Drumbeat: February 25, 2013

Randy Udall - The shale phenomenon: fabulous miracle with a fatal flaw

In 2000, the experts were unanimous: American oil and gas production was in terminal decline. By 2015, it was said, we’d need 10 supertankers a day, carrying 12 million barrels of crude, plus 10 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas.

Since 2005, however, this scarcity meme has been toppled. Domestic oil and gas production has grown 35 percent in seven years. Natural gas production is at record highs, and oil production has climbed almost 2 million barrels a day, faster here than anywhere on the planet.

The Case for a Higher Gasoline Tax

THE average price of gasoline in the United States, $3.78 on Thursday, has been steadily climbing for more than a month and is approaching the three previous post-recession peaks, in May 2011 and in April and September of last year.

But if our goal is to get Americans to drive less and use more fuel-efficient vehicles, and to reduce air pollution and the emission of greenhouse gases, gas prices need to be even higher. The current federal gasoline tax, 18.4 cents a gallon, has been essentially stable since 1993; in inflation-adjusted terms, it’s fallen by 40 percent since then.

Politicians of both parties understandably fear that raising the gas tax would enrage voters. It certainly wouldn’t make lives easier for struggling families. But the gasoline tax is a tool of energy and transportation policy, not social policy, like the minimum wage.

Brent Trades Near Four-Day High Before Iran Nuke Talks

Brent crude traded near the highest level in four days before international talks with Iran on its nuclear program. China increased fuel prices for the first time since September.

Futures rose as much as 1.6 percent after gaining 0.5 percent on Feb. 22. Iran, which is under a Western embargo on its oil exports, will meet the U.S., China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K., or the so-called P5+1 group, tomorrow in Almaty, Kazakhstan, after an eight-month lapse in negotiations. The lack of a breakthrough may mean U.S. and European Union sanctions on Iran will continue to cost the Islamic republic about $98.9 million a day in lost oil sales, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

North Sea investment at "30-year high" new report suggests

Oil and gas industry investment in the North Sea has reached its highest level in 30 years, according to figures published by its trade body UK Oil and Gas.

UK Oil and Gas said a series of tax breaks introduced by the Chancellor last year has seen the sector respond by investing £11.4 billion in 2012.

Nigeria to Cut April Qua Iboe Crude Exports to Seven Cargoes

Nigeria plans to load seven Qua Iboe crude cargoes in April, down from nine in March, according to a preliminary loading plan. The programs exclude shipments that were deferred.

China Increases Gasoline, Diesel Pump Prices as Crude Costs Rise

China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, increased fuel prices for the first time since September after the cost of imported crude rose.

China Net Diesel Exports Rose in January to Highest in 27 Months

China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, boosted net diesel exports to the highest level in 27 months in January as domestic stockpiles increased.

Overseas sales of the fuel exceeded imports by 309,273 metric tons, according to data e-mailed by the General Administration of Customs today. That’s 22 percent higher than December and the most since October 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Sinopec to buy stake in Chesapeake assets for $1.02 billion: source

(Reuters) - China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) , Asia's largest oil refiner, will buy a 50 percent stake in Chesapeake Energy Corp's Mississippi Lime oil and gas properties in Oklahoma and Kansas for $1.02 billion, a Sinopec source said.

Chesapeake, the second-largest gas producer in the United States, has about 2.1 million net acres of leasehold in the Mississippi Lime region.

Nigeria, Brazil Sign Agreement to Boost Trade, Investment

Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4) expects to expand oil production in Nigeria as the Rio de Janeiro-based company looks to strengthen its presence in Africa’s top oil producer.

“Petrobras has been producing oil in Nigeria for 14 years, and expects to increase production,” Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said today during a speech in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. “Petrobras expects to establish an ever-stronger presence here in Nigeria.”

Biggest LBO Failure Is Energy Future Purgatory for KKR

Five years after their record- setting leveraged buyout of Energy Future Holdings Corp., KKR & Co. and TPG Capital are moving closer to a possible new milestone: the biggest bankruptcy of a private equity-backed company since the failure of Chrysler Group LLC.

Sonangol Raises Angola Oil Output, Will Seek Bids for 15 Blocks

Sonangol EP, Angola’s state energy company, boosted oil output by 4.5 percent last year and plans to spend $8.8 billion on exploration in the next decade, Chief Executive Officer Francisco de Lemos Jose Maria said.

Angola LNG start delayed by technical problems - Sonangol

(Reuters) - The start of exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the $10 billion Angola LNG project has been delayed due to technical problems at the plant, a senior executive at state oil firm Sonangol said on Monday.

Sonangol board member Baptista Sumbe told a press briefing that Angola LNG will announce a new estimated date for the start of exports once reparation works have been completed.

Iran Boosts Oil Storage With Facility to Hold 500,000 Barrels

Iran has added storage for as much as 500,000 barrels of oil, the third such facility it established in southern Bushehr province in the past year, the Oil Ministry news website, Shana, reported.

The new facility will increase Iran’s storage capacity in Bushehr’s Bahregan region to 4 million barrels, according to the report, which cited Mohammad-Bagher Soleimani, Iranian Offshore Oil Co.’s production director.

Oil minister: Iran could revise its oil export policy

Iran's oil minister Rostam Qasemi said Iran could revise its oil exporting policies, IRNA reported.

"Since Iran possesses enough of technical knowledge to build its own oil refineries, and can produce high value products, it can reconsider its crude oil and condensates export strategy," Qasemi said.

Iran plans to use its refineries for making other petroleum products and establishing their export, instead of crude oil.

Algeria Resumes Some Operations at Plant Hit by Militants

Algeria resumed some operations at the In Amenas natural-gas complex more than a month after militants killed 38 workers during an attack on the facility near the border with Libya.

Sonatrach, the state-run energy company, reopened a unit of the plant with an annual output of 3 billion cubic meters, a third of the location’s total capacity, Chief Executive Officer Abdelhamid Zerguine said in an interview with state radio today.

Iraqi Groups Fail to Agree Oil Payments, Lawmaker Says

Iraq’s political factions failed to agree on the amount of money due to international oil companies working in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, said Ammar Tohme, a lawmaker from the ruling coalition.

Kurdish lawmakers said the companies are owed 4.2 trillion dinars ($3.6 billion), while the central government’s accounting bureau said the amount is $1.5 billion, Tohme said in a telephone interview from Baghdad. Iraq’s government-sponsored Iraqiya earlier said that the political groups had reached an agreement.

Report: Only 40% of consumers trust energy suppliers

Britain’s energy suppliers are facing a crisis of consumer confidence after new research has revealed that just four in ten consumers trust their energy supplier.

The research, commissioned by the price comparison website uSwitch.com, shows that over the last two years, 45% of those surveyed trust their energy supplier less than they used to.

BP Seeks to Prove Gulf Spill Errors Weren’t Negligence

BP Plc, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co. must convince a federal judge that mistakes that led to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill don’t amount to gross negligence if they are to avoid billions of dollars in damages for the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

'Trial of the century': Can BP deflect blame for Gulf oil spill?

What once seemed likely – a settlement – now appears off the table as the US prepares to take BP to court in New Orleans on Monday, alleging the company exhibited 'gross negligence' in the lead-up to the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. At stake: $17 billion.

As BP Trial Nears, Hints of Progress on a Deal

NEW ORLEANS — As settlement talks continued Sunday on the eve of a trial against BP stemming from the 2010 explosion of a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the details of an offer by federal and state officials to the oil company started to emerge.

BP Gulf of Mexico Spill, From Disaster to Trial: Timeline

The trial that will determine the extent of any liability London-based BP Plc (BP/) and its partners must face for the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill is set to begin today in federal court in New Orleans.

The following is a timeline of the events leading up to the destruction of the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, which killed 11, the subsequent spill of millions of barrels of oil and resulting litigation. All dates and events are from court, agency and securities filings, or company and government statements.

Could Saudi really be losing its taste for the black stuff?

The King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), the government department responsible for the program, last year published its vision for a long-term energy mix that relied on big contributions from solar and nuclear energy.

Isn't it ethical to use less heating?

The World Health Organisation sets "adequate" indoor temperatures at 21C for a living room and 18C for a bedroom. Will going lower have dramatic consequences for your health? Hopefully not. Studies show links between low indoor temperatures and increased blood pressure in older people, and that the cold can affect the immune system's ability to deal with respiratory infection. Strikingly, countries with lower winter temperatures than the UK, such as Sweden and Finland, have lower rates of excess winter mortality (there were 24,000 such deaths in England and Wales during the winter of 2011-12), but they also have more energy-efficient housing stock (meaning that inhabitants can afford to keep warm).

Our housing stock is the least energy efficient in Europe, with 6m UK households in fuel poverty. What environmentalists don't acknowledge is that if these homes were heated to WHO temperature recommendations, carbon emissions would increase.

'Internet of things' promises nine billion tons of carbon savings

Global greenhouse gas emissions could be cut by almost a fifth over the coming decade thanks to the rapid development of the so-called 'internet of things', giant networks of sensors that could revolutionise energy and resource efficiency by enabling machine-to-machine communication.

Apocalypse Not: The Oscars, The Media And The Myth of ‘Constant Repetition of Doomsday Messages’ on Climate

The two greatest myths about global warming communications are 1) constant repetition of doomsday messages has been a major, ongoing strategy and 2) that strategy doesn’t work and indeed is actually counterproductive!

German greenhouse gas emissions up 1.6 pct in 2012

(Reuters) - German greenhouse gas emissions rose 1.6 percent in 2012 as a result of more coal burning and gas use, Germany's Federal Environment Agency (UBA) said, adding the rise was smaller than had been expected after the government quit nuclear power.

CO2 emissions alone rose 2.0 percent from the year before. A wider use of renewable energy kept that increase in check.

U.S. offers airspace-based emissions regime

(Reuters) - A U.S. proposal for curbing aircraft emissions would exclude time spent flying over international waters, an approach that some environmental groups say is too timid in addressing the rise in greenhouse gasses from the aviation sector.

The proposal, seen by Reuters, would cover just a quarter of aviation emissions, according to some estimates, and is in sharp contrast to a European Union law that would require all airlines to pay a carbon fee for the entire flight if departing or arriving at EU airports.

Secret climate report calls for action in South Carolina

A team of state scientists has outlined serious concerns about the damage South Carolina will suffer from climate change – threats that include invading eels, dying salt marshes, flooded homes and increased diseases in the state’s wildlife.

But few people have seen the team’s study. The findings are outlined in a report on global warming that has been kept secret by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources for more than a year because agency officials say their “priorities have changed.”

Hotter, wetter climate slashes labor capacity by 10 pct - U.S. study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Earth's increasingly hot, wet climate has cut the amount of work people can do in the worst heat by about 10 percent in the past six decades, and that loss in labor capacity could double by mid-century, U.S. government scientists reported on Sunday.

Satellite Tracking of Middle East Aquifers Points to the End of ‘Data Denial’

Our team’s expectation is that the water situation in the Middle East will only degrade with time, primarily due to climate change. The best available science indicates that the arid and semi-arid regions of the world will become even more so: the dry areas of the world will become drier (while conversely, the wet areas will become wetter). Consequences for the Middle East include more prolonged drought, which means that the underground aquifers that store the region’s groundwater will not be replenished during our lifetimes, nor during those of future generations.

Iran plans to use its refineries for making other petroleum products and establishing their export, instead of crude oil.

It will be sweetly ironic when the punishing sanctions imposed by the USA on the evil empire of Iran cause them to invest in value-added petroleum exports - plastics, fertilizer. Then since they have been pumping less oil everyone else is depleting theirs. So the price of oil will likely increase thus allowing Iran to get way more money for its production.

Now all they have to do is keep their political problems under control until the sanctions blow over.

On the other hand the friendly relations everyone has with the UK allowed them to sell at $20 and buy at $100. I guess they make it up in volume.


Despite the criminality of the blockade, it also has the effect of forced saving of reserves until a future when prices now will look like a bargain. Of course, exploiting that by some new client regime may very well also be part of the larger war-criminal plan...

part of the larger war-criminal plan..

Naaw! That would require the ability to make long term plans. That simply has not been observed.

That simply has not been observed

...on the American side. But look at Detroit vs the Nikon, Canon, Toyota, Honda, Braun, Bosch, Volkswagen juggernaut and tell me, again, who won WWII. Perhaps Peter Sellers in the Mouse that Roared had it right - piss off the Americans & declare victory 10 years later.

I will concede that Harley Davidson has, apparently gone against this tide. But there is no evidence that it is their engineering that beat BMW.

I will concede that Harley Davidson has, apparently gone against this tide. But there is no evidence that it is their engineering that beat BMW.

Real Americans ride cycles, that are so load, any baby withing five miles will start crying, and all the dogs will bark. Why if you ain't disturbing the hood, you just aren't a real man.

I hate listening to those damn things. "Look at me, look at me"!

Please correct me if this is in error, it is from memory only.

I remember from somewhere... That Harley had mechanical problems back in the day and they needed to contracted with a Japanese firm to help them keep that iconic 'loud sound' without ratteling the engine to pieces. Also, if I remember correctly, Ralph Nader did his first big public safety crusade against Harley for preventible mechanical issues. They nearly went bancrupt before it became an American classic.


I think you're mixing a few things. Older Harleys had garbage tolerances (read: leaked) and the unbalanced engines shook themselves and the bike to pieces. It's not unheard of to have people's arms go numb from the shake. They were such heavy pigs that someone started calling them "hogs" - Harley tried to run from it at first, but eventually adopted the name and backronymed it to "Harley Owners Group." The "hogs" were so heavy that people "chopped" them by removing superfluous bits to lighten them for racing.

Buy the politicians!

"In the early eighties, Harley-Davidson claimed that Japanese manufacturers were importing motorcycles into the US in such volume as to harm or threaten to harm domestic producers. After an investigation by the US International Trade Commission, President Reagan imposed in 1983 a 45% tariff on imported bikes and bikes over 700 cc engine capacity."

The foreign brands were starting to eat Harley's lunch (because they didn't suck) - so Harley lobbied to get a huge tariff placed on import manufacturers.

Somewhere in the 90's the foreign brands got into the cruiser craze...and that's when HD started suing everyone left and right because they were "stealing the Harley sound." Stealing...an engine sound. Hence all of the jokes such as: "If Harley had as many engineers as they did lawyers they could build a decent bike."

As far as Ralph Nader (the one who actually deserves credit for the EPA)...Unsafe at Any Speed primarily featured the Corvair. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unsafe_at_Any_Speed

Reagan the protectionist. I learn something new every day.

"President Reagan imposed in 1983 a 45% tariff on imported bikes and bikes over 700 cc engine capacity."

And by 1985 all the Japanese 750cc bikes were 700s

That would require the ability to make long term plans. That simply has not been observed.

Just because one doesn't see a long term plan or understand how an action isn't part of a long term plan doesn't mean there is not a long term plan.

Some plans are ment to benefit a minority of people.

From the first "Drumbeat" "oil production has climbed almost 2 million barrels a day" Yes, but what is the Energy Invested (EI) to get the Energy Return (ER) of almost 2 million barrels a day.

but is that all ?

really ?

good though it maybe it aint gonna help no one - China sucked it all up and more

predictions were for 120million and $20 - we got instead 86mill and $118

even I acn figure something isnt right


I think FRO is finally done. These guys had an all-access pass to the oil industry and still made very bad decisions to keep buying tankers.

Frontline Declines to Lowest Since 1999 on Bond Payment

“We struggle to see that there will be any meaningful value left for current shareholders,” said ABG Sundal Collier Holding ASA in a note today, cutting its price estimate to zero.

Volkswagen to Unveil 261 M.P.G.e. Production Car

I didn't expect to see a car like this so soon but diesel hybrids make alot of sense.
$10 per gallon? no problemo. Probably too Pricey but at least you can buy it and it will put pressure on other mfs. This should keep EV's at bay for a while.
Looks like Technology will keep doomsday at bay for a while too.

Maybe . . . if they build it for real. They've had such a prototype for a decade now they've been revising over time. But they've never built it for real. And this current talk is about building it as a "halo car" wherein it would be small production and cost so much that it wouldn't be worth it. And it doesn't display EVs at all, you could put batteries in the same model and get even more energy savings.

The diesel hybrid concept has been my choice for the best alternative vehicle for many years. This VW design is quite close to the Hypercar first proposed by Amory Lovins, with several improvements. Although this design isn't able to accommodate 4 adults, this VW is likely to exceed the 100 MPG design goal of the original Hypercar.

Whether or not this approach is better for the environment than a pure EV remains to be seen, as the emissions from producing the electricity for the EV must be considered along with the direct MPG results. There is a MPG penalty from hauling around the larger batteries for an EV which offsets the benefits from purely electrical propulsion. If the electricity were provided by renewable sources, the EV would come out ahead, but if the power comes from burning fossil fuels, even that generated from natural gas, the efficiency of the small turbo diesel might prove the better choice...

E. Swanson

There is a MPG penalty from hauling around the larger batteries for an EV which offsets the benefits from purely electrical propulsion.

I think the issue, as always brought up by so many drumbeat contributors is, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

If a person uses their car for urban commuting and spends a lot of time stopped or in slow traffic, I think I would want basically a seat designed like a recliner chair, sound deadening insulation, and EV that has a small output range extender to charge the batteries if they get low. Sure the range extender engine could be a tiny diesel. The batteries wouldn't need to be very big either, since the car wouldn't be moving much, and the energy use per hr would also be low.

If a person has to do long fwy cruise commutes then a modest displacement diesel and no hybrid technology would likely be best.

mrflash818 writes:

If a person uses their car for urban commuting and spends a lot of time stopped or in slow traffic...

For urban areas which contain 79% of the population of the US you should not NEED to drive!
Rather than invest billions on our own personal transport vehicles we should run Green Transit.
Why would you drive a personal car at huge expense when you can get there faster with
LightRail or Rail and perhaps last mile shuttles or rentable bicycles?

; )

For urban areas which contain 79% of the population of the US you should not NEED to drive!
Rather than invest billions on our own personal transport vehicles we should run Green Transit.

For urban areas that contain internet broadband access, many people can _telecommute_, and therefore not need to care about squeezing every mpg out of a vehicle, or have to deal with mass transit!

Personally, I only drive to the office on Mondays, and the rest of the workweek is via VPN and work-provided cell phone from _home_.

"For urban areas that contain internet broadband access, many people can _telecommute_, - See more at: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9857#more"

Not if you work for Yahoo.

Or for my employer.

speculawyer: "Maybe . . . if they build it for real. They've had such a prototype for a decade now they've been revising over time. But they've never built it for real."

They don't need to build it for real. The XL1 is essentialy a playground for technology development, which will be implemented in other products. For example, they are planning to build a hybrid version of the 'Up' small car based on the XL1 engine technology:


There's also going to be a fully electric version of the Up later this year (it's already in pre-production stage).

displace Ev's?

I'm not sure about that. The 100mpg xprize team abandoned electric to win that prize. At least hybrid is proven, selling and doesn't have to worry about infrastructure. I don't understand why we attempt huge change via mega projects when an incremental approach is more effective.

huge change via mega projects when an incremental approach is more effective.

Because psychologically, people go for purist solutions. A car that never uses a drop of gasoline, versus a car that uses half as much. Making the perfect the enemy of the good. We are very good at doing that.

The latest non-hybrid diesel from VW - golf bluemotion is rated at 88mpg (imperial).
Seats five and costs £20,000 including 20% sales tax. Available today.

They are not quoting a sale price for the fancy 2 seat hyrbrid, but would have hefty loss at £50,000 each,
and it is estimated the production run will be 50 to limit the losses.

We could build small, cheap and very efficient cars, I think Edison2 has the right approach.

We are on the downward slide of the technological age. We can transition to cheap and simple, or to a dead end.


Yair . . .for me all these cars are useless as tits on a bull. I live in the bush and need transport not a design exercise or a fashion statement.

In my world there is no need for speed (and that will apply to other worlds down the track a bit) to make an electric slippery (for my application) is a total waste of time . . . it will never need to go fast enough to buck the wind . . . give me low speed range.

Something like a 'T' Model Ford with modern long travel off-road suspension and motorcycle wheel technology . . . now your talkin'


For living out in the bush, then I would imagine that retrofitting an old range rover, jeep or other small 4x4 with a small diesel engine would help save you money on fuel.

MPGe is tank-to-wheels only, which obscures the much greater losses in the generation and transmission and electricity compared with petrol. It's also notoriously over-stated by manufacturers.

Meanwhile, the curb weight here is a huge factor. 1,800 pounds is not road-worthy in the USA, where high-speed travel amid 4,000-lb+ peers on deteriorating suburban roads with frequent stops and crossings is the name of the game. 1,800 pounds here is a deathtrap.

Looks like this technology will keep people who ought to know better from thinking through the idiocy of cars-first transportation for a while longer...

Meanwhile, the curb weight here is a huge factor. 1,800 pounds is not road-worthy in the USA, where high-speed travel amid 4,000-lb+ peers on deteriorating suburban roads with frequent stops and crossings is the name of the game. 1,800 pounds here is a deathtrap.

My 1962 VW Beetle has a weight of 1700-1800 pounds and I have no problems driving it in traffic - And it certainly is not a "Death Trap".
And, do you think your 4000 pound car is any less a "Death Trap" when it meets my 7,000 pound pickup truck?
Or your 7,000 pound pickup truck meets my 80,000 pound semi truck/trailer?

The reason my (51 year old) 1962 VW Beetle gets 35+ miles per gallon is low vehicle weight plus small engine. Switch from air cooled 1200 cc engine to liquid cooled engine with higher compression ratio and the MPG would go up to 40+ MPG. And remember, this is for a 51 year old car! Originally designed in the 1930's.

And I have driven my VWs all over the USA including Los Angles California traffic and the Colorado mountains with no problems.

with all the regulation I'm not sure a 1 ton car can be built but I'm sure alot of people would buy a no frills hi mpg car if it was allowed.

Jon Kutz, the Geo Metro was also in that 1,700 pound (770 kg) range. It surprises me that Chevy doesn't resurrect that car and update the engine to today's technology and have a car that would sell like hotcakes.

Yeah, there is a surprising fan base for that little car. However, by what I understand, you could not build them today because they would probably not satisfy modern safety regulations.

Yeah, there is a surprising fan base for that little car.

speculawyer, You don't see too many Metros on the road anymore. I do smile every time I see one.

My little rural "town" of 500 has about a dozen geo metros if you include the folks in the boonies here. It's definitely a cult car hereabouts, sort of odd in a ranching community. There's also about a half dozen priuses, which really aren't at their best performance out on these long lonely roads with no stoplights or traffic. The average local geo, as bragged by their owners, gets better than 50mpg. Some of them have been stripped down to save weight. There's also an electric 1970 or so converted VW bug.

I had a 62 VW bug. Even as a college kid in 1972, I realized it WAS a death trap. Flimsy uni-body construction without crumble zones, air bags, dash padding, collapsing steering wheel, shoulder strap, etc. it did have dim 6 volt head lamps, which ensured no other driver would be blinded by my beams - they might not even notice I'm there. It did have a large collapsible device in the front trunk to absorb front end collision impact - the gas tank. They don't make them like they used to, thank God...

Compare that to the new Dodge Dart which comes with a high strength safety cage and side guard door beams, active head restraints, anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, a tire pressure monitoring system and ten air bags, all as standard equipment. You can also order the Dart with rear cross-path detection, blind-spot monitoring, roll mitigation control, and something called an "Enhanced Accident Response System" which in the event of an accident turns on all interior lights, unlocks the doors and shuts-off the fuel supply to the engine.

See: http://www.dart-mouth.com/quality-safety.html

It's not a true economy car per se, but Transport Canada rates the 1.4 litre turbo version at 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres, city, and 4.9 L/100 km, highway, which is pretty decent for a vehicle of its size and class (the interior is considerably larger than that of the original Dart).

With regards to price, the base price of a 1997 four door Geo Metro (the last year this vehicle was sold in North America) was US$9,850.00, and in 2013 dollars that works out to be $14,132.45. The Dart has a base price of $15,995.00, so we're looking at a difference of not quite $1,900.00 after adjusting for inflation. Dollar for dollar, the Dart offers much greater value and certainly from a safety perspective there's really no comparison.

But how do they stack-up in terms of fuel economy? Well, the EPA's combined city/highway rating for the 1997 Geo Metro was 40 mpg when equipped with a 1.0 litre/3-cylinder engine and 5-speed manual; the Dart is rated at 32. However, if you had opted for an automatic, the Geo falls to 29 mpg, whereas the Dart comes in at 31.


Bet you drove it carefully and did your best to avoid accidents instead of charging around, with the associated risk to other road users, because your car would protect you as folks in the modern monsters do.


About half of the safety gains by making vehicles intrinsically safer, is lost to increased complacency. Sort of the Jevon's of safety: If you have more confidence in your equipment, you push it closer to the limit. And you are surrounded by others who are pushing theirs as well. So you have to go along with the arms race.....




Thought about the difference between Rugby and American Football. In the former they have little protect and try and avoid the opposition. In the latter they just run right into each-other.

Well, we're talking about comparative risk, so your own personal survival proves nothing. I'm not saying small cars always kill their occupants. I'm saying they elevate the risk of injury and death.

You can even look this up. The latest findings show what they always have and always will: "Reducing vehicle mass...while holding footprint fixed would [progressively] increase fatality risk per VMT [especially] for lighter-than-average cars."

This is a rule of physics. Barring grandiose and non-economical compensating mechanisms, big cars will always punish small ones, and also do better when crashing into fixed objects. Mass is a factor in the transmission of force in collisions. So is compartment space.

Been so long since I did high school maths, but isn't the energy in a crash proportional to the square of the speeds involved? If you could limit maximum speeds to say 35 mph you could get away with safely using much lighter cars. And they'd use a lot less fuel too of course. But someone else here said Americans love cars more than life itself, which could be extended to say Americans love big, fast cars more than life itself.

You are being extremely simplistic.

SUVs are more prone to rollovers, for example. From the very PDF you linked:

"Risk increases with decreasing mass in a majority of footprint deciles for 12 of the 27 crash and vehicle combinations, but few of these increases are statistically significant. On the other hand, risk decreases with decreasing mass in a majority of footprint deciles for 5 of the 27 crash and vehicle combinations; in some cases these risk reductions are large and statistically significant."

Basically, yes, there is a small increase in risk with lower mass, but there is a much larger increase in risk with HIGHER mass in some cases. And crashes will, of course, be more severe on the whole if there are large numbers of heavy vehicles on the road.

An SUV is not keeping you safe. The biggest factor is your driving and awareness. There is a perception that larger vehicles are safer, but this is very often not the case. Of course, we could go 'round this argument all day, it won't change a thing for those that like having trucks and SUVs, as the "safety" line is just a rationalization of their own desires anyways.

Agreed. And this report seems to put it in a reasonable framework.. context is easily as important as construction.

An Analysis of Traffic Deaths by Vehicle Type and Model, ACEEE

'Our main results are that sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are not necessarily safer for their drivers than cars; on average they are as risky as the average midsize or large car, and no safer than many of the most popular compact and subcompact models.

... ' Minivans and import luxury cars have the safest records. If combined risk is considered, most cars are safer than the average SUV, while pickup trucks are much less safe than all other types. Characteristics of the drivers of certain vehicle types probably have a strong effect on safety. For example, sports cars as driven are extremely risky for their drivers, who tend to be young males, and minivans are extremely safe for their drivers, very few of whom are young males.'


That is partially obscured, since SUVs have an increased rollover risk, and rollovers are a dangerous accident mode.
Its not at all clear, a heavier object crashing into a fixed object (at least too dense to be pushed around) is any safer. Its mainly about acceleration of the occupant, and that has to do mainly with how much length can be crumpled. So longer is better -it the extra length is used to lengthen the crumple zone. But a heavy vehicle versus a lighter one, the change in velocity of their centers of mass, is greater for the lighter object = greater acceleration.

Most deaths in SUVs occur in rollovers, unlike most other types of car. The higher mass of the vehicle is deadly if it is centered high above the ground. In extreme maneuvers like collision avoidance or skids the SUV tends to roll over, whereas you can skid a vehicle like a Honda Accord with relatively high mass but very low CG and sophisticated suspension system completely sideways down the highway at very high speed and it won't roll.

The safest vehicles are the imported luxury cars which combine high mass with very low CG, very sophisticated suspensions, and lots of frontal "crush space" under their long hoods, and the minivans which have relatively high mass combined with relatively low CG and fairly large amounts of "crush space", but mostly just aren't being driven very fast when they get into collisions.

Not just collision avoidance (or taking a turn way too fast). If an SUV is hit, it may try to go sideways....
Pickups aren't designed to as stringent safety standards.

I have four dead friends and two maimed ones that would say the 62 beetle was a death trap. It's in the probibility of the weight of the other vehicle you'd tangle with. Note: a motorcycle is worst of all- great gas milage, tho.

Also covertibles or opentopped cars are much less safe -especially in a roll over. I heard a startling number a few years back -not sure of its veracity. Risk of death per passenger/driver mile for a motorcycle was 25times that for a car. Of course on a motorcycle, the rider simply becomes his own missile.

Motorcycling rule: if a car pulls out in front of you and there is no way to avoid it - aim for the driver's door.


compare the gash mileage of a Prius and the big motorcycles like a gold wing or a harley.

gash mileage

ROTFL. We are talking about safety here. In a Prius you average 60,000 miles between gash producing injuries. On an Harley, maybe a few thousand. Then there is the size of the produced gashes.... How much road debris embeds itself in the gahes... How well they heal....

MPGe is tank-to-wheels only, which obscures the much greater losses in the generation and transmission and electricity compared with petrol.

And how does direct Photon conversion via PV be worse than Photons from centuries before captured by plants and left to be processed into the petrol of today?

MPGe is tank-to-wheels only, which obscures the much greater losses in the generation and transmission and electricity compared with petrol.

It is wall-to-wheels, there is no tank. And being wall-to-wheels, it takes into account the charger efficiency

Transmission losses are pretty low for the modern grid, around 7%. Generation losses? From what? . . . coal, natural gas, wind, solar, nuclear, hydro, etc.

It's also notoriously over-stated by manufacturers.

If you have any evidence of this I'm sure the EPA would like to know. Or perhaps you can do a class action lawsuit.

Or, if you want to include losses: don't forget production, refining and distribution.

It amazes me when people posit that we might keep replacing our fleet of automobiles with more efficient facsimiles of them as we slide down the backside of the oil age, or that automobile efficiency might delay the end of the automobile age even a little. Jevon's paradox aside, automobiles are not wild-growing autotrophs that we can pluck from the country meadows for free; they (and their required infrastructure) represent an enormous amount of embodied energy and resources, and their manufacture and maintenance will prove increasingly cost prohibitive just like many other excesses we've indulged on the way up to the peak. Eventually the superfluousness and ridiculousness of private automobiles for personal travel will become so obvious as to trump even the most compelling cultural delusions or marketing hype.

Studies at the Umwelt und Prognose Institut at Heidelberg, BRD, back in the 90's showed that effectively half of the carbon emissions expended over the full life-cycle of a typical automobile occur during its manufacture and retirement. They found that each car manufactured in Germany (where environmental standards are high) produced 25,000 kg of waste and ~400 cubic meters of polluted air, not even including waste create by raw-material transport. This was in the 90s, when ores for raw materials (bauxite, copper, iron) were of much better quality than they are now, and of course the crude oil supply was as good as ever. God knows what that same study would find now- mining and processing technologies may have gotten more efficient, but again, only in the face of worsening ore quality. The same realities apply to the buildout and maintenance of the automobile's required infrastructure. The low-hanging fruit principle pervades everything.

This Volkswagen car has an aluminum frame, electronics optimized to the latest awe-inspiring SWAP, and takes advantage of the state of the art in precision tolerances. As energy becomes increasingly scarce (and more and more resources must be dedicated to treating wounds caused by global warming, etc), none of these features will fair well at anything approaching the market scale we see today.

Well, we have a market economy. Individual consumers will make individual decisions. Many people will abandon cars, many people will stick with ICE cars, many people will get pure EVs, many people will get plug-in hybrid EVs, etc. People's income, desires, vehicle costs, and other factors will determine how people adjust as oil prices rise. I don't think any one 'solution' exists. I think people will make their own individual choices.

Link up top: The shale phenomenon: fabulous miracle with a fatal flaw

Folks this is a fantastic article. Randy Udall is brother to Sen. Mark Udall (D) of Colorado. I hope this article will be read by those people in the media who have been hyping tight oil as the salvation for all the world's petroleum problems. But this line cracked me up: Is something rotten in Bismarck? And this one was good also: Given the frightful math of shale plays, “drill baby drill” is no longer an option, it’s destiny. Indeed, you might say it’s Manifest Destiny.

It is time a little common sense seeped into the tight oil hype.

So, yes, celebrate the shale miracle, but forswear the hype. If geology is destiny, decline rates are its script. The American future isn’t a romance with abundance, it’s a plea bargain with depletion.

Ron P.

So as the MSM, Government/Politicians (and of course " The People") celebrate the ongoing march of BAU with Champagne a flowin', whilst the bubbles burst and the Champagne goes flat before the second sip...

I have many times wondered just how many are placed to know how sharp the Knife Edge is between BAU and that quizzical look after the "second sip", and how they must shudder to think of it at night...

thank you Ron. P for all your comments and links.
I am French and you will excuse my English.

every day I learn a lot on this site. and you are to many.

with all my virtual friendships.

Udall invokes the "scary math" angle which one has to applaud.
Those wells all have diffusion limited flow, and given that we are getting unprecedented access to the production data, the projections are only going to be scary in their stark reality.

Is it possible for anyone to post the .pdf file for the Post Carbon report mentioned in this article? My work computer does not want to access it. Thanks!

Executive Summary Three Pages

Full PDF File 166 pages or more depending...

Even a novice like me has to appreciate the professionalism of this report by retired Canadian geoscientist David Hughes. The graphics and writing are very readable by lay people. And the conclusions are devastating in their simplicity.

Hughes is very consistent: he is meticulous with his data and careful in his assertions. Yes, he is clear.
If Canadian Members of Parliament would give him 3 hours of their time, we'd almost certainly see better-informed & more prudent discussions of the energy & fiscal realties which appear to be awaiting us.

I liked:

To read the Wall Street Journal, you’d think we’ve won the lottery, and in a very real way we have.

Especially in light of the following:(http://journalstar.com/special-section/news/financial-planners-winning-t...)

“The reality is that 70 percent of all lottery winners will squander away their winnings in a few years,” the Connecticut financial advisers said in a news release. “In the process, they will see family and friendships destroyed and the financial security they hoped for disappear.”

Probably the best measure of US natural gas (NG) production is the dry production metric, but check out the decline in gross gas well withdrawals (no monthly data for 2012 yet). Basically, rising associated gas production (from oil wells) has served to offset the decline from gas wells, resulting in basically flat total dry US NG production from about August, 2011, through 2012.

Annual EIA data:


Check out gross withdrawals from gas wells (only through 2011):


Gross US natural gas production from gas wells fell from 18.0 TCF in 2006 to 12.3 TCF in 2011, an annual decline rate of 7.6%/year (EIA). At this rate of decline, gross US natural gas well production would fall by half in about 10 years.

Here's the recurring question that many of us have asked (in one way or another, starting with Art Berman many years ago): In the fourth quarter of 2013, or 2014, let's assume we see a material decline in total US dry NG production, and as a consequence, NG prices are back to the $6 to $8 range. Since the decline rate from existing wells is now so much higher than at the start of the shale boom, will it be possible for the industry to offset the high decline rates from existing wellbores and to show an increase in US dry NG production?

Early this week the March National Geographic came out with it's cover story on the Bakken and fracing.

More of a local, state look, often centering on individuals. The overriding message is the transient nature of the phenomenon.

The New Oil Landscape
The fracking frenzy in North Dakota has boosted the U.S. fuel supply—but at what cost?


Darwinian, (RE: Randy Udall - The shale phenomenon: fabulous miracle with a fatal flaw)

If the U.S. oil boom is more than McTell News hype, why is austerity ("The Sequester") rather than prosperity the talk of the town:

A new report by the U.S. Army War College talks about the possibility of Pentagon resources and troops being used should the economic crisis lead to civil unrest, such as protests against businesses and government or runs on beleaguered banks.

“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” said the War College report.

The study says economic collapse, terrorism and loss of legal order are among possible domestic shocks that might require military action within the U.S.

(Why Is The Government Conditioning Us To Austerity?). Remember Bush II saying "go shopping" very soon after 911?

Why not go shopping now if Oil-Qaeda has America under control?

Ten percent of the Lower 48 has been leased by oil companies. That’s more acreage than we plant in corn and wheat. Oil and gas extraction is now the dominant land use on the continent.

Quite a quote, a blockbuster, IMO. But just think if the feds would open up more leases.....

Almost every one of my wells is sitting in a growing field of some sort: cane, cotton, rice, and corn. Of the many thousands of acres I have under lease at most as much as 2% has been removed from planting. For instance one lease I have covers 800 acres and my well and production facilities cover 2 acres. And the land I have under lease that isn't used for growing something is because it's in a swamp.

So I would say that calling oil/NG extraction the dominant land use on the continent is a bit over stated. Not quit a "blockbuster" IMHO. Just my WAG but I would guess that for every 1 acre of land that oil/NG production takes out of play there's many thousands of acres occupied just by homes. Unless, of course, one doesn't consider building a subdivision covering 1,000 acres as some form of land use.

One should also remember that a company may have 10,000 cares under lease but the field they are developing may only cover 7,000 acres. And the 7,000 acres represents the extent of the reservoir below ground. Say there are 30 wells producing on that 10,000 acre lease and each well and its producing facilities takes out 3 acres. So now 90 acres out of 10,000 acres is being utilized. So less than 1% of the leasehold has been taken out of use.

I don't doubt you at all. But such quote certainly shows what a stunning lie the "Obama is preventing all drilling" meme that is quite often pushed by many.

When I read the quote, I assumed Udall was including offshore in his oil lease total tally. I don't think there's much offshore for grains. Still, that's one heck of a stat. Who would have thought the continental US had that sort of relation between the two dominant grains, and O&G. Just as you point out, the footprint of the O&G installation isn't near the lease area, but all considered, quite a statistic. According to USDA, we planted 152.4 million acres of corn and wheat in 2012---all types of both grains.

Would you have thought that 10% of the lower 48 US land area is leased by oil companies prior to reading the stat? If you did, then it's little wonder you often ridicule those clamoring for more fed leases.

As per the home subdivisions, I wouldn't doubt that either, it would be interesting if some data hound tracked that stat down. Or look at combined road and right of way acreage, paved and total. Pretty soon you wonder how we have the land for anything else.

doug - "...but all considered, quite a statistic." So true and unfortunate that the general public isn't aware of the fact. There is a reason that the US is the third largest oil producer and tied with Russia for the largest NG producer. The US onshore energy reserves (mostly privately owned lands) have been heavily exploited for many decades. As pointed out in the adjoining post some folks on the right have been critical of President Obama for getting in the way of FF development. In reality every president, including the current POTUS, has been a big proponent of the energy industry since the beginning. The federal GOM offshore leases represent one of the greatest FF resources on the planet. One that has had many millions of acres leased. But not just leased: drilled, produced and abandoned.

The entire process has not been very visible to the vast majority of Americans. They may see photos of pump jacks jammed up against each other in CA but that doesn’t have nearly the impact of seeing operations in person. I often drive across areas of La. and Texas that have produced huge amounts of oil/NG. And yet I might drive 250 miles and maybe see a half dozen well heads and maybe the derricks of 2 or 3 drilling rigs. What do folks in new England or FL see? If BP hadn’t been so careless how many citizens would even be much aware of offshore activity these days? Sorta like the joke about how many American kids can’t identify a picture of the animal that plastic wrapped ground beef came from. That just reminded me of a funny story from the late 70’. True story…I was there. A guy in a bar in Nawlins was complaining about high gasoline prices. Someone pointed out all the new oil wells being drilled. His response: “We don’t need any more damn oil wells…we need more gasoline wells.” I’m dying if I’m lying. LOL.

"has been leased"

Although I'm not sure, I think that is a progressive perfect passive verb form, which is one way of not saying what you mean. If the land was currently under lease, one would think he would use "is being leased". Not using that form implies the leases may (or may not) have expired.

Most people don't realize this, but an oil lease has a fixed length primary term, which is typically 2 to 5 years, but may be something different. The oil company has that length of time to drill a well and find oil and/or gas. If it doesn't drill a well or doesn't find anything the lease expires and the rights revert to the landowner. If it does find oil/gas, the lease lasts as long as the company keeps producing it. When it stops producing, the lease expires.

So, 10% of the lower 48 may have been leased at one time or another but in most cases the leases have expired and any wells drilled on it abandoned. There are over a million abandoned wells in the lower 48, the country is like a pincushion.

From Up-top: The Case for a Higher Gasoline Tax

But if our goal is to get Americans to drive less and use more fuel-efficient vehicles, and to reduce air pollution and the emission of greenhouse gases, gas prices need to be even higher.

The odds of an increase in the US Federal Fuel Tax is low. More likely is some of the states will raise their state fuel taxes.

For example, Iowa is considering raising theirs by 10 cents, spread over 2 years: Iowa considers raising gas tax.

Iowa has not raised its gasoline taxes since 1989, and highway advocates say that has led to deteriorating roads and bridges.

In my state, Virginia, the legislature is about to eliminate the retail gasoline tax and replace it by raising the state sales tax rate by 0.3% and adding a wholesale gasoline and diesel tax. They're also adding a $100 annual fee for hybrid vehicles because we don't pay enough in fuel tax! From the news reports the bill will probably go through, with the possible exception of the hybrid fee due to public outrage. What a difference from a few years ago when hybrid owners were allowed to use HOV lanes solo.

Governor Ultrasound is a nut. And what is with eliminating retail gasoline tax and replace wholesale gasoline and diesel tax? Does he really think he is fooling anyone by just moving it to the wholesale level so it is hidden? What kind of shell game nonsense is this?

And moving to a sales tax? This is hate the poor politics. Let's tax the poor man's loaf of bread to pay for the road for the rich man to drive his BMW. What insanity.

This is actually a brilliant (though evil) move by the Virginia GOP. Beating up on environmentalist hippie socialists is always good for a few more points in the South. Add to that, shifting from a retail sales (visible) tax to a wholesale tax (hidden from the consumer) means the GOP can tout how it "eliminated the gas tax" --something those mean old Marxist Democrats couldn't do. And hate-the-poor politics? Part & Parcel of the GOP for decades now. This is a winner on all levels, and there's not a chance the NASCAR, Honey Boo-Boo, 700 Club and Fox "News" watching public will see through any of it.

Only takes three words to explain it "Teaparty, teaparty, teaparty".

A strange symetry is in play. Taxing gasoline purchases would reduce demand for gasoline, a commendable goal IMO. OTOH, using the proceeds to fix roads and bridges, making them better/smoother, etc., would seem to encourage more driving, and hence more gasoline purchased.

This shows no real understanding of the problem... and a mindless continuation of BAU, with results foreseeably the same as we have had in the past. Reminds me of the Einsteinian definition of insanity.


OTOH, using the proceeds to fix roads and bridges, making them better/smoother, etc., would seem to encourage more driving, and hence more gasoline purchased.

Craig, if the higher gas tax offsets funding from other sources (e.g. general fund), there need not be any increase in the amount of road work done.

Best hopes for increasing state fuel taxes to account for inflation.

Some money has to go to maintenance otherwise bad things happen!

Road existed long before cars. Do you really propose getting rid of roads as a wise move?

We will not get rid of roads, but that does not mean the roads can be maintained for cars. Have you seen the diameter of the wheels that were on early cars? That was due to the kinds of roads they had before cars.

The whole concept of resource limitations is that maintaining the things we want may not be a choice.

This shows no real understanding of the problem... and a mindless continuation of BAU

I would not assume the Virginia Governor or even the entire (GOP) legislature are universally ignorant of the problem. It's possible they *do* know and just don't care. BAU and the oil-based economy butters their bread and feathers their nest, which is all these corp pone Machiavellian princes really care about.

Same here in Wyoming. The Repub legislature just raised it 10 cents to 24 cents/gal. It needed to be 25 cents to totally fund the DOT construction budget but it was a help. No significant tax on jet fuel or CNG. Wy is belt tightening because of low coal and NG prices. A dime is a help but pitifully small.

Looking at the OIL MEGAPROJECTS database, which I assume is wildly out of date, but a good signpost to major new projects and trends, it seems
two projects are slated to come on stream this year
can somebody tell me if this is so?

Kazakhstan 560 MBD
Brazil 530 MBD

mbd: Millions of barrels a day? Could it be kdb, which is thousands of barrels a day?

Earl - A continuing confusion: to most of the oil patch "M" is 1,000 and "MM" is 1 million. But we also like "k" for 1,000. To the public "M" is often used as million.

Same as in forestry: MBF is a thousand board feet. It's from the Latin. Just like a millennium is 1000 years.

Good to know. Thanks.

The Oil Megaprojects were last updated on October 4, 2012. They are out of date but not that much. Also the data published there is only as good as the data made public by the National Oil Companies or the contractors working for them.

Brazil: No they will not have anything coming on line this year. Petrobras Concerns Despite Q4 Surge

Flagging crude oil production also hit profits, an issue likely to continue this year conceded Foster (Petrobras CEO) in a note to shareholders that accompanied the financial figures.

“In 2013, it’s possible that we will only reach the same level of crude oil production as in 2012,” Foster said. “I’m convinced of the excellent prospects for the company in the mid and long term,” she added.

Petrobras produced an average 1.98 million barrels of crude oil per day in 2012, down two percent from 2011.

Kazakhstan may see a production increase this year but I don't expect it to be all that much. OPEC expects them to produce 1.73 mb/d this year. That is an increase of 240 kb/d above what they are producing right now. I doubt that seriously however we will just have to wait and see. OPEC is looking to non-OPEC for any increase in production this year as they expect their production to be flat to down.

There have been several delays in Kazakhstan's new projects and Statoil and Conoco Phillips have completely pulled out of Kazakhstan in frustration.
Statoil Abandons Kazakh Caspian Oil Project After 7 Years

Delays and cost overruns have dogged Kazakhstan’s efforts to expand offshore production of oil and gas, the government’s main source of revenue. ConocoPhillips is exiting the biggest new development, the Kashagan project, where costs have swelled to $46 billion for the first phase with first output due by June, about eight years after an initial target.

So all that hype coming out of Kazakhstan is mostly just that, hype. Don't look for any great increases in Kazak production until about 2017 if then.

Ron P.

Link up top: Biggest LBO Failure Is Energy Future Purgatory for KKR

The Energy Future buyout was essentially a bet, using $40.1 billion of debt, that natural gas prices would rise. Instead prices, which set the cost of electricity, have fallen 77 percent since 2008.
The hedges rolling off could deflate Ebitda to $1.3 billion by the end of next year, the lender said. That’s $2.2 billion less than Energy Future’s interest cost in 2012.

Ouch! That's gotta hurt.

...Texas Competitive’s unsecured bondholders would receive a recovery of between zero and 10 cents on the dollar in the event of a default.

Buffett has called Berkshire’s $2 billion bond investment, which helped finance the original buyout, a “big mistake” and said Berkshire may come away empty-handed.

The Sage of Omaha slips up. Hard to believe.

Sometimes articles coming out of OPEC nations just don't make any sense. Such an article:
Libya targets daily production level of 1.7 million barrels of oil by Dec

The new fields, discovered by a consortium of the Algerian company, SONATRACH, have an estimated production capacity of 500,000 cubic metres of gas and 2,188 barrels of oil per day.

This is the first field discovered by the consortium in the region since it started research operations in May 2008.

Libya, which is quickly restoring its production capacity, has Africa’s largest oil reserves estimated at 47 billion barrels.

Libya currently produces 1.4 mb/d. If they get to 1.7 mb/d that would be an increase of 300,000 barrels per day. They have just found a new field in an area that they have been searching in since 2008. And they expect that field to produce 2,188 barrels of oil per day. But they have reserves of 47 billion barrels.

This is crazy. Nothing here adds up. Libya averaged more than 1.7 mb/d in 2007 and 2008 but have never regained the level of production they had before the revolution.

Libya Crude Only in kb/d. The last data point is January 2013.
Libya photo Libya_zps355b6cb9.jpg

According to the EIA, in October, Libya produced 1.629 mb/d of total liquids. Leonardo Maugeri of the famous, or infamous, Harvard study says Libya will produce 2.2 mb/d of liquids in 2020. For anyone that believes that I have bridge I would like to sell you.

Libya peaked at 3.318 mb/d of C+C in 1970 and have been declining ever since. But they have shown signs of being able to increase production. For most of the 1990s they were between 1.3 and 1.4 mb/d. Politics has always played a part in their production capability. But before the revolution they were producing flat out, and are again today.

Ron P.

To be fair, the article doesn't imply that this new field will be the reason for getting back to 1.7, as it states "Libya, which is quickly restoring its production capacity".

And articles not making sense from western media aren't that rare either ...

Well, there's something I forgot when responding to this article. Libya is an Arab nation and that's just how they talk.

Libya is not quickly restoring their production capacity. For the first 8 months after the end of the revolution they did quickly restore their production. But they hit a snag last April and have not restored anything since then. They produced 1.403 mb/d in April 2012 and produced 1.401 mb/d in January.

Also, it makes no sense to speak of Libya's "production capacity". They are producing flat out so their production capacity is what they are producing. In January 2011, one month before the revolution started, Libya produced 1.583 mb/d of Crude only.

OPEC Saudi+Kuwait+UAE verses the other nine, or those producing flat out on January 2011 in kb/d. The arrow marks Jan. 2011.
 photo OPECDifference_zpsee1d05d2.jpg

The huge drop in 2011 is Libyan production collapsing and later their recovery. There is little doubt that all OPEC is producing flat out right now, with the possible exception of Saudi Arabia and I am not so sure about them

Ron P.

Sure, they might be wrong about a few 100 000 barrels, but why does it matter ? how about the US of A clamoring all over the place that they will be Energy independent in 10 years or something ? Are they also some kind of Ayrabs as well ?
(And btw, Lybians are more Berbers than Arabs)

YvesT, you miss the point entirely. I was referring to the Arab tendency to exaggerate. You cannot compare the misconceptions of American MSM to the culture of Arabic nations. Apples and oranges. And a tendency to exaggerate cannot be compared to total the total ignorance of American MSM concerning peak oil. Again, apples and oranges.

(And btw, Lybians are more Berbers than Arabs)

No they are not, they are more Arab than Berber. Demographics of Libya

Ethnic groups
The native population of Libya is primarily Arab or a mixture of Arab-Berber ethnicities, with a small minority of Berber-speaking tribal groups concentrated in northwest part of Tripolitania, Tuareg and Toubou tribes can be found in southern Libya, which are nomadic or semi-nomadic. Most of the Libyans claim descent from the Bedouin Arab tribes of the Banu Hilal and the Banu Sulaym, who invaded the Maghreb in the 11th century. There is also some Punic admixture, and a curious traditional element from the Romanized Punics such as the Roman toga can be seen in Tripoli's people and was used by Muammar Gaddafi himself.

Ron P.

Ron, not sure you can put all the "US energy rennaissance" current clamoring on ignorance. In fact don't think so at all. Another form of exaggeration if you want.
As to Lybia and North Africa in general, "Arab" is a cultural and linguistic thing more than anything else (doesn't make it less real).

The Chinese worked in Libya before but at least of them are not back.

An interesting article from the World Future Council

The Monetary Cost of the Non-Use of Renewable Energies
(PDF alert)

Telecomuting has been suggested as a way to reduce fuel consumption. Yahoo was a pioneer in some ways, employing many folks from home. No more:

Marissa Mayer: Yahoos can no longer work from home

Marissa Mayer brought free food and shiny new iPhones to Yahoo. Now she's making a change that's a lot less fun, instituting a policy that says Yahoos can no longer work from home...

"To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side," the memo said. "That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices." ...

The memo appears squarely aimed at employees who work remotely full time, stating that by June, those employees will have to report to a Yahoo office. Reading between the lines, it looks like some long-distance employees will have to either relocate or resign. It's unclear how many of Yahoo's 11,500 employees fall into this category, as a Yahoo rep said simply that the company doesn't comment on "internal matters."

...one step forward, two steps back...

If you can do your job on the other end of a wire, someone in India or China can too.

Good point. Perhaps Marissa Mayer should have pointed that little fact out to her employees. That would likely have shut them up pretty quick.

Ron P.

I don't have a lot of respect for this person and this only reinforces my impression of her. She claimed, for example, that BlackBerry doesn't make a "smart phone" and demanded that all of her employees choose either android or ios -- no Berries allowed. What arrogance and stupidity. I like to think of myself as a nice person, but just try to pry this BlackBerry from my hands and you'll see a side of me I try hard to keep well hidden. :-)


You are just supporting your fellow Canucks and she is just supporting fellow Silicon Valley companies. ;-)

...one step forward, two steps back...

Make that 100 steps back... Yahoo doesn't do anything that can't be done from a computer or a cell phone.
I suspect she probably expects quite a few people to resign volutarily.

Yep, easy and PR-hit free headcount reduction.

Yahoo is a company in search of a need - it doesn't do anything well. As such you have to expect it to be run as a cash cow in the main, and cutting the staff helps improve profits in that model.

Get them to resign, and severence packages aren't required! And maybe you get to keep those who only really want to stay on -despite having to work for a control freak.

When I got the chop (a bit over a decade ago), I got six months pay, plus payout of acquired vacation time, and use of some employment counciler. Cost um quite a bit. If, I'd quit, I woulda got none of that.

Yahoo! is a dead company and this well-intentioned but clueless lady is the fall girl, with the founders Jerry Yang and David Filo having long ago left with the loot.

I find that being physically present changes dynamics. Telecommuting is not the same as being in a location with the people you're dealing with. There are many vectors which are not communicated/able through a mostly asynchronys medium.

This is true, and virtual workplaces do not adequately address these nuances yet. Probably an effective remote but virtual workgroup will evolve to be something quite different than a traditional office team.

RE: Apocalypse Not: The Oscars, The Media And The Myth of ‘Constant Repetition of Doomsday Messages’ on Climate

The two greatest myths about global warming communications are 1) constant repetition of doomsday messages has been a major, ongoing strategy and 2) that strategy doesn’t work and indeed is actually counterproductive!

Those myths sound like Frankenstein giving advice on how to be civil in naive company.

Who, besides Oil-Qaeda, cares if Oil-Qaeda does not like being outed. Their story of greatness, the greatest mass murders of all time must be told.

We need a movie about it.

I loved it that the chainsaw massacre troop of Oil-Qaeda (Cheney's Boyz) got dissed at the Academy Awards!

They think people want Oil-Qaeda to kill them and then blame them for being victims (Bwaahahahaha you buy our stuff bwaahahahahaha so it is your fault bwaahahaha).

They believe that because Oil-Qaeda is populated by psychopaths.

Give it a rest. I don't like that crowd either, but this idea that gasoline is forced on a blameless public is silly. What you call Oil-Qaed is a symptom - they are the sociopaths that are always with us. It is our addiction that is the problem. The public loves their cars more than than life itself - well, maybe not more than their own lives, but certainly more than they love yours. That desire is what allows the sociopaths to move in. Take their fuel away and see how they thank you.....

It hardly helps to counter one form of hyperbole with another, especially when the one you offer leaves room for nothing but nihilism. If it's true what you say -- that ordinary Americans care more for cars than life -- then why bother reading things like TOD?

Luckily, there's very much more to the story: "More than four-in-five voters (82 percent) say that 'the United States would benefit from an expanded and improved transportation system, such as rail and buses' and a solid majority (56 percent) 'strongly agree' with that statement."

And, btw, when have ordinary Americans ever been offered any serious choices on the question of national transportation infrastructure? It has certainly never been mentioned, let alone debated, in a major election, right up to now, despite all the burning (pun intended) reasons it needs to be, and despite public opinions like those reported above...

The real story is the cravenness and cowardice of our leaders, from Dick Chaney, right over to Senor McKibben-Quixote, none of whom will mention the topic in a direct way, again despite public opinion.

I tend to agree, but the root cause, in my opinion, is a concerted effort to drive all collectivism out of the culture that began some time after or around Truman's administration (or perhaps during or after Ike's).

I don't mean collectivism like sitting on a mountain top, eating granola. I mean the "We the people" kind of collectivism that elects and watches over a republic and its institutions.

What we see now, on all fronts, is the result of this cultural virus of individual gain and socialized losses.

It's all connected, but it isn' hard wired. Up until the modern era, people defaulted to the group, and we've got to get back to that basic code, IMHO.

We will. It is the energy of fossil fuels and the machines we made to use it that allow us to exist as if we were independent from everyone else. Without that energy we cannot do all the physical work required to survive, and we have to work together on at least some required things. And that in turn will re-build communal relations. Slowly.

That's valid - it was certainly hyperbole, and intended to be obviously so. But there is a grain of truth to it too. I think attitudes are changing (slowly) with younger generations but the automobile is so deeply embedded in our lives and culture, even our identities, that I doubt the generations that grew up with it can throw it off.

Whenever most people hear about the crisis we face it seems their first thoughts are not "how will we eat, how will we survive?", but rather "what kinds of cars will we drive then?".

I believe that it will require the passing of the generations raised on the automobile, combined with simply not being able to continue the automotive paradigm, to effect change. But in the end the car culture will pass, and that is a wonderful thing. Seems like optimism to me, not nihilism.

I very much agree that there is such a thing as a car culture (though I think its reach and weight are quite variable in different segments of the public). How could there not be, after all the effort and resources that have gone into cultivating it? But I think it's just massively important for those of us who are hoping to snatch some sort of victory from the jaws of BAU to avoid flat dismissals of the whole society. If we don't gain new allies, we will surely lose. And people need help seeing where the openings are. And there are openings. If we don't emphasize them, who will?

Well, I don't know what a victory, even a limited one, would look like. It's a framing of the situation that is fairly irrelevant to me - I think the idea that we have much influence or control over what the society does in this upcoming phase of collapse is illusory. The big picture events are being driven by large forces, much of it the cumulative effects of the stored energy we released over the last several centuries. We cannot counter that anymore, especially as social structures fail. Instead I try to see what might be the shape of the future and aim to do something worthwhile on a local level with that vision.

So the car culture will end on it's own, killed by the simple lack of resources and energy to maintain it. There is no force stronger than the simple lack of energy. Anyway, constantly bleating about the evil people who force us to use gasoline gets old.


You brought up cars, I brought up what fuels them and why. Your ignorance of history is in your way. Study the history of Oil-Qaeda (A History of Oil Addiction - 2). It points out who destroyed public transportation that ran on clean fuels. Give opinion a rest and get some reality to counter the propaganda fed you from childhood.

You might also want to know that the first autos of mass production were flex fuel. Oil-Qaeda teamed up with the auto industry and the government to make vehicles dependent on fossil fuels.

"Hype," for the most part with oil people, is something they don't know yet.

So the only purpose for using the fuel is not relevant in a discussion about the fuel? I've been aware of what destroyed public transportation for a long time, and while there were plenty of genuine conspiracies involved the primary driving force was that the public wanted it - whether they were brainwashed by marketeers or not. And that in turn was due to the vast quantities of virtually free energy. If you think that energy was going to go unexploited you have no understanding of human nature.

Some people blame things on the evil ones who conspire to cheat us, and others scoff and deny that such things ever happen. The reality is neither. Usually the (very real) success of the ever-present sociopaths who manipulate and conspire is not the driving force of most things, it is a symptom and a consequence of something else. It is the desires of the masses for something-for-nothing that gives a place for the cancer to grow.

Unfortunately a less jingoistic glorification of the CIA, Argo, got best picture.

Although I saw "Argo" and thought it was a nice thriller with nice touches of fantastic humor it was really just an entertaining thriller. Personally I hardly thought "Argo" reached the level of "Lincoln" or "Les Miserables" in dealing with serious issues. I do give them credit for mentioning the CIA overthrow of democratically elected Iranian President Mossadegh in 1953.

But otherwise typical glossy entertainment Cold War style cloak and dagger stuff.

Iran got all annoyed about Argo winning . . . but they should be happy about the movie since it does provide a history lesson to Americans with the 1953 overthrow being mentioned. Much of the drama stuff in the movie is pure fiction. But a good movie overall though.

Of the movie goers who didn't already know, I wonder how many remember -afterwards, that they got a historic reason to be resentful?

and it would have been a good documentary if it told the truth that the Canadian ambassador and embassy staff were the ones who saved our folks and did the heavy lifting.

of course, it wouldn't have pulled in the cash or won an Oscar....

The movie Argo completely glosses over the fact that it was Canadian diplomats rather than the CIA that saved the American diplomats' butts by hiding them in the Canadian embassy and sneaking them out of Iran. If it had been the CIA they would probably all be dead now. See Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner for an analysis of the CIA track record.

Hollywood tends to substitute Americans for their allies when showing any particularly effective covert or military operation on the silver screen. Another notorious academy award winning example is U-571

In the film, a World War II German submarine is boarded in 1942 by disguised United States Navy submariners seeking to capture her Enigma cipher machine.

Although the film was financially successful and generally well received by critics in the USA and won an Academy Award for sound editing, the fictitious plot attracted substantial criticism as, in reality, it was British personnel from HMS Bulldog who first captured a naval Enigma machine, from U-110 in the North Atlantic in May 1941, long before the United States entered the war, and as German U-boat crews were portrayed in a very negative light which doesn't correspond with established facts. The anger over the inaccuracies even reached the British Parliament, where Prime Minister Tony Blair stated that the film was an "affront" to British sailors.

The real U-571 was never involved in any such events, was not captured, and was in fact sunk in January 1944, off Ireland, by a Short Sunderland flying boat from No. 461 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force.

Unfortunately, this editing of historical facts leads to the perception by many Americans that their military and intelligence services are much better than they really are, and the belief that they can beat anybody all by themselves. This leads to things like the Vietnam and Iraq wars.

My sister-in-law mentioned the other day that a few years ago she was horrified when she overheard an American woman announcing that she hated Canadians because "they never did anything to help in WWII".

In reality, Canada declared war on Germany in 1939, over two years before the US entered the war and by the end had the third biggest navy and fourth biggest air force in the world.. The US only declared war on Japan after Pearl Harbor was bombed, and US politicians were not intending to declare war on Germany at all because there were still a lot of influential Nazi sympathizers (eg Henry Ford) in the US . Fortunately Hitler declared war on the US instead and solved that problem for the other Allies.

She was particularly offended because her father served in the Royal Canadian Navy for the duration of the war. The RCN was responsible for convoy escort for all Allied ships across the North Atlantic, taking the load off the over stretched American Navy and Royal Navy. His most vivid memory is of capturing a German submarine. They dropped a string of depth charges, the submarine surfaced, all the German sailors piled out on deck with their hands in the air, and that was it. The Germans knew that their chances of getting away from the RCN were zero. Not much like U-571.

This leads to things like the Vietnam and Iraq wars.

I don't think policymakers take their lessons from Hollywood movies, they have more credible sources to look up to, unfortunately hubris comes naturally.

Oh, I think Ronald Regean took most of his policy ideas from Hollywood movies. He was too nearsighted to get into combat in WWII, but he certainly made lots of propaganda films, and unfortunately he believed a lot of what was in them. Apparently he thought that perception made reality rather than vice versa.

The worst thing was that he based his "Strategic Defense Initiative" on the Star Wars Movies, and as a result the US spent hundreds of billions of dollars developing things that were not actually possible. I knew some of the experts working on it, and while they knew what they were trying to do was impossible, they weren't going to turn down big research grants on principle. I mean, they had things they wanted to research, and if they could fit it into the SDI context, they could get tons of money for their favorite project. What scientist is going to turn that down?

(A totally ethical one, I suppose, but even scientists have found that ethics can become flexible when large amounts of money are involved.)

Apparently he thought that perception made reality rather than vice versa.
Wasn't it Cheny (or maybe Bush), who said "we make our own reality"?

Actually a scientist would consider it perfectly ethical to divert some of the money due to be wasted on an idiotic boondoggle and use it to push forward on some science that had been underfunded.

And there were some things that came out of that SDI research that were worthwhile, the work on non-linear optics, metamaterials, etc. is one area.

If the Lockheed Skunk Works did indeed make some breakthroughs on magnetic confinement of high temperature, high density plasmas, there's some possibility that it came from work on SDI.

NASA was just given some un-used spy satellites by the NSA and how they have a level of compatibility with the Hubble telescope.

Any one care to bet that Hubble was the public face to NSA spying programs?

hubris comes naturally
But it can be really helped along if your culture encourages it!

The usual Rah Rah, only We are are best trash.

So, are any Candians watching Continuum, which I've gotten into? If so you must be irritated, apparently Vancouver, where it is set, has been annexed by the US. The police cower before the American military and CIA, when they could just arrest them for having exactly zero jurisdiction. And this show is filmed in Canada.

EOS, you've stated my case [see below].

Come to think of it, Vancouver seems to have more in common with Seattle, Portland and San Francisco than it does with Calgary, Edmonton or Ottawa, especially with Stephen Harper as Prime Minister who wants to use British Columbia as a doormat for Alberta's tar sands products.

Thank you RMG.

Canadian ambassador to Iran Ken Taylor an his staff risked their lives over several months to hide these US citizens in their own homes, which created overcrowded conditions. They carefully snuck them out with "journalist" stamped on false Canadian visas. Taylor et al received a small burst of postitive press in the US, and Greyhound offered free or discounted travel to Canadians for a while. Then the whole thing was sadly forgotten. Perhaps it's worth checking whether Argo (or parts of it) was filmed in Canada which offers very deep tax credits to the US film industry arguably displacing Canada's artistic talent with deeper pockets fighting for a limited supply of very experienced film crews in Vancouver and Toronto.

Had Americans (or anyone else) put their own lives on the line to save Canadians in similar very remarkable circumstances, the individuals would have been honoured by Canada's parliament, received awards to last their lifetimes (and their family's), had their images cast in bronze and placed on a pedestal on Ottawa's Parliament Hill and the Museum of Civilization across the river in Hull, Quebec, and all of it would have been written up extensively in the history books. The accurate historical record would have been preserved to counter future wilful ignorance, like US political iconoclast Buchanan calling Canada "Soviet Canuckistan" when countering evidence that Canada's public healthcare system is superior to the private insurance that predominates the US healthcare system.

Films like Argo just make me want to switch off the cable which is saturated with US-originated Pabulum and borrow more "foreign" film DVDs from the library, and buy the best ones, and leave me with the sense that Hollywood is ever more irrelevant with each passing decade of summer high-action, low-intelligence, special effects-ladden blockbusters. The UK, France, Spain, Germany, Sweden and Australia, amongst other countries, produce far better drama and higher quality actors at a fraction of the cost, and are less myopic with their notion of history.

Ken Burns: 'Lincoln' Should Have Won Oscar

At about 1:55 in the clip, Ken Burns responds to a question about historical accuracy of the nominated films and about Argo specifically.

His rationale that they are doing something like what Shakespeare did with historical characters and events sounds not quite right to me. There is a difference between taking artistic license with events in the remote past that have no current political relevance and with events in the immediate past that are still the subject of political controversy.


"I do give them credit for mentioning the CIA overthrow of democratically elected Iranian President Mossadegh in 1953"

Fair enough.

What about the democratically elected government they just overthrew:

General Carter Ham, the AFRICOM commander for the Pentagon, admitted last week that the US had helped trained the Mali rebels, including Captain Amadou Sanogo, who led the military coup which overthrew Mali’s constitutionally-elected government.

In describing the statement Ham made at the Ralph Bunche center, Veterans Today editor Gordon Duff is highly critical of Ham’s support for widening US military involvement in the region, including the recent establishment of drone bases in Niger.

Duff is extremely concerned that the US lacks the intelligence resources in Africa to prevent the horrendous “collateral damage” nightmares drones have caused in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.

He goes on to describe Mali as a “domino” in a misguided and poorly thought out destabilization effort aimed at creating a generation of warfare.

(Journalism: Facts vs. Fantasy). That was done while the movie you mentioned was being made.

These things happen because those that do it blame it on us for not stopping it (see Twiligh) because they have no concept of American History or current events:

Western multinational corporations’ attempts to cash in on the wealth of Congo’s resources have resulted in what many have called “Africa’s first world war,” claiming the lives of over 3 million people. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been labeled “the richest patch of earth on the planet.” The valuable abundance of minerals and resources in the DRC has made it the target of attacks from U.S.-supported neighboring African countries Uganda and Rwanda.
Historically, the U.S. government identified sources of materials in Third World countries, and then encouraged U.S. corporations to invest in and facilitate their production. Dating back to the mid-1960s, the U.S. government literally installed the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko, which gave U.S. corporations access to the Congo’s minerals for more than 30 years. However, over the years Mobutu began to limit access by Western corporations, and to control the distribution of resources. In 1998, U.S. military-trained leaders of Rwanda and Uganda invaded the mineral-rich areas of the Congo. The invaders installed illegal colonial-style governments which continue to receive millions of dollars in arms and military training from the United States. Our government and a $5 million Citibank loan maintains the rebel presence in the Congo. Their control of mineral rich areas allows western corporations, such as American Mineral Fields, to illegally mine. Rwandan and Ugandan control over this area is beneficial for both governments and for the corporations that continue to exploit the Congo’s natural wealth.

American Mineral Fields (AMF) landed exclusive exploration rights to an estimated 1.4 million tons of copper and 270,000 tons of cobalt. San Francisco based engineering firm Bechtel Inc. established strong ties in the rebel zones as well. Bechtel drew up an inventory of the Congo’s mineral resources free of charge, and also paid for NASA satellite studies of the country for infared maps of its minerals. Bechtel estimates that the DRC’s mineral ores alone are worth $157 billion dollars. Through coltan production, the Rwandans and their allies are bringing in $20 million revenue a month. Rwanda’s diamond exports went from 166 carats in 1998 to 30,500 in 2000. Uganda’s diamond exports jumped from approximately 1,500 carats to about 11,300. The final destination for many of these minerals is the U.S.

(Project Censored). Oil-Qaeda handles the oil resources that are stolen from nations around the world.

Is peak oil refuted by the facts?

Belief In Peak Oil Logically Implies Failure Of Alternative Energy

It states that for any geographic region--indeed, for the world as a whole--the extraction of fossil fuels follows a bell-shaped curve that eventually hits a maximum and then must inevitably decline. It seems like a commonsensical, compelling theory--except for a few small problems. It ignores the role economics plays in shaping supply and demand, it completely discounts the power of human ingenuity to come up with novel ways to solve problems, and it has been repeatedly refuted by the facts...

Peak Oil advocates have been so thoroughly debunked that they seem to now inhabit an alternate reality--one where fracking and horizontal drilling were never developed. Today, U.S. oil production is soaring, and the International Energy Agency predicts that the U.S. is on track to become the world's largest crude oil producer by 2017.

Yet the Peak Oil theory lives on, like a zombie that refuses to die.

Except that if oil is finite then, and we continue to pump it out of the ground, then it must peak sooner or later. (Most likely sooner.)

But this one took the cake. the author is speaking of the resent Post Carbon Institute report by David Hughes:

No word from the report's author, David Hughes, on whether he is willing to reprise Paul Ehrlich's famous wager with Julian Simon that the price of a basket of scarce minerals would rise due to resource exhaustion and overconsumption.

Someone should remind him that if anyone had made that bet around 2000 they would have won big time. Every basket price of minerals has skyrocket since then.

Such articles as this really make my blood boil. Does this guy really think oil will get more abundant in the future due to "the power of human ingenuity to come up with novel ways to solve problems"? I predict that within three years, likely less, that these Pollyannas will be singing a different tune. And it will be so sweet.

Ron P.

As you say, the Julian Simon school of cornucopianism is insufferable. I will grant this writer one point, however:

if somehow fossil fuels were to start to "run out," that would necessarily imply that solar, wind, biofuel, algae, and any other politically favored alternative energy source that got a seat at the subsidy table could not possibly have captured a lion's share of the market. For had any of them done so, the reduced consumption of fossil fuels would keep fossil fuels from running out!

I think he is spot on, in general terms. We have seen some alternative energy push into the market, with declining costs for wind, and solar pv especially, but it does not appear to be happening quickly enough to supplant the value crude oil provides. Ironically he thinks the line of reasoning proves his thesis, but all it really does is support how dire access to energy is getting: not only is crude oil going away, but there is little compelling to take its place.

No, I don't think he is spot on at all. Peak oil is not about fossil fuels running out. Fossil fuels will never run out no matter what. And alternative energy, whatever that is, could never capture the lions share of the market as long as business as usual continues. It is a matter of scale. There is just not enough of it to ever replace fossil fuel in the role they play today.

Of course alternative energy will one day be all there is. I mean wood, sail power and such. But that will be long after the collapse of civilization as we know it.

Ron P.

Fair enough, but I'm inclined to give him a charitable read that 'running out' refers to a decline in production from peak levels. To the extent a commodity follows a logistic curve of production (per Hubbert), it implies that the commodity is needed in the market at something approaching its maximum level of extraction. Once you hit the plateau, investment keeps climbing but production remains level, driving up unit cost i.e., what is happening to crude oil right now. If you fall off the plateau and into decline while price keeps going up, it indicates that alternatives have failed to materialize in the amounts needed to make a difference (such as might drive the price of oil back down).

So I think the essential point is right. But where he cites shale gas, tight oil, etc. as examples of 'human ingenuity', I would put them in the category of 'inadequate alternatives', along with wind, solar, biomass, etc.

To be fair to those who are always on the attack against peak oil, the actual real world production profiles are never perfect Hubbert curves, and sometimes are not even close. Geopolitical factors play too much of a role in price and production.

However, that is not their angle of attack. Their argument always stems from a cornucopian basis. Abundance is all they ever see.

Praise the Lord, the market shall provide!

I think after we do the post-mortem and forensics we will be able to re-interpret the Hubbert analysis. Only then will we be able to empirically describe the dynamics of the rise and decline in oil, once and for all.

Of course, by that time it won't matter. So if it turns out to be more of an intellectual exercise than anything else, so be it. Some one will get to write the book "The rise and fall of the cornucopian" (apologies to Godwin).

I had a thought about this recurring theme.

It seems that the difficulty some have in accepting the possibility, let alone the reality, of peak oil is that there is an implication that we cannot continue with economic growth post peak. Which is probably (but not certainly) true. And in order to avoid that conundrum, cornucopians insist that there is no peak in sight.

As I see it, there are actually two schools of thought which accept the peak. One believes that there is insufficient oil to accomplish a shift to a sustainable energy paradigm, and catastrophe awaits. The second believes that there is sufficient oil to create a new, sustainable world, but not to continue growth. Neither is BAU friendly, and so adherents of status quo blind themselves to reality, and with fingers in ears deny, deny, deny. We should expect nothing else, and not be surprised at what we read and hear.


Julian Simons' Cornucopianism is a kind of religion, with human ingenuity as its god-spirit and Simons as its high prophet. Didn't Simons start out as a doomer until he had some kind of Pauline epiphany? It is a wonderful belief system, if you can convince yourself of it.

Didn't Simons start out as a doomer until he had some kind of Pauline epiphany?

It Simon, not Simons. Did he start out as a doomer before he had a revelation on the road to Damascus? Hell I never heard that one before and I don't think that is the case at all. But if you have a link I would just love to read that story.

Ron P.

I've read a fair amount of Simon's stuff, and I often wonder what he would be saying today. He almost inevitably headed back to source books on statistics (frequently our own Bureau of Statistics). I wonder if he wouldn't, at some point, have had a kind of counter-epiphany as time went on. I can imagine his initial reaction to the various shale plays as the concepts of PO were discussed, but he was a numbers guy at heart, I think. Something tells me he would have seen through the sheen, and noticed the Red Queen.

But perhaps that would have only given him pause. Who knows? He was always able to blast Erlich by going back to hard numbers, and Erlich never did himself any favors by not being as rigorous.

The numbers have changed, though. I think Julian might have noticed.

Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2 (Princeton, N.Y.: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 581.

There is only one important resource which has shown a trend of increasing scarcity rather than increasing abundance. That resource is the most important of all -- human beings.

Sounds like a nutter.

Oh, as was mentioned upthread, he's pretty much the demi-god of the cornucopians. But as I said he was also a numbers guy who lived on statistics. The Ultimate Resource (2) was written in 1996, as you noted.

I'm not saying he would have changed his tune, just wondering if he might have. The numbers really have changed since then. It's just a thought, that's all - that he might, just might, have looked again at his favored Bureau of Statistics tomes, and begun to wonder what they were saying to him now.

He went to his grave a cornucopian, and his wife has continued the meme. That is what he will always be remembered as. No doubt there.

Yes, we seem to be headed toward the road where what replaces fossil fuels is not alternative energy but energy poverty - which likely means real poverty. Some countries, like Germany and Denmark, are trying to avert this, but for the most part there is not a lot of urgency. But then, fossil fuels are still really cheap.

Maybe when it really starts to bite there will be a big movement off fossil fuels, but there is still so much left. Oil is not looking so great, but coal and natural gas? There is a lot. And we sure don't have qualms about using it. Electricity in particular is more coal and natural gas than anything - 2011 US generation was 42% coal and 25% natural gas.

Really, if he's basing his argument on the electricity sector, which is already almost entirely off of oil (except Hawaii), then he's building a straw man. Oil is primarily a problem for the transport sector. Peak oil is going to cause all sorts of problems, especially in the US where infrastructure is based around the car. But I, for one, am not so worried about electricity.

Electricity in particular is more coal and natural gas than anything - 2011 US generation was 42% coal and 25% natural gas.

In 2012 I think coal dropped in the 30s and natural gas rose to the 30s. It is hard to resist that cheap natural gas. That cheap natural gas has been great for decreasing dirty coal usage. But on the flip-side, it has also made it really hard for wind & solar to be adopted. But on the plus side, natural gas plants tend to be more controllable than coal such that they can be ramped up & down relatively quickly depending on the output from wind & solar.

Really, if he's basing his argument on the electricity sector, which is already almost entirely off of oil (except Hawaii), then he's building a straw man. Oil is primarily a problem for the transport sector. Peak oil is going to cause all sorts of problems, especially in the US where infrastructure is based around the car. But I, for one, am not so worried about electricity.

Exactly. And that is why . . . (oh, I'll stop sounding like a broken record) ;-)

Oddly enough, our provincial utility is burning more oil than expected, because there are times when it is economically advantageous to do so.

NSP cools to natural gas, burns more oil
Gas still main fuel but costs led to winter shift

The high cost of natural gas has Nova Scotia Power burning more oil at the Tufts Cove power plant in Dartmouth this winter.

Wayne O’Connor, executive vice-president of operations, said Friday the utility resumed using heavy fuel oil last month when it was the less expensive fuel.


McDonald said gas prices were “pretty crazy” on the Boston market in January, ranging from about $7 per million British thermal units to a high of $45 per mmBtu.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/755032-nsp-cools-to-natural-gas-bu...

At the moment, Heritage Gas is charging residential consumers $20.191 per GJ ($2.13 per therm if my maths are correct). Thus, even with our comparatively high electricity rates, I can heat our home electrically for one-third less than what I would pay with gas.


A lot of it is about learning curves. The problem with wind/solar is there just hasn't been enough made to optimize those experience (and volume) curves to the extent that happened with the fuel based infrastructure. Its tough for a new intrinsically better technology to overcome that drawback. Thats what subsidies are for -to give the potential newbies a chance to prove themselves.

Solar has the drawback that it needs to be located in an area with strong sunlight to get good production, and then it doesn't produce electricity during the night.

Biggest barrier to oil substitution is batteries. Li-ion batteries in their current form will never replace any significant fraction of the installed base.

It is estimated that there are 900 million vehicles that use oil-derived fuels in existence today, and 80 million new vehicles come on the market every year. This doesn't include diesel locomotives, planes, heavy trucks or shipping which use far more fuel per vehicle than cars. Other smaller users of oil-derived fuel are motorcycles, mopeds, chainsaws, brush-cutters, lawnmowers and diesel pumps for irrigation. .. and diesel engines for oil rigs.

Oil production is flat and is about to decrease, yet car use has declined in North America and Europe and the oil price is rising and car use is rising significantly in India and China. Unemployment has risen is the West. China has cash now.

You can see immediately what's happening - we are in rapid energetic decline in the West. Growth has essentially stopped, and growth can't continue much longer in Asia.

Biggest barrier to oil substitution is batteries. Li-ion batteries in their current form will never replace any significant fraction of the installed base.

It is estimated that there are 900 million vehicles that use oil-derived fuels in existence today, and 80 million new vehicles come on the market every year.
Oil production is flat and is about to decrease, yet car use has declined in North America and Europe and the oil price is rising and car use is rising significantly in India and China.
. . .
You can see immediately what's happening - we are in rapid energetic decline in the West.

So tell me how you think things will play out? Do you think people will stop moving? Will they go back to horses? Will they drive hydrogen cars? People will just give up and shoot themselves in the head?

I think people will move to hybrids, PHEVs, and pure EVs. I don't think they'll be happy about it and adoption will be slow & reluctant. But what other choice do they have?

Of course people will stop moving, at least as much as they do now. It won't be a choice they make, it will be imposed by limitations in the energy they have access to and the costs of it. That in turn will mean they have fewer jobs to commute to, less reasons to drive in general, and less ability to buy a new automobile. Collapse is not a choice people make, but it happens anyway. You seem to think we can decide to skip it.

Interesting. Well, I don't think people will just go quietly into the night. They'll certainly travel less because they can't afford it as much. But when gas prices rise past the point where EVs are obviously economical, I believe that people will adopt them in large numbers. People are certainly not always rational but they are not completely stupid either.

No they won't go quietly, they won't be rational but they may not be stupid either. They will see things in the way they are framed, in ways that fit their mental models of how things work. But they will still not be able to escape limits.

I found this site on low tech solutions very interesting:


It documents that a more viable solution isn't towards hi-tech hybrids, EVs but more humble tramlines, trambuses and slow speed locomotives. Sure it is not as sexy but the environmental footprint and the amount of energy needed to build and maintain such systems is considerably lower especially if speeds are kept low through implementation of various mandates. Still follows the same idea of Twilight that people will be driving less and slower but it is a more sustainable and thus a more viable solution. Furthermore since it has already been tried in the past we do not need to wonder about whether it is feasible or not. Doubt such ideas will take off as people always strive for more speed, power and convenience but it is a possible solution. Sometimes we need to think outside the box of our paradigm and not simply think of hi-tech solutions as society generally favours.

Will check out lowtechmagazine. Thanks for that.

Sales of EV's are measured in the 1000's per month. There's certainly a possibility for the scrap metal and recycling business to take off.

When I was growing up in South Eastern Kansas in the 50's it was not unusual to hear people say that they had never been outside of the county. When my grandparents made the trip Joplin MO for selling and shopping it was a big deal (about a 25 miles one way). With horses and livestock it took two days. So yes we will travel a lot less.

The big problem will be the transition. Going back to horse and wagon will take time and knowledge if it is even possible. Our world is set up for JIT consumerism. We do not have many horses trained to pull wagons. We do not have many wagons. Our lifestyle is not set up for a world without the auto.

My grandparents made do with what they had on the farm. Fresh meat was often a squirrel or rabbit that grandpa shot. Dairy products were from the milk cow. My Mom even remembered possum being served. Even so my grandparents did participate in the consumer world. They purchased flour, sugar, salt, fabric, sewing machines, kerosene (coal oil), corn husker, corn sheller, canning supplies, nails, tar, forge, anvil, screen wire, wire fencing, and hand tools. The also purchased many of their farm tools including harnesses and horse drawn implements. Grandpa's beehives looked commercial as did his cider press. Where are these things going to come from when the auto becomes too expensive or fuel is not available?

And there are other issues. Having a horse means you will need to care for it. About half of my grandpa's land was used for grazing. One horse needs quite a few acres for grazing or it needs expensive hay and grains. Most of us simply do not have that land.

Most will be walking. A few will have a jury rigged mode of transportation from a Mad Max world. Still others will have horses. Near navigable water people will use boats. There will be a lot fewer people.

Chetopa? I visited a friend there last year. Looks like it used to be a nice little town. Emphasis on the "used to". Maybe it will revive when travel distances go down. Just like hundreds of other small towns. The buildings didn't look too bad. Just add people.

Yes. Chetopa was to the west of my grandparents place. My cousin still lives just outside of town.

Cool! Small world.

As a hydrologist, I love your screen name. If there's more to it than something you saw when you were trying to come up with one, and you want to chat about it, my email is in my profile. Cheers.

Edit: Grammar

Regarding horses/carts/etc.

The knowledge/technology is totally there. I live in NH, and the Granite State Draft Horse Association is alive and well. I suspect every state has something similar. I learned how to harness up my horse in a weekend workshop. With that, plus help from my farrier who had logged with horses for years, the next week I was pulling logs out of my woodlot with her (a big Percheron mare).

It's just not that difficult. I mean, it takes time to get good at it, of course, like anything else, but it's not like generations of knowledge has been lost - there are lots of people driving horses, farming with horses, haying with horses. And it's not that hard to train horses to harness. It's not the kind of thing that takes years and years to ramp up. Nor is it that hard to build a horse cart/carriage. I know of a couple of outfits locally doing it beautifully.

That said, I don't say we're going to fall back to a horse-drawn world. But if it were necessary or deemed desirable in certain sectors, the technology is very much alive, and I don't just mean the Amish, though certainly they are masters at it (my cart was built by the Amish - I couldn't call them on the phone). The "lost knowledge" argument is simply without merit. Especially since most all of the draft horse people I've ever met relish sharing their knowledge and experience - it's a great community.

Best hopes for a useful niche for horses in the post-PO world...

Yes the knowledge is sorta still there, but only a few really know how to do it. I remember seeing horses used to farm when I was kid, but I relative little practical knowledge. When a collapse happens I do not expect that most people to use horses unless they already have a horse.

While it may not be 'hard' to build a wagon I would not expect most people to be able to do it. And if power tools are not working and/or materials are not available then it will be even more difficult if not impossible.

Even finding plans for horse drawn equipment is hard. Pictures exist in old documents and catalogs (search archive.org), but plans and dimensions most often do not exist. As an example see Improved Sickel Mower. Building this mower from this description would be challenging. Better drawings such as this High-grade Farm Machinery catalog exist. Still they are just pictures and not designs.

Keep in mind that manufactures did exist back then and they had plans, tools, and a skilled workforce. They also had supply chains. In our collapse most of this will be missing for older technology. The technology and support systems will have to be reinvented and recreated.

My best guess is that after collapse we will live in a salvage world with a declining mad max quality for a long time to come. That is if we survive.

I could teach you to harness and work a horse in a weekend - the "knowledge" thing is a non-issue.

Finding plans for horse drawn equipment is not hard - there are many outfits that have them and are making equipment today. Pick up a copy of the Small Farm Journal and be amazed. It's all happening.

You're making up obstacles that simply are not there.

Ah, I notice a subtle jibe.. I think others answered your question. No, I don't recommend head shooting. All the best, JV

I predict that within three years, likely less, that these Pollyannas will be singing a different tune.

I agree, Ron, that they should be singing a different tune. Only thing is, if oil prices drop due to economic contraction, then they will still be singing the same thing. And, if oil prices rise, we might conclude that some oil that is today is not economically feasible to extract, will be, and so - the same song, in a different key.

The real problem is that they do not understand the 'theory' of Peak Oil. We are seeing precisely what was predicted, which in most scenarios confirms the theory. In the songbook of BAU, though, we cannot state facts or reality. It would be comic were it not so sad.


What do you expect from Bill Frezza. Fellow in Technology & Entrepreneurship, The Competitive Enterprise Institute

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is a non-profit American, libertarian think tank founded on March 9, 1984 in Washington, D.C. by Fred L. Smith, Jr that purports to advance economic liberty and fight what they perceive as over-regulation by "big government". CEI's stated belief is that people are best helped not by government regulation of commercial interests, but by a free marketplace in which entrepreneurship and innovation to truly thrive.

CEI is an outspoken anthropogenic climate change skeptic and an opponent of government action that would require limits on greenhouse gas emissions. It favors free-market environmentalism, and supports the idea that market institutions are more effective in protecting the environment than is government.

In May 2006, CEI's global warming policy activities attracted attention as it embarked upon an ad campaign with two television commercials [10]. These ads promote carbon dioxide as a positive factor in the environment and argue that global warming is not a concern. One ad focuses on the message that CO2 is misrepresented as a pollutant, stating that "it’s essential to life. We breathe it out. Plants breathe it in... They call it pollution. We call it life."

... In 2009, CEI's director of energy and global warming policy told The Washington Post, "The only thing that's been demonstrated to reduce emissions is economic collapse".

the following companies and foundations were among those listed as supporting CEI's work with annual contributions of at least $10,000, currently the CEI's "Entrepreneurs" level:

Amoco Foundation, Inc., CSX Corporation, Ford Motor Company Fund, Koch Family Foundations (including the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, and Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation), Philip Morris Companies, Inc., and Texaco, Inc. (Texaco Foundation). ExxonMobil Corporation was a major donor to CEI, with over $2 million in contributions between 1998 and 2005. In 2002 the company gave $405,000;[41] in 2004 it gave CEI $180,000 that was earmarked for "global climate change and global climate change outreach."

... give the man a potted plant and duct tape him into a plastic bag - breathe in - breathe out

free-market environmentalism

Code for just dump the toxins wherever.

Repeat disclaimer from past DrumBeats. Please do no associate all Libertarians with these stellar examples of humanity. Some of us actually think private property is, well, private property, and these lovelies have no more right to dump/pollute/desecrate someone else's property than I do. They just get to do it (and I don't) because they've got some, er, interesting political connections, shall we say?

The Libertarian Manifesto on Pollution.

If it claims it's a duck, but it barks like a dog, it's probably a dog. In this case, a rabid one.

The atmosphere, oceans, rivers, and lakes are not private property. And thus the Libertarian position collapses in failure.

They COULD be, and therefore be protected by tort.

But really libertarians suffer from the same malaise as Adam Smith and his theories -- individually optimal behaviors do not always result in optimal aggregate behavior.

Sure, the oceans, water, air could be private property. Then you'll end up in feudalism, which is the logical conclusion of all libertarian fantasies.

At best.

And libertarian fantasy involves at its heart an unstable equilibrium, that fairly quickly degrades into the biggest b*st*rd having everything, and the rest being slaves. In short, it's the fast road to hell, paved with individual liberty.

I must admit, I did like Ayn Rand when I was 16. It was very cool to be a hero for being a complete azzhole!
But one must develop critical thinking, and simplistic models fall by the side, and one realizes that only idealistic simpletons cling to these childish views.

Paul Krugman has the great line on Ayn Rand . . .

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

I too was very influenced by Ayn Rand when I was 16. For the matric exam I chose an essay topic related to money and spouted the Randian philosophy. It was a disaster. I realised half way through I had no idea what I was talking about.

Ayn Rand cost me a distinction in English. I haven't read a word she's written since.

I was a Howard Roark fan too till I realized that he wouldn't survive 5 minutes in real life.

" individually optimal behaviors do not always result in optimal aggregate behavior."

I like that explanation. It seems that could apply to welfare for instance. Individually wanting to assist your fellow man out of pure kindiness can result in poor behavior of your fellow man once he becomes totally dependent on your kindness. Your logic can break both ways. How about elected individuals in government wanting to do the right things (optimal behavior) until they understand that they must do anything it takes to get re-elected resulting in less than optimal aggregate behavior.

I tend to see the tort explanation in the article to be very valid. I myself own acreage with wild areas, pasture for cattle and horses and hopefully a water well soon. I would do just as the author of the linked article said if my private property rights were infringed upon by a polluter. I would sue the hell out of them! I would even ask for help from some left wing tree hugging propaganda group if necessary. I would demand that government protect MY environment.

If protecting the environment is the goal, then you must get people to take ownership even if only in their minds, that's why I said "MY" environment. As a person that's only two generations removed from subsistance farming, hunting and fishing in South Louisiana swamps and marshes I know what it's like to see people take true ownership of the environment as my grand parents did. Liberty and the environment can coexist in my political philosophy.

I would do just as the author of the linked article said if my private property rights were infringed upon by a polluter. I would sue the hell out of them!

I have some unpleasant news for you. Your land is already being polluted by a myriad of sources courtesy of modern industrial society.

So, sue away.

Yes. This is something touched upon in Jared Diamond's Collapse. Grassroots works best when the problems are local. Your neighbor polluting your stream or your family member cutting your wood. Larger problems require larger government. As societies get more complex, the problems become not only too large to fix locally, they may be too large for an individual to even understand. No individual is going to pay to send up satellites to monitor climate, hurricanes, etc. And what do you do if your crops are being burned by acid rain caused by factories several states away...or poisoned by nuclear fallout from an accident or war occurring in another country? Lawsuits are inadequate.

I agree with your thoughts because I think our population is less informed. We could do grassroots on big problems if we had an informed populace.

You are assuming that people would care enough to be informed, if someone does indeed do that job. They won't because it doesn't pay to be 'informed', at least not at an individual level, all it gives you is a headache. Ignorance is bliss.

Not only that...but even informed people will act in their own interests, not in the interests of society, humanity, or the earth as a whole. Why should people in Ohio care that their power plants are creating acid rain that's killing fish and taking the paint off cars in New England? Fixing the problem meant they had to pay more - for benefits that go other people.

This is why Diamond argues that a strong central government is necessary for anything larger than a family/tribal society. Research on societies in the Pacific found that medium-sized islands were doomed to failure. They were too large for grassroots to work, but too small to support the bureaucracy that was the key to success on large islands. They inevitably collapsed into internecine fighting.

Strong central governments and almost any bureaucracy (even business) has proven thoughout history to be currupt and lethargic.
So family/tribal societies are probably the way to go then I recon.

Family/tribal societies have their drawbacks. The social pressures of living in a family/small town can be crushing - far worse than the governmental version of Big Brother. And they can be every bit as corrupt as a large government or corporation, if not more.

Still, it's how we evolved to live. The real problem is that they can only exist in isolation. A tribal society simply cannot support the complexity it takes to develop and maintain advanced technology, or field and support an army. Look at how the Native Americans fared when Europeans arrived to see how that goes.

I don't think you realize how tribal/family oriented large inner cities in America were before centralized government took over the role of the the family, now look at them. I think that's probably the best way. If your talking energy use or environmental concerns you sure can't trust government to do any better than family/tribal societies had done through history, so you have to look at what worked IMO.

In South Louisiana the cajun people worked together to a certain extent (no where near like the Amish). For example, prior to refrigeration being abundant in homes, people living in the same area would never slaughter a hog at the same time as their neighbors, because they didn't want to waste the meat. They would salt and smoke what they needed and then send the neighbors the rest. It wasn't planned by government but let someone not follow suit on the next hog and they were shamed back into doing the right thing next time. Shame is a tool that our PC society doesn't use as much as it should in order to encourage good sustainable behavior.

This has come up before, and I still say...you have cause and effect reversed. Government ended up taking over the role families use to have because families no longer provided it. No longer could provide it.

You touch a few points here. I do think that educting people in global climate science -or at least the findings of climate science- can spur local grassroots movements into action. I see that happing a lot here. There may not be much we can do as individual to many harms that can be laid upon us, but we can try to do better then before. Whether it will help enough to prevent the worst remains to be seen though. At least some try.

From your link

With a General Motors owning the Mississippi River, you can be sure that stiff effluent charges would be assessed on industries and municipalities along its banks, and that the water would be kept clean enough to maximize revenues from leases granted to firms seeking rights to drinking water, recreation, and commercial fishing

LOL. A corporation owning a river. Even if we entertain this absurd idea for a minute a corporation could also theoretically let everyone discharge wastes into the river for a sum of money since they really have no incentive in keeping it clean, more so if the residents cannot afford to pay for clean water.

The problem with ideologies is that once you take an extreme position, you have no room to maneuver, and you end up making ridiculous claims like the above, just to align it with your ideology. Also the author is wrong in suggesting that the Govt owns the river, water and land. The govt is a custodian and protects it (ideally speaking) for the sake of the society, it's a radically different concept from 'owning' it.
Protection of the commons requires collective action and there is no way around it, libertarianism is trying to bypass biology and human society.

Just real quick. I was more pointing out the link to counter the CEI claims of being Libertarian. I've espoused a more subtle view of things in past DrumBeats, and I'm not a hard core ideologue by any stretch.

For the upside of a private property approach see Rockman, below. I don't ignore the fact that the threat of being fined also motivates him, but come on, some people actually do try to do the right thing. If folks are really interested I will link out to some examples of private property right and enforcement that was also environmentally beneficial. I'm sure others could easily find the opposite.

From a practical point of view, if you want to protect the commons using collective action, fine, great. Not seeing a lot of that in recent times, but perhaps folks could point out some successes. Oceans, rivers, lakes that are public can be protected by law and it's enforcement, and that's also great, but when your primary mode of collective action is our current democratic institutions, and said institutions are coming more and more to be dominated by the likes of Koch Industries and CEI, do you have much faith that this paradigm will work to our betterment into the future?

MMS and BP, anyone?

Fair enough. I think I misunderstood.

I don't ignore the fact that the threat of being fined also motivates him, but come on, some people actually do try to do the right thing. If folks are really interested I will link out to some examples of private property right and enforcement that was also environmentally beneficial

Now you're accusing me of being a hardcore ideologue. I am far from it. I see great benefits of having private property but statements like leasing out air and water to corporations gets my goat. And I know that some people actually try to do the right thing, that's what TOD is for, isn't it.

but when your primary mode of collective action is our current democratic institutions, and said institutions are coming more and more to be dominated by the likes of Koch Industries and CEI, do you have much faith that this paradigm will work to our betterment into the future?

And your point being ? Power always corrupts, whether it's the government or the 'free market institutions'. You can't counter basic human nature with ideologies, several people have tried though, but at least we gotta work with systems which have been known to work at least marginally better compared to others w.r.t the issue at hand (in this case the commons)

Wait, wait! I wasn't accusing you of anything, just as I don't think you were accusing me of anything. Well, I didn't take it that way, anyway. I was providing background, and my initial linked comment didn't provide enough I think.

Now then, back to the ideas. My real point about the current situation in our democracy was to simply bring up the point. I'm not so sure we couldn't apply a bit more private property to the commons, with beneficial effects, but I honestly wouldn't want to go there until something is done about democracy being gradually hijacked by a privileged few.

To that end, given Citizens United, what do you think about the proposed Constitutional Amendment being proposed by Bernie Sanders (and at least one Representative, but I've forgotten the name at the moment)?

I'm kind of thinking we may have reached that point. Overreach? Other things that could be tried instead? Curious what you (and everyone else) might think.

Edit: wildbourgman and aardvark both cited samples of the private property/commons defense after I'd posted this. The game preserves in Africa are ones I was particularly well aware of, but both examples work to demonstrate the concept.

I'm not an American so I don't have the local perspective and would desist from commenting on local issues but to be honest I always thought that equating corporations with people is kind of stupid, down here people would laugh at an idea like that. As someone said I'll believe it when I see a corporation getting shot and killed or hanging from a tree.

As I said before I have no doubts that private property helps sometimes, I know it first hand because one of the reasons my country is so backward is because people don't have access to a good legal system which can defend their rights to private property, anyone can come and take over your land. As a result people have no incentive to persevere.

Like on every subject, not everyone fits the same descriptor. However, simply looking at A) the sheer volume of libertarian think tanks in Washington and elsewhere that B) how many of them that oppose AGW and one cannot escape the thought that libertarianism somehow dramatically increases the risk of denying reality. I know it's hard to see the flaws in one's personal ideology but how many bad priors must be encounter before this is accepted? A libertarian manifest means nothing if libertarians don't act like it.

Does anybody have an example of "free market institutions" protecting the environment?

jj - My company is a good example. We do what we can to minimize the impact on the environment as much as possible. Does the fact that we’ll get the crap fined out of us if we’re caught not doing so play a role? Of course it does. Pretty much the dynamic we all live under, except when it comes to observing speed limits. LOL. Would all oil companies (or any industry for that matter) be as good a steward of the environment it the rules were not in place…not likely. Again, human nature especially when money is involved. The only support I can give to my claim is that my company always puts the safety of our hands above monetary considerations. Always beyond mandated safety rules. Not once have any of my higher cost safety recommendations been rejected. I haven’t had to make similar recommendations regarding environmental protection because the regs, if followed, do a good job of that. And we follow all the regs even when we don’t think anyone is watching. BTW my owner, besides being very active in oil/NG exploration, is also very big in supporting alt and medical research. And by very big I mean many tens of $millions…funded by his free market companies. A matter of family pride.

Obviously not all institutions (free market, governmental, etc.) follow the rules. Examples abound such as all the stories finally coming out about the illegal disposal of frac fluids being the major source of that pollution. But you’ll never see a MSM report about the tens of $millions spent by companies I’ve worked for on proper disposal of oil field wastes. The MSM should loudly broadcast about the rule breakers. But it’s good to remember that not all institutions or individuals fall into that category.


I think the question is what your company, or any other company, would do if there were no gummint setting the rules. What would happen is that the ethical companies would be driven out of business by the irresponsible. Its within that environment that you can afford to be ethical.

I think the question is what your company, or any other company, would do if there were no gummint setting the rules. What would happen is that the ethical companies would be driven out of business by the irresponsible. Its within that environment that you can afford to be ethical

The story of my country. Going 'green' costs money.

"We do what we can to minimize the impact on the environment as much as possible."
As much as possible? Does that equate to: As much as regulations require, a bit more than regulations require (safetymargin), or much more then regulations require just because management thinks it's morally required? It's hard to find companies that choose the last option unless there is a financial gain...

Does anybody have an example of "free market institutions" protecting the environment?

We have many private game reserves in South Africa. They protect the environment from poachers, squatters, alien vegetation etc. Of course, only the wealthy get to enjoy the "wildlife experience", but they ARE protecting it.

But if there was a conflict between say carbon sequestration and wildlife, theyd go for the later. I used to live in Wisconsin, which was run by and for hunters. The forests were in crappy shape, tree trunks rarely exceed 6inches, before they are clear cut. But, the hunters love it. It supports ten times as many deer, as it did before the whiteman came, and it was majestic two hundred foot tall white pines.

I've said this here before but think that as a libertarian, governments main role is to protect my private property rights and my individual liberties, so government acting to protect our greater environment also protects my individual rights. In saying that there are examples of "free market institutions" protecting the environment. One example is that in many rural areas we have massive hunting leases and guide services where property owners and lease holders protect and enhance the ecosystem, because that is how they make money, big money. In many places logging companies have added to the amount of forested lands simply because they need to plan for the future in order to grow the business and as a result logging creates more woodlands to get more profit potential. I'm sure anyone can nitpick those answers, but thats two just off of the top of my head.

There are many examples of entrepreneurs taking advantage of regulations to make a buck. In the 1980's and 1990's in the Gulf of Mexico and in inland waters of Louisiana certain oilfield waste could no longer be dumped in the water. That's good common sense regulation right, well the oil industry said that regulation would cripple an already weak drilling market in my area. Soon after the rules were in places oilfield service companies providing rental tanks popped up everywhere and hired thousands of people from low skilled tank cleaners to high skilled welders and fitters. Now complying with that regulation is routine and not as burdensome as once thought.

wildman - Good point. That's what I keep trying to beat into my Yankee cousins: nail the oil patrch with expensive regs and production taxes. Despite the whining it will be handled and wells will be drilled. La. takes 1/8 of every bbl of oil produced in the state as severence tax: folks in PA should look at map of La. and see the tens of thousands of wells drilled there.

Rock, we just need to know what the rules are. Any hesitation from the oilfield is due to fear of the unknown but once the regulations are set we can adjust to the game.

Zap – I’m going to take advantage of your post to harp one of my favorite issues. As you describe oil prices can fall due to decreased consumption/economic activity. But the cornucopians can use falling prices, as we witnessed in late 2008, to argue against PO. Whether PO occurred a few years ago or has yet to come isn’t the issue. Getting drawn into that debate is a waste of time IMHO. What’s important is the PO dynamic (POD): all those economic, political, military, societal, etc. disruptions that results from the relationship between supply and demand. Which easily explains why oil dropped below $40/bbl in early 2009 if, in fact, PO was reached in 2005. The POD explains those low oil prices…PO doesn’t. At least not to the cornies.

Likewise we’re seeing increased oil production in the US despite having hit PO here over 40 years ago. Easy argument again for the cornies to claim human ingenuity and man’s ability to overcome Mother Earth’s supposed imitations. The reality is that the increased production was easily predictable as a result of the POD…not in spite of it. Most geologists could have easily predicted the rise in shale oil/NG production IF THEY WE’RE TOLD oil prices would climb to $100/bbl. As I’ve said numerous times before I completed my first Eagle Ford well over 25 years ago. I watched thousands of horizontal wells drilled in the fractured Austin Chalk 20 years ago. And the Canadian oil sands were known decades ago. None of these plays, despite the claims of the cornies, developed as a result of new technologies/discoveries. They developed as a result of the POD. Again, long before global PO happened. About 38 years ago my first mentor explained the POD I was facing. That every company in the patch faced. Every high/low oil price and every boom/bust I’ve witnessed in almost 4 decades has been driven by the POD.

And it is the POD that impacts our lives…not just the occurrence of PO on some certain date. PO didn’t lead us to spend $trillions/countless lives “exporting” democracy to the ME in the early 90’s…long before the most vocal advocates of a PO date would offer. It was just one manifestation of the POD.

Frac’ng has been going on for more than 50 years and virtually no coverage by the MSM until recently. And it isn’t just because it’s happening outside of Texas. The Antrim Shale in Michigan was the Marcellus of the late 80’s…more than 30 years ago. And how did they complete those vertical wells: frac’ng. Of course, we all know how oil patch friendly my Yankee cousins are up there…not. LOL. Find one MSM report explaining the horrors of frac’ng in Michigan…I dare you. Kind of a lose theory but IMHO the MSM’s involvement in the PO discussion has driven them to look for controversy. So maybe the MSM focus on frac’ng is just one more aspect of the POD. OK…OK…a little thin but just a thought.

Back to the point: getting drawn into some of those cornie arguments reminds me of that group of blind men debating what the animal may be. It’s not about PO or elephants. It’s about a group of folks trying to figure out the situation and anticipating a future. Utilizing just portions of the beast does not lead to consensus…or anything close to it.

Rockman is quite right - neither hydraulic fracturing nor oil sands are new. The only thing that is new is $100/bbl oil. They could have developed these new, exciting plays 40 years ago if somebody had been willing to pay $100/bbl for the oil.

In Canada, the biggest conventional oil field is the Pembina field. It's in a tight sand formation, and none of the wells would have produced much oil without fracking. However, companies fracked the discovery well 60 years ago in 1953 and they've been fracking wells there ever since. Today, the Cardium Formation, which the Pembinal field is a sweet spot in, is the new, hot, conventional oil play in Alberta. At $10/bbl only the Pembina field was economic but at $100/bbl the whole Cardium Formation, which is huge in area, is a hot play.

Similarly, the first commercial oil sands plant went on production 45 years ago in 1968. It didn't make any money at all for the first 7 years and looked a lot like a white elephant, but today it is an elephant of a different color, and the company which owns it (Suncor) is now the biggest oil company in Canada on the strength of its oil sands production.

It's all about price. At $100/bbl it's a lot easier to "find" oil than at $10/bbl. the hardest part is finding customers who can afford $4.00/gallon gasoline. At 40 cents per gallon, it is a lot easier.

Well illiteracy rules. Just the fact that tar sands/fracking is occcuring would give a reflective soul (no degrees required) some worry.
3yrs? I wouldn't make such bold predictions. Kenneth Deffeye said like "fracking has turned out to be a pleasant surprise". Now, how he could have missed this I don't know.
Bottom line is when brown outs happen there will be little resistance to nuclear, if oil shortages/embargos shut down gas stations coal gasification programs will ramp up.
and environmentalism will peak (it's past peak in china)

mac - I'll be just a tad picky about his phrasing: "Kenneth Deffeye said like "fracking has turned out to be a pleasant surprise". Neither frac'ng nor the presence of oil/NG found in the shales, have been a "pleasant surprise" to the oil patch. Both have been known for decades. What has been a pleasant surprise is oil bouncing around $100/bbl and thus turning those resources into reserves. Just as pleasant a surprise as when NG shot above $10/mcf back in '08. And just as unpleasant when the price fell 70%.

Just part of my effort to remind folks that no technology would have increased our energy supplies had there not been the price support for those efforts. Price support that can disappear as quickly as it did for NG back at the end of ’08. I’m not predicting we’ll lose the price support for the oily shales anytime soon. Just predicting that if we do we’ll see a comparable rig count drop just like we saw when NG prices collapsed. That is a certainty IMHO. Neither tech nor newly discovered plays can overcome the loss of economic incentive.

I seem to remember K.D. saying something to that effect in his followup to Hubberts Peak (gem of book, good sense of humor)
but that's why I used "like". Maybe I got the context wrong for surely he kwew about fracking. It was just a tad bit surprising since he pointed out all the daunting problems with alternatives including natgas, keregen, etc.

I appreciate your comments and some come in handy when talking to my friends ( I mentioned something
about how texas deals with dumped fluids ) when he mentioned this :

have a friend that does the survey stuff for a lot of oil companies.
They end up with LOTS of waist fluid that they pump into waste wells or caverns
they have discovered that are 'approved' for that type of use. The approval
depends on the cavern being sealed. (No leaks when pressurized)
A lot of this is going on in western MD.

(but this isn't illegal dumping either)

Anecdotal observation on gasoline consumption last wed & thursday we had a series of snow storms.I took the wife to work both days round trip about 8 miles.In those two day I counted 6 motorist toting gas cans to or from a filling station.One ran out of gas at the entrance and was putting in 2 gal from a can I thought he'd pull up to the pumps after but he drove off.I was telling this to a vendor and he said his granddaughter college student/part time worker ask for 10 bucks til payday he gave her 40 bucks.Makes me wonder how many are running on the low side of a quarter tank.During the 70's oil embargo keeping at a quarter tank was used to increase gas mileage didn't help much but some better than none.

2nd anecdotal: I've noticed in our area of CA where most commuters have to drive over an hour to work, that when fuel prices rise above 4.20 a gallon, a couple weeks later there is always a new slew of cars for sale at the side of the road. I get the impression there are quite a few people on a razor's financial edge and any increase to their existing burden pushes them over to have to sell at least one of their car's and who knows what else.

I've also noticed that when fuel prices drop down to just above 3 a gallon, there are suddenly a lot of very large new trucks. What are people thinking? Are they that easily sold fuel prices will remain low, only to get T-boned later by rising fuel prices? Maybe they bought that fantasy of impending US energy independence.

A word of caution on anecdotal evidence. I'm not suggesting that you're wrong on what you are seeing, but is there a chance that you're inadvertently "looking for" a correlation?

It's like the "new car" syndrome. When you change car, you suddenly notice a lot more examples on the road than before.

I'm sure there are many people on a financial razors edge - hell, I'm close to it myself - but I don't see any changes with fuel price, mainly because of the area I live in. For many in my town even the third family car is a Range Rover. I bet most of them don't even know or care how much it costs to fill the tank.

Have to disagree because they come in swarms. It's not that big a community so the observed numbers are easy to tally.

I'm sure you're right, and I imagine it's not an uncommon phenomenon.

I just thought it was worth pointing out how easy it is to have a conformation bias, especially for casual observations.

I understand the premise of your suggestion and it is worth noting, however the commute here for those that work in civilization, the nearest big city, is over an hour each way and over a big mountain (which causes a lot of wear and tear on vehicles besides the cost of fuel). It has made for a very good barometer of sorts for how higher fuel costs impact people's budgets in a tight economy. It goes to what JHK refers to as the ill advised development of urban sprawl in which apparently no thought was given in the expansion to the idea of oil as a finite resource that would get more expensive. We are located at the outer edge of the commute ring.

It would actually be to our advantage if that was not the case, as our property and others in this area would hold their value better if there wasn't such a long commute. Under different transport circumstances we would have liked to pick up a 2nd home as an investment, but that seems ill advised looking forward as oil will descend from a peak sometime not many years from now. It's great for people like my wife and I that work from home because we like being out of the frenetic pace of big cities, but there are concerns for the viability of this area in a major contraction like 08/09 when a substantial percentage of homes went into foreclosure. Most have been scooped up since then, but the clock ticks towards the next step down.

We're getting solar and planting nut and fruit trees in the back yard. Wish us luck and the best to you as well.

Planted 12 fruit trees this morning. Blueberries this afternoon. The pallet of 40 additional 235W PV will arrive in a few days. Solar PV pump in the well. Set a 2800 gallon water storage tank yesterday. Garden prep this week. Starting seeds later this week. Lots more to do!

Good luck with your PV, it works great!


Over 900 million tons of wastes and tailings (over 35 years of Phase 1) will be dumped in the wetlands and streams of the Bad River watershed, and could produce the same acid mine drainage that has resulted in fish advisories for mercury and a wild rice dead zone for 100 miles downstream from Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range in the St. Louis River watershed.

I want to remind you all that those who will fight this are "crazy environmentalists" who are ruining our country. :=/

Are they burning the furniture? Sinopec Gets Chesapeake Shale Stake for Less Than One Third of Estimates

or they sold them a dry hole

v - Like most fractured reservoir plays very few dry holes in the Miss. Lime. Maybe a fair number of marginal/money losing wells but not many dusters. By not being promoted on their working interest they have a better chance than most of CHK's other partners to make a decent profit. Lower net cost going in means better ROR.

hillco - And they've been doing so for a few years. By my estimate they are closing in on a total of $30 BILLION in divestitures in the last 3 years. That includes selling some prove producing conventional NG production in north Texas in the worst market for doing so in at least 10 years. And selling working interest in their shale plays not only gives them some much needed capex but also reduces their share of future drilling costs.

“Sinopec will exercise more control (50%) over drilling decisions and costs than Chesapeake partners have on similar ventures…”

“This is the first joint-venture deal Chesapeake has ever done without a drilling carry,” Hanson said…For Chesapeake, “this looks pretty underwhelming,”

IOW the Chinese will pay 50% of the future drilling costs thus relieving CHK of $billions in future capex requirements. “Drilling carry”: Company X pays for Y% of the wells but only earns something like 75% of Y% of the revenue. It varies but a typical trade is a “third for a quarter”: pay 100% of the cost and receive 75% of the revenue with the promoting company getting the other 25% even though they didn’t spend a dime. In this case CHK gets nothing from those wells except for what they earn by paying for 50% of the costs. We call this a “ground floor deal” which is typically a sign of a desperate seller.

BTW:"...Less Than One Third of Estimates". And that's because those estimates were wrong. The Chinese got the trade for exactly what it was worth. If it were worth more than someone else would have paid more. But no one offered. Thus CHK got exactly what it was worth: what the market would pay.

Chesapeake agreed to sell more than $12 billion in oilfields and pipelines since the beginning of 2012 to plug a cash-flow deficit aggravated by low prices for natural gas, which accounts for about 80 percent of the company’s output.

Guess they have to take any price they can get, or find a white knight who will bail them out.

aardi - Or a Black Night to slide in, cut throats and canabalize the company for max return on his investment. Last I heard Carl Icahn was perhaps making a move in that direction. BTW when I stopped counting the CHK press releases a few months ago the total was over $24 billion.

US Vehicle Miles Driven Have Sunk To A New Post-Crisis Low

The population-adjusted all-time high dates from June 2005. That's 90 months — over seven years ago. The latest data, for December 2012, is 9.00% below the 2005 peak, a new post-Financial Crisis low. Our adjusted miles driven based on the 16-and-older age cohort is about where we were as a nation in January 1995.

Insight: How Much Water Is Used At Power Plants?

US power plants – in particular their cooling systems – are responsible for more than 40% of the nation's freshwater consumption. However estimates of how much water is used at individual power plants can vary greatly. What is more, most long-term projection models for power-plant water use lack sufficient data when it comes to different regions of the country.

Other low-carbon technologies, like solar photovoltaic and wind, require little to no water to generate electricity.

The fact that different technologies – such as concentrating solar power, nuclear, coal and geothermal – show large variations in water consumption means that future analyses could yield disparate results if average water consumption values are used in calculations. We are thus currently looking at ways to "standardize" the assumptions behind estimates of water use to reduce such data variability.

Full Article: Operational water consumption and withdrawal factors for electricity generating technologies: a review of existing literature

Shifts from sinks to sources ...

Tundra Fires Become More Widespread

Wildfires in Alaska have become more widespread over the past 50 years, according to scientists in the US. The result suggests that Arctic wildfires will have an important effect on the climate in years to come – although whether it will be positive or negative, the researchers cannot say.

Fires are well known to impact the climate by releasing sequestered carbon into the atmosphere. As the climate warms, scientists expect the number of wildfires to grow – and, as a result, more carbon to be released.

Tundra fires are important because they have the potential to switch regions from being climate-cooling – thanks to their reflective white surface – to climate-warming.

The footprint of Alaskan tundra fires during the past half-century: implications for surface properties and radiative forcing

and Insight: Spring Droughts Could Reduce Plant Growth and Carbon Uptake

Also, after the fire the land will be darker, absorbing more sunlight, wich will advance ground thawing.

Scientists Revise Wind-Power Estimates Downwards

Previous estimates of the world's potential wind-power resources may be as much as 10 times too high, according to scientists in the US. That is because the evaluations ignored the reduction in wind speeds once wind turbines have extracted some of the wind's energy.

"Wind power is still one of the most scalable renewables, but our research suggests that we will need to pay attention to its limits and climatic impacts if we try to scale it beyond a few terawatts," said David Keith of Harvard University.

Windmills At Sea Can Break Like Matches

Laboratory measurements show that the biggest vibrations in the wind turbines occur just after the wave has passed and not when the wave hits the turbine. Right after the crest of the wave has passed, a second force hits the structure. If the second force resonates with the structural frequency of the wind turbine, the vibration is strong. This means that the wind turbine is first exposed to one force, and is then shaken by another force. When specific types of waves are repeated this causes the wear to be especially pronounced. This increases the danger of fatigue."

All structures have their own vibration frequencies, whether they are wind turbines, bridges, oil rigs or vessels.

For wind turbines at sea with a cylinder diameter of eight metres, the worst waves are those that are more than 13 metres high and have an 11-second interval between them.

When the vibration matches the structural frequency, things get tough. This phenomenon is called resonance, and can be compared to the steady march of soldiers on a bridge. If the soldiers march in time with the structural frequency of the bridge, it can collapse.

I haven't dug into the article very far, but I would think that floating turbines will have some advantages, not requiring a rigid base, and that there will be ways to engineer either flexibility or counter resonance systems into the tower to dephase a developing frequency.

Like the legs of an oil platform.

The difference, is you can usually afford to overbuild the oil platform, because the profit margin is high to begin with. Offshore wind is already costly. If more modifications need to be made because of a previously unappreciated failure mode, it only ups the cost. So the idea is to carefully study the phenomena so the cheapest mitigation strategy can be pursued.

Sling a mm wave radar and associated processing onto every machine, and feather the blades within the danger zone. Feedback from vibration sensing within the tower and the system will calibrate to environment.

Yes, I think I already read about using microadjustments to the blade angles when the blade passes the tower to counter othewise harmful vibrations. This technology could save money and material for having to overbuild less.

There was a "Do The Math" post on TOD about the limits to wind some time ago.

How long before Harvard starts to catch up on TOD about oil as well as wind?

As best I can tell, the vehicle with the cheapest lifecycle cost is the hybrid-electric Prius C.

Is anyone aware of a mainstream US vehicle with a lower lifecycle cost?

Starting from now my 14 year old Hyundai has a lower cost. You don't get to count sunk costs. This consumer mindset where the solution to everything is to buy something is so pervasive. We really are well trained.

Sure - my preferred strategy is to drive cars until they die (about 25 years) and buy a 7 year old vehicle.

People who follow a used car strategy can just add the word "used" to my question (as long as the comparison is between vehicles with similar ages).

Yeah, you can almost never beat the cost advantage of driving an existing paid-off used car. Many people never buy new cars.

But that is one the reasons why subsidies to "rich" EV buyers should not be viewed as just subdsizing the rich . . . yes, the rich get the initial benefit but those subsidized EVs eventually show up on the used market too.

Trickle down EVs! Man, there's no end to the mental gymnastics needed to maintain the car culture.

Why do you dislike car culture so much? You don't seem to like EVs, so apparently it's not that cars currently use oil...

The cost of the automotive transportation system has been catastrophic.

I used to be a car guy. When I was a kid I could tell you the make, model and year from a glimpse of a taillight. Understeer, slip angles, double clutching a downshift with matched revs while trail breaking through a corner - all these things were my vocabulary. There's no part of a car I have not seen or probably worked on. My wife raced cars and I was the crew. I still drive a car (reluctantly) and do all my own repairs.

And then one day, even before I studied PO and CC I began to wake up and see the cost. It has been incredible, we've destroyed our cities and towns and countryside. Now it's clear we've destroyed our climate and wasted the precious one-time bonanza of stored energy in fossil fuels - and the majority of it for the automotive transportation system.

The concept has been a catastrophic failure at an incalculable cost. Trying to continue it with non-fossil fuel power will not work, will soak up any funds that might have been used in beneficial ways, and will continue to do damage.

we've destroyed our cities and towns and countryside.

hmm. So your primary objection is aesthetic? That all those roads and parking lots are really ugly?

I can resonate with that. "Pave paradise, put up a parking lot" has always been a favorite tune of mine.

I think we should outlaw "free" parking and highways, tax oil heavily, and push rail (and EVs). Life would be better: less pavement, easier transportation.

Not just aesthetic, although that was initially a big part of noticing it. We've cut off parts of towns creating isolated islands where you cannot walk through; noise, light and toxic pollution is spread everywhere; the paving destroys farmland and ecosystems; huge numbers of people are maimed and killed annually.

Well, let's break that down:

The destruction of farmland and ecosystems is related to bad urban planning, not car culture. Similiarly, railroads can be designed to cut up cities (or not), and roads can be designed not to.

huge numbers of people are maimed and killed annually.

US passenger rail at it's peak in 1900 killed 12,000 people per year, more per capita than cars do today. It's a matter of design for safety.

noise...and toxic pollution is spread everywhere

Well, that's oil, not cars. EVs are quiet and clean.

How'd they manage to kill so many people with trains?

Good question - I haven't seen the details. My guess: boiler explosions, fires, derailments and collisions.

We just didn't have much of a safety culture. And of course engineering was in its infancy. If all our cars were jury-rigged contraptions slapped together by local mechanics without the benefit of computer aided design, you can imagine what would happen to the accident toll.

Transportation at speed is inherently dangerous. I stated that the automotive transportation system resulted in many deaths and injuries, which is true, and the fact that some other systems (of older technology not benefiting from more recent knowledge) do too is not relevant. Further, in the age of rail people still traveled less and so their risks were lower.

As for the nature of destruction to farmland, ecosystems and urban structures, there really is no room for coulda shoulda woulda. Both rail and automobile transportation were extensively developed, and we know what happened and which caused more damage.

EV's could be quiet and clean in operation, although no different in manufacture, except for where we get the electricity to operate them. You say we could run them on solar PV or renewables, but it has yet to be proven that an EV based automotive transportation system is viable. I don't believe it is as the costs for creating and building out the infrastructure will be even higher than for a grid based system, and you still cannot use the system in anything like the way the oil based one works because of the required charge time.

Transportation at speed is inherently dangerous.

Not really. Rail and aviation are incredibly safe - I think commercial aviation hasn't had a single death in several years. It's a million times safer to be on a train or plane than in one's own bathroom.

the fact that some other systems (of older technology not benefiting from more recent knowledge) do too is not relevant.

They demonstrate that systems get safer with time. Car deaths are falling very quickly.

in the age of rail people still traveled less and so their risks were lower.

Remember, 12,00 deaths per year. That's more per capita than cars today (car deaths are about 35k, IIRC, for a population that's about 4x as large). If the number of miles traveled per capita were lower, then rail was even riskier compared to present day car travel.

Both rail and automobile transportation were extensively developed, and we know what happened and which caused more damage.

People wanted to spread out, and didn't care much about the land they covered to do so. That's the cause - cars just made it a little easier.

no different in manufacture

Manufacturing is mighty clean these days, and uses little oil.

it has yet to be proven that an EV based automotive transportation system is viable

It has yet to be proven that cell phones could completely replace land lines, but is there any doubt??

the costs for creating and building out the infrastructure will be even higher than for a grid based system

EVs are no more expensive to build. Most people can just plug them into their wall. The cost of a network of charging stations is tiny.

you still cannot use the system in anything like the way the oil based one works because of the required charge time.

For the moment, which is why plug-ins like the Prius plug-in and the Volt are more popular than pure EVs. But, who cares: it's easy for a Volt owner to only use 60 gallons of fuel per year, which could easily be supplied by ethanol.

Deaths per passenger mile is a fake statistic. It is (deaths per hour for an activity) x (hours of one's life spent in that activity) that matters.

That's an interesting thought, though it kind've suggests that slow transportation would be better than fast transportation - that doesn't quite make sense to me.

In any case, deaths per hour per person times hours is equal to deaths per person, which is the same as deaths per capita. I didn't use deaths per pax-mile above, I used deaths per capita, so we're on the same page.

EVs like the Leaf are affordable. OTOH, if oil was priced properly EVs would be much, much cheaper than ICEs to own and operate.

And, that brings me back to my original question: the Prius C, a partial electric, appears to be the cheapest vehicle on the market. We can expect that a plug-in Prius C wouldn't cost that much more. Doesn't it look like EVs are cheaper than ICEs when produced in the same volume?

The carbon and environmental impact of an EV can vary substantially depending on the power source used to run the EV. If the EV is run via coal power plants then any environmental benefits will be negligible or even slightly worse when compared to a highly efficient ICE. Benefits can be made if the power source comes from cleaner fossil fuels or better still nuclear or renewable sources of energy. However it should be noted that the environmental impact of batteries particularly lithium based batteries are quite considerable. It should also be noted the construction costs of an EV are twice as great as a conventional ICE on an energetic basis. It is this high production cost that means that a EV's economy can only be realised if it has a long shelf life typically around a lifetime of 200,000 kilometres (124,000 miles). If we assume shorter lifespans of 100,000 kilometres then the benefits of EV to petrol ICE are 9-14% and the difference between diesel ICE drops to almost 0%.


If batteries are not as long lasting or we wish for faster charging batteries then the environmental impacts will be greater as more supporting infrastructure will be required to produce extra batteries, have more recharging stations or simply provide more electrical power to meet the demand of faster charging batteries. We should also note that the resources required to maintain the actual roads will be considerable which is another important consideration if one wants to pursue the automobile paradigm.

Trains do not need such resource consuming infrastructure so this should really be the main form of intercity transport while trams and other transport that operate through electrical lines (be it over or underground) should be used for intracity transport. You get the benefits of EV's without the expensive batteries and with fixed lines that run regularly perhaps the amount of road infrastructure required will be considerably less. Pack'em high on those trams! It is the only real way we can get efficiency numbers high enough to make transport economical in a world of declining net energy and even then we need to understand that even this form of transport is not sustainable if net energy declines sufficiently.

At some point horses will need to be breed but perhaps such actions would only be implemented a 100 years or so in the future once this train/tram transport breaks down due to dwindling energy supplies. The idea I suggested I believe provides a viable stop-gap it is just that people need to make a cultural adjustment to their expectations for it to be an idea that can gain traction to the masses. People can still only see the automobile as the future. That needs to change as it simply too inefficient on a per capita energetic basis if you consider the production and consumption costs plus the costs of maintaining the required infrastructure to run the cars.

If the EV is run via coal power plants then any environmental benefits will be negligible

I'm not aware of any grids in the US that have more than 50% coal on average. And, EVs don't charge on average, they mostly charge at night when nuclear and wind have maximum market share.

the environmental impact of batteries particularly lithium based batteries are quite considerable.

The discussion in the article says: ""In contrast with ICEVs, almost half of an EV's life cycle GWP is associated with its production. We estimate the GWP from EV production to be 87 to 95 grams carbon dioxide equivalent per kilometer (g CO2-eq/km), which is roughly twice the 43 g CO2-eq/km associated with ICEV production. Battery production contributes 35% to 41% of the EV production phase GWP, whereas the electric engine contributes 7% to 8%. Other powertrain components, notably inverters and the passive battery cooling system with their high aluminum content, contribute 16% to 18% of the embodied GWP of EVs."

The article is misleading: even if correct, that doesn't mean that EVs take twice as energy over their lifecycle. It mostly means they use a lot less energy to operate!

I can see some dubious assumption, including the source of the energy used for manufacturing. I note a large GHG component for aluminium, for instance, which would not be the case for aluminium from either hydro/wind smelting, or from recycling.

Could you point me to the specific final source in the referenced analysis for battery energy inputs? I couldn't track it down.

It also seems to conflict with Argonne National Laboratory data, which indicated the energy inputs for li-ion are not that large. See below:


109,700 joules per KM for Volt battery manufacture

44,500 for Prius

or in watt-hours:

Volt: 30.5

Prius: 12.4

http://www.transportation.anl.gov/pdfs/HV/458.pdf page 17

That's much, much smaller than the energy needed either for liquid fuel, or for electricity to power EVs.

From correspondence with the Center for Transportation Research, Argonne National Laboratory, the correct way to calculate the embodied energy of the battery is to multiply the 109.7 KJ per km (30 watt-hours per km) by lifetime range of about 250K km. That gives 27.4 GJ.

Now, the average US vehicle would use about 859 GJ, and a Volt would use about 190GJ (82 gas, and 108 from electricity), so the battery represents about 3% of an ICE and 15% of a Volt's lifetime consumption.

If we refer to the doc below: PbA requires about 25 MJ/kg to make as compared to about 150 MJ/Kg for a li-ion.


Table 2

They have a graph of cradle-to-gate energy in MJ/Wh, which can be easily converted to Wh(manufacturing energy)/Wh(storage capacity). The average values are:

Lead-acid: 170 Wh/Wh
Li-ion: 470 Wh/Wh
Na-S or Ni-Cd: 500 Wh/Wh
NiMH: 750 Wh/Wh

Extrapolating on these figures, making a 16.5 kWh Chevy Volt Li-ion battery requires 7.76 MWh of energy inputs, which is equivalent to 212 gallons of gasoline, or about 4 months of driving for the average US light vehicle (13k miles per yr/22 MPG).

If the energy came from US NG it would cost about $100.

The materials production component is solely from virgin sources, except for PbA - recycling would reduce these values by roughly 75%.


The bottom line: EV manufacturing does not *require* oil or FF derived electricity.

It is this high production cost

Even if EV energy inputs were twice as high, that's not "cost". The Prius C is only $19k, which is 55% of the average new vehicle cost, and it uses 40% as much fuel as the average vehicle on the road. Again, the Prius C appears to be the cheapest vehicle on the road.

a long shelf life typically around a lifetime of 200,000 kilometres (124,000 miles).

That's not a long shelf life in the US: that's less than average.

the resources required to maintain the actual roads will be considerable

Not for passenger traffic. Truck traffic causes roads to wear out, and truck freight can move to electric rail.

a world of declining net energy

Who said anything about that? There's no reason to believe that renewables (and nuclear) can't be scaled up. See the next TOD article on solar, for instance.

At some point horses will need to be breed

Heavens, above, no. Horses will never be cheaper than EVs for the same function. Horses use much more energy for the same amount of transportation, they need enormous maintenance and care. Sheesh.

I'd even claim horses are a zillion times more hightech than an EV. Your probably laughing, since technological no-nothings originally captured, and breed horses. With the horse we were given a superhightech self-replicating technology -designed by evolution. No man designed machine is anywhere close to as complex or ingeniously designed. But then the design cycles (evolution) was at least three billion years.

I agree - horses are marvelously complex (just like humans).

Still, ask any horse owner - they're very expensive to own. They only produce maybe 1.5 horsepower (the original "horse" must have been pretty small). An electric motor can replicate that with about 1.2kW, which only costs about 13 cents per hour, and doesn't require care when not in use. If used for 40 hours per week that would cost about $20 per month, which is probably 10% of the cost of just feeding a horse, let alone housing, vet care, etc, etc.

Considering all the expensive, labor intensive maintenance required for horses it would probably be cheaper to convert their feed into biofuel for small ICEs.

Yeah. Of course, small tractors can be electric, and that would be much cheaper.

It's seasonal high intensity stuff that needs a lot of liquid fuel.

Germany 'To Approve Fracking with Conditions'

The German government is prepared to give the go-ahead to the revolutionary oil and gas technique of "fracking" in Germany, but under certain conditions, according to a ministry paper obtained by AFP on Tuesday.

Under a draft proposal by the economy and environment ministries, fracking would be banned in areas where there are water reserves and mineral springs.

This is a concession to public opinion where there are serious concerns about safety, as well as the environmental and health effects of the technology. Rigorous studies into the environmental impact would be undertaken at each proposed site, the paper said.

"Domestic oil and gas production will continue to make a substantial contribution to the security of supply and price stability in Germany," as the country has pledged to abandon nuclear energy entirely by 2022, the ministries said.

Estimates put Germany's underground gas reserves at as much as 2.3 trillion cubic metres. With annual consumption of some 86 billion cubic metres "this can be categorised as a very significant source of energy," they said.

The allure of fossil fuels is always too great.

I expected this would happen. They, quite understandably, do not want to be reliant upon the Russian bear who likes to toy with its natural gas customers every winter.

Not to mention they are client states of another empire.

S - "Since its invention in 2007, "fracking" has become...” Best laugh I've had in days...thanks. Hopefully whoever they have in charge of watching over frac'ng is a bit more up to speed on the technology than this author.

Rock, about fracking, and oil discovery/extraction technologies in general, the Scientific American where Campbell and Lahererre "the end of cheap oil" was published in 1998 had quite a few other articles about the future of oil. They got the tar sands right, also horizontal drilling and deep water, but no mention of fracking and "tight oil". Because it wasn't considered anything new at that time either ?
Below pdf with Campbell Lahererre article and all the others :

Yves – Thanks for the link…interesting. In 1998 hz drilling, frac’ng and the resources in the shales and oil sands were not unknown. Much of the huge recovery from west Texas over the last 50 years was from “tight oil” reservoirs. As mentioned before the hz drilling and frac’ng of the Austin Chalk was the hottest play in the country in the early 90’s. FYI the AC sits in the same stratigraphic interval as the Eagle Ford Shale. All it took was higher oil prices to light the fuse. Though not known by the general public even the Deep Water potential was known by the industry long before 1998. In 1976 I looked at seismic data stretching out off the shelf into the DW. Then it wasn’t much more than idle curiosity since we didn’t have the technology to develop it. In 1978 I toured a semisubmersible drill rig under constrution that was designed to eventually drill in the DW GOM. The drill ship Glomar Challenger was launched in 1968 and could drill in water depths up to 3,500'. Granted it was funded for purposes other than DW oil development but it did establish the beginning of the tech development for DW oil production. But the technology was developed to go after that long ago identified potential. Again, all it took was expectations of higher prices and the drive by Big Oil to replace their depleting reserve base. Thus the industry started moving towards developing the current DW GOM oil production over 30 years ago. The production may have only kicked in 10 years ago but the process began long before. We have entered an age of new energy pricing...not new trends or technology.

I don’t fault some of the folks who, due to a lack of industry experience, think we’ve just discovered something new. But when someone says frac’ng was discovered just a few years ago instead of the reality that it has been going on (including frac’ng hz wells) for a much longer time I wonder if that person has done any research into the subject. In fairness to the author I later wondered if it was just a poor translation.

What bothers me about the “oh look, man’s ingenuity is going to save BAU” is that it leaves the public thinking we’ve solved the high cost energy problem. In reality it’s the high cost of energy that has brought these plays/technologies to the front. The time lag also confuses the public when they consider the current low NG prices after seeing an increase in domestic production. They don’t connect that much of that increase, along with lower prices, came about due to an aggressive drilling phase due to much higher NG prices. It just leaves the public with the attitude that everything will be OK in the future and we’ll return to cheap energy and BAU will be the norm. A great disservice IMHO.

Rock, thanks for the answer, current period is really peculiar : at the same time we are most probably "around" global peak and we have this "tight oil" spike which is still very real, a bit of a scary "swan song" aspect somehow ...

Yves - "Swan song". Rather appropriate. I hadn’t really thought of it in that context until I outlined the reality that most of the reserves being developed today have been identified long ago. In a couple of months I’ll be trying an experiment to recover residual oil from 50+ year old conventional fields via horizontal drilling. I first developed this idea about 15 years ago. The technology I’ll be using was also available 15 years ago. So why now and not 15 years ago? Simple: the technology is expensive and couldn’t justify the effort until oil prices reached current levels.

As I showed above almost none of the new reserves being brought on line today are new ideas or resources that were identified many years ago. Every geologist has prospects in the back of his file cabinet that make sense if oil/NG prices reach a certain level. We are drilling much of that inventory today. And all inventories have a limit. I don’t have one prospect in my file cabinet that doesn’t make sense at current oil prices. I have a number of NG prospects in my file cabinet that don’t make sense at today’s NG prices. That will change in time but I may be long gone by then and my files thrown away.

Eminent Scientist Warns Of Global Contamination Risks

"The water beneath most of our great cities is so contaminated it is often undrinkable. Pesticides and 'gender-bender' compounds are now quite commonly found in the food chain and public water supplies. There is rising awareness of the global distribution of nanomaterials in the environment – and a major scientific effort will be needed to understand and monitor this development worldwide.

"And while we have some idea of how some individual chemicals affect our health, most of them are unknown and have never been tested – including the many new ones which are released on world markets each year. Above all, there is little scientific understanding of the impact of chemical mixtures on human or environmental health, which remains a serious gap in our knowledge."

Prof. Naidu says that Australia is preparing to take a world lead in addressing the issue of Earth system contamination when it proposes a Global Contamination Research Initiative (GCRI) to investigate it, at a major international conference hosted by CRC CARE in Melbourne in September.

I think he may be a little late to the party.


Bloody depressing; I may find a cave somewhere.

Time to get blood from a stone...

Swiss Red Cross Cuts Blood Supply to Broke Greece

The Swiss Red Cross is slashing its supply of donor blood to Greece because the financially stricken country has failed to pay its bills on time, the head of the group's transfusion service said Tuesday.

Speaking of blood from a stone, I wonder how EV sales are doing in Greece? They're out of oil, it must be getting hard to drive their petroleum powered cars - surely they must be buying EV's in huge number by now?

Probably awful. They have no money for EVs and even if they did, being an island chain their electricity is probably from oil-fired plants and thus very expensive.

The place just is a mess. It had a shaky economy as is and it was largely based on tourism which is one of the first things people cut back on in hard times.

Perhaps they can start a new business of being a retirement destination for wealthy Northern Europeans.

I forgot the /sarc tag. Their apparent prosperity of the past was not based on tourism, it was based on debt, borrowed to buy the oil and the products that used it. Due to higher oil prices they've been priced out of the market - involuntary conservation. In such an environment they are not solving their problems by buying new gadgets, they are collapsing. They don't want to, they have no choice. This is not an irrelevant tale, it is a glimpse of our future. Whatever you want to happen, overlay that concept on the present day Greece and see if you think it will be viable there. I was just doing that with the EV.

Greece needs to tap TAP ASAP.

"Whatever you want to happen, overlay that concept on the present day Greece and see if you think it will be viable there. I was just doing that with the EV."

Did your thoughts on this take into account whether this EV was owned by a Greek family who had also put up PV?

And being in a Mediterranean climate, arguably the most pleasant of climates, did the EV look like this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renault_Twizy

Even with a collapsing economy and shaky power grid, a small EV like that powered by PV could still be buzzing about providing useful transportation.

I do know what you're saying though...I often think of large sections of Africa in that way. You see images of villages...surrounded by dust and nothing else. How do they even feed themselves? Now try to imagine building a high tech society starting with that - just simply won't happen. Where we are right now is so dependent on all of the steps that were previously taken, particularly the supply lines that have been built...when they start breaking, the possibilities they brought break too.

But how much better off would they have been had they invested in PV and Wind power instead of stadiums, cars, and designer clothing? Buy into the PV while they had the cash...have the power down the road. Now they're stuck with recurring bills and the money they pay for it leaves the country. And now they're in a "poverty trap" so it's not even an option...

Always using an example of one - it is irrelevant. Greeks, in general, are not driving EVs; they are by and large broke.

They didn't make that investment, neither did anyone else. Neither is anyone else. How much better off would they have been if they had not gone into debt in a futile attempt to emulate the US car culture, and invested instead in sustainable local food production and public transportation?

"Always using an example of one - it is irrelevant."

What can I say, I'm a one-example pony. I figured one example of an inexpensive, low power (~120 Wh/mi, 17hp) EV would suffice. That particular one exists and is being sold today (not just in theory).


Even after a huge world war, with everything bombed to bitsies people sought out motorized transportation. So how that burning desire can best be met at lowest impact is not irrelevant.


I don't think Greece completely demolished local food production like we did in the US. They have, however, been continually dependent on foreign energy and are now being threatened with getting the power cut off. Their public utilities are being sold off to foreign "investors" who will no doubt milk them for all they're worth. So I again ask, how much better off would they have been if they'd invested in PV and Wind instead?

Hey, I remember selling a pint of blood in Athens for 75 Drachmas.

That was a long time ago, before it became red-tinted cholesterol.

One-Euro Device That Recharges Mobile On The Go

A transparent film that costs just one euro to make could bring an end to the anguish of mobile phone users facing the dreaded dead-battery message.

... "With 10 minutes in the sun you will be able to communicate for two minutes. To recharge completely you will have to expose it for six hours, so our technology is not necessarily for a full recharge but rather for an energy boost for specific applications," Deblois said.

Ubiquitous Energy Sets Focus On Solar Cell Technology

German Student Builds Electromagnetic Harvester To Recharge A Battery

Dennis Siegel, a student at the University of the Arts in Bremen, Germany has built what he calls an electromagnetic harvester—it converts electromagnetic fields in the immediate environment into electricity to recharge a common AA battery.

Stretchable Lithium-Ion Battery Can Twist, Bend, Return To Normal Shape

... Huang and Rogers have demonstrated a battery that continues to work—powering a commercial light-emitting diode (LED)—even when stretched, folded, twisted and mounted on a human elbow. The battery can work for eight to nine hours before it needs recharging, which can be done wirelessly.

The power and voltage of the stretchable battery are similar to a conventional lithium-ion battery of the same size, but the flexible battery can stretch up to 300 percent of its original size and still function.

Re: German Student Builds Electromagnetic Harvester To Recharge A Battery

LOL - The picture shows him standing in a substation. Well, yeah....

Aw, don't crush the lad's dreams!

For his next trick he will stand between two Tesla coils while holding a pair of jumper cables.

Let me see, leave your phone in the sun charging. Heats up to 60-80 C. What happens to the battery pack? As for harvesting stray electrical field, in the UK that counts as theft.


Symantec researchers say Stuxnet virus used against Iran much earlier

Stuxnet 0.5 was designed to attack the Natanz facility by opening and closing valves that feed uranium hexafluoride gas into centrifuges, without the knowledge of the operators of the facility, according to Symantec.

The virus was being developed early as 2005, when Iran was still setting up its uranium enrichment facility, said Symantec researcher Liam O'Murchu. That facility went online in 2007.

Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media

A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an "online persona management service" that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.

The project has been likened by web experts to China's attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet. Critics are likely to complain that it will allow the US military to create a false consensus in online conversations, crowd out unwelcome opinions and smother commentaries or reports that do not correspond with its own objectives.

... Persona management by the US military would face legal challenges if it were turned against citizens of the US, where a number of people engaged in sock puppetry have faced prosecution.

Last year a New York lawyer who impersonated a scholar was sentenced to jail after being convicted of "criminal impersonation" and identity theft.

Operation Earnest Voice

U.S Air Force has big plans for “Earnest Voice"

... Page 11 of the presentation reflects the U.S Air Force has been provided with 30 Million Dollars in baseline funding and has it’s fingers crossed and hopes to gather congressional support and receive 136 Million Dollars per year.

U.S. Gas Price Spike: Blame the Long Road From Well to Pump

... A new analysis released by the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. government's energy statistics and analysis agency, suggests that "about two-thirds of the rise in gasoline prices since the start of the year" can be traced to a rise in the "crack spread," a measure of refinery profit margins. In comparison, only about 15 cents of the rise is due to worldwide increases in crude oil prices.

Ah. So for today's whipping, we present you those greedy refiners. Whip. . *crack*. Whip . . . *crack*. There, are you not entertained people?

Now are you going to do something to get off oil? Probably not.

There are plenty of items for the TODer to find entertaining in the article. My favorite:

Flynn, for one, sees a radically different outlook for gasoline buyers down the road. "From a long-term perspective, I am freaking totally excited. I think we're at the end of an era of high gasoline prices," he says.

The comment from Bruce Carter, hailing from Cypress, Texas, is my runner-up for favorite entertaining item:

One thing that would help - get the Idiot In Chief to lift the ban on drilling in the Gulf. Talk about overreaction to a set of bad circumstances! Now the American public is paying the price, at the gas pump. I also suspect paying for BP's fines at the gas pump. What - you think BP is going to pay the fine? Nope, they are going to pass it right along to consumers.

There is a low bar to jump over to be a science writer at National Geographic, IMHO.

How much are refiners prospering? Houston's Phillips 66, the largest U.S. independent refiner, reported earnings from refining up fivefold in the fourth quarter of 2012...

Hopefully the refined supply will catch up with the demand and prices can moderate.

Guess what's heading for Mars.


Close-Approach Data   ...sorted by Date/Time (TDB)
Date/Time (TDB) 
(days_HH:MM)       Body 	Nominal Distance (AU) 	Minimum Distance (AU)	

2014-Oct-19 21:00  Mars 	0.000702579321135921 	0

Yes, that's minimum possible closest approach to Mars ZERO. If it was heading to Earth that would be lights out time folks. As more measurements have been made over the last few days the risk of a Mars impact has actually increased although most likely is a close shave.

Is a Comet on a Collision Course with Mars?

Elenin said that since C/2013 A1 is a hyperbolic comet and moves in a retrograde orbit, its velocity with respect to the planet will be very high, approximately 56 km/s. “With the current estimate of the absolute magnitude of the nucleus M2 = 10.3, which might indicate the diameter up to 50 km, the energy of impact might reach the equivalent of staggering 2×10¹º megatons!”

An impact of this magnitude would leave a crater 500 km across and 2 km deep, Elenin said.

Although the comet is genuine I do have to wonder about the calculations attributed to "Leonid Elenin" (originally from http://spaceobs.org/en/tag/c2013-a1-siding-spring/ ). "Leonid" and "ELE"nin - but apparently he is real and even has a Wikipedia entry, Couldn't make that up. Or could you?


So the odds of an actual impact (would be really cool to watch), are probably at best one in tens of thousands.

But, this just illustrates, that even if we built an asteriod detection/deflection system, we still couldn't do anything about this sort of object. The warning time is too short, and by the time it reaches the inner solar system its pretty much too late. Maybe 90% of potential impacters will be short period near earth objects, but these sorts of objects with long orbits of thousands or even millions of years, finding them in time is a whole other kettle of fish.

Then, we know think there are more rogue planets (not around a star) than starts. If a rogue planet was heading for us, there is no way we could deflect it.

There is no mention of the location in the sky of Mars in October 2014. Would the possible impact be visible from Earth?

There is another comet, Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), on the way this year that might shine as brightly as the full moon. Comet ISON will light up the sky

This website is really interesting: https://energytradingdata.com

Got this interesting link from a French company that has invented a way to track real-time the oil exports from Saudi, Qatar and the UAE. It's been quite a while since any progress has been made into this field.

Also this bit of info:

"Saudi Arabia's production cuts have been enforced very effectively and established a floor to current global oil price. The Saudi are signalling that due to their internal budget needs, they want USD 100-110/bbl. With the current budget surpluses they are running, they effectively can lower even further production and will be probably be quite willing to do so."

Between China's growing demand and Saudi Arabia's ability to cut more, the people expecting cheap gasoline from the Bakken Bonanza are going to be sorely disappointed.

Yes that's probably right. Stuart has this new piece on his blog where he looks at all the evolution of the supply by country.


The point is that Saudi Arabia intervened twice this year, once upward in May-June climbing to 10.5 MMbbls/d and backward at the end of the year. So they really do control the price and they seem to like it above USD 100/bbl.

And they really seem to do the effort: "Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest oil producer, pumped 9 million barrels a day this month, the lowest level since May 2011. Output was down 100,000 barrels a day from January and 900,000 barrels from May, when production reached the highest level since at least January 1989."


They got also Energy Security Analysis Inc (ESAI) the oil database people - which by the way are using the energytradingdata.com plateform.

“The Saudis have done what they needed to do to eliminate a glut of crude in the market,” Emerson said. “Brent is safely above $100 a barrel so they can stop cutting back. They will probably increase production in the second quarter.”


And they really can afford their leadership, with a USD 220 billion budget this year it's like USD 65/bbl breakeven. They can reduce the volume to 6.8 MMbbls/d without any pain. That's an enormous 2.2 MMbbls/d control cushion, whilst Libya is perhaps +300kbbls/d and Iraq another +400kbbls/d. With the rest of the world in negative territory it would take a wopping climb to 1.5 MMbbls/d in the US or the resuming of Iranian exports to upset this balance.

if i had posted a comment here using the phrase, "tattooed convenience store layabouts", would i be flamed? well, "the curmudgeon of armageddon" used it in his CF post monday. the COA went on to bemoan the lack of infrastructure, specifically rail. i want to know exactly how many miles of track the COA laid last week. how many spikes did he hammer in? none, of course. the COA used to post how he flew into far off cities rented a car used an elevator to get to an air conditioned room in a big hotel where he gave lectures on the end of petroleum. i complain about my job also.the COA doesnt do that much these days. maybe he made enough money on the lecture circuit to lay about the old homestead. what world made by hand has the COA made? just saying.

asteroid mining will save us. oil will be found on mars. space ships will be built and bring back interplanetary juice from titan, a moon of saturn.i bet those space ships will be manned by "tattooed convenience store layabouts". the COA will not partake of the grand adventure. FART!

Spare us please. If you don't like it, don't read it. But don't bring your beef over here.

"asteroid mining will save us. oil will be found on mars. space ships will be built and bring back interplanetary juice from titan, a moon of saturn."

I'm looking for a /sarc tag and not finding it. To the extent that you really believe the above, you are delusional.

There was no /sarc tag because the guy is serious. There are actually people who believe such things. I once met a guy who believe migration to habitable planets orbiting other stars will solve our population problem. When I laughed at him he called me "narrow minded".

I believe in an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.

Ron P.

It took me a while to decipher this "comment."

Apparently, COA = Curmudgeon Of Armageddon = Jim Kunstler.

humbaba -

love your comments.

It is depressing to see that so many other commenters don't appreciate good writing, or humor.