Drumbeat: December 19, 2012

American Oil Growing Most Since First Well Signals Independence

The U.S. expanded its oil production this year by the most since the first commercial well was drilled in 1859, upending a belief that Americans were increasingly hooked on foreign crude.

Domestic output grew by a record 766,000 barrels a day to the highest level in 15 years, government data show, putting the nation on pace to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer by 2020. Net petroleum imports have fallen by more than 38 percent since the 2005 peak and now account for 41 percent of demand, down from 60 percent seven years ago, moving the U.S. closer to energy independence than it has been in decades.

Seven years after President George W. Bush declared “America is addicted to oil, much of which is imported from unstable parts of the world,” the country has so much crude that it was able to join Europe in choking off exports from Iran without pushing U.S. benchmark prices over $100 a barrel. And refining capacity helped make the U.S. the world’s largest fuel supplier. Even in Venezuela, where Exxon Mobil Corp.’s assets were seized, more and more cars run on gasoline made in America.

“The U.S. has a huge lead in the 21st century in maintaining its superpower status,” said Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup Inc. in New York. “There was absolutely no way to anticipate the level of growth in the oil supply.”

Supply surge jolts 'peak oil' theory

SINGAPORE — The entrenched notion that the world will soon start running short of oil was jolted earlier this year when an expert study concluded that, contrary to what most people believe, oil-supply capacity is expanding so fast that it will outpace consumption by a wide margin in the next few years.

Green California to Vie With Texas as U.S. Oil Heartland: Energy

California, even as it seeks to be the greenest U.S. state, stands a good chance of emerging as the nation’s top oil producer in the next decade, helping America toward what once seemed an unlikely goal of energy independence.

The catalyst is the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s sale last week of 15 leases covering about 18,000 acres of the Monterey Shale, a geologic formation whose sweet spots stretch from east of San Francisco more than 200 miles south to Monterey County. The auction was dominated by Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. and smaller companies betting on a coming boom. Yesterday California regulators issued a draft of new rules to sharpen their oversight of the surge in fracking.

Don't Fall for the Shale Boom Hype - Chris Martenson Interview

We are in the midst of an amazing energy boom, but by sweeping the idea of peak oil under the rug we are ignoring a significant fact: the relationship between hydrocarbon reserves and flow rates are not the same as they used to be—reserves have increased but flow rates are not as high or sustainable.

Perhaps the most important thing we need to pay attention to is net energy returns, on which we run society. Massive new discoveries are only netting a fraction of the returns compared to earlier decades.

Investing Beyond Peak Oil

For most of the last decade, we've been obsessing about the problem called “peak oil.”

Oil is limited, we're running out, what's left has to be more valuable than what we've used already, energy prices are always going to rise, and the energy shortage is permanent.

Sound familiar? Well, the big news for 2013 is, forget it.

Warnings of oil running out are just baloney

How much would you pay for a barrel of Irish rainwater?

Not much I guess, as it is heavily oversupplied despite being told that water is an increasingly scarce resource worldwide.

This baloney about world ending "facts" applies to the oil market too, and anyone betting on oil prices rising continuously are advised to think twice.

Brent Crude Gains for Second Day as U.S. Stockpiles Decline

Brent crude rose for a second day in London, gaining more than $1, after an industry report showed stockpiles fell the most in more than three months in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer.

Futures increased as much as 1 percent after closing $1.20 a barrel higher yesterday. U.S. crude supplies dropped by 4.1 million barrels in the seven days ended Dec. 14, the most since the week to Aug. 31, data from the American Petroleum Institute showed. A government report today may say inventories fell by 1.75 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Oil has advanced this week amid speculation that U.S. lawmakers will agree on steps to avert tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.

Gas prices drop below $4 a gallon

Gas prices have slid to the lowest prices of the year as an estimated 84 million Americans prepare to take a road trip by car this holiday season.

The national average retail gasoline price on Monday is the cheapest it has been during 2012 — just shy of $3.25 a gallon, according to AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

Saudi oil minister says market has no place for speculators

"You know my desire is that people leave the market alone," Naimi said in an interview in Seoul. "You know why? Because everybody now is happy with where the prices are. Nobody is complaining about high prices or low prices."

"They are no longer sky rocketing or falling down. So I will really leave the market alone."

Greeks Can’t Find Euros to Buy Heating Oil in Winter Economy

In the Greek mountain town of Kastoria, less than an hour from the Albanian border, Kostas Tsitskos, 88, can’t afford fuel to heat his home against the winter’s cold. So he and his son live in a single bedroom, warmed by a small electric heater.

“One room is enough,” said Tsitskos, who lives on a 734 euro-a-month ($971) pension and doesn’t have the 1,000 euros a month he needs to buy heating oil.

Greece is facing a heating-oil crisis. With an economy that has contracted for five years and an unemployment rate at a record 25 percent, residents in northern Greece can’t heat their homes. Kastoria hasn’t received funds from the central government to warm schools and the mayor said he will close all 53 of them rather than let children freeze, a step already taken in a nearby town. Truckloads of wood are arriving from Bulgaria as families search for alternative fuels.

Nigeria minister: Mom's kidnap about fuel payments

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- Nigeria's finance minister on Monday blamed her 83-year-old mother's kidnapping on those angered by the government's decision to stop making some payments for gasoline subsidies, directly linking the abduction to a program that lawmakers have described as a multi-billion dollar scam.

Russia to keep up western oil export as Asia flows grow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - State pipeline operator Transneft said Russia will be able to sustain crude oil exports to the West next year even as it increases deliveries to Asia via an expanded link to the Pacific port of Kozmino.

Transneft Deputy Vice President Igor Katsal said crude oil would not be redirected from outlets in western Russia to fill the expanded East-Siberia-Pacific-Ocean (ESPO) pipeline, and predicted westward exports would be flat year-on-year in 2013.

West Africa Tanker-Rate Surge Seen Luring Persian Gulf Carriers

A surge in oil-tanker rates for vessels shipping West African crude to the U.S. may restrict ship supply in the Persian Gulf as the rally lures vessels to the Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Securities ASA said.

Azeri Leader Sees Oil Output Recovering as BP Acts to Stem Slump

BP Plc, the U.K. oil producer leading Azerbaijan’s biggest energy projects, will stem a drop in output in the country after responding “responsibly” to criticism from Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, the leader said.

“I am very glad that BP, which is our main partner, responded to my views and criticisms very responsibly,” Aliyev said in comments published today in the state-run daily newspaper Azarbaycan. “The BP president spoke to me about his company’s plans for the coming years. I am glad that the stabilization of oil output is the priority.”

Statoil Pays $590 Million to Boost Ownership in Marcellus Shale

Statoil ASA, Norway’s biggest oil and gas producer, bought 70,000 acres in the Marcellus area in the U.S. to boost oil production amid falling gas prices there.

The assets, which are currently producing at about 5,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, have a so-called risked resource base, a measure of reserves, of 300 million to 500 million barrels of oil equivalent, the Stavanger-based group said in a statement today. The acreage in Ohio and West Virginia has been bought from Grenadier Energy Partners LLC, Protege Energy II LLC and PetroEdge Resources II LLC, spokesman Baard Glad Pedersen said by phone.

Potash Seen Falling as Asia Wields Purchasing Power

China and India are set to negotiate the biggest price cut in three years to buy potash as they break a deadlock in meetings with Russian and North American producers that dominate the $24 billion market for the crop nutrient.

Egypt's fate in tourism and foreign investments

The latest upheaval leaves the country embroiled in conflict nearly two years after Hosni Mubarak was forced from power, and little has been accomplished in improving the lives of ordinary Egyptians.

"We are in the same position, and we didn't achieve any kind of progress. I hope we will overcome all those political difficulties and try to concentrate our efforts on the economy," said Mr El Orabi.

Investors Shun Postwar Iraq as OPEC Star’s Recovery Lags

Ziad Makkawi set up a private equity investment firm last year to capitalize on Iraq’s plans for reviving an economy gutted by wars and sanctions.

Makkawi’s zeal faded as OPEC’s second-largest oil producer struggled, and he now sees brighter prospects elsewhere in the Middle East, including Libya, where deadly attacks persist after the 2011 revolt against Muammar Qaddafi.

India to cut Iran oil imports 2013/14-sources

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India plans to cut oil imports from Iran by 10 to 15 percent in the next fiscal year, and more if Tehran does not lower prices to help cover higher costs resulting from Western sanctions, a government source said. Iran's top Asian oil buyers - China, India, Japan and South Korea - have all reduced imports after the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

The sanctions have more than halved Iran's oil exports this year, costing Tehran up to $5 billion a month in lost revenue. "Next year our imports will be 10 percent to 15 percent less than this year," said a government official with direct knowledge of the matter, who declined to be identified because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Japan to Extend Cuts in Iran Oil Imports in 2013, JX Chief Says

Japan will import fewer than 160,000 barrels a day of oil from Iran next year to avoid sanctions aimed at the Middle Eastern country’s nuclear program, the head of Japan’s oil industry group said.

JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp., the country’s biggest refiner, will cut its imports from the current contract of about 80,000 barrels a day, Kimura Yasushi, who serves as chairman for both JX and the Petroleum Association of Japan, said at a press conference today.

City in Colorado Is Sued Over a Drilling Ban

DENVER — An industry group representing oil and gas companies has sued a city in Colorado that outlawed hydraulic fracturing, saying voters had no right to ban the drilling practice.

The lawsuit, filed on Monday by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, seeks to overturn the ban on the contentious practice that passed by a wide margin last month in the northern Colorado city of Longmont. The measure, the first of its kind in the state, still allows oil and gas drilling within city limits, but it prohibits hydraulic fracturing, which has lifted energy production across the country but has raised concerns about air and water contamination.

Center for Sustainable Economy vs. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, DC Circuit Court, CIV: 12-1431

Center for Sustainable Economy has filed a lawsuit to halt the Obama Administration's latest 5-year program to open new areas offshore to oil and gas leasing.

U.S. secretary of state pick shouldn't affect Keystone XL

(Reuters) - The prospect of a new U.S. secretary of state favoring tougher carbon policy should not worsen the odds of the Keystone XL oil pipeline being approved, the chief executive of TransCanada Corp, the contentious project's proponent, said on Monday.

TransCanada CEO Russ Girling also said that recent deep discounts on Canadian heavy crude and a boom in shipping oil by rail show that the country's export pipeline network is close to being filled up, highlighting the need for more capacity.

Keystone XL Would Not Use Most Advanced Spill Protection Technology

Austin, Texas filed a lawsuit to protect their local aquifer from a proposed gasoline pipeline. By the time the project was built, the operator had been forced to add $60 million in safety features, including sensor cables that could detect leaks as small as three gallons a day. Some say the Longhorn pipeline is the safest pipeline in Texas, or perhaps the nation.

Now a much larger pipeline—the Keystone XL—is being proposed across the Ogallala/High Plains aquifer, one of the nation's most important sources of drinking and irrigation water. Yet none of the major features that protect Austin's much smaller aquifer are included in the plan. In fact, they haven't even been discussed.

Blame Canada’s Kyoto Snub for Keystone Trouble

And so the wars over the oil sands and their pipelines entered high gear and continue to this day. Environmentalists are planning yet another demonstration at the White House on Presidents Day in February 2013, calling Obama’s continued rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline their “one big ask.”

For Canada, this poses a real risk that the discount of Canadian oil to the West Texas Intermediate benchmark will persist.

Did it have to be this way? Is oil-sands development inimical to carbon-reduction initiatives like the Kyoto Protocol? The answer is no. In fact, Kyoto could have helped save Keystone.

A Big, and Risky, Energy Bet

RAS LAFFAN INDUSTRIAL CITY, Qatar — The compact assembly of towers, tubes and tanks that make up the Oryx natural gas processing plant is almost lost in a vast petrochemical complex that rises here like a hazy mirage from a vast ocean of sand.

But what is occurring at Oryx is a particular kind of alchemy that has tantalized scientists for nearly a century with prospects of transforming the energy landscape. Sasol, a chemical and synthetic fuels company based in South Africa, is converting natural gas to diesel fuel using a variation of a technology developed by German scientists in the 1920s.

Masdar sustainability chief says Middle East at green energy “tipping point”

The Middle East is on its way to becoming a global hub for energy efficiency and renewable technology, one of the region’s green pioneers has told RTCC.

Global network fuels UAE's nuclear ambitions

Yesterday's agreement between the UAE and Russia rounds off an initial flurry of diplomatic activity aimed at securing nuclear fuel supplies for the Emirates' ambitious programme for alternative sources of energy.

Thorium gives hopes for alternative nuclear fuel

It may sound like something from a comic book and takes its name from a certain heroic mythical deity but thorium is very real and is considered one of the most exciting future fuels thanks to its abundance and supposed stability when compared to uranium.

Given that the Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011 raised "fundamental questions about the future of nuclear energy throughout the world", it should not come as a surprise that news of a nuclear "wonder fuel" has created excitement within the alternative energy industry at a time when growth is expected to slow compared with previous forecasts for the next decade.

Atlanta’s Beltline: The Greenest Transit Project in America?

The idea for the Beltline started in a master’s thesis written in 1999. Ryan Gravel, an architect who studied at Georgia Tech, proposed that the historic railroad corridors that wound around Atlanta’s downtown core be put to better use. He envisioned repurposing the corridor a green loop that would connect neighborhoods and parks with walking paths, biking trails and public transit. A couple years later, friends pushed him to share the idea with officials in the city government, and over the next few years, with the support of groups like the local Sierra Club chapter, politicians in city council, and other boosters, the city decided to take on the challenge.

When the Beltline is finished, it’ll have brought 22 miles of light rail, 33 miles of multi-use trails for biking and walking, and 1,300 acres of park to the city.

The idea is to concentrate growth around this system, so that people can take advantage of the transit and the biking and walking routes to get around. The master plan includes affordable housing investments and strategies for spurring private investment around the Beltline.

Neutral Fuels to expand in Australia

The company feeds its biodiesel plants with oil used by McDonalds, and returns it as fuel for the fast-food chain's truck fleet. After a first plant was launched in Dubai last year, Neutral Fuels has agreed to extent the partnership with the restaurant to the Australian state of Victoria, where it has built a similar plant near Melbourne.

U.S. Boosts Import Duties on Chinese Wind-Energy Firms

Ratcheting up trade tensions with China, the U.S. increased import duties on wind towers produced by Chengxi Shipyard Co. and CS Wind Corp. as economic talks between the two nations opened in Washington.

The Commerce Department yesterday set final punitive tariffs on the products from China and Vietnam. The rates were higher than preliminary tariffs announced earlier this year to counter government subsidies and to prevent the goods from being sold in the U.S. below production costs, a practice known as dumping.

Wind-Power Deals Total $7.6 Billion Luring Brazil’s Weg

Weg SA, the only Brazilian wind- turbine maker, is vying for a slice of $7.6 billion in contracts set to be awarded in the next decade even as a supply glut and slumping demand drive prices to a record low.

Australia: Call for cap on solar to limit power price rises

THE national renewable energy target should be modified to prevent a costly boom in solar panel installations triggering higher electricity prices, the Climate Change Authority has recommended.

But the independent agency rejected calls for the target of 20 per cent of electricity to come from large-scale renewable energy generators, such as wind farms, by 2020.

Under current settings, the renewable energy target is projected to cost households between $12 and $64 extra a year.

Survivalists worry ‘preppers’ will be scapegoated for Newtown shooting

Ever since a relative of Newtown, Conn., shooter Adam Lanza suggested that his mother, Nancy Lanza, was a "survivalist" who stockpiled food and weapons, "preppers" have gone online to express concern that they may become targets of unwelcome attention.

"She prepared for the worst," Nancy Lanza's sister-in-law, Marsha Lanza, told reporters last weekend. "Last time we visited her in person, we talked about prepping—are you ready for what could happen down the line, when the economy collapses?"

Exploring the Mekong’s Uncertain Future

The people of the Mekong face a series of difficult decisions.

Yes, the river supports the largest freshwater fish harvest in the world, providing the primary source of protein to more than 50 million people. Only the Amazon, with a basin almost 10 times the Mekong’s size, has more fish species.

But the Mekong also contains immense hydropower potential — and the dams that could capture that potential would almost certainly eliminate much of the river’s fish productivity and diversity.

'Peak farmland' is here, crop area to diminish -study

OSLO (Reuters) - The amount of land needed to grow crops worldwide is at a peak, and a geographical area more than twice the size of France will be able to return to its natural state by 2060 as a result of rising yields and slower population growth, a group of experts said on Monday.

Their report, conflicting with United Nations studies that say more cropland will be needed in coming decades to avert hunger and price spikes as the world population rises above 7 billion, said humanity had reached what it called "Peak Farmland".

How severe weather impacts global food supply

Rising food prices have been blamed on a number of factors -- for example, rising energy costs, changing land use for biofuel production, local conflicts, and an increasing demand for meat and dairy products.

But 2012's severe weather events around the world have led to low yields in nations such as the U.S. that export grain. Oxfam fears climate change is responsible and that impoverished people could be facing a future of high food prices driven by extreme weather trends.

Impact of climate change on California's electricity infrastructure could be costly

(Phys.org)—If you think it's been unusually hot lately, just wait—by the end of the century, temperatures in California are expected to rise significantly. What that means for human health, agriculture, water supply and a range of other spheres is being studied by experts, but what it will mean for our electricity system had not been examined until now, in an analysis by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers.

Looking at a range of future climate scenarios, Larry Dale, an economist at Berkeley Lab, found that California may need as much as 30 to 40 percent more generation and transmission capacity per capita by the end of the century because of the negative effect of higher temperatures on equipment performance. "Most people have been looking at what will be the cost of greenhouse gas emissions from systems like electricity, but this is turning that around: what about the climate change impacts on the very thing creating those emissions?" said Dale. "To deal with that, you have to create yet more emissions."

An Odometer Moment on a Warming Planet

For those who might be keeping score, we just passed the 333rd consecutive month of global temperatures above the 20th-century average.

November 2012 was the fifth-warmest November since records began in 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in its monthly climate report. The agency calculated that the 10 warmest Novembers on record have all occurred within the past 12 years.

The last time global temperatures came in below the 20th-century average for the month of November was in 1976, and the last time any month came in below the average was February 1985.

Too big to flood? Megacities face a future of major storm risks

By the middle of the century, the scores of billions it cost to compensate the greater New York City area for being unprepared for superstorm Sandy may seem like a bargain. Without major adaptation measures to increase the level of storm protection beyond a 1-in-100-year event, the value of the city's buildings, transportation, and utilities utility infrastructures currently at risk from storm surges and flooding — an estimated $320 billion — will be worth $2 trillion by 2070, according to continuing studies by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

By then, the OECD says, the metropolitan area will rank behind only Miami and Guangzhou, China, at the head of a list of the world's megacities with the most flood-vulnerable assets. In all these cities, sea level rise will meet a tide of urbanization in the coming decades and set the scene for storms with ever-more catastrophic consequences.


Halfway To Hell (And High Water): 333rd Month In A Row Global Temperatures Exceed Long-Term Average

Okay, NOAA’s State of the Climate Report for November isn’t the Mayan meteorological forecast. And the Apocalypse isn’t quite “now.” But this part of the NOAA report is kind of ominous:

Including this November, the 10 warmest Novembers have occurred in the past 12 years. The 10 coolest Novembers on record all occurred prior to 1920. November 2012 also marks the 36th consecutive November and 333rd consecutive month with global temperature higher than the long-term average. The last month with a below average temperature was February 1985, nearly 28 years ago.

As Grist noted last month, “If you’re 27 or younger, you’ve never experienced a colder-than-average month.” In Minnesota’s fictional Lake Wobegon, “all the children are above average.” But with warming, it’s more like Wobegun, because it’s only going to get hotter and hotter — at an accelerating pace if we don’t reverse carbon pollution trends ASAP...

As Grist dryly noted (and noting things dryly is how Grist made its bones):

August 2040 will (possibly) be the 666th straight month with higher-than-average global temperatures (somewhat undermining the concept of average). The map for that month will likely be a pure splotch of red, as Earth will have been consumed by hellfire. Please prepare appropriately.

So we are halfway to Hell (and High Water). Can’t say we weren’t warned.

(Similar to the NYT "Odometer Moment" piece linked above, but with Joe Romm's inimitable flare for imagery and comparison--and a hilarious mock weather forecast for the week.)

Why I don't worry about a six degree warming

The problem is that people are too adaptable for their own good. We get used to anything, which means we start ignoring everything. I don't know how many times I've read "we can't allow 6 degrees by 2100". The stupid side effect is that now a 2 degree increase seeems to be not so bad- by comparison. But we are only at .5 degrees now (I think) and the effects are devastating NYC, Plains farmers, Mississippi River, etc. Why are we so focused on six degrees? If this process is as non-linear as I think it is then just one degree may be enough to bring everything down. Going from .5 to 1 degree is only double- but the effects may be 8 to 16 times greater (non-linear). But because of the constant media drone of "experts" we now see two degrees as acceptable (it is certainly unavoidable) and it is OK to bicker about 4 to 6 degrees.

I don't worry about 6 degrees as I do not think humans will be around to see the effects.

My brother keeps telling me not to worry because future generations will adapt to global warming. Yeh. Like frogs who adapt to increasingly warmer water. Saying that future gens will adapt is a very comforting denial strategy and also useful for denying any personal responsibility or guilt.

We are at 0.8 degrees at the moment. The reason people focus on 2 degrees is that there is a good chance climate won't stabilize at higher temps. At 3 degrees, the amazon may go up in flames, sending us to 4 degrees. At 4 degrees, the siberian permafrost might rot sufficiently to put us into 5 degrees. At 5 degrees methane hydrates in the arctic sea may be released, putting us into a 6 degree world. These aren't certainties, but that they are possibilities is scary enough. And the uncertainties work both ways: there's a chance these feedbacks will already start at 2 degrees.

Governments say they are aiming at a 2 degree warmer world, but with their current emission promises a 3-4 degree world is more likely. And even those promises aren't actions yet.

You have just stated a possible reality that probably well over 90% of people are unaware of, including those who think that they or their children and grandchildren are going to "adapt". Could those in charge be this stupid or uncaring about the future?

Just finished re-watching The Grapes of Wrath. I'm imagining this happening across the globe and I think to myself, "Sure, no sweat."


This is the beginning — from "I" to "we". If you who own the things people must have could understand this, you might preserve yourself. If you could separate causes from results, if you could know that Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin were results, not causes, you might survive. But that you cannot know. For the quality of owning freezes you forever into "I", and cuts you off forever from the "we".

Three million years ago it was 3 degrees warmer. The world obviously did not end. Although it was soggy, with sea levels 25 meters higher than now.

Look up Pliocene.

Now with 6 degrees the bets are off, as the last time the planet was that hot the continents were in a different configuration, so ocean circulation was different too.

Remember- its not just how much warmer it will be- its how fast we will get there. Things are happening so fast that mass extinction seems unavoidable for larger species.

Hey, they are going extinct anyway, and very fast. Humans are taking over their territory much faster than climate change can displace it. Here is just one example. There are hundreds of others.

Palm oil threat to orangutan survival

Ron P.

No. +0.5 to +1 degrees C is not a doubling (100% increase); at the temperatures we're talking about (~14.5C), it's an increase of less than 0.2%. But that's not to play down such small increases; per the Earth Policy Institute, "1 degree Celsius increases the amount of moisture the atmosphere can hold by about 7 percent."

No. +0.5 to +1 degrees C is not a doubling (100% increase); at the temperatures we're talking about (~14.5C), it's an increase of less than 0.2%.

I think it was fairly obvious that I meant .5 to 1 as a historical doubling of the increase in temps not the absolute total temperature. The non-linear reference point was comparing the rate of temp increase to the rate of increased natural disasters- a small percentage change in the temps seems to lead to a much larger percentage increase in negative weather related effects. It seems very possible that a 2 degree increase will be off the charts in terms of global weather system destabilization. This is the idea I don't want to get lost in the numbers.

We are not going to adapt. All the guns and cans are worthless. To get to 6 degrees by 2100 involves a incredible rate of temp increase between 2050 and 2100. This will entail a massive wild plant die off which will lead to a large die off of animals. Humans being a rather large predator species, we need a significant number of calories per day to survive- this is the harsh biological requirement of having large brains. We will not be able to get these calories from the very tiny sized animals that remain. Extinctions take out larger animals in the greatest percentages. Humans can survive only with agriculture, significant wild plants, or, off of larger animals or fish- none of this will be available in 80 years. I am increasing my belief that there will not be a long emergency or long descent- the foodstuff will not be there- global warming is making peak oil irrelevant.

The only hope I see is a massive geo-engineering project- this may work (at least for a while). I believe faced with the increasingly obvious annihilation scenario that there is a 100% chance that geo-engineering will be tried (and at this point peak oil may rear its ugly head to limit geo-engineering's long term success)

C8, while I'm quite worried about possible future scenarios due to runaway global warming and there is a lot of data to support a high likelihood of that happening. I do have a few quibbles with some of your assumptions.

We will not be able to get these calories from the very tiny sized animals that remain.

Why not?

There are some rather large mammals with very big brains, called baleen whales, that feed on tiny shrimp like krill, So we could probably learn to farm insects and get enough protein to survive for at least a little while longer.

The only hope I see is a massive geo-engineering project- this may work (at least for a while).

Knowing what I know about humans I'd be curious to know what specifically you are thinking of and how you think such a project could be agreed upon by a majority of nations simultaneously and who you think would have global support to co-ordinate it's implementation. It certainly wouldn't be the UN!

Of course given a 4 to 6 degree celsius increase in global temperatures I think it would be safe to say that all quibbles would be moot...

Knowing what I know about humans I'd be curious to know what specifically you are thinking of and how you think such a project could be agreed upon by a majority of nations simultaneously and who you think would have global support to co-ordinate it's implementation. It certainly wouldn't be the UN!

There are a number of ideas out there- my guess is that by the time elites realize that there won't be any life boat it will be very late into the game- this means that emergency quick fixes will be top on the list- probably some kind of light blocking scheme- particles or shields. I have no doubt that this will happen now. As far as the UN, permission, etc. I don't think there will be much discussion- a powerful nation will act unilaterally. Fear can increase risk taking behavior- if its the USA, I doubt the President will feel he needs to ask the world to save Americans.

My big fear is that shortages lead to a nuclear war before things get bad enough to make elites realize geo-engineering the only alternative. I think letting nature take its course is now an unimaginable option- and more and more influential people will arrive at this conclusion in the coming years as the magnitude of the disaster becomes apparent.

Five years ago I became aware that i would see the ending phase of the age of oil- now I am becomming more certain that I am seeing the ending of the age of man. Enjoy life to the fullest- it is a real gift.

This is insanity. The very notion of geo-engineering is insanity. The notion of a nation unilaterally spewing SO2 into the upper atmosphere is an abomination. Or any of the other hare-brained schemes. The unintended consequences to any of these moonbat ideas are horrific to contemplate.

Why is it that people can seriously contemplate this sort of arrant nonsense, but the idea of controlling our emissions, our population, and our energy use is just off the table? No, must... have... heroic... technofix.

Totally agree with everything you said! I am predicting what I think will happen- not what I want to happen. BTW- I am not sure we can stop six degrees at this point- only delay it. The nations of the world are committed to a techno vision of how to solve problems, this may be our greatest folly but I cannot imagine everybody going on a crash low emissions diet. In fact, population overshoot is so far now that to gear down would lead to millions dying- leaders won't do that. After having watched the 2008 financial crisis resolution and the non-global warming presidential debate I am 100% certain we are heading to a geo-engineering fix attempt. This is simply how those in power think- and thats what its going to come to- not your opinion and certainly not mine. I do think the fears of geo-engineering will wane as people see how bad staying the course is. We are not there yet, but I think we will certainly get there.

Have popcorn, will watch.

    Scotty, give me eight billion.

    But Captain, the ship's overstressed as it is.

    Eight billion, Scotty.

    She cannae take it, Captain. We exceeded safety margins at five billion.

    Eight billion. And Uhura...

    Yes, Captain?

    Burn the lifeboats. Mr Spock...


    We have survived every tight situation in the past. What do you logically conclude?

    That you're a nutter, Captain. With respect.

We don't necessarily have to eat dead animals to get our protein. That said, bacon is awesome….

I am quasi-vegetarian, but I read an ode to bacon in the NYT this morning and simply on the basis of that, damn near went out and bought some. Bacon!

The author made the point that every thing good about meat is in the fat. The fat IS the meat, the lean is the "vegetable", is what he said. :-)

I totally agree with that - I can only assume that 50,000 years ago, throwing an animal on a fire led to some seriously pleasant cooking aromas ... and it was always the fat that smelt the best.

Fat is good - cooked fat is evolutionarily positive for good reasons. My father has eaten a vast amount of fat in his life and he is still kicking and relatively healthy at 93.

The fat police should be laughed at ... it's in our DNA to love fat. In fact, without it we probably wouldn't be here.

we could probably learn to farm insects and get enough protein to survive

He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.
-- Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

Correction: He was a hungry man that first ate an oyster.

Link up top: Supply surge jolts 'peak oil' theory is typical of the exuberant nonsense that has been seen on the net and in MSM lately. There has been a surge in oil production in the last year or so but only in the USA. Worldwide production of Crude + Condensate peaked in April of this year and is down more than a million barrels per day since then. Most of that increase was OPEC coming off deep cuts after the collapse in 2008 and now they are producing flat out.

The EIA's International Energy Statistics came out yesterday. There was no big news either way but more countries showed production declining than increasing. Below is the Crude + Condensate numbers for World, Opec and Non-OPEC in Thousands of barrels per day, along with the peak production and peak date for and the decline since peak for all… so far.

	       World	OPEC	Non-OPEC
Sep-12	       74,981	32,961	42,020
Aug. to Sep.	 -385	  -256	  -129
Peaked On      Apr-12	Apr-12	Nov-10
   At	       76,023	33,385	43,143
Since Peak     -1,042	  -424	-1,123

The increase of about one million barrels per day in US production in the last year or so has kept non-OPEC from falling even further. Without the US non-OPEC would be down over two mb/d since peak.

Here is world C + C production in kb/d according to the EIA. The last data point is September 2012.
World C C

As of September world production is up about one million barrels per day since the 2005 peak. One mb/d in seven years is no surge. World production is likely to be up slightly in October but I expect overall, production in 2013 to be lower than 2012.

The JODI Oil Numbers came out today and they showed world C+C production up about 300 kb/d in October after I used EIA data for the countries that did not report to JODI. The JODI numbers are highly political however, especially as far as OPEC production is concerned.

The OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report showed OPEC Crude Only production basically flat in October and down just over 200 kb/d in November.

Ron P.

What areas of the planet could experience an increase like the US has experienced if sufficient infrastructure could be put in place? Are there sufficient other Backens and Eagle Fords in the world to make a meaningful, long lasting difference I wonder? I don't recall a clear characterization of what tight oil is realistically available worldwide.

"What areas of the planet could experience an increase like the US has experienced if sufficient infrastructure could be put in place?"

Perhaps a better question: What areas of the planet can continue to field even more credit/debt to pay for said increases?

Using "pay for" losely here...

Also, which areas of the planet can safely absorb the ensuing carbon emissions?

I think I will agree with those who point out that we have too much oil now. But I guess that depends on whether your goal is to increase this quarters nominal economic growth or to have a habitable planet. So far it seems society in general has decided that a recognizable climate has a lower priority.

So is that because all our efforts have been towards monitoring GDP rather than CO2? Or because we're going to get around to reducing carbon emissions as soon as we get the kids off to school, vacuum the house and finish that work project?


But I guess that depends on whether your goal is to increase this quarters nominal economic growth or to have a habitable planet.

Arr, that's the rub matey!

A conundrum from which we seem to have no easy way forward. Burn it to get more stuff while the going is good, or change course knowing we'll have less stuff but save our habitat the planet.

So far it seems society in general has decided that a recognizable climate has a lower priority.

Steady as she goes!

So is that because all our efforts have been towards monitoring GDP rather than CO2?

And when one looks at how much of the money spent on actual Carbon reduction goes to the Carbon reduction you'll note its 70% wasted.


Sure seems like money to Carbon plans are just a way to put money into the pockets of people who have nothing to do with actual Carbon reduction.

After the astounding display of mendacious dirtbaggery in the political arena in the past 12 months, it appears to me the prevailing attitude is, "I know I'm headed for the bottom, but I'm riding you all the way".

This holiday season, we have already received a bunch of crap that we don't need or want. This stuff goes immediately to the thrift stores. I suggested to my wife that she tell her mother to just send the stuff directly to the thrift stores next year. My point? Even non rich people have way more crap than they need but we most of us are obsessed with growth so we can buy more crap that we don't need. But future gens will need a habitable planet.

Yeh. These exultant claims that peak oil is over make we want to throw up when these same people don't mention the extra carbon that will be made available.

My wife and I are at the point where we absolutely hate Christmas. We've been trying to get our families to not exchange gifts for years but our parents insist on sending us crap. My parents sent us 13 presents (via 2-day fedex of course) this year. Her parents will no doubt do the same, and the presents will be absolutely useless. Last year I received some play-doh and my wife got a DVD of 80s cartoons. WTF we're 32yo. My household income is rather large and I keep trying to hint that we really don't need anything - if there's something I want I'll just buy it myself. Instead we get trinkity crap and turn around and free-cycle it the next weekend.

My sister and I have stopped exchanging gifts. I've noticed younger people don't seem to care as much about it, but my mom and dad's generation is really into shoveling out the presents whether you want them or not.

I've been reasonably successful at curtailing the crap in my family. We are scattered across the country, so don't see each other much. Therefore, we don't know what's already owned, or what's needed/wanted.

A few years ago, I told them I was not buying any more gifts. Instead, I'll save the money I would have spent on Christmas, birthdays, Mother's Day, etc. and use it to pay for a family vacation every few years. My parents have sort of followed my lead; they take us on family trips now in lieu of expensive presents.

But my mom can't resist buying me stuff. It's much less now, but she still buys me stuff. I really wish she wouldn't. I've told her to just send me some homemade cookies if she has to give me something, but she can't bring herself to do that.

But at least it's only one box now, instead of three.

You're lucky you've been able to pull it off. We're also all over the country so we never know what to buy each other. This year I bought my parents the Square Foot Garden book. That's all. I'm hoping they'll figure it out and stop sending so much crap to us. If not then I guess next year I'll just get them nothing and see what the response is. Maybe they'll stop sending out of spite which would be fine with me.

It seems like every grown person I talk with abhors the whole gift-giving thing, yet we all just go along with it every year in silent misery.

Last year we tried to get the parents to donate money to The Nature Conservancy in our name if they really had to spend money, but you'd have thought we were asking to send money to the nazis or something. They treated it like an insult.

The vacation idea is a good one if you like hanging out with your family. Problem is I can't stand being in the vicinity of my parents or my inlaws for more than 1-2 days!

If you don't like being around them, there's really not much to lose by not giving them anything. :-)

I generally don't buy gifts for my family, even if they send me stuff. If I'm home for the holidays, I'll get something small and consumable, like fruit or candy. Or I'll give them a llama or something.

It was a bit awkward at first. Now they accept it as one of my many eccentricities.

In my family, we've long used the "gift matrix" system, so that you "have" one specific person to gift each year, and it rotates around. But in the past few years we've modified it so that the gift is that you make a donation in the name of your giftee to the charity of their choice. Works out great, with no accumulation of unwanted/unneeded stuff. Turns out that most people's charity of choice is their local food bank.

I'd go for sensible too.

Is this gift giving part of western culture or is it a recent innovation ? We don't have gifts in our culture, or at least didn't used to have. You go with a box of sweets to your neighbor friend or relative and say hi, that's all.

It has ancient roots, but the current excess is recent. Gift-giving was part of many pagan midwinter festivals (often, the gifts were from the lord to his serfs, and were practical things like firewood, food, and clothing), and was adopted into Christianity.

Laura Ingalls Wilder described a happy childhood Christmas (probably around 1875) where she received a ragdoll sewn by her mother, a stick of peppermint candy, and an orange. She was thrilled, and did not expect more.

When I was a kid, I usually got underwear when what I wanted was screwdriver, wrench, etc. but for those I had to make do with kitchenware or some such, usually with unhappy consequence to all participants.

Now, we have a rule that we accept no gift costing more than a dollar, and the best ones are used books, and any sort of original writing, poem, song, story.

I don't like the general idea of an unrequited gift- better, trade, barter, sell for labor, etc.

It has ancient roots, but the current excess is recent.

I find that the current excess is disgusting. It has become so obvious that the merchant class sees Christmas as an opportunity to get masses of Christians (as opposed to Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists or any other religion one cares to name) to take part in a grand orgy of consumption. The orgy has become so all encompassing that even members of other religions are drawn in like, for example, in my last jobs we had a gift exchange at Christmas where you would pick a name from a jar and buy a gift for the person you picked. People who don't participate are seen as real killjoys or spoilsports. Peer pressure if you'd like to call it that. I guess one could opt out on religious grounds but it's kind of gone beyond that.

Around here it's sort of miraculous how money just seems to appear out of nowhere at Christmas time. Governments are expected to provide "Christmas Work" to people who have been unemployed all year as if they don't need an income for the rest of the year. People are busy painting their houses and sprucing up "for Christmas", sometimes buying new furniture and/or appliances. Charities and Companies are all over the place having "Christmas Treats" for the less fortunate, as if the less fortunate won't miss the treats after Christmas. Merchants have "Christmas Sales" and the marketing machines are in high gear advertising everything including advertising. Then there are the annual Company Christmas Parties, Banquets and Awards Ceremonies often held in hotel ballrooms with live entertainment and lots of food and liquid refreshment. This year things seem a bit muted as if money is really tight but it's obvious that some amount of effort is being made to keep the party going.

For me Christmas used to mean going home to spend the couple days with my parents, eat Christmas dinner with them and visit friends from my home town. There was a token exchange of gifts, usually little things that it was known the other party wanted, needed or would use (Except for my Dad buying me cologne/after shave). Since my Mom died a little over ten years ago and I still don't have a family of my own, it hasn't been the same. It seems every year I despise the commercial aspect of Christmas more and more so I guess I'm becoming "The grinch who stole Christmas". Big deal. /rant

Alan from the islands

In Scandinavia the word for christmas is "jul". As in english "jule tide". My forefathers conquered your forefathers, that's where you got it from. No one really know what the word Jul means, it has just hanged around during several changes of religion. We probably celebrated Jul long before anyone ever heard about Tor and Oden. The holiday just tag along, absorbing religions as it goes, each generation adding their traditions to the mix. I love it, it connects me to all my forefathers down to the bronze age. And gift giving has been around for lots of that time. But just 2 centuries ago, an orange was a royal gift.

The swedish word for christmas gift is Julklapp. Loosely translated "christmas knock". You sneak up to your neighbour, knock on the door, toss in the gift, and run away. Gift sized after your appreciation for your neighbour. A wood log if you want to communicate dislike, for example.

I really dislike what my generation have added to the holiday; plastic commercialism. I hope it goes away one day.

I'm busy sewing, soldering and sawing presents for my beloveds.. tho' often a few don't get done in time.. And none of these projects won't miss the edge of a Mora Knife my granfather provided my shop!

Do you know if it's true that the word Jul (Yule) is derived from 'Wheel', as in the re-turning wheel of the year, I recall..?

My gift to the neighbors is snow plowing all winter with a Kubota tractor and snow blower. One guy runs out of his house and gives me money even though I protest that I only want folks to feel good about life, that's the big reward of my cold labor.


The swedish words are Jul and Hjul. Pronounciation is the same. I doubt there is any relation at all between them. You need roads to have wheels, and the word jul is so old they did not have much of a road network then.

Just conjecture on my part, but perhaps the word for the concept of something that goes around full circle and comes back upon itself existed first, and the word for a physical wheel was derived from that when it came along...

I think there was the concept of a circle, and probably it came from the shape of the sun. Religions use the circle shape often as a symbol, and it predates technology such as the wheel...The words "jul" and "hjul" may therefore be deeply related, though obscurely so. I am inclined to think they are. My mom is from Skane, in the south of Sweden. I can say "Merry Christmas" in Swedish: God Jul (pronounced "guud yule").

By leaving the US I also hit the "escape" button on many things of excess including Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Superbowl, as well as the Fourth of July....

Holidays here in Japan are so minimalistic, you cannot notice them except for some special food such as "moon-viewing rice cakes" you will notice in shops around September 15, or kites in the shape of fish waving in the breeze, tied onto houses around May 5. Noone seems to put much effort into holidays, they are light as air. People are more amused by them than any other kind of emotion. Holidays seem not to be taken seriously....it's a big relief for me, I'm not into spending a lot of money or cooking!

Pi - as ever, thanks for your comment. You said what I did much more deeply & eloquently, then added additional insight. Love it when you show up here.

Oh cool, I have lived most of my life here in Skåne. Done some 12 or so years in Sweden (as in "outside Skåne"). Does she still live here?

many things of excess including Thanksgiving, Christmas

I reached the point of 'Enough' on Christmas around Thanksgiving after being hammered with it since September. I now wear headphones when I go to the supermarket to shut out the Christmas Musac. I am past it, I just want Christmas to be over, I've had enough, I've had too much, way too much. /RANT!



Interesting, inconclusive, and... wheels?:

Wheel of the Year

"The most universally celebrated festival is that of Midwinter. It has been recognized as a significant turning point in the yearly cycle since the late Stone Age. The ancient megalithic sites of Newgrange and Stonehenge, carefully aligned with the solstice sunrise and sunset, exemplify this. The reversal of the Sun's ebbing presence in the sky symbolizes the rebirth of the solar god and presages the return of fertile seasons. From Germanic to Roman tradition, this is the most important time of celebration.

Practices vary, but sacrifices, feasting, and gift giving are common elements of Midwinter festivities. Bringing sprigs and wreaths of evergreenery (such as holly, ivy, mistletoe, yew, and pine) into the home and tree decorating are also common during this time.

Heathen Holidays:

I wonder if these "bad" gifts are remnants of a time when they would have been a welcome gift of warmth. Seems like a lot of them are fuels. Coal in your stocking, switches in your shoes, a log.

I've tried to get my family to pool holiday and birthday gift money for interesting family holiday adventures, but no one's cooperating because the older generation just won't have it! Just wait until I'm the matriarch - not much longer!

Not to throw cold water on the family holiday idea, but I do want to point out that travel is carbon intensive as well as material stuff. But a gathering every few years instead of stuff every year is probably a step in the right direction.

Here, on Christmas, we stay home - like most other days. We eat a mostly locally/partially self sourced meal - like most other days. We buy or consume nothing new - like most other days. We may watch a video - which is not like most other days.

Boring to most, no doubt. But the progeny that I do not have (my partner has one from her marriage) could live like this. The progeny of the masses most definitely will not be able to live like their ancestors did, i.e. the way the mainstream does now, mindlessly consuming.

OK, end rant/reality check. We do usually travel hundreds of miles to be with family on Thanksgiving. That also will be coming to an end in future. I have no illusions of being carbon clean or neutral or perfect. But I do try (it's my everyday focus) to use as little FF as seems reasonably possible, which is probably an order of magnitude less than the average American, and I feel perfectly 'comfortable', warm, fed, etc. Don't need more.

You mean you mail christmas gifts around? To me it is under the spruce or nuttin'. Meaning with all death and migration in my family, I now only exchange gifts with my mother. I buy her stuff she needs and cut out the crap. Last year she got a shovel for the car trunk. Stuff that would be acuiered anyway. Also 2:nd hand shops are a good place to look. Found a book she's gonna love with her taste.

As an unrelated side note, I just finished seeing "Lawless", and now when I write, I am thinking in red neck english. Funny that.

Yes, we mail gifts around. If we don't buy them online and have them sent directly to the recipient.

This is a huge time of year for the post office and package delivery services like UPS and Fedex. They hire tons of extra workers, have extended hours, and watch the weather more than Wunderground (because a snowstorm will cause delivery delays).

Standing in line at the supermarket checkout.
Management had placed tables of Impulse Buy items:
Electric soft pretzel makers...
Use once.
Stow away.

I scored a great little waffle maker out of a dumpster. Actually I was walking by the dumpster but the homeowner was there, so I asked. He ended up giving me a nice hardwood china cabinet. When I was loading up china cabinet he gave me the waffle iron. I lost my previous one in college. That was from my parents, a wedding present, 63 years ago, great waffle iron.

I always wanted to patent and make some insipid 'Seen on TV' ads for THE CHOCOLATE MILK MAKER .. 'No more complicated measuring and mixing, No more mysterious powders and difficult Instructions. Has THIS happened to you? Well no more.. '

Yada Yada..

(I do have a soft spot for Waffles, though, and have a thoroughly unwarranted 3(!!) Waffle Irons. But they do all get used. The Snoopy Waffles, the Belgian, and the Scandinavian HEART waffles!)

If anyone at TOD wants to send me a Christmas present, I'm still looking for a really solidly engineered Eggbeater.. the old Human-powered version. If a decent one doesn't show up one of these days, I'm going to saw off a whisk's handle and stick that into a nice old Eggbeater Drill! Real Gears, Good Bearings!

Are those Scandinavian? I thought waffles only came in heart shapes, all around the planet. You mean there are waffle shapes I've missed out on?

There's nothing like a fun-shaped waffle to make your day!

(As Leslie tells me, 'food is just a vehicle for Butter'.. and 'Maple Sugar never hurt anyone..' from Laura Ingalls Wilder)

US waffles are round or square. I've never seen a heart shaped waffle.

Except everywhere I've stayed in Texas, they're Texas-shaped!

S - Ghung makes the point below. The answer isn't so much where such resources may be but of the nature of oil extraction in those areas. The US shale boom is being driven by public oil companies borrowing many tens of $billions to drill primarily on privately owned land and selling into a free market system. Public companies that are realizing much of their profit from the exercise via increased stock price compared to profit at the well head.

Such conditions exist nowhere else in the world to any significant degree.

Rockman: Would it be a correct paraphrase of your statement to say that US shale boom is only possible because the stock market is no longer valuing public oil companies in a sensible manner?

P. Coyle - At first I figured it would be a simple answer. But like an onion new layers kept popping up. The higher price of oil has made many shale prospects economical to drill. But many are not very profitable for some companies like mine. As you probably know we aren’t public so no potential value from stock movement. But why are public companies realizing some profit via stock value? Same reason almost anyone buys a stock: expectation that they’ll sell it for more than they paid. So why expect a public shale player stock to go up in the future? Because a future buyer expects the stock to be valued even higher by the next buyer. So what drives that expectation if it isn’t just profit at the well head? Expectation of ever increasing drilling and thus more proved reserves. But can anyone realistically estimate what that profit will be? IMHO no. It’s nearly impossible to estimate profitability on wells drilled in the last few years so how can you do the math on wells that haven’t been drilled yet? OTOH it’s very easy to chart a company’s increase in proved reserves. Proved reserves that may not have been developed with a significant profitable margin.

So it seems to me that much of a company’s valuation is based upon profit expectations that can’t be estimated. But the assumption is made that increasing proved reserves means increasing profits. So maybe much of the market value increase of the pubcos is simply based on someone preaching that they will be profitable because they are adding proved reserves. And there’s the basic metric: drill more wells and make more profit…profit that can’t be estimated but just assumed. And what can destroy that expectation? Not drilling more wells than a company has already drilled. The profit from existing wells has already been factored into the stock value whether the profit is really there or not. Just write that off to faith I suppose. But what if a company doesn’t sustain ever increasing drilling? Where does that faith come from?

The cynic would say a company facing such a short fall in drilling might add more proved reserves by drilling wells that have little or no profit just to help the market “keep the faith”. And if the cash flow doesn't support the drilling effort? Easy: borrow money based on those proved but undeveloped proven reserves. Intentionally drill wells that actually lose money but instill a great deal of unwarranted faith in a company and thus drive the stock price up? Who would do such a thing? Many including the Rockman. Long story made very short: I once drilled 4 horizontal wells that increased the company’s production rate 400% in just 6 months. But the new wells didn’t add $1 worth of reserves…just produced the proven reserves much faster. So spent $18 million which would not recover a $1 of new revenue let alone any increase in profitability. And the Rockman never lies: the company’s independent auditor showed exactly what I just described. But what did all the brokers point to? A 400% INCREASE IN THE COMPANY PRODUCTION RATE!!! And it wasn’t just unsophisticated investors that went for the chum: a very savvy Wall Street pro went for it so heavy to the point of making a successful hostile takeover of the company. Imagine a similar scene: pirates board the Titanic after it hit the iceberg and take command. Needless to say the WS raider took a big loss.

With that in my background you shouldn’t be surprised that I have a poor opinion of how Wall Street values public oils. It was both amazing and sad to watch that sick opera.

Are there any privately owned companies active in the shales? Their actions should be more rational, so their presence or absence could function as a bellwether for shale viability.

b - There may be a very few but difficult to identify. Here's one link


that identifies the major players in the Bakken. They are all pubcos. I know just a few privately owned companies that have been involved in the plays but they have all been land speculators...a very old and honorable biz plan. They move into a potential play early, take leases cheap and then, hopefully, sell them for a nice profit and perhaps hang on to a tiny revenue interest in any production. The next layer is the drilling promoters who are often private. They put a lease block together and then raise drilling capex from public companies and investors. Typically they'll recover all their front end costs and then earn a "carried interest" in any drilling: investors pay 100% of the drilling costs but only earn 75% to 85% of the net revenue. The rest the revenue goes to the promoter. Not a bad deal, eh? But if the land speculator or promoter throws money at a play that doesn't boom they are left holding an empty bag.

This is why it's difficult for the public to interpret statements from the different players. Land speculators/promoters will have nothing but very optimistic views. You ever buy a car from a salesman who spent an hour telling what was wrong about the car he's trying to sell you? Pubco press releases? As long as they don't violate SEC rules they'll never make a negative statement beyond what is required by the law. Why would they want to public to view their stock as less valuable? So if the shales are really not as good as the hype indicates who do you expect to tell you about it? Well, you found one of the few credible sources IMHO: TOD.

EP Energy (http://www.epenergy.com) is privately held and they seem to pretty unconventional (Eagle Ford, Wolfcamp, Haynesville, and offshore Brazil). They were part of El Paso until earlier this year, so that may explain their positions.

slim - Thanks. I hadn't heard of their transition. Privately owned now but all their assets were acquired by a public company, El Paso, as you point out. They went private via placement of bonds to private investors which in reality make them more similar in profile to a public company than a private company in some ways. It's too complicated to go into but it's more like loan money out at a nice rate and having it backed up by solid assets (the existing production). Net revenue (less the bond payments0 allows them to do more drilling. That could be controlled more by project economics or not. depends on how management is compensated. Way to complicated and fairly invisible with regards to those facts. Management may be motivated to drill only the best projects or cold be motivated to drill everything in their inventory. That's not a slam on their management's character. It's just that situations like this are controlled by much more the ROR on a well.


I have done some modelling on the tight oil plays in an attempt to see if the EIA's 2013 outlook for tight oil is reasonable.


The scenario presented attempts to match the EIA forecast and falls short before 2019 and after 2029 even with very optimistic assumptions.

Using Baker Hughes data
( http://investor.shareholder.com/bhi/rig_counts/rc_index.cfm?showpage=na )
I have found that active oil rigs have increased from 800 to about 1430 from feb 2011 to Oct 2012 and have now fallen a bit to 1380.

Over this same period vertical rigs have gone from 360 to 450 (peak of 500 June 2012) while horizontal rigs have increased from 360 in feb 2011 to 1200 in May 2012 and have since fallen back to about 1100. Gas rigs have been decreasing from 900 to 400 from 2/2011 to 12/2012.

There has definitely been a drop in the rig count but the biggest change over the last two years has been the move from gas to oil, there has been less than a 4 % drop in the oil rig count since August.

To try to get a handle on tight oil potential in the United States I was thinking about horizontal oil rigs and where they are being used in the US, are most of them being used for tight oil?

Some potential tight oil may be developed in the Permian Basin (Spraberry Trend output has doubled since 2009), the Granite Wash (Texas and Oklahoma), and the Mississipian (Oklahoma and Kansas) along with the Eagle Ford and Bakken plays.

When looking at horizontal oil rig counts from Feb 2011 to Dec 2012 in Williston (Bakken Play), Eagle Ford, Permian, Granite Wash, and Mississipian basins the count increases from 280 to 630. Looking only at Bakken and Eagle Ford the count goes from 195 to 356 over the same period (peak of 377 in May).

If my assumption that most of the horizontal rigs running in these basins are working on tight oil plays, there are potentially 274 oil rigs working in tight oil plays besides the Eagle Ford and Bakken. Could these "other" tight oil plays be the "missing tight oil" that the EIA is forecasting? This is highly speculative no doubt.

Note that US C+C output was 6.85 MMb/d for the week ending Dec 7. If we take the EIA forecast for C+C and subtract the tight oil for 2012 and 2013 and take the average we get 4.435 MMb/d for Dec 2012 for C+C minus tight oil. Subtracting this from 6.85 gives an estimate of 2.4 MMb/d of tight oil for the week ending Dec 7.

Also note that looking at centered 13 week averages (to smooth the data),average C+C output was 5.81 MMb/d in early January and had risen to 6.64 by late October or 0.8 MMb/d in 10 months, it does not seem like that much of a stretch to get to 7.5 MMb/d or a 0.7 MMb/d increase over the next 4 years (by 2016).


Note also in the chart above that the decline in “other onshore” has slowed considerably since oil prices have risen(from 2004). For "other onshore" a small rise (200 kb/d) is forecast to 2014 with gradual decline to follow.

Offshore about 350 kb/d is brought online by 2016 with decline to 2025 and beyond that, as both Euan Mearns and Rockman have suggested, the forecast for offshore looks overly optimistic as does the rise in Alaskan output in 2015 and again in 2027 (maybe here they expect no more arctic ice.)

Have you considered any of the tight oil plays in Texas or do the economics look grim? If real (inflation adjusted) oil prices rise by 5 % per year and the economy does not go down in flames, in 5 years Brent would be at $127, would those plays look attractive at that price?


Econbrowser article which discusses David Hughes' work on shale plays: Future production from U.S. shale or tight oil

My post on the Econbrowser thread:

Here is a question I asked at the recent ASPO-USA conference in Austin, Texas:

"Let's assume, because of the decline in shale gas drilling, that we see a year over year decline in US natural gas production from 2012 to 2013. Let's further assume that spot natural gas prices are between $6 to $8 per MMBTU in the fourth quarter of 2013. And let's assume that because of the price signal, US companies increase their natural gas drilling efforts. Given the fact that the overall decline rate from existing natural gas wellbores in 2013 is certain to be higher, perhaps much higher, than in 2003, will it be possible for US producers to offset the underlying decline rate in natural gas production and resume an indefinite rate of increase in US natural gas production?"

This steady increase in the underlying decline rate from shale gas and shale oil plays is the key problem. The overall decline rate from existing wellbores is increasing, month by month and year by year.

On the oil side, in my opinion it is an enormous mistake to assume that thousands and thousands of wellbores that are quickly headed toward stripper well status, 10 bpd or less, will be sufficient to offset the ongoing decline in Global Net Exports of oil (GNE*), with the developing countries, led by China, so far at least consuming an increasing share of a declining volume of GNE.

A graph showing the 2002 to 2011 decline in the GNE to CNI ratio (ratio of Global Net Exports of oil to Chindia's Net Imports):


Here is an excerpt of a paper I am working on:

In 2002, there were 11 barrels of GNE for every barrel that Chindia net imported.

In 2005, there were 8.9 barrels of GNE for every barrel that Chindia net imported.

In 2011, there were 5.3 barrels of GNE for every barrel that Chindia net imported, a decline of 40% from the 2005 value.

Based on the six year (2005 to 2011) rate of change in the GNE/CNI ratio, estimated post-2005 Available CNE are about 168 Gb (billion barrels). Cumulative ANE for 2006 to 2011 inclusive were about 81 Gb, putting estimated post-2005 Available CNE about 48% depleted. I estimate that the 2005 to 2011 post-2005 Available CNE depletion rate was about 11%/year, with estimated remaining post-2005 Available CNE of about 87 Gb.

The 2005 to 2011 rate of decline in the GNE/CNI ratio, if extrapolated, suggests that China and India would be consuming 100% of Global Net Exports of oil in the year 2030, which is 18 years from now. Of course, I don’t think that will actually happen, and there is already some suggestion of a slowing demand from the Chindia region or at least a decline in the rate of increase in consumption, but the trend through 2011 is pretty clear, and the rate of decline in the GNE/CNI ratio accelerated from 2008 to 2011, versus 2005 to 2008.

Rising Unconventional Production Versus Declining Net Exports

Some major net exporters, e.g., Canada, are showing increasing net exports, primarily as a result of increasing production from unconventional sources.

However, Canadian net oil exports should be put in the context of regional data, and combined net oil exports from the seven major net exporters in the Americas in 2004 (Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador and Trinidad & Tobago) fell from 6.1 mbpd in 2004 to 5.1 mbpd in 2011 (BP, total petroleum liquids). In other words, rising Canadian net oil exports have so far only served to slow the post-2004 decline in Western Hemisphere net oil exports.

And of course, many people believe rising production from shale resources around the world will result in an indefinite increase in global crude oil production, which perhaps might offset the ongoing post-2005 decline in Global and Available Net Exports. However, it seems extremely unlikely to me that a production base with a steady increase in underlying decline rates, and with thousands and thousands of shale oil wells quickly headed toward striper well status (10 bpd or less), will make a material difference in the global net export situation. In addition, operating costs in most other prospective shale plays around the globe are higher, and frequently much higher, than in the US Lower 48.

*GNE = Net exports from top 33 net oil exporters in 2005, BP + Minor EIA data, total petroleum liquids

If penciled in, what would Global public debt per barrel of GNE/CNI do to EROI ?

Here is the chart for the GNE/CNI ratio (Global Net Exports divided by Chindia's Net Imports) Vs. Global Public Debt:


At the end of 2011, total global public debt was about $47 Trillion (Economist Magazine, latest data):

ANE (GNE less Chindia's Net Imports) were as follows:

Daily average ANE for 2011: 35 mbpd
Total 2011 ANE: 12.8 Gb
Est. Remaining Available CNE (Cumulative Net Exports), after 2011: 87 Gb

Over a time frame, 2005 to 2011, in which total global public debt was increasing at about 10%/year, I estimate that we have been depleting the remaining volume of post-2005 Available CNE (the total post-2005 volume of oil available to about 153 net oil importing countries) at the rate of about 11%/year.

Debt per barrel of estimated post-2005 Available CNE was about $155 per barrel, at the end of 2005. Debt per barrel of estimated remaining post-2005 Available CNE was about $540 per barrel, at the end of 2011. So, total public debt per estimated remaining barrel of Available CNE increased at about 21%/year from 2005 to 2011.


Thank you for this draft with update on the Americas Export Land Model, westexas.
Typo alert: "...with estimated remaining post-2005 Available CNE of about 87 Gb." s/b "post-2011"?

Two ways to phrase the same thing: (1) Estimated remaining post-2005 Available CNE, at the end of 2011 or (2) Estimated remaining Available CNE, at the end of 2011.

Fully agree with you. But, it seems impossible to fight the media juggernaut that claims we will soon be swimming in oil. They are able to create conventional wisdom, and the CW is now very cornucopian. About the best we seem to be able to do is put markers down, so when things turn, we can say "I told you so".

If prices and traders follow the "conventional wisdom" for a little and oil plunges down to the $70 - $60 ... it may be the time to go long, and not just come out with an "I told you so" but a pile of cash to prepare for the worse. :)

According to TOD wise elders, what would be a price at which it's a no brainer to buy options or contracts?

Thanks for the link Jeff. This article can also be found, with comments, at Resilience.org.

SRSrocco2, below, asks about a "shark fin" decline rate. Looks like that might be exactly what we will get starting in about 2017. But I expect the decline to start at least a couple of years earlier than that.

Future production from U.S. shale or tight oil

This article is so good it should become a special thread. It emphasizes something I have been wondering about for quite awhile. What happens when they run out of "sweet spots" in this Bakken play?

But a second feature in the data posing challenges for that plan is that while a few wells in the Bakken have proven to be very productive, the average well productivity is much lower. A limited number of lucrative sweet spots account for much of the success so far.

Ron P.

Ron P... Thanks for the chart and the explanation. I have to agree with you that peak will be well before 2017. According to the work done by Rune Likvern, the newest shale wells in the Bakken are producing about 25% less at peak than the prior year.

It makes sense going forward that even if they did add 1,500 additional wells (which I doubt due to the drying up of available bank capital) each year, the annual production increase from these new wells would be even lower than 2012.

I wouldn't be surprised to see peak by 2014 or 2015 at the latest.

I wouldn't be surprised to see peak by 2014 or 2015 at the latest.

As I have posted before, I think there is at least a 50% chance that the peak was 2012. But peak oil, as far as all importing nations is concerned was 2005, or was it 2006. I will have to check.

Ron P.

Ron P... yes, you may be correct. However, I was addressing U.S. peak in shale oil.

Oh, I misunderstood. No, I would not expect the peak in shale oil production before 2017.

Ron P.


Thanks, interesting article.


The paper by James Mason linked above uses a Continental Resources estimate to come up with 38,890 wells based on land areas and 4 wells per square mile for the better areas in North Dakota and 2 wells per sq mile for "less mature" areas.

I based my scenario on 40,000 wells and also assumed that oil companies would slow down the number of new wells added as they saw the 40,000 well "wall" approaching see http://oilpeakclimate.blogspot.com/ .

I also assumed wells could be added more quickly, there are currently 175 rigs in the Bakken, if each can drill one new well per month (this is conservative by at least a factor of 2) this would be 2100 new wells per year.

Reality is likely to be not as high as the scenario I present, but somewhat higher than what Mr Hughes presents, it depends on how quickly new wells are added, how much average well productivity declines and how many wells are eventually drilled. One possible estimate would be between these at about 25500 wells. My scenario starts at 2250 wells added in 2013 and ramps up gradually to 3312 in 2019. This suggestion of a 25500 well limit would lead to the sharkfin shape with a fast decline starting Jan 2020.


From your blog, bold mine:

To create a future scenario I assumed the "high" model would continue to describe the average well. This assumption may be problematic as sweet spots become saturated with wells, in the future the low model or some "medium" model may be more appropriate.

Have a look at slide 28 of this PDF. Oil-Prone Shale Plays: The Illusion of Energy Independence

• Green areas indicate break-even or greater production volumes.

Looks to me like the "sweet spots" will be used up a lot sooner than you may expect them to. The green areas look like a very small portion of the Bakken and other shale plays. The current "average well" will not be average for very long.

Ron P.

In response to further comments at the Oil Drum, I have attempted to make the model more realistic by creating several average well profiles that decrease by 10 % each year from 2013 to 2019, I also interpolated between the yearly profiles on a monthly basis to make the transition to lower output somewhat smoother.


I updated the model on several occasions. The quote you chose was from my initial attempt to model the Bakken. Currently the following describes the model (from Dec 2 post):

The early wells from 2004 to 2007 have a lower well profile with cumulative output about half that of wells starting production between 2008 and 2012. My previous model had decreases in well productivity of 1 % each month from 2013 to 2019 with new wells starting production in Dec 2019 producing 45 % less cumulative oil than those beginning production in Dec 2012.

I decided that this was too large a decrease in well productivity to be realistic. For the updated model, wells starting production in Feb 2013 produce a cumulative output about 0.5 % less than those which started producing the previous month. Each year the well productivity profile decreases by about 6 % compared to new wells from 1 year earlier. By Dec 2019 new well productivity has decreased by 66 % compared to new wells from Jan 2013.

More details at http://oilpeakclimate.blogspot.com/


... thousands and thousands of wellbores that are quickly headed toward stripper well status, 10 bpd or less, ...

I have a question about that, having to do with the production expected from frac'd oil. I understand the depletion rate (first year) is about 40%. Is it reasonable to expect all of those wells in the Bakkan to eventually become stripper wells? Will they be able to produce even 10 bpd over any significant period of time?

Just wondering. Are there any statistics about that?


Ron P... Do you think the downside of the global production chart will be more like a sharkfin rather than a bellshaped decline? It seems like to me with all the intensive EOR methods as well as the new oil sources (Deep Water & Shale for instance) that suffer high depletion rates, we will see an exponential decline of global oil production rather than one that is slow and steady.

I hardly know what to think anymore. I do believe there is at least a 60% chance, better than even, that 2012 will prove to be the peak. At any rate the decline will begin anywhere from 2013 to 2015. I think it will be a very slow decline for two or three years then it will drop off like a sharks fin. Or at least net oil exports will drop off that fast. They are already in decline but have not hit the shark fin stag yet.

Yes all new fields have a much steeper decline rate because they are much smaller and much deeper. Many deep water fields have a decline rate in excess of 20 to 25%. In fact the expense of deep water plays, along with their risk and (now) expected decline rate is causing many second thoughts and long delays in deep water plays.

Remember Jack-2? And remember when there was supposed to be 3 to 15 billion barrels of reserves, the largest discovery since Prudhoe Bay? Well the only thing I could find was this, dated February 2010, or almost three years ago. UPDATE 1-Maersk completes Jack oilfield stake purchase

* Buys Devon's 25 pct of Jack oilfield for $300 mln

Most of the investment will lead up to the production start, which is planned for 2014," Maersk Oil Chief Executive Jakob Thomasen told Reuters.

Maersk Oil's share of the recoverable resources in the Jack field are estimated at more than 50 million barrels of oil equivalent, A.P. Moller-Maersk said in a statement.

If 50 million barrels is 25% that means they expect to recover 200 million from the field. And that is not even all crude but barrels of oil equivalent. That's enough to supply the world for just over two days. And to think, it might be on line as early as 2014.

The expected surge in oil production predicted by Maugeri will turn out to be as accurate as all the hype concerning Jack 2.

Ron P.

Ron P.. Thanks for the reply. I totally agree with your outlook going forward in global oil production. You add the sharkfin oil decline pattern along with westexas's net oil export declines... it looks like we will have a real mess by 2015, or 2020 at the latest.


Ron - Just had a chat with an engineer buddy with one of the big investment bankers. They are starting to squeal a bit about a potential further erosion of oil prices. They aren't rushing to the exit door but are downgrading asset valuations and thus credit lines. As you can imagine it can become something of a self fulfilling prediction: cut the capex available and drilling slows up. Slow up drilling and new cash flow slows up and produced reserves aren't replaced as fast as they had been. Stock prices erode and this makes the bankers more nervous so they start to tighten the leash even more.

Not predicting how this will turn out but this is an unusual time of the year for such concerns to be kicking in. Lower oil prices and tighter credit combined with current high debt ratios could create a tipping point that might catch many by surprise. As you and others have pointed out many times the shale players can't afford to step off that treadmill. Since we can't find enough viable prospects to buy we're looking into capitalizing some companies with good potential upsides that are cap ex short. The Golden Rule always applies but when companies are losing cash flow and have tapped out credit lines us with the Gold can be very cruel. Yes...we eat our own. Always have...always will.

What many people forget is that deep water fields will never produce a stripper well. Once income/day is lower than expense/day,well is plugged and abandoned. And those rigs aint cheap. Those fields will come offline faster than they came online.

But I don't share the view risks will lower investment speed; once the graphs start going downwards, we will implement every field we can produce a net gain calculation on.

I also don't think price will hold us back. All that carbon will find a way into the atmosphere. But it wont save our economy.

"typical of the exuberant nonsense that has been seen on the net and in MSM lately. "

Yes, this hype is getting truly "impressive", not to say hysterical.
And more or less you can feel a constant push, starting with the Maugeri "report", then the IEA one and then the MSM and all over, (with the shale gas thing having started much before).

And at this point one can truly wonder to which extend this is about "pumping an investment bubble" especially as most of the "voices" in this bloomberg piece are financial ones.

To me it can be seen in two different ways :
- hyping this to bring some investment money
- hyping this to bring some investment money with a more or less clear knowledge that this is a bubble that will not last very long (especially with non major companies), and so also starting looking at the best time for exit.

What are TOD people view on this ?

I think it's much bigger than your 2 choices.

It's a desperate attempt to pump up an entire way of life, civilization as we know it. Neo conservative global hyper capitalistic denial and lashing about. Notice there are places within the system where they don't believe this nonsense. Entire countries see it plain as day, and act accordingly. Freedom from oil and fossil fuels... but not us (USA, #1#1).

And note that it's "the MSM" propagating the nonsense. Also interesting to see that the MSM has allies - IEA, Harvard (Magueri), etc. Well for one thing that's what the media does - propagate nonsense (fascinating word propagate: same root as propaganda - 'spreading from the roots'). But the media depends on the system - without Taco Bell and trucks and beer, this is no media. They pay the writers who write the shows that you watch when you are sold to the advertisers. No advertisers no MSM.

Media hypes itself. That;s exactly what media really does.

Yes, lots of names for it, depending on your preferred nuance:

WT's 'Iron Triangle', Dredd's 'MOMCOM', 'The Corporatocracy', Orwell's 'Big Brother', Eisehhower's 'MIC', and more.

But any way you slice it, the MSM is part and parcel of it. You say it well - basically, the hand that writes the checks writes the stories...

The only voice that counts is that of the rich. The "fiscal cliff" is an unproductive game.

Ian Masters, like so many others, often comes to this bewildered state where he is asking about the "failure" of media: "How could the mainstream media miss this?"

Not many people point out that the easily-accessible American mainstream media is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the few oligarchs that also own the politicians, the corporations, and the financial institutions. There is no "failure" of their function. The only disturbances come from temporarily uncontainable events like the Occupy movement or the Murdoch press being caught hacking dead children's phones. These are soon quietly forgotten.

Friday, December 21, 2012, 4:39 A.M.
Still Alive!

With all the talk about the supposed "Fiscal Cliff" one sees from the MSM, does anybody mention the fact that the US Congress hasn't passed a budget for 2013? The House did pass a Defense Bill late last night, before the Repubs decided not to vote on Plan "B". Will that bill make it thru the Senate before the lame ducks "die" on 1 Jan? Stay tuned (to your favorite alternate media)...

E. Swanson

Another CR (Continuing Resolution)?

Yes but you can also keep it to a more mundane approach.
That is not expecting litterature to take place within journalism basically.
But yes our time is highly singular for sure.

typical of the exuberant nonsense that has been seen on the net and in MSM lately

It is taking on all the aspects of a classic financial bubble. For more information read Bubbles, Booms, and Busts by Donald Rapp, or Manias, Panics, and Crashes by Charles Kindleberger.

We have seen many of these before, notably the subprime mortgage boom which came to a sudden end in the bust of 2008. They are all the same. People begin to think the laws of nature and economics have been repealed and the boom will go on forever. It never does.

People in the MSM don't know what the laws of nature or economics are, so it comes as a particular surprise to them.

Ron P -- Good post for the data, but you show a bias by mentioning the "2005 peak". Let's stick to science. The fact that production is higher now than ever means there was no peak.

I have argued here that we wouldn't know if a peak was geologic until many years out, because there is no way to filter out the the effect of economic demand fluctuations. Supply cannot surpass demand for very long. In order to know in real time we would have to conduct an impossible experiment -- with infinite storage capacity, everyone pumps as fast as they can for a period of time.

Fracking seems to have moved the goal post. How long? 20 years? 40? It seems intuitive that if the US can resurrect old wells and marginal fields, so can everyone else. As long as prices remain high (incentive) and money stays cheap or free, a lot of surprises are in store.

"Fracking seems to have moved the goal post. How long? 20 months? 40 days?"

There. Fixed that for you. :/

Ralph - I suppose the pertinent question is what goal post? Certainly not US PO: we passed that goal post over 40 years ago. Or the goal post where the US has stopped its decline rate in oil production? That certainly has happened. Higher oil prices did that. But nothing new about that...typically happens in every commodity market when prices increase. And just the same as when lower prices result in lower output eventually. It's always amazing to see the hype that PO is dead. PO has been alive and well in the US for almost half a century. That's fact. Will the US ever increase oil production above the peak we reached in 1971? Time will tell…a very long time if ever IMHO.

Ralph - I suppose the pertinent question is what goal post? Certainly not US PO: we passed that goal post over 40 years ago. Or the goal post where the US has stopped its decline rate in oil production? That certainly has happened. Higher oil prices did that. But nothing new about that...typically happens in every commodity market when prices increase. And just the same as when lower prices result in lower output eventually. It's always amazing to see the hype that PO is dead. PO has been alive and well in the US for almost half a century. That's fact. Will the US ever increase oil production above the peak we reached in 1971? Time will tell…a very long time if ever IMHO.

Certainly not US PO: we passed that goal post over 40 years ago

You doubt the IEA's projection? They could be right. (If holes are drilled like crazy.)

If you want to stick to science, you shouldn't forget that Hubbert peak isn't about "geology", it is about modeling typical human management of resources (that is part of economics) under geologic constraints.

You are nitpicking Mkkby. There was a peak in 2005, it was in May. I think everyone knew what I meant. We are currently about 1 mb/d above the peak of 2005. We are still 341 kb/d above the peak of 2008, which was in July but we are 519 kb/d below the peak of 2011 which was in December.

Really, how you see that as some kind of bias is beyond me.

Anyway the data I presented in that post showed the all time peaks for the World, OPEC and Non-OPEC. Everyone should have known that I was not presenting 2005 as the all time peak. Well, most everyone anyway. :-(

Concerning the rest of your post. The peak of oil production is the peak of oil production, end of story. It simply does not matter what causes it, if it is the peak then it is the peak. Geology and the price both always play a part in the production. To try to say it is either a geological peak or an economic peak makes no sense at all.

Supply always equals demand as long as the price is the arbitrator. Supply can never outpace demand and demand can never be higher than the supply.

Fracking has been around for about 50 years. What has changed is the price of oil. Higher prices made fracking economical. The goal post have not been moved. Supply and demand is what it is. Higher prices allow more oil to be produced. But high prices also affect the economy like they did in 2008. If the economy gets knocked down again, fewer people will be able to afford the high price of oil. If the price drops low enough then all fracking will stop right along with deep sea drilling.

The marginal barrel cost somewhere around $100. Those barrels will disappear, after a certain time lag, if the price drops below that. I say after a time lag because even if it cost a driller $110 a barrel and the price is $90, he will still produce from that project because the capex has already been spent. But no new projects will begin until the price gets high enough and he is confident it will last.

Ron P.

I dont't condone lumping the derived oil from fracking (shale plays), tar sands, deepwater plays and similar endeavours into the same category as the conventional oil reserves that day out and day in for the last 150 years have kept the economies growing. The overall global production peak in terms of volume might still be one or two years off (you surmise a point in time between 2013-2015 to represent this peak), but what's at the crux of it all is # of BTUs available to the market, energic surplus. While the number of barrels produced in total has increased by 1 million since 2005 or some such, it is a real possibility that the point of global peak net energy from oil of all categories has come and gone, all the while populations have increased by 14-18 times Norway's current unsustainable population of 5 million ever year (which after a while represents a kaloric load of at least 2000*365*70million for each of these years, it takes some time for people to grow into these self-filling stomaches with four appendages requiring 2000kcal/day).

People like Maugeri focus solely on volume and not whether an increase in such actually adds an energic surplus. I probably think we would've been better off searching harder for conventional reserves than starting to frack altogether. I'm such a layman it could be horribly wrong, but it seems like the EROEI is just horrible.

I read an interesting piece about consumption recently by George Monbiot, the gift of Death: http://www.monbiot.com/2012/12/10/the-gift-of-death/

Very good point. The focus on simply "volume" is misleading to a great extent. Meanwhile, EROEI continues to shrink. But don't expect the WSJ to understand what the implications are...

Yes, well said. I harped on this here for years. We could extract a gazillion barrels of burnable goo in a given year. But if it requires a gazillion minus one to get it, then we're left with but a lonely barrel of goo, which will go not too far for the nearly gazillion people on the planet who want to burn it.

And not only is declining EROEI a critical and little grokked issue, as society will have ever less useful energy, it is horrible for the climate. In our effort to have useful barrels of goo to burn, we will burn ever more that are simply consumed by the finding, mining, and refining steps. So we might view declining EROEI as the climate treadmill that we'd best jump off NOW. (No illusions that we will, we're fracking f$%^d, IMO)

That's a curious thing...especially considering the amount of construction going on and the reports of all of the trucks in and out of the shale areas...like ethanol this has to be leading to a "double counting" of some magnitude.

Yes. A new analogy occurs on this Mayan morning - Old time jungle movie. Person trapped in quicksand. The more they squirm, the deeper in doo-doo they sink. Those last few moments are wild flailing about, with no productive result...

Researching her film The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale. Even the goods we might have expected to hold onto are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (breaking quickly) or perceived obsolesence (becoming unfashionable).

Horrifying waste.

I find that mind-boggling. I wonder if that include consumables, like food, soap, printer cartridges, etc.

Looking over my past six months' purchases (I almost always use credit cards, so there's a paper trail)...most of the non-consumable stuff I've bought is still in use, and will continue to be. Some clothing (nothing particularly fashionable, unless your idea of fashionable is LL Bean ;-). Some electronics, which I use regularly. A few DVDs, which I still watch. I guess books might be questionable. I buy a lot of books. Some I re-read over and over again. Some I only read once, then give away.

Been thinking about getting a Kindle or something like it. Seems like there would be environmental benefits. If I don't buy new ones too often. :-/

Yes, 1% does indeed sound extreme. However, regarding your own example, clearly TOD is a self-selected group, much on the margins of the mainstream. To me LL Bean is high fashion. I wear whatever shows up in the thrift store, which occasionally includes LLB in this Appalachian ski resort locale...

My day to day clothing is majority LL Bean. For some reason, I seem to get lots of gift cards for Beans, but then I live fairly rustically on my little farmette in the woods, so I guess it makes sense. Plus, there's an outlet store half an hour's drive away. Just got a new gift card for Christmas, and I need a new pair of boots...

Some clothing (nothing particularly fashionable, unless your idea of fashionable is LL Bean ;-).

LL Bean is so East Coast. My idea of fashionable tends more to REI.

Being in Canada, I do most of my fashion and accessory shopping at Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), although I have gone so far as to buy even more fashionable clothing at the Patagonia factory outlet in Dillon Montana. They have some really good sales so we drop in every time we pass by on our way to Utah.

My wife buys a lot of stuff at the annual CMH Heli-Skiing surplus equipment sale they hold here for local residents to unload the stuff they weren't able to sell to clients. It's great if you don't mind wearing a purple jacket with a helicopter logo on it. The price is definitely right.

Some of us only use cash so there is no paper trail.


I've been pondering the kindle idea as well. I wonder where the crossover point is between the resources needed to make, ship and house physical books versus the embedded resources in the device. I love real books but the e-reader has its strong points.

The new toy beckons. Must have new shiny thing. Must have...


Project Gutenberg offers over 40,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online.



Don't buy a Kindle Fire, buy a Nexus 7 instead.

Or buy one of the not-Fire Kindle models if you can live with an e-ink screen.

I bought a Kindle Touch (tee em) a number of months back specifically because of the e-ink screen so that I could find FREE books (such as those through Project Gutenberg) and have something portable and easy on the eyes to read them with. The e-ink screen is glorious for text - it's seriously like looking at paper. The placement of the power button is incredibly stupid - right at the bottom (try propping it up on something and the problem becomes apparent). It's also awkward to hold since there is little gripping space and if you touch the screen it'll change pages. The non-touch Kindle may be better due to that last issue, though the tradeoff I understand is some navigation difficulty. The only other real downside is that the battery self-discharges "rapidly" - essentially the "two month" battery is what it takes to self discharge - whether you're reading from it or not.

THE most important thing for you to know is that you can't re-sell books you've purchased, or loan them out. Technically they can be loaned - but it's a limited number of times and for a limited amount of time, practically useless.

Then there's also:

More than 11,000 libraries in the United States offer Public Library Books for Kindle, which allows you to check out eBooks through the website of your local library, and have them sent directly to your Kindle device or reading apps where they will be available for a specified period of time like a regular library book. Public Library Books for Kindle provide the same features as Kindle books, including Whispersync, which synchronizes notes, highlights, last page read, page numbers and more across your account.

My Kindle is "Off Grid" and will likely stay that way (you have to buy it in a brick and mortar store if you want that or they will ship it linked to your account) - but you need to have it linked to be able to borrow books from the library.

So it might be worth it to you to have an e-reader if your library loans e-books (like Todd who probably has to burn $100 worth of gas just to visit a library), or if there are scads of books on Gutenberg.org you want to read - but if your plan is to just buy new books, I'd stick to dead trees because you'll be able to re-sell or at least loan them out to multiple friends.

I've been reading books from Project Gutenberg since the days of the Palm Pilot. Great resource.

You can also read Kindle books on a computer, which I do sometimes. I don't mind reading off a screen.

If you think a Mad Max future is imminent, then e-books are a bad idea. You won't be able to access all your books if there's no power for your Kindle, or if it breaks and you can't repair it.

But that possibility is looking increasingly remote to me. I like the idea of keeping books in digital format, just for the space it would free up. Apparently, in Japan there are many companies that will scan your books for you and put them into digital format. This is wildly popular, because homes tend to be so small there. (I believe copyright is also much less of an issue there.) Even sentimental items like yearbooks being kept in digital rather than physical format.

Also, some books are much cheaper in Kindle format. Like, $5 vs. $30. You can also borrow many books directly from Amazon if you have a Prime membership.

Thanks for the links Substrate. The availability of free books is one of the considerations that's pushing me in the direction of an e-reader. If I understand correctly, Amazon also makes some old classics that have passed into the public domain freely available for the Kindle. Perhaps nothing that Project Gutenberg doesn't already offer though.

Mostly I've been leaning toward the Kindle Paperwhite -- readable in low light, great display for text as you note, decent battery life. Then I start to ask myself if I would use the additional capabilities of a full-blown tablet enough to go that route. Analysis paralysis sets in. The review you linked to helps.

The shale plays, tar sands plays, deepwater plays and similar endeavour plays are what the industry refers to as the "Last Hurrah" plays.

Any docs were this denomination appears ?

Depressed - just post the URL if you want to post a link. It will automatically become clickable. Don't try to use HTML. If you get it wrong (as you did), it looks like a link but does not work.

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the update, I appreciate you keeping on top of the latest data and sharing your charts.

You produced another excellent chart for World C+C about 1 or 2 months ago by combining jodi and EIA data, which is one of the best assessments I have seen.

I noticed when checking some of the data that there is a discrepancy for Canadian C+C between JODI and the Canadian NEB. At the NEB
( http://www.neb-one.gc.ca/clf-nsi/rnrgynfmtn/sttstc/crdlndptrlmprdct/stmt... )

we find for Canada, after converting to barrels from cubic meters, the following for Jan to Sept 2012 in millions of barrels per day for NEB, EIA and JODI (1st to 3rd columns):


If you update that excellent chart for world C+C, you might consider substituting the NEB numbers for the JODI data or you could use the EIA numbers which are pretty close to the NEB numbers.


The NEB data will be the most accurate because all the NEB does is collect the numbers from the provincial regulatory agencies and add them up. The provincial regulators will be right on top of it because they are collecting royalties and taxes from the companies based on the data they provide.

Alberta, which produces most of the country's oil, will have particularly accurate data because the government does the accounting for the entire industry. Companies input their raw data into the government computers, and the government processes it and tells the companies how much they produced.

I could tell some long anecdotes about the consequences of missing a reporting deadline in Alberta, but suffice it to say that it involves not getting paid for your oil for an extra month. "Cheque exchange day" was the red-letter day on the calendar when all the companies in the industry sent cheques to each other based on the government data, and missing it was one of the worst experiences an accountant could have short of going to jail. Some accountants used to close their door as the deadline approached , disconnect their phone, and take the batteries out of their clock because they couldn't stand the noise of its incessant ticking. I didn't dare to knock on their door but just slid notes under it. I'm serious.

It looks like the EIA data is missing condensate, and the JODI data is missing non-upgraded bitumen. The latter is particularly serious because it is over 1 million barrels per day. What Canadian companies are doing is blending bitumen with condensate and sending it to US refineries which are capable of processing it, and this constitutes most of Canadian oil exports these days.

The EIA and JODI don't have the pressure of things like "Cheque exchange day", so who knows how good their numbers are?

I have completely lost any faith in the JODI numbers. I only use them as a rough guide as to what production will be the following month after the EIA data comes out. They are always one month ahead of the EIA. According to JODI the EIA numbers should show an increase of about 300 kb/d in October. However that could vary at least 100 kb/d either way. I doubt that non-OPEC production will be up anywhere near the 840 kb/d barrels predicted by the IEA in their Highlights of the latest OMR The November data is out in the latest one:

Non-OPEC production bounced back by 0.7 mb/d in November on the month, to 54 mb/d, after fields in the North Sea and Brazil returned from maintenance. US output also rose steeply and will contribute to an aggregate non-OPEC increase of 0.9 mb/d to 54.2 mb/d in 2013, the highest growth rate since 2010.

This is what they predicted for October:

Non‐OPEC production rebounded by 840 kb/d in October, to 53.4 mb/d, after seasonal maintenance and weather disrupted output in September. Non‐OPEC supplies are expected to grow by 460 kb/d in 2012 and by 860 kb/d in 2013, to 54.1 mb/d.

Of course they are counting all liquids. The big increases these days are coming from NGLs and biofuels. So who knows what they might have predicted for C+C.

Ron P.

American Oil Growing Most Since First Well Signals Independence (top of the page)

The EIA link provided does little to support this headline. From the EIA page:

  • 2012 crude oil production: 6.41 million barrels per day
  • 2012 total consumption: 18.64 million barrels per day
  • 2012 Refiner average acquisition cost: $99.79 per barrel

This is nowhere near independence. It may actually be the largest increase since 1859, but only just.

The link up top: Warnings of oil running out are just baloney is even more bold with its predictions:

The US, in this context, is strategically important. It is now forecast that the country could produce enough shale oil for domestic needs by 2017.

By 2017 no doubt! The US net imports in October was 7,500,000 barrels per day. So in just five years we could increase shale oil production enough to put our crude production at over 14,000,000 barrels per day? These people are clueless. Also in that article states that prices are high because the British Government is rigging the price:

In fact, you need oil at about $100 per barrel in order to give wind any viability as an alternative source of energy. This is why the UK shoved price increases down consumers throats last month as it rigged market prices upwards to make wind viable.

And they say prices could easily be $50 a barrel because it Iraq and Saudi can produce oil at about $10 a barrel. Obviously they have never heard of the marginal cost of oil. They just assume that enough oil could be produced at under $50 a barrel is Iraq and Saudi can produce it for that.

And in the next paragraph they say OPEC and unregulated commodity trading (speculators) are responsible for the high price of oil:

This $100 oil malarkey is a function of an explicit cartel (OPEC), dangerously unregulated commodity oil trading in global investment banks and the background noise of those who think oil will soon be extinct.

These articles are getting really stupid lately. But then I guess we need our comic relief. What would we do without these guys? It is going to be so sweet when these guys have to eat crow, perhaps as early as next year.

Ron P.

Many real estate developers buy land a decade or more in advance they need time to unload the burbs and the talk of high gas prices or bau is not coming back does not fit in their line of thinking.Only when they've bought downtown will the tune change.

Nooo Ron, no! You just don't understand! What they mean is that production is going to go up by 3.5 mbpd and consumption is going to fall a further 4 mbpd! Betcha didn't see that one coming! Now it's all fixed! Nice! (dusts off hands)

Alan from the islands

From the article:

“Peak oil is dead,” Morse said.

So, we will never peak?

That's Morse code for "Call it plateau oil."

That is such a pet peeve of mine. Why can't they just say something like "We don't have to worry about peak oil for at least 50 years." or something like that. Even if the earth were constructed of nothing but oil, you'd still have 'peak oil' eventually because a sphere has a finite volume.

Even if the earth were constructed of nothing but oil, you'd still have 'peak oil' eventually because a sphere has a finite volume.

Well, four thirds pi times the radius cubed will allow you to calculate the volume of any sphere... The average person still thinks that the radius for the volume of the sphere containing oil on earth tends toward infinity. It will be quite a shock to them when they finally grok the truth.

Here it is...


Even if my numbers are off by a mile the reality is still pretty hard to grasp!

Shocking! Thank you for the visualization. I retweeted it.

The more intelligently formulated version of the 'anti-peakists' holds that we will have our 'undulating plateau' and rising prices will bring about a segue into alternatives (pick your favorite technocopian dream) thus leaving a lot of crude oil (equivalent) in the ground. No decline in overall crude production, therefore no peak.

If/when we get a pronounced year-by-year decline in crude oil, that swamps any 'other liquids' production, then the tables are turned and we can declare the no-peak theory dead. We still aren't there yet.

Actually, a third alternative is that the economy of the planet continues to tank, leaving us with dropping consumption of energy and a crumbling world economy, brought about by a combination of high energy prices, growing population and disastrous crops because of AGW.

Faster, Cheaper
America’s latest oil rush was spurred by new technology that has made drilling faster, cheaper and better at unleashing oil from rock formations, even as it has raised alarms among environmentalists about the potential danger to drinking-water supplies and intensifying greenhouse-gas emissions.

They just really don't get it. If it really were 'cheaper' then wouldn't oil prices be much cheaper? No, it is the higher price of oil that has allowed the fracking to take place. I'm sure they've improved their techniques but I kinda doubt they would be profitable if they had to do horizontal drilling and fracking on a fast-depleting shale well if the oil priced dropped down to $45/barrel.

What you need to do is use a technique which was posted by somebody on TOD a few days ago, and just replace the key phrase in the MSM message by higher prices .

America’s latest oil rush was spurred by higher prices that has made drilling faster, more expensive and better at unleashing oil from rock formations, even as it has raised alarms among environmentalists about the potential danger to drinking-water supplies and intensifying greenhouse-gas emissions.

You see, it is much easier than taking Economics 101 and equally effective at finding the reality in the MSM hype. You have to do a little editing to make it logically consistent, but it is otherwise very useful. Someone with computer skills could write a script to do it.

As we with experience in the oil industry know, hydraulic fracturing is over 50 years old, and horizontal drilling is not much newer. We have known about these oil-bearing formations for over 50 years. It is only higher prices that have made them economic today.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending December 14, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.6 million barrels per day during the week ending December 14, 227 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 91.5 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging nearly 8.9 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging just under 4.9 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.4 million barrels per day last week, down by 100 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged over 8.3 million barrels per day, 288 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 521 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 242 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 1.0 million barrels from the previous week. At 371.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 2.2 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories decreased while blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.1 million barrels last week and remained well below the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 2.0 million barrels last week, but remained well above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 1.9 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged over 19.0 million barrels per day, up by 2.8 percent from the same period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged about 8.5 million barrels per day, down by 2.9 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged just under 3.8 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 2.7 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 5.8 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

(emphasis added)

Notice the bump in the price of WTI after this report was released. From MarketWatch:

Crude oil for January delivery [CLF3 +1.43%] gained $1.36, or 1.6%, to $89.29 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was trading around $88.40 shortly before the government supply data. The contract expires after trading closes on Wednesday.

No worries, the US must surely be headed for energy independence---the MSM has told us so...:-)

E. Swanson

I have a blog posting that some here might be interested in. "The Nine Best-Run Countries in the World, What They Have in Common, and What They Have to Teach the US."


There is an emphasis on energy and transportation. Lots of charts and graphs!

Very useful stuff! Thanks!

Thanks Karen. This is why I returned to Europe after 10 years on the California coast. That plus the bumper sticker 'Support our troops or go back to France'...

since I can't respond to you post on your blog; I'll just say here if you will quit trying to keep people from posting on your blog, with that strange squibbly bunch of letters and what ever number is you might just be able to hear what, at least, I had to say about it.

the old hermit

Old Hermit,

Very sorry, I don't prevent people posting comments on my blog, but anyone wanting to leave a comment does have to identify and type in some letters/numbers. (This is true of a lot of blogs?) Google Blogger comes up the letters/numbers, and I agree sometimes they can be hard to figure out. Without the verification step, however, a lot of spam shows up. (Even with it, some spam shows up.)

Interesting charts.

Remember the wealth of the world is finite and now flat to declining. If it is increasing somewhere, it is because it is decreasing somewhere else.

The United States is hanging on to its wealth through inertia and power now. Behind the scenes it is in cultural and economic decline, with an unserviceable oil based infrastructure, vast and wasteful military and federal government spending, and shocking economic inequality with most of the gains going to an elite at the top of the corporate and banking hierarchy. Being born in America, or immigrating here, is simply not the winning lottery ticket that it once was.

But that's ok, these things tend to come and go in cycles.

A fellow I know immigrated from Georgia. He tells of how the oligarchs ate everything. Now he realizes the same thing is here. He saw the civil wars. He saw... things. He does not want to see such things again.

წინწყარო - ჰამლეტ გონაშვილი

Per the article cited above which I am skeptical about:


Atlanta’s Beltline: The Greenest Transit Project in America?

I am curious if AlanfromBigEasy has any thoughts on this?

Anytime I see "Rails to Trails" it triggers alarm bells for me. Generally these projects remove existing potential Rail revival for entertaining but generally useless recreational biking and walking. Now if there are "ROADS to Trails" THAT
I would support!

But I am skeptical that this project is really so great on the face of it.
Atlanta unfortunately narrowly rejected a true Green Transit expansion in the past year which would either use existing roads and parallel actual traffic patterns.

I take exception to the idea that the development walking and biking trails is really 'generally useless'.. We have a growing network of Bike/Hike trails in Portland and Maine overall, as an active part of the east coast greenbelt network, and it is surely a mix of 'useful trips' and of exercise and recreation.

The Portland trails group and similar orgs are well aware that these pathways, very much like mass transit systems (or the street themselves, for that matter), need a broad and well-connected series of links before they could ever claim to offer the kind of access that would see them have a statistical portion of the essential travel in an area, but they are making the arduous steps it must take in order to get us there.

Atlantans, like most Americans are still not going to see the deep value in most of what Mass Transit or Human-powered Transportation has to offer.. but that is hardly any reason to sniffle at those who are making what strides they can.

Some of the Rail-to-trail projects that had been happening in Maine in recent years are now getting lobbied and successfully redesigned with the benefits of BOTH of those modes in mind, and letting these valuable Graded and Structured routes be given dual use as RAIL-AND-TRAIL.


Even in today's Ice/Snow/Slush Fest, there are bike commuters coming to my temp job up at LL Bean. People will increasingly use the trails to go to work, if such trails are encouraged and the systems are allowed to grow. I'm a little surprised to see them getting this kind of friction from you.

Well, he DOES have a point. I lived in Pinellas county, Florida, for a long time. The old rail route is now the Pinellas Trail. While no doubt the Pinellas Trail has been mostly a good thing, what would serve Pinellas better - a rail route between Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Clearwater, Pinellas Park, and St. Pete, or a nice biking trail?

At the time the train was taken out, it was a much less developed area and cars had come to dominate in America. So when they decided to make it a trail, it was already just a disused, barren piece of ex-industrial infrastructure that could easily see better use. But looking back from the perspective of today, Pinellas would have been much better served with a rail route, which would be very helpful today with the extreme development that it has undergone over the past 20+ years (from orange groves and horse farms to near-solid suburban development).

Most of the rail-to-trail ideas are like the Pinellas trail - they aren't really rail-to-trail but really "unused, neglected railway-to-useful trail". But the US as a country badly needs rail as well... The thing is, we badly need pedestrian and bike infrastructure too. What we need to be doing is really stealing back space from the roadways, which have eaten up all of our other options. But this is politically impossible right now in the US.

I used to live in Pinellas County and my mother and sister still do live there. Back in the 70's I used to go to Clearwater to take the train to William and Mary in Willamsburg Virginia with my bike, a trunk and belongings easily bought on the train. Just recently I took Amtrak to Tampa where the Rail now stops and there is no public transit from Tampa to Clearwater. None.

While I was visiting I took an amusing picture of part of the glorious Pinellas Trail emptying into a vast sea of asphalt parking lots in the middle of acres of shopping malls. A great place to ride a bike!

Back in those days I also rode my bike before the Pinella Trail took over the Rails I rode to college on, to work in Palm Harbor and frequently to Clearwater Beach after a hard day's work emptying garbage cans. I did not need the Pinellas Trail to do it as I took side roads.

Since then almost all the 2 lane side roads have become 7 lane leviathans of asphalt impossible for seniors to cross safely and I-19 has become an unbelievable dizzying maze of entrance/exit ramps onto Service Roads into dead-end cul-de-sac Shopping Mall parking lots. Even just to exit from a Burger King from one of these nightmares is a major project let alone to reach it!

Auto Addicted Transit disaster!

The Pinellas Trail has 2 really horrible sections: Clearwater, where it becomes "here's a nice sidewalk to ride on" and St. Pete, where it does pretty much the same thing. The only other major problem is that it crosses a lot of roads in places, sometimes very awkwardly and unsafely. But it's better than nothing, and nothing is the other option.

Yes, as you say, there is no public transit from Tampa to Clearwater. There is actually no public transit from some parts of Palm Harbor as well (no transit at all from East Lake HS, the school I went to). And as you say, there are a lot of 7 lane leviathans - the area has really exploded, but as for transit, they have only really developed more and more roads. I would really have appreciated a train from Clearwater or Tarpon Springs to Ithaca, New York when I went there for a year - I drove both ways and frankly, nothing is more miserable than being on the highway all day long except breaking down halfway!

The real question is how and when society will get out of this corner. If we don't get out thoughfully we will be forced out of it anyway.

> Just recently I took Amtrak to Tampa where the Rail now stops and there is no public transit from Tampa to Clearwater. None.

Greyhound's $16.15 five times a day schedule doesn't count as public transit because (1) it isn't PSTA (Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority) or (2) it doesn't originate at Amtrak's terminal or (3) some other reason?
Departure: Tampa, FL
Arrival: Clearwater, FL
Departing Arriving
05:40 AM 06:10 AM
07:50 AM 08:20 AM
11:30 AM 12:01 PM
04:15 PM 04:45 PM
05:00 PM 05:40 PM

jcgreen00 provided info on Greyhound from Tampa to Clearwater which is an excellent tip and definitely something I should have examined.

However a couple of points are in order on this, typical of the US woefully inadequate Green Transit:

1)Amtrak arrives 12:34 PM which means I would have to wait until 4:15 PM to even catch the Greyhound bus

2)Greyhound is really for Intercity travel and would deposit me in downtown Clearwater after waiting 3 hours and 45 minutes to catch a 30 minute bus. From whence I would then have to find yet another means to get to my ultimate destination.

And therein lies the whole tale of US actually operating Green Transit vs potential in the grip of Auto Addiction and the blinders it puts on all thoughts of getting from here to there. On the one hand we have basically 1 train per day from NY to Tampa. When that incredibly limited train arrives there is no coordination whatsoever with any other form of transit to connect to get to the ultimate destination. There happens to be a long distance Greyhound bus, also with very limited frequency and a 3 hour wait to yet another stranded destination.
There should of course be Light or Commuter Rail from Tampa all the way to Clearwater Beach which would get loads of passengers from Tampa residents and tourists. But without building that there could at least be hourly buses from Tampa to Clearwater and also St Pete. This is not some huge expense nor impossible.

Instead we have billions spent on huge road expansions of every North-South road in Pinellas County, flying buttress overpasses and acres of paved over Orange groves now parking lots.

It cannot continue....

Yeah, based on my one experience over there, I think the US should hire a Swiss - probably any Swiss would do - to plan the integration of the transit that does exist here, which would probably make it somewhere between 5-10x more useful and rider friendly than it is now. Actually, we could probably hire any European (I hear there are a number of them out of work, in the south especially) and make him/her the US transit czar, and have a very positive result from the effort. We are so clueless in this regard in the US.

As I said, there ARE Rail AND Trail plans coming up more and more.. And at least one of the advantages of the growth in Bike Paths, is that a much broader spectrum of people do have some flexibility there, unlike the 'Roads and Cars must go' arguments, which has worse odds than Single Payer Healthcare in this country.. some folks look at it as exercise, some as commons and parkspace, some as Accessibility and clean Transport Options.. so it is a lot less blocked as a political issue.

One other thing about the Bike trails, is that this at least holds onto that graded area for future reversions back into mixed use routes.. too many other rail ROW's have been privatized and built over and relandformed, so that the route and the railbed has been lost or impeded much more deeply.

There is nothing wrong with making bicycle Paths and safe sidewalks.

But carve these out of the ROADS!

When will Auto Addiction relent its kudzu expansion to pave over every square acre of the USA? My objection is why Rails which we need to expand are ever the victim of these alleged Green Projects. If the Rails are revived or made usefully 2 track Rails and ALSO support biking and walking that is fine. But the real sacrifices need to be to reclaim the acres and acres paved over by Auto Addiction from ROADS!

That's well and good.. I just found the 'generally useless' comment to be out of place, since we really NEED the increased physical activity, and can truly make very good use of this Zero Emission means of transportation.

I remember being in Phoenix to visit my Father in Law, and in Vegas for work, just wishing they had some significant bike infrastructure there, all that big flatness, and you can really make some miles, tho' maybe there you'd want to invest in a bike/hike trail with a shade-roofing scheme.. a good place for some long, skinny acres of municipal PV.

You've got to pick your battles, too. I don't think the roads are going anywhere, except for the really redundant rural highways that will be dust-paths again someday.

The roads may stay but be used by fewer cars in the future as fuel gets yet more expensive and road maintenance is "deferred" ever further. At that point they'll be fine for walking and biking. But we do need to preserve the railroad ROWs and eventually rebuild them. Glad to hear rail-and-trail is happening some places. And yes a trail-only conversion still holds on to the ROW and can be back-converted.

That I don't doubt.. while I suspect that we'll also be seeing new or renewed ideas coming about for the composition of roads. I've wondered with our machine technology, whether we might see a more carefully engineered form of cobblestones, where they fit tighter and allow for perhaps smoother 'wheel runs' that accomodate the kind of smoothness we've gotten from asphalt.

Of course, I also wonder if there isn't something we could start creating using atmospheric carbon, so that we create road surfaces that become durable carbon sinks.

Now there's a good idea - tire preta...?

road surfaces that become durable carbon sinks.

Using crushed silicate rock for gravel roads might fit the bill. There are aluminum, magnesium, and calcium silicates, which gradually combine with carbonic acid and become carbonates. Not being a chemist or geologist I can never remember which ones have rapid enough reaction rates to matter, what rock types they come from, or how to recognize those rocks.

A better idea would be to destroy all the roads so they would no longer be carbon emission enabling devices. The American highway system was the beginning of the end of a habitable planet.

I wonder what HereInHalifax does with all the incandescent bulbs he removes in his retrofits to more efficient lighting. Do all those bulbs get thrown out, or do they have a second life elsewhere?

In my house I removed several incandescent light bulbs several years ago to convert to CFL. I have saved the bulbs in a shoe box for use in closets and other rarely used locations. I haven't bought a standard incandescent light bulb in probably ten years.

Incandescent bulbs have good specialized uses as heat lamps, in temperature extremes (CFLs are funny at -40 C if you need a fast turn on) or in a trouble light fixture where there is a high probability of breakage and you don't want to deal with a mercury spill as in a CFL. Just not as a regular light source.

One such specialized use: I have a water faucet in my barn that is installed inside an insulated box with an incandescent light in it - keeps it from freezing...

I can recall using them as current limiters for electrical experiments. A cold incandescent has only a few percent of its hots resistance. So if your load draws much less than the rating of the bulb, the bulb wired in in series provides minimal resistance, but then if you have a short in your load, the bulbs filament heats up and its resistance goes way up. They are a sort on nonlinear resister.

Quite so. Back in the 30s a couple of guys used this effect (with small bulbs) to stabilize the loop gain of a variable frequency oscillator. And thus was born what was once called the Hewlett-Packard Company.

The Mark II. There was no Mark I as they didn't believe anyone would want a Mark I.


That's a new one on me. I had thought it was called the model 200A from the start. The historical tales do note that Bill and Dave chose something they thought would make them sound like a well established outfit.

When I worked at HP, starting in the late 70s, I believe a descendant of the 200A was still being sold -- and still had a small tungsten bulb buried inside it.

Thanks for clarifying and adding the correct model number. Nice little piece of equipment.


Hi KH,

We're contractually obligated to render unfit for service any lamps that we decommission on behalf of Efficiency Nova Scotia and, ultimately, they end up here: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_1583.jpg

These lamp are fully recycled -- all glass, mercury, metal components and phosphor. Nothing enters the waste stream if it can be either reused (if so permitted) or recycled.


The National Debate on Energy Transition is Going On? Well Then, Let's Debate [French]

I won't translate the whole thing. Suffice it to say, the French government is dithering over energy transition while peak oil looms and the climate continues to worsen. The government talks about climate and peak oil but acts on BAU. There's no new data here, but Auzanneau does a nice job of summarizing the peak oil/climate change double whammy.

Well their 'dithering' is a whole lot better than OUR dithering, considering the number of light rail systems that many of their towns and cities are building and adding to.

What's in our tank? We're still bickering about whether we as a Nation will simply concede that Climate is a serious issue, and whether we can afford to make any commitments for the livability of our planet.

Matt Ridley: Cooling Down the Fears of Climate Change

Evidence points to a further rise of just 1°C by 2100. The net effect on the planet may actually be beneficial.

Given what we know now, there is almost no way that the feared large temperature rise is going to happen. Mr. Lewis comments: "Taking the IPCC scenario that assumes a doubling of CO2, plus the equivalent of another 30% rise from other greenhouse gases by 2100, we are likely to experience a further rise of no more than 1°C."

A cumulative change of less than 2°C by the end of this century will do no net harm. It will actually do net good—that much the IPCC scientists have already agreed upon in the last IPCC report. Rainfall will increase slightly, growing seasons will lengthen, Greenland's ice cap will melt only very slowly, and so on.

Astonishingly mendacious writing. The RealClimate and Skeptical Science rebuttals should be delicious.

What has happened to Ridley?
In the past he has written some interesting stuff.

Mr. Ridley writes the Mind and Matter column in The Wall Street Journal and has written on climate issues for various publications for 25 years. His family leases land for coal mining in northern England, on a project that will cease in five years.


And the comments are a really pure echo chamber. Delusion on Parade.

I don't know if it's self-selected, and any CC believers are just unwilling to waste their time on this crowd, or if it's a 'moderated' comments section.. but it sure doesn't let many of those commenters know that there are any other views to consider.

Personally, I just don't care to try to put any sense into that space. That's why I like it here.

OSCAR: "Murray, I don't have time to unravel your logic!"

Typical denialist disinformation. Ridley quotes a non-professional source without offering any link to published work. He completely ignores the biggest smoking gun imaginable, the strong decline in yearly minimum in Arctic sea-ice. Besides, didn't the US experience a rather strong drought this year and didn't Russia also do so last year? Ridley fails to understand that there is short term natural variation in climate and that relatively long term records are required to assess climate change. Oh, well, he presents this bit of disinformation just in time for a major blizzard in the mid-west, which isn't particularly unusual, since winter starts 1 December. Sad to say, his red meat commentary has been gobbled up by the WSJ readers, with almost 500 comments at the moment...

E. Swanson

Er, not to quibble, but technically winter begins on the solstice, December 21st. Of course, that's when the world ends, so who cares? (wink, nudge)

Indeed, the "official" start of Winter is 21 December. That's not the same as meteorological Winter, however. As an example, years ago, I looked at some 75 years of data for mid-Kansas and the average of all those years showed that the coldest time of the year was the middle of January. Given that fact, adding or subtracting 1 and 1/2 month gives 1 December to the end of February. The seasonal growth and decay of Arctic sea-ice shows a cycle with minimum extent in September and maximum in March, which lags the annual cycle in solar energy by about 3 months. I think the "official" (the Pope?) who decided to start Winter on 21 December may have lived in Europe, where the weather is heavily influenced by the ocean temperatures in the North Atlantic...

E. Swanson

Meteorological winter starts at 1 december, astronomical winter starts at winter solstice, which is usually december 21.

Obviously those meteorologists don't live on the Canadian Prairie. We have had real winter here in Edmonton since late October.


Ridley mentions a report by Ring and Schlesinger (he left out the names of the female authors, Linder and Cross), without giving a reference. This might be the report, which is open access:

Causes of the Global Warming Observed since the 19th Century

This report presents work using a simplified numerical model in an attempt to determine the climate sensitivity of greenhouse gases, by selecting model parameters which produce reasonable matches with 4 slightly different temperature records. The use of a simple model as described makes this effort less than convincing to me. For example, the model apparently doesn't include ocean circulation, particularly the THC. The model also appears to exclude a dynamic sea-ice description, which would not capture the changing thermodynamics. To understand their "simple climate model", one must dig back to a paper from 1997 and follow the changes which have been added since. The authors in this latest paper give a brief list of changes to the model, including one code correction. Yet, Ridley apparently thinks this one paper should have changed the IPCC thinking, even though the IPCC has a cutoff date and can not include any work after that...

E. Swanson


"To determine the extent to which the Middle Pliocene can be used as a ‘test bed’ for future warming, we compare data and model-based Middle Pliocene vegetation with simulated global biome distributions for the mid- and late twenty-first century. The best agreement is found when a Middle Pliocene biome reconstruction is compared with a future scenario using 560 ppmv atmospheric CO2. In accordance with palaeobotanical data, all model simulations indicate a generally warmer and wetter climate, resulting in a northward shift of the taiga–tundra boundary and a spread of tropical savannahs and woodland in Africa and Australia at the expense of deserts. Our data–model comparison reveals differences in the distribution of polar vegetation, which indicate that the high latitudes during the Middle Pliocene were still warmer than its predicted modern analogue by several degrees."


The Middle Pliocene geological stage, ca 3.6–2.6 Myr ago, is a potential geological analogue as it represents the last interval of time in which the Earth experienced greater global warmth with climate conditions similar to those predicted for the end of the twenty-first century (e.g. Thompson & Fleming 1996; Zachos et al. 2001). During that period, CO2 values are estimated to have reached 360–440 ppmv (e.g. Raymo et al. 1996) and global mean annual temperatures (MATs) were approximately 3°C higher than today (Chandler et al. 1994; Sloan et al. 1996; Haywood et al. 2000).

The climate then was not a disaster by any means. However, sea level was considerably higher. As in 25 meters higher. Clearly there will be some zoning changes needed.

I think one place the analog breaks down, is polar land ice. Greenland and Antarctica will still have large (if melting) ice sheets, which should act to make the high latitudes cooler than the Pliocene. Also -especially Greenland ice sheet functions somewhat like a mountain range -i.e. the ice greats significant topology.

High winds affect ocean circulation in North Atlantic, says study

Gale-force winds that whip around the Greenland coast are driving ocean circulation, confirms a new study on the cover of the Nov. 30 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

"These winds play a vital role in the thermohaline, or large-scale ocean, circulation which is a very important part of the climate system," says Moore. "The winds are what cause the return flow for the Gulf Stream, and are an example of how the atmosphere drives ocean circulations."

It confirmed previous hypotheses that tip jets are caused by the sudden and steep elevation of Greenland's coast. Winds hitting the coast are forced to go around the land instead of over, causing wind acceleration (known as the Bernoulli effect, which also results in lift on an airplane wing). ... the strong winds are driven by the steep coastal topography – along the northeastern and southwestern coasts of Greenland and on Iceland's southeast coast.

Pliocene Paleogeography [5.3 to 2.6 mya]

Continents continued to drift, moving from positions possibly as far as 250 km from their present locations to positions only 70 km from their current locations. South America became linked to North America through the Isthmus of Panama during the Pliocene ... The formation of the Isthmus had major consequences on global temperatures, since warm equatorial ocean currents were cut off and an Atlantic cooling cycle began, with cold Arctic and Antarctic waters dropping temperatures in the now-isolated Atlantic Ocean.

Africa's collision with Europe formed the Mediterranean Sea, cutting off the remnants of the Tethys Ocean. The border between the Miocene and the Pliocene is also the time of the Messinian salinity crisis.

Sea level changes exposed the land-bridge between Alaska and Asia. [my bold]


Things were so different in terms of thermal transport due to ocean currents that I don't think any temperature records before this period should be used in predicting future trends.

Yes, the present round of Ice Ages appears to have begun some 3.3 million years BP as a result of the closure of the Isthmus of Panama. That change may have resulted in the beginning of the Thermohaline Circulation in the Nordic Seas and the North Atlantic, with cold water sinking to deep in the Atlantic. The deepest waters in the Atlantic are formed around Antarctica. There is evidence that the Pacific once was warmer at depth, whereas now the bottom waters are derived from THC sinking around Antarctica. The cold deep water in the equatorial Pacific is brought to the surface as the result of the ENSO cycle, which modulates short term climate. I've seen estimates that the transit time for Antarctic bottom water to the north Pacific is on the order of 600 years.

As a result, I think the suggestion that the early Pliocene would be a good analogy for the effects of increasing GHGs is off base. However, late in the Pliocene, the glacial ice had begun to build and that might again be a result of AGW, IMHO. The so-called Interglacial during which our civilized world evolved may end sooner than expected...

E. Swanson

"The so-called Interglacial during which our civilized world evolved may end sooner than expected.."

Indeed. If you look for a temperature chart of the last 150,000 years or so, the Eemian interglacial ended with a temperature spike up to 2 degrees above where we are now, and then that dropped 4 degrees to head into the next Ice Age.

"According to the marine records, the Eemian interglacial ended with a rapid cooling event about 110,000 years ago (e.g., Imbrie et al., 1984; Martinson et al., 1987), which also shows up in ice cores and pollen records from across Eurasia. From a relatively high resolution core in the North Atlantic. Adkins et al. (1997) suggested that the final cooling event took less than 400 years, and it might have been much more rapid."

That clip is from Sudden climate transitions during the Quaternary; by Jonathan Adams, Mark Maslin & Ellen Thomas.

The opinion before about 1995 was that climate changes took thousands of years. One of the biggest finds of all the research coming out of the global warming (concern, panic, scare, hysteria?) is that this is completely wrong. The climate does indeed have triggers and trips and local stabilities. It's a state machine for those familiar with the term.

Our civilizations will not do well through a state-machine transition.

The paper targeted the mid-Pliocene, where the Isthmus of Panama was in place.

How do people feel about the idea that cloud seeding and jet exhaust create high altitude clouds that in turn create some, most, or all of human made global warming. To me it does seem likely that it causes some of the warming. As to how much that will takes honest science which is in short supply given the highly political nature of the subject.

Just.... no.

There is a whole field of study called "atmospheric physics". Suggest starting there.


But they do have an effect and due to a unique event humanity can measure that effect.


"We show that there was an anomalous increase in the average diurnal temperature range for the period Sept. 11-14, 2001," the researchers reported in today's (Aug. 8) issue of the journal Nature. "Because persisting contrails can reduce the transfer of both incoming solar and outgoing infrared radiation and so reduce the daily temperature range, we attribute at least a portion of this anomaly to the absence of contrails."

Ed --

My understanding is precisely the opposite. Rather, that cloud seeding and aerosol impacts are cooling rather than warming influences.

There is reason to be concerned that if economic capacity slows down sufficiently that we aren't flying (as many) planes anymore, the resulting settling of aerosols will make greenhouse gas forcing even worse than it is today. More unwelcome feedbacks.


'Atmospheric aerosols slow global warming by a third'

Airborne particles from volcanoes and the burning of fossil fuels have reflected enough sunlight to offset about a third of the current climate warming caused by carbon dioxide over the past decade, says the NOAA

Warning, there is cloud seeding (as in deliberate attempt to make rain), and the fact that pollution aerosols increase the number of CCN (cloud condensation nuclei), making clouds whiter. The later amplifies the cooling effect of aerosols, and is hard to quantify. So cloud seeding a weather mod, not much effect. Aerosold affecting clouds (the indirect aerosol effect), substantial cooling influence.

Yup, just the opposite. Seem to recall that the post 9/11 no-fly period, which cleared the skies, resulted in a short-term warming burst. But I can't find a link.

But on the role of aerosols on cooling:

Ramanathan and Carmichael (2008), on the other hand, examined both the warming and cooling effects of aerosols. This study found that black carbon has a warming effect of approximately 0.9 W/m2, while aerosol cooling effects account for approximately -2.3 W/m2. Thus Ramanathan and Carmichael find that the net radiative forcing from aerosols + black carbon is approximately -1.4 W/m2. This is broadly consistent with the IPCC net aerosol + black carbon forcing most likely value of -1.1 W/m2:

From: Has Earth warmed as much as expected? at Skeptical Science.

Jet Contrails Alter Average Daily Temperature Range

"We show that there was an anomalous increase in the average diurnal temperature range for the period Sept. 11-14, 2001," the researchers reported in today's (Aug. 8) issue of the journal Nature. "Because persisting contrails can reduce the transfer of both incoming solar and outgoing infrared radiation and so reduce the daily temperature range, we attribute at least a portion of this anomaly to the absence of contrails."

Ah, my memory was faulty (I'm amazed it works at all some days). Not a rise in temperature, but a rise in diurnal range. From the full article:

Without the contrails, the daytime temperature would be slightly higher and the nighttime temperature would be slightly lower, creating the increased range between lowest and highest temperatures.

The article doesn't mention any change in the average temperature over the three day no-fly period.

I did read somewhere that one effect of AGW is a rise in average nighttime temperatures (i.e., we don't cool off as much). That I have noticed here in the midwest (my memory is clear on that. At least I think it is... LOL)

Well spotted. I misread it as an increase in average daily temperature.

Yes, rising nighttime lows. To throw my anecdotal log on the fire - both winter and summer lows are noticeably very much higher now in my native Adirondacks than they were in my youth (60's/70's). Winter nights colder than -20F were common, now rare. Average then was about 5F, now that's a cold night. Summers used to be reliably wonderfully cool. Lovely sleeping weather in the 50's/very low 60's. Now... not. Any night in the 50's jumps out as a rarity. Nights in the 70's are becoming abysmally common. Daytime temps are also warmer, and it's what people would notice more, but it's less dramatic. The nighttime temp rise just whacks you in the face if you pay any attention to it.

jet exhausts, I saw a study once, it was maybe .1C (might be 2-3 times bigger/smaller). Cloud seeding, not so much is done. Not insignificant, but not anything that disputes greenhouse gases as the prime culprit. Most likely just denialists grasping at any plausible looking straws....

You should watch this, I'm always surprised that it isn't brought up more in discussions about AGW. It's probably saving our a$$es from even more intense weather effects to date.


Beans mean high profits for guar farmers of Rajasthan
Price of little known seed has rocketed on new-found use as water thickener in controversial fracking process

Interesting stuff in the comments as well.

Meanwhile, Halliburton has a growing range of products. (link from Guardian article) Some are made with ingredients sourced from the food industry.

Others replace food products.
PermStimSM Fracturing Service
Halliburton PermStim™ fracturing fluid provides a cleaner, more robust system than typical guar-based fluid systems. PermStim fluid is a derivatized natural polymer that contains no insoluble residue, enabling improved well cleanup and better sustained productivity.

I wonder what we'll use here in Scotland.
Or maybe the whole thing will be a pony show as in Rockman's post above, swelling asset values to secure borrowings to pay dividends. Expensive oil. But not expensive enough.

I wonder what we'll use here in Scotland.

First thing that comes to mind... haggis

On a serious note, it is quite something how much agricultural land is now devoted directly or indirectly to maintaining our energy systems; guar for fracking, soy for biodiesel, corn and cane sugar for ethanol. I'm sure there is more?

Not a whole lot to see here. Guar Gum has been used as a viscosifier since, er, forever. Xanthum gum is another commonly used viscosifier. You all will have eaten both in your food. If fracking usage is orders of magnitude higher than that for drilling the well in the first place, then it is an issue. Otherwise not.

Thorium gives hopes for alternative nuclear fuel


India has plenty and is actively working on this. There may be enough for 1000 years, but we need to work on this now, it takes decades to develop.

And how many working reactors selling energy do we have?

Let me see----
Oh, none.

The question is whether this is a reasonable investment. I would think so since solar isn't going to support 7+ bill people.
In any case thorium is just as daunting as any tech. given that U233 reactors produce hi gamma and are extremely dangerous to work with.

This is from a New Scientist Article

India's thorium-based nuclear dream inches closer

Last week, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) put out statements to the Indian press touting the safety of its new Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR), which could break ground near one of the country's conventional reactors next year. Once operational, they claim it will fulfil the vision of India's 60-year-old blueprint for thorium-based nuclear energy production, generating 300 megawatts of power from thorium more safely than nuclear energy has ever done. NPCIL's technical director, Shiv Abhilash Bhardwaj, told the press that such reactors will be so safe they can be built right inside major cities like Mumbai.

The rhetoric is familiar: for decades, thorium has been repeatedly held up as a cheap, clean way forward for nuclear power. Compared with the uranium-based fuel cycles, thorium produces far smaller amounts of radioactive waste elements - including plutonium, which remains dangerous for tens of thousands of years.

India’s Thorium reactor design is an offshoot of the CANDO reactor a solid fuel design with many of the waist problems of other solid fuel reactors. Liquid fuel designs such as LFTR are fundamentally different as the fuel can be cleaned of fission products while in operation. In an accident there is no chemical or pressure energy to try and disperse radioactive material from the plant. No steam explosions. No sodium fires. No hydrogen to explode. It just sits there.
Even though it is much safer than PWRs I would not recommend placing them in cities any more than I would want to place large chemical manufacturing plants in cities.

PS: LFTR does not produce any significant amounts of Plutonium. In fact if you feed it Plutonium it will eat it up.

That was a tongue in cheek comment, there is no place to build a reactor in the cities. Besides that given the track record of bureaucrats and their history of adhering to timelines I fully expect this to get delayed by another 10-15 years. 'Next year' is officialese for 'will be evaluated when next government comes to power'.

The question is whether this is a reasonable investment. I would think so since solar isn't going to support 7+ bill people.

There is NO technology that is going to support 7+ bill people. Still, solar, wind and hydro are the cleanest options we have available for maintaining some semblance of a technological civilization that might allow for a few more years of ecologically sustainable environment! So we had better learn to live within our means the sooner the better. It really is past time to even talk about 7+ bill people because a lot of them just won't be here...

The one reactor of this design was shut down in the late 60s as the US was then spending more, and more money on the Vietnam war, and funding was getting tight. Its competitor the Liquid Sodium Cooled Fast Reactor was continued as it could produce copius quantities of Plutonium as well as power. If built as a LFTR, (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor), it would use about 3,400 tons of steel, about the same as a WWII Liberty Ship, These 2700 ships were built in four years. If we built 1200 LFTR plants we could replace 100% of our FF use in the US. It should be looked at seriously.

Yeah, I think solar & wind should continue along full speed ahead but we do need some nonrenewable power for the non-windy nights. Thorium seems like a good candidate given that there is less proliferation problems and they are relatively safe. And yes there is a waste issue. But for now, just store it on site. Within a 100 years, we will probably be happy to have such a waste pile to go through for reprocessing.

they are relatively safe

It is easy to be safe when none are in use for commercial power production.

CBC follows up on a biodiesel RINs credit scam that was added to the drumbeat recently...

Biofuel credits behind mystery cross-border train shipments

Back and forth shipments prompt accusation of fraud, EPA and CBSA probes

The mystery of the trainload of biodiesel that crossed back and forth across the Sarnia-Port Huron border without ever unloading its cargo, as reported by CBC News, has been solved.

CBC News received several tips after a recent story about a company shipping the same load of biodiesel back and forth by CN Rail at a cost of $2.6 million in the summer of 2010. It turns out the shipments were part of a deal by a Toronto-based company, which made several million dollars importing and exporting the fuel to exploit a loophole in a U.S. green energy program.

High frequency trading
Wall-street's/Bankers' mortgage fraud
Money laundering
The LIBOR scheme

a criminogenic environment

inventing creative accounting strategies

too big to indite

Money for Nothing

Change of Direction

IG Metall Conference – Berlin, Germany: Professor James K. Galbraith December 6, 2012

The first of the three deep sources is, I think, the rising real cost of the resources that we use, of energy and of everything that we use energy for. This was a problem that emerged in the 1970s and was then submerged again; it was deferred by new discoveries, by the geopolitical situation, and by the financial power of the western countries, which because of the debt crisis in much of the rest of the world had the effect of suppressing demand for these core resources. But this is a problems that can no longer be avoided or deferred. The cost of energy is roughly twice of what it was a decade ago and the future is far more uncertain. Both of these factors, cost and uncertainty, place a squeeze on the surplus or profitability in regions, continents, and countries that are importers of these resources. And as we confront, as we must, the problem of climate change and as we begin, as we must, to pay the price of climate change this problem is going to become more difficult. That’s just an economic reality that we have to cope with as we face the imperative before us.

The rest of the speech is well worth reading. Also there is an interview with Galbraith about his perspective on the IG-Metall conference that may be of interest.

h/t: Economists View

Rockcliffe plans own Rink of Dreams

$1M project includes chilled rink, field house, half covered by city funds

OTTAWA — Volunteers in Rockcliffe hope to build their own “Rink of Dreams,” aiming to replace the free but often-closed neighbourhood ice pad by Rockcliffe Park Public School with a [outdoor] rink that would be refrigerated, well maintained, lit — and rented to outsiders to help pay the bills.

Ottawa has nearly 300 neighbourhood ice rinks, maintained by an army of volunteers with some minimal logistical support from the city government. A rink near Buchan Road and Mariposa Avenue, just north of Ashbury College, is one of them, and it’s flooded and kept up by a group called the Rockcliffe Hosers.

“I’ve been in charge of the rink for a dozen years now. It’s been getting progressively more difficult to keep usable ice,” says Brian Montgomery, the chief Hoser. The skating season has gone from about 75 days to 60 if the weather’s good, maybe 40 if it isn’t. Last year it was 33.

When I was a kid, I'd put on my skates at home and skate on the ice and snow up the sidewalk to the outdoor rink at the corner. Occasionally, I'd break through to the concrete but I didn't much care as dull blades were a small price since putting my skates on at home, where it was warm, was preferable to the cold bench at the rink.

Between warm temperatures and salt the sidewalks are now bare, and the skating rink at the corner may well be closed and if it isn't the ice may be soft. It's now a challenge for the volunteers who maintain outdoor rinks as frequent warm spells wreck the ice surface. It takes a lot of effort and flooding to get the ice back into halfway decent shape.

As for the article I quoted, it's kind of ironic to artificially restore, using barely affordable energy, the historic length of the outdoor ice rink season when the shortened season is a symptom of global warming... a consequence of our profligate use of once cheap fossil fuels.

All that said, hockey in Canada long ago stopped being a winter sport. It's a sport that exists in its present form because of cheap energy, played mostly on indoor ice rinks, almost year round, and subsidized with funding from various levels of government. The indoor version of the game will remain tenable only as long as governments, leagues, and players can afford to cover rising energy costs.

And it will just keep getting harder and harder to make an ice rink outside. It's a pity as it's the best game I ever played... but I just can't help thinking that hockey is dead.

Yes. I ice skating is becoming a world sport. Live in the tropics, no problem as long as your local economy can support a rink. I wonder if the same will happen to skiing. Skiing is a little bit tougher as you'd like a much larger and more vertiginous arena.

I am sorry to have to bring this to your attention, but evidently you've not heard of "Ski Dubai"...


Skating in the desert (with apologies to the late Matt Simmons).

In my first career, as a young, hungry and newly married engineer, I worked for ITT Ice Rinks in Midland Park, NJ. It was the mid-70s, right after the first energy hiccup and in midst of a recession (didn't know then there might be causal link there. LOL).

One of my first jobs was helping design the refrigeration unit, chilled brine distribution system and icemats for a skating rink in a private shopping mall in Saudi Arabia.

Over here we were rationing gas, over there they were skating in a desert. Hard as I tried, I couldn’t make sense of it. Wanted to look in the mirror and not wince. So lunch times I spent looking for a new job; gone within the year.

I think that CalMac Thermal Energy Systems, the patent holder of the icemats (and heatmats, to stop frost heaving), bought it all back. Not sure if they still sell them. Had the honor of working with Cal MacCracken, the inventor. He had tons of heat storage and transfer patents. Great, inventive guy. Loved to tinker.

(I recall also designing small, modular backyard kits for "practice rinks." Can't recall if sold them to deal with difficulty in forming natural ice, or just pushing skating further south. Maybe we were seeing harbinger of AGW?)

Of course, I had to go look up some desert Hockey teams.. and I settled on the Phoenix Coyotes..

( http://www.vividseats.com/nhl-hockey/phoenix-coyotes-tickets.html ) .. and then it occurred to me that maybe it's the SW desert states that WILL still have a source of cheap enough energy with which to chill their brine. Abundant, clean Solar! Ironic!!

Take that, Canada! (PS, I bought a Canadian Xmas Tree this year... but only for the irony of it, I swear!)

Ehem! Granted we aren't in the desert but we in the 'Sunshine State' also have those Florida Panthers >;-)
Oh, and can I interest you in a pink flamingo under a decorated Christmas palm tree?

Bulgarian Ministry approves Nabbuco Environmental Impact Assessment report:

Ethanol and bad weather. Will more meatless options start appearing on fast food menus next year?

Cattle Touches Record on U.S. Winter Storm: Commodities at Close

Cattle futures climbed to a record for the fourth straight session on speculation that a U.S. winter storm will lower animal weights and delay meat shipments, further shrinking beef supplies.


Possibly related...

Tricky thieves target stores during holidays

"Christmas time for thieves is the ultimate time of year," retail crime analyst Johnny Custer told us. "They have a very specific list and a very specific set of merchandise that they're after...a shoplifting list."

And what's on it is weird. Experts say, high on the list this holiday season is red meat. Police say two men in upstate New York stuffed ribs, steaks and sausages under their clothes and out of the store.

Also on the "shoplifting list" this year: small, easy-to-steal brand names. Oil of Olay; Mach3 razor blades; Prilosec, an acid reducer; and Axe deodorant.

The Next 50 Years - Push for cheaper, more efficient sources of energy

A 2011 study by the Jamaica Productivity Centre ranks JPS power-distribution operations among the least efficient in the region for total distribution losses, non-technical losses and reliability; and places JPS in the group with the highest electricity prices.

Changes are clearly needed. An integrated portfolio of initiatives will be required, including:

A more aggressive posture towards renewables and greater incentives and facilitation for conservation by consumers. This should be enabled through the establishment of energy service companies and the development of an energy-savings industry in Jamaica.
A restructuring of the electricity sector that allows for controlled access to the electricity grid. This should create competitive forces and private-sector incentives that can lead to the wider-scale deployment of combined heat and power systems, which provide significantly greater fuel efficiency.

While this piece departs somewhat from the usual cornocopian drivel put out by this newspaper, what is more remarkable to me is that they have published a comment I submitted (first and only at the time of this post). The first part of my comment clearly describes Peak Oil, although it does not use those exact words and the comment concludes with the following

On another front, recent Gleaner stories have highlighted that Jamaica's balance of payment position does not put us in a good position to compete with other buyers of liquid transportation fuels on the world markets. In the event that transportation fuels become unaffordable, how are we going to move people and goods around. These are not comfortable things to think about since, there are no easy, painless solutions but, we ignore the prospects of a liquid fuels crisis at our own peril.

I do not think I could have presented a much gloomier outlook than I did in that comment. My two most recent submissions, one of which I quoted in a post here, were not published. In both unpublished comments, I challenged the view that ownership and use of personal automobiles was necessarily a good thing which I think, may not go down well with some of their advertisers. This most recent comment does not augur well for most of their advertisers either but, I guess it was a little more difficult for them to figure that one out!

Maybe I should go out tomorrow night and party like there's no tomorrow as the Mayans must have been right. Surely the world is coming to an end >;-)

Alan from the islands

Hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but, TEOTW was cancelled last spring. We ain't getting out of here that easily.

"The Mayan calendar is going to keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future," said archaeologist David Stuart of the University of Texas, who worked to decipher the glyphs. "Numbers we can't even wrap our heads around."


December 21, 2012 - end of the Mayan Calendrical Cycle
December 22, 2013 - lots of Mayans frantically catching up on their Christmas shopping ;-)


Oops! I guess I'll have to find another excuse if I really want to engage in revelry tomorrow night!>;-)

Alan from the islands

"Oops! I guess I'll have to find another excuse if I really want to engage in revelry tomorrow night!>;-)"

This is the roll-over of the long count calendar. I'm sure the Mayans would have had a really big party to celebrate.

I think of it as the era change. Yesterday Holocene, where a peculiar foolishly greedy hominid was at the mercy of the vagaries of the planet.Tomorrow is the Anthropocene, were the planet is at the mercy of the foolish industrial hominids. And the hominids are also at the mercy of the chaotic responses of said planet.

When the Ice Melts, the Earth Spews Fire: Researchers Discover a Link between Climate and Volcanic Eruptions

It has long been known that volcanic activity can cause short-term variations in climate. Now, researchers ... have found evidence that the reverse process also occurs: Climate affects volcanic activity.

The basic evidence for the discovery came from the work of the Collaborative Research Centre "Fluids and Volatiles in Subduction Zones (SFB 574). For more than ten years the project has been extensively exploring volcanoes of Central America. "Among others pieces of evidence, we have observations of ash layers in the seabed and have reconstructed the history of volcanic eruptions for the past 460,000 years," says GEOMAR volcanologist Dr Steffen Kutterolf, who has been with SFB 574 since its founding. Particular patterns started to appear. "There were periods when we found significantly more large eruptions than in others" says Kutterolf, the lead author of the Geology article.

After comparing these patterns with the climate history, there was an amazing match. The periods of high volcanic activity followed fast, global temperature increases and associated rapid ice melting.

"In times of global warming, the glaciers are melting on the continents relatively quickly. At the same time the sea level rises. The weight on the continents decreases, while the weight on the oceanic tectonic plates increases. Thus, the stress changes within in the earth to open more routes for ascending magma" says Dr Jegen.

A detection of Milankovitch frequencies in global volcanic activity

If climate change doesn't take down global agriculture; This will.

China to overhaul struggling solar panel industry

China's government says it will encourage mergers among producers of solar panels to strengthen an industry that has suffered huge losses due to excess production capacity and price-cutting wars.

Beijing will encourage mergers, reduce government support for the industry and block local leaders from supporting domestic producers, said a Cabinet statement late Wednesday. It said some producers might be allowed to go bankrupt.

The statement gave no details but it affirmed that the communist government sees solar power as one of a series of "strategic emerging industries" that it wants to develop.

Explorers discover deepwater gas seeps off US Atlantic coast: Advanced sonar technology key to discovery and mapping

NOAA ocean explorers used an advanced multibeam sonar mapping system on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer last month to discover and map the first deepwater gas seeps found off the U.S. Atlantic Coast north of Cape Hatteras. The seeps were found at water depths greater than 1,000 meters (3,300 feet). Based on preliminary information, scientists believe the seeps are likely emitting methane gas.

The sites are between 147 and 163 kilometers (91 and 101 miles) off shore, with one site east of Cape Henry, Va., and two sites south and southeast of Nantucket Island, Mass.

"Methane released into the water column is often oxidized to carbon dioxide, leading to changes in ocean chemistry, such as ocean acidification."

Makes one wonder what % of acidification is coming from atmospheric increases in CO2 vs. the % coming from methane releasing from the sea floor.

Obviously methane releasing from the sea floor is due in part to rising water temps resulting from increasing CO2, nonetheless it would interesting to know the relative percentages.

Would also be interesting if NOAA mapped the entire planet's continental edges, in particular the arctic ocean.

PE - ... Would also be interesting if NOAA mapped the entire planet's continental edges, in particular the arctic ocean.

Last I checked, less than 1% of the continental edge globally has been mapped in this fashion. Primary limitations are Grant Funding, multibeam sonar capability, trained scientist, and national sovereignty [China doesn't like big ship pinging away with sonar along their coast - neither does the US]

Atmospheric CO2 accounts for most of the ocean pH acidification.

Shift in the Gulf Stream may be the driver rather than direct surface GW

Last I checked, less than 1% of the continental edge globally has been mapped in this fashion. Primary limitations are Grant Funding, multibeam sonar capability, trained scientist, and national sovereignty [China doesn't like big ship pinging away with sonar along their coast - neither does the US]

Back when I was in grad school another really big limitation was the availability of ship time. Sea time on oceanagraphic research ships was a very limited resource, and getting it was extremely competitive. I don't think we have very many more research ships today than we did back then? I do know my old alma matter has had to retire its 37 year old ship and replace it with another 37 year old ship that is a bit smaller but in somewhat better shape.

Here's a paper from Biastoch et. al. about the effects of a warming seafloor on methane releases and pH. They seem to find that seawater near costs will likely acidify severely by the release of methanen hydrates.

Obviously methane releasing from the sea floor is due in part to rising water temps resulting from increasing CO2, nonetheless it would interesting to know the relative percentages.

The problem is that we don't know if these newly discovered methane seeps are a direct and recent response to global warming, or if they are something that has been occuring for a long time but we just haven't detected them before.

From Seraph's link: "Finding and mapping deep ocean seeps is vitally important but has been limited by technology," said Stephen Hammond, Ph.D., acting chief scientist in NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. "With advanced multibeam sonar, it may become routine to discover seeps while we systematically explore our poorly-known ocean." So apparently these seeps were discovered with an improved, more highly sensitive tool.

The link within Seraph's link says "A review of available scientific literature indicates that gaseous seafloor seeps were not previously known to exist at these locations. Based on preliminary information, scientists believe the gaseous seeps are likely methane."

So, apparently we have discovered seeps using advanced technology at a location where they were not seen on previous surveys. However the previous surveys were done with older, less sensitive technology. Are they new seeps resulting from anthropogenic global warming, or are they been active for a long time, perhaps since the last ice age?

Note that I'm not trying to deny global warming, or to minimize its seriousness. However, my inner scientist tells me to be careful about assigning causation. One way of resolving the question might be to resurvey these areas with the same tools that were used previously. If we didn't see them before, but now (using the same methodology) we do see them, that would be very strong reasons to believe they are indeed something new and recent.

One way of resolving the question might be to resurvey these areas with the same tools that were used previously. If we didn't see them before, but now (using the same methodology) we do see them, that would be very strong reasons to believe they are indeed something new and recent.

Very good idea. Unfortunately, I suspect it will not be done due to budget and sea time constraints, as you noted above.

You're right, if they just recently had the tech to map them then we don't know when the methane emissions started. All the better to quickly map the entire worlds continental shelves to establish a starting point, then map periodically to determine what if changes are occurring and how much.

However, my initial question remains pertinent, i.e. what % of acidification is coming from atmospheric CO2 vs. what % is coming from underwater emissions. Although the latter cannot yet be connected with AGW (due to a lack of sufficient previous data), the relative percentages still helps us better understand the origins of acidification.


Not to downplay the significance of the NG seep discovery and potential implications towards AGW, but this isn’t much of a surprise. Biogenic NG is a common occurrence on any shelf area where organic muds are deposited. There was one NG seep seen off the east coast in the 80’s. I suspect the primary reason there haven’t been more reported sightings is that no one has been looking for them. There are thousands of such NG seeps in the GOM along with many documented oil seeps. CA geological survey estimates 175,000 bbls/year of natural oil seeps in Santa Barbara Channel along. I don’t think they bother to catalog NG seeps. There are shallow biogenic NG fields being produced in offshore Indonesia. What would be shocking IMHO would be not finding such seeps on any continental shelf.

I doubt NG seep activity would be very dependent upon water bottom temps. We’re not talking about hydrates that are frozen. Hydrocarbons naturally migrate upwards and unless caught in a trap leak all the way to the sea floor. Folks that study such matters estimate that at least 90% of all oil and NG ever generated has leaked to the surface. And that would include hydrocarbons being created today. But none of this should be taken as good news. It only means that in addition to what humans are adding to the pot Mother Earth is tossing in her share.

Actually Rock I suspect it could well be thawing hydrates. The location (near the edge of the shelf in ~1000 meters water depth) would be a common location for hydrates. You are correct that the gas is probably originally biogenic, since if I'm not mistaken most hydrates are thought to form from decomposition of organic materieal in sediments. In the right combination of pressure (water depth) and temperature (cold), the the biogenic methane gets locked into hydrates.

As I noted previously, I strongly suspect that many of the seeps that are being discovered have probably been active for a long time. It takes time for atmospheric warming to warm the vast mass of the oceans, and then takes more time for that heat to penetrate into the sedimentary pile. However, as the seas warm, which we know they are doing, they will probably accelerate the thawing of hydrates in the future. Upthread Styno has a link to an interesting AGU abstract which seems to suggest exactly this. They predict increased thawing of hydrates over the next century. Sounds like it might be interesting to read the whole paper, but I'm not an AGU member so I may have to get it from a friend.

On a 1-10 of scary, that is a 12. Feedback and all that.


The laws of global warming: How to regulate geo-engineering efforts to fight climate change

With policymakers and political leaders increasingly unable to combat global climate change, more scientists are considering the use of manual manipulation of the environment to slow warming's damage to the planet.

... To address these issues, Carlson urges the creation of an international governing body separate from any existing organization that approves or rejects geo-engineering plans, taking into consideration the best interests of people and countries around the world. He says any legal regimen involving geo-engineering activities should require they be publicly announced in the planning stage, and all countries are notified so they have a voice in deliberations.

As a model for his oversight body, Carlson suggests the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Like the IMF, his proposed organization would give all countries a place during discussions, but decisions would be made by a relatively small group of directors, each of which has a weighted vote that's based on their country's greenhouse gas production. That is, countries that produce more greenhouse gases will spend more money to combat global climate change, and so will have more votes.

his proposed organization would give all countries a place during discussions, but decisions would be made by a relatively small group of directors, each of which has a weighted vote that's based on their country's greenhouse gas production. That is, countries that produce more greenhouse gases will spend more money to combat global climate change, and so will have more votes.

Therefore countries that produce more greenhouse gases will be able to force through geo-engineering instead of reducing their production of greenhouse gases. This isn't too transparent is it?

I predict that attempts to do geo-engineering will happen, and that the consequences of it will be far more disastrous than climate change.

I really hope that nobody on this board will be surprised when all serious attempts to avoid climate change are aborted and governments instead choose the route of geo-engineering.

Let's see...cutting back use of fossil fuels and powering down causing loss of jobs vs. going full steam ahead while at the same time coming up with yet more government funded work projects (read: additional departments, czars, *jobs*). I wonder which path we'll choose?

Don't even kid yourself, we'll try every hair-brained geo-scheme we can afford, and probably quite a few that we can't afford. But it's guaranteed stimulus so take it to the bank.

Oh, I can't disagree with you, much as I wish I could. I suspect that such projects won't even cost all that much or take all that long, so counting on an economic collapse to prevent them is probably also foolish.

Yep, but my bet is they will be developing it for years with a breakthrough coming along soon until it is way too late to do anything.


Most forms of geoengineering are a form of masking the problem. E.g. sulfate aerosols. Once you start using it you're committing yourself to doing it forever, because, when you stop, global warming will come back with a vengeance as the CO2 forcing is still there and likely much more stronger because of the added CO2. Geoengineering is also likely to be energy intensive and therefore contributing to the problem and at the same time competing with other uses of the energy.

Then there is the problem that every time we do geoengineering unexpected and unwanted effects occur. Adding CO2 -> oeps, warming. Adding CFC's -> oeps, ozone layer gone. Adding HCFC's -> oeps, mega-warming. Adding SO2 -> oeps, acid rain. Adding Pb -> oeps, braindeath kids. etc. etc.

Perhaps we humans simply aren't suitable to try to govern the planet, be it with planned action or unplanned action.

That is, countries that produce more greenhouse gases will spend more money to combat global climate change, and so will have more votes.

Nice! So the Foxes that steal the most chickens will get free eggs as a bonus. Yep! The IMF model actually fits perfectly!

How Bad Will Climate Change Get for the Eastern U.S.? Look at These Crazy Maps

This latest data comes from a recent study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, which used a high-resolution climate modeling system to project bad news down to an impressively local level, examining what we might see in the 20 largest cities east of the Mississippi come the late 2050s.

By then, researchers from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville have calculated, heat waves in New York City could be 3.58 degrees Celsius [6.5F]hotter in intensity than they are now, with the average one lasting nearly two days longer (these projections are compared to a baseline of climate data between 2001 and 2004). Cleveland has it the worst, with a heat wave temperature increase of 3.71 degrees Celsius, followed by Philadelphia (3.69). The researchers project that heat waves will grow worse particularly across the Northeast and Midwest, bringing the North and South to roughly equal hot-weather fates.

Interesting article. So the Philadelphia area gets 6.6F higher peak temps and 12" more rain. I wonder if those happen at the same time? My guess is not, as I've noticed for some time we seem to be settling into a distinct rainy season (winter through early summer) and dry season, but with short, localized and intense rainstorms all through the summer.

What are the prospects of growing crops in a world with temps that are 6.6F higher?

The crops will move North and South within the light limitation of such a move. Some crops/plants will become not possible due to the less light and others will succumb to plant pathogens that were not previously a problem.

The technofix to this would be electroculture:
http://www.rexresearch.com/elculture/elculture.htm (Something in there for you home gardeners to try that isn't Biochar)

Similar to the using electricity to "grow" http://www.globalcoral.org/Biorock%20%20Mineral%20Accretion%20Technology...

In August 2011, Philly set its all-time monthly precipitation record. I don't think late summer has turned into a dry season.

I do agree the weather is getting weirder. Gentle rainstorms are growing rare; they all seem to be torrential downpours any more.


So there you have it: Given a harmless chance to make a quick euro by telling a white lie, budding economists and corporate executives were much more likely to do it than their peers. Classics and biology lovers, on the other hand, seemed more likely to tell the truth for its own sake.

Well that pretty much puts to rest a long standing question that I've had about economists and MBAs in general. Are they ignorant about reality or do they as a group tend to stretch the truth a bit here and there. Though to be honest, my hunch has always been the latter.

At least based on the statistical analysis that was done, it seems that they lied more in this case because they had learned to do so! Good job! A+

The article concludes with this, IMO, rather unnecessary warning:

Still, next time a company whips out a too-good-to-be-true economic forecast from a paid consultant, remember, you've been warned.

Scottish Independence: North Sea Oil Revenue 'Becoming More Erratic'

The value of North Sea oil to Scotland's economy is becoming more erratic and difficult to predict, according to a report by a think tank.

The Glasgow-based Centre for Public Policy for the Regions said oil revenue forecasts had halved within 18 months.

Its report suggested Scotland's current economic position was better than the UK as a whole, but that this would be reversed in three years' time.

... "The Nationalists would have you believe that everything in a separate Scotland could be paid for by establishing an oil fund.

"What this report shows is that they would be looking to set up this fund at exactly the same time that the revenues from oil and gas would start to steeply drop.

The Scottish government said oil and gas remained a "fantastic asset". Oil revenues have contributed up to a fifth of Scotland's annual income (21.3%) in the past decade.

... A Scottish government spokesman said: "With 24 billion barrels of oil still to be recovered with a wholesale value of £1.5 trillion, the North Sea oil and gas sector has a bright future

Previous Oil& Gas Briefing Notes: Feb 2012 http://www.cppr.ac.uk/media/media_223892_en.pdf

2010: http://www.cppr.ac.uk/media/media_86366_en.pdf

82nd Airborne Division Soldiers trains to support US Army North

The training event was an opportunity for Troopers of 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment, XVIII Fires Brigade, to prepare for their upcoming assignment as a quick reaction and rapid response force for U.S. Army North Command in support of emergencies in the United States.

“If the tasks over-exceed the capabilities of the civilian and local governments, U.S. Army North has the capability of deploying units to the continental United States to assist with everything from security operations and critical infrastructure to humanitarian assistance,” said Maj. Roy Beeson, the operations officer for 3-321 FAR.

The Thunderbolt battalion’s training centered on preparing to deploy by both ground and air, securing an airfield, establishing local security, responding to civil disturbances, reacting to a biochemical threat and conducting operational decontamination.

... After securing and establishing a humanitarian assistance site, the Bulldog Troopers of Battery B prepared to distribute food to a crowd of simulated U.S. hurricane victims. Sgt. Wesley Powell, an artillery section chief, helped search citizens for weapons using a metal detector before they entered the site to receive aid.

During training, Troopers with Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment, XVIII Fires Brigade, prepare to respond to an escalating civil-disturbance situation caused by unhappy simulated hurricane victims at a humanitarian assistance site outside Simmons Army Airfield, Dec. 11. Riot-control was incorporated into the culminating training event for 3-321 FAR to prepare the unit for its upcoming assignment as a quick reaction and rapid response force for the U.S. Army North Command in support of emergencies in the United States.

How do we as a country go for from our politicians rejecting AGW, to preparing for civil unrest due to climate chaos in one fell swoop?

We skip the 'doing something about it' step.

It isn't what we go for, it is what "they" go for.

On-Bill Repayment: A Way To Eliminate The Upfront Costs For Energy Efficiency Projects

We know efficiency makes sense – in terms of grid reliability, lower emissions, and reduced costs to ratepayers. But there is a barrier to some ratepayers in implementing more energy efficiency: upfront costs. Several options currently exist to finance efficiency, such as home equity loans and incentive programs through utilities. But what about creating a market to allow private investors to invest in the market by offering lower rates for utility customers by ensuring some security through repayment on the utility bill? That’s what on-bill repayment aims to do.

On-bill repayment (OBR) offers an opportunity for home and building owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable electricity generation projects through cost-saving loans from third-party investors. The loans are repaid through customer’s utility bills. The money comes from private sector lenders at no cost to ratepayers or taxpayers. OBR also allows for longer term loans with lower interest rates.

Fish Fry: Study Says Climate Change Means Tough Going For Western Trout

... “Despite the best intentions, we will not be able to preserve all populations of native trout in the Rocky Mountains this century,” concludes a paper that has been published in the December issue of the journal Fisheries. The study looked at five river basins in the West and was conducted by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey and Colorado State University.

Mealworms: The Future of Farm-to-Table Dining?

In a new study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers in The Netherlands examined the environmental effect of mealworm production and compared it to that of more traditional animal products. They found that production of one kilogram of edible mealworm protein created significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions and required much less land, when compared to beef, pork, chicken and milk production.

More than 1.7 billion animals are used in livestock production worldwide, consuming more than one-fourth of the Earth’s land, according to a 2010 report by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations in collaboration with several other leading environmental organizations.

The entire livestock sector accounts for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions ... “The livestock industry is huge,” said Harold Mooney, senior fellow at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment and one of the key editors of the 2010 collaboration. He points out that excessive gas emissions along with large land and energy requirements are all problematic for the industry’s long-term sustainability.

... part of the keep it below 2C plan?

What the Soldiers Did on Christmas 98 Years Ago

... Something to remind us that there is [was] 'good' in the world, even in the worst of situations.

If that doesn't help then go see the Life of Pi.

"Then I thought that I was dreaming
For right there in my sight
Stood the German soldier
'Neath the falling flakes of white
And he raised his hand and smiled at me
As if he seemed to say
Here's hoping we both live
To see us find a better way

Then the devil's clock struck midnight
And the skies lit up again
And the battlefield where heaven stood
Was blown to hell again"

- Belleau Woods, Garth Brooks

The officers got VERY worried, and intervened to stop it, before it got out of hand. Had there been a real truce -negotiated by the grunts, with the higherups unable to stop it, now that woulda been a story!

I've been reading a lot of stuff like this:


"The U.S. shale boom is turning into a bust for companies that provide drilling services as the number of rigs seeking natural gas has fallen faster than any time in the last 24 years."

Putting the pieces together, we've got:

- Record low gas prices in the US
- Wall St-induced drilling bubble about played out
- Rapidly declining rig count
- Short well life
- Natural gas increased from 20% of US electric generating capacity to almost 40% in the past few years
- Essentially impossible to build any other type of power plant in the US
- Approximately 18 month lag time from spudding to production

So it looks like we've got an upcoming sag in production, as exploration is down, wells are rapidly depleting, and the time delay from price signal to additional production looks like about 2 years. On the other side we've got some seriously inelastic demand as a large slice of the US power generating industry has shifted to gas. Also I have read that many plastics manufacturers have build plants in the US to take advantage of low gas prices.

It looks to me like a chip shot to predict a major price spike in natural gas starting about 1 to 2 years from now. A cynical observer might even suspect that the major Wall St players have intentionally overhyped the fracking boom, and will position themselves to take maxium advantage of the resulting market chaos. I'm trying to put some better brackets around the probable time frame and peak price. I would be interested to hear what you guys think.

Man, I hope you are right. Personally, I've been betting that gas prices will spike up and that oil stays high until then. If it does, I'll get my kids up and out. If both crash, times could get thin.

As long as the world economy continues to slide along mostly flat, I think I'm solid on this. Some people play the markets with investment funds. I'm playing this one with my career!

Some bigger companies are just pacing themselves, working up positions and proving out frack recipes, in the expectation that NG prices will be back up in 2014 if not before. A colder winter would really have helped, though.

As a corollary, I remember when PG&E went bankrupt during the Enron scam. They were contracturally obligated to provide the megawatts and the contract didn't say anything about spot prices. It didn't take long to capsize the company. If I were investing in a utility, I would be very interested in their potential exposure to a NG price spike.

Oil tanker in trouble on Hudson River at Stuyvesant

A double-hulled oil tanker carrying 282,000 barrels of North Dakota crude oil — the first such shipment out of the Port of the Albany — ran aground Thursday morning on the Hudson River near Henry Hudson Park in Bethlehem, authorities said.

The incident punctured the outer skin of the hull and the ship took on water and began listing heavily but the second hull was not breached and no oil appeared to have spilled, according Albany port officials and the U.S. Coast Guard.

"......no oil appeared to have spilled, according Albany port officials and the U.S. Coast Guard."

That's the official lie guess we'll have to wait to find out the truth.../sarc..kinda.

On my trips through Albany, I've noticed long lines of blank tanker cars on the rails. I wondered if those were bringing oil in from the west. I guess they were.

They could also be bringing up refined product from Newark Harbor.

Caribou and Oil Companies to Share Alaska Petroleum Reserve

An Interior Department plan for the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska calls for half of its 23 million acres to be set aside for wildlife conservation, wilderness and recreation and for the rest to be opened to potential oil and gas development.

The plan, announced on Wednesday, allows for construction of pipelines across the reserve to carry oil and gas from the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas off Alaska’s North Slope to the current Trans-Alaska oil pipeline. Shell began exploratory drilling off the coast this year but stopped before reaching oil-bearing zones because of weather and equipment problems.

Ken Salazar, the interior secretary, said the compromise plan for the vast petroleum reserve would allow significant oil and gas exploration without compromising the wild area’s natural values.

meanwhile off California ...

Obama Plans to Expand National Marine Sanctuaries, Permanently Ban Oil Drilling, Up Sonoma and Mendocino Coasts

Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters of 2012

A phalanx of destructive tornadoes, hurricanes and other severe weather helped contribute to a total of 11 disasters costing one billion dollars or more in 2012, NOAA said.

Leading the list is 2012′s persistent drought, the worst since the 1930s. Scientists said today that drought is currently affecting 60 percent of the country.

Nate Hagens The End of Growth. 45 minute lecture

Thanks, it's a good starter for people new to PO.

Bright guy! Very current info. - highly recommend even to those that know peak oil well. Nate does a great job of tying dropping eroei to the need for govt. debt accumulation to keep the economy growing ever so slightly.

Speaking of which, I saw on the news last evening the CBO projections for GDP in the first qtr. of 2013 if we go over the 'fiscal cliff' - get this...drum roll... -3.9% full on recession! Which goes to what Nate was saying about what is keeping things going at this rate of consumption is increasing govt. debt.

But even after going over that cliff, which by the way does not come close to covering the trillion dollar annual deficits because the numbers they play with are over a 10 year period, there is also the debt ceiling fight coming up in Feb./Mar., in which the House plans to do even more to get closer to a balanced budget.

I don't disagree with the idea of balancing the budget, but do see problems with trying to do that in light of our situation, i.e. the price of oil in effect requiring more and more borrowing to keep things going and without it we slump into recession.

Anyway, Happy Holidays!