Drumbeat: May 4, 2013

A City That Turns Garbage Into Energy Copes With a Shortage

Oslo, a recycling-friendly place where roughly half the city and most of its schools are heated by burning garbage — household trash, industrial waste, even toxic and dangerous waste from hospitals and drug arrests — has a problem: it has literally run out of garbage to burn.

The problem is not unique to Oslo, a city of 1.4 million people. Across Northern Europe, where the practice of burning garbage to generate heat and electricity has exploded in recent decades, demand for trash far outstrips supply. “Northern Europe has a huge generating capacity,” said Mr. Mikkelsen, 50, a mechanical engineer who for the last year has been the managing director of Oslo’s waste-to-energy agency.

Yet the fastidious population of Northern Europe produces only about 150 million tons of waste a year, he said, far too little to supply incinerating plants that can handle more than 700 million tons. “And the Swedes continue to build” more plants, he said, a look of exasperation on his face, “as do Austria and Germany.”

Approaching 'peak oil'?

The idea of 'peak oil' - or the point in time when maximum petroleum extraction has been reached - is something that has been around since the 1950s.

These days though, the debate centres on whether oil has or has not yet reached its 'peak', given that we have extracted so much of it, and that reserves are declining.

But as new extraction techniques evolve - things like fracking, tar sands, deep water drilling - do we really have fuel that could last for centuries?

Global oil reserves

In response to the comments/discussion I had received in relation to the article that I wrote and was published in this column two weeks ago under the title: ‘The Falsehood of Peak Oil Theory’, I would like to further clarify my opinion by defining the term “Hydrocarbon Reserves” as per the official definition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), the international official nonprofit Petroleum Engineering Professional Society. Hydrocarbon Reserves are defined as “those quantities of petroleum resources claimed to be commercially recoverable by application of development projects to known accumulations under defined conditions”.

Crude Advances to One-Month High as U.S. Payroll Gains

West Texas Intermediate crude surged to the highest level in a month as U.S. employment rose more than forecast in April, stoking speculation that demand in the world’s biggest oil-consuming country will increase.

Prices capped a second weekly advance after the Labor Department said nonfarm payrolls grew by 165,000 workers last month. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a 140,000 gain. The jobless rate unexpectedly declined to a four-year low of 7.5 percent. Crude also climbed as U.S. stocks rallied.

Iranian Governor: Oil Market Oversupplied

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's OPEC Governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi said the oil market is currently oversupplied by 1.5 million barrels a day, a situation causing weak prices.

Khatibi made the remark to Dow Jones after oil prices this week fell under the key threshold of $100 a barrel and as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries prepares to discuss its output May 31.

Ras Tanura Oil-Tanker Capacity Seen Gaining 30% in Latest Week

The combined carrying capacity of oil tankers calling at Saudi Arabia’s Ras Tanura gained 30 percent in the week ended April 27, vessel-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The implied capacity of vessels calling at the world’s largest crude-export complex climbed to the equivalent of 9.94 million barrels a day from 7.66 million barrels for the prior week, according to signals gathered by IHS Fairplay, a Redhill, England-based maritime research company. The data may be incomplete because not all transmissions are captured.

North Dakota Bakken Weakens to Largest Discount Since January

Crude from the Bakken shale formation declined to a three-month low against domestic benchmark West Texas Intermediate.

Prices dipped even after Enbridge Inc. said crude deliveries to the Clearbrook, Minnesota, hub were interrupted by a shutdown of Line 81 because of a 10-gallon spill.

Marathon Barge Damage Halts Loading of Crude at Wood River Dock

Marathon Petroleum Corp. is unable to load oil from a barge dock on the Mississippi River at Wood River, Illinois, which may depress Canadian oil prices if repairs are lengthy.

The unloading arm at the dock was damaged early today when a barge it was filling with crude was struck by other vessels in the river that became unmoored, Shane Pochard, a Findlay, Ohio- based spokesman for the company, said in a phone interview. Repairs will begin soon.

Northeast Gas Poised to Surge on Pipeline Limits

Natural gas prices in the U.S. Northeast are poised to reach five-year seasonal highs this summer because increasing demand from power plants may be too much for pipelines to handle.

Japan seeks to extend oil concessions from UAE

Abu Dhabi: Japan has sought extending its existing oil and gas concessions from the UAE, which is its second largest oil import source after Saudi Arabia. .

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his official meeting on Wednesday evening with General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, requested to provide oil supplies to Japan in a stable manner, Japanese officials said at a press conference in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Death toll rises in Syrian city of Baniyas

(CNN) -- Fears rose in Syria on Saturday that widespread killing in the coastal city of Baniyas would continue for a third consecutive day.

At least 247 people have died in fighting across Syria since Friday -- 105 of them killed by government troops in Baniyas or its suburbs, an opposition activist network reported.

Israel bombs Hezbollah-bound missiles in Syria: official

(Reuters) - Israel has carried out an air strike targeting a shipment of missiles in Syria bound for Hezbollah guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon, an Israeli official said on Saturday.

Israel had long made clear it is prepared to resort to force to prevent advanced Syrian weapons, including President Bashar al-Assad's reputed chemical arsenal, reaching his Shi'ite Muslim Hezbollah allies or Islamist insurgents taking part in a more than two-year-old uprising against his government.

Brzezinski Joins Lugar Warning Against U.S. Role in Syria

President Barack Obama’s declaration that a Syrian use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line” was a mistake, according to two veteran U.S. foreign policy leaders who warned against deeper U.S. engagement there.

Namibian Well May Revive Oil Drilling After Misses

HRT Participacoes em Petroleo SA is expecting results this week from a well off Namibia’s Skeleton Coast that may revive interest in oil exploration after two failures last year in the southwest African nation.

Occidental’s Irani Out as Investor Revolt Ends Rule

Irani’s departure is more than a year ahead of the retirement date he announced following previous shareholder criticism of his industry-leading compensation package. According to a new policy the company announced April 29, Irani’s successor as chairman would have to be an independent director.

Shell says Basrah Gas Company starts operations

South Gas Company, Shell and Mitsubishi have officially announced the commencement of operations of Basrah Gas Company (BGC), which will be the largest gas project in Iraq’s history and the world’s largest flares reduction project, global energy major Royal Dutch Shell said last week.

Iran's Central Oil Fields Produce More Than Envisaged

TEHRAN (FNA)- Managing-Director of the Iranian Central Oil Fields Company (ICOFC) Mehdi Fakour said the company produced 264 mcm/d of gas in the last Iranian year (which ended in March 2013)

Fakour said that the output was 32 mcm/d more than planned.

He said the company is investing 29.67 trillion rials in its nine oil fields in a bid to enhance their output by 140,000 b/d.

Iran to Start Gas Delivery to Iraq in Summer

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's deputy oil minister announced that Tehran would start supplying natural gas to Iraq by summer.

Javad Oji said that Iran would be exporting 45 million cubic meters a day (mcm/d) of natural gas to its western neighbor.

Iranian Insurance Company Ready to Insure Tankers

TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of Iran's Bimeh Markazi (Central Insurance) organization said the country is ready to insure oil tankers against Western sanctions.

"In case of tighter insurance sanctions by Western governments, Iran's insurance industry is capable of insuring oil tankers," Mohammad Karimi told Shana.

Iran offers new oil contracts to lure India

Tehran: As US and European sanctions cripple its economy, Iran today offered India a new production sharing regime for oil exploration in an attempt to keep its third largest buyer of oil engaged.

Indonesia to woo Iraq to invest in oil refineries

Indonesia, a main importer of crude oil and its refined products in Southeast Asia, is likely to partner with Iraq, one of the world’s largest petroleum producers, to build local oil refineries in a bid to meet domestic needs.

Gas tax based on mileage -- yes or no? Yes: It's a fairer system no matter what you drive

There's a price to pay as the fuel mileage of the cars we drive increases. Increases in miles per gallon mean less gasoline is consumed. That means less fuel tax revenue for highways. Unless new revenue is found, the result is more potholes and more traffic jams.

Many experts believe we should eliminate the fuel tax and replace it with a user fee based on the number of miles we drive. That's easier said than done given the current political climate around taxes. So here are some ideas that add a spoonful of sugar to help the mileage user-fee go down. The first challenge is coming up with an accurate way to determine the number of miles you drive.

$120 million water plant to capture Y-12 mercury

OAK RIDGE — A water treatment plant in the heart of a nuclear weapons complex is the cornerstone of a new strategy to keep the toxic element mercury from seeping into a creek that flows through Oak Ridge.

Protests in Chinese city over planned chemical plant

(Reuters) - Hundreds of people took to the streets of the Chinese city of Kunming on Saturday to protest against the planned production of a chemical at a refinery, in the latest show of concern over the effects of rapid growth on the environment.

China's increasingly affluent urban population has begun to object to the model of growth at all costs that has fuelled the economy for three decades, with the environment emerging as a focus of protests.

You are a guinea pig

A hidden epidemic is poisoning America. The toxins are in the air we breathe and the water we drink, in the walls of our homes and the furniture within them. We cannot escape it in our cars. It is in cities and suburbs. It afflicts rich and poor, young and old. And there's a reason why you have never read about it in the newspaper or seen a report on the nightly news: it has no name - and no antidote.

US beef prices set new high as spring barbecue season heats up

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. wholesale beef prices rose to an all-time high on Friday as the delayed spring grilling season is heating up and as supermarkets buy meat for the May 27 U.S. Memorial Day holiday weekend, commonly seen as the unofficial start of the summer cookout season, analysts said.

Early Wildfire Drives Thousands From Homes in Southern California

LOS ANGELES — Walls of wind-driven fire swept across Ventura County on Friday, forcing thousands of home evacuations, shutting down schools and offices and ravaging acres of woodland as firefighters struggled for a second day to bring an ominously early California wildfire under control.

There were no reports of injuries or homes destroyed as the heat abated and fierce winds began tapering off Friday evening. But the intensity and early arrival of the year’s first major wildfire — months before such fires normally break out, just a few weeks after the end of the rainy season — offered a worrisome sign of what appears to be a severe fire season on the horizon.

Nations seek flexible climate approach, but no breakthrough in Bonn

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - New, more flexible ways to fight climate change were sketched out on Friday at the end of a week of talks between 160 nations, but there was no breakthrough in bridging a deep divide between China and the United States.

Historical responsibility of developed countries unevadable: China's chief negotiator

BONN (Xinhua) -- As global representatives gathering at German city of Bonn for a new round of UN climate change talks, China's Chief Negotiator Su Wei warned developed countries that their historical responsibility for climate change is unevadable.

Extreme weather is making Americans climate-change believers, study finds

WASHINGTON – A year of strange and often devastating weather that included extreme hurricanes, drought and wildfires appears to have increased the number of Americans who want government action on climate change, a new study shows.

Unfortunately, researchers say, this higher level of global-warming awareness is not translating into political action.

Study: When Republicans understand climate science, they support climate action

Republican voters are told over and over by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and GOP leaders in Congress that climate change is a sham, a scare campaign orchestrated by scientists with liberal agendas. Ergo, Republicans are less likely than others to believe that fossil-fuel burning is changing the climate. It stands to reason, therefore, that they are less likely to support efforts to tackle the problem.

But once Republicans come to understand that the world is indeed imperiled by global warming, they begin to support government actions to try to rein in greenhouse gas emissions.

Study: Global warming could shift global rainfall patterns

GREENBELT, Md. (UPI) -- NASA says a study it led suggests global warming will drive changes in global rainfall patterns, with increased risks of both extreme rainfall and drought.

Model simulations spanning 140 years show warming from carbon dioxide will change the frequency that regions around the planet will receive rain, and while periods of no rain and heavy rain will increase, moderate rainfall will decrease, the space agency said Friday.

Former Tory strategist Allan Gregg rips Harper Cons' 'systematic attack' on facts and reason

Rabble.ca By David J. Climenhaga, April 30, 2013

Long-time Tory pollster and strategist Allan Gregg ripped into the Harper Government on Saturday for what he termed its "systematic attack on evidence-based research."

--- snip ---

Gregg cited a long list of evidence-based government activities that have been gutted by the Harper Government -- often saving only insignificant amounts of money -- since 2010.

The rampage, he noted, began with the notorious abandonment of the mandatory long-form census. "Why would anyone forsake these valuable insights and the chance to make good public policy, rather than bad public policy, under the pretense that rights were being violated when no one ever voiced concern? Was this a crazy one-off move … or was there something larger going on?"

It was pretty quickly clear to Gregg -- as it was to many of the rest of us -- that there was indeed something larger going on.

The demise of the long-form census was followed by the destruction of the national long-gun registry, despite the pleas of virtually every police chief in Canada that it be saved. After that, under cover of an austerity budget, there were massive cuts to Statistics Canada, Library and Archives Canada, science and social science activities at Parks Canada, the Parliamentary Budget Office, the CBC, the Roundtable on the Environment, the Experimental Lakes Area, the Canadian Foundation for Climate Science and so on.

Canada cannot afford the arctic research station ($1m), the experimental lakes area (~$1m) or the Kitsilano Coast Guard station ($0.7m), but the War on Terror is going well.

"Auditor general: More than $3 billion in anti-terrorism funding unaccounted for."

So far we have arrested one 'terrorist' with a train derailer (found unattended in every switch yard in Canada); and found a couple of dead guys in Algeria nobody knew about. Obviously the anti-terrorism money is working. This money has also kept us safe from Marauding Elephants and infestations of tropical insects.

My only quibble is with your support of the long gun registry. I doubt if there is a big risk of dying from a hunting rifle in Canada. The initial registration was extraordinarily expensive although I think the maintenance costs were low. Since we had already wasted vast sums of money perhaps the final registry would have been useful but there appears to be no statistics available. I would guess that if any crimes were prevented or solved the police would have made that public.

Harper doesn't know me and I don't know Harper. Why should I-- or you-- under threats of force-- be paying his mob money? This is the matrix. You are talking about the matrix. Pleas of virtually every police chief? Please. Our hearts bleed for cops-- sarcastically and literally.

No wonder reason is attacked!


Ridiculous Fox News Claim of the Day: Reason Caused the Holocaust: "Once you start using reason, next thing you know, you're committing a mass genocide."

Yes, once reason enters the picture, next thing you know you have Armenian genocide.

One of my daughter's friends at school, a foreign student from Rwanda. My daughter asked, "Wasn't it a difficult place to live, with genocide and all?" Friend,"For a while, but since the genocide everything has really calmed down." An uncomfortable facet of genocide may be that it actually 'works' as intended?

There are plenty of reasons for genocide, but the simplest is too few resources for too many people. It's hard to create more resources, but relatively easy to reduce the number of competing people. Picking a subset and slaughtering them seems easier than, say, a universal single-child policy with forced abortions, infanticide, and sterilization over the long term, or even versus a protracted war with a neighbor. Until we manage population, all sorts of "reasonable" but repulsive solutions will arise to address perceived needs.

Starvation and pestilence are unpleasant too. Makes a reasonable person wonder why birth and population control is such a difficult topic to raise.

No matter; if we do nothing, it will still sort itself out. Just this past week there were stories of marine mammals catching antibiotic resistant human strains, and China blending high-contagion/low-lethality and low-contagion/high-lethality flu variants to see what happens. China is also poking India and Japan with sticks.

DOCTOR: I have some good news and some bad news..

PATIENT: Yeah?, Gimme the Bad News.

DOCTOR: We Amputated the wrong leg.

PATIENT: ..and the good news?

DOCTOR: The guy in the next room wants to buy your slippers.

I don't buy the conclusion that 'The Genocide Worked.' I think that's a distorted analysis of what might more appropriately be called 'a silver lining..' Sure, a bit of good can be found in the darkest of times, especially little bits of good that let the survivors go on.. but the cultural and psychic damage of that genocide will be carried by both the victor and victim populations and the witnesses and neighbors for generations, even centuries. Look at the Holocaust and Armenia.. the population 'advantages' from those are nothing compared to the trauma, persistent hatred and retaliations and denials that have ruined lives ever since.

The cure for a migraine shouldn't be a pistol.

Whether 'The Genocide Worked' is to a large extend determined by one's point of view.

As somebody who died the answer is either "no", "irrelevant" or "yes" - all depending on specifics. To survivors, depending on how was impacted it could range from "yes" to "no", and as a complete outside (such as (likely) most of the contributors at TOD it also is irrelevant.
Frankly, whether an unknown person in a country far away lives or dies is likely to have an impact on the TOD audience (yes, there are exceptions) and a lot of this is analysis which can be described as anything as ranging from intellectual masturbation to thoughtful analysis with exactly what as result?


Wait a minute. If intellectual masturbation were done away with, this site would have a lot fewer posters.

But is this intercourse entirely intellectual masturbation if it's being done together?

We have several, shining examples of Genocidal wars in very recent history, and have seen how much the distresses from those are still affecting the current societies that have descended from them, including the US, with our continually fraught relationship with an Israel that sure seems to have kept reeling since the Nazi camps were closed down, with political actions that are hard to separate from that hardly fading trauma. The ramifications are far beyond just 'I died, I didn't die.' You and I have been regularly affected by the effects of the WWII genocide, and probably the Khmer Rouge and Armenia as well.

Nature is complex, and 'good and bad' are features that do only matter in the eye of the beholder.. but we're not just some disinterested, objective observers around cultural matters like this. I find any comment that tries to drolly equivocate around Genocide to be about as useful as those who insist that a warming climate will make us cozier and make plants happier. It's possible that examples will exist to bear out such spurious claims, but they work so hard to ignore the greater context of the events that these positives are hardly worth mentioning.

I remember seeing a sculpture of Christ on the Cross in a German Church when I was a kid, and in it's fine details, I was bothered by the streams of blood trickling through his armpits, and asked my parents if they thought that tickled.

Would it really be so bad if 80percent of the global population evaporated in .1 of a second? We are not that special - we may on occasion think we are but then we have a spouse (ish)set us straight :-)
Reds wp (from a mobile thingy)

This is pure spin. The long-form census in Canada is now not mandatory. Before if one refused to tell the government your ethnic origin, then you could be put in jail until you coughed up the information.
Harper is only promoting freedom from big, all-knowing govenment.

Before if one refused to tell the government your ethnic origin, then you could be put in jail until you coughed up the information.

Examples of this happening?

Rgds WP

True, it was not enforced.
But it was in the law, and a threat to all people in canada.

And we're left with big, Harper's-gotta-hunch government.

Bill Chameides on his thoughts of his recent testimony at a House Subcommittee on the Environment meeting.

House Hears About Climate

by Bill Chameides, The Green Grok, April 29th, 2013

Is last week’s hearing on climate the start of a thaw?

The word in the hallways of the Rayburn Building last week was that the Republican Party wants to rehabilitate its image on science — to show a willingness to engage with scientists on the basis of the evidence rather than ideology. Perhaps that’s what motivated the House Subcommittee on Environment to hold a hearing on climate science last Thursday — a rare event since the Republicans took control of the House in 2010.

The stated purpose of the “Policy Relevant Climate Issues in Context” hearing was to understand and explore uncertainties in climate science. The Republican agenda seemed pretty clear to me — to portray climate science as too uncertain to justify action. But, even so, I think the hearing represents progress.

What are the Republicans going to do when the consequences of climate change become so obvious that even the vast willfully ignorant electorate starts to think of them as fools?

"What are the Republicans going to do when the consequences of climate change become so obvious that even the vast willfully ignorant electorate starts to think of them as fools?"

Exactly what they're already doing. Gerrymandering (House Democrats got 1.4 million more votes, but less seats), Voter suppression aka "ID", Well-funded propaganda (Fox "News", et al), and just overall massive corporate spending on elections - particularly at state levels.

But don't worry, corporations are funding the Democrats handsomely these days too, so even if their primary party collapses - they have a crony capitalist backup.

What are the Republicans going to do when the consequences of climate change become so obvious that even the vast willfully ignorant electorate starts to think of them as fools?

Yeah, I've wondered this. Eventually, we will have a real answer on climate change. In 50 year years, the oceans will have risen by a few inches or not. Assuming they have risen what then?

I'd like to think that people would abandon the old-wrong thinking. But of course being on the wrong side of history for Civil Rights act and being on the wrong side of history for gay rights certainly hasn't seemed to changed people much.

There were three expert witnesses at the subcommittee hearing. Chameides gave the realist consensus climate science view, while there were two more skeptical voices, Judith Curry of Georgia Tech and Bjorn Lonborg of the highest bidder.

I comment quite a bit at Curry's blog called Climate Etc and the feeling there is that Lonborg came off the best. Curry is the biggest advocate of the uncertainty view and you can see how that this stuff can get spun.
When climate scientists say that climate sensitivity is a value of 3C per doubling of CO2 but the uncertainty is between 1.5C and 4.5C, then one can see how politics can take advantage of the lower range.

Once upon a time, long ago and far away, I was coming down the steep hill from Mt. Palomar in a studebaker champion with an early borg-warner automatic transmission, (my vote for one of the very worst cars ever made), and, of course, with no engine braking, the brakes, if you could call them that, failed completely.

Now, coming up fast to the big freeway at the bottom of the hill, I had a choice- keep going across the traffic, or go off the side into the bushes and bash in the front of that pointy little car, and maybe get a little banged up myself.

But if I kept going, I just might get thru alive and everything would be just fine, or I just might not get thru, and everything might be dead, the stude, me, and what and who hit me. Aha! Uncertainty- pretty sure bangs and scratches, or maybe just fine, after all, nothing's certain, right? or maybe just dead. Which- Quick!

Being young and foolish, I went thru the 4 lane, hit nothing but a big cloud of honks and curses.

So, faced with the same choices- not so good, maybe ok, or real bad, the skeptics seem to want to make the same bet I did- maybe ok, Fine, but I'm in the same car too!

But back then you were immortal, right?

Some of these spoke-persons for humanity (ouch) seem to believe similarly in the immortality of the American Way (for All Humanity), and ordained Destiny written into Progress, yes?

Lonborg only mentioned the word "oil" in one sentence in his written testimony.

The American Way is invariant. Like referencing the Fight Club, any mention of impediments to the American Way will not be tolerated in a discussion by the villagers.

Lomborg is an economist and does not understand the importance of natural systems. He is one of those people that thinks we can eat money when everything goes belly-up.

His degrees are in political science. I don't think he has ever claimed to be an economist.


Link up top: Approaching 'peak oil'? is basically a 25 minute video from Aljazeera but the peak oil part is only the first 11 minutes or so. They talk about the methane hydrates Japan is trying to develop and say it will be at least 6 more years before they are successful. The rest of the peak oil part is an interview with David Robson, Executive Chairman of Tethys Petroleum.

He does a pretty good job, in my opinion anyway. He doesn't make any claims on the mantra of "abundant oil" that has dominated the MSM for the last year or so. He also says that if the US does ever obtain energy independence it will be but a blip and soon they will be back on the world market buying oil because those new fields will very soon peak and then decline.

The most interesting part was in the text however:

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), more than 95 percent of all oil in the world has already been discovered, and half of those total reserves of 2.5 trillion barrels have already been consumed. That's because we, as an entire planet, consume 85 million barrels of oil every day.

But the IEA also sends a word of caution, that the world should not consume more than a third of fossil fuel reserves before the year 2050, so as to avoid catastrophic levels of climate change.

Okay, let's do the math. Half of 2.5 trillion comes to 1.25 trillion, that's what we have left. And we have 38 years left until 2050. If consumption stays absolutely flat at 85 million barrels per day, then we would consume 1,303,942,500,000 barrels between now, or from January 1st 2013 and 2050. But a third of what's left would be only 417 billion barrels. Divide that by 42 and we get 9.92 billion barrels per year or 27,161,218 barrels per day. That is what the IEA says need to cut down to in order to avoid catastrophic climate change. (I am using 365.25 days per year times 85 to get barrels per year)

Currently consuming bp/year	31,046,250,000
That times 42 years	     1,303,942,500,000
Oil Left in Ground	     1,250,000,000,000
One Third That	               416,666,666,667
Divided by 42 years left	 9,920,634,921
Barrels per day left to
use to avoid disaster.              27,161,218	                              

That is 57 million barrels per day less than we are using today.

Ron P.

And combined liquids consumption by the (2005) top 33 net exporters + Chindia rose from 26 mbpd in 2005 to 33 mbpd in 2011, a combined 4%/year rate of increase (BP + EIA data).

Both you and Ron P have earned the right to be a tad more pessimistic than many.


That pesky exponential function again.

At the 4%/year rate of increase, (2005) top 33 exporters' + Chindia's combined liquids consumption would be up to 52 mbpd, 10 years hence, in 2023.

Meanwhile, back here in the land of Cornucopian hysteria, assuming a (probably conservative) 10%/year decline rate in existing wellbores, US oil companies would have to put online, over the next 10 years, new production equivalent to production from every single oil field in the US, in order to maintain a C+C production rate of 7.5 mbpd.

27,161,218 - happiness
27,161,219 - misery?

There are some pretty large uncertainties in the calculation of how much it takes to avoid the 2C catastrophe. I'd put it at 30 mmbpd +- 50 mmbpd (-20 would mean that its already baked in and just waiting on a bit more albedo feedback and aerosol clean up to actually get that hot)

This 2C/350ppm thing seems like yet another "undistraction" for the catastrophy that is the current system.

Just for clarification: 2C warming is at 450 ppm. Hansen and McKibben argue that 2 degrees is too much, and in the long term we need to stay at 1 degree. To get there, we must get carbon down from 400 ppm currently to 350 ppm.

Yes, thank you, and doing away with the system will help not only the climate, but everything else.

Your units are mixed up. There is no level of emissions that would give a stable atmosphere. Any level of emissions will result in a steadily heating atmosphere and stopping emissions altogether will not cool things back down. In the long run, 80mmbpd for 10 years and 10mmbpd for 80 years are equivalent.

My point is that the climate sensitivity is only known to be within a range of 1.5-4.5 (according to the last IPCC report) and you get completely different answers on the amount of CO2 remaining before 2C is baked in depending on what value within that range you take. If assume a sensitivity of 4.5, the only way to avoid 2C is to keep pumping out the aerosols even when fossil fuels aren't being burnt any more. If you assume 1.5, there's a lot of capacity still available.

The amount of carbon available for being emitted to keep temperature rise below 2C is not known accurately enough to be useful. Its somewhere between less than nothing and 50 years of BAU emissions growth.

27 mmbpd isnt the safe limit. In the current state of knowledge, the safe limit has already been passed. 27 mmbpd is the current best guess of what will result in 2C, but it might result in barely more than 1C and it might result in nearly 4C. A quantity of emissions that might result in 4C isn't safe.

A quantity of emissions that might result in 4C isn't safe.

So the only logical course of action would be to apply the precautionary principle.
How many bullets would you like in your cylinder when playing Russian Roulette?
How about zero?

You can't get zero anymore, we are fighting about 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6. But, you could die even with two -there is no point in stopping the party! This is a variant of letting the horrendous be the enemy of the merely bad!

Details details details... ;) I wonder how the unconventionals, "etc." relate to increasing demand and population. Running in place?

Or the world could continue to consume oil at its current rate for 13 more years, and then consume zero after that. For anyone without a conscience who doesn't expect to be alive 13 years from now, this is arguably the best plan.

We who are now old are such lucky duckies. Anyway, the plan is to consume oil at higher than its current rate.

My hypothetical formula for peak oil calculation:

Multiply the average of all the world's oil producers by that number. You will get a graph that is simply roughly the left half of a scaled up curve of the oil depletion curve of an average single-exporter region that has since gone in decline.

Put a smiley at the bottom right-hand corner of your graph to enhance your image of professionalism and present it with aplomb to the rep of the CEO of World Leaders, Inc.tm, pointing, as you do so, to the top of curve, with the comment, as you look into their eyes; "It's right here. I just scaled up the US curve.". Don't be snarky and say, "You are here.". That's not going to wash with the suit-and-tie crowd.

As embellishment and in your best, professional, milquetoast tone-of-voice (®Milquetone), you may add, if you wish, the comment, "Because we are talking global, because of its scale, the peak is going to be one long-drawn-out affair and to feel more like a plateau.".

Multiply the average of all the world's oil producers by that number.

How do you average producers? And what number are you talking about when you say that number?

Ron P.

It would seem that Earth is simply the mother of all oil production, yes? So maybe, say, US production, is kind of like one of mother's little babies-- looks more or less like her, but is small and cute.

IOW, maybe all the little baby productions put together equals mother production, so if you can take all her little babies and average them up, and scale them accordingly, you might get something that looks a little like Mom.

Happy Mother's Day in advance by the way.

rofl -- good one ... thanks- I needed that!
Frankly, more of our future planning should go along those lines - because the end-result will be exactly the same as those nifty and costly book-keepings of various national statistics around since governments don't pay heed to 'the lessons from the statistical tealeaves' --- but your method is 'much more fun', cheaper and could save taxpayers money.


I thought it was just me having difficulty interpreting that post.

Fractals and self similarity probably have somethings to do with it too.

According to this graph, the US "plateau" lasted ~15 years:

So is Mom going to last 15 years too, or some multiplier longer?

Looks like things are going to hell in a hand basket in Venezuela.

Outlook Grim in Venezuela's Essential Oil Industry

Mejicano used to travel around Venezuela buying gold jewelry that she resold in Moron, her hometown. Now, she says, she's amazed by the deterioration of the quality of life. She can't travel anymore for fear of being robbed.

"You can't get anything here. Here women have to wait in line four, five even six hours for a stick of butter," she said. "I've always worked hard but now one's afraid to even travel. Things are really ugly here."

Ron P.

This may be true.

But one also must look at the source. I don't know the details around "AP". However corporations like ABC - the distributor of this opinion piece - and others like NBC and CBS, have specific axes to grind against places like Venezuela.

Additionally, it is stated policy by the USA government to place false stories in the press to influence the public.

"Whatever capital is left in PDVSA is being mismanaged, mismanaged because they're just not focused on running the company. ... They're focused on building hospitals and schools."

How about that quote from your story?

They're not focusing on making money, they're building G*d D@mned Schools, and F*&king Hospitals!

The Horror!

Because something appears in "The News" does not mean it resembles reality in any way.

They got the reaction they wanted - ??

Additionally, it is stated policy by the USA government to place false stories in the press to influence the public.

Really now? And just where is this policy stated? And why do you think the USA government placed this story? You could have fooled me. I sure thought it was written by one Fabiola Sanches of the Associated Press then picked up by ABC News. Do you maintain that Mr. Sanches, the AP and ABC are all on the take from the US government?

Yes they are building schools and hospitals. They are subsidizing gasoline prices to the extent that gasoline prices in Venezuela are the cheapest in the world. They are selling oil to their allies at a loss to PDVSA. They are doing all this while their country and their national oil company is falling apart.

Everything has a price Got 2 Surf. Their national leaders have chosen to placate their citizens and their allies at the expense of their national oil company and their infrastructure which includes the safety of their citizens.

Everything is not a choice between good or evil but far more often a choice between the lesser evil and the greater evil. Building schools and hospitals is definitely a great thing to do. But if their entire infrastructure collapses what will happen to them then?

Everything, every choice or decision a nation has has an upside and a downside. This article points out the downside of the choices the Venezuelan government is making. That is all. There is no giant US government conspiracy buried in there anywhere.

Ron P.

Ron, did you miss the whole 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' episode leading up to the most recent Iraq war?

That would seem a pretty good example of the point I was making - because something appears in 'The News', it is not necessarily so.

From: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-07/venezuelans-quality-of-life-imp...

"Venezuela cut its poverty rate to 29.5 percent in 2011 from 48.6 percent in 2002, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America, known as CEPAL. Venezuelans gave a life satisfaction rating of 7.5 on a scale from 1-10, above the global average of 5.5, according to a 2012 index of global prosperity compiled by Legatum Institute, a London-based research organization."

I guess "placat(ing) their citizens and their allies at the expense of their national oil company" sounds like hell to some.

From your link:

The improvements financed by his government’s oil profits will aid Vice President Nicolas Maduro’s bid to succeed him. Yet rising crime and inflation, crumbling infrastructure, oil output that dropped 13 percent since 1999 and food and power shortages, may derail economic growth and undermine support for Chavez’s policies in the longer term, said David Smilde, a sociologist at the University of Georgia in Athens who lives in Venezuela.

The story I posted and the story you posted are saying the exact same thing. Venezuela is killing the goose that is laying golden eggs for them.

And you compare Iraq with Venezuela? You say it is the stated policy of the US government to plant false stories in the press. Why would the Obama administration do that? Absurd. If you search: Violent crime in Venezuela you will get hundreds of hits that say things like this from some of the hits I got:

Political violence threatens crime ridden venezuela. Global Post

What's behind Venezuela's violent crime problem? Caracas, the capital, has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Algazerra

Venezuela plagued by violent crime The Vancouver Sun

And with that single search I got hundreds more just like that. But it is good to know that Algazerra and The Vancouver Sun are adhering to the Obama Administration's stated policy /sarc

Ron P.

Crime is a serious problem that needs to be solved. But poverty was a much more serious problem. Ultimately they will have to solve both.

There is absolutely no excuse for allowing all the resources, wealth and income to pool in a tiny group while the rest deal with poverty and hunger. I can't think of any way that allowing that is "moral". You can say what you want, but that was the way it was before - not to mention massive profits flowing out of country.

It is fair to say that to extract a resource requires investment.
The investor needs to be rewarded for their risk. Also the government needs its share, and the workers their share.
The question is how the pie should be divided.
But this is capitalism, and Venezuela has Socialism.

Capitalism, Socialism...meh.

Just two slightly different methods to distribute scarce resources. Neither has shown to be immune to corruption.

"Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media."
~ Noam Chomsky

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

"For example: The 260 billion stock tank barrel reserves estimate reported by Saudi Arabia is mainly “proven reserves” that was calculated based on minimum uncertainty using advanced reserves estimate and simulation tools."

How many years has Saudi Arabia been producing oil and had 260 billion left? /sarc

Lynford, when you post a quote you should give your readers some hint of where you got it. I finally found it with google. Search: Dr. Sami Alnuaim: Global oil reserves and you will find it.

Dr. Sami wrote this short article because of the many responses he got to his earlier article: The falsehood of ‘Peak Oil Theory’ Here below is one of the responses to Dr. Sami's earlier article:

Peak Oil remains valid

By definition Peak oil as a theory remains valid, unless you believe in abiotic oil. All the technological advances mentioned are not new and have been around for 30-40 years. Anyway oil production is not determined solely through technology, above ground factors are at least as important, including the feedback loop (politics, war etc) caused by increasing scarcity. Why has oil production (C+C) remained within a 5% band since 2004, with prices ranging between $30 & $147?. Peak Oil is now.

To which Dr Sami replied:

Dr Sami
If the US peak oil was predicted to be early 1970, I wonder why the US is still producing oil till today? And why the US is talking about oil independence by 2035 by exploiting shale and sand oil? What I am saying is technology will always make peak oil date a moving target to a degree we can not predict it.

And that is the level of his logic. If the US peaked in 1970, then how can we possibly still be producing oil today?

Nuff said about Dr. Sami's reasoning powers.

Ron P.

Well he does have a point in that it is theoretically possible that we COULD go above the 1970s oil production number. There is nothing in peak oil theory that says that is impossible. I very much doubt it will happen but there is nothing proving that it can't happen. Peak oil just says that there will one day be a peak.

Of course the "why is the US still producing oil today" is pure stupidity.

Of course the "why is the US still producing oil today" is pure stupidity.

Actually that particular thought process underscores a pervasive misconception about what the term "Peak Oil" means. The public, and apparently Dr. Sami as well, take it to mean the point at which we run out of oil completely and there is nothing left to produce or at least it is no longer economically viable to do so.

It's very hard for someone like myself who has spent about 5 and half years hanging out at TOD to accept that this is how people think about peak oil. It's sort of like a layperson with no concept of the theory of evolution objecting to it's validity by asking, if evolution is true, "why are there still monkeys?".

Hmm, on thinking a bit more on that, yeah, it's pure stupidity!

Can Facebook lead to psychosis? One study says so:


I have a feeling that what is now described as psychotic and delusional will soon be seen as the normal state of human affairs.

One of my theories is that most people are going crazy, just at different rates, except for me of course; I am totally sane.

The sanity club has always been exclusive, though membership does seem to be declining lately. I decided to spend the weekend remodeling the root cellar and drinking mint juleps. Seemed like the sane thing to do.

Moderator, please forgive because it's Sunday?

Ghung,take a look at the web site for Horse Haven of Tennessee. They have a precious 8-month old "baby" mule up for adoption. I keep thinking that you will need a mule and training your own from babyhood would be ideal. He/she is SO cute and adoption doesn't cost much. Gee-Haw!


What came first, the chicken or the egg? Ok, so they both evolved together, but my point is we always need to look at situations from both sides. Possibly Facebook is a reflection of a populace that when passing one another in every day society pretty much ignore one another, yet on Facebook, which has no actual face to face interaction is the root of the problem. So evidently people cannot stand each other in public, but in private they can interact electronically and that really isn't the same, thus it is psychotic and delusional and the more and longer a person relies on that as their social life the worse it gets.

We moved out to the country where people, and I mean total strangers, are civil and take moments to have social interaction. The denser the population in my opinion, the more people seem to not like each other. Santa Rosa, CA use to have a nice interconnection between people, but now it's not so nice, but then again it's grown into a big city. Wasn't their studies done in which mice are affected in the same manner? Yet we live a world where fewer people are living in a rural setting and more are living in cities. Hmm, food for thought as to where that is going...

"The denser the population in my opinion, the more people seem to not like each other. "

I noticed the reverse effect when I was living in northern Nevada. People were so happy to meet you, an effect I was just not used to. Shortly after that I figured out that the reason no one used turn signals is that generally there is no one else on the road to signal to.

Wasn't their studies done in which mice are affected in the same manner?

Google John B. Calhoun

I live in Laytonville*, CA which is about 2 1/2 hours north of Santa Rosa. We've lived here close to 40 years and I would agree that more people dilutes interactions. We used to have a town picnic but that's gone because there are too many people now. I used to know about 80% of the people now it's probably less than 20%.

In general what has been lost is the cohesiveness that we used to have. Many of the old institutions have died either from a lack of members or because the new people expect city attributes. For example, we used to have a food co-op that got a truck delivery once a month and everyone would show up on Saturday to pick up the stuff they had ordered. But, the new members wanted a real store where they would have a wide variety of stuff they could buy when they wanted it. We tried it but finally sold "the business" to a couple who turned it into a real store because we didn't have the money to do that. Plus,I have to say that the philosophy of a co-op was no longer of interest to the members.

And, there's little things like the new people who drive too fast on our dirt and gravel county road and wash board it. I'll take fewer people.

*FWIW, Laytonville is an unincorporated area that cover about 400 square miles and now has between 4-5,000 people. There are only about 200 who actually live "in town".


We've lived here close to 40 years and I would agree that more people dilutes interactions.

Exactly, more people dilutes interactions.

We use to live in Marin County, where I grew up but we saw it become more conjested over the years so we moved to Hidden Valley Lake, CA. Definitely noticed a difference right away. A few years back there was a building boom and the influx of people started to make us feel like we were back in Marin. The real estate bust here was a two edged sword. Values plummeted, but we now have back our sleepy little community. I'm ok with that. Good luck to you there in Laytonville - hope it somehow returns to the closer knit community you remember.

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Ok, so they both evolved together

Not to start another thread on evolution mechanics, but the egg was way before the chicken. Fish already lay eggs. Birds came loong time later.

Call to action by Solar Industry & Video of the "Even counting votes too Scientific for North Carolina."as mentioned in Yesterdays DB. http://www.seia.org/act-now/dirty-tricks
"A bill that would gut North Carolina’s renewable portfolio standard passed a Senate committee this week over shouted objections after State Senator Bill Rabon refused to count votes with a show of hands."

Also WSJ Article behind paywall Search -> Solar-Regulation Tiffs Flare Across States

" NRG's chief executive, David Crane, recently called the traditional U.S. power business "an industry of Neanderthals" and said it has been "the least innovative industry in America, maybe the world, in history." "

David vs. Goliath? Watch Neanderthal Utilities slaughter pesky villagers with their PV Panels? Coming soon to a channel near you. /bloody nosarc


As the XL1 gets closer to release the auto magazines are beginning to get their hands on it and some numbers are starting to leak out.


on the official European combined driving cycle, the XL1 is rated at 261 mpg. European and American fuel-consumption tests are quite different, but VW engineers say an equivalent combined EPA city/highway number would be about 20 percent lower -- say, 209 mpg.

I'm most interested in its electrical consumption because I have a lot of hand-waving and projections about possible efficiency I'd like to have vindicated. There are two items pointing to it:

Press a button, and the XL1 will stay in pure EV mode for up to 30 miles, courtesy of a 5.5-kW-hr lithium-ion battery pack allowing emissions-free running in city areas.


in finding the 1001 efficiency tweaks so that it needs just 8.3 hp to travel at a constant 62 mph

The first set of numbers is a little troublesome because it suggests:
5,500Wh/30mi = 183 Wh/mi
A little higher consumption than I'd hoped to see, but it does still have an ICE with attendant cooling system(drag), etc and it is a side by side and not tandem. It's also possible that the 5.5kWh battery is the full size and not the utilized size. Which brings the next set of numbers.

62 miles/hr yields 62 miles after one hour (of course), it takes 8.3 horsepower or (747W/hp*8.3hp) = 6,200Watts to keep that speed - after 1 hour this would be 6,200Wh. So we get:

6,200Wh/62mi = 100 Watt-hours/mile !


Working backwards this would yield 30*100 = 3,000 Wh of battery being used or (3,000/5,500) = 56%. Which would be a little low but still within reason if you were reserving some range at the top and the bottom of the battery to prolong its life. It's more likely that the 8.3 horsepower is at the wheels and not at the crankshaft. Which probably means an additional 20% loss through the drive-line. Yielding:

(6,200*1.2)/62 = 120 Watt-hours/mile

This would bring the battery utilization rate to 65% which sounds more reasonable. If you used the battery from a Leaf it would give the XL1 a 175 mile range at 62 mph.

Yeah, I wish they would build it for real and make a pure electric version. If it is really that efficient then you could put a pretty small battery in there and still have a pretty great range. Thus, it would be pretty inexpensive EV. Well, it would be if all the other stuff isn't expensive.

That's one of the things that baffles me - with electric power and the ability to re-generative brake, a hefty amount of the weight penalty evaporates. The amount of aerodynamic drag simply overwhelms all and with better, higher pressure tires these days it makes even less difference.

So they could easily make the whole thing out of steel and still likely be hitting in the 140-170 Wh/mi range. At that rate they should be able to make the body/running gear for <$15,000 and a battery pack the size of the Leaf around the same ~$15,000. With better packaging available due to the electric layout you could turn it into a 3 or 4 seater. So lets say it comes out with 3 seats and 150 Wh/mi with a 24kWh (21kWh useable) pack yielding a range of 140 miles for $30,000. Sounds like a winner to me.

Here are some videos of it in action:
From the Marketing department: http://youtu.be/egkUkEiHAW4

This one has footage getting into the car and while driving: http://youtu.be/BL4anmWOe8k

Also footage from inside the car, better audio (can hear the admittedly horrible sound of the ICE) - Spanish (native) with some English (34 minutes total): http://youtu.be/lN-Th14rn4Q

This one shows it from the outside in actual traffic, the comments in the video are horrible, but it doesn't look terribly out of scale: http://youtu.be/a9or1KKH-jU

Hugo Chávez may have been oppressive

...but at least he wasn't a lapdog for Washington like so many other heads of state. The world would be a much more free and decentralized place with more anti-imperialist "rogue" nations. And it is important to put his depredations in perspective. Bush, Obama, Blair, Hollande, etc., have caused more death and suffering in the world than Chávez ever did. And this should be no surprise. It is often the less authoritarian states that afflict more humans more seriously, even if those afflicted the worst happen to be foreigners. That is because the most "free" countries are also often the most imperialistic. This is what Hans-Hermann Hoppe calls the "paradox of imperialism." States that allow more domestic freedom have more wealth to tap to fund more conquests and interventions.

Considering the chaos, terror, and wanton murderous destruction perpetrated on a daily basis by the West upon its recipients of "liberation," the evil of Chávez is dwarfed by that of the governments of the "free world."

That is because the most "free" countries are also often the most imperialistic.

Is this really true? What about Stalin's Soviet Union, Hitler's Third Reich, Imperial Japan's conquest of China and Southeast Asia, Genghis Khan, today's China, .... I think the author is confusing the word "free" with the words "economic strength".

Well, the qualifier, 'often', is there, but good points.

Bush, Obama, Blair, Hollande, etc., have caused more death and suffering in the world than Chávez ever did.

Not to worry, Chavez and those who inherited his legacy may be catching up... fast.

Search: Venezuela, More Deadly Than Iraq, Wonders Why

In Iraq, a country with about the same population as Venezuela, there were 4,644 civilian deaths from violence in 2009, according to Iraq Body Count; in Venezuela that year, the number of murders climbed above 16,000.

Even Mexico’s infamous drug war has claimed fewer lives.

Also, your link was a blog, the opinion of right wing conspiracy theory wingnut Lew Rockwell. It was not a news release.

Ron P.

Hasn't Venezuela always had a high murder rate? In general Latin America has a high rate. I think this is more a function of culture than politics.

Not likely a product of either though politics most certainly can make things better or worse. It is basically a function of overcrowding and poverty. Politics does play an important part in providing law enforcement... or not. China is an example. Also politics plays a part in reporting or not reporting violent crime. And China may very well be an example of this also.

Search: List of countries by intentional homicide rate That will bring up a wiki page with every country's homicide rate. They are listed alphabetically but the page has a sort function. You can sort on "rate" and get the homicide rate per 100,000 of the population. Here are the top 20 out of 209. You can see that Venezuela is fifth but behind Central American countries Honduras and El Salvador. I have added the "Rank" by sorting with Excel.

Country	                 Rate	Count    Rank
Honduras	         91.6	 7,104      1
El Salvador	         69.2	 4,308      2
Ivory Coast	         56.9	10,801      3
Jamaica	                 52.2	 1,430      4
Venezuela	         45.1	13,080      5
Belize	                 41.4	   129      6
U.S. Virgin Islands      39.2	    43      7
Guatemala	         38.5	 5,681      8
Saint Kitts and Nevis    38.2	    20      9
Zambia	                 38	 4,710     10
Uganda	                 36.3	11,373     11
Malawi	                 36	 5,039     12
Lesotho	                 35.2	   764     13
Trinidad and Tobago      35.2	   472     14
South Africa	         31.8	15,940     15
Colombia	         31.4	14,746+    16
Congo	                 30.8    1,180     17
Central African Republic 29.3    1,240     18
Bahamas	                 27.4	    94     19
Puerto Rico	         26.2	   983     20
United States	          4.8	14,748	  103
India	                  3.5	42,923+   116
United Kingdom	          1.2	   722    167
China	                  1	13,410    177
Australia	          1	   229	  178

Ron P.

Or perhaps it is a function of leaded gasoline.

There appears to be compelling link between lead and violent crime.

It appears that Venezuela was still using leaded gas as late as 2005.

It is interesting that Honduras tops Ron's Wiki list for homicide, as according to the Sierra Club:

Until Honduras eliminated leaded gas, there was no country in the world with a higher concentration of lead per gallon of gasoline. In some parts of the capital, lead levels in the atmosphere exceeded international standards by 500 percent and lead concentrations in blood were rising, especially among children.

According to Jamie Kitman's article The Secret History of Lead in The Nation:

as of 1996, 93 percent of all gasoline sold in Africa contained lead, 94 percent in the Middle East, 30 percent in Asia and 35 percent in Latin America.

It will be interesting over time to see if the violence declines in these countries, as it has elsewhere, with the elimination of lead from their fuel.

There is also a lag built in to the lead poisoning statistics. The crimes start appearing when the children reach adulthood but the poisoning sets in during their early years. In Venezuela young adults born before 1995 are the ones to watch.

The only caution is that it has historically been linked more to anger-related crimes such as vandalism and incidents like murder not as strongly linked.

The recent follow-up article was by Kevin Drum

With Ronnie The Lessors opening up of the economic casino 24 hours a day, and the grow or die, greed is good, seen on redwood seen them all paradigm put in place, he may have been the most dangerous organism ever to exist, when it comes to the survival of most Earthlings.

seen on redwood seen them all paradigm put in place,

Huh? I haven't a clue as to what you said, and I am not sure you do either.

Ron P.

Ronald Reagan's comment was paraphrased to: "When you've seen one redwood tree, you've seen them all."

A link to the context:


Okay, I understand what Reagan was trying to say, though I disagree with him and I hope you do also. But that silly statement by Reagan had absolutely nothing to do with the subject being discussed.

But perhaps it does. So Ewak, could you explain the connection between "seen one redwood you've seen them all" and the subject being discussed, which is: The violence in Venezuela, poverty in Venezuela, the decline of law and order in Venezuela, and the national oil company's infrastructure crumbling to rust.

Venezuela has problems and her people are suffering. Right wing nut cases see it as all a part of some kind of conspiracy theory. But the people are suffering and that should be what the discussion should be all about.

It has nothing to do with redwoods but people, children, who are the helpless victims of the power struggle between powerful politicians. An those politicians are not in Washington and they do not work for the Associated Press, they are Venezuelans. And those who think differently are just wrapped up so deep in their conspiracy theory ideology that it has affected their ability to think logically.

Ron P.

Let them have their revolution.
It probably will not work right away, but maybe in the future.
Being a US Client State of the US did not work, so they are not going to go back.
It is violent and corrupt at the moment, so lets see what emerges.
South America is a bright spot at the moment.

The really were a very unequal society (and even after 12plus years of Chavez still are). Kind of like what the USA (and much of the OECD seems to be headed for). So they had a very class stratified society/economy, and those on the wrong side of the divide resent it. We are going to have to deal with the same issue in the future. A few uncontaminated data points as to what potential solutions work and what don't would be very useful to have.

I've actually analyzed this thoroughly, and the only one close is Haber, who doubled the population:

The generalized resource curse

There is a regularity here, an order. We find ourselves on the inside of social phenomena that we have seen before, that we can understand. The global economy is succumbing to a technologically-driven resource curse, coalescing into groups of insiders and outsiders and people fighting at the margins not to be left behind. Our governments are transforming themselves from mediators among widely dispersed and interdependent interests to organizations that maintain and police the boundaries between the civilized and the marginal, who put down the insurgencies and manage the pathologies of the latter so that they do not very much impinge upon the lives of the former. Our financial systems are mechanisms by which legitimacy is conferred upon facially absurd distributions of aggregate wealth, by virtue of processes that claim to be “voluntary”, “private-sector” and “market-disciplined”, but which are none of those things in any meaningful way.

Interesting insight here. The author thinks that automation and financial services industry is akin to a generalized resource curse. I would agree. As technology has been commoditized paradoxically it has become less accessible for common folks because of increase in complexity. But I see the current DIY/maker movement as a counter to that.

There's some commentary here


I am wondering if someone can help me. A few weeks ago someone here made reference to an influential economist who seriously argues that we will never run out of copper or other elements because we will be able to turn other elements into them. But I can't spend 5 hours looking through old drumbeats to find the comment. Does anyone have reference to this fellow?

Google up Julian Simon.

Sure, the economist in question would be Julian Simon, that referrence is probably from Dr. Albert Bartlet's talk on Arithmetic, Energy and Population. To be fair there is some controversy whether or not that is an actual verbatim quote attributable to Dr. Simon However it still typifies the general lack of scientific rigor found amongst cornucopians and most economists who seem to have managed to go through life with any knowledge of basic physics and chemistry...


From Bartlett's article

The economist Julian Simon is famous for his belief that there are no limits to growth. ... [examples then follow of S's idiotic extrapolations] ...The Cato Institute report identifies the author: "Julian L. Simon is a professor of business and management at the University of Maryland and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. This essay [from which these quotations are taken] is based on the introduction to his latest book, The State of Humanity, just published by the Cato Institute and Blackwell Publishers."
The Cato Institute is a think tank in Washington, D.C. that advises government leaders on policy questions.
At the annual meeting in February of 1995, Julian Simon was elected a Fellow of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science.

EDIT Sorry Ron P. I missed that you already did this.

You are thinking of Julian Simon. From Wiki:

Julian Lincoln Simon (February 12, 1932 – February 8, 1998) was a professor of business administration at the University of Maryland and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute at the time of his death, after previously serving as a longtime business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

He made his argument in the book "The Ultimate Resource". The ultimate resource is supposed to be man himself who's intellect will always find ways to solve all problems. He also wrote "The Ultimate Resource 2" which is available free on line.
Search: The Ultimate Resource II: People, Materials, and Environment

Ron P.

Thanks Ron

The increase in the world's population represents our victory against death.
Julian Lincoln Simon

Nuff said about Julian Simon, IMHO.

I never get tired of pulling stuff from "The Ultimate Resource II" which was copyrighted in 1996.
From Chapter 11: When Will We Run Out Of Oil? Never!

It costs less today to get oil from the ground in prime sources than it cost fifty years ago to get it from the ground in prime sources. (The second afternote to chapter 3 explains how there is no "law" of diminishing returns in general, and hence why this line of thinking is fallacious.)
In brief, there is no compelling theoretical reason why we should eventually run out of energy, or even why energy should be more scarce and costly in the future than it is now.

It gets easier and cheaper every year to find oil and that's why the price keeps falling, way below what it was in the late 90s when this book was all the rage. Yeah right!

Ron P.

Nice quote. Have that one ready to pull out when Cornucopians start saying "Well they were worried about running out of oil in the 1920s and then again in the 1970s and . . . "

from Chapter 11? Really?

Sorry Tabby, I completely missed the bankruptcy connection. I thought you had searched Chapter 11 and could not find the passage and was asking: "Are you sure?"

Sometimes sarcasm is wasted. :-(

Ron P.

NYT: Syria Blames Israel for Fiery Attack in Damascus

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The Syrian government publicly condemned Israel for a powerful air assault on military targets near Damascus early Sunday, saying it “opened the door to all possibilities,” as fear spread throughout the region that the country’s civil war could expand beyond its borders. The attack, which sent brightly lighted columns of smoke and ash high into the night sky above the Syrian capital, struck several critical military facilities in some of the country’s most tightly secured and strategic areas, killing dozens of elite troops stationed near the presidential palace, a high-ranking Syrian military official said in an interview.

Israel refused to confirm the attacks, the second in three days, and Israeli analysts said it was unlikely that Israel was seeking to intervene in the Syrian conflict. They said the attacks in all likelihood expanded and continued Israel’s campaign to prevent the Syrian government from transferring weapons to Hezbollah, the Shiite militia and political party in neighboring Lebanon that is one of Israel’s most dangerous foes.

Rebels, opposition activists and residents said the strikes hit bases of the elite Republican Guard and storehouses of long-range missiles, in addition to a military research center that American officials have called the country’s main chemical weapons facility.

When I met my syrian/lebanese girlfriend this sunday, I was greeted with "do you know what we will get this summer"? "No", I said. "War" she said. "And it is the fault of Hizbollah". Okey, I thought, time to catch up with the news feed.