Drumbeat: March 2, 2013

Pena Nieto Pushes Mexico’s Ruling Party to End Pemex Monopoly

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is poised this weekend to gain support from his party to end a 75-year-old state monopoly in the oil industry, marking a breakthrough for his growth plan.

The ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party will decide at its national assembly whether to drop its opposition to constitutional changes that would ease state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos’s grip on the oil industry. Pena Nieto, who hasn’t yet presented a bill proposing the changes, would still have to win the votes in Congress, where his party has a plurality in both houses.

Oil Falls to 2013 Low on China, Europe Manufacturing

West Texas Intermediate oil slipped to the lowest level this year as manufacturing expanded less than forecast in China and contracted in Europe, bolstering concern that fuel demand will decline.

Futures fell 1.5 percent after data showed China’s manufacturing growth slowed for a second month while factory output declined in the euro area and the U.K. The factory data helped the U.S. dollar strengthen against the British pound and the euro. A stronger dollar curbs the appeal of raw materials to investors.

U.S. May Swap Light Oil for Mexican Crude, Sieminski Says

The U.S. might consider exporting light, sweet crude to Mexico in a swap for heavy crude, Adam Sieminski, administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, said today at a conference in Houston.

Mexico produces mostly heavy crude while its refineries are set up to run light, sweet oil, Sieminski said. Many U.S. Gulf Coast refiners are configured to run heavy crude while the U.S. is boosting production of light, sweet oil.

Everything You Know About U.S. Oil And Gas Is Wrong

Are we really headed for Saudi America? Are the Extraction Analysts right that this is bigger than anything anyone has ever seen? Are the Peak-Oil-Pessimists right, that this is just a minor blip? Are the Quant-Pessimists right that demand for NGL cannot support the capital costs of extraction and bankruptcy for must extractors is imminent?

As I dig deeper it looks more and more like “everyone is wrong” or at least everyone has working assumptions that are more detailed analysis from someone else shows to be wrong.

'Peak Oil' Advocate: World 'Desperately Needs' New Energy

This is where we stand, and it's a fairly bleak view: "Peak oil" -- the concept that the globe's oil supplies are finite and will, perhaps sooner rather than later, run out entirely -- is almost here. Nothing new (with the possible but unlikely exception of Iraq) is coming online anytime soon. And while the clock is ticking, forward movement on developing renewable energy resources has been sadly inadequate. In the meantime, the idea that shale reservoirs will lead the US to energy independence will soon enough be recognized as unrealistic hype. There are no easy solutions, no viable quick fixes, and no magic fluids. Yet the future isn't all doom and gloom: Certain energy technologies do show promise. We had a chance to speak with well-known energy expert Dave Summers, where we cut through the media noise and take a realistic look at what our energy future holds.

U.S. Rig Count Declines by Four, Baker Hughes Says

The U.S. oil and gas rig count declined by four to 1,757 this week, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc.

Oil rigs increased by four to 1,333, data posted on Baker Hughes Inc.’s website show. The gas count lost eight to 420, the lowest level of 2013, the field-services company based in Houston said.

Shell's key gas plant in Norway suffers outage

OSLO (Reuters) - The Nyhamna natural gas plant on Norway's western coast, which processes gas from Royal Dutch Shell's giant Ormen Lange field, suffered an unexpected outage early on Saturday, gas system operator Gassco said.

Output at the plant, which produces primarily for export to Britain, is expected to be down by 32 million cubic metres on Saturday, Gassco said in a market message.

Crude-via-rail: Not a fleeting business

While companies such as Gibson are biting off small chunks of the pipeline business away from TransCanada Corp. and Enbridge Inc., others such as Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railway are taking increasingly large mouthfuls.

Japan to build LNG terminal for US shale gas imports: media

TOKYO: A local government in western Japan is planning to build a liquefied natural gas terminal to import shale gas from the United States and help reduce reliance on nuclear energy, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Saturday.

The government of Fukui Prefecture will work with the national government and seek cooperation from Kansai Electric Power Co, Hokuriku Electric Power Co and Osaka Gas Co on the project, the Nikkei reported without citing the source of its information.

Non-subsidised LPG cylinder rates slashed

NEW DELHI: The rates of non-subsidised LPG have been cut by Rs. 37.5 per cylinder.

Earlier, the government cut the subsidy outgo for petroleum products by more than 32 per cent from the revised estimate of Rs 96,879.87 crore for 2012-13. The revised estimate is almost 122 per cent higher than the budgeted estimate of Rs 43,580 crore.

UPA has put heavy economic burden on people, says BJP

New Delhi (IANS) Accusing the UPA government of putting the common man under unprecedented economic burden and and failing to tackle price rise, the BJP Saturday demanded a rollback of hike in prices of petroleum products and steps to bring down fertilizer prices.

It warned of a nation-wide agitation if its demands were not met.

Indian Shipping Company Stops Carrying Iranian Oil

India’s Mercator Lines shipping company has announced it will no longer transport Iranian oil.

Mercator’s tanker -- the "Omvati Prem" -- was the only ship with local emergency insurance available for charter by Indian refiners when sanctions from the United States and European Union were imposed on ships carrying Iranian crude oil.

Rebels fight for control of key Damascus suburb

(CNN) -- Fierce fighting between rebels and Syrian troops raged on the embattled capital's doorstep Saturday, opposition forces told CNN.

Free Syrian Army rebels traded gunfire for mortar rounds from President Bashar al Assad's troops along a critical fault line separating the suburb of Jawbar from Damascus itself, said Baraa, a spokesman for the local Revolutionary Military Council, who gave only his first name for safety reasons.

Cnooc Said to Cede Control of Nexen’s U.S. Gulf Assets

Cnooc Ltd., China’s largest offshore oil and natural gas producer, was barred from controlling Gulf of Mexico oilfields under U.S. terms for its $15.1 billion takeover of Nexen Inc., people familiar with the matter said.

State Dept: No major objections to Canada pipeline

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department on Friday raised no major objections to the Keystone XL oil pipeline and said other options to get the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries are worse for climate change.

The latest environmental review stops short of recommending approval of the project, but the review gives the Obama administration political cover if it chooses to endorse the pipeline in spite of opposition from many Democrats and environmental groups. State Department approval of the 1,700-mile pipeline is needed because it crosses a U.S. border.

Keystone Oil Pipeline Assessment Signals U.S. Approval

On at least one main point though -- that the $5.3 billion project won’t worsen the risks of global warming because Alberta’s oil sands would be developed anyway -- the analysis represents a clear win for the oil lobbyists and a loss for environmentalists who applauded Obama’s pledge to fight climate change in his second inaugural and State of the Union.

“The fact that they came out and said, ‘Eh, it doesn’t really effect the oil sands development,’ to me this is a prelude to approval,” said Sarah Emerson, president of Energy Security Analysis Inc. in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

I’m with the Tree Huggers

I’ve mocked the activists who whine about Obama’s “climate silence” while ignoring his climate actions— like unprecedented efficiency mandates that have slashed demand for dirty energy and unprecedented green investments that have launched a clean-energy revolution. But when it comes to Keystone, my analysis is that the activists are right. Fossil fuels are broiling the planet. The pipeline would turn up the heat. If Obama approves it, he’ll deserve all the abuse the activists hurl his way. There are many climate problems a President can’t solve, but Keystone isn’t one of them. It’s a choice between Big Oil and a more sustainable planet. The right answer isn’t always somewhere in the middle.

BP trial's first week offers glimpse of long fight

"This will be the most significant trial ever brought under environmental laws," said David Uhlmann, an University of Michigan environmental law professor and former chief of the Justice Department's Environmental Crimes Section. "The amount of money involved and the significance of the Gulf oil spill make this an unprecedented trial."

BP Wins Bid for Access to Transocean Oil-Spill Insurance

BP Plc won an appeals court ruling giving it access to $750 million in Transocean Ltd.’s insurance to pay costs from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans yesterday reversed a decision by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier barring BP from using the policies. Barbier had ruled that the drilling contract between the companies for the Macondo well precluded BP from seeking coverage under the Transocean policies for pollution-related liabilities.

"They're the Birthers of Fracking." A Conversation with Josh Fox.

I tried to get this across in my review. FrackNation doesn't debunk every question you've ever had about fracking. It introduces us to plenty of people who benefit from fracking, and exposes some fraudsters who claimed damage before being caught out. "I wouldn't blame a person for leasing if he's one mortgage payment away from foreclosure, and the lease can fix that," says Fox. "But these companies are exploitative. The government's not helping by providing a way out. These same people could lease their land for solar, we're one line change away in the solar power laws, to allow this. Instead, they're turning PA into Nigeria as we speak."

Collective exposure dose still remains high at Fukushima Daiichi

The annualized radiation exposure of workers at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex since last March was four times higher than before the triple meltdowns occurred, figures provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co. showed Saturday.

France mulls diesel car scrappage bonus - paper

(Reuters) - France is considering creating a car scrappage scheme for owners of older diesel vehicles as the country reviews a pro-diesel policy criticised as costly and contributing to health risks.

Diesel accounts for 80 percent of road fuel consumption in France, supported by lower fuel taxes compared to gasoline. Like in other European countries, diesel has been favoured on the basis that it offers greater fuel efficiency.

But this predominant role has been questioned after the World Health Organisation said last year that diesel fumes can cause cancer.

The Part of Amtrak That People Use Makes Money—The Rest Doesn't

In the main part of the country where people actually ride intercity trains and where intercity trains form an important part of the transportation infrastructure, we have operating profits. In a decent national rail policy, those operating profits could finance infrastructure improvements in the northeast corridor where rail is important and useful. Everyone knows that the Acela is a joke version of high-speed rail by European or Asian standards, and there's a lot that could be done incrementally to improve that with upgraded rolling stock and targeted improvements to straighten tracks or improve tunnels and grade crossings. Instead we're stuck in a dynamic where all these trains are running in places where nobody rides them and the local voters and elected officials aren't supportive and Amtrak ends up sigmatized for its dependence on federal subsidies. But operating passenger rail where people want to ride intercity trains turns out to be perfectly viable without huge subsidies.

Study Suggests 'Moral Purity' May Overcome Right-Wing Resistance to Environmental Science

Could feelings of disgust be the key to saving the planet from global warming? Strange as it might seem, the answer may be yes.

Concern over environmental harm is disproportionately a liberal phenomena, but concern over violating the purity and sanctity of nature cuts across ideological lines. What's more, it's not an abstract concern. Violations of morality of the purity/sanctity kind are linked to a visceral disgust.

Ocean acidification affects northeastern US coasts more: study

Coastal regions around the United States respond differently to ocean acidification, a large-scale study finds.

In the new study, scientists from 11 U.S. institutions measured levels of carbon dioxide and other forms of carbon in waters off the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. If the same amount of carbon dioxide entered both the Gulf of Maine and the Gulf of Mexico, it would have a greater effect on the Gulf of Maine's ecosystem, the scientists found.

Climate change dates back to dawn of first farmers

Deforestation by early farmers likely kicked off an era of man-made climate change long before our present era, suggests a climate scientist taking a hard look at agriculture's early effects.

Q and A: The Angry Economist

Dieter Helm has long been frustrated that, despite more than two decades of international negotiations, the world has failed to tackle climate change. So he got angry, he said, and decided to write a book about it: “The Carbon Crunch: How We’re Getting Climate Change Wrong — and How to Fix It.”

What do we collectively know about the geology of Mexico deepwater GOM?

Equal to, better, or poorer than US GOM?

Who's got good beta?

rudall - First, DW GOM production is not a new phenomenon despite the recent hype. The first DW field began producing over 30 years ago…Cognac in 1979 by Shell Oil. Fifteen years ago in 1997, there were 17 producing deepwater projects. Since then, industry has been rapidly advancing into deep water, and many of the anticipated fields have begun production. At the end of 2008, there were 141 producing projects in the deepwater GOM, up from 130 at the end of 2007. BTW President Obama has approved over 400 drilling permits in the GOM since the Macondo blowout.



Over 50,000 wells drilled in GOM,
7,000 active leases,
About 3600 structures
64% of leases are in Deep Water (>1000 ft).
Nearly 4,000 wells drilled in depths > 1000 ft
Gulf of Mexico (GOM) provides 97% of Federal OCS Production.

• 1937 - First Fixed Platform – 1 mile out: Pure Oil
• 1947 - The Kerr-McGee field produced >50 years
• 1966 – first subsea well, Sinclair’s Eugene Island 175
• 1979 – First deep water (>1000 ft) Shell’s Cognac Field
• 2003 – first well drilled in 10,000 ft of water Chevron)
• 2004 – first producing field at 7500ft of water depth – Shell
• 2009 – second highest year for oil production.

In 2001, U.S. deepwater offshore oil production surpassed shallow water offshore oil production for the first time. By 2009, 80% of offshore oil production and 45% of natural gas production occurred in water depths >1,000 ft, and industry had drilled nearly 4,000 wells to those depths.

From 1964 to 2009, 17.5 billion barrels of crude oil and condensate have been produced in federal offshore waters.I haven’t been able to find the brealout of DW production but the majority (at least 12 billion bbls) has come from the shallow shelf.


I have new graphs to present. It's about the Hubbert Curve, Hubbert Linearization and Export Land Model results of Africa, Algeria and Angola. The graphs have been made with an updated version of Sokath, which you can download for free from this website: http://sokath.sourceforge.net/

=== Africa ===

=== Algeria ===

=== Angola ===

So, despite some growth to come from Angola, declines elsewhere on the continent means it is at peak now.

Africa ain't the cavalry.

Good effort Com plex. Just because I'm curious, would you be able to post a linearization of Global production to date with the hubbert graph? It would be great to get an up to the minute graph. Cheers.

Below are the total net imports of all OECD nations except the producing nations of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, Norway UK and USA. Those nations are:

         	Finland	        Ireland	        Netherlands	Spain
Austria	        France	        Israel	        New Zealand	Sweden
Belgium	        Germany	        Italy	        Poland	        Switzerland
Chile	        Greece	        Japan	        Portugal	Turkey
Czech Republic	Hungary	        Korea, South	Slovakia	
Estonia	        Iceland	        Luxembourg	Slovenia	

Some of these nations, like Germany are small producers but they do not produce enough to skew the data.

Net Petroleum Imports in kb/d of all OECD except all major producing nations. The last data point is October 2012.
OECD Imports Less Producing Nations photo OECDimports-2_zps31a97a2b.jpg

Imports, 12 month average, peaked in February 2006 at 20,832 at kb/d. The 12 month average in October stood at 18,450 kb/d. That is a drop in the yearly average of 2.38 mb/d or 11.4 percent.

All data is from EIA International Energy Statistics

Ron P.

Wonder how much of this consumption reduction is due to the collapsed economies of Spain, Greece, Ireland, ... versus reduction caused by higher gasoline and diesel prices in the yet to collapse countries.

According to Jon Callaghan's Energy Export Databrowser, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, and a few smaller countries experienced Peak Imports in 1999 or 2000, and their imports have been steadily falling since then.

Japan, Germany, France, and Italy are the biggest economies in the group that Ron selected. After that the sequence goes Spain, South Korea, the Netherlands, Turkey, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Poland, Austria, Greece, Finland, Chile, Israel, Ireland, Czech Republic, small countries.

Spain, Greece, Ireland and Chile had rising trends in imports abruptly reverse in 2008. Portugal experienced Peak Imports in 2002.

South Korea's and Poland's oil consumption are still growing, but less steeply since 2008, and the Netherlands's was growing and is approximately flat since 2008. Belgium's consumption has been approximately flat since 2003. Finland's has been approximately flat since 1987.

Turkey's oil consumption is growing very slowly, Austria's, Sweden's, Switzerland's, and the Czech Republic's are shrinking slowly, and the other economies are negligible.

Overall, the biggest effect is from declines that started about the year 2000, but the GFC unquestionably had an effect.


Was your intent to include only the countries which are currently net importers of oil?

If so, why did you not include Australia, the UK, and the U.S.?

Ron clearly states:

... except the producing nations ...

So he's not talking about net importers, he's talking about non-producers.

Yes, the reason for excluding producing nations is because some nations, like the US, are currently increasing production and some are decreasing production. This skews the net import data. What I wanted to show was the actual decline in imports due to higher prices and demand destruction. This can only be done if you exclude producing nations from the data.

The EIA's export data only goes through 2010 so if we want the last two years data we must look at imports instead. But the EIA, in their net import data, subtracts exports from imports so their net imports are a negative number. However the EIA does give the total imports, with exporting nations showing a negative number.

Total Net Imports of all OECD countries in kb/d with the last data point October 2012.
OECD Net Imports photo OECDNetImports_zpsa1d8f6a5.jpg

Note: The EIA at their International Energy Statistics Net Exports labels the data above "World" but it is really only OECD countries.

Ron P.

Demand destruction? Or Chinidia demand distraction.

You pose a good question ANewLand. Clarifying, is this due to reduced economic activity to support importation at these higher prices, a changing blend of fuel sources, less oil available for exportation, a combination or all of the above?

Thank you for the interesting graphs.

I wonder what a these graphs would look like with the same countries' annual GDP and employment data plotted. Vehicle-Miles Traveled also.

Here is a line graph showing normalized liquids consumption (2002 = 100%) for the US, as the leading example of a net oil importing developed country, for the (2005) top 33 net exporters and for China & India, versus annual Brent crude oil prices (red bar chart):


Your chart shows the US is at 95 percent of 2002 consumption but at about 88 to 89 percent of 2005 consumption. This is just about what the rest of all OECD nations have declined since peak consumption in 2006.

The fact that oil consumption in all the Western World has declined by about 11 percent or over in the last six or seven years should tell the world something about declining world oil exports. But they all seem to be so fixated on the US tight oil boom that they completely overlook what is really happening to world oil production, consumption and net exports.

Ron P.

Some "interesting" comments on the Money.CNN.com website regarding the following news item, linked in yesterday's Drumbeat:

America has an energy boom. Now what?

We should not be exporting any of our natural resources, they belong to the people of this country and should remain as such. Pull our oil (out) of the global markets.

Stop exporting our oil.

Nationalize energy. If there is anything that is a matter of national security, it is energy. Why should a company profit by sending OUR resources to other countries?

Of course, if net oil exporters followed these recommendations, US refineries would have to cut their refined product output by about 50%.

Doesn't look like that last one appreciates that an export of goods also means an import of money.. but I know, I tend to complicate things like this.

What if all other countries took that same attitude. But not to worry, US becoming a net oil exporter is something that is only a silly pipe dream of the clueless. US net imports are still averaging over 7 million barrels per day so we have a ways to go before we can become a net exporter.

Ron P.

There's a thread about how petroleum products are now our #1 export. It depends on how one slices and dices US exports, but I made a comment that much of that 'product' is derived from imported oil. Seems to have disappeared. No big deal; I consider most of those comment sections as noise and a place for the deluded to vent. Some of us try to inject a little reallity, but usually get shouted or voted down. There's often a mob mentality over there.

The mental density of some people is astonishing. Net means net! Net imports means imports minus exports. That comes out to be about 7 million barrels per day on the import side. Petroleum products cannot possibly be our #1 export when imports outweigh them by 7 million barrels per day.

Ron P.

This is developing all the signs of a classic economic bubble, such as the South Sea Bubble. Press coverage is becoming totally detached from reality, which is a sure sign of a bubble. As we all know, in a bubble the boom inevitably end up in a bust. Watch for it coming to financial markets near you.





But where is the bubble this time? Oil prices? US drilling? Stock market?

The bubble this time is in oil production rates - people are assuming US production rates will go up indefinitely on an exponential curve. That never happens. Depletion catches up eventually and what appears to be an exponential curve turns out to be the first part of a bell-shaped curve.

Got it. Thanks. Of course you can always simply drill still more....but for that to make any sense requires a higher forcing price of oil.

You can always drill more wells, but eventually you run out of "sweet spots" in the formation to drill them, and after that the production per new well declines. At some point each well produces less value in oil than it cost to drill the well. At that point, companies are losing money on each well, so they stop drilling new wells, and the bubble bursts.

Production rates decline from that point, and given the very high initial decline rates of shale oil wells, the field production decline will be very rapid. This is the bust that always follows the boom in the oil business, and I don't think the promoters of the American energy boom idea have anticipated it at all.

There are several other "black swans" they haven't anticipated, either, including sudden, steep declines in Gulf of Mexico production,shutdown of the Trans Alaska Pipeline due to low flow, and completion of pipelines to Canada's west coast causing redirection of a million or so barrels per day of oil sands production to Asia instead of the US. Combine two or three of these possibilities with production downturns in Saudi Arabia and Russia, and the US oil bubble would burst with a very loud "BANG!"

The thing about black swans is that people never expect them, although their probability is higher than people realize.

Most booms and busts are market driven -- a production driven bust will be interesting to watch.

The eventual and inevitable field depletions are not arguable -- that's just physics. However, I think for shale that's a ways off IF prices stay high. There are an awful lot of shale areas left, though some are lower quality. If prices continue to go up those will bet pulled into production, too.

But the inevitable point is that EROEI gets lower, and as you say each produces less value. So prices MUST go up, else production WILL go down. Unless some major new tech comes along, which will give you a step up "for free", and then you go back and run the same routine over again.

Hi RockyMtnGuy,

First, I agree with your analysis, especially if oil prices do not rise sufficiently to counteract the eventual decline in output per well. Even if oil prices do rise sufficiently for these less productive wells to remain profitable, it is likely that the higher oil prices would lead to lower GDP unless those higher oil prices lead to higher investment in alternative energy and transportation.

Your notion of "bubble" is a bit different from the way I think about it. You seem to view a bubble in terms of economic activity (quantity of output of oil for example), many people think of a bubble in terms of prices rising to levels that are unsustainable.

In the present case, do you think that oil prices have risen to levels that are not sustainable? In a bubble characterized by high prices (recent housing bubble and the stock market bubbles of 1920s and 1990s) when the bubble popped prices declined. In the scenario where tight oil becomes unprofitable due to a lack of "sweet spots" left to drill, I would imagine that output would decrease (due to lack of profits) and that oil prices would rise further assuming that there is no recession caused by the rise in oil prices.

You might be assuming that oil prices do rise and that the market begins to respond with efficiency improvements and substitution as alternatives become more cost competitive. If your thought process went this far (I may not have read between the lines correctly), this would put a limit on the rise in oil prices even without assuming a decrease in GDP and oil output would decline due to a lack of demand at high prices.

I think of it as some limiting real oil price, lets call it $300/barrel (just a wild guess). There is likely to be some maximum world flow rate of C+C at that price (I will guess 78+/-1 million barrels per day), any attempt to produce more than that level would only be accomplished by new wells being drilled that would be too expensive to yield a profit for the oil company. If we assume that oil companies continue to be motivated by profits, very few of these new unprofitable wells will be drilled, and output will not rise further and will likely decline rapidly due to the nature of tight oil wells (about 50 % less output in year 2 than in year 1).


Hi dcoyne,

I am thinking of a bubble in more general terms than a pricing bubble:
Definition of 'Bubble'

1. An economic cycle characterized by rapid expansion followed by a contraction.

2. A surge in equity prices, often more than warranted by the fundamentals and usually in a particular sector, followed by a drastic drop in prices as a massive selloff occurs.

3. A theory that security prices rise above their true value and will continue to do so until prices go into freefall and the bubble bursts.

In sense 1 it is an unrealistic expansion of economic activity extrapolated into the future by speculators who believe it can go on forever, examples being the British Railway Mania of the mid-1800s and the DotCom bubble of the late 1900s. In this case the expansion will only go on until they run out of "sweet spots" to drill in these "shale oil" formations, just as the Railway Mainia came to an end when investors realized they had run out of good places to build railways and the companies were losing money building more.

I don't think there is any actual upper limit to the price of oil. The market price, as always, will be the price at which supply and demand are equal, no matter what that price is. At high prices, the poorer buyers just can't buy, but there are always rich people for whom the price is not a problem.

No matter what the price is, there will be someone willing to buy at that price - e.g. the US military seems to think that $400/gallon is a reasonable price to pay for "green" biodiesel, so they presumably would be willing to pay 42x400 = $16,800 for a barrel of crude oil. If there is a serious supply shortage, everyone else will be priced out of the market and the buyers would be limited to the military and anyone else who could afford $16,800/barrel oil.

The only constraint is the marginal cost of supply, and beyond a certain point (e.g. $1000/bbl) you could turn just about anything into oil, but that just limits the price to hundreds of dollars, with no particular constraint on how many hundreds of dollars.

"Petroleum products" means refined products, like gasoline, diesel, et al., excluding crude oil. This shows up clearly in tables like this:


It is a bit of word play that means nothing, but the "Saudi America" folks think it's somehow means we're a net exporter of petroleum. Yes, we do export slightly more gasoline, etc. than we import.

But hey, we do export 44 thousand barrels of crude a day. :-)

Oh, wait, we still import well over 7 million barrels/day of crude. Oh well.

I spend a fair amount of time on CNN and CNN Money trying to inject some reality into the conversations about fossil fuels. There are a few others doing the same thing. I just keep repeating the numbers and avoiding the ad homs if I can. Some people will never be convinced. Now climate change, that causes the real emotion. I avoid those conversations. I am not as knowledgeable in that area anyway.

U.S. Americans to the World: All your oil are belong to us!

Nationalize energy. If there is anything that is a matter of national security, it is energy. Why should a company profit by sending OUR resources to other countries?

Hahahaha! Absolutely hilarious! Do as I say and not as I do! 'The Free Market' be damned, eh? So on that note, if the shoe happens to be on the other foot why should any other country anywhere in the world not nationalize all their critical natural resources and flip the US the bird?!

I guess it seems that some in the US are planning to be in the 'Democracy Export Business' for a long time to come. Ironically the continued success of that particular business model seems especially susceptible to the high price of oil on the global market... >:-(

Propel, Propel, Propel your craft
Placidly down the liquid solution
Ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically,
Existence 'The American Dream' is but an illusion.

Your quote said to nationalize energy, not to restrict its export. But I agree that we ignore the global nature of our economy at our peril. I would not necessarily have a problem with prohibiting the export of oil if it would stop there. It would stop where all nations have been impoverished by their abject mercantilism and we have lost access to key resources to run our economy.

I do think, however, that it would be prudent to reduce our oil consumption to the point at which it would be theoretically possible to forgo oil imports. This would be a partial substitute for the billions of dollars we spend perpetuating our empire.

    Oil's peak will not prevent
    that pesky carbon gas
    from trending ever upward.
    We'll cook our geese en masse.

Actually, tipping the global system into a state of energy/resource nationalism via contagious protectionist policies might be one of the better trigger points for AGW strategy, since it would tend to drive up prices and since it at least tacitly acknowledges that there is a real future coming.

We've all seen the quotes below, but here they are again...


One of Hubbert’s famous presentations, delivered 52 years ago to an audience of his peers, was called “Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels.” At the time, he anticipated that nuclear energy would step in to substitute for future declining petroleum production. Later, he saw too many problems with nuclear and started promoting solar energy instead.

‘Were we a rational society, a virtue of which we have rarely been accused, we would do so and so…’ Hubbert suggested. He believed we should husband our dwindling supplies of oil and gas—supplemented by imports as long as they are available—and institute a program comparable to that in the nuclear industry of the 1940s, 50s and 60s, for the conversion to solar energy. He understood that time was a precious and fleeting resource: We still have great flexibility but our maneuverability will diminish with time.”

The biggest source of energy on this earth, now or ever, is solar. I used to think it was so diffuse as to be impractical. But I’ve changed my mind. It’s not impractical…This technology exists right now. So if we just convert the technology and research and facilities of the oil and gas industries, the chemical industry and the electrical power industry—we could do it tomorrow. All we’ve got to do is throw our weight into it.

All we've got to do is--" Yep. That's all.

That in mind, Big puzzle in my head. How to make any sense from the following:

TOD has lots of smarts, every which way.
So everybody here knows that if we keep going where we are going, we will get there-dead.
The way to get to a better place is solar
we know we can do it
So? We talk endlessly about how much we pay for carbon and where and how to get more of it.
And, every now and then, as a sort of afterthought we toss up a few words about solar.

Throwin' weight alright- the wrong way.

Consoling thought- There's always those other guys, the ones who just go ahead and do it.


Jim Rogers once said that no one has ever won a trade war. If we manage to make the world protectionistic about their energy resources, there is a chance we can keep some of the carbon atoms in the ground...

So 8 years after peak non producing OECD oil, no zombie hordes, no massif die off, no appocalypse worth mentioning. BORING. Hopefully global peak oil will be a bit more exciting, fingers crossed aye.

Smeagle: I *like* boring. Boring is *good*.

But if you want excitement, consider these data:

Item: the UN expects Africa's population to double between 2010 and 2050.

Item: Richer countries from Sweden to Saudia Arabia to India(!) to China to South Korea are buying or leasing large amounts of land in Africa. In Sierra Leone, effectively 100% of land has been leased, in Ghana it's over 80%. The land rush is accelerating. The foreign firms are not expected to employ many Africans or supply to the local market.

Item: Food prices in Africa are expected to average over 10% increase per year through to 2020. GDP (and therefore income) is expected to grow at 6% per year (optimistically). In other words, in Africa, where people spend the bulk of their income on food, incomes are falling behind food prices.

Item: the list of worst-governed countries in the world is basically a list of countries in Africa, with a few Asian "-istan"s thrown in.

What are the odds of a good outcome here?


When I read about the leases I always think of the old 60s film....Zulu. Substitute automatic weapons and hummers for shields and spears, the leases are probably about as solid as the paper they are written on if times get more hungry than they are now.


More like black hawk down then?

Zulu was a great movie. I especially like the clash of worldviews. Just when the beleaguered protagonists are out of ammo and their doom seems imminent, the Zulus, decided that their opponents had fought honorably, and left.

Luckily I don't live in Africa, no offense.
If you could summarise the convergence of 'stressors' including population grow, pollution, climate change, sea level rise, peak oil, peak energy, peak resoources/resource scaricity, topsoil loss, fertility loss, erosion, salination of arable land, resistant weeds, species loss, biodiversity loss, freshwater loss, aquifer depletion, freshwater pollution, debt levels, QE, money printing, highly integrated long distance supply chains, Tainter's theory of collapse, diminishing returns, overfishing, desertification. Thats just some of the known's, let alone the unknown, unknown's.

Pleanty to look forward to, I hope it's not as boring as peak non producing OECD oil.

Don't write Africa off. Ten of the twenty fastest-growing economies in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa.


As a South African, I see a country formerly wealthy, now deeply in debt with only the elites profiting, with nothing to sell that the world wants to buy except minerals and agricultural products, where owning a gun is regarded as essential by a large section of the population, and thank God I'm not an American ;-)

"no zombie hordes"

Just Zombie Banks, shadow inventory, a food-stamp and welfare nation...

The zombies are out there...we're just diverting the seed corn to keep them fed so that they don't eat our braaaaiiiiinnnnsss.

Sorry, still boring.

My 5,000 word and 24 graph analysis of global net oil export market, and why things are not quite what they seem to be:

The Export Capacity Index (ECI):
A New Metric For Predicting Future Supplies of Global Net Oil Exports

My basic premise is that the net oil importing OECD countries are maintaining something resembling “Business As Usual” only because of huge and almost totally overlooked rates of depletion in post-2005 Global and Available Cumulative Net Exports of oil.

I have frequently used the Titanic metaphor. The Titanic hit the iceberg at 11:40 P.M. on the evening of April 14, 1912. At midnight, only a handful of people on the ship knew that it would sink, but that did not mean that the ship was not sinking. The Titanic’s pumps helped, but they could not fully offset the flow of seawater into the ship. In my opinion, rising US crude oil production is to the ongoing decline in Global and Available Net Exports as the Titanic’s pumps were to the flood of incoming seawater, i.e., the Titanic’s pumps made an incremental difference, but not a material difference.

Jeff, thanks a million for posting that link. There was a lot I did not understand about some of the graphs you have been posting from time to time on TOD. But your presentation made it all crystal clear. Now I understand it fully. However now I am scared s**itless. It is a lot worse than I ever imagined.

Ron P.

Unless the best case scenarios by the shale players are right globally, I am concerned, for the reasons outlined below, that my projections may be something of a best case scenario, certainly no worse than a reasonable middle case.

Following is an excerpt of an email that I sent to senior EIA personnel, along with a link to the finished ECI paper (I gave them a draft in December):

The Six Country Case History showed a major inflection point in combined production, starting in 1995. My premise is that 1995 was to the Six Country Case History as 2005 was to GNE.

Note that an estimate of post-1995 CNE for the Six Country Case History, based on an extrapolation of the 1995 to 2001 rate of decline in the Six Country ECI ratio, was too optimistic, because the extrapolation, in effect, assumed a continuation of a slow (1%/year) production decline rate and a continuation of the rate of increase in consumption. In reality, the 2001 to 2007 rate of increase in consumption was about the same as 1995 to 2001, but the rate of decline in production increased to 4%/year from 2001 to 2007.

In the paper, I have shown some estimates for post-2005 Global and Available CNE (Cumulative Net Exports). Note that these are all predicated on an indefinite, but slow rate of increase in production by the (2005) top 33 net exports (the 0.3%/year rate of increase that we saw from 2005 to 2011), combined with an indefinite rate of increase in consumption (2.7%/year). If we extrapolate these rates of change out to 2021, GNE would be down to 40 mbpd (million barrels per day) in 2021, versus 44 mbpd in 2011 (and versus 46 mbpd in 2005).

If the rate of change in Top 33 production goes from +0.3%year that we saw from 2005 to 2011 to -0.6%/year from 2011 to 2021, and if the consumption rate of change drops from +2.7%/year to +1.7%/year, the GNE rate of change would accelerate from -0.8%/year (2005 to 2011) to -2.0%/year (2011 to 2021), and GNE in 2021 would fall to 36 mbpd.

And then we have the Chindia factor. Note that the ratio of GNE to Chindia’s Net Imports (CNI) is analogous to the ECI Ratio.

At the 2005 to 2011 rate of increase in Chindia’s net imports (8.1%year, BP), their combined net imports would be up to about 18 mbpd in 2021, versus 8.3 mbpd in 2011. Assuming GNE of 36 mbpd in 2021, and CNI of 18 mbpd in 2021, ANE would be down to 18 mbpd in 2021 (a GNE/CNI ratio of 2.0), versus 35 mbpd in 2011 (a GNE/CNI ratio of 5.3).

Note that US net oil imports increased at 12%year from 1949 to 1977 (EIA). So, the 2005 to 2011 rate of increase in Chindia's Net Imports was only about two-thirds of what the US showed for the 28 year period from 1949 to 1977.

In any case, a GNE/CNI ratio of 2.0 in 2021 would be a 2011 to 2021 GNE/CNI decline rate of 9.7%/year, versus the 8.6%/year GNE/CNI decline rate that we saw from 2005 to 2011, but as noted above, an increase in ECI type decline rates seems to be the more likely scenario, since the 8.6%/year decline rate assumes a perpetual increase in Top 33 production (not a scenario that it well supported by historical data). Note that a 8.6%/year rate of decline in the GNE/CNI ratio would put the ratio at 2.2 in 2021.

My bet is that the GNE/CNI ratio will probably be between 2.0 and 2.5 in 2021, versus 5.3 in 2011.

GNE = Global Net Exports = Top 33 net exporters in 2005, BP + EIA data, total petroleum liquids
ANE = Available Net Exports = GNE less Chindia's (China + India's) Net Imports (CNI)
ECI = Ratio of total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption
CNE = Cumulative Net Exports, after a given index year

So you predict Chindia will be importing 18mbpd in 2021? If you are right, then regardless of the price an economy can sustain, the actual price will be through the roof, the rest of the world (ROTW)isn't gonna be happy with just 18mbpd. I could possibly cut my consumption by up to 20% before it effects my business, and I could handle fuel going from 5% up to 10% of revenues, but having to cut back by 50% and having the price of fuel take a greater share of revenues would really have an impact on my farming business. Luckily I don't have to pay for food.

Line chart showing normalized liquids consumption for China, India, (2005) Top 33 net exporters and US from 2002 to 2011, versus annual Brent crude oil prices:

I suspect that some version of the above consumption trends are likely to continue out to at least 2021 or so.


The GNE/CNI ratio has already fallen by half, down from 11.0 in 2002 to 5.3 in 2011, and the rate of decline in the ratio has accelerated in recent years. The 2005 ratio was 46/5.1 (8.9) and the 2011 ratio was 44/8.3 (5.3).

As noted above, I suspect that the ratio will be down to between 2.0 and 2.5 in 2021. For example, GNE of 36 mbpd and CNI of 18 mbpd in 2021 would be a GNE/CNI ratio of 2.0, while GNE of 40 mbpd and CNI of 16 mbpd in 2021 would be a GNE/CNI ratio of 2.5.

If as you suspect the above trends continue, then the US is going to give roughly 4mbpd of imports to Chindia, and the ROTW's importers will give about 6mbpd. Sure it's possible, but how likely is it really? Isn't Chindia a bit reliant on a wasteful consumption based export market? Will they have the wealth to wrest the oil away from the west? The US will lose around 22% of its consumption which is plausable, but in particular non producing countries will be losing around 50% of consumption, and I don't see that happening with Chindia's oil consumption growing at trend. At a guess most non producing countries are pretty efficient at using oil, and can afford to pay a much higher price then some of the more wasteful producing importing countries, and even developing countries like Chindia. As I said I could still function BAU more or less with double the price of oil, margins would get a bit thinner, and I could cut back a bit, but oil prices would have be in the order of 5x higher before I would be cutting back consumption by 50%. At that price what happens to production? What happens to things like Shale oil? Coal to liquids etc? What happens to consumption in OPEC and other EC?

You could be right though, and Chindia will be happy to pay more then I can for half my oil. Or I may keep my oil, and all the idiots in town will have to cut back by more then half to allow me to keep my share.

As a side issue, during the opec embargo there was also High per inflation, with a similar situation of declining imports, and production. Is it just me or are people ignoring the response during that period as an indicator of the comming oil shock? Nobody seems to be saying 'we can expect this, because thats what happened last time.'

There are a lot of good ideas here, but I must say that it is hard to understand Figure 24. Perhaps you can change it for simple folk like myself.
-The red background has + as well as - symbols.
-Saudi is not in the title, but it is in the data.
-rather than -11%/yr., maybe you can say 9 years until exports = 0.
-add graphs rather than a table of numbers.

I probably should have put Saudi Arabia in the title. I guess my thinking was that Saudi Arabia was a subset of the global data.

As noted in the text and on the graph, the color codes refer to the years leading up to a major inflection point (or index year), versus the years after a major inflection point. For example, for GNE, from 2002 to 2005, the production and net export rates of change were respectively +4.7%/year and +5.2%/year. From 2005 to 2011, the production and net exports rates of change were respectively +0.3%/year and -0.8%/year. The simple percentage decline in the rate of increase in production was 94%.

Regarding the -11%/year number, this refers to estimated 2005 to 2011 rate of depletion in post-2005 Available CNE (the total cumulative post-2005 supply of global net exports oil available to importers other than China & India). Note that the simple percentage decline in Available CNE in 9 years, at a rate of change of -11%/year, would be 63%, with remaining estimated post-2005 Available CNE down to 37% after 9 years. (We are not declining by a fixed volume, which would be a linear decline. We are declining at 11%/year against a declining volume). And note that Figure 16 shows the actual key GNE and ANE volumes from 2002 to 2011, versus the 2002 to 2005 and 2005 to 2011 rates of change.

Thank you both; WT (and his cohorts) for a simple, empirical, and graphical representation of the situation, and Ron for a comment that prodded me to click through. I've seen WTs graphs and comments so many times I am prone to gloss over them, thinking I already all that, but the updated presentations and narrative put a new focus on the topic.

I am still not sure exports will (or even can) run completely into the ground globally, even with Chindia's consumption, but it is clear that SOMETHING has to give, and soon. Either Chindia crashes, exporters reduce internal consumption, or most importers quickly learn to do without. Seems to me that price is the natural tool to guide this, and it is likely no coincidence that the US and OECD are using less while producing more. If things change fast enough or far enough, price along may not arbitrate adequately, and politics may break down.

The nice thing is the years are all soon -- we'll have front-row seats to watch it play out.

Palecon surely all three responses to the squeeze so carefully described by westexas will occur all at once as this decade unfolds:

1. OCED getting by with less oil.
2. Chindia's rate of growth in oil consumption slowing
3. Producing nations rate of consumption growth slowing

So the really interesting question is at what costs, and to whom, when, and first?

1. suggests chances of economic growth in the OECD are very skinny
2. means the same but for the whole world, reliant as we have all become on the rise of these slumbering giants
3. revolution in Exportistan? And therefore more disruption to supply.

As you say- what a show! And there are always surprises. And the usual sources will not see much of it coming. Tough to be viewing it from deep inside Impotistan....

First a little clarification about the huge piles of BS offered by DC and their supportive minions in the MSM: “Cnooc Ltd., China’s largest offshore oil and natural gas producer, was barred from controlling Gulf of Mexico oilfields…In its purchase of Calgary-based Nexen, Cnooc acquired about 200 deep-water leases in the Gulf with reserves equivalent to about 205 million barrels of oil, one of the largest holdings in the Gulf…The state-owned Chinese oil explorer surrendered operating control of those assets to quell U.S. national security concerns…Cnooc will still own the assets and be allowed some general oversight, as well as to collect revenue from the properties,”

Absolutely nothing of changed with the development of those DW reserves with respect to the public or national security. Above all else folks should understand that not one bbl of oil produced from the fed leases can be exported from the country without the expressed written consent of the govt. The disposition of those reserves is no different whether Rockman owns them or the Chinese.

What the Chinese have agreed to do is give up “operatorship”. The article states: “ The word operator is an industry term to describe who has responsibility for decision-making on a project.” Another pile of misleading crap. I’ve been involved in hundreds of joint ventures when I’ve been the operator and hundreds more when I wasn’t the operator. And not once has the operator had absolute authority to make decisions. JV’s are run according to the JOA (Joint Operating Agreement). The JOA determines how decisions are made and it’s always by majority rule of the partnership. Those Nexen leases where owned by a group of companies with Nexen being the operator. The operator is responsible for getting the paper work done and selecting/monitoring drilling and production activities. Remember even when ExxonMobil is drilling a well in the DW GOM probably 98% of the personnel involved in the physical process are not employees but independent third party subcontractors.

There have been many times I’ve been out voted by the JV partners and forced, as the operator, to do X when I didn’t think X was the best choice. And I had to pay for my share of doing X. Cnooc will have the same level of control (and lack of) over the development of those leases whether they are the operator or not. And regardless: what is the down side of the Chinese govt owning and developing/producing those leases? The Chinese and their JV partners will spend $billions of their own capex with the feds receiving a huge chunk of the value of the production via royalty payments (or may actually take the oil in kind and put it into the SPR). Additionally every bbl of oil and cu ft of NG produced will be used by the American consumer.

IMHO just another grandstanding play by both the R’s and D’s to make the public think they are protecting their interest when, in reality, absolutely nothing has changed.

Yes Rockman, nothing has changed but the optics of the situation.

Most people don't understand these Joint Venture deals. What really happens is that a group of companies get together and develop a play to spread the risk among them. They each take a Working Interest (WI) percent and vote to appoint an operator. The partner with the largest WI is usually but not always elected the Operator for the project. The rules are governed by the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA), they are quite complex, and all the partners understand exactly what they mean. The non-operating partners watch the operating partner closely and will audit him regularly. The operating partner is responsible for day-to-day decision making, but majority rules as far as the big expenditures are concerned. If the operator screws up, the other partners can vote to take control away from him and hand it to someone else. Serious indiscretions result in lawsuits for Breach of Contract and heavy penalties.

In this case, CNOOC is going to surrender operating control to one of the other partners, or if there are no other partners a third-party contract partner. There's nothing to stop CNOOC from hiring Shell to operate a 100% CNOOC field and they might just do that. However, CNOOC still maintains the same control over all major expenditures, and the same field employees will do the work. They'll just wear a different logo on their ball caps. The ball caps look better from a US nationalistic standpoint, but none of the players has changed. They will still all come from Texas or Louisiana.

The deeper meaning I would garner is that CNOOC doesn't see a lot of future in the DW GOM and doesn't think it has much more to learn or more oil to find there. It likely will milk the US GOM properties for cash flow and redeploy the redundant ex-Nexen professional, technical, and management people to Asia and West Africa where they will work projects there - surrounded by hordes of CNOOC Chinese counterparts furiously scribbling notes. This deal is as much about acquiring DW drilling technology as it is about acquiring oil reserves.

The optics of this work out well from CNOOCs perspective too. It doesn't have to lay high-level employees off because its GOM activities are winding down, it can offer them a choice between going to Asia, going to West Africa, or quitting and going home. If they complain, it can blame it on the US government.

I followed this last week's comments and links on the supply problems of Walmart with a alot of interest. Thanks. It seems obvious that this is the sort of retail problem easily blamed on sequestration, but that didn't begin till last nite. It will interesting to watch how that falls out and is later reported. Any further comments or links appreciated.

Since most furloughed government employees have 30 days notice, their scheduled days off don't begin until April. That's after the continuing resolution currently funding the government runs out, so expect lots more theater in March.

For a fun read see DOCUMENT: OMB's report to Congress on sequestration which lays out in a mere 83 pages the amount sequestered from each line item. There are a number of lines that I think should be zeroed out, rather than clipped by 5% or 7.8%. Do we need to spend $750 million on International Broadcasting in the internet era?

Merrill - What may become very interesting theater after several months of those “severe” budget cutbacks and the pain it brings to govt employees and the public will be the publication of those expendatures the govt agencies chose not to cut back. For instance the hundreds of millions spent on govt conference such as flying a hundred govt employees, who all work in DC, to Hawaii to discuss policies. Or the $millions spent every year flying just Congresswoman Pelosi on govt jets back to her district. Last time I saw that number it was over $5 million for one year. How many govt employees could avoid losing that one day’s paycheck if she flew commercial?

Any half way competent reporter, with the help of the GOA, should be able to come up with hundreds of examples of apparently disingenuous choices in cutbacks.


Those cuts were supposed to be dumb - such that the congresscritters would come to a sane agreement. So pointing to the cuts being in dumb places doesn't actually say anything other than "weren't the repubs ****s for making these dumb cuts go ahead".

And if you really want to get towards a balanced budget, $71bn in tax-exempt status for religious organisations would matter much more than $5m in flights. And then there are the tax benefits for oil and gas...

Gary - As I understand the bill there is not a single dumb cut in it. Every decision on how a department implements its budget reduction (which as I understand it is just a reduction of the planned increase) will be made by a Democrat or someone working for a Democrat. IOW the State dept, for example has $X in its budget now. It decides whether it cuts employee hours and critical services or cut less essential expendatures. Which is exactly what all govt agencies have always done every year since the beginning of time: make priority judgments. As I said in time those choices will likely be made public thanks to the GOA. I suspect we’ll hear just as Ricky Ricardo often said to Lucy: “You got splainin’ to do”. LOL. And good to remember that these potential “cuts” were recommended and signed into law by the head democrat…President Obama.

But if you wish to spin it as some sort of Republican plot have at it. Essentially the govt is being forced to live with the same budget it had just a few years ago. I don’t recall many predicting the end of life as we know it back then. In fact, hasn’t our “economic recovery” touted by the administration been fueled by such budget levels?

My understanding is it's not just a slice off the top of the budgets, it's a slice off each individual budget. Therefore you can't veer and haul to pick where the axe will fall - each line item will have to slice something, and some of the them have less than no fat.

And the spin will be there to counter the spin you suggest the repubs will put on it - the blame can successfully be reflected back on the lot that wouldn't even close tax loopholes for the very rich, etc. Frankly, it's one the dems will win - the narrative of it being the dems choosing to inflict pain on joe sixpack doesn't stack up against the efforts to avoid the cuts that were made.

I think this was noted previously on TOD, but worth repeating:

'...scrape 5% less poop off the Chesapeake Bay navigation buoys.'


I find it interesting that, outside of the radio/TV political noise machines, the 'Sequester' seems to be greeted with a great big yawn. The Stock Market doesn't seem to care. Even the Federal Government Civilian employees I work with don't seem to be in that much of a huff...if the government doesn't watch out, it will find that many of its employees will take that 4-day workweek for 80% pay tradeoff after experiencing it for a while.

Yes...I know that it will take months for the effects to be felt...but what if the effects are not that big of a ballyhoo? What if they staged a 'Sequester disaster' and no one came to the party with torches and pitchforks?

What if this is what TPTB want?


Given the lack of urgency and negotiating, it’s hard not to conclude that -- deep down -- plenty of folks on both sides of the aisle are OK with having these cuts take place, at least in the short term. Yes, both sides are kicking and screaming publicly. And, yes, these cuts will impact people’s livelihoods. But if you’re a Republican who wants to cut spending, you’re getting your spending cuts. And if you’re a Democrat who either wants to reduce defense spending or ensure that all of the cuts aren’t targeted only at social programs, you’re getting your wish. This is perhaps the biggest reason why these cuts are going into effect: At the end of the day, they were better than the alternative (for Republicans, raising taxes and eliminating loopholes; for Democrats, having these spending cuts come exclusively from social spending).

And what a lot of people don't understand: The government has had quite a run of Continuing Resolutions in lieu of actual budgets passed by Congress:


Take note of the CRs starting in 2011...look at how many of those which include spending cuts, albeit minor ones. However, also understand that even if a CR extends spending at the past-years levels, this is in nominal, not inflation-adjusted/real terms.

If the government enacts CRs each year keeping the same nominal budget as the year prior, and if it does this for years and years on out...then government spending will fall in real terms.

Maybe there are some sharp people running the table so that the rank and file citizens won't understand what is going on wrt budget cutting. The Sequester, and possible future such actions, could be a deliberate amping up of the strategy. On a related note: How well does the government inflation numbers reflect actual cost of living increases for the rank and file? About as well as the U3 number tells the whole story of employment?

If the government enacts CRs each year keeping the same nominal budget as the year prior, and if it does this for years and years on out...then government spending will fall in real terms.

Quite a good point. One thing that a lot of people seem to be missing in the whole conversation is what "government" they're talking about, because in the United States people are so concentrated on the Federal government that they forget about the State and Local governments which have been feeling European levels of austerity for years now. Most of the States have "balanced budget" clauses in their constitutions - they're obligated to have a balanced budget from year to year and not take on massive debt like the federal government. Both state and local governments have been shedding jobs and cutting costs at a frenzied pace since the fiscal implosion of 2009. The Federal government tried to float them for a while through jobs acts, but the republicans insisted on "no new spending" wanting to make Obama a "one term president" so much of that fiscal support to the states dried up and the republicans, instead of realizing that their strategy failed, got stuck on screwing the nation.

I would personally like to see this go right through to the March 27th real deadline, have the government get shut down, people furloughed indefinitely, air transportation ground to a screeching halt...because maybe - just flippin' maybe it'll make people understand that government really does do something useful for them and it's not something to hate.

A fundamental problem is that we all welcome certain government spending and reject other government spending as wasteful depending upon our interests and what we think is necessary and important. But because we have a pluralistic politics, the politicians must spend money on everything to get a majority on anything. In other words, we have a politics of horse trading, not a rational process which carefully measure s benefits, costs, and the future sustainability and survival of our country and our planet.

I place a high value on environmental protection, safety nets, and massive stimulus of renewable energy. However, to get an insufficient amount of that I have to agree to an absurd level of military expenditures. I don't think that would change even if there was an ovewhelming Democratic majority. Yes, we spend too much. But we cannot agree on where we spend too much. So we spend too much.

Reps will blame Dems, Dems will blame Reps, and everybody else will blame them all. I do fully except the Dems to have a more coherent and supported position, as the Reps can't articulate a position without argument and stumbling.

I suspect except for contrivances few will even notice most cuts if they aren't an affected worker -- the cuts just aren't that big. Sure, budgets will be cut broadly though thinly, but what stops each group from rebalancing after the fact where it makes sense? Every other org adjusts to changes in revenue positions.

"Some of them have less than no fat" - maybe our definitions of fat differ, but I'd counter with "some of them have less than no value" too. The nineties were a good decade -- let's cut back to the 1995 level, and see again? And yes, I include the military in that statement.

Adjusted for inflation, and on the proviso that we have 1995 levels of tax as well....

I think the notion of furloughs is funny. They get 3 day weekends for less money. For my wife, and MANY others I've known, cutbacks mean you do the same work and get less money. Why not expect the full work-week and simply pay each person a few percent less? That's the normal way in the "real" non-gov't world.

At another job my wife did get time and money cut back, and we loved it. Way better than the other way -- in fact, she was soundly displeased when the opportunity to go back to 40 hours came back.

The fact that the first we heard of "cuts" was illegal immigrants being released from a prison instead of deported, and that BEFORE any sequestration, is all I needed to see to know the game that is afoot. This has been coming for months, and should have been no surprise to any gov't org. If they can't manage their budget and their workforce without major impacts on the public, those bureaucrats should take the blame.

For me it's simple -- gov't is WAY too big, and this is as good a way as any to cut it. Gonna pop some corn and sit back and enjoy the fireworks....

This seems to be an extension of the thinking that there is no other but continuous progress. Rather than coming to the conclusion that the work needs to continue, and it's currently too expensive to do it, that they should start decreasing everyone's salary (they have frozen it), decreasing what they pay for things, etc...they just lay people off. Raises exist, Lowerings do not - only firing.

It's a pretty damn bad way to cut it...with billions in tax breaks for oil companies, a military that's pushing $1 Trillion/year, corporate welfare left and right....cutting things like Meals on Wheels, Head Start, and programs for teachers is pretty flippin' lame, man.

I don't know about where your wife works, but any other furlough that I've heard of happening has, after it's ended, re-instated back pay such that the federal workers have wound up with a paid vacation. "Fixed cost" contractors breeze through because they're paid up-front and the "time and materials" contractors get screwed, but never the feds.

It doesn't really mean anything who recommended or signed the bill. Both parties agreed and both parties voted for it. They share the responsibility.


Vote by party Yea Nay NV Total
Democrats----- 95 95 3 193
Republicans----174 66 0 240
Total-------- 269 161 3 433


Vote by party Yea Nay NV Total
Democrats------45 6 0 51
Republicans---- 28 9 0 47
Independents --- 1 1 0 2
Total-------- 74 26 0 100


EDIT: Sorry for the poor alignment but the numbers are clear

If you surround whitespace-aligned text with <pre> stuff </pre> then the alignment will stay:

1 1234 12
2 5678 0007

(using underscores to show where the 5-spaces separations are)

using pre:

1     1234     12
2     5678     0007

Thanks, Flash

The proportion of the Federal Budget allocated to each activity represents the product of the collective wisdom and considered judgement of the legislative and executive branches, aided by the commentary and contributions of many public and private advocates and lobbyists. The balance of spending between activities is the best that can be achieved with our political system, the best in the world.

Therefore, anything other than a fixed percentage cut of each line item would change spending from this optimal balance.

To suggest that a fixed percentage haircut is a "dumb cut" implies that the existing balance is suboptimal, and it is a scurrilous slur upon the wisdom and character of past and present Congresses and Presidents.

To suggest that a fixed percentage haircut is a "dumb cut" implies that the existing balance is suboptimal, and it is a scurrilous slur upon the wisdom and character of past and present Congresses and Presidents.

You know, the sarcasm fair dripped off my monitor.

Just in case some folks think the sequester cuts means a smaller govt and federal budgets: the 2013 fed budget, including the sequester cuts, is larger than the 2012 budget. In fact, with the sequester cuts the fed budget increases almost $2 trillion in the next 8 years. IMHO the fear mongering over these cuts is just another example of how the politicians (both R & D) use misdirection to blind the public to the reality of the situation. The sequester cuts do not mean a smaller govt nor the end of deficit spending. It means only a slightly smaller increase in govt spending than had been planned and we still run deficits indefinitely. IOW it’s essential BAU for the federal govt.


And to make sure there wouldn’t be a way to minimize the negative effects: Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.) proposed passing a law that would give agencies more flexibility in how they decide to apportion the cuts, but the White House has said that would be unworkable given the reductions that must be taken. IOW let’s cut budgets for programs (with the left hand) that instill the most angst for the public so they don’t notice the expansion of govt (with the right hand).

So, in essence, Inhofe proposed a line item veto, which is unconstitutional. Maybe he could have gotten away with it. I don't know. But Inhofe knew what he was doing. He was trying to put the administration in a box where they would have to bear the political brunt of those who were not chosen to have their pet projects kept at maximum funding levels.

If congress refuses to set priorities, cuts must be made across the board. The OMB full sequester order including all cuts is here. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/legislative_rep...

The sequester cuts do not mean a smaller govt nor the end of deficit spending. It means only a slightly smaller increase in govt spending than had been planned and we still run deficits indefinitely

Now that's downright scary! What we're getting right now is an ideological war regarding how and what to cut vs. potential new revenue. Meanwhile the deficits are over a trillion a year, the debt is 16.6 trillion, yet even this small amount of money (85 billion) in relation to the budget is fought over tooth and nail, when in reality a massive reduction in outlays is needed.

Can't they read the writing on the wall, that they over-appropriated even in the best of times and now with the economy barely achieving minor growth and oil at a much higher price, it's time to scale down? Wake up DC!

Would you explain how cutting the budget is going to solve the minor growth issue and the price of oil? And then there is the issue that future generations will have to deal with our debt. Well, this problem has been going on for decades and now we are the future generation. And yet, I think we can indeed push this can down the road at least one more time.

I, for one, however, am happy that the Defense budget is part of these cuts. It appears that even Republicans can live with cuts in the Defense budget. I only wish they would cut it at least in half.

I think growth is only a problem for those who define all our economic problems in terms of growth. The growth mantra is for those who think or pretend to think that this is the way to distribute income to more people. What little growth we have had, however, has gone primarily to the rich and the very rich.

ts – I truly hate to take any of the shine off your glow. But digging through the details of the DOD (I won’t try to post all the links…plenty out there) the cuts aren’t affecting the programs you probably dislike the most. The DOD budget, as I read the numbers, has not been reduced by the sequester…just some sections of it. Other areas of the DOD budget increased double digits. I believe the 2013 DOD budget is still greater than the 2012 budget. And it’s scheduled to increase, despite the sequester, significantly into the future. It appears to me both the D’s and R’s picked line items to sequester that would upset the public the most. As someone posted the other day: how many citizens would raise hell if the hundreds of $millions in future cost to broadcast US radio stations in foreign countries. Or the $billions of other expendatures that the vast majority of Americans would cheer if they were cut. I’m sure the TODsters alone could post dozens of examples just from memory alone.

Rockman - In the DoD budget there are a number of lines for what appear to be housing for military personnel. It is unclear why this is needed as Afghanistan winds down and the military services are downsized. There are even bigger sums associated with National Guard construction. Note that these are different from lines for operations of these activities. The figures are post-sequester.

$1,208,000,000; 007-25-2085; Military Construction, Army National Guard

$  223,000,000; 007-25-3830; Military Construction, Air National Guard

$  287,000,000; 007-30-0720; Family Housing Construction, Army

$  320,000,000; 007-30-0730; Family Housing Construction, Navy and Marine Corps 

$  322,000,000; 007-30-0740; Family Housing Construction, Air Force

$  227,000,000; 007-30-4090; Homeowners Assistance Fund

[saw too many zeros]

I would never want to be accused of standing up for politicians but even these scallywags talk of deficit reduction. Not debt reduction.

Would you explain how cutting the budget is going to solve the minor growth issue and the price of oil?

It's hard to know which post you're responding to, but I certainly did not imply that scaling back govt. spending would solve growth or oil price issues. It's easier to know which person you are responding to if you paste in a specific part of a post.

Thank you Rockman for pointing out (multiple times) that the cuts are only cuts to the growth in spending, not from the baseline spending.

The major problem that we now have in the USA is that we have the two major political parties -Democrats and Republicans - that are controlling the country. It is (past) time to eliminate political parties in our election processes and the running of our Government(s). It is (past) time for those elected to the House and Senate to represent the people that elected them and not the (unelected) heads of the political parties.
It is time to limit elected persons to 1 term of office (4 years for House and 6 years for Senate; 1 6 year term for President and Vice President; 1 10 year term for (appointed) Supreme Court Justices. And anyone that would reach their 70 birthday before the completion of the term of office they wish to run for is ineligible to run (or be appointed) to that office. Limit of only 1 term of elected (or Supreme court) position for any person in the Federal Government.
Persons should be required to LIVE in the political subdivision that they wish to seek election from for a period of time 1 day longer than the term of office they seek to run for before they can become eligible to run for that office.
No one except registered voters in the district of the office being voted on can contribute directly or indirectly to the campaign of anyone running for Government office. No candidate can personally provide for their campaign more than an amount equal to that donated to their campaign by the registered voters of the election district for the office they are seeking.
Anyone legally qualified can sign up and meet the requirements to be put on the primary election ballot and the 5 top vote getter in the primary election will proceed to the General Election and the top vote getter in the General Election gets the job. Political Party affiliation (if any) identification on the ballots is PROHIBITED.

No "polls" can be taken 30 days before any election and no polling results may be presented in the media 30 days before any election. "Exit Polls" are strictly prohibited.

No voting results during any election many be released by the official vote counters until all voting places in the USA have closed. Persons releasing such information or publishing that information prior to all voting places having closed shall spend 5 years in Federal Prison.

The above will give significant increase in control of the Government of the USA back to the voting public!

Single term does not work. We have that down here and it means the politician can line his pockets, make whatever mess he likes, start major projects to carry their name leaving a trail of debt but, at the end of term, have no accountability. As for financing of campaigns, all donations go into a central fund, closed 1 year before the election, then divied out to all the candidates. But can you really see turkeys voting for Xmas?


It is time to limit elected persons to 1 term of office...

Several states have tried term limits. The bottom line has consistently been that it doesn't work, particularly for budgets. The evidence suggests that lobbyists, civil service, and permanent legislative staff become relatively more influential because the legislators become relatively less knowledgeable. Speaking from experience as a staffer at the state level, it's hard to find a polite way to tell a new member that their new budget proposal conflicts with several state laws, the state's constitution, and a half-dozen federal laws.

Term limits might work if we substantially simplified government first. Which is more than fine with me -- I've been an advocate of simplified government for decades, and my time on the legislative staff, dealing with members of both parties on a daily basis, simply reinforced that opinion.

"It is (past) time for those elected to the House and Senate to represent the people that elected them and not the (unelected) heads of the political parties."

That is mostly the fault of the voters. They don't like the Representative/ Senator the voters can put someone else in. And sometimes it happens. Several years ago Tom Foley was Speaker of the House. The voters in his district decided he was spending too much time and effort boosting the Left's agenda, and being less Left, they dumped his ass. Which is exactly what should happen.

Congresswoman Pelosi doesn't get Government flights back to her home state of California from DC. As Speaker of the House from 2008 to 2010 she did so as she was at that time fourth in line of succession to the Presidency. It was decided after 9/11 that since the House Speaker was in line of succession they would not fly to and from DC in civil aircraft for security reasons in the same way the President and vice-President don't fly commercial. Her predecessor, Speaker Hastert of Illinois was accorded the same treatment. However his flights back to Illinois could be achieved by a single flight in a smaller aircraft originally assigned to this purpose whereas the longer flight to California required at least one refuelling stop. Since this ate into the commuting time of a senior member of the US Congress it was decided to rotate a larger and more expensive to operate aircraft into the role since it could cover the distance in one hop.

Nojay - Thanks…details matter. So now the new speaker, who has a naochance of succeeding to the presidency, spends enough money by not flying commercial that would prevent hundreds of govt employees from being partially furloughed. Like I said: when the dust clears, if the MSM does their joba, there will be mucho examples of very poor priority decisions made with respect to the reduction in the planned increased budgets. Seldom have I felt my WAG’s would likely be proved correct. I suspect Bob Woodward may already looking at this angle for payback for his recent spanking from the White House.

From PolitiFact:

Congressman Boehner has chosen to fly on commercial airlines his entire career (at least for the majority of his journeys), including after he became Speaker of the House:



Speaking a someone who has worked in/with government for quire some time: Although all potential savings need to be identified and wrung out of the system as feasible, remember there is the age-old phenomenon of killing some ants while the elephants run wild.

The panic over 9/11 is dialling back a bit and Speaker Boehner chooses not to use the military-supplied flights on offer. I don't know what the situation is with Senator Leahy who as President of the Senate is fourth in line of succession; I believe that the same deal applies to him whether he has decided to take it or not.

Alot of talk on sequestration, not much on delivery of goods. Is this a real problem or not? Is Walmart unable to restock their shelves in a timely fashion, or they simply no longer want to carry the item? Are they trying to hold on to cash? On a trip yesterday to a regional shopping center and its Penny's, the store's offerings seemed bare. Calm before the restructure? Or before the swan dive. Compared to the same trip last year, a huge Kmart was gone.

Now that you brought it up, we just returned from our monthly trip to Walmart for staples and my wife's prescriptions. I finally got her to agree to my getting a new LED monitor, as this one is really old, an energy hog, and dying a slow death. I found three I liked in our price range. Alas, none in stock. The electronics dept was fairly barren, overall. On to autoparts for tractor oil. Shelves poorly stocked. Over to the grocery dept. Found this; snapped a picture with my wife's android:

 photo 6c8727b4-16c5-4bda-bdb8-f3dab8bef4e9_zps8a56881e.jpg

That's the yogurt/sour cream, etc. section. This wasn't the only set of shelves mostly bare. The woman in the deli said they are "restructuring their inventory", whatever that means. She said they are "streamlining according to the stores' locations", doing surveys to "determine the most efficient inventory for each location". They're just "rearranging things some". She was the deli/bakery manager.

Reminded me a bit of the shops I saw in Moscow, circa 1974. After some of the discussions we've been having here recently, it was a bit surreal. This is a regional supercenter, serving folks from three states, and at one time was reputed to have the highest sales of any Walmart in the country.

They did have a huge Easter section set up :-0

That's scary!

At least there was plenty of parking, which never used to be the case on a Sunday afternoon. My wife thinks it may, in part, be that folks started getting their tax refunds a couple of weeks ago and have already blown their wad. I don't think they spent their refunds on yogurt. They may just be doing a seasonal overhaul, keeping inventories low while they work. It just didn't feel that way. Staff was clearly cut to the bone and the main isles had pallets of things like saltines on special. Didn't know saltines had gotten so expensive. They don't let me out much these days ;-/

Strange times when Walmart becomes the poor man's economic barometer...

Holy Mackerel. Ghung, IMO that's like stocking levels prior to a major remodel. Doesn't make sense, especially with that store's history.

Our local Wallymart has been cutting their range of goods but filling the space with more of the same, front row only in many cases. This means that the herbs and spices has very little selection and about 20 peppers. Flour, lucky if you can find it but lots of mixes - front row only.


That is downright bizarre. Either Wal-Mart are a bunch of incompetent boobs, or they're having some kind of supply or cash flow problem.

The kid in electronics said that many of the items that are out of stock aren't at the warehouse either when they try to order them in. The three 19" monitor/TVs I was looking at are currently "out of stock online" which seems to confirm this. Two comparable items I viewed online that are availabe have a note that they will be shipped from a secondary vendor. Seems odd. Anyway, it's an indicator that this "inventory evaluation" isn't just at this store.

It could be that after the Christmas season and with tax refunds coming in, they're just clearing stuff out. They had a larger than usual number of clearance items, and Saturday they ran a sale in which items from certain departments marked at or below $10 were being sold for a dollar. Maybe Big Lots and the dollar stores are seriously cutting into Walmart's market share, but those stores don't really have much in their grocery depts.. The produce section in this store is large and usually very well stocked. Not so yesterday. They only had two kinds of onions where there are normally 5-6 or more. As I said, it could be seasonal.

Perhaps our discussions on TOD have me hyper-sensitive to this sort of thing, but again, it didn't feel that way.

You know, I could see that with electronics and other big ticket items. But yogurt and sour cream? That's not a tax refund splurge.

Dollar stores actually do carry a lot of groceries these days. All the more reason Wal-Mart can't afford to have empty shelves.

As I've pointed out before, Dollar stores are one of the biggest food retailers in the US. But their model is buy whatever lot is cheap, not provide a cross section, choice or a variety in the store. It would seem that Wal-Mart has to keep selection, or lose considerable market share.

Perhaps this just illustrates that Wal-Mart can no longer dictate prices it will pay. And that large lots, which were it's backbone, don't exist as much. The Dollar model, buy small groups of anything, just so long as it's cheap, may be ascending.

Seems only last summer, maybe it was, Wal-Mart dictated not only the price, but the size of melons it would accept to some pretty established melon growers-Hermiston Growers. All in a move which would upend the consumer historical pricing of melons, by the lb., to pricing by the unit.

From the article linked above '...World desperately needs more energy...'

How long must global temperatures remain relatively stable before someone brings this up as a front page story? The amount of money involved with those who espouse anthropogenic causes of climate change dwarfs the funding that has gone to those who raise questions when so many papers so this "may" happen, and that "might" occur. And those who pay the bills . . .

I thought that there has been increasing evidence of global warming, and I was under the impression that the organizations/people issuing information advocating skepticism of global warming were spending considerably more money to make their case than the people and organizations trying to make their case that global warming is happening.

To me, the understanding of 'Peak Oil' is much more straightforward than the understanding of what is going on with global warming. PO will happen even if the Earth is one big ball of oil, which it most certainly is not...

Yeah, Ulan, I found that paragraph somewhat confusing. Perhaps Dave will provide some clarification.

Yes indeed. I did not find the preceding paragraph particularly clear either:

''As long as journalists are advocates rather than reporters the true story will not emerge. The lack of journalistic challenge in the mainstream media to the deliberate deception employed in hiding the decline in temperature prediction accuracy with the tree rings which dropped just as temperatures were rising, thus invalidating the "hockey stick," was an early indication that media manipulation was going to be a critical factor in this debate''.

That entire response to that particular question seems mangled. I am going to guess the problem lies with the questioneer.

I suspect some nuances were lost in transcribing the interview. I went over to oilprice.com but found no link to the audio. The article was cross-posted to nakedcapitalism where Dave responds to a few comments and offers more insights. One comment from Mark P.:

In short, Summer is totally correct to say in his interview – whatever his reasoning and wherever he’s coming from – that the IPCC global-warming projections are politically-driven bunk to a greater or lesser extent.

Farther down, Dave offers this:

You know, I have posted the entire thought chain as I reviewed the temperature history of continental warming in the United States, on my blog. What I have not posted is the abuse that I received from the moment I first mentioned that the numbers did not match the hype.

Those, however, who revel in the climate change momentum of today need, however, to recognize that future generations rarely accept the wisdom of their fathers, recognition best comes to those that most successfully challenge it, and that the current climate reality is falsifying the predictions made only fifteen years ago.

Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/03/peak-oil-the-shale-boom-and-our-e...

Actually having read that nakedcapitalism piece and the comments section it is actually pretty clear where Dave Summers stands on AGW.

Yes: Dave is scarier than Ghung's emptying Walmart.

... the current climate reality is falsifying the predictions made only fifteen years ago.

I have an old friend who was senior in Shell research who takes the same line. Amazing.
Seems like a cultural artefact perhaps rather than confused personal psychology?

These signals were hard to get and collate and agree. But this example emerges slowly: Science November 30th 2012.

Greenland ice sheet lost 263 +/- 30 billion tons of ice per year for 2005 to 2010. Overall Antarctica lost about 81 billion tons/y in the same period. ...
Since 1992 the two ice sheets lost enough ice to raise sea level by about 0.6 millimeters per year on average out of the observed 3 millimeters per year.

PS I think Dave was educated in England about the same time as my old friend. Association of course cannot confirm causation. /;-)

The appearance of a leveling off in the global temperature trend has been interpreted as proving that there's no global warming by those who want to ignore the problem. After the rather warm year in 1998, the temperatures in the next few years were lower, which can appear as a plateau on a graph which begins with 1997. The fact that sea-ice extent at the end of the melt is exhibiting steep decline is usually ignored by those folks who are trying to spread anti-AGW propaganda. Other explanations for the plateau tend to be ignored as well, such as the massive increase in particulate emissions by both China and India, the resulting air pollution making it into the nightly news but not into the denialist presentations.

Perhaps Dave Summers has been hoodwinked by these efforts, as have many ordinary Americans over the past few years. Still, it would seem difficult for one living in Missouri to ignore the evidence from last summer's drought...

E. Swanson

The major reason that there is an apparent levelling off is that if a short period (a decade) is chosen the signal (climate) is dominated by noise (weather), so the data is more or less random. As the very nature of the least squares algorithm produces a line with zero gradient from random data the denialists get to go "Hurrr! Hurrr! Hurrr!" about the apparent levelling off while ignoring the fact that the correlation coefficient is close to zero.

The reason for flatter temps from 2000 to 2010 is probably not just noise, but the sunspot cycle. The mid 2000s were low for the cycle. We are now reaching another cyclical high. Check out some of James Hansen's work.

That recent paper out a few days ago (I did see it on drumbeat, so I won't go hunting for it), claims increased volcanism was the main culprit.

I saw a convincing paper last week that suggested 'The Little Ice Age' that kicked in around 1275 and was keenly felt in mediaeval Europe for some decades, was caused by volcanism. (Famine was followed by the Black Death if you need to know.)

NASA defines the term "Little Ice Age" as a cold period between AD 1550 and AD 1850.

You can blame Christopher Columbus for this one.

The European conquest of the Americas decimated the people living there, leaving large areas of cleared land untended. Trees that filled in this territory pulled billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, Stanford University geochemist Richard Nevle reported October 11 at the Geological Society of America annual meeting.


OK; it was a North Atlantic phenomenon according to the researchers and a first set of events primed for greater effects from further cooling events later on. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120130131509.htm
NASA seems a touch parochial? /;)

... samples of dead plant material with roots intact, collected from beneath receding margins of ice caps on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. They found a large cluster of "kill dates" between 1275 and 1300 A.D., indicating the plants had been frozen and engulfed by ice during a relatively sudden event.

The team saw a second spike in plant kill dates at about 1450 A.D., indicating the quick onset of a second major cooling event.

Abstract of original paper http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/pip/2011GL050168.shtml
Bit late on this thread, but for the record - from sciencedaily link - exonerates NASA somewhat:

A new international study may answer contentious questions about the onset and persistence of Earth's Little Ice Age, a period of widespread cooling that lasted for hundreds of years until the late 19th century.

And, from the paper's abstract:

Northern Hemisphere summer temperatures over the past 8000 years have been paced by the slow decrease in summer insolation resulting from the precession of the equinoxes. However, the causes of superposed century-scale cold summer anomalies, of which the Little Ice Age (LIA) is the most extreme, remain debated, largely because the natural forcings are either weak or, in the case of volcanism, short lived.

The whole "global warming stopped in 1998" stuff is nonsense. If you look at the graph, there is zero evidence for it:


I like to think of myself as pretty technically competent, I have an MS in engineering yet I find it impossible to understand on my own where the truth is in climate science. I was rather shocked to see a founder of this site come out clearly on the side of the deniers. So, once again, this afternoon I started at search of sites for some evidence that I could grasp. I started with Summers' comment about the hockey stick and the "trick" about the tree ring data being either bad science or worse.

The only thing I can conclude is that the majority of legitmate science is on the side of the global warming being a genuine threat but my choice is based on very un-scientific reasoning. First it appears that the preponderance of scientists in the field are on board and that the strongest denier writing is by people, like me, with technical backgrounds but not in climate science. Second there does seem to be a significant amount of funding by people with an agenda that I find ideological rather than objective, the Koch brothers and Chevron executives plus their surrogates such as the Heartland Foundation and the Cato Institute. Third when I read the writings of these deniers I find that their use of words has a mean-spirited tone that is, to me, not how objective analysts or reporters present evidence.

Summer's reference to the hockey stick data certainly appeared to me to be based on the arguments used by these sources so I am obliged to disagree with him.

I can't vouch for the analysis, but here is the graphic from the Slate.com article linked below:


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

jjhman, we have similar educational backgrounds and share the frustration of trying to untangle the climate science scene.

Part of the problem lies in the type of data bases used and the way those data are applied in the climate science. For instance, ancient tree rings are used as proxies for temperature, with a string of assumptions that may not be completely true or consistent. Temperature records of a hundred years ago are mingled with data from the most advanced probes of today. Even the locations of weather stations change in character over time, are not maintained consistently, or even get moved.

A different issue is human nature, particularly as found in a young science field like climate. Issues of who does peer review, what data sets are available to others, how statistics are applied, etc., get mixed in with the ego-driven atmosphere of academia, where disagreement is almost a contact sport. Read the posts and blogs of the pro and anti-AGW groups and it sounds like a back alley meet up between the NRA and Think Progress.

For these and other reasons I have tried to find senior scientists in closely related fields who are at arms-length to the process. One example is David Rutledge at Cal Tech. He has done a lot of work projecting ultimate energy extraction amounts for fossil fuels and compared them with the inputs of the forty or so IPCC model scenarios. Nearly all of the scenarios used greater amounts of fossil fuels than he projects are available; his own projection is for carbon dioxide to peak just below the 450 ppm level by 2067, a point at which he projects we will have used 90 percent of our fossil fuel resources.

My own tentative guess is that the relation of carbon dioxide and temperature is non-linear and probably influenced by factors we don't fully understand. At the same time I find the silence on the issue of peak oil within the climate science community as a whole to be very discouraging. Once peak oil enters the mainstream public forum, the issues of climate change will be pushed aside in a mad rush to find and use "every last drop." We shouldn't face an either-or choice, as we need to prepare adequately for both peak oil and whatever changes in climate occur in our own parts of the globe.

Right now the mainstream view is that we can continue business-as-usual by adopting electric vehicles, burning "clean" coal, and swapping carbon credits (our modern version of indulgences.) Everything is geared to sustaining the unsustainable, and it will end very badly, I fear.

Exceptionally well said..........

Right now the mainstream view is that we can continue business-as-usual by adopting electric vehicles, burning "clean" coal, and swapping carbon credits (our modern version of indulgences.) Everything is geared to sustaining the unsustainable, and it will end very badly, I fear.

That is why the most dangerous people on Earth are the promoters and apologists for and of the instruments of BAU.

DFT wrote

My own tentative guess is that the relation of carbon dioxide and temperature is non-linear and probably influenced by factors we don't fully understand.

Well, no need to be so tentative, the 'radiative forcing' part is not linear.

The relationship between carbon dioxide and radiative forcing is logarithmic, and thus increased concentrations have a progressively smaller warming effect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiative_forcing

But the basic bit of the physics (non-linear direct radiative forcing) is not the whole story.

Ample physical evidence shows that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the single most important climate-relevant greenhouse gas in Earth's atmosphere. This is because CO2, like ozone, N2O, CH4, and chlorofluorocarbons, does not condense and precipitate from the atmosphere at current climate temperatures, whereas water vapour can and does. Non-condensing greenhouse gases, which account for 25% of the total terrestrial greenhouse effect, thus serve to provide the stable temperature structure that sustains the current levels of atmospheric water vapour and clouds via feedback processes that account for the remaining 75% of the greenhouse effect. Without the radiative forcing supplied by CO2 and the other non-condensing greenhouse gases, the terrestrial greenhouse would collapse, plunging the global climate into an icebound Earth state.
Atmospheric CO2: principal control knob governing Earth's temperature; Lacis A.A. et al. Science. 2010 Oct 15;330 (6002):356-9.

We see the climate signal for change slowly emerging from the noise - the physics was done a good while ago. Reasonable reconstruction of climate history is more recent, but the last time atmospheric CO2 concentration was where it is now was about 5M years ago, well before the glacial oscillations of the last million years. Human out gassing truly does have some awesome potential for disturbing the carbon cycle over the next 100 to several thousand years. Out gassing happened before for geological reasons, and got results. Peak Oil looks tricky for us (shame really; some of us got used to industrial urban life), but messing with climate on a geological scale is something else!

The job of climate science (as they see it), is not to estimate the ultimate amount of carbon we will burn, but to estimate the effect of burning a given amount. Aside from above ground factors like will we get smart enough to leave it in the ground, I think estimating ultimate fossil fuel resources is still a mugs game. How far down to quality curve will be be willing/able to go? We are seeing this with oil, and gas, how much tight oil/gas will we produce. How about tar sands and similar. Will we be able to trap keragen deposits?

Similarly for coal. What we we come up with in ground gassification for low grade deposits too deep to mine. The uncertainties on the net amount available are quite large once you start thinking about speculative resources.

And what are the implications of fossil fuel bootstrapping for extraction.

The bootstrapping process is essentially using the extracted fuel as a source of energy to recover more. This stands the concept of EROEI on its head.
Think about the possibility of using shale oil to extract itself. Is this even thermodynamically possible?
If it is, no one would blink an eye about having some in situ process that would burn 100's of equivalent barrels of oil shale to produce one barrel to put on the market.
That is the brilliance of the marginal return:
-- an elephant is slaughtered to get the tusks and the rest disposed.
-- a house is burned so that the occupants can stay warm, etc.

The problem is that the 100's of barrels is essentially waste energy that gets exported as carbon emissions to the atmosphere, unless it is locally sequestered. But local sequestering will take energy by itself.

I'm not sure how you mean 'turns the EROEI concept on its head'... unless you're simply saying that it brings those extraction techniques down to and possibly well below 1:1, but to my eye doesn't really alter the EROEI concept at all.. just brings it towards it's expected conclusion.. that of the long-distance runner, starting to eat up muscle mass, once the body fat has been exhausted.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there are processes out there already leaning heavily on their feed corn and embedded energies, without necessarily noticing just how lossy these projects have become.

"processes out there already leaning heavily on their feed corn"

You kind of screwed up the analogy Joe Cool, the proper term is seed corn, not feed corn.

Not with Roundup Ready, you can't save and plant it. Feed it or lose it. :)

You're right (and wrong), I got a letter jumbled, and 'Eating the seed corn' isn't even really the right way to put it, but I have to think you and anyone here can get what I was pointing towards, the idea that the process of this bootstrapping means they are eating more of their potential sellable energy product, still clearly in line with the premise of EROEI, which is a decline in net (sellable) energy. No?

In fact, by such bootstrapping, they are simply redesignating some of the Feed AS Seed, and so holding onto it to reuse in creating the next crop, instead of having it on the shelves for sale. Not really a big difference in the final analysis.

It still helps point out the reasons to differentiate between EROEI and EROI, since, as we are reminded regularly by EROEI detractors, a final product might be financially viable even with a low or 'less than 1' EROEI, if the market value of the product isn't (currently) dependent upon the energy balance of producing it.

Boats can surely appear to float nicely when the tide is out and the seafloor is at a convenient depth, after all.

I was thinking in the back of my mind, about the GreenRiver Shale, which is supposed to be capable of being burned. Use that as a heat source to extract the kerogen, and you have a very high carbon (and dirty in other ways), way to utilize it.

I doubt it would go as high as a hundred to one, but I could imagine 2 to 1. The higher the ratio gets, in general the less economic one would expect the process to be, unless it can be made nearly automatic, such as contaminate a deposit with bacteria, which consumes 90plus percent, but leaves a few percent as easily extractable.

Yes, that's what I was thinking of.

Normal EROEI never goes below 1+delta:1, but a process whereby one cannibalizes the energy, it can go less than 1.

The bootstrapping process is essentially using the extracted fuel as a source of energy to recover more. This stands the concept of EROEI on its head.

If not standing it on its head, it at least backs it into a corner, showing its limits in a human world.

Burning any amount in situ to produce a small return would, by current human metrics, be a great idea because the work is done by stuff we don't care about. Just as coal may be mined someday by human slaves to support a smaller overclass. But the AGW consequences could be severe. This is the sort of "tragedy of the commons" issue which will increasingly come up as oil gets expensive. (Sequestration simply won't be attempted in a tougher future. It's a fig leaf, humans won't care when things get tough from year to year.)

If the process is cheap to the person who makes the decision it will be done.

I suppose the concept could be "Energy Return on Stuff We Don't Care About", and that could cover a lot of ground. I suppose "Immediate Cash Return on Destroying Stuff We Don't Care About" would cover more.

I have in the past suggested other metrics, like "Utility Return on Energy Otherwise Wasted Building Crap", noting that PV panels are not a bad fossil-carbon-extender in a world mass-producing salad shooters. However, the acronyms tend to be cumbersome.

EROEI has some useful lessons.... which most people are ignoring... but it won't be whole story.

I thought briefly a while back that desert solar electricity just might 'bootstrap'; being long-lived, more like bridges and Hoover dams, as Dave Rutledge put it. Not a chance it seems now. It seems more likely these days that maintaining much of the legacy systems already built is questionable, and as for economic growth in the 'advanced' countries, without it too many businesses implode. The 'Red Queen' scenario down on the Bakken as recently reported by Rune, seems more likely to be the way of the future?

I think one of the more succinct summaries I've read about "who to believe" regarding climate change came from an exchange over on Dr. Master's blog on Weather Underground a while back... to paraphrase the dialogue (was between an AGW "believer" and a "denier"):

denier: we don't even know if all alternate explanations for what we see as "warming" have been shown to not be responsible

believer: well of course we don't know if ALL explanation have been discounted - but scientists have looked at every known reason thought to have cause previous climate change (orbital changes, solar output, mountain building events, tectonics, meteorites, volcanoes etc.) and none are adequate to explain what we are currently observing

denier: do we even know if all alternate explanations are known ?

believer: it's possible that we do not - it's an "unknown unknowns" problem - it IS possible that this is due to something other than human produced greenhouse gases... trouble is those who deny that is is anthropogenic haven't really done much of any valid scientific study to identify other possible causes beyond those listed above - all of which have been summarily discounted as PRIMARY forcing mechanism(s). Find THE cause other than human activities and you'll be famous (Here's a head start - you're looking for something very, very strong - it will not be some subtle forcing resulting in the dramatic signatures we are now observing globally. And you'll have to show why it is not the greenhouse gases, something supported by available data.)

I think that is it in a nutshell - it is easy to get bogged down in the serious (and admittedly at times very unclear) details regarding AGW and then translate that into questioning the validity of the entire theory. It is difficult to see how, if this is something other than human induced change in climate, the mechanism by which it occurs has remained so difficult to identify even this late in the game, given the number of scientists and the amount of time dedicated to studying the "problem".

Another issue is that we don't get to do a double blind study on the planet. We don't get to run at least two scenarios with and without manmade carbon and see what happens. So, there will always be some uncertainty regardless of what science is done and what data is collected. But the "maybe we will get lucky" policy does not seem like a prudent course of action. One approach actually implied by statments from denier evangelists is that there cannot be global warming threatening the planet because God wouldn't allow it. And we know God wouldn't allow any harm to come to the inhabitants of his precious creation.

ts – “…because God wouldn't allow it.” Reminds me of my all time favorite scene from M.A.S.H. Radar asks a pilot who goes off the deep end and believes he’s God: Why doesn’t God answers all prayers. Answer: God does answer all prayers. But sometimes the answer is no.

A very tough answer for fundamentalists to accept.

LOL I'm gonna use that one!

"See my works, how fine they are. Now all that I have created, I have created for your benefit. Think upon this, and do not corrupt and destroy My world. For if you destroy it, there is no one to restore it after you."

Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:28


Cat – Excellent. Unfortunately I have my own sad personal p.s. to that conversation.

Denier: actually we see the reasonableness of your argument. But we still won’t change our approach to energy consumption. The economic benefits we today receive are more important to us then the ultimate negative impacts on future generations. We’ll even accept what negative environmental impacts affect us today.

Believer: But if we prove to the political leaders of the world that the situation is exactly as we describe it they will change govt policies.

Deniers: If a politician doesn’t hold the economic interest of today’s voters as a priority he’ll be replaced by one who will. We are very confident that as long as some ineffectual lip service is provided to the pubic it will ease their collective conscious enough to accept any effort to maintain BAU regardless of the long term consequences. End of discussion.

History has many examples of the righteous losing the battle. Of course, this possible dialogue is just a reflection of my dark view the US mentality. Considering in the last 25 years we’ve seen the US sacrifice $trillions (much to be paid by future generations) and many thousands of lives of the current generations to preserve oil interest in the Middle East, how much weight will the future lives of the yet born carry?

Unfortunately - I think you're exactly right in your hypothetical continuation of the believer vs. denier dialogue...

I don't really think we will do anything other than bear witness to what an increasingly de-stabilized climate has in store for us.

At this point we have backed ourselves so far into the corner - I don't think we honestly CAN do anything that would make a significant change to our trajectory. I actually do think there will eventually be a half-a$$ed mad scramble attempt (geo-engineering ?) to do something as the $$ billions turn into trillions in damages inflicted on us - but they will likely be far too little and far too late in the game...

My long view focus now - if there is still any information on the subject left to read for the future archaelogists to recover and decipher (if there is any future for the human species) - I want to be SURE that history was not effectively re-written. I want it to be known that there was a clear demarcation between those on the planet that recognized there was a problem, worked to study it, worked to get the word out, and worked to make real changes... and then those who will inevitably attempt to re-write this as yet another "nobody could have seen this coming" or "it wasn't settled science" bit of obfuscation - who actively tried to obstruct real research, dissemination of information, and prevent any real attempt at addressing the problem while the frogs began to boil in the pot.

I don't think he's presenting that as a hypothetical continuation but as it actually happens today. Rockman is exactly correct.

A – True. The only hypothetical part would be willingness for a sufficient number of deniers to admit it. Short of water boarding them I doubt many of the better known deniers would admit they see a certain level of validity to AGW. I don’t personally know one oil patch geologist that rejects the possibility. How could we having studied a geologic history that contains many well documented cases of global climate change that make current predictions look like a sunny walk in the park?

And let’s be brutally honest: I think some who claim fear for unborn generations from AGW are just as disingenuous as some of the deniers. Various disguised motives are behind members of both sides of the debate. And since each sides knows that some on the other side are not being completely honest they feel free to misrepresent.

It is an ideological war after all, isn’t it. LOL…kinda

While the science on global warming is clear, it should not even be necessary given the finite nature of all fossil fuels, not just oil. There continues to be a global race to find and use all fossil fuels as quickly as possible in order to "win" the race for the "prize" at the end of the rainbow. Given a possible brief respite from the impending oil peak, the cornies have declared victory as if the race is over and someone won the debate. It seems like it would be more reasonable to have a rather more future orientation, say at least a hundred years, along the lines of the Native Americans who took into account at least seven generations.

My first awareness of the "problem" was over 40 years ago. Nothing has really changed except the future I was worried about then is now here. I could not foresee the billions of dollars that would be spent on denial and a conscious well funded attempt to deny reality.

Vox Clamantis In Deserto

I like to think of myself as pretty technically competent, I have an MS in engineering

There's a rather unfortunate tendency for people who are experts in one technical field to assume that their expertise carries over into other, unrelated technical fields. It rarely does, and an all-too-common result is making basic errors that lead to disagreeing with the actual experts in that field, and then coming to the unreasonable conclusion that the "outsider" has seen something the experts have not. Kudos to you for not falling into this trap.

For myself, I apply a simple rule of thumb:
- Do I have a specific reason to believe that the experts in this field are any less honest, intelligent, knowledgeable, or hard-working than the experts in my own field, whose qualities I know?
- If not, then I assume the experts in the two fields are drawn from similar groups of people, and I figure they generally know what they're talking about in their field of expertise.

As a result, the most reasonable conclusion is that climate scientists are generally as honest, intelligent, knowledgeable, and hard-working as scientists in other fields, and hence their overwhelming consensus -- that climate change is likely to be a real and present danger -- is probably right.


IIRC, you have a number of years of experience with solar panels.

I was wondering if abrasion of the glass panels provided in solar cell modules for environmental protection (from dirt, rain, etc) has proven to be a major, or barring that, minor/noticeable problem, evidenced by a drop-ff in output over time? Has the 30-40 years of solar PV installation shown that periodic replacement of the glass protective sheets are necessary?

I ask due to the concern expressed in the interview by Mr. Summers (same article linked up-top):

Keeping solar panels clean without scratching and power degradation has been something I first discussed in an ASTM panel over 30 years ago. Maintenance is likely the biggest hidden problem at the moment.

This statement was in response to a question posed to him about challenges of renewable energy.
Can any scratches on the glass be polished out so the glass can be re-used?

At any rate, unless the clouding of the glass Mr. Summers is concerned about happens quickly, perhaps the cost for refurbishing or replacing the glass after many years of service would be small in terms of the maintenance necessary for other types of electrical generation, such as wind, nuclear, gas, and coal.

Think of windows and skylights. If you live where windows need to be replaced every 30 years due to erosion from the elements, that's what you can expect from your panels. Most of my panels aren't polished glass; they're textured in some way to improve production (diffusion). They're also tempered; harder than your typical window. A PV panel is nothing but a textured, tempered glass window with solar cells glued to the back and some electrical connections. In fact, the panels I recently bought cost about the same per square foot as the windows in my house.

Cleaning: Like a window. Rain and snow do a lot to keep ours clean, in our climate, but I give ours a good scrubdown a couple of times a year.

If you don't do windows, you can hire someone ;-/

Typical experience is about .5% degradation per year. I don't know how much of that is degradation of the transmission of the glass, versus of the active PV layer. In any case, as Ghung hints at, with panel prices becoming similar to glass prices, the rationale for replacing the glass, versus getting a new panel isn't going to be there.

Using .5% per year, then, assuming the outer surface of the glass is kept reasonable clean, then a PV panels' output would decrease to ~ one-half its factory-new value after ~ 140 years of service.

Of course, I ignored any possibility of corrosion of the metal electrical wires and contacts and ignored whatever probabilities exist of acute damage such as from hail.

What examples do we have of the oldest function PV panels?



I load tested my first panels, Siemens SP-75s, last August just prior to their 18th 'birthday': All three still producing full rated output, and it was a hot day. They currently charge the battery for our chicken coop and pump water for the garden.

I wonder how the creator of those panels, which probably were a hightech marvel at the time, would feel to hear his wonder product is now charging a chicken coop battery?

What examples do we have of the oldest function PV panels?

Is that even relevant to the question? We aren't creating your granddads solar panels, manufacturing processes have changed so much in the last decade or two. As are things like the thickness of the silicon layer, efficiency of the panels etc. The only way we have of looking at current panels is a combination of research and testing, which tries to simulate the effects of time but putting the product into a severe environment.

That is surely another set of assumptions worth challenging, but all in all, no reason not to keep an eye on how well the various granddaddy Panels have worked, since they are proving what is possible, even if it means backtracking over some of the mfg advances that might have cost us that longevity in their trade-offs that were chasing the modern views on economy, and how they frequently sacrifice durability over expedience and raw expense.


I have read numerous opinions form people that express concern about solar PV's reliability/durability...many of these folks I imagine have zero qualms about the reliability/maintainability and availability of more traditional, large-scale forms of electric production, including coal and nuclear plants.

I may be off-base, but I view solar PV generation equipment as having zero moving parts and being pretty durable and long-lasting, requiring comparatively small amounts of maintenance compared to many other electricity generation technologies.

Agreed, many of today's solar PV modules and BOS equipment is based on evolving design and manufacture technologies, materials, etc, and therefore each 'species' of equipment requires its own RMA/wear testings, including any such accelerated wear testing protocols as are available and valid.

The point to my question about researching how well 'heritage' solar panels are producing (say, PV modules dating from the 1970s) would be to provide some data for those people who have and continue to express great concern over the durability and maintenance demands of solar PV.

Now, it is more interesting to me to attempt to compare different generation technologies' total life-cycle costs from cradle to grave...but the difficult parts include calculating the costs of embedded energy, and the really difficult parts involve calculating the costs of externalities such as cradle-to-grave pollution and its effects on people and all the other members/components of our biosphere.

In the longer term, meaning after we have extracted and burnt most of the FFs we can, humanity (such that survives), will either somehow manage to continue technological civilization with fission reactor power generation technologies, as well as certain amounts of solar, wind, hydro etc...or nuclear fission technologies fall by the wayside and humanity uses solar/wind/hydro/geothermal/biomass-based energy technologies, most likely at a much lower population level and also a lower amount of energy consumer per capita.

I guess the other outcome is that most forms of modern energy production fade away, and humanity continues with much more basic and primitive energy production (biomass and ?), with a much much lower population.

Sorry...I managed to wander from a specific discussion item to my musings about the future 'big picture'. I finished Greer's anthology of short stories about the future of humanity in a post-PO, post-peak most everything World...

I think where the reliability questions bite, is the "bankability" issue. Bankability, being the ability to get a loan for a project. If the equipment manufacturer may not survive -and many of today's won't survive the current and continuing crunch, then it is tough to deploy. One of the problems with finance capitalism, is that it demands very high return on investment when there is any doubt about the investment. So Alan was telling how railroad executives would reject electrification projects because they only had a 20% ROI! Well if you demand a >20% ROI on PV, few projects would be built.

I assume the value is an IRR or such, for a yearly rate of return on investment of 20%.

I find it interesting that most have credit cards at 10-25% yearly rate, banks pay just a couple of percent, and big companies are looking for something in the middle: this company says 20%, and I believe this year my company says 17%.

These are large companies that can tolerate a large risk, so the risk premium can be priced into such analysis. It says a lot about our world that there is no shortage of high-payoff investments still.

no shortage of high-payoff investments still

Isn't a big part of the problem that almost all of the money printed and givenloaned to the banksters, just sits there? I think the problem is they are not finding many investments that satisfy their criteria. Some thing the banking bubble was blown up because there was too much money looking for "safe" investments.

I don't know if this is relevant, but at my apartment block we have two outdoor items containing relays that needed attention.

The light sensor which switches the lights on at night packed up after 15 years. Cause of problem unknown.

The receiver for the remote that opens the motor gate developed an intermittent fault after 16 years. A technician pointed out corroded terminals to me and said that was the problem. There were signs of water seepage and insects nesting in the housing.

How many glass window panes need regular replacement due to the degradation of the glass? In my old house they were still good after 100-150 years.


This Yale lecture series on the atmosphere, the ocean and environmental change offers one of the best scientific discussions I have seen about climate change. http://oyc.yale.edu/geology-and-geophysics/gg-140#sessions The arguments presented concerning AGW are quite compelling.

I was traveling upon the blood vessels of our civilizational tumor today and very prominent in my observations were the growth promoting factors (banks) and the immortality promoting factors (hospitals and churches). It seems that both technology (seemingly unique) and religions reinforce and give pardon to our cannibalistic tendencies to devour the body that bore us and to which we are adapted.

If we were to determine that human civilization is a systemic malignancy on a greater scale than that which commonly afflicts our metazoan bodies, how could we respond? With metabolic and extraction infrastructure valued at over 250 trillion already feeding upon most every tissue within the ecosystem and growing, what treatment is available? Can we administer treatment to ourselves? Does a cancer ever kill or limit itself to save the system it is destroying? Does one tumor destroy a competitive tumor? Instead of a handshake at your next business meeting I suggest everyone form their hand into the letter “C” and give the cancer salute, it would be just a little more honest.

This link may provide some insight into a potential solution; at least someone thinks it is worth an investment of billions of dollars.


With all fairness to the churches, their original mission was to save souls, not bodies per say. It was only when technology really ramped up did the hospitals and medical establishment convince people that huge sums of money devoted to drugs and procedures could make people live forever.

I know we don't like to admit it, but in many ways we have even more "magical" and unrealistic beliefs than religious people of the past. Show me a religious person who understands he is mortal, and an atheist who believes that a technology to reverse the aging process is right around the corner, and the former is a much more realistic person.

With regards to your second point, it is the nature of a tumor/malignancy to expand and ultimately kill the host. However, we should be clear that the earth, and life in general, are much larger processes than industrial human is able to impact. And the fuel powering industrial human is indeed "running out."

As such, the tumor known as industrial human is going to die out before eliminating the host.

Show me a religious person who understands he is mortal, and an atheist who believes that a technology to reverse the aging process is right around the corner, and the former is a much more realistic person.

I agree, but even beyond that, even if aging were reversed we would still be mortal. Accidents, disease, whatever, there are plenty of ways to die. Though if we DID live as long as trees, we might have a much different view of history.

With regards to your second point, it is the nature of a tumor/malignancy to expand and ultimately kill the host. However, we should be clear that the earth, and life in general, are much larger processes than industrial human is able to impact. And the fuel powering industrial human is indeed "running out."

We are certainly able to impact life on earth. We're carrying out a great extinction event though our appetites, both literal and figurative. Bluefin tuna are being eaten out of the oceans while the shellfish are suffering due to ocean acidification. On a longer, geological scale, though, I do see where you're at - oceans rise, lots of things die out, give it 100,000 years and it will look much better. Give it a million and it will look like humans were never here.

""Peak oil" -- the concept that the globe's oil supplies are finite and will, perhaps sooner rather than later, run out entirely -- is almost here."

*Places hand on forehead and slowly shakes head*

He's not doing the cause any favors with that misinterpretation. Many of the reports that peak oil has been disproven are based on this false view.

New to this site. I see there's no forum, but rather you must post comments at the end of articles. Oh well. This is not a homework question, but if anybody knows how much fracking will add to energy supplies in the USA please post here or email me. Otherwise I guess I'll have to wait for the next fracking nat. gas article to post this.

Here is my known data:

US energy in (in % or Quads):

Hydro: 2.7; Biomass/Geo/Wind/Solar = 3; Nuclear = 8; Coal = 23; Natural Gas (prior to fracking?)= 23; Petroleum = 40.

Numbers may not add to 100 but close enough. Thanks.

Jon – No need to wait. Search the archives and you find dozens of links about frac’ng. Plus there’s almost a daily story about frac’ng you can run off of.

A question: how did you figure out the pre-frac’ng NG number? Oil and NG production has be done via frac’ng for more than 50 years. Granted there’s been an upswing in the last few years but it’s been going on for a long time. I did my first massive frac in a shale in 1976.

You can always start a chat about frac’ng if you see an interesting story. Just post the link and some big mouth on TOD is bound to respond. And everyone here knows who that big mouth will likely be. LOL

Hi Jon, and welcome. Not sure what you mean by 'no forum', though the layout and flow here is a bit different from other sites. I find it more productive than some other formats. You can search for articles above using "Advanced Search". Some recent postings on natural gas , fracking, etc., with links to various sources:



You can also just keep scrolling down through the various postings, chronologically.

EIA data, including Energy Consumption By Sector And Source can be found at the EIA website.


A better question is to focus on shale gas and tight oil, rather than "fracking" per se.

In a Christian Science Monitor piece I wrote recently, I noted that:

The unconventional shale gas and “tight oil” wells we’ve drilled since 2005 are providing the oil equivalent of 6 million barrels a day. The Bakken oilfield in North Dakota, the Eagle Ford and Barnett in Texas, the Haynesville gas find in Louisiana, the Marcellus play in Pennsylvania … these and three dozen other shale plays represent the largest and most rapid infusion of new energy in America’s history. To read the Wall Street Journal, you’d think we’ve won the lottery, and in a very real way we have.

Although America continues to produce lots of conventional oil and gas, imagine for a moment that we were solely reliant on the shale gas and tight oil wells we’ve drilled in the last 10 years. How might we rank?

The tight oil fields we’ve developed since 2003 would make America the world’s 14th largest oil producer, ahead of Norway. The shale gas we’ve brought to market would make America the world’s second largest gas producer, after Russia. Together, the tight oil and shale gas would make the United States the third largest petroleum power on the planet, behind Saudi Arabia and Russia, but ahead of Iran and Canada.

Full article is here: http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2013/0222/The-shale-p...

Before Rockman busts my chops yet again, I should note that the increase in the last ten years attributable to shale gas/tight oil
is just a bit larger (or more or less the same, depending on how you run the numbers) to the increase in o/g production the country saw between 1960 and 1970.

So, it's a big deal. It's too bad these are such poor reservoirs and the wells are born a=dying.

For a reality check, wrap you head with Saran Wrap, sorta like Dexter does with his victims.

And try to breathe.

If shales weren't so damn impermeable, you could say "they suck."


Excellent article, Rudall.

In a very real way then the Tight Oil boom is delaying the acceptance of the reality of the Peak Oil Dynamic (nod to ROCKMAN) especially in the US, but also globally, and in particular preventing understanding of the underlying situation from breaking through into common consciousness.

It does offer some more time with lower supply pressure, but instead of using this time (how long is the really big question) to lower our society's oil dependence, the fact of this resource is being sold to us as proof that we needn't bother to change a thing!

Comedy, tragedy. farce.

Rudall – “Before Rockman busts my chops yet again…”. Why would I bust your chop? As far as I can tell nothing in your post disagrees with anything I’ve ever said. The shales are a big deal. They were a big deal before. Just as the horizontally drilled and fractured Austin Chalk was almost 20 years ago. In fact it was the biggest new play on the planet at the time. They are even a bigger deal today than just the production gains. I doubt even half the public oils would exists today if it weren’t for the high oil prices that have allowed them to use the shales to boost their booked reserves.

In fact, I don’t recall anyone on TOD saying they weren’t a big deal. They were a big deal back into 2008 when high NG prices produced a huge uptick in drilling. And they were just as big a deal when the collapse of NG prices forced many companies out of business and severely crippled others who still suffer to this day. The oily shales are even a bigger deal today than the gassy shales were IMHO. Between demand destruction and the increase in domestic production our imports are way down. Unfortunately they are not as big a deal with respect to decreasing the price of oil since it’s the continued high value of oil that is driving their development.

So yes: a big deal for all of us employed in the oil patch, a big deal for all the Wall Street brokers what make nice commissions on our stock, a big deal to shareholders who cashed up before some of the shale playing companies began to see their stock prices slide, a huge deal to the bankers who are making $billions in interest payments by financing drilling programs, a huge deal for the service companies that are benefiting from many tens of $billions in wealth transfer from the consumer via the expendatures of the oil companies, a huge benefit to mineral owners receiving royalties and states (except PA, of course) receiving fat severance tax checks.

And an even bigger deal to consumers who are now paying about 300% more for oil today than they were just a dozen years ago. The conditions that have led to the boom in shale drilling are probably one of the biggest deal facing the consumer today IMHO. Just as I’ve always expected the ramifications of PO would be.

Rockman--I'm new to this soap opera so if you have already answered this, don't do so again for my benefit (I'll search archives eventually) but what do you think of George P. Mitchell, 'father' of fracking? Revisionist history to say so? Or was he a real pioneer? Here is a short Forbes article on Mitchell and his plea for more environmental regulation, which coming from him, if he's a real pioneer, deserves attention. http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2012/07/19/billionaire-fat...

RUdall, thanks, I read this excellent article, very well done. It scored points with the hoi polloi by mentioning "oil equivalent" of an 'extra 6 M bbl/day' and "Chinese motorists using more fuel", well done. An informative article but I am looking for the raw data on "oil equivalent"; I'll keep looking. As best I can tell, so far 1-2 M bbl/day new energy is from new US oil ('tight' or otherwise) and an unspecified (?) amount of natural gas is from new US shale gas (that was my original question, gas). What I suspect is happening, as you state or imply in the article, is that high prices are keeping the USA from consuming more energy, hence the extra 'new' oil is either exported, or consumed locally and displaces foreign oil (which is then bought by the Chinese for example); same with the natural gas from shale gas. This is consistent with economic theory too, since China is expanding in GDP so more automobiles. A topic for another day is if the Obama administration implements a carbon tax on Chinese imports which will force China more off coal and into more natural gas, which will be interesting.

Ghung, thanks. I made some assumptions that perhaps are not warranted when I phrased my question. It seems that horizontal drilling (what I call "fracking", though the two terms might be complementary not equivalent) produces both oil and natural gas (I had thought mostly gas), and it seems from the two links that around 1M to 2M bbl/day 'new' oil will be produced either nationally or perhaps in the Dakotas. So that's roughly 5% to 10% of the ~20M bbl/day consumed by the USA, last I checked. I will keep researching this topic. Good site, I just might donate too.

if anybody knows how much fracking will add to energy supplies in the USA

Nobody KNOWS, but we can all guess. Because of rapid decline rates, extensive drilling of new wells is needed to maintain production of tight oil and gas. Drilling of new wells needs investors to put up the money, which depends on continuing high prices.

For an optimistic view, see the EIA's AEO2013 EARLY RELEASE OVERVIEW

In AEO2013, onshore tight oil production accounts for 51 percent of total lower 48 onshore oil production in 2040, up from 33 percent in 2011.
Cumulative production of dry natural gas from 2011 through 2035 in the AEO2013 Reference case is about 8 percent higher than in AEO2012, primarily reflecting continued increases in shale gas production that result from the dual application of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

Thanks; I downloaded the Excel spreadsheet from AEO but found it too confusing--the graph you provide above is more informative. I agree that energy production estimates more than say 3 to 5 years from now, like estimates on the US Federal deficit or the weather a month from now, are not that predictive. But if you are an environmentalist, you should be hoping for high oil prices to continue, which will keep the US from consuming more of this 'new' oil and shale gas. A carbon tax might also help preserve high prices, though arguably that will only cut into the market share of coal and favor natural gas more, and not really promote energy conservation, except indirectly. Maybe a tax on vehicle engine size, as is done in Europe? To get rid of those monster trucks that used to be fashionable in the USA, last I visited.

We do ask that comments be on topic for the "key posts." Drumbeats are more free form. As long as there's some connection to energy, comments do not have to be in response to what's posted up-top.

Just found a show on Discover (Canada), "License to Drill". Has anyone here watched this? Is it any good? http://www.licencetodrill.ca/

No...JWhitland.... it is not good. It is similar to the gold mining shows and other reality crap soap operas offered by that station. The Ice Pilots of NWT is particularly bad. As a long time pilot I marvel I used to even be part of that industry. I guess people watch them or they wouldn't be on. They are like soap operas with contrived conflicts and phony dramatic incidents.


The Ice Pilots of NWT is particularly bad

I worked with Buffalo Joe for a few weeks before going to an actual airline, and the "soap operas with ... conflicts and ... dramatic incidents" - is actually quite accurate. Absolutely the best place to work if you like round engines bigger than a 985; but about the worst if you like to plan ahead, say, a day. Or make money. Or keep your sanity. But starting the C-46 R-2800 is even better than the little 1820s on the DC3. Something about the tail coming up on takeoff is so much more civilized...

It amazes me that the Goose, DC3 and Beaver - basically the first of their types - are still about the best in their markets, and unlikely to be replaced with more functional designs - and the fuel efficiency of modern jets is now just exceeding those post WWII transporters.

I don't know why I'm such a car-hater but love those oily radial pigs. Maybe 'cause my current job is in a (very nice) Wichita Spam Can.


985...designed in 1929....still flying. I have about 10,000 hours flogging them and had just one cylinder failure. Great engine. What are you flying? Caravan? Twin?

God save us from owner's sons and wives. I have found it to be brutal. Not always, but often. When they tell you working for them is like being part of the family....run.

We used to wash the bellies with a mixture of laundry soap, hot water, and gas. We would spray the engines off with gas...all to drip in the lake or estuary. Ignorance to wince about, now. We didn't know any better. I just retired and am thinking about flying part-time as soon as I finish up a welding course. Maybe not...just don't know. There is about 1/10 of the work there used to be, of course there are very few experienced float pilots so there are still places to go and things to see if so inclined. Fuel costs and insurance rates trump wages every time, so it isn't worth it, really. I miss the flying, of course, but not the bulls%#!. And with peak oil upon us the absolutely worst field to be in is aviation. It was wonderful in the 70s...but that was the peak looking back in the rear view mirror. Like so many things discussed on this site, it was a different world. My wife and I have spent the last 10 years reducing and limiting our impact; trying to live with a more simple lifestyle. I think my flying career will stay in the photo album where it belongs.


Hey Paulo:

I always look forward to your posts as there don’t seem to be many other Beaver (B-18?) pilots on the site. I've only been to the Spit a few times, I was mostly out of Pat Bay, Middle Arm & Hardy.

I flew with a fellow at Air Tindi; we both got sick of the BS and ended up in adjoining towns in central nowhere. We both got offers we couldn’t refuse, him on a Caravan & me on 206/185. The irony of paying for a solar/net-zero/Passivhaus/organic farm by burning leaded gasoline is not lost on me.

Many years ago I flew a stock 206 on the coast, performance best described as ‘marginal’. However the one I’m flying now has enough STOL mods to take 1 passenger out of (for example) a ½ mile lake at 5500 ft, about the same payload as a Beaver.

20 years ago I did a 10 hour Beaver flight to St John's Chapel inlet (then legally) below a 250 ft overcast & 100 mile vis - one of the nicest flights I recall. Two years ago the GPS tracker on the Goose indicated that I had (now illegally) not climbed above 300 ft for a 4 minute flight in River's Inlet so I got a week’s vacation & a visit from TC enforcement. I agree that the industry is much safer than 20 years ago but I find it amusing for example that this got investigated as it was a solid number. No regulatory agency is going to touch sea conditions or visibility ‘cause there is no way to prove or measure them. But that seems to cause the crashes.

I have a theory about crazy bosses and lead poisoning – less common now in the turbine era. But the industry still sucks. It’s too bad the flying is so fun.

Mostly I stay involved so I can afford to fly one of these sailplanes at less than 1 liter per hour average I should be able to use it for a while...


There's a growing number of people getting into Low, Slow, and Auto-Tow. Planes like the Marske Monarch, Carbon Dragon, ULF1, and GOAT/BUG that can be launched by a 1,000ft rope tied to a car, payout winch, or simply rolled down a mountain.

One horsepower launch of ULF1: http://youtu.be/86rOfjhsIIM

Dale Kramer, creator of the Lazair ultralight, recently designed a twin-electric motor setup for the plane and it even flies with a float. http://youtu.be/ix7pWElDaEY

E-CriCri: http://youtu.be/zuw-CZe1qdQ

There are quite a few others working on self-launch ultralight aircraft such as this one: http://myplace.frontier.com/~booker_j/id3.html

Full size self-launch sailplanes are also starting to use electric, both major manufacturers and home-brew conversions. http://youtu.be/JLe7rYBQQQg

For some perspective...
Sport Gliding in the 20's: http://youtu.be/sd-2RGM0SG8
Sport Gliding in the 30's: http://youtu.be/cEOZsA0sI34

Things really took off when Germany was banned from motorized airplanes after the little skirmish known as "World War I" or "The war to end all wars" - as it was known before more wars came. The gliders of the 30's were pretty whiz-bang, really.

In one of those "you can't go back" memes it's harder these days to build in wood because the quality of wood available has gone down. Back in those days with all of the forests still pretty old-growth they had better wood to choose from and were very skilled in working with it.

I've noticed that sailplane pilots tend to be much more energy-conscious than most normal folk on average...probably because their flight time is solar powered and a delicate balance between going up and coming down.

One of the fellows linked above, Matt Redsell's page on the Monarch, actually dropped flying put his efforts into building a sustainable homestead:

This whole venture began about 2004-2005 when I found a very ideal property in Port Burwell and started my attempt at a sustainable lifestyle but first I had to do a lot of research to weed out the politically supported but impractical from the practical although maybe not popular. The goals I want to achieve are to be able to produce my own electricity, heat and food and reduce my emissions as well be reliant on the local community for shared labour, food and good times. My transitional solution is what I call fossil fuel subsidized sustainable living and will be good for the next 5 to 10 years.

If there is any conclusion I have it is that sustainable and renewable energy sources cannot support our current lifestyle. What people think is a small amount of energy is actually quite the opposite. Think of it this way. A liter of gasoline will drive a car about 25 kilometers -now push your car that distance and see what one liter of gasiline is actually worth.There is only one solution -Cut your energy consumption by 75% and live locally!

Of all the difficulties there is none more frustrating than dealing with the Municipality of Bayham whose councilors have little knowledge and do not do any research into our imminent future without fossil fuels.

Mat Redsell

Also the Archaeopteryx - very impressive

:( Oh well. Thanks for the warning.

Shale Gas and Tight Oil: Boom? Bust? Or Just a Petering Out?

by Bill Chameides | February 27th, 2013

Lunch with a Skeptic

In the spring of 2008, I was anticipating a lunch meeting with Matthew Simmons. In the oil and gas industry Simmons was considered something of a legend or a pariah, depending on one’s point of view. Either way, he was an iconoclast.

-- snip --

Eventually the conversation turned to shale gas, a topic whose buzz about the coming shale gas revolution had just begun to reach a fevered pitch. A couple of years later many experts (and some non-experts, such as yours truly in posts like this and this) would hail shale gas as a “game changer.”

But Simmons distanced himself from those “experts.” “It’s all hype,” he told me over lunch that blustery day, a sentiment he later conveyed to energy consultant Steve Andrews (co-founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas USA): “I’ve never seen the industry hype something crazier.”

-- snip --

And yet, while the fracking business is booming, there are some naysayers out there who have argued that this particular king has no clothes.

Now add J. David Hughes of the Post Carbon Institute to the naysayer list. Seeming to channel Simmons in the Comment section of last week’s edition of the journal Nature, Hughes claims that “the production of shale gas and oil is overhyped.”

This has most likely been posted before, but it seems relevant in this context. The shale gas bubble, and how it was promoted for profit by Wall St. Don't we just h8 Wall St.


S – An excellent link IMHO. Folks: don’t pass this one up. It points out what some of us have been pitching from the start of the shale play hype. The shales aren’t an oil patch play…never has been…never will be. It’s a Wall Street play. And more than just about trading stock. Even this article doesn’t completely capture the full depth of how hundreds of $billions in profits can be made in the shales without drilling a single well.

I still offer that the most profitable shale player was Petrohawk. After drilling just a few “seed wells” they flipped all their undrilled acreage for $12 billion. Yes…that’s exactly what we insiders call them. As in seeding a gold mine. Sorta like the story about the suppliers making more money from the CA gold rush then the prospectors did.

Not all the companies involved in the shale development process are public companies. I know a fair number that are privately owned. They were the early leasers in the trends. And none of them made their profits drilling but by flipping their positions to other companies. We call them land speculators. A profession that is considered very respectable in the oil patch. They take their chances just like drilling companies. They tie up hundreds of $millions in lease positions they think will escalate in value. Sometime they guess right…sometime not.

These situations all require one key element: hyped up enthusiasm. The gold rush was hyped by the land companies and merchants along with a bit of help from the press at the time. Likewise the shale plays were pushed by Wall Street again with a good bit of help from the MSM. To many of the actors in this play it matters not if expectations are met or not. They cash up long before the end story appears.

An old philosophy from the earliest days of the US oil industry: the smart money rides in with the first wagon load of saloon girls and rides out before the first load of production equipment arrives. The two most profitable “oil companies” I’ve known first hand have never spent a single $ drilling a well.

Alberta's Tar Sands Pollution Refugees

'Gassed' by oil sands operations, families say they've been forced to evacuate.

By Andrew Nikiforuk, Today, TheTyee.ca

Another Alberta pollution scandal has forced as many as six residents from their homes and poisoned scores of other citizens near the Peace River Oil Sands in the northwest corner of the province.

"It's a desperate situation," said Vivianne Laliberte who moved into her son's place last October after being repeatedly "gassed" from emissions from oil sands operations just 5 kilometres from her 85-year-old farm.

"There are a lot of sick people but they don't have the money to move," Laliberte told The Tyee. Her farm is located 48 kilometres south of Peace River.

Emissions from heavy oil extraction and storage facilities owned by Calgary-based Baytex Energy Corp., a heavy oil producer, forced her and her husband to abandon their property.

-- snip --

"There are no regulations on heated bitumen products. The carcinogens coming off those tanks are just crazy," says 50-year-old Carmen Langer, who worked in the industry for two decades.

His ranch, located 27 kilometres north of Peace River, is surrounded by hundreds of wells and hundreds of bitumen storage tanks.

"Three generations built this farm and now industry pollution is taking it away from us," says Langer, who recently sold his cattle. "We're done. I won't sell my home contaminated. We're not that kind of people."

Alberta's Strange Sinking Sensation

Why can't Canada's wealthiest province break even? Blame the paradox of plenty.

By Andrew Nikiforuk, 21 Feb 2013, TheTyee.ca

Alison Redford, the premier of Canada's wealthiest province, has encountered a $6 billion "bitumen bubble" on the busy Highway to Hell.

To most Canadians this curious disclosure seems confounding, if not paradoxical. How can "the economic engine" of Canada run five government deficits in a row yet promise prosperity for the nation? Is no one in charge?

Yet Redford isn't the only befuddled leader of an oil-fueled government. Thanks to the volatile nature of the world's most lucrative commodity, various petro states find themselves short of cash. And that's because most petro states don't know how to budget let alone govern.

Like any plantation economy, petro states operate pretty much like irrational monocultures: they know how pump oil, sell oil, talk oil and spend oil. But they don't know how to save or diversify its slippery wealth.

At the end of Nikiforuk's post be sure to check out the...

How do you know when you live in petro state? Here are some key signs:

But I Was So Much Younger Then (I'm So Much Older Than That Now)*

By Joseph Lstiburek Created: 2013/02/11

In 1978 I was 23 years old. I was a builder. I thought I was one anyway. My dad was a builder and an engineer and he taught me stuff. I learned building from him. I of course was smarter than he was. I got my own engineering degree and left him and went out on my own because who would ever want to work for their father?

One evening in early December of that year I ended up at a Home Builders Association meeting listening to some old guy talking about walls. I couldn't believe the stuff he was saying. I called him on it. He pushed his glasses down his nose and looked at me with a look of bemusement and replied: "Sonny, when you finally learn your high school physics you can come and sit with the big boys." Just as I was going to do I don't know what another guy gingerly put his hand on my shoulder and gave me a look that said come with me. Kind of in shock I went out into the hall with him. He said: "Gus is like that a lot. Let me get you a drink." I followed him up to his room and he poured me a scotch. It was a single malt. I had never had one. He handed me a book. "You should read this", he said. "That guy that you wanted to punch out wrote it with a guy who told him a long time ago the same thing he told you. The book hasn't come out yet. This is a draft. I have another copy. Give it back when you are done." I figured if I was drinking with him I should at least know his name. I asked him who he was: "John Timusk, he replied."

I couldn't put the book down that night. It kept referencing the Canadian Building Digests. I read them too.


Forgotten Pioneers of Energy Efficiency

It’s not too late to implement unheeded lessons from 30 years ago

Posted on Apr 17 2009 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

We've known how to build energy efficient houses in Canada for 30 plus years, but the home builders didn't build them. So much wasted natural gas!

Remember to point your finger at the home builders (and their associations) when natural gas gets expensive, you can`t afford to heat your home, and your looking for someone to blame.

This article that Seraph pointed out the other day will help you understand how things work if you don't get my point... Bob The Businessman — A Fable

I like a lot of the ideas Lstiburek puts out in this article and the Youtube vid he is often linked with, slamming the shortcomings of the Leed Bureaucracy.. but his tone is really hard to take.. it frequently sounds like it's all about him and his (lucky) geniusness..

In any case, it's great to see the richness of the ideas, and the clear demonstration of how they compare to more traditional and habitual building techniques and assumptions.

Lstiburek does occasionally give tribute to those he learned from. See particularly BSI-001: The Perfect Wall which repeats much of the stuff in his video.

But he does have a snarky tone that is difficult to stomach sometimes.


Oddly, I didn't get that, but I've gotten good at dealing with PHDs and old engineers. A lot of the time I just ignore tone and focus on the information provided. Takes the wind out of their sails and you just get back to business.

I don't think it is home builders who are at fault for not building more energy efficient houses. The problem lies with home buyers who don't put any value on energy efficiency -- they would rather have more space and ammenities made possible by just meeting the minimum insulation requirements of the building code. The only way to stimulate construction of more energy efficient housing (a very desirable goal in my view) would be to amend the building code to require it.

Same difference. We have the same back and forth about energy producers, consumers, policymakers, etc.. It's a vicious circle that has formed deep ruts, and there is a considerable social and financial leap required to achieve escape velocity to change course.. and then to hold on long enough so you don't just slip back into those old enduring ruts yet again.

In so many ways, these ruts are in our own minds, since we have long-since internalized the forms that our world-structure is understood by.. 'a wall is made of 2x4s on a 16 inch center' .. there are countless pieces that have simply lived as definitive truths like that.. it takes a persistent and trusting mindset to jump away from enough of them to really change the molds.

to really change the molds

That and there is always the risk that something you overlooked will lead to disaster years later. Such as for instance mold growing within the walls. One of the reasons the industry is so conservative, is that problems that might not arise for several years could bite you big time.

Sure enough.. which brings me right back to 'the cat that steps on a hot stove will never do so again, nor will she venture out onto a cold one..'

The GBA PassivHaus article by Holladay had a great row between Martin and Feist (who had become rather Feisty, I'd say) .. showing how fraught the challenges can become, as folks get attached to their approaches and systems. Shows how intensely people protect and sense any sort of critique in this very ego-intense business.. even when for the best of reasons, yada yada..

The building code in Canada has been changed over time to require more insulation in new construction so a new home would be more energy efficient than our 1964 home even if it was only built to the minimum code requirement. Given what we know about climate change and natural gas supplies the building code should be modified to require significantly higher energy efficiency. I suspect there is a reluctance to tighten the requirements to the point that installation of a heat recovery ventilator would be required. New homes are much more air tight than older construction but they generally do not have a heat recovery ventilator.

They make them so airtight they now have to come with a humidistat for ventilation. I absolutely cherish living in a District with no building inspections. My house is above code, and beyond well insulated....but not so airtight as we heat with wood. Plus, if you want to buy local you may have to use ungraded lumber. The fir our house is built with would not be allowed in town where the lucky purchasers get beetle killed pine from the interior....graded, but checked and worse. There are codes and there are well built homes. They aren't always the same, imo.

If memory serves, HRVs were made mandatory in this province back in 1989 (new construction only). We installed one to our home when we remodelled, because we were concerned that IAQ might suffer as we tightened up the envelope.


Are Middle East and North African countries developing unconventional gas to meet their energy needs? Which are the best shale gas markets? Who are the main operators and hydraulic fracturing service companies?

The emergence of tight and shale oil & gas and the hydraulic fracturing market in the MENA region is covered in this new report from Manaar Energy Consulting, in cooperation with PacWest Consulting Partners.

The report includes:
• Overview of the MENA frac market
• Unconventional geology and shale resource potential
• Hydraulic fracturing capacity per country and pressure pumper
• Frac parameters
• Ranking of MENA countries by attractiveness for unconventional oil & gas development
• Detailed country analysis on Saudi Arabia, Oman, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt covering basin and play maps, current unconventional gas projects, hydraulic horsepower capacity, frac demand, supply, utilization, constraints and forecasts.
• Summary of Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait hydraulic fracturing market.

The report is available in MENA-only (29 pages) and worldwide versions (45 pages including the MENA section).

Please contact Roa Ibrahim on r.ibrahim@manaarco.com, +971 4-3266-300 for further information and purchases.

Dear All,

Not sure if this is the most appropriate place to post, but here it goes: I'll be moving continents soon and I need to let go of most of my books.
If anybody on TOD wants the following book, I'll ship it for free anywhere in the world to the first person interested (see contact details on my oildrum profile). I don't think it will sell on ebay/amazon, and I would like to give back to this community from which I've learned so much.

The book is,

 Oil, Gas, Energy: A plural view, a calm look --- Antonio Brufau, Carlos Pérez de Bricio & others, 2008

It was published in English by Repsol YPF and Cepsa (Spanish Oil companies) for the 19th World petroleum Congress.
If you want to see the full table of contents see link here, but the main chapters are,

- What is the future of hydrocarbons?
- Global or National security?
- Conflicting Geopolitics?
- Renewable energies, nuclear energy?

With some bias towards the oil industry, but some critical looks too. Cheers.

How can Edward Seaga, a former prime minister, who is chancellor of the University of Technology and a distinguished fellow at the University of the West Indies, write this:(bold mine)

Edit: Overlooked this from July 2007

Perils of ethanol

The supply of petroleum to meet global fuel needs is within sight of the peak of supply. From there on, the supply of oil will dwindle until there is no further supply available. Authorities put the peak at less than 30 years and the end of supply at some 50 years.

Contemplating a future without energy for industrial and commercial use and the operation of household equipment, is to contemplate a world without light or mechanised transport of any sort and without processed foods, or other manufactured products, such as pharmaceuticals; no communication would exist, whether telephone, television, radio or computer.

and this:

The end of oil?

In 2007, at the 10th anniversary of the Office of Utility Regulations (OUR), I gave the keynote address in which I made a valuable point which I will now repeat:

"Journals, studies, reports and eminent authorities speak, not of if, but when, reserves of oil will reach the point of diminishing production. The wider the briefing on the reserves of petroleum, the more the future becomes worrying. The future, it is truly said, 'has a mind of its own'.

The resulting forecasts vary widely, but only a few see the peak production for oil as coming after 2020. One of the forecasts which is more optimistic is the authoritative International Energy Agency (IEA) which collects data from all oil-producing countries. The IEA predicts that the production peak will arrive between 2013 and 2037. Thereafter, production will decline by about three per cent per annum.

and then this:

Missing link in IMF talks

In the case of imports, the country has to stop its shameful display of inability and come to a conclusion by taking a decision about whether liquefied natural gas (LNG), a petroleum product, or coal should be the choice. The split position which appears to be emerging is between LNG and coal as the major source of energy for the nation. LNG is also low cost at this time, but is very likely to increase substantially as peak oil approaches in the next few years. Peak oil is the point at which the global supply of oil begins to decline until no more oil remains at some point near the middle of the century.

followed today by this:

Growth may be nearer than we think

To start the ball rolling, Government has already identified two mega projects, one to start shortly, with the other still in discussion. The early start-up is the north-south highway from Ocho Rios to Kingston, to be followed by the divestment of the Kingston Container Port, which is now under discussion by an Enterprise Team appointed by Minister Omar Davies.[snip]

Considering the overcrowded and dilapidated conditions of downtown Kingston, I viewed this potential reclamation of the shallow area as a godsend for a second start to build a worthy development with prime access to the harbour.

This would not mean full reclamation of 197 acres at one time. What would be required is the development of a master plan to create a massive area for expansion - in sections. The expansion would be carried out over decades to come as required.

The opportunity would arise for massive commercialisation and industrialisation with the appropriate incentives for development over the years to come. But this would depend on the feasibility of attracting such investment.

Jamaica is a prime candidate as a strategic location directly on the shipping route from Europe to the Pacific, through the Panama Canal, which is now being expanded to take mega vessels for cargo, which will considerably increase shipping activity. This is the rationale for the expansion of the port.

We would be inexcusably negligent if a professional study was not done to determine how much of this potential development could be attracted to Jamaica to be established here. Every business begins with location.[snip]

The time to organise for growth is now, so that in two to four years, the projects will be ready to deliver. Jamaica has that chance because of the investment potential from China, which the Chinese have already magnificently demonstrated here. The investment that growth requires may be nearer than we think.

The last articled is a repeat of ideas from the second one that, involve massive investment in expansion in the port of Kingston and the creation of a "logistics hub", all of which will require a huge investment in time materials and energy to eventually take advantage of growth in world shipping. Juxtapose that with the highlighted section from the any of the first three articles and the man must either have the attention span of a five year old and not have thought this through properly or be suffering a serious case of cognitive dissonance.

Alan from the islands

Watch 60 Minutes tonight. Two segments on "China's Ghost Cities". No URL yet as the program has not yet been broadcast.

Here's a link to the two minute version:


A view from China:
Yes, there were and are 'Ghost Cities', and they are starting to fill up. The population is still growing here, unlike Japan, and people are moving from the countryside to the city at the rate of 20 million per year or so.
There is also a huge construction glut of 'condo villages'. We are talking about gated communities of 50 or more 4-story condos. This is a boom that is waiting for a bust in the near future.
Add to this the build-out of the subway systems (about 20+ new subway stations per year in Beijing. 80 km of new track per year), and the high-speed rail system (200 - 350 km/h) is adding 3000 km of track per year in China.
But all of this investment is 'government' with no clear profit or loss goal. It is strange from a Western perspective.


"Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play."
~ Joseph Goebbels

Delusion? Propaganda? Financial fraud? Taxpayer-funded (non-opt-out-government-by-force) bailouts? So what!

...Imagine a vast centralized monster whose modus operandi was based in large part on violence and manufactured ideology, and that ran on fossil fuel for blood, and generally held the population of a particular geographical region, prisoner/slave...

Do you think that that kind of monster would attempt to survive by any means necessary, such as if it felt its blood running low? (To hell with its own laws?)

The sooner the real problems are recognized by political leaders

...the sooner real solutions to our long term energy problem can be implemented." ~ J. David Hughes

But should we already be long on this path already?
No, in a sense, it doesn't matter, David. It won't happen, or, if it does, it will be suicide for the monster.
Please take a look, and a good one, at the monster for what it is. You appear concerned for solutions from the monster for the problems it caused.

"Grown men do not need leaders."
~ Edward Abbey

"Behind Boetie's thinking was the assumption, later spelled out in great detail by David Hume, that states cannot rule by force alone. This is because the agents of government power are always outnumbered by those they rule. To insure compliance with their dictates, it is essential to convince the people that their servitude is somehow in their own interest. They do this by manufacturing ideological systems..."
~ Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Watch said monster writhe. Stand clear! (if you can)

Think (and act) outside the box Matrix MONS TER

Not only do overlit street lights waste huge amounts of energy, prevent us from seeing the stars but now some new studies indicate they may be increasing breast cancer and other health effects by interfering with normal circadian rhythms:



And, Bogard says, all that light is having some unintended consequences. For one, it affects our sleeping patterns, he says.

Others say the effects of light pollution are worse.

Richard Stevens, an epidemiologist at the University of Connecticut Health Center, was one of the first to make the connection between bright, artificial light and breast cancer. Stevens' research found that artificial light can disrupt our body clock — and affect our production of melatonin.

"We know for sure that the lighting in the modern world can disrupt our circadian rhythms, and that cannot be good," Stevens tells Headlee.

RE Everything You Know About U.S. Oil And Gas Is Wrong

Are we really headed for Saudi America?

If that is what USCENTCOM wants, then yes.

But not in the way you think.