Drumbeat: February 16, 2013

Direct threat to Canadian economy posed by U.S. shale oil production

EDMONTON - Remember Peak Oil, the theory that global crude oil supplies have peaked and are in irreversible, long-term decline?

The concept got a lot of media play but never really passed the smell test, since it didn’t account for the impact of technological change or rising oil prices.

In any case, the notion of Peak Oil seems amusingly quaint now that it’s been relegated to the same ideological trash bin as Y2K.

Thanks to such innovations as horizontal drilling and fracking (hydraulic fracturing), the U.S. is currently producing more oil than it has in 20 years. U.S. output now exceeds seven million barrels a day, and that has enabled the world’s biggest oil consuming nation to cut its imports to the lowest level in 16 years.

Since Canada’s crude oil exports are a critical driver of well-paid jobs, royalties, taxes — and ultimately, federal equalization transfers — that’s something that should alarm all Canadians.

Oil Drops on U.S. Industrial Output, Euro-Area Exports

West Texas Intermediate oil fell after U.S. industrial production unexpectedly shrank and euro- area exports declined the most in five months, raising concern that fuel demand may weaken.

Futures pared the week’s gain as January factory output slipped while euro-area exports dropped in December. Oil extended the intraday low in late afternoon as equities fell on news that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had the worst sales start to a month in seven years. The shares reached a four-month high of $98.24 on Jan. 30. The year-to-date low is $91.52.

Fuel poverty protest to take place in London

Campaigners will stage a demonstration in central London this afternoon to urge the government to help those struggling to pay their energy bills.

Gasoline Futures Climb to Four-Month High as Contango Narrows

Gasoline reached the highest level in more than four months, rising a fifth consecutive week, and the March contract’s discount to April futures narrowed for a second day.

Futures for March delivery climbed 0.6 percent to the highest settlement since Sept. 28. The spread to April shrank 2.05 cents to 17.93 cents, the smallest in eight days, indicating traders consider March winter-grade fuel undervalued. April represents summer-grade fuel, more costly to refine and blend.

Ethanol’s Discount to Gasoline Narrows on Signs of Lower Imports

Ethanol’s discount to gasoline narrowed on speculation that a second weekly decline in the biofuel will make it more competitive with Brazilian products and reduce imports.

Russia March Oil Export Tax May Hit 10-Month High on Urals Rise

Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter, will probably increase duties on most oil shipments abroad by 4.3 percent on March 1 to the highest level since May after Urals crude prices rose.

Putin Turns Black Gold to Bullion as Russia Outbuys World

When Vladimir Putin says the U.S. is endangering the global economy by abusing its dollar monopoly, he’s not just talking. He’s betting on it.

Not only has Putin made Russia the world’s largest oil producer, he’s also made it the biggest gold buyer. His central bank has added 570 metric tons of the metal in the past decade, a quarter more than runner-up China, according to IMF data compiled by Bloomberg. The added gold is also almost triple the weight of the Statue of Liberty.

Government backs North Sea oil boost

THE Government gave the green light to one of the biggest-ever North Sea oil projects yesterday creating hundreds of new jobs and boosting UK energy supplies.

Iranian private sector exports two million barrels of crude oil in fiscal year

The Iranian private sector has exported two one-million-barrel consignments of crude oil in the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 20, 2012, IRNA quoted National Iranian Oil Company Managing Director Ahmad Qalebani as saying.

The NIOC received 320 requests from the domestic and foreign private companies for buying Iranian crude oil, he said. The private sector is facing problems, such as providing tankers, insuring shipments, and securing financial transactions, he added.

Brazil workers call off Petrobras strike

Brazil's main oilworkers' confederation called off a five-day strike against state-led oil company Petrobras, but it rejected the company's latest profit sharing offer in hopes of getting a better deal, a union spokeswoman said on Friday.

Colombia's Oil Company Ecopetrol Profits Fell 4.4% in 2012

BOGOTA--Colombia national oil company Ecopetrol SA's net income fell 4.4% last year compared with 2011 due to slightly lower oil prices and higher operational costs.

The company, one of Latin America's largest publicly traded companies and the largest company in Colombia, also missed its 2012 oil production target of 780,000 barrels a day. It said output last year was 754,000 barrels a day of oil equivalent, 4% higher from 2011.

Mexico orders Pemex to explain questioned loan to union-paper

(Reuters) - Mexico has ordered state oil monopoly Pemex to provide details about a controversial multimillion dollar loan it made to its trade union, Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong told a Mexican newspaper.

Shell seeks Cameron help over tax payment row

LONDON: Oil company Royal Dutch Shell has asked the British government to raise the subject of a tax dispute with India during Prime Minister David Cameron's visit there next week, according to a source familiar with the request.

The dispute blew up earlier this month when tax authorities revalued by $2.7 billion a 2009 transaction by Shell with a wholly-owned subsidiary, and claimed a tax payment was due.

Rem I. Vyakhirev, Former Chief of Gazprom, Dies at 78

MOSCOW — Rem I. Vyakhirev, who as chief executive of the huge Russian energy company Gazprom during the 1990s resisted efforts by reformers to break up and privatize it, only to end his tenure a billionaire owning valuable pieces of the company himself, died on Monday. He was 78.

China plays by its own rules while going global

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- When Venezuela seized billions of dollars in assets from Exxon Mobil and other foreign companies, Chinese state banks and investors didn't blink. Over the past five years they have loaned Venezuela more than $35 billion.

ConocoPhillips Given Approval to Resume Production at Penglai

ConocoPhillips received approval to resume production at the Penglai 19-3 oilfield off the northeast coast of China, which was closed in 2011 after an oil leak.

Indorama plans Africa’s largest fertiliser plant in Nigeria

Abuja: The Indian firm, Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited has said it has firmed up plans to construct Africa’s largest fertiliser plant in Nigeria’s oil rich region.

Pipeline protesters are headed to D.C.

Dozens of Delaware County residents and students will be boarding buses and vans bound for Washington, D.C., on Sunday morning to rally against the multi-billion dollar expansion of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Four States Introduce Keystone XL Resolutions, Lifting Language From ALEC and TransCanada

Legislators in four states have introduced bills in recent weeks supporting the controversial TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, with language that appears to have been lifted directly from a "model" American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) bill and from TransCanada's own public relations talking points.

Elegaic Images From North Dakota’s Boom

For Elizabeth Farnsworth, the story began when she was walking her dog at a highway rest stop off Interstate 94 in North Dakota.

“My husband and I met a trucker who was making $100,000 per year,” said Ms. Farnsworth, a freelance filmmaker and special correspondent on PBS NewsHour. “That’s when I got interested in the oil boom.”

Why Japan Can't Quit Nuclear Power

TOKYO—Hiroko Sata, an 87-year-old nurse, walked out into the Tokyo street on Nov. 11 to see about the commotion. To her left, more than 1,000 people were banging drums and shouting slogans. “What in the world is going on there?” she asked me and my translator, grimacing at the disturbance. The protesters, we told her, had gathered in front of the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co. to commemorate the 20-month anniversary of the disastrous triple-meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011.

Sata, who is older than Japan’s nearly 60-year-old civilian nuclear industry, remembers a time without nuclear power. Families were allowed just a few lightbulbs in the 1940s, because the electrical system was still in its infancy. “There was a TEPCO office in the neighborhood,” she recalls, and when a bulb burned out, “we had to bring it there” to trade it for a new one. The advent of nuclear power meant that the Japanese could consume as much electricity as they wanted.

Clean Energy Faces Hurdles in Legislature

As the session progresses, renewable energy advocates are bracing to defend critical policies that have helped Texas become the leading wind-power state. The ascendancy of the Tea Party, an abundance of cheap natural gas and tighter budgets have reduced the sway of the wind industry. Solar power advocates anticipate limited gains at best.

PA State Rep. Greg Vitali wants law to hike renewable energy production

Counting on shifting sentiments about climate change, a Democratic state legislator on Friday introduced legislation to force Pennsylvania utilities to generate more power from renewable sources such as wind and solar.

Foreign investors set to sue Spain over energy reform

(Reuters) - Foreign investors in renewable energy projects in Spain have hired lawyers to prepare potential international legal action against the Spanish government over new rules they say break their contracts.

It is unclear how much claims might be worth, but international funds have more than 13 billion euros ($17 billion) of renewable energy assets in Spain and say that the government has reneged on the terms of their investment.

To Help Light Up Africa, Many Drops in the Bucket

A San Francisco start-up, SunFunder, is hoping that the collective power of the crowd can help bring a bit of clean, renewable energy to people living off the electric grid in rural areas of Africa and Asia. Since its crowdfunding site made its debut last July, the company has raised $50,000 from about 300 investors to finance four business ventures that sell solar-powered products in these areas, according to SunFunder’s founder, Ryan Levinson. Anyone is eligible to join the site — so far investors have come from 18 different countries — and the minimum investment is $10.

The Air That Kills in India

The thick haze of outdoor air pollution common in India today is the nation’s fifth-largest killer, after high blood pressure, indoor air pollution (mainly from cooking fires), smoking and poor nutrition, according to a new analysis presented in New Delhi by the Boston-based Health Effects Institute. In 2010, outdoor air pollution contributed to over 620,000 premature deaths in India, up from 100,000 in 2000.

How China's lonely bachelors are helping its economy grow

FORTUNE -- They say a good man is hard to find, but that's not the case in China, where men overwhelmingly outnumber women. The ratio of men of marriageable/dating age (15-30 years old) to every woman is 1.15 -- an unusual imbalance that's created a rat race of bachelors vying for the affections of a limited pool of young women. Many may want to marry, but never will.

Oddly enough, China's lonely bachelors have actually helped the country experience extraordinary growth. And in the coming years, the trend will likely continue as the ratio gets progressively out of balance, said Columbia University professor Shang-Jin Wei recently at a symposium.

Farmer’s Supreme Court Challenge Puts Monsanto Patents at Risk

With his mere 300 acres of soybeans, corn and wheat, Vernon Hugh Bowman said, “I’m not even big enough to be called a farmer.”

Yet the 75-year-old farmer from southwestern Indiana will face off Tuesday against the world’s largest seed company, Monsanto, in a Supreme Court case that could have a huge impact on the future of genetically modified crops, and also affect other fields from medical research to software.

At stake in Mr. Bowman’s case is whether patents on seeds — or other things that can self-replicate — extend beyond the first generation of the products.

Bracing for a New England Trawling Decision

In late December, the New England Fisheries Management Council, a body made up largely of commercial fishermen, voted to recommend that bottom trawling and dredging be allowed to resume in more than half of the protected waters that currently shelter New England’s recovering groundfish stocks. The issue now goes up to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

As Fisheries Struggle, Debate Heats Up Over How to Help

Ms. Kirk is the first to admit that suggesting using any of the money for anything other than direct aid is controversial. “I made my vision and perspective known, and I had a line out the door of fishermen banging on my door, wanting to see me right away,” she said.

One of those fishermen was Paul Vitale. “She’s trying to get money to fix the city — that shouldn’t come out of my pocket,” Mr. Vitale said. “It shouldn’t go to anyone but the fishermen.”

Obama's Sphinx-like energy policy

LONDON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's policy on energy and climate change remains inscrutable, full of strategic ambiguity, which probably suits him just fine. The soaring rhetoric in his State of the Union address - "for the sake of children and our future we must do more to combat climate change" - masks a more complicated, some would say pragmatic, approach to the role of clean technology and fossil fuels in meeting future energy demands while curbing greenhouse gases.

Great News: Obama Recommits to Clean Energy; Terrible News: Obama Recommits to Dirty Energy

Let’s get serious here: Natural gas is not a clean fuel. Yes, emissions are only half as bad as with coal, and it is also modestly cleaner than oil. But that isn’t good enough. If we allow our natural gas production to expand significantly—or even to stay where it is today—there is no way we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by anything close by the 40 percent that is necessary by 2030, and by 80 percent as of 2050. Obama did mention accelerating investments in technologies to burn natural gas with a lot fewer emissions. But these technologies are not close to being workable, and they would require hundreds of billions of dollars to get there, maybe.

Basic countries oppose EU's carbon tax model

Chennai -- The Basic (India, China, Brazil and South Africa) would oppose European Union's bid to internationalise its emission regulations for civil aviation sector and is set to seek additional emission reductions by rich countries for short-lived climate change causing gases.

The best solution on climate change requires Congress to act

Unless we take bold action to reverse climate change, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to look back on this period in history and ask a very simple question: Where were they? Why didn't the United States of America, the most powerful nation on earth, lead the international community in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preventing the devastating damage that the scientific community was sure would come?

Why Is Gaia Angry With Me?

You may not carry a laptop case made out of recycled fixed-gear bicycle tires. And it has probably been a while since you used yak dung to heat your home. But, hey, you’re an environmentalist. At least, that’s what you and your fellow boomers tell those pollsters whenever they ask.

So why is your carbon footprint bigger than the footprint of the T. rex that turned into the oil you’re using in your Prius?

When researchers tried to calculate carbon dioxide emissions by age group in the United States, guess who scored worst? You in the old Grateful Dead shirt — we’re talking to you.

Fracking is the only way to achieve Obama climate change goals, says senior scientist

America will only achieve the ambitious climate change goals outlined by President Barack Obama last week by encouraging wide-scale fracking for natural gas over the next few years. That is the advice of one of the nation's senior scientists, Professor William Press, a member of the president's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Ice-free Arctic Ocean in 2030?

(Reuters) - Vast uncertainty remains over the causes of melting Arctic sea ice and when it may disappear altogether during the summer, which would have consequences for oil explorers, shipping firms and the fight against climate change.

RE: Direct threat to Canadian economy posed by U.S. shale oil production

Remember Peak Oil, the theory that global crude oil supplies have peaked and are in irreversible, long-term decline?

The concept got a lot of media play but never really passed the smell test, since it didn’t account for the impact of technological change or rising oil prices.

In any case, the notion of Peak Oil seems amusingly quaint now that it’s been relegated to the same ideological trash bin as Y2K.

We may see Oil-Qaeda suppressing those who speak peak oil because they have begun to suppress negative ads by using bullying tactics on activists:

Exxon Mobil gave a cease-and-desist order to Comcast, forcing the cable provider to pull an ad about climate change from Fox News' coverage of the State of the Union address in some areas Tuesday night, according to emails provided to The Huffington Post by one of the groups responsible for the ad.

(Huffington Post). Why are they afraid of other people's opinion?

An excerpt from a paper, with 24 graphs, that I am working on, in which I will formally introduce and explain the ECI concept (Export Capacity Index):

Rising Unconventional Production Versus Declining Net Exports

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

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

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

Furthermore, the increase in US oil production also needs to be put in the context of production declines in other OECD countries. For example, US total petroleum liquids production in 2011 was 7.8 mpbd, only slightly above the US 1999 production rate of 7.7 mbpd, but over the same time period, 1999 to 2011, UK total petroleum liquids production declined by 1.8 mbpd, down from 2.9 mbpd in 1999 to 1.1 mbpd in 2011. From 2006 on, the UK was a net oil importer, showing rising annual net oil imports, through 2011.

In any case, for the average American consumer, unless they directly or indirectly benefit from US oil and gas activity, an increase in US crude oil production, to a level that it still well below the 1970 US crude oil production peak, is largely irrelevant, and the average consumer is far more focused on recent near record high gasoline prices at the pump.

I wonder if it wouldn't be better to use another term instead of "decline rate", which I don't think the public understands.

"Half life" is another way of describing the same thing, and is well established after sixty years of atomic energy.

A 7% decline rate translates to a half life of 9.5 years.

Tell people, "If we stop all drilling today, in ten years time we will only have half the oil we have now." I think that might be easier for them to comprehend the significance of.

And the average half life of a well in the Bakken is less than one year, per yesterday's discussion. That's pretty shocking.

I had done this analysis, using JODI data

Shrinking crude oil exports - a tough game for oil importers

WT, net export metrics seem more revealing ( & easier) than calculating reserves or production. It seems the decline is attributed to internal use but isn't it possible that some of the decline could be used to mask less production?

I just finished a 5,000 word paper, with 24 graphs, describing the merits, in my opinion, of using the Export Capacity Index (ECI) ratio, or the ratio of total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption. I'll post a link in the next day or two. It will be on the ASPO-USA website.

In any case, in my opinion, the three biggest factors that almost everyone is overlooking about net exports are depletion, depletion and depletion.

Case in point, and one of 24 graphs, Normalized total petroleum liquids production for the Six Country Case History (Indonesia, UK, Egypt, Vietnam, Argentina and Malaysia), with 1992 production rate = 100%, versus post-1992 Six Country CNE (Cumulative Net Exports):

Their combined production in 1998 was 21% above their 1992 production rate, but in only six years they shipped slightly more than half of their combined post-1992 CNE.

Note that these are, insofar as I know, the six major net oil exporters (with the exception of China), that hit, or came very close to, zero net exports since 1980. I omitted China because it's not typical of net export declines. Like the US, China became a net importer, prior to a production peak or plateau.

The $64 Trillion question is why would global net exports show a materially different pattern, especially over the next 10 to 20 years, than the Six Country Case History?

Because many OPEC countries are wasting an incredible amount of oil in ways that the rest of the world uses coal, nat gas or other generated electricity. There is pleanty of fat in the system, or low hanging fruit if you prefer. You could be right, and linear extrapolation is the best way to predict the future, but I disagree. Another is the assumption that exporters can continue to increase oil consumption at the same rate. It's almost abusrd the amount of oil they would need to consume on a per capita basis. The US is pretty bad, but getting better, yet according to your predictions some of these OPEC countries are going to hit double the per capita consumption of the US at it's worst in the next 10-20 years.

I have a lot of respect for you, but I think you need to be a bit more realistic when forcasting the likely consumption of some of these countries.

Note that a linear extrapolation of the six year 1995 to 2001 rate of decline in the Six Country ECI ratio produced an estimate of remaining post-1995 CNE (remaining as of the end of 2001) that was too optimistic by a factor of two.

A linear extrapolation of the six year 2005 to 2011 rate of decline in the GNE* ECI ratio suggests that post-2005 Global CNE have already been depleted by 22%. Note that by definition, post-2005 Global CNE have been depleted, the only question is the slope of the depletion curve.

*GNE = (2005) Top 33 net exporters, BP + EIA data, total petroleum liquids

In any case, the Denmark case history:

Denmark is a case history of a net oil exporter, showing a production decline, that taxes fuel consumption and that has successfully cut their consumption. Their 2004 to 2011 rate of change numbers (BP):

(P = Production, C = Consumption, NE = Net Exports.)

P: -7.9%/year

C: -1.0%/year

NE: -19.9%/year

ECI Ratio (P/C): -7.0%/year

Given an ongoing production decline in an oil exporting country, unless they cut their consumption at the same rate as the rate of decline in production, or at a faster rate, the net export decline will exceed the production decline rate, and the net export decline rate will accelerate with time.

In Denmark’s case, their 2004 to 2005 net export decline rate was 12.5%/year, while their 2004 to 2011 net export decline rate accelerated to 19.9%/year.

In simple percentage terms, a 43% decline in production from 2004 to 2011 resulted in a 75% decline in net exports, even as consumption fell by 6.5%.

So if an exporter could hold its decline to a more reasonable level of around 4%, and cut consumption by 1% then you may have something approaching a probable, IMO future scenario. It could even be more gradual then that. Not many people forcasting 7.9% declines globally. How fast is the US reducing oil consumption?
I'm not disputing export land model, just saying I think your forcast shows something more extreme then what we will actually experience.

GNE CNE depletion will be wrong if the rate of increase of consumption in GNE's is decreased, which is what I expect, similar if in addition to that production does not show any material declines for another decade or more, which is also a possibility.

Let's assume an ECI ratio of 2.0 at peak (similar to Denmark), with say production of 2.0 mbpd and consumption of 1.0 mbpd, and thus net exports of 1.0 mbpd. If we assume a production decline rate of 4%/year, and a consumption decline rate of 1%/year, in 10 years their numbers would be as follows:

P: 1.34 mbpd
C: 0.90
NE: 0.44 mbpd, a net export decline rate of 8.2%/year

An extrapolation of the 10 year ECI decline rate suggests that they would hit zero net exports at peak + 23 years, with at least half of post-peak CNE having been shipped by peak + 8 years.

Incidentally, GNE (2005 top 33 exporters') production was up slightly from 2005 to 2011, as I estimate that post-2005 Global CNE were depleted by 22%. My premise is that we are only maintaining something resembling Business As Usual because of a sky high rate of depletion in Global and Available Net Exports (GNE less CNI).

In any case, an extrapolation of the GNE ECI 2005 to 2011 decline rate of 2.4%/year (as the ECI ratio fell from 3.75 to 3.24) implies that the rate of increase in consumption would have to fall, as we see an inevitable production decline. Otherwise, we would see an acceleration in the rate of decline in the ECI ratio, which is what we saw with the Six Country Case History.

For example, Top 33 consumption increased at 2.7%/year from 2005 to 2011. Let's assume that Top 33 production falls at 2%/year from 2011 to 2021. In order to maintain a 2.4%/year ECI decline rate, which suggests an ECI of 2.55 in 2021, the rate of increase in consumption would have to fall to less than one-half of 1%/year from 2011 to 2021 (0.4%/year to be exact).

If the Top 33 rate of increase in consumption stayed at 2.7%/year and if we assume a 2%/year production decline rate, the GNE ECI Ratio would be down to about 2.0 in 2021, which would mean an acceleration in the ECI decline rate, to 4.8%/year, which again is what we saw with the Six Country Case History.

Then there is the Chindia factor. Ratio of GNE to Chindia's Net Imports (CNI):

I don't think consumption growth rates will stay flat for GNE's after peak production, and more importantly after a global peak in oil production. I doubt there will be much growth in consumption at all after a global peak for anyone. Chindia cannot have 100% of all exports, Japan and the US are too reliant for that to ever be a reality for starters.

I have concluded that when it comes to net export math, almost everyone falls somewhere between disbelief and denial.

In any case, we shall see how the following consumption trends change with time. But as noted above, given an ongoing production decline, unless consumption falls at the same rate as the rate of decline in production, or at a faster rate, it is a mathematical certainty that the net export decline rate will exceed the production decline rate, and that the net export decline rate will accelerate with time.

Written by Westexas:
... why would global net exports show a materially different pattern, especially over the next 10 to 20 years, than the Six Country Case History?

Will the crude oil production from all countries in the world peak and decline during the next two decades?

You selected those 6 countries because their productions all peak and decline within the period covered by your graph. Keep in mind that world crude oil production actually rose between 1992 and 2007. In the rest of the world there are countries like Canada whose syncrude production will likely rise because the high price makes some of their resources profitable to extract. Your graph is too pessimistic for world crude oil exports. I will not be the only one who realizes it.

Regarding the Six Countries, these are all of the major net exporters, that I am aware of, that approached zero net exports since 1980, with the exception of China. At various time frames since 1992, some of the countries had increasing production, e.g. Vietnam, which did not peak until 2004, while some had falling production, but they showed a combined "Undulating Plateau" from 1995 to 1999. I am comparing the Six Country 1992 to 1995 data to global data from 2002 to 2005 (both periods of rapid increases in production, followed by very slow growth).

Regarding Canada, their average rate of increase in net exports from 2004 to 2011 was 50,000 bpd per year, and the increase in Canadian net exports served to slow the overall regional decline as Western Hemisphere net exports fell from 6.1 mbpd in 2004 to 5.1 mbpd in 2011 (seven major net exporters in the Americas in 2004).

Following is a missive to an email correspondent (an EIA analyst) on this topic:

The 1995 to 2001 Six Country rates of change were as follows (P = Production, C = Consumption, NE = Net Exports)

P: -1.0%/year
C: +2.0%/year
NE: -5.6%/year
ECI: -2.7%/year

If we extrapolate the six year 1995 to 2001 rates of change in production and consumption, post-1995 CNE would have been about 9 Gb. However, the production decline rate accelerated to 4%/year, and the consumption rate of change fell only slightly, to +1.8%/year. As a consequence, post-1995 CNE were 7.3 Gb, instead of 9 Gb.

The observed 2005 to 2011 rates of change for the (2005) Top 33 net exporters were as follows:

P: +0.3%/year
C: +2.7%/year
NE: - 0.8%/year
ECI: -2.4%/year

If we extrapolate the 2005 to 2011 rates of change in production and consumption, then post-2005 Global CNE were depleted by about 22% in six years, and GNE in the year 2021 would be about 40 mbpd, versus 44 mbpd in 2011. While the rate of increase in production could increase, and the rate of increase in consumption could decline, what if the rate of consumption stayed about the same and what if production fell at about 2%/year from 2011 to 2021?

This is basically what happened with the Six Country Case History, after 2001. The production decline rate increased, hardly a surprise (peaks happen), and the consumption rate of change stayed about the same.

After all, it is not if, but when, that we see measurable production declines, and the 2005 to 2011 Top 33 rate of increase in production was only one-tenth of what we saw from 2002 to 2005.

In other words, unless the shale revolution sweeps the world (with tens of thousands of wellbores quickly headed toward stripper well status presumably saving our bacon), it could be argued--especially if one uses the Six Country Case History as a model--that my post-2005 Global CNE estimate may represent something of a best case.

If we assume a 2%/year Top 33 production decline from 2011 to 2021 and if we assume a 2.7%/year rate of increase in consumption, GNE would be down to about 26 mbpd in 2021, versus 44 mbpd in 2011. And for the sake of argument, if the Chindia region's 2005 to 2011 rate of increase in net imports continued out to 2021, their combined net imports in the year 2021 would be about 21 mbpd, leaving Available Net Exports at about 5 mbpd, versus 35 mbpd in 2011.

They are afraid of people finding out the truth and maybe pulling back their spending habits...among other things---

From the NYT: In New England, a Natural Gas Trap

Normally, a megawatt-hour costs $30 to $50, and an MMBtu less than $4. But not lately...

On Jan. 24, the cost of an MMBtu of natural gas at Algonquin Citygate, a spot near Boston where gas is traded, rose to $31.20, pushing the price of a megawatt-hour over $200. Constellation Energy, which operates plants in the region, attributed the jump to temperatures 15 to 20 degrees below average...

A megawatt-hour cost about $150 early this month, according to weekly reports from ISO New England, the independent operator that maintains the region’s electricity market.

No problem, it's just Mr. Market at work...

E. Swanson

These erratic movements in price have been around before:

Multiply cents/kWh by 10 to get dollars/MWh

What in the statistical trends make it special this time?

$31.20 is pretty well up there on your chart. The last time it was that high was 2004.

The spike has to do with inadequate natural gas supply in cold weather. Electric utilities burn natural gas, and of course natural gas is sold to heat buildings. If the price is getting that high, a person wonders if they are having to close schools or cut off other discretionary uses to keep adequate supply to homeowners. It is a big problem if supplies to homeowners get cut off, because then pilot lights need to be relit.

"$31.20 is pretty well up there on your chart. The last time it was that high was 2004."

To be precise that is for BTU, and the chart is in W-hr, so what they quote is $200/MWhr which corresponds to 20 cents/kWhr, which is fairly common occurrence on the chart.

Perhaps the received wisdom from the MSM of late is that there is an abundance of NG available, thus no worries about future use. The thinking might be that the shale gas available in the North East would make such shortfalls a thing of the past. The article mentions the fact that the older coal fired plants are being phased out and replaced by NG plants. With coal, on site storage gives a cushion against a fuel supply shortage. Also mentioned is the electricity generated by the Indian Point nuclear plant, which was imported from New York. Indian Point is scheduled to be closed in the near future.

So, lets frack away and plant new pipelines into the ground to move that abundant NG to the cities before those Yankees freeze. OK, so when the shale gas poops out, then what, switch back to coal???

E. Swanson


I've been browsing a lot posting occasionally here for over 5 years. I've read reliable reports that say US shale gas reserves are considerable and recoverable - in other US natural gas reserves have been increased by a large amount. DOE, using an assessment by Intek, Inc
lists 750 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable reserves. Total US production of natural gas is approximately 30 trillion cubic feet a year, or roughly 1 trillion cubic meters.

You can find EIA/DOE's US shale gas estimate here :


DOE estimates technically recoverable reserves of shale gas worldwide to be 6500 trillion cubic feet, excluding Russia and the Middle east which weren't included in the study.


According to DOE, recoverable reserves increase world supply of natural gas by over 40 percent. In fact, the second document shows that recoverable shale gas reserves are a multiple of conventional world-wide conventional natural gas reserves excluding Russia and the Middle East.

Obviously the downside of shale gas is the fracking methods used to extract it but there should be scope for improvement here.

I think the downside is that price must rise far above current market prices for a lot of this gas to be produced, except for plays where a good amount of liquids are produced with the gas. EIA does not seem to factor price into the production forecast. Unless big shale drilling cos. can make a reasonable return on their drilling efforts they will not continue to produce these shale gas plays.

I am personally feeling the effects of this after making a sizable investment in one of these shale producers that has shown poor earnings due to low gas prices. Stock price got hammered and many investors are bailing out. Only way for us investors to recover is to see price rise over $6/mmBTU, IMO. But then demand may drop some in the long term. In the short term gas drilling rig count continues to fall, as will production, unless domestic prices rise or new nat gas liquifaction plants are built or converted for exporting the gas.

If you look at world NG prices versus US, if LNG is built there will be no problem with $6/mmBTU price floors. The rest of the world is more $8-$16 now.

I'm banking on this as part of my job assurance until retirement, so I really hope this pans out.

So, a 6.5 quadrillion plus supply (cubic feet). Give or take. Maybe. Even factoring in a poor EROI, surely that's a HUGE number. If shale gas can eventually be used to run the big-stuff-carriers (ships, trains, commercial jets, etc), can the "BAU can" be kicked along for several more decades?

Very few politicians believe/discuss PO, limits-to-growth, etc, and solutions to CC seem all too hard. Are TOD discussions on future energy supply (and perhaps a global form of impending doom), though fascinating and informative, just a little premature? Should I just get on with it and not be so concerned for my three teenage-kids immediate futures?

Regards, Matt
Less gloomy today

Actually, I think a cause for concern is the possibility that the peak will not be reached for several decades. That just ensures the fate of those lucky duckies that will be around in a few decades from now. If you close your eyes and cover your ears, I am sure your teenagers will be just fine.

Another perspective is that when peak oil seemed imminent, there was much bemoaning of the fact that if we had recognized and acted on this problem three decades earlier beginning with President Carter, we would not be in such a pickle now. Just for the sake of argument let's say we have moved peak oil and gas three decades forward. In three decades, people will be saying we should have acted now.

You can't adequately address peak anything without a lot of lead time and taking action to help future generations before the crap hits the fan. But hey. This is homo sapiens we are talking about. So let's not kid ourselves.

The kicker though could still be EROEI. If you can't afford the fuel, it doesn't really matter how much there is.

IMHO, I was wondering about current conventional gas reserves listed as 260 trillion cubic feet for the US, if that were the case then conventional supply was really short - i.e, 8-10 years worth.

Considering that fracking has been pursued vigorously, this means the experienced people in the industry know on the ground that in fact it was in short supply. AFAIK, China has the largest reserves of tech. rec. shale gas reserves in the DOE study at 1375 trillion cubic feet with the US at 875 tr. cu. ft.

Total shale resources (inc. technically recoverable and presently unrecoverable, and not including potential discoveries) are listed as 16 quadrillion cu. ft. In addition to shale gas resources, there is also coal-bed methane with technically recoverable reserves of at least 250 trillion cu. ft.

Yes, natural gas may just be pushed to replace oil as fuel, world-wide there are 14.8 million gas powered vehicles.
Gas-to-liquids has been used to convert methane to gasoline and diesel, but looking at these it doesn't seem like large scale production can happen since the processes use large amounts of energy. Using the LNG directly seems more likely.

Carbon capture is a joke in the sense that no significant amount of current CO2 emissions (over 30 billion metric tons annually) can be captured. Captured CO2 may be pumped into an old oil field to improve recovery.

Soon aerosols from the recent large increase in coal use will clear the air and we will see a significant warming effect within 4-6 years, that is if CO2 does really warm things up significantly. :-)

One wonders what effect Sandy had on supply and demand (as in demand destruction in a real sense). Perhaps this situation would be worse had Sandy not taken out so many customers. Then again, there was a lot of gas being vented to the atmosphere for a few days after the storm.

FYI, Modern forced air (post '80s) furnaces do not have a pilot light. The furnace uses spark or hot surface igniters to light the gas each cycle. They use flame sensors to make sure the flame is lit and will lock out the gas for several minutes between retrys to prevent explosions.

There are still some in-wall and under-floor heaters than need a pilot, but they are usually used in milder climates.

The pilot on a water heater is another story - they run all the time since the heat goes into the water anyway.

My 1989 forced air NG furnace has a spark igniter. No pilot light. It goes through a start sequence of fan, check for fan operation, ignite. All this is controlled by a small control module with a solid state board and when I had to replace the brain, I had visions of the supply chain for this very specific object. The supply chain wraps around the world several times, all the way to rare earth mines in China and component assembly in six countries. Un hunh.

The proper backup is a wood stove, but the previous owner remodeled and took not just the chimney, but the massive footings for the chimney. Made sense at the time. He was from California and winter on the 49th parallel, where tree branches fall on the lines and take out the power all the time, just didn't make sense to him.

The market doesn't have a reserve built into it anymore, although the U.S has been able to pump a lot more natural gas lately.. but how it gets distributed is another question. Natural gas is the only area that really can grow, along with coal - of the big three fossil fuels of coal, natural gas, and oil. Every single reliable document I have found mainly confirm the point that oil supplies are now constrained and can't grow anymore. Unless there's a really big coverup, but I haven't been able to find it.

"In any case, the notion of Peak Oil seems amusingly quaint now that it’s been relegated to the same ideological trash bin as Y2K."

I didn't realize that a technical challenge was the same as an ideology. In the writer's view, to fly a plane, we have to throw the notion of gravity into the "ideological trash bin".

The basis for Y2K was that the main language of business computing, COBOL, only had dates that went to the year 99, and so any programs executed beyond this date gave potentially incorrect results. The project known as Y2K was the effort to fix this problem. It was largely successful given the fact that companies took the time and invested the money and effort to avoid major failures.

The basis for Peak Oil is that fossil fuel resources are finite, and so the enduring process is to gradually wean the world's economy off of fossil fuels, starting with crude oil. This is an ongoing project, and not one with a deadline such as Y2K had.

To solve a problem, one first has to state the problem and then analyze the problem. So these guys are perceiving a threat from US shale oil that may be non-existent. The Bakken will turn out to be a bust. The real threat is a short-term vision.

Exactly. People seems to assume Y2K was a bunch of alarmists wetting their panties over a non-problem.

In fact it was an extremely good example of a real worldwide problem that was foreseen and overcome by professionals doing their job.

I well remember Jan 1, 2000. I let myself into the empty office and booted up the server and a workstation, checked it all worked okay, switched off and went away to enjoy my holiday.

It's not because there wasn't a problem. I'd had to rewrite bits of our proprietary software. I had checked all our hardware with downloaded tools and was 99% certain that everything would work. The final check was to confirm the last 1%.

And all over the world IT guys were doing the same thing. We foresaw the problem and did something about it, that's why Y2K passed painlessly.

Yeah, the response to Y2K was in a whole different range than peak oil, and we had a specific date to work to. I was IT at a software development/conversion systems firm in the mid/late 90s; it was all hands on deck. We started early on and discovered quite a few looming disasters. We were also kept busy converting old data bases, etc. to new formats; had a couple of old PDP-11s working overtime to access data bases from all over the world. They looked like something out of an old sci-fi movie, cables running across the floor, fans on the giant 4mb hard drives, and tapes everywhere.

A guy I worked with waited for precious metal prices to drop just after 2000 and bought a bunch of silver (under $4/oz back then). Everyone said he was crazy, but he sat on it for 12 years and made ~1000% return. I got in on that action a little, but this guy did really well, in at $3.50, out at $40. Peak oil won't be that easy to call.

We have another one coming

Year 2038 Problem

The year 2038 problem may cause some computer software to fail at some point near the year 2038. The problem affects all software and systems that both store system time as a signed 32-bit integer, and interpret this number as the number of seconds since 00:00:00 UTC on Thursday, 1 January 1970. The furthest time that can be represented this way is 03:14:07 UTC on Tuesday, 19 January 2038.[2] Times beyond this moment will "wrap around" and be stored internally as a negative number, which these systems will interpret as a date in 1901 rather than 2038. This is caused by integer overflow. The counter "runs out" of usable digits, "increments" the sign bit instead, and reports a maximally negative number (continuing to count up, toward zero). This is likely to cause problems for users of these systems due to erroneous calculations.

Don't know, but it may cause a issue with trusted site security certificates.

Not just security certificates, it has the potential for some very big problems, all Unix/Linux based machines and that means pretty much everything has this issue. Fortunately it's not universal, it's about what kind of data type one uses to represent the time variable, we have been using a 64 bit variable in our systems for some time, it's good enough for millions of years, but there are a lot of legacy systems out there. Hopefully it will be fixed by 2037

Hopefully it will be fixed by 2037 in the big rush job of 2036.

Hey, just going on past experience.


In a way, Y2K was a total non-problem for the vast majority of Americans. I remember thinking at the time that it was a problem for the billing dept of major utilities, but for the customers? --- Is it a serious problem if you don't get the monthly bill from the phone company or the electric company because they can't print correct dates on the bill? The engineering functions that are run by engineers didn't have computer automation of the productive part of the business, so there was no danger to the lights going out.

That is still largely true. The smart grid is still little but a marketers dream, IMO.

No bucks, no Buck Rodgers. ..as the saying goes.

I don't think you really appreciate how many systems, large and small were already heavily dependent upon computers. If the Utilities' computers went down, there would be a lot more trouble than just printing the monthly bills for the customers..

Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.. but those NEO objects that fly past without our noticing could still wipe us out in the blink of an eye.

The people who were most alarmist about Y2K probably overestimated IT systems normal reliability.

In actuality, IT systems fail often, and IT people have an awful lot of experience fixing them when things go wrong.

In actuality, IT systems fail often, and IT people have an awful lot of experience fixing them when things go wrong

They fail one at a time, they don't all fail together.

The worst problem seems to be due to computer viruses - although this is a field I have no real expertise in.

Well, the Canadian tar sands have a lot of oil in them and TS oil is selling at under 40 dollars a barrel, so if it doesn't go to the US then it can go to China. I'm surprised a mainstream media article has collected so much attention.

I think the problem wasn't COBOL, it was programmers saving a little space by using a 2 digit date. In fact, I remember a "decade" problem - programmers in the 1970's using a single digit date, that caused the same problem.

In the main, you're right about ideology, though Kunstler, at least, is an example of this writer's idea: he claimed that Y2K was going to cause inevitable TEOTWAWKI. Kunstler was claiming that it was an unavoidable catastrophe.

Cobol had a two digit date originally. No argument there.

Ice-free Arctic Ocean in 2030?

They only uncertainty is whether the Arctic will be ice free in the winter of 2030, not the summer.

From that article, the last one listed today in drumbeat is this:

Scientists are still unsure about the exact causes of sea ice melt, and predictions of when the North Pole could have an ice-free summer vary from 2015 to 2080 or later, with forecasts centring around 2040.

2080 is their outside date?! Wow, that sure is optimistic considering the following linked graph showing an ice free summer in the 2013-2019 range. Of course that's based on the trend, but what information do we have to suppose the trend could be so far off that 2080 or even later is possible? Even 2040 at this point seems extremely conservative.


Your linked graph is for the autumn rather than the summer. You need to add about 5 years to that to get the time its ice free in June as well as September.

For PIOMAS to 2013 rather than just 2010 and the projections see


It doesn't make much difference to the projection, melt has been extremely close to that trend line in the intervening years.

Your linked graph is for the autumn rather than the summer. You need to add about 5 years to that to get the time its ice free in June as well as September.

Ice free in June? Let's start with ice free in September, because if it goes to ice free in June we will probably get roasted due to methane releases from the arctic sea floor occurring in a very short period of time.

What is happening seems to be what Jim Hansen called a 'flipping point'. Most people, including most 'scientists' seemed to have believed that there would a gradual warming spread out over many decades, but Hansen seems to have envisioned a flip to a new, different climate regime. We have no experience with modeling a phenomenon that we have never before experienced. Hansen tried to be a 'scientist' and not use words that would really scare people. After the polar ice is gone in the new regime, there will be a much more gradual sea level rise as the whole body of the ocean below a depth of about a 100m, I think, gradually warms up and expands. After the entire ocean has warmed to a new equilibrium temperature, the sea level will be several tens of meters higher than now, with a lot less habitable land area.

The bottom waters of the world's oceans are quite cold, below 0oC. That's the result of the sinking of very cold waters at higher latitudes, called the Thermohaline Circulation (THC). As long as the THC continues to replenish those cold waters, the oceans below the thermocline won't warm very much. Now, if the THC stops, then things will get interesting. Many models have pointed to this result for the THC in the high latitudes of the North Atlantic, though the effects after a THC shutdown are not clear. One result suggests that the impacts of a shutdown would be a cooler Northern Europe, which would moderate the temperature increase from AGW. Other studies of ocean temperature suggest that warming is propagating downward in the oceans faster than expected...

E. Swanson

I think Jim Hansen does not expect the THC to persist after the flip. I certainly don't expect it to persist. Or at least it will be weakened to the point where there is significant temperature rise from its present very low value. Without ice there will be no source for a halide concentration gradient.

The system is very far from being ice-free during the winter. Hudson's bay, and even the great lakes are icefree in summer, but still have significant wintertime freezing. I think most of the brine come early in the freeze season, so some cold high salt water should still be generated -as long as significant surface area freezes every winter.
Of course the flow might be weaker.

The Great Lakes are down to about 5% ice in winter now:

According to Environment Canada, as of Feb. 5, 2012, just over 5 percent of the Great Lakes waters are covered in ice ... Typically, during the second week in February, the percentage of ice on the Great Lakes is around 30 percent. Ice coverage typically peaks during the middle of March near 40 percent then falls sharply during the spring.

(Lack of Great Lakes Ice). Don't know about this year (2012-2013) yet.

Cold water sinks at all latitudes, Swanson. Cold water is denser than warm water. IMHO, the effects of CO2 warming have been markedly masked by all the aerosols dumped into the air from coal-burning in China, but the percentage of new aerosol relative to the amount of CO2 emitted by China will decrease rapidly in a few years as the aerosols precipitate out quickly. If CO2-caused warming is all that, we'll see an uptick in warming very quickly in a few years. One thing I don't understand though is why global monitoring stations aren't showing an increased rise in CO2 in the air, even though China is burning 3 times as much coal now as in the year 2000. I'm not sure if there are any global monitoring stations in China, or how long it takes CO2 localized in China to diffuse world-wide. However, it can't be more than a few years.


.. and it seems that the CO2 levels in China aren't that well known:


At least two stations recording CO2 in or near China have stopped operations: http://gaw.empa.ch/gawsis/reports.asp

The surface water in the tropics and mid-latitudes aren't cold enough to sink, given that the waters below are very much colder. There's no THC in the North Pacific that I'm aware of and that includes the Gulf of Alaska.

Your link regarding CO2 concentration shows a graph beginning in 2008. How was the world economy doing in 2008? Weren't the industrial nations beginning to enter the Greater Recession, which also cut their emissions of CO2 from all sources? We don't really need to know local CO2 emissions to assess the global average, though that information provides other insight into the problem. In fact, the reason that measurements were begun in Hawaii by Charles Keeling was the fact that that location was isolated from local influences.

Better luck next time, JV...

E. Swanson

Exactly. The freezing water melting from the poles doesn't sink significantly because the water there is already cold. Otherwise there isn't much cold water moving in anywhere else.

The Global CO2 concentration I linked to shows a steady rise in co2 levels, as it has been for many, many years. As for CO2 emissions, China's have roughly tripled from 2000 to 2012, and it's total coal CO2 emissions are almost half the global total. CO2 emissions continue to rise. The World Meteorological Organisation states that it has too few CO2 measurement stations, and the ones in China aren't reporting. WMO admits it's CO2 readings could be completely off the actual readings as most readings are taken at near sea level.

Yes, the Western economies took quite a tanking in 2008...

There you go again, getting it backwards. The THC sinking only happens at high latitudes, either around the Antarctic or in the northern most North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. The sinking waters are formed during a few months of the freeze season in the sea-ice cycle as the formation of sea-ice results in brine being expelled below. Only a few locations actually produce the sinking water, it's not something which happens over the entire Arctic ocean, since the surface salinity tends to be lowered during the previous melt season. The sub tropical North Atlantic has the highest salinity of the major basins, but that salinity is reduced by dilution as those waters flow further northward. Of course, there's no sinking at the South Pole (that's land, not ocean), the sinking occurs further northward around the continental margin.

As far as climate impacts, there's no need for local stations, as it's the average over a year which has the long term impact. Local stations would be useful for assessing the emissions of individual countries, but that's another issue, IMHO...

E. Swanson

No, I'm not getting it backward. Melting ice produces freshwater (freshwater = is less dense than brine (seawater, d = 1.025 g/ml)), and doesn't sink at all. We were talking about melting ice, not freezing ice. Global warming will produce large amounts of fresh water that doesn't sink in brine.

With all due respect, your interpretation is incorrect. You are correct that the sea-ice appears to be melting away during the summer melt season. However, there's still quite a bit of freezing during the winter half of the cycle and the process of freezing results in salt rejection as the water freezes. Also, for the water to freeze, the surface must first be cooled to freezing, so the source water is quite cold and the addition of the brine from the sea-ice results in water which is dense enough to sink.

That global warming is expected to result in more fresh water from the melting of land based glaciers is certainly part of the problem. I would expect that the THC sinking process would be changed as a result. But, that's not to say that sinking will cease, as the waters around Antarctica are not isolated from the major oceans as is the situation in the Arctic and high latitude North Atlantic. The THC sinking around Antarctica is likely to continue as long as there is still a large area of sea-ice at the end of the freeze season there. In the NH, I suspect we will find that the THC sinking may cease, as some model experiments have suggested, or the sinking may shift to another region, perhaps further into the Arctic Ocean.

I forgot to mention that presently there are warm waters which do sink to some depth, such as the bottom outflows from the Mediterranean Sea over the sill at the Strait of Gibraltar, the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. The flows are relatively small, compared to the sinking of colder waters. The warm water from the Mediterranean Sea sinks and forms a distinct layer in the North Atlantic, but does not make it to the bottom, as I understand it...

E. Swanson

I understand what you are saying - however I'm more interested in the effect of the melting caused by global warming. I think I just misinterpreted what you were talking about, and I wasn't familiar with the process of sinking water caused by the freezing ice. oh, and nice nick..

Written by JV:
One thing I don't understand though is why global monitoring stations aren't showing an increased rise in CO2 in the air....

If you put a straight edge on the CDIAC's chart of Monthly Carbon Dioxide Concentration, then you can see the concentration is increasing faster than linear.

Thanks for that link. Again, several other CO2 monitoring sites have ceased operations.

Yes, I could see freezing point depression due to salt and the pressure would allow below 0C. Is -1.8C the lowest it goes?

On the wikipedia page I did not see anything about geological heat contributions. Would the abyssal regions possibly have less heat input and the higher Ring of Fire regions have more or would heat from geology be statistically insignificant? I have googled some on it.

We do have experience. The science of chaos examines systems that can change states in complex ways. There is a huge amount of commonality in how systems change, even those which are totally different physically, show very similar chaotic behavior. Most of these are "toy" systems, -usually a mathematical model of some sort. Maybe WHT will want to chime in?

"Maybe WHT will want to chime in?"

I won't say much but about chaos except to mention that there are rabid followers of chaos as a climate change mechanism at the ClimateEtc blog. Can't argue with these people because they refuse to believe that the energy imbalance due to GHGs rides on top of any of the chaotic mechanisms (which lead to limit cycles) arising from internal energy redistribution.

The toy systems are such things as Benard cells which can show chaotic spatio-temporal temperature oscillations.

AGW is about the basic energy imbalance and not from internal energy redistribution.

CAGW (catastrophic) is about AGW plus a variety of tipping point mechanisms which may have origins from chaotic behaviors and positive feedback loops.

Without having followed the discussions you mention, I would like to point out that one "catastrophic change", that of the THC shutdown, is due to a process which exhibits a threshold with hysteresis. The process is thought to result from a strong freshening of the surface waters in the Greenland and Labrador Seas, in part the result of increased runoff from Greenland's ice sheet. There's historical evidence for such an event as the result of the drainage of a large lake trapped behind the ice sheet over eastern Canada at the end of the last Ice Age, the result being the Younger Dryas cold period.

While that exact mechanism isn't going to be repeated (there's no large glacial lake(s) these days), the model results have pointed to a slower freshening of the surface waters via increased melting along with increasing atmospheric transport of water to higher latitudes. The loss of sea-ice over the Arctic would also contribute to freshening, as the surface waters of the Arctic become much fresher as the sea-ice melts each spring and some of that water moves from the Arctic into the Greenland Sea thru the Fram Strait. Also, an increase in the export of sea-ice results in freshening of those waters as well...

E. Swanson

The other chaotic pieces are the natural oscillations that often obscure the global warming signal. These are the behaviors that climate skeptics go on an on about, El Nino, PDO, etc and they like to point out that there may be a future natural oscillation that is much bigger than the GHG trend.

To the rabid skeptic, the strength of the natural oscillation is less important than proving that the GHG climate scientists are wrong. We could hit a natural chaotic bifurcation that wipes us out, and the skeptics would be happy -- at least the climate scientists were proven wrong in that AGW was actually just GW It is very bizarre, but that's the way many of them think.

In the end, they would claim that a THC shutdown was a natural bifurcation. I would cynically believe that they are positioning themselves to not be accountable.

Many climate scientists don't like the simple math used in that prediction. PIOMAS being verified could shift some opinions but as you can see in the link below summer ice extent isn't that far out of whack and that is what they have modeled. We will know if the volume camp is right by 2018 or earlier.

2012 Updates to model-observation comparisons

The graph in that thread is chosen to make the models look not too bad. If you use a volume, or a thickness, or even a rate of extent loss, the model performance is abysmal. Their energy imbalance on arctic sea ice is out by an order of magnitude, they put about 0.1 W/m2 into ice melting and its actually about 10 times that. The models require at least another 30 years worth of BAU emissions before they predict melt at the rate that happened in the last decade.

That thread uses one model going from 8 to 7.9 while another model goes from 7 to 6.9 as showing that ice going from 8 to 7 is within model predictions. All it shows is that they are bad at predicting ice cover to start with and hopeless at predicting the rate it disappears at.

Gulf of Mexico Well Evacuated Due to Uncontrolled Gas Flow

A natural gas well in the Gulf of Mexico, located approximately 50 miles east of Venice, is releasing gas uncontrolled and has been partially evacuated, according to the well's operator ...

Apache Corp., the operator of the rig, is attempting to kill the well, and is sending a drilling rig manned by employees of the Boots & Coots company to the site to drill a relief well if it becomes necessary. Boots & Coots oversaw the drilling of the relief well at the BP Macondo spill site in 2010.

15 workers were evacuated from the Ensco 87 rig, which sits in 218 feet of water, after tests found natural gas had migrated from the 8300-foot well to a sand formation approximately 1100 feet below the seabed.

Apache plans to kill Gulf well after detecting uncontrolled flow

Problems first arose on Feb. 4, when workers on the Ensco 87 jackup rig detected a kick, or uncontrolled flow of fluid, in the well. In response, they activated a blowout preventer, which apparently was successful in keeping natural gas from escaping the well.

However later testing revealed that gas had migrated from the bottom of the roughly 8,300-foot well to a shallower sand formation 1,100 feet below the seabed.

Windsor gas well capped after spewing fracking fluid

A damaged natural gas and oil well north of Windsor,CO that spewed greenish-brown “flow-back fluid” and steam for upward of 30 hours was capped Tuesday afternoon after an 2,000 barrels of the substance escaped the damaged port.


Colorado oil and gas panel approves 500-foot oil well buffer

As of Aug. 1, oil and gas wells and their related machinery cannot be drilled or placed within 500 feet of buildings statewide without a variance or waiver granted by the state or nearby landowners. Drilling oil wells within 1,000 feet of a school or hospital will also be barred without a special hearing before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

The buffer was increased to 500 feet from 150 feet in rural areas and 350 feet in urban areas to address public health and safety concerns.

West Virginia EQT Explosion Kills Worker At Taylor County Natural Gas Well Pad

The man was attempting to transfer briny wastewater from a tank into a truck, she said. What sparked the explosion is unclear and will be the focus of the state's investigation, already under way.

S – “…natural gas had migrated from the 8300-foot well to a sand formation approximately 1100 feet below the seabed.” We call it an “underground blowout”. Actually not that rare: I’ve had it happen on two of my wells in the last 18 months. Can be very expensive to deal with but seldom an environmental problem. But this is a bit more dangerous being at 1,100’. If the pressure of the 8,300’ reservoir is high enough it could exceed the overburden pressure of the shallow zone and breach to the surface.

Basically: 3 situations. 1) Taking a kick: gas/oil flows up under pressure and they shut the valves (BOP or others). They circulate heavy mud down to kill the flow. 2) Underground blowout: same as a kick but when the valves are closed the NG/oil flows into shallow lower pressure reservoir. Usually kill the flow like killing a kick. In this case something may be preventing that approach and thus the potential relief well. 3) Surface blowout such as Macondo.

Are Environmentalists Getting It Wrong on the Keystone XL Pipeline?

... If environmentalists had made safety, not emissions, the centerpiece of their political charge against KXL they might have prodded the White House into promoting meaningful new regulations for all oil and gas pipeline operators. Instead, the handful of voices -- led by conservative Nebraskans who gave Obama cover to twice delay a decision -- crying out for more attention to the danger of a spill is lost amid the clamor over the pipeline's contribution to climate change.

British Electrified Passenger Rail Vehicles to Double (High estimate)

13,000 (low) to 19,000 (high) more new electrified inter-city and commuter rail vehicles by 2042.

3,000 km of newly electrified rail lines will shift the proportion of electric vehicles from 68% to 80% by 2019 and more than 90% by 2042.

More details at


Best Hopes,


What perplexes me is the complete lack of interest by US railroads in electrifying any of their mainlines. Even though diesel fuel prices continue to rise (over $4 per galloon in this part of the country), they mistakenly do not see any advantage in electrifying mainlines that see 100+ freight trains a day. In mountain regions electrified rail could have huge savings in energy cost as the regenerative braking reduces energy use by 60% or more. Maybe the RR executives believe the rise in US oil production will continue unabated until the US is a net oil exporter.

They are probably waiting for Federal tax rebates or some other incentive program.
Everyone else does.

There are several drivers for the electrification of rail in the UK, reducing CO2 emissions, reducing oil imports and the current account deficit, improving labour mobility etc. One of the reasons for this emphasis is the difficulty, cost and planning delays, in getting any new roads built. Most of the existing road network has reached maximum capacity at peak times. Cars are also not cheap to run in the UK and the younger generation is putting off buying into this form of transport.

The Great Western Railway from London to Cardiff and Swansea is being electrified from 2017 onwards along with the Cardiff/S Wales Valleys commuter network. Not only are journeys quicker but with faster acceleration extra stations can be built and if the train does not have a locomotive there is extra passenger space without having to lengthen station platforms.

Saying that the top speed of journeys from Cardiff to London will only take you back in time to 1975 when the 125mph diesels were first introduced, but at least they will be quieter and not as smelly (and bad for your health).

So when is the US getting high speed electric New York to Chicago?

One of the reasons for this emphasis is the difficulty, cost and planning delays, in getting any new roads built

In Australia, this cannot hinder the New South Wales government to plan more toll-ways

No debt repayment plan for Sydney's toll-ways

So when is the US getting high speed electric New York to Chicago?

The straight-line distance from New York to Chicago is 714 miles; the current passenger rail route connecting the two is far from a straight line, totaling 959 miles. And as you suggest, electrification isn't the only problem; some amount of the track isn't good enough for high speeds, and far too much of it is single-tracked so there will be significant delays. Advocates of Chicago-to-New York rail service have a goal of one-way service taking 16-17.5 hours. That is, they hope to have service that involves leaving at 6:00 AM, and if you're lucky, arriving before midnight.

It's been years since I had to travel regularly between Chicago and New York. When I was doing so, and using air travel, an 18-hour day could get me from New York to Chicago, six hours of time with the developers (assuming a working lunch), then back to New York and sleeping in my own bed. The rail advocates hope that I could make the same trip in three days by rail.

New York to Washington, DC would be a better comparison. Of course, the NYC to Washington line is already electrified and reasonably fast. Rule-of-thumb for US to UK comparisons: the US Northeast megalopolis running from 50 miles north of the northern suburbs of Boston to the southern suburbs of Washington, DC and 125 miles inland from that is a reasonable approximation for the area, population, and overall population density of the UK. Once you get outside the megalopolis, any US-to-UK comparisons are going to be problematic.

Route Straight-Line Distance
Cardiff to London 132 miles
Swansea to London 165 miles
New York to Washington 207 miles
UK Maximum N-S distance 683 miles
New York to Chicago 714 miles

In my assumptions, even with HSR, rail will get <50% market share for trips over 300 miles (500 km) and only dedicated rail travelers (<10% market) for trips over 500 miles (800 km).

This is for developed nations, China has a different market.


PS: NYC to Chicago used to be 4 track the entire way.

Absolutely. If we have to give up air travel, or it gets priced out of the reach of most individuals and businesses, the US is going to be a very different place. With enough regionalization, at least IMO, that there will be questions asked about whether it makes sense to try to maintain it as a single country. For example, I can see East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf Coast interests diverging rather quickly.

Yes If we had to give up air travel, certain land areas would be more valuable and others would be less valuable..I live in a high trust-fund area ,in Northern Montana and if they could not fly to Mexico for a warm-up I am not so sure this area would be so popular--- not to mention baby boomers could not as easily be snow- birds either. I think the US has to get back to the nuclear family...not spread out all over the country.

"With enough regionalization, at least IMO, that there will be questions asked about whether it makes sense to try to maintain it as a single country."

The US was a single country without air travel for most of its history. If it does break up air travel of the lack of it won't be a major part of the event. An air-travel free US would work fine if the Federal government lets the states be states again instead of administrative districts of the central government.

The US was a single country without air travel for most of its history. If it does break up air travel of the lack of it won't be a major part of the event. An air-travel free US would work fine if the Federal government lets the states be states again instead of administrative districts of the central government.

You're right that lack of air travel won't be the proximate cause, but it will certainly contribute to growing regional identities. Once that happens, look out.

There has never been a period of US history where one region or another hasn't tried to use the central government to impose undesired policy on another region. Without comment on the moral or ethical positions, consider the following list.

  • The "Whiskey Act" of 1791 levied an excise tax disproportionately on the then-western areas and led directy to the Whiskey Insurrection. State militias from the east were dispatched to the Pennsylvania area where resistance was greatest. The farmers there backed down without an actual fight.
  • The 1828 "Tariff of Abominations" was so one-sided several southern states passed "nullification" laws. Congress authorized the use of the military to enforce the tariff. The South caved under that threat and the military wasn't deployed.
  • The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 required other regions to honor the property laws of southern states -- and we all know how that ended.
  • The Morrill Tariff of 1861, and a couple of Civil War follow-ons, were essentially renewals of the 1828 tariffs. Those stayed in effect until 1913 to the disadvantage of the South.
  • The Land Management Act of 1976 was passed IIRC without a single 'aye' vote by any member of Congress from the 12 western states affected by it (see Sagebrush Rebellion). Some of the 12 states have now passed nullification laws similar to the laws passed in the South in 1828. Arizona and Utah seem to be working themselves up to ignoring the law in at least some limited cases.
  • 90+% of the US commercial nuclear reactor fleet is located east of the Great Plains. The 1987 amendment to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act said that the operators of those reactors would bury their waste 1,000 miles away in Nevada -- no other options could be considered. The amendment was added to the budget reconciliation bill during conference committee, bypassing all Congressional debate. A useful tactic for the East, IMO; if the amendment had been considered on its own in the House and Senate, it would almost certainly have set up another East vs West vote and unlike 1976, in 1987 the President was a westerner who had openly supported the Sagebrush "rebels".

NREL's Renewable Electricity Futures Study is a very large study looking at how to achieve high renewable penetrations in the US power grid. As the target penetration increases, the low-cost method for the heavily-populated eastern states is to build massive generation capacity in the western states (quite possibly on the federal land holdings in those states) and lots of HVDC transmission. I cheerfully admit that I'm a bit out in the lunatic fringe on this particular subject, but when that time comes, I predict that the eastern states will attempt that strategy and the western states will resist, up to and including violence.

Yes the UK is small with distances between major cities and travelling times all relatively limited.

When thinking of New York - Chicago I was thinking more of a comparison with France - London to Paris is 308 miles by rail and a non-stop train timetabled for 2 hrs 15 minutes (city centre to city centre), Paris to Marseille on the Med is 536 miles with timetabled journey times of 3 hrs 20 mins.

Chicago maybe that bit too far but Toronto, Cleveland, Detroit and Pittsburgh should also be in sight for US high speed rail. If crowded Europe and Japan can manage to develope faster rail services then so can the US if there is a will to do so.

I think the US has multiple population pattern problems working against it. To pick three countries (not necessarily at random) that have high-speed rail, the UK, France, and Japan have no question about where the hubs of their systems are going to be. Eg, no other metro area in France has even 20% the population of the Paris metro area. In the US, it is hard to convince people in Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami or Seattle that high-speed passenger rail systems centered on NYC or LA or Chicago are going to do the outlying areas enough good to be worth spending the outlying areas' tax dollars.

Don't underestimate the problem that finances pose. There are a bunch of reasons why a US high-speed rail network is going to have to be mostly federally funded. And the question of "what's in it for me" will come up. When the US Interstate highway system was being designed and built, there were a lot of decisions that had to be made to make it look "fair". I live near one of those -- much of the reason that I-70 was extended across Colorado when the plans were drawn up was to be "fair" to Denver (with support from the Army, who wanted an alternate route from LA to New York). The road wasn't finished until 1992, and was easily the most expensive piece of the system to build. There are no sane routes from Denver west across Colorado for a 200 mph rail line.

For assorted reasons, I have a parochial interest in the US West (defined as the 11 westernmost contiguous states). There's interest in rail -- every one of the major population centers in that region is in the process of building a light rail system (with the exception of Las Vegas, and even they are talking about it now). The routes to tie those western population centers together by high-speed rail are fairly obvious, but outside of California no one is talking seriously about building them. The benefits of HSR are, IMO, much greater for the eastern part of the country; the western states will fight against having their federal taxes go there.

Guess the short version of that is "Developing the political will for HSR in the US will be difficult."

As a footnote: the Paris-centric part of LGV (L = Lines, T = trains) is pretty much complete (except a short cut to the Chunnel). Now other routes and international connections are being built.

Best Hopes,


The cost of both the British extension of the electrification of railways and any future shift in the US to electric may be greatly reduced if these trials of wireless charging are successful:
'The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and the Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) have developed a wireless power transfer technology that can be applied to high capacity transportation systems such as railways, harbor freight, and airport transportation and logistics. The technology supplies 60 kHz and 180 kW of power remotely to transport vehicles at a stable, constant rate. KAIST and KRRI today successfully showcased the wireless power transfer technology to the public by testing it on the railroad tracks at Osong Station in Korea. Originally, this technology was developed as part of an electric vehicle system introduced by KAIST in 2011 known as the On-line Electric Vehicle (OLEV).
OLEV does not need to be parked at a charging station to have a fully powered battery. It gets charged while running, idling, and parking, enabling a reduction in size of the reserve battery down to one-fifth of the battery on board a regular electric car. The initial models of OLEV, a bus and a tram, receive 20 kHz and 100 kW power at an 85% transmission efficiency rate while maintaining a 20cm air gap between the underbody of vehicle and the road surface. OLEV complies with the national and international standards of 62.5 mG, a safety net for electromagnetic fields. In July 2013, for the first time since its development, OLEV will run on a regular road, an inner city route in the city of Gumi, requiring 40 minutes of driving each way.'

So this means that:
'If trains receive power wirelessly, the costs of railway wear and tear will be dramatically reduced. There will be no power rails, including electrical poles, required for the establishment of a railway system, and accordingly, lesser space will be needed. Tunnels will be built on a smaller scale, lowering construction costs. In addition, it will be helpful to overcome major obstacles that discourage the construction of high speed railway systems such as noise levels and problems in connecting pantograph and power rails. KAIST and KRRI plan to apply the wireless power transfer technology to trams in May and high speed trains in September.'


Of course the cost of city trams and electric buses would be greatly reduced by this means also.

It looks similar to the Induction motors used in Vancouver's Skytrain system.

I have developed some minimal insight of the decisions.

1) In most states major (Class I) railroads are a duopoly - there is little incentive for innovation in a duopoly. And in a number of states, a railroad has a monopoly.

2) Projects have to generate a ROI (return on investment) between 21% to 23% to get funded. And to be economic operationally, a fairly long stretch of rail must be electrified. A minimum investment approaching $1 billion. (last year US Class I capital investment was $13 billion, almost 18% of gross revenues). So even if rail electrification got to 21% ROI, there would not be enough budget left to do it.

Best Hopes,


So even if rail electrification got to 21% ROI, there would not be enough budget left to do it.

If there was a ROI of 21% wouldn't that attract investment, even from half way around the world?

Per a retired VP of a major RR I talked to, projects with "just" 19% ROI never got funded.

Perhaps a reason Warren Buffett bought the #2 RR, BNSF and Bill Gates owns 10% of CN.


If I could be reasonable sure to get 19% ROI it would be a good investment for example if the traffic just stay the same and the investment will pay of in lower operational cost, interest rate is currently low.

Rail where used before cars got popural and if it still is profitable it could be assumed to be for a long time.

This just highlights how finance capitalism is destroying the planet. Solar power is unaffordable, if you require a 21% ROI. If one recognizes low risk, and interest rates are actually low, then anything with an ROI slightly above the long term interest rate should be fair game. No wonder the trillions in bailout money is parked in the banks, there just aren't many investments available that promise that high a return. We gotta change things, so that we can go after the projects with reasonable ROI.

Re: Farmer’s Supreme Court Challenge Puts Monsanto Patents at Risk in DB...

Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers - A Report by the Center for Food Safety & Save Our Seeds (1.3M pdf)

In the last few decades, the U.S. has led a radical shift toward commercialization, consolidation, and control of seed ownership. Three agrichemical firms—Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta—now control 53 percent of the global commercial seed market.3 The top ten seed firms, with a majority stake owned by U.S. corporations, account for 73 percent.4 This shift has fundamentally changed farming in the U.S. Instead of continuing the historical tradition of farmers having full access to seeds that they have cultivated over centuries, agrichemical corporations now own the sine qua non of farming—indeed, the irreplaceable element of all food—seeds.

Animation of seed industry M&A from 1996 to 2008.

Each firm or subsidiary is represented as a circle, and ownership connections, whether full or partial, are represented as gray lines. Pharmaceutical/chemical companies are colored red, seed companies are colored blue, and other companies, such as biotechnology firms, are colored yellow.

During the study period the firms that eventually became the largest acquired or created joint ventures with more than two hundred firms.

World's richest men aid 'Green Revolution' center

The research center largely responsible for launching the "green revolution" of the 1960s that dramatically raised crop yields is getting support from the world's richest men to develop genetically-modified seeds to help farmers in the developing world grow more grain in the face of a changing climatic conditions and increased demand.

… the nonprofit CIMMYT has become known over the last 50 years for providing low-cost, improved seeds through hybridization efforts, using its vast stockpiles of native corn and wheat genes from across the world to cross-breed the best attributes, like drought-resistance.
CIMMYT, with its ties to farm agencies throughout the world, could be a conduit to deliver GM benefits to the developing world, which has largely been locked out of them.

... "Under the guise of philanthropy, what they are doing is promoting the use of transgenetic crops, with rhetoric about ending hunger in the world," said Aleira Lara, of Greenpeace Mexico. "Those things are myths."

"These (GM) seeds are not any kind of magic wand for increasing production, and they bring new problems to the countryside," like developing resistance among pests and weeds, ...

Advance promises to expand biological control of crop pests

… The scientists describe development of a synthetic genetic system that produces vigorous adult males with lethal information encoded in their sex-determination genes. The males mate, and all the female offspring die, thus reducing the pest populations.
They developed the "lethal genetic sexing system" in two pests, the pink bollworm, which damages cotton crops, and the diamondback moth, which attacks broccoli, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetable crops. The approach could be used on other pests [humans?], as well, they state.

... sounds like the opening plot to Children of Men

Chinese Pig Farms Breed Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Half of all pigs live in China – and well over half of them eat feed laced with antibiotic "growth promoters". Now Chinese and US researchers have found that this practice is spawning a tide of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Overall figures, he says, suggest the Chinese are using about the same amount of antibiotics per animal as US farmers – but with six times as many pigs, the impact is much greater. "The concentration and number of types of resistance genes is a concern," says Tiedje. "This study shows animal farming is breeding for antibiotic resistance to a greater extent than shown by previous data. Some would be expected to migrate to human pathogens."

March of the superbugs

… "Our research on MRSA is pointing to the fact that although we are not on the precipice of having the whole system collapse through selection of bugs that are even more resistant or having husbandry systems that make it impossible to eliminate them, we are closer to the precipice than we would like to be," said Holmes. "As it is, S. aureus is considered impossible to eliminate in dairy herds – you have to live with it once you've got it. "Farmers and veterinarians are in a constant battle to improve the health of dairy cows, yet farming cannot be sustained at these levels if it is generating these types of resistance. Moreover, we can't predict how these bacterial strains will evolve – they could become more resistant, more virulent or better able to jump between species."

It seems like our system is backwards, if a farmer has pollen blown into his field from a GM field near by, he is not allowed to save seed without paying a royalty.

That company and the other farmer polluted his crop with GM pollen and HE is liable? The GM farmer and the GM seed company should be liable for polluting HIS crop.

Starlink corn is not fit for human consumption, if my corn crop gets polluted with Starlink pollen, I should have the right to sue for damages. There is NO WAY I should be sued by the Starlink GM seed company.

This is like when a bank drops the ball with regard to the electronic security of my credit card,allowing someone 3000 miles away to purchase gasoline with my account, but would like me to be responsible for the loss.
I would imagine that the gm seed industry helped advise our overworked government re highly complex intellectual property legislation FOR FREE. Can't beat that. Hence the result for the neighboring farmer, who, rather than looking out for his best interests in the halls of the Capitol, wastes his time growing food.

Their reasoning thusfar for why they should have patents is that they're different from the normal seeds so they deserve it. The reason they give for not needing to be regulated is because they're essentially no different from regular seeds, so don't require regulation.

I think there has long been some form of legal protection for developers of new varieties of plants and domestic animals. In the past, using traditional breeding methods, the profit to be had from marketing the new variety has never been really great. But with Round-Up-Ready, there is real money to be made, and to pay lawyers. The issuance of patents is authorized in the Constitution. But the details of how patents are granted and administers is open to new legislation, I believe. Lots of decorative rose plants are patented.

Congress consistently refused to authorize
patents on staple food crops. However, under increasing
pressure and marketing from agri chemical
companies, seed patents and the IP regime have
enshrined corporate interests instead of safeguarding
farmers and small, independent businesses...


Campaigners will stage a demonstration in central London this afternoon to urge the government to help those struggling to pay their energy bills.

Protests now? There is plenty of gas from Qatar. Then Snøhvit, Ormen lange and Troll have declined for a while it will start to hit for real.

The graphs of united kingdom energy is rather interesting. During the Victorian era coal production rose and during the sixties it was replaced with gas and oil.

Canned Dreams

Canned Dreams is a film which presents the absurdity of food production in Europe. Canned Dreams is a dream-like, almost nightmarish, documentary which gives an insight into the different phases of production that goes into making a can of ravioli.

The can's journey begins in one of the biggest open-pit mines in Brazil and ends on the shelves of a grocery store in Finland, after travelling 30,000km.

This film follows the journey of the ingredients which make up a can of ravioli and the dreams and destinies of the workers who contribute towards the making of these ingredients

Climate change is not an all-or-nothing proposition, researcher says

In a panel discussion at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting on Feb. 15, Mark Berliner said that an aversion to statistical thinking and probability is a significant reason that we haven't enacted strategies to deal with climate change right now.

"The general public has an understanding of tipping points, the moment beyond which things become inevitable. But as soon as you start thinking of climate change as inevitable, it's easy to throw up your hands and say, 'it's too late, so why bother to do anything?'" Berliner said. "It's like a two-pack-a-day smoker deciding not to cut back on the cigarettes, because he's as good as gone."

"The situation is not hopeless. Instead of taking an extreme all-or-nothing view about climate change, we can think of it as a spectrum of possible problems, and look for a spectrum of practical solutions that will do the most good," he said.

"Compromise—if it leads to doing something—is better than doing nothing," he said.

Joe 6-Pack won't believe in climate change until Warren Buffett buys a farm in Greenland.

And then they will cheer it. (disclaimer: I won't cheer it)

For the umpteenth time, I rise to correct TOD readers' astoundingly uninformed misanthropy. Joe Sixpack clearly does believe in climate change, and also wants at least a medium-scale effort to combat it. All without an ounce of serious leadership from major opinion makers.

Our problem lies in the power structure of our society and the purchased (and designed-in) non-responsiveness of our political system.

Get the facts before you bash the commoners, please! Sheesh.

Recent polling conducted by the Pew Research Center suggests that a greater number of people in the U.S. are accepting the reality of climate change. 67 percent of Americans said that there is "solid evidence" that average global temperatures have been rising in recent decades, signaling a gain of four points since last year and 10 points since 2009. Yet only 42 percent say this warming is "mostly caused by human activity," according to Pew.

In a presidential election marked by accusations of "climate silence" and a lack of forthright discussion of what has been called a "planetary emergency," the Pew polling reveals another stark difference between supporters of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Only 42 percent of Romney supporters say there is strong evidence of global warming and a paltry 18 percent acknowledge its human origin...

Maybe you know a different Joe, or things have changed since October. If someone doesn't acknowlege that humans are the primary cause, how can they say we need to do something about it? I do agree that many have been mis-informed, which hasn't been difficult. Anyway, I don't think Joe voted for Obama.

I think the time for half measures has passed us by. I noticed your President mentioning "adapting" to climate change more than once. Maybe it's just me..

18 percent acknowledge its human origin...

My question to those 18% is, what do they think is causing it to occur in a geologically unprecedented short period of time? We're not in a cycle that puts the Earth closer to the Sun, so what is it?

I disagree but I'm not going to make a big point about it...I know people feel strongly about this.

The global economic system is designed to burn through fossil fuels as fast as possible. That is the way the global system works. If you don't burn the fuel, somebody else will.

If we attempt to change this system, oligarchs would lose billions of dollars, and billions of people in the developing world would be subject to malnutrition and possibly starvation.

Anybody want to give it a go?

Consistent with my comments about Jim Hansen elsewhere in this thread, I think Mark Berliner's statement is 'lying to people in order to get them to do the right thing'. There is little doubt that Earth climate has been both ice-free, and ice-covered for long periods of geologic time, with several flips back and forth. I think something can be done after the coming flip, but only after it has well and truly happened. During that long period while the ocean is still warming, and after I am long dead (current age 80), a system for extracting CO2 from the atmosphere can be implemented using several technologies.

Oh yes, technology will save us! NOT

Sounds great!
What color is sky on the planet you live on?

I think it is important to specify whether homo sapiens was around during certain periods as it is not meaningful, at least to homo sapiens, to talk about the climate in past epochs without referencing whether those epochs included homo sapiens. And even if homo sapiens was around, it is also important to point out that not until fairly recently did earth contain one billion human beings much less 7 billion. And even further, it was not until fairly recently that we lived at such a high level of consumption and extraction of natural resources. It is easy to give the impression while talking about past warming to ignore the existing and coming drouths caused by and exacerbated current and future warming. Given the massive and unprecedented needs and wants of 7 billion and counting people, I cannot see how agriculture is going to have sufficient water and land to support a ever growing population with greater and greater needs and wants in a warming, resource starved world.

And the above does not even mention the need for an ever growing production of energy, whether fossil fuels or otherwise. With all the new found abundance of oil and gas in the U.S., I still do not hear a good explanation as to why we have not seen a crash in the prices of these commodities. I would suggest that increasing production in the U.S. does not mean you are keeping up with ever increasing needs and wants, especially in areas like China.

I personally can't see how we're going to manage with our current consumption let alone with increased consumption. Agricultural land is being degraded, water supplies are already looking a little ropey and our supply of fertilisers will come under threat due to depleting natural resources.

This epoch doesn't contain Homo Sapiens, it contains Homo Igneus.

We are not wise. We are burning what shouldn't be burnt.

How China's lonely bachelors are helping its economy grow

They're not helping its lonely (but fussy) women...

You Do Not Want To Be A Single Lady Over 28 In China

Unfortunately for China’s women their new-found confidence has incited a backlash from men, the government and even their own families. The popular Chinese label shengnu (leftover women), regularly perpetuated in state-controlled media and on internet message boards, refers to women who are smart, successful and moneyed but still not married by the age of 28. That’s right: in China, if you're 30, female and single, you’re considered well and truly on the shelf.

I'm not sure I understand this. With the imbalanced sex ratio, isn't it actually worse to be a single man in China?

Unless this is causing selectiveness on the part of women, which of course makes the problem worse.

I think the logic is: if you are a single man, well, that kind of comes as a consequence of the unequal numbers, so it's socially accepted, because, really, what can you do if there simply are not enough women? Whereas if you are a woman, in a situation where there is such a high demand for women, then there must be something wrong with you if you are still single.

There must be something wrong with you! And why aren't you doing your social duty?

It would appear that China has achieved The American Dream.

They got punk'd because liberated women is not advertised as part of TAD, but is written in tiny letters on the back of the box. CARS! AIRPLANES! HOLIDAYS! TECHNOLOGY! (women's empowerment a probable side effect). Also in small print is pollution, corporations reducing people to drones, and car traffic. They didn't know what they signed up for...

I hate to imagine what the night life must be like - pardon me for saying it, but it's got to be like gay bars everywhere. How depressing is that?

Gay bars everywhere makes me think of Miami or San Fransisco... That actually sounds like a lot of fun. No, I don't think it's like that.

Not as depressing as the Man-camps of ND, from what I've been reading.

If it's otherwise, somebody clue me in. Maybe I'll hop over there and try to boost my take this year.

"I cut down trees, I skip and jump, I like to press wildflowers..."

No gay bars seen here in Beijing. But a lot of "sex shops" are a part of the shopping scene. Didn't notice them when I was here 10 years ago.
I suspect that the single men may try emmigrating as well. We are talking about 20 million men (10% male excess with 2 million persons/year over a span of 20 years). But only 1 million men per year. This many could migrate overseas.

At what point do the nations into which China is dumping their excess man-baggage get pissed and say "Stop trying to steal our women!"

As humans exist on a contiuum of sexuality I've heard that there is a boom in male-male coupling. The lack of women has pushed them into alternative relationships.

The obvious solution for excess military age males throughout history has been war. I guess wars are too costly nowadays as an option.

Wars are cheap if the goal is actually to kill people. It's when the goal is to not actually kill people but use a lot of technology that they get expensive fast.

As you say, the solution is simple. Rome used it to keep plebians in check.

Yes, wars in the old fashioned world could be quite a cure for the mate problem. Soldiers could be promised (slave?) women as spoils of war. And those that died, well that just improves the sex ratio for the survivors.

I suspect the incidences of kidnapping women in other countries and trafficking them to China for marriage and prostitution will increase further.

Human Trafficking: China

Experts and NGOs report that China’s population planning policies, coupled with a cultural preference for sons, creates a skewed sex ratio in China, which may contribute to the trafficking of women and children from within China and from Mongolia, North Korea, Russia, Burma, Laos, and Vietnam for forced marriage. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences estimated that by 2020, there could be as many as 24 million more men than women of marriageable age (ages 19-45) in China, exacerbating the problem.

This is a variant of Tragedy of the Commons. When large numbers of parents decide to select for boys over girls, individually its a boon for them. Its only later do those families pay the penalty when many of their sons can't find wives.

Ironic, Garrett Hardin was actually talking about a lack of population control being the Tragedy of the Commons when he made his famous speech.


You would think at some point the free market would kick in, and the price of brides would become so valuable that female children would be preferred.

In China women choose whom to marry, not the father of the bride. Maybe the dowry system had a good side after all -- in balancing the population.

Where can I apply for a shengu?


Just thought I'd put this up as a follow up to energy storage discussion the past few days. I had some internet trouble so I didn't post it earlier.


Let’s start small by considering the 3 W-h of energy stored in a AA battery, as computed above. One kWh of energy is 3.6×106 J of energy, so our AA battery stores 10,800 J of energy. A mass of m kilograms, hoisted h meters high against gravity at g≈10 m/s² corresponds to E = mgh Joules of energy. If we were willing to hoist a mass 3 m high, how much mass would we need to replace the AA battery? Have a guess? The answer is 360 kg, or about 800 lb. A battery the size of your pinky finger beats the proverbial 800 lb gorilla lifted onto your roof!

The lesson is that gravitational storage is incredibly weak. A volume of water the size of our bedroom raised even 10 m above our home in a precarious threat to the neighbors would store 0.625 kWh. That’s enough for 30 minutes of typical household electricity consumption. You’ll forgive me if I ignore efficiency losses. It’s not even worth the effort. It’s over.



TL:DR storage is hard.

That article has been a key post here at The Oil Drum. It got a lot of comments, if you're interested. Tom Murphy has been a regular contributor here.

Thanks Leanan. I should have linked to TOD site, not do the math.

No, it's fine to link to the original source. I just thought you or others might interested in the comments posted when we discussed it before.

Good point cheers.

You are forgiven, Now, for penance, do the inverse ratio- the units of gorillas-on-roof gravitational energy actually stored over units of pinkie-battery chemical energy actually stored.

and let us know the answer, would be interesting comparison.

Just the same, there is a LOT of water, and a lot of places with useful height differentials.

Pumped Hydro for storage is already working (See Switzerland), and there is still room for more.

This isn't the pumped storage in Switzerland but it is the Grande Dixence dam which has about a 2000 meter pressure head built-up. From last summer, looking across and down towards the Rhone valley.

Apparently 10% of Switzerland's electricity needs right there.

The US has several stations with in excess of 1.0 GW capacity. I admit to a parochial interest in the US West; for the US Western Interconnect:

  • Many of the load centers are relatively close to sites with potential for pumped hydro;
  • Many of the renewable resources are relatively close to sites with potential for pumped hydro; and
  • Some of the probable routes for moving renewable power to the biggest load centers over longer distances pass close to sites with potential for pumped hydro.

In many ways, designing a high-renewable electricity system for the Western Interconnect -- which already gets 30-35% of its power from renewable resources -- is a much easier task than doing the design for the rest of the country.

You need to go back and check your math.

10,800 Joules/10m/s (J/gravity) = 1080, then divide by 10m (height)= 108. Divide this number by 28.4 kg/ft*3 (density of water in kg per foot cubed, sorry to mix units) and you get 3.8 cubic foot.

You must live in a very small house or your math is off by a factor of 100.

And by the way, I can lift 160 lbs the height of 50 ft in less than 2 minutes, which is the same energy we are talking about. I do this by riding up a steep hill on my bicycle. Its really not so much energy.

Read it again, then check your equation, then tell me is the math still wrong, not my math btw.

Storage isn't that hard, you just need to approach it properly.

Storage with high capital costs (hydro or batteries) make absolutely no sense for seasonal storage, which might be used once or twice per year. It's only sensible for diurnal storage, which is used daily and therefore can be amortized over many cycles. No sensible engineer would consider this - that's why Tom Murphy's analysis is attacking a strawman.

Sensible planners, like the Germans, would:

1) use storage as a last resort, after maximizing interconnection and geographic averaging; overbuilding; Demand Side Management; supply diversity, etc. and

2) use very low capex storage, like "wind-gas". Casual observers will object that such conversions have low efficiency, but for a seasonal application, capex efficiency becomes far more important than conversion efficiency.

Re: "Bracing for a New England Trawling Decision" and "As Fisheries Struggle, Debate Heats Up Over How to Help"

Nothing like a dose of WHAAAT? The fishery is so sick they had to severely restict it, yet healthy enough they can allow more trawling? Hopefully NOAA will not allow the reopening of these areas to trawling. It's one of the few forms of fishing that is so destructive that it should be totally banned (like dynamite "fishing", which it is very similar to in many ways). Yet, with all of the serious issues and the drastic reduction of quotas, it appears a total trawling ban is still unmentioned.

On another note, though, these articles highlight the disconnected and haphazard nature of fishing regulation. An interesting quote from the NYTimes article:

"Changes in the ecosystem, lingering effects of decades of overfishing and imperfect fishery management could all be to blame for the crisis, depending on whom you ask."

Well, all of those things say the same thing to me. The changes in the ecosystem are mostly due to overfishing and use of destructive practices such as trawling dating back for well over a hundred years, but the reason these things ever happened in the first place was because there was a failure in fishery management from the beginning that continues to this day. Destructive practices were allowed, initially there was almost no protection, and current protection is still inadequate to protect and restore stocks, partly because habitat destroyed over decades can't come back in a year. Perhaps the best part of the article, though, comes at the end, with this unintentional joke:

Chris Duffey ... says the money should be used strategically, to promote the sale of underused yet plentiful species like dogfish and skate, “instead of having Band-Aids to put on people who cry the loudest.” “Let’s stop crying about the fish that’s gone and start talking about how we can sell the fish that’s here,” Mr. Duffey said.

This is what you get when you are extracting rather than harvesting sustainably. And what, Mr. Duffey, do you think would happen if fishermen focused on the "fish that's here", without changing the fundamental assumptions behind how they do things? It got this way because protected zones were not established, fishing methods were not policed, and the fish were not protected until too late. The fishermen used more and more technology to find and catch the fish until there weren't any. Why does he thing that it would be a good idea to do this to dogfish/sharks and skates?

But perhaps the biggest question is, why did this ever happen when the experience of the Grand Banks collapse in Canada over 20 years ago should have provided a warning? Where were the regulators? Was this not entirely forseeable and obvious?

Perhaps the saddest thing is that, on top of all the damage from bad management of the fishery is pollution and now climate change. Not a pretty picture. But it should all have been obvious.

This is why free-market economics doesn't work as well as its proponents claim. Humans aren't rational actors. Professional fisherman always, irrationally, severely overestimate the amount of fish available.

Not to mention the best time to catch them is when they gather in super massive schools for breeding. It's hard to imagine a better way to wipe out the fisheries if we wanted to.

Moscow to rule Northern Sea Route

The new headquarters for the Northern Sea Route (NSR) will open in Moscow on January 28 2013. A representative office may be opened in Arkhangelsk later.

“The draft bill is ready and is now being approved by federal agencies. It states clearly that the office will be located in Moscow”, Deputy Minister of Transport Victor Olersky said accoring to RIA Novosti. “The document also suggests that a branch might be opened in Arkhangelsk, since significant departments like the Hydrographic Enterprise is based there”.
The Northern Sea Route is becoming a more and more important route for transportation of cargo between Europe and Asia. 2012 was a record season both in relation to the amount of cargo and the number of vessels. 46 vessels sailed the route in 2012, compared to 34 in 2011 and only four in 2010.

The total cargo transported on the NSR last year was 1 261 545 tons – a 53 percent increase from 2011, when 820 789 tons was shipped on the route.

Andy Lee Robinson posted a link to a graph he created over at ASI (Martin in Mass. posted a link that indirectly took you to the graph too).

Worth seeing the graph without having to click through...

Death Spirals?

Excellent graph
Looks like we're painting ourselves into an ever-shrinking corner/bulls-eye.

Talk about data visualization. This is brilliant, thanks.

Really glad you like it. I was experimenting with different ways of visualizing the source data for an animation project, and this jumped out as the most logical, succinct and powerful format that I could imagine. Judging by the hits on my server (that's why I'm here!), it seems to be going viral.

Perhaps it'll become as iconic as the hockey stick, and if so, I'm well aware of those consequences.

Sadly the summer ice is toast, we can only watch and wait to see how it will affect the NH jetstream and climate, I think we're in for a rougher ride. Here's a great lecture on Arctic and jetstream climatology, arctic amplification and more - it all starts to make sense!

Hopefully we'll get a second chance to avoid the worst of a state change, and act on it.

Here's another representation I made of the data in video form with soothing music...

Thanks for the link. After viewing the first 40 minutes of Dr. Jennifer Francis' lecture, I see that she is still fixated on the sea-ice/ocean albedo feedback as her prime explanation for the loss of sea-ice. Trouble is, the way she describes it isn't correct, since data shows that the difference between the albedos of sea-ice and open ocean at high latitudes isn't as large as she suggests. She then jumps to a comment about the 500 mb height decline at higher latitudes, one which I've also offered, but I start at the tropics. She doesn't consider the possibility that the increased flow of warmer air toward the Arctic might also impact the melting of the sea-ice. It's one of those "chicken-or-egg, which came first" problems.

EDIT: She continues on the same "track" later in the lecture. Her discussion includes mention of Hurricane Sandy, except she says nothing about the exceptional warmth seen in the water of the Atlantic as Sandy moved overhead...

E. Swanson

Thanks for the comment, E.
It seems intuitive to me that cold air leaving the Arctic must be being replaced by warmer air, giving a greater influx of heat to prime the summer months.

As the jet stream began meandering more and increasing latitudinal reach, we should see greater interaction with the sub tropics - all really fascinating.

I'm sure you could point this out to her - climate science is still rapidly developing, but the magnitude of the calculations and chaotic nature make it difficult to definitively extract precise causality. We don't need to understand everything in nanoscopic detail - ball-park figures seem more than enough to me to know what we should be trying to do about it!

The Arctic sea ice is spiraling down the drain.

The Tesla Nightmare Shows Why All-Electric Cars Are (Basically) Dead On Arrival

From your link:

Because they're not that useful for one of the key uses that most would-be car-owners would want to use them for -- the ability to comfortably, conveniently, and reliably transport oneself from city to city without living in fear that the battery will die and leave car and driver stranded.

Seems you and Business Insider didn't get the memos.

Even though I have a perfectly usable internal combustion engine car, I usually rent a car for longer trips. I don't want to have to deal with repairs on the road, etc. If I were to buy an electric vehicle, I would most likely rent a hybrid or Volt to go long distances. Most of my leisure driving is city driving. Most of my workday driving is less than 75 miles per day. Is my situation typical? Probably not, but there are probably a significant number of people for whom the electrics would be quite practical. If I somehow needed more range, I would buy the extended range vehicle (Chevy Volt or whatever else exists at the time).

Your needs are very typical. Most driving is back & forth to work, to school, to the grocery store, to the mall, etc. Electric cars handle that just fine. And with carsharing services, you can quickly rent a gas/hybrid car for longer trips any time you want one.

Because they're not that useful for one of the key uses that most would-be car-owners would want to use them for -- the ability to comfortably, conveniently, and reliably transport oneself from city to city without living in fear that the battery will die and leave car and driver stranded.

Really? How often do you drive between big cities? And when you do, don't you do something for a few hours thus allowing your car plenty of time to charge up?


Video is up now. Was that there when first linked Friday?

I post for informational purposes mostly. Good luck to Elon musk because these are the people who spark innovation. However its revealing that xprize winner seriously considered electric.

In the end ( if it doesn't :) transportation will use diverse techs.

I would prefer a future where the auto fills a small niche in those few cases where it just is not feasible to walk, bike, bus, take the streetcar, take the subway, take the light rail, or take the train. This was my experience in Frankfurt, Germany 30 years ago. In the mean time, little or no progress has been made in the United States. But even then, most of my cohorts could not even imagine a lifestyle with getting into the car for anything and everything despite world class transportation options around them.

The EV can probably fill a little niche but I couldn't care less whether or not it replaces the ICE as presently utilized. The EV is a diversion and is too often seen as a way to continue business as usual by other means. As far as Musk goes, his cars are absurdly expensive and will play almost no role in the future of transportation auto dominated or otherwise.

We don't need new technology in the transportation sector; we need cultural change and a pricing structure that will relegate the auto to a small niche sector.

As far as Musk goes, his cars are absurdly expensive and will play almost no role in the future of transportation auto dominated or otherwise.

Yes, they are expensive. The theory is that he is working his way down the food chain. Start at the top with a $100K+ sports car. Then an $80K luxury sedan. Versions of the model S will go down to $50K. Eventually people think he'll get down to a $30K car. And I certainly wouldn't be surprised if they go bankrupt before they get down there because the major car makers may jump into the game big time.

But this attitude of "Well, if an electric car can't do everything a gas car can do then it is garbage is just wrong." Cell phones have crappy call quality compared to land lines yet they are hugely popular. MP3 player have crappy audio quality compared to CDs yet they have taken over the music world. All you need to do is provide an overall better experience. You can't go long distances in an EV? So what? 95+% of driving is less than 100 miles a day. Need to go further? Then rent/borrow/carshare a gas/hybrid car. But for most of the day to day driving, an EV performs great and can be fueled for less than $500/year. And no spilling gas, no leaking oil, no oil changes, no smog checks, no spark plugs, no exhaust system, etc.

Yes. Absolutely agree that it is silly to be concerned about whether an EV can replicate all the capabilities of an ICE. As far as that goes, a bike can't either, but I use it where feasible with the added benefit that I am healthier for it.

However 'silly' it might be for people to want to replicate the capabilities of an ICE car, it is not down to you or I to determine what they 'should' do.
However, it is perfectly reasonable to attempt to make sure that undue privileges are not given to encouraging concreting over huge amounts of public space and driving around it in a manner which imposed in the US alone a greater death toll in the 20th century than all the wars they fought put together.

Fortunately we seem to be fortunately circumstanced in the technologies coming together to provide good mobility safely and cleanly, without hindering people walking, cycling etc.

In the Netherlands the Woonerf concept gives priority to pedestrians and cyclists at all times in residential zones:

Electric cars are not just battery ones.
Fuel cells are now progressing rapidly, and contrary to some are around as energy efficient once grid losses in supplying electricity to batteries are taken into account as battery cars.
Both use a gross 1MJ/mile.
Calculations purporting to show much better efficiency for batteries rely on making the most favourable assumptions for them.
They are based on assuming that electricity from renewables usually as many of the advocates don't fancy nuclear goes straight into the battery, whilst losses are incurred converting electricity to hydrogen and back again.

In reality of course all the proposals that I am aware of to use a lot of renewables rely on using excess wind and solar by converting to hydrogen or whatever, so are also lossy.
As for future systems, and if one fancies solar, then there are alternative routes which may be able to generate hydrogen directly.
So at present using steam reformation for hydrogen production and also natural gas for electricity there is nothing in it for energy efficiency, and in the future although there may be some efficiency penalty for fuel cells that is not cut and dried.

In any case if there is a big loss, then batteries combine really well with fuel cells, so the batteries could provide for short distance travel whilst fuel cells mean your car is perfectly capable of long distance.

So electric cars combining fuel cells and batteries promise that no significant decrease in capability is needed to move a lot of our transport off oil.

Money wise we are talking about 2020-5 for truly cost competitive with ICE cars of this nature.

That is an interesting time, as by around then automation for cars should make eliminating driver control practical.

Not only does that affect private cars, but public transport, as most of its cost is in the driver's wages.

Right now were it not for inertia and opposition from interested parties it is perfectly practical in urban areas to set up on demand, door to door shared taxi services, using the mobile to order a ride and computers using the fleet effectively to pick up passengers in an optimum route plan:

Robot cars would take most of the cost of that out, and make it far cheaper than owning a car.
They would also fully respect pedestrians and cyclists in Woonerf zones, and could be programmed to always give priority.
Non-drivers, children, the handicapped and the old would also loose their present very restricted access to mobility, and the school run would be a thing of the past.

So, to summarise, it does not seem necessary for us to loose any mobility at all.
In fact the technologies becoming available should mean greatly enhanced mobility for all, including being able to safely walk and cycle without breathing in deadly traffic fumes or getting run over.

And all this whilst massively reducing oil consumption.

a manner which imposed in the US alone a greater death toll in the 20th century than all the wars they fought put together.

At the peak of US passenger rail in 1900, 12,000 people were killed per year. Things have gotten safer.

Cars will too. I have great hopes for driverless (robot) cars.

Other thoughts:

EVs and hybrids are entirely competitive cost-wise with ICE vehicles, even now.

In a well designed renewable grid, only a small percentage of power would be converted to hydrogen - most would be used directly.

Bakken Business by Richard Manning is in the March issue of Harper's. He makes the following assertions:

"... even conservative estimates now put Bakken's holdings above 100 billion barrels."

"Fracking was developed in Texas in the late 1940s, but this technique alone would not have been enough to unleash the full potential of the Bakken. All the oil was tied up in a thin layer of rock, a puny target when viewed down a narrow vertical well, but plenty big if approached horizontally. A 2005 breakthrough in directional drilling gave oil men the ability to bore two miles down to the oil laden white layer of the Orio, then send a second flexible drill to bend the well before drilling another two miles horizontally. But even after this development, it took a 2009 innovation called multistage fracking to make the oil flow profitably. Bit by bit the oilmen learned that the rocks yielded best when drill operators sent rubber coated plugs into the hole at thousand-foot increments, expanded these plugs to block the hole, fracked, then moved the plugs down the line to frack again, a sequence they repeated dozens of times."

"Here is the revolutionary discovery of the Bakken .... It no longer matters where an oilman drills a well. What matters is what he does in the well once it is drilled."

"Every single well drilled in the area has a 99 percent chance of producing oil for about 30 years in predictable and tapering amounts. Wells drilled into the proven area generally enter the black when oil is above 50 or 60 dollars a barrel .... This is no longer wildcatting. This is plumbing. The odds of success are set in stone"

"The future promises to be even brighter...The oil in the stone slab does not move or vary considerably in distribution, so grab a map and start sticking it with pins.... People have done the math: fully developed, plumbed, and producing, the Bakken will support between 35,000 and 45,000 profitable oil wells, at least seven times the current number."

" Current exrtraction methods have placed as many as 24 billion barrels of Bakken oil within reach But the recipe can be improved: this number is less than 3% of some estimates of the amount of oil in that Oreo.Drillers in some areas report recovering as much as 12 percent of the oil .... Existing technology, which for all intents and purposes has been in use for about four years is now being tinkered with in about 5,000 wells. How will this newfound technology play out across the continent and globe? The U.S. Energy Information agency estimates there are 220 billion barrels of shale oil now technically recoverable in the United States, nearly ten time current proven reserves."

Much of the article is about believable environmental and social impacts on the area.

FOR ALL – TA DA!!!! We have winner, Mr. Manning, for the most complete compilation of misinformation I’ve seen in a long time

“A 2005 breakthrough in directional drilling gave oil men the ability to bore two miles down.” The industry was routinely drilling horizontal wells more than 25 years ago. I drilled my first hz wells in the GOM 19 years ago and those weren’t even in the first 50 wells drilled out there. And who helped me drill my wells: hands from the North Sea where such directional drilling had been done for years previously.

“it took a 2009 innovation called multistage fracking to make the oil flow profitably” I did my first multistage frac in 1979 when I pumped a total 500,000 lbs of multistage fracs in a vertical well in Lavaca Co. Texas. Many of the current multistage fracs utilized to day aren’t that large.

Another “new” technology for Mr. Manning: “…sent rubber coated plugs into the hole at thousand-foot increments, expanded these plugs to block the hole, fracked, then moved the plugs down the line to frack again, a sequence they repeated dozens of times." They are called “expandable packers” and they’ve been in common use for more than 30 years. They have been used in tens of thousands of wells before the first hz well was drilled. I’m surprised Mr. Manning didn’t toss in “sliding sleeves” since those are being utilized in more hz multistage fracs these days. Of course, sliding sleeves have been around for decades and just required a little modification to be used in hz wells.

"Here is the revolutionary discovery of the Bakken” This “revolutionary discovery” was made in the 1950’s.

“It no longer matters where an oilman drills a well. What matters is what he does in the well once it is drilled." Then why have companies spent hundreds of $millions shooting seismic data in the Bakken and all the other shale plays in order to optimize their drilling locations? So all that capex was spent by the folks who understand these plays better than Mr. Manning ever will?

"Every single well drilled in the area has a 99 percent chance of producing oil for about 30 years in predictable and tapering amounts.” Already been proven repeatedly by actual drilling results to not be true. Just look at the published production records. In addition to proving such a statement as absurd that search will also reveal a wide range of economic outcomes from very profitable to money losers.

“This is plumbing. The odds of success are set in stone". About two months ago a well was drilled in a sparsely untested area and not only was the Bakken not productive that formation wasn't even present in this area. Yeah…”99% chance of success”. I assume Mr. Manning doesn’t work for a public company since such a statement would likely garner a huge SEC fine and possible prison time.

“Existing technology, which for all intents and purposes has been in use for about four years…” The existing technologies (hx drilling and frac'ng) began widespread use in the fractured Austin Chalk (a carbonate shale) more than 20 years. At its height the AC was the hottest oil play on the planet. Many more wells drilled then we’ve seen in recent Bakken activity. Not much mention of the AC by the MSM or cornucopians these days. And for good reason: all those wells are nearly 100% depleted by now and there is little current activity because the vast majority of viable locations have already been drilled…many years ago. Everything said about the Bakken was said, word for word, about the AC in its hay day. Every word. The AC play sinificantly increased Texas oil production. And today it's relatively insignificant. It has follwed the life cycle of every oil play that has ever been developed.

There are a lot of reserves left to be developed in the Bakken and other oily shales…as long as prices stay high. The high price of oil has allowed long existent technology to be utilized in long known reservoirs and has stopped the decline in US oil production. That is a very good development, of course. An undeniable fact. I don’t know what Mr. Manning does for a living but he’s doing a fine job of imitating every promoter I’ve seen who was trying to skin naïve investors. Of course, he may be an honest man. Misleading but honest.

And IMHO comparing "technically recoverable" reserves to "proven reserves" is another blatant bit of misinformation that will lead the equally ignorant public to draw the same incorrect conclusions that we have no potential oil supply/pricing problem.

Your facts based reply is appreciated. Unfortunately many will read the Harper's article and believe it all. This will reinforce the propaganda of energy independence. Mr Manning is a writer. His ninth book due out this year is titled It Runs in the Family.

K – I don’t know much about the man and maybe he believes much of what he tosses out. Or he may not have wanted to understand matters more than what he felt his audience wants to hear. I think we’re all subject to that same prejudice to some degree.

Just as I think of some AGW deniers many folks just fear looking into a future that doesn’t match their expectations. With a 13 yo daughter it would give me comfort to no anticipate the future as I do. But it will be what it will be. And thus I tend to be critical of some folks who, perhaps honest in their own mind, lull folks into not preparing (as best as they might) for the future as I see it.

Harpers is my favorite magazine. I'm disappointed by all the factual errors. I just read the article. The author does look broadly at the social and environmental ramifications of the boom. Surprisingly he doesn't discuss the economic or political, global and US impacts.

What struck me the most was the tone. Resignation, acceptance, the sense that this is a done deal. Any sort of doubt that the boom is anything less than he dryly reports are wholly absent.

ROCKMAN - you are in trouble now. My mother has joined an anti-fracking group. She's trying to argue with me, based simply on the statement I made that if folks are really opposed to fracking then they should stop driving. Mum wouldn't know an oil well if she backed her car up into one.

You asked me to keep you posted on fracking hysteria here in CA. Someone hung a sign on a local overpass here the other day - NO FRACKING IN MONTEREY. And a group of men were discussing it at a break in a meeting the other day. All very serious, all against it, none in the least bit accurately informed.

I'm a bit worried this is how we behave about just about everything. Folks get their buttons pushed, or their levers pulled, by those who control the information flow - be it Harpers or FOX news (sic) or NPR or whatever. Then we argue and fight, minimally informed at best.

g2s – Good for your mom. I’m never opposed to folks speaking their mind even if I disagree. Here’s a suggestion: get her focused on frac fluid disposal and not the frac’ng process itself. First, thousands of wells have been frac’d in CA in the last 50 years including Monterey Shale wells so that bus has already left. LOL. Second, go over my recent post about an Ohio disposal company illegally dumping frac fluid. As I’ve been beating it into my Yankee cousins for years that’s the real threat. Lastly, even though I don’t operate in CA I’m pretty sure they monitor/regulate oil field disposal properly. But that’s where mom et al should focus their energy. Both NY and PA had to pass laws making it illegal for PUBLICLY OWNED municipal water treatment facilities to dump frac fluids untreated into the environment.

Mum wouldn't know an oil well if she backed her car up into one.

I remember driving along with one of my aunts when she excitedly asked me, "Is that an oil well?"

I said, "No, that's a gravel pit. The machinery in it that looks like a drilling rig is some gravel-sorting equipment."

"The pipe sticking up out of the ground in the next field with a valve on top and a tank sitting next to it is an oil well."

Oil wells can be quite obscure in their appearance.

You didn't make it clear why, specifically, your mother is against fracking. As for me, I am generally against the whole idea that we need to drill everywhere and drill now in order to use what is left as quickly as possible without thought for the morrow, including all the attendant greenhouse gases.

At the end of the day, though, virtually all of us are part of the problem and I have long argued that the only way to stop one's contribution may be suicide.

There is something, however, that is more egregious than the production end. And this is grossly exemplified by the widespread existence of mega homes in my area that sit vacant all winter. This would not be so bad but these vacant mega homes are heated all winter with propane. The owners are so rich that they cannot even be bothered to drain the water and winterize their homes to save a a few thousand dollars in propane.

Resisting fracking is probably a desperate stop gas measure to slow down the fossil fuel assault while we pray for alternatives and a massive chain in lifestyle, including those with the mega homes and the mega cars. A futile gesture, probably, but people can always hope and pray.

As far as suggesting that folks should stop driving, that is probably at least as futile as opposing fracking. That does not mean that we shouldn't take those actions on an individual basis if only to fend off charges of hypocrisy.

As far as hysteria goes, I am glad that someone is hysterical. There are times when I feel hysterical but I just can't seem to pull it off.

ts - "As for me, I am generally against the whole idea that we need to drill everywhere and drill now..." And there's the predicament, eh? Why be against just any new drilling or frac'ng if you aren't already protesting current production if the source of your desire is protect the environment? Is a bbl of future oil any worse than the current bbl that future bbl will replace? Along with hanging that "No frac'ng" banner why not another one saying "Shut those oil wells in"? Same goal, correct?

Not wanting frac'ng for fear of pollution is another matter. But as you say why not just limit the sale of motor fuel? That would kill a lot of drilling in addition to cutting GHG emissions. Trying to curtail drilling as a way to limit consumption is something of a red herring cause IMHO if that’s the primary goal. As I pointed out before the oil patch is fairly immune from attacks thanks to the vast majority of 300 million Americans insisting that not only do we keep drilling but we (or any politician) better not dare try to voluntarily limit oil production in this country. Remember there was a time when the TRRC had the power to limit oil production in Texas. BTW: they still have that power. There may be some minor local battles lost over frac’ng/drilling/etc. But we are really untouchable. Companies spending money to lobby politicians as far as general industry conditions go seems to me to be a waste of money. Any attempt to arbitrarily limit energy consumption will be met with the same vicious blowback IMHO as any significant attempt to inhibit drilling. And IMHO that goes for Canadian oil production as well as that in the US.

I don’t know what Mr. Manning does for a living but he’s doing a fine job of imitating every promoter I’ve seen who was trying to skin naïve investors. Of course, he may be an honest man. Misleading but honest.

Perhaps he sat in on one of these pitches, recorded it, wrote it up, and believed it all to be true.

From REUTERS: Tens of Thousands Join Electricity Protests Across Bulgaria

Electricity prices are politically sensitive in the European Union's poorest member since power bills bite off a big chunk of monthly incomes, especially during the winter.

Demonstrators threw eggs, bottles and fruit, burned their electricity bills and attacked the offices of power firms in five cities. More than 2,000 people blocked the highway to Greece near the southern town of Dupnitsa.

In the capital Sofia, protesters blocked traffic on the famous Eagles' Bridge and along several main roads.

"We cannot stand it anymore," said Penka Slavova, a pensioner. "My pension is 155 levs ($110) and my December bill was 175 levs. What should I do?"

As if government can cut the cost of the fuel which is used to provide the electricity...

E. Swanson

As if government can cut the cost of the fuel...

Reminds me of these lyrics from the Moody Blues:
"Riots by the people, for the people, who are only destroying themselves..."

Well, they could but that would require subsidies, which leads to govt. cuts in other programs to pay for them or borrowing money which adds to debt, which leads to insolvency...

No easy choices as we collectively drop down the net energy ladder. Speaking of which our latest pg&e bill was very high, so we're looking at solar. New structure we've contracted to be erected starting in April will have a south facing roof (or at least one side will be best angled to take advantage of the Suns rays). Plan to avoid any roof penetrations on that side so the whole area can be covered in panels. Any suggestions on type or make of PV panels would be greatly appreciated.

Grid-tied, off-grid, or both? How much area? Roof pitch (optimal would be roughly equal to your latitude)? You may consider ordering a full pallet now since prices are low. Not sure what the near future holds, but doubt they'll get much cheaper than this. I'm quite pleased with the ones we recieved recently.

Thanks Ghung. We're on the grid. Area of pitched side facing south is 34 x 15? = 510 sq.ft., call it 500. May be able to add to total sq.footage on the house roof but it is west facing. Roof pitch - not sure yet because it hasn't been built, but the overall wall dimensions are 20W x 30L feet with 12.5 to top of ceiling in center using scissor trusses. Thanks also for the link and glad to hear they work well for you. Nothing like a good recommendation.

The Suntechs I linked to are 77" x 39 ", so you could put two rows of ten, or 20 panels on your 34' x 15' roof (5.6 Kw). A full pallet is 21 panels (have a spare ;-). This would be an oportunity to build to the arrays if you had them (and their dimensions).

What do you know about balancing the panels for string inversion? I know that panel efficiency varies from unit to unit, and that it is best to put all the panels with similar output on the same string. But, do they come with individual panel data? Is there some testing one could prior to mounting? Or do you just take your chances and string them up?

2x10 sounds pretty aggressive, pretty high DC voltage. Maybe 3x7, which doesn't have to look like that geometrically, just the way the cables are done.

Split it and have just enough off grid to run freezer/fridge/basic lighting/pumps. Give you some backup for outages and, by using a switch over, bring the others back on line. Just a thought.


The strings can be 4x5 or 5x4, depending on what you're doing.

I've never worried about panel balancing since they find an average based on load. I have two arrays feeding one charge controller; eight 90 watters (really out-of-spec 100s, "B" panels outputting around 95 watts), and ten 75 watt panels on a different tracker. Both 17 volt panels in two-panel strings (34 volt). Very productive for over 12 years now. MPPT controller runs them around 28-30 volts.

One panel in a group with a big bird poop on it, or a partially shaded string, will be out of balance with the other panels/string. No big deal. PV is very forgiving when hooked to the right equipment.

When one connects PV panels in series, the individual PV panels should have the same current ratings. The current from the series string is determined by the panel with the lowest current rating.

Yeah, I would never put different makes/models of panels in the same string. Using two strings consisting of different makes/models outputting similar voltages into the same controller seems to work fine, and has been confirmed as acceptable by my controller manufacturer.

The photo from your link suggests that the panels are so cheap that they can be used for wall covering. Isn't that photo a tropical location (notice the palm tree in the background) where the panels should be located flat on the roof, MOL?

EDIT: Yeah, I know they're in Florida...:-)

E. Swanson

You're probably right.

Look at the building in Google Earth street view from before they moved in. Obvious they had to do something to improve looks.

25° 55.654'N 80° 14.043'W

That is the South side at least.

I noticed the facade looks funny. I expect they're for advertising as much as anything. These guys are buying container loads of PV and turning them over before they even get them. Getting these prices requires one to act fast and be patient.

I wonder if they got a tax credit for that orientation.

While prediction is always difficult -especially about the future. I think prices will keep coming down, although not at the rates we have seen recently. The prediction I saw was that in 2015 first tier Chinese produces cost (not price) of $.42/watt. I wouldn't buy a whole bunch of panels and then leave then in storage.
Also since panels are getting cheap. I'm not so convinced that optimal angle is so important anymore. Building the roof with whatever it takes so that mounts can be easily made. Does this mean mounting stubs of some sort sticking out of the roof? What about being ready for whatever cabling will be required? All of this stuff will add additional cost if the roof structure wasn't built with that intent in the first place.
Since you are on PG&E, can I ask where -and in what climate. I'm in one of the hotter locations in the PG&E area, and avoiding large AC loads would be a good thing to plan on. Some combination of good insulation, light colors for outside walls and roofs, strategicly placed shade etc. could save quite a bit. Of course panels with good windflow underneath cuts the thermal load on the roof as well.

An aluminum roof is highly reflective of both visible light and infrared.

A recent Peak Oil book by David Goodstein called "Climate Change and the Energy Problem: physical science and economics perspective" has slipped under the radar. Goodstein is a professor of physics at CalTech and a disciple of Richard Feynman, the AGW skeptics' favorite quote-machine.

This is the follow-on to Goodstein's earlier book "Out of Gas" that ties together the hydrocarbon depletion challenge with the climate change problem. In interviews, Goodstein agrees that climate denialism at its root is a desire not to face the energy problem. He says that the people seriously working on peak oil are not at the margins but are at the forefront of change.

Goodstein has serious credentials, and is one of the top thermodynamics and condensed matter physicists in the world. He treats the AGW problem as obvious:

"Fortunately for us, that is not all there is to it. If the average surface temperature of the Earth were 0°F. we probably would not have been here. The Earth has a gaseous atmosphere, largely transparent to sunlight, but nearly opaque to the planet's infrared radiation. The blanket of atmosphere traps and reradiates part of the heat that the Earth is trying to radiate away. The books remain balanced, with the atmosphere radiating into space the sonic amount of energy the Earth receives, but also radiating heat back to the Earth's surface, warming it to a comfortable average temperature of 57°F. That is what is known as the greenhouse effect. Without the greenhouse effect and the global warming that results, we probably would not be alive. "

Peak Oil is hard enough for people to digest, adding AGW to it makes it only harder to accept. That's my take anyways.

Right now AGW is branded as a problem which will only cause mild discomfort in future sort of like the AC breaking down for an hour, it will take some work to get people used to the idea that their house is on fire.

"Right now AGW is branded as a problem which will only cause mild discomfort in future sort of like the AC breaking down for an hour"

Some people think that AGW is the existential threat, others think that PO is the existential threat.

Logically, the disjunction of the two is the existential threat, which is the theme of Raymond Pierrehumbert's recent piece in Slate and of Goodstein's book. The solution to either problem is the same, move off of fossil fuels.

AGW != CAGW. Global Warming doesn't automatically lead to catastrophe.

It depends how much global warming you're talking about, in °C.

AGW-1. Hardly noticeable.
AGW-2. Manageable, the scientists tell us.
AGW-3. Getting serious.
AGW-4. Definitely nasty.
AGW-5. Very nasty indeed.
AGW-6. Catastrophic.
AGW-7+. Heading for extinction.

True AGW does not = CAGW, in a theoretical sense, but seeing as 1,2 and 3 are already pretty well dialled in, all that's left for our wriggle room is the "definitely nasty" and above.

I think that'll work out as pretty much a C in anyone's book.

We are at AGW 0.8 and I would not say that what is happening (Sandy, Australia, Russia, US Drought, Heat waves, etc) is "hardly noticeable". As well, James Hansen argues that AGW-2 will be much more serious than initially thought.


In addition to what D-UK said, I'd posit that as we're around 10 now, and it is very definitely noticeable if one is at all paying attention (Arctic sea ice almost gone in summer, mega droughts & storms, planting zones already shifted far to the north at least here in NA, we had bloody summer across the northern US last March, etc, etc) I'd shift all of your categories up one as in
1- Manageable (maybe)
2- Getting (really) serious
3- Definitely nasty (baked in as D-UK said)
4- Very nasty indeed
5- Catastrophic
6- Bye bye

(actually, I'd collapse 3/4 and 5/6 together, but I don't want to sound too doomerish ;-)

climate denialism at its root is a desire not to face the energy problem.

We can see that with small changes via different coolant systems for refrigerators people accepted since the alternative would have eaten the ozone to the point of killing all life on the planet. So making a small change to save all life made it easy for an international agreement.

Conversely, people apparently do not like the idea of big changes for what many perceive as slight changes to the weather (at least in their neck of the woods). However, if nothing is done about burning FF's, those regional slight changes will increase until the decision to make the necessary changes are obvious and consensus is easily achieved. The problem is that once climate feedbacks reach that point it will be like a gnat trying to stop a runaway train.

We need to ignore those that are unwilling to make these changes and simply do what is necessary, like a parent forcing a kid to do what they know needs to happen.

Richard Feynman, the AGW skeptics' favorite quote-machine.

feynman died in 1988. how is he related to agw and to agw skeptics?

"feynman died in 1988. how is he related to agw and to agw skeptics?"

Feynman is a favorite of climate skeptics because they claim that mainstream climate scientists don't
follow the scientific method. They highlight Feynman's description of the "correct" scientific method and also
other essays of his including that of cargo cult science. They will pick up any quote
of Feynman's such as "Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" and use that to play up FUD.

Just google "global warming"+"Richard Feynman"

Unfortunately, it's all just framing and projection, because they have nothing better to offer. And you are right, they
couldn't have done this unless Feynman was dead, because I have a feeling he would have called then on it.

PV update: There was some discussion on Drumbeat this week about micro-inverters and the idea of oversizing PV arrays in relation to the microinverters' rated capacity. Some thoughts...

It's currently solar noon at our place, temperature at freezing, winds 10-20 MPH, and cloudless, though there's a slight haze. Weather Service graph for today shows 20% sky cover. Not a perfect PV day, but close.

The completed installation of the first string of our new panels, (four 240 watt rated = 960 watts at 120 volts) has been producing an average of about 1030 watts since two hours before solar noon, well above their rated output. One could attribute this to new panels that will eventually settle closer to their rated output as they age. Then, again, we have two 1004 watt (rated) arrays within 50 feet of the new array, both overproducing by a similar amount. One array has been in operation for six years, the other, seven. Our two oldest arrays, significantly older, are producing over their specified ratings as well. Combined, the collective output of all of this PV has been producing well over their combined specified output for a couple of hours. Of course, these panels are rated at a temperature about 40 degrees F higher than current conditions.

Conclusion: It's probably not a good idea to exceed the ratings of your balance-of-system equipment. Even the idea of orienting panels in different directions may be risky if you have cool weather during the summer solstice, unless you have the luxury of experimentation and data logging. Having a way to limit PV production during these periods of over-production may be an option, but matching or overdesigning BOS equipment to PV is something I've held to and recommend. Most manufacturers don't mind a call or email describing what you are planning.

Here's to another great solar day. We'll be busy doing laundry, dishes, dogs... using as much of this clean energy as we can, and end the day with a full battery. We'll set a new record for production (16.8 KwH at noon), and I still have more panels to install. Better get to it.

As I recall, the PV panels are rated at a fixed insolation, simulated by an electric light. That level is set at 1,000 W/m2. However, the solar "constant" outside the atmosphere is about 1,367 W/m2, thus the ground level insolation can be above that for which the panels are rated on very clear days, such as the cold, dry smog free weather you and I are enjoying...

E. Swanson

When I was in the 7000' mountains of Arizona, my PV output was often above rated (1410w from 1230 rated), when I moved to Alabama I lost over 15% due to lower altitude and much higher humidity. I added 2880w more PV then. Now that I'm in northern California with clear dry skies, I'm back over rated many times. I'm only at 2600' so not quite as much as Arizona but almost.

I'll be doing like Ghung, have 40 x 235w on the way and also 10x 180w laminates stored in the garage. These will be used for expansion, family and other uses. A couple panels are charging my GE Elek-Trak, using an older Outback MX-60 running at 36V. I also have a Tripp-Lite 36V 3600w inverter I use with the Elec-Trak to run my electric tiller out in the garden.

The sun just set and we made 32.1 KwH from 4.4 Kw installed (three arrays tracking today). That comes to 7.29 hours of full rated production. Not bad for a Feb. day. All of our records have been set on these cold, clear Feb. and March days. While our new panels are fixed, tracking is still the bomb, especially in winter. Too bad good trackers cost so much; making them out of the old satellite dish mounts not so bad if you're handy.

BTW, Aug, my mounts have withstood repeated gusts in the 70MPH range. One gust blew down a sliding glass door that day, but the arrays hung in there (better than I did ;-) The old heavy-duty mounts like the Curtis-Mathis 10-12 foot dishes are beasty, made to withstand 100 MPH+ winds. Good for about 1Kw of panels with a sch. 80 pipe, buried deep. Makes it easy to adjust elevation seasonally as well. I bolt on 2" Super Strut to attach the panels to. I still find these old mounts sitting in folks' pastures, usually free if I clean up the mess. I've got one I was going to make a concentrator out of, but may just put PV on it....

...and I'm downright envious of your Elec-Trak and tiller. I had an old Troy Built Horse that would have been perfect for conversion (blown engine) but sold it for parts.

Not quite so clockwork,
but I just flipped my solar back on,
harvesting photons on a smaller scale.

My panels got obscured by snow in late December.
Cleared them once, just in time for the next snowfall.
And I have long low tree shadow in midwinter.
So I was slow to switch back.

But I'm up and running now. 2KWh or so harvested today.
Outdoor "xmas" lights, indoor modem and file server.
Call it the seven per cent solution.
Thinking about expanding; a dollar a watt on ebay.

$1.00/watt seems about bottom price for individual panels. I think part of it is that panels are more vulnerable when unpacked from their pallet/crate; a lot get broken. I recieved busted Kyocera panels. They were packed 2 to a carboard box and 6 0f 10 were broken We could hear the little bits of tempered glass when we unloaded the boxes; knew it wasn't good. The panels were replaced and I donated the shattered ones to a school science project. At $4.00+ watt back then, someone ate a chunk. Be careful who you order from.

Any PV is better than none ;-/

Enphase has a white paper that seems to recommend up to 30% oversizing of the input to their M215 module. Apparently the module has no problem running with a sustained clipped 199 watt output.

However the manual says the maximum short-circuit output current of the PV must be less than 15 amps. Don't know the reason for this. It would be interesting to know if it could run off a larger panel through a 15 amp fuse. I suspect the fuse would quickly blow.

In any event the open circuit input voltage must not exceed the rated maximum of 36 volts. Calculate that from the PV data sheet based on the coldest temperature ever expected.

M215 is a 1:1 match for 60 cell (220-260watt) modules only, It has a little higher efficiency than the previous generation since the voltage window is tweaked for 60 cell only. The Older M190 will max power track either 60 or 72 cell voltages. The 15 amp rating is limit for the #14 wire on most 6" cell modules. AC Panels are now cheapest way to go, there is no DC Code requirements, no mounting boxes, No separate DC SYSTEM Ground, etc, etc. It's essentially almost as easy a Light fixture from an electrical viewpoint. We can install twice as many AC Panels in a day compared to Panels with Micros. It appears the future is AC Modules.

How do you get around islanding issues? Does it have to be a single system, all with the same microinverters? Can you mix a string inverter and micro's -or does that require special anti-islanding hardware?

AC modules are listed for grid tie. The micros are bonded to the module frame. It's one unit and warranted as such. Solar bridge inverters clamps at .99 amps so you can get 16 modules per 20A branch circuit and not overload 12 gauge wire. 16Amps is max on a 20A branch circuit with NEC 80% derate. 14 max is best since you don't have to be as concerned about voltage rise which could be seen as grid out of spec by the inverters. So ~3.5 kw per 20A branch circuit. with few parts. Nice.

Delegating a PV panel to the level of a lightbulb seems almost,, sacrilegious ;-/

The max number of PV panels on the same official Enphase wire for 240V is 17. But does that mean you have to have 2 independent 20 Amp circuits or can you join them at a combiner box and use a 40 amp circuit?

Bigger is Better

Gains in annual production were 25-100 times more significant than the losses associated with
inverter saturation.

Well up to a point that is. There will be a point where it's not of any economical benefit.

Appears the microinverters are fully capable of operating in "saturation" mode and thus protecting themselves from any damage. Of course the maximum voltage must be kept below the inverter rating. This would be due to the rating of the electrolytic capacitors. Which I found out the hard way on My inverter.
Yes, I was able to fix it.

the manual says the maximum short-circuit output current of the PV must be less than 15 amps.

Maybe thats a fire safety thing. If the inverter were to short circuit, then most of the power is heating the busted inverter.

I've never seen my inverter do more than the rated 2500watts, I think it selflimits. And it only hits that with a cloud -boost (sun just came out from a cloud-shadow, panels are cold, and a lot of extra sunlight is refracted (thats actually how clouds work) from the part of the cloud just a few degrees away from the sun position. So maybe -if the inverter is designed to simply clip any excess power -it doesn't hurt? If panels get cheaper than inverters, maybe thats the way to go???

Saudi Oil Output Falls to 19-Month Low as Exports Decline,Bloomberg,Feb.17,2013
KSA in the face of $117 Brent is cutting exports.

Interesting, got a link?


Saudi Oil Output Falls to 19-Month Low as Exports Decline

Saudi Arabia’s crude oil output fell in December to a 19-month low as shipments from OPEC's biggest producer dropped for a third month and domestic consumption decreased, the Joint Organisations Data Initiative said.

HERE's the link. However, HERE's another link reporting things a bit differently.

And if those weren't confusing enough, HERE's a third version...

E. Swanson

I picked up the usual statement, buried as it were, that the market is "well supplied". Which is always the usual all purpose statement. It might be interesting if, some time, someone did a post on the supply chain process from Saudi Arabia to the consumer. My possibly simplistic question would be, what is the process that causes SA to decide to export a given barrel of oil? Is it possible that they have simply decided to not produce full out regardless of price? This may be a sign that they cannot significantly increase their production but it could also be a sign that they would like to prolong the lifetime of their reserves.

As usual, it requires an expert in reading the tea leaves if one can find the tea leaves.

And, of course, the market is well supplied. At any given price level, it is always well supplied in the sense that given supply clears the market and supply equals demand.

I think it is confusing if one attempts to apply classic economics principles to the production and supply of oil. Those principles ignore the dynamics of a declining resource tied to the very existence of a country.

Hi everyone, I remember there was a chart posted in one of the previous Drumbeat discussions showing IEA WEO oil price forecasts from the year 1998 until today, all in one graph, together with the real price trend (it showed that basically every forecast was just a straight line from the current price). I forgot to save/bookmark it, could somenone who has it post a link? Thanks.

Alarming new Global Extinction within one Human Lifetime as a Result of a Spreading Atmospheric Arctic Methane Heat wave and Surface Firestorm


Although the sudden high rate Arctic methane increase at Svalbard in late 2010 data set applies to only a short time interval, similar sudden methane concentration peaks also occur at Barrow point and the effects of a major methane build-up has been observed using all the major scientific observation systems. Giant fountains/torches/plumes of methane entering the atmosphere up to 1 km across have been seen on the East Siberian Shelf. This methane eruption data is so consistent and aerially extensive that when combined with methane gas warming potentials, Permian extinction event temperatures and methane lifetime data it paints a frightening picture of the beginning of the now uncontrollable global warming induced destabilization of the subsea Arctic methane hydrates on the shelf and slope which started in late 2010. This process of methane release will accelerate exponentially, release huge quantities of methane into the atmosphere and lead to the demise of all life on earth before the middle of this century.

Ron P.