Drumbeat: April 15, 2013

Coal and cattle lead business damage to nature - study

OSLO (Reuters) - Coal-fired power generation in Asia and cattle ranching in South America are the most damaging businesses for nature with hidden costs that exceed the value of their production, a U.N.-backed report said on Monday.

Global output of basic goods from cement to wheat caused damage totalling $7.3 trillion a year if pollution, water, greenhouse gases and waste were priced to reflect long-term impacts, it said in a guide for businesses and investors.

Brent Crude Declines to Lowest in Nine Months on China Slowdown

Brent crude fell to its lowest level in nine months and West Texas Intermediate dropped below $90 a barrel, as economic growth eased unexpectedly in China, the world’s second-largest crude consumer.

It's Not Too Late To Play The Spread Between WTI and Brent

The fact that WTI is of a higher quality, measured in sweetness as well as gravity, makes it a more expensive oil. Until 2011, the price of a barrel of WTI oil used to be a few percents higher than Brent oil. But then, the price of Brent kept outperforming WTI. At first, a little bit, with oil traders selling the, as they called it, 'anomaly'. But later, when they realized that the old price difference did not come back, Brent kept on rising. At its highest level, somewhere in 2012, the price difference was around 25%. At this very moment, the spread is slowly but surely coming back to 'normal' levels. Today Brent prices are 12 % higher than WTI.

INTERVIEW-India's GAIL targets bigger presence in global LNG trading

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's GAIL wants to boost its liquefied natural gas (LNG) portfolio to 20 million tonnes a year in the next seven years through acquisitions and supply deals so that it can beef up trading of the super-cooled gas, Chairman B.C. Tripathi said.

Tripathi's comments to Reuters in an interview late last week mark the first time GAIL (India) Ltd has detailed its long-term LNG goals and show how the state-run pipeline monopoly is diversifying its business mix to gain from a surge in demand for the cleaner fuel at home and overseas.

Uganda says agrees on 30,000 bpd oil refinery with Total, CNOOC

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda, France's Total and China's CNOOC have agreed to build a small oil refinery in the east African country, Uganda's government said, in a step towards resolving disagreements that have delayed commercial oil production.

They agreed on an initial processing capacity of 30,000 barrels per day - well below the 200,000 bpd the government had initially sought.

Uganda Confident China to Fund 600 MW Karuma Power Plant

KAMPALA Uganda--The Ugandan government is confident that China will provide funding to finance the construction of a 600-megawatt Karuma hydro-power plant on the River Nile, marking a major breakthrough for the long-delayed project, the state minister for energy and minerals development told Dow Jones Newswires Monday.

Oman to build, pay for huge oil storage site-official

MUSCAT (Reuters) - Oman is committed to building, and paying for, a huge facility to store up to 200 million barrels of crude oil at Duqm on the Arabian Sea, an oil and gas official said on Monday.

State-run Oman Oil Company (OOC) would fund the expected billion-dollar project to build what would be by far the world's largest tank farm, OOC chairman Nasser Al Jashmi said. "We are committed to build it and it will cost $1 billion.

Ghana fired up for a brighter future

Ghana, regarded as one of Africa's brightest prospects, is struggling to reap the benefits of its oil and gas reserves, as production targets are missed and crippling power shortages belie its hydrocarbon wealth.

Oil Price Forecasts Unleash Scottish Bulls in Independence Push

The politicians seeking independence for Scotland say the North Sea oil industry is on the cusp of another boom. Their price estimate makes them among the most bullish forecasters.

Nigeria’s MEND Issues Threat to Bomb Mosques, Kill Clerics

Nigeria’s Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta threatened to bomb mosques and assassinate Muslim clerics, a week after saying it killed 15 security personnel in the southern oil-producing Bayelsa state.

The campaign will start May 31 “to save Christianity in Nigeria from annihilitation,” MEND spokesman Jomo Gbomo said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “The bombings of mosques, haj camps, Islamic institutions, large congregations in Islamic events and assassinations of clerics that propagate doctrines of hate will form the core mission of this crusade.”

South Korea’s Imports of Iranian Crude Oil Fall 17% in March

South Korea, the world’s fifth- largest oil importer, reduced crude shipments from Iran by about 17 percent in March from a year earlier, customs data show.

Iraq bombings kill at least 25, wound more than 170

Baghdad (CNN) -- A series of car bombings across Iraq on Monday killed at least 25 people and wounded more than 170 others, police said.

The 24 attacks took place in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Baquba, Tuz Khurmato and Hilla.

Chavez Heir Maduro Wins Venezuela Presidency to Continue Legacy

Nicolas Maduro was elected Venezuela’s president today after pledging to deepen 14 years of the late Hugo Chavez’s socialist revolution that cut poverty by half.

The 50-year-old former bus driver received 50.7 percent of the votes, the national electoral council said after about 99 percent of ballots were counted. Henrique Capriles Radonski, who temporarily stepped down as governor of Miranda state to run for president, had 49.1 percent.

Venezuela's PDVSA to keep funding socialist programs under Maduro

CARACAS (Reuters) - Nicolas Maduro's win in Venezuela's presidential election means state oil company PDVSA will continue funding the government's socialist policies while increasingly relying on deals with China and Russia.

The late Hugo Chavez picked Maduro, a 50-year-old former bus driver, to continue his self-declared revolution in the OPEC country where he nationalized most of the oil industry during his polarizing 14-year rule.

An Update on Peak Oil

We may or may not be quite at peak oil yet, but we're either there already or else very, very close. And either way, production costs of unconventional oil make it unlikely that oil will ever get much below $100 per barrel again. This makes it a significant restraint on global economic growth, and unless and until we make a huge switch to renewable energy, this will continue permanently. Any time you see a medium or long-term forecast of global growth that doesn't mention oil constraints, you should probably take it with a big grain of salt.

Shell says considering sale of some Italian downstream assets

(Reuters) - Oil major Royal Dutch Shell said it was considering selling some of its Italian downstream assets including its retail, aviation and supply and distribution businesses.

Norway 'stalling' on gas tariff cut

The Norwegian government is reportedly holding fire on controversial plans to cut gas transport tariffs for new supply contracts on the country’s transmission system amid an outcry from investors in its pipeline infrastructure.

Nigeria’s stolen oil ends up in Eurpean, African refineries – Shell

The bulk of the oil stolen from Nigeria ends up in ocean-going tankers that transport it to refineries in other parts of West Africa, Europe and beyond, Royal Dutch Shell said at the weekend.

The oil major, which said this through its subsidiary in Nigeria, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), argued that the rising incidences of oil theft in the Niger Delta comes at a significant environmental cost.

Shell spill reported in Nigeria

There has been an oil spill at a Shell facility in Nigeria's onshore Niger Delta, members of a community there and the military said over the weekend.

Reuters quoted a Shell spokesman in Nigeria as saying the company was looking into the reports of a spill.

Cyprus: EAC asks customers to pay bills or get electricity cut off

The Electricity Authority (EAC) has said that it will re-start cutting off electricity supply to customers with outstanding payments because of cash liquidity problems.

U.S. Rethinks How to Respond to Nuclear Disaster

WASHINGTON — Two years after the Fukushima nuclear accident in northern Japan, the United States government is using lessons from that disaster to rewrite its plans for responding to radiation contamination, focusing on long-term cleanup instead of emergency response. But the proposals have set off vehement opposition from critics of nuclear power.

Did China steal Japan's high-speed train?

FORTUNE -- One China defender recently claimed his countryman's "bandit innovators" could be good for the world. That was small consolation for the Japanese, who say that China pirated their world-famous bullet train technology.

"Don't worry too much about Chinese companies imitating you, they are creating value for you down the road," said Li Daokui, a leading Chinese economist at the Institute for New Economic Thinking's conference. Such "bandit innovators," he expanded, would eventually grow the market, leading to benefits for everybody.

Social media fuels graffiti vandalism at popular national park

The California park is battling an outbreak of graffiti splashed across its vast rock formations.

Vandals are posting pictures of their graffiti on social media sites, according to officials, making the illegal handiwork more popular and exacerbating the problem.

Bitcoin is ludicrous, but it tells us something important about the nature of money

In effect, bitcoin is a reminder of this fundamental truth: To function in a modern economy, you’re always putting your faith in something, whether you like it or not. And you may not like putting that faith in a powerful, independent central bank imbued with power from the state, but the alternatives may just be a lot worse.

China and Iceland sign free trade agreement

BEIJING (AP) — Iceland on Monday became the first European nation to strike a free trade deal with China, offering hope for its recession-battered economy while giving Beijing a leg up in its drive for expanded influence in the Arctic.

A Capricious River, an Indian Island’s Lifeline, Now Eats Away at It

Landlessness is a rising problem for farmers across India, but Mr. Hazarika’s situation is unusual: his plot was located on Majuli, one of the world’s largest “inland” islands, an ancient religious center that is home to about 170,000 people and dozens of monasteries. The same river that has encircled the island and sustained it for centuries is now methodically tearing it apart.

Severe weather “pushing millions” into starvation

SEVERE weather patterns are "pushing millions" into starvation, former president Mary Robinson said, ahead of a major climate change conference at Dublin Castle.

Cutting specific pollutants could slow sea level rise by 50 percent: Study

Washington (ANI): With coastal areas bracing for rising sea levels, new research indicates that cutting emissions of certain pollutants can greatly slow down sea level rise this century.

The research team found that reductions in four pollutants that cycle comparatively quickly through the atmosphere could temporarily forestall the rate of sea level rise by roughly 25 to 50 percent.

Scientists find Antarctic ice is melting faster

CANBERRA (Reuters) - The summer ice melt in parts of Antarctica is at its highest level in 1,000 years, Australian and British researchers reported on Monday, adding new evidence of the impact of global warming on sensitive Antarctic glaciers and ice shelves.

Researchers from the Australian National University and the British Antarctic Survey found data taken from an ice core also shows the summer ice melt has been 10 times more intense over the past 50 years compared with 600 years ago.

Aha! So somebody finally admits that some things, like china coal and argentina beef aren't worth their price. At last we are on the right track, so now do the same costing for everything else, like, for example, attack subs.

Then, do the sums for what we would change from paying the right full price, and make sure every time anybody anywhere talks about cost, they specify which one they are talking about- the fake one or the real one.

Might make most of the chatter here on costs of this and that a whole lot different than what it is- irrelevant to the real situation we face- a catastrophe of global proportions over time and space.

Germany appears to have set a new record for photovoltaic production this afternoon (http://www.sma.de/en/company/pv-electricity-produced-in-germany.html), about 22.3 GW. Last year's record was 21.1 GW, set on May 25th 2012, about 5 weeks later in the season.

Good - I just hope they were able to tune down the base-load nuke- and coal-plants accordingly ... Renewables (solar/wind) will always just muddle along - and do their thing - within their limits.Weather seems to be part of that limitation-

... and 'One swallow does not make a summer' as 'one record breaking day will not solve our pending energy predicament'!

Whether rightly or wrongly NO ONE is buying into near term peak oil (no matter how you define "oil" and "peak", or "near term") The cutting edge issue now is carbon release. The experts generally say 350 ppm (parts per million) of carbon is the upper safe limit. We are currently at 392 and rising ( www.350.org But this is only the beginning of the story: The U.S., Canada, South America (and soon to be China) are now showing that "tight oil" and gas and tar sand are viable. We are once again flaring gas on a scale visible from space because it is cheaper to waste than to capture ("stranded gas"). Now the Japanese are claiming to be making the use of ocean bed methane hydrates viable for energy production (it has to happen, if not now, soon), potentially a HUGE release in carbon.

This poses a problem, a big one: Even IF you do not accept human caused "climate change" now (i.e. you deny it, and I am not using that term in the pejorative sense), what is the upper limit? 2 times 350ppm?...4 times? 8 times? If we accept the core science that at some point increased carbon equals increased planet temperature, what is the upper limit? We now know we can release huge volumes of carbon that only a few years ago was considered unreachable and financially nonviable. Without major worldwide action, we will see exponential increases in carbon release, if for no other purpose than to drive down energy prices (i.e. subsidize economic recovery worldwide with carbon release) I do not think that even those in the "Peak Oil" movement can say that peak is the great danger. We have a greater threat, perhaps the GREATEST threat to our planet we have faced and it is fast approaching.
RC Roger Conner

Whether rightly or wrongly NO ONE is buying into near term peak oil (no matter how you define "oil" and "peak", or "near term")

Please define NO ONE? I know there is Robert Hirsch, Dennis Meadows and perhaps Chris Nelder and a few others at ASPO. And there are a few people, including myself, who post on The Oil Drum, who believe that we are at or near the peak.

I define oil as Crude+Condensate and believe there is a 90% chance that the peak year was 2012 and the peak month was April 2012.

The Peak is defined as the peak or world Crude+Condensate production no matter what the cause. The peak is the peak. Near term is any time between 2012 and 2020. And I believe there is a LOT of people who believe the peak will be here by 2020 or before.

And for what it's worth, I believe world economic problems, and perhaps collapse, brought on largely but not entirely by peak oil, will have a far more devastating effect on the welfare of humanity, in the near term, than global warming. But I will argue that point no further.

Ron P.

Based on what I see happening in my neck of the woods, I'd say we're at Peak now. The effects should be obvious for the Peak Oil aware like:

JPS CEO says its viability threatened, demands regulatory change

Reeling from a loan default the head of the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS)says she will take a 10 per cent pay cut to help the company through the difficult times it now faces.

In making its case for an annual non-tariff increase, president and CEO of the light and power company, Kelly Tomblin argues that an under recovery of fuel costs for 2011 and 2012 has caused it to be in breach of certain loan obligations since March of last year.

Auditors of the JPS claim the breach gives its lenders the right to demand full payment on the remaining US$430 million of the loan.

I view things like this "under recovery of fuel costs for 2011 and 2012" to be a sign of the times. So yeah, this NO ONE needs some clarification. NO ONE of "importance" perhaps?

Got run off to this:


so I'll be off line most of today.

Alan from the islands

Yea it seems that the effects of peak oil are certainly affecting the peripheries of economies. The global economy, regional economies, national economies, state/provincial economies, etc.

IMO, the core(s) at all levels have somewhat shielded themselves from the effects by starving their respective peripheries. Of course, this is a temporary measure. How long it can last is anyone's guess but the effects are creeping inwards towards the core(s).

Based on what I see happening in my neck of the woods, I'd say we're at Peak now.

Well the data isn't out for non-OPEC yet but OPEC is down almost 1.5 mb/d since April 2012. According to the EIA Short-Term Energy outlook non-OPEC all liquids production in January is about the same it was in April last year, but it is down 1.07 mb/d from November.

Anyway total C+C should be, right now, down over 1.5 mb/d form April last year. So that was the peak so far.

Ron P.


Saudi Aramco starts Arabian Heavy crude production in Manifa field; 500k bpd by July 2013, 900k bpd by 2014

Saudi Aramco announced the first phase production start-up at the Manifa field in the Persian Gulf, 3 months ahead of schedule and well under the program’s approved budget. The Manifa field’s production capacity is expected to reach 500,000 bpd by July 2013, and is planned to reach its full design capacity of 900,000 bpd of Arabian Heavy crude oil by the end of 2014, while Saudi Aramco’s maximum sustained capacity will be maintained at the level preceding Manifa production.

Looks like Saudi have started there last big oil field and are just going to maintain their previous output. Sounds like it will be all down hill from here once Manifa's production has been over taken by the decline of the other ageing giant fields.

JPS CEO says its viability threatened, demands regulatory change

Road to nowhere! Billions spent, progress halted, motorists misled

"Late last year, the Government signed a deal with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to construct the entire 66-kilometre highway over a three-year period at a cost of US$610 million."

Here's a bit to make you cry. While Jamaica's electric generation falters, the country signed a deal worth US$610 million... enough that if it were spent on solar would come half-way towards zeroing out mid-day oil-fired electric demand. If that were given out as loans to individuals to put in solar, the amount could be re-invested as it was returned and used to seed a complete mid-day zero-out of oil-fired electricity probably within a decade saving Jamaica about a half million US dollars per day from going to oil exporters.

That doesn't make me want to cry at all. It really makes me quite angry!

Here's to hoping that sooner rather than later the people responsible for fiascoes such as this the world over will start being held accountable for the long term consequences of their actions!

Corrupt, shortsighted, greedy little bastards, the whole lot of them!

Agree with you on this, basically whenever the price of oil drops people will tell you "see ? That was not the problem!"
While :
- Quite often not having looked at production volume figures
- Forgetting that high prices lead to "demand destruction", leading to consumption going under current production maximum ceiling, leading to price drop.

I'm thinking demand destruction is not necessarily a bad thing. It forces folks to look to alternatives, at least on some level. There are alternatives out there, and I think folk are starting to look at those more seriously as the cost of oil remains high.

So far as the commodities in general today, might this not just be a good old-fashioned market blip?

Yes could be, with high volatility being a caracteristic of being around max capacity

"I'm thinking demand destruction is not necessarily a bad thing. It forces folks to look to alternatives, at least on some level. There are alternatives out there, and I think folk are starting to look at those more seriously as the cost of oil remains high."

Agreed - but I would say that it is also a dangerously narrow path as well. You want the price to be high enough to be bothersome, but not so high that it outright kills.

If the price goes too high and just bankrupts everyone then they fall into a classic "Poverty Trap" where they only have enough money to half-ass keep the system they have going as they circle the drain - but not enough to buy into a new paradigm and get themselves out entirely.

Ron P, no offense intended, and you are correct that I was very lax in my use of language ("never say never, and never say 'always', and likewise, never say "everyone" and never say "no one"), your point is well taken, and I exempt present company and those we will consider in the "peak oil community", or those who consider themselves "peak aware", likewise exempt.

You say "I believe world economic problems, and perhaps collapse, brought on largely but not entirely by peak oil, will have a far more devastating effect on the welfare of humanity, in the near term, than global warming. But I will argue that point no further."
I will agree not to argue this point in a militant way, because I believe that the release of massive new amounts of carbon will not be so much of near term economic threat but an issue of total planetary threat to all species in a way that "peak oil" can never be.

Ironically, massive carbon release may be very good for the near term economy, but catastrophic for the planet (we don't know where the "tipping points" are...a release of methane in perma-frost could be wildly accelerated by a doubling or tripling of carbon release, a scenario which seems more likely each day.

Roger, I meant I would not argue what global warming or climate change is going to do, but I will definitely argue what peak oil and economic collapse will do.

If we do have total economic collapse, and I believe we will, it will be the worst thing that could possibly happen to the surviving flora and fauna of this world. We will cut every tree left standing for heat and fuel. We will kill everything large enough to eat for food. As I have said before, we will eat the songbirds out of the trees. And I believe this will happen before mid century. I will not predict when but I expect it to be more than ten years from now but less than 35.

I know a lot of people don't think it will be nearly this bad, even if we do have a crash. But I see a cascading effect when globalization collapses. Imagine Japan with no imported energy or food. And several other countries with very large populations are in the same situation as they.

Of course one can never know, and hardly even imagine, what it will really be like. But I think it will be a lot worse than most people expect.

Ron P.

In the past, foresters and gamekeepers protected the trees and animals even when the peasants were freezing and starving. What has changed?

Surely you jest. Nothing has changed. It is what will have changed? The economy of the world will have collapsed, that is what will have changed. There will be no foresters or gamekeepers. There will be only chaos and anarchy.

Ron P.

"Only chaos and anarchy"

Achieving chaos and anarchy everywhere sounds like a tall order, even in the extreme events of global climate disruption and peak oil. A large swath of under-appreciated humans have been busting their butts to make a sustainable way of living possible, and many countries have already transitioned large parts of their economy away from fossil fuels. Iceland and Norway use almost no fossil fuels in their electricity generation, for example.

The answer to both problems are the same, and the incentive for moving towards those solutions increases every year as fossil fuel prices rise and the climate gets ever wonkier. If we think we will fail, we will. However, if we try to succeed in transitioning our economy to a sustainable path, it might just happen. Human ingenuity has never been tested on this wide-scale a level, but betting everything against it seems overtly negative to me, given how cleverly we've solved problems in the past. Everyone who wants to shoot themselves in the head might as well go ahead and do so.


Hi Stephen, thanks for a a bit of a reality check on us doomers here, we need to hear from people who hold a reality based but still somewhat optimistic view of possible future scenarios. I know there are plenty of people out there who are indeed busting their butts to get people to switch paradigms. Though personally I think the odds are pretty good we will all face some really tough times ahead.

Btw, nature is chaotic and I think non ideological anarchy is a lot better than any and all forms of large scale centralized power. It makes communities, to borrow a concept from Nassim Taleb, 'Anti Fragile'!


Though personally I think the odds are pretty good we will all face some really tough times ahead.

Agreed. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, enjoy life!


I think of the last scene in 'The Wall', which shows the children after the English Night-bombing and Fascistic Chaos (presumably, as the film does a lot of time-jumping), picking up the rubble and pulling the pieces back together again.

We're not called 'Organic' by accident. The way we are put together, as is all of nature, comes from the unruly chaotic energies of the universe.. but starting with gravity and fluid motion, and ending up with mothers who look to keeping their babies fed and their men from going too insane.. the forces are also constantly pulling these many Organs back into a proper Organizational framework, so the madness can settle down again.

In our fear, we fixate a bit on the storms and terror that are (always) coming, and the pain and loss that they'll bring.. but we need to remember that there is going to be a calm AFTER the storm as well.

There will be blood, sure enough.. and there will be healing, too. As someone posted from a Mr. Rodgers quote on Facebook about the Boston Bombings.. he had been advised by his mom to look to the helpers. 'There are always helpers' .. pulling the wreckage back together, and helping the afflicted.

I'll toss in a little cheer here. A year or so ago I called an impromptu meeting of all locals interested in solar energy. An amazingly big crowd appeared, and the whole thing took off to a life of its own, with monthly meetings at member's houses showing what they had already done, unknown to each other.

So I decided to help by buying low cost pallets of solar panels and selling them at cost, one-off to all these do-it-yourself types. I had assumed there would be a lot left over for me to set up my solar car project. None left!, so now I am ordering several more pallets.

These poor hill people hereabouts are used to living on junk and very little else, and some of them are geniuses at it. I hired one guy to do what I am no longer able to do, and first thing, he went around to all my junk piles, memorized what we had, and now, when I ask him to do or make something, he immediately digs out of the dark depths exactly the bit he needs, Or, takes something apart to make do with some hidden bit inside that only he could figure out had to be in there.

So, while it is true that lots of us know nothing, some of us know a great deal about getting along with not much.

"they's two ways to get along pretty good- a high income, or --a low outgo."

Cool post.

Stephen, achieving chaos and anarchy will not be a problem, avoiding chaos and anarchy will be the problem. And that large swath of humans, when compared to over 7 billion, most of whom are not busting their butts, doesn't seem all that large.

Contrary to what you seem to think, Iceland and Norway are nowhere close to getting off oil. Fossil fuel is not the problem, liquid petroleum is the problem. Even the US uses very little liquid petroleum for electrical generation. I have always stated that the grid, almost everywhere, will be the last thing to go.

Transportation and food production are both almost totally dependent upon liquid fuel. And when things start to spiral down, globalization will likely collapse. But we have discussed this almost ad infinitum before and I am not going to go over all these points again.

I am for everyone, especially the preppers, preparing for the end of civilization as we know it, for they will greatly enhance their chances of being among the survivors.

Ron P.

Can you give some historical examples where collapse resulted in chaos and anarchy throughout a society?

My recollection of the examples in Diamond's "Collapse" are that the societies actually declined over a multi-decadal period and that chaos and anarchy was not featured. For example, the Greenlanders appeared to redouble their efforts to keep cattle and sheep as the climate deteriorated. The Mayans appeared to engage in warfare, which requires organization. Certainly erecting Moa in Easter Island required an executive to organize and carry out the work.

Society is fairly resistant to chaos and anarchy. Even Somalia and other "failed states" develop mosaics of competing warlords that organize their spheres of influence.

Organized violence and destruction by competing, disciplined elements fighting over dwindling material resources is far more probable than chaos and anarchy.

It's a common meme that society is always lurching towards anarchy and chaos, kind of like the meme where if people are let free they are going to kill all rich people, loot all the stores and just riot all the time (till they die that is). It's gotten even more press since Steven Pinker wrote about the Montreal incident when the police went on strike. With all due respect to Pinker I think he's yet to visit societies where authority goes missing for long periods of time. I have seen them and although they are not not the best places to live it's not even close to the kind of anarchy he spoke of in his book. Order evolves slowly on it's own when there is a power vacuum. After all people have families to feed and take care of (even those who riot), someone just cannot afford to behave like that all the time. Yes there is a period of chaos for some time but such kind of chaos is localized and it doesn't happen everywhere at the same time.

Here's Pinker's excerpt from the book "The Blank Slate"

As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike. By 11:20 A.M. the first bank was robbed. By noon most downtown stores had closed because of looting. Within a few more hours, taxi drivers burned down the garage of a limousine service that competed with them for airport customers, a rooftop sniper killed a provincial police officer, a doctor slew a burglar in his suburban home. By the end of the day, six banks had been robbed, a hundred shops had been looted, twelve fires had been set, forty carloads of storefront glass had been broken, and three million dollars in property damage had been inflicted, before city authorities had to call in the army and, of course, the Mounties to restore order. This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters…

It's another one of those tools used to inject the fear of "anarchy" in people.

This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters…

They only let the experiment run for a single day. They should have let it run for a few months to be able to get some truly valid empirical results. Btw, they didn't have what I call anarchy, they had a temporary power vacuum in a centralized system that was just filled in by some criminals making the best of the moment.

It might eventually have become something like Somalia was becoming before the people who tend to benefit from the centralized power structures of religious institutions and government messed things up for the rest of the population!

Main article: History of Somalia (1991-2006)

Before the Islamic Courts Union took control, large parts of southern Somalia were effectively functioning without a central government. However, an economic survey by the World Bank found that distribution of wealth in the country was more equitable, and the extent of extreme poverty was lower than that found in nominally more stable West African nations. According to the same paper, although southern Somalia was effectively operating without a federal government before the rise to prominence of the Islamic Courts Union, it was not an anarchist society in the sense that society was more or less chaotic than organized non-coercively.[78] Despite this, a libertarian think tank reported that living standards in Somalia increased – in absolute terms, relative to the pre-Somali Civil War era, and relative to other nations in Africa – during this period.[79] Economist Peter Leeson attributes the rather astounding increase in economic activity[80] since the rise of statelessness to the security in life, liberty and property provided by Somali customary law — the Xeer — in most parts of Somalia, which ensures for a relative free market.

The Transitional Federal Government, internationally recognized as the government of Somalia, is allied with the Islamic Courts Union and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia, and backed by the United Nations, the African Union and the United States. It is currently battling various insurgent groups to regain control of the southern half of the country and restore national institutions.
Source Wikipedia

Obviously people who maintain centralized systems of power all over the world could not stand idly by while an anarchist society was proving that another paradigm based on more loosely organized communities could maintain some semblance of a civilized prosperous, and non violent society.

Apparently TPTB don't like independent minded adults engaging in a true free market economy...

Somalia is actually a perfect case, because 1 near-government and 1 so-so government have formed in the north. Somaliland has recieved some good press, and Puntlant, while less together than Somaliland, is still much better than the mess to the south.

Humans are by nature social animals and will form some sort of organization, whether it is "state-like" or not. As long as there are people there will be tribes, clans, city-states, etc. Talk about collapse is fine, but the apocalyptic ideas are a strech.

Not that there haven't been true collapses, with populations knocked down 90% and culture severely damaged - like here in Hawaii after the arrival of westerners and western disease. Yet Hawaiian culture is still not totally dead. Hulu still lives on, traditional agricultural practices are still known and used, etc. It's very small compared to before, but not extinct.

Well I found an example of anarchy throwing up local solutions.

Mexico's vigilante law enforcers

Insecurity dominates the lives of millions of Mexicans. Caught between the murderous drug cartels and absent or corrupt law enforcement, communities are taking the law into their own hands. In the state of Guerrero, a fledgling vigilante force has grown into an organisation numbering thousands.

And it's effective too, at least according to some residents.

Her friend, Carmela, believes Dona Juana's only hope is the "community police" as she calls the self-defence force.

"The regular police and the military are all being used by organised criminal groups to carry out their activities. They're not stopping crime. Now we have our own community police, everything is much quieter. In the last couple of months organised crime has begun to disappear."

Since we don't want police and other emergency services people to go on strike we give them arbitration to decide on their salary increases. Labour arbitrators invariably give increases beyond the rate of inflation and any new salary peak becomes the floor for other groups that are negotiating. In Ontario, that means we are seeing a rapidly increasing number of police officers with $100,000+ salaries. For reasons that no one can explain, firemen need to be paid the same as policemen so we are now seeing firemen earning over $100,000. Paramedics are the new kids on the block and while they are not yet paid as much as policemen and firemen you can be sure that that is their goal. We are at the point that the share of our property taxes to pay for emergency services is significantly higher than what we are paying for education.

I say let the emergency services people go on strike and we will manage as best as we can without them. The present system where emergency services take more and more resources and exert more and more control over us is non-sustainable and it has to change.

I believe you may be correct... think of gangs (clearly, organized groups) in the cities already competing for dwindling resources there.

Not that the very existence of disparate entities organized to go after scarce materials and foods is a particularly sanguine concept. In fact, that may be a part of the chaos and anarchy, overall. That is to say, the sovereign will be unable to control such elements, which leads to breakdown of the nation/state.


While I would agree that society always tries to self organize and is resistant to anarchy, I don't believe that Somalia is a good example of what would happen. While central authority has completely broken then, the country is still being supplied from the rest of world with some fuel, weapons,ammo, foodstuff and some communications equipment which allows for some level of civilization - urban life has not been wiped out yet.

Moreover, my interpretation of Diamond's "Collapse" is somewhat different. Yes, this society managed to survive under limit conditions for a long while, but that required a lot of organization and central planning. According to Diamond, when things turned wrong and famine began, the population slayed the cattle that made its long term survival possible and in order to to this, it also had to kill its masters, making an unified and organized attempt to recovery almost impossible. Archeaologists believe that every one the 4000 Icelanders were dead within 2-3 years of this original famine.

You could say the same of the Mayans. The wars they fought were not "normal" wars with set objectives and where recovery happens rather quickly after victory, but constant warfare for dwindling resources between smaller and smaller groups, until urban civilization was all but wiped out. That pretty much looks like anarchy to me.

My conclusion is that total anarchy, while rare, is not impossible if society endures a huge stress. If there seems to be no hope of recovery and the elites are discredited and/or massacred, the process of breakdown becomes self-sustaining until some new, low-level equilibrium can be reached (or cannot, in the case of Icelanders).

The Greenland Norse had other animals to provide food. They had goats and sheep, as well as reindeer, seals and fish. To assume that their colony failed because they killed their cattle is a bit over the top to me. However, their society was marginal at best and the Western Settlement disappeared long before the Eastern settlement. Another interpretation of the data is that the Norse cut all their trees and had to forage across the Labrador Sea to acquire wood both for heating and boat building. They were in Greenland for about 400 years, which is a longer period than the 237 existence of the US. The Norse may have depleted all the available resources needed to support their European based lifestyle.

Do you think the US will still be around in the year 2176???

E. Swanson

As a manner of fact,they didn't eat fish at all, even though there was a plentiful supply of freshwater fish around. Seal hunting required boats, but wood was available only in Newfoundland - they organized annual expeditions to get it there in summertime, as you said. Also, they barely had any iron - the few weapons they had were old and battered.

Seal hunting required boats, but wood was available only in Newfoundland

That statement got me thinking.

Actually seal hunting doesn't require 'boats' made of wood at all. The Inuit came up with kayaks made of skins, bones, sinew and driftwood over 4,000 years ago and even hunted large whales from them. So it seems clinging to a failed paradigm and not being able to think outside the box was a larger part of their problem.

Sorta like some people not being able to let go of a life style that includes their large pickup trucks because of the culture in which they are imbedded and their deeply held belief systems, they just can't see or accept available alternatives.

They are stuck to their paradigm like barnacles on a sinking log.

Actually seal hunting doesn't require 'boats' made of wood at all. The Inuit came up with kayaks made of skins, bones, sinew and driftwood over 4,000 years ago and even hunted large whales from them. So it seems clinging to a failed paradigm and not being able to think outside the box was a larger part of their problem.

Good point. Diamond explains that Norse Icelanders viewed themselves as Europeans and were willing to go a long way to conform to european ways, and even to the latest european fashion. They could have built kayaks and they could have eaten fish but they were unwilling to adopt these "uncivilized" ways, and that certainly played a major role in their demise.

In short, as you say, they were stuck in the "big drakkar" paradigm the same way Americans are now stuck in the "large pickup truck" culture.

The decline began around 1300 when the climate began to turn colder, and the final inhabitants died around 1450. There are a lot of theories about what happened, but I've not seen a reference to a rapid collapse. Rather, the decline appears to have been orderly, except for possible conflicts with the Inuit and the usual internecine conflicts of Norse culture. Recall that Erik the Red founded Greenland after he was banished from Iceland after some bloody conflicts. Actually, the loss of demand for trade goods by Norway and the out-migration of young people are probably responsible for the early decline of the colony. Once the population got to below 500, it was no longer self-sustaining.

See also Abandoned Colony in Greenland: Archaeologists Find Clues to Viking Mystery

These vikings were christians. They did not find any religious cult object left behind. This is the kind of stuff you would bring with you if you left in a planned manner. And none of those objects have been found. One way or another, they left.

Yes. Jared Diamond did the best he could with what was known at the time, but there's been a lot of new research. It doesn't look like there was the kind of collapse he described in Greenland any more. Rather, it seems people just gave up and left for greener pastures.

See Carol Francis' recent thesis from Cal State, in 2011.

Outstanding descriptions of the Western Settlement and its demise. Thanks for the link.

Can you give some historical examples where collapse resulted in chaos and anarchy throughout a society?

Merrill, in spite of what you may have heard, there is no set pattern as to how societies collapse. While Rome gradually went to pieces it took far less time for the Mayan society to collapse. I know Mayan expert Dr. Tom Sever personally and he and I had several discussions about the Mayan collapse. (Google NASA Dr. Tom Sever) He thinks it overpopulation causing deforestation and then a severe several year drought triggered it all. Although it took over 100 years for the Mayan population to drop by 90 to 95 percent, their city based society collapsed almost overnight. Well each city-state collapsed separately but they all collapsed into chaos and anarchy within about three years.

The reason it took so long for the population to drop so far was because they were, like all previous societies that have collapsed, an agrarian society. They all, except the priestly and ruling class, knew how to live off the land.

And that is the problem today. While there are still a few areas of the world where people live off the land, we are today basically an urbanized, mechanized and globalized society. We are a totally different culture than we were just 100 years ago. No such society has ever collapsed before. So the pattern this time will be different.

An energyresources post of mine 9 years ago with an email I received from Dr. Sever.

Ron P.

It is not clear that all the Mayan cities collapsed so quickly. They appear to have declined between 775 and 825, a period of 5 decades. While the current society may be urbanized and mechanized, at least in some regions, there is a lot of global non-uniformity.

The first evidence for political fragmentation occurred in the Petexbatun region between 760 and 800 C.E. (26), corresponding with a dry interval in the YOK-I record, peak population densities throughout the region (145 people per km2) (27), and the maximum spatial extent of monument-bearing urban centers (Fig. 2, C and D). Historical texts on stone monuments were dedicated in at least 39 centers from 750 to 775 C.E., with rulers commissioning monuments at several large centers at unprecedented rates. These texts point to a dynamic and unstable geopolitical landscape centered on status rivalry, war, and strategic alliances (28). A precipitous drop in the number of texts at key centers (such as Tikal) between 775 and 800 C.E. was the precursor to a 50% drop in the number of centers with text-dated monuments between 800 and 825 C.E., which is evidence for widespread failure of these political systems. Increasing interpolity warfare (Fig. 2A) is most evident in the historical record between 780 and 800 C.E. Political power became decentralized as the institution of divine kingship collapsed between 780 and 900 C.E. Less is known about the fate of the people integrated into these polities, but depopulation took centuries and entailed migration, reorganization (29, 30), and persistence in the environs surrounding abandoned cities (such as Mopan Valley, Guatemala) (21). Centers of political importance shifted to the northern parts of the Yucatan Peninsula as carved stone monuments were commissioned less frequently in the central Peten; the tradition ended at Chichen Itza sometime between 1000 and 1100 C.E. during the longest and driest interval of the past 2000 years.

Development and Disintegration of Maya Political Systems in Response to Climate Change

This slow decay was a logical response to a slowly evolving situation. I believe we can survive a financial crash - after all, money is just a symbol, more can be created - but we face some quickly evolving situations, as peak oil or climate change, that will put our civilization under a lot of stress within a short time frame.

Plus, we cannot simply go back from an industrial to an agrarian society - there's not enough land and we simply don't know how to grow things and how to use animal traction and other such things any more. Agricultural yield would probably be just a fraction of what it used to be in the late 19th century, because the skills of self reliant farming are gone.

And unlike the Mayas, we cannot emigrate either - there are no "virgin" lands around to be settled.


Plus, we cannot simply go back from an industrial to an agrarian society - there's not enough land and we simply don't know how to grow things and how to use animal traction and other such things any more. Agricultural yield would probably be just a fraction of what it used to be in the late 19th century, because the skills of self reliant farming are gone.

I hate to sound strident but, yes, we will go back to an agrarian society. There is going to be a "shoot-off", die-off, starve-off or whatever but the population is going to fall to the point that it can live off what it can grow and harvest/gather. Those who don't have skills will either become serfs, die or join raiding bands (which won't last too long because they won't have skills either and they will run out of ammo and fuel eventually).

It's important to stop thinking about the way things are with cities and large population centers and start to see small, dispersed groups of people gathered around resource centers. That's the way it was in most of north America until the white man came.

I have 57 acres and the most it can possibly support is about 8 people - it's mostly wooded and in the mountains. What I'm trying to say is that there are really limits to population density for given resources. I have lots of skills but that won't change the equation. Does that make sense?

This doesn't mean that we devolve into "stupid barbarians" but it does mean things will be a lot different.


Todd, if you are still doing your newsletter I'd like to be added to the list. peter7947 at fastmail dot fm

I've been working at a sustainable small scale growing system on less than an acre for a few years. I write about it at doctordirtsfarm dot com.


There are several different timelines for the Mayan collapse but most have it happening pretty fast. But different parts of the Mayan territory, the Peten and the Yucatan, collapsed at different times.
Search: Mayan Timeline - From 11,000 B.C. to the present

Construction ceases in Tikal, marking the beginning of the city's decline.
Tikal is abandoned.
The Classic Period of Maya history ends, with the collapse of the southern lowland cities. Maya cities in the northern Yucatan continue to thrive.

But that was not the main point of my post. My point was we are today basically an urbanized, mechanized and globalized society. We are a totally different culture than we were just 100 years ago. No such society has ever collapsed before. Therefore no past collapse of any civilization can be used as a probable pattern for the coming collapse.

Ron P.

So what would be the pattern of the coming collapse?

Today, about 0.1% of the US population is receiving dialysis for end state renal disease. In 2004, the rate in China was 0.004%. The rate in India is probably about the same, since generally, kidney dialysis is done at very low rates in countries with GDP < $2500 /person/year. This is because dialysis is quite expensive, costing $75K/year in the US. In lesser-developed countries, it is less expensive, since labor costs are low, but it is still costly in terms of materials.

Over 10% of the US population has diabetes, including both types I and II. Other countries tend to have lower rates, but not markedly. Insulin is available widely, although care for the consequences of diabetes is variable by GDP.

I would think that the time when US dialysis patients start to die in large numbers, the time when Type I diabetics start to die in large numbers in lesser-developed countries, and the time when Type I diabetics die from lack of insulin in the US would be separated by a considerable length of time -- probably a decade or two between each marker of collapse.

Thanks for all your comments all!

My two cents. There have been events in recent history when lots and lots of bad things happened - think London in the 1660s - Black Plague, half the population dead, much of the city burnt down, etc. And two decades later everything's brimming along. Was London in the 1660s chaos and anarchy? I don't really know, wasn't there (although Daniel Defoe's fictionalized account is a great read). But I've been there in the last two decades and it's an amazingly vibrant city. With the most colossal experiment ever in the history of life going on right now, being sure of the outcome is, imho, impossible.

Look, humans were simply the first animal to have the intelligence and dexterity to exploit fossil fuels. If we hadn't done it, almost surely another animal would have evolved soon after to do so. Exploiting this pent up resource was all but inevitable. Now that it's at it peak (now, next decade, whatevs), pretty much anything could play out. To my mind, the most important fuel to make anything work is optimism. Not unrealistic bullshit optimism like all the cornucopian crap we see everyday that drives us nuts. But enough optimism to think that we might just be able to do it. Will people die? Like flies. But people are dying like flies all over the world every day of the week. That doesn't mean civilization dries up completely.

Again, thanks for all the insight,
Stephen Hren

Look, humans were simply the first animal to have the intelligence and dexterity to exploit fossil fuels. If we hadn't done it, almost surely another animal would have evolved soon after to do so. Exploiting this pent up resource was all but inevitable.

No. It took a pretty odd confluence of events to come up with a social fire-symbiote with thumbs, large brain, exosomatic information storage, and dopamine issues which bootstrapped its way to industrialism. The odds were high that no such critters would evolve in the first place. The dice just took a funny bounce.

So what would be the pattern of the coming collapse?

That has to be a rhetorical question because obviously neither I nor anyone else would have a clue. But yes, the medically dependent would be the first to go. After all, this is the only time in history that they have survived. I myself am such a survivor. I had a cancerous prostate removed eleven years ago. Had that not happened I would have survived, perhaps, another seven years of so. So I have lived an extra four years due to modern medicine.

But we are talking here about only the first to die. The real tragedy will come later, a few months to a couple of years later. But then again, we are only guessing here, because as I said, no one has a clue.

Ron P.

IMHO, there will be no 'collapse'. Just a more difficult economic situation because we don't have dirt cheap oil as an energy input. But with the expensive oil and all the other cheaper energy sources (natural gas, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, waves, tide, nuclear, etc.), we'll do just fine but at a slightly lower standard of living for some things (like transportation, smaller homes, etc.). But at the same standard of living most other things (digital electronics, communications, etc.). Heck, we are actually using less energy these days with much of what we do with hybrid cars instead of ICE, LEDs instead of incandescent, tablets/notebooks instead of desktop rigs, big LED-backlit LCD screens instead of CRTs, etc.

I'm a bit ambivalent, I don't think these various efficiencies are going to protect us from skittering past this annoying downslope to the sheer cliffs beyond, but I also know that we bumbling primates are also feisty and tenacious, and will find other ledges to clasp onto wherever we can discover them.. and as shortsighted and distractable as we can be, we don't tend to go quiet into that good night, but in our denial of fate, of course, we do rage against the dying of the light.

I actually find it a bit reassuring that we can look back to all these collapses, as a people that have fallen over and over, and gotten back up again, yet retaining or rebuilding and retelling those stories to add to our framework of who we are and what's afoot.

Heck, trains are much safer and easier (you have a chauffeur!) for commuting and inter-city transportation.

EVs (especially Extended Range EVs) are much nicer than ICE vehicles. Quieter, better acceleration, less time filling up...

I think such collapse is mighty unlikely, but just for the fun of it...

Almost all diabetes is caused by obesity, right? So, if we get a LTG type collapse complete with food scarcity, I would think diabetes would mostly disappear...

Type II, or adult onset diabetes, is caused by obesity. Type I diabetes, or juvenile diabetes is not.

But yes, a reduction in calories would substantially eliminate Type II. During WW II, Type II diabetes was greatly reduced in the UK due to food rationing. However, the process of getting Type II diabetes is not completely reversible if the disease had developed too far, so some Type II diabetics would also die if supporting drugs are totally removed.

Yeah, no question much diabetes isn't reversible.

I was surprised to see recently that Type II was much more prevalent than Type I - Type I seems to get all the news.

News and sympathy, because it's not their fault.

Extra pounds is a risk factor (that can be seen in gestational diabetes), but not the only one. Fast acting sugars and godknowswhatother chemicals found in processed food is another and actually long term stress is a very significant risk factor - there is much interplay between components of the endocrine system. Factor in reduced physical activity, well no surprise in the rates we see in North America.

Also, we now have a global culture. All land is discovered and more or less populated by people of the same culture - the induistrial - and there are no place to go to in order to start over. There are no map of this terrain.

"In the past, foresters and gamekeepers protected the trees and animals even when the peasants were freezing and starving. What has changed?"

The trees and animals are no longer property of the king, and a major political party is relentlessly working to eliminate government positions such as foresters and gamekeepers here in the U.S. The new king is corporations, and they don't care about animals and trees other than making a profit from them. They will be happy to kill those birds and sell them to you, along with water.

Hi Ron,

Mostly I agree with your assessment, especially the 2020 estimate. I think the monthly peak is less important than the 12 month running average of C+C output which is at its highest level as of Dec 2012 (based on EIA numbers).

I have been looking at NEB(Canada) numbers for Canadian Crude Output lately and have noticed that they don't match the EIA numbers very well. It seems that the EIA does not include non-upgraded bitumen for Canadian C+C totals.

In my mind the bitumen should be included in C+C totals which would add 1.2 MMb/d to the 75.5 MMb/d from the EIA or 76.7 MMB/d for 2012.

Estimated Production of Canadian Crude Oil and Equivalent

Total from NEB is 4.31 MMb/d for 2012, EIA has 3.12 for the same year, non-upgraded bitumen is 1.19 MMb/d which accounts for the difference. I need to crunch some more numbers to see if this works for other years.


In my mind the bitumen should be included in C+C totals which would add 1.2 MMb/d to the 75.5 MMb/d from the EIA or 76.7 MMB/d for 2012.

I always thought it was included. I can't make heads or tails out of your NEB numbers. Are they including NGLs? But C+C should include all crude oil regardless of API.

OPEC includes Venezuela heavy oil in its crude only numbers and I am sure the EIA does also. I would love to see a breakdown of what the EIA includes in it Canadian C+C numbers. They have Canada producing 3,287 kb/d for December and 4,015 kb/d of all liquids for December. For 2012 the EIA has Canada producing 3,118 kb/d C+C and 3,854 kb/d for all liquids. Even all liquids does not match the 4.31 million barrels per day the NEB has them producing.

There is something wrong with these numbers and I can't figure out what It is. But I agree, bitumen should be counted as C+C.

Ron P.

Both bitumen and "pentanes plus" should be counted as C+C for Canada. I'm not sure the EIA handles this correctly.

In Canada, rather than have condensate tanks at the gas wells, most natural gas producers recombine the gas and liquids from the wellhead and flowline them to a large centralized gas plant. The gas plant separates the gas+condensate and puts some of the mole fractions which used to be condensate into the pentanes+ tank. In some instances, producers even flowline crude oil into a gas plant and do the same thing - a gas plant can process crude oil if there's no law against it. After separation some of the combined fluids end up in the pentanes+ tank, some in the propane tank, some in the butane tank, some in the ethane pipeline to petrochemical plants, and some in the residual gas sales gas pipelines.

It's possible that the EIA is classifying the pentanes+ as "natural gas liquids", whereas I know the NEB will classify it as light oil. Canada is heavily gas prone, so there is a lot of "pentanes plus" being produced compared to conventional light oil. Chemically it's the same thing.

Definitions vary significantly between the US and Canada, and unlike in the US, MOST Canadian oil and gas production is now "non-conventional". Having seen some documents from the US DOE, I'm pretty sure that most of the bureaucrats in the DOE don't understand how "non-conventional" oil really works.


I have been trying to sort out the differences between the NEB and EIA numbers, it is more than just the pentanes plus, the EIA seems to leave out bitumen from the C+C category, and I think you are correct that the EIA seems to put the pentanes plus(PP) in the NGL category (and it would make more sense to place the PP in the C+C category). CAPP has a nice statistical summary which agrees quite closely with NEB data where they overlap. When I think I have this sorted, I will post here and any corrections would be appreciated.


Darwinian, please keep in mind that Iran's production is being held down by sanctions (geopolitics), and Saudi Arabia still has Manifa awaiting production. The U.S.'s burst of production may not be finished, just delayed by winter weather in the north. If the price of crude oil rises over the next several months toward $170 / barrel, then there would likely be a burst in oil production to profit from the high price. A 90% probability that April 2012 is the peak is too high.

And maybe the peak will come and go without any fanfare unlike the events in July 2008.

BT, I am aware of everything you speak of. Do you think that someone who follows oil production as close as I would not be aware of Iran and Manifa? Of course Iranian production is being affected by Sanctions. But political problem are always present and are always affecting someone somewhere. Nigeria could produce more if the rebels would just stop attacking, and Sudan can produce more, so could Syria. Such problems will always be around.

Manifa will simply keep Saudi at their current level for a year or so. Their old giants are now starting some serious decline. All that infill drilling that started over a decade slowed decline earlier but is now causing a much steeper decline.

Iranian production will rise if and when sanctions are ever lifted but it will not rise to the level it was at before sanctions. They are still producing a lot of oil and their fields are still in decline.

No, the US tight oil bubble has not yet burst but the increase is slowing down. The increase in Bakken production will be less than half what it was last year and will hardly be anything next year. Look for a lot of news coming out of the Bakken in the next two or three months. That news will be bad for oil bulls.

Of course $170 oil could bring out more heroic efforts to produce more marginal oil but we have already reached the point of diminishing returns. That is most of those efforts have already happened and there is not a lot oil left for higher prices to bring out.

But I don't expect prices to go a lot higher. The current price drop we are experiencing right now is caused primarily by dropping demand not increasing supply. Demand is likely to drop further.

Ron P.

I am certainly aware that you monitor oil production and that you tend to make pessimistic forecasts. We concentrate on the larger projects and tend to ignore the smaller ones from a lack of data.

Geopolitical factors abound, but they affect world crude oil production to varying degrees over time.

According to EIA data through December 2012, Iran's production was down 650 kb/d between March 2012 and December 2012, The EIA reports world production of C+C at 75.8 Mb/d in December 2012 and the current peak at 76.0 MB/d in April 2012. Iran's production only needs to recover by 31% to equal the peak. Due to the uncertainty in geopolitical events, Iran's "spare capacity" and the EIA's numerous revisions measured in kb/d, it is unrealistic to assign a 90% probability that the production in April 2012 will remain the peak.

A week and a half ago I plotted the EIA data for C+C through 2012 for the various continental sized regions. The multiyear trends show:

Africa: shifted from slowly increasing ~50 kb/d/year to decreasing (down ~700 kb/d over the last 2 years) with no clear trend because there is a step down beginning with the revolution in Libya in February 2011.
Asia & Oceania: slowly increasing ~30 kb/d/year
Central and South America: slowly increasing ~60 kb/d/year
Eurasia: slowly increasing ~150 kb/d/year
Europe: decreasing ~300 kb/d/year
North America: increasing ~800 kb/d/year
Middle East: increasing ~150 kb/d/year with oscillations.

Europe is the only region clearly decreasing with no apparent price response since 2005. Africa is being affected by geopolitics. Middle East is affected by geopolitics in Iran and Iraq. Saudi Arabia may or may not have voluntarily reduced production. The data shows the increases are overpowering the decreases. I think it is rather risky to assert that the peak occurred in April 2012 with 90% probability. I would assign a probability around 25%.

I'll adhere to the rule that one can not positively identify the peak until 5 years afterwards.

I track nations, not general geographic areas. The only general areas I track separately are OPEC and non-OPEC. But I track and chart each nation individually, 37 in all with all the others as one titled "Other". That makes 38 charts of separate nations I track monthly..

Some, of course, are trending up and some are trending down while others seem to be rather flat. The upward trends are most all showing signs of topping out, like Colombia and Oman. Only Canads and the USA are not showing signs of peaking. And I expect the USA to slow way down this year.

Iran, when and if sanctions are lifted, will never return to her former glory just as Libya will not return to her pre-war levels. With the exception of Iran, all OPEC is at max production. Saudi can increase slightly when Manifa comes on line but it is all downhill after that.

Gotta run, doctor's appointment, but I will have a lot more to say on this subject in the days ahead.

Ron P.

Economic collapse - sure, devastating effect-in the near term.

But since I am at the end of my long and happy life, I tend to think from the viewpoint of myself-100 years later, standing in this exact place in the new world that my present generation has passed along to meinfuture.

If that world has far fewer people in it, so much the better for me-in-the-future, but if it is hell-hot, I will not be happy.

So, collapse might be a very good thing for futureme. And, by the way, it is far easier to insulate/bury living space and otherwise reshape existing ruins than it is to go out and chop down trees and kill off every bird and bush in the process.

Also, domesticating rats might be a very gooood idea- much easier than hunting 'em. What to feed them? Rats eat anything, including you-know-who.

Exponential increases in carbon emissions are unlikely, given the economics of producing hydrocabon fuels. There have been graphs in recent days showing that oil consumption in the developed countries has been dropping, not rising. Consumption in Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain has been dropping fairly rapidly. GDP growth in countries such as China and India is slowing, and China is increasing the energy efficiency of its economy.

The combination of higher costs of hydrocarbon production, the greater competitiveness of alternative energy sources, and the reduction in economic output from the negative effects of climate change will likely result in carbon dioxide production peaking and then declining.

Is there a model for "peak CO2 production"?

Global CO2 production will probably peak when China implodes. Almost all the increase of CO2 production in the last decade has come from Chinese coal consumption. This cannot continue for another decade because they can't dig it out of the ground fast enough, and there are limits to the global trade in coal as well.

They are using this coal to sell cheap consumer goods to the rest of the world. This also cannot continue to grow forever, GDP growth has slowed to 7.7%.

The implosion could be financial, environmental, demographic or political. I do not know when it will happen, but that will be the all time peak of fuel emissions.

Yea Roger, no one accepts peak oil in the near term. That is why the tar sands and the associated pipelines are going full bore. Likewise for all the activity in the fracking boom, and all the hoopla about “shale oil” worldwide being bandied about. Also look how oil insiders are gleefully anticipating drilling for oil in the arctic under the most trying conditions. It is also interesting how many denials of peak oil are appearing in the media almost daily, denials that contain fuzzy numbers. It is actions that are most telling as to how serious a problem is perceived. The oil industry is going gangbusters to get modern civilization’s life blood. So what is being done about global warming? Talk. So which one do you think the world’s elite see as the most immediate danger?

bruce from chicago asks in relation to peak oil vs. global warning,
"So which one do you think the world’s elite see as the most immediate danger?"

As long as they grow richer I don't think they give a damn.

Jeremy Grantham on population growth, China and climate sceptics

My interview with Jeremy Grantham, the environmental philanthropist and legendary fund manager, was published in the Guardian on Saturday. As I have done for my interviews with the likes of Al Gore, Bill McKibben and James Lovelock (in 2010 and 2012), I have taken the time to transcribe the full interview so readers can see what Grantham said in the kind of detail that the print edition of the Guardian can't provide. The interview lasted three hours, so I have split the transcript in two. I will publish part two tomorrow, but here's part one...


...On the "carbon math":

…It's simple, comprehensible maths, as Bill McKibben explained in Rolling Stone last year. There are five times the amount of proven carbon reserves as we can possibly allow to be burned if we want to remain under 2C of warming, which is now not even considered to be a safe margin. We must burn just a fifth of what's there. We will burn all the cheap, high-quality oil and gas, but if we mean to burn all the coal and any appreciable percentage of the tarsands, or even third derivative, energy-intensive oil and gas, with fracking for shale gas on the boundary, then we're cooked, we're done for. Terrible consequences that we will lay at the door of our grandchildren. Some things might change very quickly, though. For example, the business mathematics of alternative energy are changing much faster than the well-informed business man realises.

I don't know how much of that carbon we'll be able to release. But the issue is not at all what people are "buying into". It doesn't matter what people believe, at least beyond the time span it takes for a financial bubble to build and pop - those are belief driven and absent any reality based constraints. After that, it's about what we we can actually afford (in terms of energy or its proxy of money). You can believe all you want that if you flap your arms hard enough you will fly, but it won't happen even if every pol and every news channel has talking heads saying it will 24hours a day.

These oil and gas sources take much more energy to extract for a much lower return - that is the reality and it must have an effect, even if everyone ignores the costs and "believes" all sorts of hooey about it. This in turn means funds that might have been used for other things go instead for energy extraction, and the effects will flow all through the economy.

We are seeing now I think that the real, actual effects of climate change are going to also place huge demands on the same resources/funds/energy needed to keep the present system going (extracting more expensive energy, maintaining the empire to keep foreign resources coming in, etc.).

So where does it all net out - when does it fall apart and at what percentage of those "5 times" of carbon reserves released? I have no idea, but there are limitations, it is hard to take seriously analyses that assume there aren't.

Twilight, you make a very good point: "So where does it all net out - when does it fall apart and at what percentage of those "5 times" of carbon reserves released? I have no idea, but there are limitations, it is hard to take seriously analyses that assume there aren't."

If you had asked me 3 or 4 years ago, I would have agreed with your core argument. I now am certain I was wrong. I now believe that fossil fuel (i.e. carbon based) extraction will continue to grow, and that methods of finding and extraction (E&P) will improve at a staggering pace. I now am willing to accept the most horrible outcome, that we will continue to find and extract fossil fuel/carbon based energy until we have left behind only droppings. I do now believe that by the time we have released "5 times" (to use your example), we will have found and made viable 4 times more...and then 3 times more...yes, there finally will be a limit but we will reduce the Earth to a cinder finding it. It will come far too late. I no longer look to "peak oil" to rescue us in time.

I don't think it's all wrapped up with a bow yet. The shale gas and tight oil bubbles are going to pop. These are financial scams more than they are about producing fossil fuels, even though fuels are being produced. The people who have invested in them are going to be burned - the costs will likely be shifted to the population but that will not make the effects go away.

Europe's problems are not getting fixed, nor are Japan's - they have no energy and they do not have the means to get it, therefore their societies will collapse. This will create huge disruptions throughout the world with effects that are not predictable, but could certainly include war and trade disruption.

Hurricane Sandy was very bad, but could easily have been many times worse - what if 2 or 3 slightly worse climate change driven storms hit every year? What if the drought gets worse? What if Europe's winters get worse? These things are certainly not out of the realm of possibility, and could begin at any time.

We do not have the resiliency to deal with this stuff. There are limits, and it really is not clear to me where those limits are, but extrapolating the expansion side of a bubble will lead you to erroneous conclusions.

"NO ONE is buying into near term peak oil"
You appear not to be aware of the International Energy Agency's 2012 World Energy Outlook:

According to the 25-year forecast in the IEA's latest annual World Energy Outlook, the most likely scenario is for crude oil production to stay on a plateau at about 68 to 69 million barrels per day.

In this scenario, crude oil production "never regains its all-time peak of 70 million barrels per day reached in 2006," said IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2010.
In previous years, the IEA had predicted that crude oil production would continue to rise for at least another couple of decades.

"Stay on a plateau" is a politically correct way of saying
"it is NOT rising", or
"it has reached maximum production" or
"it has reached its peak" or
"peak oil is here".

This is a massive change in IEA thinking compared to previous reports predicting very strong increases in global crude oil production.

Consider the fruit of oil production not growing.
That has already caused oil prices to soar ten fold since 1998 from $10/bbl to $100/bbl.
Consequently that is severely harming economies, causing soaring unemployment. See Gail Tverberg Peak Oil Demand is already a huge problem

Kansas's Self-Destruct Button: A Bill to Outlaw Sustainability


Incredible selfishness. A comparable thing thats happening closer to home is the attempt in the UK to downgrade teaching on the natural environment at a time when such teaching needs to be doubled or quadrupled. There was an open letter in this weeks Sunday Times in protest against it.


Truly it is amazing how so many people of seeming intelligence are either so out of touch or either wilfully ignoring what is happening to the face of this planet.

Now they are about to bring back in the bulldozers to the greatest forest in the world after the amazon and congolose jungles. What a tragedy.


Regarding the forests in Indonesia, the government has always only seen them as a worthless placeholder for future dollar signs. A prime example is the Mega Rice Project. Indonesia is also not quite as well run or as rich as some neighboring countries (Malaysia and Singapore, for example), and has not done a great job conserving any of its natural resources.

These sorts of problems are par for the course in Southeast Asia right now (I've heard really sad things about the coral reefs), but there are definitely countries that are doing a better job and those that are doing worse. Indonesia is in the "worse" camp.

Singapore hasn't conserved an awful lot of its natural resources.

Well, Singapore doesn't really have any... I don't think Honk Kong is known for large conserved areas either. Though both of them have set aside certain areas as parkland, and Singapore at least is very big on trees and other plants in the city itself.

My point was more that Indonesia is not as well run or rich, and perhaps partly because of this tends to see forests as dollar signs rather than as, well, forests. And vice versa - a government that doesn't value its own natural resources tends to destroy them, which leaves them poorer. Mega Rice is a perfect example, a lot of money spent to "develop" that just went down the rathole and made the place worse rather than better.

The situation is very severe in that part of the world, because they are in the flush of development. We tend to forget, but much of the temperate habitats have been severely damaged or destroyed, some very long ago (forests in Europe), while the tropics still has some relatively untouched places. If they develop the same way the US and Europe developed, there won't be much left. New York was once known for oysters, and Chesapeake Bay was known for many types of sea food. New York's oyster reefs are pretty much gone, and Chesapeake Bay is a shadow of its former glory. The same could happen to the coral reefs of Kodomo, in fact is starting to happen, but it could be avoided.

Whether it WILL be avoided is a matter of governance, and also wealth. Fewer Malaysians are going to poach and illegally log because they have other options that are better.

"Whether it WILL be avoided is a matter of governance, and also wealth."

I would argue that "wealth" (however you define it) is pretty much irrelevant when you're talking about an island nation of 240 million people (mostly fundamentalist muslims who are not particularly big on birth control or "eco-friendly" I might add) all crammed into 1/5th the land area of the U.S., with a 2% population growth rate per year that is expected to top 300 million by 2050. That's an awful lot of new hungry (and predominantly fundamentalist) mouths to feed, wouldn't you say?

Good luck on promoting the virtues of Jeffersonian democracy, women's rights/education, smaller families, environmentalism or conservation to your average rural Indonesian with his 6th grade education. I salute anyone who tries though (and urge them to take out an appropriately sized life insurance policy before going there).

Note: we in the U.S. are not doing so hot on the whole "Jeffersonian democracy" and science thingie here, either. Witness the almost complete elimination of abortion/family planning clinics in several Southern and midwestern states and repeated attempts to eliminate evolution from school curriculums.

Funny, HARM, I don't seem to have mentioned the US, or democracy, or whatever, once. The comparison I drew was with Malaysia, a country that shares the island of Borneo with Indonesia, is also heavily Islamic, and is very culturally and lingustically similar to Indonesia. There are more ethnic Chinese, that's about it. It's not as populous, but Indonesia's population is concentrated very heavily on Java in any case. Mega Rice was on Borneo.

Despite all of these similarities, Malaysia is much richer and better educated. Despite the Islamic culture, women get educations. It's not doing well on environmental protection, but it's doing better than Indonesia.

The coral reefs and rainforests may be doomed anyways - certainly the US, with tons of money, has not been able to protect the Florida reef system or the reefs on the main Hawaiian islands very well. But there is at least a better chance for countries like Malaysia as compared to Indonesia.

“we don’t have laws in Kansas right now that relate to sustainable
development.” It’s more about preventing sustainable development in the
future. "
Dennis Hedke, Geophysicist

Don't know whether to laugh or cry...

All the more ironic I suppose because Kansas is the home of the little town of Greensburg that in 2007 was basically wiped off the map by an EF-5 tornado...

Greensburg's claim to fame after that was that it was going to rebuild and live up to its name by completely "going green".

I think it did rebuild and at least had a go at doing things green and "sustainable".

I suppose the flat earthers in Kansas will be holding prayer vigils in an attempt to conjur up an even more powerful storm to rid us of the scourge of that heathen SUSTAINABLE town once and for all...

Budget Travel apparently calls Greensburg one of the coolest small towns in America (but maybe left out the part about it being in one of the more idiotic states in the "union" ?)

I feel the same way when people who know about Climate Change say we need to pump and burn more fossil fuels!


The commodity rout today is interesting since everything is down. Gold under $1400 and Copper at 52-week lows. All because China GDP figures came in at 7.7%? Herd mentality, I guess.

Silver is currently down over 11%, gold down over 9%; quite a plunge. WTI currently off 3.45%.

I thought when oil and stock markets go down it indicated weak economic activity, and that caused precious metals to go up. But in this case everything went down?

US Bonds are doing okay. Not a huge move like you would expect but I think the margin call article below makes the most sense. Looks like Lean Hogs have stabilized so maybe the worst is over for the markets today.

Gold has been a building bubble for awhile. Production costs are between $1200 to $1400 an ounce so there should be solid support around $1300. Meanwhile if we stay below $1400 for a month or so, some production will be shut in temporarily.

The smart investors moved out of gold and into Platinum a few months ago when they crossed for a brief period.

Bubble, my a$$...

By any metric gold is historically cheap, e.g. gold-oil-ratio... Lest I be called a conspiricist this move down was engineered. Recall what Volcker said about the 70's, "The mistake we made was to loose control of the gold market". Ben and the other CB'ers are not going to make the same mistake twice.

The ongoing collapse of the Japanese government bond market is quite possibly the first phase of the new financial crises that is in the offing...


Really? You are going to use that ratio on a site largely dedicated to peak oil?

And why would that be an issue?

The only times in the past 40 years when the GOR got completely "unhinged" was at the blow off top in 1980 when it reached ~25 and in July '08 when it got down to 7 followed by a spike up to ~30 when oil was oversold in Mar '09... Right now, GOR says gold is undervalued by ~20%...

And you are aware that world gold production has peaked as well...

It should also come as no surprise that US defaulting on gold convertability occured when US oil production peaked and US imports rocketed to the level that Fort Knox would have been emptied in 3 years...

Edit: I note that by coincidence I have been a TOD member exactly twice as long as you have, so I am well aware of the premise of the Drum.... :)

Did you know that oil is burned up whereas gold is not?

Are you trying to be facetious?

Obviously. While making a point. Gold can be recycled. You can give your gold to you children. But the oil you consume is gone forever. That means they will have different price dynamics.

Gold is also much easier to substitute . . . platinum, silver, jewels, etc. And you don't really need gold. Without oil, trillions of dollars of our transportation infrastructure become law ornaments.

The ONLY virtue possessed by gold (as money) that is absent from paper is durability. Otherwise both are simply place keepers and tokens, representing only how much labor you may trade for your token. If it cannot be used for that purpose it has no value other than utility, such as jewelry or electrical conductors for gold and, I guess wiping your butt for paper money.

So, in on sense yes, gold is better as money. However, setting your currency's value based on a single commodity without reference to labor is senseless. Eventually, gold is worth what it costs to produce, plus some labor involved in that. I think $1,350 or so is about right. And the market agrees with me more all of the time.

It is time that folks forget about silver and gold as currency. There really isn't enough of it for that purpose. Unless you want to have microscopic bits of gold in your pocket to use for daily purchases. 1/1400th oz ain't much mass, at 14 oz per pound.


1/1400th oz ain't much mass, at 14 oz per pound.

Make that 16 oz per pound and I'll agree with you.

Think troy ounces: 1lb = 14t oz 11.667dwt

1 oz of gold = 1t oz = 31.103g

1 oz (water) = 28.350g

I didn't know gold was measured in Troy ounces. It sounds rather archaic, but thanks nonetheless.

Not an accurate statement ..

1lb == 14.583 troy oz..

I programmed a manufacturing inventory system which kept track every little bit of precious metal and what price it was purchased at..

Just for good measure [ptp] I went to four different conversion tables: "Pounds to troy ounces". They all agree to the third decimal with my statement. I suggest you show any math you consider "accurate".

From wikipedia - dwt (pennyweight):

A pennyweight (abbreviated dwt) is a unit of mass that is equal to 24 grains, 1⁄20 of a troy ounce, 1⁄240 of a troy pound, approximately 0.054857 avoirdupois ounce [1] and exactly 1.55517384 grammes.[2]

In the Middle Ages, a British penny's weight was literally, as well as monetarily, 1⁄20 of an ounce and 1⁄240 of a pound of sterling silver. At the time, the pound in use was the Tower pound. The medieval English pennyweight was thus equal to 32 Tower grains (also known as wheat grains). When Troy weights replaced Tower weights in 1527, the Troy weights were defined in such a way that the old Tower pound came out to exactly 5400 Troy grains (also known as barleycorns), the Tower pennyweight 221⁄2 Troy grains (and thus approximately 1.46 grams). After 1527, the English pennyweight was the Troy pennyweight.[3]

The Troy pound and the pennyweight lost their official status in the United Kingdom in the Weights and Measures Act of 1878; only the Troy ounce and its decimal subdivisions remained official. The Troy ounce enjoys a specific legal exemption from metrication in the UK.[4]

The pennyweight is the common weight used in the valuation and measurement of precious metals. Jewelers use the pennyweight in calculating the amount and cost of precious metals used in fabricating or casting jewellery. Similarly, dentists and dental labs still use the pennyweight as the measure of precious metals in dental crowns and inlays.[5]

Your numbers are inconsistent.

You previously stated.. "1 oz of gold = 1t oz = 31.103g"

There are 453.592 grams per pound/ 31.103g/TOz == 14.583 TOz/lb..

Different units of measure, Tim. 0.583t oz = 11.667dwt. Same result, different units, and it wasn't my idea that precious metals generally still use troy ounces and pennyweights, no more than the US rejecting the metric system, so I'm not sure what your point is, but if you go to a precious metals/coin dealer and ask to buy a 2013 31.103g American Eagle gold coin, he's likely to look down his nose at you.

FFS . . . we need to switch to the metric system. The fact that such discussions even happen show how the imperial system creates inefficiencies.

Can you imagine the conspiracy theories that would be hatched by an effort to convert precious metals to metric??

If there is one thing I've learned in the past few years, it is that they will create conspiracy theories for EVERYTHING. And it is amazing how offensive the conspiracy theories can be now . . . the Aurora Colorado shooting and Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings have conspiracy theorists that insist they were faked in order to create demand for gun control. Unreal.


Senator Grassley parleying every favour he had to scuttle the conversion to the metric system in the mid 1970"s.


My Maple leaf weighs 31.1 gram(24 carats, .99999 fine).
My American Eagle weighs 34.0 gram(22 carats, .9167 fine).

They both contain 1 ounce of gold.

The purpose of the Troy system is to make up for the impurities so that you get what you are expecting, one ounce of gold.

The greatest virtue of gold is that there is no counter party risk. No one can default on your gold whereas your paper assets will become worthless overnight if the counter party defaults. Eventually all paper assets go to zero either due to default or inflation.

The value of gold when measured in money will fluctuate and that is fine. I expect a bubble in gold between 2015-2017 followed by a collapse in price to around $1500 - $2000. Unless we are reduced to barbarism gold will always be worth something. It is a guaranteed means of transferring some wealth to the next generation.

True - gold is useful as an international, one-world type place holder. Still, there is the matter of who values it...

Or course, an international one-worldy type currency is something the far right fears (part of the "New World Order"/mark of the beast deal), so I do not understand why so many of them support gold as currency. It only works well with zero government (total crash) or monolithic government (New World Order).


I don't like the idea of gold as a currency either. Everything fluctuates in value since everything is always changing. Any attempt to fix the value of a currency will create a crisis sooner or later.

Government can and has forced citizens to exchange their gold for paper money, revalued the gold upward and then sold it back to the citizens for paper money.

Inability to spell ("lose") really discredits the various arguments one makes. It's just one of those things.

I am curious about gold and PM's... I seem to recall that in the crash of 2008 gold and PM's crashed as hard as most of the rest of classes of things.

There are wars going on in the markets. Another sign of peak oil. Perhaps the best move is not to play?

If that is the case, there are only a couple of things to do with your money, financial assets. Keep some in cash, some in a bank account, and some in precious metals, and just let it sit there.

This spreads risk across the safest assets so it's unlikely that you will lose it all.

All because China GDP figures came in at 7.7%?

Who said that ? I think nobody knows anymore why markets and prices go up and down. It's easier to predict the weather.

From CNBC:

Gold Hit by Panic Selling, Margin Calls Driving Downdraft in Other Metals, Oil

Panic selling hit the gold market, driving a mad rush out of other commodities and risk assets, as traders saw China's disappointing gross domestic product data as confirmation the global economy is slowing.

Gold suffered its worst two-day selling spree in 30 years, with the metal falling down to $1,366, from a level of $1,500 on Friday. The 9 percent dive in gold follows a five percent decline in the metal Friday.

Ahh CNBC, that explains it. :)

I think these attributed reasons (China's GDP) are just plain speculation. I remember reading two headlines on two days, one when gold went up and the market went down and one when both went down. Headline one went something like "Dim economic prospects drive people towards safe haven" and second one sounded like "Poor job numbers force people to abandon risky assets". Is gold a safe haven a safe haven or a risky bet ? Please make up your mind.

Yeah, many times I've seen them say "Markets went down because of X, then a few days later "Markets up because of X." X hadn't changed! How can they make up their minds when they don't have one?

I laughed reading the Drumbeat headlines just a few hours ago: Big article in Mother Jones explaining why oil would never drop below $100, same day that it dropped below $90.

Who was the bright person who said predicting is difficult, especially about the future? ( or some such)

They were obviously talking about Brent, which is still above $100 though it might drop lower tomorrow... or later. WTI which is below $90 is no longer the benchmark for world oil. WTI was last above $100 on May 3rd 2012.

Ron P.

It was either Niels Bohr or Yogi Berra (probably both)

I think the main mistake most people make is to think that gold is an investment. It's not -- unless you're a speculator. For sensible people, gold is an insurance policy.

We buy home insurance not because we want to make money but because we want to get bailed out if something rare but terrible happens. Gold provides the same sort of insurance against catastrophic inflation. Unlike homeowner's insurance, however, it does have some intrinsic value so it's worth while owning some.

The time to buy gold as a reasonable speculative investment was five to fifteen years ago. Back then, the upside was far more likely than the downside. Today that is no longer the case. Although I would think that any price below $1300 seems a reasonable price to pay for the insurance it provides.

Although I would think that any price below $1300 seems a reasonable price to pay for the insurance it provides.

That is, of course, if you can get your hands on gold at these prices. Call your local coin shop and check the PM websites. Seems they are increasing their premium margins in the face of this huge sell off. Especially with silver. Some of the PM websites had 20+% premiums over spot on silver.

I got some this morning at my belgian bank. Paid 34,78 eur/gram, means about 1295 usd/ounce. Physical delivery estimated in about 3 weeks.

The banker wanted me to buy a tracker on gold, but I did stick to physical :-)

"...but I did stick to physical :-)"

let's check in 3 weeks to see if you indeed did buy physical gold. To me physical implies "in-hand".

This was interesting as regards gold, and the author appears not to be a total wingnut based on his wiki pedigree.



I think he made a bit of a mistake, though I don't really understand it completely. He wrote:

What happens when 500 tons of gold sales are dumped on the market at one time or on one day? Correct, it drives the price down. Investors who want to get out of large positions would spread sales out over time so as not to lower their sales proceeds. The sale took gold down by about $73 per ounce. That means the seller or sellers lost up to $73 dollars 16 million times, or $1,168,000,000.

If the FED dumped a sale (or series sales) that large on the market as naked shorts, they could go long after the price dropped and cancel their short positions in the futures market, buying at a lower price than that which they sold. The FED would thus reap a profit, not suffer a loss. Remember that the futures markets usually don't continue to physical delivery. Perhaps Mr. Rogers is referring to those who sold later and covered the FED's purchases...

E. Swanson

PHOTOS: Here's A Look At Apple's Massive Solar Array

Currently 100 acres, 20 MWatts, with a plan to double size and output in Maiden, NC.

Independently generating their own energy. That's great, but if that's how much land is needed to support just one manuf. location, then what does that say about how much land would be needed to support manufacturing in all business sectors? At some point we'll easily be able to see the solar arrays from space.

At some point we'll easily be able to see the solar arrays from space.

How much land is already covered by buildings that have roofs and are surrounded by paved parking lots? Some of that land could probably handle a little extra shading, eh? On top of that, maybe we don't need all that manufacturing either...

Yes FMagyar, let's cover the tops of the buildings and make PV covered parking areas 'before' we cover the land.

Permits, variances, inspections etc. will delay construction. You need more expensive attachments, building reinforcements, holes through roofs that must be sealed, safety measures so they don't fly off and hit people in windstorms, etc.

I'd bet it takes twice as long and 2 to 4 times the investment to put solar on roofs or over parking lots as it does to put them on a green field. For the latter, people will be hitting the supports, increasing your insurance costs.

And if you go to the desert, you will undoubtedly be accused of disturbing some obscure lower form of life or desecrating some Native American site.

For flat roofs nonpenetrating ballasted mounts are catching on. They've already passed through some of the certification hoops, so hopefully flat roofs will catch on bigtime.

Parking lots are cool, the high school near my house has almost completed their's. I haven't seen anything on the price, those mounts don't look cheap (like 20some feet high). I'll believe this stuff when I see the shopping centers doing it.

You're right Merrill, solar was a lousy idea anyway, what was I thinking...

It's a lousy idea if it is deployed in a way that is uneconomic. Worn out tobacco fields seem like a good place for solar. It can be used to cap superfund sites, and old industrial brown fields seem like good sites. Suburban office park lawns are a good place, and the sheep and goats can graze under the solar panels to keep down the weeds.

There are an estimated 5 million acres of brownfield in the US. How about using some of that land for a start?

"And if you go to the desert, you will undoubtedly be accused of disturbing some obscure lower form of life or desecrating some Native American site."

And you would most likely in fact be doing both, irrespective of accusation. Feel free to give up your own ancestors grave sites for whatever industrial fixation you choose if you feel the need to do so, and throw in a couple churches and your favorite state/national park while you are at it for good measure. I won't be too worried about the lower lifeforms though, some of them are busy bringing about their own extinction, others are evolving to survive in a changing world...

The 'world' is no longer our backyard where we get to assert total control over it's 'development' according to our whims. I'd say it's the one taking control at this point. You just argued we should pave over what I presume you presumed was a large, undeveloped, useless area, with the only argument being to save "2 to 4 times the investment", otherwise you have no reason not to go with the roof option first. So we can save a few more service jobs, and some conspicuous consumption perhaps? Ah, how nakedly our values are all on display on TOD.


To be realistic, if we are to have any chance of getting enough solar built soon enough to stave off the worst of climate change, we gotta go with the cheap ground mount solar. I already have solar on my roof, but if I am to make a dent in the problems, that requires many square miles worth. So we pusg ground mounted farms, because the capital is limited (and picky about returns etc.), And the power consumers are greedy little bastards who want to pay the cheapest rate possible.

Besides that 1% of desert needed isn't a big deal. If we don't then desert wins for sure as climate change will convert a lot of currently nondesert to desert.

Perhaps I was unnecessarily harsh. I am tired of being in the crosshairs for Big Government, Big Industry, and Big Plans of all kinds (I know, I'm not remotely alone). It's actually kind of nice here the way it is, if you have some rain cisterns and the like.

I have no doubt when/if the solar future gets fully underway, it will be done just like we have learned to do everything else: minimize cost, maximize externalities. Talking about religious sites and ecology is pretty superfluous at that point I guess? Still, I'd go with the Yeoman Farmer approach before the Big Government approach. They can have my rooftop panels when they pry them from my cold dead fingers - kind of like holding gold coin vs. an ETF certificate...they at least have to approach my property with guns, instead of zeroing it out on a keyboard in NY, and if they happen to collapse first, I still got me panels. If the local utility builds a giant solar park instead, and hard times approach, that's worth about what the copper it's wired with is in my mind...Viva Cobre Ratones, eh?


I don't think it matters. We're doing both in all sorts of locations.

A local coffee roaster just plastered their roof with PV.. a new restaurant on the corner near me put some Hot Water and some PV up on theirs, you drive up Rt 1 from NH to Portland, and you'll see Auto Dealerships, Antiques shops- they're going in all over the place up here.. nobody is forgetting that rooftops are one good place for a bunch of it to go.

We're not in Kansas. Knock Wood..


Yes, solar of any and every type seems to be rapidly catching on. It seems pretty clear that we are out of the "R&D" phase and into the "building" phase of a real energy transition. Still "marginal" but that margin is growing exponentially.

Barring black swans, I expect in 10 years that solar and wind will overtake and replace coal in at least a few countries. In Japan, I expect solar to replace lost nuclear by that time (they have an agressive subsidy now).

Perhaps I am being optimistic, but things are changing quickly.

yes I can remember in the 70's when you only had a few different pairs of shoes to choose from now there are so many different varities of everything it is mind boggling....do we really need that many choices?

Yes - and Converse sneakers were made properly - in the USA!

The problem I see is not the land but the type of land. There are vast sections of desert that would be ideal for solar, they would have envronmental impact but porbably to a lesser extent than other areas. This photo to me show the great potentail of solar, it is in the wrong place though, that looks like good agricultural land solar and ag do not mix well, however ag and wind go together quite nicely. Put the right resources in the right places.

Bing and Google maps both show the partially completed Apple data center west of Startown Road south of the intersection with US 321. From the Business Insider pictures, the solar farm is east of Startown Road in the bend of US 321. For whatever reason, much of this is shown as forested in the satellite views, so it was not being used for agriculture. The remainder would appear to be pasture, but some may have been tilled.

5 acres / MWatt * 1,150,000 MWatt current US generation capacity = 5,750,000 acres. That's about 9000 square miles or about 100 miles on a side. Multiply by around 4 to account for diurnal and seasonal variation.

John Malone and Ted Turner are each reported to own in excess of 2,000,000 acres.

Gota compare apples to apples

100 * 100 = 10,000 square miles * 4 = 40,000 square miles

2,000,000 acres = 2,000,000/640 = 3125 Square miles.

On a continental scale even 2 million acres is a drop in the bucket.

Not much. And we should try to build it on existing buildings . . . that takes up no new land and generates the power where it is consumed.

Actually the first paragraph of the article cited says the solar farm is supporting an Apple Data Center ie iTunes, the Apple Cloud, or probably a combination of all Apple Data Needs. This is one of the costs of the Internet which is exponentially increasing demand for networking, data, and consequently servers and data centers. This demonstrates the energy demands of the Wired Generation for what seems to just come from thin air!

The Greentouch initiative ( http://www.greentouch.org/ ) is aiming to increase network efficiency from 2010 levels 1000 times. Personally I really hope they are successful with this project because the Internet, although filled with junk, delusions, the flotsam and jetsam of an overstoked "Information' (not Wisdom!) age still has a huge amount of information and utility as in TheOilDrum itself!

Its early days yet, but these CPV take up less surface area:

Solar Systems begins operations at Mildura power plant

Goldsworthy said the planning phase for the next stage, the 100MW Mildura Solar Power Station Project, continues with construction commencement expected late 2014 2014, subject to successful operation of the demonstration facility and finalisation of funding arrangements.
The technology uses ultra-high efficiency PV cells known as multi-junction cells that were initially developed for space and satellite applications. They work best in excellent sunlight, which is collected in mirrors and focused onto a small area of CPV cells. For instance, the 600kW pilot facility at Bridgewater uses just 4 square metres of modules. A 270kW rooftop solar PV array installed at Hervey Bay Hospital this year by another Silex subsidiary, Silex Solar, used 1,670 sq m of modules.
Goldsworthy says the cells currently boast efficiency rates of more than 40 per cent – about double that of the best performing rooftop PV – but he hopes that this can be lifted to more than 50 per cent, or even 60 per cent with further research.

Concentrator arrays must be spaced apart by 9 to 12 times the area of the concentrators at temperate latitudes. Think of the array like trees in a park that only shade each other around sunrise and sunset.

It looks like Apple is using crystalline PV mounted on single axis altitude trackers. Although difficult to determine because none of the photos are from directly overhead, it looks like the spacing is about 100% of the area of the PV panels. From the captions:

100 acre
20 MW project
42 million kWh of clean energy annually

With 75% sunny days, 30% increase in power from single axis tracking (7.8 hours of full power per day), 20 MW generates annually:

(20 MW / 1000 W/kW) * .75 * 7.8 hours/day * 365.24 day/year = 42.7 million kWh / year

so the rated power and annual energy are consistent.

As for the land area, there is a gully containing trees in the middle of the PV array which I suspect is included in the 100 acres. The land appears to abut a curved road which makes the layout inefficient. There are some trees between the PV array and the paved road which may also be included in the 100 acres. Some of the flat land does not appear to be utilized. It is difficult to determine if the PV panels, the space between the rows and the access roads occupy 100 acres. If the PV panels occupy 1/3 of of the land area, then the array should provide:

100 acre = 404,686 m2
PV panels: 13% efficiency

(404,686 m2 / 3) * .13 * 1000 W/m2 = 17.5 MW

The data in the captions are reasonable.

Apple should mount PV panels on the roof of its North Carolina data center because shade beats white paint for keeping the roof cool.

"...30% increase in power from single axis tracking..."

Looks like they are only adjusting/tracking for elevation. Tracking for azimuth would give them 20%-40% improvement in production; elevation, not so much. Dual-axis tracking is more advantageous at higher latitudes. Here at 35 degrees north, my simple tilt-and-roll single axis trackers are producing about 30% more annually than an identical fixed array, both adjusted seasonally for elevation. The trackers will shade each other, early morning, late afternoon, especially in summer, if not spaced about 150% of their width, E-W.

A primer on current tracking schemes: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2011/10/pv-trackers...

Another advantage to single axis (equatorial) tracking is that the output of the PV panels tends to be nearly constant for several hours under clear sky conditions. With fixed panels, the output exhibits a rather sharp peak around solar noon. The wider the spacing, the longer the interval of constant production. This becomes important when one must feed an inverter and the inverter must be sized for maximum power. As a result, with fixed orientation, the inverter's potential output is only used for a short time of the day, while the cost of the inverter is amortized over the life of the plant, thus the cost of power from the system will be larger in terms of dollars per kWh. the down side is that a larger land area is required, which also impacts the system cost which depends on the cost of the land...

E. Swanson

We see that tracker effect with the caliso renewables graph. (Last I checked over 7GW -its very windy and very sunny). The solar component is very flat (just over 1700MW) for several hours. My fixed mount system has a much rounder profile.

I meant "elevation" not "altitude." Oops.

I disagree with your link's definition that single-axis trackers move only in azimuth. Single-axis trackers can move in elevation and not in azimuth (the rotational axis points east-west), or they can move in azimuth and not in elevation (the rotational axis points at the north celestial pole meaning it should be called an equatorial tracker). I visited a solar installation that has single-axis trackers that move in elevation and not in azimuth. Maiden, NC has almost the same latitude, 35.5 degrees north, as the installation I visited which gained 30% power from the tracking compared to a fixed, optimally pointed array. However, I suspect the 30% was gross power including the power used to operate the tracking system.

Looking at Google Maps for Apple's data center in Maiden, NC, I see the axes are pointing north-south and appear horizontal making it a single-axis azimuth tracking array whose elevation is optimized for summer. Although it is difficult to determine from the photos, the array might be located on a south facing hill which would tilt the rotational axes up a bit.

CPV will probably be destroyed by cheap flat panels. And as Goldy shows below, it gets widely spaced to avoid the 2-axis tracker shading problem, so its areal efficiency ends up being not that great. Of course you could let nature enjoy the partially shaded places in between, but that doesn't seem to be the way our industrialized society works.

As flat panels get cheaper -and also more efficient, lower tilt fixed mounts mean much less space is needed between panels.

Yep, CSP can't really compete against PV right now. It is still very useful because it allows you to produce power after sundown. But PV panels are so cheap and it is so much easier to get the permits for a PV system. And PV can be done right where the power is used instead of out in the desert away from the power consumers.

Actually CPV is concentrated onto high efficiency PV cells, whereas CSP means solar thermal power plant. The later is unfortunately more expensive than CPV which is more expensive than PV. I do hope will fund enought CSP to discover where the learning curve will lead. But, I am very pessimistic about its ability to compete.

What I really want, is panels that are popwered by infrared back radiation. Some people are working on it, not photovoltaics, but tiny antennas (and diodes), to convert the varying electric field of the radiation into electricity. Even on a clear night we have 100-200 watts per meter squared available. There is more available during the day, but at least you can still produce at night. High clouds reduce this -as they increase the sky temperature, and it is the difference between the ground temp and the sky that matters. But, if we had this class of solar?, the time spread of power production would be a lot friendlier. So here's to hoping this stuff become available.

What I really want, is panels that are popwered by infrared back radiation

Ah, heck with it! I'm posting a link to an xkcd comic...


I have spent a lot of time on small solar thermal machines- stirling engines. They work very well, and, in large scale production, would cost about $200/kW for engine-alternator, and of course, are able to work just as well on heat from combustion.

Nobody has picked up this possibility, but it is there free for the taking, and has been for quite a while. A totally unexploited great opportunity open for anyone to take and run with.

I would love to buy one. Meanwhile, I'm buying PV, because that's what I can get.

PV's quieter,, more gentle and amiable. It just sits there and collects energy. Virtually everything else seems violent and invasive by comparison.

Anything mechanical that moves and involves lots of heat will wear out and break down and if it requires maintenance then that maintenance will be neglected. Such is the way of mechanical things. The good bit is that it takes pretty primitive technology to pull off...some smelting and a little machining then shine a mirror on it.

PV also comes in colors! http://www.coloredsolar.com/Products.html

For what it's worth, I think we've gotten a bit too allergic to the finer of the mechanisms and shunned them in favor of the (apparent) euclidean cleanliness of Touchscreens and a Polished, Plain finish.

The elegant machinery of yesteryear, the DC-3, the Typewriter, the Bicycle, Yankee Screwdriver or the Apple Peeler.. do certainly live or die on the quality of maintenance and the extremity of the conditions they are subjected to, or designed for.. but with even a modicum of decent care, such things can often plug away for Generations.

I do hope that my PV ends up doing as well as my Grandmother's Singer Treadle Machine or my Dad's Eggbeater Drill, and I don't despise it for it's antiseptic appearance.. but it doesn't give quite as much direct joy, either, as the Century Old Folding Smith-Corona of my brothers that my daughter started typing with yesterday. If any of these I-phones hold up a quarter as long, I'll be simply flabbergasted!

Our Futures Look Bright—Because We Reject the Possibility That Bad Things Will Happen

... In line with previous research, fluency—how easy or difficult it feels to think about different events—amplified the effects of past events on participants' reports of well-being: The easier it was for people to generate positive past experiences, the happier they said they were in those times. Likewise, the easier it was to come up with negative past experiences, the more unhappy people said they were.

But, in an interesting twist, this trend did not hold true for future experiences.

While thinking about positive future events was still correlated with people's predictions of future happiness, thinking of negative future events didn't have the corresponding effect—easily imagining negative possibilities didn't sway people to believe that they would be unhappy in the future.

"People seem to 'explain away' the presence of bad possibilities, thinking that they won't really occur," explains O'Brien. "But they have a harder time explaining the absence of good possibilities. The absence of good events in our future feels much worse than the presence of bad ones."

That doesn't mean bad things can't happen to our friends, though. When participants were asked to imagine events and happiness for one of their close friends, they predicted that negative events would have a significant effect on their friend's well-being.

Memory Effect Now Also Found In Lithium-Ion Batteries

... The memory effect has long been known to exist in Nickel-Cadmium- and Nickel-metal hydride batteries. Ever since lithium-ion batteries started to be successfully marketed in the 1990s, the existence of the memory effect in this type of battery had been ruled out. Incorrectly, as this new study indicates.

The existence of a memory effect is particularly relevant in the context of the anticipated steps towards using lithium-ion batteries in the electric mobility sector. In hybrid cars in particular, the effect can arise during the many cycles of charging/discharging that occur during their normal operation. In such vehicles, the battery is partially recharged during each braking operation by the engine running in a generator mode. It is in turn discharged, and usually only partially, to assist the engine during acceleration phases.

The numerous successive cycles of partial charging and discharging lead to individual small memory effects adding up to a large memory effect, as this new study demonstrates. This leads to an error in the estimate of the current state of charge of the battery, in cases where the state of charge is calculated by software on the basis of the current value of the voltage.

Might explain the Tesla, et.al range issue

Calculating the range from Li-Ion battery is notoriously difficult. Unlike a gas tank where you can just measure the level of liquid, batteries have no good solid metrics to judge the state of charge. And to compound matters, the few metrics you do have mean different things depending the current temperature, how old the battery is, etc.

At least them learning about this should help with the algorithms for future battery guess-o-meters.

It is a tiny effect, easily understood by the "most porous" particles charging first after a discharge, then a voltage bump to start charging the rest. After some unspecified period of rest the charging bump goes away, as might be expected.

At best it would allow an extra few parts per thousand of precision to the predicted range.

I believe this effect is common with li-ion batteries, and is well known. For instance, Apple advises 100% discharge once per month to deal with this.

Now, AFAIK this doesn't really change the capacity of the battery, it just makes measurement of charge difficult. That's very different from nicads.

Better Batteries from Waste Sulfur

A new chemical process can transform waste sulfur into a lightweight plastic that may improve batteries for electric cars, reports a University of Arizona-led team. The new plastic has other potential uses, including optical uses.

The new plastic performs better in batteries than elemental sulfur, Pyun said, because batteries with cathodes made of elemental sulfur can be used and recharged only a limited number of times before they fail.

The new plastic has electrochemical properties superior to those of the elemental sulfur now used in Li-S batteries, the researchers report. The team's batteries exhibited high specific capacity (823 mAh/g at 100 cycles) and enhanced capacity retention.


The team's discovery could provide a new use for the sulfur left over when oil and natural gas are refined into cleaner-burning fuels.

Although there are some industrial uses for sulfur, the amount generated from refining fossil fuels far outstrips the current need for the element. Some oil refineries, such as those in Ft. McMurray in Alberta, are accumulating yellow mountains of waste sulfur.

"There's so much of it we don't know what to do with it," said Pyun. He calls the left-over sulfur "the garbage of transportation."

About one-half pound of sulfur is left over for every 19 gallons of gasoline produced from fossil fuels

About one-half pound of sulfur is left over for every 19 gallons of gasoline produced from fossil fuels

Unfortunately that is the good news. The bad news is what happens to the other half of the sulfur not recovered (much of which is turned into SOx either at the refinery or by the end user of refined fuels)...
Quote above reflects only about ~0.4% sulfur removed, whereas average US crude oil input is well over 1% sulfur.

End users in the US get very little of the sulfur. Current standards outside of California are 30 parts per million for gasoline (0.003%). California's standard is 10 parts per million. The EPA has proposed putting the whole country on California's standard. For 2014, the vast majority of US diesel fuel will be at 15 ppm or lower. Surveys of jet fuel in the US have average sulfur levels around 400 ppm (0.04%).

Sulphur Piles Larger than Buildings
Alberta Oil Sands Produces 1.2 Million Tonnes Of Sulphur Annually

By Cori O'Donnell, Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

The Alberta oil sands are producing more than just oil; massive amounts of sulphur are being made too. And I mean massive.

The problem facing the local areas surrounding the oil sands is what to do with this oversupply of sulphur. One proposed plan was to channel the sulphur through a molten river.

The area that this river would run through rejected the idea. 2.2 million tonnes of sulphur, enough to fill a 110-car train every five days (according to Canada.com), was too much sulphur for comfort.

I was just going to ask if there is a ready market for all the sulfur produced. Apparently the answer is "no".

Hmm. Someone has to figure out what do with it. Can someone create building material out of it? Of course, that wouldn't be such a good material as far as fires are concened. Hmmmm.

Back in 2008, Sulfur prices shot very very high.

Sodium-Sulfur batteries

These big piles of sulfur are not unusual in Alberta. Every sour gas plant I worked at had a pile of sulfur sitting out behind. Some of the gas was 80% sulfur dioxide - in which case the primary product was sulfur and natural gas was just a byproduct. Sometimes the sulfur pile got to be bigger than the plant was. The pile grew and shrank depending on the world demand for sulfur - if the price was over $100/tonne the pile shrank rapidly as it was sold to buyers, but if it was a quarter of that, the pile grew until the price went back up.

Unlike some other jurisdictions, Alberta does not allow companies to emit sulfur to the atmosphere, so they have to extract it and stockpile it. As a result, Alberta is one of the world's largest producers of sulfur. In addition to the sour gas plants, the oil sands plants extract a lot of sulfur, so sulfur production will become even greater as oil sands production grows.

Why buy the sulfur? Where does it end up?

To make Sulfuric acid.. (H2SO4).. A strong acid..

Used in Lead acid batteries..

The biggest use is in Phosphate rock refining making fertilizer.
One of the byproducts is Gypsum(calcium phosphate).

H2SO4 is also used in separating Uranium, Thorium from various rock ores.
Making it's supply a fundamental limiting factor for production of Uranium/Thorium.

I.E. Low grade U ore simply requires too much H2SO4.

A lot of the elemental sulfur is converted to sulfuric acid and used in numerous manufacturing processes, as well as the ubiquitous lead/acid batteries in cars. However, the biggest use is agricultural chemicals, particularly fertizers. Sulfur is essential for life, and a lot of soils, particularly tropical ones, are short of sulfur. Sulfuric acid is also used to make phosphate fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, etc etc.

The biggest markets for sulfur are probably China, India, and other countries in the Asia Pacific region. Where I live, near the Canadian Pacific Railway main line to the West Coast, we see a lot of unit trains of sulfur rolling by on their way to the Pacific Ocean.

One of the byproducts is Gypsum(calcium phosphate).

Ah ha! I knew building materials could be a good use of it.

Seek out a copy of National Geographic for July 1960.


Yes, that was a classic picture of an Alberta gas plant. The gas field is largely depleted now, and the sulfur pile is gone. So is the gas plant - it was torn down and replaced by a compressor station for the few remaining gas wells in the area.

We tend not to worry about such things because since then there have some huge wind power farms built near there. You exhaust the resources and then move on to the next big thing. If we weren't awash in all kinds of energy resources, we would probably worry more.

It does wonders in caustic calciferous desert soils, if they've removed the carcinogens, send it down this way! (plants don't absorb many nutrients above a certain ph, even though they are sitting right in a soup of them)

Lags in Fracking Regulations: Independent Analysis Reveals Risks to Water Resources

A new report on hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in California warns of the risks of irreversible contamination of surface and groundwater near oil drilling sites, unless the technique is carefully monitored and controlled. The report Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing in California: A Wastewater and Water Quality Perspective is an independent analysis produced by the UC Berkeley School of Law's Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) and its new initiative, the Wheeler Institute for Water Law & Policy (Wheeler Institute).

The report coincides with a request by the state's Department of Conservation for comment on its "discussion draft" regulations. The agency's draft addresses elements such as well construction, testing, and storage and handling of wastewater. But it fails to adequately address risks to California's water resources, according to Hein.

In an unusual twist that is contrary to its role as a leader in environmental protection law, California lags behind other states on hydraulic fracturing regulation. Wyoming, Ohio, and other states set stronger standards for transparency, safety, and environmental stewardship. But, even in those cases, gaps in agency oversight may have contributed to water contamination and greater seismic activity.

Research Finds Invasive Kudzu Bugs May Pose Greater Threat Than Previously Thought

The invasive kudzu bug has the potential to be a major agricultural pest, causing significant damage to economically important soybean crops. Conventional wisdom has held that the insect pests will be limited to areas in the southern United States, but new research from North Carolina State University shows that they may be able to expand into other parts of the country.

... our lab work and the field observations indicate that kudzu bugs are potentially capable of spreading into any part of the U.S. where soybeans are grown. And soybeans are grown almost everywhere ...

Who would have thought, a bug that could feed on soybeans for only half its life cycle could somehow adapt to feeding on them for the entire life cycle?

Comet to make close flyby of Red Planet in October 2014

New observations of comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) have allowed NASA's Near-Earth Object Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. to further refine the comet's orbit.

Based on data through April 7, 2013, the latest orbital plot places the comet's closest approach to Mars slightly closer than previous estimates, at about 68,000 miles (110,000 kilometers). [Distance to the Moon: 238,900 miles (384,400 km)]

Future observations of the comet are expected to refine the orbit further. The most up-to-date close-approach data can be found at: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=C%2F2013%20A1;orb=0;cov=0;log=0;ca...

New from GAO ...

Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel: Observations on the Key Attributes and Challenges of Storage and Disposal Options

In November 2009, GAO reported on the attributes and challenges of a Yucca Mountain repository. A key attribute identified was that the Department of Energy (DOE) had spent significant resources to carry out design, engineering, and testing activities on the Yucca Mountain site and had completed a license application and submitted it to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which has regulatory authority over the construction, operation, and closure of a repository.

If the repository had been built as planned, GAO concluded that it would have provided a permanent solution for the nation's commercial nuclear fuel and other nuclear waste and minimized the uncertainty of future waste safety. Constructing the repository also could have helped address issues including federal liabilities resulting from industry lawsuits against DOE related to continued storage of spent nuclear fuel at reactor sites.

However, not having the support of the administration and the state of Nevada proved a key challenge. As GAO reported in April 2011, DOE officials did not cite technical or safety issues with the Yucca Mountain repository project when the project's termination was announced but instead stated that other solutions could achieve broader support.

... developing an alternative repository would restart the likely costly and time-consuming process of developing a repository. It is also unclear whether the Nuclear Waste Fund--established under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended, to pay industry's share of the cost for the Yucca Mountain repository--will be sufficient to fund a repository at another site.

Corporate Tax Expenditures: Information on Estimated Revenue Losses and Related Federal Spending Programs

Tax expenditures--special exemptions and exclusions, credits, deductions, deferrals, and preferential tax rates claimed by corporations, individuals, or both--support federal policy goals but result in revenue forgone by the federal government.

Estimated tax revenue that the federal government forgoes resulting from corporate tax expenditures increased over the past few decades as did the total number of corporate tax expenditures. In 2011, the Department of the Treasury estimated 80 tax expenditures resulted in the government forgoing corporate tax revenue totaling more than $181 billion.

... 7 of the 24 corporate-only tax expenditures are aimed at encouraging or supporting specific energy sources and technologies [subsidies]

I suspect that proceeding with any centralized US spent fuel repository is going to be a difficult process.

The initial list of candidates included sites in both the East and West (divided roughly at 100° W). About 90% of the commercial reactors are east of that line, along with a about 75% of the US population. Repository sites east of the line were steadily disqualified, not on scientific grounds, but as the price to buy the votes of members of Congress on other issues. The last three sites on the list were all west of the line: in Washington, Texas, and Nevada. In 1987, US House members from Washington and Texas, exploiting the powerful positions they held, and strongly opposed to having the repository in their states, added language to a budget reconciliation bill in committee that reduced the candidate list to Yucca Mountain alone.

The "obvious" locations for a centralized repository are all in the interior Mountain West region for hydrologic reasons. None of those western states want it. None of the western states that are likely candidates have a commercial reactor. The current Supreme Court has been willing to rule that there are things that the federal government can't force on states. If I were a betting man, I would bet that the perceived risks of transporting and storing spent nuclear fuel will be one of those things.

On alternate Tuesdays, when I believe in conspiracy theories, I point out that if the Supreme Court were to make that decision, the states outside of the interior Mountain West are numerous enough to pass the necessary amendment to the US Constitution and put the repository there anyway.

And meanwhile, if that waste is not moved to somewhere else (which will need to be written off as a habitable area), then it will be released in place over time. From a long term point of view (i.e. hundreds of years) it makes no difference if there is a sudden catastrophe like Fukushima or a simple release due to corrosion/failure of the local storage. The effect is the same - the waste is distributed by wind and rain and life processes, rendering the region uninhabitable.

Given how expensive and difficult it will be to move and contain all this waste material, what are the chances it will happen now in a collapsing society?

Hi all,

I'm looking for research papers (or anything, really) relating to how much energy is spent for each dollar/euro/whatever produced (in GDP terms);


No, this is NOT a pro-nuke post! See below. ;-)

Merkel’s No-Nuke Stumble May Erode Re-Election Support

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s sweeping plan to transform Germany into a green-energy giant almost destroyed Nordseewerke GmbH, one of the country’s leading makers of wind-turbine foundations.

Not sure if this was posted before or not. Article covers solar too, of course. Throwing this out for the group in terms of the cost factor. At various times I've read that Germany is either doing really well on the costs of renewables, or the cost of electricity has gone up substantially. This article seems to fall into the latter category.

If we're to move to a renewable future the costs are important, it would seem to me. Just looking for folks thoughts on this in general. Is the price of electricity in Germany actually going up or not? Are there other aspects to this?

There is an argument that would say that the KWH price going up doesn't mean it has been a failure. Price, of course, should be a measure of a product's value to us, and IMO it is reasonable enough to suggest that we have simply been spoiled with energy costs that are far below what they are truly worth, or at least, what a balanced life on Earth should have to invest for a reasonable share of energy.

Sure, costs are important, just as is developing a realistic view of what we should value things at. I hear people insisting on getting cheap this and cheap that at the store, and then complaining that everything we sell is cheap!

So What's it worth to you?

These price discussions are indicative of societies and individuals in either denial or bargaining stages. It's a bit like someone told they have a life-threatening, soon to be terminal condition going around shopping for the cheapest procedure, or waiting for a cheaper cure to come along. Funny how folks will accept the (partly unknown) full cycle costs of nuclear or coal, but hold renewables to a different standard. It seems really disfunctional to someone like me. Not even sure why I respond anymore... I've pretty much lost hope that the collective will get its priorities into a more realistic vein.

Where does the capital that was "lost" when the N plants were shut down get counted? The value of those plants/equipment is much lower today than it was prior to mar-11-2011. Someone had to take the hit. Was if government, the utilities, or the ratepayers?

Them's the breaks, eh? You places your bets, you takes your chances..

Of course, they don't get Counted, they get Discounted.. an appropriate parallel to Amory Lovins' discounting method using Negawatts of energy use.. yet in that case, it's a Positive use of Negative Space.

I guess I wasn't thinking in terms of either the cost of nuclear, or that renewables in Germany are a failure. I don't think they are. I was thinking more along the lines of potential mistakes German policymakers may have made, from which we might learn a lesson or two, in terms of a better way to get the pricing right. My impression at this point is this is where the issue lies.

Looking for ideas from the perspective of making it a success. Much easier to sell success to the collective. What might have been done differently, or what might be done differently now? How might Merkel strengthen her hand?

Well framed, thanks.

And in answer.. I really don't know. I AM pleased that they took those chances, even if they had to bear some imperfections, and I do hope policy and reasonable economics types will succeed in crafting new plans that CAN fix or anticipate some of the problems.. but of course, here in the land of the Kansas Anti-sustainability Bills, we're so logjammed with painfully unnecessary arguments over pure distractions that there's barely any chance that we will be seeing much proposed by way of policies that take bold chances built on our faith in sensible reason and basic addition. It's too much to ask, I fear.

We have the interesting contradiction in Germany that on one hand the consumer price for electricity goes up and on the other hand the whole sale price goes down. As result of the latter Germany exports record amounts of electricity, in the first 3 month of 2013 already 70% (16 TWh) of the high export amounts of 2012 (22 TWh).

The explenation is of course that the utilities buy cheap energy and do not pass these savings to their customers, because they can expect that most customers are too lazy to change their energy provider. Reneables contribute to less than 50% to the increase of prices in the last years in Germany, however, they got 100% of the blame. :-)

Windpower is doing very well in Germany, the most important company is the onshore specialist Enercon (Aurich) which has a market share of >60% in Germany and Austria. This company had record sales in 2012. Despite the fact that their products are very expensive they wipe the floor with competitors like Siemens or GE, only the Danish Vestas is able to mount some resistance in this central European onshore market, they reach a 25% share.

The problem of the article is that it completely ignores the proportion of onshore vs offshore wind. Offshore is in the <1 GW range and very expensive. In contrast, onshore wind power is already >30 GW and highly conmpetitive and able to provide more than 40% of the German demand in 2030. Therfore, to correlate the success of the Energiewende with offshore wind is stupid or dishonest. Even high quality green think tanks suggest a slow down of the off shore developement (articles in German):


Here's a question for you Ulenspiegel - who is actually paying for German electricity, given that much of the renewables are privately/individually owned?

Surely there must be a lot of Germans who aren't paying out for electricity as they get an income from wind and solar and/or generate own electric?

We have 38 million households in Germany - but only 1 million PV installations and 23.000 wind turbines, therefore, most households pay and will pay even if the installed power is increased by four times the current amount (=100% renewables).

Correct is that many villages in northern Germany produce their "own" electricity by wind and there are many projects of vitual powerplants -combination of different renewables at different sites connected by internet and controlled by computer- in rural areas.

The interesting aspect in Germany is that a large portion of the wind capacity is owned by farmers or energy cooperatives and that these will very likely increase their market share by repowering projects, i.e. replacement of old 500 kW turbines with 3 MW turbines at a 3:2 ratio.

As 70% of the tax income stays in the villages and towns were the turbines are located, there is a nice political pressure on the governnment by the northern Federal States (Bundesländer) Schleswig Holstein, Niedersachesen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Brandenburg to keep onshore wind power alive. Many villages have now a future again as jobs are created and young families with kids come back. :-)

Most people do not know that the developement in Austria is even more interesting, in January 2013 the Federal State Burgenland, which has no hydro power, has reached wind capacity to provide 100% of its demand, the fact that it is a mostly rural state helped of course but the whole project was finished within a few years, very un-Austrian. Again with large benefits for the local economy. :-)

Two bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Still not much solid info, but it sounds like there were some pretty gruesome injuries.

The assumption is that it's some kind of terrorist attack, but there's still so much confusion, who knows. Might even be an accident of some sort, though it doesn't seem likely.

Press conference: "Third explosion at JFK Library we believe is related"..

Yeah, they're saying at least five bombs now - two didn't go off. That they know of. Not looking like an accident.

It's Patriot Day in Boston - a big holiday for them.

AP reports that cellphone service has been shut down in Boston as a precaution against further detonations.

ABC now reporting "device" at JFK Library was a mechanical malfunction/fire. Still...

The EIA has just released the 2013 Annual Energy outlook.
Search EIA - Annual Energy Outlook 2013 Early Release

Interesting they have US C+C production peaking in 2019 But slowing down to almost nothing three years before that point. Looks like the EIA has wised up because even they are now, it looks like, predicting that tight oil will peak in 2016.

US Crude+Condensate production AEO 2013 in KB/D (converted from quadrillion BTU)

2010     2011	2012	2013	2014	2015	2016	2017	2018	2019	2020	2021	2022
5,474	5,746	6,414	6,903	7,253	7,366	7,599	7,569	7,568	7,611	7,551	7,455	7,304

I will reply to this post with a link from the page with this data and a graph of US C+C production, prediction out to 2040. It should appear some time soon... I hope.

Ron P.

AEO 2013 total energy in quadrillion BTU

US Crude+Condensate production in barrels per day converted from quadrillion BTU per year.
AEO 2013 C C photo AEO2013CC_zpsfc7d478f.jpg

Ron P.

So the EIA is predicting second US oil peak in 2019. What happened to the tight oil game changer argument?

Actually, it would be a tertiary peak, after we had a secondary C+C peak at 9.0 mbpd in 1985 (due to Alsakan production), versus the (so far) absolute peak of 9.6 mbpd in 1970. In other words, we are probably seeing an "Undulating Decline" in US C+C production.

This is actually in line with what many of us TODers have been predicting, i.e., the tight oil production profile will look a lot like the Prudhoe Bay one.

I don't believe this.

US Total Liquids Consumption in KB/D converted from quadrillion BTU per year from AEO 2103, link above.
US Total Liquids Consumption photo USTotalLiquidsConsumption_zps9c7c532c.jpg

They show the decline the last two years. Actually it started before that. And they still expect a small drop in 2013 but it really takes off after that. They expect the economy to really pick up in 2014 and keep going until it slows down in the early 20s. Really?

Note: These numbers may not match numbers published elsewhere but I am using 5,800,000 btu per barrel and that is just the way things worked out.

Ron P.

The implication of the two graphs taken together is that US imports are going to soar after 2020-ish. Where is all that oil supposed to come from?

Canada and Venezuela?

The US may want to import all that oil from Canada and Venezuela,, but by 2020 they will be competing with a much richer China for it. The Chinese already own a lot of the Canadian oil sands, and they have loaned an awful lot of money to Venezuela on the understanding that they will be repaid in oil.

Methinks that US oil imports will be much lower than predicted.

Definitely, and the US will be better off for it.

China's making a mistake becoming addicted to oil imports.

"...and they have loaned an awful lot of money to Venezuela on the understanding that they will be repaid in oil."

China has been loaning a hell of a lot of money to a diverse number of nations lately...they appear to be on a friend-buying mission. Meanwhile in the United States - we won't give you shit, but if you piss us off - we'll Drone you!

It is not like China is doing this out of the good of their heart. They are on an international resource hunt . . . iron ore from South America, farmland in Africa, oil from Venezuela and Africa, etc. Cozy up with the local government, provide some public works projects for goodwill, and sign some long-term deals.

They expect the economy to really pick up in 2014 and keep going until it slows down in the early 20s. Really?

Maybe, maybe not. But the top people know what happens if they publish results showing a perpetual recession -- they will be replaced with people willing to use a more politically acceptable economic forecast. As I discuss briefly here, there seem to generally be two classes of energy-economics models. The EIA uses a model in my first category: assume economic growth rates, calculate the energy/fuels needed to support that, allocate that level of fuels to multiple sources. Over the last 10-15 years, that category of models has clearly been inferior to the other in terms of predicting prices and production.

Stock markets down, oil down, gold down, everything down ... wonder if we're headed into another recession so soon after the last one.

Anybody's guess. I don't see how either stock or bond prices are resting on any solid fundamentals, with consumer purchasing power still in the dregs. The whole market seems strange to me. Folk seek safety, but now pundits are saying previously safe investments, like bonds, or even gold, are now overpriced. I keep thinking the various global QEs are underlying this, but one could make an argument either way on that.

As for today, I think Boston accounts for at least a part of the slump. If there's one thing the markets consistently don't like, it's uncertainty and turmoil, and we got both today. My thoughts are with those who lost loved ones and those who suffered injury. Another sad day.

I keep thinking the various global QEs are underlying this

I was wondering the same thing today. One conspiracy theory is the Fed are shorting gold to bolster the dollar, because otherwise QE would cause the dollar to tank. In other words they want the benefit of more money in the system but do not want the currency to lose too much value (in relation to gold).

Gold lost 5% on Friday and a whopping 9% today. That's full on panic and the question is why would investors who usually seek safety from a slowing economy, marked by China's lower than expected growth (7.7%) first qtr. news today, panic and get out of gold? Unless, the rumors are either true about the Fed shorting gold or the rumor is untrue but has fooled investors.

Back on the 6th April I said this:

Globally there are so many hair triggers that could go off any minute with world changing impacts, I will be surprised if at least one doesn't go off. But I guess that's what collapse is, a chain reaction that creates a complex web of chaotic events that defy comprehension and are therefore beyond affective control. Japan seems to be already tangled up in the web and its desperate government taking on an increasingly "devil may care" attitude.

I believe what we're seeing in the markets is related to what's going on in Japan. The volatility Japan has created in the financial markets has broken something, forcing speculators to cover their positions to raise cash. Using the JPY GLD pair (using Gold to short the Yen) has blown up probably causing the dramatic fall in the price of gold for example.

As I said in a previous post I think we only have about 6 months before the global economy slides into the abyss. Less than a decade before the impact of climate change hits agriculture seriously reducing production (once surpluses are gone prices will explode). Financial wealth will gradually be destroyed and expropriated which will ruin the middle class.

As I said in a previous post I think we only have about 6 months before the global economy slides into the abyss.

I have no idea how long it will take because that's always a difficult thing to predict, but do think there are certain things we can look to that are leading towards collpase. 1st is rising price of oil, leading to, 2nd; rising OECD Debt and 3rd; Quantitative easing. First profits get squeezed as (transport) energy cost rises, which reduces tax revenue, then govt debt is taken on to make up the difference and provide stimulus, and 3rd, adding more money to the system in a desperate attempt to spur growth.

QE is what I think will eventually do in currency. Very possibly Japan will be the first OECD country to suffer hyper-inflation, but eventually all countries that employ QE and are stuck doing that to keep the edifice of BAU alive, will suffer the same consequence. The reason why is because rising debt and QE are being done in hopes of cheap energy returning, but that's a fools game as cost of oil will continue to remain high and if the economy can handle it, go higher.

The squeeze is on, and how long various radical fiscal follies can placate an unfortunate eventuation is the only question that remains.

Scientist Predicts 60% Market Collapse....

Chris Martenson, has some dire predictions. The video is interesting.
Apologies if posted previously.

That's Newsmax, right?

The next Faux News?

Martenson is not a scientist...

Martenson has a PhD in Neurotoxicology and an MBA from Cornell.
He was a biochemical scientist and Vice President of Science Applications International Corporation.
Source Wikipedia

I think it might still be ok to call him scientist...

Yes, he is very much a scientist. But using the word in this context is quite misleading as he is not using the science he specialized in. Instead he's using his economics and energy field analysis for his predictions.

I generally appreciate your comments but I must respectfully disagree. Perhaps we are living in alternate worlds, but I see decay and collapse everywhere I look.
Everything looks and feels old to me. The roads, the houses, the buildings, the electric lines, the people, the culture, the ideas.
Yes, people are still mostly doing ok, but we are currently swimming in fossil fuels, more than we have ever produced. There is really only one way to go from here.

Having said that, I am a catabolic collapse doomer and expect stair steps and general instability down rather than an immediate "the end of the world" scenario.

Perhaps we are living in alternate worlds, but I see decay and collapse everywhere I look.

Perhaps, but where is suyog's post you are replying to? Can you paste it in as a reply to this post?

Ohio’s $500 Billion Oil Dream Fades as Utica Turns Gassy

U.S. drillers that set up rigs amid the rolling farmland of eastern Ohio on projections underground shale held $500 billion of oil are packing up...

“The results were somewhat disappointing,” said Philip Weiss, an analyst with Argus Research in New York. Early data show “it’s not as good as we thought it was going to be.”

The flip-flop underscores the difficulties faced by even experienced drillers around the world in tapping the sedimentary rock. In California, Occidental Petroleum Corp. was stymied by the Monterey Shale’s fault-riddled terrain. In Poland, Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) stopped drilling because shale output was minimal. China’s failures with shale gas drove producers Cnooc Ltd. and China Petrochemical Corp. to seek expertise in North America.

It seems shale dreams are starting to peter out all over.

Ron P.

Last week I talked to a guy who had a working interest in a large lease block in a shale play in Montana. Their current production: 3 bpd. His share of the costs to date has been $5 million.

To put that in perspective, it is $39,682/gal. His share of the costs, that is. And, what was his share? Even if his share was all, that would make for some pretty high gasoline costs. If there was zero cost of refining, about $1.5 million to fill up that SUV!

Can anyone say, "E.V."?


Implying gas would be very expensive, but that "EV" cost would remain the same is a child's fantasy. This kind of mental model only exist in your mind.-

Reducto ad absurdum is a standard logical gambit, and very effective. Also called hyperbole, my comment makes a very dramatic statement that very high gas prices will make the standard SUV unaffordable from a fuel standpoint. I submit that gas at $25/gal would do the job, much less $40,000 per gallon.

And the statement says nothing whatever about the cost of electrical energy, though since electric is renewable I submit that most on TOD would agree that it would be far less expensive than that, and that were it not there would be no powered transportation of any sort, and we would be in donkey carts.


Of course, the EV would also certainly go up in price. After all, it is made up of plastic, rubber, and all sorts of oil-derived substances. It also requires parts to be shipped using oil-burning trucks.

However, the ICE car would also go up in price by pretty much the same amount! It is not like the EV aspects of an EV vehicle are extremely oil-intensive. The big difference is that the ICE vehicle will also require oil to fuel it while the EV won't. So . . . yeah . . . the EV would do much better when gas costs $25/gallon. Both the ICE and EV would have gone up in price but with one, it will be really cheap to fuel.

There isn't that much plastic, and it can be recycled. 99% of car steel is recycled.

Shipping doesn't require much trucking - it can go by electric rail.

PO won't affect EVs much.

shale dreams are starting to peter out all over

I dream of buried ancient mud. I wake up feeling dirty.

Apartment Building Bubbles as Single-Family Homes Struggles

U.S. builders ratcheted up new construction in March, but the growth was entirely in apartment buildings. As rental demand shows no sign of abating, multi-family housing starts jumped 27 percent from February and a staggering 82 percent from March of 2012, when seasonally adjusted. These starts are now running at an annualized pace of 392,000, far higher than the ten-year historical average of 238,0000.

"While the sector is often volatile, this surge tallies with the strength of the rental sector and the demand for easily let homes," writes Paul Diggle of Capital Economics.

That rental strength was thought to be waning in the wake of the single-family housing recovery, but single family starts fell in March sequentially, and permits for these homes were also down, signaling a further drop in April. Sentiment among single family home builders also fell unexpectedly in April, the third straight monthly drop after sizeable gains in confidence in 2012.

More evidence of a gradual transition to post-suburban housing.

More evidence of a gradual transition to post-suburban housing rentier class, landed aristocracy.

I think that's quite overstated.

I am one of many hundreds of 'smallholding' landlords in my area, and there seem to be good reasons to go either route, to get a home with a couple rentals attached, and make the property do some of the earning, as wages are so stagnant, or to avoid the bigger baggage altogether (car and house), and rent in a walkable town or city.

I don't personally think this is necessarily a class divide, any more than solar, which can just as possibly be owned as a 200 watt cabin panel, or a 2 megawatt utility provider. Flexible and accessible.

The parent story does not describe your circumstance. It is about huge apartment complexes, housing thousnds of peasants. At a time when the middle class is being evicted, it only makes sense.


I like the duplex, triplex, 4-plex idea as a way of owning a home and investing. Besides, there may come a time when your children and grandchildren will need a place to stay, and it is nicer than having them in the same residence you are in. I know, becaue I am in that situation (3 families right now living in my home). Wish I had done that years ago myself.


Well, the statistics on wealth inequality speak for themselves. One can debate whether anything can or should be done about it (and if so what), but the fact that it is happening is beyond doubt.

I don't dispute the wealth disparity is happening, and I nod to Craig's clarification.. there are certainly significant parts of the renting scheme that ARE part of the great divide, and that they work hard to reinforce it.. I'd just insist that it's not a realm given over entirely to abuse and imbalance.

It's been instructive to see how the retailer and the customer at my big box are such fine tango partners in orchestrating the downward spiral along.. a persistent cheapening and disregard for their respective clients (many are clearly landlords or working for them..) or the long-term implications and nega-value behind their choices. 'The cost of everything and the value of nothing'

While another stream of customers comes through in bewilderment that there's often no choice but differing colors on the same shoddy junk. One older couple was trying to capture the reality of the 'SWIFFER' mop, with it's disposable-only cleaning pads, wondering if they sold a washable bottom for the thing, something a bit sensible. I made another mental note in my 'build and sell on ETSY' file. REUSABLE SWIFFER PADS.. the new gift of the Magi.


try using one of those micro fiber cloths- works pretty well as a reuasble swiffer

thx, I will.

A gradual transition to post-suburban housing from the single family home on a big plot of land would be a good thing but from what I see here in the most densely populated state of New Jersey it hardly seems planned or Transit-oriented. Instead they are sticking these out on the sides of the same old major roads with no public transit, sidewalks, bikeways, stores or ways to get anywhere or even to conduct normal life without Auto Addicted transit.

What is peculiarly ironic in New Jersey is that a number of these are actually almost within reasonable distance of Green public Transit or Rails which could run Green public Transit but there is absolutely no planning or consideration for that. The cruelest irony is the Great Notch Train station on the Montclair-Boonton Rail line which was actually just shutdown by NJ Transit even as I read that a developer has big plans for "Great Notch Townhomes" multifamily and some senior housing. Of course it should be no surprise about NJ Transit's /NJ DOT's cluelessness on this as they do not even run trains hourly despite the presence of Montclair State University on the line as well as the Willowbrook Mall nearby. Or the building of a "Transit Hub" a few years ago just a few hundred yards from the Willowbrook Mall with NO way to walk or ride a bike there without crossing major highway ramps of Routes 46 23 and 80!

It appears developers as is their wont are just dumping these townhomes anywhere and getting away with it as they previously did for exurban sprawl with no town, county or Metro region planning whatsoever for Transit accessibility.

Peter Tertzakian is the auther of A Thousand Barrels a Second, a book on peak oil.

He's sounded more cornucopian recently. From your link:

Today’s North American oil boom, if sustainable, takes us back to the discovery atmosphere of the 1950s and 60s. The potential is hardly limited to the Spraberry/Wolfcamp. North Dakota’s headlining Bakken play is conjectured to contain over 10 billion barrels, while the Eagle Ford shale could be up to 25 billion. If oil follows the path of natural gas, there are likely to be several more “sweet” mega-plays, including prolific ones germinating in Canada that could collectively stack up to be the most significant era of reserve additions in the 155-year history of the industry.

After all we know it's difficult to get excited.

My sources are those of TOD, and of the Automatic Earth and JHK and JMG and Steve from Virginia and those who have come before like the Club of Rome, and those countless who continue to compile and report and analyze. And what great sources they are. How much better than industry shills and the journalists who are paid to write articles that toe the corporate line: growth is always good, and humanity is marching ever upward on a path of progress that knows no end.

We've won already folks. The other side is demoralized and has all but surrendered, all that is left is the official treaty. The victory is pyrrhic but we are still entitled to enjoy it.

As someone who has repeatedly been called amongst other things negative and pessimistic, my mind is, to a certain extent, content with knowledge of our victory. You see, this time we will win for millenia. The other side has been winning for only a century. They've been blindsided and you can tell.

Too ahead of it's time...


"VW engineers then developed an all-aluminum, uber-aerodynamic Beetle concept called the V2 Sagitta that could go nearly 90 mph using the same 24 horsepower engine.

The secret was in the all-aluminum construction and aerodynamic design, which gave the V2 Sagitta a drag coefficient of just 0.217, half that of the Volkswagen Beetle it was based on."

This is damned curious...


Without knowing any of the specifics I'd say this has some serious potential.

It's an aftermarket hybridizing system, or perhaps more specifically an e-booster, for rear-drive trucks that bolts on after the transmission. They don't specify whether it requires a shortened drive shaft or not. They also don't specify how it integrates with the existing throttle control.

It's kind of like Honda's IMA ([flywheel] Integrated Motor Assist) except further downstream - and it can be plugged in. Honda's IMA system is garbage as a non-plug hybrid because the drag of the motor is always present - never a chance for pure electric mode in stop-and-go and the regenerative braking competes with engine drag. Always fighting to claw back charge. They made it 98% of the way...just needed to throw some more batteries in there and add a plug - yet they don't! But I digress...

It looks like from pictures in some of Echo's presentations that they were also working on a version that bolted in place of the alternator. That would have had some severe limitations due to belt slip and wear, probably wouldn't have been able to do more than ~5hp reliably that way (but it does give a person ideas...). Pure WAG is that they're adding at most 10-20hp at the shaft.

I wouldn't be all that surprised to see a big manufacturer swoop in and buy this company out if it proves effective.

Nice American AD-video - but I'm only getting a lot of warm breezy air in my face ...
If this concept actually worked as claimed - they'd refer to their pilot customer on their intro page , I didn't see any such...

I do get a whiff of "Vaporware" coming off of them - especially since they seem so concerned about their stock price. But I also have to admit that there's potential in the approach, especially that there's no EPA or DOT hoops to jump through (like CNG or LPG conversion) and it's a conversion - so it can use existing rolling stock. I would expect this to be better for diesels than gasoline vehicles.