in a more or less explicit fashion; in all practice i know the electricity companies keep their sale contracts but have to manage somehow their loss of control over transmission, i.e. they may have to sell electricity they didn't produce, for which on occasion they tend to charge a price that mirrors their economic position.

In consequence the first proposition 'd be to hand over retail price finding to transmission, while maintaining its existing remunerations for quantity or service delivered. Electricity companies can continue to sell electricity, only at a price tag not set by them. Again in practice this probably requires having the Untouchables keeping an eye on that mutual interdependence which i guess should be in the ballpark as we've come some way since the roaring twenties, though the recent Walker walks the walk Calvin Coolidge emulation attempt and the Enron case seem to warrant calls to caution. Possibly there are better implementations of the above principle i didn't think of. Then there also likely needs to be a transparent framework that regulates retail price setting by asking network operators to keep it within wanted boundaries. Likely there is already regulation as network delivery is a natural monopoly. I remember one example where millers threatened competition here and thereby got the executive into gears. Pickens seems to have tried something similar in Texas. Maybe giving Danny Williams a call, alternatively maybe pondering Noramel would do.

The whole trick may look ugly but I do think that it can moot most of the distorsions resulting from oversupply.

One way of avoiding contracts from the existing plays on that miserable proposal is to provide both them and newbies with a fair share of the new system, for instance by providing credit for investing in feed-in generation. The Farm Credit System springs to my mind here.

My second issue are generation technologies and their feed-in prices. I'm tempted to declare faisablity here and issue a call to the parallel universe of reader's acumen, too curious if the knots and bolts are common knowledge. L'intendance suivra.

Not me.

Whatever you are talking about, and I am not at all sure what that is, it has to do with the subject that I was talking about when I made the statement you quoted.

Ron P.

I am willing to offer any wanted precisions I can.


Actually out of myself as they say over here. We don't do them dolls, the closest we have would be gnomes.

The time lapse from the first redaction to posting was due to me trying to get the political geography context right which has turned out to be somewhat of an effort.


Spoils: Film Documents Americans Who Reap An ‘Extraordinary Harvest’ From Waste

... Part money-saving opportunity, part political-statement, and part environmentalism, the modern freeganism movement — also known simply as dumpster diving — has spawned a culture of its own.

A new short documentary film, called “Spoils: Extraordinary Harvest,” intimately explores this culture. The film follows groups of dumpster divers in New York City and paints a portrait of the people who dig for wasted food.

Energy minister's dilemma no 'light' matter

If, as the court found, the JPS's all-island licence was indeed invalid, and the decision should be enforced, what would happen to the company's operations? At what point would the JPS turn off the lights, send its employees home, and call time on its business interest in Jamaica?

What would Portia Simpson Miller, her Government and the citizenry do when JPS, with justification, demanded the return of the billions of dollars invested in its business, on the premise of being a monopoly, since 2001?

How would Government deal with the fact that it now has to foot a massive bill for a licence that it granted to the utility provider to meet the country's energy needs?

For anyone in the dark about why the attorney general was moved to advise the Government to appeal the ruling, I ask only that you think very carefully on these things

Three guesses, which comment is mine?

Back in recession - Jamaican economy contracts for third quarter

Largest declines

The PIOJ head pointed out that the industries recording the largest declines during the nine months were mining and quarrying, down 8.5 per cent; construction 4.3 per cent and transport, storage and communication, down 3.2 per cent.

"The short-term prospects for the Jamaican economy is expected to be challenging due to the continued subdued performance for the global economy resulting in weakened external demand for Jamaican goods and services," Hutchinson said.

In addition, he said, the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the agriculture industry, as well as lost production time in other industries, will have a negative impact on real value added.

As a result, the PIOJ is forecasting real GDP for the October to December quarter to contract within the range of 0.5 to 1.5 per cent. The institute is now estimating real GDP for calendar year 2012 to fall within the range of negative one per cent to zero per cent.

I'd say

"The long-term prospects for the Jamaican economy is expected to be challenging due to the continued subdued performance for the global economy resulting in weakened external demand for Jamaican goods and services,"

but then, I'm a pessimist/doomer/peak-oiler or whatever you want to call it so, as far as

Despite the underperforming economy, Hutchinson said he is satisfied that significant progress has been made since he announced two years ago the start of work to develop a short to medium-term growth-inducement strategy for Jamaica.

goes, I say, "Good luck with that!".

It is my considered opinion that, any plans for economic growth have only a remote possibility of success if they fully plan for declining world oil production, declining net exports and higher prices and figure out a way to work around those issues. If they don't plan for Peak Oil, they are doomed to fail.

Alan from the islands

Innovative Heating And Cooling Projects Prove The Benefits Of Geothermal

The project is a breakthrough for the geothermal heat pump industry for a couple reasons. First, its massive size. Second, it is extremely economical and shows that geothermal heat pumps are ready for district heating and cooling applications.

To give you a sense of the size, the project is a 10,000 ton system, which is equivalent to 35 megawatts of power. That’s large enough to heat and cool 47 buildings — replacing four old, dirty coal-fired boilers. The project will also help create 2,300 direct and indirect jobs throughout the construction period.

The project will cost $60 million dollars, which equals $1.71 per watt of power, beating the cost of utility-scale solar projects. Utility-scale solar PV projects have an average installed cost of $4.69 according to the Open PV Project in November 2012; although this number if falling.

total electric production of roof top solar array, today, is 7.3 kwh. i saved myself $1.24 from dah man, i.e. profit driven centralized electric company. plus i had tons of passive solar heating. house wuz cozy all day while i wuz at work.

CIGS is supposed to work better under cloudy conditions. silly-con needs bright sun. silly-con has constant output over life of panels. CIGS starts out over 25% and then drops to around silly-con. however it will always out generate silly-con under cloudy conditions. CIGS absorbs a different wavelength of infrared than silly-con.

i suspect an array consisting of both silly-con and CIGS is the optimal way to go.

i believe that the NJT bosses should get big raises just as CEO's in private corporations get big raises and bonuses when they drive their companies into the ground. in fact, the NJT bosses should get some sort of award or medal for outstanding achievement in the field of excellence. really. NJT bosses should get great pensions and medical care for life. if this has to be done by denying the truly needy, i say LET'S DO IT! if it has to be done by raising fares on commuters and taxes on everyone else, i say LET'S DO IT!

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

Did you by chance purchase expensive thin-film CuInGaSe PV panels from the now bankrupt Solyndra Corporation?

The Chinese Hanergy Holding Group wants to purchase CIGS technology cheaply from Miasole. Are the Chinese expecting the price of refined silicon to increase, or do they think they can manufacture this type of PV panel at a competitive price? After China dumped silicon PV panels on the world market below cost, they now scoop up the technology of the western casualties for a tiny fraction of the cost of their development. I expect the U.S. to be corrupt enough to let them do it and the price of PV panels to increase in a few years after China secures its monopoly.

See rare earths. First flood the market with cheap elements, close down most competing mines outside China, then cash in. Not so much with rare earths, but the things made with rare earths.


I don't think there is so much strategic 'dumping' . . . just really cheap labor, cheap capital from the government, a total disregard to worker safety, and a total disregard to environmental damage such that they are able to make much cheaper products without running up huge losses.

If the Korean, Japanese, North American, and European economies all continue to stagnate, I'm beginning to suspect it is just a matter of time before there is a call for tariffs of some sort on products created with very dangerous worker conditions and/or significant environmental impacts. It is either that or we all start a race to the bottom and return to child labor, cities shrouded in smog from coal burning, worker exploitation, etc.

"start a race to the bottom .." - Start!?? Neoliberalism kicked off with a bang in Chile over 40 years ago & is mainstream doctrine in the anglosphere and beyond so far as i can see. Whether it is an inevitable correlate of the net energy per capita peak is the question.

Princeton geoscientists report Greenland ice sheet melting rate is increasing

(Phys.org)—Princeton geoscientists Christopher Harig and Frederik Simons have been applying new methods to study the amount of ice melt in the Greenland ice sheet. They report in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the rate is approximately 200 billion tons annually and is rising at a rate of approximately 9 billion tons per year.

If exponential acceleration in the meltrate is maintained at this level it leads to an ice-free Greenland in about 100 years time.

That is not exponential but linear melt rate.

200 currently increasing at 9 isn't linear, its accelerating. You can fit a variety of functions to it but linear isn't one of them, and exponential is.

If the increase stays at nine it is quadratic, the total amount melted would be 200t +4.5*t*t. With exponential you have all the powers of T.

I think there are mechanisms at work that would give either result. Increasing global temperature drives a quadratic response, albedo reduction from meltwater coverage drives an exponential response.

Time will tell. How long to 400? 11 years (exponential but the increase of 9 is a decadal average rather than the current value), 15 years (exponential), 22 years (quadratic)?

I read the article as meaning "it is 200 now, and increases 9 every year". Y = 9x + 200

Musings: If You Believe The IEA, Our Energy Worries Are Over

by G. Allen Brooks, Rigzone

While the IEA study received significant attention from the mainstream media, most reporters do not understand the dynamics of oil reservoirs to ask the right questions and point out the possible weaknesses in the study. The IEA has conducted extensive research into oilfield decline rates in the past, but we sense little of that research was brought to bear in this study. It seems from reading the summary of the report prepared by the IEA that there are enough qualifiers to the assumptions underlying this long-term forecast to cast doubt on how firmly to embrace the report's conclusions. At this point, we plan to use the study as just one possible scenario for how the industry might evolve in the future. We are less inclined to embrace it than many others. What we worry about is that our policy makers do embrace the report and its conclusions and begin instituting policies and investments designed to capitalize on its projected outcomes. If those outcomes fail to materialize, we will be faced with having to make numerous mid-course corrections with unknown, and potentially significant, economic and social costs.

Choosing an Efficient Refrigerator

I track down a new refrigerator rated at 335 kWh per year

Marc Rosenbaum, GBA

It took me some time to realize that the weird sounds I occasionally heard coming from the fridge was it cranking out the cubes. We don't use much ice, and being middle-aged actually learned in our youth how to fill ice cube trays (similar to being able to count, and tell time by the big hand and the little hand, and other lost arts), so eventually I turned that feature off.

Researchers at NIST recently reported that they tested four new refrigerators and the icemakers added 12 to 20 percent to the rated energy consumption. The not-so-cool discovery was that 75% of this energy comes from heating the molds to release the ice. Duh.

Oh, and the ratings you see on the big yellow sticker don't include the energy used by the icemaker, apparently because someone decided it would be too hard to measure. Double duh.

Nothing like putting a heater in a fridge to increase it's electricity demand.

I saved over $100, and gained well over 1 cubic feet of freezer space (filled with this summer's blueberries :-) as well as simplified installation (no water line) by choosing the "no icemaker option".

I figured I saved energy as well.

I replaced the refrigerator light with a 1.9 watt LED. Enough to see what was what.

Best Hopes for Good Basic Appliances,


My new freezer just comes with four! Icetrays. I actually removed two of them to make room for other stuff in the freezer.

Mine is just filled by hand and the cubes, or rather truncated pyramids, pop out with a twist of a knob, much simpler. What I cannot figure is why they put the !!!**^*$?^!^ light at the back, behind all the food, so that you cannot make anything out but it has a nice background glow.


The extra energy for the ice maker would be compensated for by not having to open the door so often. So if you're a person who uses a lot of ice an ice maker might pay off.

I've been logging consumption of our new 21 cuft CEE Tier III for exactly 12 days. Kill-A-Watt meter shows 11.71 KwH during the period, or .976 KwH/day. It is rated at 364 KwH/year without an ice maker. We added an ice maker and, as I noted earlier, the 8 year old refrigerator it replaced, virtually identical (same manufacturer), with a larger ice maker and thinner walls, was using 1.36 KwH/day. Average ambient temperature in the room is around 70 F.

Thus far, the new refrigerator is using slightly less than its Energy Star rating, even with the addition of the ice maker. We usually turn the ice maker on only when we have a period of surplus PV output, and haven't come close to running out of ice. We'll see when next summer rolls around.

Keep those condenser coils clean, folks... and Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans :-)

ps: Thawing a medium sized turkey for 3 days may have skewed the results a bit.

Canada’s crude export pipelines clogged

The surge in Canadian oil production must now face a new reality: The biggest mover of crude says the pipes out of the country are full.

In recent years, estimates by analysts and energy consultants predicted that Canada stood to run out of room on export pipelines some time between 2014 and 2018. And it has become clear that the pipes are filling, amid rising oil output from both the oil sands and fast-growing U.S. oil fields.

But Enbridge Inc. has now formally declared the pipes full, meaning that date has arrived far sooner than expected.

“All of the crude oil export pipelines are pretty much full, running at maximum capacity,” Vern Yu, a vice-president of business development and market development for Enbridge told a Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada conference in Calgary Tuesday. “And we’re not likely to see any meaningful capacity added to these networks until the end of next year.”

For the energy industry, the likelihood of choked market access for months to come stands to cut off billions in profits as oil shipments back up behind stuffed pipelines. A growing glut of product waiting for export is pressuring prices for Canadian crude.

I thought Enbridge had keystone technology to solve the problem of relieving pressure on too-full pipelines.

" ..that date has arrived far sooner than expected."

Boy, that's a line we're seeing a lot these days, isn't it?

Sure is.

And I suspect many of us did not ever expect to be faced with a "glut of product."

I suppose not.. but I was also looking at the corresponding announcements of early arrivals for Arctic Melting, of Springtime Migrations, or the all-too speedy collapses of retirement funds, etc..

We amphibians are feeling so spoiled in this luxurious sauna and all.. why worry?

In 50 years:
What is an amphibian?

Or you could argue that there's a shortage of customers. US's NG glut and Canada's oil glut would vanish overnight if Asia had unrestricted access to those reserves. We are paying through the nose here for gas from Qatar and oil from Saudis. Europe is also paying Gazprom through their noses for access to Gas. Asia and Europe will definitely welcome $80 tar sands oil and $3 gas.

For people who have been following the reports of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), the Canadian National Energy Board (NEB), and the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (AERCB), this failure of pipeline capacity to meet increasing Canadian production is not a surprise. What is a surprise is that it came this early. It was generally expected to happen in the 2014-2016 time frame.

This is one reason that the Canadian and Alberta governments and CAPP are promoting the Keystone Pipeline, and export pipelines to the West Coast and China. These pipeline restrictions are starting to cost them billions of dollars, and they are not happy about it. They have the oil, but they just can't get it out of the country.

At $20 discount per barrel, and well over 1M bbl/day, that's a billion every couple of months left on the table. At $5M per mile, Canada could bankroll 4 miles per day out of foregone cash.

All of these numbers are conservative, since Canadian oil sells about $20 less than WTI, which is selling $23 less than Brent. Plus, production is more than 1M bbl/day, and pipelines mostly cost less.

Simple payback for 1000 miles of pipeline might really be just a few months.

California’s CO2 Now Has a Price, but a Low One

A free-market auction has established a price for pollution in California: for each metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted, businesses, utilities and industries that bought allowances last week will pay just $10.09.

I think this is an extremely high price. A ton of coal, if pure carbon, will create (12 + 2 x 16)/12 = 3.67 tons CO2. Assume coal is 82% carbon (it varies), say 3 tons CO2 per ton of coal in round numbers.

Quality coal is $65 a ton. Paying for the 3 tons of CO2 it produces will add $30 to the price. So the utilities' fuel costs will be going up a massive 50%.

This has to have a big impact on electricity prices.

Thinks: Will this apply to all utilities who supply electricity to California, or only to plants located in California?

I think starting with a low price is good, don't want to apply a sudden shock to the economy -it might give environmentalism a bad name.
California doesn't consume much coal power -mostly imported over transmission lines from states to the east. PG&E is a few percent -it varies with weather (demand & hydro supply), I think southern Cal uses a bit more, but its not huge. The carbon intensity of the states electric supply is much lower than national averages.

Most of the nearly $300 million in auction proceeds is likely go back to investor-owned utilities in the state, to be directed back to their customers: 85 percent to households, which would receive a “climate dividend” of $30 on their bills twice a year; 10 percent to small businesses; and 5 percent to help industries whose out-of-state competitors do not have to pay for the pollution they generate.

So the money won't actually go to CO2 mitigation. What is the point?

I assume the marginal cost to consume an additional ton is greater. You don't have to starve people, just change the incentive structure. If the dividend is proportional to use it wouldn't do that, but if its independent of use, then the incentive to conserve is greater.

The point seems to be that CO2 costs, so you will emit less of it to reduce the costs. The emitter decides to keep paying or reduce emissions.

Since the cost of electricity would go up, people least able to pay have their bills offset with the funds. I am not defending the program, I favored a carbon tax. At any rate the "mitigation" is done by the emitter.

So the money won't actually go to CO2 mitigation. What is the point?

Enrich others. Look at the EU centric report which shows only 30% of the money was going to actual Carbon reduction.

Overhead and profit-taking in the carbon offsets system eats up about 70 percent of what is spent on carbon offsets

Take something that gets mandated as 'needs to be done' then make sure you are at the forced taking of money "solution".

The wide variety in coal prices on a per-Btu basis is surprising, even allowing for differences in SO2 content. Anyone have an explanation?


Spot coal prices by coal commodity regions
Dollars per short ton, 09 November 2012

Central Appalachia    12,500 Btu,  1.2 SO2  $65.95/ton  $5.28/kBtu
Northern Appalachia   13,000 Btu, <3.0 SO2  $64.50/ton  $4.96/kBtu
Illinois Basin        11,800 Btu,  5.0 SO2  $47.90/ton  $4.06/kBtu
Uinta Basin           11,700 Btu,  0.8 SO2  $35.75/ton  $3.06/kBtu
Powder River Basin     8,800 Btu,  0.8 SO2  $10.35/ton  $1.17/kBtu

Only guessing, but I would think the lower grades are tougher on equipment, lots of fly ash etc. It may also have a lot to do with regional supply and demand and transport bottlenecks.

powder river coal is located in Wyoming and has to be shipped by rail to markets far away. as I understand it some utilities that use prb coal might be paying more for the transportation of coal than for coal itself.

A fine example of how bad data gets propagated in a system and can remain there for some time:

South Pacific Sandy Island 'proven not to exist'

A South Pacific island, shown on marine charts and world maps as well as on Google Earth and Google Maps, does not exist, Australian scientists say.

The supposedly sizeable strip of land, named Sandy Island on Google maps, was positioned midway between Australia and French-governed New Caledonia.

But when scientists from the University of Sydney went to the area, they found only the blue ocean of the Coral Sea.

The phantom island has featured in publications for at least a decade.

Scientist Maria Seton, who was on the ship, said that the team was expecting land, not 1,400m (4,620ft) of deep ocean.

"We wanted to check it out because the navigation charts on board the ship showed a water depth of 1,400m in that area - very deep," Dr Seton, from the University of Sydney, told the AFP news agency after the 25-day voyage.

"It's on Google Earth and other maps so we went to check and there was no island. We're really puzzled. It's quite bizarre.

One wonders if any distressed mariners headed for this island because it was on their charts.

For Sale

On the sattelite photo, there is a black cut out hole.

...with a light blue "E" on the end of it.

Copyright tracker? Deliberate errors are an excellent way to trap plagiarists.

If someone includes a deliberate mistake from your map in a map they sell, you know they are ripping off your work.


Maps of Sandy Island Through History
1967 Soviet map - shows a tall submerged topological feature much like Google's "Island"
1922 British map - "Sandy Island"... like Google's, but previously called "Is", not "I".
1881 German map - two Sandy items: I and In
1895 British copy - two Sandy items: I and Is (shoal?)
1862 1814 French maps - just the I item
1865 American map - the I item and "Low Sandy Island"
1814 British map has "Bramptons and shoal" in about the right spot. Also has "Wreck Reef - Dangerous".

"A... shoal/sandbar... is... composed of sand. ... characteristically long and narrow... develop where a stream or ocean current promotes deposition of granular material, resulting in localized shallowing (shoaling) of the water. Shoals can appear in the sea.."

Sweet Dublin Bay


I gotta write a piece of fiction that takes place on Sandy Island. Now I got the place, only need the plot.

Not sure if I'm thwarting or inspiring you, but this is comparable:


...great place to bury stuff
an island of sand
just under the surface

A shoal or reef in 1400m of water?


Wrong spot? You can see the very flat-topped reefs adjacent to it in the satellite imagery... reefs that are also on the old maps... and you can see the very similar rise upon which the feature sits.
"I’m looking at GTOPO30 bathymetry. There IS a seamount there and it appears to reach to or just below sea level in the same space as the outline of the purported island. ... The more I muse over this, the more I am convinced we’re talking about at least two different locations and possibly three. The digital data I look at all agree the water is VERY shallow or there is even an island (at low tide?) where Google Maps says “Sandy Island”. These data are: "

Interesting, this gets curiouser and curiouser. A sea mount might well explain it but then why did the expedition give a depth of 1400m?


CHARTS: The Great Decline Of American Driving

Clearly, when we adjust for population growth, the Miles-Driven metric takes on a much darker look. The nominal 39-month dip that began in May 1979 grows to 61 months, slightly more than five years. The trough was a 6% decline from the previous peak.

The population-adjusted all-time high dates from June 2005. That's 87 months — seven years ago. The latest data, for September 2012, is 8.60% below the 2005 peak, a new post-Financial Crisis low. Our adjusted miles driven based on the 16-and-older age cohort is about where we were as a nation in March 1995.

link didnt link

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Here is the link, and I found the material well worth my short amount of time required to read:

The link to the article regarding decreased vehicle miles driven, both 'raw' and per capita

From 2001 to 2009, the average annual number of vehicle miles traveled by young people (16 to 34-year-olds) decreased from 10,300 miles to 7,900 miles per capita—a drop of 23 percent.

The Link to the source PDF

Gasoline Volume Sales, Demographics and our Changing Culture

Then add this effect in:

Employment-Population Ratio

Then this:

U.S. Population trend 1950-2010, Mazamascience.com

U.S. Population Heading to ~ 400M by 2050?

Seems to bolster the case for the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) advocated by Alan from Big Easy.

No, not for everyone, and not implemented/finished by the end of next week...but the U.S. needs to look at the data and plan effectively and move out quickly for a reasonable future.

"a much darker look" Sounds like a much brighter and hopeful look to me.

EU struggles while US & China improving

How will the situation be resolved in the EU?

I actually just put this here to test my new found ability to link articles with red lettering, but had no idea there would be no responses in the many hours since posting it. Oh well, maybe the EU situation is failing to gain interest after crying wolf so many times regarding their precarious debt positions. Their drowning, their fine, their going down for the count, their ok, rinse, repeat ad infinitum...

Either certain countries will cut their spending or certain countries will leave the Euro and deflate their currencies.

Looking at the population databrowser, I see that may Eastern European countries' population has experienced negative growth lately...some Western Euro countries such as Germany and Italy have experienced zero population growth lately, while others such as France and Spain have seen significant population growth...perhaps East Europeans have and still are migrating to Western Europe after the wall fell.

The U.S. would do well to carefully study situations in other countries, starting with Japan and the Eurozone, to see how they are dealing with slowing/stagnant economic growth.

Unfortunately I think some folks will take away the 'lesson learned' that declining fertility rates are bad...but I think over the longer term the countries which have seen their populations at least stabilize, and even decline in a fairly benign fashion, will be in better shape.

Interesting point about the Energy Bill. It should however be notet, that ramping up on green energy costs lots of money too. Whether or not it will create flourishing industries, is completely unclear - in Germany, heavy subsidizing created huge sunk costs. Recently blogged on this subject: http://energyingermany.com/2012/11/10/green-energy-subsidies-uk-should-l...

Hello Florian,

This pdf contains turnover and employment figures in Germany up to 2011 (pp. 38-40).

The effects of a UK feed-in system for large scale generation (they already have one for small scale) depend on the details in the legislation, you would have to have a closer look at the finished text. The U.K. situation has already improved somewhat over the last five years within the old framework, so they have seeds they can grow (biomass, offshore wind, marine, they intend to do advanced geothermal in Cornwall & others)

I can see some potential, but you have to consider that it took twenty years for Germany to get to these numbers.


When contemplating the future of the US it is worth remembering the oft-quoted statistic that there are about 30 citizens of Chindia for every one citizen of the US. Yet only now are they beginning to be able to outbid us for oil. This didn't happen by accident. To a large extent our foreign policies kept it that way.

I believe that similar logic and methods are being mobilized by the 1% against the rest of America in response to peak oil. And I think their schemes will succeed to a large extent. Looking at examples around the world and throughout history, people will put up with fantasic amounts of oppression to avoid chaos. Fossil fuel use by the average American will decline because it has to, but the 1% will maintain their lifestyle at all costs.

I think we will soon have a republic in name only. Oh sure, we will still be allowed to vote, but not about the issues that really make a difference. In other words, much like what is happening today only squared and cubed.