Drumbeat: December 3, 2012

Indian navy prepared to deploy to South China Sea

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Indian navy is prepared to deploy vessels to the South China Sea to protect India's oil interests there, the navy chief said on Monday amid growing international fears over the potential for naval clashes in the disputed region.

India has sparred diplomatically with China in the past over its gas and oil exploration block off the coast of Vietnam. China claims virtually the entire mineral-rich South China Sea and has stepped up its military presence there. Other nations such as Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia have competing claims.

Oil edges over $89 as China manufacturing improves

The price of oil edged up above $89 a barrel Monday as investors were encouraged by signs that China's economy may be picking up after a prolonged slowdown.

Nigeria learns prudence - oil savings more than double

ABUJA (Reuters) - Cost-cutting has helped restore Nigeria's Excess Crude Account (ECA) to some $9 billion in oil savings, or more than double what it was a year ago, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said on Monday.

Nigeria Wants Oil’s Share of Revenue Down to 60% Soon

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, wants to reduce the commodity’s contribution to government revenue to 60 percent in the medium term, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.

Oil currently accounts for 70 percent of government revenue in the West African nation, down from 80 percent in recent years, Okonjo-Iweala said today at a conference in Abuja, the capital. Taxes and non-oil exports provide 30 percent, according to the minister.

'There are people with arms and legs missing,' witness says of Syrian airstrikes

(CNN) -- Syrian warplanes bombed a town within sight of the Turkish border Monday, sending panicked civilians running to the fence that separates the two countries, witnesses told CNN.

The attack came as NATO ministers considered whether to send missiles to Turkey should the civil war spill across its border.

Eni resumes drilling in Libya

(ANSA) - Rome - The Italian petrol giant ENI has resumed exploratory drilling in Libya, the company said Monday.

ENI will probe 4.4 km under the earth, at a site in the Sirte basin about 300 km south of Benghazi, marking a major step in the relaunch of ENI's exploration and production activities in Libya, the company said in a note.

Sasol sees solid year earnings, production

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African petrochemicals group Sasol said its expectations for a strong year had been boosted by a good quarterly performance at its synthetic fuels unit.

Ships 'to become more energy efficient'

Merchant ships sliding down the slipways in 2020 will emit up to 35 per cent less carbon dioxide than ships today, and up to a third of them will be fitted with exhaust gas recovery systems by 2016, according to a leading ship classification society.

The latest research by the Norwegian-based Det Norske Veritas, its Shipping 2020 Report, is the result of a comprehensive study predicting the developments in the world's merchant fleet over the next eight years, and beyond.

Russia's Nov gas output falls 4.2% on year to 57.65 Bcm: report

Moscow (Platts) - Russia's gas output fell 4.2% year on year to 57.652 Bcm in November, Russia's Prime news agency said Monday, citing preliminary data by the Central Dispatching Unit, part of the country's energy ministry.

Of the total, Gazprom's production in November decreased 6.3% year on year to 42.54 Bcm, it said.

Israel, Woodside strike gas deal, a blow for Gazprom

SYDNEY/JERUSALEM, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Australia's Woodside Petroleum said it would buy a 30 percent stake in Israel's Leviathan natural gas field, dealing a blow to Gazprom's ambitions to cement its position as Europe's dominant supplier and expand in the liquefied natural gas market.

Woodside, Australia's biggest oil and gas firm, will take a 30 percent stake in Leviathan in a deal that could be worth $2.5 billion and adds a major player to the LNG market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Saudi Arabia's Ma'aden signs deals worth $260m with US firms

The Saudi Arabian mining firm Ma'aden signed deals worth 977 million Saudi riyals ($260 million) with US firms Fluor Corp and Bechtel to help develop an industrial city in the country's north, it said.

Saudi Arabia, home to the world's largest oil reserves, is keen to develop its mining industry to diversify the economy away from relying on oil.

Saudi power investment may hit $133bn in ten years

Saudi Arabia will need to invest over SAR500bn (US$133bn) over the next ten years to meet rapidly rising power demand, Saudi Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah al-Hussayen said late on Sunday.

The country with the biggest Arab economy and a population that has ballooned to over 27m faces sporadic power cuts in summer when demand for air conditioning surges.

Study: Dispersant Made Oil 50 Times More Toxic To Gulf Of Mexico Microorganisms

The massive amounts of oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico after BP’s Deepwater Horizon drill rig exploded was devastating to marine life, but the dispersant used in the aftermath to try and break down the oil slicks may have been even worse for some species, according to new research done by scientists with the Georgia Institute of Technology and Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Fukushima inspires safety features for Georgia nuclear reactors

(CNN) -- People like to say history repeats itself, but Southern Co., which is building the first U.S. nuclear reactors approved in decades, is hoping this isn't true.

With last year's tsunami-induced disaster at the Fukushima Daichi plant in Japan, Southern doesn't want its reactors to meet the same fate.

Gas-rich Qatar to invest up to $20 billion in solar energy plant

DOHA, (Reuters) - OPEC member Qatar will ask firms to tender for a 1,800 megawatt (MW) solar energy plant in 2014 costing between $10-20 billion as the world's highest per capita greenhouse gas emitter seeks to increase its renewable energy production.

"We need to diversify our energy mix," said Fahad Bin Mohammed al-Attiya, chairman of the Qatari organizers of climate talks in Doha. The United Nations-led summit is being held among almost 200 nations from November 26-December 7.

Sanergy turns poop into profit in Kenya's slums

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- In China's Hunan Province, using the bathroom often means squatting over a dirty hole in the ground. An estimated 2.5 billion people around the world lack adequate sanitation -- more than a third of the global population -- and 2 million die each year of diarrheal disease.

To David Auerbach, that is both a human-rights crisis and an entrepreneurial gold mine. He and his business partners hatched a plan for profiting on both ends of a messy problem: Sell pay-per-use toilets to local entrepreneurs, then collect the waste and sell that too, after converting it into fertilizer.

Program trains farmworkers to be organic farmers

Martinez, who escaped the civil war in El Salvador three decades ago, used to pack tomatoes and harvest grapes for long hours and little pay in Central California. Then, one day, she heard an announcement on the radio: She could become a grower herself.

She enrolled in a small farmer education program in Salinas that trains farmworkers to establish and manage organic farms. Today, she grows four acres of organic strawberries in the Salinas Valley and sells them to Whole Foods markets.

Can Permaculture Transform Industrial Agriculture?

From clever chicken tunnels to a campus lawn turned no-dig garden, I've written about countless permaculture projects over the years. Some of them, like this peak oil inspired farming project in Britain, are exploring the realms of commercial agriculture—but it's fair to say that permaculture is still often seen as something more often practiced in backyards and community gardens for sustenance, not financial gain.

Part of the reason for that, I think, is about scale. Diversity may be key to mimicking natural systems and achieving truly symbiotic farming, but it is also extremely hard to deal with such complexity on a commercial farming scale.

New round of DNA tests finds dozens of repeat offenders in fish mislabeling

The results underscore an ongoing lack of regulation in the nation’s seafood trade — oversight so weak restaurants and suppliers know they will not face punishment for mislabeling fish. Over the past several months, the Globe collected 76 seafood samples from 58 of the restaurants and markets that sold mislabeled fish last year. DNA testing on those samples found 76 percent of them weren’t what was advertised.

Utah Hunters Criticize Market Approach to Licenses and Conservation

“When I was a teenager, anybody could buy a tag down to the hardware store and away you went,” he said. “Now you have to have a degree in wildlife-speak to work your way through all the regulations to be able even to apply.”

It especially bothers him — and other hunters — that those with means can buy public licenses through private outlets, paying thousands of dollars to move to the head of the line. More than any state in the West, Utah has expanded hunting opportunities for the well-to-do and has begun to diminish them for those seeking permits directly from the state.

State wildlife managers recognize this, but they say their motives are grounded in animal — if not social — welfare. Utah has embraced an increasingly free-market model as a way to raise more money for conservation.

Arctic Ocean gets first gas cargo

A fully loaded LNG tanker has for the first time sailed along the Northern Sea Route from Norway to Japan.

Canada focuses on development at Arctic Council; experts fear wrong approach

Canada will use its two years as leader of the circumpolar world to promote development and defend its policies, suggest federal politicians and documents.

But Arctic experts and those involved with the Arctic Council worry that's the wrong approach at a time when the diplomatic body is dealing with crucial international issues from climate change to a treaty on oil spill prevention.

Lloyd’s reveals 2012 Science of Risk winners

Lloyd’s Science of Risk Prize 2012 has been awarded to researchers at Newcastle and Bristol universities.

Professor Richard Dawson from Newcastle University was designated Climate Change Winner for his work analysing coastal flooding and cliff erosion. The Natural Hazard winner was Professor Paul Bates from the University of Bristol for his work in developing large-scale, high-resolution flood modelling.

Washington State Plans for a More Acid Ocean

Washington State has become the first in the nation to set out an action plan for addressing ocean acidification. The plan follows publication of a report by a Blue Ribbon Panel established by outgoing Governor Christine Gregoire back in March.

Africa: 'Come Out of the Forest' to Save the Trees

Doha — Forestry experts have called for a new approach to managing land and tackling climate change - challenging the ongoing debate that forests have to be sacrificed for the sake of rural development and food security.

Clean energy 'more urgent', energy watchdog says

The need for a more sustainable global energy system is more urgent than ever, energy watchdog, the International Energy Agency warned on Monday as UN climate talks went into a second week.

Climate talks deadlocked in Doha

UN climate talks on Monday entered their final week amid rows over the Kyoto Protocol and funding for poorer countries, despite fresh warnings of the peril from greenhouse gases.

After six days of wrangling, nearly 200 nations remained far apart on issues vital for unlocking a global deal on climate change, said delegates at the talks in Doha, Qatar's capital.

FACTBOX-Unresolved disputes at U.N. climate talks in Doha

(Reuters) - Almost 200 nations are meeting in Doha until Dec. 7 to try to extend struggling U.N.-led efforts to slow global warming to avert ever more droughts, floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

New Zealand: forget Kyoto, write new climate deal

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Highlighting a rift between the rich countries and emerging economies like China, New Zealand's climate minister staunchly defended his government's decision to drop out of the emissions pact for developed nations, saying it's an outdated and insufficient response to global warming.

Global warming worries Indians

Doha (Qatar): The majority of people in India, China and America believe their governments "should be doing more" to address global warming and climate change, says a study released today.

About 54 per cent Indians want their government to be more proactive on climate, while the figure is nearly 90 per cent for China and the US.

Climate change science gets more compelling as politicians fiddle

The politics and the science of global warming remain far apart. International climate negotiators in Doha, Qatar this week began talking about a climate treaty to be agreed by 2015 and implemented by 2020, when all that was supposed to be finished in Copenhagen three years ago. Inspiring. Meanwhile, the evidence supporting the broad international scientific consensus on climate change is only becoming more compelling, with three big, peer-reviewed studies out this week alone.

Why Seeing Is Believing—Usually—When It Comes to Climate Change

In other words, climate change is hard to really see in one’s daily life, and understanding it requires “analytic information processing”—otherwise known as thinking. That’s not something people have a lot of time, inclination (and perhaps ability) to do. But those who have been personally affected by climate change—which includes more than a quarter of the American public—report that they’ve personally experienced the effects of climate change, and that tends to be associated with higher levels of certainty that climate change is happening.

A note of interest

While reading my latest book, "Peeking at Peak Oil", I came across a passage that stated that Peak Oil Congressman Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland and Dr. Albert Bartlett, Professor Emeritus University of Colorado, were brothers. I did not know that!

Congressman Bartlett, after serving for 20 years, was defeated in the November general election due to redistricting.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert A. Bartlett ...

Ron P.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."

This shortcoming certainly applies to every politician that I've ever heard speak. You always hear about how good economic growth is, and this growth is always given as a percentage of last year's GDP, and hence exponential. The strange thing is that exponential functions are quite easy to understand.

On another note, is Aleklett's book worth the trip to the library?

Well I am only about 1/3 the way through the book of 325 pages. But so far it is the very best book I have ever read on the subject, and I have read at least 20 books on peak oil. Unlike most of the other books, this book I simply cannot put down.

I paid $32.88 for my copy but it is now available in paperback for $19.22. But of course the library is free and it would be most definitely worth the trip.

Peeking at Peak Oil

Ron P.

I'm gonna buy the swedish original. Wherever I can find it.

You haven't read it until you've read it in the original Klingon.


(of course in this case Kjell actually is Swedish...)

I try to always read a book in the language it is written. If I for some reason can't, I want the Swedish translation, and in the third priority an English translation. Languages are fun, I just know to few of them.

The $19 price is for the Kindle version, not the paperback.

Frugal wrote:

On another note, is Aleklett's book worth the trip to the library?

I've read the book in its entirety a month or so back and I've read Hirsch's book from 2010 as well as Rubin's book from 2009 as well as a few others.

I was hesitant to buy it, because I thought that the book, which is aimed at an intelligent generalist audience without much knowledge on the subject prior to reading the book, wouldn't bring up much new.

I was wrong. Aleklett goes into great length, really quite pointless lengths at times, into the sheer physics and geology of exactly how oil functions, how you drill oil, what natural laws rule it etc. I was interested for most of the time but I couldn't help thinking that this didn't have much use. I guess his motivation was something along the lines of "see? this is really complicated, so beware whenever you hear the rosy predictions!".

Still, there are more intelligent ways to do it.

But that isn't really my main contention with the book, that was a sidenote.

The main contention is that Aleklett is a mess, at least as a writer. He uses three different estimates of what oil is, and never mentions which one he is using. I know which one, because I've used all three extensively(BP; IEA and EIA).

He will use a different one depending on which forecast he made years ago, which is already off, he is defending currently defending in the book. Aside from that, he is relying on old writings, even though he supposedly wrote everything from scratch. He still treats Canada and Venezuela as the 'last hope' of the oil industry, no serious mention of Iraq except a few sparse paragraphs. Hardly any mention at all about North American tight oil(whatever your opinion of them, they matter). The book was written during late 2011 and early 2012 so he has no real excuse on timing.

Some of the biggest failings of the book is, however, what he fails to mention at all. For example, if you look at ASPOs forecasts, they are shoddy at best. If you look at the forecasts of individual members of ASPO, like Campbell, he has already made a series of forecasts that were totally off(the last he made predicted a clear and consistent decline beginning in 2010. Well we're now in 2013 and that hasn't happened).

The biggest thing I wanted to know was that despite all the talk of increasing decline rates, the existing producing countries have kept their share of the production bargain, like Russia, Saudi Arabia and so on.

Most of us know the oft-trotted out statistic: the world oil markets need about 3 to 3.5 mb/d in new capacity each year just to keep up. Skrebowski predicted by 2008 that this would run out back in the early 2000s. He has since pushed that back almost every year to just around the corner.

Hirsch predicted in 2010 that it would happen in 2015, at the very latest, and perhaps as early as 2012. In the last ASPO conference in Europe, this summer, his presentation had changed. Now, it said "in the next 1-4 years". I'll save you the arithmatic, that means he has pushed ahead on his last date, by one year. Who knows what he'll do next year, the same trick as Skrewbowski has done since the last decade?

All of these predictions have counted on the existing producing countries not to be able to maintain oil supply at current levels, which they have, consistently. Yet Aleklett never even broaches the subject.

Nor does he broach his own group(not ASPO but the Uppsala Energy Group) repeated failures..

His presentation at the last ASPO conference is here:


Look at slide #36. Again, he doesn't say which estimate he uses. I assume it's the BP one because the starting point is at the low end of 80 mb/d. Yet, by his group's estimate the oil production should have declined from low-80s to mid-70s by now. Instead, the BP data shows it is stable. He does write "not including shale oil", sure, subtract 1.5 mb/d from the BP data and you still land above 80 mb/d.

Being off by 5 mb/d in such a short time frame is a huge deal. But don't except Aleklett to talk about it.

He, perhaps more than anyone else, has done Lord's work by exposing the flawed IEA forecasts until they got more reasonable. The problem is that he isn't willing to do the same critical work on his own forecasts, which are increasingly just as offbase.

Thanks for the thorough comment. It was a very thoughtful and worthwhile read. Now, I will order the book. It sure seems to me that the decline is always around the corner, but I shudder at the huge number of possible events that could start the slide on its path. Declining ER on invested accompanied with dodgy credit problems is simply waiting for an event we will all notice in our rear view mirror as to where it all really came apart. The last sentence is full of PO cliches, but I don't see any way out of the mess.

I am glad for the forecasts being off as it gives us all time to better prepare and come to terms with the concepts of finite resources.

I can envision a credit collapse and further deflation knocking expensive extraction off the rails and we never really recover or produce the marginal supplies currently talked about. Furthermore, it really does seem that economic growth is slowing beyond normal cycles. We are at the top of the arc it seems.


I think the plateau we're on is being stretched to its limit. As you say, a shift in the financial picture could change that pretty fast and then the decline will be sharp and in the rear view mirror.

BTW, you are from BC right? Up the coast I think I saw you wrote before? Where?

Hey ho,

I live in Sayward (Kelsey Bay)...in the valley, not the townsite. Work in CR.


We are at the top of the arc it seems.

Paulo, if so, we are all downhill from there.

Hirsch predicted in 2010 that it would happen in 2015, at the very latest, and perhaps as early as 2012. In the last ASPO conference in Europe, this summer, his presentation had changed. Now, it said "in the next 1-4 years".

He said, beginning at 2:35 in this video: Robert Hirsch - The Impending World Oil Shortage: Learning from the Past

We believe, and anticipate, that world oil production will go into decline sometime in the next one to four years. A year ago that was 2 to 5 years and we are going to stick to our guns.

Could you please provide your reference where, in 2010 that he said it would happen in 2015 at the latest and perhaps as early as 2012.

At any rate, 1 to 4 years is 2013 to 2016. So 2015 is well within that range.

Ron P.

You could use a logarithmic presentation, then it is linear. Do you think this would help? :-)))

I never knew that either and I have only read about one or the other around a billion times. Ha-ha!

Well that's interesting. Having read and referenced them both numerous times, I'd never seen that. But... wiki makes no mention of it on either of their pages. A quick search turns up nothing to link them, except this which notes Roscoe using a "1998 adaptation of physicist Dr. Albert Bartlett's (no relation to the congressman) 1978 lecture..."

Perhaps the book is in error on this trivial matter?

On page 96, commenting on being invited to testify before a congressional hearing on peak oil, December 7, 2005. His invitation came at the request of Congressman Bartlett:

Congressman Bartlett is the House of Representative's greatest educator on Peak Oil so I felt doubly honored that the invitation came at his behest. An odd coincidence was that, some days later in Dunedin, New Zealand, I was scheduled to meet his brother Professor Al Bartlett who is world famous for his lectures on exponential growth.

I think that since he met both of them, he would be in a better position to know than the author of the Factbits piece.

Ron P.

Talk about faint praise: "the House of Representative's [sic] greatest educator on Peak Oil."


Bartlett and his wacky magical solutions couldn't shine Heinberg's shoes.

I have met both of them as well, but I'm pretty sure that Roscoe has cited Al's work several times and has on at least one occasion mentioned that he (Roscoe) has no hesitation in praising Al's work because they are not related.
I await confirmation/refutation of their being brothers.

I don't think they are brothers.

According to Wikipedia, Roscoe Bartlett was born in Moreland, Kentucky, to Martha Minnick and Roscoe Gardner Bartlett.

According to this bio, Albert A. Bartlett was born in Shanghai, China, to Marguerite Allen and Willard W. Bartlett.

Okay, Kjell Aleklett was mistaken. He should be more careful and not make assumptions. It is still a fantastic book.

Ron P.

Thanks, Leanan. I have sent him an e-mail with your sources that he might correct it in any future editions and take any other action he deems appropriate.

Here's another story in today's NYT about the climate change treaty discussions in Doha:

With Carbon Dioxide Emissions at Record High, Worries on How to Slow Warming

But the decline of emissions in the developed countries is more than matched by continued growth in developing countries like China and India, the new figures show. Coal, the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, is growing fastest, with coal-related emissions leaping more than 5 percent in 2011, compared with the previous year.

Looks like TPTB are going to set the Earth on boil before they wake up...

E. Swanson

Over and over, we Humans prove that we're stupider than yeast!

Over and over, supposed greens blame the species for the sins of the vested interests, while ignoring actual public opinion, even when it's linked in the very thread they're commenting in.

Actions of vested interests or species, what's the difference when the end result is the same? The species is letting the vested interests speak and act for them!

In fact, those who are expressing that supposed "Public Opinion" show no interest in changing their very own life! They just want others to change theirs. At least some of us are making changes in our lives and showing others that it can be done. I'll freely admit that it's not enough, though. It's hard to make any meaningful change when the masses don't want to make any change at all, even though they think "something" should be done.

So, no reason to care or pay attention then? Lovely stuff. The odds are mixed or even long, so you say "quit." Thanks for nothing.

Meanwhile, there is a power structure, and it does not emanate from the pristine will of the masses. Not even close.

While we're on this topic, I'm not sure I get the logic of trying to "do something" at any level if you're sure meaningful change is hopeless/impossible. What's the point of that?

1. I didn't say that there's no need to pay attention. I obviously AM. I didn't say quit. Stop putting words in my mouth that I didn't say. We keep trying to demonstrate that we're stupid, not that we have to be.

2. I don't disagree that there's the power structure that has their own selfish interests in mind, and to hell with the rest. However the rest of the mass of us aren't really trying, En Masse, to do anything different. In fact, we just pretty much blindly follow along with what the "power structure" wants.

3. What I'm doing is to try to show others that we can do something if we decide that we want to. That's anything but "hopeless".

The one and only definitive answer to AGW (and even this isn't certain, given that we may have passed methane tipping points already) is an immediate, complete end to all fossil fuel use.

Now get the 1% and the 99% all together in a really big room, and try to sell that idea. You'd find there wouldn't be an iota of difference in their reactions. On this issue the chattel aren't any more far-sighted than their owners.

See, Michael Dawson, how few even here actually get it? This is what's actually needed to make a true change that actually has a chance of responding to AGW! Are you ready to do something like this? If not, you're just going along with the "power structure" too. Your "Public Opinion" means nothing if it's not followed up by action.

A lot of the action that is going to really be taken (eventually) will be adaptation.

I suspect the "adaptation" that our society will take to AGW will be collapse. 4C has been called "beyond adaptation" and 6C very clearly is exactly that if we can believe what evidence we have of past periods with similar temps. When Miami is underwater, well, you lose Miami. There is a limit to engineering solutions; eventually some things must be abandoned.

Humans may survive but our current mode of civilization depends on keeping the damage minimal.

Michael Dawson,

"... there is a power structure, and it does not emanate from the pristine will of the masses. Not even close."

Well said.

The king never wants to take blame honorably, because "the king can do no wrong."

That ideology is still with us and is still very, very king oil sick.

When you drive a Dodge Ram, it's pretty tough to go back to a bicycle.

Over and over, supposed greens blame the species for the sins of the vested interests, while ignoring actual public opinion...

I think we aren't exactly on a level playing field in the game of vested interests vs public opinion. The score is vested interests 1000, public opinion 10.


Chinese Headline: “Free and unrestrained; expect to exceed expectations in the New Year!”
Advertising Agency: AdAsia Communications, New York
Creative Director: Paul Ng
Account Supervisor: Julia Kang

The idea with this ad was to associate their brand with the emotional high of rebirth/reinvention, suggesting that this renewal can occur at the beginning of the New Year, and that this feeling is also captured by purchasing a Subaru. An esoteric, abstract idea at best, that clearly required hours of creative collaboration.

Of course they probably wouldn't want to show that new Subaru next to this idyllic scene from the Chinese country side, eh?


Public opinion doesn't understand the level of change needed to actually do something effective on climate change. If you start phrasing the question in terms of benefits and costs, the public is going to be a lot less receptive. For example, "Would you be willing to pay double for fossil fuel electricity in order to delay global warming by 20-30 years?" or "Would you be willing to pay an extra $2/gal. for gasoline in order to lower the Earth's average temperature by .5C by 2100?"

Reason magazine always runs surveys like this, saying people want smaller government. When you dig into the numbers, though, people don't want to cut Social Security, Medicare, the military, schools, cops, roads, firemen, or libraries. I suspect "doing something about AGW" is pretty similar.

Maybe Hollywood can reach them ...

Showtime Orders Climate Change Series From James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Weintraub

Showtime is tackling climate change as part of a multi-episode documentary series titled Years of Living Dangerously.

The event series, which will explore the human impact, is a collaboration of high-profile producers, actors and journalists including James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub, Arnold Schwarzenegger and 60 Minutes producers Joel Bach and David Gelber. Climate expert Daniel Abbasi will join the group as an executive producer.

Stars including Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Alec Baldwin and likely Edward Norton will serve as first-person narrators on the ground. Other prominent names involved include three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman, two-time Pulitzer winner Nicholas Kristof, renowned columnist Mark Bittman and MSNBC host Chris Hayes, and Dr. Joseph Romm (ClimateProgress.org) as technical adviser

Said Cameron, a longtime environmental advocate: “We’ll make it exciting. We’ll make it investigative. We’ll bring people the truth. And people are always hungry for the truth.”

The effort is expected to unfold over six to eight, one-hour episodes and is scheduled to air in 2013.

And people are always hungry for the truth

Except of course, when it's inconvenient, right?

At least Cameron is Peak Oil aware.

I imagine the denialist attack dogs have been unleashed to head this one off. Hope they are wearing (dog) biteproof armour.

I heard an interesting viewpoint: The corporate sponsorship of denialism may swiftly shift and transform into the corporate sponsorship of fatalism: "It's too late. There is nothing we can do anyway. Burn whatever you want. We will just have to adapt." Think of the money to be made securing a whole new life for the fortunate who wish to survive.

Also, the meme of denial might be superseded by the meme of duty:

Many people, who have nothing to do with the corporations, and have long recognized the reality of AGW are already into fatalism mode and, unfortunately, actually believe that their children and grand children will learn to adapt. Well, maybe they will adapt, as I guess the human species is able to adapt to all sorts of extremely unpleasant and even deadly situations. Adapt or die. Take your choice if it is a choice. My guess is that billions will be unable to adapt and will die based upon massive drowth, heat, and inability to grow sufficient food for suvival not to mention that there will be a lot of places that are simply unlivable.

But I get the reality that there is really isn't anything you can do to effectively stop this train that has left the station. The corporate juggernaut of carbon dominance appears to be impenetrable and I don't think our governor, including Obama, despite the lip service, fully understand that disaster to come. Maybe they sort of get it on an intellectual level, but I don't think they feel it in their bones and their soul. Just go play golf in January in Colorado and it will all feel better. Except for those who make their living in the ski areas.

Look up the origin of the word "juggernaut", it's quite appropriate!

I suppose one man's fatalism is another man's pragmatism.

Fatalism, pragmatism,
po-tay-to, po-tah-to,
Let's call the whole thing off ;-)

Exxon's Rex Tillerson: climate change is real, but postulates it's only an engineers problem with engineers solutions. We'll simply adapt and by the way, poor countries need cheap oil so please don't tax the oil industry!


Unfortunately climate change will cost poor countries many billions. Oh well, I guess, we'll just need to engineer our way out more, or adapt more and lower oil taxes more to compensate for the reduced spending power due to climate catastrophes.

The man has a great big heart, he clearly tries to do the best for poor people!

I heard an interesting viewpoint: The corporate sponsorship of denialism may swiftly shift and transform into the corporate sponsorship of fatalism

yes, that's what I've been saying for some time, though I've been trying to keep it on the down-low by directly communicating with high-profile AGW types rather than shouting it from the rooftops.

I would own "nihilicious.com" except someone thought of it before I did in somewhat a different context.

"We will just have to adapt."

That's effectively been the position of Canada's Conservative government since it came to power six years ago.

both he and Fischer declared that failure to use coal, oil, and natural gas is an insulting rejection of the gifts that God has given to us

I think I know what the guy's pick-up line is.

"We’ll bring people the truth. And people are always hungry for the truth.”

Col. Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I think I'm entitled to.
Col. Jessep: *You want answers?*
Kaffee: *I want the truth!*
Col. Jessep: *You can't handle the truth!*
--A Few Good Men

Food will act as the light switch to the light going on to Climate change.imo

I talked to a dairy farmer here in the Netherlands who reduces his lifestock while having space for about a hundred more. I asked him why, he said: the price of feedstock is currently so high that feeding a dairy cow currently costs him more then the gets for the milk. So his operation is going dormant until milkprices rise enough, but then he has much less lifestock. So I asked him why he didn't ride this thing out and wait until better prices, he said that every dairy cow cost him about 3 Euro's a day, he can't afford to have them hang around eating and producing milk that he must sell at a loss. So what about the required time before his new lifestock would become productive, I asked, he said that could take up to 2 years. I was baffled by the scale of his problem; go bankrupt while working for nothing or go bankrupt while doing nothing. I asked him about the feedstock prices, he said that good feedstock was at least 50% up in price because of the drought in the US.

Climate change is already impacting individuals in a first-world country without even being subjected to extreme weather. Climate change acts global, even we won't escape it's effects even when living in an area with temperate climate.

Part of the problem with cattle feed prices is that the US is now converting 40% of its corn crop into fuel ethanol. The volumes are dictated by law without regard to market conditions, so with this year's drought, the amount of corn available to feed cattle is severely reduced.

Let's get this party started! Less corn this year. Less beef next year. Fewer people the year after?

Sure there are always complicating factors, but corn acerage has been increased massively, but total production is expected to be lowest since 1995 iirc. Using agricultural land and feedstock for fuels is very questionable in the first place, but without the drought there should have been more feedstock available instead of less. Anyway, farmers are reducing their lifestock not only in the US, but in other developed countries as well.

From beef prices to the cost of a pair of socks, the Texas drought of 2011 will leave its mark on family budgets. "This drought is just strangling our agricultural economy," says professor Travis Miller, of Texas A&M University's Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. Losses, so far, are estimated at $5 billion. Texas has lost a little over half of its cotton crop as parched fields brought back memories and statistics not seen since the great dust bowl of 1933. Texas produces 55% of the U.S. crop and two-thirds of America's yield is exported to mills in China, Mexico, Vietnam and Thailand, where textile manufacturers drove prices down by reducing their stockpiles hoping to see a glut on the market and hence lower cotton prices, Miller says. However, their effort did not anticipate the drought and now with shrinking supplies, cotton prices are surging.

The effects go beyond this year's cotton harvest. Ranchers are selling off cattle in historic numbers, Miller says, many of them getting rid of breeding stock that ranchers can no longer feed and water. The state has also lost an entire hay crop, making winter feeding an expensive proposition. While that may mean lower beef prices in the short run as plenty of newly slaughtered cattle hit the marketplace, it likely will mean higher prices down the road since valuable breeding stock is being sold off.


I check Bruce Krasting's blog regularly...looks like he ran some math on US Social Security, would be of particular interest to you guys

Social Security – 2012 Results

Some thoughts on these results:

- The $46.7B annual cash deficit is the third in a row. The 2012 shortfall confirms it; SS will never see a cash flow surplus again. Every dollar of the cash shortfall MUST be funded by selling additional debt to the public.

His prediction

My guess is that the Democrats will prevail on SS with regard to the current fiscal cliff debate. As a result, there will be no changes to SS. Should that be the outcome, in about five years the wheels will fall off the cart. By then, SS will be running cash deficits of at least $200B a year. It will be much harder to “fix” than today.

Yes, I am 51 and have long figured that the system would fail before I reach retirement age (not that I have anything to retire from - but that's another issue...)

Does that supposed SS deficit count the 2% reduction in the payroll tax as a reduction in SS funding? I've always thought, and so did the more independent one of the Vermont senators, that that payroll tax reduction was a bad idea, since it makes SS _look_ like it's underfunded. Perhaps that was done on purpose.

Yes it's counted, I think...I didn't read it in detail as it's not really my cup of tea...

In 2012 the Treasury paid SS $115B to offset the drop in income related to the 2% reduction in payroll taxes for the year. The operating results (including the Treasury contribution) still produced a cash flow deficit of $46.7B. In other words, the shortfall for 2012 added $162B to the borrowing requirements at Treasury. This borrowing resulted in a dollar-for-dollar increase in the Debt Owed to the Public.

I think the point Bruce was trying to make is that Bernanke's ZIRP has the biggest impact of all.

Well, the Official SSA position is that the trust fund is legitimately redeemable. Technically, doing so would add to the public debt by converting those off-budget securities to marketable securities, but both are equally backed by "full faith and credit" and defaulting on one would assuredly start a run on the other.

Congress may try to to increase FICA taxes and/or decrease benefits in order to keep the funny money flowing in the right direction. But since that benefits neither workers or retirees I would expect legal challenges from both sides.

The debt that the SS trust fund owns- is full faith credit. However, what it has promised is not i.e. Congress can elect to payout as benefits whatever it chooses to pay out. I think a useful starting point would be to make the promised payouts from SS into a contractual obligation - equivalent to the payments on the debt. This will at least align the interests of the moneyed class and the retiree. Both would have a vested interest in making sure that the Government is solvent. As it stands right now retirees are essentially subordinated debt holders of the Federal Government. Of course the rich who own the senior debt don't care about the solvency they are first in line.

Some humans type seldom used words like "stupider".

I struggled with that for quite a while, but ended up deciding it better expresses the feeling than saying "we're less smart than yeast" or "yeast is smarter than us" or something like that. So I'm stupid or not human, so what?

The point of words is to get an idea across, and you did that perfectly well.

I'm not sure if Cal is trying to be clever or what.. but I'm pretty sure that yeast know how to hold firm to their wisdom without ever saying a word! (In fact, I think we're smarter.. but not better.)

Doesn't seem like they're in a rush to turn down the heat ...

Doha Climate Conference: What’s Said Behind Closed Doors

The chief U.S. negotiator at the climate change talks in Doha, Qatar, told assembled NGOs in a closed-door, off-the-record meeting, that they have to remember, as the Times of India put it, “who pays for their presence.” He was recorded as saying: "We are one of the funders to make it possible for you to be at the table. I hope you recognize that many of you who come to the meetings you do, the US fights for you at every chance to give you a chance to be in this room." He also laid into the Qatari hosts of the summit, saying of the meeting involving the ministers of 194 nations: "We are worried frankly about the Qatari vision of a 5 hour session which deals with everything because it may not grapple very well with anything." A little heavy handed?

Pershing is on record saying that the U.S. will not increase its commitment on emission reductions between now and 2020.

Doha Climate Talks: Why Cutting CO2 is More Important Than Stopping Methane

Statement by International Energy Agency Executive Director on COP 18

IEA analysis shows that achieving the internationally agreed climate goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees C is becoming more difficult and more expensive with every passing year. Without concerted action soon, the world is on track for a much warmer future with possibly dire consequences. In fact, announced policies could lead to an increase of 3.5 degrees C. An increase of this magnitude could trigger widespread melting of the permafrost in Arctic regions with unpredictable results.

... even if the global temperature increase is limited to only 2 degrees C, a warming planet may negatively affect our energy supply, demand and assets. In short, our energy security could be at risk.

and Clean Energy 'More Urgent', Energy Watchdog Says

ESSD Article: The Global Carbon Budget 1959–2011

Foresight Report: Reducing Risk of Future Disasters

New research shows record high for global carbon emissions

Why UN Climate Agreements Fail

... Our environmental crisis is not caused by some abstract notion of growth that humans in general just can't seem to shake. Capitalistic style growth, however, is built into the system at the ground floor; nothing is produced under capitalism (in the private sector) unless a profit (growth) results; capitalists who don’t get a return on their investments (growth) lose their money. This is the holy shrine of growth that cannot be surgically removed from the capitalistic body; the body itself was born ill.

Thus, if renewable energy is not as profitable as oil — and it isn't — then the majority of capitalist investing will continue to go towards destroying the planet. It really is that simple. Even the best-intentioned capitalists do not throw their money away on non-growth investments.

... This is why the Doha climate talks have "less ambitious" goals than the Copenhagen conference before it; we are going in the wrong direction at the same speed that the climate is worsening. There is a direct connection between the reverse direction of the climate talks and the scramble for oil and other raw materials that is leading to war at an alarming rate. Capitalism is in crisis and needs all available resources funneled into the private sector to re-boost profits, to the detriment of the environment.

This is the holy shrine of growth that cannot be surgically removed from the capitalistic body; the body itself was born ill.

So basically our current form of capitalism is like a malignant and terminal cancer growing on our ecosystems. Either it is erradicated by whatever means necessary, such as some form of radical capitalistectomy or it will without a doubt kill the host.

If the host dies so does the cancer! Unfortunately proposing radical treatment is no guarantee of a cure at this point and it is highly unlikely to go into remission of its own accord.

Like many cancer patients we seem to be in deep denial of our prognosis and want to continue doing as we have always done and we are unwilling to take the necessary medicine and therapy.

The question remains, will there be any afterlife to the growth based paradigm?

Hey, seems like good times for the atheists to convert!

As for cancer cure, science has brought in the field TARGETED molecular therapies. Perhaps the concept could be inspiring, but we need a honest diagnostic and a brave doctor here.

Cancer is fascinating in that it cannot be at all considered an "intelligent" entity, since it kills the host. But, it is able to distord, corrupt, and turn at its advantage every biological pathway needed to make cells immortal and malignant, and sustain its whole growth and dissemination. It is truly fascinating.

All that is lacking from our current Capitalist system in North America is the putting of a proper price on carbon emissions. Once that is done, let the Free Market roll on, and we will have a great, sustainable society free from Big Government.


Who do they think they are? This is one of the hottest countries in the world. They are only a national oil income away from 3:rd world status. And they are one of the first countries in the world to be unlivable when the world get to hot. They shall not threaten us, we shall threaten them; reduce your emissions, or we buy your oil and use it!

Plant to Convert Gas to Liquid Fuel Planned in U.S.

WESTLAKE, La. — In an ambitious bet that the glut of cheap natural gas in the United States will last for many years, a South African energy company announced on Monday that it would build America’s first commercial plant to convert natural gas to diesel and other liquid fuels.

Having already built smaller plants in South Africa and Qatar, Sasol has designed its new Louisiana plant to produce 96,000 barrels of fuel a day using its “gas to liquids,” or G.T.L., technology. It will be the second-largest plant of its kind in the world, after Royal Dutch Shell’s Pearl plant in Qatar, and will cost $11 billion to $14 billion to build.

Shell is considering one in the U.S. as well. Pearl gets the natural gas for free from Qatar for a cut of the end profits. That lowers the business risk, if they can get long term contracts in the U.S. it could be a good deal.

So -- we're going through gobs of expensive diesel fuel to produce cheap shale gas, only to turn it back into expensive diesel fuel -- go figure...

According to a radio interview with a Sasol executive, it isn't a done deal yet. The final decision will be made in 2014. First to start producing, in 2017, will be an ethane cracker which uses Sasol catalysts to crack ethane to ethylene thence to various specialty chemicals. The first GTL plant will come on stream in 2018, the second in 2019.

Peak Car: Which way forward for Britain's car and rail travel?

They're calling this Peak Car, and it's not just happening here, it's happening in lots of wealthy countries, including America, where they normally have engine oil running through their veins.

... Probably most significant of all, company car mileage dropped by nearly 40% between 1995-7 and 2005-7, presumably because they took away many tax breaks. If you strip company cars out of the picture, private car mileage actually kept going up until 2007, albeit slowly.

This is what the report has to say about it: "The aggregate levelling off in average car mileage since the late 1990s appears to be almost entirely due to the reduced contribution of company car mileage."

Induction Charging Comes to Public Transit

Because of the fixed routes they run and frequent stops they make, induction charging is ideal for buses. Instead of charging up a massive battery overnight before a route, the Aggie Bus features a smaller battery setup that recharges every time the bus reaches a predetermined stop. The smaller batteries free up interior space, reduce downtime and lower battery costs — although induction plates must be added to bus stops.

VW Jetta Turbo Hybrid Hits 49.9 MPG in Road-Trip Race

"..although induction plates must be added to bus stops."

I favor induction chargers in the road rather than overhead contact chargers. It is not much more work than putting in an underground transformer for buildings, the two functions could be combined.

I favor induction chargers in the road

Do you have numbers to show the amount of material used to build overhead wire system VS the induction plate idea?

How about the transfer of energy from powerplant to wheelwell of the 2 kinds of systems?

inductive charging can be about 86% efficient if you use a relatively high frequency...

Is that "can be" over the foot or 2 foot distance between a pad and the on-bus pad?

"Can Be" is the key word here.

What would it be in the real world?

At what point are all the benefits negated?

State of the Art in Inductive Charging for Electronic Appliances and its Future in Transportation
(PDF) http://www.eng.fiu.edu/mme/robotics/elib/FCRAR2012-InductiveCharging.pdf
"Halo Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) technology... greater than 90 percent efficiency."

Halo Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging

Standard Proposal for Resonant Inductive Charging of Electric Vehicles
(PDF) http://www.amaa.de/pdfs/presentation-2012/kuemmel

Delphi Wireless Charging System
"...based on highly resonant magnetic coupling which transfers electric power over short distances without physical contact... a patented MIT-developed wireless energy transfer technology based on the following principle: Two properly designed devices with closely matched resonant frequencies can strongly couple... across air gaps in excess of 20 cm


Researchers charge cars with "remote magnetic gears"
"The UBC system is remarkably simple. The remote magnetic gears are a pair of spinning magnets – one in the charging station and the other in the car. A motor spins the charging station magnet and by simple induction this causes the magnet in the car to spin as well. As the car magnet turns, it generates electricity and charges the battery.

By using magnets, the UBC team is able to deliver 3.3 kilowatts of power from the mains to the vehicle, but it does so at a frequency one hundred times lower than a conventional wireless charger. Test results show that the remote magnetic gears are over 90 percent efficient..."

A motor spins the charging station magnet and by simple induction this causes the magnet in the car to spin as well.

...and old ladies with artificial hip joints to breakdance as they walk by.


The article states this is 90% efficient, some in other articles are 95% efficient. This is a non contact all weather system that is at least 90% efficient and does NOT cause any health effects.

Some of you people would have said the Wright Brothers should have never attempted flight. You go on worrying about when we will run out of oil without doing a darn thing about it, like developing alternatives and/or substitutes. Amazing.

That's just malarky, Cal..

Having an objection to installing a great number of high-current EM devices under the roads is well worth examining very carefully. We don't have enough info yet to say for sure that there would be no health effects from it.. not that this seems to slow you down much.

Maybe it's not quite that we wouldn't want the Wright Brothers to make their planes.. this might be more akin to keeping Freeman Dyson from building the Orion.

But on top of it all, to say that people here who voice concerns about new directions also 'aren't doing a darn thing about it' ... well, as the saying goes, it tells us more about you than about the folks you're decrying. There's more than enough on the pages here to show what posters are doing both in action and advocacy to try to help attack these problems.

"Malary" is not a definitive word. The top of the page reads "Discussions about our energy future", not arguments about when we will run out of oil.

I have been reading posts on here for years and I see VERY few real constructive solutions "about our energy future", one section did have a dozen or more posts about toilets however.

I have been reading posts on here for years and I see VERY few real constructive solutions "about our energy future", one section did have a dozen or more posts about toilets however.

Have you considered putting TOD in the rearview mirror?

"Malary" is not a definitive word.

ma·lar·key also ma·lar·ky (m-lärk)
n. Slang
Exaggerated or foolish talk, usually intended to deceive:

I have been reading posts on here for years and I see VERY few real constructive solutions "about our energy future", one section did have a dozen or more posts about toilets however.

But you bring up growing perpetual motion free energy plants and also critize people's language. How "constructive"!

I guess I'm at a loss to explain it.

EV's, Electrified Rail Freight, Offshore Windpower, Permaculture, Passivhaus Architecture, Superinsulation, Retrofitted High Efficiency Lighting and Appliances, Population..

All these discussions that don't hang heavily on the letter K, so I don't know why you're not seeing them.

But they are here.. even a bunch of discussions showing again and again how poorly Biofuels perform in net energy calcs, and as serious Water, Topsoil and Foodstuff sinks, and highly vulnerable to climate problems.. it's all here.

I have been reading posts on here for years and I see VERY few real constructive solutions "about our energy future", one section did have a dozen or more posts about toilets however.

As Jevons might have observed, better toilets and waste disposal enabled humans to live in denser settlements, which made giant fossil fuel and nuclear power generating plants economical to construct, which made power so cheap we built a lifestyle around it, which caused the problems we discuss here on TOD.

"The article states this is 90% efficient, some in other articles are 95% efficient. This is a non contact all weather system that is at least 90% efficient and does NOT cause any health effects. "

Well, if the article states it, it surely must be true.

"You go on worrying about when we will run out of oil without doing a darn thing about it, like developing alternatives and/or substitutes. Amazing."

Considering the extremely high percentage of people here who are "doing a darn thing about it", your comment would be insulting if it wasn't laughable.


If they ever try and do this large-scale, there will be a movement of people who worry that those electromagnetic waves are bad for the health of exposed people (e.g. the bus passengers). I don't know if there's a real danger there or not, but the resistance will be real. Just like the resistance to cellphone towers anywhere near people, schools, etc. (Never mind that the same worried helicopter parents give their kids cellphones to hold up against their ears.)

Or the craziness surrounding Smart Meters!

Could run into patent issues with Apple though.


Overhead charging at selected stops for electric busses should be quite efficient, much less material and work involved then induction roadways or installing wires along the entire route.

See the proterra ecoliner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JpMTWdPZ6c

It was interesting to note that the people who commissioned the survey took the opposite view to the BBC article linked to above and said it was clear evidence the UK remained a nation of drivers...

Downward mobility haunts US education

Andreas Schleicher, special adviser on education at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), says the US is now the only major economy in the world where the younger generation is not going to be better educated than the older.

"It's something of great significance because much of today's economic power of the United States rests on a very high degree of adult skills - and that is now at risk," says Mr Schleicher.

The US Education Secretary Arne Duncan, in a speech a few weeks ago, asked how the US had in "the space of a generation" tumbled from first place to 14th in graduation rates.

... "A child born poor in the United States today is more likely to remain poor than at any time in our history. Many other nations now outperform us in educational attainment and economic mobility, and the American middle class shrinks before our eyes."

It's as if It's A Wonderful Life had been remade - without the happy ending.

It is kind of disconcerting how the US has fallen behind in educational levels. When I went to grade school in Canada half a century ago, the US held the gold standard for achievement, something to emulate. Now it's well back in the group, risking being dropped from the peloton.

Looking at 50 years ago vs today - see Education at a Glance 2011: OECD Key Indicators (PDF, p.15), 50 years ago, just under 80% of Americans had high school graduation, while the proportion today is just under 90%. By contrast, in Canada 50 years ago, less than 60% of Canadians had a high school diploma, while today it is over 90%, higher than the US. Canada has made great strides in increasing the graduation rate over the last half century, while the US has stalled and according to the most recent studies has been backsliding recently.

At the extreme, in Korea 50 years ago, less than 25% of the people had secondary school graduation, whereas today nearly 100% of Koreans graduate from secondary school, the highest rate in the world.

50 years ago, the US and Canada had similar rates of college graduation - around 25% of the population - Canada was a more stratified society at that time. Today, the US rate is about 40%, whereas that in Canada is about 55%. Most Canadians today have a university degree or college diploma, but most Americans don't. The US is the more stratified society today.

To bring up Korea again, 50 years ago, less than 10% of Koreans had graduated from college. Today, more than 60% of them have - again the highest rate in the world. It's a huge, huge change for what 50 years ago was a third world country.

So, as the article says, in the space of a generation, the US has fallen from first place to 14th place in graduation rates. It's only going to get worse. China is clearly trying to emulate Korea's spectacular leap in education, and at the rate they're going, in the next generation they might succeed. Other countries are trying, too.

Take a tour of the towns and cities that have been gutted by greed over the past 40 years ...

The Archeology of Decline: Debtpocalypse and the Hollowing Out of America

“Debtpocalypse” looms. Depending on who wins out in Washington, we’re told, we will either free fall over the fiscal cliff or take a terrifying slide to the pit at the bottom. Grim as these scenarios might seem, there is something confected about the mise-en-scène, like an un-fun Playland. After all, there is no fiscal cliff, or at least there was none -- until the two parties built it.

And yet the pit exists. It goes by the name of “austerity.” However, it didn’t just appear in time for the last election season or the lame-duck session of Congress to follow. It was dug more than a generation ago, and has been getting wider and deeper ever since. Millions of people have long made it their home. “Debtpocalypse” is merely the latest installment in a tragic, 40-year-old story of the dispossession of American working people.

Think of it as the archeology of decline, or a tale of two worlds.

"...we look into the politics of the so-called “fiscal cliff”... the absurd theatrics surrounding the phony urgency of going over a mythical cliff while the real issues facing the economy are not being addressed by the press or our politicians."

"Pretty Please"

Within the framing of the American austerity arguments, no one speaks of taxing stock transactions as they do in Europe: High-speed trading is pure mindless wealth extraction with millisecond timing. No one speaks to the fact that people are very willing to buy our debt at low interest rates. Those rates could even go negative if the middle east destabilizes: debt is not the problem... they even acknowledge that pulling cash out of the system will crash it ... which implies that putting cash into the system will mend it. This is much like how national health care, "single payer", was never "on the table" during "health care reform"... and yet now they scream about how the cost of one of the most expensive healthcare systems in the world, insurance based, that delivers relatively poor service, is what is killing the country and must be denied to the poor.

If I thought that growth, American style, was compatible with carbon reduction, I'd say avoid the cliff. As it is, I welcome the cliff, especially as it relates to Defense expenditure decreases, which, btw, are only 10%. Spending should not be done without a CIS, carbon impact statement.

"US has fallen from first place to 14th place in graduation rates"

Screw graduation rates - it's a terrible metric made worse by NCLB (no child left behind). In order to not lose funding schools have been manipulating data and passing kids that have no business having a high school degree. So I contend that it's even worse than it appears. Curriculum and teaching has been pushed to the "LCD" - the lowest common denominator - so as to allow the even the heaviest browed knuckle-dragger to graduate. Some high schools do offer (painfully few) "advanced placement" courses and early college admission (usually in conjunction with a community college) but by that point the joy of learning has likely been robbed from them. College in the US has gained such importance due to the failure of K-12 as a college degree now serves as proof of basic competency whereas a high school degree in the past could have provided this assurance but now does not. This has had a knock-on effect of pushing basic STEM competency near the point of requiring a Masters or PhD for employment.

Other than graduation rates, another problem the US has is the dumbing down of its educational system, as exemplified by the "no child left behind" policy. Other countries have stepped up their standards and just tell the students to work harder or they will fail.

I know that when I got my grade 12 diploma ("senior matriculation") in Alberta, that it was equivalent to first year college in the US. Since then, they've stepped up the standards, and now grade 12 (the academic "advanced diploma") is probably equivalent to 2nd year college in the US.

My wife has a Masters Degree, but she was telling me she doesn't think she would even be able to get into her old university (the University of Alberta) at all any more with the qualifications she got in high school - they've stepped up the entrance requirements so high. Getting into Alberta universities is a real nightmare for US high school students. They are well advised to take a couple of years of college to prepare them, or just go to a US university instead.

I've had some discussions with my sister-in-law about that since my brother does a lot of employee transfers between the US and Canada. For Americans transferring to Alberta, it is a real shock for them to find their kids are two years behind in school and playing football is not an option. For Albertans transferring to the US, their kids find they can get into just about any US university they want. For the real overachievers, the ticket is the International Baccalaurate, which many high schools are offering these days. It will get them into any Engish-speaking university in the world.

"Other countries have stepped up their standards and just tell the students to work harder or they will fail."

What! Failing will damage their self-esteem for life! How could you!

You have neatly put your finger on the problem, or one of them. Not having a vocational route, and therefore trying to push everyone into college is another problem.

Screw graduation rates - it's a terrible metric made worse by NCLB (no child left behind).

Clifford Stoll: The call to learn

University rates in Canada are not that high...more like 15%. I think the stat reflects post-secondary training and education and not just traditional University. I can absolutely guarantee that 55% of the high school where I work WILL NOT be going to University.

I put on seminars urging students to get a trade and work before even thinking of University....unless of course you are the student hell bent on a particular course/career.

All of us who have advanced degrees know that many of the courses for certification in whatever discipline are fluff courses designed to extract the greatest time and money possible from society.

University could be done much better and I always wonder why knowledge has to be a commodity in this time of internet access?


University rates are higher than you might think - about 25% of Canadians aged 25-65 have a university degree according to StatsCan.

However, the big difference between Canada and the US is college graduates. About 30% of Canadians have college diplomas, much higher than other OECD countries The OECD statistics refer to "tertiary education" and divide it into Type A, academic degrees, and Type B, vocational degrees and diplomas. Canada scores very high in Type B graduates, and about the same as the US in Type A graduates.

The Type B graduates are actually quite useful for employers. The US probably graduates too many in the Type A category and too few in the Type B category compared to what employers want..

Thanks RMG for the info. I will use it at my next seminar next week.!!

One of the problems that I see at BC High Schools is that the system is run by academics who have never known anything else, and all emphasis is placed on students going to university. I've had two technical careers, a trade, and finally university and thought that teaching practical trades would be very fulfilling; but now bailing in 2 months to return to industry. The District has spent the last 2 months trying to fill my position and can't find anyone with a Red Seal. They asked me to stay but don't offer any more cash or smaller classes. Go figure. I will be volunteering at schools to put on my trade seminars and PO presentations, but oh so glad to be done with Educational Politics.

I tell my colleagues that the cuts will continue because the system is starved for cash due to finite limitations we all discuss so much here on TOD. Ahh, the blank stares when I bring this up. There really is no money tree back east other than oil royalties, Dorothy. And Kansas is drying up too, Toto.

My colleagues cannot even grasp the basic premise of limits to growth. Such a concept is not possible for them because it is too upsetting to contemplate the system cannot continue to grow and supply their needs/wants. I recently sent a Biology bud a few graphs...the Reindeer collapse and arctic hare population spikes.... and included FF extraction/use rate super-imposed on population graph...(you know, the identical spikes in two colours), and even that draws a blank. When Ron and others suggest 2-4 years before the decline is so evident it will be impossible to deny, well, I will be interested in hearing what my compadres have to say.

I know what it will be, "why didn't anyone tell us about this"?, right before, "why doesn't someone do something about all this"? rant/off.


Indirectly related to the discussion...

I look at most school building built in Ontario and Quebec, and perhaps it's the same in B.C. and Alberta and marvel at their energy demand. All that money spent on energy could have been put to education but for a good mandated building energy efficiency standard.

No money for making schools more energy efficient when almost everything goes to pay salaries. I believe teacher salaries in Ontario now top out at around $95,000/year. Our public board in Ottawa has so little money left for computer equipment they are still using a large number of energy inefficient CRT monitors. One of my co-workers is collecting second hand flat panel monitors to provide to the public board.

My colleagues cannot even grasp the basic premise of limits to growth. Such a concept is not possible for them because it is too upsetting to contemplate the system cannot continue to grow and supply their needs/wants.

No, no, no, Paulo, the problem is the declining population in North America!


Why a Falling Birth Rate Is a Big Problem

"Everybody comes into world with one mouth and two hands," says economist Donald Boudreaux of George Mason University. "It's generally true that most people produce more than they consume."
A growing population is good for the economy when rising productivity continually reduces the amount of resources required to produce a given amount of output. Even now, with the U.S. economy in a rut and too many people out of work, productivity is rising, which means a larger population would generate more wealth per person than a smaller one. Boudreaux points out that Manhattan, one of the mostly densely populated places in America, is also one of the wealthiest, whereas rural states like Mississippi are sparsely populated, and much poorer." (Emphasis mine)

So could someone please tell me if as a prerequisite to getting a degree in economics it is necessary to eschew all contact with any semblance of reality?!

Edit: Though I would certainly expect that any biologist worth his salt would get it, so if your biologist bud draws a blank, it tells me that we are in deeper sh!t than I thought.

Boudreaux points out that Manhattan, one of the mostly densely populated places in America, is also one of the wealthiest, whereas rural states like Mississippi are sparsely populated, and much poorer.

I thought that was due to the 'wealth pump'. Rural people put their money into rural banks which prefer to invest it in big-city securities rather than rural developments.

"It's generally true that most people produce more than they consume."

FMagyar, we should add that too many people create more problems than they solve...

If you stuck it out through high school in the Golden Age, you got a decent job with health insurance and a living wage. If you stick it out now, you get to flip burgers or run the Wal-Mart check-out, just as though you never graduated. Hell, half of the college grads can't even find decent jobs, let alone high school grads.

Given that, why graduate high school when you could screw around instead?

Exactly. There's always a cost/benefit calculation to be done for R.O.I., and higher education is no exception. What good is getting an advanced degree if your prospects for gainful employment are no better afterward than they would have been *without* the advanced degree? Having too *much* education can even *hurt* your employment prospects, as I found out the hard way, including:

(a) Crushing levels of student loan debt, which can hobble your career choices (e.g., not taking that unpaid internship or doing a year of Peace Crops b/s you must service your SL debt right away, or it quickly balloons out of control)
(b) Employers who consider highly educated applicants "overqualified" for entry-level jobs, resulting in no call backs.
(c) Wasting years of youth training for jobs that are rapidly being outsourced, downsized or "McJobbed" (high paying professional jobs being commoditized into minimum wage jobs). STEM industries, academia, journalism, law, etc.

I would have been far better off spending a couple years learning permaculture/organic farming, do-it-yourself handiman repair work, basic carpentry, plumbing, or any number of immediately useful post-peak skills vs. graduate school and the 11 years it took me to pay off my debt.

If I read the OECD documents correctly, the US has by far the highest tuition rates in the developed world. Canada, where I went to university, has tuition rates about half as high. Most European countries, the UK being the major exception, have tuition rates less than a quarter of US ones. A number of countries, including all the Scandanavian countries, offer free tuition to university students.

This changes the ROI calculation a lot, and probably accounts for a lot of the reason why US educational levels are falling behind the leading OECD countries.

I did a calculation once, and determined that Canadian governments had recovered their educational investment in me several times over through the progressive income tax. Of course, this is one reason that most governments have a high progressive income tax - to fund education.

I would have been far better off spending a couple years learning permaculture/organic farming, do-it-yourself handiman repair work, basic carpentry, plumbing, or any number of immediately useful post-peak skills vs. graduate school and the 11 years it took me to pay off my debt.

I learned all that stuff plus painting, electrical wiring, automobile repair, and heavy equipment operation working for my father in high school BEFORE I went to university. I went to university to learn stuff my father couldn't teach me. I paid off my student debt on my first degree in 9 months, and paid for my second degree with cash up front. It really helps to have a few skills to support you while you are getting your degrees.

Oh, plus grave digging and garbage collection. You would be amazed at how well those occupations pay. They paid for a lot of my university education. I was one of the best gravediggers in the cemetery and managers notice that kind of thing.

My company pays for schooling, yet few avail themselves of the opportunity. I have multiple 2-year and tech certified employees, and about once a year I suggest to each that they finish a 4-year degree, and point out that not only is it free to them (other than a 2 year employment commitment) but completion would bring them a grade promotion. So far one has completed a BS, and one is working on a MS.

There is more to the problem than college expense; perhaps an endemic belief that the effort is not worthwhile. It seems as though people are less sharp and less motivated than they used to be, on average. There are a few bright grads now and again, for which I am thankful, but nowhere near enough.

There is more to the problem than college expense; perhaps an endemic belief that the effort is not worthwhile. It seems as though people are less sharp and less motivated than they used to be, on average.


I can't speak from experience to the situation in other countries. However, in the U.S., if anything we have far too *many* people with college degress and not enough professional grade jobs to employ them all. It's not unusual to see adjunct professors (non-tenured, non-salaried, no benefits) with PhDs routinely commuting between several campuses for appallingly low pay. Or newly minted STEM doctorates working at retail outlets, because that's all that's available. 3+ decades of downsizing, offshoring and dismantling our manufacturing base have not exactly provided a cornucopia of good paying and mentally stimulating jobs for today's college grads. The utter lack of investment in America's infrastructure in favor of giving more tax cuts to rich people and paying for military boondoggles also says a lot about our priorities as a nation.

In other words, I doubt that people are really getting dumber or lazier (though it's possible, I suppose). It's just that the costs of a college education have gone through the roof since the 1970s (they've outpaced inflation by ~300%), while the rewards for having a degree are nowhere near as good as they used to be. It's really more of a supply/demand issue than an onset of "Idiocracy".

Personally, unless the political situation and mindset of the public radically changes (doubtful), I'd advise young people to either go for the bachelor's (but minimize debt while doing it), or go to trade school and apprentice in a field that TODers know will be of great value in the near future: recycling tech, renewable energy, permaculture, green architecture, carpentry, mechanical repair, etc.

I think the excess of degrees to job jobs is in most of the world now. That certainly was important for sparking the Arab spring (the celebrated immolation in Tunisia was a graduate who could only sell apples on the street). And China and India are churning out graduates at a very large pace.

In the US, its not so much a college degree guarantees a good job, its that lack of one disqualifies you, i.e. you are seriously "punished" if you don't have one.

The Arab countries have always had a problem with producing too many university graduates with academic degrees. It's a status issue - they all want to do something that doesn't involve getting their hands dirty, and that's just not realistic for most of them. They can't all be managers and technocrats.

China has taken the more realistic approach and cranked up its primary and secondary education system rather than worrying too much about the universities. Often, when they want their children to get an advanced education, affluent Chinese parents send them to some other country, and this has become big business for universities in Australia, Canada, the US, and the UK.

China has also stepped up its production of engineers, and this has worked out very well for Chinese industries. They have large numbers of inexpensive engineers to design the products, and large numbers of cheap but well-educated workers to build them.

It is rather hard on American and European engineers and workers because they are competing against people who are nearly as well educated as they are but are willing to work for much less. From the Chinese workers' perspective it is very good deal, though, because the alternative is planting rice on a subsistance farm, which is what many of them used to do.

I've often thought about this while travelling through third-world countries and watching peasants working in the rice fields. Subsistance farming is just a lot of hard work and not much fun for very little or no money at all.

I agree it's good to keep things in perspective. Offshoring may be terrible for American and European blue collar workers, but... it's been great if you're a Chinese peasant or Indian software engineer. And even our "poor" still have it miles better than poor in other countries. The main problem here is, most of the benefits of offshoring high-wage/high-skill manufacturing and engineering jobs have flowed to the top 1%, and especially to the top .01%. This could easily be addressed through a truly progressive tax code + redistribution via social programs, not to mention eliminating a billion tax code loopholes and corporate give-aways, but... the political situation here makes that very unlikely.

Subsistance farming is just a lot of hard work and not much fun for very little or no money at all.

Working in a Third World sweatshop isn't better and is probably considerably worse. Problem is, China is full, so you have a lot of folks who have no land and never will, and they have to take anything to survive.

True. Many erstwhile farmers are now lamenting their decision to sell their farms after embracing wage slavery. At least with a farm you can eke out a living with some dignity however poor you may be, same doesn't apply to a sweatshop job in the city.

I think there is some kind of myth surrounding the third world farmer that all of them are just desperate to leave their farms (it's present on TOD as well) and are eager to take up jobs in the city, the reality couldn't be more different. I have been witnessing increasingly large number of agitations by farmers against industries for the past few years (countless examples), many farmers are so desperate that they have tied up with rebels to kick out the companies and to make things clear joining the insurgents is the last thing you want to do because they are shot at sight. Farmers nowadays understand the perils of selling their farms very well.

My father was an incredibly decent man, very intelligent and well educated but... couldn't fix anything to save his life. If not for some especially handy neighbors and wood shop in HS, I wouldn't know how to operate tools or do any of that stuff myself.

re: grave digging and garbage collection
I don't know about Colorado, but over here (CA), speaking Spanish natively and getting paid under the table seems to a prerequisite for those kind of jobs.

Well, my father was a decent man, even though he did drink a bit too much, but he only had a grade 8 education. However, his father was a carpenter and farmer and he had learned a lot from him. He had learned to repair tanks and army trucks in WWII and that sort of stuff carries over well into civilian life. The rest of it he kind of picked up moving from job to job.

It came as a bit of a shock to him when 3 of his 4 kids went to university, but he coped. One of his friends asked him, "How can you afford to have 3 kids in university at the same time?" He looked blank and said, "Well, it's cheaper than having them at home." He was unclear on how the financing system was supposed to work. I think he contributed $700 toward my university education.

Many years later when he was in his 90's he got misty-eyed and said, "I wish I had been able to help you kids out more". I said, "Dad, you did all you needed to do. You taught us how to work. Anything else we could handle ourselves."

As far as digging graves and collecting garbage went, I was in Alberta not Colorado, so the ability to speak Spanish was not a requirement. However, when you show up at a cemetary and they ask, "Can you operate a backhoe?" and you say, "Yes", you're their man because their last backhoe operator quit because he had to work too hard. Especially if you say, "I don't mind working nights, weekends, or holidays, and I have no problem with doing a lot of overtime." Money, money, money.

As for collecting garbage, if you are working for a private company and you can pick up a 100-pound garbage can full of rocks and throw them in a garbage truck without pausing or complaining, and the last guy is in the hospital because he put his back out, you're their man, too. Yes, I know people are not supposed to fill their garbage cans with rocks, but some people do, and if it's not a problem for you, it's not a problem for the company, either. They got to get that garbage to the dump without any delays.

As I always used to say, "You have to pay your dues before you can have an easy job". And in reality, your dues are never fully paid.

Now all the garbage trucks have those pneumatic can lifting arms.

I guess that explains why mine doesn't get picked up once in a while (metal bar facing the wrong way, a couple of inches too far away, etc).

My step Dad was the same way. PhD, but not handy/fixit/hands-on at all.

What do you mean you can't keep putting each new generation through more and more years of education? Heresy! When will people get that most jobs don't really require a bachelor's degree, and most never will. A high school certificate, with maybe 1-2 years community college or apprenticeship, is more than enough.

You go to college in America to get a nice secure white collar job. This is what young people have been told their whole life. Get a bachelors degree and you are set for that nice white collar career. This is what the popular culture has been telling people for decades. So many bewildered recent graduates are learning this is no longer the case.

Of course plenty of jobs which used to require very little if any certification now ask for BAs due to the huge glut of BA holders spoiling employers for choice. But it won't last. To tie it with peak energy, its a sign of an energy-rich society that it can afford to delay adulthood for so many for so long. This is ultimately unsustainable.

Many other nations now outperform us in educational attainment and economic mobility, and the American middle class shrinks before our eyes.

Where America has lead, many other nations are following. These other nations are also finding that there aren't enough suitable jobs for all their graduates, even supposedly in-demand ones such as engineers.

But in any case the American middle class was built on decent-paying jobs which didn't require higher education, jobs which have largely vanished. During the peak of the middle class far fewer people went on to obtain college degrees than do now. You don't see the article mentioning this. This obsession with universal college education is actually a fairly recent invention, something which came about over the past 30-odd years as traditional middle class jobs vanished and people latched onto this college frenzy as some kind of way of clawing them back.

As an ex-engineer, I know that when the spokesmen for our profession complain there are not enough engineering graduates, what they mean is they don't like having to pay such high salaries.

Exactly --they want more graduates because oversupply of labor = lower wages! Whenever I hear the local news interview some owner/manager complaining about his "inability" to find "qualified workers", it almost always boils down to: he can't find qualified workers at the salary he is willing to pay, which is usually well below market rate.

Same for the US farmers who "have to" hire illegal immigrants (who accept wages below the minimum), because they "can't find qualified" legal workers.

Of course, the "farmers" (meaning farm owners) are stuck in the middle between the workers and the manipulated food market. It is true what they say that if they were to pay all their workers decent wages then food would cost more. It SHOULD cost more than it does, in the US.

Its funny how most people believe that when the cost of housing (and higher education) is rising much faster than wages or inflation, that's A-OK, or even a "good" thing ("my house is gonna make me rich!"). But when the cost of food, gas or other consumer goods even *keep pace with* inflation, it's the end of the world!!

Skills Don’t Pay the Bills

Eric Isbister, the C.E.O. of GenMet, a metal-fabricating manufacturer outside Milwaukee, told me that he would hire as many skilled workers as show up at his door. Last year, he received 1,051 applications and found only 25 people who were qualified. He hired all of them, but soon had to fire 15. Part of Isbister’s pickiness, he says, comes from an avoidance of workers with experience in a “union-type job.” Isbister, after all, doesn’t abide by strict work rules and $30-an-hour salaries. At GenMet, the starting pay is $10 an hour. Those with an associate degree can make $15, which can rise to $18 an hour after several years of good performance. From what I understand, a new shift manager at a nearby McDonald’s can earn around $14 an hour.

Re: "Skills Don't Pay The Bills".

This is an ongoing complaint/observation of mine. Reading the help-wanted ads, a lot of blue collar jobs seem to expect the applicant to have a complete set of tools, have "reliable" transportation (including insurance, etc), but expect said applicant to work for 1970s/early 1980s wages. Certainly, this must work, as these companies seem to have employees. I do wonder where this will lead. Perhaps some modern day Henry Ford will have to observe that if his/her own employees can't afford the products they make, maybe they should be paid a bit more. Or not. There's always outsourcing.

Whenever I hear or read someone trying to talk up a "skills shortage", no matter how plausible, I tell myself "don't believe the hype". If you look closely, you'll find there are very few genuine skills shortages anywhere.

New from CRS ... Income Inequality on the Rise

The extraordinary rise in income inequality among Americans is painstakingly documented in a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service.

In the past few decades, the rich have gotten a lot richer as “those at the very top have reaped disproportionately larger gains from economic growth.”

Based on the limited data that are comparable among nations, the U.S. income distribution appears to be among the most unequal of all major industrialized countries and the United States appears to be among the nations experiencing the greatest increases in measures of income dispersion,” the CRS report said.

Popular beliefs concerning the possibility of upward mobility in income are not well-founded, CRS said.

Empirical analyses estimate that the United States is a comparatively immobile society, that is, where one starts in the income distribution influences where one ends up to a greater degree than in several advanced economies. Children raised in families at the bottom of the U.S. income distribution are estimated to be especially less likely to ascend the income ladder as adults,” the report said. See The U.S. Income Distribution and Mobility: Trends and International Comparisons, November 29, 2012.

Congressional secrecy policy prohibits CRS from releasing its reports to the public.

U.S. "Planning To Take Action" if Syria Crosses Chemical Weapons "Red Line"

... An unnamed U.S. defense official told The Associated Press Monday that intelligence officials from the United States and its allies have become aware of Syria moving components for chemical weapons within the past week.

"We are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur," Clinton told reporters.

Why is it ok to bomb the bejesus out of people but not ok to use chemical weapons? Surely if the latter is a red line then the former ought to be as well.

Why? Because there is no good, or evil in the World, only Biology, and Hipocrites.

Your Criminal Fedgov feed the moneymakers when the bombs drop. Not so much, with Chemical//Biological weapons, they kill too cheaply.

Choose Wisely.
The Martian.

"Why is it ok to bomb the bejesus out of people but not ok to use chemical weapons?"

Longstanding US policy. Nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons are weapons of mass destruction which kill everyone in the general area without regard for combatant status, and with little opportunity for targeting. They also tend to float away downwind of the target zone after the initial use while continuing to kill even more.

Chemical weapons history is way more complicated than that.

It is true that public opinion of kinetic weapons is higher than that of chemical weapons, but some credit for that goes to our culture of fear.

In the last decade or so, we've been beat about the head and shoulders with the idea that chemical weapons stockpiles that may exist in far away lands will kill us all if we don't spread liberty all over them.

but not ok to use chemical weapons?

I think people have an especial aversion to them. For all his murderous as genocidal nature, the one thing Hitler never countenanced was chemical weapons. Even in the final desperate months, they were unthinkable. Against a well prepared foe that aren't even that effective, but unprepared civilians and irregular forces could be severely impacted. Its mainly that the pictures of the victims look so much worse than the pictures of bomb victims.

Actually Hitler used chemical means to kill millions. But only those who could not fight back. According to Greer, in a more symmetric war, chemical weapons, like nuclear ones, are solely useful as deterrent against the other side using same.

Exclusive: U.S. Sees Syria Prepping Chemical Weapons for Possible Attack

Engineers working for the Assad regime in Syria have begun combining the two chemical precursors needed to weaponize sarin gas, an American official with knowledge of the situation tells Danger Room. International observers are now more worried than they’ve even been that the Damascus government could use its nerve agent stockpile to slaughter its own people.

The U.S. doesn’t know why the Syrian military made the move, which began in the middle of last week and is taking place in central Syria. Nor are they sure why the Assad government is transferring some weapons to different locations within the country, as the New York Times reported on Monday.

All that’s certain is that the arms have now been prepped to be used, should Assad order it.

“Physically, they’ve gotten to the point where the can load it up on a plane and drop it,” the official adds.

I do get the impression that the anti-Assad forces have gained enough momentum that the end seems like it could come soon. They supposedly have been able to capture some airfields, and obtain anti-aircraft stuff, etc. etc. So Assad probably figures he has little or nothing to lose.

This is probably not the forum for this but,I would like to remind people about (1) Saddams poisen gas during Desert Storm (2) Sadams weapons of mass destruction prior to the glorious victory in Iraq and other scare stories floated by the PTB

The one time Saddam actually used poison gas, no one bothered reporting it because he was an "ally" then.

wiseindian - I'm always surprised by such statements as yours and especially the one preceding yours. Am I the only one who recalls watching a video on one of the major US TV net works showing a Kurd village that the Iraqis destroyed with a nerve agent? I wish I could rid myself on the mental image of a group of Iraqi soldiers standing above the body of a dead woman holding her dead baby. The soldiers all had big smiles and were obviously enjoying the photo op. The other image I'm stuck with is all the dead animals the video showed.

Whether Saddam had all the other WMD's the US claimed is another question. But he did have and deployed poison gas and was so proud of it offered the proof to the world.

You are probably referring to the Kurdish village of Halabja.

I think wiseindian was referring to the Iran-Iraq war. During that war Saddam used chemical weapons against Iranians with the full knowledge and blessings of the Reagan administration. As a matter of fact the US gave him information on Iranian troop movements so he could target his weapons more effectively.

Incidentally, the ingredients for making chemical weapons were sold to him by American and German companies.

Yes. Among the companies who provided the raw materials: Phillips, now part of ConocoPhillips.

Suyog is right, I was referring to the Iran-Iraq war. Actually Saddam's arsenal grew many fold thanks to the war chest that was donated to him in the preceding years. The word "ally" was your clue.

As Mississippi River Level Drops, Prices Could Rise

The American Waterway Operators estimates that closing or severly restricting the Mississippi River between St. Louis and Cairo, Ill., because of the rock pinnacles could:

◆ Delay 300 million bushels of grain exports worth $2.3 billion.
◆ Cost $545 million to import foreign oil because 5 million barrels of domestically produced crude oil would not be able to be transported on the river.
◆ Delay 3.8 million tons of coal needed to fuel American power plants.

The trade group estimates the total impact would exceed $7 billion and, in Illinois, put nearly 6,700 jobs worth $50.3 million in wages at risk.

“The end result of all this is that consumers can see prices run,” McCulloch said. “There’s a case to be made that because of the volume of commodities that are moving on the river there is virtually no way for the consumer not to feel some kind of impact.”

“In our minds, this is a serious crisis,” said Ann McCulloch, spokeswoman for American Waterways Operators, a trade industry representing America’s tugboat and barge industries. “We wouldn’t be using those words if it weren’t.”

Drought worsens in High Plains; winter outlook not good

I think the problem is that if they send more water down the river for commerce, then there will be less water for crops next year.

then there will be less water for crops next year

Crops aren't all that need that upriver water. Don't forget that the entire Montana/North Dakota tight oil play is in the upper Missouri drainage. The tight oil play isn't a real big water user--right now, in ND [5.2MB PDF], it is using yearly a bit more than a half a day's worth of the average daily flow of the Missouri at Bismarck--but it is part of the mix.

Thanks for the link - I've been looking for the water requirements for the Bakken field development for a while. Another way of looking at the amount of water needed is given: "Daily oil field demand is about 0.15% of the average daily flow past Bismarck, ND"

Malloy energy plan pits natural gas against oil

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A broad effort by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy[D] to reshape energy policy in Connecticut with incentives to boost efficiency and keep down costs has drawn strong opposition from the home heating oil industry, which accuses the state of encouraging residential and business customers to dump local oil suppliers in favor of increasingly popular natural gas.

... Thirty-one percent of Connecticut homes heat with gas, compared with 47 percent in Massachusetts and 48 percent in Rhode Island, the state says. And the percentage of commercial and industrial businesses with access to gas is only slightly higher, state officials say.

Malloy proposes to make gas available to as many as 300,000 Connecticut homes and businesses by asking state regulators to allow utilities to collect customer payments — extended over longer periods of time — to finance conversions to natural gas. The plan also would promote construction of 900 miles of gas mains with a focus on connecting factories, hospitals, schools and other big energy users.

Critics reply: ..."Economic development has nothing to do with energy prices and everything to do with our tax policies and cost of labor," Herb said.

[Extra points if you guess the party affiliation]

Well, here's one way to increase petroleum product exports...

CN's $2.6M mystery U.S. trips never unloaded biodiesel

“In 25 years, I’d never done anything like it,” one railway worker told CBC News on the condition he not be named for fear he might be fired. “The clerk told me it was some kind of money grab. We just did what we were told.”

Mars Rover Curiosity Detects "Organic Compounds" in Martian Soil

... Curiosity's latest experiments show levels of carbon and chlorine in the soil that suggest the presence of "organics" on the Martian surface.

"We have to be very careful that both the carbon and the chlorine are coming from Mars," Mahaffy said. The panel of NASA scientists stressed that there was not enough data to state definitively that the compounds were indigenous to the Red Planet. It is possible that the trace levels of organics are hold-overs from Earth that made the trip to Mars with the rover. Another possibility is that the compounds landed on Mars from unknown sources in space.

or Mars rover finds complex chemicals but no organic compounds ... yet

"organics", is that NASAspeak for oil? LET'S GO GET NOW!

Concentrating Solar Combined Heat and Power System Minimizes Water Use

Distributed concentrating solar combined heat and power (DCS-CHP) systems use less water for maintenance and operation than other electric power-generation systems. That is according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, US.

... The team found that the levelized cost (i.e., the price for the system to break even over its lifetime) of a DCS-CHP system was $0.25 per kWh of electricity and $0.03 per kWh of thermal energy. For comparison, local residential electricity rates in the San Francisco Bay area start at around $0.14 kWh. Larger households may pay more than twice that amount, however, and heat energy is usually about one third of the price of electricity from fossil-fuel sources.

The energy payback time of the system was 27 months, which again is competitive with photovoltaic systems.

... "There is a niche for small-scale Rankine cycles that can be filled by further development of efficient expanders that work on ubiquitous fluids like water."

Full Article: Life cycle analysis of distributed concentrating solar combined heat and power: economics, global warming potential and water

Back in 1973, I got into a Cal junior college so I could "play" in a machine shop. I wanted to build a steam powered car, which I thought might produce much lower emissions than a typical IC engine. I didn't get very far, but after the OPEC/Arab Oil Embargo, I started thinking about how to use the same sort of Rankine cycle for a CHP system. I thought to use 5 satellite dishes to provide steam, driving a steam expander and capturing the "waste" heat in a large insulated tank. Again, I didn't get very far, even though the basic concept had obvious possibilities.

My design for a rotary mechanical expander would likely not last very long and for a CHP system, the thing needs to spin the generator 24/365, which works out to 8760 hours a year. Compare that to a car, which might have a lifetime of 150,000 miles at 50 mph, or 3000 hours of operation at part load. Small aircraft engines require rebuild at about 1,000 hours, as I recall. I think that the rotary expander mentioned (Katrix, from Australia) in this report would have trouble lasting even a year, let alone 20 years, but I could be wrong...

E. Swanson

I should have added that my system design was to include high temperature thermal storage, which would have allowed the steam cycle to run all the time. The system discussed in the paper probably would only operate during daylight hours, although I haven't looked at the details. Even so, I think that a small scale Rankine cycle would not last very long. There's the other parts of the design to consider, such as the feed water pump, which would be rather like the pump in a pressure washer. I think that PV electricity generation wins over a steam cycle, even though the present systems don't provide low temperature thermal energy, i.e., hot water. If concentrating PV designs ever make it to market, then these would provide both electricity and hot water, with the added advantage of a longer period of production during the day, due to tracking the sun...

E. Swanson

"I think that PV electricity generation wins over a steam cycle, even though the present systems don't provide low temperature thermal energy, i.e., hot water."

Hybrid PV-T panels produce both electricity and hot water from the same panel... I know of one company which is planning on submitting a proposal to the State of Qatar for (part of) the 1,800 MW solar desalination plants it plans to build (http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=6&id=32034)

The PV-T technology would be particularly useful for this purpose as the thermal output would be used to pre-heat seawater prior to injection into the evaporators (http://www.sidem-desalination.com/en/Process/MED/MED-TVC/). At the same time, heating the seawater would have a cooling effect on the return flow of glycol to the panels, thereby significantly reducing operating temperature (close to ambient seawater temperatures) resulting in a large increase in electrical output efficiency.

The flow rate of the glycol circulating through the system can be adjusted to prioritise for thermal or electrical output. For example, if 60C thermal output is preferred, the flow rate is reduced to increase the solar thermal gain. If the electrical output is more important, flow rate is increased to minimise panel surface temperatures thereby increasing electrical output considerably over conventional (un-cooled) PV panels.

Now, that begins to shed some light on the headline I read. They were gonna do an 1800MV PV plant, but expected to spend $10-20 billion, which is way overpriced. Perhaps that pricetag includes the cost of the DeSal plant?

A very well written short overview of potentialities and current issues of hybrid collectors:

Using solar roofs twice over

Researchers are working on optimising the output and production of these systems.


I worked for / part owned the company that developed the concept of integrating PV-T with water/water heat pumps and interseasonal heat storage via borehole.... It's the same company, for whom I no longer work, which is looking at the Qatar deal.

The issues mentioned in the article are certainly pertinent, but not at all insurmountable. It's always a question of module selection and system-sizing according to priority of thermal or electrical output. With unglazed PV-T panels there is no possibility of "stagnation" since they become radiators at ~47c over ambient temperature, and are designed to withstand panel surface temperatures of >110 c without delamination. Integrating with a heat pump has very beneficial effects in sunny climes with good thermal demand, as the cold return from the heat pump force cools the panels, thereby improving electrical output.

I've seen a 28 m2 array of unglazed PV-T collectors heat 420 litres of water to 61C on a hot summer day in UK - that's a rarity. Normally the heat pump is called into service towards the end of the day to bring DHW up to temperature. In colder, sun-less conditions, the unglazed collectors act as a heat exchanger to the heat pump in which case it performs similarly to an air-source heat pump in COP terms.

Glazed collectors do not radiate heat as efficiently as unglazed collectors, and therefore are at risk of stagnating. Panels have been tested up to 160-170C before problems start to occur. System-sizing is therefore critical with this type of panel, unless there is a substantial heat load available (eg swimming pool). These panels work exceptionally well with boreholes, where all the excess heat can be pumped underground and retrieved for winter heating purposes via a heat pump.

In terms of Qatar specifically, the unglazed collectors will be perfect as there will essentially be an unlimited amount of cooling from the incoming seawater. The system can be designed to operate at any range between the ambient temperature of the incoming water (say 30C) to up to 70C. It's simply a matter of adjusting flow rates and varying the number of panels per thermal "string". Much would depend on the pre-heating required for the incoming seawater, and the balance between that and optimising the electrical output. In cases like this, where there is a definitive use for the heat generated, PV-T will significantly outperform PV through the ability to use (and regulate the temperature of) the heat produced, and through the superior electrical output.

In reply to both of your comments, I agree that combined PV and thermal might offer some advantages in specific situations. However, if the electrical and thermal requirements differ seasonally, I think that using fixed arrays of PV-T would be expected to perform less well than a tracking system. That's because optimizing the output requires different positioning of the arrays to match the changes in the Sun's elevation, in addition to the daily angular changes.

Around here, the best position for a thermal collector for winter space heating would imply mounting the south facing panels with an elevation of latitude plus 10-15 degrees. For mounting PV to meet summer peaking electric demand, the position might be latitude minus 10-15 degrees. In both cases, there's going to be a rather sharp fall off in output at times a few hours each side of local solar noon, even at the time of year for maximum output, caused by the cosine effect. Your system, which provided lots of hot water in summer without glazing, would not work at all well when the outside temperature is below freezing. A tracking system, even one with only 1 axis tracking, would provide more energy each day, simply due to the geometry, as the arrays sould be spaced far enough apart to prevent shading most of the day. I think that a two axis tracking system, such as the Stirling engine CHP, would potentially produce more energy than the PV-T over the yearly solar cycle, given enough clear days, if only because of geometry. And, the tracking system would also be able to benefit from the use of a heat pump setup to boost thermal output as you have described...

E. Swanson

small solar stirlings are here now, and way better than rankine (steam)


they don't use water and the same engine will run on solar or combustion heat, or any combination, like, wood.

Rankine cycle steam engines don't necessarily use water. The better ones are completely closed, with the steam condensed at sub-atmospheric pressures, which results in increased cycle efficiency. Your Stirling engine might also provide hot water (as in the Innova system which you linked to), if the waste heat is captured in a water loop. The Stirling cycle efficiency would be lower, but the hot water has considerable value, especially for home use. Thinking of the total energy needs of the consumer gives a much different view of the problem, as both electricity and hot water are important to the end user...

E. Swanson


stirling chp. several types in europe. None in US. but then what can we expect from a third world country where the dominant species are pigs, sheep and yeast?

Why India’s Coal Plans Are An Illusion

Despite warnings from the World Bank about the dangers of unchecked climate change, the coal industry has a global pipeline of nearly 1,200 plants planned, two thirds of which are in India and China. India alone has plans to build a coal fleet nearly twice the size of the entire U.S. coal fleet.

But if this pipeline has you thinking that a coal-fired future is inevitable, think again. The truth: The majority of plants in this global pipeline are nothing but an illusion.

To understand the reality of the industry’s plans, take a look at India. India’s huge pipeline will require ~2.4 billion tons of coal by 2030. That’s two and a half times what the U.S. currently consumes. More importantly, it’s nearly five times the amount of coal that India produces. To feed this beast India is going to need a herculean effort to increase production.

Or they will have to import like the U.S. imports oil. India can import coal from Alaska and Australia. 5000 gigatons in Alaska (previous TOD article). At 3 gigatons per year for India and 3 giga tons per year for China, and 3 giga tons per year for the U.S. it will last for over 500 years!

There is a lot of difference between 'planned' and 'executed'. Since independence India has never met it's annual target of power production, won't do so now as well. In fact existing coal mines are lying idle because of a range of issues and we really don't have that much of foreign exchange to import costly oil as well as coal. In reality I don't see this going anywhere.

IPCC’s Planned Obsolescence: Fifth Assessment Report Will Ignore Crucial Permafrost Carbon Feedback!

A key reason the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change keeps issuing instantly irrelevant reports is that it keeps ignoring the latest climate science. Yet a must-read new United Nations Environment Programme report, “Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost” reports this jaw-dropping news:

... Participating modeling teams have completed their climate projections in support of the Fifth Assessment Report, but these projections do not include the permafrost carbon feedback. Consequently, the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, due for release in stages between September 2013 and October 2014, will not include the potential effects of the permafrost carbon feedback on global climate.

Gavin, over at RealClimate had a perfect defense for this. The IPCC scenarios (which are really just a collection of studies already available -essentially a meta-analysis are not designed to investigate carbon feedbacks, they are designed to estimate the climate impact of a given atmospheric carbon trajectory. How the carbon gets there is immaterial, some combination of direct anthropogenic (fossil fules plus land use changes), and feedbacks from warming. So they are perfectly valid, only the policy planer needs to consider that the allowed emissions to meet a given model have to be reduced by the as yet unknown feedbacks.

Oh shock! Or not...

In previous reports the IPCC did not include melting of the two big ice-caps into future sea level change projections. Why? Because they asserted -at the time- that there wasn't enough solid evidence to work out meaningful projections.

I assume the same is the case here, the IPCC is simply being conservative as always. There is nothing special about this news, not even the bashing of the IPCC.

... they asserted - at the time - that there wasn't enough solid evidence to work out meaningful projections

This is the same excuse IEA and EIA use when providing their wonderfully accurate annual World Energy Outlooks.

In actual fact, as explained in the link, there is abundant solid evidence to work out meaningful projections.

Well, the scientists, the authors and lead authors of the IPCC report disagreed with you. They deemed the 'solid evidence' not solid enough. While I can agree that leading edge science in 2007 already showed signes of rapid ice cap melt, the consensus (mainstream) view did not.

The problem is not scientific disagreement it's bureaucratic inertia.

The 2007 IPCC IV report ignored any peer-reviewed findings after Oct, 2004. and the 2014 V IPCC report is ignoring any peer-reviewed findings submitted after Jul 2012.

We don't have another 5 years to waste with policymakers pointing to outdated science.

The comments following the linked article outline the problem.

Research, response for future oil spills: Lessons learned from Deepwater Horizon

A special collection of articles about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill provides the first comprehensive analysis and synthesis of the science used in the unprecedented response effort by the government, academia, and industry. Papers present a behind-the-scenes look at the extensive scientific and engineering effort — teams, data, information, and advice from within and outside the government — assembled to respond to the disaster. And, with the benefit of hindsight and additional analyses, these papers evaluate the accuracy of the information that was used in real-time to inform the response team and the public.

also Latest hatchery technology, 'fish treadmill' help to reveal Deepwater Horizon's physiological impacts

from Saudi power investment may hit $133bn in ten years

Saudi Arabia plans to generate some electricity from solar and nuclear plants and is also considering wind, waste and geothermal energy sources as it seeks to reduce reliance on oil and gas.

How much of the kingdom's future energy mix will be met by each technology may be agreed in the first quarter of next year, Khalid al-Sulaiman, vice president for renewable energy at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, told the forum.

I guess we have to stay tuned, demand is jumping in KSA.

Power consumption rose by 9 percent in the first half of 2012 from last year's figure, he said, adding that peak demand in the summer was up 7 percent, or an increase of 3,500 megawatts.

A good spot to point out the very good info that lives at mazamascience. Both the energy export databrowser, and population databrowser. Spending some time there looking at graphs should open anyone's eyes, I'd think. Egypt is a poster child for problems. Growing pop and shrinking oil exports- what would one expect to happen? And KSA - at the time of the 'first energy crisis', they had about 6 million people. Now 4x that. Ya think they're gonna be using more of their own juice? Population - up. Energy demand - up. Food needed - up. Soil - not up. Water - not up. Net energy - not up. Net exports - not up. This is not a difficult to see problem...

Saudi Arabia is forecasting that domestic power demand will be triple in the next twenty years (old article April 2011).

I've yet to see any definite numbers on just how much solar and nuclear KSA is planning to bring on line in the next decade--it seems stay tuned has been the message on that for a couple years now.

The above levelling isn't quite as benign as it looks. Saudi Arabia's population is still increasing at near 600,000 a year as the line exits the chart.

According to EIA, oil consumption in Saudi Arabia rose by 26% (or 615,000 b/d) in 2011 from 2010:


...and gas consumption rose by 13%:


Yeah, and though their crude only production was up by over 1 million barrels per day 2010 to 2011, from 8,211,000 bp/d to 9,273,000 bp/d, their net exports hardly moved at all. They went from 8,149,709 to 8,167,020 bp/d. So while crude only production was up 1,062,000 barrels per day their exports (net all liquids) were up a mere 17,311 barrels per day.

Saudi Net Exports

And incidentally total net exports are down almost 1 million barrels per day since they peaked in 2005. To be exact net exports are down 965,644 barrels per day since they peaked at 9,132,664 barrels per day in 2005. Well that is their peak in this century. Their net exports peaked, for all time, in 1980 at 9,675,000 barrels per day.

Peak oil, for all importing nations, was in 2005.

Ron P.

There is no longer need to worry, my fellow TODers: Total has discovered a new oilfield.


At least not for the next 13 hours at current rate of consumption.

On a wildcat hole no less....

here's some inneresting news..

"Dec 3, 6:06 PM EST

Tenn. refinery worker dies after chemical exposure

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- An oil refinery worker has died after being exposed to propane and acid at a Valero plant in Memphis."

and this:

"Chinese units of 5 big US audit firms charged

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal regulators have charged the Chinese affiliates of five of the biggest U.S. accounting firms with impeding the government's investigation of Chinese companies by refusing to turn over documents."

and of course the most important development today.....PLASTIC CHOCOLATE!

"Cadbury develops chocolate that won't melt at high temperatures"

runner up....
"The new light source is called field-induced polymer electroluminescent (Fipel) technology. It is made from three layers of white-emitting polymer that contain a small volume of nanomaterials that glow when electric current is passed through them.----What we've found is a way of creating light rather than heat"

FIPEL uses iridium which is rare on Earth and will prevent widespread use unless a common substitute can be used.

Iridium. We mainly get that from asteroid impacts. Now, if we can just coax a big one to hit us, all will be solved.

Ont. reserve declares fuel, housing emergency.

Nyle Geyser...
Getting into Hot Water, part 1
Getting into Hot Water, part 2

Interesting write up by someone about the Nyle Geyser - the first is some back story, the second has more technical aspects along with a photo of its internals.

These things have had me thinking...they really need certain specific circumstances to keep from "robbing peter to pay paul." I have a sneaky feeling they're going to be marketed as a panacea to people who will see no savings because of it.

This part of section two rubbed me the wrong way though:

" Conventional dehumidifiers cool the air, condense moisture out, and then reheat the dehumidified air, so they remove moisture and add heat to the air. Since warming the air lowers its relative humidity, the twin effects of moisture removal and heat addition are exactly what we want - lower relative humidity means lower moisture absorption by materials in the space being dehumidified, and therefore less mold. A HPWH removes moisture from the air, but cools it rather than heats it, because the heat goes into the DHW, so it isn't as effective a dehumidifier."

mrmph. Close. A normal dehumidifier has a cold coil and hot coil as its main bits whereby the compressor compresses one side and decompresses the other in the normal fashion to move heat from the cold coil to the hot coil. The cold coil is below the dew point of the water vapor and thus condenses it out of the air into liquid form. Since it is enclosed in a room and all energy expended becomes heat whatever wattage it is taking to run it is being added to the room - that is the only heat added and it is unintentional. Since the hot coil just contains the heat removed from the cold coil it is simply returning the heat it took from the cold coil back plus the enthalpy of vaporization. Thus it feels as if heat has been added while the heat is the same but the temperature is different. Persnickety but important. On the second point...the Nyle would be just as an effective dehumidifier if it's operating under the conditions that it should be operating under. Any air that it cools should be re-heated by something and the relative humidity of the air should then drop because the Nyle would have decreased the dew point of the air that went through it.


The Nyle as a solar up-rater? or "can the Nyle be used effectively as a code compliance device and keep you from dieing of Legionnaires Disease?"


I've been thinking about SHW for a while now. Since I probably would not have the roof space to maintain DHW water temperatures at all times it would require backup, or just plain up-up. So I thought about a pre-heat tank with (propane) tankless backup. Even if it only pre-heated by 30 degrees that would still be BTU's saved. But every time I think of that...I think of the giant pot of Legionella I might be brewing in that pre-heating tank. A low-volume heat-transfer coil might alleviate most of that issue as only a few gallons might sit at Legionella-brewing temperature but that still doesn't sound entirely pleasant.

So I thought about the Nyle - maybe it can be used as a solar companion. The first idea was to use solar simply for space heating, of which the Nyle would take its part. This, no doubt, would work...but would leave the array with nothing to do in the summer. There are still benefits of this arrangement. The Nyle is fully safety compliant and so plug-n-play code compliant, issues with glycol contamination and double-walled heat exchangers, etc are gone - one just needs a simple "thermal dump" to heat the air. The safe working temperature of your array drops to your cold tolerance (this is assumed to be in a conditioned space). Running the array at low temperature should make it more effective at collecting solar gain. It's easier to raise the temperature from 80 degree F water in a collector than 120F. The lower useful temperature range expands a solar water heater operational envelope - days that would have been useless now should be capable of positive gain and excellent days should be most excellent. Plus the extra 40 degree (120-80) useful range effectively expands the BTU storage size of a thermal tank. For a house that has a much larger heating load than cooling this is appealing. Especially since the space where the HPWH would be located is not directly served by the heat pump, but has a propane wall heater. On days where the thermal array can't keep up, the water would still essentially be heated with propane indirectly through that heater. That's acceptable. I should probably note that this strategy should work with any of the HPWHs out there.

"There's no heating load in the summer when the array would be most effective and by feeding the Nyle only room temp air you're reducing its COP"...fudge. Nyle hack? So what if one were to isolate the Nyle's coil and surround it with a "heat transferring device" coming from your thermal tank. It would be a bit more complicated, but you could feed the coil anything from 40 degrees F (with low COP - a "woops" or long dark cold spell situation) to 180F (if it can actually tolerate that) with high COP on the transfer. You could still have a secondary coil running space heat (which could also be used for putting heat in the tank if it drops too low), but now the HPWH would be taking heat directly from the thermal tank from 40F to 180F able to take advantage of the summer temperatures and delivering a consistent non-scalding 125F Legionella inhibitive water. This one is a little trickier since the backup to running out of solar heat energy isn't as simple as the furnace coming on and warming the air back up. There is also no summer benefit of cooling and dehumidifying.

Cost and EROEI effective? I'm not even sure where to start running the numbers on that. A pre-heat tank with a tankless heater would probably shame it on those accounts but a HPWH+Solar combo should allow a consistent DHW temperature that will neither scald nor kill you with Legionnaires...and that sounds like a good reason to even ponder this.

I've run across some pretty interesting information that for those with a HPWH in the right conditions (not heated with FF) that PV is actually a more cost effective solar compliment since it will continue to produce useful energy after the water heating has been satisfied and in the long run be less of a hassle.

Gee. What a lotta words and a lotta hardware.

Did i miss something with my cheap pool heater + fast wood burner? I don't think so since we get lotsa hot water that way in summer, and the coil of pipe around the first joint in our woodstove exhaust pipe gives us plenty in the winter.

Low carbon water heat is easy- and cheap

Legion disease? Hey, I never joined.

I am currently using the Nyle Geyser in a "solar assist mode" for DHW. Incoming water is pre-heated by 60 tube solar hot water system. The pre-heat tank is 80 gallons. This feeds a 40 gallon tank that, until recently was heated as a zone off a oil boiler. This tank is now heated by the Geyser with set point of 120F. The boiler is set to come on at 105F in case we draw faster that the HP can recover.

From March to September the solar provides at least 80% of our hot water. If the solar is running consistently 120F or better I bypass the 40 gallon tank. There are many days when the temperature is close but not quite sufficient. On those days the boiler was firing just to provide hot water. The Geyser will now take over this function.

One observation on the efficiency of the HP. Starting this year I am using a air/air heat pump for primary home heating. This means that the boiler rarely fires (so far at least). As a result the utility room is colder than usual (60-62F). This is not an optimum temperature for a DHW HP. At these temperatures I am seeing a COP of 1.5 or less. When the ambient temperature was 68F the COP was better than 2. When the weather gets too cold for the heat pump to keep up the the boiler will fire more often and the Geyser will be able to take advantage of the waste heat.

If I had room to add to my 4KW PV array I think it would have been more cost effective to add PV and just use a heat pump for DHW. That isn't an option as I have run out of suitable roof space. Most people would consider what I am using for PV unsuitable as the roof points almost due west. Until I started using the heat pumps and a Chevy Volt the PV exactly balanced my homes usage.

Hmm, if the hot end (inside your tank) is 120F and the cold end (outside the tank) is 70F the difference is 50F. If the cold end is 60F the difference incerases to 60F. That should not affect the COP all that much? OTOH, air-source house-heating heat pumps don't work all that efficiently with either 50 or 60 degrees gradient. So much for my initial enthusiasm to consider such a device for my basement, which cools down to under 40F in the winter, and is near 50F spring and fall.

I don't have temperature logging on the solar storage tank. I end up estimating the average temperature and hence BTU added by the Geyser. I have a water meter for just the hot water. Over enough time I should get a better idea of what the COP really is. At 60F ambient the COP should be fairly close to 2.
As far the house heating HP goes the BTU's are cheaper, than burning oil, down to around -12F according to the duel fuel spreadsheet I found online. My homes thermal balance point is 25F. This is my first winter with the heat pump so I am still figuring out how manage set backs and thermostat settings between the boiler and HP.

"My homes thermal balance point is 25F" - do you mean that above 25F outside (about -4C) you don't need heating? Lucky you! I need heating when it's under 45F or so, unless and while the sun is shining bright (which it does very little of in November/December). Clearly my insulation is not as good as it can be, but the way the house was constructed makes it very difficult to improve. E.g., no attic.

For heating water, if you have solar pre-heat, perhaps a better approach is to separate the solar water from the domestic water and use a heat pump to move heat from the solar-heated water to the domestic water? That way, on sunny days, the gradient would be small (or zero) and the COP would be great!

I should have been clearer. The balance point of 25F refers to the outside temperature where the HP output balances the homes BTU loss on a hourly basis. At 25F outside my home loses about 20K BTU/HR. I have spent a lot of effort and money to seal and insulate and still only have fair results. Sealing a home that was built before modern sealing standards is difficult at best. Now if we want to talk about my seasonal 200+ year old farm house in upstate NY ....

Hi SJ,

We installed our Nyle Geyser in October and it has cut our DHW costs precisely in half.

Last November, we used a total of 103.0 kWh for DHW purposes (http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/2011-11-1.jpg)

This November, that fell to 51.4 kWh (http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/2012-11.jpg)

The heat that is "sacrificed" to the Nyle is supplied by our lower level heat pump which has a seasonal COP of about 2.7, so the cooling penalty during the winter months is relatively modest.

Our biggest savings relate to our dehumidifier which has seen its runtime cut back proportionately. I received our most recent power bill earlier this morning and our electricity usage this past billing cycle is down 25 per cent even though our space heating requirements were 25 per cent higher !

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/NSP2012-11.jpg

On an annualized basis, our total household consumption for our now all-electric home has fallen to 8,635 kWh/year and I'm hoping that the Nyle will get us below the 8,000 mark. As it stands now, we're saving over $7,000.00 a year on our utility costs.


New Findings Suggest That Changes to Home Construction Design Could Result in 80% Energy Savings

... According to collaborative research led by Ryerson University, a simple change in the way we live in our homes, and the introduction of a heat pump, could save up to 80% on energy consumption.

Russell Richman, a professor in the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University, is the co-principal investigator of an on-going research project that explores the practicality of Nested Thermal Envelope Design, a home construction design that employs zonal heating. Space heating is the largest single contributor to residential energy use in Canada at 60% of the total. Minimizing envelope heat losses is one approach to reducing this percentage.

"In the winter, you could get savings by living in a smaller space, period," says Richman. "But you can't just heat one room, because there is no insulation between one room and the outside or other rooms. To do it really well, you need to insulate the room and then insulate the whole house. As we explain it, zonal heating is just a house within a house, or a box within a box."

The nested thermal envelope design has two key components. First, the home must be divided into two different zones; the perimeter and the core. The core is the home's main living area, for example, the kitchen, the living room and bedrooms. The perimeter is those less often used rooms, such as a formal dining room, sunrooms and secondary bathrooms. Secondly, the home must have a small heating unit that cycles heat from the perimeter into the core during the winter season. The heat pump funnels heat lost to the perimeter back into the core of the home, before it escapes the perimeter and is lost to the exterior of the home.

I find the envelope house concept intriguing, and Enertia is perhaps the best commercialization of it. Considered this when we relocated. Bought an existing fixer upper instead. Have attempted to incorporate at least some of the design concepts in our renovation. Difficult, of course.

Well.. to pitch in my experience so far..

I have recently installed the Nyle Geyser as well, having it feed directly into a 260 gallon thermal storage tank which will also be getting solar inputs.. but they are on hold as I stumble through seasonal temp work. Two panels are built for the most part, and the heat exchanger for Solar is in the thermal tank.. but hoisting, mounting and the famed 'running of the pipes' is still ahead..(!)

I had initially set the Geyser to heat to 110F, but realized my big tank (and this water is isolated from the DHW water, with another 300' PEX Heat Exch feeding warmed street water to the furnace which serves as a finisher..) was now susceptible to legionella.. perhaps. I've given it a 'little ' bleach, but don't want to stress the EPDM liner or the PEX with corrosives..

So now, the Geyser is doing the heavy lifting, bringing the water up to 122, and using a hearty 8kwh a day. I'll be eager to see the Oil Furnace numbers for the next couple months, and then even MORE eager to see the solar input start to lend the Geyser a wee hand, once I can finally connect all those bits into it.

As far as robbing Peter and Promising Paul some 'payment on Tuesday for a Burger today'.. My Geyser and Storage tank are in the Furnace and Laundry Room, where the temps are often in the high 70's and low 80's, even with a lot of the Furnace Piping insulated.. but also with the dryer vent rerouted into the room.. So far the Humidity after washing loads and rainstorms/foggy weather has been brought right down to the 50%-40% range as soon as the HP fires. This way, I am reusing the waste heat from the dryer and the waste heat from the furnace as the feedstock for the Geyser. One more input will be the Bathroom and Kitchen Vents in the apartments, where more warm, moist air can become lunch for the DWH system, without throwing all that precious heat outside and forcing outdoor air to be drawn in from the resulting pressure shift.

It's a tangled web, and I'll be sure to let you all know as the various sticky strands of it either catch juicy flies or trip me up! For now, I'm still waiting on an oil bill (and not much holding my breath for it), so I can start to see some data on the actual effect it has on the furnace operation.. no longer getting 7 adults (3 apartments) worth of cold water drawn through its coil every day.


Hey Bob,

I'm hyper paranoid about Legionella but, thankfully, our hot water tank has a stainless steel liner (SuperStor Ultra) and I understand that this helps prohibit bacteria growth. Secondly, the Nyle's feed and return are via the drain spout that's located at the very bottom of the tank. That means that the water at the base of the tank is heated to 50°C/122°F each time that the Nyle completes its cycle. With a conventional electric water heater, the water directly below the lower heating element is always several degrees cooler and this gives the nasties the perfect opportunity to multiple rapidly.

Delighted to hear that your new Nyle is working out well for you; I couldn't be more pleased with mine.


Hi Paul;
Yes, I'm glad my storage water is fully isolated from the DHW, plus it cycles through the Geyser, bringing it up to killing temps, though I do look forward to activating the solar HX, which sits at the very bottom of the tank, where it can add more to the thorough convection in there..

Ooh! Central Maine Power is announcing that they are about to offer Time-of-use Pricing! This might add another squibble of advantage to having a generous amount of Storage Mass in the house now!


It looks like about 18 cents/kwh Peak, and about 10 cents off peak. You have to sign up for a full year's contract at a time..


PS, that dehumidification is a real boon for what has always been a 'potentially damp' cellar.

Hey Bob,

Thanks for the link to CMP's new TOU plan. Looking at the fine print, it appears that you can opt-out of the plan at any time, but you'd have to wait a year before you can jump back in.

*You may enroll between December 1, 2012 and January 31, 2013. You may de-enroll at any time but will have to wait a year to select this option again.

Our Nyle is controlled by a timer that restricts its operation to a three hour window between the hours of 05h00 and 08h00. Our storage tank is quite small (30 US gallons/113 litres) so this intended to prevent short-cycling and thus excess wear and tear. We've never run out of hot water thus far, and letting tank temperatures drift downward through course of the day and during the overnight hours offers two additional advantages: 1) it reduces standby losses and 2) it increases the operating efficiency of the heat pump (the Nyle consumes less electricity at the beginning of the reheat cycle when tank temperatures are lower than just prior to shutting off, i.e., 400 to 450-watts versus almost 700-watts).

From a utility's point of view, this is about as good as it gets -- we can shift the entire load to off-peak hours, and when operational it uses less electricity than a pop-up toaster.


A comment on the use of a timer. I was using a timer on my Geyser. After about three weeks I noticed that the compressor was not shutting off anymore. I had to replace one of the relays. What happens is the incoming voltage can drop upon startup due to poor timer contacts or a too long extension cord. When the voltage drops too far the compressor relay drops out. This causes a cycling where the relay cuts in and out until the contacts are damaged. The relay contacts are rated for 25 Amps. The timer contacts should have this rating as well. My timer was a lighter duty version. I haven't tried a heavy duty timer yet but will soon.

Thanks for the heads-up on this, SJ; much appreciated. I do two to three back-to-back loads of laundry each Sunday and flick the timer to its "on" position to recharge the tank whilst this is under way. So far, the unit seems to be working normally, shutting off when the tank reaches temperature. I'll keep an eye on this going forward.


Worth people noting when designing these systems and other alternative water heaters:-


Table of temperatures about 1/2 way down.


International Progress On Tackling Climate Change Is 'Recklessly Slow', Warns Nicholas Stern

... The new policy paper by Mattia Romani, James Rydge and Nicholas Stern, entitled ‘Recklessly Slow or a Rapid Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy? Time to Decide’, warns that “the world is heading in a difficult and dangerous direction”, as negotiations continue into a second week at the United Nations climate change summit in Doha, Qatar.

The paper states: “A range of estimates based on current plans and intentions arrive at similar conclusions: at best, global emissions will plateau at around 50 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide-equivalent per year over the coming decades, with a strong possibility they will go much higher. The scale of the risks from these levels of emissions is immense, with likely changes in climate way beyond the experience of modern civilisation.”

... As the transition accelerates, highcarbon, resource-intensive infrastructure and capital are likely to become obsolete/unsustainable, with associated risks of stranded assets. Any attempt at a highcarbon path will, before long, destroy itself through the hostile environment it creates.

... [There is] a brutal reality and the ignoring of a fundamental market contradiction in fossil-fuel reserves: Only around 30 per cent of global proved fossil fuel reserves can be burnt “uncaptured” between 2012 and 2050 for a 2°C path (IEA WEO, 2012). Therefore either the development and deployment of CCS on scale must be very rapid or 70 per cent of these resources must stay in the ground or the 2°C target will be greatly exceeded. The world is not facing up to this basic logic. It is not possible to consistently believe two things (i) the declared 2°C target can be achieved (ii) the current fossil-fuel reserves have the value attributed to them, unless there is an expansion of CCS at a pace which currently seems implausible. [pg 9]

... Much of the great advances in development, including in health and education, of the last few decades would likely be reversed.

also Lord Stern: developing countries must make deeper emissions cuts

... new research shows that even if developed countries cut their emissions to zero, that would not be enough to halt runaway climate change – because emissions from rapidly industrialising economies are now so high. Greenhouse gases from emerging economies – such as China, South Korea and India, that have industrialised rapidly in the past two decades – now make up the bulk of the world's carbon emissions

Kevin Anderson pointed out in the Cabot Institute Annual Lecture (youtube) out that even if large scale CCS was ready and available ,which it most certainly isn't, (but for a couple of small scale, and mostly useless demonstration projects it is non-existent) it wouldn't matter because it still couldn't address the problem. And the problem is we have to go to zero-emissions from energy by ~2040. And with CCS there are still considerable emissions because the process can't capture and sequester all the CO2.

So lets be clear, CCS is bull. Time to stop wasting time considering it.

BTW, Stern is one of the "astrologers" that Anderson is disgusted with.

EDITORIAL - End the Tom and Jerry business, Mr Paulwell

Phillip Paulwell could hardly resent that people increasingly believe that he is not playing straight on energy. For, he has given them cause to be sceptical. Or, perhaps, more to the point, there is a sense of deliberate obfuscation on the part of the energy minister.

It is time for Mr Paulwell to speak with clarity and frankness about where we are on the energy programme, than have the Government engage in an endless round of insidious kite-flying that substitutes for policy articulation and communication.

As anyone who has given serious thought to Jamaica's economy has long concluded, outside of solving the debt crisis, cheaper energy has the greatest potential for being a game-changer for the island's laggardly economy.

At upwards of US$0.41 per kilowatt-hour, Jamaica has among the highest electricity rates in the Caribbean, a fact that feeds deeply into production costs and undermines the competitiveness of the island's economy.

Ideally, most analysts will say, the cost of energy should be more than halved for the economy to have a real shot at global competitiveness, although they would take a bit less than that if there is a clear and realistic path towards that goal in the medium term......snip

In the meantime, the Office of Utilities Regulation has put out a request for proposal for 115 megawatts of generating capacity based on renewables, at tariffs, depending on the fuel used, ranging from 11.3 US cents to 26.73 US cents per kilowatt-hour.

Concurrently, the minister's ghostly proxies are putting it about that he is coming soon with a cheaper fuel than LNG.

Energy is too important a matter for cat-and-mouse games, Mr Paulwell.

I sense an increasing frustration on the part of the editorial staff at this newspaper to understand the island's energy landscape and the manoeuvrings of the minister responsible. The minister in question is Peak Oil aware as, he is one of the people that was presented with a certain DVD with several "Peak Oil" documentaries and one climate change presentation (An Inconvenient Truth), along with a book list and links to online resources like TOD. He was presented with the DVD in the year following his party's defeat at the polls in November 2007 and made a speech at a political event, shortly after having been presented the DVD that, gave one the distinct impression that he had looked at the contents.

The dilemma the minister faces is accurately described by one of the comments to the article that, highlights the conflict of interest in needing to take decisions that go against the interest of the entrenched monopoly electricity utility, while at the same time having been part of an administration that divested the former state owned utility to private interests on very favourable terms. One of his close advisers is a very shrewd businessman who is very enthusiastic about renewables. It is my sense that they really want to "make the right moves' but, their hands are tied.

At the same time it seems that the editorial staff are sensing that all is not right with the world. Oil prices remain high despite all the hyperbole about new oil discoveries and surging US production and the expected economic recovery remains evasive. Something's not right and it seems they are becoming a little more open to previously off limits viewpoints, as can be seen from a comment I posted under the screen name P.O.B.. I referred to last weekend's ASPO-USA conference and mentioned the ASPO-USA web site, getting as close as you can get to linking that they allow. I fail to believe that they would allow that without first having a look at what their web site readers will be directed to. Are they now wondering, what the dickens is happening and wondering why the normal fixes aren't working this time? Does anybody else see a trend in the MSM to cautiously peek under the covers to try and see why it is becoming so difficult to continue BAU?

Alan from the islands

Has anyone heard how the fuel riots in Jordan were resolved?

The news articles I have seen are from around November 15 and I wonder if the populace has since resolved to pay the higher fuel prices or whether the government backed down from ending the subsidy.

San Diego International airport: a day's planes in 25 seconds - timelapse video

One airport:one day...Wow!


No, from what I've read, it's just time lapse photography.

It made it onto RTM last night. It isn't simply time lapse, as the planes are moving at a near normal speed.

They described it as a "time lapse composite".

Link above appears to have gone dead. Here's another.

One airport:one day...

Yeah, now multiply that times all the airports all over the world 365 days a year, year after year, with more and more people wanting to live a lifestyle that allows them to fly! Think, newly middle class, Chinese and Indians...


Imagine that you make one intercontinental trip per year by plane. How
much energy does that cost?

A Boeing 747-400 with 240 000 litres of fuel carries 416 passengers about
8 800 miles (14 200 km). And fuel’s calorific value is 10 kWh per litre. (We
learned that in Chapter 3.) So the energy cost of one full-distance roundtrip
on such a plane, if divided equally among the passengers, is
[(2 × 240 000 litre) / 416 passengers] × 10 kWh/litre ≈ 12 000 kWh per passenger

If you make one such trip per year, then your average energy consumption
per day is
12 000 kWh / 365 days ≈ 33 kWh/day

...Flying creates other greenhouse gases in addition to CO2,
such as water and ozone, and indirect greenhouse gases, such as nitrous
oxides. If you want to estimate your carbon footprint in tons of CO2-
equivalent, then you should take the actual CO2 emissions of your flights
and bump them up two- or three-fold...

...Here are some additional figures from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change [yrnmum]: a full 747-400 travelling 10 000 km with low-density
seating (262 seats) has an energy consumption of 50 kWh per 100 p-km. In
a high-density seating configuration (568 seats) and travelling 4000 km, the
same plane has an energy consumption of 22 kWh per 100 p-km. A short-
haul Tupolev-154 travelling 2235 km with 70% of its 164 seats occupied con-
sumes 80 kWh per 100 p-km.

We's F@CKED!

Yes. The scary part is take away the "benefit" that all of those contrails bestow on us, via Global Dimming: then where would we be, warming wise?
Worst "chicken or egg" the world has ever known.

Shale Shocked: Studies Tie Rise Of Significant Earthquakes In U.S. Midcontinent To Wastewater Injection

Two new papers tie a recent increase in significant earthquakes to reinjection of wastewater fluids from unconventional oil and gas drilling. The first study notes “significant earthquakes are increasingly occurring within the United States midcontinent.” In the specific case of Oklahoma, a Magnitude “5.7 earthquake and a prolific sequence of related events … were likely triggered by fluid injection.”

The second study, of the Raton Basin of Southern Colorado/Northern New Mexico by a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) team, concludes ”the majority, if not all of the earthquakes since August 2001 have been triggered by the deep injection of wastewater related to the production of natural gas from the coal-bed methane field here.”

Both studies are being presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union this week (program with abstracts here).

If we're suppose to quadruple (or quintuple) our shale oil and gas production by 2020, are there any stats on the amount of wastewater production Y-to-Y that could be used to estimate increase in seismic activity? Or is this a threshold effect - pump too much and bang - a magnitude 5.0 [or worst] earthquake?

Siberia pesticide dumps may prove a bigger hazard than nuclear waste

In the 1970s, when no one lived here, the local authorities thought that Tegul'det was an ideal spot to bury unwanted pesticide. DDT was produced in large quantities in the 1950s and 60s, until growing awareness of the hazards led to a ban on further use.

This left the question of what was to be done with the huge stockpile that had accumulated. Burying the stuff was cheap and easy. Furthermore Siberia was big.

Tegul'det is far from being an isolated case. All over the former Soviet Union, nearly 250,000 tonnes of pesticides and farm chemicals have been stored in ramshackle warehouses, land-filled or dumped. After the USSR splintered the authorities lost the thread, so no one knows exactly where this toxic waste is.

Russian Oil Industry at a Crossroads as Infrastructure Ages

The Russian oil industry is at a crossroads. In the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian oil output plummeted from an all-time high of 11.4 million barrels a day in 1987 to a low of 6 million barrels a day in 1996. But with the start of the new century, a stunning rebound began. And in the past few years, output has returned to a level close to its Soviet-era peak.

But there are signs of trouble. The industry’s traditional core, the giant West Siberian fields inherited from the Soviet Union, has been in decline since 2007. And while overall Russian production continues to inch upward (about 1.6 percent so far this year), that is thanks only to a strong burst of drilling in the older fields, plus the development of a handful of new fields at the periphery of the country.

Russia vies with Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer. But there is one crucial difference: Saudi Arabia has spare capacity and could increase output substantially. Russia, in contrast, is producing flat-out, close to the limit of its current capacity. Indeed, Russian oil production could well slip in the next few years.

There's been a lot of predictions over the years of Russia's oil production headed for a sharp decline, and that will happen some day, but for now they seemed to have bucked the prognosis and continue to pump a whole lot of oil.

New Corrosion Research Shows Accelerated Failure At Fukushima Daiichi

The SimplyInfo.org research team has issued a new set of papers on corrosion factors at Fukushima Daiichi.

The main paper “Spent Fuel Pools At Fukushima; Follow On Report – Corrosion“ looks at corrosion factors in the spent fuel pools at Fukushima Daiichi, it also looks into the ongoing corrosion of pipes still in use to cool the melted down reactors. This paper also looks at the factors such as the long term impact of sea water injection at the plant and the ongoing uncontrolled water chemistry. For a more basic overview of how corrosion happens within the systems at Fukushima Daiichi, the companion paper “Corrosion At Fukushima Daiichi Explained” is include

The oil barons and their minions blame the people for civilization's oil addiction, rather than blaming themselves as they should.

This seems to be an old disease:

"They who have put out the peoples eyes reproach them of their blindness." - John Milton

The cure is on the way.

happy motoring!


"Dec 4, 6:11 PM EST
Canadian Pacific Railway to eliminate 4,500 jobs
TORONTO (AP) -- Canadian Pacific Railway will eliminate some 4,500 employee and contractor positions by 2016, the new chief executive of Canada's second largest railway announced Tuesday."

wait..there's more...
"CLARKSBORO, N.J. (AP) -- More New Jersey residents were ordered Tuesday to leave their homes because of air contamination from a train derailment last week that leaked a hazardous gas."

Of course that 'hazardous gas' comes from Vinyl Chloride, which is the "VC" in PVC, and we can all enjoy that particular Carcinogen just by chewing on or burning a bit of our Window Sashes, Siding, Electric Wire Insulation and Electric Tape, our Plumbing and so many other household playthings!

Vinyl is a 'spill' we've been soaking in for decades. God help us!

New Record High temperature today for Ottawa, ON: +18 Celsius

Previous Record High: +13.9 Celsius in 1982

Average High temperature for the day: -0.4 Celsius

Broke the record high by 4 degrees Celsius and it was 18 degrees above normal!

Nothing to see here, move along.

Haaah! Only 4C above the old record, thats so puny as to not merit the news....

Meanwhile in Colorado my Sister and her husband spent the night manning the fire center -forest fires in December (at 7000 to 8000 feet?).

Meanwhile, winter is in full swing in Alaska:

Alaska Shivering in Bitter Cold Snap

Consider Fairbanks, for example.

The city just recorded its 6th coldest November in 108 years of records. Seventeen days featured daily low temperatures in the -20s or colder. Only one other November had more frigid lows.

In fact, the temperature hasn't risen above zero in Fairbanks since Black Friday, a stretch of over a week! Monday morning, they registered their first low in the -40s of the season.
the high temperature in Chicken (AK) Sunday afternoon, for example, was -44. Yes...the daytime high was 44 degrees below zero!

(Temperatures in degrees F of course)

E. Swanson

YESTERDAY 94 67 27
MONTH TO DATE 2206 1872 334
SINCE SEP 1 4093 3742 351
SINCE JUL 1 4491 4131 360

The 'month to date' was all of November in the above Fairbanks weather almanac-- the numbers didn't preview as well as they looked pasted in--there are supposed to be three columns of numbers: observed, year normal, and departure, all F of course.

It has been a bit chilly but nothing ridiculously unusual. I'm about 1000 ft above town and we've bottomed out at -24F up here Sunday, been hanging mostly in the mid minus teens. Did an hour and half double poling and sort of skating on the trails earlier this evening at -21F. Good cardio/calorie burning--found some waxes that seem to be working. Actually reasonably slippery trails considering the temps--we haven't has any new snow for almost a month.

Basically a stubborn array of high pressure systems has been hanging over the Bering Sea, Interior Alaska and the Arctic Coast. The lows keep bouncing off their south side and rolling across the Pacific--hear tell they got a touch of rain out them down CA way recently.

Wouldn't doubt conditions favor another near record year of Bering Sea ice formation, which disappeared at a record rate last spring and kept on disappearing until we had record low ice minimum extent for a nearly record length of time. Well this is starting to sound like a broken record ?-) Here is a tad more data

Figure 2. The graph above shows Arctic sea ice extent as of December 2, 2012, along with daily ice extent data for the previous five years. 2012 is shown in blue, 2011 in orange, 2010 in pink, 2009 in navy, 2008 in purple, and 2007 in green. The 1979 to 2000 average is in dark gray. The gray area around this average line shows the two standard deviation range of the data. Sea Ice Index data.
Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

-21F sounds a bit bracing, as Portland Maine basks in fog and a 2am low of about 51F. This is December?

I think I'll have to invent Cross-country Waterskiing this winter.. but I'd best not speak too soon, as they say around here anyway, "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute.."

-21 at Birch Hill wasn't bad, fully wooded, no breeze. It was -32 at the grocery store and lousy tasting air to boot--winter air quality is an issue down in town when the air doesn't move. Can't say my driving to go skiing helps the matter, but I've become spoiled by groomed trails with several lighted loops. There weren't too many of us out this afternoon/evening, apparently the HS coaches had their teams running instead. Usually UAF is about but they do have trails over by the university (colder though).

Fifty one in a December sea fog sounds rather pleasant though.

Here on the east side of the Canadian Rockies, we've had a ton of snow and the skiing is epic. I had to shovel a trench on the back deck this morning so the dog could get out and do his thing. Later today we'll put on the snowshoes and pack down a trail in the back yard so he can go for a short run. Fortunately I've got 4WD and snow tires on the car so getting downtown shouldn't be a problem.

The west side of the Rockies in BC isn't as good as they have had rain at lower elevations and it has screwed up the snow. However, snow on the upper half of the hills is good (Revelstoke, for instance, has a mile of vertical drop), so if you stick to the upper runs you'll be OK.

As an aside, the Mountain Pine Beetles in Southern Alberta are dead and the pine trees are safe again. The Chinook winds killed them by screwing up their antifreeze systems. As the forestry people said, people think you have to have cold weather to kill the beetles, but that's not necessarily true. There are other things that can kill them, and the warm dry Chinooks can do it by disrupting their winter survival strategy.

Sounds like the new knees are doing fine. Never really got the hang of downhill myself, grew up in the upper Great Lakes flat-lands. When it gets slipperier I scrub speed early all the time. Beats the uncontrolled deceleration, as the ensuing tangles can be really tough on the knees--if you looked at my link I'm sure you would laugh that anyone would consider those grades too quick in any conditions.

Interesting about the warm weather killing the pine beetles. Unseasonable warm weather can disrupt our rhythms up here too, a couple days in mid winter of above freezing and steady light rain turns our roads into ribbons or armor plated ice--which barely wears off for weeks/months. Not sure what it does to our species of frog that has a winter antifreeze system, but last spring was somewhat wetter than normal and I had frogs in my neighborhood--first time I noticed them the twenty years I have been here on this hill.

I thought that precip would stack up pretty deep on the east side--the systems looked extensive and dense, but I don't keep track of your temps so I wasn't sure. Has Whistler and the like been getting snow or rain out in the west?

It's not warm weather that kills the pine beetles in Southern Alberta but the fact that when the Chinook winds blow, the temperatures shoot up, the beetles shift into summer mode, and then winter returns and kills the beetles. This sort of thing kills a lot of trees, too.

Whistler reportedly has a 180 cm base - 6 feet of snow - and all the runs are open. Not bad for early season. It should be an epic ski season for the Canadian West.

Yeh I understood the kill mechanism, just worded my response a bit sloppily--better to have said 'interesting how a bit of warm winter weather triggered their deaths.' Larger winter denning animals have had some similar issues. Apparently climate has been stable enough long enough to have selected for the behaviors that now put some populations in some peril (not that I was cheering the pine bark beetle on--but it didn't evolve in a vacuum). It is all very complex and could have some quite unexpected twists and turns/winners and losers.

I guess we are the fortunate ones because thus far climate change in our area has only resulted in higher than normal temperatures and less than normal precipatation. Ice out in late March last year was great if you like canoeing, though the spring trout fishing sucked because the ice had already been off the lakes a month before the season opened. Most people would consider the weather we have been getting an improvement over historical weather patterns for Eastern Ontario. The low precipitation we had last summer had an impact on crop yields but it certainly wasn't comparable to the drought experienced in the American mid-west.

It's a different story if you look world wide and see areas that are experiencing unprecedented cold/heat/precipitation/drought as a result of changing weather patterns. Of course these weather extremes are exactly what scientists predicted would be the result of global warming.

Warmer than average here, but nothing remarkable;

Today; 49 F for the high, 31 for the low.

Average high, 36 F
Average low 23 F

Record high: 60 F (2007)
Record low: 2 F (2005)

The temperatures this time of year depend on the wind direction, and it has been from the south the last week. It's supposed to swing around to the north by the weekend.

The record high for tomorrow is 52, set in 1953.

Meanwhile down here

Actual Average Record
Mean Temperature 25 °C -
Max Temperature 30 °C 27 °C 30 °C (2006)
Min Temperature 20 °C 16 °C 15 °C (1999)

Most every day this summer/autumn has been between average and record with many new records set. December and I still need a bit of A/C!!!


Warm & wet, from Weather Underground.

Also 17" snow Rainier Paradise Rs, WA

Climate Activist DeChristopher Barred From "Social Justice" Work

DeChristopher had been offered a job with the church's social justice ministry, which would include working with cases of race discrimination, sex discrimination or other injustices that fall contrary to Unitarian beliefs.

"The Bureau of Prisons official who interviewed Tim indicated he would not be allowed to work at the Unitarian church because it involved social justice and that was what part of what his crime was," [DeChristopher's attorney Patrick] Shea said.

Yes, that's right—DeChristopher is barred from doing anything that might be construed as acting against injustice, because that's the whole reason they put him in jail in the first place.

Orwellian doesn't even come close.

One persons "social justice" is someone elses unwanted activist. Most likely TPTB feel threatened by such activity. How can they keep the peons in their place if do-gooders intervene?