Drumbeat: March 9, 2013

Big Social Costs Tallied in Regions With Scant Energy Access

This is why I keep saying that the “energy quest” that’s needed to smooth the human journey in this century has two faces — one figuring out how the haves can use energy more wisely, the other figuring out how to get the benefits that come with modern energy to the billions without sustainable options right now.

WTI Oil Rises to Cap Biggest Weekly Gain in a Month

West Texas Intermediate crude rose after U.S. employers added more jobs than planned, signaling climbing fuel demand, while Brent oil fell to the lowest level of 2013 on increasing flows in a North Sea pipeline.

Futures capped the biggest weekly gain in a month as the Labor Department said that the jobless rate fell to a five-year low of 7.7 percent in February. The Brent Pipeline System is “approaching” its targeted flow rate of 80,000 barrels a day, an official for Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA), or Taqa, said by phone. A leak shut the link shut for five days on March 2. WTI fell earlier as the dollar reached a 2013 high against the euro. WTI open interest rose to a record for a fifth time yesterday.

Canada Heavy Oil Jumps Most Since September as Output Slumps

Canadian heavy oil strengthened the most in almost six months on the spot market as weaker-than- expected output eased concern that lower refinery demand in the spring will keep the grade under pressure.

Gas Rigs Drop to Fewest Since 1999 as Drilling Declines

Oil and gas rigs in the U.S. fell for a third straight week to the lowest level since January after producers moved equipment out of gas plays.

'Secret energy revolution' could hasten end to dependence on foreign oil

A wealth of new technologies -- from underwater robots to 3-D scanners to nano-engineered lubricants -- are transforming the energy exploration industry in ways that will hasten the end of America’s reliance on Middle East oil.

That’s the take on America’s “secret energy revolution,” according to a report in the Washington Guardian. And the proof is in the balance sheets: According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, monthly imports of oil peaked in Sept. 2006 at 12.7 million barrels per day and has declined 40 percent since then, to 7.6 million barrels in Nov. 2012.

OPEC conspiracy drives up oil costs

“Price-fixing by private companies on the OPEC scale would not be tolerated in any industrial country,” observes M.A. Adelman, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor emeritus of economics. “In the United States, the officers of firms that engage in such activities go to jail. But the OPEC members are sovereign states, subject to no country’s laws.”

We can’t drill enough to have an impact on prices — OPEC can simply drill less to offset our production and keep prices where it wants them. Similarly, we can build more fuel-efficient cars, drive them less and raise taxes on gasoline. It still won’t help because OPEC can adjust their faucets and the price to its liking and our detriment.

Saudi Feb crude output slightly higher at 9.15 mln bpd- source

DUBAI (Reuters) - Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia pumped 9.15 million barrels per day of crude oil in February, an industry source said on Saturday, slightly up from the 9.05 million bpd it produced in January.

The Philippines: Shell to slash fuel prices effective Sunday

A major oil firm will slash prices of its fuel products on Sunday, following the lead of two smaller players in the oil industry.

Pilipinas Shell said the rollback will reflect changes in prices in the international oil market, radio dzBB reported Saturday.

Ethanol Trails Gasoline as ‘Blend Wall’ Sends RINs to Record

Ethanol weakened against gasoline as the value of renewable identification numbers for the corn-based biofuel jumped to a record on concern production and consumption won’t meet U.S. targets.

Venezuela's oil future a 'shambles' after Chavez

(CNN) – Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who died this week, built his support on a populist platform of sharing the country's oil wealth with the poor.

Yet Venezuela's economy, and the future of its oil industry, remains deeply vulnerable.

Venezuela to maintain oil industry framework under Maduro

CARACAS - Venezuela will maintain its oil industry tax and legal framework under the leadership of acting President Nicolas Maduro, the OPEC nation's oil minister said on Friday to reassure foreign investors after the death of President Hugo Chavez.

Rafael Ramirez told Reuters that Venezuela would continue to push for a minimum price of $100 per barrel at the next OPEC meeting, and that he did not expect Chavez's death to push up crude prices.

Dwindling Production Has Led to Lesser Role for Venezuela as Major Oil Power

HOUSTON — President Hugo Chávez relished using Venezuela’s oil wealth to project power internationally, nudging OPEC to raise oil prices when he could, showering allies like Cuba and Nicaragua with subsidized oil shipments, and mocking the United States while selling it his crude.

But Mr. Chávez’s death on Tuesday has had surprisingly little impact on global oil markets, highlighting how Venezuela’s dwindling crude production and exports have undercut its global power in recent years.

Russia speaks up for its Venezuela trade ties

Moscow: Russia said Saturday its relations with Venezuela would suffer should it lose military contracts established under the late president Hugo Chavez. Venezuela has purchased billions of dollars in Russian arms and is also a top investment target of the Kremlin-run oil company Rosneft.

Venezuelan Oil Subsidies Still Buoy Neighbors, For Now

Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez was a tremendous supporter of Latin American countries, especially those sympathetic with his socialistic ideals. His vast oil reserves are the key source of economic aid.

But the former president didn't just help out his ideological peers like Cuba and Nicaragua. Chavez was also a great benefactor to key U.S. allies in the Caribbean, many of whom are now worried whether their vital oil life line is about to be shut off.

Venezuela Election 2013: Key Factors That Will Determine The Vote

CARACAS (Reuters) - President Hugo Chavez's death paves the way for elections within weeks that will test whether his brand of "21st Century Socialism" can survive without him at the helm.

Libyan gas flows to Italy gradually resuming on Saturday: Snam

MILAN (Reuters) - Gas flows from Libya into Italy were gradually resuming on Saturday after being halted for about a week following armed skirmishes, a spokesman for Italian gas grid operator Snam said.

"There is a gradual resumption of flows and we expect about 16 million cubic metres of gas today which will meet requests from the system," the spokesman said.

Pakistan leaves little room to budge on Iran pipeline plan despite threat of US sanctions

Pakistan says it is determined to build a gas pipeline with Iran despite the threat of U.S. sanctions for the move -- with a top Pakistani official suggesting the uncertainty in U.S.-Iran relations is a deciding factor.

“Can America guarantee us that they will never make friends with Iran?” Asim Hussain, adviser to the Pakistan prime minister on petroleum and natural resources, told Fox News. “Will Iran never come to terms with the world order? And if someone can give us that guarantee then we will not [build] that infrastructure."

Iran, Iraq discuss energy ties

Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi, heading a 9-member delegation, is in Baghdad, discussing oil, gas and electricity ties with Iraqi officials, the Shana News agency reported.

Brazil oil states ratchet up protests over royalty cuts

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian oil-producing states retaliated on Friday against multibillion-dollar cuts made by Congress to their oil royalties with a wave of protests and threats to cut off most of the country's oil output.

The actions threaten to poison relationships between Brazil's states, saddle oil companies with losses and complicate efforts by President Dilma Rousseff to forge political alliances needed to pass legislation in the last 17 months of her term.

Sudans to withdraw troops from buffer zone

The defence ministers of Sudan and South Sudan will begin withdrawing their forces from a proposed de-militarized zone as the first step in implementing a series of agreements signed in September last year.

UK's Centrica in talks to buy U.S. natural gas

(Reuters) - Centrica is in talks with U.S. companies to secure Britain's first long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) import deal, sources told Reuters, as prices at home surge and Middle East supply falters.

The UK's biggest household energy supplier has approached U.S. firms including Cheniere Energy and Freeport LNG, sources close to the discussions said, as Britain's own gas supply also dwindles.

BP 2012 Reserves Replacement Ratio 6% Without TNK-BP - FT

BP said that at a group level, its reserves replacement ratio was 77%. BP said it has averaged above 100% over the past 20 years, the FT said.

Meet The New US Petroleum Pipelines

Still confused why crony capitalist #1, the "rustic" Octogenarian of Omaha, and Obama tax advisor #1, Warren Buffett has been aggressively attempting to corner the railroad market, while the administration relentlessly refuses to allow assorted new petroleum pipelines from America's neighbor to the north to cross through the US (in gratitude for the former's generous "tax advice" and pedigree by association)?

Conoco to Explore Arctic in '14

Texas-based ConocoPhillips is set to begin drilling around two exploration wells in remote Arctic waters in 2014.

The oil major aims to explore and drill a prospect – Devils Paw – in the Chukchi Sea. The announcement was made by the Chukchi program manager at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) annual Arctic Open Water Meeting.

Shell's Louisiana-to-Texas Ho-Ho pipeline running again

(Reuters) - Shell Pipeline, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, said on Friday its Houma-to-Houston (Ho-Ho) pipeline is back up and running. The company had shut a part of the line earlier, following a small crude oil leak.

Shell estimates that a single barrel of oil had leaked, as the crew saw a pool about 10 feet (3 meters) in diameter in the soil, according to the company's report to the U.S. National Response Center.

BP warns of rising costs from spill settlement

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — BP is warning investors that the price tag will be "significantly higher" than it initially estimated for its multibillion-dollar settlement with businesses and residents who claim the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico cost them money.

Report Sparks Debate Over Edison’s Role in Reactor Woes

A report on the causes of equipment failure at Edison International’s San Onofre nuclear-power plant in California has fueled debate over what the utility knew about flaws in the gear and when it learned about them.

Ferrari $1.3 Million Hybrid Hits Resurgent Luxury Market

Ferrari, Bentley, Jaguar, and Rolls- Royce are roaring back with new leather-swathed models after a drop last year in European sales of ultra-luxury cars.

At the Geneva Motor Show this week, Ferrari showed a 1 million-euro ($1.3 million) hybrid called LaFerrari. Bentley exhibited a revamped four-door Continental Flying Spur. Jaguar debuted the XFR-S, its fastest sedan ever. Rolls-Royce is adding a 245,000-euro coupe called the Wraith to its lineup.

3 Ways Alternative Energy Cars Can Save Drivers Money in 2013

Everyone knows that alternative energy cars can save you money on gas, but there are other ways that these cars can decrease the impact your means of transportation has on your wallet.

KLM Begins Biofuel Flights Between New York, Amsterdam

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, in partnership with the Schiphol Group, Delta Air Lines and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey christened the first in a series of biofuel-powered flights between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on March 8. The flight of the KLM Boeing 777-200 also marked the beginning of a demonstration by Boeing and KLM of several advanced technologies aimed at improving operational efficiency, saving fuel and reducing noise and emissions.

No smoking gun in NTSB report on Dreamliner battery fire

Two months after the incident, and seven weeks since the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the Dreamliner, officials have yet to publicly explain the exact cause of the battery failure, or of a battery failure a week later on a Dreamliner flying over Japan.

Stanford scientists calculate the carbon footprint of grid-scale battery technologies

Americans take electrical power for granted whenever they flip on a light switch. But the growing use of solar and wind power in the United States makes the on-demand delivery of electricity more challenging.

A key problem is that the U.S. electrical grid has virtually no storage capacity, so grid operators can't stockpile surplus clean energy and deliver it at night, or when the wind isn't blowing.

To provide more flexibility in managing the grid, researchers have begun developing new batteries and other large-scale storage devices. But the fossil fuel required to build these technologies could negate some of the environmental benefits of installing new solar and wind farms, according to Stanford University scientists.

“Solar Freedom Now” Unveils Plan For Cutting Red Tape, Solar PV Soft Costs 50%

Permitting, zoning, financing, contracting, installation, hooking up to the grid, and maintenance — the so-called “soft” costs of powering a home, office or business with solar energy — account for as much as 40% of the total installed cost of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system, according to the Department of Energy’s Rooftop Solar Challenge.

Major Grocer to Label Foods With Gene-Modified Content

Whole Foods Market, the grocery chain, on Friday became the first retailer in the United States to require labeling of all genetically modified foods sold in its stores, a move that some experts said could radically alter the food industry.

California Considering 25 Projects for Carbon Offset Credits

California, the second-largest carbon-polluting state in the U.S. behind Texas, will decide whether to award its first carbon offset credits for 25 projects designed to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.

Poland aims to pave way for 2015 climate deal

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Hoping to win over EU critics of Poland's recent stance on climate change, the environment minister said Friday that the coal-powered nation will make every effort to pave the way for a lasting deal in 2015 when it hosts a U.N. global warming conference in November.

Last year, Poland vetoed the EU's road map for emissions reductions beyond 2020, drawing sharp criticism from environmental groups and EU officials.

The Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline: A 21st Century Schizoid Climate Plan

Canada harbors some of the great environmental Arctic treasures of the world, magnificent polar bears, wildlife and fisheries unique to its pristine Arctic shores. But the land of the Maple Leaf also is pushing policies that will destroy these natural jewels that already are showing signs of damaging impacts from climate change. Canada was the first to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, undermined climate change negotiations at the U.N, and is now ranked next to Kazakhstan in terms of its climate change record. And Alberta's massive carbon-polluting tar sands mining operation is second to none.

Global warming’s new frightening deadline

In April 2009, the science journal Nature published a paper entitled Greenhouse-Gas Emission Targets for Limiting Global Warming to 2 C.

Its subject was the end of the modern world.

At the time, it attracted little notice. It was a half-dozen pages long. For laymen, its technical content was impenetrable.

Food forecast may have China worried over global warming

Last week’s announcement by China’s Ministry of Finance that the country will introduce a carbon tax, probably in the next two years, did not dominate the international headlines. It was too vague about the timetable and the rate at which the tax would be levied, and fossil-fuel lobbyists were quick to portray it as meaningless. But the Chinese are deadly serious about fighting global warming, because they are really scared.

Insurance industry’s climate change dithering could be catastrophic for global economy

Some numbers to keep insurance executives reaching for the Ambien in the dead of the night: Extreme weather driven by climate change cost the US insurance industry $32 billion in 2011. Superstorm Sandy alone led to some $25 billion in insured losses last year, the warmest on record. And today climate scientists released a study showing global temperatures have hit a 4,000-year high.

CSI conference on Staten Island Hurricane Sandy aftermath provides clear take-aways

Academics and government officials headlined panel discussions at the College of Staten Island, resulting in some very clear take-aways: Portions of the East and South Shores swamped by Sandy should be returned to Mother Nature and not rebuilt; the city's 911 system needs an overall, after trapped Islanders desperate for help resorted to contacting their elected officials via Facebook; the mental health traumas of the storm continue to linger; and the disabled and elderly were left to fend for themselves, with some tragic consequences.

Is the USA truly the world's largest oil producer? Platts is a little skeptical:

Did the US already overtake Saudi Arabia for petroleum liquids king? Even more asterisks pop up

There are two categories in that “production” category that are included by the International Energy Agency as legitimate contributors to the supply/demand balance, and are relatively big numbers in terms of the US portion of that equation. Refinery processing gains, which are estimated by the IEA to be about 2.2 million b/d in non-OPEC countries worldwide, are estimated by the EIA as 1.1 million b/d in the US. So the US would have about half of the processing gains of the entire non-OPEC world, according to this EIA data. That would be way out of whack with US refining capacity of about 17.5 million b/d, but US refineries are also considered some of the world’s most technologically advanced.

Okay, the USA produces half of the refinery process gain in the entire non-OPEC world, a whopping 1.1 mb/d. Platts thinks that is a lot of process gain on only 17.5 mb/d. But the US does not produce 17.5 mb/d. In November, the last month the EIA has data on for all countries, the USA produced only 6.9 mb/d. And even if you throw in NGLs you still only come up with 9.4 mb/d. But it is true, about 17.5 mb/d was refined by US refineries. That means the US is claiming, as oil produced in the US, process gain on imported oil!

Anyway let's look at the numbers. Here is what the US, Saudi and Russia produced in November according to the EIA's International Energy Statistics"

	All Liquids	C + C	Difference
US	11,653	        6,893	4,760
Saudi	11,252	        9,540	1,712
Russia	10,518	       10,048	  470

As you can see, the US is now the world's leading producer of "All Liquids". But what are they counting here? Well here is the November breakdown according to the EIA's : Monthly Energy Review In thousands of barrels per day.

Crude Oil Production, Total	                      6,893
Natural Gas Plant Liquids Production	              2,516
Renewable Fuels and Oxygenate Plant Net Production	928
Petroleum Processing Gain	                      1,118
Total	                                             11,455

Okay, they still came with almost 200 kb/d less than the numbers they reported in their International Energy Statistics. I am at a loss to explain that. But you can see how they are obviously fudging the numbers here.

Saudi, Russia and USA C+C production in kb/d. The last data point is November 2012.
Saudi, Russia and USA photo SaudiRussiaandUSA_zpsb28976c3.jpg

Ron P.

As we all know, NGL's have less energy content per barrel than crude oil, and biofuels have a very low net energy content, after energy inputs. However, that is nothing compared to the net energy loss that refining represents.

The refining process is necessary and (generally) profitable and it represents an increase in liquids volume, but if we look at the sum of the BTU's going into the refinery versus the sum of the BTU's coming out, it is a net energy loss, unlike the other liquids measurements*.

In any case, I agree that the best measure of production is C+C, but when it comes to net export calculations, we are probably stuck with the the BP's definition, C+C+NGL's.

*Although, come to think of it that's not true either, because of the energy loss inherent in running gas plants (which extract NGL's from liquids rich natural gas).

The problem as I see it isn't Petroleum Liquids, it is TRANSPORTATION Liquids, since almost all transportation fuels such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, even bunker fuel comes from petroleum.

But you can't get transportation fuel from Natural Gas Plant Liquids, and even condensate probably can't make anything more than gasoline. So the amount of transportation liquids gets less and less, even as "petroleum liquids" gets more and more. Even "Processing Gains" are suspect, since they come from the same number listed as "Crude+Condensate), so are counted twice.

Someday, when I get the chance, I will try to quantify the actual amount of Transportation fuel that comes from these "liquids", but I think this is where a lot of the smoke and mirrors is right now, since without transportation fuel, this economy (world, but especially US) is dead.

Just a quick add-on to how important transportation fuel is for the economy, here is a graph of the price of iron ore since 1984. The price of oil would probably almost perfectly overlay this graph, meaning that most of the cost of iron ore production is probably the cost of the fuel used (presumably mostly diesel).

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You show at least a 500% increase in prices since 2006. However, contrast:

Operating costs for Rio's Pilbara mines have risen by around 40% in U.S. dollar terms since 2006,

With the latest surface mining equipment, the cost of diesel for extraction is very low.
Local transport is dependent on diesel, but there is a major move to driverless trucks.

Recommend you explore Chinese demand for steel and coal with consequent rise in price of coal as the primary drivers.

Yair . . . But the fuel cost of running fifty litre (and larger) engines in this new-tech equipment is significant as is the cost of keeping the rotten things running in a more dusty environment.

There does seem to be scope for running these surface miners electrically which I assume would also get away from some of the problems with hydraulics . . .thoughts, anyone?


Thanks, David, for the heads up. I agree that I may have been a little hasty in using the increase in the price of oil as the cause for the increase in the price of iron ore, since I did forget to consider the China effect.

However, in fact, it turns out that they may be more closely connected than one might think. First graph below shows how both oil and iron ore have increased in price since 2002 (note that since the ore price data was yearly averages each month until 2009, I have done the same for the oil prices).

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In general, they both have steadily increased in price with time, with iron ore prices obviosly increasing more quickly since the Great Recession. Still, as the graph below indicates, the R-sq. is 80%, which is pretty high if there is no correlation. Of course, both oil prices and ore prices might also just be results of the same thing: China.

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Finally, since we are talking about iron ore, one of the best examples I have ever come across of a Hubbert's Peak for any resource is the rise and decline of high grade iron ore from the Iron Range in Minnesota. The original high grade iron ore was over 60% iron and was simply dug out and sent to the mill. The graph below shows the rise and fall of that high grade production (blue line), and the subsequent rise since then of magnetically concentrated iron ore called taconite, made from the low grade oar that remains. [Note the almost 100% drop in production during the Great Depression; makes the recent Great Recession seem like a walk in the park).

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That price rise doesn't track oils rise. Something else going on here.

Just to point out, but you CAN run transportation off some NGL. We don't, but in theory you could - and some are using the price difference to their advantage today.


And here is how NGL can be upgraded, Butane and Propane, to be used in transport fuels, but only for gasoline.


The RBN Energy site is turning out to be a source of information on the current energy market in the US. I highly recommend people to drop by once a day to checkout their latest blogs.

Looking at the EIA data on fuel consumed at refineries, oil refineries are using less of their own products as fuel for refining processes and are instead relying more on natural gas, purchased electricity and purchased steam. Could it be that this is enhancing refinery gains (more barrels of net output), and if/when natural gas prices go up, refineries might use more of their own products as energy sources again?

Comparing the year 2006 to 2011, consumption of refinery products for fuel at refineries is down 12%. Use of natural gas is up 13.5%, use of coal is down 9.2%, use of purchased electricity is up 16.9%, and use of purchased steam is up 59.1%.


Using volume based accounting distorts the actual energy production and use of a country and the US is most at fault for using this metric. For a country which exports oil, processing gains result in increased internal production. For an importing nation, such as the US, processing gains resulting from the refining of imported oil should be credited to the import side of the accounting, which the EIA does not do at present. In this way, national production is overstated and the true quantity of imported energy is understated. One must conclude that this distortion is intentional...

E. Swanson

Their attempts to hide the decline are punningly crude in sophistication, yet very effective.

All good points Ron

Is there any way that someone (other than me :-)) could begin routinely reporting the long term production of crude +condensate) in metric tons (in a nice simple graphic)rather than barrels?

It would seem to me that if a reliable source of that metric was to appear regularly (on TOD?) then it would eventually get picked up through internet web sites and began to spread the notion that we are clearly losing the war against depletion.

Or am I being too optimistic?

how about introducing a new unit. a square foot yard is approximately 2 barrels

Sorry, that sounds like just another volume based metric. Using energy equivalents would give a better perspective, such as Quads (Quadrillion BTU's). If one insists on a volume measure, why not convert everything to Natural Gas equivalent energy, that is, Billion standard cubic feet? That might answer those who keep claiming that all that fracking is going to solve the US energy problem for the foreseeable future...

E. Swanson

Joules. Please.

Second that motion.

In Canada, natural gas is measured in gigajoules. It is a very convenient unit of measure, particularly since 1 GJ of NG is within 10% of being 1 Mcf of NG (in US units). It's difficult to get closer than that because GJ is a measure of energy, Mcf is a measure of volume, and the energy content of 1 Mcf of natural gas varies widely depending on chemical composition.

Having done a lot of metric conversions, I know of 5 different standard definitions of the BTU, 4 of which are quite similar and 1 of which is quite different than the others. There is only one standard definition of the Joule.

Is there any way that someone (other than me :-)) could begin routinely reporting the long term production of crude +condensate) in metric tons (in a nice simple graphic)rather than barrels?

Well... no, not me anyway. That is because no reporting agency reports all nations production in metric tons. Some nations, like Russia, reports their production in metric tons but most do not. You could simply divide the production numbers by 7.33 and you would be pretty close, but not exact. That is because the heavier the oil, well, the heavier the oil. If its API gravity is greater than 10 °API, it is lighter and floats on water; if less than 10 °API, it is heavier and sinks. So the heavier the oil the fewer barrels per ton you get.

From the EIA: Barrels of Crude Oil per Metric Ton by country.

East Timor	8.343
Algeria		7.9448
Australia	7.89
Saudi Arabia	7.4029
United States	7.3329
Russia		7.27
Canada		7.18
Mexico		7.08
Venezuela	6.685

Ron P.

i think that exactness in these matters in not really relevant, only the order
of magnitude. but of course the americans want to stick to their barrels and inch foot yards
and whatever

My favourite is the bushel.

Do you mean a US bushel (approx. 35.2391 litres) or Imperial bushel (approx. 36.3687 litres)?

I used to use the firkin in my examples of metric conversion. Unfortunately some fans of non-metric units thought I was being sarcastic. A firkin cask of beer (not to be confused with a firkin cask of wine) is is a quarter of a beer barrel or half a kilderkin (exactly 40.91481 litres). I probably know too much about US/Imperial units for my own good. Metric is much simpler.

Well I mostly meant the fact that the bushel is a volumetric measure of various different dry goods, without a specific weight, a bushel of winter red wheat is different weight to a bushel of corn, and then volumes change or weights change depending if you are using the US, Imperial or Canadian bushel.

Yeah I now like the Firkin = 1/6th of a hogshead.

If anybody wants to do pressure in inches of mercury or water, I have the conversion numbers. But can someone enlighten me as to what a "slug" is? There are 32.17 'slugs' to the pound or is this just bar room talk?

Wikipedia knows all...


Slugs are what you use in British units to avoid having to deal with g(sub c) in English Engineering units, which convert lbs mass to lbs force.

In Metric you have kilograms as the unit of mass and Newtons as the unit of force. 1 Kg in 1 gravity is 9.8 Newtons.
In British you have slugs as the unit of mass and pounds as the unit of force. So 1 slug in 1 gravity is 32.2 lbs.
In English Engineering you have pounds-mass as the unit of mass and pounds-force as the unit of force. Since they wanted 1 lbf to be 1 lbm on the surface of he earth, they had to divide by g(sub c) which is 32.2 (lbm ft)/(lbf-sec2).

For more pain, see http://www.me.mtu.edu/~jstallen/courses/MEEM4200/lectures/energy_intro/R...

So we put a slug in a gun or an English version of a dram in a glass?


Thanks Ron, one of the best posts I've read in a long time. I will try to explain to my accountant wife who doesn't understand how the MSM could be publishing all the recent optimistic article if they aren't true. Counting processing gains is fraudulent by itself, but counting the processing gains of imported oil?!?! HA, boggles the mind.

I will try to explain to my accountant wife who doesn't understand how the MSM could be publishing all the recent optimistic article if they aren't true.


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

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

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

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

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

LNG - The Holy Grail Of Gas Investments


great article on the state of LNG. I guess floating LNG could really make a difference given its ability to develop small or "stranded" gas assets that heretofore would be deemed non-commercial. There must be heaps of those. One other snippet that interested me - "..Britain's natural gas imports from outside the North Sea will surpass domestic production by 2015 and add more than $11 billion to import costs as domestic supplies dwindle and Norway struggles to fill the gap (Qatar is only sending it leftovers right now—the bulk goes to higher paying Asian customers)..".

Something that Jim Hansen (the investment manager) highlighted in his weekly report:

OECD Says Oil Prices Could Reach $150-$270* a Barrel By 2020
*In constant dollars

LONDON--Oil prices could rise to anywhere between $150 and $270 a barrel by 2020 as demand growth in emerging markets like India and China out paces expected supply, the OECD said Wednesday.

"I think people have been calmer about oil prices given the new supply, but if you really look at the implications of rising demand, you see this isn't true," said Isabelle Koske, economist at the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development and one author of a report on oil prices published Wednesday . . .

"All estimates point to Asian demand propelling growth," said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects, a research consultancy on energy markets. She said the implications of the U.S. shale-oil boom could be overstated for the rest of the world if demand from Asia keeps up. China last month said crude imports in January rose 7.4% from a year earlier, indicating increasing demand.

Read more: http://www.nasdaq.com/article/oecd-says-oil-prices-could-reach-150-270-a...

Here are the annual Brent crude oil prices since 2005 (nominal prices), along with the rate of change by year relative to the 2005 price level ($55). Also shown, in parentheses, are the GNE/CNI* Ratios and rates of change, by year, relative to the 2005 measurement (8.9).

2006: $65, +17%/year (8.2, -8%/year)
2007: $72, +13%/year (7.3, -10%/year)
2008: $97, +19%/year (7.0, -8%/year)
2009; $62, +3%/year (6.2, -9%/year)
2010: $80, +7.5%/year (5.6, -9%/year)
2011: $111, +12%/year (5.3, -9%/year)
2012: $112, +10%/year (NA)

The median rate of change in Brent prices was 2011, at +12%/year. The average rate of change was +10%/year.

The average rate of change in the GNE/CNI ratio from 2005 to 2011 was about -9%/year.

*Ratio of Global Net Exports (top 33 net exporters in 2005), or GNE, to Chindia's Net Imports, or CNI:

The "in constant dollars" is really the killer part. Thus, the nominal price may be much higher and with stagnant wages, the consumers are gonna get slammed. People really need to figure out how to reduce or eliminate their gasoline usage with bikes, public transportation, hybrids, CNG cars, PHEVs, and BEVs.

Vehicle miles traveled per capita has been declining since about 2005. It could drop another 25% to get back to 1970s levels. That, plus a doubling of miles per gallon since the '70s should significantly reduce gasoline usage.


It's becoming more and more obvious to me that without all that pointless and stupid individual driving (or how to use a one-ton vehicle to carry one tiny human being), the situation would not be so dire. It would buy us a good 30 years of oil consumption.
Rush hour makes me want to cry at the sheer imbecility of it.

"Rush hour makes me want to cry at the sheer imbecility of it."

A thought that I often have as I ride my bike along lines of stopped cars on the way to the station, and watch the same on the freeway during the light rail and heavy rail portions of my daily commute. I reserve my fossil fuel use for weekend activities that aren't possible using transit.

How dare you forsake the freedom and convenience of the automobile.

It's back to the Re-Education Camps for westcoaster!

"Rush hour makes me want to cry at the sheer imbecility of it."

LOL! You should have been with me yesterday. I´m down in Brazil in São Paulo at the moment. I took a local city bus to take care of an errand and since it was a beautiful morning I decided to walk the 6 kilometers back home. I found myself walking next to the same car in traffic almost the entire way... the driver kept looking at me as if I was some kind of alien creature from another planet...

Then in the afternoon we had a torrential downpour causing massive flooding all over the city, much worse than anything I have ever seen during a major hurricane where I live in South Florida, there were cars floating everywhere, it was total caos. Climate change?! Dunno. Anyways, this apparently caused the 4th longest recorded traffic jam ever for the city, 261 Km long. The record is 295 Km.

Yet the Brazilians in this town continue to desperately cling to the automobile centric lifestyle despite the fact that it is blatantly unsustainable here. The world is completely insane!

May I join you in shedding some tears?

Edit here´s a pict of what it looked like:

Wow, impressive picture (and story).
I would add that an automobile centric lifestyle is unsustainable anywhere, not only in Brazil.

Cars will have to go one way or the other. And it won't be pretty, all those people having to walk.

And it won't be pretty, all those people having to walk.

Actually, I´m kinda looking forward to the walking part >;-)



There will be biking too, of course. And scootering, skate boarding, sailboarding, you name it. Survival of the fittest, for real.

Only 20% of the vehicle fleet was commercial over here, OZ/NZ, last time I looked. 25% of crush hour traffic was education related. The vehicle fleet was not counted in the capital wealth of the country, unlike machinery and buildings. The vehicle fleet all devalues to write-off at about 12 years I think, while costing a lot to run and maintain. I could not find that other 80%'s contribution to the economy. Land use of car ownership is also not counted, when the prescribed land under a car is worth far more than the car on it, and is prescribed in all our massively complex and comprehensive town planning legislation. Therefore, even if you don't own a car you are still paying in residential land and commercial land. Car use on a non-saturated roading network might be a convenience, but its loss need not be detrimental to the economy.

There for Carnival? I recall the rain from when I was there but I don't recall it as bad as that. In the Carnival, before the sambadromo was built, they had lights along the top of the stands. They ran on 3 phases and one phase went out so every 3rd light went out. The poor electrician, in rain cape and hood was up the ladder looking into the fuse box with rain pouring off his back. His supervisors were urging him to change it while he shook his head back in obvious disagreement. Can't say I blamed him, better 1/3 the lights out than his lights out.


There for Carnival?

LOL! No, Carnival was over last month, I´m here looking for sane and at least somewhat sustainable business opportunities and to see if any parts of Brazil, other than São Paulo, might harbor some form of intelligent life >;-)

So far all I´ve found here are the local variant of Homo sapiens and they don´t seem any wiser than the ones that live in the US...

China's churning out 19 million 4-wheeled vehicles and about 24 million motorcycles (!) a year, of which at least 97% run on just gasoline or diesel. In 2003 China's combined vehicle production, excluding motorcycles, was 4.6 million units.


I'm pretty sure the car sales statistics sited are reasonably accurate, not sure about the motorcycle.

Re: Global warming’s new frightening deadline

Another one of those gloom-and-doom articles we all love to read (but ignore). Here's the punch line:

According to the Meinshausen paper, up to 80 per cent of our known reserve of fossil fuels will have to stay in the ground...

“This does not mean shutting down the oilsands. It does not mean shutting coal mines. These will continue to operate for decades. But you cannot be expanding carbon polluting production and also prevent 2 C or even 4 C temperature increase. The industry knows this, but prefers its ads telling us about the jobs and revenue from expanding the polluting infrastructure.”...

“Even the International Energy Agency and the World Bank have recently conceded that even if present agreed-upon policies were implemented, the world is likely headed to four Celsius degrees warming by the end of the century. This would render much of the most heavily populated parts of the earth uninhabitable ...

E. Swanson

One of the major implications of the increasing temps is ice melt in the Arctic and resulting methane releases. Give credit to wiseindian for originally posting the following link:


There are two things to see here. Scroll down and watch the overlayment of ice melt areas matching up with methane releases. They match up perfectly!

Then scroll a little further down to 5 side by side views of the Arctic from 2009-2013 and the increase in methane release is clearly obvious and alarming.

So while the climatologists try in vain to get the skeptics to at least admit dramatic warming has occurred in the past 100 years, reversing a cooling trend that had been going on for thousands of years, the above information really should be what people are talking about. But I suppose we always have to play to the one's lagging furthest behind, the lowest common denominator. My concern is that by the time we get all the laggerts to face up to human induced warming, Arctic methane will be releasing en masse and we will be in the throws of runaway GW.

Perk, I'd say we were witnessing abrupt climate change right now and whatever we do will not stop us going past 2c without even slowing down.

Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years

Figure S3 from the supplementary material of Marcott et al

As a consequence we will use every bit of energy we can get to survive, even though the consequences will be dire. But even before we see major climate change, I believe we will see major changes to our weather because of what's happening in the Arctic. I think we will struggle to even cope with these altered weather patterns, let alone abrupt climate change.

Our institutions are not going to respond or adapt fast enough to shield us from the worst of what's coming. We're on our own and the devil take the hindmost. Also, if we are to survive we will need access to energy, lots of energy.


I am working on a climate map based on the "Mayan Calendar" ... there ... got your TV attention ...

NO, really it is a climate map based on axial precession.

Under this concept we ocillate at about 12,500 years from maximum to maximum.

The gist of it is that since axial tilt causes seasons on an annual scale, axial precession causes seasonal evolution on a 12,500 year stage.

None of which changes the basic fact that Oil-Qaeda has subverted us to bring AGW to the fore.

Axial precession takes ~26,000 years, so maximum to minimum NH insolation takes ~13,000 years. This is one of the Milankovitch orbital cycles. These days, the Earth is closest to the Sun on 4 January...

E. Swanson

Tru dat ... 13,000 scuse me.

I thought methane releases moderated since around 15 years ago.. I don't think the laggards will do anything else but smell car tailpipe exhaust. I have enough experience riding a bicycle to know this.

They have been on the rise. Leakage from fracking, and warming feedbacks, like arctic&subarctic permafrost releases.

If you look carefully at the scale on those methane maps, you'll see that the colours go from an "everything's fine" blue to an "oh no we're doomed" red, over a range of a couple of percent. Its a graphic scam to exaggerate what is actually a pretty small effect.

Its worth keeping an eye on, but there isn't any significant methane release. Yet.

there isn't any significant methane release. Yet.

All true. But if some region is a couple percent higher, it is likely exporting the excess to the rest of the globe, as methane is a fairly well mixed atmospheric gas. And the global average has been inching back up lately.

It's obvious to a blind man that we [humans] can't change the trajectory we are on. Better of to prepare for some consequences IMO.

The trajectory will be bad, very bad or potentially horrendous depending on how much FF in the ground we decide to extract/dig up and burn, vs. making a more concerted effort to switch to alternatives. How much room for expansion is there with PV's? Why not require any new or remodel construction have solar installed? How many millions of acres of desert is there between Nevada and Arizona that could be utilized for solar arrays? How much more could be done with wind if there was a moderinized electrical grid?

What incentives are there for developing countries to expand renewables? There is so much more that can be done. If we give up on trying and simply burn baby burn FF, we will seal our fate. Not extinction of humans, but the end of civilization as we know it.

There is so much more that can be done. If we give up on trying and simply burn baby burn FF, we will seal our fate.

Sorry to break this to you Earl, but you do not have the power to change the trajectory of human civilization, no matter how hard you try. Our fate is sealed, collapse is inevitable. The only question that remains now is when and how long it will take.

Ron P.

Collapse of civilization is inevitable only if you model everything with averages.

However, prior to the exploitation of fossil fuels, civilization was an enterprise of a small minority. As fossil fuels exhaust, civilization is likely to once again involve a more limited percentage of the global population -- down from maybe 50% to perhaps a few percent of a somewhat reduced population.

Written by Merrill:
As fossil fuels exhaust....

Waiting for depletion to halt fossil carbon emissions seals the fate because there are enough economically extractable fossil fuels, if extracted and burned, to wreck our habitable environment. Humans must leave most of them in the ground to avoid the pollution escalating out of control. Nothing anyone has tried has halted the exponential growth of the extraction of fossil fuels.

If I understand correctly what other have posted here, "the exponential growth of the extraction of fossil fuels" has already halted. Crude oil is essentially constant over the last several years. Oil sands and natural gas are increasing, but that is viewed as replacing flagging crude oil production. Coal may still be increasing, but it is unlikely to increase exponentially. The largest reserves of coal are in the US and China. Coal production in the US is not growing exponentially, and the Chinese are reaching an air pollution limit in the use of coal. The Chinese are turning to nuclear and renewables as fast as they can.

Unfortunately, it won't require exponential CO2 growth to cook the planet. "More of the same" is enough, 'twill serve.

"Leave it in the ground" is indeed the only useful answer. List the ways in which most remaining fossil carbon stays permanently below ground unoxidized; and those are the scenarios in which extant large life and something like current ecosystems can survive, and in which some sort of human civilization could plausibly exist.

No other strategy will make a difference.

Of course, the scenarios on that list are mostly no fun for humans in the short term, to say the least. So there's the challenge.

you do not have the power to change the trajectory of human civilization, no matter how hard you try.

I hate to break it to you, but I never claimed I personally could. My point was if 'we' toss up our hands and simply burn the stuff and take what comes it will be the worst case scenario or we can do what we can. Rememberr there are always choices, maybe hard ones but nonetheless choices. Bust a move as much as possible on renewables and still suffer or get run out of town so to speak. I have no illusions it is going to get bad, but just how bad is still up to us.

I have no illusions it is going to get bad, but just how bad is still up to us.

You keep speaking of "us" and "we". Just who are these guys that are in leagues with you in your effort to save the world?

Just kidding, I think I know who you are talking about. You are talking about the general population of the world. And I have some sad news for you. "We" don't believe a word of it. "We" think everything is just fine and "we" will continue to believe that until the actual events, the actual collapse, convinces "us" otherwise.

Sorry. Ron P.

You are right, of course. Or at least I think you are almost definitely right as I cannot see any reason to believe any other scenario. Although, I would love to be wrong. Which is possible. For example, I thought the stock market would have crashed again by now or at least not gone up near this high.

Apparently,however, there are people who still have hope that "we" can turn this thing around, that "we" will do the right thing before it's too late. It is probably already too late but it still stands that there are people, possibly in the tens of thousands, maybe more, who still have hope. Many of them may even be visiting or commenting on this web site.

From time to time, I do what you do. I tell people, including my wife, that it is hopeless. Which is kind of a downer. Since she is making a difference in the short run on less existential things like saving bears and beavers. But it clouds my thinking and makes me less happy than I would otherwise be.

So, why do you do it? I know it is fun for you to follow oil production but why bother to bring the people who still have hope up short. I am not trying to set you apart. Maybe I am just being selfish since I do the same thing although not as often as you do. What's the point? Nothing can be done. But even if there is the teenyist, tinyist chance that there is so hope, why kill the baby in the crib?

I will admit from time to time that I behave as if there is hope as I ponder different "solutions" to the problems we have. But then I used to play chess and bridge. And those two past times were clearly pointless.

I don't believe a damn bit of it about the stock casino. I thought this was a pretty good summation of what's really going on.

Dow Jones Hits 'Record High' Thanks To Strong Performances From Smoke, Mirrors Sectors


There is another theory. The ongoing restructuring of our economy to benefit the one percent. The economy may suck, but corporate profits are in record territory. Stocks represent a claim on corporate profits. We are changing the distribution of the economies proceeds away from labor, and towards capital. So capital becomes more valuable.

And/but there are more currency units chasing a relativly unchanged number of units of output, resulting in a higher currency valuation per production unit?


It is not just smoke & mirrors. You can certainly increase your profits by firing much of your work force and not paying the remaining ones much because they are too afraid to lose their jobs with so many desperate people out there trying to get jobs.

Plus a lot of companies have off-shored as much labor as they can so they products are built in China and customer service is handled by people at call centers in India.

This sounds like an effective short term strategy but it seem like eventually the companies will run out of customers. There is also the issue of the amount of money that the FED keeps printing. How long this can keep the market going up I have no idea.

an effective short term strategy but
Thats a problem with a system that allows a multiplicity of organizations to compete for their own narrowly defined interests. Anything that requires widespread restraint or sacrifice, simply aint gonna happen.

One problem with more and more of the wealth funnelled towards the 1% and the lower 50% making do on less and less is that the customer base is shrinking. Trying to make the bottom line fatter (does this accounting make my bottom line look fat - sorry) so as to please Wall Street by de-hiring and cutting wages simply leaves people with less available money to spend, reducing sales requiring more cuts to keep the bottom line fat. And so on around the spiral down.


Oh I fully agree. I think that has been true since 80's and we've see a slow decline in US wage since then because of it.

But in a way, there is sort of a 'tragedy of the commons' going on with the American consumer being "the commons". All the corporations are trying to cut their American labor costs while still wanting the American consumer to buy their product. But since they all have been doing it, the American consumer has gotten squeezed. And now government workers (traditionally lower paid than private workers) and welfare recipients are viewed as target markets. The system it eating itself.

'They' certainly are deluded, and collapse is probably the only way 'they' (as in the masses) will get it. I am no advocate of the ability of the general population to get peak oil or AGW, or to then make major adjustments. But in the sense of truth in advertising so to speak, 'they' should know there are degrees of collapse and the choices made now on how much FF gets burned is still at least partly on the table. I'm certain that if as much as economically feasible can be burned, it's full on cataclysm. Cats sleeping with dogs, wrath of God, old testament (from ghostbusters).

The fact that the planet had been on a cooling trend for thousands of years, then in just 100 years that was reversed and shot up .8C is a testament to just how powerful CO2 emissions are in warming the planet. How people can be in denial about whether or not the recent warming trend is human induced is phenomenal! Think about it, humans reversed a worldwide climatic cooling trend. That should be a revelation, but probably will get lost in all the day to day info. on Kim Kardashian's weight gain while pregnant.

I don't think you understand. GP was brought up on the oil fountain the Rockefeller's developed (I'm oversimplifying), and so was I.

There are a few people that have managed to get people in league with them, generally they pander to the vices (which are competitive) of the general population. They have been remarkably successful at this.

There is a town in California that is apparently on the verge of requiring all new houses to have at least 1kw solar. A start, I guess. But it makes sense to require at least everywhere there is sufficient sunlight.

Heard debate on tar sands this morning which included the Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Yes, all this alternative stuff is good, according to him, but we need oil and need oil right now to run our civilization. That's always the response. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. But what if one invested an equivalent amount of money right now in solar, wind, geothermal, efficiency,transit, biking, walking, etc. right now. Oh, but we need a transition. Well, we heard that 20 years ago and we are not transitioning.

Solar and wind are by no means perfect and there still are issues to be improved upon, but as long as we are taking chances with our planet, I would rather take chances on the alternatives and guaranteed negawatts from more compact cities, walking, biking, etc.

Roll the dice with climate change? If only. If only are odds were as good as rolling the dice. More like Russian Roulette with only one chamber empty. At best.

There is a town in California that is apparently on the verge of requiring all new houses to have at least 1kw solar.

There's what I was talking about above, doing something. It may be minor but may also be a great example that will encourage other states to follow suit, and hopefully thereafter raise the bar.

There has been a lot of debate in this forum about the price of fossil fuels affecting demand, Rockmans Peak Oil Dynamic.

The Irish government derives 16% of its total tax take from fuel taxes, that is not really unusual for a European country but here comes the point, the Peak Oil Dynamic also drives a response.

Since 2009 new houses in Ireland had to incorporate a reasonable amount of renewable energy, yeah I know, define reasonable, from 2015 though all new houses must incorporate enough renewable energy devices to cover 20% of its energy requirement, in addition there are pretty strict regulations on the energy efficiency of the building and where natural gas or oil fueled boilers are used for heating, they must be at least 90% efficient.

The Irish electricity grid already regularly runs with up to 50% of demand being supplied by wind.

High energy prices can be a major driver of change.

There is a town in California that is apparently on the verge of requiring all new houses to have at least 1kw solar.

I believe this is Lancaster, in the Antelope valley. This is a remarkable turnaround. Just a year ago they were resisting First Solar's giant solar ranch in that same valley. Antelope valley receives lots of sun and lots of wind, and has become a major site for large scale wind and solar plants in southern California (mostly serving LA). These large plants had become locally controversial, and there was considerable friction developing between locals, and the various site developers. I'm glad to see they are embracing solar like this.

Personally I don't think civilisation as we know is worth saving. I'd happily see it shut down. Our civilisation has destroyed all the sustainable ones in the name of profit, good riddence. In fact I wish it would hurry up and get on with it.

Our civilization is clearly behaving exactly like a cancer or a virus. The sooner it collapses the better chance that some may survive our brush with "progress".

I know this is simplistic, but I love the Earth in all its diversity, life, and beauty. Even the ugliness. I love dirt, plants, animals and even some people. However, I suspect that part of the reason that I love all those things is because of a system that supports my ability to think about those things and not fighting tooth and claw for survival. This is not an argument for so called civilization as we know it but a new kind of existence that can support us at a reasonable level without destroying all the things that many of us love. I don't know if that is possible but simply wishing the end of civilization is probably not the way to go.

Besides, I think we had so called civilization way before fossil fuels. The trick, however, might be to figure out how to have that without the negative side effects like slaves and massive exploitation of our fellow man and fellow creatures.

Of course it really doesn't matter what I think about all this. So I guess I just need to go with the flow until there is no flow.

I guess I just need to go with the flow until there is no flow.

entrippy man.

Black_Dog et al.
For inspiration, I highly recommend Allan Savory TED Talk Mar 4, 2013: “How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change”. It is the most inspiring presentation I have seen recently. Savory shows how managing dense herds for a few days and then leaving the land for 3-6 months reverses the current widespread desertification of grasslands that has been the primary cause of long term climate change and degradation. Cattle trampling grass and providing manure covers the ground, reducing evaporation, and restores biodiversity. The conventional wisdom of reducing cattle density actually increases desertification. Savory gave more detailed talk at the Feasta Annual Lecture, 7 November 2009, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Further resources are available at the Savory Institute.

PS climate models only project 3X too high temperature trends compared the last decade of actual global temperature. See also the last decade of sea level temperatures. i.e., Relax. CO2 is plant food. Developing countries need it to increase agricultural output.

Probing Impact of Warming On the World's Food Supply

Yale Environment 360: It has previously been believed that an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide would boost crop yields through fertilization. How does your research challenge this?

Stephen Long: The impact of CO2 on crops has been seen as the one benefit we would get from climate change. We do know that if we elevate CO2 in the laboratory, we see a boost in the yield of many crops. But what we’ve now begun to observe is that when we do this under open field conditions, without any enclosures, we do not see the large yield increases that were expected from laboratory experiments.

You are kidding right? Even the most rudimentary search throws this up:

''Land management researchers have heavily criticized the concepts of holistic management because experiments conducted on grazed land in many different places in the last few decades have failed to find any scientific support for their validity.[5] Virtually no active academic rangeland ecology researchers have come forward to espouse holistic management principles''.

The guy sounds like a snake oil salesman.

Ha. I was thinking similar thoughts. I suspect that Savory works with extremely ignorant farmers, in that any change in management practices is a change for the better, because it would be hard to do worse. He seems to mean well, and not be doing any harm though.

Maybe we need to prefix un every time we say his name!

Sorry, couldn't resist!

''Land management researchers have heavily criticized the concepts of holistic management because experiments conducted on grazed land in many different places in the last few decades have failed to find any scientific support for their validity.[5] Virtually no active academic rangeland ecology researchers have come forward to espouse holistic management principles''..

The real problem with Savory´s work is that he hasn´t provided the hard data and rigorous scintific analysis to back up his claims. To be fair that isn´t quite the same saying that there is no scientific support for the validity of his claims. It is also untrue that no active academic rangeland ecology researchers have come forward to espouse holistic management principles.


My first encounter with Savory’s ideas were as a youth were helping my father cross-fence our ranch so that we could better plan and manage our grazing (in response to this guy named Savory). My first academic encounter with his ideas were as a graduate student when the faculty I worked with (across multiple disciplines in multiple regions of the country) were wrestling with his ideas and engaging in discussions about whether HM might apply to non-rangeland dimensions of agricultural research and management. While I know Savory has been unfairly criticized in certain scientific circles within the academic institutions, I think that many of the rest of us are just looking for more rigorous supporting evidence that can be replicated under other circumstances because we find his ideas compelling. And, for that, we need more data…..

I also have a friend who is a Brazilian ecologist who is currently doing research on holistic land management in the arid north east region of Brazil. As of this time his data and final analysis have yet to be published but from what he has told me, I´d say that it might be a bit premature to completely discount Savory´s approach out of hand.

There is also an ongoing experiment happening in Siberia

Sergey A. Zimov, director of the Northeast Science Station in Cherskii in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), received his academic training in geophysics at the Far East State University in Vladivostok, Russia. He subsequently did fieldwork in northern Siberia for the Pacific Institute for Geography, part of the Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In 1980, he organized the science station that he now directs. Research at the center includes studies of global carbon and methane budgets and animal extinctions that occurred in Siberia when the Pleistocene epoch gave way to the ongoing Holocene about 10,000 years ago. In 1989, Zimov initiated a long-term project known as “Pleistocene Park,” which he now is pursuing with a number of partners. The goal of the project is to reconstitute the long-gone ecosystem of the Pleistocene epoch that supported vast populations of large animals including mammoths, horses, reindeer, bison, wolves, and other large predators. If the effort succeeds in the park, Zimov and his co-workers would like to see the ecosystem restored over much larger areas in an effort to stave off what otherwise could be a massive release of carbon that now is sequestered in the permafrost but that could be released into the atmosphere as global temperatures rise.

Hey, I think these ideas sure beat fertilizing the oceans with iron or seeding clouds with sulphur in some other cockamany geoengineering schemes with even less scientific data to back them up...

The biggest problem is where the cattle will get its water.


And we know where academic ag researchers get their money, right? Paradigm shifts are extremely difficult and those embedded in the system will be the last to change. Savory works outside that system, which is a tough road to hoe.

I've been around arid grazing all my life and was impressed by a presentation and slide show I saw last year. The crowd was full of rancher types who, as a group, are about as careful, sceptical and conservative as you will find. They were listening hard.

Savory is basically mimicing natural ecological processes. His system
(which isn't some generic "wholistic management")is complex, site specific and very hands on.

I can't say that I am totally sold, but the alternative (BAU) certainly isn't sustainable.

I'd suggest some familarization with Savory's methods before the critical comments.

I was impressed with the slideshow, however I'm very familiar with rotational grazing and grass fed beef and dairy. I have never seen an area where stock is excluded go backwards in terms of desertification. Next time you are driving down the road in an arid climate look at where the best pasture is, in the paddock or on the roadside. It always seems to be ok on the roadside without any help at all from livestock. This shouldn't be possible according to Savory.

His system is site specific, complex and hands on, I still rate it alongside hollistic medicine. Yes it works for some, but I wouldn't spend any money on it.

I agree that BAU is unsustainable, and there are pleanty of terrible farmers out there who could benefit from some management help. But comparing the system to a rested pasture, or industry best practice you wont see the dramatic improvements shown on the slideshow.

One more point, a shift from best practices to hollistic management will show reduced production every time guaranteed.

Pleanty of inspiring TEDX talks out there, remember the e-cat?


I thought the type of comments following the TED talk was quite illuminating, and did little to help those challenging him on scientific grounds to win much considered skepticism with me.

As one of the commenters defending him remarked, the similarities to what Joel Salatin has done to restore the soils and grasses at his Polyacre farm with careful timing and blending of species to regrow the pastureland in increments makes it seem quite possible that there's something behind what he's doing.

We are all aware of truths that too many people won't listen to because they don't get to see it researched and verified by authoritative sources, giving palatable and affordable answers.. Particularly processes that are too expensive or labor intensive for our current economy-driven mindsets to be willing to swallow.

Your link to Roy Spencer's site makes me a bit irate. Having written a paper which criticized Spencer and Christy's satellite temperature data, I find their continued claims awfully hard to stomach. For example, they still report "temperatures" over the Antarctic, when the other group which works with the MCU/AMSU data excludes everything south of 70S. And, Spencer and Christy extend their data set beyond the range of measurement via "interpolation" to give the appearance of complete coverage of the Earth. Think about it, it's as if they are working with a one dimensional data set and "interpolate" beyond the end of the discrete points.

Not to mention the fact that Spencer's latest starts with the rather warm year of 1998 and then looks only at tropical data, when the greatest change is expected to appear at the poles. Of course, Spencer poo-poos the claim that aerosols might be reducing the warming trend, while lots of us around here regularly comment about how fast China and India are increasing their burning of coal and how bad the resulting air pollution appears to be. Ever heard of the "Asian Brown Cloud"?

E. Swanson

That cloud is actually holding off the effects of warming from the huge increase in coal use.. won't take too long for the sulphur oxides to wash out, a few years at best.

a few years at best.

Only if it makes it into the stratosphere, which almost none of it does. The rest comes out within a few weeks. Thats why some are proposing injection of sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere as a geoengineering intervention. It doesn't take that much, because it stays there for a decently long time.


Perhaps I should have said sulphate aerosols. SOx definitely does wash out quickly. Apparently, the sulphate aerosols affect cloud reflectivity, according to NASA. According to NASA, sulphates wash out quickly as well, as you say.

Moving sulphates into the stratosphere.. I don't know, the Pinatubo eruption in 1991 ejected 20 mtonnes of SOx into the air (as well as an unknown amount of dust) and caused some cooling .. which lasted about 3 years. The eruption reduced ozone levels as well.

The Savory people also argue that soil with the associated biomass have the potential to store tremendous amounts of carbon, much more than needed to reverse FF contributions. Overgrazing, a worldwide phenomonom, releases carbon. A successful transition to their methods would dwarf any geo-engineering scheme.

3 Ways Alternative Energy Cars Can Save Drivers Money in 2013

Everyone knows that alternative energy cars can save you money on gas, but there are other ways that these cars can decrease the impact your means of transportation has on your wallet.

Does everyone really know that? EVs can cost 1/3 to 1/5th the cost of a conventional ICE gas car to fuel depending on your local gas & electricity prices but a lot of people don't seem to know that.

The 2013 Nissan Leaf S can be leased for $199/month. A lot of commuters pay more than that per month for gasoline and you only get about 20 cents value to the dollar for gasoline because a gasoline car is only about 20% efficient. With a Leaf you will never have to go to a gas station, just plug it in at home and/or at work. You will never need a oil change or a engine tune up or replace the exhaust system and you will not be polluting.

you will not be polluting.

Doesn't that depend on the energy source for the electricity? I'm angling towards getting solar for our house, which I'm currently researching. Then for local driving get an EV and charging up from the solar. If that all comes to fruition, then that would constitute pollution free driving.

Every kilowatthour of electric produced with solar PV is a kilowatthour that does not have to be produced by FF.
As for pollution in the vicinity of the vehicle: Millions of commuters drive on multi-lane highways packed with cars. The quality of the air they are breathing must be real bad as they are surrounded by exhaust pipes. The exhaust is invisible so people aren't aware of it but it is bad stuff. To prove that go into your garage, close the door and leave the engine running.
If all of the cars on the highway were electric there would be no pollution and drivers would be breathing clean air. That is something to hopefully look foreward to.

I never claimed an internal combustion engine does not pollute. Try to read a person's post as it is written, without reacting by claiming things they never suggested.

My point was if you plug into the grid at home, you don't know where the power came from to recharge the vehicle, right?! You don't know if it was coal, NG, hydro, solar, etc. But if it was one of those first two (coal or NG) then driving an EV charged by those sources of energy is polluting. It's indirect, but still it is polluting.

You can't just look at an EV within a vacuum. You have to account for where the energy comes from to charge it.

You can probably find out roughly what the average mix of your utility is. For instance for PG&E approx half is Nuclear and large scale hydro, with some wind/solar/geothermal/biomass/(small-hydro). Most of the rest is nat gas. Some coal power is imported on hot summer days.

Of course average carbon intensity, and the intensity on the margin (if demand increases/decrease by say one kilowatt, how does that mix change?) are not the same.

Perk Earl
I wasn't reacting to anything you said. I agree with you said. I was just making a statement. Maybe my wording could have been better.
When a EV is charged from the grid there can be pollution from what ever energy source is feeding the grid. That pollution will probably be far away from the road where the vehicles are. Please note that the pollution that I was talking about was in the vicinity of the operating vehicles. Basically what I said is. If a vehicle is traveling on a busy road surrounded by ICE vehicles there will be lots of pollution. If a vehicle is traveling on a busy road surrounded by electric vehicles there will be no pollution and that would be much better for millions of commuters.

Alright, that we can agree upon.

If a vehicle cyclist is traveling on a busy road (and "pedestrians" in a city) surrounded by ICE vehicles there will be lots of pollution. If a vehicle cyclist is traveling on a busy road surrounded by electric vehicles there will be no pollution and that would be much better for millions of commuters cyclists and "pedestrians".


I was out walking dogs with my sister yesterday when, sequentially, a VW TDI Diesel and (two-stroke cycle) moped went by...seconds later she said "This road is really polluted."

You can't just plug it in at home or work. There is quite a large cash outlay that must occur in both locations before that can occur.

You can plug a Nissan Leaf into a standard 110V outlet. Granted, this would be rather slow, but in a standard 8 hour work day you would gain about 30 miles of range. Do the same at night while you sleep for eight hours and you'd have another 30 miles of range.

I'm not seeing the mandatory large cash outlay.

EV's and especially plug-in-hybrids, can be plugged into 120volt outlets. You can get a 240volt charging station installed (would probably be a good idea for a Leaf or a Volt or a Tesla). For plug-ins with small batteries like Toyota, or Ford 120volt should be perfectly adequate.

If don't shop around, it will probably cost around $1500 for a level-2 charger installed.

If you can install it yourself, you can probably get one for $500 or so.

If you picked up a mobile 240V EVSE for around 900, you can probably just have an electrician hook-up a dryer type of 240 outlet for $100 or so.

Or, as someone indicated, you can just use a regular 120V outlet. That can work if your commute is nearby or your can plug in at work. And it is fine for the Volt. But for a pure EV, it is probably worth getting a 240V EVSE.

These guys are modding the original mobile adapters to detect 240V (note they make you buy a $25 extra cord to go back to 120V - kind of a dickish move there, plus $20 shipping)

Upgrade service for Nissan/Mitsubishi/Toyota (Panasonic) L1 EVSE including heavy-duty UL Listed and EMI/RFI shielded molded twist-lock NEMA L6-20 plug: $239.00

I wonder if on the base level mod they do anything but change the plug...the thing that does the real work sits in the car. I'm sure there are some EE's on here that can look at the specs and see if they're getting taken to the cleaners.

Despite it's name, the Nissan "leaf" does not grow on trees. Every car produced represents tens of thousands of Kg of solid waste and hundreds of millions of cubic meters of air polluted during the manufacturing process. And that's not counting retirement/disposal of the vehicle. Massive quantities of ore are required to produce each car. The automobile is the most ecologically destructive product the average industrialized nation consumer purchases over his or her lifetime- in fact the automobile fleet is the most ravenous consumer of raw materials mankind has ever conceived.

The average car uses an 1,840 pounds of steel and 300 pounds of aluminum, contains $1,700 in electronics, requires and enormous amount of plastics, copper/brass, zinc die castings, magnesium castings, lubricants, rubber, glass... the list goes on. Then of course you have the attendant infrastructure required by the automobile; a football field sized plot of land paved for every 5 cars. Entire cities eaten away by parking lots and sprawling roads subsidized by the non-driving public.

Electric automobiles are a palliative, salve for whatever flickering conscience remains in a rapacious culture of consumption and domination. Nothing more.

Electric automobiles are a palliative, salve for whatever flickering conscience remains in a rapacious culture of consumption and domination. Nothing more.

Well, yes and no! There is of course the luxury Tesla, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt all representatives of the unsustainable BAU paradigm. There are certainly less materials intensive EVs think, GEMs or even home built solar powered golfcarts. Last but not least there is the option of electric assist velomobiles.

So it is at least theoretically possible to be somewhat of an outlier on the bell curve of flickering conscience and opt for a less materials intensive electric vehicle for personal transport... and you could always walk or ride an ebike!

Best hopes for flickering consciences >;-)






Purely a concept for the moment, the EV-STER offers a 160-kilometer range, a 0-37 mph (60kph) time of 5.0 seconds and a top speed of 99 mph, though Honda isn't offering much in the way of hardware specifications.

Based on the quoted charge times the battery size was estimated to be about 10kWhr - putting this in the 100 Wh/mi territory. One can almost always expect a production version to grow in size and weight - but if they come close 150 Wh/mi seems achievable with this. The width would allow easy road sharing with bicycles.

Matthias Beebe
Everything you say might very well be true. Look at North Korea on youtube. There are very few cars and lots of people walk and ride bicycles and use public transit. It looks like what you might be advocating. I don't think it is realistic to expect our public to voluntarily go to something like that but that might be in our future like it or not. I think electric vehicles could make a big improvement from what we have now.


It's fine to be frustrated and opposed to the wastefulness of this system we are immersed in, but if you really want to get out, and I mean figure out ways for us all to make our way out of it, then it is really necessary to look at the stages or installments that will be necessary to do so.

Just fuming continuously about how wrong it is, seems to me to be another kind of salve, and I don't see how it helps us progress towards its own ideals.

To be clear, Mattias, I am not agreeing to the supposition about your approving the setup in North Korea, which I don't think was a really reasonable conclusion to assume at all, but I do agree that EV's, in their MANY forms as was also mentioned, that they will be a useful tool not only to transition our autos away from fuel-burning, which is not only 'just a step', but it is a large step, but that they are in fact also a tool for doing real physical work, a great deal of which will be required in order to make the transition that we have coming at us.

I do NOT (as I would hope you have already heard me say any number of times before) believe EV's can step in where our scads of commuting vehicles currently ply the asphalt, and consider that 'a job well done, and happy sailing from then on in..' The nature of work and commuting must change, the shape and balance of our roadways must change drastically, and the volume and mass of personal vehicles must be reduced enormously.. But after all that, we will still have roads, and we will still need to move people and goods over them, across many areas where there can not be enough railways in place. (and I do also, as anyone here should know, strongly support a massive buildout of Rail, both intercity/interstate, as well as for Mass Transit and local travel..)

There will still be motor vehicles, and I think it's blindly belligerent to try to suggest that this will not be so. It is NOT BAU, but do try to paint for us a picture of a way of living that would not have these incredibly effective (tho' grossly misapplied) vehicles.

Everything you say might very well be true. Look at North Korea on youtube. There are very few cars and lots of people walk and ride bicycles and use public transit. It looks like what you might be advocating.

I've seen you recommend the same to orbit7er in the last Drumbeat. Rather underhanded of you, to casually point to an impoverished military dictatorship as the alternative to auto-industrial fascism, and to suggest that those pointing toward a non-automobile dominated culture are advocating North Korean conditions.

Plenty of self-powered personal transportation in certain current free European societies. Not enough, but it's a start. Here's a channel of youtube videos linked by TimH in that same Drumbeat. Perhaps you should take a look:


You forgot to mention the environmental impacts of constructing a battery which not only uses many rare earth metals and is a health hazard in itself but the embodied energy in making the battery is considerable. An better alternative would be the electric tram that avoids entirely the need for batteries. And with no battery you can also avoiding the accompanying charge stations that would need to be in place if people decided to move towards electric cars. The battery of EV's are its Achilles heel both from an economic and environmental standpoint.

Best thing about the tram idea is we do not need a proof of concept model as we know it was used quite extensively in the past. The technology required to construct these trams is less complex than modern EVs so this should make it easier to maintain and repair in a world where net energy is declining. I do think when looking for solutions the general theme should be that if there is low-tech solution available that should be favoured over the high-tech as high-tech solutions generally require larger more complex supporting infrastructure to construct and maintain these products. Greater efficiencies can also be had if low speed limits become mandatory; another low-tech solution to increasing efficiency.

RE: Toxic Batteries..

But compared to what? At least batteries are contained, and can be made to be almost entirely recycled. At this point, almost every car on the planet is spewing it's waste directly into the atmosphere, from there, into our water, food and us and all life.

Regardless of the Favored Technologies, there isn't a wonderpill. We use and will need a variety of tools and transportation equipment.. batteries ARE a weak link.. but look around you. We're soaking in it. At least these are containable and reasonably managable compared to almost any other portable power option.

This is one of those damned thing that got started and just stuck - the meme that the Prius batteries are "toxic and non-recyclable" and just get dumped somewhere making a Hummmer look "green" in comparison...


Zero Landfill
The nickel-metal hydride batteries found in hybrid vehicles are basically "zero-landfill" products. Whatever can't be recycled is consumed in the recycling process, leaving no trash behind. The primary metals recovered are nickel, copper and iron. The principal rare earths are neodymium and lanthanum.

Lithium-ion batteries now are somewhere between 70 and 100 percent recyclable, depending on the particular chemistry of the batteries. There are about half a dozen in use and more are being developed. The bits that can't be recycled are mostly consumed as fuel in the furnaces that are used to melt down the metals, which include cobalt, copper, iron, nickel, manganese and, someday, lithium.

Recycling specialists say that as volume grows, it will become more economically feasible to recover some of the content now wasted that way. Lithium, for example, is so cheap that there's no economic case for recovering it from lithium-ion batteries right now, says Todd Coy, executive vice president of recycler Kinsbursky Brothers. The Southern California firm handles most North American advanced automotive battery recycling through a joint venture with longtime battery recycling firm Toxco.

The government of North Korea is repulsive and I in no way suggested that anyone approve of it. I only stated that it has as you call it a non-automobile dominated culture and use a lot of self-poweded personal transportation as they do in the youtube that you suggested that I looked at.

Thank you. Plus 10.

I agree, however, with the post below that EVs make sense as a niche, low powered, very small vehicle. I lived in a community where some used golf carts to get around within the community where the speed limits were 20 mph and there was no exposure to the highway. This made a lot of sense although I personally preferred to walk or use my bicycle.

It bears repeating that the auto itself and all its attendant infrastructure, including parking, creates the demand for itself. The goal should be access to daily necessities, not mobility per se. If towns and cities are compact enough and if zoned properly to have a useful mix of businesses serving daily needs, then it is more likely that people will walk, bike, and use transit where necessary.

I think people have just become numb and hardened over the years and they barely notice how completely insane their surroundings are.

Seriously…Sell Your Old-Crop Corn

For the year, all signs are pointing down for corn prices. Jerry Gulke sees no reason to hold old-crop corn.
"Corn: Carryover is unchanged. Imports were increased by 25 million bu., to 125 million bu. Corn exports were lowered 75 million bu., based on the slow pace of sales and shipments to date and stronger expected competition from South American corn and from competitively priced feed quality wheat, USDA reports. Feed and residual use was increased by 100 million bu. to 4.550 billion bu. The projected season-average farm price for corn was lowered 20 cents on the high end of the range to $6.75 to $7.45 per bu.
"We were looking for some help in the corn market," says Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group. "They lowered the exports and increased imports. We knew corn was coming in here, and they finally admitted it."

It would be interesting to know if he was promoting selling when the price was over $8.

The price of the crop of corn he is talking about was only over $8 before farmers had harvested and knew how much corn they actually had to sell. Cash corn prices since this crop has been harvested have averaged around $7. https://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/crops/pdf/a2-11.pdf

They are currently around $7.15-$7.30 in most area's of the corn belt.

It would have been impossible for him to tell farmers to sell all their corn before harvest when they don't know yet how much all was. He was telling farmers to price some corn when it was over $8. With the current very high basis levels prices to the farmer are currently near the highest levels they have been since harvest.

Limiting Climate Chaos

I have just put up a draft essay on my blog The Overlooked Silver Bullet - Limiting America's Carbon Emissions


Any comments are appreciated.

This essay was sparked by discussions on Sierra Club list servs - and my doubts about the effectiveness of limiting drug supplies to addicts (i.e. blocking Keystone XL).

Best Hopes for Better Policies,


PS: Still limited time due to caring for my father.

I am a bit surprised. Google stats show 90 links from The Oil Drum, but no comments.

Any reactions ?


Hi Alan,

Hope your dad is doing better.

I was one of those lazy bastards that looked but didn´t comment >;-)

Been a bit busy myself! I´ll go back later...



Waiting to have time to give it some thought. Working a lot right now..

Have now read it through. My main thought, and then instantaneous hesitation at commenting, is the same question that lingers over this whole set of topics. Energy, Climate and Societal Cooperation.

I completely agree with your premise, and I don't doubt that we either have or can help mold the population densities into shapes that will make this a highly successful effort in numerous Cities, small cities and large towns, including mine. The pause comes in trying to restrategize how to advocate for it in an environment that is so hostile to proposals which seem to insult the status quo, as if our pride as Americans was dependent upon treating energy like so many Ben Franklin's ($100 bills for you outlanders) that we can light up and roast our artificial marshmallows over.

Of course, no small part of this battle is one of reclaiming what it is to be an American, and pry off the superficial brand allegiances and similar facades of cheap patriotism that have insisted that they get to define our land and our culture for us.. Our progress, even in having this conversation move forward, has been repeatedly hamstrung by a set of artificial ideals that have gotten impressed into our common imagination, for the purposes of selling us a lifestyle that ultimately impoverishes and hobbles us.


Of course, no small part of this battle is one of reclaiming what it is to be an American, and pry off the superficial brand allegiances and similar facades of cheap patriotism that have insisted that they get to define our land and our culture for us..

Hey Bob,

Might I disagree? Perhaps it is time that we all start seriously thinking about how we transcend nationalism and so called patriotism. I´m sure my thinking at this particular moment is somewhat influenced by the fact that I find my self in 'South America', which, if I might be allowed to argue, is also part of the Americas, eh?

Though my point is, that our predicament is truly global and all of the Americas together are part of this tiny rock on which we orbit the sun and while solutions must certainly be found at the local level, all of humanity needs to realize that we are world citizens. All national borders are imaginary! We are all in the same damn boat on the same finite planet.

Every once in a while it is useful to listen Carl Sagan´s 'Pale Blue Dot' speech again...

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

We don't really disagree that much, Fred. What I'm pointing to is the very same unhealthy mindsets of cheap, stubborn pride that block the doors to change as the ones you describe.

I'm not willing to wrap myself blindly in the US flag, but I do have a sense that I am a part of a unique culture and society (and I don't use 'unique' to mean better, just distinct), just as my family or my state might also be a distinct group that I belong to and I exhibit and own some of its traits. And just as much as I can be encouraged and proud by the good we've been able to do, I as a member of it also count myself as a responsible contributor who needs to see where it is underperforming or betraying its ideals, and work to name and improve them, which is what I feel separates blind patriotism and nationalism from a healthy sense that you can help make the groups you are part of become more hopeful examples. That's the mindset I think blocks us changing our models from the Private Car and everyone separated by garages and lawns, to one where getting onto the train with assorted neighbors and strangers becomes unthreatening and doesn't 'make us look weak'..

It's not, to me, that sort of competition where I have to see 'ours are better than theirs', since I want the other nations to succeed just as much as our own, a success NOT modeled on winning King of the Hill, but on living in balance, treating our environment appropriately, etc.

Reg: All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
Attendee: Brought peace?
Reg: Oh, peace - shut up!

Monty Python - Life of Brian

It seems to me that many nations have copied the United States "success" or have been coerced/pressured/lured into doing so. There's nowhere that exemplifies this more than China - spending unholy amounts of resources on what will soon be a broken paradigm. So I see creating a new vision of "success" in America as being able to show that version of success to the rest of the world.

I was watching "UP w/ Chris Hayes" yesterday morning and on one of the segments he was talking about how since 9/11 2001 South America has almost been free of US meddling to do its own thing (and doing a good job of it) while 2009 was an "ah ha!" moment for them...seeing the US bury itself in crises while South America cruised along pretty much unscathed. The tide going out revealing a bunch of ugly fat naked people, so to speak.

There are also a great many countries that have among other positive changes, given women the right to vote, that have created air and water regulations and have moved towards civil rights legislation, inspired by movements that they saw happen in the USA .. not that the US necessarily can take total credit for each or all of these things, but there are positives AND negatives, and I don't see the problem in sorting the babies from the bathwater, and making a productive assessment of what our culture has to offer, and what it has to change.

I think it's not only fair, but in fact it's vital that we understand where our real strengths lie, so we can add them to the toolkit that the Human Race has available to take these next very difficult steps. I don't think I'm advocating at all for turning a blind eye to the errors, omissions or unanticipated downsides of our cultures works in doing so..

Your comparison of average size of single family homes between the '50s and today triggerd the question of whether there has been an equivalent increase in floor space of units in multiple dwelling units. This may be hard to find out and it may be complicated by the rise of condominium ownership today, while in the '50s, apartments were mostly rented.

Part of the reason for bringing this up is that the building of multiple dwelling units appears to be recovering faster than the construction of single family homes. http://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/pdf/newresconst.pdf has 2011 and 2012 numbers that show single family up 29.2%, 2-4 unit up 14.6% and 5+ unit up 50.3%. As for the Jan 2012 versus Jan 2013 comparison, the percentage increases are 29.2%, 50.0%, and 46.7%. This is all consistent with news stories that tell about a strong demand for rental units.

More renting also increases workforce mobility and allows people to move nearer their jobs.

Part of the reason for bringing this up is that the building of multiple dwelling units appears to be recovering faster than the construction of single family homes.

They are simply more efficient.

Put four square shaped houses together and half of the wall area is shared with another appartment. Put two on top of each other and either the wall or the roof is shared with another appartment. This reduce construction cost and need for space heating.

If an area is covered with this kind of buildings shorter roads are needed and there is a shorter distance to drive.

Correctly constructed it also make possible efficient public transportation. I have no idea how they have done in Moscow but I have seen comparisons of energy usage and they are exceptional compared to some north american cities.

karl,sadly most multi are poorly built energy wise they don't care about energy efficiency because the renter pays the bill.

Stricter building codes could improve that - as well as buyer interest in the case of condos.


I applaud your efforts, Alan, as always, yet understand that, using your metaphor of rolling boulders downhill (yes, some of us do keep up with your work), at this transitional time, you may be pushing boulders up hill. I say this understanding the very reality that makes the transitions you envision and promote necessary. Most of US society is deeply entrenched and invested in their status quo. They like things the way they are more than ideas of change. They also have some pretty good reasons for this. In your article you mention that:

The author recently saw a "real world" example of the market demand for TOD while visiting "Old Town" Alexandria, Virginia. Ten blocks from the Metro station (still close enough to walk or bike, but a good walk) an advertisement read "Condos from $300,000"). And as the author walked towards the station, he saw another advertisement, two blocks from the station, that read "Condos from $700,000").

Yikes!. What are the implications of this when it becomes obvious to the collective which will be affected?

Is the Beltline Bad for Atlanta?

Class has always been the shadow cast by New Urbanism. The idea of curbing sprawl and promoting greater urban density runs up against material realities time and time again. Consider Oregon’s much-lauded urban growth boundary system, which set a limit for growth around the state’s cities beginning in the 1970s. The policy was put in place by a liberal Republican governor, Tom McCall, who hoped to prevent “grasping wastrels” from gobbling up Oregon’s farms and scenic countryside. It has since promoted infill – intensive reuse of existing urban space, in lieu of expansion – and contributed to the famously walkable and bike-friendly urban culture of cities such as Portland. But setting a limit on growth necessarily restricts the amount of land available for development, making the remaining land both scarcer and dearer. Housing becomes smaller and more expensive. Working class Oregonians have not been wrong to ask whether the new urbanist ideal comes at too great a cost when they look in vain for homes they can afford to rent or buy. The walkable city, it turns out, might be a luxury of the upper middle class.

Metro Atlanta is now grappling with similar issues, as both the Tea Party right and activists on the Left line up in opposition to the Beltline – a plan to build a ring of parks, bike and walking paths, and eventually light rail around the city’s in-town neighborhoods. The project mostly traces the path of old rail lines that have long been out of use....


...Let’s look at the specifics, as best we understand them. By its own definition, the Beltline will create “a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown and connecting 45 neighborhoods directly to each other.” Like many public-private partnerships, the project is held together by a patchwork of federal funds, local government support, individual donations, volunteer work, and help from private entities like Bank of America. Understanding its myriad funding sources and the multiple arms of its projects is not easy to do.

The biggest critique centers on gentrification. “Since it’s inception, the BeltLine has received almost no criticism from self-identifying progressives,” says Atlanta Indymedia. This despite the fact that it is basically a “gentrification project for white people,” which involves the “forced displacement of Black families from the city.” The argument here is twofold: the Beltline runs through communities, such as the Old Fourth Ward and Reynoldstown, that have been traditionally working class and African American, but which have already begun to be transformed by largely white, middle-class urban newcomers who fix up the housing stock and raise property values, eventually pricing out the older residents because of rising property taxes and rents.

I personally know folks who were essentially priced out of their neighborhoods in Portland. I doubt they see this as a silver bullet, even if it was a step in the right direction for the city. That said, I've also seen many who were priced and zoned off of their family farms as the suburbs encroached. Point being that people and businesses are already in most of these areas, quite committed and invested in things as they are; not so concerned with how things could or should be.

If the effect of TOD is to push lower income folks farther away from the areas of new TOD development, then this needs to be accounted for. What are the gains (other than profit for those who bought low, developed, and sold high)? Increased tax bases, revitalization of neighborhoods, etc., and, of course, the also very real advantages that motivate you. I'm sure you've considered these things, and hope you'll comment a bit on the downsides to TOD. Thanks, Alan, and keep pushing that boulder.

BTW: I empathize with your family situation; been there, done that, but this too will pass. Chances are I wouldn't be in this better place if I hadn't given up a lot to come and care for my aging parents. Truly a turning point, especially the eventual moment that one realizes one is an orphan ;-/

Off to plant some new black raspberries. You may get more responses during the week if you re-post this. Weekends are a bit slow as of late.

The next line after your quoted paragraph has part of the answer - Unless the Law of Supply & Demand has been repealed, dramatically increasing the supply of TOD will decrease the premium it now commands

Reduce, but not eliminate, the premium.

In the best case, the TOD premium will be, from highest to lowest,

- 1 to 12 blocks from Urban Rail

Highest to Lowest TOD Value Stations
- served by multiple Metro lines (or junction of Light Rail & Metro)
- served by one Metro line
- served by one Light Rail line (few are served by multiple Light Rail lines except where lines intersect)
- served by streetcar (linear TOD along the route
- served by commuter rail
- served by bus to above

Those earning, say 150% or twice minimum wage, may need to live a dozen blocks from a Metro stations or 5 blocks from s streetcar line.

Housing may cost more, but living without a car (or two) saves $4,000 to $9,000/car/yr in after-tax income. Add to this lower utility bills and taxes in TOD.

Best Hopes that Leanan will allow me to repost later next week :-)


PS: An example of Light Rail feeding Metro in our plans for the DC area.

The dark red line (Wilson Bridge Light Rail) connects on the other end with the terminus of the Green Line and in the middle with our proposed Olive Metro Line, both in Maryland.

The light blue line (Leesburg Pike Light Rail) connects with the proposed Amber Line (on HOV lanes of I-395), the Columbia Pike streetcar (really Light Rail), West Falls Church Metro station on the Orange Line and Tyson's Corner on the under construction Silver Metro Line.

The light blue and yellow (Richmond Highway Light Rail) lines will generate LOTS of lower value, i.e. affordable, TOD. Unless extended further, the dark red line will not generate much TOD.

'Secret energy revolution' could hasten end to dependence on foreign oil

A wealth of new technologies -- from underwater robots to 3-D scanners to nano-engineered lubricants -- are transforming the energy exploration industry in ways that will hasten the end of America’s reliance on Middle East oil.
That’s the take on America’s “secret energy revolution,” according to a report in the Washington Guardian. And the proof is in the balance sheets: According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, monthly imports of oil peaked in Sept. 2006 at 12.7 million barrels per day and has declined 40 percent since then, to 7.6 million barrels in Nov. 2012.

This is weird. On the face of it, can't people see the difficulty here?
1) If you have to go through all these complex processes, the oil is going to be expensive.
2) We are eventually going to run out of these hydrocarbons just like ran out of the easy conventional ones.

Sure . . . it is great that we've found a way to improve domestic production but keep some perspective. It is not cheap and it won't last forever.

Fracking is the most high-profile means of doing so, a method for pumping pressurized, specially treated mud into the dense shale formations that trap oil and gas.

That has got to be the worse description of fracking ever. And it gets worse . . .

To hit some of the deepest ocean wells, Houston’s FMC Technologies wants to move oil production to the bottom of the ocean, with special undersea robots built to survive the incredible pressure at those depths.

The 'bottom of the ocean' has no oil (AFAIK). No, we are just drilling deeper but it is still on continental shelves. To my understanding, the oil generally forms in shallow areas although those shallow areas may have migrated a bit with continental drift. Just another technically crappy piece of Fox propaganda.

Spec – I’m still in a ranting mood so I’ll sound like I’m picking on you but I’m not.

The first observation heralds back to my earlier observation that the increase in oil production via the shales actually supports the PO position and doesn’t refute it. “If you have to go through all these complex processes, the oil is going to be expensive.” Or rephrased to be blunter: The development of the shales requires high oil prices. High prices resulting from our depleting oil reserves.

“We are eventually going to run out of these hydrocarbons just like ran out of the easy conventional ones.” A statement readily supported by a recent precedent: the Austin Chalk fractured oil play in Texas. Over 20 years ago this trend was even more heavily drilled than the Eagle Ford Shale is undergoing today. Yet little current activity for the very reason you mention: it’s been almost completely drilled up. BTW the AC is just hundreds of feet vertically from the EFS. This ain’t a new rodeo.

“…the worse description of fracking ever” Even worse than you might think. When drilling a shale one of the worst things to happen if for the drilling mud to be injected into the fractures during the drilling phase. Probably not so much ignorance o their part…just sloppiness.

Another new “miracle technology” discovered just in time to save us from PO: Subsea completions and their attendant robot slaves. LOL. Not too relevant but the first subsea completion was done over 60 years ago: a well in Lake Erie at a 35-ft water depth. The well had a land-type Christmas tree that required diver intervention for installation, maintenance, and flow line connections. But to be fair they didn’t become common place until a mere 30 years ago. In the late 1980s, Cameron introduced two new wellhead system designs that since have been installed in over 1,000 such subsea completions around the world. And, obviously the “robots” (ROV’s) have been around even longer. The development of such systems to operate in even deeper water is just an extension of existing technology. Again, only justified by the inevitable economic forces resulting from stumbling down that PO path.

All of which brings us back to your original point: higher oil prices, as a result of our depleting oil reserve base, have forced us to go after reserves that, though known at the time. were not economical to pursue when oil resources were more abundant.

"To my understanding, the oil generally forms in shallow areas although those shallow areas may have migrated a bit with continental drift.” Hmm…not quite but I’ll give you a point for knowing about continental drift. LOL. To develop an oil/NG field you need two critical components: reservoir rocks and source rocks. The fields exist around the margins of the coast lines because that’s where you find those components. Even those DW sediments found far out in the GOM were derived from the erosion of the North American continent. Similarly the carbonate (like the reefs) fields needed the shallow waters of the shelf to develop. Which is why the vast majority of the oceans has no hydrocarbon potential: too far from the continental masses.

“Just another technically crappy piece of Fox propaganda.” So true. I wouldn’t watch Fox at all in the morning while dressing for work if it weren’t for the lady talking heads with the great legs. I usually just turn the sound off. LOL

What I'm curious about is what happens when the current tight oil revolution slows down and prices rise . . . is there a next tier? Or is it more a continuous spectrum. Conventional oil that was $20 to $30 per barrel became scarce so oil prices shot up and with $70 to $100 per barrel you can afford to drill & frack shale formations for tight oil.

What happens when demand grows and/or tight oil locations run scare such that oil prices rise to $140 to $170 per barrel. Are there new formation types that then become in play? I don't think the Green River oil shale will work at that price. Perhaps just more complex tight oil? Deeper deepwater oil? Smaller pockets of tight oil?

Spec - Every geologist has prospects in the back of his file cabinet that don’t work at the then current oil price. Either the reserves aren’t large enough or the risk is too high for the potential recovery. They can range from rank wildcats looking for reserves where few have been found before to very low risk projects like secondary oil recovery. Such high risk wildcats for oil will be rare: given the depth/temp limits where oil can exist we’ve poked holes just about everywhere some geologist developed a goofy idea. The high the oil price the goofier the project. And we’ve had a number of periods of high oil prices so I would say we’ve already reached PG. Peak Goofy, that is. LOL.

There will be a larger number of lower risk exploration targets that represent the low end of the size spectrum. But there’s a limit there. A good current example: last year I drilled 3 such prospects. Fields in this trend (4.5 billion bbls of oil total) have produced 30 million to 150 million bbls of oil. Thanks to 3d seismic and high oil prices I could justify drilling for these wells: 50k bbl targets each. And if successful there would be no low risk development drilling to follow: just big enough for one well. And, unfortunately, they didn’t turn out as good as hoped. So more such wells drilled with even higher prices in the future but no real impacts on PO.

EOR projects would obviously have a much greater probability of producing more oil. But despite some cornucopian fantasies there are thousands of fields in the US ripe for virgin EOR efforts the potential represents a rather low volume. A large percentage of our fields have undergone EOR for many decades. Even worse than the small volume gain potential nearly all EOR methods recover at very slow rates. An extra 200,000 bo via more EOR won’t impact PO by producing an extra 50 bopd.

Deeper water: the problem there is that those areas would be further from the shore line. And that puts those areas further away from the source of both reservoir and source rocks. There are hundreds of millions of offshore acres we can reach today with current tech. Unfortunately they have zero potential for hydrocarbons. Higher oil prices won’t create potential where it can’t physically exist.

All the above (except DW trends but we’re quickly catching up there) applies to the US. There is greater potential for wildcats elsewhere in the world thanks to a less developed status. But the same factors (NOC’s domination compared to our thousands of small and aggressive US companies, political stability, lack of infrastructure, etc) will work against expansion in the future as they have in the past. EOR may have a greater potential than exploration gains IMHO. But the stumbling blocks exist the same for those projects.

I would guess the next big ramp up in motor fuel production responding to higher oil prices might be gas-to-liquid. But the question will remain: how many economies will be able to absorb those higher costs? We have a lot of NG in this country and but that switch would drive up NG prices. Which would lead to more NG drilling. But those trends have physical limits just like the oil trends do.

And finely one small picky whine: PLEASE stop calling them the “new tight oil plays”. Tight oil reservoirs have been some of the earliest and biggest fields developed in this country. I also believe the largest oil field ever discovered (decades ago) in Canada is a tight reservoir that required frac’ng. In the oil patch a tight reservoir can be any rock type such as a sandstone and limestone formation. They are “tite” (how we oil patch hands spell it) dues to low porosity and permeability. The shales actually aren’t tite by oil patch standards but are “impermeable”. In other words the shale matrix will produce almost nothing…it’s the fractures in the shale that produce. We classify the shales differently as “fracture production”. And not all fracture production is from shales. What defines such plays is the high initial rate followed by rapid depletion. We have frac’d many tite sandstone and limestone oil fields over the decades. In such cases the production is coming from the rock matrix itself with the induced fractures providing the pathway. They typically have much lower initial rates but also don’t suffer high decline rates.

I know it a picky insider thing but it hits me like finger nails on the chalk board. LOL

PLEASE stop calling them the “new tight oil plays”.

Pardon my small picky whine but what the fracking hell are we supposed to call them? "Impermeable" oil plays? I really don't think that is going to catch on. We are not supposed to call them "shale" oil plays because every one then confuses that with the Green River Shale and other kerogen deposits.

So now, what is the new title for the plays in the Bakken, Eagle Ford and other impermeable areas in the world?

Ron P.

I think he wants people to drop the "new" as they've been known about for a long time.

Yes, the Canadian oil field Rockman mentioned is the Pembina oil field, which was found in 1953. The field is so tight that several companies drilled right through it without finding it, and it was only "found" after some geologist took a hard look at the well logs and realized there was oil there.

They had to frac the discovery well to get it to produce (fracking actually was a new technique back in 1953), and all the other wells, too. However the Cardium Formation, which the Pembina field produces from, is the hot "new" conventional oil play in Alberta. At today's prices companies can afford to drill horizontal wells and do multistage fracturing in the less sweet parts of the formation.

The Bakken Formation is similar in that it was also "discovered" by a geologist looking at well data in 1953. There are no "sweet spots" in it on the scale of the Pembina field, but much of it is now economic to develop at today's prices approaching $100/bbl.

The main difference between the two plays is that the Bakken Formation is in the US where the right-wing MSM gets much more excited about about such things in the absence of anything better. The more left-leaning MSM in Canada doesn't really realize that the Cardium Formation exists amidst the controversy over the Canadian oil sands, which are much, much bigger.

The costs of producing oil in the Bakken or Cardium are not much different than the oil sands. It's all about the price companies can get for it.

RMG also points out another potential misunderstanding of the stats folks may use. Notice he refers to the largest Canadian field (a tight oil reservoir) as a conventional reservoir. Frac’ng, having been around for a half century, is considered a conventional production method. The huge Canadian Pembina Field is a conventional tight oil field. The huge potential recovery from the Canadian Oil Sand trend is from a very permeable (non-tight) unconventional play. Clear as mud now, eh? LOL

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconventional_oil

“Unconventional oil is petroleum produced or extracted using techniques other than the conventional methods… According to the IEA…unconventional oil includes the following sources: oil shales, oil sands, coal-based liquid supplies, biomass-based liquid supplies and liquids derived from chemical processing of natural gas.”

So if one sees the stat that historic Canadian production from conventional reservoirs is X bbls of oil it would include that of a huge tite oil reservoir. The Canadian unconventional oil stat would not include the production of their largest field.

Of course my little rant won’t change the fact that the MSM will continue to characterize the shales plays as “tight oil”. But by not calling them what they are (fracture reservoirs) and explaining to the public the dynamics of fracture production they’ll have difficulty understanding statements such as the largest Canadian oil field ever discovered is a tight oil reservoir but not an unconventional production. And that this field shares no similarity with the oil shale plays other than they both produce oil.

But those distinctions are probably beyond the capability of J6P to appreciate and thus don’t matter very much. OTOH the TODsters are more than capable IMHO. Which is why I allow myself to get so long winded at times. LOL

Yes, the giant Pembina oil field is considered a conventional play, despite the use of frac'ng (since 1953) and horizontal drilling. However, as Rockman says, its production characteristics are quite a bit different than the "shale oil" wells that are being drilled in ND and elsewhere in the US. Pembina is not shale, it is a tight sandstone with a lot of oil trapped in it. The Pembina wells all had to be frac'd to produced, but production started low, stayed low, and went on more or less forever. The oil was there and could be produced, but required a lot of patience to get out.

We had one well where (long story short) a bridge went out and we could only get to it during the drier 6 months of the year. We discovered that the well produced the same amount of oil in 6 months as it did in 12 because when we turned it on, it produced all the oil that had seeped from the formation into the frac zone during the six months it was turned off, plus the six months it was turned on. So we never rebuilt the bridge.

This makes it quite a bit different than the new "shale oil" wells which show a 70% decline rate in the first year. The companies drilling those expect to get their money back within 2 years and are just there for a good time, not a long time. They are in a race with the Red Queen which they will inevitably lose - probably not too far in the future

The big multinationals originally developed Pembina because it was very technically difficult, but now it is being worked by the smaller companies who are better at cost control. They are in a race with the Red Queen too, but it is more of a walking race.

A chain of events started about a month ago that have aroused my curiosity. I had the opportunity to view the displays at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona annual Research Days Exposition. The geology department had a display touting some evidence of hydrcarbon potential that can be found in the geology ofJamaica. They also highlighted the presence of a gas seep a few miles from the resort town of Ocho Rios.

A few days later I dropped in on the tail end of this meeting on the same university campus. One university student seemed very upset that big plans to reduce the cost of electricity, using LNG sourced from Trinidad are apparently being shelved, with no clear alternative being put forward. I saw the student outside the meeting, gave him a very brief outline of the LNG situation and gave him my email so he could follow up. He did so this past week with specific reference to the potential for natural gas in Jamaica as evidenced by the gas seeps. In an effort to assist him I uncovered this Letter to a local newspaper. Letter of the Day: Firewater demisticised: the Windsor Spring and the quest for oil in Jamaica

The presence of gas bubbles was first reported by the then Government geologist C.A. Matley in 1924, which was published as a supplement to the Jamaica Gazette. Matley visited the spring in the company of the then land owner, a Mr. F.E. Dixon, and described it in the following way: "The spring lies on the flat alluvial terrace of St. Ann's Great River, about one chain (66ft or 20m) from the river bank and several feet above the usual river level. At that time the spring was a small, shallow, muddy, almost stagnant pool, some two or three feet in diameter, of strongly saline water from which arose a few bubbles of an odourless gas." Matley asked Mr. Dixon to clean the spring out, and on his next visit the spring was "flowing steadily and giving off bubbles of gas in considerable but variable quantity". The gas was inflammable and Matley suspected it to be methane which was confirmed by analysis (98.34 per cent methane, with traces of other hydrocarbons, and 1.66 per cent carbon dioxide)[snip]

In 1955, the first oil exploration well was drilled in Jamaica. Originally, it was planned to drill at Windsor, but access to the site could not be obtained, and the well was sited near Negril instead. It would be a further 27 years until an exploration well was drilled at Windsor. The Windsor well reached a depth of 12,820 ft - the deepest onshore well drilled to date in Jamaica - but no commercial oil was found. The presence of 'other hydrocarbons' along with methane in the gases from Windsor Spring is significant. This indicates that the gas is 'oil associated' and that an active petroleum system is at work beneath the ground. This, together with extensive other data, has fuelled a new round of hydrocarbon exploration in Jamaica, but this time it is concentrated in the Walton Basin, between Jamaica and the Pedro Bank..

My question is this, is this something to get excited about or is it common to have 88+ year old natural gas seeps that have no commercially viable deposits associated with them. Jamaica sure could use some locally sourced (cheap) natural gas right now!

I must go out and earn a living so, I'll chsck back for responses later.

Alan from the islands

We had gas seeps along the creek on our farm and when we drilled a water well we found gas. After finding the gas Dad drove the family down to Bartlesville to see if any of the oil companies were interested. They said no, so Dad got a tank and captured the gas (30 PSI) for heating our house. After my family sold the farm in the early sixties, we heard that the gas gave out after a few more years. We were also able to briefly light an abandon well near our farm (yes very stupid). I would guess that there are lots of seeps that are non-commercial, but others on TOD would know more than I do.

wood – Someone must have snuck in and frac’d a well close to your farm when you weren’t looking. LOL. That’s been the problem in many of the trends where they’ve been frac’ng shale wells: a long history of naturally occurring NG in the fresh water aquifers. A few months ago I found a significant (but not commercial for my company) NG reservoir at 46’ in one of my deeper wells. Not sure how much but it could easily be enough to supply the land owner with enough energy for his household and farming needs for a 100 years. But I won’t let him access to it until we’re off the lease: too much liability. Many natural seeps occur in areas where there are deeper commercial NG fields.

In Alan’s case in Jamaica it’s encouraging but no guarantee. But I did another search and couldn’t find hopeful statements from companies that go back 5+ years and nothing promising recently. But as I heard long ago the first major field in the North Sea was found by the 93 well drilled. If companies drill enough maybe they find something worth developing. On the negative side there’s been huge NG reserves discovered in the Caribbean with a very small available market. That means a lot of potential production for the LNG market. But that also would discourage exploration to develop more NG for a saturate market.

Back in those days there was no gas or oil exploration going on in our area. But there was plenty of lead and zinc mines just to south and east of our farm. Our property and neighboring properties had many abandon prospecting wells. We even had one open hand dug well/shaft with a barbed wire fence around it in our pasture. The nearest mine was less than a mile away.

Years after we moved away, I was shocked to find that the area had been declared a Superfund cleanup site named the Tar Creek Superfund site, because one of the branches of Tar creek started on our farm.

Thanks for the great story woodincreek. So, you were "flaring" a NG well? Totally acceptable.

My current laptop is a nine year old ThinkPad T42, and other than a failed cooling fan, it's been a rock solid performer. At the risk of pushing my luck too far, I'll hold off on replacing it for now, but when that day comes, the T430s is the logical candidate.

Lenovo Laptop Uses Only 7.4 kWh Per Year

TopTen USA, which issues quarterly rankings for computer energy efficiency, finds the most energy efficient laptop is the Lenovo ThinkPad T430s, using 7.4 kWh of electricity in a year of typical use.

The average comparable model uses 28 kWh per year – more than 3 times the energy. On average, TopTen-listed laptops use about 48 percent of the energy of comparable models.

See: www.energymanagertoday.com/lenovo-laptop-uses-only-7-4-kwh-per-year-089510/

That's the equivalent of a 13-watt CFL running an average of one and a half hours per day !

Addendum: On a completely unrelated note, I mentioned a few weeks back that I recalled a made for TV movie from the early '70s that featured a couple caught in the grips of an unprecedented heat wave that brings New York City to the brink of collapse. As it turns out, the city was Los Angles and I stumbled across the film moments ago (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wleAdMWqJ_k). Water and gasoline shortages, runs on supermarkets, power cuts, business grinding to a halt.... it's got it all. Keep in mind this is an ABC Movie of the Week, not From Here to Eternity, but entertaining nonetheless (good doomer porn you might say).


"Heat waves! Brown outs! Can't they plan anything right?!" Love it!

Question for Paul: Do you know of a ductless heat pump/AC that can be controlled by a standard wall thermostat? Most seem to have the thermostat built into the indoor unit. I want one that I can rig to be controlled by the aux relay of one of my charge controllers when the batteries get fully charged, basically as a dump load for surplus PV production in summer. I'll still use a thermostat in the loop, I just want it to turn on when the charge controller says the batteries are charged. Thanks!

Hey Ghung,

There are 12v DC wired thermostats such as this: http://www.fujitsugeneral.com/wired_remote.htm but I'm not sure they will do the trick.

A half-baked solution would be to fool the standard remote control that comes with the unit with a small amount of heat. Slip the remote inside a 12-volt heated mitten (e.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WL1_klWMOXg) and when the batteries are full, close the relay that feeds power to the glove and when it gets toasty warm the remote should kick the heat pump on [channelling my inner MacGyver].


If the indoor/outdoor connection is a 3-way cable, check if the 3rd wire acts as a 'live to activate' the a/c/heater. If it does just put a relay in that line so it can only connect and turn the unit on when the solar commands it. Pick a hpac with a low standby power.


Actually, I'd be looking towards tablets, or Intel Haswell chipsets if I wanted PC-type capability.

The drive towards the mobile (ultraportable/tablet) market has pushed designs towards more power efficient capabilities - and Haswell is planned to improve matters significantly.


Also, don't forget that the monitor requires quite a bit of power itself. Some future scope for Google Glass type displays to reduce that significantly, if they up the resolution.

In short, solar powered, always on, is quite possible in the near future.

I often use my Playbook which typically draws less than 3-watts, and I'll probably shift some of that to the Q10 when it's released next month (approximately 1-watt in active use and 0.03-watts standby). I'll also look for a portable solar-powered battery charger that will allow me to recharge the Q10 off-grid.

But, in all honesty, if we're talking 7.5 kWh a year or even twice that, I won't lose any sleep.

BTW, my current laptop pulls anywhere from 20 and 25-watts unless I'm pushing the CPU hard, and the external monitor bumps that to between 45 and 50-watts (I have the screen brightness set to "0"). My old desktop and Trinitron monitor consumed roughly four times that.


See ASUS Transformer. It's a tablet with a keyboard and hours of use.

There's an article about storage, so I thought I'd mention that the sensible storage option for seasonal wind/solar lulls is "wind-gas".

Overbuild wind by, say, 25%, and use the excess to electrolize seawater and store the hydrogen underground.

That makes the storage incredibly cheap, and the conversion efficiency doesn't matter much because you'll only need to draw about 5% of consumption from storage.

People get hung up on the capex of batteries and pumped storage, but those only make sense for diurnal storage where the capex is amortized over thousands of cycles.

"wind-gas" is the solution, and other forms of storage are just red herrings.

Now, I'm confident the above makes sense, but I haven't seen a straightforward, simple quantitative analysis of it. Has anybody seen good cost estimates for large-scale electrolysis units, including capital cost per unit, clear cut inputs, outputs and conversion efficiency?

Efficiency will always matter, the higher the efficiency the higher the EROEI or ESOEI. A higher efficiency storage may only require an overbuild by 20% etc. etc.

Maybe the hydrogen will be useful in hydrogen powered cars.

Sure. The main idea is that minimizing capex is much more important than maximizing efficiency.

I doubt hydrogen will ever be important for small vehicles - that's mostly a red herring.

So, have you seen good cost estimates for large-scale electrolysis units, including capital cost per unit, clear cut inputs, outputs and conversion efficiency?

I think a better bet is energy+Co2 plus water = hydrocarbon (usually something like butananol or methanol). The toughest is the CO2. However there have been some interesting capture materials invented recently, I suspect capture and reuse (of carbon) may happen in maybe another decade (though probably not on the sort of scale needed to end AGW).

The Sabatier reaction from memory is CO2 + 4H2 = CH4 + 2H2O
It is claimed that wind electricity that would otherwise be curtailed could be used to generate hydrogen from water. A German auto maker Audi proposed to get the CO2 scrubbed from biogas which leads to the possibility of mixing natural gas, biogas and synthetic, all >80% CH4. When natural gas is gone by mid century it retains a use for the gas grid. Methane while a potent greenhouse gas doesn't cause metal embrittlement the way hydrogen does nor is cryogenics to liquid form essential. Moderate compression at room temperature is compact enough to fuel engines.

I guess another source of CO2 could be from pure oxygen burning of biowaste. That oxygen from water splitting would otherwise be vented. The economics are supposed to be better since you get both realtime wind electricity and when windpower is not needed it makes 'unnatural' gas. In low wind periods the synthetic methane creates the backup, either gas turbines or fuel cells. However I haven't yet seen a convincing economic analysis. I suspect it could work for a much smaller world population adapted to very high energy prices.

Again, grid storage doesn't need methane - that would just add costs. It might be good for other uses, but that's another discussion.

So, seen good cost estimates for large-scale electrolysis units, including capital cost per unit, clear cut inputs, outputs and conversion efficiency?

If you do electrolysis in large scale you have pure oxygen, therefore, you can burn methane or biomass with oxygen instead of air and get CO2 and water, easily to seperate. Some other industrial processes like lime burning release large amount of highly concentrated CO2, you can use it.

You can also use biogas (CO2+methane+...) as chemical feedstock and bring the methane concentration up to >90%, this already works in technicum scale. At the moment the (economic) problem is the SH2 content of biogas, i.e. you can use it in power plants but not without further purification as chemical feedstock in production.

Methane from CO2 is according to one of the Fraunhofer Institutes quite costly (~5 cent/kWh electricity, 7 cent kWh hardware = ~10-12 cent/kWh), so alternatives like pump storage are still useful. The (energy) efficiency for methane synthesis is around 65%.

The conversion from hydrogen to methane will add conversion inefficiencies and chemical reaction energy inputs, right?

What's the value? That we have an existing infrastructure running on methane, so in the short-run we have an easy way to generate power from the methane? I would think that in the long run, hydrogen would be easier and cheaper.

There even is a new process of combusting coal without burning(!). I posted it about a month back. If it pans out we could have a method of extracting the energy that leaves a concentrated stream of CO2 (rather than nitrogen plus CO2), which removes one expensive step from capture. You still have the problem os disposal. Whatever gets used to make portable fuels still ends up in the atmosphere, although you get to use it twice.

There's no need for a hydrocarbon for grid storage - that would just add costs. It might be good for other uses, but that's another discussion.

So, seen good cost estimates for large-scale electrolysis units, including capital cost per unit, clear cut inputs, outputs and conversion efficiency?

The auto maker claims synthetic methane can be made for 3X the price of natural gas, that would be European prices

In general fuels for stationary applications like thermal power plant are a fraction of what they are for vehicles. Perhaps one day they will converge in which case gas transport demand will price power stations out of the market. This appears to have already happened for oil burning plant so I expect it will happen to gas fired.

Sample calculation using Australian prices of a year or so ago. Diesel $1.40 a litre for 35 MJ thermal. That's 4c per MJ or $40 per GJ or mmbtu. The wholesale spot price of piped NG was $4 per GJ. However our east coast gas price (now $9) is escalating rapidly due to LNG exports. The NG price could undergo a one-two punch of export LNG pricing followed by domestic transport demand. Let's hope those battery powered semitrailers go good.

Speaking of which, has anybody noticed this?


Some aspects of wind power:

1) You can at best expect 80% of the installed wind power at a time, so you overbuild at least 1.5 or better 2 times. :-)

2) From German power duration curves (see Fraunhofer Windmonitor) one can extract that with twofold overbuilt power you have 10-15% excess energy production, i.e. wind power is higher than 60 GW medium demand, weekends and punblic holidays would give some additional energy to store. I guess you have to export or provide long term storage capacities for 20% of the wind production.

3) With (avarage) capacity factor of modern onshore wind mills of 35% and twofold overbuilt you would produce and directly consume without any storage around 50% of the energy demand. Wind produces more in winter, so you could add PV for summer and you have around 70% reneables without huge storage demand.

4) For me the starting point would be to install cheap gas turbines (50 GW) that cover with hydropower and biomass (15 GW) 100% of the medium power demand (65 GW), the rest of 15 GW (Germany has peak demand of ca. 80 GW) is only required less than 100 hours per year, so you could use gas or written of coal power plants or you use the US approach of more flexible demand.

5) With more transmission lines to pump storage capacities with huge reservoirs (Austria, Norway, Sweden) I would reduce power and FLH of the gas turbines.

6) P2G would be my last point on the list, as it is quite expensive but very likely essential in a 100% renewable scenario.

Some good discussion papers are found on: http://www.agora-energiewende.de/

Here the situation is nicely described in: http://www.agora-energiewende.de/fileadmin/downloads/publikationen/Agora...

Thanks Ulenspiegel. The first link is to a mainly German language web site. The second link however is to a PDF in English with an excellent introduction to the goals and challenges of Energiewende. Recommended.

If you are really interested, here is the mother of all reports, around 400 pages. :-)


Some of the sources are available in English on the web pages of various Fraunhofer Institutes:




While swapping out coal and nuclear for renewables is ambitious and worthwhile, Germany has an easier task than it might appear.

The first table in the English-language introduction shows that the biggest single factor in the Energiewende is the reduction of primary energy use by 50%, and of electricity demand by 25% by 2050.

According to the UN population estimates, Germany's total population is expected to decline by 10% by 2050, and its working age population (16-64) by 26%.[1]

Since it is working-age people who use the most energy, this 26% decline carries Germany to its electricity demand goal without any effort on its part. Coupling this with already-existing trends in per capita consumption, Germany will likely over-achieve its goal.

It's not all about wind and solar, it's equally about fewer people.

1. The UN projection makes a very optimistic assumption that in countries such as Germany where fertility is well below replacement level, it will recover back up to replacement level starting Real Soon Now. No reason is given for this other than "many demographers believe that fertility rates must recover to replacement level". Must?

Unless its social policies change dramatically or it opens its borders, Germany's population in 2050 is likely to be significantly smaller than the UN's official estimate. This will make the Energiewende goals even more easily achievable.

Re population growth and energy:

1) The official German data are wrong due to fawlty methodology which underestimates number of kids of older mothers, Germany has according to a Max Plack Institute around 1.6 kid per woman, this gives a diffrent outlook.

2) As a side effect of the EURO crisis the net immigration is positive and it can be expected that the German population will grow by 3-5 million people until 2020.

3) The electricity demand is determined by nummber of housholds, not really by persons per household. As long as the number of households increases we can expect for the next ~10 years an incresing demand.

4) Substitution of NG/oil heating systems with heat pumps drives the demand, the expectation (decreasing electricity demand) of the German government is not shared by most experts, who expect stagnant or increasing demand. But this does nor really matter as long as onshore wind is build.

Here is an NREL document from Sept. 2004, Analysis of Current-Day Commercial Electrolyzers. The good news is the main cost is from the price of electricity, so if one uses cheap surplus wind or PV power, that helps the economics considerably.

Here is another one without prices: OVERVIEW ON WATER ELECTROLYSIS FOR HYDROGEN PRODUCTION AND STORAGE, Tom Smolinka, Jürgen Garche , Christopher Hebling, Oliver Ehret, Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE, SYMPOSIUM - Water electrolysis and hydrogen as part of the future Renewable Energy System, Copenhagen/Denmark, May 10, 2012.

How effective would underground storage be near the sea? How many caverns would be present that would not flood with water or leak hydrogen?

In principle, large storage caverns are available in northern Germany.

That's very helpful. It doesn't show direct costs, and it's a bit old, but they came up with $1.32/kg capex, $.37/kg for opex, plus electricity ($/kWh x 40kWh/kilo of H2). Assumes 97% utilization, 40 year life for most of system. Target electrolytic efficiency is 78%.

Capex costs *highly* dependent on size of unit.

I believe underground storage works about the same for hydrogen and methane: exhausted wells, salt caverns, etc. I don't believe flooding, embrittlement or small molecule leakage are problems.


The 7th of March episode of the CBC's The Nature of Things entitled Tipping Point: Age of the Oil Sands will be of interest to forum members.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episode/tipping-point.html

Those living outside Canada will likely need to engage in some internet tomfoolery.


Interesting comment on CNN regarding the "Sitting will kill you faster" line of research. An old study, circa early 1950's, showed that British bus drivers were twice as likely to die in a given year, versus the ticket takers who walked back and forth on the bus and up and down the stairs to the upper level of two decker buses.

There was a passing mention of the word "lymph". I didn't catch the whole context.

Regular movement during the day is probably important to the health of the lymphatic system. Lymph is propelled by movement, and it doesn't have a pump, like the cardiovascular system. So getting some exercize every hour or so is probably a really good thing to do -- even if it is just getting up from the desk and walking a flight of stairs.

Did it occur to anyone that the job of being a UK bus driver may have an influence on lifespan? Dealing with the public including hooligans, driving a lumbering, tall, metal box in congested traffic, low wages and a time schedule to stay on just might have the tiniest chance of reducing lifespan.

The comparison though was between bus drivers and bus conductors who handled the fares/passengers while the driver just drove the bus. The drivers would have been paid more but the hours were the same.

I started standing and working more than a year ago, best decision I ever made. In fact when I sit for long periods of time I feel uneasy. The bum gets a lot smaller and your legs get in shape as well.

Can The World Fight Climate Change And Energy Poverty At The Same Time?

The United Nations has set two huge energy-related goals for the coming century. The first is to bring electricity to the 1.3 billion people who still don’t have it. The second is to curtail fossil fuel use and keep global warming below 2°C. Those are daunting goals. They’re also in somewhat awkward tension with each other.


Pielke offers this way of looking at the problem. If we want to limit the amount of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere and hit that 2°C goal, we’ll have to replace about 80 percent of our current fossil-fuel use with carbon-free energy and then use only carbon-free energy to meet our future needs. That’s hard enough. But if we want everyone in the world to have as much access to energy as the average Bulgarian enjoys, then we’ll need twice as much carbon-free power.

China scraps railways ministry in streamlining drive

China has dissolved its powerful railways ministry in a raft of measures aimed at boosting government efficiency and tackling corruption.

The railways ministry, which has been criticised for fraud and wasting funds, now comes under the transport ministry.

The family planning commission, which oversees the controversial one-child policy, joins with the health ministry.

China is holding its National People's Congress, which will cement its once-in-a-decade leadership change....

...The railways ministry has been slow to change.

Former railways minister Liu Zhijun was sacked in 2011 and is facing corruption charges.

The new structure will place construction and the management of services under the new China Railway Corp, while safety and regulation will come under the transport ministry.

It is unclear whether placing the family planning commission under the health ministry indicates a rethink of the one-child policy.

However, the Communist Party says it will continue to set policy on the issue, with family planning continuing "on the basis of stable and low birth rates".

They are also merging their various maritime agencies (South China Sea issues?), and consolidating their "media watchdog" agencies.


Dust Storm Shrouds Tokyo in Haze

A huge dust storm hit Tokyo Sunday, blanketing the city with brown dust that darkened the skies and rapidly transformed what had been a clear and sunny day.

ADOT, National Weather Service focus on dust storm safety, health impact

We've always had dust storms, but in the past couple of years, we've seen an increase in numbers.

... In Casa Grande, AZ Tuesday, more than 70 experts and first responders gathered at a conference sponsored by the Arizona Department of Transportation and the National Weather Service.

The biggest impact from these storms are on our roadways. In a recent five-year period, 614 accidents and 15 deaths were blamed on dust storms.

... "There's another area that maybe is not so obvious and that's health," he said. "We have health people here for the meeting looking at incidences of Valley Fever, for instance. There's a good amount of evidence indicating that maybe these dust storms are also leading to incidences of Valley Fever." [see also ... Dust Pneumonia, Dust Pneumonia Blues]

Besides Valley Fever spores, dust storms also carry a noxious mix of bacteria, chemicals and even stockyard fecal matter.

and how it starts ... The Dust Bowl

... More and more dust storms had been blowing up in the years leading up to that Black Sunday. In 1932, 14 dust storms were recorded on the Plains. In 1933, there were 38 storms. By 1934, it was estimated that 100 million acres of farmland had lost all or most of the topsoil to the winds. By April 1935, there had been weeks of dust storms ...

Spanish sperm whale death linked to UK supermarket supplier's plastic
Sperm whale on Spanish southern coast had swallowed 17kg of plastic waste dumped by greenhouses supplying produce to UK


Cheesus H. friggin' Crispies!

How is the plastic ending up in the ocean? It would seem to take an effort to dump it in the ocean. Just bury it at a landfill and collect the free natural gas it will emit as it degrades.

As the article said, some of these greenhouses are right by high tide. Not much of a stretch to see how the plastic could end in the ocean. Sickening.

You really are a Prince among Panglossians.

For those interested in the sad state of affairs with regard to the Gen 3 Areva Nuclear power plant in Finland In a statement in this months print edition of PEI the Finnish group Teollisuuden Voima Oyj said the 1600 MW Olkiluoto 3 reactor will now not be on line until 2015/16 and main contractors can not confirm date, cost is expected to be $10.4 dollars. Originaly planed to be on line in 2009! Full text
From 2012

North Korea cuts hotline with South following threats

Pyongyang has cut a key communication hotline with South Korea, Seoul's unification ministry said Monday. The tensions between the neighbors have once again flared after the UN adopted a fresh round of tough sanctions against North Korea.

The news reported by South Korean Yonhap news agency comes after the communist state said last week it was ending all non-aggression pacts with South Korea and threatened to sever the communication line that runs through the truce village of Panmunjom.

According to the unification ministry, attempts to contact the North by telephone at 9 a.m. failed.

On Sunday Pyongyang threatened all-out nuclear war with the US and South Korea as the two countries are conducting joint military drills.

"Our front-line military groups, the army, the navy and the air force, the anti-aircraft units and the strategic rocket units, who have entered the final all-out war stage, are awaiting the final order to strike," Yonhap reported, quoting North Korean media.

In thermodynamics everything moves from disorder to order, not the other way around as he claims. Life is disorder.

This video really is worth watching.

Thanks jmygann.

Solar is here to stay
WNC companies gaining market share

While the North Carolina economy shed more than 100,000 jobs from 2007-12, clean energy companies, which include solar power firms, added 21,162 jobs for the same period.

North Carolina ranked second in the nation, just behind California in 2012, lining up projects that will add with an estimated 10,800 jobs, according to a report Wednesday from Environmental Entrepreneurs.

“Solar is the fastest-growing sector in North Carolina by far,” said Matt Raker of the AdvantageWest economic development agency for the region.
“Potentially, solar energy could be one of the first energy industries to live without any subsidy,” Raker said. “As solar approaches grid parity, we’re going to see every large building with a large flat roof start to sprout solar panels. Solar is going to explode.”

Neal: Taking a bright idea and electrifying the world

Alternative energy sector, though booming throughout the Great Recession, hasn’t been a magic wand, automatically recouping all the 14,000 manufacturing jobs the Asheville metro area has shed since 1990.

FLS isn’t stamping out solar panels down on the French Broad River, but drawing up the multimillion-dollar financing deals that make solar power profitable. The green jobs they offer are for are engineers, accountants, project managers.
FLS has just finished building the nation’s largest solar thermal farm, a 7-acre solar array that can heat 100,000 gallons of water daily, for an eastern North Carolina turkey processor.

But over the years, FLS has shifted from just heating water with the sun to creating electricity. FLS built one of the region’s first solar farms at the old Canton landfill, generating about 1.5 megawatts of electricity.

FLS Energy is focusing now on even larger solar farm projects to generate between 10-25 megawatts apiece, selling electricity directly to Duke Energy and other public utilities.

And if you weren't aware, NC just elected a (former?) Duke Power executive to governor and a bunch of science illiterate (or hating) republicans to a majority in both state houses

GOP strategy a job killer

Last November, North Carolina’s Republicans captured all branches of state government with promises to focus on job creation in our state. Since the opening of this year’s legislative season, they have done just the opposite. Their recent attack on longstanding environmental policies promises to kill green job growth, raise utility rates, and reduce the state’s economic development appeal.
Unfortunately, our GOP leaders see the environment as a liability rather than an asset. Back in 2007, under Democratic leadership, North Carolina was the first state in the Southeast to enact significant renewable energy standards. The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard law spurred the state’s electricity providers to increase their use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. Since its enactment, North Carolina has become a top ten state in green-job creation, according to a 2012 study by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a leading non-partisan business voice for the environment.

However, state Rep. Mike Hager (R-Rutherford), chairman of the House committee on public utilities and energy, says he wants to repeal REPS.

They're trying to get a 14% rate increase for Duke Power right now - with a former Duke employee as governor, and legislature set to fire all of the people on the commission that has approval authority over it and install industry friendly people - they'll probably get it. It's here that I come to a crossroad because on the one hand, they want more money so they can put in more coal and natural gas plants and boost their profits...on the other - the more they charge, the more solar looks economic! Go ahead, punk, RAISE THE RATES.

...not to mention NC's 11th district former 'Democrat' US Rep who recently quit Congress to take a cushy position with,, you guessed it, Duke Energy. That said, our county recently backed off of some of its restrictions to solar installations. I think someone from Raleigh 'explained' some things to the county commission.

I got a phone call about a week ago, some woman explaining how renewable energy was going to raise my rates. I let her go on and on (wish I had recorded it, she was quite good at her job), and finally told her we've been solar powered for over 15 years; don't need her stinkin' rates, or phone calls..

RE: The Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline: A 21st Century Schizoid Climate Plan

That oil is illegal in the U.S. to the extent it is to be used by the government:

The Keystone XL pipeline, recently approved by the US State Department and awaiting President Obama’s declaration that it is in the “national interest,” will carry oil that is too dirty for the US government to buy — under legislation signed by George W. Bush!

In 2007, President Bush signed into law Section 526 of the Energy Independence and National Security Act of 2007. It prohibits the US government, which is the largest single fuel purchaser in the U.S., from using taxpayer dollars to purchase fuels that have a higher carbon footprint than conventional oil.

(Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment - 2). Not that the law matters to commercial terrorists.