Drumbeat: December 7, 2012

World's oil industry won't be the same in the wake of shale

US domestic oil production has jumped by 18 per cent in the past year as the shale boom has expanded, and in the first eight months of this year oil imports were 800,000 barrels a day fewer than a year earlier. America's oil exports rose over the same time by 300,000 barrels a day, so net imports have fallen in just one year by 1.1 million barrels a day, or about 6 per cent of total consumption. If that pace if sustained the International Energy Agency's prediction of self sufficiency for the US by 2030 will prove to be conservative.

Oil production from shale in the US is rising much more strongly than expected because the boom itself is working to shift production into liquids. The shale contains a mix of gas and liquids including oil, and enough gas has been discovered to produce a structural downshift in the price of US domestic gas, which by law cannot be exported.

Companies that have bought into the shale boom, including BHP Billiton, have reacted by pulling drilling rigs out of fields that are gas-rich and relocating them in ones that are rich in liquids that take a price that is roughly four times higher, pushing US shale oil and liquids production up. It is now running at about a million barrels a day, and is predicted to reach about 3.5 million barrels a day by 2016.

Report Bolsters the Case for Large U.S. Natural Gas Exports

HOUSTON — In a finding that could help create a new industry of natural gas exports in the United States, a government study released on Wednesday concluded that the national economic benefits of significant natural gas exports far outweighed the potential for higher energy prices for consumers and industrial users of the fuel.

Fracking-Study Conflicts Prompt Head of Institute to Quit

University of Texas research that determined hydraulic fracturing for natural gas is safe was tainted by a conflict of interest involving the study’s lead investigator, an independent panel has concluded.

After seeing the panel’s findings, the head of the Energy Institute, Raymond Orbach, said he would “assume full responsibility” and resigned his position though he remains on the faculty. The lead investigator, professor Charles Groat, has left the university and the study he oversaw has been withdrawn, according to a statement the school released yesterday.

Exxon sells shale gas licences to Polish refiner PKN

(Reuters) - U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil agreed to sell two shale gas exploration concessions in Poland to the country's top refiner PKN Orlen for an undisclosed price, the groups said on Friday.

Exxon dropped its exploration plans in June after test wells failed to produce commercial quantities of gas, dealing a blow to Poland's hopes of becoming a major producer of the non-conventional gas.

Jeremy Grantham, Starving for Facts

Jeremy Grantham, a well-known presence in the financial world, recently published a World View column in the journal Nature in which he concludes that, “simply, we are running out’’ of almost all commodities whose consumption sustains modern civilization. There is nothing new about such claims, and since the emergence of a vocal global peak oil movement during the late 1990s, many other minerals have been added to the endangered list. Indeed, there is now a book called Peak Everything. What makes Grantham’s column – published under the alarmist headline “Be Persuasive. Be Brave. Be Arrested (If Necessary)” – worth noticing, and deconstructing, is that he puts his claims in terms more suitable for tabloids than for one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious scientific weekly magazines.

A Cause for Thanksgiving, Part I

M. King Hubbert should be spinning in his grave. In defiance of Hubbert's theory of "peak oil," the International Energy Agency recently predicted that the U.S. will have energy independence by 2020 and return to its former place as the world's biggest producer of oil. By 2030 or sooner, according to the IEA, North America will be a significant energy exporter.

This was a turnabout as severe as it was sudden. As recently as 2010, the IEA still agreed that U.S. oil production could never catch up with demand; indeed, it was speculating that the whole world had already passed its point of peak oil production—70 million barrels per day in 2006.

A Cause for Thanksgiving, Part II

In a way, the geologist M. King Hubbert was right about "peak oil," just as Thomas Malthus was right about the number of people rising faster than the production of food: If people don't improve the technology of production, the human race will be doomed, either to extinction or to a miserably "sustainable" life not far advanced from the Stone Age.

Fortunately for those who are comfortable in a 21st-century middle-class American lifestyle, and even more fortunately for those who aspire to such comfort, technologists have improved the production of energy and food, and they continue to do so.

Even though the absolute size of any energy resource is finite, technology may increase the percentage of the resource that can be recovered.

This chart explains why the US is irrationally exuberant about self-sufficient oil production

U.S. Feels Less Gasoline Pain as Pakistan Tops Ranking

The U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer, is among the nations feeling the least pain at the gasoline pump, while Pakistan tops the list of 60 countries ranked by Bloomberg.

A gallon of premium gasoline cost Americans 3 percent of their daily income in October, 55th out of 60 nations, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In Pakistan, a gallon cost 46 percent more than a worker’s daily wage. Venezuelans paid 0.3 percent of their income to buy each gallon, the least in the world, the data show.

“It’s good to keep that number down, just because we drive so much in the U.S.,” said Jacob Correll, a Louisville, Kentucky-based analyst at Summit Energy Inc., which manages more than $20 billion in companies’ annual energy spending. “We need fairly cheap gasoline prices because you have so many miles being driven.”

Oil Heads for Weekly Drop on German Growth Cut

Oil headed for its first weekly decline since October in New York as lower economic growth forecasts for Germany and an earthquake in Japan fanned concern that fuel consumption may be curtailed.

West Texas Intermediate futures fell as much as 0.4 percent as the Bundesbank sliced more than 1 percentage point off its forecast for economic expansion in Germany next year after the sovereign debt crisis pushed the euro area into recession. A tsunami alert was issued after a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit Japan’s northeast coast.

Brent Favored Over WTI Oil by U.S. for First Time

Even the U.S. Energy Department no longer deems America’s benchmark oil grade the best guide to global prices, as rising production swells national stockpiles.

The Energy Information Administration in Washington dispensed with West Texas Intermediate for its price forecasts in its Annual Energy Outlook 2013 released yesterday, adopting North Sea Brent crude instead. It’s the first time the department has used Brent, reflecting “a growing discrepancy” between WTI and global crude prices, it said.

Russia May Lose Investment Rating with $80 Oil – Kudrin

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) – Russia may lose its investment-grade rating if world oil prices plunge to $80 per barrel and the Russian government continues massive social and defense spending, ex-finance minister Alexei Kudrin said on Wednesday.

“If the [oil] price is $80 per barrel, the budget deficit will widen to 3 percent of GDP," Kudrin said.

10 hrs of power cuts from Saturday

Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has decided to increase the load-shedding hours for the second time in the past 10 days. The new load-shedding regime will come into effect from December 8.

The state-monopoly on supply of electricity has hiked the load-shedding hours by 14 hours to make it 70 hours a week from the existing 56 hours.

Fuel Import Plan to Ease Airline Pain: Corporate India

Indian airlines including SpiceJet Ltd. and IndiGo may be allowed to store imported jet fuel at state-owned refiners’ facilities as the government works to ease rules to help carriers pare their biggest cost.

The petroleum ministry agreed to allow airlines to use refiners’ infrastructure at airports when they import the fuel, Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said in a Dec. 4 interview. Oil Minister Veerappa Moily said the next day that his ministry will discuss the terms of access with the refiners. He didn’t give a timeframe for concluding the talks.

Nigeria: Unions Strike Responsible for Fuel Queues

The federal government has attributed the lingering artificial fuel scarcity to the strike embarked upon by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) over the refusal of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to recall sacked oil workers.

Freeport’s Oil-Gas Bet Prompts Biggest Slump in 4 Years

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.’s $9 billion bet on Gulf of Mexico oil and gas assets is the latest example of mining companies’ move into energy that ends up hurting investors.

U.S. refiner PBF switches up Saudi crude routes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Thomas O'Malley, the U.S. refinery magnate with a history of squeezing profits from forsaken facilities, is using a rare shipping maneuver to bolster margins, bringing imported Saudi crude from the Gulf of Mexico to his East Coast plants.

A Reuters data analysis shows that in the past five months at least 11 oil tankers have loaded -- or "lightered" -- crude off of super-tankers parked off the Gulf Coast, outside of U.S. waters, and delivered it to PBF Energy's Delaware City and Paulsboro, New Jersey, refineries.

Chevron Seen Eyeing Cobalt to Kosmos in Oil Hunt

Chevron Corp., the U.S. oil giant facing its longest slide in energy output in four years, could tap record cash to reignite growth by acquiring Cobalt International Energy Inc. or Kosmos Energy Ltd.

Oil and natural gas production from Chevron’s wells during the third quarter dwindled to the lowest since 2008, slashing profit by one-third and adding to declines that had already forced the world’s fourth-largest energy company to abandon its full-year output target. Even after the earnings drop, Chevron’s cash stood at an all-time high of $21.3 billion, exceeding that of bigger rivals Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Oil frontier in Iraq loses its allure

Erbil // The Kurdish region in northern Iraq has been hailed as one of the last frontier oil territories, but it has recently begun to lose some its allure as the dispute over energy autonomy between Baghdad and Erbil rumbles on.

Iran Oil Export Delays Seen Worsening as Sanctions Hinder Trade

Iranian oil tankers are contending with longer delays in shipments and some are idled amid increasing pressure on buyers to curb purchases from what was once OPEC’s second-biggest producer.

NITC, the Tehran-based tanker owner, has 42 crude oil carriers and 13 were delayed in transit since Oct. 21, according to data compiled by Richard Hurley, a senior maritime consultant at IHS Fairplay in London who has tracked vessel movements for two decades. Four NITC ships with cargoes are idling while they await orders and four others have switched off their signals and are presumed to be anchored, the data show.

Turkey says no new US request to cut Iran oil imports

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey has not received any new request from the United States to reduce the level of its crude oil purchases from Iran and is continuing with its existing level of imports, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told Reuters on Wednesday.

In June Washington exempted Turkey, along with six other countries, from financial sanctions on Iran's oil trade for six months in return for a 20 percent cut in Ankara's purchases.

Iran shipping signals manipulate vessel movements to Syria

Iranian oil tankers are sending incorrect satellite signals that confuse global tracking systems and appear to conceal voyages made by other ships to Syria, which, like Iran, is subject to international sanctions.

The two countries are close allies and have helped each other deal with shortages by swapping badly needed fuels such as gasoline for diesel.

In Cairo, shooting, anger, and bracing for more confrontation

Sherif Azer, one of the original Tahrir Square activists who helped sweep Hosni Mubarak from power in February 2011, is matter-of-fact, as if what is happening today in Cairo was somehow inevitable.

“We’re just waiting until enough people are here," he says. "Then we will attack. It has to be this way.”

Mr. Azer is among several hundred people gathered a block away from the presidential palace. Hours earlier, Muslim Brotherhood supporters, armed with clubs, attacked a sit-in outside the palace that started the day before at the end of a huge protest march against President Mohamed Morsi, himself a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The Muslim Brotherhood have been incredibly stupid,” says Azer. “Nobody was fighting them, nobody was questioning their legitimacy.”

Sudan rules out devaluation despite black market gap

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan plans to close the gap between official and black market exchange rates through higher earnings from resources like gold and oil instead of devaluing the pound again, a vice-president said on Wednesday.

Sudan has been in economic crisis since South Sudan seceded last year, taking with it three-quarters of the once unified nation's oil output. This had been Sudan's main source of revenues and the dollars it needs to pay for imports.

China cautions India against oil exploration in South China Sea

BEIJING: China today cautioned India against any "unilateral" attempt to pursue oil exploration in the disputed South China Sea, saying that it is opposed to nations outside the region to intervene in the disputed area.

"China opposes any unilateral oil and gas exploration activities in disputed areas in the South China Sea and hopes relevant countries respect China's sovereignty and national interests, as well as the efforts of countries within the region to resolve disputes through bilateral negotiations," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

Lithuania's Russian-backed utility complains to EU over gas law

VILNIUS (Reuters) - Lithuania's partly Russian-owned gas utility has complained to Brussels over a law, aimed at cutting the country's reliance on pipeline gas from Russia, that would make the company buy some supply from a liquefied natural gas terminal.

Construction Formally Starts on South Stream Gas Pipeline

ANAPA (RIA Novosti) - Welding work formally started on Friday on South Stream, a Russian-led pipeline project designed to link Russia's gas fields to the markets of southern Europe via the Black Sea.

ExxonMobil to spend $300 mln on Rosneft venture

(Reuters) - ExxonMobil agreed to spend $300 million on advanced horizontal drilling and fracking at Russian state oil company Rosneft's Siberian fields in a project designed to help Russia realise its vast tight oil potential.

The two companies will form a joint venture, split 51-49 between Rosneft and Exxon, to carry out the pilot programme and launch commercial production if they find sufficient oil in the Bazhenov shale and the nearby Achimov formations of Western Siberia.

Coal deal could boost exports; Mont layoffs stand

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- A pair of coal companies have struck a deal on a disputed Montana mine that both sides said could boost Asian exports through the West Coast, but won't prevent up to 75 layoffs in the short term.

The deal calls for Australian-based Ambre Energy to gain full control of the Decker mine near the Wyoming border for $57 million. The company wants to ramp up production and ship fuel overseas through a pair of Columbia River ports.

Texaco Disputes $17 Million Mississippi Claim Over Children’s Disabilities

Attorneys for Texaco Inc. argued this week that no evidence showed the oil company was responsible for ailments of children born to five women who claimed they were exposed to leaded gasoline fumes.

Texaco, now part of Chevron, asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to throw out a $17 million verdict for the women.

EON Loses as RWE’s Coal Plants Win Germany’s Green Shift

Germany’s largest power generator is emerging as the biggest loser in the country’s shift to renewable energy.

EON SE, the worst-performing stock in Germany’s benchmark DAX index for the first year since the company was formed in 2000, has ripped up earnings forecasts as a surfeit of electricity from wind turbines and solar panels makes its fleet of gas-fired plants unprofitable. In contrast, RWE AG has gained 16 percent because EON’s closest rival has more cheap-to-run coal stations better able to compete with renewables.

Ford hybrids don't live up to MPG hype - Consumer Reports

Ford's C-Max and Fusion hybrids get nowhere near the fuel economy estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a new blog post by Consumer Reports magazine.

Consumer Reports does its own fuel economy tests separately from those conducted by the EPA. But the magazine says that its results usually track more closely to the EPA's.

BP to double size of Brazil cane mill in Goiàs state

(Reuters) - BP Biocombustiveis, a unit of oil company BP Plc, said on Friday that it will invest 716 million reais ($348 million) to double capacity at Tropical, its Brazilian sugar cane mill in Edèia in Goiàs state.

Human misery behind high food prices

Extreme weather around the world in 2012 has led to low food yields and an increase in prices. Climate is not the only driver of high food costs, but the recent price spikes have caused hardship around the world, especially in impoverished nations that rely on imported food.

Find out how farmers have coped with the challenging conditions, and read the moving accounts to learn of the daily struggle families face to find enough to eat.

Bring On the Hacks (Meat Lovers Preferred)

Glazed pork chops, sizzling bacon, a gargantuan slab of spare ribs — increasingly, people are choosing to buy these succulent staples from sustainable meat farms instead of the industrial kind. The New York City Meat Hackathon is saluting this trend a three-day event, beginning today, where farmers, butchers, tech mavens, policymakers and entrepreneurs – all “steakholders” — will confer on potential improvements in the ways that livestock is farmed and meat is processed and consumed.

Season Has Changed, but the Drought Endures

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Even as the summer swelter has given way to frost, nearly two-thirds of the country remains in a drought, with forest fires still burning, winter crops choking in parched soil and barges nearly scraping the mucky bottoms of sunken rivers.

More than 62 percent of the continental United States is experiencing moderate to exceptional drought, according to the weekly Drought Monitor report released on Thursday, compared with just over 29 percent at this time last year.

Past Dead Sea Dry-Up Points to Ominous Future

The fact that the Dead Sea has dried up before may have implications for the future of the Middle East. Several water-hungry countries in the region already use all of the runoff that flows into the sea, and if climate change further dries up the freshwater supply, it could worsen an already tense situation, said Steven Goldstein, a geologist at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University and a study co-author.

"Water is a source of conflict in this area," Goldstein told OurAmazingPlanet.

Freshwater from the Sea of Galilee, on the border of Syria, Lebanon, and Israel, feeds into the Dead Sea via several lakes in the region. As that freshwater travels south through several rivers, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Palestine all pull water to maintain their populations. Already, the salty body's water level is dropping about 5 feet (1.5 meters) a year, and that fall is accelerating, said Ari Torfstein, a study co-author also from Lamont Doherty.

Drought May Have Killed Sumerian Language

"As we go into the 4,200-year-ago climate anomaly, we actually see that estimated rainfall decreases substantially in this region and the number of sites that are populated at this time period reduce substantially," he said.

Around the same time, 74 percent of the ancient Mesopotamian settlements were abandoned, according to a 2006 study of an archaeological site called Tell Leilan in Syria. The populated area also shrank by 93 percent, he said.

"People still live in this region. It's not that the collapse of a civilization means that an area is completely abandoned," he said. "But that there's a sharp change in the population."

Green investing is back in vogue

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Going green is back in vogue and you can bet investment opportunities will follow.

Superstorm Sandy, droughts, and freakish weather events around the world have turned people’s attentions to the climate and climate change once again.

2012 warmest year in US? Odds rise to 99.7 percent

A warm winter, a record warm spring, a record hot July and a warmer than average autumn combined to make it even more likely that 2012 will go down as the warmest year in the contiguous United States on record, the federal government reported Thursday.

Just how likely?

"For 2012 not to be record warm, December would have to be unprecedented," Jake Crouch, a scientist at the National Climatic Data Center, told NBC News. "December temperatures would need to be more than 1 degree F colder than the coldest December on record, which occurred in 1983."

Catastrophic storms’ costs put cloud over federal budgets

After months spent preparing for a race about teacher evaluations, police tactics and other municipal mainstays, City Hall hopefuls are confronting a 2013 contest that has been rewritten, perhaps permanently, by the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.

Candidates are facing questions on sea gates and tidal marshes, exotic topics that were never in their briefing books. The minutiae of federal disaster relief is suddenly in the headlines. And the lopsided impact of the storm has opened up a fresh set of class and interborough tensions to navigate and, in some cases, exploit.

Post-Sandy, NYC Will Lead in Climate Change Battle, Mayor Says

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, addressing a meeting on New York City's recovery from Hurricane Sandy this morning, spoke of a future in a warming world with the stark reality of more such devastating storms, saying the city will lead the way in stemming climate change.

"We cannot solve the problems associated with climate change alone here in New York City, but I think it's fair to say we can lead the way," Bloomberg said during his speech, which was broadcast on local news channel NY1.

Storm Writes a New Script in Campaigns for New York Mayor

This is when the New York City mayor’s race goes off script.

Gore raps Obama on climate change in post-Sandy speech

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore on Thursday sharply criticized President Barack Obama, a fellow Democrat, for failing to make global warming a priority issue, saying action was more urgent than ever after the devastation in the Northeast from Superstorm Sandy.

"I deeply respect our president and I am grateful for the steps that he has taken, but we cannot have four more years of mentioning this occasionally and saying it's too bad that the Congress can't act," Gore told the New York League of Conservation Voters.

Fund May Use $100 Billion a Year to Encourage Carbon Price

The Green Climate Fund, designed to channel as much as $100 billion a year in pledges to emerging nations, may try to wean recipients off fossil fuel and encourage them to put a price on carbon, according to an overseer.

The fund may guarantee bank loans in developing nations for projects ranging from wind farms to building insulation and less-polluting agricultural equipment, Naoko Ishii, chief executive officer of the Global Environment Facility in Washington, said yesterday in an interview in Doha. She heads one of two secretariats governing the fund.

Qatar deports activists after climate talks protest - group

DOHA (Reuters) - Two activists were deported from Qatar on Thursday after calling for more leadership on tackling climate change from the Gulf state, which is hosting U.N. talks in Doha, their campaign group said.

Rich-poor bickering over aid stymies U.N. climate talks

DOHA (Reuters) - Bickering over when rich nations will step up aid towards a promised $100 billion by 2020 to help developing nations tackle the effects of climate change threatened to derail talks in Doha between 200 countries. Environmental activists said the two-week talks, due to end on Friday, were "on the brink of disaster" after rich nations failed to set dates for releasing the promised cash or to set goals on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

Report: IPCC Is Underestimating Climate Threat

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, is a favorite punching bag for climate deniers. The panel, made up of scientists from around the world who evaluate and coalesce the best and latest science on climate change, issues new reports every five to six years; the fifth report is will begin rolling out in 2013. But while deniers love to cry that the IPCC is "alarmist," the comparison between what the panel has predicted over the last 20 years and what actually panned out in the real world shows that the IPCC has "consistently underestimated" the impacts, according to a new report highlighted by the Daily Climate.

Arctic's loss of sea ice sets record

A fast-changing Arctic broke new records for loss of sea ice and spring snow cover this year, as well as the extent of the summertime melt of the Greenland ice sheet, federal scientists reported Wednesday.

Smoke from Arctic wildfires may have caused Greenland's record thaw

The freak melt of the Greenland ice sheet last summer may have been forced by smoke from Arctic wildfires, new research suggests.

Satellite observations, due to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union on Friday, for the first time tracks smoke and soot particles from tundra wildfires over to Greenland.

2012: The End of the Arctic Era

This year's record ice melts in Greenland and the Arctic ocean aren't flukes, but confirmation that the Arctic is racing ahead into a new and unknown climate state, said top US climate scientists today.

NOAA sees sea level rise of up to 6.6 feet by 2100

As recovery continues from Superstorm Sandy, the U.S. government reports Thursday that flooding from future storms will likely worsen as global sea levels rise between 8 inches and 6.6 feet by the end of this century.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's latest assessment, similar to others in recent years, also says higher sea levels -- regardless of the extent of global warming -- won't stop in 2100. It says 8 million people live in U.S. coastal areas at risk of flooding and many of the nation's military, energy and commercial assets are located at or near the ocean.

Re: Ford hybrids don't live up to MPG hype - Consumer Reports

After reading the results from Consumer Reports and CR's test procedure, it's worth while noting that the difference between the EPA test and their real world driving may be due to the fact that CR's highway test is run at 65 MPH, whereas the EPA test is done using a dyno at speeds of about 55 MPH. The difference in air drag might be the cause of the discrepancy and the C-Max is a cut off hatch back design, which would have a relatively large base drag. The EPA posted mileage is only useful as a comparison between different brands and models, not as a guarantee of actual results. HERE's another review from CNET, in which they report 45.1 combined MPG.

Another point worth considering is that some previous tests of non-hybrid cars also produced lower MPG results and the differences found between CR and EPA results based on a fraction instead of a MPG value might not be so unusual. With high MPG cars, the same fraction variation would produce greater differences in MPG...

E. Swanson

In these situations, potential buys should take a look at one of the best fuel data web site fully.com. Vehicle owners track their actual fuel consumption here. The latest data for the Ford C-Max is here: http://www.fuelly.com/car/ford/c-max/2013/hybrid%20l4

I track my own car's (2012 Prius v wagon) fuel economy here: http://www.fuelly.com/driver/2sk21/prius-v

I think the EPA should start testing every vehicle on their own. It is clear that the car companies cannot be trusted as Hyundai and Ford have showed us.

Just charge the car makers for the testing. Maybe the Ford numbers are accurate but I'm suspicious. They went from having pretty much nothing to having cars with numbers on par with the Prius that Toyota took ten years to design & hone.

BTW, even if the MPG numbers drop a bit, the Ford Fusion & C-Max hybrids and Energi plug-in hybrids are very nice cars.

Ford and Toyota have a long history with hybrids and have shared many patents over the years.


They are also teaming up with Toyota on Hybrid Pickups now.


Ford is not a newcomer to hybrid technology. The Escape Hybrid was launched 8 years ago.

" The Escape Hybrid was launched 8 years ago."


The Escape Hybrid uses technology similar to that used in the Toyota Prius. Ford engineers realized their technology may conflict with patents held by Toyota, which led to a 2004 patent-sharing accord between the companies, licensing Ford's use of some of Toyota's hybrid technology[23] in exchange for Toyota's use of some of Ford's diesel and direct-injection engine technology.[24] Ford maintains that Ford received no technical assistance from Toyota in developing the hybrid powertrain, but that some hybrid engine technologies developed by Ford independently were found to be similar to technologies previously patented by Toyota, so licenses were obtained.[24] Aisin Seiki Co. Ltd., a Japanese automotive components supplier belonging to the Toyota Group, supplies the hybrid continuously variable transmission for the Escape Hybrid.

There's a peculiar and distinctive sound that Prii and Camry Hybrids make that the Escape Hybrid also makes.

The distinctive sound is probably due to the Atkinson cycle engines being used.

It's not that...it's a super-high pitched electrical sound, like a PWM controller. There have been a few occasions where I'd turn to look, expecting to see a Prius or Camry Hybrid, and see one of those Escapes. Exact same sound - not coincidence.

So, let's see...

The same mileage as a Toyota Yaris for $10,000 more, plus the thrill of knowing there'll be another spent battery to deal with at some point.

Yes, what a remarkable bargain! Truly, we live in a age of wonders.

Batteries are recyclable, and an EV can clearly be powered with sources that don't put ANYTHING into the Air and Water.

But jeering is forever! .. just no EROEI to speak of, sadly.

Pray tell, what source of electricity puts nothing into the air or water? Solar panels and wind turbines are manufactured, installed, and maintained using fossil fuels. And need we mention how major those sources actually are?

Cars are coffins. Plain fact. Not a sustainable technology for everybody's everyday transport.

"Plain Fact?"

Continual Hyperbole, rants and assumptions to the extreme, Michael. Interested in creating some useful discussions on the topic, or is tossing hand-grenades going to do it for you?

Yes Solar Panels and Windturbines put NOTHING into the air. While they, like EVERYTHING around us has had to be built by this industrial infrastructure, they at least remain some of the few items in our surroundings that start to pull us up out of that swamp by putting useful energy into the system without adding more. And yes, the energy from them can certainly be used to help build their replacements. What does oil do in this case that electricity cannot?

It's not at all hard to come up with electric tools for support and maintenance of them using the power FROM their installations as well.. more 'Lifting out (as much as we can)'..

Are we better off fuming about how imperfect things are, about how we shouldn't have ANY cars because they are so overused currently? Its like telling an obese person that they cannot eat ever again, since food is obviously the problem.

Unhelpful and Unproductive ravings. They don't really add to the discussion, because they continually rely on extreme assumptions that are ONLY brought up to create this kind of fuming argument. No. It has to be 'Cars are Coffins.'

Could you please try to take part in a conversation about this, and not just Spit at it?

I think Michael is right on. So called "green" technology will destroy the worlds ecosystems at slower rate at best, that is not an assumption just a fact of industrial processes. I guess taking part in the conversation means accepting industrialism and car culture. Well some people have lost faith in the industrial death cult and human ingenuity and I applaud Michael for "spitting" on the idea of continuing car culture.

Best wishes for the failure of cars of all types.

So called "green" technology will destroy the worlds ecosystems at slower rate at best, that is not an assumption just a fact of industrial processes.

Not having the ability to move food, goods and people around with some degree of reliability and efficiency will destroy the world's ecosystems at an even faster rate than solar panels and wind turbines will. It's called a "Malthusian Collapse".

Sorry, but there will always be a need for cars until the world's population drops to a few hundred million people and we can feed enough horses and elephants to do our grunt work. Just because you personally associate electric cars, wind turbines and solar panels with a continuation of the "car culture", doesn't mean they necessarily have to fulfil that role in the future.

You can pursue a romantic agrarian existence at one with nature if you so wish, shunning all technology in the place of naturally derived products made of hemp, cotton, bone, flint and hide. But there's no way 7 billion people could be fed and clothed that way.

Humanity is in vast overshoot and it will end. It will either be die off from ecosystem collapse with no future, or a fast crash with some hope of a inhabitable world for humans. The planet is in a mass die off right now caused by industrial civilization. There is no need for cars except to try sustain the unsustainable which is folly.

Pursue the romantic notion that the Malthusian Collapse can be prevented if you wish. I say Better to have it now before the plankton die from ocean acidification; of course human wishes will matter not.

I agree that electric vehicles give us the illusion that we are doing something about resource depletion and global warming. But the fact is they are not making a dent and cannot possibly keep up with the increase in autos in countries like China. To the extent that solar and wind are useful technologies, the urgency should be that they be applied rapidly as possible to existing uses like lighting and industrial processes. To use what little renewable energy we have to a new usage like electric vehicles means we make no real progress to reduce carbon intensity.

The fact is, all the progress that has been made in low carbon energy has pretty much meant nothing so far as we continue to reach new record levels of global carbon emissions. We simply cannot make a dent when places like China are building at least a new coal plant a week. They are making progress on solar but it does not mean very much when their overall carbon emissions are increasing.

The car should have been eliminated for most uses a long time ago. Those who lived or have lived in transit, pedestrian, and bike friendly cities recognize this. Most of those people who drive cars in those cities simply do not need to drive but drive anyway.

Most people will answer that it is simply impractical to do away with the car even in those cities where alternatives are available. Well, fine, so we get to do away with humanity. And given humanity's attitude to its only home, planet earth, good riddance and good bye.

Pursue the romantic notion that the Malthusian Collapse can be prevented if you wish. I say Better to have it now before the plankton die from ocean acidification

Fair enough, you may have a point there. Difference of opinion I guess. Do we slowly pull the band-aid off with each hair delivering agonizing pain, or do we rip it all off at once before we have a chance to register the pain? I sometimes ponder that the most painless and beneficial thing that could happen to humanity long term would be a widespread nuclear war that wipes out 90% of the population. Much better than the mass starvation and guerrilla warfare that a Malthusian Collapse would entail. At least the 10% survivors would (hopefully) not have significant fossil fuel reserves left with which to overshoot and collapse again.

I still maintain that it might be possible to avoid a Malthusian Collapse, because there really is a hell of a lot of solar energy shining down on us, so I continue to argue strongly for a massive shift to renewable energy, which of course includes electric cars. I'm not talking about a full replacement of all cars today with EV's. I'm talking, maybe 10% replacement, if even that, maybe closer to 5%. That would be enough to allow society to continue.

And regarding the point above about how China is building so many new cars that overwhelm all the new EV's being built, well just wait until the financial collapse happens and we see the new price of oil after Peak Oil, then I think most of those cars, or at least the older ones they're replacing, will be headed for the junk yard. No EV's will end up there, that's for sure.

And the thing about ocean plankton, they survived similar CO2 levels only a few million years ago so it's not like everything is going to die. We'll see a major re-organization of the ecosystems and evolution will then continue for another few hundred million years. The question is, does the collapse of humanity take 20%, 50% or 99% of the planet's species with it?

Well I do think the world is headed for world war in response to resource depletion. There is no good way to end population overshoot. I think you may overestimate humanities ability to survive long enough to wipe out the ecosystems in a Malthusian Collapse however. It won't be like the systematic killing of the late 1800's in the U.S. which had a stable industrial core to send food and ammo to the frontier. It is to complicated to predict what will happen; I hope to see humanity survive the coming bottleneck and perhaps take an evolutionary step towards sapiance.

As far as ocean acidification I think the speed of the event may be key. Plankton can adapt. The question is how fast can they adapt. I hear bad news coming from some biologist is all I can say.

"And regarding the point above about how China is building so many new cars that overwhelm all the new EV's being built, well just wait until the financial collapse happens and we see the new price of oil after Peak Oil, then I think most of those cars, or at least the older ones they're replacing, will be headed for the junk yard. No EV's will end up there, that's for sure."

If we have no economic system capable of issuing credit to discount the future then industrialism stops. Industrial civilization does not pay for itself; it needs to run ponzi schemes to simply exist. The new price of oil will directly affect the price of EV's. Without oil the lifeblood of industrial civilization, industry will stop. We can't afford industry right now much less with more expensive alternative fuels. All the EV's will end up in the junk yard soon enough.

If we have no economic system capable of issuing credit to discount the future then industrialism stops. Industrial civilization does not pay for itself; it needs to run ponzi schemes to simply exist.

I'm not so pessimistic. Certainly, current industrialism runs on credit, and today it only functions if it's chasing growth. That's why credit was invented, because in the rapidly expanding economies of previous centuries there wasn't enough of an increase in money supply (gold) to keep up with economic growth and fund the expansion from Europe into the new worlds.

Without net overall economic growth, there would be no need for credit. Therefore, the current style of industrialism would cease. And would that be a bad thing? Does that mean all industrialism would cease? Even though overall economic growth would cease, there would still be pockets of growth, most notably in alternative energy, once oil gets repriced to its new sky high price. That growth in alternative energy will be legitimate growth and I see no reason why credit would be needed to fund it. There will still be monetary wealth held in the world, and if holders of that wealth decide they want to make a return on their investment they will allocate it to where that growth is occurring.

And the thing is, there is still quite a bit of coal and natural gas left, so once oil production collapses, we'll still have enough energy to get by and do these other things for a quite a while, unless of course we enter a massive world war and social order falls apart. There's always that possibility, given the nature of the psychopaths in control of our countries now.

I sometimes ponder that the most painless and beneficial thing that could happen to humanity long term would be a widespread nuclear war that wipes out 90% of the population. Much better than the mass starvation and guerrilla warfare that a Malthusian Collapse would entail. At least the 10% survivors would (hopefully) not have significant fossil fuel reserves left with which to overshoot and collapse again.

I assess this as an example of muddled thinking brought about by a feeling of powerlessness and thus desperation.

That is by far the most charitable thing I could think of to say about it.

I'm late to the fire but will still throw my 2 bits in.

Null says:

"Not having the ability to move food, goods and people around with some degree of reliability and efficiency will destroy the world's ecosystems at an even faster rate than solar panels and wind turbines will. It's called a "Malthusian Collapse"."

Au contraire, as has been pointed out above, the collapse of humanity is the only real path toward saving the world's ecosystems.

Au contraire, as has been pointed out above, the collapse of humanity is the only real path toward saving the world's ecosystems.>/i>

How so? Once the societal support structures beak down I envision a mass exodus from cities back into the hinterlands. People will spread out in a desperate need for energy and food and raze all remaining ecosystems for firewood etc. There would be no forests or natural ecosystems left. Add ground wars to this equation and it makes it even worse.

Null, I ought to have phrased it as "the collapse of the human population"--it's not the process but the end state I'm referring to. If I had said "collapse of 'reindeerity' on St. Matthews Island", I think you would have understood the meaning.

How can you say that when future engineers are building this. ?-)

Well, you can wish for such failures.. 'cars of all types'.. which then fully absolves you of any responsibility for the people around you in your overpopulated world.

Spit on all of it.. remembering that some of those people would come and pull you out of your burning house, some would knock on the door and see if you're all right after a big storm.

Conflating 'all types of cars' into this amorphous and evil 'car culture' is easy enough. It's nice to have convenient Bad Guys. But Working out how to find compromises and make something that will help us move forward into a very uncertain future is much harder.. Electric Solar PV, Wind Turbines and Hydro Turbines, Electric Cars, Carts and Trucks look like tools that will be durable, repairable and about as clean as we can see to help us do the enormous amounts of work that lay ahead.

I'm not against going back to more Animal and Human Power as well, much more natural and simple lifestyles, but I don't agree that all 'Industrial Processes' are inevitably devastating to the world's ecosystems. You call that a 'fact', but where do you go to prove it? And more importantly, what would you do in its place? If the Post Office wants to get Electrics for Mail Delivery, do you squash it, because 'Cars (and Mail Trucks) are Coffins, and that's a Fact!' ? How do you move farm produce, how do you move lumber or Hay Bales, Insulation or Medical Supplies?

We're here now. HOW do we get to there? We have to come up with the steps that lead us on that journey.. and just fuming that cars should all die is not working with the situation we've got on our hands.

From an energy efficiency stand point, a Prius is about as efficient as a LEAF. By the time you generate the power, transmit it, regulate it, charge it into the batteries, get it out of the batteries, get it through the motor controller, then to the motor driving the wheels, you are about the same energy efficiency as a Prius at 50 MPG.

We're just scratching the surface.


I could do probably 95% of my errands in a souped up version of a velomobile, cruising happily along at a stress-free 45 MPH and 300 MPG. Keep the Superduty parked around back for that other 5% of the time.

There are some manufacturers that are heading in that direction. For the US they're going to have to figure out how to lose a wheel to become registrable as a motorcycle, or meet car crash standards.

Renault Twizy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vJE929qyug
Opel Rak-e: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Srjj03KLf8M

Then there's the DIY Bug-e: http://www.bugev.net/

Not entirely thrilled with the crash worthiness of the Bug-e as you're just out in the breeze like a motorcycle

Zap Alias: http://youtu.be/gCjtwx_ej1Q
Price is "ouchy" on that one as is...

Myers Motors NMG (forerly Corbin Sparrow): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU6dffw7w_0

The NMG, for the price, with only one seat...pretty much doomed to fail. People want to be able to take people for a ride to show it off, or pick up girl/boyfriends/dates and when not doing that to have extra space for groceries and whatnot. It is, however, like a giant helmet that one rides in - and that's how these should be. Because dyin' and much of a way to make a livin'.

Yep. that's my idea of an electric vehicle!

"Well, you can wish for such failures.. 'cars of all types'.. which then fully absolves you of any responsibility for the people around you in your overpopulated world.

Spit on all of it.. remembering that some of those people would come and pull you out of your burning house, some would knock on the door and see if you're all right after a big storm."

Yes I am a terrible person. That does not change the fact that EV's will help destroy the world upon which we all live. I say all who want to continue industrial civilization are terrible people so we are even. It is nice to have convenient bad guys it really simplifies things. All civilizations that live out of balance with nature and go into overpopulation are bad. This would be all agricultural and industrial civilizations so far on earth. They have all collapsed so far and they always will.

We are all here now and we get to there the same way that all unsustainable societies get there; cue Mr. Malthus stage left. Trying to sustain the unsustainable is not working with the situation we've got on our hands; it will only delay the reckoning that to come ultimately making things much worse.

Since you are the one who needs to learn how industrial processes destroy the ecosystem why don't you do a little research? Even agriculture destroys the worlds ecosystems why don't you start there and just skip industry for now.

I don't need to learn how industrial processes destroy the ecosystem, I'm well aware of it. What I need is to see how you back up an assertion that they ALL do, and that ANY new road vehicles are just more bad.

You're still typing on the great internet.. we're all mired in it. Even if the extremists sneer at any form of compromise, as they always do, there is no clean path out of the mudpit.

You can claim we're headed for extinction.. well, that's hardly news. The living are always headed towards death. What you do to make living better and to live as responsibly as you can is the choices you have to make. (Or to avoid)

"You can claim we're headed for extinction.. well, that's hardly news. The living are always headed towards death. What you do to make living better and to live as responsibly as you can is the choices you have to make. (Or to avoid)"

I am just another passenger on the mighty Titanic same as anyone. I would still believe in my logical conclusions even if I was CEO of BP, but I am devoting my remaining time to permaculture and rewilding under no illusions of saving the world. My TOD days are limited as my PV system will not permit hanging around here; except maybe on a sunny day. I move off grid soon.

"You're still typing on the great internet.. we're all mired in it. Even if the extremists sneer at any form of compromise, as they always do, there is no clean path out of the mudpit."

Like I said just because I am mired in the mud pit does not mean I support mud pits. Again best wishes for the complete failure of agricultural and industrial revolution societies. Of course nature will see to that no matter my opinion.

If I can get a sponsor to pay my taxes I am willing to go full blown hunter gather. Where is the hunter gatherer opt out state? Oh yeah our culture eradicates hunter gathers unless they settle down to "civilized" life. I had a Native American friend who was not as concerned about the die off the culture that destroyed his so perspective is everything.

I am going to try to opt out of the industrial death cult all I can. I just want to point out that unless the current economic system crashes, destroying credit creation schemes, humanity will burn enough coal and oil to end life for humanity anyway.

Not trying to be offensive but if you can find one industrial process that does not destroy ecosystems why don't you just name the process. I believe there are none using common sense about how delicate nature is. Building a modern building and parking lot already destroys that part of the ecosystem so good luck finding an industrial process which does not destroy.

I am sorry that humanity took a tragic turn to overpopulation and destruction. I will not support cultures that perpetuate that cycle even if I am a member of said culture.

Mark N: "...My TOD days are limited as my PV system will not permit hanging around here; except maybe on a sunny day. I move off grid soon...."

I don't buy that excuse. I've been totally off-grid for almost 11 years and my internet power budget is miniscule with a laptop & internet modem. Either you're using too much power elsewhere, or ? I don't know what. Right now, even with a room light on also, it's costing me less than 30 watts in total to be here.

It may be choice number two I don't know what, except it is me who knows nothing about PV systems. I only have two batteries and one panel. So far I have only camped on the property and not seen what the system can do. I appreciate your comment because it really makes it seem like I will have plenty of juice to continue my occasional eco rants on TOD.

You're welcome. You may have other priorities ahead of being online, but if you really want to continue access, it's doable.

if you can find one industrial process that does not destroy ecosystems why don't you just name the process. I believe there are none using common sense about how delicate nature is.

I think Nature's more resilient than you're making it out to be. It may not be as luxuriant and diverse in the future as a rainforest is today, but there will always be Net Primary production going on.

I can certainly envision a world that runs primarily on solar-derived energy, where that energy provides for the means to build new solar panels. The raw materials come from a combination of recycling old cars and technology from the junk yard and mining sand from the desert. I'm making it out to be straightforward when it's probably not, since there will likely be shortages of some key metals in the process, but there is a possibility that it could work.

Fundamentally, there is no energy scarcity, provided we can switch over to renewables in time (I am somewhat doubtful we can achieve that, but there may be a chance). The more fundamental problem is continual consumption of the best mineral deposits in the world, like phosphorus, copper, etc., and depositing their relics in landfills, leaving behind poorer and poorer grades to always chase down and mine. Maybe we'll end up mining landfills to reclaim copper, who knows. Phosphorus scarcity is a problem that seems to have no obvious solution except better agricultural management.

Mr. Kuhl, for somebody who thinks those who question his assumptions are raving spitting grenades tossers, you seem to be doing some pretty major non-thinking yourself. The choice at hand is between 1) questioning the reign of the automobile as the dominant mode of everyday travel in the world's richer societies and 2) cheerleading for EVs, on the assumption that doing so is somehow part of a movement away from cars.

What if admiration and praise of EVs is part of an effort to perpetuate cars' reign? Isn't that a major possibility, if not an obvious fact? If so, then what is the practical and moral status of your own ravings against us car opponents?

Nobody here is saying all automobile use can stop today. We need reconstruction and transition. But those will not happen if people think EVs are a viable solution.

As for your statements about wind and solar putting nothing into the ecosphere, you're simply way wrong there.

What if admiration and praise of EVs is part of an effort to perpetuate cars' reign?

By my very rough calculations, there are about 500,000 EV's in the world today. I believe there is a total of about a billion cars. That means EV's represent 0.05% of cars out there today, or 1 in 2,000. I think we have a LOOOONG ways to go before we can seriously entertain the fear that EV's will be used as part of an effort to perpetuate cars' reign! Let's focus on real concerns, shall we?

As for your statements about wind and solar putting nothing into the ecosphere, you're simply way wrong there.

EVERYTHING puts stuff into the ecosphere, that's the whole point of ecology! That doesn't necessarily mean it has to kill life. The question is, what's the best way forward that will minimize overall damage to the Earth's ecosystems while at the same time minimizing the risk of a mass collapse of humanity, which will certainly take down all ecosystems with it. And EV's are a major part of that "best way forward", even if they (currently) depend on mines and fossil fuels for the raw materials needed to build them.

"How do you, meanwhile, imagine that wind and solar are going to yield all the metal, plastic, specialty chemicals [nylon 12, for instance], and asphalt required by a billion EVs?)"

One, what makes you again restate the simply Hyperbolic Presumption that there are supposed to be a Billion EV's.. that this technology, of driving a wheeled cart with an electric motor, is only for the purpose of replacing the entirety of our Commuting Auto Fleets of today with them? You get to toss around your own elaborate assumptions of the extent of this technology's application, just so you can shoot it down.. good work!

Two, to again tilt at your extreme presumptions, where does it say that Wind and Solar do everything and provide everything for this? It doesn't, I don't. Right now, you're just as engaged in a world as I am where anything built with electricity was spewing coal smoke, creating Piles of Nuclear Wastes, etc.. Supplies for your home and your clothes, food and possessions were brought by diesel trucks.

The argument that complains that as soon as people have made some move towards improvement will let them think they've done their share, has been made regularly about CFL's and LEDs and efficiency measures.. It's a dry hole, a bogus argument.. since those of us with our eyes open know there are just huge jobs ahead of us in every category, in Nutrition and Health, in Economics, in Education, in Social Public Policy. Whoever is dumb enough to believe 'EV's are enough' is a fool.. but that doesn't mean EV's are wrong, either. They're just not going where you seem to think.

just Spit at it

Spitting back: http://www.stockholmresilience.org/21/research/what-is-resilience.html



Disclaimer: I'm not a Swede.

I rented a new Nissan Versa "puredrive" while in San Francisco last week. I was able to obtain an average of about 41MPG. That was dealing with US-101 gridlock even. The year before I was in my 2012 Chevy Sonic (1.4T / 6 speed manual) and was able to net a 42.7MPG average going from Hollister CA -> Fremont CA for a week.

My Prius owning parents couldn't believe it, and I'm by no means a hypermiler.

If you drive a modern economy car sanely, the added expense and other possible issues of a hybrid don't make sense to me.

Just my opinion though.

It has a lot to do with car size. The Prius (classic) is actually midsized, not compcat, yet gets 50 mpg (I can say this confidently having driven one and consistently gotten 50 mpg, even with highway driving). The Prius V is fairly large yet gets in the 40s. There is the Prius C as well.

If you don't need more than a compact, the economics do work out that getting a hybrid is marginal at best, however people very rarely buy cars purely for economic reasons. If that were the case, you would see many more compact and subcompact cars in base trim, and luxury cars of any stripe would not exist.

I came to that conclusion as well. I love the Prius, but I could not justify the expense. I drive regularly, but not a lot. I bought a Corolla instead, in part because of its reputation as a workhorse. I plan to own it for 20 years. Or until the gas pumps go dry. ;-)

Same here. I bought a 2003 Toyota Echo (US version of the Yaris) in 2005, and it's been great. In 2011 I ran into a 2001 Prius for sale cheap, now both are in the household. Somebody else paid the original cost. I may have to deal with a dead battery in a few years. Both cars are comparably efficient on the highway. The Prius is a bit better in town.

The second gen Prius (04-09) is better than the first, and the third ('10+) better than the second. I was disappointed by the first gen because they plopped the tech in the Echo chassis and basically showed no appreciable difference. They negated some of the gains in the second by making it a behemoth - but they also probably appealed to more people and sold more of them that way.

I had been on the lookout for an Echo to replace my CRX when I stumbled across a 2004 second gen, which though it had more miles than a comparable Echo of the same price, was in fantastic shape...and well hell, I bought it for the image. In the least it's a promotional tool to get people to think. Every Prius, Volt, and Leaf on the road is a sign showing that different can be done - and done well.

In terms of the battery, it seems to be typical that only a few weak "blades" will lead to premature failure of the pack - so you can buy some good ones from people that have bought a full new one and are parting out the old one, and then cull out the few bad ones in your own and replace them. This is the greatest failure of Toyota in regards to the Prius in my opinion - they should have a BMS which monitors and is able to detect weakening blades and warn you ahead of time that one of them needs to be replaced.

they should have a BMS which monitors and is able to detect weakening blades and warn you ahead of time that one of them needs to be replaced.

With all the plug-in conversion efforts out there, and battery replacement/upgrade shops, does anyone know of anyone who's developing a hack for this purpose?

re: "This chart explains why the US is irrationally exuberant about self-sufficient oil production"

It still shows a peak in tight oil at 2020. What's the excitement all about? 2 years, 4 years, 7 years? The reality is there is still a decline to deal with and if Chindia continues with rising imports the global marketplace will still dictate rising world prices including a US domestic rise once the Keystone is complete thus alleviating the Cushing bottleneck.

Or, will the US nationalize all domestic production and ration it forward for domestic consumption, only? Not likely! Will they tell the multi-nationals that Canadian product may not leave the shores of North America?

I simply do not understand the excitement around this tight oil argument with an inherent decline rate of 1st year 35-65% built into their nature?


paulo - Some interesting aspects of that chart. It's subtle but did you notice that it shows both the lower 48 onshore and offshore reversing their declines after 2012? I couldn't open the link: do they explain where this non-tight oil will be coming from? It's very interesting to note that the chart shows the rate of increase in tight oil production more than doubles from what we've experienced in the last few years. Do they even try to explain how all those new wells will be drilled by those non-existent drill rigs? Do they explain how many wells will have to be drilled in the next 4 year to reach that peak in tight oil production? It's going to have to be many more than we've seen the last few years: as you point out the currently producing well will be greatly depleted by 2016 so they'll be adding little to the rate by that time. Actually given the high decline rate of the typical well a more pertinent question would be how many new wells will be drilled in the two years prior to 2016? Obvious the drill rig count will have to be much greater than it is today.

As far as Keystone alleviating the bottleneck at Cushing it will actually have no such effect. The bottleneck has never been getting the Canadian oil to Cushing but from Cushing to the Texas Gulf Coast. The president not signing the Keystone permit has had no effect on that oil being shipped into the US. In fact the EIA just announced Canadian oil imports reached a new record high in 2012. But the bottleneck problem is being addressed now. One pipeline has already been reversed and is moving 150,000 bopd down to us from Cushing. And more transport capability on the way...a lot more:

From http://www.ogj.com/articles/2011/09/enterprise-enbridge-to-build-cushing...

"Enterprise Products Partners LP and Enbridge Inc. plan to design, build, and operate an 800,000-b/d crude oil pipeline from the hub at Cushing, Okla., to the Texas Gulf Coast refining complex. The proposed 36-in. OD Wrangler Pipeline will originate at the existing Enbridge Cushing terminal and extend about 500 miles southward, closely following existing pipeline corridors, to Enterprise's ECHO crude oil storage terminal in southeast Harris County, Tex., providing access to refineries in Texas City, Pasadena/Deer Park, Baytown (home of the ROCKMAN), and along the Houston Ship Channel."

And none of this capability requires any federal permission. And given it will go down existing ROW's I suspect it will take no more than a couple of years or so. I saw a construct rate of 5 miles per day offered.

I noted a number of things about that graph:

Alaska: Production continues out to 2040. In reality the Trans Alaska Pipeline is approaching minimum operating levels (MOL) and if they don't find some new oil either onshore or offshore of Alaska, they're going to have to shut it down, stranding the remaining oil in northern Alaska.

Lower 48 Offshore: Is shown as slowly increasing. These offshore fields tend to have a rather steep decline rate because drilling infill wells and operating "stripper" wells is too expensive. Most of the new production lately has been from deepwater offshore and there are limits to how far you can go before 1) you go below the "hot line" and find nothing but gas (Rockman and most other geologists know what this means), or 2) you step off the edge of the continental shelf and find seafloor which has been recycled under the continents.

Lower 48 Onshore: I assume this is conventional oil different from shale oil. This has shown a relentless decline since 1970, but the graph assumes the decline will level off for some reason.

Tight Oil: Which is otherwise known as "shale oil". This has shown an impressive increase due to horizontal drilling and fraccing in recent years, but not nearly as impressive as they are assuming. The wells seem to have an unusually steep initial decline rate compared to conventional wells, which means more and more frantic drilling to keep up production. Companies have been drilling out the "sweet spots" in these old formations, which have been known about for decades, and I don't know how much farther they can go before they run out of sweet spots.

In other words I have serious doubts about the whole graph, and as a totality, it looks very unlikely.

" In reality the Trans Alaska Pipeline is approaching minimum operating levels (MOL) and if they don't find some new oil either onshore or offshore of Alaska, they're going to have to shut it down, stranding the remaining oil in northern Alaska."

Could they run seasonal tankers, and add storage above or below ground to last the winter? Could they turn the wells off for the winter and just run in the summer? Or is that completely impractical?

PV - Others know better than me but tanking the oil for summer transport might be an approach but probably 2 big problems. First, the pipeline will freeze if there isn't any flow through. I think that's the basis for the MOL. And summer tanker hauls: not enough tankers to move that much oil in that amount of time../maybe.

I used to work for a company that ran a tanker into the Canadian Arctic Islands twice a year to pick up the annual production at Bent Horn, but that was a one-well oil field. It was a big well, but it has since been plugged and abandoned. They didn't take most of the oil south but used it in the Northwest Territories. It was more a demonstration project than a production one.

The Arctic Ocean and Bering Strait freeze over in the winter time, and the winter lasts about 9 months up there, so they would have a very short window to get the oil out. They would have to use strengthened vessels because of the iceberg hazard, but even so they could expect them to crash into an immovable object every so often, and we know from the Exxon Valdez incident how well that goes over with environmentalists and governments. I think that as a long-term solution it's not viable.

The waters along the north coast of Alaska are shallow. I can't imagine getting a tanker within 5 miles of Prudhoe. Many years ago I was on a power barge doing scientific sampling along the coast. We went from Prudhoe east to the border and back to the Naval Arctic Research Lab at Barrow. The thing drew maybe a foot of water but that was enough to keep us away from land. We joked that if the barge sank the top of the pilot house would still be above water.


Would they be able to flush it with dilutant or/and pigs?


They already flush it with diluent and pigs as standard operating procedure. The problem arises when diluent and pigs stop working to keep the line flowing. Then what do they do?

Of course the curve going forward is a projetion but your original objection was that they have the Alaska production going out to 2040. The scaling is course but it looks that the level is undulating in the neighborhood of what is condisidered the low flow problem level, maybe a tad below around 2028, must be when the heaters are added to the line? Then there is an uptick about 2031--ANWR?

So their graph is skirting the top edge of the pipeline low flow issue (how convenient). Where exactly the oil is going to come from to keep it at that level up to 2028 is certainly problematic. A few exploratory bits have been punched of late, but without more new production on line the decline rate will suck the pipe to a stop well before then. You might have noted the nice little upward swell toward 2018, it certainly helps the pipeline keep above the low flow minimum for a while--again wonder where the oil to make that little bump is going to come from?

Like I said it is all a projection, someone is maybe having fun with a crayon. The future flows from all sources are a whole lot more regular than past ones where actual production constrained the shape of the curves. The projections for Alaska are optimistic but not ridiculously so--a bit here a bit there and that wavy flattish line might be achieved.

Can they leave it full of dilutent or flush it and leave it empty?


It is a big pipe ~800 miles long and 4ft in diameter (I will let you work out the volume)--nothing I've seen indicates Alyeska is too worried about the final moves of the end game just yet. The latest numbers

November throughput: 17,482,650 BBLS*
Average: 582,755 BPD**

Year 2012: 182,449,337 BBLS*
Average: 544,625 BPD**

Lots of maintenance work up north this summer--if memory serves shipments dropped to under 400,000 BPD in August, for the first time ever.

If your question is about the very end of TAPS life--just how good a job is done will depend on how broke/well off the nation/state is when that time comes. This 2004 Report is the most current that popped up--but basically it says 'agreements'/'funding' in place are entirely inadequate.

But if you are wondering if TAPS could be allowed to sit empty for a number of years and then be reused--that seems highly unlikely considering the corrosion problems when oil is flowing. Lots of potential traps at the buried river and stream crossings and at other buried to elevated transitions. As the commercials say 'rust never sleeps'

It is a big pipe.

Late comment to a dying thread, but TAPS minimum flow rate (assuming some investment in heaters and whatnot) may be around 135,000 bbl/day. Some studies suggest it can even operate as low as 70-100,000 bbls/day. See A TAPS bottom line.
This came out in a court tax case. It seems Alyeska (owned in part by BP) had been claiming 300,000 bbls/day. However, BP has been booking reserves with SEC based on internal studies showing much lower rates were feasible.

Good article, thanks for the link--first time I've seen this take. Tempts me to resubscribe to Petroleum News.

One line

With temperatures in Alaska well below freezing during the winter

might qualify as classic British understatement, most people would consider -50°F and lower a bit beyond 'well below freezing' ?-) I doubt there are many winters some of the lower elevation sections of TAPS don't see those temperatures...and sometimes that cold air can really hang around the bottoms for a while.

Questions about TAPS flow pop up on TOD regularly. Hopefully someone looking in will remember your link and move it forward in the discussion as needed. I tend not to look in on Drumbeat until it quiets down--but I'm a pretty insignificant piece of the audience.

[side note to geo: tomorrow I should know if Great Bear is going to release their slides so people in Fairbanks can sit in on Mr. Duncan's presentation.]

Found the LoFIS report mentioned. (7 page PDF)

Also found this:
as Agent for the Owners,

Case No. 3AN-06-08446 CI
2007/08/09 Tax Years.
216 page pdf: http://courts.alaska.gov/media/3an-06-08446ci.pdf

Year 1 is 1977 Year 12 (peak)1988 year 35 2011, last data point

Thanks for the links though likely the second one is more than I want to wade through.

Rummaged around my 'briefcase' and found "Useful Life of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline" (954KB PDF).

I clipped out a little piece that may explain talk of TAPS imminent demise beginning back in the 1990s.

Questions about TAPS flow pop up on TOD regularly. Hopefully someone looking in will remember your link and move it forward in the discussion as needed. I tend not to look in on Drumbeat until it quiets down--but I'm a pretty insignificant piece of the audience.

I myself have reposted that link about 3 times now. The "TAPS is about to shut down" meme comes up periodically. I think it fits into some people's pre-concieved view of the world. TAPS will shut down eventually, of course, but it won't happen nearly as soon as many on TOD seem the believe. Back about 1990 or so, when I worked at ARCO, we were being told that it would shut down within 10 years. That was about 20 years ago.

Only been tuning into Drumbeat lately so likely I missed the link when you posted it. Quite a range in BP's TAPS life expectancy projections, 2032-2075 depending to whom they were reporting what and which numbers best served their bottom line.

Since you mentioned of ARCO, have you read Miller's The Last Alaskan Barrel? It's sort of on my list, but keeps falling off, your opinion might push it one way or the other.

No, I have heard of that one, but have not as yet had a chance to read it.

Questions about US natural gas export potential

How likely is it that the US will become a significant natural gas exporter any time in the next 3-10 years? I know that we don't have much LNG shipping infrastructure and we were caught flatfooted by the gas boom but is export capacity something that can be ramped up quickly because of the profit potential in Europe, etc.?

Can gas producers drag there feet on pumping until the export capacity is there or do they have to produce due to lease requirements or to pay off loans, etc?

Can SA and Russia use the same fracking methods to boost their production and undercut the US price in the Europe and Asia markets anyway? Is US LNG exporting therefore a risky business idea?

Lots of questions, I know, but if someone could hit on all of them I would appreciate it. Thanks

1. It seems quite likely that we will become an exporter in the next 3-10 years if prices remain in their current band. I don't dare hazard to guess what the prices might be in 5 years though.

2. There are some facilities with import infrastructure that can be converted to export in a relatively short timeframe - making liquid roughly 4 years from now. Facilities without any infrastructure (pier, storage tanks) will take longer.

3. Gas producers can certainly drag their feet. Depends on the contracts between the producers, liquefaction facilities, and buyers.

4. I don't know about Russia or SA. In Russia's case, they have pipeline capacity to export which helps alleviate the need to liquefy the gas. The US doesn't have any connections to the large users in Europe or Asia, obviously, so the only real choice is liquefy. It might be a risky business idea for the buyers of the LNG, but I doubt it. Even if the price jumps up to world level prices at least the buyers will have diversified their sources of the gas. If prices stay where they are now it won't take long for buyers to recoup their $bn+ investments. For the facilities that are converting to bi-directional capabilities it's a great investment.

"Can SA and Russia use the same fracking methods to boost their production and undercut the US price in the Europe and Asia markets anyway?"

C8, that's a question of geology and economics. Using the fracking technology that's was used to develope shale plays probably wouldn't work in conventional oil sands. The reason they do multi stage multi million dollar frack jobs the shale plays is because the oil trapped in the shale would not flow through the source rock without it. Oil in conventional sands does not have the same problem with porosity and permiability that shale plays have.

On the economic side would SA and Russia be willing or capable to do what players in the USA do to squeeze out the very last drop of oil in each play. I think not.

I think not.

If there is money to be made, why not?

It was interesting reading this story in the WSJ yesterday that while the US govt said
exporting US natural gas would be a "net positive" for the economy, way down in the story it was pointed out that the positive would be for oil and gas producing companies while the US consumer would lose with higher Natural gas prices.

Once again the people get fleeced!

Of course as we know the huge investment in LNG tankers is ultimately throwing money down a rathole as the steep falloff comes in fracking gas production in just a few years.
The real question is: what are the alternative returns for ordinary Americans, and the rest of the planet by NOT building more LNG tankers but instead building more trains or
Green investments?

orbit - "...what are the alternative returns for ordinary Americans...by NOT building more LNG tankers but instead building more trains or Green investments?" There are no alternatives because the "ordinary Americans" aren't building LNG tankers...NG shipping companies are buildning them. And for the most part ordinary Americans aren't building the alts either...the alt companies are. Unless the American people push the politicians to nationalize all those industries they'll have no say in how investments are made. Don't want LNG imported/exported from the US? No problem: just have the govt make it illegal. And while they're at it they can also make all FF burning power plants illegal. And raise motor fuel taxes by a few $'s/gallon.

Problem solved, eh? Frustrating ain't it?

Rockman -- doubly frustrating to the free market folks, no?

C8 – Depends on what you mean by significant. By my definition it’s not physically possible with the exception of building pipelines to Mexico. And I doubt they could afford to buy much of our NG anyway. There just wouldn’t be enough new ships to haul a significant volume. And then add the extreme volatility we’ve seen in NG prices the last 10 years and I doubt a lot of capex will be gambled on long term expectations.

Operators can choke their wells back and maintain their leases. I did this. But my company is the exception. Most can’t afford to voluntarily give up cash flow even if they are selling NG below its development cost. But it does kill many new drilling projects. I spent $180 million in 2 years drilling for deep conventional NG. Today I'm not drilling any NG prospects.

SA and Russian frac? Can’t put any number on what the magnitude of their resources might be. But I’ll harp back to a point I’ve made before: a major driving force behind the US shale boom is the do-or-die position US public oils have with respect to adding booked reserves in order to maintain stock value. In general our shales make some profit but not much. That’s why we don’t play them. I’ll again point out the most profitable Eagle Ford Shale player I know of: Petrohawk. And they didn’t make the big $’s by drilling but by selling their public company and all that undrilled acreage for $12 billion. Run down the list of the big shale players and find one that’s not a public company. Very few if any privately owned companies that only care about profitability. The development of shales in SA and Russia will be dominated by policies of the national oil companies…very different philosophy than US public companies. So unless there are major structural changes in how most NOC’s conduct business I doubt we’ll see much shale development globally on the order of we’ve seen in the US.

So you're saying capitalism, as opposed to systems in other places, forces us to burn thru our resources even if it's not really profitable? Furthermore this throws the whole concept of profitability into question - Profit for who? Is there any net profit?

g3s - First, what other systems are you refering to? And profit for who? Easy: those who are investing their capital. And some companies make a net profit and some don't. Such is life in a capitalist sytem. I've never seen a sigle example of anyone being "forced to burn thru thier resources". It's been not only voluntary by the public but often with great enthusiam IMHO. Despite all we've been thru in recent years I've seen very litle change by the US public.

Link up top: World's oil industry won't be the same in the wake of shale

US shale oil and liquids production up. It is now running at about a million barrels a day, and is predicted to reach about 3.5 million barrels a day by 2016...

As I have previously mentioned, the world's economic speed limit will rise if oil supplies expand because of the shale boom, as the oil price will rise less aggressively in response to rising demand. By extending the supply-side, shale oil also changes the peak oil equation and arguably militates against alternative energy: is shale oil production already balancing declining production from established ''peak oil'' fields?

The author got one thing right and almost everything else wrong. US production is up by around 1 million barrels per day but it is highly unlikely it will be up by another 2.5 mb/d by 2016. But the shale boom is a US event only. It will not dramatically affect the world. Well, not in the next couple of decades anyway.

U.S. Shale Goes Boom, Rest of World Goes Bust

OPEC, however, is less optimistic when it comes to a more comprehensive look at shale oil and natural gas. On a global scale, the report finds that shale natural gas production is coming mainly from the United States. Reserves exist elsewhere, like China and Eastern Europe, though the cartel cautioned there are "considerable" uncertainties when it comes to assessing the size of those resources. For shale oil, it said, there's been "no serious attempt" at estimating reserve potential, where recovery factors a "very low."

"Globally, shale oil and gas development is in its infancy, and there are thus considerable uncertainties about the size of the resources, the economics of development and the potential contribution to future supply," the report read.

The point is, the shale oil boom in the USA will not greatly affect world oil production. It will cause a slight bump in world oil production just as Alaska's Prudhoe Bay caused a slight bump in US production in the mid 80s. But the rise will be so slight when plotted on a world scale that it will hardly be noticed. It will not greatly affect Peak Oil just as it will not greatly affect world oil production.

The world's existing fields are declining by four to five million barrels per day per year. New oil coming on line has kept production from flat to slightly up for the last 8 years. Shale oil is only a very small part of that new oil coming on line, that is all. It is no more of a game changer than the new fields in the FSR has been, or will be. It is all part of the overall energy mix, not a game changer.

Ron P.

But the shale boom is a US event only. It will not dramatically affect the world. Well, not in the next couple of decades anyway.

Do you think this will remain a US event? Surely there are shale structures elsewhere around the planet that also contain untapped "tight" oil. I would find it highly improbable that this is a geological structure only found in the USA.

It was all explained in the second link in my post: U.S. Shale Goes Boom, Rest of World Goes Bust.

"Globally, shale oil and gas development is in its infancy, and there are thus considerable uncertainties about the size of the resources, the economics of development and the potential contribution to future supply," the report read.

There will likely be shale oil developments in other areas but there are problems, very serious problems. In Europe it is unlikely that the populace or the governments will tolerate the serious problems with fracking. Watch them in this film.

And in less populated places, like Siberia, there are other problems too numerous to mention. But it will take many years before all the problems can be worked out. The point is it is not happening right now and is unlikely to happen any way soon. Not soon enough to have any effect on peak oil anyway.

Ron P.

"There will likely be shale oil developments in other areas but there are problems, very serious problems. In Europe it is unlikely that the populace or the governments will tolerate the serious problems with fracking. Watch them in this film.

Maybe if they watch Truthland right after watching Gasland it's going to be ok. Shale plays have the problems that conventional plays have when it comes to the environment. It's the economics that will make or break them.

In theory, economics is king but people in many places, people are stubborn specially since they won't profit from shale oil or shale gas due to differences in mineral rights. For example, here in France, I would not get a cent if there was a billion barrel of oil right under my house.... which would be the case if I was living about 20 miles east of Paris. Altogether there is around a 100 billion barrel of oil in place in shale in that area (discovered in the 50's, there is also a bit of conventional oil) but fracking was forbidden just when a US company was doing its first tests. They were hopping to recover up to 1% of the oil in place over a 20 years period. Shale gas exploration (and exploitation) in South France was also blocked. By the same token, a business proposal to open a shallow mine to extract 500 millions tons of coal 150 miles south east of Paris was also refused by the previous “business friendly” government. Same thing with uranium mining, even though Areva do own the mining rights but seems to keep for later usage. So the NIMBY tend to be strong in France as there is no compensation for the exploitation of resources while they will suffer from the negative consequences.
Maybe people value more the air they breath and the water they drink than the money that would, anyway, mostly ends up in somebody else pockets.

Maybe people value more the air they breath and the water they drink than the money that would, anyway, mostly ends up in somebody else pockets.

Quel est le problème avec ces gens?

Maybe if they watch Truthland right after watching Gasland it's going to be ok.

Maybe if they watch 'Affirming Gasland' after watching Truthland then it will not be ok.


When it comes down to choosing whose propaganda to believe, I tend to favor those who are not making money hand over fist in the deal.

I don't like watching 'documentaries' because it is too easy to use a visual medium as a propaganda tool. It frustrates me.

But I thoroughly enjoyed reading that 39-page .pdf! "Affirming Gasland" responds to the objections of "Energy-in-Depth" on a point-by-point basis.

What I took away from it is that there are serious questions relating to the impact of hydraulic frac-ing which have not been adequately answered by EID or the gas industry.

I won't say the authors of "Affirming Gasland" proved their point (I really don't know enough to judge), but they did come across as being thoughtful and reasonable investigators who have dug into the issue quite deeply... not the scatterbrained propagandists I had been expecting.

Definitely plenty of food for thought!

Thanks ET!

Lies are lies no matter if someone is paying you to tell them or not. Gasland has been debunked enough for me.

I read the EID rebuttal of Gasland, followed Gasland's re-rebuttal. I was struck by the logic(?) of both sides.

Gasland => We believe 'A'.
EID => By 'A' you must mean 'B' - here is why you are wrong.
Gasland => No, by 'A' what we meant was 'C' and here is our evidence.

In my book, neither side is sticking strictly to the facts. Distortions, half-truths, and mis-representation abound.


I'll take the logic that follows the money. Energy companies don't make money by having frack jobs escape into water aquifers. Energy companies spend a bunch money on proper zonal isolation. If a frack job happens to not go where it's designed to, it's a failed frack job and that is a huge waste of money. So would energy companies try to have a multi million dollars frack job fail just so they could purposely ruin our water supply? NO!

Would energy companies want natural gas and oil to escape into any other zones and not end up in the pipeline so it could be sold? NO!

Energy companies lose money if frack jobs and productions doesn't go where they plan on it to go. Gasland doesn't follow the money.

Er... I'm having trouble following you.

Are you saying that because Gasland doesn't have large corporate sponsors, what they say is automatically true?

And that because EID does have corporate sponsors what they say is automatically wrong?

Pretty hard for me to believe that. Facts are facts. Data is distorted, or not, regardless of where the money is.

IMO both sides of this issue contain elements of truth, and resolving the issue requires honesty and self-evaluation from both sides, rather than finger pointing. (I am not directing this comment toward you... it is a general observation).

Most people I know in the oil/gas industry are not trying to hide anything. They are hard-working people who are just trying to do their jobs quickly and safely so they can go home to their families.

It is pretty obvious to me that, in some situations, the onset of frac'ing has coincided with changes to domestic water supplies. Whether there is any causal link is unknown.

The other issue for US fracking shale oil is where are they gonna get all the water when in fact the Midwestern drought is continuing to get worse and the Ogalala reservoir continues to be depleted? As pointed out by others on TOD even Mississippi water levels are falling to the point it is impacting shipping.

US crude oil production is already at 6.82 million barrels per day. This is up about 300000 barrels per day from Sept when the last North Dakota stats were reported. Texas and ND have still been increasing. Continental resources reports that new drilling shows that there is 903 billion barrels of oil in place and not 577 billion in the Bakken. So this would mean about 40 billion barrels of recoverable oil instead of 24 billion. I think a lot of effort will be put into boosting recovery beyond 4%. Each percentage point of recovery improvement would be worth about 1 trillion dollars.

Other places will work out their shale issues. The solutions are worth too much money.

Another thing which is interesting is that the peak forecast that the EIA gives runs at about 7.6 mb/d. So we're 'only' 800,000 kb away from that level. In other words, by the end of 2013, that level could be tested. And in 2014, the EIA may need to revise its forecast yet again. In November of 2011 they thought that tight oil would only provide 1.1 mb/d in 2035. Less than 5 months later, that level had already been breached. Wrong on about 24 years within 5 months. Woops.

We'll see how long the next EIA forecast lives. I'll give it between 12 to 18 months this time.

Hamm is claiming 2x the amount of oil in place than the most optimistic Leigh Price estimate of oil ever generated by the Bakken shales.

That 24 Gb seems to roll of the tips of your fingers so easily. The 4 Gb estimated by the USGS is not yet confirmed by actual production statistics.

And for the record, Continental(not Hamm himself specifically) has already made the claim that recovery could be 48 Gb. That was in a presentation a year or so ago.

The alternating image in this link
shows Australia's hydrocarbon basins. So far only one play has produced shale gas and a second field is now being horizontally drilled. However on the east coast coal seam gas is quite big though running into landholder resistance.

If shale gas bombs in Australia the people who said we had 6,000 years of supply are going to look stupid.

RE: NOAA sees sea level rise of up to 6.6 feet by 2100 (also Report: IPCC Is Underestimating Climate Threat)

A rise of 6.6 feet would destroy civilization as we know it, leaving the nations that rely on ports, organs of international intercourse, subject to more impact than inland nations.

As hundreds of millions of people die and those who are damaged / injured but not dead, finally figure out that the fossil fuel industry is responsible for this, will a new hunt begin like the one Jews did to find holocaust enabling NAZI soldiers?

Especially in the sense that the equivalent of one holocaust per year is estimated to take place caused by fossil fuel use over the next 17 years.

Those who hunt down NAZIs still, the better part of a century later, find them every once in awhile. And that by a country, Israel, with a small population.

Imagine the centuries long hunt for fossil fuel people which is surely coming, by a much greater population of hunters.

Denial did not help the NAZI and it won't help whom they will eventually come to see as "Oil-Qaeda" either.

Poe's law, hysterical doomerism and hyperbole (that was a joke right?) all in one post.

I salute you and your cleverness. That was something to see in print all right!

The Wet One,

Even in the U.S. movements are afoot such as Exxon Hates Your Children. Those who can take warnings will fare better than those who wait for the inevitable. One who merely gives warning hopes the path is changed so the dire consequences are avoided for all concerned.

Only those without guilt get to cast that stone. Where'd you get that oil-free computer/tablet/smart phone?

Ghung - Now, now. You know it's not their fault. Had it not been for our mind control techniques forcing folks to use hydrocarbons we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now. After all they had no idea where oil/NG came from or how we ripped it out of Mother Earth's womb. Had their minds not been so fogged by our efforts they would have realized it was a depleting resource and they would not have wasted so much of it on such frivolous items.

Consider yourself: before you had succumed to the mesmerizing words of the ROCKMAN you would have never thought to cast any blame towards the consumer. You may now return to your cocoon. I will summon when needed again. Sleep...sleep...sleep.


The history is not hidden and the world is not asleep. The anger is growing and will not cease.

For years the fossil fuel industry has deceived, destroyed, and exhibited global hubris against anything not them.

They will certainly pay the piper no matter how cute they think they are.

Mocking the victims ("they drank our poison") is the sure sign of a psychopathic meme complex.

History is not hidden, although possibly fiction, but your link is, for practical purposes, hidden. It doesn't work.


History is not hidden ... sorry.

Thanks for the link, I finally got around to reading it.

Yes but certain influential people in positions of power have made some very poor "decisions" over the decades that have sealed our fate, when this was not at all a necessary outcome of the human progression given the capabilities of alternative energy systems. The organized assault against climate science, the sabotaging of the emergence of alternative technology like electric cars and mass transit, the capture of government officials to put in place policies that greatly favour the development of fossil fuels at all costs, the dismissal of accounting for the environmental and social implications of fossil fuels in their pricing structure, and of course, the capture of the media for the purpose of trying to convince every consumer that would otherwise know no different that running out of resources is not a problem, that science will solve all scarcity issues, and that we should all just keep consuming for the sake of "the economy" -- well, some people are fully guilty of all these things and more and deserve to be held accountable to the same severity that Nazi war criminals are. The sh*t going on in Canada today with the oil sands is pretty scary. Certainly some people are orders of magnitude more guilty of participating in the mass genocide of Homo sapiens than the average person buying gas to drive their car is.


“They who have put out the peoples eyes reproach them of their blindness.” – John Milton

Dredd - "And he that turns a blind eye to his sins righteously claims his innocence" - Rockman


The Nuremburg Trials saw some defenses that the accused thought were cool, but the victims did not buy it.

The jury makes the verdict, not the accused.

Centuries long hunt. Are Oil-Qaeda members having their bodies frozen? Then the hunters can thaw them out and make them stand trial.

"Only the good die young" is a song that may apply. Can't you tell from the hubris on display that they will not go quietly, but will take as many with them as they can? The long haul is a real concept.

2m in 2100 means Greenland's ice cover is in the middle of catastrophic melt at that time and it will all be gone, with another 3m sea level rise a few years later. Greenland isn't going to half melt and then stop. If substantial amounts of it have melted, the rest follows shortly afterwards. There's a possibility it stops around 5m with substantial ice still on the colder side of the Antartic, but no possibility sea level rise stops at 2m.

You can get the wrong idea by looking at what the sea level rise could be in 2100. If sea level rises substantially it is not going to stop below 5m, and the important question is when it gets there. Follow the curve in that report up past 2100, and it gets to 5m around 2120. 5m in 2120 is the message not 2m in 2100.

5m in 2120 is the message not 2m in 2100.

That's only 107 years from now. To keep that in perspective, the oldest known living woman just died this week, she was 116 years old...

She had a perspective indeed. From horses to space travel. The God juice ...

The reason the ice don't melt in some parts of Greenland, is it is on a high altitude. Now, that "mountain range" really is just ice. When the lower part melts of, the ice will move and change shape. The highest point on Greenland will be lower every year. As it goes lower, it will be more prone to melt. Thus it will sink faster and faster, melt faster and faster, and so on. The 3 meter add on in just 20 years is not unrealistic at all.

Now, since all but the most extreme alarmists has been shooting below target, I guess it will all happen sooner than they say in the article.

It will take a long time for the interior parts of the sheet to decrease in elevation. In fact they are gaining ATM, as the local snowfall has gone up. So the ice sheet profile will change, as the edge regions lower, the center thickens, and gradually the lowering will progress inland. It takes maybe 150M meters of lowering to impose about a 1C rise in temp. For most of the GIS, the rise in the temp due to GW will outstrip the rise in temp due to lowering elevation.

This July 97% of the snow melted on Greenland's ice cap in only four days:

Scientists at Nasa admitted they thought satellite readings were a mistake after images showed 97% surface melt over four days

(Guardian). Speculation as to why that happened is still being presented and discussed.

The rule of thumb for official predictions is that historically over the past decades, official prognostications are woeful underestimates.

Officialdom is the source of pabulum that is intended to cover up scarey realities about fossil fuel usage.

Guess who is pulling their strings?

I am entirely with you on the magnitude of the predicaments. But just to be clear '97% of the snow' didn't melt in 4 days. What they are saying is that 97% of the ice/snow (glacier) surface was melting during those 4 days, which is unprecedented.

And regarding the elevation discuss above JW and EoS, I have to also wonder what effect the crustal rebound has on that, for as ice melts and the load lightens, the crust rebounds upward, which has manifested recently in "ice quakes" in the region, and which has been ongoing at northern latitudes for millennia, as I'm sure JW can attest from in country experience.

I can, and I have been thinking about that. There is a place in Sweden along the northern east coast where all the lakes have "vik" (gulf) in their name. They used to be part of the lake. We also have harbours with functional buildings attached to them, on the hill far away from the water.

What I wonder is if the rebounding land will suck in mass from below the sea bottom and thus lower the bottom of the sea, partially counter SLR, or if the whole thing will rebound without sucktion effect and instead ad to the problem.

Most of Scandinavia as well as most of Canada is undergoing isostatic rebound - they are still rising out of the ocean after the weight of the glaciers in the last ice age was removed. This is most pronounced in Hudson's Bay - the huge bay is shrinking rapidly and will disappear completely if we don't have another ice age. That will take several thousand years, though.

Got any idea of how many thousands of years at the current rate of rebound and is that rate relatively constant/accelerating/decreasing at the moment? I figure you have a rough handle on those numbers which is much more than I have.

Land rebound decline in a linear manner. If you know how much it rebounds per year today, and 100 years ago, you can calculate the total future rebound with the area under the triangle on a graph. For example we know that sans sea level rise, Sweden and Finland will be conected between Umeå and Vasa in 1000 years.

Thanks for the comeback. I've never looked at Hudson Bay bathymetry thought rmg might have those numbers on hand.

So will that leave an inland sea for a while when the land rises between Finland/Sweden? Folks in your neighborhood tend to try and get out ahead of stuff so the future enclosed body of water is probably already named ?-)

Read the Swedish migrant worker in Norway article (newer drumbeat). The rivalry comes across as a more sophisticated and deeper rooted version of something like North Dakota/Montana stateside.

Wages are certainly good in Norway, what percent goes out in taxes to cover health care/pension and the like? Fifty odd bucks an hour are decent union tradesman wages stateside (that wage includes health insurance/pension)--and believe it or not union trades are very effective at getting big projects built on time and at budget in these parts(saw your comment on Italian union construction). Successful union contractors consider the union hands day labor with a well develop skill set and a tool kit. They don't keep a hand around a day--often an hour--more than he/she is needed as manpower needs wax and wane on a job.

Best get out and blow the foot plus of snow out of the driveway--there is a presentation on North Slope tight oil I need to get to before lunch.

The area north of where the land bridge will form is today known as the Bottenviken - the Bottnia Bay. It is part of the Bottenhavet - the Bottnia Sea. Once the land bridge form, all the river water will flow over the land bridge at some point, and we will get a very wide and fast but very short river. Possibly the shortest river in the world. If it existed today, it would be called Bottensjön - the Bottnia Lake.

Salinity is already brackish in that water, and few species in the sea can easily adapt to the not salt nor fresh water, and is naturally the sea in the world with the lowest bio diversity. It will off course get more and more fresh as the gap between Umeå and Vasa narrows. As RMG points out below, one can not name the date when the Sea becomes the Lake.

Regarding the Swedish/Norwegian relations, we are very friendly with each other. Nationalist like to talk about brodersfolk - brother people. The Se/No border is considered the most piecefull international land border on the planet. We, and Denmark, has arrangement from before the EU were we can just move in and take a job without any other huzzle than setting up a bank account in the country we move into, so salaries can be payed there. Some people move around so much they don't speak any specific national language, but a crossover we call Scandinavish. Not common, but those people exist.

There are indeed a lot of competition between the two of us. Remember that Sweden do not have an independence day, but all her neighbor countries do. This is NOT a coincident. We do take a chance to kick the other butt whenever it is given. Both of us tell stories about how stupid the other nation is. For example "Why cant a norwegian see through an entire Hulk movie? They walk when they see a green man".

The article you mention do bring up that people always sugest making one big nation of it all. I don't agree, but would like to exit t,he EU and form a NEU, North European Union, with Sweden, Norway Denmark Finland, Iceland, the Fareislands and the baltic states.

Hudsons Bay is rebounding at about 1 metre per century, and on average it is 300 metres deep, so it will disappear in 30,000 years, on average.

But the thing it that it won't really disappear, it will turn into a fresh water lake because there are enormous amounts of fresh water pouring into it. The salinity is already less than the open ocean, so at what point do you decide that it has stopped being Hudsons Bay and started being Hudsons Lake - the biggest lake in the world, much bigger than Lake Superior.

5,000 years from now it will be a long, narrow lake rather than a bay. But when did it become a lake? 8,000 years ago it was the Tyrell Sea. At some point it stopped being the Tyrell Sea and started being Hudsons Bay, but geologists won't commit themselves to an exact time when that happened.

What I wonder is if the rebounding land will suck in mass from below the sea bottom and thus lower the bottom of the sea, partially counter SLR, or if the whole thing will rebound without sucktion effect and instead ad to the problem.

This is a great question, and I hope someone smarter than me weighs in. Considering it's a pretty old thread, I hope you will consider reposting it some appropriate place in the future when more people might see it.

First, I think isostatic rebound is a pretty slow process, so in the short term, all the ice will melt and raise sea level long before the land rises to catch it.

Second, I think it's correct to think about the continents floating around in the crust like giant ice cubes in a giant pan of water. Push down (load it up with ice) and it sinks in. Unload it and it rises. But remember, we're not talking ice in water, we're talking solid crust floating in not-so-solid crust. In that respect changes in ice loading will displace crust (and I don't think the crust cares much about the weight of the oceans).

So yes, I think you're theory that if northern Sweden is going up then somewhere else is going down has a lot of merit. Which is also to say that it would have no effect on global sea level, although certainly the places going up or down would notice.

So, yeah, being on a landmass that's going up due to isostatic rebound is better than not, and will slow the process, but sea level rise will win the race.

Is there a geologist out there who can tell me how off base I am?

Don't forget Antarctica.

The rise in the area Hurricane-Superstorm Sandy hit had seen only about a 1 foot rise. Damage and devistation begins long before peak sea rise. Damage has already begun along the East Coast, and will get worse as time moves along.

I've been speculating about this before here on TOD. I once made a joke about it where a denialist was killed by drowning: they tied him to a rock at the sand dry bottom of the Amazon river and left him to drown. He then died of thirst...

I would not be surprised to see denialist bloggers and others to be man-hunted in the 2050ies, when reality have awaken everyone to that this was real.

Right thing to do is have the kids realize they, right now, have a legitimate case against the older generations -- robbery/murder for stealing their planet from them. They then get expert legal advice, and you and I have to start paying a BIG fine, right now, as we should.

We have the link above to the rebuttal in The American (American Enterprise Institute) but Jeremy Grantham's original article in Nature the premier science journal in the UK, is worth a quick read: http://www.nature.com/news/be-persuasive-be-brave-be-arrested-if-necessa...
I am not sure I have the stomach to tackle The American. Potash and Phosphate and all that stuff about climate: well somebody thinks it is important!

NJ Transit Had $400 Million in Hurricane Sandy Damage

New Jersey Transit, the second- largest U.S. public transportation system, sustained $400 million in damage from Hurricane Sandy and needs twice that amount to prevent damage from future storms, its executive director told a U.S. Senate panel today.

The losses included $100 million in train cars, locomotives and equipment, ... “The storm [NJT stupidity] did unprecedented damage to our transportation system,” ...

... Some of the most lasting damage occurred on New Jersey Transit’s system. Surging waters damaged 62 of the authority’s 203 locomotives, including one-third of the engines that can run on either diesel or electric power, according to initial estimates, Weinstein said last month in an interview.

It also left 261 of 1,162 rail cars in need of repair, according to John Durso, a NJ Transit spokesman. Many of the cars and locomotives were left at low-lying rail facilities in Kearny and Hoboken, New Jersey.

State lawmakers have raised concerns about why the transit agency left the equipment in the rail yards.

Middle East beginning to embrace solar energy

"We are in the middle of a radical rethinking of the energy future of the region," Adnan Z. Amin, director general of the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency, told The Associated Press.

"One of the real wake up calls for Saudi Arabia, which is a heavily hydrocarbon country, is that they are seeing their current energy demand growing at such a high rate that they risk becoming a net energy importer in 20 years. That would be a major economic issue to deal with."


"Risk" becoming net energy importer?

Seems cut and dry if you've been around this site long.

"Cut and dry", an old metaphor for done, all finished. No doubt pertaining to firewood, and back to energy.

I always thought it was hay, but OED says herbs.

Hay makes better sense to me than herbs, they're often crushed. Hard to quibble with OED. But my mental image will always be cordwood.

Herbs are crushed now. In the old days, they were tied in bunches and suspended from the rafters to dry. They were sold that way, too. The packaging we take for granted - glass jars, cans, plastic bags - were unavailable or too expensive for everyday use.

Agreed about hanging from the rafters, but like tobacco, I thought that just meant cured. And I believe earthen jars were always used for herbs, spices, back to the earliest times. Your link below, thanks, discounts firewood. But goes against what I recall of early steamship travel on the upper Missouri. No Link. The wood was to be left cut and dried, specified, above the spring high water mark. In return, captains would leave payment at that spot on an honor system.

It makes sense if you look at the early uses of "cut and dried." It was pejorative (and still is, really).

The first known use of the expression is in a letter to a clergyman in 1710 in which the writer commented that a sermon was “ready cut and dried”, meaning it had been prepared in advance, so lacking freshness and spontaneity. The next recorded use is in a poem by Jonathan Swift in 1730 which speaks of “Sets of Phrases, cut and dry, / Evermore thy Tongue supply” — clichés, in other words.

Japan Nuclear Scientists Took Utility Money

Influential scientists who help set Japan's radiation exposure limits have for years had trips paid for by the country's nuclear plant operators to attend overseas meetings of the world's top academic group on radiation safety.

The potential conflict of interest is revealed in one sentence buried in a 600-page parliamentary investigation into last year's Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant disaster and pointed out to The Associated Press by a medical doctor on the 10-person investigation panel.

Some of these same scientists have consistently given optimistic assessments about the health risks of radiation, interviews with the scientists and government documents show. Their pivotal role in setting policy after the March 2011 tsunami and ensuing nuclear meltdowns meant the difference between schoolchildren playing outside or indoors and families staying or evacuating their homes.

... Internal records at the Federation of Electric Power Companies obtained by the investigative committee showed officials rejoicing over how their views were getting reflected in ICRP Japan statements.

... Yoshiharu Yonekura, president of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences and an ICRP member, brushes off the worries and says such abnormalities [thyroid nodules or growths in children] are common.

The risk is such a non-concern in his mind that he says with a smile: "Low-dose radiation may be even good for you." [... so stick your head in a microwave]

also Gov’t Promo: It’s less than a stomach x-ray of radiation per day, so please come visit Fukushima — Children can even go outside (VIDEO)

... except the source is inside your stomach instead of outside.

RE: U.S. Feels Less Gasoline Pain as Pakistan Tops Ranking

Motorists in Venezuela, a nation that subsidizes gasoline to cap prices, paid 9 cents a gallon. A price increase led to riots in 1989, when then-President Carlos Andres Perez implemented an International Monetary Fund-sponsored plan to raise fuel and transport costs.

Anyone know what the ranking of Jordan is?

The recent riots in Jordan, after they raised the price of gasoline 14%, are concerning.

According to this article, the increases were as high as 53%, and protests are ongoing. They've been having Arab Spring-type protests for over a year, and the fuel price demonstrations are part of it.

Violent Economic Riots Prompt Question: Is Jordan Next in Line for ‘Arab Spring’?

Earlier this week, in an effort to avert a financial collapse, the Jordanian government decided to cut fuel subsidies, raising the price of diesel and kerosene by 33 percent, cooking gas by 50 percent and transportation fuel by 15 percent...

Thanks Leanan. I should have mentioned the higher (50%) increase for cooking gas. I take it that is LP gas, right?
It looks like diesel and kerosene are in for a significant increase too.

We can expect to see more and more of this as decline sets in, sadly. Of course, if more people inhabited the reality-based community, or if more world "leaders" themselves got acquainted with reality and an evidence-based worldview, then decisive strategic steps might have been taken decades ago to mitigate the situation. Unfortunately, we're not collectively as smart as yeast, so... we'll breed and consume ourselves into overshoot terminal decline, continue to wage endless warfare over dwindling resources and drive many other species into extinction (possibly along with ourselves).

Researchers investigate whether disabled people can afford to keep their homes warm

Researchers at the University of York are looking at the combined effect of changes to welfare benefits and rising energy prices on people with disabilities.

"At present there is limited and fragmented evidence on the relationship between disability and fuel poverty – a household's ability to heat their home. This is worrying as policy is changing rapidly, disabled people tend to have higher energy needs, and are more likely to be in poverty already. These three factors together could mean that some disabled people are facing impossible choices when trying to balance energy bills and other budgeting needs."

Well anyone who is still reliant on fuel oil better do something. We've got a reprieve right now but fuel oil prices will start climbing again eventually. The need to look into natural gas, propane, wood pellets, etc.


Retro-fit their homes to be super-insulated (straw bale infill, double/triple-glazed window, better weatherproofing around doors, windows, attic, etc.). Every kJ you don't have to "spend" is one you've effectively saved.

Move to a more moderate climate, where winter heating is not as costly.

Disabled people on welfare likely can't do any of those things. They probably rent, and are at the mercy of their landlords. They probably can't even afford to move.

Screw them. They are disabled anyway. Get them out of the genepool.
/sarc off
The depressing thing is that this how society at large handles things. As the definition of "Fittest" (as in Fittest for Survival) changes one would expect the physical part of humanity to play a diminishing role. After all, as a lot of our lives moves into cyber space physicality would seem to matter less. Yet that does not seem to be the case.
2 of my friends are technically disabled. one of them is deaf and another one is in a wheelchair, yet both of them are incredibly bright (HBS and MIT) and actively contribute to their immediate community but also to society at large by writing papers, directing research for extremely reputable publications yet ignored by the world at large.
So yes, let's push those people who are not like us down the cliff.
I need a drink or 4,5.....

Commute To Work On the Roller Coaster Train

Developed at Tokyo University's Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), with the help of amusement ride firm Senyo Kogyo, Eco-Ride works in the exactly the same way as a theme park roller coaster. By turning potential energy into kinetic energy, it coasts along its tubular tracks without an engine. The train's speed is controlled by aerodynamics and by "vertical curves", sections of track that form the transition between two sloping segments. The Eco-Ride is set in motion and slowed at stations via rotating wheels between the rails that catch a fin underneath the train.

... A number of municipalities in Japan have shown an interest in the system, including communities hit by last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region in the north-east, he says. Other uses could be feeder routes between other transportation networks, or communities and college campuses located beyond what might be considered a reasonable walking distance, he added. Suda expects the first Eco-Ride to be in operation sometime in 2014.

Actually, a roller coaster as a commuting vehicle does make sense -- it's simple and extremely energy efficient. I've been wondering for years why this idea has never come to fruition.

Theoretically, a roller-coaster track and a constant-slope track would lose about the same amount of energy per mile (to air drag and wheel friction). The real innovation here is the idea of fixed pushers at the stations rather than a moving engine. No reason why it shouldn't work, if properly engineered. But I wonder how it would adapt to changing conditions of air density (temperature), precipitation, wind, etc. I could imagine a certain number of "stopped train" incidents that could mess up the scheduling in a hurry.

Yes, I think the stopped train concern would be real. It would still have to have brakes, as something unforeseen might be spotted on the track. Then you need some sort of tractor vehicle to come get them unstopped.

The new migrant workers?

'Workampers' help Amazon meet holiday rush

Amazon recruits RVers at RV parks, and gets them to come do seasonal work. They pay their workers' rent at the RV park near their warehouse. People know they only have a job until Dec. 23, but being RVers, they're okay with that. They earn enough money to pay their gas bill for the year, and go on their way.

BT,DT. Following the harvests and driving forklifts at the packing houses was a great way to keep the mobile lifestyle going. You also meet other RVers who follow the same 'circuit', making seasonal friends. The folks who manage some of these seasonal jobs look forward to good workers returning and give them priority and incentives to do so. The hours were usually long, but it was a great way to stockpile cash for a few weeks/months. It made it tough for me to settle into a regular job; got restless after a couple of years...

I'm not sure how some folks go to the same job day after day, year after year. A friend of mine worked at a GM assembly line for 30+ years. His world-view ended up being pretty limited, and the wife divorced him shortly after he retired, taking half of his pension, etc.. Last I heard, he's working at Sears; same job, day-after-day... selling shoes to Honey Booboos.

That sounds like an appealing lifestyle to me. Perhaps because of the way I was raised (all over the world), I like the idea of being able to easily move on. No one can predict the future. I'd like some flexibility, which doesn't seem possible if I'm tied down to a farm or a doomstead or a condo on a nice transit line.

Can I ask a personal question? Did you ever stud anthropology? You seem to be well educated on such matters.

I did study it a bit in college, but I'm mostly self-taught. I was a voracious reader in my misspent youth, and anthropology was one of my favorites. It still is. I think cross-cultural studies are the best way to see what's nature and what's nurture - what we're stuck with, and what can be changed via a software upgrade. ;-)

That was my guess. You know to much to not have studied it, and seems updated as if you cultivate yourself in the matter. I should start a new career as a profiler.

A fellow with basic oilfield skills could spend some summer months in ND, winter in S. TX, and dally around in between with side-trips to CO for a change of pace. It's probably the modern version of migrant farm workers. Split the work vs dally loading based on the payscales and monetary needs for any given year.

It takes a toll. Last trip to the slope I made bracketed when Sarah gave her VP acceptance speech. During that speech the morbid sounding cheers from the near walking dead that filled dining hall, where FOX News was on 24/7, were the closest thing to real signs of life I'd seen from them in a couple weeks. Of course these were mostly the guys who had settled in with the mortgage and toys and vacations and usually a divorce or two to keep them motivated 10-30 years ago and had been working the weeks on/ weeks off (the number varies) schedule for decades. Oh and a whole lot of those guys were from TX, CO, MT or wherever (this was before ND really boomed). When the booms fade and they all do, the jumping job to job and still getting good checks options dry up fast.

High-Voltage DC Breakthrough Could Boost Renewable Energy


I posted this back on Nov. 10. No one at the time thought it was much of a breakthrough.

No definitive info was clearly available that I saw then.
The press release you linked to was up, but when I searched ABB's site for more info,
nothing came up.

The National Geographic article has this link to a video that explains how it works in detail.

Conventional mechanical large HVDC breakers are too slow to avoid complete voltage collapse on the lines, so one can't build a HVDC grid.

Pure electronic breakers can work, but there's a tradeoff:
if they are low on-resistance, they are limited by how much current/voltage they can interrupt,
if they can stop large currents, they're not low on-resistance, so they waste power and heat up, limiting reliability.

ABB says, let's get both types of electronic breakers in parallel, along with a fast mechanical switch in series with the low on-resistance side.
During normal operation, most current goes through the mechanical switch and the low on-resistance path. When the low on-resistance electronics starts to turn off, the current diverts through the higher on-resistance (but more robust) electronics. That eases pressure on the low on-resistance electronics and the mechanical switch. Once the low on-resistance side turns off enough, the mechanical switch can open with little/no arcing, isolating the fragile low on-resistance electronics.
Then the high on-resistance/robust electronics can turn off.
No arcs, fast operation and high efficiency during normal operation.

another video, with more HVDC background explanation from ABB

So, it is a big deal - it enables HVDC grids, not just HVDC (point-to-point) lines.

So one can get the advantages of HVDC (low losses - especially underground/subsea, no need to carefully match phases, etc.) with the advantage of a grid (multiple, redundant paths).

Hah - the wiki now has a link to a detailed PDF from ABB

I have always wondered why HVDC systems were always point to point.

Yes indeed this could be a real breakthrough as it enables buss-bar type multiple input output systems.

Would a HVDC grid be less susceptible to solar storms ?

I would certainly think so, as there is no transformer to saturate.

The induced voltage would just add (or subtract) to the power being sent along the lines.

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

China’s Holdings of U.S. Securities: Implications for the U.S. Economy

Given its relatively low savings rate, the U.S. economy depends heavily on foreign capital inflows from countries with high savings rates (such as China) to meet its domestic investment needs and to fund the federal budget deficit. The willingness of foreigners to invest in the U.S. economy and purchase U.S. public debt has helped keep U.S. real interest rates low. However, many economists contend that U.S. dependency on foreign savings exposes the U.S. economy to certain risks, and some argue that such dependency was a contributing factor to the U.S. housing bubble and subsequent global financial crisis that began in 2008.

China’s large holdings of U.S. securities [$1.73 trillion] have raised a number of concerns in both China and the United States. Many U.S. policymakers have expressed concern over the size of China’s holdings of U.S. government debt. For example, some contend that China might decide to sell a large share of its U.S. securities holdings, which could induce other foreign investors to sell off their U.S. holdings as well, which in turn could destabilize the U.S. economy. Others argue that China could use its large holdings of U.S. debt as a bargaining chip in its dealing with the United States on economic and non-economic issues.

… The conference report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act of FY2012 (H.R. 1540, P.L. 112-81) included a provision requiring the Secretary of Defense to conduct a national security risk assessment of U.S. federal debt held by China.

China’s Foreign Exchange Reserves .......................... 2
China’s Holdings of U.S. Securities ........................ 4
   China’s Ownership of U.S. Treasury Securities ........... 8
Concerns over China’s Large Holdings of U.S. Securities .... 10
   Growing Bilateral Tensions over the U.S. Public Debt .... 11
   Does China’s Holdings of U.S. Debt Give it Leverage? .... 12
What If China Reduces its Holdings of U.S. Securities? ..... 16
Concluding Observations .................................... 17

…Empirical evidence suggests that the full effects of a change in the exchange rate on traded goods takes time, so the dollar may have to “overshoot” its eventual depreciation level in order to achieve a significant adjustment in trade flows in the short run

… Although comprehensive data will not be available for some time, a “sudden stop” in capital inflows does not appear to have been a feature of the downturn. Problems experienced in U.S. financial markets over the past few years have been widely viewed as “once in a lifetime” events. If these events failed to cause a sudden flight from U.S. assets and an unwinding of the current account deficit by China or other countries, it is hard to imagine what would.

failure of imagination

I you owe the bank a thousand dollars, you have a problem. If you owe the bank a trillion dollars, the bank has a problem.

The problem is that even that is an incorrect understanding of the situation.

China can't really sell what they have, even if they had half of what they have. The problem is that that will appreciate the value of the yuan. Second, the amount that China has of U.S. treasuries is really quite trivial and most of it is long-term treasuries.

It makes for great political slogans but the notion that China has some sort of death grip over the U.S. via the amount of debt they own(less than 6.5% total) is nonsensical.

I think the Fed is buying most of America's debt now with freshly printed confetti. The thing that is currently holding the US financial system together is not China, but rather confidence in the ponzi scheme by the average person who doesn't understand what's going on.

And it's your desire - to hasten the collapse by educating us - why?

Education will protect a few that listen just as much as it will hasten the inevitable for everyone else. Knowledge is power!

If Peter Thiel And Garry Kasparov Are Right, Then We're In Trouble
12/4/2012 5:58:00 PM
Read Full Article: http://www.businessinsider.com/innovation-crisis-or-financial-crisis-201...

Read more: http://thestockmarketwatch.com/news/news.aspx?articleid=611106#ixzz2EOjS...

The problem that both of them commit, in particular Thiel, themselves too much to an monocausal approach.

Lack of technological innovation didn't create the subprime mess; what happened was classical political pork-barrel behaviour. Give everyone a home. And to do that, you need to drastically lower the requirements (upfront payment, credit score etc) to get one. This, combined with the secular rise of Wall St since the late 70s and especially early 80s, has given what ails the U.S.

Innovation is global, especially technological innovation. How come South Korea has much less poverty, much lower unemployment and crime than America? Ditto for countries like Scandinavia, who have an unemployment which is higher due to the disastrous policies pursued by the Eurozone and the effects that have on the wider European continent, rather than any organic/internal rise of unemployment.

I do subscribe to the view that there's been a slowdown. After all, except for the internet, what innovation has actually come? Transportation looks awfully lot like it used to in the 1950s. Improved, perhaps, but not really changed. TV is the same mechanism, so are phones.

Nonetheless, when Thiel starts ranting about monetary policies that are designed to fight off deflation at the lower zero bound, he shows his deep economic ignorance and wild libertarian bias. As Romney showed more than many, if not most: just because you're successful as a businessman doens't mean you understand the economy. What's good for one company's bottomline(offshoring, undercutting wages, denying health care) is not exactly the same as what's good for the nation as a whole.

Exactly my friend.

I don't think innovation is slowing down. Its not just computers. Progress in quality/efficiency in transport is now very significant. Energy, even five years ago PV was too expensive to be more than feel good solution, now it actually makes bottom line sense in some places, ditto wind.

But in economics, only a few seem to be willing to take a systems approach. So things are dominated by knee-jerk emotional morality-tale response, debt is bad/immoral, we're in a recession, screaming with hair-on-fire "they are increasing debt, spending more rather than less!". So we get at least 90% of affected countries imposing austerity and deepening the crisis. In anything resembling a democracy, feelings trump cold hard analysis (feelings of whomever is in power, industrialist or citizens), so we go with what feels right, even when it is exactly wrong.

"So we get at least 90% of affected countries imposing austerity and deepening the crisis."

You're making the assumption that the countries that are imposing austerity are functioning democracies.

Italy Raids Target Mafia Moves On Wind, Solar Farms

Italian police on Friday arrested six people in an operation to combat the penetration of mafia families in the renewable energy sector in Sicily.

Police said mafia bosses had obtained contracts to build photovoltaic and wind energy systems in Palermo, Agrigento and Trapani.

The mafia has been heavily involved in renewable energy in Italy for years.

In July, the police seized a giant wind farm allegedly built by the 'Ndrangheta organised crime group in Calabria in southern Italy.

In 2010, police seized a record 1.5 billion euros from a Sicilian businessman known as the "Lord of the Wind" in an investigation that first threw the spotlight on mafia money-laundering through renewable energy.

That sure is a nice wind farm you got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it..."

Putting a wind farm off the 'Jersey Shore' suddenly makes alot of sense. They can dump the bodies at the same time they're servicing the turbines. ;-)

This is no joke. In Italy, the maffia is heavily involved in construction. South of Rome, they have a tight grip on the market. I would never hire a construction firm from there to build even a bike shed for me.

It's the same in New York. It's been that way for decades.

Diesel fuel shortage causes anger among truck drivers

VICTORIAN truckies are fuming about a diesel fuel shortage caused by drought-breaking rain and an early harvest.

And industry insiders say motorists should also expect shortages of unleaded petrol in the period leading up to Christmas.

With harvest in full swing and problems at refineries in Melbourne, some distributors say they are experiencing diesel shortages.

"We're two weeks early with the wheat harvest and we've got enough diesel until Monday, but we're not waiting with bated breath for supplies," he said.

"We've been hearing the rumours about diesel fuel shortages for a while and we've found out today that Mobil was out of product."

Storms disrupt Vic diesel supply

Gas Hydrates In Arctic Are Shallowest Yet Found

A 'test case' for how undersea deposits of methane — a greenhouse gas locked in sediments — might respond to climate change has been uncovered in the Arctic Circle.

The shallowest known deposit of methane hydrate — a crystalline solid comprising methane molecules trapped in an ice-lattice structure — has been discovered on the continental slope off Canada in the Beaufort Sea.

At such a shallow depth, the newly discovered deposit is vulnerable to decomposition if there is even subtle warming of the overlaying water, says Paull.

It is not just permafrost thawing, it is sea methane hydrates also. Methane is more than 20 times as potent a green house gas compared with CO2, this could cause a tipping point if released in huge quantities.

I think it will be game over when all that methane gets loose. Welcome to Venus.

Not Venus, more like earth 55million years ago.

Not, strictly speaking, related to energy use but probably of interest to TOD readers: Humanity Is Still on the Way to Destroying Itself' - Der Spiegel interview with Dennis Meadows http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/limits-to-growth-author-dennis...

WOW, indeed! Now all we need is some better options for energy storage technology. Grid? Who needs a frickin grid!

" The structure achieves even more efficiency for light that strikes the solar cell at large angles, which occurs on cloudy days or when the cell is not directly facing the sun. By capturing these angled rays, the new structure boosts efficiency by an additional 81 percent, leading to the 175 percent total increase."

That could make tracking systems completely pointless. But, can they scale it out of the lab?

On a related note; Marketing gave us an update this week. 2012 has sucked, 2013 will also suck, and the best guess is that 2014 will also suck, though perhaps marginally less. Things are looking better for 2015, so those who survive that long should do OK for the rest of the decade.

Although bad news for the industry, it's good news for all you customers. Murderous downward pressure on prices for two years yet.

If I worked in the PV installation industry I would put someone to work in the slow times looking at Google Maps on an expanding radius around the shop looking for houses on satellite imagery for excellent solar exposure. Then send that house a few quick and dirty calculations.

"Dear Homeowner,
We are doing a survey of your neighborhood for solar potential. Your roof appears to be an excellent candidate due to orientation and lack of shading. The price of solar equipment is currently very low and represents a great investment to reduce your bills and protect yourself against increasing electricity rates. A solar system can make your house more attractive to sell due to lower operating costs, and with the optional battery backup system keep vital items in your home going during a grid outage, yada yada yada, join the solar revolution, yada, save the whales, grandchildren...

Here are our rough estimates for your home's potential.
123 Jane Doe Lane
2.4kW array which can produce around 3,500 kWhr in a year worth $XXX.XX at current rates. The system will cost around $XX,XXX and with government incentives $XX,XXX. Keep the water flowing and fridge going with a battery backup system for $X,XXX more.

Contact us for a more comprehensive estimate and site visit. We'd love to hear from you and talk about solar power!

Make some deals with local banks to fund loans and put together a presentation to show why they should allow a HELOC to put in a system, don't over promise where it really counts. Solar needs more marketing.

Has it been scaled up from the miniature version used in labs, like they always do for testing?
Does it require an exotic material to achieve its 'wonder'?
Is it as fragile, or less, or more so than a normal solar panel?
How will it act in normal sunlight and not controlled sunlamps like they use in the labs?

It is one of the most common misconceptions by the layman that what happens in the lab can be translated into the real world with no loss or catches.
Combine that with the media's tendency to sensationalize everything and this is what you get.

Oh boy, more "organic solar cells, so cheap you'll just paint them on your house...".

The invention only applies to organic cells, crystalline silicon already uses textures and anti-reflective coating to achieve the same amount of light absorption.

I found a pre-print online:

The press release's glowing numbers don't look so hot compared to the abstract and details.

They made some cells with 1/3 the usual thickness of organic heterojunction active layer (the typical P3HT/PCBM), some with Indium Tin Oxide, some with their nano-mesh.
The nano-mesh was 52% more efficient than their reference (ITO) cell, resulting in a whopping...
(drum roll please)
4.4% efficiency.

Yes, that's about 2% less than the bankrupt Unisolar (and a host of other amorphous silicon PV companies).

One can also achieve the same result by making the organic active layer the usual thickness.

The 175% increase number is calculated, from an estimate of 8% efficiency.
8% efficiency is 2/3 of the efficiency from all the bankrupt CIGS & CdTe companies,
and half of the usual commodity crystalline silicon modules.

Oh, and (a few of) the organic PV guys are now up to 6000 or so hours before 20% power loss.
(most crystalline silicon is warrantied for 20 to 25 years before 20% power loss).

beware of glowing press releases....

"The invention only applies to organic cells"
The designs, fabrications, and findings are applicable to thin solar cells in other materials.

8% efficiency is the very best part of the 10% efficiency of basic silicon solar panels.

They use mainly plastic, titanium oxide (white pigment), and aluminum. The mesh replaces indium: no indium. The mesh material is 0.03 micron thick: 1/300th as thick as a human hair. A hair is 100 microns thick.

They can be made on a roll-to-roll process: Plastic film running reel-ro-reel through a machine.

The report is about a demonstration-of-principle device with no further improvements yet made.

Yes, breakthroughs are made every day.

6000 hours in the sun... two years of service from a trash-bag thickness and worth of material... gee... just run outside and pull fresh ones down from the rolls every year.

Thanks for the interpretation.

See also my other expanded reply.

As far as TiO2 - you're confusing polymer cells with dye cells (a.k.a. Gratzel cells)

The mesh is gold.

The 6000 hours is not just photodegradation,
oxygen and water, even in the dark, will degrade organic PV.

And then how will the rolls stand up to the next hurricane Sandy?

Well, then how about just painting them on?
An individual PV cell will give .5 to .7 volts depending on the material,
if the cells are not connected in series, the I^2 R losses are tremendous.

And that PCBM material - contains buckyballs. (and they ain't that cheap).
Are you sure they're safe for the environment?

Chou is a pretty smart cookie - he did invent nanolithography after all.
I just think he's a bit green in the PV world.
He wouldn't be the first one - can you say "Solyndra"?

I have gone down my blind alleys too - there are several patents on electrodeposition of silicon films, and I knew there were issues, but I tried it anyway, after all, there have been tremendous advances, especially in room temperature ionic liquids. But even so, can't make it work good enough at reasonable temperatures. Gas phase epitaxial is so much cleaner/better quality. Unfortunately, lost a notebook in a couple of moves and the team is scattered, so not worth publishing anything now.

"As far as TiO2 - you're confusing polymer cells with dye cells (a.k.a. Gratzel cells)"
A: "Chou used a plastic semiconductor, other materials could be used. This is followed by a layer of titanium oxide"

"The mesh is gold."
A: "The mesh material is 0.03 micron thick: 1/300th as thick as a human hair. A hair is 100 microns thick." The mesh is vanishingly thin, hugely perforated, and of a material convenient to the setting of a demonstration of principle.

The 6000 hours is not just photodegradation, oxygen and water, even in the dark, will degrade organic PV.
A: "This work indicates that these devices are not inherently unstable, since the degradation rates can be significantly modulated."

Strawman: "And then how will the rolls stand up to the next hurricane Sandy?"
A: How will the building stand up to the next hurricane Sandy?

Strawman: "Well, then how about just painting them on?"
A: (...how did we get here?)

Strawman: "Solyndra"
A: China

Peter Marinus Martinus? Cornelus Bressers?

Method for manufacturing an electronic device by electrodeposition from an ionic liquid
EP 2476784 A1
... which takes us back to degradation of organics by the atmosphere:
"For protection against oxygen and/or water, the device may be sealed with a protective cap that is substantially impermeable to oxygen and/or water ... It is further an object to provide a novel electronic device, in particular a novel organic electronic device, which is improved in one or more of the aspects addressed above."

Annalisa Branca

Is this cup half empty or half full?

The invention only applies to organic cells, crystalline silicon already uses textures and anti-reflective coating to achieve the same amount of light absorption.

"Chou said the technology also should increase the efficiency of conventional inorganic solar collectors, such as standard silicon solar panels, although he cautioned that his team has not yet completed research with inorganic devices."

Did you bother to read the story?

Yes, I read the story.

I know what Chou said in the press release. I see the words.
But I also read his pdf paper, and compared what was said there to what I know, having spent the last 12 yeas doing research in PV materials.

Chou is wrong about this grid (greatly) increasing the efficiency of conventional inorganic PV.
Let me expand my answer...:

Organic PV and inorganic PV are very different.
Do you know what a "bulk heterojunction" is?
Do you know what an exciton is, and why it's different than a charge carrier pair?

Chou is working with polymer cells, the well known poly-3-hexyl thiophene (P3HT), phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) devices. These are not made in discrete layers, but intermixed, like two flavors of tiny, lumpy spaghetti mixed, then squished flat. This is because when light excites most polymers, an electron-hole pair do NOT form immediately (as in inorganic PV), but stays bound as an exciton, which does not want to dissociate without a "kick" from an acceptor, or travel very far (a few nanometers) while excited. So the electron acceptor must be very close by to yank the electron "out" of the exciton. Thus the difference molecules (donor/absorber and acceptor) are intimately mixed in a "bulk heterojunction".

more on this at:

In an inorganic PV material (crystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, Gallium Arsenide (GaAs), Copper Indium Gallium Selenides (CIGS), Cadmium Telluride (CdTe), etc.) when light is absorbed, an electron is immediately kicked into the conduction band and flies off through the lattice, leaving a hole to hop around the lattice. They are separated by the built-in field of a P-N junction, typically a micron or so from the front surface. These free carriers have a relatively long lifetime (a few microseconds to 10's of milliseconds in good material).

Polymer cells are made in thin (100-300 nanometers, Chou used 85 nm) layers, that are spin-cast or otherwise deposited from solvents (or evaporated). They are strongly absorbing, but usually have very flat surfaces, which causes much of the incident light to be reflected.
Chou has developed a thin metal grid, based on nano-imprint technology (that is not yet proven in high volume production, or roll-to-roll), that because of its small size, forms a light trapping layer due to plasmonic effects (the grid has a 200 nm pitch, so the size of near-UV light, with different hole sizes). Thus he can thin the polymer layer and still get the same ~5% efficiency.
Good for him, he gets to publish, ("publish or perish" they say at the university).
But big deal, when commodity silicon PV is 15% and Sunpower is shipping 24% cells, which are pretty close to the Shockley-Queisser limit for a 1-junction cell.

Crystalline silicon, the prevalent inorganic PV material, is wafered in the range of 150-200 micrometers (.15-.2 mm), much thicker (1) for wafering technology and handling reasons, and (2) it is an indirect bandgap material and thus has a low light absorption coefficient.
But, that thickness allows the "front" surface to be chemically textured, and later coated with an anti-reflection coating (typically silicon nitride) that achieve the same or better light trapping as Chou's plasmonic metal grid. (from the figures in the Chou's pdf and from my experience/memory of silicon papers).

Key point #1 - the photo-current is proportional to the amount of light trapped, so if Chou can't trap any more light, there is no increase in efficiency.

But, can't these techniques be "stacked"? Well, no.

Because charge carriers in inorganic material have long lifetimes and long diffusion lengths,
there are different (in detail) loss mechanisms around carrier recombination (where the energized carriers recombine, releasing their energy - all too typically as waste heat).
In organic materials, the issue is excitons never splitting before they thermalize, which is analogous to recombination.
In inorganic materials, the carriers (holes and electrons) recombine (resulting in losses) because of two classes of recombination: unavoidable and avoidable.
Unavoidable is due to the reversibility of the photo-generation process and other quantum mechanical things, so some carriers will radiatively recombine for example, releasing light.
Avoidable recombination is due to imperfect material. These are in the bulk (trap impurities or crystal defects), or on the surface (surface trap impurities or dangling bonds).
This is (one reason) why multi-crystalline is less efficient that mono-crystalline silicon.


Key point #2 - the surface states created by the plasmonic metal grid on the surface of a silicon wafer will cause a large increase in surface recombination, cutting efficiency.
(Optimization of the metal contacts on silicon PV is a big deal that gets lots of attention, now leading to wider use of "selective emitter" technology).

The other reason for the silicon nitride (and sometimes a stack of silicon oxide - silicon nitride) is to passivate the dangling bonds at the surface, resulting in fewer surface states, resulting in less surface recombination, thus more electricity makes it out of the solar cell.

Could you stack the grid on top of the SiNx ARC? Maybe, but I've seen dozens of papers/posters at conferences trying this kind of stuff already - they're all failures.
And since PV is all about cost, why add cost/complexity if it buys net nothing?

n.b. his grid is made of gold, not the cheapest material.
n.b. conventional silicon PV is moving away from silver paste on the front, to copper with a nickle barrier (copper atoms diffuse into silicon at room temperature, and form traps, reducing carrier lifetime and thus efficiency. Gold does too, though not as badly).

Anyhow, all this reminds us that PV is on the march, and soon will conquer, esp after the next real big natural disaster, coming soon to your local theater.

Which means for us widget makers, the world will soon awake to a desperate need for a small power plant to keep things going when the PV poops out on cloudy days.

Now what small power plant could that be?

Here's the plan:

1) make a biomass cooker that runs on heat from the exhaust
2) take the resulting gas and burn it around that nice quiet stirling generator to get the 120VAC
3) run the exhaust back to the outside of the cooker
4) take the resulting charcoal out of the cooker and put it into the garden
5) take the garden waste and stuff it into the biomass cooker
6) go to your friendly church/synagogue/mosque and brag loudly about your own high level of personal virtue
7) Die a happy martyr's death.

Or just install a windmill like I did to complement my PV arrays during winter days of storms & no sun---it works very well.

"Or just install a windmill like I did to complement my PV arrays during winter days of storms & no sun"

Sadly that doesn't work everywhere. Today being a fine example; heavy overcast with light snow, and no wind.

Wait...I've got it...a child-powered bicycle generator!

"C'mon...pedal harder - daddy has football to watch" ;)

re:Bring On the Hacks

The tide is changing, at least until the next financial crunch.

Several yrs back, we could barely give away our med free, grass fed lamb, today I'm getting calls from a retailer wanting more, that it has been really flying off the shelf. Don't have any more this year. And I know, should we gear up for next years market, the market will collapse.

lots of pessimism today. let's look on the bright side. what of golden spike offering trips to the moon? lot's of space transportation start ups. these are the folks who will go to mars and titan and BRING BACK THE JUICE! (and maybe alien monsters too)

uhmerikans have nothing to worry about until money dont buy nuthin.

until then let's hope we can wear solar powered clothing!
Flexible Silicon Solar Cell Wires Could Make Solar Charging Fabrics A Reality

Would give a new meaning to "Wardrobe Malfunction"...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuZxFL9cGkI

(Odd note, but it was found that women are more prone to this than men since they are more likely to sit back down while filling)

I like to see that the media in "World's oil industry won't be the same in the wake of shale" is finally confirming that gas prices are low in the states mainly due to shale oil gas by-products, and not shale gas production itself (which isn't economic)... Using a bit of logic it isn't hard to see what is likely to happen next, even if one assumes the geology of shale oil by-product production doesn't change. Energy suppliers are going for liquid oil due to profit/price, while energy users want to go for cheaper natural gas usage (as currently cheaper) - an unstable situation if ever there was one. If the price of oil drops due to a global switch over to gas usage (only down $10 a barrel from $87 currently), than shale oil isn't so profitable or new wells will be delayed (average shale oil well only lasts upto a year)- resulting quickly in my opinion with a production cliff in GAS PRODUCTION as shale oil gas holds the keys here. Rather than the nice steady price outlook forecast by many others (or gradual rising prices), all I see is increasing price volatility in both gas and oil prices in the years ahead, and damage in wrong energy resource allocations.

p - Not sure how volatile oil prices will be in coming years but I suspect even relatively small changes (15-20%) will have significant impacts. But NG price volatility? That's an easy call IMHO. I recently posted the NG price history so I won't repeat. But in just the last dozen years we've seen prices swing up 100's of percent and down 50-75% in just very short periods of time. And this included periods of rapid shale gas development and collapse. I can't imagine circumstances that can significantly change those dynamics.

Has anyone else noticed an increase in traffic in their area? Here in No. Cal. it's either xmas dash or the economy has finally kicked into a higher gear, as observation of traffic and transactions is going gangbusters! Kind of liked the deep recessions reduced traffic - oh well, can't have it both ways.

Wondering what lay in store though with 'fiscal cliff' followed shortly thereafter by yet another 'debt ceiling'. This slow recovery has been staged in part on trillion dollar deficits. The big question then is what happens to the economy when we try to close the gap?

OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!!!! The world wants to charge us 1.6% to lend us more money for 10 years... to buy our debt! 0.06% for a one month period additional loans!!! That's about a hair's breadth from negative interest: The world would be willing to pay us to take their money. What a crisis! We must do something about this immediately! Throw granny and the kids and Big Bird into the corporate fires! Austerity NOW or we go over the F!I!S!C!A!L C!L!I!F!F!!!

If ya wanna mess it up for real, threaten not to pay the loans... threaten to default... again.

Otherwise, borrow more money and feed it into the economy hiring and fixing... anything!: the Storm Sandy damage better than new and so it doesn't happen again, building energy infrastructure with storage, the roads, internet service as good as Romania, some beautiful schools covered in artwork and filled with the future, free housing, free medical... the pursuit of happiness

But who would that benefit?

Not the Military Industrial Complex. Not the ravenous multinationals. Not the financial industry. Not to the degree they have made themselves used to. A few Drumbeats ago, some foreigner bandied about the idea of declaring war on the US or at least an embargo to try and contain the disease. Too late. It has jumped the fence. America is just the steaming turd left after being devoured.


US Army’s A/C bill in Iraq greater than entire NASA budget

We need to pull the throttles back on the whole 'Team America, World Police' thing.

U.S. Americans have been sold a bill of goods on the supposed necessity of this paradigm and the supposed bad consequences if we stop the global cop role.

Folks are so taken in by the myth that they will throw their fellow citizens and themselves under the bus to keep funding the machine. Sorry folks...the U.S. isn't Sparta, and the barbarians are not, and will not be, marching on the gates.

I would not bet against the protection racket being greatly diminished in the next 30 years.


In the interest of giving the best possible information to the debate, here is an editor's note at the end of that Iraq/Afghanistan air conditioning article:

CLARIFICATION: The Pentagon disputes the calculation made by Anderson about air conditioning costs. Defense Department spokesman Dave Lapan says that in fiscal year 2010, the Pentagon spent approximately $15 billion on energy for all military operations around the world. The Pentagon says when it comes to Afghanistan, it spent $1.5 billion from October 2010 to May 2011 on fuel. That fuel was used for heating and air conditioning systems, but also for aircraft, unmanned aerial systems, combat vehicles, computers and electricity inside military structures.


This does not alter my above-stated sentiment.

Just the facts, Ma'am.

War Is A Racket
By Major General Smedley Butler

"And let us not forget the bankers who financed the great war. If anyone had the cream of the
profits it was the bankers."

"Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn’t they? It pays high dividends."


"I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested."



Closer to the original source:
Among The Costs Of War: Billions A Year In A.C.?

"When you consider the cost to deliver the fuel to some of the most isolated places in the world — escorting, command and control, medevac support {,roads } — when you throw all that infrastructure in, we're talking over $20 billion,"

20 billion a year for Iraq and Afghanistan
19 billion for NASA:


In order for a stimulus to work, the leaks would have to be plugged. Opening up all those construction projects would generate a human wave south of the border. Much of the paid wages would funnel out through Walmart. Globalization has turned out to be an epic-scale version of "The Grapes of Wrath". Withdraw? So, too, rebuild the factories of the mundane, sundry, and everyday goods? Who is that good for?

'Team America, World Police'

Great Movie.