Drumbeat: January 9, 2013

Obama Environmental Picks Seen Focusing On Oil Boom

Four years ago, President Barack Obama said his energy and environmental advisers would work to develop a “new hybrid economy” based on wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources.

Lisa Jackson has announced her exit as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who faced congressional criticism over green-energy programs, could follow. Obama may end up assembling a second- term team for a different task: how to manage the boom in U.S. production of oil and natural gas.

“When the Obama team came in the first go around, there was great hope that the president would be transformative and really try to shift the energy policy much more heavily towards renewables,” Charles Ebinger, an energy policy expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said in an interview.

Instead, the growth of hydraulic fracturing to drill for oil and gas in shale rock formations is offering a “unique opportunity to revitalize the American economy and reinvigorate American manufacturing,” Ebinger said.

Hands Off, Oil Industry Warns Government

The head of the American Petroleum Institute says that a rosy oil future depends on the federal government's not raising taxes on companies or imposing new environmental rules.

Brent Crude Halts Two-Day Rise on U.S. Inventories Gain

Oil halted a two-day advance in London amid signs of rising inventories in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude-consuming nation.

Brent futures were little changed after adding 0.5 percent yesterday. U.S. crude supplies increased 2.4 million barrels last week, according to the American Petroleum Institute. An Energy Department report today may show inventories rose 2 million barrels, a Bloomberg News survey of 11 analysts showed. Gasoline and distillate stockpiles also climbed, the API said.

Fuel economy hits all-time record: 23.8 mpg

American motorists are getting more out of their new vehicles as the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks sold increased 6 percent and set an all-time high in 2012 as consumers responded to higher gas prices and the increased availability of attractive high-mileage products, according to a study.

University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute's Eco-Driving Index indicated the average fuel economy of new vehicles purchased in 2012 rose to a record 23.8 mpg, up 1.3 mpg from 2011 and up 2.9 mpg from 2008.

UAE plans to increase daily oil output

The UAE plans to raise its oil production capacity to 3 million barrels a day from the current 2.8m during the current year, the Energy Minister Mohammed Al Hamli said today.

Asian oil companies make record buys in 2012

National oil companies from China, India, Malaysia and elsewhere in Asia snapped up international energy properties at a record rate in 2012, buying or partnering in nearly $50 billion worth of deals.

China led the way, purchasing $31 billion in oil and gas assets, according to figures released Monday from PLS, a Houston-based industry data provider.

Chinese gas companies ready for winter demand despite record cold

Singapore (Platts) - Despite record low temperatures in China, the country's gas companies say they expect to be able to cope with increased winter gas demand in the coming weeks.

Jeff Rubin: How Big is Canada’s Oil Subsidy to the US?

Do the math on some 2 million barrels a day of heavily discounted oil exports and suddenly you’re talking about an enormous wealth transfer from Canadian oil producers to American refineries. (Note, the subsidy is pocketed by US refiners, not motorists, who don’t see the Canadian discount when filling up at the pumps.) What if Canadian oil was getting world prices? At the current Brent-Western Canadian Select spread of roughly $50 a barrel, you’re in the neighbourhood of $100 million a day. That equates to foregone revenues of more than $35 billion over the course of a year.

Is 'peak oil theory' delayed by fracking?

About a decade ago, the theory of 'peak oil' stated that at some point in the near future, global oil production would peak, sending prices sky-high.

But since then, the discovery of vast shale oil and gas reserves - many of them in the US - has led some to question whether that point has been pushed back, or indeed, will ever happen?

Will fracking lead to cheap oil for all? Not necessarily

FT Alphaville's Kate Mackenzie has an excerpt of a very interesting research note from energy consultant Phil Verleger. The bulk of the note is a look back at the apparent vindication of MIT economist Morris Adelman, who rejected the ideas of "peak oil" at the time when they were most fashionable. Adelman, Verleger writes, accurately surmised that technological advances would mean the total reserves are far less predictable than a narrative of rising prices and increasing scarcity would imply.

The Political Implications Of America’s Oil And Gas Boom – James Kwak Interview

I don’t see why, as a logical matter, you need cheap energy to have economic growth. My background is in software, for example, and energy inputs were just not an important part of our cost structure. We sold software to insurance companies, and their ability to pay for our software was not constrained by higher energy prices, since they weren’t a big part of their cost structure, either. Cheap energy can certainly change the type of economic growth you have, and maybe it can increase growth, all other things being equal, but I don’t think it’s a prerequisite.

Sudan says secures $1.5 bln loan from China as it battles currency slide

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Sudan has secured a $1.5 billion loan guaranteed by Chinese state oil firm China National Petroleum Corp, it s finance minister said, throwing a lifeline to the African country battling its worst economic crisis for decades.

Sudanese Finance Minister Ali Mahmoud said the loan, agreed on Dec. 31, would come from a Chinese bank, which he declined to identify. It comes at a crucial time for Sudan which has been unable to stop a slide in its currency since losing three-quarters of its oil production when South Sudan seceded in 2011.

West African oil exports to Asia to rise in January

LONDON (Reuters) - West African crude oil exports to Asia will rise slightly in January versus December, according to data compiled by Reuters, with stronger demand from India offsetting a fall in exports to China.

Asia is expected to import 1.81 million barrels per day (bpd) of West African crude in January versus 1.75 million in December, with China importing 33 cargoes and India 18, according to data based on movements seen by oil traders.

China Sinopec Corp to Buy $8 Billion of Parent's Assets

HONG KONG--China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (SNP) is in talks to buy $8 billion of upstream oil and gas assets from its state-owned parent, two people familiar with the matter said Wednesday, as part of a plan to increase its footprint in global exploration and production.

Chavez will not be sworn in on inauguration day

(CNN) -- Medical treatment in Cuba will keep Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez from being sworn in for a new term this week, a top official said Tuesday.

At the same time, supporters and opponents of Chavez are bracing for a legal battle over whether the inauguration can be postponed.

U.S. may remove all troops from Afghanistan after 2014

The Obama administration is considering the possibility of removing all U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission officially finishes at the end of 2014, White House officials said Tuesday.

The comments by Ben Rhodes, the White House's deputy national security adviser, come as the Pentagon and White House mull over the number of troops that could be left in Afghanistan after 2014 to fight insurgents and train Afghan security forces.

Snowstorm, fierce winds and deadly flooding thrash Middle East

(CNN) -- Brutal winter weather is making dire conditions even more unbearable in parts of the Middle East, especially for Syrian refugees who must endure frigid temperatures in tents.

The coldest air of the season is moving in behind a heavy snowstorm that has blanketed refugee camps in Turkey and Lebanon.

And inside Syria, residents in cities pummeled by warfare are taking drastic measures to stay warm -- and alive -- through the winter.

In a video posted online, three men and two children are burning pages of schoolbooks to stay warm in the besieged city of Rastan.

"We can't use the heaters inside our residences. No fuel, no wood, no electricity," one of the men says.

Rosneft denies it may raise oil sales to China to pay for TNK-BP

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's top oil producer Rosneft quashed on Wednesday a local newspaper report that the company may boost crude oil deliveries to China, possibly as security on debt financing for its $55 billion (34.3 billion pounds) purchase of rival oil firm TNK-BP .

Chesapeake’s McClendon Loses Bonus Amid Investor Blame:

Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s board withheld Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon’s annual bonus after investors criticized the performance and management of the second-biggest U.S. natural gas producer.

The board cut 2012 incentive compensation “substantially” for executives and reduced perks, the Oklahoma City-based driller said yesterday in a filing. Directors agreed to develop annual and long-term incentive compensation plans to tie pay to performance. The stock slid 25 percent in 2012 as the S&P 500 Oil & Gas Exploration & Production index rose 2.1 percent.

U.A.E. Trader FAL Oil Suspends Debt Talks With Lenders

FAL Oil Co., a United Arab Emirates- based energy trader that’s under U.S. financial restrictions for links to Iran, suspended debt restructuring talks with lenders on Dec. 10, a company official said.

The trader of marine fuel and other refined products is working on a business plan that would allow it to resume talks with lenders later this month, said the official who is involved in the financing process and asked not to be identified by name because of company policy.

TransCanada to Develop $5.1 Billion Pipeline to LNG Terminal

TransCanada Corp. agreed to design, build, own and operate the C$5 billion ($5.1 Billion) Prince Rupert natural gas transmission project.

Two arrested in Keystone XL protest

Two people were arrested Monday after scores of protesters against the Keystone XL pipeline stormed the lobby of a Houston office for pipeline owner TransCanada, a spokesman for the protesters said.

The activists sang and dropped black balloons symbolizing spilled oil in the lobby of the building, located immediately adjacent to the Galleria mall, with some roaming up stairwells and into offices, said Ron Seifert, a spokesman for Tar Sands Blockade, which backed the effort.

Shell Mishaps Prompt U.S. Review of Arctic Oil Drilling

Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s quest for oil off Alaska’s Arctic coast will be subjected to fresh scrutiny by the U.S. Interior Department after several mishaps last year, including losing control of two drilling rigs.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the 60-day assessment of drilling in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas will be used in considering future permits for Arctic exploration. Environmental advocates said the review should lead to tighter government rules, or even force Shell to suspend its efforts.

“The administration is fully committed to exploring for potential energy resources in frontier areas such as the Arctic,” Salazar said yesterday in a statement. “The unique challenges posed by the Arctic environment demand an even higher level of scrutiny.”

TIMELINE: Documenting Shell’s 2012 Arctic Drilling Debacle

Here is a look back at some of the major mishaps Shell incurred and warnings they received during 2012:

Norway to vote on opening two frontier Arctic areas to oil: minister

(Reuters) - Norway's Parliament is expected to vote this year on opening two major frontier Arctic areas to oil and gas exploration, the country's energy minister said on Wednesday.

The world's eighth-largest oil exporter is opening large swathes of its northern offshore areas to oil exploration in order to mitigate falling production in the North Sea.

India Said to Speed Plan to Save $300 Billion Burning Coal Mine

India will consider speeding up relocation of more than half a million people living atop mines where $300 billion worth of coal is burning away, said three people familiar with the plan.

Inhabitants of the 110 square mile (280 square kilometer) coal belt, who make a living from illegal mining and sales of coal, refused earlier offers to relocate to government-built housing. The main complaint was the units were too small and the area had no jobs. Coal ministry spokesman N.C. Joshi declined to comment before a cabinet meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

Ideas to Watch in 2013: Traceable Gas-Drilling Fluids

For several years now, I’ve been assessing policies and technologies that might allow the United States and other countries with vast shale deposits of natural gas to harvest this resource with the fewest regrets.

Below you can learn about one nascent technology to watch in 2013: harmless chemical I.D. tags that could make the fluids used in drilling every single gas well individually identifiable, potentially ending fights over the source of any subsequent contamination of water supplies in a drilling area.

In Japan, a Painfully Slow Sweep

More than a year and a half since the nuclear crisis, much of Japan’s post-Fukushima cleanup remains primitive, slapdash and bereft of the cleanup methods lauded by government scientists as effective in removing harmful radioactive cesium from the environment.

California man says he can drive in carpool lane with corporation papers

When Jonathan Frieman of San Rafael, Calif., was pulled over for driving alone in the carpool lane, he argued to the officer that, actually, he did have a passenger.

He waved his corporation papers at the officer, he told NBCBayArea.com, saying that corporations are people under California law.

The Best Bike-Sharing Program in the United States

The system is not without its weaknesses. Work by David Daddio has shown, for example, that many stations are underused, and that a station’s success depends largely on five factors: The age of its nearby population; the density of retail outlets (and in particular liquor licenses); the proximity of Metrorail stations; distance from the center of the system itself; and, essentially, the presence of a lot of white people. Gilliland says Capital is trying to counter the demographic skew, not just through geographic expansion, but in a partnership with Bank on D.C. to provide bike-share access to the “unbanked” — i.e., people who don’t have credit cards, which are necessary to use the system.

By one important measure, however — revenue — the system is succeeding. While the money from usage fees — cyclists pay a general membership fee, and then pay a bit extra if they want to use a bike for extended periods of time — does not begin to dent the capital costs, says Gilliland, “on an operational basis there are probably six to eight months a year where D.C is actually making money.” That sort of “farebox recovery,” as planners call it, would be the envy of any transit system. Not that profits should be viewed as an end goal, adds Gilliland. “This is a public good, you don’t expect it to make money.”

Zero carbon pizza delivery added to Domino's menu

As green takeaways go, it will take some topping - yes, Domino's Pizza has added electric vehicles to its delivery fleet in Swindon.

The branch has purchased two Renault Twizys, a compact two-seater quadricycle costing around £7,000 along with a £45 per month battery hire charge. The vehicles are exempt from road tax and offer a range of around 60 miles of driving on a three and a half hour charge.

BP cuts ribbon on giant US wind farms

BP Wind Energy and Sempra US Gas & Power yesterday announced they have moved a second giant US wind into full commercial operation, just four days after announcing that they had brought the largest single-build wind farm in US history online.

DTE waits for state's decision on 'smart-meter' opt-out plan

A DTE Energy Co. official said the Detroit-based company is waiting on a decision this spring from the Michigan Public Service Commission before it can charge customers who want to opt out of its new electronic wireless meter program.

Region's biggest sustainability gathering

Government delegations from more than 140 countries are expected in the capital this week for the first Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Ways to Charge Up After the Next Big Storm

Shopping for hardware to tide you through the next hurricane? The Electric Power Research Institute has some advice, none of it encouraging.

The institute, a nonprofit research consortium of the utility companies, examined ways of charging a smartphone or an iPad without house current. A profusion of gadgets now have hand-crank generators, often incorporating a flashlight or a radio, with a USB receptacle or even an AC outlet for recharging a small hand-held device. There are also solar-powered rechargers that may have a flashlight or radio. Neither the hand-crank nor the solar type works very well for recharging, the study found.

Barge Owners Say Drought May Wipe Out Mississippi Gains

Barge operators on the Mississippi River say the worst drought in 80 years may put at risk gains from emergency dredging and rock removal aimed at keeping the nation’s busiest waterway open at least for this month.

“The only way that we could maintain a navigable channel would be releases from the Missouri River system” if Mississippi conditions worsen, Scott Noble, a senior vice president for Ingram Barge Co., said yesterday at a meeting in southern Illinois. That option is “probably not very likely,” he said later in an interview.

KAIST, Saudi oil firm to set up joint carbon research center

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) announced Wednesday that it signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil firm Saudi Aramco to establish a joint research institute, for developing technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

'Davos man' fears more storms, both real and economic

LONDON (Reuters) - Fragile economies and extreme weather have combined to crank up the global risk dial in the past year, creating an increasingly dangerous mix, according to the World Economic Forum.

Despite Europe's avoidance of a euro break-up in 2012 and the United States stepping back from its fiscal cliff, business leaders and academics fear politicians are failing to address fundamental problems.

Perceived timings of economic crisis and climate change prevent action

As climate change becomes undeniable and the global economy continues to stutter, the world is facing an unprecedented dual crisis. But with economic and environmental stresses playing out over different timeframes, deep-rooted biases in the way we judge risks may mean we are too preoccupied with firefighting short-term economic problems to tackle longer-term climate threats.

That is one of the key messages to emerge from the Global Risks 2013 report, published by the World Economic Forum. The report is based on an annual survey in which experts share their perceptions of how global risks may unfold over a 10-year time horizon.

Storm Panel Recommends Major Changes in New York

A new commission formed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, charged with figuring out how New York should adapt in the long term to cope with worsening storms amid climate change and population growth, has recommended an extensive menu of programs: it includes turning some of the state’s industrial shoreline back into oyster beds, hardening the electric and natural gas systems, and improving the scope and availability of insurance coverage, according to a draft version obtained by The New York Times.

UN climate experts deny secrecy after new leak

OSLO (Reuters) - The U.N. panel of climate scientists has rejected criticism that it is too secretive after a blogger sceptical about global warming published a leaked draft on Tuesday of one of its massive reports.

The panel, whose work is a guide for governments deciding whether to make billion-dollar shifts away from fossil fuels, said it welcomed comments from all to fine-tune the report whose final version is due to be published in 2014.

European Carbon May Decline to Record as Glut Expands

European Union emission permits are poised to drop to a record in the first half as member states in the world’s largest carbon market fail to diminish the biggest- ever glut.

Allowances will fall below the record 5.93 euros ($7.75) a metric ton reached last month, according to eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. That implies a decline of at least 8.3 percent from yesterday’s closing price. The surplus may rise 18 percent this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Barack Obama 'seriously considering' hosting climate summit

Barack Obama may intervene directly on climate change by hosting a summit at the White House early in his second term, environmental groups say.

They say the White House has given encouraging signals to a proposal for Obama to use the broad-based and bipartisan summit to launch a national climate action strategy.

US seared during hottest year on record by far

WASHINGTON (AP) — America set an off-the-charts heat record in 2012.

A brutal combination of a widespread drought and a mostly absent winter pushed the average annual U.S. temperature last year up to 55.32 degrees Fahrenheit, the government announced Tuesday. That's a full degree warmer than the old record set in 1998.

Breaking temperature records by an entire degree is unprecedented, scientists say. Normally, records are broken by a tenth of a degree or so.

"It was off the chart," said Deke Arndt, head of climate monitoring at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., which calculated the temperature records.

Last year, he said, will go down as "a huge exclamation point at the end of a couple decades of warming."

Two good examples of what the landscape will look like in the future from non-conventional oil and gas exploration.


54° 4'29.13"N

bojan - Thanks. Looks much better organized and cleaner than most of the conventional oul/NG developments I've seen over the last 37 years. Good to see we've improved.

I agree it does look well organized. Another interesting thing I noticed at the two coordinates was along with being neat and organized, was the quantity of well sites that have been developed.
Canadian oil and gas industry in Alberta “spud“100 wells a day. I wonder if this is why there is so much interest in the Keystone pipeline.

The first (and extremely tidy looking) operation appears to be Imperial Oil's Cold Lake oil sands project. Imperial is a subsidiary of ExxonMobile and generally uses Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS) rather than Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) at Cold Lake. The Cold Lake formations are deeper and the oil less viscous than the Athabasca deposits.

The second appears to be a mix of oil and gas operations south of Fox Creek, combined with extensive logging operations. This area was originally developed by BP (Amoco), Chevron, and Petro-Canada (Suncor) but at this point in time they have mostly sold their operations and the biggest operator in the area is now an independent company called SemCAM, which owns 4 of the gas plants. It is heavily gas prone, and the wells are very deep. I spent a lot of time in this area when I was working for Amoco.

The patchwork cutting of the forest is not the oil companies but the forestry companies - Fox Creek has two major industries - petroleum and logging, and the leases are not mutually exclusive - the oil companies lease the minerals rights in the ground and the logging companies lease the timber rights on the surface. They operate in the same areas and use the same roads.

And where the streets do have names ...

33°36′30″N 117°39′30″W

From an environmental standpoint, which is worse?

Just for comparison to the Cold Lake oil sands project in Alberta, above, I thought I would like to post a couple of images from an old Oil Drum of the Kern River heavy oil field in California. Both use Cyclic Steam Stimulation to produce the oil. Take a close look at the difference between these and the Canadian CSS operations.

This is the sort of thing that irritates me when Californians talk about the environmental damage in the Canadian oil sands.

"Take a close look at the difference between the two operations."

Yeah, RMG, Kern River is tiny in comparison to your oil sands. As they say, everything's bigger in Texas Alberta ;-/

Yes, the Alberta oil sands are about the size of Florida. However, development of them can be a lot tidier than California's Kern River.

RMG, how heavily invested in the Tar Sands are you?

I have some shares in oil sands companies such as Suncor (Canada's biggest oil company) as part of a diversified portflio of industrial and financial stocks. But mainly I need to keep those tax dollars flowing to pay for my Canada Pension and free health care benefits, as well as keeping my personal taxes low.

Well, thanks for the very honest answer RMG. Wow, free healthcare. My wife & I spent about $30,000 on hospital & Dr. bills when my wife had her stroke, and that was with catastrphic health insurance. Without it we would have been into it for 68,000. One bill the hospital tried to put through was 34,000 for just 1 MRI! Cripes--but the ins. co. got them to dramatically reduce the cost.

Anyway, hope your investments work out well for you, PE.

I couldn't imagine living in a country where one have to pay for health care. Mom would have had to leave her house when she had her spinal nerve infection.

The United States is the only developed country without a national health care system, and it has the highest health care costs in the world, which is why there are many stories like the above. Some of my relatives living in the US have similar stories.

Fortunately, I live in Canada, which does have free health care, so I don't have similar problems, and fortunately Canada exports a lot of oil to the US so my taxes aren't as high as in Sweden. Taxes on oil companies and the oil they export to the US pay for a lot of my health care.

If there's one issue that can be singled out that disqualifies the United States from real "first world" status it's healthcare. Health "insurance" is a joke...

"The forecast for this year is that there will be 1.4 million to 1.5 million total bankruptcy filings. Our data say 62 percent of those will be medical. That works out to around 900,000 cases, and each one affects about 2.7 people. That makes roughly 2.4 million people who will suffer from new medical bankruptcy filings in 2009 alone."

Get sick, get bankrupt, get thrown out like trash. The US spends on average twice as much per capita (something on the order of $8,000/yr IIRC) for this privilege of having one of the lowest ranking health care systems of the industrialized world. The overall situation is getting worse, too, because the "rising tide" is no longer lifting all boats and decades of chanting "cutting taxes will make things great again!" has convinced people that it's true. But taxes don't go down for the working class, and the cuts are always made to social programs - never to "corporate welfare."

I couldn't imagine living in a country where one have to pay for health care.

Not that you would want to, but don't ever even think about living in the US if the possibility of having to pay for health care bothers you!

A friend of mine passed away recently, as a self employed contractor he couldn't afford health care and never once went in for a checkup for many years. A few months ago he was really sick and when he ended up in the hospital they found he had stage four lung cancer. He went quickly. However his wife still got a bill for about $450,000.00 of course she doesn't have the means to pay that... Another friend of mine was in intensive care for an undiagnosed ailment for over a month, none of us thought he would recover but somehow he did. He had insurance but they are refusing to pay for a large part of his medical expenses. He's on the hook for $750,000.00 and right now he has lost his insurance.

Approximately 48 million Americans do not have any health insurance. That's like almost 5 times the entire population of Sweden, try imagining that >:-(

This is heartbreaking. And to many americans socialising health care would be "communism" so we can't have that. The fact that free health care goes back to medieval monasteries (and thus pre-dates uncle Lenin by some 500+ years) is not considered.

I have no numbers at hand but guess Californians also use a lot of fuel.

And from a social point of view:

18.508048N, 72.293334W

The greatest tension between rich and poor I have seen so far.

Lots like that in Latin America.

Every time I work at this pool I look over the wall at the poor neighborhood behind and feel totally un-surprized at the crime wave that the well-off suffer around here.

10.4525, -66.8676

Chavez and his political party managed to disturb the private clubs this year though ;) in the new regulations sports organizations must be acknowledged by the local community council as part of their registration. That means that somebody must hike (don't take your nice shiny SUV into a barrio!) over to the nearest community council office and ask for a letter of recognition before the club exists according to the ministry of sport. And AFAIK there are a lot of clubs like this, highway on one side, barrio on the other. Just another reason the rich are counting down to Chavez's last breath.

Sorry, but that link 503's.


Try it again?

strange, it works for me.

Could it be different for people searching for different geographic locations? I typed in Centro Italiano Venezolano into google maps the first time, then the latitude/longitude a different time and it all worked out.

Nope, but it did open in Chrome (usually I am Firefox). Odd.


What are these exactly ? Shale gas wells or in situ tar sands operations ? Tight oil ?

The first coordinate is for in-situ oil sands wells, probably part of Imperial Oil's Cold Lake CSS project. They drill numerous wells off each gravel pad to minimize clearing of the forest. The square blocks of cleared land to the south of the forest are farms. The airfield to the southeast of it is Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake, which is responsible for air defense in the western half of Canada. Near it is a huge bombing and missile testing range http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CFB_Cold_Lake

The second coordinate is for a conventional natural gas region in the Alberta Foothills. There are half a dozen gas plants in the area, but the gas fields have been producing for decades and are largely depleted by now. The clearing of the forest around the wells was done by lumber companies logging the timber in the area - it's all commercial forest. The government discourages the oil companies from cutting trees because they prefer the lumber companies get first dibs on it. The square blocks of cleared land to the east and to the north of the forest are farms.

There isn't much shale gas production in Alberta. There are shale gas formations, but they are undeveloped so far because there is still a lot of conventional gas to be found, and it's cheaper. The companies are waiting for high prices before they develop any shale gas because it is uneconomic at today's prices.

Thanks a lot for the info, about the in-situ oil sand wells, is it now the prefered method compared to strip mining, cheaper ?
Or just the only possible method for deeper layers ?

Serious mess ... these in situ operations, does it get the surface to move ?

About 90% of the oil sands, containing 80% of the oil reserves, are too deep to surface mine, so they will be developed by in situ methods such as Imperial's Cold Lake project.

The other 10% will be developed by surface mining, and of course it will look just awful while they are mining, but once they are done they will replace the topsoil, fertilize it, plant alfalfa, and turn it into agricultural land much like the square blocks of farmland near the oil developments in the Google satellite photos.

The 90% developed using in-situ techniques will be much simpler to restore. They will just remove the roads and gravel pads they drill the wells off, put back the topsoil, and plant trees. Since the lumber companies will have logged off all the rest of the trees in the area and replanted them, it won't look much different than the rest of Northern Alberta - which as I keep reminding people, is almost all commercial forest which will be logged and replanted - every generation or two.

I see what you mean.

Bonnyville is a northern farming community, but kind of on the edge of civilization, or possibly a little past the edge. It looks like one of the local yokels had a few too many drinks and got loose on the lease roads. I've seen worse.

Flying from Houston to LA one can look out the window on a clear day and see such an appearance over West Texas.

I should have added with the original comment that Canadian oil and gas companies spud 100 new wells a day.


Global warming at a standstill, new Met Office figures show

A new scientific model has revised previous figures for the next five years downwards by around a fifth.
The forecast compares how much higher average world temperatures are likely to be than the “long-term average” from 1971-2000.
It had been thought that this would be 0.54C during the period 2012 -2016 but new data puts the figure for the 2013-2017 period at 0.43C.
This figure is little higher than the 0.40C recorded in 1998, the warmest year in the Met Office Hadley Centre’s 160-year record – suggesting global warming will have stalled in the intervening two-decade period.

However, it is thought that factors such as ocean current patterns may be behind the slowdown and scientists say the “variability” in climate change does not alter the long-term trend of rising temperatures.

The headline is actually nothing new, it's the same old controversy of using 1998 as the baseline year. However I fully expect the deniers to go to town over this "new" news. Heartland institute is going to have a field day with this.

However I fully expect the deniers to go to town over this "new" news.

Yup, the "Watts up With That" site is jumping all over it.

So an average temperature for the next 4 years being higher then the previous maximum temperature is considered a 'standstill' these days? Gee, deniers are getting really desperate aren't they?

You may wish to examine the actual data to evaluate significant warming at the +/-2 sigma or +/-95% level.

For RSS the warming is NOT significant for 23 years.
For RSS: +0.130 +/-0.136 C/decade at the two sigma level from 1990

Did it ever occur to you that both the UAH and RSS data do not measure global average "temperature", but microwave radiance at a fixed local time of day? I suspect that RSS may be better than UAH, since RSS excludes areas poleward of 70S, as well as other locations with high elevation, but the basic concept of extracting "temperature" from the MSU data is still questionable, IMHO. Also, it appears that RSS utilizes an approach I suggested to combine the scan data, which might explain some of the difference between the two results (though I'm not sure of this)...

E. Swanson

It may be good to know that even none of 10-12 year trends in any of the major temperature records were significant during the very fast rise in the '90s. However, the world unmistakenly warmed during that time.

You can play with trends, start/end dates, statistical significance and datasets at SkepticalScience.

The lesson: noisy datasets do not give meaningful trends over short timespans. Hence the WMO specified that 'climate' is a period of 30 years.

To determine wether humans are influencing climate and wether the world is still warming you need to separate the human influences from the natural. Several papers on this topic have been published on this topic over the last year (e.g. Rahmstorf & Foster), but

SkepticalScience now has a very illustrative video online showing what happens to the warming trend if you remove some of the most important natural factors from the temperature data:


He did not subtract out variations in total solar irradiance.

Regarding the ability to grow without abundant/cheap fossil fuels some approaches could make sense at least to a small degree. But this poor chap doesn't seem to grasp the big picture: "My background is in software, for example, and energy inputs were just not an important part of our cost structure. We sold software to insurance companies, and their ability to pay for our software was not constrained by higher energy prices, since they weren’t a big part of their cost structure, either."

So he should be able to grow his business without a significant fossil fuel input because he uses little energy and sells to insurance companies that use little energy. Insurance companies that grow their business (and thus need to buy more of this fellow's software) by selling more of their product to individuals and businesses. Individuals and business that will be able to expand and grow without abundant and affordable energy sources. Yeah...that's going to happen the way our economy in constructed today. LOL.

This is similar to some proposals to cut back on all our non-essential consumerism. Which, on the face of it, makes sense. But then when you consider the millions of folks, often relatively unskilled with little savings, being unemployed as result of getting rid of all the Starbucks and other unnecessary enterprises those "solutions" can create even more problems and pain. It easy to pick one small component of our economic system and say Shazam!...we fixed the problem. And then assume all parts of the system would respond in a similar system. We've all seen those unintended consequences many times so there no need to elaborate.

Rock. First, thanks for your many sane contributions here. I can always rely on the godawful truth from ol' Rock.

Right again. Not gonna happen the way our economy works today. I mean, cutting out the starbucks kinda stuff.

But, what I have proposed before, and got a cloud of flak for, was cutting out the crap, but still paying everybody involved the same as before, so none of the unwashed need suffer any more than they always do.

My simple engineer mind says this is ok because nothing is more valuable than something bad (starbucks) so deserves the same or better pay.

Who pays and why? The people who bought the crap, and because everybody is better off without it, the rest of us too.

And, because, I quickly add, we all will immediately get the idea at the same time- so now those people formerly dispersing crap aren't doing anything and getting paid, - we have an opportunity to give them something useful to do for the same pay.

I will save you the effort to note, politely I hope, that that's not gonna happen the way the economy-- etc. Yes, I know.

wimbi - I know what you mean. There are processes that could be deployed to at least ease the transition. But the problem we keep running into is time. I'm sure you have some clever transition methods that would work well IF they had begun 10 or 15 years ago. It seems most of the "solutions" being offered just don't look very viable in the time frame of several years. There are certainly somethings we could start tomorrow that will help...in 10+ years. But most, if not any, won't be started tomorrow to any significant degree. As others have said: we are either complacent or in a panic mode. And typically neither situation serves us well.

Time, right right. I guess my problem is that I can remember too clearly pearl harbor and the day after- days, not years, was the time it took the whole bunch of us to drop the crap and take up the spear.

Now we face a threat far greater than just a few guys with mere spears like ours pointed our way. We are looking at a global disaster hand made by us for us, roaring down the mountain at hurricane speed with boulders and tree trunks spouting out all its edges.

At least we could be yelling head for yer hole, or something. ! I don't even hear any yells. What the hell's going on here?

Not only that, but on this very board, we're discussing how to accelerate the threat. How can we get more oil out to burn? And there are even those here who are happy about digging that oil out of the ground and selling to to us. "It'll make agriculture better in our northern country", "We're cleaning up Nature's pollution". Total Insanity!!!

There are plenty of contradictions to point out even among us Peak Oilers. I use the term with pride, despite the attitudes and ignorance ascribed to us by so much of the media. OF course when things do go south those writers will be long gone trotting into the setting sun with their moneybags. Good for them. That's part of the process that won't let up and we know it. Belief is a big part of it and is really complicated. Being scientific isn't enough, the pieces have to be assembled into the big picture you create for yourself. Personal and group values are a big part of forming the big picture. People with contrasting beliefs will interpret the facts differently and have to live with the cognitive dissonance of whatever they can't assimilate for themselves.

The whole question of what would one do if one had power is an interesting one. Obviously we need to cut back but how do you force the process? You can leave it up to the market, but then I'd say practice what you preach and enforce a real market with competition, internalize externalities etc. I think though the best way to go is to make oil and energy even more expensive in the short term so you accelerate the process of weaning yourself from it. So tax it even higher, even here in Europe where its already taxed 'enough'. I've mentioned before, commuting is heavily subsidized in Europe and that's where we could start to cut too. Force people closer to their work or to accept other employment nearby. When I look around, it is personal vehicle traffic that uses a lot of energy and should be first on the list to discourage. But the problem is energy is still too cheap and we have high estimations of the value of the work we do, so we won't compromise.

Also, I think TPTB are happier letting things unfold as they will, rocking the boat for any one of them costs them contacts and power. Many are also cynical and perhaps correct to think that people are just better off ignorant and being led up the garden path.

Certain nations like Germany, Japan, China skew their economies into running trade surpluses because they realise not focusing on exports ultimately forces them to borrow from abroad and when the 'good' times are over pay the high price that entails. While focusing all energies on globalisation does have benefits in terms of specialisation, we need to talk about the costs of such 'global' thinking too.

I don't want to be cynical, I want to consider all these force fields we are facing and come up with the most rational, easiest to implement solutions that will nudge us in the right direction.

I often laugh about some influential elements in the Transition Town movement making a big deal about consumerism and 'teaching' people about how evil it is. Consumerism will take care of itself if peak oil is true. It is hypocritical for organizers to drive their cars to these meetings and unconsciously or not leave their own sacred cow out of the very same discussion. The objective of Transition Town should be to increase local resilience, but that's hard to implement and takes a lot of real work. I rarely see any real steps being taken in this direction. I'm not sure if that is because it is not as thrilling as pushing the morality button, feeling good about yourself and pointing to others to change for us. We need courageous leaders but also consistent leaders for these movements. It's about downsizing and part of it is downsizing the hierarchy and trusting each other to work together, and courage to stand up to scrutiny.

Part of human nature is to take care of oneself first, and then the next closest to us so that is also a legitimate way to look at it. Man is a communicator though and we wouldn't be on this board if we didn't think it mattered, even if it is just for the catharsis of writing somewhere about your concerns.

We can design painful but simple incentives to force real and rising energy costs more sharply into household budget considerations now.

There's lots to be said still, the nice thing about internet is you start an ongoing conversation. Life is complex and its often important to keep coming up with new evidence, or emphasize the manipulation of evidence. We may not be able to 'solve' the peak oil crisis but we can live or die trying and that may be satisfying in itself.

There's lots to be said still, the nice thing about internet is you start an ongoing conversation. Life is complex and its often important to keep coming up with new evidence, or emphasize the manipulation of evidence. We may not be able to 'solve' the peak oil crisis but we can live or die trying and that may be satisfying in itself.

Here's a link to some nice internet commentary from Dr. Bartlett that I find quite relevant to your points.


The Dust Bowl, global warming and sustainability

Denver Post Opinion

By Albert A. Bartlett
Guest Commentary

Economic freedom without restraint for individuals, companies and countries is destroying the global atmosphere which is our commons. Global warming will produce suffering on a global scale and this time there will be no California to which we can all migrate to escape the consequences of our human folly.

The physicist Freeman Dyson is said to have observed that, “Sanity is the ability to live within the laws of nature.” Tragically, insanity abounds, especially among the “well educated” leaders of Colorado.

Well, that is not just a Colorado or US problem. It is happening in every corner of our planet!

Ken Burns is a great documentary film maker and has shed light on some momentous topics. Last year's drought(or the ongoing drought?) is going to hit us hard as it works through the system. First of all it is sad what's happening to the land and a lot more attention should be paid to improving soil (a form of capital). Nature has to be entered into the economic equation, that is my firm belief.

The market has a funny way of not only moving directly to equilibrium but taking the long way home. This is true of monetary policy. It is also true of crop failures. First food prices actually drop on balance because herds are reduced as it becomes too expensive to feed them. It is an organized, rational reaction much as how prey and preditor numbers fluctuate instead of remaining in some kind of magical or 'optimal' steady state. I think we're here talking about peak oil for the same reason.

"...the nice thing about internet is you start an ongoing conversation."
Yeah... that's why it's gotta go:

Censors kept busy

The strike at the Southern Weekly in affluent Guangdong province came after censors watered down a page-two editorial in the New Year edition: Calls for China to enshrine constitutional rights were replaced with comments praising one-party rule.
The problem of reconciling the conflict between conservatives and liberals was illustrated in scuffles and heated arguments outside the Southern Weekly's gates all week.
Chinese Internet users face the "Great Fire Wall" of censorship, especially over politically sensitive topics such as human rights...
While the newsroom revolts could be isolated, middle class patience with the denial of basic freedoms appears to be wearing thin.
"I don't want anyone recklessly deleting, changing, tying or binding me," wrote Han Han, one of China's most popular bloggers with some 30 million followers.


What Spurred Crackdowns and New Restrictions on Chinese Press and Internet Media

There have been for four or five years struggles over Internet censorship.
You can't organize for any kind of activity that might be a challenge to the government.
...it can't change because there are so many vested interests who have so much to lose...
I think what most people in China would like to see... is a government comfortable enough to allow freer and freer expression, in pace with the greater and greater capacities of its people.

But part of the reason that you see these protests is of course they have experienced censorship, and things were getting worse last year. I think people are just fed up.
The Chinese society has become wealthier and more educated. And people have alternative sources of information. They travel. And in that context, the government censorship just looks silly and demeaning.
they want to have the right to know. It matters to them, not just sort of freedom of speech. It matters to their lives, tribal and all the other things.

Well, aug, it takes buyers to buy in order for those sellers to sell, nicht? So if us nice buyers are buying more, then those bad sellers gonna go find more to sell.

I have always liked the jubilee year idea. Just drop all the busyness, sit back and live offa what we have in the bin right now for a year, and take time to think it all over from scratch. What is it we want to do? How best to do it? Now, get ourselves in gear and go do it.

And there are even those here who are happy about digging that oil out of the ground and selling to to us. "It'll make agriculture better in our northern country", "We're cleaning up Nature's pollution". Total Insanity!!!

Some people around here seem to get very upset when I talk about the measures in place to mitigate the surface disturbance of oil sands projects. They seem to want some kind of unmitigated environmental disaster, whereas I'm trying to point out there are rules and regulations in place requiring companies to restore the land to some kind of useful purpose after they are done.

If you look at the coordinates 54°36'9.08"N 110°27'19.60"W (which someone posted here for whatever reason) in Google Maps, you will see an oil sands in-situ project (probably Imperial Oil Cold Lake). Other than the neat and tidy appearance of the well pads and roads, if you look immediately south of it you well see a vast area of square blocks of cleared land - which are farms. After the oil sands projects are done, it would be quite easy for farmers to push the farmland up into the reclaimed oil sands area. All it requires is clearing the rest of the trees and planting crops.

In general, it would be quite easy to "make agriculture better in our northern country" - Northern Alberta is all potential farmland. It now looks like France and Germany looked like during the Roman Era - all dark forests and peat bogs - before the medieval barbarians cleared it and planted crops. It is still a frontier development area. A few centuries from now it will look much like France and Germany do now. All global warming would do is accelerate this settlement process.

In the post-peak oil era, nonconventional developments like oil sands and shale oil will put a "fat tail" on the oil production decline curve and prevent a hard crash - it will be more of a soft landing, which will give people time to adapt to it. If they don't adapt to it, they will experience the "frog in the boiling pot of water" effect, but I guess that would be their choice. The smart people will adapt and change their ways, but I really have doubts about people who want to see a hard crash. They probably wouldn't survive it.

You don't hear much from Richard Heinberg these days, but he basicly argue that agriculture is the worst environmental disaster humans ever came up with. Besides CO2 pollution, I am in agreement with him.

Funny thing; I just heard from him. :) Haven't read it yet, but this caught my eye:


The main downside to growth-as-usual is that it is unsustainable: it is destined to end in depletion of resources, economic unraveling, and environmental catastrophe. The hope of the conservers, localizers, and de-growthers must therefore be that if the growth-as-usual bandwagon cannot be turned back with persuasion, its inevitable crash will occur in increments, so that each incremental step-down in industrial output can be seized upon as an opportunity to demonstrate the need for alternatives and to promote them.

Right, again totally ignore the CO2 pollution generated by burning that oil. Talk about ignoring something sitting right in front of your face!

Rocky, with all due respect, I highly doubt that anyone here is upset with you personally and I have even greater doubts that anyone wants to see some kind of unmitigated environmental disaster! You and others in your business following rules and regulations to restore the land to some kind of useful purpose, notwithtstanding. That's all fine and dandy!

In the post-peak oil era, nonconventional developments like oil sands and shale oil will put a "fat tail" on the oil production decline curve and prevent a hard crash - it will be more of a soft landing, which will give people time to adapt to it. If they don't adapt to it, they will experience the "frog in the boiling pot of water" effect, but I guess that would be their choice. The smart people will adapt and change their ways, but I really have doubts about people who want to see a hard crash. They probably wouldn't survive it.

I also don't think there are people here who wish for a hard crash! Quite the contrary!
What I think some of us are saying is that putting that "fat tail" on the oil production decline curve will actually send us towards a much harder crash! I think those who think this way see continuing increases in atmospheric CO2 to be the greater of two evils in bringing that crash about.

I think your analogy to the "frog in the boiling pot of water" is almost spot on. Unfortunately frogs tend not to adapt too well to warming pots or planets. Though they can probably survive without their little oil powered souped up froggymobiles, even if that means hopping out of the pot on their own little legs!

We all have some very tough choices to make and none of us knows at this point, which of those choices will be the better ones for the long term. I can only speak for myself but based on the temperature reading in my own little pot, I'm thinking it's time to hop!

where would you hop to..seems like you are coastal at the moment.I am in the west and we are bumping up against droughts , although I have noticed a lot of rich folks moving up here lately wanting to build some sort of fortress that they think will save them.

where would you hop to..seems like you are coastal at the moment.

I was using 'hop' as a metaphor for getting out of the habit of burning more fossil fuels, though coincidentally I am preparing to spend a few months in Brazil to look around. Maybe I'll find some land on a hill overlooking the ocean, though I'm pretty sure I won't be building a fortress, maybe a bamboo hut with a thatched palm roof and a few solar panels >;-)

Here where I live in the Canadian Rockies would seem to be one of the better places to hop to. The drought that afflicted the American West didn't touch Western Canada. This winter we have had unusually heavy snow, and I believe the Trans-Canada Highway is closed this morning due to heavy snowfall. But it's about the best early-season skiing I have ever seen.

When the going gets tough, the tough go skiing.

The "frog in the boiling pot of water" analogy is a good one, but one must keep in mind that human beings are smarter than frogs - they will jump out of the pot when the water gets hot. The problem is that many of them fail to think the problem through. They won't connect the fact that someone has turned up the heat on the stove with the expectation that the water is going to get hot. Thus, they tend to jump too late, and sometimes they jump out of the pot into the fire.

They also get distracted by side issues. In terms of the environmental impact of oil sands development, I worked in the Canadian oil industry for decades, have had to deal with the environmental issues and know what they are. I have also had to deal with the government regulations, and know they are very strict. Plans are in place to reclaim the disturbed land and restore it to "as good or better than" original condition.

There is also the problem that many governments in the US and Europe are not dealing with the peak oil issue effectively at all. They get distracted by side issues. When confronted with the "frog in the boiling pot" issue, they decide that the problem is that the pot is not big enough, or that it should have a copper bottom to distribute the heat more evenly, or that more studies need to be done, not that the frog should be getting ready to jump.

When touting how environmentally responsible the oil sands development is, are there plans to "reclaim" the CO2 released by burning the oil produced?

medieval barbarians

You mean the ones that built things like this AD 1080: (Cross section of Abbey Cluny III)

Our ancestors were "barbarians" before the Roman Era, no longer thereafter. I know what you mean, but I felt a bit upset; enough to let you know.

No, I was thinking of the "barbarian" tribes such as the Goths, the Vandals, Franks, the Saxons, the Gepids, the Burgundians, the Thuringians, and the Alamanni that overran and defeated the Roman Empire and brought on the Middle Ages. If you feel upset because the Romans called them "barbarians", I'm sorry, but the Romans were writing the history books and were rather denigrating of other ethnic groups, particularly their enemies.

These were the tribes that cleared the Northern European forests for farmland as their numbers increased during and after the collapse of the Roman Empire and before and during the Medieval Renaissances. They didn't, however, build structures like the one above until later, they built mostly wooden huts and wooden forts.

They aren't widely discussed in the history textbooks because they didn't speak Latin and didn't have a literature of their own - hence the name "Dark Ages", but they did develop the agricultural potential of Northern Europe during the first millenium AD - unbeknownst to most people. Most Europeans think the land was cleared by the Romans and their conquered subjects, but the Romans didn't have the technology or motivation to clear the forests and farm the land, and the "barbarians" did.


Although some terms in academia do go out of style, such as "Dark Ages", the term Barbarian is in full common currency among all mainstream medieval scholars and is not out of style or outdated, though a disclaimer is often felt to be needed

"the Goths, the Vandals, Franks, the Saxons, the Gepids, the Burgundians, the Thuringians, and the Alamanni"

These are my people! Particularly the Saxons and Alamanni.

Sometimes TOD just misses a "like"-button. Thanks for your nuance.

Rocky, You got it dead right on the barbarians, but you are dead wrong about the Romans regarding clearing forests and farming. I once had to write a term paper on soil erosion in the Roman Empire and learned a few interesing things along the way.
There is much talk here about the consequences of collapse and Rome's story is the best example in history. They knew all too well how to clear forests and pull maximum yields from the land, at least short term. They built an empire of 60 million by largely not giving a damn about the long term consequences of their actions. With their one year republican consul terms followed by emperors who largely took the job by force, murder, or bribery, Romans were the ultimate short term thinkers.
They did clear the forests, as far as Britain. As they grew more decadent, tha farmland was collected in corporate entities called latifundia and stripped for produce as rapidly as possible with no regard for long term consequence. It was our world, with thousands of penned slaves in place of tractors.
An unstable system stretched to the breaking point in a hundred ways, the empire began to truly unravel after the murder of the soldier emperor Septimius Severus. In the fifty year Crisis of the 3rd Century, 25 generals rose to emperor status during constant barbarian invasion, nonstop civil war, sweeping lethal plagues (possibly measles or small pox), and a collapse of the currency (the coinage was debased to the point of worthlessness when the current mines played out and there was no effective administration to source new ones).
There was a massive population decline with large cities losing their food base and the remaining urbanites dealing with the added expense of walling the towns and supplying ever more soldiers.
The empire was pieced back together for a time, but the western half had been broken beyond real recovery, giving the barbarians the chance to sweep it away. This was the best thing that could happen, environmentally. In England and France, the land had a few centuries to recover, even regain much of its forest cover, before barbarians with at least some sense of land stewardship cleared it again. German soil never really face a plague of Roman ownership.
As for lands the Romans held longer ...

The spread of the degradation of the soil was centrifugal from Latium itself outwards. Varro noted abandoned fields in Latium, and two centuries later Columella, about A.D. 60, referred to all Latium as a country where the people would have died of starvation, but for their share of Rome's imported corn. The Roman armies moved outwards from Latium demanding land; victory gave more land to the farmers; excessive demands again brought exhaustion of fertility; again the armies moved outwards. 'Province after province was turned by Rome into a desert,' wrote Simkhovitch, 'for Rome's exactions naturally compelled greater exploitation of the conquered soil and its more rapid exhaustion. Province after province was conquered by Rome to feed the growing proletariat with its corn and to enrich the prosperous with its loot. The devastation of war abroad and at home helped the process along. The only exception to the rule of spoliation and exhaustion was Egypt, because of the overflow of the Nile. For this reason Egypt played a unique role in the empire. It was the emperor's personal possession, and neither senators nor knights could visit it without special permission, for even a small force, as Tacitus stated, might "block up the plentiful corn country and reduce all Italy to submission".' Latium, Campania, Sardinia, Sicily, Spain, Northern Africa, as Roman granaries, were successively reduced to exhaustion. Abandoned land in Latium and Campania turned into swamps, in Northern Africa into desert. The forest-clad hills were denuded. 'The decline of the Roman Empire is a story of deforestation, soil exhaustion and erosion,' wrote Mr. G. V. Jacks in The Rape of the Earth. 'From Spain to Palestine there are no forests left on the Mediterranean littoral, the region is pronouncedly arid instead of having the mild humid character of forest-clad land, and most of its former bounteously rich top-soil is lying at the bottom of the sea.'

— G. T. Wrench, Reconstruction by Way of the Soil


Thanks for that great summary. Short term thinking -- seems like that has a long history, right up to today. But I wonder if, in your studies, you found any voices warning of impending doom and urging change in behavior?

Literacy declined rapidly throughout the Roman Empire from about 250AD until the final collapse some 200 years later. There were few historians in the period and no market for their research. Those who did keep records had much to say about the collapsing state of the road system and the atrocities of men like Attila the Hun.
The only significant institution retaining ordered records, at least in western Europe, was the Catholic church which was very much in the business of warning about impending doom and urging change of behaviour. Their focus however was entirely spiritual. The environment of this world was considered to be of little importance compared to preparation for the next world.
Much of what we do know of the period came by way of the Islamic renaissance (about 600AD - 1100AD). Their civilization preserved most of the known records of the Romans, with some coming from Irish and Armenian sources. They also were a source of new knowledge in many fields, especially mathematics, and a conduit for technologies from the Far East (stirrups, paper, gunpowder, etc.).
It wouldn't be much of a stretch to say that the conflict with the Moslems forced the Christians to adapt, rediscover, and give some thought as to why events played out the way they did. In this the Church was a great source of stability to the point of being a huge obstruction to change, for good or ill.

I used the phrase "forests of Northern Europe" deliberately, because in the Roman context "Northern Europe" meant the countries not bordering on the Mediteranean.

The Romans didn't have much opportunity to deforest it, first because of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in which Germanic tribes completely wiped out three Roman Legions, effectively ending Roman expansion into Germany, and second because the Romans only used a light plow which was incapable of plowing the Northern soils.

The "barbarians" had a heavy plow which could break the Northern soils, and they had the motivation to do it because their population grew six-fold during the Middle Ages. Later on they introduced the moldboard plow, which not only broke the soil but turned it over to kill the weeds, plus the horse collar, iron horseshoes, three-field crop rotation, and water wheels, all of which made food production much more efficient and less environmentally destructive than during the Roman era, and allowed replacing slaves with horses and water wheels.

See Dark ages and dark areas: global deforestation in the deep past and The Medieval Technological Revolution

All you say is correct and you have detailed it well. It's a triffle odd that two Albertans, who have never met, should be discussing early Middle Age farming practices from another continent on an oil resources site. I think it is a valid interest. We are transforming similar lands, while living in our own empire of questionable sustainability.
The northern forests of Europe have been farmed successfully now for well over one thousand years. Apart from the technological developments, I think this has been due to a long term ownership interest held by the landholders of the period.
I grew up on a homestead not far from the second of the two pictures shown at the beginning of this thread. It was a mixed farming operation (cattle/hay/pasture/enough grain ofor our own needs). I am proud of what it was. I will always regret my family's decision to sell it to an agrobusiness. Every tree is now gone. Land that had never experienced chemical pesticides are now drenched in them while growing the single crop of canola.
The Romans would have succeeded in annihilating the forests of France and England given enough time.
The soil, improperly tended, would have washed into the Atlantic. The consequences of their practices caught up with them.
The forest lands surrounding Fort MacMurray may become idyllic farming communities resembling parts of Sweden,if farmed as an inheritance for our children. However, Roman style agro empires have also emerged in our time. Factory farms with a stockholder's narrow perspective are now common. There is no requirement from government or society that land should be farmed well.
In a country with unrestricted ownership there is a tendency for merchandise, including land, to fall into the possession of fewer and fewer hands and those hands are the ones willing to sacrifice resiliency and diversity for immediate gain and the factory efficiency of monotony.
If we follow Roman practices, we get Roman results. We need systems for long term success that still respect basic human rights. We have none.

There were several things that stimulated my interest in the settling of the farmland in Northern Europe.

First my ancestors were farmers in Northern Norway, and by Northern, I mean very close to the Arctic Circle. I have visited there and helped my Norwegian cousins harvest the crops and herd the sheep. It's very interesting and demonstrates the challenges and feasibility of farming in extreme northern climates.

Second, during the Depression a bunch of my relatives abandoned their farmland in Southern Alberta and homesteaded in the Northern Peace River country, which is getting right up there, too, although not as far north as Northern Norway. Since - long story short - three brothers from one side of the family married three sisters from the other (there were about 12 kids per family), moved up north, and had about 12 kids per family themselves, I have a huge number of cousins in the Northern Peace who are 2nd cousins on both sides of the family - mathematically equivalent to first cousins. And of course I've been up there and helped them with the crops, too.

Third, during my years working for oil companies I spent a lot of time in Northern Canada, and one of my responsibilities was developing software to analyze and monitor well and lease site recovery and rehabilitation. This was very interesting too, and demonstrated what cannot and more importantly what can be done to restore old oil sites. One of the things that can be done is to turn them into productive farmland - and it's actually not that hard to do.

Fourth, since my retirement, I have been reading a lot of history, and one of the questions that came up is, "What really happened after the collapse of the Roman Empire. It's not exactly what most people think. What was bad for the Romans was good for the "barbarians" and as noted above they did clear the forests and plant crops in much of Northern Europe. And, as you note, they were much more environmentally benign than the Romans. One of the reasons is that the farm workers actually owned their own land and they and their children had to make a living off their own private plots, so compared to the Romans they looked after it much more carefully.

It would seem that our common interest has a common root. My paternal ancestors were Norwegians from Stavenger. My matrilineal ancestors likewise moved to the Peace River country from southern Alberta just before the Depression.
Given the comparatively small population base of the area at the time and the tendency of people to gravitate toward others of similar experiences and ethnicity, you and I might have discussed these same issues at greater length in a different setting.

Wait. The Romans were growing corn? I thought that was a New World crop.

So, I did a little snooping and found this:

The word "corn" has many different meanings depending on what country you are in. Corn in the United States is also called maize or Indian corn. In some countries, corn means the leading crop grown in a certain district. Corn in England means wheat; in Scotland and Ireland, it refers to oats. Corn mentioned in the Bible probably refers to wheat or barley.

Kids in schools in Sweden learn to name the 4 brands of grass seeds for human consumption (what is the english word for that?) These being havre, vete, råg, korn. The first two ones are oat and wheat. I'll wikipedia the other two, wait a minute. Okey, I am back. Råg is rye. Never heard that before. Korn is barley. Those two was new english words for me.

?I thought Rye bread or crackers was popular in Scandinavia.


I never know what kind of seeds are in my bread,unless it is white; then it is wheat. But råg (rye) is a common type for bread. Some bread with a "health profile" boast about having 4 different kinds of seeds. Rye is almost always in those.

The English word corn is very old. In literature it goes at least as far back as Chaucer, centuries before Europeans were introduced to maize. It was synonymous with the word grain when the English settled in the Americas. The word has a Germanic origin and might even have been used by some of those barbaric tribes that helped Rome to its final collapse.

Korn is a word that means some small thing. For example pepper that you take in your food is crushed into little korn. The lead pellets inside a shut gun slug are lead korn and so on. It just take it to be small, hard and annoying if you get it into your socks and it is a korn. Salt come in korn to, when you take it on the egg etc.

Corn probably from the ancient word for seed through latin "granum" and germanic "kurnam" which was something that could be planted for a new crop, e.g. barley was the plant and barleycorn was the seed. Wheatcorn, ryecorn, maizecorn, would all make sense.

Today's (USA) usage "a kernel of corn" might be heard by the Medieval farmer as the nonsense word "corncorn" :)

Perhaps corncorn was shortened to corn.


It's like many other words settlers used for things in the New World. The English didn't have a word for it, so they borrowed a word for a similar thing in England. The American robin, for instance, is not related to the English robin. It's actually a thrush more closely related to the English blackbird. What Americans call a moose is actually what the Europeans call an elk, and what Americans call an elk is actually a wapiti (the Indian name).

Settlers saw the Indians (another misnomer) growing maize (the Indian name), and since they didn't have a word for it, but "corn" was their generic word for grain, they called it "Indian corn". Then when they started growing it themselves, they dropped "Indian" from the name and just called it "corn". That caused confusion with other types of "corn" like wheat, barley, oats, and rye, so since it was their main crop, they stopped calling the other grains "corn" and started calling them by their specific names. Thus corn now means maize in North America, but corn still means wheat and other grains in Europe.

I have never understood the attraction of energy-guzzling gadgets like electric can openers, leaf-blowers or powered lawn mowers. For years I have cut my lawn just fine with a manual lawn mower which costs me about $0 and does not pollute an iota. (well I guess the CO2 while running it! lol)

Meanwhile you can see fleets of trucks pulling trailers packed with gas-guzzling, horribly polluting riding lawn mowers all over my rich suburban area. This could be easily cut with no real sacrifice.

I also never understood why to the extent newspapers are still delivered these days they cannot be delivered the old fashioned way with local high school kids walking or riding bikes.

The US is such a pig when it comes to energy wasted it boggles the mind. This is why I do not think we will get a collapse of civilization when this waste goes away. We will do just fine without it.

What is more problematic is Climate Change disasters and increasing inability to maintain other very complex systems like electricity or Transit.

The attraction of these devices is simple, in my mind. Energy is so incredibly cheap that it makes any manual effort appear stupid. I cut my grass with a push mower, but everyone else on my block pays a lawn service, the cost of which is many times the amount spent on fuel to run trucks and mowers. I could afford to have my lawn cut by big bald guys with souped up grass dispatching machines, but I choose not to because I'm really cheap.

And electricity is even cheaper than gasoline. Until energy prices go way way up from current levels, nothing will change. Nothing will change. And as energy prices go up, people will piss and moan about having to pay more rather than go the manual route.

Energy is a drug. It makes you feel good. It gives you an inflated sense of self importance and power. It allows you to feel invulnerable.

That, in short, is why there is no hope.

And have a nice day! :)

Hi Alan,

you must also take into consideration that it saves time as well

as far a kitchen devices - ask your mother . grandmother or wife

or use a manual mangle yourself ! ;-)

as for me, oh I fully in praise for that petrol powered push lawnmower - with my bad back I'd have a heck of a time otherwise

I've used an electric one as well , fast easy and saves my back - but I'll be bu@@3d if I'll pay anyone!!

take it easy - we're in the best of the end times



Maybe, but they will have to pry my electric chain-saw-on-a-telescoping-pole from my cold dead hands if they want to take it away from me. When it comes to tree and bush trimming, that thing rocks. :)

Hand sawing, compared to powered is much tougher and slower. Usually by at least ten times. Unless you are running a sawmill, the total energy consumed won't amount to much.

Well electric can openers, leaf-blowers or powered lawn mowers really don't use much energy. Its stuff like electric dryers, huge plasma TVs that run many hours that really add up.
I got power lawnmover when I had a half acre in Wisconsin (if you sweat, mosquitos zero in on you). Here I get by with a small pushmover, although some blades are too tough for it. I do use an electric leaf blower on occasion, rakes and even brooms don't cut it on gravel or cement areas. Again a couple of minutes a month doesn't amount to any real energy consumption.
I am agred about the general proposition, just that the examples weren't the right ones.

What we have here is a failure of imagination I believe. How many of you responding to my suggestion to use a totally manual reel lawn mower have actually used one versus a pollution belching gas push mower? This is akin to the people who have never even tried to find alternatives to Auto Addiction. In the great book "Stop Signs - Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay" Bianca Mugyenyi and Yves Engler tell funny stories about trying to reach certain destinations without driving.


They were often told "You cannot get there without driving: it is miles" and it turned out to actually be 1/2 mile walk! Nobody had actually even TRIED not to drive. I have found this myself with my folding bike discovering places I thought were miles away were actually just a mile or less and reachable in minutes
with a folding bike from a train station.

I find it ironic that even the open minded people here on TOD well aware of the crises we face are totally unwilling to leave the habits ingrained from a lifetime of conspicuous consumer propaganda and waste.

Look if my teenaged daughter can push a manual lawn mower and mow our lawn I think most of us can do it!
Or pay a few backs to a neighborhood teenager who can!

I have used both a manual reel lawn mower and a pollution belching gasoline reel lawn mower. When I used the manual one, a neighbor offered to lend me his pollution belching one. I declined of course.

Orb - unless you are physically very fortunate and as well have a small yard you will likely retire that manual mower before you reach retirement age yourself. We are not all young, healthy and living with small yards, and humans are not designed for repetitive motion. A manual mower and a large lawn is a recipe for bursitis. The reel mower may eventually go, but the shot shoulder remains.
Electricity is a wonderful thing, and power tools help a man enjoy his castle as he ages - they have their place - especially power lawn mowers, if your home has a medium or larger lawn! I do recognize that many hand tools are quicker and more convenient than power tools at times though - just as a pencil often trumps a calculator.

Rather than the particular tool, perhaps what could be addressed is the institution of the lawn - in Reno, where my brother used to live, dry lawns comprised of rock gardens and desert plant life are heavily promoted to reduce water usage - many if not most most homes have them rather than the traditional grass lawn - they are attractive, diverse, and as a side benefit are remarkably low maintenance, no grass to mow, watering not necessary. It occurred to me that Reno clearly had the right policy for its area.

We stopped watering our lawns some years ago. Right now in midsummer they are a mottled green and brown. They'll get almost totally brown before summer's over. But they come back remarkably well when the winter rains start.

When I consider how little petrol our 2-stroke weedeater uses in trimming the edges, I start to appreciate how much energy petrol contains, and what a pity it is to waste it moving tons of metal and glass around.

I have been using my manual mower for 25 years! I don't think I will stop using it now.
Actually a manual reel mower is so much lighter than a gas mower that it is a lot easier to push.

You have a good point about whether we should be growing lawns or not in the first place.
Historically lawns were introduced by newly prosperous bourgeoisie in England and Europe
who proved by just growing grass that they were so prosperous they did not have to grow vegetables!

Yet another great example of the insanities of Capitalist conspicuous consumption to maintain class conceits.

I have a very tiny yard, right intown, maybe 15' by 45' or so.. and I've got and use a rotary pushmower, and even have a backup one now, which someone left curbside a year or so back. But I do use an electric weed-wacker for edging from time to time, until I build me those long-handled scissors I've been yearning for.

The best part is how many people smile to see this classic mower in action.

I used to have a lawn smaller than that. A push mower was very difficult to use, you'd get moving and have to stop. You just couldn't get the thing moving enough to do the work. Used a flymow instead.


At the house I rent, I used an electric cord lawn mower for about 15yrs.

Unfortunately house owner I guess didn't think my work was pretty enough, so now a gasoline powered gardener does the lawns wkly.

Even in a powerdown/mild collapse, the electric mower only used about 1kW, so could likely run off a home PV system just fine. Only had one moving part: the direct drive motor shaft+cutting blade....

We have a relatively small front yard, and with each passing year more of it gets converted to garden. I use an electric mower as well, and if I recall correctly it takes about twenty minutes and 0.25 kWh to complete the job. Under light loads, the motor draws about 400-watts, but if the grass is thick or otherwise difficult to cut you can probably double that.

I've impaled myself one two many times with push mowers and our electricity is 100 per cent green, so I don't feel overly guilty taking the easy way out.


When I lived in Virginia, I converted most of my lawn to a natural area. Within two years, I had trees covering most of what was my back lawn. The neighbors hated it but I thought, frankly, that I was performing a public service. I sold the house and visited it one year later. The entire tree area had been converted back to a big, time consuming pain in the ass lawn. Where I live now, we have no lawn. However, where I live no one has a lawn as we live in the mountains and are surrounded by natural forests.

You have a lawn? I rototilled mine under about 8 years ago. Seemed really stupid to me to dump more than 80% of the drinking water we used onto the ground to grow grass to cut off and discard.

My parents took a similar direction when they retired - well, they retired to a pear orchard so they didn't have a lawn to start with, then they just sowed a "meadow grass mix" in the 'yard' part and haven't been cutting anything.

Lawns are an abomination and cutting them is just a waste of time. The water issue is intensely insane - my parents, before they moved, replaced their grass in the Florida house they left, which had all died due to watering restrictions. That there are lawns in Florida (much of which is prone to water issues) is bad enough, then they put them in deserts...

"...riding lawn mowers all over my rich suburban area.
...such a pig when it comes to energy wasted..."

Looking at Jonathan Callahan's link:

Lots and lots of green lawns and swimming pools. I took the time to try and find some people. Spent a while: Nobody... Nobody... Nobody... ... Nobody except four people on a trail riding though an undeveloped strip of land. Nobody in the pools... found one inflatable killer whale. No one is using any of it.

Give it a try! Kinda fun. Forget Waldo: Where's anyone?

At least I spotted a couple of PV arrays! Imagine if even half of the houses had a decent PV array! Much better payback time than a swimming pool! >;-)

Alan from the islands

Not to forget that let's assume it is possible to have a lot of jobs whose function isn't very energy intensive in itself, that doesn't mean the money spent by the people having those jobs isn't energy intensive (big car, houses, travel etc).

The US gov't already has a training program for bank inspectors that offers certificates of completion which I think qualifies one to be a paid employee of gov't or of the Fed. Can we ever have too many bank inspectors? I think not. Extra pairs of eyes can always help and with enough inspectors fraudsters would have a hard time making sure that they had paid off everyone 'fairly'. Have red and blue teams of inspectors, etc. ;)

I don't know what you are commenting on, but this post is bulls eye on what is wrong with the economic structure of our world. Lots of us TODsters are thinking a lot about this problem.

Electricity production from solar and wind in Germany in 2012

I want to give a shout-out for this publication Ulenspiegel posted about on the previous Drumbeat.

There is a fortune of data there on how a modern grid copes with a mixture of renewables and heritage power plants. It is very well presented graphically, and easy to understand.


WaPo had an interesting article about optimism bias a couple of weeks ago:

Optimism bias: Why the young and the old tend to look on the bright side

Many of us who have children believe that our kids will be especially talented, even while thinking our neighbor’s kids aren’t all that promising. A survey conducted in 2007 on behalf of the BBC found that 93 percent of respondents were optimistic about the future of their own family, while only 17 percent were optimistic about the future of other families. Collectively, we can grow pessimistic — about the future of our fellow citizens, about the direction of our country, about the ability of our leaders to improve education and reduce crime — while we continue to think our own future is bright.

Why does optimism about our personal future remain incredibly resilient? It is not that we think things will magically turn out okay for us, but rather that we believe we have the unique abilities to make it so.

Though the young and the old tend to be most optimistic, and the middle aged the least optimistic (perhaps the reason the middle aged are the least happy - globally, not just in the US), all of us are prone to optimism bias. They put people in MRIs to see why, and found that our brains just do not incorporate bad news. Good news is welcomed, bad news goes in one ear and out the other.

These findings are striking: When people learn, their neurons encode desirable information that can enhance optimism, but the neurons fail at incorporating unexpectedly undesirable information. When we hear a success story such as that of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, our brains take note of the possibility that we, too, may become immensely successful and rich one day. But hearing that the odds of divorce are almost one in two tends not to make us think that our own marriage may be destined to fail.

Since I am going to be turning 33yo in a couple months, I've noticed in the past year or two I have become decidedly less optimistic. So count me in as a mid-lifer who is not very happy. I was thinking at length about this over the past couple weeks and have decided these are the reasons I am less happy then I used to be:

1. I'm very physically active, competed in bodybuilding in my 20's, still lift daily, climb mountains, go on winter backpacking trips, etc. Though I am still in awesome shape, I know that physically I'm not getting any better. My lifting from here on out will only get worse, I won't be as strong or flexible, the elasticity of my skin will only decrease...I just won't be as good. This is depressing to think about.

2. I'm running out of time to make long-term lifestyle decisions. When you're in your early 20's, you think there's time to do anything. You can try living "here" and if you don't like it you can find a new job and move "there". Even though I make about 5x the money I made out of college, I still find a sense of urgency to life decisions now and that's sort of depressing.

3. My wife and I have a dream of living in a mountain log cabin somewhere isolated in the woods. That used to be great, but now I think about access to healthcare facilities as I age, whether I could handle the rigors of being isolated in the mountains if I should have some medical problem...things like that. I'm running out of time to make that decision and act on it (see #2).

Maybe once you get later into life you finally accept these things and get on with it. The biggest thing for me is coming to terms with my physical limits. My body has never failed me but the situation is going to get worse and worse every year going forward.

I was always notorius at comparing sport/excercise stuff. As I grew older, I found it useful to switch to a new sport every few years, that way I could look forward to getting better at it, rather than slowing the decline. That pretty much worked through the upper fourties. I'm a few days shy of 61 now, so its hopeless. And when the weather sucks -as it has lately its I don'y bother getting on the bike. At your age I'd do outdoor excercise no matter what -even days with a high of -15F and windchill less than -75, I'd still do it. But, now -50F is about my limit.

At least I had a few years living right next to a forest/mountain. Now I am old enough that knowing medical facilities are within a reasonable distance if my health might change is reassuring.

The biggest thing for me is coming to terms with my physical limits. My body has never failed me but the situation is going to get worse and worse every year going forward.

At 33yo you are worried about your physical limits?! You're kidding right? I'm going to be 60 this year and I'm about to go paddle my kayak out to reefs for a little diving! Sure none of us are going to last forever and we all need to take care of ourselves but if you are reasonably healthy, you've still got a long long way to go before you need to start worrying! Just get out there and do something!


Living free amid beauty is dangerous. Having lived free amid beauty: my cherished memories.

Real beauty
Real freedom
Real danger

At 33, right about now is a good time. Everything works just fine. 20 years of that to go.
The wonderful experience has no meaning. It just is.
I'm really glad I got the chance.

I am sorry I did not mean to be so flippant about your age but 33 is very young. I see your delemma though. I moved from the corporate world to learn carpentry and become a journeyman electrician. My college friends have jobs that will pay them pensions in about 15 years while I will have to work into my 60's and 70's. Will those pensions be around then? I don't know and how long will they last...I don't know...I guess it is best to develop as many skills as you can...in both worlds until we see which world prevails...

No worries. I think the problem, as a serious bodybuilder, is that everything is documented. My workout journal goes back to 1999, and I can look back to any particular time and see every rep and every weight, as well as my own personal bodyweight. If I go back 10 years from today, I can see that I was about 60lbs stronger on my bench press and I weighed about 30lbs more. There's no hope I'll ever get back to that condition again, sans steroids.

If I had never saved a workout journal then I'd probably wouldn't have noticed the loss of conditioning.

Oh, I think you would. I was never a serious lifter, but I can tell you 3 decades later what my max bench, squat and dead lift were. I'm a coupla decades ahead of you, and I would concur that it is all downhill for you now, based on my experience. The body deteriorates, fast twitch muscle become slow-mo muscle, etc. While football was my game in my youth, there was never going to be any pursuing that beyond college, so basketball has become my recreational game. And whereas I once could get a lot of rim and can now barely touch the net, there are compensations - my 3 pt. shot (which was only worth 2 when I played in school) is much better than it was when I was younger. As EoS said above, you can develop new skills. But you're not going to get stronger or faster, sorry. You will really come to appreciate the meaning of 'work smarter, not harder'.

Or move into something different enough that you didn't develop it when you were young. Go for endurance rather than max strength. Or flexibility, or ???? Some of the outdoor sports don't lend themselves to objective numerical measurement. I was really into mountain biking -on as tough a terrain as I could find. That held me until late 40's. Now at 60 even if I had the terrain available, it would be nuts to try that sortof stuff. But in any case, racing on natural terrain, the stuff varies from day to day and season to season, so you can't compare this years time with last -its always apples to oranges.

Or a switchup. Went from cross country skiing, to downhill, instructing. If I hadn't had to move away from the snow, that would have still held up this long. We had one couple, who were still teaching lessons in their eighties.

<< later into life you finally accept these things and get on with it. >>

Basically... yes. That is what happens.

I think it is harder if you grow up without having any physical problems or major illnesses-- then it's a real shock the first time something goes wrong. I have heard of clients in their 90s in crisis counseling who were practically suicidal over a bad case of the flu... but guess what? They'd never been sick before a day in their lives, and had zero coping mechanisms. Once we figured out what the problem was, the suicidal thoughts got refiled in the "not today" category.

Me? I've been sick enough to die three times, and I've had to quit body boarding and skiing twice... and then was able to start again. I think I had my fastest run skiing my favorite local slope a few years after the first blood clot, when I was 50... I was a much better skier because I did not have the energy or power to do things wrong.

You also get less scared in general. I've had guns pointed at my twice, been stabbed twice, and had a couple of really bad moments in my cheap Japanese sports cars.

Also you have to let your goals shift, as they will, naturally. We don't have kids, but I'm much more involved with my younger friends and my friends' kids. I think about them all the time, give them presents, tell them stories.

My double-black diamond days are behind me... and some day I will finally throw my old boards in the back of the car and take them down to the Goodwill.

But not today. Health is not great this winter, but I know I'll have a few good days on the mountain at least. And I like the idea downthread of shifting sports every few years.

Mid life? You've got to be kidding. I was just getting started when I was your age and have made many transformations since then. Frankly, I am in better shape now in my 60s than I was in my 30s. However, that is no doubt due to my dissipative lifestyle in my 30s. I started running in my 40s and have continued since then. In some ways, it was better to start running later in life as I was able to improve my conditioning as I got older.

I am in my 30's and run often. I have been running since the age of 22. We are constantly told (media & healthcare) that exercise is good for the body and mind, but I "react" negatively to running and become irritable, angry, lack motivation, lose concentration, etc. This occurs after a few hours of exercise and lingers for a day or two afterwards. After searching the web a bit, I realize I am not alone in this and that there are many others suffering after performing moderately intensive exercise. These are motivated individuals that would like to continue exercising if not for the negative after-effects. Some attribute it to rapid drops in the level of blood sugar in addition to increases in cortisol levels. Sure I could stop running I suppose, but it would be nice to have an answer as running is one of the few things I really look forward to doing.

Sounds like you should be trying to find your local orthomolecular practioner. See:


Alan from the islands

Funny you mention this. I am already scheduled to see one on Tuesday. Thanks for responding.

I would be very interested in knowing how it works out! I'm very much into this sort of thing and find it very exciting when people get good results.

Alan from the islands

I'd probably qualify for middle-aged by now - does 31 count.

I'm probably a mix between a pessimist and an optimist - I'm pessimistic about the overall future of things in the sense that I think the world will experience a pretty tough time of things in the not near future. I don't actually think this is pessimistic though, humans as a whole hope that we'll always have bigger and better, more people, more money, more things and that's just not realistic.

I think that our impending disaster will be a good thing, it'll be pretty horrific for our unfortunate generation who have to live through it but in the end I think it will force humans back to a more natural population level. I think humans will manage to survive the oncoming storm, somewhere in the world will be habitable and those that do survive will at least have a chance to try and get it right the next time.

Demographics of the United States

inglorious, with the US fertility rate at 1.89 children (and probably dropping), maybe there is hope for a gradual population decline before things get too bad...

What do you think?

There is always a hope that we'll naturally reverse our population growth. Unfortunately population declines in the developed world are simply dwarfed by growing populations in other countries.

I think the pressures will be too great on the world, not just due to energy concerns but the whole mix of things that are going on, population being just one of them.

And like I said, I actually think it will be a positive thing for us to reverse the trends we've been following. When I got to thinking about how the current populations of the world act I started thinking about how the old world populations acted.

Living in Peru the Incas were the first to mind - hardly a perfect civilisation but they had at the core of their civilisation a deep respect for the earth and that anything they took from it should be repaid in full. Potosi was a sacred mountain to the Incas, it was so rich in silver that it basically bankrolled the Spanish empire from the point of it's discovery until they lost control of Latin America. The Incas were fully aware of the riches of Potosi and valued silver highly in their culture did yet they didn't raid it's riches and the mountain wasn't mined until the Spanish discovered the wealth it hid.

Modern day humans have no concept about how to live within the means that the world provides. It's not just our energy resources but every resource we are able to consume. Even the solutions to our energy problems are simply further consumption of resources, in the end we'll just be left with a pile of garbage to pick over to see what we can recover from everything we threw away.

But isn't our capitalist system based on more and more growth....if you don't have strong population growth who will feed the SSC system and medicare etc... we are bumping up against that now as we don't have young people working well paying jobs adding to the system... I sometimes lament that I have not added to my 401k like I should have but is it really a wise investment anymore? I am told that I am supposed to have a million saved up by the time I am 67...I am way off that mark...

I have bored friends and family to death talking about peak oil and collapsing economies but they don't want to hear it.or believe it a lot of people tell me to look at the 70's people thought there would be collapse then and there was not... I am shocked that this system is still going...will I be a fool for not participating and being a happy idiot?

I have bored friends and family to death talking about peak oil and collapsing economies but they don't want to hear it.

I have the impression my friends and family listen to me. Anyway some of them have already taken actions because of what I told them. Usually I try to pull the attention to their own situation. Plus I allways say they should not take irreversible actions that might harm their situation in case no crisis really happens.

will I be a fool for not participating and being a happy idiot?

That is a good one. I have that question too. I try to find a sort of equilibrium: an intermediate position.

My daughter moved to NYC so she does not have to drive!
She is also learning knitting and other crafts to be more self-reliant.
Two of my coworkers got solar PV installed after all my squawking about it - ironically
they beat me to it due to my Town's bureaucracy opposing my Variance for a solar carport.

So yes, it has an impact!

Will I be a fool for not participating and being a happy idiot?

I don't think it's binary, one can live under variety of situations. I am not depressed, I actually work in robotics (helping companies automate assembly lines). My job is tied to BAU but I have no issues reconciling it with a catabolic collapse scenario. I try to live a normal life, carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders is not advisable for a healthy living. Perhaps part of that comes from the fact that I live in scenarios most people in western countries can only imagine in a post collapse world like regular 3-4 hour black outs. I have also lived in places with 12 hour power cuts, people learn to cope and find happiness.

One man's collapse is another man's BAU :-)

One man's collapse is another man's BAU :-)

Ah, so you're saying, the other man's, regular BAUlapse is like the first man's CAU? (Collapse Already Unfurled)

Maybe you should write a book titled BAUlapse for Dummies! I'd love to do the graphics >;-)

Don't have a CAU, man...

Ah, so you're saying, the other man's, regular BAUlapse is like the first man's CAU? (Collapse Already Unfurled)

Something like that, I guess there are variations of collapse for everybody. I thought that was what Nate Hagen meant as well, when he said that people who are surviving will go on about it while people used to luxuries will have a hard time coping. But maybe the picture ain't as rosy as I'd like to think, we also have several versions of CAU, chief among them would be a war with our neighbors or the country splitting up into pieces. Even in the cities people here (including me) are now used to luxuries that no one could have dreamt of a few years ago.

Would be interested in your expanding on 'luxuries that no one could have dreamt of a few years ago.'

The key here is "a few". If "a few" 5-10 years then the list is far different than if "a few" is 100 or 200 years ago.

As a "white elephant" gift at a party the home now has a "nanotech toilet plunger" that claims to repel water 'and other material'. Such a self cleaning plunger would be a 'luxury that no one could have dreamt of a few years ago' no?

Or is that a crappy example?

Because the obvious 100 year example is computers and internet.


Is the vacuum-cleaner sold for the wall-to-wall carpet, or is the wall-to-wall carpet sold for the vacuum-cleaner? And are luxuries really luxuries at all?

When I said "dreamt of" I meant dreamt of affording. Stuff like AC, washing machine, fridge, cars, cooking gas (LPG). Again it varies from one economic class to next and from one geography to another. Cooking gas came to our village in early 90's, fridge and washing machine came in early 2000 and the AC and car came recently (only because I was deferring the purchase). For a lot of people these are still things that they can "only dream of".

I'm not sure how to express this. With the pending energy crunch coming up there must be many who are waiting for the simple things, like being able to cook with gas instead of scouring for firewood, who will find the years of waiting and saving frustrated by the need to provide fuel for the SUVs, jet-skis, snow-doos etc.


Fred, you are too much sometimes! I have considered using the e-mail auto signature CPA. No, I'm not an accountant... Collapse Proceeds Apace.

US population growth will continue if at all possible via immigration, legal or illegal. The US and Canadian govs want domestic pop growth, as do large corporations. It helps keep wages low, increases the size of the home market, and increases the tax base. Growth must continue - even at the expense of the quality of life and the expense of the future viability of our home.
It is not what I want, but I'm not directing policy here.

"domestic pop growth, as do large corporations."

I wonder why you think that. The management surely thinks there will be population because that is what they are told by the government and the academics, and they have to use some population predictions from somewhere to make business plans. But they are not doing much, if anything, to plan for providing jobs for a growing population, only for marketing. They are conflicted, IMO.

I am 42 what does that make me a senior? 33 is nothing! whipper snapper!!!

You are only 42? Listen here, young man, I'm almost 64. And wimbi up above claims to remember Pearl Harbor clearly, which means he must be around 80, if not older. If you hang around awhile, you young kids might learn a thing or two!

I'm 50. My mum got bombed in WWII as a teenager (88 now). My grandmother read the news reports from Boar War by a young Winston. To my kids 9/11 is ancient history.

We average 39 years a generation and have 2.0 kids each generation. We have always avoided unnecessary consumption. We try to keep to a low footprint.

Middle aged people are more pessimistic because they have kids living at home.

Quite contrary, as middle aged man with two teenager at home I have still the illusion of them leaving in a few years which would improve the quality of my life. :-)

Pessimistic? No! Overoptimistic? Maybe. :-)

The young have yet to experience life, and many old people have lost cognitive ability...what does that tell you about optimism, then, if the young and the old are the most optimistic?

To be fair, optimistic people tend to live longer so that might explain the findings. As an internal medicine physician, I find it curious that it's my job to try to reverse that...I must try to make everybody live forever, no matter if an individual, in their heart, actually wants to or not. And the more people abuse their bodies, the more care they get from me. It's my job to fight nature, tooth and nail. Which is perhaps why I'm considering giving it up.

I remember when I was doing a Geriatrics rotation and admitted a man who was in his 90's with a pneumonia. He told that he 'had lived too long' and 'wanted to die'.

So what did we do? Treat his pneumonia of course! In the end he recovered and was sent back to his rest-home. I couldn't help but think that we are cheating nature and a guy like that (who couldn't walk or barely feed himself and wanting to die) shouldn't be around. Long-story short I think I know exactly how you feel!

Suffering dogs are allowed to slip away with just the prick of a needle tip. If someone is done, they should be allowed the same. Every life is not precious... especially if is not precious to the owner. There are far too many people competing for not enough hope.

Edward G Robinson

Agreed. I think peak oil will eventually force us to revisit some really thorny and emotionally charged issues such as euthanasia. Technical breakthroughs have spawned new and acute moral dilemmas. You'd think increasing the population at all costs has become a moral imperative. The only way to care for increasing numbers of elderly is to make sure there are more young people entering the labour force. At some point this kind of logic has to be appreciated for what it is.

I have died a couple of times- heart_ and found it to be nothing nothing nothing and but nothing. So that prospect doesn't bother me, and I have instructed my friends to form a clearness committee a la Quaker practice, to decide when its ok for me to go. Then arrange for me to get to my nice little sack and bottle of nitrogen which I have arranged so that with very few motions I can get myself gone with a very high degree of certainty -and no burdening interaction with anybody else.

Yep, there are scenes wherein this would not work, so I have instructed the committee to err on the side of sooner than optimum rather than later. Too bad I don't have a friend to put me down with a single pop to the back of the head with a 22 short hollow point, like I have done to all my dogs.

Very liberating.

PS -vultures out on the ridge will gobble up chickens, coons, groundhawgs and other small varments real quick, but they seem to like their dogs a bit overripe.

This is just one of many ways we distort reality to improve our self-image. Its a real shame that findings in cognitive psychology are not taught widely. Would give people a much better understanding of why we do the things we do. "Thinking Fast and Thinking Slow" by Daniel Kahneman, and "Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)" by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson are both good sources of info.

The EIA Short-Term Energy Outlook came out yesterday. They added 2014 to their predictions. I was looking at their December production numbers for OPEC and what they were predicting for OPEC for the next two years.

They have OPEC December numbers, crude only, down 180 kb/d to 30.28 mb/d. That is 1.04 mb/d below their peak of 31.45 mb/d in April 2012. I found their predictions out to December of 2014 interesting. Here is their predictions of OPEC change from December 2012 to December 2014.

OPEC Crude Only Capacity   +1.90 mb/d
OPEC All Liquids Production +.49 mb/d
OPEC Crude Only Production     0

That's right, they are prediction OPEC Crude Only production in December of 2014 to be exactly the same as it was in December 2012. Here is a graph of the EIA's OPEC past production and predictions out to December 2014. The arrows mark December 2012. The Data is in mb/d. Sorry about the funky color but that was the only color I could get all three to show up plainly.


Although they have OPEC Crude Only production going nowhere they have OPEC Crude Only capacity going from 2.3 mb/d to 4.2 mb/d. My opinion is that today OPEC capacity, with the exception of Iran, equals OPEC production. That was not the case in 2009 until early 2012 however.

Ron P.

Ron, what did you think of the projection for U.S. production? Pretty rosey. I guess we'll make up for OPEC single-handed.

The problem is the EIA don't make their non-OPEC predictions in Crude or C+C. All non-OPEC predictions are for All Liquids. They have US December 2012 all liquids at 11.3 mb/d, up form 10.74 mb/d in September. US C+C production in September was 6.468 mb/d.

Anyway I see shale oil production gains slowing next year and even more in 2014 though not peaking until 2016 or 2017. But to answer your question I expect US C+C production to increase by about .6 mb/d in 2013 and by about .5 mb/d in 2014. I think US C+C production will increase by about half what the EIA says US All Liquids will increase.

And US production will likely plateau around 2015 or 2016 and start to decline in 2017. That is my best guess anyway.

Ron P.

Thanks for the comment. I think the thing that surprised me most was their inclusion of the Permian and West Gulf. Both those areas have been picked over pretty thoroughly, it's hard for me to see them increasing by 25% over two years which means that the Bakken would have to have even greater increases to get to an average increase of 25% overall -- and since other U.S. areas are in decline, that means those three areas would have to increase at an even greater rate to get to 25% increase for all U.S. Just seems like they are expecting all the cards to fall in their favor.

In the meantime, KSA is pushing their Manifa production forward. Seems like everyone in the world is in a hurry to get the stuff out of the ground as quickly as possible.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending January 4, 2013 [PDF]

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged about 15.3 million barrels per day during the week ending January 4, 84 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 89.1 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 8.4 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging over 4.9 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.3 million barrels per day last week, up by 1.2 million barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged about 8.0 million barrels per day, 911 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 447 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 197 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 1.3 million barrels from the previous week. At 361.3 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 7.4 million barrels last week and are well above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories decreased while blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 6.8 million barrels last week and are near the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 1.1 million barrels last week, but remained well above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 10.9 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged about 18.9 million barrels per day, up by 2.4 percent from the same period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged about 8.4 million barrels per day, down by 2.3 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged just under 3.6 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 5.0 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 1.1 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

EIA latest declaration is probably worthy of the headlines :

U.S. oil production to jump 25 percent by 2014 - EIA

(Reuters) - U.S. crude oil production is expected to rise by the largest amount on record in 2013, the Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday, and is set to soar by almost a quarter over the next two years.


This was all reported in the EIA's SHORT-TERM ENERGY OUTLOOK which came out yesterday.

I measured their two year predictions from September 2012 to September 2014 for all non-OPEC nations. I used September 2012 because that was the last month we have hard data for. They are prediction non-OPEC production to rise by 4.22 million barrels per day in those twenty four months. I just flat don't believe that is going to happen. Below is their prediction rise or fall for all non-OPEC oil producers in mb/d.

   All non-OPEC combined        4.22
   United States		2.73
   Canada			0.76
   Russia			0.35
   China			0.33
   Brazil			0.29
   Colombia			0.16
   Malaysia			0.1
   Kazakhstan			0.09
   Vietnam			0.08
   Other FSU			0.06
   Turkmenistan			0.05
   Equatorial Guinea     	0.05
   Other Central and S. America	0.03
   India			0.03
   Other North Sea		0.01
   Yemen		       -0.01
   Australia		       -0.01
   Gabon		       -0.01
   Egypt		       -0.02
   Oman		               -0.03
   Argentina		       -0.05
   Indonesia		       -0.06
   Sudan		       -0.07
   Norway		       -0.08
   United Kingdom              -0.11
   Mexico		       -0.12
   Syria		       -0.13
   Azerbaijan		       -0.15

Just glancing at these numbers, I am of the opinion that the EIA has way underestimated the decliner rates of all the old fields in all these countries. And perhaps overestimated the amount of new oil that will come on line.

Ron P.

I just flat don't believe that is going to happen.

And you flat-out didn't believe North Dakota oil production would get much beyond 300K bpd either, did you.

To give an idea of how much US oil production has been going up in just the past year, this article from Bloomberg is helpful.

The Energy Department reported today that weekly average output rose to 7.002 million barrels a day in the week ended Jan. 4, a 1.16 million-barrel increase from the same week last year.

Well I was wrong about five years ago when I said something like that. But now we have a much better handle on North Dakota oil. Well some of us do and some of us don't. And no I do not believe the US will increase production, from September 2012 to September 2014 by 2.73 million barrels per day. That works out to be a 1.365 million barrel a day increase each year. I just flat don't believe that is going to happen.

What are my predictions? About half that, for crude oil anyway. What are my predictions for the Bakken. They are depicted in the chart below from: Future production from U.S. shale or tight oil

Ron P.


US C+C has increased from about 5.5 mbpd to 7 mbpd which is an increase of 1.5 mbpd. If Bakken shale is producing 600,000 bpd, where did the rest of the 900,000 bpd increase come from? Also, note that existing fields in Alaska, Texas, etc are showing production declines; so it is quite a feat to be able to increase overall C+C production.

Well no, the increase from the first reporting date in 2012 to the first reporting date in 2013 was 1.158 mb/d. Weekly U.S. Field Production of Crude Oil

The Bakken is not the only shale oil producing area in the USA. There is Eagle Ford and a few other small areas. (See my link above for: Future production from U.S. shale or tight oil.) However I don't know where most of the increase came from. North Dakota says the Bakken increased production from October 2011 to October 2012 from 423,676 barrels per day to 682,393 barrels per day. That is an increase of only 258,717 barrels per day. ND Monthly Bakken* Oil Production Statistics

I had to use October to October for yearly data because October is the last month they have posted. I don't have and data for Eagle Ford but I doubt it is quite that high. So where did the rest of the oil come from? I have no idea.

Ron P.

The Permian is contributing some to the increase. using October to October numbers from the Texas RR commission the 7 largest producing counties located in the Permian Basin produced 13,507,000 barrels of oil in Oct of 2012 compared to 11,994,000 in 2011 and 11,272,000 in October 2010. An increase of about 12.5% over 2011 and almost 20% over 2010. These 7 counties make up about half of Texas Permian production. The rest is spread over 50 other counties.

Existing pipelines are unable to carry all the new oil being produced out of the Permian.........

Permian tight oil has the potential to be bigger than the Williston Basin tight oil but. We just don't know for sure yet. The Cline and Wolfcamp might be very big........

From EIA Crude Oil (and natural gas condensate?) Production by State, I select the regions and states that increased the most.

North Dakota
New Mexico
Federal Offshore (PADD 3)

USA Field Crude Oil Production

USA Field Production of Crude Oil 1920 to 2012

North Dakota Crude Oil Production

North Dakota

Oklahoma Crude Oil Production


New Mexico Crude Oil Production

New Mexico

Texas Crude Oil Production


Federal Offshore (PADD 3) Crude Oil Production

Federal Offshore (PADD 3)

According to EIA data, Texas is the bigger story than North Dakota.

Although the EIA data ends in 2010, it suggests natural gas lease condensate production is rocketing skyward in Texas. Texas produced 282 kb/d of lease condensate in 2010, a 78% increase from the prior year.

EIA U.S. Lease Condensate Production by State

Texas (with state offshore) Natural Gas Liquids Lease Condensate, Reserves Based Production (Mb/year)

year         	2005	2006 	2007 	2008 	2009 	2010
Texas   	47 	53 	53 	60 	58 	103
RRC District 1	1 	1 	1 	2 	1 	1 
RRC District 2
 Onshore	3 	4 	3 	3 	3 	5 
RRC District 3
 Onshore	14 	15 	16 	16 	17 	20
RRC District 4
Onshore 	13 	14 	13 	13 	11 	12
RRC District 5	1 	1 	1 	1 	1 	1 
RRC District 6	6 	7 	7 	8 	7 	7 
RRC District 7B	0 	0 	1 	1 	1 	1 
RRC District 7C	3 	2 	2 	3 	3 	4 
RRC District 8	2 	2 	2 	2 	3 	38
RRC District 8A	0 	0 	0 	0 	0 	0 
RRC District 9	1 	2 	2 	2 	2 	2 
RRC District 10	3 	5 	5 	8 	8 	11
State Offshore	0 	0 	0 	1 	1 	1

Well I was wrong about five years ago when I said something like that.

No, it wasn't about five years ago. It was less than 2-1/2 years ago which I recently pointed out to you here.

This is where North Dakota is in a league of its own. In May, North Dakota's oil production was approximately 300,000 barrels per day. That's more than twice what the state was producing in 2007.

Can the Bakken continue this increase. Not likely ...

Good luck with your latest predictions. You'll need it.

Oh, so you misquoted me. You said:

And you flat-out didn't believe North Dakota oil production would get much beyond 300K bpd either, did you.

And that was not what I said at all. All I implied was that the Bakken was Not likely to keep increasing at that rate. AC not likely is a far cry from: And you flat-out don't believe North Dakota oil production would get much beyond 300K bpd either, did you.

You changed "not likely" to "flat out don't believe". That changes the entire context.

And what is with you anyway. Why do you go picking about what people, on this list, have posted in the past, then changing the context to suit yourself, and then re-posting it as a criticism? Do you get your jollies doing that?

I wonder... just what kind of a man enjoys doing such nit-picky things?

Ron P.

Ron, Abudance raise a critical issue. How some so wedded to the Peak Oil mindset have refused to face new facts - especially when those facts fly in the face of your ideology.

Being a permanent doomster, no matter how the situation changes, is no more intelligent than being a permanent cornucopian no matter how the facts change.

Stuart Staniford has had an intellectual evolution these past five years and is much more careful with sudden pronouncements in large part because of this. I wish more people would follow his lead.

When you and 'Abundance Concept' have put in 1/10th the time and effort that Darwinian has put into understanding these issues, and come up with 1/100th the data, it will be time for you to get snarky.

I've had my differences with Ron over the years, but I felt that your post was insulting.

You and 'Abundance Concept', with your uncritical pollyannish happy-think, are the ideologs.

When you and 'Abundance Concept' have put in 1/10th the time and effort that Darwinian has put into understanding these issues

If Darwinian does not know where all the additional US production is coming from aside from ND and the Eagle Ford shale, which he just said today, then he has, qualitatively at least, put very little effort into understanding these issues.

AC, I follow US oil production as closely as anyone on this list. And I know I follow it closer than you do. I follow GOM production, Alaska production, North Dakota production, Texas production and production from just about everywhere else. But only a few places document their production. The GOM does and GOM production is dropping fast, so is Alaska. North Dakoth and Eagle Ford is increasing production but both combined have not increased anywhere near one million barrels per day during the last 12 months.

But I have seen huge changes in GOM production and those changes are never reported in the EIA's data base. I really believe the EIA's figures are not that accurate. That was what I meant. I know they are not accurate as far as world crude production is concerned because they report the same numbers for some countries, month after month, when all other reporting agencies shows changes as one might expect. And there are always great diversity in the production numbers of every reporting agency. So we really cannot expect the numbers to be that accurate.

And as far as understanding the issues, I study them for several hours every day. I think I understand the issues, that is the big picture, as well as anyone on this list. No, I do not know as much about the oil patch as Rockman or Rocky, or as much about geology as WestTexas and some of the other geologists on this list. But as far as the big picture, and how it is influenced by international politics, I have been studying that picture for decades.

But as far as you and Symmetric are concerned, you seem to take great joy in attacking the man rather than his argument. Oh well...

Ron P.

And I know I follow it closer than you do.

No you don't. If you did, you would be noticing rising oil production in Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma as well as lesser increases in Wyoming, Kansas, Utah, and even a bit of a recent uptick in Montana. That's in addition to the large increases in North Dakota and Texas. If you actually did follow these things, you would know exactly *why* production is increasing in each of these states, and why production is likely to continue to increase in most, if not all, of them for the foreseeable future. And if you did follow these things as closely as I did, you would know why Texas, in particular, has had such big increases in addition to what you're aware of in the Eagle Ford shale. I know *all* of those. Every single one. I can even tell you where more is going to come from. None of the recent rise in US production has been a surprise to me - if anything, it's risen faster than even I expected. The fact you said you do not know where the additional production is coming from, aside from ND and the Eagle Ford, tells me you most certainly do not follow it closer than me.

Okay what do you know about the rest of the world? It is a world market you know. Why is the rest of Non-OPEC Crude + Condensate down just over two million barrels per day since its peak in November 2010. Why?

Non-OPEC C+C production less USA production in kb/d. The data is from the EIA. The last data point is Sep. 2012

Non-OPEC less USA

Seriously folks, my point is that US shale production will not keep the world oil production from peaking. That should be obvious from looking at the above chart and my charts of all non-OPEC production posted below. Even the EIA is predicting that OPEC will not increase production during the next two years. And non-OPEC production outside the US is dropping like a rock. So the question is: Can US shale oil production save the world?

Ron P.

Seriously folks, my point is that US shale production will not keep the world oil production from peaking. That should be obvious from looking at the above chart and my charts of all non-OPEC production posted below. Even the EIA is predicting that OPEC will not increase production during the next two years. And non-OPEC production outside the US is dropping like a rock. So the question is: Can US shale oil production save the world?

Since you're interested in total world production - everything! - that same EIA Report you referenced says (pg. 2):

EIA expects oil markets to loosen in 2013 and 2014 as increasing global supply more than offsets higher global consumption.  Projected world supply increases by 1.0 million bbl/d in 2013 and 1.7 million bbl/d in 2014, with most of the growth coming from outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). North America will account for much of this growth.

So for the period covering the report you yourself referenced, the answer to your question in bold is ... yes. So much so, they even call it a 'loosening' with increasing production "more than" offsetting higher consumption.

AC, that is news to no one. We all know the EIA's record on forecasting.

Energy Policy Forum

In March, 2012, EIA did a retrospective study to determine just how often they had been correct in their forecasts.

The results were dismal. And eye-opening.

For instance, EIA, by its own admission, states that they had overestimated crude oil production 62% of the time; they had overestimated natural gas production 70.8% of the time; and they had overestimated natural gas consumption 69.6% of the time. Not the best track record by anyone’s estimation except perhaps EIA’s.

It is also noteworthy that EIA had overestimated the energy intensity ratio a whopping 96.5% of the time. This is a ratio of total energy consumption and GDP. They tended to overestimate energy consumption and underestimate growth in GDP.

I read the Short-Term Energy Report every month. The EIA has been predicting an oil supply rise almost every month since I can remember. They have almost always been wrong. But the World Energy Outlook has an even worse record. That has been documented time and time again on this list. I am surprised that you were not aware of that fact.

Ron P.

Ron - Just a small data point that may not be of much use in the current discussion. But until I do a full year end review of the Eagle Ford...from the TRRC records - EFS production 0ct 2012: 492,096 bopd from 1,777 leases.

I know *all* of those. Every single one. I can even tell you where more is going to come from.

OK, lay it on me. Why is production likely to continue to increase for the foreseeable future in Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Kansas, Utah, Montana, North Dakota and Texas? And where is more going to come from? Go ahead and get into the details, I've got time.

Symmetric, I really don't think I have an ideology and I really don't think you even know what an ideology really is. I don't know what your philosophy is because you have been a member of this list for only a short time but AC has been here for almost three years, and his pen name says it all, "Abundant Concepts". And his Pollyannaish posts tells us he truly has an ideology, that is a doctrine, myth, belief, etc, that guides his outlook on life.

Yes, I am a doomer and have been for well over half a century. And the facts have not changed. The very idea that you and AC think that finding a little extra oil via fracking actually changes the big picture speaks volumes about the depth of your argument.

In spite of that bit of extra oil, thousands of species are still going extinct every year, the temperature of the world is still rising, deserts are still expanding, rivers, lakes and inland seas are still going dry, ocean fisheries are still disappearing, almost two billion people still are going to bed hungry every night, rain forest are still being clear cut, crop land is still being washed and blown away. And I could go on and on and on. But you still would not understand a thing I was talking about. Because...

Because you think a little extra oil found by fracking will save our butts... It won't. Hell it won't even delay peak oil for more than one year.

Ron P.

The very idea that you and AC think that finding a little extra oil via fracking actually changes the big picture ...

Except for the inconvenient fact that it does.

This phenomenon, of course, will be repeated in other countries.

Symmetric, I really don't think I have an ideology ... In spite of that bit of extra oil, thousands of species are still going extinct every year, the temperature of the world is still rising, deserts are still expanding, rivers, lakes and inland seas are still going dry, ocean fisheries are still disappearing, almost two billion people still are going to bed hungry every night, rain forest are still being clear cut, crop land is still being washed and blown away. And I could go on and on and on. But you still would not understand a thing I was talking about. Because...

... because your list of gripes has nothing to do with oil production. Yes, you obviously have an ideology. You're just another person who's wishing for oil production to peak because you don't like what oil enables. Peak oil is a means to an end, you don't actually care about the technical and economic merits of of increasing oil production via fracking or any other means. You just don't want it to happen, as your list of gripes above proves.

Okay understand the fact that the Big Picture is world oil production, and the decline rate of existing fields at from 4 to 6 percent, on average. Some are a lot higher like deepwater as I have documented. That puts the decline of the world's existing fields in the neighborhood of 4 million barrels per day per year. I have seen higher estimates however.

Even if fracking increases US production by 1 mb/d for three or four years, it still does not change the big picture. If it does anything it will cause a dramatic increase in the decline rate when they do go over the cliff in about 2017 or sooner.

And the fact that you think it does alter the world's prediciment speaks volumes about your knowledge of the true nature of things.

Ron P.

Here's another wondrous prediction by the man who claims to understand "the Big Picture."

Posted by Darwinian, September 4, 2010

Non-OPEC production is unexpectedly up this year due to higher-than-expected output in Russia, the US, and China. But all three reach peak this year, China for the first time and a post Soviet peak for Russia and a post Katrina peak for the US. Next year production will likely be down for all three as well as most of the rest of non-OPEC.


-- Russian oil production reaches new post-Soviet high in 2012.
-- According to the EIA, Chinese oil production in September was exceeded only by one month, November 2010.
-- And then of course we have the embarrassing prediction about US oil production.

Please accept my apologies for pointing out to you your inaccurate predictions.

Naw, my estimates have been pretty accurate so far. According to both the EIA and JODI non-OPEC production peaked in November 2010.

EIA and JODI non-OPEC production numbers in kb/d. The last EIA data point is Sep. 2012 and JODI Oct 2012.


And China 12 month average peaked in 2011, with the peak month still November 2010. I was off on the US but still pretty close on Russia. They are up about 1.5 percent but most Russian oil experts say they will drop about 100 kb/d this year, if not more. I am not about to argue with them.

I have always claimed that my predictions are just that, guesses because no one knows the future. By the way, where are your predictions? If you don't have the courage to make your own predictions then you should not criticize others.

Ron P.

Frankly, the big picture is something that should be in the context of decades. Right, now there seems to be quibbling about when in the next few or even several years there will be increasing oil production. And speaking only for myself, of course, I would have preferred that we had not started increasing U.S. production in these new areas. But the big picture is that this little bit of extra time to transition to a world requiring less oil and other fossil fuel based energy will be squandered just as we squandered our chance to do something about global warming at least two decades ago. The big picture is that in the not too far off future, these increases being experienced now will be little meaningless blips in the big picture of the time that the human species has been on this planet.

Yes, silly me. I am one of those who became interested in peak oil in part because I welcomed anything that would put us on the downward slope of oil production. And this recent increase in production from from shale oil, while just delaying the peak for a few years, will be another factor engendering complacency about moving to other energy sources and less consumption.

Agree, exact timing is unimportant. And efforts to extend BAU will just draw down remaining resources that much faster making the future. But in the meantime energy optimists can point to increasing production in this or that location, ignoring the longer term inevitable outcome.

The US is CONSUMING 17 Million barrels per day. So all the increases in shale oil at costs of over $90 per barrel are still not even meeting US waste of oil for Auto Addiction and Wars.
The US also got a reprieve by taking 40% of its corn and feeding it to cars vs people or animals by converting it to biofuel. But that production is declining also and the Midwestern drought brought about by the Climate Change from all this fossil fuel waste has
seriously impacted corn production. The same Midwestern drought is affecting the availability of the huge quantities of water needed for fracking. As Limits to Growth pointed out 40 years ago as well as Barry Commoner in "The Closing Circle" in the big picture ecology is a huge feedback loop. So we frack more shale oil and dry up the whole Midwest and devastate the Northeast with Hurricane Sandy.

Face reality abundance.concept ...

All I implied was that the Bakken was Not likely to keep increasing at that rate. AC not likely ..

Oh pul-eeze!! *laughs* Clearly you did not not believe ND oil production was going to go much higher than the (then) current level of 300K bpd. When someone says, "Can the Bakken continue this increase? Not likely," that means either they did not really believe the rate of increase would continue (which has since been proven wrong), or the level of production was not likely to go higher (again, since proven wrong). No matter how you try to spin it, you were clearly wrong.

And what is with you anyway. Why do you go picking about what people ...

A lot of people around the world read this site, and regard it as a reasonably authoritative source. I am doing my part to show those readers that it is not an authoritative source. Then we have people like you, who are among the posters here making predictions ... which turn out to be wrong ... who then have the audacity to ridicule Daniel Yergin and others whose predictions didn't pan out, while they themselves continue to make the same mistake Yergin makes by refusing to learn from their mistakes. If you don't like me pointing out yours (and other's) wrong predictions, I've got one piece of advice: Don't make any predictions!

Repeat after me: "I, Darwinian, in light of my past incorrect predictions, admit I don't have the slightest clue what future US and North Dakota oil production is going to be, so I will do the smart thing and refrain from making any more such predictions."

A few people on this site seem to have learned this lesson (Piccolo comes to mind, who has been conspicuously silent since his bad predictions from a few years ago), but it looks like others here have yet to join them.


Please tell me something. Do you think we should maximize production today at the expense of future generations? Or do you believe that oil is an inexhaustible resource? I think it has to be one or the other. If you accept that oil is a finite, non-renewable resource, then maximizing production today just condemns my son's generation to energy hell. If you reject that oil is a finite, non-renewable resource, then that says something else entirely. Or maybe you think that oil is finite, but in such great supply that even maximizing production today will not affect future production. I'm honestly trying to figure out where you are coming from. Just where do you stand on this point?


Oil is a finite resource. The only question is, How big is "finite?" It's blatantly obvious to me there's a helluva lot more of the stuff than the typical Peak Oiler believes (or, wants to believe). As for whether or not we should use up more of it now, or later, I'm basically agnostic on the question. Two scenarios I see are:

1. Use up as much as possible now, so as to force future generations to stop using it, if one was inclined to believe we should stop using it.

2. Use it sparingly now, so as to save some for future generations. The question then becomes, "Why do we want to save some for future generations?" If one was worried about Saving Civilization By Saving Oil, that implies that the person proposing such a course of action wants civilization to be saved, and enjoys the benefits of having oil to burn. But if, as I believe, there is far more oil than most people tend to believe, that concern is so far out in the future it is not worth worrying about now. People advocating this scenario also are implying that there's no good substitute for oil, which is why we need to save it no matter how much the earth is endowed with. I disagree here - there are always going to be energy substitutes. So either we start running short on it sooner, or we start running short on it later. Ultimately, what difference does it make? The irony is, those claiming we need to "save oil" for future generations almost seem to act as if oil is infinite, because if the "we need to save oil for future generations" logic applies now, it also applies to all future generations. Which is impossible, because oil is finite! At some point, some generation is going to start running out of the stuff: Why does it matter if it is the current generation or 10 generations from now?

Ultimately, in the long run I believe the world is probably going to end up burning about the same amount of oil no matter what scenario plays out. The only difference is whether a larger amount will be burned in the near term, or smaller amounts spread out over a longer term. I am indifferent as to whether one is better than the other. That's why I'm agnostic on the question.

AC: There is a LOT of untapped oil in the ground. I am no expert, but assumes we have used 5% of all the oil that is there. And similar is the line of all other "peak oilers".

The problem is not that there is not enough oil. The problem is that oil comes in different qualities. We used the best cut first, and is now in the process of changing to a lower quality cut of the very very huge oil supply. This section is harder to reach, lower quality and so on. The 90% or so worst oil is not avilable at all with todays technology. I am not aware of any new techs coming online to reach those 90% at all. Remember that when I say "oil" I am using the widest definition possible, including kerogenes and such. I am 35 years old, wich is to old to see the end of the oil age in my life span. But the days of cheap and easy oil is gone and will not come back. We are out of the good stuff.


Ultimately, in the long run I believe the world is probably going to end up burning about the same amount of oil no matter what scenario plays out. The only difference is whether a larger amount will be burned in the near term, or smaller amounts spread out over a longer term. I am indifferent as to whether one is better than the other

Thanks, I see where you are coming from. Personally, I don't see any irony in saving oil for my son and perhaps his children. Of course oil is finite and at even low extraction rates it won't last forever. That's not my contention. My view is that oil is the world's most valuable commodity and that we have spent it and continue to spend it like water. If we were to cut use now and extend the lifetime of existing reserves, it would make things just a little bit better for them. I think your statement that there is no difference between burning it now or later is truly odd. Suppose our parents had found a way to extract and burn oil even faster than they did. Would you feel the same way today? My son will never enjoy the benefits of cheap oil that I did. He was born in 2000 and I hope he will be around a long time -- what do you think things are going to look like in 2050? Do you think oil production will still be high then? But then, as you say, you are agnostic on that point.

But, if you are correct and the size of the finite resource is so huge, then it doesn't really matter. I don't believe you are correct, but only time will tell.

We should burn less oil now not simply to provide more for future generations. Ideally, we should burn less oil and everything else now and hope that later it will not be burned at all. All the oil on the planet is not going to save us given the probability that the current drowth and heat is just going to get worse from hereon.

I think that the benefits of cheap oil are outweighed by the high probability that the planet will be largely uninhabitable as soon as a few decades from now. We are playing Russian roulette with the future and there is probably more than one bullet left in the pistol.

It's all but an impossible situation, when the medicine we need to take will likely kill us before the affects of the disease. So the strongest animal trait takes over, that is self preservation.

Sacrifice for the greater good requires suppression of self preservation . Of course that won't occur naturally or willingly. Draconian measures either have to be forced upon us or the required "measures" won't take place.

I'm pretty sure the human race will go down gasping and struggling for its last breath, bewildered and astonished.

I believe all the chambers are filled. And people are screaming "Pull the trigger!"

People ... are implying that there's no good substitute for oil, which is why we need to save it no matter how much the earth is endowed with. I disagree here - there are always going to be energy substitutes.

This betrays a deep misunderstanding of history, not to mention the nature of energy and its various sources.

If you're crafty, you'll probably allude to the classic tropes: the nick o'time weaning of society from whale oil upon the widespread adoption of "rock oil"- or the embracing of coal after England's forests had been all but obliterated. But these are isolated, short-lived examples in a long history peppered with the remains of civilizations once fattened, hobbled, and ultimately gutted by the logistic curve of resource depletion and overshoot.

Or, if you care to, please enlighten us. What will substitute for 30+ billion barrels per year of shapeless, abiding, forty-plus-megajoules-per-kilogram black gold upon which our current civilization is based? Or do you think that, though we don't know yet what will substitute, whatever-it-is will one day reveal itself, like Jesus, and that we therefore should not worry ourselves about what will be available to subsequent generations? Automobiles and leaf-blowers are a worthy use of this fossil energy, then, because some equally potent yet mysterious substitute is waiting in the wings?

The reason to save petroleum and not just burn it up and along with it the planet is that petroleum is one of the best feedstocks for all sorts of plastics and complex hydrocarbons that exists. Also NOT burning it as James Hansen and 350.org point out saves our planet from a living hell of Global Warming and Climate Change.
This is pretty simple really...

Abundance, we'll never run out of fresh water. There'll always be more falling from the skies. But that doesn't mean we'll always have enough fresh water.

we'll never run out of fresh water. There'll always be more falling from the skies.

Except if you are like say Colorado where the law says you can't capture that fresh water.

And how "fresh" is such water with "air polution" as noted below:


I have been on this site long enough to have seen the bad predictions come and go, though I don't recall Ron being one of the major prediction makers. We all have our own predictions, or at least gut feelings about what is coming down the road, even if we don't make them public. Do you have any you care to share? Do you think oil production will peak at any point? And when that point comes, do you think anyone will care if it was predicted accurately or not? Do you think they will say, "Geez, I thought the peak was going to be 18 months later than it was"? Nobody will care. They won't care about predictions, or comments on a website, or who was right and who was wrong -- what they will care about is putting food in their mouths, keeping a roof over their heads, wondering what the hell they and their children are going to do.

But if you are going to make posts here, please try to be a little more polite. Ron is probably the hardest working person on this site in terms of the tracking of production around the world. Nobody will care what any of says when the time comes, but at least we can care enough about how we treat each other now to keep things civil.

AC - just look at the data - why should Darwinian change his position for yours? The fracking revolution isn't that big a bump in the historical decline of US production - it looks to be capable of slowing down the approach of terminal decline, but not by very much at all in the big picture - and at great expense - the charts show a tiny bump, similar to the beginning of Prudhoe Bay - no game changer. I don't expect a big impact and there is far too much hype, too many people trying too hard to make a big deal out of too little. I've seen a similar story the last few years on many subjects - its like a war on truth out there - just look at the data and learn - learn to spot people who want to spin and twist for some agenda - and look at the data before opinion -
Sorry AC -

Just a little reminder of something missing in all of this sniping. While we can argue about the accuracy of EIA production data I'm pretty sure they have a good handle on historical prices. One thing pretty obvious about production of oil and natural gas; prices determine the attractivness of production. And prices, since the bengining of this century have been on a serious rise. According to my simple calculation WTI has risen about 12% per annum between 2000 and 2012, Brent has risen 14% per year. That can certainly affect predictions of volume. Does anyone here think that production would continue to rise as it has without these prices? And are these prices holding back demand?

Oh pul-eeze!! *laughs* Clearly you did not not believe ND oil production was going to go much higher than the (then) current level of 300K bpd.

Abundance, you are something else. You claim to know what I was thinking when what I wrote was nowhere close to your belief as to what I was thinking. I was speaking of rate of increase not the level. How should you know that? Because that is what I said. That should be obvious to a fifth grader.

A few people on this site seem to have learned this lesson (Piccolo comes to mind, who has been conspicuously silent since his bad predictions from a few years ago), but it looks like others here have yet to join them.

Piccolo wrote two guest posts here on TOD that were posted by Gail the Actuary. That has been the extent of his contribution to this list. His 2009 paper is quite interesting. You might read it:
The Bakken Shale - Has it Moved the Oil Needle?

And as I posted above my guesses have been quite accurate so far. Some have been off and others pretty close to being spot on. And I will keep making them. I love doing it, it is great fun. Also, this list is doing just find without your advice on how we should behave.

Ron P.

Abundance.concept deals strictly in a belief system. He does not let any physical models of reality get in the way. He simply chases the fluctuating noise on any cherry picked data he can find and calls that the signal.

It is all quite obvious to those of us that actually analyze the statistics.

Another way to put it is that abundance.concept uses bad data to see what he wants to see.

Notice that he will never look at good data that matches the models very well, such as that coming out of the North Sea.

He propogates foo and FUD off of noise, while we fill in the missing pieces off the real signal. I think we all understand this.

Ratchet it down, please. You can make your points without getting personal.

It might surprise you, but all of your fragmentary evidence and verbosity do not convince me AC. You sound pretty desperate in fact. I appreciate people who gather the facts, from the best sources available, noting any known discrepancies and anomalies.

That you might be closer to certain US fields doesn't qualify you or disqualify you in making your own well laid out and easy to follow summaries. I suggest you begin doing the hard work. I'm sure we're all interested in your knowledge if it is relevant to the discussion of world oil production. I'm not interested in a wild goose chase of links either. Write down the points you think are relevant so we can in turn question them for better insight.

Thanks in advance.

Repeat after me: "I, Darwinian, in light of my past incorrect predictions, admit I don't have the slightest clue what future US and North Dakota oil production is going to be, so I will do the smart thing and refrain from making any more such predictions."

You're confusing a wrong prediction with not having a clue about what future US and North Dakota oil production is going to be. They are not the same thing, especially if you learn from your mistakes, as Ron has done in the past.

Good work! "Locations run out" is a really strong argument.

And that argument got even stronger this past year: Chesapeake Drills Unsuccessful Wells in Southwest ND

Director of Mineral Resources for the state of North Dakota, Lynn Helms, says "geologically, there were some surprises. We knew that there wouldn't be any lower Bakken Shale in that area. What surprised us was to find out there's no upper Bakken Shale in that area."

The sweet spots have all been taken... and soon will all be drilled. As they move away from the sweet spots, they are finding a lot less oil. And as Chesapeake found out, sometimes hardly any oil at all.

Ron P.

Yves - Abundance and I were just discussing those projections in another chat. As I said there if one projects higher oil prices and the ability of the oil patch to put more boots on the ground in response then such an increase MIGHT be possible. But unless I read the report incorrectly they seem to be expecting prices no higher (and perhaps a bit lower) than what supported the recent drilling surge. Which begs the question: why will there be more drilling then what we've seen?

Rock, Yes I have seen this discussion.
Personally I don't have direct experience or enough knowledge of the data to judge, but I get this to be completely in line with the current "PR" campaign around US production rennaissance.
(even in the wording chosen, "is set to soar by almost a quarter", etc.

Part of this very strange period where at the same time agencies publish numbers that are in fact alarming without them being relayed in the MSM, and this message push that might be very much financially motivated.

But unless I read the report incorrectly they seem to be expecting prices no higher (and perhaps a bit lower) than what supported the recent drilling surge.

Here is exactly what they are predicting prices to be: Global Crude Oil Prices

EIA projects the Brent crude oil spot price will fall from an average of $112 per barrel in 2012 to annual averages of $105 per barrel and $99 per barrel in 2013 and 2014, respectively, reflecting the increasing supply of liquid fuels by non-OPEC countries. After averaging $94 in 2012, the WTI price will average $90 per barrel in 2013 before increasing to an average of $91 per barrel in 2014. By 2014, several pipeline projects from the Mid-continent to the Gulf Coast refining centers are expected to come on line, reducing the cost of transporting crude oil to refiners, which is reflected in a declining discount of WTI to Brent over the forecast period.

Ron P.

Is 'peak oil theory' delayed by fracking?

"About a decade ago, the theory of 'peak oil' stated that at some point in the near future, global oil production would peak, sending prices sky-high.

But since then, the discovery of vast shale oil and gas reserves - many of them in the US - has led some to question whether that point has been pushed back, or indeed, will ever happen?"

By the BBC - I thought they were smarter than that, more delusional thinking on my part, I never cease to be disappointed with myself.

Seriously. I guess current price of over $100 a barrel doesn't constitute sky high prices compared to the ~$20/bbl of a decade ago . . .

There is a 4.5 minute audio podcast at that link:
Is 'peak oil theory' delayed by fracking?
At the very end Seth Kleinman, Global Head of Energy Strategy at Citigroup, says:

Peak Oil is going to be pretty... obviously disproven because it is now a question of when, not if, fracking starts to get deployed in a significant fashion, not on a global basis but in many, many countries.

In other words fracking has not just delayed peak oil, it has cancelled it altogether.

Ron P.

If hubris, arrogance, and ignorance could be combined using a sort of Fischer Tropsch process to produce a liquid fuel for use in ICE, then I might switch camps and agree with Mr. Kleinman. B/c I think we can all agree that those three commodities are available in near-infinite quantities on this planet. /sarc

Here are some good numbers on the fuel used for fraccing inthe US, and what the big companies are doing to beat the costs of such high fuel usage. The less gas that is flared the better in my opinion, and if you can make/save on the deal, even better.


Apache Fracks with Natural Gas

When 2012 tallies are in, the exploration and production industry will have used more than 700 million gallons of diesel fuel to pump sand and water for fracking, Apache says. “At an average cost of $3.40 per gallon (current U.S. average), that’s $2.38 billion spent on diesel,” states the Apache website report.


“By using field gas, the United States would import 17 million fewer barrels of oil each year to make the diesel to fuel these fracs,” Bahorich says.


Potential cost savings by using dual-fuel in a hydraulic fracturing operation are significant, Apache says. A single fracking site in the Granite Wash Stiles Ranch would typically use 36,290 gallons of diesel, states the web report. “Using mid-December prices of $3.40 per gallon for diesel, the total fuel bill would be $123,386. At current gas prices, including transportation, the total fuel cost using dual-fuel engines with gas drops to $74,473.”

pusher - Not that making good use of the NG isn't a good thing. But if those numbers are close to correct it gives some hint to at least on aspect of the EROEI shale plays. But one correction: not 17 million bbl of oil per year. It varies but the diesel yield from a bbl of oil is typically around 25 - 30% so it would be more like 45 - 50 million bbls of less imported oil. But even with that higher number the diesel factor is still a good bit less than 1% of our oil consumption. So the concern that we're burning up too much oil to produce more oil doesn't look like a big factor. Of course there are other contributors to the fuel budget of a frac'd well but this does offer some sense of magnitude. Many have expressed concern of that trade off.


Remember this is only the frac job, the well has to be drilled with diesel as well. Not sure of the daily consumption of a land rig but running a few thousand horse power for a month or two to drill a well must add up to a fair bit of fuel.

Not to forget the fuel used by the trucking industry to support the drilling operation.

There seems to be a bit of a push to run the drilling rigs on NG as well.




Although using nat. gas to run the rigs is using a fuel that would otherwise be lost, it still has significant costs. First is the cost of processing equipment to handle the gas as it needs CO2, water vapor and other non combustibles removed. Second cost is compressing with cooling to liquify it. Then you have to transport and store the gas at the well drill site. I wonder how much of the $3.40 cost per gallon of diesel is really saved after nat gas equipment costs are capitalized and operational costs are expensed. Maybe save half or one quarter of diesel cost, IMO.

Should nat. gas prices rise above $6 per mmbtu, might not be much savings in using nat gas as it would be worth near same as diesel (after counting capex and ops costs), IMO.

Rock - these are incredible numbers - the US consumes about 4 million barrels of diesel fuel a day, so these numbers mean fracking alone consumes more diesel than every diesel engine in the entire country consumes over the course of three days - nearly 1% of our entire consumption of diesel if these numbers are right. It boggles the mind and cannot bode well for the future of an oil dependent economy.
So we are told that fracking is the technology that will rescue us from peak oil? As corporations pile money and resources into this we are asked to believe this does not represent the last hurrah of liquid crude reserves, that it does not represent the bottom of the barrel? But why does it take so much diesel if it is not?
But it feels so good to shut your eyes and believe -in unending abundance, everything will be ok if we just let thing keep going as they are -- keep buying stock, keep voting for the given choices,keep believing what we are told without critical review of the data (ever)/sarcoff
Rock I just had a sour spell - I'm over it for now, I hope there is no more data like that tonight -

Why do you think it is a ridiculous question? I think fracking tight oil has certainly delayed peak oil. Peak oil will still happen but the fracking has probably delayed it by a few years. The price of oil hit $147 back in 2008 but it hasn't hit that number since. And it is not for lack of trying . . . the price of oil has made some runs upward but it has been tempered by the supplies from North Dakota, Canada, and elsewhere. If there were no sanctions on Iran, oil might even be a little cheaper.

I don't think the peak oil community is going to do itself any favors by denying the contribution of tight oil to the current situation.

But yes, them asking if peak oil "will ever happen" is beyond stupid.

spec- Just want to make sure we're on the same page. When you say tight oil has delayed PO you do mean global PO, correct? The fact that US PO happened over 40 years in undeniable. I'm pretty sure you're aware of that. US oil production has increased for a variety of reasons but we're nowhere near our former peak. Folks can speculate to the odds of reaching that peak again but that's a different topic.

So the world is producing around 86 million bopd and thus the US produces about 8% of global production. So if the shales et al have added about 30-40% more than our peak low (5 million bopd) in 2008 then the US has added about 2.3% to our global production. Obviously every little bit helps but most estimates put global oil field decline rate anywhere from 2% to 6%. Given that the US is the only country on the planet going after the shales and tight oil in a serious manner those plays may be offsetting just a tad of the global decline rate. And thus may offer a very small delay in global PO. A few years you speculate? Maybe but I doubt we'll ever be able to make a quantitative call. I would tend to guess something less than a few years.

But IMHO however much it does (or doesn't) delay global PO isn't very important. Back to the point I've made before: the actual date of PO isn't very significant. What is significant IMHO, as you pointed out, is that we've entered a period of high oil prices and aggressive efforts to increase production. This combines with the economic damage done by the high prices and the political reactions to the situation to create the POD I coined: Peak Oil Dynamic. It's this complex interplay of all the factors I just mentioned and others that affects everyone on the planet. Affects them to the same degree whether global PO happens in 2005 or won't happen until 2020. If one doesn't buy the story that $trillions have been spent along with tens of thousands of lives in the ME to "export democracy" to those folks then you're left with the POD. If one thinks global economic decline (including unemployment in the US and financial crisis in many EU countries) are at least in part due to energy prices then you're left with the POD. If one thinks much of the social upheaval in the world, such as the Arab spring, is related in part to resource limitations then you're left with the POD. If one thinks the general unwillingness of TPTB to address AGW seriously is a result of the desire to maintain energy consumption at the highest possible level in hopes of maintaining BAU then you're left with the POD. If one understands ELM you understand that increasing production in the exporting countries doesn't mean increasing exports to the same degree you're left with the POD. If one understands that China has been systematically pulling oil out of the future sales market for more than 15 years by acquiring production around the globe ($32 billion worth in 2012 alone) and in effect adds to the ELM factor you're left with the POD.

Thus when I run down this list whether global PO has occurred yet or not doesn't seem very relevant to me.

Or a somewhat similar concept to POD, a "fuzzy peak". Peak Oil will come to different communities at different times, depending on government support, distance to oil supplies, and ability to pay.

aardi - Not bad but as I go over my post I still don't like the emphasize I put on the production side of the POD. Let me toss this out: why Americans don't seem very concerned about global PO? In fact think about it: US oil production peaked over 40 years ago and "we" care little about that fact. In fact, a great many "us" aren't even aware it happened. And why? Easy: it don't mean nothing because we could afford to import what we needed. Let’s try another concept...PC: Peak Consumption. Let’s keep it simple and do it by region:


Europe/Eurasia peaked in 1979 and slide down until 1996 and has been flat since then. N. America has been up and down but overall has increased consumption through today. A small drop recently but nothing like the big drop in the early 80’s. Very interesting that Asia Pacific began ramping up significantly in the early 80’s just as N. America and Europe went into a slump. And the AP region has grown in consumption at a near constant rate since then up to and including today. Obviously China has been the driving force here at least recently.

Let’s assume consumption represents something of a surrogate for imports. Not a perfect correlation but close enough IMHO. Seems obvious that those regions that maintained and increased consumption levels had expanding economies. Europe probably helped themselves by being more frugal with their energy sources and did more with less. But it’s easy to speculate they’ve played the conservation card as far as possible given their current economic condition. Also easy to speculate that Europe has reached PC. IOW it doesn’t matter if we don’t reach PGO (Peak Global Oil) for many years down the road: Europe may be suffering PC right now. But neither N. America (the US mostly since I think Canada has actually decreased consumption lately) nor AP are close to PC…yet. The US and China have obvious been able to outbid most of the other oil consumers on the planet for what oil is being sold.

I hope the point is obvious: PGO isn’t an issue for any economy if it can continue to import its needs. OTOH it doesn’t matter to economies that can’t afford the current price of oil even if PGO is still years away. What better example is there than the US: we hit domestic PO over 40 years ago and despite a few bumps in the road our consumption has been growing ever since…just like China. The obvious question is when will one of these two oil consuming giants be able to outbid the other? And at that point will it matter if we’ve reached PGO or not? Everyone would agree that Europe reached PC long before we reached PGO. China or the US may see a similar trend in their future. The BIG QUESTION: which one first?

Peak Oil has been labeled 'theory'. That is the fundamental start of my problem with this piece. I googled 'theory' just to make sure of what I want to say. I believe the use of theory in this article contains the modern interpretation of 'unproven'. It is not unproven that the world is finite. Oil, coal, etc. are therefore also finite in any practical implication and the use of these fuels will rise and then fall. Likely we will see the complete curve only in retrospect. Given the rather extreme, limit testing technology we use to extract our present use of these energy storehouses I am caught feeling this is absurdity, denial, and delusion to continue to ignore the situation at hand.

I did not intend to deny the additions to the total energy picture by fracking or tarsands. This would be denial and delusion of the opposite, and you are quite right this does no one any good. Only by looking at the extraction history can you get the full picture and see the extreme measures we are using only to delay the inevitable.

"Happy talk" is what I have the biggest problem with. I guess it gets you a job. Our ability to hurt ourselves by wrecking the only inhabitable planet we can get to is beyond any rational explanation. I think our myopic vision doesn't even include our own children, so much for Darwin. If we are going to evolve then this shortcoming must be overcome and bred out of humans. I'm quite optimistic we will never make it, although my optimism fails at times and I find myself quite disappointed with myself.

That is like calling gravity a theory, toss a rock and it comes back towards earth. Everything is finite, infinite is a concept.

"I think our myopic vision doesn't even include our own children, so much for Darwin."

Evolution is driven by selection, not by ideals after the fact. To survive, choices against children are also made. If you select for "back", then you get "back": The human is as malleable as the pigeon.




"Evolution is driven by selection, not by ideals after the fact. To survive, choices against children are also made."

Offspring being successfully raised are a biological requirement to his evolution argument, which I agree with. We as a species have been allowed to possess for a period of time denial, delusion, and absurdity. Such 'opinions about reality' in the wild world will likely get you killed by someone else. It is only because of our ability to enforce these opinions against the world is the sole reason they have existed for long enough period of time to be deemed normal. IMHO we sit at a point where we can remove ourselves as a species. Denial, delusion, and absurdity (about living not mating) must leave us. We have the ability to see what we are doing collectively, Are we trying to raise our offspring or commit collective suicide?

I don't think the peak oil community is going to do itself any favors by denying the contribution of tight oil to the current situation.

But yes, them asking if peak oil "will ever happen" is beyond stupid.

The key questions are: (1) Can the US shale play model can be commercially applied globally and (2) Will the shale play model make a material difference or just an incremental difference regarding global net export supplies?

It's critically important to remember that the underlying decline rate from existing US oil & gas wellbores is going up year by year, as an increasing percentage of US production comes from shale plays, or tight plays.

Regarding shale oil plays, my personal view is that it is wildly unrealistic to expect that thousands and thousands of wells quickly headed toward stripper well status, 10 bpd or less, will make a material difference in the global net export situation, especially given the kind of net export declines we have already seen. On average, we have lost one major net oil exporter per year since 2005 (major net oil exporter = 100,000 bpd or more of net exports).

The year that each of six of the (2005) Top 33 net exporters (countries with 100,000 bpd or more of net exports, total petroleum liquids, in 2005) fell below 100,000 bpd in net exports are shown below. In addition to these six, Trinidad & Tobago and Chad were approaching the 100,000 bpd net export mark in 2011.

Note that production declines generally do not exceed single digit values, versus the observed net export decline rates, i.e., "Net Export Math" at work. The 2005 to 2011 (or last year of net exports where noted*) respective rates of change in production and net exports are shown below:

Malaysia, 2007; -3.4%/year, -32.6%/year*

Vietnam, 2007; -3.0%/year, -29.0%/year*

Denmark, 2008; -8.7%/year, -21.0%/year

Argentina, 2011; -3.0%/year, -21.0%/year*

Syria, 2011; -5.0%/year, -15.7%/year

Yemen, 2011; -10.0%/year, -28.7%/year

The median rate of change in production for these six countries was about -4%/year, while the median rate of change in net exports was about -25%year. It appears to be not if, but when, that virtually all net oil exporting countries show double digit (and generally accelerating) net export decline rates, even in countries where they have successfully reduced their domestic consumption, e.g., Denmark.

Thousands of wellbores quickly headed toward single digit per day oil production rates are supposed to save us?

Two recent articles by Deborah Rogers:

USGS releases damning EUR’s for shale

Shale oil reserves questioned too

And a normalized production (1992 production = 100%) versus remaining post-1992 CNE (Cumulative Net Exports) by year graph for a different six country list (Indonesia, UK, Egypt, Vietnam, Argentina, Malaysia--all net importers in 2011). A one-fifth increase in combined production from 1992 to 1999 corresponded to a 60% decline in post-1992 CNE:

Gail Tverberg on redistribution - comment section - first post of 2013 from Our Finite World.

"Yes, more equitable distribution of resources would be slightly helpful, at least in the short run, from the point of view of the people at the bottom of the wealth distribution.

But in fact, their is a shortfall in availability of food and petroleum products, which is part of the reason their price is high in the first place. Distributing wages more toward the bottom of the group is a way of using food and petroleum products that are available faster. To understand this, think of the person who earns $200 million dollars a year, compared to the one who earns $100 million dollars a year. Cutting the income of the one who earns $200 million a year in half likely won’t change his spending much. Certainly it won’t change his spending on food and commuting costs. He may do a small amount more vacation travel, but mostly he will “invest” his income, or spend it on high-priced services, that don’t require much energy. If the money is distributed to poor people, they will be much more likely to buy food and petroleum with them, pushing demand up, and raising prices further. With the higher income, some may be more likely to have children as well, increasing the future number of people to be fed, and making the resource scarcity problem worse, not better."

robert - I think what you're voicing is becoming a more accepted concept lately: supply and demand will always be in balance (ignoring short term spikes). They will balance because price will moderate the two. If the supply of commodity becomes less available the price increases. Then only those who can afford the new price will buy all that is available...at that price. And that leads to a balance. Which obviously doesn't mean everyone is getting what they want...just what they can afford.

Years ago when I worked in Namibia which had a low median income, I saw a graph of car ownership vs income. In rough numbers, income was going up 5% per year, and car ownership was going up 15% a year. Owning a car was a huge aspirational goal.

Of course most of them weren't new cars, they were second-hand old bangers imported from South Africa.

and when I was working in Angola, the boys heading south to Namibia to buy these cars third hand. Not sure who they sold them to if they were road worthy when they finished with them.

Scrap recyclers, probably. Or they dot the landscape.

There's an African word which I've forgotten but it means "minibus taxi which is so clapped out you dare not drive it on the public roads because every traffic cop will impound it no matter how big a bribe you offer".

They circulate in the townships picking up passengers for extra-cheap fares.

In the Philippines it is called a Jeepney. Jeepneys of the Philippines

Ron P.

Matatu? I know that's an African word synonymous with jitney, jeepney, combi...

But a jeepney is not necessarily in bad shape. Some are quite nice. It sounds like the word he's referring to is more jalopy than jeepney - a jeepney that is in dangerously poor condition.

I was scratching my head for that word - matatu. It was on the tip of my tongue and I couldn't quite remember. Googling the word will bring up lots of photos.

I had a fun matatu ride in Nairobi while I attended a writing conference in 2010 (mostly I walked around Nairobi, or had to attend meetings and events with the tour group in slightly larger buses). And a nice conversation on the matatu ride with an American emigre who looked a lot like Eartha Kitt.

Even more fun was the five days we spent at Lamu Island, where dhows, donkeys, and feet are the only transportation. I saw only one vehicle, a gov't vehicle, the entire visit.

Shame we don't have tons of cheap public transport in Los Angeles like matatus, or sailing rigs to go from beach town to beach town.

Africans have many nicknames for vehicles.

    “G-strings” - E46 shape BMW 3 Series (The inward taper on either side of each tail light towards the number plate area is reminiscent of ladies’ panty lines)

    "starter pack" - entry-level cars such as the Toyota Tazz, VW Citigolf or Opel Corsa Lite (as in cellphone starter pack)

    "Zola Budd" - Toyota Hi-Ace (reputed to be as fast as the Olympic runner)

    "sandla semfene" (monkey hand) - stick shift with awkward first gear

Unfortunately, I can't find the word I was looking for, but this report tells it like it is:

"Law enforcers have been fighting a losing battle against non-roadworthy vehicles. In a blitz on kombi taxis by the Gauteng traffic police in March 2001, 85 per cent were found to be non-roadworthy." -- ILO Report

Solar Variability and Terrestrial Climate

Jan. 8, 2013: (NASA) In the galactic scheme of things, the Sun is a remarkably constant star. While some stars exhibit dramatic pulsations, wildly yo-yoing in size and brightness, and sometimes even exploding, the luminosity of our own sun varies a measly 0.1% over the course of the 11-year solar cycle.

There is, however, a dawning realization among researchers that even these apparently tiny variations can have a significant effect on terrestrial climate. A new report issued by the National Research Council (NRC), "The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth's Climate," lays out some of the surprisingly complex ways that solar activity can make itself felt on our planet.

...Of particular importance is the sun's extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation, which peaks during the years around solar maximum. Within the relatively narrow band of EUV wavelengths, the sun’s output varies not by a minuscule 0.1%, but by whopping factors of 10 or more. This can strongly affect the chemistry and thermal structure of the upper atmosphere.

... Much has been made of the probable connection between the Maunder Minimum, a 70-year deficit of sunspots in the late 17th-early 18th century, and the coldest part of the Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America were subjected to bitterly cold winters. The mechanism for that regional cooling could have been a drop in the sun’s EUV output; this is, however, speculative.

Indeed, the sun could be on the threshold of a mini-Maunder event right now. Ongoing Solar Cycle 24 is the weakest in more than 50 years. Moreover, there is (controversial) evidence of a long-term weakening trend in the magnetic field strength of sunspots. Matt Penn and William Livingston of the National Solar Observatory predict that by the time Solar Cycle 25 arrives, magnetic fields on the sun will be so weak that few if any sunspots will be formed. Independent lines of research involving helioseismology and surface polar fields tend to support their conclusion. (Note: Penn and Livingston were not participants at the NRC workshop.)

NB: The research so far does not suggest that any solar variability we are likely to see in the near to mid future will be able to overcome CO2 caused warming (ie Global Warming continues) but temperature variability can become more extreme.

Various researchers, especially those in the denialist camp, have claimed that there's a link between the Maunder Minimum and the climate of the period. These efforts often refer to the reported Little Ice Age, as experienced in Europe, as proof. However, such efforts tend to ignore the known impacts of volcanic events, which must be considered when seeking correlation between the records. Also, the local impacts of humans on the European environment are ignored, such as the fact that increasing populations resulted in near total removal of forests for food and fuel needs. A forest will tend to be warmer in winter than land which has been cleared, because the trees stand above the snow and thus capture solar energy which would be reflected by the snow on a cleared area. On a larger scale, after 1500 there were major changes in the Americas, as the aboriginal populations were decimated by European invaders and their diseases. The "Indians" are said to have used fire to clear land, both for cultivation and to remove underbrush for ease of hunting wild game, a technique which resulted in lots of smoke being added to the atmosphere every year.

The denialist camp cherry picks whatever evidence suits their political point of view, ignoring evidence to the contrary. This report does mention the fact that the measured influence of the solar cycle on the energy reaching the Top of the Atmosphere (TOA) shows little change over the cycles which during the recent satellite era. As the NASA article describes, the possible influence of EUV is still being debated and any possible link to climate appears to be weak, IMHO. Looks like a great place to spend lots of money looking for an answer, money which may not be available in the near future, sad to say...

E. Swanson

There's also the theory that the Amazon underwent substantial reforestation after the native human population was decimated by European diseases in the 1500's, leading to enough of a reduction in atmospheric CO2 to cause the "little ice age".

I'd go with the eruption of Huaynaputina volcano in Peru ...


... though that doesn't exclude concurrent Amazon reforestation

As I recall, the Eastern half of the US also experienced re-forestation after the Indian die off. By the 1700's, the newly arrived Europeans saw what looked like a "Wilderness". Maybe I should read Charles C. Mann's book, 1491 to get a better understanding...

E. Swanson

I read an article about drill core samples. They found signs of the LIA all around the Atlantic basin, but none of it in the Himalayas region. Apparently it was a regional, not global, climate event. This tells me the whole thing is a ocean current fluctuation thing.

Nigeria: Explosion in Lagos port

An oil depot in the port area of the Nigerian city of Lagos has been hit by a major explosion and fire. The blast, which shook buildings in the Apapa area, happened during a transfer of fuel, the National Emergency Management Agency (Nema) said.

"The fire started slowly and then expanded into chaos, exploding more than once," ... "After the initial explosion, there was a secondary explosion," ... It took about an hour and a half for the port authorities to arrive on the scene.

same day, different part of town ...

Massive Fire Rips Through Slum in Nigeria Megacity

A massive fire tore through a waterfront slum in Nigeria's megacity of Lagos on Tuesday, burning down dozens of shack workshops and homes. When firefighters didn't turn up, locals tried in vain to stop the blaze with buckets of water.

Hours later after the sunset set, the fire still raged in the neighborhood. Silhouettes of residents could be seen, trying to toss water onto the massive flames, which stood stories high. The rest of the neighborhood remained in the dark, with little points of lights from flashlights dancing across the blackness.

Emergency services often lack equipment, manpower and competent staff in Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people whose economy is fueled largely by crude oil. Across Lagos, many areas lack water lines, meaning officials often let fires burn themselves out rather than call in water tankers that can take hours to reach the scene.

The road to real recovery is open

Things are going to be okay. In fact, better than okay.

This is the year that the U.S. economy could pick up steam on the way back to broad-based prosperity. Assuming governments here and around the world limit their follies (yes, I'm being hopeful), we could be at the beginning of a run rivaling the manufacturing boom of the '50s and '60s that built the middle class, or the tech boom of the '90s that built the investor class.

What exactly will we be running on?

First, there is the leap in energy production due to improved technology. I've written in this space previously about the remarkable growth in natural-gas extraction that is pushing down prices dramatically.

Yeah, hit 'em with the "improved technology" thing again, that always bring 'em in here at the church of growth and progress.

Oil production, too, is ramping up. According to the International Energy Agency, the U.S. is projected to become the world's biggest oil producer by 2020 and could be entirely energy independent 15 years after that.

I'm beginning to think that this apparently widespread notion of the US becoming the worlds biggest oil producer and becoming energy independent is bizarre enough that it might actually fit the definition of a 'cult'!

The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a new religious movement or other group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre

Source Wikipedia.

At some point in the future there will be sacrifices made to the Oil Gods and people will gather and worship in front of these things...


Oh, wait, we do that already...

The bigger the lie the easier to believe --- paraphrasing Dr. Goebbels!!!!

Astronaut captures incredible images of Australian bush fires

Officials say more than 130 fires, many uncontained, are burning in the heavily populated New South Wales state, where dry conditions are fueling the fires as temperatures reached 45 degrees and wind gusts reached more than 100 kilometers per hour.

also Wildfires Rage Across Australia

and http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=80105&src=nha

meanwhile ...

Australia: Call for Merit-Based Funding As Bushfire Research Money Runs Out

... Australia's Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre will see its federal funding run out in July this year, as part of an arcane rule that places a limit on the number of consecutive terms CRCs can receive funding. The Bushfire CRC received an additional round of funding under the economic stimulus package in the aftermath of the 2009 Victorian bushfires, but has run out of Commonwealth funding avenues.

The funding lockout also comes despite a recent research impact assessment from the Group of Eight and the Australian Technology Network of universities putting projects with Bushfire CRC links at the very top of the scale for research bringing tangible benefits.

... "$5 million is a lot of money, but $5 million is insignificant compared to the amount that was expended on the bushfires yesterday for response,"

Can the Arctic deliver an oil revolution?

One of the most respected energy economists, Fatih Birol, tells HARDtalk there are huge environmental and technological challenges ahead before the Arctic oil revolution can become a reality.

I love how every new potential source for oil is paving the way for a "revolution" now. I got a five gallon jug of used motor oil in my garage. Can we build a revolution from that? Drilling costs should be pretty low, but the depletion rate might be a problem.

Caspian Pipeline Group’s Crude Exports Fall 3.4% in December

The Caspian Pipeline Consortium, the operator of a Russian crude oil export link with foreign shareholders, said oil shipments through its terminal at the Novorossiysk port fell in December from the month before.

The terminal pumped 2.743 million metric tons, or 695,615 barrels a day, CPC said today on its website. That is 3.4 percent less than November exports of 719,804 barrels a day.

Our Plastics Will Pollute Oceans for Hundreds of Years

Australia's plastic garbage has made its way into every ocean in the world. New research shows that it doesn't matter where in the world plastic garbage enters the ocean, it can end up in any of the five ocean basins.

The research also showed that, globally, humans have put so much plastic into our planet's oceans that even if everyone in the world stopped putting garbage in the ocean today, giant garbage patches would continue to grow for hundreds of years.

"There are five known garbage patches in the subtropical oceans between each of the continents. Each contains so much plastic that if you were to drag a net through these areas you would pull up more plastic than biomass," said lead author Erik Van Sebille, who is a Research Fellow at the Centre.

"Interestingly, our research suggests a smaller sixth garbage patch may form within the Arctic Circle in the Barents Sea, although we don't expect that to appear for another 50 years."

Have I mentioned that I'm reducing my reliance upon, and exposure to, large-scale complex systems?

Hacker hits on U.S. power and nuclear targets spiked in 2012

America's power, water, and nuclear systems are increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals seeking to gain access to some of the nation's most critical infrastructure.

The number of attacks reported to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity response team grew by 52% in 2012, according to a recent report from the team. There were 198 attacks brought to the agency's attention last year, several of which resulted in successful break-ins.

An earlier report from DHS sketched in details on some of those successes. An unidentified group of hackers targeting natural gas pipeline companies gained access to the corporate systems of several of their targets and "exfiltrated" -- that's security-speak for "stole" -- data on how their control systems work.

The information obtained "could facilitate remote unauthorized operations," DHS said.

Hackers aren't the only folks targeting pipeline companies and corporate systems ...

Check out NSA's Operation Perfect Citizen

Also critical to the war against cybercrime (and other "wars"?) would be Infragard, a private-citizen arm of the FBI (public/private partnership):


Lessons from a decade and a half ago ...

Welcome to the Information Warfare Tutorial

[Tutorial originally developed by Army War College] ...

- What is DoD's concern?
After all, internal Continental United States (CONUS) policy is not it's concern...

Or is it?

- Currently, 95% of DoD communications ride on the public switched networks. DoD must share responsibility with the civil sector for defense of the national information infrastructure.
- Government department and agencies will have to develop a strategy for leading from behind.

... Information Warfare Weapons
Module 6

Notice: Due to the sensitive nature of this section, the weapons presented are ones proposed by open source (non-government) authors. The examples offered should only be considered as concepts to stimulate your thoughts on "what-if' possibilities.


IW weapons include the following:

Malicious software              Chipping 
Back doors                      Electromagnetic pulse weapons 
Destructive microbes            Van Eck radiation 
Cryptology                      Spoofing/Authentication 
Video morphing                  Psychological operations 
Attacks on the banking system   Disruption of air traffic control 
Denial of service               Stand-off and close-in sensors 
Decision support 

... chickens come home to roost ...

U.S. Bank Cyber Attacks Attributed to Iranian Government

NSA to Assist DHS with Domestic Cyberwarfare Operations

The Obama administration has adopted new procedures for using the Defense Department’s vast array of cyberwarfare capabilities in case of an attack on vital computer networks inside the United States, delicately navigating historic rules that restrict military action on American soil.

Officials involved in drafting the rules said the goal was to ensure a rapid response to a cyberthreat while balancing concerns that civil liberties might be at risk should the military take over such domestic operations.

Government Unable to Define ‘Homeland Security’

Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski. CONDOLENCES. The bums lost.

RE The BLOOMBERG article up top,

Chew looks like toast, EPA is in for a shuffle, and this even as Obama won. Oil is riding high, new discoveries, tar sands, and fracing bash peak oil. Even high plains oil shale is in reach, according to the director of the CO School of Mines. No water worries even. Just keep that $100/barrel price. And the economy appears to have eliminated all those folks who neededd $2 gas to get to work, Musical Chairs 101 have sent them packing, most to never consume like the old days again.

It is over. Skyrocketing CO2 levels are here to stay. The earth needs all of our best climate scientists to be wrong, dead wrong, or perhaps one of the military/mad scientist designer bugs unleashed.

"Fracking Pushes U.S. Oil Production to Highest in 20 Years"


"U.S. oil production exceeded 7 million barrels a day for the first time since March 1993"

A few drumbeats ago HereinHalifax wrote:

Closer to home, Nova Scotia Power has announced that two coal-fired units that are currently in seasonal shut-down will close permanently; one in 2015 and the other in 2019. As in the case of Australia, falling electricity demand and a concerted push towards renewables (for the most part, wind), has led to their early retirement.

How much of a drop in electrical demand has Canada seen since 2008?

Hi KH,

As previously noted, electricity demand in Nova Scotia has been falling steadily over the past several years. For the first eleven months of 2008, provincial demand stood at 11.2 TWh, down from 11.4 TWh the year before; by 2012, that had fallen to 9.3 TWh (full year results for 2012 won't be available for another month).

In Ontario, Canada's most populous province, electricity demand in 2008 came in at 148 TWh, down from 152 TWh the year before; in 2011, it ended the year at 141.5 TWh. During this same three year period, Ontario's population increased from 12.9 million to 13.4 million so, within that context, the drop is even more remarkable. Both Nova Scotia and Ontario are fully committed to reducing electricity demand in their respective provinces, and both have well established and highly successful energy efficiency programmes to facilitate this.

In 2008, 15.7 per cent of Ontario's electricity was coal-fired (during my days with the Ontario Ministry of Energy, it was double that); in 2011, coal's share fell to 2.7 per cent, and by next year Ontario will stop burning coal to generate electricity altogether. Hallelujah ! Coal is on its way out in this province, but our path to salvation is more complicated and lengthy. However, once the Lower Churchill Falls comes on-stream in 2017, things will improve considerably.

The situation for Canada as a whole is markedly less favourable: 548.8 TWh were generated in 2008 versus 593.3 TWh in 2011. That works out to be an annual increase of about 2.5 per cent. Clearly, there's much more room for improvement elsewhere in the nation.


Electricity demand decreased in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces, primarily due to economic downturn. Demand increased in the Western provinces, primarily due to the fairly rapid growth in their economies.

Ontario's population:
     2008:  12.9 million
     2011:  13.4 million (+3.9%)

Ontario's GDP (2002 $):
     2008:  $531.6 billion
     2011:  $638 billion (+20%)

Ontario's electricity demand:
     2008:  148 TWh
     2011:  141.5 TWh (-4.4%)


Alberta's population:
2008: 3.59 million
2011: 3.87 million (+7.8%)

Alberta's GDP was nearly flat from 2008 to 2011. In 2008 the price of oil spiked to $147/bbl, whereas now Western Canadian Select (WCS) is trading at about $56/bbl, much less than UK North Sea Brent ($112/bbl), which is entirely due to lack of pipeline capacity to the coasts and a source of extreme irritation to the Alberta and Canadian governments and the oil industry. But that's a different issue.

I did overstate the case about economics and electricity demand, however. The so-called "global economic downturn" didn't really hit Canada at all, and it didn't have much effect on Ontario, either. It was primarliy an American and European crisis.

Ontario actually has a done a good job reducing its electricity demand. Alberta's problem is that much of the electricity is consumed by the energy industry, and the EROEI concept applies. Oil production has increased substantially over the period (although prices have declined), and every barrel of additional oil production requires additional electric power to produce it and get it to market.

The drop in electricity demand and the increase in renewables may be related via higher prices. Maybe that's good for energy fat cats not so much for those who continue to lose out. Should pensioners pay more for electricity so the middle class can get feed-in tariffs for solar panels? Should a democratic country lose its steel industry to another country with sweatshops and lax pollution controls? Decline in energy use is not automatically a good thing.

"Should pensioners pay more for electricity so the middle class can get feed-in tariffs for solar panels?..."

Well these are the cards we've been dealt; tough choices. Reduced consumption and cleaner energy sources aren't subjective like 'good and bad'. However this reality affects individuals or subsets of our population near term, these things have become mandatory from a survival perspective, long term. Too bad so many aren't up to it. Folding their cards or cheating the dealer, they are.

I, for one, am doing my best to not default on the only obligation that really matters. Some sacrifice has been involved, and a bit of luck, though I'll still be remembered as part of a generation that did virtually nothing. We are judged by the company we keep...

The pensioners certainly helped create these predicaments. Reality doesn't give a damn if they're not in a position to respond to it. No one can bargain away the damage that has been done and is ongoing, but bagaining is epidemic, and the stories we tell ourselves are ultimately irrelevant to our circumstances. I expect most folks alive today will muddle through, making excuses to their get, or placing the blame eslewhere. So it goes.

Devolution: An Idea That's Time Has Come?

... Nowhere in human history will you find a greater success story than the 250-year history of the United States of America. But, maybe you've noticed, we seem to have hit an invisible wall. Less and less that needs doing gets done these days. E pluribus unum, "from many, one," has become "from many, many." Many cross-purposes. Many opinions, few agreements. Gridlock and the beginnings of decay.

So, I ask what may be the most dangerous question a citizen can ask; is it time to break up? No, I'm not talking secession. I am talking about breaking this Ma Bell into smaller, competing, semi-independent entities. Something like this:

America would continue on as a continent, just as Europe does today - though hopefully better managed than the EU. But stop for a moment and think about it, if only in the broadest terms:

First, each region would be able to pursue policies that reflect better the demographic, social and economic leanings of its occupants. For example, folks in the Southern Region might want prayer in schools and to teach so-call "creationism" as well. They could do both. Folks in the North Eastern Region would forbid prayer in school and believe creationism is a crock and does not belong in the classroom. So it won't be there.

Looking at that map, I think the author doesn't understand the dynamic within the US. He draws his boundaries along the existing state lines, which blurs the demographic boundaries. His boundaries remind one of the division of the Middle East portion of the Ottoman Empire after WW I into "states" with little demographic cohesion. For example, I suspect that "The South" should extend all the way from the Atlantic to southern California, an area often called the Sun Belt. "The North" might include the old industrial areas around the Great Lakes. Ecotopia would begin in the middle of California and extend to (or into?) Canada. Not a new idea, but one which may come to pass, if the US Government continues it's efforts to restrict the "freedom loving" US population. Here's the last statement from the author of Ecotopia, who died last year...

E. Swanson

" I think the author doesn't understand the dynamic within the US. He draws his boundaries along the existing state lines, which blurs the demographic boundaries. "

Eastern and Western Washington don't get along very well, nor doe Madison/Milwaukee get along with the rest of Wisconsin.

The Nine Nations of North America did it better. Being in the Navy at the time I got to see several areas in short order, and there was a definite difference in outlooks. He was more right than wrong.


So, I ask what may be the most dangerous question a citizen can ask; is it time to break up? No, I'm not talking secession.

"Secession? Secession?!? What do I look like, some kind of redneck? No, I'm just talking about states leaving the Union to pursue policies more in line with regional cultures and political preferences."

If this guy were any less self-aware he'd be a vegetable.

Actually, the whole secessionist movement is really going to be stirred up with the coming gun bill. Regardless of the form a final gun bill takes, it will reignite the movement. Further, there will be new class of people who tell the government to stick their bill and become, essentially, outlaws by ignoring as much of the bill as possible. This backlash will be even more extreme if Obama uses an executive order. It's going to be a bad situation.


I attended a gun show the Sunday before Christmas. Things were crazy and the online sellers are now out of stock of most everything related to AR's while prices have doubled or tripled.

I think the knee jerk PC Democrats are going to find themselves in deep trouble, since any attempt to ban those guns will be seen as fulfilling the worst fears of the extreme right wing. The Tea Party types who were whipped into a frenzy after Obama's election may reach the boiling point with this one. Yankee city politicians clearly don't understand life in the country where hunting is a way of life and the nearest sheriff's deputy may be 20 minutes (or more) away, while the drug dealing meth zombies live just down the road.

On a lighter side, if there is to be a strict gun bill, some right thinking Democrat should attempt to add legalization of marijuana to it. A major part of the problem is the war on drugs, which has pushed a large fraction of the public into the criminal class...

E. Swanson

strict gun bill ... legalization of marijuana

Guns and Weed – The Road To Freedom Too bad the torrents don't seem to work.

Dog - I can attest to the potential frenzy by some of that crowd. As far as my country cousins and hunting friends most of them couldn't care less about govt moves towards more law. They already have their weapons of choice, usually bolt action mid caliper, and enough ammo to last them a lifetime since most don't use more than half a box full during hunting season. Since I've always been a single shot fan banning high capacity semi-autos doesn't worry me much either. But I also know more than a few who get aroused at the sight of a military stock and think the 100,000 round supply won't be enough. Needless to say this is the same crowd with more than their share of paranoia towards the feds. These are the folks that get very heated from the latest anti-gun PR efforts. I avoid those conversations with them but I clearly see where it activates them.

Now add an equal dose of paranoia re: the MSM by these same folks. Here's what being circulated amongst that group. I'm curious if many TODsters saw the story. They do have a point: with all the MSM coverage of such horrible recent shooting incidents you would think this would have been the lead story on many outlets:


The San Antonio Theater Shooting the National Media Ignored

"... just two days after the horrific shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Jesus Manuel Garcia entered the China Garden restaurant across the mall from the Santikos Mayan Palace 14 theater complex in San Antonio, Texas, looking for his ex-girlfriend. ...he sent her a text message saying that he planned to go to the restaurant where she worked and “shoot somebody.”

Before she could warn patrons at the restaurant Garcia entered and started shooting. One bullet slightly wounded one patron while others scattered out the exit doors and headed for the safety of the theater lobby across the mall. Garcia chased them and continued shooting. This got the attention of an armed off-duty law-enforcement officer who was working at the theater...who chased Garcia to the back of the theater. Castellano shot him four times which immediately and effectively ended the threat."

Granted no one died but attempted murder by a lone gunman in a movie theater two days after Newtown killings? I catch very little MSM news but I would think I would have noticed this story being covered. If the story was broadly ignored by the MSM it makes it a tad difficult to argue with the nut squad they're wrong about their concerns.

My take on MSM coverage, both print and electronic, of these incidents is that the MSM is more to blame for the repetition of these events than the NRA. I'd like to see fewer guns in the country, especially the large bore, high rep rate types but I'm convinced that these nut cases are seeking their "15 minutes of fame" and seeing the publicity that the previous nut case got they see what is probably their only chance at recognition.

I propose that the media be held accountable for these events. We either need some kind of legislation prohibiting publication of the names or images of these morons or, at least, an agreement among media organisations not to do so.

I agree. I think we might have more effect there than anything to do with guns.

Some kid today just shot two people at school with a shotgun. I don't see them banning those ever. I heard he had 20 shotgun shells in his pocket. Hard to prevent with an assault weapons ban.

Clearly, there's work to be done on many fronts, but whether art imitates life or life imitates art, the glorification of violence in this country has got to be addressed if we really want to stop young men acting out like this.

I wish I knew what the culture was like in Switzerland. I know they have a lot of guns and very few gun deaths. Do they even have mass school shootings? Do they even watch TV? There's got to be something we could learn. Some cultures aren't insane and self-destructive.

Some kid today just shot two people at school with a shotgun. I don't see them banning those ever. I heard he had 20 shotgun shells in his pocket. Hard to prevent with an assault weapons ban.

IMO, the point of an assault weapons ban is not to prevent events like school shootings. It's to make them less deadly. In Newtown, hundreds of rounds were fired in ten minutes. Six students fled the class at once. All were gunned down. With a shotgun, some would have escaped.

Agree that there's a larger problem.

Americans far more likely to suffer violent deaths than peers

The United States suffers far more violent deaths than any other wealthy nation, due in part to the widespread possession of firearms and the practice of storing them at home in a place that is often unlocked, according to a report released Wednesday by two of the nation's leading health research institutions.

...The United States has about six violent deaths per 100,000 residents. None of the 16 other countries included in the review came anywhere close to that ratio. Finland was closest to the U.S. ranking with slightly more than two violent deaths per 100,000 residents.

For many years, Americans have been dying at younger ages than people in almost all other wealthy countries. In addition to the impact of gun violence, Americans consume the most calories among peer countries and get involved in more accidents that involve alcohol. The U.S. also suffers higher rates of drug-related deaths, infant mortality and AIDS.

But then you read about stuff like this, and you want to get the biggest gun you can. :-P

I really hate getting into such discussions because it's difficult to not sound cold blooded and detached. But like some here I understand firearms. Would it have been less deadly if he had been armed with a shotgun instead of that rifle? A hypothetical question with no way to prove either answer. But in close quarters a shotgun is as deadly and maybe more so than a rifle particularly in the hands of someone not well trained. As you point out he fired over 100 rounds with only about 25% proving fatal. Had he fired 100 rounds of 12 gauge I have no doubt the death count would have been high...maybe much higher. Could he have fired a hundreds rounds of shot shells as fast? Obviously not. Could some who were shot escape while he reloaded a shot gun? Probably. Could have he as easily killed as many or more of those who didn't run had he used a shotgun? Again, a hypothetical but I would guess yes.

Again, I know it makes me sound like a potential homicidal maniac but a Texas deer hunter with a single shot rifle could sit on a rooftop in Houston and take 25 lives before the first call to 911. The Newtown maniac probably could have walked through the school and taken more lives had he been armed with a single shot shotgun and a six shot revolver. Using 100+ rounds to take that number of lives fortunately indicates he wasn't very well trained.

I don't think there is any solution to ever prevent such an incident from happening again. A complete ban of all weapons will never happen in this country. Again very cold but someone walking through a school full of 6 year olds could be as lethal if they were only armed with a single shot .22. Real life isn't anything like a Hollywood movie. ban the sale of military style weapons with high capacity mags? Fine but what about the millions already out there? Weapons any maniac could get their hands on without a lot of effort. We'll never have a mental health screening system that will ID the majority of such potential threats IMHO. The Norway maniac that killed 77 went through multiple mental health screenings and background checks. Even if the MSM greatly toned down the coverage of such events I'm sure enough info would get out to motivate some maniac looking for his 15 minutes of fame. Armed guards in schools? In Houston all middle and high schools have had armed guards posted long before the recent shootings. Might prevent a tragedy but no guarantee with such efforts. Might provide some mental comfort for some but still not a solution IMHO.

And I haven't seen the stat lately but I wouldn't be surprised if the number of accidental deaths from firearms is still huge. We are a strong gun culture...always have been and always will be IMHO. And maybe more so now than 50 years ago. Growing up everyone in the neighborhod owned a weapon but no one carried on the street. A knife was the limit back then. Obviously those days are long gone.

I think having to re-load would have allowed people to intervene. A six-year-old isn't likely to do that, but his first target at the school was a room full of adults.

Using 100+ rounds to take that number of lives fortunately indicates he wasn't very well trained.

I don't think that's necessarily true. It was just overkill, which even the very skilled are prone to when in the kind of fury he was reportedly in. Every victim was shot multiple times. When you put 11 rounds into a six-year-old, that's not lack of skill, it's maniacal rage.

It is my belief that if new weapons were stopped from entering circulation, and police confiscated and destroyed weapons from known offenders, the weapons would over time bleed out of the system. Also weapons would be destroyed in house fires, been lost, broken or just become to old. It would take a while to see a drop in assault statistics, but over time it would.

This is off course based on the ability to actually stop new weapons from entering circulation.

What first came to mind when I saw the map was the Partition of India/Pakistan. And that went quite swell. Or maybe Rwanda.

By the way. I would include Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsan with the Northeast and call it the Algonquin Nation.

"... And that went quite swell. ..."

I don't understand in what sense the partition went "quite swell". Your own URL says over 10 million were displaced and several hundred million died violent deaths.

I don't think a partition of the USA would be as bad as the partition of India. But I also think that a partition of USA would be a silly idea that would never happen ... except maybe a partition involving practically the whole US on one side and Wall Street on the other. That might be a major improvement over the current situation.

Which parts of the new arrangement would have a 2nd Amendment type right to have a gun? Would the people who are currently Canadians really want to join a new country that includes people who are currently the northern Idaho gun nuts? It's all pretty crazy, I think.

And which partitions whould have single payer health care like in Canada?

And ...

I suggest googling "sarcasm".

I prefer the 'Jesusland' splits.

I think we could draw better boundaries, particularly if the goal is to group areas by "the demographic, social and economic leanings of its occupants".

Assuming we retain the existing state boundaries, which makes a bit of sense for now, I think Nevada would be a lot happier grouping with Arizona, Utah and Idaho rather than California, Oregon and Washington.

I also think an Intermountain group (NV, AZ, NM, UT, CO, MT, ID & WY) would make more sense than streching the Midwest from Idaho and Arizona to Ohio.

It also might be a good idea to review the boundaries proposed by John Wesley Powell, which were based on watersheds. That's probably a few stages of dissolution away, but will ultimately lead to more peaceful boundaries.

I thought the same as you, WW. Except that ideologically, central and N. AZ has more in common with say, NV, Utah, Idaho and the upper plains as well as the deep south. S. AZ would probably want to align with N. Mexico and N. Cali, OR and WA.

And it's true also that there would be some Native American priorities as well.

Not sure this was intended by the map maker, but I think it is remarkable that Canada is seen as a self-governing region, ... This is good humor for a US citizen who grew up in an immigrant household headed by a Canadian mom. LOL.

Does Trade Deficit Drive Inequality?

... This chart looks at the overall US trade deficit (not just with China) and the share of income that goes to working people.

[Notice a trend]

S - Such stories always amaze me. Folks think they've found some magic answer to the wealth distribution pattern or why the rich get richer and the poor don't. This guy seems to argue that by importing cheaper goods that could be produced by US workers at a higher price would change the dynamics. It could certainly make some lives better if that were the case. But a guy making $40k/yr with $5k in the bank that gets bumped to $60k/yr because we're not importing from China or India? I'm sure he would be thrilled with that 50% pay hike but he still won't be 'wealthy' as this fellow describes it. Excluding those rare types like movie stars, CEO's and pro jocks, who working a middle class job will ever move into the 'rich' category as long as he's drawing a salary?

With very few exceptions the folks who make that leap are the ones who start businesses that succeed. They are reaping a portion of the profits and not a fixed take of $X per hr or per month. And the rich get richer while the poor don't? How were the poor to get richer: by skillfully investing their huge savings? By starting a business with some of those savings they don't have. Or perhaps with a loan from a banker who recognizes their unique skills...skills that have so far kept them in poverty?

I suspect many on TOD came from homes where mom/dad worked their butts off to help the family move up the food chain. But even with such support and educational advantages how many have leaped into the 'rich' category? Perhaps very comfortable and satisfied with their upper middle income lives but still not rich as many folks would classify them. IOW who is ever going to become a millionaire while drawing a salary unless they happen to win the lottery? No matter how nice a guy may be is he going to jump up the income ladder if he has an 8th grade education and no significant mechanical skills? Will it matter much if the economy is booming, we're importing nothing from China and GDP is up 7% year over year? About the best the poor and unskilled can hope for in a booming economy is more social support which might, in the best case scenario, allow them to climb a notch or two up the employment ladder. Ronnie was very wrong IMHO: a rising tide isn't going to raise all boats. I think we proved that. And what boats do rise belong to a very small portion of the population. Which is unfortunate but I don't think this is an indictment of the system.

And as unfair as the system may seem to some now it's difficult to believe it won't get worse as resource depletion continues down the path we seem to be on.

Yep, you really can't get rich as a wage earner. Not even the $300K/year management types really get rich, generally. The tax system is setup largely to prevent the middle class from being able to save that kind of money.

"The tax system is setup largely to prevent the middle class from being able to save that kind of money"

That is perfectly silly, not even worth refuting, which would be easy.

Besides that "rich" has a wide range of definitions. Mine goes like this:

"Poor people have to work, rich people only work when they want to."

Because of Social Security I'm rich.

The reason the income distribution in the US has become more unequal is simply due to the changes in the Tax code, if the wealthy were taxed at 1965 rates, the income distribution would not be so unequal.

"But even with such support and educational advantages how many have leaped into the 'rich' category?"

Argh! This is exactly the point that people miss. The point isn't that everyone should be rich or needs to be rich, but that everyone should be able to earn and live a good life. This whole "get rich or die trying" mentality where you're better off dead if you're not rich is driving society insane.

US domestic oil production reaches 7.002 million barrels/day last week, first time over 7 million since March 1993.

Only 900,000 bpd to go to reach that EIA projection! :-)

Yeah, the EIA has a really weird dual-track system.
Their weekly reports show a much higher production, while their short- and medium term outlooks consistently downplay production.

Their forecast is that by the end of 2014, U.S. crude production will be 7.9 mb/d. It could easily pass that this year. It's weird how they undermine their own analysis.

It's too bad prices aren't at 1993 levels, huh? $18.43/bbl might really help around now. There has of course been inflation over the last 19 years. WTI price increases have averaged 9% per year over the last 19 years, Brent has averaged 10% per year. I think that might be higher than the general inflation rate. Why do you suppose growing oil supplies have not resulted in declining (real) prices?

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

Desalination and Membrane Technologies: Federal Research and Adoption Issues

In the United States, desalination and membrane technologies are increasingly used to augment municipal water supply, to produce high quality industrial water supplies, and to reclaim contaminated supplies (including from oil and gas development). As of 2005, approximately 2,000 desalination facilities larger than 0.3 million gallons per day (MGD) were operating in the United States, with a total capacity of 1,600 MGD which represents more than 2.4% of total U.S. municipal and industrial freshwater use. At issue for Congress is what should be the federal role in supporting desalination and membrane technology research and facilities.

Although desalination costs dropped steadily in recent decades, significant further decline may not happen with existing technologies. Electricity expenses represent from one-third to one-half of the operating cost of desalination. Its energy intensity also raises concerns about associated greenhouse gas emissions and its usefulness as a climate change adaptation measure. Substantial uncertainty also remains about the technology’s environmental impacts, in particular management of the saline waste concentrate and the effect of surface water intake facilities on aquatic organisms.

While interest in desalination persists among some Members, especially with drought concerns high, efforts to maintain or expand federal activities and investment are challenged by the domestic fiscal climate and differing views on federal roles and priorities.

Economic Growth and the Unemployment Rate

Israel: 2013 Elections Preview

The Role of TARP Assistance in the Restructuring of General Motors

California 'suffering unprecedented decline' in child population

The report, by the University of Southern California (USC), shows that in 1970 children made up one third of the state's population. By 2030 that number is expected to have declined to one fifth.


Its author Dowell Myers, a USC demographer, said: "We have a massive replacement problem statewide." He added: "These trends are not yet widely recognized, but they should be a wake-up call for policymakers.

Oh great, now they see it as a 'replacement problem' (peak California population)?!

...I see it as a slow collapse scenario.

Well it is difficult to afford children. People are just responding to the market conditions.

And why is it always viewed as a problem to limit population growth in view of growth inhibiting conditions? Shouldn't it be celebrated? Or would a big flood of poorly fed and poorly educated children be a great thing?

Gotta keep the Ponzi scheme going. Which means you need an ever-growing supply of new suckers coming in at the bottom.

You can only have economic growth is resource consumption is growing. And that takes population growth if the country is developed. When pop declines, there will not be economic growth. And that is the worst thing that can happen to an economist.

Over the last several decades I suspect young adults left California because the houses were too expensive. They were the generations that would have had children.

New from GAO ...

Pilot Program Could Help Determine the Viability of Mileage Fees for Certain Vehicles

Mileage-based user fee initiatives in the United States and abroad show that such fees can lead to more equitable and efficient use of roadways by charging drivers based on their actual road use and by providing pricing incentives to reduce road use.

Mileage fees for passenger vehicles, however, continue to face significant public concerns related to privacy as well as cost challenges. Privacy concerns are particularly acute when Global Positioning System (GPS) units are used to track the location of passenger vehicles.

Reliable cost estimates for mileage fee systems are not available, but implementing a system to collect fees from 230 million U.S. passenger vehicles is likely to greatly exceed the costs of collecting fuel taxes.

GAO calculated average mileage fee rates for passenger vehicles and commercial trucks needed to meet three federal revenue targets ranging from $34 billion (replace current federal fuel tax revenues) to $78 billion (increase spending to maintain existing system conditions and performance). To meet these targets, drivers of passenger vehicles with average fuel efficiency would pay $108 to $248 per year in mileage fees compared to the $96 these drivers currently pay in federal gasoline tax.

Few states reported that they are likely to introduce such fees in the next 10 years, but more than half would support federally-led field tests of mileage fees for commercial trucks and electric vehicles.

Jeff Rubin: How Big is Canada’s Oil Subsidy to the US?

Subsidy? Oh shut up, Rubin. I know that probably plays well with your domestic audience that wants more money but there is no 'subsidy'. That is pure free-market conditions. If you want a higher price then build a pipeline to coastal port. Geography is not a subsidy. Sheesh.

Well, of course, that is the solution. Build pipelines to coastal ports - Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico. That would eliminate the market imbalances and equalize oil prices, which means that Canadian oil would sell for world prices, which are as much as $50/bbl more than it gets now.

Of course, to do so would require running roughshod over the opposition, but given the billions in tax dollars Canadian governments are losing because of the pipeline restrictions, I don't know why those governments wouldn't want to flatten a few of the opponents.

Rethinking wedges

Unless current climate targets are sacrificed, solving the climate problem requires significantly reducing emissions over the next 50 years. Just how significant those reductions need to be will depend on a global trade-off between the damages imposed by climatic changes and the costs of avoiding them. But given substantial uncertainties associated with climate model projections (e.g., climate sensitivity), the arbitrary nature of targets like 500 ppm and 2 °C, and the permanence implied by the term "solution", the ultimate solution to the climate problem is a complete phase-out of carbon emissions.

Confronting the need for as many as 31 wedges (12 hidden, 9 stabilization and 10 phase-out), the question is whether there are enough affordable mitigation options available ... a single wedge represents 0.7–1.4 terawatts (TW) of carbon-free energy (or an equivalent decrease in demand for fossil energy).

Filling this many wedges while sustaining global economic growth would mean deploying tens of terawatts of carbon-free energy in the next few decades.

"Unless current climate targets are sacrificed"

Done. 2 degrees C is certain unless the Sun does a Maunder Minima. 4 degrees is likely, returning us to the Pliocene. The question is now can we stop there, or will we try for 6 degrees?

I should rummage around in the geology articles and see when the last time was that the Earth was 6 degrees C hotter than now, with say 600 ppm CO2. The ocean circulation patterns will likely be different than today though, which will throw the comparison off.

Overfishing causes Pacific bluefin tuna numbers to drop 96%

The bluefin tuna, which has been endangered for several years and has the misfortune to be prized by Japanese sushi lovers, has suffered a catastrophic decline in stocks in the Northern Pacific Ocean, of more than 96%, according to research published on Wednesday.

Equally concerning is the fact that about 90% of specimens currently fished are young fish that have not yet reproduced.

Depressing! So even if we could somehow convince all the status seeking sushi eaters that it just ain't cool to eat the Bluefin, they would still be faced with anthropogenic climate change and ocean acidification due to there being too many people consuming too much of everything. R.I.P. oh magnificent, beautiful fish! It was nice to share this planet with you for a little while.

Personally, I find this utterly disgusting and depressing.

Bluefin tuna sells for £1m at auction – in pictures
A 222kg bluefin tuna sells for 155.4m yen – a new record for a single fish – at the first auction of 2013 at Tsukiji fish market, in Tokyo, Japan. The record bid was three times higher than in last year's auction


Sad isn't it? People who brag about having or going to eat bluefin Tuna should be socially punished by others. Everyone else needs to express their disgust so they feel the pressure not to do it. Most people are sensitive to pressure like that.

Yeah, but if you speak out for bluefin YOU will be ostracized. The last thing people want to hear in a restaraunt is "it's unethical to eat that". I know, I've done it more than once - over bluefin and patagonian toothfish (aka "chilean sea bass").

Bluefin may be one of the worst cases, but pretty much every form of fish has some ethical problems (except maybe farmed catfish and tilapia, or wild Alaskan salmon). Heck, other meat is the same way, what with all the factory farming. It's enough to make one want to be a vegitarian. But then I won't go into the ethical issues of tomato farms in the Florida, or chocolate...

Still, what's happening to the fish is perhaps some of the worst. It makes me so mad. And yet, not even 1% of the ocean is protected.

You are right, there are many different shades of grey. But I think there is a difference between managed stocks (i.e. determining quota and enforcing them) and 'go for the short term profit and after me the deluge' plundering of resources.

Perhaps social influences are different around the world. Here in the Netherlands animal wellfare groups manage on a regular basis to either improve rules for animal living standards or to stimulate the general public (and corporations) to not use certain types of intensive agriculture like 'plofkip' (bloated chicken) or force feeding goose for the liver. So, yes, you can influence things like this through social pressure.

We really need to leave bluefin alone.

And I'm a former commercial fisherman.

If you want more depressing fish stories... How about these images?

Though it's not much different than rhino horns for aphrodisiacs or elephant poaching for ivory.

I really don't think that nature as we know it has a snowballs chance in hell.

At least the Japanese have been getting a little payback from nature, if you eliminate top predator species like Bluefin tuna you get things like jellyfish blooms...

Giant Jellyfish Invading Japan


IS it primarily the Japanese that are the reason beind the overfishing? If yes, the expected drop in Japan's population might help out. Maybe even sooner - the way things are looking over there nobody will be able to afford to buy them anyway. The Tuna just have to outlast them for a few more years.

The jellyfish thing might not be due to human impact.

Gelatinous Menace? Jellyfish on Boom-Bust Cycle Worldwide

Though some reports suggest jellyfish are taking over the world’s oceans, long-term records of these gelatinous animals fail to show a global increase in jellyfish blooms likely caused by pollution, warming, coastal development and other human influences.

While the analysis of a team of researchers who have pulled together records of jellyfish presence going back to the 19th century don't support a rising gelatinous menace, the team did find a surprise: roughly 20-year cycles in the abundance of jellies.

They are really gonna have to "fish harder" now. :-/

This also shows how the laissez-faire and libertarian free-market ideology is deeply flawed.

"Dutch disease" has taken hold in Canada!

Canada Oilsands Boom Bypassing Factory Workers: Economy

“A strong resource sector in the west means high-quality manufacturing jobs in the east,” Harper said Jan. 4 at a Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. factory in Oakville, Ontario.

The numbers suggest otherwise. Companies in the mining, quarrying and oil and gas industries have increased payrolls by 11,700, or 4.4 percent over the five years to the end of 2012, according to Statistics Canada data. Over the same period, manufacturing employment has dropped by 182,900, or 9.4 percent, as factories struggle with the impact of a strong currency and weak global demand.
Factory Firings

Put another way, for every natural resource job that’s been added in Canada since the end of 2007, more than 15 factory jobs have been lost.

“It may be easiest to think of the Canadian labor market as two labor markets linked by only partially mobile workers,” said Paul Beaudry, an economics professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver whose research has been sponsored by the Bank of Canada. “While there has been substantial migration toward the resource-rich areas, many individuals are reluctant to move for either family reasons or because their skills may not match what is needed.”

From the recent IMF working paper by Kumhof and Muir

Oil and the World Economy: Some Possible Futures

With rising oil prices, oil exporters experience sustained increases in income and wealth. As a result, their domestic demand (domestic absorption) increases ahead of GDP, at an initial rate of over 2 percent annually. Higher spending leads to upward domestic price pressures and a large real appreciation. This “Dutch disease” effect reduces output in the tradables sector (other than oil), thereby reducing GDP by up to 7 percent below trend over the first five years, and by almost 10 percent after 20 years. The current account improvement in this group of countries, which equals up to 4 percent of GDP in the very short run and almost 8 percent after 20 years, is due entirely to the higher value of oil exports, with the initial spike in oil prices explaining the large current account surplus at that time. Goods exports fall substantially relative to GDP, and the non-oil current account deteriorates. But the government’s very low propensity to consume out of the oil
fund limits the size of that deterioration.

A Tyee series on fracking! Here are the first three articles. One more to come tomorrow.

Fracking Shale Gas: Myths and Realities

Veteran energy reporter Andrew Nikiforuk keys off Cornell University engineering professor Anthony Ingraffea, a world-recognized fracking expert, to get to the bottom of four big claims used by industry to reassure the public.

Shale Gas: Myth and Realities
Nikiforuk tackles top claims fracking industry uses to reassure public.

Shale Gas: How Hard on the Landscape?
Industry's claim that clustered wells preserve forests and farms is a myth, says expert.

Shale Gas: How Often Do Fracked Wells Leak?
When industry says hardly ever, that's a myth. It's a documented, chronic problem.

Pretty likely that there will be no "gaz de schiste" produced in "la belle province".

Just so it's clear, many Québecois(e) drop the 'c', second 's', and the last 'e' from "gaz de schiste"!

Blanchet se montre peu favorable aux gaz de schiste
«Rien ne milite présentement pour le gaz de shale, pas même l’économie» — Yves-François Blanchet

Le ministre du Développement durable, de l’Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs, Yves-François Blanchet, a clairement signifié dimanche qu’il n’est pas très ouvert au développement de l’industrie du gaz de schiste.

Le ministre, qui est responsable du dossier du gaz de schiste, a d’abord publié samedi un lien sur Twitter, lien qui menait à un texte faisant état d’une étude scientifique américaine portant sur les impacts du gaz de schiste. Cette étude, menée par la National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration et des chercheurs de l’Université du Colorado, conclut que les émanations de méthane de certains puits dans l’Utah sont quatre fois plus importantes que prévu. Cela indiquerait que le gaz de schiste produit autant de gaz à effet de serre que la pire des énergies fossiles, soit le charbon.

Seraph manages to freak out (see comments) the knowledgeable folk at the Arctic Sea Ice Blog with this post from the other day.

Christ Alex! You need to post warnings on your links. Oil Drum was perhaps the most depressing thing I've read in weeks.

Posted by: Djprice537 | January 08, 2013 at 20:13

Seems to me that we (the global we) aren't paying enough attention to the impact AGW will have on the afforadbility of food.

That said, 40% of corn in the U.S. goes to ethanol production, and 16% of soya production goes to biodiesel so I don't think the poor will go hungry just yet... as long as we ditch the use of corn and soya bean for biofuels.

Don't think farmers and agribiz corporations will let that happen. So the poor will go hungry.

Anyway from this Bloomberg article...

The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects a 15 percent contraction in global grain cargoes in the 2012-13 crop year after drought and heat waves parched fields from Australia to Europe to the Great Plains. That would be the steepest drop in 27 years. The merchant fleet hauls about 90 percent of world trade, according to the Round Table of International Shipping Associations.

And this...

Drought could send wheat prices soaring

That raises the prospect of prices reversing their 20 per cent drop since a July peak, a retreat that spurred hedge funds to start betting on more declines in December. The prolonged drought is increasing concern that supplies will tighten because there is also dry weather in Argentina and Australia. Heat waves in the Black Sea last year curbed cargoes until the next harvest and a lack of rain is slowing barge traffic on the Mississippi, which handles about 60 per cent of U.S. grain exports.

"We don't see any fundamental reason why the wheat market should be going down," said Tom Neher.

Neher, a vice-president at AgStar Financial Services in Rochester, Minn., helps manage the company's grain investments valued at about $2.1 billion. "We're looking at Argentina and the Black Sea area and Australia with smaller-than-normal crops. In the U.S., the crop isn't ideal going into the winter stretch."

From NOAA...

Global Drought Portal

Thanks for that link. I am going to bookmark that. I don't care what the deniers say, AGW is impacting climate as of right now, I have spoken to farmers and aborigines and they are all saying that weathers patterns have either shifted or gone for a toss. I am a hiker as well, I spoke to the locals on my last trip to Himalayas and they were mentioning the same thing, hiking season has shifted by at least one month. I don't think it's all a coincidence.



about one-third [of US cropland] was planted to feed grains

Corn production totaled 12.36 billion bushels in 2011, which was slightly below the 2010 level of 12.45 billion bushels. In 2009, a record crop of 13.1 billion bushels was produced.

U.S. production represents about 36 percent of world corn production

U.S. corn production is used for livestock feed (37%), food products (11%) and ethanol production (40%).

one of the by-products of ethanol production is distillers grains, which are subsequently used as livestock feed... about 25 percent (by weight) of the 5 billion bushels used to produce ethanol

About 1.4 billion bushels of corn were used to produce food products, the majority of which are one of several variants of high-fructose corn syrup.

Corn acreage has increased from 80 million acres in 2004 to almost 92 million acres in 2011. Acreage increases have come at the expense of soybeans, wheat and barley. The expansion of corn production has been caused by increased demands for corn by the ethanol industry

Corn prices have increased from an average of $2.00/bushel over the 2004-2005 period to more than $4.00/bushel over the 2007-2011 period. The average price in 2011 was $6.20 per bushel for a total value of $76.5 billion.

Increased ethanol production has been spurred by the need for an oxygenate to replace Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) in gasoline blends... the use of MTBE as an oxygenate has been banned by 27 states

U.S. exports of corn in 2011 were nearly 45.7 million metric tons (MT) (8% of production and a 10% drop from 2010) and represented 46 percent of world corn trade.

Ultimately, the future of corn prices depends on government policies with respect to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS)... The RFS is scheduled to require 36 billion gallons of biofuels from all sources by 2022. A relaxation of these goals would cause the price of corn to decline.

Half of all food thrown away, report claims

Up to half of all the food produced in the world—two billion tonnes of it—is thrown away, according to a report published on Thursday.

The waste is caused by poor infrastructure and storage facilities in the developing world, and "buy-one-get-one-free" offers, and the fussiness of consumers in the developed world, the report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said.

Every year, four billion tonnes of food is produced, but between 30 percent and 50 percent is never consumed, according to the report entitled "Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not".

Wasting food means losing not only life-supporting nutrition but also precious resources, including land, water and energy. As a global society therefore, tackling food waste will help contribute towards addressing a number of key resource issues.

... Energy to power machinery, both on the farm and in the storage and processing facilities, together with the direct use of fuel in field mechanisation and produce transportation, adds to the energy total, which currently represents about 3.1% of annual global energy consumption.

NBC's version:

As much as half of the food produced worldwide ends up being thrown away every year because shoppers are too choosy about the appearance of fruit and vegetables, a report said Thursday.

...It says retailers reject millions of tonnes of crops because of the physical appearance of fruit and vegetables, fearing shoppers will not buy them unless they look perfect.

Greetings TOD'ers ...for all the folks here that are not familiar with Gail the Actuary and her excellent contributions to the understanding of our problems with resources, take the time now to read her latest report at her blog "Our Finite World" ... titled 2013: Beginning of Long-Term Recession? ... another great work Gail, congratulations and I still think your the best in this aspect of understanding our situation ... curlyq3

A link to my new post is 2013:Beginning of Long-Term Recession.

Among other things, the post looks at the what the book Secular Cycles by Peter Turchin and Sergey Negedov has to say about how economies behave over the entire cycle leading up to collapse and beyond. They outline four stages over about a 300 year period - expansion, stagflation, crisis, and depression/intercycle. The current US financial situation looks disturbingly similar to what one would expect when the crisis stage is being reached.

Saudi Oil Output Drops 5% in December

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has cut its oil production by nearly 5% in December to 9.025 million barrels per day compared with 9.49 million barrels per day a month earlier, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report is due out Wednesday the 16th. Then we will get all the latest estimates of OPEC output by "secondary sources" plus what the countries themselves say they produced. I always look forward to that.

Last month the MOMR's "secondary sources" said Saudi produced 9,673 kb/d of crude only. Saudi themselves said they produced 9,492 kb/d of crude only.

Ron P.

From my post yesterday

As recentlhy as 2010, KSA viewed Manifa as a project to be rolled out over time, with completion in 2024. Today, they expect production to start this year and hit maximum next year.
Manifa post

When you want to know what's really happening don't listen to the words, watch the behavior. In my opinion, KSA is behaving like a country that is worried about production. Watch this video and this video to get an idea of the scale of industrial effort required just to get water to the fields for injection. It's mind boggling. And Manifa is the end of the line.

The Saudi ECI ratio (ratio of total petroleum liquids to liquids consumption) fell by 30% from 2005 to 2011. I estimate that this 30% decline in the ECI ratio equates to about a 38% decline in remaining post-2005 Saudi CNE (Cumulative Net Exports). Link to a prior post, with graphs:


IMO, Saudi Arabia is in a "metastable" situation, i.e., superficially stable, but inherently unstable. Of course, one could make a similar argument about the global economy, especially the net oil importing OECD countries.

K - When you view it from the royal family position I think a good case can be made for the KSA to be in worse shape than the US when it comes to PO. Sure...they are an oil exporter. But that is nearly their entire economy. The US is very dependent on oil...the KSA is can't exist w/o the exports. And their population is growing and consuming more of their production. At some point the rulers will have to limit local consumption in order to generate enough income to feed their people via oil sales. Otherwise no telling how how those folks will react. In a sense the KSA is in a deeper FF trap then the US. I would think they would be rushing towards alts ,such as solar, as fas as possible.

They have one hope -- to produce enough natural gas for electrical production to allow them to reduce domestic oil consumption. They've certainly been on the hunt for NG and I think they have had some success. Only time will tell if they find enough to significantly reduce oil consumption, but it's a possibility.

I would think they would be rushing towards alts ,such as solar, as fas as possible.

There are posts every few months about how KSA has signed a contract for a fission power plant and about deployment of nuclear reactors in the KSA will be.

I think this says it all. Manifa field to pump 500,000 bpd in H1 2013

Manifa will produce Arabian Heavy crude. Aramco officials have said the field is not expected to boost the Kingdom's oil production capacity, but will serve to keep capacity stable by offsetting declines from other fields.

And just in case anyone was wondering, it is pronounced Ma-nee'-fa. I called it Man'-a-fa and my son, who has been there several times, quickly corrected me.

Ron P.

...will serve to keep capacity stable by offsetting declines from other fields.

But why the heck would they need to do that if they already have a claimed 2.5 million barrel/day of spare capacity? They must be worried that capacity will soon trickle down to zero or is already at zero.

But understand if they have 264 billion barrels of proven reserves, as they claim, then they just poke another hole in the sand and the oil comes gushing out. If they actually have that many barrels of reserves then they have a R/P ratio of about 75. That means they should not see any decline for almost 40 years, if then.

Of course some folks actually don't believe they have 264 billion barrels of proven reserves. But then they have no proof of that. ;-)

Ron P.

But understand if they have 264 billion barrels of proven reserves, as they claim, then they just poke another hole in the sand and the oil comes gushing out.

This begs the question why they would even bother with a marginal field like Manifa. With 264 billion barrels, there's bound to be some bigger and way better fields laying around under the sand.

Excellent point. If they are now resorting to developing Manifa, as ugly as it is, what does that say about their remaining purported reserves.

The first well was fracked in 1866: A Brief History of Fracking

The Titusville Morning Herald reported in 1866:

Our attention has been called to a series of experiments that have been made in the wells of various localities by Col. Roberts, with his newly patented torpedo. The results have in many cases been astonishing.

The torpedo, which is an iron case, containing an amount of powder varying from fifteen to twenty pounds, is lowered into the well, down to the spot, as near as can be ascertained, where it is necessary to explode it.

It is then exploded by means of a cap on the torpedo, connected with the top of the shell by a wire.
Filling the borehole with water provided Roberts his "fluid tamping" to concentrate concussion and more efficiently fracture surrounding oil strata.

The technique was immediately successful. Production from some wells increased 1,200% within a week of being shot — and the Roberts Petroleum Torpedo Company experienced booming business as a result.

I wonder if the Roberts Petroleum Torpedo Company is still around? Perhaps they are known as Halliburton today. Or what company does much of the fracking today?

Ron P.

I wonder if the Roberts Petroleum Torpedo Company is still around?


Roberts died a wealthy man on March 25, 1881, in Titusville. His heirs sold Roberts Petroleum Torpedo Company to its employees, who continued in business as the Independent Explosives Company.

Rick Tallini relates that the Otto Cupler Torpedo Company split off and produced its own nitroglycerin in plants near Titusville until the last plant exploded in 1978. Tallini’s company continued using liquid nitroglycerin until 1989 – when the last of the nitroglycerine supplier’s plant exploded in Moosic, Pennsylvania.

Today, Tallini and Otto Cupler Torpedo Company continue shooting wells, but with modern explosives and rigorous safety procedures.

Ron – In essence the system still exists. One brand name is StimGun (http://www.stimgun-products.com/Weatherford.php). Also called a gas gun. Fairly cheap” $15k - $20k per application. Cylindrical device typically 15’ – 30’ long run in the hole on an electric line used to detonate it. Produces a very high frequency blast that shatters the rock out some tens of feet. Some actually use the fuel used in Stinger missiles as the explosive. Very practical for some applications but it doesn’t come close to duplicating the effects of a hydraulic frac. For one thing there’s no proppant involved so not much to prevent the fractures from resealing. Also just penetrates a very short distance into the formation. But it’s skinny and it can be run down production tubing so no need for a work over rig…just a wire line truck.

The Effects of China's One Child Policy On Its Children

New research shows China's controversial One Child Policy (OCP) has not only dramatically re-shaped the population, but has produced individuals lacking characteristics important for economic and social attainment.

... The researchers conducted a series of economic games on more than 400 subjects. The imposition of the OCP allowed them to identify individuals who grew up as an only child because of the policy and who would have grown up with siblings in the absence of the OCP.

Comparing this group with those who were born before the OCP, they isolated the causal impact of growing up as single children. Results indicated that individuals who grew up as single children as a result of China's OCP were significantly less trusting, less trustworthy, more risk-averse, less competitive, more pessimistic, and less conscientious individuals.

... "Our data show that people born under the One Child Policy were less likely to be in more risky occupations like self-employment. Thus there may be implications for China in terms of a decline in entrepreneurial ability," Professor Cameron said.

... In 2007, according to a spokesperson of the Committee on the One-Child Policy, approximately 35.9% of China's population was subject to a one-child restriction. ... authorities claim that the policy has prevented more than 250 million births between 1980 and 2000, and 400 million births from about 1979 to 2011

elsewhere ...

Single-Child Families on the Rise

... There are currently 20 million single-child families in the U.S [25% of families]

... may explain the social zietgiest in the U.S. and elsewhere. Another variable in the social tapestry.

Re: Single-Child Families on the Rise

She's very aware that she's the only single child in her class. She says if she marries an only child, and they have kids, there won't be any cousins."

Seraph, another consequence to think about...

Best hopes for smaller families... with or without cousins.

Oh my God, no cousins!

Not sure I buy this. China as a society has changed rapidly over the past few decades. Hard to say that the number of siblings is the difference, rather than larger societal change.

There's certainly no evidence it applies here in the US.

I also gave strong doubts. First, how does a child’s development vary as a result of a govt’s OCP vs. that of American and Chinese parents who also have an OCP? Hadn’t thought about it before but I’ve known a fair number of US couples who specifically chose an OCP for various reasons. Second, how did they distinguish between Chinese parents who had one child because of govt policy and those who would have had only one child by their choice. In 2000 when I was in China adopting my daughter I was surprised how many families I met that chose to have one child (typically a boy…a Chinese thing).

Of course, one anecdotal case proves nothing. But my daughter is the polar opposite of the somewhat dysfunctional one described. But OTOH she has been raised as an only child. And by much older parents than is typical here. One amusing side note: not many Asians in her part of Texas…most white rednecks. But all kids like some common identity so when she was 7 or 8 she developed her own little rat pack in school composed of her and several Hispanic girls. She explained why: their skin tone was closer to hers than the other kids. She called them her “brown sisters”. Honestly. Just tickled the hell out of me. Almost 13 now she runs mostly with white redneck girls. But that's not the common element: they are all jocks like her.

I would expect some personality diffs, but intergenerational comparisons are highly problematic.

I took that as an implicit part of the point, really. Maybe they didn't intend it, but I certainly would look at such a broad societal contrivance as 'One Child' and wonder how it affects people's sense of themselves as valued members of their family and society.

Some of the more controlled aspects of Chinese society, both from the communist ideology-wrangling, as well as some of the more established attitudes towards propriety, money and success can be very overbearing on kids growing up in the last 40 50 years with an awareness of how the 'moderns' are treating life, self and family. Not unlike how so many of our girls and young in general really had to take a hard left and push away from the stodgiest of the old family ways here in the West. But China has done or tried to do so much more to hang onto very tight control of things.. I have to imagine there has been some very tough squeezing for the individuals caught in that pressure-zone.

High-Frequency Stock Trading of Little Value to Investors, General Public

The increase in the speed of stock trading from microseconds to nanoseconds leads to an increase in order cancellation, but little else of value to investors and the general public, says research by a University of Illinois business professor.

"There are lots of extreme views about high-frequency trading, but if you look at high-frequency trading scientifically, you would see that's it's neither good nor evil," Ye said. "Although some people think it's good, and others, necessarily, think that it's really bad, our paper shows that neither extreme view is correct. So stock exchanges are investing heavily in order to play what's really a zero-sum game."

"If you increase the speed of trading from micro- to nanoseconds, which is a 1,000 percent increase in speed, there's really no social value to that," Ye said. "There is, however, a lot of private value in that for traders."

The research shows an increase in the cancellation-execution ratio of orders, as well as a corresponding increase in short-term volatility and a decrease of market depth.

The research also finds evidence consistent with "quote stuffing," a practice that involves submitting an extraordinarily large number of orders followed by immediate cancellation for the sole purpose of creating congestion in the market. ... Cancelling trades is taking over the system and monopolizing resources.

More information: "The Externality of High-Frequency Trading,"

Unemployment Benefits Not Sought by Jobless

Employment insurance is a vital safety net for the unemployed across North America, yet some take advantage of the system. Recent headlines have made much of a recent report from the U.S. Department of Labor that 11 per cent of all unemployment benefits were overpaid between 2009-11. In a study commissioned by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, Concordia economics professor David Fuller examines the U.S. unemployment insurance system's expenditures from 1989 through 2011. The new research proves that uncollected benefits represent a much larger dollar figure than overpayments.


... "On average," says Fuller, "only 63 per cent of the unemployed eligible for benefits in the U.S. have been collecting them over the past 22 years. If all of those who are eligible for unemployment benefits were to start collecting those benefits, as could easily happen if the U.S. continues to have high unemployment, the additional expenditures could be massive."

First gas-powered passenger ferry handed over in Finland

Finnish cruise company Viking Line took possession Thursday of the world's first large passenger ferry powered by liquefied natural gas, calling it an "environmental pioneer in the cruise industry."

Dunno about the first. Down river from my place an LNG fuelled roll on/roll off aluminium catamaran ferry was launched some time ago for an Argentine customer

If LNG/CNG/ANG catch on as transport fuels that will price natural gas too high for power stations and other stationary users. Think $20-$40 per GJ for natgas as a vehicle fuel vs. say $4-$5 for current piped gas users who will gradually be outbid.

Led by TOTE, liquefied natural gas comes to US shipping fleet

Much of what we buy in Alaska comes in via ship. The most prominent shipping line is TOTE (Totem Ocean Trailer Express), who have two ships a week, winter and summer, from Tacoma to Anchorage. They are converting their 839 ft "Orca Class" ships to LNG: EPA and USCG facilitate TOTE's groundbreaking move to convert its vessels to alternative fuels

UN: Rising mercury emissions increase risk to humans

Developing nations are facing growing health and environmental risks from increased exposure to mercury, according to a UN report.

It says a growth in small-scale mining and coal burning are the main reasons for the rise in emissions.

As a result of rapid industrialisation, South-East Asia is the largest regional emitter and accounts for almost half of the element's annual emissions.

The Global Mercury Assessment 2013, published by the UN Environment Programme (Unep), shows that emissions from small-scale gold mining in Asia, Africa and South America have doubled since 2005.

It's not just Australia ...

Weather Journal: A ‘Heat Wave’ in January

Greater New York is just starting what could be an eight day stretch of abnormally warm weather: a veritable heat wave in January.

Tuesday reached 51 degrees in Atlantic City, the first of perhaps eight consecutive days that will be up to 20 degrees warmer than normal across the region. That kind of warmth is exceptionally rare, and may make this January one of the warmest months relative to historic records in the last 100 years or more in parts of the tri-state.

In New York City, this week is typically the coldest of the year. Instead, this year it could reach as warm as the upper 50s or low 60s by the weekend. ... the most reliable long-range weather model — that of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts — points towards the subtropical ridge holding, and thus the warm air conveyor belt remaining more or less in place for those of us in the East.

Temperature records fall as heat wave settles in

The January heat wave continued to break records Wednesday as temperatures climbed as much as 15 degrees above normal in some areas.

The high at Tampa International Airport reached 85 degrees, breaking by 3 degrees the 41-year-old record for the date.

Among others, Sarasota reached a record 87 degrees and Fort Myers hit 88, eclipsing the record of 85, set in 1974.

... too many days like this and you get premature bud break. [assuming we've accrued enough chilling degree days] Not good for fruits and nuts.

DilBit: The Toxic Fossil Fuel Cocktail That Would Be Transported in the Keystone XL Pipeline

... What's DilBit?

That depends.

TransCanada’s spokesman, Shawn Howard, said, “...oil is oil”. But that's hardly the case. The massive exploitation of Alberta tar sands (MEATS) and Keystone XL advocates cultivate public misconception of DilBit being “crude oil”. A dangerous ruse spanning pipeline safety regulations to pipeline technology and leak detection...back to public awareness. Pawning off DilBit as crude oil is TransCanada’s public-relations Job Number One—except when it comes to the IRS.

The oil industry pays an eight-cents-per-barrel tax on crude oil produced in or imported to the U.S., proceeds earmarked for the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund that covers cleanup costs for oil spills. But in 2011, at the request of a company whose identity is kept secret, an exemption was made that frees DilBit from this tax because, as the secret company made clear: “oil” from Canada’s tar sands is so different (chemistry, behavior, how it’s produced) that it should not be considered crude oil.

Texas, and federal statutory codes define crude oil as "liquid hydrocarbons extracted from the earth at atmospheric temperatures”. Simple enough, DilBit is not crude oil.

Alberta bitumen is strip-mined and steam-melted from sands and silts; it takes two tons of earth, three barrels of water, and lots of natural gas to extract one barrel of raw bitumen , which is almost a solid.

Keystone was predicted to spill no more than once every seven years.

After being in operation less than one year, Keystone tallied its eleventh spill—at a pump station, which TransCanada insists “don’t count”.

Over on America2.0 mailing list Guy McPherson (bloging here: http://guymcpherson.com/2012/12/the-twin-sides-of-the-fossil-fuel-coin-p... ) said:

I suspect conditions will be very dire within five years, especially in the northern hemisphere. The interior of large continents in the northern hemisphere will not be habitable by humans within that time. The southern hemisphere will be better for a while.

I doubt sea-level rise will remove much human habitat within five years. Ten, maybe. Fifteen, almost certainly, especially very near the coast. Years ago I read that a rise in mean sea level of three feet translates to utter destruction of Washington, D.C. because of the storm surge (NOT directly because of sea-level rise).

Warming of 4 C or so melts all planetary ice, which suggests sea-level rise of about 250 feet. But I doubt there will be humans to see it.

In case any of you were thinking "My I'm feeling doom today" I'm guessing 5 years its all over out-dooms ya.

As Butch Cassidy said [to Sundance]: Boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.

The thing about it is that you never know when or if the ax will fall with climate. So far, well, we've already seen more extreme weather due to changing climate, but BAU does indeed go on. I find it hard to imagine the interior of NA becoming uninhabitable - hot, maybe, but that's what A/C is for. Same goes for sea level, which has changed very little so far and quite slowly (yeah, some island communities are in trouble, but that's far away). There is some evidence that it can change very much and very quickly, but if so, why and when? In my lifetime, in ten years, in 5? Miami isn't being covered by the sea yet.

It's very obvious nothing is going to get done until it's smacking us in the face, and what, if anything, will get done at that point is unclear at best. The melting in the arctic and antarctic has convinced me very thoroughly that something very bad is happening and will happen, but so far the world goes on, mostly unchanged in the places most humans live.

It's easy to see why there is skepticism - doomy projections of death and destruction in the near future just don't seem very likely, as not much has happened so far (Sandy was not nice, but New York has seen hurricanes before). I think there are clearly mitigating factors, negative as well as positive feedbacks.

I don't neccessarily disagree with him, but if he's right, well, I can't see much we can do except lean over and kiss our behinds goodbye.

Written by adamx:
... can change very much and very quickly, but if so, why and when?

I am not sure where Guy McPherson wrote, "very dire within five years." In the video at the link he spoke about many projections from various sources that became progressively more dire, 16 C increase in global average temperature by 2100 from "rapid, unpredictable, non-linear responses." Dire conditions in the northern hemisphere within the next 5 years could be caused by changes in the weather caused by the Arctic becoming ice free during Summer. Heat and drought persisting for 6 years might be enough to chase people away from the mid-continents. He also mentioned methane release from the Arctic.

I find it hard to imagine the interior of NA becoming uninhabitable - hot, maybe, but that's what A/C is for.

Yep, and I suppose that when you need money, that's what the ATM is for or when you need food, that's what the supermarket is for.

doomy projections of death and destruction in the near future just don't seem very likely, as not much has happened so far

Well, that would be what science is for and it seems to be telling us that a lot of really bad things are happening right now all over the world at a much faster pace than any of us ever expected. Though what may still come as a shock to most people is that their food doesn't really come from a freezer at the supermarket.

Perhaps a visit to a rainforest or coral reef ecosystem accompanied by a few career biologists might help convince you that quite a lot is happening...


Well, that was just depressing!

The Climate Change Conundrum: What the Future is Beginning to Look Like for Wildlife

... one of the most pervasive and problematic impacts of climate change on wildlife will be its influence on plant and animal phenology– changes in seasonal life-cycle events like blooming or migrations, that take place as a result of the changing weather patterns.

... these dramatic developing ecosystem dynamics are mixing species together that have not previously interacted and are creating mismatches between animals and their food sources.

As we know from basic ecology, organisms in functioning ecosystems are interdependent and linked together in complex webs. The loss of one species can therefore result in a cascade of extinctions.

US troops could help secure Syrian weapons

Pentagon officials say they have largely ruled out sending in ground troops to secure Syrian chemical weapons under hostile circumstances, but the U.S. could provide forces if the Assad regime ever agrees to a peaceful transition.

... Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says his biggest concern is how the U.S. and allies would secure the chemical and biological weapons sites and ensure they don't end up in the wrong hands if the regime falls, particularly under violent conditions.

He says there is a strong likelihood that Syrian President Bashar Assad will ultimately leave power.

San Andreas mega-quake in our future?

Certain earthquake fault segments long thought to be stable may rupture and cause a mega-quake, suggests a new study that could have implications for California's mighty San Andreas.

That's what happened during the 2011 magnitude-9 quake in Japan that triggered a tsunami and during the 1999 magnitude-7.6 Chi Chi quake in Taiwan.

In both cases, scientists assumed that "creeping" sections of a fault would serve as a buffer and prevent the entire fault from unzipping. But a new study published online Wednesday in the journal Nature suggests this may not always be the case.

New earthquake fault models show that 'stable' zones may contribute to the generation of massive earthquakes

What's killing Minnesota moose? Researchers launch new effort to find out

Moose have been falling over and dying across Northeastern Minnesota at a disturbing rate in recent years, and researchers still don't know why.

More on Biochar (for all you biochar lovers and fans, you know who you are!)

Preliminary results from the first two years of the experiment suggest that biochar has a positive effect on plant and soil biodiversity, contrary to the results from the greenhouse.

From the same article...

However, Biederman noted that while plants thrived in the three percent plots, mycorrhizae, important soil fungi that have symbiotic relationships with plant roots, diminished. 'The jury is still out', she said.

Uncertainty also surrounds the effects of biochar on aquatic systems. In a basic laboratory test, Harpole discovered that biochar dissolved into water killed algae.

Thank you, eric.
I also watched your climate-change video with Guy McPherson. Unsure I've seen quite the doom scenario as that. If that transpires, we might as well burn and turn every living thing into biocharcoal, since there will be nothing much left anyway. Bravo.

Meanwhile, Downunder...

"You would have no doubt read Mark Peoples' work on this topic and my own soils professor Bob Gilkes
All of this work has shown that different soils require different kinds of biochar so that negative impacts don't occur (the negative 28% mentioned by Jeffries et al). But not just that, the biochar is still broken down, if it isn't then it is a nutrient sink and will hurt soils and productivity. This breakdown is slower than usual emissions, but they still occur.

I am not keen to see any roll out of this, especially since the work that has been done previously has not been able to show consistent results. If it is, then we'll have unsuitable chars being dumped on soils that aren't suited and you will effectively kill off biomass production, which is the key driver of soil carbon production and maintenance.

I won't broach the topic of incorporation of biochar into the soil, especially in no-till systems that now dominate broad-acre cropping in Australia."
~ Tim Scanlon

Tim - there is a lot being learned about how to prescriptively apply biochar so that positive results can be consistently achieved. In many cases the biochars in scientific studies that have given negative results there are very good explainations for. For example, adding an alkaline biochar to a soil system that was already contrained by being too alkaline makes the problem worse. It is important that the biochar is directed to address a soil constraint otherwise it is likely that if there is nothing to fix, no improvement will be seen.
~ Adriana Downie

"Thanks for the reply Adriana. Both our points are pointing to why I'm not keen on rolling out nationally... Having worked with farmers, they are not fans of presumptive claims, especially when they are being asked to invest money and take risks.

I know the CSIRO and Paul Blackwell did a lot of work in my part of the world in the 90s and battled to make things work with biochar. The couple of farmers I know who were involved in trial work have already drawn their conclusions...

We also have to remember the difference in the age of soils when looking from the east coast to the west coast, situations are hugely different."
~ Tim Scanlon

"Just a couple of notes on biochar. Firstly, there is no method available to measuring soil carbon in-situ over broad areas. That is why soil carbon is not part of Kyoto agreement - it can't be measured except by spot sampling. A responsible government should not consider paying for something it can't determine is there or not. And if we are looking for long-term storage, we need to measure to confirm that storage is occurring.
Secondly, and here I may be wrong, but I think the article mixes two fundamental different outcomes. Either you wish to enhance a soil to improve productivity or you want to sequestering carbon in the soil for hundreds (thousands?) of years. Both together is I'd suggest improbable. Preservation of carbon in soil is a feature of anoxic soils but to my knowledge most Aust agricultural soils are oxic. Carbon in such soils would be quickly recycled - given Aust natural fire regimes, if weren't so, the soils would be laden with charcoal. They aren't. I feeling is that the Aust biota is well adapted to recycling carbon and would happily feast on biochar in whatever form.
~ Bruce Dickson

"...You indicate you do know (quite rightly) we are wasting valuable resources (including costs to waste them and has massive environmental consequences), but unfortunately, haven’t got to the entropic finality of continuing such processes.

It’s a bit of a contradiction for you – as an economist – to say economics hates waste, because inbuilt obsolescence in goods translates into more production which equates to more economic output and a positive GDP (which is but another economist furphy).

You’re right, we waste land by drawing down on what little nutrients remain (crops, protein on legs and our remaining resources) to boost GDP. And yes, subsidies enacted by corporate government temporarily sustain practices which would otherwise collapse...

So to the nub, bio char... ethanol and bio char are of the same family.
Do the EROEI maths... I’m not saying we shouldn’t do something about food waste, but burn it (with energy we’re running out of); why not reduce it significantly?

The embodied energy costs of making bio char from food wastes, transporting them and tilling them into the land have a cost, who pays?

And what of inefficiencies of machinery manufactured standing by idle (waiting for the next truck, or chicken in a farm to take a dump); so let’s burn vegetation wastes (but what about the nutrient loss caused by ‘cooking’?) and what of the then required nutrients to interact with/release the bio char? where will the water come from to facilitate the processes?

You then say you ‘understand’ my words and would like me to present - to you - some numbers to substantiate your scepticism;
Show me anywhere in the world (commercially or semi-commercially) where biochar is energy positive, and where the benefits are to the environment.

From where you are sitting and from what you know, how much arable land have we, and how much can be retrieved and at what cost and who pays.

And like you, I want some solid numbers re factual carbon sequestering benefits of burning stuff down to stick it in the ground and I will concede the porosity, but where will all this water come from? And then what?

You and others need to contemplate the land’s carrying capacity; the number of people and or animals that can live off what is produced. And as to pumping sewage sludge into our creeks, we don’t, we send all the nutrient rich $h!t and our nitrogen rich p!$$ out to sea with about 30 litres of fresh treated water per dump, and then arrogantly cremate our bodies, incinerating the remaining nutrients...

Wake up to the reality... ethanol was/is touted by corporate government (at what cost to us financially and to the environment generally when that energy is burnt?) as a viable proposition, ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’, ‘renewable energy’ (the second Law disproved in OZ!) and various ‘experts’ will access government grants to prove that something can be done, but only present the facts that support corporate government pretending to have the answer...

Tell you what, stick me in the CSIRO give me a grant to prove biochar works and I can do it... but if you want to save money and valuable resources, I’m telling you free... technology will not solve the problem.

Buy yourself a book by Peter Andrews, Beyond the Brink; go to the following site and learn..."
~ Daniel Boon

What dust may have to do with Earth's rapidly warming poles

In a new study in Nature Climate Change, researchers show that at the peak of the last ice age, some 21,000 years ago, the poles were 10 times dustier than today, while areas closer to the equator had twice as much dust. During this time of extreme cold, New York City was under two miles of ice and up to 12 degrees F colder than today while Greenland was about 45 degrees F colder. The study's authors suggest that higher atmospheric dust concentrations at the poles during the last ice age helped to cool earth's surface and prevent snow and sea ice from melting during summer.

Austerity explained:

Pakistan kiln laborers hemmed in by debts they can't repay

"I hate this," says the mother, Nazira Bibi, slapping a clod of mud into the brick mold and flipping it over with a thump. "I hate the fact that my kids have to do this work, that they're not in school. When I see other kids going to school, I wish my kids were those kids.

...the most entrenched barriers to education comes from moneyed landowners, brick kiln operators, carpet makers and other businesspeople who rely on a form of indentured servitude known as bonded labor.

bonded labor is a way of life at thousands of brick kilns that for generations have ensnared workers in a hopeless cycle of loans and advances. The workers don't earn enough to survive, so they're forced to accept loans from the kiln owners. The meager pay keeps them from being able to repay the loans. When they die, the debt is passed on to their children.

"Most parents in bonded labor don't have national ID cards, and so they don't have the right to vote. And because of that, they are not a big priority for local lawmakers."

Pro child-labor
Pro payday loans
Anti voting-rights