DrumBeat: December 16, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 12/16/06 at 10:16 AM EDT]

Playing with Fire – The 10 Tcf/year Supply Gap -- Part I

1. The severity of the crisis is much greater than I assumed might occur when I first began speaking out on the potential for sharply escalating natural gas prices almost five years ago. Even before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf of Mexico last year, natural gas prices had quadrupled in just 3 ½ years:

Spaced out: The collective costs of suburban sprawl

Moving to the fresh air, opening the door, and shooing out the kids—the American dream—has devolved into an unhealthy, financially unsustainable, and ecologically destructive habit. Glimpsed through Flint's eyes, suburban development looks unstoppable, too bound up with the American pursuit of material comfort. The suburban split-level has become an addictive drug, offering a fantasy of escape. But after a blissful honeymoon, a new development rises next door, and traffic grows constipated. Local taxes rise to pay for new pipes and schools and wider roads. Craving cash, the town welcomes big-box stores and office parks. The physical toll keeps growing; water bans and power brownouts increase.

Renewable Energy Can't Save Consumer Society

Germany Debates the Future of Coal Mining

Some say the German mining industry is squandering too much money and that production should cease as soon as possible, whereas others argue that coal is the energy source of the future.

Hip to be green

Over the last 40 years, environmental issues have steadily seeped into mainstream thinking.

Look to the Sun to cultivate our energy

FROM climate change to volatile oil prices, all the signs point to a looming global energy crisis. Confronting the growing challenge means that humanity can no longer afford to ignore the inexhaustible resource found in the organic material that the Sun provides each day through photosynthesis.

Interior Deals on Flawed Leases Fail to Quell Critics

Deals inked yesterday between the Interior Department and five petroleum companies on payment of royalties from flawed Gulf of Mexico leases won't blunt Democratic plans to address the "royalty relief" issue more aggressively when the new Congress convenes.

African oil's allure increases as other regions tighten reins on foreign companies

DAKAR, Senegal: Angola is joining OPEC, African oil exploration is booming and China is investing. The stampede for African oil has continued, even as militant attacks in some countries and precarious governments in others make returns uncertain.

Iraq to Meet Iran, Kuwait on Cross-Border Oil Fields

Iraqi officials are to meet representatives from Iran later this month and Kuwait after that to discuss sharing oil production contracts in cross-border fields, Iraq's oil minister said Thursday.

Twelve Months: The Short Life of Comfortable Assumptions About Russia's Energy Policy in 2006

The Kremlin’s confiscatory assault on Royal Dutch Shell and threats to other Western energy majors in Russia on Black Tuesday, December 12 (see EDM, December 13) is the latest in a series of moves disproving Western wishful thinking about Russia’s energy policy.

Iran warns of painful revenge if sanctions imposed

Good question, Condi: Rice questions why Saudi might need nuclear energy

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Friday she wanted to know more about Gulf states' plans to study nuclear power and questioned why Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, might need atomic energy.

Geothermal test halted due to quake

Drilling work for a planned geothermal power plant in Basel triggered a small earthquake on Friday that caused minor damage to buildings.

U.K.: The way we will live

The Government's pledge to carbon neutralise every new British home by 2016 may sound ambitious now, but will appear pretty basic to the homeowners of the future, for whom zero carbon living will be a given. By 2080, the avant-garde may be living in houses on stilts (far right) with removable walls, kept cool by dirty bathwater, according to a new study by Arup Associates and Zurich Insurance.

Overconfidence Leads To Bias In Climate Change Estimations

Just as overconfidence in a teenager may lead to unwise acts, overconfidence in projections of climate change may lead to inappropriate actions on the parts of governments, industries and individuals, according to an international team of climate researchers.

Power from the people? Utilities leery of putting home-generated electricity on grid

Michael J. Economides: The Four Horsemen of the Energy Apocalypse

I have a simple credo, and a corollary. There is virtually no human need that is more important than energy and energy abundance. The corollary: all other human needs, such as food and water, are far easier to manage if there is abundant, cheap energy. Thus, in the topsy-turvy evolution of politics in Europe and the United States, energy abundance – were logic to prevail –would be the main issue for the populists. It should be treated no differently than other environmental/economic issues. In the U.S., it’s an issue that should belong to the Democrats. Instead, it has been relegated to the right-wing fringes of the Republican Party.

China urges oil consumers unite

BEIJING - China, hosting its first major energy summit on Saturday, urged top oil consumers to join together in the face of resurgent producer power and sought to paper over differences on how best to achieve energy security.

R&D shale oil extraction leases granted

DENVER - The Interior Department granted leases Friday for shale oil extraction experiments, a step allowing companies to determine how to tap into an estimated 100-year supply of oil locked in rock formations under Colorado, Utah, and southwest Wyoming.

The leases, the first granted in 30 years, were issued two decades after companies abandoned large-scale commercial efforts in western Colorado because coaxing oil out of rock was laborious and expensive.

Sydney asked to plunge into dark to spotlight climate change

SYDNEY - Residents of Sydney are being urged to plunge Australia's largest city into darkness for one hour in a bid to highlight the perils of climate change, officials said.

The Event Horizon Has Been Crossed

Not to be alarmist -- for the record, notions of apocalypse or armageddon in any religious sense are ludicrous to me -- but we have passed the point of no return. Geopolitically, things are now FUBAR, and the situation cannot be undone. Call me a Chicken Little. Believe me, I wish I were wrong.

San Francisco: Legislation introduced to prepare city for oil shortage

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi wants The City to create a Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force, to ensure San Francisco is prepared when the world’s oil supply reaches maximum production, resulting in major gas price increases that will threaten the local economy.

Global Warming Trend Continues in 2006, Climate Agencies Say

A decades-long global warming trend that most climate experts say is linked to rising levels of heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases continued apace this year, according to summaries issued yesterday by several national and international climate agencies.

Scientist says new data backs sulfur climate plan

TEL AVIV - Nobel Prize laureate Paul Crutzen says he has new data supporting his controversial theory that injecting the common pollutant sulfur into the atmosphere would cancel out the greenhouse effect.

Planting trees to save planet `pointless' say ecologists

Planting trees to combat climate change is a waste of time, according to astudy by ecologists who say that most forests do not have any overall effect on global temperature, while those furthest from the equator could actually be making global warming worse.

Martha's Vineyard: Momentum Builds For Energy District

Aquinnah selectman James Newman this week authored a nonbinding referendum for the coming town meeting season aimed at creating an overlay district to promote and regulate energy efficiency and renewable energy across the Island.

Happy Birthday, Peak Oil!

Happy Birthday, Peak Oil!

If Dr. Deffeyes is correct, today is the one-year anniversary of peak oil.
Link attack!


EV World's editor in chief captures the alternative vehicles of the first AltCar Expo in Santa Monica, California  

This has a few pictures.  The (formerly known as) Corbin Sparrow from what I know of it is an excellent vehicle but is ugly as sin.  If they'd made them more like the Corbin Merlin I think we'd actually be seeing a few on the road these days.



CEOS want increase in fuel-efficiency standards

December 13, 2006

A group of corporate chief executives and former military generals called Wednesday for the federal government to raise fuel economy standards and take other steps toward cutting U.S. oil imports almost in half from today's levels by 2030.



'Electric/human hybrids' hit the streets

One of the two ready-mades, the Giant Lite model is a stripped down bicycle that still requires pedal power. The rechargeable battery, smaller than a conventional loaf of bread, is fastened onto the outside of the shaft running down from the seat. The model costs $1,500.

The larger and heavier Tres Terra Europa is a fancier version that can run without pedaling. The 11 pound battery is enclosed in the thick front shaft that runs between the pedals and the handle bars. This model, which sells for $1,600, is also equipped with rear and front headlights, carry racks, and cruise control.



Can cars fly? Small ones can, right off the lot

Tiny cars continue to be big hits even though sky-high gas prices have eased.

Pushed by Toyota (TM) Yaris, Honda (HMC) Fit and Nissan (NSANY) Versa -- small, front-wheel-drive, fuel-efficient subcompacts introduced this year -- the low-price end of the small-car market is up 42.2% through November compared with a year ago, industry tracker Autodata says.

That's in an overall new vehicle market down 2.5%. Experts aren't surprised.

"You're getting a lot for your money -- a great commuter car, a great city car," says Rebecca Lindland, an automotive consultant at Global Insight. "They all have some funky style, a lot of accessories" to "pimp them up."
Despite the dramatic growth in their sales, the low-price small cars are only about 2% of U.S. new vehicle sales. Still, that's twice the slice of the market that the smallest cars once held.

'cause I always look for pimp in my car


You might want to find someplace else to charge that power drill. Announcements in the last few weeks by General Motors, Nissan, and Toyota suggest the next device you plug into the wall outlet could be your car. All three carmakers are pursuing so-called "plug-in hybrids," gas-electric vehicles that owners can recharge for better mileage--in some cases getting more than 100 miles per gallon by replacing fuel with electricity.

But some doubt plug-ins are ready for prime time. Dan Benjamin, a senior analyst at ABI Research, says battery life and cost are still big issues. "That's not to say it won't happen; it's just not imminent," he says. According to a U.S. Department of Energy report released last Monday, plug-in hybrids are expected to cost about $6,000 to $10,000 more per vehicle than regular hybrids. In addition, plug-in hybrids take too long to charge (usually overnight) and require a lot of batteries to get beyond the 100-mile range, Mr. Benjamin says.



Senator Bayh Calls for Increased Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle Development

Source: Senator Bayh's Office
[Dec 13, 2006]

SYNOPSIS: Indiana Senator Evan Bayh (D) has joined a bipartisan coalition urging for additional funding in the development of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs).
Joined by a bipartisan coalition of 17 Senate colleagues, Bayh called on the Secretary to include at least $90 million in the President's FY 2008 budget request to encourage the development of PHEV technologies and to expand the market for these clean-running vehicles. The funding could be used for work including the development of more efficient, longer running batteries and a joint flexible fuel/hybrid vehicle publicity campaign.



A Gloucester father and son, who have an auto shop in Hampton, convert a Chevrolet pickup to battery power.
John Joseph now hops in the truck every morning and commutes between his Gloucester home and his family's auto repair business in Hampton. The truck, which he also uses for weekend errands, can travel more than 73 miles without a recharge and can go more than 70 mph.
John estimates that he has spent $20,000 on the truck. "We didn't do a normal conversion," he said. "We went way, way beyond what we had to do."
John Joseph acknowledges that a totally electric truck - as opposed to a hybrid such as the Toyota Prius - is strictly a commuter vehicle. It doesn't make sense for someone traveling a good distance to have to wait seven hours to charge up a car.

If Peak Oil is one year old, when will Peak People be born?
Will PeePee be a second, third, or youngest child?
Aw, Leanan, you've no sense of mischief. You didn't post the bit of the Economides article that was guaranteed to leave TOD'ers monitors dripping with involuntarily spat out coffee:

Peak oil, and "oh my God, what will happen next?" - Oil will eventually peak, but this event is not close yet and is unlikely to occur for several decades. Even after it peaks, we will not run out of oil for centuries. We will find other ways to harness energy. Government can play a role by funding long-term, rational, and untainted research.

Or maybe even the conclusion:

Changes in energy will happen. Transitions will certainly take place. Natural gas is the next obvious option. My prediction is that eventually everything will be electrified. As part of that, nuclear power will play a huge role. But the transition out of oil will take decades. And despite all of the rhetoric, the apocalypse is still a long way off.
yes, economides pooh poohs conservation (ala dick cheney)  but given  peak oil -  conservation most certainly will work         btw who is this economides guy ?  i have seen that name around before
It's Economides.  He always says that.
Yes obviously if I wanted to know if peak oil was near, I would never ask a geologist, instead I would ask an economist.

Just as if I wanted someone to look at my teeth, I would ask a plumber, if I needed surgery I would ask a school-teacher to perform it, and if I was charged with a crime, I would ask legal advice from a gardener.

Sounds like the author might be our Hothgor.
And if you use the EIA t14 spreadsheet, peak oil was May 2005...1 year and 7 months ago, at 85,205 thousand barrels per day.  

So, the one year birthday party is a little late.  :-)


"Oil Supply" is defined as the production of crude oil (including lease condensate), natural gas plant liquids, and other liquids, and refinery processing gain (loss).


Deffeyes uses crude + condensate.  His Dec. 16, 2005 prediction is based on C+C, and he's not wrong yet.
If Deffeyes turns out to be right and he picked accurately the exact MONTH oil would peak, he'll go down in history as one of the most famous scientists ever.  It's pretty impressive that he's been right as long as he has.  I'm still in the 2012 camp, but still...
And if you wished to break the energy(just what we take from the ground and is not replenishable) down into various segments then you might be able to make differing predictions for each.

The May 2005 date refers to ALL LIQUIDS and I consider that more of value, since as was stated , we are in a ENERGY crisis and not just an oil crisis. I would remove the ethanol however since it surely upsets the reckoning by being so variable in nature. (ethanol being replenishable and not in the FF category)

So what is to be used as the leading indicator of PO? C+C ,all liquids or something else? Or does it matter?  

We are NOT in an energy crisis.  We can produce/harness energy from literally thousands of different methods.  Enough light energy falls on the American south west to provide all the energy the world needs.  We are in a petrol 'crisis', nothing more, nothing less.  We need to reconnect our energy needs with electricity and move away from the 'potential' energy stored in Oil.

Look at the article I linked further down to show you how we can cut our oil use in half.

Peak Oil does not scare me, as there are dozens of alternatives.  Peak Energy scares me, but fortunately that wont happen for at least another 5 billion years.

Enough light energy falls on the American south west to provide all the energy the world needs.

And in case we need a backup, enough light falls on the moon too.
If OTOH we would prefer for futile reasons to stick to hydrocarbons there is no shortage of methane on Jupiter, we "just need" to manage to send back the CO2 over there...


You are the most uninformed poster I have ran across in all the websites and forums I visit for these many years and even back unto the days of BBs. Back even unto Compuserve. Back even to chiseled stone tablets passed around the campfires.Back I am sure to grunt language yelled from the trees. Back before Adam could speak and Eve lifted her loincloth, there must have been someone like Hothgor (perhaps serpentinelike) telling a pack of lies and BS.  

Your ignorance and communication skills are a waste of human flesh.

You post balderdash and try to pretend its a fount of knowledge when its just your lame efforts at googling.

I remember someone on another forum saying once that she confronted a really ignorant poster like this only to find out the person was only 13 years old.

But of course a lot of 13 year olds have more intelligence and common sense than Hothgor.

Instead of criticizing me, why don't you prove to the entire world how my statement isn't correct.

Is there, in fact, not enough 'sun' power in the American South West to provide the entire worlds power needs?  If there is not then I am wrong.

Unfortunately for you, I am right :)

Hothgor: Since everything has a price, you should include a dollar cost analysis for your project. Affordable energy is relevant, not theoretically achieveable energy of all types.  
Oh of course hothgor you are 100 % correct...just show us the solar cell that will cover the grand canyon- I'm sure there is one out there in lala land.  We can use the solar energy it creates to drive the electric trucks that will set up the solar panel that will cover all of New Mexico.  You must have it here somewhere in your bag of BS.

PS The illegal aliens will be very grateful because they can sneak in under it...  (Mucho Gracias senior Hothgor, mi senora y mi chicitas le gusta sol panel mucho, por favor)

I didn't know the space men spoke Spanish ~_~
by illegal aliens he means people, humans mostly, that cross the border between the united states and Mexico. though alien visitors from space could also be classified as illegal aliens.
Yes I'm well aware of that...

Jokes are apparently never understood here...

Instead of criticizing me, why don't you prove to the entire world how my statement isn't correct.

Your statement about energy is wrong.  

The energy is not the threat.   The economic system that is used to highly discounted energy costs has many actors who will react poorly to the end of cheap energy.

That is how you are wrong.

Feel free to disprove "to the world".

Hothgor is not wrong. His statements are about potential energy availablity, which from the sun is indeed enormous. A rather surprising calculation reveals that the Earth intercepts in one day more than 30 times that the world uses in one year.

I know that getting a significant part of this energy into usable form presents great challenges. Still, I believe it to be within the capabilities of humans to achieve, were we to decide that this was an important goal. It is this thought that encourages me and keeps me from complete despair.

Eric, I believe that your statement is correct also, and stated very concisely. But it is a statement about human nature, not science. There is much evidence to support this point of view when past and present human behavior is examined.

I guess that for me, I am not sure just how poorly or well that human actors will react. I have my fears about this, and maybe the odds are not good. But it is good to know that there are technical solutions that we could work towards, collectively, if we turn out to be smart enough.

Tony Verbalis  

Please keep in mind, though, that it's not quite that simple. For starters, most of that energy falls on the deep oceans, and more falls onto clouds, and all of it is pretty spread out and diffuse.

Getting from a large reservoir to produced energy available for purchase is not always easy. For example, there's also an utterly staggering amount of potential energy in the form of deuterium in the oceans, but at the current ridiculously stingy worldwide research budget of $1 billion or so a year, which goes mostly into safety paperwork and the like, not into productive research activity, that potential energy will never be put to use either.

I know that it is not simple. Technically, it would require a well planned, major effort over a long period of time. Starting now, while we still have some existing sources of fossil and nuclear energy to get it going.

But, the technology already exists, and can be improved incrementally in the process of actually using it. This is unlike your analogy to deuterium. Nuclear fusion hasn't yet produced a single joule of useful energy. There has been no demonstration that it can even produce a net energy gain, even  under laboratory conditions. Whether it ever will is at least debateable.

What are you people worried about?  Energy is neither created nor destroyed.  Therefore, all the energy we have ever used still exists.  We just have to collect it.  When the price gets high enough, we will.  
All I want for Christmas is a "Mr. Fusion". Santa - make mine a 2.3 gigawatt.  I have some bannana peals for fuel and cookies for you and the reindeer.  :)
all the energy we have ever used still exists.  We just have to collect it.

The energy we used is somewhere out there-->. Traveling away from us at the speed of infrared light. All we need is a rocket fast enough ...

Just in case you were serious about this comment, you might be interested in learning about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (entropy). Yes, all the energy is still around someplace, but it has been degraded into heat. It is very difficult to get work from heat. It can be done only if temperature differences exist (steam engine, etc).

Since temperatures tend to equilibrate, temperature differences disappear, and the universe suffers a "heat death". The sun kind of keeps that from happening to us, but in about 5 billion years ......

His statements are about potential energy availablity, which from the sun is indeed enormous.

And with no cheap way to do that (cheap as in the same price the economy is used to having) declaring 'there is all this energy just  waiting for us' might be salve for some people's soul, but is mostly useless.

But it is a statement about human nature, not science.

It will be the reaction of others that are far more vexing.  

The economic system and level of goods based on the cheap oil coming to an end isn't going to be an easy sell.

But it is good to know that there are technical solutions that we could work towards,

But these are FAR more expensive than the present system.   And without figuring out how to re-adjust the political-economic system, all the technical solutions won't matter.

Yes, energy from these sources will be far more expensive, and   yes, it isn't going to be an easy sell. And yes, it would seem that some re-adjustment of the political-economic system will be essential to pull it off. But, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, we have to start with the political-economic system we already have.

But the evolution of humans from our starting point some 100,000 years ago to our present global civilization has at least demonstrated the ability to adapt to new conditions. Can we adapt to these new conditions? Just maybe.

Very perceptive comments, particulary in so far as you realize the human race will have to go extinct or at least kiss goodbye to industrial civilization because it can't overthrow capitalism, rather than from adherence to some general natural law.

Very perceptive. The entire system is wedded to cheap energy. Stress cheap. No cheap energy, no system. Even if we get expensive energy, it doesn't work any more. Kiss goodbye to cheap energy, and perhaps, necessarily, you kiss goodbye to progressive politics.

I stress perhaps. But you are right and your point cannot be stressed enough: we will suffer because the system requires cheap energy. Technical solutions will not be enough in the short term, because in the short term it is the political and economic interests connected with capitalism that will matter most - technical solutions be damned. 'F*** solar, I've got Shell stock!' 'A contracting economy? Like I'll employ anyone with that!' And so on.

Repeat: we will suffer, not necessarily because of technical limitations, but because of the political and economic structure under which we live.

The present system won't make it.  

If one wishes to think the present system is capitalism or not, well now we are into 'how many spirits of Adam Smith can dance on the head of the pin'.

You see Hothgor the error you make?

You make an absurd statement and when called on it you reply that the other party must prove your statement is wrong?

Just how far has this approach taken you in the internet forums and discussion groups?

Do you actually get by with this type of activity elsewhere?

Teenybopper chat rooms do not count.

There was this one poster on the Energyresources yahoo group that reminds me very much of Hothgar - Mauk Mcamuk. Very persistent in his views that technology can solve everything and almost oblivious to criticism he received while arguing with members who were experts in their field.
My 'absurd' statement was based on the equally 'absurd' flame fest that took place after I posted my original comment.  No one yet has proved what I said to be wrong.  But I think your more interesting in spinning the argument to allow you to save face then fessing up to the fact that we aren't in an Energy Crisis at all, only an oil crisis.
Flaming Hothgor does nothing for the conversation or the rep of this site.  If his comments are tweaking you, use that as practise not to rise to the urge of snipping like middle-schoolers.

I am as Pro Solar-Wind-Tide and like alternates as anyone, yet I also see a serious energy shortfall if the tools to harness these sources aren't largely built out while we still have the fossil fuels to do it 'on the faster side'.  Of course, that leaves people to start arguing about when again..  forget when and think about how and where to get some balls rolling.  Pick a BB and run with it.  (What a lame image that makes.. but we really do have to make the 'Mighty BB Bearers' into our new Heroes and Heralds)

I do think we are on some very thin ice, so even if other people still think we're on solid ground, I'll be lacing up my life preserver, and hoping it'll float two or three of us.

Hothgor is, in broad terms, correct.  That we have not yet built the technology to actually run the world off the sunlight striking a small fraction of the American southwest makes it unhelpful, but that doesn't make him wrong.

The helpful part of statements like Hothgor's is that it tells us where we should be looking for solutions.  Sutton's Law and all that.  "Sustainability" came from a somewhat more detailed exercise of Sutton's Law.

"Enough light energy falls on the American south west to provide all the energy the world needs. "

I think I'll just go down there and SPREAD MY LEAVES and collect me some power.

BTW, I'm so glad to hear you're not preparing.

OK, folks, there's no ideal place to attach this, but these flame wars aren't overly educational, and they're surely off-putting to the press reporters and other outside readers we know are starting to come here.

Let's try some numbers instead, WRT "Enough light energy falls on the American south west to provide all the energy the world needs."

World energy consumption - at least that which is accounted for - around 10-12TW. Sunlight at surface 1050 W/square meter. Area about 10000-12000 square kilometers. So my crude ballpark-o-meter says, yes, the proposition is "theoretically" true.

Of course, it's fairly simplistic theory. That area is for high noon, facing directly on, with 100% areal coverage, and no clouds or haze anywhere in sight. So if I'm going to trust my life to this thing, I need to recalibrate my  ballpark-o-meter.

It's not always high noon, so multiply the area by pi over two or about 1.57. (We aren't going to be building 10000 square km of complicated, expensive, moving structures anytime soon. Not in anything but some nightmare.) And night eventually comes (see The Dying Night by Isaac Asimov), so multiply by 2. And sometimes it's cloudy or hazy even in the desert, and collector surfaces gather dust and mineral deposits. So multiply by 2 again. And we don't really get 100% efficiency out of any known large-scale system (and precious few lab systems either for that matter.) Let's be really super optimistic, and also ignore conversion-transmission-conversion losses, and call it 40% - for the outdoor system - not just the lab version of the individual solar cells or other elements. So multiply by another 2.5. And the days are short in the winter, and sunlight gets weak near dawn and dusk, and surfaces will reflect more away at shallow angles, so multiply by another 1.3 (SWAG).

So we multiply the area by 20. We need 200000-240000 square km of collector surface.

Now, the Southwest is not on the equator, and it's sometimes winter, so multiply the land area by the secant of the sum of some reasonable latitude and the earth-axis tilt of 23 degrees, yielding, say, 1.4. And we don't want our fiendishly expensive collectors shadowing each other too much when it's not high noon, and the environmentalists won't let us have 100% areal coverage anyhow. So multiply the land area by another 2, except that's almost certainly too low and should probably be closer to 4. So we need somewhere on the order of 700000-1000000 square km of land, rooftops, and whatever.

At the very minimum, this is a monumental project involving technology that does not quite exist yet, and given that scope, deadlines are growing short. It probably can't be done at all without substantially disempowering NIMBYs and BANANAs, so it may prove impossible under "democracy". Of course it's not really going to be concentrated in one spot - the European concept of a huge project in the Sahara connected  up with an undersea cable or three is a highly vulnerable epitome of geopolitical and strategic stupidity - but most spots will have more bad weather and less sun in winter than the US southwest. In addition, many rooftops and such in many inhabited areas are shadowed by trees for much or all of the year, an inconvenience to which our southern Californian contributors often seem utterly oblivious.

BTW, yeah, I know. There are efficiency gains to be had, Engineer-Poet wrote about that the other day. On the other hand, population is still exploding, as are economic expectations in poor countries. So at this level of analysis, I'm saying that's roughly a wash over the next few decades. At best.

P.S. one other dose of reality - even if there were thousands of energy-harvesting and/or energy-producing methods, it's highly likely that less than a dozen will account for nearly all of the net production.

I like C+C better than all liquids, for the reasons that have been posted numerous times before.  Ethanol is not subject to Hubbert linearization.  All liquids has some double-counting, and includes liquids like orimulsion.

But really, the notable thing about Deffeyes is that he gave an exact date.  Not a year, not a month, but a day.  That's what makes it possible to have a "birthday."  :)

So what is to be used as the leading indicator of PO? C+C ,all liquids or something else? Or does it matter?

Does it matter? Hell, it all depends on what you are talking about. Horse manure matters if you are talking about fertilizer. Deffeyes was predicting the peak of crude oil. And since the EIA lumps crude in with condensate, he just used their numbers. And this is probably wise since the condensate is just dumped in with the crude and actually increases its quality.

True, there will be a different peak for natural gas and/or natural gas liquids. This peak will happen at different times in different countries. It will be near impossible to pinpoint the exact peak of world-wide natural natural gas. Natural gas liquids peak may be a little easier to pinpoint.

But peak oil is all about peak oil, not about peak bottled gas. Deffeyes predicted the peak of crude oil to be December of 2005. And so far he is exactly correct!

Ron Patterson

Note that the Russian government reports that domestic consumption is growing at two and a half times the rate that production was increasing.  (IMO, Russia will start showing lower production late this year, or early next year.)  In any case, the Russian government is reporting lower exports.  

What is striking is how many times the HL method has so far been right regarding the Export Land Model and for large producing regions--Lower 48; Texas;  Russia; North Sea; Mexico; Saudi Arabia and the world--while so many people reject the method, even as the production declines worldwide and in Saudi Arabia are exactly what the HL models predicted.


Russian oil output up 2.2%, export down 0.5% in 10M06

MOSCOW, December 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's oil production increased 2.2% in the first 10 months of 2006, year-on-year, to 398.8 million metric tons (9.58 mln bbl/d), and exports fell 0.5%, to 207.7 million metric tons (4.99 mln bbl/d), the Federal Statistics Service said Friday.

 Oil sales on the domestic market rose 5.4% in the reporting period, to 180.9 million tons (4.35 mln bbl/d).

 Oil accounted for 35.2% of Russia's exports and 52.7% of the country's fuel and energy exports in the first 10 months of 2006 compared with 34.8% and 54.4%, respectively, in the same period of 2005.

 The average export oil price was $392.3 per metric ton, down 8.6%, month-on-month, and the world price of Russia's Urals crude was $402.4 per metric ton, down 6.5%, month-on month.

i saw , or rather heard, in my late night semi slumber, a story  on pbs about shellfish as a food source    now it seems to me that shellfish are the ultimate sequesterers of co2  i assume they are turning co2 into caco3 which is more or less permanent             mussles  in wine sause yum yum (look bad , taste good)  
sadly the increase in acidity of sea water (increased CO2 in solution equals increased COOH (carboxylic acid)) makes it difficult for shellfish / crustaceans / corals to form shells.

fucked. we are so fucked.

thank you   well if those tasty little mussels can sequester co2 fast enough would the acidity necessarily increase   isnt this also offset by warmer ocean water ?  , diluted water ?and for that matter certain shellfish live in fresh water   what about aquaculture ?     but i agree we are all doomed    freakin doomed
you use the future tense, but the changes in acidity are happening now... seen any signs that we are changing our behaviour? nah, didn't think you had.

btw, warm water is not healthy water. for example, see the effect that el nino has on plankton population. warm water is dead water.

you know the paleozoic (570 to 250 my ago) was a time of extensive carbonate deposition  and it was also a time of (alledgedly) decreasing co2 in the atmosphere   so is there a correlation ? i dunno    (the paleozoic ended in a mass extinction of life on earth)   so we are doomed   we are freakin doomed
Changing our behavior? Nah, we're waiting for a "market signal."
"The severity of the crisis is much greater than I assumed might occur when I first began speaking out on the potential for sharply escalating natural gas prices almost five years ago." Dependence of petroleum refining and coal production on natural gas is scary. http://www.prosefights.org/coal/northantelope/northantelope.htm
Thanks for reminding me that the modern explosives needed to excavate such a compound needs natural gas to be made.
Us seniors try to recall. http://mywebpages.comcast.net/bpayne37/index.htm#margolis
Is anyone here paying attention to the crude oil tracking stock, USO?  It looks to me that is has made a bottom and is headed up.  If it makes a new high for the move, a new uptrend may be established.  No guarantees of course, but it might be a chance to make some money off the peak oil wisdom offered on this site.
Similarly, there's OIL.  More interesting is DJP, which is a basket of commodities but is about half crude oil and, if I remember correctly, ~5% natural gas.  Does anyone know of a pure-play natural gas derivative similar to USO?  Before the flames begin, my interest has more to do with fear than greed.  My profession will be one of the first to be downsized when oil prices soar so I've already got some USO.  Now I'm looking for a natural gas hedge that does not rely on an actual producer and would be a  longer term hedge than the only other option I can think of - locking in a 5 year price with a gas marketer.

One other question.  I've heard of the derivatives bubble that will burst someday.  Seems to me that for every loser in derivatives that there's an approximately equal and opposite winner.  What am I missing?

ETF Securities offer a range of Exchange Traded Funds which track various commodity indexes (or the pure commodity itself). The shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange and other bourses. The Natural Gas ETF tracks the DJ-AIG Natural Gas Sub-Index. There are individual ETFs for Unleaded Gasoline, Heating Oil, WTI crude and Brent crude.

Energy related basket ETFs are Energy (40% WTI crude, 36% nat gas, 12% unleaded gas, 12% heating oil) and Petroleum (62% WTI crude, 19% unleaded gas, 19% heating oil).

One thing to consider when investing in any of these commodity-type ETFs is that you're continually invested in the front month contract, and therefore the monthly rollover forms part of the return. With the steep contango in many commodity futures at present, you're basically taking a loss each month on rollover. Of course, if you believe that energy prices are going to run up much faster than the future prices imply then these securities are a way to play the commodities markets without getting involved in futures trading.

Re derivatives risk: This non-technical discussion gives a fair overview.

Any other suggestions for investing in commodities that don't involve the contango you mentioned?
Energy production trusts.
Thank you.
From the Event Horizon link:

Most farm land in this nation is now essentially sterile.  Only the massive application of petrochemicals makes the breadbasket full.  If you do not believe this, examine a fallow corn field -- any fallow corn field.  What you will see is something like a parking lot populated by the mummified (not rotting because the soil is dead) stumps of corn stalks.

Can it be that even weeds won't grow in our fallow  fields?

Re:  Most farm land is this nation is essentially sterile...

As a Iowa corn farmer I can tell you this is a total fabrication.  How I wish weeds wouldn't grow!  I could save about $1500.oo a year on herbicide plus a few thousand more by not buying Monsanto Round-Up-Ready seed.  If it were true, why is Monsanto stock going up to new highs?

Monsanto is making a killing because of GMO.

I understand that RR Beans yield less than regular beans.
Do you find this to be true in Iowa?
Will have to check our yields here.

I used to take mainframe programming calls at Monsanto hdqtrs in St. Louis and down at the Queeny plant.

Monsanto then is not the same as Monsanto now.

Frankly they are making me very very nervous.


When the weeds pick up the RR gene and propagate it, will the farmers then have to pay royalties to Monsanto on them? :evilgrin
Practical, how many bushels per acre are you getting? How many barrels per acre would you get if you used NO fertilizer?

Weeds have evolved to survive on a very limited supply of nutrients. They will grow damn near anywhere as long as they have moisture. Modern day hybrid corn has been artificially selected to produce more bushels per acre but with only the massive application of fertilizers.

Bottom line, the story is not a fabrication, it is the truth. You are comparing hybrid corn with wild weeds. That is a false dychotomy. You simply cannot compare the two.

Ron Patterson

Let me tell you what I see the planter(equipment, not the operator..like KINZE.etc) doing. Its population is set for row width and seed distance. This is highly controlled in the tractor with lots of electronics(later GPS will be set for each seed dropped). I watch it closely and check that POP setting is ..whatever required for this soil and the weather. Depth is setting depending on moisture depth. All highly controlled.

"Now todays hybrids are planted at a very high population than the older corn was. There for more plants and more inputs(fertlizer).

Actually the open pollen I planted for saving had far bigger ears and far bigger seeds than the hybrides BUT the density(pop) was far far lower. I used almost no fertilizer except a bit of ammonium nitrate and had a decent yield at that. Next year I will have to add more.

So its not exactly due to the seed being hybrid that requires so much more inputs as it is the population for the ears are much smaller as well as the corn seeds but the yields are far far higher. We ran up to 180 bu/ac in some areas. Its very variable you see.

Lots of corn was down due to bad weather(GW coming will make  it very hard on corn) and the combine basically just ran across the field and harvested very very little corn. You need a special header(which we had) to get downed corn up into the header feed.

"Massive"? Don't know about that. You are wise to pull some soil samples and after analysis put down just the exact right amount. Too much and your wasting it. N will migrate down thru the soil and be lost. You put just what you need and no more.

"Grow damn near anywhere?"

Yes there is a lot of selection in seed for many variables. The good farmer knows how to select for the soil , germination period ,etc. But you do not plant where conditions are not enough to produce. Some land you just can't do corn only reliably. Like river bottom ground.

Without the seed companies we could probably feed this country but no ethanol or exports IMO.

You can save and plant wheat and soybeans. Corn you usually have to go hybrid and since it doesn't reproduce true to form you are hooked on buying each year.

Now if you save GMO bean seed? You have to be careful for they can spot it with satellites and fine you.

The story is total BS. Its a fabrication.

Corn will grow without inputs but not produce well. That was true even with open pollen corn. Before chemicals we still grew corn!!!! But we had to use fallow ground.

I walked behind many a single plow and hoed many corn rows. I saw it then and I see it now. I work on the electronics for all this equipment, even the combines which are loaded with sensors.

I also pull soil samples with a  GPS and grid maps using FarmWorks software and some on my own variations.

I can tell exactly what a field needs BUT it varies all over the field so now we are using 'variable rate applicaions' in some cases. Burn a PCMCIA card using the output of the combine yield monitor and soil analysis output. Plug the card in the fertilizer buggy and you get only that applied where it needs to be applied and save quit a bit of money.

All high tech you see. Driving by a field and making bold statements is hogwash,,unless you are a real farmer and know what is indicated. As to how much N or P or K is in the ground is not easily done when the crops are not on it.

Todays farmers are not a bunch of stupid rednecks no matter what New Yawkers think about their being the best people on earth.

Hey its that redneck idiot thats feeding you!

can you please tell me some of your operating costs.
like fuel/acre, yield/acre I would truly appreciate it
Utter total bulldust.

Yes the 'inputs' are required because plants do uptake the N,P and K. If they didn't you would not get a crop. Without herbicides you better start with the cultivators. I once tried to plant a small field of corn without spraying it. The johnson grass totaled me out. The corn never had a chance. I had a IH140 with a full set of cultivators yet the johnson grass could not be stopped.

Is the soil dead? Far as being organic I think thats a fair statement except that no-till, which we use mostly, does allow the residue to remain on the ground and contribute to OM(organic material/matter) which one can see in their soil samples.

Also it tends to prevent wind and rain erosion. Yet the caveat is that no-ill cultivation does require chemical input in the form of herbicides and so forth.

The whole ag issue is going to be, IMO , where a lot of the energy crises is played out. You can be forced to not drive because of no fuel. Eating is a different matter. Without a supply of food and distribution for the 300 million(forgetting about the rest of the world) they are mostly all going to perish.

Someone said,"oh just get rid of the truck" ..sure. then start counting the days until you starve. We can't even haul the grain to the bins without trucks!!!! I know for I drive one, during the season of planting and harvest.

The human body does require sustenance. Without it your in trouble. Water falls from the sky and flows in rivers. That will be there, well except for those who elected to actually build houses in the desert.

Fooling with transit systems and all is ok but its ag that is going to be where we make it or break it.

If we quit worrying about the rest of the world and just fed our own population then we could make some plans that might be workable , such as self-sustaining and organic. Otherwise without the 'inputs' to modern ag we will have no crops to speak of.

Others may disagree. Thats the way I see it here in farming country. Mainly what we used before there was chemical fertilizers was manure. Many farms still have an old manure spreader laying around rusting away. You can bet the Amish have them by the scores and weld and clean them up. I see them buying everyone they can at auctions.

Nice couple of posts airedale.  

I was amazed at Stuart's data several days ago which showed only 0.2% CO2 contribution from ag for California. Indicates ag's total US oil consumption percentage much less than I would have thought.  I wonder what the actual figures are?

Your comments as to amount, type, location and depth of fert application being critical to yield have been known, but I'm not sure how many operations can afford that level of capitization.  Perhaps they will have to in the future, or we will be left with yields which will only feed North America.  And that might not be so bad either.

You are right that ag inputs are less than everyone probably thinks.  As I've posted here recently, Ag in the US uses less than 2% of our energy, and the entire food system(including transport, refrigeration, grocery stores, etc) uses a little over 10% (DOE numbers).  
I'd like to get to the the bottom of this one
you (your source) say 2 % Pimentel says 17%
somebody is way off
I was using a verbal quote from an Ag and Energy conference which I attended recently.  According to Dr. Jim Fischer, a senior technical analyst for the USDOE, our ag system uses 1.7 quads of energy.  Since the US is at 100 quads, this is less than 2 %. If you wish to view the lecture by Fischer which I attended it can be watched here. (33 minutes)  I found it quite interesting, because he came close to saying we were at PO to this audience.
One additional link is here.
(page 14 of pdf file).

Now, I'm curious to see the link to Pimentel.  Was he talking total food inputs?  The DOE does admit that putting a quad number on agriculture inputs is very difficult.

I've not been able to locate the pimentel paper on the web. the closest I have come is this http://dieoff.org/page55.htm it's from Hansen's site but is (I think) a republication of the original work. I've also read and can't remember were that this does not include transport refer ect. like I said I'd like to get to the bottom of this one thanks for the link I watch it shortly
about 5/8ths of the way down under the subtittle Dependence of food supply on fossil energy
My thoughts had been that it was approx. 15%, so perhaps that came from a Pimmental source.  Looks like there's still alot fudging as to which data to include in the estimate. Thanks to both for all the estimates.  Still, when just on farm consumption of FF for fuel and fert is considered, it appears to be a very small percentage.
Clearly, just looking at  the farm is bogus.  Must include transporation of grains,etc. to processing plant, processing of the food, all the stockyards, transportation of the food, etc. Must include all inputs from see to table to really be considering the whole agricultural system. I would even include the transporation to and from the supermarket.  
Cripe.  It is important, especially to those of us who farm.  I am quite aware of the many ways of accounting in trying to spread the blame, or objectively look at a product's overall consumption.  It was not the oil consumed by a bushel of corn I was interested in, but that consumed by an industry at a particular place of production.  
Utter total bulldust.

Yes the 'inputs' are required because plants do uptake the N,P and K. If they didn't you would not get a crop.

If you say so.  

I can choose to believe you and your position of needing the NPK  and herbicides of modern farming, or I can choose to believe

http://www.fungi.com/   Paul Stamets
http://www.soilfoodweb.com/  Dr. Elaine Ingham
The book of Charles Walters  http://www.acresusa.com/books/thumbnail.asp?catid=10&pcid=2
Further, calcium, magnesium, potassium and other elements in equilibrium are likely to roll back more weeds than all the available herbicides on the market.

And understand that soil compaction limits yeilds.  (Soil compaction is what did me in in my efforts and my unwillingness to un-compact the soil this year)   If the land has had 'easy to get' P, the symboitic fungi will be rejected by the plants, thus cutting down on the fungal mat that helps move water and elements to  the plant.   How does the modern farmer address compaction - Till.   But tilling kills the fungi and some of the bacteria of the soil.   And running over the land with the big heavy machines leads to subsoil compaction.  

The 'modern methods' have suppressed the fungus (because of 'free' P, the plants don't need to give up charbohydrates to the fungus not to mentuion tilling killing  the fungi) and bacteria (tilling and plants not having to give up carbs to the bacteria for their benefit)

The johnson grass totaled me out.

Bipolaris sorghicola spores.   Using dried distillers grain to cause fungal blooms will work well in killing off most seed types.    Corn meal

The whole allelopathic movement.

If you had a healthy field, you'd not have a problem.

Adding NPK to the land covers up the mistake of killing off the soil food web (Earthworms to do your tilling for ya, the fungus to get the P from the soil, bacteria.)  

Mainly what we used before there was chemical fertilizers was manure.

Composted manure takes P N and K (plus S, Ca and other micro elements) from other places and concentrates it.   Not as nicrly as bone black - the old way of of adding P to the soil.   If the animals are fed plants with roots that can go deep in the subsoil, said feed plant will have more elements than feedstock that grows in the upper parts of the soil.  

You can believe what you want fungusface but I doubt you know squat about farming or agriculture.

You have no real experience but just google stuff to flay around about with.

Most of what you read is just like the SA reserves. Overstated.

I'm a city boy.
I've known a farmer And several siblings of the one who kept the family farm.
When confronted with the notion that farmong may not always be a continuation of the status quo period it never takes long for shit like 'fungusface' to come out. And the assertion that farmers are omniscient and that no one else has any means of knowing anything.
Tell you what airhead: your attitude won't ever make you popular. It won't ever make you listened to. And while we do continue to eat your food, having no other choice, most of us are convinced that unwavering adherence to the status quo only hurries the day when there is no food to eat. And we have mostly eaten and enjoyed food produced under regimens you claim as impossible.
So keep telling us you have the only True Knowledge and expect no one will care.
nly hurries the day when there is no food to eat.

Long before 'we' arrive at 'nothing to eat' 'we' will arrive at shootings/riots/thefts.  

Perhaps an executive order or two 'in the interest of keeping the public order'.  (For all I know the executive order(s) that would be used are already in place.  I don't track 'em.)

Old Hippie,

This Eric dude has been ragging my behind for some time.

Same as Hothgor. I have grown tired of their antics and call them on it. Sometimes anger shows through.

You need a bigger picture. I also seem to remember that in the past you have been supportive of Hothgor. Hothgor is a pain in the ass and many have told him to 'shove off' but he persists.

The only way for the net to work in unmoderated forums is for the other members to express displeasure.

I am normally chilled out. I only get angry when its obvious that someone is just taking shots and have no real desire to communicate.

How much difference is there between Airhead and Fungusface?

Tell me that Old Hippie doesn't jump others ass, just like you are doing now? Tell me?


The only point I will reply to here is about Hothgor.
I don't like his posts. So what. Some of what is imputed to him is not well-founded & I've pointed that out. This is not support.

Is that the best you've got?

Go ahead and actually debunk the work of Stamets and the people of soilfoodweb.

You make a lot of good posts airdale,  but I will go with Dr. Elaine Ingham, Joel Saltin, Dr. Albrecht, Waters  and others on How and why the soil and plants work.

Good one for example.


The future I believe will be with reduced KNP imputs.  Less trucking.  Sustainable soils, and a few less billions of people.

Not having ever seen an American corn field, I'm not qualified to comment. However, the quote isn't just referring to the lack of weeds (which is hardly surprising given the previous use of herbicides to kill them - the lack of weeds doesn't actually mean that weeds won't grow), but to the fact that inert soil (ie. soil which does not have, or has very few, living micro-organisms in it) will not biodegrade plant matter.

On this latter point, it is worth noting that the introduction of GM crops is also being linked to this problem: Monsanto's 'Roundup-ready' soya, for instance, has a gene which makes it resistant to Monsanto's herbicide Roundup (glyphosate). This means that you can use Roundup much more freely, without worrying about killing the crop you are trying to grow. Excessive Roundup use, however, can kill off the soil organisms which biodegrade plant material (as well as performing many other useful functions).

The New Scientist reported in 2004 that in Argentina, where virtually all the soya is GM, the excessive application of Roundup is rendering the soil inert, so that on some farms 'the dead vegetation even has to be brushed off the land'. See here

Coilin, thanks for posting this. I found the article you linked to absolutely frightening. We are digging our own grave. Everything we do to increase agricultural production now will almost certainly lead to disastrous results later on.

Ron Patterson

Meat is your headroom, in Western agriculture/cuisine.

The vast majority of calories of food produced in the US go into feeding livestock to produce a much lower calorie count of higher [perceived] quality food.

Third world nations that rely heavily on our agricultural practices to feed their populace grain are going to be in serious trouble, though.

Meat is your headroom, in Western agriculture/cuisine.

Maybe not, if we go back to sustainable organic farming.  The organic farming methods that I am aware of use some form of manure for maintaining the soil by systems of rotational grazing, whether that be chickens or beef, etc.

I have seen lots of corn fields. Fallow they are , I suppose he means with no crops on them  and the only crop in this area to speak of would be winter wheat.

But its very simple, for whoever looked at that combined (harvested)corn field and drew some very stupid conclusions should have realized one important caveat.

WEEDS DON'T GROW IN THE FALL OR WINTER. If they did the first frost would have killed them back anyway.

The weed concern is in the SPRING. And just tell the farmers that have to 'burn down'(means using herbicide) the weed crop before planting!!!!!!!

Its simple ,for the simpleton looked at a field and drew some wrong conclusions which just goes to show how much most folks don't know about agriculture yet whine about the farmers being paid to not grow and other incorrect statements.

Get it? No weeds after the shelling of the corn(meaning combined). Besides there might even be some 'carry over' of the Roundup. With roundup I can walk thru a mature field of corn and observe NO WEEDS anywhere?

I will guarantee that the weeds will grow. Also the thing Darwinian said about MASSIVE FERTILIZER? Well won't that make the weeds grow then(residual)? Of course.

Look I agree with all that about beneficial soil organisms.
When I brought my current farm I dug 5 ft. holes to set my poles for my pole barn. I dug up not a single earthworm. Not a one.

I threw the operators off my land as a result and sowed it down in orchard grass and red clover and went to work selling hay. Made good money and the land improved.

Yet we (farmers) must plant and grow and harvest grain crops else you would have very little to eat and what you had would be very expensive.

So what is the bitching about then?

Todays farmers take it in the neck. You should have to go out in the field and work with them. They are the last of a breed who are independent and hardworking. The rest are flipping hamburgers, sitting in bullpens pretending to work, sipping lattes and munching on croissants and bitching about the farmers and the big corporate farms. I dont' see those corporate farms. I see hard working honest men who feed this country and the ones who complain about it. You have very cheap food in this country as a result.

Not specifically anyone here but I have heard some of that here. What I am disagreeing with here is the wrong ideas about agriculture such as the thing about no weeds in the combined corn field.

That is just nonsense.

I see it this way. The oil can go. The natural gas can go. All the rest of the petrochemicals can go.

Well what is everyone going to do then if the farmers are gone as well. They will simply dieoff. Too late to understand the real role of agriculture. Its to feed you.

Ohh the transit rails and all the rest? The electric bicycles? All that doesn't matter if you have no food.

The farmers own the land. They have the knowledge and skills. They are the last hope and resort of a dead and dying planet. Unless the rest of you can go out and plant something, make it grow then be able to process it and store it ...you will DIE. Foraging in the woods? Only for those with woodland skills. Shoot bambi? Only if you have the skills for bambi can be damned hard to shoot. I just made a big circle of my fields in my jeep and saw 3 deer but they saw me as well and immediately disappeared. It takes some skills to kill, dress and cook bambi. In the summer the meat can spoil before you get it home or get the body heat out of it and with zero refrigeration you better start smoking it pronto or throw it away.

There are very very few here who profess to have what is needed and are already prepared or are preparing.

Get it? No weeds after the shelling of the corn(meaning combined).
I know this. If you'd actually read my post, you would see that I never said that weeds weren't growing. Get it?

In fact, if you'd actually read the original quote, or the article from which it was taken, you would see that the author didn't actually explictly make this claim either. Get it?

So what is the bitching about then?
I was clarifying the point about the fact that plant material will not decompose if there are no soil micro-organisms. That was the point of my post, if you actually read it.

In your reply you say 'I agree with all that about beneficial soil organisms'. Well if you do, my question to you is 'what is the bitching about then?'

You have very cheap food in this country as a result
I don't live in your country and I try, where I can, to avoid eating cheap food. I try particularly hard to avoid eating GM food.
Collin, I wasn't aware that I was replying to your post but punching PARENT I see that I did but I was more or less making some statements about farming, chemicals , etc.

The main point was to chide the author about seeing no weeds.

Now let me ask. If you don't live in this country then how can you be making statements when you never see the fields?

What makes you think that our soils are dead? Or as you say  no soil organisms. Can you point me to literature on this?

Yes overly used yet I trampled a lot of acres year before last doing soil samples. Each sample requires I pull down at least 5 inches and bag each pull. I pull 5 samples in a 2.5 acre grid.

While doing all this at various farms and fields I was suprised at the quality of the soil. I found very little that was not friable. Many many wormholes in the soil.

Now you can easily destroy good topsoil. Just disc it at the wrong time. Plow it at the wrong time. Let the wind blow it away. Let it erode from rain. You end up with a lot of clay.
Dumb people do these things and then try to rent their land out. Smart farmers are not going to rent rundown land just to have to build it back up to get a decent crop.  

Farmers understand about soil. They live with it. I can only speak of Ky. and parts of Missouri since I have had farms in both those states. Where I live now we have very good soil.

I travel thru a lot of states or used to. I can look at a field and read some of the soil characteristics. For instance if you see a lot of brome sage you know it is deficient in lime. There are more indicators. Poor farming results in bad yields.

I think there is a lot of misinformation being bantied about
that is incorrect. Tell me more specifics about the geographical area of the USA you are speaking of  or are you just making general statements?

The worst offender that I have heard of it Calif where irrigation has ruined some of the land.

Airdale has seen agriculture all the way from the horses arse to the airconditioned horsepower tractor.

This illustrates the short time from practising fallow and crop rotation with 'muck spreading' (in temperate climates where animals are barned over winter) to very precise placement of chemical fertilisers and double (or more) cropping.

Glyphosate (Roundup and other brands)coupled with no-till seed sowing is a fantastic advance on industrial agriculture to date. No-till increases organic matter, and to that extent, sequesters carbon.

Generalising, plant roots penetrate the soil only so far as there are nutrients in the profile. In many soils, that means that the 'organic layer' tends to be in the top foot or so. The pararies of the midwest, and other deep alluvial/loess type soils are blessed with a much deeper organic layer. So long as no-till machines can place more insoluble fertilisers lower in the profile, so will more organic be built in those soil types than would ever be possible with 'olde timey' ploughing and harrowing.

Bottom line is that best modern practice is soil building, carbon sequestering, well efficient; but the 'horses' are oil burners, not oat burners.

Thus we are ultimately in trouble, as Airdale points out.

It seems to me that Airdale is pointing to the end of transmission of 'deep knowledge' of farming practise as USA and other farms corporatise and 'family farmers' sell out or die out.

Its a fair point; but much USA farming now is economically unsustainable 'pork barrel politics' subsidy-driven. It is industrial. The subsidies subsidise the rich corporates to a much greater extent than the family farmer, by virtue of scale. I think Airdale commented once before that such corporate men simply don't care if the gravy train starts to slow - it becomes a 'non - performing asset', and is sold out in favor of a better investment. There is no feeling of wanting to transmit knowledge of the land, or any particular sentimental attachment or feeling of stewardship of the land. It's just business. Fair enough.

The topper, as Airdale implies, is cheap energy subsidy.

Industrial agriculture grows maize for a thousand trivial modern-day products, from starch to tomatoe ketchup extender. Much corn greases USA muscle meat so consumers don't have to chew.

Many hectares of USA corn acreage could be eliminated if the USA corn was sold soley for human feed purposes. Long term, I doubt it will be a problem to feed USA and some beyond with sustainable methods, old and new. Corn can be grown the 'old way', and the redundant acres used to grow horse feed. The advances made will not all be lost. There may not be a GPS glued to the horses arse, but I bet glphosate will still be used.

(The inventor of glyphosate should have been awarded the Nobel prize.)



Yes I agree with much of what you say.
In other areas perhaps the industrial aspect is more embedded.

Around here in the upper south we are sort of backward in our land stewardship as compared to perhaps the hardcore corn belt.

I would prefer to see our land used far more wisely and in view of the upcoming events we need to start making those changes. Consider soybeans. We don't really directly consume soybeans. They are used in highly processed foodstuffs IMO.

Corn and wheat we can process individually and consume.

The only ones who are going to be able to spread the word about what is coming is the University Extension Agents and the Agronomists and other specialized academics in the Ag Colleges.

Without them behind ag , many farmers won't listen.


You should learn to read more carefully.

The main point was to chide the author about seeing no weeds.
As I have already explained to you, the author did not claim that weeds wouldn't grow, which is what you were chiding him/her for. All he/she actually claimed was that, at a particular time of year, there were no weeds and crop residue would not decompose. Not one line of the many lines you wrote in any way contradicted any of this.

Now let me ask. If you don't live in this country then how can you be making statements when you never see the fields?

What makes you think that our soils are dead? Or as you say  no soil organisms. Can you point me to literature on this?

I never said anything whatsoever about American soils. I said explicitly that I was not qualified to comment on American soil, and I did not comment.

You'd do a lot better with less ranting and more reading.

Todays farmers take it in the neck.


Given the importance of cheap food to the structure of the economy, what is the solution?

Well what is everyone going to do then if the farmers are gone as well. They will simply dieoff. Too late to understand the real role of agriculture. Its to feed you.

On a business trip in Idaho the radio in the taxi had a local aldercritter say something like "Alderkritter Whomever, arn't you worried about the farm land being turned into housing" the reply: "Why would I be worried, I can just go to the grocery store?"

I remember this becuase it is mock-worthy.   So why do YOU think others don't understand the value of the farmer?

The farmers own the land.

No, they don't.   The Soverign can came and take it from you at any time.   How can you own what can be taken away under the color of law or just plain old force?

Eric Blair said this:"The Soverign can came and take it from you at any time."

Who the hell is the Soverign? What are you talking about?
The government?

There was hell raised recently on this very subject and the courts sided with the landowners. Some states I understand then passed laws forbidding the pratice of emmiment domain for the purpose of profit for a local governing unit.

First it has to be condemned and for good reason. Not just taking.

Yes the farmers own their land. I own mine. No one can come and TAKE IT. There is a process and its not that easy. In fact I own some land that has a public right of egress yet I never deeded it to the county. Neither can they come and take it. Since its been travelled for many years the public has a right to travel , but not to stop and hunt or perform other activities.

Where you live might be different. Just exactly where is that for I want to steer clear of any state who has laws that allow them to do as you state.

Our form of government was founded upon the principles of ownership of property if I recall my history. Some of that has eroded I am sure but basically its not gone as far as you say.

Are you sure your not Hothgor's  brother?


Who the hell is the Soverign? What are you talking about?

Go get an education so you can understand.

There was hell raised recently on this very subject and the courts sided with the landowners.

Oh Rly?   Feel free to cite.

Some states I understand then passed laws forbidding the pratice of emmiment domain for the purpose of profit for a local governing unit.

And an IRS audit?  
How about ajenda 21?

Yes the farmers own their land. I own mine.

No you just think you do.  
So did people who were under
Executive Order 10633

Our form of government was founded upon the principles of ownership of property if I recall my history.

"and fecure the bleffings of liberty to oursfelves"

Yet slaves existed.  And women and non land holders couldn't vote.  

You sure you understand the rules of the day?

What you have can be taken by The Goverment.   Any time they want.   What makes you think you have the legal muscle to defend yourself?

As I stated once before. Your nothing but a troll and a idiot looking to groom your moulting feathers.

You are also a conspiracy buff who thinks there is a black helicopter spying on us all.

Get real and get a new lease on life.

I own my land. I will keep it until I sell it or pass it on.

Its been that way here as long as my ancestors have been here and there have been no 'TAKINGS' of any land. My cousin is the country clerk and another cousin is the tax accessor , who has maps and details of all the land as long as there has been a county.

There has BEEN NO TAKING..dipstick. None.

You are dreaming as your walk and talk. A dunce.

Go find someone else to share your twaddle with for its worn very thin on me.

From now on I will NOT reply to your screeds so don't bother replying to my comments. Yours are entirely unwelcome jerk.

You are also a conspiracy buff who thinks there is a black helicopter spying on us all.

Naw.   Don't need a heliocopter.  The trail left in databases is plenty for profiling.  And the volume of laws are enough to keep anyone wrapped up in red tape for years, if others choose to use said laws.

If the soverign wants it, it will be taken by the soverign.

Its been that way here as long as my ancestors have been here and there have been no 'TAKINGS' of any land.

Really?  Then do tell the tale how your Indian Ancestors were able to keep the land so you could have it today?

From now on I will NOT reply to your screeds so don't bother replying to my comments.

Its a fine reaction when you can't actually respond.  Or you don't like the reality being told to you.

As a general point, courts can be trusted to side with the government even when doing so would put them on the wrong side of 'conservatism', and even when the Justices concerned are supposedly conservatives or constructionists. An interesting recent example is Australia's 'Workchoices' case, where the Government's legislation was clearly unconstitutional. The High Court challange went in favour of the Government, with dissenting opinions only from a) a very left-leaning judge (Kirby) and b) one true conservative constructionist (Callahan). The rest of the miserable fence-sitting bastards concluded that they should vote in favour of the Government's position, clear precedent notwithstanding.

You think the Government can't get what they want under eminent domain? Hah. You'll need a bench that consists entirely of communists and utter reactionaries. Unfortunately for you, most judges are pissweak careerists without an ounce of principle. The first thing most judges know is that you never cross the executive - seperation of powers notwithstanding.

Cornfields are often treated with Diuron ( aka Karmex) - a pre-emergent herbicide. A pre-emergent herbicide kills the radical (root shoot) as it emerges from the (weed) seed coat.  Diuron breaks down with sunlight (or so they say) An over application(ie too high of rate) may cause weeds not to grow (sprout) for a while but not forever.  In wet locals Diuron barely lasts 1 year.  Non rotting corn(?) the air is so full of fungus spores that I doubt this.
I guess you could call this one of those 'I told you so' gloat posts. (Man, isn't this like my 6th one in the past few weeks? :P)  How ironic that the DOE had to spend a few million dollars to tell us what I've been telling all of you for months now :P

The Department of Energy Supports EVs!

Mileage from megawatts: Study finds enough electric capacity to "fill up" plug-in vehicles across much of the nation

Release date: December 11, 2006

RICHLAND, Wash. - If all the cars and light trucks in the nation switched from oil to electrons, idle capacity in the existing electric power system could generate most of the electricity consumed by plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. A new study for the Department of Energy finds that "off-peak" electricity production and transmission capacity could fuel 84 percent of the country's 220 million vehicles if they were plug-in hybrid electrics.

Researchers at DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory also evaluated the impact of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs, on foreign oil imports, the environment, electric utilities and the consumer.

"This is the first review of what the impacts would be of very high market penetrations of PHEVs, said Eric Lightner, of DOE's Office of Electric Delivery and Energy Reliability. "It's important to have this baseline knowledge as consumers are looking for more efficient vehicles, automakers are evaluating the market for PHEVs and battery manufacturers are working to improve battery life and performance."

Current batteries for these cars can easily store the energy for driving the national average commute - about 33 miles round trip a day, so the study presumes that drivers would charge up overnight when demand for electricity is much lower.

Researchers found, in the Midwest and East, there is sufficient off-peak generation, transmission and distribution capacity to provide for all of today's vehicles if they ran on batteries. However, in the West, and specifically the Pacific Northwest, there is limited extra electricity because of the large amount of hydroelectric generation that is already heavily utilized. Since more rain and snow can't be ordered, it's difficult to increase electricity production from the hydroelectric plants.

"We were very conservative in looking at the idle capacity of power generation assets," said PNNL scientist Michael Kintner-Meyer. "The estimates didn't include hydro, renewables or nuclear plants. It also didn't include plants designed to meet peak demand because they don't operate continuously. We still found that across the country 84 percent of the additional electricity demand created by PHEVs could be met by idle generation capacity."

"Since gasoline consumption accounts for 73 percent of imported oil, it is intriguing to think of the trade and national security benefits if our vehicles switched from oil to electrons," added PNNL energy researcher Rob Pratt. "Plus, since the utilities would be selling more electricity without having to build more plants or power lines, electricity prices could go down for everyone."

Lightner noted that "the study suggests the idle capacity of the electric power grid is an underutilized national asset that could be tapped to vastly reduce our dependence on foreign oil."

The study also looked at the impact on the environment of an all-out move to PHEVs. The added electricity would come from a combination of coal-fired and natural gas-fired plants. Even with today's power plants emitting greenhouse gases, the overall levels would be reduced because the entire process of moving a car one mile is more efficient using electricity than producing gasoline and burning it in a car's engine.

Total sulfur dioxide emissions would increase in the near term due to sulfur content in coal. However, urban air quality would actually improve since the pollutants are emitted from power plants that are generally located outside cities. In the long run, according to the report, the steady demand for electricity is likely to result in investments in much cleaner power plants, even if coal remains the dominant fuel for our electricity production.

"With cars charging overnight, the utilities would get a new market for their product. PHEVs would increase residential consumption of electricity by about 30 - 40 percent. The increased generation could lead to replacing aging coal-fired plants sooner with newer, more environmentally friendly versions," said Kintner-Meyer.

"The potential for lowering greenhouse gases further is quite substantial because it is far less expensive to capture emissions at the smokestack than the tailpipe. Vehicles are one of the most intractable problems facing policymakers seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Pratt.

Finally, the study looked at the economic impact on consumers. Since, PHEVs are expected to cost about $6,000 to $10,000 more than existing vehicles - mostly due to the cost of batteries -- researchers evaluated how long it might take owners to break even on fuel costs. Depending on the price of gas and the cost of electricity, estimates range from five to eight years - about the current lifespan of a battery. Pratt notes that utilities could offer a lower price per kilowatt hour on off-peak power, making PHEVs even more attractive to consumers.

Adding "smart grid" communications technology to ensure the vehicles only charge during off-peak periods and to provide immediate, remote disconnect of chargers in event of problems in the power grid would make them attractive to utilities.

PNNL is a DOE Office of Science laboratory that solves complex problems in energy, national security, the environment and life sciences by advancing the understanding of physics, chemistry, biology and computation. PNNL employs 4,300 staff, has a $750 million annual budget, and has been managed by Ohio-based Battelle since the lab's inception in 1965.

And where will you get the copper needed to produce 185 million electric vehicles.
Maybe by illegally melting down all those now almost worthless US pennies?
Naaah...they're made of zinc with just a touch of copper. It's been that way since 1982, so I don't know why people still think they're made of copper.
We're not in a copper shortage.  In any case, if they change the power grid to use the ACC lines, we will have all the copper we will ever need.
I'm with Squalish;   ellaboration is needed.  Just what is an ACC line?   Over 90% of the H.V. Electric grid is now Aluminum,so where are you going to get the extra copper?????
Interesting, though limited by my utter lack of background knowledge about transmission lines.  Seems like a way to fight the mechanical creep sometimes associated alu alloys(which would kill a powerline).   I wonder how tensile strength compares to steel-reinforcement - building fewer towers can only help.  Also, IIRC, one of the reasons the the US' only high speed train(Acela Express) can only hit top speed for five minutes at a time was insufficient catenary tension.


Apparently, as far as overhead transmission lines go, aluminum is the new black, as noted by hermit:

For overhead transmission lines, aluminum is now used almost to the exclusion of copper.
I don't pretend to be an expert on any one subject, despite what people here try to say.  On some issues I'm just as much in the dark as you are here.

That being said, what are the technical limitations on electric motors?  Do they have to be made out of tightly woven copper wires?  Or could any electrical conducting wire 'aluminum' work, but at lower efficiencies?  I'm interested in trying to understand where the anti-PEHV copper crowd weighs in from.

The lower the resistance, the more current you can push through, the more compact you can make your motor, the less stray magnetic field you have to worry about interacting with nearby steel components, the less cooling you have to do...   There are compounding side effects of using lower resistance magnet wire*.  You can design some quite nice motors around superconductors (whose current capacity is limited primarily by the side effects of the magnetic field they create).  Aluminum has more than twice the resistance of copper.

But I think there's more than that: cars already use 20-30kg of copper in wiring and coolant pipes.  I guess stationary aluminum bus wiring is viable, since you can double its cross section without affecting performance.  You can also up the voltage to deadly(but low current) levels, if you want to run that risk.  Coolant pipes you'd have to consider from a galvanic corrosion perspective.  

The world mines around 15 million metric tons of copper a year.  A 200-million-vehicle fleet requiring...  call it 200kg** of copper per reasonable-horsepower electric-primary vehicle, would take about 40 million metric tons.  Not insignificant, even averaged over five or ten years.

*meaning wire coated with a bare minimum of insulating varnish, to minimize the wasted space in an electromagnet winding such as in a motor.

**Motors run about 1.5kw per kg in automotive ranges, ~= 2 horsepower per kilogram.  So given maybe Aside from that, there's your alternator, your bus wire, all your electrical systems, heat/AC/defog wiring, your battery management system...

What about Aluminum/Silver alloy?
No clue.  Though silver is more than a hundred times the cost of aluminum right now(silver being about an equal conductor to copper).
And if these EV motors are only using the same 15 kg of copper?  Even at 200 kg copper per vehicle, you have to spread out the calculations over at least 10 to 15 years reasonable replacement time.  So roughly 3 million metric tons a year?
Again, not insignificant - the number I gave is world production.  I was aware that copper was a hot commodity, but not that it was this much of a limiter to an EV fleet.  Current US consumption for all uses is in the neighorhood of 4.5 mmton/anum.
Before you get to excited, perhaps you should read the first article about NG that Leanan posted by Mr. Wiessmann. The problem with the DOE is they are about on the same page as you are. They are nearly always wrong with their prognostications.
Oh Yea: you may also want to read the previous 3 part article he wrote Back in May of 05.
Yes, because its SO EASY to goof up on a basic mathematical calculation that they used.  If you like, I can mathematically prove to you how much 'spare' power we need to replace our daily gasoline usage.

Hint:  Its around 30 GWh extra at night time capacity.

Leaping Lizards Batman: The article was about NG not electrons. Apparently you didn't read the articles. The grid may hit the wall by next A C season next summer. If we can't keep up now where are we going to find an extra 30 gigawatts Batman. BTW my HP 33s can calculate your A$$ into the dirt, and the DOE never heard of RPN they'r still hanging with TI. What is the h for on GWh? Power is generated in gigawatts. GWh measures how much is used.
I'm talking about your response to my article, stating that because it was funded by the DOE, they must inheritently be wrong.
When I calculated the number, I got well over 100 GW... average.  It would be more than that if concentrated in off-peak periods.

Pumping up gas use for generation would be extremely foolhardy, as shown by Playing with Fire, but we could burn oil in the short term and still be ahead.  Oil burned in CC plants at 60% efficiency would give us roughly twice as much useful output as the same oil burned in vehicles (more for gas, a little less for diesel).

Thats because your basing your calculations on the energy content of gasoline, not the % that is actually used in moving your vehicles.  The average ICE is only around 12-14% efficient.  Base your calculations on that and what do you get :)
Before you claim to know what my assumptions are, you should at least examine them.  I postulated 20% so as not to underestimate the power required, but even at the 12% figure you'd be talking ~70 GW delivered to wheels.

You should study a lot more and talk a lot less.

And so...I'm supposed to go and search everyone else's blogs before posting something?  Thats a little unrealistic, isn't it?  And were only replacing the first 33 miles driven with these PEHVs, which is the national average miles per vehicle per day.  Your 70 GWh figure would then be cut down to 35 GWh.
33 miles/day * 250 Wh/mile * 180 million units = 1.48 billion kWh/day
1.48 billion kWh/24 hr = 61.9 GW

It is better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

I've already debated this issue with GG AND yourself in the past.  Nothing has changed since then, and as it was discussed on this drumbeat, the realistic figure may be around 40-45 GWh.  But as I pointed out, we have a capacity of 1 TWh, and a base load of 400 GWh.  Do you think 61.9 GWh will be that much of a strain during off peak hours?

I didn't think so :)

And besides.  This 'future' PEHV fleet can reasonably be assumed to have around a 0.2 kWh/mile ratio.  Stop spinning the facts to fit your straw-man.

To replace all residential automobile and light truck passenger miles in the USA with pure EV miles:

2 trillion residential vehicle-miles are driven per annum in the USA (extrapolation from here).

An average pure EV uses about 0.3 to 0.5 kW/mile (according to this article). I'll use the low end 0f 0.3

Total power required: 600 billion kWh.  If you generate it over 365 half days per year (4380 hours per year) you get a capacity requirement of 137 GW.

Could you lay out the assumptions of your calculation, please?

A significant fraction of those miles driven per year are on vehicles exceeding 33 miles per day, the average driven range stated in the survey.  Couple that with the fact that your own wiki article states very clearly they are using NiMH batteries, and not the newer LI batteries that can not only hold more power using less weight, but are not plagued by losses during charging.

But since we are talking about the newer PEHVs, lets take a look at the Tesla, stated from your own link:

"Production and conversion BEVs using NIMH battery chemistry typically use 0.3 to 0.5 kilowatt-hours per mile (0.2-0.3 kWh/km).[6][7] Nearly half of this power consumption is due to inefficiencies in charging the batteries: The manufacturer of the Li-ion Tesla reports usage of .215 kWh per mile. The US fleet average of 23 miles per gallon of gasoline is equivalent to 1.58 kWh per mile and the 70 MPG Honda Insight gets 0.52 kWh per mile (assuming 36.4 kWh per US gallon of gasoline), so battery electric vehicles are relatively energy efficient."

Automatically, your own computations are cut by 1/3rd, bringing your own total to 91 GWh.  And since roughly half of all miles are driven by commuters traveling more then 33 miles per day, that brings us to 45 GWh over 12 hours or fairly close to my own calculations.  And I would just like to point out that the Tesla is a sports car, not a commuter car.  Your automatically going to see a decrease in kWh per mile driven from a commuter car thats not going 'zoom zoom' up and down the highways.

The reason I didn't use the Tesla is that the atypical power to weight ratio and drag coefficient seem to make it an unreasonable baseline for a "standard" EV.  However, let's use it anyway.  2 trillion miles, at .215 kWh/mile is 430 billion kWh.  Supplying that power over 4380 hours per year gives an average capacity requirement of 98 GW (not the 91 GWh you state - wrong value, wrong units).

I assume the further cut of 50% you ascribe to longer trips is due to the use of the ICE capability of the hybrid instead of battery power. This is not consequential to the argument, because the calculation in question is, "How much generating capacity does it take to replace all US passenger miles with electrical power?"  If you wish to replace fewer vehicle miles it's your prerogative, of course, but we do need to agree on the number of vehicle miles we're planning to electrify.

No, the question is is the DOE study right or wrong.  Very clearly, they are right.  Besides, you are making a mountain out of a mole hill.  The US has about 1 TWh of power potential at peak times, and uses roughly 400 GWh at off peak times.  The value would have to exceed 400 GWh to even be marginally considered a strain on the transmission grid.  even using your maximum of 98 GWh, we aren't anywhere near that figure, and thats replacing ALL miles, not 33 miles per day.
Of course hybrids don't strain the grid. Their primary fuel source is petroleum converted by the hybrid's generator into electricity.
PHEVs (which to be suitable for the label should be strong hybrids) most explicitly do put strain on the grid, though this can be minimized if they have a smart grid hookup with price awareness.
Those are mentioned in the article.  They state specifically that this fleet of PEHV would need 'intelligent' hookups that prevent charging outside of off-peak times.

Its interesting that electricity prices over all would actually increase due to constant demand.

I guess you could call this one of those 'I told you so' gloat posts

There is a saying:

Don't count your weasels before the pop, dink!

When electric grids in NYC can't stay up for days due to overloading, exactly how can your claims be called 'I told you so'?

I guess we really are not burning fossil fuels to generate a substantial part of that "off peak" electricity...no...it's...something...else...of...course...
Actually, most of the 'off peak' power production is done by Hydro, Geothermal, Nuclear, and yes, some Coal.  Granted it's not a perfect solution, but its way easier to cap emissions at a power plant then it is to cap them 220 million times on various cars.
Here in hydro central, the NW, 48% of our electricity comes from coal( Oregonian newspaper 2-3 mo. ago)
And you know that they don't "spill water" at night "just because" they can, no they save it to spill during the day when most of the use occurs.  So if we are going to charge our cars at night then what are they going to use to fill in with during the day? We do have water shortages too!  I know that there are some large nat gas fired turbines being built near Clatskanine, OR. But we are supposed to be tight on nat. gas, coal is already causing problems...
Hothgor- Keep up the optimism but you are not very convincing...
I don't understand how you can attempt to apply one small region to the system as a whole.  Just because the NW has supposedly 48% coal, does that mean the same ratio holds for the entire US?  Thats like saying that since France provides 75% of their electricity via Nuclear power, the rest of the world must as well.  Since we know its not true there, logic stands to reason that your small sample likewise isn't an indication of the system as a whole.

Its a mute point though.  As it was already mentioned in the article, cumulative emissions from our current auto fleet are far more then all our coal plants produce.  Would you rather concentrate our emissions to a few thousand points, or try to reduce them at 220 million points?

Mute(ness) is an attribute you should seek.
Mute(ness) is an attribute you should seek.
They are overloaded during the day, at PEAK power consumption times.  They will not be overloaded at night, as the article clearly states.  And upgrading those same NYC transmission lines to ACCC ones will solve that problem fairly easily enough.
They are overloaded during the day, at PEAK power consumption times

Then why does the grid STAY out overnight?

And upgrading those same NYC transmission lines to ACCC ones

If they have to 'upgrade' then the present system can't handle the power distribution problem.   Therefore the grid connected car idea with the present level of transporation demands and electrical power is a non-starter.


You do realize that when the grid becomes 'overloaded' they don't just shut off and be turned back on that night.  Lines have sagged or fallen off of towers, transformers have blown etc etc etc.

I honestly can't believe that you added Checkmate to your comment without having even a basic understanding at power grid management.

  Thanks so much for these updates, you are doing a fantastic job!

  Re: Playing with Fire - the 10Tcf/year supply gap, the California 2005 Gross System Electricity Production chart from the California Energy Commission shows that in 2005 the 12th largest economy in the world relied upon burning natural gas to produce 37.7% of its electricity.  The next highest percentage source at 20.1% was burning coal.  For comparison, Solar PV accounted for about .3%.

  This is one of the reasons my wife and I are relocating from California to Oregon into a region were 70% of electricity is generated by hydropower.

Hey Liferaft,

Where up here are ya movin to?

Angola changes the dynamic of OPEC and Non-OPEC

All figures below are in thousands of barrels per day, crude + condensate. OPEC figures include Angola and non-OPEC figures are without Angola. Peak year averages are for the entire peak year verses averages for the last 9 months. (January thru September) (The periods are to make the formatting come out correct.)

...........Peak Year........kb/d/avg...current 9 mth avg

Monthly peak and last month, September 2006, production.

..............Peak Month, yr........kb/d.......September 2006
OPEC...........Sep, 2005.......32,994.........32,231
Non-OPEC May, 2005.......41,831.........41,176

Non-OPEC has been on a plateau since first crossing the 41,000 thousand barrels per day mark in October, 2003. that is a full three years ago. The non-OPEC twelve month moving average reached its peak in November, 2004 at 41,324. It has been bumping up and down ever since but trending downward and currently stands at 41,176.

Ron Patterson

China has decided to throw the US MSM a nice juicy bone:http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/061216/china_nuclear_westinghouse.html?.v=5
If, as stated, China increases installed nuclear capacity to 40 GW by 2020, by then that will not make up anything like the 4% of total power capacity they claim. I would project less than 2%.
Interesting article of a guy messing around with a Kill-a-watt meter...


I don't know about you, but there are some months when I get my electric bill that make me feel like I might pass out from the shock of the displayed total. Granted, we do use a lot of electricity in our home. Between three computers and their peripherals, ceiling fans, air-conditioning, an oven, a microwave, the refrigerator, a freezer in the garage, the hot tub, TV's in most of the rooms, audio/visual devices attached to said TVs, lamps, room lights, porch lights, the alarm system...you get the idea...there is no doubt that if a serious blackout were occur in my town, we would be in deep kimchee. Fortunately, blackouts are few and far between. Unfortunately, it is typical for our electric bill to be in the $250 (and up) range during the summer.

While I realize that a good part of that bill is the fault of our electric central air-conditioning, there is still no doubt that our other electronics and appliances are using their fair share of juice. Until now, I had no way of determining what our costliest devices were, other than the obvious kitchen appliances. That is, until I received the Kill-A-Watt Electric Usage Monitor from Convenient Gadgets.


Forget flying cars. Meet the drivable plane

Just great.  As if there's not enough traffic, now there will be planes on the highways, too!  ;-)

No blind spot on the sucker!!  :)


It screams Star Wars, I just can't figure out which vessel - snowspeeder swoop speederbike shrug
Imperial shuttle, like the one Luke flew out of the exploding Death Star with Anakin's body.  
It's been my observation that many hybrid designs end up providing the worst rather than the best of both worlds.

One example is the German-built Amphicar of the 1960s.  It had watertight engine and passenger compartments and a little propeller and rudder sticking out the back.  It was, at best, a mediocre car but a terrible (and probably highly dangerous) boat. A person would be far better off owning a decent little car and a decent little boat.

Then we have many of these hybrid tools that combine three or more functions into one tool but can't do any one of them very well.

During WW II the Japanese had several hybrid battleship/aircraft carriers in which the front half was a battleship and the back half an aircraft carrier. It essentially combined a weak battleship and a weak aircraft carrier into one ship. Rather than having two of these half-assed hybrids, they would have been much better off with one complete battleship and one complete aircraft carrier. (In all fairness to the Japense designers, though, these were a result of the exigencies of war rather than a well-thought out concept.)

The Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, and Popular Science magazines of the 1950s were packed with all sort of hare-brained schemes for flying cars, drivable planes, personal hovercraft, etc. I vaguely recalled one that supposedly combined a car, a plane, and a boat. So, with this monstrosity you had the luxury of have three different ways of meeting your end: getting killed in a highway accident, crash landing, or drowning.

"Of the 50s" ?

Of forever.

Yeah, they're still at it, but probably not in quite such an overt way as in the 1950s. Some of these predictions were really quaint.  I've got a nice stash of these magazines from the 1940s through the 1960s, and they can be quite amusing to thumb through on a cold winter afternoon with drink in hand.  

All three of those magazines have provided a good barometer of what the mainstream consensus was regarding where technology was headed. Of course,  they have been quite consistently and embarrassingly wrong.  But apparently that doesn't stop them from trying.

The other thing that wrinkles me, especially in the case of Popular Mechanics, is the way they love touting up the latest new toys for the Pentagon, as if the latest and most deadly weaponry is actually some form of progress.

These are mass-audience technical magazines for people who have very little understanding of technology. I haven't read very many in about the last two decades, but I can just picture what rosy pictures they're painting about the future of energy.

How about huge spaceships carrying frozen methane back from one of Saturn's moons?

Or presuming that methane is a more valuable resource than the more massive oxygen in binds with in combustion.
Just an example of how silly these predictions can get; not an actual prediction on my part as to what might come to pass.

(Maybe you've got  to get new batteries for you Irony Meter, or maybe recalibrate your Sarcasm Meter.)

Damn lithium ions.
  In "Playing with Fire", first Leanan link, the author demonstrates overly rosy EIA predictions on gas supply. Assuming he's right, why is the EIA so bad?
Unplanner interviewed an energy industry executive, who offered this explanation:

Our executive was very familiar with the Simmons assessment of the natural gas situation. His company's own internal projections aligned closely with the pessimistic scenarios of natural gas supplies painted by Simmons and others. He was less than impressed with the commonly referred to assessment of future North American supplies depicted by the EIA however. That assessment--in his opinion--relied on ridiculously optimistic assumptions of future production that were unlikely to ever materialize. The agency's perennially optimistic assessments largely originated out of political considerations. According to the executive, they used to make more pessimistic assumptions until Congress cut their funding in the mid 1990's. Since then, the EIA has sung a more upbeat tune about energy reserves. This similar level of optimism permeates the USGS and influences some of the consultants (that accept federal funds) as well.
We'd almost think the rosiness flows freely through all US government bureaus, like everyone working there has to take a little pink pill when they get in in the morning, With the exception perhaps of Cheney in his basement bunker (or maybe the pills just don't work on him anymore).

We have the USGS, the EIA, and, looking at the electric vehicle report, the boys and girls at the DOE want in on the deal, And they're right, why should they be on the sideline? The USDA gets to dole out billions in corn subsidies, and it just ain't fair.

Everyone with one active braincell left has figured out by now that natural gas is not exactly going to be abundant in the US, starting next year. The DOE sees no such problem. But we know that California and the Northeast, which rely heavily on natural gas, had better switch to Plan B, if they have one.
New England pressures Hydro Quebec for more power, but even if that is forthcoming, it'll take years.

The DOE states that coal plants will become happily squeaky clean, despite the fact that out of the 140 newly planned ones, a grand total of 1 has any plans for any sequestration. Is there anyone left who can spell "mercury"?

84% of the 220 million vehicles can be fueled by the existing infrastructure, says the pink pill. Well, except in the west, and they do admit (just not in the headline) that electricity demand will rise by 30-40%. Squeeze please!

Say what you will, but for now, Washington must be a happy place.

Just stay out of that basement when you go.

If there's a prob coming, it sure ain't this coming season.  My supply outlook in the next TrendLines Energy Outlook for the nat'l gas Spring trough is looking like 1600-Bcf.
i'm curious what temperature forecast is that based upon ?
Elwood, not any one seasonal projection.  But they all are predicting warmer than avg winter & spring due to el nino.  For the same reasons plus stock build we suggested around 1400-bcf last year (January 2005).
A request on a topic that's been nagging me: Could anyone drag out the USGS' prepeak evaluations of currently postpeak regions?  The USGS always seems to be the most credible source used by cornucopians.
This article discusses the EIA predictions for the North Sea:


Does TOD have any solid plans for an official wiki?  And on what timescale?
*Or any of the other big PO sites?
There has been some discussion, but nothing really solid.  We could make our own wiki, use Wikipedia, or try to get in with that new "experts only" Wikipedia.  

The problem is time.  Nobody has the time this project deserves.

PeakOil.com tried it awhile back, and the idea has arisen again over there.  But they ran into the same problem: no one has the time to maintain it properly.  The sheer bulk of information is overwhelming.

Two articles in Energy Tribune

that are pretty interesting. First is on Russian gas - Gazprom may be short 100 millon cubic meters by 2010 to meet either internal or external needs. Europe would be in somewhat of a fix if otherwise-projected supplies do not come on stream. Second article is on Iran - a lot of good statistics. Perhaps someone who can cut-and-paste might take a look and put data up on TOD - beyound my ability!

The drive to drive is not easily quenched
Moynihan, 23, was charged in October with 25 counts of first-degree theft, though police -- and Moynihan himself -- say he stole at least 136 vehicles in a six-month period beginning in November 2005.

Using only a screwdriver and hammer, he made his way through Seattle neighborhoods stealing an average of one vehicle every 32 hours. Sometimes, police said, he'd keep one only minutes before dumping it and breaking into another.

He favored Hondas and Subarus, but stole a variety of makes and models, old and new, sedans, coupes and minivans.

According to the lengthy charging papers filed in the case, Moynihan stole the vehicles not to sell the parts, like many car thieves do, but because he enjoyed driving and needed a mode of transportation to get him around the Puget Sound region.

He was just car sharing. No harm done. Those vehicles were just sitting around parked, anyway. He was trying to increase the percentage of utilization of vehicles vs capacity.

Why peak oil is now.

I posted this deep in another thread but though that the concept would be useful.

First most estimates of geologic peak predict 2010 or later for the peak of world oil production. I think it has happened sooner for two reasons and finally I think we will have a crisis in oil production sooner than anticipated.

First our oil production flat-lined initially for logistic reasons not because of the lack of oil from a geologic peak. This can be traced back to the low investments made during the 90's. Thus the current situation is caused by above ground oil industry internal factors.

Now its  assumed that the recent investments made by the oil industry buoyed by the high price will result in a significant increase in production over the next few years.

I do not believe this will happen in the reason is I think most estimates underestimate decline rates in general and the decline of our super giants in particular. The reason for this general underestimation is because of the newer technologies now in use in the oil field that allow higher extraction rates for longer periods of time leading to more severe decline rates. Most of the super giants do not have good numbers but the HL method points to decline starting now in all the fields. This is basically West Texas's export land model.

So what I believe is going on is that our initial logistic peak is morphing into a real peak over the next few years mainly caused by the inability to make up production losses from the super giants with smaller fields.

At best we can expect newer production to slow the slide or produce a second plateau in the 2010-2015 time frame. But overall depletion at that point will be high enough that even this is doubtful.

Finally on the logistic side of the equation above ground factors point to a ME war within the next 5-10 years and other major instabilities occurring. The political climate is very unstable and power swing from oil consuming nations to oil producing nations the effects of these negative factors cannot be discounted.

Creating a overall view of the various factors that effect oil supply are important as above ground factors will be used  as reasons for the lack of oil or high prices. The current approach of measuring geologic peak is a hard sell today and probably impossible to explain with on going regional/civil war in the ME.

A better approach may be to show the data we have now then cover the benefits of electric transportation and finish with the obvious political benefits of disengaging from the volatile ME.

Greetings to all. I haven't been reading here lately, let alone posting, but...

...PKN Orlen finally completed its acquisition of the Mazheikiu Nafta refinery in Lithuania. The story is way more complicated than a short post can describe, so I've refrained from posting anything on it for quite some time. Anyway, if anyone is interested, you can find out more at http://www.orlen.pl or http://www.orlenlietuva.lt (the money for the deal has actually changed hands, so there's no risk that the deal will fall through).

PKN Orlen got the refinery, Yukos International UK got 1.126 billion euros, and the Lithuanian government got 638 million euros. (I converted the local currency amounts into euros, so there may be some rounding error in my figures.)

Sorry if this was already discussed in another thread, I haven't been able to keep up with TOD lately.

So I live in Seattle and on Thursday night we had a major wind and rain storm in the area. 1.5 million people were out of power and 500,000 are still out. I was thinking about this storm in the context of peak oil. Here is a quick article about the storm


On Friday I went hiking. I happened to have a full tank of gas so it wasn't too much of a problem. But every gas station that I passed had lines of people waiting for gas. Few were open out side the city because few had power.

Grocery stores were evidently packed with people. Tempers flared here and there. There was an inevitable run on supplies at stores noted in the below article.


Since I've been here in Seattle (the past 6 years) I have not really experienced a storm quite like this. It was harsh and had large effects everywhere. When you start to think about this storm in the context of global warming as well, I believe people have said that storms will have a larger intensity. Did this storm have increased intensity due to a rising temperatures? I don't know exactly but what I do know is that if storms like these increase in frequency much more effort will have to be put in to maintain infrastructure. What happens when oil is considered more scarce? How will we be able to respond?

In my mind I think people in this area and others need to start realizing that emergencies that we could respond to in the past we will have more difficulties responding to in the future. While it might make since for a store to have just in time inventory for food, does it really make sense for a community, state or regional area to depend on this? I think with smart planning we could do a much better job in mitigating the effects, but I'm not sure people will get the same message as I did out this.

Have a good one!

Thanks for sharing your perspective.
Regarding the Guardian story Planting trees to save planet `pointless' say ecologists link that Leanan posted, it is worth noting that one of the scientists who was a co-author of the study in question wrote in to the Guardian saying:
I was aghast to see our study reported under the headline "Planting trees to save planet is pointless, say ecologists" (December 15).

You can read the rest of the letter here
well he may be surprised but if thats what the study finds and if he thinks his science is right then whats the problem?
I just watched a documentary on the Science Channel about the Great Permian Extinction. The Permian Extinction, as most of you know, was the greatest extinction of all, wiping out 95% of all species on earth approximately 250 million years ago. The K-T extinction, by contrast, wiped out 65% of all species, including the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago.

At any rate, it seems the mystery of what caused it has pretty well been solved. The Siberian Traps, the greatest volcanism event in the earth's history, was happening during that time. The traps had been erupting for about 70 thousand years, gradually warming the earth by about 5 degrees C. Then, in Greenland, at about that point, they found in the stratigraphic column, an enormous increase in carbon 12, (as opposed to carbon 13.)

It was then surmised that the ocean had finally warmed enough to release the release the methane trapped in methane hydrates, which are rich in carbon 12. This methane suddenly released into the atmosphere, over the period of just a few years, drove the temperature of the earth up another 5 degrees C. This was enough to wipe out most of the life on earth. Though the entire extinction lasted about 80 thousand years, and there were three distinct periods of massive extinctions during that period of time, this last one was the greatest of all.

It is interesting to note, (not pointed out on the show), that the greatest extinction corresponds exactly to the time of the greatest volcanism, the Siberian Traps. And the second greatest extinction corresponds to the exact time of the second greatest period of volcanism, the Deccan Traps. The Yucatan meteorite happened about in the middle of the Deccan Traps volcanism as Deccan basalt is found both above and below the K-T boundary.

Note: It is believed that both the Deccan and Siberian Traps lasted well over a million years but the most severe volcanism of each lasted less than 100,000 years.

But the point is this. If the ocean gets warm enough, regardless of the cause, to release the methane trapped in hydrates, look out!

Ron Patterson

You missed the part that the deccan trap eruptions were antipodal to the metor strike and they are probably related.

The siberian traps should also exhibit the same antipodal event. I read somewhere that they might actually be a metor strike that was so large it basically pierced the crust.

This is probably the clearest explanation I found on the net.


You missed the part that the deccan trap eruptions were antipodal to the metor strike and they are probably related.

Well no, I did not miss that point at all. In fact I stated that Deccan besalt has been found both above and below the K-T boundry. Did you miss that? The major eruptions of the Deccan traps began about 400,000 years before the Chicxulub impact and ended at least 400,000 years after the impact. Therefore the impact could not possibly have caused the Deccan traps eruptions.

Ron Patterson

Maybe read this before you dismiss the connection.

http://uplink.space.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=environment&Number=306155&page=11&vi ew=collapsed&sb=5&o=0&fpart=

The antipodal energy had to go somewhere.
The fact that the traps where already active is simply a coincidence. The linkage would of course be a major increase in flow rates at the time of impact.

I'm sure we could also find case where the crust was strong enough to dissipate the antipodal energy without massive eruptions. This is a bit harder to find on our planet because its so active.

For climate change the issue is a surge in flows over a short time span. This may have happened.


From your link;

"Our view is that impact added to the stress already generated by an ongoing massive eruption, enhancing significantly the extent of the extinction, which would however have taken place even if the impact had not occurred."

Memmel, I am not questioning the fact that the Chicxulub impact contributed to the destruction and extinction rate. What I do deny is that there is a connection between the impact and the Decdan traps. That is, the impact did not cause the eruptions. That would be impossible because the eruptions began about 400,000 years before the impact.

Ron Patterson

No problem I should not have said caused. Sorry early works proposed a strike as the cause.
Memmel, or anyone else for that matter, if you are really interested in this subject, here is the very best lecture I ever heard on the subject. It completely changed my outlook on mass extinctions.

Then scroll down to the following lecture:

December 4, 2002 - Public Lecture Series (a Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture)
Vincent Courtillot , Universite Paris 7: "Mass extinctions in the Phanerozoic: a single cause and if yes which?"

Ron Patterson

In any case the important point is that the web of life can and has crashed in the past. Major geologic events that result in world wide extinctions are big news but many minor extinction events occur because of smaller changes in climate. They would not be minor for human welfare.

In fact the biggest danger we may actually face from global warming is ocean stratification.


In fact my bet is that crashing fish stocks related to this will be the gw event that has the biggest impact on mankind.

Not the land based effect we focus on.

The dinosaurs survived; that's why they all believe in a personal saviour.
Weismann's article on natural gas is a stunner, no surprise to use TOaD's, of course.

You know, on night's that I can't sleep, I keep seeing this:


And the solution he's pushing is coal gasification/CTL.  Environmental considerations aside, the coal won't last long if we go that route.  
Hello B3NDZ3LA,

Yes, that chart is very worrisome: when the natgas shortage really starts kicking in we should all expect the remaining reserves to be dedicated to petro-fertilizers and electrical generation for water-pumping/purification only.  A/C and gas heating will be history, and we should welcome naturally occuring darkness in exchange for whatever food and water is available to reduce violence.  60-75% of the labor force needs to be moving to relocalized permaculture, but I suspect it will be done by brute force.  I still hope some American factories are gearing up to make my 150 million wheelbarrows.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Yeah, I come more and more to that point of view, the more I learn.

the critical piece: human inaction.

Just like your yeast there....

With the apparent reality of global warming, winters at least here in the US appear to be getting steadily warmer over the long term.  Some might remember back to 1980 in the Northeast US, when a very cold winter froze over the rivers around NYC - even inland waterfalls were frozen solid. I know I will not forget going to work on Wall Street in what seemed at the time like a new ice age.

Now that seems like a story from another eon.  If we ever get a winter even somewhat as cold as that, I have no doubt, for example, there will be mandated evening/weekend closings of all businesses/schools - as well as many other controls on the use of energy.  To some extent, global warming so far has saved the US from a very severe energy crisis, and has helped foster the illusion that all is well.  

There are strong parallels between the general public's superstitious reaction to gas prices(ranging from conclusions about global cartels to peak oil panicry), and their superstitious reaction to weather(ranging from conclusions about Gaia's immune system to global warming).

The truth is that they both have a very large number of non-trivial inputs with complex behavior.

Properly(slightly) weighted dice only show their nature when averaged over hundreds of throws.  Even if you know the dice are weighted to some degree, you can't base your proof on just a few losing throws (a few decades between bad winters).  Proving it scientifically using a rotational-vibration-ometer is another matter.

Hello Charles Mackay,

The flip side of this is the 'want' for more A/C for the longer periods of higher heat and/or humidity.  I believe cooling a typical house takes more BTUs/cubic foot than heating, especially when one considers all the heat thrown off inside a house from the appliances and electronics.  Recall that most recent non-storm caused brownouts and blackouts were during the summer heat waves.

One can bundle up quite effectively against the interior chill, but the very young and elderlys' body temp regulation system fails quite quickly to relentless heat/humidity.

Packing a house with multiple families will be very efficient to offset winter heating bills, but this is exactly the opposite of what is ideal to offset summer cooling costs.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

I agree completely.

Some scientists think there is a short term solar cyle which affects global temperatures.  About two to three years ago was a general low point - which resulted in lower temperatures.  In about three years, there may be a high point - with warm temperatures.

So somewhere about 2010, we will get a real world test as to whether the US electrical grid and North Amercian natural gas supplies can stand up to an onslaught of warm weather.  Based on the experinece of the St. Loius area this last summer, I am not looking forward to what could happen when NYC temperatures go for a streak of 100 degrees F for a week or so.      

It's only marginally signficant but Weismann is using the wrong number in his projection for well completions in Canada in 2006.  Wells completed will be down about 1000~ compared to 2005, whereas he shows an increase.

At least part of the decline can be attributed to rising costs in Alberta during a period of declining gas prices.

Gilles the Frog did not repost his brilliant work, So here is part of it. Great job Giles!!

Interesting that the inital trajectories become more optimistic before they become more pessimistic. Kind of like, "I voted against Peak Oil before I voted for it." (American fans of politician John Kerry will get this joke.)

It seems that Bush has gotten through the most critical three and four-letter agencies, and is now all the way down the list to the USGS:
"The White House has begun implementing a new policy toward the U.S. Geological Survey, in which all scientific papers and other public documents by USGS scientists must be screened for content. The USGS communications office must now be 'alerted about information products containing high-visibility topics or topics of a policy-sensitive nature.' Subjects fitting this description might include global warming, or research on the effects of oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve."

i am watching the weather channel and they are talking about alternative fuels.. the omissions they do on each one almost makes me want to gag..
Hello TODers,

This is a link to a PDF article written in 1984 on "Remote Corrosion Monitoring of Offshore Pipelines".  It was authored by C. L. Howe and prepared for the Minerals Management Service, US department of the Interior.

Now that we know that easy-to-check aboveground pipelines are poorly monitored for corrosion [ex: BP's Prudhoe Bay], it makes me wonder how often the vast network of undersea pipelines in the GoM, both US and Mexican, are checked for corrosion integrity.  Has any Govt. Official read this report since 1984?

From this link:

The specter of a major deep-sea oil spill terrifies the oil industry, not only because of the potential for environmental harm, but also the heavy regulatory burden that would be sure to follow, says William P. Dillon, project chief for the USGS Gas Hydrate Project located at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Deep-sea oil spills are unique in ways that make cleanup extremely difficult, if not impossible, adds Charter. "A conventional spill coalesces into mats of oil that you can contain. The problem with a deep spill is that what you wind up with isn't a slick, it's more like a sheen that doesn't hang together and spreads over a much broader area," he says. "Studies have shown that deep spills can surface days later, miles away, in an uncorrectable form."

From the same link:

With domestic oil production expected to rise in the coming years, stakeholders are concerned about its impact on another related problem: the ability of the U.S. pipeline infrastracture to accommodate the additional load. Richard Kuprewicz, a pipeline expert and president of the Redmond, Washington-based consulting firm Accufacts, says the nation's pipelines, including the liquid pipelines (which carry crude oil, jet fuel, and diesel fuel) and the natural gas pipelines (which carry methane), are "in a very sad state of affairs, with countless failures." In 2000 alone, pipeline spills totaling 1.8 million gallons contaminated drinking water supplies in Dallas, Texas; Lexington, Kentucky; and Richmond, Virginia; and forced the evacuation of 500 homes west of Detroit, Michigan. On 19 August 2000, 11 people camping near Carlsbad, New Mexico, were killed by the explosion of a 50-year-old pipeline so corroded that its wall thickness had shrunk by 50%.

Exacerbating the problem, says Kuprewicz, is that regulatory management of the pipeline system is "at its weakest point in history, ironically at a time that the need for regulation is higher than it ever has been before" because more gas is being pumped through the existing system than ever before. According to a 15 May 2000 report on pipeline safety by the General Accounting Office, the number of pipeline accidents increased by 4% annually between 1989 and 1998, killing 226 people. Furthermore, the Department of Transportation's Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) virtually eliminated the use of fines as an enforcement tool, did not collect comprehensive information on the cause of pipeline accidents, and did not comply with the law by failing to implement 22 of 49 requirements mandated by Congress since 1988 to improve pipeline safety. Despite repeated attempts over a period of several weeks, the OPS, which is widely recognized as being overworked and understaffed, declined to answer phone calls during the preparation of this article.

The Bush administration is well aware of the problems and has called for construction of 38,000 miles of new pipeline to augment the aging infrastructure and to "match supply and demand." However, the safety record is so bad that local resistance to new pipeline construction has become a serious problem. For example, a proposed 422-mile natural gas pipeline that would stretch from Lake Erie across the southern tier of New York to Westchester County has come under fierce opposition by hundreds of local residents, who denounce the plan at hearings and flood local officials with angry letters.

Whether the thousands of miles of new infrastructure can be built fast enough to accommodate the heightened oil and gas production envisioned by the Bush administration remains to be seen. Fisher suggests that optimally the combined additional output from the OCS, Alaska's North Slope, and the Overthrust Belt could amount to 1 billion barrels a year. Kuprewicz suspects that the bulk of increased gas must come through the existing gas pipeline infrastructure. He says, "The vast majority of this pipeline infrastructure is going to be stressed. You increase throughput on existing gas transmission pipelines by raising the pressure [which stresses the pipes]. And the majority of this existing gas infrastructure is over forty years old."
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?