Drumbeat: December 15, 2012

Stuart Staniford: The Bumpy Plateau Tilts Upward

For a long time, the C&C was essentially flat and one could truthfully argue that all the increase in total liquids was coming from NGLs and biofuels (ie that "real oil" was plateaued or peaking). However, this is no longer true: global C&C production has increased by about 2mbd since the beginning of 2005. Over eight years, this is only a 0.33% average rate of growth - an incredibly slow crawl upward. However, it seems indisputable that it has grown.

The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040 [PDF]

Over the Outlook period, the growth in so-called “unconventional” supplies due to technology advancements is critical. ExxonMobil projects total liquids demand to rise to 113 million barrels per day of oil equivalent (MBDOE) in 2040, a 30 percent increase from 2010. About 70 percent of this increase is tied to the transportation sector.

Conventional crude production from both OPEC and Non OPEC sources will see a slight decline over time. However, this decline is more than offset by rising production of crude oil from deepwater, oil sands and tight oil resources.

The successes of deepwater and oil sands developments are examples of how new technologies are key to delivering additional sources of liquid supplies to meet rising demand. Ten years ago, these supplies were barely on the radar screen.

Exxon’s Dangerous Energy Outlook

The aim of the Outlook, as it was presented then and is still presented now, is to dispel any notion that there might be a clean energy future lying ahead. As the global population rises — increasing wealth in emerging economies — the energy these would require can only be met by increasing supply of fossil fuels, according to the figures. Exxon does not dismiss renewable energy and efficiency completely, but maintains that they will not challenge the continued dominance of fossil fuels, particularly oil and gas, in the time frame.

Back in 2005, the timeframe stretched to 2030. Today the timeframe stretches to 2040. But the overall conclusions remain the same.

Sri Lanka raises gasoline price to record to cut losses

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka increased the price of gasoline by 6.7 percent on Saturday to a record level to prevent state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (Ceypetco) suffering further losses, an official said.

Sri Lanka raised the price of a litre of gasoline by 10 rupees to 159 rupees, a record high level in terms of the local currency.

Susantha Silva, the managing director of Ceypetco said the state-run firm's losses stood at 75 billion rupees at the end of October because of the failure to pass the world market oil price on to consumers.

Oil Caps Weekly Gain on U.S., Chinese Manufacturing

Futures rose 0.9 percent as industrial output in the U.S. rose by the most in two years in November, the Federal Reserve reported. A preliminary purchasing managers’ index showed China’s manufacturing is expanding at a faster pace this month.

“Recent U.S. data are suggesting that the U.S. is finally out of recession and that should be very bullish for oil demand,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. “The manufacturing number revives hopes that we’ll see China become one of the biggest components of demand growth next year.”

Gas consumption keeps falling in California

Continuing a general trend of year-over-year declines, in-state gasoline consumption in August totaled 1.26 billion gallons, down 1.1 percent from the same month in 2011, according to the latest statistics released by the State Board of Equalization.

Finally, Sioux City fuel prices dip below $3 a gallon

Fuel "was $3.05 when I went by this morning. When I came back it was $2.99. I was happy I waited," Gengler said.

On Thursday, Gengler and other motorists witnessed something Sioux City hadn't seen in nearly a year: gas under $3 per gallon.

China's oil demand to grow by 3.4% in 2013: report

BEIJING - China's oil demand will grow by 3.4 percent year on year in 2013, global banking giant Deutsche Bank (DB) forecast in its latest report.

Although the growth will be modest compared to previous years, it will make China the largest contributor to global oil demand on a growth basis, equal to 40 percent, the report said.

US rigs exploring for oil and gas decrease by 1 this week to 1,799

HOUSTON — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. fell this week by one to 1,799.

All Roads Lead to Natural Gas-Fueled Cars and Trucks

RoyalDutchShell is changing lanes. While oil development will continue to dominate its portfolio, the energy developer is now making plans to invest heavily in liquefied natural gas, or LNG. Shell, and others, see the export of the super-cooled natural gas as a lucrative venture.

The tea leaves would tend to indicate that the transportation sector will increasingly fill up using natural gas: LNG is best with heavy duty trucks while compressed natural gas, or CNG, is used to power passenger vehicles and corporate fleets. The momentum, however, will be slow mainly because of a nascent infrastructure that would support such changes. But some high profile public and private players are working on that, and are expecting success.

No ransom paid for freed Chinese hostages, says oil company

No ransom was paid to secure the release of four Chinese oil workers freed last month after being held hostage for more than a year, the company said Friday, rejecting allegations to the contrary.

Ecuador to use $2b Chinese loan to fund budget deficit

Ecuador, home to South America's third-largest oil reserves, will finance its 2013 budget deficit with a $2 billion loan from China, Finance Minister Patricio Rivera said on Thursday.

South Korea’s Imports of Iranian Crude Climb in November

South Korea’s imports of oil from Iran increased 2.9 percent in November from October, when it resumed shipments from the Persian Gulf nation.

Purchases last month were 814,797 metric tons, equivalent to 5.97 million barrels, compared with 791,582 tons in October, according to data posted on the Korea Customs Service’s website today. Volumes dropped from 1.2 million tons a year earlier, the data showed.

The masochism tango

President Barack Obama would like to avoid entanglement in the Middle East. He will not get his wish.

Calvalley shuts Yemen well after explosion

Canada's Calvalley Petroleum shut an oil well in south-eastern Yemen after an explosion targeting its facilities damaged the well head, a report said.

An explosive device went off outside an oil well on Thursday night in Hadramout province, Reuters reported, citing the UAE-based Gulf News.

The oil deal that paved China’s path to Nexen – and beyond

Gwyn Morgan, former CEO of Encana Corp., says CIC’s investment in Penn West was a “page turner” that flashed a green light to Chinese investors after years of indifference from the Conservative government and the oil patch. “The fact that the deal was accepted, that it went through, was a sign we’re different than our neighbours to the south,” Mr. Morgan says.

Judge to discuss trial delay for BP rig employees

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has scheduled a status conference to discuss a request to postpone the trial of two BP rig supervisors charged with manslaughter in the April 2010 deaths of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Shell considered buying BP: paper

FRANKFURT - Royal Dutch Shell considered making a bid for rival BP in the past two years, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said in an advance copy of its Saturday edition.

7 steps to a greener (and smarter) workplace

Helping the planet can also boost the bottom line, says an executive at super-green -- and highly profitable -- Patagonia. Here's how.

Jaguar drops plan for hybrid supercar

"After a thorough re-assessment of near-term market conditions, the company's view is that the global economic landscape does not currently support the introduction of a supercar such as C-X75", said Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar Global Brand Director, in a company announcement.

A Willing Explorer of São Paulo’s Polluted Rivers

THE Tietê and Pinheiros Rivers, which cut through this metropolis of 20 million, flow well enough in some parts. But in certain stretches, they ooze. Their waters are best described, perhaps, as ashen gray. Their aroma, reminiscent of rotten eggs, can induce nausea in passers-by.

José Leonídio Rosendo dos Santos has been diving into both rivers for more than 20 years. Hired largely to unclog drainage gates, he scours the murky depths of the Tietê and Pinheiros, which have symbolized São Paulo’s environmental degradation for decades, bringing to the surface a list of items that is eerie and bizarre.

Broad Catch Limits Are Put on an Unglamorous but Essential Fish

BALTIMORE — Regulators on Friday voted to reduce the harvest of Atlantic menhaden by 20 percent, placing a broad catch limit on a critical fishery that has until now been largely unregulated.

E.P.A. Sets a Lower Limit for Soot Particles in the Air

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency announced a new standard for soot pollution on Friday that will force industry, utilities and local governments to find ways to reduce emissions of particles that are linked to thousands of cases of disease and death each year.

Texas company's challenge to proposed EPA greenhouse gas rules nixed

A federal appeals court on Thursday dismissed a Houston developer's challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rules for limiting emissions of greenhouse gases from new power plants.

America's Most Dangerous Enemy

Though not always the case, today’s fossil fuel industry is fundamentally un-American and anti-America. In violation of the most basic American values, they have manipulated our people, subverted our democracy, undermined our economic and moral superiority, and are making us a global laughingstock. Moreover, they are killing our country and our planet, putting us on track for 4-6 degrees of global warming—something straight out of an apocalyptic disaster film.

Bid to heap blame on sunspots for climate change has backfired

“Alec Rawls’ interpretation of what IPCC5 says is quite simply wrong. In fact, while temperatures have been ramping up in recent decades, solar activity has been pretty subdued,” Professor McGuire said

RE: Bid to heap blame on sunspots for climate change has backfired

Looks like Mr. Rawls may have shot himself (and the rest of the denialist community) in the foot...

E. Swanson

Well, the great thing about being a denialist is numb feet. I'm sure they all still think it's a win. Why would facts affect them?

Alec Rawls, a Republican blogger in the United States who signed himself up as an expert IPCC reviewer, decided to leak the panel’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) on the grounds that it is a taxpayer-funded document.

So does one need any scientific qualifications to be an expert IPCC reviewer?

Perhaps not. But, lack of creds might actually be a criteria for membership in the denialist camp. All one needs to possess is a willingness to ignore the totality of the available information, cherry picking just the tidbits which "prove" their point of view, as pointed out in a The New Scientist commentary, (mentioned in yesterday's Drumbeat). One will also notice that Rawls' web page posting the IPCC draft also includes several links to Anthony Watts denialist site, so one may conclude that Rawls gathered his perspective from Watts...

E. Swanson

not that I have any suggestions on how we can resolve this, but I don't understand why it's so difficult to see that AGW is happening right now and appears nonlinear. It seems to be a common theme that we assume the materials and byproducts we develop and release on a global scale are safe (i.e. bisphenol, fluorocarbons, pesticides, HFCS, etc, etc, etc) until it is demonstrated, with disastrous results, that they are not. It would make a lot more sense to do things the other way around. I suppose sense is one thing we are lacking.


"I don't understand why it's so difficult to see that AGW is happening right now"

That is what the world thinks of the U.S.eh? which is the only nation where it is controversial for:

"Well, only in America is it controversial for me to begin tonight's program by declaring that global warming is really happening. For doubters, 332 straight months of above average temperatures is not proof enough. And even among believers there is a fight over who to blame, God or man, natural cycles or fossil fuels."

(ABC News Anchor). It will take a vaccine to cure the minds of those in Oil-Qaeda who are destroying civilization.

The root of "AGW doubt" is "come on, nature, the universe, is so big, we are just little passing creatures, how could we have an effect on this !", (in fact the old anthropocentric vision of humans seperated from nature), however reducing pollution to CO2 or climate effect is probably as dangerous, the scale of the human species being sufficient for many other "changes"..

Talking of the sun. NASA has quietly moved the predicted date back for the peak of this cycle from May 2013 to "the Fall of 2013". Even Wikipedia hasn't noticed as it still says May.

Meanwhile the Hinode team seem to be sticking to the quadrupolar sun theory. I did finally find an online presentation http://mr2012.pppl.gov/Slides/tsuneta.pdf

Cycle 24 was initially expected to peak in 2011 then that was put back to 2012 and now it is the Fall of 2013. It was expected by most modelling to have been a very active cycle - which of course it hasn't been. See http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2006/sunspot.shtml


The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 72 in the Fall of 2013. The smoothed sunspot number (for 2012/02) is already nearly 67 due to the strong peak in late 2011 so the official maximum will be at least this high and this late.

Interesting wording. Despite moving the predicted date back, this latest solar cycle update also has the explicit recognition of the possibility that the cycle actually already peaked in February 2012. The actual recorded smoothed (over time) sunspot number is currently trending down from that possible peak so the sun really had better wake up soon if it is going to follow the NASA prediction. So far the actual peak month for sunspot count remains November 2011.

Field notes from the great anthropocene extinction event.

Summer drought means winter threat to fish

OTTAWA — Frogs, fish and other aquatic species could be at risk this winter because of low water levels in the Ottawa area, says a monitoring agency.

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority says some waterways could freeze from top to bottom because of record low rainfall in November that followed a long, dry summer.

“Streams haven’t really recovered from the drought,” said Richard Larson, a senior water resources technician at the authority. “Some streams are still just pools.”

Creatures in shallower areas could be killed if the waterways freeze solid, Larson said. Wetlands are also drier than normal this year, he said.

It’s normal for some of this kind of freezing to occur during the winter, Larson said. But not to the extent expected this year.

According to the authority, rainfall in November was not just the lowest recorded for the month in 30 years, but just one-half the amount that fell in the previous driest November.

That caused the Rideau Valley watershed to fall to 74 per cent of normal levels, the authority said.

A warmer atmosphere holds more moisture... when it rains it will pour... when it doesn't it will be much drier.

Didn't see that coming

Didn't see that coming

Yea, there will be a lot more of these in the coming years. How many could have predicted that it's actually the winter that will wipe out stocks of fish and amphibians due to AGW. Too much rain kills you, no rain kills you. Our civilization has evolved in a very small goldilocks zone of stable climate, an era which is about to come to an end.

RE: "America's most dangerous enemy".

Yes, we should stop burning carbon, and those who tout it at this point should probably face something like Nuremberg trials in the intermediate future. Just because it's legal don't mean it's OK.

Still, isn't calling them an "enemy" a lot like blaming pastry shops for morbid obesity? America's greatest enemy is still its "proud to be stupid" culture.

The phenomenon, yes. I was unaware of the book... just grabbed the free Kindle first chapter to see how it reads...

Ubiquitous stupidity actually can be worked with. It's only an assumption of reasonable sapience in the culture that leads most pro-earth activists astray into the Enlightenment Paradigm. A serious fallacy.

Ubiquitous stupidity actually can be worked with. It's only an assumption of reasonable sapience in the culture that leads most pro-earth activists astray into the Enlightenment Paradigm. A serious fallacy.

Nicely put greenish.

Personally, it took years before this really sunk in. But what a relief! Felt like a burden had been lifted off my shoulders, and allowed me to move on to the "acceptance" stage.

When I was 10, my entire english knowledge base was yes, no, one, two and three. When greenish get into the right mind set, I tend to need 2 or 3 readings of his texts to get the point.

I nailed this one on the second read.

Sorry if my prose tends to be dense. I'm not primarily a verbal person, and I'm often describing things I haven't heard others describe before, so I tend to make up terms or use words in unusual ways. I'm hugely impressed at how well you do in multiple languages.

It's another example of "The Tragedy of The Commons". The sociopathic mind set of pure Free Market Capitalism at work has subverted our political system, buying our media and our politicians with massive amounts of money. As long as the western world thinks "Greed is Good", there's not much hope for fundamental change. That's because we are all part of the game of life and the game has been captured by the bullies. Resistance is futile, indeed, those in control thrive on resistance, which gives them a target to blame for the problems. So it goes.

Yesterday, the NYT published a commentary by Laura Tyson, The Trade-Off Between Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction. Tyson's article glosses over the basic problems, such as the de-regulation of the investment banksters and the spike in the price of oil, yet, other comments praised her for her analysis. I offered a comment and almost immediately, all the comments vanished, only to re-appear hours later after her commentary had rolled off the business page. One is left to guess the reason...

E. Swanson

yes maybe we should but I have always wondered why we can't get the Chinese and Russians on board

well we can argue that the greatest contributer by volume should lead - thats China

or by per capita - thats KSA

of the top 5 Japan is closing it nukes and turning to gas - so they'll contribute more

top five


( UK is 11th )

now if we can all get to 1.6 tonnes er capita like india then maybe we're saved , or not considering the lag in the atmosphere for getting CO2 out ....


* all figures taken from wikipedia

In the medium tern, Japan may reduce their GHG emissions while closing nukes. Efficiency & renewables, plus installed pumped storage make it possible.


We will see. Closing nukes does create quite a headwind to overcome. I think Germany's carbon trajectory would have been a bit lower with the nuclear phaseout. But there is a secondary benefit, a large market for renewables in Germany, and (I hope) Japan can help to mature the industry.

The USA Probably passed Saudi Arabia as the Number One Total Oil liquids Producing Country in the first week of December 2012

In Saudi Arabia's own direct communication to OPEC, the kingdom said November production was lower, at 9.49 million. The November Saudi amount was 550,000 barrels per day less than in August.

Therefore, Saudi Arabia appears to have cut back its oil production to 11.2 million barrels per day in the last week of November (in order to support a higher price for oil because of higher USA and Iraq production increases). The US increased oil (crude oil, natural gas liquids, ethanol and other liquids and refinery processing gains) production to pass Saudi Arabia in the first week of December (to 11.33 million bpd). The USA added 660,000 barrels per day since August.

11.33 million bpd for the USA and 11.2 million bpd for the Saudi Arabia swing producer. The USA became the number one oil (all liquids) producing nation in the first week of December. Based on simple math and what Saudi Arabia announced and what the USA reported via the Energy Information Administration.


Not likely. The data you present include biofuels, mostly ethanol, and refinery gains. Ethanol has only 2/3 the energy content of oil and producing ethanol requires a large input of energy from other sources, such as natural gas or coal, thus the net amount of energy added via ethanol production is even less. Refinery gains are the result of processing crude and the EIA data includes imported crude, thus the actual refinery gains attributable to US production is much smaller than that given by the EIA and referenced in the article. There's still quite a way to go before our energy production in liquid form exceeds that from Saudi Arabia...

E. Swanson

I understand your sentiment but he did say "All liquids", not oil, not energy content, etc.

Well yes, but 'refinery gains' should just be considered basic fraud and excluded from any comparison. They don't actually exist.

In fairness to the EIA, they have to balance the books. If you add up the volume of output: gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, etc, it doesn't match the volume of input: domestic and imported crude, condensate, ethanol etc. The difference is the refinery gain, so it has to be a line item.

The EIA is aware of the difference between energy content and volume, as this chart shows:

Energy Perspectives: The United States has a varied and complex energy flow chart


In unfairness to the EIA, no other government that I know of feels a need to balance refinery inputs and outputs, and those that calculate petroleum quantities in mass units, i.e. tonnes, will not have any refinery gain. I'm never sure that the EIA is calculating volumes for other countries correctly given its somewhat expansive definition of "oil" compared to other countries.

To the extent that mass is added (hydrogen stripped from natural gas is added to high carbon, low hydrogen molecules), mass can increase during refining.


Not if you include the mass of the hydrogen in the mass balance. Refineries both buy and sell hydrogen, and it is a rather expensive product.

"no other government that I know of feels a need to balance refinery inputs and outputs"

The EIA statistics are the answer to the question "How much fuel did we produce and where did it come from?"

What in your opinion would be a more relevant question?

"Out of nowhere", I don't think is a good answer to that question, and that's where refinery gain comes from. The US counts refinery gain on imported oil refinery as US oil production, and I don't think that's valid at all.

I suppose some US government accountants thought that they needed an accounting entry to balance the books, but in my experience in the oil industry the books never balanced because there were always volume gains, losses, and metering errors. In Canada we just prorated the differences back to the production volumes and called it good enough.

Maybe my question sounded a bit confrontational. If so, I apologize. I meant it as a genuine enquiry.

Put yourself in the shoes of the EIA. They are getting all this information coming in from shippers and refiners, say 10,000 data points a week (WAG!), and they must make sense of it for a weekly report. Given that the flow meters would be volume-based, it makes sense to use a simple input-output-storage model and check their work by balancing Products Manufactured against Products Supplied.

I find their report difficult to follow. Recasting in a form I can understand I get this:

Table 1. U.S. Petroleum Balance Sheet, Week Ending 12/7/2012

(1) Domestic Crude & Lease Condensates ....... 6,852 PLUS
(4) Net Imports (Including SPR) .............. 8,457 PLUS
(10) Stock Change (+/build; -/draw) ............ 120 MINUS
(13) Adjustment ................................ 178 PLUS
(14) Crude Oil Input to Refineries .......... 15,367 TOTAL CRUDE
(16) Natural Gas Plant Liquids ............... 2,458 PLUS
(18) Fuel Ethanol .............................. 824 PLUS
(19) Misc (Pentanes+, MTBE, biodiesel, etc.) .... 99 PLUS
(20) Refinery Processing Gain ................ 1,111 PLUS
(21) Net Imports .............................. -504 PLUS
(24) Stock Change (+/build; -/draw) ...........  725 MINUS
(25) Adjustment ................................ 195 PLUS
(26) Total .................................. 18,825 TOTAL INPUTS


This seems clear enough, but I'm not sure who the report is meant for. Those interested in energy supply might want different data presented in different ways. Hence the query.

Well, creating a balance sheet is essentially what they are trying to do, but the problem is that they are adding apples and oranges. They are treating it like a financial statement where every dollar must be accounted for, rather than a physical process in which the inputs and outputs have different densities, and you either have to account for it by including the density changes in the calculations, or do it in mass units instead.

It is a physical process rather than a financial one and should be dealt with in engineering rather than accounting terms. Adding gas plant products to oil refinery products is a particularly bad thing to do because gas plants and oil refineries are doing quite different things, and their products are not the same. The only gas plant products they should be counting as "liquids" are what are called "pentanes plus" in gas plant terms - those most likely would be sent to an oil refinery to be converted into gasoline.

I actually have an Advanced Certificate in oil and gas production accounting as well as a degree in Chemistry, but trying to explain advanced gas production accounting to a government financial accountant is like trying to explain quantum physics to a donkey. I tend to lose them right about the time I explain that they have to use component molar densities to do the calculations.

Sorry about the donkey simile, but I find the entire concept of refinery gain annoying.

Trouble is, the books don't "balance" in the real world. The refining process always results in less energy out than energy input. It's basic physics and chemistry, in other words, a fact of life. Perhaps just another example of 'Merika's fundamental denial of reality...

E. Swanson

Yes very strange thing, when first reading about PO and things some years ago, I was assuming refinery gains were measuring the progress in refining process efficiency ...

When I studied energy (from a liberal arts perspective) as an undergrad, quads were the unit of choice. One didn't even have to know what a BTU is to be able to clearly grok relative flows, losses, end-uses etc. The fact that the US uses about 100 quads/yr makes it even more accessible to the non-technical.

I agree with RMG that measuring energy by volumes (esp. ones that vary greatly in energy content) makes no sense. IMO it is done intentionally to obfuscate by this yet one more slice of MOMCOM.

Absolutely correct . Refinery gains = " M*********** is ok as long as you it is not the real thing .

The USA Probably passed Saudi Arabia as the Number One Total Oil liquids Producing Country in the first week of December 2012.

I doubt that seriously. The first week in November the USA produced 6,852 kb/d of Crude + Condensate and 2,458 kb/d of Natural Gas Liquids. That comes to 9,301 kb/d. That does not equal what Saudi produced as Crude Only. If you count Saudi's natural gas liquids and condensate you do not even come close.

Of course others are counting as USA liquids, biofuels, mostly ethanol, which comes to 923 kb/d and then some even have the audacity to count refinery process gain. For the USA that came to 1,111 kb/d the first week in December. But the USA produces almost as much refinery process gain as the rest of the world combined. That is because the USA counts process gain on both domestic production and imported oil.

The chart below is US C+C and Saudi Crude only in kb/d. The last data point is October for the US and November for Saudi. Saudi does not publish their condensate numbers but they are about 200 kb/d. They do not have a lot of non-associated gas so therefore they do not have a lot of condensate. The US data is from the EIA and the Saudi data is from the OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report.

Saudi and USA

Therefore, Saudi Arabia appears to have cut back its oil production to 11.2 million barrels per day...

Had that happened to anyone else, we would have concluded that their production declined. But Saudi production, apparently, cannot decline. Therefore they must have deliberately cut production.

Ron P.

Yes, I said all liquids.

Crude oil and condensate
Natural Gas liquids
Ethanol and other biofuel
Refinery gains

The EIA compared countries based on Total Supply (all of the above components)
Saudi reduced by 550,000 according to their statement to OPEC from August to November.
The US increased by 660,000.

Link to compare different countries production based on different oil definitions. Data is up to August currently. September should be up shortly so about 2.5 months for the November data to get put up.

Yes, for the USA to pass without refinery gains means another 1.1 million bpd increase. The US would have to repeat what they did in 2012. The US increased crude oil by 1 million bpd and increased Natural gas liquids by 300,000 bpd.

If demand stays relatively weak and Iraq also adds about 400,000 bpd in 2013.

Then Saudi Arabia might choose to cut back to about 8 million bpd. Although I doubt they would cut back below that level to support prices.

Then Saudi Arabia might choose to cut back to about 8 million bpd.

I think right now they are choosing to produce flat out, and likely will continue to do so unless the world's economy undergoes another collapse like it did in 2008.

U.S. Reliance on Saudi Oil Heads Back Up

“This is strictly, totally business,” said Sadad Al Husseini, a former executive at Saudi Aramco, the state oil company.
“Saudi production is flat out. Where you send it is a matter of where you make the best profit.”

Ron P.


Total volume is not a valid comparison because it is liquid energy that we are concerned with. A barrel of ethanol contains about 55 % of the energy of a barrel of crude, a barrel of NGPL has about 63.4 % of the energy of a barrel of crude (using EIA heat content data). If we adjust the 824 kb of ethanol to 454 kboe (thousands of barrels of oil equivalent) and the 2458 kb of NGPL to 1558 kboe and add this to the crude we get 8864 kboe without including refinery gains.

Now we import 55.3 % of the crude input to refineries so any refinery gain from US crude is only 55.3 % of the total so refinery gain credited to US oil production is 614 kb for a total liquid crude oil equivalent of 9478 thousand barrels. Even with the Saudi decrease of 550,000 barrels since August they are still at 11,247 kb. Now we need to adjust for NGPL for Saudi Arabia, which is 72 % of the energy content of Saudi Crude so another 455 kb needs to be deducted which gets us to 10,292 kboe for Saudi Arabia. The US is getting close but is still about 800 kboe below Saudi levels.


A barrel of ethanol contains about 55 % of the energy of a barrel of crude, a barrel of NGPL has about 63.4 % of the energy of a barrel of crude (using EIA heat content data).

Not to mention that it takes a certain amount of the crude oil production (diesel fuel, etc.) to produce the ethanol. So part of the ethanol tally is double-counting the crude-based product that goes into creating it.

Ethanol froth has a cheerful sound. The abundant fuel of the future, trillions of barrels could be produced. Half to your auto and half to yourself, and you won't drive very far anyway.

Total supply and all liquids are definitions from the EIA. They have other categories and definitions. Total Supply and all liquids is what has a shift in which countries are producing more. There will be shift or could be a shift in the category without refinery gains. The USA could be passing Russia for number 2.

When the EIA publishes November and December stats and if the situation is officially recognized then a lot more people and sites will be making noise about this. For now it is just me putting some announcements together and calculating what it must mean.

I am pretty sure at that point Fox News and other news services will make a big deal about it and they will not care so much about total or net energy.

making noise

...all this is.

The USA has a ways go before we passe Russia. It is just silly to juggle numbers and call things "oil" like bottled gas and refinery process gains and other things that are not oil at all.

You cannot change reality by fudging the numbers! True, NGLs play a part in the refinery process. But how much of these products you can use in the refinery process depends entirely on how much crude oil you have to refine. Doubling the NGLs without any increase in crude oil will not add anything to the amount of refined products the refinery produces. The world has a liquids fuel problem, but does not yet have a bottled gas problem.

Anyway here, according to the EIA, is the Crude + Condensate production in barrels per day for August 2012 for the top three producers.

Saudi Arabia	10,040,000
Russia	         9,907,000
United States	 6,147,000

Ron P.

I just showed you the US crude oil production is 6.85 million bpd and Saudi reported 9.49 million bpd. So even on straight up crude the gap is down to 2.64 million bpd from 3.83 million bpd in August

Well not exactly. As I explained the US figures are Crude + Condensate while the Saudi figures are Crude Only. So you are really comparing apples and oranges. The EIA gives Saudi production as C+C but the OPEC MOMR gives only Crude Only figures.

So I would guess the difference is still over 3 million barrels per day. Anyway the US is not going to increase either Crude Only or C+C by nearly 3 million barrels per day from where they are today... ever.

Ron P.

So, the US may produce more “all liquids” than Saudi Arabia. Currently, the US is 330 million people IMporting 45% of their all-liquids CONSUMPTION. Saudi Arabia is 30 million people EXporting about 70% of their oil-liquids PRODUCTION. Which country, from an oil-only perspective, is in a better position?
Using rough figures, in 2005 the US was importing 13 mbopd when oil averaged $54/barrel, for an implied total daily import bill of $700 million. In 2012, the US is importing 8 mbopd with oil averaging $112/barrel, for an implied total daily import bill of $900 million. What amazing progress towards oil independence!

I wonder how excited politicians and the general public would be if we could magically substitute the phrase "higher prices" for "blah blah technology" whenever an article talks about oil.

Here are some examples from recent drumbeats:

The successes of deepwater and oil sands developments are examples of how higher prices are key to delivering additional sources of liquid supplies to meet rising demand. Ten years ago, these supplies were barely on the radar screen.

Several developments lie behind this looming geostrategic shift. The first is the advent of shale oil and natural gas production made possible by higher prices.

Higher prices can boost fuel efficiency by 5 to 10 percent.

Given a sufficient distribution of energy resources and a large enough network of electrically conducting tubes, plus a bit of storage, these problems can be overcome—with higher prices.

New discoveries and higher prices have increased the oil industry's ability to increase production in recent years

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

The economic and even political implications of these higher prices, which won’t be completely understood for some time, are already significant.

It paints a very different picture, doesn't it?

Any super hackers out there want to set up an alternative news feed where energy articles are first run through a sed script with about 20 lines or so like the following?

s/new technology/higher prices/g
s/new technologies/higher prices/g
s/technological revolution/higher prices/g
s/technological advances/higher prices/g



Best Hopes for More,


High prices, yes , but what about the Global Debt which is building exponentially while Available Net Oil Exports decline. Or Debt per Barrel(DPB) of Available Net Oil Exports

In October,Westexas pointed out that DPB was $150 in '05 and increased to $525 in '11. What is the DPB for 2012 ? $1000? Next year? $4000?
Without the unsustainable,unpayable Global debt, would there be ANY available net oil exports ?

Without the unsustainable,unpayable Global debt, would there be ANY available net oil exports ?

Great question and one I've been wondering about too, i.e. how long can this escalation of debt against declining eroei be sustained? Not only is the US adding to long term debt with about a trillion more each year, but Bernanke now has us on a monthly QE of 85 billion which adds up to a little more than a trillion a year. So there's 2 trillion dollars of stimulus, without which it seems likely we'd slide deep into recession.

2013 may be a tough year as the R's seem set to take aim at the upcoming debt ceiling in Feb/Mar to substantially reduce entitlements. May on the surface seem good, but what will happen to the economy? We keep facing this situation in which more debt and QE's seem necessary to keep the game going.

Lowering oil consumption is the only way to reverse the insanity.
Burn less, print less. Voila,problem solved.

Burn less, print less. Voila,problem solved.

Not by a long shot. Burning less oil and printing less money would not help pay off any nation's debt. Burning less would mean people stop spending a lot of money on unnecessary travel and such things. This would decrease employment in those employed in travel and leisure industries. This would decrease the tax base, increase the governments burden of entitlement programs, and thereby greatly increase the government debt.

There are no simple solutions to this complex problem and the other very complex problems that face humanity today. In fact, there is no peaceful or humane solution to these problems at all.

Ron P.

Yeah, couldn't help but think of an analogy regarding the reindeer on St. Matthews Island, one of the classic examples of overshoot, which is precisely where humans are now.

Two reindeer with protruding ribs pawing through the snow.

First reindeer, "Have you noticed how it's getting tougher and tougher to find lichen?"

Second reindeer, "Paw less, eat less. Problem solved."

Alternative, more human-like scenario:

Second reindeer, "yes, we must paw harder until the lichen is all gone!"

Another scenario, assuming the island was run by raindeer-economists:

Third raindeer: "we must breed more and consume more, and this will make the lichen grow back! Raindeer are the ultimate resource!"

To be honest, I can only get so serious about debt; it's a social rather than physical problem. Default is the obvious and usually most effective solution for soverign debts. The issue is the social effects. I am prone to think of financial issues as a facade over more fundamental issues. Since it's fake anyway, if things aren't working out you can always make something up; if you have decent real foundations it will work out. On the other hand, if things are really broken then no amount of financial housecleaning will fix them.

I think there is probably more than enough food and housing for everyone in the US, and if suddenly the US as a society decided housing would be free, it could be done, and probably fairly easily (the problem would be deciding who gets what housing, which is one part of what money is doing today). But the cultural basis on which the economic system rests would have to be reset, which is very difficult. Cultures do not generally turn over very quickly, and when they do it tends to be quite violent.

Declining net exports is a physical problem, and one that we can't avoid. Egypt has a real problem with having more population than food. But many problems today are social in nature, and have to do with distributions of wealth and power. Of course physical and cultural things affect each other, and to some extent are inseperable, but still economics should be treated carefully because a lot of it can literally be just made up and still work.

I think there are theoretically physically possible humane solutions for many (not all) problems today, but culturally they are not possible. I think technically we probably even have the tools to back out of our overshoot without killing everything and/or ourselves - but we lack the ability to put this together as a species, so it is effectively impossible.

"Voila" LOL , guess I shoulda added :/sarc on there , thought it was obvious..

Imagine an inverted pyramid of steps, small steps at the bottom, getting larger and larger until a top plateau is reached. Each step up involves growth in population, infrastructure, and consumption. Today everyone is standing on the plateau, there aren’t any more steps going up. No more growth. There’s only one way down and with the first big step down many millions of people are going to fall off the sides of the narrower step. Each successive step down is narrower and results in millions more people at the margin falling off the edge. Who’s ready for the first big step down? What about the second, third…… fiftieth……………one-hundredth? If you have not started already, you may want to move away from the edge with the greatest haste before the first step is taken. After the first few steps are taken, it will be rather more difficult to find yourself comfortably in the middle of the descending mass of humanity. It may be only a matter of chance that your descendents reach the final step, but limbic and prefrontal intelligence properly applied will certainly increase your chances. Can the descent be stopped on some comfortable terrace halfway down? No, at this point I don’t think so, but I’m open to other’s insights.

A couple weeks ago there was a similar but better analogy being discussed in here involving heaping sand, water and avalanches by ROCKMAN and greenish among others.


Hi again.


Please don't feel obliged to, but i'd be interested (yeah pun) in peer-reviewed literature that shows how sentence two of paragraph two derives from paragraph one.

From where i stand it seems to be an exceedingly complex proposition to resolve.

Curious2 about how various alternative capacity building situations would relate to these issues, though not at all about political arguments whether deployment costs or donates.


A bit later on i've come to the insight that humane and peaceful means different things to different people.

And recalled that there was a piece in here some four years ago on alternative capacity building in a downturn situation.


One thing I agree wholeheartedly with Daniel Pinchbeck is that the Tavistock gnosis looks ugly. Why hasn't psychology incorporated shamanic science? Why has no social psychologist yet brought to the field what Freud managed to do for psychotherapy? Well sort of, but thats another matter.

Then herd the converted and open the customary ivory tower. Faculty for shamanic psychology at the University of Lund or so.


Stuart Staniford's article (top) is in line with the Micheal Kumhof et al's IMF model that oil prices will double every decade (+7% annual real rate of increase) with an annual volume increase of +0.9%. It stops when "we" (the oil importing nations) cannot afford it any more. Then GDP drops, oil use drops and oil price rises moderate or even reverse.

I am having some discussions with Dr. Kumhof (we meet at ASPO-Austin) on the implications of both 1) secular declines in oil use and 2) increasing the elasticity of demand for oil and energy in general.


Flex-fuel automotation?

unless public transport or bicycle can be afforded


eMail to My Brother

Energy Independence - Crude Oil vs. "Other Oil"

I failed to elaborate on my answer in the car.

The US is basically self sufficient in propane (C3) and butane (C4) today. We are exporting ethane (C2) and pentanes (C5) plus. All of these are considered "Other Oils - Natural Gas Liquids".

Natural gas (methane C1) is not an "Other Oil".

Winter gasoline in cooler areas can have a few % butane in it, summer gas cannot. The butane boils off in summer heat. That is one reason winter gasoline is a few cents cheaper. The other light hydrocarbons are not commonly used as fuels on a large scale, although they are considered "Other Oils"..

The US also produces 1 million barrels/day of refinery gain - another "Other Oil". The finished products after refining take up 6.9% more volume than the crude oil going in. Some of this is hydrogen atoms stripped from natural gas and added to low quality crude oil. Most refinery gain is just physical chemistry at work. The mass is constant but the volume increases by separating components.

When we refine US crude oil, refinery gain is "fair" accounting. But I do not see refinery gain from refining foreign crude oil as true US oil production, but that is what the EIA statistics call it.

The US refines a bit more than we burn, we are a net refining exporter. So we already export "refinery gain".

Ethanol is another "Other Oil". Three barrels of ethanol have the energy of two barrels of gasoline - but they are counted as three barrels of US oil production (Other Oil).

Production of Natural Gas Liquids, Ethanol and Refinery Gain are at (or near) all time highs and going higher. Together they are a bit less than half of US oil production.

I am fond of saying that "US crude oil production fell every year for eight straight years under those anti-oil environmental wackos George W. Bush and Dick Cheney till it hit a low of 5.00 million barrels/day in 2008 - the lowest it has been since 1946". Except for the part about "environmental wackos", the statement is true.


The latest data for September 2012 is US crude oil production is 6.47 million b/day, a substantial increase over the 5.00 million b/day in 2008.

September 2012 US oil consumption (which includes ethanol, NGL & refinery gain) was 18.2 million b/day. Historically, September is a "down month" for oil consumption. US oil consumption was almost 21 million b/day in 2007. Most of the reduction in oil imports since 2008 has come from reduced demand, not increased production.

Even if you discount my pessimism about continued increases in US crude oil production, I think it is impossible for the US to be crude oil independent without truly major reductions in demand. We are already self sufficient (or exporting) "Other Oils".


Much of the projected increase in US onshore oil production will be from oil bearing shales like Eagleford in Texas and Bakken in North Dakota. And other areas are also using horizontal drilling sometimes combined with fracing. The northern part of Oklahoma and southern Kansas called "Mississippi Lime" is being developed in tis manner by several oil producers including Sandridge Energy, EnCana USA and Apache Corp.

The caveat to all these new wells is the low initial flow and high decline rates. Typical new wells in the MS Lime produces 250 barrels per day first year and declines 30 to 60% per year. So in seven years the typical well is down to 10 bpd or less. This new production is nothing like the old fields where wells produced 500 to 1000 bpd and declined 4 to 6% per year. Sure all this new drilling by 1800 oil and gas rigs operating in the US lower 48 will bring some more oil. But a plateau will soon be reached (much sooner than EIA or IEA forecast) as best spots are drilled first and later average initial well production falls.

I believe within two years C+C in US will be declining again unless oil prices can climb by at least 20% per year like during 2005 to 2010. Because a 20% annual increase in oil price would cause economic decline and decrease oil demand, this "modulating" effect will keep prices and production lower. Forget about most oil alternatives to keep BAU going as the economy just cannot afford them.

Regarding "All Roads Lead To Natural Gas-Fueled Cars and Trucks" up top from FORBES.

The main arguement in the article for converting to nat. gas is its price being half or less than diesel fuel and gasoline. Not any mention of the infrastructure cost to build fueling stations except to say that tax credits would be necessary. Also, the article mistakenly promotes LNG not CNG which is what transport vehicles would use for fuel.

I asked my customer in North Dakota about getting into nat. gas fueling as he owns several truck stops in ND and MN (besides a fleet of trucks that transport fuel). He could not see the justification for investing at least $250,000 or more per truck stop for the compression, storage and fueling equipment with the price volitility over the past few years. Also, the profit margin would be no better than diesel fuel as the nat. gas utility sells the gas for two or three times the wellhead price. Lastly, the number of trucks and/or cars using the fuel is too low even with some local delivery companies converting to CNG. Unless the government subsidises the infrastructure to a large degree, not much CNG fueling will be built. Without the convenience of fueling not many vehicle will use CNG fuel.

There is a move to add LNG fueling at truck stops for big rigs. This would save the owners lots of money on fuel, clean the air and reduce oil imports.

All that is true but who pays for the cost of converting vehicles ($10,000 for pickup trucks or $25,000 to $30,000 for a big rig) and building the fueling frastructure? Even new Chevy and Ford CNG fueled vehicles are $11,000 more than gas fueled and $6000 more than diesel. As I stated in my post many fuel distributors are leary of making the investment because if the price doubles, due to larger US demand and US exporting of LNG, the profit margins will be low or negative. Tax credits would help, but Congress is not likely to start a new series of tax credits for corporations when they are talking about doing away with individual tax deductions that are very popular.

From a comment in the Popular Mechanics article Should You Convert Your Car to Natural Gas?

Noel Ingle
I adapted my car to run on CNG for only $1500. I created a YouTube video a year ago describing how to do it and where to purchase the parts. If you can't install it yourself, just have any mechanic watch my video to see how it's done. The $6K-$12K price tag is price gouging in most cases. Third world countries are CNG converting cars for under $1000. I paid $5500 for my first conversion. A bunch of foreign engineers at work told me I got screwed. I did some research and discovered they were right. I converted my 2nd car for only $1500 and did the work myself.

Some conversions to mid size cars may be done for $1500 in parts. These kits tend to use small tanks which limits range and also use a throttle body mixer to put CNG into airflow of engine intake. These "cheapy" kits will not allow the vehicle to pass EPA pollution tests, and often they do not have DOT certified tanks. Some filling stations will not allow filling with CNG unless car is EPA/DOT certified.

More expensive systems installed by certified shops use direct injection of CNG which allow better control of air fuel mixture, besides having computer module which controls emissions to meet EPA inspections. The price I quoted was from web sites that have converted pickup trucks. Perhaps a car can be done for $5000 to meet emission requirements and get good fuel economy, but nat. gas will have to remain cheap for the next several years to convince many people to make the conversion or buy new CNG fueled vehicle.

I estimate that conversion amounts will only be marginal under normal circumstances. And conclude from the number tidbits already mentioned and my own inquisitions that at least a 1973ish situation would be required to get the ball rolling barring large scale promotion.

New sales and distribution capacity building are the main plate.

One bonus is that most NG vehicles for sale over here are bi-fuel.



Also, the article mistakenly promotes LNG not CNG which is what transport vehicles would use for fuel.

CNG is normally used spark ignition short range vehicles.

LNG is required for high pressure injection required in combustion ignition engines. It can also be used in spark ignition where longer distances are involved and longer range is required. This will be come more common when the Cummins ISX12G engine is released early next year.


While LNG can be used in diesel engines the problem is availability of the fuel. CNG can be made from any pipeline source of CH4 with rather simple equipment. LNG must use exotic refrigeration equipment that super cools the gas besides compressing it. Most retailers of nat. gas for transportation would rather go with CNG, IMO. Also, diesel engines can use CNG without going to spark ignition by using some diesel fuel (20% minimum normally) mixed with CNG. I think most road transport vehicles would opt for CNG, while rail and water transport might opt for LNG to maximise the range.

Once LNG is made, it can be exported. The price should rise to the EU/Japanese LNG price minus transportation and a little arbitrage (assuming no government export barriers).

The major sources of LNG are going to be the eight or nine LNG export licenses that have been applied for.

Cheniere Energy, with the one approved LNG export license, will surely be pleased to sell some LNG "out the back door" at a competitive price. They will have a large and efficient LNG plant (4 x 550 million ft3/day).


This will affect the economics of LNG use.


Once the US starts exporting LNG then domestic piped gas will have to compete with the world price. In Australia all the LNG export is currently from Western Australia but four LNG processing plants ('trains') are under construction to be completed 2015 on the east coast at Gladstone Queensland. Australia's carbon tax was supposed to lead to the closure of coal fired power stations to be replaced by combined cycle gas, nuclear being illegal in Australia despite uranium mining.

However fear that the domestic east coast gas price will match the export price has killed some coal replacement plans. Maybe coal will make a comeback despite carbon tax. Some industry heavy hitters have warned against LNG export. For example the Australian born CEO of Dow Chemical. OTOH if Japan restarts its nukes then the LNG price may drop.

One problem with CNG, in a recent cold snap,



I realize CNG is the most available source of Nat gas today, and it is mostly used in smaller vehicles due to, as you say the lack of supply. But things are changing.


Up till now, the engine that has been sold in the greatest numbers for Nat Gas usage has been the Cummins 8.9l ISLG. These have really made an impact in the rubbish pickup market. The fact that this is a back to base operation has been very important in its take up. Also, this engine and truck combination has been suitable for CNG usage.


Next year, Cummins come out with their ISX12-G. This will be used for over the road long distance trips where service station support and extended range will be required. Though the 12l engine will be able to use CNG, any long distance trucks will most likely be using LNG to avoid weight and bulk penalties.


As the LNG supply gets built out across the country the larger 15l compression ignition engines will come into there own as the refueling station that up til now have been a problem suddenly appear. The chicken and egg situation will have been solved.

Seems like LNG would always slowly boil off, so a high-duty-cycle engine would be most efficient. Trucks and trains would seem natural. I assume you have to have a catalytic burner for off-gas otherwise?

Gas consumption keeps falling in California

I think California shows that it can be done. The Prius is now the #1 selling car in California. Public transportation systems continue to be improved and expanded in both Northern and Southern California. More than 25% of the PHEVs & EVs sold in the USA are sold in California. These things do have an effect.

Of course, the higher price of gasoline is probably a very big factor. If the nation raised the gas tax it would do wonders to getting people to use fuel more efficiently.

And road traffic is at record levels as the economy improves, but the governments don't have money to repair and improve roads. Most states like Missouri have been using bond issues to upgrade highways instead of raising the gas tax. This and other use of general tax dollars (not fuel taxes) for highway and road projects means greater subsidy for road vehicles. And then comes CNG vehicles which contribute nothing towards road cost.

A vehicle mile tax based on annual odometer rating is the only way to go.

The average Amtrak train passenger pays more than 80% of the ticket cost, while road users pay half the cost of roads (rebuilding, maintenance, safety, traffic control, snow removal, liter clean up, etc.).

See more subsidy facts here: www.narprail.org/resources/fact-sheets/328-amtrak-myths-a-facts

And road traffic is at record levels as the economy improves

US Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) peaked in 2007. Latest available data shows the 12 month running average to September is down 3.1% from that peak. So road traffic is certainly not at record levels.


September 2012
Travel on all roads and streets changed by -1.5% (-3.6 billion vehicle miles) for September 2012 as compared with September 2011. Travel for the month is estimated to be 237.1 billion vehicle miles.

A vehicle mile tax based on annual odometer rating is the only way to go.

I fully agree that an annual odometer rating should eventually happen. However, I think we can wait a few years.
The current gas tax is such an elegant solution since it taxes on efficiency and thus encourages efficiency.
Perhaps CNG & EVs should pay a $100 flat road tax for now.

Eventually an odometer system is probably needed but I still feel that a Hummers should pay more than Prius in some manner.
Perhaps the tax should be in part proportional to vehicle weight since that is what damages the roads.
(Big trucks destroy roads, motorcycles and bicycles cause virtually no damage at all.)

Just made a very brief visit to Long Beach from my home in Oregon, and I must say that far more gasoline could be conserved if the speed laws were vigorously enforced. I should probably also say that would be true for every metropolitan region in the USA.

I disagree within the boundaries of New Orleans. Most streets 25 mph, divided streets 35 mph. And most in city interstate speeds are @ 60 mph. And even the near suburbs do not speed too much.


What we need to do for a large portion of traffic replacement is to go backwards.Well sort of anyway.Lets go with electric velomobiles.


It always brightens my day whenever I find even just one other human being out there who groks velomobiles!
And for the record, an electric assist velomobile is a humongous step forward, not backwards! Add solar charging and now we're really talking!


I certainly love the idea and look of them and want one. But for the price of most of them you can buy a nice used car. I've been looking into building one with a fully hybridized drivetrain to get rid of the chain in the cabin and most oily bits.

Check out this guy's build: http://youtu.be/guyXZqLXX1Y

The "yee!yee!yee!yee!" you hear is the electric generator as he pedals. He's currently using a direct drive hub motor and massive controller. I asked him how he regulated the voltage off of the pedal generator and he said the battery is big enough that as hard as you could pedal, once the voltage gets a little bit above that of the battery it becomes impossible to push it further.

I'm having a number of issues but the most nebulous is regulatory. I'd like for it to be capable of going 30mph - this, along with possibly not having what may be termed "working pedals" would push it out of the federal regulation of defining an electric "bi"cycle as just a "bi"cycle. So I figured I might be able to get away with calling it a scooter - but that stops me from using multiple gearing and I'm not sure that a direct drive hub can generate the necessary torque for some of the hills I might encounter. I'd be willing to push the bounds a bit - but a velomobile is going to attract a lot of attention, including "unwanted" attention and so it'd have to be done right (legally). Non-assist is a non-starter here, so there's going to be e-assist one way or another. Might just have to scrap the full electric drivetrain and have a gnarly chain running through the cabin in the end, or settle for a lower top speed.

Hey Substrate, I'm in the middle of a project so I can't stay online right now but I think most of the issues you mention have solutions. If you'd like to chat about velomobiles drop me a line at my posted email address.

My housing society has done a neat post peak oil investment. We are halfway into installing peak 149 kW of solar cells on our roofs wich will cover 1/4 of the total electricity used in the 546 apartments. The investment is about SEK 20000 / USD 3000 per apartment with a repayment time of 8 to 14 years depending on future summer electricity prices. The quick repayment time compared with other investments in the houses made it a piece of cake to finance.

Some pictures:

Unfortunately is the production 0 W when there is a snow cover on the system, but it will be productive and save us money during spring, summer and autumn.

And the project also gave an opportunity to change the interperation on the municipiality zoning decisions in Linköping making it easier for any property owner to change his or her roofing material to solar cells. Any project who is smaller or comparable to this and isent in an extra sensitive area and files for a building permit will more or less get a rubber stamped approval within a couple of weeks.

I suspect that power will come at a higher priced time of day, if Sweden moves to time of day pricing,

And SOMETIMES in winter, will there will be no snow during your 3.5 hours of weak sunlight ?

VERY Good :-)


And with more efficient lighting and appliances (I just bought a 10 watt Apple Mac Mini), that quarter can become a third of your consumption :-)

PS: Any tax incentives ?

We alreday got day pricing, every electricity consumer in Sweden can request hour metering and billing since 2012-10-01 but it will take some time for it to become popular. It is a vital component for the "smart grid" dreams, no market, no smart grid.

These houses were built 45 years ago and the solar cells are a latecommer to the project of renewing all the roofs. We are also in a process to go from more then 600 power company meters and power contracts to probably less then 100 meters and one common power contract. This were not politically possibe 5-10 years ago since the grid monopolist will loose a notiable income on all the power meter contracts and it was not a political issue for the municipiality who owns the local grid company. We will then have internal meters and bill each apartment for the electricty used from either our own solar or electricity from the overall best supplier.

The electricity we produce and use ourselves is not taxed wich makes it more valuble for our own use then selling.

All electricity produced with solar power regardless if it is sold or used internally can be metered and sold as fullfillment for green certificates and this is the only direct subsidy.

We will probably be able to get a power contract for net metering on a monthly basis making it possible for us to sum the inflow and outflow to the grid and thus use it as a kind of accumulator and get a zero bill on the kWh but we will of course still get the regular bill for the fuse size capacity of our grid connections. If this should be taxed when outputing electricity to the grid might change, the law can be interpreted in multiple ways.

Another nice detail with different contracts for the fuse and meter for the grid monopolist and a power contract from anybody is that the power contract is force majure terminated if the fuse and meter is physically removed.

Saving or not saving electricity is up to the individual home owner.

These houses are energy wise not especially good since they were built before the 70:s oil crisis with only 3-4 inches of rockwool insulation and the double glaze wooden frame windows were of poor quality and rotted and had to be replaces after only 40 years althoug the new ones insulate far better and will probably last longer, and there is no energy recycling in the primitive ventilation system. Someday we will have to knock down the close to maintainace free brick facade to install proper insulation and install some kind of distributed heat pump gizmo on all the roofs. :-/

Or we get runaway climate change and will thank a deity that we got our own solar electricty to run air conditioning...

Unfortunately is the production 0 W when there is a snow cover on the system

Perhaps install them such that the apt mgr or maintenance person(s) can clean them off with a long pole brush.

So when it snows, next day get them wiped off, so will be producing power again.

Not that easy. Snow may form a think icy crust. It may be sticky snow. The amounts may be to large to remove in an easy way. Roads are made so they can be easily plowed off. The rest we just leave waiting for spring.

Mounted at a steep angle, which is probably appropriate for your lattitude, most of the time snow should tend to slide off. Glass tends to be pretty slippery. Once the glass temp exceeds the freezing point, I would think snow/ice will rapidly slide off.

Very little is produced during winter anyway because of the short days. Firewood combined with solar panels may however be good combination for water heating.

Firewood can also get you electricity. I get about 1kW-hr from 1.5 kg of wood, using an engine somewhat distantly related to the Microgen described here


I believe the Microgen engine is also packaged with a pellet burner. Any wood gasifier will do.

Hey Wimbi, what do you think of thermoelectric (bi-metal or perhaps solid state) generators for use on a wood stove? They're not "efficient", but if you are using the wood stove you want the heat anyway, so the real question is: can such devices be made inexpensively and produce a useful amount of electricity? Having no moving parts is a great feature, they should last a long time. Some example such devices:

Way more expensive per watt, but you can buy them now, Stirlings still not off the shelf, for reasons unknown to me. They are fairly simple and don't have exotic materials.
also, a 1kW stirling is something about as big as a gallon jug and weighs about 15 kg. Thermoelectric for same power much bigger.

Has anybody got small scale wood CHP to work reliably without extreme cost?
I would be happy to find some working system.

My solar panels are mounted on manual trackers at ground level. During winter I tilt them very steeply, around 60 degrees (house is at 40 degrees n. latitude). Even so, snow usually sticks to the surface except during unusually dry storms. Each morning after a snowfall I sweep the panels with a broom even though they might melt out eventually. Since the days are very short, it's even more important to get every available watt. Mounting them on the roof would mean using probably twice as many panels. The manual tracker produces 30-40% more power just with 3 or 4 positions during the day. When I'm gone for the day they stay at noon, or if it's clear, I'll position one of the two arrays at noon, the other at 3 pm, to keep the batteries in float mode longer.

If you feed current into PV panels will they heat up?

Probably not, but you could surely put even some resistive heat tape on the underside of the panels, like we do with roofs themselves, and toss it a little juice to slick up a batch of snow.

A problem with many viable solutions..

They must have some internal resistance. They are a bit like a diode, current will only flow one way. But I wouldn't recommend it.

Why not? They are built to carry a significant current, and to get rather hot under the summer sun.

Edit: if you drive a current through them in the "forward" direction, it may mostly flow through the bypass diodes, and with enough current those may heat up quite a bit, and that heat is not spread around the area of the panels. A reverse current is therefore safer, but I don't know how much current can you get that way, at safe voltages (similar to the normal operating voltage).

Actually, if you squueze them hard, they will re-release the sun light they used to absorb. Jonathan Swift did some extensive research of this.

I enjoyed this article on heating and cooling buildings and cities without fossil fuels.Peoples of yesterday had it figured out,although they didnt have a choice.


hmmm...end of embargo or time for invasion?

"HAVANA (AP) -- A Norwegian-owned platform arrived in waters off Cuba's north-central coast for exploratory drilling by the Russian oil company Zarubezhneft, authorities said Saturday, renewing the island's search for petroleum after three failed wells this year."

"NEW YORK — The Coast Guard is responding to a fuel oil spill in the waters off Staten Island.

The fuel is leaking from a cargo tank aboard a barge at Mays Ship Repair. The Coast Guard says the leak began late Friday.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Jetta Disco said early Saturday that authorities have narrowed down the source of the leak to one tank on the barge. She says that tank's capacity is 147,000 gallons, but it's not clear how much has leaked."

"The federal government has no idea how much gold, copper and other hard-rock minerals are being extracted from public lands each year — nor how much the minerals are worth — because the companies licensed to operate the mines pay no royalties, according to a report the Government Accountability Office will make public Wednesday."

Just a sidenote for the interested in the ASPO conference.

The presentation slides are now up at the ASPO USA website. Not the same thing as the videos(which are going to go up in early next year), but it's still a decent skimthrough.


For the first time on a global scale, being overweight has become more of a health problem than lack of nutrition. In 1990, undernutrition was the leading cause of disease burden, measured as the number of years of healthy life an average person could expect to lose as a result of illness or early death. Back then, a high body-mass index, or BMI, was ranked tenth. Now, undernutrition has dropped to eighth place, while BMI has risen to become the sixth leading cause of disease burden.

Malthus didn't envision cheetos, pizza, tater tots, hagen dazs, etc, but "vice" seems well accounted-for in his theories...

Must it not then be acknowledged by an attentive examiner of the histories of mankind, that in every age and in every State in which man has existed, or does now exist
That the increase of population is necessarily limited by the means of subsistence,

That population does invariably increase when the means of subsistence increase, and,

That the superior power of population is repressed, and the actual population kept equal to the means of subsistence, by misery and vice.

Peak oil may bring some benefits.

Barclays: US $470m energy fine 'unjustified'

Barclays has said US regulators' proposed fines of $470m (£291m) for the bank's alleged manipulation of energy markets are "unjustified" and the allegations will not stand up in court.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Ferc) has accused four Barclays traders of manipulating power prices in the US from 2006-2008.

Barclays denies the charges.

Previously, from HuffPo :

Mike Masters, co-founder of Better Markets and a frequent advocate for stronger rules, said it could be the "tip of the iceberg" as regulators probe more deeply into commodities.

"It's a very significant fine and not just because of the dollar amount. It also highlights how banks and swap dealers were combining financial and physical positions in a predatory way to manipulate commodity markets," he said.

"If it's happened in power markets you can be sure it was also going on in crude oil and other markets like refined oil products," Masters said.

Now Is The Time For More Transit In America, Not Less

As reported in The Atlantic magazine:

Money for mass transit is hard to come by, so you’d think when the federal government offers some, states and localities would jump at the chance. A few do, but most don’t, according to a GAO report released earlier this month [PDF]. Of the $53 billion in “flexible” transportation funding issued from 2007 to 2011, only about $5 billion was used for urban public transit.

Letter From Kirkuk: How Oil Riches And Ethnic Divisions Threaten Fragile Peace In Iraq

KIRKUK – Fifty kilometers out of Kirkuk, an oil city in Northern Iraq, the main road from Baghdad is already lined with tanks, artillery, Humvees and patrolling soldiers. Life has returned to the military barracks and checkpoints from the Saddam Hussein era that locals had thought were left behind for good.

Tents have also been erected, and you can see officers walking around together pointing at the surrounding hills as if discussing a defense strategy. Nearly all vehicles bear an Iraqi flag – red, white and black with the Arabic words "Allah is Great" in green in the middle.

Leaving Kirkuk and heading north in the direction of Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, the picture changes again. There are tanks, artillery, Humvees and large numbers of soldiers here too – they aren’t flying the Iraqi flag but the Kurdish one with the bright yellow sun at its center. Also: the men are wearing peshmerga – Kurdish freedom fighter uniforms.

The fighting around Kirkuk is notching up. What the United States described as an unresolved conflict, warning of the possible outbreak of civil war, when they withdrew their troops is coming to a head. Here, it’s not about Sunnis and Shiites but Arabs and Kurds.

"If only we didn’t have the oil, it’s become a curse," ... "We are surrounded by two rival armies that could start fighting any minute now,” he says. Yes, Saddam’s attacks here in the 1980s were brutal: he forced Kurds to leave and moved Arabs in so that he could control the oil. But the enemy was only from Baghdad that time – this time it’s from Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan.

Chevron to pay $155 million for Brazil oil spill

US oil giant Chevron has agreed to pay 310 million reales ($155 million) to Brazil for an oil spill last year that fouled beaches in Rio de Janeiro, officials said Saturday.

The November 2011 spill saw some 3,000 barrels of crude soil the waters of the Atlantic near the Frade oil field, located some 370 kilometers (230 miles) northwest of Rio

Popular Mechanic's: 110 Predictions For the Next 110 Years

2 hits out of 110 ...

The last gasoline-powered car will come off the assembly line.

And renewable energy sources will surpass fossil fuels in electricity generation.

But where are the flying cars? We've been promised flying cars since I was a kid! And now they're saying we won't have them even by the 22nd century!?! What a ripoff.

But that list does have many items regarding the wonders of automobiles/traffic in the coming century. But funnily enough, nothing about all the cars rusting in place...

Terrafugia transition flying car can be ordered now and should be delivered in 2013.

There are several other roadable planes that are flying now.

Is a vehicle that is FAA certified as s experimental home built.
Cost $94000

The transition will be a sport plane that is also street legal.

Transition costs about 200k. Comparable to a Ferrari.
There are Cessna in that price range. There are about 200 thousand small planes in the USA. So roadable planes will expand that category.

Darpa funded development if flying hummer. Combining UAV and short takeoff. Should have two or three companies with test vehicles competinf in 3 years

The number of private aircraft in the U.S. has been on a 'bumpy plateau' (actually declining slightly) since 2005.


What other thing has been on a 'bumpy plateau' since ~2005?

I think you are being unduly optimistic by asserting that a $200K 'roadable airplane' will 'greatly expand' the general aviation ranks. How many people can afford the $200K purchase price? How about the fuel? How about the pilot's license and insurance? How about the required maintenance overhauls for general aircraft? Takeoffs and landings...from what, the Interstates?

I predict that the widespread adoption of combi car/aircraft will remain forever a Popular Science 'goof'...a techno-daydream.

There is more chance of balancing the U.S. budget than seeing the fielding of a 'flying Hummer'.

I am surprised they didn't mention the Singularity.

He took a job at Google. Singularity meets Matrix

Action by 2020 key for limiting climate change, researchers say

The new paper, published today in Nature Climate Change, explores technological, policy, and social changes that would need to take place in the near term in order to keep global average temperature from rising above 2 °C, a target supported by more than 190 countries as a global limit to avoid dangerous climate change. This study for the first time comprehensively quantifies the costs and risks of greenhouse gas emissions surpassing critical thresholds by 2020. The findings of the study are particularly important given the failure of the recent climate negotiations in Doha to decide to increase mitigation action before 2020.

... IIASA Energy Program Leader Keywan Riahi, who also worked on the study, says, "You would need to shut down a coal power plant each week for ten years if you still wanted to reach the two-degree Celsius target."

"Our analysis shows that we are very dependent on key technologies like carbon capture and storage and on land-consuming measures like afforestation and the cultivation of crops for biofuel production," says Rogelj. "If we want to become less dependent on massive implementation of these technologies to make it below two degrees Celsius, we need to reduce emissions by 2020 and use energy more efficiently."

Report: Humanity Has Overshot The Earth’s Biocapacity

A new report on China’s ecological footprint opens with some grim news for the planet as a whole: The demand humans place on the planet — in terms of land use, resource consumption, pollution, and so on — overshot the Earth’s threshold for sustaining that demand back in the early 1970s. Since then the gap has only grown wider.

Oh but those geniuses over at The Economist think that the U.S. is going to suffer a birth dearth and throw away our economic fertility advantage versus other countries...such as those 'over the hill' old Europe and Japanese decliners.


So...the answer to a economic/resource Ponzi scheme (Social Security being but one example) is to grow the bottom of the pyramid...ad infinatum?

Astounding, disappointing, and troubling that well-educated adults who wield the power of a widely-read magazine come to these daft conclusions and market them to the readers.

Common people are smarter than the elite. Resources don't allow for infinite growth, so people have adjusted their fertility to match. To economists and other elites, this is inexplicable.
-- Natural resources are infinite. Human beings are the greatest resource and more people always leads to more wealth. Don't you want to be more wealthy? Why aren't you breeding? --

A prediction for 2020

Action by 2030 key for limiting climate change, researchers say

And one for 2030

Something would have had to be done before 2000 to limit climate change, researchers say

Obama To Name Climate Hawk John Kerry Secretary Of State

In the first serious indication Obama will focus on climate change in his second term, media outlets report the President will nominate Senator John Kerry (D-MA) to be Secretary of State.

Kerry is one of the Senate’s leading climate hawks who has said he believes that climate change is the “biggest long term threat” to national security.

... [Kerry] in a speech this summer on the Senate floor, slammed the U.S. political discussion as a “conspiracy of silence … a story of disgraceful denial, back-pedaling, and delay that has brought us perilously close to a climate change catastrophe.” He called it:

… a silence that empowers misinformation and mythology to grow where science and truth should prevail. It is a conspiracy that has not just stalled, but demonized any constructive effort to put America in a position to lead the world on this issue….

Get Ready, Utilities: Solar Is Coming

A new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), Commercial Rooftop Revolution

... By 2016, over 100,000 MW of unsubsidized rooftop solar will able to match grid electricity on price. Within 10 years, it will be 300,000 MW, enough to provide 10% of the nation’s electricity. This affordable solar future presents a stark challenge to traditional utility planning and a clarion call for better electricity policy.

Regardless of their predisposition toward solar power, utilities, regulators, and policy makers need to recognize that there’s a revolution in electricity systems coming soon. Solar will become so affordable in the next 5-10 years that as many as 38 million homes and businesses will elect to produce their own power more cheaply from unsubsidized solar rather than buy it from their utility. That means policies that limit distributed generation will have to change: net metering limits must rise, permitting must be simplified, archaic “15% rules” will have to be driven by data not speculation.

As I was descending into DFW a few weeks ago, I was struck by the acres of flat, unshaded, uncluttered rooftops on the various industrial buildings near the airport....many of which looked like distribution centers, with large number of semi trailer trucks snuggled up to their walls.

I thought these buildings would make fine solar power platforms....the PV panels could easily be spaced between the rows of skylights many of these building have....props for those building owners who put the skylights in!

Also, all of these buildings had bright white roofs..more props for that energy-saving feature...now they should go for PV.

I had similar thoughts during the approach to MIA during a flight I took to Miami on November 14th.

Alan from the islands

When I've pushed it to my DFW brother, he notes the frequent golfball-sized hail and the cheap kwh's. Also notes that in the cloned suburb-scape there it's hard to get permission to even change your paint color. In his neighborhood they frequently need to replace skylights and shingles due to hail. Cars too for that matter.

They had a lot of chain-reaction fires on windy days because the neighborhoods were designed with wood-shingle roofs in the generic cookie-cutter mini-mansions stacked within 20 feet of each other. A lot of people wanted to go to mineral-surfaced shingles which don't easily catch fire, but for a long time it was forbidden... until enough houses burned. It may still be restricted in some neighborhoods.

Plus, they're texans. Their blog notes jokingly that they are using non-LED bulbs for the holidays to burn as much power as possible.

(This is the family that tried to throw away my 5-lb bag of potatoes since they feel having more than one day's food in the house is a sign of being low-class.)

Oh-oh you're ruining my vision of going into PV on the garage roof for emergency power. How do PV panels hold up to hailstones? I'm in Regina, Sask and we do get hail big enough to dent cars. Anybody know the solution? Magyar, you around? What's your advice?

Resolutely low class here, we have about 6 months of food squirrelled away...

Well I'm no authority at all, far from it, but there are impact standards and I think it's only the whopper-sized hailstones that post damage risk, not the ones under 1" or so. I think the crystalline-based panels would be more affected by sharp impacts than amorphous would, since the active material is pretty brittle.

If I was in an area with lots of hail and was worried about that I might arrange a plywood protective cover for stormy periods. Something else that might work would be a sheet of acrylic plastic held an inch or so above each panel, with venting at the sides for airflow - might give more elastic rebound, though I wonder offhand whether the plastic might soak up any useful wavelengths... be easy enough to test.

Or just lay in spare panels & replace as needed - they're cheap now.



The guys that installed my panels three years ago, claimed the panels were tested against being hit by a golf ball at point blank range. Thats got to be similar to a pretty large hailstone. Its probably mainly the thickness of the glass cover.

In 2003, I dropped one end of a 10' 4x4 onto a monocrystalline solar panel that I had lying on the ground. It immediately shattered the tempered glass, and I thought it was toast, but I connected it up, and I still get 82% of the nameplate current from that string of 2 panels, 9 years later. I never even replaced the tempered glass; it is still shattered (but holding together).

Apparently, all the cracks limit the light coming in a little, but the solar cells themselves are not at all affected by an impact far larger than the largest imaginable hailstone (and the fact that it probably leaks like a sieve). I still cover them during really bad hail storms (about once per year), but that's probably not necessary, since the tempered glass is designed for a 100-year weather event (I'm not sure what size hailstones that would be).

That's just my experience; YMMV.

David Voss

A laminated panel runs glass/plastic/silicon/plastic/plastic all fused together so that would help hold the glass together and give a bit of padding to the cells.


How do PV panels hold up to hailstones? I'm in Regina, Sask and we do get hail big enough to dent cars. Anybody know the solution? Magyar, you around? What's your advice?

Well, there's hail and then there's HAIL! Most panels can handle 'hail' >;-)


The short answer is solar panels are built to last. They are specifically manufactured to withstand the most severe weather conditions. In the Northeast, the most likely possible culprits for damage may be tree branches or hail. In the case of tree limbs, they probably won’t harm the panels. However, if a large tree came crashing down on your home, there’s a good chance the cracked solar panels aren’t going to be the only thing you’re going to worry about.

Most solar panels are fitted with tempered glass and considered to be reasonably hail resistant. This type of glass is designed to withstand a direct vertical impact of hail up to 1 inch in diameter, travelling at 50 miles per hour. Larger hail is still not likely to cause damage because of the orientation of a solar array. Typically, solar panels are oriented to the south and at a tilt which is not the prevailing course that severe hail storms could make direct impact on the panels.

I visited the InterSolar 2012 trade shows in SF this past summer and saw a company displaying a product designed for this type of situation (hail or hurricanes). It was a thin film type panel, made on top of a plastic substrate, sort of like the Unisolar stuff in a more traditional form factor. A quick web search for flexible impact resistant solar pv module brought up this outfit.

I don't remember the name of the company or the detailed specifications of the product I saw at the trade show but, the selling points were impact resistance and light weight. I do not think they were particularly efficient but, I remember getting the impression that the company knew that the environment was very competitive price wise and were prepared to compete on a price per watt of the total installation, taking into consideration that, in special circumstances they would be less expensive to install. I distinctly remember insisting that the rep give me a brochure rather than just a link to a web site so, I could rummage through the material I brought back with me and find it, if anyone's interested.

Alan from the islands

Maybe it's time for us New Englanders to start printing bumper stickers that invite the Tejanos to go 'Freeze in the dark..' as they have been known to offer as much to our frosty li'l butts... What with those cold spells across some of the SW last year, it hardly seems out of the realm of possibilities.

(The Rockman can count on a place by our fire any old time, it should be noted..)

Climate model is first to study climate effects of Arctic hurricanes

Though it seems like an oxymoron, Arctic hurricanes happen, complete with a central "eye," extreme low barometric pressure and towering 30-foot waves that can sink small ships and coat metal platforms with thick ice, threatening oil and gas exploration. Now climate scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and in England report the first conclusive evidence that Arctic hurricanes, also known as polar lows, play a significant role in driving ocean water circulation and climate.

... [They] find that by removing heat from the ocean, polar lows influence the sinking of the very dense cold water in the North Atlantic that drives the large-scale ocean circulation or "conveyer belt" that is known as the thermohaline circulation. It transports heat to Europe and North America.

"The fact that climate models are not simulating these storms is a real problem," he adds, "because these models will wrongly predict how much heat is being moving northward towards the poles. This will make it very difficult to reliably predict how the climate of Europe and North America will change in the near future."

Condron also notes that other research groups have found that the number of polar lows might decrease in the next 20 to 50 years. "If this is true, we could expect to see an accompanying weakening of the thermohaline circulation that might be able to offset some of the warming predicted for Europe and North America in the near future."

Are there any models which indicate that these polar lows may strengthen and/or become more numerous?

Don't Low pressure centers indicate that a column of air, warmer than the surrounding air, is rising (thus the lower pressure)? Would warmer air at the North pole region lead to higher water evaporation, driving such systems? Hopefully the drive for austerity in many technically advanced nations will not gut climate monitoring, modelling, research...

I would think any climate model with correct physics would pick up on storminess. The designers/programmers shouldn't have to actually know or understand these storms, but if the model does the physics right, they ought to show up in the simulations.

Most climate models do not have the granular resolution to pickup individual weather events like hurricanes or cyclones. Arctic cyclones were not significantly noted prior to satellite observations.

One hypothesis suggests that Arctic cyclone originate in the strong temperature contrast between warm waters in the East Siberian/Laptev sea with the sea ice edge at 75–80°N. In that scenario, these cyclones could be more or less the new normal.

If these cyclones become more common then the opening of the polar sea to navigation may be an accident waiting to happen. Ther're few safe harbors above the arctic circle.

Condron also notes that other research groups have found that the number of polar lows might decrease in the next 20 to 50 years. "If this is true, we could expect to see an accompanying weakening of the thermohaline circulation that might be able to offset some of the warming predicted for Europe and North America in the near future."

In other words, the temperate zones stay cool at the cost of the tropics getting extra-hot.

I don't think that's fair. We should all share mankind's folly equally.

Here's a link to the article in NATURE Geoscience (it's behind a pay wall):

The impact of polar mesoscale storms on northeast Atlantic Ocean circulation

The authors published an earlier paper, which is available on line:

Polar Mesoscale Cyclones in the Northeast Atlantic: Comparing Climatologies from ERA-40 and Satellite Imagery

E. Swanson

New Chatham House Reports ...

Resources Futures

The spectre of resource insecurity has come back with a vengeance. The world is undergoing a period of intensified resource stress, driven in part by the scale and speed of demand growth from emerging economies and a decade of tight commodity markets. Poorly designed and short-sighted policies are also making things worse, not better. Whether or not resources are actually running out, the outlook is one of supply disruptions, volatile prices, accelerated environmental degradation and rising political tensions over resource access.

The hard truth is that many of the fundamental conditions that gave rise to the tight markets in the past ten years remain. In the case of food, the world remains only one or two bad harvests away from another global crisis. Lower prices in the meantime may simply trigger another bout of resource binge, especially in the large and growing developing countries.

This report focuses on the new political economy of resources. It analyses the latest global trends in the production, trade and consumption of key raw materials or intermediate products and explores how defensive and offensive moves by governments and other stakeholders are creating new fault lines on top of existing weaknesses and uncertainties.

Executive Summary
View Tables

Interactive Website

Gas Security in Northeast Asia: A Closing Window of Opportunity

Decisions on the routes for sending Russian gas to China, South Korea and Japan in the coming months will define the future pattern of Northeast Asian gas trade. With major gas demand increases expected in each country and numerous territorial disputes fuelled by the intensifying search for new energy deposits, these decisions will have profound implications for both energy security and geopolitics.

Russia aims to send 19-20% of its gas exports to the Asia Pacific market by 2030. To achieve this, it must start developing its super giant gas fields in East Siberia. President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly intervened in person urging Gazprom to pursue a deal that would allow Russia to develop these fields. But the economic justification can only come from a more assured stake in the Asian market, namely by securing long-term pipeline delivery contracts.

Unless an agreement on the routes is reached next year, much of the Chinese market will turn to liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from elsewhere. This will reduce the potential future market for Russian pipeline gas and so undermine the economic viability of developing eastern Russian gas fields. The result will be more expensive gas both regionally and globally, at a time when energy price fears are already high. Moreover, China will have no choice but to intensify its domestic exploration efforts, not least in the South China Sea.

Shale and a Renewed Dash for Gas in the UK?

GOP Rep.: More - not fewer - guns the answer

Had Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung kept a gun in her office, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, vocal leader in the right-wing tea party movement, argued today, the Newtown, Conn., shooting Friday that left 20 students and six faculty members dead would have had a far less tragic result.

"I wish to God she had had an M4 [carbine rifle] in her office locked up and so when she heard gunshots... she takes his head off before he can hurt those kids," Gohmert said of Hochsprung - who was among those killed - on FOX News Sunday.

"If only one of the teachers had a gun..."

One did. She owned several, in fact. Her son used them to kill her, her colleagues, and 20 children.

Hey, c'mon, didn't you sometimes borrow your mom's assault rifle, multiple clips, frangible ammo, twin automatic pistols and tactical armor when you were young? It's just a natural part of growing up, like learning to ride a bike or cowering under a desk.

Don't hate us for our freedoms, world.

I don't agree with him but he obviously meant the principal should have carried a gun to school.

I thought he was wearing body armor against exactly that sort of defence. An elementary school principal would need to keep a 50 caliber machine gun in her office to stay ahead of today's suburban American weaponry.

Most amateurs will not handle return fire well, so bullets coming the other direction would likely change the dynamic. Even if the armor stops the round, the impact could be significant, and heads and limbs would still be ready targets. The more likely result is a sustained pot-shot contest, which at least gives the police more time to respond.

But I don't think more guns is the answer...a reasonable mental health approach would be better. A small rate of crazies just should be tolerated, as the notion of a regimented paranoid world is worth than a small chance of random death. If we are really worried about death we should start with cars, gangs, and suicide.

But then I wouldn't worry much about TSA security either. I really don't much mind the scans, as long as they don't much cause cancer. Scan me, but please let me keep my belt and shoes on. And just scan my carry-on with bottles and laptop inside, please. I don't much care about draconian rules about what I can carry along, but the lines and inconvenience is asinine.

The gun issue is no different today than last week, or next year. Decisions in haste will always be political and poorly enacted.

If you look at the stats for the US, UK, and Switzerland, there is no clear correlation between available weaponry and homicide, let alone mass murder. The root cause is crazy people -- perhaps we should do more to not only treat, but PREVENT them?

There are innumerable soft targets, and a vast array of ways to commit atrocities, and a finite number of perpetrators. Since building fewer perps would presumably have broad value to society in other ways (not all at-risk people become killers, but many or most have issues), why do we insist on focusing on hardening the targets and reducing the weapons available, versus addressing the cause?

If you look at the stats for the US, UK, and Switzerland, there is no clear correlation between available weaponry and homicide, let alone mass murder.

I seriously doubt that this is the case. I would dearly love to see those stats. Got a link?

Ron P.

You found the gun homicide stats. Here is a page for homicide rates in general:

US 4.2, UK 1.2 per 100,000. Swiss rate is .7. Global rate is 7.6.

I did have some notions of gun violence from past research on US causes of death, but really hadn't gone through guns versus homicide rates overall. Frankly, I was surprised at the Swiss rate. I concluded there is much more at work here than gun ownership.

Again, if you aren't in a gang and you don't commit suicide, your chances of gun death even in the US is quite low.

Quite low is a relative concept. People from other developed countries are horrified at the gun death rate in the US. The gun death rate is far higher than any other developed country, including murders, suicides, and accidents. They're all higher, mostly because there are more guns in the US.

The UK statistics demonstrate that if people can't buy guns, they can't kill each other with guns. Handguns are prohibited in the UK and rifles and shotguns are limited to two-round capacity. As a result, people in the UK tend to kill each other with knives and blunt instruments. It's not a perfect solution but it does keep the overall murder rate to less than a third of the US level, despite the fact that the UK has its share of social problems, slums, and terrorists. It also prevents kids from stealing their mother's assault rifle and automatic handguns and shooting up schools - and a school shooting was what prompted the current tight controls. See Dunblane school massacre

I don't know if you have ever been in Switzerland, but it is a very affluent, controlled, and regulated small country where the authorities are in charge and everyone follows the rules. It's quite different in that regard from the US or UK. As a result, the overall murder rate is low, but most are committed with guns because they do have a lot of guns.

Gun politics in Switzerland

Gun politics in Switzerland are unique in Europe. Switzerland does not have a standing army, instead opting for a peoples' militia for its national defence. The vast majority of men between the ages of 20 and 30 are conscripted into the militia and undergo military training, including weapons training. The personal weapons of the militia are kept at home as part of the military obligations; Switzerland thus has one of the highest militia gun ownership rates in the world.

Re: Switzerland
Maybe that is what is called a "well-regulated militia".


If you look at the stats for the US, UK, and Switzerland, there is no clear correlation between available weaponry and homicide, let alone mass murder.

Gun politics in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world with 0.07 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009 compared to the United States' 3.0 and to Germany's 0.21.

With the exception of Northern Ireland, most police personnel in the United Kingdom do not routinely carry firearms. Despite police being unarmed, shooting fatalities of members of the police are extremely rare; there were three in England in Wales in the eleven-year period from 2000/01 to 2010/11.

So, the gun homicide rate in the US is over 40 times as high as in the UK. I think there is some misinformation being spread around by the US gun lobby.

Here are the stats!

The US has the highest firearms related death rate and the highest homicide death rate in the developed world.

List of countries by firearm-related death rate

The data is per 100,000 population in one year.

Country	        Deaths	Homicides
 El Salvador	50.36	50.36	
 Jamaica	47.44	47.44	
 Honduras	46.70	46.70	
 Guatemala	38.52	38.52	
 Swaziland	37.16	37.16	
 Colombia	28.11	27.10	
 Brazil	        19.01	18.10		
 Panama	        12.92	12.92		
 Mexico	11.14	10.00	0.67	
 Philippines	9.46	9.46	
 South Africa	9.41	NA	
 United States	9.00	2.98	
 Montenegro	8.55	2.06	
 Paraguay	7.35	7.35	
 Nicaragua	7.14	7.14	
 Switzerland	3.5	0.52	
 United Kingdom	0.25	0.04

Ron P.

Yes, the UK gun homicide rate is 1/40th the US rate, but the overall homicide rate is nowhere near that broad. Using that data alone would say that reducing gun ownership would reduce homicide, but not proportionally. Using Swiss ownership data would indicate the opposite -- if EVERYBODY owned a gun, it would be safer. Neither is valid -- the picture is more complex than that. Too many people want to make this a simple argument, but only because they've made up their mind and have an agenda. We in the US are really good at that....

Interesting to see Jamaica in second spot on this list. We are supposed to have very strict gun control laws here but, the police force is riddled with corruption. As a result all you really need to do to get a firearm license is have enough money to grease the wheels. The well established and lucrative trade in narcotics, both from and through the island doesn't help as it provides both the cash and the smuggling routes for unlicensed (illegal) firearms. Add a dose of high unemployment among the youth and a strong distrust of the police force among said youth and I suppose it all adds up.

I must admit that it's little difficult for ordinary people (with no connection to the criminal underworld) to get guns, much less crazy people and shootings are very rarely just random acts of violence. Invariably there is a dispute that can not be settled in court for one reason or another that, is settled by a party or parties with access to guns, leading to long series of reprisal killings. Often when there seems to be no apparent motive for killings word on the streets turns up some story of a score being settled.

On the other hand, comedian Mike Yard has his take on why you Can't hijack Air Jamaica that offers some insight into Jamaicans and the culture of gun violence. (Warning some people may find the language offensive)

Alan from the islands

I'd like to see the Mexico figures with the narco v narco killings taken out. We would be much lower on the list. We had a big 'shock, horror' of 2 Canadian tourists gunned down in the hotel, turned out they were down here trying to set up drug deals and smegged off one of the narcos. Latest non-narco killing was a stabbing, no gun.


"If you look at the stats.."
That is just plain WRONG.
There are none so blind as those who don't wish to see.
The rest of the world is incredulous that the US allows its citizens to buy and bear war-weapons...the results are obvious.
As Michael Moore tweeted yesterday...it's time to stop mourning.
Change the *&^%$ing law, already!

it's time to stop mourning

Bad call, apparently it is unhealthy to suppress that emotion.

I don't want to comment on the case under a pseudonym, but have a question on the second amendment as outlined in the Wikipedia article.

There are several versions of the text of the Second Amendment, each with slight capitalization and punctuation differences, found in the official documents surrounding the adoption of the Bill of Rights. One version was passed by the Congress, while another is found in the copies distributed to the States and then ratified by them.

As passed by the Congress:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The only sensible way to understand that text to me is as follows:

A well regulated Militia shall not be infringed, and be provided with the means of public force in their mandate.

Does my sense fail?

There are innumerable soft targets, and a vast array of ways to commit atrocities

Chinese knife attack slashes 22 children (zero dead apparently).


True enough, but the morbidity is much lower.

And I WHOLEHEARTEDLY support increased spending on public health, including mental health.

The Chinese children may live, but they are still scarred. Physically & emotionally.


If you look at worldwide homicide rates, people are pretty effective at killing with or without guns. Obviously guns are optimal tools for it, though.

I think the problem goes beyond spending, though my support is anecdotal. Our prisons are expensive and full off mental cases, as are other shelters. There is no longer any ready mechanism to force help upon the unwilling if they have yet to commit a crime (and from my vague knowledge of the historical mechanisms the earlier mechanisms and results early in the 20th centure were no better). Certainly a hefty due process is warranted (perhaps akin to a trial even), as a "sane until proven otherwise" bias must prevail.

The unfortunate reality that female in-patients were once sterilized to prevent pregnancy is a pretty good indicator of the abuses a system can readily manifest. Mainstreaming of marginal high-functioning children is a mixed bag as well, with positive and negative impacts on both the special children and the normal ones.

As for what works: here there is a private school for mid- to high-functioning autism, Asperger's, and similar kids. They have a caring staff and though the kids know they are 'special' there is little stigma or labelling, as all the kids there have an issue of some sort or another. They have peer groups, shifting friendships, minor cliques and groupings, teen drama, and all the other emotional baggage of normal schools, only with a few added dimensions.

In a mainstream environment, many of these kids were teased, singled out for full-time or (worse) pull-out special classes, and always struggled to simply fit in with peers.

In CO there are solid programs for adults as well, including group homes and half-way houses with groupings of people with similar issues, and associated employers who help out. A grocer for examples hires some autistic people as stockers. He can provide a solid routine, and appreciates employees who are consistent, especially if they like neat rows of fronted and rotated cans.

I still think our larger investment should be in preventing the disease from occurring. Even if nothing terrible happens, the care impact on families and societies for such illness is massive.

I am obviously an outsider, but my two cents would be that there is a point where the law of diminishing returns starts kicking in. IMO gun ownership with bolt action rifles is fine, full on automatics and handguns is taking things a bit too far.

My self defense teacher taught us that in-spite of what people think it's incredibly hard to kill people with machetes, knives or other fancy direct contact weapons. It takes an incredible amount of will and skill (which very few people possess) just to go up close to your victim and start the attack while it's all too easy to kill people with guns. In other words if you want to show off you carry a katana or something like that while if you mean business you carry a gun. So yes guns do make a world of difference.

This is correct. The way it is explained in the movie "Léon" with Jean Reno says it all. When I was a kid I wanted to hurt a person because he was a bully for several years. When I had the opportunity with a heavy blunt object and I could have smacked him real hard, I discovered I could not do it. The threshold was to high to climb. I then endured a few more years of bullyism from him. Just couldn't do it.

And the guy is now, if he lives, addicted to heavy narcotics.

If you look at the stats for the US, UK, and Switzerland, there is no clear correlation between available weaponry and homicide, let alone mass murder.

You are wrong. Take a look at this: the data is unambiguous: http://globalsociology.com/2012/12/15/on-the-guns-thing-i-would-just-lik...

I do not agree. The graph shows a weak correlation for most countries, with a wide outlier of the US. It's only a rough line because the US is included, else it would be a weak positive correlation at best, still with undeniable outliers.

However, I did not argue that guns are not associated with gun deaths, as that would be expected since guns offer a pretty good way to kill people once you decide they need killing, if one is handy. The more pertinent analysis is between overall homicide deaths and gun ownership, to see if guns increase the number of deaths overall or just are a convenient choice when available. That correlation is weaker as well.

Of course correlation is not causation (though that's a good way to bet, generally speaking). One must ask why Icelanders can apparently own guns without killing people, yet the US cannot. And why the Dutch apparently kill people as effectively as the Finns but with 1/10th the guns.

This also backs up the statistic that a gun in your house is more likely to kill you, or one of your family members. Then any sort of intruder or criminal.

There are some really bad statistics out there that claim thus, but mostly debunked. The relationship one way or the other is pretty weak.

A car is more likely to kill its owner than somebody else as well...mostly for the same reason: suicide.

If you eliminate suicide and gang violence, gun dangers are much, much lower.

Depression, with ideas of suicide, is quite common. Without a gun - the easiest way to commit suicide for many people - they usually get through it.

Having been depressed a couple of times, I have vowed to never own a gun. I can see how fixating on it, lying a few feet away, as a "solution" would have lead to suicide.

So I would not remove guns used in suicides as being "caused" by the presence of guns in the home.


There is sense to that, but the same is true for cars. Something like half of fatal single-car "accidents" are suicides.

I never bought a motorcycle for a similar reason -- I knew I would want to ride dangerously (but not intentionally suicidally!). I'm old enough now that I no longer worry about that, but the appeal now is less as well.

I guess the problem isn't those who can manage their ill-advised proclivities.....

There is sense to that, but the same is true for cars. Something like half of fatal single-car "accidents" are suicides.

This is not a corollary.

I know exactly one person who needs a gun for his job or around his property (my brother is a cop.)

On the other hand, I know dozens who use their cars to get to work.

By your logic, we shouldn't have bridges, either. Too many people jump off of them.

"Without a gun - the easiest way to commit suicide for many people..."

Sadly oxycontin plus alcohol is taking over as the even easier way.

Shooting yourself in the head is a pretty final way to commit suicide. Other methods are less effective. I've known a number of people who slashed their wrists or took an overdose of pills, and then changed their minds and called 911. Other people had friends or relatives stumble over them and call 911 for them.

One of the hardest things to do is convince them that there is treatment for depression that works. Get them on medication, get them into therapy, and in a few weeks things will seem a lot brighter. It's also hard keeping them on their meds and in therapy because of all the idiotic nonsense that is written about mental disorders. Unfortunately a lot of people with mental disorders believe all the stuff they read.

I got a scissor in the wrist once (package opening accident). Hurt like hell, even though I didn't sever an artery. I wouldn't choose that method.

It's also hard keeping them on their meds and in therapy because of all the idiotic nonsense that is written about mental disorders.

Are you referring to the writings regarding the side effects of mental health medications?

I'm talking about nonsense that is put out by people such as the Church of Scientology. They don't even believe there is such a thing as mental illness, and think that all psychiatry is a fraud. Unfortunately they put much of it out under pseudonyms, so many people believe it is legitimate opinion, and they have a lot of money so they put out a lot of it under various guises.

For side effects of psychiatric drugs, I look to the legitimate medical literature. It's usually pretty accurate, although you have to know how to read it.

So suicide doesn't count? I guess they deserve to die?

As I said in a slightly different context a couple of days back, religious fundies always double down, always. So in this case, the cure for too many guns, is more guns.

And the cure for too many crazy people is, fewer guns??

Why do "crazy people" choose to commit mass murder with guns? Why do they not run naked through the streets? For starters, crazy people are a part of the society and are influenced by the culture as much as sane people. Your behavior changes when you have access to a gun; it doesn't matter whether you are crazy or sane.

Also, the dividing line between sane and crazy is sometimes blurry. A sane person can go crazy sometimes.

Most crazyness is a problem for the sick individuall and those who care for him or her, general berserker rage is rare.

The strongest direct influence is probably media marinating sane and crazy people in reporting aboutr gun berserker rage och even giving it some gory glory that seems to attract crazy people who search for outgoing crazyness and thus make school shooting into a thing to do for the rare crazy people who search for mass hurt. Getting media to stop doing that is probably impossible.

The best medicine ought to be a combination of better mental health care and that people in general care more about each other so that people in need can find support and also get hurting friends, familiy or neighbours to proper mental healthcare.

It would also be good if a country marinated in weapons could get better at handling them securely, storing them out of reach of children etc and making it popular that crazy people not should have guns. I guess it is way to late for european style weapons control and it might even be bad enough in some areas that it makes sense for sane people to arm themselves. Unfortunately I dont know for sure, I only have the notoriously unreliable media and internet to go by.

I used to work with a guy, very quiet, married, four kids, deacon in the church. He was in charge of transport so we had to give him a story every time we wanted to use one of the company vehicles. One night he shot his wife and kids as they were sleeping, then himself. No one knows why he did it. No financial or marriage problems, no history of mental instability.

The crazy ones are easy to spot; the quiet ones not so much.

I used to have a neighbour who seemed pretty normal, except that he had about 50 guns in his house - 25 handguns and 25 rifles and shotguns. He was quite proud of his collection and invited me over to see it. He had permits for all of them and worked as a security guard.

Fortunately he moved to another neighbourhood, because a few months later he called up the police station and threatened to kill everyone. They sent the SWAT team right over to pick him up, he fired two shots at them, and they took him out with a 20 shot burst around a blind corner with a sub machine gun. The next morning the paper had a front page picture of him being loaded into an ambulance.

He survived and got a suspended sentence in return for promising to see a psychiatrist and take his medications as he was told to. I don't think even he knew why he did it. The best explanation he had was that someone stole his truck, and the police couldn't find the culprit, even though they did find the truck.

He fit the usual profile, though. Quiet, kept to himself, seemed a little odd but never broke any laws right up until the day he opened fire. And, yes, there was the fact he owned 50 guns.

"a country marinated in weapons"

Marinated in violence, too.
The kid liked to play "Dynasty Warriors":
His mom was a prepper stockpiling weapons and food.
Someone called in a bomb threat: At least a dozen police carrying machine guns arrived at the St Rose of Lima Church where mourners had gathered in Newtown.
This Monday morning: "Shots fired, patrons panic at San Antonio theater"

Fiscal stimulus: A federal offer of $1500 per gun... times 300,000,000 guns is about 450 billion dollars at most spent into the economy. People would be stealing other people's guns. A moratorium on guns would cost American manufacturing about 6 billion and the federal government about 100 million in revenue... eh, just let those that want to buy new guns... and/or buy up all the available inventory at the same time. A lot of guns could be taken out of circulation without passing any new laws... but this is probably way too silly. What about those that are left with guns... now made kings. Plus, every little boy wants a gun.

Everyone is wrapping themselves in the tragedy. This is priceless:

A lot of people are really angry just in general. Look at the comments on so much as music videos or smart phone articles.

The problem, I would say, is no foundation.

It certainly would have helped in the case of this family had the parents not pursued their interest in guns and shooting for the sake of this young man. This may not have prevented the tragedy, but it would have gone a long way in possible prevention. I see big denial in that picture and feel outspoken about it because I've raised two children with disabilities and there are others in our family. Guns just don't mix.

My kids are normal and my 18 and 22 year olds don't know the combination to my gunsafe.

You're both right and wrong.

The US can't seem to get a handle on the epidemic of extreme craziness. So instead of treating the root cause and preventing the craziness, or identifying the crazy and putting them on the no guns for you list, we may end up treating the symptom.

The English declared everyone insane, and make you prove your sanity to own a firearm. Then they still limit what you can own (even air rifles), and harass you for owning it. Their Olympic pistol team can't even train in their own country. They have a low incidence of violence now, but it's increasing, not decreasing. Clearly they haven't figured it all out either.

Well, you just knew that some wack-job would weigh in on this with such an argument, and you had a good idea that it would probably be a Republican from Texas. I would expect no less - any and all notions of gun control are evil, period. No compromise, no shades of gray.

Do these jibbering idiots really propose that teachers keep military firearms in their closets? That America should simply become an armed camp and that would fix the problem?

I fear our culture is broken beyond repair.

Guns are banned in schools. The schools, therefore should consider that bad things happen and they need to provide security since no-one can do it for themselves. Of course, these are the same organizations that pay as little as they can for food and bus drivers.

Yair . . . There doesn't seem to be enough consideration given to the mind altering affects of military style weapons.

Perfectly sensible kids can have a personality change on a pig hunt once they tie a rag around their head and tape two mags back to back.

Speaking as an avid hunter who has carried a seventeen year old out of the lignum with half his arse shot off with a little .223 I can see no circumstances where civilians need handguns, military style weapons, or magazine capacitys of more than five rounds.


Depends where you live. As soon as I qualify I intend to get a licensed hand gun for self defence. I appreciate what others say about the effect of a shotgun being racked but if someone is here uninvited they are here for business and that won't put them off. Military, no, but 5 sounds a little low, 2 1/2 double taps.


The piece below is a meditation I wrote on Saturday, as I processed my grief and outrage. It has a very different tone than most of the responses - here and elsewhere - to this tragedy.

I Am Adam Lanza.

I am nondualist who follows Advaita, the way of Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj. My truth is that there is no difference between you and me, no separation between "my" consciousness and all-that-is. The appearance of separateness is an illusion - "I AM" both all there is and nothing at all.

In this way of being, there is literally no difference between me and Adam, the Connecticut shooter. He is me.

It's not that in some abstract way I must "assume responsibility" for what happened there because "we are all one". It's much closer than that.

I looked through the sights of that rifle, into the eyes of those children. I pulled the trigger. I watched them die. He is me, I AM him. I did that.

In the same moment I AM each of those children.

I looked into the eyes above that rifle. I stared into the tiny black hole in its tip. I felt the fear, I saw the finger move on the trigger. I saw the beginning of the flash, and I felt the incomprehensible result.

I also lay on the floor in the corner of the classroom - face down as my teacher had told me, trying in vain to hide in plain sight. I heard feet stop beside me. I saw the tip of a boot out of the corner of my eye. I felt that enormous blow as the darkness came.

I AM the parents answering the awful telephone call. I AM the politicians, frozen like a deer in the headlights of this insoluble, irreversible moment. I AM all the separated ones, unable to bear the pain, retreating desperately into the unconsciousness of platitudes and projections.

And I AM my mundane self, working hard to become aware, open and vulnerable, to truly BE all-that-is. And into this open space come the the trigger finger and the bullets, the fear and pain, and the grief and rage of a world betrayed.

In this mundane life I have taken the name Bodhi, as a reminder of the state to which I aspire. In Buddhism, a Bodhisattva takes a vow to work for the liberation or moksha of all sentient beings for as long as samsara persists. As I AM all beings, and they are me, I AM here until that happens. As are all of us.

I AM Adam Lanza, and with this voice I say to the world,

"I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you."

Jamaican exports not worth cost of imported fuel

Trade data unearthed through website www.diGJamaica.com has revealed that the value of all the island's exports from January to August this year would fail to cover the cost of importing petroleum products for the same period.

Total exports for the period valued US$1.1 billion or J$97 billion, while imported petroleum products valued US$1.6 billion or J$142 billion. This represents a US$500 million, or J$45 billion trade deficit on petroleum products alone.

That's precisely the situation Hermann Scheer outlines in this video.

Last Wednesday there was the following article in the same paper

Here's why things are so bad in Jamaica today

What's the position, what went wrong?

With current debt burden at about 130 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP); unemployment at its highest level in 20 years, a sliding Jamaican dollar, a depleting Net International Reserve (NIR) and huge balance of payment problems; Jamaica's economic problems did not occur overnight. Jamaica saw its first major economic crisis in the 1970s as a result of rising world oil prices. Then came the second in the 1990s with the financial crisis, after economic liberalisation without sufficient control mechanism in place. The pseudo remedy to this second crisis was the establishment of FINSAC, for which the country had to borrow to support it. Subsequently, Jamaica's debt-servicing payments increased by more than 70 per cent between 1999 and 2003. It continues to grow.[SNIP]

How will Jamaica survive?

Overall, an increase in production is required. Currently, the NIR is depleting because the country has a greater outflow of foreign currency than inflow. The Government needs to redirect some funds used in social safety net programmes to more long run-oriented solutions. For example, the creation of social enterprises which, if developed properly, can sustain themselves and the economy over time.

This year alone, the Government increased spending on social safety net projects to US$14.5 million; a fraction of this could be used to facilitate the establishment of social enterprises to produce niche goods and services for exports. By increasing export-oriented production of goods and services, the current account deficit can be steadily diminished. This problem could also be addressed if the country imports less of the goods that it can produce. This can only be achieved if Jamaica increases capital investment to increase productivity and boost efficiency.

I thought that I would try and add a PO inspired comment to the discussion so I submitted the following:

As long as Jamaica continues to neglect it's renewable energy resources and continues to focus on developing an electricity and transport infrastructure dependent on burning imported fuel, we will continue to haemorrhage wealth to our foreign fuel suppliers. This is a process that started in the 70s and may well have been exacerbated by the free spending policies of the PNP administration that was elected in 1972 but, up to now nothing significant has been done to arrest the bleeding. With the concept of renewable energy becoming more acceptable worldwide, Jamaica has an opportunity to create a new paradigm in electricity production but, the bigger nut to crack will be, how to reduce oil dependence in the transportation sector.

That is not impossible but solutions such as electrified freight rail, light commuter rail and trams have been relegated to archaic status while, widespread ownership of personal auto-mobiles has become an indication individual success and national development. As a result any move away from the widespread use of personal auto-mobiles will be seen as a backward step and will be extremely unpopular with both those who aspire to gain the freedom of movement car ownership implies and those who make a living from the sale and maintenance of auto-mobiles.

As long as we remain dependent on imported fuel for generating electricity and providing transport, we will have a greater outflow of foreign currency than inflow since, it is doubtful that, we will be able to produce enough, using the fuel we import, to pay for it.

Might comment did not meet with the approval of the paper's editorial staff (moderators) but, now 4 days later, the story at the top of this post is making almost the same point as the bolded part of my comment. Coincidence?

Alan from the islands

Keep at it Alan. Folks in Jamaica and the rest of the Carribean have to get there head around PO and start transitioning.

Sounds like you may have bent someone's ear - they probably didn't want to let your comment slip through without fact-checking but later realized that you were onto something and kept it for themselves.

Are the numbers handy enough that you could write them an article describing how much oil is used for electricity and how much could be offset over such-n-such amount of time with a phase-in of solar power?

I did some calcs a while back, lost to the ether, after one fellow on here mentioned getting a Volt and putting up enough panels to keep it charged essentially for life. Something like this:
1 watt of $1.50 per installed watt vs. $1.50 of gasoline @ $4/gal

Gasoline 34(ish)kWh/gal * (1.5/4) gal = 12.75 kWh
12.75 kWh converted to electricity at 50% efficiency (generous) = 6.4 kWh

1 watt @ average of 4.5 sun-hours/day (adjust for where you live) = 4.5 watt-hours in a day
4.5 Wh/day * 365 days = 1,642 watt-hours in a year
Assume an average life span of 20 years..
1,642 Wh/yr * 20 years = 32,850 watt-hours = 32.9 kWh

So you can spend your $1.50 and get 6.4 kWh of oil-based electricity, or spend it on 32.9 kWh of solar. It takes around 4 years for the solar to match the equivalent amount of oil energy and after that is "free."

The History 2 Channel has been running a series called Countdown to Apocalypse. Because of the Mayan apocalypse thing. Tonight's episode ("Future Terrors") had a segment on peak oil.

I assumed it was going to be a rehash of other peak oil shows, but it looked like there was at least some new stuff.

Kinda made peak oilers look like nuts, IMO. They showed the doomstead of a Utah housewife (months of food stored, a garden that can feed three families, the biggest water storage tank you ever saw, a greenhouse). Along with a guy preparing for a zombie attack by stockpiling weapons.


Friends and family portrayed Adam Lanza’s mother Nancy as a paranoid ‘survivalist’ who believed the world was on the verge of violent, economic collapse.

She is reported to have been struggling to hold herself together and had been stockpiling food, water and guns in the large home she shared with her 20-year-old son in Connecticut.

It's society's version of a psychological defense mechanism. The media must reason that these things can't happen in a civilized society so the perpetrators are depicted as people from another planet, just how we as drivers often kid ourselves that since we drive 'safely' we will not meet any accident.

Uh, boy. I guess that explains all the guns. Your average wealthy Connecticut housewife doesn't typically have such an arsenal.

All the guns? Three or four guns here isn't an arsenal, just a starter kit.

You don't live in that area of Connecticut.

Unless this article is in error, it seems that Newtown, CT has a non-trivial number of people who have a rather robust love of guns...and some of those people seem to have a low level of respect for their neighbors' perceptions of safety.


I am not from Connecticut, so I have zero first-hand knowledge of this situation.

That article is a pretty good picture of the situation in many areas of the northeastern U.S.

The stereotype of the northeastern U.S. is that it's all urban, like NYC and Boston. But even small states like Connecticut have some very rural areas. Places that might be described as "redneck." Farms, trailer parks, blue tick hounds, pickups with gun racks. And a hunting tradition.

Lots of people have lots of guns in Connecticut. But IME, wealthy, older women like the mother of the shooter are not typically among them.

The article points out that part of the reason for the conflict is that the area is growing and there are a lot more people. I think that's the root of the gun control issue. We still have a frontier mentality. When your nearest neighbor was 50 miles away, shooting in your backyard was no big deal. When your neighbors are 15 feet away, your rights are necessarily going to be abridged. It's the old "freedom of the bathroom" thing.

Thank you for your perspective.

I was not aware that the mother was wealthy...I am not sure in the context of this conversation what defines the term wealthy?

I have just read an article a day or two ago asserting that the percentage of U.S. women who own guns has closed within 6% of the percentage of men who own guns.

IME, I have met more than a few upper-middle class (ay $65-150K/yr gross income) women who are gun aficionados.

She never had to work another day in her life.

I have many female friends who own guns, but typically it's one or two, for protection or target shooting. Not six, and not a Bushmaster.

Though maybe she wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Most of the reports of her being a "survivalist" are coming from the UK. I saw one article that said she was just a country girl who grew up shooting. One relative said she was worried about economic collapse and was a "prepper," but that doesn't seem to be something others noticed.

On a lighter note...

"Because of climate change, "Frosty the Snowman" has a new name. Now he's called 'Frosty the Puddle.'" –David Letterman