The world is changing, but do those who should, worry?

So, having made the trip from Durham to London, what is the first impression of the capital, since last time - it is one of lines of stationary taxi cabs waiting in a long queue for fares in a line that extends for a couple of hundred yards on the street, upstream of one of the two major train stations. I walk 20 minutes to my hotel past lines that seem, at time to be barely moving, and with cabs that, on average, contain a single passenger glancing worriedly at their wrist watch. It is definitely worse than New York.

The town is still lively, the restaurant where we had dinner (the one with wait staff in black kilts) had a full booking until late in the evening. The BBC show, and the topic in general did not engender any level of serious concern. The restaurant was interesting in that, for a while it was a relatively ethnic Scottish place where one could order haggis, neeps and tatties. Now, however, as it becomes more of a market presence, the flavor is moving toward the norm, that melage of food that, while good or excellent in quality is no longer so specifically tied to a region.

I had a dish made up, originally, from pork bellies. I can remember, from a movie that I cannot, the opportunities that pork belly futures once had. And so, tonight I ate some. The point is, I fear, a wee bit tenuous but is this. We can get quite excited about trading in the market, as some of the recent comments have shown, but when the day is over, somebody, somewhere will be eating that pork, or using that oil, and we reach a "rubber hits the metal" point where absolute supply meets absolute demand.

China is pushing as hard as it can to get the pipeline from Kazakhstan in production to help supply their Western provinces, They are active around the world in lining up future contracts to ensure that they can acquire as much oil as they will need. They are positively and pro-actively, looking into that future and getting prepared for it. Not so much on the stock market (though they are playing that game too) but also through long-term contracts that ensure that what will be needed will be there for them. At the same time they are cementing relations with Russia to ensure that nothing goes wrong with the supplies that they anticipate from that source.

The Europeans, on the other hand, don't seem to be quite as well situated

Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom's deputy chief executive, has rejected European Union demands for Russia's state-controlled gas monopoly to open its pipeline network to access by independent producers and other countries.

He also derided plans to bypass Russia with a gas pipeline from Kazakhstan to Europe as "unrealistic".

And the warnings that the Russians are issuing are not exactly obscure:
However, Mr Medvedev said Kazakhstan does not have enough gas to justify the planned pipeline, nor Europe enough demand.

"I'm rather sure that without Russian gas, no projects in new supply will fly," he said. "Today, due to the absence for the additional markets for this gas in Europe, it is absolutely unrealistic."

The EU gets a quarter of its gas from Russia, the country with the biggest reserves in the world. However, fears over its reliability as a supplier were prompted by an interruption on January 1 after a spat with Ukraine over gas prices.

Gazprom's chief executive, Alexei Miller, deepened concerns by warning EU ambassadors that if its European expansion plans were thwarted, Gazprom would respond by shifting its investment focus to new markets in Asia.

And, lest we forget, China is also in the oil sands.
China has invested in two mining companies and a pipeline to move oil from Alberta to shipping ports on the Pacific.
And (though I guess I should hold this until Friday) the mining is taking another one of those "hiding to nothing" conditions, at least in the eye of some reporters. Consider the paragraph
The oil companies point to steady reductions in the amount of water and natural gas used to produce each barrel of oil, for example. But those efficiency gains have been wiped out by the rise in the number of barrels produced. Increasingly, environmental organizations are calling for a moratorium on the growth of the mines.

The world, in its current form, needs the oil that those mines will produce, the article admits that the companies are improving their act, but do they get much recognition for that? Mining is, by its nature, temporarily destructive of the environment. But as I have shown, in the odd picture, when the mining is done, the land can be returned to a quality at least equal if not, in many cases, better, than it was before. Yes, this requires that we maintain the regulations and, where necessary strengthen them, but to imply, as the reporter does, that this is something that should be doubted is going beyond reporting into editorializing.

(And a small technical quibble, the water carrying the residual sand into the tailings ponds is not black, it is a light brown, the color of the sand after the oil has been removed.)

Residing for a short while, in a country where the papers have a tradition of being more savage critics of the Government that is the case in the US, (and yes, I did order the Guardian for tomorrow - quivering sycophant that I am - grin), I remain bothered that the filters through which are news passes is becoming increasingly oriented toward what may be the wrong message.

On the other hand they are still being told that there is "no problem" by our trusty friends at CERA.

The biggest impact so far has come from oil companies increasing the amount of oil they recover from existing reservoirs. On average, oil companies now recover little more than a third from their reservoirs. New technology holds the key.

According to Jackson, technological advances have already boosted recovery rates in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea from between 30 per cent and 35 per cent in the 1980s to between 60 and 65 per cent. He says that the "peakists" discount the additional amount of oil from such field upgrades.

"'We estimate that there are at least 3 trillion barrels of conventional global reserves and resources, of which we have produced 1 trillion barrels. This estimate does not include unconventional oils such as oil from Canada's oil sands and oil shales in the USA and Australia," he says.

Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, says that the world is seriously underestimating "our ability to alter our parameters". He points out that if you look at all the shale oil that's available, there is enough to last between 80 and 90 years - double previous predictions of between 40 and 45 years.

"The whole point is that we find other alternatives that are better and cheaper," he says.

For Pete's Sake

Other than that, Lomborg takes a load off my mind ... we'll just find other alternatives that are better and cheaper!

What we see is one of the paradoxes of economics at work. Sure, we'll find alternatives, they may even be better and cheaper if we are lucky. (Fusion, perhaps?) But the more certain we are of this happening, the less likely it is that it does: actual results depend on people like Lomborg going into deep worrying one step short of panic, and then figure how to best risk their money to bring them about.

I wish honest economists would take peak oil and global warming, and help devise market-based solutions, instead of listening to their crooked peers working for so-called Think Tanks (more like political PR-institutes).

Lomborg is a political scientist not a scientist or an economist.  Much of what he has written about global environmental change just doesn't stack up.

For his example his opposition to Kyoto is based on naive estimates of the cost of compliance.

Because he opposed Kyoto, he has become a poster child of the right.  However he has also stated that we should do something about global warming, and that Kyoto is not enough.

I've read interviews with Lomborg, and I think listened to an Mp3 of one of his presentations.  He's generally pretty rational and nuanced, but he's got his role.  He's The Skeptical Environmentalist.  It really just amused me that on this subject the best skepticism he could offer was a faith in energy markets.  That's kind of a general back-up position.

I do remember that he doesn't own a car and rides a bike around town.  I think he argues for lower energy consumption.

And yet he has become the poster child of people who argue that it is immoral to restrict their driving of SUVs.

He reminds me of those socialists who refused to condemn Stalin and the Soviet Union after the show trials, to show solidarity with the left.

Stalin was a socialist?
Kyoto is of course completely meaningless. It targets do not suffice to reduce the Cliamte Change a bit, and these targets will not be attained, not even in those countries that support it strongly (mostly EU).

The most important means to do something really is to let the Peak Oil and Gas go its course. This means dismissing the idea of heavily subsidized low EROEI alternative fuels, from ethanol to tar sands, CTL etc. Low EROEI alternatives mean only more CO2 to net energy. This is a real market solution, too: cut all the subsidies and tax breaks for oil, gas and coal industry, ethanol and all. This kills effectively those EROEI-lowering projects. There will be a bit less gross energy available, but only net energy is important, and the CO2 emissions will be definitely lower.

Let the energy prices rise and increase somewhat energy taxes on that to make for investments in conservation. Not for hybrid cars, but mainly for lower residential energy consumption, public transport and so on. And provide help for those affected by the economic changes. Here you have your program. The easy and effective one.

A 7% drop in CO2 mandated by Kyoto is not enough, but it is something.

Kyoto was anything but meaningless.

Already the EU is trading carbon futures, a direct result of our Kyoto obligations.

Kyoto was never intended to be anything but the first move.

Market forces will not stop CO2 production fast enough.
What we need is a market price for CO2, based on a traded permits system.

We emit 7 billion tonnes of CO2 pa, we have to get that down to 2 billion tonnes pa. Probably within the next 25 years.  Just to stabilise the world climate in the second half of this century.

As we hit Peak Oil, if we do, our CO2 production will rise inexorably, as we use more high CO2 sources of energy: tar sands, coal etc.  

Kyoto is absolutelu meaningless now, you know that, too, Valuethinker. The EU CO2 trade is not about Climate Change but about energy policy. The US is talking about oil, the EU about CO2, but in fact the EU is also talking about energy, albeit under disguise. The EU is talking about depleting coal, depleting North Sea oil and gas and imports from Russia, but it cannot say this openly, because the news are too bad.

The emission trade is mostly energy policy, quotas for the EU member countries and an attempt to regulate the energy use of non-EU counties in order to maintain competitivness. You say that the CO2 emissions should get down from 7 million tons to 2 million. This is not Kyoto target. The emissions are growing right now, not diminishing, despite of the very modest goals of the Kyoto agreement.

But you are right, the task is really to avoid low EROEI, high CO2/net energy solutions. But the EU is now doing the exact opposite by promoting very low EROEI biofuels. This is economically and environmentally unsound. But this is touted as "green" policy! The EU energy policy is now mostly opening up the markets and importing more. Joining the US in ME wars seems now to be part of that policy. Here we are now.

As an aside:
I had a dish made up, originally, from pork bellies. I can remember, from a movie that I cannot, the opportunities that pork belly futures once had.

I think the movie your speaking of is Trading Spaces, with Eddie Murphy.  I think that frozen orange juice played a large roll in it, too.  (As well as Jamie Lee Curtis in leiderhosen...)

I think you mean Trading Places
And note that Paul Gleason, who played Clarence Beeks in Trading Places, died this week.

He uttered the line, "Back off.  I'll rip out your eyes and piss on your brain."

Ah, high art.

The English version of this is

'I'll rip off your head and s--t down your neck'

Such hypocrisy is very painful to behold.

Pork bellies + salt + smoke [cured] = bacon [as in "a bacon letuce and tomato sandwich"] a quote from one of the Duke Brothers to Billy Ray Valentine in Trading Places. As noted by Odograph my guess is that your reference was to "For Pete's Sake"

Don't you just love it when TODers zero in on the really important stuff. :-)

For some reason this reminded me of one of my favorite Ben Folds songs:

All U Can Eat

Son, look at all the people in this restaurant
What do you think they weigh?
And out the window to the parking lot
At their SUV's taking all the space

They give no f*ck
They talk as loud as they want
They give no f*ck
Just as long as there's enough for them

Gonna get on the microphone down at Wal-Mart
Talk about some shit that's been on my mind
Talk of the state of this great nation of ours
People look to your left
Yeah, look to your right

They give no f*ck
They buy as much as they want
They give no f*ck
Just as long as there's enough for them

Son, look at the people lining up for plastic
Wouldn't you like to see them in the National Geographic?
Squatting bare assed in the dirt eating rice from a bowl
With a towel on their head, and maybe a bone in their nose

See that asshole with the peace sign on his license plate?
Giving me the finger and running me out of his lane

God made us number one because he loves us the best
Well he should go bless someone else for a while
Give us a rest (They give no)
Yeah, and everyone can see (They give no)
We've eaten all that we can eat

peakguy, there's a reason we get along.  I played that song (literally on my piano) an hour ago.  Ben's the man.  
"Mining is, by its nature, temporarily destructive of the environment. But as I have shown, in the odd picture, when the mining is done, the land can be returned to a quality at least equal if not, in many cases, better, than it was before."

I don't believe this for even a minute. I am reading BIG COAL, Jeff Goodell. There are endless stories of land detroyed. Even if it were possible in principle, and I doubt that also, the mining companies will never do it, and they will never be made to do it. Governments that are willing to make them do it will be wise enough to radically reduce our consumption of a lot of these resources.

W Va is a devastated state -- except for the easternmost quarter (where my daughter is lucky enough to live) which has no coal. A friend who is an environmental remediator tells me of the copper mines in Chile and the endless damage there.

Soil, ground water, mountaintops, streams, all these and much else are damaged longterm. In order to continue and  expand  an unsustainable way of life, we are destroying many of the resources will need to evolve into a sustainable way of life.

I don't claim that mining can be abruptly halted any more than we can go cold turkey on oil, gas and coal. And I certainly agree that as much remediation as can be done, should be mandated. Of course, if mining companies were COMPELLED to restore a site to a condition equal to the original, and therefore had to figure that in their costs, then that ALONE would radically reduce the amount of mining done, and in fact might reduce it to near zero, which is not practical.

What will probably be necessary is to limit mining to the existing sites, already exposed, and control further damage from them insofar as possible. Fat chance of this happening anytime soon!

Dave is right.

The overwhelming evidence shows that big mining interests will destroy the environment at the drop of a republican wink and nod.

In fact, the entire market driven economy is geared towards one thing and one thing only -- profit at any environmental cost.

Pie in the sky is what the mining interests are selling. Don't buy their poison.


I don't understand. Please help me, oilrig medic!

I assume you are suggesting coal is nice and coal is good and coal corporations are actually really fab institutions.

But, when I read you're reference, what I see is the taxpayer picking up the tab, to the tune of 400m USD, to put into action an electricity generation plant that will use the waste the coal mining companies might have done a better job at cleaning up in the first instance.

So, why didn't the mining companies do this in the beginning? Why are the Pennsylvania taxpayers footing the bill to clean up the shite left behind by the mining companies?  That seems to tie in perfectly with Cherenkov's assertion above.

Who actually built the station? The article fails to mention the prime contractor and the major subcontractors. So, who really benefits from this plant? If the plant is expected to remove 100 million tons of coal waste, just how much coal waste is in the area? What can the inhabitants of the area expect will be done about that? And, if anything will be done, will it be the taxpayer of the offending mining company picking up the tab? the article again.  When you don't understand...pause and review.  The taxpayers are not picking up the tab investors are in the form of bonds.  The plant will run off mining waste and produce 520 megawatts.  The bonds will be paid back from this.  Mining has been going on for generations.  I am illustrating that neither republicans or democrats have ownership of the mining industry and good legislation comes from both sides of the fence.  
Sorry, I forgot, bonds are interest free loans funded by the truly benevolent. So, at the end of the life of the bond, the investors get all their money back, and just feel so good that they were able to help out the world around them. They don't really care about inflation or guarantees, no, they just feel good knowing that 100 million tons of coal waste has been put to good use. Regardless of the total coal waste still blighting the landscape.

Or wait, maybe interest and surety might have something to do with it after all. Let us assume these investors want something more for their money than just feeling good. Let us also assume they want something more than just interest, they want their money back no matter the outcome of the plant. Well, bingo, let's make the finance for such a great project be underwritten by the taxpayer. After all, that's what these bonds are, underwritten by the taxpayer.

If this was such a great idea why didn't some power (I would have said coal, but that would be too funny) company come along and do the project themselves? Why didn't they issue the bonds? Why didn't their shareholders assume the risk? Why didn't this happen? Why, Because the level of risk was too great to justify raising 400 million big ones for a project with a lifetime of at least 37.5 years (I'll let you do the maths). Why do that when the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority (PEDFA) will assume all the risk on behalf of the tax payer?

I did read the bloody article. The Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority (PEDFA), a taxpayer proxy, is underwriting all the risk. What happens in the even the project returns less than required to fund the bond issue? Who pays then? The citizens of the great state of  Pennsylvania. That's who. And partly to get rid of waste that should have been properly disposed of in the first place.

   A 520 megawatt plant at 8 cents per kwh will make 15 million a year.  That will more than pay for itself, not to mention providing jobs and ridding the countryside of waste.  Math is Math singular or plural and your is possesive and you're (you are) being cross because it is a republican policy.

I don't know how much waste is in PA but if this program works I hope they build more.  Would it be better to not use the waste and let it idle?  This waste was produced through Republican and Democrat administrations.  Why is it wrong for a republican to try to clean it up?  

Government bonds have the ability to secure funds because they are reliable.  If a private company issued the bonds it may be difficult to raise the capital rapidly.

Maths is is used in the singular form here in the UK. Sorry, that's just the way it is. As for your other childish references to typographic errors, oh well, guess you're just like that.

As for politics, this isn't an issue, at least for me. What I was cross about is the policy does nothing to recover the costs for restoring the environment from the mining companies that made the mess in the first place. Another factor in the mix is PA is forgoing future tax revenues on the income these bonds generate, as they are tax free. All the bonds held by out of state investors will not directly benefit the residents of PA as the interest income will likely be spent out of state. Maybe even out of the US.

While the plant may very well generate 15M USD per annum, this is not profit, as I assume you understand. Out of this revenue will be the costs associated with the acquisition of the coal waste fuel that will power the plant (reclamation of the environment), reducing your 15M USD. Out of the balance will be the other costs associated with running the plant (exclusive of fuel reclamation). Not to mention the costs of servicing the bond interest payments. So, all in all, I don't really know how much of that 15M USD will be left at the end of the year. But it will certainly be less than 15M USD. But, there better be a lot because they're gunna need to come up with 400M USD to pay the face value of the bonds to the investors at maturity.

So no, I don't like the way it's structured. If it's such a great investment, like I said before, put the market into action. I would think the issue has a 30 year maturity. If that's more risk than the market is willing to bear in this climate why should the residents of PA do it? If it's risky business for Corp Inc., seems it's risky business for the commonwealth (which I believe PA is, after all).


As a man of the world, I would suggest you mean to say that corporate interests will destroy whatever comes between them and the largest possible bottom line at the drop of a profit.

Surely you're not suggesting this is constrained to the mining industry in the USofA? :)

I use corporate interests, because far too often these include governments or their various departments, and agencies operating on behalf of corporations to the benefit of the corporations exclusively.

I would also suggest that profit threatened from any quarter will be defended by any means.  Without regard for else but profit itself. Any intervention by any interest seeking to weaken the influence of the corporate interest, and thus corporate profit, will be vigorously attacked by these corporate interests.

Because the environment is a free input.  Therefore the production process does not value it.

The Soviet Union had exactly the same flaw, and no democratic mechanism to call a halt to the process.

Jared Diamond is surprisingly positive about the role of the big multinational mining companies in conserving the environment in places like Papua New Guinea.

Jeremy Leggett makes the point you can have a sensible discussion with senior oil industry people about global warming (as long as they do not work for Exxon-Mobil!) but not with anyone in the coal industry.  Presumably Peak Oil Chevron is reasonable, Exxon and BP are not.

Not so. Mining companies in Australia are compelled to save the topsoil and regenerate the vegetation to a standard equivalent to before the mining, and that doesn't slow down mining any. Alcoa of Australia is especially good at this, I have personally seen the acres of seedling nurseries they have in order to replant areas after mining (after returning the topsoil of course).
Yeah, unless they (mining companies) operate in PNG. Remember Ok Tedi? Or the cyanide spills in Romania and PNG.

Alcoa probably does better than most. But even so, how long does it take for the replanted area to return to a near natural state? Do you really think they are replacing the diversity stripped away with a few acres of seedlings?  I wonder if trees naturally grow in straight lines? Lets not forget that Alcoa recieves cheap electricity from the Gov of Victoria, brown coal generated of course, and from the top of my head consumes ~20% (28% according to here) and (18-25% according to The Age ) of the power in that state.

I don't doubt mining companies do some pretty wrong things when they can get away with it. What I am saying is that they CAN also act responsbility when the right environment is created to encourage them to act that way - and that acting that way will not stop new mines as was suggested earlier.

And by the way, Alcoa in Australia do far more than plant a few saplings in rows, they actually have a goal to eventually achieve the full biodiversity that was there previously. I've been to some of these rehabilitated areas 20 years on and its very hard to tell from natural (young) forest.

Efforts to improve plant richness in rehabilitated mines commenced in the mid 1970's, when the first studies were made of the seed content of forest soils. Practices to preserve seed viability in the soil and to separate the seed-rich topsoil from the remaining overburden were soon developed. In the late 80's we started to regularly monitor botanical richness in rehabilitated mine areas. In 1990 we recorded in our newly rehabilitated areas 65% of the number of plant species compared with adjacent native forest - and this was using best practice
rehabilitation methods of the time.

Since then, we have undertaken a ten year research and development program to further improve rehabilitation practices. An important part of our strategy was setting clear and measurable objectives that all levels in the company actively endorsed. The program started with 5 year improvement milestones. Our first milestone was to
achieve 80% of forest species richness... [snip]...
We have steadily increased botanical richness in our rehabilitated mines and in 2000, at our two operating
mines at Huntly and Willowdale, we achieved an average of 100.7% for all the rehabilitated areas.

This took major effort and required the research partnerships with the botanical departments at local universities, which would obviously not be possible in many parts of the world.

as I said Alcoa may do better than most, and I'm glad to hear that the replanting strategies appear to be guided by ecological knowledge... my snide remark about trees in rows may have been unjustified (in this case)... but I have seen examples of this kind of thinking.

I agree that mining companies can do good work, but as you said in your first post... some compulsion is neccessary... and some will from government.

There remains the question of the brown coal... do you know if ALCOA (for eg) plants extra area to moderate/account for the carbon emmissions?  And I do know that, Alcoa has also done some work into application of one of the waste streams as an adsorbing material for phosphorus (orthophosphate)... to prevent blue green algal blooms.

Latest news in the May 30,'06 Casper Star-Tribune (Wyoming-America's coal capitol) stated that the BLM is looking at leasing an additional two billion tons of coal (five years worth at current production levels). Overall, the BLM, which administers the coal under the private surface in the area, predicts that production from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming (it extends well into Montana) could increase from the current 400 million tons/yr to near 591 million tons per year in the next fourteen years. This doesn't include Montana which has even larger reserves of coal (see earlier TOD thread on Gov. Schweitzer's CTL proposal in easter Montana). This increase in production will not be possible without the planned $200 million dollar expansion of rail service by BNSFRR and UPRR to run triple track out of the basin. If you drive through the North Platte River valley of eastern WY and NE you would be astounded at the number and size of the coal trains moving both directions.   Add to this an all new rail line proposed to run through SD and southern MN and near approval by the Feds, we're going to have one heckuva hole in northeastern WY. Add to that thousand of miles of new power corridors, and proposed mine mouth power plants, while the folks on both coasts will enjoy the blessings of power, the high plains get excavated, covererd in dust, and drilled to oblivion (remember a LOT of the NG many of you use is coal bed methane produced in good ol' WYO. This increased coal production doesn't bode well for GW, does it? Buy in the Ozarks now while beach front property is still cheap!!
Sorry , but I don't know how to to hyperlink the articles but it's found at  I'm sure a quick Google search could find them.
Impressive as that is, it pales in comparison to what is going on in China.

So I think that China's share of worldwide increased CO2 emissions will increase greatly as developed countries at least limit growth if not reduce emissions.

If you include the full adress eg then the full address will appear.

If you use square brackets text full hyperlink then the text will appear as a hyperlink and the address hidden. This looks neater.

eg {look here }
replace curly brace with [ and ]
will appear as look here

The interesting point here is that the US coal production is growing very slowly. It grew about 1% a year from 2001 to 2005. Forecast for 2006 is 2%, but for 2007 nearly zero

The new mines mean only replaced depletion. This tells something about the real state of the US coal. EIA long range forecasts for coal are as dubious as their forecasts for oil and gas.

Update: EIA Weekly Coal tells that the year-to-date (5/20/06) growth was 2.4%. So the coal industry is mining now some more than forecasted.  
TI: Good point no one has mentioned. Oil goes from $10 to $70 and US coal production basically goes nowhere. Everybody assumes there is this huge storehouse of easily accessible coal, maybe some of this is BS (I don't have any knowledge on this one way or the other).
What would the US use it for, though?
I suppose they could export it to China and one day it may come to that. Who knows, perhaps it's started already.
I wonder what oil price makes CTL viable? (I have no idea other than obviously it is a lot higher than $75).
There are two points in this:

First, CTL is so expensive because its EROEI is so low, ie., the energy input for CTL is high and thus expensive. What is the cost of the energy input, depends on the energy price level. So when oil prices rise, so rise rise other energy prices and also the cost of CTL. CTL is always relatively more expensive so long its EROEi is lower than the average EROEI for all energy production. Only investment costs for existing plants do not rise, but the cost of new plants will.

Second, all the US coal produced is already used for something elese, mostly for electricity. It is unlikely that the coal production could increase so much as provide the necessary new supply for CTL, especially, when the natural gas in shortage.

The US did export coal to China (about 400 000 tons in 2004), but the exports stalled in 2005 (EIA). I don't have data for 2006. The US total coal exports in 2005 was 50 million tons.

The US also imported coal from China (150 000 tons on 2004, a little in 2005). The total US coal exports were 30 million tons in 2005. So the US is net coal exporter, but the amount is insignificant compared to the total production.

Coal exports and imports consists mostly of special quality coal (mainly coking/metallurgical coal for the steel industry) and sometimes coal is imported and exported for logistical reasons.

Coal prices have risen significantly along with the oil and gas prices. There is obviuosly more demand, but the production growth has really been rather modest.

Power.  30%+ of US electricity generation is coal fired.  As the gas price rises, utilities switch from gas fired generation to coal fired.

The big problem is transport costs.  It is usually cheaper to ship coal from Australia or Columbia, by ship, to a plant near the coast in the US Southeast, than it is to ship it by rail from Wyoming.

John McPhee had a really good 2 part piece in the New Yorker a few months back about riding with a coal train from Powder River to a power plant in Georgia, the largest in the USA.

Coking coal for steel making is rather less common in North America, although I believe there are still some deposits in the Appalachians and the Canadian Rockies.

He points out that if you look at all the shale oil that's available, there is enough to last between 80 and 90 years

This guy surely doesn't know what an exponencial curve is. And people still listen to him; it's these kind of misconceptions that really make me fear for our future.

According to Jackson, technological advances have already boosted recovery rates in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea from between 30 per cent and 35 per cent in the 1980s to between 60 and 65 per cent. He says that the "peakists" discount the additional amount of oil from such field upgrades

Is he right - exactly what are these technologies he hints at and could they really boost recovery rates to 60% ? I would like to see this topic covered on TOD - or perhaps it has been already.

But then if he is right, why is Norwegian production declining Hubbert style - are these technologies so new that they haven't been applied widely enough yet to show in the production numbers.

As a "peakist" I would like to know if I am "discounting"

"But then if he is right, why is Norwegian production declining Hubbert style - are these technologies so new that they haven't been applied widely enough yet to show in the production numbers."

This is a point that I made in a proposed Peak Oil op-ed piece that Alanfrombigeasy and Bart (from the Energy Bulletin) contributed to, to-wit, the North Sea peaked at almost exactly the same mathematical (HL) point as the Lower 48, 29 years later than the Lower 48.  So much for better technology.

These guys are just shills endlessly repeating the same talking points, same as the no-climate-change liars.
London rules require 1 fare per cab.  They would lose their license if they break that.

(there are special, different arrangements during tube and bus strikes).

London rules require 1 fare per cab.

Where did you get this idea from Valuethinker? Have you been ripped off as a gullible visitor by as London taxi? Official taxis, those that can ply for hire without being pre-booked, require a Hackney Carriage Licence and have a plate on the back stating the maximum number of passengers. The most common Fairline black London taxis are licensed for 6 passengers. There is no extra charge for extra passengers. Exceeding this number is a grave offence but there are certainly no rules about single fares.

To obtain a Hackney carriage licence in London requires passing what is probably the most stringent such test in the world, known popularly as "the knowledge". It requires memorising the quickest route between any two roads of the 25,000 roads in central London and requires at least two years study usually by cycling around day after day.

I think he means that once the cabdriver has picked up one fare or party, he can't wait or stop for another until he's taken them to their destination.
When Russians first come to London, they're always astonished that you can't just wave down any passing car and agree on a price ...
Yes you are right.

By 'one fare' I do mean one destination.  Different rules apply during transit strikes.

A maximum of 5 people ie 1 per seat- -they will lose their license if they take more, so they will not take more.

Despite The Economist's constant opposition to the London cab system, it is the wonder of the world.  You get into a cab, the guy speaks the same language, and he knows how to get to where you are going.  Also the cab is clean, and cabbies are amongst London's safest drivers.  And those purpose built cabs have an ultra tight turning circle which lets them get up and down London streets.  Also London cabbies cooperate, which means they give each other courtesy of the road. It is expensive, but it works.

Let's pick Toronto as a counterexample.  You are lucky if the guy speaks English, he will not know your destination, I have sat in a cab in Toronto whilst the cabby drove through a red light with map balanced on his knees, looking how to get to my destination.

I have sat in cabs in Boston and been terrified for my life by the driving.

FWIW I've lived in London long enough to have detailed conversations with cabbies about the 'best route' from A to B.  In hundreds of cab rides, I can only think of one or two where I feel I was consciously ripped off by a cabbie-- in a couple of cases, they have offered refunds because they made a bad decision re traffic or construction.

One destination ie one fare = one destination.

I believe all the cabs now are licensed for 5, not for 6.  Because the passenger has to be able to wear a seatbelt (and is required to, by law).