Drumbeat: January 26, 2013

Court Overturns E.P.A.’s Biofuels Mandate

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court threw out a federal rule on renewable fuels on Friday, saying that a quota set by the Environmental Protection Agency for incorporating liquids made from woody crops and wastes into car and truck fuels was based on wishful thinking rather than realistic estimates of what could be achieved.

The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia involved a case brought by the American Petroleum Institute, whose members were bound by the 2012 cellulosic biofuels quota being challenged.

But production of the “cellulosic” fuel, made from woody material, has been slow to start up, making it virtually impossible to come by. That has presented the refiners, the ones required to buy the cellulosic fuel, with a quandary.

US ‘shale boost’ provokes EU fears and indecision

A US industrial boost following its ability to tap abundant shale gas reserves is provoking fears that imperilled energy-intensive European businesses will find it harder than ever to compete.

But calls for the EU to deliver a ‘silver bullet’ and emulate the US by tapping shale gas through ‘fracking’ (see background) remain controversial because of environmental and logistical concerns.

Peak Oil Bites the Dust

For years, so many years, we've launched article after article pointing out the insanity of beliefs in elite "scarcity memes."

And Peak Oil has been one of the most stubborn and longest-lasting. We've argued that the market itself (the Invisible Hand) would find a way to generate energy – via more oil or with other energy sources – if oil was actually running out. But we didn't really think oil WAS running out. We believed it was just another manipulation.

Should Do Away With Fuel Subsidies: World Bank Chief

Countries should do away with subsidies for fossil fuels to help mitigate the impact of climate change, World Bank Chief Jim Yong Kim today asserted, but felt removing them would be "politically difficult".

Oil Completes Longest Run of Weekly Gains Since 200

Oil completed a seventh weekly gain in New York, the longest run of advances in almost four years, on speculation that stronger economic growth will boost demand.

Prices were little changed today as the euro strengthened to an 11-month high against the dollar after the European Central Bank said banks will hand back a greater amount of loans than analysts estimated and German business confidence rose for a third month in January. U.S. oil demand grew last week by the most in a month, government data showed yesterday.

Troll output cut extended

Statoil has extended by two months the date for a restart of full production from the Troll A platform off Norway that has been cut due to compressor issues.

The outage at the facility is now set to reduce output from the Troll gas field by up to 35 million cubic metres per day until at least 1 April, compared with an earlier schedule of 4 February, state gas infrastructure agency Gassco reported on its website.

Energy Rig Count in U.S. Advances for First Time in Nine Weeks

The gas and oil rig count in the U.S. gained for the first time in nine weeks, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI)

Total energy rigs rose by four to 1,753, the first increase since Nov. 23. Oil rigs dropped by one to 1,315, data posted on the Baker Hughes website show. The gas count rose five to 434, the field-services company based in Houston said.

Vitol Sells Russian Urals Crude; Buzzard Said to Shut in March

Vitol Group sold two cargoes of Russian Urals crude. Total SA bid unsuccessfully for North Sea Forties grade for a fifth day at a lower premium than yesterday.

The North Sea Buzzard oil field will shut for a week of scheduled maintenance in March, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Alberta oil selling at 50% discount to world price…

The oil patch’s hopes now seem pinned on one of a few pipelines, all of which face strong opposition, and none of which can soak up the new production to which Alberta aspires.

Los Angeles Gasoline Jumps to Three-Month High on Plant Upsets

Spot gasoline in Los Angeles surged against futures as Valero Energy Corp. was said to be shutting an alkylation unit at its Southern California plant next week and Chevron Corp. and Phillips 66 reported equipment shutdowns.

Valero’s 78,000-barrel-a-day Wilmington refinery near Los Angeles will shut the alkylation unit for about seven to 10 days of repairs on a depropanizer, a person familiar with the plans said. Bill Day, a spokesman at Valero’s headquarters, said by e- mail that he couldn’t confirm the planned work.

Seaway Pipeline ‘Running as Expected’ Despite Terminal Limits

Enterprise Product Partners LP (EPD) said the Seaway pipeline is “running as expected” despite restrictions on how much oil can be received at the pipe’s final terminal in Jones Creek, Texas.

Shippers can take enough oil off the line at Seaway’s other terminal in Katy, Texas, to “make up the difference,” Rick Rainey, a Houston-based spokesman for Enterprise, said today. Rainey declined to specify the rate at which the line is currently running.

N. Dakota tax bills pique industry interest

A pair of bills facing the North Dakota legislature could have a significant impact on oil and gas drillers who have transformed the frigid US state into a producing behemoth.

No new hearing for suit over rescinded energy leases

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected a plea to re-examine its decision upholding the withdrawal of dozens of federal oil and gas leases sold during the waning days of the George W. Bush administration.

Mercuria in Talks to Sell Stake, Sees $90 Oil Price Floor

The Geneva-based company’s revenue rose to $100 billion last year, Dunand said. That’s up from $76 billion in 2011. The CEO said in April last year that Mercuria was in early talks with potential investors to sell a stake of as much as 20 percent as it diversifies into non-energy commodity markets and enlarges operations in China and elsewhere.

Oil markets will maintain “a certain stability with last year” even as prices may be “marginally lower,” he said today. Crude probably won’t drop below a range of $90 to $100 a barrel because the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries would cut production to stop prices from falling, Dunand said.

Apple Loses to Exxon Mobil as World’s Most Valuable Company

Apple Inc. surrendered the title of the world’s most valuable company to Exxon Mobil Corp. after concern over slowing growth drove the shares to the biggest loss in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Caspian Oil Pipeline Expansion to Finish in 2015, Transneft Says

The Caspian Pipeline Consortium’s crude link that runs from northwest Kazakhstan to the Black Sea will reach full capacity by 2015, according to OAO Transneft.

The expansion is still dependent on whether fields being developed have started production, Mikhail Barkov, a vice- president at Russia’s state-owned pipeline operator, said today in Moscow. The link’s output is to be increased to 67 million metric tons annually, or 1.4 million barrels a day.

Rail hits Enbridge business in North Dakota

Enbridge’s North Dakota pipeline system has been underused for the past three months as railroads move more oil out of the Bakken shale play, according to a report.

Enbridge’s plans to expand its pipeline network out of the Bakken will not stop railroads from taking business, Bloomberg reported Flint Hills Resources, a unit of Koch Industries, as saying in a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“This trend is not temporary,” Flint Hills said. “Rail transportation is becoming more competitive and will continue to take barrels away from the Enbridge North Dakota system.”

Iran to launch world's largest gasoline unit

TEHRAN - Iran will start within coming days a new gasoline production unit at the Shazand refinery which will produce 8.5 million liters gasoline a day, the Mehr news agency reported on Friday.

Rashid Seyedian, director of capacity enhancement project at the Shazand Refinery, said the development project of the unit is nearly completed.

Algeria admits ‘mistakes’ in hostage standoff, needs international help

DAVOS, Switzerland — Algeria’s foreign minister acknowledged that security forces made mistakes in a hostage crisis at a Saharan gas plant in which many foreign workers were killed by Algerian military strikes.

Mourad Medelci, in an Associated Press interview, also conceded that Algeria will need international help to better fight terrorism. Algeria’s decision to refuse foreign offers of aid in handling the crisis, and to send the military to fire on vehicles full of hostages, drew widespread international criticism.

Libya not to reveal oil sales details this year

London/tripoli: Libya will not reveal the details of its oil sales this year, National Oil Corporation (NOC) officials said this week, stepping back from pledges to deliver greater transparency after the corruption of the pre-revolutionary regime

Indian Sailors Held by Pirates Near Nigeria Freed

Five Indian sailors kidnapped off Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta and held captive for more than a month have been released by the pirates, a spokesman said today.

U.S. Envoy Apologizes for Ship’s Grounding on Philippine Coral Reef

MANILA — The United States ambassador to the Philippines apologized Friday for the grounding of an American naval ship on a reef in a marine sanctuary, the latest in a string of embarrassing episodes for the United States military in the country at a time when the administration is pushing a “pivot” to Asia and the American military has increased its presence in the Philippines.

Mongolia Loan May Help Tavan Tolgoi Exit Chalco Deal, CEO Says

Mongolia pledged to give Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi LLC, its largest coal company, a $355 million loan that Chief Executive Officer Yaichil Batsuuri said may be used to help it exit an agreement to supply China.

Shale Oil and the Australian Outback – A Hot, Secure Frontier

Linc Energy CEO Peter Bond told international media: "It is massive, it is just huge. If the Arckaringa plays out the way we hope it will, and the way our independent reports have shown, it's one of the key prospective territories in the world at the moment. If you stress test it right down and you only took the very sweetest spots in the absolute known areas and you do nothing else, it is about 3.5 billion [barrels] and that's sort of worse-case scenario."

This is a massive deal for a country that only produces about 180 million barrels a year. South Australia’s minister of mining, Tom Koutsantonis, prefers to remain sober and cautious over the announcement, however. The deposits found are deep and remote and it’s still early days: Can they be profitably tapped? This is where the risk comes in, but the reward will be enormous.

Russian $7 bln gas bill dampens Ukraine's glee at shale deal

KIEV (Reuters) - Russia has slapped a $7 billion bill on Ukraine for imports of gas it says Kiev was committed to buy last year but never took, a Ukrainian energy industry source said on Saturday.

The move by Moscow comes just days after the former Soviet republic signed a $10 billion deal with Royal Dutch Shell for shale gas exploration aimed at reducing Ukraine's reliance on costly Russian gas imports.

After Nabucco, TAP too proposes shares to Azerbaijan

The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP ) group has agreed offer up to 50% of its shares to the Shah Deniz gas consortium - made up of Azerbaijan's state gas company SOCAR and leading European energy partners. The deal follows the rival Nabucco pipeline's recent decision to give the Caspian Sea gas consortium the chance to acquire half of its shares.

‘Not encouraging’: Flaherty less optimistic Obama will approve Keystone XL

DAVOS, Switzerland – U.S. President Barack Obama’s emphasis in his inaugural address on fighting climate change may not bode well for the contentious project to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, Canada’s finance minister said on Friday.

Kerry Says Will Make ‘Appropriate Judgement’ on Keystone

Senator John Kerry said he will make the “appropriate judgement” on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline should he be confirmed as secretary of State.

“There is a statutory process with regards to the review and that is currently ongoing,” Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, said today during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “It will not be long before that comes across my desk, and I will make the appropriate judgements about it.”

An Increase in Radiation Monitoring for Fracking

Pennsylvania will step up its monitoring of naturally occurring radiation levels in water, rock cuttings and drilling wastes associated with oil and gas development in a yearlong study that will be peer-reviewed, the state’s environmental agency reports.

The study will also assess radiation levels in the pipes, well casings, storage tanks, treatment systems and trucks used by the natural gas industry, which has drilled thousands of wells in the gas-rich Marcellus Shale over the last five years.

EU law to create market for electric cars

BRUSSELS - Cars using alternative sources of clean energy are not finding a market due to a lack of fuelling stations and high price tags.

EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas told reporters in Brussels on Thursday (24 January) that member states must take the initiative to build the stations to help open the market, cut CO2 emissions and reduce dependency on oil.

Household solar power generation blooms in China

BEIJING (Xinhua)-- When the previously smog-blurred sun cast its light onto a bizarrely equipped house on Friday, a man who prefers to go by "Ruhai" saw his dream of converting the sun's rays into usable power come true.

Ruhai's three-story house, located in the northern suburbs of Beijing, stands out amongst the rest of the area's dwellings, with thin film solar cells (TFSC) on the walls and a silicon battery on the roof.

Sugar Mills to Lose $1.1 Billion on Record Cane: Corporate India

Sugar mills in India, the biggest producer after Brazil, are set to lose about 60 billion rupees ($1.1 billion) this year as record cane prices and surging imports prompt them to sell below production cost.

Woodland Heists: Rising Energy Costs Drive Up Forest Thievery

With energy costs escalating, more Germans are turning to wood burning stoves for heat. That, though, has also led to a rise in tree theft in the country's forests. Woodsmen have become more watchful.

The Conundrum of Food Waste

Each year, 1.3 billion tons of food — about one third of all the food produced globally –- ends up wasted even as hundreds of millions of people go hungry. This week, two United Nations agencies opened a global campaign to address that conundrum, calling for changes in the way that food is harvested, transported, processed, sold and consumed.

15,000 Crocodiles Escape From South African Farm

JOHANNESBURG — About 15,000 crocodiles escaped from a South African reptile farm along the border with Botswana, a local newspaper reported Thursday.

Driving rains forced the Limpopo River over its banks on Sunday morning near the Rakwena Crocodile Farm. The farm’s owners, fearing that the raging floodwaters would crush the walls of their house, opened the gates, springing the crocodiles, the report said. About half of the reptiles have been captured, with thousands still on the loose.

Should colleges divest from coal, oil?

Students at college campuses are calling on administrators to divest from fossil fuels in an effort to curb the effects of climate change. But schools are wary of doing away with some of their most profitable assets.

World Bank’s Kim Urges Governments to Get Behind Carbon Market

World Bank (BOWEMBA) President Jim Yong Kim urged governments to help establish a global carbon market as the effects of climate change threaten the world’s poor countries.

In a November report the World Bank said that the earth risks “cataclysmic changes” caused by extreme heat waves, rising seas and depleted food stocks as it heads toward global warming of 4 degrees Celsius this century.

On Climate Change, Some Arguments Shift

Among the significant divides in public attitudes is age. In an October poll by the Pew Research Center, younger respondents showed the highest agreement with the view that warming is manmade and that it is a "very serious" problem. Only 28% of respondents 65 and over thought there was solid evidence the earth was warming because of human activity, versus 42% overall.

For climate-change campaigners and politicians in Washington, those demographics could be significant. As more young people—even those who are conservative on other issues—side with those who believe in manmade global warming, it could be easier to find the votes for aggressive action on the climate in Congress, although immediate moves appear unlikely.

Global warming 'less extreme than feared'

Washington (ANI): New findings from a Norwegian project on climate calculations indicate a lowered estimate of probable global temperature increase as a result of human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases.

Policymakers are attempting to contain global warming at less than 2 degree C. New estimates from the Norwegian project indicate this target may be more attainable than many experts have feared.

ETree phone home.
"Illegal loggers beware: trees will soon be calling—literally—for backup. The Brazilian government has begun fixing trees with a wireless device, known as Invisible Tracck, which will allow trees to contact authorities after being felled and moved."

Let the "I'm felled and can't get up" jokes begin.

Ah, a modern version of the King's Pine.
Under British rule, trees in New England that were deemed worthy as masts for His Majesty's Navy were marked with the royal seal and it was a death penalty offense to cut them down.

Upon which the New Englanders cheerfully cut them down. And when the King's representatives came around to check out on the King's Pines, they were warned to back off, and tarred and feathered if they didn't. Just another one of the little lead-ups to the Revolution. I have a great paper about this stashed away somewhere around here.

Would be even smarter to set up some trees with motion capture video and a cellphone transmitter, and actually take pictures of the illegal loggers, and their equipment, and therefore have proof for persecution, using something like zoneminder.

1) Zoneminder hasn't been updated for some time.

2) why not use GNU radio and track the cell phones in the area? What are the odds the loggers shut off their phones once they are out of range?

Lot's of cell coverage in The Amazon....

Lot's of cell coverage in The Amazon....

Perhaps they could use smart dust to create that coverage.


Recently advances in micro-mechanical devices (MEMS) have enabled the development of very small sensing devices called sensor nodes. These sensor nodes are smart devices with sensing, data-processing and transmission (typically radio) capabilities. It is foreseen that the successors of the current prototype nodes are to reach the millimeter scale at low costs (well under a dollar), making it possible to use them in huge ad-hoc networks, called Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) reaching magnitudes as high as 10^6 nodes in exceptional cases, and a few orders of magnitude lower in typical case

...A typical application is the forest-fire detection scenario: a back-pack sized bag of sensors containing 10’000 sensors would be deployed over a forest of approximately 100 [km^2] to detect forest fires in a critical region.

While that might sound a bit farfetched there are some real companies and products out there already.

They would be in a forest with no electrical power supply. Cameras tend to be power hungry and could be easily removed and destroyed.

Back home the park rangers set up a hidden camera to film and identify some pot growers. Unfortunately for them, the growers found the camera. They moved it, set it up again, and filmed the frantic and embarrassed rangers running around looking for their hardware.

Free copies of the tape were distributed around town.. Everyone had a good laugh!

We just watched Miyazaki's 'Princess Mononoke', sort of the Anime' answer to the Lorax, if you will.

(It's even better in the original Entish version. Isengaard watch out!)

This just came in, and I thought I must share it.

Often here on TOD we discuss the role of media, and the term MSM is thrown around like an insult. Anyhow, now swedish scientists from the university of Lund have made a look at orginisation structures and figured out in some cases it pays of for an organisation to have a "stupid strucure".

A case example are media. This is a translated quote from the article:

"- Among other things are mass media, which nowadays is a lot about fast news, it may be unfavorable for the company if employees start to question the news value. Then they can easily become paralyzed and production is affected."

Now even scientists agree to it.

Article here, but you need to translate it:

Cognitive dissonance? A man's value to society is his work. To admit there is no value in his work, is to admit there is no value in the man. How does man cope? He lies to himself.

What about the role that fear plays in keeping "stupid structures" intact? A threat to the validity of the stupid structures comes with a risk; the risk of losing one's job. Tote the line drawn by the organizers of the stupid structure, or find yourself another stupid structure.

"...is a lot about fast news, it may be unfavorable for the company if employees start to question the news value.

Yes like a regular trip to kindergarten. On our local news channel was this gem about super-bowl induced shortage of chicken wings.

"A chicken has two wings, and chicken companies are not able to produce wings without the rest of the chicken," says the NCC's press release.

NCC- national chicken council.

Would some GMO scientist please step up and make a chicken with 4 or 6 wings. This is a serious situation! We need a research grant!

From Peak Oil bites the dust above.

"We've argued that the market itself (the Invisible Hand) would find a way to generate energy"

Do we really need to argue with these guys?

I just read this article. It's probably one of the weakest anti Peak Oil articles that I've ever seen. I was going to leave some comments but it doesn't appear that the webpage allows comments.

Memes like Peak Oil and global warming are, in fact, propaganda ... launched by a power elite that wants to control the world and needs to frighten people about the availability of basic resources in order to do it.

This is an ultra right wing nut site and no, we do not need to argue with these guys. They deserve to be ignored.

Ron P.

Yeah, Lew Rockwell. He's apparently the guy behind the racist Ron Paul Newsletters.

He's the guy who took the fall for it.

(Which is worse, being a racist or embracing racists and telling 'em what you think they want to hear because the racists will give you money?)

Oh come on, Ron, you know you are part of the elite.

I wish those power elite would donate some money to forward their cause /sarcasm

The process was once prohibitively expensive but advances have created a new oil boom in the US.

This could have been re-phrased: "Conventional oil prices have been high enough for a sustained period of time, that fracking shale fields has become economically possible .. but it is a very fragile equation indeed."

And in terms of the wing-nut citing of the South Australian shale oil boom, I know that area reasonably well - if anyone makes a serious dollar out of there via tight oil, I will be mightily surprised. It is horrible country indeed - the hot-weather equivalent of Alaska.

Curious what is the hot weather version of permafrost??? That is one of the big expense factors in North Slope work. But frac water could be a tight oil issue in that Aussie oven, depends on what lies between the surface and the oil. Huge brackish water reservoir overlays the North Slope source rock.

By the way a balmy -35ºF outside my banana belt hillside home at the moment, though it is -50ºF ♪in the valley below♪ ?-)

Biologically and ecologically speaking, deserts and dry areas can have a fragile thin crust held together by and hosting important organisms. It's very susceptible to disruption, takes many years to form/reform, and the whole ecosystem will blow away if disturbed.

They're calling for 70's here again by later in the week. The drought is taking hold, but the beach sure has been nice.

No argument on the relative fragility. Permafrost just makes road and pad building extremely expensive. Scrape off the vegie layer and a trench melts deeper every summer, winter ice roads are the rule for exploration.

Much of North Slope is relatively arid, 200mm/yr precipitation at the coast, that can make finding snow for ice roads challenging. I'm guessing that 200mm/yr still would be right wet for some spots in your deserts. Heck the boreal forest that surrounds me has thrived with an average of 280mm/yr but then long deep winters substantially reduce evaporation.

70s at the beach--I'm assuming your talking F ?-)--sounds inviting. Were edging back toward zero F again so snow won't be to dreadfully sandpapery for cross country skiing as long as I don't go ♪to the valley below♪

Sometimes the way they talk about the invisible hand it sounds like a Disney fairy tale. "And they lived happily ever after"

The article was sourced from The Daily Bell, dated yesterday. Comments appear to be open. Cherry picking:

Posted by mahynes: This article does not consider the energy returned on energy invested. Oil will continue to get more expensive...

Lew Rockwell is of the Libertarian political and Austrian economic models.

With that world view, all problems are economic. Given the lack of political success of Libertarians - spending time trying to get 3-5% to come around is a waste of time.

But feel free to go onto their forums and challenge their message. I'm sure the Libertarian free speech values will apply to all comments and anything that is counter to their position will remain undeleted.

I've read quite a bit of the Austro-libertarian material that's available out there, and found some of it to be quite appealing. However, their automated responses to peak oil and climate change are frequently more than a bit disconcerting, to say the least. I do like Murray Rothbard on pollution. I referenced his short tract on it on a previous DrumBeat.

I mean, I get the whole the market will find or create an alternative idea. And in the case of chemicals for making photographs, or copper for data transmission, yeah, no problem.

But I still just can't get my head around the idea of a substitute for oil. I work in downtown Chicago, on one of the upper floors of one of the skyscrapers. I look out my window at all that infrastructure every work day.

How in the bleep we come up with an alternative for the liquid fuels that created all that is completely beyond anything I can wrap my head around. The scale! Just think about the bloody scale!

Oh well. Back to lurking.

The scale! Just think about the bloody scale!

We have. Maybe that's why there are a lot of doomers around here...

E. Swanson

The scale! Just think about the bloody scale!

And yet. The pyramids, the Great Wall of China, Europe's Cathedrals ...... Even before digging into any of the fossil fuels, we were able to be some things at bloody scale. We use oil very inefficiently. Ever look at all the idling diesel engines at any construction site. What is the fraction of time these machines are doing useful work, versus idling or generating standby power? Imagine if they were connected to the grid, or even had modest batteries like a hybrid car. We would do this things with a fraction of the energy we currently use to do the same thing. Its not that we are threatened with an imminent shortage of energy, its that our imaginations have atrophied.

Unfortunately, along with our imaginations, our funds have also atrophied. So, no E-cars for enough people to have any effect I bet.

We use oil very inefficiently.

It will get worse, thanks to AGW. Carnot efficiency, 1 - Tc/Th, drops roughly 1% for each 1° C rise in temperature. We'll be burning 1% more of all the coal, oil and natural gas in the world just to stay in one place.

The Red Queen strikes again.

How do libertarians deal with polution? All I see libertarian lobby organisations do is downplay them but none seem to provide solutions.

I don't know what the Libertarian solution to pollution is, but I do know that the market mechanism, without oversight and without proper regulation, is essentially sociopathic - it's answer to the decline of whales, until the fortuitous and somewhat unexpected advent of the petroleum industry, was the creation of the most economically efficient fishing vessel ever, the late nineteenth century American Whaler. The same sort of economic efficiency, applied in a different manner, was the Tight Packer of the early nineteenth century slave trade. Efficient and unwavering, the Invisible hand has served to concentrate economic benefit and power to the few at the expense of the many for a very long time. Before fossil fuel brought labor saving devices to the masses, an important part of the economy was the slave trade, which was able to deliver a modern style of comfort to eg Greece and Rome. If society lost its energy slaves, I would bet that one way or another, perhaps under a different name, slavery would return. It was a viable and persistent part of so many, I would dare to say essentially all, agricultural urban societies prior to availability of fossil fuel. Oh - how would an unregulated Invisible Hand deal with pollution? Well, wouldn't it be profitable to sell air and water filters to those who could afford them?

The Libertarian ideology cannot handle something like pollution and climate change since it does not fit in their ideology. The Libertarian ideology is very much a free market & private property view wherein they system will work best if everyone looks out for their own interests. The Libertarian ideology can prevent private property from being polluted. But in such a view things like the ocean and atmosphere become nothing but a big dumping ground because no one 'owns' them.

And in fact, that is exactly what happens. Ships on the ocean seas burn dirty bunker fuel which pollute more than many thousand cars. No one 'owns' the ocean, atmosphere, or climate such that they are abused. We've slowly been instituting regulations on some things but many nations do not participate, the regulations are weak, and even the participants routinely violate them. And many countries do things locally. But what difference does it make if some first world countries clean up their act a bit while some third world countries just take advantage of the arbitrage and build a zillion coal plants in order to sell cheap manufactured goods to those first world countries. Thus, those first world countries did not eliminate their pollution, they only exported their pollution generation.

As I keep saying, I don't think we are mature enough to do anything about climate change. So we are going have mother nature smack us down a bit until we do something. Hopefully it won't be too by the time we decide to get serious. I know many people think it is already too late. I can only help they are wrong because we are doing much I don't see that changing.

Speculawyer and adamx,

I followed up a bit with the Austro-libertarian response below. From a reality perspective, given nation-states and all, even that type of libertarian thought has it's limits, to be sure. Let's assume for a moment the U.S. adopts a broad property right, even in the oceans. So now Individual A can sue Company B for damages to Fish School C, owned by individual A and damaged by Company B. Fine so far. But what happens when Nation D disregards all such niceties, and does what it wants to Fish School C? Neither Individual A, Company B, or Fish School C have much in the way of recourse.

I tried to flesh out some of the historical developments Austro-libertarians see that got us into the resource management mess we're in below. Again, it's a FWIW perspective. Reality is we have nation states, crony capitalism, and the average Joe getting the shaft. It's gonna get interesting as time goes by. Not that it ain't interesting enough already...

Assuming slavery had never been abolished, how many slaves would be imported? My guess is until they became so numerous that slave owners were worried about slave revolts, or the cost of more armed guards outweighed the benefit of more slaves. So there probably would have been Peak Slavery, with numbers diminishing as machinery became cheaper than labour.

Beijing is a fascinating case study. At what point will the authorities take decisive action to end the pollution? My guess is at the point when the elites realise that aircon and filters go only so far. At some stage their families will have to breathe polluted air or remain effectively imprisoned in controlled environments. So the more must-see events take place in the open air, the better the chance of action to combat pollution.

Lady Gaga must do concerts in Beijing. It's their only hope!


As oceans get fished out, you would expect powerful corporations with capital tied up in fishing fleets to put pressure on governments to conserve fish stocks. But they don't. They fish harder. Clearly the strategy is to maximise their accumulated capital then move it somewhere else where it will earn better returns.

If the capital could be made "sticky" somehow, i.e. immovable and tied irrevocably to the fortunes of the fish, the situation would be very different. Then powerful holders of capital would be fighting mightily to preserve fish stocks. But I can't think of a mechanism to ensure "stickiness" of capital.

"Clearly the strategy is to maximise their accumulated capital then move it somewhere else where it will earn better returns."

That is pretty much the case. As the resource depletes;
Stop expansion/modernization of the existing plant.
Then stop the ordinary maintenance.
Then shutdown and scrap the plant.

Then use the capital from the above to start a new line of work. Or just close down the company and pay the bondholders first, then the shareholders whatever is left.


What the heck. I'm enjoying the discussion, so I'll carry on a bit longer, then shut up.

Slavery, as I recall, essentially faded out of existence, with some minor violence, in all modern states except the U.S. Even apartheid in South Africa went out with more of a whimper than a bang. In most modern states it was either legislated out or it simply died a natural death, or the conquest of liberty was undertaken with relatively few arms. It didn't make sense anymore - on a moral or economic level. I'm reasonably sure the South would have come to that conclusion on it's own too - the plantation lifestyle would have, and indeed was already, under attack by the rise of machinery and industry.

Now imperialism was a different matter, but even there, in places like India, it imploded from it's own weight. Being a state-driven affair, though, it came to nasty blows in many places, unfortunately. Algeria, Vietnam, et al. Witness Tibet and East Timor even today. Nothing like the power of the state to prolong something that just ought to fade away, and would fade away, on it's own.

Which is a nice segue into China and Beijing. Now here is a truly interesting beast. A totalitarian capitalist enterprise, with control of property firmly ensconced with the state. Just enough freedom to encourage prosperity, and just enough control to encourage everyone to profit at everyone else's expense. And the chosen few have a very significant say on who gets what resources, and how. And, just to add the icing on the cake, we have the rapaciousness of a reserve banking system to boot. All the damage, with little of the restraint. And lots, and lots, of people. If this ain't a definition of a powder keg, I dunno what is.

And I'll wrap with the corporations and the fish. I would suggest the problem is the tragedy of the commons. No one owns the fish, so there's every incentive in the world to get everything one can, and no incentive whatsoever to preserve the fish. Give one of the corporations, or better yet give several business interests, ownership of the fish, and they now have a profit incentive to ensure there are plenty of fish.

Just some food for thought. No ideology gets us where we need to be. It's a question of choosing among options, and weighing the pros and cons.

I would suggest the problem is the tragedy of the commons.

John Michael Greer's topic for the week is: Restoring the Commons.


The corporations keep fishing... because people keep buying the fish from them. People want their tuna rolls and sashimi. Like I tell the anti-fracking folks - "Don't like fracking? Stop driving."

Libertarians, from my observation, are just republicans who like to sell drugs.

Ideally, sue. Of course, in real life, average joes generally don't have the money or resources to successfully sue polluting companies.

Libertarianism sounds great until you add in the power imbalances and then run the simulation. Whoops, bad things happen.

Especially something like climate change, sue. Who? Several billion people, most of whom have some level of responsibility. Then there are dead people, do we sue their progeny?

Libertarianism would appear to work well in a sparsely populated world of riches. It fails in an overpopulated world of constrained resources.

Markets nicely assign positive value, but do poorly with negative externalities.

In both cases, the savvy human avoids the externalities and plays the game to empower themselves at the expense of others. Profit locally, pollute globally.

Governments struggle to regulate 'fairly', and however they go about it will raise the ire of libertarians and capitalists along with every other group, who will then impart influence. Socialize failures, privatize successes.

You'd think Technocracy would hold the key, and they do (like others) have a notion of currency and value that might help solve some problems. However, they also have a basic precept that we have plenty of resources, poor allocation, and not enough consumption. Socialize productivity - and there are no negatives!

But then, nobody said there has to be a solution other than resource constriction, crashes, suffering, death, and vastly mismatched power structures in the midst of environmental destruction. That is a perfectly sound plan, just not a terribly pleasant one. It's been proven over and over, and we know it works. Suffer and die in a denuded locale is always an option.

Back to the basics: control population to fit within the long-term carrying capacity (to the point externalities are no major concern). The sooner we do it, the nicer place the survivors have to live. Beyond that, regulation to re-include externalities is the only option, though it's a clumsy and biased tool.

Given there is zero discussion on population control, we're done before we start. The mad-men cooking up pandemic bugs might turn out to be the most realistic assessors (as sociopaths often are).

Enemy and Paleo,

All perfectly valid points. One of the reasons I keep up on the Austro-libertarian reading is a type of fantasy future. Kind of like fantasy football. Only different ;)

Inevitably when we see the list of problems many scour around for solutions. What would we do to change the game? The reason I like to recommend folks take a look at this particular flavor of libertarian thought is it seems the least offensive of a number of options out there. Paleo, you're right - population is a key issue. My reading of current sociology is a more affluent society has a lower birth rate, so encourage affluence. But current affluence seems to come at a high environmental price - those pesky externalities. So encourage a system which at least attempts to address them - private property across all properties, with contract and arbitration being the primary conflict resolution mechanisms.

Now, contract and arbitration get problematic if someone can get coercive control of either. Which, as you both have pointed out, the crafty human will do his best to do. The only real defense against this is a cultural understanding of the way things ought to work, and a willingness to defend those ways, with force as needed. Think Venice under the Doges. And for cultural understanding in our country, think those guys hanging out and debating things in Framington, Mass. a couple centuries ago.

So encourage individual liberty and property, capitalism and contract, and non-violence (except in defense). For it to work you have to have a separation of commerce and state that is nearly as absolute as our current separation of church and state. And to keep another group of n'er do wells in check, stick to commodity money - that reserve stuff is a really nasty way to allow massive power accumulation and a serious misallocation of resources, with the additional insult of the sociopaths having done literally nothing productive to have attained each.

Sigh. Yeah, I know. Nice to dream, ain't it? But when folks ask me what I'd recommend, I've thought through socialism and fascism, and a number of variations on each, and I'm just not that into someone, or some group of someones, calling the important shots, even if those someones have the best of intentions. No matter how bright, or ethical, they are, it's simply impossible to allocate resources correctly for hundreds of millions of people who have their own needs, goals and ambitions.

Now then, back to reality all. Thanks for listening ;)

How can any mechanism work if there is no way to apportion access to "the commons"? It's any easy problem to solve, but requires some sort of governance -- a body to sell the tags.

The same approach would work for pollution and any other negative externality, but the bigger the scope, the larger the government required. I struggle to see how it works without a powerful world gov't, or broadly agreeing peer states, and both of those seem intractable issues as well.


I have some economics background, but have never delved very deeply into Austrian thinking beyond Walras. Markets are not perfect, but we haven't found a better way to allocate scarce resources IMO (especially if governmants deal well with extrenalities, mostly they are ignored unless they affect the upper classes).

Electricity provided by renewables and nuclear can substitute for oil to some degree, though the scale of the problem is indeed great. As oil becomes scarce relative to demand prices will rise and the substitution will begin in ernest. If prices rise too quickly so that oil shortages become a crisis, then the government may step in as they did during World War 2. Consider the focused effort during the 1939 to 1945 period in the US and what might be accomplished if that kind of effort was directed toward creating a sustainable society rather than towards destruction. We may need to see oil at 250 real dollars per barrel (2012 $) or more before such action would occur, or the market might accomplish it (though I think prices that high would be so disruptive that the government would intervene in some manner).

An interesting notion introduced in Walrasian economics is that market clearing prices are arrived at by means of an auctioneer which does not exist in the real world. The mechanism for how a market adjusts efficiently to disruptions is not well understood. The notion that markets will always yield the most efficient outcome only is valid once an equilibrium is reached. In a dynamic situation (financial collapse or an oil shock) government intervention may yield better outcomes, despite what the Austrians say.


There is a bit of a difference between WWII and now. The difference being that a lot of the technology that is needed to dramatically reduce oil consumption and diversify energy supplies currently exists and is just waiting for a price signal to implement. HIgh mileage cars can be purchased, LED lighting can be installed, delivery vehicles can be converted to natural gas, etc. The point being that while there is a cost to adjusting to higher energy prices and an associated reduction in living standards to pay for it we don't need to resort to rationing and siting in the dark.

I agree that we might not need to ration and sit in the dark. During WW2, I believe sitting in the dark was so the U-boats couldn't see coastal shipping very well, and though WW2 implies fuel rationing, if there were shortages, the government could allow prices to do the rationing.

There might be a nice smooth transition as you seem to envision (I may be overstating your position), but if prices rise too fast say at 30 % per year or more for several years there would be quite a substantial economic disruption and the market may not handle it well. Under such circumstances, private investment might hold back waiting to see what will happen and the government may need to step in to boost investment in renewables, public transportation, and grid upgrades, just to name a few of many areas which might need to be addressed.

During WW2, it was not so much new technology (with the exception of nuclear) as ramping up existing technology very quickly, I think a severe energy crisis would be similar, though the aim would be different (I hope.)

If the World Economy continues to grow at 3 % and China's growth slows from 9 % down to 4 % over 10 years (decreasing each year by 0.5 %) then China alone will be consuming 20 MMb/d by 2023 (assuming oil use is proportional to GDP growth). If we assume World liquids remain on a plateau through 2023 ( an optimistic prediction IMO) then advanced economies will need to reduce consumption to enable emerging economies to increase their consumption and only a rise in oil prices will accomplish this, unless world GDP stops growing. An increase in real (inflation adjusted) world oil prices at a 10-15 % rate per year is a key ingredient to adjusting to energy scarcity. The sooner that rising oil prices becomes the expectation of the majority, the sooner positive change can occur.


a lot of the technology that is needed to dramatically reduce oil consumption and diversify energy supplies currently exists and is just waiting for a price signal to implement.

Yeah, this is true. The USA can adapt to higher oil prices by becoming more like Europe where they already have much higher gas prices due to taxes. However, that does not address climate change. When oil shortages occur, people will be forced to adapt. But climate change requires us to voluntarily reduce carbon fuel usage. You try to take the car away from the average American. Heck, it is a struggle to just get them to drive a hybrid.

Let's not exaggerate the 'advantage' Europe has over America.

Europe is in crisis now too. There are higher fuel prices, but major traffic jams everywhere daily. Why? Too many still get money (not the entire cost of course) to commute. That is a major expense that is not priced appropriately. It has also become ingrained. On the one hand no one really likes sitting in traffic. But at the same time, it is a kind of status symbol to do it or know you are involved, can brag about it at parties. And that you can live 120 km from your work and not necessarily be penalized for it at all. The government doesn't want to act on this group because they are vocal and 'productive'. The best thing in this case is to reduce subsidies for commuting and give back a bit back to everyone so that the relative positions are tweaked just a bit.

The biggest externality is ourselves. A one child per family policy for the world with strict penalties would be best IMHO but even the rich want to increase the chance of passing on inheritances to an able male. A one child policy would also be admitting to resource limitations which is not part of the consumption ideal and BAU in most ways.

Then again, life was nasty brutish and short for most of humanity's history or at least certain episodes of it and will likely become so again whatever measures we take.

I also don't think we should get too comfortable about savings and conservation available if we would just get around to it. Life needs a pretty wide band of freedom to operate in relative comfort which is also high up on the list of values of the average person.

I really wish I had a better knowledge of this topic; when I think of Walrasian economics this pops to mind

It may be possible that human ingenuity is infinitely substitutable for any depleting resource, but only in the presence of infinite energy. When energy constraints are considered, the Cornucopian analysis becomes less convincing.

How in the bleep we come up with an alternative for the liquid fuels that created all that is completely beyond anything I can wrap my head around

Plenty of 'alternatives' exist.

Just not at the WAY "underpriced" "value" of oil.

Consider this:
To put a gallon of milk on your table near Chicago you need:
1 acre of grassland per 2 cows
a cow (who has a bull visit every so often) (ok, could be goat or something other than cow)
a stool/place to sit
a container

all for a product that is about the same price as a gallon of gasoline.

That Gasoline?
A over 1/2 a billion dollar refinery (new cost)
oil drilling rigs (1/4 to 1/2 a million a day if you deep water drilling)
various millions a year in wages for people who have technical training along that supply train.

Oh and that gasoline is a one shot item, VS a cow who uses solar power that is typically less than a year old. Or another POV - Gasoline is not able to renewed in the lifespan of an average human - whereas milk is.

Perhaps your worldview is warped because the "price" of gasoline is far under what it should be?

See my post below. From a perspective of an Austro-libertarian fossil fuels are massively underpriced. Within said perspective the externalities would have forced a significant increase in the price over a century ago - or alternatively forced the development of technologies to deal with those externalities up front, and that would have been wrapped into the cost. Then the fossil fuel package, appropriately priced, would have competed against other technology packages that also had to deal up front with their externalities too. Rothbard covers this very well I think.

But alas, we didn't get property-rights protection a century and a half ago. We got crony capitalism instead. And we've got it on steroids now. Best I suppose we can hope for is some sort of regulation, but these days the cronies are so entrenched they just subvert the regulators. Nasty business.

So, back to the scale issue, with developments being what they are, we've got an absolutely huge number of people living in an infrastructure which is utterly dependent on those liquid fuels. I'm not sure how that gets dealt with. Small numbers of humans can do the cow and milk deal. But hundreds of millions? I just don't know. Mebbe, but I'm thinking not at this point.

All that trouble and expence to make gasoline then it is used to fuel very inefficient ICE vehicles and most of it is wasted and pollutes our air.

So far as libertarian thinking, as I pointed out on a previous drumbeat, there are libertarians, and there are libertarians. What frequently is labelled libertarian here in the U.S. I, and the Austro-libertarians, would label corporatarian, for lack of a better term. Political, or crony, capitalism, would be another way to look at it. Some would say we're in borderline fascism (and some would even question whether it's borderline! ;)

Here's Rothbard on Pollution. A repeat of a link I posted before, but it's short and he's very readable. Now how one might implement a property-based solution to our current woes is anybody's guess, given said political capitalism, and it's effects on the environment over the past at least 150 years or so. It's an interesting idea though. I've found the Austro-libertarian view to be reasonably internally consistent, FWIW. That and seven bucks will get you a cup of coffee at one of our current upscale coffee houses, I suppose.

So far as scale, I completely agree humans can do scale with very primitive tooling. To Egypt, China, and Europe I'd add Central and South America - the Toltec, Mayan, Inca, and Aztec accomplishments definitely scaled up just fine. Until they didn't, of course. While invasive species (i.e. Europeans) had their impact, resource depletion was also a not-insignificant factor.

On our current scales, however, I think we put all the past civilizations to shame, even when combined. And I agree we can probably ramp up electricity production with renewables and nuclear, but that pesky need for liquid fuels is still a major thorn in the side of our future.

I'm inclined to think the economics will nudge us into a much higher state of efficiency, and we will find some modest alternatives, and we will get really creative and innovative when we're pushed against the wall. It's the combination of having to do so when the climate has started to really whip our behinds that has me leaning towards the doomer side too. And that bloody scale thing still seems like it's gonna be a royal pain, (to keep a somewhat civil tongue in my head - apologies to our friends across the Pond :)

But I still just can't get my head around the idea of a substitute for oil.
The scale! Just think about the bloody scale!

The most likely substitute -- electricity -- is already deployed at similar scale, and can displace a large amount of oil consumption with fairly modest changes (building plug-in hybrid engines instead of purely oil-powered ones).

Replacing 100% of oil consumption is a tougher challenge, but it's also one that's not needed in the short or even medium term.

That is very true from a peak oil perspective. But from a climate change perspective . . . :-/

One option is ammonia which make a good hydrogen carrier. It is currently made with NG, but can be made with any source of electricity too, solar, wind, NUCLEAR. Just a thought.

Saudi Rig count to hit 170 this year! That is more than 4 times the 2011 level.

For years the Saudi rig count was 20 or below. Then when the price of oil started to skyrocket, the Saudi rig count shot up to over 50 as shown in this Stuart Staniford article from April 2011.

But now they seem to be getting desperate. The Saudi rig count will go to around 170 this year.

Saudi Aramco plans record rig count this year

Saudi Aramco plans use a record number of rigs this year, more than 170, to search for unconventional gas while drilling for oil needed to maintain the world's biggest spare capacity cushion, three industry sources in Saudi Arabia said.

And they are throwing everything but the kitchen sink at their old fields in an attempt to stop the decline. This article just appeared this morning.

Saudi Aramco advances industry with technology innovation

SmartWater Flooding is a technique for increasing oil recovery from carbonate reservoirs that has the potential to tremendously enhance oil recovery, said Saudi Aramco petroleum engineer Ali Al-Yousef during his presentation…
"Saudi Aramco currently is looking for drilling and workover engineers to plan and design some of the most technically advanced multilateral and extended reach horizontal wells in the industry, along with high pressure, high temperature gas and deep water exploration wells,"

There have been several articles explaining Saudi's attempt to rejuvenate Ghawar with CO2 injection That was supposed to have started in 2012. I don't know what kind of success they had.

And they are drilling the Red Sea but not with a lot of success.

"There has been a lot of drilling in the Red Sea and a lot of dry holes. There is no easy oil or assurance of finding oil and gas reserves," says Mr Al Husseini.

The Red Sea is two kilometres deep in places with a 7,000-foot thick salt sequence which can distort seismic images. That makes dry holes in the Red Sea very expensive.

The folks who think Saudi could easily increase their production to 12.5 million barrels a day just haven't been following the news. Saudi's old fields are in steep decline and they are desperately trying to stop the slide with new technology and new drilling in places that they hope to find new oil.

Ron P.

Somebody should ask the Saudis why they're spending so much money on drilling when all they have to do is open a few valves to increase production by 3 million barrels/day.

I believe we will get confirmation of SA's oil production problems when they state they are planning to use SAGD on the tar belt covering the Ghawar oil field.

To me,watch what they do not what they say.

I've wondered about that "tar mat", or what ever be the proper term. There was mention of all that "extra heavy" oil several years ago, but I don't recall any discussion of the resource. Maybe the Saudis are waiting for the Canadians to fully develop the extraction techniques before buying the best company to acquire the patents. Who knows, maybe the Chinese might get there first...

E. Swanson

Ron P... thanks for the Saudi Update. If the world is suffering a annual decline rate of 5% in existing oil fields (according to the IEA), the Saudi's must be dealing with the same sort of declines. Hell, maybe even worse.

I remember you writing that the Saudi's have added about 3 mbd of additional projects over the last several years. It looks like these added projects are just making up for the overall decline.

If they only have a few more smaller projects coming online, then it looks as if the Saudi's are in real trouble within a few years. By that, I gather they will not be able to cover-up their decline rates.

When we add this on top of Jeffrey Browns Net Export Model... things get very interesting by 2015 on onwards.

Not to worry, 2015 is when Leonardo Maugeri predicts major overproduction will hit, driving prices down. Not only will the dip in oil prices be significant, they will also be stable at that low level.

The oil market will remain highly volatile until 2015 and prone to extreme movements in opposite directions, thus representing a major challenge for investors, in spite of its short and long term opportunities. After 2015, however, most of the projects considered in this paper will advance significantly and contribute to a strong build-up of the world’s production capacity. This could provoke a major phenomenon of overproduction and lead to a significant, stable dip of oil prices, unless oil demand were to grow at a sustained yearly rate of at least 1.6 percent for the entire decade.

Ron P.

Okay... Gotcha. BAU - Business As Usual 2015 and after.

Ron, we have to consider the possibility that the Saudis will see some success with the tactic of "throw more rigs at it", at least temporarily. Maugeri is full of it, but if the Saudis get a temporary bump in production like the US has from shale oil (and very high rig counts), then the chorus of "peak oil is dead" will get even louder. Even if, perhaps especially if, it just maintains the current trend of near-flat oil production worldwide.

We have to consider that, although peak oil is inevitable at some point, it may still be put off for a while with these tactics. I think most of us on this website where fairly pessimisstic about shale oil, heck, still are, but it can't be denied that it has had a noticeable effect on US production.

For what it's worth, all of this is proof that it is harder and harder to produce enough to supply still rising world demand for liquid fuels. That's actually the big flaw in the above analysis - "...unless oil demand were to grow at a sustained yearly rate of at least 1.6 percent for the entire decade." - well, give the world cheap or even stable oil prices and see how fast China, India, and other developing countries suck it up. And at some point, Saudi WILL decline, and it may be that this push will mean the slide is faster in the end.

In any case, I won't poo-poo the Saudi rig count jump. It might work, for a bit.

Adamx, this is not a shale oil play so it cannot be compared with that. And of course if they drill more wells they can suck the oil out even faster. But I don't think that is what they are looking for. I think they want to slow down the decline. And actually they have stated, several times, that this what they wish to do. I believe them.

I expect them to settle in around 9 million barrels per day and stay there for some time, even after they bring Manifa on line. Of course they claim that they wish to keep "production capacity" at 12.5 million barrels per day. But they have never produced at that level... and never will. So they continue to claim that they can do that and most everyone will believe them.

Saudi Arabia has taken on kind of a mythical nature. Everyone believes they have these vast reserves and could increase production at will by about 3 million barrels per day if they so desired. And that "safety valve" keeps prices in check. Perhaps it does but in truth it does not really exist. But the belief that it does is good enough. It works as long as people believe it is there.

But within the next few years Saudi will start that proverbial decline. It could happen within the next year or so or it could be three or four years down the road, but no longer than that. Or it could have already started. But then people will realize it was a myth all along. I have no idea what the impact of this news will be. But I believe the shock will be felt around the world.

Ron P.

What I'm waiting for in the near future is that a major announcement will be made in the US Media that a great new resource of high tar containing surface strata has been discovered which is fantastically easy to "mine", and will serve our energy needs for "years to come". Shortly thereafter I also expect to begin to hear accounts going viral on the web concerning mysteriously disappearing tarmac roads...

170 nat gas rigs would be huge. Per BH Rig Count, Saudi Arabia has been running about 30 land and ocean nat gas rigs through the second half of 2012 and falling in the last two months (reporting lag?).


I've had some computer trouble which is apparently caused by something on the TOD web site. I'm using a 40 gig drive, partitioned with less than half set aside for the operating system. That partition for the operating system has experienced a decline in free space over the past several months. I ultimately found that TOD places numerous temporary files on my drive, files which eventually filled some 2.4 gigs of space, filling the partition. The files were dumped into the sub-directory c:/documents and settings/[user name]/Local Settings/temp/. Each file looks like tp*****.tmf, where the "*****" represents a string of characters. After removing some 6,000 such files yesterday, I find that so far this morning, I have accumulated another 33 files.

Anyone else having this problem?

E. Swanson

Dog - I'm not very computer literate but I don't appear to have that problem. But I also found in my Internet settings the option to limit how much memory to allow temp internet files to take up. There's also an option to limit how long those temp files are saved.

Those files sound like cached browsing history. I clear my cache and temp files every day. Many sites put all sorts of little nasties on your machine, especially if you still use that bloated, invasive, over-priced and vulnerable operating system whose name I'll not mention.

Four suggestions, all related: (1) Firefox browser, (2) set the configurations to limit how much space can be used for cache, (3) install AdBlock-Plus and "subscribe" to the default black-list service that it offers you, and (4) (optionally) install NoScript and turn it on for newspaper sites.

Without filtering, my local newspaper's front page requires downloading between 100 and 150 separate items. AdBlock and NoScript eliminate on the order of a third of those. Many of the eliminated ones come from under-engineered servers at ad-serving companies, so avoiding them makes the whole thing load noticeably faster, in addition to not clogging up the cache space. NoScript also helps avoid the possibly bad things that scripts can do (either intentionally or maliciously). In those rare cases when the news site has a graphic or other tool that requires scripting, I give the site temporary permission to do so. As a side-effect, NoScript also defeats the NYTimes and LATimes monthly article limits (which indicates, at least to me, that neither one is very serious about their limits). Adblock deprives some sites of a portion of the revenue they might get from displaying ads.

I always found university IT departments to be a reasonable bellwether as to appropriate practice -- they have lots of users, of varying skills, and attract lots of bad-guy attacks. The above configuration is becoming the default kit at more and more of them.

I added NoScript and that appeared to stop those files. Disabling NoScript resulted in the return of those .tmf files. I usually block JAVA scripts, but for some sites, this won't work, especially if the site has a search option. With JAVA Script disabled, the NYT doesn't track your usage. Thanks for the tip...

E. Swanson

I looked at (one of..) my temp folders.. no .tmf files at all, nothing of size from here, as far as I can see.


I looked at one of the *.tmp files after changing the file name to a *.txt. Included in the file is a reference to Google Corporation and Ascender Corporation DROID, along with lots of characters. That might signify the temp file has something to do with Ascender's DROID handset fonts. Why this mess continually appears on my system when I am looking at TOD is a curious situation. Perhaps SuperG lifted a graphic link to Google Search, which included the fonts for handset use...

E. Swanson

Here's some more information. I'm using FireFox browser and these files stop appearing when I force the browser to use my choice of fonts. It's clearly a problem with the font package which is specified on certain web pages. The fonts which come with the web page look great, but they are adding files at a rapid rate. I usually turnoff java script too, which doesn't impact the file creation. Whether the situation is the result of my continued use of Windows 2000 is another issue entirely...

UPDATE: I checked another computer I have running Windows XP Home Edition and could not locate a temp directory which might be the place these font files would be stored. That's not to say that they aren't there...

E. Swanson

I don't think it's anything to do with this particular site. Probably something in his system, and he spends a lot of time here, so that's where the problem shows up.

In addition to all the suggestions here so far, setting up Firefox to delete all temp files and cookies on exit seems to work pretty well for me. Then its just a case of periodically closing and opening the browser to clear out the cache and cookies. It does cause pages to load a bit more slowly, since the browser has to cache again, but it's a worthwhile tradeoff IMHO.

I run Advanced SystemCare 6 Free once a week or so and it cleans out all the temp files. It's free from Iobit.

I've found that "Disk Cleanup" doesn't remove all temporary files. About once a month I go to "C;\Documents and settings\administrator\Local Settings\Temp" and delete all files and folders.(XP)

Is that what Advanced SystemCare 6 does?

Not sure exactly, but when I run it it deletes lots of files and recovers plenty of disk space.

If I go to C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Local\Temp there are lots of folders but they're all empty (W7).

Digging around the Web a bit suggests that these are most likely "trace message format" files, which are used as part of Windows' low-level debugging system -- not a good sign. Back in the days when I did a little user support, at this point I would start through the usual litany: "Have you rebooted your machine? Have you identified an action that seems to result in the creation of such files, as in, does a new one appear every time you download a TOD page? If you've traced it to an application, have you tried uninstalling and reinstalling that application?"

see http://wiki.eclipse.org/Linux_Tools_Project/TMF/User_Guide http://wiki.eclipse.org/Linux_Tools_Project/TMF/User_Guide#Used_TMF_Feat...

The purpose of the Tracing Monitoring Framework (TMF) is to facilitate the integration of tracing and monitoring tools.

What OS and browser are you using?
There are easy to do things to keep your system happy.
No, it's not TOD.

Anyone else having this problem?

Nope. But I use Debian Stable, and Iceweasel.

70Gb drive, only 7% used.

robert@debian:~$ df -m
Filesystem           1M-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1                71341      4589     63128   7% /
tmpfs                     1009         0      1009   0% /lib/init/rw
udev                      1005         1      1004   1% /dev
tmpfs                     1009         0      1009   0% /dev/shm

Re: Global warming 'less extreme than feared'

Here we have another batch of research which will make the denialist camp happy. I don't know the source of this latest report, but here's an earlier publication which appears to be similar work:

Bayesian estimation of climate sensitivity based on a simple climate model fitted to observations of hemispheric temperatures and global ocean heat content

From the abstract, notice this comment:

The core of the model is a simple, deterministic climate model based on elementary physical laws such as energy balance. It models yearly hemispheric surface temperature and global ocean heat content as a function of historical radiative forcing.

I would not trust this latest result, if it is also based on a "simple model". It would be nearly impossible to capture the many feedback processes using a model with yearly temperature data, IMHO.

E. Swanson

The attitude that some science must be dismissed because it may run counter to your ideological agenda is very dangerous - and it is precisely that kind of attitude that allows denialists to claim that people concerned with global warming are not really being honest but want to push through a broader green ideological policy mix.

While I'm quite concerned about climate change, all and any evidence must be looked at neutrally and not dismissed offhand because it doesn't suit your preferred ideological bent. That doesn't help anyone.

Of course, I don't think I have such an "attitude". My objection is based on what little information is contained in the abstract to which I linked and my experience with models. You want to consider all the evidence, yet you offer no evidence to either support or refute the results of this study. Why should your comment be given any credence?

It's been learned thru years of climate model building that simple models can not adequately represent climate reality. I worry that their apparent use of yearly averaged variables can't capture the changes, especially over the short term. Adding the data since the unusually warm year of 1998 to the rest of their record should have little impact. But, without more information on their research, that's only my WAG. Give us a direct link to the group's latest research please...

E. Swanson

Its just one of many studies. This on claimed (IIRC) a sensitivity of 3.9C (higher than most IPCC of 3C) ut to 2000, but claims the 2000-2010 data supports 1.9C. They do make the point, that this doesn't mean "don't worry about it", the most aggressive claim they make is that staying under 2C is still possible and not as hard as thought.

I'm a bit confused, about how they use the model, versus the data. Perhaps they tweak model parameters to produce similar statistics as the data?

Generally with varying metadata, you would take a weighted average of the different studies, so this one would only slightly reduce the best estimate of sensitivity.

I'm very surprised that adding only 10 years of data (on a series since 1750) would be able to change the results that much. They say they have included other forcings besides CO2 (like solar and volcanic) which confuses me even more, because other research doing exactly that (e.g. Foster & Rahmstorf) recently found that the warming trend from the 90's continued through the first decade of this century when they compensate for these other factors. I.e. the warming trend caused by extra CO2 is continuing even when temperatures seem to level off, it's just that other forcings masked this trend.

There's reason to expect change as a result of new data, because sufficient measurement accuracy of ocean heat content is only starting to be available from about 2009. Reliable modern direct measurement ought to trump fancy statistical analysis of historical dodgy data.

For a nice big chunky paper (this is the paper, not the abstract) on what can be done with this data see


Essentially, natural factors have all been lined up for cooling during the past decade, plus aerosol cooling is probably being underestimated.

I expect its linked conclusion that current climate models are overly recalcitrant (i.e. the warming in the pipeline will be coming through faster than they assume) to be borne out in a big way in 1-3 summers time when ice vanishes from the arctic at summer's end 50 years earlier than they predict.

I expect its linked conclusion that current climate models are overly recalcitrant (i.e. the warming in the pipeline will be coming through faster than they assume) to be borne out in a big way in 1-3 summers time when ice vanishes from the arctic at summer's end 50 years earlier than they predict.

This actually brings up an issue I'm wondering about - a lot of CO2 is absorbed by the oceans. If sea level starts to seriously rise due to ice sheets like Greenland's melting, does that create a negative effect and slow warming?

In any case, I think we're in for some very weird stuff from here on out, and NO model is going to give us a truly good prediction. I don't think anyone expected the record speed of the arctic ice melt. We would probably be best off assuming the worst.

Well, not nobody. Just nobody that mattered.

3/14/06 http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/3/14/04851/2627#comment-33207 "...line of best fit ... leads me to no summer ice in 2028. ... As I extrapolate, I see a break below 7km2 in 2010, below 6km2 by 2015, below 4km2 by 2020... last summer ice in 2027." We're about a decade ahead of this prediction.

9/7/7 http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2954#comment-235901 "Summer ice more than a decade out? Fuggedaboutit."

9/13/07 http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2971#comment-237998 (With my own version of Piomass volume model): "We’re losing that mass of sea ice at an astonishing rate. Unless it reverses ...summer ice will be gone in 3 decades on the outside.... If we're at 13% of the historic norm, we have a scant few years of summer ice left."

I'm just some lay guy. But it was clear to me what was happening.

Wieslaw Maslovsky from the Navy oceanographic center predicted in 2007 that sea ice could be below 1000km2 by 2016 +/- 3 years, which at the time, was at least 30 years earlier than his peers reckoned. But he has access to secret historic submarine data and appears to assign a larger role on sea currents than others.

The volume carried out by currents rather than melting in-situ is a significant part of the balance and its staying pretty much constant so far as the ice has thinned. It has to slow sometime, but its looking like the time it has to slow is when there isn't any more ice.

Afaik, the currents that Maslovsky is talking about are deep water currents bringing heat to the Arctic, not the transport of ice through the Fram Straight.

The dominant feedback is that CO2 is less soluble in warmer water, rather than CO2 is more soluble in water than ice. As the oceans warm more of the excess CO2 goes into the atmosphere and less into the oceans.

Its complicated how it would actually play out, and you could have in initial negative response if a large enough amount of ice fell off Greenland or Antarctica in one fell swoop, but overall CO2 solubility in the oceans provides a positive feedback.

People who have been following volume rather than area of actic sea ice have been expecting area to crash. Thickness has been dropping for a couple of decades, and as thickness and volume go to zero, the area crashes.

At least during the cold season, thinner ice grows faster than thicker ice. So there is also a substantial negative feedback at work. Linearly interpolating area,volume,thickness doesn't make sense.

This is why winter area/extent is declining much less rapidly than summer area/extent. The new, much larger area of open water largely re-freezes in winter, but that ice is oh-so-thin. So it melts away quickly the next summer, in addition to yet some more old thick ice disappearing as well. Rinse, repeat. If one looks at winter max, there's been change, but nothing that looks like a paradigm change. Summer... different story. And overall, looking at volume - no, it's not a linear decline, it's accelerating.

The data shows positive feedbacks, such as the lower albedo and faster movement of thin ice, are outweighing the negative ones. End summer volume is 80% gone, still fits an exponentially accelerating loss rate, and is a couple years from 0 and only another year or two from zero for several months per year. The faster movement feeback can't take it all the way to 0, but the albedo one can.

Lots of graphs of the volume data with assorted curve fits here.


Well, I certainly learned a lot from this thread. That link in interesting, actually, as it's extrapolation of data rather than attempting to create a model from scratch to create the data. But in any case, obviously a lot more people saw it coming than I thought.

I guess I would say models have value, but reality is more complex still. The article that originally prompted this whole thread really is about one model of many predicting future climate - I guess I would say I have heard lots of really radically different things regarding climate change and have come to be skeptical of all of them. Though I am quite convinced that it's changing and fast. With all the articles I've read, though, my main takeaway has been "well, it's gonna suck and badly". Everyone seems to have a different date for the exact date the ax falls. Like with peak oil, actually.

It seems like we can broadly tell where we are in these processes but some things are much easier to predict than others.

All models are imperfect; some models are useful.

Too often people decry the aspects that models miss, but really the only measure of a model is whether it's sufficient for its purpose.

A linear estimation is a simple first-order predictor based on historical data. A lot of the time that works pretty well in every-day life, but whether it's 'good enough' depends on what you're trying to decide.

The trouble with climate science is that all we have to verify models is natural experiments, and those take time, and may still not catch all factors. Prudence would say that we should include every thing we can since the decision is of immense import, but that won't make it much more convincing. If it's as hard as predicting weather, we could readily have some considerable errors, even with some strong values. I can't accurately determine how much hurricane insurance to buy based on the storm predictions for 2013, but I can pretty well decide if I need a sweater or umbrella for tomorrow.

How good do climate models need to be to be "good enough"? If the purpose is "good enough to change policy and world behavior" then I think we're going to be disappointed. Even if the model turns out to be perfect, our belief in it won't be sufficient until it's too late. I fear the question cannot be asked in a way that gives the model enough influence.

Good enough to form a policy of limiting then eliminating carbon emissions, Arrenious(spelling?) 1867(?). Good enough for local planning for building codes, etc. -we aren't there yet. Good enough to implement large scale geo-engineering with confidence -not there yet.

"There's reason to expect change as a result of new data"
No, not really. Climate sensistivity is something that is quite constant within the band of climate we've seen over the holocene. If the sensitivity changes by half by adding just 10 years of data then the model sensitivity result must be very sensitive to small variations which climate sensitivity is not. The dynamics in this study is clearly wrong.

thought this might fit in here

“At every point, as our knowledge increases,” Dr. Maureen E. Raymo of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University said, “we’ve always discovered that the climate system is more sensitive than we thought it could be, not less.”

Unless Raymo means the slight increase in the lower limit and most likely value I don't think that quote is true. The ~2 to ~4.5 C range has been in the various assessment reports from 1980 up without much variation and supported by many many papers. See Knutti et al 2008 for an overview of different lines of evidence.

E.g. some quick quotes from wikipedia:
IPCC 1990: 1.5 and 4.5 °C, with a "best guess in the light of current knowledge" of 2.5 °C
IPCC 1995: "no compelling reason to warrant changing" from this estimate"
IPCC 2001: 1.5 to 4.5 °C
IPCC 2007: 2 to 4.5 °C, with a best estimate of about 3 °C.

A simple model that slashes a clim. sensitivity from 3.9 to 1.9 by just adding 10 years of data is a big red flag as to how well the model produces a real clim. sensitivity.

the quote came from NY Times: How High Could the Tide Go?

and closes the article after this paragraph

If the rise is slower than expected, society may have time to adjust, or to develop new technology to solve the problem of greenhouse emissions. But many scientists are plagued by a nagging fear that the opposite will occur — that their calculations will turn out to have been too conservative, and social stability will eventually be threatened by a rapid rise of the sea.

Exactly how she meant that quote to be applied is somewhat up in the air.

Swiss climate scientist Reto Knutti's response featured inNY Times: DOT Earth: Weaker Global Warming Seen in Study Promoted by Norway’s Research Council is worth reading

Thanks for the links. The comments from Knutti are very interesting especially because the journalist didn't quote-mine it and made his own story but simply reproduced it.

According to Knutti the Norwegian study only used ocean heat content data to 700m which hasn't warmed much in the past decade, however ocean heat content 0-2000m has increased significantly which, when used, would have increased the clim. sensitivity in the Norwegian study.

Well yes. I only have the sciencedaily abstract to go from. The increase in CO2 forcing from 1998 to present is strong, so I would think the recent years would be more strongly weighted, but yes a factor of two change does seem pretty high. I suspect their simple model was run to help generate some expectations of how variable the climate is, not really to try to model the actual physics of the climate system. We will just have to wait and see how well it stands up to peer review.

With a 3 degree sensitivity, the forcing in 1998 should give an equilibrium temp increase of 1.16C (see wikipedia for how to compute this). The forcing in 2012 should give 1.47C, a 0.31C difference. Given that it takes decades to reach equilibrium, the expected difference is lower. Doesn't seem to be a huge difference, just a steady increase.

The change in trajectory at the year 2000 makes me think they're missing something in the model - probably omitting dimming from sulfate/particulate emissions as India and China, et al, developed considerably. If you leave those out and only assume that increases in CO2 should directly result in temp increases, then maybe the 2000-2010 decade was not as hot as it "should" have been. Makes you wonder what'll happen if there's another severe recession that reduces industrial activity for an extended period of time.

My gut guess, is that the dirtier coal probably doubled during that time span, as most of this growth in emissions came in China, India, and other mostly Asian developing economies, which are not known for their pollution controls. Its quite possible this increase in aerosols might be partially masking the GHGes.

EOS, with respect to "not as hard as thought," the Perspective The Closing Door of Climate Targets states:

As the emissions scenarios considered here illustrate, even well-intentioned and effective international efforts to limit climate change must face the hard physical reality of certain temperature targets that can no longer be achieved if too much carbon has already been emitted to the atmosphere. Both delay and insufficient mitigation efforts close the door on limiting global mean warming permanently. This constitutes more than a climate change commitment: It is the fast and irreversible shrinking, and eventual disappearance, of the mitigation options with every year of increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

The author uses a proportionality "that is a reasonable approximation for simulations covering many emissions scenarios for the time frame 1750 to 2500."

I hope the Norweign study is accurate; at any rate, regulating atmospheric CO2 concentrations will remain "hard."

The article linked to is from SCIENCE behind a paywall. Here's some more of it:

...As the starting time of GMS [Global Mitigation Scheme] is delayed, the low climate targets are progressively lost. The door for these climate targets closes irreversibly...

Under the present illustrative assumptions, the 1.5°C target expires after 2028, and the 2°C target vanishes after 2044. These times would be later if a period of stabilized emissions preceded the GMS. The more likely situation, however, is that a specific climate target becomes unreachable much earlier, because there are upper limits on sustained emissions reduction rates imposed by what the countries’ economies can realize collectively given the present state of technology and infrastructure...

Both delay and insufficient mitigation efforts close the door on limiting global mean warming permanently. This constitutes more than a climate change commitment: It is the fast and irreversible shrinking, and eventual disappearance, of the mitigation options with every year of increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

We'ze being in beeg trouble...

E. Swanson

Or , if one wants something even more chewy, have a listen:

I dunno. I have a hard time understanding the denialists. But logically, if they cite an article like this, saying that CC/GW (I'll leave out any A for anthropogenic or abrupt) isn't as bad as thought, that's admission that it's really happening, which should tie any good denier up in knots (or nots, as it were).


Good points.

It is probably a BAU insurgency (underestimating has been the rule) to counter various attempts to go with the real flow, and have good real-time observations.

We need to eradicate "worse than previously expected" type management where adjustments are made every few years or so.

Pabulum software models are not the answer.

Realtime software that considers all relevant factors is the way to go, and as you indicate "simple" is just another way of saying "overlooking" increasing blowback and other historical reasons for traditional underestimating.

Oil prices up despite domestic production

“It really debunks the myth of 'Drill, baby, drill,' that if we just produce more oil, prices will stay low or go lower,” said Michael Marx, director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Oil campaign.

Higher domestic production has had a small effect on U.S. oil prices — just not enough to keep them from rising.

Imagine that, Drill Baby Drill is just not working like we thought it would. When will people realize that the US is not the world. Peak oil is happening worldwide. An extra million barrels per day here changes almost nothing.

Ron P.

As Rockman pointed out on another drumbeat, the Seaway pipeline reversal to the Gulf has been done and more is on the way, so US oil prices are almost certainly going to rise towards world levels. The "drill baby drill" side has always lived in ignorance of the overall world environment, heck, even the domestic circumstances, of oil production.

adam - The price of some US oils, such as WTI, will increase. But we've already had a taste of what unchoking Cushing will do to LLS (Light La Sweet). I've been selling all my Texas crude in Lake Chrales at LLS. I had been getting close to $110/bbl prior to Seagate flowing but it dropped to less than $95/bbl after it was reversed. But when they failed to reach their expected ma rate LLS has moved back to $105-110/bbl.

I understand what you trying to say by US crude rising towards world price levels. But in reality there isn't anything such thing as a world price with respect to physical oil. It's always about local supply/demand modulated by transportation costs. WTI, LLS et al will always sell for a price set by the refineries which will be determined by the demand they anticipate. If a Texas refinery anticipates a demand and they have to pay $/bbl to acquire an appropriate supply they'll pay that price regardless of what Brent or any other oil is selling for. Brent might be selling for a good bit less than $/bbl but unless they can acquire Brent in a sufficient amount, ship it to their refinery in time and can justify the shipping cost the refinery will be forced to buy from their local market. And the local market in the Teas Gulf Coast may be supplying a lot of Canadian oil sand product when all the bottlenecks are gone.

But in reality there isn't any such thing as a world price with respect to physical oil. It's always about local supply/demand modulated by transportation costs.

Rockman, I think I know what you are trying to say, but I also think you said it wrong. That statement is just not correct. There are a lot of different grades of oil at different prices and a lot of different transportation costs and a lot of bottlenecks. But whether it is Brent, the OPEC basket price or WTI they all move up or down in response to world demand.

Ron P.

Ron - "...they all move up or down in response to world demand." A simple question: did the price (LLS) I was getting for my Texas crude drop from over $110/bbl to less than $95/bbl in two months because world demand decreasecd that significantly or because refiners expected an increase in oil from Cushing? And has the price of LLS increased more than $10/bbl in a month because world demand increased or because Seagate was only able to deliver less than 40% of what was anticiated?

Do you track the price differentials between the various posted crudes? You might want to check it out and eplain why the diferenetials between WTI and other crudes has chnged so much as the Cushing bottleneck has started to unwind. If I recall correctly the differential between WTI and Brent has decreased about 40% recently. That doesn't sound like they are moving in unison.

Rockman, they are not moving in unison and never did. And I never even suggested that they moved in unison. That is not the point. They are not independent of each other, that's the point. They all move in response to world demand. The transportation costs changes and that is the main reason that the price differential changes. The other reason is that the WTI supply varies in relation the import supply. But to even suggest that they are independent of each other is... is... well, surely you are not suggesting that. Are you?

There are many reasons that WTI moves more or less than Brent or the OPEC basket price. One may move 1% while another moves 1.5%. And on a flat day one may move up .5% while another moves down .4% or so. But they all track, more or less, world demand. No benchmark or no grade is independent of the world market. World supply and demand is the biggie, the real biggie makes them all move up or down.

If the demand in China increases and they bid up the price on the world market, then less oil will be imported to the Gulf Coast. Then WTI will... indeed must... rise in response to this. Come on Rockman, you know this. I don't have to explain this, you already know this.

Oil is fungible. That is the whole story in a nutshell.

Ron P.

With the pipeline bottleneck at Cushing easing, the gap between WTI and Brent is narrowing. However, now the pipeline bottlenecks are moving to the Canadian border and WCS is trading in Canada at about $64/bbl or a $50 discount to Brent. This has the Canadian oil companies and Federal and Provincial governments seriously upset.

Oil price discount costs each Canadian $1,200 a year: Cenovus CEO

CALGARY — At least one Calgary oil executive is appealing to Canadian pocket books as the U.S. State Department decides the fate of TransCanada Corp.’s Alberta-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline.

Export constraints on Alberta heavy oil production are costing each Canadian $1,200 per year, the chief executive of Cenovus Energy Inc. said Thursday.

Speaking at an investor forum in Whistler, B.C., Brian Ferguson said the current price spread, or “differential,” between Western Canada Select, a heavy-oil blend, and North American benchmark oil prices is a “major issue, not just for our industry but, I think, for all Canadians.”

Price discounts a headache for Alberta government and producers

I would not want to be in Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s shoes right now.

She told Albertans Thursday night in a TV address that the budget her government will deliver in March will not be a pretty one. Redford says the chief reason for that is the steep discounts western Canadian crude oil is experiencing, which has resulted in the government taking in $6 billion less in oil and gas revenue than it expected.

But I also wouldn’t want to be in the producers shoes right now.

The discounts, of course, hurt their bottom lines and share prices, yet the solution to the problem – new pipelines and access to new markets – is largely out of their hands.

There is a great lull setting in right now. Climate change is still a few decades off before the genuine nightmare sets in. While we can probably attribute the recent uptick in storms across the world to climate change the change is still not as noticeably and not as frequent as to warrant a mass awakening. (And by the time we get to such a point, it'll be too late anyway to considerably amend the situation in a convetional manner).

Peak Oil, I think, is still a story worthy of following. While I've on a few occassions criticised people in the Peak Oil community who have been unwilling to re-examine new data - because it doesn't fit their worldview and complicates the Peak Oil view - I nonetheless wholeheartedly subscribe to the notion. I just think it'll play out later than many thought and in a more 'gentle manner'. I no longer think we'll get one giant crash, rather a slow and steady deterioration.

The EIA went from being ridiculously pessimistic about U.S. tight oil production to wildly cornucopian.

Anyone following Brazil knows that they will increase their production by very little. They have systematically failed to raise it. Iraq is a still on the brink of civil war and increased oil wealth will increase, rather than decrease, that risk. (There are also reports that several thousands of U.S. troops have crossed the border from Kuwait and operate in the country to calm things down, but that the Western MSM have orders to keep quiet about it. If those reports are true is hard to say, but they might very well be).

Canada is really the only country where you can chart a relatively easy upward slope of oil production in the next ten or so years.

My point is that after 2015, it's basically all down to Iraq to deliver. And after 2020, who is out there? The only thing left is shale oil and China may get some out, but that requires a lot of water and they are notoriously short on it. Water scarcity is another, less talked about, issue that we ought to talk about more. I believe that water scarcity, more than any other issue except energy, will cap growth for China and India, and especially India with regards to both. China has some more water and at least some domestic oil production. India is shorter on both and will become more so as time goes on.

"Climate change is still a few decades off before the genuine nightmare sets in."

Ya think? Based on what? Perhaps you could start by sharing your definition of "genuine nightmare". For whom? Just askin'...

I am thinking that the current record heat accompanies by drought in the U.S. is a genuine nightmare at least for those who make a living growing things and those who live by eating things. Thank God climate change is a few decades off, otherwise I might get really depressed.

(There are also reports that several thousands of U.S. troops have crossed the border from Kuwait and operate in the country to calm things down, but that the Western MSM have orders to keep quiet about it. If those reports are true is hard to say, but they might very well be).

You had me up until that point Symmetric. Do you actually believe that Western MSM takes orders from the White House, or Congress, or the Pentigon, or the proverbial "powers that be" as many conspiracy theorists like to put it. That is pure poppycock and you show your naïveté by saying that such reports might very well be true.

If there were such a thing then Al Jazerra would be all over it. So would be a thousand other news sources around the world. And all are accessible from the internet by every person in the Western World. But Western MSM have their orders so they keep quite. Give me a break!

Apparently you have been listening to too many right wing radio nut cases. Either that or reading their blogs.

Ron P.

Hi, this is my first post here, and I just wanted to initially say that this is a first stop for me for any PO related information, so thanks! I'm not sure I can contribute a significant amount, despite being an engineering undergraduate, but I just felt the need to reply to this post in particular:-)

Ron, I'm sure it might stretch the boundaries of plausibility to suggest a structured conspiracy between Government and the media, but there IS an internalised bias toward the powers that be, and a lack of willingness to report unfavourable news. Not so much trite political scandal, such as sexual liaisons or calling coppers plebs, but more war crimes, military aggression, economic and political subversion. There are plenty of academic studies on this phenomenon, so I wouldn't be too hasty in dismissing this out of hand, even if it is probably mere rumour.

Dec. 9, 2012: 3,000 US troops secretly return to Iraq via Kuwait

Over 3,000 US troops have secretly returned to Iraq via Kuwait for missions pertaining to the recent developments in Syria and northern Iraq, Press TV reports.

According to our correspondent, the US troops have secretly entered Iraq in multiple stages and are mostly stationed at Balad military garrison in Salahuddin province and al-Asad air base in al-Anbar province.

Reports say the troops include US Army officers and almost 17,000 more are set to secretly return to Iraq via the same route.

Maybe folks were too busy shopping to notice :-0

Edit: You fixed the link. Will comment later.

Ron P.

Yeah, Ron, I had to bypass my credibility protocals to get it to even link up ;-/
Less than credible links automatically link back to TOD as a reliable source for just about everything...

U.S. Troops Are Reported Back in Iraq Over Syrian Crisis

More than 3,000 U.S. military personnel have secretly returned to Iraq via Kuwait and 17,000 more are on their way in response to the civil war in Syria that has spilled over into northern Iraq, according to a report published Monday by Iran's Press TV. [Update: On December 14, U.S. Central Command spokesman Lt. Col. T.G. Taylor said in an email to The New American, “All reports of 3,000 troops returning to Iraq are completely false.”]

This report came from Iran's Press TV. And it is pure garbage. Anyway, it was about Syria, not Iraq. But no US troops are gathering on the Syrian border in Iraq preparing to invade Syria. It would be impossible to keep such news secret. The idea that anyone would take seriously such reports out of Iran is remarkable.

Ron P.

The assassination of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, head of Saudi intelligence, former Saudi ambassador to the US and a close friend of the Bush family (he was called "Bandar Bush") was never reported by the Western media.

Yes ain't that just terrible. It was widely reported in Iranian newspapers however. And if they reported it it had to be true... right? However: Bandar still alive, insiders say

ASPEN — Prince Bandar bin Sultan, chief of Saudi Arabia's intelligence agency and still an Aspen property owner, is apparently alive and well despite rumors in early August that he had been assassinated in an explosion.

A spokesman for the U.S. State Department on Wednesday said recent stories reporting that Bandar, 63, had been killed were not true.

And as late as three days ago he was engaged in a struggle for power with Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef Bin Abdulaziz. Saudi Prince Bandar, Prince Mohammad and struggle for power

Posted on: Wed, Jan 23, 2013
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef Bin Abdulaziz and Chief of the Saudi General Intelligence Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz are rumored to be struggling for power. The following 468-word report sheds light on the subject and tells what about the relationship between Prince Bandar and Prince Mohammad and what about the position of Crown Prince Salman.

You reckon Prince Mohammad is in a struggle with a ghost?

Ron P.

Maybe he is still alive; but how come no one has seen him since July 2012? Why is he hiding? He was highly visible before July 2012.

You just won't give it up will you Suyog? I see just as much of Prince Bandar now as I did before July, and so does everyone else.

Why on earth would want to cover up the death of Prince Bandar? That's a conspiracy theory that makes no sense whatsoever.

Ron P.

Phew. I was afraid maybe we were trying to pull off a stunt. But, the Iranians are known to exaggerate and make up false claims. And they are very unhappy to lose Assad.

But, the Iranians are known to exaggerate and make up false claims

VS the honest and true Boy Scout values of the parties that "oppose" Iran?

Thats not really a valid form of argumentation. This other example who generally opposes my client lies, doesn't make your "client" into a truthteller. If the game is that of assigning relative moral blame, then it makes sense. But, it in no way reflects on the probability of truth or falsehood of the statement in question. One has to use other means.
In this case (secret troop buildup in Iraq), the action would be too hard to hide, and carries a high risk of being counterproductive (set off an extreme anti-American reaction among the Iraqi's), that I would say "presumed false, until shown otherwise".

my client lies, doesn't make your "client" into a truthteller.

Your browser must not interpret and display the sarcasm tags.

How about this response to 'Iran media lies' - Do give a link to Media that does not lie.

In this case (secret troop buildup in Iraq),

The simpler solution would be to have Government that was honest so that when a 'conspiracy theory' about troop movement pops up one could say "it never happened in the past, why would it happen now?" VS spending time pointing out past and present sins of the various parties.

(I'll note that the claim 'Iran media lies' was put out there, yet I don't remember seeing citations about a history of lies. At least the 'MSM lies' claim has citations. Like this one - The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America)

One issue not brought up, so I'll do that now, is - could the build up be in special forces? Several thousand on the ground rifleman are going to do exactly what?

Although I'm no defender of Iran PressTV which has as firm a grasp on facts as Fox News; U.S. MSM often avoids or buries significant news.

Take for example UN to examine UK and US drone strikes

A United Nations investigation into targeted killings will examine drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, according to the British lawyer heading the inquiry.

The inquiry will report to the UN general assembly in New York this autumn. Depending on its findings, it may recommend further action. Emmerson has previously suggested some drone attacks – particularly those known as "double tap" strikes where rescuers going to the aid of a first blast have become victims of a follow-up strike – could possibly constitute a "war crime".

U.S. MSM makes a big deal about the 'savageness' of terrorist when they do a follow-on car bombing to kill first responders, but we do the same thing and developed the technique way back during the Russian-Afghan War. See also Los Zetas training a Fort Benning Georgia

U.S. MSM often avoids or buries significant news.

Well, no they don't. They don't because there is no such organization as U.S. MSM. There is the media, TV, Newspapers, Magazines, Radio and the internet. There are dozens of organizations there, many of them international.

I don't get your point in quoting the Guardian article. That paper is owned by Rupert Murdoch and company. They have outlets all over the world including the USA. Fox News is just one of them. And there was nothing covered up or buried about the drone strikes. I have seen and read of it many times in the US news media including NOVA. Rise of the Drones

I am not going back to the Russian-Afghan war. If you must go that far back to try to dig up dirt on the US media, (verses European media I suppose), then you are really hurting for some trash on them to post.

I don't defend nor condemn the US media as a whole. It would be impossible to lump them altogether. There are literally hundreds of US media outlets, some of them very good and some of them very bad. Fox News is an example of the latter. ;-)

Ron P.

It's good to know what corporation spins which news outlets: http://www.journalism.org/commentary_backgrounder/who_owns_news_media_da...

Better yet, here are charts:

Ron - Please get your facts straight

... I don't get your point in quoting the Guardian article. That paper is owned by Rupert Murdoch and company.

1. The Guardian, a newspaper owned by Guardian Media Group plc (often referred to as GMG) is a company of the United Kingdom owning various mass media operations including The Guardian and The Observer. The group is wholly owned by Scott Trust Limited, which exists to secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity.

2. MSM is just shorthand for mainstream media; who said it was an organization?

3. ...There are literally hundreds of US media outlets

See Infographic: Media Consolidation – The Illusion of Choice

also Media-Government Relations: The Right to Manage Information versus the Right to Know

and Manufacturing Consent or here

Rupert Murdoch owns The Times of London and various tabloid newspapers.

Sorry, when I googled it I misunderstood the link. However...

2. MSM is just shorthand for mainstream media; who said it was an organization?

That's just the flipping point isn't it? The US MSM does not do anything together because they are not any such organization or group of organizations that confers with each other on anything. Do you think that Fox confers with CBS or the New York times on what to publish or not to publish. That was my point and I thought that was quite clear.

The very idea that MSM, and geeze, I know what that stands for, is one group of people or organizations that agrees on anything is really absurd.

And the choice in MSM is not an illusion. If you think it is just watch FOX News for one day then watch MSNBC the next. Then tell me they are saying the same thing or advocating the same thing. Just do that OKAY? Or read the Washington Post and then read the Washington Times and then tell me there is no difference. This crap about all news organizations being the same is just that, crap. You have a clear and definite choice.

Ron P.

Having badmouthed the MSM as much as anybody here, I have to say that there is no media conspiracy or other nefarious plot to suppress the truth involved. The real problem is that the reporters and pundits involved are, for the most part, scientifically illiterate. They don't understand what they are talking about when it comes to the basic science behind things like Peak Oil, Climate Change, or anything else scientific.

It results from their background as reporters and pundits - seldom does it involve any kind of science or engineering training. If you tell them that some whiz-bang new gadget that is being promoted cannot possibly work because it would violate the first or second law of thermodynamics, they will have no idea what you are talking about. They will, however, interview someone who claims otherwise and then give equal time to him and some well respected expert with a PhD from MIT.

This results in a highly distorted view of the facts being presented. The people in the MSM in the US also have more or less the same background as all the others so they will say more or less the same thing. You can get a less biased view by watching the BBC, Russian TV, and Al Jazeera because at least you will get a mix of biases in the view.

The MSM in the US is particularly bad because the US public is in general also scientifically illiterate - a byproduct of the US school system where scientific rigor and logical thinking is not taught. The MSM is seldom caught in their misinformation by members of the general public because they do not know basic science or basic logic. The religious right also manages to screw things up badly by suppressing teaching of some important scientific principles on the grounds it violates their religious principles. At least Darwin is widely respected in the UK, although most people aren't really sure what he said. They do however have an educated upper class that does understand science and is willing to shoot down any pundit who says something stupid.

There is certainly no formal MSM conspiracy; conspiracies are difficult and self-limiting. As businesses, media outlets adapt themselves to maximize revenue. Within those constraints, one can certainly tell which owner favors which agenda. But really, media organizations are dumb brutes which are ill-equipped to sort one proposition from another, and they are painfully aware of this shortcoming. Thus, for safety, they tend to cover whatever their competitors are covering, or what they think their competitors WILL cover once they see it. They don't want to miss a story that gets their competitors market share. This tends to cause coverage to converge without there being any sort of conspiracy, and to effectively lock out some topics.

Treating media like the dumb brutes they are, behavioristically, one can get coverage on about any issue. However, the "hook" has to be something which triggers one or more of the simple "air it" heuristics; and once you get a couple major networks airing it, they all have to.


Is there a significant difference between "reputable" news organizations (NY Times, Washington Post) in the US and similar news organizations in Canada?

At least on some issues (climate change) Canadians seem almost as bad as people in the US, at least based on recent Federal policies regarding climate change in both countries.

Not everyone in the US is stupid, just those who are elected to serve as government representatives.


Well, the Canadian news organizations tend have a pro-Canadian bias in their coverage. If you're reading their Canadian news, you have to watch for that bias. If you're reading their US news, you have to watch for an anti-American bias. However, they generally have the same coverage of most news from a viewpoint that is somewhat to the left of most US MSM. Most US MSM has a far-right bias by global standards.

They also have a Toronto-centric bias, since many of them are based in Toronto. Of course, you'd expect the same kind of thing from the New York media. Other than that, every source has its own bias. Remember, freedom of the press belongs to whoever owns that press.

The MSM in general has its own limitations everywhere. It is targeted at making money from the average person in the street. If you want accurate, in-depth coverage, you have to read journals that are targeted at professionals. If they read something they know is nonsense, they'll throw it in the garbage can.

Sure, there is not a controlling superbody, who tells every outlet what to say. But, the vast bulk of them have the same business model, and have to cater to the same corporate big-advertising spenders, which seem to be dominated by automobiles, pharmaceuticals, and oil companies. So they smooze with the same people (mostly), and are subtly or otherwise influenced by them.

There are some decent outfits, but they are not very big market wise. I'd include truthdig, McClatchy, and even somewhat Christian Science Monitor, as among the better ones. In the US, in order to make real money in media, you have to follow more or less the same script. And doing that compromises your independence.

No conspiracy is required, once there is a dominant narrative about self-righteousness in the society, any story that counters it is automatically self-censored. It exists in US, it exists in India, it exists everywhere. We have our hotspots here which never get covered by the media for various other reasons other than self-censorship which includes govt harassment, difficulty in getting a source to confirm etc. Please look up the episode of invasion of East Timor by Indonesia and it's coverage by the US media for an example. I believe Chomsky covered it. Chris Hedges also wrote about this...in the run up the Falklands war the Argentinian media refused to see obvious blind spots in their own strategy and then the defeat came as a shock, it's quite common actually.

Once you get to the top (any editor of MSM) you need to constantly grease everyone's palms and boots to stay there and that is no conspiracy.

Well put.

What could be more of a conspiracy than a set of culturally shared assumptions? You could call it the culture of the MSM, or that of the Ownership Class of any of these societies.. in either case, the definition of 'polite conversation' erases mention of many salient but unwelcome turds in the punchbowl..

in either case, the definition of 'polite conversation' erases mention of many salient but unwelcome turds in the punchbowl..

Intrepid reporters are quickly shown their place, either they accept the system or get thrown out of the system. Down here they get shot, drown or in the best case have false cases slapped against them, I guess in rich societies their career gets stonewalled. In my experience I think the most difficult stories are those which challenge the existing notions of a society, no one wants to touch them with a ten foot pole. Stories about corruption or theft, even those against the very top of the pyramid are less riskier.

In rich societies they have to migrate to the poorly funded outfits who acre about truth rather than money, like those I mentioned above. Not too many jobs available, and the pay is nothing like the celebrity payscale that major news anchors get.

What could be more of a conspiracy than a set of culturally shared assumptions?

Quid Quo pro and personal benefit.

Helen Tomas seemed to have a history of being that occasional unwelcome Nitrogen additive to a punchbowl. Didn't she get "uninvited" from standing 'round said punchbowl? If one digs 'round on the various search engines, one ill see charges and claims made that claim if one is contacted not to mention something and it gets mentioned, your access to various elected officials becomes 'harder'?

And the personally mundane:
Someone from my home town's Father was sleeping with a reporter from said hometown's newspaper. They ran a police blotter. When said [then aldultrious with reporter] Father was nabbed for a DUI and destruction of state property, that never made the paper. (per the 3rd party [aka rumor] testimony of the Son of said DUIer)

There was a personal benefit for her in that case to have the paper 'deviate' from the norm.

I know a reporter who was fired from the newspaper he worked for because the boss/editor felt his reporting would harm the relationship with AT&T - a big dollar volume advertiser.

Really tho - this topic broadly should have been declared 'answered' when I posted the historical, the journalism student, and the CBS/CNET link. Does TOD need 100's or 1000's of examples to show the culturally shared assumption of "journalistic independence" is mostly bunk? Such would have limited the discussion to 'is the claim of troop movements true' VS the how many reporters dance on a pin-head discussion now going on.

Bless her soul! I was trying to come up with Helen's name.

It is worth mentioning that these rebels do arise from time to time, and it's few, but it's also reliable.. as 'the truth will out'. I grew up hearing about 'Obedient, Conservative German society', with my US elders still smarting from WWII, but Dad was a Music and a German teacher, so I also got to hear about the rebels that cut their ways through the thicket and did easily as much, in their tiny numbers to define the culture as the 'Stable and Proper' ones did.

My 9 year old is now humming 'Ode to Joy' as she works on her art and stories.. waving the flag of a German we don't usually think of as a Rebel.. but we wouldn't be infected with his tunes if he had not been.

For those who want a refresher from the early 2000's on Helen's style (which is to say CONTENT..)

"culturally shared assumptions"

I've noticed a suprising number of reporters having law degrees. Considering the number of stories particularly about congress it makes some sense however the viewpoint taught in law school that there is no right or wrong only winners and losers can badly distort a reporters sense of what is important in a story.

Falklands war the Argentinian media refused to see obvious blind spots in their own strategy and then the defeat came as a shock, it's quite common actually.

A good example was the last US election. The MSM, and especially the rightwing end of it was convinced Romney was going to win by a landslide, and were shocked when that didn't happen. There was a media battle of the polls, virtually everyone against Nate Silver, who dared to use scientific polling methods and got it right on. Part of this effect is deliberately distorting reality because a belief that people like winners, and saying your side in gonna win should therefore make that outcome more likely.

Well, to be fair they thought they were going to win because they had been gerrymandering like crazy for the last four years and thus considered that a few percentage points of polling lead wouldn't make the difference.

Their problem seemed to be that they didn't consider that the 'scientific' pollsters had taken that gerrymandering into account.

Gerrymandering is largely irrelevant to the presidential election. Only Maine and Nebraska do electoral vote splitting and they rarely end up splitting (and when they do, it is a pretty small amount). Every other state is 'winner take all'. No one with a clue was surprised by the election.

If you were surprised then you were either clueless on how our electoral voting system works or you were fooling yourself. Some people that appeared to be surprised may have only been acting surprised because they don't want to admit that they were trying to put on an over-optimistic view in order to keep up morale.

The GOP did win the House of Representatives with a good number of seats despite the fact that their candidates received a million fewer votes due to the Gerrymandering. And there has been some talk of the GOP changing more states to split their electoral votes. If that were to occur, the GOP would have won the whitehouse by a good margin in the last couple of elections. But that could be pushing things too far. I suspect people would start getting upset if our President almost always had fewer popular votes than the alternative. Gaming the election rules can backfire badly . . . I suspect the various voter suppression efforts back-fired big time in 2012 when a lot of people got mad decided that they were going to cast their vote even if they had to wait 6 hours in line because they were not going to let someone take their vote.

Looks like Virginia might join that small club of states with electors chosen per congressional district ... but with a twist.

Maine and Nebraska do this already, the whole winner take all system is rather asinine. Then again, much of the way the government functions is asinine.

Of course you don't hear any talk of going to popular vote and canning the electoral. Too hard to gerrymander that one.

For years the Democrats were in power when the new census data came through and were certain to redistrict to stay in power, but at least they had garnered more total votes for Democrat congressman nationally than did the Republicans.

This most recent gerrymandering after the 2010 census had a lot more high tech tools at its disposal. Worked out real well for Republican control of the house as they maintained their huge seat lead while the Democrats actually garnered over fifty percent of the votes cast for US representatives.

Pennsylvania, for example, gave President Barack Obama 52 percent of the vote, compared with Mitt Romney's 46.8 percent total. But Democrats won only five of the state's 18 seats in the House of Representatives.

It looks to me like the Republican controlled gerrymandered redistricted state legislatures (my state's redistricting is possibly the most creative piece of partisan work) are looking to make minority rule permanent.

Any rule is arbitrary. What the R's want to do is pick and choose different rules for different states, such that the odds of their side winning are greatly improved. The thing I read is their proposed changes wouldn't have but Romney in the Whitehouse, but the electoral vote margin would have been reduced to 4votes. So clearly if they got their way to pick and choose the rules, it would bias things their way quite strongly. The Democratic response could be devastating however, there is another notion that has been about for a while, change the presidential selection to national popular vote. There is some sort of agreement among states, that says if a majority of electoral votes of signing states exists, those states must award their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote count. This insures that if enough states sign on the winner is determined by national popular vote. This favors Democrats as compared to the current system, since many of their votes are overconcentrated -for example California is roughly 2/3Democratic, but currently it does the D's no more good than if it were 51-49. If we had had national popular vote in 2000, Bush would never have been president.

Really? If the GOP thinks winner take-all is rather asinine then why haven't they split up the electoral votes in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, etc.?

If you are really interested in Democracy then why not just a direct popular vote? As another poster pointed out, there is such an effort and many states are on board. Why don't don't they like democracy and 1-person 1-vote?

Things that make you go "Hmmmm..."

Ron, the basic structure of The Associated Press creates some uniformity among stories through all of its worldwide members. If a reporter contributes an article with mistakes or biases, they get repeated all over the world.

And I just want to add something that I've said here before - we should disabuse ourselves of the notion that we have anything approaching a 'Free Press' in the US any more, if indeed we ever did. Certainly today, news is just one more business. It cares not about truth. It cares only about profit. That may not be true of the itty bitty players within it. A reporter might care a great deal about the truth. But the conglomerated machine that is owned by Disney, GE, Time-Warner etc. cares only about $$$. Anything that will infringe upon BAU gets downplayed or ignored. As an (extreme?) example that might resonate with Ron, consider species extinction. We are in the 6th Great Extinction event that the Earth has seen - and perhaps the worst. Life on the planet is receding, and it will take millennia or longer to recover, if it ever can. This is human driven. We are killing our fellow species, and destroying the liveability of the planet we rely on for our very existence. But does it get reported as news? No. It would sell neither subscriptions nor ads, and would impinge on business in general - the consumption of the planet, the turning of the living into the dead - that is the driving force of industrial civilization. So it is ignored. The same is true of energy, environment, military, you name it. If it goes against what's good for Wall St., it is not front page news. Sure, we have little outlets like Democracy Now, or non-western MOMCOM controlled outlets like Al-Jazeera, and the internet itself, and they do cover some of the verbotten subjects to some degree. But the megaphone of ABC/CBS/NBC/Fox/NYT/NewsCorp/etc. drown out any 'truth' the others might try to speak. Work, consume, support the troops - those are the meta messages. The masses hear little else.

Just one more pt. Newpapers have the Front Page, News Section, Sports, Business, Lifesyle... Do they have an Environment Section? Maybe a one day a week fluff page. What's more important ultimately to all of humanity? Who won last night, which stock gained 3 cents, or what species disappeared today, never to be heard from again? Look at those sections again. Really, they are all 'Business'. The Yankees and Martha Stewart are businesses as much as GE. This culture considers anything else to be of trivial importance. Follow the money, it's all we can smell.


YES. Thanks for saying it so well, cliffman!

Thank goodness for social media.

Example: If I want to know how Chernobyl/Fukushima radiation is doing, I use youtube and search on 'chernobyl 2012', or 'fukushima radiation'.

So for hot button topics: thankfully a college student might video, and then post on youtube.

Of course things can be faked or a hoax, so all needs to be tempered for Truthiness.

But the big news agencies post or broadcast what they can get advertizes to support. It's all 'infotainment' at that level.

we should disabuse ourselves of the notion that we have anything approaching a 'Free Press' in the US any more, if indeed we ever did. Certainly today, news is just one more business.

Business and a free press are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to have both at the same time. I have written "letters to the editor" and freely expressed my opinion. I see such opinions expressed every day in the paper, in magazines, on radio, on TV and on the internet. This post is an example of a free press and so is the post I am responding to.

I get publications in the mail every day, published by someone's free press. They may be trying to rip me off but they seem very free to make that effort. I think it is more than a little absurd to say that we do not have a free press in America when this very list is an example of that free press. A free press simply means you have the freedom to publish your opinions. So just tell me that you don't read, dozens of times a day, people's freely published opinions. That is a free press.

It cares not about truth. It cares only about profit.

Again, truth and profit are not mutually exclusive. You can have both at the same time. To suggest that The New York Times or The Washington Post cares not one whit about what is true, or don't care if they are publishing nothing but lies, is cynical beyond belief. If you really think that CBS, NBC or any other broadcasting company has no interest in truth then you are totally divorced from reality.

Woodward and Bernstein sought the truth about the Watergate break-in. The public wanted the truth. Had the post published a bunch of lies they would have been found out and drummed out of the newspaper business. If the press had no interest in truth they would be found out and no one would buy their product again. The press cares about truth because their business depends on it.

I just don't understand why so many people are so damn cynical. I don't deny that we live in a terrible world but thank goodness it is not as terrible as most cynics believe.

Ron P.

And I don't understand how someone as obviously intelligent and well-informed as yourself can be so naive. Hah, no matter how cynical I am accused of being, I just can't keep up.

My God, are cynics incapable of making a logical argument? Are they only capable of making silly cynical comments? Is that a handicap they have that makes them such cynics? I wonder?

Ron P.

You refuse to see the points people are making. Which is that the large scale corporate media outlets have one and only goal and that is to make as much money as possible. And it just so happens that the way to do that nowadays is to repeat the same basic storyline - Iraq has wmds, peak oil is a crazy theory thats not true, the housing market is coming back, the recession is over, Obama is a liberal, natural gas will give the US energy independence blah blah blah.

And as pointed out above, what is never said is as important or more as what is. The ongoing mass extinction being a perfect example. You wont sell more Twinkies and F-350s talking about that.

They all say the same thing and they all make scads of money doing it. The decorations the different corporations put on the universally accepted corporate talking points are what distinguish Fox from MSNBC etc. So what if there aren't actually a bunch of cigar smoking men in a room writing out a script. The net effect is the same as if there were. Thus people toss around the word conspiracy, cause if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck...

Please explain the lack of logic, I just stare reality in the face and draw the obvious conclusion. Nothing matters to the people who run the planet except money and how to get more of it. The end.

You refuse to see the points people are making.

Some of his base assumptions and worldviews are incorrect. If one works with crooked timbers, how can you build anything straight?

You refuse to see the points people are making. Which is that the large scale corporate media outlets have one and only goal and that is to make as much money as possible.

Nonsense! I freely acknowledged that they want to make money. What you guys fail to even look at is the fact that there are many news outlets. If one lies another can counter it. It is a free press, while one news outlet is free to lie another is free to point out that lie. And a news outlet that continually lies soon gets a reputation of being a habitual liar.

The press reported that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. They pointed this out over and over and over. The press pointed out that there was a housing bubble. Of course most in the press thought there was no housing bubble before it burst. Some did, they reported this and they were ignored. A free press is not God, it cannot see into the future. Because most of the press did not see the housing crash coming does not mean they were lying.

You guys have a serious problem. You want to blame the frailty of humanity on a lying press. We live in an imperfect world. Politicians get us into terrible wars and you blame it on the press. The housing bubble burst, you blame it on the press. The world gets warmer and warmer and you blame it on the press. You want to see where the problem lies... Go look in the mirror.

Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made. Immanuel Kant

Ron P.

Admittedly, I used hyperbolic language to make my point. I did so because it really burns me how corrupt our institutions are, and I still have the probably naïve belief that it needn't have been this way. I'd guess that Greenish, Tribe of Pangea and others (where has Step Back gone to?) might confirm that naivete and confirm that our institutions, including the media, are destined to be corrupted.

But I stand by my point. Simple example – factory provides bulk of jobs and $$ for local economy, secretly dumps toxic sludge into local watershed. Local paper, dependent on advertising from said company and subscriptions of its employees, unlikely to blow whistle (at least as loudly as it should) based on its own self-interest of continuing to exist/profit/grow.

You never addressed – where are the stories shouting ecocide from the rooftops? It's quite clearly the main story of our time. The extinction of 50-90% (more?) of extant species in a few human generations, done by us in the name of short term financial gain. What MSM outlets are telling us that story on a daily basis?

I guess our definitions of truth are different. My truth is that we need to stop driving – altogether, or at least 90% of what we do, and certainly single-occupant SUV's to the gym for a workout. Also truth – burning coal to generate electricity so we can make toast and dry our clothes is an abomination against life itself. Do I need to give more examples? These truths are NOT being told. The business of media won't allow it. Heck, PO would be another one. What we have - as you routinely point out here - are stories about the energy boom, the US as an exporter, all hype, not truth. The truth is C&C is at peak, net energy is in decline. Where's that truth on the front page of any MSM outlet? Chirp, chirp...

You or me spouting our opinion on TOD is not any meaningful form of mass media, which is what I meant when I said 'free press'. No one hears us. It's the same as believing we have 'free speech' when any form of protest these days is required to be held out of sight in the cordoned off area where the protesters have been officially 'permitted' to gather. That is NOT what the Founding Fathers meant by 'free speech'.

Even someone like Amy Goodman of Democracy Now is marginalized to some unknown channel on the end of the satellite dial where nobody finds the show. The mega corporation owned bullhorns own the airwaves, they own the distribution networks, they own the talking heads, the own the whole shootin' match, so their voice is heard. Not yours, not mine.

And a big part of it is a business model that thrives on emotional personal stories, not analysis. Especially crimes that involved someone doing something incomprehensibly bad to a good looking victim, who can be interviewed in tears and bandages. The public loves to be morally outraged against bad-folk. But this crime chasing provides almost zero insight into how we should live our lives (except to have an inordinate level of fear about fairly rare bad things that can happen). So much of the airtime in MSM media, is this sort of emotional fluff, so little involves real important things.

Simple example – factory provides bulk of jobs and $$ for local economy, secretly dumps toxic sludge into local watershed. Local paper, dependent on advertising from said company and subscriptions of its employees, unlikely to blow whistle (at least as loudly as it should) based on its own self-interest of continuing to exist/profit/grow.

But of course. That is what a free press is all about. If we forced a paper to print about toxic sludge then the press would not be free. But a paper that is not dependent on that factory is free to publish the truth about what that factory is doing. Just because one paper prints what his advertisers demand does not change the fact that other papers are free to print their opposite opinions.

You never addressed – where are the stories shouting ecocide from the rooftops? It's quite clearly the main story of our time. The extinction of 50-90% (more?) of extant species in a few human generations, done by us in the name of short term financial gain.

I never addressed it because it has absolutely nothing to do with the subject being discussed. You know, if you have followed my posts on this list, that this is one subject that I bring up over and over. We are a plague species that is wiping out virtually every other species. We are in competition with every other species for territory and resources. And we are winning... big time. And why does not the free press shout this from the rooftops like you suggest? Because they are free to shout any damn thing they desire. And they don't desire to shout about this because they are totally ignorant of the subject.

The knowledge of the press, in general, simply reflects the knowledge of the people, in general. And the press publishes what they can sell. And this stuff just don't sell. But that does not imply that they are not free to publish it. They are. They don't because, just like their customers, they are totally ignorant of the subject.

You don't seem to understand that what needs to be said, is not said, because there is no market for for such explanations. The people just don't want to hear about it. But anyone is free to say it. Anyone is free to publish the true state of civilization. But no one wants to hear about it. But do you really think that because you don't read about this every day is because the press is not free to print it?

Picketing and protesting is not the same thing as free speech. You may need a permit to picket or call a mass protest but you need no permit to speak your mind and publish it in any way you see fit. And simply because TOD is not a loud enough platform for you does not mean you do not have free speech or freedom of the press.

The mega corporation owned bullhorns own the airwaves, they own the distribution networks, they own the talking heads, the own the whole shootin' match, so their voice is heard. Not yours, not mine.

I am a card carrying bleeding heart liberal. And I hear opinions that I agree with, spoken every day and night on MSNBC. My neighbor is a red-neck, gun toting, Jesus loving, gay hating, right wing nut case and he hears his opinions spoken every day and night on Fox News. And the other networks has everything in between. The Discovery Channel, the Science Channel, PBS and others present the case for what we are doing to our environment and the world. Just what else do you expect from the free press anyway?

Ron P.

there is no market for for such explanations

Thank you. That's my point in a nutshell. The truth don't sell, so it ain't published. The only things that get published are those that make money for somebody. And those somebodies are fewer and bigger than ever.

And I'm done here.

That was not your argument. Your argument was that the press was not free and that they had no interest in the truth. You were wrong on both points.

And my point was that the press is free and that they do have an interest in the truth. And my other point was that all interests and all points are covered. The truth does sell. It is up to you to decide who is telling the truth and who really thinks they are telling the truth also but are just terribly wrong on what the truth really is. Anyway there are over 100 channels on TV today. All truths are covered as well as a lot of garbage, like the religious channels. But it sells. Just not a very large market however but who's fault is that?

Ron P.

That is what a free press is all about.

Please define "free press".

Then show us all examples of "free press".

And if you'd be a darling do explain:
And the press publishes what they can sell. And this stuff just don't sell.

If the press is "free" (as in 'can do what it wishes') then do explain how this 'freedom' can exist when one has to sell things as, from where I sit, this is a fine example of the golden rule.

Golden Rule. He who has the gold makes the rules.

If one is dependent on others to make a living, you are beholden to their wishes.

Wading in here...

Truth and profit are not mutually exclusive. That doesn't mean one promotes the other or naturally follows from the other. What do you call that - they are not causally linked to any degree?

We do not have a free press.

What about all the stuff you don't read? Don't see? What about the voices who don't get the microphone? Because you can write a letter to the local paper does not make the press free.

Truth is not primary or necessary to the networks. That's an old model you are still clinging to. Like the idea that democrats are the good guys. My parents still believe that.

Don't you recall the various, wholly truthful TV ads, that have been 'turned down' by the networks? If the press were free, they would not have a problem speaking the truth, but they do. The old refrain about the USSR is fitting here: When they would read the paper, they new it was a lie, and then wondered what the reason for the lie was, and what the truth behind it might be. Here in the USA (in the past for most of us) folks read the paper and actually believe it!

The truth you see does not make up for all the truth you will never see. You can't just consider the reality, you have to factor in what isn't there, what isn't said, the voices denied a forum.

Has the NYT been drummed out of business post Judith Miller? And why are those evil Palestinians throwing rocks at those poor Israelis?

The press cares about advertising and subscriber money coming in. It has little to do with the truth.

We do not have a free press.

What about all the stuff you don't read? Don't see? What about the voices who don't get the microphone?

It is quite obvious that you don't know what a free press is. The "free" in free press does not mean that someone else must pay to print your opinions. It simply means that you have the freedom to publish anything you please. But you will have to pay the printer yourself.

Hell, I thought everyone knew that.

Ron P.

Great. I agree!

We have a free press for everyone with enough money to own one, or pay the printer. Unless the printer won't print it.

Otherwise, free as can be!

Rupert Murdoch does not own the UK Guardian. News to me Ron if he does. Nobodies totally reliable of course.

Thank God.

Hmmm, But who do we need to keep in the dark about this (assuming its true)? I don't think Americans care. But Maliki would have to keep this hidden from the Iraqi public. Apparently the Sunnis are seriously chomping at the bit, with some nastiness going on in Falujah, and other overwhelmingly Sunni cities. Perhaps the Shite takeover of the government of Iraq is not going down well with the 35% (or so) of the country that isn't Shia?

Well, PressTV is the Iranian news agency so I'd take that story with a grain of salt.

I must agree with Ron on the supposition that "Western MSM have orders to keep quiet..." is next to impossible and misleading to suggest. While I have noticed an alarming (to me) trend for some reporters to leave reporting in favor of becoming opinionated pundits, few of them seem to be under any kind of control.

On the issue of

I just think it'll [peak oil] play out later than many thought and in a more 'gentle manner'. I no longer think we'll get one giant crash, rather a slow and steady deterioration.

I see us approaching an ungentle crash resulting from the falling EROEI impacts described by several others, including Gail Tverberg. We are in an era of the End of Growth when your "slow and steady deterioration" could be measured in months or even weeks.


Correct me if I am wrong but it seems that increasing reliance on fracking and horizontal drilling may indicate that future declines will be more rapid than would have been the case if we simply relied on more conventional ways of extracting crude oil. Reports indicate that these new techniques result in much higher decline rates than have been reported for oil from conventional fields. To maintain flat or increasing supplies from these new fields requires an ever increasing amount of drilling rigs each year. If we are increasing the extraction rate with these new technologies, it follows that reservoirs will experience very rapid and sudden declines as the rate of extracting is so heavily front loaded.

Perhaps peak oil will be delayed by a few or even several years but that does not mean that the rate of decline after the peak will be less severe. It seems to be that it will be more severe given the nature of the technology used.

What am I missing here?

If we engaged in the apparently old fashioned concept of resource conservation, then maybe we could delay the peak even further and leave a little bit for future generations. But we apparently need all this oil and gas now, right now, damn it.

it seems that increasing reliance on fracking and horizontal drilling may indicate that future declines will be more rapid than would have been the case if we simply relied on more conventional ways of extracting crude oil.

It's not so much that fracking and horizontal drilling are causing the fast declines, it is that these fields themselves are increasingly marginal. They are producing from low porosity, low permeability formations that wouldn't be economically viable at all without fracking and horizontal drilling.

The wells are producing from the fracture system that was created by fracking - they are not producing from the formation as a whole. Once the oil in the created fractures is recovered, the production falls dramatically because the rest of the formation is not going to give up its oil very fast. The result is a very steep decline curve - typically a 75% production decline in two years, followed by several years of very low production.

This is much different from the old oil fields. Back in the day, a well would continue to produce until the oil column (the oil in the space between the water underneath and the gas above) shrank to zero, or the reservoir drive gave out. The drive was from the water underneath and/or the gas above, so if it gave out, water injection and/or gas injection could restore it. In addition, companies could use a miscible flood such as CO2 or NGL's to reduce the viscosity of the oil and recover much of the bypassed oil.

This doesn't work in the new "shale oil" wells, so expect to see very steep initial decline rates followed by very low levels of production. Don't expect companies to get a lot of long-term production out of these fields. They expect to recover their initial capital investment withing 6 months to 2 years, and then move on to something else - possibly not investing in oil production. They are there for a good time, not a long time.

Fracking question; breaking up large blocks of rock seems like a natural application for shock waves. Something like packing a horizontal well with a couple thousand feet of explosives ought to break up a whole lot of rock. I presume this has been tried?

They used to use large amounts of nitroglycerine to break up the rock in well bores and improve production. But that was 50 to 120 years ago. It was called "shooting" a well. Hydraulic fracturing, introduced over 50 years ago, was a major improvement on it, and certainly safer than carrying nitroglycerin to the well and lowering it down the well bore.

GOWHN – Actually it isn’t that difficult to break the rocks. We can do it accidentally while drilling. The high pressure down hole has to be offset by the high pressure caused by the column of drilling mud. The higher the formation pressure the heavier the mud is needed. Ranges from 9 pounds per gallon to 18 ppg in extreme cases. Too low a mud weight and you risk a blowout. But there’s a danger to a MW that’s too high: you fracture the rock…even shale. And the dynamics are the same as producing from a fracture: rapid fluid movement. Once fractured the drilling mud will rush into the fractured rock. This can cause the drill pipe to be stuck and recoverable and BAM!...you just lost a few $millions.

As RMG says they used nitro in the ole days. But the trick isn’t just cracking the rock open…you have to keep the cracks open. Remember the overburden pressure of the rocks can be 10k to 20k psi…easy to push those cracks closed. The critical aspect of a frac job isn’t cracking the rock but keeping them open. That’s why the pump the proppant with the frac fluid…usually sand. Not only does the proppant keep the cracks open but it provides a very permeable median for the hydrocarbons to flow.

But we still use rock breaking explosives in some circumstances. Called a gas gun (StimGun is one commercial brand) it’s a relatively small high frequency blast. No proppant so it’s not a substitute for a frac job. But very cheap ($15k – 20K) and easy to deploy. Just limited applications.

ts – I don’t think you’re missing anything. You have a good sense of the production dynamics IMHO. But if you’ll allow I’ll smooth off some rough edges. The “new techniques” aren’t delivering production profiles that are different than we’ve seen for many decades. Fracture production is one of the more predictable reservoir profiles. Even in the pre-horizontal and multi-frac stages days this is exactly how such wells produced. And we have a recent model of frac’d hz wells in the Austin Chalk play which boomed even bigger almost 20 years ago as the current shale plays. And the AC exhibited the same decline profiles as we are seeing today. Same ole same ole…no surprises. It’s also better to not think of these as “fields” as commonly defined. The high rates of long lateral with a couple of dozen frac stages aren’t draining these “fields” any faster than a vertical well that hasn’t been frac’d.

Confusing, eh? LOL. A frac’d hz well isn’t draining a reservoir per say. It is only draining the fractures it has intersected. And that includes the fractures intersected by the man-made fractures. If a shale formation has no natural fractures which have accumulated hydrocarbons over millions of years you could drill a thousand hz wells each 10,000’ long with 50 frac stages each and you won’t produce any oil worth mentioning. The rock may be full of oil but the permeability of the matrix (the actual shale rock itself) is so low it won’t be productive. The shale has to have natural fractures to produce. Drilling a well horizontally greatly increases the chances of cutting more natural fractures compared to a vertical well. But the hz well isn’t doing anything different than a vert well. And creating a new man-made fracture is done to reach out to nearby natural fractures the well didn’t penetrate. Same reason they frac vertical wells. IOW there is no Eagle Ford Shale Field. It’s the Eagle Ford Shale trend. The TRRC actually shows a dozen or so different field names for areas producing from the EFS. But even these different “fields” are just defined by geographic (and rather arbitrary) areas and not geology or reservoir.

So it’s the volume of the fracture system a well penetrates that determines how much oil it will produce. But it matters not if that volume is 10,000 bo or 300,000 bo both wells will exhibit high decline rates. That is the nature of fracture production…always has been and always will. Obviously the 300,000 bo well will produce at a higher rate but still have that same high decline rate. And unless two or more wells share the same fracture system a well will just drain that one set of fractures. If all shale drilling stopped tomorrow the existing wells would deplete their fracture systems and no more. We are not draining the Eagle Ford or Marcellus “fields”. Or any other shale “field”. The Bakken, OTOH, is a bit different. Its matrix has significantly better permeability than the pure shales and thus recharges the fractures as they are drained. But only to a degree and thus the Bakken still has a dramatic decline rate as it is still draining a rather limited area.

As far as “saving some for the next generation” I’ll ask the same question again: why? Seriously. Do you
expect them to VOLUNTARIALLY conserve resources any better than past generations? Really?

REALLY??? LOL. Aren’t they going to have the same DNA as the current generation as well as those past? Aren’t they going to exploit ever energy resource (especially coal) as relentlessly as possible in order to maintain BAU as much as possible? Well, to hell with those greedy bastards. We shouldn’t save nothin’ for them. LOL

While I find your statements about the next gen somewhat appealing and even correct, I know how much you care about your child (children?) so I wonder if what you say is tongue in cheek. But yeh, I don't see any evidence that my children's generation is likely to be any more voluntarily frugal than mine. In fact, my children have made it pretty clear that they either don't care or have not much hope for the future. In addition, of course, they feel there is no point in individual action.

Yeh, there isn't any reason to expect that homo sapiens won't change the fact that it is comprised of mostly selfish, dirty rotten bastards.

A lot goes unreported simply because the MSM has gotten rid of their reporters, especially international reporters over the years. Recently, CNN eliminated most, if not all of their international reporters that were actually on the ground gathering news at the source. It is cheaper and apparently more lucrative to maintain a staff of talking heads than do the expensive and dirty work of developing original news.

And a couple of years back they did the same to the science reporters. Not only did that save money, but it reduces the risk that some story might piss off an important advertiser.

Do you actually believe that Western MSM takes orders from the White House, or Congress, or the Pentigon, or the proverbial "powers that be" as many conspiracy theorists like to put it.

The counter-argument that is relevant to 'military reporting' is embedded journalists.

And the idea of "truth", "journalism" and "outside influence" - lets go read what was said over 100 years ago.

The following remarks were apparently made by John Swinton in 1880, then the preeminent New York journalist, probably one night in during that same year. Swinton was the guest of honour at a banquet given him by the leaders of his craft. Someone who knew neither the press nor Swinton offered a toast to the independent press. Swinton outraged his colleagues by replying:

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.

"There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

"The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?

"We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

(Source: Labor's Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, published by United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, NY, 1955/1979.)

How about the CBS/CNET "orders" to a journalist who resigned over such "control"?

One of CNET's top reporters resigned after the tech news website's parent company, CBS Corp., directed CNET to disqualify Dish Network's Hopper DVR system from its "Best of CES" awards program last week.

CBS had CNET pull Dish's Hopper device from consideration from the awards program because of its current lawsuit against the DVR system. Greg Sandoval, who covered digital media and copyright issues at CNET for more than seven years, tweeted that he resigned from the news site on Monday, saying he could "no longer have confidence that CBS is committed to editorial independence."

A long-dead journalist of note, a student of journalism considers the idea of journalists "taking orders" as a truth and the CBS/CNET event show that other people influence reporting isn't "pure poppycock".

Added: France impose media blackout on North Mali war

Added: Investigative journalist Lee Van Der Voo says she was denied property insurance coverage from State Farm because her news coverage was too “controversial.”

I think he's just stating it wrongly. Its subtler pressure from the businesses that advertise. Make us unhappy by promoting AGW, and we might move some of our advertising spending elsewhere. Maybe no one is even saying that, but the MSM business managers can just sense the way their business clients think. I bet they get blitzed with Koch inspired messages of disapproval, whenever they step over the line.


There is a great lull setting in right now. Climate change is still a few decades off before the genuine nightmare sets in.

A "lull" is a code word for increased denier propaganda.

It is probably because of the National Climate Report:

Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present. This report of the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee concludes that the evidence for a changing climate has strengthened considerably since the last National Climate Assessment report, written in 2009. Many more impacts of human-caused climate change have now been observed.

(Government Climate Change Report, emphasis added). That report is mandated by federal legislation passed in 1990, signed into law by Bush I, requiring a report each four years.

Even this year's World Economic Forum, home of BAU, is wising up some:

There is also increasing recognition of the worrying trend that multi-year emissions from greenhouse gasses have not lessened due to the ongoing economic crisis. Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), will be in Davos to explain UNEP estimates that about 49bn tonnes of CO₂eq were emitted in 2011, roughly 20% more than the global emissions in 2000.

More disturbing still is UNEP's assessment that under current targets the world is on course for 4°C warming. The new head of the World Bank, president Jim Kim has said that a 4°C world would be "devastating", and so different from our current climate that it will come with high uncertainty and new risks that threaten our very ability to anticipate and plan.

(North to Davos Country). Note that "anticipate and plan" is code for "scheme and manipulate".

So, even they are becoming aware that the reins will be ripped from their hands via various catastrophes, the mobs, the panic, and the chaos coming if their BAU rules the roost any longer.

Attackers blow up main oil pipeline in Yemen: officials

Unidentified attackers blew up Yemen's main oil pipeline, forcing the country to shut down one of its most lucrative sources of income, government and tribal sources said on Saturday.

Witnesses said the pipeline linking production fields in the central Maarib province to the Red Sea was attacked on Friday night.

... A long closure of the line last year forced the country's largest refinery at Aden to shut, leaving the small producer dependent on fuel donations from Saudi Arabia and imports.

On December 31, Yemen resumed oil pumping at a rate of around 70,000 barrels per day (bpd) after the latest repairs to a pipeline which used to carry around 110,000 bpd of Marib light crude to an export terminal on the Red Sea before a spate of attacks began in 2011.

I expect that any pipeline which bypasses the Straits of Hormuz will be an ongoing target.

Oil Supply Grows, But So Does Price

It's basic economics: An increase in the supply of a product coupled with a decrease in demand results in a drop in price. But that isn't happening with oil.

Since 2008, oil production in the United States has surged a stunning 28 percent as the controversial practice of fracking unlocks new supplies in North Dakota and Texas. At the same time, use of oil and petroleum products has fallen 4 percent, as Americans switch to more efficient cars.

In theory at least, both of those factors should have pushed the price of crude down. Instead, it's gone up.

The high price illustrates a brutal truth of today's interconnected world - oil is a global commodity, bought and sold in a global marketplace. ... "You're seeing record world demand growth, but supply is not keeping up so much," said John Felmy, chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute. "It's a world price. We're a part of it, but only a part of it."

"You're seeing record world demand growth, but supply is not keeping up so much," said John Felmy, chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute. "It's a world price. We're a part of it, but only a part of it."

That is correct, John. And next time you allege that oil prices will come down if you get to drill, baby, drill be sure to remind us that you are lying since it is now clear that you know better.

And also, John, as Chief Economist of anything, one would think you would know that supply and demand are always equal by definition.

The Saudis do better with 'the world is well supplied' (with $xxx oil).

Yum's chicken in China contained excessive levels of drugs - Xinhua

Chicken sold to KFC's parent Yum Brands Inc in China contained excessive levels of chemicals, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday, escalating a month-long food scare that has hit Yum's sales in its biggest market.

... Yum and McDonald's Corp's have come under intense scrutiny from local media since the official China Central Television reported in late December that some of the chicken supplied to them contained excess amounts of antiviral drugs and hormones used to accelerate growth.

On investigating, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration found the levels of antibiotics and steroids in KFC chicken were safe, though the watchdog found a suspicious level of an antiviral drug in one of the eight samples tested.

... maybe they were treating them for H5N1

"...hormones used to accelerate growth"

Precocious onset of puberty and "man boobs" a possible outcome.

: )

Maybe too much steroids in the meat explains this ...

Meatworkers Prone to Violence, Expert Says

... Of the 67 participants surveyed, meatworkers had a significantly higher propensity for physical aggression, anger and hostility than farmers, with those from the meat processing cohort tending to display more negative attitudes to animals.

Interestingly, farmers were found to have significantly lower levels of propensity for aggression than the general community while slaughterhouse workers scored higher than the community benchmark.

... Dr Taylor said another noteworthy finding was that women, regardless of employment as farmers or meatworkers, scored six per cent lower than men in their attitudes towards animal welfare.

"It was assumed women would be more pro-animal but this wasn't the case," Dr Taylor said.

... so much for the weaker sex.

Or, maybe people who work in those abattoirs are a self-selecting group of sadistic sociopaths, totally devoid of empathy for other living things?

I think a greater part of the picture is the combination of mind-numbing repetitive factory work (of which I do know a little bit..), MIXED with a process that is a desensitizing expression of violence.

I'm not against meat eating, but the industrialization and commodification of anything turns it into a caricature of its relationship to the real world, and how it balances with other priorities.

It's not that hard to get lost when you lose regular inputs from the outside world.

If you go from Chicken-cutting, to Commuting to Television, Vid Games or Drinking day after week.. how DO you keep a grip on reality?

If you go from Chicken-cutting, to Commuting to Television, Vid Games or Drinking day after week.. how DO you keep a grip on reality?

When that IS your reality, I doubt that you'd find much incentive to keep a grip on it.

The whole point is to not have a grip on reality. Reality is for those without the courage to do drugs and alcohol.

The idea of living in a cancer is a harsh reality. At least the cancer can covert some of its bounty into psychotropic products to anaesthetize free-living organisms forced into the systematic life of a hungry neoplasm.

The entirety of human civilization is similar to a breakaway cancer feeding upon the ecosystem. It grows and grows and grows, metastasizing into every tissue, disrupting it and absorbing all available nutrients. We congratulate ourselves for our “progress” and “advancement”, but nothing could be further from the truth. The prevalent narrative is that we are somehow different, the chosen ones, sapient beyond estimation and worthy of our rewards. As more railroads, highways, mines, fishing fleets, wells, penetrate the corpus of life, we congratulate ourselves for our good fortune. We ponder the longevity of our host as we develop new tools to employ against its tissues and monitor the effects of our toxic metabolism. Won’t we all panic when it finally slumps over and dies, and puts an end to us? In the meantime we somehow believe that this is all normal, that civilization has had a long history and will continue far into the future and that we are in control. We are and live within a cancer that has emerged suddenly within the ecosystem and rages uncontrolled. You won’t hear about that on Good Morning America or in any peer-reviewed journal.

We’ll never consider putting an end to it, even if we were aware, we all depend upon it for our livelihoods. We’ll continue growing, little tumor cells awed by their own spectacularly growing creation, unable to see the necrotic undermining effect upon their own foundation. Meanwhile the cancer looks for new opportunities, the bankers lend, and the growth continues until it can’t.


The Hallmarks of Cancer as evolutionary adaptations in a neoplasm

In their landmark paper, The Hallmarks of Cancer,[3] Hanahan and Weinberg suggest that cancer can be described by a small number of underlying principles, despite the complexities of the disease. The authors describe how tumor progression proceeds via a process analogous to Darwinian evolution, where each genetic change confers a growth advantage to the cell. These genetic changes can be grouped into six "hallmarks", which drive a population of normal cells to become a cancer. The six hallmarks are:

1. self-sufficiency in growth signals
2. insensitivity to antigrowth signals
3. evasion of apoptosis
4. limitless replicative potential
5. sustained angiogenesis, and
6. tissue invasion and metastasis.


Substitute “species” for “cell” in the paragraph above to shift from the cellular/body system to the species/ecosystem system. Who is going to apply the medicine to a bunch of innocent cancer cells that just want to have a good time?

"sapient beyond estimation and worthy of our rewards"

Ron, this is perhaps your best turned phrase ever. If you don't mind I will quote you on occasion.

The rest is informative too. Thank you.

Over the years here I've personally come to see human folly as generally piling up in three categories:
- Peacock feathers - flashy show-off constructions for mating value or social power. Typically these things don't last, and their value is superficial.
- Big stone heads - One-upmanship between groups for little purpose other than religion, or 'because we can'. These things last and may not be superficial, but offer little practical utility.
- Sand castles - Energetic industry that produces much of short duration. These things are often quite an accomplishment and sometimes practically useful, but just don't last.

From your cancer, all of these are simply side-effects of the main attraction, the pointless echoes of healthy pre-cancer cellular behaviors manifesting as tolerable overhead for the rampant organism.

I generally agree, Dopamine. Suffice to say I don't talk about it much with anyone, nobody likes to hear it.

As far as myself I have no immediate plans to put a gun to my head. But I have given up alot, and am withdrawing from the system in any ways that I can.

You say very well what I have observed and thought for a long time.
This living planet earth seems to be similar to a terminally ill cancer patient.

The prevalent narrative is that we are somehow different, the chosen ones, sapient beyond estimation and worthy of our rewards.

I think we are different and important in that we are the only species known to create language, education, and cultural evolution that have expanded our knowledge far beyond what an individual human could accomplish in a lifetime. I think it is beyond mere species-ism to claim we are a very important development in the universe that should be preserved.

I don't think we are "chosen", we merely evolved. And we certainly not sapient beyond estimation since we will likely be the cause of our own downfall. I think it is because of our intelligence and vast collected wisdom that it is important that we flourish and ultimately expand beyond our solar system. But we may not be smart enough to do that if we can't first get a grip on sustainable civilization. Perhaps the vast distance between stars acts as a nice test. If you can't create a sustainable civilization then you don't get to spread out to other stars because you are a menace.

speculawyer: "I think it is because of our intelligence and vast collected wisdom that it is important that we flourish and ultimately expand beyond our solar system."

You assume way too much. It's possible that the earthly biological "vast collected wisdom" resides within the genes of other species on this planet except for humans, like the whales, elephants, porpoises, coyotes, wolves, even snakes and spiders. We are the only species that seems to have lost this universal understanding of sustainability.

No, the other species don't understand it either. They would eat all the resources to the last crumble if they were allowed to. The beauty of it is; they are not. They are stuck in the ecosystem, and id they ever over-consume, the ecosystem will whack them on the head.

We humans on the other hand has broken free from the ecosystem. I don't think it was a wise move at all.

Humans are as capable of managing the planet, as algae a pond...

That is a depressing prospect and may be true. But it remains to be seen. I believe that we will certainly try to grow until we smack hard against limits. And they maybe we will learn something. In fact, it may be happening right now. The modern western world (USA, Europe, Japan, etc.) has smacked up against limits of debt, oil, etc. and we have massively reduced our population growth rate. So don't give up all hope. We still have much to learn and change but we have showed that we can change.

and we have massively reduced our population growth rate

You say that like it was a deliberate act. And you throw in "massively" to help with the claim.
Many events have contributed to declines in fertility rates but none of them (apart from China) were a deliberate attempt to reduce population. In fact countries like Australia encourage population growth.

Shale Oil and the Australian Outback – A Hot, Secure Frontier

A couple of factoids should put this claim in perspective as it relates to South Australia. These Mesozoic sedimentary basins overlay uranium hosting Precambrian basement rocks. SA may have a third of the world's easily mined uranium with Olympic Dam the largest deposit. However the state government is green tinged and SA already has about half of Australia's installed windpower. A proposed new wind farm will have biomass burning for backup rather than gas. In reality nearly half the state's electricity comes from burning gas supplied by two pipelines from ageing gas basins. They don't want nukes.

Perhaps clutching at straws there were high hopes for dry rock geothermal with wells drilled through the sandstone caprock to the uranium bearing granites. This would heat water circulated in a loop to generate electricity at the surface. Renewable baseload they said. Despite a huge effort and a lot of money this hasn't worked out. With the wind build ongoing SA needs something to replace conventional gas. That knight in shining armor has to be shale gas.

Therefore they are pinning their hopes on it working out. If they get carried away they will not only look un-green but foolish the way they got too excited about granite geothermal. What about developing the uranium resource? That's out of favour for now and will have to wait for another day.

What about developing the uranium resource? That's out of favour for now and will have to wait for another day.

Hard to see any immediate incentive with such a depressed uranium price.

The weird thing is that if Japan is largely responsible for the low U308 price then it's also inflating the price of natgas needed to expand the mine. The original plan was to build a 400 km gas pipe to the east and build a 250 MW air cooled power plant at the mine. Extra power for the mine and the desal plant on the coast would come from the state grid, also facing shortages.

Because of Japanese LNG demand that gas is now heading to the east coast for shipment starting next year. Some copper concentrate containing uranium is already railed to Darwin on the northern coastline then shipped to China for separation. If they can't think of a way to get extra power and water to the mine maybe the Chinese will end up taking boatloads of crushed rock and doing most of the processing in China.

I'm assuming the tight oil and gas in the basin immediately to the north of the uranium mines will come to nothing.

What about developing the uranium resource? That's out of favour for now and will have to wait for another day.

Will that day be once Mankind has shown it can be responsible with fission power?

No, it'll be the day that uranium power cost-effectively turns on lights that coal/oil/gas would otherwise leave off.

Worrying about whether we can be responsible is a luxury of wealthy long-term thinkers.

Drought Forces Missouri Ethanol Plant to Suspend Production

ST. LOUIS (AP) A central Missouri ethanol plant is suspending production effective Feb. 1, saying the extended drought has made it virtually impossible to get enough corn to make the fuel.

POET Biorefining spokesman Matt Merritt says there is simply not enough local corn to keep making ethanol at the plant, and shipping in corn from elsewhere is too expensive.

Snowfall Too Light to Ease Drought in US Crop Belt

From up top


N. Dakota tax bills pique industry interest
Another bill, HB 1134, aims to incentivise operators to capture and utilise produced natural gas at drilling sites rather than flare it.

Helms estimates that about 30% of the gas produced in the state is flared, since development of takeaway infrastructure has not matched the pace of drilling.

Producers are currently allowed to flare gas for a year without paying royalties. The new bill would extend that tax-exempt period for two more years if an operator can collect at least 75% of the produced gas.

The gas could be used to run generators or to produce diesel or fertiliser, representative Todd Porter, a sponsor of the bill, told the AP.

Good to see someone is finally waking up to the waste.
Still seems a little weak to me, but it is a start.

Indeed. I think it it should be illegal to flare it. They should be forced to figure out a way to use it. Generate electricity with turbines, create fertilizer locally, compress it & haul it away, make plastics, create hyrdogen, built out the pipelines . . . do SOMETHING useful with it. We are going to regret just throwing away that gas because we are in such a rush to to cash in on higher priced oil.

I think it it should be illegal to flare it.

Here I agree. Yet, would that make it illegal to just place a longer vent stack and just let it go into the air?

Generate electricity with turbines

Strikes me as a bad idea. Take something that was centuries in the making and convert it into something that if it is not used in an instant - its gone.

create fertilizer locally

you forgot concrete.

compress it & haul it away, make plastics,

Plastics - because the world needs more happy meal toys.

create hyrdogen,

If Hydrogen is needed for your industrial process - you can make it where you needed it.

But go ahead - cost out a storage tank.

do SOMETHING useful with it.

For all you know the flaring would be declared "we do this so the team of lawyers who read the new government regulations only work the night shift and need to be able to read the new regulations outside. This they need to read via the light of the flare.

I think this is a lot easier to say (or mandate) than do. Small volumes of gas, which contains impurities of various sorts may not lend itself to use. Microturbines that can handle low grade gas can be pretty pricey. Landfills have this issue of having low grade methane available, that could be burned for power, but it may cost more than grid power, because the stuff isn't very good. And in the case of a horizontal well, that won't be producing very long, can you afford to build a micro-factory that uses the stuff?

If you prohibit flaring, rather than flaring, which reduces explosion danger and the release of a potent greenhouse gas, the temptation would be to release it into the air (which isn't visible miles away).

Eric – Venting is prohibited in Texas or La. And probably in every other state. I must flare any produced NG by law in both states if I have to release it to the atmosphere. Usually done when we do a production test before a well goes on production. We need to know the specifics of the flow in order to design the production equipment. And there’s no way to cheat when producing a well: you report to the states, via certified third party tests, how much NG is produced with your oil. If there’s enough NG to flare you have to show proof you’re flaring it or you’re not allowed to produce the well. And there’s no way to cheat on that account in neither state. It’s impossible to eliminate all NG leaks when producing a well but the tolerance allowed in both states is very low.

As far as making flaring illegal it is illegal…unless the state says it’s legal. ND allows it so they can get the oil out of the ground sooner than later. We may not like their choice but it’s just that…their choice. There are two reasons to not like flaring: wasting NG and putting combustion gases into the atmosphere. As far as wasting the NG the potential revenue stream lost belongs to the operator, the state and the mineral owner. If it’s acceptable to all three then it doesn’t matter what our opinion is. BTW a land owner can either prohibit flaring in his lease or require a royalty payment even if the NG isn’t sold. Again his choice either way.

As far as putting combustion gases into the atmosphere that happens from hundreds of millions of other sources in this country every day. And not just automobiles. Consider how much fuel oil is “flared{ in the north every day during winter to keep homes warm. Consider how much NG is “flared” every day in this country to generate electricity. I would imagine the volume of combustion gases produced by well flares is tiny compared to all the other sources.

A great story from Australia where flaring had a big pay off day for a corporate raider.

Robert Holmes a Court in 1985 bought out Weeks Petroleum which had a royalty payment from ESSO BHP for all "production" from the Bass Strait oil and gas fields. Holmes a Court paid way over the odds for Weeks, and all the smart money people scorned Holmes a Court for paying way too much.

Now ESSO BHP had been dutifully paying the royalty on all the oil and gas "sales", but as you would know especially during the early years of oil production large amounts of gas was flared, especially as they were still building gas pipelines and building up a market for the gas.

So as soon Holmes a Court had taken control of Weeks, his lawyers knocked on ESSO BHP's door with a bill for the royalty on all the flared gas. After some argument ESSO BHP had to pay up.

A good David v Goliath story.

My take is, gas should be flared as a last resort, not just an easy path to oil production.

pusher - I knew a landman who 25 years ago busted Texaco on similar grounds and made a $3 million pay day as his reward. A lot better than the $35k/year he was making. Kicked back and enjoyed the good life. But for just a two years: died while scuba diving. But the landman that eventually married the widow enjoyed the good life. But only until he lost most of it in the stock market.

Who says God doen't have a sense of humor?

Appears ND might be behind the curve in another area

An Oil Boom Takes a Toll on Health Care

False or incomplete billing info etc. from uninsured laborers is putting western ND health care facilities in the red.

From above: Court Overturns E.P.A.’s Biofuels Mandate

The production of cellulose ethanol is fading away without getting started.

What's interesting to me is that a few judges think that they're better able to determine how much biofuels can be produced from woody crops than the EPA.

They don't. They judge the quality of arguments put to them by the two sides. Those that think they know better than the EPA are the other side in the case.

Judges don't just think they are the appropriate people to decide who has the better argument in a case, they are appointed because other people have decided they are.

In this case they are just responding to the fact that the law is unworkable. Cellulosic ethanol just isn't available -or affordable. Sometimes laws/regulations just can't adapt to reality in a timely manner, and something has to be done.

That question can only be settled by the laws of nature.

It's pure Lysenkoism to assign that job to any branch of the government, executive, legislative or judicial.

The EPA is part of the executive branch which must obey the laws that are passed by Congress. Congressional critters tried to legislate the production of cellulose ethanol with the stroke of a pen and by fining the customers, instead of the producers, for not complying.

Eliminating the mandate for cellulose ethanol and limiting the U.S. corn ethanol production to less than 1 Mb/d is for the best because it limits the damage to the biosphere.

I didn't see this posted in a quick scan of recent drumbeats ...

Energy's Latest Battleground: Fracking For Uranium

... Adnani insists that he can close the yellowcake gap through a technology that is similar to the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that has created the South Texas energy boom. Fracking for uranium isn’t vastly different from fracking for natural gas. UEC bores under ranchland into layers of highly porous rock that not only contain uranium ore but also hold precious groundwater. Then it injects oxygenated water down into the sand to dissolve out the uranium. The resulting solution is slurped out with pumps, then processed and dried at the company’s Hobson plant. ...

... UEC’s process doesn’t take place 2 miles down. Rather, it’s dissolving uranium from just 400 feet to 800 feet down–not only from the same depths as groundwater but from the very same layers of porous rock that hold it. ...

Ugh. Large amounts of Uranium tainted water does not sound like a good idea.

spec - That's why you don't drill your water well into a sand with a high concentration of U whether it's being mined or not. There are a lot of other naturally occuring nasties besides U in some areas of the aquifer. The well I drilled for a deep objective in the same area found a significant U deposit at 1,900'. Had it been above 1,000' an old Chevron U geologist told me it would have been a commercial field. I drilled a shallow water supply well for my drilling well and filled a small pit with it. It was the deepest blue water I had ever seen in a water pit. That Chevron geologist told that this wasn't uncommon above a U deposit: it was deuterium...heavy hydrogen. It's also not uncommon for U to concentrate above a hydrocarbon reservoir. A hydrocarbon accumulation induces an environment in a vertical chimney above it that results in a variety of deposits including magnetic minerals as well a U. Which is why that you shouldn't drill your water wells above a U deposit even if it's a lot deeper than your aquifer.

Ron – it’s a shame even a big publisher like Forbes has to resort to using hot buzz words like “fracing” to get folks to read a story that has nothing to do with frac’ng. If one digs deep enough they discover the phrase “similar to fracing” in the article. The U is produced via solution mining which isn’t at all similar to frac’ng other than water is pumped down the well. But unlike frac’ng a well (a one-time event) it’s a continuous low pressure injection operation that goes on for the life of the field. Water is pumped down wells which dissolves the U which is then produced up other wells. The pressure is very low compared to the pressures used to frac a deep well. The injection is going into rocks less than 1,000’ below the surface and the injection pressure is determined and authorized by the Texas regulators and not the operator. This is the same process that has been used for more than 40 years.

None of my comment addresses the concerns of the ranchers in the area. Those are legitimate. I’ll be glad to go into that in detail if any are interested. Rather technical and not suited to a short answer. I actually discovered a U deposit in the same Goliad County area about 25 years ago. My goal was to point out the cheap theatrics Forbes used to get folks to read their article.

BTW did you hear about the potential shortage of chicken wings in S. Texas for the Super Bowl game as a result of frac’ng? Turns out so many wells are drilling in the Eagle Ford trend that the increased number of frac crews has put a lot of pressure on chicken wing supplies. Even efforts by my brothers at Texas A&M who bred chickens with 6 wings each didn’t help: when they tried to collect them for processing they flew so fast they couldn’t catch any of them.

See: it worked. You saw the word “frac’ng” and just had to read my unrelated story and silly joke in order to understand the connection...or lack there of. Good enough for Forbes...good enough for the Rockman.

Egypt turns off streetlights to cope with power shortage

21 January 2013 - Due to 15 power stations in Egypt having halted electricity production because of fuel shortages, the country is turning off half its streetlights to save 700 MW. The streetlight reduction follows an earlier energy saving measure in which the government required earlier closing times for shops and restaurants. Although unpopular with much of the public, the closing time rules went into effect in December 2012.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is providing US$250 million to finance a 1,950MW power station in the country’s south. The new power plant will eventually be linked to Egypt’s national electricity grid with additional stations to be constructed soon. Egypt received an initial US$200 million loan for the project from the IDB during the country’s previous summer.

This is an additional response to the closing of stations a month ago.

I would suggest switching to more efficient lighting such as LEDs except that I believe the fundamental problem here is a money shortage not an energy shortage.

On a somewhat related note:

Los Angeles Saves Millions With LED Street Light Deployment

Next month marks the four-year anniversary of the world’s most ambitious LED street light conversion project. On February 16, 2009, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and President Bill Clinton announced [PDF] a partnership under which the city, advised by the Clinton Climate Initiative, would outfit 140,000 street lights with light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures.

Project planners faced daunting logistics. The City of Los Angeles owns and operates the nation’s second-largest street lighting system: 210,000 street lights (including 70,000 decorative street lamps that will be retrofitted in a second phase) anchored along 4,500 miles of illuminated streets.

See: http://www.forbes.com/sites/justingerdes/2013/01/25/los-angeles-saves-mi...

Nova Scotia Power is currently converting over 100,000 street lights in this province to LED and NB Power in neighbouring New Brunswick is upgrading 72,000 of their street lights, e.g., the 70-watt HPS cobras in front of our home (90-watt with ballast) were recently replaced by 44-watt LED units.

I'm working on my first lighting project that will be 100 per cent LED. Briefly, in bullet form:

     1)   There are four 100-watt metal halide poles that illuminate the front pathway to the building. I'm proposing to remove the ballasts, swap the feed from 347-volts to 120, and install 9.7-watt L-Prize lamps (92% savings).

     2)   The two 175-watt metal halide canopy lights at the front entrance (205-watts with ballast) will be replaced by 26-watt LED units (87% savings).

     3)   The nine 175-watt metal halide R40s in the front air lock and just inside the reception entrance will be replaced by 19.5-watt EnduraLED PAR38s (90% savings).

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/PANS-1.jpg and http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/PANS-2.jpg

     4)   There are four 1970's disco ball track heads above the reception desk fitted with 90-watt PAR38 halogens. These heads and their tracks will be removed to eliminate the visual clutter (100% savings).

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/PANS-3.jpg

     5)   The gallery space is illuminated by forty-eight 90-watt PAR38 halogens and seven 75-watt PAR30 halogens; these will be replaced by 19.5-watt EnduraLED PAR38s and 12-watt EnduraLED PAR30s (80% savings).

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/PANS-4.jpg

     6)   General illumination in the front lobby is provided by seventy-seven F40T12 tandem strips tucked inside wooden bulkheads. Unfortunately, much of the light is lost inside the plenum and the light distribution is far from uniform, as you can tell from the reflection on the wooden frames.

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/PANS-5.jpg

The fluorescent strips will be replaced by a lesser number of 8 ft. tracks. As with the fluorescent strips, the tracks would be suspended above the bulkheads with their heads tucked discretely inside the grid work, out-of-sight. This will make for a much "quieter" ceiling. i.e., no banding or hot spots.

We'll use sixty-four 12-watt EnduraLED PAR30s for general/ambient lighting and another twenty-six 10-watt EnduraLED MR16 LEDs to highlight various artwork and displays. In addition, to maintain the floating appearance of the bulkheads, we'll require sixty metres of LED cove lighting to illuminate the upper edges of the walls. Net savings: 84%

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/PANS-6.jpg

BTW, all of the fluorescent lamps in this facility are fitted with special plastic sleeves to minimize UV damage. But look closely at the top of the mural shown above. Notice the scalloping? One big plus of going with an LED light source is that there is no risk of UV damage.

     7)   The conference room shown below is illuminated by eight 200-watt A19 incandescents and thirteen F40T12 tandem strips; these will be replaced by eight 19.5-watt EnduraLED PAR38s and fifteen 12-watt EnduraLED PAR30s (88% savings).

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/PANS-7.jpg

     8)   The adjoining meeting room has sixteen 200-watt incandescent fixtures. We'll replace these incandescents with 9.7-watt L-Prizes and add thirty-two 10-watt MR16 LED heads to the existing tracks to fill in the gap (85% savings).

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/PANS-8.jpg

I could offer other examples, but suffice to say that we can cut the lighting load by 80 to 90 per cent, room by room, with no loss in performance. In fact, I'm hoping that we can address many of the shortcomings of the present system and provide something that is both functional and visually pleasing to the eye.


Egypt's response is (what appears to be now) the natural reaction to dwindling resources.
They think the answer is build their way out of the predicament. It's similar to the west though, it's a desperate attempt to maintain a semblance of BAU. Building more always exacerbates the problem, no matter what context. It's easily verified by the continual rise in CO2 emissions and the feverish exploration for, and exploitation of unconventional FF deposits.

While we maintain BAU so do we maintain population increases, environmental degradation in its many forms.
We can individually or even in large groups buy electric cars and erect solar panels and other wondrous examples of "renewable' energy but unless we actually use the machines to DIRECTLY offset emissions, then the FF deposits are still on the market and will be utilized eventually.

We can light the world with LED's, it makes us feel good but how much FF will they take off the market? How much FF will be prevented from being burnt? The climate we are experiencing now is not a result of emissions from last year, the year before or even ten years ago. Atmospheric CO2 has been rising relentlessly for a couple of centuries.

We can light the world with LED's, it makes us feel good but how much FF will they take off the market?

I'll take a stab at this, if I may. A good quality LED will provide 50,000 or 60,000 hours of useful service, whereas its halogen counterpart might offer 2,500 hours; thus, one LED lamp could, in theory, displace twenty or more halogen lamps that, collectively, weigh twenty times as much as this one lamp.

If we assume a nominal service life of 50,000 hours and that a 19.5-watt LED can effectively replace a 90-watt halogen (they both provide the same number of lumens), it will save 3,525 kWh and quite possibly over 4,500 kWh once you factor-in the related a/c savings. Let's go with 4,000 kWh. Assuming that power at the margin is supplied by coal and that plant to plug efficiency falls somewhere between 30 and 40 per cent, you could be looking at a 1.6 to 2.0 tonne reduction in coal demand over the life of this one lamp. So, which do you think comes out the winner?

The LED street lights that are being installed locally have a nominal service life of 100,000 hours which works out to be about 23 years. Roughly speaking, that's about four to five times the life of the HPS lamp that it replaces. Servicing a street light generally involves two vehicles, i.e., the bucket truck that performs the change-out and another truck positioned behind it to act as a traffic shield. You'll probably need to replace the ballast and igniter at least once during this time so five or six service calls could be required in all. If the HPS fixture draws 90-watts and the replacement LED consumes 45-watts, then you're looking at a 4,500 kWh savings over the life of the fixture, which can then be recycled or retrofitted. Here again, this could be a savings of over two tonnes of coal per fixture, plus maybe ten or more litres of diesel.


I said how much FF would it take off the market, not how much less demand to power lighting.
One idea is to drive all electric cars, another is to build windmills and electric trains and trams another solar panels. Lets do it but I would hazard a guess that in ten years the world will still be burning everything that can be produced.....not if of course an economic collapse causes a different chaos.

If the LED lights were devices that actively prevented the mining of coal, now that would help your fantasy.

I'm not saying that LED's or any renewable device is not a good idea when looked at in isolation, but in the real world context, they are just making things worse.

It's tough when your idealistic notion is challenged. We simply need to be honest with ourselves and understand that the world is in serious trouble now. That said I don't think that anything we do from now on will be enough, so might as well do the feel good stuff and go out in ignorance.

I'm also not saying that your intentions are not admirable nor are your actions. It's simply too late for that course of action. Great that LED's reduce a businesses' energy bill for lighting. So are those energy saving's maintained? Does the business not pursue growth? Isn't that the norm?

RTFA He answered re how much fossil fuel.


You don't understand either.

So, what are you saying? That we are too late and we should crawl under a rock and wait to die?

I said how much FF would it take off the market

you could be looking at a 1.6 to 2.0 tonne reduction in coal demand over the life of this one lamp

It seems like your question got answered. Too many here look at one answer and, if it does not solve the whole problem, shrug, say 'it dunnot wurk', then go off into the night grumbling. There is no one solution. There is a set of solutions. If we had got serious and started out on the trail 30 or 40 years ago it would have been much simpler. Now it is more damage mitigation rather that damage prevention.

Good for Paul, he is chipping away at one corner. Alan is chipping away at another. Wimbi yet another. It is about [redacted] time the [redacted] politicians stared chipping in themselves because big corporate is just going to eat the planet to fill today's bottom lines.


As I thought, you don't understand.
Chipping away...lol.
All the while while you are chipping TSHTF.
You know what the "chippers" aught to do, they aught to chip off an amount of FF they "saved" and bury it so it can't be used by some other "chipper". Then they could say they "done good".

You think we can save the place by chipping, chip away but like Halifax I'll be honest and say I don't give a Sh*t.
You would rather chip, that's easy, chip away and hear all the plaudits, get off on that. Those that actually care will go to the coalface and try to prevent the mining and production of FF's. That type of action will come eventually but FF production and use will be defended with violence, that's how ingrained the addiction is.

First we need to get honest. From there understanding and action. The FF are not off the market while seven billion people are crawling over every square inch of the planet. Hurts doesn't it, to have your world view of "just use less" and everything will be okay challenged. You defend that ideal with as much vigor as you can muster. Trouble with that is there are seven billion individual FF burners and we burn a cubic mile of oil and six billion tonnes of coal annually. Chip away.............

My thoughts as well. All I know for sure is that if we burn "x" amount of coal to generate electricity at this moment in time, it's a done deal. If we don't consume it, either due to conservation, energy efficiency, renewables or some combination thereof, then there's at least some hope that this coal might -- just might -- stay in the ground. And given a choice, I'll pick the greater than zero possibility of success over absolute, assured failure. Am I missing the bigger picture? Could be. I'll have to leave the "big thinking" to someone more qualified because, right now, I need to concentrate on keeping this coal out of the fire.


There is no one solution. There is a set of solutions. If we had got serious and started out on the trail 30 or 40 years ago it would have been much simpler. Now it is more damage mitigation rather that damage prevention.

Are you familiar with Greer's thoughts on 'predicament' vs. 'problem'? The former has no solution.

Dont' get me wrong - I see your point. I am one who chips away in my own small way. But I also very much see Bandits' pt that we're not going to save our asses, or the climate, or the rest of life on the planet via efficiency measures. What I don't consume via saving gets used by someone else, whether it's my neighbor, or whether it's coal shipped to China and burned there. We will collectively burn it all 'till we can't then we'll die. Or something like that. But I can't help but do my best to use as little as possible myself, since I feel that I do see that big ugly picture. Dutch boy with finger in the dike, or something like that. Not gonna help, but I can't help but try, even knowing that.

Well, in case there be any doubt, I’m not trying to save mankind from its own hand or from any other calamity that may befall us. I’m quite content to pass that responsibility on to someone like you. My goal is to reduce the demand for electricity in any constructive way I can, and if that ultimately proves to be to the greater detriment of our collective well being than some alternative course of action, then so be it. Or, simply put, I don’t give a rat's tush.


Or, simply put, I don’t give a rat's tush.

Now that's what I'm talkin' about.
We need more honesty.

Looking at the bigger picture Bandits is I think correct and perfectly frank. You'll be lucky to get 1% of the population of the planet chipping away at these micro piecemeal solutions and these piecemeal solutions will at best reduce THIER OWN component of FF reduction by a few % so you are looking an ego and conscience stroking activity really.

Meanwhile the other 99% of the popluation, especially in Chindiastan-merica-strailia, will continue to strive to consume more and burn more.

The compunded solution can only be fed into the system top down from government and commerce first and this isn't going to happen. Period. Believing otherwise is naive.


This monotonous theme from Bandits has an element of truth in it, but is played over and over as an absolutist decree, which makes his complaint merely that.

I don't hear Paul or NOAM suggesting that these improvements are ALL that are needed, and hence, no troubles, all is well, but that's how Bandito plays any number of the examples out there for ways people are working on reducing consumption.

Still, understanding the problems and the sheer stupidity involved in the vast amounts of energy that we blindly waste IS an important piece to the puzzle. If we are entering a much lower-energy world, then having the tools and the ability to work with less is going to be vital.

Many people ARE working on keeping other fuels in the ground.. such as McKibben and 350, but more folks'll just laugh at him as Naive and Misguided, in a separate thread.

The complainers always can claim the high ground.. mainly because they can mount up on top of those who are actually working ON the ground.

I shouldn't have to remind regular Drumbeaters about jevon's paradox!!Lets say our efficiency gains don't get eaten up by increased consumption by the 6bln other humans not doing their bit. They sure as heck are going to get eaten via the aforementiond.

This monotonous theme from Bandits has an element of truth in it, but is played over and over as an absolutist decree, which makes his complaint merely that.

I don't hear Paul or NOAM suggesting that these improvements are ALL that are needed, and hence, no troubles, all is well, but that's how Bandito plays any number of the examples out there for ways people are working on reducing consumption.

Still, understanding the problems and the sheer stupidity involved in the vast amounts of energy that we blindly waste IS an important piece to the puzzle. If we are entering a much lower-energy world, then having the tools and the ability to work with less is going to be vital.

Many people ARE working on keeping other fuels in the ground.. such as McKibben and 350, but more folks'll just laugh at him as Naive and Misguided, in a separate thread.

The complainers always can claim the high ground.. mainly because they can mount up on top of those who are actually working ON the ground.

For those actively pursuing better options, I say "Godspeed and be sure to keep me informed of your progress". And whilst I'm waiting for that first update, I'll continue to do what I do 'cause I'm the kind of guy that likes to keep busy.


Whether you cut supply or cut demand, the end result is the same: less FF burned.

If each person in the US burns one chip less, that's 300 million chips in aggregate. Not to be sneezed at.

You can also get big cuts in demand by shuttering factories and abandoning homes. But I think many little chips are better.

Lets just hope the other 6700 million start tossing their chips in to. oh....wait a minute they are eating up the extra chips :-(

Well some are, and some aren't. Ultimately it still becomes then an issue of outrunning not the Lion, but some other Impala who made worse choices in their flight.

Global population is a function of available energy as well as a curse on our consumption. It will rise while it can, and fall when it must. Just by improving our own setups and actions, we don't have any particular requirement or capacity to take on what the rest of the world is going to do.

But this logic that makes a causal link between 'Any fuel you don't burn, THEY will' is also a tired stretch. 'THEY' will burn what they will and what they can afford, and what their own efficiency developments can allot for them, and it is really completely independent of whether you have reduced your or your customers' usage.

Just as the PO detractors misuse this idea of 'the last drop', I think this side does as well, since consumers of energy will opt in or out of various fuels when the prices and other factors INCLUDING Global Awareness, but also just availability, public policy, convenience, peer pressure push the decision around.

look, we're a pretty educated bunch WRT energy but we represent a tiny tiny fraction those that understand well the severtiy of the problems we face.

But what chance is there when the best exaple our governments can set to the populace is "well, we're not going to commit to any meaningful reduction if China isn't" and thats where the leaders are and the vast majority of the public are currently at. You can preach all you like to us on Theoildrum or even your friend and relatives (provided you don't want to be labelled a loony) but at the end of the day I've repeated numerous time on my 6 years at TOD, it's got to be fed in top down.


I don't think it IS top down, frankly, as reflected in those studies on Democratic 'decisions' in other species that had traditionally been seen by us and our patriarchal projections as Alpha-male Led groups..

Our leadership needs OUR leadership, and even the publics purchasing and efficiency decisionmaking is most likely (tho slowly) to react to others who have 'found new ways', and are noticed thriving because of it.

No, it's not 'THE SOLUTION', which is to say it doesn't preserve things as they are today. Nothing does that. The only thing that stays the same is Change. There IS an inclination to stay with the familiar and the safe.. we all have our habits and our conservative instincts about one thing or another.. but good luck with that.

Preaching? Sure, I'll send out my signals for right and wrong, for GO and STOP.. but what is this outcry against Efficiency but just a perverse form of preaching as well? As the preacher/minister said at the UU service to us yesterday, (which she called a reflections, not a Sermon) Even the word Sustainable is not so useful a concept, and she, following Thomas Berry, the Catholic Environmental Activist Priest, now replaces it with the term 'Regenerative'.

I think it's really shortsighted and juvenile for Bandits to preach at Paul about 'not getting it', about 'having his comfortable assumptions challenged', about his 'dreams and fantasies' .. when Paul has over and over shown us MWH upon MWH that he and his company have demonstrably pulled out of the NSP utility demand.

Yes, there are just RIDICULOUS numbers of other places throughout our human industrial world that need to go in other directions.. but to sit there and pick off those things as somehow invalidating his work is just peevish and petty. Even in a fact based world, we STILL need to choose how to present and understand these facts, and the outcome can range from totally helpful to completely helpless..

Or as Don Juan DeMarco put it..

By seeing beyond what is visible to the eye. Now there are those, of course, who do not share my perceptions, it's true. When I say that all my woman are dazzling beauties, they object. The nose of this one is too large; the-the hips of another, they are too wide; perhaps the breasts of a third, they are too small. But I see these women for how they truly are... glorious, radiant, spectacular, and perfect, because, I am not limited by my eyesight. Women react to me the way that they do, Don Octavio, because they sense that I search out the beauty that dwells within until it overwhelms everything else. And then they cannot avoid their desire, to release that beauty and envelope me in it. So, to answer your question, I see as clear as day that this great edifice in which we find ourselves is your villa. It is your home. And as for you, Don Octavio DeFlores, you are a great lover like myself, even though you may have lost your way and your accent. Shall I continue?

jokuhl, you left out the dynamic that reduces the cost of a resource to others by reducing/ removing your demand for it, thus stimulating demand by enough to cancel out your conservation.

That dynamic lives next to a dozen others.. there are other pressures on price and on buying power, on consumer decisions and the Macro-Economy.

When that factor gets dropped in as an argument, it is usually painted as just such a sole actor that magically cancels out all the advantages of having taken action. Sorry, I think it tends to work as an excuse from taking action.

Hi Bandits,

Let's make a couple of assumptions. Eventually world population will level off (maybe at 8 to 9 billion) and possibly decline thereafter. Businesses will try to grow, but as we become more energy efficient, less energy per unit of GDP is used.

We will have two competing trends, growth in World GDP will lead to increased energy demand ceteris paribis.
This trend is offset by increasing energy efficiency, though the rates will not necessarily balance. For example, we might see 3 % World GDP growth, but only a 2 % increase in world energy efficiency so that there would be a net increase in energy demand of 1 % (numbers are for illustration only, I do not have actual estimates).

Eventually the efficiency improvements will reach a limit, by the time that occurs limits to the rate fossil energy output in EJ/day may be reached as well. At that point (maybe 2025) alternative energy may be cheaper than fossil fuel (even without including externalities) and at that point depletion will lead to reduced fossil output because prices cannot rise above the price of the substitute energy.

It is true that all that is produced will be consumed, the key is a rise in the price of fossil fuel to the point that alternatives become competitive, as more alternative energy is used economies of scale will likely bring down the price of alternatives even further (particularly solar, but offshore wind as well).

Let's say everyone (businesses and consumers) in the US cuts electricty use for lighting by 50 %. Total lighting uses about 13 % of US electicity produced (added 1 % for manufacturing)
( http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=99&t=3 )
so this would be cut to 6.5 %, I don't think it likely that this would translate to 6.5 % growth in GDP, though any increased rate of growth would be good news for the 8% who are unemployed.

As we come up against limits it will be best for society to use scarce resources as efficiently as possible. Carbon taxes would be one way to give us any hope of a transition to a slow or no growth world, proper taxation of all externalities would be even better.

I also realize that from a global warming perspective, if we burn all fossil fuels, we are in trouble. The optimists think that the market may take care of this by alternatives coming down in price quickly enough to make much of the fossil fuel uneconomic, I find this position unconvincing and would advocate for a quick ramp up in Carbon taxes to speed up the transition.


With more energy-efficient lighting, there's often the secondary benefit of reduced a/c demand, most certainly within the commercial sector. Thus, the actual upside is likely to be somewhat greater than what these numbers would suggest. Also, I don't want to propose that lighting is the first and last word in reducing electrical demand; it's just one of many options worth pursuing. I talk a lot about it because it happens to be my primary area of interest, but the real meat and potatoes are motor drives. There are rich opportunities in HVAC as well (every time I come across a reheat system, I want to commit unconscionable acts to innocent kittens).


... 15 power stations in Egypt having halted electricity production because of fuel shortages

What fuel is in limited supply? Natural gas?

... finance a 1,950MW power station in the country’s south.

What fuel does it use? When there is a fuel shortage, a new power station does not necessarily help.

Fuel shortage sees Egyptian power stations shut January 2, 2013

... Egypt were forced to halt generation due to shortages of diesel and natural gas.

The fuel ran dry, leading to the reduction of some 3,000 MW of electricity capacity....

Those sound like peaking plants. They should install wind and PV to reduce their dependance on imported natural gas and their declining supply of domestic crude oil.

In August 2012, the Egyptian government announced that a new power station at Damietta some 300 kilometres north of Cairo and another at Abu Kier in the Alexandria governorate had begun operations with a view to meeting rising domestic energy demand. The two stations generate a combined 1,800 MW.

No mention of the type of fuel.

Let's see, Egyptians blew up their natural gas pipelines, and Egypt is using expensive crude oil to generate electricity. Their response is to build new centralized power plants using some unspecified fuel which might be imported natural gas. It sound like Egypt is setting itself up for failure.

I don't think it is really a 'fuel shortage' as in there is a no fuel available. I suspect that there is a shortage of money to pay for the fuel and hence no fuel. Sorta like the fuel shortage in Greece.

Egypt West Damietta Gas Turbine Generating Plant (Kharafi National) is powered by four 125 MW natural gas turbines.

The Abu Kier Power Station uses a steam boiler, but I can not determine the fuel source.

Yair . . . I don't know if it's made the International news but the East Coast of Australia is being clobbered by a weather event that (I think)is unprecedented in my seventy years . . . a tropical low is tracking slightly inland from Cape York to Sydney with rainfalls of two to three feet pretty much the norm.

We measured thirty six inches in three days.


Well this should be welcome relief from the extreme heat you've been experiencing. What do the snakes do in this type of rainfall?

Out of the Frying pan and into the Firehose?

Praying for water and getting waterboarded..

I hope this isn't the new normal...heatwaves and floods in the same month.

It is and it's all happened before you know like sometime in the Pleistocene so nothing unusual /sarc

From the other side of the World, we have some more interesting weather to consider:

Mighty North Atlantic low bombs to 930 mb and:

Ice Storm Threatens Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh

E. Swanson