Coal Shock Model

This is a guest post by Dennis Coyne.

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Ron Patterson.


The eventual peak in World fossil fuel output is a potentially serious problem for human civilization. Many people have studied this problem, including Jean Laherrere, Steve Mohr, Paul Pukite (aka Webhubbletelescope), and David Rutledge.

I have found Steve Mohr’s work the most comprehensive as he covered coal, oil, and natural gas from both the supply and demand perspective in his PhD Thesis. Jean Laherrere has studied the problem extensively with his focus primarily on oil and natural gas, but with some exploration of the coal resource as well. David Rutledge has studied the coal resource using linearization techniques on the production data (which he calls logit and probit).

Paul Pukite introduced the Shock Model with dispersive discovery which he has used primarily to look at how oil and natural gas resources are developed and extracted over time. In the past I have attempted to apply Paul Pukite’s Shock Model (in a simplified form) to the discovery data found in Jean Laherrere’s work for both oil and natural gas, using the analysis of Steve Mohr as a guide for the URR of my low and high scenarios along with the insight gleaned from Hubbert Linearization.

In the current post I will apply the Shock model to the coal resource, again trying to build on the work of Mohr, Rutledge, Laherrere, and Pukite.

A summary of URR estimates for World coal are below:


The “Laherrere+Rutledge” estimate uses the Rutledge best estimate for the low case and Laherrere’s low and medium cases for the medium and high cases. Laherrere also has a high case of 750 Gtoe for the World coal URR, which seems too optimistic in my opinion. The “high” estimate of Steve Mohr has been reduced from his “Case 3” estimate of 670 Gtoe by 40 Gtoe because I have assumed lignite and black coal resources are lower than his high estimate.

An update of David Rutledge’s estimate using the latest BP data through 2014 gives a URR of about 400 billion tonnes of oil equivalent (Gtoe) for coal. The Rutledge 2009 estimate was about 350 Gtoe.

My initial estimate was in billions of tonnes (Gt) of coal at 800 Gt for the low estimate (a round number near Steve Mohr’s low estimate of 770 Gt) and 1300 Gt for the high estimate (about the same as Steve Mohr’s high estimate), my medium estimate was simply the average of the high and low estimates. I came across Jean Laherrere’s estimate after I had developed my model, surprisingly his medium estimate is a little higher than my guess, which is usually not the case (for other fossil fuels).

I do not have access to discovery data for coal, but based on World Resource estimates gathered by David Rutledge, most coal resources had been discovered by the 1930s. I developed simple dispersive discovery models with peak discovery around 1900 for each of the three cases, these are rough estimates, I only know is that coal was discovered over time. The cumulative coal discovery models in Gtoe are shown in the chart below for the low, medium and high URR cases.


In each case about 75% of coal discovery was prior to 1940.
Coal resources have been developed very slowly, especially since the discovery of oil and natural gas. As a simplification I assume that the rate that the discovered coal is developed remains constant over time.

A maximum entropy probability density function with a mean time from discovery to first production of 100 years is used to approximate how quickly new proved developed producing reserves are added to any reserves already producing each year. For example a 1000 million tonne of oil equivalent (1 Gtoe) coal discovery would be developed (on average) as shown in the chart below:


Reading from the chart, about 9 Mtoe of new producing reserves would be developed from this 1850 discovery in 1860 and about 5 Mtoe of new producing reserves would be developed in 1920. About half of the 1000 Mt discovered in 1850 would have become producing reserves by 1920, so the median time from discovery to producing reserve is about 70 years (the mean is 100 years due to the long tail of the exponential probability density function).

The model takes all the discoveries for each year and applies the probability density function (pdf) above to each year’s discoveries (the pdf is 1000 less than shown in the chart because we multiplied the pdf by 1000 to show the new producing reserves in Mtoe.) Then the new producing reserves from each year’s discoveries are simply added together in a spreadsheet, not complicated, just an accounting exercise.
The new producing reserves curve (when everything is added up) is shown below for the medium URR case (510 Gtoe):


Each year new producing reserves are added to the pool of producing reserves while some of these reserves are produced and become fossil fuel output. This is indicated schematically below:


If the Fossil fuel output is less than the new producing reserves added in any year, then the producing reserves would increase during that year, if the reverse is true they would decrease.

The fossil fuel output divided by the producing reserves is called the extraction rate.

Using data from David Rutledge for fossil fuel output to 1980 and data from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy from 1981 to 2014, I extrapolated the extraction rate trend from 2000 to 2014 to estimate future coal output. The chart below shows the discovery curve, new producing reserves curve, and the output curve for the scenario with a URR of 510 Gtoe.


Note that when new producing reserves are more than output the producing reserves will increase (up to 1986), after 1993 output is higher than the new producing reserves added each year so producing reserves start to decrease. Producing reserves are in the following chart for the medium scenario (URR=510 Gtoe).


The fall in producing reserves combined with increased World output of coal from 2000 to 2013 required an increase in extraction rates from 1.5% to 2.9%. I assume after 2014 that this increase in extraction rates continues at a similar rate until reaching 4% in 2026 and then extraction rates gradually flatten, reaching 5.1% in 2070.

Clearly I do not know the future extraction rate, this is an estimate assuming recent trends continue. For this scenario with a coal URR of 510 Gtoe output peaks in 2026 at about 4250 Mtoe/year.


For the low and high URR cases the details of the analysis are covered at the end of the post. The extraction rate trend from 2000 to 2014 was also extended until a peak was reached and then the increase in extraction rates were assumed to lessen until a constant rate of extraction was reached.

The three scenarios(low, medium, and high) are presented in the chart below.


The low scenario peaks in 2013 at about 4 Gtoe/a, the medium scenario peaks in 2025 at about 4.3 Gtoe/a, and the high scenario peaks in 2045 at about 4.9 Gtoe/a. Note that the medium scenario is not my best estimate, it is simply a scenario between possible low or high URR cases, reality might fall on any path between the high and low scenarios, depending on the eventual URR and extraction rates in the future.

A blog post by Luis de Sousa covered Jean Laherrere’s estimate of future coal output with URR between 550 Gtoe and 750 Gtoe.


For comparison, I have adjusted my chart (shown above) to have a similar scale as Jean Laherrere’s chart.

Note that only the two higher scenarios in my chart can be roughly compared with the lower two scenarios in Laherrere’s chart (510 compared with 550 Gtoe and 630 compared with 650 Gtoe). My scenarios peak at higher output at a later year and decline more steeply as a result.

The chart below is Steve Mohr’s medium independently dynamic scenario, where supply responds to coal demand.


The Chart above labelled C Case 2 is figure 5-8 from page 69 of Steve Mohr’s PhD Dissertation, the peak output is 210 EJ/year in 2019 (from Table 5-7 on page 71), Case 2 has a URR of 19.4 ZJ or 465 Gtoe (ZJ=zettajoule=1E21 J). My medium scenario (URR of 21.3 ZJ) has a lower peak output of 180 EJ/year, which occurs 6 years later than Mohr’s scenario. (1 Gtoe=41.868 EJ=4.1868E-2 ZJ).

It is interesting that Jean Laherrere’s larger URR scenario (550 Gtoe) has a peak of 4 Gtoe/year, while Mohr’s smaller URR (465 Gtoe) has a peak of 5 Gtoe/year. Mohr’s scenario was created in 2010 before the 2014 slowdown in Chinese coal consumption and he may have assumed that China and India would resume their rapid increase in coal consumption from 2010 to 2025. Jean Laherrere’s scenario was created in 2015 and in his 550 Gtoe scenario he may assume that the recent decrease in World coal output (in 2014) will continue in the future.

My medium scenario (510 Gtoe) is between Mohr’s medium (case 2) scenario and Laherrere’s low scenario. I have created two new scenarios using a URR of 510 Gtoe which match the peak output of Laherrere’s 550 Gtoe scenario and Mohr’s 465 Gtoe scenario. I have also created a “plateau” scenario with URR=510 Gtoe with World output remaining at the 2014 level until 2025. The various scenarios are presented in the chart below.


The extraction rates in the 4 different 510 Gtoe scenarios can be compared in the chart that follows.


Generally  a higher peak in output leads to steeper annual decline rates, the chart below compares annual decline rates for the 4 different 510 Gtoe URR scenarios.



Coal is an important energy resource, but we do not know how the size of the economically recoverable resource that will eventually be recovered. The mainstream view is that there are extensive coal resources that are economically recoverable, research by Rutledge, Mohr, and Laherrere contradicts this view.

My estimates of the coal URR are based on the work of David Rutledge and Steve Mohr. Recent work by Jean Laherrere has coal URR estimates which are higher than my estimates, his medium scenario (650 Gtoe) is higher than my high case (630 Gtoe) and his estimates are usually conservative. My estimate may be too conservative, though my medium case (URR=510 Gtoe) is somewhat higher than the best estimate of Steve Mohr (465 Gtoe), whose work on coal is the best that I have found.

The average of the best estimate of Mohr and Laherrere’s medium case is about 550 Gtoe, a little higher than my medium case and similar to Laherrere’s low case. Based on the recent work by Laherrere, my best estimate would be 560 Gtoe (570 Gtoe is the average of my medium and high cases and 550 Gtoe is the average of the Mohr and Laherrere medium cases, the average of all 4 is 560 Gtoe).

The peak for world coal output will be sooner than most people think, the range is 2013 to 2045, my estimate is 2025 to 2030 with peak output between 4 and 5 Gtoe/year (2014 output was about 4 Gtoe/year).

Works Cited

De Sousa, Luis. “Peak Coal in China and the World, by Jean Laherrère.” Web. 11 March. 2016.

Mohr, Steve. Projection of world fossil fuel production with supply and demand interactions. 2010. Web. 11 March. 2016.

Oil Conundrum. Web. 11 March. 2016.

Rutledge, David. “Estimating long-term world coal production with logit and probit transforms.” International Journal of Coal Geology. 85 (2011): 23-33. Web. 11 March. 2016.

Appendix with details of Low and High cases

With links to Excel files at end of appendix

Low case-URR=390 Gtoe





High Case- URR=630 Gtoe





Further reading

Oil Shock Model Simplified

Oil Shock Model with Different URRs

Natural Gas Shock Model

Links to excel files with models

Low case

Medium case

High Case

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383 Responses to Coal Shock Model

  1. Dennis Coyne says:

    Hi everyone,

    Ron just sent me an e-mail on the Bakken Data.

    He says:

    Bakken production down
    ​North Dakota down

    ​He is busy today and will have a post up in a couple of days.

    He sent me the chart below.
    ​ ​

    • shallow sand says:

      Dennis: Not to steal your thunder concerning your post, but the last two months’ ND data indicate an annualized decline of approximately 30%.

      Way too early to tell, but if that rate held up throughout 2016, by year end ND production would be in the low 800K range, by my math at least.

      If that occurs, I question whether the 12/14 peak could be surpassed. I suppose if operators work through their DUC inventories this year, assuming prices rebound enough, 800K range is out of question, but I think below 1 million is very likely.

      Seems to be the possibility of a decrease of 200K-400K in one state over a two year period is noteworthy.

      • AlexS says:

        shallow sand,

        I think that ND production could decline to 800 kb/d by year-end only if very few new wells are drilled and completed.

        Theoretically, the December 2014 peak could be surpassed, but only several years from now, and only if oil prices stay at relatively high levels (above $70) for at least 2-3 years.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi AlexS,

          Interesting that the scenario I created matches your estimate, or Shallow sands.

          I assume the completion rate falls to 50 new wells per month by May and stays at that level until Dec 2016.

          • AlexS says:


            I actually expect ND rig count and completion activity to rebound in the second half of the year. Therefore, oil production is unlikely to drop to 800 kb/d, in my view.

            • shallow sand says:

              AlexS. I suspect completion activity will outpace new wells drilled in ND in 2016.

              It may very well wind up that not many rigs are returned, yet production decline is slowed by completion of DUC’s.

              It is beyond me to predict what price will cause increased activity. Whatever the price, I am sure it is below the level that I think is profitable.

              One thing we do not know, but should factor in, is how many more rife can be fit into the remaining “sweet spots”. I have recently read a prediction that we need to see $60-70 WTI to see many rigs added as additions will primarily be to more marginal areas.

              • AlexS says:

                shallow sand,

                “I suspect completion activity will outpace new wells drilled in ND in 2016.
                It may very well wind up that not many rigs are returned, yet production decline is slowed by completion of DUC’s. ”

                I agree

                “It is beyond me to predict what price will cause increased activity.”

                I think U.S. oil rig count may stabilize by mid-year and will start to slowly increase in the second half of the year.

                “Whatever the price, I am sure it is below the level that I think is profitable.”

                Exactly. Drilling activity will start increasing at price levels below breakeven.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi AlexS.

                  Let’s say the average well breaks even at $75/b, at what price level would you expect drilling activity to increase?

                  My opinion is this does not happen at less than $50/b, but I can’t seem to get this right so I am interested in other opinions.

                  • AlexS says:


                    I think that the rig count may stabilize if oil prices stay for some time at $40-45 levels.
                    At $50 there will be a slow recovery.
                    At $60 it will accelerate. But even at $70-80 drilling/completion activity will not reach the levels of 2012-14.

                    From what I know, the average well at sweet spots now breakevens at prices below $75, probably at $65.

                    Shale companies have been destroying value at $100 and they will continue to do so at $50. Investors and lenders will be happy to finance them. The markets have a very short memory.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Thanks sounds reasonable.

        • Heinrich Leopold says:

          ALexS, shallow sand, Dennis

          In my view actual spuds are very important for production numbers (see below chart).

          Hovering around 100 per month during 2015, spuds plunged in February 2016 to a multi year low of 29.

          In my opinion, the industry has finally cut production in earnest. This is very likely the main reason for the recent price recovery. The latest action provides a good basis for a significant price rise in the fall of 2016.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Heinrich,

            There are still a fair number of DUCs in the Bakken/Three Forks and there were about 75 wells per month completed on average for the past 3 months in North Dakota (probably 99% of these were Bakken/Three Forks wells).

            Could you define “significant rise in oil prices”? Do you think $70/b by December 2016 (average monthly price for some month from June to December 2016) is likely? If no, what is your expectation for the highest average monthly oil price for 2016 (Brent or WTI whichever you prefer)?

        • I believe now is the time to start preparing permits, locations and contracts. The idea would be to be ready to drill new wells starting this summer. But I would only drill from existing pads or to get acreage.

          Completing wells held back from last year may me a good idea. I bet prices can be haggled at 30 % off the price in late 2014?

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Shallow Sand,

        A Scenario below.

        Check out Enno Peters site

      • Enno Peters says:

        Shallow, Alex, Dennis,

        I expect to see a lower number of completions in the coming months. Probably this will lead to several monthly of drops > 20 kbo/d, followed by several months of declines in the teens (kbo/d).

        So ND (as a whole) will drop below 1.1 mbo/d in Feb or March.
        The 1.0 mbo/d level will be breached in my estimation later this year, somewhere between May and October (my best guess now is July).
        The 0.9 mbo/d level may be breached at the end of the year if the number of completions this year is really low (<45/month) the whole year, but there is a very large uncertainty.

        The decline rate itself will drop quite a bit for the remaining production after this. I don't dare to say anything beyond these projections, as any projection can be wildly wrong over a larger period when the trend changes slightly.

    • Verwimp says:

      That’s an ‘I told You so’ 🙂

      • Dave P says:

        Can you clue me in on this ‘I told you so’?

        • Verwimp says:

          Sure, Dave. 2 years and 2 months ago I built a model that described the past production of NDBakken, and that sort of ‘predicted’ the then future production. So far the model has been correct. The difference between the January 2016 production number and the modelled value equals 0.3%.

        • Verwimp says:

          The model’s updated graph is here:
          Or you can check last months Ronpost on Bakken:

          • shallow sand says:


            I have to hand it to you.

            I admittedly had not paid a lot of attention to your model as I am ultra economics focused, due to the impact economics has on my conventional investments.

            I had just assumed there was a drop in production due to a steep drop in new wells.

            However, a cursory review of the North Dakota Bakken Production PDF discloses the following with regard to wells added and increase (decrease) in production, year over year.

            So you understand what I am driving at, I simply started with 12/08 bopd and producing wells, subtracted that from 12/07, and reported same. I then did the same for 12/09 subtracted from 12/08 and so on to 12/15 subtracted from 12/14.

            Here is what I got:

            Year. Additional wells. Additional barrels of oil per day.

            12/08. 422. 79,620
            12/09. 434. 51,794.
            12/10. 732. 109,231.
            12/11. 1,211. 196,364.
            12/12. 1,773. 234,033.
            12/13. 1,792. 161,886.
            12/14. 2,110. 297,904.
            12/15. 1,422. (69,681).

            There were clearly still a lot of wells added in 2015, more than in all but three prior years, and really not that many less than any year except 2014.

            Please explain again how you came up with this, or direct me to where you do explain. I apologize in advance for not paying attention.

            Clearly, I still am a firm believer that economics matter. However, had there been the same number of wells added in 2015 as 2014, it is obvious that there would not have been production growth anywhere near the ballpark of 2014

            Disclaimer, I realize there may be some funky things going on with how ND reports well count. However, unless there is something way off, by looking at the numbers in this manner, I see no way the ND Bakken returns to its peak, absent a tremendously higher number of additional wells being added quickly.

            Dennis and Enno, you look at these production numbers closely. Do I have something strong? What do you think?

            • shallow sand says:

              I’m going to add the economic/debt component to Bruno Verwimp’s model.

              My not so good eyes show the following gross Bakken production for the corresponding years regarding the model:

              Year end 2016: 900,000 bopd.
              2019: 300,000
              2020: 200,000

              Of course, with debt maturing in the years 2018-2020 in rather large numbers for the Bakken producers, assuming the model, Bakken producers are toast. A return to $100 WTI doesn’t help enough.

              I recall Harold Hamm in 2014 stating that the Williston Basin would produce 2 million bopd. That clearly was impossible without adding another 400-600 rigs and the same exponential number of completion crews.

              Again, I am not totally buying into the model, but the historical data is lending it a lot of credence.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Shallow sand,

                So far average well profiles have not decreased in the Bakken. My model assumes that the average well EUR starts to decrease in 2017. The output is decreasing because fewer new wells have been completed, in the last three months the annual completion rate has been about 900 wells per year, this is less than half the peak annual rate.

                If the oil price never recovers, then the Hubbert model may be correct, but this is not a likely scenario. This will be clear by 2018.

                • shallow sand says:

                  Dennis. I think we are ignoring the effect of two things.

                  1. EOG and Whiting had some superior wells 2013 and prior that have just about petered out, and their 2014-15 wells are inferior.

                  2. As more wells are producing in the entire field, it takes increasing well additions to keep up. Just look at my post. 2008 and 2009 as well as 2012 and 2013 both had similar numbers of well completions, yet 2009 and 2013 had less in the way of additional production. I suspect had 2015 had similar number of well completions as 2014, we would have seen the same thing.

                  I do not disagree that economics plays a large part. However, it is not all of the equation. There will likely never be more than 200 rigs running in the Bakken, at least not until at least 2018 or 2019. The memory of this collapse is not going to go away quickly. So, therefore, it will be impossible, without some time of EOR breakthrough, to again go back to the 12/14 peak, IMO.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Shallow sand,

                    I have run the numbers, we might not get back to the previous peak, it depends on rig efficiency, the 200 rigs were only resulting in at most 200 wells per rig per year being completed.

                    If the efficient rigs are used and fracking crews are adequate, then 100 rigs can result in 150 new wells per month completed. That model gets to 1136 kb/d in 2022 with declining new well EUR starting in June 2017, it does not get to the Dec 2014 peak (1163 kb/d), but fairly close.
                    There are 150 new wells per month are added from Sept 2018 to June 2022 with a gradual ramp up in wells completed from 50 in Dec 2016 to 150 in Sept 2018. After June 2018 new well EUR decreases by 6% per year (with a gradual increase in the rate of decrease over the previous 12 months.)
                    It is assumed that the sweet spots run out of room by mid 2017 and that poorer locations have to be drilled.

                • AlexS says:

                  shallow sand,

                  1/ The average new well productivity in the Bakken and other key LTO plays is improving (see the chart below)

                  2/ Drilling practices are improving (pad drilling, moving rigs, etc.) and newer rigs are more efficient than the old ones. Therefore, the average time to drill a well is decreasing, and much less rigs are needed to drill the same number of wells.

                  3/ When there were 200 rigs in the Bakken, production there was increasing at 30-40% p.a.

                  My conclusion is that, with higher prices (at least $70-80), oil production in the Bakken could exceed the Dec. 2014 peak. That will not happen in the near future, but that is possible.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi AlexS,

                    There has been some improvement in well quality, but if we focus on only Bakken/Three Forks wells, the increase in new well EUR will be pretty marginal (10 to 15 kb increase on an EUR of 330 kb of oil).

                    The increase in the Eagle Ford may have been more substantial (I don’t have as good data for the Eagle Ford).

                    I agree on the other points, better rig efficiency etc.

                  • Enno Peters says:


                    Interesting discussion.

                    Regarding 1. Improving well productivity.
                    I recommend checking the well quality of wells from the 4 most productive counties in ND (McKenzie, Mountrail, Williams & Dunn). If you only select these counties on my site, you will see that the improvements in well productivity are, on average, almost non-existent (since 2013). In 2015 about 30% fewer wells were drilled in these counties, so if we assume that there was at least some focus on the sweet spots within these counties, there may have been no improvements in well design at all (since 2013), just a focus on better rock with fewer wells.

                  • AlexS says:

                    Enno, Dennis,

                    thanks for important clarification.

              • Verwimp says:

                Apart from my comment below (above?): I do believe the economy and the price-environment is an important factor. But -sort of- in second order. No one can predict the future, so people do not tend to invest their money in what will surely give profit, but in what they believe that will give profit. It’s a matter of expectations, rather than security.
                The stock market works the same way: Once you are ‘sure’ you will earn money, you are too late: you should have been ‘in’ a long time before: once the expectations were bullish.
                The shale boom thanks it’s existence to rising oil prices in the 2000-2008 period. The price crash of 2008 only had a minor effect on production. Why would the 2014-15 price crash have a major effect on production? The expectation is still (there is still rigging and fracking going on!) sort of bullish in the eyes of some companies.
                On the other hand: take a look at North Sea Oil Production. It has been going down down down despite rising prices. Why? Hubbert in action!

                • AlexS says:

                  “The shale boom thanks it’s existence to rising oil prices in the 2000-2008 period.”

                  In 2000-2008, there was a shale gas boom.
                  Tight oil industry was still in infancy.
                  The LTO boom started only in 2011

                  U.S. tight oil production (mb/d)
                  Source: EIA

                • AlexS says:

                  “The price crash of 2008 only had a minor effect on production. Why would the 2014-15 price crash have a major effect on production?”

                  1/ 2008-early 2009 price crash was much shorter in time. Oil prices reached $60 by mid-2009, were in the $70-85 range from October 2009 and approached $100 by the end of 2010.

                  Brent oil price in 2008-2010 and 2014-2016
                  (chart starts in June 2008 and June 2014, respectively)

                • AlexS says:

                  2/ In 2008-09 the U.S. oil production was dominated by conventional fields, which require much less rigs and new wells to maintain stable output.
                  By contrast, today LTO accounts for about a half of total U.S. oil production.
                  And a lot of new wells should be drilled just to keep LTO production at the same levels.
                  Therefore the change in LTO production strongly correlates with the number of oil rigs.

                  Y-o-Y change in Bakken oil production vs. oil rig count

                • AlexS says:

                  And the rig count with a time lag follows the trend in oil prices

                  Bakken oil rig count vs. WTI oil price

                • AlexS says:

                  Saying that a three-fold drop in oil prices and a five-fold reduction in rig count didn’t have any impact on oil production in the Bakken is just ridiculous, in my view.
                  Especially as before the fall in oil prices there was no evidence of a decline or a sharp deceleration in oil production in the Bakken.

                • AlexS says:

                  I think that the Bakken and other U.S. shales production curve will not be like Hubbert bell-shaped curve.
                  With gradually rising oil prices, it will look more or less like in the chart below from the IEA Medium-Term Oil Market Outlook 2016 (with a peak in early 2020s).

                • AlexS says:

                  “On the other hand: take a look at North Sea Oil Production. It has been going down down down despite rising prices. Why? Hubbert in action!”

                  Oil production in the North Sea has actually increased in 2014 and 2015, which was a direct result of large investments made during the years of high oil prices. Production was up in Norway in both 2014 and 2015, and even in the U.K., where the fields are generally more mature, in 2015.

                  However lower prices and lower investments are taking their toll on output levels, which are projected to resume decline.

                  Crude, condensate, and NGLs production in the North Sea (mb/d)
                  Source: EIA Short-Term Oil Market Report, March 2016

                  • shallow sand says:

                    AlexS. While I agree with you, to me also economics is a key factor, to keep increasing shale production to higher and higher levels requires many more wells added. The actual data I posted bears that out.

                    Hypothetically, I doubt if the same number of wells were added in Bakken in 2016 as 2015, there would be any increase, in fact the numbers show there would likely be a larger decrease in 2016. Added wells have more and more declining old wells each year to offset.

                    Of course, as it appears wells added in 2016 could fall back to 2008-2009 levels, production could really fall.

                    I guess maybe if you could point to some US fields where production peaked, then fell, then passed the previous peak, I might be convinced. (Absent discovery of a prolific new producing zone(s) or EOR).

                    Exceptions, I agree, might be fields in countries outside USA, where the field is controlled by the sovereign, and developed in some kind of a plan.

                    The 21st century shale fields in the US are classic oil boom stories akin to oil booms in the US in the 19th and early 20th centuries, in places like PA, TX, CA and OK.

                    I assume you have seen photos of Spindletop in TX, or Signal Hill in CA. Derricks literally touching each other. We are seeing the same thing in the US shale fields, albeit with better tech and lesser rock. Mike’s beloved 330′ spacing for 15-20k ft. horizontals are 21st century Spindletop.

                    I will give you an example, our little old field. It experienced a classic boom. Hundreds of companies and thousands of workers poured in. Gushers galore, many 1000+ IP from 350-1,800′.

                    12/31/15 cumulative is 278 million BO.
                    We has a classic early 20th century boom with incredible drilling in the first five years, and then tapering off greatly thereafter.

                    The first five years saw 74 million BO of the cumulative 278 million BO produced, with the remaining 204 million BO coming in years 6-111.

                    Further, without the advent of secondary recovery post WW2, years 6-111 cumulative BO likely is well less than half the 204 million BO.

                    Prior to the secondary recovery projects, production fell from an annual high of 37 million BO to 1.28 million BO over an almost 40 year period. Then, production gradually increased, hitting 4.2 million BO annual, before falling back. Never came close to the original primary production annual peak.

                    One noteworthy difference, shale boomed due to price, early US booms were primarily driven by abundant, easy to find and produce oil.

                    So, maybe you get sustained $120+ WTI, you build back up to the necessary 300+ rigs needed in the Bakken to take production from sub 900K to 1.3 million BOPD?

                    I think there are two Red Queens at play, to steal from Rune. One economic, one not. When they work together makes lives of LTO CEOs pretty tough. Make lives of the LTO hands even worse.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Shallow sand,

                    Give me a guess on how many wells will be completed in 2016 in the Bakken and I will show you what the model result is.

                    If the new wells added per month return to 180 new wells per month (about the maximum 12 month average for new Bakken/Three Forks wells), we get the scenario below.

                    Note that I don’t think this is realistic, but shows what might happen if oil prices reach more than $90/b.

                    A more realistic scenario would have this occur in 2018 or 2019. Note that the trailing 12 month average for new wells added per month in the ND Bakken/Three Forks was 177 new wells per month in May 2015. The maximum was 187 new wells per month on average for the 12 months ending in March 2015.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi AlexS,

                    I am convinced, but many others may not be until oil prices increase to $75/b and the completion rate gradually increases. This may not begin until 2017 and gradually ramp up so that by Dec 2018 we might see 130 or more new wells per month completed, then output will increase, but not return to the previous peak. If new wells added per month increases to 160 new wells per month a new peak may be reached. Scenario below.

            • Verwimp says:

              Hi Shallow Sand,
              Thanks for your comment.
              What I like about the ND Bakken dataset is the reliability of it. The Department of Mineral Resourses publishes every month and the revisions are very low most of the time.
              What I like about Peak Oil blogs and forums like this one is the (most of the time) mature discussion on the effects peak oil will have on our societies.
              Reading theories about Peak Oil, one cannot escape the theory of the Hubbert-curve, an AD 1956 attempt to model reality and to ‘predict’ the timing of maximum production – i.e. ‘The Peak’.
              Altough there is a tremendous amount of data worldwide of oil fields, plays, of producing countries that did not follow the Hubber Curve, I just found the ND Bakken data matching a Hubbert curve almost exactly prior to December 2013. So the only thing I did was apply the theory of M.K. Hubbert, adjusted with a seasonal correction. As you may know the price of oil is no parameter in the definition of this curve.
              Due to the seasonal ups and downs, I wanted to warn the readers of this blog that the period 2014-2015 might show different peaks, it was predictable that it would be a ‘bumpy ride’.

              Much to my own surprise now, 26 months after I built the model, every new datapoint released by the department of Mineral Resources matches the curve almost exactly.

              The model was able to describe, in advance, with a smaller or bigger gap between the data and the model, all of the following items:
              – Steepness and extend of the upgoing curve prior to the plateau,
              – Timing, duration ‘bumpyness’ and altitude of the plateau,
              – Steepness of the downgoing curve post peak (so far),

              All of this might be just a coincidence, but as you write: “but the historical data is lending it a lot of credence.” I would like to add: So far nothing really happened to the dataset. The dataset is still reliable and the data are still following that same Hubbert Curve precisely. The Linearisation of the data is still the same strait line. I am waiting for next datapoint: that should lay far beneath the line, indicating the winter dip (which we did not yet experience so far this year!)

              Once upon a time the data will break out of the model. That will be clear in the dataset, in the first derivative and in the linearisation. So far the first derivative and the linearisation are right on track, so the things going on in the dataset so far are no indication of policy changes, nor indications of sudden severe price consequenses kicking in. That is what I believe: that is what I read in this fabulously reliable data set.

              ND Bakken is in decline and will be in decline forever, unless a new game changer (like fracking used to be) sets in. A new upward price shock might trigger that game changer.

              What I like about this discussion about price consequenses of oil production is the sometimes hollow and eery sounding argumentation, sometimes internally inconsistent, breathing an atmosphere of desperation: “Give us higher prices, so we can produce oil again, so we can go on with our fixation on growth, so we can push away the inevitable: Peak Oil.” I think it’s kind of charming to read this sort of argumentation on a peak oil blog. I have read a lot of counterarguments: “This model must be wrong!” altough, so far, it hasn’t done anything else but prooven to be right.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                As I have said before there have been many cases where over 5 year periods a set of data points were along a straight line in a Hubbert linearization, the problem is over that short a time period and when the annual production divided by cumulative production is more than 10% the straight line no longer fits the data.

                If oil prices remain low the drilling rate will remain low, within a year of prices rising to $70/b or more, the drilling rate will increase and output will increase in the Bakken/ Three Forks.

                Any predictions of future oil output that are correct (including my own) are simply lucky guesses.

                If I knew in advance how many wells would be drilled each month I could predict output fairly closely.
                By Dec 2018 it will be clear that the Hubbert model is wrong, output is likely to be over 800 kb/d at that point while Verwimp’s model has output at approximately 430 kb/d in Dec 2018.

                • Verwimp says:

                  Dennis, Why are we reading, here on POB, that ND Bakken is in decline and Eagle Ford is ‘Still on a plateau’? We know the same fracking operations are taking place, the same global oil price is valid, the same … . The only variable is local geology. Bakken is running out of oil right now, Eagle Ford not yet. That is the only difference.
                  Once again you make a statement Hubbert is wrong, while my Hubbert-based model is only 0.3% besides reality 26 months after the model was built! Please allow me to find that strange!
                  Now you make a solid claim on ND Bakken production in 2018: The only thing I can say is: “Challenge accepted!” We will see.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Verwimp,

                    Note that the annual production divided by cumulative production is 0.24 in your chart or 24%, it is too early to get a reliable estimate of URR using Hubbert Linearization. The average EUR of Bakken Three Forks wells is about 330 kb in North Dakota. A 4 Gb URR estimate suggests about 12,000 average wells. There have been about 10,800 wells drilled in the Bakken/Three Forks in total and 10,300 since Jan 2008, so you expect only 1700 more wells will be drilled?

                    I think the USGS will be correct and about 10 to 11 Gb of C+C will be extracted from the Bakken/Three Forks of North Dakota.

                    Also note that the EIA’s estimate of ND proven reserves is about 6 Gb, about 5.5 Gb is Bakken/Three Forks proven reserves.

                    Typically proved plus probable (2P) reserves are about 50% more than proved reserves, in this case 2P=8.3 Gb, cumulative output was 1.2 Gb at the end of 2014, so that suggests a minimum URR of 9.5 Gb if there are no new discoveries or reserve growth in the future.

                    On Eagle Ford vs Bakken, yes there are local differences, the transport cost to refineries are much lower for the Eagle Ford so there is a competitive advantage there, also the Bakken is running out of oil that is profitable to produce at under $40/b.

                    At $80/b things will be very different.

                • shallow sand says:

                  Dennis. If the EIA is correct, and WTI averages $43 or les through 12/17, the model will be correct as ND Bakken will almost cease in adding new wells.

                  The companies will have no ability to add more than a few wells each, except for maybe XTO and Statoil, both will likely not needlessly burn so much cash.

                  By 12/18, there will be a very significant number of wells producing under 1K per month. If only about 300 wells are added in per year 2016-2018, what do you think production will be?

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Shallow Sand,

                  If 300 new wells per year are added from Feb 2016 to Dec 2018 (25 new wells per month), then output falls to 560 kb/d by Dec 2018.

                  Do you think that scenario is realistic? I don’t.

              • Lightsout says:

                Hi Shallow.

                Always enjoy reading your posts gives a real feeling for the reality on the ground. However I suspect that the shale plays will behave very differently than your old conventional field. In your field there is a degree of connectivity throughout the reservoir so the first wells benefit from the whole field pressure as the oil starts to move.
                Shale plays are a very different beast and each well only draws from a very small area in effect the surrounding rock remains virgin territory so if drilling was ramped up enough a new peak could occur.
                The obvious potential problem is of course that the sweet spots have been exhausted.

                Still I did read recently that a new shale play has been discovered on the north slope so still plenty of opportunity to throw money around.

  2. XT5 says:

    Conclusion : Humans have enough fossil fuel to cook planet earth and make it inhabitable.

    Does it really matter how deep the pool is, if it’s deep enough to drown ?

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      With the medium scenarios for Oil, Coal , and natural gas, CO2 levels go to about 520 ppm and then gradually decline. It will get warm, but perhaps not catastrophic.

      Also prices of fossil fuels will go up and prices of renewables will fall, so much of the resource may be left in the ground. Depends how quickly wind and solar ramps up and how energy efficient we become.
      Higher prices will help us move to other sources of energy.

      • ezrydermike says:

        For the first time scientists have looked at the net balance of the three major greenhouse gases–carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide–for every region of Earth’s landmasses. They found surprisingly, that human-induced emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from ecosystems overwhelmingly surpass the ability of the land to soak up carbon dioxide emissions, which makes the terrestrial biosphere a contributor to climate change. The results published in the March 10, 2016, Nature, revises our understanding of how human activity contributes to global warming.

        • ArkTech says:

          You know Mike I read that little article and try to estimate how much time…maybe 5 years? 15 years? Not long anyway when these people talking the most about global warming will be compared exactly to the “experts” from the middle ages who tried to warn everybody the end of the world was near because in the nite sky they saw something which we now call a comet. Because let me offer some factual perspective the article is lacking, for the planet has been going thru warming cycles & cooling cycles & warming cycles again since the beginning of time. This current warming cycle began about 12,000 years ago with the end of the last ice age. However now in the most recent last few decades some people of a particular political thinking have come along and suggested the whole process can be stopped somehow by simply taxing away more of our prosperity and regulating away more of our freedoms.

          • Synapsid says:

            Troll alert.

          • Jmmy says:

            You’ve obviously never taken a physics class.

            “I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.” ~ John Stuart Mill, Parliment, 1866.

          • Fred Magyar says:

            You know Mike I read that little article and try to estimate how much time…maybe 5 years? 15 years? Not long anyway when these people talking the most about global warming will be compared exactly to the “experts” from the middle ages who tried to warn everybody the end of the world was near because in the nite sky they saw something which we now call a comet.

            Seriously? you actually claim to have READ the article?!

            Perhaps you were dropped on your head as an infant and it severely affected your mental development or maybe you were home schooled by incompetent morons. Either way, you lack even the most basic reading comprehension skills which means you are for all practical purposes functionally illiterate! If you can’t even read and understand basic English at a third grade level then I guess it would be too much to expect that you have any mathematical or scientific literacy either!

            The team discovered that the human impact on biogenic methane and nitrous oxide emissions far outweighed the human impact on the terrestrial uptake of carbon dioxide, meaning that humans have caused the terrestrial biosphere to further contribute to warming. In other words, the terrestrial biosphere, through human action, is now contributing to climate change rather than mitigating climate change.

            This pretty much sums it up:

            However now in the most recent last few decades some people of a particular political thinking have come along and suggested the whole process can be stopped somehow by simply taxing away more of our prosperity and regulating away more of our freedoms.

            Let me guess, you get a paycheck from the Koch brothers? Right, prosperity and freedoms my ass! You are just another fascist.

      • Minqi Li says:

        Hi Dennis,Thanks for another excellent piece

        When you say CO2 level rises to about 520ppm, do you mean just CO2 or CO2-equivalent? If it’s just CO2, CO2-equivalent will be about 570-620ppm. This will be catastrophic

        The current world oil reserves are about 170 billion tons, implying future CO2 emissions of about 500 billion tons. The current world natural gas reserves are about 190 trillion cubic meters or about 170 billion tons of oil equivalent, implying future CO2 emissions of about 400 billion tons.

        These do not include shale oil, shale gas, tar sands, oil shale, et al.

        World coal reserves are currently near 900 billion tons. This is about 450 billion toe. World cumulative coal production up to 2014 was about 340 billion tons or 170 billion toe. Thus, the current world coal reserves imply world coal URR of about 620 billion toe, similar to your high scenario. Cut it by 100 billion toe to make it similar to your medium scenario, the remaining recoverable coal will be about 350 billion toe or 700 billion tons, implying future CO2 emissions of about 1.4 trillion tons.

        The above emissions from oil reserves, gas reserves, and remaining recoverable coal already add up to 2.3 trillion tons. Almost all of these are likely to take place within this century, without taking into account unconventional oil and gas.

        According to IPCC AR5, working group 3, summary for policy makers, Table SPM.1 (page 13), cumulative emissions of CO2 of 1.9-2.4 trillion tons from 2011 to 2100 implies CO2-equivalent rising to 580 to 650 ppm by 2100, global warming by 2.3-2.6C by 2100 (with a small chance of rising above 4C), and the long-term warming will probably be 3.5C.

        • Jmmy says:

          …. and don’t forget the methane in the arctic shelf subsea permafrost and tundra that’ll soon be free of it’s frozen condition on a more regular basis.

        • Yes, excellent piece by Dennis.

          Coal is a challenging analysis because because it has a continuous variation of grades, with poorer grades expanding the base of the resource pyramid. If the poorest grade of lignite coal is included it would be difficult to project the amount of carbon it would add.

          Pakistan alone has 185 billion tonnes of lignite. How much will that country burn?

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Thanks Paul

            Does lignite have lower C emissions per tonne?

            • Not sure. Lignite coal itself has a huge range of grades. It is anywhere in quality from a step down from bituminous to something that resembles barely decomposed peat moss.

              A fascinating story relates how Netherlands had already used up all their peat moss lignite hundreds of years ago.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Thank you Minqi Li, I value your opinion.

          I think a focus on CO2 is better because other greenhouse gases have a much shorter half life than CO2 (which is about 30,000 years).

          The research I have read is that about 1 trillion tonnes of carbon emissions is safe, about half of this has been emitted already. This is about 1800 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide(500 times 44/12). My medium scenarios are consistent with about 520 ppm of CO2, this is too high and corresponds with about 2.67 C above preindustrial if a doubling in CO2 causes 3C of warming.

          Note that the total CO2 emissions considered “safe” by Allen at al is about 3667 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions, when we take my various medium scenarios for oil , natural gas and coal and add land use change, cement production, and natural gas flaring (with reasonable future estimates) we get 5450 Gt of carbon dioxide emissions (for 1750 to 2250), this is about 50% too high so you are correct that if all of the resources in my medium scenarios are extracted and burned, there will be serious problems if the equilibrium climate sensitivity is 3 C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Note that if we only take the total emissions from 1751 to 2100, the total carbon emissions from fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), land use change, cement production, and natural gas flaring is about 1230 billion metric tonnes (or 4510 Gt of CO2 emissions). For my 516 ppm atmospheric CO2 estimate ( at the peak) I assume fossil fuel use falls to zero by 2112. The atmospheric CO2 gradually falls to 430 ppm by 2500.

            Chart below uses a Bern style model to project atmospheric CO2 for three emissions scenarios: 750 Gt carbon, 1000 Gt carbon, and 1200 Gt carbon.

            In theory (see Allen et al, 2009 1000 Gt should be a “safe” level of emissions. A 1200 Gt scenario has a fairly similar profile.

        • Dr ML, what a coincidence, I just recommended your book to Dr Pedro Linares, who writes a blog in Spanish but links everything back to English.

          Regarding Denis’ greenhouse gas concentration estimates, I ran an alternative case and arrived at 630 ppm. But I used a lower TCR, 1.5 deg C to doubling. And I don’t perceive much that’s catastrophic at this time. I’m more worried about other issues you pointed out in your book, terrorism, and human rights abuses.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Fernando,

            If you look at the TCR for land temperatures it is about 3.3 C, we are already about 1.5 C above the temperatures 1851 to 1900 according to BEST, if we use the most recent 10 year average it is about a 1.4 C increase over the 1851 to 1900 average temperature. The average atmospheric CO2 from 1851 to 1900 was about 292 ppm, and for the most recent 10 years the average was about 391 ppm, this implies a TCR for land of 3.3 C.

            For your 630 ppm scenario this implies global land temperatures of 3.7 C above the 1851 to 1900 mean and 2.2 C higher than 2015 global land temperatures. You may believe this is not a problem, but for land animals such as humans you may be mistaken.

            On the small chance that I may be correct, it would be prudent to limit carbon emissions starting with coal.

      • Jef says:

        Yea!!! DC has proclaimed that 520ppm is no big deal and we are all good!!!!

        Dennis you are either a computer generated entity or a complete dick. SOrry Ron but come on?????

        We are only at 400 ppm and already several dozen feedback mechanism are kicking in. We are not talking about “getting a bit warm” you DICK, we are talking about massive dieoff.

        Now for a balanced response from our paid sponsors.

        • “We are only at 400 ppm and already several dozen feedback mechanism are kicking in. “

          Please name them so we can assess their importance. Below you mentioned a recent increase in CO2 which is due to the current El Nino.

          • GoneFishing says:

            Just one feedback here. There are many and WHT knows it. Several are much greater in magnitude than CO2 forcing.
            One of the most powerful feedbacks, yet often ignored because we are just beginning to understand it is cloud forcing. Just for the example below we are talking about a 25 w/m2 increase in radiation for large areas of the planet. The atmosphere controls about 70 percent of the energy and the land/ocean about 30 percent. Until we start focusing on the atmosphere and what it really does, no one is going to have a clue how much and how quickly global warming
            “For example,
            results from some GCMs suggest that severe drying of the midcontinental
            regions in North America and Europe could result from
            a doubling of the CO2 concentrations (4, 20). In the Great Plains
            region of North America, the summer soil wetness in one model is
            decreased by 50 percent (20, figure 7), which suggests that a positive
            feedback between clouds and land surface could be a factor in soil
            drying (20). An initial tendency for drying causes decreased cloudiness,
            which leads to increased solar heating of the soil, thus
            amplifying tendency toward drying. The positive cloud feedback
            mechanism implies that the size of the (negative) SW cloud forcing
            would decrease significantly during a drought event. According to
            Manabe and Wetherald (20) the decrease could be as much as 25 W/
            m2 in the Great Plains. The LW forcing should also decrease, but the
            model results suggest that changes in the SW cloud forcing dominate
            the feedback. Cloud forcing data could verify this postulated
            positive cloud feedback. For example, this mechanism would imply
            that the summertime SW cloud forcing over the Great Plains was
            anomalously low during the 1988 drought. Comparison of the
            cloud forcing for this year with the forcing for other years should
            confirm or refute this suggestion.”


        • Dennis Coyne says:

          HI Jef
          There is a lot of room between no big deal and catastrophic. If double co2 is 3c
          We may be okay, better if less co2.

          • George Kaplan says:

            Dennis – who are ‘we’ and what do you define to be ‘okay’?

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi George,

              We is the human race, ok is 2 C above the pre 1750 Holocene average temperature. Note that Global temperatures were above the 1961-1990 Global mean temperature from 10750 BP to 2200 BP based on estimates by Marcott et al, 2013.
              Chart below has Global temperature anomaly (temperature in C) from 1961-1990 mean on vertical axis and years before the present on horizontal axis (12,000 BP to 50 BP), note that 1950 is considered the present in this scale.

              It is not clear to me what temperature corresponds to “pre-industrial”. The 10500 BP to 1750 AD average is about 0.2 C above the 1961-1990 Global mean temperature (based on the Marcott et al estimate). There has been a large range from 0.4 C above to -0.4C below the 1961-1990 mean. Perhaps any biologists might comment on what temperature above the 1961-1990 mean temperature is “safe”.

              To me 1.5 C seems the upper limit and 1 C would be much better, 2015 was 0.9 C above the 1961-1990 mean for global temperatures(land and ocean) and 1.3 C above the 1961-1990 mean for Global land temperatures (NOAA data).

              Using a CSALT model for land temperatures and projected carbon emissions from my medium fossil fuel estimates and reasonable estimates for natural gas flaring, cement production and land use change, I assume S, A, L, and T are at the 1880 to 2013 average from 2014 to 2112. See

              That model suggests a temperature of 2.2 C above the 1951-1980 global land only mean temperature in 2112.

              Will another 0.9 C of warming over land from 2015 to 2112 be catastrophic? I am not qualified to answer this question, I said before that perhaps it will not be catastrophic.

              A biologist would know better than me.

              • GoneFishing says:

                Yes, the mid-Holocene warm period has been known for a while now, though NOAA claims most of the temperature difference occurred in the northern hemisphere and in the summer.
                The previous interglacial period had a much warmer peak temperature (deuterium based proxy) but the peak was much sharper and shorter lived than the current Holocene period. A rise of 3C in about a thousand years was followed quickly by drop of 2C occurred within one thousand years. It took about three thousand to lose the next degree C and it was downhill after that with a loss of another 7C over the next 11,000 years. Things stayed cold for another 90,000 years dropping another 1C just before the sharp warming leading to the Holocene period (8C rise in about 3000 years).

                Of course the warming we are experiencing now is many times faster than those changes. What should be a descent into the next glaciation, is turning out to be a steep ascent into warming.

                The part above where a say things stayed cold for 90,000 years should raise some eyebrows. Apparently glaciations are the normal state of the earth and the warm periods in between are the anomalies. Probably caused by ice/snow albedo reflecting incoming radiation and causing a stabilization effect.


                • Javier says:

                  The best explanation we have for the glacial cycles are the Milankovitch cycles. And yes, the planet is so far locked in an ice age (Quaternary Ice Age) for the past several million years.

                  The warming we are experiencing now only looks many times faster because we are looking at it with magnifying glasses while past warming rates are averaged by the low band pass filter of tens of thousands of years squeezed in very short longitudinal distances in our proxies.

                  We do know that the fastest rates of warming were displayed by Dansgaard-Oeschger events, where in many parts of the northern hemisphere temperatures changed by 8-10°C in just a few decades.

          • Jef says:

            So now DC proclaims 3c is OK!

            I think we should put him in charge of AGW science so we can all just stop worrying and get on with what we have been doing.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Jef,

              Well 520 ppm CO2 would be the peak (around 2125) and then CO2 would decline slowly.

              It takes 400 years or so for the ocean to warm and the climate system to reach a new equilibrium. Around 2100 the transient climate response (before equilibrium is reached) would be roughly 1.6C above pre-industrial temperatures. As the ocean warms CO2 falls (because fossil fuel extraction will be very low) and we might remain close to 2C.

              It would surely be better to burn as little fossil fuel as possible as the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) may be higher than 3 C.

              However we don’t know the ECS (1.5C to 4.5C), this is the reason that you are correct, the uncertainty is a big reason we should be careful.

              • I tend to agree with you (in general, although I’m more optimistic regarding the climate sensitivity, I think. We may reach a slightly higher peak GHG concentration.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Fernando,

                  Yes until human become very good swimmers (like dolphins). We need to be concerned that a rise in CO2 from about 290 ppm in the 1851- 1900 period to about 390 ppm in the most recent 10 years led to 1.5C in global land warming.

                  These numbers suggest a TCR for land of 3.3C for a doubling of CO2. For the global land ocean temperatures the change from the 1851-1900 mean to the most recent 10 year average temp is about 0.9C which implies a TCR of 2.1C for a doubling of CO2 and a Global land ocean temperature increase of 2.4 C above the 1851 to 1900 average temperature for your 630 ppm scenario.

      • Javier says:

        I agree that CO2 levels could go up to a peak value around 500 ppm. I don’t think those extra 100 ppm will give us much more than +1°C if at all. It is very hard to fight alarmism, because by definition is irrational.

        • Jef says:

          “I don’t think those extra 100 ppm….”

          Thats the whole problem I have with you in a nut shell.

          You don’t GET to just pull thoughts out of your ass and put it out there as well considered research.

          If and when we exceed 500ppm CO2 all of the feed back mechanisms become irreversible. All the other greenhouse gasses take over. Which is already happening FASTER THAN EXPECTED.

          • Javier says:

            You have a much bigger problem with me in that I call all those false alarmist claims that you make that are not based on science.

            What feedback mechanism is going to become irreversible? How do you know is going to become irreversible? What GHG is taking over? Methane is not going anywhere to the point that scientists do not really know what causes it to increase, or stop increasing, or decrease.

            You are full of wind.

            • XT5 says:

              Hi Jef,

              You are spot on about Javier. All these people that claim a higher level of CO2(“extra 100 ppm”) is acceptable in the near future are conmen. What happens next in 2040 when CO2 reaches 500 ppm ? 550 ppm in 2050 ? 600 in 2060 ?

              You don’t let your children play on the highway, why would anyone accept the dangers of climate change? Any reasonable person wouldn’t.

              Javier is a cancer cell of the human race.

              • Javier says:

                Why don’t you inform yourself before going around insulting people?

                Taking the really long view, the Earth has been very deprived of CO2, reaching such low values during the present Ice Age as to force the evolution of plants that can function and grow under low CO2 conditions.
                The Earth has had CO2 levels 20 times higher than current, and it was a very productive planet.

                With higher CO2 levels we are buying ourselves an insurance against cooling. The cold is the biggest killer in human history.

                Have you considered the possibility that the CO2 scare is not real? You would look really silly insulting people just for having a different opinion on this issue. Grow up.

                • GetSomeHelp says:

                  “With higher CO2 levels we are buying ourselves an insurance against cooling. The cold is the biggest killer in human history.”

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi XT5,

                There is not enough fossil fuel to get atmospheric CO2 to the levels you are claiming, perhaps you believe in the fossil fuel fantasies of Michal Lynch and Daniel Yergin.

                The high IPPC scenarios such as RCP 8.5 require the cornucopian view of fossil fuels to be correct. The economically recoverable fossil fuels are not unlimited.
                A reasonable scenario is about 1200 Gt of total carbon emissions from 1750 to 2100. I agree less would be better, we should aim for 900 Gt, but I am not sure if that is achievable without global cooperation. Maybe a 50/50 chance when I am feeling optimistic.

            • George Kaplan says:

              Who decides what is a false alarm and what is real? Not you or people like you I hope. When I worked in the oil industry some years back one of the biggest problems in safety was to get people to raise their concerns for fear of being wrong. So known problems could go unaddressed and that was when the potential for real catastrophe arose. We used to reward ‘alarmists’ and safety improved accordingly – the more leading indicators you got (i.e low level risks) the fewer lagging accidents occurred.

              • Javier says:

                Who decides what is a false alarm and what is real?
                Nobody. Evidence determines that.

              • George Kaplan says:

                Let me rephrase it then – who is going to interpret the data to determine which risks are real, which false and which need more study. Not you or those like you I hope. I’d suggest a consensus from internationally recognised climate scientist would be best. Oh wait …

                • Javier says:

                  Yeah, well, it looks like our elected or imposed world leaders don’t believe what the IPCC produces.

                  What percentage of the world budget is dedicated to the fight against climate change? What credibility on the climate change threat does that reflect from the people that set that budget? Do you think that if an asteroid was to crash against the Earth in 50 years we will be dedicating more or less money to fight that threat?

                  Looks to me this is all for mass consumption. Opium for the masses. As I have demonstrated time and again based on publish research, science does not support an alarmist view of climate change. People seem to understand that, as a UN global poll consistently places climate change at the bottom of 16 concerns of Earth’s inhabitants. If the people in charge were really concerned by climate change we would know from their actions, not from their words.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi George,

                  I agree that the risks are real, in the face of uncertainty I believe great care should be excercised, we do not know the ECS, even the middle estimate is cause for concern and I believe there is evidence that 3.6C is a likely ECS estimate, with about 1.7C for a TCR. If only 1200 Gt of carbon is emitted (from all sources fossil fuels, cement production, NG flaring, and land use change) we peak at about 515 ppm of atmospheric CO2. Global land ocean temperatures would be about 1.5 C above the 1951-1980 mean in 2112 in this scenario, global land temperatures would peak at about 2.2C above the 1951-1980 mean and may gradually fall as carbon dioxide is absorbed by land and oceans over the next 400 years, at the same time oceans will warm and global land ocean temperatures will gradually rise to about 2 C. Whether global land temperatures rise further as the ocean warms and atmospheric CO2 begins to decline cannot be determined by a simple CSALT model. More complex Global models would answer that question (though there are many models with different results so the answer is uncertain).

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Jef,

            ECS is equilibrium climate sensitivity when atmospheric CO2 doubles from the preindustrial average of 275 ppm (it rises to 550 ppm).
            The relationship is logarithmic so ln(2)=0.693x=3C and x=4.33, my scenario based on my medium oil, coal, and natural gas scenarios and including other non-fossil fuel emissions results in about 1200 Gt of carbon emissions (multiply by 44/12 to get CO2) and 515 ppm of atmospheric CO2 at the peak in 2112 using a Bern model.
            So at equilibrium (after the ocean warms up in 400 years) the temperature would be ln(515/275)*4.33=2.7C above 1850 to 1900 average temperatures and 2.3 C above the 1950 to 1980 average, but only if atmospheric CO2 remains at 515 ppm for 400 years. the CO2 level will drop over those 400 years to 420 ppm (I assume carbon emissions stop in 2112). At 420 ppm the temperature would be
            ln(420/275)*4.33=1.83 C above the pre-industrial temperature (1850 to 1900 mean). Over land average temperatures will rise to 2.2 C above the 1950 to 1980 mean ( about 1.2C higher than 2015 temperatures) and then will gradually cool to 2015 temperatures. If this estimate is correct, I agree it will not be good, hopefully we can keep atmospheric CO2 as low as possible, high fossil fuel prices may help get a transition started.

          • Bullshit.(meant for Jefs hyper syllabic sesquedallimystic comment).

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Javier,

          Relative to pre-industrial Global temperatures (the average from 10000 BP to 250 BP), we may reach 2 C above those levels, possibly more (both the TCR and ECS are unknown, but best estimates are 2 C for the TCR and 3 C for the ECS).

          A think the peak will be about 520 ppm if my medium scenarios for coal, oil, and natural gas are correct and we stop using fossil fuels by 2100.

          It is quite possible more fossil fuels will be extracted than my medium scenarios, the future is unknown.

          I think there is a middle ground between alarmism and ignoring the possibility that the best estimate for TCR and ECS might be too low rather than too high.

          We just do not know.

          Also because humans mostly live on land, those temperatures are more important and data to date suggests Global land temperatures may rise to 2.1 C above 1950 to 1980 average temperatures by 2112 if 1200 Gt of carbon is emitted (from 1751 to 2112). This is likely to be a problem, though possibly not catastrophic, most scientists think it will be a serious problem (including me).

          • Javier says:

            best estimates are 2 C for the TCR and 3 C for the ECS

            AR5 doesn’t give a best estimate after 30 years, which is pitiful. There are lots of articles defending lower than 3 ECS based on instrumental measurements.

            How serious a problem this is depends critically on something we haven’t advanced at all in 30 years.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Javier,

              Climate science is not straightforward. There are papers on both the high and the low side. I consider all the evidence, not just the low estimates. My TCR estimate was too high, it is more like 1.7C, with a further 1.3C of warming as the ocean warms an the climate approaches an equilibrium in 2500 in a scenario where atmospheric CO2 doubles. If atmospheric CO2 peaks at about 515 ppm (1230 Gt of carbon emissions), the temperature data and the CSALT model suggests about 1.5 C above the 1951-1980 average temp with further warming to about 2.2C above 1951-1980 mean once equilibrium is reached in 2500. Global land temperatures reach 2.2C above 1951-1980 mean by 2110 and may stabilize around that level as the ocean warms to equilibrium.

              • Javier says:

                Hi Dennis,

                Those are your assumptions only. The ECS of 3 is clearly above the average for the instrumental estimates from published literature since 2007 that the IPCC figure shows.

                The scientific community appears to be moving downwards to an estimated ECS of 2.5° as shown not only by the average of published values, but also by the AR5 not giving a best estimate, and articles like this one:
                The uncertainty of climate sensitivity and its implication for the Paris negotiation, that discuss the critical difference from an ECS of 2.5 versus 3.

                So no, there is no reason to believe that your scenario is correct, and to that I would like to add that any talk about reaching an equilibrium is nonsense. There is no equilibrium in nature. Otherwise perhaps you can point to me when there has been an equilibrium in climate, with no changes taking place.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Javier,

                  It is a theoretical construct. The ocean is absorbing a lot of heat and will gradually warm until it stops warming and then begins to cool, or stay at the same temperature depending on CO2 levels, solar input, and many other factors.

                  I am assuming a certain level of understanding of basic physics here.

                  I will try not to assume too much. 🙂

                  You are correct that equilibrium is not usually achieved, nor is our understanding of the natural world ever complete.

                  The data suggests a global land ocean TCR of over 2 C, once the ocean stops absorbing excess heat temperatures will rise further to 3 C if atmospheric CO2 remained at 560 ppm due to continued carbon emissions (say under a high fossil fuel scenario like my high cases for coal, oil, and natural gas with 1500 Gt total carbon emissions).

                  Then we would see 3C or more of global warming.

                  That would not be good in my opinion.

  3. Verwimp says:

    Hi Dennis, Nice study! I really like expanding the focus from oil to other fossil fuels.
    I would like to challenge Jeffrey to elaborate an Export Land Model on coal and/or gas because compared to oil only a tiny fraction of these fuels reach the global markets. So, especially in the case of a declining production, the importing nations will be toast really fast.

  4. SatansBestFriend says:

    Nice work Dennis. I think that is a great analysis.

    I may be misreading your earlier posts, but isn’t your message that debt isn’t a problem and interest rates can stay low indefinitely.

    I really don’t see how someone posting these charts could believe these things.

    If fossil fuels are going to decline, would you lend your money to someone at 0% interest.

    That seems absurd to me.

    As always, I am probably missing something.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Satan’s Best Friend,

      No I do not think interest rates will remain low indefinitely.

      I don’t think debt is currently a big issue, especially because interest rates are low.

      It will be a long time (15 years or more) before peak fossil fuels is accepted as the mainstream view.

      When that occurs interest rates may go up, it will depend on supply and demand for loans.
      The interest rate can be though of as the price of borrowing as in every other market it is determined by supply and demand.

      The supply of loans may be small after peak fossil fuels is clear to all, but the demand for loans may be even smaller, in that case interest rates could remain low.

      • SatansBestFriend says:

        If the supply of loans gets low we better get used to eating grass, be cause the economy is dependent on a big supply of loans.

        Anyway Dennis, I am a fan of your posts. Keep up the good work.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Satan’s best friend,

          The supply of loans will match the demand for loans at the prevailing interest rate. The key is for government policy makers to learn some economics and realize that monetary policy does not do the job when interest rates approach zero, fiscal stimulus is the correct policy in those circumstances.

          This is introductory macroeconomics that any freshman university student (who has taken an introduction to macroeconomics course) should know.

  5. Jmmy says:

    For what reason and on what grounds do you suggest interest rates need to be higher?

    If fossil fuels are going to decline I wouldn’t recommend lending your money to anyone. You may never see it again.

    From what I understand it takes economic growth to pay off the interest on a loan. Seeing as how there ain’t much economic growth it seems unlikely higher interest rates would be serviceable.

    • Jeju-islander says:

      Jimmy: If fossil fuels are going to decline I wouldn’t recommend lending your money to anyone. You may never see it again.
      This is true only for people that believe fossil fuels are going to decline. I think it is more likely that most will disbelieve this idea.

      A good article on recent coal production is here –

      “For these reasons, the forecast is that after a four year decline–with 2015 being the steepest–global coal production is slated to stabilize again starting in 2018. New production, like new capacity, is at the ready to counter production and capacity declines elsewhere.”

  6. daniel says:

    Now we know it. Global warming is apparently an invention by the cia ☺ (before you shoot me diwn, i sm only quoting).

    • Nathanael says:

      That’s absolutely not what Snowden said. You’re quoting a parody website.

  7. Jef says:

    “Unprecedented Spike in CO2 Levels in 2015”

    Oh, but don’t worry just remember to carry a sun umbrella for the next 10,000 years or so and everything will be fine.

    • Any spike is due to thermal outgassing of CO2 from the oceans as the latest El Nino started to kick in.

    • Jason T. says:

      As I said in the last thread, Bernie Sanders mentioned in the previous two Democratic debates that he would ban fracking to deal with climate change. Thus, if he is elected president, we wouldn’t have to worry about CO2 levels, global temperatures, sea levels, or anything else along those lines. However, for now, the focus obviously will have to remain on getting him elected in the first place so that he can put an end to fracking once and for all.

      • Bernie Sanders has also been praising Fidel Castro. This tells me he’s a populist bullshitter.

        • Nathanael says:

          Look, Fernando, we already know from your denial of science that YOU’RE a bullshitter. I’ll take Bernie Sanders over your garbage any day.

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        Politicians are quite in the habit of throwing out such raw red meat to their troops in the field as this illustrates. It motivates the hell out of the true believers, and right now, that is what Sanders desperately needs- to motivate his troops, any way he can. If he gets the nomination, you can be damned sure you will hear nothing or next to nothing about this proposal henceforth , and it will be allowed to die quietly. Y

        What you can expect, if he is actually elected, is an initiative with teeth intended to properly regulate fracking so as to protect the public health and environment. He will gladly settle for that, and his more realistic supporters will be glad to settle for that, which is good, because that the MOST anybody except a fool can actually expect. If the actual end result policy of such an initiative is fifty percent what it ought to be, most serious environmentalists will be glad to score a victory of that magnitude.

        Of course a few ultra green ninnies who utilize ICE propelled transportation to get to protests will feel betrayed, but only a very few of that few will flip out and vote the R party henceforth, lol.

        Half of what Trump has to say is similar boilerplate , in terms for instance of building walls. No doubt he would try to, if elected, but the backlash effect of an actual Berlin style wall would be too great, and so his wall would consist, if it gets built, of more border gaurds etc., for the most part. Likewise, his realistic supporters on that issue will be glad for whatever he does accomplish.

        Full Disclosure-I am a Bernie true believer, even though some of his positions are incompatible with some of my own. Ya can’t have it all your way.

        Trump IS Wall Street.

        HRC is in the vest pocket of Wall Street, peeking out like a pocket doggie.

        If we are to have any real hope of changing the course of our society, we must have new vision in the WH.

        You are hearing this from an old conservative, one not too happy with a lot of modern culture, to put it as mildly as possible, but also one who is technically and economically literate.

        Down MORE OF THE SAME BOULEVARD, which is basically where we are headed with either Trump or HRC in office, lies a disaster, of the environmental and economic sort.

        This is not to say that there would not be a great deal of difference in the actual doings in office, comparing the two, but rather that they are actually more alike than different.

        Ocare for instance is NOT doing much if anything at all to control the price of health care. All it does, really, is shift costs from one demographic to another, which in part is responsible for the rise of Trump. I know a BUNCH of people who are THOROUGHLY pissed because OCARE is costing them dearly, personally.

        Single payer actually WORKS to control exorbitant costs and get rid of useless high rise buildings full of parasitic lawyers, accountants, salesmen, etc, who add little or nothing of value but drive up costs enormously.

        Of course Trump is WORSE, on this and some other critical issues, than HRC.

        In any case, the younger generation is feeling the Bern, and I have little doubt that they will be taking over Washington within the next decade or two, barring somebody inventing a cheap life extending miracle drug, thus allowing all the old farts such as myself to hang around past our expiration dates.

        • ChiefEngineer says:

          “Ocare for instance is NOT doing much if anything at all to control the price of health care.”

          As a health insurance broker in the state of California Old Farmer, let me tell you that you have no Idea what your talking about on this subject of health care. Health insurance cost increased at a rate of 10 to 12 percent from the years 2003 to 2010. That increase is now down to 2 to 3 percent. Doctors and hospitals have tremendous pressure now to control costs. Insurance companies have to offer plans that are comparable so that they have competition. Insurance companies are required to pay 85% of the premium collected to pay for care and not administration costs. Insurance companies are required to refund excess profits over 2% back to clients. Insurance companies are not allow to sell new policies with large gaps in coverage anymore. Doctors and hospital are being required to modernize medical records to improve out comes and lower costs. These are just a short list of the requirement to cut cost in the ACA.

          In addition, individual who make less than 400% of poverty level get assistants from the Federal Government to help pay for their coverage.

          “Single payer actually WORKS to control exorbitant costs and get rid of useless high rise buildings full of parasitic lawyers, accountants, salesmen, etc,”

          Let’s remember all the facts here. It was your Republican party who stopped “Single payer” and the Affordable Care Act is a Republican plan that was designed by the conservative Heritage Foundation. Which was call RomneyCare before it was called ObamaCare.

          I’m calling out your Bullshit on this one. You have no idea what your talking about on the subject of the ACA.

          Personally, I can tell you I have had commissions cuts as much as 60%. Don’t tell me ObamaCare isn’t cutting costs. I support the ACA because of all the good it does.

        • Paulo says:

          Good Post, Mac.

        • Walt Seh says:

          Good Evening Oldfarmermac,

          Almost all politicians these days are merely front men for their political handlers, who, as you probably expect, are the unelected masters who hold the real political power. If these politicians don’t play ball with these handlers, this is inevitably when you start to hear about all kinds of scandals about the politicians from the “pundits,” the “experts,” and, yes, the media.

          We saw this quite clearly with (Bill) Clinton and (at the time) First Lady Hillary Clinton. Going back even farther in time, though, we’ve seen that if the handlers get really desperate, they sometimes resort to more desperate means, up to and including assassination.

          The truth is, the industrialized western world only had TRULY free leaders at the beginning of modern democracy (think Washington, Jefferson, etc.).

          Now, so far I’ve only talked in terms of “handlers,” but at this point there’s no need to beat around the bush any more. So let’s call this hidden force which controls the United States and other countries right now for what it is (The NWO). This, of course, is basically an outgrowth of the force that has also controlled all other empires throughout history and ultimately DESTROYED them.

          With all of this explanation now out the way, you will now be able to understand that ALL but one of the candidates running for President of the United States this year have been bought off and paid for by The NWO. The lone exception is Donald Trump.

          But how do we know Trump has not been affected? More broadly, how is an individual supposed to identify someone who is shilling for The NWO? The answers to these questions are actually quite simple. Without fail, the politician will promote agendas that are in direct opposition to Natural Law.

          Here are a few examples, with their Natural Law counterparts explained:

          1. Same-sex propaganda – in nature, all animals cohabit with the opposite sex, without exception.

          2. Feminism – in nature, the male species is stronger, dominant, and protective of the female. There is no equality between the sexes.

          3. Mixing – in nature, the turtle breeds with the turtle, the pig with the pig and the camel with the camel.

          4. Open borders – in nature, animals defend their territories in order to keep uninvited members of their own species out.

          5. Affirmative action – in nature, the most resourceful animals use their strength and power to acquire the most resources. They are not given handouts or freebies.

          The list of unnatural propaganda people are being exposed to in the media these days is honestly quite astounding, once you know just what to look for. Turn on the TV and within minutes (if not seconds) you are SURE to observe some subtle, or sometimes not even subtle at all, propaganda. Compare and contrast this to old movies from the 50s or 60s, for example, and you will see how much more direct the propaganda is in the modern age.

          Getting back to the presidential campaign, it is clear that if anybody but Trump were to get elected, the agenda of The NWO would continue to be implemented. We would see increased open borders, more unfair trade policies, continued attacks against the nuclear family, and so on.

          Trump is really the ONLY candidate who openly opposes most of these agendas. Nevertheless, his biggest failing is that he never seems to go far enough to actually point the finger at who really is in control of setting these agendas. So, then, what are we to make of him? It’s certainly possible he is just another plot hatched by The NWO to fool the gullible American populace into voting for him, thinking that he really will kill off all unnatural, destructive policies and get the country turned around. In that case, if his politicking really is just an act, he would, once in office, simply turn his back on the public and institute a fascist single-party government dedicated to BLINDLY implementing the agenda of The NWO.

          To wrap up, voting for any of the shills running in this election is certainly not a legitimate option, but voting for Trump would be like tossing a coin. If he is for real, then he really would work to quietly, but methodically, restore what I will refer to as the OWO (Old World Order). He would have to be beyond intelligent about his personal security as a president, though, because once anyone dares turn on The NWO, The NWO goes straight for the jugular. On the other hand, if Trump is a fraud, then the American Empire is finished, and the populace wouldn’t have even been given a chance in the election to stop the destruction from occurring.

          Be well,

          • R Walter says:

            “…in nature, the male species is stronger, dominant, and protective of the female. There is no equality between the sexes.”

            You forgot Amazon women. When the battle-axes circle the war wagons, look out.

            “The trail of the Amazons nearly went cold after Herodotus. Until, that is, the early 1990s when a joint U.S.-Russian team of archaeologists made an extraordinary discovery while excavating 2,000-year-old burial mounds—known as kurgans—outside Pokrovka, a remote Russian outpost in the southern Ural Steppes near the Kazakhstan border. There, they found over 150 graves belonging to the Sauromatians and their descendants, the Sarmatians. Among the burials of “ordinary women,” the researchers uncovered evidence of women who were anything but ordinary. There were graves of warrior women who had been buried with their weapons. One young female, bowlegged from constant riding, lay with an iron dagger on her left side and a quiver containing 40 bronze-tipped arrows on her right. The skeleton of another female still had a bent arrowhead embedded in the cavity. Nor was it merely the presence of wounds and daggers that amazed the archaeologists. On average, the weapon-bearing females measured 5 feet 6 inches, making them preternaturally tall for their time.”

            Read more:


          • Fred Magyar says:

            2. Feminism – in nature, the male species is stronger, dominant, and protective of the female. There is no equality between the sexes.

            The male is stronger?! I guess you never heard of a Black Widow or watched a Mantis eat the head of the male while having sex with him…
            Ever hear of an Alfa female wolf?

            You obviously have a very limited knowledge of nature…

      • TechGuy says:

        Jason T wrote:
        “Thus, if he is elected president, we wouldn’t have to worry about CO2 levels, global temperatures, sea levels, or anything else along those lines. ”


        Bernie is only running for President of the United States, Not the Supreme World Leader. I am pretty sure China and India will continue to expand CO2 emissions no matter who wins the US presidential elections. The faster the US cuts emissions the faster the BRICs will expand CO2 emissions.

        Nor do I believe will Bernie even help do sensible measures, like help get Indonesia to put out is Bog fires which probably emit close to half of US CO2 emissions every year.

    • It’s not “unprecedented”. These spikes are seen whenever a strong El Niño warms the Central and Eastern Tropical Pacific.

      I keep a very close eye on the data, and I’m seeing a rather odd behavior since 2014. I won’t get into the details, but it could be we are on the edge of a very interesting step change, which will lead to a very weak to non existent La Niña in late 2016 and 2017.

      At the same time the Barents is much warmer than usual, the snow pack in the northern hemisphere is quite healthy, the Arctic ice mass is doing well, and the Southern ocean is cooling (which means Antarctica is cooling as it isolates itself from the rest of the world).

      These are all short term trends, which means there’s no reason to extrapolate them. And this also applies to the CO2 spike and the sea level rise being reported. If I were you, I wouldn’t go around quoting propaganda sites if you want credibility.

        • Cherry-picked example of a simulation that predicts a transition from a very strong El Nino to a very strong La Nina the following winter.

          Please give links to the dozens of other simulations that predict either El Nino or neutral continuing this winter.

          • Javier says:

            I don’t know about those dozens of predictions of a continuing El Niño next year.

            What I know is that both CPC/IRI consensus and models predict a chance of La Niña next winter at 50 to >50%, i.e. significantly higher than the other two alternatives.

            I guess we will have to wait and see who is correct. By October we should know. It would not be the first time that models and experts get it wrong, would it?

            • Javier said:

              “I guess we will have to wait and see who is correct. By October we should know. It would not be the first time that models and experts get it wrong, would it?”

              That’s lazy thinking to just assert that models will be wrong. Any one can make that claim. Try to add something of some value.

              The interesting angle is aligning known forcing periodicities with the large scale equatorial oceanic (ENSO) and atmospheric (QBO) phenomena.


              • Javier says:

                So WebHubTelescope, what is your prediction? Will we have a strong La Niña or not this coming winter?

                • What good will that do to prove the model is physically accurate as it currently stands?

                  Doesn’t do me any good right now.

                  Or do you have some sort of crystal ball?

                  • Javier says:

                    Of course I don’t have a crystal ball, WebHubTelescope.

                    I have absolutely no idea if we will get a strong La Niña or not next winter, nor do I claim any knowledge about that. You are the one making those claims.

                    All I know is that statistically a strong La Niña after a strong El Niño is a common occurrence, and that from December to March CPC/IRI consensus forecast for a La Niña for July/August/September period went from 30% to 40%, so as time goes by they believe that the chances of a La Niña are increasing.

                    Since you have a model, let’s see how good it is at forecasting. After all there are only three possible conditions so it is only slightly worse than tossing a coin.

                    We already know that Fernando thinks there is not going to be a La Niña.

                  • “You are the one making those claims.”

                    I don’t make any special claims about the future. We have 130+ years of ENSO data that can be evaluated in terms of in and out-of-band agreement with models. Easy enough to model 65 years of data (in-band) and then see how well it extrapolates to the excluded 65 year interval (out-of-band). Science is only performed on the data we have, not on the data of the future.

                    Are you interested in doing that kind of work?

                    “We already know that Fernando thinks there is not going to be a La Niña.”

                    Another hand waver. What exactly will it prove if he is right or wrong?

                  • Javier says:

                    If Fernando is right, it will prove nothing. If he is wrong, it will prove that his keeping a very close eye on the data is leading him nowhere.

                    That is the nature of science.

                    And if you are only studying the past, then why do you talk about dozens of predictions nobody has seen as if you knew more about them than the next guy? Your intervention here has been to criticize Clueless for showing a prediction from Scripps as cherry-picked, as if you knew anything about predictions, and now you admit that you only deal with the past. You are in the wrong conversation, then, as Fernando, Clueless, and I were wondering about a future La Niña.

                  • “And if you are only studying the past, then why do you talk about dozens of predictions nobody has seen as if you knew more about them than the next guy? Your intervention here has been to criticize Clueless for showing a prediction from Scripps as cherry-picked, as if you knew anything about predictions, and now you admit that you only deal with the past. You are in the wrong conversation, then, as Fernando, Clueless, and I were wondering about a future La Niña.”

                    Certainly, I have made predictions on future El Nino and La Nina, and I know where the charts are to be found. You can find them too, but that would mean that you will have to read all the discussions of ENSO modeling that we are doing at and at John Baez’s Azimuth Project forum. Maybe that is too much work for you — it’s been going on for a few years.

                  • Javier says:

                    “I have made predictions on future El Nino and La Nina, and I know where the charts are to be found. You can find them too, but that would mean that you will have to read all the discussions of ENSO modeling… Maybe that is too much work for you — it’s been going on for a few years.”

                    Er… right. This “knowledge” is so arcane that is not within the reach of mere mortals that have not studied it for years, and cannot be disseminated to the uninitiated.

                    Why don’t you cut the charlatan sounding talk and direct me to your peer-reviewed published results after all those years of El Niño research? Oh, wait, there are none.

                  • Javier, I do think it is you that may be the charlatan. If you want to discuss ENSO down to the role of standing wave behavior and the wave equation, fine, but I won’t go the route of trading fallacious argumentation techniques.

                    Listen to what you are demanding. You want both predictions and peer-reviewed papers from me. Yet just “making predictions” won’t pass peer-review, since that is not science. What peer-review demands is a model first and foremost, and the prediction is there for interest. The prediction doesn’t prove anything and does not help to get anything past peer-review. How could it? One could just as soon wait for the future to come and then apply the model.

                  • Javier says:

                    “The prediction doesn’t prove anything”

                    Curious opinion. The ability to make testable predictions is the only way that hypothesis can be falsified. This is basic theory of science. A hypothesis that doesn’t make predictions is not falsifiable and then not scientific.

                    I guess in the realm of theoretical science you can get away without predictions, not so in the experimental sciences. Recently one of the last predictions of Einstein’s theory was confirmed.

                  • “Curious opinion. The ability to make testable predictions is the only way that hypothesis can be falsified.”

                    You didn’t read what I wrote. There are decades of data going back where hypotheses can be tested by comparing models fit to in-band intervals and then forward-project or back-project to out-of-band intervals.

                    And then with proxy data, one can go back hundreds of years to do similar checks. That’s what I have been doing with ENSO modeling.

                    Yet you think the only way to check is to make a prediction and wait several years. Boy, you’re not very clever if that’s the way you do scientific analysis. I guess we all know to hire Javier if we want a slow and plodding research analyst.

                  • Javier says:

                    The ability to hindcast past data that has not been used in the training of the model is a requirement to get the model published, WebHubTelescope. So every published model does that more or less successfully. However experience demonstrates that the ability to hindcast past data says little about the ability to forecast future data. That is the real test, not to get published, but to be successful afterwards.

                    I know you know all this, but others might not and get confused by what you said.

                  • Javier said:

                    “The ability to hindcast past data that has not been used in the training of the model is a requirement to get the model published, WebHubTelescope. So every published model does that more or less successfully. However experience demonstrates that the ability to hindcast past data says little about the ability to forecast future data. That is the real test, not to get published, but to be successful afterwards.

                    I know you know all this, but others might not and get confused by what you said”

                    Which is exactly what I am doing. I said that I use in-band and out-of-band data to verify the model. Evidently, Javier has to make stuff up to save face.

                    So we are using mathematical formulations such as the Oil Shock Model to estimate future growth in fossil fuel consumption, as Dennis has shown in this thread. This will contribute to global warming.

                    So as not get everyone confused, Javier believes that it is necessary to have a model that is sophisticated enough to predict what effect that AGW will have on the strength and timing of future El Nino’s. Like I said, no one has even been able to decode El Nino’s based on past data.

                    Methinks Javier has not thought this through completely.

      • Jef says:

        It is unprecedented. The el Nino effect can not explain the extent of the spike but it does make a good sound bit for dismissing AGW.

        “Arctic ice mass is doing well” Why do you lie? What do you hope to gain?

        You are correct that the short term trends are not to be extrapolated from so why do you do it? The long term trends are warming planet, warming oceans, melting glaciers, increased droughts, increased floods (no the two do not cancel each other out), increased record storms, and on and on.

        The northern hemisphere is heating up much faster than the rest of the planet and that is a long term trend that has no logical, factual reason to slow, stop, or reverse short of nuclear winter. You can’t wave your hand and dismiss this fact. The near term ramifications of that means an exponential release of methane. Dismiss away DICK!

        • Ralph says:

          The PIOMAS model of arctic sea ice volume has the ice back very close to record low year of 2011, the last two months have seen record low ice growth for the time of year. Arctic ice is doing extremely badly.

          • Javier says:

            The record low was 2012, not 2011, and current sea ice volume is now closer to 2007 low than to 2012 low. That is almost 10 years of wasted alarmism.

            • Jimmy says:

              According to PIOMAS the record low Arctic sea ice volume for a month of March was March 2011. However the record annual low was the year 2012. For a month of March, March 2016 is now in second place, just 124 km3 behind March 2011. March 2012 had greater Arctic sea ice volume than March 2016. See link below.


              • Javier says:

                Yes, and according to EUMETSAT Ocean and Sea Ice Satellite Application Facility (OSI SAF) of the Norwegian and Danish Meteorological Institutes, March 2016 is in fifth place behind 2015, 2011, 2007 and 2006.

                It is very different to say that Arctic ice is doing extremely badly, than to say that it is about the same level as 2005.

                The alarmist spin is to look at the worse looking dataset at the worst looking point in time to paint the worst looking picture.

                Arctic sea ice is not going anywhere since 2005. This is what the data supports, and nobody knows if 10 years from now there is going to be more or less Arctic sea ice. Based on the data since 2005 I would think that about the same.

                • Dennis Coyne says:

                  Hi Javier,

                  Now that was very silly. You have heard of the term cherry picking?


                  • Javier says:

                    That’s not cherry picking Dennis, is answering a valid scientific question:

                    For how long has been Arctic sea ice at similar levels whether in volume or extent?

                    The answer is about 10 years.

                    The answer has scientific value because indicates that periods of 10 years or longer without trend are possible. And if you check past levels then you find periods of 30 years without trend or even with slight growing trend.

                    Somehow, some people find this fact outrageous. I guess they believe anything other than continuous decrease in Arctic sea ice is unacceptable. Perhaps they don’t like Arctic sea ice.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier,

                    When discussing climate 10 years is not a period of time that is important, so you may think the question is interesting, I think climate is more interesting than weather.

                  • Javier says:

                    Well, that’s you Dennis, and I must say that it is a reasonable proposition, but for alarmists a single warm year is a big deal, and even a single warm month gets reported as caused by global warming.

                    So to fight climate alarmism based on very short changes, ten years is a lot. And it is fair to use it for that purpose.

                    How can you defend that Arctic sea ice is going to disappear by 2030 as Serreze does, when between 2006 and 2016 it has not gone down?

                    Every year of no further reduction makes Serreze’s claim more and more foolish looking. And he is supposed to be a leading expert as he directs the NSDIC.
                    Arctic ice could be gone by 2030

                  • Javier, It’s not you — its all the academically credentialled AGW deniers that are the problem.

                    The situation we have is Richard Lindzen, Murry Salby, Judith Curry, and other contrarian denialist scientists that act as if they know more than they do. These are the people that talk to media and go before congressional hearings to spout their opinions.

                    Lindzen is a great example of the scientific Dunning-Kruger effect in action, as I totally dismantle his theory of QBO winds by simply plotting the measured winds over the last 60 years against the lunisolar forcing.

                    How could Lindzen miss something this obvious? How can you take anything that he says against the AGW effect seriously?

                    So Javier, I suggest that you get in line behind some other supposedly “credentialled” scientists. If you have something to show, your turn will have to wait to get a debunking.

                • Jimmy says:

                  The discussion was sea ice volume Javier. As usual you change the topic with every paragraph you write. It’s a key element of your rhetorical pattern. The data you posted is sea ice extent. I do understand that the distinction between Arctic sea ice volume and Arctic sea ice extent is perhaps lost on you and that you flip back and forth between them as often as you like if it gives you an opportunity to obfuscate and mislead and especially if it gives you an opportunity to present one of your cherry picked data sets. You’re a god damned fool. Where’d you get your PhD, University of Phoenix?

        • Chad Tevlin says:

          One of the most most frequent arguments about global warming I hear brought up by the media, the scientists and commentators such as yourself is that the melting of arctic and glacial ice by themselves prove the danger of manmade global warming.

          But then I try to take a step back from all the rhetoric and political posturing and actually take a reality based look at the situation. By doing this I have to wonder what, beyond the re-location of a few minuscule villages and settlements near the Arctic shores, is the harm of a barely measurable rise in ocean levels brought on by ice melt? Indeed, if glaciers are retreating and icebergs are melting, how can that have an effect on the planet as a whole when the planet is so incredibly large and the polar regions make up just a tiny portion relatively speaking?

          • Fred Magyar says:

            Indeed, if glaciers are retreating and icebergs are melting, how can that have an effect on the planet as a whole when the planet is so incredibly large and the polar regions make up just a tiny portion relatively speaking?

            You are obviously either profoundly ignorant and lack any critical thinking skills or you are another paid troll!

            A similarly stupid question would be: “How could a mere 100 mg of strychnine can kill an 80 kg adult?” Because it sets off a cascade of negative feedback loops which eventual cause asphyxiation and death!

            Strychnine is a neurotoxin which acts as an antagonist of glycine and acetylcholine receptors. It primarily affects the motor nerves in the spinal cord which control muscle contraction. An impulse is triggered at one end of a nerve by the binding of neurotransmitters to the receptors. In the presence of a neuroinhibitor, such as glycine, a greater quantity of excitatory neurotransmitters must bind to receptors before there will be an action potential generated. Glycine acts primarily as an agonist of the glycine receptor, which is a ligand-gated chloride channel in neurons located in the spinal cord and in the brain. This chloride channel will allow the negatively charged chloride ions into the neuron, causing a hyperpolarization which pushes the membrane potential further from threshold. Strychnine is an antagonist of glycine, which means it binds to the same receptor, preventing the inhibitory effects of glycine on the postsynaptic neuron. Therefore, action potentials are triggered with lower levels of excitatory neurotransmitters. When the inhibitory signals are prevented, the motor neurons are more easily activated and the victim will have spastic muscle contractions, resulting in death by asphyxiation.[4][46] Structure of strychnine in complex with ACh binding protein (AChBP).[47]
            Source Wikipedia

            • Chad Tevlin says:

              No, I’m not a paid troll. I just choose to actually be an informed citizen and judge certain issues for myself by fact checking what the MSM tries to force feed us. Global warming just so happens to be the one of the issues which fails numerous tests of logic when one actually lifts the veil on the research.

              • Fred Magyar says:

                Informed?! You really think you are informed?!
                Based on your statements and questions above I doubt you could reason logically if your life depended on it. You do not have the necessary background and you are suffering from severe Dunning–Kruger effect!

            • Synapsid says:

              Fred M,

              Check Walt Seh’s post upthread. He tells us things that happen “in nature” that the natural sciences never noticed!

              We’re lucky to have him post here. Yep.

        • Javier says:


          The northern hemisphere is heating up much faster than the rest of the planet and that is a long term trend that has no logical, factual reason to slow, stop, or reverse short of nuclear winter.

          That is as silly an argument as it can be. Do you seriously believe that in a planet an hemisphere can have a continuously higher warming trend in one hemisphere over the other? That means you are science challenged.

          I mean, just look at the data, before speaking. There are periods when the Northern Hemisphere warms faster and periods when the Southern Hemisphere warms faster.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Javier,

            Mostly the Northern hemisphere has warmed faster, except 1950 to 1970, a possible explanation for that anomaly is rapid expansion of the vehicle fleet in the northern hemisphere over that period and poor air pollution control.

            Generally (since 1880) the land warms faster than the ocean and most of the land mass is in the Northern hemisphere, so we would expect more warming in the Northern hemisphere. It really is not that complicated.

            • Javier says:

              Dennis, those are all suppositions about possible causes.

              What we do know is that for the entire instrumental record hemispheres are taking turns at warming faster or slower. The quite accepted bipolar seesaw hypothesis indicates that both poles also often present opposite trends consistent with this behavior. Natural acting factors are a clear possible explanation for something that has been taking place for much longer than anthropogenic global warming.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Over the period of your graph it is a fact that 1950 to 1970 is the only period where the northern hemisphere warmed more slowly than the southern hemisphere. It is also a fact that the land has warmed more than the oceans from 1880 to the present and that there is more land in the Northern Hemisphere than the southern hemisphere.

                Do you dispute any of those facts?

                The seesaw effect you mention is also easily explained by the thermal inertia of the ocean as it warms and cools during glacial and interglacial periods and the movement of the continents over time and the effect on ocean basins an the circulation patterns of the oceans as they change over time.

                • Javier says:

                  The late 19th century also shows more Southern warming.

                  Yes, it is a fact that oceans warm slower and cool slower than land. Also the influence of ocean temperatures over land temperatures is about ten times larger than the opposite.

                  But the picture is a lot more complex than you paint it. Different oceans and continents warm or cool down at different rates all the time. For example the North Atlantic is cooling down quite fast since 2007, and there is a clear hemispheric asymmetry in these changes as if the oceans also were taking turns at warming and cooling. This has been put into a model in “the Stadium Wave hypothesis” by Marcia Wyatt. It is an interesting model of heat re-circulation through the planet oceans and sea ice.

                  So yes, there are several explanations for these phenomena besides the one that you propose.

                  • “This has been put into a model in “the Stadium Wave hypothesis” by Marcia Wyatt. It is an interesting model of heat re-circulation through the planet oceans and sea ice.”

                    Wyatt is Curry’s student and really does not have a grasp on what is happening.

                    However, there is a relationship between changes in the Earth’s rotation rate (the LOD signal) and changes detected in average surface temperature.

                    It was known before Wyatt, that if you pull this LOD signal out as a time series and scale it to a temperature, one can compensate for the long-term fluctuations in global temperature. Dennis had a comment elsewhere in this thread about CSALT, which is a tool that does that.

      • Jmmy says:

        Fernando- Could you provide me with a link to the data you are following that leads you to conclude that the arctic ice mass is doing well please.

        • Javier says:

          What about Piomas Arctic Sea Ice volume anomaly?

          If you are capable of tracing a straight line you will see that Arctic sea ice volume has been going nowhere since 2007.

          When you see that graph going below the minimum of 2012 you will see a continuation of the downward trend, that requires lower minima. Until then we could be witnessing a change of trend as projected by the hypothesis that Arctic sea ice is mainly regulated by AMO. A hypothesis that is very well published in the scientific literature, yet ignored by alarmists and the MSM.

          • Jimmy says:

            Do you always answer questions for Fernando? I’m interested in seeing the data Fernando is referring to, not hearing from the blogs resident troll for whom events before 2007 don’t exist. You blind in the left eye?


            You don’t need a PhD in pattern recognition to see where Arctic sea ice volume is headed.

            Frankly speaking Javier, if that grade 12 ecology paper that you put up on Ron’s blog as a guest post a little while ago is the best you can do when you’re publishing I have serious concerns about the quality of PhD programs in Spain.

            • Javier says:

              No. I don’t always answer questions for Fernando. But since it is obvious that the Arctic ice mass has been doing fine for 10 years, it looks more like a general question.

              Events prior to 2007 obviously exist. What about events prior to 1979? Arctic sea ice growth took place between 1945 and 1975. That is almost half of the period covered by anthropogenic global warming.

              • Jimmy says:

                It was not a general question. It was directed at Fernando. Take a look again and you will see that. It takes a very biased reading of the data to conclude that Arctic sea ice volumes are ‘healthy’ or ‘doing fine’. For a guy with a PhD in a physical science you seem to have quite a bit of logical fallacies embedded in your rhetorical pattern. I suggest your interests are political and not scientific. You’re aim is to obfuscate and distract. You are this blogs resident climate troll and it is easy to see. It’s also easy to see that your guest post wouldn’t get an A- in a grade 12 ecology class. It seems to me there are many fools in this world with a PhD and you are top of the bunch, if you do have a PhD that is.

                • Javier says:

                  You are wrong on everything.

                  I couldn’t care less about US politics. I really don’t care who becomes your next president. My country has no problem with CO2 emissions and is not going to implement any policy about that, because our emissions have decreased about 20% in the latest years.

                  And I couldn’t care less about your opinion on me.

                  • Jimmy says:

                    Not exactly captain of the debate team are ya? If you ever grow tired of not having your credentials questioned, your rhetorical pattern criticized and your trollish comments exposed then please feel free to engage me in dialogue.


                    In the meantime if you have any data sets that you are using to make your conclusion that Arctic sea ice volumes are ‘doing fine’ please post them. I usually find the conclusions you make from data sets to be so biased that I can only describe it as laughable. You’re a living joke.

                  • Javier says:

                    Not exactly a person to dialogue with your insults and attacks on people who disagree with you.

                    Any dataset will do. For example Piomas Arctic sea ice volume.

                    We have 9 years of sea ice volume going up and down but not changing, despite massive CO2 emissions. Current Arctic sea ice volume is the same as in 2007, and in the upper part of the range since then.

                    If you want to see a bigger graph, right click on it.

                  • Jimmy says:

                    What kind of Phd doesn’t know the difference between a chart that represents Arctic sea ice volume and a chart that represents Arctic sea ice volume anomoly? As of end of February 2016 Arctic sea ice volume is in 4th place for lowest recorded February volume. You call that ‘doing fine’. Try to imagine what a persons head height looks like when view from the side as they jump up and down while standing upon a downward moving escalator. Get it? It’s not hard to see. Your bias in interpreting data sets is beyond laughable. It’s stupid. I’m embarrassed for you just by reading your crap.


                  • Jimmy says:

                    Oh wait here’s an even newer data set for ya Javier. Arctic sea ice volume as of March 2016 is now in second place for the lowest March volume ever recorded. Yeah the Arctic sea ice volume is ‘doing just fine’. March 2016 is now in second place for record low, just 124 km3 behind March 2011. Good job PhD!


                  • Javier says:


                    You don’t seem to understand that anomaly is simply a conversion to a unit with different zero (like the different between Celsius and Kelvin degrees). It doesn’t affect unless you compare two different datasets with different zeros (reference period). It’s OK. Not everybody understands what anomaly means.

                    According to EUMETSAT OSI SAF, March 2016 is currently at fifth place.

                    You can get as scared as you want about something that hasn’t changed much since 2005.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi Javier and Jimmy,

                    Jimmy please stop with the ad hominems, not at all appropriate.

                    Javier, usually one looks at the trend over the entire period. You noticed what happened early in the ice volume data set when a similar horizontal line could have been drawn, then the ice volume decreased fairly steadily. In fact we could draw a line through the 1982 to 1988 data to show that the ice volume was increasing.

                    The entire data set is best interpreted by the downward sloping line, anything else is referred to as cherry picking.

                  • Javier says:

                    OK Dennis,

                    Let’s look at Arctic sea ice over the entire period. Data does not start at 1979. If we look at Arctic sea ice since the 1930’s we can see that there have been periods of rapid decline and periods of moderate growth.

                    The fact is that both AMO cyclical models and IPCC scenarios predict that the ice is not going to reduce much from current values and could present similar values by 2030’s. One has to wait to 2050 to be able to distinguish between these different models.

                    So it would not be very surprising to most climate scientists if Arctic sea ice presents similar values from now to 2040. Obviously this is unacceptable to some alarmist scientists and the rest of the alarmist crowd that defend the Arctic spiral of death and go to the extreme of insulting anybody espousing that opinion.

                    (Right-click on the graph if you want to see it bigger).

                • Jimmy says:

                  You’re a god damn idiot aren’t you Javier. Here’s a link to a chart that illustrates up to date Arctic sea ice volume. Look at it. Study it. See if you can come to some meaningful and realistic conclusions about the current state of Arctic sea ice volumes.


                  It’s like talking to a god damn wall.

    • George Kaplan says:

      Is it a spike or a step change – CO2 in the the atmosphere takes 100’s of years to decline so this is a spike in rates but an effectively permanent step change in levels – and presumably to be repeated at the next el Nino. Or am I missing something?

      • Jimmy says:

        What kind of Phd doesn’t know the difference between a chart that represents Arctic sea ice volume and a chart that represents Arctic sea ice volume anomoly? As of end of February 2016 Arctic sea ice volume is in 4th place for lowest recorded February volume. You call that ‘doing fine’. Try to imagine what a persons head height looks like when view from the side as they jump up and down while standing upon a downward moving escalator. Get it? It’s not hard to see. Your bias in interpreting data sets is beyond laughable. It’s stupid. I’m embarrassed for you just by reading your crap.

        • Jimmy says:

          PS the above comment is for Javier PhD and his arctic sea ice volume anomoly chart that he calls a arctic sea ice volume chart.

        • George Kaplan says:

          For the last day of February the volume was second lowest at just 0.5% above 2011, and 0.7% below 2012, but with lower apparent growth rate than either of those years. Let’s hope it recovers over the next couple of months but the Arctic temperature anomalies so far in March and for at least another week have been 5 to 20 degrees C high, so it’s not looking hopeful. In the Canadian North some ice roads haven’t formed, and now may not, which has big impacts on some First Nations’ lives (and presumably drilling, which I guess is slightly ironic). The same heat is probably impacting permafrost there, which is getting more and more attention – one recent report indicated it will all be gone by 2070, presumably that means everything becomes an uninhabitable swamp. Though I haven’t seen any reports of building collapse this year there has been less snow cover than usual so wild fires may be even worse than last year’s, which were at or near records. Canada was suggested as one place that would do well in a warmer world but it is actually seeing some of the earliest negative impacts.

          • Javier says:

            Do you read yourself?

            The February 2016 land and ocean temperature anomaly was 1.35°C (2.43°F) above the average temperature in the period from 1951 to 1980.

            The average Arctic winter temperature is -30°F (-34°C). Even 20°C above that average is still below freezing point. If ice is not forming at this time of the year, you will have to look for the cause some other place than in a 1.35°C temperature increase.

            Why some people suspend their reasoning while talking climate is beyond me. Perhaps a religious thing.

            • Jimmy says:

              notice the rhetorical patterns used to obfuscate, mislead and change the topic of the conversation before a conclusion can be reached. What a frickin troll.

            • George Kaplan says:

              Rate of ice growth is a function of temperature difference (square root if I remember).

              • Javier says:

                Actually not. Ice core drillers know very well that warm humid periods cause a lot more snow and ice accumulation on places that are below freezing point.

                Actually the initial prediction that snow would be a thing of the past pushed forward by alarmist climate scientists, like David Vinner of the CRU of the University of East Anglia, who predicted that “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” in March 2000 to the Independent, have failed so spectacularly that they are now defending that global warming causes the opposite and brings more snow.

                Winter Arctic sea ice dynamics responds to different causes that summer Arctic sea ice dynamics. Only through an alarmist lack of understanding of basic climate change phenomena can a reduction in winter Arctic sea ice be made into a poster child of global warming dangers.

                Seriously. This thing is turning into a religion where nothing can be questioned even if it contradicts basic knowledge, like once below freezing point, air humidity and precipitations are the only factors behind how much snow you get.

  8. Pingback: Coal Shock Model | Energy News

  9. R Walter says:

    Here’s a shocker:

    The levels of CO2 in your house are as high as 1,000 to 1,200 ppm.

    Doesn’t seem to harm the occupants, they can go outside and breathe air with 1/3 the amount of CO2 that is inside the house. You’ll wake up some more.

    Get outside and stop breathing all of that CO2 inside your house.

    Coal is being burned at a rate of 7.3 billion tons per year. Twenty million tons a day.

    One ton per year for each person alive today.

    On its way to 9,000,000,000 tons each year by 2045 or some number like that.

    One ton for every person alive in 2045, probably so. Seems to be the going rate.

    • GoneFishing says:

      R Walter

      A study from the Harvard School of Public health shows detrimental effects to our cognition starting higher than 500 ppm (normal outside air). By 1500 ppm the ability to strategize and use information had fallen to near zero. Basic activity levels had fallen in half. Since many buildings, including office areas and classrooms, reach this level and higher much of our activity is happening at low cognitive levels.
      This is exacerbated by the fact that the outside air baseline is rising, meaning getting air below 500 ppm to dilute indoor air will soon be impossible in many areas. In fact the outdoor air is often higher than 500 ppm. Recently in an area to the east of me (densely populated) a CO2 “bubble” occurred that covered what appeared to be a couple of thousand square miles. That “bubble” was at 1500 ppm. Indoor air must have been hitting over 3000 ppm in those areas.
      How are we going to make proper decisions or educate our children properly in such an environment? Just when we need to be as smart as possible and make the correct decisions, we are all becoming impaired. Hoisted by our own petard.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        By 1500 ppm the ability to strategize and use information had fallen to near zero. Basic activity levels had fallen in half. Since many buildings, including office areas and classrooms, reach this level and higher much of our activity is happening at low cognitive levels.

        Some has to be pumping CO2 into Capitol Building when congress is in session…

        • GoneFishing says:

          Fred, it’s a perfect example of CO2 injection to increase production from fossils. Of course the product is often sticky, toxic and flammable with useless and hazardous byproducts, but that is what we pay for and require.

          “Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others.”
          ― Ambrose Bierce

      • Javier says:


        Time and time you demonstrate that alarmists are a gullible bunch ready to believe anything that fits the CO2 alarmist religion.

        The US Navy knows perfectly well what levels of CO2 are safe for their submariners. This can be a shocker for you:

        “We try to keep CO2 levels in our U.S. Navy submarines no higher than 8,000 parts per million, about 20 time current atmospheric levels. Few adverse effects are observed at even higher levels. – Senate testimony of Dr. William Happer

        Data collected on nine nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 3,500 ppm with a range of 0-10,600 ppm, and data collected on 10 nuclear-powered attack submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 4,100 ppm with a range of 300-11,300 ppm (Hagar 2003). – page 46″

        So if the US Navy knows it is safe for the men that have their fingers on the nuclear weapons controls, why should we think otherwise?

        Alarmists are making fools of themselves with all these bogus claims that nobody with half a brain can believe.

        • GoneFishing says:

          Javier, the only fool is you. Those are toxicology studies you quote, not cognitive studies. Apparently you do not know the difference.
          That Happer fellow (atomic and optics) is talking about climate change. Amazing how you leapt to conclusions about what I said to throw in one of your crackpot scientists, again nothing to do with cognitive topics.

          Yes, you like calling people fools and half-wits, yet you do not even have any discernible reading comprehension.
          Best you find a deep hole and jump into it. Do the only thing you can to improve the world.

        • Fred Magyar says:

          As usual Javier spews the Bullshit!! BTW, I was a deep sea commercial saturation diver and hyperbaric technician trained in mixed gases and rebreathers and have a pretty good grasp of what levels of CO2 are safe to breathe under what circumstances and your example of what the navy supposedly deems safe is incorrect obsolete information and has been superseded by more recent studies. Personally I would never want to be in an environment working at 10,000 ppm of CO2 for long periods of time. Your mileage may vary!

          Elevated Indoor Carbon Dioxide Impairs Decision-Making Performance
          Feature Story Julie Chao (510) 486-6491 • OCTOBER 17, 2012

          Overturning decades of conventional wisdom, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have found that moderately high indoor concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) can significantly impair people’s decision-making performance. The results were unexpected and may have particular implications for schools and other spaces with high occupant density.

          “In our field we have always had a dogma that CO2 itself, at the levels we find in buildings, is just not important and doesn’t have any direct impacts on people,” said Berkeley Lab scientist William Fisk, a co-author of the study, which was published in Environmental Health Perspectives online last month. “So these results, which were quite unambiguous, were surprising.” The study was conducted with researchers from State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University.

          On nine scales of decision-making performance, test subjects showed significant reductions on six of the scales at CO2 levels of 1,000 parts per million (ppm) and large reductions on seven of the scales at 2,500 ppm. The most dramatic declines in performance, in which subjects were rated as “dysfunctional,” were for taking initiative and thinking strategically. “Previous studies have looked at 10,000 ppm, 20,000 ppm; that’s the level at which scientists thought effects started,” said Berkeley Lab scientist Mark Mendell, also a co-author of the study. “That’s why these findings are so startling.”

          • Javier says:

            Those findings don’t appear to have been replicated several times by other researchers, which is curious considering how important is the issue of CO2 levels in buildings if it is true.

            Indeed it appears Chinese students are not very much affected by exposure to 5000 ppm in an even more recent study.
            Human responses to carbon dioxide, a follow-up study at recommended exposure limits in non-industrial environments (2016)
            – 2.5-h exposure to CO2 up to 5000 ppm did not decrease perceived air quality.
            – 2.5-h exposure to CO2 up to 5000 ppm did not evoke acute health symptoms.
            – The examined CO2 exposures did not affect performance of some cognitive tasks.

            Perhaps they are pre-adapted due to high coal emissions in China.

            And 5000 ppm is the permissible level by the United States Department of Labor – Occupational Safety & Health Administration
            OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) – General Industry 5,000 ppm
            (9,000 mg/m3)

            This is so because 5000 ppm is one third of the concentration at which first symptoms appear.

            My bullshit is based on official information, not on one off study like yours.

        • Fred Magyar says:

          Javier sure knows how to pick them!

          William Happer, born 1939 (age 76–77), is a climate change denier and Professor of Physics at Princeton University, specialising in MRI imaging. He has no training in climate science. He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the George C. Marshall Institute and is on the Academic Advisory Council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a denier think tank.[1]

          From 1987 to 1990 he served as Chairman of the Steering Committee of the JASON Committee.

          He testified before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in February 2009.[2]

          He is the author of a ‘briefing paper’ by the Global Warming Policy Foundation entitled ‘The Truth About Greenhouse Gases’. Happer writes ‘We conclude that atmospheric CO2 levels should be above about 150 ppm to avoid harming green plants and below about 5000 ppm to avoid harming people. That is a big range, and our atmosphere is much closer to the lower end than the upper end.'[3]

          Happer helped to organize a group called the CO2 Coalition , through which his fees are paid. [4]

          • GoneFishing says:

            That is a riot Fred. ” ‘We conclude that atmospheric CO2 levels should be above about 150 ppm to avoid harming green plants…” At 150 ppm CO2 the plants would stay fresh for a very long time, under ice across the planet.

          • Javier says:

            Yes, Happer is a physics professor at Princeton. And I am sure he is not a climate change denier, because everybody believes in climate change. It is obvious that the climate has always been changing.

            And he is obviously right in saying that plants require CO2 above 150 ppm and humans require it below 5000 ppm and that we are much closer to the lower limit.

            In any case my citation was of his testimony regarding CO2 levels in submarines. As always instead of discussing if that is true or false, you divert the argument by an ad-hominem attack on the cited person.

            • Marco Rubio said 3 days ago:

              “Sure, the climate is changing,” Rubio responded. “The climate is changing is because the climate has always been changing. There has never been a time when the climate has not changed.”

              Javier Rubio said today:

              “… because everybody believes in climate change. It is obvious that the climate has always been changing.”

              • Javier says:

                Well, I don’t know anything about Marco Rubio except that he is a Republican candidate. I know quite a lot about Hillary Clinton and a little bit about Donald Trump. The rest of the candidates don’t get any time on Spain’s TV.

                I am always surprised about the self awareness of the Americans that believe their internal affairs are so important for the entire world, while we couldn’t care less. You guys elect any president you want and we will elect ours.

                Regarding the climate always changing, that is a truism. We probably also agree on the Sun coming out everyday.

                • Good try at sincerity, we know you all read the same talking points memo.

                  “Regarding the climate always changing, that is a truism. We probably also agree on the Sun coming out everyday.”

                  So why the pablum?

                  I use the strict periodicity of the lunisolar orbits to model the QBO. This creates a more erratic behavior than you would first think.

            • Fred Magyar says:

              And he is obviously right in saying that plants require CO2 above 150 ppm and humans require it below 5000 ppm and that we are much closer to the lower limit.

              No shit! And a cup full of Dihydrogen Monoxide can kill you if you inhale it!

            • Jimmy says:

              You’re pathetic. You reference some asshat then when he’s criticized you cry ad hominem. Gimme us a god damn break from your bullshit. You’re a living joke and everybody knows it. Nobody thinks you have a PhD. You’re just too fricking stupid. I knew you didn’t have a PhD the moment I read that grade 12 ecology paper you guest posted.

              • Javier says:

                Look who’s the real troll here.

                Dennis has my complete name and publication record. Just continue behaving like that if you are unable to have an adult discussion.

                Your cause suffers from such defenders.

              • Dennis Coyne says:

                Hi Jimmy,

                You should not post at all if you cannot be polite.

                • Aws. says:


                  It is pointless to be polite when the argument is inherently evil. Javier’s arguments deserve all the rudeness Jimmy has presented.

                  Are we to offer a polite response to the racism of Trump? Politeness in the face of an evil argument just lends that argument credibility.

                  Javier deserves our scorn.

                  • Javier says:

                    LOL Aws.,

                    Your definition of evil is hilarious. You invest yourself of the moral high stand to decide who’s arguments are evil, and then of the right to insult them.

                    You would have made a very good recruit to the Spanish Inquisition.

                    I guess intolerance to those that think different or believe different is a basic part of human nature, but to feel superior for doing it is just absurd.

                    For my part I have no problem with those that think that global warming is turning into a catastrophe. I just think that they are mistaken. And since we all are mistaken most of the time, that is not a big deal.

                    With time they will find out they were mistaken and Global Warming is not dangerous. At worst they will feel silly, but those that have attacked and insulted people that believed differently should at least feel embarrassed and hopefully learn a lesson in intellectual tolerance.

                  • Dennis Coyne says:

                    Hi AWS,

                    I strongly disagree. Mostly Javier refrains from insulting people, and typically he does so after many insults have been hurled at him.

                    I prefer free speech as long as ad hominem arguments and insults are avoided (so somewhat free speech).

                  • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                    I just posted something along this line here.

                    (I wonder what would happen if someone on here, such as WHT, invited a few climate science friends from Realclimate or wherever over, seeing as Javier seems to like it here, so, for example, we could get less of a lopsided discussion, what with Javier’s questionable references and all.)

                    Anyway, I have been thinking about something inspired in part by this Curry and Javier (Rubio?) theme here, and may post about it under future articles.

  10. Dennis, the Burn Baby, Burn post I prepared in the fall of 2014 shows a short coal plateau in the 2040’s, a “not heavy oil” peak around 2024 to 2034, a gas peak in the 2030’s, and a heavy oil peak in the 2050’s. I prepared it seeking what I thought would be a “reasonable” peak for CO2 emissions, and didn’t focus as much as you do on peak product as such. The peak CO2 concentration is about 630 ppm. The carbon cycle model I use shows a gradual reduction in CO2 concentration begins to drop in the 2080’s, and temperature begins to drop after 2100. The 1.5 degree boundary is reached around 2060, the 2 degree boundary may not be reached (I used a 1.5 deg C TCR).

    I detailed this because it would be really interesting to have a set of emissions and temperature cases with your production rate assumptions, variable carbon cycle models, and variable TCRs.

    I propose this subproject because right now the climatologists are preparing inputs for the CMIP6 climate model runs, the work is not being documented, and I’m afraid they’ll end up with another set of propaganda alarmist cases which distort the nature of the problem.

    The current political atmosphere is overheated, USA government agencies are pushing the edge of the envelope, and Obama seems to be going nihilist as his term ends. This isn’t a good time to see these model runs being scheduled for the next five years using bullshit inputs, but I’m afraid it’s going to happen.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Fernando,

      A problem with a low TCR is that the slow warming of the ocean causes a big lag in global land ocean temperatures. The last time I checked most of the human population lived on land rather than oceans.

      If we consider the TCR for global land temperatures relative to the 1850 to 1900 mean, temperature has risen by about 1.5C while atmospheric CO2 has risen from about 275 to 400 ppm.
      If you do the math the Global land TCR is about 2.8 C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 to 550 ppm.

      For my more conservative carbon emissions model we would peak at about 515 ppm CO2 in 2110 and global land temperatures would be about 2.5 C above the 1850 to 1900 mean temperature (2 C above 1951-1980 mean). Many scientists trained in the biological sciences believe this level of temperature rise (1.5 C above the Holocene optimum) will be a big problem and that we should aim for 1.5 C above the 1850 to 1900 mean at most.

  11. Oldfarmermac says:

    A question, for WHT, or anybody who can answer it.

    Thanks in advance.

    Why does he call his oil model a “shock” model? This use of this word in this context has always nagged at me, for some reason.

    And another question, while I am asking.

    What distinguishes “dispersive” discovery from other descriptions of the discovery process?

    I recognize the general model as being a very impressive piece of work, but I am not motivated enough to work my way thru it like a text book back in university days.

    It looks as if would go down slow and hard, considering I have forgotten what math I knew fifty years or more ago, which was probably not enough even then.

    • It was called the Shock Model because it was the only oil production model that was able to reproduce the production shocks of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Production shocks were the generally accepted term to describe the significant dips in production that occurred due to events such as the oil embargo etc. There was no way that a heuristic model such as Hubbert proposed could model shock effects, so a different kind of math needed to be invoked to show the asymmetries and irregularities in production profiles.

      And I don’t think multiple-Hubbert profiles cuts it because that is piling a heuristic on top of a heuristic. All the excellent Bakken analyses that you are seeing now are based on the mathematics of convolution, which is what the shock model applied.

      BTW, I understand the problems of naming things. I never could stand the naming of JB’s Export Land Model. Why was the word “Land” in there when “Oil” would have been so much better? Countries aren’t exporting land, they are exporting oil!

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        Thank you ,WHT

        This makes excellent sense , once you have the explanation. Your model could not be better named, but in spite of seeing it mentioned a hundred times,at least, I had never heard WHY you called it that.

        Now in day to day communications,as opposed to scientific modeling, it is fairly common to use the term ” land” in a phrase to describe a paradigm or scenario.

        “He’s living in cuckoo land” for example is taken to mean a person is grossly mistaken or naive. Lots of folks believe in the “land of opportunity” which is why so many people try to get to the USA.

        We are the land of pickup trucks and suburbs, etc.

      • wake says:

        I thought it was just a generic name for any country

        The Netherlands
        Germany refers to itself as “Deutschland”.


    • Dispersive Discovery is intended to describe an activity that proceeds at many different rates. There isn’t one rate that governs finding oil, but a range that covers the expected effort that oil prospectors will expend.

      One of the best applications of dispersion is in modeling the track of contaminants as they enter a drainage system.

  12. Oldfarmermac says:

    Old King Coal is not quite DEAD yet.

    Peabody paper is up fifty percent, all the way to six point two cents on the dollar. 😉

  13. islandboy says:

    I decided I’d take a techno-cornucopian approach to the FF/CO2 issue following somewhat the logic of Tony Seba and see what I could come up with. As has been discussed on this web site, it is unreasonable to expect the rapid growth of wind and solar over recent years to continue for any extended period but, I also find it unreasonable that the growth of renewables will hit a brick wall after 2017, as was forecast by some EIA projections before the ITC for renewables was extended recently. I had a look at the following youtube video to get some ideas about the logistic growth model:

    Logistic Growth

    I put together a quick spreadsheet to try and extrapolate the US electricity generating balance from where we are today (starting from the end of 2015). The spreadsheet allows me to plug in different initial growth rates for both solar and wind and allows me to set different rates of decline for the growth rates following the idea of logistic growth.

    Starting with a share of 5% for wind and 1% for solar in year zero, an initial growth rate of 30% for wind and 50% for solar, with both growth rates declining by 10% per year, produces the graph below, with the combined share of wind and solar reaching over 80% by 2030 and 100% by 2033. I would be interested in hearing the reasoning of those who say it is impossible for renewables to have a significant impact on FF consumption over the next decade or so. If Bernie Sanders were to become the POTUS and impose a tax on carbon while boosting renewables (“restructuring our energy systum”, as he calls it), would it be far fetched to expect that the transition away from FF would continue at the current pace or even accelerate?

    • Political Economist says:

      Projected share rises above 100 percent?!

      • Nathanael says:

        Yeah, it probably actually will. Supply glut!

        We’ll have *very* cheap power for a while and there will be some bankruptcies involved. People will also find new and innovative ways to waste power.

        I prefer to use a slightly different model.

        I don’t think the logistic curve will pass the inflection point for quite a while; I think the 50%/year growth for solar and 30%/year growth for wind will continue for quite a long time, with no reduction. This is because I think solar and wind, but mostly solar, are going to massively expand the use of electricity in “developing” countries. As a percentage of *industrialized country* usage I think we will hit 100% sooner than that.

        We actually don’t need to hit 100% wind+solar to hit 100% renewables — hydropower is not going off line. Also, we’ll probably stall in about 10 years as we start to hit the need for batteries, but in industrialized countries we’ll be in the 90% range already by then.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Nathanael,

          The Growth rate in consumption of wind and solar power has been about 25% per year on average from 1994 to 2014 based on BP data, from 2010 to 2014 this rate slowed to about 21% per year. It is unlikely the rate will remain that high. I hope I am wrong, but I think this is wishful thinking.

          • Oldfarmermac says:

            It is obvious enough that so long as the general overall economy holds up ok, wind and solar will grow very fast for some time to come, for various reasons.

            The biggest three, probably are ,one, are that both wind and solar are actually cost competitive or very close, on a dollars and cents basis, in a large number of places already. Costs will continue to fall, even as fossil fuel prices MUST rise due to depletion, rising costs of extraction, shipping, taxes that will be imposed on sellers by revenue hungry exporting governments, etc;

            Two , countries that import fuel are gradually coming to understand that the more renewable power you have, the more money stays home, and the safer you are from wars, embargos, etc ;

            And three, the environmental issue question of course.

            Predicting which factor will be most important at any given place or any given day is a fasciniting game, but all three are operating all the time.

            My way of trying to understand at what point the growth of wind and solar power will start slowing down SUBSTANTIALLY hinges to a certain extent on predicting the time at which the industries themselves realize they are mature, or fast approaching maturity.

            Once wind and solar penetrate the market to the point that growth must obviously slow almost to a halt due to the market being saturated, the bean counters will not be willing to invest in training more people and building more manufacturing capacity, because new capacity and more people will oversupply the market.

            I will hazard a wild ass guess that this will occur not less than five to ten years down the road, but it might take a lot longer.

            It depends on so many things………….

            Once wind and solar power are providing a substantial part of the energy used to generate electricity, the price of coal and gas will be depressed thereby, making it profitable to continue running legacy fossil fuel generating capacity.

            There will be a LOT of pressure to keep legacy coal and gas capacity running, from the industry itself, and from consumers, and government bean counters as well.

            Money, or more accurately, real capital, in the form of resources and highly skilled people will always be in short supply, and we will collectively do what works best for us in the SHORTER term, a hell of a lot of the time, because we cannot afford to do otherwise.

            And because it is EASIER to take the short term route.

            I for instance ran some older machinery that was actually more expensive, in terms of total operating costs, than new equipment would have been, before retiring.


            Because it was THERE, and workable, and I could neither AFFORD OR JUSTIFY the up front investment, due to short term cash flow problems, and lack of sufficient credit.

            The law of diminishing returns is valid, so far as I can tell, under just about any circumstances involving abandoning serviceable older equipment and replacing it with new, when the old can be used successfully on an intermittent basis. The less you will use the new equipment, the harder it is to justify the cost of it.

            Every time we increase the amount of wind and solar power we can use by ten percent, we are going to have to invest in MORE than another ten percents worth of wind and solar infrastructure, most likely.

            Suppose we get to eighty percent of our total need here in the USA, on wind and solar, having invested X amount in doing so. Building out enough wind and solar to get to one hundred percent might require another x worth of investment, meaning two x worth total investment, to reliably produce that last twenty percent.

            When the amount of carbon emitted by fossil fuel generation is reduced by eighty percent or more, it is going to be damned hard to argue that getting rid of the last twenty percent is economically or environmentally sound policy., at least in the short term.

            Spending the money on conservation, or efficiency, or putting it to any of countless other good uses would probably result in a bigger , faster, and more satisfactory return.

            People as a whole act a lot like little kids, who will accept a small candy bar today rather than wait for a bigger one tomorrow.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Old Farmer Mac,

              One thing that could occur is that low prices for fossil fuels may reduce the extraction rate, my models assume fossil fuel prices will be high, when renewables penetrate the market to the point that fossil fuel demand is below supply at any given price, then the price of fossil fuels must fall, the lower the price, the fewer resources will profitable to produce.

              This could potentially result in a Seneca cliff in fossil fuel output, but I believe this is 20 years away at minimum (in the absence of an economic collapse for whatever reason). An economic collapse or a major war might also result in a temporary drop in fossil fuel output.

              • Nathanael says:

                FWIW oil isn’t a direct substitute for solar. I don’t think the different fossil fuels will be tightly correlated.

                I think we’ll hit the “Seneca cliff” for thermal coal *fast*, because the substitutes (solar, wind, NG) are already cheaper and already mass-produced.

                For oil, it’ll take longer, because substitutes for oil (electric cars, etc.) are at an earlier stage in the growth curve.

                For natural gas, I have no freaking idea. There are so many different things affecting natural gas that I just haven’t worked it out. It substitutes for coal, it substitutes for oil (oil and coal do not substitute for each other), it has unique uses where it is mandatory, it is produced as a side effect of coal mining, it is produced as a side effect of oil drilling, you can produce it independently from both, you can get biogas from renewable sources such as landfills… it’s particularly tricky to analyze, with the huge number of substitutes involved.

            • Nathanael says:

              “Once wind and solar penetrate the market to the point that growth must obviously slow almost to a halt due to the market being saturated, the bean counters will not be willing to invest in training more people and building more manufacturing capacity, because new capacity and more people will oversupply the market. ”

              Exactly. My belief, however, is that the vast, enormous, ever-expanding developing-world market will cause this point — the “oh boy we’re getting close to saturation” point — to come well after the developed world is nearly 100% solar.

              The developed world can pay more so we’re going to be first in line.

      • islandboy says:

        Since it’s just a result of extrapolation using a spreadsheet, it’s just manipulating numbers but, in a practical sense a share of anything above 100% is ridiculous. Since all I had to do to alter the results was plug different values into four cells, I went for higher initial growth rates (wind 40%, solar 60%) and higher declines in those growth rates (wind 18%, solar 15%). This run has the share reaching 80% by year 27, 82% by year 36 and basically leveling off, taking the the next 63 years to go up by 0.618%. This run still has solar and wind exceeding 60% of the share of electricity generation by 2029. In some ways this is more realistic than the previous graph I posted, since it leaves room for other forms of generation to exist. In a sense it supports Tony Seba’s assertion that, all new capacity will be solar by 2030.

        It should also be noted that technologies, such as kerfless wafer production might allow for increased production from the same mineral resource base, by significantly reducing material waste, thus increasing the chance that PV growth rates could accelerate rather than decline. IMO the next decade or so is going to be very interesting on two fronts, renewable vs FF electricity generation and electric vs ICE powered cars.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi islandboy,

          That scenario looks more realistic to me. I think wind and solar combined can continue to grow at about 7% per year until fossil fuels are replaced. At some point it will be cheaper to shut down coal fired plants and use wind and solar backed up by natural gas, as wind and solar gain more and more market share, the natural gas used for electric power backup will only need to be 1 to 5% of total load hours with widely dispersed interconnected wind and solar. Oil use will be reduced as the cost of EVs and plugin hybrids falls and more public transport and rail for freight is built. The last few miles from rail terminal to stores and factories can be covered by EV trucks. As oil depletes and becomes more expensive that transition will occur, but it will depend on prices of batteries, oil, and electricity and the buildout of a charging network.

          From a carbon emissions standpoint each Gtoe of coal saved removes about a 1.06 Gt of carbon emissions, for oil it is about 0.78 Gt C/Gtoe, and for natural gas 0.59 Gt C/Gtoe. So we want to shut down coal first, then oil, and lastly natural gas to get the maximum carbon emission reduction for each unit of energy not used.

          • Javier says:

            Dennis, do you have an idea of the increase in electricity that will be required if for example 20% of all cars become EVs?

            I find it hard to believe that that growth in consumption, if it ever comes to pass in let’s say a decade, can be matched solely from increased solar and wind, at the same time as they also replace coal and gas except for back up, and aging nuclear.

            I do not think that is a credible scenario at all even if there are no fossil fuel shocks. If EVs really take off we are going to have to expand fossil fuel or nuclear electricity to match their demand.

            And I have to add that most people will plug their cars at night, when there is no solar generation and wind usually blows less. Night electricity should become a lot more expensive that it is now.

            • Dennis Coyne says:

              Hi Javier,

              Nighttime demand is usually pretty low, nuclear, gas, wind, and hydro will be able to cover it. In fact excess wind and solar during the day can be used to charge batteries or to produce hydrogen for fuel cells (depending upon which is cheaper in the future), pumped hydro is another possible means for energy storage using excess daytime power or storing any excess wind power. EVs and light rail use considerably less energy than an ICE vehicle.

              About 16 % of the energy of a barrel of crude are used in the refining process, so we are left with 84% of the energy after refining, we will assume another 5% is lost in transport to the pump and operation of the gas pump, that brings us to 80%, it is well known that a typical ICEV has a fuel to wheel efficiency of about 16%, overall about 13% of the energy goes to wheels. The EV has about 55% efficiency from plug to wheel, the power in a modern power plant is about 40% efficiency (in the case of a thermal power plant) and transmission and distribution losses in the US are about 6% which leads to an overall efficiency of about 31%. So the use of EVs would require 2.38 times less energy than ICEVs.

              • SolarPowerIsTheFuture says:

                Our personal individual transportation and most cargo will be become electric. Nuclear will handle the base load with solar handling most of the increased day load. There will be some NG peaker generation to help balance the system. But most of the grid balancing will be done by pricing.

                Depending on your needs. You will plug in your EV and program it to charge when the price drops to your preset buy price level. Some of the lowest prices will be from 1am to 5am and 10am to 2pm. Your HVAC system in your home will no longer have a single temperature setting but a range. The HVAC system will maximize it operating time to match electrical energy supply and price.

                And by the way, Javier’s denial isn’t going to slow the transformation. He is just embarrassing himself and will be the last to realize it.

                • Javier says:

                  I think the word denial is being abused as of lately. I do not understand how it can be used correctly when referring to the future, which by definition is unknown. Can one deny the future? I don’t think so. One can only deny the past. But it seems that if one questions somebody’s dreams or nightmares for the future one is guilty of denialism. Funny.

                  But if the future relies on the use of nuclear energy, then we have a problem. Most countries in the world have no nuclear energy, and many that have it are in the process of abandoning it. So we are clearly going in the opposite direction.

                  I am probably denying something for stating something so obvious.

                  • XT5 says:

                    “I do not understand”

                    “Can one deny the future?”

                    Absolutely yes, gun valiance denies the future of 90 Americans on average each day. Global warming could deny the future of the human race. Humans have the means to change the outcome of the future.

                    And by the way Javier, your not “funny”. Just in denial.

  14. R Walter says:


    Farmers and locals have had enough of wind turbines and do shoot them up causing damage that costs dollars. They just don’t care, the sooner wind turbines are gone, the better.

    Wind turbines are going to be a thing of the past, like now.

    Coal will fill the void.

    • GoneFishing says:

      There have always been disreputable developers just as there have been greedy landowners who sign contracts that do not provide enough fail safes. We do have laws and courts that can deal with scams, if that is what really happened. However, the blog experts appear very biased and questionable. But then again it is based in Australia where coal is a major source of income.
      Here is a review of the credibility of “Stop These Things”

      I do know one fellow who really dislikes wind power, mostly on an esthetic basis, but he is fourth generation coal. He thinks they are ugly, as I looked around his area seeing culm pile, after culm pile and large areas destroyed by coal mining. People do have different viewpoints. But those are viewpoints and not an attempt to prevent harm or improve our survival options.

  15. Longtimber says:

    “Dogma Replaces Reason” “Tearing Up Money ”
    Keiser Report: American Greek Tragedies in Fracking Sector

  16. George Kaplan says:

    According to a comment on Ron is retiring for health and family reasons. If this is true let me offer my thanks for all his excellent work and best wishes for the future. This blog is almost unique for the quality and quantity of data and for the balance of comments that allows free expression of often deep knowledge without ever getting too obnoxious or ridiculous (although getting close at times). And best wishes to Dennis if he is taking over as the comment suggests. If thePeakOil post is a troll, then all the above applies anyway.

    • scrub puller says:

      Yair . . .
      I am a long time reader of Ron’s posts from TOD days and it is always a pleasure to come here to his site and read comments from real people who know their bickies and can articulate real world explanations.

      A straight forward informative blog with no fancy formatting, advertisements or an excess of dickheads is a rare and precious thing.

      If Ron is packing up his key-board I wish he and his wife all the best and, for this old bloke anyway, his comments and no nonsense attitude will be sorely missed.


    • I am retiring and Dennis is taking over. I will still contribute from time to time… I hope. But Dennis will be running the blog if he chooses to continue it.


      • Nathanael says:

        Thank you for all of your careful analysis in the past. It’s been very useful and has even assisted me in planning a couple of times (pinning down the years for shale driller bankruptcies, for instance)

      • Fred Magyar says:

        Hey Ron,
        A very big thank you for all your tireless work!
        Best to you and yours!

      • Patrick R says:

        Ron I am very sorry to hear this news! I hope your situation stabilises sufficiently for you to keep returning here for a long time to come. It has been an invaluable resource and I will miss your posts and dedication to clearly presented data in a complex field.

        Peak oil you picked for 2015; we didn’t expect peak Ron to follow so soon.

        • shallow sand says:


          Thank you very much for all of the time you have put into POB!

          I wish you and your family well.

          Take care, I hope to see POB continue and to see you make posts from time to time.

      • Ron, Please take care.
        You did a great job covering this topic after TOD folded its tent.


      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Thanks Ron– you blog has been invaluable.

      • coffeeguyzz says:

        Mr. Patterson

        My very best wishes to you and your family.

        I thank you as well for all your time and efforts with this blog.


      • Ovi says:

        Thanks for your efforts. Much appreciated.

      • AlexS says:


        Thanks for all you’ve done for this blog.
        Hope to see your posts here.
        Best wishes to you and your family.

        • robert wilson says:

          Sad. But then it was sad to see N J Berrill, The Huxleys, Garrett Hardin, and Buz Ivanhoe pass away. And I miss the lively USENET discussions of of the late 90’s led by Jay Hanson and others. Yearly ASPO meetings seem to have come and gone. At least The Oil Drum is still archived. Gail soldiers on. I hope that Ron continues to bless us with an occasional strong opinion. Peakoilbarrel was and I hope will continue to be an excellent source of information and pleasure.

      • Jmmy says:

        Thanks a lot for all that you did Ron. I greatly appreciate it. I’m gonna miss your blog posts and comments. I always looked forward to a new post and I was so looking forward to the OPEC MOMR coming out on Monday and seeing what you had to say about it. I wish you and your wife all the best. I hope you get a chance to come back and comment/guest post from time to time. I look forward to seeing what Dennis does with your fine blog. This has been my favourite website ever since I found it. I especially liked your comments that you made later in the day 🙂 lol

      • wake says:


        I have enjoyed reading your work for years, and the communities you have helped to build. Many thanks for that, and for fighting the good fight for the world, whether or not you saw it that way or as productive.

        I wish you all the peace and happiness that you have earned and I hope you and yours are as well as can be

      • Old Todd says:

        Ron, you and I may have had our differences through the years. I’m about the same age as you and I never could have pulled off what you did. You did a magnificent job!!

        Sincerely, all the best in the future.


      • Synapsid says:

        Thanks for all you’ve given us, Ron. Best wishes to you both.

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        What?! You’re retiring? (Did you ever move to Florida, by the way, and if so, how is it?)

        …So now we have Dennis taking over!? Oh for heaven’s sakes, don’t do this to me! This is worse news than AGW!

        (Just teasing, Dennis)

        Anyway, guys, best to both of you in general; hereon; and in the handing over and taking of the reins.

        “Be well.” ~ Petro

      • Javier says:

        Ron, I’m sorry to hear you are retiring from the wonderful job you have done with Peak Oil Barrel. You have taken on yourself the responsibility of covering the transition between TOD and the 2015 Peak Oil. Too bad that you won’t continue and receive the recognition for your foresight that you deserve.

        I want to thank you and wish you and your family the best in the likely difficult times that lie ahead, after Peak Oil. Life goes on and I wish you a long and prosper one.

        I hope we continue enjoying your comments. Be well.

      • Enno says:

        Thanks Ron for all your efforts in building a community here. You have inspired many to post solid information, insights and debates.

        Best wishes to you and your family, and please do keep returning here.


      • Aws. says:

        Thanks Ron,

        I really appreciate the spaces you’ve created for thoughtful discussion.



      • Frugal says:

        I was hoping this would never happen Ron. You mentioned before about having health problems, but your ability for rational thought has always been unsurpassed. I’ve learned so much from your superb articles, graphs, and comments. Thanks so much for your tireless effort to educate us about peak oil.

      • Dean says:

        Thanks Ron for all that you did. I wish you and your family the best.
        Take care.


        • Hey guys, I ain’t gone yet. I will still be posting occasionally. Dennis will be taking over the day to day running of the blog sometime in the next few weeks.

          • Amatoori says:

            This has been my prime resource and introduction to the oil industry.
            It’s been very very helpful in letting me understand the complexity around it. Hope this is not the end – just a new beginning.

            Thanks for all the information Mr Patterson and thanks for the education. You’ve made my life richer anyway. Keep it up.


          • scrub puller says:

            Yair . . .

            Good stuff Ron! That post made my day.


      • Jonathan Madden says:

        Very sorry to learn that you are taking a back seat, Ron. Dennis will of course be an excellent successor, as his time permits. I will miss your input tremendously – beats reading the news any day – and I hope that there will continue to be the wide variety of opinions expressed on this incomparable blog.

        Wishing you all the best, and thanks to Dennis,


      • GeoGirl says:

        Thank you Ron for all the great information. I only started reading a few months ago and I have learnt so very much.

        I taught my kid how to read a graph by looking at your OPEC charts!

        All the best,

  17. Sydney Mike says:

    The rate of coal extraction would be related to the rate of oil extraction given that our methods of digging up coal and transporting it to a coal power station all require oil. I have not heard of a lithium-battery-powered Caterpillar truck or dozer.

    Peak Oil will create peak coal as well.

  18. Nathanael says:

    Unfortunately, this analysis doesn’t seem very useful, in contrast to most of the useful analyses posted here. Here’s why:
    (1) Peak anthracite already happened. Decades ago. This is widely acknowledged. There are no new, large high-quality anthracite reserves and there never will be. Supply will never match demand. Coking coal only exists because anthracite ran out; the price of anthracite rose above the price of the alternative and it promptly became a niche item. Anthracite is therefore very expensive *and* in permanent short supply.

    (Peak anthracite happened in *1918*. It’s a great case study for Hubbert peak theory.)

    (2) Peak demand for thermal coal has already passed. The price of solar power dropped below the price of generating coal power (mining costs, transportation costs, operation-of-plant costs, leaving profit out). Production costs for coal power can’t go down, so the market vanishes

    None of these models properly account for the demand-side discontinuity which happens when the minimum production price of a commodity (like anthracite, or coal in general) becomes *more expensive* than the all-in price of an *alternative*. Rather than a smooth change in production, the “old” commodity drops to zero production practically overnight (really, in about a 10 year timeframe) as it is replaced by the alternative. This isn’t a smooth phenomenon.

    Shock models were designed to account for supply-side shocks. Demand-side shocks look totally different, and that’s what’s missing from these models, which is why they’re no good for the current situation.

    • wimbi says:

      Thanks for that, Nate; what I was thinking but far too lazy to say.

      One day, not far down the pike, we are gonna wake up and find there’s simply no buyer for ff.

      I remember as a kid when some anthracite was delivered somehow, I asked my father why we didn’t get that far superior stuff more often. As usual to him, no answer. I didn’t exist.

    • Patrick R says:

      Yes thanks Nate. Exactly my reaction. Supply is only half the picture. The stone age, indeed, did not end because of a shortage of stones.

      Demand peaks are visible all over the hard commodity scene at the moment, and they will usually be missed by those who start from the assumption that a change in resource base is impossible.

      In electricity generation such a change is not only possible but now visible. Transportation is next. But the timescales are harder to pick and incumbency is powerful, until it isn’t, that is, and then change can seem very very sudden indeed. Especially to the inattentive, or the those holding very fixed views about the permanence of previously hegemonous structures. Like the almost total FF basis of human society.

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi PatrickR,

        There are indeed demand peaks in some places while other places are seeing rapid expansion in the demand for coal. My assumption is that the decreases in demand will be smaller than the increases in coal demand, I would love to be wrong as a peak in coal demand would be very good for the planet, both from a climate change and air pollution perspective. That is why three scenarios were presented, maybe the low scenario will be correct, maybe the high scenario will be correct, or perhaps the medium scenario will be right, I am confident that reality will be somewhere between the high and low scenarios, the medium scenario is just a scenario devised with a URR between the high and low cases, nothing more.

        • Nathanael says:

          Please name a place which is seeing an increase in demand for coal.

          — The US is seeing vast decreases in demand
          — China saw a large reduction in demand this year and they have officially announced huge further reductions — it’s Central Committee policy now
          — India saw a reduction in demand, and the news indicates there will be more reduction
          — Australia has a reduction in demand
          — Germany has a reduction in demand…

          Poland, perhaps? I don’t think it’s big enough to overwhelm the general trend.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Nathaneal,

      I agree. The model presented assumes demand for coal will continue. There can just as easily be a demand shock, it would simply be modelled as a fall in the extraction rate. In the future I will look at reasonable models of renewable growth, the assumption will be that coal will be the first fuel that is reduced in response to renewable growth.

      • Nathanael says:

        Cool. Thank you.

        FWIW the markets for thermal coal and metallurgical coal seem to be completely independent.

        The major coal producers in the US (though not Australia or India) actually recognized the decline of thermal coal almost 10 years ago, but they thought met coal would keep them going. They were then caught out by the sudden decline in met coal due to the decline of demand for steel in China.

    • Patrick R says:

      The acorn is clearly visible; how long before we see the mighty Oak?

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi PatrickR,

        For the World there was about 201 Mtoe of wind and solar consumption in 2014, total primary energy consumption was about 13,000 Mtoe and fossil fuels provided about 11,000 Mtoe, if we assume nuclear and hydro (about 1800 Mtoe combined) grow slowly, it will take some time for wind and solar to replace fossil fuels. I am not saying it will not happen, only that it will take time.

        The scenario below has gradually decreasing growth rates so that wind and solar output is 60% of primary energy demand in 2050 which will have grown to about 17,600 Mtoe by that time (if current rates of decrease in energy intensity and real GDP per capita growth rates continue and population follows the UN low fertility scenario.)

        • Nathanael says:

          Remember, as you know well (you explained it in the discussion of the switch to electric cars), large portions of primary energy demand will simply be erased because electrical processes are more efficient than fossil-fuel processes.

          Decrease in energy intensity will probably accelerate as a *result* of switching from direct fuel use to electricity use.

          I’m not super optimistic about the population growth rates, unfortunately. 🙁

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Nathaneal,

      You might be correct that new coal electric power plant will not be built in the OECD. In developing nations they are less concerned with air pollution so the cost of coal fired electricity may stiilbe cheaper because external costs are ignored. My understanding is that a lot of coal fired power is still being built in South Asia. Once the plants have been built the cost of electricity is just the cost of the fuel as the capital is a sunk cost. Solar and wind are competitive with a coal fired plant that has not been built, but may not be lower cost that plants already in service. That will require more time.

      • Nathanael says:

        India appears to have a different policy in each state (seriously, a bit like the US). A few of them are coal-crazy, but most of them seem to be trying to get rid of coal and install lots of solar (they have *lots* of sun). The central government was “all of the above” for a while, but the price situation is causing them to lean towards solar and away from coal now.

        Also worth remembering: cost of electricity is the cost of fuel *plus* the cost of transportation. This has been killing coal power plants which aren’t physically adjacent to a mine.

  19. Paulo says:

    Jeez Wimbi, this was sad: “As usual to him, no answer. I didn’t exist.” Kudos to you for working with young people in your tinker shop. You never know what one simple interaction might do in someone’s life.

    Excellent movie worth seeing is “The World’s Fastest Indian”, starring Anthony Hopkins. Character (Burt Munro) rebuilt an old Indian MC and set many land speed records at Bonneville in the process. He cast his own pistons and machined all improvements. Along the way he worked with the neighbour kid and made time for him. I found the movie to be a wonderful change of pace from today’s crap. It takes place in NZ, etc.'s_Fastest_Indian

    • wimbi says:

      That saturday science seminar was one of the very best times in my life. And highly rewarding to have the kids, some now famous, come back decades later and thank me for changing their life by letting them find out for themselves how fun science can be.

      Like Sal Khan of Kahn academy, I was astonished to find that very young kids could get very sophisticated concepts. How about the diff eqn for a inductance capacitance resistance network?

      Or an inertial guidance system? Or, getting really profound, the astounding fact that the ratio of circumference to diameter of any size of circle whatsoever seems to be nearly the same by direct measurement? And, even more surprising, NOT some simple number like maybe 3.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        Or, getting really profound, the astounding fact that the ratio of circumference to diameter of any size of circle whatsoever seems to be nearly the same by direct measurement? And, even more surprising, NOT some simple number like maybe 3.

        Now that would be completely irrational! 🙂

        Actually this idiot’s proposal is even more irrational by many orders of magnitude!

        This article is an online extra from the December/January issue of MAA FOCUS.

        Andrew Hacker, a retired political science professor from Queens College of the City University of New York, wrote an article “Is Algebra Necessary?” that appeared in the New York Times on July 29, 2012. His thesis is that for most people, algebra is not necessary and, for many, it is an obstacle to graduation from high school or from college. After the article appeared, I, as a long-term mathematician, was asked to write a commentary on the subject of the necessity of studying algebra. However, I should add that my father was an English professor and my mother was an established weaver. Their specialties were definitely in the humanities. As a result, I don’t wish to respond yes or no to whether algebra should be required for all students. Rather, I will address reasons for studying algebra and then will focus on negative aspects of studying algebra that are mentioned in Hacker’s article.

        Yeah, algebra is a Muslim conspiracy we don’t need it to corrupt our fine American youth, do we? Imagine if they also took calculus and understood differential equations.

        • Oldfarmermac says:

          Professional educators are unfortunately some of the goddamned dumbest people alive, their brains rotted entirely out due to their politics.

          Equality of opportunity, and of rights, and status before the law, and in similar contexts, is something I believe in to the bottom of my heart.

          ALMOST everybody who is willing to work at it can learn the sort of algebra taught in high schools, IF they are willing to work at it, and IF they have a competent teacher.

          But not everybody is willing to WORK enough to EARN a diploma that MEANS something, and unfortunately, some kids are simply unable to learn enough to justify their getting a diploma, because giving them one degrades the value of all diplomas, just as counterfeit money circulating degrades the value of good money.

          But since our society has degenerated to the point we have to pretend everybody is equally talented, and equally motivated, and that all teachers are equally good at their jobs , due to the two diseases known as political correctness and teachers unions, then idiocy prevails.

          I don’t pretend to know the answers, if there are any. But I do understand a hell of a lot of aspects of the problem.

          If I were in the business of hiring people, I would administer a simple test to find out what they know. It would be written if the job requires written communication skills, or verbal if verbal would suffice.

          A high school diploma’s REAL value these days has degenerated about like a CSA dollar during the last months of the American Civil War. It may be required for you to get thru the door for an interview, with HR folks using it as a screening tool, but other than that, nobody takes it as a meaningful accomplishment.

          Savvy HR people are often in the habit of interviewing guys and girls who don’t have a diploma, if their companies will allow them to do so.

          Some of the most successful engineers and entrepreneurs in the country are college dropouts. GOOD hr people know some of the best and brightest workers are to be found among high school dropouts.

    • wimbi says:

      My first motorcycle was a very bad two stroke, which could be outrun by a single speed pedal bike.

      I learned how crappy a design could be by taking the whole thing apart and figuring how to modifying it to some semblance of life, still very bad.

      I worked on it on the sidewalk of my little southern town. A kid came by and asked a lot of good questions, which I answered as carefully as I knew how, thinking the while that it was a sad thing that this obviously talented kid was never gonna make it because he was black.

    • Aws. says:

      I enjoyed that movie when it came out. well worth watching. Was always amazed at his willingness to undertake the journey by boat to Bonneville from NZ. That’s commitment to a dream.

  20. Hickory says:

    First- thanks Ron for all work and perspectives!!! I’ve found myself in agreement with just about all you’ve said. Thanks for tolerating all the varying opinions people have expressed. Hang in there.

    Secondly, regarding coal it may be useful to look at its reserves and consumption on a geographic basis. I say this because the particulars of individual countries will surely affect whether they can get off coal.
    For example, the largest “proven’ reserves in the world are in the USA at about 25%. Its coal consumption peaked in 2007 and has declined about 20% since, primarily due to the rise in Nat Gas and to a lesser extent renewables for electrical production. This trend will likely continue.
    India, on the other hand, is on a rapid escalation phase of coal consumption, surpassed the USA in consumption in year 2014. Their rate of increase far exceeds the USA decrease.
    For an excellent source of information on this check out the following link. Please note that you can see the individual country graphs by simply clicking on their name on the chart of consumption-

    More on the India coal story here, and here.

    I do not believe India will be wealthy enough to roll back the massive commitment they are making to coal. And I doubt China will make much headway in this regard either.
    Currently these two countries consume just over 70% of the global coal/yr.

    • Patrick R says:

      India’s first challenge is to bring the 300 mil or so people into the electricity age, the greater the proportion of these people that leapfrog over the FF age to renewals will achieve a great deal. Especially if they burn a lot less biomass and kerosene once they transition.

      Then there is the question of how much current generation can transition.

      China is at a different point and is still a command economy; if they decide to change, and it looks like they have, then it will happen; how and how fast is fascinating to watch.

      In both cases the cost curve is behind it, and scaleability is the interesting question; distributed generation is surely the huge opportunity in India.

      Interesting times!

      • Hickory says:

        Indeed interesting times. Some of my family just got back from India, and they report the air being horrid in the Kolkata area.
        India seems to have the most dysfunction democracy in the world. And living in the USA makes me shudder to think of a less useful government than ours.We here have failed to have any energy policy in response to the Saudi embargo and peak domestic production of the early 70’s.
        The idea that India could pull off some energy plan that reaches above their prosperity level is hard for me comprehend.
        I believe they will continue to go Big on coal for 5-10 years at least, prior to significantly ramping up solar. That scenario depends on a continued big price drop in solar, and interval rising prosperity in India.

        Also, I believe that if any of the cold winter countries run short of nat gas or fuel oil (or the money/debt capacity to purchase it), they will ramp up coal consumption. Russia has huge reserves and would be able to supply the Eurasian continent for decades at least. Same goes for USA, and Germany (big reserves and cold winters).

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          Looking at India from a bigger box, it is not remotely survivable from a biophysical perspective.

          But I think Pakistan will be the first large nation over the cliff..

          On debt, a interesting conversation:

          • Nathanael says:

            Great piece from the Baffler. Both Graeber and Piketty know huge amounts and they’re coming at the problem from very different angles, so it’s an extremely productive conversation. Thanks so much for the link.

        • Fred Magyar says:

          India seems to have the most dysfunction democracy in the world.

          Nah, their democracy is just fine, it’s their people that are fucked! Same as everywhere else! My apologies to the late great George Carlin

      • wimbi says:

        Distributed generation in India! I remember traveling all over there trying to sell that, and everywhere the sun was trying to kill me, and getting close all too many times.

        “only mad dogs and englishmen go out in the midday sun” I was close enough to an englishman for their midday sun.

        I think it would be money well spent for the US and EU to make sure all such people are very well equipped with PV and related appliances. Cheap compared to a billion refugees. Suicide to let ’em in, and murder to lock’em out. Real bad choices.

        So here’s the plan. Find a few thousand very highly qualified Indian engineers/business people, give them training in all the best possibilities, send them back with real money to spend, and then stand by and watch.

        If no good, modify accordingly and try again.

        Plan B. Sit back and watch that choo-choo train coming now fast up the track get here real quick and run over us.


        • Fred Magyar says:


          We had it commin, we had it commin, we only had ourselves to blame!

          Cell Block -Tango – Chicago

          Yeah, it’s OT but it is great entertainment and sometimes we all just need a little break from all the BS. ENJOY! 🙂

        • Wake says:

          I think this comment should be stapled to the podiums in every debate

          Such important things going on in the world, this and birth control (good luck !) are the only answers, and nary a word about any of it in any of the debates

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Hickory,

      The work by David Rutledge and the work by Steve Mohr both look at individual countries for coal.



      also see the piece by Luis de Sousa

      My simpler analysis considers only the World URR for coal, some countries will produce all they can and some will not, in either case the resource will deplete and as it does it will become more expensive. China has already reached the point where it cannot expand its coal output much further and will depend on imports if consumption increases, India will quickly reach this point as well. Then the coal export market may see more demand than available supply and coal prices will rise, this will reduce the competitiveness of coal as a source of electric power.

      The peak in coal output will be between 2025 and 2045 in my opinion and the earlier date is more likely based on the analysis of Laherrere and Mohr.

      • George Kaplan says:

        Dennis would proven technology for in-situ gasification, especially for subsea deposits, change any of your URR numbers?

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi George,

          Do you have links to data suggesting that such “proven technology” is economically viable? The URR estimates are based on existing technology and the sources I cited at the end of the post. I am relying on the expertise of others I am not an expert on coal. Mohr’s work is five years old and Rutledge’s work is also about that old, Laherrere’s work is more recent and his medium estimate is 650 Gtoe, similar to my high estimate. I think 560 Gtoe will be in the ballpark (+/- 40 Gtoe). Time usually gives us the correct answers.

          • George Kaplan says:

            I don’t think there is any actually operating technology – but it’s been around for over 100 years and lot’s of coal companies keep discussing it (big in Fife, Scotland a couple of years ago). Wikipedia indicates that there would be an extra 600 billion tons of coal available:


            In concept it isn’t difficult – pump in air or oxygen, set fire to the coal bed, put the off gas through a GT, make electricity. But obviously has potential for horrendous problems.

      • Hickory says:

        Thanks Dennis. It will take some time for me to digest this info. One thing stood out to me right away. In the Luis de Souza piece he has a graph (citing Jean Laherrere 2015) that show cumulative world coal production at just under 200 Gtoe, and tripling to 600 by 2150. This is the middle scenario.
        I don’t know how good the assumptions on this are, but it illustrates a point I’ve made before- there is a lot of coal in the ground, and a lot of coal still to burn. That is the scenario that will pan out, unless time proves it wrong. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you are cold).

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Hickory,

          I believe that Jean Laherrere assumes 650 Gtoe in his medium case, which is similar to my high case. If the high cases for coal, oil and natural gas which I have modelled are correct (the optimists on fossil fuel URR are correct), then climate change will indeed be a big problem. Even the “medium” scenarios are likely to cause too much warming. Coal is really the biggest problem as we get the most carbon emissions per unit energy from coal.

          With just my “high” coal case and the medium oil and natural gas scenarios we end up with 1500 billion tons of carbon emissions where under 1000 Gt of carbon emissions is needed to have a 50/50 chance of staying below the 2 C limit.

          So particularly for coal less is more as far as the health of the planet (though this is true for oil and natural gas as well).

          Natural gas is best (lowest carbon emissions per unit energy), then oil, and last is coal.

      • Nathanael says:

        Both China and India have rejected coal imports as a matter of policy.

        How does that affect your analysis? I think it reduces the competitiveness of coal *right now*.

    • Nathanael says:

      China is ALREADY reducing its coal usage. Did so in 2015.

      India has shut down the importation of coal. Local only now. The coal mine proposals within India are proving financially risky and several of them may never open.

      The solar power is just too cheap foir the coal to compete.

  21. Caelan MacIntyre says:

    Extinction Events And The Carbon Cycle

    “The global carbon budget is the balance of the exchanges (incomes and losses) of carbon between the carbon reservoirs or between one specific loop (e.g., atmosphere biosphere) of the carbon cycle

    In the past two centuries, human activities have seriously altered the global carbon cycle, most significantly in the atmosphere. Although carbon dioxide levels have changed naturally over the past several thousand years, human emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere exceed natural fluctuations. Changes in the amount of atmospheric CO2 are considerably altering weather patterns and indirectly influencing oceanic chemistry… Current carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere exceed measurements from the last 420,000 years and levels are rising faster than ever recorded, making it of critical importance to better understand how the carbon cycle works and what its effects are on the global climate…” ~ Wikipedia

    “…coal fires (and the extinctions they may have triggered) bear a remarkable similarity to humans’ reliance on fossil fuels today. ‘It’s very analogous to what we’re doing today. Humans are burning coals today that were formed in Carboniferous and Permian times. So what we are doing is totally equivalent to what these dolorite sills (the molten rock that oozed into coal deposits) were doing in the Jurassic– they’re rapidly burning carbon that was stored for millions and millions of years before, and they’re putting the whole carbon cycle out of balance

    The importance of the work today… is that the carbon cycle typically takes about one million years to come back into balance (or equilibrium) after a perturbation, so even if we stopped burning fossil fuels today, we still would feel the effects of what we’ve done today for the next 200 years — and it could take hundreds of thousands to even a million years for it all to come back into equilibrium. So people think, ‘Oh, we don’t need to worry because…the climate’s not going to warm in the next ten or 50 years,’ but if we think of our children or our children’s children, there are going to be major changes because of what we’re doing today. And that’s just how the carbon cycle works — there’s a lag time.” ~ Anna Thanukos

    “…it is the rapidity of release of acid-forming gases (CO2 and sulphurous oxides) that is especially dangerous for the oceans, and the reason that the end Cretaceous and Paleo Eocene Thermal Maximum are significant analogues for today’s massive and extraordinarily rapid release of greenhouse gases… when greenhouse gases and sulphurous acids entered the atmosphere very rapidly, so the ocean extinctions resulting from rapid ocean acidification followed.

    This is all pretty obvious I think. After all, we know that since around 1970 we’ve lost around 19% of coral reefs and around 35% of the remainder are threatened… So far the dominant effect has been temperature since the major pulses of coral bleaching and die-off is occurring during the El Nino episodes riding on the background rise in ocean surface temperatures. However we’re getting pretty close to the CO2 levels where many of the carbonate-fixing species simply won’t be able to produce their skeletons. That’s also described in a recent review by Veron and a large number of well-informed scientists.” ~ John Cook

    Alteration of the carbon cycle
    The ratio between the stable isotopes of carbon (12C/13C) seems to indicate that significant changes in the carbon cycle took place starting about 500,000 to 1,000,000 years before the end of the Permian Period and crossing the boundary into the Induan Age (the first age of the Triassic Period). These changes appear to coincide closely with two Permian extinction events, suggesting some cause-and-effect relationship with changes in the carbon cycle.” ~ Britannica, Permian Extinction

    “In the course of our forays through time, we have seen that extinction events can generally be associated with upheavals that have multiple origins… However, the major causes of extinction events all ultimately come under the umbrella of the carbon cycle.” ~ John Edward Norwood Veron, ‘A Reef In Time’

  22. GoneFishing says:

    200 of the 534 US coal fired generation plants are now gone, retired as they say. Expect more in April as the EPA extensions run out. ” Nearly 18 gigawatts (GW) of electric generating capacity was retired in 2015, a relatively high amount compared with recent years. More than 80% of the retired capacity was conventional steam coal. ” EIA

    Coal may be leaving us faster than we think. The combination of aging, pollution laws and competition is steadily reducing coal use. Just last year electric generation by coal was reduced by 4.6%.

  23. Javier says:

    So Dennis,

    What about the possibility that Peak Coal is taking place right now? We know that China, one of the biggest producers and consumers is reigning in coal consumption for environmental issues and closing down thousands of mines, while at many developed nations like UK coal energy plants are being phased out and closed down.

    We do know that CO2 emissions have stabilized and are starting to go down. It might be the looming economical crisis or it could be a change in coal use that starts a downward trend.

  24. R Walter says:

    Ron Patterson can’t retire. This is an outrage.

    I regret reading the words about the plans to retire.

    Completely even-handed, level-headed purpose displayed by Mr. Patterson.

    I will thank him for putting up with the insane posts I might contribute from time to time. Sometimes they were inane, over the line too, I apologize to one and all if it became too much.

    It cannot be done without high level of tolerance, for that I am grateful.

    There are not many places on the net where such nonsense can or will be tolerated.

    Years ago now, I was banned from an atheist website. They couldn’t handle any of what I had to say, period.

    Did I mention kindness too? Even if the kindness was displayed in anger and plenty of expletives, you can’t help but recognize that is was done with kindness in mind, seems contradictory, but not really.

    Hey, thanks so much.

  25. Oldfarmermac says:

    Hearing that Ron is retiring is hard as hell for me. Too many people who matter are passing from the scene.

    He has done a superlative job running this blog, getting out more useful and well documented information than quite a few sites with many times the resources.

    His agenda has been to find and publish the truth. No newspaperman, no reporter could ever have a higher goal, or have done any better job, given the scope of the job, the Ron’s limited resources, working mostly alone, other than Dennis and a few others providing some guest posts.

    Godspeed to Dennis, who is a highly capable and even handed man.

    • Dennis Coyne says:

      Hi Ron, Oldfarmermac, and all,

      Clearly Ron Patterson is irreplaceable. My hope I can do the job half as well as he has done.

      Good luck Ron, I hope you have time to post from time to time, your thoughts on any topic will always be welcome, because in my mind it will always be your blog.

      To be clear to everyone, my understanding is that Ron will continue to post, just not as often.

      Very large shoes to fill, I will do my best. Thanks Ron for the opportunity.

      • Javier says:

        Well, good luck on that Dennis,

        I also wish you the best. Sincerely. It is very kind of you to keep the torch of Ron’s blog.

    • wimbi says:

      Agree! Ron is great. I admire people who do big good without any chance of any economic reward.

      This site has been more hospitable to me than good ol’ TOD, where that Darwinian guy used to regularly whack me for making remarks “outta sight politically impossible and so just a big waste of time”

      • wimbi said:

        “This site has been more hospitable to me than good ol’ TOD, where that Darwinian guy used to regularly whack me for making remarks “outta sight politically impossible and so just a big waste of time” “

        Wait a sec, unless I am missing the history Ron had the Darwinian handle, didn’t he?

        I think you may be confusing Ron with Leanne, who if you even made a slight complaint about moderating policies at TOD, she would whack you and delete your comment. So you could never explain your side of the story in the event that you got moderated. What a waste of ink the amount of comments that I wrote that went into a black hole.

        Ron as a moderator here is extremely fair and open.

        • wimbi says:

          Hey Web! OF COURSE I know that Darwinian is Don. I was just saying, as a friendly remark, that he has treated me more gently here than he used to on TOD and I am thanking him in a slightly oblique way, intended to be somewhat amusing to some of the old-timers here, like, for example, that guy Don.

          PS. I can’t think of a whack my remarks did not richly earn. Especially those many wild off-the-wall socialist kinds I used to allow myself to utter every now and then when i thought nobody was around.

          • Dennis Coyne says:

            Hi Wimbi,

            I think you meant Ron rather than Don.

            I love the fact that Ron doesn’t mince words, he always calls me on my bull and I hope he (and everyone else) continues to do so.

            I love your comments and if you ever feel like writing up a post on any energy related subject, I would be happy to post it.

            You have much wisdom to share.

            • Caelan MacIntyre says:

              Good call, Dennis– I second an article from Wimbi.

              Modzilla hardly ate any of my comments over at TOD, but I was kind of bugged that dohboi apparently got banned at one point late in the game.

              …But, ya, that Darwinian guy ay? Sheesh… Rumor has it that he hacked into Leanne’s account and played mod for awhile. ‘u^

  26. Brian says:

    With warm wishes to you and your family. Thank you for providing so much information and a place on the web for thoughtful conversation regarding energy related issues.

    • likbez says:

      Hi Ron,

      Thanks a lot for all the efforts you put into this blog. Such a blog is a harsh mistress and at some point you would be forced to make this decision in any case. So now then the idea of peak oil and even the date of the peak of US production is firmly established is not a bad timing. In a way, you can say “mission accomplished”.

      I hope that you still will be able periodically contribute to the blog for a long, long time, keeping up the level of the blog you created.

      All the best to you and your family !!!

  27. Caelan MacIntyre On Dancing With Defection says:

    “I am pointing out that current hypothesis is faulty and we need a new one. There are plenty of climatologists working on that. For example Judith Curry…” ~ Javier

    “Curry is a lightweight that barely has a grasp on physics.” ~ WebHubbleTelescope

    “How do you explain a person seemingly legitimately trained in science drifting off and becoming more and more of a science denier?

    In the case of Judith Curry I was unwilling to think of her as a full on science denier for a long time because her transition into denierhood seemed to be going very slowly, methodologically… she just kept providing more and more evidence that she does not accept climate science’s concensus that global warming is real, caused by human greenhouse gas pollution, involves actual warming of the Earth’s surface, and is important.

    And lately she has added to this slippery sliding jello-like set of magic goal posts yet another denier meme…

    …she is either doing something here that is morally wrong (lying to slow down action on climate change) or stupid (she is not smart enough to understand what she is looking at)…

    …it is my children’s future that is at risk here…” ~ Greg Laden

    …And Moore, well, he seems to have ‘gone over to the dark side of the force‘ from Greenpeace to ‘promo’ for Monsanto and various other ‘Greenwar’ industries.

    “Wow, one really has to admire the ostensibly high-calibre-traitorousness of this guy, and not just with Greenpeace.” ~ Caelan MacIntyre

    “I used to be a Greenpeace member many years ago…”
    I don’t like herbicides and would not go as far as saying that glyphosate (roundup) is harmless. But the guy [Patrick Moore] has a point…” ~ Javier

    “I was tossed out of the tribe.” ~ Judith Curry

    • Javier says:

      Alarmists are very big on character assassination based on fact-less opinions. They also refuse to engage skeptics in debate. Both tactics speak of a self-perceived weakness in their position.

      Judith Curry publication list is available to anybody so there is no need to defend her scientifically. I really object to your tactic of saying that any scientist that supports consensus deserves respect but any scientist that doesn’t support consensus does not deserve respect. That has never been the way scientific disputes have been settled.

      Your tactics speak volumes about you. Instead of discussing the evidence you engage in ad-hominem attacks against those that do not share your beliefs.

      • Caelan MacIntyre: "I'm not a scientist, but I can play one on POB." says:

        Shouldn’t you be in a lab or something?
        This isn’t exactly a science blog, except, I guess, where it suits you to have us think so (Eat cake, have too?)
        Nevertheless, like any good scientist perhaps, I’m maybe trying to discern or suggest a pattern, and merely quoting others in my attempt.

        But character assassination? Please. Let’s leave the inflammation (self-assassination?) to spicy Curry, shall we?
        Are you using Curry as some sort of inspiration?
        If Greg Laden et al. are suggesting that Curry is not getting it correct, this is hardly that…

        “That statement by Curry is demonstrably wrong. That is a fact borne of logical and scientific examination of the information…
        Here, I want to be clear. The argument that Curry is wrong is logical. Ends there. She’s wrong. The idea that she is either immoral or stupid is both my opinion and NOT an argument about her wrongness. I am not making an ad hominem argument. If you think that is an ad hominem argument then you don’t know what an ad hominum argument is (and isn’t).” ~ Greg Laden (link above)

        “Curry’s contrarian-leaning ‘public outreach’ public communication is criticized by prominent climate scientists and other science-aligned climate bloggers for a propensity toward ‘inflammatory language and over-the-top accusations …with the…absence of any concrete evidence and [with] errors in matters of simple fact.’ ” ~ Sourcewatch

        I especially like the ‘inflammatory language and over-the-top accusations’ part because it looks like your response, Javier, and seems hardly from someone who supposedly practices science.

        “Judith A. Curry… runs a climate blog and has been invited by Republicans on several occasions to testify at climate hearings about uncertainties in climate understanding and predictions. Climate scientists criticize her uncertainty-focused climate outreach communication for containing elementary mistakes and inflammatory assertions unsupported by evidence. Curry is a regular at Anthony Watts’ denier blog, as well as Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit, another denier site. She has further embarrassed herself (and her university) by using refuted denier talking points and defending the Wegman Report, eventually admitting she hadn’t even read it in the first place

        …Examples of the unreliability of Curry’s blog publications are illustrated by Michael Tobis and James Annan, who both showed basic flaws in her understanding of uncertainty and probability, or at least an irresponsible level of sloppiness in expressing herself. Arthur Smith pointed out an under-grad level misunderstanding in her own field’s basic terminology,” said Coby Beck.

        Climate scientist James Annan has provided examples (with rebuttals) of assertions made by Curry on topics like no-feedback climate sensitivity, aerosols, climate change detection&attribution, and the IPCC tolerance of challengers; he finds there’s a pattern of ‘throwing up vague or demonstrably wrong claims, then running away when shown to be wrong‘ ” ~ Sourcewatch

        Heart Shaped Box

        • Javier says:

          Nice. You want to have a go at me also. It isn’t going to work either. A scientists is judged by the value of his/her research and not by his/her opinions. The publication record of Judith Curry speaks for herself.

          There’s a lot of climate activists going after scientists that don’t share the consensus. Nothing really new about it, but science doesn’t care about those things.

          You just demonstrate your inability to discuss about what science knows or doesn’t about climate and about what the evidence really supports or doesn’t. Hence you embark on a travel to attack the credibility of those that sponsor a different view, as if that was going to change anything about the science of climate.

          That is a losing proposition. Science will eventually sort out this debate and your efforts will be in any case meaningless, misguided, and petty.

          • Jimmy says:

            Let’s see some of your research Javier. If you have any.

          • Regarding Judith Curry’s knowledge of physics, google “Bose-Einstein” and “judith curry”. You may need some college courses in statistical physics to appreciate the blunder.

            • Hickory says:

              Flash news- Global Warming Debate acknowledged as irrelevant!

              Oh sure the outcome is important, but the future of such a complex system is unpredictable. The earths climate cannot be modeled.
              And therefore all projections are inherently inaccurate. Inaccurate enough to prevent a consensus on policy, with any high degree of “confidence”.

              I would propose that people on both sides of this ‘debate’ are being foolish banging their heads against the wall, rather than putting all their passion to more constructive uses.

              What are these ‘constructive’ uses?
              Well, the biggest bad guy in the room, the 7.3 billion gorilla is the human population. Better to devote your energies to helping reverse population size quickly, rather than worrying about carbon and ice sheets.
              Secondly, its coal. Coal is horrific for the environment irrespective of the carbon issue. We’re talking land, air, water pollution, global radiation release (far more than the nuclear industry), deforestation, etc. So, the mental energies being expending on this debate should be directed more constructively to the “end of coal”.
              Mechanisms to end coal will also indirectly help gradually decrease the need for other diminishing fossil fuels.

              How to end coal, constructively. Well, its about national policy. I’d advocate a carrot and stick stick approach to escalating a switch to solar/wind/gas, if I was a policy maker (or voter).
              The details of those incentives/disincentives is the important debate here, not ‘global warming’.
              Where new nucs fit in to the mix is a more important debate than climate models, ice sheets, CO2 levels.
              How to funnel more money to distributed energy infrastructure, battery technology and the ‘Grand Solar’ buildout, is the kind of policy debates that are important. Not all this silly back and forth unproductive mud slinging.
              Two cents.


            • Hickory, the end of coal is perhaps the beginning of wind and solar. Fortunately, many of the climate models that we use to understand global warming can also be used to understand wind variability. Intermittency of wind is of course a big issue.

              My latest fave is the model of the QBO of wind.

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            ‘You want to have a go at me’ (who’s ‘me’ anyway?) is also not very scientific, and doesn’t address much of anything (kind of ‘runs away’ from it actually), except perhaps as an emotional appeal, similar to what Curry seems to be in part ‘going for’, namely…

            “Curry’s contrarian-leaning ‘public outreach’ public communication is criticized by prominent climate scientists and other science-aligned climate bloggers for a propensity toward ‘inflammatory language and over-the-top accusations …with the…absence of any concrete evidence and [with] errors in matters of simple fact.’ ” ~ Sourcewatch

            “Appeal to emotion or argumentum ad passiones is a logical fallacy characterized by the manipulation of the recipient’s [and/or readership’s] emotions in order to win an argument, especially in the absence of factual evidence. This kind of appeal to emotion is a type of red herring and encompasses several logical fallacies…” ~ Wikipedia

            Is Javier a nom-de-plume for Judith?

            If I want to ‘have a go’ at anything, it’s the truth, not obscurity or emotional appeals, maybe a la Javie-cum-Judy.

            “In a 2010 comment she called blogger Deep Climate’s detailed and well-documented investigation into the Wegman Report ‘one of the most reprehensible attacks on a reputable scientist that I have seen’ even as she revealed in her incorrect synopsis of the charges that she had not even read it for herself. … [i.e.] she shows herself ready to publicly criticise someone else in the strongest terms based entirely on second hand information gleaned from places like Climate Audit and Watts Up With That” ~ Sourcewatch

            “Science will eventually sort out this debate” ~ Javier

            What do we need science for when we have Javier Whoever and Judith You-Know-Who?

            But, ya, let’s ‘have a go’ at science… Last one there is a rotten egg.

            • Javier says:

              Too many words for no substance. As usual. A scientific discussion does not advance except on terms of what the evidence supports or doesn’t. Shifting the focus to the scientists is a way of smearing the debate, usually for lack of good arguments.

              You have your opinion of me. That has nothing to do with climate change being dangerous or not. I will be wrong or right regardless of your opinion of me.

              • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                Oh boo-hoo…
                You seem to want it both ways with your cake.
                This is not Nature Journal, or a science forum (which is not to suggest that there are no quality posts from others here that would qualify), but even so…
                There is no real onus on you (ya, lol, no kidding), me (even though I provide plenty of support in my comments) or St. Judith to be rigorously scientific here to publish, and yet which you help make plain with your own posts, including this one– pot/kettle black and all that.

                So make up your mind and, like I’ve already pretty much suggested, maybe go cry your crocodile tears in the name of science on an actual science blog, if there is such a thing– Realclimate or something– and using your real name and supposed credentials, etc. and see what happens.
                Maybe invite us over for a few good laughs at your expense.

                “About the ship vs buoy data adjustments: it really boggles my mind how anybody with some mathematical understanding can seriously believe that it really matters for the trend whether you adjust one record downwards or the other record upwards with the same constant value.

                And note that the people that Curry cites didn’t provide any kind of mathematical analysis – they only made an unsupported claim.

                Disgraceful!” ~ Lars Karlsson

                • Javier says:

                  You can go on, Caelan.
                  Your comments don’t add anything valuable to the question of the climate change and nobody learns anything from them.
                  Personally, I don’t give a damn about them.

                  • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                    “Personally, I don’t give a damn about them.” ~ Javier

                    And yet here you are. Going on.
                    And with an appeal to consensus fallacy to boot.
                    Gotta luv that ‘science’, Javier-style. One can learn from that.

    • Tran says:

      Yea its good of you to bring up Curry because if you want to get educated you really should go to and talk with all the many scientists there on both sides of this great debate. Example…there are a lot of scientists believing CO2 follows temperature, not the other way around. Moreover we had periods in history when CO2 was 10 x what it is now, such as during the ice age, the end of the Ordovician period, CO2 exceeded 4500 ppm. The science and theory in reality isn’t as clear cut as the media and institutions lead you to believe.

    • Oldfarmermac says:

      “I used to be a Greenpeace member many years ago…”
      I don’t like herbicides and would not go as far as saying that glyphosate (roundup) is harmless.”

      Speaking as an INFORMED professional ag guy , retired, I wouldn’t go that far either.

      But otoh I wouldn’t go so far as to say FIRE is harmless either. If we weren’t using it so much,we wouldn’t have a forced climate change problem.

      Nothing is all good, or all bad, everything must be considered in the context of the big picture.

      We have to eat, and there is no way in hell we are going to continue to do so, as a PRACTICAL matter, without pesticides and herbicides. Some are better, some worse, on the grand scale.

      Some are bad enough they have been justiafiably outlawed , and others will be , before too long.

      The super weed we keep hearing about is a joke. When Roundup quits working, farmers will quit using it, and the combination of genes that renders a weed resistant to it will be worthless to the weed. It won’t help the weed AT ALL, as a practical matter.

      The question is whether we are better off doing a LOT more plowing and tilling, experiencing a lot more soil loss, a lot more runoff of other pesticides and fertilizers, etc, burning a lot more diesel fuel making more trips thru the fields.

      Any talk of going organic small scale and quitting industrial farming is pie in the sky foolishness, for now, and for the easily foreseeable future. Doing so would be utterly impossible, from the political and economic points of view, and probably impossible, given the size of the population, as a technical problem , due to the costs.

      If anybody has a problem understanding what I am getting at, look up the history of Mao’s Great Leaps Forward.

      Most people who are opposed to the use of agricultural chemicals don’t understand the tradeoffs.

      A little knowledge is a dangerous thing indeed.

      One of the tradeoffs is that without these chemicals, we would be plowing up many tens of millions of acres of forest and prairie and wet lands, to make up for the lost production.

      The flip side is that if these chemicals had never existed, the population would be maybe a third or a quarter what it is today, maybe even less.

      • Nathanael says:

        Actually, we would be better off doing a LOT more weeding. Forget herbicides, forget plowing and tilling — pull the weeds by hand.

        But weeding is labor intensive and we haven’t figured out how to automate it yet. Good thing we have vast numbers of unemployed people, right?

  28. GoneFishing says:

    EIA shows a 15.7 percent drop in coal production yoy in their weekly report.

  29. Jef says:

    “February Smashes Earth’s All-Time Global Heat Record by a Jaw-Dropping Margin”

    “Because there is so much land in the Northern Hemisphere, and since land temperatures rise and fall more sharply with the seasons than ocean temperatures, global readings tend to average about 4°C cooler in January and February than they do in July or August. Thus, February is not atop the pack in terms of absolute warmest global temperature: that record was set in July 2015. The real significance of the February record is in its departure from the seasonal norms…”

    • Jimmy says:

      Cue Javier lol what a troll. I can’t believe someone that stupid actually exists.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Be best not go there with Javier– he appears to be incapable of embracing reality on the subject, and for some unknown reason, is ideologically crippled when confronting it.

        • Javier says:

          The one thing that I do is to embrace reality. We are probably at the warmest decade in many centuries, and the current El Niño is increasing temperatures above the decadal average.

          That fact is undisputable, but says little about the causes of warming and future temperatures. We do have hypotheses about that and some people mistake those hypotheses with reality and think we should embrace them. That’s not how science works.

          • Javier said:

            “That’s not how science works.”

            I don’t know if I trust Javier in explaining how science works. Elsewhere in this thread, Javier has asserted a peculiar notion that the only way that earth science models can be tested is by predicting a behavior in the future — and then waiting several years to see if the prediction comes true. I should be happy that he thinks that because that means one less research competitor out there to worry about. 🙂

            He just can’t seem to come to grips that one can use old data in clever ways.

      • JN2 says:

        Jimmy, one good thing about Javier is that he doesn’t lose his cool when debating. Having said that, I don’t think we’ll change his mind 🙂

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Excellent point JN2.

          Some people think that name calling is impressive, nothing could be further from the truth.

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            There’s ‘naked’ name-calling and then there are the ‘clothed’ less-than-flattering images of Judith Curry (who seems to like the ‘over-the-top inflammatory’) alongside equally less-than-flattering articles about her.

            “Jimmy, one good thing about Javier is that he doesn’t lose his cool when debating.” ~ JN2

            Depends on what you’re filtering for. Maybe read again.
            Jimmy’s particular naked brand is easy pickings for the likes of Dennis or your average blog mod. Which doesn’t necessarily make Jimmy any more guilty in a sense than probably most anyone else.

            “Why don’t you cut the charlatan sounding talk…” ~ Javier (to WebHubTelescope)


      • Javier says:

        It is about the tenth time you insult me in this article’s comments for not agreeing with you. I am going to have to call moderation on you as this clearly constitutes harassment, and clearly not the type of behavior anybody wants to see in a serious blog.

        • Dennis Coyne says:

          Hi Javier,

          I agree.

          Jimmy if it happens again you will be gone.

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            Jimmy can simply return with some ‘clothes‘, a new moniker and some kind of IP masking, which may then make Dennis happy.

            ” I am going to have to call moderation on you…” ~ Javier

            I wonder if JN2 would consider this ‘losing your cool‘.

    • likbez says:


      “February Smashes Earth’s All-Time Global Heat Record by a Jaw-Dropping Margin”

      Correlation is not causation. I would like to repeat my previous point again. While it is undeniable that human activity contributes to “global warning” the key question is whether it is the dominant contributor, or just one factor among many. What is the contribution of human activaty on the climate? In other words is it 20% or 80% ?

      Some claim that 15%-30% of variability of climate can be explained by Sun activity alone.

      Even small changes in solar activity can impact Earth’s climate in significant and surprisingly complex ways, researchers say.

      The sun is a constant star when compared with many others in the galaxy. Some stars pulsate dramatically, varying wildly in size and brightness and even exploding. In comparison, the sun varies in the amount of light it emits by only 0.1 percent over the course of a relatively stable 11-year-long pattern known as the solar cycle.

      Still, “the light reaching the top of the Earth’s atmosphere provides about 2,500 times as much energy as the total of all other sources combined,” solar physicist Greg Kopp at the University of Colorado told As such, even 0.1 percent of the amount of light the sun emits exceeds all other energy sources the Earth’s atmosphere sees combined, such as the radioactivity naturally emitted from Earth’s core, Kopp explained.

      To learn more about how such tiny variations in solar energy might impact terrestrial climate, the National Research Council (NRC) convened dozens of experts in many fields, such as plasma hysics, solar activity, atmospheric chemistry, fluid dynamics and energetic particle physics.

      Tiny Solar Activity Changes Affect Earth’s Climate

      These six extreme UV images of the sun by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory track the rising level of solar activity as the sun ascends toward the 2013 peak of the current 11-year sunspot cycle, called Solar Cycle 24.

      Even small changes in solar activity can impact Earth’s climate in significant and surprisingly complex ways, researchers say.

      The sun is a constant star when compared with many others in the galaxy. Some stars pulsate dramatically, varying wildly in size and brightness and even exploding. In comparison, the sun varies in the amount of light it emits by only 0.1 percent over the course of a relatively stable 11-year-long pattern known as the solar cycle.

      Still, “the light reaching the top of the Earth’s atmosphere provides about 2,500 times as much energy as the total of all other sources combined,” solar physicist Greg Kopp at the University of Colorado told As such, even 0.1 percent of the amount of light the sun emits exceeds all other energy sources the Earth’s atmosphere sees combined, such as the radioactivity naturally emitted from Earth’s core, Kopp explained.

      To learn more about how such tiny variations in solar energy might impact terrestrial climate, the National Research Council (NRC) convened dozens of experts in many fields, such as plasma physics, solar activity, atmospheric chemistry, fluid dynamics and energetic particle physics.

      Sun’s role in Earth’s climate

      Many of the ways the scientists proposed these fluctuations in solar activity could influence Earth were complicated in nature. For instance, solar energetic particles and cosmic rays could reduce ozone levels in the stratosphere. This in turn alters the behavior of the atmosphere below it, perhaps even pushing storms on the surface off course. [Sun’s Wrath: Worst Solar Storms Ever]

      “In the lower stratosphere, the presence of ozone causes a local warming because of the breakup of ozone molecules by ultraviolet light,” climate scientist Jerry North at Texas A&M University told

      When the ozone is removed, “the stratosphere there becomes cooler, increasing the temperature contrast between the tropics and the polar region. The contrast in temperatures in the stratosphere and the upper troposphere leads to instabilities in the atmospheric flow west to east. The instabilities make for eddies or irregular motions.”

      These eddies feed the strength of jet streams, ultimately altering flows in the upper troposphere, the layer of atmosphere closest to Earth’s surface. “The geographical positioning of the jets aloft can alter the distribution of storms over the middle latitudes,” North said. “So the sun might have a role to play in this kind of process. I would have to say this would be a very difficult mechanism to prove in climate models. That does not mean it may not exist — just hard to prove.”

      In addition, climate scientist Gerald Meehl at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and his colleagues suggest that solar variability is leaving a definite imprint on climate, especially in the Pacific Ocean.

      When researchers look at sea surface temperature data during sunspot peak years, the tropical Pacific showed a pattern very much like that expected with La Niña, a cyclical cooling of the Pacific Ocean that regularly affects climate worldwide, with sunspot peak years leading to a cooling of almost 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in the equatorial eastern Pacific. In addition, peaks in the sunspot cycle were linked with increased precipitation in a number of areas across the globe, as well as above-normal sea-level pressure in the mid-latitude North and South Pacific.

      “The Pacific is particularly sensitive to small variations in the trade winds,” Meehl said. Solar activity may influence processes linked with trade wind strength.

      Sun’s impact on history

      Scientists have also often speculated whether the Maunder Minimum, a 70-year dearth of sunspots in the late 17th to early 18th century, was linked with the coldest part of the Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America experienced bitterly cold winters. This regional cooling might be linked with a drop in the sun’s extreme ultraviolet radiation. In fact, the sun could currently be on the cusp of a miniature version of the Maunder Minimum, since the current solar cycle is the weakest in more than 50 years.

      “If the sun really is entering an unfamiliar phase of the solar cycle, then we must redouble our efforts to understand the sun-climate link,” said researcher Lika Guhathakurta at NASA’s Living with a Star Program, which helped fund the NRC study.

      Although the sun is the main source of heat for Earth, the researchers note that solar variability may have more of a regional effect than a global one. As such, solar variability is not the cause of the global warming seen in recent times.

      “While the sun is by far the dominant energy source powering our climate system, do not assume that it is causing much of recent climate changes. It’s pretty stable,” Kopp said. “Think of it as an 800-pound gorilla in climate — it has the weight to cause enormous changes, but luckily for us, it’s pretty placidly lazy. While solar changes have historically caused climate changes, the sun is mostly likely responsible for less than 15 percent of the global temperature increases we’ve seen over the last century, during which human-caused changes such as increased greenhouse gases caused the majority of warming.”

      Tracking the sun

      In the future, researchers suggested that to better understand how solar variability might affect the Earth, a future space observatory might include a radiometric imager. Such a device could essentially map the surface of the sun and reveal the contributions of each of its surface features to the sun’s luminosity.

      The solar disk is dotted by dark sunspots and bright magnetic areas known as faculae. Sunspots tend to vanish during low points in the solar cycle, and a radiometric imager could help reveal the links between prolonged spotlessness on the sun and Earth’s climate.

      Ancient signals of climate such as tree rings and ice cores might also help shed light on the link between the sun and climate. Since variations in Earth’s magnetic field and atmospheric circulation might disrupt this evidence on Earth, a better long-term record of solar radiation might lie in the rocks and sediments of the moon or Mars, researchers added.

      The scientists detailed their findings Jan. 8 in a report, “The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate,” issued by the National Research Council.

      Another important fact of the same magnitude is volcano activity. Low volcano activity which we observe now can contribute to a rise of Earth temperature.

      Volcanoes and Climate Change by Jason Wolfe
      September 5, 2000

      When Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines June 15, 1991, an estimated 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide and ash particles blasted more than 12 miles (20 km) high into the atmosphere. The eruption caused widespread destruction and loss of human life. Gases and solids injected into the stratosphere circled the globe for three weeks. Volcanic eruptions of this magnitude can impact global climate, reducing the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, lowering temperatures in the troposphere, and changing atmospheric circulation patterns. The extent to which this occurs is an ongoing debate.

      Mount Pinatubo
      Mount Pinatubo, June 13, 1991 (Image courtesy of NOAA)

      NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) enables study of the chemistry, dynamics and energy balance in the atmosphere layers above the troposphere. UARS provides near-global (-80 degrees to +80 degrees) measurements of the atmospheres’ internal structure as well as measurements of external influences acting on the upper atmosphere. These measurements are made simultaneously in a coordinated manner. The UARS dataset spans from September 18, 1991 through August 31, 1999. UARS data are available from the Goddard Space Flight Center DAAC (now named the GSFC Earth Sciences DAAC).

      SAGE II, launched in October 1984, uses a technique called solar occultation to measure attenuated solar radiation and to determine the vertical distribution of stratospheric aerosols, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and water vapor around the globe. SAGE II data are available from the Langley Atmospheric Sciences Data Center DAAC.

      Multi-Channel Sea Surface Temperature (MCSST) data are derived from measurements of emitted and reflected radiance by the five-channel Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometers (AVHRR) onboard the NOAA -7, -9. -11 and -14 polar orbiting satellites. MCSST data currently extend from November 11, 1981 through June 7, 2000, and are updated as new data become available. The sea surface temperature data sets may be ordered from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory DAAC (now named the Physical Oceanography DAAC).

      Large-scale volcanic activity may last only a few days, but the massive outpouring of gases and ash can influence climate patterns for years. Sulfuric gases convert to sulfate aerosols, sub-micron droplets containing about 75 percent sulfuric acid. Following eruptions, these aerosol particles can linger as long as three to four years in the stratosphere.
      Major eruptions alter the Earth’s radiative balance because volcanic aerosol clouds absorb terrestrial radiation, and scatter a significant amount of the incoming solar radiation, an effect known as “radiative forcing” that can last from two to three years following a volcanic eruption.
      “Volcanic eruptions cause short-term climate changes and contribute to natural climate variability,” says Georgiy Stenchikov, a research professor with the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University. “Exploring effects of volcanic eruption allows us to better understand important physical mechanisms in the climate system that are initiated by volcanic forcing.”
      Stenchikov and Professor Alan Robock of Rutgers University with Hans Graf and Ingo Kirchner of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology performed a series of climate simulations that combined volcanic aerosol observations from the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment II (SAGE II) available from the Langley DAAC, with Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) data from the Goddard Space Flight Center DAAC.

      Volcanic Ash
      Volcanic ash, like this from Mount St. Helens, is not really ash, but tiny jagged particles of rock and glass. (Image courtesy of the USGS, from the USGS Fact Sheet 027-00. A new browser window will open.)

      The research team ran a general circulation model developed at the Max Planck Institute with and without Pinatubo aerosols for the two years following the Pinatubo eruption. To study the sensitivity of climate response to sea surface temperature, using data from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory DAAC, they conducted calculations with climatologically mean sea surface temperature, as well as with those observed during particular El Niño and La Niña periods.

      By comparing the climate simulations from the Pinatubo eruption, with and without aerosols, the researchers found that the climate model calculated a general cooling of the global troposphere, but yielded a clear winter warming pattern of surface air temperature over Northern Hemisphere continents. The temperature of the tropical lower stratosphere increased by 4 Kelvin (4°C) because of aerosol absorption of terrestrial longwave and solar near-infrared radiation. The model demonstrated that the direct radiative effect of volcanic aerosols causes general stratospheric heating and tropospheric cooling, with a tropospheric warming pattern in the winter.

      “The modeled temperature change is consistent with the temperature anomalies observed after the eruption,” Stenchikov says. “The pattern of winter warming following the volcanic eruption is practically identical to a pattern of winter surface temperature change caused by global warming. It shows that volcanic aerosols force fundamental climate mechanisms that play an important role in the global change process.”

      This temperature pattern is consistent with the existence of a strong phase of the Arctic Oscillation, a natural pattern of circulation in which atmospheric pressure at polar and middle latitudes fluctuates, bringing higher-than-normal pressure over the polar region and lower-than-normal pressure at about 45 degrees north latitude. It is forced by the aerosol radiative effect, and circulation in winter is stronger than the aerosol radiative cooling that dominates in summer.

      Man-made, or “anthropogenic” emissions can make the consequences of volcanic eruptions on the global climate system more severe, Stenchikov says. For instance, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the atmosphere start a chain of chemical reactions on aerosol surfaces that destroy ozone molecules in the mid-latitude stratosphere, intensifying observed stratospheric ozone depletion.

      “While we have no observations, the 1963 Agung eruption on the island of Bali probably did not deplete ozone as there was little atmospheric chlorine in the stratosphere. In 1991 after the Pinatubo eruption, when the amount of CFCs in the stratosphere increased, the ozone content in the mid-latitudes decreased by 5 percent to 8 percent, affecting highly populated regions,” says Stenchikov.

      NASA and the National Science Foundation have funded Robock and Stenchikov to study the Pinatubo eruption in more detail, and to conduct another model comparison with the volcanic aerosol data set. They plan to combine SAGE II data with available lidar and satellite data from various DAACs to improve their existing data set.

      By understanding the impact of large volcanic eruptions on Earth’s climate system in more detail, perhaps scientists will be in a better position to suggest measures to lessen their effects on people and natural resources.

      There are also minor factors that need to be accounted for. One of them is El Niño
      refers to the irregular warming of surface water in the Pacific. The warmer water pumps energy and moisture into the atmosphere, altering global wind and rainfall patterns. The phenomenon has caused tornadoes in Florida, smog in Indonesia, and forest fires in Brazil. The cold counterpart to El Niño is known as La Niña and it also brings with it weather extremes.

      Another is Earth orbit variations

      Global climate patterns are dynamic: They are continually changing in response to solar radiation, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, and other climate forcing factors. Among the more predictable of these changes are cyclical changes in solar radiation reaching the poles. These cycles, first described by Milutin Milankovitch (1941), involve Earth’s orbit, tilt, and the precession of the equinoxes.

      Earth’s elliptical orbit around the sun shifts under the gravitational pull of other planets in our solar system. In a 100,000-year cycle, the orbit shifts from one that is nearly circular to one that is elongated, pulling the planet further from its energy source (Figure 5A). Earth’s tilt relative to its orbit changes in a 41,000-year cycle from 21.5° to 24.5°; we are currently in the middle of this cycle with a tilt of 23.5° (Figure 5B). Finally, the axis (north-south orientation) of the Earth wobbles over time. This 23,000-year precession of the equinoxes changes the orientation of the planet relative to its location in orbit (Figure 5C). When all three Milankovitch cycles reinforce each other, they alter solar input and influence oceanic and atmospheric circulation patterns. This can lead to regular periods of cooling and glaciation.

      In short

      All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability…Hume

      • Dennis Coyne says:

        Hi Likbez,

        The CSALT model considers many factors to account for changes in temperature. Changes in atmospheric Carbon dioxide are the most important factor, see

        I did a check on the model and the multiple regression from 1880 to 2013 using monthly data gives an r squared of 83.5%. If we do a simpler model of natural log of atmospheric CO2 vs temperature the R squared is 77%. So this admittedly simple model explains 83.5 % of the variation in temperature using 5 independent variables (including total solar irradiance and aerosols) and 92% of the variation explained by the model(16.5% of the variation is not explained) is accounted for by carbon dioxide alone. Chart below.

        • GoneFishing says:

          Interesting how the two large negative drops in the graph are coincidental with the depression of the 1890’s and WWI. Pre WWI was recessionary, during and post was a period of economic growth. The large upward deviation coincides with WWII and the general large rise in the graph coincides with increasing population growth and industrialization.

  30. Ves says:

    Do Permian basin drillers and oil service companies get paid in pesos, $CND, or roubles considering the high level of active rigs compared to Bakken/EF from year ago? Or more likely Bakken/EF simply run out of sweet spots by end of 2015?

    • likbez says:

      Hi Ves,

      It does not matter how drillers are paid. What matters is how bonuses to the top brass are calculated:

      The Wall Street Journal reported that the bonuses earned by the CEO’s of the major shale oil producers were tied to the level of production, not profits.

      • Ves says:

        You are right about top brass, but let’s not forget that even in the church their top brass justify that they deserve more bonuses let alone oil capitalistic business.
        I was being sarcastic with in what currency drillers and oil services are paid in Permian basin just to provoke some thoughts intrigued on that model that Verwimp posted.
        But have a look: Oil price bust started 1.5 ago. Numbers of rigs in Permian basin are 8 TIMES higher now when oil price is 40-50% lower than year ago!! Does that sound like business decision? No. It is political. The whole shale is political boondoggle camouflaged as new technology/energy independence narrative.

        But what is interesting now in 2016 to see is huge decline in the number of rigs in EF and Bakken that actually supposed to happen in early in 2015 if this shale business was to be credible business venture. But it did not happen in 2015. It did not happen in 2015 because it was political. Well the reason it is happening today is probably they are running out of sweet spots. What they are going to do until price reach $80? It is them the reason that price is not at higher level today. Drilling marginal spots that are left in EF/Bakken is like drilling in downtown New York. “Drill Baby Drill” only is applicable if there is something to drill for. The only shale game in town now is Permian simply because of timing. They were the last that joined the game. Banks will allow them to drill the the sweet spots at ANY price and then they will pull the plug.

        • AlexS says:

          “Numbers of rigs in Permian basin are 8 TIMES higher now when oil price is 40-50% lower than year ago!! ”

          Oil rig count in the Permian basin is now down 73% from the peak reached on October 24, 2014 (150 vs. 562)
          A 73% decline is less than 84% for the Bakken or 82% for the Eagle Ford, but this is still a huge decline.

          • Ves says:

            My bad interpreting graph from oilpro regarding the rig count. But the question is still valid: At $35 WTI why Permian has 5 times more active rigs than Bakken today drilling unprofitable oil for every single barrel that they produce for over year and half? I think is just matter of how much sweet spots are left in each of the shale basin regardless of the actual price.

            • AlexS says:

              The comparison is incorrect. Permian basin is much bigger than Bakken and includes numerous conventional fields. It always had much bigger number of drilling rigs than any other basin in the U.S.

              • Ves says:

                I don’t agree that is not correct comparison. You provide 2 yardsticks: 1) bigger area and 2) there are lots of conventional fields that are in my opinion completely irrelevant. These two yardsticks are irrelevant because the price is $37 and you can’t make money at $37. And you could not make money for the whole last year. The profit has always been the bottom line yardstick before shale entered the picture.

                Look Canada is waaaayy bigger field than Permian basin and we have to agree on that. How many active rigs do you have in Canada? 50 rigs. Why do you think Permian basin is “exceptional” that justify 152 rigs at this very moment? It is not bigger than the whole Canada.

                Regarding yardstick that Permian is partly conventional also does not make sense because conventional does not make money either at $37 and half of Canadian production is conventional and nobody is drilling.

                This shale “revolution” is political boondoggle that will have huge repercussions on US conventional in the first place and then the rest of world’s high cost and mature oil production like North Sea and Alaska. But ultimately it will be US consumer that will pay the highest price as the biggest consumer per capita in the world.

                • Watcher says:

                  maybe rigs have a cancellation clause if stacked but if not, and not used . . . .

                  • Ves says:

                    I don’t believe that cancellation clause story any more. Oil has been long enough in the basement and shale has been relentlessly drilling cash into the ground despite of that.
                    That was cute story in the beginning along with all other improved efficiencies stories.

                    Watcher, this is what will happen: there will be meeting between SA and Russians soon. They will put a floor price for everyone. That little war in ME is finished for now so they have to eat too and they are rational too. So they will put the floor price. Let’s speculate at $50 and that’s it. Shale will drill their sweet spots regardless but there are not enough sweet spots to keep production at previous peak and we will have a slow grind for another couple of years for everyone.

                • AlexS says:


                  What is your question:

                  1) Why there are so many rigs in the Permian basin?

                  Permian has always accounted for a large part of total US rig count.
                  In 2011-2016, its share in total U.S. oil rig count was 36% on average. The most recent weekly number is 39%.
                  Oil rig count in the basin declined 73% from the peak in October 2014. This is slightly less than overall decline in U.S. oil rig count (-76%), but the Permian basin is following the general trend.

                  2) Why companies are still drilling with oil price at only $37?

                  This is a much broader issue, not specifically related to the Permian Basin. And we have been discussing it many times before.
                  I do not see economic logic, for high-cost producers, to drill and complete new wells at loss. But the U.S. shale companies have always been growth-oriented, and the market (investors and lenders) has been rewarding them for growth rather than capital discipline. I guess it is difficult for shale companies to change their corporate culture, so they will continue to destroy value, as they were doing before.

                  As regards conventional production, large part of it outside the U.S. and some of it in the U.S. remains profitable at current oil prices

                  Permian basin oil rigs as % of total U.S. oil rig count

  31. shallow sand says:

    Ves. One reason there is more activity could be there is a larger area.

    Also, the severance taxes are lower and the discounts for both oil and natural gas are lower.

    There could also be conventional rigs drilling in the Permian, as well as rigs drilling wells besides producers (injection, disposal, supply, observation)

    It could also be that some rigs are deepening conventional wells to explore different and deeper zones. The Permian is well known for may productive formations.

    The Permian companies are not generally as debt burdened, having been more likely to have raised funds through stock issuance.

    Keep in mind history, too. The Williston Basin has had times where the rig count fell to zero.
    Not sure what 40 year low is for Permian, but pretty sure its never been zero. It looks like in 1999 the rig count in the Permian Basin dropped as low as 51. That is for TX only.

  32. Dave Hillemann (Texan) says:

    First off, Ron, I wish you well in retirement.

    Secondly, did anyone else notice the difference in the quality of comments between this blog post and the previous one? All the climate change bickering and mumbojumbo in this thread really distracts, whereas the previous thread had virtually no mention of climate and was much easier to follow overall.

    • robert wilson says:

      I appreciated previous attempts to isolate the bickering about climate change and other matters. By the way, what happened to Nick G.

    • Caelan MacIntyre says:

      The Old Farmer’s Almanac is much more reliable for their weather predictions (uncannily right at times) than any of the flawed models spit out by the global warmists. That’s because computer climate modeling and software is designed by computer programmers, not actual scientists, and has already been shown to be easily manipulated for political purposes in the past…so what is the point of continuing to beat a dead horse on this blog by talking about alleged climate change?”~ Dave Hillemann (Texan)

      If one does a Google search of your posts on here, they only talk about climate– and in a ‘denialism’ sense to boot as per the example above. Go ahead and try it. None of the search hits I got with your name talk about anything else.
      Works both ways, Dave Hillemann (Texan). So I don’t buy your ostensible concern for ‘quality of comments’.
      If you don’t want to go to an oil-exclusive site and want to influence this blog with the agenda of eradicating any and all comments and articles concerning anthropogenic global warming and how the burning of fossil fuels affects it, you’ll have to dupe convince more people than just robert wilson.

      This is a peak oil blog as opposed to just an oil blog. I might have even already told you this.

      Ron Patterson says [to Dave Hillemann (Texan)]:
      07/10/2015 at 9:06 am
      …Also I need a good laugh occasionally. The idea that “computer programs are no good because they were written by programmers” gave me the best laugh I have had in weeks.

      Dave Hillemann (Texan) [to Jeffrey J. Brown] says:
      09/30/2015 at 3:54 pm
      Making the connection you’re trying to make is up there with Alex Jones level of paranoia. But if this “blob” does cause an ice age in the next 12 months which then leads to wars over resources that kill you, me, and 25% of all the other men here, then I’ll be the first to let you proclaim, “I told you so.”

      Jeffrey J. Brown says:
      09/30/2015 at 4:05 pm
      As I noted a couple of times, the scenario was constructed by the Bush Administration.

      scrub puller says:
      09/30/2015 at 3:29 pm
      Yair . . . .
      Mate, there is more to the world than texas and, if you are an oil man don’t think the next twenty years of climate chaos is going to rattle your cage you must think texas is on another planet . . . in other words such posts are relevant and how you choose to use the information is up to you.


      • Dave Hillemann (Texan) says:

        If one did a Google search on your posts on here, would they find them to be all on-topic and relevant to the parent post?

        I don’t care if people want to endlessly talk about climate change on a non-oil thread or when the subject comes up in the originating post. I’m not going to try and “eradicate” any of the discussion, though I might join in with my own opinions, as I believe is my prerogative. But you know what led to decreased usefulness of The Oil Drum and contributed to that site’s demise? The most vocal segment of the readership became less and less interested in the posts directly relating to the site’s primary topic and instead focused on general gloom and doom chit chat in the “drumbeat” threads. appears to be following a somewhat similar path too, except the tone there seems to be more trollish and confrontational.

        If the media covered oil production and energy matters in more than a superficial or uniformed manner, I likely wouldn’t visit here. However, they don’t, so this will have to remain one of just a handful of places I trust to get a sense of what’s really going on in the oil patch.

        • Dave, The important fact is that the amount of excess CO2 released into the atmosphere is directly related to how much fossil fuels we have burned up to now and how much we will burn in the future. And that is going to set the amount of future global warming.

          Analyses like what Dennis has done are critical to being able to project future warming. You won’t find this anywhere else on the net, as most climate science blogs are very narrowly focused.

          • islandboy says:

            “The important fact is that the amount of excess CO2 released into the atmosphere is directly related to how much fossil fuels we have burned up to now and how much we will burn in the future. And that is going to set the amount of future global warming.”

            Which is why I think that my thought experiment extrapolating future growth of wind and solar is relevant to the topic of modeling future coal production. When the data from the EIA’s Electric Power Monthly is juxtaposed with the projections, it shows that if solar and wind continue to grow at anything close to their recent rates for the next decade or so, they may well end up providing 40% or more of the electricity that the US uses.

            Assuming the share provide by hydro remains around 6%, nuclear 19% and assuming other renewables grow their share to 10%, that would leave coal and gas with a share of less than 25%, down from roughly 65% in 2015. That is a greater than 60% drop in share from FF and depending on whether absolute consumption rises (EVs) or falls (LED lighting and other efficiency improvements), the drop in FF consumption (and CO2 emissions) could be more or less than 60%. Another question is whether or not NG will continue to take share from coal as the absolute amount of electricity provided by FF declines. I will add another post immediately below showing that decline.

            Note that an error in a formula in the first row of my spreadsheet, produced a figure for the growth in solar for year one that was greater than 100% and this error propagated through the entire spreadsheet. The corrected version of the second run is below.

            Finally I’d like to add my voice to the chorus of voices expressing gratitude to Ron for setting up this web site. Is there anywhere else on the web that I could post this stuff and initiate an honest discussion on the technical merits of the idea by a group of intelligent and knowledgeable participants? I doubt it.

            • Nathanael says:

              FWIW, the total consumption rise from switching ALL road vehicles to EVs in the US adds up to only about 10% of current electric generation.

              This will not happen quickly. Electric cars are severely production-limited by the number and capacity of available battery factories. Because of the capacity limitations, they can’t hit more than about 10% of the market in the next 5 years, and that’s optimistic. So that’s really only about 1% growth in electric power from EVs in the next 5 years…

          • islandboy says:

            Below is a graph of the absolute amount of electricity generated by coal and natural gas combined since 2005. It appears to have peaked in 2007 and has been declining fairly steadily since then (apart from the perturbation for the GFC), down by more than 7% from the 2007 peak. If the US economy has grown since 2010, that would imply a slight decrease in the carbon intensity of the US economy.

    • GoneFishing says:

      The whole fracking production increase was due to high prices. Geology has placed a higher constraint on the economics of source rock oil production. The fracking phenomenon is a “gold rush” syndrome where people saw a chance to make money in US oil. It was good for a few years, but the international implications of continued high production elsewhere placed an economic yoke on US fracking activity. Placing large amounts of oil on the market suppressed prices, thus making the activity economical. Historically mines will cease operations temporarily in that situation but mining oil and natural gas is a different business model that causes overrun into periods of negative profits.
      It’s all about risk versus reward and the rewards are low or negative. With a high initial cost, fracking has a higher risk and lower reward. URR’s would need to be twice as large to justify the risks taken.
      Now if fracking had started during the descent phase of the peak oil scenario, it might have been generally more profitable. Bad timing and irrational exuberance seems to have dealt a poor hand to portions of the oil industry. The problem being that there are few alternatives left. The industry is getting boxed in by depletion.
      Once this is realized, projects will be approached much more cautiously in the future, slowing the growth of new production.
      Depletion of coal in the eastern US is having a similar effect. The natural gas industry is on the same bandwagon, facing low prices and the constraints caused by geology/depletion.
      I wonder if the predictions about the Powder River Basin are true. That would put a tremendous kink in thermal coal production.

  33. Robert Millman says:

    Dennis–wow. It seems that trhe discussion could not be confined to coal. There is such passion spilling over to fanaticism in the energy field. Most comments center on whether the planet will survive or thrive until there is little or no need for carbon based sources of energy. You have taken what is the least popular and publicized position–one of moderation. In some eyes that makes you a closet denier. Better watch out! You suggest that peak coal is further away than many think or would like. There are political and ideological forces very hostile to coal. HRC has declared that she will work to shut down coal plants. Can the companies survive this assault? Will there still be coal produced in 5 -10 years? Thanks rdmill

    • robert wilson says:

      I recall a Sierra Club meeting during the 60’s where the topic of conversation was the then current saying; “A true environmentalist is willing to freeze to death while sitting on a coal mine”

  34. Longtimber says:

    Many Shale Companies Are Unable to Ramp Up Oil Output ( Seach phrase )
    Idle equipment, limited workforce prevent shale sector from playing role of swing producer
    “The balance sheets of these shale-only producers have to be repaired for them to get back to drilling,” said John Hess, the chief executive of Hess Corp. “That’s going to curb any recovery.”

    GoneFishing nails it above.

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