Drumbeat: December 22, 2012

Wind Power Generation Beating Natural Gas in U.S. in 2012

Wind-turbine installations are poised to exceed natural gas-fueled power plants in the U.S. for the first time this year as developers race to complete projects before a renewable energy tax credit expires.

New wind capacity reached 6,519 megawatts by Nov. 30, beating the 6,335 megawatts of gas additions and more than double those of coal, according to data from Ventyx Inc., which is owned by the Swiss power transmission equipment maker ABB Ltd. The company plans to release final tallies in January.

Lower gas prices greet holiday travelers

People hitting the highways for the holidays will find a nice present when they pull up to the pumps to fill their tanks: lower gasoline prices.

Gasoline prices have been slowly declining in recent weeks, so much so that at some stations in the Iowa Quad-Cities, the price is sitting at $2.99 a gallon.

Gulf Gasoline at 2-Week High on Motiva Port Arthur Outage

Gasoline strengthened on the Gulf Coast, reaching the the highest level versus futures in more than two weeks, after a power failure shut units at Motiva Enterprises LLC’s Port Arthur oil refinery in Texas.

Most process units at the refinery were shut yesterday as power and steam were lost during a storm, said Kimberly Windon, a Motiva spokeswoman in Houston. While power has been restored, “it is too early to tell when the units will be restarted, as this will be done only when it is safe to do so,” Windon said in an e-mail.

Shell's Ormen Lange gas field halted due to glitch

(Reuters) - Gas production at Royal Dutch Shell's giant Ormen Lange gas field in Norway has been disrupted and the Nyhamna processing plant has been shut down, the Nordic power bourse and gas system operator Gassco said on Saturday.

Total Buys North Sea Forties Crude; Vitol Fails to Sell Urals

Total SA bought a cargo of North Sea Forties crude for less than a deal yesterday. Vitol Group failed to sell two lots of Russian Urals grade.

PT Pertamina, Indonesia’s state-owned oil company, is seeking to buy low-sulfur crude for delivery during March to its Balikpapan and Cilacap refineries, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg News.

U.S. Oil Rigs Decline by Most Since 1992 in Baker Hughes Count

Oil drilling rigs in the U.S. dropped by the most in a single week in 20 years, oil-services company Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) said.

Oil rigs dropped by 41 to 1,340, the lowest level since April. They dropped by 44 in the week of Dec. 18, 1992. It was the fifth straight decline.

Opec has to decide on new secretary general, Iraqi oil chief says

The Opec has to agree on a new leader for the group by May and a committee will review the selection criteria in the next few months, the Iraqi oil minister said today.

"In the next few months there will be a debate over the new secretary general … and we are supposed to pick a new leader by May when Opec meets," Abdul Kareem Luaiby said.

Saudi Will Stick to OPEC Ceiling But Will Meet all Demand Requests

CAIRO--Top oil producer Saudi Arabia will adhere to the 30 million barrels-a-day production ceiling maintained earlier this month by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, but will meet any customer demand for additional crude, the country's Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said Friday.

"There are customers that will come to every producer and ask for a volume, today, we will honor their requests," Mr. Naimi told reporters in a briefing in Cairo.

Kuwait''s Oil Min. underscores significance of OAPEC's recommendations

CAIRO (KUNA) -- Kuwaiti Oil Minister Hani Hussein underscored here on Saturday importance of resolutions and recommendations issued by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), which would strengthen the Organization's role in various fields.

Pertamina will spend $6.77b to drive 2013 production

Indonesia’s state energy firm PT Pertamina has assigned US$6.77 billion in investment next year to finance upstream and downstream projects and increase production, as well as strengthening the nation’s energy infrastructure.

The investment value was included in Pertamina’s 2013 budget and work plan following the general shareholders meeting in Jakarta on Thursday.

Mexico sets oil hedge at $86 per barrel for 2013

MEXICO CITY: Mexican oil export revenue will be hedged at an average price of $86 per barrel in 2013, the country's Finance Ministry announced in a statement late Friday.

UAE oil output in November falls marginally — IEA

Abu Dhabi: The UAE, on average, produced 2.65 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil in November, 0.75 per cent lower than its output in October, latest data from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) showed.

Iraqi oil output hits 3.2m b/d, targets 4m for 2014

CAIRO (Reuters) - Iraq's oil production has exceeded 3.2 million barrels a day (b/d) so far this month and it hopes to hit capacity of 4 million b/d in 2014, its Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said on Saturday.

Iraq says to withold payments for Kurdish oil

(Reuters) - Iraq will not pay oil companies operating in Kurdistan because the autonomous region has failed to export the volume of crude it pledged, a spokesman for Hussain al-Shahristani, Iraq's deputy prime minister for energy, said on Friday.

The comments ramp up a standoff between Baghdad and the region, which have been locked in a long-running spat over land and petroleum rights.

Iran to invest $122 billion in oil industry

Azerbaijan, Baku - Some 150 trillion rials ($122 billion) will be invested in Iran's refineries by the end of the Fifth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (March 2016), deputy Iranian oil minister said on Friday.

The needed money will be financed by foreign and domestic investors, the Fars News Agency quoted Alireza Zeighami as saying.

Iran gets a fresh batch of sanctions

The toughest EU measures yet, they include bans on financial transactions, sales to Iran of shipping equipment and steel, and imports of Iranian natural gas, adding to earlier bans, including on the OPEC producer's oil.

Egypt plans tender for gas imports, says minister

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt plans to issue a tender to import gas in three to four weeks, and the shipments could start in the summer to help meet growing demand for the fuel, the oil minister said on Saturday.

Egypt, itself a gas producer and exporter, said in October it had agreed to import gas from Algeria and was in talks with Qatar for a similar deal.

Egyptians vote on divisive new constitution

(CNN) -- Across the river from Cairo, in its twin city of Giza, voters stood in line for blocks Saturday in the second round of balloting on the country's controversial draft constitution.

At one women-only polling station, lines snaked for about a kilometer.

Omanis hope first local vote is stepping stone towards change

MUSCAT (Reuters) - Hoping for jobs and democratic change, voters in Oman cast ballots in their first municipal election on Saturday, a sign of modest reform in response to protests inspired by the Arab Spring.

The small Gulf oil producer, ruled since 1970 by Sultan Qaboos, sits opposite Iran on the Strait of Hormuz, the conduit for nearly a fifth of globally traded petroleum.

Kidnappers free four South Koreans in Nigeria

(Reuters) - Four South Koreans and a Nigerian who were abducted earlier this week in the oil-producing Niger Delta have been released, police said on Saturday.

Assad Refuses to Quit, Won’t Get Moscow Asylum, Russia Says

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad refuses to step down and won’t be offered asylum in Moscow to help persuade him, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“Assad has no intention of quitting,” Lavrov told reporters last night on his plane back to Moscow after taking part in a meeting between Russia and the European Union in Brussels. “He refuses these proposals, whatever we might like. Irrespective of who tells him, Russia, China or someone else.”

Kuwait buys $308m China gas stake from BP

Oil giant BP has announced that it has agreed the sale of its 34.3 percent interest in the Yacheng gas field in the South China Sea to Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC) for $308m.

Norway's Statoil buys US shale gas land

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Norwegian energy company Statoil ASA says it has bought 70,000 acres of land rich in gas and liquid gas in West Virginia and Ohio.

The $590 million deal expands the company's assets in the Marcellus Shale gas deposits in the Appalachian region.

Gazprom breaths new life into Shtokman LNG

MOSCOW (UPI) -- Russian energy company Gazprom announced that engineering surveys are under way for development of LNG facilities at the Shtokman field in northern Russia.

Gazprom announced that engineering surveys for parts of the Shtokman project are in the final stage. Preparation for front-end engineering and design document should be released for a national review by next year, the company stated.

UK Dash for Shale Natural Gas - A Faustian Bargain

The UK is set to embark on its second dash for gas. The first, beginning in the early 1990s, occurred when gas was first permitted to be used for power generation. Prior to that it had been considered a premium fuel too valuable to be used in this way. The regulatory change initiated a substantial building programme for combined cycle gas plants, fuelled by North Sea gas. Very quickly gas generation became a major component of baseload in the UK, despite warnings that North Sea gas was a temporary bonus and its depletion would leave a structural dependency on Russian gas.

BP Gulf Oil Spill Judge Approves $7.8 Billion Settlement

BP Plc and the lead lawyers representing victims of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill won approval of the economic and environmental loss portion of a proposed $7.8 billion partial settlement of claims.

Tanker Carrying Bakken Oil to Canadian Refinery Runs Aground

An oil tanker carrying Bakken crude to Irving Oil Corp.’s refinery in Canada from Albany, New York, ran aground yesterday in the Hudson River, delaying the first of what is expected to be many voyages on the route.

A Progress Report on Fracking and Water Safety

The federal Environmental Protection Agency released a progress report on Friday about its national study of the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water supplies. In nearly 200 pages, the agency lays out data, case studies and a summary of research into issues like spills and the treatment and disposal of wastewater.

Energy in 2013 (part 2) (video)

With a population of seven billion, we need more energy but we're letting off too much steam. As the polar ice caps melt and until renewable energies become truly viable, François Picard’s panel argues over whether shale gas will save or sink the planet.

What's behind the natural gas boom in the US?

The natural gas industry is growing rapidly in the US. But behind the boom is a global tangle of interests in which, for example, Germany's move to abandon nuclear power has effects on rural Americans.

Construction of World's First Demonstration High-Temperature Nuclear Reactor Begins in China

Last week, China's National Nuclear Safety Administration granted a permit for the Shandong province modular nuclear power plant project to proceed to construction. This will be the world's first commercial demonstration plant for a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) using pebble bed technology, which technology was developed in Germany. The German 300-MW demo plant at the Juelich nuclear research center operated from 1985-1988, and a similar U.S. HTGR project at Fort St. Vrain in Colorado was built. Both were discontinued during the heyday of anti-nuclear political sabotage in the 1980s. South Africa, the only other nation to work on pebble bed technology, cancelled its program in 2010.

Test Drive: Jetta hybrid is a ripsnorting blast

Diesel-devoted Volkswagen is rolling into the market with a gasoline-electric hybrid — and makes a fine job of it.

Outside the Box: Eight No-Wrap Gift Ideas

A growing number of companies are making it easier to give the gift of local experiences rather than things.

A Biodiversity Map, Version 2.0

Tigers and pandas live in Asia, kangaroos and koalas in Australia and polar bears and snowy owls in the Arctic. The world can be divided into regions based upon the unique types of animals that live there. Or so the thinking went when Alfred Russel Wallace published the scientific world’s first global biodiversity map in 1876.

More than a century has come and gone since Wallace released this groundbreaking work, yet his map largely still serves as a cornerstone for understanding modern distributions of biodiversity. An updated version was due, a group of researchers decided.

The green buildings of the next apocalypse

Some designers have responded with a bunker mentality, building homes that are partially underground, as was documented masterfully by TreeHugger. Others went the survivalist route, such as the Midwest-based Vivos, offering shelters that are a throwback to the atomic days of "Dr. Strangelove."

Recent studies, however, suggest that many passive green building strategies—in addition to reducing energy costs and slowing the drain on natural resources—can also soften the impact of natural disasters and make life more healthy and bearable for survivors during the recovery period.

Industry Wins Delay of Costly Clean-Air Rules on Boilers

In one of the costliest rules in its history, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established the first nationwide caps on mercury and other pollutants from industrial boilers while bowing to industry demands to give companies more time to comply.

The Latest Turns Along the Colorado River

Dams and other controls have changed the Colorado’s ecosystem in the cavernous reaches of the Grand Canyon and have helped to dry up its delta in Mexico; misreadings of flow data have routinely ensured that pledges for its contents have been overstated. And all the while, more than 33 million people in the two countries have been drawing on its water supplies as states jostle for greater shares of it.

But Mr. Salazar and his deputy, David Hayes, have recently taken a series of actions that environmental groups believe show an understanding of the ecosystem’s past, and its future.

Engineered Fish Moves a Step Closer to Approval

Government regulators moved a big step closer on Friday to allowing the first genetically engineered animal — a fast-growing salmon — to enter the nation’s food supply.

Kerry to face climate test at State Dept but not Keystone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator John Kerry's commitment to tackling global warming will face several tests if he takes over as secretary of state but stopping an issue that has become a top environmental focus - the Keystone XL pipeline - will likely not be among them.

China to lead capital toward emissions cuts

BEIJING - China will direct more private capital to better finance the country's programs to fight climate change, China's chief climate negotiator said Friday.

Ice-dwelling seals to get U.S. Endangered Species Act listings

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Two species of far-north seals, victims of disappearing sea ice and dwindling snowpack in their Arctic habitat, will be granted protections under the Endangered Species Act, federal officials announced on Friday.

2012 review: The year in environment

For anyone living on planet Earth, 2012 was a rough year. The US sweltered in a devastating drought, only to then bear the brunt of superstorm Sandy. Meanwhile Arctic sea ice shrank to its lowest extent on record, months after evidence emerged that it might have passed the point of no return.

Your 2012 climate change scorecard

Given that this particular year is nearing its end, we decided to figure out how the math for 2012 stacked up. Did we, on balance, change our ways so that our net greenhouse gas emissions declined, or did we yet again increase how much we’re polluting? Are we running in the positive or the negative or what?

Well: Scorecard! Getcher scorecard!

Kiribati's' desperate plea for action

TARAWA - The Commonwealth Secretary-General has appealed to governments of developed countries to travel to Kiribati to witness the country's vulnerability to climate change impacts.

Climate change: Confessions of a Peak Oiler

So, step by step, I went full circle. If, at the beginning, I was more worried about depletion than about climate, now it is the reverse. Not that I stopped worrying about peak oil, I know very well that we are in deep trouble with the availability not just of oil, but of all mineral resources. But the recent events; the melting of the polar ice cap, hurricanes, droughts, wildfires and all the rest clearly show that the climate problem is taking a speed and a size that was totally unexpected just a few years ago.

Climate change is a gigantic problem: it dwarfs peak oil in all respects. We know that humans have lived for thousands of years without using fossil fuels, but they never lived in a world where the atmosphere contained more than 400 parts per million of CO2 - as we are going to have to. We don't even know if it will be possible for humans to survive in such a world.

Re: Test Drive: Jetta hybrid is a ripsnorting blast

Here we see, yet again, another example of the auto craving mind set of the over grown kids who review new cars for the media (in this case, USA Today). This guy admits that his main attraction to the new VW hybrid is it's performance, as in, how well it responds to his lead foot. He then expresses amazement that even with his kick ass driving habits, the VW produced 35 mpg, compared to the EPA rating of 45 mpg city/highway. Compared to his flogging of a VW diesel to produce only 29 mpg, this new VW is a great improvement, but one wouldn't conclude that from the article. Too bad that VW, like all the other hybrid builders, hasn't gotten around to selling a hybrid with a small diesel engine, although VW has done quite well with various experimental designs such as the XL1, which may be nearing production. Sad to say, with the price of fuel declining at the pump lately, it's unlikely that the US will see a serious attempt at maximizing mpg anytime soon...

E. Swanson

Our grandchildren will be sickened and amazed that our major media continued running blithe "car reviews" even as we so obviously crossed over the oil plateau and the climate tipping point.

They'll also be amazed that, even on boards like this one, we continued to discuss how to get even more oil to burn. As we see the oncoming train, we try to figure out how to increase our chances of being hit by it. Truly amazing!

My fellow Joes (Janes less so) continue to rate "power" high on their list, along with comfort and gizmos. This won't change anytime soon. Car companies wish every man, woman (and child?) ownership of their very own car. Again, this won't change any time soon. "Wishing for stuff" (generally cool stuff) is the great human driver.

The media-rabbits are merely playing their part.

Cheers, Matt

Balderdash, Matt. If that were true, why would advertising exist? I'm so, so tired of -- and also mystified by -- green misanthropy.

Hi Michael,

I live in a leafy suburb of Melbourne, Australia. The local streets are clogged with parked cars, none "green". Go to any shopping centre here, carpark clogged with more guzzlers. Nup, sorry. Very little anti-FF mindset on display over here. (FWIW, I find the reality ludicrous, but it is the reality).

Why does advertising exist? Er, perhaps because a bunch of different manufactures are basically making the same thing?

Cheers, Matt

BTW, not sure about this...
mis·an·thro·py... n.Hatred or mistrust of humankind. So "green misanthropy" is hatred or mistrust of green humans? Is that right? Hatred is certainly a bit strong, but sure, mistrust of those who preach green but do not practice is alive and well.

Hi Michael,

I'm with Joe on this one! Advertising certainly has a big role to play but I'm now totally convinced that the majority have completely lost any and all contact with reality. I'd say people have just gone stark raving mad!

Especially after having gone to a dinner in BAUland last night... The menfolk all went outside to drool over a brand new 300 horsepower Cadillac that one of the dinner guests had just purchased. Another one proudly talked about his 2300 cc Triumph.

Since I neither went outside to drool over the Cadillac and I casually mentioned to the bike owner that 2300 cc was 300 cc more than the size of the engine in my little old car, I doubt I will be very welcome at future dinner parties given by them. Which is just fine by me!

Talking to these people about solar panels would probably be elicit the same response from them as talking about gun control! They want unlimited access to high caliber semi automatics to defend their non negotiable lifestyles.
I found myself very hard pressed to think of these people as having any redeeming qualities left at all and most of them were quite highly educated... go figure!



I'm amazed you spend so much time on a website called "The Oil Drum" if you don't think people should talk about remaining oil resources.

Well, I spend some time here too, Fun. Lots of interesting stuff, fairly polite people who know what they are talking about.

But, like a lot of people here, I am thinking of the kind of world I would like my grandkids to have, and more oil and more carbon in the atmosphere is not it. So to me news of new SA's is news alright, but not good news.

Wind and Solar, and ways to get less and less of everything going thru our guts from the mine to the trashheap is good news. So, "growth", of anything, is not good news.

Except of course, trout streams and such like, and best of all, places with no people in them-- and not because they are poison.

PS. I would sure like to hear more solutions, the problems I am fairly well aware of already.

I don't disagree with much of that.

My point is that TOD was a peak oil website from the start. If people don't want to hear about peak oil, why visit a peak oil website and whine?

There are a lot of topics discussed here that don't interest me, such as energy efficiency and low carbon transportation, but I do think they are as important as anything else. My level of interest in them has no correlation to how much they should appear in the Drumbeat. And I do think some of the highest quality comments come in these topics.

I feel like the doomers have to some degree taken over TOD. In many cases (i.e. Darwinian), these are excellent inputs that improve the quality of the website. But on a volume basis, the doombeat seems to me to be dominated by what i call ideological dormers, who seem to be happy endlessly repeating their party line and not moving any discussion forward.

TOD editorial policy is not up to me, and I don't think I could improve on what Leanan is doing in any way.

I do sometimes wish the pure doomers would move to a pure doom site, much as the climate only discussions have largely moved to climate sites.

Given the demand for exchanging ideas on doom, I don't understand why there isn't a better place for people to have these discussions.

Given the demand for exchanging ideas on doom, I don't understand why there isn't a better place for people to have these discussions.

So you wish all the doomers would just go somewhere else and leave TOD for all the folks who believe... bleieve what? Believe that peak oil will not happen? Believe that peak oil will be a non event because "renewables" will save the day? Believe that science will think of something?

Okay, so we somehow... somehow... make peak oil a non event and we all live happily ever after. But what about climate change? What about deforestation all over the world? What about desertification? What about all the ocean fisheries of the world being depleted of fish? What about all the species going extinct? What about all the fossil aquifers being depleted? What about rivers, lakes and inland seas drying up like Lake Chad or the Aral Sea?

We are a species that is destroying the world but you wish folks who mention anything about it would just go somewhere else. Well I am not surprised because just about everyone I know don't want to talk about it either so why should I expect folks here would be any different?

But that's just it. I thought this was the one place that we could discuss what we are doing to the world. The Oil Drum is, or at least was, I thought, the one place where we were free to discuss the things that most of the world just don't want to hear about.

Oh well...

Ron P.

Ron, Jack might have gotten a dip. A dip we all face sometimes, when the order of magnitude of the problems we face strikes us once again, no? I am not talking in Jack's place, but he might have meant we need to talk about solutions more than repeating the same litany of problems.
In that case I agree with Jack: Facing recource depletion, deforestation, climate change, desertification, aquifers, polar ice, biodiversity, ... mankind will have an outcome. Maybe reduced bij a factor 2, maybe reduced by a factor 10. Is there any possibility to arrange a prosperous future for 700Mpeople and how would that look like? Are we able to maintain a bright future for 3.5Gpeople and how would that look like?
Maybe we no longer need to mention the doom, but think beyond it.

Thanks. I had wanted to refine my comment a bit, but got called off to dinner and had to send it a bit sooner than I had planned. I figured I was likely to get in trouble for it.

If I had to make one point it would be that a large subset of doomers who contribute to this site are in my view "ideological dormers". The portion of cornucopians who are ideological cornucopians may in fact be larger, but I just don't think we see as much of them.

I think Ron (Darwinian) is one of the best contributors to the site (although I don't think his response to me was one of his best), so i am obviously not anti-doomer. I also think there is a good chance the doomers are right but there is also a good chance they are wrong. I think it is a hugely important thing to discuss - rationally.

I just get tired of all the people who seem to be little more than electronic version of the guy with the sigh saying "The end is near". Some humans have a craving for apocalyptic thinking, some wear permanent rose colored glasses. Both opinions are valid and can be rational. My view is that the site could be improved by reducing the amount of faith-based doomerism. I think it could also be improved by reducing the amount of faith-based cornucopianism, but lass so because there are less of them.

Jack, though I thought the above post missed the mark but was typical of the average "non-doomer", (I don't know how else to describe you), until I got to the last two sentences. Then, to put it mildly, I was outraged. First one first:

My view is that the site could be improved by reducing the amount of faith-based doomerism.

You see our outlook on the fate of this planet as "faith based"? Every day I hear of another animal that is about to go extinct. The panda, the big cats, and the great apes, all of them except one, Homo sapiens, will soon disappear from the earth, never to return. I read of some part of the earth that has changed from a beautiful productive place to one of desolate waste.

I could write a book but so many other books have been written, Silent Spring, The Sixth Extinction, Overshoot, Limits To Growth, The Closing Circle, and so many more that they are too numerous to mention. And I have read the vast majority of them. And they all are based on evidence! Evidence of what one species is doing to all other species on earth. And evidence of what we are doing to our one and only havitat. On the other hand:

I think it could also be improved by reducing the amount of faith-based cornucopianism, but lass so because there are less of them.

OH, I see! Not all of them of course, just most of the cornucopians base their Pollyannaish outlook on evidence. On evidence that everything will be just fine. That nothing really bad can happen to the earth and its population of humans. Evidence that resources are not really being depleted, or that even if they are they will be replaced by renewables? Or evidence that science will think of something? Or evidence that God will not let anything really bad happen to his creation?

Of course all that evidence is fact based. If you don't believe just read " The Skeptical Environmentalist" by Bjorn Lomborg or "The Ultimate Resource" by Julian Simon. Yes, yes I must agree, most doomerism is based on nothing but faith and most cornucopinism is based on the overwhelming evidence that nothing bad can really ever happen to the beautiful future our children and grandchildren must face.

And you wish that all those faith based doomers would just shut up or go somewhere else. Well I will soon. I am an old man and will die in just a few years, perhaps sooner. But my heart aches every day when I contemplate the world my children and grandchildren will face. Oh how I wish I could be like you and others who see mostly a plentiful and joyful world for them. If I could only be like you guys I would be so much happier.

If only I had more faith and fewer facts.

Ron P.

Getting outraged seems to be your hobby and a simple read of my post would not have lead to these misconceptions, so I won't spend too much time n them. I will summarize my categorization as:

Rational optimists
Faith-based optimists
Faith-based pessimists
Rational pessimists

My opinion in that there are probably more faith-based optimists in the world than faith-based pessimists, but the latter tend to gather here.

I also said that faith-based doomers may be a minority subset of doomers so your taking offense is baseless.

Just to maybe solidify Darwinian's point a bit, could you give us examples of faith based doomers on this site and explain how you concluded that their views were faith based and not based on reason and facts?

Personally, to the extent that I am a doomer, this has been a long journey based upon what I would like to think are facts are at least reasoned conjectures of what are probably facts based upon the best science available. Further, I take no joy in concluding that we are in the process of devastating the planet and most of its inhabitants. I do look for silver linings but there are damn few available these days.

I, like Darwinian, am getting up there in age, which is actually good news given the seeming speed up in things like global warming.

I'd rather he not name names, since that would be bordering on a personal attack.

I do think TOD is actually less doomerish than it was, for the reason others have pointed out: a fast crash now seems much less likely.

However, I also think our editorial policy, such as it is, has changed, and we have decided that we want this site to be less doomerish. Why? Because if we're all going to be dead or living in caves in a few years, what's the point? The reason we on the staff of TOD devote so much of our time and energy to this site is that we hope it can make a difference. If there really is no hope, why bother? The Internet will go dark, TOD will go offline, and all the knowledge, discussion, and history recorded here will be no more.

IMO, both the doomer and cornucopian extremes are not terribly useful. If you believe technology will fix everything, then why worry? You're wasting your time here. Ditto if you believe nothing we can do can avert massive dieoff and collapse. Why waste your energy on the Internet, which surely won't survive such a crisis?

Maybe we're deluding ourselves. Maybe the doomers are right, which would make what we're doing the equivalent of building more stone heads to stave off collapse. Or the cornucopians are right, and we'll one day be looked upon as crazies, as nutty as the millenarians. But the middle ground - that we are facing a serious problem, but there might be something we can do about it - seems the most fruitful tack to take.

Summing it well as usual, Leanan. :)

I stepped off the fence myself a few years back, a foot planted firmly on the stoney ground of doomerville. Yet, an ankle remains on the fence (perhaps caught in the pickets?), hovering over the rolling green pasture lands of cornucopia. Hoping, always hoping.

My visits here provide some sort of comfort (twisted thinking?); that I'm not alone in my rational. That TOD posters are in the vast incredibly considerate in their opinions, that the wealth of knowledge appears boundless, reinforces that comfort.

Thanks again for your site.

Regards, Matt

Hi Leanan,

Mostly I agree with you. Where I differ slightly is that I think rational pessimists and optimists (a little less pejorative than D and C) are useful viewpoints to avoid an echo chamber. I may have misread you if you use D and C for the more irrational extremes of pessimism and optimism, which is relatively limited on TOD.



The December 21 2012 "event" belief system is a valid example of "faith-based". Applying the term to projections based on documented data and current events is just cheap spin.

I used to love watching the nature shows on television as a kid... like Wild Kingdom... but then... then they all started ending with "...and we're killing everything you've seen here on today's show."

Global warming was supposed to be something for the next hundreds of years. Turns out I get to watch it blossom right now. Wiseindian posted a video link: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9725/936275

These are both just observations of change. The 2012 "event" was another demonstration that people are profoundly operationally compromised. These things don't extrapolate rosily. No faith is involved.


What I do tire of is the "well, there's no point" and all its variations and anything that hints at a smug superiority founded upon "enlightened" capitulation.

The December 21 2012 "event" belief system is a valid example of "faith-based". Applying the term to projections based on documented data and current events is just cheap spin.

Yep. That's pretty much what I said. There is faith-based doomerism, of which the 12/21 episode is an example, and rational doomerism, which includes concerns about global warming, peak oil, etc.

You can find examples of both on TOD. I think you probably capture my point well with this quote:

What I do tire of is the "well, there's no point" and all its variations and anything that hints at a smug superiority founded upon "enlightened" capitulation.

Yep. That's pretty much what I said. There is faith-based doomerism, of which the 12/21 episode is an example,

That is an example of quackery, not doomerism. I know of no such doomer who has ever posted on Drumbeat. Although there may have been one in the past but I don't recall such a quack posting here, or certainly not one that posts regularly.

There have been examples of sarcasm, folks who on rare occasions post such things in jest.

To claim that there are posters who regularly, and seriously, post such nutty things on Drumbeat is a gross exaggeration.

Ron P.

The 12/21 episode was not a quackery event but just another rehash of the Apocalypse meme.
Its been around for about 3000 years and came into existence with Zoroastrianism, the world’s first major monotheistic religion.
When you have only one all powerfull loving god how do you explain evil and misery in the word?
With this: You say that this world is temporary and will end very "soon" and we will get a new and perfect world.
And this virus of a meme has been stuck with us since. It does not always involve a god, but the theme is always the same: Sometime very soon the current world will end and instead we will get the world we want or think we deserve. Our group is always the choosen one and our enemies will be punished.
And usally the laws of the universe will kindly step aside for the moment.

You also see the apocalypse meme among Peak oilers, or people worried about the worlds financial system.
As soon as world oil production start to decline the world financial system will collapse, the lights will go out and we will have armed thugs running amok in the suburbs and city's, looting pillaging and raping.
But i have of course hoarded gold, weapons and canned food so i will survive, and the ignorant and one percenters will finally get what they deserve.
Maybe they are right but it borrows heavily from the apocalypse meme and ignores what we know about previous collapses of advanced civilations.

You can read more about the apocalypse meme in John Michael Greer's book Apocalypse Not.
A very good book, actully made reading The God delusion by Richard Dawking later a little bit of a disapointment.

Thanks for the recommendation, I will read Greer's book.

Has anyone read this book?

The Last Myth: What the Rise of Apocalyptic Thinking Tells Us About America


From a review:

Supervolcanoes, asteroids and pandemics are the laughably improbable bogeymen for a decline that's already taking place. Peak oil, economic collapse, global warming and income inequality factor high on the authors' TEOTWAWKI list for good reason. Unlike far-flung extinction level events that we can do very little about except grin and bear, the scientific community is lined up to support the authors' assertions. American collapse is simply the other side of the hard-fought bell curve that the baby boomers giddily bounced on top of when they got back from the war.

BikeNerd, not one person on this list bought into the 12/12 quackery. And it was pure quackery. But bringing it up and trying to tie it to us doomers is called "poisoning of the well". That is, if you can tie your debating opponent to anything absurd, even though it has nothing to do with the subject being debated, you can increase leverage and possibly win the debate in the eyes of others.

Maybe they are right but it borrows heavily from the apocalypse meme and ignores what we know about previous collapses of advanced civilations.

You are obviously very confused BikeNerd. What we doomers see happening to the non-renewable resources, to the rain forest, to the fisheries of the world, to rivers, lakes and seas, and to the species going extinct, has nothing to do with any meme of any kind. Facts are facts and trying to deny the facts by trying to tie them to apocalyptic quackery works only for those who wish to deny reality.

The past collapses of past civilizations have not the remotest resemblance to what is happening to the world today. They all happened when there was no scarcity of natural resources They happened when the world population was but a fraction of what it is today. They all happened when there was no such thing as "globalization". And none of them were really "advanced" as you imply. Pointing to civilizations of the past and saying "they survived and later prospered so therefore we must also" is a very poor argument.

Ron P.

I know that no one here bought into the 21/12 maya stuff. It was just another rehash of the acopalypse meme. A quite big mashup of different stories on what would happen but still just a rehash of the acopalypse meme. Same old qauckery, (slightly) different wrapping.

But i see that the fast/very fast crash people borrow alot of their thinking from the apocalypse meme and not much else. Ands its probably good to have that in mind before me, you or somebody stock up on weapons and canned food and run to the hills or down in a bunker.

A slower collapse (ca 100 years or more) down to a society 100% on energy from sunshine just seems more plausibel. Im talking about the entire planet looked at one. Some countries and regions will probably collapse faster than other. The unraveling of the American Empire might happen fairly fast when it starts. But some regions might hold on to more advanced techonolgy and bigger energy flows longer than other regions.
But i must admit that reading too much about climate change in a day can really push me towards hardcore doomerism. :-) lol
But hey, at 25 years of age i quess i get to find out how the collapse will be, maybe all the way or partway.

Talking about advanced civilation not being advanced enough and therefore we can not learn anything from them about collapse, i disagree about that. Of all the tools we have to try understand this predicament we blunderd ourself into, history is probably the best one. They often did the same mistakes we did, just on a smaller scale.

Here's something from the collapse of Rome. Makes it a little scary when you think about that most of the cloths we use in the western world are made in Asia.

The Roman pottery industry was huge, capable, and highly centralized, churning out fine tableware, storage vessels, roof tiles, and many other goods in such vast quantities that archeologists across Roman Europe struggle to cope with the fragments today. The pottery works at La Graufesenque in what is now southern France and was then the province of Gallia Narbonense, for instance, shipped exquisite products throughout the western empire, and beyond it – goods bearing the La Graufesenque stamp have been found in Denmark and eastern Germany. Good pottery was so cheap and widely available that even rural farm families could afford elegant tableware, sturdy cooking pots, and watertight roof tiles.

Rome’s fall changed all this. When archeologists uncovered the grave of a sixth-century Saxon king at Sutton Hoo in eastern Britain, for example, the pottery found among the grave goods told an astonishing tale of technical collapse. Had it been made in fourth century Britain, the Sutton Hoo pottery would have been unusually crude for a peasant farmhouse; two centuries later, it sat on the table of a king. What’s more, much of it had to be imported, because so simple a tool as a potter’s wheel dropped entirely out of use in post-Roman Britain, as part of a cascading collapse that took Britain down to levels of economic and social complexity not seen there since the subsistence crises of the middle Bronze Age more than a thousand years before.


No one I know bought into the Mayan collapse. But, we were all amused by the social phenomena. We would all remark, the world ends tomorrow, or OMG, the world survived, and now my lack of planning for that possibility will get me! It was just a common myth, that a lot of people found fun to echo.
I do think that overall, your gradual descent/transition to a more resource constrained world is mostly what will happen. However, looking at the moment at Syria, we have an example of how transitions under pressure can go terribly wrong. Not all countries will make a smooth transition. Some will succumb to collective insanity. Hopefully we can minimize that.

But i see that the fast/very fast crash people borrow alot of their thinking from the apocalypse meme and not much else.

Well I don't see that at all. Could you post links to those posts that "borrowed a lot from the apocalypse meme and not much else?" If you cannot then you should not make that claim because it means you just thought that one up. That really makes a good sound bite but I think that's all it is and has no real basis in fact.

A slower collapse (ca 100 years or more) down to a society 100% on energy from sunshine just seems more plausibel.

That is another debate entirely. We are discussing, here, whether or not the doomers on this site are just acopalypse meme quacks or are our opinions based on facts. The decline and fall of the Roman Empire is not pertinent to anything concern the impending economic collapse of the world for reasons I stated earlier.

Ron P.

The survivalist/weapons and canned food in a bunker thing seems to be an American meme. Perhaps because of our relatively recent frontier past. It's spread a little to the UK, Canada, and Australia, but in my experience, the rest of the world finds it quite bizarre. They just don't understand it.

I imagine the Japanese would understand it the least.

This is fun: a survivalist view:

When the crisis comes, will you behave like the Japanese - or take to the streets?

My advice is, put some time and effort into gathering some supplies now as part of a larger emergency preparedness kit to hopefully lessen your dependence on outside help and resources when a major disaster strikes- and avoid having to loot and/or riot. You’ll be glad you did some day.


In America, there are a lot of divisions among the people: religion, culture, race, language, wealth... I think a sense of isolation outweighs any sense of community: many people have no idea who their neighbors are: the land is vast and people move constantly. The television broadcasts fear and a din of random violence: For those melting in the melting pot of America, culture and society are replaced by whatever issues from that box that day... with no real tradition, foundation or history whatsoever. (On God-and-Country, Family Values, Conservative General Electric Military Industrial Complex CBS news, Christmas coverage has been a breathless daily tally of how much is being spent in the stores... a tally that started before Thanksgiving (AKA Black Friday Eve).)

As I understand from visiting my one Swiss friend, all Swiss houses are required to have a bunker as part of their national defense plan. Add the fact that all men serve in the national militia, and have their weapons at home, and I think the Swiss, at least, have institutionalized 'prepping'.

Singapore does too, but many people have converted them to wine cabinets.

Yes, however, their weapons are only for defense against an external foe, Swiss men will not tell you that they need weapons to fight their own government and Swiss guests are usually comfortable with walking unarmed through my hometown - Graz, Austria- at night. Quite a contrast to some guests from the USA. :-)

Some are worried about the government, but most are probably more worried about their own neighbors. IMO, that's the main difference. For the public good vs. for your own personal advantage. We are extremely individualistic in the U.S. My guess is this only works when the ratio of resources to people is high.

In the interest of accuracy, the 12/21 analogy was made by KalimankuDenku as an example of irrationality. No one ever claimed that doomers here believed or posted on it.

The panda, the big cats, and the great apes, all of them except one, Homo sapiens, will soon disappear from the earth, never to return. I read of some part of the earth that has changed from a beautiful productive place to one of desolate waste.

I could write a book but so many other books have been written, Silent Spring, The Sixth Extinction, Overshoot, Limits To Growth, The Closing Circle

Have only read a couple of the books, but concur with the sentiment... And re: species extinction, I'd just like to point out for Jack and others that it's really the lesser known - or unknown, even - species, the bacteria, worms, insects, plants, fungi etc, etc, that are unseen, and going extinct daily, that are at least as important ecologically as the big visible ones, the cute, cuddly ones, the poster children for extinction.

I have no idea if my posts would be considered faith based doomerism. I just keep seeing stuff all around me - climate change, declining EROEI, ongoing pop. growth - and pointing it out. It all leads me to the conclusion that we are collectively clueless and screwed. Perhaps that's my faith, but I base it on all that I see around me. (And I have no idea how 'permanent rose colored glasses' can be valid and rational.)

200 organisms will go extinct today.
There is blood in the streets already.

"According to the UN Environment Programme, the Earth is in the midst of a mass extinction of life. Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the "natural" or "background" rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago."


Have only read a couple of the books, but concur with the sentiment

Oh there's no need to read books. I can see it with my own eyes. Animals which were plentiful even five decades ago are now so rare that statistically you have a higher chance of finding a diamond necklace on the road than you have of spotting the animal. And I am not just talking about exotic animals, even common animals like deer, foxes etc are hard to find nowadays.


Where I live, deer and foxes are pretty commonly seen (central Maine, United States). This is not to say that there is not a big problem with species extinction or environmental problems in general, just that you may be overstating it a bit. Do you live in India? It may be very different there or in other densely populated places than in relatively rural Maine. Climate change seems pretty apparent here from mild winters and warmer summers over the past 20 years, though I haven't lived here all my life. I have neighbors who have lived near a lake in Maine for 60 years and the change in ice out dates is quite dramatic (Cold Stream Pond, Enfield, Maine).


Maybe it's just because I live in Japan but here the population is in decline. When a secular population decline starts in your neck of the woods (bound to happen) then it becomes unstoppable. (And the birth rate has already plunged in the US since 2008.) So every year there are 100,000 fewer people here, or this year, it will be more like 200,000 fewer people. A bigger decline every year.

The baby boomers will die off leaving fewer people. And that will reduce pressure on what little nature is left. I know it's still pretty terrible, to think about the planet as humans have managed it, but I do think that there is going to be a time when people are on the run, every year fewer of us, and always the ones left become more and more progressively "green" in their lifestyles through no choice. And no longer can they have as many kids as they want because the big cities, that absorbed excess people in the past, will not be functioning very well.

It is already happening here. The population of Tokyo stopped increasing, has leveled off, and is expected to start its own irrversible secular decline in 2020, according to the government. But I think it will be sooner than that.


Rejoice. The people on the Japanese islands hopefully will benefit from a reduced population over time, as will the environment in which they live.

I disagree with your assertion that when a secular (long time frame) population decline begins, the population decline is either unstoppable or irreversible. You are extrapolating the effects of a 'reverse population momentum' to zero, but that result is not at all pre-ordained from a population decline/contraction trend. What, in your estimation, prevents a reverse sigmoid curve, with a population drop-off, gradually lessening in slope, until a new equilibrium is reached at a lower population level?

Your tone in your post is rather gloomy and pejorative to the concept of a human population decline, and I do not understand why you experience this profound angst. Your lament that the people 'Can longer can they have as many kids as they want' is a harbinger of good tidings. If people have ~ 2.1 children on average at some point in the future and maintain this rate, then their population should stabilize after a fashion. Your characterization of people being 'on the run' in my mind would be characterized as people persevering through effective adaption to their environment.

Keep in mind that I am talking about a population decline brought solely by a decline in birthrates to sub-replacement levels for some amount of time, not a decline caused by some apocalyptic events. I am not imagining, let alone reveling, in some doomer porn fantasy.

My hope is, if any group of people presently on Earth can effectively plan for and manage a population decline to a lower, sustainable level, without collectively losing their mental cohesion, it may be the people who live on the Japanese islands.

I can see that change, even potentially longer-term positive change, is unsettling and even downright scary. However, take solace in the theory that when it comes to human populations and consumption, bigger is not necessarily better. And reduction does not necessarily extrapolate to extinction. Humans can continue to develop and expand their culture...their understanding of the World/Universe/etc within their minds, and as communicated to their fellow humans...and do not need to expand their physical footprint (more apartment buildings, factories, trains, runways, etc) to continue their journey towards mental fulfillment. Perhaps in such a future each person will be regarded as precious and unique, and will be fulfilled by the knowledge that his or her community needs his / her contributions to thrive (note, thrive doe not equal 'expand in numbers' and 'expand in numbers of material possessions')

That is a huge distortion of my comment. I don't think a single sentence that you wrote reflects what I said.

I said that much of the doomer commentary is excellent and improves the site, and in fact cited you specifically as an example of this. Rather than saying peak oil is a non event, I pointed that that this was originally a peak oil website, which is almost exactly the opposite. I never implied that we should ignore the peril that both peak oil and climate change threaten to bring on us.

While I am more optimistic than you are, our disagreements would be a meatter of degree. I tend to think probabilistically and do think that there is a possibility that waning energy resources will lead to a societal collapse, or that climate change is so serious and immediate that it is probably the most important issue facing mankind. I do think that deforestation, desertification, fisheries, extinction, and water resources are core topics for TOD and humanity. I don't think I have the ability to know how large the possibility is, but do know it is too big.

If you have read my previous comments on solar, you would know that I don't think renewable energy will save us. I do think recent developments in the US will buy some time, but not change the equation.

I don't think doomers are wrong and am interested in holding discussions with rational dormers, like you, who are logical and evidence-based.

My comments was directed to "ideological dormers, who seem to be happy endlessly repeating their party line and not moving any discussion forward." This refers to a subset of doomers who in my view see doom as a given but don't engage rationally. I do think that among the doomer community there is a very low knowledge to conviction ratio. Those who are the most certain, and often the most vocal, seem to be those who know the least. This type of comment is not exclusive to doomers, but they are the most common source.

As I said, I have no desire to edit the website or kick people off, but "Given the demand for exchanging ideas on doom, I don't understand why there isn't a better place for people to have these discussions." I would have thought that doom.com would be extremely popular.

Sorry, I did not mean to misread your statement. But you were clearly discussing doomers and you said, of doomers, or so I presumed:

Given the demand for exchanging ideas on doom, I don't understand why there isn't a better place for people to have these discussions.

Now how should I have interpreted that statement? I really don't know who these "ideological" doomers are. The only ones I am familiar with pretty much agree with me. Todd?, Ghung? I don't know any ideological doomers who posts here.

So forgive me for my error but I do not share your view of doomers on this site. I think they are all worthy posters and I see no repetitive posts of doomer porn from any of them.

I think you are simply mistaken concerning my doomer friends on this site.

Ron P.

For both Ron and Jack, I think we are all becoming overwhelmed by the complexity, interrelatedness, and gravity of the many crises converging on us at the moment. Peak oil's impact includes both economic and climatic implications. And, those in turn make dealing with the changing climate more difficult, if not impossible. At the same time, the impact of the changing climate creates even greater economic stress. Both will have serious effects on geo-political balances.

Trying to limit discussion of all of these as they are affected by Peak Oil is not reasonable. TOD's group discussions of all of the related factors is the best I have seen on any blog. I do not really consider it doomerism, either. When events point to significantly likely outcomes that are unpleasant / impossible to bear, one who points these out is not really a doomer. She may be more a realist... after all, the gent who pointed out that the Emperor had no clothes was a doomer to the Emperor.

So... maybe what we really need is a new definition of "doomer."


I agree. Perhaps "optimist" and "pessimist" would work. They are analogous and nonjudgmental. Everyone is going to claim "realist".

I would have thought doomer was pejorative, but doomers have embraced it.

This it for me today. I have to wake up early to go see the Grand Canyon tomorrow - while there is still time!

When I think about the problems, I am forced into that dark damp doom room. But fortunately, I don't do that very often, instead I spend most of my time in the bright sunny justdoit game, an outdoor sport, great for body and soul.

So maybe the better categorizations would be

Thinkitout types


JustDoIt types.

OK, that's fixed. Now back to the new year's project, how best to get around using only solar?

So... maybe what we really need is a new definition of "doomer."

I submit the phrase "Hopeless Optimist," just because I like the play on words.


Well I'm a doomer. But now I'm confused. I base it on evidence and a foundation of biological science education. But I also seem to fit that faith-based definition. I don't need no stinking evidence, I just need to go stand on the corner and watch people in big cars accelerate to get to the next red light faster to know we're genetically, inherently, biologicaly DOOMED.

But I also strongly believe, even though we are collectively doomed, that the best path to take is one of positiveness and optimism (within reason (but not too much reason)) and to fight the good fight. Cue Dylan Thomas or some such...

We are meant to go down fighting the good fight.

If anything I would say TOD has become less doomerish than a few years back. I say it is less doomerish mainly for the fact that less posters here seem to believe in fast collapse scenarios (remember talk of Ghawar dying?). To me it would seem the general consensus has shifted towards a slow decline/long emergency. Also the more radical posters have disappeared somewhat and the posters who still post regularly tend to hold a less extreme view and what view they do have tends to be better supported by facts.

I think if there is a weakness to the TOD it would be its narrow focus on energy, really oil issues that holds the site back. Saying that I do understand this was an editorial decision as they wanted to focus on this particular topic and if posters want to discuss other topics they should go elsewhere for that.

Absolutely agree. Almost. :)

I'm one of the dummies that visit here, albeit only once or twice a month these days. The basic math of compounding growth coupled with limits-to-growth/finite resources/Westexas' ELM/EROI/etc hit like a lightening bolt a few years back. Today I remain not so interested in the detail, but more the general picture, doomerish and somewhat underground as it appears to me. But though I remain pessimistic, I'll continue to hope an answer (an acceptably reasonable one for my kid's sake) may lie somewhere along the "slow decline" that now seems obvious.

Unfortunately, "energy options" (ultimately, for continued BAU) are preferred pursuits to say, simpler living standards or waste management (how boring!). That is, we continue with the hard stuff, rather than the simple (more holidays locally, eat when you're hungry, etc). Any long term goals I may have seem a little redundant.

My 2c.

Cheers, Matt

remember talk of Ghawar dying?

And perhaps you assume Ghawar is healthy and will produce for another 50 years before it starts to decline. Well that depends on ho successful their CO2 injection program is. You know, it's called tertiary recovery. Just curious but when does a country resort to tertiary recovery techniques for its old oil fields?

Saudis Announce 2013 CO2 Injection Plan For Ghawar - But Insist KSA "Does Not Need"

“It’s worth mentioning that Saudi Arabia does not need to produce oil through enhanced oil recovery at production scale for decades to come,” Bin Salman Al-Saud said in a Bloomberg report. “This is a key focus area in our carbon management technology road map,” a set of Saudi policies to help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions blamed for global warming.

Yeah right!

Ron P.

And perhaps you assume Ghawar is healthy and will produce for another 50 years before it starts to decline. Well that depends on ho successful their CO2 injection program is. You know, it's called tertiary recovery. Just curious but when does a country resort to tertiary recovery techniques for its old oil fields?

Saudis Announce 2013 CO2 Injection Plan For Ghawar - But Insist KSA "Does Not Need"

Perhaps the way I phrased my statement was not the best. What I meant to say is if you believed in the statements in 2008 which pretty much gave the image that Ghawar was on the brink of collapse then you would have been wrong. Now that is not to say Ghawar is in a healthy state nor are the chances of a future collapse of production slim; it simply means that the projections given in the past of a collapse/decline were premature. Finally I chose Ghawar is dying as an example as that statement captured the general sentiments that was prevailing on the TOD at the time.

Now I know it was not a universal opinion even back then but I do think a bigger percentage of the Oil Drum commentary believed in a fast collapse when compared to today. Since then the economy has held surprisingly well given the circumstances, beyond a lot of peoples' expectations and it is those reasons that the mood in TOD takes a less pessimistic tone than it did a few years back. That was the main point I tried to get across in my previous post.

Off course this temporarily reprieve does not mean there won't be a collapse, in fact I also believe there will be a fast collapse event at some point as our financial system is not geared to coping with a period of sustained contraction. Then there will be the whole unemployment situation to deal with which is likely to lead to other problems and these new problems are likely to exacerbate existing issues such as peak oil and declining net exports.

I signed out as "Todd - A Realist" for years and I still feel "realist" is a better term than "doomer". Do I use "doomer" when referring to myself? Sure, and I do it because I'm not interested in spending hours trying to explain how things are going down the tubes to someone. They simply say to themselves, "Ok, he expects societal collapse." And, let me say, at 74 I'm angry about the way things have turned out because it didn't have to be this way.

I'll stop being a "doomer" when I see one "realistic" model of how we get from our current predicament to a stable-state society, economy and government. As an aside, I prepared such a model for a key post but then TOD changed emphasis and dropped Campfire so I never submitted it. It wasn't the greatest thing in the world but it would have given people a place to jump off from and it's always more fun to attack someone else's scenario than to write your own!

In the mean time, I don't post much anymore but rather focus on my weekly email newsletter where I can cover everything from finance to government to prepping to health and not feel I'm getting OT.

Todd - A Realist :-)

Hi Todd,

I would be interested in your model. Where can your newsletters be found? I would be interested in your newsletter, e-mail me at g mail with information (my username here plus g mail) if you would like to share your ideas with me.


Hi DC,

I'll send you this week's and you can let me know if it's something you are interested in.

The model/scenario is still in my old laptop but I can give you a quickie overview. It really started off as a response to Aniya a long time ago (do a search for "post-peak education"). Anyway, in the new model I used writer's license to kill off a large portion of the population. People live in family/affinity groups and are responsible for their own survival. There is no government but rather consensus via the "robust internet". People work until they are 30 and then return to their homes. People get a small, yearly entitlement of things like cloth that are hard to make at home in return for their work period. There's obviously a lot more but this gives the flavor of it. It was "written" by a "woman" as a means of passing down to her "family" what has occurred in her lifetime.


Given the demand for exchanging ideas on doom, I don't understand why there isn't a better place for people to have these discussions


1) the statistics on oil resources, reserves, production and consumption often discussed on this site are correct.
2) the ensuing climate chaos being generated by this consumption.
3) any solution to these difficulties involves persuading all of society to act against it's own interests.

I would love to believe that we are all about to turn over a new leaf and move toward a civilization that will allow humanity to continue in the same climate in which it has existed in the past. Taking into account that there are vastly more people on the earth than can feasibly supported.

But I see no evidence of any positive steps being taken. That does not mean I have given up in my own life. But after 20 years of optimism I would have to logically conclude that I am now a 'doomer'. If this is site is the source of the depressing statistics why would I not want to discuss them here?

Hopeless optimist, indeed.


I appreciate your sharing here Wimbi.

Yes, forever being stuck on a listing of the problems is not helpful. Solutions, at this time, are not primarily a technological issue, rather they are a psychological one.

Why do folks choose SUV's over the alternatives, why won't folks strive for zero FF consumption? And my favorite, Why do folks think so poorly of themselves to allow The MSM to so brutally lie, cheat and steal their very reality and consciousness, polluting it with death and corruption?

The solution!! Feel good enough about yourself to resist this culture's assault on your being. Say no what the media tells you to do. You don't need 99% of the crap you buy. The Jones's don't need you to keep up with them. Women will still love you without the latest gizmo. Money is not real power. You are perfectly OK as you are, not as the shows and ads tell you you ought to be...

Yes, the problems are caused by the human condition... which seems to reflect the forces that drive evolution: acquire enough resources and enough security to reproduce and so win game. In a closed environment, reindeer http://www.geo.arizona.edu/Antevs/nats104/00lect21reindeer.html and yeast, as examples, will consume everything and die. Humans crossed some sort of threshold... perhaps the fact that they go so far in creating a synthetic world whose physical aspects are also made from the resources of the environment. The analogous deer would have made clothes and weapons and shelters while changing the landscape with tools to promote agriculture and transportation for ever more food... not just in pursuit of numbers but also of crass profit within and in service to divergent theological and economic concepts used as platforms by hierarchies/families of herd nobility. The game would be played at a higher level with a deeper exploitation and exhaustion of the resources in support of greater numbers and fancy nobility. To do anything about it along the way is to short-change the nobility, betray the theology and/or the economic ideology, not take part in the expansion of numbers, and/or lead a less catered life. Spontaneous sacrifice and altruism are less common when things are still "good enough". Tragic measures like infanticide and heroic acts for the greater good do take place, but generally only when things have become really bad.

Real leadership would be a great thing. At the moment, the nobles are using their media to disseminate self-serving nonsense and to stir intense hatred against those that seek to short-change them or to belie their supporting theologies and economic ideologies. A rational and informed conversation can not be had. Free communication and access to undistorted information would be a primary thing to secure.


Don't underestimate the power of the three C's:
"In Malawi right now if you're a man with CASH a CELLPHONE and a CAR, you've got it made. Young girls falling all over you."
"Prevention messages must focus on older men and young girls - she must be able to resist cellphone, cash and car [the three C's]."
"the cellphone is the central aspect in the triple c phenomenon"

Future generations will burn Henry Ford and his Model T in effigy. He's the one that started it all. If he hadn't made it so damned cheap, then paid his workers so much they could all afford one, the motor car wold remain where it properly belongs: among the upper classes, and we'd have none of this climate change nonsense.

This is what happens when you tamper with the natural order of things. If God had meant the masses to drive motor cars, he would have given them trust funds.;o)

Future generations will burn Henry Ford and his Model T in effigy

agree that the car is the most destructive machine ever invented-

it has destroyed:

1. the planet in terms of greenhouse gases- perhaps destroying the human race
2. individuals in crashes- grieving families
3. community spirit (neighborhoods are just sleeping places)
4. time to grow (think of all the hours stuck in traffic that could be used for developing oneself)
5. the family- the car eats up the budget that could be spent on individuals

this list could go on with 20 more items easily. No, the car didn't do it alone- but if we had gone with mass transportation, the science to detect global warming would have developed anyway and we would have discovered it at a point when the carbon levels would have been much lower. As it is, cars have already ruined the atmosphere and created a powerful oil, auto lobby to delay any actions to stop GW.

Truly the most destructive machine ever invented (but boy it gets strong competition from TV)

I agree, but have always considered (largely coal fired) grid electricity to be right there with it...

It further enables a disconnect from the real world. We can rip the tops off mountains, acidify surface water, change the atmosphere, kill people & other animals with mercury, etc... all happily out of sight and mind. We can cocoon ourselves in A/C, watching the TV you mention, being brainwashed, thinking that convenience comes at the flip of a switch, power at the flip of a button, all extremely cheaply, because the costs aren't on the accounting sheet...

Talking about disconnect from the outside world, a couple years ago my wife and I spent Thanksgiving with some of her relatives in Florida. We brought along some sweet potatoes we'd grown in our garden to make mashed sweet potatoes. Well, these people just stared at them and had no idea how to deal with them! They had bought mashed sweet potatoes in a foil pan from the grocery store and had no idea how to do anything with the real thing. It was "Ick, what's that?!" And it's not like we brought them a live turkey! These are supposedly intelligent folks with an individual incomes >$100K/yr. The whole meal was like this, total disconnect. These people will never even give a thought to PO, Climate Change, Sustainability, etc.

And yes, I find it unnerving that even here where people DO get what's coming as far as Climate Change, that there is still talk of "here's how to get and burn more oil.", "My country has more oil to burn than your country." Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees...

"Talking about disconnect from the outside world, "

Same thing is happening in camping. Tent-only camping sites are usually easily available in national forest campgrounds. The spots for RVs are usually more full, but usually not completely. But go to the commercial campground with full-service hookups and Wi-Fi, not to mention cell phone service, and they are packed with gigantic RV's.

I'm running into increasing numbers of young people who simply won't go outside of cell phone coverage. Great for my peace and quiet, but long term; if they have no attachment to the forests, then clear-cutting them to pay off China (or Medicare) gets a lot easier politically. The Forest Service seems to be on a binge to lock people out of the forests (tearing up roads and such) and not thinking they are cutting off their own future supporters.


You intimated:

... the science to detect global warming would have developed anyway and we would have discovered it at a point when the carbon levels would have been much lower.

Actually the science as well as the history of science has been covered up by you know who. Global warming foundational science was actually discovered and written about well before Henry Ford's Model A came into existence (The Exceptional American Denial).

I grew up knowing about it (and I'm sixty now). Although at that point linear projections of consumption held the timescale beyond our current lifespans.

agree that the car is the most destructive machine ever invented-

Nope! I'd say it was the plow... >;-)

"Nope! I'd say it was the plow... >;-)"

So would I, only without the wink.

" Too bad that VW, like all the other hybrid builders, hasn't gotten around to selling a hybrid with a small diesel engine,"

Well, unless you refer to the US market, here in Europe we DO have diesel-hybrids... PSA (Peugeot-Citroen group) has a couple of models on catalog.

My current car is a fairly late model Corolla, the first compact I've ever owned. Oddly, its the only vehicle I've over owned that can peg the speedometer. Something I keep asking myself, is it really necessary for a modern ecomony car to be able to outrun all the old V8's I had back in the day.


A Vauxhall Astra diesel demolishing 70's era Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati.

Astra is a model name that has been used by Vauxhall, the British subsidiary of Adam Opel AG,[2] on their small family car ranges since 1979.

Some of the horses "escaped" (and the Astra was driven by a race driver) - but those supercars started with as much (or less) horsepower as a "ho hum" V6 Honda Accord.

The Bay of Fundy Nova Scotia’s renewable version of Alberta’s oil sands (*)

On an average day about 160 billion tonnes of seawater flows into the Bay of Fundy. That’s more than four times the combined flow of all of the freshwater rivers in the world. As the water squeezes into the Minas Passage it picks up speed as it is pinched between the shoreline and the seafloor – it speeds up from one-metre a second to five.

According to recent models there is roughly 2,500 megawatts of extractable energy in the Minas Passage. That’s more than enough electricity for all of Nova Scotia.

See: http://www.troymedia.com/2012/12/22/the-bay-of-fundy-nova-scotias-renewa...

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5IqYkeV1a8


* At 880 grams per kWh, Alberta's electricity is the most carbon-intensive in all of Canada.

The Bay of Fundy Nova Scotia’s renewable version of Alberta’s oil sands (*)

* At 880 grams per kWh, Alberta's electricity is the most carbon-intensive in all of Canada.

Since for some reason we are comparing Nova Scotia's tidal power against Alberta's oil sands, I thought I would just toss some statistics out at you to provide a bit of a reality check.

Alberta's oil sands (140,000 km2) cover over twice the area of Nova Scotia (55,284 km2), and the amount of energy in them is vastly greater than anything in Nova Scotia. They have an energy potential nearly as big all the oil in Saudi Arabia. Alberta itself is 661,848 km2), nearly 12 times as big as Nova Scotia, has 4 times the population, and has a much bigger economic base.

Alberta lacks hydroelectric capacity compared to most other Canadian provinces, so it has to use its coal and natural gas resources to fill the gap. http://www.energy.alberta.ca/Electricity/681.asp

Alberta has over 14,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity generation capacity... Almost 45 percent of Alberta’s electricity generation capacity is from coal and almost 40 percent from natural gas.

...But Nova Scota lacks hydro potential, too. http://www.nspower.ca/site-nsp/media/nspower/NSPI_CustomerEnergyForumBoo...

NSPI owns and operates 2,293 megawatts of generation fuelled by a mix of renewable and fossil fuels... In 2006, 17% of Canadian electricity was produced by coal. 72% of generation will come from coal... Natural gas could represent up to 28% of NSPI’s generation, but because it is generally more expensive, it typically accounts for approximately 15%

There is also a fundamental problem in that Nova Scotia has to import most of its fossil fuels, whereas Alberta is a major exporter.

Until 1999, NSPI used Nova Scotia coal and built its plants to burn that local resource. Today, NSPI imports 85% of its coal

Currently there are limited amounts of natural gas available from offshore Nova Scotia, so further supplies may be required. New supplies may come from future natural gas discoveries off Nova Scotia or from liquefied natural gas (LNG). LNG comes from countries such as Trinidad, Algeria, Norway, and Venezuela.

The Bay of Fundy has been proposed for decades as a solution to Nova Scotia's lack of power resources, but there are problems with it and nothing has really been found that works.

In 2010, Irish company OpenHydro, in partnership with Nova Scotia Power, put a one-megawatt turbine into the water at FORCE’s test site. It lasted about three weeks, surviving only two spring tides before the turbine blades were destroyed.

As I say, this is just a reality check. I looked at the Bay of Fundy issue several decades ago and things don't seem to have gotten any better.

In contrast, the oil sands plants in Alberta are capable of generating a lot more electricity than they need as a byproduct of their operations, and many of the new natural gas power plants in Alberta are really gas cogeneration plants that oil companies are operating next to their oil and gas facilities.


Clearly there are differences: one of these energy sources is renewable whereas the other is not; and one is carbon-intensive and ecologically destructive whereas the other, by comparison, is relatively benign.

With respect to NSP's current generation mix, in 2011, 57 per cent of Nova Scotia's electricity was generated through the burning of coal.

Source: http://www.nspower.ca/en/home/aboutnspower/makingelectricity/default.aspx

Coal's share continues to decline and in 2013 it is projected to drop below 50 per cent. By provincial law, by 2015, 25 per cent of our electricity must be generated through renewable sources and by 2020 that increases to 40 per cent.

Source: http://www.nspower.ca/en/home/environment/ems/timeline.aspx

Nova Scotia is moving aggressively to green its electricity supply and, at the same time, reduce electricity demand through various conservation and energy efficiency initiatives. Thus, both the carbon-intensity of our electricity supply (which is already below that of Alberta) and total carbon emissions will continue to fall year over year.


What would be the effect of tapping a large portion of the tidal energy in the Bay of Fundy? Working on the basis that there is no free lunch (energy-wise or any other way), what would be the ecological impact, say on shorelines, or fishing, salinity/turbidity, or river flows, or even cosmological - would the moon come crashing down into Near-Earth Orbit?

We lived in Darwin (Australia) for ten years, and we had around a 7.5m tidal range. One of the very large natural gas producers (Conoco-Phillips or Woodside) put some tide monitors near where a proposed LNG plant was to be built. I don't think they even lasted a week - the current was seriously strong.

The tidal range at the Bay of Fundy is supposed to be the largest in the world, so it would be bigger than Darwin, although probably not a lot bigger than Darwin. The turbines at Fundy lasted three weeks, and they are going to have to use much tougher equipment if they expect it to survive.

There are also environmental repercussions to these tidal power projects that I don't think they have thought hard enough about. Where you have high stream flows due to changes in sea level, you also have unique environmental conditions that lead to unique creatures living in the flow, and if you run it through turbines you change the environment completely. I was meditating on this last summer looking at the sea creatures living in Skookumchuck Rapids, a similar sort of place on Canada's West coast. Skookumchuck means Big Strong Water in Chinook Indian dialect and Skookum has slipped into English in BC as slang for Big and Strong.

There is a terrific video of a tugboat flipping over in Skookumchuck Narrows, and one of the whitewater kayakers who frequent the Narrows paddling out and rescuing the crew. If you Google the right words, you can probably find it.

Our oil (energy) addiction is proven to kill and pollute globally especially the tarsands in Alberta, but please mind the environment and unknown creatures when trying to exploit a renewable energy source? Hmmm, yeah.

Simply put, tar sands = good; renewable energy = bad. Welcome to the altered reality that is Alberta.


Funny.. I read that as my brother in law sings all the girls to sleep with 'The Cowboy's Lullaby'

There's something of the Yogi Berra philosophy in that proud review on Fundy Bay..

"You can't get any useful power out of those tides, they're way too strong!"

Merry Christmas, folks! I'm back to finishing a last couple of gifties.. 'snever done!

I'm not a marine biologist nor an astrophysicist, so I can't speak to the ecological or cosmological impacts of in-stream tidal generation, but I trust the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) and the Tidal Power Institute at Acadia University will be in a position to answer these questions.

The OpenHydro prototype, which was widely considered a robust design, wasn't long for this world because the operating conditions proved to be far more extreme than originally thought. So, whilst it might be deemed a failure, it did provide us with a much clearer understanding of what would be required to harvest this energy.


Uninformed conjecture:

The current energy flow has to either be going into ocean currents, wave action, or immediately into heat via friction. So extracting some portion of the kinetic energy and converting it to electricity should have some effect on any or all 3 of those. I doubt it would be significant.

Ecological effects might be more severe - it depends how many species now depend on the free flow / exchange of water.

Ultimately, exploiting it should be about as harmless as is possible for power generation. Most comparable to mega-dams (both environmentally and as a result of the vast amount of construction required), although with possibly less impact on the local and downstream ecology.

It wouldn't have any effect on the Moon. The Moon will continue moving slowly farther away from Earth until the Earth is tide-locked or the Sun becomes a red giant (I haven't done the math to decide which will happen first). The energy exchange in that system will continue to happen regardless of our extracting a tiny portion of what has been already dumped into ocean water.

Alberta's oil sands (140,000 km2) cover over twice the area of Nova Scotia (55,284 km2), and the amount of energy in them is vastly greater than anything in Nova Scotia.

You forgot the multiplication! Alberta's oil sands are available only once while the tidal power could be expected to be available for a very long time. The absolutely lowest possible estimate I could come up with would be to multiply by the number of years it will take to mine or extract all Alberta's oil sand.

Failure to implement technology properly ought not determine the future of anything.

There are bright engineers out there who can certainly do it.

No doubt in my mind.

RE the stories about cheap gas for the holidays...gas here went up 20 cents per gallon overnight! Oops. Back up to 3.27 for regular now.

Study Finds Flaws in Pipeline Leak Detection Systems

A forthcoming federal report on pipeline safety has found that members of the general public are more likely to identify oil and gas spills than the pipeline companies’ own leak detection systems.

The report found that pipeline control rooms, which help monitor whether a line is functioning properly, identified leaks in hazardous liquid and gas transmission lines only 17 percent and 16 percent of the time. Control rooms identified leaks in gas distribution pipelines, like those that go into homes or businesses, less than 1 percent of the time, according to the report.

“It has been clear for years that these computerized leak-detection systems don’t work,” said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust and a member of the pipeline agency’s hazardous liquid technical advisory committee, which has reviewed the draft report. “The question for me is why have regulators continued to allow the pipeline industry to keep selling the public on leak detection systems that don’t work as advertised?”

Phillips 66 to remove oil pipeline beneath Bighorn River

"private citizens and emergency responders were typically the most likely to find evidence of a pipeline accident, it concluded."

This is a very interesting report, Seraph. It may also turn out be a very significant report, especially if it catches the attention of urban planners.

Across North America, we have two trends which are highly incompatible: aging pipes and increasing encroachment.
Here in eastern Ontario, it is rather stunning to see a brand-new subdivision of homes in the $600,000 range with back yards only a few meters from Ontario's main transmission line for petroleum products (primarily gasoline).
This 10" pipeline is now in its 7th decade of service with a normal pressure of 1,200 psig (this has been ordered reduced by 20% following a spill in 2010, so the current operating pressure is around 960).

Should a rupture of this pipeline occur, those rear bedrooms would be at extreme risk from a geyser of gasoline, and it is hard to imagine anyone paying that kind of money to subject one's children to such an ongoing risk (one might argue that the risk is ever-increasing, since the line continues to weather the underground elements). My guess is these folks are not fully aware of what's behind their chain-link fence.
I intend to find out what these residents know about the pipeline in their back yards, and what they were told by the subdivision vendors. I have already sent an enquiry to the Ontario regulator to find out what the vendor's obligations are regarding informing prospective buyers, and what sort of waiver/disclaimer the buyer signs (if any). I will post what I learn.

Pipeline companies reassure us that their lines are inspected regularly, that their state-of-the art detection systems will spot corrosion, dents and other anomalies, and that these problems will be corrected long before they present a threat. Companies also tell us that their SCADA systems will immediately detect a significant leak (and certainly a complete rupture) and that their remote-control block valves will close off the flow within a couple of minutes.

If nearby residents are indeed the most effective "leak detectors" that we have (ie. more likely to spot things first, ahead of first responders or pipeline computers) then we would do well to ensure these human "leak detectors" are not permitted to sleep atop transmission pipelines, and need to be located at a prudent distance.

Ten metres is not an acceptable setback for residential homes, and it is absurdly unacceptable for an elementary school.
I will try to post the photo of one school whose classroom wall is 33' (10 m) from the same, old gasoline pipeline (I'm a computer klutz but my brother will help me figure it out). If anyone is aware of a school (or other "high-impact" facility) which is closer than 33' to a transmission pipeline, I would certainly appreciate more info.

Concentrated Solar Power with Thermal energy Storage can Help Utilities' Bottom Line, Study Shows

The report found that CSP with a six-hour storage capacity can lower peak net loads when the sun isn't shining, enough to add $35.80 per megawatt hour to the capacity and operational value of the utility, compared to photovoltaic (PV) solar power alone, and even higher extra value when compared to CSP without storage. The net load is the normal load minus variable renewables such as photovoltaic and wind.

The additional value comes because thermal storage allows CSP to displace more expensive gas-fired generation during peak loads, rather than displacing lower-priced coal; and because it can continue to flatten the peak load in the evenings when PV isn't contributing to the mix because the sun has set.

Simulating the Value of Concentrating Solar Power with Thermal Energy Storage in a Production Cost Model

Use of CSP with at least six hours storage could really knock down peak electric power production now done by nat. gas fired plants. In the center of the US the peak load is 4 to 6 pm when many businesses are still open and people are running their home AC at max. Although last summer the period occasionally extended until 8 or 9 pm when temps finally dropped below 100 F here in Missouri. The days of maximum electric power draw are nearly cloudless and at the sun's highest point midday (June through mid August), so CSP would make sence. The main deterrant to build CSP is the high capital cost versus the lower cost for nat. gas (capital & operating). When nat. gas prices return to "normal" price of $6 to $8 per mmbtu, CSP may be competitive.

Up to 30,000 drones to be deployed, some for Air Force spying on Americans: why not use them to monitor pipelines, oil rigs, and spills instead?

Dredd - Pipelines, etc have been monitored by airborne surveillance for decades. If you pass a p/l you might notice periodic markers designed to be read from the air. They are monitored by private contractors as well as by state and fed agencies. Twice I've been on choppers flying in from an offshore rig that spotted/reported ruptures on NG p/l's.

Unfortunately this surveillance only helps after something goes wrong. Lots of airborne surveillance of the BP nightmare but not much good other than documenting the magnitude of the damage.


But that was not done by unmanned drones.

The law allowing them was passed this Feb. and the FAA has not developed the regs yet.

People have been not using drones for hundreds of years. ;)

Why not use drones to patrol animal reserves? Even if they just riddled poachers with bruising multi-colored paint balls, it would be easy to spot them later for arrest.

Why not install a chip on every human being at birth? We are pretty much monitored 24/7 anyway. Amazing how easily we slipped into accepting what used to be science fiction ala 1984. I want mini drones that fly around shopping malls and fry the brains of shop lifters.

Alyeska monitors the Alaska pipeline immediately north of Fairbanks with daily helicopter flights. If the observer sees something of interest they can land and get a closer look, something impossible with drones.


I'm hoping to glean some insights from the many Oil Drummers who follow things more closely than I, and who live and keep an eye on different parts of the globe.

Here's my question: What were the most significant developments in the areas of climate and/or energy in 2012? What constitutes "significant" is up to you. Feel free to explain your choices or not.

Fair being fair, here's my modest list.

1. Rapidly disappearing late spring/ early summer land based snow cover in northern parts of North America. Huge areas of land now absorbing much higher amounts of heat due to the change in albedo. As someone who worries about positive climate feedbacks, this was maybe the most shocking story of the year.

2. Drought in North America. Especially as a possible sign of a future climate pattern, the scale and severity of the drought left me in awe. One of the world's key agricultural areas badly impacted.

3. China's growth in CO2 emissions - about 10% year-on-year. Even though I knew emissions growth has been high in China for many years, reading about this left me seriously pessimistic. The rate of growth in CO2 emissions doesn't seem to be meaningfully slowing even as the per capita level reaches the range of many industrialized countries. And the sheer size of the emissions base that that 10% is based on. And given that the global economy has been relatively weak.

This year added another record low in sea-ice extent, continuing a trend which has been underway for more than 10 years...

E. Swanson

On behalf of my fellow Joes (not really!)...

Climate: Not much change; we Joes continue to view change on a local level only and but for a few days here and there that seem a little odd (probably not even that), the world continues to turn, the sun continues to burn. The fate of the polar bears? Someone else's department.

Energy: Just the usual; price hikes/taxes. Year on year on year. No dots to join, just the bloody government to blame. Oh, and the "green-teeth" have been chewing on the same bone for too long, dulled significantly. Ho hum.

My 2c.

Cheers, Matt

The distortion of jet stream patterns as a result of polar ice melt has meant longer and more severe periods of drought in some places and storms in other places. This, as much as anything on your list, appears to be an ominous sign of things to come.

I reserve the right to change my answer later...but my first blush response is Sandy. I know I am perhaps biased by the fact that it happened recently (like no one remembers the movies released early in the year when it comes time to vote for Academy Awards), and it's probably less of a story to those who don't live in the area, but to my mind, Hurricane/Superstorm/Hybrid Storm Sandy was the big story for climate and energy this year.

Places flooded that never flooded before. The fragility of the oil transportation lines was revealed when the damaged ports and pipelines resulted in crazy lines and Republicans ordering rationing.

Perhaps worst of all was the damage to the power infrastructure. IMO, this was the greatest hardship for people outside the immediate flood zone. People could and did take care of trees that blocked roads if there were no power lines involved, but if there were power lines, they had to wait until the power company did it. For some people, it meant their neighborhoods were cut off, at least for cars.

It also shut down NYC's vast transportation system.

Surveys suggest that Sandy's impact has actually changed people's minds about climate change. Who knows if it will last, but I'm hoping Sandy, after Irene last year, will encourage some much needed changes.

I think I'm going to agree with Leanan here. As someone who lived and worked in The Big Apple for more than a decade before moving down to Hurricane Alley in South Florida, I still have friends in NYC. I think there has definitely been a significant change in their attitude regarding the possibility that climate change may indeed be real and that it is already having an impact today and not in some far distant future. I get the feeling that people are not buying the story that this is just a once in a lifetime occurrence and that they can let their guard down because life will be back to normal soon.

Of course it could be just my friends...

I actually had a New Yorker apologize to me, when I predicted the flooding of the subway system.
He insisted it would not happen.
I think it was a wake up call.

Midwest drought. Second year in a row, also the second very hot year in a row here. It may not have made big news yet, but eventually the world will work through excess food inventory and the news will notice it.

The growing gap between WTI and Brent: oil sold in the US and in Europe. While WTI and Brent used to play leapfrog, there is a 30% gap now. Moreover: Brent future trade has beaten WTI recently in volume, however brent is the more expensive option! This might be seen as the first sign of deglobalisation. There is no longer something like the one and only global oil price.

Actually, WTI (and any related Mid-continent index) is the only real anomaly (I believe that virtually all other prices are over $100), and insofar as the actual oil market is concerned, WTI is only relevant to Mid-continent producers and refiners. Mid-continent refiners are paying WTI based prices for crude, but largely charging Brent based prices for refined products.

Well, Jeff Masters has a pretty good top ten list up right now:

But he leaves off one that still makes my jaw drop - the March heat wave...

Summer in March 2012: records not merely smashed, but obliterated
Among the 15,000 daily records for warmth set in March 2012 were 21 truly astonishing ones: cases where the low temperature for the day beat the previous high temperature for the day. It is quite rare for a weather station with a 50+ year period of record to break a daily temperature record by more than 10°F. During "Summer in March, 2012", beating daily records by 10° - 20°F was commonplace, and NOAA lists 44 cases where a daily record was broken by more than 22°F. Extraordinarily, four stations broke a record for the date by 30°F or more. Canada holds the most surreal record of this nature during the "Summer in March, 2012" heat wave: Western Head, Nova Scotia hit 29.2°C (85°F) on March 22, breaking their previous record for the date (10.6°C in 1969) by 18.6°C (33.5°F.) Canada also had several stations break their all-time warmest April temperature records in March.



Low temperatures beating previous high temperature records for the date
I've never seen a case where the low temperature for the date beat the previous record high. This happened on at least four occasions during "Summer in March, 2012":

The low temperature at Marquette, Michigan hit 52° on March 21, which was 3° warmer than the previous record high for the date.

The low at Mt. Washington, NH on March 21 (44°) beat the previous record high for the date (43°.)

The low temperature for International Falls, Minnesota on March 20 bottomed out at 60°F, tying the previous record high for the date.

The low temperature in Rochester, Minnesota on March 18 was 62°F, which beat the previous record high for the date of 60°.

Breaking all-time April records for warmth in March
Not only did many locations in Canada set records for their all-time warmest March day during "Summer in March, 2012", a number also broke their record for warmest April day:

St. John, New Brunswick hit 27.2°C (81°F) on March 21. Previous March record: 17.5°C on March 21, 1994. April record: 22.8°C.

Kejimkujik Park, Nova Scotia hit 27.9°C on March 21. Previous March record: 22.5°C on March 30, 1986. April record: 25°C on April 27, 1990.

These are snippets(my bold), there is MUCH more data - go look at his archives, and those of weather historian Chris Burt: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/archive.html?year=2012...

If you don't believe/think/understand that we have kicked the climate badly out of whack, then you simply aren't paying attention.

What amazed me was how soon the ice out records in our area were smashed after the exceptionally warm spring we had in 2010. In 2010, ice was off Opeongo Lake, the largest lake in Algonquin Park, on April 7, a week earlier than anytime during the previous 50 years. This record was utterly smashed again in 2012 with an official ice out date of March 29. This is a lake which used to frequently stay frozen well into May, as late as May 15. You can see a graph of the ice records at http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/news/ice-out.php The trend towards earlier ice out dates is evident.

Yes. One of the posts in Masters' archives regards ice on the Great Lakes. Down 71% since the 70's. Similar to your report from Algonquin, records from Lake George in the Adirondacks show that freeze-over/ice-out have been coming ever closer together over the last 100+ yrs. Winters of no total freeze - with open water all winter - began to appear frequently in the 90's. The county DPW site which had these records has taken them down, just like the local paper has stopped publishing daily historic normal temps. I guess we wouldn't want any actual evidence to be available for those not long enough in the tooth to just recognize this stuff...

Edit - my scepticism was too sharp. Lake George ice records transferred from DPW to a private institute. Here's the link: http://www.lakegeorgeassociation.org/who-we-are/FAQ.asp#icein

It's incomplete, and trend perhaps not clear, but 100+ days of ice hasn't happened since '94, and used to every 5-10 years, and the string of 'did not freeze completely' years over the past two decades is unprecedented.

Pretty remarkable list Masters put together, especially considering it only covers the U.S.

If I were to add to the original three I posted, the shifting jet stream, the record arctic sea ice decline, super storm Sandy, and the crazy March heat wave would be right up there.

Another contender for my 2012 list would be possible early signs of large scale methane releases in the arctic. Although I don't know what to make of the reliability of the data, the implications of any such development are huge.

On a slightly different note, I would say the fertilizing of the north Pacific by some rogue character to demonstrate CO2 capture might deserve to be on the list too, if only because of what it might foreshadow.


It was the snubbing of global warming induced climate change at Doha, Qatar by the epigovernment which condemned the billions of people on the Earth to more killing, maiming, and destroying by a global climate system that continues to be tortured in the name of Oil-Qaeda.

From the last listed article above:

So, step by step, I went full circle. If, at the beginning, I was more worried about depletion than about climate, now it is the reverse. Not that I stopped worrying about peak oil, I know very well that we are in deep trouble with the availability not just of oil, but of all mineral resources. But the recent events; the melting of the polar ice cap, hurricanes, droughts, wildfires and all the rest clearly show that the climate problem is taking a speed and a size that was totally unexpected just a few years ago.

I'm in the same camp. Initially becoming aware of peak oil and being sure it would hit us first, followed later by climate chaos. However, I am of the opinion now due to what happened in the Arctic this past melt season and other climate chaos type events in 2012, that climate change is barreling towards us at a much faster pace than oil depletion and the results will be much more perilous.

In regards to peak oil, the super wealthy will always have a steady supply of energy, and although the ranks of the poor may increase, people are amazing at just how little they can subsist on with the example of the billion that live on less than a dollar a day.

However, in regards to climate change, at some threshold of rising temps crop yields will be decimated and without sufficient food sources, well I'll let you fill in the rest.

After neutralizing the wind with windmills and calming the seas to pond status with current and wave motion generators, we will smother in our own filth as pollution falls out of the sky to settle on a deserving population.

As usual, the ones who will suffer the most don't deserve it.

That's got to be the most far fetched doom scenario I've heard here in a while - and that's saying a lot.

He forgot to mention the fact that all these new solar panels are sucking the light out of the Sun.


Guess that explains solar dimming >;-)

Those kilometer high mountains scattered all around the globe, the trillions of large trees with large branches, even the skyscrapers we build hundreds of meters up towards the clouds. You'd think they would have stopped the wind thousands if not millions of years ago, right? No, but windturbines surely will! You know, those ugly spinning things with the thin blades and smooth towers...

I think you should think about water flow in a pipe. The velocity is highest in the center, and zero at the walls. Adding trees, windturbines, mountains, buildings etc. is like adding roughness to the wall -or perhaps adding some short hairs to the wall. Current still flows (in response to a pressure difference between the ends of the pipe). The velocity is reduced somewhat, especially near the wall, but the flow goes on. This is very similar to decreasing the pipe diameter a bit.
Now those pressure diffs are driven by temperature diffs in the atmosphere, they aren't going away. So we will still have wind. Of course the winds redistribute heat, so maybe we change the the way heat if transported in the atmosphere? Now what about rotating storms. These are very much like a whirlpool. Without internal resistance (viscosity), a whirlpool is a steady state phenomena, pressure diffs (as seen by the change in height of the surface) balance out centripetal forces, and they just spin and spin. So we are adding to the viscosity, which slowly drains energy from the whirlpool. Drain the energy (kinetic motion of the swirl, and potential height changes of the surface), and the whirlpool gets slower and shallower over time. So what we may be doing if we built lots and lots of WTs, is allow storms after they've lost there driving force (like a hurricane that has come ashore), to wind down a big quicker than otherwise.

Reminds me of a scene from the movie "The Rounders' starring Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda. Fonda's character was telling a lady friend about his former life on the farm. It went something like this"

Yup, we had a windmill on the farm. As matter of fact we had two windmills. Had to tear one of them down though. Wasn't enough wind for both of them.

Ron P.

The way I see it, wind is driven by pressure differences (which are ultimately driven by temperature differences). Windmills slow the flow of air, but don't change the pressure difference, which must still be equalized. So the wind gets more sluggish but blows for longer, rather like emptying a tank through a smaller pipe.

Wind would also tend to divert over or around the windmill obstacles.

Processtechnology was part of my physics training, I know about (non)laminar flows. The idea that wind will go away because we have windturbines is propostorous. The diameter of the pipe (the wall being the earth's surface) is about 10 km (the troposphere). No way even 200 meter high monster windturbines will make much difference on global wind. Locally yes, globally no.

The flatten the ocean hypothesis was worse, especially given the amount of wave based power generation currently employed.

I'm also in this camp. I thought climate change's effects would not be a problem in my lifetime. It's looking like I was wrong on that.

Ugo said:

We know that humans have lived for thousands of years without using fossil fuels, but they never lived in a world where the atmosphere contained more than 400 parts per million of CO2 - as we are going to have to. We don't even know if it will be possible for humans to survive in such a world.

We have not discussed this, and Ugo doesn't usually read the Drumbeat, but that's very similar to something I said a couple of months ago:

Peak oil is probably not an existential threat to Homo sapiens. We evolved without fossil fuels and can probably continue without them. But climate change...that threatens to turn the earth into a world we have never existed in...did not evolve to exist in.

No, I'm not planning to forsake the Drumbeat in favor of ClimateBeat or something. Climate change is getting plenty of attention, and peak oil is not getting enough. But I do think climate is looking like the more urgent problem (and they are not unrelated, as Ugo also points out).

I'll add another voice in agreement. I expect climate change to really screw things up fairly soon, while it seems to me that high energy prices are very effective at getting companies to find more energy and people to use less. While I expect the economies of the developed world to never be better, there does seem to be enough coal, gas, and oil (mostly coal) for China and other developing countries to make serious jumps in lifestyle. If things get bad enough, we will just turn coal into liquids. The technology exists for industrial civilization to continue in some form for a while, it's now clearly zero-sum but the game isn't over.

The arctic ice melt is the big eye opener for me this year. Looking at the trends suggests an ice-free arctic quite soon. Do we really, really think this isn't going to change things? Something will give, the arctic is just too big for it to go and everyone to just shrug and look for mineable and drillable resources... Problems will come up.

I think this is the last hurrah of industrialism, but I am starting to think it will not be oil that is the main cause of decline.

"I expect climate change to really screw things up fairly soon, while it seems to me that high energy prices are very effective at getting companies to find more energy and people to use less."

You are being chased by a hungry lion and a hungry grizzly bear...which one are you concerned about?

It's a false choice - they are both going to eat you. If one manages to catch you, it just makes it that much easier for the other to catch up and start feasting too.

I will admit that I've been surprised at the apparent climate shift, likely caused by the change in sea ice, and the rapid nature of the change. To perch PO on a shelf just because we've been hit with a flurry of Climate Change activity is folly though.

The oil situation is as dangerous as ever. OPEC countries are using more internally and needing a higher price to satisfy their budgets, China and India still aspire to American standards, economies though are relatively weak and have caused prices overall to stall - which appears to have curtailed an amount of investment.

1:09 - 1:45 http://youtu.be/kkzlbkkKT3g Driver induced oscillation of a large tour-styled bus. (btw, if you want a reason to never leave your house again start with compilation #1) This is what happens with lag. If all of the talk of rosy scenarios in the shale and tight oil plays and talk of the weakness of demand around the world is being taken seriously and causing companies to throttle back on expansion plans then there's a potential situation set up where the tight oil does not live up to expectations and demand does not drop as much as expected...and then the lack of investment catches up - oil price spike, economies crashing everywhere. Economic crash drives oil price so low that even more investment is pulled back - splat.

As I mentioned elsewhere it might be seen that in relative terms that oil is not flat (to slightly rising), but declining. Adding more population and more addicted users of oil to a flat resource creates a relative downward-ness (a per-capita look). On top of the raw numbers, the new oil is more costly to produce - so the flat could be adjusted downwards in that respect. It seems unlikely that factoring in the efficiency of use would improve the outlook (making products = efficient...burning in cars = not efficient).

I do think 2012 will have been a turning point in the public's acceptance of climate change. I tend agree with you and Hillco above that the most important events of the year have been Sandy and the midwest drought. While the science is obviously crucial, it is also easily ignored. But the local impacts do seem to be making an impact on people's thinking. In this regard, the drought has brought the pain into the global stronghold of climate deniers. Hitting them in the wallet will probably have more impact that all of the scientific studies combined, right or wrong.

I have long thought that climate change would be an existential threat well before my interest in peak oil. My main interest in peak oil was the hope that it would peak soon and decline, thus lessening one more source of carbon. Yeh, we can go to other things like coal, but belief in peak oil was beginning to force people to think seriously and do something about alternatives. Well, right when we are getting some interest in hybrids and EVs, and alternative forms of transportation, we seem to have at least a temporary surge in oil supplies. This does not negate the general belief in peak oil but it means that leaders will relax a bit and push the problem down the road like they do everything else.

No, I'm not planning to forsake the Drumbeat in favor of ClimateBeat or something

I agree, the focus should be PO. PO is a much more predictable and definite threat than climate change, frankly at this point I don't think much can be done about the climate change, the ball is now rolling and will not stop because humans want it to and it's not just climate change, it's the destruction of ecosystems as well. We have no idea how it's going to play out. The best one can do is to burn less CO2 and be conservative in everything. It's much better to focus our limited resources on brainstorming how to tackle PO. The positive side effect being that most PO mitigation efforts are the same as climate change mitigation efforts.

Thanks again for the video.

No problem. I dug it out from the comments section on "skeptical science".

I hear you, but you can do little about Earth's climate changing other than talk about it. If that helps you, then fine, but we are all spectators now. The damage has been done. (I may hold the only positive advantage for increasing CO2 in the atmosphere: it makes it easier to detect on the instruments we make to measure it. A very small consolation prize, of course.)

BTW, most of the 'doomers' on this site are actually realists, and those who continue to hope for better times or a way out of our predicament judge this to be doom. Well, of course, the reality is we are a doomed species. The apparent speed of its approach is both worrisome and unnerving, I guess.

I hear you, but you can do little about Earth's climate changing other than talk about it.

There are a huge number of unexamined assumptions in that statement, which is repeated in one way or another on about every forum of intelligent folks.

I'm just passing by today, but didn't want to let it pass un-noted.

I agree that "realists" usually get tagged with the "doomer" name, but there are realists and then there are realists. How far outside our comfort zones do we ever go? There's still huge freedom left in how the systems play out. The trends aren't encouraging to say the least... but it hasn't happened yet. What right do we have to assume that nothing can be done?

And in keeping with the season...

Ebenezer: [to the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come] I am standing in the presence of the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come? And you're going to show me the shadows of things that have not yet happened but will happen? Spirit of the Future, I fear you more than any spectre I have met tonight! But even in my fear, I must say that I am too old! I cannot change! I cannot! It's not that I'm inpenitent, it's just... Wouldn't it be better if I just went home to bed?

Ebenezer: No? Well, very well. Lead on.

greenish, besides myself, that view has been deduced and discussed by James Lovelock in his latest popular books, "Revenge of Gaia" etc. The view is also held by James Hansen, "Storms of My Grandchildren" and in similar public statements. Guy McPherson has made some summary remarks recently here: http://guymcpherson.com/2012/11/speaking-in-louisville-and-a-couple-essays/ The theme is human extinction, near term, and the culprit is warming and climate change. Humans started the ball rolling. We are collectively going to learn a serious lesson about inertia in the ocean-atmosphere-cryosphere-biosphere-lithosphere system.

“Thus human beings are now carrying out a large scale geophysical experiment of a kind that could not have happened in the past nor be reproduced in the future. Within a few centuries we are returning to the atmosphere and oceans the concentrated organic carbon stored in sedimentary rocks over hundreds of millions of years. This experiment, if adequately documented, may yield a far-reaching insight into the processes determining weather and climate. It therefore becomes of prime importance to attempt to determine the way in which carbon dioxide is partitioned between the atmosphere, the oceans, the biosphere and the lithosphere.”
--Roger Revelle and Hans E. Suess, “Carbon Dioxide Exchange Between Atmosphere and Ocean and the Question of an Increase of Atmospheric CO2 during the Past Decades,” Tellus IX (1957)pp. 19-20.

Not meaning to pick on you, D3, but with many publicly giving up, it is perhaps not inappropriate for me to point out here from time to time that it isn't knowably true that we will burn it all. I will argue on this site that it's an undeserved indulgence to just go "oh well" and become spectators, without leaving our personal comfort zones. Hell, without giving our lives to prevent it. (Obviously this is a general statement and not directed at you personally, you're just the most recent person to state it succinctly here.)

I'm fully briefed on the arguments; they are the central fact of my life. And the potential is definitely there to end much of the web of life the planet has supported, including our own species.

Certainly, some prominent authorities have made the jump to fatalism and spectatorship, so arguing from their authority is a winner, but those academics may or may not be able to conceive of everything which is possible to conceive. Some of them may in fact be so dysfunctional in the real world as to not be able to buy their own shoes or cook a meal. The reductionist/specialist nature of "expertise" in current culture is one of the boxes we impose on our thinking. Just because a person has done some smart stuff, it doesn't mean they're right about all things. Kurzweil made a good synth, but his robot body ain't happening.

Academics are often spectacularly poor strategists.

There were certainly people who felt that England could never withstand Germany in WWII. But reality is granular and path-dependent, and does not depend entirely upon human enlightenment and democracy. It isn't always nice. I agree that the scenario of Hansen is credible if nothing is done. It's simply not the only scenario possible. Indeed, Hansen is vociferous that that scenario be avoided at all costs, and would presumably say so here if he logged in.

That carbon isn't burned until it's burned. It may be that we have passed positive-feedback tipping points and the whole thing is now unstoppable, or it may not be. Our species doesn't deserve the solace of that sort of certain futility. Maybe Lovelock does individually at his age, but it's an irresponsible meme to bandy about because it's tailor-made to be the next one embraced by BAU. It will go straight from "there's no problem" to "it's all over, we have to adapt". Nihilism with regard to planetary destruction is insidious, and it appeals to intellectuals for many reasons, not the least of which is that it obviates all but talking.

So yes, burning of buried carbon is the main existential challenge of our world and species. But it ain't over yet, and better not be.

How bad is it going to be, really? In numbers? What will 4 to 6 degrees Celsius do to humans?

Serious question. I've read IPCC AR4 Working Group II (impacts and adaptation), and what-else I can find in a haphazard search on the internet, and there really isn't much that can be taken seriously. (I suppose I have to say here that I've read Lynas's Six Degrees and I fully accept the science. It's happening, it's us, and it's going to go to at least four degrees Celsius increase in the global average.)

But what, exactly, will the changes mean to people? The numbers I've seen are vague to the point of uselessness, and the studies all appear to assume we won't take any steps to adapt. Which is ludicrous: we already are taking some of those steps.

Take food as an example. Wikipedia tells us (and I've seen the same things in papers by Ag. experts) that China's agricultural productivity, tons per acre or tonnes per hectare, is about 2/3 that of the USA's, and India's is about 1/3 of the USA's. The difference is due to things like farmers being told what to grow and how to grow it, regulated crop prices, and unregulated credit markets (vicious loan sharking). Farmers have no incentives to grow more than they do. As for Africa, the comparison is a joke. Maybe five percent of the US and EU average yield? Again, the problem is a political one of incentives.

There is potential to triple food production, should we want to. Even in the face of dramatically worse climatic conditions, and even without breeding crops to withstand higher temperatures and drier conditions. Which breeding has already begun.

As a result I have trouble seeing hunger as a climate problem. It's what it has always been: a problem of income distribution, politics. Poor people can't pay enough to compete with biofuel users and other wasteful consumption, and they can't invest in tools to increase their own food production. Mali now, Ethiopia in the 1970s, India in the 1870s, Ireland in the 1840s and '50s -- famines have always been about a lack of income and of political power. People probably will starve in millions, as they have before. But that will be the fault of their political elites, not of climate change.

As for other impacts of climate change:-

Yes, most natural ecosystems are history, under a death sentence. But that's only speeding up something we would have achieved next century anyway. Sorry to be unsentimental, but humans are bad animals. Welcome to the Erimocene ("new desert", or "new age of solitude"). But: how badly will the loss of natural ecosystems affect humans? There are a few guesses, but the ones I've seen assume people will blindly go on trying to do what they did last century. That won't happen.

Floods, storms, sea level rise, heat waves, and so on: we'll cope. We'll protect some buildings, tear down others and replace them out of harm's way. Yes, there will be deaths, but not nearly as many as we inflict on ourselves through smoking, over-eating, and driving badly: 12-15 million a year. Those aren't causing the collapse of civilization now. The forecast increases in diarrheal disease and other waterborne diseases aren't very big compared to the current incidences, either. And the forecasts don't allow for people and countries getting richer.

If world economic growth continues at 1% per year (less than a quarter of what the World Bank thinks), the world in 80 years will be more than twice as rich as now. People alive then should be able to afford protection from the problems--air conditioners, flood barriers, stronger buildings, vaccinations, and so on. (If economic growth doesn't continue at at least that pace, that problem will likely get us all before climate change does.)

The impact estimates I have been able to find so far are fundamentally unserious (especially AR4 WGII's numbers). They seem to be intended to create a feeling of unease, rather than to document the scale of the problem. I haven't yet found an overview of the likely scenarios including probable adaptation.

So: what numbers am I missing? Why is it that everyone talks in tones of doom about four degrees of climate change, but I can't find anything more than imprecise and completely unrealistic numbers on the problems?

To repeat: this is a serious request for serious numeric estimates of the damage to human lives. If you know of a study that makes due allowance for adaptation, please link to it.

What will 4 to 6 degrees Celsius do to humans?

Northern USA and parts of Canada might be warmer and more productive (assuming that precipitation patterns are not totally distorted - a big assumption), but much of the world would be totally screwed. A very large part of Australia (a major food exporter) would essentially become uninhabitable, including much of its food production area ... we're already a very hot-climate continent, and generally dry.

An individual human can live with 4-6C increase (albeit very uncomfortably in many parts of the world), but not billions of humans, all else being equal - peak oil, peak water, peak food.

Wow gregvp, you sure are optimistic about what people and crops can endure.

Agreed, Perk Earl. I wonder what the farmers in The U.S. Corn Belt would say. After all, they lost 40% of their crop this year. I suppose it was simply a matter of mismanagement...

Well, perhaps I'm just up too late, but this seems kind of crazy to me. Crop productivity is/will be limited by soil and aquifer depletion, by shifts in pests, by shortages of fertilizer, amendments, pesticides as everything changes. Politics and economics will have little impact on what we have put in motion.

And although we like to think differently, we are dependent upon intact ecosystems. From micro-organisms to plants to megafauna, everything has its place. As we drive them to extinction, ecosystems break down. We won't be pushing Star Trek buttons and having food whoosh out of the wall...

We are but naked apes, and our biggest enemy is our big brains.

"If world economic growth continues at 1% per year (less than a quarter of what the World Bank thinks), the world in 80 years will be more than twice as rich as now."

How can a world facing increasing environmental damage and climate uncertainty, plus decreasing energy and other natural resources continue to show economic growth, even at 1%? Not bloody likely.

"If economic growth doesn't continue at at least that pace, that problem will likely get us all before climate change does."

Bingo. But I'm even wondering if climate change may still get us first. It's nonlinear, and the changes observed are accelerating.

If you are thinking 7+ billion people are going to continue to muddle through with these problems (overshoot), well, maybe us humans are indeed special, but it doesn't work that way for the rest of the biosphere, as any basic ecology text will teach you.

To repeat: this is a serious request for serious numeric estimates of the damage to human lives.

This is probably a good a place as any to start: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/earth_overshoot_day/

The fact that we are using, or “spending,” our natural capital faster than it can replenish is similar to having expenditures that continuously exceed income. In planetary terms, the costs of our ecological overspending are becoming more evident by the day. Climate change—a result of greenhouse gases being emitted faster than they can be absorbed by forests and oceans—is the most obvious and arguably pressing result. But there are others—shrinking forests, species loss, fisheries collapse, higher commodity prices and civil unrest, to name a few. The environmental and financial crises we are experiencing are symptoms of looming catastrophe. Humanity is simply using more than what the planet can provide.

As for:

I haven't yet found an overview of the likely scenarios including probable adaptation.

Try this: http://www.clubofrome.org/?p=326

BTW, there is no guarantee that adaptation will actually be possible if we continue on our current path.


In the Global Dimming video of yesterday's Drumbeat they said that particulates and aerosols had dimmed the sunlight by about 20% over the last fifty years, according to direct measurement by light meters, and inferred from reduced evaporation rates (evaporation depends principally on sunlight knocking water molecules into the air).

I'm wondering if there has been any decreased agricultural productivity as a result. Possibly it has been masked by increased fertilizer use etc.

A drier world, it seems to me, must be a dustier world, and dimming could have even more influence on crops.

Re: Shell's Ormen Lange gas field halted due to glitch

Flow on the Langeled pipeline into the UK has dropped from 70 to about 30 mcm/day. Difference currently being made up from Long Range Storage. Shouldn't be a problem as demand is not especially high and it is not particularly cold (just very wet and windy).

Defective prose or intentional trickiness?

"Wind-turbine installations are poised to exceed natural gas-fueled power plants in the U.S. for the first time this year as developers race to complete projects before a renewable energy tax credit expires.
New wind capacity reached 6,519 megawatts by Nov. 30, beating the 6,335 megawatts of gas additions and more than double those of coal, according to data from Ventyx Inc., which is owned by the Swiss power transmission equipment maker ABB Ltd. The company plans to release final tallies in January."

I'm not sure I understand your point. Is it that they are using capacity to compare when they actual production would be much different making gas much larger? If so, I think it is neither defective prose or intentional trickiness, but instead that the journalist just doesn't understand the nuances.

Also the language was poorly used, talking about generation (presumably capacity), when they meant additional capacity. Then of course apples vrs oranges, i.e. nameplate of A is not equivalent to nameplate of B.

The capacity factors of neither the wind nor natural gas systems is specified. The natural gas plants could be peaking plants that only operate during periods of high demand.

Yeah, we could be nitpicking about capacity factors or what not, but I'm sure the point is that a lot of wind capacity has been installed this year. And how do you visualize that to the audience? Well, one option is to compare it to other generation sources...

There ought to be a law!

I just finished watching a 4 part video, about 53 minutes total, titled The Oil Crash of 2013. It had nothing to do with any oil crash and the year 2013 was not even mentioned during the entire video. The video was composed of clips filmed from six to eight years ago. Matt Simmons was one of the prime contributors to the dialogue. It was about oil and peak oil but was not really very good and contained nothing that we had not all heard many times before. I kept watching because I kept waiting for the stuff about the crash of 2013. Nothing even remotely resembling anything about a crash or 2013 was ever presented.

So don't waste your time if you happen to come across the link. It just ain't worth it.

Ron P.

Yes, there seems to be an increasing cultural trend to envision some sort of crash or calamity right around the corner.

Witness the 2012 thingie.

Some folks expressed 'crash concern' about the advent of the year 2000...a smaller fraction about the advent of 2001.

Of course there was stuff such as 'the Late Great Planet Earth' and the like back in the '70s.

I will throw my prediction bet in with the likes of Greer and Leanan and envision long, drawn-out changes, replete with some level periods, and maybe even a few very short false glimmers of a return to BAU for brief periods.

The only large-scale fast-acting disruptions I can think of are a medium or large-scale WMD exchange, an asteroid, or a sudden breakout of widespread large-region vulcanism.

I rather like Rockman's "Peak Oil Dynamic" (POD), which incorporates a myriad of influences, limitations and feedbacks in combination with the human condition to form a comprehensive view of what is happening and why it is happening.

At least, that's my interpretation of his concept.

The "no regrets policy" :
transition away from fossil fuel, as we won't regret this move because if oil depletion doesn't get us then global warming caused by GHG's likely will.
That is the essence of Bardi's conversion, IMO.

...As opposed to the "No Worries" policy that is in play now?


I like it. What me worry is the Alfred E Neuman policy.

In debt we trust,Global QE4ever and ever, Amen.

From link above. U.S. Oil Rigs Decline by Most Since 1992 in Baker Hughes Count

The oil count declined last quarter for the first time since 2009 as more efficient drilling operations boosted crude supplies to near a 12-year high and a drop in crude prices curbed companies’ demand for rigs.

This must mean that $80-90/barrel is some kind of floor below which some drillers think it isn't worth the marginal effort to drill a well. So unless there's another depression, the price of WTI is likely going up in 2013.

Frugal - One of the funniest statements I've read in months: "The oil count declined last quarter...as more efficient drilling operations boosted crude supplies to near a 12-year high. Not once in my 37 years have I seen one operator not drill a well because his operations have become more efficient. There are only three reasons an operator doesn't drill a prospect in his inventory. 1) can't get the lease; 2) doesn't have the capex; 3) it's not economic under current conditions.

IMHO the rig count drop is two fold: decreased economic justification with the slide in prices and a shortage of credit/capex.

Yes that is a convoluted statement - you have become so efficient at doing business that you don't have to do it anymore.

Yes, the profitability of the Bakken producers did not increase as much as previous during oil prices increases over the last couple years. Costs must be running too high. I do not expect US oil production to decrease next year based upon a slight change in rig counts. My guess is that it could plateau in 2014 if oil prices stay under $100.

Search for IHS cera cost index and you can see capital costs are at record levels.


When they mentioned operational efficiency could they talking about the increased use of drilling pads and their ability to drill more wells per rig? To me this would lessen the demand for rigs. I feel that they are not talking increased efficiency of the wells but the drilling rigs themselves.

Petroguy – I’m sure pad drilling and longer laterals have improved efficiencies. But rig demand is based on one simple metric: how many locations are operators ready to drill. In the Bakken I have no doubt there are thousands of leased drill site so no lack of places to poke a hole right now. The rig demand is based on how many rigs operators need to drill the wells that meet their economic criteria. And the last control is capex availability. So simply there are numerous leased Bakken site available to drill and rigs available to drill them. That leaves two reasons for less drilling activity IMHO: lack of capex or lack of economic value of the remaining locations.

Improved drilling efficiency means drilling the same number of wells in a shorter time period and not drilling fewer wells. If they sudden cut the time to drill a Bakken well in half then we would see twice as many wells being drilled…not fewer. But the BIG IF that goes with that statement: if companies have economically viable locations to drill and if they have the capital.

Oh ok thanks!

There some news articles that say that thanks to newer pad drilling rigs each rig can drill more wells than the older ones. Thus operators don't need as many rigs to complete the same amount of wells.

Not that it is necessarily correct but could this explain why despite the number of oil drilling rigs in the Bakken declining over the past few months the rate of the number of wells completed has remained constant? Is there a lag between the decline in drilling rigs and well completion rate?

I found a great article mentioning this:


...Officials expect strong growth for another decade, but there have been a few signs recently that the rapid industry development has created an inflationary environment that could cool the boom a bit.

For example, Occidental Petroleum Corp. said in October that it was reducing the number of drilling rigs it was operating in North Dakota to four from 14, citing rising "cost pressures." A company spokeswoman said it was shifting money to California and West Texas.

Bold is Mine.

P-guy: “Is there a lag between the decline in drilling rigs and well completion rate?” Always some but varies a good bit. Can take a week or a few to get a work over rig on location. For a while operators in the Eagle Ford had to wait months for frac trucks to do their completions. Not that much delay these days.

There’s also a regulatory delay. The rig count is fairly dynamic and thus as up to date as possible. OTOH a well might not be classified as completed until the paper work makes it thru the regulatory system. In Texas between the time the drill rig mobs out and the well is posted as a completion could a couple of months or more. Another problem with correlating drill activity and completion count is pipeline delays. I’ve read there are hundreds of Marcellus wells that have been drilled but not completed yet while waiting on a pipeline. Many operators, like my company, won’t complete a well until the p/l connect is close at hand. It’s often best to flow as well as soon as it’s completed than letting it just sit there shut in. Also better to not spend completion $’s until you can turn the well into cash flow.

Improved drilling efficiency means drilling the same number of wells in a shorter time period and not drilling fewer wells. If they sudden cut the time to drill a Bakken well in half then we would see twice as many wells being drilled…not fewer. But the BIG IF that goes with that statement: if companies have economically viable locations to drill and if they have the capital.

bold added by me


Is it correct that fewer wells are being drilled? I believe that Baker Hughes data is on rig counts, and the oil rig counts have decreased by 41 in the most recent week, and by about 7 % since WE Aug 10, 2012 ( near term peak of 1432).

If efficiency has increased by more than 7 % over that period, then more wells would be drilled rather than fewer wells. I don't have access to recent numbers on the number of wells drilled, but is an increase in the efficiency of drilling rig usage of 8 % over a 4 month period unreasonable?

Over this same period (Aug 10 to Dec 14, 2012) C+C output increased from 6.18 MMb/d to 6.86 MMb/d (an 11 % increase), but this does not necessarily indicate that more wells have been drilled lately, it could be due to an increase in average well productivity (though this seems less likely based on recent analyses by you on the Eagle Ford and by Rune Likvern on the Bakken).


Go to:
www.NDoil.org for a lot of good stats on Bakken wells, production, drilling activity

Maybe winter weather is also a factor. Christmas and New Year holiday?

Not likely as last quarter ended at the end of September (I assume).

BT - Some operators might forego winter drilling to save costs (winter/spring ops can run a good bit higher) especially if the prospect isn't a very attractive investment. Otherwise if the profit potential is sufficient the well would be drilled come hell, high water or blizzard. LOL. I've drilled wells in WY when the temp dropped to -34 (and a wind chill of -51). No one mentioned stopping from turning to the right.

Christmas and holidays? Those don't exist with drilling ops. There are your days off that sometimes occur during such festive times and sometimes not. Sometimes Christmas is on 25 Dec and sometimes on 15 Dec as it was for daughter and me one year. I've mentioned before how she has enjoyed the oil field calendar in the past: two birthday parties one year: one on her b/d and one on my days off. She was noticeably disappointed the next year when I had my days off on her b/d. LOL

What about pipelines? If you can't get your gas to market you can't sell it. Maybe drilling has outstripped pipeline build out.

Most of the drop off in rigs was in Texas. Rigs in ND were unchanged for the week. The recent slump in Midland prices may be putting off some drilling in the Permian until pipeline upgrades come online in the coming months.


Production Outpaces Pipelines - Causing Cheaper Prices for West Texas Crude 11/26/12

CBS 7 News
November 26, 2012

According to FuelFix, a $21 price difference between crude oil in Midland and Cushing, Oklahoma, is an all-time high, as oil production in the Permian Basin far outpaces the pipeline infrastructure to move it.

Most of the drop off in rigs was in Texas. Rigs in ND were unchanged for the week. The recent slump in Midland prices may be putting off some drilling in the Permian until pipeline upgrades come online in the coming months.

There has been a fairly large drop in Rigs in ND since summer where a peak of 203 oil rigs were operating in the first two weeks of June, at the start of 2012 there were 181 active oil rigs and recently oil rigs have dropped to 173 (they have been between 170 and 180 since mid September.)

For the Permian Basin oil rigs started 2012 at 376, peaked at 427 at the end of June dropped to 400 in Sept and remained about that level through early December. Overall in Texas oil rigs increased from 600 to 700 from Jan to Dec 2012 with a peak of 719 in June.

Data from Baker Hughes through Dec 7, 2012.

Re "Wind power vs Natural Gas"
Usage factor dominates name plate generating capacity. See EIA.gov

Rolling 12 months thru Oct 2012
US Wind generation 137.495 Million Megawatt hours 3.3%
Natural Gas 1,228.462 Million Megawatt Hours 30.2%
Coal 1,508.372 Million Megawatt hours 37.2%
Total 4,054.474 Million Megawatt Hours

US Wind electricity generation = 11.9% of natural gas electricity generation.

Natural gas 3.32 $/million BtU

Transport via Natural gas $14.59 / million BtU

Transport via Electricity average $31.12/million BtU

Annual Energy Outlook 2013 Early Release

US average Levelized Costs for 2016
Natural gas combined cycle $66.1/MWh
Conventional coal $94.8/MWh
Wind onshore $97/MWh
WInd offshore $247/MWh

Those are some interesting stats. As far as capacity for wind generation, I would like to know how that was calculated. Is it based on currently servicable turbines or based on installed capacity totoled over the last 30 years. Many older wind turbines, like many seen in Altamont Pass California, sit idle because they out of service and not because they are only producing 3% of nameplate power. Likewise if your stats counted the 55 coal fired plants recently taken out of service, would coal be producing at 37% of nameplate rating? I think your stats compare apples and oranges.

As far as predictions for energy costs for electric power in 2016: I used to work for the companies that haul coal, the railroads. In today's largely unregulated transportation business the railroads have gained "pricing power". The prices for hauling coal will escalate to compensate for less coal hauled to keep the railroads revenue stream constant. The predicted cost for generating power from coal may be low because increase in the rates for transporting the coal are not considered. The biggest cost for producing power from coal is ussually the cost to get the coal to the plant. Wind power will likely cost less than coal derived power in a fewer years for this reason, IMO.

From your source at EIA Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2011:, Table 1:

For plants entering service in 2016 (2009 dollars)
plant type Total System Levelized Cost
$ / MWh
conventional coal 94.8
advanced coal 109.4
advanced coal with CCS 136.2
Natural Gas-Fired
    Conventional Combined Cycle 66.1
    Advanced Combined Cycle 63.1
    Advanced CC with CCS 89.3
    Conventional Combustion Turbine 124.5
    Advanced Combustion Turbine 103.5
advanced nuclear 113.9
wind 97.0
wind - offshore 243.2
solar PV 210.7
solar thermal 311.8
geothermal 101.7
biomass 112.5
hydro 86.4

Solar PV at $201.7 / MWh translates into $5.7 / (rated watt) assuming 85% efficiency of inverter and wiring, 19% capacity factor and 20 year lifetime. That seems a bit expensive for a 5 kW PV system ($28,500 total, $6,000 for PV panels, $4,000 inverter, $1,000 solar meter and $500 for mount, wiring and circuit breaker leaving $17,000 for installation?). Being an estimate in 2009 dollars for 2016, the estimate may have been made in 2009 and the data in the table for PV may already be obsolete.

Quickly working out my own 5Kw solar PV and the installed cost of $15,000 last year, plus the 5291Kwh production for the period 31-8/11-31-8-12, giving the system a 25 year life and allowing $5,000 for repairs/new inverter over that time, the cost per Mwh works out at $151/Mwh.

Forgot the subsidy we received ~$8,000. So adding that we get $211/Mwh. Since we installed the PV system, prices have fallen by ~$6,000 in this area for fully installed, including the reduced subsidy (now about $4,000 IIRC).

My suspicion is that solar PV installed cost will not get much lower as even the Chinese manufacturers are squealing about losing money on production of panels.

You get with the same Chinese modules a 5 kW PV for less than 2000 USD in Germany, where the balance of system (BoS) is already >60% of the costs. Therfore, my conclusion is that the BoS is in the USA much higher and you have a good chance to reduce costs even with slightly increasing module prices.

I'm in Australia, not US.

Panel prices here are ~$1/w, looking at ebay. Love to find them at 40 cents/w.
Do you have a source for that price?

I have the prices for complete installation (in German):


(postal code, power, price per kw, producer of modules). Five digit postal code is Germany, four digit postal code is usually Austria with much higher prices per kW. You may ask there how to get cheap modules.

Some good data are also found on Renewables International:




From your link, US PV prices plummet but still twice as expensive as Germany, Dec. 11, 2012:

For instance, the United States Department of Energy announced last week that 29 million USD would be made available to four projects "aimed at improving the grid connection and reducing installation costs through innovative plug-and-play technologies and reliable solar power forecasts." Of that 29 million, 21 is to be invested in plug-and-play PV systems.

Why is the US solar market not able to come up with these deployment innovations on its own? Because the US is not deploying enough.

I think the underlying problem in the U.S. is that the entrenched fossil and nuclear power industry is interfering with the deployment of renewable energy systems. They are preventing the creation of good renewable energy feed-in tariffs and keeping regulation fragmented, cumbersome and expensive. The U.S. tariff on Chinese PV is making it harder for the Chinese to dump PV panels into the U.S. market and driving U.S. manufactures out of business. German PV manufactures might find themselves bankrupt by the time the Chinese are finished consolidating the global market. The Germans can have cheap PV systems now at the expense of a foreign dependance later.

IIRC the bets are that only one or two of the german manufacturer will survive. However, as modules are only 30% of the installation and all the production machinery comes from Germany in addition to nice percentage of the silicium, the value added of a PV installation with Chinese modules in Germany is still 70%, not so shabby. :-)

Of course, in case of wind the value added is near 100%.

I hope everybody here agrees that the price of any sort of fossil fuel use has GOT to go up with time, and much more so when the next weather catastrophe hits and countries realize they have to put a cost on carbon.

And the price of solar has got to go down as we get smarter about how to do it, as we most certainly will. AND as we get smarter about how to calculate true costs.

Lots of improvement possible there. That chart of relative costs above is nonsense. Did not factor in environment costs, which are the biggest fraction of the real costs!

And don't tell me we don't know how to do it. Every engineer knows how to handle the we-don't-know problem- make a good guess- on the conservative side.

Zero is NOT a good guess.

Yeah.. and I want to see some real acknowledgment of the unapplied costs of throwing more and more carbon into our atmosphere, more pollution into our skies and waterways, and more of our remaining financial resources into onetime fuel purchases instead of into durable systems that DO ultimately result in several layers of payback, and reduce the uncertainties brought about by energy cost and availability changes.

The straight dollar comparisons are simply not taking enough into account.. yet so many people will still insist that this is the 'real' comparison that shows them how all things stand. Shortsighted isn't even the word anymore.

Its not so much about the price of the panels. Since we are talking utility power sources (all the other items on the chart are utility scaled systems, not distributed residential), those are the proper metrics. These have been coming in under $3/watt, I think some German commercial flat roofs (which should be more expensive than a utility scale plant), are coming in around 1.1 Euros (less than a buck and a half). So using current best practices (at scale) we can cut the PV cost by two to four times! I know people hate utility scaled power plants, because of the ownership and rent seeking issues, but cost efficiency does matter (else we wouldn't be bothered with cost comparison). So the cheapest alternative for solar becomes utility scaled plants, not residential roofs.

Utility sized PV arrays have some disadvantages compared to residential ones. The utility array occupies a large amount of land, about 12 times the area of the silicon for dual axis trackers. The utility must fabricate a more expensive mount. A residential system is usually mounted on an existing roof which does not add to the cost and increases the value of the house.

In the U.S. installers tend to overcharge for residential installation and the inverters are overpriced. In the U.S. the price of an MC4 extender cable is about double the price of an equivalent underground feeder cable without the MC4 connectors.

US-PV (utility sized) indeed uses more land, but ideally these lands would be degraded, overused or polluted so that the economic value currently is very low. Having the land recuperate for 20-30 years while the array is in place might be a good idea. Installation is also cheaper as it allows for bulk installation instead of small installations on small roofs. Ram a pile in the ground, add a few lattices and mount the panels. Very efficient.


The simplicity in the video is a result of the array being installed over farmland that has previously been cleared of plants and rocks and leveled. No concrete piers leaves me wondering if the PV array will blow away in a strong gust.

Based upon years of experience with this type of field installation in Germany, evidently you don't need to worry about the installation blowing away (in Germany's wind climate).

"Wind-turbine installations are poised to..."-----> Change the weather!

I just do not get why people do not see this. Like all human impacts it is a matter of scale. How much slowing of the wind does it take? I think it is being overlooked.

Delusional, with a touch of of heresy.

I do not think there are enough good wind sites to overdo it. A good wind site must have reasonable values for the following factors:

1. lots of wind
2. inexpensive connection to the existing electric grid (an existing high voltage power line needs to be nearby or government needs to build one)
3. inexpensive access (constructing long roads is expensive)
4. not in a city and not too remote (there is no place for workers to live in a remote location, have to pay high wages for remote locations)
5. regulatory support

Agreed. Wind is the first large scale renewable (other than hydro), but it will only go so far. PV is the only scalable renewable. Its off to a slower start, but ultimately it will be the main energy source.

from this blog, http://www.renooble.com/blog/2012/11/renewable-energy-trip-to-peru/

However it is still encouraging to look at the trends and macro-perspective. The world’s wind energy potential could be greater than what is provided yearly by fossil fuels. The world consumes yearly 150 units of energy (Peta Watt Hours for those interested).

Large wind produced in 2011 between 0.3 – 0.4 of these units. However this is doubling every 4 years approximately. And small wind is growing even faster at something like 20% – 25% per year (in the midst of the financial crisis). But is there enough wind for everyone? If we tried to tap most of the wind energy in the world we could obtain between 100 – 1000 of those same units of energy. This big range comes from the uncertainties in the calculation. How many places in the world have wind speeds above 6.5 m/s? How far apart should we place the turbines? Will turbines get more efficient? When we take some energy out of the wind, will the upper layers of the atmosphere replenish this energy? If so how fast? etc, etc. [Lu,McElroy 2009, UD-Archer Article 2012, TOD Article Review, Jacobson-Archer (2012)].

Obviously growth in wind can't continue indefinitely. And the ultimate limit is Solar Energy (which heats up the air which then flows trying to equilibrate heat differences). However even the 100 PetaWh is very small compared with the wind moving in the higher layers of the atmosphere (see references linked above). Intuitively kinetic energy (wind speed) is turned to electricity near the earth's surface (~100m) and then to heat. The same happens everyday on the whole of the earth's surface: wind speed -> friction from mountains, valleys, trees converts it to heat. As said above it's a matter of scale. But any practical implementation of wind (with current turbines) can't extract much from the upper layers.

Syrian government claiming chemical weapons used against them.

Syria militants use chemical weapons against Syrian forces

According to a commander of the Syrian Presidential Guard, at least seven Syrian soldiers were killed on Saturday after they were attacked by a chemical weapon which produced a toxic yellow gas.

The soldiers were reportedly killed within an hour after inhaling the gas.

Foreign-backed militants have repeatedly threatened to use chemical weapons against the army and pro-government civilians in recent days.

They have also threatened to contaminate Syria's drinking water supply in a bid to kill all Alawite Shias and the supporters of President Bashar al-Assad.

The threat was made in a video posted on YouTube in which militants tested water contaminated with a lethal mixture on lab rabbits. The rabbits stopped breathing and their chests swelled shortly after drinking the poisoned water.

The militants had earlier released a footage in which lab rabbits were killed by inhaling poisonous gas.

On a mild, wet, windy Sunday in December I wondered what the current UK generation mix looked like. Quite surprised by it. Wind has generated almost the same amount of electricity as natural gas power stations over the last 24 hours. Almost 13% of the UK's electricity over the last 24 hours came from wind and hydro combined (even more if you add pumped storage) - easily surpassing natural gas generation.

From http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp_home.htm

Type %
Coal 46.2
Nuclear 22.3
Gas 11.5
Wind 11.1
Hydro 1.8
Pumped Storage 0.6
"Other" 1.4

France 2.7
Netherlands 2.4

Edit: Thinking about it, the actual wind figure alone for the last 24 hours is probably more like 16% of the total as many smaller windfarms or turbines are not monitored directly by National Grid but. of course, reduce apparent total grid demand. So wind definitely has generated more electricity than gas over the day.

Undertow, the problem with wind is, it is not dependable. Often when you need it the most, it is just not there.


You think I don't know the wind doesn't blow sometimes? :-) In Texas (the chart you linked) demand shoots up on hot still days but that doesn't happen in the UK where home air-con is not usual (or needed most of the time!). Cold still winter days are the big problem in the UK for wind. Still every kWh generated by renewables is one less kWh to be generated by fossil fuel and reduces the total cost of coal and gas on the UK annual import bill.

As the UK is no longer self-sufficient in coal or natural gas you could also say that these sources of power might not be too reliable when desperately needed either...

As the UK is no longer self-sufficient in coal or natural gas you could also say that these sources of power might not be too reliable when desperately needed either...

Theses sources depend on money and hence reliabity depends on a reliable source of money.

UK had colonies in many countries but things may turn around and they have to give something in return. Anyone who have been to British Museum?

Looks like it's not too dependable in the cold weather either.


As for the moment the UK still has enough generating capacity and even with its comparatively low storage has storage for something like 10 days, the non dependability isn't currently an issue. (Once the nuclear power plants need to be shut down due to old age this may change)

On the other hand, wind can reduce the amount of gas and coal that needs to be imported. And if I remember correctly, 2 or 3 years ago, there were quite a number of articles on the oil drum about the overall storage capacity and replenishment of the gas stores in the UK not being enough to get through a cold winter. Wind can significantly alleviate this long term storage and flow rate issues that the UK had.

Maybe they will introduce Quality of Power tariffs.

Hi-QoP: Expensive, but secure delivery of power with guaranteed voltage and frequency.

Lo-QoP: Cheap, but may be unavailable or have undesirable voltage and frequency characteristics.

According to that graph wind power in Texas could increase 8 times before the maximum wind power production equals the minimum power demand.

Add some photovoltaic systems to the wind power to smooth the variations. Applying some demand side management would allow the wind power to increase more.

Proposed Coles Hill uranium mine


The article states that this Uranium deposit is the seventh-largest in the World and has enough Uranium to power all U.S. nuclear reactors for 2 years, or all VA nuclear reactors for 75 years.

I am not impressed by the low burn efficiency of current nuclear reactors, and am not pleased with the commensurate waste stream.

If I had a vote in the matter I would vote to let this deposit sit untouched....perhaps some day we will have better technology and wisdom to use it to its fullest potential, in a safer manner.

The article states that North Carolina obtains 45% of its electricity from nuclear power, and the figure is 38% for Virginia.

A predicament: I am no fan of mountaintop removal coal mining and the stack pollution from coal burning either.

Given that Germany has a surprising solar PV capacity (considering its northerly latitude), I wonder how much electrify the Eastern U.S. could derive from solar PV? Next is the question of offshore wind generation for the Eastern Seaboard. How much electricity demand could be eliminated with a push for the most efficient lighting and appliances and industrial machinery? An increased electricity rate would help fund such initiatives. I would add: conduct urgent R&D for more efficient and safer nuclear power generation.

Finalized and tested our little community collective 5kW PV grid-tie system here in VA today. Now just awaiting utility blessing to 'flip the switch' - doing what we can...

They won't let you use it till then? Mine, was producing power for about three weeks, before it got official blessing. Congrats. Community solar is a great idea. Issues of poor scaling down to small system size, variable quality roof exposures, and people not having enough funds to start with a full sized system can potentially be overcome. Plus community versus individual. Gotta love communism of the scale of a village or smaller. That's an economic system that doesn't scale well beyond small groups of people, but it can be great at village scale.

Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources

EPA web page

Progress Report (PDF 278 pp, 9.9MB)

Executive Summary (PDF 4 pp, 138K)

No conclusions as yet:

This report describes 18 research projects underway to answer these research questions and presents the progress made as of September 2012 for each of the projects. Information presented as part of this report cannot be used to draw conclusions about potential impacts to drinking water resources from hydraulic fracturing.

I can't recommend Rebeca Solnits latest piece enough.

The Sky’s the Limit

Think of 2013 as the Year Zero in the battle over climate change
For millions of years, this world has been a great gift to nearly everything living on it, a planet whose atmosphere, temperature, air, water, seasons, and weather were precisely calibrated to allow us -- the big us, including forests and oceans, species large and small -- to flourish. (Or rather, it was we who were calibrated to its generous, even bounteous, terms.) And that gift is now being destroyed for the benefit of a few members of a single species.

Ten years ago too, many people thought the issue could be addressed, if at all, through renunciatory personal virtue in private life: buying Priuses, compact fluorescents, and the like. Now most people who care at all know that the necessary changes won’t happen through consumer choice alone. What’s required are pitched battles against the most powerful (and profitable) entities on Earth, the oil and energy companies and the politicians who serve them instead of us.

The sky's the limit, like 350.org needs to do the math, or so says Robert Bryce.


Yes, if we continue expanding business as usual as usual and if the rest of the world continues to choose to emulate our lifestyles and if we ignore global warming and accept growth as a given, then, no doubt we cannot get off fossil fuels. But we will get off them eventually. And what will we or they be left with? And will there be any we or they to observe the results?

No doubt, all those who are talking the talk are not walking the walk but all this talk about increasing demand ad infinitum isn't going to be satisfied by fossil fuels either. We needed to quit growing decades ago.

Is building one or two coal plants a week a good plan? If the planet becomes largely uninhabitable, that seems like a bad plan despite the so called realism and math of exponential increases in demand. The single celled organisms cannot quit growing until they fill up the jar. So, we are apparently intent on growing until we fill up the jar.

I so miss the guy that talked about how we are no smarter than yeast. Did he pass away? Or just move on? I so miss him.

Raging against the machine seems so futile but then sometimes one must rage despite the futility.

Yes, I too miss Bob Shaw, aka 'totoneila', and his trademarks - 'Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?', 'Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?', spider-web-rings of rail-bikes, and hordes of wheelbarrows.

I believe Leanan at the time said he had decided to move on, something about his wife/girlfriend not accepting his doomerism (I'm fuzzy on the reason). Keep hoping he's out there doing better and may return some day...

So far as I know, he's alive and well. Just no longer interested in peak oil, to the relief of his friends and family.

20% of the nation is all food stamps. 25% of children have hunger as a worry.

Yet my daughter, working at PF Chang's, had a customer who paid for her meal with a food stamp Visa. Most people don't know that being limited to certain foods and stores was demeaning for those who need it, so now the Visa can be used for food almost anywhere. Even places where most patrons are wealthy.

According to the USDA site, food stamps cannot be used for hot foods, or foods eaten in the store. However, some states do allow it. It's a loophole of sorts. The person has to be elderly, disabled, or homeless.

It kind of makes sense. Those people may be unable to cook.

Most of the restaurants approved to accept food stamps are cheap fast-food type places. At least at PF Changs you can get some vegetables.

This lady was non of those sorts, but graft is not new. 25 years ago I knew people who sold them at fifty cents on the dollar.

For standard food stamp levels, a Chang's meal will consume several days worth of rations, more if they go wild. Hopefully liquor or wine can't be bought that way.

Not all disabilities are visible. And it could have been a caregiver buying it for her (if it was takeout, say).

I don't think PF Chang's is that expensive. At least if you avoid the booze.