Drumbeat: December 8, 2012

Ecuador sees support for OPEC climate levy plan

DOHA (Reuters) - Ecuador believes it has the support of Iran and Qatar for its proposal for OPEC members to pay a small levy on their oil sales to help poor countries fight global warming, the chief climate negotiator from OPEC's smallest producer said.

With pressure mounting at U.N. climate talks in Doha for rich Gulf OPEC states to do much more, setting aside a few cents on each barrel sold could help appease critics. OPEC collectively exports more than 30 million barrels a day at over $100.

Oil Caps Weekly Loss as Dollar Strengthens Against Euro

Oil capped the first weekly loss since early November as the dollar rose against the euro after the U.S. jobless rate fell and Germany cut its growth forecast.

Futures slid 0.4 percent as unemployment dropped to the lowest level since 2008 and the Bundesbank sliced more than 1 percentage point off its 2013 forecast. The dollar climbed to a two-week high. Saudi Arabia is content with current prices, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said five days before an OPEC meeting.

Some Tucson gas prices now under $3, first time in a year

Gas prices dropped below $3 this week at some Tucson stations for the first time in a year.

The last time the average price of gas in the Old Pueblo was less than $3 per gallon of regular was in February 2011, though some local stations were selling gas for under $3 as recently as November 2011, according to figures from AAA.

State short $140M after court restricts use of tax

State officials are scrambling to replace $140 million in funding after an Ohio Supreme Court ruling yesterday that the Commercial Activity Tax on gasoline cannot be used for nonhighway purposes.

In a 6-1 ruling, the court determined that the way the state has spent the tax money on gasoline violates the Ohio Constitution. The court did not invalidate the CAT, which replaced the state corporate franchise tax, nor did it apply the decision retroactively.

Norse US unit in bankruptcy filing

The US unit of Oslo-listed shale startup Norse Energy has filed for bankruptcy reorganisation, the company said on Thursday.

The Chapter 11 filing may “likely constitute an event of default” on a $21 million bond, the company said.

India's shale gas exploration policy to be ready in a year

Hyderabad (IANS) India's shale gas exploration policy is likely to be ready within a year as it prepares for its exploration to meet the huge gap between demand and supply of natural gas, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Pannabaka Lakshmi said Saturday.

Cameroon Jan-Oct oil output up 5 pct on last year

YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Cameroon's oil production stood at 18.82 million barrels by October 31 since the beginning of the year, an increase of 5.26 percent compared with the same period in 2011, Cameroon's National Hydrocarbons Corporation said on Friday.

The increase resulted from the development of new fields and the optimisation of existing production, the company said in a statement.

Canada Approves Both Cnooc-Nexen, Petronas-Progress Deals

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper approved Cnooc Ltd. (883)’s $15.1 billion takeover of Nexen Inc. and Petroliam Nasional Bhd.’s C$5.2 billion ($5.2 billion) takeover of Progress Energy Resources Corp.

No more state oil grabs, vows Canadian PM

Canada’s government has approved China’s biggest overseas energy acquisition, a €11.7bn takeover by state-owned CNOOC of oil and gas producer Nexen.

But the Canadian prime minister vowed to reject any future foreign takeovers in the oil sands sector by state-owned companies.

Stephen Harper said the government would only consider future takeover deals in the oil sands by state-owned companies in exceptional circumstances.

Some foreign firms still active in Iran's energy sector: US report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - At least seven companies from China, India, South Korea and South Africa continued to have investments in Iran's oil and gas sectors in 2012 even as Tehran came under international scrutiny for its nuclear ambitions, a U.S. government watchdog said on Friday.

A Pledge to Reform Greedy Set-Top Boxes

Facing the prospect of regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency, cable TV operators and appliance manufacturers have announced a voluntary program to improve the energy efficiency of the set-top boxes that bring programming into your home. Some environmental advocates say the changes don’t go nearly far enough.

In many respects, these boxes are the gas guzzlers of home appliances. Although modest in size, they may be using as much electricity as a new energy-efficient refrigerator, a study last year by the Natural Resources Defense Council found. That’s because the drives in the devices are running at full tilt, or nearly so, even when you are not watching or recording a show.

Fears over Indonesia's thirst for palm oil

The roar of chainsaws has replaced birdsong, the once-lush, green jungle scorched to a barren grey. The equivalent of six football pitches of forest is lost every minute in Indonesia.

The disappearance of the trees has pushed thousands of animals—from the birds they harbour and sustain to orangutans, gibbons and black panthers—out of their natural homes and habitats.

They have been replaced by plantations that are too nutrient-poor to support such wildlife, instead dedicated solely to producing fruit that is pulped to make oil used globally in products ranging from food to fuel.

Biofuels: A Partnership Between Our Military and Our Department of Agriculture

We are in a race. A race of participants who are scrounging for liquid fuels.

This thirst is insatiable. It causes competition and conflicts among the users, the environment, geo-political situations, water, and money.

Be honest: Apocalypse seems kind of exciting, in a way

Apocalyptic prophecy behavior is puzzling at first glance because people tend to be optimistic, rather than pessimistic, Willer says. (See also: Powerball jackpot.) The people who believe in the prophecies, he explains, aren't crazy. They just "need some kind of source for the apocalyptic prophecy that they believe is credible," be it a Mayan calendar or the predictions of Nostradamus. Willer listed superstitions and astrology as examples of common nonscientific beliefs.

Corps not budging on Miss. River flap

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Army Corps of Engineers has turned back requests by federal lawmakers and the barge operators to release more water from the Missouri River, believing the drought-starved Mississippi River it feeds still will remain open to shipping. The industry, however, warns that the situation is growing increasingly dire.

Kingdom plans a balanced energy mix for sustainable development

The Kingdom plans to invest more than $ 100 billion over the next 20 years in strategic solar programs in order to diversify its energy mix. This was stated by Khalid M. Abuleif, adviser to the minister of petroleum and mineral resources and head of the Saudi negotiating team at the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Conference for Climate Change (COP18 – UNFCCC), in the Qatari capital Doha. "Work commences on the first major solar farm early next year as a first step toward a long-term renewable energy strategy Saudi Arabia has put in place," he said.

Warming Ski Slopes, Shriveled Revenues

Projections by climate scientists indicate that winter temperatures could rise by anywhere from 4 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, and the length of the snow season in the Northeast could be cut in half.

Typhoon survivors raid Philippine stores

There are claims that climate change, deforestation, poor planning and other factors worsened the catastrophe. Government officials said storm patterns related to climate change had put communities unaccustomed to strong typhoons in Bopha's path. But they also said the destruction had been exacerbated by deforestation from illegal logging and small-scale mining, as well as poor planning and confusion created by unclear maps of vulnerable areas.

Climate Skeptics Swayed by Consensus, Not Evidence

Conservatives are less likely to accept the reality of human-caused climate science when presented with supporting scientific evidence. But tell them that 99 out of 100 climate scientists agree on the subject, and conservatives will be more likely to accept that humans are altering the climate, according to a new pilot study.

The findings, presented today (Dec. 7) at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, suggest that scientists shouldn't break out the graphs and tables when talking climate with conservatives. Instead, climate advocates should emphasize how much of the scientific community agrees on the subject.

'Fossil Free' Campaign By 350.org's Bill McKibben Aims To Convince Colleges Not To Invest In Oil

350.org's current “Fossil Free” campaign is aimed at convincing colleges to divest their oil stocks, and McKibben is on a 21-city campus tour in a biodiesel bus, speaking and raising hell. He called me from the road, shortly before taking delivery of his new Ford C-Max plug-in hybrid.

Weak plan to save Kyoto pushes climate talks to brink

DOHA (Reuters) - Weak proposals to extend until 2020 a shrivelled U.N. plan to fight climate change pushed marathon talks to the brink of collapse on Saturday.

Delegates from nearly 200 nations spent hours poring over a package deal put forward by the host, OPEC member Qatar, that would also postpone until 2013 a row over demands from developing nations for more cash to help them cope with global warming.

Ticking Arctic Carbon Bomb May Be Bigger Than Thought

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA—Scientists are expressing fresh concerns about the carbon locked in the Arctic's vast expanse of frozen soil. New field studies, presented here this week at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, quantify the amount of soil carbon at 1.9 trillion metric tons, suggesting that previous estimates underestimated the climate risk if this carbon is liberated. Meanwhile, a new analysis of laboratory experiments that simulate carbon release by thawed soil is bolstering worries that continued carbon emissions could unleash a massive Arctic carbon wallop.

Lower Mainland food supply at risk from rising sea levels

VANCOUVER — Rising sea levels could jeopardize the Lower Mainland’s food supply, a University of B.C. professor says.

Stephen Sheppard said agriculture in the area could be profoundly affected by rising water tables, increased salinity, and the effect of climate change on crops, such as different growing seasons or temperatures.

Heated debate

Messrs Desmet and Rossi-Hansberg build a model economy, and then batter it with different temperature increases to see how it reacts. In their benchmark analysis, they allow people to move around as they like in response to these changes. In extreme scenarios freedom of movement doesn’t make much difference: temperatures reduce global agricultural productivity to near zero, “implying the end of human life on Earth”. But in more moderate scenarios, rising global temperatures improve agricultural productivity in northerly climes. Welfare losses are small because there are big movements of people northward. A relatively small temperature increase (by the model’s standards), of 2°C at the Equator rising to 6°C at the North Pole, causes a shift in the average locations of agricultural and manufacturing activity of about ten degrees of latitude by the end of this century—roughly the distance between Dallas and Chicago, or Frankfurt and Oslo.

'Fossil Free' Campaign By 350.org's Bill McKibben Aims To Convince Colleges Not To Invest In Oil

We now face a glut of oil discoveries, plus big supplies from unconventional sources such as Canadian tar sands. Natural gas, cleaner than oil but still a fossil fuel, is available in unprecedented abundance (thanks to hydraulic fracking). Peak oil, it’s not happening. “If only we were so lucky as to run out of oil,” McKibben says. “We have to actually restrain ourselves.”

Looks like the Peak Oil Movement (tm) has been exposed as a fossil fuel industry scam to lull the climate change activists into complacency. There's no need to worry about AGW if the fossil fuels were to run out in the near future. Right. Not to mention the fact that all those coal power plants aren't going to be built in the US, the reason being that the price of natural gas is so low that we will burn NG instead. Of course, the Chinese are planning to build some 1,500 more coal plants, since they don't have NG to burn.

Oh, we also see that Old Bill's been riding around in one of those low MPG Ford C-Max hybrids, having moved on from his biodiesel powered tour bus. One wonders how that drag generator is performing with his feather foot on the throttle...

EDIT: Not to forget the real problems with AGW, we find Heated debate. This article suggests that the climate zones will shift dramatically poleward, which would have a serious impact on agriculture. There's even the suggestion that:

The model finds that rising temperatures actually benefit the northern section of the globe. Agricultural productivity grows and northern manufacturers enjoy more trade with the throngs that mass just south of the border.

The article does not mention the fact that the soils at high latitudes aren't like the ones we presently are mining to grow corn and soybeans and these crops would likely fare poorly.

So it goes.

E. Swanson

I watched McKibben's Do The Math tour online, and I think his point about peak oil was well taken. He simply lists how many gigatons of carbon are available in known fossil fuel reserves and compares that to the number of gigatons required to destabilize climate. And the obvious arithmetic shows that we have many times more carbon available than would wreck the climate.
So his point is that peak oil will not protect us from climate change, and all evidence I has seen says he is correct. Even if oil becomes scarce and expensive, there is enough coal, natural gas, and shale to cook the planet (not to mention methane hydrates). McKibben does not deny the finite nature of oil supplies, only that the finite supply is is no protection from climate change.

The problem with McKibben isn't his explanation of the energy and climate crises so much as his shallow explanation of economic power and the profoundly silly and now hypocritical (one wonders: did Ford send him a free C-Max?) accompanying selection of proposed solutions. Accepting delivery of a new automobile while arguing that Big Oil is a mere "rogue industry" and implying that college divestment will somehow dent the world's most internally profitable businesses? That's wildly indirect, at best.

yes. If only we can stop the flow of funds from colleges to energy firms, we'll be saved.

Still, he's doing more than most, but with tools that are unlikely to accomplish what he hopes.

As I've noted before, blaming the energy industry for AGW is like blaming Hitler's pancreas for the holocaust. Like any drug dealers, they're supplying a public demand. Using sound, wildly amoral logic. We all need to take ownership of our direct and indirect energy use.

Not that I have the warm fuzzies for the industry I used to be in. It's not "OK".

Yeah, I'm talking to you, oil industry folks. You're not to blame for it all, but you are taking part in something that would be banned in a saner world. It's possible to just walk away from the paychecks. Or even better, donate half your paycheck to AGW campaigns; 2/3 was the fraction of my GSI salary that went to conservation charities; nobody really needed that much money.

I doubt this will be a popular sentiment on this blog. Maybe I'm in a mood this month.

And I wish Bill McK well. An attack on Hitler's pancreas might have worked wonders even if it wasn't specifically to blame.

I like the idea of the kids suing the older generations for theft/murder by way of global warming. With the right legal advice, I think they could win. The penalty would be a HUGE tax on carbon, and the older you are, the bigger the tax. Mine is the biggest, and that's why I'm working hard at getting off carbon totally and asap.

So far, so mediocre.

Hot water- trivially easy
Space heat- work on insulation & leaks
electricity- PV and wood generator backup
getting around- smart jitney (qv)
air travel- streng verboten.

The unstated assumption is that the kids are not themselves part of the excessive energy consumption problem.

From the young people I know, have associated with, and have seen out and about, I do not accept that premise.

I hypothesize that to the extent that young people are living in apartments, forgoing cars (or driving used/better mpg cars and/or driving fewer miles per year)and otherwise consuming less than their elders is largely a function of them not having as much money, rather than some 'Age of Aquarius' dawning of a new mindset in conservation and having smaller ecological footprints and living sustainably etc.

I like it in principle... "and blessed are the plaintiffs, for verily shall they be compensated upfront for inheriting the earth".

In practice, prosecuting a powerful majority for murder hasn't worked out well in the past. The problem with doing it as a "damages" suit is that they could easily set a value on the entire planet and pay it in fiat money in a single day. Legal tender for all debts, public & private, last time I looked. Any economist could estimate the worth of the planet in US dollars, I'm sure, and most would believe their result.

Since you add personal notes, I'll note that I've added another personal carbon tax - I just maxed out the PV I could legally put on by adding more panels, even though we'll only be reimbursed for about 60% of the power. And no, I'm not rich, this is the sort of a thing a person can do by buying staple foods and driving an older car - and I'm sure you would agree.

https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/fTfF96479 - here's the system with its upgraded number of panels. The rebates are good if we get them, so we'll be covering some of our neighbors' CO2 as well. Since they burn oil to closely load-follow here, maybe it will actually make a tiny difference. That would be nice. Cloudy today, which explains the poor PV output. IF the state doesn't renege on the rebates, our out-of-pocket should be under 15k which would be about a 5-year payback on a system warranted for 25.

Of course, I'm still not sure why people in Hawaii need much electricity. No heating, no cooling if you design your house well. The power I'm using now is from a 1.2kw offgrid system, which does most of what we need to get by. We rent out the other side of the house though, the the tenants love to leave everything on.


"Since you add personal notes, I'll note that I've added another personal carbon tax - I just maxed out the PV I could legally put on by adding more panels, even though we'll only be reimbursed for about 60% of the power. And no, I'm not rich, this is the sort of a thing a person can do by buying staple foods and driving an older car - and I'm sure you would agree."

I agree totally with that! Just what my wife and I have done, we're not rich but it's amazing what you can do if you aren't spending all your income on $250/month cable TV, $150/month cell phone, continuous car payments, $5000 "entertainment" system, dining out 5 days/week, etc. Instead PV, Insulation, huge gardens, fruit trees, long-lasting tools, etc. are a much better place to "invest" earnings.

Right on! That's the response to give to those who say "solar is nice but I can't afford it"! What baloney, esp from a person who has a $3K riding lawnmower, and a lawn to fit, and a wide ass to fit the lawnmower.

I am thinking we oughta bring back the shame thing, like "shame on you for having that grass, mower, ass".

how to win friends and influence people. Now, where's that flak jacket.

I am thinking we oughta bring back the shame thing

Isn't that what did it for plastic bags? Of course applying it to more important actions moght help -like commuting long distance in an F-350, cause you gotta he able to haul that speedboat to the lake....

Just what my wife and I have done, we're not rich but it's amazing what you can do if you aren't spending all your income on $250/month cable TV, $150/month cell phone, continuous car payments, $5000 "entertainment" system, dining out 5 days/week, etc.

Economizing can be fun, and it's a practical skill. Most people would think my wife and I take it a bit far. We have kept a steady income by simply living cheap since 1977, and donating any money we earn over what we need to environmental campaigns we create. For the price of a newer car, we can - and have - fielded spy networks in foreign countries which led to articles in Science and Nature. Launched sea voyages such as one which made Time magazine's "top ten events" one year. Ended large destructive fisheries, stopped large dolphin drive-kills, dozens of other such things. If a couple's income is $130k in a good year, and they spend 25k on living, that's over 100 grand to do something interesting that would never be done otherwise. And when times are tougher, your lifestyle doesn't change, just the size of the projects you can fund. It probably goes without saying that remaining childless is part of what made this possible. The various breakthroughs and victories are much better possessions than we could have bought otherwise. Yes, I know, we're odd. We just assume that the "powers that be" can include anyone who chooses to live deliberately.

In terms of the expenses mentioned above, we have a broadband connection and currently belong to netflix streaming for $8/mo for my wife's tv habit. We replaced our home phone service with an Obi100 which gives us entirely free home phone service with our 5-instrument DECT wireless home phone system. May upgrade to the new model to get a free second line. (search amazon if interested in these things and read the reviews). The main vehicle is a '99 Honda DX hatchback will will carry about anything, and which gets about 1100 miles a year total use, never needs repair. For cell phones my wife has a platinumtel paygo touch phone which was free and costs $40/year total cost for all calls & functions. I carry a tracfone cell which costs $5/month, which is fine since nobody has its number except wife & family. In the same way, it can be fun to go through all the categories of normal expense and find ways to cut them to the bone... not out of desperation, but to free up funds to affect the world with. By doing this we've freed up many hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to put into our own brand of activism. Yet we have probably earned a far lower total income in that time than most couples do, even before our donations are taken out.

We haven't eaten out in 10 years. Yesterday I made a huge stew with a large half-price chicken and bulk veggies which will be the main staple all week. In general, we spend a fraction of what food stamp recipients do. Brown rice in 25-lb bags, bulk oatmeal, avo's and fruit from the yard... next thing to free.

Yet I'm sitting in a Hawaii home that's paid off - built it cheaply & designed it myself in '87 - and just put in a set of solar panels that our millionaire neighbors envy but can't afford... they say. Other than the old Honda - which doesn't look bad - there's no real apparent external difference between our lifestyle and that of our neighbors, aside from our house being bigger than most & our yard being full of fruit trees.

Not trying to toot our horn, just suggesting to this crowd and any younger couples reading that it's a fully viable way to go. Living on basics to maximize what you can do for the planet, other people, other species. If people add up how much money they've actually gone through in their lives, it comes to a fair amount. Of course for the big projects we use other peoples' money when possible, but there's no substitute for being able to fund your own initiatives if they sound crazy. And most of ours sound crazy right up until they succeed. Audacity is like that.

ymmv, of course...

I'm just saying I recommend it.

I understand your not wanting to explain more, but that's too bad. I think Barbara Sher is right. Most people have plenty of goals, and plenty of good intentions. Often they also have plenty of resources. But they don't know how to do what they want to do. It's not something Americans are taught. We're told we can do anything, but not how.

There are plenty of books (and web sites) out there about how to live frugally and save money. But not much about how to use the money you save, aside from investing it or donating it to established charities.

Ghung asked people last week what they would do for the cause if they won that record Powerball jackpot. $500 million is more money than I could spend in several lifetimes, and I have no clue what I'd do with it if I had it. I suppose I'd do what Americans typically do - hire someone to deal with it. Like those superstar athletes who use their financial windfalls to start their own charitable foundations. That leaves you sort of locked into BAU conventionality, but I wouldn't know what else to do.

I have a feeling a lot of peak oilers who got ahold of a little money would end up like this guy. Doing what they always did, only with more money.

Hi Leanan.

I would enjoy seeing others try a similar lifestyle to ours, and earlier in my career tried helping people do that. There can be a lot of initial interest, like being on a fad diet, but I don't know of a single other couple or individual who stuck with it. We are a social species, and once they went their own way they reverted. There are hundreds of bright-eyed folks out of college wishing to work for me as free interns - I spend a lot of time sending encouraging turn-down letters. Because I did it for decades, and it doesn't change the world. It doesn't even change the interns much over the intermediate term.

Spending funds effectively is of course a different issue. Giving it to charities is probably the best thing to recommend to most people; though its good to educate oneself to avoid giving to groups which will waste it. (most of them).

Learning to intervene successfully in large-scale systems is a very difficult skill-set and art. It is not taught anywhere in a useful way that I'm aware of, and I have failed to teach it effectively, despite being a pretty good (former) high school teacher. Designing really large-scale interventions which have a reasonable chance of success takes awhile to learn, and probably not everyone can. It took me a decade of failures until I started succeeding, and another decade after that before I usually succeeded at interventions. People don't really want to hear that.

I've set a number of people on the road to "jedi-like" training, and continue to do it occasionally as time & health permit. It's a lot like helping baby sea turtles make it to the ocean; you know that only one in several hundred will wind up as anything other than a meal for something else, but you can't help wishing each one well in that short time you help them.

Every once in awhile I've posted a bit of systems-steering stuff here, in the most intelligent forum I'm aware of. Over the years, I've had maybe 5 people contact me via email off this list, and only two open to pointers in how to deal with specific problems.

Of course, until I die, there's a tried-and true approach: give it to me. Our past contributors have been the most effective conservation funders I know of by about any metric; but of course that only works for the issue areas we prioritize. We turn down funds for stuff that I think won't succeed. Big funds, sometimes. But I won't be around after this decade or so.

One problem - and it's what has required our self-funding of nearly all new initiatives ourselves - is that interventions designed by skilled, experienced systems-thinkers sound implausible, in the "Mission: Impossible" sense. So in general, we find that we must create new initiatives with our own charge cards, mortgaging our house, etc, and then use the success to generate funds based on that success.

A related problem is that solving a problem completely and permanently is fundraising poison. If one identifies a problem and then fixes it quickly, cheaply, and efficiently, there is no rationale under which donors would contribute to it after the fact. The real NGO money is in using someone else's data to identify a problem, then polarizing the issue while inserting yourself into it, and then spend decades doing costly and ineffectual protests & incremental paper victories which generate donor lists and admin jobs. (There is nothing more destructive to a charity's bottom line than the quick and complete intervention success of a well-conceived program).

I think that teaching kids a different framework for knowledge might help - get them before they have too much to unlearn, prevent the mental boxes from forming, give them the tools to correct for cognitive biases while still being happy primates. But the time available to steer things is fairly short, and mine is shorter.

EDIT: babble minimization, medicated today.

Of course, until I die, there's a tried-and true approach: give it to me.

You'll be first on my list if I ever become a lotto millionaire. Hey, can't be worse than the more typical "investment" of buying more lottery tickets.

Charities...I got a catalog the other day from a charity which I likely won't support, since it's Christian and I prefer secular organizations. But they had an interesting hook. They were raising money to promote duck husbandry in Asia. They said thousands of chickens drowned in floods in areas like Bangladesh. Ducks can swim, and so are better suited for the changing climate. I wonder if that really works.

Heh. That's me, a human lottery ticket. I appreciate your support, truly. And I'm not actually hawking here for bucks; I didn't even write an end-of-year fundraising letter to any past donors in the "giving season". That "give it to me" posted here as a simple answer is the sum total of fundraising effort I've put in for nearly a year. Because I'm not exactly sure what is best done next, and I try not to BS people about that. And before I make a promise, I make reasonably sure I can keep it.

Interesting about the ducks, might well work. (We're thinking of switching from chickens to ducks in our backyard egg production, but for different reasons). In general, innovative initiatives by groups which are fairly young, have a relatively small board of directors, a few impressive wins under their belt, and still very low annual budgets are a good way to go. Find groups before they go all taintersclerotic. (yeah, another new word, I make them up on the fly when in intelligent company). Of course, large bulk-mail fundraising campaigns even for a good cause have a bleakly small percentage of donated funds making it to the field. Back when I was on the national board of a high-profile eco group, such campaigns could generate less than a penny spendable funds per dollar donated, and that was considered a success. (not that it showed up on the books that way). That is, if a package was tested on a given mailing list and produced a 1% return, it'd be rolled out at full scale, hundreds of thousands of pieces. One of many reasons I schismed off from it, but really that's industry standard. Best to make any donation outside the channel of replying to a direct-mail prospect piece, even if it's to the group sending out direct mail prospects.

If I'm still alive in January, I should be a fairly good bet for getting impossible things done for a decade-plus after that, should you find yourself a lottery winner or just be passing through Hawaii & want to say hi. Going into somewhat risky major surgery in a few days with the aim of freeing myself up to be a somewhat more effective agent for the earth. A bit scary, but the logic is sound. Sometimes the greater risk is to avoid scary things.

I think that teaching kids a different framework for knowledge might help - get them before they have too much to unlearn


Theocracies can be pretty good at achieving this. Pointing here at what the Church of Scotland used to be for instance. Even decades after that system is gone the Scots still maintain a relatively perfomant education system. Iran is another example.

Though not all of them succeed in doing so, and my point is rather that it requires spiritual capacity within a socially relevant framework to trigger action on this very right premise. And enough political and social consistency for long term maintenance of such a consenus.

A society may very well end up looking unlike to what it provides to the kids, but will put its future at grave risk if it fails to provide. I vaguely remember here a docu on a pre-columbian civilization where researchers postulated their demise on a practice of child sacrifice.

So while one well chosen specific framework can be helpful, the fundamental requirements depend more on the collective integrity effort invested within the existing framework. Poorly thought through frameworks end up to be dealt even within in the most stubborn of circumstances, poorly maintained frameworks risk to crash the system.


Edit: Assuming the meaning of framework is adhered to, dealing with just plain stuffing is a different issue.

You certainly are living your values. I guess it helps to be carbon negative when people try to deflate you by arguing -"well you're not living in a cave are you", at least you can tout that you have personally done more than the change needed (per capita) in the world.

Oh, I don't talk to people. Only the rare comment here, no other forums, and I don't blog.

I don't push any particular lifestyle or argue with anyone. Nobody knows my carbon footprint - and no one would believe it anyhow, if the carbon we've prevented from burning were counted in.

I've been posting here for years, but until now never described the stuff above about how my wife and I have spent, just roughly alluded to it. We don't wear it on our sleeves, because it would just make others angry. Really. And its often very useful to appear to be shallow and avaricious, it opens many doors which would otherwise remain closed.

We keep a low profile; I'm a practicing machiavellian, in the sense of believing an effective plan is better than appearing to have good karma. Most people who know us have no idea of what I just posted above about our way of living. Fame is best avoided lest it restrict your future options, and it's good practice to entirely disengage from caring either way what other people might think.

We don't need to inspire anyone but ourselves, and don't try to. We're used to trying very large things and succeeding. Those things are not even written down in any one place. And that, paradoxically, is one secret to real power, to operating outside the matrix, outside the mental boxes which can trap humans so firmly.


Greenish, I salute you. Machiavelli ll ! May you live long and prosper.

I would argue that you could help even more by making a noise -by proxy if you like, or something, so that people like us could say-Hey, look at that, See, it ain't impossible, and he says it's even satisfying.

I am in fact having a lot of fun in my getting off carbon caper, since it's a great excuse for doing what I really want to do anyhow-play around with widgets of the thermal variety.

PS- Maybe a more accurate moniker would be deepgreen.

Thanks, I salute you back. I enjoy your posts a lot.

Oh, I make a lot of noise sometimes. But with sort of stuff we do, the job isn't finished until it seems to have taken place spontaneously through human enlightenment and noble motive by all players, with all those in a position to destabilize the situation getting the credit. Handing off credit is the easiest thing in the world in human society, there are no evolved defenses against it, yet it constrains the recipients' subsequent actions a fair bit by tying them to a public narrative that evolves connectivity they come to depend on as the new system state stabilizes. They constrain their own actions just by being human. A good campaign might be likened to successful laparoscopic surgery, in which major system changes are made but the patient can still wear the same swimsuits afterward.

Heavens, if we ever wrote down the stuff we've done, we'd never be able to do much useful again. I know that sounds like an odd thing to say, but it's a true thing. Already there are nations whose leaders think I'm either the head of a covert US government agency or some kind of Bond-villain type character rather than just a guy in the suburbs with an unusual hobby.

"greenish" is kind of a dumb screen name, it was about the 6th I tried the first time I posted... not thinking I'd continue. And most days I'm not all that deep. Here I sit, sipping decaf in a La-z-boy chair with my feet up, typing onto a 32" LCD monitor while looking out on an unlikely set of jagged green Hawaiian mountains as the sun rises. By any reasonable absolute standards I'm a lazy environmental advocate.

Thing is, people don't want to be inspired really. Human minds seek resolution & certainty, not cognitive load & risk probability. They want to associate with other high-status primates and that can seem like inspiration on its face, but no one really likes a person who does what they think they should have done. Moreover, there are already enough inspired amateurs muddying the waters. In my experience, what humans really want is to be inspired that whatever they already feel like doing is practical and even easy, that being a superhero is a 1-step process if you find the right radioactive spider or are given a ring of power.

People who have iconic stature thrust upon them (or are silly enough to seek it) tend to wind up isolated by circumstances and often shot. Becoming isolated or being shot are incidental risks of some plans, but are not part of a desirable end state.

EDIT: babble clarification

Makes perfect sense.

Overcoming the urge to 'tell other people' is really powerful, satisfying. Along with the urge to argue, tell people what they ought to do.

Seeking satisfaction thru telling other people about ones self, ones stuff, ones spots, is a losing game. And when it comes to talking about secret spots out in the world, secret waves, etc, you really are shooting your self in the foot. Most people can't appreciate something unless they see someone next to them seeing them appreciate it. But that's what people do. When it hits the press, bye bye resource.

Inspire your self, and trust that it's real. You are wise. Well done. Thank you for sharing the wisdom, really, maybe a little will stick.

And yes, being virtuous today is threatening to people. They will shun you.

In that sense humans are sort of a hive species, come back and do the dance and tell the rest of the species where the exploitable resource is. Perpetuates the species, robs the individual of personal satisfaction (from the resource, vs the esteem for having revealed it). Uses up resource.

Got a guy down the road always 'preaching' his version of everything. He also wants communism and a dictatorship with himself as the leader of course, yes he actually said this. He is also very political so I just watch for what ever sign he has in his yard and vote opposite. I think people like this are on the planet to make going in for a colonoscopy enjoyable by comparison.

Just finished the National Park series by Ken Burns. Yellowstone was mythological for a time and then once 'discovered' - 'we' had to start trashing it. Thank your favorite deity for John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt. Sending large piles of flaming brush off waterfalls for entertainment was the one that got me.

If I find something cool, I keep my mouth shut.

A dictatorship with myself as a leader would indeed be quiet a good idea. A bodyguard of 100 of most beatiful women which could be found would make it even more interesting.

"A bodyguard of 100 of most beatiful women which could be found"

Beatiful? What a difference a 'u' makes in your intended meaning. Beautiful vs 'able to become a saint'. I might well be safer if you were surrounded by 100 women morally upright enough to qualify for sainthood, but I don't think that is what you meant :-)

Heaven might be a very lonely place. I'll go with Karlnicks version but naturally I want to e the leader with the body gaurds, no I take that back, just the body gaurds, keep the leadership.

Overcoming the urge to 'tell other people' is really powerful, satisfying. Along with the urge to argue, tell people what they ought to do.

Yes, it's a first step.

In that sense humans are sort of a hive species, come back and do the dance and tell the rest of the species where the exploitable resource is.

Well put.

And it's important to realize that hive has no consciousness, no real self-awareness, just adaptive reactions constrained by deep attractors. We tend to think of the species as being aware since we experience a certain sort of awareness individually and subjectively, but it simply isn't. it wouldn't recognize itself in a mirror, it's dumber than a parakeet. Most activists are aspiring parakeet trainers. However, system change happens either by accident (usually) or by sound planning held in a single brain making nuanced game moves with tight control of information and timing.

Hari Seldon, I presume?

No, just a Pak Protector/Face Dancer hybrid of sorts.

I salute both you and wimbi...
Fame - "Oh, no thank you!" That looks like it sucks, really.
It's the nosey-ness of some people that I find appalling, yet must deal with, so diverting, deflecting, and avoiding their attention and giving dull gray boring-ness is my life works.

I've known many famous people... they sometimes have the connections to seek me out... and fame takes a toll on all of them in some ways, even those who feel they need it. It's kinda like morbid obesity in the way it touches, overlays, and affects every small thing they do, and is often part of a cycle of self-destructive behavior.

I cannot imagine a more soul destroying endeavor. I feel grateful that it isn't important to me. It invites an 'appearances must be kept' sort of expectation where their life is more determined by whatever is expected of them. Sad really when you think about it. Certain careers demand it/is part and parcel of the territory. Do our leaders lead or do they actually follow.

I think David Bowie still probably put it best:


Pretty much exactly matches what you're saying.

Oh, I don't talk to people. Only the rare comment here, no other forums, and I don't blog.

Thanks for showing up here. Says something about both you and TOD...

Personal carbon tax:

Great, now they've found a way to tax you for breathing. Hello, Brave New World.

The penalty would be a HUGE tax on carbon, and the older you are, the bigger the tax.

So a young person would pay less for gas, heat & electricity while their parent would pay more? How do you enforce that?

OK...so, even if such an idea were feasible, then the young people may use more electricity than they would otherwise. Or is the premise that the younger generations have some new mental programming which makes them inherently behave differently than their predecessors?

To reiterate my other comment, I see no such evidence of this. Young people I see who happen to have access to money seem perfectly willing to spend it on using plenty of energy. I think the reason many young people don't use as much energy as their elders is that many young people don't have a lot of money.

The penalty would be a HUGE tax on carbon, and the older you are, the bigger the tax.

I suppose this is better than herding them off to Carousel.

Maybe the elders could be offered the 'Sol Roth choice'?

As y'all might have noticed, I don't bother to propose acceptable, possible or practical solutions. What I am thinking here is none of that, it's just to stir up a fuss in the right direction.

a bunch of annoying young activists sue us old geezers for ruining their future. We respond in the usual despicable ways, they have a happy time making an even greater fuss about our display of stupidity. The MSM gets the song and sings it. Eventually, a sense of guilt sinks into all the "consumers", and some sort of good results.

There, Now, back to supper.

And how does that work when the older parent is trying to turn off lights, cut air-con use, reduce miles driven etc etc while the children leave lights, computer, video, TV etc on for hours unused and require personal taxi service?


Yep, know all about it. Same with me and equally frugal wife and our notwithit kids.

I look back on all those other situations I have witnessed- something truly awfully obviously very very bad is going on, and "everybody" is going along with it. But some people start making annoying noise about how it's bad, and "everybody" comes down hard on them for that. Then, as Gandhi says, we win.

So here, while most kids are like most humans, some are not- those are the ones to start making the lawsuits, followed by etc, that's all I am pitching here.

Seems like time for an internal household carbon tax. But then I'm not a parent, so perhaps the inherent problems aren't apparent to me...

Good Idea. Worked when my kids started to want to borrow the car. I told them they had to pay not just the fuel, which is what they expected, but also everything else -insurance, maintenance etc etc, plus, and -this one really turned them off- 20% more for all the costs we hadn't thought of. that made them try to borrow some other kids parents car.

Of course, I was way wrong. The cost we hadn't thought of was global warming, and its cost is all there is, which nobody can pay.

So why are we borrowing to pay it? And who are we borrowing it from? So, there we are again. So sue us.

And I wish Bill McK well. An attack on Hitler's pancreas might have worked wonders even if it wasn't specifically to blame.

Having one special forces member attack the pancreas, and another one attack another bodily part, just might work. At least he's doing his part. Greenish would like to attack it from the demand aspect, thats valid as well. I think we need both. Making it marginally tougher to invest in ever more technical means to extract tougher and tougher fossils, will help, i.e. it will push the cost versus extraction rate(or maybe net past extraction) curve a little bit higher, which will also incrementally affect the demand as well.

My big fear at this point, is that the ability to extract the tight oil and sag, means that as Bill fears we will ultimately burn a lot more of the stuff than we thought possible a few years back. Any sand thrown into those gears is sand thrown in the right place.

I agree with Greenish's take on this, and yours. No, McK and 350 aren't the silver bullet on AGW. Nothing short of the instantaneous collapse of global industrial society would be, and that would obviously involve a whole 'nother set of problems predicaments. But at least he's out there, prodding movement in the right direction. I don't get the attacks aimed at Bill/350 from folks like Guy Mcpherson & Keith Farnish, who totally grok the overall predicament we're in, but seem to dis anyone who does less than solve the unsolvable all by themselves.

My understanding of the college 'Fossil Free' campaign is that it's meant to mimic the South Africa divestiture movement. To make investing in FF socially unacceptable, starting with uni endowments, and growing from there. I have to say, I remember vividly the day I watched Nelson Mandela walking out of that prison, which had seemed like it would never possibly happen. Then he was elected president. A sea change in the blink of an eye, really. Very much fostered by a campus divestment movement.

Now, I fully understand the differences. Far be it from me to spread anything resembling hope or optimism. I think we're f@#*&d. AGW ain't the ozone layer, and it isn't going to be fixed by some relatively simple global consensus. Carbon is too ubiquitous and embedded, unlike CFCs. But I can't help but do what I can, which is to use as little FF as possible, and to support every effort anyone makes to get others to move in the same direction. I can't really explain why. But trashing them for not doing enough, when 99% of USians at least, if not OECDians, are basically whistling past the graveyard on their way to the Roman circus, whilst munching on their loaf of bread, makes no sense to me.

And that sea change in the blink of an eye, that happened after decades of activism by a diverse group of people, none of whose individual contribution was enough to do it on its own.

It is Pete Seeger's still vibrant optimism that is amazing. As he told me: "I tell everybody a little parable about the 'teaspoon brigades.' Imagine a big seesaw. One end of the seesaw is on the ground because it has a big basket half full of rocks in it. The other end of the seesaw is up in the air because it's got a basket one-quarter full of sand. Some of us have teaspoons, and we are trying to fill it up. Most people are scoffing at us. They say, 'People like you have been trying for thousands of years, but it is leaking out of that basket as fast as you are putting it in.' Our answer is that we are getting more people with teaspoons every day. And we believe that one of these days or years--who knows--that basket of sand is going to be so full that you are going to see that whole seesaw going zoop! in the other direction. Then people are going to say, 'How did it happen so suddenly?' And we answer, 'Us and our little teaspoons over thousands of years.'"

Yeh, there are a lot of problems with fracking but the real problem is that it just lets us extract oil and gas at a much greater rate than we were doing previously. It won't stop peak oil or peak anything else but it will let us burn both sooner which is a disaster. I have never thought peak oil was a problem to be solved which it can't be but I thought it would not be pushed off into the future. Well, we can't afford to push it off into the future because we are burning ever increasing amounts of carbon now. The moral imperative is that we not burn it now and hope that we never burn it. That is something that those in charge need to understand right now.

Yeh, there are a lot of problems with fracking but the real problem is that it just lets us extract oil and gas at a much greater rate than we were doing previously.

hadn't thought of it that way before- but it makes sense

ts - It's easy to appreciate your perspective. But consider my view: the more oil/NG we get from frac'ng et al methods the longer we delay expanding coal use further. A side benefit may also be a delay in some military adventures. It would also be nice if we use this delay to expand the alts. I'm not holding my breath on that possibility. A future view is dependent upon how we expect the masses to react to PO. Obviously I have a low opinion of the masses.

The masses will probably just make loud scream because price is to high. All kind of stupidity could be expected in this case: pyramids, sacrifice even humans, Stonehenge? ridiciliously large cathedrals, Sæhrímnir are few historic examples and just simple riots.

Right now it could be considered analogy to Sæhrímnir where the pig or oil fields are simply considered to last long enough to care about or at least right now.

I think its worse than a simple rate o consumption changer (sustainer). Most the the shale hydrocarbons weren't worth trying to extract, now people can make money doing so. So the net extractable hydrocarbon inventory has gone up. I doubt whether tight hydrocarbons will delay peak oil, more likely they will decrease the postpeak downslope. If it wasn't for the externalities, mainly climate, but also more local degradation, that would be a good thing, allowing us to continue onto a BAU-lite trajectory, with most of the lite being the gradual development and use of more efficient tech. Now that that looks possible, it is hard for society to resist.

Greenish; I don't agree. No one is born with consumerism pre-programmed. We learn that as a value, and that value is enforced by commercial advertising. And the money for that comes from those who have the need to sell. That is the bottom line; The consumers do not actually need consumerism, but producers do.

Hi. This comment appears far enough down that I'm not sure exactly which thing you're disagreeing with; I don't think I said consumerism is pre-programmed.

Yes, we learn values from the culture we are raised in. And, more rarely, by individual conscious sorting.

Humans don't need consumerism, but evolved consumers do, in the sense that a human brain feels needs for anything. Most are fine to be willing participants, and only a slightly alien perspective can tell the dancers from the dance.

The first consideration in affecting systems is that you have to start with what exists, and not what could exist.

It was the oil consumers and not producers are to blame above I didn't agree with. I think for example the US car culture was more or less created by them to increase oil consumption.

And I guess I'm saying "blame" isn't that relevant a concept if you look it as a dysfunctional ecology, which it is.

Humans are individually seeking to maximize their own perceived fitness, to relieve anxiety. Some of them accidentally fall into a path in which that means pushing energy use. Very few people ever exert control over taking the easiest immediate path; some wind up promoting energy use, others sell high-tech toys made by using energy, others do real estate deals or arrange global arbitrage of some kind, others become pundits, etc. Very few don't want cheap gasoline. The oil companies are hated and blamed because hating and blaming is easy for us, it's a downhill roll in our minds to a resolution of dissonance. "They" don't just sell us energy, they offer a mechanism for us to rationalize a dualist standard while consuming what they sell. That onus is part of their cost of doing business.

If we are to cast it in primate social terms, we don't "deserve" to resolve that dissonance so easily. We need to own up to being part of that system. Since there is no way to opt out of it completely, one ethical path is to prevent more damage than your existence really causes, which is a lot of damage indeed.

So my disagreement is that a "them" exists in a useful way.

Have you seen any of the horror movies "The Cube"? I recommend the first one. In the movies, people are trapped in a 3D-laborynth that rearrange itself. And it is full of deadly traps.

Anyway, in the movie, a girl asks why someone built this thing, and there is a guy who explains it. I could not explain it better myself. But bottom line is: no one built the system; when it got big enough, it built itself, and we are the system.

This is also my way of seeing it, so I guess I agree with your last sentence.

Have you seen any of the horror movies "The Cube"? I recommend the first one. In the movies, people are trapped in a 3D-laborynth that rearrange itself. And it is full of deadly traps.

ah, a nostalgia film.

I find you and I agree a lot, JW. Thanks for the movie rec.

While everything McKibben does is not perfect or at least debatable, he is at the forefront of those few who are actually trying to get something done about climate change and has been warning us since the 80s. For many of us, his book on the subject was our first wake up call. Of course, college investment is just part of the answer but it is part of the answer. Of course he is aware of all the other things that need to be done but can't be doing everything at once. I am amazed at the man's stamina and his ability to still be active on this subject after all these year.

I think that it is hopeless but have only praise for the man's deep caring on this issue.

I think it would make sense to move out of Vermont and live in an urban area where he could forego the auto. But I am not in a position to criticize him given all he has done. If he has to drive sometimes, a CMax is not a bad choice.

I saw McKibben in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago debating John Hofmeister,ex-CEO of Shell Oil. What was depressing about the debate was that Hofmeister seemed to be so much smarter about how to win the public in general over to his view. McKibben had all of the right answers but, in my view, also had all of the external characteristics of the liberal that the right loves to hate. So I think he may be successful in "rallying the troops" on the left but he seemed unaware of the power that an oil company executive has in controlling both public opinion and legislatures and unarmed for combat with that type of adversary.

By comparison last week I saw presentations by Michael Mann and James Hansen. Much to my suprise Governor Jerry Brown was in the audience, and taking notes furiously.

What was depressing about the debate was that Hofmeister seemed to be so much smarter about how to win the public in general over to his view.

And there's the general dilemma with idealists vs. realpolitik.

Global climate is already destabilized.

"Global climate is already destabilized."

True, but it hasn't really been stable in the last million years. Humanity might succeed in knocking temperatures all the way up to Pliocene levels, which was the last time the climate really was stable, at least relatively speaking.

Whoa, Nelly. Have a look-see at the Vostok ice core data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vostok_420ky_4curves_insolation.jpg

It's only the past 10,000 years that could be described as actually being stable within a span of time even close to relevant, with an Earth that resembles the one we currently live on. If you go back too far you wind up with continents in weird places, different sized mountains, ocean currents and whatnot. I saw a show where the scientists were trying to prove that the rise of the Himalayan plateau might actually be responsible for keeping the atmosphere "stirred" - kicking off the oscillations which keep extremes from occurring and contributing to at least some of the stability shown in the last 10,000 years. The Thermo-Haline circulation being part of that stability as well.

A Pledge to Reform Greedy Set-Top Boxes

The coalition said that it would immediately download “light sleep” capability into 10 million digital video recorders that are already in American homes.

I'm all for that, My box in fact does consume more than my refrigerator.

I haven't checked the energy usage on my cable box but in the morning after being "off" for eight hrs., it is at eighty degrees F. If unplugged overnight the box takes longer than any Windows computer to boot up. Sometimes it won't play all channels so it's call the cable Co., go through voice mail hell, wait for a re-set and another boot sequence....

The only thing "turning off" does is turn off the front panel led's, mute the audio, and put up a screen saver video output.

Ours doesn't need the reboot, but the guide lists hundreds of channels as to-be-announced, and the bandwidth devoted to filling them in is tiny, so it takes a few hours before you can really use it to tell you whats on. You can still view the shows -only you don't know what they are.....

Yes. It's not so much that the bandwidth is tiny, but that the "broadcast" includes enormous amounts of data that don't apply to you. 20 or so years ago, when digital service was introduced, the cable companies hired out the whole job of assembling and distributing the channel guide data. At the time, it was enormously cheaper to put everyone's guide data into a single broadcast stream and distribute that (by satellite, with a single transponder covering the entire CONUS, IIRC). As there was no way of telling when the specific guide data a box needed would go by, all boxes had to monitor the broadcast at all times in order to say current.

As it would take years to swap out all of the digital boxes already in service, so that any new system would have to be run in parallel with the old system for all that time, none of the cable companies are willing to pay to change.

I've never really understood why the US puts up with getting shoddy electronics whilst others get efficient items. The EU push for <1W standby has resulted in TVs that barely register when turned off - with no loss of functionality.

It's easy to improve matters. Tell the companies they have 2 years to hit <1W standby or they get fined xx% of their turnover, every year.

This isn't something the market will do, it needs regulation.

Answer: The power of the 'Fox News Bubble'.

I can hear the endless rants already.

Still...even so, this is worth pursuing.

This isn't something the market will do, it needs regulation.

None of the regulators in the US are willing to tell the cable companies that they have to swap out some tens of millions of digital boxes within two years (probably costing on the order of a billion dollars). When I worked in the business, we looked at the problem -- the costs at just our company to quickly and properly dispose of 5-10 million boxes old enough that they were built with lead-bearing solder were frightening.

A proper regulatory response would be; all new or replaced boxes after such and such a date must be compliant. Then at least the scope of the problem isn't getting worse. The marketplace won't do it, cause a little sticker in the store that says this one is energy-star and that one isn't won't do much to move consumers to the first box (because the inefficient one cost $.75 less, and claims to have the same features).

Might be happening on a small-ish scale already by default...the "off isn't off" thing is a bastard though. After getting a Kill-a-Watt and finding out that my cable box used 35 watts On and 35 Watts "Off" (confirming what I already knew because of it's heat production at all times) - the next time the cable guy was out for a problem I complained about the box being old and using a lot of power...so the guy changed it out (for free) with a new one. Now, On of "Off", that one is using 12.5 Watts - so 22.5 X 24 hours of watts saved for me!

I'm thinking of buying a new 40 inch TV with built in HD terrestrial receiver and satellite receiver and all the latest internet wifi access etc. etc. 70 watts when on and 0.5 watts when off.

In Europe all electrical goods are sold with an efficiency rating prominently displayed, rated A or F for relative efficiency (KWh per year, in typical operation schedule). Most new goods are rate A or B, and they keep introducing new bands (AA or AAA) to reflect the latest improvements.

Ohh my god "the tyrannical nanny state"! Whats the matter, hate freedom or something! Americans (or USAains at least) have been programmed to act like this, so progress is difficult.

Seriously, those set-top boxes should be engineered better.

Although I wonder if there is any point to them any more. Why not just keep it all in the cloud and let people stream what they want to watch? Seems more energy efficient than a bunch of local caching systems.

For people with game systems, it's much easier just to get the Netflix app or Hulu app and forget cable altogether. Might have to wait for some shows, but you don't have to watch commercials either. This is what my roommate does - PS3 and Netflix.

Ahh, PS-3. What does that sucker consume -300watts or more I think. Better to have a power hungry set top box, than that superhog!

The PS3 slim is much better, and consumes very little power in standby mode - and you can actually turn it off very easily.


Still a hog when in use, but at least it's not a hog when you turn it off.

Laziness, both on part of the consumer and the manufacturers. They have a small lightweight Linux kernel/BIOS + File system running inside the box which controls File I/O and various other things. When you restart the system, the mini OS boots up, establishes connection with the Tx and resets itself. This takes time, consumers get irritated when they want to watch their favorite show at and have to wait for 1 minute. This is circumvented by running the box at full tilt all the time and just turning off an LED to show that the box is not running.

The more fancy the Set Top Box the more the number of daemon (background) processes that have to be run to bring on the display. It's the same problem with multi-cpu web servers, they are never powered down, just so that the extra traffic can be handled instantaneously without affecting QoS.

My old standard def Dish receiver would draw 28 watts, on or off, no difference.
My newer replacement DVR HD receiver even more, 38 to 45 watts, not including external disk drive(an extra 1 to 8 watts).

For many years no, I've put my SAT box on a switched outlet strip. It takes 5 to 10 minutes to boot and download a current guide, but it's well worth the savings(~1Kwh/day).

Using my EE background, I estimate it would take less than five dollars worth of extra parts, (in the design phase), to reduce that standby energy consumption by over 90%.

B.T.W. An extra KWh/day translates to 4-5$ a month in extra monthly utility charges.

I really hope the re-election of President Obama empowers the EPA to force energy saving design changes onto the Set top/Sat box industry. (Promise or not from industry). It is abhorrent that we waste the combined output of a dozen nuclear reactors for no real good reason.

Your last sentence makes an excellent point. And was it Mollison or Holmgren who said that nukes generate exactly as much energy as clothes dryers use in the US. No longer true (if it was when said), but the point holds. So much of what we use electricity for is utterly wasted, then we argue about whether we should be creating CO2 or radioactive waste to generate it. Our clothes dry fine out in the sun & wind, and occasionally in near the woodstove on damp, grey winter days. Yet many US communities actually have rules against drying clothes in this manner. And we tolerate (indeed blithely consume) gadgets such as you describe for a bit of convenience, which as you point out, isn't even necessary. We are collectively ignorant, arrogant and insane, and it is a tragic combination of epic proportion.

Our old house had a vertical wall-mounted hot water cylinder in the kitchen. My stepmother had a cupboard built around it with slatted shelves and used it for a drying cupboard on rainy days. It worked very well, too.

Reminded me of the "radiator oven" - http://reclaimedrelics.com/radiator-oven-warmer/

Steam radiator with a box for warming or slow cooking things.

"..removed provisions from the National Defense Authorization Act prohibiting the military from testing and using alternative fuels."

This was to keep the DOD from funding any alternative fuel programs. I guess the Republicans want to keep the military dependent on the oil industry. Most of the wars have been over oil, they needed to keep them motivated.

?? Gosh Cal... it would be helpful to post which link you're referring to, as in...

Biofuels: A Partnership Between Our Military and Our Department of Agriculture .

... especially if your quote is buried in an article. Expecting others to go in search of whatever it is you're posting about is begging to be ignored. Just sayin'...

I did not know you were a member of the Drum Police...just saying.

It is good to put in links when you can; conventions like that help the readability of comments.

Canada Approves Both Cnooc-Nexen, Petronas-Progress Deals

The Conservative government would have had a great deal of difficulty rejecting these deals since they are trying to promote the "Canada is open for business" image and the previous Liberal government would almost certainly have approved them. They meet the "Net benefit to Canada" criteria in the Investment Canada Act. Only the socialist New Democratic Party opposes them.

Government approves CNOOC-Nexen and Petronas-Progress takeover bids

The Alberta government provided Ottawa a list of conditions it wanted attached to any federal approval of the CNOOC-Nexen transaction. Those conditions reportedly included guarantees that at least half of Nexen’s board and management positions would be held by Canadians; for CNOOC to maintain current staffing levels for at least five years; and a commitment to maintain planned capital spending.

As part of the proposed acquisition, CNOOC promised to make Calgary its North and Central American headquarters, retain Nexen’s current management team and employees, and list CNOOC shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Excluding the initial Petronas rejection, only two proposed foreign takeovers have been blocked since the Investment Canada Act was introduced in 1985 — both by the Conservative government amid heavy political pressure.

Nexen is not really a strategic company for Canada because only 28% of its assets are in Canada - most are in the US Gulf of Mexico, the British North Sea, and offshore West Africa. It's biggest Canadian asset is its troubled Long Lake oil sands plant, which needs more money to get operating properly. Nexen needs money, CNOOC has money.

Progress is into NE BC shale gas, which is not strategic to Canada because it has an excess of NG. Petronas is heavily into LNG and wants to build an LNG plant to take it to Asia, where prices are much higher. That works from the BC government's perspective.

The people who really should be concerned are Americans, since this is going to take oil and gas from North American consumers and put it into the Asian market. However, amidst the current "We are going to become an oil exporter" and "We have 100 years of gas" hype in the US, there is a near total lack of concern over it. We'll see how that turns out over the long term.

I should add that this has implications for the UK as well. Nexen is the second biggest producer in the British North Sea, so the Chinese government has just bought a big piece of British oil production.

Chinese oil giant wades into North Sea

China took a major step into North Sea oil and gas production this weekend after one of the country’s leading energy companies sealed a £9.5bn takeover of the Canadian giant, Nexen.

The Canadian government and the European Commission have approved the $15.1bn (£9.4bn) takeover of Nexen by China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), in a deal that has caused controversy in Canada over the foreign ownership of natural-resource assets.

The deal is China’s largest-ever overseas energy acquisition and gives China control over 8pc of North Sea oil and gas production.
In addition to its Canadian assets, Nexen is the second-largest oil producer in the UK North Sea, pumping 114,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).

It has a 43pc stake in the Buzzard field which is becoming increasingly important in setting global oil prices as output at other fields in the North Sea declines.

What they mean by the last sentence is that Buzzard is the new Brent, and since Brent was the new West Texas Intermediate, CNOOC will have a big say in setting world oil prices.

Thanks - I didn't know that.
Reassuring for us Brits, eh?

Brits should be paying more attention to what's happening in the North Sea - it's turning into something of a national disaster. British energy policy in general is something of a shambles, although the British government won't admit it.

Any heads up on how far this can go on before we start seeing movie worthy problems in the UK?

I don't think it's going to be movie-worthy, it's just that the Brits won't be able to afford heat or electricity, and the government won't have any money.

Nothing new, it's just returning to the state they were in before they had North Sea oil and gas.

However, the old movie solution of sticking their heads in the oven and turning on the gas won't work because they don't have coal gas any more.

However, the old movie solution of sticking their heads in the oven and turning on the gas won't work because they don't have coal gas any more.

There's a silver lining to every dark cloud.

Climate talks: UN forum extends Kyoto Protocol to 2020

Delegates at UN climate talks in Qatar have agreed to extend the Kyoto Protocol until 2020, avoiding a major new setback. However, it only covers developed nations whose share of world greenhouse gas emissions is less than 15%.

The US - a major polluter - has never ratified the original 1997 protocol.

The deal was finally agreed on Saturday after the 27-member European Union, Australia and several other industrialised nations signed up for binding CO2 cuts by 2020, AFP says.

The protocol, however excludes some major polluters, including the US, China and India.

I heard on the BBC world service last night that Doha was to vote on the developped world being legally responsible for compensating developping nations for damage caused by climate change. The vote was 200 nations in favour, with one nation with veto against. The US. Given that there is no report of this vote, the US vetoed it.

I think it is completely ridiculous since developing nations are following the same path as developed nations. Should we hold the wealthy people in developing countries responsible as well? A wealthy Indian, Chinese or Brazilian consumes more than a poor American or European. How do we force them to compensate for damage caused by climate change? Vetoing such a ridiculous bill is the right thing to do.

Kyoto has been extended! We're saved!

That, plus getting colleges to divest, will have us in high cotton.


I had been worried.

I take the high cotton non facetiously. We've moved from bare ground to high cotton. Now we just need to get our butts into the tall redwoods.

Well, it's official and no surprise as to who came out the winner...

LED Roadway Lighting Ltd. Signs LED Retrofit Contract with Nova Scotia Power

LED Roadway Lighting Ltd. (LRL), a Halifax-based manufacturer of LED-based street and area lighting products, announced a contract with Nova Scotia Power, an Emera Company, to supply up to 85,000 Satellite™ series fixtures for deployment across the province. The fixtures will be installed starting in Q4 2012.

The new light fixtures will replace existing 70 – 400 watt high-pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures. The installation of the new energy efficient fixtures will provide energy savings of approximately 58% (or a total of 32,479,000 kWh per year). The LRL fixtures, which have a design life that is significantly longer than conventional HPS technology, will also provide significant savings in maintenance costs. In addition to the economic benefits and improved lighting conditions, the retrofit will yield greenhouse gas reductions of approximately 469,003 tonnes over 20 years, an amount equivalent to removing approximately 4,295 cars from the road.

See: http://www.ledroadwaylighting.com/press-releases/led-roadway-lighting-lt...

Nova Scotia Power swapped-out the 70-watt HPS cobra heads in front of our home on Thursday (94-watts with ballast); the replacements draw 44-watts, so power consumption falls by just over half.

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/LED-44W.jpg

Municipally owned and operated street lights are being replaced as well (e.g., there are 40,000 street lights in HRM, perhaps half of which are owned by the City). The Province is committed to replacing each and every street light within the next five to seven years.

In October, LED Roadway won a contract to supply NB Power with 72,000 replacement fixtures.

See: http://www.ledroadwaylighting.com/press-releases/led-roadway-lighting-lt...

Small steps, arguably, but they do move us closer to where we want to be.


As a big fan of solar power, any reduction of nighttime demand is a really good thing!

That's a very good point. Solar is obviously not a good solution for night-time electricity. At best, it can be done with batteries but that is very expensive. So reducing night-time loads is very good for a future with solar. And what is one of the biggest night-time loads? Lighting. If you can replace lighting and lighting within electronics (displays) with LED lighting, you can go a long way toward reducing night-time loads and thus minimize the amount of baseload power generation needed.

I think such day/night storage will be done at utility scale -and not via batteries. Pumped hydro, and/or advanced forms of compressed air energy storage look like the best bets, although maybe flow batteries have a chance. None of these storage solutions are likely to be usable on a residential scale. But we have a couple of decades at least before we have to do it on a large scale.

Has anyone run across any feasibility studies on small-scale (household) sized compressed air energy storage systems?

Oddly enough, I have been thinking of a pumped air storage system that goes like this.

Use the solar energy to pump up the tank of air, and also, if it makes sense, heat up a block of stuff for stored heat.

When there is no sun, take the pumped air and run it thru either the stored heat or a combustion heater and then thru a turbine alternator/small battery or capacitor and then to inverter-household use.

Complicated mess? Maybe not so complex, not so expensive as battery etc which is what I am using now. Also little problem of screaming air turbine. Ah well, nobody's perfect.

But fun.

Yeah - after you showed that a giant tank of hot water + stirling would result in abysmal performance I've been wandering into other territories.

The idea would not be to replace batteries entirely, but reduce the amount needed. Batteries are simply too good at meeting immediate and changing demand.

If you want a complicated mess, you might be able to use a stirling to act as a heat exchanger. Would probably want to set that up for only the out-cycle. Cold from decompression tube, hot from stored water.

It would probably be best and most simple to run a heat exchanger through a volume of water - that could absorb the heat from compression, then give back that heat during decompression. This water volume could have a heating mechanism too (likely resistance for simplicity and cost).

So the charge priority would go: charge batteries => batteries full => start air pump => fully pressurized => turn on heater until maximum temp reached

On the outgoing side you'd have the air system dependent on the state of the batteries: batteries full = do nothing, batteries below X volts = turn on

No need for a turbine...a reciprocating motor will work, maybe you can get this guy to throw you a bone: http://www.engineair.com.au/

And what is one of the biggest night-time loads? Lighting. If you can replace lighting and lighting within electronics (displays) with LED lighting, you can go a long way toward reducing night-time loads

or maybe you can just eliminate most of that nighttime lighting- most of which is not needed anyway. I miss seeing the stars.

I'm with you on the stars. A frustrated owner of a 12inch, I can't even find half of the Messier object. And Messier had a scope that was described as no better than a broken pair of cheap binoculars. LED streetlights are a mixed thing, good to be using less juice, but with reduced cost, the incentive to eliminate them entirely is lessoned.

When I moved to the western part of Sonoma county in 1979 I could often see the Milky Way from my front porch. I don't know exactly how long ago it disappeared but being surrounded by vineyards now instead of apple trees you would think it would still be dark out here but on a 360 degree horizon all I see is the glow of cities late into the night.

The car dealerships, along the highway, on the north side of Petaluma killed the stars.

I was remembering the other day, that when I was a kid, that they used to shine spotlights up in the sky, and the light beam would move back and forth. I always wanted to get on my bike and see where they were coming from. I guess my folks drove me a few times. Shopping centers, car dealerships I seem to recall. It reminded me of Batman, when they use the light to call Batman.

Hopefully the right folks in the U.S. are cognizant of this progress and will be able to emulate it.

Technical question: For grids which have very little load-following power sources, where does the 'extra' electricity 'go' at night? ('Extra' meaning the difference between the mean daytime demand the the mean nighttime demand...assuming that demand is indeed less at night). This question also assumes only a trivial electricity/energy storage capability.

Same question for the situation where nighttime electricity demand is significantly cut due to LED lighting, yet the utilities still need the same non-load-following-capable base load generation plants to satisfy daytime demand.

Are there any web sites depicting electric load/demand over time for particular cites, regions, etc?

Cooling towers? I may be wrong, but I think steam is dumped into the towers.

Hi Ulan,

We're moving more in the direction of wind, which happens to be a better fit for us. Wind resources are typically strongest during the overnight hours and winter months and that works-out OK for us because our utilities are winter peaking and we can use this power to recharge electric thermal storage heaters and, with that, displace fuel oil. The City of Summerside, PEI has been especially aggressive on this front with their innovative Heat for Less initiative.

Nova Scotia Power, NB Power, Saint John Energy and Maritime Electric are also studying ways in which they can use electric water heaters to balance wind (four out of five Maritime homes are fitted with electric water heaters).

See: http://www.powershiftatlantic.com/

I participated in this pilot study but had to withdraw in October when I replaced our electric water heater with a Nyle Geyser.

Duel fuel heating systems under utility control are another option, e.g., the addition of plenum coils to forced air heating systems. This allows electricity to be used for space heating purposes whenever conditions are favourable and for these heating systems to revert back to oil or propane when they are not. Ontario Hydro went this route back in the early 80's when new generation coming on-stream far outpaced demand and the utility was desperate to build load.

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWshVAK0Rtk

Lastly, there are electric and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles. Although some decry that they only perpetuate our car culture to our greater detriment, I, personally, would jump at the opportunity to purchase a PEHV Town & Country, Caravan or RAM 1500 if any one of these vehicles were to come to market. Simply plug it in and let it recharge overnight, or at other times as the utility may prescribe.


Electric storage heaters. Used to have them at my parents house. They were charged up at night to release the heat all day. Fur heads love them. People are obsessed by storing electricity to use later (batteries, hydro) but many applications only need to store heat or cold.


Paul and NAOM,


I found this UK grid frequency meter web site:


Thanks, interesting. Looks like I caught it at the end of the 9 o'clock news.


Freezers and water heaters, too, could run only at night in many cases. Or only when a "smart meter" tells them to.

Shouldn't that be "NAOM"?

Must take my fingers in for tuning :(


What is the light supplied like? Better where it is needed and less glare, better contrast due to less spilled light?

I got really p$$ed off today, floodlights were on at the plaza basketball area in full sunlight. No-one cares as they get cheap electricity. I stand in the butchers, looking at the 8' instastarts in their dirty enclosures and wonder how much better it would be if they were replaced by modern fittings and how much energy is being wasted. Paid my water bill, same 8' fittings and p$ss poor lighting, how much waste there? What have you done to me Paul? ;)


It's OK, but not great by any means. There's a lot less spill which is both good and bad. Compare how the acorn fixtures illuminate the street looking forward versus this new LED fixture. Granted, much less light pollution, but there's a sort of black curtain effect that visually cuts you off from your immediate surroundings.

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_2020.jpg

These acorn fixtures will look a hundred times better once they've been retrofitted with LED conversion kits and this pukey golden-yellow light is finally gone (a nice, incandescent-like 3000K light source would give the street a classic 1940's feel).

I have a similar problem to what you describe in that every facility I enter is mentally graded and dissected. I'm never truly off the clock when it comes to weighing the relative merits of one lighting system to another.


Its both a curse and a blessing. A curse cause you can't just relax, you are always, observing/thinking/evaluating. A blessing cause thats how true expertise, and sometimes genius is developed.

That picture shows it nicely. It was similar when they put in new lighting (discharge?) around here but the lack of glare in the eyes made things a lot clearer. When I was in the UK I used to have my sun-visor down, when on the motorways at night, to keep the glare out of my eyes.


Egypt: Between Revolution 3.0 and Civil War

The current logjam between protesters and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government could lead to escalating tensions.

... It's ironic that the Mubarak regime tried to tar round one of the revolution as a "Muslim Brotherhood Revolution", as the Brotherhood has been all too happy to claim that mantle in the transitional period. Whatever else one might say, the Brotherhood couldn't be more different from the revolutionaries; its structure is neither leaderless nor horizontally organised. Instead, its institutional depth, ideological coherence (members who've moved beyond the most muted criticism or innovation continue to be pushed out), and hierarchical structure served it well in the post-Mubarak contests for power.

But these qualities have also left it with a blind spot that is common to all ideologically grounded movements who taste power without having been in the revolutionary trenches: A sense that its view and understanding of events was naturally shared by all right-thinking and seeing Egyptians, and that those whose views and experiences differed were little more than a minority voice and a distraction to the work of creating a new Egypt along its ideological, political and economic vision.

... expect more food and fuel riots

Egypt's Leader Seen on a Path To Martial Law

If Mr. Morsi goes through with the plan, it would represent a historic role reversal. For decades, Egypt’s military-backed authoritarian presidents had used martial law to hold on to power and to punish Islamists like Mr. Morsi, who spent months in jail under a similar decree.

A turn back to the military would also come just four months after Mr. Morsi managed to pry political power out of the hands of the country’s powerful generals, who led a transitional government after the ouster of the longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak.


EIA recently publicized the AEO2013 EARLY RELEASE OVERVIEW (AEO; Annual Energy Outlook).
With EIA’s data for AEO2013 the two charts below were developed.

The chart shows EIA’s projection of US crude oil production towards 2040 in their Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) 2013 Early Release (ER) split on sources for crude oil.

The chart shows EIA’s projection of US tight oil production towards 2040.

As of now, total tight oil production for 2012 on an annual basis from Bakken (Montana and North Dakota (NDIC data) and Eagle Ford (TRCC data and inclusive condensates) is expected in the range of 1.1 - 1.2 Mb/d.
EIA expects a total of 2.0 Mb/d with tight oil for US for 2012.

Does anyone have any idea about how the balance is made up from other US tight oil areas?

- Rune

The EIA are notoriously bad forecasters. In the early 2000s, their forecasts were wildly bullish, undeservingly so.

Now, they've overlearned their lesson and become skewed in the other direction. At the end of 2011, their estimate of total tight oil production was... wait for it, 1.1 mb/d by 2035(!). Needless to say, it took less than a year to destroy that forecast.

Their recent one isn't much better. The last available crude oil production figures show that the U.S. is producing 6.8 mb/d of crude oil. Their forecast shows that by 2016, the total amount of crude oil produced will be 7.3 mb/d.

All you need next year is a net increase of 500,000 bp/d, hardly a miracle, and that forecast is blown away years before it was supposed to hit.

Their recent one isn't much better. The last available crude oil production figures show that the U.S. is producing 6.8 mb/d of crude oil.


EIA in their crude oil reporting shows that the annual average production of crude oil for US so far for 2012 and as of September 2012 is around 6.3 Mb/d.

- Rune

Yup, but we're now in December, not in September.
The latest production is, indeed, over 6.8 mb/d.


The net addition has been about 1 mb/d of crude production in the period from January to the end of November.
If U.S. crude production gets to 7 mb/d at the end of December, not an impossible task, then one would only need half that net addition in 2013 to not only screw up the timetable but, in fact, to render the forecast completely worthless. As it would only require trifling sums of net added production in 2014 to reach a level of production that the EIA never even anticipates the U.S. to reach - at all.

My guess is that just as they were forced to, essentially, completely redraw their forecast a year later since last time, in November of 2011, they will be forced to do the same thing at the about the same time next year.

I am quoting data on an annual basis, not monthly basis. So the figure I gave was the average of production from January 2012 and through September 2012.

EIA in their AEO2013 uses 6.34 Mb/d for all 2012 and has a forecast of 6.83 Mb/d for 2013.

Hi Rune,

To reinforce your point, I calculated average daily production from the source that Symmetric linked to from Jan 6, 2012 to Nov 30, 2012. It is 6.18 Mb/d. If we assume it remains at the Nov 30 level for the next 4 weeks the yearly average would be 6.22 Mb/d. So the average would need to increase by 1.3 Mb/d to get to 7.5 Mb/d by 2016, which is only 0.7 Mb/d above the November 2012 production level. We will see.

I also see that the lower 48 onshore and offshore producrion is projected to increase by 0.5 Mb/d from 2012 to 2016, I would expect slow decline when tight oil is excluded based on Rockman's comments.

The tight oil forecast in 2020 may be possible, but it won't rise quite as steeply as the EIA predicts, and the tight oil forecast after 2020 is much higher than I would predict.


I just finished Nate Silver's 'The Signal in the Noise'.

It is too bad he didn't include the interesting history of peak oil forecasts, and Limits-To-Growth predictions in general.

He does include material on Global Warming though.


Looks like an interesting read so I just added it to my wishlist (will first have to read through 6 other books first).

And, yes I think that is the challenge; how to find the signal in all the noise.

- Rune

Rune – As someone who is entirely focused on finding new oil prospects in the US I can’t tell what a good deep laugh this chart gave me. I’ll hit the tite oil later. Let’s focus on lower 48 onshore oil. Do they even try to describe where all that conventional new oil will come from? My owner would pay good money…and so would every other company. Conventional oil prospects are scarcer than hen teeth. Which is exactly why so many companies are spending billions on the oil shales…certainly not because they are more profitable than conventional plays.

A good current example: Energy XXI…a major independent oil that isn’t familiar to many. Last month they made an amazing public statement: there are not enough conventional undrilled oil prospects in the US for them (and by implication the rest of the industry) to survive. So they are making a major push at redeveloping offshore GOM residual oil reservoirs utilizing horizontal well bores. Which is exactly what the Rockman is attempting to do onshore. And those aren’t empty words: they’ve done a $1+ billion acquisition of GOM fields from ExxonMobil and have budgeted over $2 billion in drilling capex. Folks should clearly understand what they are talking about: it’s not shale oil, it’s not CO EOR projects, it’s not tapping offshore leases that can’t be drilled today and it certainly isn’t any new conventional oil plays in the US…there aren’t any. They are implying huge oil recoveries from the same plays we’ve been drilling up for more than 60 years. The same plays where little new drilling is going on today despite high oil prices.

Now let’s look at lower 48 offshore. Unless they have some great expectations of offshore areas outside the GOM they must be referring to Deep Water GOM. Certainly not the GOM shelf. Given the relatively short life of DW fields they apparently are predicting many more DW field discoveries than we’ve made so far. The problem there is geography: the play doesn’t cover the entire GOM but a smaller area. An area that has already been extensively drilled with discovery wells and dry hole. Dry holes like the last well Rockman was involved in out there: a $148 million loss that completely eliminated any possibility of oil on those leases.

I hope everyone understands the implication of the tite oil curve: it’s actually a very negative forecast IMHO. Unless oil prices constantly increase from current levels to greater than $160/bbl the EIA projection of increased production from the oily shales will not happen. Given what $148/bbl oil did to the global oil economy (and what current prices are doing today) it’s difficult for me to take that projection serious. In fact, what they are logically implying is that oil shale resources that are economically viable at today’s prices are diminishing. IOW after these are drilled up higher prices will be required to develop the remaining poorer shale plays

ROCKMAN, thanks a lot for sharing your insights.

The signal gets lost in all the noise. What you describe are developments that require high oil prices to make the economics work. It appears as price, cost and returns get lost in the noise, oil companies are in it to make a profit, and they are not charitable organizations.

After about 2020, production begins declining gradually to 6.1 million bpd in 2040 as producers develop sweet spots first and then move to less productive or less profitable drilling areas.

Above from EIA AEO2013 Early Release Executive summary, p.1.

Clearly EIA is aware of that productivity in shale developments will decline with time.

Deep water drilling is expensive and geologists have complex models of (potential) prospects each assigned a probability for discovery (and oil/gas in place) and if prospect A is a success then this changes the probabilities for the other prospects in the area. If A is dry or do not meet expectations, the prospects in the area often gets assigned lowered probabilities. A dry hole also needs to be paid for.

So far no one has commented on the projection of increased production from CO2 Enhanced Recovery methods.

- Rune

Rune – “What you describe are developments that require high oil prices to make the economics work.” This touches on one the economists’ follies we’ve discussed before: increased prices will increase the supply of a commodity. That may be true for a widget maker but not for conventional oil/NG. I don’t have a great deal of experience in other basins but 37 years in the Gulf Coast Basin…one of the most prolific hydrocarbon arenas on the planet. It doesn’t matter if oil goes to $200/bbl and stays at that price indefinitely: there will be no surge in conventional production from the GCB. For a change this isn’t just MHO but an absolute fact.

A perfect recent example: I just drilled three 5,000’ wells in the Frio oil trend along the Texas coast. This play has produced almost 5 billion bo since the mid 1940’s. The larger fields ranged from 20 to 150 million bo. My targeted reserves were 30k to 50k bo for each of those three wells. And if each worked they would be one well fields…too small a closure for a second well. And these were developed using state of the art 3d seismic. And why did I drill for such small targets in the highly productive trend? Easy answer: that’s all there is left. At $200/bbl more such prospects might be drilled. But if they work it would mean just 10’s of thousands of bbls each…not millions let alone tens of millions of bbls. The same goes for every oil play I know in Texas and La.

Again, the chart makes it clear: the prolonged production plotted is from conventional reservoirs. Maybe they are extending the production from existing reservoirs. Very unlikely: the fields are not just mature but very mature and very close to abandonment even with the current high prices. Very simply it doesn’t matter how high the price of oil rises: it won’t create conventional oil fields where they don’t exist. I suspect the general public has no clue as to how heavily drilled all the conventional oil trends in the US really are. In the conventional oil trends from the Mexican border to the Florida panhandle you can rarely find a gap wider than a couple of thousand feet between wells. And once again this is a major reason for the activity level in the oil shale trends IMHO. They have no alternative: drill the shales or close their doors.

Hi Rockman,

Nobody here likes economists very much, but I think economists are somewhat misunderstood. When an economist suggests that the supply of oil will increase if prices increase, she means both conventional and unconventional oil. It is also presumed that there will be sufficient demand for oil at the higher price.

This does not happen in an instant, it takes time for resources to be developed. In Texas, there has been an increase in total crude plus condensate output (both conventional and unconventional) to levels not seen since 1988 due to higher prices since 2010.
( http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MCRFPTX2&f=M ) This is both what economics would predict and what has in fact happened.

Well this can't go on forever says the geologist because the supply of oil is limited. Agreed says the economist, as oil prices rise there will be a search for better efficiency in the use of oil and for substitutes for oil. (suggestions for how this might occur at bottom of post)

To me it seems the EIA is expecting the kinds of projects that you are working on to create a small increase in lower 48 output of about 0.5 Mb/d. Based on your comments as well as recent trends in US output minus Bakken and Eagle Ford output, I would expect a slow decline in conventional US oil output.
The big story in Rune's charts is the tight oil output and note that this EIA forecast is only about half of what the IEA predicts for tight oil up to 2020.

If oil prices remain in the 100 to 120 dollar range for Brent Crude (which is the price that the EIA is now using), I think the EIA forecast for tight oil up to 2020 is fairly close (it will ramp up a little more slowly than the EIA predicts), after 2020 the decline from Bakken and Eagle Ford output will be steeper, I am unsure if there are other tight oil plays which might fill the gap. You would know better than me.

How would we substitute for oil?

By using more efficient cars including greater use of hybrid and electric cars, greater use of and demand for public transportation, greater use of rail for transporting goods, better urban design to require less use of autos, switching to natural gas and propane from oil heat, development of wind, solar, geothermal, and nuclear energy, greater use of heat pumps, better building codes. The market can respond in all kinds of ways to higher prices and the government could speed such development with the imposition of a rising carbon tax, start at 60 dollars per metric ton and raise it by 25 % every year until we reach zero net carbon emissions worldwide.


DC - "To me it seems the EIA is expecting the kinds of projects that you are working on to create a small increase in lower 48 output of about 0.5 Mb/d". Actually not. Consider that the current production rate is coming from existing lower 48 onshore wells which will be nearly depleted in the next 10 -15 years. So they are actually predicting a gain in rate on the order of 2.5 million bopd from new wells drilled 15+ years out. And the man once said: depletion is like rust...it never sleeps. Again, my simple question: where are these new locations that the oil patch isn't drilling now (after several years of record high oil prices) that we will drill in coming decades?

I have no doubt that if asked the EIA would respond with silence. They cannot point to conventional trends where such potential exists.

Unless oil prices constantly increase from current levels to greater than $160/bbl the EIA projection of increased production from the oily shales will not happen. Given what $148/bbl oil did to the global oil economy (and what current prices are doing today) it’s difficult for me to take that projection serious. In fact, what they are logically implying is that oil shale resources that are economically viable at today’s prices are diminishing. IOW after these are drilled up higher prices will be required to develop the remaining poorer shale plays

This is what I keep thinking. I think the current shale boom is giving us a plateau and maybe even a small decline. But continued demand from Asia and all the best spots being used up first will cause prices to start rising again. The share of US domestic oil production may increase along with higher oil prices. I think prices may be relatively steady for a few years with only small price increases . . . but price increases are going to return eventually. It is just a matter of when, not if.

As any commodity oil prices are also set by demand and demand is very much dictated by affordability.

Demand is not what you want, but what you can pay for.

The chart shows relative development in petroleum consumption for OECD and the biggest economies within OECD from January 2000 and as of July 2012. January 2000 = 100

- Rune

But that graph is missing China, Brail, India, and other growth countries.

Rockman - my experience is in the Canadian oil and gas industry, so it's good to have a confirmation of what I suspect about the US situation. From my perspective, the estimates don't look credible, but I don't have any inside information so I can't say for sure. I can look at a map of Canada and say where the oil is and is not, but not the same for the US.

The lower 48 is a very mature province, as we say, and I don't see where they could find any big new discoveries. Western Canada is much the same, although not as mature, but still there are no really big opportunities left. Offshore Canada is in decline, there is nowhere left to look for big finds, and they are just drilling out the satellite fields. Production will start to decline soon, so I wonder if the GOM isn't in a similar state. Canada has tight oil formations comparable to the US, including its share of the Bakken Formation, and a similar play in the Cardium in Alberta, but while they are a lot of fun for the junior companies, there is not a huge potential for long term production. It is just a useful increment in light oil production unless prices go to $160/bbl+, and I think that would kill demand. What has really monstrous long term potential is the Canadian oil sands, and the US has nothing like that. The so-called "oil shales" of the American West are nothing similar. It's kerogen trapped in marlstone.

So, like you, I remain unconvinced by the hype.

Do you have a link to the news article you're talking about? I don't seem to be able to find it on their website..
edit: scratch that request. I found it although your interpretation may be a bit agressive. it says that they are postponing the NG drilling.


Could the tight oil number include condensate and NGL from other plays like Marcellus etc?

The spread sheet I used from EIA was specific about crude oil.
It may include condensates and my impression of EIA is that they have a very good classification system for liquid energy. If the data included NGL’s it would have been stated in the notes.

- Rune


I found the following on the EIA site under definitions...

Crude oil..... "Lease condensate recovered as a liquid from natural gas wells in lease or field separation facilities and later mixed into the crude stream is also included;"

from here...

just trying to find the missing barrels.

In field operations you can either store the condensate in separate tanks from the crude oil, or mix it into the crude oil tanks. If you do the latter, it is deemed to be crude oil. Chemically, it is no different from very light crude oil, it is just that its origins are different.

Hello and thanks.

EIA states in a note on their spreadsheet that lease condensates are included in their crude oil accounting/forecasts.

Hi Rune,

Thanks for these charts. I don’t know where the EIA is expecting the extra tight oil to come from.

I recently updated my Bakken Model and future scenario and also have begun work on a model for the Eagle Ford trend. See


For the Bakken we have the following:


This model peaks in Jan 2019 at 1.35 Mb/d and the abrupt decline after Dec 2019 is because the modeling ends at that point and new wells are no longer added starting in Jan 2020. See the post linked above for greater detail.

For the Eagle ford we have the following:


The Eagle ford is about 2 years behind the Bakken and I assume well productivity will begin to decline in 2015 at the same rate I used for my Bakken Model. Output peaks in this scenario in March 2021 at about 1.37 Mb/d.

For the two major tight oil plays in the US we have:


This model reaches a short plateau at 2.7 Mb/d in Dec 2019 and begins a slow decline to 2024, at that point the Bakken is fully drilled at about 40000 wells and begins rapid decline.

I am unsure about eventual well saturation in the Eagle Ford and the number of oil leases at that point, but if the spacing from the Bakken applies it would imply about 60000 leases. This number would be reached in 2033 if the increase in the number of leases remains at the Dec 2021 level of 234 new leases producing every month. Eagle ford output would be declining slowly from 2024 to 2033 as Bakken output declines rapidly. After 2033 both the Bakken and Eagle Ford will be declining rapidly because new wells will not be added due to well saturation (lack of space for profitable wells).

For this reason, the plateau forecast by the EIA from 2032 to 2040 seems unlikely unless other major tight oil basins begin production, 20 years is a long time so if prices are high enough maybe it will happen, time will tell.

Note that my scenarios are quite optimistic and I see them as an upper bound as to what might occur with high oil prices and continued demand for that high priced oil, reality is likely to be lower due to more rapid decline in well productivity than I have modeled and/or lower demand due to high prices.



That is some impressive works and thanks for sharing.

The most important factor is future developments of the oil price, and a decline in the oil price will slow things down. A growing oil price has the opposite effect.

There are lots of variables to consider when doing forecasts for shale, like how prolific the area is and how that develops with time.

Capacity to transport oil and not least natural gas from the area and to the market. As of now some natural gas flaring is allowed for a limited period (typically one year) thereafter a solution for the gas needs to be in place. A lack of solution of the gas has the potential to affect oil production.

Availability to capital, some of the shale activities are financed with debt, what debt carrying capacity the companies have and what their strategies are with regard to dividends, return on equity, net present value considerations etc.

Then there are practical considerations like access to new areas, road maintenance and capacity for increased loads. It takes on average around 2 100 heavy truck loads to complete one well in Bakken, and then add trucking of the oil from some of the wells to rail/pipeline gathering points. Availability to water for fracking, disposal of consumables (like fracking fluids) from making a well.

Skilled workers and the infrastructure to support these.

Just a few in a hurry.

- Rune

Thanks Rune. I appreciate the work that you share here and try to build on that.

I agree that there are a whole host of issues that could slow the rapid increases that we have seen so far in both the Bakken and the Eagle Ford. My scenarios are optimistic (many would consider them unrealistic.)

What level of decrease have you seen in the newer wells in the Bakken compared to older wells (overall well profile comparison) in your research. My models of the Bakken don't show much decrease from 2008 to 2012 in that an "average well profile" matches the data when considering the number of new wells coming online (based on North Dakata data).


Blighted Icon: Volunteers Aim to Revive Chestnut

The American chestnut once towered over everything else in the forest. It was called the "redwood of the East." Dominating the landscape from Georgia to Maine, Castanea dentata provided the raw materials that fueled the young nation's westward expansion, and inspired the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Henry David Thoreau.

Now, after 30 years of breeding and crossbreeding, The American Chestnut Foundation believes it has developed a potentially blight-resistant tree, dubbed hopefully, the "Restoration Chestnut 1.0."

At a national summit in Asheville in mid-October, the group's board adopted a master plan for planting millions of trees in the 19 states of the chestnut's original range.

Massive Crevasses and Bendable Ice Affect Stability of Antarctic Ice Shelf

Gaping crevasses that penetrate upward from the bottom of the largest remaining ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula make it more susceptible to collapse, according to University of Colorado Boulder researchers who spent the last four Southern Hemisphere summers studying the massive floating sheet of ice that covers an area twice the size of Massachusetts.

... The scientists used ground penetrating radar to map out the basal crevasses, which turn out to be massive. The yawning cracks can run for several miles in length and can penetrate upwards for more than 750 feet. While the basal crevasses have been a part of Larsen C for hundreds of years, the interaction between these features and a warming climate will likely make the shelf more susceptible to future disintegration. “They likely play a really important role in ice-shelf disintegration, both past and future,” McGrath said.

No Plains Sailing in Siberian Oil

When the Kremlin's oil champion [Rosneft] and Big Oil's biggest [Exxon] sealed a strategic alliance in 2011, tight oil was little more than a footnote to ambitions in the Russian Arctic. But Friday's announcement of a deal to explore the enormous Bazhenov deposit makes Western Siberia suddenly much more important.

Like the Bakken shale under North Dakota, the Bazhenov is thought to contain vast oil reserves trapped in tight rock formations. At 570 million acres, its land mass is the size of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico combined, according to Sanford. C. Bernstein. Bazhenov could hold between 60 billion and 140 billion barrels of oil, and production could approach one million barrels a day, or around 10% of Russia's total, by 2020, analysts say. Commercial production in the Arctic will only just be getting started by then.

and in 2010

... Victor Petersilye, the deputy director of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise All-Russian Petroleum Geology Research Institute, confirms that there is still no truly effective way to extract this oil. Test drilling further emphasized how ineffective the geological exploration work had been - most of the wells were either dry or low-yield. The workers in the field could not understand why wells drilled in one location would produce oil, but others in another location wouldn't. As one expert put it so vividly, this meant they worked like "prowling cats." The size of the reserves in the Bazhenov Formation (meaning those in clayey reservoirs) is very difficult to estimate, and the oil industry decided to suspend operations in the overwhelming majority of the wells. According to the research data, no more than 28 wells are now under construction, although there are officially 82 wells that are currently producing oil from clayey reservoirs. Victor Petersilye considers it a waste of time to try to force major companies to revive their drilling efforts for this difficult-to-reach oil, since they themselves will begin to develop the Bazhenov Formation resources as soon as it becomes economically viable.

... Ivan Nesterov's admonition about the need to develop the less-accessible hydrocarbon reserves is tied to the fact that oil production will continue to decline in the foreseeable future. Experts estimate that by 2030 Russia will produce no more than 50 million tons per year, while Russia's oil requirements will be 500 million tons per year. However, there are sufficient oil reserves in lower-permeability rock to supply Russia for at least the next 200 to 300 years.

Argillaceous rock has the Russian oil industry in a jam

S – This makes sense and offers some hope for development of this resource. And for the same reason we’ve seen expansion of similar resources in the US: the requirement of Wall Street for pubcos to expand their reserve base regardless of profit margins. I’m sure XOM expertise in such ops greatly exceeds that of the Russians. But XOM also has the capability of realizing profit via stock equity gains that NOC’s don’t. Additionally such a venture may provide significant feedstock to XOM’s refining and retail marketing efforts. A similar effort could be done in Venezuela if the political climate were more biz friendly.

Fighting Desertification in China

Beijing launched an ambitious plan a decade ago, but the desert continues to swallow up large tracts of green land.

I wish them the best possible results.

As long as they continue to build coal fired plants, I'll be cheering for the deserts!

I can't go there with you on that one, comrade.

Perhaps China should focus more of its considerable, yet finite, resources on this issue, as well as other internal sustainability efforts, and spend fewer resources on expanding its military machine.

Taiwan isn't going anywhere.

Other than a Taiwan invasions, the U.S. is content to not conduct military ops against China...we have plenty other of our own internal challenges to sop up our resources.

It would be more productive to build more electric-powered rail lines, push its people to eschew more cars in favor of electric and human-powered bikes and trikes, etc. rather than cause a big stink about an unremarkable amount of oil in the South China Sea.

Perhaps China could collect its treated waste water from its largest urban areas and pipe it out to the tree hedgerows being planted to hold back/reclaim the desert. Maybe separate pipes for night soil slurry.

Perhaps China could collect its treated waste water from its largest urban areas and pipe it out to the tree hedgerows being planted to hold back/reclaim the desert.

It would smell and grow like hell. It would be a perfect place place for a wildlife refugee, no people want to go nearby.

Lets be honest----
China is not even remotely survivable.
The sky was green during my brothers last visit.
Large parts of the country have no flowering plants, as the pollinators are extinct.
Simply the last great industrial power, a mating dinosaur.

Eastern US Set for Stormy Ride

Until recently, extreme weather has been infrequent in this part of the US, but a new study shows that residents might have to brace themselves for a wilder future, as climate change sets our weather onto a roller-coaster path.

Joshua Fu, from the University of Tennessee, US, and colleagues created a high-resolution climate model (4 km by 4 km grid squares) to simulate extreme weather patterns in the eastern US. Assuming we follow a fossil-fuel-intensive future, their findings indicate that both heatwaves and extreme precipitation are likely to become more frequent and severe for this region by the middle of the 21st century.

... Their findings suggest that heatwaves are likely to become over 10% more intense by 2057, with average temperatures increasing by around 3 °C and New York being one of the hardest-hit places. Meanwhile, deluges of rain are also going to be more intense and frequent, with annual extreme precipitation increasing by over 100 mm per year by 2057 – an increase of more than one third on current levels. The number of extreme precipitation days could double in some regions, with eastern coastal regions experiencing some of the greatest increases.

... several nuclear plants on the US east coast had to shut down during July 2012 because of a heatwave. If heatwaves continue to increase, large buffers will be needed to provide enough power"

Construct Climateproof Infrastructures

... reshaping and reconfiguration of our infrastructures can reduce our carbon footprint, can increase our resilience to climate change, and improve the quality of everyone’s life.

Let us take the example of urban transport. Here is a bold three-point transformation plan for New York: ...

BP Oil Spill Flow Rate Vastly Understated For Weeks, Emails Show

Emails that attorneys representing a defendant in the BP oil spill case plan to introduce in February show for the first time that the oil company knew the massive scale of the 2010 blowout in the Gulf of Mexico weeks earlier than previously disclosed.

BP has said in the past that it learned of the spill's full extent months after the April 2010 blowout. But the emails indicate that the company knew almost immediately after the drilling rig exploded, killing 11 workers and injuring 17, that the spill may be extraordinarily large.

... Just two days after the rig explosion, Mix emailed a projection to a supervisor estimating the runaway well could be leaking from 62,000 barrels per day to 146,000 barrels per day. Two days later, BP executives told the Coast Guard their best estimate for the leak was 1,000 barrels per day. A federal scientific group concluded after the well was capped that the flow was 62,000 barrels per day at the beginning of the disaster.

It wasn't all that long ago when electricity demand use to double every seven to ten years.... a very different story today.

FERC's Wellinghoff says lower power demand trend will continue

The annual growth of US power demand is unlikely to return to levels seen before for the 2008-2009 recession because of energy efficiency and other trends that are limiting the increase of electricity consumption, US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellington said Thursday.

In addition to his own observations of the energy benefits yielded by more efficient consumer products and electricity markets that could have otherwise increased the strain on the grid, the chairman cited a decades-long trend of falling energy use highlighted by Brattle Group researchers Ahmad Faruqui and Eric Shultz in the December edition of Public Utilities Fortnightly.

A proliferation of LED TVs, which use about 75% less electricity than plasma TVs, and highly efficient personal computers are also putting downward pressure on demand growth, Wellinghoff said in remarks at an event in Washington sponsored by The Hill newspaper.

See: http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/ElectricPower/6879898

I'm hardly qualified to make such judgements, but I fully expect electricity demand to slowly contract over the coming years; as I see it, higher electricity prices, more efficient end-use technologies and greater customer-owned generation will invariably ratchet-down demand.


That would be great.

i sincerely wish that people of importance in the U.S....some 'movers and shakers' who work in or regulate/influence utilities, take notice of NS's initiatives to reduce electricity demand, and people like you and your company's roles in helping accomplish that goal.

The other gorilla in the room is for the U.S. to achieve a zero net population growth (as a minimum goal)...if we could do that and then achieve a small, slow population decrease, even better.

I've read that US homes back in the early 30's used, on average, 50 kWh of electricity per month. I was rummaging through some of my grandparents' papers not long ago and came across an old electric bill. It was hand typed ! I don't remember the number of kWh consumed but it would be laughable by today's standards.

Maybe, if we were to put our minds to it, we could narrow the gap. My grandparents would have used 60-watt incandescent lamps to chase away the night; I do the same thing with my 9.7-watt L-Prizes. They would have listened to radio broadcasts on their wireless set (~ 80-watts), whereas I might watch a documentary or listen to a podcast on my Playbook at less than 3-watts.

We use electricity to do so many more things today, obviously, but there's still the potential to use less by selecting the right tool for the job, e.g., our heat pump water heater supplies our two person household with all the hot water we require for about 1.7 kWh a day.


I apologize. The bill I had in mind was hand written, not hand typed, and it dates back to September, 1948. The bill covers a sixty-two day period and total energy use during this time comes to a whopping TWENTY-ONE kWh !


I've always considered myself as a stingy bugger when it comes to our use of electricity, but clearly I can't hold a [paraffin] candle to past family members.


A low 2 month period here would be around 13x that, just fridge, light (CFL) and internet :(


I still can't believe that it could be this low; it boggles my mind. I'm guessing that the refrigerator was either propane or it could have been an ice chest in the true sense of the word (I'm guessing the latter).

Also, for anyone who thinks 3-cents per kWh is dirt cheap, according to the Bank of Canada's Inflation Calculator, 3-cents in 1948 is the equivalent of 30-cents today. All things considered, you'd have to agree we have it pretty good.


Paul - Not refuting your guess that it was an icebox, it just reminded me that when I did DSM work for a small electric co-op in VT in the mid-90's, one of our projects was 'fridge retirement. We metered old ones, so folks would know what they were using wasting, then pulled & recyled them and had a coupon for a new Energy Star model.

We found that the worst offenders (from 5 to as much as 8kWh per day!)* were those built in the 70's, when energy was cheap (and then not-so-much, but before mfrs had time to change). Then energy prices/consciousness/regulation began to kick in, and usage shrunk through the 4,3,2 kWh/day range, to where finally today, one can find fridges that use about the same energy as those few we found still out there operating that were built in the 30's/40's, which used 1-1.5 kWh/day. Now yes, those were small, single-door, manual defrost models, but they were well-built and insulated. Through the 50's & 60's they got bigger, bells & whistles were added, and insulation seemed to get worse, until the absolute nadir of the 70's.

*For reference re: those 5-8 kWh/day units - our whole household now uses about 2.5/day. DC chest freezer, DC chest fridge (run off batteries charged from the grid until we get our PV installed), microwave, toaster oven, two laptops, (minimal) lights, stereo/radio, and TV/DVD player used perhaps 1x week for a flick. All plug loads on switchable strips to eliminate phantom loads. (I was aghast/agog yesterday when folks were discussing those cable boxes using more than a fridge - yikes!) Oh - forgot the digital clock and the little wireless air card router thingy (can you tell I'm not a techy?) that gives us internet and puts out a surprising amount of heat for such a small device.

Very impressive numbers, clifman. Congratulations !

I fear I could have the EnerGuide ratings of all our previous refrigerators permanently etched in my brain. Our circa 1987 17 cubic foot top mount freezer: 1,812 kWh/year; our 1991 20 cubic foot top mount freezer: 996 kWh/year; our 1997 22 cubic foot side-by-side: 777 kWh/year and our current 2002 18 cubic foot bottom mount: 472 kWh/year.

We have two refrigerators that are ganged together, although the one on the right is seldom ever used and therefore remains off. Over a 24 hour period, the left unit consumed 0.95 kWh or about 27 per cent less energy than what the label would suggest.

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Refrigerator-24hPo...

I've probably got this muddled, but aren't refrigerators tested at an ambient air temperature of 35°C? When I ran this particular test, our room temperature was probably closer to 15°C; no doubt that would account for the difference.


I don't know about ambient but when I set fridges to 'normal' internal temperatures they are nowhere near the recommended food storage temperatures, When I do get them balanced to keep meat cold enough and the freezer at long term temperatures then they use much more than the label. Must get down to super-insulating this one.


I've purchased and renovated some old homes. And one of the first things you need to do is update the electrical systems. The rooms generally have a light switch, an overhead light, and a single duplex outlet. Code now requires an outlet for every 6 feet of wall.

They just did not have much in the way of things that used electricity. Just a light and maybe a radio.

Now we have clock radios, TVs, cellphones, DVRs, videogames, all sorts of lights that get left on all the time, wireless routers, cable boxes, tons of vampire loads, etc.

Those vampire loads are too much. Does every appliance need to draw power 24/hours per day? Why can't they have some manual on/off switches. I don't need my stove, microwave, fridge, cable box, etc. all telling me what time it is. I've got a cell phone that does that, it uses much less electricity, and I never have to set it.

So one might say that code encourages overconsumption...

Switched power strips enable switching off vampire loads. In our previous house, that was the final step in our efficiency measures. Took household use down from 8 to 6 kWh/day. Phantom loads were 25% of our use! That was TV/VCR/cable box, microwave, desktop computer and stereo using 2kWh/day unnecessarily. That's just slightly less than our whole household use (2.5) now.

Er... the purpose of the 6' rule is to eliminate the use of extension cords, which are a significant source of household fires... especially when the homeowner slips them under throw rugs to hide them.

Yes, I know that. But it doesn't negate that having access to plug points everywhere and then some encourages plugging something else into them. As with any 'resource', consumption will expand to maximize use of it - until it can't. Food, oil, water, outlets...

Good point.

Electricity demand may be dropping right now, but if we start to reduce the usage of fossil fuels for transportation by building electric powered trains and light rail, and reducing the usage of fossil fuel for home heating throught the usage of heat pump technology, won't the demand for electricity increase?

That's certainly possible, but I'm more inclined to believe that there's so much wasted energy that can be eliminated across all sectors (and at a reasonable cost) that we'll still come out ahead in the end. I'm always pointing to various examples of the work I do, and if I may be forgiven I'd like to do so again. One recent example: simply swapping-out the six 75-watt halogen PAR30 lamps used to illuminate the menu board at a local Wendy's for 12-watt LEDs will save enough electricity to supply our household with all the hot water we need four times over. Likewise, replacing the thirty A19 incandescents in the main chandeliers at the golf and country club with L-Prizes will save enough electricity to heat and cool our 2,500 sq. ft. home two and a half times over. We've even gone into commercial buildings with energy-efficient T8 lighting systems and still uncovered ways to reduce their lighting load by two-thirds.

I understand that electricity demand in Ontario is expected to fall by 1.3 per cent this year; if so, provincial consumption will be on par to what it had been fifteen years ago, even though its population base has grown by 25 per cent.


Global percentage increases in yearly energy and electricity consumption since 1997:

Year Range Energy Electricity diff
97-00 1.47 3.42 1.95
01-04 2.65 3.38 0.73
05-06 2.45 3.88 1.43
07-08 2.2 3.34 1.14
09-10 2.1 2.63 0.53
11-12 ~1.51 ~2.06 0.55

Note of caution: Usage of the BP statistical review conventions instead of BTUs distorts actual "energy usage" to some degree. Maybe i should go check the BTU tables.

higher electricity prices, more efficient end-use technologies and greater customer-owned generation will invariably ratchet-down demand

Sorry to be a bit less optimistic here too. The increase in worldwide energy consumption is happening atm in less affluent economies where these efficiency gains tend to be introduced with a time lag. Renewable electricity generation technologies have been making inroads into these markets over the last couple years though and the better news is that more than enough spare capacity at good prices is available right now to satisfy the needs for more ramping up.

A tough nut here is that when demand for internationally traded coal stalls as has happened this year, its price comes down hard. So if the welders could take care of the Aussies first, that'd be fine:-)

One hope is that building coal plants is becoming more expensive nowadays. Another one that the price of coal also has been pretty volatile of late.


NOAA releases their 2012 Arctic Report Card.

Sorry if this has been posted before, work and some volunteer activities has kept me mostly away from TOD for the last couple of days.

Generally not a pretty picture with respect to global warming and sea ice. One interesting anomaly has been that the Bering Sea and part of Alaska has been a cool spot. Those who have followed Shell's activities in the Arctic will recall that in the midst of general decline of sea ice they had to contend with sea ice thicker and more peristant than usual. But then the climate experts have generally told us that global warming would involve some odd anomalies.

Here in Anchorage, we had record snowfall last winter, and last summer was cooler and wetter than normal. So far this winter has been slightly colder and much dryer than is typical. At my house in the banana belt on the west side of town lows have been consistantly 0 to +5F, while over on the east side of town at the base of the Chugach it has been -5 to -20F. No significant snow, which sucks, since there is no XC skiing. But that is supposed to change this weekend.

For the first time in my life, winter arrived on schedule: December 1 the snow fell, and stayed there. This in south Sweden. The latest years, winter have used to come in february.

UK fossil fuel production declined at an alarming rate between October 2011 and October 2012.

From the UK Government Office for National Statistics:-

The largest downward contributions came from extraction of oil & gas, which fell by 26.9 per cent, followed by the mining of coal and lignite, which fell by 27.8 per cent.


Thought we were running out of fossil fuels? New technology means Britain and the U.S. could tap undreamed reserves of gas and oil

For decades, the West in general, and the U.S. in particular, has had to shape, and sometimes arguably to misshape, its foreign policy in the light of its dependence on Middle East oil and gas. No longer: that era is now over.

For decades, too, Europe has been fearful of the threat that Russia might cut off the gas supplies on which it has relied so heavily.

No longer: that era will very soon be over, too. Thanks to the shale gas revolution, the newfound energy independence of the West is a beneficent game-changer in terms of world politics as much as it is in the field of energy economics.


For the world as a whole, technically recoverable gas resources are now conservatively reckoned to amount to around 16,000 trillion cubic feet. In short, as a result of the shale revolution, the Earth can now provide us with about 250 years’ worth of gas supplies.

The so-called ‘peak oil’ theory, which suggests that within the foreseeable future the world will run out of fossil fuels — coal, oil and gas — has never looked more absurd.

Lord Lawson was Secretary of State for Energy from 1981-83 and Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1983-89. He is currently chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (www.thegwpf.org).

One rather wonders if Lord Lawson has gone off his meds. British oil and gas production has fallen 27% October to October, a trend apparently completely unanticipated by the British government, and yet he is talking about the forthcoming boom in oil and gas production.

I kind of wonder what the British reaction will be when horizontal drilling rigs start popping up all over the British countryside, and massive hydraulic fracturing trucks start rumbling down English country lanes in large numbers. In Texas or Alberta, it would be, "Oh, more drilling rigs and frac trucks - good, it means more jobs", but in staid old England the reaction might be a bit more negative.

Yes - in the UK we simply have no idea what is involved in drilling a gas well - and no one is rushing to tell us.

Additional heavy traffic in crowded/narrow roaded UK is always a hot issue - I heard it takes 1,000 heavy truck trips to set up a fracking operation? I had heard since we've got lots of water compared to US we can pipe it in, not truck it - does that save?

No idea where used fluid can go - UK environmental regulation is massively more strict than US: do we even have anywhere to dispose of it undergound?

I think UK costs would have to be much greater: no drilling rigs in country to speak of? Very tight environmental law.

Oh - outside this website, I've never heard decline in N sea oil production mentioned in newspaper, news...

A frac job could require 10 million to 40 million litres of fresh water, so it could indeed require 1000 heavy tanker truck loads to haul the fresh water to frac a well and haul the waste water away. In the Eastern US they are drilling shale gas wells on 40 acre spacing, which means 16 wells per square mile. I don't think residents of the quiet English countryside are prepared for that much heavy vehicle traffic. In Texas or Alberta, people are used to it, but it does pound the roads to pieces.

I am surprised that a year-over-year decline of 27% in national oil and gas production doesn't rate a mention in the national press, because it means a loss of billions of pounds in foreign exchange revenues and causes a large balance of payments problem. It is a major contributor to the UK's current economic problems.

It is also not a single-year event but a long-term trend. The UK is returning to the state it was in before North Sea oil and gas was discovered, but now people have become used to having cheap but clean fuel to heat their houses and generate their electricity, and the government to having surplus revenues from taxes on oil and gas production.

The so-called ‘peak oil’ theory, which suggests that within the foreseeable future the world will run out of fossil fuels — coal, oil and gas — has never looked more absurd.

Ah yes, the well known Peak Oil Theory which suggests that the day after production peaks, production goes to zero.

An interesting Depletion Vs. Production slide, courtesy of a helpful Oil Drummer, for the Six Country* Case History. Their combined production ranged from 6.9 to 7.0 mbpd from 1995 to 1999 inclusive. The absolute peak was 1998. The slide shows normalized production (1992 = 100%) versus post-1992 Cumulative Net Exports (CNE), with post-1992 CNE = 100% at the end of 1992.

*Indonesia, UK, Egypt, Vietnam, Argentina, Malaysia

On an optimistic note, this buoyed my spirits today-
Fremont Bridge Bike Counter Hits 100,000 Rider Mark in Two Months

I used to bicycle commute over that bridge in the '80's and I doubt there would have been 50-100 bikes per day back then. 100,000 trips is a BIG number.
Consider- this is in Seattle, a hilly city and a notoriously rainy city, during two of the wettest months of the year.

It illustrates, I think, how a lot of the necessary collective responses to both PO and climate change are starting to occur. Of course it is a laughably inconsequential response on a macro level, but the point is that the 'first adapters' (or whatever jargon you choose to apply to them) are changing behaviors.

All revolutions are led by a relatively small vanguard of the morally indignant. Laugh at the people in lycra or Priuses and Volts all you want, but apparently they are having substantial effect on demand already.

things are looking up for spacex....
"SpaceX announced that it had won two big US Air Force launch contracts Wednesday. If successful, the two demonstrations would help them qualify to compete for Air Force business against launch provider ULA (United Launch Alliance), which currently has a stranglehold on the largest Air Force launches."

it's good to see all these non governmental start ups for space transport. we are getting closer to recovering "juice" from mars and titan.

and...for PV buffs....

"Tiny Structure Gives Big Boost to Solar Power

Dec. 6, 2012 — Princeton researchers have found a simple and economical way to nearly triple the efficiency of organic solar cells, the cheap and flexible plastic devices that many scientists believe could be the future of solar power."

"SpaceX announced that it had won two big US Air Force launch contracts Wednesday. If successful, the two demonstrations would help them qualify to compete for Air Force business against launch provider ULA (United Launch Alliance)

It doesn't matter- Skynet will still develop self conciousness in 2024

re "for PV buffs...."
HankF did a short post on this yesterday

I'm definitely a PV buff, but I'm doubting this advance.
my comments from yesterday's Drumbeat

I read 3 PV technical journals
Progress in Photovoltaics
The IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Solar Cells and Solar Cell Materials

The later in particular has lots of article about organic PV.
I see they even have a call for papers for a special issue on organic PV tandem cells.

But I ain't seeing organic PV (OPV) happen in production.

crystalline silicon:
4-5 years ago, selective emitter starting appearing in the journals, now several silicon companies are doing it.
Plating (with silver reduction/elimination) started showing up in journals about 3 years ago,
now you can buy turnkey lines to do that (for silicon).
While R&D efficiencies creep up, nobody can productize them.
Solyndra, ISET, Global Solar, ... - bankrupt. Others sold on the cheap.
The only significant CIGS player is Solar Frontier - owned by a Japanese oil company.
Only First Solar is still a player in the market, though they're now heavily in the systems business, since their modules aren't very competitive these days.
amorphous silicon:
ECD/Unisolar, Signet, Novasolar, and others - gone. Oerlikon divests its equipment business.
organic PV:
Konarka, the only real player ever, went bankrupt - $140 Million investment adios, bought by some Germans with dreams of Building Integrated PV. (good luck!)
Heliatek: April 2012 announced 10.7 percent efficiency for a 1.1 cm² tandem cell on glass, with volume production by Q3 2012.
But they're still in pilot production. (and never quoting what their plastic roll-to-roll efficiency is, nevermind lifetime, etc.).

Total world installed OPV - maybe 5 Megawatts.
(There's one warehouse that has that much silicon PV on 1 roof!)
(Germany installed 4.3 Gigawatts - mostly silicon, in the 1st half of 2012!)

OPV really seems to me to be like fusion - the energy of the future and always will be.
Good ol' crystalline silicon PV just keeps grinding out advances and getting cheaper.

With all of that investment in reading and following, are there any leads and insights to offer towards beating those sneaky organic green growing plants at their game?

Light Reactions

Ultimately, it is an electric process. Instead of electrons, protons are used.* The antennas involve metal atoms. Not uber efficient, but it does make everything you eat and every breath you take.


* Actual protons, not "holes" like in solid-state physics.** They turn an electric motor connected to a molecular generator at up to 7000 RPM in an assembly called ATP synthase that converts the electrical energy into a chemical currency. If ATP is fed in, it will back-spin the system to make an electric potential by pumping protons from a pool on one side of a membrane to a pool on the other side of the membrane.

Slow-motion ATP synthase at times 1:09 through 1:27

** A cloud of electrons is called an electron gas. An absence of an electron, its place or where one could live but doesn't, is called a "hole". A cloud of these is called a hole gas: a gas of holes. Physicists tend to giggle a lot. "Barn" is a good one, too.


At the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis.

"The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) is the nation’s largest research program dedicated to the development of an artificial solar-fuel generation technology. Established in 2010 as a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Innovation Hub, JCAP aims to find a cost-effective method to produce fuels using only sunlight, water, and carbon-dioxide as inputs."

Drawing on the area's best minds and resources...

what got2surf mentioned:

Not much of this in the PV journals, some in Solar Cell Materials..., so from other places, my thoughts.

The potential payoff is huge: snarf CO2 out of the air and turn it into useful organic chemicals (including fuels). (Helps to) solve peak oil and climate change in one solution.

two approaches:
1. fooling plants (or micro-organisms) into being more efficient/produce more usable products.
2. artificial photochemistry/photosynthesis.

Fooling plants is a hard one - all the molecular pieces have co-evolved to play together.
There are all kinds of genetic up and down regulation factors.
And their environment. A CO2 proxy is the density of stomata in certain fossil leaves. At high CO2 levels, plants don't need so much, so they tend to make fewer stomata to cut water loss, instead of growing bigger/faster.
If one tweaks a plant, say an algae to turn on more of an oil producing pathway, some other pathways probably suffer, so it's less fit in a natural environment.

Plants are self-repairing/self-assembling, so that's a big plus.
But now they're mostly fairly inefficient, and they make starch/sugar, which current cars don't burn directly.
If you can get a plant/bacteria/archaea to make another set of pigments to capture the mid-range light, that might help, but then you'd have to engineer the whole chain of reactions to get useful stuff, without interfering with existing pathways the plant needs.
I've seen lots of papers (elsewhere, not in PV journals) on making organisms produce more directly useful products, like direct algae diesel, or maybe a tree that one taps like a rubber tree to get something like heavy diesel, etc.
Jeffery Pine resin can be distilled to get n-Heptane, the zero reference on the octane scale, so maybe silviculture can help with the arable land area issue.

But biotech isn't my forte.
And Robert Rapier, Ton Murphy, et.al. have bent our ears on TOD about the failure of algae fuels (and other biofuels in general) to live up to promises, be sufficient, etc.

Lots of tradeoffs, very complex - but lots of potential.
Then there's the land/water and food vs. fuel issues.
Within constraints (biofuels cannot be enough for anything near BAU) I'm agnostic on this.

I wish these folks (and others) luck:

artificial photosynthesis:
There's a long history of artificial photosynthesis attempts, and a range of approaches.

Inorganic things:
Like Texas Instruments' solar hydrogen work in the 70's and early 80's,
where the goal is to produce hydrogen directly in a solar cell. (nothing came to production).
Sandia is doing some work on solar thermal redox for hydrogen now.
my take: semiconductors and fluids don't play together well. Over the course of weeks/months/years, water or other electrolytes break down and attack/foul the semiconductors/electrodes/catalysts. Now ya' gotta disassemble and clean things - errr. IMHO, better to optimize a PV cell and then optimize a separate electrochemical cell (including for cleaning/anti-fouling) than try and put both in one device. (PV and hydrogen generators are available off the shelf today, e.g. http://www.fuelcellstore.com Some assembly required... )

I'm holding out some hope of a reverse methanol fuel cell, a bunch of people are working on this.
CO2 + water + electrons ==> methanol. Put up a big PV array and make liquid fuel while the sun shines. But batteries probably are pretty competitive, so solar methanol may not be widespread.

Semi-inorganic approaches:
I've heard of things from enzymes immobilized on semi-conductor PV to PV nano-particles in solution (or in membranes) with organic enzymes.
I have NOT heard of any real commercial products.
The same corrosion/fouling issues apply, plus the organics tend to decay, causing efficiency drop, competing side reactions and way nasty fouling problems.
This seems to be a lot of what JCAP is about. I wish them luck.

Artificial organics:
Basically the above, but fewer/no inorganic parts. Same issues.

dooh - the wiki has a decent summary:

On artificial photosynthesis, I'm un-optimistic.
The whole lack of self-repair/self-assembly while trying to deal with decay and fouling just seems unworkable.

OPV really seems to me to be like fusion - the energy of the future and always will be.

Yeah. I just rolled my eyes and didn't waste my time reading it. About the only non Silicon I have hope for is thin film GaAs, I like the promise of >30% efficient cells for area limited applications. Keep up the good work (reading), and keep us informed, most of us can't spend the time/effort (or couldn't parse what you are reading).

So let's play a fun little game- silicon PV (or any PV) goes to nothing. A Big Zero $/watt. Now what?

Huge shocker to the whole energy shebang. Coal companies go back to dust and nothing, Vast numbers go off grid, and so on.

But, but- the rest of the system is still there and costing too much, and more than that, we have not been able to talk the sun into shining all the time.

Well-we all yell at once- we know what to do- do it all while the sun shines, and store up for when it doesn't.
This is actually fairly easy to do.

So let's get to it- PV cost is going toward nothing, better start thinking hard about all that other stuff that people will suddenly realize that they want when they have got all that no cost PV plastered all over everything.

When centralised power generation becomes uneconomical, the big power stations will be closed down and the grid sold off for scrap. Meanwhile there are many places that absolutely must have power, so expect the roar of gas turbines firing up at night coming to an area near you soon.

Roar is one way- lots of others, closed cycle combined cycle, etc. Distributed power is better than grid anyhow, since it allows use of heat discharged from any combustion cycle.

My good thermo prof way back in 1948 gave me an extra credit assignment to find a way to take the house heating system and get available energy out of it, so this general idea is very old. It is now quite possible to make such household sized CHP's economical. They match PV perfectly.

Nexen Cave-in: Chairman Harper's Economic Desperation

Selling bitumen fast, while it's still hot, is the prime minister's myopic motivation.

By Andrew Nikiforuk

So, the economic math on bitumen adds up to some desperate equations. To save bitumen from a production glut and a global economic reckoning (and that reality check is still coming), the Harper government has sold out Canada, debased democracy and fouled the nation's reputation.

It has allowed CNOOC, a company with one of the lowest transparency rankings in the oil patch, to buy out a Canadian firm with the some of the highest scores. It has gutted environmental legislation so that Chinese state owned enterprises and pipeline companies can build without democratic barriers. It has ignored climate change and energy security for Canadians. It has devoted millions in public funds to bitumen and pipeline lobbying abroad for Big Oil. It has attacked environmental groups and treated First Nations like Tibetans. It has bombed Libya and rattled sabers with Iran to keep oil prices high or high enough to sustain unsustainable bitumen production.

It has neglected all fiscal accountability with oil revenue and used petro dollars to lower taxes knowing that a people who are not taxed will not be represented. It has suppressed public reports and censored scientists. It has avoided democratic debate and accountability. And according to Elections Canada Harper's oil-fueled political party may even be guilty of massive electoral fraud in more than 50 ridings.

So Canada's bitumen Titanic has now left the dock and the chief pilot, an Imperial guy, does not believe in icebergs or lifejackets. However, he has hired a Chinese band as well as some Communist Party engineers to bail water. Everyone except the obsessive captain expects an explosive collision with the bergs of global public opinion, the Canadian electorate, carbon taxes or intemperate oil markets.

And that's generally what economic desperation reaps in a feckless petro state: a voyage of the damned.

As usual Nikiforuk is taking a myopic view of this takeover because he doesn't know much about it, but he has a lot of opinions regardless.

Prime Minister Harper's problem is that the previous Liberal government would have approved the deal faster than he did - in fact the lead candidate for Liberal leadership, Justin Trudeau, came out in favor of it. Only two foreign takeovers of Canadian companies have been blocked since 1985, and both were by the Conservatives - the Liberals haven't blocked anything. The Conservative Alberta government is onside wrt to the takeover, so Harper would have to explain - particularly in Alberta - why he is being more anti-business than the Liberals. Only the socialist New Democratic Party has come out firmly against this deal.

From a strategic perspective, only 28% of Nexen's oil production is in Canada, and their oil sands project has serious financial and technical difficulties, so Nikiforuk's harping on bitumen production is a red herring.

Most of Nexen's production is actually offshore in other countries. Over half of the company's total production is in the UK North Sea, where they are the second largest producer, and the EU authorities have rubber-stamped the deal, so apparently they have no problem with it. Most of the rest is in the US Gulf of Mexico and offshore West Africa. Remember, CNOOC is the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company, so what they are looking for is offshore oil production and technical expertise.

Nexen's Canadian oil sands assets are a real bonus for CNOOC, but they are probably interested in Nexen's shale gas expertise as well, since Nexen has been active developing shale gas in NE BC. CNOOC would probably like to move LNG to Asia, but they are probably also interested in acquring expertise to help them develop China's shale gas resources, which are believed to be vast.

Nikiforuk has covered none of this, nor any of the other reasons for the takeover which I discussed further up the thread. His article is just a collection of red herrings since he apparently knows nothing about the deal or the players.


You are reliable!

Justin Trudeau is making a fool of himself. Why he thinks he can win any seats in Alberta is a mystery? Meanwhile the rest of the country will eventually realize that the oil patch's best interests is not there's.

Now, a reminder that to stay under the 2 Celsius threshold that Harper agreed to we have to reduce emissions to zero by 2040. (see also Anderson)

Here is Peter Kent, Canada's Environment Minister, camouflaging the government's inaction before Doha with this remark...

"The Prime Minister's signature is on Copenhagen,"

Let's face it, "Alberta is a one trick pony..."

When it comes to your assertions about Nikiforuk, I can't think of anyone more aware and better placed to write about the vast crookedness that is our embrace of petro-statehood.


I thought I would chime in with some actual facts since Nikiforuk's rant was all politics and almost completely fact-free. He apparently knows little about the Nexen deal. I know more because I used to consult for the industry - in fact, I used to have a copy of the blueprints for their Long Lake oil sands plant in my desk drawer. We were bidding on designing production management software for it. It was interesting but reportedly is not working that well. Most of Nexen's facilities are not doing that well, which is what brought on the Chinese takeover offer.

Nikiforuk is not a technical person and doesn't do much fact-checking. His books are riddled with technical errors, which I can easily spot because I am a technical person with a lot of experience in many of the things he talks about. He tends to err on the side of making things sound much worse than they really are, probably because it sells more books.

Harper can do what he wants including buying gold plated F-35s. But I'll bet that Enbridge to the west coast never gets built despite law changes and foreign ownerships. If he keeps it up the NDP will become Govt, he can't bank on the left divide forever.


Debilitating drought devastates Brazil

The driest conditions in 50 years are wiping out the region's cattle with the threat of 'ghost towns' as ranchers flee.

The northeast of Brazil is going through the worst drought in nearly 50 years, and no town has been hit harder than Serrita in the interior of Pernambuco state, 550 kilometres inland from the state capital of Recife.

The largest reservoir in town was built in 2002 and was the water supply for 3,000 families. It is now completely dry.

Unlike other cities in Brazil that are home to the large-scale, industrial cattle ranches that make Brazil the world's second-leading producer of beef, here in Serrita, the 19,000 residents survive entirely off of family agriculture and small-scale ranching.

It's part of a proud culture here. A sign welcoming visitors to the town reads: "Welcome to the Cowboy Capital."

Before the drought took hold this year, there was an estimated 27,000 head of cattle, but today only 14,000 have survived, according to Claudivan Araujo, the town's secretary of agriculture.

"We are worried because if this drought continues for another year or two, probably this place will be a ghost town," Araujo told Al Jazeera. "In the short term I am concerned because the economy of the city is based on cattle ranching, and I think with three more months of drought, 100 per cent of the cattle in the city will be wiped out."

Surely these people got the memo on adapting to climate change. The message is do not comiserate climate chaos changes occurring in your neck of the woods, just adapt or move somewhere else. As this process of adapting expands to more locales, we'll find out where best to live and where not to live. For example many people may want to relocate to Canada and grow crops on thawing tundra, but certain parts of the world like the Philippines and east US coast may find good reason to move away from the path of annual devastating hurricanes. Low lying islands and coastal areas like Bangladesh may want to move en masse while sea level rise is still measured in milimeters not feet. We'll need to build more highrise apartments, grow crops in our homes like they do in Cuba. Conserve and recycle water. We're past the idea of decreasing worldwide carbon emissions because they keep rising - we're on to adapting. Like Lee Iacocca said, "Lead, follow or get out of the way!"

Heat Pump Water Heaters, continued...

I've been wondering why manufacturers don't offer a secondary indoor coil system for producing hot water - would seem you'd only need a diverter valve, and secondary coil sized for high heat, and some controls to make it all work together.


"During the fall, winter, and spring -- when the desuperheater isn't producing as much excess heat -- you'll need to rely more on your storage or demand water heater to heat the water. Some manufacturers also offer triple-function geothermal heat pump systems, which provide heating, cooling, and hot water. They use a separate heat exchanger to meet all of a household's hot water needs."

Hmm. Looks like the US is behind on putting this into air source. Figgers.

Brits: http://domesticheating.mitsubishielectric.co.uk/home/ecodan_video
The little video is pretty interesting and worth a watch - even mentions "fuel poverty."

Slovinja? http://heating.consumers.danfoss.com/Content/fbe81b2b-c6fd-4bc0-9175-1c6...
"The DHP-AX can be equiped in hot water kit which consist: hot water tank 200l (TWS technology), additional heater, circulation pump and 3-way valve."

Hugo Chavez Names Successor as Cancer Returns

The Venezuelan president, who has previously undergone two operations, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, said in a televised address from the presidential palace that Mr Maduro, a former bus driver, should succeed "if something were to happen that would incapacitate me."

Chavez won re-election to a new six-year term on Oct 7 and is due to be sworn in on Jan 10.

If a president-elect died before taking office that would trigger a new election within 30 days under the Venezuelan constitution.

Mr Maduro, 50, a former trade union leader, has been foreign minister since 2006 and has previously referred to the United States as a "sick society."

After being detained at New York's John F Kennedy Airport in 2006, he called the US a "racist, Nazi government."

... we should get along smashingly.

He seems somewhat correct taking into account DB comments of late as well as the erosion of rights and freedoms with Homeland Security ratcheting. Just saying...

China's Wanxiang Wins U.S.-Backed Battery Maker A123

Chinese-owned auto-parts company Wanxiang America Corp.'s winning bid, which the person estimated at between $250 million and $260 million, topped a combined offer from Milwaukee-based auto-parts manufacturer Johnson Controls Inc. and electronics maker NEC Corp. of Japan. The German electronics giant Siemens AG also submitted a qualified bid ...

A123, which was awarded nearly $250 million in grants from the Department of Energy in 2009 to build a factory in Michigan, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October ...

In recent weeks a number of critics have warned of the risk that some of A123's taxpayer-funded technology could wind up in the hands of a Chinese purchaser. At least two dozen members of Congress have written to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. warning that a sale to Wanxiang requires careful scrutiny.

Ignoring Planetary Peril, a Profound ‘Disconnect’ Between Science and Doha (w/Video)

In one of the most poignant moments of the Doha climate talks, the Philippine climate change commissioner, Naderev M. Sano, appealed to his fellow negotiators at a session deciding the contours of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

“Please let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around,” he said as he choked back tears.

Just days before, Typhoon Bopha had hit the Philippines, killing hundreds of people. The typhoon, having been both unusually forceful and out of season, was deemed — like Hurricane Sandy — to be an extreme weather event, exacerbated by climate change.

... The disconnect between the level of ambition the parties are showing here and what needs to happen to avoid dangerous climate change is profound.” ... “The biggest problem is the disconnect from the science.”

Heating oil thieves target empty homes around Fairbanks

FAIRBANKS, AK – Heating oil thieves in Fairbanks have refined their tactics and are targeting empty houses that are for sale, a trend Alaska State Troopers say is new this winter.

“It’s the perfect crime,” Fairbanks trooper Ryan Mau said. “You’ve got an empty house with a full tank of oil. There’s very little risk going to a house that’s vacant. It’s like leaving a bowl of candy out on the front porch on Halloween and expecting a kid not to take any.”

...Troopers estimate about 5,300 gallons of heating oil has been stolen in those thefts. At roughly $4 per gallon, that translates to more than $20,000. ... “Even if they sell fuel for half the price it’s going on the market, they’re still making out pretty darn good,” the trooper said.

Oil Giant Says August Cyber Attack Targeted All Saudi

Oil giant Saudi Aramco said on Sunday that an August cyber attack on its computer network targeted not just the company but the kingdom's economy as a whole.

The interior ministry, which joined Aramco's investigation into the attack that affected some 30,000 of the firm's computers, said it was carried out by organised hackers from several different foreign countries.

"The attack targeted the whole economy of the country, not just Aramco as an entity," said Abdullah al-Saadan, who headed the company's inquiry team. "The aim was to stop pumping oil and gas to domestic and international markets," he told reporters.

New light on the Nazca Lines

The first findings of the most detailed study yet by two British archaeologists into the Nazca Lines – enigmatic drawings created between 2,100 and 1,300 years ago in the Peruvian desert – have been published in the latest issue of the journal Antiquity

Chicago skyscrapers go green, slash energy costs

Some 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Chicago [the Windy City] come from the electricity and gas used to heat, cool and power homes, businesses, schools and other government buildings.

In addition to the greening in commercial buildings, the city plans to cut energy use by 20 percent in hundreds of municipal buildings, for an estimated monetary saving of $20 million a year and emissions savings equivalent to taking about 30,000 vehicles off the road.

It has also launched a program to help retrofit residential properties and expects more big commercial buildings to join the challenge.

A similar program is being promoted by the Department of Energy, which has racked up commitments from schools, cities and businesses to reduce energy use by 20 percent in 2 billion square feet.

... interesting selection of examples.

Mining, logging 'contributed' to Philippine disaster

Unchecked illegal gold mining and decades of indiscriminate logging contributed to the high death toll in the Philippines' worst natural disaster this year, officials and experts say.

Poverty, greed and the lure of the precious metal have long drawn thousands of prospectors to the region.

Geologists say the mountainous area is mostly unsafe for habitation. But numerous small, illegal or poorly regulated gold mines dot its slopes and the local government says they provide 40 percent of the province's economic output. "It is the risk they are willing to take, just to strike it rich. They don't want to move," he said.

Much of the forest cover was also cut down long ago to make way for row upon row of bananas to supply the major markets of China, Iran and Japan.

Peru's capital highly vulnerable to major quake

The earthquake all but flattened colonial Lima, the shaking so violent that people tossed to the ground couldn't get back up. Minutes later, a 50-foot (15-meter) wall of Pacific Ocean crashed into the adjacent port of Callao, killing all but 200 of its 5,000 inhabitants. Bodies washed ashore for weeks.

Plenty of earthquakes have shaken Peru's capital in the 266 years since that fateful night of Oct. 28, 1746, though none with anything near the violence. The relatively long "seismic silence" means that Lima, set astride one of the most volatile ruptures in the Earth's crust, is increasingly at risk ...

Peru's National Civil Defense Institute forecasts up to 50,000 dead, 686,000 injured and 200,000 homes destroyed if Lima is hit by a magnitude-8.0 quake.

Lima is home to a third of Peru's population, 70 percent of its industry, 85 percent of its financial sector, its entire central government and the bulk of international commerce.

"A quake similar to what happened in Santiago would break the country economically,"

Thanks for the info, that one hadn't made it to my attention yet.

A serious situation by any measure, doubts about my take's consistency have made me refrain from posting it.


I appreciate what all of you do to increase knowledge for us not-oil-men/women. I am a old ME and can get most of the technology of extraction of "stuff" to use for energy.

I understand about kerogen trapped in marlstone as being hard to extract, kinda. Then I read a bout a company that claims:

Source: Kerogen (old algae) trapped in Marlstone (oil shale)

Environmental: The process is carbon neutral, with proven technology used since 1972, when coupled with Plasma Gasification as the heat source vs. combustion. Spent shale is rendered environmentally inert using Plasma Gasification.

Electricity is produced “on-site” using Plasma Gasification syngas technology, thus no impacts from transmission lines, and no disturbance of the surface except for conveyor belts between plant sites and existing transportation corridors, and access roads for personnel. Underground mining only. Water needs: steam & quench only derived primarily from the shale itself.

I just don't believe this. But I would like a better understanding just how full of it this company is.

Can you provide a link?

Gary - The methodology for extracting and refining the oil out of the kerogen shales has been known for decades. I don't recall anyone on TOD saying it couldn't be recovered. The issue has always been the economics of the process. If these folks have found a way to do it profitable then all they need do is build a processing plant and do it. Until then all they have to offer is promises. BTW: before I would recommend anyone investing in the project (which I certain is the purpose of their story) I'd like to see a demonstration of them recovering water, as their steam source, from a shale. That's a proposal, let alone a feat, I never seen. In addition to the economics the demand on water resources was the other major hurdle.

That is what I always thought, that the EROEI or EROI was not very good for kerogen shales. In fact I was looking up kerogen shales on the TOD and Google and this site came up.
It is

I had a look at that site. Want a job in Bakersfield or the Dominican Republic? It looks like the DR is where they want to build a 300,000 BPD refinery, and they have some leases off the coast. Along with the carbon neutral kerogen shales idea.
Sorry if I got off track.

Its not carbon neutral. Just because fossil fuel was once biomass, doesn't make burning it the same as burning recently harvested biomass.

Gary - This may be a tad harsh but looking at the details (like the underground mining of the shale) offered on the site I'll assume it's just one more con to separate investors from their capital. Since no one has ever developed a commercial operation to extract the kerogen I'm not sure EROEI is even a question. Assume, unrealistically, the EROEI was great. But if there's no economic way to make it work it doesn't matter.

I've seen this sort of play in every boom I've experienced in the last 37 years. I've seen folks mail portions of their life savings to "oil companies" (that only existed as PO boxes) to drill wells that will never be drilled and then wonder why they aren't getting their revenue checks in the mail. You may be new so I'll repeat the story especially since we're seeing more to-good-to-be-true schemes. A call room was set up on the same floor I officed about 20 years ago. The crook (a former used car salesman...honest) running the 20 man call bank showed me his deal assuming since I was oil patch I was a crook also. They were selling $25,000 investment packages in a shale well (Austin Chalk) that actually had already been drilled and wasn't commercial. A common scheme: change the dates on the data to make it appear the investors' well had been drilled but didn't work You ever see the movie "The Producers"? Same scam.

I called the state AG who informed me they had shut that operation down when it was in Dallas. I explained they didn't shut down but just moved to Houston. As I've said before one of my greatest disappointments was not being in the office when the Texas Rangers hauled them off in handcuffs. This was before the Internet. I can't imagine how many folks are being sucked into similar scams these days. So cheap to set up on the net. And yes, Rockman also has Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, etc, as vendors. Impressed, eh? BTW so does my dog Eva, according to her web site. LOL.

Even worse they can run it thru a new public company which gives the appearance that the SEC has signed off on the technical aspects of the project. As long as a company follows the SEC guidelines re: risks, etc, the SEC doesn't have a problem with the proposal even if there is no technical merit. The SEC doesn't consider that their responsibility.

Thanks to all. I knew it must be a scam, I wanted some more professional opinions. It is just that the site came up in the first page of results on a Google search. Extraordinary claims need extraordinary proof. And I saw none.

The old adage, "beware of anything that's exactly what you want it to be". Sounds too good to be true, probably is.

Pazazz Nails & Spa
Interesting what Google Maps can show up.


Las Palmas Petroleum Corporation
177 Riverside Ave. Ste. F
Newport Beach, CA 92663

With a Suite F address and as Google Street View shows
a neighborhood of one story strip malls and office
parks it doesn't look like Las Palmas is a major
operation. Website seems thin ... lists Schlumberger,
Halliburton, and Nabors Industries as vendors but
doesn't list any executives.


amazing, let china "take over the world"!
"The nation's most ambitious "mountain moving" project is slated for a patch of desert the outskirts of Lanzhou in the Gansu province and is estimated to cost £2.2bn, according to the Guardian.

But developers hope the cost and effort will be worth it, with the new metropolis potentially able to boost the region's GDP by £27bn by 2030.

The ambitious mountain-flattening is already underway, despite concerns over the effect it will have on the natural environment."

there is no limit to human greed and folly. we are going to need every spaceship we can muster to get all that juice on mars and titan.

This is a joke, right? Effect on the natural environment? Not a chance. Nice touch with usage of the phrase "despite concerns". That phrase always instantly marginalizes anyone who might have a "concern" about the environment. Most of the mountains in West Virginia have been flattened for coal despite "concerns" about the effect on the environment.

ambitious mountain-flattening

Growth at any cost on the way to the edge of the cliff. That is our plight. What will be funny in retrospect after the collapse is wondering how we ever reached the point of flattening mountains. In the absence of before and after photos, it will seem like a myth.

Yes, one can see it happening.
See Map

That is absolutely staggering...I expected them to be blowing the mountains to bits and putting it in the valley, but they're terracing everything. EVERYTHING.

Are those long buildings full of People-Tubes? There's no way they're running tractors on those hills...it must all be done by hand. That is just staggering...they live on a different planet. A completely different planet.

Those rectangular apartment blocks look like chips on a PC board.

A new article I just found concerning Human-Assisted Climate Change.


Perhaps of interest to some of the analysts who read TOD:


Peter Aldhous: Kaggle has been described as "an online marketplace for brains." Tell me about it.

Jeremy Howard: It's a website that hosts competitions for data prediction.


Random Forests


Interesting tidbit I came across on a hydropower blog.


Pleasant evening meeting with Rune Skjevdal, of Norsk Gronnkraft. He explained to me that there are 3 down seasons for hydro in Norway: the ice season (when everything is frozen), the flooding season (in Spring when the snow waters melt and the volumes get out of control) and the leaves season in autumn when all the leaves clog the infrastructure and nothing operates again… Sounds as bad as the trains in the UK. It also means that they only aim for 40 % operational at full peak. Not as high as I’d expected.

I wouldn't have guessed that.

More proof that one size does not fit all when it comes to renewables.

Ticking Arctic Carbon Bomb May Be Bigger Than Thought

I don't think there is a single example in human history when a statistically relvant number of people saw something terrible coming and worked together to avoid it.

Some would cite WWII, but that would be wrong, although the response after the fact was impressingly collective. We'll need something like that, starting now, gloally.

Ain't gonna happen. I can accept the fact we've passed the tipping point.